Libertarian Moment

A Short History of Libertarian Moments

From the 1920s to today

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Tonight my colleague Matt Welch will appear onstage at the Cato Institute, where he'll debate whether we're in the midst of a libertarian moment.

That phrase has been bumping around ever since Matt wrote a Reason feature with Nick Gillespie called "The Libertarian Moment" back in 2008. The term got more exposure after Robert Draper published a piece in The New York Times two years ago called "Has the 'Libertarian Moment' Finally Arrived?" Matt and Nick's story argued that there has been a broad social trend toward choice, individualism, and a breakdown of monopoly institutions, and that politics will eventually have to catch up. Draper's article was mostly just focused on the politics, with a particular interest in Sen. Rand Paul. Any argument about whether a libertarian moment is ongoing or over or never got started has to begin by figuring out whether you're responding to the Welch/Gillespie vision of a long shift or to Draper's snapshot of a candidate on the verge of what turned out to be a dud of a presidential campaign.

At the risk of making it even easier for people to talk past each other, let me suggest yet another way to think about a libertarian moment: as an actual historical moment. Or, more exactly, as a kind of historical moment. Two kinds, really.

Keep cool with Cagney.
Warner Bros.

The first is what you might call a libertarian interval: eras that fall between the kinds of crises, usually wars, that fuel government growth and encourage a culture of "common purpose." One example is the stretch of time—the 1920s, basically—that came between World War I and the Great Depression. This was hardly a period of pure libertarianism, given that laws like Prohibition were on the books, but it's still a decade widely associated with individualism in culture and antistatism in politics. Less well-remembered is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in the mid-1940s, when World War II was over and the Cold War had not yet fully begun. To modern eyes this brief time may look "left-wing," inasmuch as there was still a faint hope for peaceful coexistence with the Communist bloc. Or it might look "right-wing," given Washington's retreat on several economic fronts: Wartime controls were lifted, there was a sudden sharp decline in federal spending, and in 1946 voters elected the so-called "do nothing Congress," which tended to be skeptical about economic interventions (with one significant exception, which we'll get to below). It certainly looks different from the years immediately before and after it.

And then, of course, there's the '90s interval that separates the Cold War from the War on Terror. The modern libertarian movement grew in size and influence then. But it also boomed in two other recent periods, neither of which fits this model. One is the 1970s, and the other began with Ron Paul's presidential campaign of 2007-08. These moments didn't come between crises. They came when the state and other powerful institutions seemed utterly incapable of handling the crises that were already ongoing. The '70s saw stagflation, the failure of a major war, and a series of scandals that undermined the moral authority of both the presidency and the national security agencies. The late '00s featured another failed war and a financial crisis that, like the stagflation episode, forced Americans to question the wisdom of the allegedly expert stewards of the economy. If the '20s, the mid-'40s, and the '90s are libertarian intervals, these might be called libertarian disillusionments.

A libertarian moment
Charles M. Schulz

Needless to say, libertarianism isn't the only movement that thrives in these moments. An interval between crises can unleash all kinds of activities. The end of World War II, for example, meant that a bunch of wartime restrictions on labor activism were removed; the Cold War brought a new crackdown on radical organizers. In between, there was a wave of militant labor activism. (In addition to that Cold War crackdown—though it wasn't entirely unrelated—1947 saw the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act, which imposed new restrictions on labor organizing. Interestingly, the law also struck a blow against the libertarian elements of the right: George Lipsitz makes a strong case in Rainbow at Midnight that Taft-Hartley reflected a shift away from conservative efforts to roll back the corporate-liberal order and towards a willingness to try to bend that order to their own ends.) A range of movements thrive during disillusionments, too: When a society's central institutions seem to be failing, anti-institutional ideas of all kinds can take hold. The '70s were boom years for everyone from Naderites to Reaganites; libertarians alternately allied and competed with movements of both the left and the right. The last nine years, similarly, have seen surges in both left-wing and right-wing activism, some of it libertarian-friendly and some of it not.

If a libertarian interval ends with a new crisis being declared, how does a disillusionment-driven moment end? It's hard to say, given that I've identified just two of those periods and the second hasn't necessarily wrapped up yet. But one thing should be clear: With a strong enough feeling of crisis, even a battered consensus can reassert itself.

