Are you dedicated to the cause of Liberty? Would you like to make a difference; a real difference? Well, here is your opportunity. The Libertarian Party of Palm Beach County has three board positions up for election: Chair, Secretary and an At-Large position. The election will take place January 10, 2017. It is one thing to talk the talk of liberty. Here is an opportunity to step up to the plate for the cause of Liberty. Please join us and consider serving on the executive committee.
January 10, 2017- 7 p.m.
621 Lake Avenue
Lake Worth, FL 33460
As you consider your end-of-the-year charitable giving, please consider giving to the Libertarian Party.
2016 was a record-breaking year for the Libertarian Party because generations of Libertarians such as you have been investing faithfully in our growth.
This year, we achieved ballot access in all 50 states and DC so that all Americans had the opportunity to vote for Libertarian candidates.
This year, we received record levels of attention from news outlets nationwide.
This year, Libertarian candidates reached new heights with media endorsements from major news outlets.
This year, our presidential candidate achieved 3 times our previous record of votes.
In 2017, with your help, we can do the critical work necessary to build on these successes and break some new records in 2017 and 2018.
Right now, we’re recruiting candidates, challenging unfair laws in courts across the country, pursuing 50-state ballot access for 2018, building our infrastructure at all levels, and continuing to push the envelope on behalf of liberty…as the Libertarian Party has done ever since our founding 45 years ago.
As we usher out 2016 and welcome in 2017, please consider investing in the Libertarian Party so we can continue to prepare and grow for the next round of elections.
Head of Development
Paid for by the Libertarian National Committee, Inc.
1444 Duke St., Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Content not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.
Remember prosperity? Want it back? Here’s the secret formula, which has always worked and would work again: Cut marginal tax rates and restore integrity to the dollar.
Donald Trump is campaigning on meaningful marginal tax rate cuts and implying, with his offstage praise of the gold standard, a solid instinct for monetary integrity and how to produce it. One hopes so as it requires both together.
Reagan made “Supply-Side” famous by campaigning on and then enacted most of the Kemp-Roth 30% across-the-board tax rate cut. But John F. Kennedy was the original Supply-Sider. The book’s Big Reveal: Jack Kemp designed this tax cut as a direct copy of Kennedy’s own.
American memories are short. >snip<
We forget JFK’s decisive pivot toward big marginal tax rate cuts while defending the dollar as defined by a fixed weight of gold. We only dimly remember the rip-roaring job creation that promptly followed the enactment of Kennedy’s tax rate cut after his assassination.
Sixteen years of economic stagnation have stupefied us as to how the economy inherited by Reagan, in 1981, was worse. Few remember that after the enactment of Reagan’s across-the-board marginal tax rate cuts (lowering the top rate from 70% to 50% and then, with overwhelming bipartisan support, to 28%), another prolonged period of massive job creation and economic growth ensued.
Most also have forgotten how President Bill Clinton, after the Republicans took a Congressional majority, pivoted from his own misery-inducing Neo-Keynesian preferred policies to a supply-side policy mix. Regrettably, following Bush’s lead, Clinton also raised the top marginal tax rate.
That said, Clinton also cut the capital gains tax rate, embraced free trade, and mended a morally hazardous welfare system. He was rewarded by rip-roaring job creation and general prosperity. From those millions of new jobs came a federal budget surplus in place of deficits. This resulted in immense popularity.
Now do you remember? If not, Kudlow and Domitrovic to the rescue by showing how Supply-Side economics is not, by nature, a partisan thing. Democrats as well as Republicans love job creation. It’s great politics. The only thing that stands between us and greatness isn’t partisanship. It’s dogma.
#NeverTrumpers will be incredulous at the proposition that Trump could be akin to JFK, Reagan, and Bill Clinton. Trump is by disposition very, very different from all three. But it doesn’t much matter.
Among the effective executives I have known and worked with, there are extroverts and aloof, retiring men, some even morbidly shy. Some are eccentrics, others painfully correct conformists. Some are fat and some are lean. Some are worriers, some are relaxed. Some drink quite heavily, others are total abstainers. Some are men of great charm and warmth, some have no more personality than a frozen mackerel. There are a few men among them who would answer to the popular conception of a “leader.” But equally there are colorless men who could attract no attention in a crowd.
Many harbor doubts about Trump, including some elite Republicans. That said, the right policy mix, not the personality, delivers the goods.
This book is also important, in part, because Kudlow has become one of Trump’s most trusted economic policy advisors. This is not an academic work. It’s written right from the center of the political cyclone.
If you buy the policy mix but doubt the man, take into account that Trump has surrounded himself with authentic supply-siders, like Kudlow, and likely will staff his top economic policy shops with these loyalists. Elizabeth Warren recently observed, “personnel is policy.”
This book will help you assess Trump’s personnel as well.
The bottom line? Government, though airbrushed by the media, is a very sloppy, confusing business. As Herman Wouk perceptively wrote in the first chapter of his novel Inside, Outside, “[T]he longer I’m in Washington the more I realize that most people in this town tend to act with the calm forethought of a beheaded chicken.”
I found the most fascinating parts of this book to be those that reveal how prestige economists and elite government officials perennially embrace historically discredited Big Government policies. And the stories of the recurring fights by a vastly outnumbered and Death Starred Supply-Side Rebel Alliance who, against all odds, vanquish the Emperor.
The right policy mix, as Kudlow and Domitrovic show, takes us up the stairway to economic Heaven. The wrong mix leads us into economic Hell.
Economists call embracing faith-based thinking “strong priors.” That’s a fancy phrase for dogmatism, and dogma besets the policy elites. The electorate – on the receiving end of policy – typically displays more common sense than does our most distinguished experts.
Read JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity. Learn the Secret History of the Supply-Side Rebel Alliance and its never ending battle for economic opportunity and growth. Then, whether you vote Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Green, demand that whoever gets elected adopt low tax rates and high integrity money policies.
Such policies are not partisan. They inevitably lead to massive job creation and upward income mobility for all.
Note: The Libertarian Alliance is a charity, and it takes no view of any British or foreign election. For the avoidance of doubt, this article gives an entirely personal opinion. It is published only to encourage discussion, and does not reflect the corporate view of the Libertarian Alliance.
I think it in general a bad idea to write about elections in a foreign country. I do not live there and do not understand the particular circumstances of the country. Foreigners who write about England always make silly mistakes. Why should I be better informed about their countries? More than that, what happens outside England is none of my business.
I break the rule for the American election because I regret that it is my business. I regret – indeed, I am outraged – that our relationship with America reverses the normal standing of mother country to former colony. Whatever happens in America has a direct and profound impact on what happens in England. This gives me the moral right to an opinion. If the right does not extend to telling Americans how to vote in their own interests, it does extend to considering how the way that Americans may vote will affect the interests of my own people.
Therefore, I begin.
I hope, though do not believe, that Donald Trump will win the election next month. I do not suppose that he would keep many of his promises. Some of them do not seem capable of being kept. But the fact alone of his victory would be a blow against a New World Order that is underwritten by American military power and cultural influence. In the speech he gave on the 13th October, he said:
Our great civilization, here in America and across the civilized world has come upon a moment of reckoning. We’ve seen it in the United Kingdom, where they voted to liberate themselves from global government and global trade deal, and global immigration deals that have destroyed their sovereignty and have destroyed many of those nations. But, the central base of world political power is right here in America, and it is our corrupt political establishment that is the greatest power behind the efforts at radical globalization and the disenfranchisement of working people. Their financial resources are virtually unlimited, their political resources are unlimited, their media resources are unmatched, and most importantly, the depths of their immorality is absolutely unlimited.
For the man who said this to become President would legitimise an entire critique of the New World Order and the political correctness that it enforces. He might not close down the relevant agencies, or unfund the relevant universities. He might not do much at all. But he is giving voice to a rising tide of protest in America that will not go away, and that is already crossing the Atlantic, to breathe a semblance of life into our own dreary politics. A Trump Presidency would be in itself a political earthquake on both sides of the Atlantic. As such, it would be in English interests for him to win.
But I do not believe he will win. So what might we expect from a Clinton Presidency? Looked at from England, I still see benefits. Mrs Clinton will not start a big war. There may be ten or twenty million Americans who believe that a nuclear war in the Middle East will bring on the Second Coming. None of these, however, has any influence in the Democratic Party. Mrs Clinton and her staff do not wish to spend the rest of their lives stuck with each other in a fallout shelter, arguing over a dwindling stock of tinned pineapple. All they really want is to push Russia and China into a defensive alliance, and then to start a new Cold War against a new “threat.” This is grossly undesirable. But, given that, as in the first Cold War, both sides would continue talking behind the curtain, it is not unaffordable for America or its satellites. Its main cost, apart from the usual hill of non-white corpses, would be a stream of blank cheques to the usual suspects in the military-industrial complex.
I am told that she will open the gates to unlimited immigration. If true, this is a mostly American problem in which I take no interest. Where it is not a purely American problem, I see benefits to England. Every immigrant who turns up in America does not, by definition, turn up here. More importantly, immigration weakens the New World Order.
Put on an American accent, half mournful and half eager, and say with me: “These people are mostly Catholics and other people of faith. They are natural conservatives. We must persuade them to vote Republican.” This is, on the face of it, an absurd statement. The Republican Party is seen – and, below its normal leadership, is – the political voice of white America. It is, in principal at least, opposed to affirmative action and indiscriminate welfare. Why should immigrants from Honduras or Mexico or Somalia vote Republican? Doubtless, some do, because they believe in the American Dream. Good luck to them. But most do not, and will not.
There is, even so, an element of truth in the statement. The sorts of immigrant I have in mind are not leftists in the American sense. They have no interest in “saving the planet.” Most of them smoke. They are not visibly in favour of invading Timbuctoo for its failure to let transsexuals use the ladies’ toilet. The more important they grow as a voting group, the less trouble America will make in the world – and this is in the interest of my own people.
But the most solid benefit of a Clinton win would be its destabilising effect on politics in America. If I think he will lose, I suspect that Mr Trump will pick up more votes than the losing Republicans did in the previous two elections. These voters will not be pleased that their man lost because of a wall of corporate money, and an openly biased media, and voting groups whose roots in the country may go no further back than 1965. There will, as an old friend of mine used to say, be blood on the moon. Whether or not he accepts defeat, the support Mr Trump has identified will be ripe for the picking by anyone else who takes up his standard. The cries of rancour will echo round the world. They will be particularly heard in England.
If I were an American who cared about the nation into which he had been born, my vote would be for Mr Trump. There might be concerns about his personal behaviour and his honesty. He would get my vote all the same. But I am not an American, and, for all manner of reasons, I am glad of that. Speaking as an Englishman, I would prefer Mr Trump to win. I can see many advantages for my country in his victory. But a win by Mrs Clinton would also bring advantages, though fewer.
I will not sit up all night, to watch various Americans based in London talk about the latest results from Hicksville. But I will read the BBC website next morning with more than usual interest.
And this is all I have to say on the American election.
Three new success stories that move things in a Downsize DC direction.Retweet
We have two positive things to share with you about disentangling the U.S. from its alliance with the evil Saudi Arabia. Plus, we have another positive thing to tell you about the bill to repeal draft registration.
SUCCESS #1: Rand Paul was able to force a vote on his proposal to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia
This may sound like a small thing, especially given that Rand’s proposal lost by a significant margin. But it’s actually amazing that it even came to a vote, given what a threat it was to the business of the Military Industrial Complex. Our interpretation…
Congress is increasingly willing to consider proposals that question or reduce the longstanding U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia. Here’s more evidence of that…
SUCCESS #2: The Senate voted to OVERRIDE (97 to 1) President Obama’s veto of a bill allowing 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia.
This is huge! It’s another step toward potentially disentangling the U.S. from the evil Saudi Arabia. It may even result in more revelations, divulged in court, of Saudi complicity in 9/11.
SUCCESS #3: The House bill to repeal draft registration has a new co-sponsor.
The newest co-sponsor is Thomas Massie of Kentucky. This brings us to eight House sponsors for HR 4523 and one Senate sponsor for S 3041. Besides Massie, they are…
Rand Paul of Kentucky in the Senate. In the House…
California: Mark DeSaulnier , Dana Rohrabacher 
Colorado: Jared Polis 
Michigan: Fred Upton 
Oregon: Peter DeFazio 
Utah: Jason Chaffetz 
If you do NOT see your House Rep listed, then please take immediate action to build on this progress. If you too want to end draft registration then please tell your reps to co-sponsor these bills. The hardwired message to Congress for this campaign reads…
I want my House Rep to co-sponsor HR 4523 and my Senators to co-sponsor S. 3041. These bills would repeal draft registration.
You can copy or edit the following for your personal comments…
The all-volunteer military has been a smashing success. Honor that success by ending draft registration. We should never return to enslaving people against their wishes, as we did in Vietnam. Calling that a “defense of freedom” is hypocritical.
