Friday, March 31, 2006

Lew's Latest

Are Conservatives Crazy?

The suggestion of conservatives that the government engage in all-out war on the world but otherwise leave people free to manage their own affairs is completely absurd in every way. It is akin to the demand that one's left leg march in one direction and the right leg march in the other direction. If we know how the human body works, we know that this suggestion is ridiculous. So too, if we know how government works, we know that a state that is expansionist abroad will never let well enough alone at home.

In all this, conservatives have two brains. One sees the government as a menace, something stupid, inefficient, brutal, isolated from real life, and the enemy of liberty. The other sees government as smart, wise, and all-knowing, a friend to all, in touch with life around the planet, and the friend to liberty everywhere. How these two brains are integrated is never explained. But the truth is that the Jeffersonian-Misesian-Hayekian-Rothbardian critique of the state applies in both cases. You either embrace it or you don't. As Harry Browne said: "The government that's strong enough to give you what you want is strong enough to destroy you."

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Handsome Profits

I hope readers of this blog have been taking my advice and buying silver and gold (I seriously doubt it). You would have been wise to do so.

The price of silver topped $11 an ounce Wednesday for the first time since 1983, and gold rallied on demand by investors seeking better returns than U.S. equities or bonds.
Silver has surged 57 percent in the past year, and gold reached a 25-year high last month as investors keep betting that precious metals will outperform stocks and bonds.

Quote of the Day

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty." -Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Some people, for example, dismiss George Washington as a slave owner. He did own slaves, but he was also one of the most remarkable men ever to walk on this planet. Had one of all the bullets fired at him found his heart, we would not be living in the United States as it is today. He was, as one historian called him, an indispensable man, something few humans in history can ever claim to be...

...we should all follow Robert E. Lee's advice to his children and read history and biographies so that we will know the world, as best we can, as it is. History is nothing more than a record of what people have done and said...

But history can help put our own lives in context. Life is a never-ending story. We drop out of the womb in the middle of the action, play our part and exit. Someone – one of the Romans, I believe – said that if you don't know history, you remain forever a child. It's good to know what happened before we got here.

The Perils of Economic Ignorance

by Ron Paul

I believe one of the greatest threats facing this nation is the willful economic ignorance of the political class. Many of our elected officials at every level have no understanding of economics whatsoever, yet they wield tremendous power over our economy through taxes, regulations, and countless other costs associated with government...

I strongly recommend that every American acquire some basic knowledge of economics, monetary policy, and the intersection of politics with the economy. No formal classroom is required; a desire to read and learn will suffice. There are countless important books to consider, but the following are an excellent starting point: The Law by Frédéric Bastiat; Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt; What has Government Done to our Money? by Murray Rothbard; The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek; and Economics for Real People by Gene Callahan.

I've read all of these except Economics for Real People. I highly recommend all of them too, especially The Law (it's only 75 pages).

"The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else." - Frederic Bastiat

Friday, March 24, 2006

Hammer of Truth

I've been reading this blog lately and I must say that I really like the content.

This is what Stephen Gordon had to say about the TABC arresting drunks in bars:

I wonder if the TABC will be setting up a large barbed-wire concentration camp styled facility to handle all the business immediately following the first home football game in Austin.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Oh Great

People Are Waking Up

Austin conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, interviewed actor Charlie Sheen about 9/11. He doesn't believe the 'official story' either.

"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." - Mark Twain

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

More on V

Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. There is an idea and ideas are bulletproof.

Future Libertarian Congressman, Michael Badnarik weighs in on V:

Students of my Constitution class can tell you that I’ve often emphasized the fact that, “You can’t kill an idea.” I think that’s one of the main points of this movie, which I really enjoyed. I highly recommend this movie, especially to those who secretly harbor a latent distrust of the government.

When I graduated from college, my grandfather said to me regarding my education, "That's something they can never take away from you." At the time, I didn't really understand what he meant by it. I think I do now.

Empire of Debt

Lew Rockwell reviews Bill Bonner's recent book, Empire of Debt. I haven't read it yet, but after reading this review, it surely will be the next book I purchase. In addition to being an excellent economist, Bill Bonner seems to be quite the historian as well. The following are a few highlights from Lew's review:

“Remember,” Wilson had proclaimed, “that God ordained that I should be the next president of the United States.” How many Americans know that Wilson invaded Mexico before Europe, raising the federal war banner over Veracruz, and set off a reign of terror at home in which Germans, or those thought to be German, were lynched and those who dissented from his national socialism were jailed?

