The “Economics” Of Individual Liberty And The Second Amendment

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This is from JPFO.

This is something to think about.

By L. Neil Smith,
The Libertarian Enterprise. December 13th 2013

Prepared for Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. © JPFO. Inc 2013

The late, unlamented twentieth century will be remembered in the future, principally for two things, the two biggest, most destructive inter-governmental conflicts in history, and the number of innocent individuals (more than 100 million) slaughtered wholesale by their own governments.

For anyone with two gray cells to rub together, this is the final, inarguable proof of the dire necessity of the people to keep and bear arms.

The twentieth century was also the century of socialism, a school of political economy which asserts that the interests of a single individual are of less importance (if they’re of any importance at all) than the interests of the group, whoever the group turns out to be. Those who successfully claim to speak for the group are then free to do anything they wish with the life, liberty, and property of the individual.

Socialism has never been limited to Russia and China, or a few European or Asian nations. Wherever the interests of the individual are sacrificed to those of the group, there you have socialism. The great libertarian philosopher Robert LeFevre maintained that, to any extent a society has any public sector” at all — funded by wealth taken by force or the threat of force from the individuals who created it, in violation of their rights — to that extent it is a socialist society.

Those three signature phenomena of the twentieth century, widespread war, slaughter, and socialism are not unrelated. Under socialism, mass murder and other such atrocities are inevitable and unavoidable, much like the law of gravity, and the sun rising in the east.

Here’s why:

There is a fundamental observation within the field of economics called the “Law of Marginal Utility”. The concept is highly important to human survival, prosperity, and progress; among other things, for uncounted thousands of years, it has made peaceful trade possible among killer apes. It isn’t really a law — economics isn’t really a science — and it actually has more to do with psychology (which is not a science either) than it does with anything else. The Law of Marginal Utility is a statement about the way people look at certain things.

It works like this: Marginal Utility holds that the more you have of any one commodity, the less value you tend to assign to any single unit of it. Imagine you’re a Paleolithic hunter who just killed and cut up an aurochs, a sort of giant prehistoric longhorn cow, yielding around 3000 pounds of meat that you now have to do something useful with.

A friend, who has also just killed an aurochs, and now has the same problem you do, drops by offering you a couple of pounds. You can remember hard times in which two pounds of meat might have meant the difference between living and starvation, but you politely turn him down.

In fact, when a second neighbor visits, complaining that he doesn’t have enough meat to feed his kids, you give him some of yours because it isn’t that big a deal. You have so much you’ll never get around to eating it all. Of course you can’t do this for everybody, or you won’t have anything left for your own family. But that’s a political problem for the future. Just now you ask him not to tell anyone about your generosity.

Yet another neighbor, who prefers gathering to hunting, drops by, griping that this year’s yield of beebleberries was so abundant that she now has baskets of the damn things she doesn’t know what to do with.

One of you gets a bright idea: swap some meat for beebleberries. What makes it a bright idea is that you have so much meat, you value any particular pound of it less than your neighbor, who has no meat. Your neighbor, on the other hand, has so many beebleberries that she values any particular basket of them less than you do, who has no beebleberries.

This is the Law of Marginal Utility at work. I makes possible an exchange of valuable commodities in which everybody wins. (Marxists would insist that such a thing is impossible, that one of you must have exploited the other somehow, but they won’t be able to tell you which.)

By now, you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with the individual right to own and carry weapons. In this connection it’s very important — in fact it’s the whole point of this essay — to understand that there are certain commodities to which this “law” doesn’t apply at all, mostly because they aren’t really commodities. Any pound or basket of them is not exactly like any other pound or basket.

An example that comes to mind (to my mind, anyway), is original paintings by Vincent van Gogh. If I had a hundred of them, that would not reduce my desire or regard for the hundred and first, because they are in no way interchangeable. Each is absolutely unique. And we would properly regard anyone who bought and piled Van Gogh paintings up like cordwood, and measured their value by the height of the pile, as a barbarian.

Human lives are like paintings by Vincent van Gogh. Each and every one is absolutely unique — more unique, if possible (grammatically, it’s not supposed to be) than even the finest, rarest work of art. And there are more reasons to come to that conclusion than can possibly be counted.

