Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Annual Net Contribution to U.S. Federal Revenue, per Capita and by State, 2007 and 2012

If the Democrat / Republican divide were based on the above data set,
(in terms of voting in the electoral college)

Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Florida would become Republican,

and North Dakota, Nebraska, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Indiana would become Democratic.

For more entries on social services, public planning, and welfare, please visit:

For more entries on taxation, please visit:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Anarchist Kindergarten: An Open Letter to Noam Chomsky


1. Introduction
2. Chomsky vs. Paul
3. Churches and Charity
4. The Constitution
5. Personal Responsibility
6. Obamacare
7. Slavery
8. Voluntary Governance and the Invisible Hand
9. Rules for Free Markets
10. Voluntary Provision of Services
11. States' Rights and Revolutionary Redistribution
12. Forms of Wealth and Theories of Value
13. Conclusion

1. Introduction

Dear Professor Chomsky,

      My name is Joe Kopsick. I studied political science and theory at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In the last two general elections, I have voted libertarian; for Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, although not for anointed “Tea Party darlings” Scott Walker or Paul Ryan. Although I vote, I oppose statism (as defined by Max Weber), and I consider myself a market-anarchist in the tradition of C. Frederic Bastiat and Gustave de Molinari.
     First off, I would like to know whether you have read anything by Bastiat, Molinari, Lysander Spooner, Linda and Morris Tannehill, Agorists Samuel E. Konkin III and J. Neil Schulman, Austrian school economist Robert P. Murphy, left-Rothbardians Gary Chartier and Charles W. Johnson, panarchists John Zube and Bruno Frey, or anyone you know to be associated with the Molinari Institute and/or the Center for a Stateless Society.
     Secondly, I would like to address statements which you made about Ron Paul and libertarianism; at Kutztown University in November 2011, and in an interview with Michael S. Wilson for Modern Success Magazine in May 2013, particularly in regards to health insurance and care and state power.

2. Chomsky vs. Paul

     In 2011, when asked for your thoughts on Ron Paul and American libertarianism, as an example of what you described as the “shocking” and “off-the-wall” “principles” that underlie some of Paul's policies, you made reference to Paul's response – in a Republican presidential debate – to Wolf Blitzer's question about what Paul thinks should happen if an uninsured man goes into a coma or falls victim to an accident.
     You said, “...his first answer was something like, 'It's a tribute to our liberty.' So, if he dies, that's a tribute to how free we are? He kind of backed-off from that, actually. There was a huge applause when he said that.”
     The answer to which you referred was “...he should do... whatever he wants to do, and assume responsibility for himself. My advice to him would [be to] have a major medical [insurance] policy, but not be forced- [cut off by Blitzer, re-phrasing the question] ...That's what freedom is all about, taking your own risk.” This statement was indeed followed by, as you put it, “huge applause”.
     However, Blitzer then asked, “But, congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?”, and before Paul answered, two men in the audience said “yeah!”, and one woman cheered; this prompted some subdued laughter from the audience, but there was no cheering or applause aside from those two or three individuals. Some reports contradicted this fact.
     You went on to say, “He backed up and said, 'Well, the church will take care of him... or charities or something-or-other... so it's not a problem.' I mean, this is just savagery.”
     What Paul said was “I practiced medicine... before we had Medicaid... at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio. And the churches took care of [people]; we never turned anybody away from the hospitals, and we've given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves and assume responsibility for ourselves. Our neighbors, our friends, our churches would do it.”
     He went on to criticize the influence of bureaucracy, special interests like insurance and drug companies, inflation, licensing and lack of competition in medicine, and prevailing legal attitudes toward alternative health care.

3. Churches and Charity

     You are correct that Paul said that people would be cared-for by churches, and through charity (from “neighbors... friends”, et cetera.). Considering how most people define the word charity, it is easy to understand why your audience at Kutztown laughed when you told them Paul's position; in their current capacities, charities cannot provide for the health care needs of uninsured Americans.
     But I feel like you may have neglected two things. First, if taxation and accession to governance were voluntary rather than coercive, then all health care – even care provided with heavy government coordination - would be provided through voluntary giving (i.e., “charity”). I know it's a loaded idea to suggest that “voluntary government” might be practical - let alone possible - so I promise to come back to this point later.
     Second, the reason why churches and charity are unable to provide for the health care needs of uninsured Americans is that the money which would normally be donated to churches and charities is instead 1) spent by individuals on mass-produced foods which are hazardous to their health, 2) spent by government on military hardware sold to insurgent groups who use it to give wounds to our combat troops, 3) spent by government to subsidize and bail-out companies who mutate our crops and pollute our air and water, 4) devalued by inflation, and 5) taxed away by government and given directly to charities (World Vision International, for example, still receives an annual $300 million - roughly a dollar per American - from the federal government).
     In a vein similar to the above, Paul continued after the “churches and charity” comment, “the cost [of health care] is so high because we dump it on the government, it becomes a bureaucracy, it becomes special interests, it kow-tows to the insurance companies and then the drug companies...”.
     Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Paul wrote in the American Free Press that he was worried that America's commitment to spend public money on relief efforts would discourage private donations to the charity of individuals' choice. I should mention that there is no explicit constitutional authority for Congress to spend public money on relief efforts in foreign countries, let alone within the United States.

