Thursday, April 30, 2009

He May be a Mother, but He Ain't MIne

Dear reader,

Last night I watched, incredulous, as the Supreme Nanny of the United States (SNOTUS) told me to cover my mouth when I sneeze. And to wash my hands often. This is my patriotic duty in the War Against Swine Flu, now in its preliminary skirmishes.

I didn't get all the details. My attention was focused on the lapdog press, who never smiled, grimaced, or showed any emotion other than canine devotion as Mother Obama lectured the entire American population on elementary hygiene. They were taking notes about this pablum, for the love of Cronkite. I waited in vain for the Green wit among them to ask if he advised we use (tree-destroying) paper tissues or (detergent-washed-water-polluting) washable cloth hankies. Alas, the Greens are silent when it comes to questioning a Black God. Or should I say Godess.

He also said he has requested a small sum in emergency funds to combat the growing pig flu threat. The number was so small by modern standards it didn't stick in my mind, but I think it was a trivial amount like ten billion dollars. Do the math... only about $30 per living American. (Only about an average month's bailout for the average fascist American corporation.) Who wouldn't spare a mere $30 to save a child's life, or prop up the child's father's failed company? Compassion demands it. Democracy commands it. Mother knows best. And FEMA will distribute the loot via ATM cards.

Today, Mother Obama cross-dressed and became the stern Father, informing us that Chrysler didn't make the cut and that's that, game's over, no more taxpayer handouts, we're down to the Big Two in Detroit. Except, wait a minute (as he ducks into a closet and changes back into drag), that's not really "fair" to all the union workers who've sacrificed so much to try to make the marriage work. We'll do a quick-and-easy bankruptcy with restructuring, after which the bond-holders will be fleeced and the UAW will own 55% of Chrysler. Lazy-Fair triumphs again!

Oh, but the new UAW owners don't have to go it alone. The Italian auto company, Fiat, will send in its best mechanics to FIX IT AGAIN TONY! Having once owned a Fiat Spider (the word means "speeder" in Italian, which is a joke because the 4-cylinder ragtop I owned was among the slowest of all my cars, which is saying something; and the mistaken assumption that it had traction and cornering like an arachnid is also laughable), I can tell you that its deal with Chrysler is typical, considering its management style. Fiat makes cars in about 4 different plants in Italy (one for the chassis, one for the engine, one for the transmission - you get the picture), then brings them to a fifth plant for final assembly, with predictable results for "fit and finish". And reliability. And resale value. What difference will one more country and ocean make, when you're delivering goods such as these?

In other words, Obama announced that the government just may bring back Chrysler from the crypt by giving majority ownership to the vampire union that sucked its blood for 50 years, transfusing fresh blood from the body politic, and turning over research, development, and sales to a guy named Guido. After this resurrection, the company will be renamed Christler.


Seriously, now...

Obama comes across as a pompous ass, typified by his constant uplifted jaw as he speaks down to the unwashed. He's clueless about economics, and his ignorance combined with virtually unchecked power and an extreme left-wing agenda is just a little frightening. If I had children I would be very afraid for them. Since I don't, I don't mind sticking my neck out a bit for yours.

Today's lesson has been about - what else? - the idiocy of government and the chaos it creates in the marketplace. In contrast, anarchy, which is often portrayed as the progenitor of chaos, promotes voluntary cooperation and the advancement of civilization. The moral is about growing up and resisting nannyism and authoritarianism, whether you are a citizen being lectured about hygiene or a CEO trying to defend his company. If we all just stand up and complain once in a while, things just might change for the better - towards anarchy.

Keep thinking about how we can solve problems without force. It's good for you mental health, good for your happiness, and good for everyone's future.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Review of "Hamilton's Curse" by Thomas DiLorenzo

"Hamilton's Curse" continues the welcome revisionist history tradition of the scholars of the Mises Institute and the Lew Rockwell circle. With this book, Prof. DiLorenzo goes back earlier in American history to expand on the thesis he presented in his two prior works on Abraham Lincoln ("The Real Lincoln" and "Lincoln Unmasked"), i.e. the lamentable victory of the empire-builders, strong central government advocates, and mercantilists of the Federalist Party tradition over the Jeffersonian limited-government faction. With this book, DiLorenzo convincingly buttresses his earlier argument that the Lincoln administration and the War Between the States dealt the fatal blow to States Rights, federalism, and for all intents and purposes, the American Constitution in its original conception.

