“Snowden was the one person in the fucking NSA who did what he absolutely should have done.”
— Daniel Ellsberg - Snowden Kept His Oath Better Than Anyone in the NSA
2:38 pm • 25 July 2014 • 92 notes
“As a friend of mine once remarked, this negative concept of law is so true that the statement, the purpose of the law is to cause justice to reign, is not a rigorously accurate statement. It ought to be stated that the purpose of the law is to prevent injustice from reigning. In fact, it is injustice, instead of justice, that has an existence of its own. Justice is achieved only when injustice is absent.
But when the law, by means of its necessary agent, force, imposes upon men a regulation of labor, a method or a subject of education, a religious faith or creed—then the law is no longer negative; it acts positively upon people. It substitutes the will of the legislator for their own wills; the initiative of the legislator for their own initiatives. When this happens, the people no longer need to discuss, to compare, to plan ahead; the law does all this for them. Intelligence becomes a useless prop for the people; they cease to be men they lose their personality, their liberty, their property.
Try to imagine a regulation of labor imposed by force that is not a violation of liberty; a transfer of wealth imposed by force that is not a violation of property. If you cannot reconcile these contradictions, then you must conclude that the law cannot organize labor and industry without organizing injustice.”
— Frederic Bastiat, The Law
1:36 am • 25 July 2014 • 17 notes
“It is not true that the legislator has absolute power over our persons and property. The existence of persons and property preceded the existence of the legislator, and his function is only to guarantee their safety.
It is not true that the function of law is to regulate our consciences, our ideas, our wills, our education, our opinions, our work, our trade, our talents, or our pleasures. The function of law is to protect the free exercise of these rights, and to prevent any person from interfering with the free exercise of these same rights by any other person.
Since law necessarily requires the support of force, its lawful domain is only in the areas where the use of force is necessary. This is justice
Every individual has the right to use force for lawful self-defense. It is for this reason that the collective force—which is only the organized combination of the individual forces—may lawfully be used for the same purpose; and it cannot be used legitimately for any other purpose.”
Frederic Bastiat, The Law
I remember the moment I read this passage for the first time and the mind-blowing effect it had on me. This passage changed my life forever. It put into words a philosophy I had always believed but couldn’t put words too.
Walter Williams writes in the foreword to this edition of The Law, “Reading Bastiat made me keenly aware of all the time wasted, along with the frustrations of going down one blind alley after another, organizing my philosophy of life. The Law did not produce a philosophical conversion for me as much as it created order in my thinking about liberty and just human conduct.”
I could not agree more.
1:22 am • 25 July 2014 • 25 notes
“A science of economics must be developed before a science of politics can be logically formulated. Essentially, economics is the science of determining whether the interests of human beings are harmonious or antagonistic. This must be known before a science of politics can be formulated to determine the proper functions of government.
Immediately following the development of a science of economics, and at the very beginning of the formulation of a science of politics, this all-important question must be answered: What is law? What ought it to be? What is its scope; its limits? Logically, at what point do the just powers of the legislator stop?
I do not hesitate to answer: Law is the common force organized to act as an obstacle to injustice. In short, law is justice”
Frederic Bastiat, The Law
I snagged about five copies of The Law while I was at Freedom Fest and I’m thumbing through one again. I don’t know if there will ever be a more articulate, eloquent and concise advocate for liberty.
1:10 am • 25 July 2014 • 40 notes
“Income inequality has surged as a political and economic issue, but the numbers don’t show that inequality is rising from a global perspective. Yes, the problem has become more acute within most individual nations, yet income inequality for the world as a whole has been falling for most of the last 20 years. It’s a fact that hasn’t been noted often enough…. Policies on immigration and free trade, for example, sometimes increase inequality within a nation, yet can make the world a better place and often decrease inequality on the planet as a whole.
From a narrowly nationalist point of view, these developments may not be auspicious for the United States. But that narrow viewpoint is the main problem. We have evolved a political debate where essentially nationalistic concerns have been hiding behind the gentler cloak of egalitarianism. To clear up this confusion, one recommendation would be to preface all discussions of inequality with a reminder that global inequality has been falling and that, in this regard, the world is headed in a fundamentally better direction”
Tyler Cowen - Income Inequality Is Not Rising Globally. It’s Falling.
See also: Are the poor getting poorer?
12:59 pm • 19 July 2014 • 11 notes
“Some of the most interesting capabilities of the tools on the list include the ability to seed the web with false information — such as tweaking the results of online polls — inflating pageview counts, censoring video content deemed ‘extremist’ and the use of psychological manipulation on targets”
— New Snowden Leaks Show Thought Police at Work
4:09 pm • 17 July 2014 • 42 notes
“[The anarchists] have never claimed that liberty will bring perfection; they simply say that its results are vastly preferable to those that follow from authority….As a choice of blessings, liberty is the greater; as a choice of evils, liberty is the smaller. Then liberty always say the Anarchists. No use of force except against the invader.”
