You are browsing the archive for 2014 April 28.

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Free Market Environmentalism Is Not An Oxymoron

April 28, 2014 in Economics

By Walter Block

What are environmental forensics and why did the market develop this sector to uphold property rights? How did the government directly legalize acts of trespassing? During the 19th century the State trumped property rights in favor of State growth, Block elaborates on this and answers the questions above. Dr. Block covers much more in this fascinating video to all those to aspire to know more about libertarianism and to those who want to help the environment effectively.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Some Basics of State Domination and Public Submission

April 28, 2014 in Economics

By Robert Higgs

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Familiarity may indeed, as the saying goes, breed contempt, but it also breeds a sort of somnolence. People who have never known anything other than a certain state of affairs—even an extraordinarily problematic state of affairs—have a tendency not to notice it at all, to relate it, so to speak, as if they were sleepwalking through it. Such is the situation of modern people in relation to the state. They have always known it, and they take it completely for granted, regarding it as one might regard the weather: whether it brings rain or sunshine, lightning bolts or soothing spring breezes, it is always there, an aspect of nature itself. Even when it proves destructive, its destruction still qualifies as something akin to “acts of God.”

We relate to the state in this sleepwalking fashion, however, not because doing so is hardwired in our genes, but because our conditions of life and our long historical accommodation to living under the state’s domination predispose us to react to it in this oblivious manner. People who have lived in other circumstances, however, have reacted quite differently. Only when human populations adopted settled agriculture did they prove amenable to state domination. During the vastly longer epoch of human existence in small hunting and gathering bands, the state was impossible: people had few if any nonperishable stores of wealth to be plundered, and if someone attempted to impose state-like domination on a band, its members simply ran away, putting as much distance between themselves and the exploiters as necessary to escape the would-be state’s predation. (See, for example, James C. Scott’s recent analysis in The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia.)

For the past 5,000 to 10,000 years, however, ultimately for nearly all of the world’s people, the state has existed as an ever-present predator and all-around abuser of human rights, its power to dominate and plunder propped up by its adroit exploitation of people’s fears, many of which have been of the state itself, others of external threats to life and limb from which the state purported to protect its subjects. In any event, nearly everyone eventually became incapable of even imagining social life without a state.

For the few who have succeeded in wrenching themselves out of this dreamlike condition in relation to the state, however, two main questions come rushing to mind:

(1) Who do these people—that is, …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Is Modi a Thatcher Or a Hitler?

April 28, 2014 in Economics

By Deepak Lal

Deepak Lal

In the midst of an interminable election, all the opinion polls are predicting an absolute majority for the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance. If the polls are right — which they were not in 2004 and 2009 — Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, will be at the helm of the world’s largest democracy in about two weeks.

So, it is important to assess Modi’s character and what he stands for. Given the starkness of the divergent images being projected by those for and against Modi, the question arises: will he be a Margaret Thatcher who restores economic growth and India’s standing in the world, or an autocrat who kicks away the democratic ladder which has led him to power, like Hitler, promoting an ideological pogrom against a religious minority?

If Modi can apply the ‘Gujarat model’ to India as a whole, India would see the economic revival which its youthful voters so earnestly seek.”

Like Hitler, Modi is an auto-didact, who since he implicitly repudiated his child marriage has had no personal life, and is a charismatic speaker, who has run a highly personalised near-presidential campaign. He is also an OBC (Other Backward Caste).

In the myriad of different voices trying to answer these questions and the numerous books trying to support their respective perspectives with purported ‘facts’, there are two which stand out in providing balanced and factually objective accounts which allow us to answer these questions. They are by the UK journalist Andy Marino, and the independent Indian economist Bibek Debroy.

Like Thatcher (and Indira Gandhi), Modi has sought and achieved control of his party as a radical dissident who has in effect marginalised its ‘old guard’. But, will he like Thatcher be able to rejuvenate his country’s economy? Or will he turn out to be a Hitler or another Indira Gandhi — who briefly snuffed out India’s democracy during the Emergency?

It is the 2002 communal Gujarat riots which have led to the latter fear. Here Marino, who based his political biography on many intensive interviews with Modi and, being an outsider, is not parti pris, is most instructive. He details the events following the burning of a train carrying Hindu pilgrims at Godhra by a Muslim mob, purportedly organised by Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and the subsequent pogrom against the Muslims of Ahmedabad organised by …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Transcript: How Murray Rothbard Became a Libertarian

April 28, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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How Murray Rothbard Became a Libertarian

Editor’s Note: This is a transcript of this video recorded in 1981.

NARRATOR:  A prolific author and Austrian economist, Murray Rothbard promoted a form of free-market anarchism he called “Anarcho-Capitalism.”

In this talk, given at the 1981 National Libertarian Party Convention, Rothbard tells the story of how he came to learn about economics and Libertarianism as he grew up in the Bronx and attended Columbia University in the 1930s and ’40s. He reminisces about meeting Frank Chodorov, Baldy Harper, George Stigler and Ludwig von Mises, and takes a number of audience questions.

ANNOUNCER:  You’ve read a lot about Murray.  You’ve probably read some of the things he’s done for the movement, some of the things that he’s always been so excellent at, keeping us in line.  He’s radical, he’s charming, and he is warm.  And also, he and I can see eye to eye, so we don’t have to adjust the microphone.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

Murray is a special friend, regardless of the optical illusion.  And I think that after you have the opportunity to visit with him tonight — and I’d like the environment to be like that — that you, too, will come to care for him as much as many of us do.

