Today would have been the 81st birthday of Ralph Raico, who died last December 31. His intellectual brilliance was evident from an early age, and while still in high school, he attended Ludwig von Mises’s seminar at New York University. There he met Murray Rothbard, who became his lifelong friend. Ralph was one of the most brilliant members of Rothbard’s Circle Bastiat. He received a PhD from the University of Chicago, working under Friedrich Hayek. Ralph became the leading historian of classical liberalism and also a renowned authority on revisionist history. His books Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School and Great Wars and Great Leaders show penetrating analytical skills, immense learning, and devotion to liberty. He lectured at the Mises University and other conferences of the Mises Institute for many years.
Ralph was one of my closest friends for over 35 years, and his sarcasm and wit often come back to me. When he worked as Book Review Editor at Inquiry magazine, he commissioned a review of Robert Nozick’s Philosophical Explanations from the great British philosopher Peter Strawson. He had second thoughts about publishing it, fearing it was too specialized. I urged him to go ahead and stressed that Strawson was a “big name.” “Yeah, yeah, I know,” Ralph said, “he’s the President of the World Philosophical Union.” Another time, Ralph was being interviewed on a radio station in San Francisco. The interviewer was friendly but a conventional leftist. He said, “You criticize the government, but don’t we live in a democracy? Isn’t the government just us?”. In his inimitable tone of voice, Ralph said, “Is that so”?8:59 am on October 23, 2017 Email David Gordon
Sent: Sunday, October 22, 2017 2:59 PM
Subject: Highschool economics project
Hello my name is G. I go to xyz High School. I am working on a project in my historical economics class. I have chosen you to make a poster about. Economics interests more than anything else in my school and extra curricular activities. I chose you because of your controversial work. I agree with a lot of what I have read about you. But I came across something you said that I would like to have a little more context for. I read an article tilted “Professor Who Defends Segregation”. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/02/24/loyola-new-orleans-discusses-professor-who-defends-segregation
In this article you are said to have said that you have no problem with businesses excluding certain groups of people because they want to. I have no problem with this statement at all and in fact I agree with you completely that a private business owner should not have to offer his service or good to anyone he doesn’t want to. But as I was thinking about this I thought what about the government. I personally think a government should not discriminate racially or religiously through their own citizens but I wanted to receive your own opinion on the subject. F.Y.I I am emailing you out of my own curiosity. I may or may not use your answer on my project.
President Trump thinks so, or at least that is what the Heritage Foundation (a conservative DC think tank) told me in an e-mail. Trump gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation earlier this week. The truth, of course, is that libertarianism is vital to making America great again, not conservatism as promoted by a conservative think tank that never met a defense budget that was high enough. The change America needs is libertarianism.4:33 pm on October 21, 2017 Email Laurence M. Vance
As if sexually assaulting passengers and stealing their valuables isn’t enough torment, the TSA constantly dreams up new harassment. Its latest is requiring serfs to “place all electronics larger than a mobile phone in bins for X-Ray screening.” Why? Because Our Rulers can so order, that’s why: “TSA officials say planning for the new procedures has been going on for about two years, and is not linked to any imminent terrorist threat.”
Did you catch that? This nonsense has been incubating for two years. Can any of the TSA’s morons explain why no planes have blown up over the last 24 months if measures that aren’t “linked to any imminent terrorist threat” are so necessary? And if they aren’t, then why force folks to…oh, wait, I already answered that.
6:39 pm on October 19, 2017 Email Becky Akers
Dr. Mercola says in his article today:
“Medical mistakes are made in the operating room, in the emergency room and in the doctor’s office. And, unfortunately, the mistakes made by doctors, nurses and pharmaceutical companies still are the third leading cause of death in the U.S”
“Some research suggests 250,000 people die each year from medical errors and millions more who are harmed by drug-related mistakes.”
Why would any sane person support the federal government’s war on marijuana when people and legal drugs cause so many deaths every year and marijuana has yet to kill one person according to the government’s own statistics?8:30 am on October 19, 2017 Email Laurence M. Vance
On August 25, 2017, a raid involving Somali and U.S. forces took the lives of 10 civilians, including 3 children. Last Saturday (October 14, 2017), in an apparent revenge attack in Mogadishu, two truck bombs killed at least 300 people and injured about an equal number. A report yesterday suggests revenge as a motive:
“Following the raid, in which three children aged between six and 10 died, local tribal elders called for revenge against the Somali government and its allies.
“Not only was the bomber from the specific community targeted by the raid, but the investigation is also uncovering a series of other links to the town where it took place.”
This suggestion of revenge-motivated blowback is definitely pertinent. A U.N. study dated 2017 and titled “Journey to Extremism in Africa” questioned “495 individuals who voluntarily joined violent extremist groups and 78 individuals who were recruited by force; a secondary reference group included 145 individuals with no affiliation to violent extremist groups.” These groups included those targeted by U.S. forces: Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, ISIL, Al-Qaida, and others.