Still one of the top shopping days of the year, ShopperTrak, a website which counts foot traffic in retail stores, reports “preliminary retail visit data for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday 2016, [found] that shopper visits declined a combined 1 percent when compared to the same days in 2015.”
Brian Field, senior director of advisory services for ShopperTrak said, “After analyzing historical shopper visit data, we found that Thanksgiving Day store openings were increasingly pulling shopper visits from Black Friday over the past few years.”
Despite this decline in sales at brick-and-mortar stores, online sales increased an estimated 21.6% from 2015 with online sales totaling over $3.3 billion, with about $1 billion in online sales coming from mobile devices.
ShopperTrak adds, “Separating shopper visits on Black Friday and Thanksgiving night and reporting that ‘Black Friday visits are down’ fails to acknowledge that, just a few years ago, retailers began opening their stores earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving night.”
However, the holiday shopping sales may not actually be down. Total sales are projected to increase from 2015 with the National Retail Federation estimating total holiday season sales, i.e. total sales in November and December, expected to jump 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion. And ShopperTrak shows 8 of the 10 busiest shopping days of the year are in December, with the day after Christmas as the second busiest shopping day after Black Friday followed by December 23 and the Saturday before Christmas Eve (December 17, this year).
If you’re a consumer, and to some extent everyone is a consumer, you may find some good deals this time of year. I’m not a fan of the consumerism associated with holidays. As a matter of fact, I like the idea of Buy Nothing Day. However, I understand people do need to make legitimate purchases, such as food, fuel or other essential items.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not oppose the idea of businesses offering good deals. What I oppose is the false sense of urgency and artificial scarcity on these deals. I oppose the tactic of using loss-leaders to get people into your store in the hopes that they will but things they probably don’t want or need, and can’t afford.
Whether or not Black Friday becomes Black Thursday or even Black Wednesday, I believe that businesses should offer products at an affordable price every day of the year and consumer’s should be smart enough not to purchase what they can’t afford.
In Peace, Freedom, Love & Liberty,
Darryl W. Perry
Final results: 15 Libertarian winners in November 8 election
Eight Libertarian candidates won their Nov. 8 general election races, and seven Libertarian officials were re-elected.Below is the list of elected and re-elected officials:
Continental Elementary School District Board (re-elected)
Tehachapi Cummings Water District Board (re-elected)
Purissima Hills Water District Board (re-elected)
Vista Fire Protection District Board
Susan Marie Weber
Palm Desert City Council (re-elected)
Palm Beach County Soil and Water Conservation 2
Marco Island City Council
Jefferson County Commissioner B
Susan J. Bell
Hagerstown Judge (re-elected)
Ypsilanti Township Parks Commissioner
Madison Mayor (re-elected)
Burnsville City Council
Gering City Council
Larry Bush Jarrell
Virginia Beach City Council
Click here to see the list of all elected Libertarian officials.
Libertarians file to reclaim party status in Ohio
From a press release issued on Dec. 5 by the Ohio Libertarian Party: COLUMBUS — The five-person committee that filed petitions to place the Libertarian presidential ticket of Gary Johnson and William Weld on the November ballot in Ohio filed paperwork [onFridayafternoon, Dec. 2] with the office of Secretary of State Jon Husted claiming party status and ballot access for the next four years. The five committee members, all currently members of the LPO’s central committee, are requesting identification of the party as “Libertarian” and an immediate response to allow the party to place candidates on the Ohio primary ballot in 2017 in those jurisdictions in which odd-year elections are partisan. Read more.
Corey Fauconier running in special election for state senate in Virginia
Corey Fauconier for Virginia state senate
From the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Dec. 6: “Libertarian activist Corey Fauconier filed paperwork with the Virginia Department of Elections by Monday’s 5 P.M. filing deadline, according to state officials. The filing is under review to ensure Fauconier met all requirements for ballot access, including the submission of 250 petition signatures from voters in the district.” “Fauconier managed the 2015 Senate campaign of Libertarian Carl Loser, who finished fourth out of four candidates running for the 10th District seat now held by Sen. Glen H. Sturtevant Jr., R–Richmond. A New York native and hip-hop enthusiast who has gone by the stage name ‘Sage,’ Fauconier drew attention last year for a Libertarian rap video that promoted Loser’s campaign.” The Department of Elections confirmed on Dec. 7 that Fauconier turned in more than 250 valid signatures and that he’s now in a two-way race for the senate seat. Read the full article.
Kankakee County Board’s Byrne joins Libertarian Party of Illinois
From a press release issued by the Illinois Libertarian Party on Dec. 7: Kankakee County Board Representative Jim Byrne, R-Bradley, announced today he has officially joined the Libertarian Party of Illinois. Byrne will serve as the Vice Chairman of the new Kankakee County Libertarian Party central committee that was formed and recognized by the Libertarian Party of Illinois earlier this fall. Byrne has served on the Kankakee County Board since March 2011. He won re-election last month and will serve a four year term. During his tenure on the board, Byrne has served as Vice-Chairman, Vice-Chair of the Public Safety Committee, Vice-Chair of the Highway and Bridge Committee, Building and Grounds Committee and Community Service Committee. Byrne will remain as an elected Republican official. “I have joined the Libertarian Party of Illinois, not because POTUS-Elect Trump was just elected or [because of] what Gov. Rauner is doing in Springfield. I joined the Libertarian Party because…I am a Ron Paul Republican, a Libertarian who believes in small government that is accountable and transparent to the people,” said Byrne. Read more.
Sitting Delaware councilman switches to Libertarian Party
L-R: Ed Zielinski and 2016 LP candidate for governor of Delaware, Sean Goward.
Ed Zielinski, an elected councilman of Elsmere, Delaware, recently switched over to the Libertarian Party. Mr. Zielinksi, a former Republican, was elected to the nonpartisan town council seat in April 2015. He switched his party registration to the Libertarian Party in September. “I had received no support for liberty legislation,” said Mr. Zielinski about switching parties. “The council has continually pushed for spending and tax increases.” “We’re proud to have Ed join the Libertarian Party of Delaware,” said Delaware Libertarian Party chair Scott Gesty. “Ed has always been a strong advocate of Liberty and we’re honored to have him representing the people of Elsmere as a Libertarian.” Elsmere is located in New Castle County, and has a population of over 6,000. The seat will be up for election in April 2017.
The left is undertaking an amazing back door plan to dramatically increase its influence over the Fed’s interest-rate-setting Open Market Committee.
The key activist group, a division of the Center for Popular Democracy, is working to kick the bankers off the boards of directors of the district Federal Reserve banks. Those boards choose the presidents who serve, in rotation, as voting members on the FOMC. Brilliant.
In scope, the left’s plan makes trivial by comparison Auric Goldfinger’s “Operation Grand Slam” to contaminate America’s gold holdings at the US Treasury Depository at Fort Knox. Goldfinger planned to turn them radioactive. Those holdings amounted, in 1964, to about $14 billion. They are now valued at close to $200 billion.
Either way, a tidy sum. Yet it’s just a nickel compared to the Fed’s more than $4 trillion holdings.
Most impressive. The left is undertaking its own Operation Super Grand Slam.
It is doing so proficiently and systematically. Unfortunately for the left, fortunately for America, it has run into a real life James Bond: House Monetary Policy Subcommittee Chairman Bill Huizenga (R-MI). The irresistible force has met its immovable object.
Let it be said that I, along with much of the right, also am highly critical of the Fed. I, a dues paying member of the AFL-CIO, am of the wing of the right wing that is in full solidarity with Fed Up’s commitment to wage growth.
We share identification of the Fed as a main perp in the failure of workers to thrive. From the right, for example, check out Put Growth First. Its website is headlined “End the Fed’s War on Wage Growth: Restore Prosperity for the Striving Majority.”
I part company with the left on its proposed solution of taking over district Federal Reserve Bank governance. Hola, Venezuela! Upon encountering Fed Up’s representatives while we were waiting to enter the Congressional hearing I requested the opportunity to engage in further conversation. Waiting, eagerly, to hear back.
Fed Up is a class act. Making the voices of the have-nots heard is commendable. Bring it on.
We have seen Fed Up’s green-shirted protesters in photographs from Jackson Hole with Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Fed Up’s operations, according to the Washington Post’s Ylan Q. Mui, are materially funded by an $850,000 grant by a billionaire Facebook co-founder
$1 million to move $4 trillion? Wow!
Moskowitz and Tuna’s money is being well but wrongheadedly spent. Spending low seven figures to attempt to shift a multi-trillion-dollar vector implies, in success, leverage of more than a million to one. That’s way beyond what Silicon Valley calls a “unicorn.”
It is well beyond the Big Reveal in the Goldfinger movie:
Bond: Yes, well, I’ve worked out a few statistics of my own. 15 billion dollars in gold bullion weighs 10,500 tons. Sixty men would take twelve days to load it onto 200 trucks. Now, at the most, you’re going to have two hours before the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines move in and make you put it back. Goldfinger: Who mentioned anything about removing it?
[Bond is stunned into silence] Goldfinger: The julep tart enough for you? Bond: You plan to break into the world’s largest bank, but not to steal anything. Why? Goldfinger: Go on, Mr. Bond. Bond: [thinking] Mr. Ling, the Red Chinese at the factory, he’s a specialist in nuclear fission… but of course! His government’s given you a bomb. Goldfinger: I prefer to call it an “atomic device.” It’s small, but particularly dirty. Bond: A dirty bomb? Cobalt and iodine? Goldfinger: Precisely. Bond: Well, if you explode it in Fort Knox, the… the entire gold supply of the United States would be radioactive for… fifty-seven years. Goldfinger: Fifty-eight, to be exact. Bond: I apologize, Goldfinger. It’s an inspired deal! They get what they want, economic chaos in the West. And the value of your gold increases many times. Goldfinger: I conservatively estimate, ten times. Bond: Brilliant.
Subcommittee Chairman Bill Huizenga chaired last week’s House Financial Services Committee hearing with a suave “shaken, not stirred” demeanor. >snip<” The House stymied Fed Up.
With Fed Up we are looking at leverage not of a factor of ten but a factor of a million. Brilliant, yet grandiosity alone is not enough.
Pity that if Fed Up succeeded in hijacking bank governance it would most likely produce “economic chaos,” especially for workers. Somewhat comparable measures deeply injured the workers of Venezuela.
That said, there may be an unnoticed opportunity lurking here. Fed Up commands:
The entire Federal Reserve System should be subject to external reviews and disclosure requirements just like every other key public agency. The Government Accountability Office should produce a regular annual review of the Fed’s policies, procedures, management, and operations. Such reviews will identify key shortcomings, risks, and opportunities for improvement and will facilitate appropriate congressional oversight.
If Moskowitz and Tuna want to help Fed Up produce a Facebook-like super-unicorn — rather than the policy equivalent of GeoCities.com — let them whisper this news into the ear of Fed Up’s field director, Shawn Sebastion. The House late last year passed legislation to this very effect: FORM, the Fed Oversight Reform and Modernization Act of 2015.
With Fed Up’s support FORM could be enacted into law. Now.
This legislation now reposes in the Senate Banking Committee, presumably awaiting a signal that five or so Democratic U.S. Senators would support it (as a very significant number of House Democrats repeatedly voted in support of “Audit the Fed,” part of FORM). A quiet phone call from a few progressive thought leaders, such as Moskowitz and Tuna, to Senator Warren to invite her support could well precipitate a reform of historic proportions.
FORM is something around which the left and the right can reasonably unite. Win-win. And America wins. Then?
Unlike Auric Goldfinger, the Center for Popular Democracy will surely live to go up against Chairman Bill “Bond” Huizenga again.
That said, an historic opportunity beckons. If Fed Up moves quickly, now, the left and the right can unite to impose transparency on the Fed.
Thereafter the left surely will continue its efforts to make a “hostile takeover of the Fed.” So it goes.
I went yesterday evening to a seminar arranged in London by the Social Affairs Unit. This began with a brief lecture by Theodore Dalrymple, a doctor who writes an occasional column forThe Spectator. His theme was “The Proletarianisation of British Culture”. He explained how notions of politeness and restraint were vanishing from the middle classes, being replaced by an increasing vulgarity of thought and behaviour; and that this was not a vulgarity copied from the working classes, but was part of a general decline also affecting them. It was a brief lecture, and was intended as no more than a summary of the problem. The discussion was then thrown open for others to supply answers or other pertinent comments.
These seminars, I think, have been arranged to allow free discussion in private; and so I will not report the discussion, or even say who else was there. Instead, I will give my own thoughts on the problem. I believe that much of the vulgarity of thought and behaviour can be traced to a failure throughout the English speaking world, since about 1960, to understand the meaning and value of education.
I will not presume to say what is the purpose of life. Though I wish it were otherwise, I suspect there is no objective purpose, and it is up to us as individuals to supply our own. But whatever the case, I think it reasonable to say that our purpose ought to be to make ourselves as happy as we can, and to contribute as much as we can to the general stock of happiness.
