LRC Blog

The Smartest Thing that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Ever Said

It may in fact be the only smart thing that socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has ever said. In a recent interview, AOC said that she would not mind if a sitting president smoked marijuana. “I’m glad that we’re moving toward a more just position as a party and that we’re moving to legalize marijuana — but not just legalize marijuana, but to really make up for the damages done by the war on drugs and the people that were unjustly incarcerated by the war on drugs,” she also said.

9:37 pm on February 17, 2019

Chicago Police: Jussie Smollett Paid Two Men to Orchestrate “Racist, Anti-Gay” Assault on Him


Fake hate crime narrative finally comes to an unofficial end as the rope for the noose put around Jussie’s neck was traced to an Ace Hardware store in Chicago where the Osundairo brothers (Jussie’s “assailants”) purchased it.  Now watch the story get memory holed in the national media in 5…4…3…2…1….

The other aspect of this story is that it shows just how bad an actor Smollett is.  You get badly beaten up and don’t call 911 immediately but keep talking to your boss instead?  You enter your apartment building right after the beating and walk right by a security desk without reporting the attack?

8:12 pm on February 16, 2019

Why is George Soros Panicking?

Billionaire meddler George Soros had a panic attack this past week, putting pen to paper to warn of a “USSR-like” collapse of the EU if political forces opposed to turning the EU into an actual USSR prevail in European Parliament elections set for May. Soros is furious that Brussels is not cracking down on recalcitrant states like Hungary and he fears that “anti-European” forces are set for big gains in the vote. What’s the problem? Writes Soros:

…the outdated party system that prevails in most European countries, the practical impossibility of treaty change, and the lack of legal tools for disciplining member states that violate the principles on which the European Union was founded. The EU can impose the acquis communautaire (the body of European Union law) on applicant countries, but lacks sufficient capacity to enforce member states’ compliance.

In other words, European countries dare to act like sovereign states rather than be subsumed completely into then non-elected bureaucracy that Soros has invested so heavily in.

Over at LifeSite News, Stephen Kokx offers a good write-up of Soros’ recent frustrations after his years of obsessive meddling in Europe and the US seem to be unraveling. I offered a few comments on Hungary and Soros which Stephen has used in a piece that I highly recommend to interested readers.

11:40 am on February 16, 2019

Controlling Ideas

Let the Internet burning begin.

Facebook Inc., under pressure to reduce harmful, misleading and fake content, said it is exploring removing anti-vaccine information from software systems that recommend other things to read on its social network.

Information discouraging people from getting vaccines for their children, which has gone viral on Facebook, especially in its Groups product, may have contributed to an increase in outbreaks of measles. The crisis drew attention on Thursday from Representative Adam Schiff, who sent a letter to Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and Google boss Sundar Pichai, asking them to address the problem.

In response, Facebook said it is “exploring additional measures to best combat the problem,” according to a statement from the company.

Now who determines what “the problem” is? “The problem” is anything outside of the sphere of official propaganda that may influence individuals to not follow the prescribed protocols.

6:50 am on February 16, 2019

The Minimum Wage Law Helps The Unskilled? No

From: D
Sent: Sun 5/22/2016 8:10 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Minimum Wage

Hello Dr. Block.

It was a pleasure to meet you in person and to shake the hand of the hand that shook hands with Murray.

There is also a video of your leap over the minimum wage barrier from your presentation on my Read Rothbard YouTube channel:  https://youtu.be/XekCVIUmBiM

Q. – Supporters of the minimum wage argue that it will put more money into the hands of more people, thus giving a boost to the local economy that more than offsets the “modest” price increases that would result.  What is your favorite way to take this argument apart? Cordially, D

Dear D: Your argument assumes the minimum wage “will put more money into the hands of more people.” Not so, not so. Suppose we raise the minimum wage to $100 per hour. You think that the people now making, oh, $10 per hour will be paid $100? No. They will all be fired. Such a minimum wage “will put LESS money into the hands of more people.” Well, very temporarily, a very, very few people might actually get that $100. But it will only be for a short time, if at all.

