Archive for the ‘libertarian’ Category

by Murray N. Rothbard

This article, which first appeared in The Standard for April 1963, is collected in Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays.

The libertarian movement has been chided by William F. Buckley, Jr., for failing to use its “strategic intelligence” in facing the major problems of our time. We have, indeed, been too often prone to “pursue our busy little seminars on whether or not to demunicipalize the garbage collectors” (as Buckley has contemptuously written), while ignoring and failing to apply libertarian theory to the most vital problem of our time: war and peace. There is a sense in which libertarians have been utopian rather than strategic in their thinking, with a tendency to divorce the ideal system which we envisage from the realities of the world in which we live. In short, too many of us have divorced theory from practice, and have then been content to hold the pure libertarian society as an abstract ideal for some remotely future time, while in the concrete world of today we follow unthinkingly the orthodox “conservative” line. To live liberty, to begin the hard but essential strategic struggle of changing the unsatisfactory world of today in the direction of our ideals, we must realize and demonstrate to the world that libertarian theory can be brought sharply to bear upon all of the world’s crucial problems. By coming to grips with these problems, we can demonstrate that libertarianism is not just a beautiful ideal somewhere on Cloud Nine, but a tough-minded body of truths that enables us to take our stand and to cope with the whole host of issues of our day.

Let us then, by all means, use our strategic intelligence. Although, when he sees the result, Mr. Buckley might well wish that we had stayed in the realm of garbage collection. Let us construct a libertarian theory of war and peace.

The fundamental axiom of libertarian theory is that no one may threaten or commit violence (“aggress”) against another man’s person or property. Violence may be employed only against the man who commits such violence; that is, only defensively against the aggressive violence of another.1 In short, no violence may be employed against a non-aggressor. Here is the fundamental rule from which can be deduced the entire corpus of libertarian theory.2

Let us set aside the more complex problem of the State for a while and consider simply relations between “private” individuals. Jones finds that he or his property is being invaded, aggressed against, by Smith. It is legitimate for Jones, as we have seen, to repel this invasion by defensive violence of his own. But now we come to a more knotty question: is it within the right of Jones to commit violence against innocent third parties as a corollary to his legitimate defense against Smith? To the libertarian, the answer must be clearly, no. Remember that the rule prohibiting violence against the persons or property of innocent men is absolute: it holds regardless of the subjective motives for the aggression. It is wrong and criminal to violate the property or person of another, even if one is a Robin Hood, or starving, or is doing it to save one’s relatives, or is defending oneself against a third man’s attack. We may understand and sympathize with the motives in many of these cases and extreme situations. We may later mitigate the guilt if the criminal comes to trial for punishment, but we cannot evade the judgment that this aggression is still a criminal act, and one which the victim has every right to repel, by violence if necessary. In short, A aggresses against B because C is threatening, or aggressing against, A. We may understand C’s “higher” culpability in this whole procedure; but we must still label this aggression as a criminal act which B has the right to repel by violence.

To be more concrete, if Jones finds that his property is being stolen by Smith, he has the right to repel him and try to catch him; but he has no right to repel him by bombing a building and murdering innocent people or to catch him by spraying machine gun fire into an innocent crowd. If he does this, he is as much (or more of) a criminal aggressor as Smith is.

The application to problems of war and peace is already becoming evident. For while war in the narrower sense is a conflict between States, in the broader sense we may define it as the outbreak of open violence between people or groups of people. If Smith and a group of his henchmen aggress against Jones and Jones and his bodyguards pursue the Smith gang to their lair, we may cheer Jones on in his endeavor; and we, and others in society interested in repelling aggression, may contribute financially or personally to Jones’s cause. But Jones has no right, any more than does Smith, to aggress against anyone else in the course of his “just war”: to steal others’ property in order to finance his pursuit, to conscript others into his posse by use of violence, or to kill others in the course of his struggle to capture the Smith forces. If Jones should do any of these things, he becomes a criminal as fully as Smith, and he too becomes subject to whatever sanctions are meted out against criminality. In fact, if Smith’s crime was theft, and Jones should use conscription to catch him, or should kill others in the pursuit, Jones becomes more of a criminal than Smith, for such crimes against another person as enslavement and murder are surely far worse than theft. (For while theft injures the extension of another’s personality, enslavement injures, and murder obliterates, that personality itself.)

Suppose that Jones, in the course of his “just war” against the ravages of Smith, should kill a few innocent people, and suppose that he should declaim, in defense of this murder, that he was simply acting on the slogan, “Give me liberty or give me death.” The absurdity of this “defense” should be evident at once, for the issue is not whether Jones was willing to risk death personally in his defensive struggle against Smith; the issue is whether he was willing to kill other people in pursuit of his legitimate end. For Jones was in truth acting on the completely indefensible slogan: “Give me liberty or give them death” surely a far less noble battle cry.3

The libertarian’s basic attitude toward war must then be: it is legitimate to use violence against criminals in defense of one’s rights of person and property; it is completely impermissible to violate the rights of other innocent people. War, then, is only proper when the exercise of violence is rigorously limited to the individual criminals. We may judge for ourselves how many wars or conflicts in history have met this criterion.

It has often been maintained, and especially by conservatives, that the development of the horrendous modern weapons of mass murder (nuclear weapons, rockets, germ warfare, etc.) is only a difference of degree rather than kind from the simpler weapons of an earlier era. Of course, one answer to this is that when the degree is the number of human lives, the difference is a very big one.4 But another answer that the libertarian is particularly equipped to give is that while the bow and arrow and even the rifle can be pinpointed, if the will be there, against actual criminals, modern nuclear weapons cannot. Here is a crucial difference in kind. Of course, the bow and arrow could be used for aggressive purposes, but it could also be pinpointed to use only against aggressors. Nuclear weapons, even “conventional” aerial bombs, cannot be. These weapons are ipso facto engines of indiscriminate mass destruction. (The only exception would be the extremely rare case where a mass of people who were all criminals inhabited a vast geographical area.) We must, therefore, conclude that the use of nuclear or similar weapons, or the threat thereof, is a sin and a crime against humanity for which there can be no justification.

This is why the old cliché no longer holds that it is not the arms but the will to use them that is significant in judging matters of war and peace. For it is precisely the characteristic of modern weapons that they cannot be used selectively, cannot be used in a libertarian manner. Therefore, their very existence must be condemned, and nuclear disarmament becomes a good to be pursued for its own sake. And if we will indeed use our strategic intelligence, we will see that such disarmament is not only a good, but the highest political good that we can pursue in the modem world. For just as murder is a more heinous crime against another man than larceny, so mass murder – indeed murder so widespread as to threaten human civilization and human survival itself – is the worst crime that any man could possibly commit. And that crime is now imminent. And the forestalling of massive annihilation is far more important, in truth, than the demunicipalization of garbage disposal, as worthwhile as that may be. Or are libertarians going to wax properly indignant about price control or the income tax, and yet shrug their shoulders at or even positively advocate the ultimate crime of mass murder?

If nuclear warfare is totally illegitimate even for individuals defending themselves against criminal assault, how much more so is nuclear or even “conventional” warfare between States!

It is time now to bring the State into our discussion. The State is a group of people who have managed to acquire a virtual monopoly of the use of violence throughout a given territorial area. In particular, it has acquired a monopoly of aggressive violence, for States generally recognize the right of individuals to use violence (though not against States, of course) in self-defense.5 The State then uses this monopoly to wield power over the inhabitants of the area and to enjoy the material fruits of that power. The State, then, is the only organization in society that regularly and openly obtains its monetary revenues by the use of aggressive violence; all other individuals and organizations (except if delegated that right by the State) can obtain wealth only by peaceful production and by voluntary exchange of their respective products. This use of violence to obtain its revenue (called “taxation”) is the keystone of State power. Upon this base the State erects a further structure of power over the individuals in its territory, regulating them, penalizing critics, subsidizing favorites, etc. The State also takes care to arrogate to itself the compulsory monopoly of various critical services needed by society, thus keeping the people in dependence upon the State for key services, keeping control of the vital command posts in society and also fostering among the public the myth that only the State can supply these goods and services. Thus the State is careful to monopolize police and judicial service, the ownership of roads and streets, the supply of money, and the postal service, and effectively to monopolize or control education, public utilities, transportation, and radio and television.

