A response to the “Awful Austrians” article

In response to: http://lesswrong.com/lw/ar/awful_austrians/

When someone wants to demonize someone or some group, a common tactic is to immediately start out with insults and opinions.  This is a tactic known as “poisoning the well”.  Intellectually honest people present data and counter arguments, then let the reader decide based upon the points provided.


Why is theism such an ever-present example of irrationality in this community? I think ciphergoth overstates the case. Even theism is not completely immune to evidence, as the acceptance of, say, evolution by so many denominations over time will testify. Theism is a useful whipping boy because it needs no introduction.

To start off with, the writer assumes that the reader is in agreement with him or her.  Such statements might be okay in a conversation where the people know each other, but in public, it is considered presumptuous.  How does anyone actually know that there is in fact, a great deal of theism in the aforementioned community?  For all the reader knows, it may very well be that the reader is less rational than those he is talking about when the writer does not provide examples or evidence.  A reader might conclude that the writer has an axe to grind, attempting to demonize a group even before debunking the common arguments clearly used by that group.


But I think the case is overstated for another reason. There are terrible epistemologies out there that are just as bad as theism’s. Allow me to tell you a tale, of how I gave up my religion and my association with a school of economics at the same time.

Another example of providing the conclusion prior to showing evidence to support said conclusion.  The evidence provided is what makes arguments valid, not opinions spat out by some random stranger that almost no one has any background information on.  This section here is clearly trying to further poison the well.


For the next few paragraphs, the writer goes on about his own negative experiences with Christianity.  As a formerly religious person myself, I do sympathize.  However, I see no mention of anything related to Austrian economics, save for implied parallels, so I will skip over these paragraphs.  I will say that the downsides of irrationality are mentioned, which I do agree with.  But it seems clear that the writer is trying to set up the reader to lump Austrian economics in with this religious type thinking he presented.


I will continue with the next point I consider worth addressing:

– I admire Hayek for his work on knowledge and institutions, and Mises for the economic calculation argument.

– But the first section on epistemology in Mises’ magnum opus, Human Action, is probably the best example of Dark Side Epistemology I have yet seen outside of religious apologetics or standard woo-woo. 

These 2 sentences when placed together are fairly contradictory if one understands the explanations that Mises used to explain the economic calculation argument:

In my amateur phrasing, it boils down to firstly, that personal desires and willingness to spend money are arbitrary and subjective.  It is therefore impossible for a central planning authority to possibly keep up with the subjective desires of millions or billions of people.  I agree that this makes sense.

The writer’s second sentence on the other hand insults his methodology without even any sort of explanation provided yet.  If I found disagreement with any sort of methodology, I would try to present it as humbly as possible.  I might have said something like “But I feel like his section on epistemology is less well argued for reasons 1, 2, x, 8, 199, etc.”  No such humility is present here.

Since this is not really my specialty I will try to let you be the judge from the horse’s mouth:

However, I will say that my current best understanding of the epistomology of Mises relies more on theory rather than emperical fact recording.  I consider this valid, because this is a common approach in the physical sciences.  For example, when there attempts at weather predictions, as with so many other things, the future is hard to accurately predict. But knowledge of past events, data recordings, computer calculations plus various theories are what are used to predict future weather.  Even with the many millions of dollars of equipment used by the National weather service and the Weather Channel, they still do come up with occasional miscalculations.  For example, the weather channel might say that some day in a particular town may have a high of 40 degrees fahrenheit when in fact it only reached an actual high of 35 degrees.  This is with the best available data analysis and recording equipment available.

I think it makes sense that humans are infinitely more complex than clouds of water vapor, fairly consistent solar radiation, water currents, volcanic events, migrations, etc. , even if you were to put all those things together.


(Quoting from Mises)No laboratory experiments can be performed with regard to human action. We are never in a position to observe the change in one element only, all other conditions of the event remaining unchanged. . . The information conveyed by historical experience cannot be used as building material for the construction of theories and the prediction of future events. . . Neither experimental verification nor experimental falsification of a general proposition is possible in its field. (p. 31)


(The article writer) Well, ok. So how does economics tell us anything at all? 


Clearly, the implication here is that because some economists (especially austrians) do not always hyper analyze statistical economic data like the economists of the federal reserve and prefer to rely more on theory that they should therefore be dismissed.  But statisticians also sometimes work more with theory than gathered empirical data, yet they are hired by various organizations in both the public sector and private sector to help predict things like the probability of a rocket launch failure.

I think that hyper analyzing of data of things like purchases of music or clothing is only so useful when theory is not in use.  There are so many historical events and fashion trends that have no relevant precedent.  The weather, or systematic rocket builds, by contrast are extremely predictable and are often repeatable.  Human trends are not, especially not without general over arching theories explaining that preferences are random and fickle.


(Quoting from Mises) “Praxeology is a theoretical and systematic, not a historical, science. . . It aims at knowledge valid for all instances in which the conditions exactly correspond to those implied in its assumptions and inferences. Its statements and propositions are not derived from experience. They are, like those of logic and mathematics, a priori. They are not subject to verification or falsification on the ground of experience and facts. They are both logically and temporally antecedent to any comprehension of historical facts. (p. 31)”


(The article writer) In other words, the assumptions built into economics (which is a subset of praxeology)–people have preferences, are selfish (in the tautological sense–even altruist acts are self-serving to Mises), and they take rational action to satisfy those preferences–are unquestionable, ultimate givens.  No evidence could ever confirm or disconfirm the predictions of economics, because it is an a priori science, just like math or logic. It is deductive–it starts from some assumptions, and its case rests on those assumptions alone, not on any evidence. 


