Saturday, December 29, 2012

gun script examines the firearms-restrictions of various countries and the incidence of violence per-capita, and concludes that there is a negative correlation between firearms-restrictions and the incidence of violence (which is to say, where there are firearms-restrictions, there is a statistical increase in the rate of violent-crime per capita)... but it wasn't an extrodinarily strong negative correlation; suggesting that firearms-restrictions have some effect to increase violence, but that the incidence of violence per capita is related much more strongly to unexamined factors (political/economic/cultural/social) than to firearms-restrictions/firearms-ownership.

Also, John Lott's book, "More Guns, Less Crime" is also an interesting analysis demonstrating a similar negative correlation between firearms-restrictions and incidence of violence per capita but I would have preferred to see alternative statistical-techniques in Lott's work.

Here are some other perspectives to consider:

I'm concerned about how disparities of power, would have a tendency to increase the profit-potential of those who have the greater power. I observe that there are numerous news stories about illegal-drugs found in prisons, which indicates to me, that legal-prohibitions do not in fact, eliminate the prohibited item. If there is a prohibition on a kind of firearm, the firearm will not be eliminated, but will have a grey/black-market providing that firearm at increased costs. But those who wish to obey the legal-prohibition (probably out of fear to avoid punishment) are possibly thereby less able to defend themselves, creating a disparity of power, between those who wish to obey the prohibition and those who ignore the prohibition, which could potentially increase the incidence of violence. Because my objective would be to decrease the incidence of violence, I could not rationally support a restriction/prohibition that could create a power-disparity between different sets of persons; prohibition/restriction is not effective for "illegal drugs" & similiarly, I would not expect it to decrease the rate of violence if the prohibition/restriction were to be extended to particular forms of tools/implements of "firearms".

Using violence/coercion/bullying of government to reduce violence/coercion/bullying does not appear to me to be a rational or effective strategy.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


If politicians believed that "gun-control" reduced violence, why wouldn't they disarm the military & police?  Would the reason be because disarmament may only have the desired outcomes of peace, if all persons/"nations" agreed? But if those parties already agreed on peace, then why was the disarmament component a necessary step?

  If disarmament is the goal, why is armament required to enforce the disarmament? How does using force/violence of a minority group of armed-persons, to disarm the majority of persons, help to reduce the violence? Would not "gun-control" as it is typically advocated, potentially increase power-disparities, between those minorities of persons who either enforce the disarmament or those who ignore the disarmament-rules, and the majority of persons who are forcibly disarmed?  Would not that power-disparity, increase the potential profit of the armed groups to victimize/abuse/oppress the unarmed groups, and thus increase the potential for violence?

How many people have been killed by "private" murderers in the last century?
How many people were killed by dictators such as Pol Pot, or Stalin or agents of other political leaders in the last century?

If the purpose of "gun-control" is to reduce violence, and if political-states have killed more people than "private" murderers, then why wouldn't the object/goal of violence-reduction be to disarm governments/nations/political-agents?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Shaw: justify your existence

“ I don’t want to punish anybody, but there are an extraordinary number of people who I might want to kill…I think it would be a good thing to make everybody come before a properly appointed board just as he might come before the income tax commissioner and say every 5 years or every 7 years…just put them there and say , ‘Sir or madam will you be kind enough to justify your existence…if you’re not producing as much as you consume or perhaps a little bit more then clearly we cannot use the big organization of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive. Because your life does not benefit us and it can’t be of very much use to yourself.’ 
~George Bernard Shaw

[Fabian Socialist; Cecil Rhodes; Malthusian catastrophe->Darwinism->Eugenics=>Social Engineering]

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Quigley: Tragedy and Hope A History of the World in Our Time [Excerpt]

Quigley: Tragedy and Hope A History of the World in Our Time

Tragedy and Hope A History of the World in Our Time By Carroll Quigley (1966)

"...[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. this system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations...."
"It must not be felt that these heads of the world's chief central banks were themselves substantive powers in world finance. They were not. Rather, they were the technicians and agents of the dominant investment bankers of their own countries, who had raised them up and were perfectly capable of throwing them down. The substantive financial powers of the world were in the hands of these investment bankers (also called 'international' or 'merchant' bankers) who remained largely behind the scenes in their own unincorporated private banks. These formed a system of international cooperation and national dominance which was more private, more powerful, and more secret than that of their agents in the central banks. this dominance of investment bankers was based on their control over the flows of credit and investment funds in their own countries and throughout the world. They could dominate the financial and industrial systems of their own countries by their influence over the flow of current funds though bank loans, the discount rate, and the re-discounting of commercial debts; they could dominate governments by their own control over current government loans and the play of the international exchanges. Almost all of this power was exercised by the personal influence and prestige of men who had demonstrated their ability in the past to bring off successful financial coupes, to keep their word, to remain cool in a crisis, and to share their winning opportunities with their associates."



by:  Carroll Quigley

Excerpted from pp. 950 - 955 - detailing the establishment of the "New York branch of the ROYAL INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS". . . the:


     There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the radical Right believes the Communists act.  In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Group has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, of any other groups, and frequently does so.  

