LRC Blog

Marine Corps Mentality

Speaking of the Marines, here is the Marine Corps mentality on display: “You don’t like what a Marine does, then get the f*ck out of my country you piece of sh*t.” (This was in response to my recent article.) I thought that Marines willingly and gladly fought and bled and died for my right to not like what a Marine does?

10:05 pm on December 12, 2018

The Greatest Marine

Speaking of the Marines, the greatest Marine, Major General Smedley Butler, wrote in his classic work War Is a Racket:

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

And he also wrote this:

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer; a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

4:37 pm on December 12, 2018

Apparently There Is a Cop Shortage

“Since 2013, the total number of working sworn officers has fallen by about 23,000. The number of officers per capita is down even more sharply, from 2.42 per 1,000 residents in 1997 to 2.17 officers per 1,000 in 2016.”

I would normally say that a cop shortage is a good thing because this means that the police will have to focus on real crimes instead of victimless crimes like drug possession or dealing. But what will no doubt happen is that police will still focus on victimless crimes and leave actual criminals to walk the streets and molest us.

3:06 pm on December 12, 2018

Three Dangerous Syria Powder Kegs – Will US Light The Match?

12:22 pm on December 12, 2018

Privatize All Bodies of Water: Oceans, Rivers, Lakes, Aquifers, and Mud Puddles Too!

From: M
Sent: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 12:37 AM
Subject: Water Values Podcast
Dr. Block, I want to thank you for appearing on the Water Values Podcast and for authoring Water Capitalism with Peter Nelson. I wrote to the host of this podcast and encouraged him to invite you on his show. This type of show is pretty niche to water professionals, especially younger ones like myself, and the ideas and concepts Peter and yourself brought to the listeners was badly needed. A few months ago, the host was basically worshipping the slimiest, most corrupt former EPA lawyer that appeared on his show, a common theme on many of the shows unfortunately. Feeling strongly that worshiping this high priest in the revolving door of the federal bureaucracy is the worst way forward for water, I felt strongly that others in the water industry need to know there is better way. As Peter stated so nicely, a more moral and just way, and as you obviously laid at the listener’s feet, the path to wealth and abundance. Thank you again! M in DFW, Texas

Dear M: Thanks for your kind comment. I wanted “Mud Puddles” in the title of this book. I was balked. Ah, well, you can’t win them all.

Block, Walter E. and Peter Lothian Nelson. 2015. Water Capitalism: The Case for Privatizing Oceans, Rivers, Lakes, and Aquifers. New York City, N.Y.: Lexington Books, Rowman and Littlefield;

Best regards, Walter

10:42 am on December 12, 2018

An Honest Marine

Writes a Marine:

I served as an infantry officer during the Vietnam conflict. In retrospect, your recent column is absolutely correct. No only did I while “serving” violate every Christian principle I’d been taught, but also, I violated every moral principle I’ve since learned.

8:30 pm on December 11, 2018

They Just Don’t Get It

In response to my article “My Son Is a Marine,” I have not received such vicious and threatening e-mails since I began to criticize the Iraq War on LRC almost 15 years ago. All of them have a common theme: It is because of the Marines fighting wars, bleeding, and dying that I have the freedom to write the crap that I write. Actually, it isn’t. That is the point that they don’t get. Marines who fight unjust wars, bleed, and die do nothing for anyone’s freedom. They fight, bleed, and die in vain. Here is a question for Marine lovers: How does a Marine going to Vietnam and dying for a lie give me the freedom to write articles for LRC?

Thanks to all those who wrote me with more bumper sticker ideas, like: “My son kills for money.”

And by the way, Marine lovers, I am not a liberal. I am a libertarian. There is a difference. But thanks for reading LRC.

8:27 pm on December 11, 2018

What to Abolish: Musings of a Conservative

Cleaning out old files, I came across a file dated 2008 from a conservative who wanted to reduce government. The list of government to get rid of is quite extensive, nothing like what so-called conservatives of today advocate. The author might be termed a true conservative or even a true American. Anyway, the list is bracing, even for libertarians used to this sort of radical thinking.

