The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

GOP Sticks With Karl (Marx)

“To get a Democrat to admit to practicing socialism is a lot like frisking a wet seal.

To get Republicans to confess to their role in socializing America is an equally slippery affair.

The latter have been grandstanding about the plan of the wily pitch-man Obama to plunder taxpayers (the minority) so as to pay tax consumers (the majority). For the edification of GOP grandstanders, America has a tax system that energetically distributes income.

The progressive income tax is a good example of Karl Marx’s maxim, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” It is socialism by any other name.

Obama is an adherent of this socialism; as is McCain. And so is George Bush, who, as a campaign ploy, had promised to reform America’s steep tax system, but decided to stick with Karl.

Indeed, America, the cradle of capitalism, clings to Karl. Russia, the cradle of communism, has abandoned him in favor of a flat—and very low—tax on income. …”


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Friday, October 31, 2008

Update on Dan's Trial

You might remember Dan from an earlier post I made about his falsified "arrest" and pending trial on Canada for importing "illegal" items? If not, click here to refresh your memory.

At any rate, I received the following update from him today:

Had my trial regarding the “importation of prohibited devices”. I won’t get a decision until November 14 but it looks like it might go in my favor. After the crown persecutor (no that’s not a typo and yes we still have the “crown” as the head of the Canadian legal system) had given her closing argument the judge questioned her on the definition of a “device”. How could a magazine body be a “device” when all of the “mechanical components”, i.e. follower , spring and base plate were missing?

He's lucky. I'm surprised the judges in Canada are so involved. Here in America, the judge considers you guilty until you prove yourself totally innocent (or have enough money/political influence to buy your freedom). A judge here would have hung him right then and there!

Keep up the fight, Dan!

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama = McCain = Obama

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A Rational Choice for Election Day

by Butler Shaffer

I can recall no time during my years on this planet when a presidential election has had less significance than this one. I know this statement flies in the face of the hyperbolic rhetoric engaged in, by Republocratic party drum-beaters, as they induce you to part company with your innate intelligence by joining the chuckleheads in a mad dash to the voting booths. The little stickers that read "I voted" – worn so proudly by those wishing to confirm their allegiance to the system that is destroying their lives – reminds me of the "kick me" signs teenagers used to tape onto the backs of their fellow students.

This year marks my fortieth anniversary of not voting. Most of my colleagues attribute my non-participation to "apathy" or "protest," neither of which explains my refusal to dance the lemming two-step. I don’t vote for the same reason I don’t rob banks or molest children: it is not the way I choose to live my life. I am not "apathetic" about not victimizing others: to the contrary, I insist upon such a trait. My entire sense of being is incompatible with coercing others. I can no more hide my ambitions over your life or property within the secret confines of a voting booth than I could confront my neighbor with a gun and demand his money. Voting is nothing more than a periodic public affirmation in the faith of systematic violence as a social system.

The state lives on the fears it has generated, for fear mobilizes collective thinking and action. This is the meaning of Randolph Bourne’s oft-quoted observation that "war is the health of the state." But fear has a way of feeding back upon itself in ways not always related to specific concerns. Warfare, inflation, increased taxation, immigration policies, corporate-state self-serving machinations, health-care costs, terrorism, crime rates, the failure of government schools, police-state practices, and other forms of social conflict, are just some of the outward manifestations of politically-induced fear. But such fears metastasize into undercurrents of unfocused anxiety that arise as desperation.

It is this sense of formless apprehension that underlies much of this year’s election. I suspect that many people have become implicitly aware – even as they refuse to openly admit it to themselves – that the society in which they live doesn’t work well anymore. They are not yet prepared to consider that the social structures they have been conditioned to think of as timeless and immutable are collapsing; and that new systems of social organization – grounded in peace and liberty – must be found. Faith in the dying regime must be reaffirmed, and voting becomes the most visible, collective expression of political piety.

Even many critics of the state, men and women who deem themselves "libertarians," have a difficult time transcending the mindset that social change arises through collective political action. Perhaps a few lessons in physics will disabuse such people of the belief that state power can be reduced – or even eliminated – by the pouring of more human energy into the political system!

Such is the frustration that attends the terminal condition of political systems. Few are any longer convinced that the state can produce golden ages or great societies or workers’ paradises, but they dare not renounce their faith in an open fashion, and so content themselves with participation in the voting ritual. But look at what this year’s presidential campaign has become: not the uniting of people around a grand new social vision, but opposition to the other party’s candidate! Democrats continue to mouth the phrase "anybody but Bush," while the Republicans focus upon the shortcomings of John Kerry instead of the alleged virtues of George Bush.

