Sunday, October 30, 2011

I have not Apologized in a While

I apologize now for thinking that politics could ever fix anything in our current system.  I apologize if I have ever wriiten anything that would lend support to egalitarianism - for I do not support such a notion.

Astute Consulting Group, Inc

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Apologetic Apology

I am "sorry" that I made QuoteSella apologize.

I "Apologize"

To Manuel for using too many "scare quotes."

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Third Apology, but NOT My Third Annual Apology

Gather 'round ye anarchists. The time is again here for me to fess up. I've been bad. Not only do I need to step up and apologize again, I need to apologize for not apologizing on a firm schedule. I'm such a low life, I can't even apologize properly. What is to become of freedom? (And more importantly, why do I hate Amerika?)

Back to the subject at hand...

I approach my august Daily Apology breathren to say simply this. I apologize for not voting in the latest U.S. election. But it's worst than that. Not only did I not vote---a practice outlawed in Australia---I actually advised others to not vote as well. May the legions of stato-libertarians everywhere have mercy on my soul! I had the gall to not only spout off about the lunacy of voting on Strike-the-Root, but also on LewRockwell.com. The nerve! One would think I actually believed I had logical reasons for shirking on the awesome responsibility afforded me by the Founding Fathers. (Wait. Actually they didn't think people like me should be allowed to vote. Well, anyway...)

But wait, wait. It's even worse than that! Not only did I not vote, not only did I publicly and brazenly advise others to not vote, but---and this almost hurts to admit---I didn't feel a single pang of remorse during that entire day. That's right, I just went about my day with a Zen-like mental ease. Hell, I didn't even turn on the TV. (Listen, I'm a partially-recovering TV-holic. I love TV like a crack whore loves, well, crack. Or so I've heard.) Still, I didn't even watch the returns. There I was, a black man in America about the experience a moment almost as seminal as when O.J. got off, and I missed it. I should be ashamed. (I'm not, but at least I know I should be.)

Sure, I understand the hoopla. (When Oprah gets that excited, it means something.) Maybe, just maybe, I don't think it's a great day when the same people who've been lying, stealing, killing, etc. find out that there's a brother just as ready to help out as the 40+ previously-elected unrepentant rights infringers. By way of comparison, my working theory is that many black folk rejoiced when O.J. was acquitted not because they thought he was innocent, but because they figured it was about time a black guy who looked guilty got away with it. (Full Disclosure: Some of that feeling welled up in my soul too.) I figure at least a few (if not more than a few) of the tears for Obama's victory spring from the same well. I guess one could call it progress when the Mafia Chieftain---or should I say, Grand Wizard---is a brother, but count me among that group that disagrees. It should be obvious as well: I apologize for saying so!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mises was Right, Part 2: Feulner, Neocons, Heritage, Georgia, Mont Pelerin

“It turns out, of course, that Mises was right.”
—Robert Heilbroner (1990), "After Communism", The New Yorker, September 10: 92 (1, 2, 3)

Regarding Paul Craig Roberts's "I Resign from the Mont Pelerin Society":

Interesting connected facts:

1. Formerly libertarian Mont Pelerin Society (which lists Hayek, Friedman, "Coase," and others as "Notable Members", but not Mises): its Treasurer is one "Edwin Feulner."

2. Feulner is President of Heritage.

3. In "Saving Georgia," Heritage Web Memo #2021, and The Russian-Georgian War: A Challenge for the U.S. and the World, on "Ariel Cohen, Ph.D." buys into the Bush administration's propaganda that uses "the Russian invasion of Georgia" as an excuse for further American hegemony.

No wonder Hans-Hermann Hoppe founded the Property and Freedom Society to take up the reins that MPS has dropped.

As Guido Hülsmann noted in "Ludwig von Mises and the Mt. Pelerin Society. Strategic Lessons" a speech delivered at the inaugural meeting of the PFS in 2006 (summary; program):
As classical liberal economists were usually not employed in institutions of higher learning (the teaching of economic science was not primarily organized within the universities), they built other institutions, from loose networks to political parties. By 1860 governments realized the danger to themselves that the classical economists posed. Their answer was to create their own economists and thus control the market of ideas. This strategy was first applied in Germany with the German Historical School or “Schmollerism” and soon spread to other countries, each with its own specific national feature. John Stuart Mill in Britain for example changed the meaning of liberalism into interventionism, while the Russian government thought that Schmoller was too tame and hired Marxist economists instead.

This trend continued into the 20th century, with Ludwig von Mises being one of the very few setting himself against it. After demolishing the case for socialism and putting the case for radical liberalism, he insisted that no “third way” was possible, as this would invariably lead to a loss of prosperity and in the end, socialism.

In the first half of the 20th century, a number of societies were founded by liberals to counter the trend towards socialism. By 1938, four schools of thought were represented:

Neoliberalism, i.e., practical and theoretical compromise with socialism; F.A. v. Hayek, for whom a small amount of intervention was permissible; Alexander Rüstow, who considered natural hierarchies as necessary for society; and Ludwig v. Mises, who stood for complete laissez faire.

Nine years and one World War later, these groups convened to form the Mont Pèlerin Society (MPS). At the same time, Leonard Read’s FEE in America was publishing leaflets explaining the ideas of Mises and organizing seminars and speeches for Mises and others. These activities were extremely important for spreading Mises’ thoughts, especially to young people. Ralph Raico, George Reisman and Murray N. Rothbard were among those influenced by the FEE papers. Without the FEE, the Chicago School would have totally dominated the field of free market ideology.

Mises was skeptical about the MPS right from the start; he was particularly concerned because of the participation of certain people. In 1947, he stormed out of a meeting, saying: “You’re all a bunch of socialists.”

Today, the MPS, a society of eminent scholars, mainly represents Neoliberalism. Therefore, the PFS could play the role that the MPS was originally designed to play: spreading the uncompromising intellectual radicalism of freedom.

(See also Hülsmann, Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism, pp. 871, 989-90, 1003-10, 1032, et pass.)

This helps place in context the principles for the PFS as announced by Hoppe at its founding in 2006:
The Property and Freedom Society stands for an uncompromising intellectual radicalism: for justly acquired private property, freedom of contract, freedom of association .... It condemns imperialism and militarism and their fomenters, and champions peace. It rejects positivism, relativism, and egalitarianism in any form .... As such it seeks to avoid any association with the policies and proponents of interventionism, which Ludwig von Mises had identified in 1946 as the fatal flaw in the plan of the many earlier and contemporary attempts by intellectuals alarmed by the rising tide of socialism and totalitarianism to found an anti-socialist ideological movement. Mises wrote: "What these frightened intellectuals did not comprehend was that all those measures of government interference with business which they advocated are abortive. ... There is no middle way. Either the consumers are supreme or the government."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Oliva on Sandefur and Kinsella

Oliva continues his bizarre, false attacks on me (last one noted here):
My Last Post Ever…

…about Kinsella and Sandefur. To sum up the two divergent poles of “libertarianism”:

Kinsella: True libertarians never take any action to advance liberty.

Sandefur: True libertarians murder every man, woman and child who doesn’t share his worldview.

He is partially right about Sandefur--he's referring here to Sandefur's devotion to mass-murderer Lincoln and war perpetrated by big Western states against bad smaller states. But the way he wrote it is an exaggeration even of quasi-libertarian Tim Sandefur's views (and strange given his recent praise of Sandefur--here, here, and here).

He's wrong about me--I am not opposed to taking action to advance liberty. I don't even oppose suing the states in federal courts to try to vindicate my rights. I would do it. I simply maintain that outsider analysts should be honest. That's all. I might argue for incorporation as a plaintiff, because I want the feds to stop a state from hurting me. My argument might even persuade the court. (As I noted in my last reply to Oliva, "I of course support any victim of any state crime using another state against the offending state. If I were on the receiving end of a bad state law, sure, I'd use every argument in the book to try to persuade a federal judge to strike it down.")

But bhat does not mean it's honest or correct for a libertarian to say the court's interpretation of the Constitution is accurate, or that that feature is a libertarian one that should be part of any federal constitution.

As for this being his "last post" on me and La Sandefur, well, I remember when he "retired from blogging (2)." Uh, yeah. He has also given up (how does one do that?) "being a libertarian" -- see here.

