Mind your business.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

MIT Media Lab's Smarter Objects: Augmented Reality Is Becoming A Reality [Video]

From Engadget:

'While patrolling the halls of the CHI 2013 Human Factors in Computing conference in Paris, we spied a research project from MIT's Media Lab called "Smarter Objects" that turns Minority Report tech on its head. The researchers figured out a way to map software functionality onto tangible objects like a radio, light switch or door lock through an iPad interface and a simple processor / WiFi transceiver in the object. Researcher Valentin Huen explains that "graphical user interfaces are perfect for modifying systems," but operating them on a day-to-day basis is much easier using tangible objects.'

Just so cool.

Fist Bump: for Sponsoring a Screening of Silver Circle in Washington State

At the center of corruption is the Federal Reserve who has gained enormous amounts of control over America’s economy, with disastrous effects beginning to show.

Standing opposite, is the band of Rebels who have vowed to take back the freedom they once knew… and they won’t go down without a fight.

Monetary mayhem. Explosions. Romance. Silver Circle plans to take indie animation to a whole other level.

David Morgan of will be helping put on a one-night event to remember at the Magic Lantern Theater in downtown Spokane.

Cannabis Britannica: The rise and demise of a Victorian wonder-drug (Lecture)

With a title like that, how could I resist watching this lecture by Professor James Mills at Gresham College? And Mills did not disappoint! Curiously enough, it would seem that the public campaign against marijuana and its eventual prohibition in Britain closely mirror the perverse incentives and series of events that led to the plant's prohibition in America.


"In 1800 cannabis preparations were almost entirely unknown in Britain as only the medical men of the period had any interest in them and few had access to samples of the plant. However, by the 1840s cannabis was being touted as one of the wonder-drugs of the age, as doctors out in the Empire reported excitedly that it was a ‘powerful and valuable remedy in hydrophobia, tetanus, cholera and many convulsive disorders’. The Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal seized on these reports and devoted its front-page to the new medicine, and in subsequent decades the plant was used to treat everything from tetanus, to period pains and mental illness. Yet by the 1890s the House of Commons heard that 'The Lunatic Asylums of India are filled with ganja smokers' and the Government of India was ordered to conduct an enquiry into the use there of what one MP called 'the most horrible intoxicant the world has yet produced'. This lecture considers the curious career of cannabis in Victorian Britain and explores the medical entrepreneurs, the moral anxieties and the political agendas behind it."

Transcript of the lecture.

CISPA Sandpeople (Meme)

CISPA Lobbyists are easily startled, but they'll soon be back, and in greater numbers.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Why Libertarianism Is So Dangerous (video)

A former libertarian abandons his dream of a voluntary world and explains the potential worse case scenario after the overnight disappearance of government. The ending will SHOCK you!

Via: School Sucks Project. Fist bump: Anthony Gregory.

WA Judge Orders Police to Return Confiscated Marijuana to Its Owner :-D

Oh yeah. You read that headline right. Bet you never thought you'd read a headline like that.

Judge tells the police to give a man his weed back:

Joseph L. Robertson's Marijuana Will Be Returned By Cops Who Seized It, Judge Orders

TACOMA, Wash. -- Police in Tacoma could soon be in real trouble over pot.

The department could be found in contempt if they continue to refuse to return a small amount of marijuana seized from a man after a traffic stop. Municipal Court Judge Jack Emery repeated an order to police Thursday to return the drug to Joseph L. Robertson within seven days or they could be found in contempt.

"Appeal or comply," Emery told assistant city attorney John Walker. "Or next week, show up, and I would advise you to bring counsel."

The judge first ordered police to return the drug on Feb. 28, but they have refused, The News Tribune reported Friday (

It was seized in May of last year when an officer pulled over the Tacoma man for speeding. He was cited for driving without a license and misdemeanor marijuana possession. Prosecutors dismissed the drug charge in December, after state voters decided to legalize small amounts of the drug.

Robertson then asked for his pot back, and provided proof of medical marijuana authorization. The city refused, which led to Emery's Feb. 28 order. If the matter is not settled by the May 2 hearing, it could go to higher courts.

I'm waiting for them to file an appeal saying they can't return it because they already smoked it all.

CA Police Take Baby Because Mom Wanted Second Medical Opinion! (Video) UPDATED: Court Rules in Favor of The Power Structure

"I'm going to grab your baby, and don't resist, and don't fight me, okay?"

Imagine a mother hearing these words from an armed stranger.

How would you react?

This is your government. Look at it:

Part I:

Part II:

Via: MoxNews. Fist bump: reader, Heath.

And now, your moment of Zen:

Text Summary of news segment:

SACRAMENTO, CA - A Sacramento family was torn apart after a 5-month-old baby boy was taken from his parents following a visit to the doctor.

The young couple thought their problems were behind them after their son had a scare at the hospital, but once they got home their problems got even worse.

It all began nearly two weeks ago, when Anna Nikolayev and her husband Alex took their 5-month-old boy Sammy to Sutter Memorial Hospital to be treated for flu symptoms, but they didn't like the care Sammy was getting.

UPDATE: Couple still unclear why CPS took their baby

For example, one day Anna asked why a nurse was giving her son antibiotics.

"I asked her, for what is that? And she's like, 'I don't know.' I'm like, 'you're working as a nurse, and you don't even know what to give to my baby for what,'" Anna explained.

According to Anna, a doctor later said Sammy shouldn't have been on the antibiotics.

Anna said Sammy suffers from a heart murmur and had been seeing a doctor at Sutter for regular treatment since he was born. After Sammy was treated for flu symptoms last week, doctors at Sutter admitted him to the pediatric ICU to monitor his condition. After a few days, Anna said doctors began talking about heart surgery.

FACEBOOK: Fans talk about the family's story

"If we got the one mistake after another, I don't want to have my baby have surgery in the hospital where I don't feel safe," Anna said.

Anna argued with doctors about getting a second opinion. Without a proper discharge, she finally took Sammy out of the hospital to get a second opinion at Kaiser Permanente.

"The police showed up there. They saw that the baby was fine," Anna said. "They told us that Sutter was telling them so much bad stuff that they thought that this baby is dying on our arms."

Medical records from the doctor treating Sammy at Kaiser Permanente said the baby as clinically safe to go home with his parents. The doctor added, "I do not have concern for the safety of the child at home with his parents."

"So police saw the report from the doctors, said, 'okay guys, you have a good day,' and they walked away," Anna said.

Anna said the next day police and child protective services showed up on her doorstep. Alex Nikolayev said he met them outside a short time after they arrived.

"I was pushed against the building, smacked down. I said, 'am I being placed under arrest?' He smacked me down onto the ground, yelled out, 'I think I got the keys to the house,'" Alex said.

Then police let themselves inside.

On home video shot with a camera Anna set up herself, police can be seen entering her front door on Wednesday.

"I'm going to grab your baby, and don't resist, and don't fight me ok?" a Sacramento police officer said in the video.

"He's like, 'okay let your son go,' so I had to let him go, and he grabbed my arm, so I couldn't take Sammy. And they took Sammy, and they just walked away," Anna said.

When News10 spoke with police, they said talk to CPS; CPS did not say much about the case. Just before 6 p.m. Thursday, Anna said that a CPS social worker told her, the reason they took Sammy is because of severe neglect; however, the social worker didn't elaborate on that neglect.

MORE: How does CPS decide when to remove a child from his parents?

Sutter Memorial was asked to comment on the story, but the hospital said the case was with CPS and law enforcement and they would have to comment on the case. CPS said they can't specifically comment on this case because of privacy law, but CPS spokesperson Laura McCasland said, "We conduct a risk assessment of the child's safety and rely heavily on the direction of health care providers."

"It seems like parents have no right whatsoever," Alex said.

On Thursday, Anna and Alex were allowed a one hour visitation with Sammy; he's currently in protective custody at Sutter Memorial Hospital.

"His smile, it's everything for me," Anna said. "I was so happy to see him."

Anna and Alex have a court hearing scheduled for Monday.

"We did everything," Anna said. "We went from one hospital to another. We just wanted to be safe, that he is in good hands."


UPDATE (04/30/13): Court rules in favor of parents (but not really).

The parents can now see the baby whenever they want, which is an improvement:

The 5-month-old baby boy who was seized by authorities in Sacramento, Calif. will be transferred to a Bay Area hospital for further medical evaluation, a court ruled Monday. However, the baby’s parents are celebrating a victory as they can now see him whenever they want and will be in charge of all the child’s medical decisions moving forward.

But don't take that last part about the parents' control of the child's medical decisions too seriously. Next two paragraphs say this:

A detainment order has been lifted, but Child Protective Services (CPS) will continue to monitor the case, KXTV reports. The court also ruled that the parents must follow all future medical advice, including not removing their child from Stanford Medical Center without proper discharge.

