Thursday, June 30, 2005


No, not the hip-hop group featuring Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, but the Ancient Egyptian text.

My name using Egyptian Hieroglyphs!


Try your name

link via Blood and Treasure

More responses to Kelo

Yup, that's right. More responses to the Kelo decision. But hey, important shit like this deserves lots of attention.

A brief stop over at The Progress Report allowed me to see two more responses of interest. The first is from the Green Party. Given the overwhelming statist influence within that party, it's quite refreshing to hear representatives of that party refer to the Kelo decision as legalized theft.

The other piece of commentary comes from Fred Foldvary. In June 23, 2005: The Day Liberty Died, Foldvary makes a number of important comments, two of which deserve to be quoted here. On the issue of private property:
The core of liberty is private property. Private property means that the owner may control the use and transfer of the property. The forced taking of property from the rightful owner is theft, an evil act which government should outlaw, not perpetrate. Just because the thief does something good with the stolen loot does not make the theft right. This principle applies equally to private theft and theft by government. The excuse for government is the protection and security of persons and their property. Government not only commits an evil act by forcibly taking property, but also delegitimizes itself.

And on such collectivist whooey as "the public good":
The greatest enemy of liberty is the concept of the “greater good” or “common good” or the “public good.” The evils committed by Nazis, totalitarian communists, fascists, and other evil governments have been in the name of the greater good. It is the ultimate in the end justifying the means. Evil in the name of good ignores a fundamental moral principle: good never offsets evil. A thief who benefits society with his loot still commits an evil act.

Moreover, there is no “greater good” other than liberty. What is good is subjective, and there is no logical way to measure conflicting subjective values. With liberty, each person may pursue his own subjective valuation of what is good. The concept of “good” is meaningless when applied to society or to anything other than the subjectively held good of an individual being. Society does not think or feel; only individual persons do so, and so “good” is strictly individual.

I couldn't have possibly said it better myself.

Finally, Sunni Maravillosa chimes in on the "Lost Liberty Hotel" idea. I got a laugh out of this story at first, but then it quickly hit home to me that it just ain't right for someone who defends private property rights and is opposed to state coercion to actually put such an idea into action. As Sunni put it in her post:
So why are freedom-loving individuals cheering this on with the "Lost Liberty Hotel" idea? It strikes me as being born of a childish desire for revenge ... which is natural; liberty lovers aren't necessarily above such human desires. But it's using the tool of the state, which to me goes against everything freedom is about. I've written on this before, and so won't get into it deeply again today.

The state's power is the only tool I've been able to think of since my mind started down this path this morning that isn't morally neutral. We won't -- we can't -- succeed in expanding liberty if we're willing to wield it when it suits us.

She also provided the most recent cartoon by Russmo, which is a good one:
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(click to enlarge)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bandits and highway robbery and shit

There have been a number of good posts by various bloggers these past few days on the subject of the Kelo decision. One of them was written by Kevin Carson, and his response to one of the comments afterward reminded me of something that I read recently. First, his comment:
I get REALLY pissed off at the kinds of "libertarians" who want to rebuild the WTC as a symbol of "free markets." The site was orginally stolen from the Greek community that occupied it, via a bunch of eminent domain skullduggery by David Rockefeller and the Port Authority. Maybe Yglesias and Markos should try defending the Trail of Tears as an exercise in eminent domain for "progressive" purposes. The land's arguably being used much more efficiently now. And if the government decides that the "fair market value" of your land is a handful of beads, that's just the way things go.

