LRC Blog

Navy SEAL or Hired Killer?

Navy SEALS are in trouble again. This time for

Stabbing a defenseless teenage captive to death.
Picking off a school-age girl and an old man from a sniper’s roost.
Indiscriminately spraying neighborhoods with rockets and machine-gun fire.

All in Iraq. In 2017. Gee, I thought the war in Iraq was over. There is talk that some SEALS committed war crimes. They all committed war crimes. The war in Iraq was one giant crime. Navy SEALS are hired killers. They may be elite troops, but they are elite hired killers.

6:56 am on April 24, 2019

Towards A Libertarian Theory of Abortion

Dear B:

Thanks for your kind words.

I don’t think that having sexual intercourse logically implies an invitation to a baby, to keep him inside your body for 9 months. At the time of coitus, there is no invitee; he doesn’t come into existence until some time after ejaculation…

I’ve written a lot about this. See below.

Best regards,

Walter

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5:21 pm on April 23, 2019

Pompeo Finally Tells The Truth: ‘We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal’

12:34 pm on April 23, 2019

Is There a Right to Vote?

In the mind of Bernie Sanders, everyone in America has a right to vote. He includes felons behind bars. At the same time, as a socialist he does not believe that everyone has a right to their property. His beliefs mean that Sanders places power above freedom.

Sanders says there is an “inherent American right to participate in our democracy.” Is this true?

Each of the 50 states decides who gets to vote. This is written into the U.S. Constitution. The states confer voting opportunities as they see fit. Voting systems, qualifications and restrictions are all products of politics. They are not inherent in a person. They are not even inherent in being a citizen.

Sanders, as a democratic socialist, believes that voting legitimizes the annulment or curtailment of property rights. For him, voting “rights” are superior to property rights. But voting is an act of POWER, not an act of voluntary exchange of a person. When voting occurs, there is the hope that one’s side will win; but there is also the fact that one’s side may lose. Voluntary exchanges are win-win situations. Voting is not. Sanders believes that the political means of power take precedence over the voluntary or freely-constructed means of exchange.

How can a good society ever be attained by building up a state-made “right” to vote and placing it ahead of natural rights of free exchange? In the classical liberal view, the state has a limited role in protecting property rights. Elevating the role of voting as superior to property rights is a political philosophy subversive to property rights.

9:09 am on April 23, 2019

Attempted Crimes and Libertarian Theory

(read from the bottom up)

Dear S:

I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I don’t see a good analogy between your  “Speech with which I don’t agree is violence” argument and the claim that attempted physical violence against a person doesn’t constitute a threat to his neighbors.

I’ll bet you live in a relatively safe neighborhood, or, at least, as safe as you can afford. Why? You fear violence in unsafe areas.

While we’re on the subject of attempts, let me mention the famous Milgram experiment, the one where the “teachers” were told to administer electric shocks to the “learner” for giving a wrong answer to difficult questions. The shocks were faked. But the teachers didn’t know this. No one was hurt. Are the “teachers” still culpable? I say yes, they were guilty of in effect attempted assault and battery.

Best regards,

Walter

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1:44 am on April 23, 2019

How Did Senior Intelligence Officials Get Russiagate as Wrong as the Media?

No longer controlling personal bias, which is why the “intelligence” agencies themselves should retire into the sunset.

8:21 pm on April 22, 2019

Some Lowlights from the Post-Mueller Media Meltdown

Funniest debate is between Joe diGenova and the factually challenged Krystal Ball (2:09):

Here is more of what led up to diGenova-Ball:

8:09 pm on April 22, 2019

Joe Concha: Mainstream Media Hoping 2020 Election Makes Public Forget About Trump-Russia Hoax

The only way to salvage what’s left of their credibility.

7:54 pm on April 22, 2019

New Republican Party

Herman Cain, a man who’d give gold money a fair shake, stepped down as a FED candidate. This is really a shame, and it has nothing to do with his qualifications.

The RINO Republicans caused this.

Nigel Farage has just successfully started a new party in England, the BREXIT party.

It’s time for Trump to start a New Republican party and get creeps like Mitt Romney relegated to a rump party. Maybe it should be the People’s Republican party or the People’s Constitution Party, but whatever name is chosen, there is a clear need to break the Democrat-(old) Republican hold.

6:22 pm on April 22, 2019

Joe Biden Pulling Ahead A Bit

The nomination is Joe Biden’s to lose at this time. He’s in the lead.