— Benjamin Tucker
11:12 pm • 8 July 2014 • 23 notes
“The Austrian-oriented case for gold and for 100% reserve banking, for example, doesn’t depend on any belief about secret banker plots or about any mechanistic link between money creation and price increases. Rather, it is based on the desirability of preventing destructive boom/bust cycles, of eliminating any long-run risk of hyperinflation, of preventing money and money-substitute creation from becoming a source of political rent-seeking and moral hazard, and of upholding the integrity of the payments system without counterproductive regulatory interventions and bailouts.”
Vincent Cook - Austrian Economics vs. Clueless Trolls
This is a long article but worth the read. Apparently Bloomberg published a very shoddy smear against the Austrian school of economics having little to no idea about what the school actually stands for, let alone what sets it apart from other economic schools. My favorite part is where the author, Noah Smith, attempts to paint the school as anti-Semitic. According to Smith, two of the most prominent contributors to the Austrian school, Murray Rothbard and Ludwig Von Mises, who were Jewish, Mises having literally fled Austria to the U.S. to avoid the wave of Nazism sweeping across Europe. They are still anti-Semitic though.
10:43 pm • 5 July 2014 • 33 notes
“Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process 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.”
— John Maynard Keynes
4:11 pm • 5 July 2014 • 8 notes
“When reading the Declaration, it is worth keeping in mind two very important facts. The Declaration constituted high treason against the Crown and every person who signed it would be executed as traitors should they be caught by the British. Second, the Declaration was considered to be a legal document by which the revolutionaries justified their actions, and explained why they were not truly traitors. It represented, as it were, a literal indictment of the Crown and Parliament, in the very same way that criminals are now publicly indicted for their alleged crimes by grand juries representing ‘the People.’”
Randy Barnett - The Declaration of Independence Annotated
Keep this in mind when you hear politicians label Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden as traitors.
11:22 pm • 4 July 2014 • 96 notes
“The general sweep of the American experience is to a large degree disheartening to the modern libertarian because of the horrors of war and statism unleashed by the Civil War, the invention of the Federal Reserve, the income tax, Progressive Era business regulation (arising, as historians and theorists both libertarian and leftist have stressed, more from business desires for rational control over their own industry than from an impulse to empower or help the citizenry), World War I and World War II, the New Deal, and the Great Society. American government has steadily shifted toward less reliance on the free play of commercial republican virtue as it moves toward a traditional pattern of a god-king government, unrestricted by constitutions, dedicated to caring for and managing people in all their activities. This is why a gang of economists, novelists, theorists, pamphleteers, and politicians founded the libertarian movement in the first place.”
— Brian Doherty - Radicals for Capitalism
11:25 pm • 1 July 2014 • 15 notes
“The outrage does make sense, of course, if what one fundamentally cares about—or at least, additionally cares about—is the symbolic speech act embedded in the compulsion itself. In other words, if the purpose of the mandate is not merely to achieve a certain practical result, but to declare the qualms of believers with religious objections so utterly underserving of respect that they may be forced to act against their convictions regardless of whether this makes any real difference to the outcome. And something like that does indeed seem to be lurking just beneath—if not at—the surface of many reactions. The ruling seems to provoke anger, not because it will result in women having to pay more for birth control (as it won’t), but at least in part because it fails to send the appropriate cultural signal. Or, at any rate, because it allows religious employers to continue sending the wrong cultural signal—disapproval of certain forms of contraception—when sending that signal does not impede the achievement of the government’s ends in any way.”
— The Republic of Gilead is Not Nigh
1:21 pm • 1 July 2014 • 6 notes
“We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage. What we lack is a liberal Utopia, a program which seemed neither a mere defense of things as they are nor a diluted kind of socialism, but truly liberal radicalism which does not spare susceptibilities of the mighty…which is too severely practical and which does not confine itself to what appears today as politically possible.”
— F.A. Hayek
1:00 am • 1 July 2014 • 4 notes
“This week Americans will enjoy Independence Day with family cookouts and fireworks. Flags will be displayed in abundance. Sadly, however, what should be a celebration of the courage of those who risked so much to oppose tyranny will instead be turned into a celebration of government, not liberty. The mainstream media and opportunistic politicians have turned Independence Day into the opposite of what was intended.
The idea of opposing — by force if necessary — a tyrannical government has been turned into a celebration of tyrannical government itself.”
— Ron Paul - Celebrate Independence Day by Opposing Government Tyranny
10:20 pm • 30 June 2014 • 366 notes
“Conservatism is the socialism of the bourgeoise establishment.”
— Hans-Hermann Hoppe
8:23 pm • 30 June 2014 • 19 notes