The part about defending the Trail of Tears is what caught my attention. I recently decided to reread Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson's The Illuminatus Trilogy, and I read the following passage a couple of days ago. This setting of this excerpt is a courtroom, where Hagbard Celineis representing members of the Mohawk nation against the US government.
MR.FEATHER (concluding): And it will be because men do not speak words but speak shit!
MR. KHARIS: Your honor, I move that the last speech be stricken from the record as irrelevant and immaterial. We are dealing here with a practical question, the need of the people of New York for this dam, and Mr. Feather's superstitions are totally beside the point.
MR. CELINE: Your honor, the people of New York have survived a long time without a dam in that particular place. They can survive longer without it. Can anything survive, anything worth having, if our words become as Mr. Feather says, excrement? Can anything we can reasonably call American Justice survive, if the words of our first President, if the sacred honor of George Washington is destroyed, if his promise that the Mohawk could keep these lands "as long as the mountain stands and the grass is green," if all that becomes nothing but excrement?
MR. KHARIS: Counsel is not arguing. Counsel is making speeches.
MR. CELINE: I am speaking from the heart.
Are you - or are you speaking excrement that you are ordered to speak by your superiors?
MR. ALUCARD: More speeches.
MR. CELINE: More excrement.
JUSTICE IMMHOTEP: Control yourself, Mr. Celine.
MR. CELINE: I am controlling myself. Otherwise, I would speak as frankly as my client and say that most of the speeches here are plain old shit. Why do I say "excrement" at all, if it isn't, like you people, to disguise a little what we are all doing? It's shit. Plain shit.
JUSTICE IMMHOTEP: Mr. Celine, you are coming very close to contempt of court. I warn you.
MR. CELINE: Your honor, we speak the tongue of Shakespeare, of Milton, of Melville. Must we go on murdering it? Must we tear it away from it's last umbilical connection with reality? What is going on in this room, actually? Defendants, the U.S. government and its agents, want to steal some land from my clients. How long do we have to argue that they have no justice, no right, no honor, in their cause? Why can't we say highway robbery is highway robbery, instead of calling it eminent domain? Why can't we say shit is shit, instead of calling it excrement? Why do we never use language to convey meaning? Why must we always use it to conceal meaning? Why do we never speak from the heart? Why do we always speak words programmed into us, like robots?
JUSTICE IMMHOTEP: Mr. Celine, I warn you again.
MR. FEATHER: And I warn you. The world will die. The stars will go out. If men and women cannot trust the words spoken, the earth will crack, like a rotten pumpkin.
MR. KHARIS: I call for a recess. Plaintiff and their counsel are both in no emotional state to continue at this time.
MR. CELINE: You even have guns. You have men with guns and clubs, who are called marshals, and they will beat me if I don't shut up. How do you differ from any other gang of bandits, then, except in using language that conceals what you are doing? The only difference is that the bandits are more honest. That's the only difference. The only difference.
JUSTICE IMMOHETEP: Mr. Marshal, restrain the counsel.
MR. CELINE: You're stealing what isn't yours. Why can't you talk turkey for just one moment? Why-
JUSTICE IMMHOTEP: Just hold him, Marshal. Don't use unnecessary force. Mr. Celine, I am tempted to forgive you, considering that you are obviously much involved with your clients, emotionally. However, such mercy on my part would encourage other lawyers to believe they could follow your example. I have no choice. I find you guilty of contempt of court. Sentencing will take place when court reconvenes after a fifteen-minute recess. You may speak at that time, but only on any mitigating grounds that should lighten the degree of your sentence. I will not hear the United States government called bandits again. That is all.
MR. CELINE: You steal land, and you will not hear yourselves called bandits. You order men with guns and clubs to hold us down, and you will not hear youselves called thugs. You don't act from the heart; where the hell do you act from? What in God's name does motivate you?

Oh, and I can't blog about Hagbard Celine without providing a link to an excerpt from his book Never Whistle While You're Pissing where he offers some definitions and distinctions.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Government as mass psychosis

Anthony Gregory'slatest piece at Strike the Root is a good one. Here's a taste:
Everything about the government is an illusion. Constitutions, flags, laws, uniforms, borders – these constructs are artificial. They may have strong cultural manifestations and incite people to behave in distinct ways toward each other, but in the end it is people, and not nations, that act. In the end, the ways they decide to act cannot be qualitatively categorized as good or bad, just or unjust, simply by virtue of being called “government.” Nothing can make the bombing of innocents anything other than murder, the forceful confiscation of wealth from those who earned it anything less than theft, the detainment of peaceful sick marijuana users anything short of kidnapping. In the end, government is a mass psychosis, and nothing more.

