Episode 48 – The Shining (1:58:12)

Heeeeeeeere’s Johnny! We bring back two former guests to tag-team on the Kubrick classic, the Shining. Doc Brown from our Episode 41 on It, and Patrick MacFarlane of the Liberty Weekly Podcast and our Episode 35 on Rogue One join us in the Gold Room to share a few drinks with Lloyd – on the house of course.

This was to be our Halloween special, but schedules kept getting pushed due to illness, contracts and obligations to employers.

The fact that there is so much ambiguity built into the movie, that it can be debated for decades after is a testament to how well made this film is. This should be a film that satisfies Robert’s desire in a story to have tension and struggle within the narrative. We have genuine unease and sense of dread for the character – despite the fact they we “know” going into it that Jack does go crazy and attempts to murder his family with an axe.

Check out the previous appearances here:

Episode 41 – IT (1:48:55)

Episode 35 – Rogue One (1:16:05)

And also check out the Liberty Weekly Podcast and website at: www.libertweekly.net

Continue reading “Episode 48 – The Shining (1:58:12)”

The Rise of Trump–Good for Libertarianism?

This morning I was watching Reason Magazine’s recent interview with Las Vegas magician–and outspoken libertarian–Penn Jillette. The interview covered lots of topics including the current electoral climate, weight loss, and Gary Johnson.

The topic that most piqued my interest was Jillette’s assertion that the rise of Trump–and the subsequent fracturing of the Republican Party–is the best thing that ever happened for the Libertarian movement. This sentiment has been echoed across the broader, more mainstream libertarian movement since Bernie Sanders sold out and Gary Johnson began to  garner significant media attention.

Although I have tremendous respect for Penn Jillette (I am a big fan of his show Bullshit!) I have to disagree here.

Recently, the Libertarian Party (LP) has experienced an explosion of growth, with the growth, it has also experienced significant dilution for mass-appeal.

It is a GREAT thing that the message of liberty is getting so much attention at this time–but we must keep in mind that the LP is supposed to be the party of principle. We have our own unique message that is NOT “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.” We should not apologize for that.

Personally, I do not even believe that LP’s main main focus should be winning elections. Dr. Mary Ruart (candidate for the LP nomination) makes a great case for this point in episode 530 at [24:35] of the Tom Wood’s Show. Although it is great to get party votes from outside the LP, our main focus should be issue-based activism.

Since most of us are libertarians, I won’t explain the process of how politicians and government are easily corrupted. With this in mind, why do libertarians think that once we get “Our Guy” into office, our problems will be solved? The reality is, even if we get “Our Guy” into office, he will turn into “That Guy.”

Remember, the problems with government are inherent to government. They cannot be fixed unless, to loosely quote Penn Jillette: “Politicians [The President] should have so little power that it doesn’t matter who they are instead of having so much power that it doesn’t matter who they are.”

Before becoming drunk with power over all this new media attention (don’t worry, it is unique to this election cycle), don’t be a Bernie Sanders and sell us all out to the biggest voting demographic.

Thanks for reading, and if you think I’m wrong, let’s talk about it! I had this conversation a few times at Freedom Fest.

Have a great weekend.

 

 

Source: Liberty Weekly

Pure Economic Damages, Pollution, and Tort Law

The late days of summer have arrived and now that my wedding and the honeymoon are over, I have spent the last week preparing for my second year of law school. I have to make some apologies for not keeping some twitter promises that I made in terms of dropping articles about Pokemon Go and Star Trek, but things kind of crept up on me, and school prep became a little more important.

Ultimately, I have decided to turn this website into a bit of a legal blog, where I will talk about issues of liberty and libertarianism that I come across in my studies. That way, I will be able to re-hash my classes, practice some light legal writing, and be an advocate for liberty all at the same time. I would just like to stress however, that nothing that I write here should remotely be taken as legal advice.

Today in my advanced torts class we started the semester by talking about pure economic damages in tort actions. In more basic terms, this refers to plaintiffs who seek profits that were lost as a result of tortuous actions taken by the defendant.

As a general rule (with some exceptions), courts do not allow recovery of pure economic damages, because they are speculative in nature and open the floodgates to frivolous claims (which I will elaborate on later).

