Saturday, September 29, 2007

Intellectual Giant

Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism
by Jorg Guido Hulsmann

The Ludwig von Mises Institute has just published a "magisterial book for today and the ages, one that inspires awe for both the subject and the author who accomplished the seemingly impossible: a sweeping intellectual biography, constructed from original sources, of the 20th century's most astonishing dissident intellectual. It has the apparatus of a great scholarly work but the drama of a classic novel."

This book is available from You can read the preface to the book at the von Mises website.


Author Jörg Guido Hülsmann discussing the life of Ludwig von Mises and sharing excerpts from his master treatise on Mises's life and work.

Liberty and Economics: Mises was the twentieth century's foremost economist, and one of its most important champions of Liberty.

Reason Magazine Senior Editor Brian Doherty discusses his book "Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement." April 15, 2007, Cody's Book Store, Berkeley, CA.


Human Action by Ludwig von Mises, 1949.

"Life of a Hero" by Warren Gibson, Liberty Magazine, March 2008.


"Mises and Austrian Economics: A Personal View" by Ron Paul. Full text online:

Friday, September 28, 2007

Is Corporatism Capitalist?

Gordon Smith: "The media is not 'to the left.' It's pushing a corporatist agenda which values consumption and political apathy."

Bobby Coggins: "It's called Capitalism, and far superior to any other economic engine ever tried. Capitalism is the ultimate meritocracy, where a fool and his/her money are soon parted, and all benefit by a rising tide of success."

Gordon Smith: "You agree then that the media is corporatist?"

Just for clarification...

Corporatism is not a form of capitalism. Capitalism, particularly 'laissez faire' capitalism, is the social system of freedom based on the recognition of individual rights; whereas corporatism seeks protections administered by the government; which is a mischievous circumvention of individual rights. Individual freedom and government interference in the marketplace are antithetical.

Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries.” -Ayn Rand, "For the New Intellectual"

Corporatism is, rather, a modern form of fascism; where the special interests of corporations influence and guide the content and direction of government. This is not government of the people, but government in contradistinction to the interests and liberties of the people.

What is corporatism? In a (somewhat inaccurate) phrase: Socialism for the bourgeois. It has the outward form of capitalism in that it preserves private ownership and private management, but with a crucial difference: as under socialism, government guarantees the flow of material goods, which under true capitalism it does not. In classical capitalism, what has been called the "night-watchman" state, government's role in the economy is simply to prevent force or fraud from disrupting the autonomous operation of the free market. The market is trusted to provide. Under corporatism, it is not, instead being systematically manipulated to deliver goods to political constituencies. This now includes basically everyone from the economic elite to ordinary consumers. -Robert Locke, "What is American Corporatism?"

Corporations, on the other hand, are legitimate entities that inherit rights from their members, but which do not properly possess rights themselves. Corporations are granted legal authorities by the government that replicate the natural rights of the individual.

It is individuals, not corporations, that have a right to exist and freely assemble.

Individuals, not corporations, have the right to contract.

Individuals, not corporations, have a right to property.

Individuals, not corporations, are protected by the Constitution/Bill of Rights.

A corporation has no rights apart from those of the individuals that comprise them.

A corporation is a union of individual human beings in a voluntary, cooperative endeavor. It exemplifies the principle of free association. Any attributes which corporations have are attributes (or rights) which individuals have. A corporation has no mystical attributes, no attributes that do not go back to the rights of individuals, including the right of free association.

In a free society, the "rights" of any group are derived from the rights of its members through their voluntary, individual choice and contractual agreement, and are merely the application of these individual rights to a specific undertaking. Every legitimate (non-criminal) group undertaking is based on the participants' rights of free association and free trade.


"What is American Corporatism?" By Robert Locke, Front Page Magazine, September 13, 2002.

"The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire" by Andrew Bernstein, University Press of America, 2005).

"Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics" by George Reisman, Jameson Books, 1998.

at Yahoo Groups.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

School Choice

Political progressives support government-run public schooling despite its enormous failures of waste, fraud and abuse. Political conservatives support fully dismantling public schooling in favor of private and home-school options.

Both the liberal and the conservative solutions to the American education crisis seek to tell other people what they can and cannot do; that is, to prescribe and limit choices. They offer either government-run monopoly and union control or abrupt abandonment to the free market and busy, overworked (and even indifferent, psychotic or religionist) parents.

One the one hand, you have coercive and unaccountable institutions based on the model of socialism -- which is unsustainable. On the other, you throw parents back on their own resources to find, fund and monitor appropriate alternatives -- easy for the rich, very hard for the poor.