The once-bright possibility of a left/right alliance against overpolicing and mass incarceration has dramatically dimmed, with Republicans who once seemed open to criminal justice reform instead talking in crisis terms about crime, riots, and the mythical "war on cops." Similarly, it's been just three years since a left/right alliance against the national security state seemed to be emerging, with not just Rand Paul but even Ted Cruz speaking out against NSA surveillance. The electorate was increasingly skeptical about military intervention abroad—for a brief period, a plurality even regretted the war in Afghanistan—and public pressure helped prevent (or at least delay) American intervention in Syria. But the rise of ISIS has revived the sense of crisis and pushed the GOP back toward the martial rhetoric we saw in the Bush era. Whether or not we're living in a libertarian moment, we're certainly living in a backlash moment.

But backlashes don't always succeed. The movement against the carceral state is still extremely active, even if it isn't the transpartisan coalition it used to be. And the Republican frontrunner did just manage to win the South Carolina primary—South Carolina!—while declaring the Iraq war "a big fat mistake" and saying "they lied" when "they said there were weapons of mass destruction." Donald Trump is not a dove and it would be foolish to expect him to govern as one, but his ability to say such things without paying a political price shows that an inchoate anti-interventionist sentiment still has a home on the right.

I called these periods libertarian moments, but it might be better to call them moments of possibility: times when the traditional institutions of power are less able to set the agenda, when ideas from the margins suddenly show up in the center. We're clearly at a time like that now. The question for libertarians is how to adjust to those shifting sands. Or, put differently, how to try to seize the moment.

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  1. The Libertarian Moment:

    The momentary hallucination of freedom one experiences in the period between telling a government to fuck itself, and said government responding with overwhelming violence.

    1. I.e. when the drugs kick in

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  3. Is this comment an example of a libertarian moment?

    1. No, but this one is.

      1. I thought it was another masturbation euphemism.

  4. Libertarian Moment

    These masturbation euphemisms are taking a decidedly political turn.

  5. “” Matt and Nick’s story argued that there has been a broad social trend toward choice, individualism, and a breakdown of monopoly institutions, and that politics will eventually have to catch up.”

    And what Matt and Nick missed is that at the same time there has been a broad social trend towards suppression of the individual in favor of group identity, especially around class, race, and sex along with a broad trend denying individual rights in favor of group rights and a denial of the even the existance of natural rights and private property.

    Sure technology is making individuals more powerful and more capable vis a vis the government and corporations but individuals are responding to that by becoming less and less interested in freedom and individuality.

    So no, there is no libertarian moment.

    1. Indeed, more people are wholeheartedly rejecting individuality than are embracing it. Add to that the fact that younger and younger people are being encouraged to get political so they can take their proper role in the almighty state.

    2. a denial of the even the existance of natural rights

      This is the most important part. Natural rights (and the philosophy of moral absolutism that they’re founded upon) are the antithesis of totalitarianism. How some libertarians are able to hold a liberty-loving worldview without natural rights, I’ll never know. However, ever since the Holmes dissent in Lochner, “rights” are just those things we all agree that you can do.

      I think that the word liberty in the Fourteenth Amendment is perverted when it is held to prevent the natural outcome of a dominant opinion, unless it can be said that a rational and fair man necessarily would admit that the statute proposed would infringe fundamental principles as they have been understood by the traditions of our people and our law.

      Anybody who thinks that this country has been hunky dory until [insert 20th or 21st century President here] is ignorant of history.

    3. there has been a broad social trend towards suppression of the individual in favor of group identity, especially around class, race, and sex

      A trend that in some cases they personally supported the group identity. When I voted for Harry Browne last century he wisely stated that the recognition of personal relationships was explicitly un-Libertarian. For Matt and Nick, government expansion in the name of “fairness” or “equality” is “libertarian”.

      Who hired Weigal, after all? Someone fantastically ignorant or someone who was a fellow traveller? Who declared Chapman “reason staff”?

      There is not now, nor will there ever be, a Libertarian moment.