“A county social worker will make regular house visits to check on Sammy once he is returned home,” the report adds.

The power structure is merely softening the appearance of its still substantial control over the parents' baby and reserving the right to call the shots. This is absolutely disgusting. Totally wrong.

How Much Money Is There on Earth? (Totally Awesome Video)

This is a super entertaining and educational video about the nature and origins of fiat money. Excellent for libertarians to share with monetary policy n00bs; still fun for seasoned veterans of the information war.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Occupy Hot Dog Stand [Video]

Unionized Hot Dog Stand vs. Right to Work Hot Dog Stand = Very funny student activism video from Young Americans for Liberty:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The GOP's Worst Enemy

For several decades the Republican Party has posed as a beacon of conservatism and constitutional government while in reality being the largest obstacle to those very ideas. If we want smaller government and more liberty, we must first defeat frauds running the GOP before we attack the Dems.

After RNC Chairman Reince Priebus unveiled the Republican Party’s Growth and Opportunity Project last month, conservatives were hopeful this marked a fundamental change in the direction of the party. The 100-page document’s emphasis on engaging the grassroots and broadening party appeal seemed to indicate GOP leaders were looking to make amends with their base. Less than a month later however, the RNC renounced these claims and once again revealed the greatest hindrance to the GOP’s success: the party itself. 

Read the full article here at United Liberty.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Anthony Gregory: Boston Police Overreacted, Not Libertarians

"If two criminals can bring an entire city to its knees like this with the help of the state, then terrorism truly is a winning strategy." -Anthony Gregory

On his Facebook Wall, Gregory made the above statement in a lengthy and absolutely spot-on analysis of the police response to the Boston Marathon bombing. Over at The Independent Institute, he shared his concerns in greater depth in "What Is The Threshold for Martial Law?"

Yesterday, Students for Liberty's blog carried a guest submission critical of Gregory's perspective on the issue entitled, "Civil Libertarians Overreact to Boston Police."

Highlights from the critique:

'Civil libertarians need to avoid the knee jerk reaction to police action. They should see it as their obligation to make sure society does not forget individual liberty in times of crisis, but looking critically at police action is not the same thing as looking constructively at police action.


What was I supposed to think about the 9,000 police officers that descended upon the Boston suburbs or about the lockdown advisory? As somebody who feels very strongly about the militarization of the police and the impact of terrorism on public concern for civil liberty, I did not feel comfortable with the Humvees or the Homeland Security tactical vests. How Bostonians have responded, however, has been cause to reevaluate my initial reaction.


In most of Boston, the lockdown was in effect as an advisory. It was not martial law. In the heat of the manhunt, officers did require residents to stay out of the closed off areas in Watertown if they chose to leave their homes, but this was consistent with any police action where the search for an armed and dangerous suspect narrows to a confined area. For civil libertarians like Anthony Gregory to suggest that Boston was brought to its knees under the weight of the police state is just wrong. Bostonians wanted to catch the suspect, and they did so coming out strong.

If civil libertarians cannot respect police action, they will not only remain electorally irrelevant, they will fail at shifting the debate on civil liberty as well. It is too easy to fall into using contemporary events to validate your own views, but that kind of talk will unsettle anyone that is not already caught up in the fight for liberty. By responding to events like the Boston Bombing with criticism of police action, civil libertarians come across as out of touch. Keeping the events in context, rather than taking it as an opportunity to soapbox, will ultimately be a better strategy for communicating the need to safeguard civil liberty in times of crisis.'

Students for Liberty, because it's awesome, published Gregory's response, Boston Police Overreacted, Not Libertarians, today.


(No highlights. Read the piece. It's excellent.)

The Insomniac Libertarian: Did Hillary Clinton Commit Perjury During A Line of Questioning By Rand Paul?

And is she involved in Washington-led operations to arm Syrian rebel groups that include radical Islamic Jihadists, even members of Al Qaeda? Bruce Majors does some deep digging into this story at The Insomniac Libertarian. Check it out.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Quick and Easy Phone Script to Urge Your Senator to #STOPCISPA

Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Phone Script [Be polite, friendly, and passionate]:

Capitol Operator: How may I direct your call?

Patriot: Hi, I'm calling regarding CISPA. Could I please get Senator [Your Senator's Name]'s office?

(Probably Underpaid) Intern: Hello. How can I help you?

Patriot: [Say quickly, clearly, and with conviction] Hi! I'm calling about CISPA. I'm a resident of [City] and a [Occupation]. I just want to urge the Senator to vote "No" when CISPA reaches the Senate in order to protect the 1st and 4th Amendments of the Constitution, to protect the freedom of American citizens, and to send a clear message to the terrorists of the world that we will not let terror change our form of government and the liberties we enjoy. Thank you!

The War On Drugs Is a Failure - Ron Paul AutoTune Song

Every time Ron Paul "sings" in this auto-tuned comedy video, I can't help myself but laugh. This is so funny:

...and so awesome. The War on Drugs IS a failure.

If you disagree, you're unaware of or uninterested in facts.

Ron Paul did say in an interview once, btw, that his real dream had always been to be a singer. Well, it's not quite the same, but I hope someone's shared this video with the good doctor from Texas.

(It's right at the end of the interview below.)

Lyrics, The War on Drugs is a Failure

We need to repeal the whole war on drugs
It isn't working
We don't have to have more courts and more prisons
This has to change
This has to change

Prohibition didn't work
Prohibition on drugs doesn't work
We have spent over 400 billion dollars
It's a waste of money

We need to come to our senses
Let's put down the guns and unclench the fists
We need to come to our senses
Yeah, we don't treat alcoholics like this
We need to come to our senses
Prohibition failing harder than 1926
We need to come to our senses
We don't treat alcoholics like this

Too many people doin' time
Somebody tell me - when did recreation become a crime?
It's bright-eyed kids we're sendin into prison
They go in as superheroes and come out supervillains

Could have had more Einsteins, more Magellans,
But we made a thousand Al Capone level felons.
Take out a dealer and ten more appear
So let's ban curing cancer, we'll cure it within a year.

We need to come to our senses

Of 50,000 arrests, 82% were black and hispanic
These arrests stigmatize, they criminalize
Making it harder to find a job
Making it harder to get into school
Making it harder to turn their lives around
It must end and it must end now

The war on drugs, while well-intentioned, has been a failure
We're warehousing addicted people every day in state prisons
Giving them no treatment, sending them back on the street
And wondering why they don't get better
Why they commit crimes again
Well, they commit crimes to support their addiction

The war on drugs is a failure
Put down the guns and unclench the fists
The war on drugs is a failure
We don't treat alcoholics like this
The war on drugs is a failure
Prohibition's failing more than in 1926
The war on drugs is a failure
We don't treat alcoholics like this

The cops got better things to do anyway
Like stop real crimes instead of wasting time
Chasing that mary jane
Stoned people don't start fights
No, they don't
Stoned people don't rob banks
Not even close
The worst thing stoned people do
Is steal their roommate's oreos
And that's a misdemeanor at most
A misdemeanor at most
A misdemeanor at most

Libertarians and the Environment

Today being Earth Day, I wanted to share some libertarian perspectives and resources on the environment. You might be likely to encounter conversations about Earth Day and the environment at the workplace, around the dinner table, or when you're out and about today and for the rest of this week.

Don't be caught unprepared with libertarian arguments:

1. Remind people first of all, that the worst polluter in the world is the United States government. Even if every last U.S. citizen aggressively reduced their use of energy and water, started recycling and reusing, and became just the most hardcore environmentalist in their personal lives that they possible could, it wouldn't make a dent in the amount of pollution in our world because state and county governments, and the federal government (especially the Department of Defense), pollute so much. Any earnest, intelligent, and effective effort to reduce pollution and environmental impacts MUST begin with rolling back the size, role, and influence of government, NOT call for even more government central planning and regulation.

2. Another great point to make is that in fact, the world and its environment are far cleaner today than they were a hundred years ago, and the reason is NOT environmental regulation, but private enterprise and the explosion in wealth. This makes sense because environmental protection is a consumption good that we can afford more of as we become more wealthy. Free markets and prosperous people create incentives for the most environmentally sustainable and low-impact economic activities. Less government and more voluntary human action are the right prescription for a healthy environment.

3. Also note by way of solutions that libertarians offer private property rights with their corresponding legal protections as the best solution to protect the environment.

