The Book Bomb To End the Fed —

Here’s a shameless plug for a web campaign I helped create for

The BOOK BOMB To END THE FED — Now until Sept. 16

The BOOK BOMB To END THE FED — Now until Sept. 16

Clicking on the link above will take you to the promo page, where you can read about the effort and from there pre-order your own copy of the book while helping out in the process. You may also directly access the pre-order page here. also is offering, through Sept. 13, two complimentary chapters of End the Fed to those who sign up to receive them via e-mail. The sign-up form is also on the End the Fed book bomb page.

Of plumbers, philosophers, and would-be “DeFamers”

There has been some discussion on the Mises Yahoo! Group regarding an attack that a Brad DeLong — a man who does not register on my radar — directed towards a book written by Ludwig von Mises, the dean of the Austrian school of economics. The target of the attack was The Theory of Money and Credit — a book I have not read.

What makes this particularly interesting was that the book was mentioned in the December edition of The American Spectator by unlicensed celebrity plumber Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, a.k.a. “Joe the Plumber.”[1] When Lew Rockwell posted this on the Mises Blog, more than a couple of regular visitors reacted with a certain degree of disbelief. What would a plumber — an unlicensed one, at that matter? — be doing reading up on an unorthodox school of politico-economic thought?[2]

I myself thought the same thing; then I thought, why not? What would a freelance jack-of-all-trades like myself be doing reading Mises? As I’m a contract laborer for the institute named after the man, I’m “closer to the action.” But Joe is not, which upon further thought makes his disclosure all the more notable. It would be interesting to discover how he discovered the writings of Mises.

I link to DeLong’s post without reading it myself only to provide the resource to readers who care to examine the evidence. However, this comment on the Mises list gives me reason not to waste the time (of course, I spent the time writing this post):

The closest he comes to a critique is declaring The Theory of Money and Credit to be “totally bats.” Which, of course, is name-calling, not a critique. If I were to “respond”, it would be by saying that DeLong’s selection of quotations seems haphazard at best. Most of it is just fragments connected by ellipses, chosen in such a way as to prevent the reader of the quotation from having much clue what Mises was actually saying. The effect is exactly what DeLong wants: making Mises look like a mad man, as the method of quotation “sounds” like someone who has lost their mind and whose rambles turn into mumbling between the disconnected thoughts.

Which is very far from what Mises’s writing is actually like.

I can confirm this with absolute certainty. I am in the middle of reading Mises’ magnum opus, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics; he writes in an impressively logical, concise, but dense manner. To use ellipses when quoting this man comes pretty close to misrepresentation; one would do well to cite full paragraphs in many cases. This makes DeLong’s selective-prooftexting attack seem pathetic, based on secondhand information.[3]

DeLong will have to try harder to have this blogger pay attention to him; indeed, I have spent too much time with this post.


[1] Wait until next month for the current issue to appear online; others have tried to locate it online and failed.

[2] However, none other than Lew Rockwell asserts,

Had progress in economic thought not been interrupted by Keynesian theory and the rise of positivism in the social sciences, we would not even be speaking of the Austrian school. Misesian theory would be economics proper (emphasis added).

[3] To be sure, Mises has a treasure trove of relatively short quotations as well. But you will need to delve into his writings to appreciate the wisdom contained in the short snippets.

Albert Jay Nock on bees, etc.

It’s a pleasant surprise to see my fellow blogger’s current e-mail signature on display at the blog.

Yes, that’s his entire signature.

Illustrating Liberty: “The Apotheosis of Washington”

[Illustrating Liberty is a new, irregular feature on this blog featuring the occasional “Political Photoshoppery” of Aristotle A. Esguerra.]

Anonymous, iThe Apotheosis of Washington./i Watercolor on glass (reverse painting), 62.9 × 85.1 cm. Morristown National Historical Park, New Jersey.