A classic example of this type of case is Rardin v. T & D Machine Handling, Inc., 890 F.2d 24 (1989).

In this case, the plaintiff, a printing business, bought a new press from Whitacre-Sunbelt, Inc, who contracted with T & D to ship the new press to Rardin. During the shipping process, T & D acted negligently and damaged the press and as a result, Rardin lost business. Because T & D acted negligently, Rardin sued for lost profits and lost.

The court stated that there was no way for T & D to know what scope of losses that Rardin would face if they were to damage the printing press, and therefore T & D did not owe a duty to Rardin (even though they may have owed a contractual duty to Whitacre).

From a libertarian point of view, this makes sense. It is not the role of the courts to protect businesses from the inherent risks they take in conducting commerce with other businesses. If Whitacre were to ship their own printing presses and failed in that respect, it would be a different story, because the court would simply be enforcing the voluntary contract they made with Rardin. Additionally, Rardin could have mitigated the risk to their business by having a spare printer around or created a contractual provision with Whitacre to account for third party negligence.

This kind of reasoning was drawn over to another case: State of Louisiana, Ex Rel. Guste v. M/V Testbank, 752 F.2d 1019 (1985). In this case, two barges on the Mississippi River collided while transporting hazardous materials. As a result, twelve tons of pentachlorophenol (PCP) were spilled into the river. The collision resulted in the filing of 41 lawsuits, of which the immediate case was only one.

In this case, the fishermen who operated within the affected area brought suit against the barge company, seeking profits they lost on account of the wildlife population being destroyed.

In reading this case, my knee-jerk reaction was to impose unlimited liability upon the defendants for their negligent action in allowing the barges to collide. This reasoning came about from my general libertarian knowledge that the government allows corporations to pollute, specifically by passing legislation that leads to increasingly risky business operation and shielding private actors from liability. Also that government itself is, in fact, the largest polluter out there. These opinions are discussed in this transcript of Ron Paul’s Liberty Report.

However, after having class, I agree that unlimited liability is completely unrealistic in terms of pure economic damages. From a legal point of view, the specific consequences to the fishermen of the chemical spill were not foreseeable to the defendant at the time of the spill. Additionally, if we allowed the fishermen recovery of lost profits for the spill, where would the liability end? Would we allow restaurants in Saint Paul, MN to recover because their shipment of shrimp was late?

In reality, the only prudent solution to fighting pollution of this nature is to–surprise, surprise–allow private ownership of waterways and to remove the government’s 134 million dollar cap on liability for environmental disasters. That way, any kind of liability can be justified through good old-fashioned private nuisance and breach of contract claims (to name a few). These ideas are elaborated a bit in this excerpt from Rothbard’s For a New Liberty. Go check it out.

All in all, it is good to be back in the swing of things and to return to normal life. I hope that I haven’t completely lost my readership in the past month that I’ve been out!

As always, thanks for reading. I hope to be posting at least once a week, but seeing as law school is a constant assault of statist propaganda, I will have a lot of things to write about.

Once again, do not somehow take any of this as legal advice. It’s not.

 

Source: Liberty Weekly

The Real Crash

As I have mentioned, I have been reading Peter Schiff’s The Real Crash.

Although spotted with a few typos and grammatical errors, Peter Schiff does a great job of explaining the insurmountable financial obstacles that face the United States–and most of the world’s economies.

In a very brief summation: the government is plagued by programs that are inherently unconstitutional and financially insolvent. These programs are being financed with debt and central bank monopoly money that is created out of thin air. Essentially, politicians keep kicking the proverbial can down the road. In The Real Crash Schiff argues (and has been for years) that we are about to run out of asphalt.

Since the Fed has continued to “fix” our recessions by artificially holding interest rates too low and flooding the economy with fake money (quantitative easing), the dollar itself is teetering on financial abyss.

Right now, the Fed is backed into a corner. Since the 2008 financial crisis, Ben Bernake—and now Janet Yellen, have kept interest rates at zero for about seven years. These seven years have seen little to no real economic growth. If the economy had recovered from 2008, the January 2016 rate hike would have been a non-issue. Instead, it triggered the deepest January plunge that stock market has ever seen.