     I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960's, to examine its papers and secret records.  I have no aversion to it or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments.

     I have objected, but in the past and recently, to a few of its policies (notably to its belief that England was an Atlantic rather than a European Power and must be allied, or even federated, with the United States and must remain isolated from Europe), but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wished to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.

     The Round Table Groups have already been mentioned in this book several times, notably in connection with the formation of the British Commonwealth in chapter 4 and in the discussion of appeasement in chapter 12 ("the Cliveden Set").  

     At the risk of some repetition, the story will be summarized here, because the American branch of this oganization (sometimes called the "Eastern Establishment") has played a very significant role in the history of the United States in the last generation.

     The Round Table Groups were semi-secret discussion and lobbying groups organized by Lionel Curtis, Philip H. Kerr (Lord Lothian), and (Sir) William S. Marris in 1908-1911.  This was done on behalf of Lord Milner, the dominant Trustee of the Rhodes Trust in the two decades 1905-1925.

     The original purpose of these groups was to seek to federate the English-speaking world along lines laid down by Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) and William T. Stead, (1840-1912), and the money for the organizational work came originally from the Rhodes Trust.  

     By 1915 Round Table groups existed in seven countries, including England, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and a rather loosely organized group in the United States (George Louis Beer, Walter Lippman, Frank Avdelotte, Whitney Shepardson, Thomas W. Lamont, Jerome D. Greene, Erwin D. Canham of the Christian Science Monitor, and others).

     The attitudes of the various groups were coordinated by frequent visits and discussions and by a well-informed and totally anonymous quarterly magazine, The Round Table, whose first issue, largely written by Philip Kerr, appeared in November 1910.

     The leaders of this group were: Milner, until his death in 1915, followed by Curtis (1872-1955), Robert H. (Lord) Brand -- brother-in-law of Lady Astor -- until his death in 1963, and now Adam D. Marris, son of Sir William and Brand's successor as managing director of Lazard Brothers bank. The original intention had been to have collegial leadership, but Milner was too secretive and headstrong to share the role.

     He did so only in the period 1913-1919 when he held regular meetings with some of his closest friends to coordinate their activities as a pressure group in the struggle with Wilhelmine Germany. This they called their "Ginger Group".  After Milner's death in 1925, the leadership was largely shared by the survivors of Milner's 'Kindergarten', that is, the group of young Oxford men whom he used as civil servants in his reconstruction of South Africa in 1901-1910.

     Brand was the last survivor of the "Kindergarten", since his death, the greatly reduced activities of the organization have been exercised largely through the Editorial Committee of The Round Table magazine under Adam Marris.

     Money for the widely ramified activities of this organization came originally from the associates and followers of Cecil Rhodes, chiefly from the Rhodes Trust itself, and from wealthy associates such as the Beit brothers, from Sir Abe Bailey, and (after 1915) from the Astor family.  

     Since 1925 there have been substantial contributions from wealthy individuals and from foundations and firms associated with the international banking fraternity, especially the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, and other organizations associated with J.P. Morgan, the Rockefeller and Whitney families, and the associates of Lazard Brothers and of Morgan, Grenfell, and Company.

     The chief backbone of this organization grew up along the already existing financial cooperation running from the Morgan Bank in New York to a group of international financiers in London led by Lazard Brothers.

     Milner himself in 1901 had refused a fabulous offer, worth up to 100,000 a year, to become one of the three partners of the Morgan Bank in London, in succession to the younger J.P. Morgan who moved from London to join his father in New York (eventually the vacancy went to E.C. Grenfell, so that the London affiliate of Morgan became known as Morgan, Grenfell, and Company).

     Instead, Milner became director of a number of public banks, chiefly the London Joint Stock Bank, corporate precursor of the Midland Bank.  He became one of the greatest political and financial powers in England, with his disciples strategically placed throughout England in significant places, such as the editorship of The Times, the editorship ofThe Observer, the managing directorship of Lazard Brothers, various administrative posts, and even Cabinet positions.

     Ramifications were established in politics, high finance, Oxford and London universities, periodicals, the civil service, and tax exempt foundations.

     At the end of the war of 1914, it became clear that the organization of this system had to be greatly extended.  Once again the task was entrusted to Lionel Curtis who established, in England and each dominion, a front organization to the existing local Round Table Group.  

     This front organization, called the royal Institute of International Affairs, had as its nucleus in each area the existing submerged Round Table Group.  In New York it was known as the Council on Foreign Relations and was a front for J.P. Morgan and Company in association with the very small American Round Table Group.