Sanders is running second, but he carries the losing socialist label as baggage.

So far, Predictit has been helpful in identifying the long tail of other losers. O’Rourke fell back quite a few weeks back. So did Warren. Harris remained in contention for awhile, but now she’s slipping. Buttigieg is now in 3rd place. He got the usual announcement jump.

The losers all jump somewhat when they announce. They soon cave in because they have to say something. But they have nothing to say. As soon as they start to make positions and answer questions, they start to fall back. They have nothing constructive to say, only tired interventions.

They’re out of touch with the American middle. It should be relatively easy to articulate a winning middle-of-the-road set of positions, but these losers haven’t done it. They’re not politically savvy. They’re not being creative. They’re about as tired as was Hillary Clinton. Not that Joe Biden is any more creative!

12:16 pm on April 22, 2019

Lenin’s Earth Day

Today is “earth day,” first established by the watermelon movement (green on the outside, red on the inside) on Lenin’s 100th birthday.  This pinpoints what has always been the main purpose of “environmentalism”:  to destroy capitalism and economic freedom and replace it with another totalitarian communist hell under the guise of “saving the planet” (but the hell with human beings).

Is there any doubt that if Lenin were alive today he would be giving full-throated support for the “Green New Deal”?  He would also probably be pulling down Bill Clinton-caliber speaking fees at “prestigious” American universities and perhaps even awarded the Al Gore, Jr. Endowed Professorship in Environmentalism at Vanderbilt University.

8:05 am on April 22, 2019

The Leftist Takeover of FOX News?

So the Murdoch kids take over the helm at FOX News, and the first thing they do is to hire Donna Brazile, the Hillary Clinton liar/deceiver/political hack who admitted to giving Clinton debate questions in advance when she was employed as a Democratic Party propagandist by CNN (the job description of everyone at CNN).  Then they gave Comrade Bernie Sanders an hour of air time for a “town hall” stacked/rigged with socialists who cheered the old communist’s bloviations about medical care socialism.  Conservative FOX News fans say they were shut out of the “town hall” audience.  They also gave hard-hitting conservative Judge Jeanine Pirro a good two-week spanking (figuratively speaking) for daring to say something mildly politically incorrect on her show that might have upset the social justice cupcakes (who don’t even watch FOX).  Guests who dared to suggest that the Notre Dame fire might have been arson were shouted down and rudely cut off.

It looks to me like the writing is on the wall at FOX: The big financial rainmakers like Hannity and Tucker Carlson are probably safe for now, but many others who want to hang on to their big paychecks will have to toe the new line by trashing Trump as much as possible while praising such creepy D.C. establishment figures as Bob Mueller and his “legal team” of eighteen Hillary-worshipping/Trump-hating political shysters.  It will take a while, but it looks to me like the CNN-ification of FOX has begun.

Attention billionaire media entrepreneurs: There is a profit opportunity here in starting up a competing network.

7:51 am on April 22, 2019

Michael Tracey: Trump-Russia Myth Now An Unshakable Article of Progressive Religious Faith


One interesting tidbit: Jonathan Chait (NY mag), who viciously attacked both Ron and Rand Paul, wrote an absolutely crazed article (NY mag, July 2018) asserting that Trump had been an agent of Russia for decades (since 1987). Claims he’s now vindicated after Mueller report!

3:21 pm on April 21, 2019

Can Voting Be Justified Along Self-Defense Lines? Yes

Dear S:

In my view, voting can be justified along self-defense lines; here are some readings on this:

Pro: Block, 2012; Block and Fryzek, 2015; Rothbard, 1972A, 1972B; Spooner, 1870; con: McElroy, 2013; Watner, 2000

Block, Walter E. 2012. Yes to Ron Paul and Liberty. New York: Ishi Press; http://www.amazon.com/dp/4871873234;

http://libertycrier.com/education/walter-blocks-new-book-on-ron-paul/;

http://libertyunbound.com/node/862

Block, Walter and Nathan Fryzek. 2015. “Was It Immoral to Vote for Ron Paul? And other libertarian questions and answers.” November 26;  http://www.targetliberty.com/2015/11/was-it-immoral-to-vote-for-ron-paul.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TargetLiberty+%28Target+Liberty%29

Rothbard, Murray N. 1972A. “Should Libertarians Vote?”  Outlook, April, p. 6.