4. Finally, remember that the language and "reasoning" of environmental hysteria is often without substance, fraudulent in its claims, bears the hallmarks of religious faith rather than scientific inquiry or philosophical discourse, and posits-- without justifications other than aesthetic appeals-- that the pristine, untouched (by humans) environment is somehow intrinsically valuable, and thereby implies necessarily that man is somehow flawed and alien to the intrinsically good "environment" around him, that humanity and the requirements for its survival are evil. Both those last two links (one to Mises, the other to the Ayn Rand Institute) are very important reads for establishing the philosophical framework for understanding the essence of the environmental debate as it has proceeded in recent history.

Please share all these resources!

[Note: This article was first published on Earth Day, 2012)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Top 100 List of Libertarian Blogs and Websites Massively Updated (Forty-Four Websites Leaving / Joining The List!)

This is by far, the most massive update of the Top 100 Libertarian Blogs and Websites list here at The Humble Libertarian.

A Robust Top 100 List

I can't decided if I'm more embarrassed that the list was in such disrepair that it required such a massive overhaul, or more excited that the list is now so incredibly robust --better than ever before.

I'm probably most excited that the libertarian presence on the World Wide Web is now stronger than it has ever been. When I first made this list in 2009, I extensively researched what was out there, and I'm telling you, there are so many new blogs and websites, so many fantastic resources. We've come a long way in four years.

How did I find room for forty-four new libertarian blogs and websites?

I removed any blogs or websites that were no longer updating. There were a few of these. Sorry. I won't let this list get that dated again. I also removed several entries that allowed an organization to "double dip" on the list, by which I mean, I had previously linked to both The Cato Institute's main website and their blog, Cato at Liberty. I had done the same for The Independent Institute, The Mises Institute, (et al.). There are now just too many other good libertarian websites out there to allow the list to remain this "thin." Finally, several blogs and websites simply had to go to make room for better, more relevant ones, with higher quality libertarian content. There was also at least one blog that had to go because its proprietor has gone off the rails into nothing recognizably libertarian.

I also removed the numbers from the list to emphasize that it's not an ordered ranking, just a list. Don't read too much into the order.

An Awkward Top 100 List

This list isn't just more robust with more links to more resources of higher quality. It's a much more awkward list. Every previous incarnation of the list was filtered through my own biases against certain kinds of libertarians whom I didn't wish to promote.

It made for a weaker list.

The truth is, I don't think I was ever qualified to have such strong biases, not without listening to the people I would prefer to keep off the list and off my blog first. Now I'm listening.

What kind of libertarian am I? I don't know. What strategy is most effective to spread libertarianism? I don't know. Do I have to pick just one?

If the list is going to be more robust, it has to be more complicated. It has to be more awkward. There are all different kinds of libertarian blogs and websites on the list promoting all different kinds of libertarian ideas and strategies. Some of them don't like each other. A few readers might chafe to see an entry on the list that they consider too radical or on the fringe. Others might shake their head at entries that they consider too mainstream, strategically ineffective, or watered down.

I don't want to ignore or run away from these tensions in libertarianism. I want to embrace them.

The Forty-Four Newcomers to The List

(Someone should probably punch me in the face for not including some of these sooner.)

The Dollar Vigilante

Freedom's Phoenix

Stefan Molyneux's Freedomain Radio


The Daily Anarchist

Bleeding Heart Libertarians

Jeffrey Tucker's Laissez Faire Book Club

Silver Circle Underground

Spatial Orientation

Zero Hedge

Glenn Greenwald

The Daily Bell

Tenth Amendment Center

Future of Freedom Foundation


Tea Party Economist

Mike Church

Peter Schiff's

Free Keene


Ron Paul Forums

The Blaze

Pat Buchanan

Jerry Doyle

Bastiat Institute

The Goldwater Institute

Cop Block

The Scott Horton Show

Matt Taibbi

Max Keiser

The Economic Collapse Blog

The Libertarian Standard

Walt Williams

Casey Research

The Bottom Line by Jan Helfeld

We Are Change

Institute for Liberty and Democracy

The Ron Paul Curriculum

The Libertarian Republic

The Skeptical Libertarian

Everything Voluntary 


Check out the list to see who remained.

Leave a comment here if you'd like to point out any blog or website that I'm missing which you think should really be included on the list.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

3D Printers Printing 3D Printers

We're going to get there.

You're living in the future now.

There Were Bomb Sniffing Dogs and Bomb Squads at The Boston Marathon BEFORE The Explosions!

What? Bomb sniffing dogs at a major public event in a big city with so many people?

Is it inconceivable that there would have been security at a big event because... there's often security at big events?

If there was a bomb explosion at an airport, would the conspiracy-obsessed among us point out that the TSA was there when it happened, and say that it stinks of a false flag attack because of this, as they have been doing with the Boston Marathon bombing?


The sad part is the real story with this observation isn't that it's evidence of an inside job. It's that it's evidence of police incompetence. The state can't keep you safe. At least it can't guarantee your safety. You can spend yourself into poverty to pay for the security state; you can give up your last liberty for some security; you can panic yourself into a state of paralyzed terror of living in a world where you just might die sooner than you'd hoped; and in the end, you just might die sooner than you'd hoped.

But you probably won't.

But you will definitely be less wealthy, less happy, less free, and groped more often than you'd like by the kind of people that work at the DMV.

Libertarians have the opportunity here to point out the futility of the absolute security state, to point out the incompetence of those who we recklessly believe we can fully rely on to always keep us safe. Instead, Alex Jones et al. are hogging up all the media attention about the libertarian response to this with nutty, half-baked arguments trying to pin this on the nefarious operations of a calculatingly cold regime.

Libertarians should be the voice of calm and reason in situations like this, like Jesse Walker at Reason. We should also be the voice of *critical* scrutiny as events unfold, not wild, self-serving defeating speculation.

Grassroots Activists Turned Away at the RNC

RNC locks out 50+ conservative activists for nearly an hour as we attempted to deliver an open letter describing our grievances with their rule changes last year as well as a petition with over 12,000 signatures demanding they be overturned.

Eventually, Jackie Bodnar of FreedomWorks was allowed inside with the documents and reappeared some 20 minutes later telling the crowd they must make an appointment and come back.

This is only days after the GOP allegedly determined the party must reach out more to the grassroots and become a more bottom-up institution in their 100 page report entitled The Growth and Opportunity Project.

While we were waiting and demanding to be heard, several individuals were sporadically allowed inside the building as they continued to ignore us.

Read more here at my blog The Conservative Individualist
Also see this write up  from  Roll Call

The State Seriously Hates Cameras

Orwell was so very astute in his understanding of the total state, yet the most visible mechanism of state control in 1984, cameras everywhere, has turned out in the 21st century to be one of the most useful checks against state control.

Observe this video from Adam Kokesh, posted to YouTube yesterday:

Best part (2:05): "They're filming on the sidewalk. And they're filming on the sidewalk. And that guy's filming on the sidewalk. And that guy's filming on the sidewalk."

The police don't want Kokesh to film on the sidewalk because it's part of a "commercial operation" and requires a license from the National Park Service. The quotation above and its concurrent video footage show how antiquated the government's understanding of cameras and information is. People are all over the sidewalk filming with their digital cameras and smartphones.

The problem with Kokesh's camera then, is that it's too big and nice. Pretty soon, we'll be capturing footage of the same quality with devices indistinguishable from the ones the tourists are using. What will the police do then to sift the "commercial" operations from the Instagram and Facebook fodder?

And how is the distinction meaningful? Human action is human action. It's all done by actors that believe they are profiting from their actions somehow or another.

Watch the officer at the end of the video, tail tucked between his legs, nervously trembling with a camera and microphone aimed at him. The state doesn't just hate cameras. It's afraid of them.

Your "little brother" is watching you back.

double plus good in Aftermath of Boston Marathon Bombing: Stay Calm, Don't Jump to Conclusions

Jesse Walker has some words of wisdom for us at Reason. These ideas are relevant in the aftermath of any terrible tragedy as it becomes a media spectacle:

'As soon as those two explosions tore through the Boston Marathon yesterday, dubious rumors and other false reports started surfacing in the press and in social media. So here's three tips for following stories like this one—lessons to keep in mind not just as events in Boston unfold, but the next time something this terrible happens...'

Read the rest at Reason.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Great IP Trainwreck: Thoughts On The Kinsella / Wenzel Debate

Look, I normally wouldn't draw attention to something like this, because this debate was embarrassing and frustrating beyond words to listen to, not the kind of thing I want to shed light on as representative of the best we libertarians have to offer.

But with this thing front-paging The Daily Paul on Friday, I've decided I just have to speak up, because now it's received plenty of exposure, and commentary about it all over the place except for Reddit and on the YouTube video of the debate itself, is making me wonder what planet the commentators were on while they were listening to this.

To clarify my opening remarks, my primary problem was with Robert Wenzel's presentation, not with Stephan Kinsella. G B Shaw reportedly once said, "I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it." Kinsella definitely got dirty and Wenzel definitely liked it.

