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Big Patriotism vs. Small Patriotism

Bonnie Kristian writes about how Big Patriotism is poisoning America.


Small patriotism is humble and open to constructive critique. Just as we would welcome an exterminator telling us our house has termites, so in small patriotism we can give a hearing to those who see some problem with our home. Big patriotism cannot hear a word against country, however gentle or wise. The best, by definition, cannot be wrong.

Small patriotism recognizes that there are many things more important than patriotism. It is a servant, not a master. It does not ask to be valued above more significant loyalties, like those to God or family or concrete community. Big patriotism demands pre-eminence. It fixates on symbols, ceremonies, and correct language, undermining honest debate. It polices allegiance to the state, sacralizing things that are very much mundane. Big patriotism is incessantly self-serious and therefore always on the brink of offense.

Amerika’s iPhone/Twitter Zombies

Several of my recent posts have been about the NFL kneeling protesters of the national anthem and the American flag, militarism and warmongering.

But there are other issues to discuss these days.

For example, last week I mentioned the young guy absorbed in his iPhone leaving my building as I was returning with groceries, and his not leaving the door open for me like most people do in that situation. Well, a few days ago I was at the laundromat, and this young lady maybe a student came in and was putting stuff into two washers. And I could tell out of the corner of my eye that she was constantly distracted by whatever thing she was absorbed in on her stupid little electronic gadget iPhone or whatever. It took her at least 20 minutes until she actually started the wash. And I’ve seen that exact same situation before at a different laundromat and a different person. Don’t these young people understand time management? Do they have a lot of free time to waste on those stupid little gadgets, or are they constantly late for work or a class?

And I’ve seen this time wasting on a lot of various people’s twitters in recent years, too. Like professional “working” people, with one twit after another, “1 minutes ago,” “5 seconds ago,” etc., etc. Like all they ever do is post something on twitter, some stupid meaningless thing as well. And so that got me thinking. If I were an employer and hiring new employees, I would definitely look at the applicants’ twitter or facebook, if they have them. If it looks to me that they spend all their time on those things, like during the day, then there’s a very good chance I wouldn’t hire them. That indicates to me that they are concentrating on their twitter crap and not on their work or studies. I mean, it’s like ALL DAY! with some of these people I’ve seen on twitter.

And additionally, I hear how some people are addicted not only to their little stupid gadgets, but to their social media. They have to look at their facebook or twitter or email or texts every two seconds, and they can’t put down their little gadgets. I see these people walking along the street out there, they are literally zombies, they can’t let go of their baby rattle, which is essentially what it is. (Are you one of those zombies?)

If I had little kids now, I would NOT let them have an iPhone, iPad or even a cell phone. Maybe when they’re 16 and have a part-time job, then they can have cell phone.

Give them books instead. Make them READ! And instead of sitting there staring like zombies into screens, they can go outside and play ball, have fun in the snow, or climb trees and build tree forts. You know, like kids used to do (before they turned into zombies).

But this electronic media stuff, it’s not for kids, in my view. They shouldn’t be staring into screens like that, it’s not healthy.

According to Psychology Today,

When very small children get hooked on tablets and smartphones, says Dr. Aric Sigman, an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of Britain’s Royal Society of Medicine, they can unintentionally cause permanent damage to their still-developing brains. Too much screen time too soon, he says, “is the very thing impeding the development of the abilities that parents are so eager to foster through the tablets. The ability to focus, to concentrate, to lend attention, to sense other people’s attitudes and communicate with them, to build a large vocabulary—all those abilities are harmed.”

Much of the issue lies with the fact that what makes tablets and iPhones so great—dozens of stimuli at your fingertips, and the ability to process multiple actions simultaneously—is exactly what young brains do not need.

Tablets are the ultimate shortcut tools: Unlike a mother reading a story to a child, for example, a smartphone-told story spoon-feeds images, words, and pictures all at once to a young reader. Rather than having to take the time to process a mother’s voice into words, visualize complete pictures and exert a mental effort to follow a story line, kids who follow stories on their smartphones get lazy. The device does the thinking for them, and as a result, their own cognitive muscles remain weak.

However, we also have generations of people now since the 1950s who have been spending hours and hours every day staring into their television screens, and that’s not healthy either. I know I was addicted to TV when I was growing up, 1960s and ’70s, right up to college. I finally stopped watching TV altogether by the mid-’90s, thank god.

Psychology Today also notes:

Trouble making friends

The brain’s frontal lobe is the area responsible for decoding and comprehending social interactions. It is in this corner of the mind that we empathize with others, take in nonverbal cues while talking to friends and colleagues, and learn how to read the hundreds of unspoken signs—facial expression, tone of voice, and more—that add color and depth to real-world relationships.

So how and when does the brain’s frontal lobe develop? Not surprisingly, the most crucial stage is in early childhood, during that same critical period, and it’s dependent on authentic human interactions. So if your young child is spending all of his time in front of an iPad instead of chatting and playing with teachers and other children, his empathetic abilities—the near-instinctive way you and I can read situations and get a feel for other people—will be dulled, possibly for good.

So maybe this phone-addiction and electronic gadget-addiction with the young people can explain why so many of them are such unthinking “social justice” snowflake robots, and why their interactions with others have become so dysfunctional for many of them. That and probably all the chemicals from all those prescription drugs, the street drugs like marijuana, vaccines and processed foods disrupting their brains’ neurotransmitters, affecting their moods, their critical thinking skills, and their social interactions.

Russia Did It? (Nope, the U.S. Government, as Usual)

Sharyl Attkisson says it looks like Obama did spy on Trump, just as he apparently did to her.

William Binney and Ray McGovern discuss the more holes in the Russia-gate narrative.

Kristina Wong discusses former FBI director James Comey’s attempts to discredit Trump’s later-proven accusation that Obama Admin. wiretapped Trump Tower.

Mac Slavo on “Russian collusion”: Hillary Clinton invited Vladimir Putin to “pay for play” event.

Aaron Kesel discusses the U.S. government’s announcement that hackers targeted 21 states’ elections systems, but neglected to mention the DHS hackers who did the same thing.

Glenn Greenwald on yet another Russia story, on Russia hacking U.S. elections, falling apart.

Jacob Hornberger says that North Korea would be stupid to trust the U.S. government.

William Jasper on the pattern of Democrat officials promoting Antifa mayhem.

Caitlin Johnstone with an article on spies, Hollywood and neocons teaming up to create a new war propaganda firm.

