Follow the Silk Road|
Stretching some 4,000 miles, the "Silk Road" was a trade network connecting the continent of Asia. From around 200 B.C., the route, running from China to India, to the Mediterranean Sea, the horn of Africa, and beyond, the route is largely credited for opening up trade in much of the world, leading to the development and exchange of everything from spices and cloth, to religions and political philosophies.
In 2011, a new Silk Road sought to once again bridge the gap between buyers... (more)
Sometimes We Crash|
My daughters and I were recently in a car accident. The whole thing happened behind us so we aren't sure of the details, but so far as we have been able to discover, a driver swerved to avoid someone who was driving erratically. As he swerved, his car hit ours. He went into a ditch, and we went into a spin in the middle of four lanes of high-speed traffic. The erratic driver never stopped or even slowed down.
Everyone involved in the accident is okay.
After I got ho... (more)
The Raping Of America: Mile Markers On The Road To Fascism|
"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."--Martin Luther King Jr.
There's an ill will blowing across the country. The economy is tanking. The people are directionless, and politics provides no answer. And like former regimes, the militarized police have stepped up to provide a facade of law and orde... (more)
Captured, Cuffed, and Jailed: A Personal Story|
It was a lovely day otherwise but, for me, most of it was spent in jail.
From one minute to the next, I went from seemingly free to cuffed and captured. Anyone who has ever experienced such a thing knows exactly what I mean. If you haven't experienced it, I hope you never do.
It might be best described as a loss of innocence, plus a new presence of awareness that all that we love and cherish in this world hangs in the balance. The balance can be tipped, with or wi... (more)
Why Government Policing Monopolies Can Neither Serve Nor Protect You|
In 1920, the great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises expanded on what is known as the “economic” or “socialist calculation problem” in his work, Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth.
Mises describes the nature of the price system under capitalism and describes how individual subjective values are translated into the objective information(pric... (more)
We Are the Government: Tactics for Taking Down the Police State|
“The people have the power, all we have to do is awaken that power in the people. The people are unaware. They’re not educated to realize that they have power. The system is so geared that everyone believes the government will fix everything. We are the government.”—John Lennon
Saddled with a corporate media that marches in lockstep with the government, elected offic... (more)
Capitalists Have a Better Plan|
To early 20th-century intellectuals, capitalism looked like anarchy. Why, they wondered, would we trust deliberative, conscious guidance when building a house but not when building an economy?
It was fashionable among these socialist intellectuals to espouse "planning" as a much more rational way to organize economic activity. (F.A. Hayek wrote a famous essay on the phenomenon.) But this emphasis on central planning was utterly confused both conceptually and empirically.... (more)
The War on Air Conditioning Heats Up|
It started with the pope. In his recent encyclical, Laudato Si’, he singled out air conditioning as a particularly good example of wasteful habits and excessive consumption that overcome our better natures:
People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption which, rather than decreasing, appear to be growing all the more. A simple example is the increasing use and power of air-conditioning.... (more)
The Brilliance of Carlo Rossi|
"Never buy wine in a jug with a handle."
A friend gave me this advice in my youth.
It was the worst wine advice I ever received. It reinforced the culture of wine snobbery that has pillaged many generations of consumers.
Wine snobbery treats this drink as if it were always a serious undertaking requiring expertise, snootiness, and a high budget.
Have you been at a wine tasting held by a local aficionado? People stand around sipping and ... (more)
Afghan Wedding Parties and Hiroshima and Nagasaki|
One of the things that has fascinated me about the U.S. government's war on Afghanistan has been the multiple attacks on wedding parties -- eight wedding parties to be exact, at least as of 2013. What's with Afghan wedding parties that they seem to attract U.S. bombs?
Of course, the official position of the Pentagon is that all these bombings were accidents. Those smart bombs and surgical strikes just aren't always so smart or so surgical, they tell us. It was just a coincidence t... (more)
Abolish Child Protective Services|
Standing in an office while two kids beg me to go back to their home, I begin retreating back into my inner-child. I imagine how I would have felt if I was seven years old and a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigator told me I couldn’t stay with my mom anymore. Their mother had committed the crime of respecting the children's desire to play outside.
Paperwork has already been checked by the supervisor, the judge has backed it, and now I have to find a placement. I put them i... (more)
At it Again: Law Enforcement Officials' Anti-Encryption New York Times Op-Ed|
Yesterday, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. and law enforcement officials from Paris, London, and Madrid published an anti-encryption op-ed in the New York Times--an op-ed that amounts to nothing more than a blatant attempt to use fear mongering to further their anti-privacy, anti-security, and anti-constitutional agenda. They want a backdoor. We want security, ... (more)
Politics in One Page|
In every election season, a new generation comes of age and experiences the political theater for the first time. The experience is formative. It challenges you to decide what you think about the world. Which candidate best represents my values and shares my sense of how things ought to be? More fundamentally, how should things be in politics?