I've got to give Kinsella credit for remaining as patient as he did with Wenzel's hysterical nervous ravings, but he did lose his cool at times. It wasn't pretty to listen to. I only kept listening out of the same perverse motivation that keeps you glued to the screen while Jerry's guests scream at each other.

Kinsella's opening statement framed the issue carefully and well. In Wenzel's opening statement, he essentially said he wanted to first clear the air of some bad blood between the two (and by clear the air, I mean he wanted foul it up with petty personal quarreling and focus on that for the rest of the "debate" instead of discussing the issue of intellectual property).

Wenzel describes how Kinsella had predicted before the debate that Wenzel would weasel and worm his way out of having one. Kinsella had also apparently called Wenzel a clown. "Why did you call me those names? Do you think I'm a weasel? Am I a worm? Am I a clown?" he demanded. "You really made a mistake calling me those things. You really pissed me off."

Kinsella answered that Wenzel had been attacking him and Jeffrey Tucker for years about their belief that intellectual property does not actually exist, is a fiction of the state, a coercive monopoly granted by the government on ideas, which are not property because they are non-scarce; that Wenzel has been saying for a long time that he would write a book proving that IP does exist and can be defended from a free-market, libertarian, and Misesian propertarian framework; that the book has never come; and that after challenging Kinsella to this debate, Wenzel had already postponed it for months. That's why he predicted Wenzel would try to weasel out of it, because he has no actual substantive argument, no real answer, just a strange spite for Tucker, Kinsella, and IP anarchy.

The funny thing is, after taking so much umbrage with these pre-debate remarks, Wenzel did exactly what Kinsella predicted. He spent the entire debate weaseling and worming his way out of talking about the actual issue, which Kinsella was clearly prepared and eager to discuss. Instead, Wenzel spent the debate in hysterics, repeatedly saying his purpose wasn't really to debate at all, but to "destroy you." Over and over again, "I want to destroy you, Kinsella." "You've made a real stupid mistake pissing me off, and I'm going to destroy you."

Wenzel alternated between these aggressive admissions of insincerity and personal animus and rambling off quotes from the Misesian and Rothbardian canon, haphazardly and with no clear train of thought. Every time Kinsella tried to bring Wenzel to the actual matter of discussion and try to get a clear debate going, he would hedge and say he wasn't ready to get to that part yet, then follow up with another inane, dry reading of some quotation or other, and then drag Kinsella down every digression he could contrive to avoid actually confronting a matter he was not prepared to discuss and for which any listener can only conclude he has no substantive case.

Again, it's not my desire to get on here and highlight poor representatives of libertarianism, but you've got a libertarian blogger named Marc Claire getting on the front page of The DP preposterously claiming that Wenzel "crushed" Kinsella's assertion that the IP issue has already been settled by libertarians and that no libertarian has advanced a clear, substantive theory of intellectual property rights. Claire says Wenzel's counter-arguments showed there is an alternative libertarian understanding of the issue. Far too many commenters on The DP and on Claire's blog readily agreed.

Come on. We've got to have higher standards for what we consider a libertarian position meriting any regard at all. It is preposterous to elevate Wenzel's ravings to any position remotely equivalent to the organized, well-prepared, and erudite treatment of the subject by Stephan Kinsella.

A libertarian love story where the bad guys work at the Federal Reserve

Some great publicity for Silver Circle at The Washington Post:

'Pasha Roberts, who grew up in McLean with a DARPA dad and who himself has a degree in financial engineering from MIT, has something of a built-in audience for his feature film debut. Three, actually, he thinks: libertarians, animation buffs and “the precious-metal coin collectors are really into this, too.”

“Silver Circle” is an animated love story/hyperinflation dystopia set at the Federal Reserve. It had its Washington-area premiere this weekend: one screen, one theater, a one-week run at the Regal theater in the Ballston Common mall.

“Did somebody find a money clip?” a man, one of about 40 people in attendance, hollers into the darkness just before the film began Friday evening.

“Wait, is there free money here?” someone asks.

“It’s Federal Reserve money,” a third person responds. “Not worth anything anyway.”

“Silver Circle” is that kind of movie. Made for around $2 million, funded primarily by Roberts’s production company, Two Lanterns, it has become a small symbol for a passionate cohort that believes in tiny government. And on currency that jingles instead of folds.

“There are at least two people who have ‘Silver Circle’ tattoos,” says Roberts, 50, who is tall with spiky gray hair, and arrives at the D.C. premiere wearing an “End the Fed” t-shirt. “Besides me, I mean.”

“It’s been floating around in libertarian circles for awhile,” says Kevin Latchford, who attended the Ballston premiere and who promoted the event on the movie’s Facebook page. (Latchford is also making a movie, he informs a reporter. He’s a producer for “Alongside Night,” which is also about the economic collapse of the United States of America.)

“Silver Circle” has received some Capitol Hill support. Ron Paul endorsed it. Paul inadvertently advertised it in Congress, actually, in 2012 when he whipped one of the film’s promotional silver pieces out of his pocket during a hearing of the House Committee on Financial Services and used it as an object lesson on inflation.'

Edit: Forgot to post the link:

The State Is Like...

a box of chocolates...

Worst box of chocolates ever.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Milton Friedman - Why Drugs Should Be Legalized [Video]

Milton Friedman talking common sense about drug policy before it was cool. When he mentions that he was a teenager during alcohol prohibition, I can't decide how old that makes him seem, or how recent that makes alcohol prohibition seem. Lessons forgotten so quickly...

Inspector General Audit Finds Pentagon Giving Afghan Contracts to Terrorists!

"A new audit (pdf) from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has found significant weaknesses in the oversight intended to keep the Pentagon from giving contracts to Taliban and other insurgent factions.


The conclusion is that the Pentagon has ended up contracting out to insurgents in the past, but even more frighteningly that it is almost certainly still doing so unwittingly, with Inspector Sopko urging Centcom to implement additional controls to examine contracts already given, and any future ones."


Your tax dollars at work. Washington is taking your money from you, and giving it to terrorists, using it to pay people who are attacking and killing your sons, daughters, nephews, nieces, brothers, sisters, moms, and dads. Why isn't this a front page story?

Who do we get to charge with aiding the enemy for this?

CLARITY: The Powerful New Technique for Brain Imaging [Video]

Scientists have come up with a way to make whole brains transparent, so they can be labelled with molecular markers and imaged using a light microscope. The technique, called CLARITY, enabled its creators to produce the detailed 3D visualisations you see in this video. It works in mouse brains and human brains; here the team use it to look into the brain of a 7-year-old boy who had autism.

This is just-- so cool.

Pew Pew Pew!

We need guns that just go "pew."

Not "pew pew pew"

So funny.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ron Paul Launches Foreign Policy Institute

Exciting news for the peace and liberty movement!

First, the Ron Paul homeschool curriculum, now this.

The press release:

The Neo-Conservative Era Is Dead

Former Congressman Ron Paul will hold a press conference this Wednesday to launch his next big project: the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. After decades in and out of the US House of Representatives leading the call for a non-interventionist foreign policy and the protection of civil liberties, Dr. Paul is launching a revolutionary new vehicle to expand his efforts. The Institute will serve as the focal point of a new coalition that crosses political, ideological, and party lines.

The Ron Paul Institute will focus on the two issues most important to Dr. Paul, education and coming generations. It will fill the growing demand for information on foreign affairs from a non-interventionist perspective through a lively and diverse website, and will provide unique educational opportunities to university students and others.

The neo-conservative era is dead. The ill-advised policies pushed by the neo-cons have everywhere led to chaos and destruction, and to a hatred of the United States and its people. Multi-trillion dollar wars have not made the world a safer place; they have only bankrupted our economic future. The Ron Paul Institute will provide the tools and the education to chart a new course with the understanding that only through a peaceful foreign policy can we hope for a prosperous tomorrow.

Founder, Chairman, and CEO Dr. Paul has invited the Institute’s board of advisors to speak at the conference, including Rep. Walter Jones, Jr. (NC), Rep. John Duncan, Jr. (TN), former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH), Judge Andrew Napolitano, Ambassador Faith Whittlesey, and Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

What: Press Conference To Inaugurate the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
When: Wednesday, April 17th, 3:00 PM
Where: Capitol Hill Club, 300 1st St., SE, Washington, DC. (California Room)

Join Dr. Paul and his friends Wednesday to hear more about the Ron Paul Institute!


Birth Control Takes On The "Old Boys Club" With The Power of Music

Birth Control, a local Nashville goth band has a slick album with seven tracks, each about something spooky, including it would seem, one about the global financial and political establishment.

Good stuff. Lyrics below.