James Bovard on Juggalos’ beef with FBI, no laughing matter.

Justin Raimondo asks, Why did Robert Mueller obstruct Congress’s 9/11 probe?

Paul Sperry with an article on the Saudi government allegedly funding a “dry run” for 9/11.

Wendy McElroy discusses the exit strategy of empire.

Carey Wedler with 7 truly terrible things the CIA has done in 70 years.

JP Sottile says that Trump’s generals fatten the Pentacon.

And Max Blumenthal writes about CONgress’s gargantuan new military spending bill giving big bucks to Israel and Ukraine.

Such Anger at “Disrespect for the Flag” Is Because of the “We Are At War!” Mentality

I was listening to Hugh Hewitt this morning, who was discussing the NFL-national anthem controversy. And Hewitt stated why the national anthem and “respect for the flag” is so important now, because “we’re at war.” That’s the warmongers and neocons’ mantra in their defending the Bush-initiated wars and police state.

I then realized, oh THAT’s why so many people are so offended by NFL players kneeling and protesting the national anthem and the flag.

It’s the “We Are At War!” mentality as Glenn Greenwald described in this article.

Even though, the truth is that we are NOT at war. The real “war” is the U.S. government’s war on freedom, and on our security. We are less safe now than we were before 9/11, not because of Muslim fanatics, but because of our government’s aggressions overseas.

Since 9/11, the bureaucrats of the regime in Washington greatly escalated their aggressions against the primitives and barbarians of the Middle East, aggressions that the bureaucrats have been inflicting for decades (.pdf) and decades. Those aggressions have been provocations.

Most people don’t understand such truth, because of their short attention spans and their gullibility in obediently believing everything bureaucrats tell them. For example the fake explanations for 9/11 (such as, “They hate us for our freedom and values,” etc, etc.), even though 9/11 happened as a response to our government and military’s invasions, occupations and bombings over there since well before 9/11. And when one points these things out, the typical sheeple response is “You’re blaming America for 9/11!” when no, America had nothing to do with it.

Try to stop confusing the country of America with the government in Washington, please. The major contributing factors for 9/11 were our damn government in Washington, its provocations overseas, and this worship of militarism, Big Government expansionism and central planning.

So, this false patriotism and fear-mongering has been going on especially since 9/11. The propaganda-spreaders of the mainstream media helped to promote the first Bush war in Iraq in 1990-91 and its subsequent sanctions throughout the 1990s which led up to 9/11, and the MSM propagandists have been mainly repeating word for word what the bureaucrats have been telling us since 9/11.

So a very good explanation for why such intense anger toward NFL “flag-disrespecting” kneelers is that “We Are At War!” mentality — for 16 years since 9/11 the American people have been brainwashed with propaganda to “rally around the troops” and “support the President” or support the war. Supposedly it’s a war between Islamic extremists and the West, when in actual truth it has been a war started by the regime in Washington long ago to poke at the hornets’ nests of the Middle East and provoke people in more primitive and barbaric cultures, “in search of monsters to destroy,” especially since the end of the Cold War, to justify the bureaucrats’ continuously increasing “defense” bureaucracies and tax-funded budgets, and satisfy the militarists’ hugely inflated egos and thirst for blood and resources in foreign lands.

Some Further Elaboration on Nationalism and Militarism

I have some comments to follow up on my previous post regarding the authoritarian nationalists who don’t like NFL players “disrespecting the flag.”

On my point that U.S. military personnel did not “fight or die for the flag,” or fought or died “to protect our freedom.” No, they did not, even though most people are indoctrinated to believe that they did. But when people who actually believe in the truth, and that it is important to tell the truth, explain how it is not the case that U.S. soldiers did not fight or die to protect our freedom, the believers out there immediately react with anger. They don’t want their long-held beliefs questioned or challenged. I get that. But it still doesn’t make a myth become the truth.

For example, how did 58,000 American soldiers “die for our freedom” in Vietnam during the 1960s and ’70s? The very reason they were sent there was based on a lie, the Gulf of Tonkin so-called incident. They were sent there “to prevent the spread of communism,” even though when the war came to an end Vietnam was a North-and-South united communist Vietnam, and still is. It was all for a lie. And Vietnam did not attack or threaten the United States. It was not a defensive war which supposedly is the only moral justification to go to war, it was a war of aggression by the U.S. government. Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara and all the military bureaucrats at the time were war criminals. And, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger et al. the same.

But, for some reason, most of the population want to believe that their “leaders” are telling them the truth. “They wouldn’t send our brothers, our sons, our fathers off to war to die for lies (or for the profits of the “defense” industry, or the politicians’ egos).” So because of gullibility, the American people continued to support the war, except for a minority who didn’t. This is why Richard Nixon was reelected in a landslide.

And so the people didn’t learn from history. They didn’t learn from 58,000 U.S. soldiers dead for no good reason. And then the corrupt globalist warmonger President George H.W. Bush started his new war of aggression against Iraq in 1991, Iraq another country that didn’t attack or threaten us. That was to “protect the people of Kuwait from the invading Iraqis,” even though when I last checked Kuwait was not a U.S. state, a U.S. territory, and the U.S. Constitution doesn’t authorize a U.S. military to defend other nations. It was also in the name of protecting the oil, or restore stability in the Middle East, or blah blah blah. In that next war of 1991 started by George H.W. Bush, the U.S. military bombed and destroyed Iraqi civilian water and sewage treatment centers and the U.S. government imposed sanctions to prevent the Iraqis from rebuilding, which caused the use of untreated water which led to skyrocketing rates of infant mortality, cholera and other diseases and the deaths of hundreds of thousands by the mid-’90s. The bombings and sanctions on Iraq continued throughout the 1990s by President Bill Clinton, which caused hundreds of thousands more deaths. There probably wouldn’t have been a 9/11 had Bush not started that war. During the 1990s, people warned that those aggressions by the U.S. government in the Middle East could lead to terrorism or violence within our shores.