Now, happiness comes in many forms and is found in many places. If we want ecstatic pleasure, that can be found in any number of legal and illegal substances. If we want uncomprehending contentment, there are lobotomies or courses of electric shock therapy. But given that most people reading this article are at least moderately intelligent, I will not bother with criticising these kinds of happiness. For us, happiness surely includes understanding and even wisdom. This requires some subordination of present to future objectives, and in particular getting the best education of which we are capable. I will define an educated person as someone who can hold an interesting conversation with himself throughout the whole uncertain course of his adult life—someone with a fair knowledge of human nature, a tolerance of the milder follies, an understanding of the limits of what is possible, a calm equanimity of temper, and, ideally, with a sense of humour. Some of these qualities are innate. Others must be acquired.
A person who possesses these qualities cannot fail to be an interesting and a pleasing companion to himself through life. And the existence of many such people, largely connected with each other, gives rise to what the economists call a positive externality. A country in which the tone of life is set by such a class of people is invariably a more pleasant place to be than a country where such a class does not exist. That country will be more beautiful in its arrangement of material objects, and more gentle in its courtesies. Its laws will be more humanely framed and more humanely applied. Its politics will be steadier in their course and more temperate in their ends. It will go to war less often, and then mostly for the pursuit of legitimate interests. Because of the greater security of life and property, and the greater respect for thrift and sobriety, it will also be richer and more powerful.
Such an education means a training in habits of thought and the exercise of general intellectual ability. It may require the acquisition of specific skills—for example, learning at least one of the classical languages and few modern languages, and learning some of the technical aspects of music and the visual arts. It may also require an understanding of mathematics and of the natural sciences. It certainly requires a long study of literature and history and philosophy and law and political economy. But none of this may be useful in any direct financial sense.
This is not to disparage purely technical or professional training. These are not at all to be despised. Some while ago, I took a course in bookbinding, and was filled with respect for the skill and dedication of the old man who taught me. Accountancy and legal practice and medicine and the ability to see and make use of previously undiscovered business opportunities, are all of high value. But they are not in themselves education. My instructor in bookbinding was a man of wide culture. Not only did he know how to put books together, but he also had a strong appreciation of what he was putting together. I know accountants and lawyers and physicians who can keep me happily awake until three in the morning as we discuss the state of the world. That, however, is because they are not just what they have trained to become. It is because they are also educated men.
The problem we are now facing is largely the outcome of a decline of respect for humanistic education. My dear friend Dennis O’Keeffe is famous for his denunciations of what he calls socialist education—this being a denial that there is any value in the traditional curriculum, and that the cultures of all social classes and of all racial and national groups are equally valuable; and even that ours is inferior, so far as it contains within itself at least the implicit claim to general hegemony over all others. With this goes the dangerous absurdities of structuralism and post-modernism.
Of course, Dennis is right. But it is not only Michel Foucault and Louis Althusser and Herbert Bowles and Samuel Gintis who are to blame for the attack on humanism. It is also the intellectual philistinism of our own intellectual allies. When I was a boy, I got into an argument with my mathematics teacher, an Armenian Marxist who wore jeans in class an long leather boots spray painted green—this was the 1970s. I asked him one day what was the value of the simultaneous equations he was trying to teach us how to solve. He made what I now realise was a good attempt to explain their value, but began to lose his temper when I failed to understand him. Many years later, I read of a similar exchange in Alexandria between Euclid and one of his students. Euclid, it seems, did not even try to explain himself. Instead, he told his assistant to give the man his money back and throw him into the street.
I now understand the value of knowledge that has no immediate or obvious use. Sadly, many others who call themselves libertarians or conservatives do not. With their talk of “vocational learning” and “learning based outcomes”, they deny the value of any education that is not directed to the gaining of marketable skills.
I know of schools that teach information technology but not history. Again, I do not dispute the value of technical skills. I am proud of my ability to build computers and to make software work: my own website is almost entirely crafted by hand in HTML. But history also is important. An accountant who is ignorant of the French Revolution, or cannot recognise sonata form, or knows not a line of poetry, is nothing more than a skilled barbarian. In a nation where only a small minority is truly educated, legal equality becomes a hard concept to maintain, let alone political equality. In a nation without even that minority, public life must inevitably become savage and arbitrary—a thing of wild, inconstant passions, led by those unable to perceive or follow longer term goods.
That is where, I think, we are now fast approaching. We have a Prime Minister who cannot spell, and is not ashamed of the fact. We have a political class in general that lacks nearly all skill of persuasive speech and seems ignorant of the past. Of the first Ministers appointed to serve under Tony Blair, apparently, the majority listed football as their main hobby in their Who’s Who entries; and not one listed any humanistic pursuit. I doubt if the Conservatives are much better. Perhaps the Judges and permanent heads of department will soon follow the trend. Little wonder our freedoms are being given up, one at a time, to moral panics and appeals to administrative convenience.
Is there anything to be done? I am not sure that there is in the short term. It takes centuries of moral evolution to achieve the level from which we have now declined. Between the renaissance vulgarities of behaviour described by Norbert Elias to the gentility of life in the 1900s lie 500 years of gradual improvement. To suppose that the present decline can be arrested and turned round in one lifetime is perhaps too optimistic. But there are certain steps that may easily be taken towards an eventual improvement. One of the participants in the seminar last night described how he had thrown out his television set, and how this had already contributed to the moral tone of his household. There is an example to be followed—and cheaply followed, bearing in mind the decadence of broadcasting.
Aside from this, we can hope for a collapse of the universities. There are always exceptions, but most are nowadays a combination of training schools for narrow professional disciplines, and academies of falsehood. George Orwell once declared of some absurdity “you need to be an intellectual to believe that”. This needs now to be amended to “You need a degree to believe that”. I am not sure the universities, taken as a whole, can be reformed: better, I suspect, either to wait for their natural decline into irrelevance or to shut them down at the first opportunity. One of the first acts of the Ayatollah Khomeini after taking power in Iran was to close all the universities for three years. The bloody revolution of which this was a part is, of course, to be condemned. But I have no doubt that Shiite theology and law were much closer to the humanistic ideal than the western sociology they replaced. Perhaps historians will one day trace the growing stability and democratisation of modern Iran to this educational reform.
But as my readers may have noticed, I tend to be better at describing problems than giving solutions to them. I can only conclude by thanking the Social Affairs Unit for inviting me to so stimulating a discussion, and to hope that I shall be invited to others in future.
Downsize DC seeks record 20th sponsor for its One Subject at a Time ActRetweet
Many members of Congress are at home campaigning (pandering?) for your vote. This doesn’t mean their Capitol Hill offices are dark. In fact…
This might be the best time to have your voice heard on an issue that matters to you. There are fewer messages being sent to Congress right now, and a good chance that your request might be forwarded to the campaign staff as a suggestion for winning votes. With that in mind…
I want my representatives to co-sponsor Downsize DC’s “One Subject at a Time Act” in the House (HR 4335) and the Senate (S. 1572).
Don’t send this message if your Senator is Rand Paul (who introduced our bill in the Senate), or your rep is on this list of current co-sponsors…
Florida: Dennis Ross 
Georgia: Doug Collins , Barry Loudermilk 
Idaho: Raul Labrador 
Iowa: Rod Blum 
Kansas: Kevin Yoder 
Kentucky: Thomas Massie 
Maryland: Andy Harris 
Minnesota: Tom Emmer 
New Mexico: Stevan Pearce 
North Carolina: Mark Walker 
Ohio: Jim Jordan 
Oklahoma: Jim Bridenstine 
South Carolina: Mick Mulvaney 
Texas: John Ratcliffe 
Utah: Mia Love , Chris Stewart 
Virginia: Dave Brat 
You can copy or edit the following text for your personal comments…
Eighteen House members and one Senator are already sponsoring this bill. You could win some extra votes by becoming sponsor number 20. Surely your constituents would like hearing that you believe…
- All proposals should pass or fail based only on their own merits
- Unpopular bills should NOT be passed by clustering them with unrelated measures
I will be interested to see if you seize this opportunity to impress the citizens you hope to represent in the next Congress.
A visitor from another galaxy might be puzzled as to why so many Americans are so hung up on the issue of skin color. Given that slavery in the United States was abolished more than 150 years ago, you’d think that the subject would have faded into the marred pages of human history by now. So why is talk of racism still alive and well?
I believe the reason it’s so difficult for so many people to let go of the racism narrative is because it’s taken on a life of its own. But, contrary to what the radical left would like us to believe, most Americans moved beyond racism decades ago. Even the Jim Crow laws that were so ferociously promoted and protected by white Southern Democrats are but a distant, unpleasant memory.
Nevertheless, there still exists a large number of nefarious people who refuse to let the subject die, because they have found, to their delight, that they can profit handsomely by nurturing the idea that racism is at the heart of most of our nation’s problems. It is, of course, a totally false narrative, but one that is effectively used to prey upon those who live lives of noisy desperation.
Racism is relentlessly pushed to the forefront by race hustlers in their quest for ever more power and money, and shamelessly invoked by left-wing politicians as one of an array of nasty tools to help them stay in power. To be sure, it takes a person who is abjectly ignorant or hopelessly immoral to promote such a hoax, and, unfortunately, America has plenty of both.
The pretense of the promoters of racism is that they are protectors of helpless black folks who continue to be victimized by millions of whites who want to see them permanently oppressed. The safe haven the Dirty Dems offer them is the federal government’s welfare plantation, which is really a welfare prison.
Ironically, the election of America’s first (half) black president gave new life to the false claims of racism in America, which is a bit nutty considering the fact that his election was made possible by the votes of white Americans. But let me make it clear that I don’t for a second believe Barack Obama is particularly hung up on race, which is probably why blacks have ended up being so much worse off since his rise to power.
The truth be known, Obama has zero interest in helping blacks — or anyone else, for that matter. He is a totally committed ideologue who sincerely believes, in his angry, twisted mind, that the destruction of American exceptionalism is a noble undertaking.
And toward that end, he and his fellow American haters have skillfully used the false race narrative, especially to undermine anyone who opposes his policies. From whence comes the absurd claim that any resistance to his anti-American actions are a result of white people’s hatred of him because of his skin color.
Again, given the fact that he was elected not once, but twice, by a white-majority population, it’s an absurd claim, but the radical left continues to use it for one reason and one reason only: It works! So even though millions of people of all colors are experiencing racism fatigue, there is far too much profit in the exploitation of white guilt for the phony race card to go away anytime soon.
That’s right, the truth is that those who profit from racism do not want racial discord to die. They realize that because millions of Americans (both black and white) have no clue that they are being played for suckers, the so-called race card can be repeatedly dealt with predictable results.
We’ve seen this over and over again in recent years. Notwithstanding the adjudicated facts, the false Travon Martin narrative, the outrageous “Hands up, don’t shoot” lie in Ferguson, and the nasty fiction created by the perennially angry Marilyn Moseby about the Baltimore police are still believed by millions of information-challenged people.
As Joseph Goebbels infamously boasted, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Obama’s incredible success (in fundamentally changing the United States of America) is based on this simple tactic, as is his campaign for a third term (through his loathsome, blackmailed puppet, Hillary the Horrible).
So, is America’s future hopeless? It depends how far into the future you’re talking about. You certainly can’t fundamentally transform an upside-down culture into a civilized society overnight, but you do have the power of choice when it comes to transforming yourself into a more knowledgeable human being who refuses to accept lying and criminality in government as the status quo.
If enough people made a sincere effort to increase their own knowledge base, perhaps America could begin a slow — very slow — U-turn and eventually start moving in the direction of a more perfect union. By “a more perfect union,” I’m talking about a more enlightened and civilized America, one in which tyranny is reviled and liberty is extolled by a large majority of the populace.
I realize that right now a more civilized America sounds like a far-off fantasy, but perhaps real change at the top of the governmental food chain would give us all a bit more confidence that major, positive change is possible within a few generations. After all, you have to begin somewhere, so why not start by doing everything within your power to help defeat the Washington Crime Syndicate in November — from top to bottom.
Every few years it seems the political compass flips around. You may recall following Barack Obama’s re-election, petitions were placed on the White House petition website supporting secession for Texas and several other states. While petitions ultimately went up for all 50 states, only the Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas petitions gathered the requisite number of signature to garner an official response. Someone even started a petition to deport those favoring secession, though that petition did not specify where they would be sent.
The official White House response to the secession petitions stated, in part, “Our founding fathers established the Constitution of the United States ‘in order to form a more perfect union’ through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. They enshrined in that document the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot… But they did not provide a right to walk away from it… more than 600,000 Americans died in a long and bloody civil war that vindicated the principle that the Constitution establishes a permanent union between the States.”
In short, “people died so therefore you can’t do it.” People also died in the American Revolution, which was a war in favor of colonial secession, but to those opposed to secession that is somehow different. Human bloodshed does not determine what rights a person has, but I digress.
