Monopoly In Nutritional Advice

Monopoly can not exist in a free market without government intervention (the government being, itself, a monopoly of legal force). Witness how the American Dietetics Association is attempting to gain a government-granted monopoly over nutritional advice counseling by applying for government certification protection through the US Patent Office, courtesy of a Forbes columnist:

The Association document linked above minces no words about its purpose. It opens: “This Backgrounder highlights the significant competitive threat Registered Dietitians. . . face in the provision of various dietetic and nutrition services. . . . We must be aware that existing legal and regulatory constraints on practice are unlikely to prevent robust, broad competition in these growth areas.” [Emphasis added.]

A conspiracy to prevent you from accessing alternative viewpoints on nutrition in the name of preventing competition and artificially raising prices. In other words, the ADA /AND is trying to keep you fat to keep its members’ wallets fat.

All Hail Democracy! The Idiot King Of Our Time

The intelligent, real-world inner-workings of the United States’ beloved socio-political experiment, from investor Jeff Matthews:

I once got a call from a Congressperson-friend on a financial sub-committee before the crisis when they were debating something to do with Wall Street.  The conversation literally—literally—went like this:

“I’m going into a session…now, remind me, ‘fixed income’ is what?”  “Debt.”  “Okay.  And equity is…” “Stocks.”  “Right, okay, thanks.”
I am not making that up.

Maybe the people passing laws about things they don’t understand can pass a law preventing themselves from passing laws about things they don’t understand?

Anyone want to take odds on that bet?

If you’re pro-democracy, you have to contend with this kind of stuff as a real-world consequence of the system you prefer.

What Would Happen If We All Quit Voting? Frank Chodorov Imagines

Note: I found this in my old accumulated notes and had it labeled as “abridged”. I am not sure if it is abridged or not, and if I did the abridging or someone else. A link to the full, original article can be found at LewRockwell.com, which is probably where I originally found it.

If We Quit Voting by Frank Chodorov, July 1945, abridged

The theory of government by elected representatives is that these fellows are hired by the voting citizenry to take care of all matters relating to their common interests. However, it is different from ordinary employment in that the representative is not under specific orders, but is given blanket authority to do what he believes desirable for the public welfare in any and all circumstances, subject to constitutional limitations. In all matters relating to public affairs the will of the individual is transferred to the elected agent, whose responsibility is commensurate with the power thus invested in him.

It is this transference of power from voter to elected agents that is the crux of republicanism. The transference is well-nigh absolute. Even the constitutional limitations are not so in fact, since they can be circumvented by legal devices in the hands of the agents. Except for the tenuous process of impeachment, the mandate is irrevocable. For the abuse or misuse of the mandate the only recourse left to the principals, the people, is to oust the agents at the next election. But when we oust the rascals, do we not, as a matter of course, invite a new crowd? It all adds up to the fact that by voting them out of power, the people put the running of their community life into the hands of a separate group, upon whose wisdom and integrity the fate of the community rests.

All this would change if we quit voting. Such abstinence would be tantamount to this notice to politicians: since we as individuals have decided to look after our affairs, your services are no longer needed.

There is some warrant for the belief that a better social order would ensue when the individual is responsible for it and, therefore, responsive to its needs. He no longer has the law or the lawmakers to cover his sins of omission; need of the neighbors’ good opinion will be sufficient compulsion for jury duty and no loopholes in a draft law, no recourse to “political pull” will be possible when danger to his community calls him to arms. In his private affairs, the now-sovereign individual will have to meet the dictum of the marketplace: produce or you do not eat; no law will help you. In his public behavior he must be decent or suffer the sentence of social ostracism, with no recourse to legal exoneration. From a law-abiding citizen he will be transmuted into a self-respecting man.

Would chaos result? No, there would be order, without law to disturb it.

But, let us define chaos. Is it not disharmony resulting from social friction? When we trace social friction to its source do we not find that it seminates in a feeling of unwarranted hurt, or injustice? Then chaos is a social condition in which injustice obtains. Now, when one man may take, by law, what another man has put his labor into, we have injustice of the keenest kind, for the denial of a man’s right to possess and enjoy what he produces is akin to a denial of life. Yet the power to confiscate property is the first business of politics. We see how this is so in the matter of taxation; but greater by far is the amount of property confiscated by monopolies, all of which are founded in law.

