Standard Oil, Like a Phoenix Rising from the Ashes (Bust the Trusts! The Right Way for Once!)

Standard Oil, Like a Phoenix Rising from the Ashes (Bust the Trusts! The Right Way for Once!).

What is it with me and bashing evil corporations of late (not necessarily on this blog, though I’m sure if you look through the archives…)? I hope it’s not habit-forming.

Well, could be that some of them, at least at some point in their history, became what they are with special thanks to the government. Could also be that some of them have been grandfathered in and are protected from competition from those who haven’t been grandfathered in. Might also have a little something to do with the fact that some of them have benefitted from foreign policy meddling and institutionalized theft committed by the state. But other than that, I have few complaints. Here’s a comment I left (since edited) at the end of a survey that sparked this article:

“I like surveys that have political and societal relevance. I believe in the desirability and functionality of free markets. And Exxon Mobil is a great company all things considered. However, they could not have gotten to where they are today without a little outside help. Some of this came from the consumer, to be sure. But some of it came from the state through the virtual cartel status granted to all major [US, Dutch, and British, at least] oil companies going back at least to the 1953 [CIA instigated] Iranian Coup… [This] greatly benefitted the Seven Sisters oil companies (a number of which [were Standard Oil descendants that later] merged to become Exxon Mobil) and is one of the main causes of unease in the Middle East and around the world today. They, like all oil companies, great and small, foreign and domestic, have also benefitted from oil’s status as de facto commodity backing for the US dollar. The world reserve currency known as the Federal Reserve Note is denominated in crude oil. The oil companies have a vested interest in maintaining this corrupt arrangement.”

Federal Reserve Octopus

What say you? Are some/most/all big corporations what they are today more thanks to competition or more thanks to monopoly? Here’s one for extra points: what about “small business,”? Aren’t they also protected from competition, in certain industries more than others, by regulations that keep newcomers out and by subsidies that keep competing technologies down?

For the record, anti-trust legislation actually has the effect of restraining competition, thereby securing monopoly, so when I say “bust the trusts” I don’t advocate anti-trust legislation, I simply want to let free market competition give some of these bigger guys a run for “their” money! The burden of proof is on them to show that they would really be as big as they are today were they under a system of laissez-faire capitalism. I guess you could say I’m with the left-libertarians on this one (except for the fact that I dared to use the word “capitalism”).

Standard Oil Octopus

Also, Brandon and I had our little chat on conspiracy theories. The collusion of big businesses (usually involving the state at some level) to form cartels (take note that Standard Oil, known to us today as Exxon Mobil and Chevron, was owned by John D. Rockefeller, who also had a hand in creating the Federal Reserve; I wouldn’t say everything that has happened in regards to these two was meticulously plotted, but I wouldn’t call it mere coincidence, either) happens to be one of the ones that I subscribe to. I think Adam Smith can back me up on this one. And unlike some who use the quote to support anti-trust legislation, I’ll give you more than just the first two sentences in order to show why such laws are not the best conclusion:

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary.

Monopoly Octopus

Classical Liberals Who Weren’t Right About Everything

Classical Liberals Who Weren’t Right About Everything.

[The following is my entry for the second Thorpe-Freeman Blog Contest, originally published at Notes on Liberty on June 25th. It was one of two runners up. My entry for last July's contest (I chose not to enter the August contest because The Freeman combines the two months into one issue), can be read here.]

Many classical liberals and their ideas have been maligned by their interpreters. We must set the record straight. Professor Ross Emmett, in “What’s Right with Malthus,” from The Freeman, champions the cause of Thomas Robert Malthus, who, contrary to what one might think after encountering Malthus’ followers and critics,

argued that private property rights, free markets, and…marriage were essential features of an advanced civilization.

Some disciples of Malthus took his erroneous population theory as evidence of the need for eugenics, population control, and environmental “regulation.” They ignored Malthus’ arguments favoring institutions more capable of (and more compassionate in) achieving their desired ends; institutions that first came about not by design, but by convention. The eugenicists Francis Galton and Julian Huxley (both related to Darwin), and eco-catastrophist Paul Ehrlich come to mind.

But there were also critics, who, preferring utopian visions of the perfectibility of mankind, denounced Malthus’ pessimistic views. Anarchists William Godwin and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon are most notable in this regard. Godwin and Malthus had exchanged criticisms (noted by Emmett) in some of their essays. Malthus attacked Godwin’s utopianism. Godwin assailed Malthus’ assumption of arithmetical increase in agricultural output, as compared to geometrical increase of population. And Proudhon targeted the overzealous Malthusians of his day, citing as grievances the former’s antagonism toward the lower classes. While neither Godwin nor Proudhon did terrible injustice to Malthus himself, they unintentionally contributed to the myth that the worst variety of population catastrophists were the most orthodox.

Notice the themes that Professor Emmett brings to our attention. First, that even in their controversial and disputable contributions, great theorists illuminate the path for later philosophers. Second, that human institutions can mitigate human nature’s undesirable effects.

In light of these, consider two other social theorists whose ideas have been abused by overenthusiastic students and overreactive peers alike: Herbert Spencer (insightful Malthus adherent), and the aforementioned Mr. Proudhon (noteworthy Malthus critic).

Leading “social Darwinist” (a pejorative used to link eugenics and capitalism), Herbert Spencer (considered a conservative anarchist by Georgi Plekhanov) was, like Darwin, influenced by Malthus’ idea that the fittest tend to survive overpopulation-induced catastrophes. He is known for having coined “survival of the fittest,” a term later used by Darwin in the fifth edition of On the Origin of Species (1859). Spencer originally used it to convey Darwin’s concept of natural selection, and drew parallels between biological evolution through natural selection and social evolution through market competition. But he never implied that they were identical or that marketplace competition was necessarily an outgrowth of natural selection.