As time goes on and you experience successive presidential election cycles, illusions begin to fall away. You start to see the whole thing... (more)
Don't Be Fooled by the Political Game: The Illusion of Freedom in America|
"The shaping of the will of Congress and the choosing of the American president has become a privilege reserved to the country's equestrian classes, a.k.a. the 20% of the population that holds 93% of the wealth, the happy few who run the corporations and the banks, own and operate the news and entertainment media, compose the laws and govern the universities, control the philanthropic foun... (more)
The Prohibitive Price of Government "Protection"|
When they reached Fort Hall in what would eventually be known as southeast Idaho, the leaders of the Oregon-bound Elijah Utter wagon train believed that the most dangerous part of their trek was behind them. Their fortunes would soon change dramatically for the worse, in large measure because of the involvement of the United States military.
The 44-member train assembled at a bridge crossing on the Portneuf River near ... (more)
Hillary Clinton's Knowledge Problem|
Just trust her. Truly, just trust her: to know precisely how much energy we ought to use, where it should come from, how it should be generated, how we should get from here to there, and the effects that her plan will have on the global -- the global! -- climate, not just in the near term but decades or a century from now.
If you do this, you will have embraced "science," "reality," "truth," and "innovation," and, also, "our children." If you don't go along, you not only reject al... (more)
The Assault On Donald Trump Shows That Our Two Party System Is Really A One Party System|
Were you sickened by the Republican debate the other night? The hype leading up to the debate was unbelievable. Never before had there been so much interest in a debate this early in an election season, and it turned out to be the most watched program on Fox News ever. A record-shattering 24 million Americans tuned in, and what they witnessed was an expertly orchestrated assault on Donald Trump. From the very first moments, every question that was launched at Trump was an “attac... (more)
Be Careful What You Say To 911|
What you say on 911 is recorded. It can and will be used against you in a court of law. My friend and publisher of numerous books on gun laws, Alan Korwin, says that in the vast majority of cases where people involved in self defense scenarios end up in serious legal difficulties, it is what they said on 911 that got them into trouble. He expounds on this in his book "After You Shoot". In a recent case in Florida, both male participants made errors. One is dead and one has been charged... (more)
They Live, We Sleep: A Dictatorship Disguised as a Democracy|
“You see them on the street. You watch them on TV. You might even vote for one this fall. You think they’re people just like you. You're wrong. Dead wrong.”—They Live
We’re living in two worlds, you and I.
There’s the world we see (or are made to see) and then there’s the one we sense (and occasionally catc... (more)
Is Politics Obsolete?|
Hillary Clinton talks of cracking down on the gig economy. Donald Trump speaks of telling American corporations where they can and can’t do business abroad. Bernie Sanders says we have too many deodorant choices. They all speak about immigrants as if it were 1863.
What the heck are these people talking about?
Why Do Libertarians Pay Taxes?|
It never fails. Every time I write anything about taxes I get long, rambling e-mails from tax trolls who scour the Internet looking for articles about taxes so they can contact the writers and impress them with their knowledge of the tax code.
These tax trolls usually call themselves "non-taxpayers." They say things like: paying taxes is voluntary, the Sixteenth Amendment was not properly ratified, most Americans aren't required to pay income tax, many Americans have gotten refund... (more)
Do We Need to Bring Back Internment Camps?|
Last week, Retired General Wesley Clark, who was NATO commander during the US bombing of Serbia, proposed that "disloyal Americans" be sent to internment camps for the "duration of the conflict." Discussing the recent military base shootings in Chattanooga, TN, in which five US service members were killed, Clark recalled the internment of American citizens during World War II who were merely suspected of having Nazi sympathies. He said: "back then we didn't say 'that was freedom of speech,' we p... (more)
The Sorry State of Race Relations|
The headline story last week was as disturbing as it was ironic. The Gallup poll reveals that both blacks and whites think race relations are generally bad, and by wide margins. In general, two thirds of survey respondents say that people are not getting along and that tension is high.
The striking fact: this is the reverse of what people believed in the days after t... (more)
First, They Came for the Bar Owners...|
Chris Penner, owner of the Twilight Room Annex club in Portland, Oregon, had bills to pay and a payroll to meet. He called up his business account only to find that it had been completely drained.
“All my money was gone,” Penner later related to the Oregonian newspaper. He was shocked, but not completely surprised, by this development: “I raced to the bank, ... (more)
The American Nightmare: The Tyranny of the Criminal Justice System|
How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool’s hand?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game.—Bob Dylan, “Hurricane”
Justice in America is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Just ask Jeffrey Deskovic, who spent 16 years in prison for a rape and murder he did ... (more)
Trump Is Right: John McCain is Not A Hero|
On July 18th, Donald Trump enraged fellow Republicans by stating that Arizona Senator John McCain is “not a war hero." Trump referenced McCain’s imprisonment by the North Vietnamese stating, "I like people that weren’t captured."