It's a slow world, afraid of change
so we're here to facilitate
an old boys club just layin' low
cuz we dont want the world to know

we got bankers, business, kings and queens
we just wanna have a word in peace
we aren't trying to hurt anyone
just as long as we get what we want

Closed doors and open minds
we won't leave anyone behind
just as long as you're rich and white
then everything's gonna be all right

we got bankers, business, kings and queens
we just wanna have a word in peace
we aren't trying to hurt anyone
just as long as we get what we want

bankers, business, kings and queens
we just wanna have a word in peace
we aren't trying to hurt anyone
just as long as we get what we want

One world united no use in fighting
so watch our tv, read our papers consume,
obey, while we pave the world for

One world united no use in fighting
so watch our tv, read our papers consume,
obey, while we pave the world for

bankers, business, kings and queens
we just wanna have a word in peace
we aren't trying to hurt anyone
just as long as we get what we want

bankers, business, kings and queens
we just wanna have a word in peace
we aren't trying to hurt anyone
just as long as we get what we want

bankers, business, kings and queens
we just wanna have a word in peace
we aren't trying to hurt anyone
just as long as we get what we want

Vermont House of Representatives Decriminalizes Marijuana 98-44

Marijuana Policy Project Press Release:

MONTPELIER – The Vermont House of Representatives approved a bill 98-44 Friday that would decriminalize possession of limited amounts of marijuana. The bill is scheduled for another House vote next week before moving forward to the Senate. Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn testified in favor of the bill, and Gov. Peter Shumlin has also expressed support for such a proposal.

"Vermont is another step closer to adopting a more sensible approach to marijuana policy," said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. "The support demonstrated by members of the House reflects that of the state's top law enforcement officials and the voters."

H. 200, introduced by Rep. Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) with a tripartisan group of 38 co-sponsors, would remove criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket. Those under age 21 would be required to undergo substance abuse screening. Under current state law, possession of up to two ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail for a first offense and up to two years in jail for a subsequent offense.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Vermont voters support removing criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and replacing them with a civil fine, according to a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling in February 2012.

"A majority of Vermont voters agree that nobody should be subject to life-altering criminal penalties simply for using a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol," Simon said. "I think we can all agree that addressing violent and otherwise serious crimes is a better use of law enforcement officials' time and resources than arresting and prosecuting people for possessing small amounts of marijuana."


California To Plead The 10th? Bill to Nullify NDAA Unanimously Passes CA Committee

Alternate headline: Hey Washington, even California's getting sick of you! Ha ha ha.

The Daily Caller reports:

'California lawmakers are pushing a bill that would exempt the state from federal laws authorizing indefinite detention of citizens.

The California Public Safety Committee voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of the California Liberty Preservation Act, which was introduced by Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly.

The bill passed the Democrat-controlled committee 6-0 with the support of a wide-ranging coalition that included the American Civil Liberties Union, Tenth Amendment Center, San Francisco 99% Coalition, San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the Libertarian Party of California.

The legislation is designed to free California from having to comply with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012, which does nothing to prevent the potential seizure and indefinite detention of U.S. citizens. The California bill declares such federal power unconstitutional, and mandates the state and its localities refuse adhering to or assisting with federal implementation.

“The NDAA gives the executive branch—under not only President Obama, but also every future president — unprecedented power to detain US citizens without due process,” Assemblyman Donnelly, the bill’s author, wrote in a press release. “This runs counter to the very principles that make America great, and violates our nation’s commitment to the rule of law.”

The bill cites the Tenth Amendment, and affirms the enumerated nature of the federal government’s powers.'

Mmmm mmm mmm. #pleadthe10th, baby, #pleadthe10th

Double plus good.

Fist Bump: Daily Paul

Ben Swann Discusses North Korea, Gun Control, Next Moves on Alex Jones, Friday 4-12-13 [Audio]

Ben Swann's segment starts at 53 mins into Alex's show on the embedded YouTube video below.

There are no big revelations about Swann's plans, but he does reveal that he does have some offers (I'd love to know from whom), might take those offers, might go independent, or might do a combination of these two, remaining independent, but working with some of the outlets that are courting him presently.

Defining quote from the interview:

"I believe the majority of Americans who don't know what the liberty movement is or the liberty message is, if you articulate it to them, they'll say, 'Yeah, that's me.'" -Ben Swann

Fist bump: Daily Paul

The Democrats' Plan To Get Gun Control Through The Senate

Great work at BuzzFeed.

After a quick look at the above, you might be interested in the following audio lecture on the Fascists and Fabians from the Mises Institute's excellent Robert LeFebre commentaries. The maneuvering described in the BuzzFeed piece is a classic Fabian "incrementalist socialism" tactic. They've been doing it to us for decades. We're fool enough to let them.

Rand Paul Goes Full Auto [Video]

Senator Rand Paul knows real gun control means hitting your target:

Friday, April 12, 2013

Too long; didn't read it

Come on, Congress. You got to read the bills.

Headline from National Review: "Lee: ‘Not a Single Senator Has Been Provided the Legislative Text’ of Gun-Control Bill"

These become laws that affect our lives. You do know that, right? I mean I know you're above the law and everything, so it's hard to imagine, but we little munchkin people in Central Time can go to jail for not complying with all this stuff, so could you take a moment and know what you're voting on when you vote on it?

Remember practically two days ago when some of you were embarrassed that you passed the "Monsanto Protection Act" because you didn't know it was in there?

Can some renegade libertarian staffer in the Capitol please start waging guerrilla warfare on these clowns and insert language into every bill abolishing the TSA, repealing The Patriot Act, ending foreign aid to Pakistan, and putting ObamaCare out of our misery? No, seriously.

Elizabeth Warren pays interns $0 per hour

One set of rules for small business owners. Another set of rules for the people who make the rules.

How many more examples are we going to need?

4th Grader Told to Write: "I am willing to give up some of my constitutional rights... to be safer" (!)

When his parents found this sentence scrawled onto a piece of paper in their 4th grader's backpack, they could not believe their eyes:

"I am willing to give up some of my constitutional rights in order to be safer or more secure."

The boy's classmates confirmed to his dad that they were instructed by the teacher to write this sentence, though the teacher is playing dumb and saying that the boy wrote this himself. Yeah right. I'm sure he'd think of that himself.

The real irony is that most public school teachers are Democrats. This reads like something Dick Cheney would make school children write. Then again, this happened in Florida, land of Jeb Bush.

Still I wonder if the teacher would have given this assignment to the students in 2004. And I don't wonder at all whether the progressive media and blogosphere would have jumped all over this in 2004; and I don't wonder at all whether they will now.

Can you hear the silence on civil liberties? On unchecked executive power? On wars and rumors of wars? On children dying in drone strikes ordered by the president? The sound of silence is DEAFENING.

What would you do if you learned that your child or niece or nephew had to write this in 4th grade as part of a school assignment?

Ron Paul homeschool curriculum anybody? It couldn't have come a moment too soon.

Ten Practical Things To Make With A 3D Printer

Ethan at HackThings writes:

"I went digging on Thingiverse, Shapeways and Ponoko to see if there was anything I’d actually make, and what I found surprised me. Set aside art and jewelry, if you enjoy making things there are plenty of practical, every-day creations to justify the purchase. Especially when you can get a decent 3D printer for $450.

Now, having done the research, I have to swallow some of my skepticism. I’m buying a 3d printer.

Here are ten practical things I want to make."

Read the list here.

The one that excited me most was actually the least practical item on the list-- Legos. Just imagine, any possible Lego shape you can think of. zomg!!

The Neuroscience Happening In a Baby's Brain Is Essential to Their Future

Such an interesting interview on Stefan Molyneux's Freedomain Radio with Dr. Stuart Shanker.

Key takeaways:

Babies are born with all their neurons, but few connections. The stimuli they experience helps grow the connections and wire the circuitry of their brain.

Their interaction with their parents is crucially important in helping them to grow well-ordered circuitry so they develop into successful children and adults. Specifically, soothing behavior from the parents helps teach them to grow connections that allow them to "self-soothe" and properly deal with stress and pain as they become more independent.

Arousal and aversion are two reactions babies have to stimuli. Arousal is a response to stimulating factors and helps them develop curiosity and engagement with their environment. Aversion is a response to painful over-stimulation. Both of these reactions require a liberal amount of nurturing interaction with the parent to grow the baby's brain circuitry into a properly-ordered, self-regulating mechanism.

By 1st grade, a child's aptitude for learning and properly adaptive social behavior is very well established, and difficult, though not impossible, to nudge one way or another(!). Past models for understanding childhood education understood this observation in terms of IQ, some sort of inherent biological characteristic of the child. Now, neuroscience is revealing that it is in fact, environmental factors in the child's upbringing that have less to do with the child's "intelligence quotient" and more to do with the child's ability to self-soothe, handle frustration, delay gratification, and other learn-able cognitive skill sets that require well-adapted brain circuitry.

