We the Liver

Howard the Duck Whatever you may think about the ethics of foie gras (my own view is that producing it violates a duty, that producing it nevertheless violates no right, that consuming it violates no duty, and that refraining from consuming it is nevertheless a permissible specification of an imperfect duty – but like I said, never mind), there’s something heartening about the insouciantly defiant attitude of these lawbreakers. They’re not storming the citadel, they’re treating the citadel as irrelevant.

Oh, to see the State’s edicts cheerfully ignored en masse, La Boétie style, on issues more important than foie gras!

In completely unrelated news, this is unwelcome.


Other People Are Not Your Property, But This Button Can Be

ANARCHY button The slogan “Anarchy is the radical notion that other people are not your property” – which as far as I can tell I coined (see here, here, here for the core idea; the rest was borrowed from the more famous slogan “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people”) – is now available from the Molinari Institute not only as a trendy t-shirt but also as a bodacious button.

Although you can’t tell from the picture, the red letters are much brighter and more distinct on the button than on the t-shirt.

Or be doubly cool and wear the anarchy button on your anarchy t-shirt.

For any minarchists who are feeling left out, I see that there’s an outfit on CafePress that sells minarchist paraphernalia, complete with a new minarchy symbol. See? minarchists can look stylish too.

But if you wear one of our anarchist buttons on one of their minarchist t-shirts, you will promptly explode. A is A, man. A isn’t M.


A Question for Anti-Immigration Libertarians

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

I accept the traditional libertarian arguments for open borders. But I’m not going to rehash those arguments here.

Let me try a different tack.

Berlin Wall Libertarian defenders of gun rights like to point out that gun control has often been a precursor to, because an enabler of, democide. When they are asked “do you really think our government poses that sort of danger?” they rightly remind the questioner that relatively benign regimes are sometimes succeeded by rather less nice regimes, who conveniently inherit a disarmed public, or at least a gun-registered public (so they know just where to go to round up the arms), from their predecessors. (Obvious example: the Weimar Republic.)

So here’s a reminder and a question for anti-immigration libertarians, and particularly for those who support the proposed U.S.-Mexican Border Fence.

A wall that can be used to keep people out can also be used to keep people in.

Do we really want to trust the U.S. government – meaning not only the present regime but all future U.S. regimes – with a tool of that nature?


Mitigate the Mythologisers! Execrate the Exploiters!

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

This is no time to go all Wobbly, George Wish you’d been a fly on the wall at last month’s Molinari Society symposium on “Anarchist Perspectives”?

Well, of course you don’t. A fly’s brain is too small to process the event properly. Plus you might have gotten squished against the wall by a stampeding bewilderment of philosophers.

But in any case, Charles Johnson’s comments on Matt MacKenzie’s and Geoff Plauché’s papers are now online. Gaudete igitur.


The Three Rs

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

Three items of interest:

  • Ron Paul, R. A. Wilson, and Theodore RoszakIt looks like Ron Paul is considering running for the Republican nomination. (Conical hat tip to Lew Rockwell.)

    His chances of getting it are, of course, svelter than a nanotube. (It would be hilarious if the Republicans did nominate Paul and then the LP nominated someone like Barr!) But it strikes me as a good publicity move; antiwar liberals of the Jon Stewart variety might relish the chance to draw attention to an antiwar, anti-Bush candidate for the GOP top spot.

  • Robert Anton Wilson has died; see the notices from my two favourite people at Reason. His gleeful conspiracy novels anticipated both Foucault’s Pendulum and The Da Vinci Code, but were a lot more fun. For Wilson’s brief left-libertarian glossary-as-manifesto, see here.
  •  And finally, this great quote from Theodore Roszak’s Voice of the Earth (conical hat tip to David Edwards):

Our complex global economy is built upon millions of small, private acts of psychological surrender, the willingness of people to acquiesce in playing their assigned parts as cogs in the great social machine that encompasses all other machines. They must shape themselves to the prefabricated identities that make efficient coordination possible. … [T]hat capacity for self-enslavement must be broken.

And before you write in, gentle libertarian comrade: no, my quoting that does not mean that I agree with everything that Theodore Roszak ever said, nor does it mean that I’m getting a tattoo of Stalin on my forehead.