Oliva's behavior of late is bizarre--attacking me for no reason, after years of friendly interaction. See e.g. here. Pro-Mises Instute, then against, now pro again; pro-Kinsella, now anti-; pro-Sandefur, now anti-; "libertarian", then "no longer". Wow, what a ride.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

In Stephan Kinsella’s Libertarianism…

Presumably in response to recent posts of mine (The Great Gun Decision: Dissent; To Hell with Heller; Heller and the States; The "deeply dishonest" opponents of the President...; ), Skip (not Dave) Oliva writes:
In Stephan Kinsella’s Libertarianism…

…the government can take everything you own…

…the police can murder you and your family without consequence…

…religious fanatics can take control of your body and mind…

…regulators can destroy productive capital and plunge the economy into depression…

…and if you do anything to challenge these acts, you will be branded as the enemy of “true” libertarianism.
Let's take the first four. I presume by "government" Oliva means "state." Now, does he really mean "can"? That just means ability. Certainly, states do steal and murder--and therefore they "can". In my libertarianism, states do not exist since they are widely regarded as criminal.

Perhaps Oliva means "may", as in permission. That is, he is alleging that I believe it is permissible for states to exist, and to rob, murder, and regulate. Where he got the idea that I think it's permissible for states to exist, or commit crime, I do not know, since I'm an anarchist (and Oliva is not even a libertarian).

I suspect what the confused, inarticulate, non-libertarian Mr. Oliva is trying to say is this: if you do not believe that the federal government has (or should have?) the constitutional authority to strike down unlibertarian laws of the several states, then you are in favor of these unlibertarian laws. But when you make plain what he's really saying, it's obviously false.

His last comment is also false. I of course support any victim of any state crime using another state against the offending state. If I were on the receiving end of a bad state law, sure, I'd use every argument in the book to try to persuade a federal judge to strike it down. But there's a difference between advocacy and objective, honest, outside analysis.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Technopeasant Revolt starts April 1

Slightly less than one year ago, then-VP of the Science Fiction and fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), Howard V. Hendrix, expressed a distaste for writers who give away their material for free. You can see the original blog post here. The entire post covers SFWA internal business, but the controversial bit is as follows:


I'm also opposed to the increasing presence in our organization of webscabs, who post their creations on the net for free. A scab is someone who works for less than union wages or on non-union terms; more broadly, a scab is someone who feathers his own nest and advances his own career by undercutting the efforts of his fellow workers to gain better pay and working conditions for all. Webscabs claim they're just posting their books for free in an attempt to market and publicize them, but to my mind they're undercutting those of us who aren't giving it away for free and are trying to get publishers to pay a better wage for our hard work.

Since more and more of SFWA is built around such electronically mediated networking and connection based venues, and more and more of our membership at least tacitly blesses the webscabs (despite the fact that they are rotting our organization from within) -- given my happily retrograde opinions, I felt I was not the president who would provide SFWAns the "net time" they seemed to want at this point in the organization's development, or who would bless the contraction of our industry toward monopoly, or who would give imprimatur to the downward spiral that is converting the noble calling of Writer into the life of Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch.


The response from the technopeasantry was predictably strong. I first heard about it in a podcast from author Scott Sigler. I later heard about it again from various other blogs and podcasts. The response prompted a clarification from Hendrix:


Although I don't spend much time in the blogosphere, I am aware—particularly through emailings from various SFWA committee members— that the use of the term "webscab" has touched off something of a firestorm.

The term itself is undoubtedly too incendiary, but I hope the discussion will prove salutary in the long term, not only to those of us who are members of SFWA or who write in the science fiction and fantasy fields, but for everybody who works in print.


My primary concern is that the webbification of publishing will increasingly disenfranchise authors—to the benefit of the big bandwidth barons, the media conglomerates. In the short term, free online posting of entire novels for promotional purposes may well strengthen the hand of those authors who gravitate to that promotional technique. My concern is that, in the long term, as more and more people become schooled to reading off the screen rather than from the printed page, free online whole-book posting may set a precedent of "why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?" which in the end will benefit conglomerates rather than authors as a class.


That issue still concerns the Luddite in me, who remembers that what the Luddites objected to was not technology per se, but technology which they viewed as potentially damaging to to their community and commonweal—their work and way of life. I believe I have the right to push back against technologies which I feel are potentially damaging to the community and commonweal of writers.


I may well be wrong. A number of folks have written to say that the very people I've called webscabs are those working hardest to prevent land-grabs by the big corporate congloms. I have a great deal of respect for organizations like EFF, EPIC, and Public Knowledge, but I don't feel that free online posting of whole novels for promotional purposes will in the end empower authors as a class.


I've had some very interesting emails from various people, and I'm learning from their points of view. My thoughts are not carved in stone on this. My use of the term "webscab" has proven unfortunate in that it distracted from what I was really concerned about in that posting—namely the "hypermediation" of SFWA business, where the officers and president are increasingly expected (almost required) to participate in scads of lists, blogs, and newsgroups, and to respond to every note of praise or blame that crosses the electronic transom. It's no way to run an organization, and threatens to run down and burn out the organization's officers.


Lastly, I want to clarify that I was not speaking for SFWA when I wrote that LiveJournal note. I was expressing my own opinion in what I considered a personal farewell comment to the organization and its members—rather like Eisenhower's warning of the "military industrial complex" in his farewell address as president (to compare great things with small).


I've been accused of "lobbing a bomb" by using the "webscab" term. Judging from the emails, it was a suicide bomb whose most likely victim is me.


This sort of reaction is, of course, what happens whenever technology changes a well established industry. Hendrix may well be correct in his concern for "authors as a class," as what exactly is the job of an author may soon change radically. The same goes for what it is to be a publisher.


April 1 may well mark the date of vindication for Sigler's chosen method for promoting his work. His novel, Infected, is slated to be released by Crown Publishing Group on that date. The book is being promoted as a major sci-fi thriller. It promises to be a big deal, as it has a major marketing campaign, and has the potential for a wide appeal. It has already been released as a free podcast, and Sigler is currently releasing an audio version of the soon-to-be-released print version now. It is a bold move, and likely alien to many authors. It is the move of an entrepreneur. Sigler is attempting to kick-start a business. I imagine many artistic people dislike the notion that they are, in fact, running a business, but facts are facts, whether or not they are acknowledged. If his business model proves successful, others will imitate it, and everyone will simply have to adjust to the new competition. Indeed Sigler's model suggests a good way for someone who is as prolific as he has shown himself to be. If an author is immensely popular, they could serialize their content, and get paid subscribers for that serialized content. For budding authors, the content would have to be free to attract readers, but there is no need for well-established superstar authors to so limit themselves. Indubitably, people far more savvy than myself will come up with even more ways to monetize the fruits of artistic talent.

P.S. I forgot to add the apology: I apologize for being a black guy writing about science fiction and geekery and not "keeping it real, yo."

Friday, January 04, 2008

Am I Anti-Ron Paul or Pro-Liberty?

Again, the time for an apology draws hither. It has been far too long since my first apology -- for not reading enough Rand before becoming an anarchist. This time, I come to throw myself at the mercy of those here assembled for a similar affront. Please don't let this get out, but not only do I not care about politics generally, but I specifically don't really support Ron Paul. (How can I go on?)

Here's the thing though, I remain plagued by a question that scratches at the base of my psyche. That question, to which I haven't gotten a good response from any Paul supporter, is simply this:

Haven't we [market anarchists, anarcho-capitalists, etc.] already decided, among ourselves, logically, that button-pushing scenarios do not necessarily lead to better outcomes?

I've written in other places that I can see some positive motivation behind the Ron Paul campaign. I can legitimately see the value in getting the message of liberty and limited government "out there" during a presidential campaign. What I haven't done, and what I won't do -- and I feel pretty safe saying this is also true about most other anti-Paul folks -- is begin to think that "the answer" to our problems with the state is to take over the state! What logic supports this idea?

Imagine if you will (I'm having a Rod Serling moment) a world where we anarchists are presented with a magic button. Pushing the button will immediately result in the abolition of the IRS, the FDA, the EPA, FEMA, the closing of all US bases in foreign lands, etc. Would pushing that button be the next best action? Not so much. While pushing the button would most assuredly result in some real, almost intoxicating pleasure for most of us, one other relatively unassailable conclusion can be drawn about it. Within milliseconds of that button being pushed, the rest of the populace would begin reconstructing those items that the button-pushing removed, probably supported by violence.