Anonymous, The Apotheosis of Washington. Watercolor on glass (reverse painting), 62.9 × 85.1 cm. Morristown National Historical Park, New Jersey.

This post isn’t about an original work at all; in fact, I did very little to come up with the image that accompanied Lew Rockwell’s Monday article for, “The Myth of Good Government.” It was the initial shock that such an image existed — and was quite popular for a while — that prompted me to write this post.

BK Marcus, editor extraordinaire and blogger at lowercase liberty, sent me an image similar to this one last weekend suggesting that it run as the image to the Rockwell piece. Stunned at the existence of such a work, and thinking it was just another Internet mashup, I performed a Google image search on “apotheosis washington” — what else could it be called? — and sure enough, a version of this picture popped up. (I chose the version pictured here because the frame added a certain regal absurdity to the entire piece.)

Poking around to find out more about this painting led me to the website of the New York Public Library’s C.W. McAlpin Collection. Apparently the original engraving and etching by John James Barallet spawned many knockoffs, of which this is one.

I thought that the Barallet engraving was absurd, but I wasn’t prepared for this one. However, I burst out laughing in response to viewing it. I would hope that George himself would too.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t be shocked that such an image was produced. Most every ‘great’ nation — self-proclaimed or otherwise — in every time and place have monuments and statues that seemingly attempt to raise mere mortals to the status of demigods; Lenin, Mao, Lincoln, and FDR to name a few. The only difference between Washington and the others I mention is that, given the choice between attempting to retain power and relinquishing it, Washington chose the latter, and in doing so set a presidential precedent that has mostly survived to this day — unitary executive or not.

Upon further thought, that’s worth celebrating. A bit, anyway.

Lew Rockwell on non-participation

In the latest online edition of the American Conservative — a magazine I do not read regularly — the president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute lays down the rationale for not playing Empowered Citizen™ this November. His words are reprinted below in full without alteration.

The critical problem we face today is the same one all mankind has faced: the state, those monopolists who claim the right to break the laws that they make and enforce. How to restrain them is the critical problem of all sound political thinking. Making matters worse, this gang now has a monopoly on the money and the ability to print it, and they are abusing that power at our expense.

How does voting change the situation? Neither of the candidates for president wants to do anything about the problem. On the contrary, they want to make it worse. This is for a reason. The state owns the “democratic process” as surely as it owns the Departments of Labor and Defense and uses it in ways that benefit the state and no one else.

On the other hand, we do have the freedom not to vote. No one has yet drafted us into the voting booth. I suggest that we exercise this right not to participate. It is one of the few rights we have left. Nonparticipation sends a message that we no longer believe in the racket they have cooked up for us, and we want no part of it.

You might say that this is ineffective. But what effect does voting have? It gives them what they need most: a mandate. Nonparticipation helps deny that to them. It makes them, just on the margin, a bit more fearful that they are ruling us without our consent. This is all to the good. The government should fear the people. Not voting is a good beginning toward instilling that fear.

This year especially there is no lesser of two evils. There is socialism or fascism. The true American spirit should guide every voter to have no part of either.

Lew Rockwell at the Rally for the Republic

Lew Rockwell on Sarah Palin

Since last Friday, I have been trying my best to get a good sense of Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska whom John McCain has appointed his running mate. Some of the libertarian leanings of Palin seem rather encouraging, though she seems to be running like hell from those stances at this point. Several of my conservative friends were more impressed with dumb stuff–she’s a woman, she’s a mother, etc., all stuff that has absolutely zero relevance to political desirability. I’ll take a libertarian single over a socialist mother of 800 any day. Part of me is still suspicious that McCain was playing on vagina politics when he made this appointment, and that is perhaps more unfortunate for Sarah Palin than for anyone else.

At any rate, in the midst of all the confusion, one clear column on Palin has emerged from the inimitable Lew Rockwell. Incidentally, Rockwell delivered quite the speech today in Minneapolis on Ron Paul’s behalf.