Skip to content

Month: October 2016

The Property and Freedom Society’s 2016 Annual Conference in Turkey

The Property and Freedom Society held its annual conference at Bodrum, Turkey, last month.

The group met regardless of any possible concerns following the June Istanbul terrorist attack and the July coup d’état attempt planned and orchestrated by the regime, and notwithstanding the growing authoritarian and oppressive dictatorial rule of Turkish President Recep Tayyyip Erdoğan. And the Property and Freedom Society participants traveled to Turkey and had their conference regardless of the Western news media’s propaganda campaign against tourism in Turkey.

Founded by Hans-Hermann Hoppe and established in Turkey in 2006, The Property and Freedom Society states its principles thus:

The Property and Freedom Society stands for an uncompromising intellectual radicalism: for justly acquired private property, freedom of contract, freedom of association—which logically implies the right to not associate with, or to discriminate against—anyone in one’s personal and business relations—and unconditional free trade. It condemns imperialism and militarism and their fomenters, and champions peace. It rejects positivism, relativism, and egalitarianism in any form, whether of “outcome” or “opportunity,” and it has an outspoken distaste for politics and politicians. As such it seeks to avoid any association with the policies and proponents of interventionism, which Ludwig von Mises had identified in 1946 as the fatal flaw in the plan of the many earlier and contemporary attempts by intellectuals alarmed by the rising tide of socialism and totalitarianism to found an anti-socialist ideological movement. Mises wrote: “What these frightened intellectuals did not comprehend was that all those measures of government interference with business which they advocated are abortive. … There is no middle way. Either the consumers are supreme or the government.” (“Observations on Professor Hayek’s Plan,” 1946))

As culturally conservative libertarians, we are convinced that the process of de-civilization has again reached a crisis point and that it is our moral and intellectual duty to once again undertake a serious effort to rebuild a free, prosperous, and moral society. It is our emphatic belief that an approach embracing intransigent political radicalism is, in the long run, the surest path to our cherished goal of a regime of totally unfettered individual liberty and private property. In thus seeking a fresh and radical new beginning, we are heeding the old but frequently forgotten advice of Friedrich Hayek’s: “We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage. What we lack is a liberal Utopia, a programme which seems neither a mere defence of things as they are nor a diluted kind of socialism, but a truly liberal radicalism which does not spare the susceptibilities of the mighty…, which is not too severely practical and which does not confine itself to what appears today as politically possible. We need intellectual leaders who are prepared to resist the blandishments of power and influence and who are willing to work for an ideal, however small may be the prospects of its early realization. They must be men who are willing to stick to principles and to fight for their full realization, however remote. … Unless we can make the philosophical foundations of a free society once more a living intellectual issue, and its implementation a task which challenges the ingenuity and imagination of our liveliest minds, the prospects of freedom are indeed dark. But if we can regain that belief in the power of ideas which was the mark of liberalism at its best, the battle is not lost.”

I will post here the videos of lectures as posted on the PFS website. Thanks to Stephan Kinsella for posting those videos and the articles of commentary by conference participants, from which I will include some quotes.

Following the PFS conference, Tim Haffner wrote, “Despite the political instability stemming from a recent failed military coup and terrorist attacks at the Istanbul airport, through which most participants would travel, a core group gathered … to engage in the uncompromising radical scholarship the society has offered since its inception.

“It is rather fitting that political violence would wean away all but the most dedicated libertarian thinkers from a conference dedicated to highlighting the folly of political authority, bureaucratic security provision, and the dysfunctions inherent to government intervention in what most consider basic services.”

Keir Martland wrote that the Property and Freedom Society conference is “the only conference worth attending.” The “format is leisurely,” … “the surroundings are beautiful, inside and out,” … “the speeches are of an insanely good standard,” and “the conversation is some of the most stimulating you will have all year.”

