Friday, September 30, 2011

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I've been angry for several years.  I knew the politics in Washington and in my home state and even in my city had gotten out of hand.  I knew that these politicians had decided they were above the law - above me.  They would consistently do whatever they wanted, and tell me it was for my own good.  I thought about what I could do to make a change.  Send emails?  Listen to well educated speakers?  Donate to anti-authoritarian candidates?

I realized that if I was ever going to be able to help change things, I would have to know things.  Not just listen to others who know.  I would have to find out for myself - about economics, about liberty, about government, and about the Constitution and our Founders.  I would need to know about the things they knew about.  Why did they write the Constitution, and what influenced them?  Where did their thoughts on liberty come from?

So I set about building a library.  It's still a work in progress, but I figured I would share.  You may want to read some of these books yourself.

  • The Theory of Money and Credit, Ludwig von Mises
  • Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, Ludwig von Mises, Bettina Bien Greaves
  • Economics in One Lesson, Henry Hazlitt
  • The Case Against the Fed, Murray N. Rothbard
  • End The Fed, Ron Paul
  • Pillars of Prosperity, Ron Paul
  • How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes, Peter D. Schiff, Andrew J. Schiff
  • The Misbehavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Financial Turbulence, Benoit Mandelbrot, Richard L. Hudson
Liberty and the development of a Republic:
  • THE RIGHTS OF WAR AND PEACE: Including the Law of Nature and of Nations, Hugo Grotius
  • The Law of Nations, Emer de Vattel
  • The Whole Duty Of Man, According To The Law Of Nature (Natural Law Paper), Samuel Pufendorf
  • The Bastiat Collection, Claude Frédéric Bastiat
  • Common Sense, The Rights of Man and Other Essential Writings, Thomas Paine
  • The Original Constitution: What it Actually Said and Meant, Robert G. Natelson
  • The People's Guide to the US Constitution, Dave Kluge
  • The Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, Founding Fathers & others
  • The Federalist Papers, Founding Fathers & others
  • The Anti-Federalist Papers, Founding Fathers & others
  • Conceived in Liberty, Murray N.Rothbard
  • The Ethics of Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard
  • Free to Choose: A Personal Statement, Milton & Rose Friedman
  • What Social Classes Owe to Each Other, William Graham Sumner
Transition towards statism:
  • From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State, David T. Beito
  • The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, Thomas DiLorenzo
  • New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America, Burton W. Jr. Folsom
  • The Roosevelt Myth, John T. Flynn, Ralph Raico
  • The Road to Serfdom, F. A. Hayek, Bruce Caldwell
  • The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy, Thomas Sowell
  • Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights, Ezra Levant
  • Lost Rights, James Bovard
  • The Revolution: A Manifesto, Ron Paul
  • The Tea Party Goes to Washington, Rand Paul
  • The Politics of Freedom: Taking on The Left, The Right and Threats to Our Liberties, David Boaz
  • For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Murray N. Rothbard
  • Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom, Ron Paul
  • The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America, Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch
  • The LIBERTARIAN READER: Classic & Contemporary Writings from Lao-Tzu to Milton Friedman
War and Foreign Policy:
  • War is a Racket, Smedley D. Butler
  • As We Go Marching, John T. Flynn
  • Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War, Andrew Bacevich
  • Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, Michael Scheuer
  • Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq, Michael Scheuer
  • Osama Bin Laden, Michael Scheuer
  • Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, Robert Pape
  • Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, Chalmers Johnson
  • The Sorrows of Empire, Chalmers Johnson
  • Nemesis, Chalmers Johnson
  • Dismantling the Empire, Chalmers Johnson
  • We Who Dared to Say No to War: American Antiwar Writing from 1812 to Now, Murray Polner, Thomas E. Woods Jr.
I bought my books through Amazon and Mises Store, but some of them are available for free as PDFs.  Check with the Mises Institute to see.

It's not all bad news!

In what I consider the best news I have heard in 10 years, a federal judge has struck down two provisions of the USA PATRIOT ACT as unconstitutional!  The judge recognized that the act illegally circumvented the probable cause requirements of the Fourth Amendment. 
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The Federal government, since 2001, has been asserting that it needs no warrants, needs no probable cause, needs essentially, only an accusation against anyone - anyone at all - in order to surveil them, to snoop through their phone or bank records, to order companies to disclose sensitive information about their clients, and even to listen to their calls or rifle through their offices. This ruling is so important in the struggle to contain authoritarian government that we all should take a moment to celebrate.

Assassination of Americans

No one should be happy that Anwar al-Awlaki is dead.  He's an American citizen who was assassinated for exercising his right to Freedom of Speech.  One might even say he was exercising it in the most important way possible - advocating for violence against what he saw as a tyrannous government.  If the US government can assassinate its citizens for speaking out against it, how long before every one of us is afraid to do so?

Notable countries that imprisoned or executed their citizens for speaking against them:
  • Germany under Hitler
  • Spain under Franco
  • Italy under Mussolini
  • USSR
  • China
  • North Korea
  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • Iraq under Saddam
  • Egypt under Mubarek
  • Lybia under Gadaffi
  • Saudi Arabia
Are we proud to be added to this list of fine, upstanding governments?  Washington under Obama has now done away with due process, one of the most fundamental protections of our Constitution.  Just one more feather in the cap for the President, who appears to have made it his personal mission to trample our civil liberties.  Where are the protestors who urged the impeachment of Bush and Cheney for the very things they stand silent on when they are committed by Obama?  Your hypocrisy does not go unnoticed, but it may well end up dooming this country. 

