LRC Blog

Government Stolen Goods

The standard discussion of public goods that we find everywhere should be confronted not only with libertarian critiques, such as the one by Hoppe in “The Economics and Ethics of Private Property”, but also by another category of goods, namely, GOVERNMENT STOLEN GOODS.

In the course of his detailed analysis of the fallacies of public goods theory, Hans-Hermann Hoppe criticizes the theory’s attempted distinction between private and public goods. “Certain goods or services (including security) are said [by public goods theorists] to be special because their enjoyment cannot be restricted to those who have actually financed their production. Rather, people who do not participate in financing them also draw benefits from them. Such goods are called public goods or services (as opposed to private goods or services, which exclusively benefit those people who actually pay for them).” Hoppe shows that the distinction is untenable.

The economists who dreamed up the fallacious idea of public goods, an idea construed as supporting State interventions in free markets, failed to point out that there is another logical category of goods, namely, GOVERNMENT STOLEN GOODS, where the theft is by the government. Isn’t it odd that such smart economists like Paul Samuelson didn’t realize this or point it out? They had a blind spot when it came to government. Murray Rothbard pointed out the importance of taxes being theft. He also used the terminology of taxpayers and tax consumers.

There are 4 possibilities:

1. Group V pays, and group V benefits fully (private goods).
2. Group V pays, and group V benefits fully and group U also benefits (public goods)
3. Group V pays, and group V partly benefits and group U also benefits (stolen goods)
4. Group V pays, and group V doesn’t benefit and group U benefits (stolen goods)

We need to consider goods and services which are paid for by one group of people that does not benefit fully or at all, while the benefits go to groups that didn’t pay (lines 3 and 4 above). Murray Rothbard called these two groups, taxpayers (group V) and tax consumers (group U), respectively.

Hoppe shows the fatal problems in theoretical efforts by public goods theorists to distinguish lines 1 and 2. There is, however, no problem in identifying the category of GOVERNMENT STOLEN GOODS in lines 3 and 4. This occurs whenever people in group V are forced by government to pay and subjectively assess the corresponding benefits as being worth less than the amounts extracted from them, which go to finance the people in group U.

Governments in America and elsewhere absorb half the gross domestic product, which means 50 percent of our income. If half of this 50 percent comes back to us in the form of benefits, then the amount of GOVERNMENT STOLEN GOODS is 25 percent of our income. No one knows or can determine the actual amount that’s stolen. Not only that, but the amount stolen prevents the financing of projects we consider worthwhile but become unable to finance because of the theft. Hence, the losses are greater than what we might get back, of which 25 percent is a generous guess. Adding those opportunity losses back to the 25 percent, my guess is we are right back to 50 percent of income being STOLEN.

GOVERNMENT STOLEN GOODS are actually the elephant in the room.

8:53 pm on April 24, 2018

Why Do We Own Ourselves?

—–Original Message—–
From: N
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 4:43 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Children’s rights vs. property rights

Dear Professor Block,

As I was listening to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in the car while running errands, I was reminded how much I owe my intellectual development regarding political philosophy and economics to you. Having absorbed hours of your teaching via youtube, as well as interviews and written commentary, I believe I even qualify as a “Blockhead”. As such I’ve taken your cue and made a contribution to the Mises Institute. And I hope to do it again!

…Given your willingness to confront controversial and even distasteful concepts head on, I pose the following: If under strict libertarian theory we own our bodies, AND we own the product of our labor, why would we not own our children?

I believe you have addressed this already (likely abundantly), so I thank you in advance for any citations regarding this problem.

Best regards, N

P.S. If you happen to run this question on the LRC blog will you kindly redact my name and email?

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8:20 pm on April 24, 2018

Unintended Consequences Of Trump’s Syria Attack

12:25 pm on April 24, 2018

Manhood Restored

An Afghan war veteran who lost his manhood in combat has now had it restored, although it took 14 hours. The first-ever full male genital was performed by a team of nine plastic surgeons and two urological surgeons in March at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Turns out that “many veterans come home from Middle East theaters with genital injuries from improvised explosive devices.” 1,367 male soldiers between 2003 and 2013, according to a 2017 study.