     The American organizers were dominated by the large number of Morgan "experts", including Lamont and Beer, who had gone to the Paris Peace Conference and there became close friends with the similar group of English "experts" which had been recruited by the Milner group.

     In fact, the original plans for the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the Council on Foreign Relations were drawn up at Paris.  

     The Council of the RIIA (which, by Curtis's energy came to be housed in Chatham House, across St. James's Square from the Astors, and was soon known by the name of the headquarters) and the board of the Council on Foreign Relations have carried ever since the marks of their origin.

      Until 1960 the council at Chatham House was dominated by the dwindling group of Milner's associates, while the paid staff members were largely the agents of Lionel Curtis.  The Round Table for years (until 1960) was edited from the back door of Chatham House grounds in Ormond Yard, and its telephone came through the Chatham House switchboard.

    The New York branch was dominated by the associates of the Morgan Bank.  For example, in 1928 the Council on Foreign relations had John W. Davis as president, Paul Cravath as vice-president, and a council of thirteen others, which included Owen D. Young, russell C. Leffingwell, Norman Davis, Allen Dulles, George W. Wickersham, Frank L. Polk, Whitney Shepardson, Isaiah Bowman, Stephen P. Duggan, and Otto Kahn.

     Throughout its history, the council has been associated with the American Round Tablers, such as Beer, Lippmann, Shepardson, and Jerome Greene.

     The academic figures have been those linked to Morgan, such as James T. Shotwell, Charles Seymour, Joseph P. Chamberlain, Philip Jessup, Isaiah Bowman and, more recently, Philip Moseley, Grayson L. Kirk, and Henry W. Wriston.

     The Wall Street contracts with these were created originally from Morgan's influence in handling large academic endowments.  In the case of the largest of these endowments, that at Harvard, the influence was usually exercised indirectly through "State Street", Boston, which, for much of the twentieth century, came through the Boston banker Thomas Nelson Perkins.

     Closely allied with this Morgan influence were a small group of Wall Street law firms, whose chief figures were Elihu Root, John W. Davis, Paul D. Cravath, Russell Leffingwell, the Dulles brothers and, more recently, Arthur H. Dean, Philip D. Reed, and John J. McCloy.  Other nonlegal agents of Morgan included men like Owen D. Young and Norman H. Davis.

     On this basis, which was originally financial and goes back to George Peabody, there grew up in the twentieth century a power structure between London and New York which penetrated deeply into university life, the press, and the practice of foreign policy.

     In England the center was the Round Table Group, while in the United States it was J.P. Morgan and Company or its local branches in Boston, Philadelphia, and Cleveland.

     Some rather incidental examples of the operations of this structure are very revealing, just because they are incidental.  For example, it set up in Princeton a reasonable copy of the Round Table Group's chief Oxford headquarters, All Souls College.  

     This copy, called the Institute for Advanced Study, and best known, perhaps, as the refuge of Einstein, Oppenheimer, John von Neumann, and George F. Kennan, was organized by Abraham Flexner of the Carnegie Foundation and Rockefeller's General Education Board after he had experienced the delights of All Souls while serving as Rhodes Memorial Lecturer at Oxford.  The plans were largely drawn by Tom Jones, one of the Round Table's most active intriguers and foundation administrators.

     The American branch of this "English Establishment" exerted much of its influence through five American newspapers (The New York Times, New York Herald Tribune,Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, and the lamented Boston Evening Transcript )

     In fact, the editor of the Christian Science Monitor was the chief American correspondent (anonymously) of The Round Table, and Lord Lothian, the original editor of The Round Table and later secretary of the Rhodes Trust (1925-1939) and ambassador to Washington, was a frequent writer in the Monitor.

     It might be mentioned that the existence of this Wall Street Anglo-American axis is quite obvious once it is pointed out.

     It is reflected in the fact that such Wall Street luminaries as John W. Davis, Lewis Douglas, Jock Whitney, and Douglas Dillon were appointed to be American ambassadors in London.

     This double international network in which the Round Table groups formed the semi-secret or secret nuclei of the Institutes of International Affairs was extended into a third network in 1935, organized by the same people for the same motives.

     Once again the mastermind was Lionel Curtis, and the earlier Round Table Groups and Institutes of International Affairs were used as nuclei for the new network.  

     However, this new organization for Pacific affairs was extended to ten countries, while the Round Table Groups existed only in seven.  The new additions, ultimately China, Japan, France, the Netherlands, and Soviet Russia, had Pacific councils set up from scratch.

     In Canada, australia, and New Zealand, Pacific councils, interlocked and dominated by the Institutes of International Affairs, were set up.

     In England, Chatham House served as the English center for both nets, while in the United States the two were parallel creations (not subordinate) of the Wall Street allies of the Morgan Bank. The financing came from the same international banking groups and their subsidiary commercial and industrial firms.

