Stop vb. , to arrest the progress of; to hinder; to impede; to cease

State n. , a gang of thieves writ large; a territorial monopolist of compulsion and
ultimate decision-making (jurisdiction) which may engage in continual, institutionalized property rights violations and exploitation in the form of expropriation, taxation, and regulation of private property owners; the group within society that claims for itself the exclusive right to rule everyone under a special set of laws that permit it to do to others what everyone else is rightly prohibited from doing, namely aggressing against person and property.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Economic Illiteracy in the Amateur Music World

By Austin White
January 27th, 2012

There has been a growing view of aspiring professional musicians on the internet that musicians should not have to work for free nor should they even be asked to work for free.  They believe they are for some reason entitled to getting paid well for their work regardless of whether or not there is even a significant demand for their services.
The possibility that they individually might not be offering anything of great value to the world to get paid for never crosses their minds and they tend to believe there is some sort of capitalist conspiracy being perpetrated against them.  Artists are also more likely to demand welfare (i.e. the government using violent force to steal money from one group of people and giving it to another) with either the view that they need a guaranteed income because they don’t have time to work a regular job due to their pursuing of musical goals or because, the very elitist view, that they are special creatures who are above working regular jobs and should just be provided with free money in return for their creative genius that the world should be grateful for.
Here is the latest picture off the internet which perfectly illustrates the economic illiteracy of many artsy-types. 
It’s a Craigslist ad by a small restaurant owner looking for live musicians to perform in the restaurant.  The owner makes no money offer, but states that the performers are free to promote their own work and sell their CDs and if customers respond positively the performers will enjoy an increasing number of opportunities to perform and promote themselves.
Also included in the picture is a reply from a musician who is obviously appalled that he has even been asked to perform for free.
 It’s quite a generous offer considering that the restaurant owner doesn’t owe any musician such an opportunity.  The owner could simply play Top 40 music on a stereo, but instead chooses to share his customers with aspiring performers.
Everyone wins.  The performer gets free advertising, a venue to perform in and sell CDs, and access to customers who have been drinking, eating, having a good time and are possibly more likely to buy the CDs on the spot than if they were browsing Amazon.  The customers get to enjoy a unique dining experience with live music that can only be found at that particular restaurant at that particular time.  The restaurant owner gets to enjoy whatever increase in sales the performers bring in.  This is the owner’s reward for arranging this meeting between the performer and a new audience, and the audience and a new performer.  He’s acted as a broker for the performer and deserves every penny of his increased profits.
But what if the performer doesn’t put on a good show?  This is where the restaurant owner is revealed to be an even greater friend of the starving artist.
The restaurant owner is taking a great risk upon himself in order to arrange the meeting between the performer and his customers.  What if he was wrong about live music enhancing his business?  What if his customers turn out to hate live music while they eat?  What if they do like live music, but hate the specific performers?  What if he loses some customers over the experiment?  What if he loses a lot of customers over it? 
The only party in this arrangement that stands to lose is the restaurant owner.  He must endure all the financial losses that may result from his decision to feature an amateur performer.
The performer on the other hand only stands to gain.  He might sell a lot of CDs or he might sell very few CDs, but, unlike the restaurant owner, faces no risk of losing business.  The performer bears no costs other than gas money and a few hours of his time – money and time that he’s completely free to decide whether or not to spend on this performance opportunity
If anything the restaurant owner is being foolishly over-generous to aspiring performers.  The performers should be paying for the opportunity, not getting paid.  If they’re actually good they’ll make back the performing fees in CD sales and tips.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Invade the Newspapers