If one thinks about it, at any given time, a person is doing what they prefer to do over the alternatives and with the given limitations of physical reality.  If you eat chocolate ice cream, you are preferring to eat that over some other nearby and relatively convenient to get desserts.  The person here also prefers to eat that chocolate ice cream over the alternatives of having no dessert, or doing something like do work, play a game, watch tv, get into facebook debates, go to the bathroom, etc.

I don’t think anyone would debate that this person would be fulfilling their own self interests here.

Where it gets a bit more tricky is when someone does something for someone else.  Let us say you want to buy something for a friend or relative.  Let us also assume that you care about this friend or relative.  The action of doing something for this person can be argued to be a form of self gratification, especially if there will be reciprocity soon after.  Everyone knows why lots of guys are willing to spend money on a date for a girl on a date, for example (non relative, both over age of puberty and the guy is either dating her or single and looking).  An example like this is a clear example of benefiting someone else for reciprocal reasons.

Where it is even more tricky is when someone helps someone else when there are no clear reciprocal benefits in the near future.  Suppose, for example, your car breaks down and someone gives you a ride to either your house or where there is a tow truck, then drives off right after dropping you off.  Or when someone hands you a quarter when you have not quite enough money to buy something, setting you at the right amount.

Everyone would agree that there are no immediate self serving benefits there.  But, I think it could be argued that the person providing the free ride to the stranded person values people in general to some degree.  They do not like to see others suffer.  Or they just want to make the world as good of a place as possible.  I would argue that in this sense, they are fulfilling their own desires as well as those whom they are helping.


On page 103, he claims out that any sign of preference reversals can never be considered irrationality, because preferences cannot be considered stable, even across spans of a few seconds. If your by-the-second preference changing leads you to be pumped for money, so be it. You’re still by assumption a rational actor, satisfying his desires.


People often arbitrarily make quick changes for preferences in real life.  Suppose someone chooses chocolate, but then remembered that they chose that yesterday, and do not want to be stuck with doing the same thing over and over again.  Is that irrational?  Irrationality means going directly against rationality, in regards to objective, as opposed to subjective issues.   Yes, there are times where there is an overlap, but I have yet to be convinced.  The example the writer provides here: http://lesswrong.com/lw/my/the_allais_paradox/ also only seems to demonstrate that there are implied choices that were presented in that link that the author would prefer, the alternatives being irrational.  Some people value safe bets over big payoffs.  Others are just the opposite.  The examples presented are a series of preferences, more complex versions of chocolate vs. vanilla flavoring.


Now he begins to go into guilt by association territory by attempting to compare his writings to the bible.

To really solidify the feeling that Mises’ predictions about economics are comparable to the Bible’s predictions about how the world works, consider the following. As I mentioned, Mises defines self-interest tautologically:


(Quoting from Mises) “Praxeology is indifferent to the ultimate goals of action. Its findings are valid for all kinds of action irrespective of the ends aimed at. It is a science of means, not of ends. It applies the term happiness in a purely formal sense. In the praxeological terminology the proposition: man’s unique aim is to attain happiness, is tautological. It does not imply any statement about the state of affairs from which man expects happiness. (p. 15)”


However, Mises specifically predicts economic outcomes based on self-interest as, well, actual self-interest. For instance, on page 763, he proclaims that price controls will lead to rationing by non-price means. But this is only true if the provider of the good in question is attempting to maximize profit; if the producer is willing to take a hit in the wallet out of the goodness of his heart for his customers’ well-being, as Mises’ tautological definition of self-interest allows, a small price ceiling could conceivably have no effect.

First, to claim a theory or writing that you disagree with to be as shallow and weak in intellectual quality as a 2000 year old book is rude, insulting and unprofessional.  Just imagine if scientists had treated each other in this hostile, aggressive manner.  Theories and ideas are correct or incorrect.  There was not even any sort of reasoning provided in this article as to WHY and in what manner the writings of Mises are like those of the 2000 year old goat herders.

Second, this critique of Mises regarding price controls is false, because price controls have indeed lead to shortages in places where there was either no stated desire of profit or profit was slandered entirely.  Real world examples include the British NHS system, where people are commonly on waiting lists for things Americans take for granted, Venezuela under Hugo Chavez, long lines for basic goods in the Soviet Union, etc. etc.  Heck, even in the USA, price controls for gasoline during the 1970s had people waiting in lines in their cars just to buy gas.  So I am not sure what the writer is talking about.  Perhaps he should follow his own advice and look at more empirical data and trends of what has happened.


So when are we to believe Mises? When he says economics is a deductive logic that can never be tested in the real world, or when he makes predictions that can be tested in the real world?

I believe what Mises actually did say is that no laboratory could be set up, not that outcomes could never be tested.  For example, one could never stick enough humans in some giant over-sized controlled environment lab to be used a basis for predicting things like economic recessions and depressions involving millions of people.  He then therefore claimed that theory had to be relied upon more.   As I said before, the weather, while already hard to predict, at least is relatively consistent over the course of decades and event centuries.  Humans are far, far less so.  For example, I do not see anyone riding around on horseback in knights armor these days.

I fail to see why these conclusions are religious.