If anything, it should be thought of as an alternative to natural selection. Humans, to survive as a species, might practice natural selection as a matter of biological fact. And without the ability to reason this might eventually lead to a Hobbesian jungle. But since man is rational, natural selection’s role in social evolution is significantly lessened. Society arises from the natural order of things. There is no need for the Commonwealth or the General Will to step in and provide it.

Friedrich Engels saw things differently when he wrote in the introduction to his Dialectics of Nature (1872/1883):

Darwin did not know what a bitter satire he wrote on mankind…when he showed that free competition…is the normal state of the animal kingdom. Only…production and distribution…carried on in a planned way, can lift mankind above the rest of the animal world…

Competition exists in both the natural world and free markets, so the connection between natural selection and marketplace competition, though spurious, seems all too obvious for critics of one or the other. They wrongfully project the cold, deterministic properties of nature onto economic freedom. But marketplace competition is an outgrowth of the ability to reason, not base survival instincts. The will to survive is certainly a factor of social progress, but taken on its own would tend toward more similarities with nature, such that the life of man would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Man has the faculties to escape the jungle, to leave the animal kingdom, to better his life without worsening others’.

Communist anarchist Pyotr Kropotkin (influenced by Godwin) juxtaposed social Darwinism, evolution requiring competition, with his own take, evolution requiring cooperation, in his book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902). In so doing, he disagreed with Engels on Darwin, by describing how natural selection depended at least as much upon cooperation as it did biological competition. But unfortunately he conformed to Engels on the false dichotomy between rational competition (free markets) and cooperation (mutual aid).

Our second subject, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a mutualist, an anarchist and a socialist. Yet some of his ideas are more in line with libertarianism than with contemporary socialism. They were often based on a fairly consistent concept of natural rights, but understood in light of fallacious economic principles, especially the labor theory of value (held by Locke, Smith, Ricardo, and Marx).

But utility-based theories are in vogue among today’s classical liberals and much of Proudhon’s economics has been rightly tossed aside. But his theory of spontaneous order and support for free markets should not be so readily discarded. Leave that to conservatives fearful of anything tainted by the socialist label, and to leftists whose only alternative would be to admit that the labor theory is passé.

Proudhon (General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century, 1851) was also opposed to Hobbes’ and Rousseau’s social contract theories, having his own:

What really is the Social Contract? An agreement of the citizen with the government? No…The social contract is an agreement of man with man…from which must result what we call society…Commerce…the act by which man and man declare themselves essentially producers, and abdicate all pretension to govern each other.

Organic institutions, neither designed nor imposed!

It seems there’s much knowledge and inspiration to be gained by examining the forgotten words of discredited intellectuals. Warts and all.

Hating Energy Dependence, Not Loving Energy Independence

Hating Energy Dependence, Not Loving Energy Independence.

I worked on this piece on and off from November 30th to January 21st. I wrote the bulk of it on the first day, and most of the editing since then had been cosmetic. It is somewhat related to a project I was helping a friend with, although that is not the reason I wrote it. This piece originally appeared on January 21st at Notes on Liberty, where it was my first for that blog.

WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT ENERGY DEPENDENCE?

Contrary to what one might be led to think, energy independence need not be the opposite of energy (inter)dependence. Likewise, contrary to what many advocates of free markets and free trade will say, energy dependence (perhaps not their choice of words), is not a good thing. Energy interdependence certainly can be a good thing, but in today’s world I can’t agree that every instance of it always is. Continue reading

Tea Party Heroes Ron And Rand Paul Make For A Bitter Brew; Sixth Response

Tea Party Heroes Ron And Rand Paul Make For A Bitter Brew; Sixth Response.

The following is the sixth paragraph of Barry Germansky’s op-ed Tea Party Heroes Ron and Rand Paul Make for a Bitter Brew, from earlier this year, interspersed with my rebuttals from within the last few days.

BARRY GERMANSKY: Naturally, the Pauls’ preference for putting economic values first – by believing in free market libertarianism, which uses economics in totalitarian fashion to run society – caters to big businesses far more than the average citizen.

HENRY MOORE: Free Market Libertarianism no more uses “economics,” regardless of how that word is defined, to run society, than any other system does. In fact, as I have argued and will continue to argue elsewhere, it is less likely to do so. Is free market libertarianism the only system that seeks to apply its economic principles to society? Or do other ideologies also seek to apply aspects of their ideology, for good or bad, to society? It is clearly the latter. Or at least it would be to someone who didn’t confuse the term “free market” with the term “economics,” which is at the root of your mistake in the above sentence. And there is nothing inherently totalitarian about it either. That goes for any system, let alone one whose actual principles are the definition of totalitarianism’s opposite! Not unless actual force is involved, which you have yet to reliably point to in any manner. So now you are stretching the term “totalitarian” to mean “anything Barry Germanksy doesn’t like.”

However, a system that throws you in jail for not letting the government steal from you (through taxation, inflation, and regulatory costs) necessarily involves force. And that is just its economic side. Just imagine what this same society does in other sectors! Have you heard of wars of aggression and victimless crimes, for example? What is it about the type of system you advocate, where all is arbitrary, all is tailored to the lowest common denominator, that prevents these other totalitarian (by definition) measures from taking place? I put it to you that the system you advocate is no different than the one already in place (and opposed by the Pauls), where the totalitarian crimes I mentioned are widely practiced and sanctified through the supposedly democratic means by which they are implemented, save only by degree.

Government shouldn’t “cater” to anyone. Not big business. Not small business. And not special interest groups masquerading as advocates of the average citizen.