 This article originally appeared at the great
by Austin White
January 24th, 2012
If you want to spread the message of liberty there are more efficient ways to do it besides waving Ron Paul signs on an overpass.  On-the-ground grass roots activism is necessary and certainly has its place, but I would also say that the majority of it is pointless and wastes time, energy, and money.
Think about it, the goal of your activism should be to reach as many people as you can with as little effort as possible.  If you work, go to school, or both, you're probably already running on a low tank and don't have a lot of time and energy left for spreading liberty - don't waste what's left by spending hours going door-to-door collecting signatures for some petition that your congressmen's secretary is just going to use as a beverage coaster.  Don't spend hours trying to reason with some neocon cousin on facebook.  None of this accomplishes anything except draining your batteries.
Writing articles and getting them published is the most efficient and effective activism a normal person can do.  It takes little time, minimal physical energy, and requires no money, yet you can realistically reach hundreds of thousands of people with a single article.
When you write articles you're also doing something that benefits you personally. Gradually developing your writing could possibly lead to a new career, or at least a really cool side job or hobby.   Getting published a few times could lead to getting published often to eventually getting paid to write.  As you develope a portfolio of accomplishments it will only get easier to market your work.  Other people will respect your opinion more and listen to you.  Getting published will boost your confidence to proceed further.  And you're getting full credit for your labor.
Personally benefitting and getting clear credit for your activism is essential to avoiding burn out in the long run.  Getting paid for your effort is even better.  Writing can accomplish these things. 
You don't have to have a long list of impressive credentials either.   A little over a year ago I got an article published in the Orlando Sentinel (with a readership, I've heard, of almost 250,000 people) about why young people should be against socialized health care.  That's right, a pizza delivery guy with a lousy college attendance record and no academic credentials at all was able to pull that off.
I spent about three hours total writing and revising the article, submitted it, and two weeks later saw my face in the paper next to the article.  The article was actually pretty controversial and led to about a week-long discussion of my views.  The online version had about 100 debating comments under it.  One of the Sentinel's staff writers wrote an article soon after attacking me and then this guy Martin Kessler wrote a letter to the editor defending me against the attack.  I later found out that Martin Kessler is an economist who used to work for Ronald Reagan.  Pretty cool.
If I was successful in converting just 10% of readers, that's 25,000 people.  Even if it was just 1%, that's still 2,500 people.  Even if I didn't reach anybody, it gave me something cool to put on my resume.
You could wake up more people by getting an article published in some kind of mainstream publication than you would have doing years' worth of conventional grass-roots activism.
Follow these simple guidelines and you can get published too:

Every single libertarian could easily crank out an article a week if they put their Facebook ranting energy into real writing.  I've seen so many regular, average people post amazing philosophical statuses that could easily have been developed into essays.
When you post your deep libertarian thoughts on Facebook you're basically flushing great writing material down the toilet.  You have this witty thought explaining why taxation is evil, you have the urge to express it, but instead of opening up a word processor and fully fleshing the thought out you put in on Facebook. 
The reason I say you're wasting it is because by posting the thought on Facebook  you've satisfied your urge to express the opinion and you're less likely to do anything with it again. Your brain checks off that task and says "all done!"  What could have been the opening paragraph in a ground breaking article is forgotten as just another Facebook status.

You're better off sitting down and writing for thirty minutes a day every day than not writing anything for a month and then going on a two-day long writing binge.  Writing takes practice just like any other skill and expecting to just jump in and be great at it will lead to discouragement.  Think of all your writings as nothing more than practice and each article you write as nothing more than an exercise.  If it gets published, great.  If not, oh well it was just practice.
Consistency is key.  Good musicians don't go three weeks without practicing, then suddenly pull a twelve-hour practice day, and then take another two weeks off.  They practice a little bit every day and discipline themselves to stick with their daily practice regimen no matter what.
For me, one hour a day is perfect.  That's just enough time to really get something done if I'm on a roll, but if I don't have any juice it's still a short enough amount of time that I can just power through anyway.
So try to set aside an hour or less of writing time everyday that's free of distractions.  Unplug the TV, turn off the internet (unless you're looking for sources to put in your article), and turn off your phone. 
If you follow Guideline #1 and stop ranting on Facebook you'll be surprised to see how much free time you really have.

Figure out who the audience is for each article before you write it and think up publications you can send your work to that would best reach that audience.  If you're trying to inject some libertarianism into a mainstream newspaper you'll probably have to tone down your rhetoric and not rant about abolishing the state.  If you're target audience with another article is anarchists then you won't get very far with "we gotta get back to the Constitution!" 
A lot typical newspapers have certain sections reserved for young people and regular  middle-class adults to write for.  Take advantage of these because you'll have a lot less competition.  The Orlando Sentinel section I wrote for was called New Voices for people under twenty-five.  Most Americans under twenty-five are morons so get in there!
Find the submission email for the publication you're trying to get into and email them once a week.  If you're not having any luck then try another publication and then another.  As a last resort you can get your own blog going at for free and just publish yourself.
Smaller, newer websites that haven't garnered a lot of attention yet are usually hungry for original content.  Take advantage of them too.
Keep in mind, however, that some publishers demand exclusive first dibs on your article and don't want material that you've already offered to others or put on your own website.  Other websites don't care a bit and will post anything. 

At this moment I've now spent only three total hours on this article.  People might like it or might not, but I don't care because by writing it period I've increased my writing skills by 0.08% and my next article will be better.