Earlier this year the Texas Nationalist Movement attempted to place an initiative on the Republican primary ballot, but the state GOP put a halt to that. The Christian Science Monitor reports, “A Reuters poll from 2014 [showed]: Secession gained support from more Republicans than Democrats that year.” Now a group in California, partially inspired by the June Brexit vote in the UK in which British voters decided to leave the EU, is planning to petition for what they’re calling a Calexit. If it gathers enough valid signatures, the Calexit proposal would have two votes. The first vote would be on the 2018 general election ballot “that if passed would call for a special election for Californians to vote for or against the independence of California from the United States” in the spring of 2019.
A group in Oregon initially stated their intentions to petition for the Beaver State to secede, but withdrew their initiative two days later. Only time will tell if those who supported secession during the Obama Presidency will continue to support the idea during Trump’s, or what will happen with Calexit, Oregone, the Second Vermont Republic, NHexit, or any of the other secessionist movements popping up across the country.
As a supporter of self-determination, I support all people who seek to declare independence, and now that secession is no longer being seen nationally as simply a right-wing issue, I feel vindicated that it was a key plank of my Presidential campaign.
In Peace, Freedom, Love & Liberty,
Darryl W. Perry
LP congratulates Perry for opportunity to abolish Department of Energy
A modest congratulation
The Libertarian Party extends a hearty congratulations to Gov. Rick Perry for his announced nomination by President-elect Donald Trump to head the Department of Energy.
“Gov. Perry has a rare opportunity to head one of the agencies he pledged to abolish,” said Nicholas Sarwark, Chair of the Libertarian Party. “Even though most Republican politicians have proven incapable – or insincere – when it comes to abolishing anything in government, I’m confident he really means it this time.”
During Perry’s 2012 run for the Republican nomination for president, he pledged to abolish the Departments of Energy, Commerce, and Education.
“No doubt he will be at least as successful as President Ronald Reagan and his Department of Education appointee, Bill Bennett, who promised to abolish that agency in 1980,” said Sarwark.
The Department of Education grew under Bennett’s leadership and has continued to grow, both in authority and dollars spent, ever since.
“Of course if the governor finds, like most Republican politicians, that he’s really not interested in shrinking government, or that the DOE is a gold mine for crony capitalist friends, he can always appease some of his supporters by simply transferring the functions currently run by the DOE – which include climate research and regulation of nuclear energy – to other departments within the federal government,” said Sarwark. “Not a single federal employee needs to be left unemployed. They can get a pink slip on Friday and report to a ‘new’ job down the street the following Monday doing the exact same work.”
Perry, who was governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015, is known for his cozy relationship with the oil and gas industry. Texas energy industry executives made substantial donations to his campaigns for governor as well as his 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns.
“And if that proves to be inconvenient,” Sarwark continued,” there’s always the rename option. He can simply ‘repeal’ the ‘Department of Energy’ and ‘replace’ it with the ‘Department of Alternative and Traditional Energy Oversight’ — and continue operations without a hitch.”
“Why drain the swamp in Washington D.C. when you can simply declare it endangered wetlands?”
Politics is part prestidigitation, part reality. A great magician distracts her audience’s attention while producing the payoff. Abracadabra!
Want to see how it’s done? Focus on the hidden hand.
In this case, the United States Senate.
The real issue America for American politics is how to restore job creation. Most voters, courtesy of the mainstream media, are fixated on the presidential election. The real action is happening elsewhere: in a nearly invisible battle between the Capitol and, mere blocks away, the headquarters of the Federal Reserve System.
As one of my favorite Forbes.com columnists, Tim Worstall, recently observed in his typical crisp way:
Employment is determined by the combination of monetary and fiscal policy. Both affect aggregate demand and how many jobs there are is determined by that aggregate demand. Thus it is the actions of the Federal Reserve combined with those of Congress which determines how many jobs there are in America. And nothing else.
“Employment is determined by the combination of monetary and fiscal policy. And nothing else.” The presidential campaign has barely broached monetary policy.
No wonder. It’s dreadfully boring. That said, it’s what’s killing jobs.
The real action is hidden in plain sight.
In fact it’s hidden right where the Constitution puts it, in the Congress’s hands, right along with a lot of other boring but absolutely crucial matters. It’s in the same section as fixing the standards of weights and measures.
Congress delegated weights and measures to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is doing a stunningly great job of it. Congress delegated the power to regulate the value of the dollar to the Fed, which is making a botch of it. The value of the dollar has shrunk by 85% over the past 45 years due to the Fed’s terrible quality control.
>snip<Money matters. Bad money “engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.” Bad money “is noticed by only a few very thoughtful people … gradually overthrows governments, and in a hidden insidious way.”
Lucky for America, we have, in the Congress that “one man in a million” riding to our rescue with a proposed monetary commission Actually, greatly against the odds, we have several: Rep. Kevin Brady (the monetary commission’s prime sponsor), Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Chair of the committee of jurisdiction, House Financial Services Committee), and Rep. Paul Ryan (Speaker). Together almost unheralded, they got this antidote to what is stifling American job creation passed last November.
The Congressional Research Service summarizes it:
This bill establishes the Centennial Monetary Commission to: examine how U.S. monetary policy since the creation of the Federal Reserve Board in 1913 has affected the performance of the U.S. economy in terms of output, employment, prices, and financial stability over time… and recommend a course for U.S. monetary policy going forward.
This excellent piece of legislation could finally smoke the snake out from the wood pile. It now sits in the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body, the United States Senate.
It portends as crucial to restoring the American Dream.
Its prime Senate sponsor, another “man in a million,” is no less than the Honorable John Cornyn, the #2 leader of the Senate and Senate Whip. Bonus: it is in the jurisdiction of the excellent Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby.
>snip<The “Federal Reserve Note Standard” correlates closely with stagnation and with income inequality, both. It really is the American Dream killer. If final passage of the Commission falls to the next Congress either President Trump or President Clinton should be delighted to sign this legislation. So, if passed this year, President Obama should be delighted.
>snip<While the presidential candidates battle it out on a lot of side issues what’s really at stake is to how to reignite great job growth. For us yeomen (and yeowomyn) great job growth includes upward mobility of raises, bonuses, and promotions that come with it for us. Upward mobility and middle income economic security depends good Money.
Thus the real issue confronting America, abracadabra, is being litigated in an almost occult fight between the Congress and the Fed. The Fed has not yet publicly opined on the Commission – to which it will appoint an ex-officio commissioner. Any protests as to threats to its independence – which such a commission certainly does not represent — would be utterly disingenuous.
The House has re-asserted its Constitutional authority. It has responded to its Constitutional call of duty. Restoring the American Dream now resides in the hands of the United States Senate. America is unbelievably lucky to have Sens. Cornyn and Shelby presiding there.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe The Ethics of Argumentation
Speech to the Property and Freedom Society
(First published by the Libertarian Alliance, 9th September 2016)
At repeated requests from many sides – and given my already advanced stage in life – I have deemed it appropriate to take this opportunity to speak a bit about myself. Not about my private life, of course, but about my work. And not about all subjects – and there are several to which I have made some, however little contribution in the course of the years – but one subject only. The one subject, where I consider my contribution the most important: the apriori of argumentation as the ultimate foundation of law.
I developed the central argument during the mid-1980s, in my own mid-thirties. Not from scratch, of course. I took up ideas and arguments previously developed by others, in particular my first principal philosophy teacher and Doktorvater, Jürgen Habermas, and even more importantly Habermas’ long-time friend and colleague, Karl-Otto Apel, as well as by the philosopher-economists Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard. In any case, however, the argument I ultimately developed appeared to me essentially new and original. (Around the same time, Frank van Dun, living in Flanders and writing in Dutch, and having been brought up in very different philosophical circumstances and traditions, had come up with a very similar argument and conclusion. Yet at the time, we both did not know of each other’s work and would only find out years later.)
In a nutshell – I shall come to more detailed explanations and clarifications shortly – the argument runs like this:
That: All truth-claims – all claims that a given proposition is true, false, indeterminate or un-decidable or that an argument is valid and complete or not – are raised, justified and decided upon in the course of an argumentation.
That: The truth of this proposition cannot be disputed without falling into contradiction, as any attempt to do so would itself have to come in the form of an argument. Hence, the “Apriori” of argumentation.
That: Argumentation is not free-floating sounds but a human action, i.e., a purposeful human activity employing physical means – a person’s body and various external things – in order to reach a specific end or goal: the attainment of agreement concerning the truth-value of a given proposition or argument.
That: While motivated by some initial disagreement, dispute or conflict concerning the validity of some truth-claim, every argumentation between a proponent and an opponent is itself a conflict-free – mutually agreed on, peaceful – form of interaction aimed at resolving the initial disagreement and reaching some mutually agreed-on answer as to the truth-value of a given proposition or argument.
That: The truth or validity of the norms or rules of action that make argumentation between a proponent and an opponent at all possible – the praxeological presuppositions of argumentation – cannot be argumentatively disputed without falling into a pragmatic or performative contradiction.
That: The praxeological presuppositions of argumentation, then, i.e., what makes argumentation as a specific form of truth-seeking activity possible, are twofold: a) each person must be entitled to exclusive control or ownership of his physical body (the very mean that he and only he can control directly, at will) so as to be able to act independently of one another and come to a conclusion on his own, i.e., autonomously; and b), for the same reason of mutually independent standing and autonomy, both proponent and opponent must be entitled to their respective prior possessions, i.e., the exclusive control of all other, external means of action appropriated indirectly by them prior to and independent of one another and prior to the on-set of their argumentation.
And that: Any argument to the contrary: that either the proponent or the opponent is not entitled to the exclusive ownership of his body and all prior possessions cannot be defended without falling into a pragmatic or performative contradiction. For by engaging in argumentation, both proponent and opponent demonstrate that they seek a peaceful, conflict-free resolution to whatever disagreement gave rise to their arguments. Yet to deny one person the right to self-ownership and prior possessions is to deny his autonomy and his autonomous standing in a trial of arguments. It affirms instead dependency and conflict, i.e., heteronomy, rather than conflict-free and autonomously reached agreement and is thus contrary to the very purpose of argumentation.
When I had worked out this argument at last, I was struck by how simple and straightforward it was. I was almost astonished why it had taken me so long to develop, and even more so why no one else apparently had thought of it before.
Yet then I thought of Ludwig von Mises and his famous argument concerning the impossibility of economic calculation under socialism. Mises, incidentally, had worked out this argument also in his own mid-thirties. In short, what Mises had argued was that the purpose of all production is the transformation of something – an input – less valuable into something – an output – more valuable, i.e., efficient and economic instead of wasteful production. That in an economy based on the division of labor recourse must be taken to monetary calculation in order to determine if production was efficient or not. That input prices must be compared with output prices to determine profit or loss. And yet, that no input prices exist under socialism – and hence no possibility for economic calculation -, because under socialism all production factors are, by definition, owned by one single agency (the State), thus precluding the formation of any and all factor-prices.
When I had first encountered Mises’ argument, I was immediately convinced. My reaction was, wow, how obvious, straightforward and simple! And also: why did it take Mises so long to state something so obvious, and why had no one else discovered his seemingly elementary insight before?! To be sure, some historians of economic thought were eager to point out that some earlier authors had already hinted at Mises’ argument. Terence Hutchison even discovered a glimpse of Mises’ argument in Friedrich Engels, of all people. But this notwithstanding, it appeared to me a gross distortion of intellectual history and a grave intellectual injustice to claim anyone but Mises as the originator of the argument and the man who had finished off classical (Marxist) socialism intellectually, once and for all.
As well, while perhaps not quite so surprising, the reaction to Mises’ “impossibility proof” was also instructive – especially given that Mises’ proof concerned a problem that at the time of his writing, in the immediate aftermath of WW I, had taken on enormous importance with the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 in Russia.
By and large: There was no reaction at all. Mises was simply ignored. And the continued existence of the Soviet Union and, after WW II, of the entire Soviet Empire was taken by most of the economics profession and large parts of the lay public as well as empirical proof that Mises was wrong or in any case irrelevant.
A few young economists such as Friedrich Hayek, Fritz Machlup, Wilhelm Röpke and Lionel Robbins were immediately converted by Mises, abandoned their erstwhile leftist leanings and became prominent spokesmen of capitalism and free markets; and a few prominent socialists such as Otto Neurath, Henry D. Dickinson and Oskar Lange tried to refute Mises’ argument. But, in my judgment, even Mises’ early “fans” watered-down, misconstrued or distorted and so weakened Mises’ original argument; and as for his socialist “foes,” they did not even seem to comprehend the problem. Indeed, even after Mises had systematically restated and further elaborated his argument, two decades after its original presentation, in his magisterial Human Action, and even after the implosion of socialism in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when a few socialists such as Robert Heilbronner felt compelled to concede that Mises had been right, they still showed no sign of having grasped the fundamental reason why.
The fate of my own argument was in many ways similar to that of Mises’ proof.
