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The Cure

This is the time of year when people make wishes.They beseech mankind to end war, eliminate poverty, and cure dangerous diseases.Almost no one does anything beyond making the wish or writing a check to some charity, but even that little bit makes them feel better.
If I were to make a wish, I would wish for people to re-examine their state indoctrination — or as Ayn Rand used to put it, to check their premises.  War, poverty, and dangerous diseases can be overcome, and the means to their cure is right in front of us, which is why most people don’t see it.  Most people think the means to the cure is more and better government programs.  It is not more and better government programs.
What is the means?  Freedom.
Turn loose the ultimate resource, as Julian Simon termed it.  Let human ingenuity flourish.  Get the state out of our lives.  Get rid of the government bureaucracies that drain our wealth and sap our energy.  Get rid of the income tax, the federal reserve, get rid of the spooks and…

Has the Fed made the world a safer place?

With the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve Act approaching libertarians will mark its passage as one of the darkest moments in U.S. history.At least, Rothbardian libertarians will.And what does this say about the rest of the population, most of whom couldn’t care less about monetary matters or what happened a century ago?It says the state’s indoctrination efforts have been hugely successful.
Since the victors in monetary matters are obviously not the Rothbardians, I decided to chat with someone from the winning side to try to improve my understanding of their position.  I managed to secure an interview with the author of the monetary classic, The Glorious Federal Reserve: How the Printing Press Has Saved Our Collective Hides.  Since his book is published under the pseudonym Jolly Roger, I refer to him by his pseudo-initials JR in what follows.
Me: What was wrong with the gold coin standard we had used for much of the 19th century and early 20th century?
JR: It was deeply flawed. …

No money, no problem

Have you ever lusted for a Lamborghini?I have.Specifically, the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster Convertible.There’s only one thing stopping me from getting one. 
With options, it sells for just under half a million dollars.  That’s for a car, albeit a special car but by no means the most expensive.  If I wanted to I could try talking the company into producing another Lamborghini Veneno that sold for $4.5 million earlier this year.  Zero to 100 kph (0-62 mph) in 2.8 seconds. Of course one buys a Veneno for reasons other than low 0-60 times.  Yet I wonder how the owner of one would feel if he or she came up against, say, a Suzuki GSX-R1000 or a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R, both street-legal motorcycles that could blow the polish off a Veneno.  If you sink $4.5 million into your wheels and come up short against a machine costing 1/300th of yours but which still draws attention to its sound and looks, that’s not good. 


Lamborghini only made three Venenos, one in each color of the Italian…

The lost world of the barbarous relic

It’s one of the greatest ironies of history that gold detractors refer to the metal as the barbarous relic, when in fact the abandonment of gold has put civilization as we know it at risk of extinction.
The gold coin standard that had served Western economies so brilliantly throughout most of the 19th century hit a brick wall in 1914 and was never able to recover, so the story goes.  Europe turned from prosperity to destruction, or more precisely, to the prosperity of a few and destruction of others, as the Great War got underway.  The gold coin standard had to be ditched for such a prodigious undertaking.  
If gold was money, and wars cost money, how was this even possible?  
First, people had been in the habit of using money substitutes instead of money itself - paper bank notes instead of the gold coins for which they could be redeemed on demand.  People found it more convenient to carry paper around in their pockets than gold coins.  Over time the paper itself came to be regarded as…

The dead end of interventionism

“Government Exits Health Care Market” says a headline we’ll never see.  Nancy “Are you serious?”/“pass the bill” Pelosi and her allies could tell us why.  Their statements about the poor and uninsurable notwithstanding, the whole point of the law was not to solve a problem, but to get a bill passed in the name of that problem.  Laws rarely if ever achieve the stated aims of the lawmakers, but once a law is on the books it becomes another foot in the door of the economy.  Even if it produces spectacular havoc and failure, the intervention itself will not be surrendered.  Why?  The people who championed ObamaCare are people for whom government is their raison d’etre.  To surrender the intervention would be to surrender power, and that kind of thinking has not produced the massive state we live under.
Besides, if the people who support government-mandated health care were serious about solving a problem they would not turn it over to the world’s number one problem-creator.  
ObamaCare is a…

Monetary policy? Child’s play

The promise made a century ago that the U.S. central bank would eliminate economic crises is not raised very often.  To raise it would question the need for government’s most untouchable monopoly.  So it is not raised.  The Fed is the heart of the economy, we often hear.  It is the government’s ATM machine.  It bails out the big players when the roof caves.  It’s ridiculous to think the government could “do something” about crises without massive amounts of money at its disposal.  

Today, the Fed is stronger than ever as a result of the financial crisis of 2007-2008, the biggest since its other major failures, the artificial boom of the late 1920s and its role in the Great Depression, and the stagflation of the 1970s.  The Fed’s twin mandates of keeping inflation and unemployment low has been only half-successful.  According to one line of thought, the Bernanke Fed’s policy of buying close to $1 trillion a year in government debt may be too moderate to ease the pain of unemployment.  …

What we're told

We’re told that the War on Terrorism is a war against “militant Islamists, al-Qaeda, and other jihadi groups” and in the words of President George W. Bush will not end “until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”  We have no idea when this will be.

We are told that the government has to treat many Americans as potential terrorists, especially those who support peace and liberty.

We’re told Obama does not “believe that people should own guns,” yet he raises no objections to the DHS purchase of 1.6 billion rounds of hollow-point bullets, which would give the bureaucracy “the means to fight the equivalent of a 24-year Iraq War.” We’re told the DHS is acquiring these bullets for target practice, though they don’t specify the nature of the targets.

We’re told that FEMA camps are disaster response facilities, not concentration camps.

We were told the Iraq invasion would be a cakewalk, that it would pay for itself, that it was not about oil, that it wou…

Once upon a time, a man's home was his castle

As of late Friday, July 5, the We the People website of the White House had 127,756 signatures on the petition to pardon Edward Snowden, surpassing the 100,000 minimum needed to qualify for a response. I doubt that anyone signed it with the expectation that Snowden might actually get pardoned.

In a sense one can’t blame the White House for failing to pardon him.  They’re the guilty party.  Whatever law or laws he might’ve broken are nothing compared to the flagrant constitutional violations of the federal government.  Like it or not, in this country, in 2013, the Constitution is still the supreme law, and the Fourth Amendment says the government will not mess with our privacy or come stomping into our “castle” without a warrant issued by a judge on suspicion of a specific crime.  By virtue of Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), in which the Supreme Court ruled that the unreasonable search and seizure clause of the Fourth Amendment includes immaterial intrusion with technology,…