1. Bring all US military people home from every foreign post;
2. Eliminate all tariffs on imports;
3. Eliminate particular regulation designed to protect certain American businesses;
4. Privatize the Air Traffic Control system with either the possibility of employees form-ing their own corporation or airlines forming a consortium to run it;
5. Cease the Federal Highway System program and allow private firms or states to handle this matter;
6. Privatize the Weather Bureau;
7. Eliminate the Bureau of Indian Affairs;
8. Stop all foreign aid;
9. Stop all selling promotion subsidies to American businesses seeking overseas business;
10. Legalize “recreational” drugs, perhaps making them available through a doctor’s prescription wherein the physician could, at minimum, give the recipient a lecture on their adverse effects;
11. Privatize all federal prisons;
12. Establish short-term “Sunset” provisions for all federal laws;
13. Stop all Corps of Army Engineers projects, letting the individual states do their own work or form joint cooperation groups with other states having a common problem;
14. Close the FFA—let airlines police and regulate themselves;
15. Drop federal assignment of airwave frequencies;
16. Drop any laws regarding media ownership;
17. Eliminate OSHA;
18. Phase out Social Security;
19. Close down Medicare and Medicaid ASAP;
20. Eliminate the Federal Reserve Bank and privatize the currency;
21. Privatize the Postal System by offering it for sale to its employees or others based on its assets or shut it down completely;
22. Stop AMTRAC subsidies as well as those to waterway and highway transportation operatives;
23. Stop ethanol tax rebates or any other subsidies related to it;
24. Sell off NASA;
25. Eliminate federal nuclear power generation control;
26. Eliminate all federal taxes and establish a tax on all retail items except food and medicine—at the same time sharply curtailing the size of the IRS;
27. Eliminate the minimum wage standard;
28. Repeal all laws regarding the regulation of labor unions;
29. Repeal all campaign contribution and limit regulations;
30. Have Congress impose term limits on itself—one term for senator and six years for a representative;
31. Remove any mandatory retirement age provisions from private and public sector;
32. Eliminate the following cabinet level entities: Departments of Commerce, Labor, Transportation, Health and Human Resources (including the National Institutes of Health which could be privatized), Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs (this can be integrated into the sharply reduced Defense Dept.)—also to go would be EPA, FDA, and the Office of National Drug Control while the Center for Disease Control would be retained.
33. Raise the age and length of service that which any federal employee may retire and move their retirement funds with their choice into privately run accounts;
34. Eliminate the ICC;
35. Out contract all Veterans Administration work;
36. Cut out all Congressional perks;
37. Privatize all nuclear waste disposal and storage;
38. Eliminate the Department of Education and with it any federal outlays to states–edu-cation is a local and state matter at best;
39. Eliminate the Department of Agriculture and all subsidies to farmers, ranchers, and others—do maintain however plant and animal disease inspection and quarantine of for-eign introductions;
40. Stop all Government Printing Office publications other than those related to new laws and regulations and changes—the use of the Congressional Record would be restricted to actual Congressional records with no padding or changes allowed.

8:02 pm on December 11, 2018

Why Such Smart Jews Are Nevertheless Disproportionately Socialist

From: M
Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 8:21 AM
Subject: An enigna
Dr Block,
Your post on libertarian Jews really brings up some interesting points. The Jewish folk I have known here in southside Virginia are mostly of the progressive bent, politically speaking. My son has several Jewish friends and he says the same thing. The point is not their progressivism but how conservatively they live their own lives. They are wonderful folk who have a reverence for tradition, strong families, not given to excessive drinking, in synagogue weekly, tend to marry within their own group, are thrifty, modest, practice deferred gratification and self reliance. All of these tend to point to a conservative person. Not that conservatives are libertarian but conservatives certainly are not progressive. Anyway just and interesting thought. Kind of an enigma. Thanks for your work. Every time I read one of your posts or articles I tend to spend a lot of time thinking!!
Sincerely, M

Dear M:

Thanks for your kind words.

Ashkenazi Jews have the highest IQs of any such group. Yet, they are disproportionately socialist. Why? Here are some readings that attempt to wrestle with this conundrum:

Best regards,


7:46 pm on December 11, 2018

Judge Napolitano on the Kavanaugh Betrayal and Trump’s Legal Jeopardy

You accuse the President of the United States of committing a crime, you better put up or shut up.  You better prove it or you better withdraw it.

I’m betting they don’t do either.  Not sure I’m too impressed with the federal prosecutor’s office in question if Jim Comey was once in charge of it!

