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Rape for Sale

Guest Blog by Michael Watkins

[The following letter appeared in the Opelika-Auburn News for 29 May 2015, under the title “GHB goes beyond drug problem.” The author’s preferred title is restored here.]

It is not surprising that someone in the Auburn area was making and distributing the date rape drug GHB. We knew it was in use and that it had to come from somewhere. I say it is not surprising. It is certainly awful. Getting clear about why it is awful, getting clear about why producing and distributing GHB is morally heinous (spoiler alert: it is not primarily about drugs), allows us to see something quite surprising, and that is that we have largely missed what is truly awful. We suffer from a kind of moral myopia.


Stephen Howard, a university employee, was arrested for distributing the date rape drug GHB, conspiring to possess and distribute GHB, and possessing a firearm in connection with a drug transaction. Message boards are filled with comments about drug use and its dangers, many opining blindly about drug use in general, others about the relative dangers of GHB in comparison with meth, heroin, and other drugs. And the University’s public safety advisory focuses primarily, though not exclusively, on the use of drugs and giving drugs to others without their consent: “giving someone a drug without their knowledge or permission is a felony.”

Indeed, giving someone a drug without her knowledge or permission is a felony. And it’s wrong. But to focus on drugs is to miss what is morally most important. GHB is a date RAPE drug. Having sex with someone incapacitated by GHB is RAPE. A bartender putting GHB in someone’s drink is assisting RAPE. The drug is distributed first and foremost for that purpose. It is distributed first and foremost to aid in the rape of women. And so, with that purpose in mind, distributing the drug is to assist in the serial assault and rape of women, and to profit financially from doing so. It is to assist many to rape many. The use of GHB is not primarily a drug problem. It is far, far worse than that.

Michael Watkins
Professor and Chair
Department of Philosophy
Auburn University

C4SS Appeal

Guest Blogs by Brad Spangler and Kevin Carson

PLAN B: Okay, It’s Time to Panic

by Brad Spangler

Dear Supporters of the Center for a Stateless Society,

I blame myself.

When we launched the month-plus long fundraising drive for combined July and August expenses two weeks ago, I tried to convey that because it was for two months worth of expenses (and that those particular months were ones with growing expenses), it was going to be a challenge.

I was right, but I should have been working harder to explain that, again and again, to you over the past two weeks.

Right now, the ChipIn fundraising meter shows only $489 (from only 8 donors) raised out of our goal of $4522. That’s 10% of our total goal raised with the drive almost 50% over with.

Center for a Stateless Society

Because it’s a double-month fundraiser, all of the donations can’t wait until the last minute. We have July expenses to pay now. It’s the 27th of August. We need roughly $600 more than what we even have on hand right now to meet our July payroll.

In the next two days, over the course of this weekend, can we get that fundraising meter up to $1100 mark to pay our people for July?

Between that point and September 17th, can we get the fundraisjng meter up to our $4522 goal?

I’m not betting on it. I’m panicking. I don’t want to ask to much of you. I know times are tough. I’m slashing expenses.

It’s time for PLAN B.

  • I’ve reviewed our finances and found where the expense for Liberty on Tour advertising was already covered by a direct donation. That money could have gone into funding the tiny reserve we’ve been trying to scrape up, which we’re going to need this Autumn, but we’re going to be tapping our existing reserve instead right now. $500 slashed.

  • That September Liberty Radio Network advertising campaign? Cancelled. $620 slashed.

  • Our brand new News Analyst Stacy Litz? We just brought her onboard at the beginning of August, but I’ve had to make the painful decision to send poor Stacy on an unpaid leave of absence in September to give us some financial breathing room. I might be able to bring her back at the end of the month to do some social media work and start writing again in October, but that depends on the success of this fundraising drive.

  • Our heroic Media Coordinator Tom Knapp has pledged to donate $100 of his pay BACK to the Center just as soon as we even CAN pay him in the first place.

  • Faithful supporter and friend of the Center Jock C. has pledged to raise his ongoing monthly donation from $25 to $50 each month if ten more new people sign up for ongoing automatic donations of at least $10 each before August 31st.