Americans like to think of all their armed servicemen as heroic, and this is especially true of McCain, a POW who was imprisone... (more)
Authoritarians Like Twitter, Too|
In May 2014, CNN aired footage of a Ukrainian helicopter being shot by pro-Russian militants. Taken with a cell phone camera and posted on social media, the video showed compelling evidence of the scale and technological sophistication of the Ukrainian conflict.
The video was also fake — it was actually over a year old, and from Syria. CNN retracted the footage and apologized, but the “incident” was still widely discu... (more)
Cops and Donuts Don't Mix|
On a Sunday morning early last summer, I was driving south across the Potomac River to a hike in Fairfax County, Virginia. The previous night the hike leader posted online a map of the jaunt. It looked like a typical suburban stroll until I saw a Dunkin' Donuts marked near the start point. As the Food and Drug Administration has warned, donuts can be addictive and publicizing the location of donut stores can utterly destroy people's free will. (Or maybe I am confusing this with the FDA's hectori... (more)
The Intellectual Intolerance Behind "Check Your Privilege"|
A decade ago, no one had ever been told to “check your privilege.” Now it commands an appreciable “market share” in academia and social justice rhetoric. But it does so despite sharply opposed interpretations of its meaning. In fact, its expanded footprint is partly because of its ambiguity.
It Could Be an Invitation to Debate
In a sense, “check your privilege” largely amounts to “check your premises” behind your views, and many are willing to recognize that ... (more)
Operation Jade Helm and Texas 'Paranoia'|
Mainstream statists are yucking it up over the so-called paranoia of Texas citizens who are concerned about the U.S. military's giant training exercise in the Southwest called Operation Jade Helm. "Yuck, yuck," the statists are exclaiming. "Those paranoid Texans!"
The statist idea, of course, is that the military is our friend -- our protector -- our god. The military establishment (and the CIA and NSA) keep us safe and secure from the terrorists, the communists, the drug dealers,... (more)
Trumpism: The Ideology|
It's not too interesting to say that Donald Trump is a nationalist and aspiring despot who is manipulating bourgeois resentment, nativism, and ignorance to feed his power lust. It's uninteresting because it is obviously true. It's so true that stating it sounds more like an observation than a criticism.
I just heard Trump speak live. It was an awesome experience, like an interwar sÃ©ance of once-powerful dictators who inspired multitudes, drove countries into the ground, and died ... (more)
Administrative "Law" and the Tyranny of "Tolerance"|
In a collectivist society, “offenses” aren’t defined by behavior, but rather by identity. This is compellingly illustrated by cases of Antonio Darden and Elaine Huguenin, New Mexico residents and business owners who, acting in the service of their principles, exercised their property rights by refusing service to potential customers.
Darden operates a hair salon in Santa Fe, where Republican Governor Susana Martinez has been a regular customer. Darden announced in 2013 th... (more)
Because Logic Is Hard: Under-30s Want To Legalize Weed But Outlaw Tobacco|
Young people want to end pot prohibition and expand it to tobacco prohibition, because logical consistency evidently takes a back seat to political schizophrenia.
From the UK Independent:
Cannabis should be legal and tobacco should be made illegal, according to a new survey for young people.... (more)
Greece Today, America Tomorrow?|
The drama over Greece’s financial crisis continues to dominate the headlines. As this column is being written, a deal may have been reached providing Greece with yet another bailout if the Greek government adopts new “austerity” measures. The deal will allow all sides to brag about how they came together to save the Greek economy and the European Monetary Union. However, this deal is merely a Band-Aid, not a permanent fix to Greece’s problems. So another crisis is inevitable.
The ... (more)
Jade Helm, Terrorist Attacks, Surveillance and Other Fairy Tales for a Gullible Nation|
“Strange how paranoia can link up with reality now and then.” ― Philip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly
Once upon a time, there was a nation of people who believed everything they were told by their government.
When terrorists attacked the country, and government officials claimed to have been caught by surprise, the people believed them. And when the government passed massive laws aimed at locking down the nation and opening the door to total government surveillanc... (more)
Of Wedding Cakes and Puritanical Collectivism|
By declining to make a wedding cake for Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman, Aaron Klein and his wife Melissa saved the lesbian couple roughly $350. This is a case in which discrimination on the part of a business materially benefited the supposed victims – even before a Soviet-grade “civil rights” bureaucrat in Oregon ordered the business owners to pay $135,000 to the aggrieved couple.
In January 2013, the Kleins, who operated a bakery called “Sweetcakes by Melissa,” turned down t... (more)