Author Archives: Tom Mullen

Why is freedom always the problem?

Publication1 croppedOne year after Americans were ordered to close down society for “two weeks to flatten the curve,” Bloomberg columnist Andreas Kluth warned, “We Must Start Planning for a Permanent Pandemic.” Because new variants of SARS-COV-2 are impervious to existing vaccines, says Kluth, and pharmaceutical companies will never be able to develop new vaccines fast enough to keep up, we will never be able to get “back to normal.”

“Get back to normal” means recovering the relative liberty we had in our already overregulated, pre-Covid lives. This is just the latest in a long series of crises that always seem to lead our wise rulers to the same conclusion: we just cannot afford freedom anymore.

Covid-19 certainly wasn’t the beginning. Americans were told “the world changed” after 9/11/2001. Basic pillars of the American system, like the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, were too antiquated to deal with the “new threat of terrorism.” Warrantless surveillance of our phone, e-mail, and financial records and physical searches of our persons without probable cause of a crime became the norm. A few principled civil libertarians dissented, but the public largely complied without protest. “Keep us safe,” they told the government, no matter the cost in dollars or liberty.

Perhaps seeing how willingly the public rolled over for the political right during the “war on terror,” authoritarians on the left turbocharged their own war on “climate change.” Previously interested in merely significantly raising taxes and heavily regulating industry, they now wish to ban all sorts of things, including air travel, driving a car, and even eating meat.

Since Covid-19, however, even the freedom to assemble and see each other’s faces may be permanently banned to help the government “keep us safe.”

Assaulting our liberty isn’t the only characteristic these crisis narratives have in common. They share at least two others: dire predictions that turn out to be false and proposed solutions that turn out to be ineffective.

George W. Bush warned Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction” capable of hitting New York City within 45 minutes. He created the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA to prevent, among other things, a “mushroom cloud” over a major American city.

Twenty years later, we know there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the terrorist threat was grossly exaggerated, and the TSA has still never caught a terrorist, not even the two mental midgets who tried to set off explosives concealed in their shoes and underwear, respectively.

The only effective deterrent of terrorism so far has been the relatively calmer foreign policy during the four years of the Trump administration, during which regime change operations ceased and major terrorist attacks in the United States virtually disappeared.

Predictions of environmental catastrophe have similarly proven false. Younger people may not remember that in the early 1970s, long before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born, environmentalists were predicting worldwide disasters that subsequently failed to materialize. In 1989, the Associated Press reported, “A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.” The same official predicted the Earth’s temperature would rise 1 to 7 degrees in the next 30 years.

Ocasio-Cortez is famous for predicting in 2019, “The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” But Al Gore had warned in 2006 that “unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return.” So, isn’t it too late anyway?

As with the war on terrorism, the war on climate change asks us to give up our freedom for solutions that don’t work. Assuming climate change proponents have diagnosed the problem correctly and haven’t exaggerated the threat – huge assumptions by themselves – implementing their proposed solution won’t solve the problem, even by their own standards.

Its proponents know this. The U.S. has already led the world in reducing carbon emissions without the draconian provisions of the Green New Deal. If you listen to them carefully, the Green New Deal’s proponents propose the U.S. give up what freedom and prosperity remain to them merely as an example to developing nations, whom they assume will forego the benefits of industrialization already enjoyed by developed countries because of the shining example of an America in chains and brought to its economic knees to “save the earth.”

Fat chance, that.

The latest remake of this horror movie is Covid-19. While undeniably a serious pathogen that has likely killed more people than even the worst flu epidemics of the past several decades (although this is hard to confirm since public health officials changed the methodology for determining a virus-caused death), the government and its minions have still managed to grossly exaggerate this threat.

Gone is any sense of proportion when discussing Covid-19. Yes, it is certainly possible to spread the virus after one has been vaccinated or acquired natural immunity. But how likely is it? Is it any more likely than spreading other pathogens after immunity?

