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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Reality or Alarmism?

Democratic operatives and mainstream media shills and apologists for the Obama administration's just-passed and enacted medical-care overhaul are now accusing the rank-and-file Republicans and their cronies who oppose the much-touted yet highly-unpopular "reform" and warn people of dire medical and economic consequences of being alarmists. The standard argument now being offered goes like this: "You and your ilk made the same claims about Medicare when it was passed in 1965."

That is quite a hilarious contention, come to think of it. When Medicare was passed and enacted into law, opponents of the program at the time predicted that it result in the state's greater control of the medical system than ever.

Here's a couple of fair questions to people: does anyone now believe that Medicare was such a good idea to create? And while we're at it, does anyone now think that was a horrible prediction at all?

Medicare, as it stands, has an unfunded liability -- that is, empty promises -- of $37 trillion over the next 75 years, the insolvency of the program notwithstanding. To give the devil his due, Obama at least admits that Medicare is a major reason for the federal deficit, which creates the massive national debt. To rectify the problem (namely the out-of-control budget), coverage for a handful of services are being denied. Doctors are now routinely being prompted to stop accepting new Medicare patients, thanks to the insane bureaucratic burden imposed upon them.

All in all, the government medical program has stimulated supply and demand of services, thus propping up prices for everyone across the board by subsidizing medical care for the retirees. Costlier medical care results in costlier medical insurance. Medical insurance companies are soon priced out of the market, thus becoming wiped out of existence after the price of insurance skyrockets. That certainly adds to the number of people who are uninsured. (Although this is not the only factor of inflation, it remains a relatively large one.)

With prices rising higher and the number of uninsured growing larger (all because of the government product known as Medicare), there is no question that all this has energized the government's attempt to increase its power over the medical system.

Now, in the present day, the predictions made about Medicare have come true, not to mention legitimate. It has opened the door for more state intervention in our medical-care choices -- meaning us.

The question that needs to be asked is this: is what we've warned about ObamaCare making us alarmists or talking about reality?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Moral and Economic Bankruptcy and Ignorance of Real Time Host Bill Maher

Statist liberal and Barack Obama shill Bill Maher, host of his populist HBO talk show Real Time with Bill Maher, fired a rant that contained a series of smears and ad hominems at the Republicans who are up in arms over the passage and enactment of ObamaCare.

Here's a YouTube clip* of Maher making his speech on the March 26, 2010 episode of his show:

Here's a transcript of what Maher said:

Finally, New Rule: You can't use the statement 'There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year!' as a threat if there was no cooperation in the first part of the year.

Here's a word President Obama should take out of his Teleprompter: Bipartisanship. People only care about that in theory, not in practice. The best thing that happened this year is when Obama finally realized that and said: 'Kiss my black ass, we're going it alone George W. Bush style.' [applause]

Now, two months ago, conservative Fred Barnes wrote, 'The health care bill is dead with not the slightest prospect of resurrection.' Well, if it's dead, you just got your ass kicked by a zombie named Nancy Pelosi. Seriously, the last time a Democrat showed balls like that John Edwards' girlfriend was filming it.

And yet, even before the Democrats got to take a single victory lap, they were being warned not to get drunk with power. I disagree. All you Democrats do a shot and then do another. Get drunk on this feeling of not backing down and doing what you came to Washington to do. [applause]

Do not listen to the people who are now saying that nothing else big should be attempted for a while because health care was so rough. Wrong. Because I learned something watching the lying bullies of the right lose this one. When they’re losing, they squeal like a pig. They kept saying things like, the bill was being 'shoved down our throats.' Or the Democrats were 'ramming it through.' The bill was so big they 'couldn't take it all at once.' [laughter]

And you know what? I realized listening to this rhetoric that it reminded me of something. It reminded me of Tiger Woods' text messages to his mistress that were made public last week, where he said, and I quote: 'I want to treat you rough, throw you around, spank and slap you and make you sore. I want to hold you down and choke you while I fuck that ass that I own. Then I'm going to tell you to shut the fuck up while I slap your face and pull your hair for making noise.' Unquote. [laughter]

And this, I believe, perfectly represents the attitude the Democrats should now have in their dealings with the Republican Party. [applause]

Yes, it does. That's what they should be saying to the Republicans: 'Shut the fuck up while I slap your face for making noise! Now pass the cap-and-trade law, you stupid bitch, and repeat after me, "global warming is real."' [applause]

The Democrats need to push the rest of their agenda while their boot is on the neck of the greedy, poisonous old reptile. Who cares if cap-and-trade bill isn't popular, neither was health care. Your poll numbers may have descended a bit, but so did your testicles.

