Friday, May 18, 2012

Does the State OWN You?

This week, the Facebook IPO was all over the news.  What a phenomenal story of how a few Harvard kids turned an idea into a global entity worth upwards of $100 Billion dollars.  Entrepreneurs created Facebook, not the State.

Now comes the side story of one of the founders, Eduardo Saverin, who is a native-born Brazilian.  In 1998, he became a U.S. citizen after his family fled Brazil.  Saverin now lives in Singapore and wants to become a citizen there.  The problem is that Singapore does not allow its citizens to retain dual citizenship.  It is also a plus that Singapore has a 20% income tax and no capital gains taxes.

This upsets the totalitarians that reside in Washington, D.C. - most especially Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Bob Casey (D-PA).  They find it "unfair" that a U.S. citizen would even think of escaping the benevolence of this fair country where people are asked to pay their "fair share" (whatever that means).

The two Senators have come forth with legislation called the "Ex-Patriot Act" (Patriot is short for the acronym: Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy).

Really?  Did George Orwell help craft this absurd and disgusting abomination?

This whole ordeal begs the fundamental question: do we all own ourselves or not?  According to these power drunk Senators, the answer to this question is an emphatic NO.  Of course (they would say), the State owns YOU and you must seek permission from it to do pretty much anything.

Here's a question.  What if Eduardo Saverin (or any other Facebook shareholder) wanted to take their company public on one of the other Stock Exchanges and relocate their company completely outside of the United States.  Would this be permitted by the State?

Our country is in a sad state of affairs when we have Senators who are so brazen and smitten by power to propose such an insidious piece of legislation as described above and THEN attach the word "Patriot" to it.

I could go on, but doing so would probably rupture a blood vessel.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How to Advance Liberty - by Leonard E. Reed

Leonard E. Reed (famous for his great work, I, Pencil) founded the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and is one of the best champions of liberty.

Here is a lecture of Reed back in the late 1970s.  How fortunate and privileged are we to have access to his insights and ideas!?  Simply amazing.

Now, the lecture does move a bit slow and groggy at times, but nuggets of gold are sprinkled throughout this lecture.

I'm especially drawn to 29:00 to 35:00 time slice where Reed talks about the "key" to advancing liberty and the example of Hoover Dam (nice name drop of the Quad Cities and Moline!).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why Marxism: C. Bradley Thompson

Professor C. Bradley Thompson recently gave an excellent seminar on Marxism that deserves anyone and everyone’s attention.  I’ve always wondered what the alluring “siren song” or stream of thought about Marxism that people were attracted

I believe Bradley Thompson does an excellent job of examining that stream of thought of most true believers.

Here is a short abstract of Prof. Thompson’s argument.

Here is the full seminar.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Intellectual Property and Ideas - Oracle vs. Google

As a software developer, strong opinions exist on the "open source" versus "proprietary" software debate with regards to "intellectual property".  Are patents or copyrights legally justified?  Does open-source software hinder or hurt innovation?

These are the sorts of questions that have been in the news lately as wireless and mobile phone carriers strive to limit competition and corner the market through a myriad of barriers to entry said companies erect to squash new entrepreneurial entrants.

Today, it is common place now a days for software giants to stockpile a war chest of "patents" for chunks of functionality for a given electronic device.  How silly is it that if I'm off in a lab at the center of the earth trying to design the NEXT big thing (let's say some type of Operating System for a phone).  But, if I'm using some commonly used design patterns, code, and algorithms which someone else already implemented in a current  product blessed by the State's patent office, I'm up a creek without a paddle..

Why does this madness pass the legal smell test?

The absurdity of intellectual property has really been exposed in ongoing Oracle vs. Google (Android OS) battle.  Can anyone make any sense out of this?  Since Google implemented and used some JAVA "APIs" (Application Programming Interfaces) when it was building its code base for its Android OS (from scratch), allegedly Google "damaged" and "stole" resources from Oracle?  Really?

Exactly what "property" was stolen and in what way was ownership transferred from Oracle to Google?  Couldn't Oracle have come up with an OS faster and better than Google if it had access and knowledge of these super secret APIs?  Would Oracle be suing Google if it wasn't one of the largest market cap phone software providers?

APIs are really just mechanisms for reading and writing data between two software entities.  For example, Twitter has some elegant, yet simple APIs for reading and writing "tweets" on different software applications.  If I write a similar application that uses the same API design to mimic the Twitter APIs, have I stolen or taken anything away from Twitter?  No!!!  All I've done is reuse the method/model of how data is conveniently exchanged.

I understand people may not have thought through all of the nuances of intellectual property and the justification of force by the State to grant monopoly privilege to such things as described above.  But, I hope this trial is a wake-up call for what is in store if Oracle wins this ridiculous case.

**Coercion vs. Cooperation: Against the State** with Professor Gerard Casey

You can download the interview from this link.

Podcast Interview: The Philosophy of Liberty and Anarchy with Professor Gerard Casey.

Professor Casey teaches Philosophy at University College Dublin and is also an Adjunct Scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.  He earned his Masters and PhD at the University of Notre Dame.  His research interests include Political Philosophy (Libertarian Anarchism), Aristotle, and Aquinas.

You can email Professor Casey at

Professor Casey is the author of two important books. One is The Worldview of Murray Rothbard (published last year as part of a 20 volume series on Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers).  His new book, Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State, will be released September 2012.

Who was Murray Rothbard as a Political Philosopher and Historian?  What was the approach to his scholarship in these roles?  What was the common ingredient to Rothbard's intellectual toolkit he applied to so many areas of study?

How valuable is Natural Law Ethics to the Philosophy of Liberty and Law?  What can Rothbard's The Ethics of Liberty teach us about Natural Law?

What IS Anarchy and what is Anarchy NOT?  Is anarchy synonymous with chaos, death, and destruct ion?

How did the State originate?  What is The State's history as it relates to war making and excessive taxation? What are current and historical examples of Stateless and Anarchic societies?

Do all Libertarians identify themselves as Libertines?  What is the difference?  And, why is the non-aggression principle the ultimate guide post for Libertarians who advocate a free society that thrives on peaceful cooperation vs. coercion?

Can Law, Order, and Security be provided without The State?  If so, what is the fate of the State once more people come to understand this point? 

How can you help convince others about these arguments?

Please tune in to hear a riveting discussion with special guest Gerard Casey about these important topics.