If not, then why are we treating people with immunity differently than we have during more dangerous pandemics in the past? Similarly, it is likely possible for asymptomatic people to spread the virus – a key pillar of the lockdown argument – but again, how likely is it?

The theory Covid-19 could be spread by asymptomatic people was originally based on the case of a single woman who supposedly infected four other people while experiencing no symptoms. Anthony Fauci said this case “lays the question to rest.”

The only problem was no one had asked the woman in question if she had symptoms at the time. When it turned out she did, the study on her was retracted. A subsequent study “did not link any COVID-19 cases to asymptomatic carriers,” and yet another after that concluded transmission of the disease by asymptomatic carriers “is not a major driver of spread.” Yet, policies based on this falsehood, like lockdowns and forcing asymptomatic people to wear masks, remain in place.

Most importantly, none of the government-mandated Covid-19 mitigation policies work. No retrospective review conducted with any semblance of the scientific method has found a relationship between lockdowns, mask mandates, or social distancing and the spread of Covid-19. In fact, the most recent study suggests lockdowns may have increased Covid-19 infections, in addition to all the non-Covid excess deaths they caused.

Over and over, authoritarians overhype crises to scare the living daylights out of the public and propose solutions that have two things in common: they demand more of our freedom and they don’t work. It’s always all pain and no gain. One wonders how many repetitions of this crisis drill it will take before the citizens of the so-called “land of the free” finally think to ask:

Why is freedom always the problem?

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Congress isn’t just a “better way” to legislate; it’s the only way

Biden-pen-signing-Fox-5-DC-1200x630Kudos to the Editorial Board of the New York Times for putting aside the likely preferences of most of their readership and charging President Biden to, “Ease Up on the Executive Actions, Joe.” The piece argues, on constitutional and practical grounds, that presidents must work with Congress to establish legislation to carry out their agendas, rather than seeking to do so through executive actions.

While well-intentioned, the piece is flawed and self-contradictory, beginning with its subtitle, which asserts Biden, “is right to not let his agenda be held hostage.”

No, he isn’t.

The premise underpinning this statement, shared by much of the public, is that a new president’s policy agenda should be enacted by Congress based solely on the president’s election. This is backwards. The idea Congress is merely a rubber stamp for the will the executive is straight out of Hobbes’ Leviathan and foreign to the U.S. Constitution. Rather, the Constitution presumes legislation originates in Congress, exercising only those powers granted it, with the president’s role to either assent and execute, or veto.

While politicians love to throw around Rousseauian language like “will of the people,” the founders clearly rejected Rousseau’s vision of “the total alienation of each associate, together with all of his rights” to some “general will.” Our system is based upon the idea most natural rights are inalienable, no matter how large a majority seeks to infringe them.

The Constitution presumes there is no “agenda” to be pursued by either Congress or the president, but rather a narrow list of powers to be exercised by Congress in legislation and the president in execution. Whether the government should be involved in new areas is beyond the powers granted to either branch. They are reserved to the amendment process, which is difficult by design.

It has become routine for presidential candidates to promise sweeping changes they have no power to deliver. This has led the people to increasingly believe merely electing the presidential candidate of their choice should result in those changes. When it doesn’t, they blame Congress for “not getting anything done.” This is also backwards.

When a bill is proposed in Congress and voted down, Congress is indeed “getting something done.” If there were anything at all to the idea of a will of the people, that will would be found in the diverse opinions of the Congress, not the unitary will of the executive. The rejection of legislation suggested by the president is as representative of the people as its passing.

To comprehend the reason for the bitter divisiveness in American politics and its increasing propensity for violence, one should not only look to the vast expansion of centralized power over the peoples of vastly different cultures within the American federation, but to the relentless migration of power from the legislative branch to the executive. When one’s whole way of life could turn on the election of one man or woman to the presidency, that election takes on an outsized importance even to those normally disinclined to politics. The legal instability inherent in executive supremacy only adds fuel to the fire.