BARRY GERMANSKY: Perhaps this is best demonstrated by Ron and Rand’s constant support for the abolition of government-issued money in favor of currency minted by private banks. As is commonplace with the Pauls, they choose to ignore history or simply distort it.

HENRY MOORE: The government does not issue the money. This is false. If government issued the money the monetary system would have collapsed a long time ago, because a bureaucracy does not have, and therefore cannot respond to, the various incentives and disincentives, associated with actually seeking a profit.  The current monetary system is a hybrid of both the public and the private sectors. They remain private in the sense that they are not democratically elected nor accountable to the people they purport to serve, and public in the sense that they are protected and artificially propped up, primarily through various types of fraud and force.

This is fascism. And here you are, a leftist of sorts, defending it as though a monetary cartel was somehow a friend to the common folk. With inflation, anyone living on a fixed income is negatively impacted. It is true, at least in the short term, that an inflationary currency regime helps debtors, but it is equally true and equally important that not all debtors are the poor and downtrodden, and that not all the poor and downtrodden are debtors. In fact, the less “fair lending” regulations there are, the less likely lenders are to “take advantage” of people who cannot repay loans, because there is simply no incentive to do so. Loan sharks who do see incentives are far more common in systems that regulate legitimate lending practices to the point of making it overly costly for most people to operate with them.

So, the Federal Reserve Bank, is a private system reorganized by the state into a quasi-private monopoly. By way of illustration, consider two competing car lots whose salesmen decide they can get more profits by cooperating than they can by competing. So they both agree to raise the price of a vehicle on their lot to the same exorbitant price. Assuming there are no other car lots around within a distance that would make it cost effective to just buy a car out of town, anybody in the area who needs a new vehicle will have no choice but to buy a car from one of the two lots at the exorbitant price. Sure, this is price-gouging, but unless they figure out a way to ban new competitors, it is not yet a cartel. So say there is another salesman who sees the need for, as well as profit in, setting up his own lot and charging significantly less for his vehicles. Free Market. Problem solved. But before he can even get his inventory in, the local sheriff (one of the two cooperating salesmen’s cousin perhaps) comes up with some excuse to shut him down and run him out of town (through threats or bribery or blackmail, etc.). Well, this is exactly how the Federal Reserve, and in fact the entire financial system operates. Only the two price-gouging salesmen are the private banks and institutions who already have connections to government (and no, the root of the problem is not private banking, but a government susceptible to nepotism and corruption), the local sheriff is the government, and the competing salesmen are smaller, less favored banks, who may be even more capable and efficient than the major banks, but are starting at a distinct disadvantage. And yet you defend this system and would seek to create microcosms of it in every sector?

As for history, competing banks and commodity standards have been more efficient and less predisposed to severe downturns than national/central banks have. Unfortunately, even with a great many private banks there has been government manipulation and fraud, or government aiding in or covering up private sector fraud. This is not dissimilar to the more institutionalized manipulation and fraud now an accepted (but not well understood by the average person, nor fully transparent as to the specifics) part of the financial sector thanks to the Federal Reserve and various government regulatory agencies.

Such interference (sometimes initiated by government out of hysteria or motive, sometimes by the private banks themselves to increase their own gain, but remember, government is still the problem here because it made itself responsive to corrupting influences), has at times resulted in panics and runs and recessions and Depressions that have later been blamed on private banking, in general, rather than on the specific administration and the specific banks. But none of these downturns were anywhere near as severe or long lasting (save one, the Long Depression, which was only a depression in terms of decreasing prices, not in terms of a weak, anemic, struggling economy) as those that occurred in the era of, and as a result of, the Federal Reserve System.

BARRY GERMANSKY: Their plan to abolish the Federal Reserve has already been tried to varying degrees, and does not lead to utopian freedom. Instead, it creates an influx of fraud and currency debasement, followed by the concentration of financial power in the few banks that survive the ensuing “big fish versus little fish gladiatorial match”.

HENRY MOORE: The Federal Reserve System has been around for almost 100 years. Not once in that period of time has there ever been an attempt to abolish it. At least not an attempt that had any economic impact. Again your ignorance of history, which you project onto others, I am forced to deal with.

There were two national banks, neither of which were ever referred to as “the Federal Reserve” that had each been abolished. Perhaps that is what you are alluding to. But how could that be? Fully abolishing two banks are not “various degrees” of abolishing a bank. Abolishment is abolishment. Furthermore, the periods of these banks were replete with the problems you mention, though when the government does it they are not referred to as “fraud and debasement” because they are “legal,” while the periods where there was no central bank had less of these things. All of these periods had their fair share of panics, but panics are almost always overreactions to minor inconsistencies. If they are blown too far out of proportion the government steps in to “save the day.” What this usually means is they bail out their cronies (some of whom were just on the wrong end of a risk, others which were defrauding depositors), or where there is a genuine instance of good intentions on its part, wide scale distortions, leading to another round of blame, intervention, and yes, more reason to panic.

Now, there have been attempts to limit its policies, but the one time (1920/1921) where this had any meaningful impact it, a) had a good impact, and b) merely limited it to its original duties, those which it had just three short years prior (1917). Hardly an attempt to abolish it. And if you are referring to more recent history, something under FDR (confiscation of gold) or Kennedy (elimination of silver certificates) or Johnson (profligate spending) or Nixon (ending Bretton Woods) or Reagan (appointing supposed goldbug Greenspan) or whatever you are must be willfully ignorant, because the changes these men made were either attempts to strengthen the Federal Reserve or the equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Concentration of power in already exists. Indeed, it flourishes under central banking. And not just in the finance industry. Central banks are already privately owned cartels. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, they don’t always (if ever) use this power for the public benefit. Crony capitalism (I’ll wager you’d hate that even more than you do free market capitalism, if you knew the difference, that is) is what ensues. Favorites and those owed a favor get bailed out and subsidized. Those to whom this money “trickles down” eventually, as the economy reacts, lose the value that it initially had. This loss of value is always faster than the value gained in interest by saving money in a bank taking its orders from the Fed.