Not trying to be funny or making fun of the poor guy, but two important things need to be said. 1. This could have been prevented. Easily. Young men should stop joining the military or refuse to go overseas to fight offensive wars. This will guarantee that their manhood will remain intact. 2. Hey patriotic or unemployed young man that is thinking about joining the military: Is losing your manhood a risk you really want to take? Is fighting for the U.S. empire really worth the cost of your manhood?

8:15 pm on April 23, 2018

What a Waste!

Dick’s Sporting Goods, which quit selling AR-15 rifles at all of its stores after the Parkland, Florida, shooting, has announced that it will destroy its entire stock of unsold AR-15s instead of returning them to their manufacturers for credit.

An astute reader (N.S.), points out that Dick’s is actually supporting the gun industry:

Ironically, this will help keep the gun manufacturers in business. What their customers do with the guns they buy is irrelevant. A sold gun is a sold gun and can be chalked up in the profit side of the margin. Whether they are used or destroyed is of no consequence to their accountants. So be sure to thank Dick’s for their support of the gun industry. All that unsold merchandise coming back would have imposed significant losses.

7:53 pm on April 23, 2018

My Open Letter to Professor Gaus, Part II

From: m
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2018 8:39 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Gaus piece on Lewrockwell (https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/my-unanswered-letter-to-prof-gerald-gaus/),

Dear Walter, Good piece written with your usual verve.

Thoughts:

1) Rand cult? Indubitably. No Rothbard cult? Well…Of course, MR encouraged no “cult,” but I’m not so sure about what has happened posthumously. Some seem at least a little cultish with respect to Rothbard (e.g. taking him for a shrewd political guru when I can scarcely think of a winning candidate he backed) — but that may be the case for any such strong intellect and strong personality combined. He was a shrewd political guru even if he never backed a winning candidate? For example, he backed Ron Paul to the hilt for pres. Ron never became pres. Yet, Murray promoted liberty in this way. I regard that as shrewd.

< < A cultist is someone who encourages a cult. Murray, never, ever, not once, did anything of the sort (I’m evidence for this; he and I were always on good terms, despite the fact that I publicly criticized his views on more than one occasion; see below). Murray can’t help it if, during his life, and certainly not afterward, other people treated him as a cult figure. 2) Hayek, I think, is less of a pinko compromiser in The Road to Serfdom than a salesman, trying to "sell" as much of classical liberalism and free market economics as he could at the time and to his audience (cf. St. Paul, "all things to all men," 1 Cor 9:22). Likewise, I think Hayek may be less a great economist than a great philosopher--one who explored lots of various ideas in daring and unexpected ways. Like his cousin, Wittgenstein, I think Hayek floated ideas that will be paying dividends for centuries to come. << Hayek tried to “sell” libertarianism by giving away the store. That’s pinkoism. Yes, he was daring and imaginative in philosophy, but that doesn’t undermine my claim that he was also a pinko. Nor was this uber compromising needed in order to “sell” liberty. There were plenty of very successful libertarian scholars writing at that time who did not compromise at all. Watering down the message of liberty in order to sell it is almost to commit fraud. (more…)

6:54 pm on April 23, 2018
Email Walter E. Block

Will Trump Tear Up Iran Deal? “No Plan B”

1:16 pm on April 23, 2018

Bruno Sammartino, R.I.P.

My good friend David Gordon is an avid professional wrestling fan and probably already knows this, but the great Bruno Sammartino, former heavyweight champion of the world, has passed away.  I met Bruno when I was 10-12 years old and there was a professional wrestling venue at the baseball field in my hometown of New Castle, PA.  Bruno had family in town, right on Croton Avenue a few blocks from my elementary school, so my buddies and I would hang out there on the big front porch after the wrestling matches.  (My father’s family, as Bruno’s, was from Abruzzo, Italy).

We would usually climb over the outfield fence to get in to the matches.  I remember everyone putting a dollar in a hat, and whoever could get away with punching one of the wrestlers (Gorilla Monsoon, Haystack Calhoun, and other villains) in the back as he lumbered up to the ring and then running away into the crowd would get all the money (never much more than $5-6).  Rest in peace, Bruno.