So then after 9/11, Bush’s son George W. Bush started a whole new unnecessary war of aggression against Iraq as well as a war on Afghanistan, along with other undeclared wars with military and CIA drones bombing and killing mostly innocent civilians in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and other places. So now we have thousands more U.S. soldiers returning in body bags for no good reason, except to get the younger Bush reelected and again give taxpayer dollars to the already-enriched parasites of the “defense” industry. So yes, most of the young Americans who have died in these wars of choice have not died “for the flag” or “to protect our freedom.” It is just the opposite, in fact, as they participated in a scheme in which bureaucrats have used the fear-mongering to escalate the police state, with one unconstitutional invasion after another. So our freedom is not protected, it has been made more vulnerable by these government actions, by starting wars against foreigners, bombing them and murdering their people, provoking them to retaliate. The U.S. government and military have been poking hornets’ nests in the Middle East and elsewhere.

So, in my previous post, I made a sarcastic remark toward the end, “Oh, we’re so morally superior than the rest of the world. Don’t ‘disrespect the flag!'” Well, the U.S. may be economically superior (and even that’s in doubt, when such prosperity is with phony monopoly money and bankster-controlled monetary central planning and a so-called dollar that is not backed by anything of actual value so it is really worthless, thus a very fragile “economic superiority”). And the U.S. may be technologically superior, but I don’t know about morally superior. We have a government that most Americans accept as “legitimate,” that steals the people’s earnings, imposes a police state on them, and starts wars of aggression against other countries and murders millions of foreigners.

On the Hysterical Authoritarians Who Cry, “Don’t Disrespect the Flag!”

With this controversy of NFL players kneeling in protest rather than standing for the national anthem, whose title and lyrics refer to the American flag, there are a lot of authoritarians out there such as Donald Trump saying things such as that the kneeling protesters are a “son of a b**ch” and that they should “get off the field right now,” and, “He’s fired. Fired!” for “disrespecting the flag.”

Sadly, there are a lot of nationalists out there who went through many growing up years of indoctrination in their authoritarian families and in their 12 to 16 years of government schooling or government-controlled “private” schooling, to worship that flag and pledge allegiance to it and to the government in Washington.

A lot of people erroneously repeat the dogma that “our soldiers died for that flag” or “for our freedom.” The truth is, even if in their own minds they went off to wars to protect “our freedom,” U.S. troops who were sent to their deaths were sent to their deaths for no good reason, not to protect our freedom or to protect a flag, but on behalf of politicians’ egos and the war industry’s profits. And that’s it. That’s the truth.

But many people are brainwashed to believe otherwise. In my view, the authoritarian nationalist flag-worshipers are brainwashed in the same way that the college snowflakes are brainwashed with their climate change-LGBT-“everyone’s a racist” dogmas.

Another issue with the flag worshipers is their insistence that an image must be perceived in a certain way by others, in the same way that they perceive it. Nope. The perception of any image or symbol is subjective. I might see a painting as beautiful or enlightening or cheerful, but you might see the same painting as dull, ugly, or offensive. The same thing applies to a flag’s image or any image one might see visually.

To some people, the flag represents America, goodness, God and freedom. But to other people the flag might represent unjust wars, corrupt Washington government, and tyranny. And to other people, such as perhaps Colin Kaepernick, the flag might represent racism in America and white police shooting at black victims. Perception of the image of the American flag can’t be dictated, because such perception is subjective.

But I’ve been listening to these authoritarian sheeple talk radio personalities for many years now, like Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt and Michael Medved, and Howie Carr, Mark Levin and Michael Savage. Gone are the days of intelligent discussion and back-and-forth debate on talk radio. It’s mostly one-sided. (Maybe it’s because many more people are on prescription drugs or consume processed foods than ever before, I don’t know.)

Some of the modern talk radio personalities are just plain ignorant. There is a lot of cognitive dissonance and intellectual dishonesty there. Some of them such as Prager refer to “The Left” as not thinking about the issues of the day; rather, they “emote.” Everything is emotional with the Left.

Yet, there is a lot of emotionalism with the nationalists and conservatives as well. For instance, if someone such as Colin Kaepernick won’t stand for the national anthem or won’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag or more accurately the Pledge of Obedience to the government, it’s very upsetting to these nationalists and conservatives. You shouldn’t “disrespect the flag.” The flag is a member of their family. It’s like insulting your father. So they get emotional, and, at times, hysterical.

Many of these authoritarians melt like snowflakes if they hear about someone burning a flag, or if they hear about Bradley Manning or Edward Snowden releasing evidence of criminality by government bureaucrats, diplomats or U.S. military. So, these nationalist authoritarians are just as emotionally tormented by someone burning or “disrespecting” an American flag as the college snowflakes feel tormented by their own perceived “microaggressions.” The nationalists view Bradley Manning as a “traitor,” because in his revealing crimes of the government and military he is not being sufficiently subservient to the national government. That’s treason to authoritarians.

The talk radio authoritarian nationalists also view those on the Left or the college snowflakes as “narcissistic.” Yet, the authoritarians are extremely narcissistic in their adherence to this religion of “American Exceptionalism.” The U.S. (including the government in Washington) is “exceptional,” a “City upon a Hill,” “divinely inspired,” as I hear constantly from most of the Salem Radio talk show personalities such as Michael Medved. In fact, Medved’s latest book is about the “American Miracle.”

Well, I don’t think the IRS is a “miracle,” but there is the IRS racket in America. Quite un-American, if you ask me. And the un-American welfare state which includes Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — those things are NOT a “miracle.” Seizing private wealth from some people and giving it to others is not a “miracle” or anything to be proud of. It is something to be ashamed of! And sending police S.W.A.T. teams breaking into innocent peoples’ homes to find prohibited plants — NOT a “miracle.” Nope.

I know, Medved is referring to the Founding of America, which is also not a “miracle,” in my view. The Framers put together a union of states, the 13 colonies, which is fine if you want to do that. But it should’ve been a voluntary, informal, legally unbinding union. They shouldn’t have put together a centralized government with actual powers of compulsion over the people. Big mistake, and definitely not a miracle. See Laurence Vance here and here on the Anti-Federalists who were skeptical of such centralized empowerment. See Carl Watner’s informative articles on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and on voluntaryism and secessionism. And read Hans-Hermann Hoppe on the impossibility of limited government, and see Hoppe’s video lecture on the dangers of centralization. And of course, Gary North on the most successful fraud in American history.

But there are millions of people, generations and generations who really believe in the myth and mysticism of “American Exceptionalism.”

Let’s dump the Golden Rule. Who needs it?

Dennis Prager on the radio constantly talks about morality and evil. But he and those others never seem to discuss how evil the bureaucrats in Washington have been in their criminality and corruption.