While this economic basis of injustice has been lost in our adjustment to it, the resulting friction is quite evident. Most of us are poor in spite of our constant effort and known ability to produce an abundance; the incongruity is aggravated by a feeling of hopelessness. But the keenest hurt arises from the thought that the wealth we see about us is somehow ours by right of labor, but is not ours by right of law. Resentment, intensified by bewilderment, stirs up a reckless urge to do something about it. We demand justice; we have friction. We have strikes and crimes and bankruptcy and mental unbalances. And we cheat our neighbors, and each seeks for himself a legal privilege to live by another’s labor. And we have war. Is this a condition of harmony or of chaos?

So, if we should quit voting for parties and candidates, we would individually reassume responsibility for our acts and, therefore, responsibility for the common good. There would be no way of dodging the verdict of the marketplace; we would take back only in proportion to our contribution. Any attempt to profit at the expense of a neighbor or the community would be quickly spotted and as quickly squelched, for everybody would recognize a threat to himself in the slightest indulgence of injustice. Since nobody would have the power to enforce monopoly conditions, none would obtain. Order would be maintained by the rules of existence, the natural laws of economics.

That is, if the politicians would permit themselves to be thus ousted from their positions of power and privilege.

I doubt it.

Remember that the proposal to quit voting is basically revolutionary; it amounts to a shifting of power from one group to another, which is the essence of revolution. As soon as the nonvoting movement got up steam, the politicians would most assuredly start a counterrevolution. Measures to enforce voting would be instituted; fines would be imposed for violations, and prison sentences would be meted out to repeaters.

It is a necessity for political power, no matter how gained, to have the moral support of public approval, and suffrage is the most efficient scheme for registering it; notice how Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin insisted on having ballots cast. In any republican government, even ours, only a fraction of the populace votes for the successful candidate, but that fraction is quantitatively impressive; it is this appearance of overwhelming sanction that supports him in the exercise of political power. Without it he would be lost.

Propaganda, too, would bombard this passive resistance to statism; not only that put out by the politicians of all parties — the coalition would be as complete as it would be spontaneous — but also the more effective kind emanating from seemingly disinterested sources. All the monopolists, all the coupon-clipping foundations, all the tax-exempt eleemosynary institutions — in short, all the “respectables” — would join in a howling defense of the status quo.

We would be told most emphatically that unless we keep on voting away our power to responsible persons, it would be grabbed by irresponsible ones; tyranny would result.

But the argument is rather specious in the light of the fact that every election is a seizure of power. The balloting system has been defined as a battle between opposing forces, each armed with proposals for the public good, for a grant of power to put these proposals into practice. As far as it goes, this definition is correct; but when the successful contestant acquires the grant of power toward what end does he use it — not theoretically but practically? Does he not, with an eye to the next campaign, and with the citizens’ money, go in for purchasing support from pressure groups? Whether it is by catering to a monopoly interest whose campaign contribution is necessary to his purpose, or to a privilege-seeking labor group, or to a hungry army of unemployed or of veterans, the over-the-barrel method of seizing and maintaining political power is standard practice.

This is not, however, an indictment of our election system. It is rather a description of our adjustment to conquest. Going back to beginnings — although the process is still in vogue, as in Manchuria, or more recently in the Baltic states — when a band of freebooters developed an appetite for other people’s property they went after it with vim and vigor. Repeated visitations of this nature left the victims breathless, if not lifeless, and propertyless to boot. So, as men do when they have no other choice, they made a compromise. They hired one gang of thieves to protect them from other gangs, and in time the price paid for such protection came to be known as taxation. The tax gatherers settled down in the conquered communities, possibly to make collections certain and regular, and as the years rolled on a blend of cultures and of bloods made of the two classes one nation. But the system of taxation remained after it had lost its original significance; lawyers and professors of economics, by deft circumlocution, turned tribute into “fiscal policy” and clothed it with social good.