Rothbard, Murray N. 1972B. “Interview.” February 25;

https://mises.org/blog/voting-immoral; https://mises.org/library/new-banner-interview-murray-n-rothbard-0

Spooner, Lysander. 1966[1870]. No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority and A Letter to Thomas F. Bayard, Larkspur, Colorado: Rampart College; http://jim.com/treason.htm

McElroy, Wendy. 2013. “The Faux Slavery Analogy to Voting.” July 31;

http://dailyanarchist.com/2013/07/31/the-faux-slavery-analogy-to-voting/

criticizes Walter E. Block

Watner, Carl. 2000. “Is Voting an Act of Violence?” April, The Voluntaryist. No. 103

http://voluntaryist.com/articles/103.html#.VzDxM0n2Y5s

Vegetarian, anti https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63NNuG-6-hQ

Best regards,

Walter

(read from the bottom up)

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2:35 am on April 21, 2019

Immigration, Overpopulation, Libertarianism, Wages for the Poor

(read from the bottom up)

Why do I share correspondences like this on the LRC blog? I do so, because in so many things, I like to emulate my friend and mentor, Murray Rothbard. Murray had a voluminous correspondence. Pretty much anyone who wrote him a non-impolite letter, would get a response from Murray. It is the same with me. Murray was unable to share this correspondence widely, given the technology under which he labored; I’ve got the advantage over him in that regard. However, it is my understanding that the Mises Institute will start published this correspondence. When this occurs, we will all be the better for it. Lookit, I’m not trying to compare myself with Murray, in any way other than we both write a published a lot. But he’s somewhere up there, looking down upon us, and, I think, cheering those of us on who are trying to bring honor to him, to promote liberty, as he has done. My thought is that if there is one person who was interested in my thoughts on Austro-libertarianism, there might well be others. Hence, these blogs.

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2:38 am on April 20, 2019

Those Calling for Trump Impeachment

The anti-Trump forces are divided upon impeaching Trump. Important voices like Pelosi are currently against it because the Senate would not convict. But they aim to have their cake and eat it too by trying Trump by fake publicity that keeps up criticism of him. Their latest line is to say that even if he’s not guilty of obstruction, he’s not an “acceptable” leader. He doesn’t walk on water like Democratic presidents and candidates. He doesn’t uphold the values of democracy. Seldom has so much hypocrisy gushed forth from the lips of politicians. After all, Hillary Clinton got a complete pass.

Some of those who want to impeach follow, not a complete list:

Elizabeth Warren
Ocasio-Cortez
Rashida Tlaib
Ilhan Omar
Al Green
Maxine Waters
Rob Reiner
Rosie O’Donnell
Alyssa Milano
The Democracy Integrity Project (George Soros funded), led by Daniel J. Jones, former Diane Feinstein staffer.
Yoni Appelbaum (Senior editor, The Atlantic)
Jeffrey Toobin (CNN)
George Conway
Beto O’Rourke
Julian Castro
Steve Cohen (D-TN)
Andrew Gillum
Petition (with 1.44 million names)
Andrew Sullivan (New York Intelligencer)
Mehdi Hasan (The Intercept)
Jon Favreau
Susan Hennessey (Lawfare)
Jamelle Bouie (New York Times)
Jonathan Capehart MSNBC, Washington Post
Robert De Niro
David Brooks, New York Times

There are also those who support impeachment in so many words but do not come right out and say so:
James Clapper
Pete Buttigieg
Mitt Romney
Jerrold Nadler
Kamala Harris
Eric Holder
Adam Schiff

8:02 pm on April 19, 2019

Costs of Clinical Trials for the FDA Are Substantial

From: C
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2018 9:41 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Publication correspondence

Dr. Block,

I am an instructor at the University of XYZ. I teach our ethics and law class on health care (the school doesn’t know that they’ve let a libertarian teach about health care). I am working on writing up some lecture content regarding the costs of health care and came across your published work on the economics of pharmaceuticals:

Romanach, John and Walter E. Block. 2017. “Medical Economics: End the FDA.” The Winners; Binus University Journal. Vol 18, No 1, pp. 43-48;

http://journal.binus.ac.id/index.php/winners/issue/view/222/showToc; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21512/tw.v18i1.4052

http://journal.binus.ac.id/index.php/winners/issue/view/222/showToc

I noted this statement, “Studies indicate that the need to conduct these various stages of clinical trials adds almost 40% to the cost of R&D for a new drug. Such a dramatic increase in the cost to supply drugs will undoubtedly raise the price paid by consumers.” Could you possibly point me in the direction of these studies?