So don't stop. We need to regulate the banks, we need to overhaul immigration, we need to end corporate welfare including at the Pentagon, we need to bring troops home from everywhere, we need to end the drug war, and we need to put terrorists and other human rights violators on trial in civilian courts -- starting with Dick Cheney. [applause]

Democrats, in conclusion, Democrats in America were put on earth to do one thing: Drag the ignorant hillbilly half of this country into the next century, which in their case is the 19th. And by passing health care, the Democrats saved their brand.

A few months ago, Sarah Palin mockingly asked them: 'How's that "hopey-changey" thing working for you?' Great, actually, thanks for asking. And how's that whole ‘Hooked on Phonics’ thing working out for you? [laughter]

This is a perfect epitome of the moral and economic bankruptcy and ignorance of Bill Maher and his cronies. He's morally and economic bankrupt because he doesn't care that the state is getting bigger, that it's exacting force on innocent individuals to fatten the pockets of Big Insurance, and it's confiscating the fruits of labor from those who earned and giving it to those who didn't, simply because it's the "good" of society. He's ignorant, because he refuses to fathom what the evils of the law are doing to those uninsured people whom he purportedly cares about (and who neither want nor have asked for the new government-provided insurance and expanded health care entitlement system in the first place).

He's also being disingenuous by framing the paradigm as though this is a "Democrat-versus-Republican" war, when frankly it's a "Democrat-and-Big-State-versus-Freedom-and-Non-Coercion" war in every step of the way. This argument of his is a perfect indication of cognitive dissonance, which is a psychological term referring to a set of simultaneously conflicting ideas coupled with a feeling of great discomfort between two or more groups of people. It's cognitive dissonance, because he, on one hand, believes that everyone should have health care and insurance, but health insurance is evil, so the state is justified into wiping the insurance industry (which lobbied for the passage and enactment of the law).

Hypocrisy, idiocy, and fallacies know no bounds when it comes to a cretin like Bill Maher. The sad truth is that he'll never understand that.

[*Update: YouTube took down the original video (that I had on this post) hosted by one of its users due to a copyright complaint filed by HBO. HBO has been watching YouTube to see if its users have been violating its copyrighted material and has been very tyrannical about it. Hence, an excellent argument to eliminate IP laws, but that's for another blog post for another day. Head to 2:57 to see Maher go off on the GOP with his lame diatribe.]

[*Second Update: Here's the video that was removed by YT. Enjoy!

Walter Block Responds to Sheldon Richman Once Again

My friend Walter Block, whom I took to task for his argument against Sheldon Richman's Libertarians Against Capitalism Facebook group, issued another rejoinder to Sheldon's blog post criticizing his commentary.

Knowing how ridiculous Block's argument is getting, there's nothing else to be said.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Health Care Reform Is about "Control" Not "Health Care"