Wilson also established the Federal Reserve, the income-tax police, and the direct election of senators. The latter wiped out an original buttress to states’ rights and led to more and more centralization, as senators saw themselves as representatives of D.C. to their states rather than of the state legislatures to the central government. Frank Chodorov called it “The Revolution of 1913.”

After all, the long-term mean value of paper currency is zero. Is the dollar magic, so that it is permanently immune from the norm? For the last 100 years, it has lost value more quickly than the Roman denarius after Nero. No surprise, since it is much easier to create unlimited numbers of dollars than to mint coins with at least some silver or gold in them. On the other hand, by the time of the last emperor, the denarius—which started as pure silver—had .02 percent precious metal content. That is, the denarius had lost, over hundreds of years, 99.98 percent of its value. Since the founding of the Fed in 1913, the dollar has lost 95 percent.

Once upon a time France had a great empire. Frenchmen thought they had the best language, the best culture, the best government, the best economy, the best schools, the best builders, the best army. And it was their duty to civilize the globe. Now, after French imperial bankruptcy and the destruction of the franc, we have the mission civilisatrice to spread freedom and democracy. Or so the president informs us.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

V for Vendetta

"“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

I wouldn't say that it's the greatest movie of all-time, but it might be the best Libertarian movie ever, even better than Red Dawn. If you appreciate quality filmmaking, you'll like it regardless of your political stripes.

The following is from the best review I've read on V:

Like the anti-heroes in "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Beauty and the Beast," the masked creature known as V is a conflicted, tortured soul who falls for an innocent beauty and brings her into his hidden world.

Is V a terrorist? The oppressive government labels him as such. He tells Natalie Portman's Evey, "Blowing up a building can change the world." At one point she calls him a monster. He's also borderline insane, as Evey learns the hard way.

Still: Is he a terrorist? Of course, the real-life criminals that bombed subway trains and a bus in London last summer are terrorists, thugs, monsters. But that doesn't mean every act of blowing up a building is an act of terrorism. If we knew Osama bin Laden was alone in a building right now, would blowing up that building be an act of terrorism?

The villains in V are many. There's the Hitler-like dictator. His ruthless henchmen. A pedophile bishop. A hate-filled commentator who worked in a torture camp.

These are the power elite that V wants to destroy. The London in "V for Vendetta" is not the real London. In the London of "V," taking down the government would be an act of heroism, not terrorism.

You can read a couple of other good reviews here and here.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Consequences of a War State

by Charlie Reese

War consists of killing people and destroying property. That's all there is to war. Any honest soldier will tell you the same thing: His job is to kill people and destroy property. That's true of all branches of the service.

The difficult question is, When is a nation justified in making the decision to kill other people and destroy their property? I think the rule is the same as it is for individuals. You are justified in killing only in defense of your own life or the lives of others for whom you are responsible.

By that definition, the U.S. has fought only one justified war in this and the past century. That was World War II. Putting aside the fact that the U.S. government provoked Japan into attacking, attack it did, and the U.S. had a right to respond. We were not attacked, however, in Korea, Vietnam, Libya, Lebanon, Panama, Grenada, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan or Iraq...

Killer Guitar Solo

I usually don't post stuff like this, but this guy is really good. Check out the video.

I Told You So

Some of us, mostly Libertarians, knew that invading Iraq would be disastrous. It's too bad that our warmongering Republicans and Democrats in Congress have so little foresight. The following is an excerpt from Steven Greenhut's latest article: Sorry to Say, 'I Told You So' on Iraq.

Clearly, the war has not improved U.S. security or helped the Middle East. The war certainly hasn't led to the domino effect predicted by ideologues who thought that one nation after another would move from dictatorship to Western-style democracy. The U.S. budget has taken a hit, with the war costing upwards of $200 billion. America's prestige - for those who care about such things - is at an all-time low.

The country is in shambles, and the death toll is appalling: 2,300 American soldiers and 25,000 to 30,000 Iraqis, not to mention the tens of thousands who have been injured, according to most guestimates.

It's a given that Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator and deserves anything he's got coming to him. That still doesn't legitimize democracy-building as a legitimate U.S. war aim. If it is, then our nation really ought to get busy, given the scores of nations across the globe that are suddenly in the need of regime change.

These so-called "conservative" thinkers understood that government cannot drop aid and social workers into an American inner city and fix things, yet they were willing to believe that American troops could parachute into a far-off nation, depose a dictator and remake the nation.

It should be our wish and prayer that Iraqis one day embrace a democratic system that respects the rule of law and individual freedom. But it is not our business to create it. Even if it were, such an undertaking probably isn't even possible.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Local Gas Prices

You can find cheap gas in your area here.