The author uses direct quotations from Hamilton's hagriographers, as well as his detractors, to prove his case. All of them view Hamilton as the father of the type of government we have today, and all agree that Jefferson's vision effectively died with the defeat of the South and the States Rights doctrine. The disagreements between the two camps are many and profound, of course, as they are based on profound differences in political philosophy. The reader will bring his own prejudices to bear as to whether Hamiltonian America is the way the country should have gone, but an honest reader will not easily dismiss the evidence of political chicanery, double-dealing, and corruption at the highest levels of government that the Hamiltonians used to win their fight. True, politics ain't beanbag, but I will leave it up to the interested reader to judge whether the Hamiltonians were the good or bad guys. Tax and spend liberals and conservative imperialists will doubtless disagree with my answer.

If I have one criticism of this book, it's the final chapter's prescription on how to roll back the damage caused by the Hamiltonians. Prof. DiLorenzo is a minarchist and believes that if we repealed the 16th (income tax) and 17th (popular election of Senators) Amendments, abolished the Federal Reserve, restored the doctrine of States Rights, repealed all the laws that perverted the meaning of the Commerce Clause, and so on, we would be back to the Jeffersonian vision and, presumably, on the right track for good and all. I'm just a bit more cynical about the prospects for "good government", no matter what its size. I say, why not permantly castrate the central government and go all the way back to the Articles of Confederation - as a first step. After that, why not convene an Anarchy Convention to figure out how to eliminate the scourge of government from our lives and our country, forever.
But that's just me. What do you think?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

President Obama's Report Card

Dear Reader,

Although we don't ordinarily concern ourselves with statist politics here, it is useful, now and again, to examine the record of revered political executives, if only to remind ourselves of the utter folly of thinking one man can run something as complex as a nation, state, county, city, or even a small town. The reason anarchy works, and government doesn't, is that it allows people to cooperate peacefully and to each other's mutual benefit, with no violation of rights.

Barrack Obama is a phenomenon. Already he has achieved cult status among his followers, many of whom quite literally think he has supernatural powers. This being so, let us examine his record, brief though it is, and separate fantasy from fact.

Is it too soon to grade our new President? After all, he's only been in office one month - shouldn't we give him more time to show us what he's made of? Doesn't he deserve a little time to learn on the job?


In four short weeks, he has not only showed us everything we need to know, he and his Democrat comrades have taken actions that will have profound and lasting effects - almost all bad. And he has already reneged on a number of campaign promises. Perhaps the most telling of his broken promises is the one about transparency. Here's how DownsizeDC puts it:

* President Obama promised the most open, transparent administration in history. He pledged to not sign bills that hadn't been posted online for the public to read for at least five days BEFORE the final vote was cast.

* Speaker Nancy Pelosi, just a week ago, promised that the final version of the scam (stimulus) bill would be posted online for at least 48 hours before the vote. Here's what they did instead . . .

* The 1,073 page scam bill, with an extra 421 page Explanatory Statement, was delivered, still unfinished, at midnight Thursday.

* The House passed the bill 14 hours and 24 minutes later. * The Senate did likewise 3 hours and 5 minutes after the House.

So, for the promise of transparency, the Administration and the Democrats get the grade of F.

Okay, so what about his other promises? Does anyone remember them now, in the preoccupation with the economic calamity facing the entire world?

Fortunately, the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times has created a useful Obameter we can refer to. They identified more than 500 promises the Prez made on the campaign trail, and are keeping track of the ones kept, broken, compromised, and not acted upon. The vast majority are still in the last category (and ideally many will stay that way). Just reading through the list is as tedious as watching his last press conference was. His campaign was masterful at the usual political con of promising something for everyone. It's the stuff he eventually delivers on that should concern us.

He gets a grade of C, or maybe "incomplete", for the delayed release of prisoners from Gitmo. He gets a grade of F, so far, for not rescinding George W. Bush's executive orders that effectively killed Posse Comitatus and habeus corpus, allowed domestic spying on American citizens, and absolved corporations who were complicit in the spying. He also gets an F for not rescinding CIA policy that allows it to kidnap and ship suspected terrorists to foreign prisons were they will certainly be tortured.