Oh, the whitewashing and rationalizing of the U.S. government and military’s bombings and murders of innocent babies, children, women and men in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Dresden, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. “The U.S. military can do no wrong” (despite its war crimes and millions of deaths of innocents for a century), I hear from the chickenhawk militarists on talk radio. How come Dennis Prager and other moralists never criticize the U.S. government CIA drones murdering innocents in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, etc. (by Obama and now Trump)?

Hmm, American Exceptionalism. Oh, we’re so morally superior than the rest of the world. Don’t “disrespect” the flag!

As I observed in a previous blog, when Gary Johnson pointed out a moral equivalence between Syrian civilians killed by Assad (or ISIS) and civilians killed by U.S. forces (such as in their bombing of a civilian hospital), Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt were outraged. I thought they were going to call on the military to get Johnson and throw him in Gitmo, for crying out loud.

So it isn’t just those on the Left who react with irrational emotionalism and hysteria when their myths and worshiped gods are shattered or attacked. Chant the Pledge of Obedience and don’t “disrespect the flag”!

Nationalism — the authoritarian ideology where moral relativism is the ruling philosophy.

NFL Players Protesting the National Anthem

What is this NFL players kneeling instead of standing for the national anthem? Does anyone know? It’s just their way of protesting?

Unfortunately, those protesting players are protesting for the wrong reasons. For instance, Colin Kaepernick is protesting what a “racist country” the U.S. is. Well, there are racists in America, but it is not a “racist country.” Who the hell voted to elect Barack Obama in 2008? (White people.) And who the hell voted to reelect Barack Obama in 2012? (White people. Racist white people?)

And why is Donald Trump criticizing the NFL protesters? Is he feeling triggered? He’s been traumatized by people who are critical of some of the negative aspects of America, such as racism, and so on. You know, this political correctness stuff works both ways. With the authoritarian nationalists like Donald Trump it is politically incorrect to refuse to stand for some song, or to refuse to recite the Pledge of Obedience. So he’s the one here with the PC intolerance, in my view.

And the players are protesting the U.S. for the wrong reasons. Why don’t they say anything about U.S. military and CIA bombing and murdering innocent civilians overseas? And the drug war, and the TSA molesting children, and the police state, and so on.

That said, the way to resolve these situations with the NFL is by way of contract. The NFL should clearly state in the players’ contracts that if the league wants them to stand for the national anthem, then put it in the contract. If they don’t stand, the players will be fined $50,000 or whatever. It’s that simple. Of course, as we’ve seen in the news this week, some of the league owners stand with the protesters arm in arm.

But as far as freedom of speech is concerned, you don’t have a right to express your political views on your employer’s property. The employer is the one with that right. This property right can be compared to a publisher of a newspaper who has the right to refuse to publish something from a reporter, a columnist or whatever if the publisher doesn’t want that in his newspaper. It’s privately owned property. The league owners can fire those players if they want to. (Most of those kinds of contracts already have clauses regarding acceptable behavior, right?)

And if the game attendees are so offended (like the poor little college snowflakes) by players kneeling in protest, then just don’t go to these games. That’s a matter of consumer choice.

I’ve always hated football anyway, and couldn’t care less about this. It’s a bunch of grown men running into each other and bashing their heads together and getting concussions and then suing the NFL, even though they’re grown men and should take responsibility for their own decisions and actions. They would have to know that if they’re going to bash their heads together they will probably get concussions.

Libertarianism Opposes Government Controls Over Education

My previous post on the main aspects of libertarianism (self-ownership, non-aggression, voluntary exchange) can and should be elaborated.

Another way of putting it as far as why libertarianism is the only philosophy that promotes freedom is that it includes the idea of “Live and Let Live.” I really wish that liberals or progressives and conservatives had more of an understanding of this.

For example, the statists want government to control the kids’ education. Leftist statists generally love federalization, i.e. centralized control over the kids’ education that we have had in the U.S. especially since 1980 when the federal Department of Education was imposed.

Conservative statists generally oppose that centralization, but still favor state and local governments having control.

The main difference between the two sides is their social agendas each wants the power of the government to force on the kids (on their neighbors’ kids). They don’t have a sense of “Live and Let Live,” and they come up with all these excuses as to why they oppose full privatization and that government should be in control.

The conservatives mainly want to instill a sense of “patriotism,” which to them includes saying the Pledge of Allegiance to a flag and singing the national anthem. They also want the government schools to teach “Judeo-Christian values” and the Bible, even though that’s unconstitutional. Oh, how the conservatives on talk radio get angry when someone like Colin Kaepernick (or kids in school) doesn’t want to stand for the national anthem, a song that glorifies war and killing, or doesn’t want to recite a ritualistic pledge of obedience to the government. For the conservatives, schooling is not about learning as much as it is about “respect for authority” (especially government, police and military).

For those reasons, the conservatives generally do not want to let go of local government control over the kids’ education. They don’t like the idea of eliminating local school committees and privatizing the schools. They don’t approve of repealing truancy laws, either.

The libertarians, however, love the idea of home schooling and privatizing schools. And that everything in education is voluntary. There would no longer be those arguments over dress codes, “zero tolerance,” reciting or not reciting the Pledge, and so on. The market would resolve those conflicts. Oh, how the conservatives hate “the market”!

But the liberals and progressives on the other side of the social agenda are just as bad, or worse. They are concerned with race, obsessed with racism to the point of their being the racists of today. They are concerned with “equality,” with forcing a certain number of female students in STEM classes whether the female students are interested or not. And the liberal and progressive activists are concerned with pushing their views of sexuality onto kids, including younger kids who are too young to be concerned with the “LGBT” agenda. Many activists are deeply disturbed, in my view, and they feel the transgender agenda is very important. Certainly much more important than the kids learning math and reading comprehension.

But since the activists know that most of the community reject their agenda if the education field were solely voluntary and privatized, that is why the activists insist on the extra forceful and compulsory nature of federalized involvement.

But just regarding the entire elimination of the federal Department of Education, the conservatives are so addicted to centralized power and control even they don’t like that idea. Look at the current education secretary, Betsy DeVos. Is she moving in any way to restore that control back to the states, at the very least? Nope.

And some people respond, “But if we privatize education then no one would have an adequate education, we’ll just have a bunch of dumb kids growing up to be dumb adults.”

Well, what do you think we have now? Look at all the young people in their teens, 20s and 30s who show so much historical ignorance. They are so dumb and brainwashed now that they believe that actual physical violence is justified against people whose ideas they don’t like, and that such opposed opinions are the things that should be banned by law. Talk about Orwellian.

