November 9 — 22, 2008

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Web articles of likely interest to individualists found during the preceding week.

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Pursuing Liberty

Articles showing the positive influence of action in the pursuit of Liberty.

Monetary Freedom and Its Opposite

      By Mark Thornton from Ludwig von Mises Institute

"We actually do not even want to return to a gold standard system which still leaves government too much room for manipulation. In fact, we want no standard at all. 'Standards' in money imply government regulation."

Silver lining in Goldman Sachs' projected decline in IT spending

      By Matt Asay from The Open Road - CNET News

"If you're an open-source or SaaS company, you fall into the OpEx spending category, where most of the money will be in 2009. If you're trying to peddle proprietary licenses (CapEx), well, good luck with that."

Free Beer Part 2

      By Marina from YouTube

"How can free mean gratis and liberty?"

Say No to the Auto Bailout

      By Daniel J. Mitchell from Cato Institute

"[A] bailout would be bad for the long-term health of the American auto industry. It would discriminate against the 113,000 Americans who have highly-coveted jobs building cars for Nissan, BMW and other auto companies that happen to be headquartered in other nations."

Life in Amerika

Articles depicting the negative impact of politics on the cause of Liberty.

Sale of Single Cigars to Poor Blacks Banned

      By Katherine Mangu-Ward from Reason Hit & Run Blog

"The sale of loose, cheap cigars has been banned in Maryland's Prince George's county—you must now buy them in packs of five. Loose, cheap women are still available as singles."

Maybe they should ban private homes, too

      By J.D. Tuccille from Disloyal Opposition

"News reports uniformly acknowledge that fears of the incoming Obama administration's attitude towards firearms regulation are behind the workout cash registers are getting in gun shops across the country."

Free Mark Cuban!

      By William N. Grigg from Pro Libertate

"Let there be no ambiguity about the matter: This is unalloyed [retaliatory] intimidation, the purpose of which is as transparent as the mechanics of the Plutocrat Bailout have been opaque. The rulers of this nation are aware that the financial system is in an irreversible implosion; like their counterparts in the old Communist Party of the Soviet Union circa 1990, they are prepared to strip this country bare before the collapse is consummated, and they're willing to ruin anybody with the means to pose any kind of plausible threat."

Nat "King" Cole and Rahm Emanuel on the Draft

      By David T. Beito from Liberty & Power: Group Blog

"Watch out. If Rahm Emanuel is able to persuade Obama to impose compulsory national service, this song could suddenly enjoy a revival. Although written prior to Pearl Harbor, the lyrics are surprisingly subversive."

Ordered Liberty without the State

Some people say it's Anarchy, some say it's not possible. It is an interesting topic.

The Myth of Good Government

      By Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. from Ludwig von Mises Institute

"There is nothing the state can do, which society needs done, that cannot be done far better by the market. Another point that is just as telling: no state empowered to do what is supposedly necessary will restrain itself to those things. It will expand as much as public opinion will tolerate."

Rising for the Judge, Bowing to the State

      By Manuel Lora from

"We should not be surprised that the state does whatever possible to assert its aggressive political power in every instance; the courtroom is not an exception. Perhaps in the old days it was customary to rise for the judge. So what? Today, however, I see this not as a gesture of respect but as a demand for obedience."

Squatters: Don't cry. Just move into one of those empty homes around the corner.

      By Natalie O'Neill from Miami New Times

"Looking at her, you wouldn't guess she's a squatter. Until recently, she worked as an instructor at Miami Dade College and as a researcher at Florida International University. Then her husband was deported to the Bahamas this past September, leaving her with the kids and a mortgage."

Kevin Carson named Research Associate at C4SS

      By staff from Center for a Stateless Society

"Kevin Carson, author of Studies in Mutualist Political Economy and a forthcoming major work on anarchist organizational theory has joined the Center for a Stateless Society as the Center’s first paid staff member."

Spreading Decentralism

Articles demonstrating an increase in the dispersal of power.

Not All News Is Bad

      By Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. from Ludwig von Mises Institute

"[T]he reason that the medieval period gave rise to liberty is that there was no power center on earth. The state was in competition with the Church and a thousand tiny governments were in competition with each other. Power was diffuse, and though any center would have been glad to have it all, the diffusion of power created a kind of gridlock that permitted liberty to grow and thrive."

IE8 coming in 2009, but will it be late to the Firefox party?

      By Matt Asay from The Open Road - CNET News

"[T]he majority of Internet users will continue to use IE. But that's not my question. My question is whether they will care. Using Firefox is an affirmative act: you have to download it. You have to want it. IE, on the other hand, finds its way to end-customers through preinstalls, Windows Update, and other means. People use IE by default. The good news for Firefox? More and more people are making that 'affirmative act'...."

