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Jay Stuart Snelson
Institute for Human Progress






Editorials


Harry Browne 
Why You Are a Libertarian
You're a libertarian because you abhor violence . . .
When a neighbor isn't willing to contribute as much to a social project as you are, you'd never think of:
Using a gun to force him to contribute;
Hiring an armed gang to threaten to kidnap him or confiscate his money if he didn't contribute;
Using the government in place of the armed gang if he didn't contribute – because every government program, in the final analysis, involves violence against those who don't comply.
If two people have agreed to engage in voluntary behavior between them, with no violence involved, you'd never think of:
Using a gun to stop them;
Hiring an armed gang to threaten to kidnap them if they didn't stop;
Using the government in place of the armed gang to stop them.
If a company and an individual have agreed to engage in voluntary behavior between them, with no violence involved, you'd never think of:
Using a gun to stop them;
Hiring an armed gang to threaten to kidnap them if they didn't stop;
Using the government in place of the armed gang to stop them.
If a foreign government is not attacking America, you'd never support the idea of initiating violence against the foreign country.
As one who abhors violence, you're willing to tolerate anything that's peaceful, and you practice the principle of live and let live – opposing the initiation of force (violence) against anyone for any purpose.

That's why you're a libertarian.
December 19, 2005

The Attack on Syria Continues But Zvi Bar'el has pointed out in the Israeli publication Haaretz: Just to calm those who note the "historic moments" in the Middle East, Lebanon is the freest country in the region. Its parliament has real power and its newspapers and electronic media demarcated the boundaries of freedom of expression before Al Jazeera did so. Anti-establishment satire has existed there for a long time and its citizens, even more than the citizens of Turkey, regard themselves as more Western than Arab.
Jan 05


Richard Dawkins 
Can you believe, an Oxford audience actually started to APPLAUD this  … disgusting apologetic for genocide/infanticide?

Attention Governor Perry: Evolution is a fact
The population of the United States is more than 300 million and it includes some of the best and brightest that the human species has to offer, probably more so than any other country in the world. There is surely something wrong with a system for choosing a leader when, given a pool of such talent and a process that occupies more than a year and consumes billions of dollars, what rises to the top of the heap is George W Bush. Or when the likes of Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin can be mentioned as even remote possibilities.

James Fallows
   June 2020

Chris Floyd 
(It is not known at this point if Wheaton College, like Hobby Lobby, covers Viagra and vasectomies for its male employees. But it would certainly make sense. We all know that the male member is more pleasing to the Lord, for it points upward toward Heaven — and if it doesn’t, there’s always Viagra — while the female reproductive parts dwell in darkness.)

The End of Hypocrisy: Crime's Gleeful Abandon in Gaza
Then again, I don't write to sway anybody any more, if I ever did. I write to stay sane, to keep from exploding in rage or going dead with despair, to try to clear a space in the howling madness for myself, and for anyone else who might come this way. I write to bear witness -- mostly to myself, and to what's left of my conscience. I write because somewhere along the line, by drift of circumstance, my mind was shaped in such a way that it is only by writing that I can try to understand the world, and my own thoughts and beliefs. If I could do all that without writing -- or if I could stop looking at reality and caring about it -- then I probably would. But for whatever reason -- those same drifts of circumstance, no doubt -- I can't; so I go on. Jan 09
Brought Low By a Gang of Cretins Among the 1,000 people who work in the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, only 33 are Arabic speakers and only six speak the language fluently, according to the Iraq Study Group report released on Wednesday.
This tells you pretty much all you need to know about the American debacle in Iraq. Imagine the arrogance and stupidity of conquering, occupying and trying to run a country without being able to speak its language. A nation of 26 million people – and your embassy has only six people who can actually understand what is being said, written, and broadcast there. This is a folly that amounts to a monstrous crime in itself, aside from the inherent evil of launching an unprovoked war of aggression. Dec 06

Paul Krugman 
Item: The C.E.O. of Volkswagen has resigned after revelations that his company committed fraud on an epic scale, installing software on its diesel cars that detected when their emissions were being tested, and produced deceptively low results.
Item: The former president of a peanut company has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for knowingly shipping tainted products that later killed nine people and sickened 700.
Item: Rights to a drug used to treat parasitic infections were acquired by Turing Pharmaceuticals, which specializes not in developing new drugs but in buying existing drugs and jacking up their prices. In this case, the price went from $13.50 a tablet to $750.
In other words, it has been a good few days for connoisseurs of business predators.
It is, in many ways, a familiar story. But that’s part of what makes it so disturbing: Why do we keep having these crises? And here’s the thing: The intervals between crises seem to be getting shorter, and the fallout from each crisis seems to be worse than the last. What’s going on?