...what I want is a voluntary society that moves toward anarchy and freedom, not my own personally-selected slave master controlling the guns of the state, but hey, I already said I apologize!

(May the ghost of Murray N. Rothbard not haunt me tonight.)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

My Second Annual Apology

I am a month off my annual apology requirement - so I apologize for that up front.

I apologize for thinking that people ought to make their own way in life, for not believing that the government has any real answers for most of the problems that I or anyone else face and for not seeing any real difference in Republicans and Democrats. I apologize for not feeling sympathy for people that wish to live as victims and seek to blame others for all of their problems. I am sorry that I went to Iraq more than once, spent almost two and a half years of my life there for nothing of real note or value. I apologize for believing that it is ok to be conservative and believe that the government lies, cheats and steals. I am sorry for thinking that small really is beautiful and for wishing that life would just slow down a bit. I am sorry for not shopping at Wal-Mart. I apologize for calling my boss a self-absorbed scoundrel (well, I'm not really sorry for that).

El Cid

Friday, September 28, 2007

IF IT'S GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE BOOMER-IN-CHIEF...

Heroic!!

By Wendy McElroy

According to friend and ex-prostitute Norma Jean Almodovar, married men pay for sex mainly to get blow jobs. This baffles me. Why wouldn't every woman include "hunt and suck" in her sexual repertoire? As a stressed and exhausted boomer, the advantages of fellatio would be Chapter One of my future bestseller entitled "How to Drive Your Man Crazy With an Utter Minimum of Effort and Time." You get to keep your clothes on, thus concealing cellulite and those extra ten pounds. You don't have to be "in the mood." It is the fast food drive-through of sex. Moreover, men become unduly grateful. The first time I gave it my "all," the man told me a woman could get anything she wanted in exchange for "that." It seemed like a fair swap to me.

The call girls I know charge $150 to $300 for a blow job. Imagine investing that extra money in a retirement fund at a 10% annual return. I am not so presumptuous as to advise you to charge your husband a fee. That is your choice. And, if you make the fiscally wise choice, you can always give him a price break by using the going street rate. A price chart, covering some of the major U.S. cities, can be found in the Jayhawke Report on the "World Sex Guide" site. For example, in Washington D.C. in 1997, "A blowjob [sic] usually runs $30-60, sex is $50-100, and anal is $70-150." But the report warns, "There is lots of drugs and crime in DC, so use extreme caution!" In other words, men who go to streetwalkers for blow jobs might come back with more than a grin on their faces. Which is another reason to keep more than a log burning in the hearth.

But where can you learn this fine art? (Are you listening, Hillary?) I recommend against chatting with a girlfriend because, within the week, you'll hear back from another girlfriend about how your sex life needs help. And then a male friend will generously offer to "let" you practice on him. And, no, I won't tell you how I am certain this will happen. Proceed instead to a wonderful and free on-line "14 Lesson Tutorial" on oral sex from a pro. It starts at the basics, "First things first. LOOK at the cock." Ignore the tutorial's references to worshiping the penis and seeing it as an icon. There's no need to make a religion out of this. Go in a straight line to "know his testicles" and how to "deep throat" without that nasty gagging reflex.

Of course, seeing oral sex performed has a certain educational appeal. I vividly remember the first blow job I saw in a porn video. It was a scene in which porn superstar (and sweet human being) Nina Hartley blew a cock in a condom -- as opposed to a "bare back blow job" -- and the sex sizzled. I leaned toward the television screen and exclaimed, "So that's what you do with your hands!" Nina also teaches her techniques in Nina Hartley's Guide to Oral Sex.

My last piece of advice: oral sex has no necessary connection with blowing and it should never be viewed as a job. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Kochtopus and Brownback

So Cato bankroller Charles Koch gives the max, $2300, to Brownback (also gave $1000 to Obama!)

I'm also told that Mrs. Koch gave the max to Brownback.

And here are Brownback's positions--

***

Border security is my top priority and I have consistently voted to immediately secure the border. One of the primary jobs of the United States government is to ensure the safety of the American people. In order to do so, we must secure our borders. Securing our borders must be our top priority as a nation. Our Southern border is porous and must be secured. Secure borders make Americans safer. I have voted to:

  • Double the number of border patrol agents over the next five years.
  • Increase detention space in order to end "catch-and-release".
  • Build 700 miles of border fencing and 350 miles of vehicle barriers along the Southern border.
  • Fund 370 miles of triple-layered fencing and 461 miles of vehicle barriers along the nation's southwest border.
  • Deploy cutting-edge technology including cameras, sensors, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to patrol the border for illegal border crossers.
  • Implement a tough, smart border security strategy in order to gain operational control of the border.
  • Worksite Enforcement is Essential.We will fail to stop illegal immigration until we prove that living and working here illegally is not an option.
  • We must enable all law enforcement to identify and quickly remove criminal illegal aliens.
  • A secure, fraud-resistant ID must be the foundation of a robust worksite enforcement system that requires every new employee to be screened for valid work authorization.
  • Interior and worksite enforcement are essential for homeland security and national security.
  • Increase cooperation with state and local authorities to enforce our immigration laws.
  • Implement an Electronic Employment Verification System that holds employers accountable for knowingly hiring unauthorized workers.
  • Prohibit employers convicted of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants from being eligible to receive government contracts.
  • Allow the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration to share information helpful to law enforcement investigations against illegal immigrants.

Healthcare Our healthcare system will thrive with increased consumer choice, consumer control and real competition. I believe it is important that we have price transparency within our health care system. This offers consumers, who are either enrolled in high deductible health plans or who pay out-of-pocket, the ability to shop around for the best prices and plan for health care expenditures. Also, the existing health insurance market forces consumers to pay for extra benefits in their premiums, such as aromatherapy and acupuncture, which tends to increase the cost of coverage. Instead, consumers should be able to choose the from health care coverage plans that are tailored to fit their families' needs and values. Accordingly, individuals should be allowed to purchase health insurance across state lines. Finally, I believe that consumers should have control over the use of their personal health records. I have a proposal that would offer consumers a means to create a lifetime electronic medical record, while, at the same time, ensuring that the privacy of their personal health information is secured and protected. Over time, the socialized medicine model has shown to deprive consumers of access to life-saving treatments and is downright inconsistent with the spirit of the American people to be free from unwanted government intervention. I will continue to work at the forefront to create a consumer-centered, not government-centered, healthcare model that offer both affordable coverage choices and put the consumer in the driver's seat.

Taxes: I have long championed both lower taxes and reform of the existing tax system, and recently signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to oppose all tax increases. Much of our recent economic prosperity is directly attributable to the lower taxes enacted by recent Congresses. I believe America’s tax code is overly complex and burdensome. Americans spend roughly $157 billion each year in tax preparation, to ensure they do not run afoul of the Internal Revenue Service. The system is desperately in need of reform. I support a flat tax concept that simplifies tax preparation, applies a low tax rate to all Americans, and respects the special financial burden carried by American families raising children.

Culture and Values: We must clean up America’s culture, beginning in every home. A new callousness can be seen on our television sets and movie theaters, in video games and on magazine racks. While parents remain the first line of defense in the fight to protect our children from inappropriate media content, some of the responsibility for this effort also rests with the producers and distributors of modern media. With this in mind, I introduced the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2006 and was pleased to see the President sign it into law. The Act increased fines on broadcast networks that air obscene and indecent material during the hours children are most likely to be watching. Shielding our children from the violence, obscenity, and indecency in today’s media continues to be one of my top priorities. I have also introduced a bill that would promote greater accuracy and transparency in the rating of video games. Accurately educating parents about the content of the media they bring into their homes is a key part of this process. In addition to these threats, I remain concerned about the proliferation of pornography in our culture. The commoditization of the human person through pornography is a scourge upon our civilization and one of the most insidious threats to the stability of our families. I held a hearing in 2006 where we examined the detrimental effect pornography has on children and families. I will continue the fight to protect families from a variety of cultural threats.