     In England, Chatham House was financed for both networks by the contributions of Sir Abe Bailey, the Astor family, and additional funds largely acquired by the persuasive powers of Lionel Curtis. The financial difficulties of the IPR Councils in the British Dominions in the depression of 1929-1935 resulted in a very revealing effort to save money, when the local Institute of International Affairs absorbed the local Pacific Council, both of which were, in a way, expensive and needless fronts for the local Round Table groups.

     The chief aims of this elaborate, semi-secret organization were largely commendable: to coordinate the international activities and outlooks of all the English-speaking world into one (which would largely, it is true, be that of the London group); to work to maintain the peace; to help backward, colonial, and underdeveloped areas to advance toward stability, law and order, and prosperity along lines somewhat similar to those taught at Oxford and the University of London (especially the School of Economics and the Schools of African and Oriental Studies).

     These organizations and their financial backers were in no sense reactionary or Fascistic persons, as Communist propaganda would like to depict them.  Quite the contrary.  

     They were gracious and cultured gentlemen of somewhat limited social experience who were much concerned with the freedom of expression of minorities and the rule of law for all, who constantly thought in terms of Anglo-American solidarity, of political partition and federation, and who were convinced that they could gracefully civilize the Boers of South Africa, the Irish, the Arabs, and the Hindus, and who are largely responsible for the partitions of Ireland, Palestine, and India, as well as the federations of South Africa, Central Africa, and the West Indies.

     Their desire to win over the opposition by cooperation worked with Smuts but failed with Hertzog, worked with Gandhi but failed with Menon, worked with Stresemann but failed with Hitler, and has shown little chance of working with any Soviet leader. If their failures now loom larger than their successes, this should not be allowed to conceal the high motives with which they attempted both.

     It was this group of people, whose wealth and influence so exceeded their experience and understanding, who provided much of the frame-work of influence which the Communist sympathizers and fellow travelers took over in the United States in the 1930's.

     It must be recognized that the power that these energetic Left-wingers exercised was never their own power or Communist power but was ultimately the power of the international financial coterie, and, once the anger and suspicions of the American people were aroused, as they were by 1950, it was a fairly simple matter to get rid of the Red sympathizers.

     Before this could be done, however, a congressional committee, following backward to their source the threads which led from admitted Communists like Whittaker Chamber, through Alger Hiss, and the Carnegie Endowment to Thomas Lamont and the Morgan Bank, fell into the whole complicated network of the interlocking tax-exempt foundations.

     The Eighty-third Congress in July 1953 set up a Special Committee to investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations with Representative B. Carroll Reece of Tennessee, as chairman. It soon became clear that people of immense wealth would be unhappy if the investigation went too far and that the "most respected" newspapers in the country, closely allied with these men of wealth, would not get excited enough about any revelations to make the publicity worth while, in terms of votes or campaign contributions.  

     An interesting report showing the Left-wing associations of the interlocking nexus of tax-exempt foundations was issued in 1954 rather quietly. Four years later, the Reece committee's general counsel, Rene A. Wormser wrote a shocked, but not shocking, book on the subject called Foundations: Their Power and Influence.  

     One of the most interesting members of this Anglo-American power structure was Jerome D. Greene (1874-1959).  Born in Japan of missionary parents, Greene graduated from Harvard's college and law school by 1899 and became secretary to Harvard's president and corporation in 1901-1910. This gave him contacts with Wall Street which made him general manager of the Rockefeller Institute (1910-1012), assistant to John d. Rockefeller in philanthropic work for two years, then trustee to the Rockefeller Institute, to the Rockefeller foundation, and to the Rockefeller General Education Board until 1939.

     For fifteen years (1917-1932) he was with the Boston investment banking firm of Lee, Higginson, and Company, most of the period as its chief officer, as well as with its London branch.  As executive secretary of the American section of the Allied Maritime Transport Council, stationed in London in 1918, he lived in Toynbee Hall, the world's first settlement house, which has been founded by Alfred Milner and his friends in 1984.

     This brought him in contact with the Round Table Group in England, a contact which was strengthened in 1919 when he was secretary to the Reparations Commission at the Paris Peace Conference.  Accordingly, on his return to the United States he was one of the early figures in the establishment of the Council on Foreign Relations, which served as the New York branch of Lionel Curtis's Institute of International Affairs.

     As an investment banker, Greene is chiefly remembered for his sales of millions of dollars of the fraudulent securities of the Swedish match king, Ivar Kreuger.  That Greene offered these to the American investing public in good faith is evident from the fact that he put a substantial part of his own fortune in the same investments.  As a consequence, Kreuger's suicide in Paris in April 1932 left Greene with little money and no job.  He wrote to Lionel Curtis, asking for help, and was given, for two years, a professorship of international relations at Aberystwyth, Wales.