No, Congress is not a “better” way to legislate. It’s the only way. And for all the talk of defending democracy, a true belief in our republican system would respect the nay votes equally to the yeas.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Defend Twitter’s, Google’s, and Facebook’s property rights now or don’t complain when you’re called a racist

big-tech-censorship-777x437Twitter took the unprecedented step on Friday of banning the president of the United States from its platform. Their justification lay in the dubious assertion Trump incited the vastly overblown incident inside the Capitol on January 6, as lawmakers attempted to count the electoral votes for president sent by the states.

Never mind that banning Trump can only incite more violence. There is the larger question of whether this constitutes an assault on free speech and what should be done about it. For libertarians, if not conservative (no, they’re not remotely the same thing), the answer should be clear as far as government action goes: nothing.

The left’s timeworn tactic of calling anyone who opposes outright socialism a racist has worn so thin as to become cartoonish. There is a significant segment of the population who are sick of it. That was one of the major reasons Donald Trump was elected in 2016. Trump got 12 million more votes in 2020 than he did then.

Until Covid-19 and the monstrous, unscientific government response to it, it seemed the left had learned little from their previous defeat. No longer content to simply call non-socialists “racists,” they now upped the ante to “white supremacist” or “white nationalist.” Why? Let’s forget the meaning of the actual terms. For most Americans, “white supremacist” merely means “somebody who’s way worse than even a racist.”

I don’t believe Donald Trump is a racist and he has certainly never advanced a single policy that can accurately be described as “white supremacist.” Neither do I believe any significant portion of the 74 million people who voted for him did so because they are racists or white supremacists. But just as hundreds of his supporters may have been baited by FBI infiltrators, Antifa activists, or both into committing a self-destructive act on Wednesday  Trump’s and his supporters’ call for government action against Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is going to blow up in their faces.

Let’s not forget the libertarian and conservative position on the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In a nutshell, both groups generally agree with the Act’s prohibitions on any government-enforced racism. But purists in both camps disagree with its prohibitions on private businesses, specifically in Titles II and VII. I was clear in my own piece on the subject that these sections of the law should be repealed. Why? Because people have a right to make whatever rules they want on their own property, no matter how vile we may find them.

I stand by that position to this day, regardless of my personal feelings on the Jim Crow south (and north, in some cases). Yes, I fully understand Jim Crow was state and local governments prohibiting integration in restaurants and hotels and that those laws were only necessary because some people would presumably integrate their businesses without them. But let’s not pretend Jim Crow laws had no support among the people. They had overwhelming support. And they were really, really bad.

Quincy Jones recounted how black musicians had to sleep in a mortuary, with several dead bodies, while on tour in the South, because “separate but equal” failed to provide any hotels. People would travel hundreds of miles looking for a “separate but equal” place to eat lunch or even use a restroom. Next to what these people went through, suspension of our supposedly God-given right to bloviate on Twitter rather pales in comparison.

If we’re going to defend the property rights of segregationists, and I do, then we’re going to have to answer for why we don’t defend the property rights of woke tech giants. I defend them for precisely the same reason I defend the property rights of the 1960s lunch counter owner from refusing to serve black people. It’s his lunch counter. If you believe in limited government, it’s the government’s job to enforce his property rights, not other people’s preferences.

As long as I’ve been a libertarian, the answer to the question, “What would stop people from doing reprehensible things without government?” has been, “private enforcement of property rights.” Ostracism has frequently been cited as a tool individuals could use to fight against distasteful behavior and speech without government.

Well, here we are. Tech giants and the woke crowd have been doing precisely what we libertarians have always said was the non-government way to avoid associating with people we don’t want to associate with. And what is our reaction? “Regulate them!”

How could anyone credibly argue there isn’t hypocrisy here? What defense would any libertarian or conservative who objects to Titles II and VII on principle offer to those who charge them with racism, when they abandon those principles now?

Yes, it’s true the call for regulation by Trump and his supporters is to remove an exemption in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 to protect internet content providers from being sued for content by their users. This, argues the regulate crowd, gives them an unfair advantage over traditional media. Somehow, also goes the argument, this allows them to achieve “monopoly power” over the internet.