You can read it all by clicking here.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Random musings from other blogs

I've been busy this past week with some changes to my schedule and whatnot, which is why I haven't been blogging. I've also written a column about that atrocious Supreme Court ruling regarding eminent domain that'll be published at in the near future. It's the first installment of what'll be a somewhat regular series of rants over there about politics and current events by yours truly.

I don't really have much to blog about at the moment, so I'll just provide some insightful quotes from other blogs that I've been reading the past couple of days.

This first one goes out to all the people who get on my nerves by claiming that we live in a free market society. From Kevin Carson::
But we don't live in a free market. We live in a state capitalist economy where the state has cartelized most industries: by anti-competitive regulations; by subsidies to operating costs that render corporations artificially profitable at sizes far above maximum economy of scale; and by subsidies to capital- and skill- and R&D-intensiveness that artificially increase the minimum feasible size and otherwise raise entry barriers. We live in an economy, in short, where the average corporation has all the internal inefficiencies and irrationalities of a planned economy--but is able to survive because the taxpayers foot the bill for so many of the diseconomies of scale.

There has been a lot of discussion lately in the blogosphere about revitalizing libertarian engagement with the left along with posts concerning the history of the Movement of the Libertarian Left. Here is a bit of what Wally Conger had to say in one of his many recent posts on the subjects at hand:
As Knapp says, principled libertarians now stand at a crossroads. Both the Cato Institute and the so-called “Libertarian” Party and its “New Libertarian” faction, all front groups for the warmongering right-wing, have hammered a wedge into the libertarian movement. There is no better time than now for a libertarian rapprochement with not the “leftists” of the Democratic Party but the vital, rebellious, antiwar, anti-state Left of CounterPunch and other radical journals. We have a lot to talk about, and I look forward to the dialogue.

Plenty of good historical analyses have popped up in the past few days. One of them comes from BK Marcus and is called We're all Bismarckians Now. It deals with the rise of the welfare/warfare state and the differences between left-wing and right-wing socialism, including a brief discussion of fascism.

Another interesting historical post comes from a new blog hosted by Shawn P. Wilber called In the Libertarian Labyrinth. In the post titled Confessions of a latter day mutualist, he comes to terms with the mutualist label by means of discussing the various factions within the early socialist/anarchist movement, more specifically the First International.

Finally, while my thoughts about the recent Supreme Court ruling are not online yet, here are a couple of good blog entries from others on the subject:
From Thomas Knapp:
Well, that about wraps it up for property rights
From Blaggle (link via Karmalised): Home is Where the Home Depot Is.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Music: Dawg Music

Image Hosted by One of my favorite musicians, without question, has to be David Grisman. Grisman, whose nickname is "Dawg", is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, mandolin players alive. His unique style of music, blending bluegrass with the type of old-time European gypsy jazz popularized by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, brings a revitalizing jolt to the world of acoustic music through the swinging improvisation that was often lacking in genres such as bluegrass.

1977 was the year that his quintet released their first album, which contains ten fine examples of what Dawg music is all about. The quintet, featuring Tony Rice on guitar, Darol Anger on violin and mandolin, Todd Phillips on mandolin and Bill Amatneek on bass, created delightfully weird tunes that make this album a joy to listen to from start to finish. Here are a couple of enjoyable examples to check out:

ALBUM: The David Grisman Quintet (1977, Rhino)
The David Grisman Quintet - Richochet
The David Grisman Quintet - Dawg's Rag

Grisman had the opportunity to perform with one of his major influences a couple of years later as Stephane Grappelli developed an interest to his music. Some live material was recorded during this time, leading to the release of an incredible album years later simply titled Live. The level of musicianship on this album is absolutely stunning, making it sure to appeal to people with varying tastes in music. Joining Grappelli and Grisman on this recording are Mike Marshall on mandolin and guitar, Mark O'Connor on guitar and violin, Rob Wasserman on bass and Tiny Moore on electric mandolin. The following delectable downloads are my two favorites tracks on this album, especially the gypsy medley which concludes the recording:

ALBUM: Live (1994, Warner Bros.)
Stephane Grappelli/David Grisman - Pent-Up House
Stephane Grappelli/David Grisman - Medley: Tzigani/Fisztorza/Fulginiti

One of Grisman's closest friends and frequent collaborators was the late Jerry Garcia. They released a number of albums together, one of which is a delightful collection of old-time folk music that'll grab the attention of both young and old called Not For Kids Only. This 1993 release features a number of guest musicians adding a pleasant flavor to the tunes. This album contains songs with lyrics that are both humorous and full of heart, providing a change of pace from the mostly instrumental work that Grisman is known for.

