Almost Everything We're Taught Is Wrong

Using economics to explode fallacies


We grow up learning that some things are just bad: child labor, ticket scalping, price gouging, kidney selling, blackmail, etc. But maybe they're not.

What I love about economics is that it can show that what seems harmful is actually good for society. It illuminates what common sense overlooks.

This was the subject of my Fox Business show last week. It was inspired by the eye-opening book Defending the Undefendable by economist Walter Block.

Most people call child labor an unmitigated evil. But my guests, David Boaz of the Cato Institute and Nick Gillespie of, said that's wrong.

(Article continues below video.)

"If we say that the United States should abolish child labor in very poor countries," Boaz said, "then what will happen to these children? … They're not suddenly going to go to the country day school. … They may be out selling their bodies on the street. That is not an improvement over working in a t-shirt factory."

In fact, studies show that in at least one country where child labor was suddenly banned, prostitution increased. Good economics teaches that as poor countries get richer and freer, capital investment raises the productivity of labor and child labor diminishes. There's no shortcut through government prohibition—unless you like starvation and child prostitution.

What about price-gouging? State laws attempt to prevent people from charging "unconscionable" prices during emergencies.

"If I'm in the neighborhood of Hurricane Katrina," Boaz said, "what I want is water and ice and generators. … If you are in Kentucky (and) you've got 10 generators in your store, are you getting up at 4 a.m. to drive all day to get to Louisiana to sell these generators if you can only sell them for the same price you can sell them for in Kentucky? No, you're going to go down because … you can sell them for more."

Also, if prices rise during an emergency, that's a signal for people to buy only what they most need. That leaves more for everyone else. If the price remains low, an incentive to conserve is lost.

Ticket scalpers are seen as sleazy guys who cheat you by marking up the price of tickets. Profits go to middlemen instead of the performers. What good could they possibly do?

"I like to think of ticket scalpers as the guy who stands in line so that I don't have to," Gillespie said.

Time spent in line is part of the ticket cost. Scalpers let you pay entirely in money, rather than partly in valuable time.

Most people say that selling body parts is wrong.

"It also seems wrong to have people dying because they can't get a kidney," Boaz said.

Some 400,000 Americans are on a waiting list now for a new kidney, and they are not allowed to pay for one.

"We sell hair. We sell sperm. We sell eggs these days." Boaz added.

Gillespie added, "The best way to grow the supply and allow more people to live is to allow the market to price those organs."

Maybe the most counterintuitive position argued on my show was that blackmail should not be a crime. Blackmail (unlike extortion) is the demand for money in return for withholding information. Robin Hanson, a George Mason University economist, defends blackmail.

"The thing you're threatening when you're threatening blackmail (is) gossip," Hanson said. "If it should be all right to tell people, it should be all right to threaten to tell people."

What we don't like, however, is the blackmailer saying, "Pay me to keep quiet."

"But the effect of that is to make people behave," Hanson said. "If we (allow) blackmail, people behave even more because they are even more afraid of what might happen if they don't."

Maybe Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff would have been caught earlier?

"That's right. … Blackmail is actually a form of private law enforcement."

Also, since gossip is free speech, blackmail is simply selling the service of not engaging in free speech. Why should that be outlawed?

I subtitled my last book, Everything You Know Is Wrong. I was exaggerating, of course, but many things we're taught are fallacies. That's why I like economics. It explodes fallacies.

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at


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  1. Trolls in 3…2…1

    1. Most people are taught that slavery is wrong. Luckily, Libertarians have set us straight.

      Block, along with Robert Nozick, is one of the leading libertarian defenders of voluntary slave contracts, arguing that a slave contract is “a bona fide contract where consideration crosses hands; when it is abrogated, theft occurs”. He critiques other libertarians who oppose voluntary slavery as being inconsistent with their shared principles.

      BDSM Economics. WHIP (and chain) Inflation Now!

      Oh, and don’t forget the children. To hell with all that it’s for the children liberal crap.

      In short, we must face the fact that the purely free society will have a flourishing free market in children.

      ~Mises Daily by Murray N. Rothbard

      1. BDSM.

        Good quotes. As far as I know they aren’t taken out of context bullshit quotes. I’m too lazy to to actually go read …. but they seem good enough.

        I disagree with Block on his slavery contract ideas , and I disagree with Murray on pretty much his whole take on the ethics of the child/parent relationship ….. he just wanted NAP to give full coverage, whereas I believe just the NAP is insufficient for figuring out what’s right and wrong when it comes to children.

        However, none of that really impacts the fact that outlawing child labor in a really poor country makes the children worse off, or that anti-gouging laws create shortages of important goods and services during times of disaster.

        1. They are accurate quotes.

          Furthermore, Walter Block specifically mentions, twice, sadistic BDSM practices upon slaves.

          And slave-mom’s children. Think about that for awhile. Real sick shit like that already goes on.

          He’d like more than anything else to boss me around, and then whip me every time I displeased him. He values this opportunity way more than the medical costs necessary to save my child’s life…Slave-master Rafe would never shell out the cold cash if, after he paid, I could haul him into court on assault and battery charges when he whipped me. Then, without this financial arrangement, I would have to witness the death of my child

          Voluntary Slave Contracts
          by Walter Block

          Maybe a Stossel could even do an episode on a Libertarian entrepreneur’s BDSM dungeon in a Children’s Hospital who makes humiliation/torture movies of all the Hot MILFs who can’t pay bills.

          Free market, ya know, chains, whips, blood, and all.

          1. Slave-master Rafe would never shell out the cold cash if, after he paid, I could haul him into court on assault and battery charges when he whipped me.

            WOW! I mean WOW!

            How in the hell does a contract nullify assault and battery charges against a fellow human being?

            SWEET JESUS! What a BLOCKhead.

            1. Some of what happens in football could be deemed assault if it wasn’t already agreed upon ahead of time. If the person willingly and knowingly agrees to take a beating how would it even assault?