And Walter Block wrote, “Please take a peek at all the speakers. I want to single out only two. First, the man himself, Hans. I summarize his speech (explaining his argumentation ethics and defending it against critics) in three words: Johan Sebastian Bach, my favorite composer. As usual, Hans was simply scintillating. Like Bach, his arguments were organized, brilliant, inexorable. The other speaker I’d like to mention is Keir Martland. He is only 18 years old, but more than held his own in this august company. He reminded me of a very young Roy Childs, who was my teacher at the Freedom School in Colorado when he was only 17 years old. Both Keir (now) and Roy (then) were just out of diapers a few months before I met them, and both were world class scholars of very tender years. I expect great things from this young man.

“A word about Turkey, at least the Istanbul and Bodrum Airports, and Bodrum, the town on the south west Mediterranean coast of the country. The airports were cleaner than any in the U.S. Bodrum’s streets and highways were less potholed than many places in the U.S., and far cleaner. There was no crime that I could see. I felt far safer there than in the U.S. People warned me about going to this country; my life would be in danger. They hate Jews. They hate Americans. I’d be attacked. I’d be put in jail. Nonsense. No, nonsense on stilts. The place reminded me of Vancouver, Canada, and Acapulco, Mexico. Very safe world-class tourist attractions.”

***

Here is Hans-Hermann Hoppe with initial words about the conference and introducing the first speakers:

***

Here is Olivier Richard on “Free and Compulsory Education”:

***
Here is Rahim Taghizadegan on “The Rise and Fall of the University”:

Here is Keir Martland, asking, “How Glorious Was the ‘Glorious Revolution’?”:

***

Here is Sean Gabb in “Margaret Thatcher — Hero or Villain?”

***

Here is Daniel Model on “The Hardship of Doing Business (in Switzerland)”:

***

Here is Anthony Daniels (Theodore Dalrymple) on “Bogus Illnesses and Their Enablers”:

***

Here is Heiner Rindermann on “Cognitive and Cultural ‘Entertainment’ of Europe by Immigration”:

***

(There are a few more videos, and I will add them when they become available.)

Update: The remaining videos are now available, and here they are:

Here is Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof on “The Many Fathers of World War 2”:

***

Here is Norman Stone on “Politics and Religion”:

***

Here is Hans-Hermann Hoppe on “The Ethics of Argumentation”:

You can read Dr. Hoppe’s speech here, with notes.

***

Here is Walter Block on “‘Market Failure’ — Fact or Fiction?”:

***

Here is David Dürr on “How to Take the State to Court”:

***

And here is Doug Casey on “Prospecting the World’s Regions”:

Enjoy!

Gary Goofball the Pothead

I had made several references to Gary Johnson as possibly lowering his IQ over the past ten years since his use of “medical marijuana” following a terrible accent he had. You would think that someone who was the 2012 Libertarian Party candidate for President and who was intending on getting that party’s nomination again in 2016 would brush up on what libertarianism is and understanding its principles. However, not only has he not done that, but he has been trashing the principles of libertarianism and freedom and free markets.

Regarding marijuana and IQ, this article explains a possible linkage between pot smoking and lowered IQ. (There is also a linkage between pot smoking and testicular cancer, and lung cancer as well.)

But I am now getting the sense that Gary Goofball was always like that. Or it might be that he has been a pothead for many years, maybe long before his 2005 accident. According to this New York Times article, he has been a pothead since high school.

His personality is just really goofy, and he is also an opportunist who exploits ways to get attention. In 2012 the Republicans and the media wouldn’t pay any attention to him, so he went to the LP. And now, he takes his “experience as a governor,” such as it is, and manipulates the hapless suckers of the LP convention to nominate him.

So I found this 1998 goobernatorial debate in New Mexico in which he was running for reelection. He seemed really “relaxed” during that debate, like either he was high or had been drinking. Now, I’m not saying he was high or drinking, just that that’s my perception. And it seems to me that while he seems to know what he’s talking about, in some way, he nevertheless makes these weird statements and gestures as well (that can remind one of his sticking his tongue out as he did just recently in an interview, or saying he’s having “an Aleppo moment,” etc., etc.). A little after 22:00 the Democrat opponent is making some points about something, and then Gary Goofball makes a noise like a “wrong answer” buzzer, and then the opponent is saying something like “this is like a high school debate… but this is serious business” and when he’s saying that, Gary is mimicking his gestures, like a goofball would. It really cracked me up.