Nevertheless, the social effect of the system was to keep the citizenry divided into two economic groups: payers and receivers. Those who lived without producing became traditionalized as “servants of the people,” and thus gained ideological support. They further entrenched themselves by acquiring sub-tax-collecting allies; that is, some of their group became landowners, whose collection of rent rested on the law-enforcement powers of the ruling clique, and others were granted subsidies, tariffs, franchises, patent rights, monopoly privileges of one sort or another. This division of spoils between those who wield power and those whose privileges depend on it is succinctly described in the expression, “the state within the state.”

Thus, when we trace our political system to its origin, we come to conquest. Tradition, law, and custom have obscured its true nature, but no metamorphosis has taken place; its claws and fangs are still sharp, its appetite as voracious as ever. In the light of history it is not a figure of speech to define politics as the art of seizing power; and its present purpose, as of old, is economic.

There is no doubt that men of high purpose will always give of their talents for the common welfare, with no thought of recompense other than the goodwill of the community. But so long as our taxation system remains, so long as the political means for acquiring economic goods is available, just so long will the spirit of conquest assert itself; for men always seek to satisfy their desires with the least effort. It is interesting to speculate on the kind of campaigns and the type of candidates we would have if taxation were abolished and if, also, the power to dispense privilege vanished. Who would run for office if there were “nothing in it”?

Why should a self-respecting citizen endorse an institution grounded in thievery? For that is what one does when one votes. If it be argued that we must let bygones be bygones, see what we can do toward cleaning up the institution so that it can be used for the maintenance of an orderly existence, the answer is that it cannot be done; we have been voting for one “good government” after another, and what have we got? Perhaps the silliest argument, and yet the one invariably advanced when this succession of failures is pointed out, is that “we must choose the lesser of two evils.” Under what compulsion are we to make such a choice? Why not pass up both of them?

To effectuate the suggested revolution all that is necessary is to stay away from the polls. Unlike other revolutions, it calls for no organization, no violence, no war fund, no leader to sell it out. In the quiet of his conscience each citizen pledges himself, to himself, not to give moral support to an unmoral institution, and on election day he remains at home. That’s all. I started my revolution 25 years ago and the country is none the worse for it.

Don’t Use These 377 Words Unless You Like Being Spied On And Tailed By Unmarked Cars

Want to end up on the Department of Homeland Security’s watchlist, or the watchlist of other federal “law enforcement” and “security” agencies?

Then simply put any of the following 377 words and phrases in your communications, public or private (don’t worry, they’re monitoring both), via SovereignMan.com:

