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Kiss me, I\'m a voter

Brian and I actually agree on a big political issue today: we're both LP voters. I don't expect Michael Badnarik to win the presidential race because of my vote, nor do I expect Micha Ghertner to win the race for Clerk of the Superior Court. What I do expect is that now my voter friends and acquaintances will listen to me more when we argue tonight. I agree that there are much more effective avenues for social change, but since it only took five minutes to give me some argument leverage, it was worth it. Read more »

Best Election Commentary, Period

I know it's a few months old, but the best article I've read during this entire election cycle--one that keeps becoming more relevant every day--is Brian Doherty's Beyond Conventional Thinking over at Reason.

Read it, print copies of it, and give them to everyone you know. Especially all those "Vote or Die" assholes. At the risk of posting the whole article in a long series of highlights:

An editor with some sense

From the Portsmouth Herald's editorial section, Price controls, overregulation caused flu vaccine shortage.

The flu vaccine shortage is an example of the inability of government to improve on the functioning of the open market. By pushing out other customers, government programs have forced prices down. Regulation has continued unabated, putting additional pressure on suppliers. So today, we have few choices for vaccines in general and only two choices for flu vaccines.

Sucks, don\'t it?

Quite a bit of fuss was made over Rush Limbaugh's addiction to prescription drugs when the story broke, and so doesn't need to be made now. But the lessons didn't stop then for this right-wing hard-on. He just lost an appeal challenging the seizure of his medical records. If only every statist jerk would have his favorite programs used against him like this. The rest of us might get to breathe easier. Read more »

Professional Gold-Digging Association

Mission: Accomplished

The Ansari X Prize is won. Congratulations to Scaled Composites. One small step for Burt Rutan, one giant leap for everyone else.

Pottery Barn Politics, Staying the Course

Bush 2004
"You Break It
You Buy It"

I stood outside the student center today with some liberal friends and signs bearing this slogan. It was conceived before last week's debate, but what better captures the essence of Bush's message?

H.R. 4077

While there is good news today coming from profit-seeking entrepeneurs, the U.S. House of Representatives and its neverending sinister quest sent us some bad news to balance it out yesterday. H.R. 4077 makes camcording films a felony under federal law. Read more »

Civilization, Phase 2

Good news for space enthusiasts: the first large-scale commercial spaceflight deal has been brokered. A new Virgin company, Virgin Galactic, has licensed the technology behind SpaceShipOne and plans to begin construction on its first plane next year. There is still the chance that, following standard procedure, the world's governments can kill or stifle a promising new development, but the weight of large entities like the Virgin group might help to prevent that. Read more »

First Hamdi, then us reports that "enemy combatant" and U.S. citizen Yaser Esam Hamdi will be deported to Saudi Arabia, where he also has citizenship, and be made to give up his U.S. citizenship. Can they do that? What's next?

Fractional Reserve Banking Considered

More than anarchy vs. minarchy and Austrian vs. neoclassical economics, the most common subject of debate that I observed at the Mises University program was the institution of fractional reserve banking in a free banking system. The simplest objection to it is the moral objection that it surely must constitute fraud if a bank promises to hold your money and then loans it out in your absence. Of course, if A, the customer, and B, the bank agree by contract to the practice, one could argue the bases are all covered. Read more »

Judge, Jury, and Prosecutor

A few months ago when the Supreme Court ruled that the prisoners held by the US military in Guantanamo Bay could challenge their detentions in US courts, civil libertarians received a small shot of optimism that the insanity caused by the War on Bad People might be dropping off. Of course, this hope was dashed by the announcement that the prisoners will only get to challenge their detentions in military tribunals. Well, civil libertarians, from what I gather in recent news about the tribunals we were right. Read more »

What it means to me

This will come as no surprise to many of our readers, but I would like to point it out anyway. Respect for property rights is one of the things that everyone here has in common, and knowing this I've been leaving my personal items (including laptop computer) out without keeping an eye on them. Yesterday I left two quarters on the table and they lasted the whole time even as I walked around.

I love this place.

Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth

One of the most important Austrian works available, and thankfully one of the shorter ones as well--so you, yes you, can read it quickly--is Ludwig von Mises's Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth. The short argument is that socialism makes rational economy impossible because when there is only one owner of production goods, there is no way to determine efficiency because there are no prices. Read more »

Mises University, pt. 2

Tuesday had several good lectures, but I will highlight one by Thomas DiLorenzo on competition from the Austrian perspective. The Austrian definition he gave of competition is "a dynamic, rivalrous, entrepreneurial process of discovery that facilitates plan coordination among market participants to their mutual advantage." This is a rather complex definition, but it should be emphasized that time is crucial to it, as with much of Austrian theory and as reflected in the real world. Read more »