My Response to Commenters on My Recent American Thinker Article

It seems that there was some negative feedback in the comments to my article yesterday on American Thinker. So I will respond to some of them here.

“Angel” is the first comment who has gotten from other readers, so far, 35 thumbs up.

Hmmm. Angel writes, “It’s sad that Mr. Lazarowitz is supporting Hillary Clinton.”

Huh? I’m supporting Hillary? Well, I’m supporting Hillary getting indicted and, one hopes, tried and convicted and sent to jail. Not only should she be indicted for specific violations involving her email server secrecy but the Clinton Foundation corruption and criminality is much more egregious. Especially with the Saudis that we now have reason to believe were involved in the carrying out and/or funding of the 9/11 attacks. If Hillary has been acting treasonously against the people of the United State then that’s much more serious. And as I wrote before, Hillary Clinton’s corruption, dishonesty and criminal loathsomeness goes back to Watergate.

“Angel” also writes: “I’m sorry, but I have paid all of my life into social security and medicare against my will. I want my money back! I’m not going to let the government keep it to satisfy Mr. Lazarowitz and his fantasy about ‘principles’.”

Sorry to disappoint you, Angel, but you will not get your money back. Congress spent it and squandered it away in real time as the gubmint took it from you. The money you receive or will be receiving in Social Security is from what is currently right now being taken from other people’s paychecks or other income. It is a welfare-state, redistribution-of-wealth scheme. And that’s the truth, as Edith Ann would say.

And “Space Cowboy” writes, “That’s incorrect, conservatives don’t accept regressive government, fake conservatives accept regressive government. Indeed, the current Republican Party is a party comprised of primarily fake conservatives.”

No, it is indeed correct to say that conservatives accept (progressive) government. I know, Space Cowboy uses “regressive” in reference to “progressive,” because the progressives are regressive, which is true. But conservatives accept the current apparatus of central planning, wealth confiscation and redistribution. And with the exception of Ron Paul, they don’t propose to abolish those immoral schemes, only to “reform” them. But immoral and society-destroying schemes such as those are just criminal rackets. And they have to be given the heave-ho as part of restoring not only freedom but a moral society.

And by the way, “conservative” Ronald Reagan promised to abolish the Education and Energy departments, but he didn’t do it. He expanded those bureaucracies, and he added the “drug czar” and expanded the drug war police state. And after cutting taxes in 1981 he then went on to raise taxes in 1982 and continued to do so throughout his administration. Reagan signed the very first $1 trillion budget. Remember that? When he waved that phone-book-sized thing in the air and whined? But he signed it anyway. Not a “conservative” there. A real conservative would have thrown it back to Congress and told them to cut out the pork, and would have stuck to his promise to eliminate whole agencies, bureaucracies, and all those three-letter dirty word commissions.

Back to the comments. Then “Country Boy” goes on to state: “He’s for Gary Johnson.” I assume he’s referring to me. Well, all you have to do is look at this blog, especially my most recent post on Gary Johnson, and you would know that I’m not for Gary Johnson. (Well, I’m for Gary Johnson dropping out of the race, stop insulting libertarians, and going back to New Mexico, quite frankly.)

“Deathwish” writes, “Our progressive government is evil so don’t vote for Trump? Hillary and Bill have spent their entire lives on the public dole furthering the confiscation of people’s money and Hillary is promising to take even more, so vote for Hillary? I will vote for Trump and take my chances.