9:16 pm on April 22, 2018

re: Loyola Professor Attacks Austrian Economics

Walter, your ignorant, intolerant, closed-minded, and anti-scholarly “colleague” is indeed a very big dummy and a hypocrite.  If he (or she) was the expert on “the Ignatian tradition” among the Jesuits that he pretends to be, he would know that St. Ignatius himself lived by the motto of “find God in all things.”  NOT “find God in all things except for Austrian economics and Austrian School economists.”

At Loyola University Maryland when John Allison, the former chairman of BB&T, offered me a grant through the BB&T Foundation for an academic program on “the moral foundations of capitalism” the Jesuit administration told me that giving free copies of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged to all the business school students, which Mr. Allison wanted to do, was “a deal breaker.”  I could not accept the grant, they said, if I intended to give these free books to the students.  First they told me that they didn’t want people to think that Randianism was “the official view” of the university, an argument that they abandoned after I explained to them how nonsensical it was.  They then resorted to “Ayn Rand was an atheist.”  I responded by saying “so was Karl Marx.  Does this mean that faculty can no longer use or quote his works?”  I also asked if they surveyed every single author of textbooks used at the university to uncover any atheists among them.  At that point the “debate” ended and they just reiterated that giving away the book was a deal breaker.

As you know, I did get the grant, after which the university administration instructed the public relations office to NOT issue a press release about it — something BB&T was very eager to do.  An unsolicited $350,000 grant (over seven years) to a business school professor from the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, based solely on the man’s admiration for my book, How Capitalism Saved America, which he said he required his top executives to read, was an embarrassment to these cultural Marxist ideologues.  This would never have been an issue if the title of my book was How Socialism Can Save America.

I was later told by the (former) academic vice president (a mathematician who was not a Jesuit)  that the book “was not consistent with Catholic social teaching.”  This of course suggests that the Jesuit definition of “Catholic social teaching” includes “ignorance is bliss” when it comes to non-Leftist literature.  In the end, I got around their censorship of Atlas Shrugged by sponsoring an Atlas Shrugged essay contest for students with a $2,000 first prize.

There are a few exceptions, but the Jesuits are essentially poorly-educated communistic ideologues hiding behind priests’ collars and deceptive euphemisms for socialism such as “liberation theology.”  Like the pope, for instance.

7:16 pm on April 22, 2018

Loyola Professor Attacks Austrian Economics

Dear Colleague:

I congratulate you for your interest and involvement in the betterment of our university in general and our college in particular.

However, I cannot agree with this statement of yours:

“Austrian Economics is not inline with Ignatian tradition. Fr. Wildes and entire Loyno ministry would attest to this.” Well, let me clarify that. I agree, fully, with the second part of your statement, not with the first, though.

Let me explain.

The School of Salamanca (https://www.google.com/search?q=school+of+salamanca&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1-ab) was established in by Dominicans and Jesuits in the 16th century. It was very free enterprise oriented. For the Salamancans, the just price was the market price, the just rate of interest was the market rate of interest; government intervention into the economy was roundly condemned. The School of Salamanca is a precursor of the Austrian School of economics (https://www.google.com/search?q=School+of+Salamanca+is+a+precursor+of+the+Austrian+School+of+economics&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1-ab). We Austrians write in the grand tradition of the Salamancans.

Thus, it is the Austrian School that is in accord with the Ignatian tradition, not “Fr. Wildes and entire Loyno ministry.” The modern Jesuits, with but a few honorable exceptions, have moved just about 180 degrees away from their historical roots. Thus, it is Fr. Wildes and entire Loyno ministry who are not in accord with the Ignatian tradition.

I therefore find this statement of yours to be problematic:

“Therefore, all of the intellectual contributions in the field of Austrian economics are not inline with Loyno CoB mission. Therefore, we should discourage Drs. Block, Barnett, Levendis and Krasnozhon to have intellectual contributions in the field of Austrian Economics. It is defined by the CoB faculty performance criteria (title 4 of the by-laws) that teaching is prioritized. Thus, we should encourage Drs. Block, Barnett, Levendis and Krasnozhon to publish in practical and pedagogical Economics field instead.”

I would say the very opposite is the case. The contributions of the four members of the economics department are indeed in accord with the Jesuit tradition (of its founding). It is rather Fr. Wildes and entire Loyno ministry, and pretty much the entire modern Jesuit community who take stances on political economy which are incompatible with the founding of the Jesuit tradition, the School of Salamanca.

