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Were Americans ever fit for stateless government?

Jacob Hornberger recently posted an article discussing his reasons why he considers the advent of the US national security state to be the worst thing the government has ever done.Bad as they are, the income tax, the federal reserve act, and government schooling don’t come close.His reason: The US national security state has “the power to kill Americans (and others) without risk of any criminal or civil liability. . . . All that US officials have to do is relate the killing to ‘national security’ and that’s the end of the matter.”
He’s correct.  According to a Department of Justicewhite paper, any “informed, high government official,” not necessarily the president, can kill anyone, without any due process.  As Glenn Greenwald wrote in 2013, during the Obama administration,  The president's underlings compile their proposed lists of who should be executed, and the president - at a charming weekly event dubbed by White House aides as "Terror Tuesday" - then chooses from &quo…
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Mises stands between us and 1984

On this day in 1949 Yale University Press published Ludwig von Mises’s economic treatise, Human Action. Later in 1949 another book appeared, George Orwell’s 1984
Almost everyone has at least heard of Orwell and 1984.  The same is unfortunately not true of Mises and Human Action.
Both books are attached to their authors as if they were extended surnames.  Orwell is1984, Mises isHuman Action.  
Among the many who’ve read it, 1984 is regarded as a premonition of what could happen if the proclivities of the state are not checked.   
Among those who have studied it, Human Action is understood as what would happen if the proclivities of the state are checked.
It’s the difference between a slave and a free man, war and peace, poverty and prosperity, misery and the potential for happiness.  
A person cannot breathe in Orwell’s fictional world.  Aside from a tiny ruling elite, members of the society live impoverished lives with no hope of anything better.  They are ciphers, expected to obey and sp…

Price gouging and the generous free market

Gary North published members-only articles recently (here and here) discussing how Hurricane Harvey has affected economic life in Houston.He makes an important point about prices and customers that I have not seen elsewhere. Other things equal we know scarcity or high demand will drive prices higher.Sellers of diamonds are rarely accused of price gouging but when prices for everyday commodities take a big leap in a crisis almost everyone calls it price gouging.It’s an easy call: People are in desperate need of critical commodities, while certain suppliers are charging scalper prices.Conclusion: The suppliers are craven profiteers.
Wikipedia defines price gouging as “a pejorative term referring to when a seller spikes the prices of goods, services or commodities to a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair, and is considered exploitative, potentially to an unethical extent.” Merriam-Webster says price gouging is “charging customers too much money.”  How much is “too much”…

Whatever happened to the space race?

In the wake of Sputnik I’s success on October 4, 1957, in which the USSR could stake claim to having built the first artificial earth satellite, a cosmic shift in perception took hold.Whatever advantages US society might have as measured by individual freedom, it came up short when stacked against Soviet science and technology.
Soviet space superiority was on display 32 days later when Sputnik 2 launched with Laika, a dog found roaming the Moscow streets who died a few days after takeoff.  Telemetry data recorded during her orbital flight showed a cabin temperature reaching a high of 109 °F.  She suffered long before dying, giving Americans another reason to hate the commies.   Not only did Sputnik II carry the dog, which suggested that the Soviets were thinking about putting human beings into space, the final stage of the rocket had remained attached to the satellite—which meant, incredibly and ominously, that the Soviet rocket had managed to put a six-ton weight into earth orbit. The…