And as I mentioned here, many of the young are on harmful prescription drugs as well as consume foods with other harmful chemical-laden substances that affect their thinking (well, not “thinking” but their brain activity, if there is any).

Just look how the educational ranking of the U.S. has sunk in all categories from reading to math from #1 to #35 or worse. Thanks to government education, government schools and government controls. Especially since the federal Department of Education began in 1980.

Look at all the iPhone-addicted zombies with their text-obsessions. In fact, I was returning to my building with groceries and this young guy was just leaving, totally involved in whatever he was staring at in his phone. Don’t leave the door open for me, pal. That’s okay. I’m only in my mid-50s. I’m sure if I was in my 70s it would’ve been the same thing. I hope he slips on a banana peel. (Just kidding. I’m a grump right now.)

So the liberals and progressives as well as the conservatives love authority, government authority, intruding itself into the kids education, which is really indoctrination not education.

And what is the libertarian aspect of this? Well, libertarians oppose the police state, which is really what all this comes down to. If parents don’t comply with the educrats’ diktats forced down on the kids, the government police will be called and the non-compliant will be taken off to the hoosegow and the kids will be seized by CPS. Or if the kids don’t follow “zero tolerance” rules, or if they express something interpreted as “racist” (or are merely accused of it), the kids are now arrested. So, the government-lovers in education are the police statists.

The problem is that early Americans abandoned the libertarian “Live and Let Live” philosophy of freedom that was a part of the country’s founding. The one institution that does not respect the lives and freedom of others is government, federal, state and local. But the people took it upon themselves to inflict government and its police powers into the education system, sadly.

Libertarianism Gets the Hatchet Job from the Left, the Right, and from Within

Alleged “libertarian” Stefan Molyneux tweeted “Assist Mexico by sending 11,000,000+ relief workers to help right now!” in response to Donald Trump’s tweet supporting the people of earthquake-ravaged Mexico. I guess the Molyneux tweet implies that he supports the current federal government central planning controls over immigration.

And then I saw another recent tweet of Molyneux’s: “To stop illegal immigration @realDonaldTrump needs to #BuildTheWall – no amnesty! #AmnestyDonald?”

While I hadn’t been that much familiar with Molyneux, I had thought he was a libertarian, and that he promoted “freedom.” His Wikipedia entry notes that he supports the non-aggression principle, a “stateless society,” and free markets.

Apparently not, if he wants central planners in Washington to build a government wall on the border, and believes that human beings need to get a bureaucrat’s permission to travel and find a better life for themselves and their families. I can’t believe the simple-mindedness in support of a government wall, like that will stop the many more immigrants who overstay their visas. (But it will be effective in keeping the people in, for sure.)

And the cluelessness of “libertarians” who support government controls over the movements of millions of people, which is impossible. What these so-called libertarians are really supporting is the police state, as Jacob Hornberger pointed out. These so-called libertarians support the government police stopping innocent people who are not suspects and being questioned by gubmint “authorities,” detained and asked for “your papers,” and possibly arrested.

These police-state libertarians also support anti-market economic controls over businesses and employers who, according to actual libertarian theory, otherwise have a right to employ who they believe to be the best for the job, which is the free market. Businesspeople and workers requiring a bureaucrat’s approval is not the free market, that’s “socialism”!

Sadly, Molyneux seems to have this collectivist mentality in which the population as a whole has a right to exclude foreign newcomers regardless of what private, independent individuals and groups want in their following the principle of private property rights.

And Robert Wenzel has a post on how the ignoramuses at the Washington Post smear libertarianism from the Left, some of whom have been propagandized to believe that there is some sort of “pipeline” between libertarianism and the so-called “alt-right.”

Wenzel is correct in stating that libertarianism doesn’t include neo-Nazis, who believe in central planning, centralized government controls just as much as the anti-liberty leftists. The difference between the leftists and the white supremacists is that their social agendas don’t seem to coincide.

As Wenzel notes, libertarianism is about freedom. Why are the smear merchants so opposed to that?

Libertarianism is the advocacy of self-ownership. Each individual is a self-owner. And libertarianism is about the non-aggression principle. Don’t initiate aggression against others. Don’t use physical aggression against others, don’t violate the persons or property of others. This is not complicated. And so don’t steal and don’t defraud, etc.

And naturally libertarianism also includes opposition to the State. We libertarians oppose the State no matter who is in charge, Trump, Obama, Reagan, whichever schmuck sock-puppet the people have propped up. That is because the State is a monopoly, an artificial institution whose existence is based on aggression, based on compulsion and coercion, not based on voluntary contracts. So many brainwashed people including many libertarians continue to rationalize the State as a “necessary evil,” “beneficial,” “important for security.”

You need to be deprogrammed, folks.

Here is what Murray Rothbard wrote about the State, in The Anatomy of the State:

The State, in the words of Oppenheimer, is the “organization of the political means”; it is the systematization of the predatory process over a given territory. For crime, at best, is sporadic and uncertain; the parasitism is ephemeral, and the coercive, parasitic lifeline may be cut off at any time by the resistance of the victims. The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively “peaceful” the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society. Since production must always precede predation, the free market is anterior to the State. The State has never been created by a “social contract”; it has always been born in conquest and exploitation. The classic paradigm was a conquering tribe pausing in its time-honored method of looting and murdering a conquered tribe, to realize that the time-span of plunder would be longer and more secure, and the situation more pleasant, if the conquered tribe were allowed to live and produce, with the conquerors settling among them as rulers exacting a steady annual tribute.

And as I wrote in this article on libertarianism:

consumers choose voluntarily to patronize various businesses, and they voluntarily establish mutually beneficial contracts. However, if one party uses some kind of coercion or threats against the other, we would call that something of a criminal nature.

Libertarians believe in voluntary associations, relationships and contracts. If something is involuntary or coerced, then it is not only illegitimate but it is criminal. Libertarians believe in non-aggression. Obviously it would take the initiation of aggression to force someone to obey the bureaucrats’ authority.

Did you voluntarily consent to some various people or agency having some kind of artificial authority over your life? Did you actually ponder the legitimacy of some politicians making up new laws or rules that you must obey or prohibitions that you must avoid, whether you agree with it or not?