This doctrine was sold both with claims that there was no alternative — that both bailouts and spending cuts were necessary to satisfy financial markets — and with claims that fiscal austerity would actually create jobs. The idea was that spending cuts would make consumers and businesses more confident. And this confidence would supposedly stimulate private spending, more than offsetting the depressing effects of government cutbacks.

George Monbiot 
We were wrong about peak oil: there’s enough in the ground to deep-fry the planet.
Rightwing libertarians have turned “freedom” into an excuse for greed and exploitation...So why have we been been so slow to challenge this concept of liberty? I believe that one of the reasons is as follows. The great political conflict of our age – between neocons and the millionaires and corporations they support on one side, and social justice campaigners and environmentalists on the other – has been mischaracterised as a clash between negative and positive freedoms. These freedoms were most clearly defined by Isaiah Berlin in his essay of 1958, Two Concepts of Liberty. It is a work of beauty: reading it is like listening to a gloriously crafted piece of music. I will try not to mangle it too badly.
The Self-Attribution Fallacy 11/8/2011 Reading their work, it seems to me that if you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a poor family you’re likely to go to prison. If you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a rich family you’re likely to go to business school.
How the Billionaires Broke the System  By George Monbiot Like the guard in Geoffrey Household’s novel Rogue Male who has been conned into working for the enemy, they take to the streets to demand less tax for billionaires and worse health, education and social insurance for themselves.
Atomic Moron George Monbiot Quite the nauseating display on DemocracyNow the other day. Renowned doctor and scientist Dr. Helen Caldicott, with more than 3 decades intense study on this issue to her credit, attempted to school the pro-nuclear British journalist on the gross ignorance and misinformation that guides his rationale. So, now Dr. Caldicott is a conspiracy theorist, fair game for snide rebukes and silly faces.
If Monbiot isn't a shill for the nuclear industry, then I could certainly get him set up there in about five seconds. Monbiot reveals his anti-intellectual agenda by repeatedly resorting to a false dichotomy:
The acceptance of policies which counteract our interests is the pervasive mystery of the 21st Century. In the United States, blue-collar workers angrily demand that they be left without healthcare, and insist that millionaires should pay less tax. In the UK we appear ready to abandon the social progress for which our ancestors risked their lives with barely a mutter of protest. What has happened to us?
Consider, for example, the walking catfish, which is now colonising China, Thailand and the United States, after escaping from fish farms and ornamental ponds(6). It can move across land at night, reaching water that no other fish species has colonised. It slips into fish farms and quietly works through the stock. It can burrow into the mud when times are hard and lie without food for months, before exploding back into the ecosystem when conditions improve. It eats almost anything that moves.
..But in many parts of the world the policy appears to consist of staring dumbly at the problem while something can be done, then panicking when it’s too late.
..the barrister Polly Higgins laid out a different approach. Her declaration of planetary rights invests ecosystems with similar legal safeguards to those won by humans after the second world war(2). It changes the legal relationship between humans, the atmosphere and the biosphere from ownership to stewardship. It creates a global framework for negotiation which gives nation states less discretion to dispose of ecosystems and the people who depend on them.
I just don’t get it. Let’s assume that there is only a 10% chance that the International Energy Agency and everybody else predicting that global oil supplies will soon peak or plateau are right. That still makes peak oil about 100,000 times more likely than a smallpox outbreak in the United Kingdom.
How was it allowed to happen? How did politics in the US come to be dominated by people who make a virtue out of ignorance? Was it charity that has permitted mankind’s closest living relative to spend two terms as president? How did Sarah Palin, Dan Quayle and other such gibbering numbskulls get to where they are? How could Republican rallies in 2008 be drowned out by screaming ignoramuses insisting that Barack Obama is a Muslim and a terrorist?(1)  10/31/08

As it prepares for accession, the Turkish government will discover that the other members of the European Union have found a more effective means of suppression. Without legal coercion, without the use of baying mobs to drive writers from their homes, we have developed an almost infinite capacity to forget our own atrocities. Jan 06
I'm with Wolfowitz Wolfowitz's appointment is a good thing for three reasons. It highlights the profoundly unfair and undemocratic nature of decision-making at the bank. His presidency will stand as a constant reminder that this institution, which calls on the nations it bullies to exercise "good governance and democratisation" is run like a medieval monarchy. Apr 05