There is little difference between Trump and Hillary. They are both socialists. Trump is a reality TV star who is good at fooling people. As I wrote in this article, Trump loves Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. He wants to expand Medicaid for a Medicaid-for-all scheme in which “the government will take care of everyone” and “the government’s going to pay for it.” In interviews with Scott Pelley and Anderson Cooper, when it is pointed out that what he is describing is “single payer,” Trump says it’s not called “single payer,” “It’s called heart,” he says. And, “You have to have a lot of compassion,” he says to Michael Savage. You see, it’s all based on emotion with these socialists. Trump is not only not a conservative, but he is just another faux capitalist, a crony-capitalist as well. How could a real capitalist be a socialist? A real capitalist wants free markets. Not Trump.

He’s also fine with the transgender bathroom mixing stuff. Trump has “New York values,” and his socialism mixed with his authoritarianism is a bad mix. He will be just as much the PC President as will Hillary Clinton, mark my words. A President Trump would be just as dangerous to our liberty and prosperity as a President Hillary would be.

And finally, John Hopson writes: “Btw Lazarowitz, millions of Americans have resisted the income tax, refusing to file a return or pay a tax on their individual productive labor. If you had the courage of your blithering bullshiiite, you’d be one of them. But, you’re not one of them are you Lazarowitz? I perceive you to be a moral and physical coward hurling insults at Trump from the cheap seats in the peanut gallery.”

Of course I’m not one of them, and I haven’t done anything illegal, unethical or dishonest. And I’m not “hurling insults” at Trump, I merely point out facts about his own statements and policy positions. I believe that such accurately summed-up views should be communicated to the people, because we know the media only concentrate on Trump’s name-calling, his gaffes, etc., i.e. superficial things that don’t mean anything. And there’s nothing “cowardly” about my writing honest assessments of these corrupt characters who rule or want to rule over us. This is exactly why we have the First Amendment, to protect our communications and our expressions, and especially to protect our criticisms of people with power. And regarding Trump, with his admiration of Putin, someone who jails (or has murdered) journalists, we need to be just as wary of Trump as we should be of Hillary. They are both equally dangerous.

But my article was not about Donald Trump, as only two paragraphs referred to him. The article was about conservatives accepting the criminal socialist apparatus of government that the progressives put into place and remains for a century now. Not good.

The Problem Is Conservatives’ Acceptance of Progressive Government

Here is my latest article on American Thinker, The Problem Is Conservatives’ Acceptance of Progressive Government

Many conservatives are frustrated with our society’s lack of acceptance of conservatism into the mainstream. But it’s not because of Republican Party weakness or a failure in political strategy, as some conservatives such as Steve Deace suggest on talk radio and among the Internet and TV pundit class.

The problem is because conservatives have abandoned the true moral principles underlying a civilized society: private property, free exchange and individual liberty.

Starting about a century ago conservatives began to surrender their moral principles to the progressives’ collectivist schemes, including the income tax, FDR’s New Deal, LBJ’s Great Society and the idea of “civil rights.” Even before the 20th Century a child’s education was usurped from parents, and conservatives have accepted government schooling, or government-authorized private schooling, ever since.

Many people have been conditioned, however, to rationalize those kinds of compulsory government schemes.

In the conservatives’ caving to progressive ideology for a century, they have obediently accepted the income tax, which is a form of institutionalized theft.

Compulsory taxation is theft because it is involuntary. The government uses threats against the people to coerce them to forfeit a certain amount of their income to bureaucrats.

In contrast, the private producers and businesses of society must depend on the voluntary payments to them by consumers for goods and services. If it is immoral of businessmen to demand payments involuntarily (in which case the businessmen would be called “gangsters,” or “thugs”), then it is immoral for anyone to do that.

No one should be above the law when it comes to the basic rule of society against theft. For a moral society to flourish the people need to be civilized. And a truly civilized society would not allow its government (or the people themselves) to commit theft and plunder, or to even have an apparatus in place to enable the bureaucrats to forcibly seize the people’s wealth and property.

Involuntary governmental taxation of the people’s wealth and property and mandatory reporting of private information are what enable and empower the Lois Lerners and IRS comrades to persecute conservative and Tea Party groups, for example.