The format for tonight, since we couldn’t really put you around on cushions and move the tables and have a fireplace and a little wine and all, is that basically Murray is going to talk to you for a while, just for a while, and then we have some floor mics set up and you’re going to have the opportunity to talk to him.  And Murray always responds.

(LAUGHTER)

This is one of those special historical events as part of our tenth anniversary convention that doesn’t really have anything to do with a lot of the politics that we might get involved with over the course of the next few days or some of the things that you might have read.  This is for you, getting to know Murray, and for Murray to hear what you’re thinking about.

I guess the very first thing I ever read by Murray was For a New Liberty.  And it’s been said that that book alone probably has converted more people to Libertarian philosophy than any other piece of literature.  But Murray, of course, never stopped with that.  He is probably the most prolific writer of any of us in the movement …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Our American Oligarchy

April 28, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

Interviewed by host Paul Molloy, Mark Thornton discusses the Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and Ryan McMaken’s recent article: “Our Oligarchs Can Thank James Madison”  

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Should It Be Legal for Politicians to Lie?

April 28, 2014 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

Imagine that a state creates a “ministry of truth” whose job it is to referee elections to make sure that candidates and activists didn’t insinuate, exaggerate or otherwise spin their messaging. Any political speech the truth-o-crats determined to be insufficiently candid would carry criminal penalties.

Sounds like a parable about the dangers of taking “clean elections” too far, right? Or a short story by George Orwell or Kurt Vonnegut?

In the American tradition of political free-for-all, the idea that an omnipotent censor would vet stump speeches and ads against some government-designed Truth-o-meter is a joke.

Unfortunately, this is no dystopia. By one count, about 20 states outlaw campaign distortions. Most notoriously, Ohio has a statute that prohibits making “false statements” about a candidate or ballot initiative.

In one instance, former Rep. Steven Driehaus, D-Ohio, used it against an anti-abortion group that had attacked him in the 2010 election. That’s the basis of a case now in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A hearing last week in the case began with the claim that “Driehaus voted for taxpayer-funded abortion.” That’s good fodder for dinner-party conversation or TV talking heads, but it was surreal in that it ended up before the highest court in the land.

There’s no question that Driehaus voted for the bill at issue — the Affordable Care Act — so the only dispute is whether statutory text actually provides federal funding for abortions (a question of legal, economic and even theological interpretation).

Alas, the Ohio law extends even past matters of interpretation. Its broad language also criminalizes rhetorical hyperbole. Legally speaking, Ohio’s ban of lies and damn lies is inconsistent with the First Amendment.

Indeed, disparaging political statements — whether true, mostly true, mostly untrue or wholly fantastic — are cornerstones of American democracy. Mocking and satire are as old as the republic.

Just ask Thomas Jefferson, “the son of a half-breed squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.” Jefferson’s 1800 campaign against John Adams would make a modern spin doctor blush — and that’s before James Callender, noted pamphleteer and “scandalmonger,” alleged that Jefferson had fathered children with his slave Sally Hemings (a charge largely confirmed nearly 200 years later).

In the fierce election of 1828, supporters of John Quincy Adams called Andrew Jackson a “slave-trading, gambling, brawling murderer.” Jacksonian partisans responded by accusing Adams of securing a prostitute for Czar Alexander I.

Later that century, Grover Cleveland was asked at …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Sen. Paul: End Aid to Palestinian Government until They Recognize Israel’s Right to Exist

April 28, 2014 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today released the following statement regarding his measure to make future aid to the Palestinian government conditional upon agreeing to a ceasefire and recognizing the right of Israel to exist:
‘The recent announcement of a Fatah-Hamas unity agreement brings both danger and opportunity to the peace process, and the next five weeks may prove critical.
Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with an entity that does not believe it should exist and that has used terrorist tactics to seek its end.
That being said, the new unity government has a chance to put itself on the record as clearly believing in the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, as Israel recognizes the right of a Palestinian state to exist. It should also declare an immediate and lasting ceasefire to enable negotiations.
If that is accomplished swiftly, the peace process can move forward with two willing partners.
In the absence of such a clear, unambiguous statement on the part of the newly unified Palestinian government, the United States should act to enforce the law and cut off aid to the Palestinian government until they recognize Israel’s right to exist.
I will introduce a measure when Congress returns this week to make all future aid to the Palestinian government conditional upon this statement, with a cutoff date of five weeks from now if, upon its formation, the new government does not take this vital step toward peace.’

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Thomas Piketty on Inequality and Capital

April 28, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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In today’s Mises Daily, Hunter Lewis and Peter Klein discuss Piketty’s new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century:

Thomas Piketty, a 42-year-old economist from French academe has written a hot new book: Capital in the Twenty-First Century. The U.S. edition has been published by Harvard University Press and, remarkably, is leading the best seller list; the first time that a Harvard book has done so. A recent review describes Piketty as the man “who exposed capitalism’s fatal flaw.”

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Today: Patients and Caregivers from Across State Travel to Albany to Urge Legislature to Pass Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Legislation

April 28, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

Compassionate Care Act Would Establish Tightly Controlled and Regulated Access to Medical Marijuana to Relieve Suffering in New York

Patients and Family Members from Across NY Available for Interviews

Albany – Today, the first day the legislature resumes it session following their spring recess, nearly two dozen patients, families, caregivers and healthcare providers from across New York will gather in Albany to press for passage of a comprehensive medical marijuana bill known as the Compassionate Care Act.

April 28, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY