What Aquaman Teaches about Government

For the first video of 2019, we’re reviewing the DC Comics blockbuster Aquaman. I loved this movie. Not only is it action packed with a great story line, but Amber Heard’s performance makes the film both sexy and a stunning success.

However, much like Black Panther, Aquaman presents the Kingdom of Atlantis as an impossibly advanced society. There is no way a kingdom which is ruled by a hereditary monarchy, where the monarch is chosen in ritual combat, would advance and prosper for thousands of years.

Aquaman is yet another reason to get people thinking about how prosperity and advancement comes from free interaction and free markets.

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The Case for Anarcho-Communism Debunked (w/ Nightshift10000)

Joined again by my elite level patron Nightshift10000, we review a video called “The Case for Anarchist Communism” from the channel Christopher Szabo. Anarcho-Communism is and ideological oxymoron. In such a society, if an individual decided to create a commodity and sell it for a profit, other members of the collective could either use force to stop him or not use force to stop him. If the former, the society is not an anarchy. If the latter, it is not a communist society.

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Original Video:

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Citations:

Avrich, P., & Miller, M. A. (2018, December 17). Peter Alekseyevich Kropotkin. Retrieved December 19, 2018, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Peter-Alekseyevich-Kropotkin

Von Mises, L. (1949). Human Action. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute.
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What Exactly is Hate Speech Anyways?

patreon sargon

Popular YouTuber Carl Benjamin (aka Sargon of Akkad) has been banned from Patreon.

By now, I’m assuming everyone has heard that Patreon has banned several prominent YouTubers, including Sargon of Akkad.  The reason?  Well, as author Raymond Wong, writing for Mashable, puts it, Sargon is “a scumbag human” (Wong, 2018, para. 2).  Interesting that Wong used this terminology for Sargon since he opened his article saying that the ban was against “alt-right and far right content creators” (para. 1).  Being as charitable as possible to those that want to characterize Sargon as far right, one could call Sargon a centrist.

At the end of the day, Patreon is a private corporation, and they are free to operate their service as they see fit.  However, it’s clear that this censorship is nothing more than Patreon taking a stand against particular individuals that they don’t like.  The only explanation Patreon gave for Sargon’s ban is that he violated their guidelines against “hate speech” (Gilbert, 2018, para. 11).

I’ll never cease to be baffled by people who try to argue for the censorship of commentators based on so-called hate speech.  No one ever seems to have a clear definition of what constitutes hate speech.  Some people say that it is speech that calls for violence against others.  However, under this definition, simply claiming that there are only two genders isn’t hate speech.  Right?

Well, it’s not calling for violence necessarily.  It’s speech that may incite violence against others even if violence is never explicitly called for.  But that would mean that Maxine Waters calling for Democrats to harass any and all conservatives that they meet is hate speech.  Right?

At the end of the day, hate speech always means nothing more than speech that disagrees with mainstream progressive speech, no matter how respectfully and peacefully stated.  People on the political left only believe in one fundamental right, and that is the right to agree with them.  Dissension cannot be allowed and must be silenced, even if it means interfering with the right of Sargon’s fans to voluntarily exchange their money for his videos and other content.

Isn’t it rather hateful for people like Raymond Wong to call Sargon a scumbag human?  It certainly can’t be any less hateful than using slurs that are deemed racial or homophobic by the left.  However, Mr. Wong thinks his statements about Sargon are perfectly acceptable.  He finishes his article by praising Patreon for their actions, saying that it is an important step in stopping people like Sargon from advancing their “phony bullshit” (Wong, 2018, para. 12).

Well Mr. Wong, I happen to think that your position is phony bullshit.  However, I will never advocate that you be forcibly silenced or that you be cut off from your primary source of income just for expressing opinions which I disagree with.  Rather, I think it is far simpler to explain why your ideas are so idiotic.  I find it telling that people on your side prefer censorship.

Using an ambiguous term like hate speech to justify censorship is yet another example of just how little confidence leftists have in the strength of their ideas.  Like all statists, they refuse to explain why they have the right to censor content that disagrees with them, but their opponents do not have the right to do the same.  This is not about hate, violence, or anything else.  It is about progressives using a mob mentality to consolidate their government power over every sector of life.