Too Small to Fail

      By Phillip Longman and T. A. Frank from Washington Monthly

"One reason community banks are doing so well right now is simply that they never became too clever for their own good. When other lenders, including underregulated giants like Ameriquest and Countrywide, started peddling ugly subprime mortgages, community banks stayed away. Banking regulations prevented them from taking on the kind of debt ratios assumed by their competitors, and ties to their customers and community ensured that predatory loans were out of the question." [I can't agree with all policy recommendations in this, but it relays an interesting story.]

Russia, China in the Microprocessor Game

      By John C. Dvorak from PC Magazine

"While I'm sure numerous jokes could be compiled about this, the fact is that the equipment needed to build a fabrication facility is easily obtainable and comes from global suppliers. The intellectual property needed for the chip designs is also up for grabs.",2817,2334572,00.asp?kc=PCRSS03079TX1K0000584

The New World Hegemon

Depictions of the coming Imperial power

Are We There Yet, Are We There Yet?

      By Robert Higgs from The Independent Institute

"I know you probably think this question is silly, but I intend to treat it with the seriousness it deserves in the light of past, present, and likely future government actions. To ensure that I do not adopt an irrelevant or tendentious set of criteria in my inquiry, I will consider the question with reference to the list of ten measures that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels presented in the Manifesto of the Communist Party as 'pretty generally applicable' for the establishment of communism “in the most advanced countries.”"

Do Presidents Have the Right to Kill?

      By James Bovard from The Future of Freedom Foundation

"Should the president of the United States be exempt from both American and international law? Few people would instinctively say yes. But, in actual practice, presidents of the United States have been legally untouchable for most of the past century for the foreign killings they ordered."

Microsoft to aid in war on terror, builds software for DHS

      By Ryan Paul from Ars Technica

"With all of these extreme privacy, security, and reliability risks, the government has to set very high standards for the software that it adopts for fusion centers. So, people will naturally question the choice of Microsoft, as the company's reputation for delivering secure software has been tarnished by a number of past lapses."

The Audacity of Hype

      By Justin Raimondo from

"The pool of unemployed young males is growing larger by the week – always a dangerous development for our rulers – and it's a matter of some urgency for the incoming administration. The Obama-Emanuel plan would, in effect, militarize labor short of actually going to war. How else to sop up this deepening pool of idleness and inevitable social and political unrest? Either draft them into the army or jail them, whichever comes first."

Politics by Other Means

War, rumors of war, and politicians fomenting war.

Obama’s Challenges Are Unprecedented in U.S. History

      By Ivan Eland from The Independent Institute

"Few incoming presidents have been left by their predecessors with as many challenges as Barack Obama. In fact, with the daunting terrain facing the incoming president, one wonders why Obama and John McCain even wanted the office."

George Bush, Big-Government Man

      By Sheldon Richman from The Future of Freedom Foundation

"One of the most disappointing aspects of Obama’s campaign was that he did not criticize Bush’s unilateral expansion of executive power. How refreshing that would have been. But he voted for the administration’s wiretap bill. It is perhaps unsurprising that a man seeking the presidency would abstain from criticizing the growth of presidential power. But it is not a good sign for those who cherish individual liberty."

Liquidate the Libertarian Party?

      By Brian Doherty and Ilya Somin from Reason Hit & Run Blog and Volokh Conspiracy

"Libertarians often emphasize that failed enterprises should be liquidated rather than kept going on artificial life support. That enables their resources to be reinvested in other, more successful firms. The point is well taken, and it applies to the Libertarian Party itself."

Obama Picks Enthusiastic Drug Warrior for Attorney General

      By Keith Halderman from Liberty & Power: Group Blog

"One of the strongest constituencies to support the election of Barak Obama was the drug law reform community. His victory has been seen as a good opportunity to advance the agenda of a more sensible legal regime. However, these hopes have suffered a significant setback with the announcement that committed drug warrior Eric Holder Jr. will be the new Attorney General."

Spontaneous Order

Articles showing decentralized successes.

The Goal Is Freedom: Save Us from Government Spending

      By Sheldon Richman from Foundation for Economic Education

"Two key things should be kept in mind in understanding this matter. First, production must precede consumption. The idea that we can consume our way to prosperity is absurd. Imagine if Robinson Crusoe tried it. Second and relatedly, the economy exists in time and space in a world of scarcity. The government might be able to push people into buying consumer goods today. But what then? Without savings, how will the goods be produced? How will the machines that make the goods be produced? How will the machines that make the machines that produce the goods be produced? And so on."