              1. If the person-property willingly and knowingly agrees to be snuffed, how would it even be assault?

                Like Edwin said, you libertarians propertarians are “sick fucks.”

                1. Statists are sick fucks and should be ass raped with curling irons.

          2. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, libertarians are sick fucks

            1. Everybody is sick as fuck. Libertarians, neo-cons, commies, liberals, progressives, christians, muslims, fundamentalists, conservatives, authoritarians, the whole lot.

              Premise Ten: The culture as a whole and most of its members are insane. The culture is driven by a death urge, an urge to destroy life.

              ~Derrick Jensen

      2. “Voluntary slavery” is a contradiction in terms. That’s indentured servanthood.

        1. Re: Sku,

          “Voluntary slavery” is a contradiction in terms.

          I agree – the more accurate term would be voluntary servitude contract. But Walter Block did not want to use semantics to obfuscate the implication of a person agreeing to become a slave for payment of a debt. Also, Block is not saying he would agree to serve as a slave, only that as a mere academic exercise, voluntary servitude contracts are not anti-freedom in themselves.

          Also, aren’t things like Student Loans and Conscription a form of servitude, voluntary or not?

          1. Of course student loans and conscription are types in the continuum of slavery. As is wage slavery.

            That’s what capitalism is all about – making people work for them under duress by disestablishing them from the land by privation property “rights.”

            Dr. Ralph Borsodi explains how private property is a deliberate form of duress to the landless, as follows:

            Men do not do repetitive work as a matter of choice. They do it out of dire necessity. They can be driven to this sort of work only if they are deprived of access to the land. Our system of private property in land forces landless men to work for others; to work in factories, stores, and offices, whether they like it or not. wherever access to land is free, men work only to provide what they actually need or desire. Wherever the white man has come in contact with savage cultures this fact becomes apparent. There is for savages in their native state no such sharp distinction between “work” and “not working” as clocks and factory whistles have accustomed the white man to accept. They cannot be made to work regularly at repetitive tasks in which they have no direct interest except by some sort of duress. Disestablishment from land, like slavery, is a form of duress. The white man, where slavery cannot be practiced, has found that he must first disestablish the savages from their land before he can force them to work steadily for him. Once they are disestablished, they are in effect starved into working for him and into working as he directs. Only after he has made it impossible for them to support themselves as they desire, does be find it possible to drive them to work for him according to approved factory techniques, with sharp distinctions between the time devoted to productive labor and the time devoted to rest or play.

            by RALPH BORSODI
            1 9 2 9

            1. Re: White Imbecile,

              As is wage slavery.

              If I had a penny for every emptyskull that has uttered the same words… I would be like Rockefeller.

              How does it feel to write so much useless drivel just to make yourself look more the fool, White Imbecile?

              1. Send me a bill, ya domesticated poodle. Woof, woof!

              2. “Wage slavery” was the same point I realized I could stop paying attention, too.

                Well…to be honest, I didn’t read the other posts, either. Just the replies.

            2. Thankfully, with my quarter acre lot in the suburbs I’m protected against all that.

            3. Blah blah blah. This is why guys are abandoning serious political crap and watching My Little Pony. This ideology shit is completely off the hook these days. Wage slavery? The continuum of slavery? Private property as a duress? What sane person wants to deal with nuclear level bullshit like this anymore?

              1. Actually I prefer She-Ra to My Little Pony but yeah politics really has me down. There’s no arguing with liberals who seem to think we’d all be happier digging up roots in the forest for food and dying of a random bacterial infection before the age of 35.

                I mean, I like camping as much as any other red-blooded American but I don’t get the whole, let’s go back to before the industrial revolution (or even agriculture). Modern life may have it’s downsides but how does anyone with two brain cells to rub together not figure out that we have it much better off than the cavemen did?

                1. digging up roots in the forest

                  It might be more that everyone should be a cog in the collective machine, working with no other compensation that the fuzzy feeling of advancing the greater good.

              2. The commodification of humanity and their Mother is quite profitable to the dominionist hierarchy; thus you protest loudly.

                1. anyone with two brain cells to rub together not figure out that we have it much better off

                  Anyone with two brain cells firing (or rubbing together, as you may) has read Marshall Sahlins The Original Affluent Society.*

                  Anyone with two brain cells firing questions how 99% of our human ancestors living in a Non-State sociopolitical typology can be so horrible.**

                  * The Original Affluent Society
                  Marshall Sahlins, Professor of Anthropology Emeritus, University of Chicago

                  ** NON-STATE AND STATE SOCIETIES
                  Elman Service

                  1. Well, clearly Marshall Sahlins does not…

            4. Why is this any different if the government is the employer?

              1. It’s not any different if the government is the employer. Why would you think that?

            5. Wresting your living from “the land” IS “repetitive work” done out of “dire necessity”.

              1. This.

              2. Wresting your living from “the land” IS “repetitive work”/i>

                You’re describing work in the agricultural City-State.

                You work 4x as hard as primitives or savages (lit. people of the forest,) who work a couple hours a day, with much time for leisure, while enjoying better health.

                Keep repeating the Hobbesian falsehoods (solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short, Chap. 13, para. 9 of Leviathan) all you want to comfort yourself, but it isn’t true, and the last 60 years of archeology, anthropology, and biology have proven the main premise of civilization completely false.

                1. Yeah because the average life expectancy of a caveman was totally 70 to 80 year. They had adequate contraception that allowed women to delay child birth until their mid-20’s. Their medical knowledge prevented people from dying of commonly curable diseases, injuries, childbirth, etc. When natural disasters happened, people hardly ever starved to death.

                  Oh wait…none of that is true at all.

                  1. None of it is true for most of the world being occupied by agricultural civilization either.

                    Yet it is true – but only for a small percentage of the world’s population, the top grabbers that benefit most from sucking wealth up the pyramidal hierarchy.