Link to sign up: http://c4ss.org/support-the-center

There you have it. We need about $600 more dollars in the next couple of days and need to have raised a total of just over $3000 during this fundraising drive by September 17th just to squeak by (and preferably much more, as that will leave us with no reserve).

It’s crunch time, folks. We need your help to keep going and keep moving forward aggressively. Our efforts are paying off. Please see Media Coordinator Tom Knapp’s latest report here:


To donate via Paypal, just click on the ChipIn widget on any page of our web site:


Please support our work. Then get your friends to support our work.

Brad Spangler,
Director, Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS)

C4SS Still Needs Your Help

by Kevin Carson

Today C4SS director Brad Spangler posted an appeal for help. It seems the low contributions so far for the July-August fundraiser (only 10% of the target) have him in a panic. He announced plans to cut back on some projected expansions (like cancelling a Radio Liberty advertising campaign in September), and to put our new commentator Stacy Litz on unpaid leave.

Tom Knapp promised to give back $100 of his monthly media coordinator salary – which is hardly even a pittance even as it is, considering he has painstakingly compiled a distribution list of many hundreds of newspapers for submitting each and every new C4SS column. Tom’s doing the kind of stuff people get paid high professional salaries for, and I’d say his performance stacks up very well against that of the pros.

I’m not as dedicated as Tom (business has been slow at my day job, and that $425 really helps with the bills), but I’m gonna subscribe for a regular $20 contribution myself – just as soon as I get some money in the bank so the deduction doesn’t bounce (hint, hint). And contributor Jock C. has promised to up his monthly contribution from $25 to $50 if ten more people sign up for monthly contributions of $10 or more.
Center for a Stateless Society

Now that we seem to be hitting a wall for the time being in terms of limits on our expansion, it would be really great if the monthly subscriber base started catching up with our budget. As it is, that $300 in monthly subscriptions is a nice cushion, as a head start toward each month’s fundraising goals. If we could meet a much larger percentage of our total budget, and smooth out the peaks and troughs a bit with dependable income, that would be even better. And it’s a lot less hassle to have a modest sum like $10 or $20 deducted from your bank account every month, and feel virtuously entitled to sit back and ignore the beg-a-thons (“I already gave at the office, thanks.”).

I’ve said this before, but if enough people subscribe, we might be able to stop these fund-raisers altogether. I’ll bet if everybody who’s ever contributed signed up for $10 or $20 a month, we’d be pretty close to fully funded on an ongoing basis. Imagine – I know, I’m repeating myself – if Jerry Lewis promised to go away forever if enough people subscribed for regular annual donations. The millions of people rushing to put their checks in the mail would probably put him over the top the next day.

Since Brad made his appeal today, the contributions have reached 28% of the goal (for which muchas gracias). That means we have enough now, at the end of August, to pay everybody for the work they did in July. Every month when we start one of these things, I wonder if I’m going to wind up writing for free a major part of the time, if we’ve finally reached the point where people have had enough of coughing up money. And I’d probably keep doing it if the money stopped coming in, as would most of us at C4SS. I may be stingier than Tom Knapp when it comes to giving back money, but I’d still probably keep writing for free.

That’s because we believe in what we’re doing. We’re not giving away prayer cloths like Benny Hinn, and we won’t heal your hemorrhoids if you put your hands on the monitor. No matter how much you contribute, we won’t help you rid yourself of alien engrams and reach a state of “clear.” All we can do is keep producing columns, research papers, radio shows and podcasts promoting the cause of human freedom. If that’s something you also believe in, and you’ve got the means to help us out, please consider doing so.

If you want to sign up for a regular monthly contribution, just click here.

C4SS Monthly Fundraiser

Guest Blog by Brad Spangler

[cross-posted at C4SS]

Dear Supporters of the Center for a Stateless Society,

It’s time for me to again report to you on our financial situation and ask you to please help us pay some bills. Our fundraising goal this month is $1,320. Please support our work. Donate using the ChipIn widget on any page of our web site. Financial details follow …

We have had $1820 in total expenses for this past month of June. Those expenses are partially offset by $300 in income from recurring donations. Additionally, we’ve received several hundred dollars in online course fees for the Stateless-U program of online courses. Because those course fees are not a monthly source of income, though, as well as because enrollees can potentially drop classes and ask for their money back during the remainder of the month of July, we’re only counting a portion of that money toward the June expenses; $200.