Here is a bibliography of the minimum wage:

(more…)

3:08 am on February 16, 2019

Drug Price Soars $0 to $375,000–NBC Ignores Role of FDA Regulation

A treatment for LEMS, Amifampridine, a.k.a., 3,4-DAP, soars in price from $0 to $375,000. NBC News (of course) ignores the role of FDA regulation of Big Pharma.

9:28 pm on February 15, 2019

Social Policy: Should It Incentivize Family Formation Or Population Replacement?

Peter Szijjarto defends Hungary’s choice.

9:17 pm on February 15, 2019

Public-Private Partnerships Amounts To Economic Fascism: A Critique of PERC

This article appeared in an issue of the War Street Journal: Regan, Shawn. 2016. “National Parks: Lost in the wilds of neglect.” April 25; http://www.wsj.com/articles/national-parks-lost-in-the-wilds-of-neglect-1461531553

Shawn Regan is listed as a “Research Fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) in Bozeman, Montana.”

I have long been a critic of PERC (see below). I have castigated it as a Milton Friedman-type outfit, more concerned with being an efficiency expert for the state rather than an advocate of private property rights and free enterprise.

Mr. Regan’s recent effort is, unhappily, par for that particular course. I searched in vain for the word “privatization.” Surely, this would be the libertarian, free enterprise solution to the problems faced by U.S. National Parks. But, no. All we get is suggestions for making the socialist, centrally planned National Parks more efficient. One approximation to privatization was this statement of his: “Tap the private economy to tackle infrastructure challenges and park operations. Lawmakers should look to public-private partnerships to shore up park infrastructure.”

But we have a word for “public-private partnerships.” It is fascism. The last thing that can be supported by libertarians are “public-private partnerships.” Rather, the goal should be full privatization. Under economic fascism, there is a veneer of private property rights. But the government pretty much controls the entire economy, but like under socialism. Stuka, BMW, Volkswagon, etc., were “private” firms under Hitler’s Nazi regime. But the government controlled them pretty much totally. Under PPP, which is the dog and which is the tail? To ask this is to answer it.

To be fair to PERC’s Regan, there is also this suggestion of his: “Create a franchising system for new national parks. Congress should establish a procedure whereby new parks could be owned and managed by private entities under standards and rules established by the Park Service.”  But why only “new parks?” Surely, the free market position is that ALL parks be privatized. And, even for these new ones, our PERC spokesman offers, only, what is called “contracting out”: the evil state apparatus, responsible for the horrors he very adequately describes in the first place, would still have overall responsibility for these vast resources they have so mismanaged. It would merely hire private firms to do its bidding. This is hardly a ringing endorsement for private property rights and free enterprise.

For my past critiques of PERC, continue reading (Stroup and Baden have been associated with this group):

(more…)

12:07 pm on February 15, 2019

Fearmongering Keeps People Stupid

This story may seem more amusing than interesting, except there is a reason for it.

A person at the Home Depot heard what they claimed was a man making a bomb threat in the store.

“We just had a customer here made what may have been a bomb threat,” said the caller. “He said, uh, somebody told me there’s a bomb in here and you need to leave the building. He said it three times,” the person told 911.

Police were sent to the store, in Wichita, where they discovered what really happened.

The “bomb threat” came from a man in a bathroom stall warning other about what was about to happen. “You all need to get out of here because I’m fixin’ to blow it up.”

We’re sure everyone had a good laugh after the incident.

Americans have been trained to become safety-begging, obeying, snitching, always-afraid fools. These are the same people who call police because they see a child walking to the playground alone.

7:48 am on February 15, 2019

The Hate Hoaxes Just Keep Piling Up

It appears that another politically-charged, victimology ploy is being unraveled as a sham. This time, there are criminal implications. For those not aware, Jussie Smollett, an actor on the show “Empire”, went through great lengths to make it appear as if he were a victim of a hate crime committed by folks “wearing MAGA hats.”

Police have said the 36-year-old actor was walking home from a Subway restaurant in Streeterville around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29, when two men attacked him near his apartment. Smollett told police his attackers yelled racist and homophobic slurs, put a noose around his neck, and doused him with a chemical sources said appears to have been bleach.

But still, people hear what they want to hear, and they’ve already heard it and closed their ears. Social media is on fire with rage over “another black, gay man being attacked.” Left-wing news sources in the MSM are not covering the facts or investigative reporting in this case. They did their job and reported out the flashy, sound-bite headlines that sucked in the masses and set them off on a prescribed path of blame-Trump outrage.