Among the key findings is that
“A striking 71 percent pointed to ‘government action’, including ‘killing of a family member or friend’ or ‘arrest of a family member or friend’, as the incident that prompted them to join.”
Also: “State security-actor conduct is revealed as a prominent accelerator of recruitment, rather than the reverse.”
The U.S. government has instituted what we may call the “American way” of killing terrorists, which frequently makes mistakes and kills innocent civilians. This catalyzes many into joining terrorist groups, who are potential recruits for other key reasons discussed in the report.
This process of producing more terrorists than the number being killed has been suggested many times in the past, even by high officials in the U.S. military. However, sadly, the process continues, finding new countries in which to practice the American way and augmenting it in others.
American interventions in foreign lands serve a large variety of special interest groups, such as wealthy campaign contributors, foreign aid officials, arms merchants and producers, private contractors, Pentagon planners, intelligence technicians, agricultural producers, academic researchers, special forces, CIA operatives, etc., but they do not serve the common people of the affected countries or those of America. From our perspective, as common people not in government and not part of the intervention enterprises of the federal government, these interventions can and do go wrong in a great many ways, as measured against the goals that we are told are the official rationales. The war on terrorist groups and the wars on various countries labeled as terrorist turn out to produce more terrorism than ever. By producing an ever-larger supply of terrorists, they are taxpayer-subsidized full employment acts for the special interests, the so-called “swamp”.
American interventions in foreign lands should be terminated, lock, stock and barrel.7:25 pm on October 18, 2017 Email Michael S. Rozeff
President Trump’s “de-certification” of Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal. CIA torture sites in Afghanistan. PATRIOT Act. FISA Amendments. Saudi Arabia. Israel. Syria. Mass surveillance. How does Rex Tillerson drag himself to work each day? Neocon triumph. I sit down for a full hour with KMEC’s “Heroes and Patriots” program. The topics are wide ranging, the interview is fast-paced. What is the Ron Paul Institute working on? How can you be a part of it? Brew a tea, pour a beer, listen to the interview here.7:58 pm on October 17, 2017 Email Daniel McAdams
Michael Geary compiled a series of provocative links on the recent atrocity in Las Vegas. First is this article, which explores some of the curious “Insider Trading and Financial Anomalies” that preceded the attack. Then there’s the fact that the chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay in Vegas, not only sits on a “council” in the Department of Homeland Security but also acts as a trustee for the Brookings Institution. And, intriguingly enough, the company that supposedly “secured” the Rt. 91 Harvest Fest touts its “partnership” with the DHS.
But the tragedy in Vegas wasn’t a false flag. Oh, no, no, no.6:58 pm on October 17, 2017 Email Becky Akers
When Vietnam veterans speak, I listen. Here is a note I received today that I am posting with permission:
4:04 pm on October 17, 2017 Email Laurence M. Vance
Though being ex-military with two combat tours in Vietnam (5th Special Forces Gp) and having a 60% VA disability to show for it) and two sons as military combat pilots I’ve belatedly come to the conclusion that no war we’ve ever engaged in ever settled anything for the better.
The Civil War left this nation with psychic which persist to this day. WW I brought about the successful birth of Russian communism, which begat WW II, Red China, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Cold War, the idiotic Gulf War (which allowed us to congratulate ourselves over our ability to beat the hell out of a bunch of helpless camel-jockeys), and gave birth to the state of Israel, which has been stirring up trouble in the Middle East ever since and might well precipitate WW III.
Our nation had long periods of no significant standing armies at all – from our own revolution to the Civil War, and thereafter until WW I the US had nothing but Western frontier troops, and after WW I until WW II we had little but underfunded nominal military forces. It wasn’t until the Korean War that we began maintaining a permanent standing military, which allowed us to leap into Vietnam, a bottomless quagmire, which we finally left, disillusioned, exhausted, and finally humiliated by a bunch of bandy-legged little rice-farmers, a ridiculous war in which success or failure was tallied by the “body-count.”
See the Tax Foundation’s 2018 State Business Tax Climate Index here.
The top ten states are: Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Florida, Nevada, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah, Indiana, Oregon.
The bottom ten states are: Rhode Island, Louisiana, Maryland, Connecticut, Ohio, Minnesota, Vermont, California, New York, and New Jersey.10:28 am on October 17, 2017 Email Laurence M. Vance
The United States military “dropped 14 billion pounds of bombs on Vietnam, three times more than were used by all sides in all theaters of all of World War II combined.” The U.S. “spent $168,000 for every enemy combatant it killed.” Perhaps these things were mentioned and I just missed them. Either way, the whole war was a crime against humanity.5:40 pm on October 16, 2017 Email Laurence M. Vance
Dr. Block, What are your thoughts regarding statutory rape laws, age of consent, sex offenses, etc., from a libertarian perspective? What are your criticisms of such laws today and how would these things be handled in a libertarian society?