3:32 pm on December 11, 2018

Foreign Policy Arrogance Undermines Our National Security

12:42 pm on December 11, 2018

The “Religious” Roots of Trump Derangement Syndrome

The nonstop avalanche of hatred spewing from the hearts of the leftist and neocon political classes in America has the appearance of religious fanaticism on steroids, the kind that must have fueled the Spanish Inquisition.  It is not real religion, of course, but the “religion” of statism, that has replaced religious faith in the minds of these nonstop spewers of hate because their “sainted” Hillary Clinton lost the election.  To them, Hillary Clinton is more “moral” than the Pope, Mother Theresa, or any other religious figure because to them, “morality” stems not from faith in God or living by the Ten Commandments but from one’s support for leftist ideas, rhetoric, and policies.  For socialism, in other words — even if they refuse to call it socialism.

When this first cropped up, about five minutes after Hillary Clinton’s non-concession concession, it reminded me of a run-in I once had a decade or so ago with an acquaintance who I’m sure has been exploding with Trump hatred for the past two years now.  He was a senior vice president of a television network and a lifelong Washingtonian.  A typical D.C. liberal who lived in Chevy Chase, MD all his life, well inside the Washington orbit.  All of his friends, neighbors, and co-workers were just like him, politically speaking.  I made the offhand remark that I don’t vote because it “only encourages them” and besides, most of what government does is blatantly unconstitutional (not to be found in Article 1, Section 8). Therefore, voting just helps to legitimize this unconstitutional regime.

The man went completely nuts, shouting that I had attacked his most cherished of all beliefs — voting and “democracy.”  He really, really lost it and had no interest whatsover in any civilized discussion of the matter.  As far as he was concerned, anyone who expressed such views should be imprisoned for treason, if not hanged.  I had attacked his “religion” which, to a lifelong Leftist who has spent his entire adult life declaring his moral superiority over any and all non-Leftists, this was the ultimate insult. To him and millions of other Leftists, Trump’s first inaugural address in which he denounced the entire Washington establishment, as most of it sat right next to him, was a declaration of war on their “religion.”  And, in the spirit of their patron “saints” Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, they demand unconditional surrender.  As Lew Rockwell once remarked after observing a television image of leftists smashing a pinata in the image of President Trump, these are people who would beat the president himself to death with a stick if they had the opportunity.  He exposes them as the supreme hypocrites and moral phonies that they are and have been all their lives and they just can’t stand it.  Some of them appear to have not slept since election day, 2016.

8:35 am on December 11, 2018

Global Cops: Will US Jail Chinese Tech Exec?

12:33 pm on December 10, 2018

Are Supporters of the Minimum Wage Law Criminals? Possibly, But Not Necessarily. Some Are, Some Are Not.

From: A
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2017 7:57 PM
To: walter block (more…)

11:49 am on December 10, 2018

It Is Ok To Give Money to the State Under Duress; Just Don’t Donate Any to Them

Dear B: I don’t like taxation, but I discuss it all the time. See below for my publications defending the right of libertarians to take a public salary. Short summary: it is ok to take money from government; it is not ok to donate any money to them, over and above what is coerced from you by them. It is also ok to use their museums, parks, fiat currency, schools. They are a criminal gang. In the view of Rothbard (1973, p. 49): “if you wish to know how libertarians regard the State and any of its acts, simply think of the State as a criminal band, and all of the libertarian attitudes will logically fall into place.”
Rothbard, Murray N. 1973. For a New Liberty, Macmillan, New York;


4:32 pm on December 9, 2018

“Girl” Power, or so it is Called

He was an elite Australian athlete until he identified as a she, and the AFLW rejected his participation as a she. He (Hannah) claims that his power and strength has “got nothing to do with” the fact that he is, biologically, a male. And a huge male at that. And Hannah, at 6’3″ and 230 pounds, wants to mow down females because he wears a dress and takes estrogen pills.

I can’t help but wonder how the average person can give this kind of lunacy a platform, let alone a nod and a pass?

7:40 am on December 9, 2018

Hillary, It’s Cold Inside

This was bound to happen.

7:14 am on December 9, 2018

Pearl Harbor: Day of Infamy

“Court historians” are the intellectual bodyguards of the State. They shape and defend the “official line” or interpretation on the State’s wars, its presidential regimes, or other key historical events and public policies. As a result they enjoy high esteem and recognition in the mainstream media and academia. As defenders of the status quo they frequently attack and label their critics as “conspiracy theorists,” “revisionists,” “isolationists,” “appeasers,” “anti-intellectuals,”or other boogie men, rather than engage in civil discourse or discussion.