- End Excerpt -

Friday, November 30, 2012

Russell, Bertrand: Ruling-Class Mass mind-control

"Physiology and psychology afford fields for scientific technique which still await development. Two great men, Pavlov and Freud, have laid the foundation. I do not accept the view that they are in any essential conflict, but what structure will be built on their foundations is still in doubt. I think the subject which will be of most importance politically is mass psychology.... Its importance has been enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda. Of these the most influential is what is called "education." Religion plays a part, though a diminishing one; the press, the cinema, and the radio play an increasing part.... It may be hoped that in time anybody will be able to persuade anybody of anything if he can catch the patient young and is provided by the State with money and equipment.''

Russell continued, ``The subject will make great strides when it is taken up by scientists under a scientific dictatorship....The social psychologists of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. Various results will soon be arrived at. First, that the influence of home is obstructive. Second, that not much can be done unless indoctrination begins before the age of ten. Third, that verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective. Fourth, that the opinion that snow is white must be held to show a morbid taste for eccentricity. But I anticipate. It is for future scientists to make these maxims precise and discover exactly how much it costs per head to make children believe that snow is black, and how much less it would cost to make them believe it is dark gray.''

Russell concluded with a warning: ``Although this science will be diligently studied, it will be rigidly confined to the governing class. The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen.''

~Bertrand Russell

Sowell: The difference between making love and being raped

"Liberals love to say things like, 'We're just asking everyone to pay their fair share.'. But government is not about asking. It is about telling. The difference is fundamental. It is the difference between making love and being raped, between working for a living and being a slave. The Internal Revenue service is not asking anybody to do anything. It confiscates your assets and puts you behind bars if you don't pay."

~Thomas Sowell

Propaganda by Edward Bernays

From: "Propaganda"
by Edward Bernays

(Ig publishing, 2005, paper,originally published in 1928, p37)

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.

Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.

They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons-a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million-who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.

It is not usually realized how necessary these invisible governors are to the orderly functioning of our group life. In theory, every citizen may vote for whom he pleases. Our Constitution does not envisage political parties as part of the mechanism of government, and its framers seem not to have pictured to themselves the existence in our national politics of anything like the modern political machine. But the American voters soon found that without organization and direction their individual votes, cast, perhaps, for dozens of hundreds of candidates, would produce nothing but confusion. Invisible government, in the shape of rudimentary political parties, arose almost overnight. Ever since then we have agreed, for the sake of simplicity and practicality, that party machines should narrow down the field of choice to two candidates, or at most three or four.

In theory, every citizen makes up his mind on public questions and matters of private conduct. In practice, if all men had to study for themselves the abstruse economic, political, and ethical data involved in every question, they would find it impossible to come to a conclusion without anything. We have voluntarily agreed to let an invisible government sift the data and high-spot the outstanding issue so that our field of choice shall be narrowed to practical proportions. From our leaders and the media they use to reach the public, we accept the evidence and the demarcation of issues bearing upon public question; from some ethical teacher, be it a minister, a favorite essayist, or merely prevailing opinion, we accept a standardized code of social conduct to which we conform most of the time.

In theory, everybody buys the best and cheapest commodities offered him on the market. In practice, if every one went around pricing, and chemically tasting before purchasing, the dozens of soaps or fabrics or brands of bread which are for sale, economic life would be hopelessly jammed. To avoid such confusion, society consents to have its choice narrowed to ideas and objects brought to it attention through propaganda of all kinds. There is consequently a vast and continuous effort going on to capture our minds in the interest of some policy or commodity or idea.

It might be better to have, instead of propaganda and special pleading, committees of wise men who would choose our rulers, dictate our conduct, private and public, and decide upon the best types of clothes for us to wear and the best kinds of food for us to eat. But we have chosen the opposite method, that of open competition. We must find a way to make free competition function with reasonable smoothness. To achieve this society has consented to permit free competition to be organized by leadership and propaganda.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Kilt-wearing: A Personal Journey

Kilt-wearing: A Personal Journey

The Upsides to Kilt-wearing

1. A kilt is more comfortable than pants or shorts

2. A kilt helps me feel cooler on hot summer days.

3. Woolen knee high socks keep my lower legs warmer than jeans.

4. It is comfortable to run/jog in a kilt

5. It is more efficient (slightly less tiring) to walk. (The clothing isn't wrapped around legs providing slight resistance at thigh lift and knee bend).