Most certainly, given that we live today in an age of rampant legal-ethical relativism – of “anything goes” – and a world in which private property rights have been almost everywhere and universally transformed into mere State-granted or fiat-property instead, my argument concerned a matter of some importance. For it implied a refutation of all forms of ethical relativism as self-contradictory doctrines, and positively it implied that only the institution of private property in one’s body and prior possessions could be ultimately justified, whereas any form of fiat-property was argumentatively indefensible. If anything, then, my argument concerned a matter of even greater and more fundamental importance than Mises’ proof.
Nonetheless – but not unexpectedly so – my argument, too, was largely ignored.
But not entirely so. Murray Rothbard, I am particularly proud to say, accepted my proof immediately as a breakthrough, and so did Walter Block and Stephan Kinsella. Indeed, only shortly after the first English language presentation of my argumentation ethics, Kinsella brilliantly supplemented and expanded it by integrating it with the legal theory of “estoppel,” i.e., “the legal principle that bars a party from denying or alleging a certain fact owing to that party’s previous conduct, allegation, or denial.” As well, several more or less friendly reviews and discussions of my argument appeared in print. A small symposium on my argument appeared in Liberty Magazine, with both supporting “fans” and critical or hostile “foes.” I replied to some of my initial critics and their criticisms, but then, except for a few occasional asides, let the matter rest. Not least, because I was paid at the time to do economics, not philosophy. Some later critics, in particular Robert Murphy and Gene Callahan, who apparently accepted my libertarian conclusion but rejected my way of deriving it (without, however, proposing any alternative reason for their own libertarian “beliefs”), were argumentatively demolished by Stephan Kinsella, Frank van Dun and also Marian Eabrasu. The debate concerning my argument continued, however, and has in the meantime reached a substantial size. Thankfully, Kinsella has documented and regularly updated the still growing literature on the subject.
It is not my purpose here to give a summary account and assessment of the entire debate. Instead, I want to take the opportunity to further clarify and elaborate on the elementary character and indeed the simplicity of my argument and along the way dispel some recurring misunderstandings. In this, I will proceed in two consecutive steps. First, I will try to clarify the “argument from argumentation” itself and the implied notion of “ultimate justification” (and, mutatis mutandis, of an “ultimate refutation” of all forms of relativism). Then, in a second step, I will try to clarify the specifically and decidedly libertarian implications that follow from the “apriori of argumentation.”
The question of how to begin philosophy, i.e., the quest for a starting point, is almost as old as philosophy itself. In modern times, Descartes, for instance, claimed his famous “cogito, ergo sum” as such. Mises considered the fact that humans act, i.e., that humans pursue anticipated ends with means (whether successfully or not), as such. The later Wittgenstein thought of ordinary language as the ultimate point of departure. Others, such as Popper, denied that any such starting point existed and could be found. As a little reflection shows, however, none of this will quite do. After all, Descartes’ “cogito” is a proposition and its justification comes in the form of an argument. Likewise, Mises speaks about action as an “ultimate datum” and presents an argument: namely that one cannot purposefully not act, to justify this point of departure. Similarly, Wittgenstein’s ordinary language philosophy is not just ordinary talk but claims to be true talk about talking, i.e., a justificatory argument. And as for relativists a la Popper, to assert that there is no ultimate starting point and yet claim this proposition to be true is plain contradictory and self-defeating.
In short: Whatever has been claimed here as starting points, or even if the existence of such a point has been denied, they all, unwittingly and as a matter of fact, have affirmed the existence of one and the same point of departure: namely argumentation; and they could deny argumentation the status as ultimate starting point only at pain of contradiction.
This criticism of other philosophers is not meant to deny some partial truths of their various contributions. Indeed, upon reflection we can recognize that every argumentation is also an action, i.e., a purposeful pursuit of ends with the help of means (Mises). But: not every action is an argumentation. Indeed, most of our actions are not. Further, we can recognize that argumentation is a speech-act, involving the use of a public language as a means to communicate with other speakers (Wittgenstein). But: not every speech-act is an argumentation. Indeed, most are not. As well, we recognize that every argumentation, and by implication also every speech-act and every action whatsoever presupposes the existence of an acting, speaking or arguing person (Descartes). But: it is only from the vantage point of an arguing person that the distinction between actions, speech-acts (or the so-called “lower” – expressive, signaling and descriptive – functions of language) and argumentation (as the “highest” function of language) can be made and claimed to be true.
[As for Popper and Popperian critics: It is certainly true that deductive arguments proceeding from premises to conclusions are only as good as their premises are, that one can always ask for a justification of these premises, and then of the premises of this justification, and so on and on, leading to an infinite regress. However: The argument presented is not a deductive argument, but a transcendental one directed at the skeptic by pointing out what even he must, and in fact does accept as an ultimate truth simply in order to be the skeptic that he is. Thus, a skeptic could certainly deny that humans act, speak and argue and claim instead that no, they do not, and in doing so he would not become involved in a formal, logical contradiction. But in making this claim he would be involved in a performative, pragmatic or dialectic contradiction, because his words would be refuted by his actions, i.e., by the very fact of claiming his words to be true.]
Argumentation, then, is a (comparatively rare) sub-class of action, and more specifically also of speech-acts, motivated by a unique reason and aimed at a unique purpose. It arises from interpersonal disagreement or conflict concerning the truth-value of a particular proposition or argument (more on the important distinction between disagreement on the one hand and conflict on the other later on!) and it aims at the dissolution or resolution of this disagreement or conflict by means of argumentation as the unique method of justification. One cannot deny this statement and claim such denial as true without actually affirming it by one’s very act of denial, i.e., without performative, pragmatic or dialectic contradiction. Indeed, to paraphrase van Dun, ‘to claim that you cannot or ought not to argue and take arguments seriously is to say that you cannot do what you actually are and claim to be doing.’ It is like saying ‘there are no reasons for claiming this or that to be true and here are the reasons for why there are no such reasons.’ As well, as van Dun keenly observes, Hume’s famous dictum that ‘our reason is and ought to be the slave of our passions,’ while not a contradictio in adjecto, is in fact a performative or dialectic contradiction. For Hume gives reasons and pays serious attention to reasons while claiming that no attention should be given to them.
In light of this insight into the nature and epistemological status of argumentation as the unique method of justification many objections directed at my original argument can be easily discarded.
It has been held against the “argument from argumentation,” for instance, that one can always refuse to engage in argumentation. This is certainly true and I have never said anything to the contrary. However, this is not an objection to the argument in question. Whenever a person refuses to engage in argumentation, he is also owed no argument in return. He simply doesn’t count as a rational person in regard to the question or problem at hand. He is treated as someone to be ignored in the matter. Indeed, someone always, on principle, refusing to argumentatively justify any of his beliefs or actions whatsoever against anyone, would no longer be considered and treated as a person at all. He would be considered and treated instead as a “wild thing” or an “outlaw.” His presence and his behavior would pose for us a merely “technical” problem. That is, he would be treated like the little child screaming “no” at everything said to him or like an animal, i.e., as something to be controlled, domesticated, tamed, drilled, trained, or “coached.”
Another “objection” to my argument from argumentation, advanced repeatedly and by several opponents in a seemingly most serious manner, actually better qualifies as a joke. It boils down to the claim that, even if true, my argument is irrelevant and inconsequential. Why? Because the ethics of argumentation is valid and binding only at the moment and for the duration of argumentation itself and even then only for those actually participating in it. Curiously, these critics do not notice that this thesis, if it were true, would have to apply to itself, too, and hence, render their own criticism irrelevant and inconsequential also. Their criticism itself then would be just talk for the sake of talking, without any consequence outside of talking. For, according to their own thesis, what they say about argumentation is true only when and while they are saying it and has no relevance outside the context of argumentation; and moreover, that what they say to be true is true only for the parties actually involved in argumentation or even only for them alone, if and insofar as there is no actual opponent and they say what they say in an internal dialog only to themselves. But why, then, should anyone waste his time and pay attention to such private “truths”?
More importantly and to the point: In fact, these critics are not engaged in idle talk or a mere joke, of course, but in serious argumentation, i.e., in the presentation of an alleged counter-argument, and as such and in this capacity, then, they become inescapably entangled in a performative or dialectic contradiction: because they actually do claim that what they say about argumentation is true inside and outside of argumentation, i.e., whether one actually argues or not, and that it is true not only for them, but for everyone capable of argumentation. That is: contrary to what they say, they actually pursue a purpose above and beyond the exchange of words itself. Argumentation is a means to an end and not an end in itself. It is the very purpose of argumentation to overcome an initial disagreement or conflict regarding some rival truth claims and to change one’s former beliefs or actions depending on the outcome of argumentation. That is, argumentation implies that one ought to accept the consequences of its outcome. Otherwise, why argue? Hence, it is a performative or dialectic contradiction to say, for instance, ‘let us argue about whether or not minimum wages increase unemployment’ and then add: ‘and let us then, regardless of the outcome of our debate, continue to believe what we believed beforehand.’ Similarly, it would be self-contradictory for a judge in a trial to say ‘let us find out who of two contending parties, Peter and Paul, is right or wrong, and then ignore the outcome of the trial and let Peter go, even if found guilty, or punish Paul, even if found innocent.’
Equally silly, some critics have charged me for supposedly claiming, falsely, that the truth of a proposition depends on someone making this proposition. But nowhere did I claim any such thing. Certainly, that the earth orbits around the sun, that water runs downward or that 1+1=2 is true, whether we argue about it or not. Argumentation does not make something true. Rather, argumentation is the method for justifying propositions as true or false when brought up for consideration. Likewise, the existence of property and property-rights or -wrongs does not depend on the fact that someone argues to this effect. Rather, property and property-rights or -wrongs are justified when up for contention.
With this I come to the second part of my clarifications: the libertarian implications of the ethics of argumentation.
For this, it is first necessary to point out the obvious fact that all argumentation has a propositional content. Whenever we argue, we argue about something. This can be argumentation itself, i.e., the very subject I have been speaking about so far. But the content can be all sorts of things: matters of fact or of cause and effect, such as whether or not global warming presently exists and is man-made, or whether or not an increase in the money supply will lead to greater over-all prosperity; but also normative matters, such as whether or not the possession (actual control) of something by someone implies his rightful ownership (property) of the thing in question, or if slavery or taxation are justified or not.
In short: argumentation can be either about facts or it can be about norms. The source of an argumentation about facts is what I shall call a disagreement; and its purpose is to resolve this disagreement and effect a change to the better in one’s factual beliefs so as to make the actions motivated by these beliefs more successful. The source of an argumentation about norms, on the other hand, is conflict; and its purpose is to resolve this conflict and effect a change in one’s system of values so as to better avoid future conflict.
In the original presentation of my argument, I was exclusively concerned about the latter matter and this shall also be the central topic here. But I have come to realize that in order to better understand the nature of an argumentation about norms it is instructive to first look briefly, by way of contrast, at an argumentation about facts.
How is a factual disagreement settled within an argumentative setting? That depends of course first on the subject matter of the disagreement and then on the method(s) – the actions and operations – to be employed in order to come to a conclusion and decide between the rival truth claims under consideration. What methods are appropriate for the given purpose? What, if anything, must be observed, and how and under what circumstances? What needs to be measured, and by means of what measuring standard or device? What other purposefully constructed tools, instruments, machines, etc., must be at hand and in working condition to gather the relevant data? Is there anything that must be counted or calculated? Must time and time-lags be considered and time be measured? Must and can a controlled experiment be set up? Are we aiming to establish a correlation or are we looking for causation? Or is it a matter of “meaning” and “understanding” rather than “measuring” that is of concern? Is the matter of contention at all an “empirical” matter? Or is it a “logical” matter instead that must and can be settled by deductive reasoning, or geometric, mathematical or praxeological proof? – And finally then, when one has settled on the question which method(s) to choose for a given purpose, these methods, tools and operations must be put into action and practiced. The relevant data must be actually collected and the measurements, calculations, experiments, tests or proofs actually taken and performed, so as to bring the initial disagreement to a possible conclusion.
Now: What makes this endeavor of solving some factual disagreement an argumentative justification? First and most obviously, both disputants, and indeed everyone concerned about the matter of contention, must consider each other as another person, equally independent and each with his own, separate physical body. That is, no person is to exercise physical control over any other person’s body without his assent during the entire undertaking. Rather, each person acts and speaks on his own, so as to make it possible that everyone may arrive at the same resolution on his own, independently and autonomously, and then accept the conclusion as in his own self-interest. Nor, presumably, is any person involved in the undertaking threatened, paid-off or bribed by any other to merely pretend to argue and pronounce instead, regardless of outcome, a pre-determined verdict.
While all this is generally recognized and accepted as a matter-of-course by the “scientific community,” another requirement is often overlooked – and yet it is in particular this requirement that best brings out the crucial difference between “factual” and “normative” argumentation.