There is a sadistic quality to the political establishment’s selection of these wretched candidates as their front-men in this election. The established order cares not which man prevails, as its policies will be advanced with either. There is "bipartisan support" – a phrase reflective of the one-party system in America – by Bush and Kerry for continuation of the war in Iraq (and, perhaps, its extension to other nations); for the Patriot Act, with its police-state implications; and for further enlarging the size and powers of the federal government. While the Iraq war is foremost in the minds of most Americans, these two men have carefully skirted that issue, preferring to focus on the Vietnam War, and their respective roles therein.

While the political establishment will be satisfied with either Bush or Kerry in office, it will be even more pleased with a large voter turnout that would create the impression of a reinvigorated support for statism. But the establishment wants the expression of choices confined to its two entries in this race: third-party candidates (or what should more accurately be referred to as second party offerings) are to be discouraged – by the media, televised debates, and ballot access – because the establishment does not control these parties. The concerted effort to keep alternative political parties out of the process confirms the observation that, if voting could change the system it wouldn’t be legal.

I suspect that, come next Tuesday, the voting booths will be filled with men and women who are so thoroughly conditioned in externally-directed, politically-structured thinking and behavior that they can conceive of no other way in which their lives and the rest of society could be organized. To such people, the phrase "anybody but Bush" could as easily be expressed as "any authority over my life but myself."

A politically-dominated society squeezes the humanity and spirit out of most of its members. Perhaps the saddest manifestation of this is to be found in the continued willingness of men and women to revere the forms and participate in the rituals that have demoralized their lives. The political process produces men and women who sleep, but do not dream; people whose visions of the future are little more than recycled memories.

Still, there is some hope that might emerge from next Tuesday’s national circus. Whether Bush or Kerry wins will be completely irrelevant to the quality of your life for the next four years, so you might consider abandoning any illusions to the contrary. The only significant message that could emerge from this election is if vast numbers of eligible voters refuse to participate in the spectacle. To paraphrase Charlotte Keyes, suppose they gave an election, and no one came? If American soldiers in Iraq can muster the courage to refuse to go on suicide missions, can the rest of us find the boldness to refuse to participate in the quadrennial rites that place these young people in such dangers? What if we began to understand the voting process as an integral part of a suicide mission undertaken on behalf of a system that is destroying our lives? Would not the sight of empty voting booths signify a real change in America, informing the political establishment that it no longer commands either our respect or our fears?

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Former Voter Is Rehabilitated

by Philip Hensley, Jr.

My name is Philip, and I used to be a voter. It was an addiction I struggled with for almost eight years, but this past weekend I went cold turkey and stopped voting. I’ve now been vote-free for almost three days, and while there’s still a week of early voting left and an opportunity to relapse, I think I can make it through next Tuesday and not vote. Sure, voting is the "cool" thing to do right now, and "everybody is doing it," but this year, I’m not voting.

This weekend, I felt tempted to go into voting booth and pull the lever for Bob Barr, and perhaps vote for a Ron Paul endorsed candidate in my local district race (B.J. Lawson). And I really had the urge to vote against a proposed tax on prepared food in my county. In fact, I decided that I would go vote, but after November 4th I wouldn’t vote anymore. After all, it was just one time. I could handle voting just one more time right?

On Saturday, I drove to a local school to vote, but the line was really long, and it was about to rain outside. I’ll come back, I told myself. On the way home I decided to not go back. But after a couple of hours, the self-doubt started to creep in. Isn’t voting a duty, or a responsibility, or one of those other clichés that I hear all the time? Didn’t soldiers give their lives so I could have the opportunity to vote? Then I thought of all the peer-pressure and ridicule I might face after not voting. How could I tell anyone I hadn’t voted? "What, you didn’t vote!? How could you not vote? Your vote is the best way to make your voice heard," I could already hear other people saying.

That afternoon, I drove back to the voting place. This time the line was much smaller, and I could have been in-and-out in less than ten minutes. I got out of the car, walked past all the parasites handing out campaign literature outside the polls, and got in line. The first thing I saw posted on the entrance door was a sign that said, I saw all the people in line with their voter guides and sample ballots filled out so they could remember who to vote for. It was evident than many of these people had spent weeks and weeks contemplating who to vote for. There was also a sign on the door that read, "VOTING IS THE CORNERSTONE OF DEMOCRACY."