By the way, your metaphor really sucks. It conveys a false message and it is mixed.

BARRY GERMANSKY: Without government regulation to protect the country, individual autonomy among the masses becomes victimized by those with greater influence. The rich and powerful, who account for a small percentage of the country’s total population, have more wealth than the majority.

So now you are a nationalist? Protect the country? From what? The free society that made it great in the first place? The audacity!

What part of individual autonomy don’t you understand? Do I take it the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me” has no value to you? Because if I took your word for it “autonomy” is the right to steal and to kidnap or kill those who resist the theft.

And if you are worried about oppression by the rich and powerful, turn your eyes first to the policies you yourself advocate (or at least defend) that actually facilitate the oppression by the rich and the powerful. And who is this “majority?” Do you mean just anybody who you don’t arbitrarily classify as rich and powerful? Or like a true democrat do you mean 50.1% or more of the people with a minority of 49.9% or less? Or will either one do, depending on the situation? What about those that don’t care that some people have more money and more power? Shouldn’t you subtract them from your “majority?” And if you do, who then will be the majority? If it is the rich and the powerful and their less rich, less powerful allies, will their right to oppress become all of the sudden sacred because at least they are going about it democratically?

BARRY GERMANSKY: In a free market, some unfortunate people – for example, those who are physically disabled or grew up in poverty – will automatically be disadvantaged and have no assistance from society to overcome these factors (which the current system tries its best to accommodate).

HENRY MOORE: Yes, there are such people. But haven’t you heard of “community” or “family” or “charity”? Don’t you have any faith in humanity? None of these things are absent in a free market system. They and their proper functioning are all subject to risk in the free market’s absence, however.

Poverty exists, but like most other things it is exaggerated. For every genuinely distraught person there may be a handful of people who, for lack of better words, are just lazy bums. The average American household under the “poverty line” is in better shape today than all but the richest of the rich were 100 years ago. A rising tide lifts all boats. Poor people today have cable TV, multiple vehicles, washing machines, cell phones, computers, etc. That doesn’t mean we should let people who don’t fit this description fall through the cracks, but there are better ways than bankrupting the country and debasing the currency.

And what is to blame for a lot of this poverty? Minimum wage laws, welfare for the able-bodied, taxation, inflation, regulations, takings, prisons filled with nonviolent criminals, public schools (but then I already listed prisons). In a word, the state.

BARRY GERMANSKY: For these simple reasons, corporate monopolies would be even more widespread without government intervention. The little fish would have no chance.

HENRY MOORE: To recap: big government and big business go hand in hand. They are not foes. They are the best of friends. We are not talking about a little fish fleeing a big fish or a little fish competing for food against the big fish. No, we are talking about two enormous fish surrounding an unsuspecting little fish and tearing him to shreds before he even has a chance to realize what is going on.

Remember, Remember! and Don’t Forget: Just Who is Co-Opting the Liberty Movement?

Remember, Remember! and Don’t Forget: Just Who is Co-Opting the Liberty Movement?.

“Remember, remember

The fifth of November
The gunpowder treason and plot.
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.”

That was technically yesterday (Mountain Standard Time), though I when I started this piece I hadn’t gone to bed yet. Today is officially election day. This post is intended to bring a few things to everyone’s attention. Many people already know these things. Some don’t. Either way, as usual, I will put a little of my own spin on it.

First on the election.

On the presidential elections (I still have not voted yet today, but I think I will make it to the polls before they close), voting doesn’t really effect the election outcome unless you are in a battleground state. So I hope most people will be voting their consciences. Voting, however, does send a message, and that message for each voting block is the same REGARDLESS of the outcome. What I mean by this is, if you support someone but vote for someone else, odds are that not only will that vote have no effect on the outcome (unless, as I said, it is a tight race) in terms of who the next president is, but you are also keeping people from knowing what you truly believe. Voting to send a message therefore has much more of an impact than voting to put someone in power.

And now, the rest of the post on ongoing and attempted takeovers of the liberty movement by 1) Occupy Wall Street (this was only a minor and unintended offense on their part), 2) the rank and file of the Tea Party (originally a good thing, but now more or less synonymous with the GOP), and 3) the Kochtopus (who in my conspiratorial mind own Jesse Benton, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, and a good portion of many Republican, Tea Party, and Libertarian groups, organizations, and individuals, though I do not allege that everyone employed are receiving funds from the Koch Brothers is automatically a blind tool).

407 years ago this night was the Gun Powder plot where a group of English Catholics attempted to Assassinate James I of England. All religious considerations aside (I am not a Catholic), it was an act against oppression and thus a tradition has come down to us today, mainly in England, to celebrate the anniversary. I won’t go into any details about how the Fifth of November, AKA Guy Fawkes Day is traditionally celebrated, but I do want to call attention to the man it was named after. But not the historical man because that is fairly boring. It is to the fictionalized, mythologized, romanticized, and later Hollywoodified version that I will point you. Guy Fawkes is a Robin Hood-like hero in these later accounts, and much the same he has captured many hearts and minds. Like Robin of Loxley, he stands against the existing order, the status quo, and evades the unjust authorities, but perhaps unlike him, the whole idea of tyranny. What more could I ask for?

We’ve all seen the Guy Fawkes masks, the ones that come from the movie V for Vendetta. The first people that used them as activists, perhaps to the surprise of many, were in fact Ron Paul supporters. Not the hackers group Anonymous, and not the Occupy Wall Street movement. Just like with the Tea Party movement.