He did meet with the military brass on day one of his administration, as promised, and "asked them" to come up with a plan for orderly withdrawal from Iraq. One thumb up for that, but this is in contrast to Ron Paul's plan, which was, quoting him approximately, "we marched right in there, and we can march right out". In the meantime, he fulfilled another promise to send two more brigades to Afghanistan, and his commanders there have continued using Predator drones to kill people inside of Pakistan. Two thumbs down. Weighted grade: D.

Otherwise, militarily speaking, he said he would rely more on intelligence, special forces, and light infantry, and less on heavy bombers, tanks, and all the other hugely expensive war machines the Pentagon loves so much. This is actually a good strategy going forward, a move in the right direction if the US is ever going to start cutting back its war budget. Ironically, however, weapons of war and their delivery systems constitute a very large part of what's left of America's manufacturing base; decimating this industry at this time will undoubtedly exacerbate the economic downturn. Let's give him an E for Effort.

But that would be far from the worst action he's taking that will deepen the depression. This is inevitable, considering that his economic advisors are all Keynesian (Larry Summers, Paul Krugman et al) and Chicago-school (Bernanke et al) retreads that believe deficit spending fuels a healthy economy, and massive deficit spending is necessary to cure a sick economy. In spite of their belief that economies run according to mathematical models, none of them can put two and two together when it comes to understanding the monetary cause of inflationary effect. Obama's reliance on many of the same ignorami of the Clinton, Bush, and even Reagan years who got us into this is nothing more than a blunt admission of economic ignorance, as well as admission that he hasn't a clue what to do about it.

So he reads the history books written by the court historians of the nation's demigods, Lincoln and Wilson and FDR, seeking wisdom from the dead white guys who were in reality our worst failed leaders. One can imagine him sitting in on one of Hillary's seances, hoping to channel Franklin as well as Eleanor. If only he could; maybe FDR would finally fess up to how little he understood about economics, how the New Deal was a hodgepodge of programs inspired by European fascists, and how utterly it failed to end the first Great Depression.

Alas, it cannot be. Obama will try everything in the FDR playbook, including infrastructure boondoggles, make-work schemes for "green" technology, carbon taxes, soak the rich taxes, price and wage controls, and all the rest, in addition to the untold trillions poured into the "rescue" of failed banks, auto companies, brokerage firms, and millions of homeowners who should never have bought a house in the first place. And when the number of dollars printed, borrowed, or stolen reaches a critical mass, they will fall headlong into worthlessness, and the empire of the USA will no longer exist.

Poor Barrack. And poor black people who look at him with the adoration they once reserved for Father Abraham. I really do feel sorry for them. It's a cruel twist of fate that he will likely preside over America's descent into Third World status, and very little of it is really his fault. But maybe not.... maybe he'll be persuaded to reverse course before it's too late. If so, maybe I will believe in miracles.

So, for the most important grade of all: F on the economy.

He needs remedial education, and he needs it fast. I therefore am offering him free lessons here at the Anarchy School, and advise him to avail himself of all the free resources at for an emergency schooling in Austrian economics. At the conclusion of his schooling I fully expect him to abdicate the throne and let Americans be free. He is, after all, an extremely bright man.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is panarchy compatible with anarchy?

Dear Reader,

One of my favorite libertarian intellectuals is the retired professor of finance Michael Rozeff, who is a fellow devotee of Austrian economics and a prolific writer featured many times on the Lew Rockwell website and blog. Recently he published a couple of articles on the concept of panarchy, which I would briefly describe as a political philosophy that advocates complete freedom to choose one's form of government. As I understand it, this is not meant to be antagonistic to anarchy, or any form of government, but I have doubts. I invite you to read his thought-provoking article and then my response, below.

Prof. Rozeff,

As an anarchist (aka voluntarist, aka anarcho-capitalist, aka free market anarchist) I'm having some trouble understanding how panarchism could be compatible with my choice of self-governance.

I submit that we already live in an essentially panarchist world, with real choices (in the past or present but nonetheless in the realm of reality) to live in states that are or were minarchist, monarchist, republican, democratic, socialist, fascist, communist, and all shades in between. Although it's not always possible for people to freely choose which type of government they prefer and then actually move to a locale where such a government rules, it could and did happen even in such times as the Cold War.