4. The Constitution

     On the topic of the Constitution, I will say the following. At Kutztown, you said that Ron Paul “is against federal involvement in health, in anything”. Although I voted for Paul in 2008, I admit that it is a shame that there is no explicit constitutional authorization for Congress to spend public money on relief efforts, nor for the federal government to regulate health insurance and care.
     Fortunately, however, there is nothing in the Constitution that forbids the states from regulating health insurance and care. Furthermore, we have an amendment process, so if and when a ¾ supermajority of the people agree that the federal government should regulate health insurance and care – and are willing to dedicate the one to seven years it takes to get an amendment ratified – the federal government can regulate those industries to its heart's content.
     The only reason we have a federal Department of Health and Human Services is because Dwight Eisenhower enacted its predecessor (the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare) through the Reorganization Plan Number 1 of 1953. The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare is the only department to have been created through presidential reorganization authority. Of course, considering that that department split into the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education, there are really two departments to have been created in such a manner.
     Until 1962, under presidential reorganization authority, the president had the power to create new departments. Until the early 1980s, the president was allowed to create and reorganize bureaucracies as long as neither the Senate nor the House passed a legislative veto. In 1983, the Supreme Court declared legislative vetoes unconstitutional.
     Legislative vetoes had only existed since 1932, even though they were rejected by the Constitutional Convention because of the risk of Congress trampling on the right of the states to regulate the federal government.
     Judging by these facts – and the fact that there are now nine more cabinet departments than there were during the Washington administration – it seems that the framers of the Constitution did not consider that the legislative veto might have been useful in checking executive power rather than that of the states. It is worth stressing that the manner in which departments were created involved only a lack of veto, rather than the kind of explicit authorization on which the Constitution is so keen.
     In short, adherence to the Constitution is not about keeping things the way they were in 1789, but about following the Constitution's own processes to amend it, and recognizing the values of written law that sets out to be neither too easy nor too difficult to change. Paul's not having emphasized the possibility of constitutional federal involvement is probably due to his various criticisms of how unconstitutional involvement has thus far failed us.

5. Personal Responsibility

     As my final point on the topic of health insurance and care, I will explain Ron Paul's position on the role of personal responsibility in regards to this topic. When Wolf Blitzer asked Paul “who is going to pay” for the health care costs of an uninsured man in a coma, Paul responds “In a society [in which] you accept welfarism and socialism, he expects the government to take care of him.”
     Blitzer responded, “But what do you want?”. Paul answered, “What he should do is whatever he wants to do, and assume responsibility for himself... That's what freedom is about, taking your own risk... we should actually legalize alternative health care, allow people to... practice what they want.”
     In that answer, Paul took two simultaneous positions on personal responsibility. The obvious one is that people can make their own health decisions, and that government should not unduly interfere in the doctor-patient relationship. The more subtle position which he took was that what Ron Paul wants for the American people should not matter to a person who can make his own decisions; that the American people should not want to be bossed around by politicians.
     The unaddressed underlying assumption in Blitzer's question “are you saying that society should just let him die?” is that the government (“We the People”) is not society, but rather a representative of society. In fact, as a member of the House is a representative of his constituency, Congress is a society of representatives of societies.
     C. Frederic Bastiat wrote that “Socialism... confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we [what Bastiat says the socialists call “individualists”] object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.”
     This is to say that, while it may be totally reasonable to suggest that a society owes health care to its uninsured, it might not always be appropriate to suggest that the avenues through which it provides such care be governmental; just because someone thinks that government has no responsibility to provide some good or service, it doesn't mean that they always think that it is proper if nobody provides it.
     Additionally - just as a nursing home policy that prohibited action by staff members with insufficient medical skills resulted in the preventable death (simple C.P.R.) of an elderly woman - high licensing standards set by the American Medical Association, high drug research standards delaying the release of medications, and laws putting drugs with legitimate medical benefits in Schedule One, could be said to have together resulted in millions of deaths. Bottom line: standards are a double-edged sword.
     Paul also attempted to make a point about risk and moral hazard. First, I will note that he told Blitzer, “My advice to him would [be to] have a major medical [insurance] policy...”. Granted that Blitzer's scenario involved “an accident”, a person who makes an informed, conscious decision not to buy health insurance - based on his own subjective ethics and knowledge about his personal finances, and considering the advice of his past doctors (and, if he lives in Texas's 14th, of his congressman) - is partially responsible for setting into motion the chain of events which led to him becoming uninsured and in a coma.
     This is not to insensitively blame the victim. Ron Paul has written at great length about the topics of moral hazard and social insurance in his book Liberty Defined. But suffice it to say that the same impulse which guides a man to refrain from purchasing health insurance because he feels that society (or society in the form of government) owes medical care to him and has things under control, is the same impulse which guides a person to refrain from charitably donate to the victim of a natural disaster because they see the current administration – or a tag-team comprised of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton on television - appearing to take care of things so the public doesn't have to worry about it.

6. Obamacare

     At this point, you may be thinking, “who are you to assign blame to a person who understands that all Americans deserve quality health care, and that – if the military budget were trimmed and corporate profits were curtailed – we could easily afford to implement socialized medicine?”. Again, this is not to insensitively blame the victim.
     Let's assume that I recently turned 26, I don't have consistent employment, and I can't afford health insurance. Let's just say. Let's also suppose that I understand that all Americans deserve quality health care and that a just government could easily afford a just and egalitarian formulation of socialized medicine.
     If I refuse to purchase health insurance (at least temporarily) – reasoning that I just may not wish to continue living in a society in which, if I lapsed into a coma, nobody would help me – and am willing to accept death, am I not taking personal responsibility for my actions?
     If I refuse to purchase health insurance, and to pay the pertinent taxes – reasoning that I just may not wish to continue living in a society in which, if I were prepared to defend myself against aggression by armed taxation and police agents authorized to use deadly force in the enforcement of their order, I would be shot to death – and am willing to accept death (the ultimate price of, and penalty for disobeying, the individual mandate), am I not taking personal responsibility for my actions?
     Furthermore, we do not currently live in the just type of society in which government and the people can afford the most well-developed formulation of so-called socialized medicine. The burden falls more on the people than on the agencies responsible for creating the current health care and insurance mess (a recent study out of Kansas concluded that Obamacare sextuples health care costs). As an acquaintance recently put it, “Obama promised me free health care, and he did it by forcing me to buy health insurance.”
     you'd like, you can read about my whole position on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in my article “Obamacare and Interstate Commerce” on my blog (, but even that article missed the following point.
     Courts throughout the land have established the precedent that (as an example) a ten-dollar tax on a one-dollar item cannot be rightfully be called a tax; it is rather a form of [penalty or] legalized plunder. But the opinion of the majority in the case of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius – which regards the individual insurance mandate as a constitutional “tax” – shatters and reverses that precedent, and legalizes what should be regarded as a ten-dollar tax on a zero-dollar item.
     This is to say that it is a penalty for [refraining from engaging] in trade or commerce. I will not even go into detail about the debate over whether health insurance constitutes commerce in the first place, and what that means for the rest of Obamacare's constitutionality. Suffice it to say for now that refraining to engage in commerce is not commerce, and therefore it should not be regulated as such.
     Instead, I will address the fact that defenders of the individual mandate tend to attempt to rationalize-away criticism thereof – as if the critics' major complaint were the amount of paperwork involved – by saying “if you don't buy health insurance for more than three months, then the government will just take it out of your tax withholdings”.
     Well, what if I choose not to work for compensation in the national currency, and instead for the resources necessary for my subsistence? A proponent of the mandate would respond that there are exemptions for those not earning enough to have to pay income taxes, and for unemployed persons (who can go on Medicaid).
     Assume again that I believe that society owes me health care, and that I want to work directly in exchange for the sources of subsistence. Assume that someone I know would like to run an unlicensed, tax-evading rural health-care co-operative which practices alternative medicine but which also has access to advanced medical technology, and that I would like trade my physical labor or other services which I can offer for that person's services.
     If these are my beliefs and desires, and I have the right to pursue happiness according to my own subjective determinations and evaluations, and to be secure in my papers, then why do I have to spend my time, energy, and money going around collecting, organizing, and showing documents which prove how much I have earned, and which prove that I have been looking for a job (as is customary to qualify for unemployment benefits)?
     It's not the hassle of the paperwork, it's the principle of the thing. But I'll get to that. Anyway, part of the answer to the preceding question is because my individual beliefs and desires are not recognized as a religious sect by government (yes, there's an exemption for that).
     I'm sure you don't need to have the new health care law explained to you, as I'm aware that you have criticized it, and that it is very different from your preferred solution. I just want to make it clear what the risks are if we do not embrace personal responsibility, voluntary governance, or both.