The insistence on placing assumptions further and further away from our real ultimate givens, our real recursions, our real mystical priors, is a dark side epistemology. If we can devise a test for one of our assumptions, by golly, as rationalists we’re called to test it. If that assumption fails, we have to perform a proper Bayesian update. We have to use all of our evidence available to us.


What the writer does not seem to mention is that Mises predicted the great depression for what it was much better than other economists of that day:

So the writer can play his games and pretend that Mises is a religious crackpot comparable to Fred Phelps, even in spite of being recognized by many around the world, even non austrians as one of the greatest, if not the greatest economist of the 20th century.  I think when someone makes better predictions than his rivals, I will assume that his or her information and theories is also better than his or her rivals.

The rest of the article is just more slander making sketchy connections to religion.  At least it is not as bad as his bigoted facebook post, where he said: “Doesn’t it bother you how many people at the LvMI are fucking Christian?

As if that was actually relevant.  Did this writer bother to compare the percentage of christians who claim to be austrian versus those of rival schools such as Chicago school, Neoclassical school, keynsian, marxist, etc. ?   The writer also managed to conveniently not mention that Mises was a non-religious man, as well as a number of his biggest profile students, like Murray N. Rothbard.

I don’t see why this would be relevant.  For example, if I needed surgery, the first thing I will look at is the experience of the surgeon, not whether he is Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, etc.  I would greatly prefer that a Chrstian surgeon would perform on me assuming that he or she is better than the alternatives.

Finally, what is the superior alternative that should take the place of the Austrian School of economics?  None is offered.  All schools of thought, after all, are human institutions.  Everyone is subject to mistakes.  But the question is which body of work is the most consistent with actual reality.  Is it the Chicago school?  Is it Keynsian economics?  Neoclassical?  If one is going to damn a whole school of thought,  I think it makes sense to then provide an alternative which does an overall better job.  For example, in the sphere of religion, when young earth creationism was declared to be largely wrong, it happened only after the scientific findings of Darwin regarding evolution.


Dick Morris: another Republican worth throwing under the bus

Another closeted liberty hating troll, unlike democrats, who are mostly out of the closet.

Dick Morris: Fascist Foot Fetishist

Posted by William Grigg on March 7, 2011 03:55 PM

Before petulantly hanging up on a radio interview with a very patient Peter Schiff, GOP political consultant Dick Morris — one of Sean Hannity’s sweethearts — denounced Ron Paul as “horrific” because he wants to end the “war on drugs.”

According to this pillar of rectitude (and occasional customer to prostitutes willing to engage his peculiar appetites), we’re “not really fighting” the war on drugs, because, inter alia, High School students aren’t subject to mandatory drug testing.

(h/t to LRC reader John Meyers.)



Schiff and Morris Video:



No wonder conservatism is the ideology of bitter old men uninterested in facts, devoted to hating young people, women and anyone else who would dare live differently or *gasp* have fun with their lives.  Do yourself a favor and never support a conservative if you love liberty.  They are frauds when they make this claim.  They have a terrible record at small government.  They grow government more than democrats.  Yet they claim to support these things.


A laughably uninformed comparison of Murray Rothbard and Saul Alinsky

If one ever wanted a showcase in conservatism arrogance and ignorance regarding politics and history, one need not go further than here: http://www.newsrealblog.com/2010/10/10/radical-rules-for-radical-libertarians-alinsky-rothbard-and-anarchy/

Lisa Richards, a self proclaimed Reagan girl (already a sign of trouble considering Reagan has praised individualism and small government while stabbing those ideas in the back while in office) thinks she has somehow nailed Murray Rothbard, a genuine defender of liberty and private property.  Her article is so ironic and misinformed that it is sad.  Here, she starts off with:

Radical libertarians are equivalent to leftist Saul Alinskyites.  Both despise government and the Constitution, seeking to destroy America.  Alinksy wanted a community government; radical libertarians want Rothbardian uprisings to destroy government and wealth altogether for communal equalty.  To accomplish this, radical libertarians demand anarchy.”

Right from the start, Lisa Richards contradicts herself.  How can Saul Alinsky despise government but also want community government?  I have read very little on Alinsky, yet can see this obvious contradiction.  A clear contradiction at the very beginning is quite telling about the rest of the post.  Also, she makes a strawman about Murray Rothbard.  She makes it quite clear that she has read little to nothing that Murray Rothbard wrote.  It is clear that she thinks that Rothbard was some private property hating egalitarian.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Murray Rothbard has quite clearly condemned egalitarianism in his essay ‘Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature’: http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard31.html

Another essay where he condemns equality as primitivist: http://mises.org/fipandol.asp

Also, if Murray Rothbard was not a defender and lover of private property, then I do not know who is.  He went so far as to be against property taxes, against eminent domain, against prohibitions of any sort against drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, etc. (unlike most conservatives).  He wrote in favor of homesteading.  He held contracts and the like to be the final arbiter in a property dispute.  To my knowledge, he even advocated private courts – hired by those in dispute to settle disagreements.  Murray Rothbard also argued that a person can and should be literally allowed to hold on to any form of property for as long as that person and family of person wished – with homesteading as the only legitimate way someone else can re-acquire it: http://murrayrothbard.com/Confiscation_and_the_Homestead_Principle.html


If Lisa Richards had spent even 5 minutes 30 seconds looking up Murray Rothbard: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_Rothbard or his philosophy – anarcho-capitalism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-capitalism , she would not have made these lazy mistakes.  If I were her professor – she would have been lucky to get more than a D or D+ for her opening paragraph alone based on poor research, not to mention a poorly constructed argument ad-hominem.