But they can be estimated.

To begin, each of us is genetically different from one another, each of us the result of billions of possible genetic permutations and combinations. Although we tend to resemble our parents and their parents in many ways, each generation is a fresh roll of the genetic dice.

It’s a lot better than simply splitting like an amoeba, resulting in two organisms with identical genetic complements. A species whose members bring a slightly different set of attributes to the problems life presents them with has a better chance of surviving longer. Once nature’s “got your number”, as it were, uniformity (or conformity) is death.

So we all differ from one another genetically.

Each of us, as well, has had a lifetime of different experiences, which have imprinted themselves on our personalities, altering them, helping to make us precisely who and what we are. Moreover, each of us regards each of those experiences in different ways, attaching, either consciously or unconsciously, different levels of significance to them.

Thus we all differ from one another in our experiences.

Finally, we are all the result, in part, of things we have chosen to do, say, think, and, to a degree, feel — all acts of free will, which Ayn Rand said consists of only one choice: to focus the mind or not to focus it. How many times has the average individual made such a choice?

We all differ from one another in our choices.

Now, multiply the number of genetic possibilities times the number of different experiences we’ve had (and the ways we’ve interpreted them), times the acts of free will that have shaped us. For all practical purposes, the ways in which each of us is unique approaches infinity.

Each individual human being is absolutely unique, and vastly rarer — and more irreplaceable — than the rarest work of art. Thus it is a basic tenet of the Austrian School — the heart and soul of the study of free market economics — that you can’t quantify human beings or their behavior, and that mathematics, especially statistics, is sadly inadequate to the task of understanding what people do or why they do it.

Now here’s the thing: socialists don’t see it that way. To them, statistics is the key to understanding history and human nature. Human beings are just like batteries to them, or bottles rolling off an assembly line somewhere, In a world of seven billion human beings, in a nation of 330 million, Marginal Utility rules. Any given individual counts for nothing. With a little training, any human being can be unplugged, discarded, and replaced by practically any other human being.

When human beings come to be perceived, by socialist politicians, by socialist bureaucrats, by socialist policemen, by socialist judges, by socialist academics, and by socialist media, as nothing more than indistinguishable, interchangeable units of a commodity, then any public manifestation of individuality — let alone individualism — is seen as a threat to be managed. So terrifying do they find it, that they have spent billions of dollars and millions of man-years in order to delegate the recognition and acknowledgment of individuality to machines.

Little wonder that, when the socialist elite decide that not enough of those seven billion units are serving socialist interests, they come to the conclusion that the great majority of them can be discarded. It happened in Armenia, in Nazi Germany, in Soviet Russia, in Red China, in Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and it was almost always preceded by sweeping gun confiscation — or to a population already long since disarmed.

Little wonder, too, that the idea that vast numbers among those seven billion indistinguishable, interchangeable units — mainly the 100 million Americans who own “750 million firearms of modern design, in good working order” — might not want to be discarded, and are capable of successfully resisting it, fills socialists with fury and terror.

Now I’m not really an economic determinist, but you need very little else besides the so-called “law” of Marginal Utility to understand and explain the inexpressible horrors of the twentieth century.

Or the compelling need for each and every one of us who refuse to see ourselves as “indistinguishable”, “interchangeable” units to be equipped to defend our “insignificant” and “thoroughly expendable” lives.

Author and lecturer L. Neil Smith is Senior Editorial Consultant for Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. A fifty-year veteran of the libertarian movement, he is the Author of 33 books including The Probability Broach, Ceres, Sweeter Than Wine, And Down With Power: libertarian Policy In A Time Of Crisis. He is also the Publisher of The Libertarian Enterprise, now in its 17th year online.


Oprah Has A Pattern Of False Racism Charges Conveniently Timed To Coincide With Theatrical Releases of Racist Movies….

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Hat Tip To Last Refuge.


Oprah Winfrey is a race hustler just like Al Sharpton,Jessie Jackson and 

Barack Milhous Capone Kardashian.

They see a racist under every bed and around every corner.

Race relations are lower than any point in modern history thanks to

Al Sharpton,Jessie Jackson and Barack Milhous Capone Kardashian. 