7. Slavery

     The principle of resisting the individual insurance mandate is not that of avoiding needless paperwork, “red tape”, bureaucracy, et cetera., but rather that it is practically impossible to qualify for unemployment unless one has the monetary means to do things like ride the bus, print and mail resumes, wash one's clothes regularly, and maintain normative standards of personal hygiene (no, I'm not talking about Slavoj Zizek). Specifically, monetary means with regards to the monopolistic national currency of the U.S. Dollar, alone with which taxes can be paid (unlike the recently legitimized Bitcoin).
     For some, the principle of resisting the mandate is to live as did Christ, the Apostles, and Saint Francis of Assisi; without money or property. And if not these Christians, then as the anarcho-collectivist ideal; trading without currency, sharing all resources, using resources in the place of recognized currency, and doing their charitable giving privately [as in Matthew 6:4] rather than publicly (i.e., through government welfare programs).
     For many, the principle is that in any society in which we are told what to buy, and when (as in health insurance enrollment periods), we are unfree. Have you noticed that the people who protest that they are ordered to buy health insurance (as if being ordered to buy something were unprecedented) are almost never the same people who protest that they are required to spend money on state-issued identification in order to vote (often derided as resembling a poll tax) and to be identified?
     What is at risk if we do not embrace personal responsibility and / or voluntary governance is government being able to constitutionally penalize us for refusing to go to work; i.e., to work for a business which is zoned, licensed, permitted, bonded, chartered, subsidized, given tax breaks, bailed-out, restructured, managed, et cetera, by the government.
     To penalize us for refusing to work for the type of business – and in exchange for the type and the character of compensation – of our choice; based on our own needs and subjective values-systems, which may differ greatly from the values-system of society as (mis)represented by government.
     The risk is – as always – increasing income disparity (aside from between the middle and upper classes, between the middle and lower classes). The labor movement gave us the forty-hour work-week, true; but the labor movement gave us the Obama administration, the business requirement of whose insurance mandate will give us a nation of employers who won't allow us to work more than twenty-nine hours a week – for whatever wages they deign to pay us – and a nation wherein half to three-quarters of the people will be unemployed and on Medicaid.
     The risk is – with the ever-increasing joint government-corporate intervention in the economy – that we may become unable to distinguish the vague differences between slavery to corporations (wage slavery), slavery to government, and slavery to either/or (debt slavery).
     We have already seen this begin to take foot-hold; with prisons receiving funding for government simply based on how many individuals they have incarcerated, police admitting to receiving cuts from the tickets they write, forced labor and labor for “slave wages” in prisons, and the army-like regimentation of workplaces and the “wage-conscription” of the reserve army of labor. But just wait until we're all expected to work within the societal context of “get a legitimate job earning American money, get on welfare while continuing to look for one, or go to prison”.
     The risks are command-and-control, hierarchy and lack of egalitarianism, domination by political and managerial classes, a complete lack of effort by government to legitimate itself in the eyes of the public, and subordination to an alien and alienating values-system.
     The risk is well-meaning standards run amok. The risk is that we will become prisoners in our own bodies; enslaved to our needs, wants, desires, and hopes (including the “hope” for “change”). The risk is the “society of permanent cripples” as described by Hunter S. Thompson.
     The risks are moral hazard, and political irony writ large. Eschew ye not Zizekian polysyllabic rhetorical flourishes in practical deference to observable empirical data! Where are Max Stirner, Marshall McLuhan, political psychology, dialectical materialism, and political semiotics in all this?
     Empirical data will not help us understand why in today's political culture it is wrong when a libertarian compares the forces which oppress him to slave-masters, but not wrong when a socialist does the same. Empirical data will not help us discern the differences between “the political class” and “the state”, nor between “the managerial class” and “workers' councils”.
     Empirical data will not help us debate the qualitative differences between chattel slavery, wage slavery, workfare slavery, and political slavery. Empirical data will not help us tell which president it is most politically correct to accuse of desiring to enslave us all.
     True libertarians (i.e., not the Tea Party crowd) do not want to force personal responsibility on individuals by shrinking government and taking away benefits; but to allow responsible individuals to be left alone by the state. Personal responsibility must be brought about through a change in culture; it is only appropriate that government shrink as this gradually occurs.