Now, if you support the income tax, which is involuntary confiscation of private wealth and income, then you are not a libertarian. Not only is that scheme in the absence of a voluntary contract but in it the government demands from you your private personal information that is none of the bureaucrats’ business, just as it’s none of your neighbors’ business.

The government carries out those demands by way of threats, coercion, and violence. You are no longer a self-owner, but you and your labor are the property of the government.

There are “libertarians” who support these government confiscations of private property. These people are statists, socialists, fascists, communists, anything BUT libertarians!

The same thing with ObamaCare or any other health care scheme imposed by bureaucrats. The government demands from you, your doctor or hospital your private medical information. There are “libertarians” who support these things. They don’t believe in private property and private property rights, privacy, or voluntary contracts.

And some people seem to have a mistaken view of libertarianism when it comes to social matters. No, taking drugs, smoking marijuana, etc. is not “libertarian.” Promoting the freedom of the individual to do those things, associated with self-ownership, is the libertarian view.

Racism, white supremacy, sexism, etc. are not “libertarian” views. There are no “libertarian” social views. The libertarian believes in freedom of thought and conscience. So in freedom you can have racist views, or non-racist views. You can believe in white supremacy if you want to, or not if you don’t want to. You can believe in black supremacy, male supremacy, female supremacy, American supremacy, whatever. Whatever stupid thing your little heart desires. However, you can’t act out your views if such acting out might violate the persons or property of others.

Libertarianism is about freedom. Freedom of speech, thought and conscience, freedom of belief, freedom of association, freedom of non-association (the freedom to not associate with others based on anything you want, even if you’re a racist ignoramus), freedom to live and to protect oneself from the aggression of others and possess the arms to do so, etc.

In relationship to the State (if there must be a State), libertarianism also generally supports the right to due process and presumption of innocence. If someone accuses you of something (of a crime, of being a racist, of “hate crime,” anything that’s “bad”), you have a right to require the accuser to present evidence to prove the accusations. As we saw with the “antifa” riots recently, some people literally pointed out people at random, called them “Nazi” and physically beat up on them. Not good. Those antifa should think twice about that anti-social, violent behavior, because some day someone will accuse them of something (like the gubmint accusing them of being a “terrorist” without evidence and imprisoning them indefinitely) and their not having the ability to require the accusers to present evidence will cause them much harm.

For more on libertarianism, read The Ethics of Liberty by Rothbard, Jacob Huebert’s book, Libertarianism Today, and I have a list of recommended books most of which are of a libertarian viewpoint.

What Is Going On with Today’s Youth?

In the U.S., depression and suicide rates among teens have been increasing steadily. Anxiety, depression and suicide rates on college campuses have been on the increase over the past 10 years, and the rates of mental health issues and suicides have increased by 10 times in U.K. universities.

What is causing all this dysfunction?

Some people blame social media and the pressures of starting school in the fall, and Smartphones.

Apparently, younger kids are exposed to more and more sophisticated material and graphics which influence their thoughts and behavior.

There is also the irrationality that society is imposing on today’s youths. Kids who are harmless and are merely acting like normal kids are misdiagnosed with ADHD (being “hyper-active” or having an “attention-deficit,” etc.) or autism, and are needlessly medicated.

Besides the misdiagnoses, as the Rutherford Institute’s John Whitehead points out, innocent behaviors by kids are criminalized as well. For example, if a kid cuts a sandwich into the shape of a gun, the zero tolerance zombies actually call the police on him.

Another phenomenon affecting the youths is the prevalence of psychiatric drugs (in adults, too).

A major study released last year showed that antidepressants can increase the risk of suicide. Some common antidepressants include Zoloft, Luvox, Celexa, Prozak, and Paxil. (Xanax has also been prescribed for depression, although it is actually an anti-anxiety drug. Like the aforementioned drugs, Xanax has been associated with disastrous side effects, as I wrote here.)

Among antidepressant possible side effects are the worsening of the user’s depression, or causing an increase in stress or anxiety. In some cases, antidepressants can actually cause someone to be depressed.

According to psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin, antidepressants have been shown to cause long-term depression and other side effects.

Dr. Breggin has published this series on the Michelle Carter case. That’s the teen who was recently convicted of “texting her boyfriend into committing suicide.” Dr. Breggin’s series is quite extensive on that whole case. According to Dr. Breggin, who gave expert testimony at that trial, Ms. Carter and her late boyfriend had been taking prescription antidepressants for years up to that terrible moment. Dr. Breggin considers them both “victims of psychiatry.”

Dr. Breggin has also written on the hazards of prescribing Ritalin to children diagnosed with ADHD, and has written on the misdiagnosing of children, noting how anti-ADHD drugs have been shown to stunt kids’ growth and cause brain shrinkage, among other problems. (Here is Dr. Breggin’s informative page on children and psychiatric drugs.)

Dr. Breggin has also noted how pharmaceutical companies’ marketing strategies have pointed them toward the U.S. armed forces, some of whose members are taking dangerous combinations of drugs, and in which the suicide rate of servicemen is at an all-time high. According to military psychologist Col. Bart Billings, the military psychiatrists “have no clue about what they’re doing.” (So reassuring, isn’t it?)

Incidentally, if someone wanted to stop taking antidepressants, to prevent dangerous withdrawal symptoms see Dr. Breggin’s book on psychiatric drug withdrawal, Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and Their Families.

Besides those kinds of drugs poisoning the kids and stunting their physical, emotional and intellectual growth, there are also vaccines (and too many of them), the harmful chemicals in processed foods and food dyes, and harmful street drugs.

By the time they’re at the end of their k-12 careers, it’s no wonder many of the youths are so troubled.

Besides all those factors, some further irrationality that could be troubling today’s youth includes the climate change/global warming cult with which the schools and activists like Al Gore have been indoctrinating and terrorizing the kids. “The coasts will flood with rising sea levels and there will be world-wide poverty,” the hysterical alarmists inaccurately warned.

Some of what the impressionable youngins have been indoctrinated with includes the idea of human-caused climate change as “settled science,” rejecting the scientific method and skepticism. That “settled science” really consists of an ideological mantra that must not be questioned, or else one is labeled a “denier.”

Do the climate change/global warming activists ever wonder what caused any of the several ice ages from several hundred million years ago to eventually warm up? Were there cars or industries back then? Were there any Al Gores polluting the air with their private jets on the way to the latest global warming conference? I think not.