Now, since the State arrogates to itself the monopoly of violence over a territorial area, so long as its depredations and extortions go unresisted, there is said to be “peace” in the area, since the only violence is one-way, directed by the State downward against the people. Open conflict within the area only breaks out in the case of “revolutions” in which people resist the use of State power against them. Both the quiet case of the State unresisted and the case of open revolution may be termed “vertical violence”: violence of the State against its public or vice versa.

In the modern world, each land area is ruled over by a State organization, but there are a number of States scattered over the earth, each with a monopoly of violence over its own territory. No super-State exists with a monopoly of violence over the entire world; and so a state of “anarchy” exists between the several States. (It has always been a source of wonder, incidentally, to this writer how the same conservatives who denounce as lunatic any proposal for eliminating a monopoly of violence over a given territory and thus leaving private individuals without an overlord, should be equally insistent upon leaving States without an overlord to settle disputes between them. The former is always denounced as “crackpot anarchism”; the latter is hailed as preserving independence and “national sovereignty” from “world government.”) And so, except for revolutions, which occur only sporadically, the open violence and two-sided conflict in the world takes place between two or more States, that is, in what is called “international war” (or “horizontal violence”).

Now there are crucial and vital differences between inter-State warfare on the one hand and revolutions against the State or conflicts between private individuals on the other. One vital difference is the shift in geography. In a revolution, the conflict takes place within the same geographical area: both the minions of the State and the revolutionaries inhabit the same territory. Inter-State warfare, on the other hand, takes place between two groups, each having a monopoly over its own geographical area; that is, it takes place between inhabitants of different territories. From this difference flow several important consequences: (1) in inter-State war the scope for the use of modem weapons of destruction is far greater. For if the “escalation” of weaponry in an intra-territorial conflict becomes too great, each side will blow itself up with the weapons directed against the other. Neither a revolutionary group nor a State combating revolution, for example, can use nuclear weapons against the other. But, on the other hand, when the warring parties inhabit different territorial areas, the scope for modern weaponry becomes enormous, and the entire arsenal of mass devastation can come into play. A second consequence (2) is that while it is possible for revolutionaries to pinpoint their targets and confine them to their State enemies, and thus avoid aggressing against innocent people, pinpointing is far less possible in an inter-State war.6 This is true even with older weapons; and, of course, with modern weapons there can be no pinpointing whatever. Furthermore, (3) since each State can mobilize all the people and resources in its territory, the other State comes to regard all the citizens of the opposing country as at least temporarily its enemies and to treat them accordingly by extending the war to them. Thus, all of the consequences of inter-territorial war make it almost inevitable that inter-State war will involve aggression by each side against the innocent civilians – the private individuals – of the other. This inevitability becomes absolute with modem weapons of mass destruction.

If one distinct attribute of inter-State war is inter-territoriality, another unique attribute stems from the fact that each State lives by taxation over its subjects. Any war against another State, therefore, involves the increase and extension of taxation-aggression over its own people.7 Conflicts between private individuals can be, and usually are, voluntarily waged and financed by the parties concerned. Revolutions can be, and often are, financed and fought by voluntary contributions of the public. But State wars can only be waged through aggression against the taxpayer.

All State wars, therefore, involve increased aggression against the State’s own taxpayers, and almost all State wars (all, in modern warfare) involve the maximum aggression (murder) against the innocent civilians ruled by the enemy State. On the other hand, revolutions are generally financed voluntarily and may pinpoint their violence to the State rulers, and private conflicts may confine their violence to the actual criminals. The libertarian must, therefore, conclude that, while some revolutions and some private conflicts may be legitimate, State wars are always to be condemned.

Many libertarians object as follows: “While we too deplore the use of taxation for warfare, and the State’s monopoly of defense service, we have to recognize that these conditions exist, and while they do, we must support the State in just wars of defense.” The reply to this would go as follows: “Yes, as you say, unfortunately States exist, each having a monopoly of violence over its territorial area.” What then should be the attitude of the libertarian toward conflicts between these States? The libertarian should say, in effect, to the State: “All right, you exist, but as long as you exist at least confine your activities to the area which you monopolize.” In short, the libertarian is interested in reducing as much as possible the area of State aggression against all private individuals. The only way to do this, in international affairs, is for the people of each country to pressure their own State to confine its activities to the area which it monopolizes and not to aggress against other State-monopolists. In short, the objective of the libertarian is to confine any existing State to as small a degree of invasion of person and property as possible. And this means the total avoidance of war. The people under each State should pressure “their” respective States not to attack one another, and, if a conflict should break out, to negotiate a peace or declare a cease-fire as quickly as physically possible.

Suppose further that we have that rarity – an unusually clear-cut case in which the State is actually trying to defend the property of one of its citizens. A citizen of country A travels or invests in country B, and then State B aggresses against his person or confiscates his property. Surely, our libertarian critic would argue, here is a clear-cut case where State A should threaten or commit war against State B in order to defend the property of “its” citizen. Since, the argument runs, the State has taken upon itself the monopoly of defense of its citizens, it then has the obligation to go to war on behalf of any citizen, and libertarians have an obligation to support this war as a just one.

But the point again is that each State has a monopoly of violence and, therefore, of defense only over its territorial area. It has no such monopoly; in fact, it has no power at all, over any other geographical area. Therefore, if an inhabitant of country A should move to or invest in country B, the libertarian must argue that he thereby takes his chances with the State-monopolist of country B, and it would be immoral and criminal for State A to tax people in country A and kill numerous innocents in country B in order to defend the property of the traveler or investor.8

It should also be pointed out that there is no defense against nuclear weapons (the only current “defense” is the threat of mutual annihilation) and, therefore, that the State cannot fulfill any sort of defense function so long as these weapons exist.

The libertarian objective, then, should be, regardless of the specific causes of any conflict, to pressure States not to launch wars against other States and, should a war break out, to pressure them to sue for peace and negotiate a cease-fire and peace treaty as quickly as physically possible. This objective, incidentally, is enshrined in the international law of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, that is, the ideal that no State could aggress against the territory of another – in short, the “peaceful coexistence” of States.9

Suppose, however, that despite libertarian opposition, war has begun and the warring States are not negotiating a peace. What, then, should be the libertarian position? Clearly, to reduce the scope of assault of innocent civilians as much as possible. Old-fashioned international law had two excellent devices for this: the “laws of war,” and the “laws of neutrality” or “neutrals’ rights.” The laws of neutrality are designed to keep any war that breaks out confined to the warring States themselves, without aggression against the States or particularly the peoples of the other nations. Hence the importance of such ancient and now forgotten American principles as “freedom of the seas” or severe limitations upon the rights of warring States to blockade neutral trade with the enemy country. In short, the libertarian tries to induce neutral States to remain neutral in any inter-State conflict and to induce the warring States to observe fully the rights of neutral citizens. The “laws of war” were designed to limit as much as possible the invasion by warring States of the rights of the civilians of the respective warring countries. As the British jurist F.J.P. Veale put it:

The fundamental principle of this code was that hostilities between civilized peoples must be limited to the armed forces actually engaged…. It drew a distinction between combatants and noncombatants by laying down that the sole business of the combatants is to fight each other and, consequently, that noncombatants must be excluded from the scope of military operations.10

In the modified form of prohibiting the bombardment of all cities not in the front line, this rule held in Western European wars in recent centuries until Britain launched the strategic bombing of civilians in World War II.  Now, of course, the entire concept is scarcely remembered, the very nature of nuclear war resting on the annihilation of civilians.

