Archive | December, 2019

Quote of the Day

[cross-posted at BHL and POT]

One of the tragic aspects of the emancipation of the serfs in Russia in 1861 was that while the serfs gained their personal freedom, the land – their means of production and of life, their land was retained under the ownership of their feudal masters. The land should have gone to the serfs themselves, for under the homestead principle they had tilled the land and deserved its title. Furthermore, the serfs were entitled to a host of reparations from their masters for the centuries of oppression and exploitation. The fact that the land remained in the hands of the lords paved the way inexorably for the Bolshevik Revolution, since the revolution that had freed the serfs remained unfinished.

The same is true of the abolition of slavery in the United States. The slaves gained their freedom, it is true, but the land, the plantations that they had tilled and therefore deserved to own under the homestead principle, remained in the hands of their former masters. Furthermore, no reparations were granted the slaves for their oppression out of the hides of their masters. Hence the abolition of slavery remained unfinished, and the seeds of a new revolt have remained to intensify to the present day. Hence, the great importance of the shift in Negro demands from greater welfare handouts to “reparations”, reparations for the years of slavery and exploitation and for the failure to grant the Negroes their land, the failure to heed the Radical abolitionist’s call for “40 acres and a mule” to the former slaves. In many cases, moreover, the old plantations and the heirs and descendants of the former slaves can be identified, and the reparations can become highly specific indeed.

Murray Rothbard, 1969

Anarchy in Philadelphia

[cross-posted at C4SS, BHL, and POT]

The Molinari Society will be holding its mostly-annual Eastern Symposium in conjunction with the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association in Philadelphia, 8-11 January 2020. Here’s the schedule info:

Molinari Society symposium:
New Work in Libertarian and Anarchist Thought

G5E. Thursday, 9 January 2020, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, Philadelphia 201 Hotel, 201 N. 17th St., Philadelphia PA 19103, room TBA.


Roderick T. Long (Auburn University)


Zachary Woodman (Western Michigan University), “The Implications of Philosophical Anarchism for National Identity

Jason Lee Byas (University of Michigan), “What Is Violence?

William Nava (New York University), “The Causal Case Against Contributing to Public Goods

Roderick T. Long (Auburn University), “Ayn Rand’s ‘New’ (Posthumous) Critique of Anarchism: A Counter-Critique

I Get Ink

[cross-posted at BHL, POT, and Facebook (1, 2, 3)]

A good thing just arrived by mail – a first edition of Francis Dashwood Tandy’s 1896 free-market anarchist classic Voluntary Socialism, autographed by the author. And for only $25! Usually those go for over $400, even if not autographed. I’ve grossly exploited some online bookseller, and I’m fine with that.

Full disclosure: I’d intended this as a gift (I won’t say for whom) but I’ve selfishly decided to keep it. (Tandy, as a Tuckerite egoist, would no doubt approve.)

“W. Irving Way” might be Washington Irving Way, founder of Way and Williams Publishers. (And he has an Oz connection.)

This Tandy volume is now one of my three favourite autographed-libertarian-classics-by-dead-authors in my possession. (I specify “dead authors” because if I own an autographed copy of one of YOUR works, dear reader, then naturally I cherish it far more. Possibly.)

The other two are this very pro-mercantile mediaeval-era historical novel by Isabel Paterson …

(The “John Farrar” to whom Paterson signs the book is presumably the one mentioned here.)

… and this copy of Gustave de Molinari’s book on compulsory education:

(It’s not by Napoleon III. It’s just bound together with Molinari’s book on Napoleon III, for no obvious reason. But the autograph occurs at the opening of the education book – a debate with Frederic Passy, who is incidentally useful as an answer to the trick trivia question “who was the first libertarian economist to win a Nobel Prize?” – a trick question because it wasn’t the economics prize.) (I don’t think the seller noticed it was autographed, since it’s not at the beginning.)

I can’t quite make out to whom Molinari has signed the book. First name Henry, but what is that last name? Logh?

(Sorry for title page blurring, but at least no autograph blurring.)

Vox Clamantis

Today is the 250th anniversary of the founding of Dartmouth College, and I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for its role in my life. I spent my high school years (1977-1981) in Hanover NH, and Dartmouth was an amazing and wonderful cultural presence for me during that time.

For starters, Dartmouth provided an endless variety of high-quality live performances – music, drama, dance – ranging from the ultra-traditional to the ultra-avant-garde, as well as movie showings (classic films, foreign films, a terrific Orson Welles festival, etc.) – and most at relatively low prices (generally a much better bargain than Auburn’s new Performing Arts Center offers).

But Dartmouth offered opportunities not only to spectate but to participate. I got to play the role of the Swaggering Soldier in Plautus’s Bacchides (translated by James Tatum and directed by Bill Cook; my slave was played by my high school compatriot Josh Gert, who is now also a professional philosopher, like his father and his sister), and multiple roles in the Christmas Revels – acting (I played Dr. John Brown in the Mummers’ Play), singing, and dancing.

As an Advanced French student at Hanover High School, I also had the opportunity to take Dartmouth classes in French literature (where I was introduced to such works as Chrétien de Troyes’s Yvain, Montaigne’s Essais, Madame de La Fayette’s La Princesse de Clèves, Racine’s Bajazet, Balzac’s Eugénie Grandet, and Proust’s Un amour de Swann, as well as to Renaissance poets like Ronsard and Du Bellay, who permanently screwed up my ability to spell French correctly) and French philosophy (e.g., Sartre, Lacan, Saussure, Barthes, Lévi-Strauss, Foucault – in French! tough going!). (My French philosophy teacher accused me of intellectual dishonesty for disagreeing with Sartre, but no experience is perfect. My Renaissance poetry teacher was great, though. She also had us all over to her apartment for dinner.)

In addition, Hanover High had a hook-up to the Dartmouth main computer (two Pleistocene-era terminals with endless rolls of paper instead of screens, and a shrieking modem with a giant phone). One of my classmates, Miken Bean, taught me how to program a bit in BASIC (a language created by Dartmouth president John Kemeny), and I was soon able to get a college account allowing me to use not only the two high school terminals (with their limited hours) but various computing labs all over the Dartmouth campus, where I would spend many hours working on a D&D-style adventure game.

During most of my four years in Hanover, Dartmouth was my natural goal for college. And although in the end I was seduced away from Dartmouth by Harvard, a switch I’ve never regretted (Fight fiercely, Harvard!), my gratitude and affection toward Dartmouth remain undimmed. Happy birthday, Dartmouth!

My French classes were in the white building with green roofs, center left.

With His Stripes

On Star Wars: Resistance, it’s a bit distracting the way Captain Doza always has fudge stripe cookies on his face.

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