For those of you who may think that Patreon’s actions are evidence that state intervention is needed on the internet, think again.  That’s exactly what the progressives want you to conclude.  I’ve already written about that here, but what’s important to note is that a competitor to Patreon has since risen up in SubscribeStar.  I’ve created an account there and would appreciate your support if you’re able.

I’ll never advocate that private companies be prevented from banning users for stupid reasons.  However, I will continue to point out that their reasons are inconsistent and stupid.  The beauty of the free market is that competition will always ensure that a new platform rises up to accommodate demand.  It’s why the left wants to do away with the free market in favor of government.

And that is my 2 cents.  Take it for what it’s worth.

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Citations:

Gilbert, D. (2018, December 07). Crowdfunding site Patreon is purging far-right figures. Retrieved December 10, 2018, from https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/qvqeev/crowdfunding-site-patreon-is-purging-far-right-figures

Wong, R. (2018, December 08). Patreon bans alt-right content creators from earning money on its platform. Retrieved December 10, 2018, from https://mashable.com/article/patreon-bans-milo-yiannopoulos-alt-right-creators/#r5xeO8Kmyiqa

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Prager University’s Hypocrisy on Government

prager u.jpg

Prager University produces short videos arguing for conservative political positions.

Before I begin this article, let me quickly say that Prager University has put out some very good videos in the past, particularly regarding basic economics. That being said, on many occasions I’ve been downright disgusted with material that the platform has put out. Besides endorsing opportunist frauds like Candace Owens, Prager University routinely endorses using government force to achieve ends it sees as in the common interest of Americans (i.e. collectivism). However, like most statists, they never really explain why the government is justified in using force to achieve their desired ends but not the ends of their leftist opponents.

Earlier today, Prager University released a video that was hosted by General Chuck Wald. The video sought to explain why America spends so many tax dollars on the state of Israel and why it ought to spend more. The video is below for those interested, but to sum it up, Wald argues that America ought to provide funding to Israel because it is a peaceful, democratic ally in the Middle East. Funding Israel serves both Israeli and American national security interests.

I will not be arguing whether or not General Wald’s assertions in this video are true or false. Wald could very well be correct in his assertion that money given to Israel will help achieve ends that are beneficial to both Israel and the United States. However, even if his assertions are true, the pertinent question is, should Americans be required to give their hard-earned money to the government of Israel whether they like it or not?

If we were having a discussion about abortion, I have no doubt that Dennis Prager and his team would speak out aggressively against it. In fact, you don’t have to imagine. Lila Rose of Live Action has previously done a video for Prager University about Planned Parenthood, and in the course of her video, she emphasized the injustice of the fact that Americans are forced to fund Planned Parenthood whether they want to or not.

However, comparing Rose’s video to Wald’s puts Prager University in an interesting position. On one hand, they argue that American citizens should not be forced to give money to an organization like Planned Parenthood against their will. However, they turn around and argue that Americans should be forced to fund the military activities of Israel whether they want to or not.

Tell me Prager University. Why is the government justified in using force to make American citizens fund the state of Israel, but not the activities of Planned Parenthood?

My guess is that their answer would be that Planned Parenthood is a deceptive and immoral organization, responsible for the murder of millions of unborn children, while Israel is a free democracy whose furthered existence benefits all Americans. However, if we were having a discussion with a liberal, they would undoubtedly tell you just the opposite. The liberal would say that Israel is an oppressive, apartheid regime that cruelly abuses the Palestinian people, while Planned Parenthood is a just organization that provides healthcare to women and leads to lower crime rates in America.

There is no doubt that there are many people who agree very strongly with Prager University or with the liberal in my example above, but that’s the point. While many people disagree about what the government should do with its power, they all agree that the government should have the power to force its citizens to fund things against their will. This is why I have over and over reminded people that the same government that has the power to give you everything you want is a government that has the power to take everything that you have.

I’ll say again that my purpose in writing this article is not to argue against the state of Israel or to argue for Planned Parenthood. I’ve made my stance on abortion very clear in this video series, and I’ve on occasion touched on the Israel/Jewish Question. However, the problem that Prager University does not seem to realize is that when you argue that the government should have the power to force its citizens to fund endeavors they disagree with, what consistent argument are you going to give as to why it is unjustified in pointing a gun at you and forcing you to fund something you disagree with?