“These so-called conservatives (leftists in disguise)…”

Right here, Lisa fails again.  Murray Rothbard has openly condemned conservatism, as well as openly renouncing that title as far back as the 1960’s.  Long before Lisa was born.  Lisa also happens to be a fan of David Horowitz, who for quite a long time was an open and proud leftist.  Hypocrisy schmockrisy.

…claim history proves mankind took care of itself, prevented war, rape, and pillaging without police, military, and government until modern laws were enacted.  Which is why history includes wars, rapes, and pillaging, making today’s crimes look like Elm Street without the nightmare.

Actually, he claims that police should be localized, preferably privatized: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_police

Regarding military, Murray was realistic and argued in favor of private mercenary forces.  Historically, wars fought between mercenary forces have led to far fewer deaths, atrocities and property destruction than wars fought between nation states.  It is the idea that nation states all need large armies and be regularily at war is largely a phenomenon of the 20th century.  World War I, II as well as all the other large wars were fought between nation states.  The absurd idea of nation state armies and empires have statistically led to many millions of more deaths than all the mercenary wars combined.  It is nationalism and the police state philosophy which has gallons of blood on its hands, not small/non-existent government, the philosophy of non-aggression or the idea that people can do what they want with their own bodies.

A good article by Rothbard here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard146.html

It is conservative ideology and their pro police state philosophy which has clearly and empirically led to bloodshed through their insane alcohol wars of the 1920s/1930s or their even more insane drug wars of today.  In fact, their growing police state simply does not even have a clear track record of stopping or deterring terrorists (their latest boogeyman, now  that the communists have imploded themselves back in the 1990s).  So now America has all the costs of being hassled at the airport, being hassled at random police checkpoints, getting the KGB type treatment if one is merely accused of being a terrorist – without any clear indication that we are getting the promised benefits of reduced terrorism.

“These leftists claim Thomas Jefferson fought against all forms of government,…”

Wrong again.  Rothbard openly acknowledged that Jefferson was no anarchist.

He wrote “Originally, our historical heroes were such men as Jefferson, Paine, Cobden, Bright and Spencer; but as our views became purer and more consistent, we eagerly embraced such near-anarchists as the voluntarist, Auberon Herbert, and the American individualist-anarchists, Lysander Spooner and Benjamin R. Tucker.”


He clearly states that while Jefferson was an influence on him, among others, he later went on to follow in the footsteps of others who actually were almost anarchists, with the clear implication that the near anarchists were far more radical than Jefferson in the direction of anarchism/no government.  If the people who influenced Rothbard later were more radically, but not fully anarchist than Jefferson, then it logically follows that Jefferson was not an anarchist.

“…This nutty ideology stems from radical libertarians’ Saul Alinsky, Murry N. Rothbard, who cleverly infused classical truths with progressive craziness, seeking to:

  • Discuss unconstitutional excessive taxes
  • Emphasize natural law
  • Explain why inflated government is anti-people
  • Then tell readers the only way to be free is eradicate government altogether
  • Fight for Social Justice
  • To accomplish this, demonize all who fight and die to protect freedom by claiming no human is born bad, thus we do not need military, police, laws, and government”

This section is incredibly wrought with false facts and contradictions.  How is advocating against unconstitutional taxes “progressive craziness”?  I thought even many conservatives did this.  Many conservatives also favor natural law.  It is the ‘progressives’ who are in favor of violating the constitution and ever increasing the levels of taxation.  It is the ‘progressives’ who smear and attack natural law in favor of ‘democracy’.  It is conservatives, as well as libertarians and anarchists who favor, at least in rhetoric, the idea of small government.  I don’t even think that you even qualify as a conservative, Lisa Richards.  At best, you seem like an incoherent right wing populist.  I find it sad that you majored in Political Science.  Either you were a poor student, or Sacred Heart is a poor university.

As for the ‘social justice’ label you are trying to heap on Murray – completely  false.  It is clear you are mixing people up now.

Your last point is a complete and total strawman – either you yourself have not read Rothbard, or you are counting on the ignorance of your readers.   Murray is a champion of those who actually did fight for freedom – the economists and libetarians, while pointing out the foolishness and lies of the various phonies for freedom, like those who assert that we need to waste thousands of lives of soldiers to pre-emptively attack a non-aggressive nation.  People who died in vain in the name of freedom – but who actually fought on behalf of the bankers and investors who financed both sides of various wars around the world, as well as for the profits of military contractors.  Our soldiers do not fight for our freedom.  They effectively fight for the profits of the powerful and those in government, as well as their lapdogs and lobbyists.  If our soldiers did actually fight for our freedom, they would be in the USA instead of abroad – they would unseat and arrest many of the criminals in our own government – those who violate the constitution on a daily basis, as well as even the very laws that they themselves have created.  You need to look at facts and not just the entertaining rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh.

Your last point is also a strawman because Rothbard has never asserted that no human is born bad.  Would that make any sense for someone who has condemned the people within the state on numerous occasions?  He simply advocated localized and privatized police and military and how they would be less destructive and corrupt than what we currently have.  Rothbard did not even assert that the best possible society that he could think of would be a utopia.  Otherwise he would not even have a place for private security, police, court, contract dispute resolutions and armies in what he considered the best possible arrangement for societies.