Not only must everyone engaged in the endeavor of resolving some factual disagreement be equally respected and assured in his own personal bodily integrity to speak of an argumentative justification. It is also necessary that each person must have equal access to all “data” and all means, implements, instruments or tools methodically required to decide the question at hand, so that each person may perform the same actions and operations and replicate the results on his own. That is, if it is necessary in order to resolve some factual disagreement, for instance, to use paper and pencil, a yardstick, a clock, a calculator, a microscope or a telescope, etc., or simply some ground on which to stand and make one’s observations, then no one may be denied access to such devices. In fact, it would be contrary to the purpose of an argumentation about facts and hence entail a dialectic contradiction for anyone person to say to anyone else, for instance: we disagree regarding the height of this building or the speed of that car and to bring this disagreement to a resolution we need a yardstick and a clock, but I deny you access to a yardstick and a clock.
But – and with this I come slowly to my central concern: argumentation about normative matters, i.e., of right and wrong, – it would not entail a performative or dialectic contradiction if I denied you access to this or that instrument or tool or this or that standing room, if the source and content of our argumentation is a conflict rather than a mere disagreement. That is, if you and I have different and incompatible plans, interests and goals regarding the instruments, tools and standing room in question. Then, my refusal to permit you access to this or that may be justified or not, but it would not in itself be a self-contradictory demand.
It is the characteristic mark of an argumentation about facts, that for the duration of argumentation a harmony of interests among all participating parties must prevail. All property disputes are temporarily suspended and also the outcome of the argumentation has no consequences or repercussions for the subsequent distribution of property. To bring a factual disagreement to a conclusion, every actual or potential participant must perform, and is expected by everyone else to perform, the same actions and operations with the same or the same kind of objects. As long as the argumentation lasts, everyone does what everyone else expects and wants him to do. All act in harmony with one another. And at the end, after some at least temporary conclusion has been reached, everyone, with his newly learnt lesson, returns back to his normal life, in which everything else has remained and stayed the same as before. – Yet in this normal life, then, people do not only encounter factual disagreements. Indeed, as an empirical matter, at least in the life of an adult person, factual disagreements giving rise to argumentation are comparatively rare. Because the most fundamental and elementary facts about the composition and inner workings of the external world are long recognized, accepted and taken for granted by everyone in his daily life so as to never rise to the level of serious doubt. And if and whenever any serious doubt concerning the truth-value of some factual claim does arise, such disagreements are generally routinely and methodically brought to some at least temporary settlement and accepted quickly and without any resistance by all interested parties. Rather than factual disagreements, then, it is the experience of conflicts that motivates most serious argumentation. And it is argumentation about conflicts that generates our most intense interest.
Conflicts arise, whenever two actors want and try to use one and the same physical means – the same body, standing room or external object for the attainment of different goals, i.e., when their interests regarding such means are not harmonious but incompatible or antagonistic. Two actors cannot at the same time use the same physical means for alternative purposes. If they try to do so, they must clash. Only one person’s will or that of another can prevail, but not both.
Whenever we argue with one another about a matter of conflict, then, we demonstrate that it is our purpose to find a peaceful, argumentative solution to some given conflict. We have agreed not to fight, but to argue instead. And we demonstrate as well that we are willing to respect the outcome of our trial of arguments. Indeed, to argue otherwise and say, for instance, ‘let us not fight, but argue whose will is to prevail in our conflict, but at the end of our argumentation, and irrespective of its outcome, I will fight you anyway’ would entail a performative or dialectic contradiction. To say so is to contradict the very purpose of argumentation.
The task faced by any proponent and opponent engaged in an argumentation about conflict, then, is to find a peaceful resolution not only for a conflict at hand but also for all potential future conflicts, so as to be able to interact henceforth with one another in a conflict-free and peaceful manner, despite and notwithstanding each other’s differing interests, whether now or in the future.
The definitive answer to this problem is provided by a brief analysis of the logic of action, i.e., by method of praxeological reasoning.
Logically, to avoid all future interpersonal conflict, it is only necessary that every good – every physical thing employed as a means in the pursuit of human ends – be always and at all times owned privately, i.e., be controlled exclusively by one specific person (or voluntary partnership or association) rather than another, and that it be always recognizable and clear, which good is owned by whom and which is not or by somebody else. Then, the interests, plans and purposes of different actors may be as different as can be, and yet no conflict will arise between them as long as their actions involve exclusively the use of their own, private property and leave the property of others alone and physically intact.
This is only part of the answer, however. For then immediately the next question arises of how to accomplish such a complete and unambiguous privatization of all economic goods peacefully, i.e., without generating and leading itself to conflict? How can physical things become someone’s private property in the first place; and how can interpersonal conflict in the appropriation of physical things be avoided?
Praxeological analysis also yields a conclusive answer to these questions. For one, to avoid conflict it is necessary that the appropriation of things as means is effected through actions, rather than mere words, declarations or decrees. Because only through a person’s actions, taking place at a particular place and time, can an objective and thus inter-subjectively ascertainable link between a particular person and a particular thing and its extension and boundary be established and hence, can rival ownership claims be settled objectively.
And secondly, not every recognizable taking of things into one’s possession is peaceful and can thus be argumentatively justified. Only the first appropriator of some previously un-appropriated thing can acquire this thing peacefully and without conflict, and only his possessions, then, are property. For, by definition, as the first appropriator he cannot have run into conflict with anyone else in appropriating the good in question, as everyone else appeared on the scene only later. And any late-comer, then, can take possession of the things in question only with the first-comer’s consent. Either, because the first-comer had voluntarily transferred his property to him, in which case and from which time on he became its exclusive owner. Or else, because the first-comer had granted him some conditional use-rights concerning his property, in which case he did not become the thing’s owner but its rightful possessor. Indeed, to argue to the contrary and say that a late-comer, independent and irrespective of the will of the first possessor of some given thing, should be regarded as its owner entails a performative or dialectic contradiction. Because this would lead to endless conflict rather than eternal peace and hence be contrary to the very purpose of argumentation.
If different persons want to live in peace with one another, conceivably from the beginning of mankind until its end – and in arguing about conflict they demonstrate that they do want this! –, then only one solution exists that I shall call the “principle of prior possessions:” All just and lawful (and argumentatively justifiable) possessions, whether in the form of outright property or as rightful possessions, go back directly, or indirectly through a chain of conflict-free and hence mutually beneficial property-title transfers, to prior and ultimately original appropriators and acts of original appropriation or production. And vice versa: All possessions of things by some person that are neither the result of his prior appropriation or production, nor the result of voluntary and conflict-free acquisition from a prior appropriator-producer of these things, are unjust and unlawful (and hence argumentatively unjustifiable) possessions.
The question to be settled in an argumentative dispute between a proponent and an opponent, then, does not really concern a matter of principle. Because the principle of prior possession itself cannot be argumentatively denied without falling into a performative or dialectic contradiction. It is an ultimate ‘given’ and can be recognized as apriori valid. Under dispute between a proponent and an opponent can only be matters of fact, i.e., whether or not the principle had been correctly adhered to and applied in all instances. Whether the proponent’s each and every current possession was acquired justly, in accordance with the principle of prior possession, or whether the opponent of the status quo of current possessions can demonstrate the existence of a prior and un-relinquished title of his to some or all (but not quite all, as we will see in a moment) of the proponent’s present possessions. – And the principle of prior possession also implies that in any dispute between a proponent and opponent about rival property claims concerning some particular means of action, it is always the current and present distribution of property among the contending parties that serves as first and prima facie evidence for deciding on their contentious claims. Prima facie, the present possessor of the thing in question appears to be its prior possessor and hence its rightful owner, and the burden of proof to the contrary, i.e., the demonstration that the evidence provided by the status quo is false and deceptive, is always on the opponent of the present state of affairs. He must make his case, and if he can’t, then not only remains everything as before but the opponent owes the proponent compensation for the misuse made of his time in having to defend himself against the opponent’s unjustified claims made against him (thus reducing the likelihood of frivolous accusations).
And moreover: It is not just the principle and the procedure to be applied in any debate between a proponent and opponent that is irrefutably ‘given,’ it is also one elementary fact that is so ‘given’ and beyond any dispute – which leads me back to the just mentioned restriction of ‘all, but not quite all’ and the argument from argumentation itself.
For while it is a contingent empirical question which external good is or is not rightfully owned by whom, and while in principle it is possible to place any current possession of any and all external goods by any one person into doubt as regards its lawfulness, this is not the case and it is not possible to do so with respect to anyone person’s physical body as his primary means of action. No one can consistently argue that he is the rightful owner of another person’s body. He can say so, of course. But in doing so and seeking the other person’s assent to this claim he becomes involved in a performative or dialectic contradiction. Hence, it is and can be recognized as an apriori truth that each person is the rightful owner of the physical body that he naturally comes with and has been born with, and that he has directly appropriated prior and before any other person could possibly do so indirectly (by means of his own body). No argumentation between a proponent and an opponent is possible without recognizing and respecting each other as independent and separate persons with their own independent and separate bodies. Their bodies do not physically clash or collide, but they argue with one another and hence, they must recognize and respect the borders and boundaries of their separate and independent bodies.
Some critics have argued that this does not demonstrate a person’s ownership of his entire body, but at best only of parts of it. Why? Because to argue it is not necessary to use all body parts. And true enough, you do not need two kidneys, two eyes or an appendix to argue. Indeed, you also do not need your body hair or even arms and legs to argue. And hence, according to such critics, you cannot claim to be the lawful owner of your two kidneys or eyes, your legs and arms. Yet this objection does not only appear silly on its face – after all, it implies the recognition of these ‘un-necessary’ parts as naturalparts ofone unitary body rather than as separate, stand-alone entities. More importantly, it involves, philosophically speaking, a category mistake. The critics simply confuse the physiology of argumentation and action with the logic of argumentation and action. And this confusion is particularly surprising coming from economists, and even more so from economists familiar also with praxeology. For the fundamental distinction made in economics between ‘labor’ and ‘land’ as the two originary means of production, which corresponds exactly to the distinction made here between ‘body’ and ‘external world,’ is also not a physiological or physicalistic distinction, but a praxeological one.
The question to be answered is not: which body parts are physiologically necessary requirements for one person arguing with another person. Rather, the question is: which parts of my body and which parts of your body can I or you argumentatively justify as my or your lawful possessions. And to this a clear and unambiguous answer exists. I am the lawful owner of my nature-given body with everything naturally in it and attached to it, and you are the lawful owner of your entire nature-given body. Any argument to the contrary would land its proponent in a performative or dialectic contradiction. For me to say, for instance, in an argumentation with you, that you do not rightfully own all of your nature-given body is contradicted by the fact that in so arguing, not fighting, with you, I must recognize and treat you as another person with a separate body and recognizably separate physical boundaries and borders from me and my body. To argue that you do not lawfully own your entire natural body, which you actually possess and have peacefully taken into possession before I could have possibly done so indirectly by means of my natural body, is to advocate conflict and bodily clash and hence contrary to the purpose of argumentation: of peacefully resolving a present conflict and avoiding future conflict.
All I could possibly claim without immediate contradiction is that you do not own all of your current body, because not all of its current parts are its natural parts. That some current body parts are artificial parts, i.e., parts that you had acquired and attached to your nature-given body only later and indirectly. I could claim, for instance, that your kidney is not lawfully yours, because you were not born with it but had taken it against my will from my body and implanted it in yours. Yet in all cases such as this, then, in accordance with the principle of prior possessions, the burden of proof is on me, i.e., the opponent of the status quo of body parts.
A similar category mistake, i.e., a fundamental confusion of the empirics of argumentation on the one hand and the logic of argumentation and argumentative justification on the other, is the source also of another repeatedly, and from several sides presented ‘refutation’ of the argument from argumentation. This ‘refutation’ consists of a simple observation: the fact that slaves can argue with their slave masters. Therefore, with slaves being able to argue, so the conclusion, my claim that argumentation presupposes self-ownership and libertarian property rights is ‘empirically falsified.’ Astonishingly, then, I should have never heard of arguing slaves.
But I did not claim that in order for one person to argue with another full libertarian property rights must be recognized and in place (which would imply, at least under present circumstances, that no one could ever engage in argumentation with anyone else) and that argumentation under any other, less than libertarian conditions is impossible. Of course, a slave and its master can engage in argumentation. Indeed, argumentation is possible under practically all empirical circumstances, as long as every participant can only say and do what he says and does on his own and no one is threatened or made to say or do so. Hence, the criticism levelled against the argument from argumentation is completely irrelevant and beside the point. The argument is not an empirical proposition about whether or not argumentation between one person and another and non-libertarian conditions can co-exist; and accordingly, it also cannot be countered and refuted by any empirical evidence. Rather, the argument concerns the categorically different question whether the existence of non-libertarian conditions can or cannot be argumentatively justifıed without running into a performative or dialectic contradiction. And with regard to this question the answer is straightforward.