6. Crouching is comfortable. (Though kneeling and knee-walking is a bit more complicated/challenging)

7. That refreshing breeze I feel on a windy day. :-)

8. No chaffing on endurance walks or hikes.

9. It couldn't be easier for a gentleman to take a leak (for that matter, other woodland necessities are made simpler by a kilt, rather than pants around my ankles)

10. No more need to worry about forgetting to zip my fly. :-)

11. I can carry things in you pockets of my kilt much more comfortably (on the side pockets hanging off the kilt)

12. If my kilt gets wet, I don't have that wet fabric directly against me, except at the waist

13. I can take my kilt off, without taking off my shoes.

14. I can put my kilt on with my shoes on.

Down-sides of kilt-wearing:

1. Riding a bicycle is a bit difficult... The back of my kilt is long enough to usually be touching the rear wheel but too short to really "sit-on" it to keep it from flowing in the wind... Also... You may scandalize the neighborhood while riding a recumbent bicycle...

2. Kilts are more expensive than pants.

3. Kneeling to do things such as scrubbing floors is awkward because if the front of the kilt gets under your knee, it can "trip" your leg...

4. I have had some trouble staying warm in a kilt... All of my kilts are made of cotton, and when I first started wearing kilts, it was for comfort in hot weather, for which cotton and linen are well suited; with woolen knee socks, my cotton kilts are warmer than jeans but I'm finding that when it gets into the twenties, I am gravitating towards woolen pants. I suspect that a woolen kilt may keep me similarly warm as woolen pants but it looks like a wool-kilt starts at $250 and I'm not ready to take that plunge yet... I had ordered acrylic kilt with perhaps 10% wool but that order fell through and was cancelled by the supplier due to lack of stock. I will keep experimenting with this and perhaps a thicker pair of woolen socks will have an additional warmth factor...

5. Children can be occasionally heard to be asking their parents, "Mom, why is that guy wearing a skirt?"

6. No knee protection. You might be more likely to scrape your knee if you fall down or kneel a lot.

7. Heavy. I would compare a kilt to the weight of a pair of jeans as that seems comparable but a kilt is certainly heavier than a pair of shorts. So if for some reason you are counting ounces, perhaps a nylon kilt may fit the bill.

8. Mosquitos. I haven't encountered this as a problem yet but I'm cautious about wearing a kilt in outdoor adventures where there might be a lot of mosquitos... The mosquitos might have additional access to tender parts... Also I have wondered about kilts and ticks... I also have some concerns about kilts in rattlesnake country but a pair of pants isn't going to stop a rattler either... I'm not about to give away my pants just yet...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Henry: Tyranny & Despotism

‎"The honorable gentleman who presides told us that, to prevent abuses in our government, we will assemble in convention, recall our delegated powers, and punish our servants for abusing the trust reposed in them. Oh, sir! we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical, no longer a democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all? You read of a riot act in a country which is called one of the freest in the world, where a few neighbors can not assemble without the risk of being shot by a hired soldiery, the engines of despotism. We may see such an act in America."

Patrick Henry 1788 House of Burgesses, Virginia.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rothbard: Leftist



     Karl Hess's brilliant and challenging article in this issueraises a problem of specifics that ranges further than the libertarian movement. For example, there must be hundreds of thousands of "professional" anti-Communists in this country.  Yet not one of these gentry, in the course of their fulminations, has come up with a specific plan for de-Communization.  Suppose, for example, that Messers Brezhnevand Co. become converted to the principles of a free-society; they than [sic] ask our anti-Communists, all right, how do we go about de-socializing? What could our anti-Communists offer them?
     This question has been essentially answered by the exciting developments of Tito's Yugoslavia. Beginning in 1952, Yugoslavia has been de-socializing at a remarkable rate. The principle the Yugoslavs have used is the libertarian"homesteading" one: the state-owned factories to the workers that work in them!  The nationalized plants in the "public" sector have all been transferred in virtual ownershipto the specific workers who work in the particular plants, thus making them producers' coops, and moving rapidly in the direction of individual shares of virtual ownership to the individual worker. What other practicable route toward destatization could there be?  The principle in the Communist countries should be: land to the peasants and the factories to the workers, thereby getting the property out of the hands of the State and into private, homesteading hands.
     The homesteading principle means that the way that unowned property gets into private ownership is by the principle that this property justly belongs to the person who finds, occupies, and transforms it by his labor. This is clear in the case of the pioneer and virgin land. But what of the case of stolen property?
     Suppose, for example, that A steals B's horse. Then C comes along and takes the horse from A. Can C be called a thief? Certainly not, for we cannot call a man a criminal for stealing goods from a thief.  On the contrary, C is performinga virtuous act of confiscation, for he is depriving thief A of the fruits of his crime of aggression, and he is at least returning the horse to the innocent "private" sector and out of the "criminal" sector.  C has done a noble act ands hould be applauded. Of course, it would be still better if he returned the horse to B, the original victim. But even if he does not, the horse is far more justly in C's hands than it is in the hands of A, the thief and criminal.
     Let us now apply our libertarian theory of property to the case of property in the hands of, or derived from, the Stateapparatus. The libertarian sees the State as a giant gang of organized criminals, who live off the theft called "taxation" and use the proceeds to kill, enslave, and generally push people around.  Therefore, any property in the hands of the State is in the hands of thieves, and should be liberated as quickly as possible.  Any person or group who liberates such property, who confiscates or appropriates it from the State, is performing a virtuous act and a signal service to the cause of liberty.  In the case of the State, furthermore, the victim is not readily identifiable as B, the horse-owner.  All taxpayers, all draftees, all victims of the State have been mulcted.  How to go about returning all this property to the taxpayers?  What proportions should be used in this terrifictangle of robbery and injustice that we have all suffered at the hands of the State?  Often, the most practical method of de-statizing is simply to grant the moral right of ownership on the person or group who seizes the property from the State.  Of this group, the most morally deserving are the ones who are already using the property but who have no moral complicity in the State's act of aggression.  These people then become the "homesteaders" of the stolen property and hence the rightful owners.
     Take, for example, the State universities. This is property built on funds stolen from the taxpayers.  Since the State has not found or put into effect a way of returning ownership of this property to the taxpaying public, the proper owners of this university are the "homesteaders", those who have already been using and therefore "mixing their labor" with the facilities.  The prime consideration is to deprive the thief, in this case the State, as quickly as possible of the ownership and control of its ill-gotten gains, to return the property to the innocent, private sector.  This means student and/or faculty ownership of the universities.
     As between the two groups, the students have a prior claim, for the students have been paying at least some amount to support the university whereas the faculty suffer from the moral taint of living off State funds and thereby becoming to some extent a part of the State apparatus.