That, then, is how we arrived at our fundraising goal for this month:





The monthly expense breakdown is pretty similar to what you’ve seen in recent months. Tom Knapp is now our part-time Media Coordinator, so his pay has changed. Although you’ll continue to see the occasional written commentary from him, Tom is now mostly doing promotional work aimed at media placement of our content. Darian Worden is now making more money as well because he’s taking up some of the writing slack from Tom writing less. Additionally, I’m drawing a $100 monthly stipend now and had $20 in phone expenses this past month. Here’s the expense listing:


Research Associate: Carson — $425
News Analyst: Knight — $160
News Analyst: Worden — $260
Web Administrator: Gogulski — $215
Media Coordinator: Knapp — $640
Director (Stipend & Expenses): Spangler — $120


That’s where we’re at right now.

Will you please support our work? Donate using the ChipIn widget on any page of our web site.


Brad Spangler,
Director, Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS)

Talk About Missing the Point!

Guest Blog by Jennifer McKitrick

[cross-posted at JenMc’s Blog]

It seems to me much of the criticism about executive compensation has been misplaced.

What’s supposed to be so horrible about CEO’s getting big bonuses?

  • “They just don’t get it.”
  • “They’re idiots.”
  • “They don’t understand that people are hurting and angry.”
  • “They’re insensitive to public perceptions.”

That might be true. But is that really the problem? Is that what’s important – whether or not CEO’s know or care what we think?

  • “They don’t deserve it.”
  • “It’s rewarding failure.”

OK, imagine this… Suppose that certain executives at these companies had been working really hard, doing their best, etc., etc. And let’s even suppose they’re not the people who had made bad decisions, but they are doing their darnedest to repair the damage. And suppose we had good evidence that, if it weren’t for their work, things would be much worse. Given the circumstances, they might be described as moderately successful in their endeavors. Even if this were the case, how would you feel if millions of taxpayer dollars that was intended to help save their companies was used to give them bonuses instead? Myself, personally, would still not be happy about it. (I find it implausible that the bonuses, in the current environment, actually help the company be more profitable.)

Community Chest: Bailout in your favor - collect $20000000000On the other hand, suppose that a private company that has taken no bailout money decides to give a reckless and irresponsible executive a multi-million dollar bonus that he doesn’t deserve. This might be a bad idea for many reasons. It will probably be bad for the company, and in turn, bad for everyone who depends on that company. But, hey, if they want to shoot themselves in the foot, that’s more or less their problem. Investors and other people who depend on this company should be aware and take caution. If such practices are harmful to companies, companies that are determined to engage in them should fail.

In sum:
Bonuses for well-meaning, “deserving” executives for bailed out companies – Grrr!
Bonuses for reckless, undeserving executives for private (un-bailed-out) companies – Oh well.

Ergo: The executives’ being undeserving is irrelevant to how bad an idea the bonuses are!

So why are the bonuses so horrible? In my opinion, it’s because they constitute the transfer of vast sums of wealth from millions of Americans who can’t afford it to a privileged few, which serves no other purpose than the interests of the few (who also happen to have been a lot better off in the first place).

Who cares what they do or don’t understand, what their motives are, or what they do or do not deserve? I don’t.

This has got to be the biggest rip-off perpetrated against the American people in the history of our country. And all people can complain about is that the beneficiaries of this scam are insensitive and undeserving?!

But if we stop talking about the character flaws of CEO’s, we’ll have to start talking about the people who just handed them billions of dollars that we don’t even have. I mean, it’s not as if they broke into Fort Knox and stole it.

  • “This is a red herring. It’s such a small percentage of the bailout (or TARP or whatever) money. Complaining about it is great political theater, but in the big picture, the bonuses are irrelevant.”

OK. Here’s how to get away with wasting a billion dollars: First, spend a trillion dollars. Then, when someone asks about how a billion of it was spent, point out that that is only 0.1% of the total. (Recall that the same kind of response was made in defense of various parts of the stimulus package. It is so huge that to complain about multi-billion dollar expenditures looks like knit-picking.)