If we didn’t have the income tax, then FDR and LBJ’s intrusive and destructive New Deal and Great Society programs probably could not have been passed and funded. (Could the activists possibly get enough people to fund those programs voluntarily?)

Conservatives have naively accepted those schemes, including Social Security, the government’s own compulsory retirement and medical coverage racket.

Privacy is another issue that relates to the immorality of compulsory taxation and government social schemes. The government demands private, personal information from you, where you work, how much you earn, what investments you have, or how many people the businesses employ and how much the employers pay the workers, information that is none of government bureaucrats’ business.

If your private information is none of your neighbors’ business, then it is none of the government’s business, in my view.

It is sad that conservatives are getting behind a known left-liberal progressive for President such as Donald Trump who has donated thousands and thousands of dollars to Big Government Democrats, and who promises progressive central planning health care schemes and all the rest.

All the increased spending Trump wants to impose is the opposite of what the country needs to restore our freedom. Unfortunately, Trump does not seem to understand that the government is not a business. It’s government, a forced monopoly on the people. And regardless of his purported tax-cut plan, the money with which he wants to spend in the trillions is other people‘s money, taken from them involuntarily. Like most politicians, Trump seems to show contempt for free markets, private property and privacy.

Very important aspects of a civilized society are private property and private property rights. But conservatives do not seem to realize how their abandonment of private property has greatly contributed to the cultural decline that many of them have been complaining about.

Conservatives have also joined the progressive activists in further damaging the moral principle of private property rights in their acceptance of “civil rights” legislation.

Of course it is politically incorrect to point this out, but the 1964 Civil Rights Act (and subsequent “civil rights” legislation) should only have addressed the right of all people access to public property and government-run functions such as the public schools, city parks and buses, and so on.

When addressing “public accommodations” in civil rights legislation, the inclusion of privately-owned establishments such as hotels and restaurants was the progressives’ way of further usurping control away from private property owners. It also empowered members of certain protected classes to forcibly enter private property against the will of the property’s owners.

And is it a big surprise that the list of the government’s protected classes continues to expand?

Many conservatives are rightfully worried about society’s cultural decline.

But would we have to deal with transgender confused individuals threatening to invade the other sex’s bathroom if it weren’t for the aggressive empowerment of certain protected classes, in the name of “civil rights”?

Would we have lesbian couples getting away with suing Christian bakers who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding? In the modern era, “civil rights” necessitates the infringement of private property rights.

And would we have college cupcakes running amok and censoring conservative speakers and expelling “microaggressors” were it not for government-run universities and government-financed private universities which rely on taxes taken involuntarily from America’s workers and producers?

And would there be so much promiscuity among today’s youths without the tax-funded governmental promotions of “sexual liberation” and abortion-on-demand?

The real solutions for those examples of cultural decay include abolishing the immoral institutionalized plunder of taxation and the entire system of redistributionism which makes such societal degeneration possible, and restoring private property rights as the American founders had intended.

But do the conservative talk radio crowd and pundits ever consider these solutions? Alas, apparently not.

Conservatives spend a lot of time promoting their social agenda. But, unfortunately, conservatives seem to erroneously believe that using the progressives’ taxation and bureaucracy apparatus to promote their social agenda is actually morally legitimate and practical. They do not seem to understand the necessity of private property and private property rights for such social traditions to flourish.

Further, instead of conservatives advocating the dismantling of governmental intrusions and usurpations which violate private property rights, most of the discussion and activism on the part of conservatives has been a matter of defensive political strategy.

Oh, we have to donate to this or that candidate to keep the Senate a Republican majority. (So the Republicans can continue expanding the welfare state, of course.)

Or we have to vote for this or that Presidential candidate because he might appoint better Supreme Court Justices, we hope, cross our fingers. (See John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, and David Souter on the value of this form of defensive election strategy.)

In the end, defensive election strategizing doesn’t work, it seems to me.

Instead of continuing to accept the progressives’ immoral governmental apparatus of theft, plunder, trespass and invasiveness, the conservatives might consider dismantling it altogether.