 


The Road to Surgedom

Standing in front of a full bookcase, of all things, our Prince President tonight (a curse upon the timestamp – it’s still 11:43 p.m. here in al-Abama) made many annoying remarks. Here are some of them:

When I addressed you just over a year ago, nearly 12 million Iraqis had cast their ballots for a unified and democratic nation. The elections of 2005 were a stunning achievement. We thought that these elections would bring the Iraqis together – and that as we trained Iraqi security forces, we could accomplish our mission with fewer American troops.

Who is this “we” who had such sanguine hopes for the Iraqi elections? There were plenty of people around at the time explaining why such optimism was ill-founded.

Al Qaeda terrorists and Sunni insurgents recognized the mortal danger that Iraq’s elections posed for their cause. And they responded with outrageous acts of murder aimed at innocent Iraqis.

In otherwise, Sunnis became insurgents because Iraqi democracy posed a threat to the Sunni insurgency. The point of this circular logic is to prevent us from recognising that it was not qua Sunni insurgents but simply qua Sunnis that they were placed in “mortal danger” by Bush’s pseudo-democratic majoritarian scheme.

The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people – and it is unacceptable to me.

Ugh.

Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.

Ah! an empty, consequenceless accepting of responsibility! Where have we heard this before? Oh yes, Janet Reno.

Kate Bush and Mary Cheney The consequences of failure are clear: Radical Islamic extremists would grow in strength and gain new recruits. They would be in a better position to topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region, and use oil revenues to fund their ambitions. … we concluded that to step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government, tear that country apart, and result in mass killings on an unimaginable scale.

Since all these developments were the result of the U.S.’s entering Iraq, the thought that they would also result from the U.S.’leaving creates a pleasing symmetry.

The most urgent priority for success in Iraq is security, especially in Baghdad. Eighty percent of Iraq’s sectarian violence occurs within 30 miles of the capital.

There’s reason to think that figure is exaggerated; but I’ll readily admit that there’s probably a lot more violence near the capital than elsewhere. The reason for that, however, is that the existence of a central government to seize is one of the chief causes of the civil strife in Iraq, so it’s no surprise that the melee is most pronounced nearest the prize. Here Bush’s policy of propping up majoritarian centralism in Iraq is the problem, not the solution.

In earlier operations, political and sectarian interference prevented Iraqi and American forces from going into neighborhoods that are home to those fueling the sectarian violence. This time, Iraqi and American forces will have a green light to enter these neighborhoods

Oh goody. Can they juggle nitroglycerine while they’re doing that?

This new strategy will not yield an immediate end to suicide bombings, assassinations, or IED attacks. Our enemies in Iraq will make every effort to ensure that our television screens are filled with images of death and suffering. … The year ahead will demand more patience, sacrifice, and resolve. … Even if our new strategy works exactly as planned, deadly acts of violence will continue – and we must expect more Iraqi and American casualties.

Oh, I guess the answer to my previous question is yes.

To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend 10 billion dollars of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs.

Its own money! Cool! How did the Iraqi government earn 10 billion dollars of its own money?

And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation’s political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws

Oh yes, those wretched de-Baathification laws! What looney-tune suggested them to begin with?

Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity – and stabilizing the region in the face of the extremist challenge. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. … We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region.

Ohhh yeah, there’s the de-escalation we were hoping for.

It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time. On one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who kill the innocent

And Bush is on which of those sides?

Our new approach comes after consultations with Congress

Post hoc, sed non propter hoc.

Such a scenario [= withdrawal] would result in our troops being forced to stay in Iraq even longer

I could let you live, but then I’d have to kill you.

We also need to examine ways to mobilize talented American civilians to deploy overseas – where they can help build democratic institutions in communities and nations recovering from war and tyranny.

I wish he’d use a less ominous word than “mobilize.”.

These young Americans understand that our cause in Iraq is noble and necessary – and that the advance of freedom is the calling of our time. … And throughout our history, Americans have always defied the pessimists and seen our faith in freedom redeemed.

Ugh.

We go forward with trust that the Author of Liberty will guide us through these trying hours.

What? Benjamin Tucker?


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