Liberty & Power: Group Blog
This new book, Markets Not Capitalism, edited by Gary Chartier and Charles W. Johnson is definitely worth checking it out. Contributors include Kevin A. Carson, Roderick Long, Charles W. Johnson, Joseph Stromberg, Brad Spangler, Shawn Wilbur, William Gillis, Joe Peacott, Jeremy Weiland, Mary Ruwart, and classics from Karl Hess, Roy A. Childs Jr., Benjamin Tucker, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, and Voltarine...
From the Washington Post, Oct. 7:
On Hermann Cain:
"He has committed some early missteps, saying he would not appoint a Muslim to his Cabinet and stumbling on questions about the Middle East and the war in Afghanistan. He has since said he is aggressively studying up on foreign policy and that he meant to say he would not appoint a “jihadist” to his Cabinet."
Right. As if the other candidates would. Cain is a smarmy, lying neocon.
A two-for-one Molinari/C4SS/ALL punch in Counterpunch today!
The Palestinians have been under brutal and degrading occupation since the 1967 Six-Day War, which they did not start. Their daily lives, when not punctuated by shootings, beatings, and bulldozing of homes and olive groves, are scarred by routine humiliation: military checkpoints, road blocks, arbitrary searches, unpredictable delays, and an inhumanely disruptive “security” wall. No one should have to live like that, yet two generations of Palestinians have been subjected to this cruelty. Some Palestinians, mostly in Gaza, have responded with attacks on Israeli civilians. However comprehensible, it is nonetheless vicious, criminal action.
Negotiations have produced no progress. In 1988 Palestinian leaders relinquished claim to 78 percent of historic Palestine, despite the 750,000 Arabs driven from their homes when Israel declared its independence in 1948. A UN gerrymandered plan to divide Palestine into Jewish and Palestinian Arab states was thwarted by the future Israeli leaders’ collusion with the king of Jordan to deprive the Palestinians of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, part of their assigned portion of the territory. Then in 1967 Israel wrested the West Bank from Jordan and Gaza from Egypt, and its brutal, grinding occupation began.
Why have negotiations gone nowhere?...
A picture like this could of course be made for libertarians too – showing libertarians with tax-funded educations walking on tax-funded streets, contacting each other via government postal monopoly, paying for their lunches with federally issued currency, etc.
Libertarians understand why that would be a silly argument against anti-government protestors. They really should understand why the parallel argument against anti-corporate protestors is equally silly.
When I introduced the concept of regime uncertainty in 1997, attempting to improve our understanding of the Great Depression’s extraordinary duration, I anticipated that many people—especially my fellow economists—would not welcome this contribution. Their primary objection, I ventured, would be that the concept remained too vague and, most of all, that it had not been reduced to a quantitative index of the sort that modern mainstream economists customarily work with, especially in their empirical macroeconomic analyses.
My argument did not lack evidence, however, and I regarded the agreement of several different forms of evidence as an important element of the argument’s force. The evidence I adduced with regard to changes in the yield spreads for high-grade corporate bonds of differing maturities seemed to me both systematic and especially compelling, though not decisive because alternative explanations of those changes might be offered. (I considered several such explanations and rejected them as unpersuasive in one way or another.) Recently, in my application of the concept of regime uncertainty to help us understand better the persistent economic troubles since 2007, I again advanced several different kinds of evidence, including as before an analysis of changes in the yield curves for high-grade corporate bonds. This time, too, the evidence is consistent with the underlying argument.
To Occupy Wall Street:
Wall Street couldn’t have done it alone. It takes a government and/or its central bank, the Federal Reserve System, to:
Create barriers to entry for the purpose of sheltering existing banks from competition and radical innovation, then "regulate" for the benefit of the privileged industry;
Issue artificially cheap, economy-distorting credit in order to, among other things, give banks incentives to make shaky but profitable mortgage loans (and also to grease the war machine through deficit spending);
Make it lucrative for banks—and their bonus-collecting executives—to bundle thousands of shaky mortgages into securities and other derivatives with the knowledge that government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and other companies, all subject to powerful congressmen looking for campaign contributions, would buy them after a government-licensed rating cartel scores them AAA;
Inflate an unsustainable housing bubble by the foregoing and other methods, enticing people to foolishly overinvest in real estate;
Work closely with lending companies to establish a variety of programs designed to lure people with few resources or bad credit into buying houses they couldn’t afford;
Attract workers to the home-construction bubble, setting them up for long-term unemployment when the bubble inevitably burst;
From A Man for All Seasons by Robert Boldt:
William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
Government power ultimately will be influenced and controlled by those whom the occupiers despise. So, protesters, rail against Wall Street. But rail, too, against its indispensable partner – government, with its unique legal power to wield aggressive force – and realize that the genuine antipode of the system you oppose is the freed market.
One of the worst violations of academic freedom in many years is now occurring at UW-Stout. See here.
Campus police, backed up by spineless administrators, tore door a poster from the door of Professor James Miller in the Department of Theater featuring a quotation from the popular series, "Firefly." In response, Miller put up another poster (shown above) with another quotation from the series. The police also tore it down.
Although Miller is getting full backing from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), he needs reinforcements. A chilling effect has already taken place among many UW-Stout faculty who, rather than showing support for Miller, are now removing anything "controversial" from their doors.