As the late economist/historian Murray N. Rothbard noted:

All States are governed by a ruling class that is a minority of the population, and which subsists as a parasitic and exploitative burden upon the rest of society. Since its rule is exploitative and parasitic, the State must purchase the alliance of a group of “Court Intellectuals,” whose task is to bamboozle the public into accepting and celebrating the rule of its particular State. The Court Intellectuals have their work cut out for them. In exchange for their continuing work of apologetics and bamboozlement, the Court Intellectuals win their place as junior partners in the power, prestige, and loot extracted by the State apparatus from the deluded public. The noble task of Revisionism is to de-bamboozle: to penetrate the fog of lies and deception of the State and its Court Intellectuals, and to present to the public the true history of the motivation, the nature, and the consequences of State activity. By working past the fog of State deception to penetrate to the truth, to the reality behind the false appearances, the Revisionist works to delegitimize, to desanctify, the State in the eyes of the previously deceived public.”

The 30 items listed here addressing the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor are by noted critics of the official “establishment consensus” point of view as well as by hagiographic “court historians.” Please purchase these items using the LRC Amazon portal.

4:30 am on December 8, 2018


A work of analytical genius which concisely penetrates to the core of Orwell’s mind control and manipulation message in Nineteen Eighty-Four. It grabs and powerfully reaches a whole new audience of persons who desperately need to be aware of its importance in shaping their lives.

1:46 am on December 8, 2018

Debating The Marxist

Dear T: Thanks for your long, lovely letter. I wish things were better in your chosen profession.

All I can say is that yes, the Marxists are right in that ex post, people can sometimes be “exploited” in the sense that they regret making a purchase, a loan, a rental, whatever. It sometimes happens, but not often, under laissez faire capitalism. I buy a shirt for $20, and, later, I wish I had my money back. However, the “magic of the market” is that ex ante, in the sense of anticipations, at the time I purchase this article of clothing, I valued it more than the money I had to pay for it. No other system can make any such claim. Rothbard is magnificent. So is Mises. Best regards, Walter


3:52 pm on December 7, 2018

What Do McCain, Bush 41, and Lincoln Have in Common?

Their corpses were all used as political propaganda props by deep state operatives in well-choreographed show-funerals.

How touching that Bush 41’s casket sat atop the same platform as Lincoln’s in D.C., preserved all these years by the deep state, and that the casket made its way to the cemetery by slow-moving train, just like Lincoln’s.

6:16 am on December 7, 2018

The Problem with Lawyers and the Constitution . . .

. . . is that very few of them know anything about the Constitution and its history.  Instead, they are taught case law in law school, most of which is a collection of decisions by “progressive” or leftist judges perverting the Constitution in the cause of unlimited government.  That is Alexander Hamilton’s legacy to constitutionalism, and it is why he is beloved by both leftists and neocons alike.

1:35 pm on December 6, 2018

U.S. Welfare Flows to Cuba

Breitbart today carries an immigration story with a photograph. A young woman carries a sign calling for no borders and no nations; it also has an obscenity. Her shirt has the letters CWS with its symbol. What is this organization? CWS stands for Church World Service. It’s a 72-year old humanitarian organization that specializes in refugees.

It’s beyond this blog’s scope to analyze and evaluate CWS in toto. What is immediately noticeable about it, however, is its intense political activism. CWS lobbies Congress. Congress has instituted programs that aid refugees. That is why CWS lobbies Congress. Charity and aid should rightfully be entirely private activity, but it’s political and governmental in our system.

One such Congressional program is the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. The CWS is lobbying against changes in that program that were proposed in 2015 by Congressman Carlos Curbelo (just defeated in his re-election bid) and supported by Marco Rubio.

A Florida newspaper, the Sun Sentinel, produced a 3-part investigative report of “abuses” in the program that started the reform ball rolling. Curbelo’s bill aimed to stop those abuses. Two years ago, the bill was in a subcommittee and it’s still there. It’s probably dead with Curbelo’s loss.

Some abuses: “Cuban immigrants are cashing in on U.S. welfare and returning to the island, making a mockery of the decades-old premise that they are refugees fleeing persecution at home. Some stay for months at a time — and the U.S. government keeps paying.” “More Cubans are coming to Florida in their golden years to retire, able to tap U.S. government assistance even though they never lived or worked here.” “Florida politicians have fiercely fought to protect the special status given to Cuban immigrants, transforming U.S. government assistance from handouts of powdered milk and cheese to a multibillion dollar entitlement.”

CWS opposed the bill. It didn’t address the abuses. It only spoke of the program’s benefits to refugees.