But, the fanatics sure did terrorize and propagandize the kids in the schools, which is exactly what Gore’s movie, “Inconvenient Truth” did, in my view. And that climate propaganda is in addition to the post-9/11 hysteria imposed by Washington on the rest of the world.

And with the “transgender” agenda, the activists and bureaucrats of the schools are messing with the kids’ most private aspects of their lives, their sexuality, and confusing the kids.

Believe it or not, there are actually only two genders, male and female. Now that’s “settled science.” As Brendan O’Neill put it, while a male has a right to say he is a female, the rest of us also have a right to say the truth, that he is a male.

It is unfortunate that some people are gender-confused, but I think that probably reflects a confusion over their general overall self-identities.

In my view, a lot of young people’s understanding of themselves, relationships and intimacy has been abused by manipulative social activists. This has terrible negative effects like the drugs and other abusive treatments and misdiagnosing.

Doing further harm to children are the ignorant parents pushing their kids to change genders at young ages (like pre-school young), just because the child expresses an interest to be like the opposite gender. Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Dr. Paul McHugh has stated that most of those kids naturally outgrow such feelings over time.

And according to Dr. McHugh, some doctors give gender-confused kids “puberty-delaying hormones … (which) stunt the children’s growth and risk causing sterility.”

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 41% of transgender people have attempted suicide, compared to the national average of 4.6% of Americans in general.

With the activists’ destructive social agendas, the psychiatric industry’s drugs and the street drugs, the chemicals in processed foods, and the daily propaganda forced on the youths, no wonder they are “triggered” by the littlest things, need “safe spaces,” are flooding school counseling offices, and rates of depression and suicide are so high now.

(end of article)


Addendum: I sent this piece to one website as a formal article, and they replied that it was “confusing.” Is it really confusing? I don’t think so. And so I made some slight changes and sent it to a 2nd place, who also turned it down. If you think this piece is confusing or has problems with it, I’d appreciate some feedback, and thanks.

The Dangers of Facial Recognition Technology

Some big problems with “facial recognition technology” are that if there are corporate or government databases of people’s faces for computers to match a suspect or a prospective worker or bank account applicant, there are privacy concerns, as mentioned in this Computer World article, which also raises personal security concerns.

And there are the false positives. This article notes how the FBI doesn’t record the number of false positives that have occurred with its facial recognition program. But this article on the Intercept describes in detail the inevitable reality of false positives that will cause many people to be falsely accused, arrested, detained, tried and convicted for crimes they had nothing to do with. In fact, the Intercept article also details one story of a guy who was assaulted and badly injured by police and falsely jailed for a bank robbery but for which surveillance video from his employer had provided his alibi. And the same situation happened a second time to the same guy.

We already know that fingerprinting can produce false positives, as well as DNA databases, let alone facial recognition. According to this CBS News article about DNA false positives leading to people being falsely convicted of crimes they had nothing to do with, DNA testing has to be administered properly in the first place, and its analyses are subject to “interpretation.”

The Innocence Project covers many cases of victims of false accusation, false conviction and false imprisonment based on DNA and other sources of false evidence.

This Wired article shows how Apple’s FaceID will be used for mass spying, and this article on Activist Post shows how government police can unlock your phone that has Apple FaceID by pointing it at your face and then accessing all your private information.

I know that privacy is a concern with many people, but really the concern should be security. All these technologies that government bureaucrats have now are providing government agencies with the ability to not only violate your life and your privacy, but the ability to commit crimes against your person and property, your home or business much more than they have already been doing and get away with it even more than they are already getting away with it.

So there are very good reasons why there should never be government databases of anyone’s personal information or ID characteristics. Government attracts the worst of the worst to its employment, and they are the ones who should never be trusted with these kinds of things.

Carl Watner discusses the National ID program that communists (a.k.a. fascists, a.k.a. “Democrats” and “Republicans”) in Washington want to further enslave the people with, and many of his points are related to all this.

Watner points out:

My objection to government enumeration and data gathering is not to the collection and registration of information per se, but rather to the coercive nature of the institution that gathers it. If some private organization chooses to solicit information from me, I may or may not respond. However, I will suffer no criminal penalties if I refuse to cooperate. When the State demands we conform to its identification procedures or collects information about us and our affairs, there are usually fines, penalties, or imprisonment for those who do not cooperate.

There is a definite ethical question involved in justifying government data gathering. Is it morally proper to coerce those who refuse to participate in enumeration programs or provide information demanded by the government? Do the ends justify the means?

Many times throughout history, government collection of seemingly innocent data (such as tribal or ethnic or racial affiliation) has resulted in horrible and deplorable genocide. The uses (and the abuses which are ultimately inherent in government administration) of government information in identifying and locating the civilian victims of the Nazis during World War II, or of the blacks in South Africa, or of the Tutsis in Rwanda, would, by themselves, be reason enough to question and then demand the cessation of government enumeration. The numbering and internment in the United States of over 100,000 American citizens of Japanese descent during World War II should be sufficient to prove my point. But even if it could be proven that government data collection benefits society in other ways (thus using the ends to justify the means), I would still be opposed because government necessarily has to act coercively in the manner in which it collects such information. I believe this to be wrong from an ethical perspective, and believe it sets the stage for the sorts of human right abuses that we have experienced under every species of government, whether democratic or totalitarian. As Robert Nisbet once noted, “With all respect to differences among types of government, there is not, in strict theory, any difference between the powers available to the democratic and to the totalitarian State.”

More reasons to oppose ALL government databases.

However, when it comes to protecting our freedom, our security and our privacy, federal, state and local government bureaucrats and their enforcers have sworn an oath to support and protect the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution includes the Fourth Amendment that they all must obey, whether they like it or not.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized

“Persons” includes your face, your fingerprints, and your DNA, and “effects” includes your phones and other gadgets you happen to have (regardless of what the courts might ignorantly decide in these cases).

Hypocritical Bureaucratic Vultures

You’ve probably already heard this. The commie mayor of New York City, Bill De Blasio, hates private property. The Soviet-leader wannabe says,

Look, if I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed. And there would be very stringent requirements around income levels and rents. That’s a world I’d love to see, and I think what we have, in this city at least, are people who would love to have the New Deal back, on one level. They’d love to have a very, very powerful government, including a federal government, involved in directly addressing their day-to-day reality.

It is unfortunate that so many people now are brainwashed with such irrational idealism, and are so incredibly ignorant of past attempts to centrally plan society via outlawing private property. This same agenda is being promoted throughout America’s colleges and public schools, the entertainment industry and, sadly, the Press (who should know better!).