As I was discussing with a friend after listening to this interview, these are some of the most valuable insights we can possibly have to better our world. I think most people would agree that the most important task for our society is raising its children well. On a personal level, I think most people would say raising their child(ren) to be successful, happy, productive, and adaptive is the single most important priority they have.

Sadly, I would venture that society and individuals don't always suit action to these sentiments. Neuroscience is uncovering the answers to these challenges at an unprecedented rate. Let's have more conversations about this!

Piers Morgan Caught with Armed Protection

What a snotty little pompous hypocrite. This isn't about controlling guns. This is about controlling the 99%. Somebody call OWS.

James O'Keefe on Alex Jones discussing Piers Morgan's ugly, soft-bellied, good-for-nothing hypocrisy on guns:

Alex also does an interesting little aside near the end about Glenn Beck. tl;dw? (Short version is: Beck just copied my story again without attribution, but I'm glad he's doing it. I'm a little miffed, but whatever, he's spreading the message.)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Struggling With The Non-Aggression Principle and The Libertarian Fetish for Systematization

Grab a cup of coffee, you're in for some deep digging into the philosophy of liberty and the non-aggression principle:

I'll let Matt Zwolinski make his own point in his piece, "Six Reasons Libertarians Should Reject The Non-Aggression Principle." You can read it here.

Thoughts as I'm reading this:


I do appreciate Bryan Caplan's sentiments, in this piece, which Matt Z links to in the article above:

But in any case, all this talk violates the fundamental rule of philosophical reasoning (indeed, all reasoning): You don't use the obscure to argue for the obvious. It's silly to say, "Murder violates man's nature, so murder is wrong," when you can just say, "Murder is wrong."

Rothbard's at his strongest when he points out that governments habitually perform actions which almost everyone would admit were wrong if they were committed by a private individual. This, in my view, is real moral reasoning - instead of arguing for the obvious (murder is wrong because blah blah blah), he's arguing from the obvious (murder is wrong, so it's wrong when government does it, too).

This is how I believe libertarians will be most effective at presenting their case to the world. There's little need or use for systematizing the obvious. People are already with you.


Matt says the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) prohibits all pollution. I don't know. Can anyone actually demonstrate a substantive, aggressive harm to themselves as a result of my burning wood in my fireplace?

Matt would likely say, of course, that's his point. This is simply what happens when you hold the NAP as an absolute. I still don't know. It seems to me that it's one thing to hold NAP as absolutely inviolable, and another to define aggression so broadly as to see it happening everywhere when it is apparently not.

Again, I imagine Matt would say aggression as absolutely defined is still happening in the instance of my fireplace, ever so marginally, and if you hold it as an absolute, you must account for this. Now we're splitting hairs over splitting logs. If Matt's argument is that no NAP proponent should hold NAP in such absolute terms, I'd reply that I don't know of any who are.

Continuing my completely imaginary conversation with Matt (begging his forgiveness if I'm misrepresenting him), he'd say that NAP is no longer absolute then. That this concession kills NAP.


And this is where I think Zwolinski and I are in the same place. These kind of ultra-thorough systematizations of everything seem fruitless to me. Let's talk about what's obvious and what's facing people and how to make them freer and richer and happier.

There's a usefulness in systematization, but there's also a diminishing marginal return on it, and I'd say we libertarians, many of us with a clear (and very ironic) fetish for systematizing all of reality, have probably passed the point of marginal returns on marginal investment. Let's invest more of our time and attention where we'll get more liberty.

(Edit: relevant)


To support his thesis that NAP "Prohibits Small Harms for Large Benefits," Matt uses an example that makes me uneasy:

"Or, to take a perhaps more plausible example, suppose that by imposing a very, very small tax on billionaires, I could provide life-saving vaccination for tens of thousands of desperately poor children? Even if we grant that taxation is aggression, and that aggression is generally wrong, is it really so obvious that the relatively minor aggression involved in these examples is wrong, given the tremendous benefit it produces?"

Man, I just can't go there with you. It's only a successful reductio if it actually reduces to absurdity. I don't think it's absurd not to use a gun and highway robbery to pay for the kids' vaccines. I just can't save kids' lives that way.

I've always liked the parable of the Good Samaritan because the Good Samaritan reaches into his own wallet at the end to pay the innkeeper for the mugging victim's care. If he picked the hypocritical Law Expert or Priest's pocket to pay for the mugging victim, it would rob him of his moral ascendency. Snort: What if the mugging victim is lying bleeding because someone robbed him to help someone? Okay, Matt's not calling for a mugging, just a small tax on billionaires. But what if they don't pay? Impose a fine. And they refuse to pay that? We put them in a cage, right? Poor Wesley Snipes.

Okay we, don't have to go that far. What if we just took the money to pay for the vaccines, but left Wesley in his mansion. No need to be ugly about it. This is about the kids, not punishing Wesley. I just still can't do it. If you've got a good cause and you really believe in it, you don't need to take from people. Just do something about it. Be the change you want to see in the world. Don't steal the change you want to redistribute to the world. Once we take just a little for such an obviously good cause, how much more little can we take for everyone else's bright idea? Even if the cause isn't so obviously good to you? Maybe we can figure out which ones are good by taking a majority vote on it. Now you have TARP. And EPA. And FDA. And Fast and Furious. et al. I know, slippery slope. But damn, isn't it though?


As for Matt's point on the "all-or-nothing attitude toward risk" imposed by NAP, I agree that NAP is insufficient here. I don't know that this is a necessary imposition of NAP, but I think it sure shows its rigidity and limits. I'll say it: I think we need a "thick libertarianism." This also goes for Matt's point on NAP and property theory.


Regarding Matt's final point on children and libertarianism, I'm not familiar with where Rothbard takes it, but if he's seriously saying it's okay for a parent to withhold food from their child because that is not a positive, aggressive act (like clubbing the child's head), I'm definitely not with Rothbard. That's nuts! I'd say the answer to this problem is Stefan Molyneux.

Molyneux would argue that a child's relationship with their parent is not voluntary. I would agree. They didn't choose to be there and they don't have any practical way to leave if they want to. So it's up to the parent to feed the child, or else the parent is committing aggression. In fact, the parent's obligations go even farther in Molyneux's view and mine. If a parent raises their voice at the child, who is not living in their house voluntary and cannot leave, the parent is aggressing. If I yell at you, which causes psychic trauma, you can just hang up the phone or walk away. Unfriend me, whatever. So there is no aggression as the relationship is voluntary. But, if a parent does so, the child has no such recourse.

The only way to be a truly non-violent parent to your child, who exists and is under your custody through no voluntary choice of their own, is to go to the greatest lengths to be incredibly, incredibly good and patient and gentle and generous to your child. If you can't do that, don't have a kid. If you can't do that and choose to have a kid anyway, don't call yourself a libertarian.

Thanks for the article, Matt. Here's Matt's last word:

'There’s more to be said about each of these, of course. Libertarians haven’t written much about the issue of pollution. But they have been aware of the problem about fraud at least since James Child published his justly famous article in Ethics on the subject in 1994, and both Bryan Caplan and Stephan Kinsella have tried (unsatisfactorily, to my mind) to address it. Similarly, Roderick Long has some characteristically thoughtful and intelligent things to say about the issue of children and positive rights.

Libertarians are ingenious folk. And I have no doubt that, given sufficient time, they can think up a host of ways to tweak, tinker, and contextualize the NAP in a way that makes some progress in dealing with the problems I have raised in this essay. But there comes a point where adding another layer of epicycles to one’s theory seems no longer to be the best way to proceed. There comes a point where what you need is not another refinement to the definition of “aggression” but a radical paradigm shift in which we put aside the idea that non-aggression is the sole, immovable center of the moral universe. Libertarianism needs its own Copernican Revolution.'

Fist bump to Craig Schlesinger for passing this along to me.

5 Other Biblical Definitions of Marriage

Friends, I'm really not trying to bash Biblical Christianity here. I'm really not. I do struggle though, with how this collection of books doesn't merely document, but approves of and even requires some kinds of marriage that make little sense to me, seem unfair and preposterous and barbaric to me, make far less sense than the homosexuality that the same collection of writings so strongly disapproves of. Here's a great post I read recently that makes the point well at a blog called Post Traumatic God Disorder.

Incidentally, reading the About Me section on the blog, my heart goes out this individual. Radical paradigm and worldview shifts are incredibly uncomfortable to say the least.