Mark R. Crovelli of lewrockwell.com, a Rothbardian, says:

“Americans assume Human nature is so intrinsically evil and depraved that, without cops walking the streets, judges locking up potheads, and politicians buying hookers and crack in Washington, the entire world would devolve into a horrifying bloodbath.  Murder and rape would run rampant as soon as the ‘criminals,’ (that is, all of us, as per our shared evil nature), got word that…police were no longer in the business of shooting, beating and incarcerating them. Virtually everyone and everything would be killed or destroyed …”

Lisa then says in response:
“Crovelli’s argument is sheer stupidity.  Without laws, mankind disintegrates.  Society can’t survive and thrive without leadership and checking and balancing leaders.  Yet Crovelli claims human nature lacks depravity, man is not “brutish,” and society would work better without laws and with “the absence of police officers.”

If this is the case, Lisa, then why do the nations with the greatest amount of police presence and amount of jailing have more crime and violence than those who typically have less?  Tyrannies in Asia like Burma/Myanmar have a great degree of police presence, yet somehow have either no shortage of crime or even more crime.  Same thing with the middle east, the former Soviet Union, China, various countries in Africa.  The United States has a relatively high police presence compared to other western nations, it also has the largest prison population in the world.  Percentage wise as well as absolute numbers.  Yet most other western nations have lower violent crime rates.  That even includes Portugal – which has decriminalized most drugs.  Heck, the violent crimes actually went down after the decriminalizations.  A clear look at crime statistics show that a higher police presence does not improve an area’s crime levels – in some cases – they make the crime worse.  Especially taking into consideration that many of the cops make money by selling the illegal drugs, or even just taking bribes from drug lords.  This even happened with alcohol back in the 1930s.  This caused so much chaos that the 18th amendment was repealed.  Police even do the same with prostitution rings.  There is simply no data to show that outlawing prostitution prevents it.

I know you think you wear some crown of objectivity and realism, with all the self righteous and smug baggage and that we libertarians are a bunch of misinformed children, but your crown is more like a paper Burger King crown of unquestioned conservative prejudice and ideology.   It is clear that you have not even done your own research on crime or even bothered to see if there were any actual arguments against your beliefs.

Besides, how can the police be what keeps everyone in line when everyone else vastly outnumbers them?  If people truly were the animals as you claim – the police would have been torn to shreds long ago, even in spite of their marginally superior firepower.  Even the police say that only 1% to 2% of the people are those who pose any kind of criminal behavior.  They are not even the most effective crime fighters.  Jared Loughner the mass shooteer was not stopped by the donut patrol, who hid behind their police cars.  He was stopped by a brave private citizen.

Mark Covelli wrote: (http://mises.org/rothbard/foranewlb.pdf)
“The Jeffersonian and Jacksonian movements, the Democratic-Republican and…Democratic parties, explicitly strived for…virtual elimination of government from American life.  It was to be a government without a standing army or navy; a government without debt…[without]… direct federal or excise taxes and virtually no import tariffs…with negligible levels of taxation and expenditure; a government that does not engage in public works or internal improvements; a government that does not control or regulate; a government that leaves money and banking free, hard, and uninflated…”

Lisa Richards wrote in response:
The Declaration of Independence is not anti-government; the Founders fought monarchy, but were never for government abolishment.  They created a limited, central government to protect against violations of natural law.

Nothing here that Lisa wrote contradicts anything that Mark Covelli wrote in this snippet.  Covelli thoroughly made use of the word ‘virtual’, regarding taxation and expenditure, as well as going on to state what a government should not do.  Anyone with half a brain understands that adding ‘virtual’ in a description of something understands that the person who uses it means either ‘almost but not quite’ or having various things in common but not being exactly the same:


\ˈvər-chə-wəl, -chəl; ˈvərch-wəl\

1: being such in essence or effect though not formally recognized or admitted <a virtual dictator>
2: of, relating to, or using virtual memory
3: of, relating to, or being a hypothetical particle whose existence is inferred from indirect evidence <virtual photons> — compare real 3
4: being on or simulated on a computer or computer network <print or virtual books> <a virtual keyboard>: as
a : occurring or existing primarily online <a virtual library> <virtual shopping>
b : of, relating to, or existing within a virtual reality <a virtual world> <a virtual tour>


Mark clearly stated here in this very quote that the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian movements did indeed favor government, just not in certain areas, like public works, inflation of currency, business regulation.  Lisa’s response to this makes me question her reading comprehension abilities.  She reminds me of dumb liberals who say that everyone else is an anarchist because they want like a 5% reduction in taxes or because they do not favor government mandated health care.

“Crovelli says Rothbard is right: “The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom… no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else.”

Conservatives agree no one has the right to encroach on Constitutional rights, but Rothbard mixes natural rights with government elimination, promoting leftist anti-war ideology:”

LEFTIST anti war ideology?  Truly incredible.  Anti-war was not even a consistent left wing belief until well into the middle of the 1960s, starting with the new left.  Many leftists were fervently pro-war, like various Stalinists and some Trotskyites (like Lisa’s buddy, David Horowitz), as well as various hardcore New Dealers/Democrats and european social democrats.  It was constitutionalists who were consistently anti war well into the 1950s.  With some still going on quite strong decades afterwards.  It is quite clear that Lisa is ignorant of the Jeffersonians/Jacksonians that held strong for well over a hundred years.  She has clearly not heard of the Old Right, including with people like Albert Jay Nock or the Republicans of the late 1930s and 1940s.  Barry Goldwater ran on a campaign of ending the Vietnam War quickly in 1964.  So did Richard Nixon in 1968.  Even Eisenhower, a 5 star general and hero of World War II, railed against the military industrial complex before in 1960.