Schiff further argues that the government is manipulating economic numbers—for instance, changing the way that the consumer price index is calculated in order to hide inflation. Other methods include downward revisions to critical economic data. These revisions are released a few months after the fact, usually after investor confidence has already pervaded the markets.

No matter how hard the government tries to hide poor data, the public can feel it. It is obvious that the economy is sick—people all over America are struggling. Nowhere is this better exemplified than the outright bizarre populist movements that are sweeping this nation. I mean, for Christ’s sake—Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders (who, before 2015 was described, as a political outcast by his constituents) were/are all serious presidential candidates.

At this point in time, the government has two choices, it can either default on the national debt and restructure (hopefully massively reforming everything about our country and government) or, we could continue down the path we are on, which will eventually lead to hyperinflation. Obviously, I support massive secession.

As you can imagine, politicians probably won’t default on the debt, because it would be political suicide. The latter is the most likely path. Either way, it will mean bad news bears for a lot of people. 

In the wake of the Brexit decision, the instability of the global financial markets has been lain bare (for instance, Europe’s biggest commercial bank, Deutsche Bank is on the verge of insolvency). As a result, the world’s central banks have unleashed massive rounds of quantitative easing. Why are the markets posting record highs? It certainly doesn’t feel like the economy is doing well.

Perhaps, this is all just hoopla, but the natural conclusions of the economic principles that we ascribe to predict eventual insolvency. Hopefully, we are not in for disaster, but if we are–look out below. It will be a long way down.

On a personal note, I am getting married on Sunday, so new content might be a little sparse–please don’t forget about Liberty Weekly! I really appreciate all of the new traffic that we have been seeing, and it is very encouraging! Welcome to all new readers, and be sure to subscribe via email for notifications of new content.

 

Source: Liberty Weekly

Freedom Fest 2016

After a red-eyed overnight flight from Las Vegas back to the Twin Cities, a seat covered in dried vomit, guy sitting next to me who couldn’t sit still, and a twenty dollar Lyft ride, I am back home safe and sound.

As exciting as all of that sounds, Freedom Fest was–in all seriousness–probably the coolest experience that I have ever had in the liberty movement, if only for the very fact that I was surrounded by people who knew Ludwig von Mises. I guess I don’t get out much.

I had a lot of good conversations with a lot of very interesting people–including listening to an Objectivist Randian bash Murray Rothbard extensively during the first day of the conference. (Didn’t enjoy that so much, but gave me perspective).

All things aside, while I still identify as an Anarcho-Capitalist, I have gained some very keen insight to the practical aspects of bringing about a stateless society–that may involve some small participation in the political process. (Voting is still aggression).

Quick side note: this topic makes me think about a Mises Weekend podcast in which Jeff Deist interviews Michael Boldin from the Tenth Amendment Center about grassroots activism (with a touch of Agorism). Check it out here. It is very hopeful and an all-around good listen.

In other news, I got to meet economists Bob Murphy and Peter Schiff as well as senators Ben Sasse and Rand Paul. There were many other big figures in attendance whom I didn’t get a chance to meet personally, including: Reason Magazine’s Nick Gillespie, Steve Forbes, Austin Petersen (not a big fan), Gary Johnson (who’s festival exploits I heard some gossip about), Bill Weld, Judge Napolitano, and Jeffrey Tucker etc . . .

Of all the figures I met, Ben Sasse and Bob Murphy were by far the most friendly and personable. Although I am still a big fan of Peter Schiff, the few words that he said to me involved investing with EuroPacific Capital. (I am enjoying his book “The Real Crash,” but am finding that it is blemished with grammatical errors and typos). Rand Paul was also distant, but not outright rude. I’ve heard that he is just a very reserved guy.

Although I have mostly been involved with Young Americans for Liberty at the University of Minnesota, I attended the conference with Students for Liberty, an international liberty organization, and found them to be a genuine pleasure to work with.

I was able to leave the conference with a sense of community, new friends, and a literal tote bag full of books, all of which I should eventually discuss on the blog as I read through them.

Most encouraging at all, Liberty Weekly has seen a huge jump in subscribers and traffic in the last week as a result of networking, a retweet from Bob Murphy, and continued support from my friends at @Catoletters and @AnarchoNerdist! Thanks guys for the support.