Earthships: 21st century self-sufficient homesteads

"Imagine living in a home that costs you nothing to heat or cool. Imagine building this home yourself. Imagine growing your own vegetables year-round in this home. Imagine no utility bills. Imagine easily available, limitless natural [and salvaged] resources to build this home..."

Expect to start hearing more survivalists (like this one) talk about earthships. These are just way too cool. I want one:

Jeff Berwick Cut Off By CBC Radio Host When He Starts Discussing The True Nature of Fiat Money

This is classic. Jeff Berwick, of the Dollar Vigilante, is cut off by a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio host when he starts revealing the true nature of fiat currency to the show's listeners.

The show is also a good look at how the mainstream media and its audiences are perceiving and grappling with alternative crypto-currencies like Bitcoin.

NB: they don't understand it and find it really scary. Boo!

Listen here.

In Soviet Amerika...

Give me a gun and I can rob a bank. Give me a bank and I can rob the whole world.

One Atheist Libertarian and One Mormon Libertarian Discuss Liberty: Penn Jillette on Glenn Beck's Show [Video]

This is the third Glenn Beck show I've watched in a few days, and I've got to say I'm having trouble with why any libertarian doesn't like what's going on here. Penn Jillette, as always, is one of the best advocates of libertarianism and atheism I've ever heard speak. His approach is so imminently reasonable and so gentle.



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Rappers Closer to Rand Paul Than Barack Obama on Drug War Policy

Weekly Standard reported yesterday that a loooong list of rappers, celebrities, and community leaders have penned an open letter to President Obama asking for drug and prison policy reform.

Meanwhile, Republican Senator Rand Paul is getting applause breaks at a mostly-Democratic historically black college for supporting just such reforms.

Real question is, how are Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg not on this list?

Who rocks harder?

Drug policy open letter signatory P. Diddy?

Or two men with a serious stake in libertized drug policy?

Rand Paul Speaks at Howard University

Senator Rand Paul's speech at the historically black college was pretty good, but not great.

Watching the speech (full video at C-SPAN and full text below), I certainly think Paul did a great job talking about drug policy in a sensible way. He even got an applause break or two for his statements on drug policy. This was my favorite part of the speech (other than the Q&A, perhaps, which I liked better than a lot of the speech):

'I am working with Democratic senators to make sure that kids who make bad decisions such as non-violent possession of drugs are not imprisoned for lengthy sentences.

I am working to make sure that first time offenders are put into counseling and not imprisoned with hardened criminals.

We should not take away anyone’s future over one mistake.

Let me tell you the tale of two young men. Both of them made mistakes. Both of them were said to have used illegal drugs.

One of them was white and from a privileged background. He had important friends, and an important father and an important grandfather. You know, the kind of family who university’s name dorms after.

The family had more money than they could count. Drugs or no drugs, his family could buy justice if he needed it.

The other man also used illegal drugs, but he was of mixed race and from a single parent household, with little money. He didn’t have important friends or a wealthy father.

Now, you might think I’m about to tell you a story about racism in America, where the rich white kid gets off and the black kid goes to jail.

It could well be, and often is, but that is not this story. In this story, both young men were extraordinarily lucky. Both young men were not caught. They weren’t imprisoned.

Instead, they both went on to become Presidents of the United States.

Barack Obama and George Bush were lucky. The law could have put both of them away for their entire young adulthood. Neither one would have been employable, much less president.

Some argue with evidence that our drug laws are biased-that they are the new Jim Crow.

But to simply be against them for that reason misses a larger point. They are unfair to EVERYONE, largely because of the one size fits all federal mandatory sentences.'


The overall thesis of Paul's speech was that the Republican Party of the past had fought for black Americans, elected many of the first black Americans to several offices, and that black Americans originally embraced the GOP heavily. His argument was that the GOP that had appealed so strongly to black Americans in the past, has never really changed. It's the same party. It lost so many black voters in the years following the Great Depression when the Democrats offered tangible benefits, but Republicans offered policies that they believed would help everyone more, just in a less tangible way, through the operation of the free market.

I felt like the speech was awfully heavy on the Republican Party of old and its warm relationship with black voters, and too light on defending the idea that it's still the party that has these voters' best interests in mind. I would have liked to see more discussion about policy today in the last decade, and less about the good days of yore. They already know that history. They need to hear the nuts and bolts of policy that libertarian and conservative ideas offer to improve their lives now. I would have liked to see Paul take on the Obama Administration more directly on a basis of policy and economic theory. I just didn't feel terribly convinced, and seriously doubt the audience of Democrats was either.

Still, it was a good start. Hearing a Republican talk about a more sane foreign policy and drug policy can't be a bad thing for these students, whose image of the Republican Party is shot through with Mitt freaking Romney, John McCain, and George W. Bush.


Full Text of Rand Paul's Speech at Howard University

I’d like to thank President Ribeau, the Howard University faculty, and students for having me today.

Some people have asked if I’m nervous about speaking at Howard. They say “You know, some of the students and faculty may be Democrats…”

My response is that my trip will be a success if the Hilltop will simply print that a Republican came to Howard but he came in peace.

My wife Kelley asked me last week do you ever have doubts about trying to advance a message for an entire country?

The truth is, sometimes. When I do have doubts, I think of a line from T.S. Eliot, “how should I presume to spit out all the butt ends of my days and ways, and how should I presume.”

And when I think of how political enemies often twist and distort my positions, I think again of Eliot’s words: “when I am pinned and wriggling on the wall, how should I presume?

And here I am today at Howard, a historically black college. Here I am, a guy who once presumed to discuss a section of the Civil Rights Act.

Some have said that I’m either brave or crazy to be here today. I’ve never been one to watch the world go by without participating. I wake up each day hoping to make a difference.

I take to heart the words of Toni Morrison of Howard University, who wrote: “If there is a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

I can recite books that have been written, or I can plunge into the arena and stumble and maybe fall but at least I will have tried.

What I am about is a philosophy that leaves YOU—to fill in the blanks.

I come to Howard today, not to preach, or prescribe some special formula for you but to say I want a government that leaves you alone, that encourages you to write the book that becomes your unique future.

You are more important than any political party, more important than any partisan pleadings.

The most important thing you will do is yet to be seen. For me, I found my important thing to do when I learned to do surgery on the eye, when I learned to restore a person’s vision.

I found what was important when I met and married my wife.

Although I am an eye surgeon, first and foremost, I find myself as part of the debate over how to heal our sick economy and get people back to work.

I truly believe that we can have an economy that creates millions of jobs again but we will have to rethink our arguments and try to rise above empty partisan rhetoric.

My hope is that you will hear me out, that you will see me for who I am, not the caricature sometimes presented by political opponents.

If you hear me out, I believe you’ll discover that what motivates me more than any other issue is the defense of everyone’s rights.

Of strong importance to me is the defense of minority rights, not just racial minorities, but ideological and religious minorities.

If our government does not protect the rights of minorities, then democratic majorities could simply legislate away our freedoms.

The bill of rights and the civil war amendments protect us against the possibility of an oppressive federal or state government.

The fact that we are a Constitutional Republic means that certain inalienable rights are protected even from democratic majorities.

No Republican questions or disputes civil rights. I have never waivered in my support for civil rights or the civil rights act.

The dispute, if there is one, has always been about how much of the remedy should come under federal or state or private purview.

What gets lost is that the Republican Party has always been the party of civil rights and voting rights.

Because Republicans believe that the federal government is limited in its function-some have concluded that Republicans are somehow inherently insensitive to minority rights.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Republicans do, indeed, still believe many rights remain with the people and states respectively.

When some people hear that, they tune us out and say: he’s just using code words for the state’s right to discriminate, for the state’s right to segregate and abuse.

But that’s simply not true.

Many Republicans do believe that decentralization of power is the best policy, that government is more efficient, more just, and more personal when it is smaller and more local.

But Republicans also realize that there are occasions of such egregious injustice that require federal involvement, and that is precisely what the 14th amendment and the Civil Rights Act were intended to do-protect citizens from state and local tyranny.

The fourteenth amendment says, “No state shall . . .” The fourteenth amendment did change the constitution to give a role for the federal government in protecting citizenship and voting regardless of race.

I did not live through segregation nor did I experience it first-hand. I did grow up in the South in public schools comprised of white, black, and Latino students largely all getting along with each other.

So, perhaps some will say that I can never understand. But I don’t think you had to be there to have been affected by our nation’s history of racial strife.

The tragedy of segregation and Jim Crow in the South is compounded when you realize that integration began in New England in the 1840’s and 1850’s.

In 1841, Frederick Douglas was pulled from the white car on the Eastern Railroad, clutching his seat so tightly that he was thrown from the train with its remnants still tightly in his hands.

But, within a few years public transportation was integrated in the northeast.