     The same principle applies to nominally "private" property which really comes from the State as a result of zealous lobbying on behalf of the recipient.  Columbia University, for example, which receives nearly two-thirds of its income from government, is only a "private" college in the most ironic sense.  It deserves a similar fate of virtuous homesteadingconfiscation.
     But if Columbia University, what of General Dynamics?   What of the myriad of corporations which are integral parts of the military-industrial complex, which not only get over half or sometimes virtually all their revenue from the government but also participate in mass murder? What are their credentials to "private" property?  Surely less than zero. As eager lobbyists for these contracts and subsidies, as co-founders of the garrison state, they deserve confiscation and reversion of their property to the genuine private sector as rapidly as possible.  To say that their "private" property must be respected is to say that the property stolen by the horsethief and the murdered [sic] must be"respected".

     But how then do we go about destatizing the entire mass of government property, as well as the "private property" of General Dynamics?  All this needs detailed thought and inquiry on the part of libertarians.  One method would be to turn overownership to the homesteading workers in the particular plants; another to turn over pro-rata ownership to the individual taxpayers.  But we must face the fact that it might prove the most practical route to first nationalize the property as a prelude to redistribution.  Thus, how could the ownership of General Dynamics be transferred to the deserving taxpayers without first being nationalized enroute?  And, further more, even if the government should decide to nationalize General Dynamics—without compensation, of course—per se and not as a prelude to redistribution to the taxpayers, this is not immoral or something to be combatted.   For it would only mean that one gang of thieves—the government—would be confiscating property from another previously cooperating gang, the corporation that has lived off the government.  I do not often agree with John Kenneth Galbraith, but his recent suggestion to nationalize businesses which get more than 75% of their revenue from government, or from the military, has considerable merit.  Certainly it does not mean aggression against private property, and, furthermore, we could expect a considerable diminution of zeal from the military-industrial complex if much of the profits were taken out of war and plunder.  And besides, it would make the American military machine less efficient, being governmental, and that is surely all to the good. But why stop at 75%? Fifty per cent seems to be a reasonable

(Continued on page 4)