Energy: Due to years of neglect and short-sighted domestic policies, America is on the verge of an energy crisis. Our supply of energy has not kept pace with our demand. Today our nation produces 39% less oil than we did in 1970. This leaves us dependent on foreign suppliers, who often do not have America’s best interests at heart. This Congress, I co-sponsored the Dependence Reduction through Innovation in Vehicles and Energy (DRIVE) Act. This bill aims to reduce our oil consumption by 2.5 million barrels per day in ten years by taking an innovative, market-based approach that relies on advanced technology and an expansion of renewable fuels. I will continue to fight for energy independence.

Marriage: I believe that our society’s strength lies in its most fundamental building block, the family unit. Family begins with marriage. We must defend the institution of marriage by defending the definition of marriage. The right to marry is not the right to redefine marriage. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman. How we define marriage is vitally important because of the message it sends to the culture—to the young, and to the next generation of citizens. Make no mistake, a society that undermines marriage and the family is undermining itself, and a government that attempts to supplant rather than to support the family and marriage is bent on its own destruction. We must recognize that it is our families, built upon the institution of marriage, that are the fundamental and essential centers of commitment and care that have the real power to transform our society.

Human Rights: My belief in the value of human life is what inspired my concern over the international genocides taking place in countries like Darfur. I traveled to Darfur and Rwanda in early 2006 to see firsthand the tragedies that have taken place there. The suffering was unlike any I have ever seen. I believe that we must show compassion to these people. America is a great nation, and we have a role to play in protecting innocent life at home and abroad. Reforming the UN The United Nations continues to be the subject of great controversy. The U.N. has been instrumental in resolving a number of international disputes, and its work should not go unnoticed. However, it too often couples lofty ideals with poor execution. As such, reforming the U.N. must remain a priority. In the 104th Congress I supported the National Security Revitalization Act, which prohibited U.S. military forces from being placed under U.N. command and control in most situations. Further, it provided for the U.S. to be reimbursed for participation in U.N. peacekeeping operations. I believe we should reduce the size of the U.N., and that the U.S. should bear less of the organization’s financial burden. I have long supported - and will continue to support - efforts to condition our country’s U.N. dues on substantive U.N. reform.

Iraq: After my recent trip to Iraq, I am even more convinced that the situation there is precarious, but hopeful. I see hope in the Iraqi people. I believe this hope will be the foundation of a new Iraqi society. Much remains to be done, and I think we need a plan to turn this country over to its citizens. I will continue to work with the leaders in our country, as well as leaders in Iraq, to find a solution that protects the future of Iraq, and the pride and dignity of its citizens.

Israel: America must stand firmly alongside Israel in the fight against Islamic extremism. Every day, Israel is on the front lines of this war, facing enemies such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and their patron states, Syria and Iran. As our only democratic ally in the Middle East, Israel serves as a beacon of freedom and hope in an otherwise troubled region. Throughout my career in the Senate, I have worked hard to develop the friendship between the United States and Israel, including sponsoring legislation that would declare Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel. In 2004, I traveled to Israel and spoke before the Knesset about my life-long admiration for the Jewish State.

Religious Liberty: Religion, once an integral part of our society, is today being eradicated from nearly every aspect of public life. The First Amendment protects the freedom to practice the religion of one’s choice. That freedom is under attack by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, who profit financially from lawsuits brought against cities and towns that display religious symbols. The ACLU and others have collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees from suits brought against local cities and towns. Now they are using those victories to threaten other local jurisdictions. I introduced the Public Expression of Religion Act last year to prevent groups like the ACLU from collecting attorneys’ fees in religious freedom cases. Our country was founded on the idea that its citizens should be free to express their religious beliefs without government interference. I will continue the fight to protect that freedom.

Life: Life is worthy of respect and protection from the moment of conception. I fear that our society has forgotten the value of human life. I believe every life has meaning and purpose, and that the termination of life is taken too lightly in our country today. Abortion ends a human life. It destroys an individual who could have lived, worked, and contributed to our society. And has wiped out nearly an entire generation. I believe we should strive to fully embrace a culture of life through our national politics. I will continue to fight to protect life at every stage. I hope that one day America will remember the value we once placed on human life.

Social Security: The Social Security System is facing a demographic crisis that will someday affect the financial viability of the Social Security Trust Fund. Projections for the financial solvency of the Trust Fund show that as baby boomers begin to enter retirement there will be an increase in the number of people drawing social security benefits, and yet a corresponding decrease in the number of working people who provide those benefits. Clearly, this will present a crisis within the system. We must firmly resolve to keep our commitment to current retirees and those preparing to retire. Further, we must modernize the system to ensure that Social Security is financially sound for our children. I believe every American has a stake in this debate, and I will continue to keep the dialogue open as we work toward a solution. read the in-depth white paper.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Hope for FEE!

No Longer Affiliated...

FEE%20Logo.jpg

My trips to Irvington-on-Hudson are likely to be rather fewer than in the past, as yesterday was my last meeting of the board of trustees of the Foundation for Economic Education. (FEE’s bylaws require term limits after nine years….and it’s been nine years since I joined the board.) It has been an honor to serve on a board that has included so many distinguished business leaders and intellectuals.

Posted by Tom Palmer at May 6, 2007 12:19 PM | TrackBack

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Wizard of Oz and Money



Jeff Saut Presents: The Emerald City presents a theory new to me--that The Wizard of Oz was "based on an economic and political commentary surrounding the debate over “sound money” that occurred in the late 1800s." This article argues that:
... Baum’s book was penned in 1900 following unrest in the agriculture arena (read: farmers) due to the debate between gold, silver, and the dollar standard. The book, therefore, is supposedly an allegory of these historical events making the information easier to understand. In said book, Dorothy represents traditional American values. The Scarecrow portrays the American farmer, while the Tin Man represents the workers, and the Cowardly Lion depicts William Jennings Bryan. Recall that at the time Mr. Bryan was the official standard bearer for the “silver movement,” as well as the unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate of 1896. Interestingly, in the original story Dorothy’s slippers were made of silver, not ruby, implying that silver was the Populists’ solution to the nation’s economic woes. Meanwhile, the Yellow Brick Road was the gold standard, and Toto (Dorothy’s faithful dog) represented the Prohibitionists, who were an important part of the silverite coalition. The Wicked Witch of the West symbolizes President William McKinley and the Wizard is Mark Hanna, who was the chairman of the Republican Party and made promises that he could not keep. Obviously “Oz” is an abbreviation for “ounce.”

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Palmer backs off

In the comments to this thread on Tom Palmer's smearblog, some guy "Yuri" posted, and Palmer said it was "Mr. Kinsella of Dallas who writes for LewRockwell.com", something like this, since this guy was posting from some server in Dallas. I posted a correction to this idiot that I live in Houston; and now he has deleted both his accusation and my post correcting him. Good thing. I have half a mind to post the embarrassing picture of Palmer that I have until now refrained from publicizing out of a sense of decency that that scumbag lacks. Don't push me, Palmer.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Omega-Chloride-Redford on my "Plagiarism"

Over on the Mises blog, my post Don't worry--you don't exist: Or, why long-range planning is really impossible drew some comments from one James Redford. Now years ago he had written some good things about my theory of rights on some boards or groups. So we had some exchanges. I confess I had forgotten most of this.

In any event. On the Mises blog post he wrote in a comment that he was glad "that some of my teachings have had an effect on you." I had no idea what he was jabbering about but had a vague recollection that he was some kind of loon or nut. He was insinuating, I thought, that I was using in my arguments something he taught me... and vaguely implying I should have given him credit. I thought this ridiculous and said so; he escalated with attempts at "proving" how I had plagiarized him and was a liar.