Free Banking Explained

      By Fred Foldvary from The Progress Report

"Every historic economic boom, at least in the USA, has been accompanied with excessive credit creation, and every financial crisis and depression has been plagued with excessive credit constraints. Free banking avoids the credit bubble and thus also the credit collapse."

To Prevent Bubbles, Restrain the Fed

      By Gerald P. O'Driscoll Jr. from Cato Institute

"Mr. Obama needs to stop the next asset bubble from being inflated by imposing a commodity standard on the Fed. A commodity standard (such as a gold standard) imposes discipline on a central bank because it forces it to acquire commodity reserves in order to increase the money supply. Today the government can inflate asset bubbles without paying a cost for it because the currency isn't linked to the price of a commodity."

Yahoo to make BrowserPlus open-source

      By Stephen Shankland from Webware – CNET

"BrowserPlus is a framework with a variety of plug-ins; a new version released earlier in November debuted a plug-in computer's motion sensors, for example. The plug-in architecture is designed to let Web site designers add new abilities to Web pages without requiring people to restart their browsers."

Nonspontaneous Disorder

Articles showing centrally planned disasters.

Corporations versus the Market or, Whip Conflation Now

      By Roderick Long from Cato Unbound

"Government favoritism also underwrites environmental irresponsibility on the part of big business. Polluters often enjoy protection against lawsuits, for example, despite the pollution’s status as a violation of private property rights."

Business Cycles, Not Our Fault

      By Jeffrey A. Tucker from Ludwig von Mises Institute

"We call it the Great Depression. But had the politicians not intervened, it would have been known at the 1929 crash, and it might have been as memorable as many other crashes in American history. The difference this time was the application of 'modern economic methods' to cure the thing, methods which only ended up prolonging human suffering."

Socialism and Medicine, Part 4

      By William L. Anderson from The Future of Freedom Foundation

"The first principle here should be the absence of government licensing of medical-care professionals and practitioners. No doubt, the very mention of doing away with licensing conjures up tales of doctors who are careless, physicians who misdiagnose illnesses and medical conditions, surgeons who leave sponges in patients, and the administration of lethal doses of medicines. Oops. Those things already happen in a system that is heavily regulated."

Microsoft's D.C. lobbying sank Google-Yahoo deal, Jerry Yang

      By Declan McCullagh from Politics and Law - CNET News

"In theory, antitrust law helps foster competition. In reality, politically connected companies sometimes use it to bludgeon competitors and boost their own bottom line, as soon-to-be former Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang learned the hard way."

War Is The Health Of The State

War is the ultimate State intervention in society.

World Leaders Meet, Pretend to Have a Clue

      By Robert Higgs from Liberty & Power: Group Blog

"As we consider the world’s rulers, one question overshadows all the others: are they fools or charlatans? Having thought about this question for nearly half a century, I lean toward the view that they are both."

The Power Elite and Their Media

      Interview by Lew Rockwell from The Lew Rockwell Show

Lew Rockwell interviews Dr. Tom Engelhardt

How the State Co-opts the Opposition

      By Anthony Gregory from

"It is a fine time to contemplate how, no matter how much the people seem to hate the government as it is, that energy all too often ends up to the state’s benefit. ... Power corrupts, and by giving just enough power to the people, democracy tends to corrupt the populace and convince them all that they have a stake in the burgeoning of government activity."

Stabilize This, Stabilize That

      By Robert Higgs from Beacon Blog @ TII

"Anyone who has studied economic policy over a long period has encountered one stabilization policy after another that aside from failing to stabilize anything, was never actually intended to stabilize anything in the first place. Instead, like most government policies, those purportedly aimed at stabilization are actually intended to transfer wealth, doing so under cover of the seemingly admirable announced goal of restoring order to something currently askew."

Bits of History

The Past seen with a fresh look.

History Is Clear

      By Doug French from Ludwig von Mises Institute

"The fact is that what we've been enjoying since the Federal Reserve was created is anything but free-market capitalism. The value of the dollar has been pushed down 99 percent and the economy has been a series of booms, followed by busts, ad nauseam since J.P. Morgan partner Harry Davidson and other big bank chieftains secretly took a train to go duck hunting on Jekyll Island in 1910."

Hamilton's Curse and the Death of the Dollar Standard

      By William N. Grigg from Pro Libertate

"Nearly all of the salient traits of the modern Leviathan State headquartered in Washington -- the imperial presidency, judicial activism, the Federal Reserve System's institutionalized counterfeiting and fraud, the ever-metastasizing government debt, the ever-expanding ranks of tax-subsidized corporate welfare parasites, the reduction of the states to docile administrative units of a unitary regime -- were inspired by, and are the fulfillment of, Hamilton's designs."