CWS philosophized: “We know from sacred texts across faith traditions that we all have a moral responsibility to welcome the most vulnerable: the widow, the orphan, the refugee, during trying times.” “Let us reflect the best of our nation by extending hospitality and leading by example so that other nations do the same.”

The expression of morality, in their philosophy, is to be the job of government. Government will take from us, and government will distribute to “the most vulnerable”.

Libertarians have a counter philosophy that is Jeffersonian in nature. The “we” that CWS refers to is not our government. It is each of us. Each of us decides how to implement our moral responsibility and what that responsibility is or is not. We decide on whom to aid, when to aid them, where to aid them, in what ways to aid them, and how much to aid them. We have rights. We own ourselves. If government, as it does, forces us to pay for the charity that it decides to bestow, it infringes our rights and it replaces our own decisions. Government then defeats the main purpose for which it is established, which, according to the Declaration of Independence, is to secure the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Securing rights means no more nor less than protecting us against invasions of our rights, these including our decision-making powers.

In the name of exercising moral responsibility, no “one” of government can justly roll over the “many” of us as individuals. If the government does this, it makes us subservient to it. There are few decisions and human actions that do not entail moral considerations and responsibility, maybe all of them do. Either none of this is government’s business, except to secure rights; or else all of it is, which is hardly a condition to which we should aspire.

11:01 am on December 6, 2018

Baby, there’s no climate change outside

My favorite take on the “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” hoopla is from libertarian comedian Tim Slagle: “Radio Stations across America are refusing to play “Baby It’s Cold Outside” because it promotes Climate Denial.”

8:47 am on December 6, 2018

Is Mankind Causing Worse Hurricanes?

If warming causes worse hurricanes, then we should observe fewer and weaker hurricanes during the Little Ice Age. The following paper finds the opposite.

Michael J. Burna and Suzanne E. Palmer examine “Atlantic hurricane activity during the last millennium”. Although their paper is highly technical, its methods and findings are clear.

“”Here, we present the Extended Hurricane Activity (EHA) index, the first empirical reconstruction of Atlantic tropical cyclone activity for the last millennium, derived from a high-resolution lake sediment geochemical record from Jamaica.”

Looking at a 1,000 year period is a good approach. We can’t really understand global climate changes without observing repeated up-down-up-down variations in the factors that drive climate changes. Advocates of man-made global warming typically cite the past 120-140 years of data, but this is way too short a period from which to figure out climate changes. This represents a single exceedingly short episode in Earth’s climate history.

The conclusion of this paper reads

“Our results corroborate evidence for the increasing trend of hurricane activity during the Industrial Era; however, we show that contemporary activity has not exceeded the range of natural climate variability exhibited during the last millennium.”

No abnormal hurricane activity is present in our industrial era as compared with that in the past 1,000 years. But there is more.

If warming causes more and worse hurricanes, then we should find that hurricane activity and strength diminishes during the Little Ice Age (LIA). The evidence in this paper finds the opposite:

“The highest average levels of activity (EHA ~ 86 × 102 kt2; 1580–1650 CE) occurred during the late 16th and early 17th Centuries, a trend corroborated by a coupled ocean-atmosphere climate model simulation of annual basin-wide tropical cyclone counts, which indicates heightened activity during the LIA (Fig. 4d). Further support for enhanced activity during the LIA comes from a record of hurricane deposits in a coastal karst basin in the Bahamas, which suggests heightened activity occurred between 1350 and 1650. This important result suggests that average hurricane activity during the industrial period has not exceeded its longer-term natural variability during the last millennium.” (Emphasis added.)

In my opinion, the focus on the last 120-140 years of temperature is improper scientific method, not affording enough natural variability to understand climate changes. The long record study cited above does not show anything unusual going on concerning hurricanes.

In my opinion, the idea that we human beings are creating bigger hurricanes is wildly implausible. The sun-earth system of physical forces and the earth’s own system of forces have to overwhelm anything we might be doing. This thinking is based on the size and strength of those earthly forces that we have always been exposed to on the planet going back 1000s of years: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, shifts in solar activity, huge ice ages, asteroids hitting us, wobbling in our orbit, changes in the earth’s tilt, changes in the positions of the continents and seas, and changes in Earth’s molten core.

8:46 am on December 6, 2018

Baby, It’s a Feminist Song

With the ridiculous victimological circus going on and on about the evils of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” NPR has noted that some stations banning the song have faced a thunder of complaints from the folks who are fed up with the political correctness. I really like this article in Variety that points out the song is not about an aggressive male, but rather, the song is written to describe a gal grappling with the double standards faced by women at the time the song was written.