  6. Optimists are also like moments.

    1. Infinitely divisible?

  7. how to try to seize the moment

    The libertarian moment died in the same issue (Dec 2008) it was announced. The only opportunity to question the very idea of monopoly/cartel control of money itself – when tens of millions of Americans were witnessing and objecting to the economic crisis (and govt bailout) that results when a critical cartel/monopoly fails. ‘Libertarianism’ offered nothing except ‘end mark-to-market’ (ie allow the monopolist to be dishonest about its balance sheet to its lenders – and the monopolist will end the liquidity crisis it creates). Mont Pelerin Society didn’t even mention competitive money or central banking or the new global ‘dollar-standard’ at its special meeting in early 2009 to specifically discuss the financial crisis – much less how to get from here to there during a financial crisis (which is the only time it can happen).

    On economic issues, classical liberals and libertarians sacrificed all their ideas to the nominal value of their retirement/savings. And in so doing sacrificed all possible communication of the value of those ideas to the vast majority of people who don’t have much retirement/savings. If libertarianism is about nothing more than gay marriage and pot, it is irrelevant because it chooses to be so. It made its fatal compromise – leaving the field of ‘economic solutions’ free for Occupy/Sanders/Trump/LePen/Syriza/etc.

    1. Who the fuck is the Mont Pelerin Society and why does all of libertarianism and classical liberalism moreover have to answer for their alleged “failures”?

      1. Mont Pelerin Society is the group of free market economists and classical liberals (Hayek, Mises, Friedman, Popper, Hazlitt, Becker, Buckley, Posner – the names are freaking endless) who influenced Erhard, Thatcher, Reagan, Luhnow, KochBros, Cato, Heritage, Hoover and pretty much everyone else (the list is endless) worldwide who has advocated deregulation, neoliberalism, globalization, freetrade, privatization/etc since WW2.

        1. Most of the names that matter were attached to dead people as of 2009.

          Why don’t you make a more substantive critique instead of railing on about some group that nobody held up as an authority in the first place.

          1. Fine. Here’s the 2010 member list – http://www.economicpolicyjourn…..-list.html

            It includes such names David Boaz, James Buchanan, Veronique de Rugy, Thomas diLorenzo, Charles Koch, William Niskanen, Thomas Sowell, etc

            This ain’t an irrelevant group of dead people on this website.

            1. well looks like Buchanan and Niskanen are dead. Hard to keep track of classical liberals and libertarians since the ones who are taking over from the previous generation are selling classical liberalism down the toilet

              1. Who gives a fuck?

    2. On economic issues, classical liberals and libertarians sacrificed all their ideas to the nominal value of their retirement/savings.

      There are reams of text on this very website whereby many people, from practically all walks of life, make clear their adherence to principles even at the expense of their own wallet.

      Who are you talking about?

      1. There is virtually NOTHING on this website during that period (say March 2008 (Bear Stearns) to March 2009 (end of mark-to-market and stock market turnaround). And the financial/banking/monetary articles that do exist are the ones with virtually no comments (so I presume no interest in the subject by commentariat).

        Any adherence to ‘principles’ post-March 2009 is hypothetical only. For reasons that make a lot of sense, it is only DURING a crisis that any change to something as fundamental to the market as ‘money’ will ever be considered. And I haven’t honestly even seen much written since then to lay the foundation for what to do in the next financial crisis (which has already started).

        1. There are lots of articles in that arbitrary time period meeting your arbitrary standards, like say this one.

          It sounds like you are looking for something in particular but you won’t articulate just what it is. So spit it out or stop spouting drivel already.

          And the answer as to what the government should do in a “financial crisis” is pretty clear, actually: not a goddamn thing. The government should not be propping the markets up and should not be regulating them. That doesn’t require any sort of “crisis” to enact.

          1. Wonderful – an article that focuses 100% on DOMESTIC consequences/causes of what was a GLOBAL crisis (that extended well beyond sub-prime mortgages in the US). The same crap that classical liberals failed at during the Depression. Focusing entirely on the irrelevancies/diversions (back then the Keynesian nonsense of fiscal deficits and work programs and relief). And completely ignoring the actual reason there was no recovery then – there was no MONEY for a market system to work and send price signals. My grandfather was a dentist (reasonably skilled) in the Dust Bowl area then. They survived by BARTER (toothache for chickens). Barter is exactly where a ‘successful’ deflation leads – and deflation IS the problem post-2008 as well.