Thank you for your assistance, C

Fidem – Caritas – Fortitudo

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2:39 pm on April 19, 2019

Glenn Greenwald: One-Sided Media Bubble Fed Trump-Russia Hoax

And now of course a new bubble is being created, details of course from Glenn.

1:40 pm on April 19, 2019

Trump Didn’t Obstruct, But Nadler Continues War on Trump

For weeks now, anti-Trump forces like Nadler have rallied around the Mueller report. Their attacks are 100 percent political. Impeachment talk is all political. The 2020 election is only 19 months away. The idea is to impair and smear Trump.

The media continue to attack Trump constantly. The goal is to swing voters against him by making him appear as some sort of criminal and monster. The attackers want Trump on the defensive. Trump has no choice but to attack the attackers vigorously and incisively. He knows how.

Mueller’s report is long. Those who say it provides a roadmap to impeachment shouldn’t be believed. To show this in full can’t be done in a single blog. Only one example is provided here. The report reads (p. 272)

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10:42 am on April 19, 2019

Do We Really Want Three Billion Immigrants, Even If None of Them Are Criminals? No. Not I.

From: M

Sent: Friday, March 08, 2019 6:15 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Re: Open Borders and Strict Libertarian Theory

Dr. Block,

Pete, Pierre, and Pedro contract with an airline (outside the lines on a map known as the continental united States) for a trip from THAT airport to an airport in Anywhere, Continental united States. [note that the SAME thing is possible by automobile, bus, railroad, and ship — or some combination thereof.] They arrive at Anywhere airport, deplane, grab a sandwich, and exit. On the curb they hail a taxi or an uber or a bus or have a friend/acquaintance/party pick them up (contracting accordingly) … they drive to a hotel where they (again) contract with the proprietor for a room. The next day, they again hail a taxi or an uber or a bus or have a friend/acquaintance/party pick them up (contracting accordingly) and travel to a business. At the business, they contract with the owner and execute said contract accordingly. Where did *any* of these gentlemen enter/attempt to enter anyone’s property without permission? Sincerely, M

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2:01 am on April 19, 2019

Mueller Exonerates Trump, But ‘Russiagate’ Will Not Die

12:34 pm on April 18, 2019

Shocking News: Unionization Leads to Job Loss

I couldn’t stop laughing after reading this article, in addition to the comments on the Detroit Free Press Facebook page.

Report: Ann Arbor coffee shop chain to close after baristas unionize

A chain of four coffee shops in Ann Arbor is expected to close and lay off its newly unionized baristas, according to a news report by WXYZ-TV.

Baristas at Mighty Good Coffee say they expected to negotiate a contract with the company after they formed the Washtenaw Area Coffee Workers Association in October after a former employee accused the chain of racial discrimination. Instead, they received a notice a week ago about the layoffs and closures, according to WXYZ.

The non-unionized coffee roasting side of the business will continue to operate, however.

 

 

8:30 am on April 18, 2019

Speculation

Speculation is not evidence. It is, however, a way of beginning to ask questions regarding the unknown. If a man is found murdered in Seattle, the police will start their investigation by asking his wife, business associates, or neighbors about their possible connections to the crime. Does this mean that such persons are being accused of the murder? No. It means that the police believe they are more likely to find relevant evidence by asking questions of those close to the victim than by asking a homeless person in Keokuk, Iowa, of his whereabouts. I am wearing a sweat shirt that bears the message “cui bono.” One versed in the Italian language will translate this as “who benefited?” It was the question asked by officials in ancient Rome if an important person was found murdered; it was a starting point in the investigation. I am weary of those who think they are saying something important when they condemn others for “conspiracy theories.” I had a colleague who once challenged me on this point by asking: “do you think 9/11 was a conspiracy?” I replied: “it would appear that someone conspired with others to carry out this terrible act. What do you think, and how would you find out?”

My late friend, Chris Tame, once told me: “I am not interested in conspiracy theories; I am interested in the facts of conspiracies.” Attacks on those who speculate are made in order to intimidate people into not asking questions they are not supposed to ask.

5:07 pm on April 17, 2019

Imperial Presidency Wins Again: Trump’s Veto Continues Yemen War

1:16 pm on April 17, 2019

Golf vs War and Politics

When Trump announced he would award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Tiger Woods, I loved the fact that it pissed off a lot of folks. I’m watching commentators – including libertarians – get all boo-hoo over this thing, as if a statist medal is something to worship and glorify.