On the Limits of Government, Part 2

      By Scott McPherson from The Future of Freedom Foundation

"Above all else Magna Carta was a limit on the power of government; it acknowledged the ancient rights of free people. "

Voices of a People's History of the United States

      By Cory Doctorow from Boing Boing

"Howard Zinn's remarkable book, A People's History of the United States tells the underside of American history, the stories of everyday people who were on the losing side of America's prosperity and expansion,"

War and Peace

Articles showing the nature of War.

A Veterans Day Tribute

      By David R. Henderson from

"Every Veterans Day, I try to do something special to remember or honor a veteran. I don't like the standard flag-waving event that this day has become for many people. In many Veterans Day speeches, the speakers talk about the hundreds of thousands of American veterans who gave their lives for our freedom. The problem with that is twofold: (1) Very few of those who were killed in war literally gave their lives but instead had their lives ripped away, and (2) very few of them fought for our freedom."

Good Bye Neoconservatives. Hello to Their Liberal Brethren?

      By Ivan Eland from The Independent Institute

"More generally, two endless foreign quagmires and the U.S. financial and economic crisis have brought home, like a cold slap in the face, the fact that U.S. imperial and interventionist foreign and defense policies, advocated by both neoconservatives and muscular liberals, have brought strategic overextension that is unaffordable in times of yawning budget deficits and economic frailty."

Medical text invokes photographic power

      By Sarah Jackson Han from Healthcare Today Magazine

"Welcome to a brave new world of combat, in which explosive devices, not bullets, do the lion’s share of the maiming and killing. ... Governments have always understood the power of battlefield images. And so, I would add, do guerrillas and insurgent leaders."

Eliminate U.S. Presence

      By Christopher Preble from Cato Institute

"The consequences of a U.S. withdrawal may be difficult, particularly if political reconciliation collapses and there is renewed civil war. But as it stands now, it is American personnel — troops and diplomats, and also private contractors — who are exposed to these risks. The time has long since come for the burden to shift to the Iraqis."

Gazing Ahead

Attempts to peek into the future.

What Uncle Sam Has to Tell His Creditors

      By Paul Craig Roberts from CounterPunch

"This is what the plan must be: A declaration that repudiates the neoconservative goal to achieve US hegemony over the world; a budget that reduces annual US borrowing needs by several hundreds of billions by ending the Afghan and Iraq wars, by closing overseas military bases, and by cutting military spending; a new corporate tax system that brings back American jobs, manufacturing capability, and export potential by taxing US corporations’ worldwide profits according to the value-added in the US."

The Missing Near Future

      By Kevin Kelly from The Technium

"The advantage of the far future is we don’t have to be told the story of how we arrived there, of how we passed through the near future. It’s far away enough that the creators can punt past it. But the near future is such a conundrum that is it has disappeared from our culture."

In the Reality Lounge

      By Jim Kunstler from Clusterfuck Nation

"While you're at it, have a look at the waterfronts of Louisville, Cincinnati, Kansas City and a score of other inland port cities on great navigable rivers. What you'll see are condo sites, festival marketplaces, picnic grounds, and plain old empty lots -- everything but the infrastructure for commerce. We can't afford this anymore. We have to put these places back to work."

USB 3.0 to Deliver a Tenfold Speed Increase

      By Priya Ganapati from Gadget Lab from

"The ubiquitous Universal Serial Bus, better known as USB, is on track to make its first major upgrade in eight years — a tenfold speed increase over the current USB 2.0 standard. That means we'll be able to rip music, video, photos from the vast array of peripherals we connect to our computers much more quickly, and it makes such up-and-coming devices as HD video cameras that much more practical."


Books, Movies, TV, Media, Music, poetry, etc.

Tor's Worlds Without Death or Taxes

      By Katherine Mangu-Ward from Reason Magazine

"High in Manhattan’s famous Flatiron Building you’ll find the headquarters of Tor Books, the most successful science fiction publisher in the world."

A Novel Takes Flight

      By Jim Davies from Strike The Root

"The story concerns a fictional Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, portrayed as a believer in gold, whom the back cover tells us is a 'renegade', out to 'destroy the Fed.' The way in which he sets out to do so, in full public view, is highly imaginative and just credible...."

The Continuing Saga of the White Album

      By Ron Jacobs from CounterPunch

"The Beatles didn’t have the answers. Indeed, they were asking the questions like everyone else. However, in the convulsive year that was 1968, when all the pillars of what already was were being challenged, there were many who did think the Beatles had the answers."