Speaking of Anonymous, Guy Fawkes, and Ron Paul, check out this “leak” and the video below.

https://cdn.anonfiles.com/1351956247586.pdf

Ron Paul raised $4.3 Million on Guy Fawkes Day in 2007. Why a similar money bomb didn’t occur in 2011 is probably due to former Campaign Manager Jesse Benton’s fear and loathing of anything resembling disorder or fringe or passion.

Most Ron Paul supporters had their suspicions of Jesse Benton. Some smelled a rat early on. Other reserved judgement until it was too late.

Adam Kokesh was one in the former category. [Warning: Foul Language!]

He regarded Jesse Benton and Campaign for Liberty (under Benton’s leadership at the time) with disdain from early one, at first for what seemed to be personal reasons, but later what turned out to be a dead-on instinct.

This all reminds me of an historical episode that occurred between another Jesse Benton, and a man who might be considered Ron Paul’s role model against the Central Bank, President Andrew Jackson.

Campaign for Liberty was perhaps the first real Tea Party organization, although in a sense Dick Armey’s Freedom Works (2004), the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity (2004) Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform 1985), and the Koch Brothers’ Citizens for a Sounds Economy (1984) all deserve honorable mention.

Even Murray Rothbard can be said to have had a role, albeit a small one.

The New Boston Tea Party – Murray Rothbard

And speaking of Murray Rothbard and the Kochtopus, I suggest you read some of these links I have done many hours worth of research looking for. I have read a number of them myself. There is some really juicy stuff in there. And it should be required reading for any liberty minded person worried about the corrupting influences to be found in politics, even in the libertarian movement. I don’t know entirely what to make of it all other than that the Koch brothers have done many great deeds for which they should be praised, but all for what appear to be the wrong reasons, reasons, which have also caused them to do a great deal of  more sinister things. Perhaps enough to outshine their more praiseworthy endeavors. They are corporate fascists and elitists no less than George Soros and Warren Buffet. They just have a different strategy. Perhaps the most clever and dangerous.

1969

Libertarian Cover for the Corporate State by Murray N. Rothbard

1980

The Clark Campaign: Never Again by Murray N. Rothbard

1981

http://mises.org/journals/lf/1981/1981_01-04.pdf

Konkin on Libertarian Strategy – Murray N. Rothbard – Mises Daily

Samuel Edward Konkin III “Reply to Rothbard”

http://mises.org/journals/lf/1981/1981_06-07.pdf

1993

WHY THE PRO-NAFTA HYSTERIA?

May 28, 2007

Conference on Austrian Economics and the Firm « Organizations and Markets

March 25, 2008

How Libertarian Is the Kochtopus? « LewRockwell.com Blog

April 22, 2008

The Kochtopus vs. Murray N. Rothbard by David Gordon

May 12, 2008

The Kochtopus vs. Murray N. Rothbard, Part II by David Gordon

October 22, 2008

The Board Game of Libertarian Public Policy

January 2, 2009

Tyler Cowen: Statist, anti-Rothbardian agent of the Kochtopus | TIME.com

March 2, 2009

The Kochtopus and Power « LewRockwell.com Blog

March 6, 2009

‘Libertarian’ Hero « LewRockwell.com Blog

August 28, 2009

Cowenian Second-Bestism Smackdown

Good for Pete Boettke « LewRockwell.com Blog

March 30, 2010

Koch Brothers Fund Trey Grayson’s Campaign « LewRockwell.com Blog

re: Koch Brothers Finance Trey Grayson’s Campaign « LewRockwell.com Blog

April 22, 2008

The Kochtopus vs. Murray N. Rothbard by David Gordon

April 16, 2008

‘Reason’-Funder To Host Cheney « LewRockwell.com Blog

August 4, 2010

Radical Roots of Libertarianism by Samuel E. Konkin III | JustLive

August 30, 2010

The Billionaire Koch Brothers’ War Against Obama : The New Yorker

In Defense of the Kochtopus by Justin Raimondo — Antiwar.com

August 31, 2010

Austrians Again « LewRockwell.com Blog

September 3, 2010

David Koch Attacks Alan Grayson « LewRockwell.com Blog

September 15, 2010

“Who’s Funding This?!”

October 25, 2010

Good for the Cato Institute « LewRockwell.com Blog

November 24, 2010

Liberty Central: Repo’d by the Koch brothers? | Smart v. Stupid

November 26, 2010

Libertarians Against the Regime by Justin Raimondo — Antiwar.com

January 26, 2011

Koch Brothers Feel the Heat In DC, as Broad Coalition Readies Creative Action to Quarantine the Billionaires Gathering in California Desert | Alternet

January 27, 2011

‘Koch Brothers Trot Out Ed Meese To Defend Them’ « LewRockwell.com Blog

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Koch Brothers Trot Out Ed Meese to Defend Them

Koch conference under scrutiny – Kenneth P. Vogel and Simmi Aujla – POLITICO.com

February 2, 2011

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Koch Brothers Hire Arnold Schwarzenegger’s PR Operative

February 3, 2011

More Adventures With the Kochs « LewRockwell.com Blog

February 6, 2011

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Americans for [Koch] Prosperity

February 9, 2011

Monetary Policy Hearing Today: Ron Paul Versus the Kochtopus | Next New Deal

February 24, 2011

Why the Evil Koch Brothers Must Be Stopped: They Support Drug Legalization, Gay Marriage, Reduced Defense Spending | Peace . Gold . Liberty