Just a few days ago President Barrack Obama signed into law a piece of legislation that among other things mandates that every American will be required to purchase health insurance. There are also penalties for “offenders” and all sorts of regulations facing doctors and other health care professionals. Congress, who passed the bill using a combination of tactics “deem and pass” and reconciliation, doesn't know for sure what is in the bill. How do I know? Nancy Pelosi acknowledged the fact almost two weeks ago when she said, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
I should also be noted that a copy of the bill, complete with amendments, wasn't posted online until after the House voted for a package of “fixes” to the Senate version and “deemed it” to have passed the bill; which oddly was signed into law before going to the Senate for reconciliation. This alone is questionably constitutional, not to mention the unconstitutionality of the bill itself.
Asked by Detroit radio host Paul Smith why if the bill’s insurance coverage is so important that the coverage isn’t implemented until 2014 Congressman John Dingell said, “Let me remind you this [Americans allegedly dying because of lack of universal health care] has been going on for years. We are bringing it to a halt. The harsh fact of the matter is when you're going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.” Finally, someone admits the purpose of this bill isn't “health care”, but about control. Sen. Orrin Hatch said, “They want to force people to do whatever they want them to do. That’s what you call totalitarianism. It is not really good government.”
In a bit of irony and hypocrisy, he continued, “In this country we believe in liberty. We believe in freedom. We believe people ought to have choices. We believe they can make their own choices.” This from the same Senator that supported the “PATRIOT Act,” FISA & “No child left behind.” Not to mention, the Senator doesn't believe you should have a “choice” about whether or not to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. He doesn't want you to have a choice when it comes to honest money and commodity based currencies.
Jack Hunter points out, “House Minority Leader John Boehner thundered, “Can you say it was done openly with transparency and accountability, without backroom deals and struck behind closed doors, hidden from the people? Hell no you can’t!”
Boehner’s right, but it was the House Minority Leader and his Republican Party that helped push through Bush’s Medicare expansion, a piece of legislation passed by cutting backroom deals behind closed doors and hidden from the people. Beginning with a national debt of a little over $5 trillion in 2000, the debt doubled in eight years, rising to over $10 trillion when Bush left office. Said Boehner in the wake of the passage of Democrats healthcare scheme Sunday night, “shame on us.” He was right to use the word “us.”...What the healthcare vote proved was that Republicans now have an issue to run on in 2010 and 2012 and they know it. What it does not prove is that if victorious, Republicans would behave any different than when they were expanding government healthcare and doubling the national debt while Bush was in office.”

British Actor Jude Law's Gaffe on The Daily Show

British actor Jude Law recently appeared on the Daily Show, inadvertenely pulling a gaffe in front of Obama troglodyte Jon Stewart. He let slip the fact that England's health care system is not what it's cracked up to be because of its long lines, waiting lists, overworked and underpaid doctors, and the well-to-do opting out of the government system in favor of private health care.

He leaks this out to Stewart at 2:40:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Jude Law
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform

John Dingell: ObamaCare Was Put Together "To Control The People"

Congressman John Dingell of my home state of Michigan discussed the vile health care law that was passed by Congress and signed into law by Obama, specifically in a recent interview with conservative talk show host Paul W. Smith on WJR 760AM in Detroit. Apparently, he let slip the real goal of ObamaCare and its provisions:

Here's an excerpt of his scathing yet honest answers regarding the hidden agenda of the new law:

The harsh fact of the matter is when you're going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.

How nice of him, Obama, and the statist Democrats in power! In their eyes, we're all just a bunch of Pinocchios with strings attached to our arms and legs like hand-made puppets.

How quaint.

The True Prescription for Medical-Care Reform Is A Freed Market

The recently-passed medical-care bill a.k.a. ObamaCare, which Barack Obama signed into law on Tuesday and which will be challenged in the form of lawsuits in federal court by many state attorney generals on the grounds that it is unconstitutional, has opened a Pandora's Box in the political, legal, constitutional, moral, and anti-liberty scheme of things.

It's political, because the bill, which was supposed to be brought to the Senate for reconciliation before Obama signed it, ended up being bypassed to Obama's desk for his signature, without the "fixes" (which are actually amendments) being applied to the document. After all, the Voice of America news site reported on March 22 just before the bill reached the Oval Office: "[T]he Senate must still sign-off on a series of changes approved by the House." (After Obama signed the bill into law, the Senate had just passed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.)

The law's conservative critics argue that it's both unconstitutional and illegal, because there's nothing in the Constitution that says that the U.S. federal government must coerce uninsured individuals into purchasing health-care insurance. I'm not much of a fan of the current document as established by our Founding Fathers, but the conservatives' argument is entirely flimsy. While it may be true that any constitutional scholar or historian worth his or her salt will say that this medical-care "reform" does not fall within the constitutional purview of the federal government, the Constitution is pretty cryptic in this area. So what if it is unconstitutional? Conservatives are wrongheaded to make this point. They should be arguing that the bill is wrong and unethical, because it initiates force against those who choose not to pay for other people's medical care, whether they are insured or not, and subsidizes those who would otherwise not need the insurance for a variety of reasons. Congressional Democrats, such as John Conyers of Michigan, say that the "general welfare" clause (found in the Preamble and Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution) grants the federal government the power to establish dominion of the U.S. medical-care system. But what were the conservatives expecting? That Obama would just not sign the bill into law? Democrats have historically been hostile to human liberty across the board. Republicans are the same. Face it; if George W. Bush had proposed a similar law and lobbied hard to pass it, would the GOP and its cronies have argued against it then? Of course not! They would be all for it, because they would have been getting the credit for it, and they would financially and politically benefit from it like former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney did when he imposed RomneyCare in his state.