In condemning all wars, regardless of motive, the libertarian knows that there may well be varying degrees of guilt among States for any specific war. But the overriding consideration for the libertarian is the condemnation of any State participation in war. Hence his policy is that of exerting pressure on all States not to start a war, to stop one that has begun and to reduce the scope of any persisting war in injuring civilians of either side or no side.

A neglected corollary to the libertarian policy of peaceful coexistence of States is the rigorous abstention from any foreign aid; that is, a policy of nonintervention between States (= “isolationism” = “neutralism”). For any aid given by State A to State B (1) increases tax aggression against the people of country A and (2) aggravates the suppression by State B of its own people. If there are any revolutionary groups in country B, then foreign aid intensifies this suppression all the more. Even foreign aid to a revolutionary group in B – more defensible because directed to a voluntary group opposing a State rather than a State oppressing the people – must be condemned as (at the very least) aggravating tax aggression at home.

Let us see how libertarian theory applies to the problem of imperialism, which may be defined as the aggression by State A over the people of country B, and the subsequent maintenance of this foreign rule. Revolution by the B people against the imperial rule of A is certainly legitimate, provided again that revolutionary fire be directed only against the rulers. It has often been maintained – even by libertarians – that Western imperialism over undeveloped countries should be supported as more watchful of property rights than any successor native government would be. The first reply is that judging what might follow the status quo is purely speculative, whereas existing imperialist rule is all too real and culpable. Moreover, the libertarian here begins his focus at the wrong end – at the alleged benefit of imperialism to the native. He should, on the contrary, concentrate first on the Western taxpayer, who is mulcted and burdened to pay for the wars of conquest, and then for the maintenance of the imperial bureaucracy. On this ground alone, the libertarian must condemn imperialism.11

Does opposition to all war mean that the libertarian can never countenance change – that he is consigning the world to a permanent freezing of unjust regimes? Certainly not. Suppose, for example, that the hypothetical state of “Waldavia” has attacked “Ruritania” and annexed the western part of the country. The Western Ruritanians now long to be reunited with their Ruritanian brethren. How is this to be achieved? There is, of course, the route of peaceful negotiation between the two powers, but suppose that the Waldavian imperialists prove adamant. Or, libertarian Waldavians can put pressure on their government to abandon its conquest in the name of justice. But suppose that this, too, does not work. What then? We must still maintain the illegitimacy of Ruritania’s mounting a war against Waldavia. The legitimate routes are (1) revolutionary uprisings by the oppressed Western Ruritanian people, and (2) aid by private Ruritanian groups (or, for that matter, by friends of the Ruritanian cause in other countries) to the Western rebels – either in the form of equipment or of volunteer personnel.12

We have seen throughout our discussion the crucial importance, in any present-day libertarian peace program, of the elimination of modern methods of mass annihilation. These weapons, against which there can be no defense, assure maximum aggression against civilians in any conflict with the clear prospect of the destruction of civilization and even of the human race itself. Highest priority on any libertarian agenda, therefore, must be pressure on all States to agree to general and complete disarmament down to police levels, with particular stress on nuclear disarmament. In short, if we are to use our strategic intelligence, we must conclude that the dismantling of the greatest menace that has ever confronted the life and liberty of the human race is indeed far more important than demunicipalizing the garbage service.

We cannot leave our topic without saying at least a word about the domestic tyranny that is the inevitable accompaniment of war. The great Randolph Bourne realized that “war is the health of the State.”13 It is in war that the State really comes into its own: swelling in power, in number, in pride, in absolute dominion over the economy and the society. Society becomes a herd, seeking to kill its alleged enemies, rooting out and suppressing all dissent from the official war effort, happily betraying truth for the supposed public interest. Society becomes an armed camp, with the values and the morale – as Albert Jay Nock once phrased it – of an “army on the march.”

The root myth that enables the State to wax fat off war is the canard that war is a defense by the State of its subjects. The facts, of course, are precisely the reverse. For if war is the health of the State, it is also its greatest danger. A State can only “die” by defeat in war or by revolution. In war, therefore, the State frantically mobilizes the people to fight for it against another State, under the pretext that it is fighting for them. But all this should occasion no surprise; we see it in other walks of life. For which categories of crime does the State pursue and punish most intensely – those against private citizens or those against itself? The gravest crimes in the State’s lexicon are almost invariably not invasions of person and property, but dangers to its own contentment: for example, treason, desertion of a soldier to the enemy, failure to register for the draft, conspiracy to overthrow the government. Murder is pursued haphazardly unless the victim be a policeman, or Gott soll hüten, an assassinated Chief of State; failure to pay a private debt is, if anything, almost encouraged, but income tax evasion is punished with utmost severity; counterfeiting the State’s money is pursued far more relentlessly than forging private checks, etc. All this evidence demonstrates that the State is far more interested in preserving its own power than in defending the rights of private citizens.

A final word about conscription: of all the ways in which war aggrandizes the State, this is perhaps the most flagrant and most despotic. But the most striking fact about conscription is the absurdity of the arguments put forward on its behalf. A man must be conscripted to defend his (or someone else’s?) liberty against an evil State beyond the borders. Defend his liberty? How? By being coerced into an army whose very raison d’être is the expunging of liberty, the trampling on all the liberties of the person, the calculated and brutal dehumanization of the soldier and his transformation into an efficient engine of murder at the whim of his “commanding officer”?14 Can any conceivable foreign State do anything worse to him than what “his” army is now doing for his alleged benefit? Who is there, O Lord, to defend him against his “defenders”?


1 There are some libertarians who would go even further and say that no one should employ violence even in defending himself against violence. However, even such Tolstoyans, or “absolute pacifists,” would concede the defender’s right to employ defensive violence and would merely urge him not to exercise that right. They, therefore, do not disagree with our proposition. In the same way, a libertarian temperance advocate would not challenge a man’s right to drink liquor, only his wisdom in exercising that right.

2 We shall not attempt to justify this axiom here. Most libertarians and even conservatives are familiar with the rule and even defend it; the problem is not so much in arriving at the rule as in fearlessly and consistently pursuing its numerous and often astounding implications.

3 Or, to bring up another famous antipacifist slogan, the question is not whether “we would be willing to use force to prevent the rape of our sister,” but whether, to prevent that rape, we are willing to kill innocent people and perhaps even the sister herself.

4 William Buckley and other conservatives have propounded the curious moral doctrine that it is no worse to kill millions than it is to kill one man. The man who does either is, to be sure, a murderer; but surely it makes a huge difference how many people he kills. We may see this by phrasing the problem thus: after a man has already killed one person, does it make any difference whether he stops killing now or goes on a further rampage and kills many dozen more people? Obviously, it does.

5 Professor Robert L. Cunningham has defined the State as the institution with “a monopoly on initiating open physical coercion.” Or, as Albert Jay Nock put it similarly if more caustically, “The State claims and exercises the monopoly of crime…. It forbids private murder, but itself organizes murder on a colossal scale. It punishes private theft, but itself lays unscrupulous hands on anything it wants.”

6 An outstanding example of pinpointing by revolutionaries was the invariable practice of the Irish Republican Army, in its later years, of making sure that only British troops and British government property were attacked and that no innocent Irish civilians were injured. A guerrilla revolution not supported by the bulk of the people, of course, is far more likely to aggress against civilians.

7 If it be objected that a war could theoretically be financed solely by a State’s lowering of nonwar expenditures, then the reply still holds that taxation remains greater than it could be without the war effect. Moreover, the purport of this article is that libertarians should be opposed to government expenditures whatever the field, war or nonwar.

8 There is another consideration which applies rather to “domestic” defense within a State’s territory: the less the State can successfully defend the inhabitants of its area against attack by criminals, the more these inhabitants may come to learn the inefficiency of state operations, and the more they will turn to non-State methods of defense. Failure by the State to defend, therefore, has educative value for the public.

9 The international law mentioned in this paper is the old-fashioned libertarian law as had voluntarily emerged in previous centuries and has nothing to do with the modem statist accretion of “collective security.” Collective security forces a maximum escalation of every local war into a worldwide war – the precise reversal of the libertarian objective of reducing the scope of any war as much as possible.