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Coast Guard (USCG)
Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Border Patrol
Secret Service (USSS)
National Operations Center (NOC)
Homeland Defense
Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Agent
Task Force
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Fusion Center
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
Secure Border Initiative (SBI)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS)
Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS)
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Air Marshal
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
National Guard
Red Cross
United Nations (UN)
Assassination
Attack
Domestic security
Drill
Exercise
Cops
Law enforcement
Authorities
Disaster assistance
Disaster management
DNDO (Domestic Nuclear Detection Office)
National preparedness
Mitigation
Prevention
Response
Recovery
Dirty bomb
Domestic nuclear detection
Emergency management
Emergency response
First responder
Homeland security
Maritime domain awareness (MDA)
National preparedness initiative
Militia Shooting
Shots fired
Evacuation
Deaths
Hostage
Explosion (explosive)
Police
Disaster medical assistance team (DMAT)
Organized crime
Gangs
National security
State of emergency
Security
Breach
Threat
Standoff
SWAT
Screening
Lockdown
Bomb (squad or threat)
Crash
Looting
Riot
Emergency
Landing
Pipe bomb
Incident
Facility
Hazmat
Nuclear
Chemical spill
Suspicious package/device
Toxic
National laboratory
Nuclear facility
Nuclear threat
Cloud
Plume
Radiation
Radioactive
Leak
Biological infection (or event)
Chemical
Chemical burn
Biological
Epidemic
Hazardous
Hazardous material incident
Industrial spill
Infection
Powder (white)
Gas
Spillover
Anthrax
Blister agent
Chemical agent
Exposure
Burn
Nerve agent
Ricin
Sarin
North Korea
Outbreak
Contamination
Exposure
Virus
Evacuation
Bacteria
Recall
Ebola
Food Poisoning
Foot and Mouth (FMD)
H5N1
Avian
Flu
Salmonella
Small Pox
Plague
Human to human
Human to Animal
Influenza
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Drug Administration (FDA)
Public Health
Toxic Agro
Terror Tuberculosis (TB)
Agriculture
Listeria
Symptoms
Mutation
Resistant
Antiviral
Wave
Pandemic
Infection
Water/air borne
Sick
Swine
Pork
Strain
Quarantine
H1N1
Vaccine
Tamiflu
Norvo Virus
Epidemic
World Health Organization (WHO) (and components)
Viral Hemorrhagic Fever
E. Coli
Infrastructure security
Airport
CIKR (Critical Infrastructure & Key Resources)
AMTRAK
Collapse
Computer infrastructure
Communications infrastructure
Telecommunications
Critical infrastructure
National infrastructure
Metro
WMATA
Airplane (and derivatives)
Chemical fire
Subway
BART
MARTA
Port Authority
NBIC (National Biosurveillance Integration Center)
Transportation security
Grid
Power
Smart
Body scanner
Electric
Failure or outage
Black out
Brown out
Port
Dock
Bridge
Cancelled
Delays
Service disruption
Power lines
Drug cartel
Violence
Gang
Drug
Narcotics
Cocaine
Marijuana
Heroin
Border
Mexico
Cartel
Southwest
Juarez
Sinaloa
Tijuana
Torreon
Yuma
Tucson
Decapitated
U.S. Consulate
Consular
El Paso
Fort Hancock
San Diego
Ciudad Juarez
Nogales
Sonora
Colombia
Mara salvatrucha
MS13 or MS-13
Drug war
Mexican army
Methamphetamine
Cartel de Golfo
Gulf Cartel
La Familia
Reynosa
Nuevo Leon
Narcos
Narco banners (Spanish equivalents)
Los Zetas
Shootout
Execution
Gunfight
Trafficking
Kidnap
Calderon
Reyosa
Bust
Tamaulipas
Meth Lab
Drug trade
Illegal immigrants
Smuggling (smugglers)
Matamoros
Michoacana
Guzman
Arellano-Felix
Beltran-Leyva
Barrio Azteca
Artistic Assassins
Mexicles
New Federation
Terrorism
Al Qaeda (all spellings)
Terror
Attack
Iraq
Afghanistan
Iran
Pakistan
Agro
Environmental terrorist
Eco terrorism
Conventional weapon
Target
Weapons grade
Dirty bomb
Enriched
Nuclear
Chemical weapon
Biological weapon
Ammonium nitrate
Improvised explosive device
IED (Improvised Explosive Device)
Abu Sayyaf
Hamas
FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forces Colombia)
IRA (Irish Republican Army)
ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna)
Basque Separatists
Hezbollah
Tamil Tigers
PLF (Palestine Liberation Front)
PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization
Car bomb
Jihad
Taliban
Weapons cache
Suicide bomber
Suicide attack
Suspicious substance
AQAP (AL Qaeda Arabian Peninsula)
AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb)
TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan)
Yemen
Pirates
Extremism
Somalia
Nigeria
Radicals
Al-Shabaab
Home grown
Plot
Nationalist
Recruitment
Fundamentalism
Islamist
Emergency
Hurricane
Tornado
Twister
Tsunami
Earthquake
Tremor
Flood
Storm
Crest
Temblor
Extreme weather
Forest fire
Brush fire
Ice
Stranded/Stuck
Help
Hail
Wildfire
Tsunami Warning Center
Magnitude
Avalanche
Typhoon
Shelter-in-place
Disaster
Snow
Blizzard
Sleet
Mud slide or Mudslide
Erosion
Power outage
Brown out
Warning
Watch
Lightening
Aid
Relief
Closure
Interstate
Burst
Emergency Broadcast System
Cyber security
Botnet
DDOS (dedicated denial of service)
Denial of service
Malware
Virus
Trojan
Keylogger
Cyber Command
2600
Spammer
Phishing
Rootkit
Phreaking
Cain and abel
Brute forcing
Mysql injection
Cyber attack
Cyber terror
Hacker
China
Conficker
Worm
Scammers
Social media

Sometimes it’s hard to know if one should laugh or cry.