Finally, it's immoral and anti-liberty, because it is an assault on individual liberty while both protecting and expanding the parasitic medical welfare state (including the entitlement programs of Medicaid [which is universal medical care for the uninsured poor and needy] and Medicare [which is universal care for mostly wealthy retirees and the elderly collecting Social Security). (Medicare recipients will not be pleased to learn that this new law, which begins to take effect in its entirety by 2018, will undercut, undermine, or eliminate their coverage or see a significant rise in their premiums.) Individuals, who are already not allowed and had never been allowed to make that many decisions on their medical-care options, will find that their insurance premium costs will rise, the quality of health care to plummet, and the pool of available doctors shrinking at a much substantially higher rate than ever. The new law, which for months had been widely touted as a "reform" of the system, will not allow wiggle room for doctors to make medical decisions on their patients' health and patients to make medical choices on their health and what insurance plans work best for them. ObamaCare does not and will not address the state's intervention in the medical-care market, research, and the system in its entirety. It does not even allow patients to shop for insurance plans from insurers across state lines.

The medical care system certainly requires reforms -- true radical reforms. ObamaCare, on the other hand, is just too expensive, and powerful medical and insurance interests are prospering and will prosper even more at the expense of all of us. The status quo will merely profit from it, which hardly leaves any legitimate reason for any sane and rational individual to admire it. With that in mind, we have no sound reason to tolerate it.

The idea that a highly-bureaucratized, highly-socialized state-propped medical-care model such as ObamaCare costing only $940 billion is nothing more than a piece of fiction. Medicare, which was launched in 1966, actually cost $3 billion. Congress projected the costs of the program at about $12 billion by 1990 (an alleged conservative estimate). By the time that year came, the actual cost was $107 billion (if inflation is included in the costs). In 2003, the CATO Institute issued a report indicating that the program was going to be price-tagged at a projected $244 billion. Moreover, the Medicare system is rife with massive fraud and abuse. Fewer than 5 percent of the medical claims filed with the agency are audited. Cost overruns, rising deficits, lower payments to physicians and hospitals coupled with payment delays, medical services and procedures rationed by doctors, hospitals, and the state coupled with treatment delays, payroll taxes paid by employers and levied on employees, and HMO-style "assembly line" medicine have plagued Medicare for the longest time.

Thanks to the imposition of the Medicare Drug Prescription Benefit Act of 2003 (a Bush-era edict that was price-tagged at $400 billion) and a month after then-President Bush issued that decree, Medicare Plan D's price-tag went up to $534 billion. According to the 2009 Annual Report of the Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds, the projected costs from 2009 to 2018 are $727.3 billion. But the economic reality is that the costs for that program are going to be higher -- much higher -- than deemed. Even James Bovard, a policy analyst for the Future of Freedom Foundation and author of The Bush Betrayal, noted in 2005 that the Medicare trustees would cost up to $7 trillion over the next 75 years (assuming the federal government and all of its various programs, including Medicare and its prescription drug program, still exist).

Obama, his progressive supporters who are behind the new model, and his medical and insurance cronies are misguided to believe that the new doomed medical-care system will be accepted by the American people, including their opponents and critics. But they are gravely mistaken. Critics of the law, for months before Congress passed it, have pointed out the obvious problems that the new system will create. Even more than 60 percent of the American people, according to many online polls, were overwhelmingly opposed (and still are) to the bill. This "reform" is nothing more of a repackaging of the current system, with the exception that it coerces more coverage and more people into the system.