February 26, 2011

Wisconsin, Reason, and the National Conversation

March 2, 2011

On Koch Supported Herman Cain by Robert Wenzel

The Koch Bros. Love Herman Cain & Hate Ron Paul | Peace . Gold . Liberty

March 10, 2011

Murray Rothbard on the Kochtopus by David Gordon

April 22, 2011

Gary Johnson: Caveat Emptor by Justin Raimondo — Antiwar.com

May 6, 2011

The Proto-Koch « LewRockwell.com Blog

May 9, 2011

Utah Court Strikes Blow for Free Speech, Dismisses Trademark and CFAA Claims Against Political Activists | Electronic Frontier Foundation

July 3, 2011

The Caravan Keeps Rolling « LewRockwell.com Blog

Their Master’s Voice | Lew Rockwell’s Political Theatre

July 8, 2011

Koch Brothers to Democrats: Stop Asking us For Money

July 22, 2011

Koch Bros. for Higher Taxes (on Their Competitors) | Lew Rockwell’s Political Theatre

July 25, 2011

Do the Koch Bros. Own Bachmann, Too? | Lew Rockwell’s Political Theatre

September 6, 2011

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: HOT: Mother Jones Releases Secret Koch Brothers Tapes

September 29, 2011

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Oh Geez, Charles Koch Advised Friedrich Hayek to Sign Up for Social Security

October 3, 2011

Update: Austrian economics program denied at Loyola New Orleans

October 13, 2011

Could a Tea Party Occupy Wall Street? by Addison Wiggin

November 6, 2011

That 3rd Koch Brother | Lew Rockwell’s Political Theatre

November 16, 2011

MF Global and the Koch Bros. « LewRockwell.com Blog

January 1, 2012

From Vienna With Love: The Kochtopus Warms Up to Ron Paul

January 31, 2012

What’s wrong with the Cato institute? | Peace . Gold . Liberty

February 16, 2012

“History of the Libertarian Movement” by Samuel Edward Konkin III | Left-Liberty.net

March 1, 2012

Kochs launch court fight over Cato – Mike Allen – POLITICO.com

Koch Brothers sue Cato Institute, president – Think Tanked – The Washington Post

Cato says Koch engaged in “a hostile takeover” of the think tank – Think Tanked – The Washington Post

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Billionaire Koch Brothers Sic Super Lawyer on Widow

Koch Bros. Sue Ed Crane, Cato Institute « LewRockwell.com Blog

The Kochs vs. Cato : The New Yorker

March 2, 2012

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Will Lew Rockwell Show at the Next Meeting of the Cato Board?

The Volokh Conspiracy » Koch v. Cato

The Cato Putsch | The American Conservative

March 3, 2012

‘Cato Putsch’? « LewRockwell.com Blog

Brad DeLong: Ed Crane and the Cato Institute vs. the Kochtopus!

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Beltarians versus WaPoists on Koch-Cato

The Volokh Conspiracy » Koch v. Cato — A View from Cato

March 4, 2012

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Murray Rothbard Haunts Koch-Cato from the Grave

Justin Raimondo on the Latest Cato Broadside « LewRockwell.com Blog

Bob Wenzel on the Lineage of the Cato Shares « LewRockwell.com Blog

March 5, 2012

Libertarian Ed Crane Decides to Act Like a Liberal. Will It Destroy the Cato Institute? | RedState

Koch Brothers, Worth $50 Billion, Sue Widow Over $16.00 of Nonprofit’s Stock » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

What Goes Around Comes Around by Skip Oliva

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: What It Takes to Get Big Support from the Koch Brothers

CATO: From Libertarian to Republican? | The American Conservative

March 6, 2012

Is It Charles Koch’s Moral Duty . . . « LewRockwell.com Blog

Charles Koch Makes a Good Point by Thomas DiLorenzo

Cato and the Kochs | The Moral Sciences Club | Big Think

March 7, 2012

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Where’s LewRockwell.com?

March 8, 2012

Charles Koch: I Am Not Backing Down « LewRockwell.com Blog

Koch vs. Cato — A Guest Post by Brink Lindsey | Bleeding Heart Libertarians

The Battle for Cato « ThinkMarkets

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: MIT Prof: The Kochs Will Not Takeover the World

March 12, 2012

Cato’s Amazing Hypocrisy as It Battles the Kochtopus » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

March 19, 2012

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: For the Neocons, It’s Crane over Koch

March 22, 2012

Robert Lawson on Koch ‘n Cato « LewRockwell.com Blog

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: David Koch Gives Ed Crane an Employment Review

March 26, 2012

Family Feud | The Weekly Standard

April 11, 2012

Judge Napolitano Visits Cato

April 16, 2012

The Libertarian Challenge to Charles Murray’s Position on Property Rights and Homesteading by Walter Block

April 20, 2012

Digging the Hole Deeper « LewRockwell.com Blog

Independent and Principled? Behind the Cato Myth | The Nation

April 24, 2012

How Not To Change America’s Politics: Set Up a Public Policy Think Tank by Gary North

April 27, 2012

The Think-Tank Mentality by Skip Oliva

July 7, 2012

» Lessons from the UVA, Cato Wars Kleptarchy

August 17, 2012

The Paul Ryan Selection: The Koch Brothers Get Their Man – Roger Stone: The Stone Zone

August 30, 2012

Plutocrat David Koch Not a Libertarian « LewRockwell.com Blog

Two Additional Links I can’t put in the chronology:

Kochtopus

Interview With Samuel Edward Konkin III

One of the most interesting things (and there were many) I garnered from reading these is the Kochtopus’ love for Central Banking, despite their roots in Austrian Economics. Evokes memories of Alan Greenspan. And why the Koch Brothers put stock in Herman Cain. And why Rick Perry was derided by so-called conservatives when he called Ben Bernanke a traitor. And why their oh so brief ally Ron Paul is so hated by them and theirs anymore.

And it reminds me further of several graphics I have seen floating around on the various End the Fed sites and blogs. A stream of consciousness post like this would be seriously remiss without tying everything together with a few related images.

