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Liberty and Power

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  • Dissolving the State

    by Roderick T. Long

    I'm dissolving in the economic organism!

    Newly translated and added to the Molinari Institute online library: an excerpt from chapter 10 of Gustave de Molinari’s 1888 Political Evolution and the Revolution. This extract includes the following passage, whose wording – despite its dismissive reference to “anarchists” – is clearly inspired by Proudhon’s call for the “absorption” and “dissolution” of the state “in the economic organism”:

    Thus it is that, instead of absorbing the organism of society according to the revolutionary and communist conception, the municipality and the State are dissolved into this organism.


  • Obama and the End of the War in Iraq

    by Sheldon Richman

     

    I hope to say more about this, but I wanted to draw attention to this passage in Barack Obama’s remarks to troops regarding the end of the war in Iraq.

    The war in Iraq will soon belong to history.  Your service belongs to the ages.  Never forget that you are part of an unbroken line of heroes spanning two centuries –- from the colonists who overthrew an empire, to your grandparents and parents who faced down fascism and communism, to you –- men and women who fought for the same principles in Fallujah and Kandahar, and delivered justice to those who attacked us on 9/11.

    You’d never know that a signature of Obama’s 2008 campaign was his assertion that the invasion/occupation of Iraq was a bad mistake.


  • A Land Without People?

    by Sheldon Richman

    Someone posted this on Facebook. I thought it was worth passing along.
     


  • A Land Without People?

    by Sheldon Richman

    Someone posted this on Facebook. I thought it was worth passing along.
     


  • Iraq

    by Sheldon Richman

    Anyone who thinks there's anything to celebrate about the U.S. involvement in Iraq hasn't been paying attention. Even the "exit" is essentially a lie. The Pentagon calls it "reposturing."

     

  • Some Distinctions and Clarifications

    by Roderick T. Long

    I want to talk a bit a bit some of the ways in which left-libertarian claims are susceptible of misinterpretation. (Note: when I use the term “right-libertarian” below, I mean “libertarians who deviate rightward from the C4SS/ALL plumbline”!)

    1. Right-libertarians sometimes accuse left-libertarians of misrepresenting right-libertarians’ relation to corporatism. “They say we support government favouritism toward big business,” they complain, “yet no libertarian supports any such thing.”

    To answer this, I need to invoke the de re / de dicto distinction.

    Suppose I’m reading Ozma of Oz, and I think, “hey, this guy Baum is a good author.” Assume I don’t know that Baum also wrote a novel (a lousy one, in fact, though that doesn’t matter for the example) called The Master Key. Would it be true or false to say, “Roderick thinks the author of The Master Key is a good author”?


  • Newt Gingrich: Demagogue, Pseudointellectual

    by Sheldon Richman

    Newt Gingrich says the Palestinian people were invented. That’s very funny coming from a man who has reinvented himself a few times in his life. We didn’t need more evidence of Gingrich’s status as a rank demagogue and pseudointellectual, but he’s furnished it anyway.

    Gingrich, in his typically arrogant manner, says this:
     

    And I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places.

    By “chance to go many places” he means that while being expelled from their homes by Zionist/Israeli forces in 1947-48, they were free to relocate in any Arab country they chose. If I were to mimic Gingrich’s style, I’d say that’s a pro-FOUND-ly racist statement. Since these people are generic Arabs, why should it matter that someone else decides that they may no longer remain in Palestine where they and their families have lived and worked for a thousand or more years?


  • TGIF: Fearing Hayek

    by Sheldon Richman

     

    I’m sensing some panic in the air. Certain people seem mighty concerned that other people are . . . discovering Hayek. As a W. S. Gilbert character might say, Oh horror!

    Read the full TGIF here.


  • Why Do So Many People Automatically and Angrily Condemn Historical Revisionism?

    by Robert Higgs

    I surely do not consider myself immune to errors, of course. But if my facts are incorrect, the critic has an obligation to say why my facts are incorrect and to state, or at least to point toward, the correct facts. If my logic has run off the rails, the critic has an obligation to state how I fell into fallacious reasoning. More often than not, however, the critic resorts immediately to name-calling and to wild characterizations of my statements and my person.