Yet another note! I received news on Friday that I have been accepted as a writing associate with my law school’s public policy journal. My write-on submission has now taken the form of the anti-minimum wage E-book that I give to every new subscriber. Subscribe and check it out if you haven’t already.

As always, thanks for reading, and I will be in touch later in the week!

 

 

 

Source: Liberty Weekly

Tom Woods Podcast Spot and Freedom Fest Update

Welcome to all new Liberty Weekly readers!

Yesterday, Tom Woods was kind enough to feature Liberty Weekly in episode 694 of his podcast (Liberty Weekly is featured around the 30 minute mark). The episode featured Michael Malice and discussed the prospect of an American secession in the wake of the great Brexit vote.

In other news, I have just arrived at Freedom Fest and will be providing coverage through my twitter account @LibertyWeekly. I am here representing Students for Liberty through a great scholarship opportunity and will be simultaneously promoting the blog.

Among the many great speakers presenting here at Freedom Fest, I am most excited to cover economists Peter Schiff and Bob Murphy from Euro Pacific Capital and the Mises Institute, respectively. So stay tuned for that!

If, in the future, you are reading this post through a conversation that I’ve had with you at Freedom Fest, thank you so much for checking my site out.

That’s it for now, my opening conference starts in seven minutes.

Shoutout here goes to Tom Woods for the free publicity. Thanks Tom!

Source: Liberty Weekly

Liberty Weekly–Freedom Fest Update

I have to apologize for not being super active in posting to the blog this week.  I’ve been pretty busy in my personal life planning my upcoming wedding and spending vacation time with my family.

I have a few pieces coming up in the “Money: The Basics” series that will deal with fractional reserve banking, central banking, and the Federal Reserve.

In more recent news, I have received a scholarship from Students for Liberty to attend Freedom Fest in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood! The conference starts on Wednesday afternoon and runs through Saturday night. I will be moderating a couple speaking events and also doing some tabling. If, by chance, you will be in attendance, send me a direct message through Twitter and maybe we can meet up!

In yet more news, I am waiting on some free publicity from Tom Woods as soon as he gets finished moving his family across the country. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out his podcast at www.tomwoods.com.

Alright, that is all from me for now. I will try and pound some blog posts out during the conference this week. I am currently reading some Bastiat and making progress on Rothbard’s “The Mystery of Banking.” I hope that this post finds you all well.

Best,

Patrick MacFarlane

Source: Liberty Weekly

“Total War” and Anatomy of the State

In one of the most seething criticisms of government, “Anatomy of the State” exposes government for what it is: a mafia shakedown racket with a virtual monopoly on institutionalized violence.

In its natural, parasitic form, the State seeks only to leech more and more resources from productive members of society using what esteemed German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer called: the political means of acquiring wealth. That is, coercion through asset seizure and taxation, or legalized theft.

In order to see these concepts illustrated, one need only look to the realm of video games.

I have been a long-time fan of the “Total War” series published by SEGA and The Creative Assembly. Inherent in these games (as their title would suggest) is the idea that war is the modus operandi of the State. For anyone who has played “Total War,” or games like them, it is clear that war is the only path to accumulate real wealth–that is, the enslavement of new tax livestock.

These concepts may also be seen in games such as Cities: Skylines, in which a player may create, control, and manage an entire city with godlike dominion over zoning, private property, and taxes. Once you think about the implications of the game, the overall concept is quite alarming, because it is a simplified version of the truth.

Sure, in real life, city planners have political processes and various other hoops to jump through before violating property rights, but in the end, the process gets done and “the will of the people” is carried out. In the game, the process can be as simple as clicking the bulldozer icon and deleting someone’s home or business.

Once the veil is lifted and government’s true purpose is exposed, it is very easy to see through the illusion of government. While it is true that a video game cannot entirely capture its real-life intricacies, Rothbard’s concept of what the State inherently is, is conceptually communicated even at these very basic levels.

That being said, the popularity of these games may partially be derived from the fact that, for once, one of us little guys can get in the control seat and orchestrate some of humanity’s longest running criminal syndicates.

Once again, thanks for reading, and try not to knock yourself out cold from all the facepalms associated with social media and the 4th of July today!

 

Source: Liberty Weekly

Soundtrack to the Creeping Dystopia

Shhhh—–can you hear it?