Dollhouse Will Be Joss Whedon's Greatest Work Ever

      Reviewed by Charlie Jane Anders from io9

"Don't let the nay-sayers weigh you down — Joss' tale of a woman whose mind has been erased (to make way for whatever personality a paying client wants) is going to be better than Firefly or Buffy. And I'll tell you exactly why, but you'll have to read some spoilers to get there."

The lighter side

Humor, satire, cartoons, parodies, food, popular music and other things to amuse.

In The Know: Should The Government Stop Dumping Money Into A Giant Hole?

      By staff from Onion News Network

"With the economy sliding deeper into a recession, panelists discuss whether it's time to stop throwing our money into a massive pit out in the desert."

Bush in Race against Time to Wreck Country

      By Andy Borowitz from Borowitz Report

"Confounding the conventional wisdom that he is a lame duck president with no agenda as his days in office dwindle, President George W. Bush is redoubling his efforts to mutilate the country before his term expires, aides confirmed today."

When Inflation Comes a-Knockin'

      By The Mogambo Guru (Richard Daughty) from Safe Haven

"Thus, with a staggering, unbelievable amount of money being created, these and many more deflationary problems will soon be just a quaint memory as voluntary fiscal and monetary restraints around the world are being thrown wholesale into the dumpster even as we speak, and humongous "economic stimulus plans" financed by massive increases in fiat money are being trotted out across the globe, all meaning that inflation will rise and rise."

Samtron Imperius

      By Tatsuya Ishida from Sinfest

multipanel color cartoon

Deep Thought

Scientific and scholarly studies, philosophical essays, in-depth and longer articles

Who Should We Be?

      By Kevin Kelly from The Technium

"I don't think humans can remake ourselves into ANYTHING we want. Some folks like the transhumanists, who take the challenge of remaking humans seriously, occasionally declare that humanity is a blank canvas and that with the assistance of technology, we can mold our species -- or at least individuals -- into any form we desire. ... But at the same time, the universe is real ONLY because it is limited. Real things are real because the materials, physics, laws and other foundations constrain possibilities in a certain direction."

The Universe May Actually Be Teeming with Life

      By Lauren Davis from io9

"Most of the the search for life on other planets has focused on finding a world just like ours: rocky and covered in liquid water. But as astronomers learn more about exoplanets, some are beginning to suspect that life can evolve under a wider range of conditions than anyone had thought before."

The Warmer, the Merrier

      By James P. Hogan from

"[W]e hear eminences that inform and direct the world's peoples calling for legislation to classify carbon dioxide as a pollutant. The irony of such nonsense is that carbon dioxide is plant food, and hence [a] basic nutrient that supports all life on Earth."

Physicists Find Dark Matter, or Something Even More Strange

      By Alexis Madrigal from Wired Science from

"A new experiment may have found the first direct evidence of dark matter particles, a discovery that could begin to unravel one of the biggest mysteries in physics."


Articles not easily classified

Psychiatrist, psychoanalyze thyself – why is net surfing addictive but power lust isn’t?

      By Garry Reed from Dallas/Ft. Worth Libertarian Examiner

"The people who decide what is and is not an addiction have had centuries of observational criteria for declaring power lust as a clinically recognized psychotic antisocial disorder. Even the layperson can readily diagnose it. People obsessed with acquiring and exercising some form of domination over others, whether physical, emotional, psychological, moralistic or political, inevitably gravitate toward power structures such as religion, government, corporate law firms or similar criminal organizations."

The Fiat Bosses Killed You, Ron....

      By Brian Doherty and Ilya Somin from Reason Hit & Run Blog

"David Boaz at Cato's blog notes the Onion's Tom Joadesque elegy to the Ron Paul movement, and begins composing, in that great folk tradition of appropriation, lyrics to the tune of the old lefty anthem "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill" to honor the libertarian congressman. "

Monty Python launches YouTube Channel, tells users to stop stealing

      By Don Reisinger from Webware – CNET

"The post claims Monty Python has put an end to 'those crap quality videos' that have been posted across YouTube and will start delivering 'HQ videos' from the 'vault.' All videos posted on the Monty Python channel will be free to view, but the show doesn't want viewers to watch the free shows and do nothing. Instead, it asks for something in return."

I'm from Microsoft. Here's how we crush bones

      By Charles Cooper from Coop's Corner - CNET News

"The only real surprise is that it took Microsoft this long to reach this point. But it's in line with the company's practice of offering for free the features that other application makers charge for. Let's remember that back in the Stone Age, companies used to sell things like word processors and spell checkers."

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