The best place to start, in my view, is to start calling each member of the Board of Regents of the UW System. Here are their numbers. You can also call , Paul Stauffacher , the chair of the Theater Department and urge him to back his colleague.
In my calls, I stressed that this incident had put a black mark on Wisconsin's reputation as a beacon for academic freedom. Phone calls are best. Start now!
The Cato Institute has released my Briefing Paper titled "Herbert Hoover: Father of the New Deal." I try to cover all the major evidence for Hoover's role as precursor to FDR and why connecting him with laissez-faire is simply wrong. Here's the Executive Summary:
Politicians and pundits portray Herbert Hoover as a defender of laissez faire governance whose dogmatic commitment to small government led him to stand by and do nothing while the economy collapsed in the wake of the stock market crash in 1929. In fact, Hoover had long been a critic of laissez faire. As president, he doubled federal spending in real terms in four years. He also used government to prop up wages, restricted immigration, signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff, raised taxes, and created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation—all interventionist measures and not laissez faire. Unlike many Democrats today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's advisers knew that Hoover had started the New Deal. One of them wrote, "When we all burst into Washington ... we found every essential idea [of the New Deal] enacted in the 100-day Congress in the Hoover administration itself."
Hoover's big-spending, interventionist policies prolonged the Great Depression, and similar policies today could do similar damage. Dismantling the mythical presentation of Hoover as a "do-nothing" president is crucial if we wish to have a proper understanding of what did and did not...
Hat tip to David Hart who refers to the following quote as classical liberal Richard Cobden's "I had a dream" speech.
COBDEN: But I have been accused of looking too much to material interests. Nevertheless I can say that I have taken as large and great a view of the effects of this mighty principle as ever did any man who dreamt over it in his own study. I believe that the physical gain will be the smallest gain to humanity from the success of this principle. I look farther; I see in the Free-trade principle that which shall act on the moral world as the principle of gravitation in the universe,—drawing men together, thrusting aside the antagonism of race, and creed, and language, and uniting us in the bonds of eternal peace. I have looked even farther. I have speculated, and probably dreamt, in the dim future—ay, a thousand years hence—I have speculated on what the effect of the triumph of this principle may be. I believe that the effect will be to change the face of the world, so as to introduce a system of government entirely distinct from that which now prevails. I believe that the desire and the motive for large and mighty empires; for gigantic armies and great navies—for those materials which are used for the destruction of life and the desolation of the rewards of labour—will die away; I believe that such things will cease to be necessary, or to be used, when man becomes one family, and freely exchanges the fruits of his labour...
Israel's Foreign Minister has warned Benjamin Netanyahu that the governing coalition will fall part if the Prime Minister doesn't take punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority for its decision to bid for independent statehood at the United Nations. A report in Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper claims that Avigdor Lieberman has demanded that Netanyahu responds to the unilateral Palestinian step by cancelling the Oslo Accords, annexing the large West Bank settlement blocs and withholding tax transfers to the Authority.
Earlier reports said that Lieberman had threatened the Palestinians with "very serious" consequences in the event of a UN vote in favour of an independent state. Israel, claimed Lieberman, "won't stand still" if a Palestinian state is recognised by the UN. Lieberman's deputy, Danny ...
A human catastrophe is taking place in Somalia, the result of drought, famine — and the savage war conducted by the Obama administration, complete with a CIA training facility and prison....
The catastrophe is often attributed to natural conditions, but neighboring areas are not experiencing the same threat.
The difference is Obama’s war. In the guise of fighting terrorism the U.S. government, beginning under George W. Bush and continuing with a vengeance under the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Obama, has turned Somalia into a hellhole. If Americans knew what was happening in their name, they would hang their heads in shame. Or would they?
Read the full op-ed: "Peace Prize-Winner Obama Savages Somalia" here.
On September 9th Sheldon Richman put up a post, Ron Paul and Immigration: A Speculative Theory, that reminded me very much of some conversations I took part in back when I was very active with the Montgomery County Maryland Libertarian Party. They revolved around the issue, were we a real political party or just a glorified debating society. At the time that was a legitimate question because our candidates had no chance of winning power and gathering 3% of the vote was considered a good outing. It is different with Ron Paul he can and must win the presidency in 2012. He is the only one running who will take us off the road to serfdom before it becomes too late to change our direction without massive suffering or even bloodshed.
However, Richman seems willing to condemn millions of Americans to increasing poverty and perpetual warfare because Ron Paul is not ideologically pure enough to suit his tastes. At first glance his piece seems to favor immigrants but it really does not. I too favor open borders because I have always had a problem with the notion that someone is a criminal merely for existing in a particular space but I also agree with Ron Paul that economic prosperity relieves the need for scapegoats a role now filled by so called illegal immigrants. All the other candidates are defenders of a status quo which will keep these people despised. Ron Paul is the only one offering real change if you oppose him you also oppose their interests as well.
When I used to work events for the Libertarian Party I gave thousands of...
I understand Rush Limbaugh has nominated George W. Bush for the next vacancy on Mount Rushmore because “the United States” has not been attacked since 9/11. Okay, if you ignore the fact that more Americans have been killed in aggressive foreign wars since 9/11 than were killed on the day the World Trade Center and Pentagon were hit and that Osama bin Laden got what he was after: American imperial overreach and a financial hemorrhage that won’t be stanched.