The one option that has always been unavailable to every citizen, at least since the rise of the modern state, is any form of anarchism in any living situation not involving a cave. The reason is obvious to me: all forms of statism are based on a lesser or greater degree of coercion, which is not only antithetical to anarchism but incapable of competing with it in a free market of political ideas. Anarchism and statism are diametrically opposed; they simply can't coexist.

Therefore, when an anarchist advocates the end of the state, he/she is merely doing so in the interest of survival. It doesn't mean that the anarchist will try to forcibly overthrow the state; if he/she is a libertarian, that option is absolutely proscribed by the libertarian credo. But the state will always deny and destroy any organized attempt to form an anarchic society - I know of no exceptions to this rule.

The future may yet present us with the possibility of building a stateless society out of reach of the vast statist majority, of course, but until then, please tell me how you think anarchism can coexist with statism in our world.

Thank you for your time and courtesy,
Glen Litsinger

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A reluctant Valentine to Ron Paul and supporters

Dear Reader,

Today I received an email from an old friend who stuck by me when I announced my support for Ron Paul in last year's presidential race, when a lot of our mutual friends derided Paul supporters as whackos, racists, or pinko pacifists, depending on which partisan school of corruption they were educated in. He included a post he had put up on a Ron Pual site about his analysis of Republican chances going forward, whether or not Dr. Paul runs again for President. My friend doesn't know that I've given up on the concept of minimal states kept small by constitutions, let alone political parties and representative government. This is a problem anarchists run into all the time; we don't wish to offend those who are fighting the good fight for minarchism, we just don't believe that it can work.

Here's my reply:

Not sure how to answer this. I love Ron Paul and would be proud to have him, or anyone like him, as President. But the truth is I gave up on democracy and the American electoral process several years ago. I supported Dr. Paul and donated lots of money to him last year, but it was all in the hope of educating the masses.

I do like [Bobby] Jindal and [Sarah] Palin and the governor of SC (or is it NC?), they're definitely better than most. But that ain't saying much. Baltimore's own H.L. Mencken said it best - "an election is like an advanced auction on stolen goods", where the bidders are the special interests that control both major parties. I had high hopes when the GOP finally wrested control from the Democrats in 2000-2004, but they turned out to be big government crooks every bit as reprehensible as the Democrats, not the limited government heroes they pretended to be. When the final history is written, they will share the burden of guilt as the destroyers of America. Ron Paul was the shining exception.

In my view, the ultimate solution, if you believe in freedom and justice, is to have no government at all, except for the government that should be universal: self-government. Everyone free, so long as they don't impinge on the freedoms of anyone else, and as long as they take responsibility for their own actions. This is the definition of civilization; government is what you get when civilization fails.

That's a simple explanation of my political philosophy, anyway.

Personally, I hope that Ron, or perhaps his son, Rand, or some other honest man or woman continues to carry the banner of Constitutionally-limited government. I would love to see a return to the breathtaking freedom that the early Americans enjoyed - minus the slavery and second-class citizenship for women, Indians, and other groups, of course. If nothing else, it gives my heart joy to see Dr. Paul speaking truth to power when he confronts the Treasury secretary or the Federal Reserve chairman about economic policy. In his speeches and letters he gives every lover of liberty the intellectual ammunition to fight the steady encroachment on our freedoms. That's far more than any other contemporary politician gives us.

Thank you, Dr. Paul, and all the best to Carol and your extended family. And thank you, too, to all the people who rallied to the cause in this last election. You are the heroes of the 2nd American Revolution, the one that will eventually lead to the dismantling of the statist tyranny.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Against Monopoly Police Power

Dear reader,

Today I was inspired to write about one of my pet peeves, the growing militarization and fascist nature of government police in the USA, by an article blogged by Dylan Hales and published in the Lew Rockwell website. The article is called "Elect the Cops", a proposal to make all law enforcement positions elected offices. The idea is to bring police work back in harmony with the population by having them elected by their peers; this is hoped to reduce the alarming amount of police brutality and the resulting fear and resentment incurred by the citizens.