Friday, January 13, 2012

There Are No Good Cops

 There are no good cops anymore.  They’re all bad.  Even this former New Orleans cop says 70% of his department should be fired or indicted.
Don’t email me about your best friend from high school who you swear is a good cop.  He’s not a good cop.  Neither is the cop who lives down the street who has the fun July 4th party every year.  Your cop uncle isn’t a good cop either.  They’re all bad cops.  They might all be good people, great people, when you hang out with them on their days off, but being a good person outside the job does not translate into being a good cop.
If your cop friend has ever ticketed or arrested someone for a victimless crime he’s a bad cop and the poor souls he arrested or ticketed were so for committing acts that harmed nobody.
Imagine if a normal citizen started going around acting like a typical cop.  Imagine a normal-looking guy in regular clothes handcuffing people, throwing them in the back of his vehicle, and then locking them up in his dungeon because he doesn’t approve of them consuming marijuana, carrying a handgun on their person for self-defense without government permission, or even fishing without a license.  Imagine if this guy was demanding that people who don’t wear their seatbelts give him money.  Imagine if this person was claiming the right to use violent force against anyone who didn’t comply and the right to kill anyone who physically fought back. 
Regardless of whether or not he believed he was doing a good deed, such an individual would rightly be seen as crazed and criminal.  But this is exactly what typical police do on a daily basis.
The only good cop is an ex-cop who left the force disgusted by the number of victimless crime laws he was asked to enforce. 
“Well, we’ll see who how much you hate cops after my cop friend saves your life!”
See one of my previous articles challenging the claim that police provide any protection at all.  Cops are too busy ruining young pot smokers’ lives and giving single mothers $200 tickets to worry about protecting me from bad guys.  On top of that violent crime rates are at a four-decade low (in spite of the bad economy and in spite of a great deal of that violence being a result of the government’s drug war) and there’s evidence that an American is more likely to be killed by an American cop than a terrorist.  I also own and carry firearms, have a security system, a loud dog, and no compassion for aggressors – so bring it on bad guys.
History will not look kindly on the modern American police.  We have the highest incarceration rate in the world and there are daily police-brutality incidents, each one slightly more horrific than the last, being documented on YouTube so historians fifty years from now will be able to look back and study the Great Amerikan Police-State. 
School children in other countries will watch footage of American police dressed up like Darth Vader kicking down families’ doors, pointing guns at the children, and killing the family dogs over minor marijuana possession the same way American school children learn about (or used to learn about) the frightening brutality of police in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.
When that time comes you won’t want to admit that you were related to or friends with American cops anymore than someone would want to admit that they were friends with or related to Nazis.  If you’re related to one of the really bad cops you might even have to change your name and move far away.
Take steps now to prevent yourself from being put in that position and to reverse the trend towards tyranny.  Shame your cop friends into getting real jobs and if you’re unsuccessful gradually cut them out of your life completely.  We need potential police to know that becoming a cop could cost them friendships and their invitation to the family Christmas dinner.  Police need to know that a rapidly growing percentage of the American population looks at them with disgust.  Only then will wannabe thugs stop joining police forces.  Only then will the idea of becoming a cop be so degraded that law makers will be forced to end the war on vices because there won't be any people willing to put on the badge and enforce the vice laws anymore.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Why Do Most Soldiers Join the Military?

By Austin White

January 10th, 2012

I graduated high school in 2008 and now, three and a half years later, I would confidently wager that eventually 20% of my entire graduating class will end up in the military.  The majority of my own high school buddies were snagged by recruiters in less than a year after graduating.

Not a single one of the many people I know who joined the military ever mentioned anything about how excited they were to defend my freedoms, uphold the Constitution, or even defeat the Omnipotent Intergalactic Muslim Empire as they were leaving for basic training.  No, they joined because they were afraid of being in control of their own lives and wanted to thrust themselves into a system that would make all of their decisions for them.  

Young people are more coddled than ever.  Unless home-schooled, young people go through thirteen years of the American public school system where ,for seven to nine hours a day, they are told what classes to attend and when, where to sit, when they can eat, and when they may use the restroom (after you beg for permission, of course).   For the majority of a young person's waking lives they are having their daily lives planned out by bureaucrats.  Before they know it they are graduating and for the first time have the complete freedom to make their own decisions and plan their own lives - and they're terrified of this freedom. 

They're so used to administrators bossing them around all day that they have no confidence in their own decision making abilities.  They've never thought about planning their own lives before; they thought the bureaucrats would handle this task forever.  And so many join the military, where they can go back to the control of the bureaucrats.  Once again they will be told when to eat and what to wear, but now with the additional command of who to kill.

Cowardly people are afraid of freedom because it means they are fully responsible for any bad choices they make.  They're much more comfortable having the option to shift the blame for their mistakes elsewhere.

I would say most military men are cowards.  Sure they're signing up to grab a rifle and run into whatever battle they're ordered to, some will even jump out of airplanes, but this is recklessness, which is very different from courage.  Modern American soldiers aren't rushing into any kind of heroic battle; they're occupying innocent peoples and imposing dictatorial martial law at the barrel of a gun so they can get their college paid for.  How is this a respectable act?  Courage is not blindly and unconditionally carrying out whatever order you're told to; the courageous soldier is the one who questions his orders, speaks out against them, and as a last resort refuses to obey regardless of the consequences.