The sums of money here are just beyond my comprehension. But I’m not supposed to worry about amounts that are far more than I could earn in 10 lifetimes, because it’s a drop in the bucket of what the U.S. taxpayers are on the hook for. And this is supposed to make me feel better why?

Jennifer McKitrick is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and Vice-President of the Molinari Institute and Molinari Society.

Tortured Logic

Guest Blog by Jennifer McKitrick

[cross-posted at JenMc’s Blog]

1. Water boarding is torture.
2. The Bush administration authorized water boarding.
3. Authorizing torture is a punishable offense.
Therefore… ?

What’s the rationale for denying the claim that someone from the Bush administration is liable to criminal prosecution?

  • We should look forward, not backward (Obama).

Let's go waterboarding!I tried telling that to the judge when I was in traffic court: “That speeding I did – that’s in the past. The important thing is that I will obey the speed limit in the future.” It didn’t fly.

  • We shouldn’t criminalize policy disagreements (Holder).

But what if it’s someone’s policy to break the law? It’s not their disagreeing with you that’s criminal – it’s the crime that they committed.

  • The Bush administration didn’t know that what they were doing was illegal.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. I told the judge in traffic court that I didn’t know that going 60 mph on that particular stretch of road was illegal, but that didn’t work either.

  • The Bush administration acted in accord with legal counsel that said that what they were doing was legal.

Oh! The lawyers said it was OK! Why didn’t you say so? So, if I hire a lawyer to tell me that speeding is legal, I can drive as fast as I want?! Yippee!

It seems to me that the laws that protect people from being tortured should be at least as strong as the laws that protect people from my driving too fast.

And it seems to me, if something is against the law now, and the reasons it is against the law were in play at time t, then that thing was against the law at time t.

So, are there any reasons that make water boarding against the law now that weren’t in play in the last several years?

A different administrative “policy”?

What was that I heard, once upon a time, about a separation of legislative and executive branches…? If Obama’s policies can deem water boarding to be against the law when it was previously not a punishable offense, then it would seem that they would be justified in not having those policies if that were their prerogative.

Lucky for us, they’re nice guys.
Let’s hope so, since they seem to basically agree with the Bush administration about the executive being above the law.

It reminds me of when my co-worker opined that our boss was a very judgmental person. When I told her that he didn’t seem that way to me, she said “Well, it’s not obvious, since most of his judgments are positive.”

Don’t Know Much About Economics…

Guest Blog by Jennifer McKitrick

[cross-posted at Jen Mc’s Blog]

Don’t Know Much About Economics…

But as far as I can figure…

The plan of the Trouble Asset Relief Program is that the US government borrows money from China so that they can lend it to banks so banks can lend it to consumers/taxpayers.

(China should just open up banks in the US and lend directly to consumers. Cut out the middle men! Especially ones that spend the money on spa retreats for their clients.)

So basically, the government is putting taxpayers in debt so that money can be lent to same taxpayers, with interest.

Rube Goldberg cartoon

If enough taxpayers pay back the bank, the bank can pay the government, and the government can pay back China, and if there’s any left over, it will “benefit the taxpayer,” whatever that means.

(Another short cut: If you really want to benefit the taxpayer, reduce the amount that they have to pay on their loans now, rather than giving them a promise of a cut of the profits made off their own interest payments.)

Now, if not enough taxpayers pay their loans, the bank can’t pay back the government, but the government still has to pay back China, so where will they get the money? From taxpayers! Which taxpayers? The ones who were unable or unwilling to pay their loans? Unlikely. For the others (and subsequent generations), after they’re done paying back any money that they may have borrowed, they still have to pay back the money that someone else borrowed. That sounds less like being financially responsible and more like being a sucker.

Another thing…
If the Big 3 are good for the money, why can’t they get regular loans?

Credit is tight, I know. But the government already gave billions to financial institutions so they could make loans. I guess the banks figure they shouldn’t risk the taxpayer’s money that way. That would be irresponsible!

But what do I know?

Jennifer McKitrick is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and Vice-President of the Molinari Institute and Molinari Society.

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