ALBUM: Not For Kids Only (1993, Acoustic Disc)
Jerry Garcia/David Grisman - There Ain't No Bugs on Me

I'll wrap up this musical installment with a taste of live Garcia and Grisman that shows off the incredible instrumental work that defined their time together. The name of this piece is "Arabia", and it provides an example of how diverse their influences are as they incorporate an Eastern style to their music. This is from an unreleased live recording of their August 25, 1991 performance in Squaw Valley, California:

Garcia & Grisman - Arabia pt.1
Garcia & Grisman - Arabia pt.2

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

More on aid to Africa

When I initially read about the upcoming Live8 concert, I knew that it wouldn't make a real difference in terms of actually battling poverty due to the reliance on foreign aid. I, however, had not really read up on recent criticisms specific to African aid. Diane Warth at Karmalised has been on the ball here and provided a post a few days ago linking to numerous articles about African aid, including one where Ousmane Sembène, the Senegalese-born 'father of African cinema', flat out calls Live8's contribution "fake".

Whether it's direct governmental food aid that winds up being dispensed to supporters of African despots, or more of the loans churned out by neomercantilist bodies like the IMF and World Bank that result in escalating debt and continued poverty amongst the masses, this continuation of the notion that aid is the answer is not helping to alleviate poverty one bit. The only thing that will make a difference is continued debt cancellation, along with resistance to the state capitalist grip on the African continent.

Speaking of state capitalism in Africa, Richard Garner wrote an extensive post about it yesterday that explains how political bodies and the influence of western multinational corporations prevents free enterprise from taking off, resulting in the perpetuation of the poverty that plagues the African continent.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

"I will not kiss your fucking flag"

Today happens to be Flag Day. What better way to celebrate such a fucking pathetic event as this than by showing off some quality desecrations of the USSA flag. The Continental Op, posting at Red Harvest, is showcasing some of his fine work with the flag. Here are my two favorites from his collection:

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(click on images to enlarge them)

A wise and salty pig once passed along some insight to me about how flags and other such symbols can have a strange effect on people that can even lead to collectivist thinking if people aren't careful. While it is definitely some good advice to be careful with such symbolism, I'm gonna provide images of a couple of flags that I appreciate.

As much as I like this first one, I'm weary of displaying it too much since some people have perverted it by linking it to defense of neoconservative warfare. It's too bad that such people cling to this flag so much since I really dig the design of it.
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And here's the other one:
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Monday, June 13, 2005

The folly of Live 8

The issue of foreign aid is back in the news. I wrote a blog entry back in March called Foreign Aid Follies that explored the dark side of foreign aid that originates from government, and provides a couple of informative links that go into more detail about the misuse and corruption associated with foreign aid. Some good news is that, as I discovered via Thomas Knapp, is that $40 billion in African debt has been forgiven. The bad news is that people still clamor for more foreign aid and seemingly have no wish to address root causes of poverty. Knapp does a good job of explaining why some people are missing the point.

With the G8 summit coming up next month, people are pressing the powers that be to do more than just begin cancelling some debt. More specifically, what is being demanded by many is more aid. At the forefront of such activism is Bob Geldof and his Live 8 concert. There's no doubt that the people behind this concert and the musicians who'll be a part of it are filled with good intentions, but it's disappointing to see people continue to cling to shoddy and counterproductive band-aid solutions instead of acknowledging root causes and focusing on getting rid of them. Knapp's piece, as well as my previous entry on aid, show how foreign aid winds up being wasted much of the time, and how it seems to serve the interests of big business and Third World despots more than anything else.