As much as I deplore anti-Semitism, I do not think anti-Semites should be forced to give their money to fund the activities of Israel. As much as I deplore many forms of Zionism, I do not think Zionists should be prevented from donating their own money to Jewish causes. Regardless of how strongly you may believe you are right in your assertions, whatever position you take, you must first justify why it is that you and people who agree with you are justified in using force against others, but those who disagree with you are not.

While I share the same values as many of my conservative friends, this is a question I believe all conservatives seriously need to consider. I believe once they do, they will see that Libertarianism is the only position that can be consistently lived out in society. All statists want to use force against others. They just don’t want others to use force against them.

I hope you can see the problem.

And that is my 2 cents. Take it for what it’s worth.

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Wouldn’t It be Great If Everyone Just Did Things My Way? a Short Defense of Libertarianism

woman-yelling-in-megaphone

It’s Tempting to Think We Have all the Answers to Every Problem

There’s a certain assumption that is lurking within all forms of statism.  It is the notion that society would be wonderful if everyone just did things the way a particular person thinks they should be done.  Pick your poison.  It doesn’t matter if we’re discussing Communism, Fascism, or Constitutional Republicanism.  They have different ideas of how society should be run, to be sure, but all of them are championed by vocal persons who believe that they and their particular group of supporters should be given the authority to dictate how others should behave.

Most of us have thoughts like this every single day without realizing it.  Perhaps it’s a liberal who hears a news story about yet another school shooting and says to herself, “This country would be so much of a better place if we just outlawed guns.”  Perhaps it’s a conservative who hears about a teenage gang that was arrested for property damage and says to himself, “Those kids wouldn’t be behaving that way if they’d just been forced to go to church on Sunday.”  While the thoughts we have are radically different, everyone has their own opinions about what kinds of behaviors or lack thereof would make society a better place.

However, while each of us may think society would be a better place if certain behaviors were outlawed, each of us also engages in behaviors that someone else thinks ought to be outlawed.  Are you religious.  There are people who think society would be better if religion was done away with.  Do you smoke tobacco?  There are people actively pushing for the banning of tobacco products.  Do you play video games?  At least 15 countries already put partial or complete bans on video games.

This exposes the hypocritical nature of all forms of statism.  Statists support the use of government intervention when they are the benefactors of such interventions, but they speak vehemently about freedom and the unjust nature of government actions when they are the targets of such interventions.  As I’ve said many times before, the same government that has the power to give you everything you want is a government that has the power to take everything that you have.  The question no statist ever wants to answer is why the government inherently has the authority to do the things they want it to do, but not the things they don’t want it to do.

The beauty of libertarianism is that even if lack of government intervention means that people will engage in undesirable behaviors, they’ll also be forced to face the consequences of those behaviors.  If you think people ought not engage in a certain behavior, presumably it’s because you think it will have negative consequences on them or on the people they associate with.  However, if that’s true, then when those negative consequences come to fruition, they won’t be able to depend on government handouts to compensate for their bad decisions, and the people they associate with will be free to dissociate from them.

This is a short article, but one that I don’t believe requires much more explanation.  Even if you think society would be better if you had the power to control other people’s behavior, it’s important to realize that the sword cuts both ways.  The moment government intervention is used to quell a perceived bad behavior, it opens the door to more government intervention towards a different behavior that you have no problem with, but that someone else opposes just as passionately.

I don’t pretend to have tackled every point of discussion when it comes to the issues of freedom and government in such a short article, but this is a point of discussion that I don’t believe receives enough attention.  If you support the initiation of force by government under the presumption that it will make society a better place, how do you justify why you and your supporters reserve the right to do this, but supporters of other forms of government do not?

And that is my 2 cents. Take it for what it’s worth.

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The Free Market and Politics: How Business and Government Collaborate

In part one of this new series, I explain the difference between a market entrepreneur and a political entrepreneur. This video is in part a response to Knowledge Hub’s video, “The Age When Capitalism Went Too Far,” but more broadly addresses the issue of regulatory capture and how the government interferes in free market operations.

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Why Tax Cuts and Tax Hikes are Fundamentally the Same

Federal-Reserve-DC

The Federal Reserve of the United States is the Biggest Scam in History

Ever since President Trump’s tax cuts made it through Congress several months ago, I’ve heard many Republican commentators talking about how much they have helped the economy.  Even whitehouse.gov couldn’t pass up the opportunity to put out a short summary explaining just how the tax cuts are going to, “Provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small business” (“President Donald J. Trump Achieved the Biggest Tax Cuts”, para. 1).  However, well it’s true that tax cuts improve the health of the economy in principle, the current political system combined with the worldwide scam that is the Federal Reserve of the United States ensures that both tax cuts and tax hikes ultimately have the same effect on the economy.