Taken maybe a smidgeon more seriously than its creator intended, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is the story of a woman doing battle — not with a guy who won’t take no for an answer, but with the expectations of a society that won’t take yes for an answer. The most critical word in the whole piece is “ought,” as in, “I ought to say no, no, no sir.” She isn’t trying to fend off advances — she is mouthing excuses so she can “at least… say that I tried.” He won’t face judgment sneaking home, whereas she can tick off at least three family members who’ll notice when she sneaks in after hours. It’s not just the kinfolk but a nation of suspicious minds there at the door, waiting to sniff the cigarettes, booze and boys on her breath. At least two out of three of which she is explicitly the one asking for, by the way: “maybe just a cigarette more,” she requests, along with “maybe just half a drink more.” She is not being plied with alcohol — she is plying herself, with intoxicating stalling tactics she hopes will make the “spell” of romance and sexual chemistry finally out-loom the specter of the family scowling behind the porch light.

So, feminists should be celebrating this song, right? But the collective-female emoting contingent has no time for listening and carefully understanding what is really happening with the song, because the facts won’t advance their agenda. Piling on with #MeToo propaganda is much more effective with their one-sound-bite-at-a-time, social media audience.

8:29 am on December 6, 2018

One Positive Thing About the Bush Funeral

The entire world got to see what uncouth jerks the Clintons and Obamas are as they refused to acknowledge the existence of President Trump and his wife sitting next to them on the same church pew at the funeral service.  Deplorable but entertaining.

8:01 am on December 6, 2018

What Is a Veteran?

I read somewhere this great definition of a veteran: A veteran is someone who signed up to kill people outside the United States for money. Truer words were never spoken.

9:03 pm on December 5, 2018

Have You Been to White Privilege Training Yet?

A faculty colleague informs me that the latest fad in “higher” education is “white privilege training” for (some) faculty.  If I’m asked to participate I plan on suggesting that this video should be an adequate substitute for my participation.

7:48 pm on December 5, 2018

Minimum Wages Exemplify Conflict between Government and Freedom

By all rights, in a free country, minimum wages shouldn’t even be something that a government at any level, city, state or federal, can impose and force to be legal. A minimum wage is an obvious use of force to restrict freedom of contract between consenting adults.

What kind of freedom exists when a third party, a government with guns and jails and fines, can legally interfere with bargains and exchanges in which both parties agree or else do not conclude their exchange? An agreement by both sides, settled freely without the imposition of force by either party, is what is meant by freedom in the context of an exchange.

How can any government pretend to be operating in a free country when it imposes minimum wages? It cannot. It has to be admitted by everyone who looks at this matter that minimum wages imposed by government destroy freedom. They are incompatible with freedom.

New York City has a minimum wage all its own as do some other American cities, states and the federal government. They all exemplify the conflict between government and freedom.

Today, the news is that New York City has “…passed the nation’s first minimum pay rate for drivers who work for ride-hailing apps…” The target company is Uber. My immediate reaction was “They shouldn’t even have this power over wages.” The VOX article on this new law goes on at great length, but nowhere does it question the institution by which such a power is contained in a government.

Our country is in a very bad way intellectually. A youngster who takes civics and history courses is bound to run squarely into a host of contradictions, such as that between legislated minimum wages and freedom. If the Constitution allows such a thing as a minimum wage, how can it possibly stand as a bulwark of freedom? If it does not allow such a thing, then how can a wrong Supreme Court decision stand and allow it? Either way one looks at it, one cannot wrap one’s head around these contradictions in any logical way.

If the Constitution is flawed so basically, why can’t we fix it? If it’s flawed so badly that it cannot be fixed, why do we still have it? If the Supreme Court makes such invasions of freedom legal, why do their decisions command respect? Why do we bother obeying them? Why doesn’t our government live up to its freedom rhetoric? Anyone with an ounce of sense who is faced with these contradictions and has the least bit of curiosity is going to raise dozens of questions that are directed at our politics and our government.

Demagogues mislead. A president can make a speech saying that full time workers paid the minimum wage are below the poverty level and that therefore the minimum wage should be raised.

Debates about the level of the minimum wage accept it uncritically as an institution, but the critical debate we’re not having is why government has the power to establish any minimum wage whatsoever.

5:33 pm on December 5, 2018