            I don’t expect anarcho circlejerkers to ever come up with anything that has anything to do with reality. But I do expect classical liberals to know the nightwatchmen functions of the state that are actually required for the MARKET to function. Whether that is putting an alternative money system in place (so that the banks can be allowed to fail and reduce their money supplied to the market – eg a postal savings system tied to short-term govt debt). Or expanding bankruptcy courts so that property/debts can be reallocated before the entire system locks-up. And YES – that (and other things as well) requires government action/change.

            1. The only reason the government, exclusively, would have to do what you’ve described above, is if there is only one currency in circulation. If there were multiple currencies, there would be exits that wouldn’t require only government solutions to a government created problem.

              Of course, when your money is monopolized and socialized, by government fiat, then you have to turn to it to resolve the problems it has created. That’s where the endless cycle of government screwing things up, only to have the people appeal to it to “fix” the problem. It only creates more problems.

              The good news is, the whole rotten edifice is going to come down shortly. What comes after? That’s up to us.

              1. Multiple currencies won’t arise spontaneously in the middle of a crisis. That is just a cold hard reality that is verified in every single crisis in history.

                And there is little interest in them outside a crisis to do the heavy lifting that is needed to create an alternative. If you don’t believe me, just look at UT/TX/LA/OK/etc. They all passed state legislation post-2008 making AG/AU coins legal tender. Just like CO/WA legalized pot. None of them have done anything to actually make it happen – no pressure whatsoever to do anything like increasing mintage, changing face value so it is more than metal value, nothing. So it is as irrelevant as SC saying that horses must wear diapers.

              2. I don’t really have anything worth mentioning in the way of savings, but if I did Id be considering turning it all into bitcoin

            2. Or expanding bankruptcy courts so that property/debts can be reallocated before the entire system locks-up. And YES – that (and other things as well) requires government action/change.

              Why? First of all, are you talking about the literal number of bankruptcy courts, or the amount of debt that is being canceled by them?

              If the former, then that is perhaps understandable but I still see no reason why it is centered around the locus of “crisis”. If we don’t have enough courts, then we may need more of them, but that can and should be addressed at any time. In fact, it is better to address it in times of calm and relative good fortune, since competent judges and attorneys don’t grow on trees.

              If the latter, then perhaps we have a mismatch of terminology here. The courts can cancel more debts simply by canceling more debts; there is no need for a new statute unless the courts are hamstrung by a standing law. Bankruptcy was traditionally a matter for the common law, after all.

              However, cancellation of debt should always be a last resort. Partial repayment and other restructuring should be tried first. In a lot of cases, debts were evidently bad before the “crisis” even began.

              There is no call to action for the nightwatchman when you have entered into a debt you cannot pay unless and until the lender shows up at your door and breaks your legs.

              1. Yeah – I mean staffing up bankruptcy courts by magnitudes. Probably trustee stuff for the bigger ones. Because the immediate consequence of a financial crisis is tens of millions of bankruptcies. And if those aren’t resolved peacefully, fast, and fairly; then they will be resolved violently and by force. And the ‘non-aggression principle’ that libertarians purport to believe in will be violated the second the crisis reaches a certain stage.

                And your advocacy that ‘debts shouldn’t really be cancelled’ is little more than asking for a return of debtors prisons like Marshalsea (which was, in fact, the private sectors solution to creditor/debtor disputes that made it into the court system in 18th century England).

                1. I did not say that debts should never be canceled.

                  In order for debtors’ prisons to “return”, they would have to be gone in the first place. Many people are in prison for failure to pay fines and taxes.

                  Less cynically, debtors’ prison is foolish. People can’t pay their debts in prison, and the “deterrent effect” should not be an end unto itself.

                  1. I would suggest you read how debtors prisons actually worked. Whatever property they had was taken by the creditor. The prison was the alternative to being homeless. Nor was it ‘punishment’ (transportation was the punishment for ‘hopeless’ cases). They remained there – at night – with their faces being chewed off by rats next to corpses – until they were able to earn back the remainder of their debt and pay it to the creditor. And if that took forever or until death, well THAT was considered the deterrent.