                    A clearer assessment of your cherry-picked data is analyzed here:

                    Premise #9:Agriculture is difficult, dangerous and unhealthy.
                    Premise #21: Civilization makes us sick.
                    Premise #22: Civilization has no monopoly on medicine.
                    Premise #25: Civilization reduces quality of life.
                    Premise #27: Collapse increases quality of life.

                    1. How many hunter-gatherers can the planet support? A million? They wiped out most of the big species when they wandered into the Americas. Your vision of eternal bliss as hunter-gatherers living into their thirties and forties, killing their babies when they are born too close together, and living agt the mercy of their environment forever, comes at the price of about 6 billion lives.

                    2. How long can the planet survive civilization before civilization collapses? Another hundred years?

                      Your delusions of agricultural civilization’s grandeur, as delusional as fiat money itself, or methamphetamine, come at the price of the lives of 6 billion people.

                    3. And here we finally get to the root of white indian. She believes civilization is going to collapse. She’s just another crazed preacher of doom. Follow her teachings or suffer the wrath of the all holy mother(nature).

                    4. Only civilized people get cancer. Cancer is nearly unheard of in natural societies. Never heard of the the law of diminishing returns, have you?

              3. Oh God thank you, I don’t know why someone didn’t point this out sooner.

                I mean, work in a factory all day or pick berries all day… except the people picking berries wouldn’t be able to afford to research a cure for cancer. Or anything else.

                1. Only civilized people get cancer. Cancer is nearly unheard of in natural societies. Never heard of the the law of diminishing returns, have you?

                  1. I’m guessing they “never got cancer” is the result of dying well before they could develop cancer.

                    Cancer tends to be something that strikes the aged more frequently than the young, yes?

            6. You would rather be enslaved by the state.

              I would rather enslave you and all of you worthless leftists.

  2. FYI here is a link to Block’s book. You can either download a PDF at no charge or by a paper copy in LvMI’s store.…..defendable

    1. I downloaded it a long time ago. It’s one of the best books on economic analysis of seemingly unsavory activities I have read yet.

      1. Block has plenty of pretentious pretexts; it’s good if you’re a blackmailer or have a death fetish.

  3. Most people say that selling body parts is wrong.

    No love for the gigilo.

  4. But but… sweat shops! Living wage! Uh… waking up in a bathtub full of ice!

  5. I often disagree with Robin Hanson, and find him to be often quite biased despite the name of his blog, but he makes an excellent argument for the legalization of blackmail.

    1. Re: PS,

      Walter Block also gives a good argument in his book. Blackmail would be the more private version of “To Catch A Predator” – just the threat of public humiliation and scorn would be enough for people to act with less abandon.

      1. Haven’t read Block but I’m convinced, it was not something I’d really considered before. How does this relate to libel laws?

        1. Re: PS,

          How does this relate to libel laws?

          Libel is different, as it is telling a lie about a person which results in demonstrable damages for him or her – like the loss of business, job, credit, etc. Blackmail is the threat of releasing information about you which happens to be true.

          1. Except in practice it can end up being the same as blackmail laws, an impediment to the flow of true information. As in the case of Britain.

            1. Re: PS,

              Except in practice it can end up being the same as blackmail laws, an impediment to the flow of true information.

              Yes but that’s a case of making something bad by fiat, instead of being evil it itself. Blackmail is not evil in itself as no one is damaged in body or property. Libel, on the other hand, can lead to damage of property as false testimony or lies could hinder a person’s ability to exchange goods or sell his or her labor.

              In one case, you can avoid blackmail by behaving yourself with decorum. Instead, you can’t avoid having a person tell lies about you.

              1. Blackmail can cause just as much damage as libel. That’s why it works.

    2. There’s a difference between something being legal and something being morally acceptable. Blackmail is morally unacceptable. But he makes a good logical argument for why it should not be illegal. If it is not illegal to tell the information, why should it be illegal to charge to not tell the information? But the illegality of blackmail prevents the development of a corporate blackmail industry that intentionally mines out damaging information on people. If you’re worried that big brother is watching you, wait until a corporation that subsists on blackmail is watching you.

      1. I like the way you think. It should only cost me a few hundred million to “persuade” congress to go easy on the blackmail laws.

        1. Sorry, Mark. We want the State to retain its monopoly on the right to blackmail. It’s a useful means for dealing with troublesome subjects, and sharing it would dilute its usefulness.

    3. If you think through the implications for legalizing blackmail, I don’t think you’ll conclude, as many here have, that people will just behave better. One commenter pointed out that corporations could make a living out of mining for data that would be embarrassing for people. Supermarkets know what you buy if you use a discount card; health care providers know what diseases you have had; ISP’s know what you’ve downloaded; libraries know what you’ve checked out. Credit card companies know how much you spend on travel, junk food, etc. Do we really think it would be harmless to allow all of them to threaten you with revealing potentially embarrassing but legal activity in return for hush money? Every public figure, preacher, team manager – almost all of us in other words – would be at risk. I could take a picture of a two colleagues having lunch and threaten to share it with their spouses. Do you really want to live in a society like that? This is where Libertarians go off the deep end without realizing it.

      1. Actually, this is where morons like you say stupid shit.
        If a company starts releasing my personal info, then I stop buying from them. Then a bunch of companies will make a promise to never do that…and if they do, they get sued and lose customers.
        Funny, when the gov’t morons lose my info, I have no recourse…that’s why they continue to lose / realease private info.

        1. ah i see the monkeys havent been takeing the organ grinders advice because they cant answer your comment they mock you in their usealy childish way.
          people should show the info if they care more rather than the money from blackmail which is all there after
          who do you want to blackmail ?jimbo;)

  6. There’s no shortcut through government prohibition ? unless you like starvation and child prostitution.

    I am totally against child labor!

  7. I am afraid I’m going to have put my foot down and insist that these Stossel posts (which used to be at noon, btw) deal with the current night’s episode and not the previous week’s. As a loyal Stossel viewer, I think I am OWED a preview of tonight’s shenanigans.