Lisa, if you are going to call yourself a student of political science, you really need to understand some basic political history of the 20th century.

Mark Covelli wrote:
“War…is mass murder, and this massive invasion of the right to life, of self-ownership, of numbers of people is not only a crime but, for the libertarian, the ultimate crime.”

Lisa Richards wrote in response:
Alinsky and Rothbard used social justice tactics—no one is evil except government andwealth. Government and laws create crime, not lawless people.  Destroy both and all will be free.  Radical libertarianism is anti-Jeffersonian conservative;  it is Marxist.

Rather than addressing the plain and simple facts that Mark Covelli wrote, she then cowardly resorts to argument ad-hominem and Guilt by Association on account of certain rhetorical similarities libertarians have with leftists.  Is it any wonder why warmongers refuse to address plain facts like how hundreds of millions of innocent civilians lost their lives to needless war in the 20th century alone?  For them to do so would mean that they would have to acknowledge that the United States government, as well as many other governments are guilty of mass murder, all on account of nationalism, bigotry and hatred of other peoples and fear mongering hysteria?

Lisa should also research the propaganda methods used by the government to make its own citizens want to willfully kill other people by simply virtue of being german, japanese, italian, korean, russian or vietnamese, etc.  To sidestep from these simple facts is reason to hang one’s head in shame.  Perhaps, sadly, non-American people are unimportant to Lisa.  Perhaps she has no problem with mass slaughter of them, even when it is detrimental to the lives of our own soldiers or national treasury.  Lisa’s opinions might be acceptable for a fat trailer trash rube who spends his days on the couch eating pork rinds and watching football and believing whatever fox news tells him, but not for someone who has made it past high school, let alone made it through college.

Lewrockwellian Ralph Raico demonstrates his, and other radical libertarians’ Marxist thought in his latest column, “Liberation From the Parasite State”:
“By the early nineteenth century, independent thinkers… across the political spectrum, from conservatives to anarchists, were alarmed at the growth of the parasitic state. This…problem…concerned…Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels… Marxism contains two…different views of the state… it views the state as the instrument of domination…exploiting classes that are defined by their position within the process of social production, e.g., the capitalists.  The state is simply ‘the executive committee of the ruling class.’ Marx characterized the state itself as the exploiting agent…A brilliant passage occurs when Marx, in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, comes to consider the state as it developed in France, and he refers to this executive power, with its enormous bureaucracy and military organization, with it ingenious state machinery, embracing wide strata, with a host of officials.”

Lisa Richards response (facepalm):
Raico says he not Marxist, yet defends Marx by incorporating Marxism into libertarianism.

Is Lisa actually saying that Ralph Raico the libertarian is a marxist because he noted that Marx clearly saw the objective reality that the state bureaucracy was growing in France?  I imagine that if Lisa saw Ralph Raico standing next to a marxist in a rainstorm saying “oh no, look at all this rain!” and then Ralph Raico said “yes, this is a lot of rain!” she seems like someone who would say “HA! I KNEW you were a Marxist! You just agreed with him!“.   2 people agreeing that X is a problem in no way indicates that the 2 people have any philosophical similarities whatsoever.  For example, conservatives claim that crime is caused by lack of police and laws.  Liberals claim that crime is caused by poverty and racism.  Would anyone with half a brain think that the 2 groups are related because they happen to agree that something is a problem?

I actually wonder if Lisa knows what Marxism is, or even what its core values are.  It seems like Sacred Heart did not bother to teach her about it, so I will be philanthropic and help her out:

PLANKS OF THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO: (Marx wrote it, just saying, in case you did not know, Lisa)

1. Abolition of private property and the application of all rent to public purpose.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralization of the means of communication and transportation in the hands of the State.

7. Extention of factories and instruments of production owned by the State, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8. Equal liablity of all to labor. Establishment of Industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

10. Free education for all children in government schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc. etc.

Now where the heck did Ralph Raico advocate for a single one of these of these ideas?  A single one?  But in case this reading material is too complex for Lisa, Marx summed up his philosophy even further:

“…the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”

I guarantee that he is way farther away from this than Lisa could ever hope to be on her most strident individualist free market days.  If Lisa was a 1000 miles from Marxism, Raico would be a million miles.  For Lisa to call him a Marxist is like her calling a skeletal anorexic a fatso.

Lisa Richards wrote:
“Rothbard’s book (linked in this column) reads like Alinsky:  Marxist, anti-wealth/police/military, government must be destroyed, laws and law-makers create evil.”

What?  What is she talking about?  Marx was a hero of Alinsky.  Here Rothbard is condemning Marx and his tactics.  Can she not read?  Perhaps she is alleging that there are stylistic similarities, which would be completely subjective and irrelevant. Style means nothing, even if there were stylistic writing similarities between the two.  Facts do.

Myles Kantor of Frontpage Magazine says of the radical libertarians who follow Rothbard:“Going far beyond a sound opposition to the federal government’s aggression abroad, [they have] attempted to mitigate terrorists’ accountability for massacring thousands of Americans.””

A complete lie created by conservatives to smear opposition to their unconstitutional national security state apparatus.  It is an old and tired form of propaganda to assert that those who stand for the rule of law and due process, even for the most hated criminals are on the side of the criminals.  This is nothing more than ruthless and dishonest emotionalist kneejerk reactions designed to use fear and intimidation to silence opposition.  You should be ashamed of yourself, Lisa.  You don’t even rely on facts, but rather opinions from those from a clear ideological bias.  You are a blind follower of authority.