Focus on the fact that the majority of the attention of nearly all the "reformers" centered on the health-insurance industry. The common denominator in the entire medical-care "debate" had been, still is, and will continue to be that health-insurance firms have been under-regulated. For months, what became a discussion on "health-insurance reform" soon morphed into "health insurance regulation." Of course, health insurers have been massively and obscenely over-regulated, but the "reformers" don't want to ruin the fun of their crusade against the companies because of that fact. The bulk of the "over-regulation" is imposed by the biggest insurance players such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Care Network, and Aetna against the smallest insurers. More insurance firms will go under ObamaCare, which was the plan all along. The claim that Obama & Co. touted (saying that patients will get to keep their current insurance plans) is just bogus. Expect to see more insurance firms going under because of the massive mandates.

Another problem is that the Congressional Budget Office says that the new law will reduce the deficit in ten years. Anyone with a modicum of comprehension of economics knows that the CBO's report is nonsense. Lawmakers have been relaying dubious information to the agency with cooked figures on the issue. Conservative columnist Thomas Sowell, in his latest op-ed titled "An Off-Budget Office?," debunked this lunacy by noting with respect to the San Francisco Chronicle's article on the matter entitled "Costly Bill Seen as Saving Money":

It's not hard to understand at all. It is a lie.

What makes this particular lie pass muster with many people, who might otherwise use their common sense, is that the Congressional Budget Office vouched for the consistency of the budget numbers that say you can add millions of people to a government-run system and yet save money.

The Congressional Budget Office does honest work. But it can only use the numbers that Congress supplies-- and Congress does dishonest work. It is not the CBO's job to give their opinion as to whether any of the marvelous things that Congress says it will do in the future are either likely or possible.

Sowell even further notes:

[N]one of this money is in the official federal budget that the Congressional Budget Office sees. There are many other financial liabilities of the government that are 'off-budget,' which means that they do not show up in the official numbers.

Even research analysts find the CBO's findings apocryphal. As Marc Goldwein, the policy director of the the Washington budget watchdog group Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, points out:

CBO is the most trusted analysis out there, but everything they say, you should take with a humongous grain of salt.

Is health insurance the most lucrative and most profitable commodity in the industry? Not quite. Such insurance on average generates a profit margin that amounts to about 3-4 cents on the dollar. These firms do welcome a guaranteed clientele, even if it's foisted upon the public, because it ensures their profitability. Although Obama & Co. will appear as an populist opponent to the industry, he's actually its best ally. Why? Because Big Insurance will accept the onerous new regulations to decimate its much smaller competitors, leaving insurance consumers with fewer insurance options to purchase. Considering they are not incentivized to innovate and compete thanks to their politically-connected, politically-protected mandates, young healthy people will find that the individual mandates are compulsory and that they must purchase highly expensive products and services from these protected government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), thanks to the state. It's intriguing that the progressive critics of the insurance enterprises, who routinely bash their practices and support Obama's "reform," neglect to mention that the new model coerces everyone to transact with these entities.

The only objection that these GSEs have with the plan is that the penalties for not complying with or refusing to comply with the individual and employer mandates are not high enough. Most young people will likely choose to pay the penalties out of their pockets rather than purchase the insurance because of the cheap savings for them. Hence, a problem arises out of that mess: if and when the uninsured become sick and then apply for coverage, they can't and won't be denied because the new law prohibits it. Expect to see future changes (in the form of stricter penalties) in the federal law to avert more gaming of the system in the not-too-distant future. Thus, this is another victory for the already-protected insurance establishment.

Finally, the critics of the old government-created public-private hybrid of the medical-care system have been spewing ad nauseum for months that the system was the result of the free market, and that it has failed the American people. But that is a baldfaced lie. A free market medical-care system hasn't existed, nor has it ever existed over the last 100 years. The "reformers" continue to miss this paramount point every single time: what exists now, and will continue to exist, is the current system has been the result of an uncompetitive medical and insurance cartel system that has been codified by the state and thrives and exists entirely and purely, thanks to state privilege. This privilege has come into existence because of its extension of state governments through state-approved and state-sanctioned monopolistic licensing. Congress, if it wanted to, could end this nightmare by repealing the prohibition on interstate insurance sales and the horrendous tax favoritism for employer-provided medical insurance coverage. But don't let those points enter the mind of the vile, greedy, and pernicious Democrats, who stand to financially profit from the system at the expense of the poor (whom the ruling party claims to care about).