    1. Stossel owes you NOTHING! NOTHING!

      1. We’ll just see about that.

    2. The Stache has already decreed that this is unacceptable.

  8. I saw this show – wonderful arguments. I’ve certainly reconsidered my position on ALL of these things in the last few years. What do I care if you want to sell your organs? More to the point, why would I want the government involved? Oh…I don’t.

    However, …some things are just bad: child labor, ticket scalping, price gouging, kidney selling, blackmail, etc.

    I just wanted to note, for the record, that “Drugs are bad….mmmkay?”

    /Mr. Mackie

    1. There’s a time and a place for everything, and it’s called college.

      1. no, i said that

    2. Aspirin is bad? 🙁

  9. The kids who worked to help support their families grew up to be the most productive people in history. You didn’t see those kids shooting each other, making babies they couldn’t support, overweight, in therapy, or killing themselves.

    1. Well, there was the Goodfellas guy.

  10. The progressive fallacy is that the world’s problems can be legislated away.

    1. The progressive fallacy is that civilization is an advancement, instead of an enslavement, of man’s condition.

      The life of an Indian is a continual holiday, compared with the poor of Europe. ~Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice pamphlet


        1. Can’t do it without being killed or put in prison. Your agricultural City-State (civilization) is totalitarian in its invasion and occupation of Turtle Island. Even the First Families, experts, can’t do it, with the landbase degraded and shoved into small concentration camps. (Yeah, Stalin salivated at America’s “reservations.”)

          Officer, am I free to gambol across the grass and woods now?

          Gamboling about the plain and forest, hunting and living off the land is fun. Farming is not. ~Richard Manning, Against the Grain, p. 23

          1. Change your name to whiny bitch? “Wahh, I can’t go out in the woods and do shit ’cause I’ll get arrested!”

            1. “Wahh, I can’t sell children and organs and not pay taxes ’cause I’ll get arrested!”

              1. Can we just do all of us a favor and ignore the troll?

                Why do any of us bother to reply when we KNOW that he’s going to come up with nothing but malthusian garbage and stories about how indians frolicked through the woods digging cheese from their foreskins and sniffing it.

                1. You bother to respond because he is striking-at-the-root of your libertarian propertarian contradictions and progressivist illusions upon which you premise your love of the City-State.

                  Which is hardly trolling, but you have to express your rage somehow.

      2. Which generally manifests at “THROW MORE MONEY AT ALL THE THINGS!” over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

        You Progressives really are the short bus of the modern political era.

  11. Right, well if they’re productive people then they’ll be much less inclined to rely on the state and be a loyal subservient subject.. Can’t you see how horrible that is?

  12. Why the Friday Cartoon a day early?
    A sack of shit with big ears writing nonsense on a blackboard.
    Really not funny this dick wad will ruin this country or at least speed it up!

  13. “I like to think of ticket scalpers as the guy who stands in line so that I don’t have to”

    Traditionally this was true. However, now scalpers are largely people that run bot scripts to buy up tickets and create artificial scarcity. A scalper locking up the ticket buying site and creating a sellout 5 minutes after tickets go on sale is a sleazeball. It’s not 1991 anymore, people don’t wait in line for tickets anymore.

    1. Show up five minutes before the event and see if they’re willing to take a loss. Markets.

      1. I’m not sure about you, but I value my time. Showing up at a venue for a show that I may or may not see based on an uncertain price is not my idea of a good way to spend time or money.

        1. How much did posting that cost you? 😉

    2. What solves this is people willing to stand for something for a change. Why is cable TV still so damn expensive? Even though there are a few competitors in the marketplace, none of them really brings a lot of value to the table. But sheepish consumers will pay $100+ a month all day long because they just HAVE to have crap to watch. I ditched cable two years ago and I couldn’t be happier.

      Same applies to scalped tickets. If you’re not getting an acceptable deal, then DON’T BUY THEM. When scalpers are stuck with hundreds of tix they bought through an automated script that they can’t sell, or that they sell at a loss, then the pendulum swings the other way.

      But we have a bunch of brain dead consumers out there who will pay top dollar for any piece of chrome plated dog shit that is set in front of them.

      1. “chrome plated dog shit” is my new favorite description of anything that sucks.

    3. A scalper locking up the ticket buying site and creating a sellout 5 minutes after tickets go on sale is a sleazeball.

      Hate the system, not the player. I’ve seen scalpers eat tickets rather than sell them for below face value. It would be quite easy to set up an auction system to distribute tickets so that the money went to the performer and the venue rather than the scalper. Scalpers are lubricants for a desiccated and inefficient ticket distribution process.

      1. “It would be quite easy to set up an auction system to distribute tickets so that the money went to the performer and the venue rather than the scalper. Scalpers are lubricants for a desiccated and inefficient ticket distribution process.”

        Considering most large venues set aside some of their own tickets to sell on the open market, they understand the system quite well. Performers see a value in having tickets at a variety of price points. It broadens the reach of their popularity. If the only people that can afford to see the shows live are your wealthy fans, you risk pissing off less well to do fans that still provide you revenue through song and merch sales.

    4. It doesn’t need to be the state’s responsibility to deal with the “problem” of ticket scalping. A simple, free market solution (if the venue owners/artist were that concerned)would be to require a ticket purchaser at the point of purchase to designate the names of the people to be using the ticket and to require a trip to the box office or website visit by the original purchaser to change the tickets. Just refuse to admit people if their names don’t match. Might be a pain, but if ticket scalping really is that much of a problem, is it worth it? Personally, I have no problem with people selling their tickets in the open market and have many times bought tickets through stubhub and ebay, usually at a small premium above or at face value.

      1. I never advocated for a government solution. I just mentioned why I don’t like scalpers and why I consider them parasites.

  14. “Good economics teaches that as poor countries get richer and freer, capital investment raises the productivity of labor and child labor diminishes.”