                    1. Nothing you said refutes or even addresses what I said.

                2. And the ‘non-aggression principle’ that libertarians purport to believe in will be violated the second the crisis reaches a certain stage.

                  Is this supposed to be clever? Like, you’re the first person who ever thought that people get violent in “economic crises”?

                  No shit. There’s more than one reason for the Second Amendment. What is your point?

                  1. I guess my point is that libertarians with assets are perfectly happy to make fatal compromises with statism to ensure that their assets are protected from those without assets. Except that they aren’t really ‘compromises’ because that is the reason the state EXISTS.

                    Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all – Adam Smith

                    1. Why, exactly, do I need to be protected from “those without assets” unless they intend to take those assets from me?

                      Everything you say just tells me you’re a thief or an enabler for thieves. You don’t want to earn it, you want to take it.

                      Fuck off, slaver.

      2. there are reams of text on this very website whereby many people, from practically all walks of life, make clear their adherence to principles even at the expense of their own wallet.

        There are? I usually read that since government has taxed people they are going to take what they can. Principals over principles. Matt and Nick both send their children to public schools, for fucks sake. I regularly read on this pages how since you are getting taxed anyway, government wealth transfers are completely cool. I would bet that if you polled people here there would be a clear majority who plan on collecting social security because “they paid in”.

        No, these pages are usually “two wrongs make a right”.

        1. Are you Spartacus, Marshall Gill?

          1. In case anyone doesn’t get the reference:

            http://www.thornwalker.com/ditch/spartacus.htm

        2. I said they adhere to principles, not follow a code of asceticism.

    3. Plenty of libertarians and quasi-libertarians offered all kinds of solutions in 2008 and 2009. They were all ignored by those in power.

      1. Name them – and link to what they said then. Because even Ron Paul (the only pol then who could have been clued in to non-mainstream ‘libertarian’ stuff) spouted off then about 1921 (a normal business/inventory cycle) and had nothing to distinguish that from a true financial crisis (a failure of banking/money).

        1. The only failure of banking is one of depositors, not bankers per se. You cannot deposit a sum into an account, expect to collect interest on that balance, and then be able to withdraw the entire amount on demand. It is fundamentally impossible. In order to make interest, your money must be loaned out; if it is loaned out, then you can’t withdraw it. Banks provide some convenience to you in the form of their reserves, but the only action you might have against them is failure to adhere to a contract established between you and them (or fraudulent dealings by them w/r/t the same).

          In terms of the three functions of money, yes it can fail as a “store of value”. But there is no way to indelibly store value. There is no commodity immune to fluctuations of value. Even with the government running the central bank, there is not some grand policy scheme that should be particularly undertaken in the event of a “financial crisis”. The greatest takeaway from the 1920s is that you should not be storing the entirety of your savings in banks and other financial institutions. But the government has undertaken a conscious effort, at the behest of voters, to push everyone into doing just that.

          Then someone like Ron Paul points out the folly of it in historical context, but you look past the substantive critique and obsess about the historical commentary.

          1. I can give you an example of one money alternative during a crisis. A postal savings system (post offices are the branches and already in place, savings mechanism is invested in very very short-term govt debt – all that is needed to ‘complete’ it as a monetary system is a settlements system and minting coins for withdrawal). The US had that from 1911-1966. Most countries still do have it in one form or another (though usually castrated by now). Indeed the Federal Reserve system was created specifically to exclude its ‘lender of last resort’ functions from ANY long-term banking loans (eg mortgages). That function was solely for ‘working capital financing’ which self-liquidates within a few months max. Banks obviously hate this (and will do what they can to kill it) because it forces them to compete for short-term on-demand deposits. But it eliminates the balance sheet mismatch which is the cause of 100% of bank runs and financial crises. God forbid libertarians try to restore some govt-based money that actually existed before the Federal Reserve and that was based on actual coinage (not debt) that could be used in daily commerce.

            And if you think Rothbard/Paul have the ‘market solution’ for this you’re wrong. Rothbard wanted to ban all fractional-reserve banking itself – which is a pretty statist thing to do. And no Hayekian/private alternative will pop up to resolve the crisis during the crisis – see the total failure of Bitcoin in Greece.