Two weeks ago, drumming up attention toward her movie, Oprah Winfrey made the bizarre claim that millions of African Americans were lynched.   Millions.  The true figure is 4,743 with one in four being white (1882-1968).

Last week Oprah Winfrey claimed sheencountered racism in Switzerland while shopping for $30,000+ purses.   [<—we should all be $o unfortunate]

She made these claims while trying to draw attention to her soon-to-be-released movie “The Butler”;  another race-based grievance movie.

The Swiss store, and the hapless victim/clerk she targeted with her accusations, denied the allegations.   Oprah then tried walking back her accusation, well… sort of, but not really, because she’s Oprah, or something.

However, there appears to be a pattern here.

In 2005 while trying to draw attention to another race driven movie, The Crash, she had almost an identical claim.   The 2005 victim of her accusations was located in Paris, France.  The store was “Hermes”:

story.oprah.file.cnn.jpgVia CNN […]  “Crash” is a film dealing with race relations. The phrase “crash moment” refers to situations where a party feels discriminated against on the basis of skin color.

The New York Daily News cited sources close to Winfrey as saying the talk show host was first rebuffed by a clerk and then a store manager. The Daily News reported Winfrey had gone to the store to buy a watch for singer Tina Turner, her dining partner that night.

McIntyre confirmed that account for CNN.

The New York Post, in its Monday Page Six gossip column, reported she was turned away because the store had been “having a problem with North Africans lately.”

In comments to CNN, an Hermes spokeswoman categorically denied that allegation.

“There was never any discussion of North Africans,” she said. “The story is not true.”

The spokeswoman said Winfrey came to the store 15 minutes after closing and a security guard informed her the store was closed and gave her a card, telling her she could come back the next day.

Surveillance videotape of the encounter supports the store’s account, according to the spokeswoman.  (read more)



Arafat’s body to be exhumed on Tuesday in murder inquiry

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This is from Reuters.

Who cares how this evil bastard died?

Arafat was an evil sadistic animal.


(Reuters) – The body of the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will be exhumed on Tuesday, eight years after his death, in an investigation to establish if he was murdered, a Palestinian official said on Saturday.

A French court opened a murder inquiry in August into Arafat’s death in Paris after a Swiss institute said it had discovered high levels of radioactive polonium on his clothing, which was supplied by his widow, Suha.

Tawfiq al-Tirawi, in charge of the Palestinian committee overseeing the investigation, told reporters in Ramallah on Saturday “it is a painful necessity” to exhume the body of Arafat, who came to symbolize the Palestinian quest for statehood throughout decades of war and peace with Israel.

Tirawi said the Palestinians had “evidence which suggests Arafat was assassinated by Israelis”. Israel denies any involvement.

The exhumation and renewed allegations of Israeli involvement could stir further tension between the Palestinians and Israel, which are observing a truce after a week of fierce fighting in Gaza.

Any positive results for polonium could rekindle Palestinian hostility toward Israel and suspicions that a local collaborator may have poisoned him under directions from the Jewish state.

Allegations of foul play have long surrounded Arafat’s demise. He died in a Paris hospital in November 2004, a month after being flown, seriously ill, from his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

French doctors who treated him in his final days said they could not establish the cause of death, and no autopsy was performed in deference to his widow’s request at the time, when Arafat died at 75.

Eight years is considered a limit to detect any traces of the deadly radioactive substance, according to the Swiss Institute of Radiation Physics.

Tirawi said Arafat’s body would be exhumed from its limestone mausoleum in Ramallah, away from the public or media presence, and separate samples will be taken by the French and Swiss forensic teams, as well as a Russian team of experts, who the Palestinians invited to help with the examination.

After the investigation “the body of leader Abu Ammar will be returned (reburied) in a military ceremony that is befitting him as a leader of the Palestinian people“, Tirawi said, using Arafat’s non de guerre.

Tirawi said results could take up to several months to be announced.


Sen. Rand Paul on Benghazi: ‘Where in the hell were the Marines?’ [AUDIO]

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This is from The Daily Caller.

I agree with Senator Rand Paul why were more Marines in Paris than Benghazi?

Why spend all that money for chargers for Volts in Vienna?

Did Obama with hold help knowing Ambassador Stevens was running guns?

Someone needs to be held accountable for the death of four Americans.

