The Marginal Non-Hermit
This is a video that is and isn't about the war in Ukraine. Rather than trying to convince you of any particular position, what I'd like to do here is talk about the complexity of this event and talk about some methods that help me interpret such events, and maybe they'll help you.
This is a bit of a long one, but there's a lot to talk about and I don't want to rush it.
The Freedom Convoy is now in Ottawa, and has been there over a week! In protest of covid vaccine mandates, it looks like around 50,000 trucks formed a convoy and now they're making the would-be tyrants in the Canadian government look as bad and as impotent as they really are.
There are lots of things going on, and I wanted to touch on a few of the ones I thought were most interesting, but there's also a point about the idiotic injunction on honking that I don't think anyone has brought up yet... watch to find out!
The "bully pulpit" describes when some person or group in a position of authority uses that authority to make its desires clear to the public. When the executive branch of the government uses it, it is an extremely dangerous tool that can have serious negative consequences.
In the past, it was used to keep wage rates above market and exacerbated the Great Depression. Right now, it's being used to attack the rights to free speech, expression, and press.
White House Press Transcript:
Surgeon General Promotes Censorship:
There are some ideas, some policies, so stupid, so bizarre, that people trying to argue against them seem to be arguing for them, and sometimes vice versa. The minimum wage is one of these policies. In a recent article at Reason, someone made a bizarre comment about the minimum wage that needed to be countered. This kind of thought about minimum wage and the welfare state is common, sounds reasonable to people who aren't thinking, and is flatly wrong.
In this short video essay, I explain why.
Fascist trolls on social media are often blindly in favor of lockdowns as a response to Covid. They make the argument that lockdowns save lives, but their statements show a complete fanatical ignorance of a concept called "opportunity costs." To paraphrase the great Frederic Bastiat, it is important, when analyzing some policy choice, to consider not only the direct effects of the policy on its stated target, but also its indirect effects on others, as well as things that are lost or forfeited as a result of those policy changes.
Even assuming arguendo that lockdowns prevented Covid deaths directly (which is hard to tease out of a fair and complete evaluation of the data--most statements to this effect cherry-pick a few useful examples and ignore counterexamples), there was a great deal lost. People's businesses, their relationships, their treatments for other medical issues, and their freedoms were all casualties of this horrible policy, and to ignore these losses is the sign of overly simplistic thought.
Understanding the indirect effects of policy choices is absolutely crucial. If you ignore negative effects and observe only positive effects, it is easy to get mired in a series of choices with much larger downsides than upsides.
Further, the subjugation of liberty to the promise of safety is known historically to be a losing proposition. Don't fall for it.
As the new Omicron variant spreads largely harmlessly around the world, governments are pretending to care about you so much that they're going to lock you and other "non-essential" things down again. I'm here to remind you that they have no right to declare you, your business, or even your hobbies to be "non-essential." Enjoy.
There have been a few recent videos, most notably from Razorfist, Arch, and Vee about taking back hobbies that have been co-opted by SJWs, with various opinions, observations, and ideas floating back and forth. As a long-time lover of games, I wanted to throw out some thoughts and ideas on the topic. Bottom line, whether you think an IP is too far gone or not, there are some things you can do to help stop or even reverse these takeovers by censorious fools. Thoughts? Leave a comment!
Game footage from Battletech.
William Norman Grigg was a brilliant anti-authoritarian writer who discussed major issues of misconduct by police and other authorities. He was extremely well-spoken and wrote with fiery abandon. After his untimely death in 2017, the Libertarian Institute, of which he was a founding member, collected his essays into a book. I haven't finished it myself--I'm only about halfway through--but this book is definitely worth a look if the issue of authoritarian misconduct (including police, FBI, and TSA corruption and the military-industrial complex!) is something you're interested in.
It's such a surprise to see secession/"national divorce" being treated as anything other than crazy talk! The ability to secede from associations one finds abhorrent is one of the central tenets of libertarian theory, but in this video I want to talk a little bit about how some particular case of secession may not be as much a boon to liberty as we might hope. There is the possibility that the "acceptable" level of secession will be so narrowly tailored that libertarians may find themselves in worse conditions than before.
Also, the name of the book I blanked on is Crisis and Leviathan, by Robert Higgs.
Michael Rectenwald is a very interesting character who spent most of his life deep in Marxist and Critical Theorist circles until he was abruptly ostracized after being identified as the Anti-PC NYU Professor on Twitter and Facebook. He experienced a huge backlash from his former allies and his experience has moved him to a much more libertarian position. He has a great deal of valuable perspective and this book, Springtime for Snowflakes, is a short memoir with a dash of introductory information to concepts related to Critical Theory.
This video is a short review of the book.
One of the most insidious aspects of the state is that it can do horrific things without ever taking responsibility. In this video, I talk a little bit about the recent drone attack in Afghanistan that killed a bunch of innocent people. The state orchestrated the attack, claimed it was successful, tried to avoid giving up any information as it was discovered to have killed innocents, and finally chalked the whole thing up to a tragic mistake.