However, I agree with you about the importance of publishing in education and “pedagogical Economics.” See below for some of my publications in that field.

I’m not sure what you mean by “practical economics,” please explain.

Have you published in pedagogy of your field? In its “practical” aspect? If so, please send me the relevant cites.

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2:31 pm on April 22, 2018

The OKC Bombing – 23 Years Ago


See also these related items: here, here, here, and here.

1:28 am on April 22, 2018

Peak Democratic Desperation a.k.a. Crybaby Temper Tantrum

Democrats file suit alleging Russia, Trump campaign, WikiLeaks conspired to interfere in 2016 campaign”

Crybabies decide to use the legal system to avenge their defeat. Their suit is frivolous based on everything we now know about what actually occurred in 2016, which has to do with a Democratic and Deep State conspiracy to stop Trump. The judge should toss this one out of court.

The political idea behind it is to rally the party’s supporters for the mid-term elections. What else do they have to keep them going except hatred of Trump and now Russia? Oh, they also have Assange and Wikileaks to lash out at. When the Democrats can’t find a legitimate target and turn against a man who has brought us a breath of transparency air, revealing the dirty work of the West behind the Libyan War, they are showing their true colors, petty, pathetic and worthless. I leave it to Laurence Vance to lance the boil that is the Republican Party.

7:10 pm on April 20, 2018

Will U.S. Destroy Russian-Built Bridge Across the Euphrates?

Syrian forces are massing west of the Euphrates near Kasham in Deir Ezzor. Their goal is to cross the river and retake more Syrian territory, including the major oil fields now held by U.S. backed anti-Assad forces. The Russians have built a vital bridge across the river. Will the U.S. destroy this bridge? Will the U.S. use its air power to attack the bridge and/or the Syrian forces?

The U.S. has attacked Syrian forces from the air and ground before when they have moved east of the Euphrates, such as the big attack on Feb. 7-8 in which many Russian mercenaries were killed. At the same time, the U.S. apparently loosed flood waters to destroy a bridge over the Euphrates. In 2016, the U.S. destroyed several bridges across the river.

All of this U.S. activity is to conquer a portion of Syria. The goals are to create a U.S.-dominated zone to block Syria’s border with Iraq, to prevent Iranian access and to maintain a constant threat to the Syrian regime.

Will the U.S. again attack Syrian forces that attack the anti-Assad forces with whom the Americans are embedded? Almost surely, they will. They will do so if these forces cross the bridge and establish a beachhead. Will the U.S. bomb the bridge? Possibly, but that’s not as certain because it confronts Russian handiwork. Probably the Americans will bomb part of the bridge or shell it with artillery while bombing Syrian forces that have crossed; they can claim shells went astray.

However, these answers depend on a wild card, what Putin does. The West has been sticking it to Putin lately with sanctions, the Skripal case and the Douma gas case, not to mention the loss of hundreds of mercenaries. These may stiffen Putin’s resolve to respond in Syria.

The situation is very dangerous. What if Syrian and Russian airplanes get involved? What if Syrians on the ground bring down American planes with ground-to-air missiles?

Trump gave his Syrian commanders a free hand to make battle decisions, and we have seen the results already in February. Likely a similar result will now happen if Assad moves his forces east, unless Putin ups the ante.

The U.S. entered an undeclared low-level war against Assad years ago. The U.S. allies in this war are Israel and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. has thrown in with these two countries and against Syria and Iran, and now Russia. We should be neutral because Syria (like Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Libya before them) has nothing to do with our security against military attack. Neither are Israel and Saudi Arabia countries whose security matters to our security.

The idea that America is a neutral anywhere on Earth has been discarded. Neutrality was declared with respect to World War I on August 4, 1914. It was officially abandoned 3 years later. We now have a complicated system of perpetual warfare that’s completely unjustified and wrong. Is there something wrong with staying out of other countries, minding our own business and staying neutral? If the neocons and warmongers have arguments as to why we’re supposed to fight forever in countries that don’t want us there and in which we gain no security, what are these arguments? I’ve yet to hear any that made any sense.