4The Libertarian Forum, June 15, 1969

CONFISCATION — (Continued from page 3)
cutoff point on whether an organization is largely public or largely private.
     And there is another consideration. Dow Chemical, for example, has been heavily criticized for making napalm for the U.S. military machine.  The percentage of its sales coming from napalm is undoubtedly small, so that on a percentage basis the company may not seem very guilty; but napalm is and can only be an instrument of mass murder, and therefore Dow Chemical is heavily up to its neck in being an accessory and hence a co-partner in the mass murder in Vietnam.  No percentage of sales, however small, can absolve its guilt.
     This brings us to Karl's [Hess] point about slaves. One of the tragic aspects of the emancipation of the serfs in Russia in 1861 was that while the serfs gained their personal freedom, the land—their means of production and of life, their land was retained under the ownership of their feudal masters.  The land should have gone to the serfs themselves, for under the homestead principle they had tilled the land and deserved its title. Furthermore, the serfs were entitled to a host of reparations from their masters for the centuries of oppression and exploitation.  The fact that the land remained in the hands of the lords paved the way inexorably for the Bolshevik Revolution, since the revolution that had freed the serfs remained unfinished.
     The same is true of the abolition of slavery in the United States.  The slaves gained their freedom, it is true, but the land, the plantations that they had tilled and therefore deserved to own under the homestead principle, remained in the hands of their former masters.  Furthermore, no reparations were granted the slaves for their oppression out of the hides of their masters.  Hence the abolition of slavery remained unfinished, and the seeds of a new revolt have remained to intensify to the present day.  Hence, the great importance of the shift in Negro demands from greater welfare handouts to "reparations", reparations for the years of slavery and exploitation and for the failure to grant the Negroes their land, the failure to heed the Radical abolitionist's call for "40 acres and a mule" to the former slaves. In many cases, moreover, the old plantations and the heirs and descendants of the former slaves can be identified, and the reparations can become highly specific indeed.
     Alan Milchman, in the days when he was a brilliant young libertarian activist, first pointed out that libertarians had misled themselves by making their main dichotomy "government" vs. "private" with the former bad and the latter good.  Government, he pointed out, is after all not a mysticalentity but a group of individuals, "private" individuals if you will, acting in the manner of an organized criminal gang.  But this means that there may also be "private" criminals as well as people directly affiliated with the government.  What we libertarians object to, then, is not government per se but crime, what we object to is unjust or criminal property titles; what we are for is not "private" property per se but just, innocent, non-criminal private property.  It is justice vs. injustice, innocence vs. criminality that must be our major libertarian focus.

[Further reading if you are interested:]

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Foucault: History

" not look for progress or meaning in history; do not see the history of a given activity, of any segment of culture, as the development of rationality or of freedom; do not use any philosophical vocabulary to characterize the essence of such activity or the goal it serves; do not assume that the way this activity is presently conducted gives any clue to the goals it served in the past."
~ Michel Foucault

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rationality & Empathy

@Simon Portez I sense that your remarks indicate that you would like others of like-mind to emulate the actions you have taken; I receive the impression that you disapprove of, or perhaps possibly frustrated with those who seem to "talk" or "think" in similar ways as yourself, but do not act in a manner you have chosen for yourself. If this is so, I share some of that frustration/impatience; while theory/theorizing/philosophy is important (for how would one determine how to direct one's action without some theory/philosophy?), action is also clearly important and I would like to acknowledge this. I believe that, regardless of the speaker, the passage I referenced has remarkable insight; that while thinking/theorizing/philosophizing by itself, lacks a certain dynamism of action, the expression and sharing of ideas, is a kind of action of its kind. You may well wish others to do more than share ideas, but that sharing of ideas with rationality and empathy is the action that will draw others to the cause and this support is what is ultimately necessary to win the day. I am not convinced that if many were to replicate the actions you describe, that such action would sway many to support the cause of liberty, but perhaps may even alienate some to the cause of liberty? I support the use of self-defense against instituions of domination, just as I support the use of self-defense against a mugger; but I would not the condemn the woman who surrenders her purse to the mugger and similarly, I would not condemn the woman who might capitulate to the agents of an institution of domination in the attempt to ensure her own safety. It is my view that each person must decide for themselves, what actions that they would choose to take in order to meet their needs; I can certainly respect your dedication to the opposition to institutions of domination but I also respect those who are dedicated to sharing ideas of liberation with others; I suspect that it is the sharing of ideas with reason and empathy that will ultimately prove efficacious to secure our liberation.

  • The great mass of persons ultimately support institutions of domination, because those institutions of domination have expended much energy, over a great period of time, in the expression of rhetoric (though rhetoric lacking in its logic and grammar) to convince people that the institution of domination provides for their safety and protects them. Institutions of domination rely far more on rhetoric (persuasive words & ideas), than they have need to resort to violence. To unravel the institution of domination, a superior rhetoric supplied with superior logic (reasoning) and grammer (facts/evidence/definitions/fundamentals) will be required; it may not in the end be a bloodless revolution, but the revolution of ideas must occur before action can be efficacious in winning the day. 

    But perhaps beyond the employment of the rational arts, institutions of domination use the *threat* of violence to induce fear, coercing compliance and expropriate possessions. Fear is an emotion that reaches beyond the scope of reason; it is the primal instinct to preserve one's self from danger. The rational arts are nearly impotent against these emotional factors, therefore another approach/strategy must be employed. To a certain extent, persons opposing the agents of institutions of domination and surviving, provides some encouragement to others so inclined, that it is possible to oppose an over-whelming source of power/violence.

    I am of the opinion that empathy is the approach to overcome these latter obstacles, if one values cooperation/power-with-others more than one gravitates to domination/power-over-others. A person will fear, so long as they cannot acknowledge their own fear, so long as they remain out of touch with their true/authentic-self but when another person is willing to acknowledge/empathize that fear, the person who fears can begin to process their emotional turmoil. 

    In empathic response to fear of the power of institutions of domination and with superior rhetoric informed by sound&valid logic and grammar, we may begin to unravel the harm caused by institutions of domination.