    It is well worth pointing out that economic development cures other societal ills as well. The environment improves, violent crime goes down, population growth goes down, general education level increases, life expectancy goes up…..the list goes on and on. Luddite environmentalists should have this pointed out to them while they are repeatedly being slapped across the face. Hmmm. Socialists too, but with much harder slapping.

    Hmmmm. Blackmail? I have to disagree here. The trouble with blackmail isnt in the blackmail itself, but in the inevitable escalating nature of it. The blackmail victim is faced with a lifetime of slavery. The victim invariably reaches a point where the demands are intolerable and begins considering suicide or murder as ways out.

    1. At some point, the price required for silence will exceed the worth of the silence. So it can escalate, but the blackmailer needs to keep in mind that it can’t be pushed too far.

      1. My point is that blackmail leads to worse crime.

        Also, some moderate indiscretion should not doom one to a lifetime of blackmail. Once it starts, there is no way out other than letting the cat out of the bag, or putting the blackmailer in one.

        1. Re: Suthenboy,

          My point is that blackmail leads to worse crime.

          Same slippery-slope fallacy used against other victimless “crimes” like prostitution, drug use and violent videogame playing. You’re not making a cogent case, S.

          1. you are claiming that blackmail is a VICTIMless crime?

            just asking for clarification…

        2. Actually, the solution to this is very simple. Once blackmail becomes legal, there’s no reason not to have a contract.

          1. They blackmail funds could then be taxed.

        3. Blackmail is a gateway crime. Offenders go on to become whistleblowers and videotapers of police brutality.

          1. A neat one. 🙂

    2. The standard libertarian legal basis is that what laws there are should be to restrain force or fraud. If the blackmailer is threating to reveal a fraud unless paid off is allowing that fraud to continue and is abetting that fraud.
      It is also a form of extortion which I do find indefensible.

      1. Re: H man,

        If the blackmailer is threating to reveal a fraud unless paid off is allowing that fraud to continue and is abetting that fraud.

        No sir. Abetting means actively participating in a crime, whereas a blackmailer is not. There’s no reason to differentiate a blackmailer from, let’s say, a whistleblower, as both act on self-interest: One for money, the other for revenge. It matters not if the whistleblower goes to the police or the media: he would be a “participant” if one applies the same standard as you’re applying against the blackmailer. Also, BOTH serve the SAME social purpose: Whistleblowers and Blackmailers would place a good incentive against wrongdoing.

        1. Whistleblowers act for revenge, eh? Not, like, justice, or concern for the victims of whatever bad behavior they’re exposing?

  15. It also seems wrong to have people dying because they can’t get a kidney

    However, if you’re poor and could never afford a new organ, you deserve to die.

    1. Or better yet, what if teh Tony needed a new kidney, could afford the asking price, but I just declined to sell it to him because I’m an asshole?

      1. Re: GW,

        The sockpuppet would have the state snatch the organ from your body, as private property is a governent construct anyway – remember what the sockpuppet has said, that “the market exists as part of government policy”? That would also include your property and your body.

        1. No joke, one of my left-wing friends made this argument. Not only was she in favor of redistributing kidneys from the healthy to the sick, she thought it was self-evidently the right thing to do.

          1. Jesus fucking christ…did she also think the murder of the healthy would be justified if they resisted?

    2. making organ selling illegal doesnt somehow improve a poor person’s chance of getting an organ. if anything it lessens it. So… there

    3. “The free market means that those without money to buy what they need do not have the right to live.”
      – John McMurtry

      1. “The free market means that those without money to buy the ability to produce what they need do not have the right to live.”

    4. Fake Tony isn’t even trying today… Sad.

    5. uhhh… Tony, that’s admitting that people who could afford an organ would then live, which is the point

      there is literally no aspect of legalized organ selling that would lower the utility/benefit (in the utilitarian sense) of any person or groups

  16. The economic fallacy I see most frequently is the inability to deal with the concept of sunk costs. Wealthy owners of professional sports teams sign an athlete to a guaranteed contract that turns out to overpay him substantially, then feel like they have to play him over a more qualified backup because they’ve put so much money into him. The money is spent either way, why not just play the better player?

  17. In the pre-industrial leisure society that existed before the movies, if we needed a replacement kidney we just kidnapped someone from another hunting/gathering tribe, sacrificed them to the great feathered serpent, and ripped both kidneys out. Two for the price of one, and both were free!

    Now under your privation property regime, you have to get in line and wait.

    1. Cannibalism and Sacrifice religions are highly correlated to agriculture.

      1. Cannibalism and Sacrifice religions are highly correlated to agriculture.

        When the crops fail, just eat your neighbor.

    2. TINSTAAFL- you neglect to account for the time and energy expended to acquire said sacrifices

  18. When England abolished child labor, did child prostitution increase? I understand this argument, but it does seem possible that government prophibition, coupled with other forms of private charitable intervention, could improve matters rather than sending all children to the brothel. When society as a whole has a shift in values from – children are property to – children are responsibility and ought to be nurtured and protected, it tends to benefit children.

    1. Re: Sku,

      When England abolished child labor, did child prostitution increase?

      No, child begging and pickpocketing increased. haven’t you read Dickens?

      1. Also, labor can develop a black market just as easily as anything else.

    2. It seemed to me that Stossel had a caveat in there about how kids in third world shitholes don’t have access to primary education like american and english kids did when we abolished child labor. So he was making the argument that having no education they turned to prostitution. But maybe I read that part wrong.

  19. The whole Troll-Free Thursday thing isn’t going well, is it?

    1. Stossel is sorta right – everything you’ve been taught — as a libertarian — is wrong.

      And you’re feeling cognitive dissonance. It isn’t pleasant. You want it to end.

      The cognitive dissonance will end when you realize that the NAP (non-aggression principle) is contradictory to most of libertarian Propertarian economic theory.

      1. You mean like the part where libertarians/propertarians say that someone who peacefully acquires property has the right to determine how others may or may not have access to that property? Sounds like the non-aggression principle to me.