And to make matters worse, before the bill passed in both chambers of the House and were signed into law, many physicians across the country threatened to bolt from the system and give up their practices. Many of them have exited from the profession because of the low reimbursements and payments from Medicare and to avoid legal malpractice liability. Expect to see a much larger mass exodus from the system in the months and years to come.

The only good news coming out of this mess is that most Americans (if not, many) are seeing for the first time the fraudulent "reform" this law really is. It only secures and protects the government-created cartels, punishes the well-off, and merely postures as a friend of the uninsured who are largely impoverished.

At the end of the day, the true prescription for medical-care reform is a freed market. Two illusions need to be shattered. First, the idea that this is a matter between the status quo and this "reform" is preposterous. The "reform" IS the status quo in drag. Second, for generations, the state has bedded the medical profession and the insurance industry to ram down our throats the evil system we have today. A freed market is the only way out of this mess.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Medical Statism a.k.a. ObamaCare Passes in the House

ObamaCare, which is officially known as Patient Protection and Affordability Act of 2010 (H.R. 3950), has just passed in the House. The vote tally comes at 219-212.

It's now expected that Herr Obama will sign it on his desk this upcoming Tuesday. But how can he sign a bill into law if the Senate hasn't applied the "fixes" that the Democrats made to the House-passed version of the bill hours ago? Because those "fixes" aren't REAL fixes. Those are just last-minute amendments to the bill AFTER it was passed, and they are heading to the Senate. The bill has already cleared the halls of Congress. According to the Voice of America news website, "[T]he Senate must still sign-off on a series of changes approved by the House."

Obviously, so many backroom dealings had occurred on the House floor. The key provisions of the legislation that the medical lobbyists and Big Insurance (like Blue Cross Blue Shield) are backing include:

  1. Coercing individuals to buy insurance or be faced with a penalty of 2.5 percent of income. That penalty would come to an annual amount of $695 if individuals refuse to accept that coverage.

  2. Coercing employers to offer insurance to their workers or face a penalty of $2,000 per worker. Specifically, employers will be coerced to cover 65% of family premiums or fork over a penalty based on payroll. Small businesses with less than $500,000 on payroll will be exempt and payrolls up to $750,000 will have a reduced contribution.

  3. Banning private insurance firms (that don't have the political clout like Big Insurance does) that want new business from denying coverage to policyholders having preexisting medical conditions.

  4. Coercing above-mentioned firms to accept new government regulations and mandates.

  5. Coercing parents to keep their children on their medical plans until they reach the age of 26.

The most laughable aspect of this "debate" on the House floor is that Democratic Congresscritter Bart Stupak from my home state of Michigan, who was originally against the bill because of a provision in the bill that would allow taxpayer financing of abortions, flip flopped on it because of a meaningless deal that Obama cut with him by saying that he would issue an executive order to prohibit the funding. Stupak wasn't against the bill because it would solidify the state's entrenchment in the medical care system; he was against it because of his pro-life views. If that provision had not been written in the bill in the first place, does anyone really think he would have voted against it? Not in a New York minute!

(Interestingly and hilariously enough, the congressman was branded a "baby killer" by a Republican colleague in the House, although he has an idea of who said it.)

Once the bill is signed into law and goes into effect, one can be certain that millions of Americans will not obey the law. This is what happens when the state furthers itself into the medical care system much more than it has in decades. Any chance of restoring a true free market medical care system went up in smoke the second the bill passed.

It's time for all Liberty activists to start practicing civil disobedience and educate the masses in a clear, concise, and innovative way. No more the state! More freedom than ever!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Say "No" to Capitalism: In Defense of Sheldon Richman and the Libertarians Against Capitalism Facebook Group

Walter Block, a good friend of mine who's also a fan of my show Liberty Cap Talk Live on Blog Talk Radio, a prominent blogger and writer at, a well-noted economics professor at Loyola University New Orleans, and a prominent senior fellow at the right-libertarian educational/academic organization Ludwig von Mises Institute, has penned a piece for, in which he criticized my good friend and left-libertarian/agorist/anarchist mentor Sheldon Richman for having recently started his group Libertarians Against Capitalism on Facebook and positing his contention that the word capitalism lacks any value to and is a problem in the eyes of many purist free-market ideologues. (Here's Sheldon's rejoinder to Block on his Free Association blog.]