10 F.J.P. Veale, Advance to Barbarism (Appleton, Wis.: C.C. Nelson, 1953), p. 58.

11 Two other points about Western imperialism: first, its rule is not nearly so liberal or benevolent as many libertarians like to believe. The only property rights respected are those of the Europeans; the natives find their best lands stolen from them by the imperialists and their labor coerced by violence into working the vast landed estates acquired by this theft.

Second, another myth holds that the “gunboat diplomacy” of the turn of the century was a heroic libertarian action in defense of the property rights of Western investors in backward countries. Aside from our above strictures against going beyond any State’s monopolized land area, it is overlooked that the bulk of gunboat moves were in defense, not of private investments, but of Western holders of government bonds. The Western powers coerced the smaller governments into increasing tax aggression on their own people, in order to pay off foreign bondholders. By no stretch of the imagination was this an action on behalf of private property – quite the contrary.

12 The Tolstoyan wing of the libertarian movement could urge the Western Ruritaniansto engage in nonviolent revolution, for example, tax strikes, boycotts, mass refusal to obey government orders or a general strike – especially in arms factories. Cf. the work of the revolutionary Tolstoyan, Bartelemy De Ligt, The Conquest of Violence: An Essay On War and Revolution (New York: Dutton, 1938).

13 See Randolph Bourne, “Unfinished Fragment on the State,” in Untimely Papers (New York: B.W: Huebsch, 1919).

14 To the old militarist taunt hurled against the pacifist: “Would you use force to prevent the rape of your sister?” the proper retort is: “Would you rape your sister if ordered to do so by your commanding officer?”

Murray N. Rothbard (1926–1995), the founder of modern libertarianism and the dean of the Austrian School of economics, was the author of The Ethics of Liberty and For a New Liberty and many other books and articles. He was also academic vice president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and the Center for Libertarian Studies, and the editor – with Lew Rockwell – of The Rothbard-Rockwell Report.

Copyright © 1963 by Murray N. Rothbard.
Copyright © 2003 by the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
All rights reserved.

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In public administration, there is no connection

between revenue and expenditure … there is no

market price for achievements.”

Ludwig von Mises

My Plan is to post a section or two at a time of this essay over several days.

If you prefer the whole thing it is available as a PDF download here.-Editor

What the State Is Not

The State is almost universally considered an institution of social service. Some theorists venerate the State as the apotheosis of society; others regard it as an amiable, though often inefficient, organization for achieving social ends; but almost all regard it as a necessary means for achieving the goals of mankind, a means to be ranged against the “private sector” and often winning in this competition of resources. With the rise of democracy, the identification of the State with society has been redoubled, until it is common to hear sentiments expressed which violate virtually every tenet of reason and common sense such as, “we are the government.” The useful collective term “we” has enabled an ideological camouflage to be thrown over the reality of political life. If “we are the government,” then anything a government does to an individual is not only just and untyrannical but also “voluntary” on the part of the individual concerned. If the government has incurred a huge public debt which must be paid by taxing one group for the benefit of another, this reality of burden is obscured by saying that “we owe it to ourselves”; if the government conscripts a man, or throws him into jail for dissident opinion, then he is “doing it to himself” and, therefore, nothing untoward has occurred. Under this reasoning, any Jews murdered by the Nazi government were not murdered; instead, they must have “committed suicide,” since they were the government (which was democratically chosen), and, therefore, anything the government did to them was voluntary on their part. One would not think it necessary to belabor this point, and yet the overwhelming bulk of the people hold this fallacy to a greater or lesser degree.

We must, therefore, emphasize that “we” are not the government; the government is not “us.” The government does not in any accurate sense “represent” the majority of the people.[1] But, even if it did, even if 70 percent of the people decided to murder the remaining 30 percent, this would still be murder and would not be voluntary suicide on the part of the slaughtered minority.[2] No organicist metaphor, no irrelevant bromide that “we are all part of one another,” must be permitted to obscure this basic fact.

If, then, the State is not “us,” if it is not “the human family” getting together to decide mutual problems, if it is not a lodge meeting or country club, what is it? Briefly, the State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion. While other individuals or institutions obtain their income by production of goods and services and by the peaceful and voluntary sale of these goods and services to others, the State obtains its revenue by the use of compulsion; that is, by the use and the threat of the jailhouse and the bayonet.[3] Having used force and violence to obtain its revenue, the State generally goes on to regulate and dictate the other actions of its individual subjects. One would think that simple observation of all States through history and over the globe would be proof enough of this assertion; but the miasma of myth has lain so long over State activity that elaboration is necessary.

* Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays by Murray N. Rothbard (Auburn: Mises Institute, 2000 [1974]), pp. 55-88.

[1] We cannot, in this chapter, develop the many problems and fallacies of “democracy.” Suffice it to say here that an individual’s true agent or “representative” is always subject to that individual’s orders, can be dismissed at any time and cannot act contrary to the interests or wishes of his principal. Clearly, the “representative” in a democracy can never fulfill such agency functions, the only ones consonant with a libertarian society.

[2] Social democrats often retort that democracy?majority choice of rulers?logically implies that the majority must leave certain freedoms to the minority, for the minority might one day become the majority. Apart from other flaws, this argument obviously does not hold where the minority cannot become the majority, for example, when the minority is of a different racial or ethnic group from the majority.

[3] Joseph A. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (New York: Harper and Bros., 1942), p. 198.

The friction or antagonism between the private and the public sphere was intensified from the first by the fact that . . . the State has been living on a revenue which was being produced in the private sphere for private purposes and had to be deflected from these purposes by political force. The theory which construes taxes on the analogy of club dues or of the purchase of the service of, say, a doctor only proves how far removed this part of the social sciences is from scientific habits of mind.

Also see Murray N. Rothbard, “The Fallacy of the ‘Public Sector,”‘ New Individualist Review (Summer, 1961): 3ff.


Wesley Snipes Cleared of Serious Tax Charges

David Cay Johnston

The New York Times
February 2, 2008

A federal jury returned a mixed verdict against the actor Wesley Snipes on Friday, acquitting him of the most serious tax charges he faced, but convicting him on three of six lesser charges. The case was the most prominent tax prosecution since the billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley was convicted of tax fraud in 1989.

Mr. Snipes, who has built a worldwide following acting in films like the “Blade” vampire trilogy, must pay up to $17 million in back taxes plus penalties and interest.

He had become an unlikely public face for the tax denier movement, whose members maintain that Americans are not obligated to pay income taxes and that the government extracts taxes from its citizens illegally.

The jury found Mr. Snipes not guilty on two felony charges of fraud and conspiracy. He was also acquitted on three misdemeanor charges of failing to file tax returns or to pay taxes from 2002 to 2004. But the jury found him guilty of failing to file returns or pay taxes from 1999 through 2001. He faces up to three years in prison. If convicted of the felonies, he would have faced up to 16 years.

JJ MacNab, a Maryland insurance analyst who attended the trial and is writing a book about tax deniers, said “the verdict shows that promoters face serious jail time” but clients who follow their advice will face a lesser but still serious risk of imprisonment.

Mr. Snipes’s two co-defendants — Eddie Ray Kahn, a promoter of tax denial, and Douglas Rosile, a former accountant — were convicted on the fraud and conspiracy charges.

It was the fourth major case in which the Justice Department failed to win convictions in cases against prominent tax deniers. The verdict drew whoops of joy outside the federal courthouse here from fellow tax deniers who immediately proclaimed it another victory that would draw more people to their cause.

The courts have declared the tax denier arguments are frivolous. Even Mr. Snipes’s defense lawyers, who called the denier claims “dead wrong” in their closing arguments to the jury, reiterated that statement after the verdict.

Mr. Snipes will pay all of his income taxes plus penalties and interest, said Robert E. Barnes and Robert G. Bernhoft, who defended him.