So I have refreshed my memory. First, as to who this dude is. I remember now: he has gone in the past, on various boards, as Count Lithium von Chloride, Tetrachordine Omega, and Tetrahedron Omega. He has written before about his various experiences with drugs, and how this has given him insight into the universe, and the "omega point," some nonsense like this. See, e.g., my discussion of this stuff in this post and in this anti-state thread, where he talks about his "god-trips". In his article Jesus is an Anarchist, he signs off thus:
Born in Austin, Texas and raised in the Leander, Texas hill country, the native-born Augustinian James Redford is a young born again Christian who was converted from atheism by a direct revelation from Jesus Christ. He is a scientific rationalist who considers that the Omega Point (i.e., the physicists' technical term for God) is an unavoidable result of the known laws of physics. His personal website can be found here: http://geocities.com/vonchloride
Uh, yeah--the Omega Point... direct revelation of Christ via drugs which incude various so-called Levels of so-called God-Trips. Like, wow, man. I think he actually believes this stuff. Another funny comment: in our email conversation in 2000, I jokingly used the term "jelly head" to refer to stoners or those who do drugs, after he started going on about all the revelations he'd gotten from doing drugs. He didn't know the term "jelly-head," so I explained:
Jelly head--slang for junkie, drug head, stoner. I guess the term implies that you do so many terms it turns the brain to sludge, jelly.
His humble reply? "Well, my brain is still quite intact and functioning on an I.Q. level higher than almost all people." Uhhh, HOkay.

And in His website shows he's a 9/11 conspiracy nut, too. And let's not forget his various handles: Count Lithium von Chloride, Tetrachordine Omega, and Tetrahedron Omega. He reminds me a bit of Per Malloch, another smart young libertarian who also liked my estoppel theory and Hoppe's argumentation ethics, and who also liked drugs, unfortunately a bit too much--he OD'd in college a few years ago. I wonder how long Redford will be with us. Oh well, at least he's a "Christian," so if he OD's he'll just ascend to the Jesus Omega Point, I guess, where drugs will be free and plentiful.

Anyway, he wrote in the recent Mises thread:
I'm glad that some of my teachings have had an effect on you. Ergo, your somewhat recent statement of "an ought from an ought." (Your September 8, 2006 11:19 AM reply under "How We Come to Own Ourselves.")
He was referring to my comment there to someone: "I agree you cannot get an ought from an is. I am not. I am getting an ought from an ought."

Redford is implying I got this from him. Why? Here is something he wrote me long ago (which I had of course forgotten). During one of those conversations he agreed with my Humean point that you can't derive an an ought from an is; and he said he liked my own theory because in it I derive an ought from an ought. He wrote (back in February of 2000):
One remarkable thing about your rights argument is that it seems to totally by-pass the is/ought dichotomy. Rather than simply derive an "ought" from an "is" (which alone is impossible), it derives an "ought" from an "ought": an "ought" which any objector to libertarian punishment necessarily already holds.
Note that he here was simply agreeing with what my own theory did: that it derived an ought from an ought. Therefore avoiding the ought from an is problem, which I was of course already aware of. (It permeates my arguments; and see also p. 1432 of my 1994 review essay on one of Hoppe's books (discussing how Hoppe's argumentation ethics overcomes the Humean is-ought dichotomy; and p. 136 (text at n. 13) of Hoppe's 1989 book TSC, which I had of course devoured by the time I wrote my estoppel theory: "In fact, one can readily subscribe to the almost generally accepted view that the gulf between “ought” and “is” is logically unbridgeable. .... On the problem of the deriveability of “ought” from “is” statements cf. W. D. Hudson (ed.), The Is-Ought Question, London, 1969; for the view that the fact-value dichotomy is an ill-conceived idea cf. the natural rights literature cited in note 4 above.")

Now. I have used "ought from an ought" on occasion, at least in the last couple of years, as I have explained and defended my views on rights, and the problem with the is-ought dichotomy. Did I get the phrase from Redmond? I have no idea. I suppose it is possible that a phrase he used to describe my own theory stuck in my head and bubbled to the surface years later. If so, I woudl have no problem "admitting" it, as he charges; why not? After all, it's just a natural way to describe what my own theory does, as he admitted way back in 2000. And although he seems proud that if you google the phrase "ought from an ought" in usenet groups his is the first one mentioned, as if he had some great achievement (in just finding a way to describe why my own "remarkable" rights argument!), as I showed him, if you google the phrase on the web, several uses of it show up, e.g. one in 1973. (Redford's emphasis on the fact that he has the first use of the phrase on usenet, and that there are only 13 or so in a web-wide google search, is also odd: there are no doubt various ways to word the idea that you can only get an ought from an ought, other than the literal phrase "ought from an ought", which his and my google search espicked out, so the basic insight or idea or way of putting it is probably out there many more times than that simple one search would show. Not to mention that there are tons of publications not yet searchable.)

Regarding my citing of the 1973 use of the phrase, of course I did not list that to imply that I got the phrase from that source rather than from Redford; but to show that it's probably a natural way for people to describe this, that many people can either independently come to, or that is floating around out there and occasionally used. I think it's likely I either read this phraseology in various places, or maybe independently came up with it myself. I mean if you say that an ought can't come from an is, so you have to start with a presupposed ought (as Hoppe and I both argue, in a sense; even Rand, as I noted before, with her hypothetical ethics), it's, um, natural to say that you can't get an ought from an is, but only from an ought. Redford's attempt grab fame for such an obvious insight is frankly bizarre. If the thought of using that simple phrase to describe my very own rights theory was put in my head by Redford's email to me back in 2000, whoop de doo. Fine. Who cares?

So, he lists part of our email conversation from 2000 (he, um, saved it, you see), to prove I'm a plagiarist and liar. Okay, so let's recap. I think his "ought from an ought" phrase is a kind of obvious way of stating one good thing about my own rights theory. That, er, I came up with. I think it's good Omega, er Redford, came up with it. I think many people have. I may have too; or may have remembered it from Redford's email to me, um, 6 years ago, or maybe from seeing others' writings on related subjects. I'm even grateful Redford was friendly to my rights theory, but I think it's frankly bizarre of him to keep score of such minute things and to try to take credit for such a thing, or to accuse me of plagiarism, or lying. On the other hand, I guess there are worse things than being insulted by a self-admitted drug-using conspiracy-theorizing born-again Chloride-Omega Christian with Direct Revelation to God.

***

Our exchange since then:

REDFORD:

Stephan Kinsella, you wrote:

""
I think it's likely I either read this phraseology in various places, or maybe independently came up with it myself.
""

It is certain that you read the phrase in various places: namely, in my emails to you (which you initiated from having read my public postings) and in my public writings. Nor did you independently come up with it yourself. You got the phrase from me.

In order for you to credibly say that you independently came up with the phrase yourself would have to mean that you never heard the phrase from me before you first used it. Yet we know that is not the case: you heard the phrase from me multiple times well before you ever used it. Hence, you saying the above is more of your disingenuousness.

Repeatedly you have been mendacious in this thread in a myriad of ways, e.g., with your ad hominem attacks upon me (of which is a logical fallacy, and which began even when I was going out of my way to be polite to you and give you the benefit of the doubt that your memory was merely faulty on this matter), with your changing the subject to irrelevant matters (i.e., the logical fallacy known as a red herring, or ignoratio elenchi), with you misconstruing the nature of our contacts and acting as if you never took notice of my public writings, with your acting as if you didn't find my considerations of value (when you are the one who initiated contact with me and asked me for my considerations on a number of issues), with your acting as if the use of fanciful handles on the internet is not a very common practice and thereby implying that I am crazy (i.e., another form of ad hominem attack, as well as a non sequitur even on its own terms), etc., ad nauseam.

That is not the behavior of someone who feels himself to be in the right, but rather the actions of someone who is attempting to shut down honest discussion and figuratively sweep the issue under the rug. Particularly deceitful on your part was your misconstruing the nature of our contacts and acting as if you never took notice of my public writings.

But to answer you on some of your latest irrelevant ad hominem, red herring, and non sequitur charges:

- I didn't save our email exchanges: Yahoo! saved them. I merely looked them up quite easily with the search function within Yahoo! Email. This is a red herring and also an ad hominem attack, as you're attempting to imply with this that I must be crazy to have saved these emails. Of which is not only a mistatement of fact (since I didn't take any measures to save the emails), but also a statement that is a non sequitur (since it doesn't follow that because I am able to produce some of our email exhanges that it means that I took measures to save these emails, as Yahoo! does that automatically). This is more of your disingenuous argumentation tactics.

Although I can see why you would be displeased that I can produce these emails, since they prove that you were being mendacious by misconstruing the nature of our contacts and acting as if you never took notice of my public writings, and with your acting as if you didn't find my considerations of value (when you are the one who initiated contact with me and asked me for my considerations on a number of issues, as demonstrated by the emails).