It is a stain on our history that integration didn’t occur until more than 100 years later in the South. That in the 1960’s we were still fighting to integrate public transportation and schools is and was an embarrassment.

The story of emancipation, voting rights and citizenship, from Fredrick Douglas until the modern civil rights era, is in fact the history of the Republican Party.

How did the party that elected the first black US Senator, the party that elected the first 20 African American Congressmen become a party that now loses 95% of the black vote?

How did the Republican Party, the party of the great Emancipator, lose the trust and faith of an entire race?

From the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, for a century, most black Americans voted Republican. How did we lose that vote?

To understand how Republicans lost the African American vote, we must first understand how we won the African American vote.

In Kentucky, the history of black voting rights is inseparable from the Republican Party. Virtually all African Americans became Republicans.

Democrats in Louisville were led by Courier-Journal editor Henry Watterson and were implacably opposed to blacks voting.

Watterson wrote that his opposition to blacks voting was “founded upon a conviction that their habits of life and general condition disqualify them from the judicious exercise of suffrage.”

In George Wright’s “Life Behind the Veil,” he writes of Republican General John Palmer standing before tens of thousands of slaves on July 4th, 1865, when slavery still existed in Kentucky, and declaring: “my countrymen, you are free, and while I command, the military forces of the United States will defend your right to freedom.” The crowd erupted in cheers.

Meanwhile, Kentucky’s Democrat-controlled legislature voted against the 13th, the 14th, and the 15th amendments.

William Warley was a black Republican in Louisville. He was born toward the end of the nineteenth century.

He was a founder of Louisville’s NAACP but he is most famous for fighting and overturning the notorious Louisville segregated housing ordinance.

Warley bought a house in the white section in defiance of a city segregation law. The case, Buchanan v. Warley, was finally decided in 1917 and the Supreme Court held unanimously that Kentucky law could not forbid the sale of a house based on race.

The Republican Party’s history is rich and chock full of emancipation and black history.

Republicans still prize the sense of justice that MLK spoke of when he said that “an unjust law is any law the majority enforces on a minority but does not make binding upon itself.”

Republicans have never stopped believing that minorities, whether they derive from the color of their skin or shade of their ideology should warrant equal protection.

Everyone knows of the sit-ins in Greensboro and Nashville but few people remember the sit-it in the Alexandria public library in 1938.

Samuel Tucker, a lawyer and graduate of Howard University, recruited five young African American men to go to the public library and select a book and sit and read until they were forcibly removed.

Tucker’s sit-in set the stage for students who organized the sit-in at Woolworth’s in Greensboro that brought down Jim Crow in many areas, years before the civil rights act of 1964.

I think our retelling of the civil rights era does not give enough credit to the heroism of civil disobedience.

You may say, oh that’s all well and good but that was a long time ago what have you done for me lately?

I think what happened during the Great Depression was that African Americans understood that Republicans championed citizenship and voting rights but they became impatient for economic emancipation.

African Americans languished below white Americans in every measure of economic success and the Depression was especially harsh for those at the lowest rung of poverty.

The Democrats promised equalizing outcomes through unlimited federal assistance while Republicans offered something that seemed less tangible-the promise of equalizing opportunity through free markets.

Now, Republicans face a daunting task. Several generations of black voters have never voted Republican and are not very open to even considering the option.

Democrats still promise unlimited federal assistance and Republicans promise free markets, low taxes, and less regulations that we believe will create more jobs.

The Democrat promise is tangible and puts food on the table, but too often doesn’t lead to jobs or meaningful success.

The Republican promise is for policies that create economic growth. Republicans believe lower taxes, less regulation, balanced budgets, a solvent Social Security and Medicare will stimulate economic growth.

Republicans point to the Reagan years when the economy grew at nearly 7% and millions upon millions of jobs were created.

Today, after four years of the current policies, one in six Americans live in poverty, more than at any other time in the past several decades.

In fact, the poor have grown poorer in the past four years. Black unemployment is at 14%, nearly twice the national average. This is unacceptable.

Using taxes to punish the rich, in reality, punishes everyone because we are all interconnected. High taxes and excessive regulation and massive debt are not working.

The economy has been growing at less than 1% and actually contracted in the fourth quarter.

I would argue that the objective evidence shows that big government is not a friend to African Americans.

Big government relies on the Federal Reserve, our central bank, to print money out of thin air. Printing money out of thin air leads to higher prices.

When the price of gas rises to $4 per gallon, it is a direct result of our nation’s debt. When food prices rise, it is a direct result of the $50,000 we borrow each second. Inflation hurts everyone, particularly the poor.

If you are struggling to get ahead, if you have school loans and personal debt, you should choose a political party that wants to leave more money in the private sector so you will get a job when the time comes.

Some Republicans, let’s call them the moss-covered variety, mistake war for defense. They forget that Reagan argued for Peace through strength, not War through strength.

The old guard argues for arms for Ghaddafi and then the following year for boots on the ground to defeat Ghaddafi.

I want you to know that all Republicans do not clamor for war, that many Republicans believe in a strong national defense that serves to preserve the Peace.

In Louisville, in the predominantly African American west end of town, it was recently announced that 18 schools are failing. The graduation rate is 40%.

The head of Kentucky’s education called it academic genocide. Johns Hopkins researchers call these schools dropout factories.

I defy anyone to watch Waiting for Superman and honestly argue against school choice.

A minister friend of mine in the West End calls school choice the civil rights issue of the day. He’s absolutely right.

By the sixth grade, Ronald Holasie was failing most of his classes, but through school choice he was able to attend a Catholic school in the DC area.

There he learned that he had a natural gift for composing music, but before that, his reading level was so low that he had struggled to write lyrics. Ronald then went on to matriculate at Barry University.

There are countless examples of the benefits of school choice – where kids who couldn’t even read have turned their lives completely around.

Maybe it’s about time we all reassess blind allegiance to ideas that are failing our children.

Every child in every neighborhood, of every color, class and background, deserves a school that will help them succeed.

Those of you assembled today are American success stories. You will make it and do great things.

In every neighborhood, white, black or brown, there are kids who are not succeeding because they messed up.

They had kids before they were married, or before they were old enough to support them, or they got hooked on drugs, or they simply left school.

Republicans are often miscast as uncaring or condemning of kids who make bad choices. I, for one, plan to change that.

I am working with Democratic senators to make sure that kids who make bad decisions such as non-violent possession of drugs are not imprisoned for lengthy sentences.

I am working to make sure that first time offenders are put into counseling and not imprisoned with hardened criminals.

We should not take away anyone’s future over one mistake.

Let me tell you the tale of two young men. Both of them made mistakes. Both of them were said to have used illegal drugs.

One of them was white and from a privileged background. He had important friends, and an important father and an important grandfather. You know, the kind of family who university’s name dorms after.

The family had more money than they could count. Drugs or no drugs, his family could buy justice if he needed it.

The other man also used illegal drugs, but he was of mixed race and from a single parent household, with little money. He didn’t have important friends or a wealthy father.

Now, you might think I’m about to tell you a story about racism in America, where the rich white kid gets off and the black kid goes to jail.

It could well be, and often is, but that is not this story. In this story, both young men were extraordinarily lucky. Both young men were not caught. They weren’t imprisoned.

Instead, they both went on to become Presidents of the United States.

Barack Obama and George Bush were lucky. The law could have put both of them away for their entire young adulthood. Neither one would have been employable, much less president.

Some argue with evidence that our drug laws are biased-that they are the new Jim Crow.

But to simply be against them for that reason misses a larger point. They are unfair to EVERYONE, largely because of the one size fits all federal mandatory sentences.

Our federal mandatory minimum sentences are simply heavy handed and arbitrary. They can affect anyone at any time, though they disproportionately affect those without the means to fight them.

We should stand and loudly proclaim enough is enough. We should not have laws that ruin the lives of young men and women who have committed no violence.

That’s why I have introduced a bill to repeal federal mandatory minimum sentences. We should not have drug laws or a court system that disproportionately punishes the black community.

The history of African-American repression in this country rose from government-sanctioned racism.

Jim Crow laws were a product of bigoted state and local governments.

Big and oppressive government has long been the enemy of freedom, something black Americans know all too well.

We must always embrace individual liberty and enforce the constitutional rights of all Americans-rich and poor, immigrant and native, black and white.

Such freedom is essential in achieving any longstanding health and prosperity.

As Toni Morrison said, write your own story. Challenge mainstream thought.

I hope that some of you will be open to the Republican message that favors choice in education, a less aggressive foreign policy, more compassion regarding non-violent crime and encourages opportunity in employment.

And when the time is right, I hope that African Americans will again look to the party of emancipation, civil liberty, and individual freedom.

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