I do sympathize with military recruits.  They are regularly bombarded with big budget military recruitment propaganda, they see the yellow "Support the Troops" stickers everywhere, country music stars write songs praising the troops, and the troops are always the good guys in American movies - it's no wonder they struggle to see the evil in what they're a part of.  

Once they're in the military all of their expenses are covered.  They're provided with food, shelter, a salary, free college, and healthcare - ALL of which is funded by the government forcefully taking money from us mere civilians here at home without our consent.  It probably is indeed hard to give those welfare freebies up.

But none of this matters and it doesn't matter that the troops mean well, because the same could be said of the Nazis.  Nazi soldiers believed they were doing a good thing, that God was on their side, that their wars were defensive, and that Jews really were an evil force in the world (similar to how Muslims are viewed by modern Americans) that must be stopped.  The great majority, if not all, Nazi soldiers probably had the full support of their families, friends, and neighbors just like American troops do.  

The majority of people in the military are there because they didn't know what to do with their lives and instead of taking a deep breath and facing the opportunity to carve out their own place in the world head on they ran with their tail between their legs into a recruiting office so some guy who doesn't care the least bit about them can make those decisions for them.

Joining the military is not a respectable decision; it is a pathetic one.  It is a cheap and artificial way for young men to gain undeserved respect and admiration. For most men it is no more than a remedy for unemployment. The longer this is denied, the longer it will be before young men stop marching into the recruiting offices.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Case Against the **** ******** Foreign Policy

By Austin White

January 9th, 2012

I consider **** ********* to be a friend, a great fighter in the cause for liberty, a brilliant economist, and I have much respect for him.  However, when an influential libertarian fails in promoting a pure, consistent definition of liberty, fellow libertarians simply can't sit on the sidelines and allow this to go unchallenged. 

Unfortunately, I do not know if or where his specific foreign policy model can be found in his own writings.  So I will be retelling it as he explains in his economics classes.  I'm confident in my precision, having had additional discussions with him on the subject in his office.

Professor *********courses are about 70% economics and 30% libertarian philosophy.  Not only will he explain why the actions of the state are economically destructive, but also why they are often immoral and undefendable.  For example, students are required to read The Law by Frederic Bastiat for the first exam.  So you can easily get the picture that ********* is heroically attempting to bring young people away from statism.

For one particular class, ********* took the class discussion to foreign policy where he immediately gave a quick history lesson of the U.S. government's actions in the middle east, starting with the 1953 CIA-led coup in Iran, then explaining how terrorism against the United State is blowback from an imperial foreign policy, and then bookending everything with an explanation of the foreign policy he thinks the American government should adopt.

The  ********* Foreign Policy pitch starts out as a great case for non-interventionism.  He says we should end the wars, refrain from starting new wars, close the 900+ foreign U.S. imperial bases in 130 countries, and have free trade and free immigration with all.
So far, so great.  But then he ruins it all.

********* says that if after fully adopting this humble, non-interventionist foreign policy that America is attacked in any way at all the American government should respond by literally obliterating the country behind the attack.

"If so much as a foreign fire cracker goes off within our borders, we nuke the country it came from."

To make sure I understood right, I spoke with him about later on in the semester and he defended this part of his foreign policy, calling it "the most efficient."

This is why utilitarianism is inferior to natural rights libertarianism: efficiency is considered a higher end than morality.

The problem with a nuclear response to any attack on America is that 99.99% of the people killed by the nuclear bomb are innocent civilians who have and never would have harmed any American person during the entire course of their lives.  

The sole purpose of nuclear weapons is to mass murder civilians; therefore a libertarian can't support the use of nukes under any circumstances.  It is impossible to discriminate with who the nukes will kill.  There is no way of preventing the innocent neighbors of the bad guy from perishing if the bad guy is nuked - and the neighbors harmed would span for miles.  A quick Google Image search of "depleted uranium Iraq" will show you how even minor amounts of radiated residue can ruin the lives of an entire future generation of people (those people certainly having nothing to do with an attack on America).

Only the specific individuals responsible for the planning and carrying out of the attack can be punished, and even then they are entitled to a trial.  The ruler of the country, the military commander who devised the attack, and the lowly privates left to carry out the attack are the only people who should pay.  Punishing anyone else simply because they live within some arbitrary borders makes no more sense than the mayor of Orlando nuking all of Tampa because a Tampa cop attacked an Orlando citizen, but this is what the ********* Foreign Policy proposes.

It is the height of collectivist thinking to hold normal citizens responsible for the actions of their government.  As if 100% of all the people of a country are in complete agreement that they want to start attacking America and that all 100% of them are willing to drop everything to defend their dictator.  As if the ruler of that country (just another sociopathic politician like you find at the head of any government) can be considered the precise representation of the sentiments of those people.

For a deeper elaboration of a libertarian foreign policy read Murray Rothbard’s timeless essay War, Peace, and the State