Apart from the logistics problem of having hundreds more names on the ballot, I would venture that few would go into a career in police work if their employment was not guaranteed beyond the next election cycle. But even if those impracticalities were surmounted, we here at the Anarchy School have stronger reasons to oppose the idea.

Here is my email reply to Mr. Hales.


Dear Mr. Hales,

While your idea is interesting, I would invite you to consider an even better solution: free-market police services. The problem with bad policing is essentially the same problem seen with all government-supplied services, i.e. monopolies never serve anyone but the monopoly-holder very well. While you may argue that elections would instill an element of competition into police work, you only need to look at the near-identicality of the major political parties to see that this is a chimera.

Most people immediately object to the idea of competing private police agencies on the grounds that government should have a monopoly on police power, that it should have the power to trump any private criminal gang, for example. But competing private police agencies do, in fact, exist, e.g. mall cops and gated community guards; and malls and gated communities suffer far less crime than business districts and neighborhoods that share the government roads. Since the private police agencies have a vested interest in keeping their customers happy, they virtually never employ insult and intimidation, let alone brutality, against anyone. Instead, their presence ensures the peace and security of their customers, exactly what the concept of "peace officer" was originally intended to do.

So, in a free market, instead of the citizens having taxes forcibly taken from them for a "service" that they often fear and resent, each citizen could decide exactly how much protection is needed for him/herself and family, and shop for that level of protection among numerous competing firms, very much like you and I shop for insurance now. Many younger people might decide they need no special protection (especially if the right to carry firearms was universally honored). They would then be free to spend their hard-earned money on something they need or want more.

Another common objection is the belief that competition in law enforcement would inevitably devolve into mini-wars, much like the Mafia and ghetto gang-banger wars, with the strongest eventially winning out and setting up a monopoly anyway. But that argument falls apart when we remember that illicit gangs exist primarily to supply goods and services that the biggest gang - the government - has forbidden to the people who want them. Prohibitionism creates the black markets which draw in the most ruthless of the private criminal class, an unlikely event without government interference in the market.

Thus, I contend that fully privatizing police services would be far superior to electing police officers, which does nothing to address the root cause of the problem, which is monopoly government itself. It might even make matters worse; wouldn't it be possible, if not probable, that the majority of citizens would vote for the most ruthless cops in some neighborhoods, or the most corrupt cops in others? In those cases, the minority would be unable to opt out, short of moving, an option that is often unavailable to our poorest citizens.


Glen Litsinger


Now, that was the short version of an argument that has been fully articulated by Murray Rothbard and many others in the anarcho-capitalist literature. I think we can safely say the following:

Free market anarchism answers one of the hardest questions in political philosophy: Who polices the police? The answer is: The Market does.

We'll be developing more on this line of thinking as time goes on. In the meantime, I invite my readers to comment, question, and debate the issue.

Glen Litsinger

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Back to Reality

Dear Reader,

The previous two blog entries laid out an alternative history version of America, and a partial vision of what life would be like if that history was true. Unfortunately, it's fantasy. Equally unfortunately, most Americans believe in a fantasy created by their government, in which they are free, justice prevails domestically, they are the destroyers of tyrants and liberators of their subjects, and free market capitalism is the economic system. Above all they believe in and trust their government to keep them secure from terrorism and foreign enemies, and to right economic wrongs and lead the way to prosperity.

We will examine each of these beliefs in due time, but first I want to concentrate on the last belief, given that the economy is in recession, and the proposed solutions of the new president's team are making daily headlines.

We seek to expose the truth about government here at the Anarchy School. We believe that the US government, in concert with the quasi-private Federal Reserve banking system, creates the business cycles that have rocked our economy for the last 96 years (since the creation of the Fed in 1913) -- the artificial boom times, or bubbles, and the resulting busts, or recessions and depressions. And we think that we're now experiencing the effects of the bursting of the mother of all bubbles, the credit market bubble, created by the policies of former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and exacerbated by the malinvestments and fraudulent activities spawned by the too-easy credit market he deliberately engineered.

