Books play a vital role in my life. They are extremely important to me. I was considering them this morning in light of the free market. Right now, if I want to read a book and not buy it, I will go to our local library. Sadly, the standards of this library have gotten lower and lower until I’m hard pressed to find a decent book. I generally must resort to filling out a request slip for a book at other libraries. And within 6-10 months, I receive the book I wanted! This was frustrating when I was studying WWII. I requested a number of books on it, and most of them came in somewhat soon. So I forgot about the others that didn’t come, and decided to spend a few months back in ancient Rome studying that. One day I was shaken out of the world of collesiums, caesars and empires by a phone call. It was the library. “Would you still like this book, ‘A General History of WWII?’” [That was not the title, I don't remember the real title, I just made that up.] It took me a moment to realize what the librarian was talking about. I finally said I wasn’t interested in that anymore.
The government sure does provide great service, eh?
So this morning I was thinking about libraries, and how they would look if they were privatized. You could have a library for teenagers, filled with vampire romance novels, etc…You could have a library full of those trashy romance books that are apparently for women who aren’t happy with their current situation…we might have a library for historians, full of books from original sources so you wouldn’t have to rely on other interpretations. You know the controversies over books for children that discuss and promote homosexuality? Privatized libraries solve this problem! There can be a “gay” library for those who want to expose their children to that sort of information, and then the rest of us don’t have to worry about our children inadvertently finding these books in other libraries. There can be libraries for people like me, with a more classical taste, full of Dickens, Austen, Tolstoy, etc…There could be a politically incorrect library with Ron Paul books…and a politically correct library filled with biographies of President Obama, all of them marveling at this fine president who has accomplished so much. There’s a very obvious question that I’m sure you’re already asking.
Who’s going to pay for these libraries?
They aren’t public libraries, so they won’t be “free.” It isn’t unreasonable to say that someone will pay $100 a year or something like that, for access to their favorite library. And maybe the libraries would have a deal where you can use their library for free 3 times a year, or something like that. So if you’re studying Obama, you can go read up on him without having to pay $100. Maybe these libraries would be in the same building to help cut costs. You walk in the door and it is like a mall, you get to choose the “Vampire” library, the “Politically Correct Library” and so forth.
That sounds pretty cool! I like that idea. I would be happy to spend $100 a year if I could have access to decent, helpful, and interesting books. And I’m sure they’d have family plans too, so my whole family could for the year for only $100.
This applies to movies too. We are so tired of all the junky movies our library keeps getting. I wish there were libraries that catered to different tastes. A library full of historical dramas, Jane Austen movies and maybe a little Star Trek thrown in.
…to listen covertly to conversations. Not only do they have video surveillance, now it is voice surveillance. Scary.
Something that is very frustrating to me, and apparently Murray Rothbard, is the attitude people have towards the judicial system. It never occurs to them that the judicial system is absurd and can never possibly be for our own good. This upset Rothbard so much that he wrote a great article on it, here.
At the conclusion of Rothbard’s book, “What Has the Government Done To Our Money?” he discusses the future of money in the post-Bretton Woods economy. He says that the only way to reach stability is to return to the classical gold standard of the 1800′s. Sadly, however, no one is interested in that, but rather, a world currency is the more “viable” option. Here’s a recent article about that.
Some argue that something called “encryption” will keep your emails, text messages, etc…safe from the governmental prying eyes.
It seems that interviews are all the rage these days, from Lew Rockwell interviewing Ron Paul to Tom Woods being interviewed by a Zombie. Some of us more unfortunate people aren’t exactly being bombarded with requests to be interviewed. Yet we (translate: I) want in on the fun too. So, why can’t I interview myself? After doing this interview, I have a suggestion for all you famous people, you should try this too. I’ve noticed that many times when you’re interviewed, you don’t get much time to answer the questions, and sometimes (translate: most of the time) the interviewer isn’t very friendly. This is a much better way to do it. If there’s something you really want to talk about, just ask yourself the appropriate question, and then talk for as long as you feel like. Without any more delay, here’s my interview with…me.
Me: How did you get interested in politics/history/economics?
Myself: It was mostly through the Richard Maybury books, specifically, “Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?” which is a guide to basic Austrian economics for kids. I enjoyed reading it, and realized that economics doesn’t have to be boring. I read his other books on ancient Rome, WWI and WWII and liked hearing the other side of the story that we’re never told.
Me: How did you get politically active?
Myself: Some friends told us about Ron Paul who was running for president. I was interested in it as he had endorsed the Richard Maybury books, and I was vaguely familiar with his name. I started reading the info about him and finding out what he stood for, and that was very exciting. It opened my mind to many new opportunities and ideas.
Me: And then came the tea parties…
Myself: I convinced my family to attend a local tea party on April 14th. It was my first adventure in any type of political activism with other people. I was a “loner” during Ron Paul’s campaign, secretly depositing literature wherever I went, but never was involved with others. That was exciting to attend the tea party and meet so many other like-minded people.
Me: You were involved with the Campaign for Liberty?
Myself: Yes, about the same time as the tea party I decided to join the Campaign for Liberty as a local coordinator. It was a crazy idea for a 15-year old who had never been involved in politics, but I enjoyed it. I liked networking with people around the country and gaining valuable experience in organization, management, and how to work with others.
Me: How did you get interested in economics?