Since this medal exists, why give it to military occupiers, politicians, presidents, and socialists? Why not give it to an icon of American culture, and a guy who stuck it out amidst all of the hate, criticism, health impairments, and attacks from the media and armchair golf commentators? Yeah, he screwed up, but he got back on his stick and he made himself and his game right again. Golf needs Tiger, and so golf is basking in this hard-fought comeback and effort from one of its greatest ambassadors.

We keep hearing how “classy” Obama was, and how he has been followed by Trump the Neanderthal. This is the part of Trump that I relish – not giving a damn about rules, (statist) etiquette, or obligatory pomp. Everything he does to demystify and debase the Emperor’s office is all to the good.

7:54 am on April 17, 2019

Era of Empathy Overkill

All of the Facebook-type, virtue-signaling empathizers need to read this commentary on empathy.

Empathy does indeed have a very dark side, especially in an era of social media overkill. Quote from the article: “Empathy is a riddle,” Breithaupt says. While it can enrich our lives, Breithaupt says our ability to identify with others’ feelings can also fuel polarization, spark violence and motivate dysfunctional behavior in relationships…”

Breithaupt directs an Experimental Human Studies lab at Indiana University. He notes how empathy is self-serving, with the empathizer benefitting the most from the empathetic action. He also pointed to the concept of vampiristic empathy, wherein “people want to manipulate the people they empathize with so that they can, through them, experience the world in such a way that they really enjoy it.” This quote from the article also stands out a bit:

For example, if you want the victims to say ‘thank you.’ You may even want to keep the people you help in that position of inferior victim because it can sustain your feeling of being a hero.

This fits in perfectly with the folks on Facebook who, when a critical event occurs (mass shooting or other horrible event creating innocent victims), they are the first to the front of the empathy line, exclaiming their virtue and unselfishness, and shouting their empathy, caring, and humanity from the rooftops. And they hammer away at it on Facebook to garner cheers from the chorus for this behavior.

One point not discussed in this edited interview is how the hyper-empathizers – the hero wannabes on that dark side – collectively band together on social media to condemn and shame individuals who have the ‘appearance’ of not having “enough” empathy. We’re called “crazy,” “mean,” “horrible,” yada, yada. When in fact it is they who are philosophically unhinged.

Thus, every time I see folks chiding others about their “lack of empathy” or “feelings” on social media, my red light immediately clicks on. I’ll watch their anger rise in concert with any and all challenges to their so-called empathy. There’s always been something very wrong about this, in my mind, and this article provides some very good reflections on the abuse and overkill of empathy.

7:41 am on April 17, 2019

Dave Portnoy on the Legal Lynching of Robert Kraft

“Sex trafficking! Sex trafficking! Ooops. Never mind.” Another bogus prosecution goes up in flames. So where does Kraft now go to get his reputation back?

9:05 pm on April 16, 2019

Nolan Finley: No Evidence of More Hate Crimes Since Trump Elected

People are much more likely to be attacked for wearing a MAGA hat than for just being a minority.

9:00 pm on April 16, 2019

Mike Rowe: Admissions Gaming Only One Part of the Higher-Ed Scam

Debt slavery, guidance counselors steering every high-school grad to a bachelor’s degree, and obsession with credentials but not real education are a few of the others.

8:48 pm on April 16, 2019

Trump Reducing Fascism, Democrats Increasing Fascism and Socialism

Just to keep things straight, we can go back to Ayn Rand’s very useful distinction between fascism and socialism, which is that in the context of both being highly statist philosophies, there is no difference. Both are against individual property rights. However, she pointed out this difference. The socialists advocate collective (state) ownership and control of property, while the fascists allow the retention of titular (de jure) individual ownership but decimate property rights through state control (de facto).

In these terms, Trump is reducing the fascism in American government by his deregulation efforts (ceteris paribus). See here for a summary.

Meanwhile, all the Democrat candidates for the 2020 nomination have endorsed major socialist measures that will, if enacted, result in increases in collective state ownership. The very same measures also increase state control in areas where they do not cause state ownership. Thus, the Democrats can be accused of desiring both greater fascism and greater socialism.

Democrats champion the post-modern version of a “mixed economy”, namely, one that implements statist measures from both statist philosophies, fascism and socialism. Republicans are the “me-too” party, Trump being a maverick whom they would cast off if they could.

3:23 pm on April 16, 2019