Lisa Richards wrote:
“Radical libertarians insist terrorists are not criminals. Instead, the military and police are.”

No, they don’t.  They simply advocate the due process of law, the 4th amendment, actual warrants rather than self written ones, reason in place of hysteria, paranoid conservative accusation and political imprisonment.  If conservatives actually stood for the constitution in action instead of merely in rhetoric, very few libertarians would have problems with them, except maybe anarcho-capitalists.

Besides, from a purely objective standpoint – various police officers can be thought of criminals when they disobey the very laws used to restrain them or when they plant evidence on someone, or when they needlessly destroy property or commit police brutality.  You do not need to be a hardcore libertarian or anarchist to understand this simple fact.  Same thing with soldiers who violate laws and disobey direct orders to not murder civilians.  There is a great deal of documentation, including video footage, of soldiers, including American soldiers, killing innocent people needlessly during war, or raping women and children and stealing/destroying property.

This is not a left wing/right wing issue.  This is simple acknowledgement of facts.  Then there is the overall issue of no recent wars being declared – as required by the constitution for military attack.  In other words, these wars were illegal actions, violating clearly stated federal law.  Anyone who assists with such actions is an accomplice and morally culpable.

Lisa Richards wrote:
“Crovelli and Raico agree with Rothbard: depravity is nonexistent in man’s nature.  It is “inexcusable” that America “is armed to the teeth with high-powered rifles, pistols, and shotguns.”  Americans are conned into assuming humans have savage sides and terrorists are evil.  The true violent criminals are police and military: “anyone with eyes in America…[can] tell you…police officers and soldiers are often the most depraved perpetrators of the very crimes they claim to ‘protect’ Americans from.””

Another strawman.  Absolutely ignorant of their actual stance – people can be bad and violent, but local and private security solutions works better.  Is that simple enough to understand?  Besides, all these men were virulent defenders of one’s own right to own weapons.  I think even Lisa is smart enough to grasp this.

Lisa Richards wrote:
“That explains the violent criminal prison population: predominantly police officers.”

Weak attempt at sarcasm.  Do theocratic muslim thugs go to prison in Muslim theocracies for being islamic thugs?  Did the KGB members go to prison for kidnapping russian dissenters in the middle of the night and often killing them?  Did Nazis go to jail during the height of the 3rd reich for brutalizing jews?  Do Mexican cops go to jail for ripping off and taking advantage of American tourists?  Lisa clearly has tunnel vision.  Lisa clearly conflates criminality with mere obedience/disobedience of law, rather than actual crime, which is moral violation, irrespective of time or place.

Lisa Richards wrote:
“Crovelli’s argument lacks credibility.  Mankind is inherently flawed; war has always existed.  If military and police are useless,  crime never existed until laws came to be.  Laws exist because bloodlust always has.”

The only thing that lacks credibility are your strawmen and ideological anti-fact biases.  Rothbard and the like have openly stated that war may always exist: http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard20.html

Also, when has Crovelli written against anything except aggressive war?  Because the examples you provide only show him condemning acts of aggression.  Just like you would not punch some random person in the supermarket, it is idiotic to say that the american government should do the equivalent to other nations and people.  I am sure that if a family member of yours were to mug someone using a gun, you would condemn them, but praise them if they used that same gun to defend you from a violent attacker.  Non-aggression does not equal pacifism.

Lisa Richards wrote:
“Rothbard’s radical libertarian anarchism undermines the Constitution, asserting nations can, and must, endure without states and central leadership.  His theories destroy “We the People,” whosepersonal whims, without rules, create uprisings and power-grabbing.”

Perhaps one of the few things you wrote here that has a semblance of fact.  Yes, anarchism does go against the constitution in the sense that it asserts that no state should exist.  But the purpose of the constitution (well, at least as stated) was to defend the liberties and property people against a possible greater tyranny.  It was supposed to be a more free alternative to the rule of the english kings.   The whole point is the defense of individual rights.  It was meant to be a concession that some government might be needed.  But the founders were quite skeptical that it would work.  That is why they tried their best to put a series of checks and balances in it.  That is why most of them (except the Adams/Hamilton faction).  Jefferson, among many other founders thought that the federal government would abuse and override these checks.  He even stated that there should be a revolution and complete government dismantlement every 15 years.  Not mere elections, but a complete and utter government dismantlement and  replacement.  Individual rights were to be the master, while the constitution was to be the servant.  You clearly have it backwards.

So far, this goal has failed on a grand scale.  Just as soon as the races went off.  Right after the constitution was ratified, George Washington levied taxes, including a whiskey tax which all added up to more taxation than what King George had ever asked for from the colonial people.  Hamilton and his men soon created the Bank of the United States – which is clearly a copy of the Bank of England – hated by the American colonists of the time for it’s inflation and devaluation of the currency.  Lincoln violated virtually every plank of the bill of rights in his ruthless suppression of the Northern dissenters against the civil war.  Afterwards, the US government grew increasingly power ambitious, making all kinds of deals with wealthy companies to provide them monopolies and create high tarriffs, also using eminent domain to grab land from people without their permission to help the railroad and canal trusts.  Then things really took off after Woodrow Wilson got into power.  A new central bank called the federal reserve was established behind the people’s backs during the Christmas season when most congressmen went home.  Woodrow Wilson then got his progressive trolls and goons to protest and demonstrate in favor of the income tax – to create the illusion of popular support all while demonizing the rich people who earned their wealth fair and square. Then, during the reign of FDR, the US government went from a mere 200 lb pudgy slob to a Michael Moore sized behemoth.  Violating the constitution every step of the way, packing courts with sycophant judges and the supreme court with sycophant justices and powerlusting fanatics.