On the Thursday broadcast of Dennis Miller’s radio show, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul raised his concern over the Obama administration’s priorities regarding its embassies and consulates abroad, and how the State Department is allocating resources.

Paul argued the State Department should have had as many Marines protecting its ambassador in Libya as it had protecting the U.S. Embassy in Paris.

“Well the thing is, is I’ve been asking around the country where in the hell were the Marines?” Paul said. “I’m not talking about after the firefight. I’m talking about before the firefight. I’m talking about: who made the decision to put an ambassador in probably one of the most dangerous countries in the world and not have any uniform Marines? I mean, to have more uniform Marines in Paris than you have in Libya — somebody should be fired for that. I mean, this is above and beyond before the firefight started, which obviously is a big problem. Once the firefight starts and people call for help, why wasn’t help sent?”

The Kentucky senator also pointed out the money the State Department is spending on “greening” the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, which he called an effort by President Barack Obama to “show off” to his liberal friends.

“When you think about it, even 10 Marines are pretty tough with automatic weapons,” he said. “They would have had a fighting chance had there been 10 Marines there. I think that’s how many Marines are in Paris. So, you got 10 Marines in Paris and about the same time they’re denying security for Libya, they’re spending $100,000 greening up the embassy in Vienna. So we got money to promote this global warming agenda of the president’s — to show off for his liberal friends in Europe. But they seem to not have enough money for security? That’s inexcusable and to me enough reason to fire the president.”

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Pitchfork-wielding Virginia farmers rally against birthday party fine

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This is from Fox News Politics.

It is good to see people getting fired up and saying “No More!”

When are we going to get fired up about bloated government?

When are we going to get fired up about run away spending?

When are we going to get fired up about massive tax increases?

FYI I have some pitchforks and torches ready for the march.

Pitchfork-wielding Virginia farmers rallied to support a woman who claims local officials came down on her for, among other things, hosting a children’s birthday party on her spread.

Martha Boneta, owner of Liberty Farms in the northern village of Paris, was threatened with nearly $5,000 in fines when for selling produce and crafts and throwing unlicensed events, including a birthday party for her best friend’s child. She told she wasn’t doing anything are farmers haven’t done for generations, and at a recent zoning board meeting, her agrarian friends literally showed up with pitchforks to show their support.

“It’s rather odd that I’m the only farmer in the county having these issues,” Boneta said. “It’s customary to do these things. It’s done through on farms throughout Virginia to help farming and agriculture.”

Boneta was told that she did not have the proper event permits for the party and other events including wine tastings, craft workshops, and pumpkin carving.

“Why I would need a permit for a pumpkin carving?” she said.

Boneta was also threatened with fines for selling produce and products not grown or made on the 70-acre farm in a small store she had on the property. But she said she already had a special license issued to her in 2011 that allowed her to run a “retail farm shop” where at the time, she made it clear that she intended to sell handspun yarns, crafts like birdhouses in addition to fresh vegetables, eggs, and herbs.

But in the same year, the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors changed “farm sales” classification to require a special permit for activities that were previous including under the license. Fauquier County Zoning Administrator Kimberley Johnson told Boneta is out of line.

“There were a multitude of violations,” Johnson said, adding that issuing a warning is standard practice in the county for such violations.

Boneta said her farm produces “tons of vegetables” every year, including the items she sells. She blames an angry neighbor for siccing the village on her.

“It’s unfortunate that the county would do this on the complaint of one person. They never even came to the farm to see for themselves,” she added.

Johnson said that Boneta would be able to continue so long as she obtains the proper permits; “She can get an administrative permit for 90 percent of the events being held.”

Boneta gained the support of other farmers in the county who feared that they would face similar fines and joined her at a hearing on Aug. 2, where they held a “pitchfork protest” in which they held signs and farming tools in support of Liberty Farms and its owner.

The zoning board’s warning was upheld during the hearing but Boneta plans to appeal again.

Boneta has since closed up the store but is still farming her 70-acre property, preparing for the upcoming harvest and will be meeting with the other county farmers to plan the next step in protesting the zoning boards handling of the situation.

“This affects every farmer. It affects our ability to earn a living to produce and sell on our own land,” she said.


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