“He will make full amends and pay everything,” Mr. Barnes said.

Mr. Bernhoft said Congress should repeal criminal tax laws and treat tax evasion as a civil matter.

Robert E. O’Neill, the United States attorney here, said current law “is entirely subjective” on criminal intent because juries must decide whether a defendant “sincerely believes” he was not required to pay taxes.

The Justice Department has told Congress there is no need to revise the tax laws on intent. But when Mr. O’Neill was asked whether the laws should be changed, he said, “Absolutely.”

The defense, prosecution and Ms. MacNab all said the verdict showed that the jury recognized the promoters as criminals and saw Mr. Snipes as their victim. They also agreed that the reason the jury acquitted Mr. Snipes of not filing his tax returns in 2002 through 2004 was because he had been told he was the target of a criminal investigation and jurors believed that he was exercising his right to remain silent. The jury convicted him of failing to file his tax returns before he knew was a suspect.

Even as Congress has reduced income tax rates, the tax denier movement has spread, fueled by high payroll taxes, political attacks on the Internal Revenue Service and anger among people who have not benefited from strong overall economic growth.

Instead of prosecuting all offenders, the Justice Department brings cases against well-known individuals, hoping that widespread news coverage will encourage compliance, a policy known as general deterrence. The Snipes prosecution, like the three earlier cases that resulted in full acquittals, appears to have backfired.

The Justice Department has for months declined requests to provide an official who would discuss its tax prosecution policies on the record.

Tax deniers assert variously that the tax laws are valid but do not apply to them, that no law makes anyone liable for taxes and that the government tricks people into paying. Promoters of tax denial claim that people can legally stop paying income taxes by executing certain documents, or by not signing others, like tax returns. Courts have rejected all these arguments.

Mr. Snipes, 45, was indicted in October 2006 for filing a false claim for a $7 million refund (of taxes paid in 1997, before he stoped paying taxes), and conspiracy with his two co-defendants to defraud the government through that claim, which was not paid.

Since 1986, Mr. Snipes has appeared in more than 50 films, earning at least $103 million, court papers showed, including more than $58 million in the years covered by the indictment, 1999 through 2004.

Mr. Snipes has built a huge following, especially overseas, with his portrayals of intrepid detectives and fearless vampire slayers and his occasional comedic roles. In addition to the “Blade” series, he starred in movies like the action film “Drop Zone,” the political intrigue “The Art of War,” and, with Sean Connery, the corporate crime thriller “Rising Sun.”

The defense rested on Monday without calling any witnesses. Mr. Snipes declined to answer questions outside the courthouse on Friday, where a gaggle of reporters was surrounded by dozens of fans from this central Florida city.

In closing arguments on Tuesday, lawyers for Mr. Snipes sought to portray him as a well-intended victim of bad advice by his co-defendants. They called his tax theories “kooky” and “crazy,” but said acting on these views did not make him a criminal because he disclosed his actions.

The Supreme Court has ruled that tax deniers can demonstrate the absence of criminal intent by asserting that they “sincerely believe” that they are not required to pay taxes, although they cannot escape the levies.

Prosecutors argued that Mr. Snipes showed criminal intent when he sent the government three bogus checks to pay $14 million in taxes and an amended tax return that was subtly altered with software to insert the word “no” before “penalty of perjury.”

Defense lawyers said Mr. Snipes did not file tax returns after his indictment because the I.R.S., by making him the target of a criminal investigation, “forced” him to exercise his right to remain silent.

After his indictment, however, Mr. Snipes sent the government a series of rambling letters describing his tax theories and warning that “pursuit of such a high-profile target will open the door to your increased collateral risk.”

Mr. O’Neill, the lead prosecutor, called the filings “gibberish” whose purpose was to thwart law enforcement.

In one 600-page document, Mr. Snipes said he was legally a “nontaxpayer” and the tax laws did not apply to him because he was not a resident of the District of Columbia, was not a federal official and was not engaged in any trade or business, all common tax denier arguments.

Mr. Snipes also complained that the I.R.S. violated his 14th Amendment rights to equal protection because it would not help him establish what he said was his rightful status as a legal nontaxpayer.

Mr. Snipes joined the tax denier movement after becoming upset when told that his 1999 income tax would be more than $2 million, Carmen Baker, his former assistant, testified.

A mutual acquaintance introduced Mr. Snipes to one of his co-defendants, Mr. Kahn. Mr. Kahn operated a Christian ministry, the Guiding Light of God Ministries, and a central Florida company called the American Rights Litigators that helped tax deniers avoid paying.

Mr. Kahn, who was imprisoned for tax crimes in 1985 to 1987, fled to Panama after the 2006 indictment. He was extradited to stand trial on the latest charges but refused to attend the proceedings, remaining in his jail cell, after telling Judge William T. Hodges that the court had no authority over him.

Mr. Snipes and Mr. Rosile are free on bail.

Original Article

Christians for Cannabis

 by Richard Jones

 In waging the Drug War we are arresting and imprisoning the adult sons and daughters that the Drug War is supposed to be protecting, and in the process we are creating legions of socially dysfunctional outcasts whom we will have to deal with in the future.

Most Christians believe the future holds a kingdom ruled by God, a theocracy where the holy will of God is the law of the land and the desire of peoples’ hearts. But how are Christians to live in the meantime? We want people to live rightly and in harmony with each another, but can we, or better yet, should we use force of law to compel everyone to live according to God’s standards? While we should personally live by God’s standards and share His love with others, we cannot and should not compel everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike to live according to Christian principles. Jesus did not force others to follow His ways. He did as He wants us to do — live our beliefs.

 Whose Dogma Would We Use?

Even if we were to impose a Christian moral standard for living in America today, whose doctrine would we apply? By some Christians’ standards eating pork would be illegal. With some persuasions grape juice is OK, but wine is wrong; with certain churches women in pants would be a crime. With some sects even electricity is off limits. So to what moral standard do we look? Since the Kingdom of God does not yet rule on earth with Christ Himself to show us the way, we must allow our earthly government to be the foundation of our law. That raises the questions by what moral authority do we the people allow the government to rule? and how should our government rule?. Our founding fathers recognized man as Gods highest creation and as such they set the standard in our United States Constitution, an instrument of maximum personal freedom with restrictions intended to prevent government’s undue interference in its citizens’ lives. The government standard of morality then is one of personal freedom with protection from others who may wish to restrict our freedom or cause us harm.

Our government should allow us the freedom to achieve success in our personal and professional lives, and prevent disruption of our lives by those who may hamper our quest for fulfillment, or who thrive by taking our means of livelihood. In other words, we should be free to live our lives according to our own standards, free from others who want to hurt us or steal or destroy our property. In that way we can live our lives as Christians, and allow others to live as they see fit — as long as they don’t limit our life, liberty or pursuit of happiness.

The War On People Who Use Drugs

The US Government’s War on Drugs started with good intentions, namely: to save people, particularly our children, from the damage that can be caused by the misuse of some drugs. While that is a noble cause, the ends don’t justify the means — in fact the means don’t even achieve the desired ends. More damage and death are caused by the war waged on people, in the name of the War on Drugs, than could ever be caused by the use or abuse of drugs alone.

Many families are broken and lives destroyed not because of the effects of drug use, but because of harsh laws attempting to govern possession of banned drugs, and the unintended outcomes that result from those laws. The laws against drugs are founded on the erroneous assumption that all drug use is harmful. In fact cannabis has been found to be extremely safe. In 1988 after two years of exhaustive hearings into scientific research the US Drug Enforcement Agency’s own administrative law judge, Francis Young, found that marijuana is one of the safest therapeutic substances known to man. Even aspirin kills people, yet there is no known lethal dose of cannabis for humans. Researchers have found cannabis to be less addictive than caffeine, if considered addictive at all. This is not to say that people cant have problems with drug abuse, but why compound their problems by creating artificial consequences? As Dr. Andrew Weil put it, “There are no good or bad drugs; there are only good or bad relationships with drugs.”