8. Voluntary Governance and the Invisible Hand

     As I explained towards the beginning of this letter, “if taxation and accession to governance were voluntary rather than coercive, then all health care – even care provided with heavy government coordination – would be provided through voluntary giving”, i.e., charity.
     If you're at all curious why Ron Paul has made such apparently outlandish, backwards statements on the topics of civil rights, discrimination, segregation, the 14th Amendment, slavery, involuntary servitude, the Civil War, states' rights, confederation, voluntary association and voluntary government, taxation as theft, and citizenship for illegal immigrants – and yet is regarded by so many people as practically an anarchist – then you should know that No Treason by Lysander Spooner (and a quick refresher about the crux of the plaintiff's constitutional argument in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. U.S.) will answer every one of your questions.
     But you need not rely on the words of a man who died over a hundred years ago; I can explain better and (pray) more succinctly, and, at that, augment understanding thereof by considering economic implications.
     I have seen your name associated with the terms “libertarian socialism”, “anarcho-syndicalism”, “participatory economics”, and “market-abolitionism”. The last of these is sometimes called “anagorism”, meaning “theory of system lacking agora”; i.e., without open market-places.
     As I understand it, the idea is that a situation in which people participate in collaborative decision making is preferable to a situation in which the adjustment of supply and demand is distorted by the presence of market actors who possess purchasing power in vast disproportion to that of their (so-called) competitors.
     As an agorist (agorism meaning “theory of a system of open market-places”), I believe that the above is a false dichotomy, and that the manner in which the public conceives markets – if it even defines markets as anything more complex than “places to shop, plus the stock exchange” – is illusory.
     In your interview with Michael S. Wilson for Modern Success Magazine, you said that one of Adam Smith's “main arguments for markets was the claim that under conditions of perfect liberty, markets would lead to perfect equality.” You continued, “Well, we don't have to talk about that!” The content of the above four thousand words would suggest that we do, in fact, have to talk about that.
     The popular perception of Smith's “invisible hand” is that it is a disembodied entity which – as though through magic, or with guidance by a deity – makes rich people sympathetic to the plight of the poor, for whose problems they are almost completely to blame. You might be thinking, “I know that that is not what Smith meant”. If that is what you are thinking, you may want to withhold judgment.
     Before proceeding, I will note that I am probably the only person in the world who understands the humor in comparing the conservatives' ignorance of evolutionary and anthropological science in favor of a “God did it” theory, to their ignorance of economic science in favor of the same (e.g., “how can conservatives support social Darwinism when they don't even believe in regular Darwinism!?”); while also rejecting outright the notion that such an idea is a valid premise for a joke, let alone a political ideology.
     The “invisible hand” describes the self-regulating behavior of market-places. Smith contends that when there is competition on all sides of transactions (i.e., polyopoly and polyopsony), and when individuals attempt to maximize their own gains; better products come at lower costs and prices, and the autonomous decision-making of individuals leads to the collective good and to nearly perfect equality.
     Smith wrote, “The rich... are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society...”.
     Ayn Rand would undoubtedly agree that people – insofar as they base their values on personal pursuit of self-interest with rational expectations – give to charity or to the homeless to the extent to which they believe that their gifts are likely to somehow eventually get around to benefiting themselves.
     This is not to say that every person who gives a homeless person a small amount of change thinks that that person is going to soon thereafter go out and spend that money reinforcing his cardboard box and punching-up his resume, so he can get a business loan, become a “job-creator”, and provide for the needs of his community.
     It is to say – at the very least – that we hope something like this is going to happen, and that our money will be helpful towards those ends; and we refrain from giving money to those homeless people whom we suspect are preparing to leap at us with the intent of mugging and beating the wits out of us. We maximize our own personal gains by avoiding such people.
     Rand did not despise altruism; she despised the very idea that there is such a thing. Her portrayal of the “invisible hand” in Atlas Shrugged is Dagny Taggart admonishing labor union representatives for suggesting that her self-interest drives her to place profit motive over the safety of her employees and customers, when she in fact has no personal or economic incentive to cause people to die in train crashes, due to the great loss in business and personal freedom – as well as the reputational damage – which she would experience were the government to intervene in her business affairs on the behalf of organized labor and in the name of the common good.
     A libertarian socialist friend of mine recently explained the “invisible hand” in the following manner. If a capitalist were to get “too greedy”, he “would directly see on a daily basis those who suffer from [the] deprivation” which his exploitative business practices have caused. I re-phrased this to “The invisible hand mugs the businessman in order to feed the mouth which would normally bite it [“it” meaning “the invisible hand” when it serves the businessman's interests].
     My friend continues, “Of course, this becomes completely inapplicable to any large-scale economy”, and given the rise of outsourcing and off-shoring, I agree. Simply put, the exploitative businessman deserves to have his property and property rights put in danger, and if he wants to keep his property, he should always be on the defensive.
     However – as in the off-shoring of assets, the employment of private security guards, and the funding of police and military services – the exploitative businessman expects agents besides himself to protect his property for him. This is externalization, the gravest of trespasses against the principles of personal responsibility. I contend that refraining from externalizing responsibilities onto others is not only the personal responsibility of Ron Paul, but also the personal responsibility of the Lockean Proviso and of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's differentiation of private and personal property.
     Why are state-chartered banks, state-licensed “private” security guards, and state-organized police and military forces protecting the wealth and property value of the rich? As Adam Smith himself put it, “Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor[;] or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.”
     At Kutztown University, you said that the American libertarian ideology is “just a call for corporate tyranny. It takes away any barrier to corporate tyranny... The business world would never permit it to happen because it would destroy the economy. They can't live without a powerful state, and they know it.”
     In your interview with Michael Wilson, you said that American libertarianism “permits a very high level of authority and domination, but in the hands of private power; so private power should be unleashed to do whatever it likes. The assumption is that by some kind of magic [emphasis mine], concentrated private power will lead to a more free and just society... that kind of libertarianism... is just a call for some of the worst kinds of tyranny, namely unaccountable private tyranny.”
     Now, I am not about to try to pretend that huge military technology and infrastructure firms and private citizens who stockpile weapons and ammunition are not a threat to a free society and to free markets. I will say, however, that markets which are truly free do not permit concentrations of power, and that no proponents of markets would knowingly support “tyranny” in so many words. But before I explain what a truly free market is, I need to make one point.
     As I wrote above, you said that libertarianism “takes away any barrier to corporate tyranny”, adding that “the business world... can't live without a powerful state...”. To me, the notion that libertarianism “takes away barrier[s] to corporate tyranny” is antithetical to the notion that corporations would not be able to live or thrive – much less dominate or practice tyranny – “without a powerful state”.
     I believe that you are trying to simultaneously imply that the state is a barrier and an assistant to domination of society and individuals by corporatism, crony capitalism, and concentrations of private property. This is the main reason I am writing to you, so I'm hoping that you will address this point specifically in your response.
     I agree with you that “the business world” – insofar as it is comprised of businesses which are perceived as legitimate because they are licensed by the state – “can't live without a powerful state”. However, if you suspect that you are wrong that American libertarianism would “take... away barrier[s] to corporate tyranny”, then you might want to consider the possibility that if we were to remove the privileges granted by the state, it may not even be necessary to grow state power in order to erect barriers to domination by enterprise (which, in the absence of state-derived privilege, would have nobody to subsidize them, bail them out, pass laws to eliminate their competitors, order individuals to buy their products, or pretend to “look the other direction” of the “unaccountable private tyranny” while doing any or all of the aforementioned things).