  • What I Learned from Climategate

    by Lester Hunt

      I am still struck by how many intelligent people, some of whom I respect, say that the Climategate emails are a ho-hum matter. They apparently know a lot more about how "mainstream" climatologists work than I do. I actually learned four things that I did not know before. Apparently, they did know these things. At the risk of boring someone, and in the spirit of getting on the same page, let me list these things:   1. I had thought the the famous hockey stick graph and other global temperature information represented in some direct way readings of actual thermometers in the real world. In fact, these results do not directly report such raw data. Rather, climatologists nudge and tweak the raw data in various ways. This is understandable, in and of itself.

  • The Government Is Expropriating Private Wealth at a Rapid Rate

    by Robert Higgs

    About a month ago, I posted in regard to what I called “the euthanasia of the saver.” This comment had to do with the fact that nominal interest rates in the United States for financial investments such as bank certificates of deposit and bank savings accounts—the kinds of investments traditionally employed by retired persons and small savers, who wish to gain income without exposing their funds to great risk of capital loss—now fall considerably below the rate of inflation, and hence the real (or inflation-adjusted) yield on such investments is negative. That is, the nominal payoff is insufficient to offset the loss of purchasing power of the money invested.

    About a month before I wrote my commentary, my old friend Richard Rahn had, without my noticing, written on the same issue in a commentary article published in the Washington Times, but he had gone beyond the simple point I made.


  • The Myth of an Israel-Centered Jewish Vote

    by Sheldon Richman

    I highly recommend this article by Allan C. Brownfeld, editor of the American Council for Judaism’s publication Issues.  The gist:

    The fact is that there is no Jewish vote — only the votes of millions of individual Jewish Americans. These ballots are cast on the same basis as are those of Americans of other faiths. It is a dangerous challenge to our democracy to try to divide voters on the basis of religion, and to do so on the basis of a false picture of U.S. Middle East policy is harmful to all — to Israel, to the Palestinians, to American interests in the region and, perhaps most important, to the truth itself.


  • The Welfare State Neutralizes Potential Opponents by Making Them Dependent on Government Benefits

    by Robert Higgs

     From time immemorial—from Etienne de la Boitie to David Hume to Ludwig von Mises—political analysts have noted that because the number of those in the ruling elite amounts to only a small fraction of the number in the ruled masses, every regime lives or dies in accordance with “public opinion.” Unless the mass of the people, no matter how objectively abused and plundered they may appear to be, believe that the existing rulers are legitimate, the masses will not tolerate the regime’s continuation in power. Nor need they tolerate it, because they greatly outnumber the rulers, and hence whenever they become subjectively fed up, they have the power—which is to say, the overwhelming advantage of superior numbers—to oust the regime. Even if the regime possesses a great advantage of coercive power, its employment avails the rulers nothing if they must kill or imprison 90 percent of the population, because such massive violence would reduce them to the status of parasites without hosts.

    This consideration long seemed to make sense as a critical element of political analysis, and even today one often encounters it. Something akin to it seems to motivate the current Occupy Wall Street movement and its spin-offs in other venues when they represent themselves as members of the (exploited) 99 percent, in opposition to the (exploiting) 1 percent.


  • Bachmann Endangers the World with Her Lies

    by Sheldon Richman

    It’s way past time for Michele Bachmann to be ridiculed into the obscurity she so richly deserves. Nothing could be more irresponsible – indeed, pernicious – than her routine peddling of the lie that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that "if he has a nuclear weapon he will use it to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. He will use it against the United States of America." (This is far from her only venture into idiocy.)

    Iran has said that it is not developing a nuclear weapon, and quarterly inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency support this claim. Moreover, two National Intelligence Estimates, compiled in 2007 and 2011 by America’s dozen and a half intelligence agencies, say Iran stopped work on a nuclear weapon in 2003. Finally, according to Wikipedia:
     

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