The True Principle Of Modern Education Exposed: To Make Us A Means To Others’ Ends

What is the true purpose of public education?

According to a new research study reported in the WSJ, it appears to be all about career-prep:

Can finger-painting, cup-stacking and learning to share set you up for a stellar career?

Research says yes, according to Dr. Celia Ayala, chief executive officer of Los Angeles Universal Preschool, a nonprofit that funds 325 schools in Los Angeles County, Calif., using money from tobacco taxes.

“When they enter kindergarten ready to thrive with all the social, emotional and cognitive skills, they perform at grade level or above,” she said. “When they don’t, that’s where that achievement gap starts.”

Note: don’t ask why money from tobacco taxes is being used to fund preschool research nonprofits.

There’s a lot at stake here– not only does pre-school appear to grant an advantage, but NOT doing appears to confer disadvantages such as increasing the likelihood of becoming a “special needs” student:

Kids without that early boost have been shown to be more likely to get special-needs services, be held back a grade or two, get in trouble with the law and become teen parents. Preschool alumni have a better chance, she said.

Today, a child’s life ends before it even begins:

“Those who go to preschool will go on to university, will have a graduate education, and their income level will radically improve,” she said.

Implication: don’t go to preschool, don’t go to university, don’t get a graduate education, watch your income level stagnate or decline, eventually you’ll probably kill yourself through obesity or suicide in a depressed state of lifetime unaccomplishment.

The article goes on the explain that preschool could hold “the key to job success in adult life” and warns of the sorrows of children who don’t receive an education in preschool because they’re spending time with “parents or caregivers.” Yes, there is nothing being learned there, apparently. Nothing valuable, at least.

But valuable to whom? And for what?

Why, valuable to society, for the purpose of making the child a good little worker! The definition of success is one who works productively for others. The purpose of education is not to develop a society of individuals, but a society of workers.

Or, as one French director of an “ecole maternelle” put it, the object is to give them social skills “to be students and citizens,” a “citizen” being one who obediently does what others ask of him.

Meanwhile, policymakers in the US are big on preschool:

Policymakers in the U.S. are most concerned about eliminating the gap between kids who do well in school, going on to college and successful careers, and those who fall behind. Preschool, say policymakers, offers educators the best shot for getting children of varying backgrounds on equal footing.

There’s a codeword in there– “equal”. Equal means same. Same means, “not different.” But wait, individuals ARE different. They have different likes and dislikes, different skills and aptitudes. How can beings who are inherently different, ever be equal? And why would policymakers care? How does being “equal” help one succeed at living ONE’S OWN life?

Answer– it doesn’t. It isn’t about living one’s life. Sameness, equality, is being sought to create an army of interchangeable cogs to go on society’s wheel. Then, the elites spin the wheel. And round go all the equal people, never asking why.

Don’t worry, though. Policymakers at Department of Education won’t let anyone fail to be equal. They’re “equal” to the task:

“We’re really focusing on the cradle-to-career continuum,” said Steven Hicks, special assistant for early learning at the federal Department of Education, where there has been a recent shift as officials realize “we need to start earlier.”

Once people are in the work force, the Social Security Administration is responsible for the “career-to-grave continuum”. Which means no matter what point in the continuum you’re at during your life, the State is there to help you out, with kid gloves, of course.

Although most education funding happens at the state level, the federal government has been trying to fuel a preschool wave with a half-billion dollars in challenge grants funded in January. The next five states in line will share $133 million in preschool money this year. Call it a pre-job-training program.

Are you starting to get the picture here? You’re being trained from the moment you develop the mental, emotional and conceptual faculties to see yourself as a differentiated “other” in the world, to prepare to work for someone else. This is scary stuff. And it’s all coming in the innocuous guise of “equality” for all.