Even if we take all the rhetoric over drugs’ dangers at face value, the adults who use cannabis are committing a consensual act and are at worst harming only themselves, not society at large, and should be held accountable for their actions (as everyone should be), but otherwise left alone. People who abuse drugs may have or cause domestic troubles, social dilemmas and/or health problems, but we should reach out with solutions — as we now do for people who have problems with alcohol — we should not create legal obstacles for them to contend with as well. In waging the Drug War we are arresting and imprisoning the adult sons and daughters that the Drug War is supposed to be protecting, and in the process we are creating legions of socially dysfunctional outcasts whom we will have to deal with in the future.

The Price We Pay

The Drug War has cost Americans the erosion of their Constitutional rights, almost one trillion tax dollars, over 100 million man-years wasted in the free world’s largest prison system, and has corrupted law enforcement (which used to be called peace keeping) by creating outrageous profits to tempt bad cops on the one hand, and by providing a financial incentive to keep the Drug War an ongoing, never-ending effort by swelling police budgets with asset forfeiture on the other hand — with nothing to show in return. Today drugs are cheaper, purer and easier to get than at any time in history. Teenagers comprise the fastest growing heroin population in America today, and in a recent survey high-school students revealed that it was easier for them to get cannabis than alcohol.

Taking Control

Under the current Controlled Substances Act we actually have little or no control of prohibited drugs. We have in effect turned over control to the completely unregulated black market, an underground enterprise with no safety codes or age restrictions, whose operators disregard all laws except survival of the strongest. We could drive much of the black market out of business almost overnight if we would regulate cannabis, imposing strict controls as we now do with alcohol. That would remove the financial incentive from the street dealers and place it into the hands of licensed business people, who would strive to stay within the law to remain in business. One requirement of the law would be that cannabis retailers could not sell cocaine or heroin, something we cannot presently prevent. The market would then move above ground and assume at least as much respectability as the alcohol industry — and as we don’t have the Jack Daniels distillery eliminating the competition with guns and bombs or Anheuser-Busch recruiting teens to actively market its products to our kids, that would be a vast improvement. We will actually gain control as well as gain a source of revenue to fund constructive programs if we regulate and tax cannabis.

The Rights Of A Free People

Modern American drug policy has not been a deterrent to drug use, but it has been counterproductive and hypocritical in many ways and millions of people are simply refusing to obey the drug laws. There are legal principles that support those who ignore drug laws. The decision in Maybury vs. Madison (1803) is clear enough. Chief Justice Marshall wrote: “All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.” Also, according to 16 Am Jur 2d, Sec 177 & 178: “An unconstitutional statute, having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void and ineffective for any purpose… No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional statute and no courts are bound to enforce it… .

Although you will not hear it in any courtroom today Americans have the right, even the duty, to acquit a person even if he acted as charged, if the underlying law is unconstitutional. Our founding fathers knew this. In fact the constitutions of early states such as Maryland specifically mention that jurors must be allowed to decide the law as well as the facts of the case before them. Our freedom of the press was established in just such a case. We have inalienable rights that no court should attempt to violate.

Conscience Objectors to the War on Drugs

Christians of course may reject cannabis use for themselves and oppose its use for others. But we should use the same methods of education and social disapproval that has led to a reduction in teen smoking, without our having to resort to arresting any responsible adult smokers.

As a matter of conscience Christians should demand an end to the massively destructive and inhumane Drug War. We should insist on an effective drug strategy. Our nation requires a rational drug policy based on science and compassion rather than one based on hysteria and punishment. We deserve a truthful drug education program to help keep our children from using drugs and limit the damage caused to them if they disregard the warnings — as many kids do — so we can keep them alive until they grow into a better understanding of the consequences of drug use. We need voluntary treatment, available on demand, for drug addicts and those who come to realize they have a drug abuse problem and cannot quit on their own.

If we channel the billions upon billions of dollars we spend on the Drug War each year into constructive programs coupled with practical drug policy we could actually accomplish the goals of reducing the death and destruction caused by the misuse of drugs — and by our current War on Drugs.

PAUL: Champion of the Constitution

Sunday, January 27, 2008 240108rpaul.jpg


Murray Sabrin is a professor of finance at Ramapo College in Mahwah and a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey.

TWO HUNDRED years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, a Republican physician from Texas was chosen by the voters in his district to head to Congress in a special election. Of course, 1976 was a presidential year, and incumbent President Gerald Ford was actively working to shore up support from the Republican Party to earn the party’s nomination for a new term.

So Ford called this freshman congressman into the Oval Office, congratulated him on his victory in the special election and then asked the young doctor for his support in the Republican presidential primary.

“I’m sorry, Mr. President,” said the man in 1976, “but I cannot support you. I am backing Ronald Reagan.”

That courageous man was Ron Paul, and now, 32 years later, he himself is seeking the Republican nomination for president of the United States. And the platform on which Paul is running would make Ronald Reagan proud, because it represents a return to the limited government principles that made the Republican Party great, and can make it successful again.

Paul calls himself a “champion of the Constitution.” His record in Washington, where his votes against runaway federal government spending have earned him the nickname “Dr. No,” shows that he is more an heir to the legacy of Reagan than any other candidate running for president.

Quite simply, Paul does not equivocate on the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. He forcefully rejected the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform package, which trampled on our political free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. He has been one of the most strident advocates of Americans’ Second Amendment gun rights and a steadfast defender of the Fourth Amendment, voting against the depredations of the American people’s privacy by the federal government.

Paul has also been the most vocal critic in Congress of the Federal Reserve’s “legalized counterfeiting.” Since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, the U.S. dollar has lost more than 90 percent of its purchasing power. And since 1971, when President Nixon ended the last link between the dollar and gold, the U.S. dollar has lost about 80 percent of its value.

To some, that may sound like complicated economic theory. But it’s actually quite simple. When we live beyond our means as a nation, we must borrow money from others to make ends meet. When we can’t borrow any more, and our government lacks the courage to cut spending, we have no choice but to just print more money.

Sooner or later, this causes the price of goods to increase, especially imports, and the middle class will be squeezed.

President Paul will not allow that to happen.

Paul served this country for five years in the Air Force during the Cold War. So he is strongly attuned to the need for a formidable national defense. That is why he voted in favor of invading Afghanistan in 2001, in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, and why he wants all terrorists brought to justice.

He will never compromise the integrity of America’s borders, and has taken a hard line against illegal immigration, calling for an end to benefits for those who enter this country illegally.

Paul believes that if we continue to subsidize illegal immigration, we will invariably get more of it.

So if you miss the principles of Reagan that made the Republican Party so strong, and you believe that we need a president who will restore the federal government to its constitutional size, then Paul is the only choice.

He backed Reagan in 1976 because he foresaw the great legacy in advance – America prospers when government gets out of the way and allows the wealth and talents of the American people to flourish. Ron Paul is the only Republican who has recaptured that spirit, and that is why he is our best hope for president.

 From the Ron Paul War Room

The IRS Gripes Snipes

By JohnnieAysgarth | January 30, 2008

After being indicted over a year ago, Wesley Snipes had his day in court. Literally a day. After speculation about what celebrities were going to arrive in Florida for his trial on Monday, the defense team rested, calling no witnesses.The trial has been short, and greatly overlooked by the MSM and the alternative media, which is interesting because, last week there were reports about a 600 page letter that Snipes allegedly wrote after being indicted. Since then the truth has become more clear, the letter was actually 28 pages with a 600 page attachment, including the book,AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE MEANING OF THE TERM ‘UNITED STATES.’ In the letter Snipes is reported as saying that he had “no ill intent,” but clearly felt that the IRS did, “The IRS deceives people to ‘terrorize, enslave, rape or pillage’ taxpayers.”