6:48 pm on April 20, 2018

Laffer Curve and Austrians

From: Y
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 5:44 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Laffer Curve
Hi Professor Block, what is the Austrian Economics position on the laffer curve which is taken to illustrate there exists a taxation rate where revenue is maximized. Some mainstream economists claim the empirical evidence shows that tax rate is 33%. If we take it that only voluntary interactions tend toward pareto optimality from welfare economics is the laffer curve ignoring the utility derived from leisure. What other considerations is the laffer curve ignoring when it comes to taxes. Thanks

Dear Y: I don’t know about and Austrian position on the Laffer Curve. Corralling us is like herding cats. Here are my two publications on this subject. I hope and trust they will be of help to you.
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5:03 pm on April 20, 2018

My Unanswered Letter to Prof. Gerald Gaus

Here is my letter to Gerald Gaus, an eminent philosopher. He did not condescend to respond to it. I get a lot of that sort of thing. What happened to dialogue? Who knows. Maybe, I’m not worthy of correspondence with renowned scholars. Boo hoo. The occasion of this event was the retirement of my friend Eric Mack from the philosophy department of Tulane University. Prof. Gaus spoke at that event.

4/14/18

Prof. Gerald Gaus
James E. Rogers Professor of Philosophy
Philosophy Department
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona 85721-0027

Dear Prof. Gaus:

I confess. I was a bit taken aback when you said yesterday at the Eric Mack seminar that Ayn Rand was to the body politic akin to a cancer cell in the human body. Your argument if I understand it was that her political economic philosophy is very far removed from the mainstream weltaungshaung and therefore undermines it. My comment to you then was that Murray Rothbard’s viewpoint was even further removed, in that he was an anarchist, while she favored a very limited government (armies, courts, police). You said you’d have to think about this. I’ve been thinking about it too, and have come up with an attempted reductio against your claim: you’re a fan of Robert Nozick’s. His political economic views are very similar to Rand’s, e.g., very limited government. So, is it also true in your view that Nozick to the body politic also as is a cancer cell to the human body?

There is one sense, however, in which I agree with you that Rand is a cancer, while Rothbard, Nozick, Hayek, are not: she was a cultist, none of these others can be fairly characterized in that manner. But my reason is thus very different than yours.

We also tangled on Hayek, who you said (your point 9 in the handout you gave out at that seminar) wouldn’t compromise on the basis of “perceived expediency.” I mentioned that he did precisely that in his Road to Serfdom; he gave away practically the entire free enterprise store. I back up this claim of mine here:

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4:10 pm on April 19, 2018

Former UK Ambassador Reveals Truth About Syria – With Special Guest Peter Ford

12:49 pm on April 19, 2018

“I’d Like to Have More Opportunity, to Buy a Car, and Have a Few Possessions”

Says a 41-year-old Cuban construction worker.  This is what almost sixty years of socialism has done for the Cuban people: They can only dream of someday having “some possessions.”

Almost everyone in Cuba is employed by the state, which pays them the equivalent of $30/month.  Karl Marx predicted that under capitalism workers would be paid only “subsistence wages” that were enough to keep them alive and dragging themselves to work every day. As with almost all of Marx’s predictions, exactly the opposite is true: While workers have gained tremendously under capitalism they are starving with subsistence wages in one of the last bastions of Marxian socialism (apart from American universities).

11:17 am on April 19, 2018

Tax Freedom Day

Tax Freedom Day has finally arrived. This is the day that “represents how long Americans as a whole have to work in order to pay the nation’s tax burden.” According to the Tax Foundation:

  • In 2018, Americans will pay $3.4 trillion in federal taxes and $1.8 trillion in state and local taxes, for a total bill of $5.2 trillion, or 30 percent of the nation’s income.
  • Americans will collectively spend more on taxes in 2018 than they will on food, clothing, and housing combined.

Even with the recent GOP tax cuts, Americans are still taxed to death (and after their death).

10:56 am on April 19, 2018

Roger Stone Says “Mean Spirited, Vindictive Drunk” Barbara Bush Will Descend Into Hell


The Bush Crime Family: The Inside Story of an American Dynasty, by Roger

Stone and Saint John Hunt. More books on the Bush Dynasty.

7:49 pm on April 18, 2018

Quite Frightening

A note from some Europeans:

I read your very interesting article on praying for our troops, Thank you. We are cycling through the US and being European are flabbergasted by the number of Pray For Our Troops posters and the apparent link between Religion and the military. We’ve cycled in the Islamic countries and Russia and no where feels as militaristic, righteous and religious as the US. It is quite frightening.