Could anyone but the state get away with that?
The Chinese government is being really effective at tracking and punishing any speech that mildly criticizes it. In this video, I discuss a couple of incidents and what they mean for people that value liberty.
It's kind of fun to poke at the pronoun fetishists, and I thought something up the other day that I haven't seen anyone else suggest.
Give this a watch and tell me what you think. Have you tried this, or thought of it? Is it effective (or perhaps, what effect does it have), or not?
The time to fight mandates is now, not after they've been enacted. Defiance, boycotts, and ridicule are all valid weapons to use against this tyrannical, chilling nonsense.
COVID Hypocrisy Biden
Heritage List of COVID Hypocrisy
There are so many horribly inappropriate laws defining punishments for things that aren't crimes. Unfortunately, the state and its propagandists have managed to make the phrase "Jury Nullification" sound crankish to most people.
So we don't use the phrase--not if we can avoid it. In this video, I describe my approach to a jury summons I got several years ago where I managed to promote the spirit of jury nullification (if not the name) to the entire jury pool without (I think) looking too crankish or weird. Since then, I haven't received a single jury summons, and maybe this is why. But if promoting independent thought by juries gets one blacklisted from jury duty, then we may as well make our points on the way out as clearly and sympathetically as possible!
The events of the last few months suggest strongly to me that the goal of the Biden administration is not to leave Afghanistan, but to provoke a response from the Taliban that will be used to justify further military intervention in the region. This video I recorded without notes and without too much planning, so it's a little rough, but I wanted to get it out there.
Stay skeptical of reports and don't let the warmongers convince you they're right.
I hear this nonsense a lot, and it's generally used to paper over horrible things the state does by claiming that the supposition of "democratic control" somehow morally cleanses these actions. So I decided to put together a list of phrases to emphasize how the state is not us, and we are not them.
If you have some good ones, put them in the comments!
Seems kind of obvious as a topic, but I feel like I see it way too much. Some totalitarian will change the definition of a word to suit his or her argument and it often gets overlooked. Or they'll demand a certain word be used or even pronounced a certain way. It's a very common and very effective tactic by tyrants and would-be tyrants.
Don't ignore it--call it out whenever you see it and fight back!
I was watching random videos and the idea for this one flashed into my mind like a bolt of lightning.
I don't want to spoil it. It's short, and if you like the point of view I usually express in my videos, I think you'll like it.
I just finished Scott Horton's new book on the War on Terror and it's an encyclopedic collection of information about all of the horrible foreign policy of the U.S. in the Middle East from 2001 onward, with a bit of additional history from before that for context.
It's a solid book, but the way it's organized will be most effective for people who are already anti-war and need the raw information that Scott is known for.
See my whole review for my thoughts.
Pick it up from any of these links:
If you're familiar with Lysander Spooner and you've heard my reading of his "No Treason," you might guess that I'm a far bigger fan of the Declaration of Independence than the Constitution. While there are some good ideas expressed in the Constitution, it has been powerless to prevent our current government from growing to a dangerous size. The Declaration of Independence, however, is a declaration of secession, and, as such, is much more important from the perspective of an anarchist. Like the Constitution, the DoI has a few problems in it, but the basic idea, that a subset of some political organization can choose to dissolve its connections to that organization when their purposes are no longer being served, is extremely important and may be the last hope for peaceful dissolution of the coercive state apparatus.
In this video, I don't read through the whole thing, but I highlight various parts and give my thoughts. Hope you enjoy.
The word "competition" gets thrown around a lot, and anti-market people get a huge benefit from the fact that competition, in plain English, encompasses many more things than it does in economic theory. This difference in definition allows socialists and authoritarians to include all kinds of nasty behavior when they refer to competition, when in economic theory the effects of competition are voluntary and almost entirely positive. So here is my attempt to differentiate between the two and improve the reputation of economic competition.
I heard about a really good article on Lenin and his methods of thought, I think from somebody in the Reason comments. It's called Leninthink, by Gary Saul Morson. In addition to enumerating a bunch of Lenin's most horrible statements and acts, Morson gives a good, clear description of several of Lenin's methods, which is extremely useful for any libery-minded person. Lenin is definitely one of history's most terrible monsters, and this article is a good jumping-off point for further study.
See the article here:
The word "marginal" is in my name, so here's a really nice little article on what it means to think "on the margins," by the great Dr. Robert P. Murphy.
The article is published at https://mises.org/library/what-does-marginality-mean and is covered by a Creative Commons license (which this performance inherits) that allows me to publicly perform it for non-commercial purposes. The license is here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Created 3 years, 9 months ago.
Category News & Politics
Discussions on economics and (against) politics from a man on the edge of hermitage. I'm an ancap with a penchant for books and thoughtful analysis.
I try to produce a lot of evergreen content rather than focusing on current events, so check out my older videos.
I also frequently guest on the Acolytes of Chaos channel.