- Concerning my entheogenic experiences and my direct revelation from Jesus Christ, by bringing this up here you again are implying that I am crazy, of which is a red herring, ad hominem attack, and a non sequitur; hence further implying that what I have to say is not true, of which is a non sequitur.

It is you who has made numerous mistatements of facts within this thread, and have stated that some of this is possibly due to your faulty memory on this issue. Thus, if any one of us has evidenced any form of dementia here, it is you. It is you who has been non-veridical within this thread on numerous occasions, not me.

On the matter of entheogens--not that it has any relevance to this issue, but in an effort to educate you--the following is a very short list of famous, publicaly known psychedelic psychonauts (since your mentality is so peppered with notions and concerns of loserhood): Bill Gates, Cary Grant, Richard Feynman, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Steve Jobs. And that's just a very short list of famous people who are known about publicly; one could only wonder about the number of famous people who have chosen to keep their use of entheogens private.

Concerning the matter of the authentic spiritual experence and insights gained via the archetype entheogens, see the follow-up to Walter Pahnke's "Good Friday Experiment": "A Long-Term Follow-Up and Methodological Critique," Rick Doblin, Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, Vol. 23, No.1, 1991 ( http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/lsd/doblin.htm ). See also the recent John Hopkins University experiment, which separately confirmed the findings of the "Good Friday Experiment": "Magic Mushroom Study - 2006," http://www.yoism.org/?q=node/219 .

- Regarding my "conspiracy-theorizing," by bringing this up here you again are implying that I am crazy, of which is a red herring, ad hominem attack, and a non sequitur; hence further implying that what I have to say is not true, of which is a non sequitur.

So far as conspiracies go, they are ubiquitous. Everyone is in agreement that the 9/11 attacks were the result of a conspiracy. But those who are genuinely knowledgeable and care about the truth reject fallacious conspiracy theories, such as the U.S. government's lying, self-serving, anti-historical, anti-factual, and provably false official fairy tale conspiracy theory concerning the 9/11 attacks.

More than four times the amount of non-combatants have been systematically murdered for purely ideological reasons by their own governments within the past century than were killed in that same time-span from wars. From 1900 to 1923, various Turkish regimes killed from 3,500,000 to over 4,300,000 of its own Armenians, Greeks, Nestorians, and other Christians. Communist governments have murdered over 110 million of their own subjects since 1917. And Germany murdered some 16 million of it own subjects in the past century. (The preceding figures are from Prof. Rudolph Joseph Rummel's website at http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/ .)

All totaled, neither the private-sector crime which government is largely responsible for promoting and causing or even the wars committed by governments upon the subjects of other governments come anywhere close to the crimes government is directly responsible for committing against its own citizens--certainly not in amount of numbers. Without a doubt, the most dangerous presence to ever exist throughout history has always been the people's very own government.

Needless to say, all of these government mass-slaughters were conspiracies--massive conspiracies, at that.

As well, the term "conspiracy theorist" as you are here using it is simply nothing more than a logically self-contradictory ad hominem attack.

The reason the charge of "conspiracy theorist" is logically self-contradictory is because everyone with an I.Q. high enough to tie their shoes is a believer in conspiracies. Governments are the biggest promulgators of belief in conspiracies--witness all the laws against "conspiracy" and all the criminal charges of "conspiracy" brought against people. The offical U.S. government story regarding such events as, e.g., the Pearl Harbor attack, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and the 9/11 attacks, etc., are charges by the U.S. government of conspiracy having been conducted against it by other governments or by non-government terrorist groups.

Thus, those making the charge of "conspiracy theorist" are also believers and/or promulgators of notions regarding conspiracies--often far more so than the person being accused as being a "conspiracy theorist."

A conspiracy is simply when two or more people formulate a plan which involves doing something untoward to another person or other people (of which plan may or may not be kept secret, i.e., secrecy is not a necessary component for actions to be a conspiracy).

It certainly says something regarding the intellectual blinders one making the charge of "conspiracy theorist" is wearing that they don't even stop to realize the logically self-contradictory nature of this charge, as going by the literal meaning of the two words in the phrase "conspiracy theorist." For the one making this charge is himself a believer in conspiracies.

And so it is here where we come to the real meaning of the term "conspiracy theorist" as it is used by those making the charge. What they mean by this charge is that the accused believes in and/or promotes ideas regarding conspiracies which have not been offically sanctioned by the accuser's government--whereas the accuser making this charge believes in and/or promotes ideas regarding conspiracies which his government has deemed appropriate for the public to believe in. The difference between the two is that the accuser believes in and/or promotes ideas regarding conspiracies which are statist in their implications, in that they merely reiterate the offical government line--whereas the accused believes in and/or promotes ideas regarding conspiracies which are anti-statist in their implications, in that they go against what the accuser's government would have the public believe. (And being a libertarian or anarchist doesn't change that fact, since it's quite possible to desire no state to exist while still believing in the conspiracies that the government promotes.)

Also, the term "theory" as it is used in this logically self-contradictory ad hominem attack is misapplied and inappropriate. The term "theory" suggests a principle or law of operation. Thus you have the General Theory of Relativity and the Theory of Evolution. Yet almost always the logically self-contradictory ad hominem charge of "conspiracy theorist" is against those who are making specific claims regarding historical events. To illustrate this point, if someone says that it rained over the Bahamas on September 2, 2004 are they then a "theorist" for saying so?

As Prof. Murray N. Rothbard wrote:

""
It is also important for the State to inculcate in its subjects an aversion to any "conspiracy theory of history"; for a search for "conspiracies" means a search for motives and an attribution of responsibility for historical misdeeds. If, however, any tyranny imposed by the State, or venality, or aggressive war, was caused not by the State rulers but by mysterious and arcane "social forces," or by the imperfect state of the world or, if in some way, everyone was responsible ('We Are All Murderers," proclaims one slogan), then there is no point to the people becoming indignant or rising up against such misdeeds. Furthermore, an attack on "conspiracy theories" means that the subjects will become more gullible in believing the "general welfare" reasons that are always put forth by the State for engaging in any of its despotic actions. A "conspiracy theory" can unsettle the system by causing the public to doubt the State's ideological propaganda.
""

(From the article "The Anatomy of the State" by Prof. Murray N. Rothbard, Rampart Journal of Individualist Thought, Summer 1965, pp. 1-24. Reprinted in a collection of some of Rothbard's articles, Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays (Washington, D.C.: Libertarian Review Press, 1974): http://www.mises.org/easaran/chap3.asp .)

*****

The above are some rebuttals to some of your latest ad hominem, red herring, and non sequitur charges against me, Stephan Kinsella, i.e., your disingenuous argumentation tactics. Being a lawyer, I would have thought you might have known about such logically fallacious arguments. Yet you copiously spew them out and and wallow in them as if you find them to be one of the greatest things ever devised. Or are these yet more failures of your memory?

But as I said previously, it's not that I cared that you used this phrase and its concept without crediting me (as you most certainly did get it from me). Indeed, I was glad that you did use it and hence I said so! What incited me was that you acted as if I had a second head growing out my neck when I simply made an innocent and friendly comment to you on the matter (in which you even managed to misconstrue what I was referring to with an irrelevant red herring). I then went out of my way to give you the benefit of the doubt, that this was due to some form of mental laspe on your part, while at the same time refreshing your memory as to when and where exactly you got the phrase and its concept from me. You then replied with personal insults upon me (i.e., ad hominem attacks), and with more irrelevant red herrings.

None of your behavior in this matter has been that of an honest person who simply made an honest mistake. You even went out of your way to misconstrue the nature of our contacts and imply that it was crazy to think that my public writings have caught your attention. Your responses in this thead have been a sustained exercise in ignominious and underhanded insults and fallacious debating tactics.

Even though you've treated me like crud just to avoid having to admit that I imparted something of value to you (i.e., to save your ego from having to admit that you obtained something intellectually valuable from a "loser" like me), being that I am a true Christian, I still love you. But I also call a spade a spade.

Posted by: James Redford at November 18, 2006 6:01 PM

***

KINSELLA:

A few final comments to this ridiculous thread.

Redford's original comment may have been friendly, as he now claims, although I did not construe it that way. He wrote, "By the way, Stephan Kinsella, I'm glad that some of my teachings have had an effect on you. Ergo, your somewhat recent statement of "an ought from an ought.""