9. Rules for Free Markets

      So what are the rules of a truly free market? From my study of the First and Second Fundamental Principles of Welfare Economics, I have concluded that there are ten basic rules.
     To be clear, the premise here is that in a competitive (Walrasian) equilibrium – that is, under conditions of perfect and complete liberty, competition, markets, and information – competition leads to a Pareto-efficient (or Pareto-optimal) allocation of resources.
     The following ten rules would sustain such a competitive equilibrium.

   1) Market actors are well-informed and rational.
   2) The relief and diminution of suffering is promoted.
   3) Malice is eliminated.
   4) No actor hoards information.
   5) Nobody's values system is structurally suppressed or devalued.
   6) Price-taking, and the adjustment of supply and demand, occur without retardation.
   7) Concentrations of market share and purchasing power are eliminated.
   8) Structural risks of inadvertent harm [such as moral-hazard and social-cost problems] are eliminated.
   9) Structural risks of inadvertent benefit [such as the free-rider problem] are eliminated.
10) Honest profit-calculating is practiced, and no actor imposes fees which are not justifiable and negligible considering the costs of transaction.

     Of course, the prospect of actually achieving these goals is pie-in-the-sky; of course we will never see in our lifetimes the elimination of malice, nor perfectly rational economic behavior on the part of all individuals participating in markets, et cetera.
     But that does not mean that they should cease to be goals, nor that transgressions of these rules should go unpunished or unaddressed (keep in mind that I do not oppose governance, a justice system, or even economic intervention; but rather the state, as defined by Weber).
     To understand what is to be done when any, several, or all of these goals cannot be achieved, it is necessary to understand the Theory of the Second Best. When one of these goals (really, “optimality conditions”) cannot be achieved (or satisfied) – that is, when there is market failure – a next-best option can be achieved by changing other variables.
     This includes allowing several imperfections to cancel one-another out, rather than trying to fix the apparent problem through state interventions in the economy, or through joint state-capital-labor intervention (tripartism), and so on. But I believe that there is no reason not to keep these ten rules around as a basic set of conditions for a free and fair market.
     If you think you scoffed hard at the phrase at the end of that last sentence, settle-in for this one. In a debate against Barack Obama from 2012, Mitt Romney said the following: “Regulation is essential. You can't have a free market work if you don't have regulation. As a business person, I had to have ...[and]... to know the regulations; I needed them there. You couldn't have people opening up banks in their... garage, and making loans; I mean you have to have regulations so that you can have an economy work. Every free economy has good regulation.”
     While I neither voted for Romney nor supported him ideologically, I will say that, in my opinion, the preceding quote was the most insightful thing he said throughout the campaign. As a libertarian, I do not support “unregulated free-market capitalism”. As a market-anarchist, I do not even support “an anarchy of markets” (at least not in the sense that anarchy equals chaos, which you're aware it doesn't). What I do support is the self-regulation of markets.
     In Ancient Rome, if a man became too rich, he was kicked out of the community. If a very wealthy man were to show up at an auction and attempt to buy all of the items, he would be ganged-up upon by the remainder of the participants, and removed from the market.
     This is because market agents with great purchasing power are so influential that they distort the adjustment of supply and demand. The presence of large actors makes competition (that is, a diverse multiplicity of buyers and sellers) practically impossible (that is, impossible in practice). This is terribly unfortunate for Mitt Romney, with his $200 million; and for Bain Capital; as well as for multinational corporations and governments.
     In a free market, Mitt Romney would be beaten up by his supporters and opponents alike, prohibited from buying and selling, and dragged to the edge of the city – his wealth converted to heavy metallic currency, placed in a large sack, and tied to his ankle, so that he must drag his wealth to the market if he wishes to participate, like something out of a non-dystopian version of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s “Harrison Bergeron” – and forced to fend and forage for himself.
     What I want as a market-anarchist is a market free from the distortions caused by wealthy and powerful actors. A market for liberty and for the redress of grievances in which oligopolistic and oligopsonistic beneficiaries of state largess and of the use of physical force are required to provide compensation to their victims; i.e., the taxpayers, the small business and property owners, the working poor, the exploited. A “voluntary government” is one in which the innocent go unpunished, the guilty do not go unpunished, and the people do not have the authority to legalize the crimes of the state.
     What I want is a “free market”; a market free from oligarchy. I would like markets to become more egalitarian, and as egalitarian as possible without destroying the freedom to succeed and to fail if and when either success or failure dominates one's desires.
     Too big to fail is too big to exist. Government must not pick winners and losers; that responsibility should fall upon consumers. One man's trash is another man's treasure; one man's pain is another man's pleasure; one man's (definition of) success is another man's (definition of) failure. To forget this is to forget God and to shit on the dignity of the poor; to decide from the top- (states, councils, whatever) -down what are economic “goods” and “bads” instead of to allow subjective evaluation is to condemn independent thought. Nothing is further from anarchy.
     A self-regulating and self-policing market is one in which acceptance of the ten optimality conditions which I have enumerated is so widespread that it does not have to be brought about through a local monopoly on legitimate force; such enforcement would in fact violate every single condition in one way or another.
     The only way to guard against the excesses and distortions of large, privileged market actors – governmental, capitalist, labor-oriented, individual, et cetera. – is to protect the right of small actors to gang-up against large actors when their survival and market influence is threatened.
     Furthermore, a market for liberty and for the redress of grievances would involve a diverse, amicable competition of anarchist currents – and of enterprises practicing the organizational principles of each respective anarchist current – to provide the best form of justice to their adherents and customers. It would involve a “market-anarchy 'without adjectives'”; i.e., a market for anarchism.