Dear D: I have already answered that sort of question in the following publication, and don’t want to take the time to again reiterate my point here. So, please read this. Then, if you have any further questions, objections, etc., get back to me and we can hash this out.
Block, Walter E. and William Barnett II. 2008. “Continuums” Journal Etica e Politica / Ethics & Politics, Vol. 1, pp. 151-166, June; http://www2.units.it/~etica/; http://www2.units.it/~etica/2008_1/BLOCKBARNETT.pdf2:56 pm on October 14, 2017 Email Walter E. Block
Is Iran malign? Yes, insofar as any state is per se malign; yes, as malign as any other state that wants to secure its borders; yes, as malign as any state with ambitions to expand its influence beyond its borders; and as malign as any state that seeks to export its system of government; and as malign as any state that seeks to consolidate and retain its domestic power; and as malign as any state that seeks military power to ward off other states that are inimical to it; and as malign as any state that builds covert aggressive operations that misleadingly are called “intelligence”.
In short, Iran is as malign as any other state operating in a system of international anarchy that has these kinds of aims; and most do.
Iran is as malign as any state that now includes or in the past has included one or more of the above enumerated properties, such as the U.S. The U.S. at its inception harbored extensive ambitions to expand over the continent. The U.S. targeted not only what are now the lower 48 states, but also Canada, Mexico, Central America, Cuba and Hawaii. It declared the entirety of South America as a region of its influence and potential intervention. In the last century, the U.S. has sought to export its form of government worldwide. It has accumulated military power that both defends America and attacks other states. It has created economic systems that extend its influence to many other countries. Its military alliances and presence span the globe. Iran’s expansion of relations with Latin American countries are mainly economic in nature. They are no more malign than those that the U.S. has with Asian countries. Indeed, the U.S. has forged political and military ties with many such countries that dwarf any similar activities by Iran beyond its borders. The U.S. is far more an aggressive power than Iran.
. . . and cause parents to worry by allowing teenage boys and girls to sleep together in tents in the woods now that the “Boy” Scouts are allowing girls as members? And by the way, why are the “Boy” scouts discriminating against the trans-gendered? Should the president intervene on their behalf with an executive order?11:39 am on October 13, 2017 Email Thomas DiLorenzo
Prof. Fekete says this: “Why then does the New Austrian School of Economics (NASOE) take issue with the Mises Institute? As this Manifesto explains it does because post-Mises Austrian economics has ceased to be open to new ideas. It is trying to ossify Austrian economics at the level where Mises left it. It is inimical to the appearance of new knowledge as it flows directly from the founding principles of our school, unless stamped with its own nihil obstat. Discussion and criticism are discouraged. Many a topic is outright tabooed. There is a tendency to turn science into cult.” Source: http://professorfekete.com/articles/AEFNewAustrianEconomicsManifesto4.pdf:
However, here are my critiques of Mises and Rothbard; this provides strong evidence that the MI is open to new ideas (Rothbard, too, criticized Mises; how does this constitute “ossification?”):
For several weeks, rumors have circulated that Trump will decertify the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA). Trump needs no pushing on this matter, as we know, because he spoke harshly against the agreement with Iran many moons ago. Nevertheless, the anti-Iran contingent has been going full blast to make sure that he does what they favor and that Congress resurrects sanctions on Iran. Breitnart News, which is strongly biased against Iran, has consistently published articles critical of members of the Trump administration who favor certification. (Breitbart News in general exhibits strong biases concerning its favorite causes.) Continuing its anti-Iran promotional activity, Breitbart today carries an article by Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America.9:14 pm on October 11, 2017 Email Michael S. Rozeff
Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 11:18 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: What to Make of the ManyTypes of Libertarians?
Hola Walter! What do you make of the spawning of the various ‘types’ of Libertarians lately? Geolibertarians, Libertarian Socialists, Neolibertarianism, Bleeding-Heart Libertarians, etc. Are they:
1) Curious minds who are somewhat sincere, but with a motive – i.e.
closet socialists, communists, alt righters who are trying to meld their desires with Libertarianism; or
2) Devious snakes who trying to either co-opt or dilute Libertarianism so as to effectively remove it from the playing field? R
Dear R: I incline to the latter hypothesis. Thanks to you I shall one day write about this issue explicitly. I didn’t realize how many variations there now are. I also oppose paleo-libertarians, and both left and right wing thick libertarians of many kinds and varieties. You’ve heard of that expression, “Give me that plain old fashioned religion?” Well, my motto is, “Give me that plain old fashioned libertarianism.” In my view, correct libertarianism is neither of the right nor the left. We are equidistant from both. We are unique. We are sui generis.7:16 pm on October 11, 2017 Email Walter E. Block
In addition to a multitude of other perks, Congresscriminals also enjoy “the secretive Office of the Attending Physician, an elaborate medical clinic where Navy doctors triage medical emergencies and provide basic health care for lawmakers who pay an annual fee of just over $600.” All while these sociopaths condemn the rest of us to Obummercare.