Calling me by my full name; insinuating that I learned from his "teachings" (which he now admits is at most just a way of *wording* one positive aspect of *my own rights theory*). If I had thought he was just being friendly, I would have replied something like,

Redford, I don't remember what you are talking about, but if you are insinuating that you came up with the wording "ought from an ought" as a way to explicate my own rights theory, I don't remember getting it from you. If I did, er, thanks, I guess, although I suspect this is not unique to you.

The problem is Redford called me a liar, which is false and insulting; and a plagiarizer, which is also false, and bizarre to boot in this context. He also implies I would not want to "admit" I got anything from him. But why? I would of course freely acknowledge anything like this.

And I of course do not "resent" him dredging up his old emails; it proves nothing whatsoever that bothers me. All his email shows is that he used "ought from an ought" to describe what my own estoppel theory does. It does not establish that I am lying when I deny being certain that I "got the phrase from him." I honestly do not remember, even in reading this email. Redford insists that I must be lying now if I don't admit I got the phrase that I have recently used, from his original email.

First, I might have already been using it before Redford used it in an email with me. Why does he assume he gave this expression to me? After all I have shown that others at least occasionally use this phrase--one back in 1973. Second, even if his usage was the first time I'd heard it, it's possible I forgot and then either heard it again years later and thus used it, or just came up with it again myself. It is also possible that I forgot about Redford's phrase and it stuck in my mind, and I used it again later without explicitly remembering its origin in some email back in 2000 with Redford.

But all this is obvious to anyone sane and normal. I guess it's not to "psychadelic psychonauts." As for the relevance of Redford's being crazy, I leave it to the readers to judge. It is at the very least interesting.

Posted by: Stephan Kinsella at November 20, 2006 10:09 AM


REDFORD:

Mr. Kinsella, it's spelled "psychedelic," which is how I spelled it--not "psychadelic." Not that I'm much of a spelling Nazi, but you put your mispelling in quotes of me.

Nor was I aware that using your middle and last name in sequential order is a problem with you--all the more so since that is how you sign off on your posts here.

And the fact that you are even going on about notions of sanity here further demonstrates your underhanded debating tactics. That is called an ad hominem attack, which is a logical fallacy. Even if it were quite true it would still be quite irrelevant, since if I had made a factual error here then you would simply tell people how I am factually wrong. Yet I have made no error: it is you who has repeatedly misconstrued and mistated the facts in this thread. Such as with your misconstruing the nature of our contacts and implying that it is crazy to think that my public writings have caught your attention, to name one among many such examples. As I preciously said, your responses in this thead have been a sustained exercise in mendacity, as well as ignominious and underhanded insults and fallacious debating tactics.

Your behavior in this thread has not been that of someone who simply made an honest mistake. If that were the case then there would be no reason for you continously misconstruing the facts on the matter, such as with the nature of our contacts. And if it were the case that you are being an honest person on this issue then you wouldn't have such an impossible time coming to terms with the fact that you got the phrase and its concept from me even after I refreshed your memory as to exactly when and where you got it from me. An honest person, if their memory had actually failed them to that extent, would have reviewed the facts in the case and said something to the effect of "You know what, upon reviewing our contacts and the dates on this, it quite probably is the case that I got it from you. Thanks."

There also is a thing called "intellectual dishonesty." It's not the same as outright, deliberately lying. Rather, it's when a person deliberately avoids certain lines of thought or lines of investigation for fear of what it might reveal. But it's the worst lie of all, because it's lying to oneself. Perhaps that is your problem.

Nor do I think this phrase and its concept is such a small matter. Mises never expressed the concept of deriving "an ought from an ought" (whether in those exact words or something equivalent), neither did Rand, Rothbard, or Hoppe. Had Mises known that such a concept was possible then possibly he would not have been a utilitarian (since he avoided objective ethics due to his concerns on the is-ought dichotomy). Hoppe developed his argumentation ethics, but he never expressed it in those terms or equivalent terms. Nor did you, until well after our contacts where I used the phrase in my emails to you and also in my public writings.

Often the most profound of concepts are also the most "simple." Yes, "an ought from an ought" is quite simple and so obvious--yet it is not at all obvious for most, as evidenced by the fact that it doesn't show up in the writings of some of our greatest thinkers in this movement (and indeed is virtually unknown anywhere). It only becomes "obvious" after the concept has been put out there and adequately explained and understood. Rothbard's arguments for liberty are so simple and obvious. I find Austrian economics to be rather simple and obvious. Now. Now it's so simple and so obvious. The great political, economic, moral, and spiritual truths are so simple and so obvious only after they have been put out, adequately explained, and understood.

Nor did you get the phrase from any source other than me. Back in February 23, 2000, most of those Google hits (via the World Wide Web search) for the phrase would not even have existed; probably none of them would have existed. Nor does 13 Google hits (via the World Wide Web, of which one of those pages was by you when you first used the phrase, so 12 Google hits to be more exact) demonstrate that there are "Tons of references" for the phrase (as you formerly said above). Nor did you get the phrase from one of the rare and obscure journal articles that contains it, of which you haven't even bothered to state which one of them you have read which possibly contained the phrase.

Yet we do know with certainty that you got the phrase from me circa early 2000, as well as other times later from me. So why is it that you have such an impossible time admitting that you quite probably got the phrase and its concept from me? That is, assuming your memory actually failed you, then based upon the evidence on this matter an honest person would at least admit as much once it had been brought to his attention in order to refresh his memory. An honest person would at least admit that, based upon the evidence, I am likely correct. Yet even acknowledging that much seems to be an impossibility for you, lest your ego has to take the blow that you obtained something of intellectual value from a "loser" like me.

And I will here restate again that it's not that I cared that you used this phrase and its concept without crediting me (as you most certainly did get it from me). Indeed, I was glad that you did use it and hence I said so! What incited me was that you acted as if I had a second head growing out my neck when I simply made an innocent and friendly comment to you on the matter (in which you even managed to misconstrue what I was referring to with an irrelevant red herring). I then went out of my way to give you the benefit of the doubt, that this was due to some form of mental laspe on your part, while at the same time refreshing your memory as to when and where exactly you got the phrase and its concept from me. You then replied with personal insults upon me (i.e., ad hominem attacks), and with more irrelevant red herrings.

As I also said before, even though you've treated me like crud with your continuous insults and underhanded debating tactics, being that I am a true Christian, I still love you, Mr. Kinsella. But I will rebuke your present opprobrious behavior, even though I still value you as a child of God, and hence as family.

Posted by: James Redford at November 20, 2006 3:04 PM


KINSELLA:

Redford:

Nor was I aware that using your middle and last name in sequential order is a problem with you--all the more so since that is how you sign off on your posts here.

If you are not aware how odd and idiosyncratic it is to refer to someone as "Stephan Kinsella" then you must be on drugs. Ahem.

And the fact that you are even going on about notions of sanity here further demonstrates your underhanded debating tactics.

It's not underhanded. You vilely and wrongly referred to me as a liar. It's natural for me to explain to any remaining lurkers what a loon you are. You do not seem stupid, so I assume you are the nutjob equivalent of a functioning alcoholic.

That is called an ad hominem attack, which is a logical fallacy.

Whatever. It helps explain to lurkers why you would engage in such a bizarre, extended harangue over such a petty issue.

Even if it were quite true it would still be quite irrelevant, since if I had made a factual error here then you would simply tell people how I am factually wrong. Yet I have made no error: it is you who has repeatedly misconstrued and mistated the facts in this thread.

Your factual error is in assuming that it is established that I got that phrase from you--just b/c you used it in an email to me does not mean I got it from you, as I noted. I could have already had it, or forgot it and re-learned it from another or independently came up with it myself. These are all possible. Your factual error is in calling me a liar, and a plagiarizer.

Such as with your misconstruing the nature of our contacts and implying that it is crazy to think that my public writings have caught your attention,

Not at all; I have never denied that I noticed your promoting my estoppel theory and email you about it and discussed some aspects of it and other things, like your drug use and bizarre religious views, a while back. So what?

...underhanded insults

Hey, you admit your wacko-ness in public, so don't blame me for pointing it out. I only mentioned things on websites. You, as a matter of fact, first replied publicly, here, with a quote from a private email I sent you. Very inappropriate.