Myself: Last fall my friends were taking economic courses from a local college. I knew the courses were Keynesian, or maybe Classical at best, but not Austrian. So I turned to the Mises Institute which I was slightly familiar with. I discovered they had quite a few courses at the college level that I could take for free over the internet. My first course was by Joe Salerno. I think I took about 40 pages of notes from that course, it was incredible. It was common sense, but he also presented many new ideas. I enjoyed finding out the technical words for the ordinary things we do in life. I decided to try my luck and apply for a scholarship to the Mises Institute’s conference on Jekyll Island in February. I also applied for a scholarship to Mises University this summer. I ended up getting scholarships for both, I’m deeply grateful to the Mises Institute for that. I really enjoyed the Jekyll Island conference, all about the Federal Reserve, and I’m looking forward to Mises University.
Me: Are you going to college?
Myself: I don’t think so. Economically, I think there’s a bubble in the college industry–that accounts for the astronomical prices students are paying–and that there are too many people getting degrees. I think there are people going to college who really don’t want to be there, but they end up with a degree too, even though they didn’t learn all that much. This has decreased the value of a college education. I think more and more employers will be looking for people who are intelligent, well-educated (a good education isn’t synonymous with a college education), experienced, and who want to work.
Me: So what are your plans?
Myself: I want to pursue teaching. I hope to teach economics to my younger sisters and maybe a few other kids this fall, and maybe history. I will continue to do public speaking as that’s something I really enjoy. I’ll keep learning too, I have big plans for my next school year, some astronomy, geometry, more economics, and maybe a foreign language. I’m also planning to publish a collection of short stories later this year. I’ve been working on these stories for a while, and am excited to get them published.
Me: Any other questions I should ask?
Myself: I don’t think so. Thank you!
One of Benson’s primary subjects in his book is the need for police protection. He discusses police protection provided by the government, and then explores the possibility of police being provided by the free market. When the government is in charge of this, like anything, they have no motivation for providing the best product at the lowest cost. “This does not imply that police chiefs and judges will be completely ambivalent to the costs a department or court generates; it means that they are likely to make a relatively smaller effort at monitoring employees to check on wasted time and resources.” He also makes another point about the difference between government and the private market, “…government officials have the right to make such errors [such as unjust arrests...] and are not liable for them; private citizens, of course, generally are liable.” Look at BP. This private company makes a mistake, and whole world is going to end. The government miscalculates or makes a mistake, and oh well, it is no big deal.
One particular quote reminds of Hans-Hermann Hoppe and his theory of anarchy. In reference to communities, Benson says, “to join the group, one had to live by the acknowledged standards of conduct.” I think Hoppe had garnered a great deal of controversy about his similar stance, but to me, it just makes sense. Like subdivisions, condos, or other such areas, we don’t respond with horror when someone who lives in a condo must abide by the group rules. Why can’t all of society be like that?
A common theme in “The Enterprise of Law” is the nature of common law. Common, or customary, law is about the individual. Since it evolves from interaction between individuals, the emphasis is not on protecting the government or making a criminal pay for their crime by years of servitude to the government, instead common law emphasizes the importance of protecting individuals and their rights. And when their rights are violated, restitution is the top priority. The wrong committed to the individualmust be made right above all. I have in my notes a quote from “Tucker” and I’ll assume this is Benjamin Tucker, “Man’s only duty is too respect others’ rights…[and] man’s only right over others is to enforce that duty.” That is the basis of common law and why the private and free market is always preferable to the government…always.
There is a little known book out there called “The Enterprise of Law” by Bruce Benson. I was introduced to it by Richard Maybury, who highly recommended it in his books. That was about two years ago. I got the book from our local (public) library and enjoyed reading it. I thought, “oh, these are some interesting ideas on privatizing some government jobs.” Then more recently, I was reminded of the book and I realized it was a manifesto, of sorts, for anarchy. Since I’m swamped with reading, I don’t have time to reread the book, but I found my notes from it. Sadly, these notes were taken during a time when I was attempting to become ambidextrous, and so most of my notes have a slight resemblance to the writing of my three-year old sister. That makes it a little difficult to figure out, but I will try my best.
I see this book something like Bob Murphy’s “Chaos Theory” but on a much more thorough level. Most people won’t have the interest or patience to wade through Benson’s book, whereas Murphy was able to condense the common objections to anarchy and give a concise reply.
Benson notes near the beginning of his book that “alternatively [as opposed to a private and fully voluntary system], if a minority coercively imposes law from above, then the law will require much more force to maintain social order.” Some might argue that Benson is right, this system isn’t the best, but hey, it is best we have. Yet he points out, “The primary functions of governments are to act as a mechanism to take wealth from some and transfer it to others…” At the time, I breezed over the implications of what Benson says, but I realize now that the only alternative would be anarchy. He sounds almost like Rothbard. Very nice to see the connection between this book read a long time ago, and my more recent developments.
Many people trace the roots of our nation back to the Magna Carta, often cited as the forerunner of the United States Constitution. However, Benson challenges this assumption. He paints a different picture of the social structure of England at the time of the Magna Carta, (early 1200′s) and instead of simply dividing the society between the king (“bad”) and the commoners (“good”) he argues that before the king, there had been an upper strata of noblemen who ruled the commoners as an oligarchy. The king essentially took away their power, and the Magna Carta was not an effort to free the people, but to change their master, it was “an effort by the noblemen to regain their ‘rights’ and re-establish their feudal right to confiscate land, a right the kind had taken.”
Benson also distinguishes between political law and common (or customary) law, a concept I was familiar with from Richard Maybury’s books. A law prohibiting murder is based on common law or moral law. A law prohibiting a person from eating pizza on Mondays is not based on common law, but is purely political. There is nothing to back it up besides the force of the government. So Benson says, “… Customary law requires voluntary acceptance in recognition of reciprocal benefits, so it much less likely to be violated than enacted authoritarian [political] law.” If you violate the law against murder, there is nothing to stop someone from murdering you.
To be continued….