Evans-Pritchard 
12/3/12 The world's commodity supercycle is far from dead To be precise, China’s share of total world demand in 2011 was: soya (27pc) cotton (38pc), aluminium (40pc) iron ore (40pc), coal (42pc), zinc (42pc), lead (43pc), copper (43pc), and lean-hogs (50pc).
9/6/09 Does the world have the courage to deal with its debts? Or we can try to right the ship by paying down our debts, very slowly, by sweat and toil, navigating a treacherous course between the Scylla and Charybdis of the twin-flations, for as long as it takes. This is the only responsible course left we as we face the devastating consequences of our own credit delusions. Are we up it?
No doubt Ireland has been the victim of a savagely tight monetary policy e_SEmD given its specific needs. But the deeper truth is that Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, the US, and Japan are in varying states of fiscal ruin, and those tipping into demographic decline (unlike young Ireland) have an underlying cancer that is even more deadly. The West cannot support its gold-plated state structures from an aging workforce and depleted tax base.
Europe digs its economic grave while the ECB answers to no one  Nobody knows where the tipping point lies on public debt, though anything above 100pc of GDP in a currency union is courting fate. Some are already there. The European Commission says Italian debt will jump to 116pc in 2010. Greece is vaulting back to 109pc, Belgium to 101pc, France to 86pc.
Don't believe the hyperinflation hype - dare to make cuts "If Ben Bernanke and his officials are listening to this sort of stuff and taking it seriously, they are making the same mistake as the Fed in the early 1930s," he said. The US "output gap" is near 7pc. That is a powerful lid on inflation.
Financial Crisis: America rises to the occasion as storm heads for Europe No doubt the Fed, the Treasury, and Congress have made a string of mistakes but they are now rising to the occasion – the reflexes of a wounded but still formidable superpower. The US has shown time and again that it has the institutions and flair to pull itself out of disaster.
Sooner Fed bail-outs than the 1930s revisited
It is America's fifth biggest investment bank. It has $13,400 billion of derivative positions, and has underwritten $491 billion in options contracts. Topple this domino at your peril. It risks a chain of cross-defaults through the entire "shadow banking system", that vast untested nexus of paper commitments


Fred Reed 
A train wreck once started goes to completion.
A Bush In Need Of Pruning My impression is that much of the public wants authoritarian rule, or would be perfectly content with it if it even noticed its arrival. No, I can’t prove it. But what do most people care about beyond television on screens that grow ever larger, beyond porn, beer, and the competitive purchase of grander SUVs? I ask this not as a lifelong curmudgeon being tiresome (though doubtless I am both) but seriously. Who in a sprawling TV-besotted country cares about the Constitution? A comfortable police state is after all comfortable.
Bush, Rice, Twerps, and Children in Power I’m wondering. Help me wonder. Either Georgie Bush is the minor, depressing, witless ferret I think he is, or I am. It has to be one or the other. If things don’t start looking up pretty soon internationally, I’m going to be pretty sure which.
As best as I can tell, what the Maximum Cipher lacks, among an inexhaustible list of other things, is a hop-toad’s understanding of how people work. Here we have the explanation of just about everything he does. He’s dealing with a world full of people, but has no idea what people are. He probably couldn’t recognize one. So he doesn’t take their predictable behavior into account.
Consultations With Padre Kino I have decided to become a drunk and live under a bench, maybe in a radiation suit. It only makes sense. The times are dire. Dark shapes twist in the international fog. The US, in the hands of puzzled children of low moral character, flaps about like a damp rag in a high wind. Anything could happen. Feb.06
Storm Troopers on Every Corner Being in Mexico adds perspective, at least if you watch the great booby hatch to the north. I especially like the Warn Terr, the preferred toy of the latest Bush. Down here we read all about how the feddle gummint is keeping terrace out of the US so everyone will be safer than probably lots of them want to be. (I’d rather be in danger. Just leave me alone.)
I Don't Pledge Allegiance..freedom grows as your needs diminish..June 05
Hunter Thompson: All Gone Now You can see why he ate his gun. Everything he hated has returned..   Febr 05

Fearmongers  Nov 03


Murray N. Rothbard 
The Ancient Chinese Libertarian Tradition After referring to the common experience of mankind with government, Lao-tzu came to this incisive conclusion: "The more artificial taboos and restrictions there are in the world, the more the people are impoverished…. The more that laws and regulations are given prominence, the more thieves and robbers there will be."

J. Stuart Snelson 
Taming the Violence of Faith (Captialism & Morality Seminar 2011)




Matt Taibbi  
..the most complex Ponzi scheme in human history — an epic mountain range of corporate fraud in which Wall Street megabanks conspired first to collect huge numbers of subprime mortgages, then to unload them on unsuspecting third parties like pensions, trade unions and insurance companies (and, ultimately, you and me, as taxpayers) in the guise of AAA-rated investments. Selling lead as gold, shit as Chanel No. 5..
The Great American Bubble Machine $/5/10 If America is circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that drain

David Wiggins 
Any president might violate the Law of War, but what president can violate the Law of Gravity? Universal justice is blind, and the laws of nature are its legal code. All life, all humanity is its subject. There
are no exemptions, and no violator is pardoned. The laws of nature apply to all human endeavors – including war. A president or a prime minister may avoid prosecution for war crimes if they have
the power to do so, but no person and no nation is mighty enough to flaunt the laws of nature without suffering the consequenceseb Feb 04