Curiously, Block writes in his piece in part:

If U.S. Presidents such as George Bush (41st or 43rd), Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan are widely considered capitalist supporters, and they are, then I, along with Libertarians Against Capitalism, want no part of this moniker. (Ronald Reagan magnificently utilized free market rhetoric; but budgets and regulations increased when he was governor of California and President of the U.S.) And the same goes for the likes of Vice Presidents Spiro Agnew, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle and Nelson Rockefeller, along with talk show hosts Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly. I will not say that there is a 180 divergence between what they mean by 'capitalism' and how I use this word, but the differences are very stark. This includes other politicians of the following ilk: John Boehner, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Tim Pawlenty, Michael Steele, and Fred Thompson. Their 'capitalism' and mine are very, very different.

Intriguingly enough, Block fails to distinguish his so-called term free-market capitalism (in its purported context) from the commonly-used term state capitalism at the end of his paragraph. But then again why ruin the fun when you can attempt to make a good although unconvincing case against the critics of the term capitalism because of its purported pro-freedom/anti-state roots when actually its true anti-liberty/pro-state baggage predates the 20th century and further extends to France's National French Assembly after the French Revolution of 1789, which was populated by the original leftists (laissez-faire advocates) on the Left (where Frederick Bastiat and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon sat) and the fascistic and mercantilistic aristocrats on the Right? Not only that, what about this term and its concepts' deep-seated ties to corrupted, seedy, and shady interventionistic state influence? Apparently, he refuses to acknowledge all and any of those historically factual points.

Then, after listing the names of many conservatives in the above paragraph, Block further writes:

Nor can we afford to ignore a large group of neoconservatives, who are also linked with 'capitalism' in the public mind, for example: Elliott Abrams, John R. Bolton, Dick Cheney, Douglas Feith, Carl Gershman, Christopher Hitchens, David Horowitz, Robert Kagan, Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, Richard Perle, Daniel Pipes, Norman Podhoretz, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Stephen Schwartz, Leo Strauss, Ben Wattenberg, Paul Wolfowitz and James Woolsey. Irving Kristol, the father of neo-conservatism, wrote a book called 'Two cheers for capitalism.' As for me, I want no part of this sort of 'capitalism.' It is three cheers for me, all the way.

Additionally, he writes:

And the same goes for conservatives such as Roger Ailes, David Brooks, William F. Buckley, John Derbyshire, David Frum, Robert Gates, Jim Geraghty, Jonah Goldberg, Lawrence Kudlow, Rich Lowry, Jay Nordlinger, Ramesh Ponnuru, Karl Rove, Mark Stein, John Yoo and Byron York. If they support capitalism, and they are widely seen to do so, then I, too, along with called Libertarians Against Capitalism, oppose it. For the "capitalism" of these people includes as a central tenet war, militarism and imperialism. They may call it 'American Greatness,' but what it amounts to is the U.S. tossing its military weight all around the world, in a totally unjustified manner.

Also, there are foreign dictators who have been, willy nilly, linked with capitalism, and I wouldn’t want to be linked, politically, with them either. For example, Pinochet, Franco, and even, help us please, Hitler.

And, finally, he says:

Reading the above, one might infer that I am as good a candidate as any other libertarian to join Libertarians Against Capitalism.

Ah, but, according to Block, "Not so, not so." Why is that the case, you ask?

As convoluted as his logic is, here's the following kicker coming from him:

My main reason is not etymological but rather linguistic. I readily admit that 'capitalism' has a bad press, and its historical use is none too salutary either. But, the enemies of libertarianism are always trying to take words away from us.

The "enemies of libertarianism" are "always trying to take words away from us"?

As much I love Walter personally (and I don't mean to get my digs in him as well), it's not that the "enemies of libertarianism" have been co-opting our terms for years. They have taken back the term libertarian, considering we took it from them. We did so as a response to the state socialists in the progressive camp having taken the word liberal from us! Look at "libertarians" like Neal Boortz, Mancow Muller, Wayne Allyn, and Bob Barr (who, although successfully had secured the Libertarian Party nomination in 2008, failed to win the presidential election). They have been acting as though they have been in favor of Liberty, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. And they even employ terms such as capitalism and libertarian that are in their vocabularies.