            1. So you want to eat the cake and have it, too.

              An interest-paying account, such as a postal savings account, that does not involve lending is a fiction. Every dollar of interest you are paid by the government either has to come from taxes or debt. Regardless, “you” (the taxpayer/US currency holder) are just paying “yourself” (the account holder). This may be a useful fiction, in the same way some people prefer to have more withheld from their paychecks so they get a big tax refund later, but it is just accounting trickery, not something fundamentally different from the present character of finance.

              I never mentioned Rothbard. And barter is a market solution. So is issuing scrip and other informal currency. A lot of morons held up Bitcoin as some sort of savior currency, but that’s neither here nor there. Your problem is that you think if it doesn’t come from the government, it doesn’t matter. That’s your fault, not mine.

              1. I didn’t say anything about paying interest on deposits. Hell banks don’t pay interest on their deposits either anymore just in case you hadn’t noticed. And we are soon heading into negative interest and confiscation territory – with banks STILL as the monopolist of the monetary system.

                Barter is not a market solution that anyone rational wants. It works in POW camps or in the middle of Depressions or hyperinflations when everything is crumbling to pieces. And let me reiterate why barter is the only end result of a ‘successful’ deflation. Because if all loans in the banking system were actually paid off, THERE WOULD BE NO MONEY. IOW, a banking-based money cannot be the sole source of money to the market because it ceases to supply money to the market whenever banks need to retrench their balance sheets. And every bank will need to occasionally retrench their lending because shit happens sometimes.

                1. And the difference between a postal savings system and the current banking system is there is no balance sheet mismatch. Banks borrow short and lend long and they run a risk of failure for all sorts of reasons that are related solely to that mismatch. A postal savings system borrows short and lends short – and government itself is the guarantor of those deposits because govt debt perpetually rolled over is the entirety of them.

                  I suspect the real reason that libertarians can’t imagine postal savings is because it destroys the class-warfare fiction that only the wealthy can finance govt. So the wealthy must be given a monopoly on distributing govt debt (and then using financial engineering to create money out of thin air based on that debt). And the wealthy must be the ones who decide what tax rates they can live with and what are necessary for trickle-down to work. Its the scam that libertarians simply refuse to admit exists.

                  1. A postal savings system borrows short and lends short

                    Why would the postal savings system need to borrow anything if it doesn’t pay interest?

                    and government itself is the guarantor of those deposits because govt debt perpetually rolled over is the entirety of them

                    The ability to perpetually roll over debt presupposes a constant growth of value. There has never been an economy in the history of the world that consistently grew and moreover at a constant rate.

                    And where is the government going to get the capital year-over-year to guarantee these deposits in perpetuity?

                    And the wealthy must be the ones who decide what tax rates they can live with and what are necessary for trickle-down to work. Its the scam that libertarians simply refuse to admit exists.

                    What do tax rates on “the wealthy” have to do with this?

                    The more you elucidate what you believe, the more the real scam become obvious. Your system is going to “work” in the same way every other socialist system “works”, by onerous taxation. The only one engaged in “class warfare” here is you. You want to get your hands on other people’s lucre, and you want to act like they’ve done some irreparable harm to you in order to justify it. You don’t like the NAP because it tells you not to steal.

                2. I didn’t say anything about paying interest on deposits

                  Both the British and American postal savings systems paid interest. If you’re just talking about putting money into a vault, then open a safety deposit box.

                  with banks STILL as the monopolist of the monetary system

                  The only bank in a monopolist position is the Federal Reserve, chartered by and answerable to the United States government.

                  IOW, a banking-based money cannot be the sole source of money to the market

                  You are presuming things that don’t exist. There is no other source of money because one of three functions of money is to serve as a medium of exchange. Anything that behaves like money is going to be backed by something that behaves like a bank. Otherwise, the paper with numbers on it is just paper with numbers on it, and people are only going to accept payment-in-kind or barter. Even gold is worthless when what I need is food to feed my family.

                  1. The Federal Reserve is chartered by federal legislation. It is OWNED by banks. And the shares that those banks own pay a 6% dividend before the remainder of any profit is sent to the Treasury. Sweet deal eh – banks can pay nothing for deposits, deposit it all at the Fed and get paid for that – and then get a 6% dividend on the Feds profits on top of that. But hey – I’m sure they are really just victims here.