Drizzten did some research on the Live 8 concert and their American affiliate known as The One Campaign. The One Campaign advocates that the USSA government spend an additional 1% of it's budget on aid efforts. The Live 8 organization no doubt wants similar efforts to be undertaken by the other seven countries that make up the G8. Here's an excerpt from Drizzten's post about this:
What I'm not for, however, is the use of a government's power to tax it's population in order to provide for others. Even if TOC is perfectly cool with reducing spending elsewhere in the federal budget to free up the $25 billion they say they want, I still wouldn't support it. There may be millions of Americans who are OK with being taxed to have some of that wealth redistributed to others. I am not and opting out of the tax system (i.e., just ignoring the IRS) means facing some nasty consequences. A fraction of my income is either taken without my permission or handed over under threat of violence; in these circumstances, I'm pretty pissed at anyone who wants more.

What's worse is that both TOC and Live 8 make the following claims:
LIVE 8 is calling for people across the world to unite in one call – in 2005 it is your voice we are after, not your money.


LIVE 8 is about justice not charity.


We don't want your money - we want you!

Well where does this increased aid money come from? Does it fall from the sky? Does it grow on money trees? Nope, it comes from you and me when the government partakes in it's annual theft of peoples' wealth. Here's Drizzten's reaction:
If I wanted to be polite, I'd say this is disingenuous. If I wanted to be honest, I'd say this is open-faced bullshit.

Governments acquire their resources from the people they govern. Without non-governmental production, states wouldn't be anything like what they are now in power and scope. The Live 8 organizers aren't being honest with you. They do want your money; they just consider it to be the state's cash, available to hand over for a worthy purpose. The organizers are attempting to spin this as something we individually won't have to sacrifice for, when it is that very act of voluntary individual donation and effort that would make this more than charity.

I don't consider something justice when unjust means are used to obtain justice. Would any of the organizers or supporters condone stealing from their neighbor (the cranky guy next door who hates taxes) and then giving that money to pay for the economic harm inflicted by American cotton subsidies on poor farmers? Where is the justice in that? I say far from taking the proper steps to compensate legitimate victims, it creates new victims.

This reminds me of a couple of quotes from Gandhi about means vs. ends and charity:
"Pure goals can never justify impure or violent action."

"No action which is not voluntary can be called moral."

There's no question that poverty is a brutal and unnatural condition that we should focus on alleviating. There's no question that the cancellation of debts is a good first step in that direction and should continue until all such debts are forgiven. Any additional steps, however, need to take Gandhi's words into account, which means refusing to rely on crooked institutions that provide inefficient services while benefiting from the world's current political and economic structure. I would have more respect for groups like TOC and Live 8 if they were honest about wanting financial support while rejecting political means of action. Rejecting the use of foreign aid, turning to private alternatives and asking for voluntary donations is the pure and moral approach to helping those in need. Those who wish to go further than that can address root causes of poverty, such as the state capitalist system we all live under, and strive to get rid of it.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Critters Buggin'

Image Hosted by I have an extreme love affair with music, and one of the joys of the blogosphere, aside from sharing thoughts about politics or whatever and learning from the thoughts of others, is the type of blog known as an audioblog. Audioblogs are where people provide mp3s of music that they enjoy and wish to share with others. I recently discovered a really neat website while checking out two audioblogs that I enjoy reading, Xanax Taxi and etnobofin. The site is called, and it allows you to share files that are too large for email by hosting them on it's server and sending a link to your desired recipient.

With the help of, I'm pleased to announce that my humble blog has now evolved into an audioblog. I'll being offering a post once a week that'll include links to 2 or 3 mp3s of songs that I wish to promote. My music tastes are diverse and may appear somewhat bizarre to some, so expect to see genres including jazz, rock, bluegrass, hip-hop, various world musics, and even some crazy amalgamations of those and other styles. The files will only be available for a few days.

Image Hosted by The first installment features a freaky and rather non-categorizable band whose name fits in rather nicely around here: Critters Buggin'. This Seattle based group features four stellar musicians who create a truly unique sound that blends many different styles together, resulting in some strange but sweet sounds to bug out to.