Furthermore, Block says:

They have already long ago stolen 'liberal.' We must now call ourselves 'classical liberals' if we want to use that appellation at all. Some have recently had the audacity to try to take away the word 'libertarian.' I refer, here, to Noam Chomsky, who has the temerity to characterize himself as a libertarian.

(Of course, his "attempted theft" charge against Chomsky doesn't holds any water whatsoever, considering that Chomsky has been using that term to describe his brand of state socialism [statism] for decades. Block's "evidence" against him is indicated here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Thus, Block's case is very weak and implausible and appears to be on shaky grounds.)

It's pleasant to know that Walter tries to differentiate himself from the capitalists he noted in the above paragraph. My question to him would be: why would you even want to associate yourself with a word that has historically been employed by state socialists (statists) such as progressive Bill Maher (who called himself a "capitalist" on his Real Time show last night) and conservative economist Ben Stein across the political spectrum? Right-libertarians like Block, Stephan Kinsella, and Brad Edmonds continue to embrace the term willingly and without question, despite their inherent incongruities and flawed, convoluted logic. John Stossel of Fox Business even qualifies as an example of this, especially when one considers his vulgar libertarian framing of the libertarian philosophy on his show Stossel and his libertarian and capitalist guests whom he often interviews in front of his live studio audience.

Free market capitalists apologizing for vulgar libertarianism and shilling for the conservative and corporatist shills by protecting the term capitalism, even with the best of intentions and in a vociferous manner, merely create the perceived impression that all voluntaryists and many other advocates of Liberty are in bed with the establishment. These moves land free-market radicals in trouble across the board, regardless of what many right-libertarians claim. These stooges set themselves up for disdain and alignment with the Republicans and their Wall Street-worshipping statist cronies. Should we, including Americans in general, be surprised with this type of behavior that has been an endemic (although embarrassing) part of our society, our culture, and the parasitic political establishment?

As for the word libertarian, Sheldon Richman posits:

Libertarian was used by left-wing Spanish anarchists during the 1930s civil war; they were no friends of private property and free trade. Going back further, the word was used by anarcho-socialists after the fall of the Paris Commune in 1871 because the word anarchist could land them in a heap of trouble. I doubt Block would regard those libertarians as comrades. The French word Libertaire appears to be the origin of our word libertarian, and it seems to have had nothing to do with what Block wants to call capitalism. Quite the opposite.

Sheldon is correct. The word capitalism has always had a twisted, dark, and vile history with the Liberty movement, thanks to and despite the efforts of Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand. Block's attempt to save the term is an exercise in futility, because the word has really never been ours to begin with. Trying to resuscitate it, putting new life into it, and cleanse it from its sins are nothing but ideological and historical revisionism. No amount of spinmeistering from the hacks in our movement will change that talking point.

Block finally concludes his piece by writing:

So, I beseech Sheldon Richman and the other members of Libertarians Against Capitalism to disband their group, and, instead, work with the rest of us to save as many words as we can for our own use.

I doubt Sheldon has any interest in saving the word simply by disbanding his group. No left-libertarian/agorist/voluntaryist worth his salt believes that such an endeavor is, as Sheldon correctly noted at the end of his blog post, "worth the candle." Capitalism, like the word libertarian, is not an ally - but rather an enemy - of laissez-faire. They do not truly go together like popcorn and butter. Laissez-faire capitalism is an artificial construct, not to mention a clever redundancy. Not only that, it is an oxymoron. One who calls oneself a laissez-faire capitalist is akin to one calling oneself a Christian Satanist. One cannot be a Christian and a Satanist simultaneously. Either one is a Christian or a Satanist; there is no such thing as "between one and other other" or "both." Besides, there are plenty of terms that advocates of Liberty can use such as market anarchist, voluntaryist, laissez-faire, and free market. Besides, capitalism is a word that free-market radicals have now rejected.

It would be wise of our pro-Liberty allies to wash themselves of the label and stay away from it permanently. After all, it can't be saved.

Besides, we have no need and use of that poisonous word we call capitalism. But we do have a need of the Libertarians Against Capitalism group on Facebook. Let's educate the masses about the true vile nature of capitalism as it stands today.