Truer words were never spoken.

5:57 pm on April 18, 2018

Ignorant, Hateful, Sanctimonious Totalitarians

That’s what so many of today’s college students (the social justice cupcakes) are conditioned to be (in the image of their Leftist professors and administrators), as demonstrated once again recently at Florida Atlantic University.

12:28 pm on April 18, 2018

Fool’s Errand – 17 Years In Afghanistan

12:19 pm on April 18, 2018

Quotes

Sometimes there is such a close identification of a famous person with a memorable (sometimes infamous) quote that the two become synonymous and forever linked in our memories.

I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” — Bill Clinton

Death is the solution to all problems. No man – no problem.” – Joseph Stalin

Leslie Stahl: “We have heard that a half a million children have died [because of sanctions against Iraq]. I mean that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And — you know, is the price worth it?”

Madeline Albright: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.”

It’s not for me. I tried human flesh and it’s too salty for my taste.” – Idi Amin

Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? It’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that.” — Barbara Bush

11:12 pm on April 17, 2018

Possibility of Korea Peace and Real, Live Statesmanship

North and South Korea are taking steps that lead to signing a peace treaty that will end the Korean War. (See here and here.)

This news suggests real, live statesmanship is at work between the leaders of the North and South. It suggests too that Trump played a significant part in this outbreak of statesmanship, because he’s scheduled to meet Kim Jong-un on April 27. Wisdom and skill in handling public affairs, even if for only a portion of the Empire’s affairs, are always welcome.

Bargaining will be tough. The outcome of peace is not at all assured. Sticking points like denuclearization and missiles could torpedo the attainment of peace. There is room for a lot more real, live statesmanship.

The incentives for both Koreas and Trump are to reach an agreement. The two Koreas want to avoid war. Trump can use a victory that will disarm his critics, left and right, and enhance his pull. Mind you, his critics will, even in the event of peace, not be disarmed. They’ll continue their anti-Trump barrage, but their attacks on success in Korea will isolate them further from voters.

12:37 pm on April 17, 2018

US Grasping At Straws In Syria

12:33 pm on April 17, 2018

Cultural Appropriation?

The social justice warriors at Loyola University are having an International Soirée to promote their Center for International Education. They promise jazz music, Mexican food and “international cultural items.” This was my (slightly edited) response to their invitation to the entire university community:

Dear Folks:

Isn’t it “cultural appropriation” to offer “Mexican-inspired specialties” for dinner. Ditto for “Latin” jazz. Come to think of it, “jazz” too! I hope and trust no one on this list wears pajamas, on that ground (they were first used in India). Hey, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more cultural appropriation out there, just waiting to ensnare us unawar PC people. Wait, is “iceberg” also cultural appropriation? Maybe, it belongs to the Norwegians? I’m not sure. Inquiring minds want to know.

Should we all boycott this event on the ground that it engages in cultural appropriation?

Yours truly,

Prof. Walter Block

Not a one of them answered me. I’m shocked. I honestly thought they’d want to dialogue with me about this matter (I sometimes lie about things like this). Here I am, trying to save them from violating their own principles, and all I get is the cold shoulder. Shocking.

5:46 pm on April 16, 2018

On The Ground In Syria – With Special Guest Vanessa Beeley

12:35 pm on April 16, 2018

Do Parents Own Children? No.

—–Original Message—–
From: R
Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2018 1:58 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Re animal torture, something I’d like to discuss

Herr Professor Doctor Block, I’ve seen many of your writings on LRC. I am a very high IQ engineer, but not an academic, and honestly often find your writings a bit too abstract and academic for my taste. This is not a criticism, please don’t think so, it’s just that I’m a practical man who solves hard real world problems for a living. In your response today on animal torture (https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/animal-torture-a-libertarian-analysis/), I agree with you, but it made me think back and I’d like to hear your thoughts on my thesis, to wit: children are property of their parents. This has many implications including the right of the parent to discipline his children (corporal punishment) and the right of a single man to not pay a single woman to support her child barring extenuating circumstances. Clearly children are a special case, on a sliding scale of sentience and civilization, not adult and from the beginning simply a higher form of animal. Are they not, like animals, in fact property, but of a special class worthy of protection as they all (children, incompetent adults, and animals) not exactly free and sentient but also something more than inanimate property? I hope you find my question worthy of discussion. Respectfully, R

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7:50 pm on April 15, 2018

Did Bibi’s Alarm Clock Not Go Off?