The band consists of Skerik on tenor and baritone sax, Brad Houser on bass, Mike Dillon on vibraphones and percussion, and Matt Chamberlain on drums. Skerik and Dillon have worked together with many eclectic musicians over the years, including bassist Les Claypool and jazz/funk drumming legend Mike Clark. Matt Chamberlain is a world-class drummer who has performed with many well known musicians, including David Bowie, Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Pearl Jam, Bill Frisell, and Brad Mehldau. Brad Houser's best known work outside of Critters would likely be with Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians.

Their most recent album is called Stampede, and it is easily their most mature and innovative output as a band. While much of their earlier work had a very freaky jazz/funk/thrash sort of feel to it, Stampede shows off a much more sophisticated sound, incorporating bits of electronica, dub, string arrangements, and world sounds in addition to their trademark jazz and funk craziness. Guest musicians on this album include Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam fame on guitar, John Brion on piano, the Master Musicians of Jajouka, and Eyvind Kang, who arranged the strings that appear on a few songs.

Without further ado, here are a couple of samples from the album.

ALBUM: Stampede (2004, Ropeadope Records)
Critters Buggin' - Persephone Under Mars
Critters Buggin' - Punk Rock Guilt

These guys may not be touring together right now, but I'm really looking forward to catching Skerik perform in Ann Arbor next week with members of the legendary '70s jazz/funk group known as the Headhunters (minus Herbie Hancock). It should be a blast, and I'll be sure to share some samples of that show if I'm lucky enough to obtain a recording of it at some future date.

By the way, if you scroll down and keep your eyes on the sidebar, you'll notice a legal disclaimer on the bottom that I need to include since many of the songs I'll be sharing here are from official releases and I don't want to get into any sort of trouble or anything at some point down the line.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

More from Hess

Wally Conger left a comment in my last post concerning Karl Hess about an interview that appeared in Playboy magazine that I was unaware of. I found out via Google that it appeared in the July 1976 issue and that it was unfortunately not available online, at least to my knowledge. I got my hands on a microfilm copy of that issue while on a work break yesterday and photocopied it, which set me back $3.60 since making copies off of microfilm is so darn expensive. It was worth it though since it is a great interview. It was also fun to fast forward through the film to get to the July issue, stopping every once in a while to check out the scenery in the January through June issues.

While I can't offer up the whole thing on my blog, I can provide some choice excerpts from this lenghty interview:

On the difference between Presidents and kings:
Presidents achieve power by hoaxes and handshakes, while kings take the far less tiring route of being born. That is the only difference I can discern.

On the sexual aspect of the campaign trail (this is a Playboy interview, ya know):
It's so sad. Women are used as trade goods in a political campaign. The rich and powerful require a lot of solace and don't have much time, so their approach to getting their rocks off is the same as their approach to getting a haircut. The barber comes to them, the tailor comes to them and sex comes to them, too. Women are assigned, like jets and limousines.

After Hess explained that Goldwater viewed religion as being the primary difference between the US and the Soviet Union, he had this to say:
Yes, and since I'm an atheist, I didn't consider his position wholly satisfying. But I think it turns out that the entire Cold War didn't make sense without religion. Nelson Rockefeller doesn't make sense without religion - not that Nelson Rockefeller makes much sense with religion. But what other differences are there? As James Burnham pointed out in 1941, inThe Managerial Revolution, the similarity between the Soviet state and the American corporation is striking. So to find a difference worth dying for in opposing the Soviet Union while supporting General Motors requires a theological position.

Hess explaining his position regarding power and it's alternative:
I am in total opposition to any institutional power. I favor a world of neighborhoods in which all social organization is voluntary and the ways of life are established in small, consenting groups. These groups could cooperate with other groups as they saw fit. But all cooperation would be on a voluntary basis. As the French anarchist Proudhon said. "Liberty [is] not the daughter but the Mother of Order."