        It is communitarians such as yourself and GWB and BHO who advocate the aggression of taxation and invasion and eminent domain and all the rest.

        1. Peacefully acquired? Did you just pull that out of your ass?

          Ever hear of the Trail of Tears?

          Property in Turtle Island was gained by aggression and genocide of 90 million souls.

          And no, I’m not a communitarian, dipshit. I hate taxes and eminent domain more than you do.

          Yeah, more. Because you’re a lover of the City-State (civiliation) at heart.

  20. I see now problem with ticket scalping. The vast majority of ticket scalping involves events that no one really needs to go to in the first place. It’s an optional luxury.

    1. Amen, brother.

      Why would anybody pay any amount of money to attend an event where throngs of people stand/sit/collapse in a group orgy of indulgence. Just don’t go! Save your money.

  21. The main argument in favor of these various laws is that people, in general, who find themselves in these various situations are too stupid or stressed to be able to rationally think for themselves and end up making exactly the opposite decision they would have made if they were as smart as you or me.

    1. The main argument in favor of civilization is that civilized people, in general, who find themselves in various situations are too stupid or stressed to be able to rationally think for themselves and end up making exactly the opposite decision they would have made if they were as smart as White Indian.

  22. Most people think racism is wrong. Yet statistical data has shown that Blacks are (on average) of lower intelligence and higher predisposition to violence than Whites.

    Given this knowledge, it is perfectly rational for Whites to stay as far away from Blacks they don’t know personally as possible.

    Most libertarians are also wrong in thinking that economic and social freedom in a country are the single best predictor for prosperity. This is false, average population IQ is (at least) just as important. The two characteristics are also correlated, since it takes at least some brains to be a libertarian.

    In fact, and economist whose site is mysteriously no longer available managed to predict current GDP/capita of every world country from scratch using just 4 variables: IQ, economic freedom, oil, inclusion in a larger trading market (like NAFTA or EU):…

    0.97 correlation.

    I don’t think HBD-denying libertarians can come up with a better prediction of the world’s economic realities in a similar fashion.

    Bottom line is, to move towards prosperity:
    – increase average IQ
    – increase economic freedom

    Eugenics + Free Market economics* should work wonders.

    * with several tweaks to compensate for human status posturing and foolishness – which basically ensures that football players earn more than scientists.

    1. Proof that Blacks are more criminal (on average) than Whites:….._crime.jpg

      Proof that intellegence differences between races exist and that they are overwhelmingly genetic:…..igence.jpg

      1. My god you’re retarded. Ever take a genetics course? Ever analyze biased racial statistic bullshit like yours without looking at it one dimensionally? Maybe you should ready a history book and learn why inner-city poverty creates violence and why blacks mostly inhabit these areas in America.

        1. You’re the retard here. Genetics supports the FACT of race. Piss off libtard.

    2. Yep. And libertarians propertarians can tell an aggressor against private property by his kinky hair.

      In short; racialist science is properly not an act of aggression or a cover for oppression of one group over another, but, on the contrary, an operation in defense of private property against assaults by aggressors. ~Murray Rothbard

      1. “Cops must be unleashed, and allowed to administer instant punishment…unleash the cops to clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares?” ~Murray Rothbard

        Source:Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell and Scientific Racism

  23. Could decriminalizing highly profitable non violent crimes cause an increase in violent crime??? Leopards don’t stop hunting just because their favorite prey is not available. Here’s hoping Libertarians get a shot at trying their ideas; the unintended consequences are unlikely to be worse than the ones we have now.

    1. You mean like the selling of addictive substances? Fortunately we have a case history, of alcohol prohibition.

      During prohibition there was a massive increase in gangland violence, as gangs fought each other and the feds to ply their trade.

      After prohibition, crime dropped and reputable firms took over alcohol distribution. How often do you see employees of Coors, Budweiser, and Miller picking off their competitors with a Tommy gun, or blowing up each others’ trucks?

      Whatever happened to the leopards?

      1. They moved to Las Vegas and now their offspring are running Hedge Funds.

  24. Does the book also say Diversity and multiculturalism do not inprove a society and that massive immigration is a detriment and a handicap and not a moral blessing that should go unquestioned. If so, maybe I would buy the book, but of course I bet it does not mention immigration at all.

  25. Block implies a libertarian owner of a slave-mom bitch can whip her, without it being deemed assault and battery. Can a libertarian Master make libertarian snuff films too? Big market out there.

    He’d like more than anything else to boss me around, and then whip me every time I displeased him….Slave-master Rafe would never shell out the cold cash if, after he paid, I could haul him into court on assault and battery charges when he whipped me.

    Voluntary Slave Contracts
    by Walter Block

    1. I see nothing wrong with that. You moralists need to be killed.

  26. Mr. Mowen stared dazedly about him and whispered to Paul Larkin, “Something’s gone screwy here.”

    “Oh, shut up!” snapped Larkin.

    “I am sure, White Indian,” said the eldest Austrian economist, “that you do not really believe – nor does the public – that we wish to own people as the ultimate resource. If anyone has been laboring under such a misapprehension, we are anxious to prove that wage-slavery is not true.”

    The economists retired to consider their opinion. They did not stay out long. They returned to an ominously silent boardroom – and announced that the voluntary slavery contract was valid, but that enforcing any such contract was suspended. Streaks of jeering laughter ran through the applause that swept the boardroom. The applause was aimed at White Indian, the laughter – at the economists.

    White Indian stood motionless, not turning to the crowd, barely hearing the applause. He stood looking at the Austrian economists. There was no triumph in his face, no elation, only the still intensity of contemplating the enormity of the smallness of the enemy who was destroying the world. He felt as if, after a journey of years through a landscape of devastation, past the ruins of great forests, the wrecks of majestic oceans, the bodies of invincible men, he had come upon the despoiler, expecting to find a giant – and had found a rat eager to scurry for cover at the first sound of a human step. If this is what has beaten us, he thought, the guilt is ours.