Are they kidding?

Yes, this is a protection afforded internet providers over traditional media, but it doesn’t give Google any particular advantage over other search engines nor Facebook or Twitter over MeWe or Parler. But the real question is, “Do libertarians and conservatives have total amnesia?” Does no one remember how the internet was celebrated just a few years ago as a way around the gatekeeper traditional media? Now, we’re supposed to defend CNN against Twitter and somehow that will help our cause?

Besides being tactically moronic, it’s unprincipled. If you’re a libertarian and won’t go full Monty anarcho-capitalist, then you should be looking to extend the protection to traditional media, not take it away from the tech platforms. That’s the free speech position, to protect speech from government-enforced mobbism in the courtrooms.

Let’s face it. We like to criticize the left for being dumb, especially on economics. But they’re not. They’re smart and they’re winning. The tech billionaires became billionaires largely because they think strategically. They’ve maneuvered the entire non-socialist movement into betraying their own most fiercely held principles and opening themselves up to the tired charge of racism and making it stick. I’m not sure even I could effectively defend against a charge of racism someone who thinks Titles II and VII should be abolished but Twitter should be regulated. On what grounds?

If we want to fight for property rights, free markets, and individual liberty, the special pleading must stop. Arguments like, “this isn’t really a free market” are astoundingly obtuse. Are we saying that unless and until there is 100% laissez faire, all property rights are off the table? Good luck with that. You might as well vote for AOC in 2024.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Every year will be 2020 if Americans don’t resist Covid-19 measures now


cuomo whitmerIf you wonder how state governors and so-called “public health” bureaucrats can continue to impose lockdowns even though the evidence is overwhelming they don’t work, just consider smoking bans.

Governments around the U.S. and the world began imposing them at the beginning of this century, claiming second hand smoke (aka “passive smoking”) caused lung cancer, heart disease, and a number of other serious diseases.

Now, even if that were true, it would still be the right of private property owners to decide whether to allow smoking on their premises or not. But it wasn’t true.

It’s been seven years since a large study showed no correlation between secondhand smoke and lung cancer. Heart disease has not decreased as the banners promised, either. Yet, the bans remain in place.

The TSA will celebrate its 20th birthday next year. It has never caught a terrorist and still consistently fails to detect 95% or more of the dangerous items carried through security on its own tests. It, too, will never go away.

If Americans don’t resist them, business closures, travel bans, contact tracing and the rest of Covid-related government insanity will be here to stay. Any who don’t believe that should ask themselves why Erie County is renovating a historic building into a “Covid-19 response hub.” Not even a government would be so obtuse as to make a long-term capital investment like this to address a problem that will be over in a few months.

All of history shows governments don’t give up power unless they are forced to do so. As a new year dawns, Americans are faced with a clear choice: resist now or spend the rest of their lives reliving 2020 over and over again.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Another day, another Covid “news” article where the reporter questions nothing

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Another day, another article in the Buffalo News where the so-called journalist questions nothing, is curious about nothing, and acts literally as a propagandist for the politician.

If “gatherings” are to blame for higher deaths, then why are over half the deaths in nursing homes, which are completely locked down, including not even allowing the residents to congregate with each other? Why are New York State’s hospitalizations and deaths so much worse than Florida’s, which has no restrictions, no capacity limits on restaurants or bars, and no enforced masked mandates?

By the way, what is the total for deaths from all causes in December 2020, December 2019, and December 2018? Are total deaths really higher? By how much? Are deaths from heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions all lower by close to exactly the number of Covid deaths, as a study found for the U.S.  between March and September?

And how many deaths does the wise county executive estimate have been caused by Covid lockdowns? Will no one ever ask this question? Because that number is not zero. It was uncontroversial a year ago to say every one percent increase in unemployment nationwide causes 30,000 deaths. So how many Erie County deaths have been caused by the unemployment resulting from lockdowns?

These are questions I thought of in seconds as I read the article, but apparently never occurred to the so-called journalist. It’s almost as if she thinks her job is just to write down what the government tells her and repeat it to the population without question.