 

 

 

7:36 am on February 15, 2019

Is Homosexuality Incompatible With Libertarianism? Of Course Not.

From: O
Sent: Monday, May 16, 2016 2:02 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Libertarianism and libertinism

Dear Professor Block,

I just read your (now rather old!) article ‘Libertarianism and libertinism’, which I fully agree with, but have a question about. You said ‘This means that I abhor homosexuality, … and other such degenerate behaviour’. Most criticisms of homosexuality resort to religious teachings, and you have described yourself as a devout atheist, so do you have a rational argument for why homosexuality is unethical? I too find it disgusting, but I have been unable to convince myself of its immorality, and I think such ethical questions are quite interesting.

Block, Walter E. 1994. “Libertarianism and Libertinism,” The Journal of Libertarian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 117-128;

http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/11_1/11_1_7.pdf;

https://mises.org/library/libertarianism-and-libertinism

Kind regards, O

(more…)

2:39 am on February 15, 2019

A Family Connection

Mr. Mark Lautman has given me permission to share the following letter he sent to me:

When I started reading Rothbard’s book, I gave the three-line summary to my wife. “It’s a book written by Murray Rothbard in the 1950s about libertarian economics. It’s published by the Mises Institute. Rothbard was a disciple of an Austrian economist Mises.”

“Mises?” she asked. “Ludwig von Mises?”

“Yes. Do you know about him?”

“Do you know who Ludwig von Mises was? He was my grandfather’s cousin!”

Sure enough, Paul Lourie, my wife’s grandfather, mentions Ludwig von Mises in his memoirs!

11:19 pm on February 14, 2019

re: The Intolerant Left Hates Prosperity

Let me see if I can get this straight:  Amazon decides against bringing 25,000 – 40,000 new jobs to New York (with an average salary of $150,000 annually), and New York congresschild Sandy Ocasio (as those who grew up and went to school with her in ritzy, wealthy, Westchester County know her) celebrates it as a great victory for “the people” of New York.

The Amazon site would have been adjacent to Congresschild Ocasio’s district, and 70% of New Yorkers were in favor of it according to the latest poll.  One news report said that a major bone of contention was city politicians’ fierce opposition to Amazon’s role in cooperating with ICE in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Amazon executives must be very, very disappointed at missing out on an opportunity to move to a state where you can legally murder your baby during the act of birth, live in a tax hell, and have Chuck Schumer as your senator.

6:17 pm on February 14, 2019

You Will Have an Income Tax Exemption for Life . . .

. . . if you are a Hungarian woman raising four or more children.  The European Left is hysterically “protesting,” naturally.  Meanwhile, back in the good ole U.S. of A. certain Democrats are proposing to allow the murder of newborn babies.  Next step: Allowing the murder of say, one-year-olds, if a woman decides she’s not into that mother thing after all.  It’s the sacred woman’s right to chooooose!

6:10 pm on February 14, 2019

Driverless Cars

From: N
Sent: Monday, May 02, 2016 8:47 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Driverless Cars

Dear Mr. Block,

The most recent the National Motorist Association newsletter was almost entirely devoted to the “problems” of driverless cars. “What happens when an accident occurs, who will be held liable? The occupant? The manufacturer? The software designer?” they inquire. They offer several opinions, but none seem correct to me.

I was hoping you might cut to the heart of this issue for me. Please keep up the good work, and consider email encryption!

Kind Regards,

N

(more…)

3:58 pm on February 14, 2019

The Intolerant Left Hates Prosperity

3:49 pm on February 14, 2019

Medium Is The Message: Ilhan Omar, Social Media, And Making News

With special guest, Jeff Deist:

12:28 pm on February 14, 2019

House Yemen Vote Today: What’s Pelosi’s Goal?

12:45 pm on February 13, 2019

A Libertarian Analysis of Intellectual Property

From: M
Sent: Sunday, May 01, 2016 9:39 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Intellectual Property: Reading List Requested

Hello Dr. Block,

I hope you are doing well as the school year comes to an end.

On a more selfish note, what works do you recommend for one struggling with the idea of intellectual property (IP)? I have listened to the debate series between you/Edelstein and Robert Wenzel, as well as other short audio essays from Mises.org, but have yet to be able to form a strong opinion on the matter. Is Stephan Kinsella’s Against IP the most authoritative work in this area, or do you recommend others?

Thank you in advance. M

Dear M:

I am a BIG fan of my friend Stephan Kinsella on IP, and on pretty much everything else as well. Here is my biblio on IP:

(more…)

12:11 pm on February 13, 2019

Zero Evidence of Trump-Russia Conspiracy – What Now?

I am on RT’s Watching the Hawks discussing the unraveling of the kookiest conspiracy theory of our times. But what of the damage it has done to our society?

10:28 am on February 13, 2019

A Libertarian Analysis of Farting

From: A
Sent: Monday, May 02, 2016 1:40 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: The political philosophy of farting

Dear Walter,

I just thought of a new question (which is serious): does farting violate the NAP? 

1. Inter-property case: 

Suppose there are two adjacent pieces of land. X homesteads one piece and, a few years later, Y homesteads another. Both of them fart once a day, and the gas spreads to the other piece of land. Does this violate the other person’s property rights? Or, in light of what Rothbard said about an airport having homesteaded the right to emit a certain level of noise before other people start building houses around it, does A have the right to fart, since he homesteaded the right to transmit a certain amount of gas over to the other piece of land before B arrived?

2. Intra-property case:

Suppose two people are in an elevator, or an aircraft. One of them farts. Does this violate the NAP? Of course it should depend on the person who owns the property (could be a third person), but if no rule has been stated and agreed upon beforehand, how should this be dealt with?

Thanks a lot! A

(more…)

1:50 am on February 13, 2019

Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment on the Increase

At the nation’s military academies. The DOD recently released its “Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies.” According to the following analysis, neither men nor women are safe at the military academies:

Instances of unwanted sexual contact, including rape, attempted rape, and other nonconsensual intimate physical contact, also increased from 12.2 percent in 2016 to 15.8 percent. The specific data showed those increases were for women at the U.S. Military Academy and Air Force Academy, while increases for men were at the Military Academy.

10:12 pm on February 12, 2019

The Heroic Paul Gottfried

Will present a “no holds barred” attack on the liberal internationalism that is the driving force for perpetual war tomorrow, noon to 1:30 P.M. in D.C.  Details are included in the link.

6:56 pm on February 12, 2019

Re: Pirates

From: A
Sent: Sunday, March 13, 2016 10:42 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Re: Pirates

Dear Walter,

What do you think of pirates? Can someone just homestead a piece of water that is now owned by government, or unowned, and then charge ships that try to cross it? Of course most pirates in reality don’t conform to the proper practice because they haven’t put up a sign specifying the rules and fees, etc. but can there be some good, libertarian “pirates”?

Thanks a lot!

A

Dear A: As far as I’m concerned, the world’s leading expert on pirates is Peter Leeson. I’m gonna run this by him for his opinion. Here’s my take on your interesting and important question: Why call the owners of bodies of water “pirates.” This seems a big pejorative to me. Why not call them, merely, “private owners?” Private owners of railroads charge a fee for usage. Private owners of roads, if there were any, would, presumably, do the same. So yes, private owners of oceans would indeed likely charge for their usage (unless they were loss leaders). So, who, likely, would the private owners be? Presumably, thousands if not tens of thousands of people, most likely in the form of a large corporation. Who would own the Mississippi River? In my view, all the people with land abutting this body of water, all those using it for recreation, transportation, as a water source, etc. The same for the oceans.

For further elaboration on this matter, I’ve written a bit about this sort of thing:

(more…)

3:25 pm on February 12, 2019

From Berlin To Baghdad, Trump Foreign Policy In Tatters

12:27 pm on February 12, 2019

A Libertarian Question on Voting

From X:

You are a slave and your owner lets you vote between master A who beats you thrice a week, master B who beats you twice a week, and Master C who beats you once a week. If you vote for master B or A are you aiding and abetting that master in assaulting yourself and the other slaves?

If you are then the only libertarian compatible vote is a vote for yourself or for someone with the exact same views as you, since voting for anyone else, no matter how virtuous they may be, would be aiding and abetting them in commuting what you view as immoral.

If voting for A or B is a violation of the NAP then voting for Ron Paul is too, since you could have voted for someone better, yourself.

Now if there is no write-in option I agree that voting for the lesser of two evils is okay.

Dear X:

Another good, challenging question. Thanks for placing me above Ron Paul as a libertarian. I don’t agree with that assessment, but, let’s stipulate, arguendo, that it is true. Then, yes, if I voted for that semi libertarian, Ron Paul, when I could have voted for myself, a purer libertarian, I’d be violating libertarian principle, but only if and only if I had as good a chance of winning as him. But, suppose, millions of people would vote for Ron, and a few dozen would vote for me, even though, I’m presumably a better libertarian than Dr. Paul. Then, a vote for me would be wasted, so I don’t see why it is all that problematic to vote for Congressman Paul.

12:00 pm on February 12, 2019

The Once Black-Faced Governor of Virginia Looks Like a Racial Saint . . .

. . . compared to this politician who advocated the deportation of all black people; announced that he favored a “superior position” in society for white people; argued for “the separation of the races” and the outlawing of inter-racial marriage; declared that the U.S. government was “for the white people” only; championed “black codes” that stripped black people of citizenship; opposed “making voters or jurors of Negroes”; wanted large sections of the U.S. reserved for white people only; and whose birthday is celebrated today, February 12, as a national holiday.

4:34 am on February 12, 2019

Questions and Answers Concerning Austrian Economics

J: I was watching  a debate with you (Walter) and Bryan Caplan when a question was raised about interpersonal comparisons of utility and efficiency. My question is, if we can’t compare utility between someone who benefits from a tariff and someone who is hurt by a tariff, how can we say that tariffs are inefficient?

WB: tariffs prevent voluntary trades that would otherwise take place. All voluntary trades are mutually beneficial in the ex ante sense. So, tariffs prevent wealth increases from taking place. In saying the foregoing, I have not violated the Austrian insight that  interpersonal comparisons of utility are invalid.

J: A common Austrian argument against anti-trust is that there is no way to tell whether the business owner or the customers involved gain or lose more utility.

WB: I’m not unfamiliar with that argument. A strong Austrian argument against anti trust is that the neo classicals claim there is dead weight loss. The monopolist does not produce a sufficient amount of the product. It would cost the monopolist less utility to do so than the benefits that would accrue to the buyers. But this is an interpersonal comparison of utility, and thus invalid.

J: It seems to me that Austrians are contradicting themselves, in one case we say X is inefficient but when we talk about Y we say it is impossible to calculate.

WB: not so, not so, for reasons given above

J: If we can’t say X is more efficient than Y then why study economics? We can’t say that business cycles are inefficient, we can’t say that minimum wage laws are inefficient, and we can’t say that free trade is efficient. We are simply destined for moral arguments on whether X or Y policy is moral because of the impossibility to calculate efficiency.

WB: Read this, please: Rothbard, Murray N. 1979. “Comment: The Myth of Efficiency”, in Mario J. Rizzo (ed.), Time, Uncertainty, and Disequilibrium, Lexington, MA: Lexington Books: pp. 91-96; https://mises.org/library/myth-efficiency

2:37 pm on February 11, 2019

Walter Jones – Hero Of Peace

12:28 pm on February 11, 2019

Burt Blumert: Hero

Today would have been the 90th birthday of Burt Blumert, one of the greatest personalities of the modern libertarian movement. Burt was the indispensable man behind the scenes and was a key figure in the Mises Institute, the Center for Libertarian Studies, and LewRockwell.com. He was one of Murray Rothbard’s closest friends; and when you met him, it was easy to see why Murray liked him. He was a genial and kind person and a source of wise counsel to all those fortunate to know him. Burt was the founder of Camino Coins and a principal figure in the hard money community. If you want to get a sense of what Burt was like, you have only to read his collection of humorous essays, Bagels, Barry Bonds, and Rotten Politicians (2008). It was a source of great pride and comfort to Burt in his final illness that he was able to see this book in print. Burt helped me with good advice when I most needed it, and I will always be grateful to him for his counsel and friendship

8:52 am on February 11, 2019