    He was jolted back into the boardroom by the people pressing to surround him. He smiled in answer to their smiles, to the frantic tragic eagerness of their faces; there was a touch of sadness in his smile.

  27. Lukianoff! And me, finally.

  28. Empty holsters? Hey, this smells a little too much like a repeat.

  29. Guns don’t kill people, and gunless holsters certainly don’t.

  30. I would call him late for dinner.

  31. “I correct them immediately…”

    Then I call you a stick in the mud.

  32. We should focus just on being American… UNLESS YOU’RE MEXICAN.

  33. Teddy Roosevelt would of course object to hyphenating Americans. He was a chubby-American.

  34. No more hate speech on our campus, eh! No more hate speech on our campus, eh!

  35. John Edwards, faggot-American? That’s multiple offenses for Coulter.

  36. Mark Twain and his “vulgar curse words”.

  37. Cartoons killed people? It was Family Circus, wasn’t it

  38. “Who gets to decide what’s too hurtful?”

    I dunno, Coast Guard?

  39. Bake sales discriminate against fatties?

  40. Rape on campus now includes waking up with a uggo.

  41. Moron-Americans throwing pies.

  42. You killed this rerun fist

    1. I half-assed it. WITH NO HELP FROM YOU.

      1. I just paid $22.87 for an XBOX 360 with CALL OF DUTY and my girlfriend loves her SONY VAIO LAPTOP that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I willnever pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I alsosold a 40 inch 3d led TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.Here is the website we use to get it all from,

  43. There is a distinction between what may be wrong and what ought to be constrained by force (of law or literally). Wrong basically is something we don’t like. Often what is wrong appears equally wrong whether done by us or to us or whether done by a few or by many. Those kinds of wrong things are considered immoral, or alternatively could be described as actions inimical to both society and to the members of society. What ought to be unlawful is that which is imposed without consent, and the greater and more irreversible the harm, the more likely for there to be a law against it.
    The indefensible is perfectly defensible when it is obnoxious but does not involve greater and less voluntary harm than the alternatives.

  44. I just paid $22.87 for an XBOX 360 with CALL OF DUTY and my girlfriend loves her SONY VAIO LAPTOP that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I willnever pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I alsosold a 40 inch 3d led TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.Here is the website we use to get it all from,

  45. I just paid $22.87 for an XBOX 360 with CALL OF DUTY and my girlfriend loves her SONY VAIO LAPTOP that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I willnever pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I alsosold a 40 inch 3d led TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.Here is the website we use to get it all from, Hitpenny.c om

  46. I just paid $22.87 for an XBOX 360 with CALL OF DUTY and my girlfriend loves her SONY VAIO LAPTOP that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I willnever pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I alsosold a 40 inch 3d led TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.Here is the website we use to get it all from, Hitpenny (dot) c/o-m

  47. I would argue that bans on child labor are bad even in developed countries. They limit the exposure of children to productive adults and the world of work, allow government bureaucrats to indoctrinate them day after day, and disproportionately hurt poor families by limiting family income.

    Ticket scalpers of course perform a beneficial service, one that is now being undercut more and more by the more intelligent owners of sports teams, who have begun pricing more desirable games higher than the less desirable ones from the get-go.

    Price “gouging” is easily dealt with — if the price is too high, don’t buy anything. It’s a self-regulating system.

    Selling organs may be shocking, but would save lots of lives.

    I’m not buying the defense of blackmail, but people voluntarily pay hush money all the time.

    1. Austrian Economics, for all ages, work those little fingers to the bone for the Master-libertarian-baiter!!!

      In short, we must face the fact that the purely free society will have a flourishing free market in children.

      ~Murray N. Rothbard
      Mises Daily: Wednesday, May 09, 2007

      As if children are competent to make contracts.

      Oh, wait, considering that gets in the way of profits.


      1. I bet you love it when the state takes away children.

        1. Negative. You’re the one in love with the State if you love the agricultural City-State (civilization.)

  48. There is no excuse to have the poorest educational system in the free world. We should be teaching Civics, History and Science. Not sex. That is the responsibility of the parents.Our youing children an teenagers are under attack with organizations such a s The Raoinbow Project through Rainbow Books. I was appauled at the number of these books and the material presented to control these young minds.Parents need to wake up and save their children from these depraved individuals.Christianity is under attack. Make no mistake. We are at war. If we don’t stand for something we will fall for anything.

    1. Remember that when your daughter is pregnant at 16 dumbass. Then you force this useless individual onto society and say it’s our fault for creating a sex filled media. Too funny!

  49. I love it when people with degrees in PSYCHOLOGY pretend that they understand ECONOMICS.

    This whole article is one big straw-man argument. No policy-makers or economists are suggesting that Ethiopia immediately ban all children 14 and under from working. It is already understood that once their economy and society improves, child labor will decrease.

    On a similar note, no one is making an economic argument against blackmail. Why? Because it’s the last thing on anyone’s mind who has been blackmailed! It’s like if someone asked you why you really don’t like the food at a certain restaurant, even though the owner is a really good local Christian! WHO CARES!? The food tastes like crap, and the restaurant smells like a barn! The religious beliefs of the owner don’t affect the quality of the food, in the same way that the economic implications of blackmail don’t affect it’s abhorrence.

    Stossel is not making libertarian arguments here. He is making contrarian arguments, designed purely to elicit emotional responses from “silly liberals”. What a joke.

    1. Stossel = secular priestcraft.

      Rome under the Republic had a civic religion, consisting of the reading of entrails and other sensible precautions. The civic religion of the modern world is social engineering, which depends on similar techniques of divination?