10. Voluntary Provision of Services

     Spencer Heath – proponent of the “proprietary community” – wrote that, “To obviate [prevent] the essential tyranny (coercion) of political administration[,] the proprietary authority, suitably organized, must extend its jurisdiction, and thus its revenues, by itself supplying police and other community services without [emphasis mine] coercion, out of its own revenues and properties, and thus raise its own values and voluntary incomes.”
     On the subject of Spencer Heath, Murray Rothbard wrote the following: “The Heathian goal is to have cities and large land areas owned by single private corporations, which would own and rent out the land and housing over the area, and provide all conceivable ['] public services [']; police, fire, roads, et cetera, out of the voluntarily-paid rent.
     “Heathianism is Henry Georgism stood on its head; like George, Heath and [his grandson Spencer Heath] MacCallum would provide all public services out of rent; but unlike George, the rent would be collected, and the land owned, by private corporate landlords rather than by the government, and the payment therefore voluntary rather than coercive. The Heathian 'proprietary community' is, of course, in stark contrast to the scruffy egalitarian commune dreamed of by anarchists of the Left.”
     I contend that Rothbard misinterprets Heath, and I will defend Heath's statements against Rothbard's interpretation. Rothbard is wrong that the private proprietary community is in opposition to what the left wants.
     For, you see, if a governance corporation provides all services (including protection) to the people out of “the rent that is voluntarily paid”, then if people refuse to pay the rent because they are content to live wherever they go, and because they have the means and will to protect and defend themselves (including against governments and landlords), then there will be no rent which is voluntarily paid.
     This is to say that no money from rent will be available to the corporation, and it will be compelled due to consumer action to stop conscripting people to become its mercenaries, and to help it force others to buy its products. It will start giving goods and services away for free (because it feels threatened), beginning to behave more like a syndicate, a cooperative, a mutual, an entrepreneurial firm, a charity, a friendly company that gives frequent deals and discounts to its customers. Only in this case, the discount would be on the order of one hundred percent.
     Hence Heath's saying “to [prevent] tyranny, the proprietary authority... must extend its jurisdiction, and... revenues, by itself supplying... community services... out of its own revenues and properties”.

     To drive this point home, it will be necessary to repeat the argument, while employing some unorthodox rhetoric and entertaining some preposterous ideas. I repeat: to understand my argument, you will have to sit through a few polysyllabic rhetorical flourishes. For this I make no apologies.

     Trying again:
     Voluntarism is the belief that government services are provided through whatever funding is voluntarily given to the governing agency or agencies. The philosophy of voluntarism is based on the preposterous notion (I'm being sarcastic) that governments need us to buy their services and the products of the businesses they sponsor and subsidize, and so governments have to force us to buy such goods and services against our will; and that if we refuse to buy the services (or pay the pertinent penalties for failing to do so, through taxation), government will give us these services for free.
     And that is obviously false. I mean, you never hear people complain about prisoners receiving free food, health care, education, medical care, and shelter. You never hear people describe the prison system as a welfare system. You never hear people say that prisoners have it too easy. You never hear people complain that all a homeless person has to do is commit a crime, and he can get “two hots [meals] and a cot”.
     You never hear Dwight D. Eisenhower say “If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom.”

     Are you beginning to understand?
     To explain another way, just as bosses need workers to run the machines, rather than workers needing bosses to manage them; governments need us to buy their services. Services like health of foods, drinks, and drugs; health and safety of medications and medical care; safety of shelter and efficiency of protection; and so on.
     They need us to need them.
     When we exploit their need, we become free to demand that they provide us with the goods and services necessary to sustain our lives. And they provide them free of cost to us (or practically free, if we take for granted that the prices and costs of freedom are immeasurable). I believe that Socrates understood this when he knew that he would receive either life in prison or the death penalty, and proposed instead to be given free meals for the rest of his life.
     Frankly, the prison system is a concession from the state to the people; it is a gift intended to placate us, and to legitimate the state. How evil does a political system have to be for something as awful as the prison system to be one of the welfare benefits it gives to the people? Furthermore, if people are willing to go to jail to have all their needs provided, what does freedom look like under the state?
     Going back to Spencer Heath: Heath wrote, “the... authority... must... supply... services... out of its own revenues and properties”.
     In The Market for Liberty, Linda and Morris Tannehill defend the notion that, under free market conditions, proportionate protection of private property would lead to equal protection, as wealthy firms and individuals would absorb the costs of protecting the remainder of the community.
     If there were, for example, a single company or a single private property owner in a community, and its physical property housed great wealth and means for subsistence and protection, then its owners would not be able to defend it against the many people who would band together – in the interest of their own survival – to take from it what they need.
     That is, at least, the owners wouldn't be able to defend the property without conscripting mercenaries to defend the property on their behalf, so that they themselves would be free and secure in other locations, free from the invisible hand that would pick their pockets. But in such a scenario, any mercenary who agrees to do so would have to be insane (or at least irrational), as he would be defending supplies like food and weapons from himself and from his friends and loved ones. However, that is the scenario which we face today.
     Those who have the most, have the most to lose, and will pay the most in order to keep the remainder.
     That is, the costs of protecting the rich are higher than the costs of protecting the poor. When is the last time you heard about a homeless person being pick-pocketed?
     For a concrete example of what I have explained above, look no further than the Free Detroit Project, in which volunteers are attempting to buy-up cheap property by the block. They are charging the wealthy higher rates of property protection than the poor; they are using the funds voluntarily given by the participating wealthy in order to protect the poor.
     The people of the Free Detroit Project are voluntarist Robin Hoods; the success of their efforts show that the modestly rich do not need to be stolen from in order for there to be something left to give to the poor. If only the extremely wealthy behaved this way. For them, there is the justice system.
     Of course, the only thing preventing such a scenario from arising, is the willingness of individuals to threaten physical conflict. It is not difficult to understand why, now – under the state (the Weberian “local monopoly on legitimate violence”), in which an unarmed graffiti artist was recently murdered by police “in order to avoid physical incident” with police – individual use of force and of threats thereof is not considered legitimate by the majority of society.
     The only thing that legitimates individual force and guards against the tyranny of oligarchs and oligopolists is the willingness to assert the inalienable right to threaten and to employ it in the interest of basic survival.
     Consumers who are willing to defend themselves always have more power than corporations, and that – through building consumer choice and cooperation between guildist, unionist, syndicalist, mutualist, cooperativist, collectivist, communalist, individualist, and entrepreneurialist business alliances – we (and the institutions, and especially the consumers'-interest groups, that we create) can become more productive than the state, and maybe even eventually afford to buy it out and replace it with an amicably competing and cooperating polyopsony (state of there being many sellers; a market of providers of justice and security) of non-statist governance corporations.