The libertarian solution is to offer parents more choices, not force them into fewer; that is, to maximize liberty. School choice, or vouchers, is an idea long-championed by libertarian economist Milton Friedman (1912–2006):

"For many years [Friedman] argued that parents should be given more choice in how and where their children are schooled. The government, he said, should not spend money on their behalf, but should give them vouchers that they could spend on the education they thought best. Competition between schools would do more than any amount of bureaucratic direction to raise the often woeful standards of American primary and secondary education. This newspaper has long subscribed wholeheartedly to the idea of school vouchers. They are making headway, but too slowly, blocked by the teachers' unions (when did state-protected producers ever embrace competition?) and sometimes in court." -- The Economist

Vouchers allow parents to choose whether they send their children to public schools, private schools or home schools -- or possibly, some hybrid.

It creates and promotes the natural and beneficial condition of competition in the educational marketplace. Institutions and practices that perform well and excel will be rewarded by patronage. Both public and private institution would be compelled to raise their standards and cater to the market and a wider variety of superior schooling options would become available. This is good for parents and this is good for children.

When it comes to giving our children quality education, failure is not an option.

"School vouchers, or government-funded tuition payments, direct money that would otherwise have funded a public school education to a school that the student's family has chosen, whether private or parochial."

"Voucher programs serve a range of individuals. Some programs, such as those in Milwaukee and Cleveland, give priority to students from low-income families. Florida offers vouchers to special education students and to those who attend failing public schools. In Vermont and Maine, towns that don't have high schools provide vouchers to their residents."

"Like tax credits, vouchers promote competition among schools, improving performance. They encourage the creation of new private schools that cater to voucher recipients. Public schools also respond positively to increased competition from private schools by trimming bureaucracy, improving programs, and strengthening curricula."

"Voucher programs make schools, whether public or private, accountable to parents. When families have the power to remove children from schools that aren't working, administrators and teachers, at risk of losing their clients, must strive to provide the best educational experience for each child. This is a higher standard of accountability than public schools have to meet under the current system." -- Cato Institute


Education and Child Policy, Cato Institute

Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Talk Radio

I compose political and philosophical commentary for posting to mailing lists and web bulletin boards. I have a 90-minute live political and current affairs talk show on television every week. And I give public comment at government meetings. But every now and then I like to hear someone else talk.

Here's a round-up of my favorite talk radio programs. It's all I need.

Dennis Miller
Weekdays 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM (Eastern)
"Part libertarian, Objectivist, and conservative."

Tammy Bruce
Talk Radio Network
Weekdays 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM (Eastern)
"A chick with a gun and a microphone."

Neal Boortz
WSB 750-AM (Atlanta)
Weekdays 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM (Eastern)
"High priest of the painful truth."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sick in America

"Whose Body Is It, Anyway?! Sick in America"

by John Stossel
ABC News "20/20"
Aired Sept. 14, 2007, 10 p.m. EDT


Six-part video:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6


"American Health Care in Critical Condition: The Case for Putting Individuals, Not Employers or Government, in Control of Health Care" By John Stossel and Andrew Sullivan, Sep 11, 2007.

"What Hunger Insurance Could Teach Us About Health Insurance" by Joseph Bast, Foundation for Economic Education, Nov 1993.

"Cuba Has Better Health Care than the United States?" by John Stossel, Sept 12, 2007.

"Socialized Medicine Is Broken and Can't Be Fixed" by John Stossel, Sept 19, 2007.

"Our Crazy Health-Insurance System" by John Stossel, Sept 25, 2007.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Asheville Bloggers Q&A

The Mountain Xpress recently asked local bloggers a series of questions for their upcoming local bloggers article. Here are their questions and my answers:

Q. How useful do you find the city and county government sites for information?

I find the newly revamped City of Asheville website to be very useful. It is simple, elegant and easy to use. It contains a wealth of information that is well-organized. And they now have archived video of council meetings; so, I can easily review portions of meetings without waiting for reruns on TV or getting clarification second-hand.

However, I would like to have access to committee meeting cancellation notices. Right now you have to sign up for an email distribution list, which is clumsy, inefficient and exclusive.

The county website needs work. It looks and feels old. Still, it is a valuable resource especially for meeting agendas and background documentation.

Q. How has technology changed the playing field when it comes to local news and covering local government (esp. YouTube and podcasts)?

