David & Goliath – Mideast Edition

If you listen to Scott Horton discuss the mess in Yemen last Friday, his site was down so the podcast feed just popped back up this morning, you hear rhymes of Malcolm Gladwell’s David & Goliath all throughout it.

In his great book, much like all of his writings, Gladwell recounts these great stories of actual human beings, “defying” the so-called David and Goliath meme.

Two of the great stories he recounts involve near misses after being bombed along with the State’s theory on punishment (for our purposes the State is referred to in the Rothbardian sense as a territorial monopoly with the power of taxation). Central to understanding the latter point, and how it relates to the former accounts of near misses, is understanding the view through which the State sees the world. At the heart of their punishment theory, is the report produced in 1970 by Leites and Wolf called Rebellion and Authority. As excerpted from David & Goliath:

Fundamental to our analysis is the assumption that the population, as individuals or groups behaves “rationally”, that it calculates costs and benefits to the extent that they can be related to different courses of action, and makes choices accordingly….Consequently, influencing popular behavior requires neither sympathy nor mysticism, but rather a better understanding of what costs and benefits the individual or the group is concerned with, and how they are calculated.

This “assessment” has been used by the State to justify just about every “intervention” since World War War II. While the State had been operating under the auspices of such beliefs, Leites and Wolf finally made it “official”. While we could pick any number of recent attacks, from the events in Paris last week, to 9/11 to general murders that occur in the US every day, in looking at those events, does it seem like the terrorists or murders doing the killing were acting rationally?  Is a suicide bomber rational? If you were to look up the word rational in the dictionary, here’s what you will find:

  1. Having reason or understanding.
  2. Relating to, based on, or agreeable to reason.

Do either of those definitions, regardless of how poor of a definition it is, fit the profile of a suicide bomber?  Good luck trying to reason with the guy who’s willing to blow up not only himself, but people he’s never met and that have never done anything to him.  Or how about this guy, a creep who shot a woman in the head and recounts “what he was thinking” when her killed the woman (which if you read the chapter in David and Goliath, which I recommend that you do, is the murder that started the 3 strikes rule in California) as excerpted again from David and Goliath:

I wasn’t really thinking much a nothing, you know.  When it happens, it happens, you know.  It just happened suddenly.  We were just out doing what we do.  I mean, that’s all I can tell you.

He continues on after being asked why he did it:

..he said that he already had the purse, so that wasn’t an issue.  But that he’d shot her, instead, because of the way was looking at him.  He shot her because he didn’t think she was taking him seriously, and wasn’t giving him any respect.

Again, does this sound like someone that “calculates the costs and benefits of his actions”.  Does it seem like the guys that murdered over 120 people in Paris, could simply be understood through the mechanism of “better understanding of what costs and benefits the individual or the group is concerned with”?  This naive view of the world, in looking at criminals through one lens, with “rational motivations” is beyond dangerous.  Look at all of the problems that this type of response has caused.  While both types are insane, thus not rational, the motivations of ISIS vs. your standard murderer are completely different, one group has an ideology, driven by foreign occupiers, the other, doesn’t like to be looked at in a particular way.  Both are wrong, but as Scott Horton reminds us on his show, “the action is in the reaction”.

Despite the State’s massive size, the very nature of the institution, it’s bureaucracy, and stupidity as it fills its halls not with a nation’s “best and brightest” but with those that actively seek to rule others and can follow direct orders, whether or not those orders made any sense to begin with.

