Archive | January, 2009

Chomsky Inc.

In other news, left-libertarians will find Ben O’Neill’s new piece on Chomsky a bit frustrating. It attacks Chomsky at a point where he certainly needs attacking, and rightly complains that “Chomsky’s quarrels with private business entities do not rest on any allegation of the initiation of force either by these corporations or on their behalf”; moreover, O’Neill even cites Kolko re the dependence of corporate power on government intervention. So far, so good.

Kevin A. Carson - Organization Theory: A Libertarian PerspectiveNevertheless, the Kolko references notwithstanding, the tone of O’Neill’s piece still conveys the impression that existing corporate structures, with all their Dilbertian irrationality and obnoxious hierarchy, are mostly the result of the free market and so to be defended, thus leaving the reader with the old choice between vulgar liberalism (treating various nasty features of the prevailing corporatism as though they constituted an objection to the free market) and vulgar libertarianism (treating the case for the free market as though it justified various nasty features of the prevailing corporatism). In fact, given the impact of statist intervention on corporate structure, Chomsky’s characterisation of corporations as “private tyrannies” can be vindicated on purely libertarian grounds – as Kevin Carson does in his new book Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective. (And of course it’s also worth saying that even forms of power that don’t involve or depend on coercion can still be harmful and worth fighting – noncoercively, of course.)

While we’re on this topic – I haven’t forgotten my promise to respond to some of the later criticisms in the Conflation Debate; life has just been über-hectic lately.

Steal This Journal!

Libertarian PapersA new online journal named Libertarian Papers and edited by Stephan Kinsella debuts today. (I’m on the editorial board.)

Note to contributors: it is peer-reviewed (and so gets you a shiny star on your c.v. if you’re an academic) and copylefted (so you never need to ask permission to reprint your own work), plus as an online journal it has a faster publication schedule and no arbitrary length restrictions. So submit! submit!

Speaking of copyright issues, check out Jeff Tucker’s recent series of posts: A Book That Changes Everything, What Is Your Attitude Toward IP?, and Authors: Beware of Copyright.

Different Lives

I’ve written before about the difference between the James Bond of the movies and the one of the books, and why I prefer the latter. Time for another example.

Here’s how the movie version of Moonraker ends:

(Hey, my new blog allows embedded videos! The old one wouldn’t.)

And here’s how the original novel ends:

He looked up. She was standing a few feet away from him. He noticed that she was wearing a black beret at a rakish angle and that she looked exciting and mysterious like someone you see driving by abroad, alone in an open car, someone unattainable and more desirable than anyone you have ever known. Someone who is on her way to make love to somebody else. Someone who is not for you.

MoonrakerHe got up and they took each other’s hands.

It was she who released herself. She didn’t sit down. … Her eyes were soft as she looked at him. Soft, but, he thought, somehow evasive. … She looked over his shoulder.

Bond turned round. A hundred yards away there was the tall figure of a young man with fair hair trimmed short. His back was towards them and he was idling along, killing time.

Bond turned back and Gala’s eyes met his squarely.

‘I’m going to marry that man,’ she said quietly. ‘Tomorrow morning.’ …

‘Oh,’ said Bond. He smiled stiffly. ‘I see.’

There was a moment of silence during which their eyes slid away from each other.

And yet why should he have expected anything else? A kiss. The contact of two frightened bodies clinging together in the midst of danger. There had been nothing more. … Why had he imagined that she shared his desires, his plans?

And now what? wondered Bond. He shrugged his shoulders to shift the pain of failure – the pain of failure that is so much greater than the pleasure of success. … He must get out of these two young lives and take his cold heart elsewhere. There must be no regrets. No false sentimentality. He must play the role which she expected of him. The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette.

She was looking at him rather nervously, waiting to be relieved of the stranger who had tried to get his foot in the door of her heart. …

He touched her for the last time and then they turned away from each other and walked off into their different lives.

I’m just sayin’ ….

Sign of the Times

Bush and Cheney are out! Hurray!

Our new President has just been eloquently, articulately, ignorantly haranguing and threatening us. Oh well.


James Bond on the Drug War

From Goldfinger (the book, not the movie – duh):

A big man in Mexico had some poppy fields. The flowers were not for decoration. They were broken down for opium which was sold quickly and comparatively cheaply by the waiters at a small café in Mexico City called the ‘Madre de Cacao’. The Madre de Cacao had plenty of protection. If you needed opium you walked in and ordered what you wanted with your drink. You paid for your drink at the caisse and the man at the caisse told you how many noughts to add to your bill. It was an orderly commerce of no concern to anyone outside Mexico. Then, far away in England, the Government, urged on by the United Nations’ drive against drug smuggling, announced that heroin would be banned in Britain. A few more of these and I'll be able to pee the Specific, um, see the Pacific ....There was alarm in Soho and also among respectable doctors who wanted to save their patients agony. Prohibition is the trigger of crime. Very soon the routine smuggling channels from China, Turkey and Italy were run almost dry by the illicit stock-piling in England.

Though it’s off-topic, I can’t resist adding the following, rather less insightful passage from the same chapter:

James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death. … He stubbed out the butt of his cigarette and sat, his chin resting on his left hand, and gazed moodily across the twinkling tarmac to where the last half of the sun was slipping gloriously into the Gulf.

James Bond must have unusual eyesight to be able to see the Gulf of Mexico from Miami.

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