Do I need to spell out the connection?

Hydra/Kraken/Squid/Octopus/Kochtopus/Leviathon/Federal Government/Federal Reserve/National Bank/Petrodollar/Koch Industries/Corporations/Military Industrial Complex/Fascism Hello?!?!

Please don’t think I’m going all occult on you or anything (I do admit that I came across some pretty dubious sites looking for some of these images). I just really like mythology and history and metaphors and analogies.

Tea Party Heroes Ron And Rand Paul Make For A Bitter Brew; First Response

Tea Party Heroes Ron and Rand Paul Make for a Bitter Brew; First Response.

The following is the first paragraph of Barry Germansky’s op-ed Tea Party Heroes Ron and Rand Paul Make for a Bitter Brew, from earlier this year, interspersed with my rebuttals from within the last few days.

BARRY GERMANSKY: Ron and Rand Paul advocate a form of free market libertarianism that is not only highly contradictory in nature, but is falsely appropriated by this father-son duo in an attempt to hail their extremist ideology as a fixture of the United States Constitution.

HENRY MOORE: Ron (but it seems no longer Rand) Paul’s brand of libertarianism is not only not contradictory, it is wholly compatible with the Constitution. That is not to say that his ideology is the only one compatible with that document, but that in and of itself it neither contradicts the Constitution nor its own principles in attempting to adhere to the Constitution.

You see, Ron Paul is a firm believer in the Non-Aggression Principle. Say what you will about this being a contradictory concept, such that adhering to it is impossible without somehow violating it. Any example of this given will still include an exercise of one choice over another. Ron Paul is also a gradualist, someone who believes in reform as opposed to revolution, secession, or asceticism. The gradualist that adheres to the NAP does so because to him the other options either require or are likely to lead to some initiation of force. Whether this is true or not may depend on various factors, but even if gradualism ends up being an incorrect premise, it is not impossible to act on it without violating the NAP. Revolutionaries, secessionists, and “ascetics” that adhere to the NAP do so because to them, the option of slow reform leaves the coercion in place too long. To them, it is better to be done with it (either through violence, a declaration, travel, or personal self-discipline), even at the risk of causing a violation the NAP, than it is to risk never getting rid of something else that is a greater cause of those violations because gradual reforms against it might be overturned. Once again, it is not inconsistent to adhere to both gradualism (or one of the others) and the NAP if there is no intention to cause a violation of the NAP, even if one does occur.

Part of Ron Paul’s gradualism is his adherence to the original intent of the United States Constitution. Simply the fact that his preferred economic system is not mentioned by name and described in detail in the Constitution is not enough to render it unconstitutional. The Constitution was suggested, proposed, debated, written, debated further, amended, signed, adopted, ratified, and made law not to impose any one economic system on the states comprising the Union, but to provide a basic framework within which laws apply equally to all citizens (the definition of which, unfortunately, did not include slaves and untaxed indians). States were free to trade with each other as well as with nations outside of the Union. Commerce was regulated in the sense that it was made regular, i.e., not impeded by any one state’s economic protections. Individuals were intended to be left alone by the Federal Government in the original rendering of the Constitution.

Such a Constitution is compatible with any number of nation-wide or state-particular economic systems, provided that interstate Commerce was not made irregular. The Constitution allows for things such as war, tariffs, public works, endowments, debt-financing, standing armies, and even quasi-monopoly status in currency. Ron Paul denies none of this, but most of these things also happen to be his greatest foes. The reason he can do so and remain a Constitutionalist is because, while these things are allowed for, they most certainly are not mandated. Also, even these unlibertarian things that may actually be constitutional in and of themselves, can be done in unconstitutional manners, either because they do not follow the legal prescriptions in the Constitution to the letter, or because they violate the spirit of the text, usually by trampling on enumerated rights found in the Bill of Restraints (Bill of Rights). So, even when something is technically constitutional because of what it is, e.g., a post office, it may not be constitutional in the way it is established or the things that it does, e.g., through mandates that stomp out competition, as was done to Lysander Spooner and his competing postal service in 1851. Free-market libertarianism is NOT incompatible with the US Constitution. A brief examination of the document and its sources/inspirations (thisthisthisthisthisthisthisthisthisthis, and this) will show this.

BARRY GERMANSKY: Far from representing the individual as they pride themselves in doing, the Pauls endorse big businesses and neglect every other facet of human thought other than economics.

HENRY MOORE: Ron Paul is not one to do things in a prideful manner. He is human, he misspeaks, he makes jokes, he gets angry. But a humbler man in American politics I challenge you to find. The fact that he is not so boastful as a typical Republican, and not so beguiling as a typical Democrat has drawn as many people to him as his ideology has.

There is no political ideology more conducive to the individual than “libertarianism,” of which there are as many variants as there are adherents. Pure libertarianism, in theory, is voluntaryism. There is no individualism outside of voluntary interaction. That is not to say that people are coerced into being individualistic, for communal/collectivist societies can also be formed voluntarily. It all comes down to preference. And no economic theory is inherently individualistic or collectivistic. Any that claims to be is not an economic theory, but a political ideology. Economics is primarily about observations. Austrian Economists often do advocate a pure free market, but this is because they are also libertarians, not because Austrian Theory is synonymous with Libertarian Theory. It is therefore possible to be an Austrian and a statist. An Austrian simply accepts certain premises about how the economy does work. For example, he might understand that certain economic interventions cause distortions yet still advocate for those interventions for one reason or another. Fortunately most Austrians are indeed libertarians.