Central Bank Diversification

Middle Eastern anger over the decision by the US to block a Dubai company from buying five of its ports hit the dollar yesterday as a number of central banks said they were considering switching reserves into euros.

This is not good news. However, there is a silver lining; silver and gold.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Another Aggie on LRC

It sure is nice to see some Aggies getting published on Morgan Reynolds has written some outstanding articles for LRC, check out his latest: Rainbow $10 Bills.

Contrary to statist myth, money is not an invention of the state. Money is the most marketable (most "liquid") commodity and it’s a natural result of the democratic market process. Only the private market can deliver quality money. Separation of money and state, not "better monetary policies," is the ultimate political goal.

An interesting secret is that we the people are not obliged to use the Fed’s paper money. We can lawfully use any money that is mutually agreeable in daily exchange. Silver and gold are real commodity money, although gold is too pricey for most trades. Silver is affordable, at least for now (it just topped $10 an ounce).

And now a newcomer from Texas A&M graces the pages of, Joshua Katz:

For their essays, I had them analyze a case I found in the CNN archives. This case involved a Grumman engineer who was arrested for selling American defense technology to the governments of eight countries. The technology was a special propulsion system for bombers that allows the plane to not be detected by radar. I gave a general assignment, having them write about the ethical issues raised. I was appalled, although not entirely shocked, by what they wrote.

Many students equated this engineer’s actions with murder, for various reasons. One rationale offered was that the governments of the other countries might use this technology to bomb the United States, causing the loss of American lives. True enough, but where were the expressions of outrage over the American government designing these planes, to be used in bombing innocent people in other countries? This is Texas A&M – these students are not hippy anti-war types, to say the least. Although it is correct that dropping bombs on people is murder, I see something obscene in this fact being recognized by war supporters, but only in reference to other nations. When the United States performs these actions, they are "humanitarian" or "liberating."

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Last Post on Harry

Sharon Harris remembers Harry Browne:

I am so grateful that he was able to be at the event, where he delivered his last two speeches. Upon receiving a stating ovation, he said, "I wish I could return the favor, as YOU are the ones deserving the praise."

If I sound like a fan -- well I am!

Anthony Gregory remembers Harry Browne:

You are a libertarian because "you're willing to tolerate anything that's peaceful, and you practice the principle of live and let live – opposing the initiation of force (violence) against anyone for any purpose.”

John Seiler remembers Harry Browne:

And imagine what America would be like of Browne had won in 1996 instead of Clinton and in 2000 instead of Bush: no war on Serbia in 1999, in which Clinton murdered 5,000 Christians to turn over Kosovo to Albanian terrorists with ties to al Qaeda; no Iraq War Quagmire under Bush; no Monicagate or Traitors' ("Patriot") Act. No illegal eavesdropping, record federal deficits and debt, rampant inflation.

Instead, we've had nine years of disaster and malaise. Harry will be missed.

Here are just a few of Harry's great articles:

When Will We Learn (written 9/12/01)

Why I Am Obsessed with War

I Love America. Do You?

One of Harry's mysterious mentors was a guy by the name of Andrew Galambos (a libertarian educational entrepreneur in Southern California in the 1960s with his Free Enterprise Institute). I had never heard of this guy until Harry died a few days ago. Harry's article, Andrew Galambos - the Unknown Libertarian is very intriguing.

New SNL Rap Video

I thought the new Natalie Portman rap video from SNL last night was way better than the recent Lazy Sunday video that garnered so much Internet attention.

Here are the lyrics.

America: From Freedom to Fascism Trailer

I'm not sure when this documentary will hit theaters, but you can view the trailer here.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Follow Up

Harry Browne will be honored on This Week with George Stephanopoulos (Sun. 9am ABC) during their segment "In Memoriam – Lives of Note."

You read/post comments about Harry on the
LP Blog.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

R.I.P. Harry

Harry Browne, personal idol, and the man I credit for my ascension to libertarianism died yesterday at the age of 72. Harry wrote some great books that changed the way I view government and life in general. I really enjoyed How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, but his masterpiece was The Great Libertarian Offer, which is the finest book on politics that I've ever read.

You can read Harry's wide array of articles on literally any political topic here. This is a great resource for any student by the way.

Also check out what Lew Rockwell had to say about Harry's passing. Harry and Lew go way back. Few people know it, but Lew was Harry's editor on his 1970 classic, How You Can Profit from the Coming Devaluation. Rest in Peace Harry.