A slave master can argue with his slave concerning the truth value, for instance, of the law of gravitation or the existence of invisible germs, and if he were to permit the slave access to all means and data necessary to bring the contentious matter to a conclusion, his arguing with the slave would not involve any contradiction but constitute indeed genuine argumentation. But matters are quite different when it comes to an argumentation between slave master and slave about the subject of slavery, i.e., the conditions under which their argumentation takes place. In this case, if the slave master would say to the slave ‘let’s not fight but argue about the justification of slavery,’ and he would thereby recognize the slave as another, separate and independent person with his own mind and body, he would have to let the slave go free and leave. And if he would say instead ‘so what, I have recognized you momentarily as another independent person with your own mind and body, but now, at the end of our dispute, I deny you ownership of the means necessary to argue with me and prevent you from leaving anyway,’ then he would be involved in a performative or dialectic contradiction. To do so would be contrary to the very purpose of taking argumentation seriously and of accepting the consequences of argumentation. This ‘conversation’ between slave master and slave would not constitute genuine argumentation, but be at best an idle or even cruel parlor game.
And the same response of ‘you are simply confused,’ then, also applies to those critics who tried to double down on the ‘but slaves can argue, too,’ criticism by dragging up additional ‘counterexamples.’ Yes, true enough, a person in jail can also engage in argumentation with his jailer, and a person subjected to taxation can also argue with the taxman. Indeed, who has ever doubted that? However, the question to be answered, and the one addressed by the ethics of argumentation, is if the current status of the person in jail or subject to taxation can be argumentatively justified or not. The jailer would have to demonstrate that the jailed had previously violated the argumentatively indisputable principle of prior possessions and thus committed an unlawful action or ‘crime,’ and that the current restrictions imposed on the movements and prior possessions of the jailed were justified in light of this earlier crime. And if the jailer would not or could not provide such empirical proof of a prior crime of the jailed, and if he then still did not let the jailed go free and restored him to his prior possessions, the jailer would not be engaged in argumentation but in a mock debate, and it would be he, who was guilty of a crime.
And likewise for any verbal dispute between the taxman and the taxed. The taxman, in order to argumentatively justify his claim to any of the tax-subject’s current possessions, would have to demonstrate that he is in possession of a prior debt contract or some sort of rental contract that would justify his present claim to any of his opponent’s current possessions. And if he would not or could not provide any such evidence – and of course no taxman ever could –, then he would have to give up on his demand; and if he would not do so but insisted on payment, his verbal exchanges with the tax-subject, too, would not qualify as genuine argumentation but as only a mock trial, and it would be the taxman, who was an outlaw.
And that is that. The ethics of argumentation stands unimpaired.
The ACLU is joining with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and a host of major celebrities to push for this pardon. The Snowden movie, currently in theaters, should also help.
When we launched our campaign we asked a crucial question – Is it a crime to expose crimes?
If you think the answer is no then you should view Snowden as a hero, and work to bring him home, safe from prosecution. A presidential pardon is the only real way to do that.
The President is unlikely to issue the pardon if he lacks political support. So, please pressure Congress to pressure the President on this matter. The hardwired message for this campaign reads…
Tell the President to pardon Edward Snowden.
You can copy or edit the following for your person comments…
Please be clear about this — you are my representative, NOT my ruler. You don’t get to endorse criminal things just because you think they would somehow be good for me. The surveillance state Congress has erected is a criminal thing. We know this largely because of Edward Snowden. The information he’s provided demonstrates that some of the surveillance programs violate the Constitution, which you swore an oath to protect. It’s time to start walking the talk of your oath. Here’s how you do that…
Step One: You write a letter to President Obama urging him to pardon Edward Snowden. Step Two: You post this letter on your website so I can see it. You must take these two steps because it should never be illegal for an American to expose crimes committed by so-called government. You should take these steps because, frankly, you and your colleagues failed to provide both the oversight and whistleblower protection that would’ve made Mr. Snowden’s disclosure unnecessary.
It’s crucial for you, at this election time, to show me that you will defend Edward Snowden. Otherwise I will have to assume that you are a person who aids and abets criminality and thinks “oversight” means hiding stuff from your constituents. Take the sternness of this letter as a sign of how important I consider this matter.
In this, the final installment of my four-part article on peace of mind, I’m going to share with you two anti-stress techniques that are especially important. In fact, I don’t believe it’s possible to achieve a low stress level and peace of mind without them.
Resist the temptation to try to make the world bend to your will.
Trying to get everyone to do things your way goes beyond stress. It’s a frustrating, hopeless exercise that can drive a person mad. I know one wealthy individual, in particular, who long ago lost his ability to think rationally because of his frustration over not being able to force everyone around him to conform to his way of thinking.
One of the rules of a good delegator is to tell people precisely what you want them to do, then let them do it their way. President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said that the mark of a good executive is when someone hands him a letter that he knows he could have written better, he signs it anyway.
This is an area where you have to be careful, even when dealing with your own children. While it’s a parent’s responsibility to teach and guide his/her children, the wise parent learns early on that children cannot and will not do everything exactly as their parents want them to. The reality is that your children are different human beings than you, so it would be unnatural for them to mirror you 100 percent of the time.
Maintaining control of your anger and resentment.
It’s worth repeating Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous words: “For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” The late Jim Blanchard, founder of the New Orleans Investment Conference, was a great teacher for me in this respect. Jim was one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever known. A paraplegic from the age of eighteen, he not only built a fortune while working from a wheelchair, he traveled the world extensively and did almost everything “normal” people do — and more.
I remember Jim once telling me about a guy who had shafted him out of a lot of money. I asked how he could be so calm about it, and I’ll never forget his response: “I’ve found that it’s disarming just to smile, be polite, and act as though nothing is wrong. Not only do you avoid making enemies by handling things in this manner, you also save yourself a lot of aggravation. All you need to do is avoid doing business with that person in the future. And to the extent you are cordial, he’ll probably even sing your praises to everyone — which means you win all the way around.”
I admit that Jim was special when it came to handling people, but his words help me to this day. Whenever I become angry, I give myself time to cool off before saying or doing something that I might later regret.
For example, if I impulsively write an e-mail in a heated state of mind, I let it sit for a day or two before sending it. It’s amazing how much of the angry edge you can take off an e-mail or letter by editing it a couple of days after you write it.
One last thing worth thinking about when it comes to achieving peace of mind. In his book Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, Deepak Chopra maintains that worrying about stress is more damaging than stress itself. Which brings me back to something I said in Part I of this article: It is not events that shape your world, it is your thought processes. Remember, no matter how long a list of stress inhibitors you compile, your mental state will always be the most important factor when it comes to achieving peace of mind.
A couple of weeks ago most Americans, many in Arizona and everyone in Hawai’i excluded, “fell back” with the end of Daylight Saving Time. And as happens in this twice a year ritual of changing the clocks, they “spring ahead” in March, there is some discussion about ending Daylight Saving Time. For example, Jacqueline Ronson writes for Inverse, “Daylight saving time is a nightmare… If you do business between Los Angeles and Phoenix, say, you’ll have to remember that they’re on the same time part of the year, and an hour apart the rest.”
However, another topic needs to be discussed: eliminating time zones, altogether. It’s not as crazy as you may think, and few people think about the real-world consequences of time zones. The Decatur Daily News reported a decade ago about the anomaly of towns on the border of the Eastern & Central Time Zones, “for generations, the economic vitality of Columbus [Georgia] has lured Alabama commuters across the river in pursuit of jobs.” Adding that in some border towns, “people set their watches by their jobs — not geography. It’s created a gray zone where clocks are second-guessed and what time it is depends on whom you ask.”
The US Naval Observatory (USNO) says, “Standard time in time zones was instituted in the US and Canada by the railroads on 18 November 1883. [And then adopted by law in the US in 1918] Before then, time of day was a local matter.” Now, time is literally a global matter, especially when one considers how many companies rely on global trade. Many of those companies, and indeed some entire industries – aviation, for example – operate on what is called Universal Time, also called UTC, you may know it as Greenwich Mean Time.
Would dropping time zones take some getting used to? Certainly, but it also takes people a few days to adjust to the twice annual changing of the clocks, and the implementation of time zones was resisted by some 133 years ago. USNO adds, “Use of standard time gradually increased because of its obvious practical advantages for communication and travel.”
With the prevalence of technology in most of the world, adjusting to a single time zone would not be too terribly difficult, and it would make cross-region communications easier. No more worrying if your client in Phoenix is 2 hours or 3 hours behind you. The people living in border towns would no longer need a “work clock” and a “home clock” because everything would be set to UTC. The federal government has only been legislating time for less than 100 years, it’s time to advocate for separation of time and state!
In Peace, Freedom, Love & Liberty,
Darryl W. Perry
‘Daily Beast’: Libertarians to America: ‘Don’t blame us for Trump’
From the Daily Beast on Nov. 11:
“On the day before the 2016 election, Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson sent a note to his supporters. ‘Whatever happens tomorrow, understand we won,’ he said.
“But on the day after the election, with Hillary Clinton vanquished and Donald Trump declared the president-elect, the main things Johnson and his fellow Libertarians had won were about 3 percent of the vote and the unmitigated rage of angry liberals and journalists looking for someone to blame for Trump’s victory.
“But if Democrats are looking for someone to blame for putting Trump in the White House, Libertarians say they need to look in the mirror….”
Libertarian voter registrations nearing the half-million mark
From Ballot Access News on Nov. 11:
“The Libertarian Party now has approximately 500,000 registrants. It is the first nationally-organized party, other than the Democratic and Republican Parties, to have that many. The Libertarian Party had 411,250 registrants in February 2016, and in all previous years, had never had as many as 400,000.”
In a major victory for third parties, voters in Maine approved a statewide ballot initiative on Nov. 8 establishing Ranked Choice Voting (sometimes called “instant runoff voting,” when used for single winner elections) in the state.
Passage of the measure makes Maine the first state in the nation to adopt ranked-choice voting on a statewide basis, which serves to nullify the “spoiler argument” used to suppress the votes of alternative-party candidates….
Libertarian Johnson gets highest third-party presidential vote total since billionaire Ross Perot in 1996
On Nov. 8, Libertarian for president Gov. Gary Johnson won 4,401,551 votes, the highest vote total for an alternative party presidential candidate since Ross Perot in 1996.
Perot, whose net worth was over $3 billion in 1992 dollars,a household name that year after he bought 30-minute prime-time infomercials to boost his first presidential campaign. He was subsequently included in the presidential debates.
Perot received 8,085,402 votes in his 1996 bid.
Big ballot-access wins for LP!
On Nov. 8, the Libertarian Party achieved a number of critically-important ballot access victories, making the LP a recognized party in 38 states, the highest ever after an election in the party’s history.
‘Reason’: The LP’s federal House and Senate candidates pledge to shrink government
Brian Doherty of Reason magazine wrote an article published Nov. 5 about the Libertarian Party 2016 candidate pledges to shrink government.
“Creating a meaningful distinction between their candidates and those of the Republicans and Democrats is important to the L.P. The Party thus created a series of pledges setting forth the Party’s political vision. Many of their candidates for federal House and Senate sign those pledges, in most cases dozens of signees.”
Arkansas Libertarian gives strong performance in debate
Mark West (right) for U.S. House
District 1 (Ark.) in a debate on
AETN public television
Mark West, running for the 1st congressional district in Arkansas, gave a strong performance in his recent debate with incumbent Republican Rick Crawford on AETN, the Arkansas Educational Television Network.
“We need to fight together for the minority of the individual, which is the greatest minority in America. When we stand together to help one person whose rights are being violated, we are protecting our own rights.”
Strong presence for Indiana LP U.S. Senate candidate Brenton in three-way debate
Lucy Brenton for U.S. Senate (Ind.)
in a televised debate
Indiana Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate Lucy Brenton was assertive and bold in a three-way televised debate with the Democratic and Republican challengers on Oct. 18, which was broadcast on Indianapolis station WFYI-TV.
“Stop bailing out businesses. Stop bailing out your cronies, and bail us out instead. Let us keep our taxpayer money in our pockets.”
The Florida Legislature begins their work, we need to be prepared! Please save the date for our LFN Statewide Video Call on Thursday January 5th at 7:00 PM EST.
The election is over and now the legislative season is upon us. Next Tuesday, November 22nd, the Florida legislature will be kicking off the 2017 legislative session. Legislators will be sworn in and begin preparing bills to file.
The next session looks very promising to pass pro-liberty legislation with Incoming Speaker Richard Corcoran committed to passing these reforms in the House. In the past the Florida Senate has stonewalled good legislation like repealing red light cameras and bills to protect our second amendment rights. But, we will have new leadership and a new group of pro-liberty Senators being sworn into office next week.
It is crucial that we are prepared to “take action” to ensure we advance a liberty agenda. We cannot depend on legislators to necessarily to do the right thing, they will face tremendous pressure from the army of special interest lobbyist who do not want to see these reforms pass. We need to be prepared to help them to stand firm for liberty.