It’s the grinding mechanization of perpetual warfare. It’s the cacophony of societal collapse. It’s the wail of air raid sirens in the dark. It’s the crawling consolidation of shadow government. It’s the fleshy crunch of a boot stamping on a human face–forever.

Perhaps I am being a tad dramatic, but there currently seems to be a national sense of unease–as if the entire country can sense that we are on the precipice of a societal paradigm shift. Perhaps it emanates from an openly laughable presidential election, or the weariness that Americans feel after eight years of an economic “recovery” that has seen more people deeper in debt and without savings.

It may still be unconscious, but Americans can feel the country teetering on the edge of economic abyss–a Lovecraftian Vale of Pnath where fiat currencies go to eternally lie.

What better way to celebrate our imminent descent into authoritarianism than by listening to Immolation’s 2013 effort Kingdom of Conspiracy?

Whether or not you are a fan of death metal, this album perfectly captures the Orwellian tone of the country. In fact, if you are not a fan of this style of music, you may find the album particularly more abrasive and frightening than you otherwise would.

From the album’s uncanny, lurching rhythm patterns, to its lyrical subject matter, Immolation breathes unholy life into the shadow government. To me, vocalist Ross Dolan’s muddy growl specifically personifies our conspiratorial overlords–like a real-life embodiment of the monster from Jekyll Island.

As a whole, Kingdom of Conspiracy is a concept album inspired by George Orwell’s influential novel, 1984.  The lyrical content, while at times a little clunky, tackles the hallmarks of totalitarianism: thought control, perpetual war, suppression of speech, and government indoctrination. All things that are becoming more and more prevalent in our daily experience.

For instance, check out the lyric video for my favorite track, Indoctrinate:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/2j8nwPTaDrg?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

As we sit an watch the world collapse, we might as well have some killer theme tunes. You could do much worse than listening to Immolation’s 2013 masterpiece (that’s right) Kingdom of Conspiracy.

Check out a full track list with lyrics here.

Once again, thanks for reading and if you like what you hear, be sure to get their CD through my Amazon affiliate link:

Immolation: Kingdom of Conspiracy [2013]

 

Source: Liberty Weekly

Money: The Basics– Part III: “Currency Debasement”

In the first installment of this series, we discussed what money is. In Part II, we analyzed why historically, gold and silver make the most stable forms of money. In this installment, we will begin to discuss how governments ruin money.

Currency Debasement

Throughout the history of civilization, governments have sought control over their civilization’s money supply. In practically every case that they have achieved this monopoly, catastrophe has followed.

In the days before fiat currency and central banking, governments primarily used a process called currency debasement in order to raise money for their state projects–usually warfare. In this process, the king/emperor/czar (pick your poison) called for a re-coinage of all the kingdom’s money supply.

Throughout the process of reissuing the currency, the state reduced the precious metal content of the coins and added it to the treasury. They then gave the same amount of debased coins back to the populace with a new stamp on them. Theoretically, everyone received the same amount of coins as they initially had given. The king then used the gold he stole to mint extra coins for his own use. Through spending this coin, he essentially increased the overall supply of money.

Because the king was the entity that first introduced the new coins into the money supply, he was able to enjoy low pre-inflation prices. Once he spent his stolen loot however, the effects of this increase in the supply of money then drove prices up for everyone to the tune of whatever percentage that he stole from the populace during the debasement process. As you may imagine, this process affected the middle class and the poor most of all because they were the last to get their hands on the new money.

As the money inflated, the lower classes continued to become destitute. The value of their money (or savings, if they had any) depreciated because the number value of their holdings did not increase in accordance with the increase in the money supply. Rinse and repeat this process ad nauseam  and people began to lose faith in the value of the kingdoms money. Pretty soon no one would accept the money and the kingdom would collapse from internal or external means.

Thankfully, the process of currency debasement was a relatively inefficient way to steal from the public. The process was long and tedious and therefore only performed once or twice in a generation. Unfortunately, governments have wised up since then.

In this installment of our series, we discussed the process of currency debasement. In our next issue, we will begin to tackle the horrific evils of central banking.

As always, thanks again for reading and check out the source material through my Amazon affiliate link:

The Mystery of Banking; Murray Rothbard                                          Chapters I-IV

Source: Liberty Weekly