If that’s the case, why have journalists?

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Conservatives Make a Weak Case for Christianity

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The American Red Guards are after Christianity now, like their comrades in previous communist revolutions.

Conservatives will lament this, but they make a weak case for Christianity because they only seem to hear half of Jesus’ message.

Yes, Jesus told us we are wicked, sinners, and hypocrites. And he was right.

But he also said we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. And he was right about that, too.

The whole conservative philosophy is based on the first half of Jesus’ message alone. It assumes human beings are so wicked that all their natural inclinations must be crushed by authoritarian rule. Hobbes said it and Burke agreed with him.

Libertarians – even the atheists – implicitly agree with all of Jesus’ view of humanity. Every one of us has the capacity to be both a murderer, thief, or liar and a hero, philanthropist, or good neighbor.

The non-aggression principle proceeds directly from this view of humanity, allowing force only in defense of legitimate property rights (property being our lives, liberties, and “stuff”) and otherwise leaving each other free to allow the light of the world to shine.

In addition to overreaching government, the conservative view also results in conservatives tending to separate the world into good and bad people, rather than good and bad actions. This makes Christianity a tough sell, especially since it contradicts another key plank of Jesus’ message: that sincere repentance will be rewarded with the forgiveness of sins.

If conservatives truly want to preserve Western Civilization, previously known as “Christendom,” they ought to consider viewing humanity the way Jesus did and libertarians do and let that guide their policies.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

What will our Ozymandias say to the future?

ozymandias-percy-shelley-with-poem-34054575160_c4cc6a68e0_bI’ve often wondered what historians of the future will think about us and our demise while sifting through the rubble of our civilization. There are many volumes on the reasons for the fall of Rome. We know what happened to the Spanish, French and British Empires. The Mayan collapse is still somewhat mysterious, although there are theories.

But when it comes to us, this mighty civilization that rose out of the Age of Reason and accomplished wonders in 400 years that eclipsed those of the previous 4,000, what will they conclude?

That, ironically, after surviving the bubonic plague, cholera, several world wars, and many natural disasters, we were finally done in by mass hysteria over a virus that, compared to the great epidemics of history, was rather unremarkable.

And round the decay of our colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands will stretch far away.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Resisting the Nitwits: Strategies

Simpsons-Mob homer runningSo, I’ve been giving some thought to approaches we could take to free ourselves of the Nitwits. Again, I didn’t start this group because I thought I had any answers, but rather to ask the question of any who see the problem the same way I do.

I thought it might be worthwhile to break down approaches into general categories and people could add to them in the comments (I’ll amend the OP). Below are the first I’ve thought of off the top of my head, along with the results of any already tried and/or foreseeable challenges. Please add and comment.

For those employing any of these means, I ask in advance to control the urge to be defensive about any challenges I suggest. We’re all here because we recognize one thing: nothing so far has worked or we wouldn’t be here in the first place. However, there may be ways to innovate/improve within the general categories listed below:

  1. Political action. This seems like the most obvious failure. Could anyone have done better taking the message to the Nitwits than Ron Paul or Harry Browne? And no, Ron’s campaign didn’t fail because the media blacked it out. Ron got way MORE exposure than his votes warranted. The Nitwits just didn’t want to hear about less government. I don’t see how this avenue could be exploited significantly better than it has been. The Nitwits will make zero effort to understand the message, no matter how well it’s presented. They’re still answering polls about whether the U.S. should have a third party as if third, fourth, fifth, sixth, etc. parties didn’t already exist. This seems hopeless to me.
  1. Free State Project. This was an admirable effort and certainly creative. But the most optimistic thing one could say about it is it has yielded no fruit so far in terms of affecting New Hampshire politics. As proof, I’d point to the last U.S. senator elected in 2016 – a Biden/Clinton-style Democrat, just like the other elected in 2008. I am open to why this isn’t true, but let’s please refrain from holding up that one position any Republican or Democrat holds that might be slightly libertarian as if it’s helping. You can find those all over the establishment. Yet, we have the system we have.