11. States' Rights and Revolutionary Redistribution

     Until a market for liberty can be achieved in which monopoly government has been abolished, and security and other goods are provided by amicably competing agencies operating on principles of different anarchist currents – like libertarian municipalism, municipal home rule, trade-union confederalism – states' rights, and a scenario in which all fifty states are free, sovereign, and independent (this scenario is constitutional, provided that states do not confederate), are intended to act as checks against the monopoly power of the centralized state apparatus.
     That is, until we can replace the state with an alliance of “anarchy without adjectives” service providers, the several states will have to suffice as the market for liberty.
     Of course, it is detrimental to the credibility of the Republicans that the “blue states” are more likely to be “giver states”, bearing the burden of funding the federal government; while the “red states” are more likely to be the “taker states” which receive more funding from the federal government than they give to it.

     Although I believe Murray Rothbard was wrong in his assessment of Spencer Heath's position (stating that it is irreconcilable with that of the left), Rothbard made valuable contributions to the ideology of the libertarian left.
     “Left-Rothbardians” Gary Chartier (director of the Center for a Stateless Society) and Charles Johnson – the authors of Markets Not Capitalism – have developed his ideas towards a set of positions (regarding what are acceptable anarchist tactics) that are much more likely to be accepted by the left, than are the remainder of Rothbard's contributions, which are now considered meaningless by the left due to his purported racism.
     In his article “Bleeding-Heart Libertarians for Redistribution”, Gary Chartier outlines five basic tactics for achieving a more just distribution of wealth without increasing the power of the state to do so. They are: 1) the elimination of privilege (i.e., state-granted privilege); 2) the operation of a freed market; 3) acts of solidarity (including the sharing of resources); 4) radical rectification (i.e., of state theft, including of unjust eminent domain takings); and 5) radical homesteading.
     I believe that American libertarians who believe in personal responsibility but occasionally defend the state and / or corporate power (such people are often called vulgar libertarians) would be much more open to leftist ideas and social-anarchism if ideas such as the Lockean Proviso and Proudhon's distinctions between private and personal property were presented in the context “you have to defend your property yourself if you want to be able to say that you truly earned it”.
     Indeed, if one simply resolves not to use divisive labels such as “socialism” from the discourse, one can convince even the most hard-line Republican to support egalitarian management of workplaces. Remember, it was only some fifty years ago that the marketing of the workers' rights movement to Republicans was commonplace, and some 150 years ago that the Republican Party began in Wisconsin as an anti-slavery party whose founders included admirers of Karl Marx.
     I predict that, in the coming several years, we will see the supporters of Ron Paul continue to drift increasingly towards individualist anarchism, market anarchism, and social anarchism; and that the distinctions between Ron and Rand Paul will only sharpen as more voters flock to Rand.