I walked away without voting, and it felt great. I realized a couple of things. First, voting isn’t a duty or a responsibility. And even if it was, your vote really doesn’t matter. The question isn’t why don’t more people vote; the real question is why so many people vote in the first place. If you were sick on election day and couldn’t make it to the polls and vote, would anything have changed? No. The same candidate that won would have won, and the same candidate that lost would have lost. Elections are won and lost by big groups of swing voters who usually have a vested financial or political interest in the outcome of the election. In fact, you probably have a better chance of being elected president yourself than being the one vote that decides the election. Why waste days, weeks, months or even years of my life deciding between Obama versus McCain? My vote isn’t going to change anything. And voting isn’t the best way to have your voice heard. The best way to influence the political process is to become wealthy and buy off a few congressmen to see things your way.

Every four years we hear the same crap from the two major party candidates. But the reality is if McCain wins, government is going to get bigger and more powerful. If Obama wins, government is going to get bigger and more powerful. "Conservative" radio hosts are going crazy over Obama’s "redistribution of wealth" comments, and showing concern for Obama’s supposed disrespect for the Constitution. So what if Obama wants to redistribute wealth. Republicans have been doing it for decades, just to different groups. Republicans aren’t really opposed to redistribution of wealth, they just want it redistributed to people that vote for Republicans. Look at all the wealth that has been redistributed to senior citizens, car manufacturers, and wall street banks over the past eight years, six of which happened under a Republican President that had a Republican-controlled Congress. Where were all the defenders of the Constitution hiding then?

My vote won’t change any of this. And why should I have to vote in order to prevent the government from taking over more of my life? Why is the burden on me? I refuse to give my consent to such a system and go through the charade of pretending that our government is legitimate. I’m proud to be a non-voter.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Why Are Medical Costs So High?

by Vin Suprynowicz


You’re a doctor. You need to bring in $3,000 apiece for your most common procedure. But Medicare and Medicaid – which pay for about half your patients – have just told you they’re only going to pay you one-third of what they’re billed. What do you do? You don’t need to be a CPA to know the answer is to start billing everyone $4,500 for your procedure. The half of your patients who pay full price thus pay $1,500 extra, covering the $1,500 shortfall for each Medicare/Medicaid-covered procedure.

Now the tricky question: If someone who’s NOT on Medicaid or Medicare visits your medical office to have this procedure done, and promptly pays his or her $4,500 in full, how much has he or she paid you, this year?

And the answer is: $6,000. Those who are not on Medicare or Medicaid are known as “taxpayers.” Where do you think Medicare/Medicaid got the $1,500 to pay for the welfare patient? The taxpayer pays $4,500 for his or her own procedure, and then an extra $1,500 in taxes to fund someone else’s.

For all those who have written in insisting that we need government to pay our medical bills because they’re so high, let’s keep this simple:

Medical bills are really high because the government promises to pay most of them, the same way government-backed “college loans” have driven up the cost of college, by allowing colleges to charge you whatever you can afford plus whatever the government will loan.

Perhaps it’s still technically a minority of Americans who are currently “covered” by Medicare and Medicaid. But since the old and the poor (the latter often skimping on health maintenance and prevention) use the most medicine and medical care, the majority of medical COSTS are covered and “paid for” by these two socialist programs.

Some say as much as two thirds.

If we switched over to “cash only” medicine tomorrow – no government or even private insurance payments allowed – what do you suppose would happen to medical costs?

Remember, the doctor who’s been accustomed to billing $4,500 for a procedure really only gets $1,500 from Medicare/Medicaid, a scheme that’s already jacked up YOUR cost by 50 percent.

Of that $1,500, another $500 (and that may be understated) goes to pay doctors’ non-medical office staff who negotiate bills and payments with the private and government “insurance” firms.

So the doc who “billed” $4,500 expected to get about half that. The rest is only “in there” to buy off this unholy private-public “insurance” bureaucracy.

If he could fire all those non-medical “billing” people in his office, and if the doctor could again assume that most patients might pay the full amount billed on a timely basis, in cash, he or she could drop many posted charges from $4,500 to $2,000 overnight.

And what if that still didn’t produce enough business? Could our M.D. somehow manage to drop that price again, to $1,500, advertising “Lowest rates in town”? In a true free market, he’d have to. Streamline his costs of “regulatory compliance,” and he could probably do even better.