Your behavior in this thread has not been that of someone who simply made an honest mistake.

I didn't make a single mistake at all, except perhaps in not realizing that your bizarrely worded and toned intitial comment here was friendly instead of hostile. My interpretation of your initial comment was not unreasonable; it reads like a snide accusation of me, as if you caught me at something. No one accuses my integrity, Redmond. You have no grounds for that. I am scrupulous at intellectual honesty, crediting sources, etc. I have articles where I have cited people who have insulted me and reviled me; intellectual honesty compels me to. I would never not acknowledge something like this. The entire idea is just ridiculous.

But had I realized you were just being friendly, my response would be basically the same, in substance.

If that were the case then there would be no reason for you continously misconstruing the facts on the matter, such as with the nature of our contacts.

I've not misconstrued that at all. I never even commented on it. I believe your summary of our contacts was basically right. When did I ever say otherwise?

And if it were the case that you are being an honest person on this issue then you wouldn't have such an impossible time coming to terms with the fact that you got the phrase and its concept from me even after I refreshed your memory as to exactly when and where you got it from me. An honest person, if their memory had actually failed them to that extent, would have reviewed the facts in the case and said something to the effect of "You know what, upon reviewing our contacts and the dates on this, it quite probably is the case that I got it from you. Thanks."

But I did review this and then I admitted:

I have used "ought from an ought" on occasion, at least in the last couple of years, as I have explained and defended my views on rights, and the problem with the is-ought dichotomy. Did I get the phrase from Redmond? I have no idea. I suppose it is possible that a phrase he used to describe my own theory stuck in my head and bubbled to the surface years later. If so, I woudl have no problem "admitting" it, as he charges...

I did say that I may have gotten it from you. I really don't remember. I may have already used such a wording before you emailed me in 2000. Why do you assume I didn't? I may have forgotten it and re-coined it, or read someone else use it. I really don't know. Why are you so certain that you do?

There also is a thing called "intellectual dishonesty." It's not the same as outright, deliberately lying. Rather, it's when a person deliberately avoids certain lines of thought or lines of investigation for fear of what it might reveal. But it's the worst lie of all, because it's lying to oneself. Perhaps that is your problem.

Maybe if I just snorted some weed I would be a self-honest jellyhead.

Nor do I think this phrase and its concept is such a small matter. Mises never expressed the concept of deriving "an ought from an ought" (whether in those exact words or something equivalent), neither did Rand, Rothbard, or Hoppe.

It is implicit in me, Rand, and Hoppe; and arguably Rothbard. You should write something on this if you think you have something to add.

Hoppe developed his argumentation ethics, but he never expressed it in those terms or equivalent terms.

Maybe. Dunno. He was of course aware of the is-ought problem and how his argument sidestepped that.

Nor did you, until well after our contacts where I used the phrase in my emails to you and also in my public writings.

How do you know this? I have not yet used that phrase in any public writings, that I recall, but have used it in emails and discussion lists and internet boards etc., from time to time, and have no idea when I started doing this--before or after you wrote me.

Often the most profound of concepts are also the most "simple." Yes, "an ought from an ought" is quite simple and so obvious--yet it is not at all obvious for most, as evidenced by the fact that it doesn't show up in the writings of some of our greatest thinkers in this movement (and indeed is virtually unknown anywhere).

Well, but most of them are not transcendentalists. Those who are are using this basic idea. Even Rand and her followers have pointed out that her entire ethics is hypothetical.

Nor did you get the phrase from any source other than me. Back in February 23, 2000, most of those Google hits (via the World Wide Web search) for the phrase would not even have existed; probably none of them would have existed. Nor does 13 Google hits (via the World Wide Web, of which one of those pages was by you when you first used the phrase, so 12 Google hits to be more exact) demonstrate that there are "Tons of references" for the phrase (as you formerly said above). Nor did you get the phrase from one of the rare and obscure journal articles that contains it, of which you haven't even bothered to state which one of them you have read which possibly contained the phrase.

Redford--how do you know? Did your LSD trips give you some omniscient, infallible insight into the list of phrases "out there"?

Yet we do know with certainty that you got the phrase from me circa early 2000, as well as other times later from me.

How do you konw this? How do you know I had not alreayd used it that way myself?

So why is it that you have such an impossible time admitting that you quite probably got the phrase and its concept from me?

Oh, I do think it is likely, now that you refreshed my memory on our correspondence. If so, it's quite useful. Thanks. Let's say, there's a 65% chance. That's my best guess and final offer. Do we have a deal?

That is, assuming your memory actually failed you,

and I'm not a LIAR, right? Wow, such charity. Only a drug-addled loon would think that I would have any motive to lie about this. I never even claimed I have come up originally with most of my own stuff; just presented and synthesized it. As you can see from my writings I am generous to a fault with citing sources and giving credit wherever possible. It would never even occur to me to deny this. What, do you think I want all the "glory" or "credit" to myself? There is none of note. And what there is, is for the substance of my views, not for a subtle way of expressing an aspect of it that you helped me come up with. Do you think I'm in line for the Nobel Peace Prize and want to keep all the award for myself? Your entire suspicion here is utterly bizarre.

then based upon the evidence on this matter an honest person would at least admit as much once it had been brought to his attention in order to refresh his memory. An honest person would at least admit that, based upon the evidence, I am likely correct.

I think it is probable; I even said early on, after you pointed out our original correspondence to me, that it was possible. What I was initially objecting to was your immediate attack on me and assumption that I was lying. for me to be lying, (a) it had to be 100% true that I got the phrase from you; and (b) that I remembered this.

I was showing that your lying charge was outrageous and unjustified by showing that neither (a) nor (b) is true. For that purpose it was not relevant for me to "admit" that it was "likely" or even "probable"--that is just irrelevant.

What happened, is that you and I corresponded long ago. I probably dimly remembered your oddities (drug use, personal revelation, freaky email handles) and thus associated you somewhat with the category "loose cannon/nutjob". So your bizarrely toned/worded initial comment here drew a curt response from me, in a private EMAIL to you:

It may be news to you that if I post something it does not mean I agree with it. Of course I don't agree w/ this article. It's utterly stupid. Duhhh. ... Thanks for figuring out the is-ought dichotomy for me. And Hume.

The first part was in response to what I took to be your implication that I was agreeing with the article I had posted. My response there is irrelevant to our current debate. The second part was quite reasonable and not "mendacious" since I had not remembered what you were talking about.

So far, you had NO grounds for accusing me of anything improper: even if you knew we had emailed me in the past, you had no reason to know that I was aware of this in what I wrote. So you had no charge to reply that

So I find it scandalous that you are here attempting to pretend that you didn't derive this phrase and the concept expressed by it from me. This is one of my babies that I'm quite proud of, and for you to here affect that you didn't get it from me is opprobrious.

I hope your words above are the result of some form of mental lapse. But I here ask you to never again act as if you didn't get this phrase and the concept expressed by it from me.

You are here already saying I was lying (pretending) and saying not only that it was probable that I got the phrase from you: you were asserting that I DID, as a matter of FACT, get the phrase from you; and that I KNEW it.

This was all--and still is--utterly false and a lie. Your response should have been (you know, how normal people--no offense--do things), something like: "Sorry for my abrupt, contextless interjection and presumptions. Maybe you don't remember, or maybe we have a different view of things, but if you recall, we discussed this 6 years ago--I can find the emails for you, if you like--where I introduced the expression "ought from an ought" to you--or at least, I thought I had introduced it to you, but you seem to have forgotten."

See, that would be an appropriate reply. But, in your monomaniacal obsession, in instantly leaped to accusing me of pretending, lying, plagiarizing, etc. Everything that happened after is solely a result of your wickedness in this respect.

Yet even acknowledging that much seems to be an impossibility for you, lest your ego has to take the blow that you obtained something of intellectual value from a "loser" like me.

But you are just wrong. You are simply factually mistaken. Your psychologizing is just preposterous.

And I will here restate again that it's not that I cared that you used this phrase and its concept without crediting me (as you most certainly did get it from me).

Ah. Back to "certainly". I thought we were on probably?

Posted by: Stephan Kinsella at November 20, 2006 3:55 PM