But the letter reveals much more, he claims that his name is not WESLEY TRENT SNIPES, but it is Wesley Trent Snipes. He even stated that he has no SS number and no tax ID number, these moves are foreign to most, but to some it is the biggest leap towards freedom that any man could make, and it is likely the reason that this trial is has been ignored.

People are fighting the system by dropping out of it. When our names appear in all caps, it is not actually our name, but a government created corporation cleverly disguised to resemble our names. We all participate in this illusion, like when we accept credit cards and State issed ID, but Wesley Snipes seems to have stopped participating and that became unacceptable to the IRS.

On Tuesday the court heard the closing arguments, and Wednesday a jury will decide if Snipes is guilty of the six counts of failing to file tax returns, two of fraudulently claiming tax refunds and one of conspiracy to defraud the government. He is facing sixteen years in prison.The most interesting comments yesterday came from Snipes in a People magazine article,

When asked if he plans on paying his taxes when the trial is over, Snipes told PEOPLE he remains confused as to what the IRS wants of him.”I’ve always been paying my taxes and I’ve always been trying to comply,” he says. “This question is, did they tell you what you’re supposed to do to comply? We should be able to go to our government and get clear answers.”

Previously Related Post

Wesley Snipes, A True Patriot, Taking On The NWO

Good Luck Snipes.

Original Article: 

 From Huffpost’s “off the bus”

 James Freedman

 Posted January 23, 2008 | 01:43 AM (EST)

Ron Paul’s libertarian ideology is dramatically revealed when you get him started on topics such as the War on Drugs, the FDA and forced immunization that draw on his background in medicine. Paul, a ten-term member of Congress who’s hoping to pick up the Republican nomination for president, feels strongly that the federal government, in most cases, shouldn’t be telling Americans what they can and cannot put into their bodies.

“I don’t think anything should be forced on us by the government, [and] immunization is one thing that we’re pressured and forced into,” he said. “The other thing they’re doing right now is the government’s doing this mental health testing of everybody in school and they’re putting a lot of pressure, in a way forcing kids to be put on psychotropic drugs, which I think are very, very dangerous. So anything medical that is forced on us I think is bad.”

What if a dangerous disease was spreading like wildfire? Would Paul cave and require immunization in such a dire situation?

“No, I wouldn’t do it, because the person who doesn’t take the shot is the one at risk…” he said. “A responsible parent is going to say, ‘Yeah, I want my child to have that,’ [but] when the government makes a mistake, they make it for everybody. You know, that’s what worries me. They don’t always come up with the perfect answer sometimes… and people have had some very, very serious reactions from these immunizations.”

Just as Paul wants to limit what Americans are forced to put in their bodies, he also wants to restrict the federal government’s dictates of what Americans are allowed to consume.

“I want the [federal] government to stay out of it,” he said. “I don’t think the federal government should be enforcing laws against the use of marijuana in states like California, where it’s been legalized for medical use… I just think the states should regulate it.”

Paul compared the War on Drugs to the long-ago repealed Eighteenth Amendment banning the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the United States.

“I think the prohibition of drugs and the War on Drugs has been every bit as detrimental as the prohibition of alcohol,” he said. “We probably have more danger in our prescription drugs and more addiction from those drugs–there’s a great deal of harm.”

He added: “If we accept this notion that the federal government is going to dictate what we can put into our bodies, then it leads to the next step: that the government is going to regulate everything that is supposedly good for us. That’s where they are. They have an FDA that won’t allow somebody who’s dying to use an experimental drug which might speed up the process of finding out which drugs are good and which drugs are bad and the federal government comes in and dictates that they want complete control over vitamins and nutritional products and I just think the whole principal of government telling us what we can take in or not take in is just a dangerous position to take… it’s related to the drug industry because they’d like to control all of this.”

Although he concedes that some regulation is prudent, the situation under a Paul Administration would be vastly different than where things stand today.

“[When] it comes down to… the use of drugs for kids and other things they have a right to regulate it. They regulate alcohol all the time, not very well but at least they can do it,” he said. “[But] I don’t think you need the federal government sending their policemen out to try to enforce a law that’s virtually unenforceable.”

Paul, who ran for president as a Libertarian in 1988, clearly has a strong desire for change, and has done surprisingly well in caucuses and primaries so far — coming in second in Nevada, for instance. Still, most pundits do not think he’ll get the nomination this time around, either. If that turns out to be the case, would he ever consider running for president again in the future?

“Well, I probably wouldn’t want to run again, but I can’t believe any time in my life I would not want to promote these views, because I’m so firmly convinced that it would be beneficial to all of us,” he said.


America became the greatest, most prosperous nation in human history through low taxes, limited government, personal freedom and a belief in sound money. We need to return to these principles so our economy can thrive again. When enacted, my plan will provide both short-term stimulus and lay the groundwork for long-term prosperity.

Other candidates talk a lot about stimulus packages, but my record stands alone. I have fought for these measures for years as a member of Congress and will make them a top priority as president.

Ron Paul, a 10-term Republican congressman from Texas’s 14th District, is currently the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology. He has been named “Taxpayers’ Best Friend” for 10 consecutive years by the National Taxpayers’ Union. Ron Paul is also the author of several books on monetary policy and economics.

 The Four-Point Plan

  1. Tax Reform: Reduce the tax burden and eliminate taxes that punish investment and savings, including job-killing corporate taxes.
  2. Spending Reform: Eliminate wasteful spending. Reduce overseas commitments. Freeze all non-defense, non-entitlement spending at current levels.
  3. Monetary Policy Reform: Expand openness with the Federal Reserve and require the Fed to televise its meetings. Return value to our money.
  4. Regulatory Reform: Repeal Sarbanes/Oxley regulations that push companies to seek capital outside of US markets. Stop restricting community banks from fostering local economic growth.

Full Article:

Helping Huckaholics Save Themselves Before it is Too Late.  

An Open Letter to Huckabee Supporters in Behalf of Ron Paul

by Bret McAtee 

It’s true.

I admit it. It seems I’m a recovering Huckaholic.

I attended a “Huckabee for President” campaign rally in St. John’s Michigan last Friday Night. Please don’t hold it against me as it was Huckabee who invaded my space and not the case of my going out of my way to swoon over his rock star–like status. My son was competing in a home-school basketball game and the Huckabee campaign decided that the venue would be a great photo op and rally site. Now, I could have decided to just miss the game since it was being converted into an “All ignorant Jesus lovers vote for me” rally but since I am an assistant coach for Anthony’s team I thought I would grin and bear it.

However, since I was forced to be there I do have an observation about those gathered, an observation about Huckabee and a sociological observation regarding social behavior towards those who refuse to drink the kool-aid and who scream loudly that others shouldn’t drink the kool-aid.

First concerning the gathered lemming; I must say it was as if I was transported to a Tom Jones concert of 40 years ago. You know … the type where all the women would throw their undergarments on the stage along with their hotel room keys in hopes that Tom would pick them. The swooning was surreal. Before Huckabee arrived their were announcements on the PA about how the Huckabee staffers were nervous that the crowd would swarm him and pleas that people would show their Christian behavior by letting the candidate approach them and encouragement not to mob the candidate. The people in charge of the campaign kept giving us minute by minute updates on the coming of Huckabee. “Governor Huckabee is 10 minutes out. Governor Huckabee is 5 minutes out. Governor Huckabee is 2 minute out.” And on and on it went. The last time I’ve seen a person tracked this closely with this much excitement was Santa Clause on Christmas Eve. Every time an update was given the 500 souls in the gymnasium would swoon like teenage girls being asked out on their first date. Then we had practice cheering runs. “Let me hear what kind of noise you’re going to make when future President Huckabee shows up.” Louis XVI would have been so fortunate to have such an adoring people as these Huckabee groupies. These people were wetting their pants over getting to be in the same room with a guy that makes Tricky Dick and Slick Willie look like amateurs.

And then when Huckabee arrived it was more of the same. The Huckster’s speech was boiler plate political vapid. There was no there “there.” My 18-year-old daughter characterized it as “bushwah.” And yet people were screaming their lungs out as if Huckabee was serving as the prophet of Allah making pronouncements revealing Allah’s will.