But what inspired David Mueller to send me this story was another benefit attached to Congress’ cheap medical care: Grubb’s Pharmacy supplies and delivers to the Capitol’s door whatever drugs the criminals require. Or, as “Mike Kim, the reserved pharmacist-turned-owner of the pharmacy,” puts it, “‘I’m filling some drugs that are for some pretty serious health problems as well. And these are the people that are running the country,’ Kim said, listing treatments for conditions like diabetes and Alzheimer’s.” Alzheimer’s! Who among us hasn’t long suspected as much? Mr. Kim continued, “It makes you kind of sit back and say, ‘Wow, they’re making the highest laws of the land and they might not even remember what happened yesterday.’” Worse, they imagine we don’t, either. Yet another reason to disband and abolish the collective senior moment known as the federal government.
Regarding Congress’ cozy arrangement with Grubb’s, “Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican,” articulated a favorite belief of Our Rulers that applies to so much more than pharmaceutical deliveries: “… I’ll run over between votes and be able to keep my personal responsibilities going … It’s a convenience that definitely allows us to be more productive.”
Yep, these bozos actually fantasize that not only are they “productive,” but that their “work” is far more essential than ours. Ergo, every and any “convenience” is their due. That theory underlies sirens (Get out of the way! Cops’ arresting and caging people is far more vital than whatever has you out on the streets), jury duty (you can certainly relinquish as many days as the State expects since whatever you’d have done instead of sitting in court isn’t nearly as important), and all government’s other usurpations of our time.
Naturally, no rational person wants “productive” Congressional pickpockets. Psst, Grubb’s: how’s about slipping these thieves some sleeping pills instead?3:01 pm on October 11, 2017 Email Becky Akers
We cannot expect police in Las Vegas to come up with true accounts of the mass shooting right off the bat. They’re not equipped to do it. They have little experience doing it. Investigations take time. There are multiple authorities. There is confusion. There is not enough manpower to provide immediate answers. There are many, many people involved. The police forces are government forces, and as such they are bound to be inadequate in many ways. They’re not designed or staffed to deal with a large-scale situation like this. Hospitals were overwhelmed as a Google search reveals, and it’s reasonable to say that the capacity of police to investigate properly were and probably still are overwhelmed 9 days later.
A road that’s used to light traffic will be clogged by a sudden surge in use or a peak load. Government offices and programs are not designed for peak loads or efficiency. They ration through long lines and waiting if some emergency occurs. Police were overwhelmed in Houston, and we can imagine the pressures placed on them in Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, all sorts of people can offer all sorts of theories based upon fragmentary claims of evidence. There are not enough police to follow up every such claim. Such claims presented on the internet may or may not come to the attention of the police, so that addressing them and disposing of them doesn’t enter their calculations. Police will easily be overwhelmed if they attempt to follow up every question and claim raised by people on the internet.
Police themselves who are unaccustomed to communications will be pressured to make guesses and statements about what may have happened, and some will do so, thereby spreading unfounded rumors or saying things that are wrong. In the confusion of the event itself, there will be tremendous opportunities for rumors to start and propagate. Then there will be leaks of information or partial information. There are ample sources of confusion amid these sources.
Sent: Thursday, October 5, 2017 10:17 PM
Subject: Question RE non-contact sexual offences/harassment
Hi Dr Block, I only became aware of libertarian theory earlier this year, and it has felt like I have opened my eyes for the first time as I’ve spent the whole year educating myself out of the leftist propaganda I was raised on and never truly questioned. I’m in Australia and there is basically no libertarian presence here that I can find, except for one or two think tanks. I would like to thank you for your work, it is really inspiring and important to me, to demonstrate the strength of holding to principles completely and without exception.
If you have time to answer my question, it is about the NAP and certain types of non-contact offending. I’m a psychologist working with sex offenders, so this is relevant to my work. For example, would it be considered aggression for someone to make repeated phone calls to a woman and just breathe heavily down the line, or to make other lewd comments? Or what about if someone was exposing himself to women or masturbating openly while standing in his own front yard? Or say, stalking a woman (following her and staring at her from a distance all day)? There is no direct threat of physical violence in any of these cases, but I feel like they are deserving of punishment. Thanks! A