After interviewer Sam Merrill responded with a "pie in the sky" remark and questioned whether or not such societies ever existed, Hess had this to say:
The precedents I look to were the participatory democracies of the Greek city-states, many Irish cities up until the British occupation, some Indian villages under Mahatma Gandhi and the town meetings right here in America. Each of those anarchist societies produced great and honorable cultures. There is no way to achieve a free society that is national. The concept of a nation requires the subordination of the citizen because you must let someone else represent you. So your freedom is being exercised by another person. In a truly free society, there is no subordination of any citizen. Every citizen represents himself.

Merrill later brings up the common criticism concerning the possibility that humans are basically evil. Hess replied with:
In that sad case, it would be even more imperative to avoid the nation-state, because then a basically flawed individual would be invested with the greatest possible power. The anarchist - although he believes man is good - says that whether man is, in fact, good or evil, the nation-state is an abomination.

While talking about the IRS, Hess had this to say:
It is curious to note that when for reasons of conscience, people refuse to kill, they are often exempted from active military duty. But there are no exemptions for people who, for reasons of conscience, refuse to financially support the bureaucracy that actually does the killing. Apparently, the state takes money more seriously than life.

On FDR, the fascist:
Roosevelt wanted to do good for the common folk without permitting the common folk to do good for themselves.

He believed it was better for people to be alike than for them to be different and it was better for people to be led than for them to be self-reliant. The term fascist seems appropriate because the most essential tenet of fascism views the state as the people, rather than the other way around. Both Hitler and Roosevelt began by nationalizing the people.

But one crucial similarity between those two fascists is that both successfully destoyed the trade unions. Roosevelt did it by passing exactly the reforms that would ensure the creation of a trade-union bureaucracy. Since F.D.R., the unions have become the protectors of contracts rather than the spearhead of worker demands. And the Roosevelt era brought the "no strike" clause, the notion that your rights are limited by the needs of the state.

When Merrill brought up the fact that many historians claim that the poor would have starved without Roosevelt, Hess answered with this gem:
What a terrible thing to say about poor people. The alternative view is that without Roosevelt, the poor would have organized.

When asked if he had any political heroes, Hess had this to say:
Gandhi is one. He was the first great spokesman for the neighborhood. His notion was that the world is composed of neighborhoods - a breath-taking perception.

Hess's view of the Presidency:
The Presidency doesn't mean shit to me. But it means everything to most people, which is sad. Thomas Jefferson once had to go out to eat because the boardinghouse he was staying at stopped serving dinner at a certain time. Sounds like the folks then understood that what they had was an elected officer, not an elected deity.

On the Declaration of Independence:
The Declaration is so lucid that we're afraid of it today. It scares the hell out of every modern bureaucrat, because it tells us that there comes a time when we must stop taking orders and start taking our lives back into our own hands. That's why the Constitution is so diligently taught in every schoolroom, while the Declaration is largely ignored.

On Presidents, bureaucrats, and other managers:
It's not so much that I don't like them but that all managerial functions are the most exalted and least important functions in our society. I mean, being a manager requires a fairly low order of skill. A lot of hard-core unemployed who have no useful skills such as carpentry have all the qualifications necessary to manage things. You know, look at the lists and make sure the paper clips arrive on time. I'm not saying managers don't do anything. I'm just saying they don't do anything a chimpanzee couldn't do equally well. Or a pidgeon. Pidgeons can do simple repetitive tasks, especially if they're color coded.

I'll finish this post off with his vision of the perfect anarchist:
A good friend, good lover, good neighbor.

Peter McWilliams - government murder victim

Yep, that's right. Peter McWilliams was murdered by the USSA federal government on June 14, 2000.

Why? Because he wished to ease the suffering caused by AIDS and cancer and prevent himself from vomiting up his medications through the use of marijuana. Once the federal thugs forcibly removed that treatment option, he was left defenseless against the pain, and the vomiting.

How did he die? Choking on his own vomit. If his preferred course of treatment was not forcibly removed from his choice of treatment options, there would have been no vomit to choke on. He might still be with us today. Thus, there is no doubt in the minds of many that McWilliams was murdered by the feds.