To further add fuel to how out of touch with reality these people are, here’s a state department rep, as recent as February 2015, discussing the notion that Islamic State types join the head chopping lunatic group because of the lack of “jobs”.  In government speak, if you don’t have a job you’re magically transformed into a murder.  Got that!? Can’t you see the logic in all of this.  This whole farce, is simply a means to the interventionist end.  Much like with the disaster in Paris, all interventions create this reflexive, negative feedback loop that continues to increase the divide of one group of people against another.  Class warfare, rhyming with Marx, is used by the State to destroy liberty and to distract the sheep from the wolf lurking around the corner – the declining global economy.  This may seem like a bit of a digression, but stay with me.  I have already laid out the idea that the State is an incredibly slow, stupid entity.  Yet, it must follow that for it to gain legitimacy, the types of people that would “elect” such an entity must also be slow and stupid.  Where we can see this the most, are from two great 20th century writers – Orwell & Huxley.  In 1984, Orwell laid out what society looks like under complete totalitarianism underscoring the point that “what we hate will destroy us”.  While there are similarities that can be found in Huxley’s work,  A Brave New World, another futuristic dystopia accurately capturing the path that current America is on, the difference between the two works lies in the means to get there.  Huxley thought that what “we loved will destroy us”.  All of the distractions, the gadgets, the “news” people force-feed themselves and the perpetual repeats of Dancing with the Stars will all be used to divert attention from the things that do matter, death and taxes, to those that don’t – 24 hour entertainment.  As a result, State power will expand and individuality will be lost.  Haven’t we been humming this tune for more than a decade now?  Bringing this full circle, we have more and more technology and ways to satisfy our leisure time, as the disutility of labor always holds.  Yet, while the number of time wasting activities has never been greater, our liberties have never been lower.  With each terrorist attack, brought on by perpetual interventions in countries that don’t look or sound like westerners, liberties are simultaneously destroy.  Therefore, it looks to me like both Orwell and Huxley were right – the worst of all possible worlds.

Anarcho-Capitalism “In One Lesson”

As I managed to find some time this morning as the kiddos have taken their morning naps, please see my post on recapping the Paris events from Friday below.

Along with that, I thought it would be a great opportunity to repost my book review of Lew Rockwell’s “Against the State”. I wrote this last June right around the time the book actually came out. Many thanks to both Economic Policy Journal and Lewrockwell.com for running it back then.

“If you want a vision of the future, picture a boot stamping on a human face….forever” – George Orwell, 1984

If this quote didn’t immediately find itself permeating your brain while reading Lew Rockwell’s Against the State: An Anarcho-Capitalist Manifesto, I encourage you to re-read 1984. With that being said, we must make an edit to the quote – it’s not a vision of the future, it’s an unfortunate picture of the present. For too long, we’ve lived under the boot of the totalitarians, blindly accepting their depredations because “[it] didn’t happen to me”. Jefferson rightly notes, “that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

It’s clear that we need a revolution, not of violence but of words. The pen is truly mightier than the sword and the real checks and balances on perpetually expanding government across the world are not the Magna Cartas and the Constitutions, it’s books like Lews, ones that spread the reality and expose the State for what it truly is – a malevolent entity, hellbent on enriching itself at the expense of the rest of us.

Utilizing Hazlitt’s prose and Bastiats insights, Rockwell has taken the task not of confining logical rigor solely to economics but to a more esoteric, yet equally important topic of Anarcho-Capitalism. The book is short – not of content, as it packs a solid punch in the sub 200 page manifesto, but on pages, as the prose reads so cleanly and the topics so well illuminated that when you’re finished, you’re surprised how little time has actually passed. Building upon the solid foundation of the likes of Rothbard with additional theoretical inputs from Spooner, Molinari and the great Hans Hoppe, Rockwell takes us on a memorable journey down a path that some have never discovered. He begins the narrative utilizing the structure of production, laying out his own personal journey to the Anarcho-Capitalist thought and ending on “How Would it Work” a practical application of the theoretical construct. With that being said, Lew reminds us of this throughout, this is NOT the theoretical foundation of the movement, For a New Liberty and the Ethics of Liberty are the groundwork, but this is a brilliant “Lesson” on why this movement is necessary and growing by providing real examples of how the current American regime is so tortuous and so disastrous for the world that there is only one survivable alternative – Anarcho-Capitalsim.

I don’t want to spoil the readers enjoyment of the material by simply offering a summary of the loaded content, but Lew effectively shows the path of the State’s destruction through the Central Bank and it’s disastrous consequences of unifying Big Business with Big Government and completely dismantles that which we can’t utter in polite society – facism. He doesn’t simply utilize pure conjecture much like so called “convention wisdom” but provides actual examples of State offensives and the “Stateless” alternative to such actions.

The truth always wins in the end – but it tends to take much longer than we expect. Spooner, Molinary, Mises and Rothbard didn’t live to see their ideas literally come to fruition; but they didn’t have the Internet and the massive rapidity to which great information can travel to the masses. They also didn’t have Lew’s book – let’s expedite the process of truth spreading and announce to the world, that liberty in our time is truly possible!