To be honest I was ashamed of myself. Ashamed because despite all my skepticism and cynicism I had underestimated the ability of those who call themselves Christians to be totally deluded. Those 500 people present, most of whom no doubt would label themselves “Christian” have no idea who Mike Huckabee is or what policy he has pursued, and further have no desire to know. It is enough for them that Mike says he is the “Jesus candidate.” I used to think that these people were being manipulated by their Pastors but having spoken to a few Huckabee Pastor types I realize that the fog in the pew is because of the mist in the pulpit. In short, their Pastors are just as deluded as the rank and file. Somehow a lemming avalanche for Huckabee got started and once the avalanche begins no amount of reasoning will thwart its kinetic energy.

I know this because I got snowed over by the avalanche. When it was announced that Huckabee was going to be in St. Johns and when I realized it was the home-schooling organization that I am loosely a part of that was pushing it I sent an e-mail out to those in the home-schooling group simply explaining some of the liberal and statist tendencies of Mike Huckabee and providing links for people to look closer at this wolf in sheep’s clothing. Given the response I received you would have thought that I had committed blasphemy by touching the Lord’s anointed.

So here is the summary of the first observation. People, including Christians, so desperately want heroes that they will turn off rational thought once they decide, for whatever reason, that some person is going to be that hero. Secondly, the Christian community is no different from the non-Christian community when it comes to shallowness, practicing thought by emotion, and sheer unmitigated gullibility.

The observation about Huckabee is that he is slick the same way that Clinton was slick except that he has added a Jesus coating to his slickness. This is my chief reason for disliking Huckabee. It is my estimation that he is cynically using Jesus to get elected. Let’s face it, if it weren’t for Huckabee’s ministerial ties and willingness to invoke Jesus at every turn he would be running neck and neck with Duncan Hunter and be easily dismissed as a center-left moderate Republican (what they call a Social Democrat in Europe). Recently, I am blaming him less and less for this and increasingly I am blaming the “Christian community” for being such willing naifs. Huckabee’s “I am the Bible’s candidate” spiel came out again in the few minutes that he spoke where he appealed to people to help him slay the giants he was facing in the Michigan primary the way that David slew Goliath. This was just more identity politics and more red meat for the Jesus people.

Here is the summary of the second observation. Huckabee will ride this “I love Jesus” train as far as he can. What is unfortunate about it is that he is getting away with what so many ministers in our churches get away with and that is constantly having Jesus on their lips while preaching a theology that is not particularly Christian. The goods are out there on Huckabee in terms of his leftist, statist and non-Christian agenda but Christians just don’t care because it is enough to invoke Jesus.

My final observation is sociological and has reference to the way people treat those who are unwilling to drink the kool-aid. During the 36 hours when all this was unfolding I was told it was inappropriate for me to e-mail people to warn them about Huckabee. My son was told by someone that they “felt sorry for him that he had the father he had,” and the most benign look I seem to get now is one that is quizzical as if somebody is looking at a hunchback cannibal with the remnants of dinner still wedged between his teeth. Like the human body, a community protects itself by attacking foreign elements that it perceives does not belong there. Much of the Christian community has decided that Huckabee is the man and woe unto those who suggest that a vote for Huckabee is a vote which is, in reality, precisely against their best interest.

So yes… I attended a Huckabee rally.

And my worst fears were realized.

                                                                                                                          January 21, 2008

Pastor Bret McAtee [send him mail] writes on and is from Charlotte, Michigan where he dwells with his perfect wife, dazzling children and where he prays daily for Reformation in the West.

Copyright © 2008


Original Article:

By Jeffrey A. Tucker
Posted on 1/21/2008

See if you can spot anything wrong with the following claim, a version of which seems to appear in a book, magazine, or newspaper every few weeks for as long as I’ve been reading public commentary on economic matters:

The dominant idea guiding economic policy in the United States and much of the globe has been that the market is unfailingly wise…. But lately, a striking unease with market forces has entered the conversation. The world confronts problems of staggering complexity and consequence, from a shortage of credit following the mortgage meltdown, to the threat of global warming. Regulation … is suddenly being demanded from unexpected places.

Now, a paragraph like this one printed in the New York Times opinion section on December 30, 2007 — an article called “The Free Market: A False Idol After All?” — makes anyone versed in economic history crazy with frustration. Just about every word is misleading in several ways, and yet some version of this scenario appears as the basis of vast amounts of punditry.

The argument goes like this:
Until now we’ve lived in a world of laissez-faire capitalism, with government and policy intellectuals convinced that the market should rule no matter what. Recent events, however, have underscored the limitations of this dog-eat-dog system, and reveal that simplistic ideology is no match for a complex world. Therefore, government, responding to public demand that something be done, has cautiously decided to reign in greed, force us all to grow up, and see the need for a mixed economy.

All three claims are wrong. We live in the 100th year of a heavily regulated economy; and even 50 years before that, the government was strongly involved in regulating trade.

The planning apparatus established for World War I set wages and prices, monopolized monetary policy in the Federal Reserve, presumed first ownership over all earnings through the income tax, presumed to know how vertically and horizontally integrated businesses ought to be, and prohibited the creation of intergenerational dynasties through the death tax.

That planning apparatus did not disappear but lay dormant temporarily, awaiting FDR, who turned that machinery to all-around planning during the 1930s, the upshot of which was to delay recovery from the 1929 crash until after the war.

Just how draconian the intervention is ebbs and flows from decade to decade, but the reality of the long-term trend is undeniable: more taxes, more regulation, more bureaucracies, more regimentation, more public ownership, and ever less autonomy for private decision-making. The federal budget is nearly $3 trillion per year, which is three times what it was in Reagan’s second term. Just since Bush has been in office, federal intervention in every area of our lives has exploded, from the nationalization of airline security to the heavy regulation of the medical sector to the centralized control of education.

With “free markets” like this, who needs socialism?

Full Article

Washington, DC: The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is once again sponsoring a series of regional summits to encourage middle-school and high school administrators to enact federally sponsored random student drug testing. The 2008 summits mark the fifth consecutive year that the White House is funding the symposiums, which are scheduled to take place this winter in Jacksonville, Florida (January 29), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (January 31), Albuquerque, New Mexico (February 6), and Indianapolis, Indiana (February 13).
“These summits fail to acknowledge the harsh realities of random student drug testing programs,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “These programs are humiliating, expensive failures. They fail to deter students from using drugs and alcohol, and they break down trust between teens and educators.”
According to the results of a two-year prospective study published in the Journal of School Health in November, random drug testing programs that target high school athletes do not reduce self-reported drug use and may encourage behaviors associated with “future substance use.”
Last year the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on School Health resolved, “There is little evidence of the effectiveness of school-based drug testing,” and warned that students subjected to random testing programs may experience “an increase in known risk factors for drug use.” The Academy also warned that school-based drug testing programs could decrease student involvement in extracurricular activities and undermine trust between pupils and educators.  (Full Report)

A 2003 cross-sectional study of national student drug testing programs previously reported, “Drug testing, as practiced in recent years in American secondary schools, does not prevent or inhibit student drug use.”
Since 2005, the US Department of Education has appropriated over $10 million dollars to enact random student drug testing programs in public schools and has sponsored over 20 regional summits.
Free registration to attend any of this year’s summits is available online at:
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at:

The Political and Economic Agenda for

a Real Gold Standard

By Ron Paul  Posted on 1/17/2008                                  

  • Introduction
  • The Political Climate for Reform
  • The Mises Proposal
  • The First Step: Gold Coinage
  • The Transition to a Gold Standard
  • Longer-Term Benefits of Bullion-Weight Coinage
  • Agenda for Monetary Reform
  • Notes
[This paper was originally delivered at the Mises Institute’s 1985 conference on the gold standard. It later appeared as the final chapter in The Gold Standard: Perspectives in the Austrian School.]