Most teachers and parents would agree that early-childhood education matters to a child’s trajectory in life. But with budgets stretched around the country, a lack of money is forcing some states to make choices about scarce education dollars. Too bad, the DoE thinks.

“Secretary Duncan says there are smart investments and some things you can do that are not so smart, and one of those is cutting early childhood education,” Hicks said.

To calculating socialists running short on Other People’s Money, future worker bees are like hot dogs from the corner stand– “Get ’em while they’re young!”

This article, intentionally or not, is coincidentally the most timely and blatantly obvious confirmation of Stirner’s false principle of education. Nobody in this article is aiming at an educational system which produces “self-developed” individuals. The name of the game is forming human clay into pre-determined molds appropriate to other people’s ends.

It is distinctly anti-individual. It’s a quiet and brutal form of slavery-as-virtue.

Gary North Pulverizes IRA-based Retirement Investing

Austrian school economic commentator Gary North has written an outstanding take-down of some of the political and financial risks inherent in government-approved IRA retirement savings vehicles. It’s creatively written from the point of view of a CPA counseling his client on why he should use an IRA for tax-reduction retirement planning. But, it’s written sarcastically and shows the naivety of this advice, so it could be a little confusing to read as you have to realize the opposite of what the fictional CPA is saying is what Gary North believes.

I list the major points against investing via an IRA for tax-reduction purposes made by Gary North below:

  1. Free money from Congress
    1. Congress is not looking for ways to save US citizens from their tax burden; historically, they have worked to expand it
    2. There is no incentive for Congress to not change the rules and force you to pay taxes to withdraw your money from your IRA, eventually
    3. The record of Congress is one of repeated duplicitousness, lies and rules-changes, none of which have ever benefitted the average investor
  2. Emotionally locked in
    1. Most people are emotionally locked in to non-Roth IRA plans because they fear paying taxes now and would prefer to push that inevitability into the future
    2. It is unlikely their tax terms will improve with time; Congress raises taxes and fees over time
    3. People have emotionally committed themselves to higher future tax burdens to avoid confronting the reality of their tax burden right now
  3. Price inflation
    1. Investors must contend with constant price inflation caused by the Federal Reserve
    2. Even at 2% inflation per annum, prices double every 35 years
    3. If you begin investing at 30, prices will have doubled by the time you retire at 65; your IRA will have lost half its value
    4. Traditional IRA investment choices, such as major stock market index funds, have yielded negative net returns for the last 12 years
    5. It’s unlikely the average investor can shield himself from inflation within the investment choices available in an IRA
  4. Privacy
    1. Information on IRA holdings must be sent to the IRS every year
    2. Congress and the IRS know exactly what you hold in your IRA
    3. You have no privacy and no secrecy of your investments via an IRA
    4. Congress and the government do not set a good precedent in this regard, as they insist on transparency from investors but lie, cheat and distort the truth on their own behalf
  5. A freeze on IRA accounts
    1. The odds of another crisis, financial or otherwise, are relatively high
    2. The government could use this as a pretext for issuing an executive order to lay claim to IRA assets, or otherwise freeze individuals’ ability to manage them
  6. Gold in an IRA
    1. It is difficult and costly to buy gold in an IRA
    2. Placing gold in an IRA negates part of the benefit of owning gold (privacy)
    3. Typical IRA offerings are managed by graduates and defenders of the current financial and political system, who have proven themselves incompetent on numerous occasions (2007-2009 being the most recent) and who are ignorant of economics and have a vested interest in propping up the current system

I don’t get how anyone could doubt the Austrian school.

David Friedman’s The Machinery Of Freedom, Illustrated

 

 

David Friedman narrates an illustrated look at the world of the private property society, where law and security are provided by voluntary contract and the legal system is pluralistic with trends/incentives toward monolithic standards in areas of major social importance. The source of the material is his book, The Machinery of Freedom.

Do You Know What The NSA’s True Purpose Is?