The Liberty First Network is ready. We will be hosting a statewide video conference call to go over the LFN legislative agenda and which issues we will be focusing on in the 2017 legislative session, such as protecting our second amendment rights, repealing red light cameras, education reform, reforms in campaign finance and legislation to end crony spending in our ever-bloated state budget.
And more importantly we will explain the tools we will provide to you to effectively lobby the legislature. We will discuss the various liberty lobby days throughout the 2017 session and how you can get directly involved in the work done in Tallahassee.
On Thursday January 5th at 7:00 PM EST, dial into the conference line. When prompted, enter the Access Code followed by the pound key. To join the online meeting, click on the online meeting link listed above and follow the prompts to join the meeting.
Liberty First Network lobbyist John Hallman will be attending Legislative meetings over the next few weeks in Tallahassee. John will be meeting with legislators in person to gain support for our Liberty Agenda and to make sure pro-liberty bills are being sponsored and filed. It is important that we have John in Tallahassee to be a countervailing voice early in the legislative process. Please consider making a donation to make sure we have John in Tallahassee fighting for us.
The most recent government measure shows that America’s economic growth rate slowed, in the last quarter, to a rate of only 1.1 percent, about one-third of normal American economic growth rates.
This may not sound like a big deal. But it is. It means that job creation, including our ability to get better jobs, raises, bonuses and promotions, has vanished.
It means the death of the American Dream. Poor growth compounded over time is the prime cause of the collapse in people looking for work, the ballooning of the federal deficit, and the weakness in our social insurance programs, Social Security and Medicare.
Breaking News! There’s a solution, and the Wall Street Journal editorial board finally, for the first time, has weighed in to advocate that solution (or at least the process from which a solution can be derived):
One place for Congress to start would be to pass Rep. Kevin Brady’s idea for a monetary commission to consider the role and structure of the Fed in its second century. Commissions can be political evasions, but in this case such a body with the right members could ignite a debate about the Fed that the monetary priesthood and most of Washington don’t want to have.
This is a big deal. The monetary commission actually has been passed by the House and now is pending in the Senate.
If NASA suffered from comparable inaccuracy the manned spaceflight program would have been shut down by an endless series of Challenger-type catastrophes many years ago. With forecasts this bad is it any wonder the American economy continually crashes and burns?
As I also wrote therein:
One of the most curiously persistent surrealisms of Washington, DC is the reflexive deference given the Federal Reserve System. The Washington elite tends to accord more infallibility to the Fed than do Catholics the Pope.
“The market recognizes that the Fed has repeatedly erred on the optimistic side,” said Eric Lascelles, chief economist at RBC Global Asset Management. “Fool me 50 times, but not 51 times.”
Even the government’s official budget forecasters are dubious of the Fed’s own forecast.
That column goes on to quote a career Fed economist as to the unreliability of its forecasting method, known as “Dynamic Stochastic Equilibrium Modeling.” So even the Fed has, sotto voce, confessed inadequacy.
The Fed, in its own low key bureaucratic language, still is sticking to its guns notwithstanding that its forecasts have become the laughingstock both of Wall Street and Washington.
Laughingstock? Strong word but not overstated. According to a recent piece by Randall Forsyth in Barron’s, “Fed’s Jackson Hole Circus“:
“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right.” Those may not have been the lyrics running through the head of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen last week at the annual policy symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo., but it might be understandable to have had thoughts along those lines.
It’s really no laughing matter, though. You, me, Main Street and the voters and the butt of the slow-growth “joke.”
In a speech here on Friday, Fed Chair Janet L. Yellen said …
“I believe that monetary policy will, under most conditions, be able to respond effectively,” she said.
Einstein never said that the definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing and expecting different outcomes. But this platitude is attributed to the man whose name is synonymous with genius for good reason. It will not do.
Why has the post-2008 economic recovery been so sluggish? Why do we consider the Fed the prime suspect in the sluggish economic growth that has plagued America for the last eight and, in fairness, the last 16 years?
The Fed is imposing on America and the world a Salvador Dali “melting clocks” economy. Among the most remembered works of Dali, the premier surrealist painter, is his 1931 painting titled La persistència de la memòria. It features melting clocks.
Clocks measure time. Time is a fundamental unit of account, very much including for the economy. Were clocks, in the real world, to “melt” — that is, if the length of the second and the minute and the hour were to become unstable — the economy would descend into chaos. Planes and trains would crash routinely (just as the economy does).
Were time, as a unit of account, manipulated to fluctuate even a little, it would inject enormous sluggishness into the economy. But units of time, like our units of weights and measures, are defined impeccably by the US Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Congress has delegated its Constitutional authority to “fix the standards of weights and measures” to a high-integrity executive branch agency, NIST, which is doing an admirable job of keeping the standards of weights and measures fixed. Under NIST, clocks don’t melt. Ounces and inches don’t fluctuate. And everyone understands that letting clocks melt could only degrade, and not possibly enhance, prosperity or economic justice.
In the very same article in the Constitution, Congress also is assigned the power “to coin money and regulate the value thereof.” The Congress, logically enough, delegated this power to the Federal Reserve System. But under the Fed, the dollar “melts.”
As with assigning the minute, the inch, and the ounce to NIST to be defined, in designating the Fed to regulate the value of the dollar it was not Congress’s intention to delegate political power, or discretion, over our units of account but to maintain them. The Fed’s statutory mandate is:
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Open Market Committee shall maintain long run growth of the monetary and credit aggregates commensurate with the economy’s long run potential to increase production, so as to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates.
Sometimes this is called its “dual” mandate. But it cites three, not two, objectives. And the Fed is out of compliance with all three. Under the circumstances of the slow growth and economic inequities in the economy, Chair Yellen’s statement that “I believe that monetary policy will, under most conditions, be able to respond effectively” is, frankly, alarming.
It is time for Congress to assert its authority. The clear way to do so is to finish enacting Chairman Brady’s Centennial Monetary Commission to methodically and objectively review, in a bipartisan manner, the empirical outcomes of Fed policy in the real economy.
Ralph Benko, internationally published weekly columnist, co-author of The 21st Century Gold Standard, lead co-editor of the Gerald Malsbary translation from Latin to English of Copernicus’s Essay on Money, is American Principles Project’s Senior Advisor, Economics.
I delivered my interim report on Theresa May at the weekend. On Wednesday, I watched her main speech to the Conservative Party Conference. It was a very accomplished speech, perhaps the most accomplished speech of its kind since James Callaghan delivered his sermon on economic reality to the Labour Party Conference in 1976. I also noted one quotation from Vergil (“Parcere subiectis et debellare superbos”), and another from Horace (Carpe diem). Mrs May is no Demosthenes or Burke, but she appears to have good taste in speechwriters. Beyond that, I had nothing to add to what I had already said.
However, I have just seen this from the Guido Fawkes blog:
May wants “government to step up, not back”. So who do you vote for now if you want a balanced budget, free markets and to get the state out of your life?
I suppose the short answer is to ask whom he voted for last time, and, if it was not the Conservative Party, how the Prime Minister’s speech has narrowed his choice. The truth is that, since the 1960s, Conservative and Labour Governments have alternated. In this time, with the partial exception of the first Thatcher term – and she did consider banning dildoes in 1983 – the burden of state interference has grown, if with occasional changes of direction. In this time, with the exception of John Major’s second term, the tax burden has stayed about the same as a percentage of gross domestic product. I cannot remember if Roy Jenkins or Gordon Brown managed to balance the budget in any particular year. But I do know that George Osborn never managed it, or tried to manage it, before he was thrown into the street. Whether the politicians promised free markets or intervention, what was delivered has been about the same.
A longer answer is to draw attention to the low quality of political debate in this country. It seems to be assumed that there is a continuum of economic policy that stretches between the low tax corporatism of the Adam Smith Institute (“the libertarian right”) and whatever Jeremy Corbyn means by socialism. So far as Mrs May has rejected the first, she must be drifting towards the second. Leave aside the distinction, already made, between what politicians say and what they do. What the Prime Minister was discussing appears to have been One Nation Conservatism, updated for the present age.
Because it has never had a Karl Marx or a Murray Rothbard, this doctrine lacks a canonic expression. However, it can be loosely summarised in three propositions:
First, our nation is a kind of family. Its members are connected by ties of common history and language, and largely by common descent. We have a claim on our young men to risk their lives in legitimate wars of defence. We have other claims on each other that go beyond the contractual.
Second, the happiness and wealth and power of our nation require a firm respect of property rights and civil rights. It is one of the functions of microeconomic analysis to show how a respect of property rights is to the common benefit. The less doctrinaire forms of libertarianism show the benefit to a nation of leaving people alone in their private lives.
Third, the boundaries between these first two are to be defined and fixed by a respect for the mass of tradition that has come down to us from the middle ages. Tradition is not a changeless thing, and, if there is to be a rebuttable presumption in favour of what is settled, every generation must handle its inheritance with some regard to present convenience.
The weakness of the One Nation Conservatives Margaret Thatcher squashed lay in their misunderstanding of economics. After the 1930s, they had trusted too much in state direction of the economy. But, rightly understood, the doctrine does seem to express what most of us want. If that is what the Prime Minister is now promising to deliver, and if that is what she does in part deliver, I have no reasonable doubt that she and her successors will be in office as far ahead as the mind can track.
The question, I suppose, is to what degree she will deliver. Here, let me explain what may be true, or what may turn out to be wishful thinking. Between about 1990 and 2010, the cultural leftists came close to hegemony. It did not begin in 1990, and certainly did not end in 2010. During this time, even so, England was not a conservative country. It was ruled by a coalition of slimy leftists and hard-faced businessmen and a mass of other special interest groups united in their disdain for the nation as traditionally conceived. All of them are now getting old. Their intellectual and political leaders of ability are now mostly dead. The quality of the remainder is dipping below the mediocre. They hold their places in society wholly through nepotism. Their promise – a promise they may once have believed – of a kinder, fairer world has been shown by events to be a fraudulent prospectus. If they had less of an iron grip on the mainstream media, they would by now be subjected to the same blast of withering satire as the old order had to face in the 1960s. As it is, they are pilloried by the alternative media – media dominated by bright young men about half my age, and who are not leftists of any kind.
In America, the shorthand term for this essentially new movement is the Alternative Right. Its acknowledged, though perhaps entirely knowing, leader for the moment is Donald Trump. That is only for the moment. Whatever happens next month in the American election, the Alternative Right will not go away. It has no exact counterpart in England. Instead, discontent was until recently expressed through UKIP. This has now collapsed. Politicians who beat each other up are not loved in England.
If you read the speech Theresa May gave on Wednesday, you will see attacks on the “international elite,” and the claim, unprecedented from a recent British Prime Minister, that, “if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere.” Her speechwriters are obviously borrowing from Nigel Farage and Donald Trump. They are also pinning her to a modern restatement of One Nation Conservatism.
I will say yet again, that there is a difference between words and actions. All things considered, though, something is changing in British politics. Theresa May is no kind of liberal. She pushed through the Psychoactive Substances Act – a law that would have shocked just about every British politician before 1980. She has been pushing for years to give the police an open warrant to read our e-mails. But that perhaps was then. Her interests as Prime Minister may lie in a slightly less authoritarian direction. Certainly, there is nothing sinister about what she said on Wednesday. We have an overextended state that has been generations in the making, and that will not go away in the foreseeable future. If she can, in any degree, move its working from the advantage of the rich and well-connected to that of ordinary people, this will be something.
The House Judiciary Committee starts hearings Wednesday to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. We’ve started a new campaign to support this impeachment.
We’ve also signed a detailed letter to the Committee explaining an extra reason why impeachment is justified. Basically, California Attorney General, Kamala Harris, has also been targeting grassroots organizations with her own illegal regulation scheme. We covered her ploys in our April 29 Action Item. But the IRS Commissioner has done nothing — not even investigate her violations of federal law.
We explain all of the reasons for impeachment in the following sample letter. You can copy or edit for your personal comments to Congress.
Impeachment is justified because…
The IRS was abused by Lois Lerner to attack political opponents of the Obama administration. President Obama appointed Koskinen to clean up the mess, but nothing has happened.
A federal court ruled in August 2016 that the IRS cannot demonstrate that the targeting has stopped. http://washex.am/2cjRKZ0
Even worse, an IRS employee has deleted 24,000 emails related to the investigation of IRS abuse, in the face of two Congressional subpoenas and three preservation orders. http://bit.ly/2cjRMjw
In addition, Koskinen has done nothing to reign-in California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Ms. Harris is illegally requiring non-profit organizations to provide her with with their 990 schedule B tax returns. These tax returns contain sensitive donor information that the IRS is supposed to protect from public exposure. Ms. Harris is violating federal law. Yet Commissioner Koskinen has done nothing about this. http://bit.ly/2cjSrBB
It’s always difficult to discipline federal officials. Impeachment is one of the few tools available to foster accountability. This tool should be used against IRS Commissioner Koskinen. I will be watching what you do in this matter.