Human Action, that is, voluntary and spontaneous action on the part of individuals is the centerpiece of Austrian Economics. In the aggregate it organically aligns resources, capital, and labor to the needs and desires not only of society as a whole but of the individuals that are its constituent pieces, including, yes, those entrepreneurs who rise to the top through their own ingenuity and industry. The subjective theory of value, wherein near-rational individuals, rather than uninformed, ignorant, or malign bureaucrats, regulations, and monopolies (which owe their status to the state, not the market) determine the prices which optimize productive capacity and allocation of resources to those sectors to which they are needed, is also highly individualistic. Unlike state/corporate fiscal, regulatory, or monetary price fixing. The Austrian Theory has also come a long way in exposing the effects of coercion and planning that libertarians would say are negative.

The free market is all at once the most democratic and the most meritocratic economic system. Every person has some say so long as they have something to offer, their labor, their knowledge, their skills, their services, their property, their assets, their resources, their working capital, their savings, their pocket change. The most ingenuous and industrious have even more of a say.

Ron Paul does not blindly endorse big business, for he understands that much monopolistic and corporate control is indeed antithetical to the free market. Most monopolies are the result of some officially recognized status or favor granted, not market forces. Those “monopolies” that do arise in the market are often temporary and exist only so long as they do indeed provide the best services at the lowest cost. When the state subsidizes corporations, protects them from competition, or picks who to grant permits and licenses and charters to, only then do monopolies commonly occur and last, and are their deleterious effects made manifest. But to say that all big business got that way by disenfranchising the individual, small business, or society, rather than through recognizing a niche and providing a valued service, is the utmost of economic ignorance. The notion that utilizing a competitive advantage is somehow exploitation is a purely moral judgement that has nothing to do with whether the system actually benefits society in the long run, which is a greater test of its economic and moral worth than that which is immediately seen, the rich getting richer.

BARRY GERMANSKY: It is through their reliance on the free market as an umbrella paradigm that their views on different societal sectors become distorted.

HENRY MOORE: And the free market is not a paradigm. That would be like calling a void an object. The free market is not the presence of a societal model, it is its absence. And that is because it caters to individual choice, rather than imposing a specific set of rules. It does not posit, it negates. It creates no distortions, as all occurrences within it lead to exactly what they are supposed to. Trade, consumption, saving, investing all interlock in varying degrees according to the free and near-rational decisions of the individuals involved. Any apparent distortions are nothing more than fads or reflections of actual needs, not miscalculations made by experts who adhere to the Broken Window Fallacy. I can not say it enough: Individuals make their own decisions in the free market. Again, there is no paradigm to scape-goat for perceived distortions because each person determines their own way. Individual responsibility is not a paradigm! Alignments are not distortions. Resources, capital, and labor are allocated to where they are most desired, when, where, and in the way that they are desired. A voluntary system of exchange is not to blame for the mistakes of irrational or misguided actors.

BARRY GERMANSKY: The Pauls cater to naïve utopian ideals, in which all humans are as perfect and bland as numbers on a page.

HENRY MOORE: The Pauls do not envisage any form of Utopia. Utopians seek to eliminate all the sorrows and trials of the world without consequence. People who seek a system, in this instance, a free market, but do not claim it will solve all the world’s ills, are clearly not utopians. People who acknowledge that the flaws in any given system are not caused by the system itself, per se, but human nature, are clearly not naive. As I have said before: you could hand mankind the most flawless model for governing society imaginable, yet, because man is not perfect, he would still manage to spoil it!

Humans are not seen as bland. They are all seen as full of potential and free to reach it. There is nothing boring or common about someone who creates things, either for himself or for others, and then uses this advantage to increase both his living standard, whereby he can enjoy life the fuller, and his productive capacity, whereby he can create bigger and better and more numerous things. A system that makes people out as mere pieces of information would be a system that forces them all to use the same unit of exchange, judges their worth with strange letters and numbers, charges them fees based on their ability to make the world a better a place, and then spends that money on things that supposedly promote the “general welfare,” even where it obviously does not, and even where he finds those things being bought immoral or unnecessary.

BARRY GERMANSKY: Since economics is the language of the free market, economics becomes their only lens on society as a whole.

HENRY MOORE: As you no doubt know, economics is not a language, nor is it somehow exclusive to the free market. It is, quite literally, the study of household management, from the Greek oikos, “house” and nomos, “custom.” Does it get any less impersonal and detached than that? While many “economists” tend to muddle things by drawing strict lines between the micro and the macro, and graphing boring charts with boring statistics and formulae, it is a huge mistake to separate economics from other “sectors,” for it indeed covers virtually everything. Name some things people find relevant to their lives that have nothing to do with either where they live or how they live and you will have described a “sector” that can be efficiently managed without considering the factors of production (supply) and consumption (demand).

BARRY GERMANSKY: These Tea Party poster boys have a giant kettle of political poison and are spewing it across the American landscape.

HENRY MOORE: You are right about one thing, however. Ron and Rand Paul are indeed Tea Party poster boys. Ron Paul held the first modern day Tea Party, admittedly a fundraiser more than a protest, on December 16th, 2007. It was the 234th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, and the funds raised topped all previous 24 hours in presidential fundraising history, coming in hot with a whopping $6.04 Million. After he suspended his campaign on June 12th, 2008, Ron Paul used some $4.7 Million in campaign surplus (most campaign’s go into debt) to create what should be considered the very first Tea Party organization, Campaign for Liberty. Campaign for Liberty and its affiliate, Young Americans for Liberty were among the chief organizers of Tax Day protests up to a month before Rick Santelli’s amazing rant went viral via Drudge.

The Tea Party has since been co-opted by everyone from Grover Norquist, to the Koch Brothers, to Glenn Beck, to Paul Ryan, to Newt Gingrich, to Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, all of whom have been on good or cordial terms with Ron Paul at one time or another, but none of whom are near as principled or consistent in their beliefs or actions.