Technology has made an enormous change in the circulation of news and information. I can announce an event or meeting on a mailing list, research the issues from local or worldwide sources, get feedback from others in the community who are knowledgeable, experienced or just opinionated, send questions or concerns to participants in advance, attend the meeting armed with notes compiled from emails, bloggers, and online media sources, film or photograph the event, place the pictures or film on the web when I get home (YouTube or BubbleShare), and then distribute notes, links, pictures and film to the community through emails, my blog or other blogs for their reaction. In this way, you can end up with a fairly full public record of activities all distributed before bedtime.

This is highly effective in keeping the community involved in and informed about hot issues while they're still hot. And the web helps keep important issues alive by providing documentation that persists beyond the immediate moment.

Q. What effects have blogs had on local government?

Blogs are not just disembodied web diaries. Blogs are maintained by people. Often, people who are more or less involved in local activities and political groups and have a stake in political and community outcomes. If local government is interested in what their constituents are thinking, doing and saying then they need to be listening to the bloggers. Often it is the bloggers and web-connected who are the touchstone for distributed and networked observation, research, and analysis and who have their fingers on the pulse of the community and make their outputs generally available in a common cyberspace.

Q. As a blogger who frequently covers local issues, what are the challenges you face?

I sometimes have too many things I could or should be doing and not enough time. In this case, another advantage of the web-connected community is that we can each cover material that others cannot and then report back in a reciprocal fashion. In this way, we unintentionally build up a considerable, transitory and developing body of knowledge that has a persisting substance we can reference, examine and appreciate over time.

Q. What do you gain from blogging?

What I get from blogging is the satisfaction of knowing that I always have a dependable and consistent means of self-expression. It's like having my own personal newspaper. I can take my knowledge, experiences and analysis and compose opinion pieces of whatever length is required and publish my product to the world on my own schedule.

Q. What do others gain?

I don't know what others gain from my blogging. I don't maintain a weblog for the gain of others. I have eliminated interactivity and it is simply an unmolested record of my thought.

First of all, although most weblogs allow comments, mine does not. It's the one place in cyberspace where I don't have to listen to the noise and cross-talk. Mine is not "the people's blog;" it is my blog and I don't like comments on my blog. I don't allow comments on my weblog because I don't have to. They are usually tedious, spurious or fallacious criticisms that have to be monitored, countered, and sometimes deleted for vulgar insults or personal attacks. I don't have time for it. I manage three newsgroups myself and participate in many online forums and mailing lists and I get my fill of stupid comments there. My weblog is the one place where I can express my opinion without having to field inane, anonymous drive-by comments from boobs who think they know something. Short answer: I don't have the time for it. Keep your comments to yourself. Start your own blog.

Secondly, I don't keep counters or any other statistics either. I am gloriously oblivious to how many hits my weblog has or where visitors came from. Don't know, don't care. If you like what's on my weblog, read it. If not, go away.

Also, I do not keep a blogroll; that is, links to other favorite weblogs.

I've been blogging for over seven years and I used to have a blog that had every possible feature that a blog could have. I have decided now to choose minimalism as my theme. It works for me.

Q. How does A'ville's small size affect your blog's personality?

There is no aspect of my possible audience that influences my blog's personality. I base my blog's personality on the image I choose to display. However, the size and character of Asheville does influence the content of my weblog. I sometimes comment on or cover activities that take place here and that is certainly a factor in the composition of my blog.

Q. Why keep at it?

I keep blogging because it keeps my thinking and writing skills sharp. I love language and the drama of human affairs and blogging helps me express my appreciation of both.

Q. What surprises have you encountered?

I'm surprised any time I learn that someone has read my blog.

Q. What do you consider the central theme to your blog?

The general theme of my weblog is me. My thoughts, my interests, my whimsy. It contains commentary or announcements that are meaningful to me and that I consider worthy of publishing. Quite often that content is political in nature. So, the central theme, I guess, is my political thought; particularly, libertarian political thought. (P.S. That is not capital-L Libertarian.)

Q. What sort of traffic do you get?

I don't know. I don't keep web traffic statistics.


"Digital citizenship: E-gov reshapes civic life" by David Forbes, Mountain Xpress, September 19, 2007.

"Blog wild: Local bloggers stir the virtual pot" by Brian Postelle, Mountain Xpress, September 19, 2007.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Faith-Based Foreign Policy


Which utterly confused, marble-mouthed war-mongering religionist world leader managed to utter the following intellectual gem yesterday?

"I believe in what God says. God says that those who walk in the path of righteousness will be victorious. What reason can you have for believing God will not keep this promise."

o    U.S. President Bush

o    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

--> Answer


Religion and Relativism: The Axis of Evil by Craig Biddle, Objectve Standard, September 23, 2007.

50 Bush Quotes on Religion


Let the Bodies Hit the Floor