Not only that, in a “cash” environment, conversations might be heard in the examining room which are virtually unknown today. Conversations starting with:

“There are three ways we can handle this problem. The middle course will cost $500 and probably not do much good, which means you’ll just have to come back for the $5,000 ‘third-choice’ procedure, anyway. But first we may want to try something real simple that’ll take a few weeks but will only cost you fifty bucks …”

Or: “There are three medicines I can give you for this. The first two were recently patented and would cost you $500 a month and the salesgal who comes by to promote them has great knockers and wears short skirts and gives me all kinds of free notepads and ballpoint pens. On the other hand, there’s an old generic drug that’ll probably do just as well or better for five bucks a month. Want to try that first?”

Doctors long ago fell out of the habit of discussing things this way. It sounds “unprofessional.” But it’s no more “unprofessional” than a roofer telling you about something he can try to repair your chimney flashing before you go to the expense of replacing your entire roof. The difference is that roofers know you’re likely to contact someone else – someone who won’t make them wait a month for “an appointment” because the number of practitioners in that profession aren’t as artificially limited by the state licensing agencies – if they get too arrogant and don’t tell you all your options.

As medicine has gotten better, some treatments have been introduced which are just plain more expensive. But a true free market always works to reduce such costs. Compare the inflation-adjusted price of a color TV today to one in 1963.

Government, on the other hand, pays on a “cost-plus” basis. Far from creating pressure to make things cheaper, this creates an incentive to jack prices up, which is why taxpayers pay 20 bucks when a candy-striper brings a Medicare patient two aspirin in the hospital.

If government had undertaken to start buying us “free” color TVs in 1963, from only “licensed” suppliers, they’d still be clunky 300-pound “console” models and they’d now cost $12,000 apiece.

No, from regulation designed to limit entry into the field (reducing price competition), to licensing, to socialist government “insurance” schemes, it’s primarily government meddling that has made a nightmare of our medical costs. So now we’re prepared to believe the politicians when they tell us the solution is not a return to the free, unregulated, pre-1916 market in medicine, but rather … more government meddling, by the same people who have been busy “fixing” the banking industry since 1913?

And to those who say, “That’s unthinkable! Snake oil and charlatans! We want regulation! It makes us feel safe!” – First, licensing and regulation are protection rackets. They keep supply down and prices up. If regulation guarantees our safety, why can’t we sue the regulators when the doctors they “regulate” screw up?

But second, answer me this, just once: America was supposed to be made up of 13 – now 50 – sovereign states, little greenhouses free to try all different ways of doing things. I’d gladly move to the one state – one out of 50 – where medical liberty is restored, providing it also imposed no state income tax, no helmet or seatbelt or anti-smoking or “endangered species” or “global warming” or rural “speed limit” laws, that it “allowed” incandescent lightbulbs and full-sized rifle magazines and full-sized toilet tanks and encouraged the private ownership of machine guns.

(I just described all of America in 1912, a place where our grandparents seemed pretty happy, only without the racism that CREATED the Wars on Guns and Drugs.)

Which state is that? If there are a couple million of us who want to try it another way, why can’t we have just one state to call our own? We’re even willing to settle in the most inhospitable, God-forsaken desert you’ve got.

If you liked all the taxes and regulations back in California or Illinois or New York or wherever you came from, why did you come here, determined to try and make this state just like the one you fled?

Do you know the meaning of the word “hubris”? Has it never occurred to you the miners and ranchers who were already living in Nevada might have set things up just right for conditions here, and that you might want to check with them before you blithely insist on changing things in America’s last endangered refuge of freedom to be just like that decaying, jobless hellhole you ran away from?

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Lew Rockwell On Our Right NOT to Vote


The critical problem we face today is the same one all mankind has faced: the state, those monopolists who claim the right to break the laws that they make and enforce. How to restrain them is the critical problem of all sound political thinking. Making matters worse, this gang now has a monopoly on the money and the ability to print it, and they are abusing that power at our expense.

How does voting change the situation? Neither of the candidates for president wants to do anything about the problem. On the contrary, they want to make it worse. This is for a reason. The state owns the “democratic process” as surely as it owns the Departments of Labor and Defense and uses it in ways that benefit the state and no one else.

On the other hand, we do have the freedom not to vote. No one has yet drafted us into the voting booth. I suggest that we exercise this right not to participate. It is one of the few rights we have left. Nonparticipation sends a message that we no longer believe in the racket they have cooked up for us, and we want no part of it.

You might say that this is ineffective. But what effect does voting have? It gives them what they need most: a mandate. Nonparticipation helps deny that to them. It makes them, just on the margin, a bit more fearful that they are ruling us without our consent. This is all to the good. The government should fear the people. Not voting is a good beginning toward instilling that fear.

This year especially there is no lesser of two evils. There is socialism or fascism. The true American spirit should guide every voter to have no part of either.

Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. is president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and editor of

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