                    And ‘safety deposit boxes’ are not money. And stop pretending that this is so obtuse. The Japanese Post Bank has $2 trillion in deposits which makes it bigger than any bank in the US or Japan. Probably half of Deutsche Bank’s deposits are actually Deutsche Post deposits (though this is exactly the sort of crappy cronyism that is gonna lead Deutsche Bank into bankruptcy/nationalization and Germany into revolution when the next crisis hits). The Post Bank of China has deposits comparable to HSBC and larger than any bank in Canada.

                    1. But hey – I’m sure they are really just victims here.

                      More things I never said.

                      And ‘safety deposit boxes’ are not money.

                      Neither is a savings account that pays not interest and can’t be loaned out!

                      The amount these “postal banks” have on deposit is not money.

                    2. Those deposits are as much money as a govt money market fund is right now. They are used to buy short-term T-bills and whatever the govt spends that money on goes right into circulation. There is no leverage. If there is a run on deposits, then you would get the actual T-bills which in that scenario (barring alien invasion) would be govt-guaranteed cash precisely equal to the face value of the T-bill.

                      Can it be designed to foster corruption or excess govt or cronyism or somesuch? I’m sure it could – which is precisely why it should be libertarians who should be advocating the system so it doesn’t have that shit in it. but libertarians seem to be too freaking clueless that ‘US dollar’ is actually a money that is in demand – as money – here in the US. And it is completely reasonable for the entity that owns that currency’s trade name to make sure that the market that demands it can be supplied with it. What 2008 should’ve proven to even the most idiotic is that farming out that function solely through banks can be a source of cronyism, extortion, and failure – ie crisis.

  8. Did you blink? Then you missed the libertarian microsecond. So now married gay couples can share a joint while reloading .45 cal cartridges. BFD.

    Want to start a business? Speak your mind on a state college campus? Hire someone you know instead of the handicapped, black Lesbian with a Spanish surname and a gaggle of EEOC lawyers? Maybe you don’t want a health insurance policy that covers pregnancy since you’re a 60 year old man? Like using your cell phone to keep your personal data? Maybe you don’t think that it’s necessary to let the government monitor your phone calls or track your location with cell phone metadata?

    Maybe you don’t believe that there’s a war on cops or perhaps you think that ISIS may not be the greatest threat that the US has ever faced?

    After all, you live in the freest country on earth (except for 19 others including Sweden, Canada and even Chile) and you should be grateful that you are still allowed to keep 55% of your income (even if you only get spend it on state approved goods and services) and that you don’t have to pledge allegiance to big government every morning (unless you’re a kid in a government school).

    Freedom, like economics, has its booms and its busts. This may not be the liberty equivalent of the Great Depression, but it’s well on its way to period of negative growth.

    Hillaristas vs the Trumpanauts is should be a Japanese monster movie instead of a documentary.

    1. Nice.

    2. This X 1,000,000. I see no reason to be optimistic about the immediate future wrt liberty.

    3. Do you have a newsletter?

  9. Libertarian moments in US history:

    1776, Declaration of Independence is signed, acknowledging the natural human right of revolution against government.

    1777, Articles of Confederation adopted, forming a weak central government

    1791, Bill of Rights adopted, putting a few explicit limits on government power

    1933, Alcohol Prohibition ends

    That’s about it.

    1. You forgot :

      1960: C. Anacreon born.

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  11. “The once-bright possibility of a left/right alliance against overpolicing and mass incarceration has dramatically dimmed, with Republicans who once seemed open to criminal justice reform instead talking in crisis terms about crime, riots, and the mythical “war on cops.””

    I would suggest that one cause of this unfortunate change is the eruption of riots in Ferguson and Baltimore, ostensibly for the cause of police and criminal justice reform. (though I doubt that the people burning and looting minority-owned stores were acting out of a social justice agenda)

    And the fact that the “libertarian” voices on criminal-justice reform were out-shouted by the “everyone’s a racist,” “Our Retardation Matters” activists who put the issue in terms of a honky oppressor majority trampling on black people – so let’s get The Man’s attention by disrupting his shopping!

    Just the climate in which to put forward ideas for reducing criminal penalties!

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