Je Suis Paris

Following on the coattails of all of the great writers this weekend, I have Eric Margolis in mind along with Lew Rockwell and all of the Tyler’s over at ZeroHedge, Paris is all the rage (literally). This is, of course, unless you’re an overprivileged college student in the United States, where micro aggressions against hyper-sensitive college kids circa 2015 are supposed to supplant literal aggressions against property and person in the form of bombings and mass shootings. If you’re grown up in the United States over the last 30 years, you’ve had a front row seat to the degenerative effects of LBJ’s great grand-kids. It would be nearly impossible to summarize all of the content that has come out since Friday afternoon when news hit in the states of the horrific attacks in Paris. However, there are some key takeaways that are absolutely essential to understanding that, despite the perpetual want of politicians, history did not start yesterday.

From Eric Margolis:

“The modern reincarnation of the assassins struck Paris on Friday night. Alarmingly, one or more may have entered Europe as a Syrian refugee. Rightists in Europe are already calling for internment camps for Muslims, though they had nothing whatsoever to do with IS’s teenage lunatics. In fact, IS has put Muslims everywhere in peril as well as besmirching the name of Islam. Europe may seize the Paris attacks as an excuse to bar any further refugees”

Regarding IS members posing as Syrian refugees, here’s ZeroHedge:

“The most surprising story line emerging from the Paris attack to date is the story of a Syrian passport “found” near the body of one of the assailants. While we will shorly report an odd development that, according to French police, the passport may have been fake and thus planted to make it seem like the terrorist was Syrian, moments ago the Serbian Interior Ministry said that the passport holder had passed through Serbia last month where he sought asylum, the Serbian Interior Ministry said. “One of the suspected terrorists, A.A., who is of interest to the French security agencies, was registered on the Presevo border crossing on October 7 this year, where he formally sought asylum,” the ministry said in a statement Reuters reported. The full name of the perp has been since revealed to be Ahmed Almuhamed.”

As more and more details emerge on what exactly happened on the horrific Friday the 13th, Paris had their 9/11 moment. There are many, many tragedies coming out of this, which involves the loss of human life, which can never, regardless of how anyone, person or state, respond, be replaced. Second, for those survivors, liberty is most certainly reduced. As with any attack, we cannot rule out the possibilities of a false flag as “passports” of “refugees” continue to pop up near terrorists. The French paper, Liberation, accurately captured the skeptics’ view regarding passports fully intact after blowing themselves up.

At the end of the day, there are a lot of moving parts here, all of which have resulted in the deaths of innocent people trying to enjoy themselves on a Friday night. As with all government action, Rahm Emmanual, speaking on behalf of all statists, summed it up best “never waste a good crisis”. This event, both at home and abroad, will be used to reduce liberty, while “doubling down” on interventions in the middle east, which are, in fact, the genesis of the problem.

I leave you with the following video, from the heroic Ron Paul, summing this all up nicely back in 2007, while enraging the despicable Rudy Guillani – reality is truly stranger than fiction.

The Wonderful Wisdom of Hans-Hermann Hoppe

I have failed you, dear reader, on creating enough content to make every day interesting. So with this, I am “recommitting my commitment” to you to produce something of intelligence every day, thus providing you with some sort of benefit that you would not otherwise have enjoyed. This is elitist in the best sense of the word.

Existence, as summed by Hoppe in the first paragraph of the first chapter of his book Democracy – The God That Failed:

“In acting, an actor invariably aims to substitute a more satisfactory for a less satisfactory sate of affairs and thus demonstrates a preference for more rather than fewer goods. Moreover, he invariably considers when in the future his goals will be reached, i.e., the time necessary to accomplish them, as well as a good’s duration of serviceability. Thus, he also demonstrates a universal preference for earlier over later goods, and for more over less durable ones. This is the phenomenon of time preference.”

Given that I have read this book at least three times at this point, this week will be Hoppe week to kick of the flurry of daily content. I won’t systematically reprint the book in its entirety, but there are so many great pieces of content that it has certainly crossed my mind. The importance of not only his writing, but quotes such as the one above, cannot be stressed enough.

Welcome

In crafting this site, I wanted to strike a balance between quality and quantity. The genesis of this labor of love was the sheer lack of intellectual curiosity from the majority of people I’ve encountered over time.

One thing that will be abundantly clear from day one, is my affinity for the following:

Austrian Economics

Libertarianism

Primal Living

Contrarian (with a calculator) Investing

This is the lens through which I view the entire world.