Authoritarian governments don't always come into power overnight - often it is by degree.  That is what we've been seeing for the last decade. They grab power incrementally, often by stirring up fear and hysteria and using those heightened emotions to whip the citizenry into a nationalist frenzy. This is used to divert the attention of the people away from domestic policy and towards foreign enemies, usually manfuactured threats.  If they can't do it with war, they will do it with nature
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
- H.L. Menken
What's the point of my story?  Simply this - you are being manipulated by your government.  You are being pointed towards imaginary enemies and coaxed into letting go of your liberties.  It's happening under the guise of national security.  In other words, in order to protect you from the boogie man, they must take away all of these freedoms that protect you from the government.  Open your eyes.

Read my followup here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

One Step Forward...

Just a brief blurb too recognize and congratulate Saudi Arabia for taking another step towards a free, modern society.  Though they still don't allow women to drive, they can now vote!  Well done, it has been long in the coming.  Let's hope that this signals an era of enlightenment for the Kingdom, one in which the individual is raised up, and Liberty made the goal.


The original definition of blowback is those unintended consequences arising as fallout from clandestine operations undertaken by the CIA.  Contemporary writers often refer to blowback as the unintended consequences of all foreign militarism, from covert wars run by the CIA to open warfare such as the war in Afghanistan.

So why am I bringing up blowback tonight?  Well, it appears that after 10 years, the Pakistanis have finally had it with the US bombing villages inside their borders.  Yes, it was suspicious when Osama bin Laden was discovered hiding next door to a Pakistani military compound, but now the US is officially accusing Pakistan - specifically Pakistan's intelligence agency the ISI - of complicity in the bombing of the US embassy in Kabul.  If that isn't enough for you, now the intellectually and morally bankrupt Senator Lindsay Graham is calling for the US to "put all options on the table" in dealing with Pakistan.  Apparently he wants us to engage in yet another war with yet another Muslim country, as if four simultaneous wars isn't enough. 

Is anyone else reminded of 1984?
Since about that time, war had been literally continuous, though strictly speaking it had not always been the same war ... At this moment, for example, in 1984 (if it was 1984), Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia ... Officially the change of partners had never happened. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.
So, now all of the mainstream media is brimming with news of the evidence of Pakistan's betrayal, support of terrorism, and general evilness.  We won't be reminded that Pakistan has been our ally for decades - no, like Winston we will be fed articles that are designed to inflame us against them.  The politicians and their black PR artists, the newspapermen will continue to treat us all as mindless gullible sheep, and why not?  They have carefully cultivated, in the minds of the American people, that Muslims are evil, Muslims hate Americans, Muslims hate freedom, Muslims hate women, etc, etc.  It's the "morning hate," to quote Orwell again, only for us it's been pretty much non-stop for at least 10 years.  Don't believe me?  Turn on the boob-tube and watch our very own born-again McCarthy execute his inquisition on American Muslims as he attempts to track down "home-grown terrorism."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I am a Libertarian

A while back I realized that I am a Libertarian.  Libertarianism, or Classical Liberalism, essentially means that the individual is senior to the state.  It means that all rights belong to individuals - not groups, not governments.  It means that as an individual, my life, my liberty, and my property are sacrosanct.  It means that these Natural Rights can't be taken away or lain aside.  It means that my Rights are limited only if they interfere with the Rights of other individuals.  It means that Vices are Not Crimes.  It means you don't initiate force against others.  It means you abide by contracts.  It means you don't steal.  It means that government power must be used only to protect the individual from the use of force or fraud by others.  It also means that you have the same Rights that I do, and so does each and every individual on this Earth.  Not just Americans, not just allied countries - everyone.

The basis of Libertarian philosophy is well known to all people, really.  You learn it when you are a child - don't hit other kids, don't take their stuff, and keep your promises.  This is fundamentally sound and universally recognized precisely because it stems from Natural Rights that we all know without being taught. Authoritarian societies arise from the un-teaching of this fundamental truth - they teach that it's fair to confiscate property from some individuals and give it to others.  They teach that it is right to start a war "for the greater good."  They teach that it is just to break contracts if it is against "a greedy business."  The more authoritarian, the greater the re-education.  Communism, for example, is based in the idea that no one owns that which he produces - it is complete confiscation of property.  In Britain they floated the idea of having paychecks delivered straight to the state, from which the state would distribute "just" income to the people.  In China they initiate force against their own people when they think too much about Natural Rights.  Even here in the US, there is a violent distrust of anyone successful - a belief that success can only come from cheating. 

Forget about the left and the right - in reality there is Libertarianism and Authoritarianism.  If you embrace liberty you are libertarian, if you don't you are authoritarian.  Note what I did there - the words libertarian and authoritarian are being used not as nouns, now, but as adjectives.  It's a distinction you should keep in mind while you think on the subject.  Libertarian the noun, or libertarian the adjective.  In other words, your leanings.  You may not lean as far as I do - but if you think about it you probably do lean libertarian.  Shake off the yoke of the media brainwashing and you will see clearly.

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