A friend sent me a chilling article from Wired magazine about a new, gargantuan spy center being built by the NSA in Utah. The article started with this short background on the genesis, and current evolution, of the NSA:

For the NSA, overflowing with tens of billions of dollars in post-9/11 budget awards, the cryptanalysis breakthrough came at a time of explosive growth, in size as well as in power. Established as an arm of the Department of Defense following Pearl Harbor, with the primary purpose of preventing another surprise assault, the NSA suffered a series of humiliations in the post-Cold War years. Caught off guard by an escalating series of terrorist attacks—the first World Trade Center bombing, the blowing up of US embassies in East Africa, the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, and finally the devastation of 9/11—some began questioning the agency’s very reason for being. In response, the NSA has quietly been reborn. And while there is little indication that its actual effectiveness has improved—after all, despite numerous pieces of evidence and intelligence-gathering opportunities, it missed the near-disastrous attempted attacks by the underwear bomber on a flight to Detroit in 2009 and by the car bomber in Times Square in 2010—there is no doubt that it has transformed itself into the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever created.

I want to channel G Edward Griffin a little bit here. Griffin is the author of The Creature From Jekyll Island, and in this book he put forth the notion that if the results of a policy consistently and widely diverge over time from the stated intentions, one has a sound basis upon which to question the stated intentions of the policy being observed.

In “Creature”, Griffin was discussing the Federal Reserve System and its “dual mandate”– to maintain stable prices and low unemployment. Of course, the Fed has never managed to achieve either one of its objectives since it was founded, leading a skeptical observer to wonder if the Fed was perpetually failing at its stated objective, or consistently succeeding on an unstated one.

Proponents of the NSA will argue that there are many successes we might never know about due to matters of secrecy. We can’t critically examine the veracity of these arguments because we’re not deemed worthy of the trust necessary to obtain the information required to evaluate these claims, so they must be ignored.

What we are sure of, as the paragraph above points out, is that there have been numerous “surprise assaults” that the NSA has done nothing to stop.

And yet, it only grows larger.

Maybe the NSA is succeeding wildly at its true purpose despite appearing to fail at its stated purpose. The construction of this massive, $2 billion facility in Utah is alarming.

But we should be even more alarmed that we do not know what is the true purpose of this multi-billion dollar agency.

One Consequence Of Law Divorced From Economic Scarcity: $308MM Death Sentences

This latest travesty of criminal and economic justice courtesy of The Atlantic:

Their report showed that since the current death-penalty statute was enacted in 1978, [California] taxpayers have spent more than $4 billion on only 13 executions, or roughly $308 million per execution. As of 2009, prosecuting death-penalty cases cost upwards of $184 million more each year than life-without-parole cases. Housing, health care, and legal representation for California’s current death-row population of 714—the largest in the country—account for $144 million in annual extra costs. If juries continue to send an average of 20 convicts to San Quentin’s death row each year, and executions continue at the present rate, by 2030 the ranks of the condemned will have swelled to more than 1,000, and California’s taxpayers will have spent $9 billion to execute a total of 23 inmates.

Law and the legal system is part of the economy, that is, it falls under it, not outside of it. The law is a means to a particular end (justice). It is irrational to turn the means (law) into an end itself by placing it outside the economic calculation nexus. When you do, the result is arbitration and punishment costs which far exceed any reasonable estimate of the actual damage the convicted has caused along with the potential settlement cost of future torts following a potential “vigilante” solution to the problem.

Exercises In Imagination

A friend sends along the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKfuS6gfxPY

Ignoring the pitch for Ron Paul’s political campaign at the end of it, that’s about as good as a libertarian video comes. The key is the identification of one moral standard for all people. It is hypocritical to expect any other person or persons to appreciate a “foreign policy” that you yourself would not appreciate if applied to you.

Here’s another good video about libertarian philosophy from Stefan Molyneux: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd-SLRyuRq0&w=560&h=315

The reality of government financing is exploitation of its citizens. The people are not fully and fairly compensated for their labor as the exchange being made (via taxation) is not voluntary and deemed to be mutually beneficial.

I’d like to help produce more videos like these. I think YouTube is a powerful medium for spreading the message of individual liberty through the use of economies of scale.