James Leroy Wilson is using his blog to remind us of this tragedy by posting something about McWilliams every day leading up to the fifth anniversary of the murder. This is especially relevant given the fact that the federal government set the stage earlier in the week for many more Americans to suffer and die for no good reason by striking down medicinal marijuana. And I'm well aware of the suffering that those who are fighting cancer go through since my own mother has been fighting it for some time now. If I thought that marijuana would help ease her pain, I'd definitely consider hooking her up with that treatment option, feds be damned! Unfortunately, my dad would probably kill me if I ever brought a pot brownie anywhere near my mom. Some people disapprove of certain things just because of their legal status, no matter how silly and/or irrational that may be.

I encourage readers to check up on Wilson's blog on a daily basis to read his posts on McWilliams. The first one included a link to a great column about McWilliams written by William F. Buckley Jr. I find it odd that such a column was written by a conservative such as Buckley, but then again he has been opposed to the war on drugs for some time now.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Good readin' (Karl Hess edition)

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usTaking all the libertarian writers that I have been exposed to into account, I'd have to say that one of my favorites is Karl Hess. Brad Spangler (via Jomama) has posted a link to the great 1969 Playboy essay by Hess titled The Death of Politics. Aside from that wonderful essay, there are also two interviews with Hess that are interesting reads that I recommend checking out. Here they are:
The Plowboy Interview
From Far Right to Far Left — and Farther — With Karl Hess

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Phony Privatizers

Brad Spangler wrote up an interesting post yesterday about how some reforms that are labeled as "privatization" don't really involve actual privatization at all. Not only do such faux privatization plans suck due to their nature and the fact that government intervention may still exist, but also because they give the concept of privatization a bad name. This ends up making it harder to make free enterprise seem appealing to those who currently support statist institutions.

Now we have Robert Murphy at the Mises Institute blog chiming in with a post about "private" schools in Pennsylvania that have been a complete failure. This CNN story about the schools refers to an experiment in privatization, although the following excerpt reveals that the truth is rather different:
Edison also found itself in a perpetual three-way power struggle with the board and the central administration. The contract did not allow Edison to hire or fire teachers. The company also did not control the district's finances and had limited ability to shift resources to places that needed them. It was not involved in generating the faulty information that hid the system's budget deficit.

Just as with Dubya's "privatization" of Social Security and the typical forms of "deregulation" that occur with various utilities, this experiment in "privatization" of schools is bunk. With that in mind, it's no surprise that the experiment failed.

Surprise Surprise...

I never thought I'd see an article like this over at

U.S. Has Long History of Waging Wrong Wars

The history that author Jim Powell documents begins with Woodrow Wilson's follies and continues right up to the present.

I especially like the ending of this piece:
In addition, the U.S. invasion of nuke-free Iraq and its restraint with nuke-armed North Korea send a signal that other nations should secretly accelerate efforts to acquire nuclear weapons since they deter U.S. intervention. U.S. actions encourage the nuclear proliferation it is intended to prevent.

Woodrow Wilson left a legacy of trouble.

(hat tip to Strike the Root)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Beware of the klep

A recent column by Fred Foldvary sheds light on the disease that is plaguing humanity. A disease with symptoms such as "poverty, unemployment, congestion, and pollution", and is a sharp 180 degree turn from hypochondria since afflicted individuals don't even know that they're ill. The source of this disease seems to be the political class, and it has since spread outside of privledged quarters since quarantine efforts are non-existant. The average individual who comes into contact with this contagion winds up suffering weight loss of the wallet and is left with fewer means to optimize their health and overall well-being.

So what is this malady that is menacing mankind with it's malevolent makeup? It is the klep.

Dr. Foldvary offers the following advice for treating this ailment:
What is needed is for folks to learn basic universal ethics. They would then be cured of the klep, and they would stop supporting roundabout theft. We would then enjoy true peace, social harmony, and prosperous enterprise.
It's too bad that the klep is a disease that leaves people oblivious to their condition because people don't seek cures to diseases that they don't even know they have. Fortunately for the future of mankind, freedom lovers such as Dr. Foldvary exist to educate people of this epidemic so that it's spread can eventually come to a halt.