Although we're bombarded daily with bad economic news - hundreds of thousands of jobs lost each month, the American car industry and banking system on government life support, the demise of huge investment banking firms, and so on - it's painfully obvious that many Americans are oblivious to the magnitude of the crisis, and have blind faith in a new administration to turn the economy around. In their blindness they can't see that President Obama is pursuing exactly the same economic policies that George Bush did, with an added dose of real socialism to make things even worse. For those dear readers who are familiar with financial charts and terminology, I recommend this article by Jim Quinn for a good rundown of just how bad things are, as well as a bold prediction on where we are headed:

In layman's terms, we're screwed.

Now... today's task for the aspiring anarchist is to begin to learn exactly how the federal government got us into this pickle, why an anarchistic society would have avoided it, and how to apply those lessons in leading the country back to sanity and prosperity. For if we don't do it, no one will. In that sense, this lesson is "for the children"... the future generations that we will save from tyranny, or who will be lost to it.

We do not have the expertise to teach economics here at the Anarchy School; all we can do is steer you in the right direction, but then you can definitely educate yourself. What we can, and will teach, are the reasons we have come to our conclusions about who the best teachers are.

Those teachers belong to what is known as the Austrian school of economics. Their work and line of reasoning sprang from the earlier Classical free-market economists, which was improved, refined and developed by one of the great minds of the 20th Century, Ludwig von Mises. This is an oversimplified history, as there were many other luminaries in the Austrian tradition, including Nobel laureate F.A. Hayek, and Murray Rothbard, and many more that the interested reader can learn about at the Ludwig von Mises Institute website,

Now, I assume that many of my readers are very familiar with the site and the writings of the many Austrian economists (and their compatriots in other academic fields) that toil daily for the Mises Institute. Many of you are also familiar with the Lew Rockwell website,; Lew Rockwell is the founder of the Mises Institute, and perhaps the world's leading living exponent of free-market anarchism, aka anarcho-capitalism. His writings and website articles, contributed by hundreds of libertarian thinkers (many of whom still believe the American miminal state can be revived, sadly) have given me the inspiration and intellectual ammo I needed to create this blog, and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude. I only hope I can do their ideas justice here, at the Anarchy School, and inspire others to join us.

But, I digress. The salient point about the Austrian school is that it's perfectly suited to anarchism; it is inherently anti-state in that it rejects government interference in all economic affairs, and in fact blames government for the business cycle. It also is the only school that advocates a return to the gold standard, and goes further to advocate 100% reserve requirements for demand deposits (banking terminology which we can explore in depth in a later post). Such a gold standard would go a long way to limiting the power of today's governments to go to war and would practically eliminate their power to inflate economic bubbles. The Austrian school also would eliminate central banks, such as our own Federal Reserve.

The major competing economic schools today are Keynesianism and Chicago school monetarism, both of which not only consider central banks to be legitimate, but also rely on them to make their economic programs "work". Both of these schools long ago rejected the gold standard, and both consider controlled inflation to be the prime function of the central banks, as a way to achieve lasting prosperity.

As Exhibit A in our argument in favor of the Austrian school, we invite the interested student to consider its predictive powers. Mises was perhaps the only leading economist of his day to predict the stock market crash prior to 1929 and the subsequent Depression. He published work on socialism that clearly exposed its fallacies, and why it can't possibly work as an economic system (for this he was vilified and ostracized from the economic academy, only to be vindicated - 26 years after his death - when the Iron Curtain fell in 1989 and communism was consigned to the dustbin of history). More recently, Austrian-trained financial experts such as Gary North and Peter Schiff correctly predicted the 90's stock market and the '02-'07 credit market bubble/crash cycles.

Exhibit B is, of course, the destructive record of the competing schools, and the fact of their obvious collusion with government and their fat-cat friends on Wall Street. Witness the revolving employment door between the government, Goldman Sachs, and the Federal Reserve. Their bailouts of huge banks, insurance companies, and investment firms, at taxpayer expense as well as the expense of sound businesses, were sanctioned by both the Keynesian and, though to a somewhat lesser extent, the Chicago school economists. The government is simply trying to reinflate the most gigantic bubble of all time, and in due time they will find that what the Austrians are saying is true - that the longer the inevitable collapse is delayed, the harder the crash will be. It may be decades before the US economy recovers, if ever.

Here at the Anarchy School we will prepare for the worst, and be ready to lead our countrymen back to a sound economy, when they are ready.

Until the next time,

Good night.