      The members of the American economics profession, as [Thurman] Arnold contended, performed a vital practical role in maintaining this unique system of corporate socialism American style. It was their role to prevent the American public from achieving a correct understanding of the actual workings of the American economic system. Economists instead were assigned the task to dispense priestly blessings that would allow business to operate independent of damaging political manipulation. They accomplished this task by means of their message of “laissez faire religion, based on a conception of a society composed of competing individuals.” However false as a description of the actual U.S. economy, this vision in the mind of the American public was in practice “transferred automatically to industrial organizations with nation-wide power and dictatorial forms of government.” Even though the arguments of economists were misleading and largely fictional, the practical ? and beneficial ? result of their deception was to throw a “mantle of protection ? over corporate government” from various forms of outside interference. Admittedly, as the economic “symbolism got farther and farther from reality, it required more and more ceremony to keep it up.” But as long as this arrangement worked and there could be maintained “the little pictures in the back of the head of the ordinary man,” the effect was salutary ? “the great [corporate] organization was secure in its freedom and independence.” It was this very freedom and independence of business professionals to pursue the correct scientific answer ? the efficient answer ? on which the economic progress of the United States depended.

      ? Robert H. Nelson, REACHING FOR HEAVEN ON EARTH

      Economic efficiency has been the greatest source of social legitimacy in the United States for the past century, and economists have been the priesthood defending this core social value of our era.

      ? Robert H. Nelson, ECONOMICS AS RELIGION

      1. I say, White Indian old chap? Do shut up.

        1. Robert H. Nelson is Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, Professor of Environmental Policy in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center.

          Can’t quote him though. Winston gets his panties in a bunch over it.

      2. Statism is a religion that must be crushed by violent force.

        1. Get a hammer and hit yourself on the head. You’re the one in love with the State if you love the agricultural City-State (civilization.)

  50. I’ll toss in a minor disagreement about scalpers, since there are scalpers who will buy up as many tickets as they can possibly afford, thereby taking away any chance that I could just stand in line to get the ticket myself.

    That’s why scalpers are treated as criminals.

    I also wasn’t aware of the rampant child prostitution problem in America. If only we’d get those kids out of schools and back on the cotton gins, we could get rid of child prostitution. Genius!

  51. Oops, he forgot to have her sign the libertarian slave contract to make it all “voluntary.” *tsk-tsk*

    Owner put naked yogurt-store employee inside box, D.A. says
    August 26, 2011

    If voluntary slavery is legal, we can consummate this financial arrangement, to our mutual gain. If not, not, to the great loss of both of us. Slave-master Rafe would never shell out the cold cash if, after he paid, I could haul him into court on assault and battery charges when he whipped me.

    Voluntary Slave Contracts
    by Walter Block

  52. Is there any way to prove she didn’t orally agree to be a voluntary slave? I’d countersue her for breech-of-contract.

    Basically, she’s a whiny feminazi whore greedily attacking a hard-working businessman. And because of Statist intervention, a small American town is without yoghurt.

    Thanks, big-government, once again, for causing a thriving community harm.

  53. The whole concept of children not working is preposterous, IMHO. In every generation in every country on earth children have worked. If not in the factories, then in the fields or in the home. Doing is the only way of learning. This is the primary reason why people in the United States don’t really know how to DO ANYTHING. Because they were not taught to do anything as children.

    My father worked his entire life. He cleared the fields with his father, planted crops, took eggs to market to sell (at 8 years old) and when he was 14 years old he supported his family. He could build or fix ANYTHING. Whether it was a washing machine, or a bicycle or building a house, he could do it because he had worked SIDE BY SIDE with adults who taught him.

    What do the children in this country contribute to society? Nothing. They are responsible for most of the crime, most of the car accidents, and they leech off of society, giving back *nothing* except the “promise” of the future, which never seems to amount to much of anything.

    Child labor laws are the worst thing that ever happened, and if other countries adopt this mindset they will end up with all the problems that we have because of them.

    1. April Baldwin, self described: “leech off of society, giving back *nothing* except the “promise” of the future, which never seems to amount to much of anything.”

      Oh wait, she was in the mines at 6 permanently deforming her bones to provide coal for rich folks’ fireplaces, right?

      No one should ever work.

      Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you’d care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working.


      Work makes a mockery of freedom.

      The Abolition of Work
      by Bob Black

      1. This faggot needs his skull bashed in.

        1. “Libertarian” is such a masquerade mask for pure evil.

  54. I also support this view, but such circumstances, how to protect children from harm, and guide the children exercise and social contact, need a lot of energy, especially parents. . .

  55. This is a little over the top given the examples.
    Child prostitution is an unintended consequence of the banning of child labor. But not all business owners will take the rational long view and invest in capital for their businesses in order to eliminate menial tasks and allow child labor to “diminish.” But consideration of “which” child labor we are against is an example of something not considered often enough.

    Thomas Sowell, in Basic Economics, does a great job, with similar examples, of dispelling the anti-gouging regulations in Florida.

    The kidney market is an inefficient market based on an unsteady supply of spare parts. The regulation assumes that that condition will cause prices to always be high and therefore only rich people will be able to afford kidneys. If the prices were high enough, then more people would donate, and prices would come down etc. The problem is that you also create incentives to criminally kidnap and kill random people and harvest their organs if the price is evenly reasonably high. (Street theft of visible gold jewelry is way up due to the high price of gold as a supporting example.) Removing this incentive would force some regulation of prices to such a low point that there would be no benefit to theft. Unfortunately, no one would willingly sell their organs at those prices either. Only cloning and remote growth of organs so that there is a steady supply of replacement parts will resolve this one.

    My bet is that blackmail laws were created by people who couldn’t really tell the difference between extortion or protection rackets and blackmail. And there really isn’t much. Also, I’m betting that there was a higher than normal incidence of murder of blackmailers which means that there isn’t necessarily a consequent improvement in the behavior of blackmailees by allowing blackmail.

  56. I know people are going to consider this trolling, but I do not get this as a libertarian argument. Yeah, child labor laws should be abolished, but why should the sex industry be treated any differently? The so called ‘selling themselves on the street’ is no such thing, they are merely performing a service in exchange for payment. In fact, they are being far more entrepreneurial than the ones working for pennies in a factory.

    Go ahead, start the insults…it happens everytime a stance like this is taken around here.

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