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Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Anarchist Kindergarten: An Open Letter to Noam Chomsky
Chomsky vs. Paul
Churches and Charity
4. The Constitution
5. Personal Responsibility
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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...”.
the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Paul wrote in the American
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
involvement has thus far failed us.
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.”
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.
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
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.”
is to say that, while it may be totally reasonable to suggest that a
owes health care to its uninsured, it might not always be appropriate
to suggest that the avenues through which it provides such care be
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
- just as a nursing home policy that prohibited action by staff
members with insufficient medical skills resulted in the preventable
of an elderly woman - high licensing
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.
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
of his congressman) - is partially responsible for setting into
motion the chain of events which led to him becoming uninsured and in
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
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.
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.
assume that I recently turned 26, I don't have consistent employment,
and I can't afford health insurance. Let's
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
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?
we do not
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
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 (aquarianagrarian.blogspot.com),
but even that article missed the following point.
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
that precedent, and legalizes what should be regarded as a ten-dollar
tax on a zero-dollar
is to say that it is a penalty
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
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.
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
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.
penalize us for refusing to work for the type of business – and in
exchange for the type and
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
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
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
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
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.
Governance and the Invisible Hand
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.
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
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
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
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.
your interview with Michael S. Wilson for Modern
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
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.
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 anthropologicalscience
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
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
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.
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.
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.
did not despise altruism; she despised the very idea that there is
such a thing. Her portrayal of the “invisible hand” in Atlas
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
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
– 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
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
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.”
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
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.
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
to the notion that corporations would not be able to live or thrive –
much less dominate
or practice tyranny
“without a powerful state”.
believe that you are trying to simultaneously imply that the state is
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.
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
granted by the state, it may not even be necessary
to grow state power in order to erect
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
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
1) Market actors are well-informed and rational.
2) The relief and diminution of suffering is
3) Malice is eliminated.
4) No actor hoards information.
5) Nobody's values system is structurally suppressed
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
Gary Chartier (director of the Center for a Stateless Society) and
Charles Johnson – the authors of Markets
– 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.
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
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
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
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.
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).
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
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
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)?
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.