I think the problem with the Free State Project model is it requires such an uprooting of one’s life and uncertainty about making a living, etc. Not everyone is built to live in NH. I wasn’t built to live in FL. I moved back to NY after 10 years, knowing how much more statist it was here (they’ve upped the ante since I moved back – sheesh).

  1. Free Country Project. This is a variation based on what Doug Casey has been saying to individuals for a long time: find a backwards, poor country that presents opportunities and become a big fish in that little pond. It’s conceivable that a bunch of libertarians could try to do this in a small country somewhere and become the so-called “elite” there. But it has the same challenge as the Free State Project times ten.
  1. Free City Project. The same strategy, but in a smaller geographical area/population. This is probably the most realistic, although to some extent we can observe the results now. No, there aren’t pockets of libertarian communities anywhere, but my little rural community in New York, for example, is decidedly pro-Trump. But the residents here do not live any more a Trumpist life than anyone else in deep blue New York State. The county, state and federal governments control so much of daily life that whatever differences a contrary political view make (and I can point to zero here in my town) are minor at best.

Now, if a community my size were taken over by libertarians, instead of Trumpists, what differences could they really make? Maybe get rid of some zoning laws, maybe not. Every county has an urban center and I’d bet it would be hard to change much here without the “permission” of those in the City of Niagara Falls where all the population lives. That’s not even to mention something truly libertarian like privatizing the water utility, police force, or garbage pickup (and I mean really make it private, with free entry into the market, not the way some of these are “privatized” right now).

  1. Civil Disobedience including Agorism. I know people do this now and have some measure of success. But let’s be realistic: the success avoiding taxes and regulations is based solely on flying under the radar. In other words, not doing enough business or acquiring enough wealth for it to be worth the state taking an interest in confiscating it. Were there a way to get a significant number of people to do this en masse, I believe the Nitwits would immediately call in their keepers out of sheer envy, but certainly it might be worth a try.

The problem again is geography. The people doing this would have to be in the same geographical area to make the movement rise above what it is: a few, relatively poor rebels eking out a subsistence or barely above subsistence living too small for the state to care about. It’s analogous to convicts trading contraband inside a prison.

  1. Promoting Homeschooling. The homeschooling population has grown tremendously out of necessity during the Coronasteria. Even before it, the population had approximately doubled in the past twenty years to 2 million. Apart from still being barely more than a rounding error compared to the whole population, I can say from firsthand experience libertarians make up no more a percentage of this subset than they do the general population. My experience has been the most prevalent category are mothers who don’t think their child(ren) would do well in school because of some medical challenge (extreme allergies, autism, etc.). There is also a large contingent of people who object to school merely because they do not teach the Bible as a history and science text. Some of these are conservatives, which means they aren’t libertarians. My wife and I are the only people I personally have met who homeschool for the purposes of providing a libertarian-friendly education.

It is an open question whether there is an opportunity to promote home schooling very hard right now to at least get a larger chunk of the child population out of the public school system. No matter what their parents believe, not having them literally marching back and forth to bells and buzzers can’t but help. But we need to approach this with open eyes.

  1. Armed rebellion. I mention this only because I’m sure someone will bring it up. I don’t think this is a realistic option, not for the reasons the Nitwits give that the state has superior armaments (“because you can’t fight a government army with only rifles and small arms against planes, missiles, etc.”). Obviously, the Afghans have disproven that. But armed rebellion is a bad idea for three reasons:

A) We’re completely outnumbered. Unlike the Afghans, there is no significant portion of the population who would support this. We’d all end up dead and held up as nutcase militia types and leave no freer a world behind us.

B) The history of armed rebellions has not shown them to yield more freedom. I know someone will bring up the American Revolution, but I submit that was much more an example of a population expelling a foreign invader than it was an armed rebellion against the existing political structure. The colonists’ objection was that Parliament was changing the political structure by acquiring new powers. And like the Taliban, the domestic population included a significant percentage (1/3 at least) that supported the revolution. This is not the case here.