12. Forms of Wealth and Theories of Value

     Part of the reason why I said that, in a free market, Mitt Romney would have his wealth converted into heavy metallic currency, and placed in a sack tied around his ankle, is to illustrate the following point:
     Paper fiat currency, credit cards, computer banking, and offshore bank accounts protected by states and by the security guards which they license, make it entirely too easy for a person to carry all of his wealth with him at all times, and to defend his wealth without expending the effort which it would take to defend the same amount of wealth if it existed in another form (namely, a form which is more massive and more voluminous).
     Although I would like to see Mitt Romney's $200 million converted to gold in order to weigh him down, I have voted for Ron Paul, and I support the idea of competing currencies; I do not support returning to a gold standard.
     While a supporter of the labor theory of value may argue that the value of gold is equal to the value of the amount of labor required to extract it, refine it, et cetera; marginalists and utilitarians, supporters of the subjective theory of value, and supporters of the power theory of value, evaluate gold differently.
     Marginalists and utilitarians take labor into account, but also take into account the costs which the gold industry imposes on those who use it and trade it. A marginalist would recognize that a nuclear missile is not an economic “good” simply because labor must be expended in order to produce it; but rather, it is a net economic “bad” due to the terrible costs which its use imposes.
     Supporters of the power theory of value contend that economics cannot be separated from politics, and that under the current system it is impossible to ignore the effects which power has on the determination of supply, demand, price, and cost. Examples of such power include the power required to protect private property and the right of capital accumulation thereon, and the powers required to regiment workplaces and to create a reserve army of labor.
     However apt, none of these three theories of value really explain my aversion to gold. My valuation of gold can only be explained by the subjective theory of value. It is only this theory of value through which personal ethical and religious values can enter into the “equation”.
     In the preceding sentence, I put the word “equation” in quotes because, as economists have explained, money is not valuable in and of itself but only as a medium of exchange; valuation of goods and services is relative rather than absolute in regards to numbers and money (this is what makes negotiation and bargaining possible).
     Furthermore, given the true meaning of “economics” (the art and study of the financial management of households), we recognize that rational behavior flies out the window when it comes to determining how much labor, currency, time, or effort should be expended in order to provide for the sustenance and the financial security of our households (however many people are in our households [that is, be it one or more] and however we choose to define “our families”).
     You may recall that the first optimality condition for equality in a free market requires that market actors be well-informed and rational. But the irrational thinking which is necessary for us all to refrain from selling our families or deities to government or corporate warlords for thirty pieces of silver, should not disqualify us from participating in the market in order to procure for them the goods and services necessary for survival.
     Some critics of Austrian economics claim that it is not a science, and that the political right is ignorant of economic science (and economically “anti-science”, as social conservatives are often anti-science in the sense of the theory of evolution, as I explained above). I will admit that it is true that Austrian economics is not a science; it is instead a critique of other schools of economics.
     As you well know, scientific understanding is based on what we can learn from repeatable experiments. But economic science needs to take into account the observer effect; that one affects the outcome by observing it. This is why attempts to do economic science fail; there has to be a control group. And many people do not consent to be observed, watched, controlled, and manipulated; no matter how intellectual the pertinent scientists or academics seem.
     People want to make their own decisions; not to have their decisions made for them by those who hold themselves in such high regard and esteem that they give out unwarranted advice, and expect others (including politicians embracing the laissez-faire principle, e.g., Ron Paul) to do the same.
     Any attempt to create a perfect, utopian market-anarchist or libertarian society through experimentation confined to a particular location would fail because – aside from the fact that people do not want to be controlled – the ostensibly natural conditions with which the experiment would begin would be the product of the fundamentally unnatural conditions built into the system which came before it in the same area; and because the conditions within the location would not be immune or disconnected from the conditions in the remainder of the world (as long as consumers of public services are aware that there is such a thing as the rest of the world). I suppose that this position, in some strange way, makes me something of an internationalist.
     It is no measure of irrationality to refuse to subject oneself and one's household to the experiments of government-employed and government-funded voodoo economists, however well they seem to understand the business cycle (the way it is understood and utilized these days, itself a “repeatable experiment” designed to confiscate our wealth, through frequent engineered “financial crises”), the intricacies of modern government finance, or “what society wants”.
     As Adam Smith explained, in participating in the market, an individual “neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it.” A household, however large or small, just may be the only civilized “society” a man knows.
     But returning to the topics of gold and subjective value: if I do not use or trade gold because of my own personal religious convictions, does it matter whether I am aware that gold miners are exploited? Does it matter whether I know what the surplus army of labor is? Does it matter whether I know what value a worker-operated pricing board would assign to gold?
     I contend that these things do not matter (maybe I'm a consequentialist, I don't know). Furthermore, I believe that a democratic worker-operated pricing board which assigns some value to gold, would be more likely to result in a gold standard than would a free market emphasizing subjective valuation and promoting independent thought.
     To trust anything other than the combination of one's own instincts with one's own reasoning in determining the value of something is to engage in morally hazardous behavior, wherein we take for granted that government can determine our economic values for us. This can lead to blind trust, the risks of which include consuming any product deemed by government boards as healthful, working at any workplace deemed by government agencies as safe, et cetera.
     I do not support the notion that the state ought to impose a gold standard, and I also do not support the notions that the state ought to prohibit the trade of gold, or to set its value as equal to zero. I instead pray that the owners of gold will sell it for low, low prices for use as a conductor in microprocessors, and for purposes other than aesthetics and capital accumulation.
     Don't get me wrong; prices should be, as much as possible, set as equal to marginal cost. But being that freedom will always exist to some degree, black-market (agorist) prices will always evade and out-compete pricing systems put in place by public governance agencies, and any attempt by pricing boards to do what they do will be rendered ineffectual.
     Just like personal responsibility and voluntary governance, the transition to a culture in which all prices are approximately equal to marginal cost, has to come about through a change in culture and through a change in our systems of valuation, which cannot occur unless and until we throw-off the alien and alienating values system which is being imposed upon us.
      Additionally, until we have voluntary government (that is, governance in which not only do individuals participate voluntarily, but also government employees perform their duties free of charge, or at least without compensation being negotiated in advance), the costs of government will be so great that unjustifiable costs of transacting with government will be imposed upon participants, and that the costs of maintaining bureaucracies will distort the data pertaining to the economic calculation problems which those very bureaucracies were instituted in order to solve.
      Until we have voluntary government, and the freedom to decide our own economic values becomes conducive to both equality and liberty simultaneously, I will continue to devalue, diminish, and demean the valuation of gold, although never through structural or systematic means.
     Before continuing, it is necessary to mention that, while I support the idea of competing and diverse currencies, I do not support the idea that anything and everything should be traded as if it were currency. I actually agree with Paul “The Invincible Krugtron” Krugman that one of the causes of the “financial collapse” was the perception and use of mortgage-backed securities and other derivatives with irresponsibly high speculative-assets-to-tangible-assets ratios as currency.
     Of course, these ratios would not be found in an economy in which one private agency does not have the unquestioned authority to determine interest and lending rates for the entire country, nor in an economy in which the ten optimality conditions for egalitarian markets are followed (i.e., no deceptive calculation of profit, no unjustifiable transaction costs, and no structural risks encouraging easy yet pernicious lending).

13. Conclusion

     As a scholar of the “state-corporate complex”, you have perhaps entertained the notion that public property and private property are one and the same. I believe that if you check Max Weber's definition of the state against the definition of property found in Lysander Spooner's No Treason, you will find that there is a lot of truth to this notion.
     This is to say that each statism and private property is exclusive, monopolistic, unquestioned and unquestionable, irresponsible and irresponsive control, domination, and dominion over some given object. The “local” or “territorial” aspect of the statist “monopoly on legitimate violence” and the “landed” aspect of “landed private property” only reinforce this similarity.
     I urge you to read the works of Lysander Spooner (whom Ron Paul once said he doesn't criticize), and to compare and contrast the aspects of Max Weber's definition of the state with the proposals put forth by the proponents of a philosophy called panarchism.
     I also urge you to download the major works of Samuel E. Konkin III and J. Neil Schulman, and to search the works for the word “syndicate”. Doing so in Schulman's Alongside Night will help you understand what might happen to the Department of Health and Human Services under libertarian governance.

     Now that we are beginning to see that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act imposes penalties – and strict reporting and filing requirements – upon hospitals which treat uninsured patients, I am wondering what are your thoughts on Obama's health care plan as opposed to the plans of Ronald Reagan and Ron Paul.
     This is keeping in mind that Reagan would order hospitals to treat the uninsured; while Paul would take a laissez-faire stance, reasoning that a market for medical care kept free of unreasonable inhibitions would most likely treat all comers. Whose plan would you prefer, and whose plan would you describe as the closest to “socialized medicine” (however you define that phrase)?

     At Kutztown University, you said, “Ron Paul's a nice guy. If I had to have dinner with one of the Republican [presidential] candidates, I'd prefer to have it with him.”
     If I have said anything in this letter that interests you, I suggest that you go ahead and schedule that dinner.


Joseph W. Kopsick

[...] = edited since originally posted

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