The United States government is now the largest and most powerful government in the history of the world, even while proclaiming the virtues of small government.  If your diet plan was to proclaim that you would be skinny enough to be a supermodel, but you then ended up looking more like a beachball – it would be safe to say that the plan is worthless.

Lisa Richards wrote:
“Crovelli disagrees: Such is the magnitude of the error of dismissing the sublime idea of free-market anarchism by assuming that the geniuses in blue keep us savages from killing each other.”

Actually he did not disagree with Rothbard.  Rothbard said that there should be no states or central leadership.  Covelli said right here (which is pretty obvious) that the police really do not keep people from killing each other.  The 2 ideas are not mutually exclusive.  In fact, they go hand in hand.  It is illogical to assume that the presence of the police are what keep us from killing each other.  We outnumber them thousands to one.  98% to 99% of the people generally do not commit aggression against each other.  Even the authorities often say that the police are there for cleanup of that violent minority.

Lisa Richards wrote:
To convince Americans of this lie, Rothbard, like Alinsky, utilizes college students to:

  • Deem police and military government oppressors,
  • Say: “taxation is theft, conscription is slavery, and war is mass murder, among many other points.”

It is feasible to say that alinsky might say that about the police or military.  But he would only say that because they do not do things his way.  He would gladly replace them with his own that are loyal to his ideas.  Kinda like how the Genovese crime family resents the Gambino crime family.  The philisophical differences are not all that great.  Meaning that they all see violent power and state aggression as the solution to things.  Rothbard, by contrast, only opposes state enforced police and military in favor of private versions.

Taxation is theft, because you are forced to give your money to someone else without any agreement from you of any sort.  If a mugger demands your wallet using a gun and you give it to him, that is theft.

Conscription is slavery because it is forced labor.  Plain and simple.  Please remove the ideological curtains.  Or just use a dictionary.  I assumed they have some dictionaries somewhere at Sacred Heart University.

War is mass murder.  Any set of war statistics will show you the millions of innocent civilian deaths.

Among many other points?  Well considering that so far all these folks have done is point out simple facts while Lisa Richards throws a childish tantrum at them for doing so, then those other points that people like Rothbard makes are most likely valid.  Lisa is simply resentful of those who point out the lies and hypocrisies of republicans and conservatives.

Lisa Richards wrote:
“Leftists despise laws, promoting uprisings against government.”

Seriously?  Is Lisa this blind and/or ignorant?  How can a political science major possibly be this ignorant of how leftists heap their praises on government and laws?  Perhaps she stupidly means that they oppose conservative style government – which is like saying the Gambinos oppose gangsterism because they oppose Genovese style gangsterism.

Lisa Richards wrote:
“Rothbard and Alinksy had solitary goals: destruction of society.  To accomplish this, they combined natural law truths with anarchy.  The Alinsky way says communist government control over people is best; the Rothbard way is America without government, police, military and laws.”

Even  Lisa here says that the two are opposites, which renders all her points of how they are almost the same to be silly.

Lisa Richards wrote:
“Both are radical rules with one goal: destroy man and his right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, placing him under ideological communal control.”

Rothbard has on every occasion spoke favorably and adamantly on behalf of life, liberty, property as well as the pursuit of happiness.   The reason why I included ‘property’ was because property was originally in place of ‘pursuit of happiness’.  However, Benjamin Franklin replaced it with ‘pursuit of happiness’, reasoning that one should have a right to fall in love, as well as the right to own property and many other things.  Rothbard openly condemned communal control in favor of individual sovereignty: http://mises.org/daily/2801

You clearly confuse Rothbard with people like Noam Chomsky.  Rothbard was very much in favor of civilized society.  What he argued for was that the removal of the state would lead to the most civilized society.  If one looks at historical facts, especially over the past 3o years, it is clear that conservatives are the ones against civilized society, with their continual adovcacy of war, with their constant bullying of young people through all kinds of laws, curfews, attempts to conscript the young and innocent into wars, also with their increased demands to make society more coercive with more police everywhere at all times.  Conservatives assert that young  people are too young to have the right to make decisions for themselves, but are somehow old enough to carry deadly weapons to march to some random nation and kill foreigners.

It is conservatives who want a top down hierarchy to rule through fear.  It is conservatives who assert that foreigners looking for work must be treated as criminals.  It is conservatives who assert that 1 million dead Iraqis is a fair price for 3,000 dead americans.  It is conservatives who want to force everyone to speak english, even in spite of how America has always been an open multi-cultural society.  It is conservative nutjobs like Tom Tancredo who wants to shut off all borders to all foreigners for 2 years.  Many conservatives railed against new forms of music and claim that it should be forcibly censored.  They say they favor individual rights, but then say out of the other side of their mouths that gay people should be treated like perverts or criminals.  Conservatives say they are for freedom but then demand people pay allegiance to their ideas and conform to their cultural preferences.

Jeremiah Shannon 1977 – 2008

Goodbye Jay if you can read this.  I had a great deal of fun with you and sometimes I got mad about the kind of jokes you made.  But sometimes you were funny.  Now I need to add additional apologies for publishing this so damn late.

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