Besides the American Revolution, what was the other armed rebellion(s) that resulted in a freer society? I’ll hang up and listen.

C) War is destructive and miserable. If the rebellion had any success, which it won’t, it would destroy all sorts of infrastructure and private property, not to mention innocent lives. War is the means of the state. It is humanity at its nadir. Surely, we non-Nitwits can think of a better idea than resorting to this, can’t we?

This blog will be updated with new approaches as they are suggested.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

No, government isn’t the problem. It’s the Nitwit Mob.

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Thirty-nine years ago, Ronald Reagan said during his first inaugural address, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” It had Conservative, Inc. atwitter for decades, even long after everyone knew the federal government doubled in size under The Gipper.

Both proponents and opponents still talk about Reagan as if he shrank the government when he did precisely the opposite. That’s understandable coming from political operatives or media (but I repeat myself) who have some stake in people believing it. What is intolerable is the tens of millions of nitwits – there really is no other word for them – who believe it themselves, contrary to easily verifiable data.

Thus, this libertarian is led to what some might consider an extraordinary conclusion. Government is not, in fact, the problem.

Contrary to what we in the so-called “liberty movement” would like to think, there is not a large percentage of the population yearning to break free from an oppressive government.

In reality, all those polls showing single digit approval ratings for Congress result from people being angry the government isn’t doing more. I wish I could tell you what you want to hear. But I can’t.

Hundreds of years ago there was a moment when the American population was somewhat suspicious of government, respectful of property rights (the only real rights) and devoted to personal liberty. That sentiment began eroding almost immediately upon the thirteen colonies gaining their independence. It died completely generations ago, but for a few contrarians.

We now live in as close to a pure democracy as any society this size could possibly achieve. By “pure democracy,” I do not mean the overrated distinction between democracy and republic. I mean a system in which the will of the majority is unchecked by any institutional restraint.

When you consider half the population have, by definition, IQs under 100, then you can see why it isn’t difficult for a small, interested minority to combine with that population segment to impose whatever they want upon the rest of us. All they need do is promise safety from some terrifying threat, real or imagined, and the cowardly, obsequious, statist-to-the-core majority will not only accept the plan but demand it.

We are ruled by the Nitwit Mob. Democracy is its means, comfortable slavery its end. Participation is mandatory.

How does one know the members of this mob, you ask? Identifying non-members would make for a shorter answer, but here is an incomplete list of some tell-tale characteristics:

  • Mindlessly repeating talking points they hear on state propaganda broadcasts like The Today Show as if the talking points are their own, well considered opinions.
  • Changing their profile pics to some symbol in politically correct vogue at the moment. Can one say any more emphatically, “I have no identify of my own?”
  • “Thanking the troops” for their freedom – or for anything else for that matter. Thanking is only appropriate when a benefit is conferred. And no American taxpayer has benefited from the troops invading Afghanistan, Iraq, Viet Nam, Somalia, Korea…
  • Starting any sentence with the words, “You need to….” Yes, this is a personal pet peeve, but think about the thought process behind this ubiquitous expression. It’s a passive-aggressive way of ordering someone to do something, often to fall in line with some politically correct or otherwise state-directed behavior.

The appropriate response is something like, “No, I need to do no such thing. If you would like me to do thus and so, I suggest you ask politely, employing the word, ‘please.’ I make no guarantees.”

Or, if time is short, simply, “Fuck you.”

  • Using the word “we” when advancing a political agenda. “We need, we must, we can,” etc. are all words employed by two groups of people: those who wish to control or plunder you and the Nitwits who enable them.

What is the solution to rule by the Nitwit Mob? I don’t know.  But I can tell you what the solution isn’t: trying to reason with them.

We can write all the essays we want, teach all the economics we want, cite all the great thinkers in the libertarian tradition we want. It’s not going to work because the Nitwit Mob doesn’t want to be reasoned with. They don’t want to consider your point of view. No, they don’t find that information you “shared” interesting.