As economics and business professor Richard Ebeling pointed out,

The entire history of communism in the twentieth century was that of tyranny, terror and torture.

learned historians of the communist experience in the twentieth century had estimated that in the name of building the bright, beautiful socialist society of the future as many as 150 million to possibly 200 million unarmed, innocent men, women and children were shot, tortured, starved, or worked to death in labor camps as “enemies of the people.” …

Estimates suggest that as many as 64 to 68 million people may have died at the hands of the communist regime in these ways during the nearly 75 years of the Soviet Union. Others have suggested that as many as 80 million of such innocent people may have been killed, again, from starvation, torture, labor camp work or execution in China from 1949 when the communist regime came to power to 1976 when Mao Zedong died.

Read Death by Government: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900, by University of Hawaii professor emeritus R.J. Rummel. Here is his university page on that.

In 1991, when the communist Soviet Union was crashing and collapsing, Mises Institute scholar Bettina Bien Greaves wrote:

More than 70 years have passed since the Russian Revolution and 45 years since the end of World War n. Why then do the Russian people still lack adequate housing and many everyday items? Why does agricultural produce rot in the fields for lack of equipment to harvest and transport it? Why are factories and oil fields so poorly maintained that production declines? Because the raw materials, tools, machines, factories, and farms are not privately owned. Without the bids and offers of private owners, prices reflecting their relative market values cannot develop. And without market prices, it is impossible to coordinate production activities so that the goods and services consumers need will be available. That is why Communism fails.

In a competitive economy, where factors of production are privately owned, these problems are solved daily as owners calculate the monetary values of the various factors and then buy, sell, and trade them as seems desirable, As Mises wrote in 1920, “Every step that takes us away from private ownership of the means of production and from the use of money also takes us away from rational economics.”

Sadly, when the Soviet Union was collapsing, even though there were reforms De Blasio’s worshiped Soviet commies were clinging to their communist controls and using reforms to prop up the Communist Party, explained economist Yuri Maltsev, who lived through the Soviet Union and its collapse. (Read Maltsev’s book, Requiem for Marx, which includes essays by Ralph Raico, Murray Rothbard, Hans-Hermann Hoppe and David Gordon.)

So really, this obsession by the De Blasios of the world to take over private property and seize power and control over just about every aspect of daily life of the people, is an example of extreme envy and covetousness. It is an example that these control freaks do not believe in the principles of liberty, self-ownership and “Live and Let Live.”

But wait, it seems that this Bill De Blasio person with such a contempt for private property and liberty actually owns private property. Not only is he an owner, but a landlord (Ooooh!) according to the New York Post, which also points out that De Blasio has been “gaming the tax code” to avoid losses rather than giving his tenants a break on their rents. (In the end, communists are also “greedy capitalists,” so maybe on this anti-private property stuff De Blasio should shut up, no?)

The Ethics and Economics of “Price Gouging”

The notorious “price-gouging” issue has been in the news again, this time associated with hurricanes Harvey in Houston and Irma in Florida. For instance, ignoramus politicians like Florida attorney general Pam Bondi are threatening private businesses with legal action, public shaming, everything but the firing squad. If only politicians actually read a thing or two on economics, or thought things through beyond their usual short-sightedness. On the “price-gouging” issue, they don’t realize that they are causing shortages and hurting the people, not helping them.

Jacob Hornberger comments on “price-gouging”:

In a hurricane, things like bottled water or ice will naturally soar in price. That’s because supply of such items is suddenly scarce and demand suddenly high.

The extremely high price is a good thing, not a bad thing. Why? Because the enormously high price sends critically important signals to both consumers and entrepreneurs.

The signal to consumers is: Conserve! Be cautious on how you use this water. Don’t waste it. There is a very small supply of it.

The signal to entrepreneurs is: Bring bottled water into this area. It is badly needed. It is in extremely short supply.

Now, think about what happens under a government’s anti-gouging law. The limited supply of bottled water in Houston after the hurricane strikes isn’t changed. It remains the same, only now the seller is required to sell his product at the pre-crisis price, which is significantly lower than the price dictated by the law of supply and demand. That lower price falsely tells consumers: You don’t need to conserve because there is plenty of bottled water here in Houston. It also tells entrepreneurs: You don’t need to bring bottled water into Houston and you’re not going to make a big profit if you do.

The stores quickly sell out of the available bottled water, which is quickly consumed, perhaps even wasted. And it’s all because people think that the government can and should repeal the law of supply and demand during hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Robert Murphy at the Mises Institute expands on those points.

Don Boudreaux responds to an emailer who says it’s wrong to “force people to pay higher prices for supplies in disaster areas.”

And Prof. Boudreax also writes:

under such severe circumstances, too often the choice is not, say, a bottle of water for $25.00 or a bottle of water for $2.50.  The choice instead is a bottle of water for $25.00 or no bottle of water for $2.50.  No one wants to pay $25.00 for a bottle of water, but no person desperate for water will reject the option of buying a bottle of water for $25.00 if the alternative is to have no water to buy at the government-capped price of $2.50.  Harsh as they are, these alternatives – high prices for goods that are available, or low prices for goods that are not available – are typically the ones that confront people in disaster-ravaged areas.

And Laurence Vance comments on the private property rights aspect of the “price gouging” issue.

If I own a bottle of water it is my property. It belongs to me. No one has a claim on it. If I want to pour it out in down the drain, then that is my business, and not the concern of government. If I want to give it away, then that is my business, and not the concern of government. If I want to sell it for a high price to a willing buyer, then that is my business, and not the concern of government. If I want to keep it in my refrigerator until the end of time, then that is my business, and not the concern of government.

These things are true of every bottle of water I own. These things are true whether or not I own a business that regularly sells water. These things are true whether or not someone is dying of thirst. These things are true in the middle of a hurricane. These things are true even if you wish they weren’t.

And finally, Laurence Vance asks some questions:

At what level of price increase does it become price gouging? A 100 percent increase? A 50 percent increase? A 20 percent increase? What about a 10 percent increase? Why or why not? All goods or just “essential” goods? For what period of time? How intense does a storm have to be in order to trigger price gouging laws? For the government to try and calculate how much prices should be allowed to rise on certain goods before, during, and after a natural disaster is pure Soviet-style central planning. Price-gouging laws are contrary the free market, free enterprise, and freedom itself.