The U.S. government always invokes the welfare of “the world community” as justification for its bombings of other countries. Laura Ingraham made a good point Friday night when she asked where this “world community” was on Friday.  Only the American puppet states of France and England participated. Where was Japan?  Where was Germany? she asked.  And, I would add, where was “our great ally” in the Middle East, Israel?  Did Bibi sleep in and miss the bombing?  Or is Justin Raimondo right when he says that when it comes to all these wars in the Middle East the Israelis are willing to “fight to the last American”?

 

6:48 pm on April 15, 2018

Latest Demonizing of Non-Enemy Putin

Call it negative PR (public relations), call it demonizing, call it propaganda: The anti-Putin and anti-Russian campaign continues. Putin is not an enemy of the West by anything he has done or by any illegitimate actions he has authored. He’s not hostile to the U.S., and the Russian nation is not hostile to the U.S., although he surely has begun to lose patience with the West. Neither do Putin and Russia have designs on Eastern Europe or the Baltics. Nevertheless, those who run the West’s political systems are constantly painting him as an enemy who is initiating wrongdoing on an international scale.

Putin is helping Syria recover its territory and integrity. The West hates that, because its goal is to break Syria up into pieces and undermine Iran’s ambitions. Is Putin an enemy because he has a goal in Syria that conflicts with the American goal? Syria invited Putin’s help in Syria. Yet the West wants its peoples to view Putin, not simply as a rival with legitimate interests and one who uses legitimate means (as such go among states) to achieve his goals, but as a wrongdoer making illegitimate advances and threats to peace and the international order. The West wants us to see Putin as a deadly enemy.

The latest example of this libel and slander is the campaign to blame Putin for “enabling” Assad to “gas” his own people. A French intelligence document has just been released at an opportune time stating

“…the Russian military forces active in Syria enable the regime to enjoy unquestionable air superiority, giving it the total military freedom of action it needs for its indiscriminate offensives on urban areas.”

Anyone who has followed the Syrian war knows that the tide of the war changed years ago when the Russian air forces entered the war. That’s hardly new “intelligence”. Do we really need to compare the Mosul campaign to the Aleppo campaign to see that the rest is propaganda? We are told that this document “…also says Russia aided Assad’s forces in their assault against Douma one day before the chemical weapons attack.” Clearly the French have joined the anti-Putin parade and they are trying to link Putin with the Douma gas incident. The key linkage word is enable. The key pejorative terms are “indiscriminate offensives on urban areas”.

Turn now to a remark by Nancy Pelosi: “President Trump must also hold Putin accountable for his enabling of the Assad regime’s atrocities against the Syrian people.” She uses the word “enabling” to link Putin to the pejorative terms “Assad regime’s atrocities”.

Is there a term to describe this phenomenon whereby Western agents as different as the French intelligence and Pelosi deliver almost identical accusations without apparently having to meet and coordinate? Instant propagation? Blitzkrieg propaganda? Groupthink gets them on the same page, which in this case is the anti-Putin playbook.

Putin hasn’t done a thing so out of the ordinary as behavior goes among the world’s states. The situation is the other way around: The U.S. has made itself an adversary of Russia. It’s the U.S. designs that have brought it up against Russia. The U.S. extended NATO to Eastern Europe and the Baltics. The U.S. withdrew from the ABM treaty. The U.S. installed new missiles in Poland. The U.S. injected itself into Syria unasked. The U.S. fomented revolution in Ukraine, then armed and aided the new government. The U.S. refused to accept the independence of Crimea and its joining with the Russian Federation. If Putin’s actions challenge the U.S., it is because the U.S. has inserted Americans into situations in Russia’s backyard or where Russia has historical interests.

To justify its presence where it doesn’t belong, the leaders of our Empire seek our passive support by demonizing Putin and Russia. What have Putin and Russia actually done to us or what rules have they actually broken such that we should think of them as enemies? What has our own government done to us that we may think of it as hostile to our interests and an enemy?

3:37 pm on April 15, 2018