Allow me to explain.  It ought to seem fairly straightforward that when citizens are allowed to keep more of their own money, they tend to spend more on non-essential goods and services than they otherwise would have.  This creates demand in industries that may not have been there if tax rates were higher and so creates job opportunities.  Sounds pretty good right?

Well, the problem is that most citizens don’t see beyond the surface rhetoric that takes place between the two political parties.  If your only source of information is the mainstream media, it would seem that Democrats want to increase taxes in order to fund more government programs, and Republicans want to cut taxes in order to stimulate economic growth as was described above.  However, what’s more important to consider is the government’s budget itself, not simply what tax cuts or tax hikes are passed.

As I’ve written and spoken about before, it doesn’t matter who sits in the White House or Congress.  Spending only goes in one direction.  Up. And the Trump administration is no exception to this rule.  This means that the U.S. is still engaging in deficit spending.  So if taxes aren’t going up to cover the interest and principle payments on U.S. Treasury securities, how are they being paid off?

If you’re interested in a detailed explanation of how the Federal Reserve Banking System works, I recommend Mike Maloney’s video linked below.

However, to sum it up.  The U.S. can pay off it’s debt in two ways.  The first is to increase taxes and use the additional revenue to pay down the debt.  The second is to have the Federal Reserve inflate the currency through the issuance of additional treasury securities and pay off older securities with the newly created money.  While both these methods are always used simultaneously to some degree, the former might be cast as the Democrats’ preferred method while the latter might be cast as the Republicans’ preferred method.

However, both methods, at the end of the day, end up having the same effect on the economy.  If taxes are increased, citizens will become more frugal with the money that they pocket, knowing they won’t have as much to spend on that big screen television or brand-new sports car.  This decreases demand in the economy and may lead to layoffs and economic decline.  No one wants to advocate for this to happen right?

However, what of inflating the currency?  Well, if the currency is inflated, in the short term it may look like the tax cuts are having a positive effect on the economy because citizens believe they can be more cavalier with how they spend their money.  Demand is increased and economic growth follows.  However, while it will take time for the effects to show, the new money that the government printed to finance its debt will seep its way into the economy, devaluing the U.S. dollar.

As the people realize that the dollar is less valuable than it was before, prices will rise and investors who thought that the tax cuts meant new economic opportunity will begin to reverse course.  They will attempt to save their assets as they see that their newly saved tax credits cannot take them as far as they initially believed.  As with the effect of tax hikes, this type of economic decline is caused by the government stealing wealth from its citizens.  The citizens simply did not feel the theft as forcefully because no currency was actually taken out of their pockets.  It was simply devalued by inflation.

The economist John Maynard Keynes once said, “By this means the government may secretly and unobserved, confiscate the wealth of the people, and not one man in a million will detect the theft” (Keynes, para. 1).  While I’m not a fan of Keynes’ economic philosophy, he was certainly correct on this point.  Due to the fact that very few people understand the Federal Reserve and fractional reserve banking, most people don’t realize that under the current system, balancing the budget is impossible.

For this reason, there is fundamentally no difference between tax cuts and tax hikes.  Both will have the same effect in the long run.  As always, this political debate between Republicans and Democrats is nothing but a sham designed to stop the people from seeing what the state is doing.  Confiscating their hard-earned wealth and taking away their freedoms.  It’s what the government does and will continue to do until the people wake up.

And that is my 2 cents. Take it for what it’s worth.

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Citations:

Keynes, J. M. (n.d.). A quote from The Economic Consequences of the Peace. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/919069-by-this-means-the-government-may-secretly-and-unobserved-confiscate

President Donald J. Trump Achieved the Biggest Tax Cuts and Reforms in American History. (2018, February 5). Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-achieved-biggest-tax-cuts-reforms-american-history/

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Is Government the Lesser of Two Evils? An Anarcho-Capitalist Response to Minarchism

Many small government libertarians claim that while the existence of government is unjustified, it is the lesser of two evils. Although I think there is a place for the lesser of two evils principle in the discussion about liberty and government, I do not believe it has the force to justify minarchism. I explain why in this video.

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The Doctrine of Double Effect: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/double-effect/

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