The Nitwits are impervious to these efforts because they are emotionally invested in statism. They want an all-powerful state to care for them like they are livestock and they demand you take your place in the stable next to them (not to mention pay for the stable). Any suggestion this might be immoral, impractical or even detrimental to their own interests might as well be made to a donkey.

In substance abuse programs, it is often said the first step in solving your problem is admitting you have one.  We must admit we have a Nitwit problem compared to which the state pales in comparison. Let’s stop operating under the assumption that if we could just bring them the information evil forces have kept from them, they’d join our cause. They won’t.

As my kung fu Sifu once said, “Well, what you’re doing obviously isn’t working. So, whatever you decide to do, don’t keep doing that.” Consider this a request for proposals. How do we free ourselves from the Nitwits who are too stupid to persuade and too numerous to fight?

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

What proof is there that Covid-19 lockdowns prevent more cases than they cause?

2013-updated_scientific-method-steps_v6_noheaderAs the economic pain from shelter in place orders manifests itself, protests are erupting in many states against what I previously called the absurd proposition of Covid-19 lockdowns. Indeed, as the knock-on effects of these severe disruptions begin to emerge, tensions are going to go much higher.

Supporters of reopening the economy make many arguments, including that the threat of Covid-19 is overstated and that the government “cure” will be worse than the disease. Their opponents smear them as “anti-science,” ignorant rubes. But that begs the question: where is the science supporting the theory these lockdowns have prevented more infections than they caused? I don’t see it; nor do I expect I will.

To be clear, the pro-lockdown crowd, which includes politicians, public health officials, and much of the media, have not necessarily said there will be less cases overall because of the lockdowns. They have said the lockdowns will “flatten the curve,” meaning not as many people will get a severe illness from the virus at the same time. This, they argue, will prevent hospitals being overwhelmed with more cases than there are beds at the peak of the infection cycle.

This is certainly a plausible theory, but that is all it is. One can also construct a plausible theory that the lockdowns have caused more cases during their durations than if they hadn’t been ordered at all or if they only applied to high risk people (elderly, people with underlying conditions, etc.).

How? Well, the CDC says that prolonged exposure to the virus increases one’s chance of contracting it. Therefore, anyone ordered to stay in their homes with people already infected had a much higher chance of being infected than if they or the people they were confined with went to work every day as usual.

We now know the virus was present in at least two people who died as far back as early February, long before the first shelter in place order in any state. We also have strong evidence that far more asymptomatic people have already been infected with the disease than previously thought.

A study by Stanford University concluded there may be as many as 81,000 cases  in that county, with only 1,094 reported. A separate study of 397 residents of a Boston, MA homeless shelter showed a similar result. 146 of the 397 tested positive for the virus. 100% of them were asymptomatic.

The pro-lockdown crowd has interpreted these facts predictably – lockdowns must remain in place because people who don’t even know they have the virus may spread it.

But there is another, glaringly obvious conclusion to be drawn from these studies and the knowledge the virus has been here since at least early February. Lockdowns are forcing uninfected people to have prolonged exposure to infected people.

That’s not to say the lockdowns don’t prevent more infections than they cause. There must be some number of people who have avoided infection by staying in their homes and not going to restaurants, bars, work, etc. But there is just as surely some number of people who became infected because of the lockdowns. Evaluating the lockdown policy depends at least in part upon which of those numbers is larger, as well as the damage done by secondary negative effects of the lockdowns.

Here is the problem. No politician or public health official is interested in that second number. They’ve made their decisions and there is zero incentive for them to have any intellectual curiosity about their validity. On the contrary, they would face public lynching, literally or figuratively, if it turned out their policies not only wrecked the economy but achieved the opposite public health results they intended.

Yet, anyone who believes in science should be demanding rigorous proof that these lockdowns didn’t cause more infections than they prevented while they were in place. And anyone who believes in individual liberty must put the burden of proof on those who would infringe upon it, not on those who merely seek to exercise their inalienable rights.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.