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Block, Walter E. 2020. “Some Students Want Me Fired for a Thought Experiment; Civilization’s progress depends on the freedom to express eccentric and provocative ideas.” Wall Street Journal, July 15;

https://www.wsj.com/articles/some-students-want-me-fired-for-a-thought-experiment-11594854800file:///C:/Users/WBlock/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/CKHU6Y6I/Some%20Students%20Want%20Me%20Fired%20for%20a%20Thought%20Experiment%20-%20WSJ.pdf

Best regards,

Walter

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2:46 am on July 17, 2020

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From: Federico Giuliano

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: A forced vaccination with a government in power

Hi professor Block, i’m sorry if i’m bothering you with these questions but i would like to know your opinion on forced vaccinations.

In a world without a state/government, people should have the right to know what is being injected into their bodies from the pharmaceutical company before taking the vaccine. People should be vaccinated because if they carry a deadly disease and they infect other people and they die, that makes them a murderer.

The problem i have with a forced vaccination (having a government in power) is that they want to rush it to people without having to face any consequences if it cripples people. The government passed a law years ago that grants immunity to pharmaceutical companies if they get sued.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/300aa-22

So i want to ask, will you reject the governments forced/mandatory vaccine next year when they start rolling it out?.

Thank you for your time, and best regards.

Dear Federico:

I will indeed reject the governments forced/mandatory vaccine next year given these circumstances.

I’ve written a bit about this:

Block, Walter E. 2013A. “Libertarianism and Compulsory Vaccinations.” January 19; https://archive.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/130928.html

Block, Walter E. 2013B. “Forced Vaccinations.” February 4;

https://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block217.htmlhttps://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/02/walter-e-block/forced-vaccinations/

April 29, 2015. Marc Clair [mailto:marc.clair@gmail.com] evictionism, Rand Paul, vaccinations; Marc Clair Editor In Chief; LionsOfLiberty.com; (203) 558-8342; Skype is MarcMadness8780; http://lionsofliberty.com/104/;

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-lions-of-liberty-podcast/id706061933?mt=2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gsra1cLNZkE&feature=youtu.be

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/lions-of-liberty-podcast

http://lionsoflibertypodcast.podbean.com

February 11, 2015. Sam Seder debates Walter E. Block. The Majority Report [mailto:majorityreporters@gmail.com] The Majority Report with Sam Seder. Live M-F 12:00 NOON ET. http://majority.fm; Ring of Fire Radio. With Sam Seder, Mike Papantonio and Bobby Kennedy Jr. Weekends. http://www.ringoffireradio.com; Resolved: “laissez faire capitalism is the best system known to man” http://majority.fm/2014/05/01/51-professor-walter-block-defends-libertarianism/http://majority.fm/; 646-257-3920; topics: vaccinations, a reprise of our min wage discussion, your email sign off “If it moves, privatize it; if it doesn’t move, privatize it. Since everything either moves or doesn’t move, privatize everything.” and if it’s ok, a listener wanted me to ask you to explain the difference between consequentialist and deontological libertarianism; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBNZwHw4eT8https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulMRmIALBX8

February 11, 2015 Debate with Leftist Sam Seder on libertarianism, Non-aggression, property rights, retributions and libertarians, Native Americans, homesteading, property in America, Rand Paul and Vaccinations with Sam Seder on The Majority Report (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBNZwHw4eT8)

Block, Walter E. 2020. “Quarantines.” March 10;

https://www.targetliberty.com/2020/03/walter-block-on-quarantines-because-of.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+TargetLiberty+(Target+Liberty);

https://www.targetliberty.com/2020/03/walter-block-on-quarantines-because-of.html?fbclid=IwAR2eKAqVI1zJ-2d-aCW6IQwwJQQKRWJf_lcJsDxLHp9RIfNx-1fYuMzUrO8

April 13, 2020. Debate on the Coronavirus Quarantine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWEjU6ejEQE. the post-debate correspondence: https://xoandelugo.org/post-debate-correspondence-between-walter-block-philipp-bagus-and-bernardo-ferrero-on-the-ethics-of-the-coronavirus-quarantine/?fbclid=IwAR1ZUOlXvdeDPDC53PdJ9ZeoQn-6SYvbNIpUv2xalgRY3a2xQ8hFHn1b35A;

Bernardo Ferrero <bernardo.96@hotmail.it>

Philipp Bagus <Philipp.Bagus@web.de>

Oscar Carreiro <o.r.carreiro2@gmail.com>

Noemi Díaz corral noemidiazcorral@gmail.com

https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/vaccinations-part-ii/

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4:00 pm on July 15, 2020

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From: Justin O’Connell

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Interview Request by GoldSilverBitcoin

Dear Dr. Block,

My name is Justin O’Connell. Would you answer some questions in a document about current events? I will shop the piece to Mises.org, The Dollar Vigilante, elsewhere, and ultimately publish on my website GoldSilverBitcoin.com. I will then share it around on social, etc. Thank you. Here are the questions:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1llS0u33Mf6tWCrvBCC8tf28IqSd13hJGQoWc26QFPGw/edit?usp=sharing

Best,

Justin O’Connell

Dear Justin:

Here you go:

What is surprising, novel, ironic, or controversial about the current economic situation in which we find ourselves? Why?

It reminds me of the aftermath of Katrina in 2005. Then, too, the entire city of NO was deserted. But now, this applies pretty much to the entire world, with the exception of Sweden (God bless that country) and only a few others. Twilight zone, here we come.

What economic effect does “The Great Lockdown” have on the economy?

Worse than the Great Depression of 1929-1939. Real starvation is in the offing if the lockdown continues.

How does your thesis that all government employees are guilty of crimes against humanity demonstrate itself today?

I don’t believe that all government employees are guilty of crimes against humanity. I only believe there is a presumption that this is true. But this presumption can be defeated. I myself have been employed by several government universities: StonyBrook SUNY, Baruch College, CUNY, Rutgers Newark and the U of Central Arkansas. But, I think I can defeat that presumption, since I promoted liberty in all those places. Well, defeat most of that presumption at the very least.

How have the last two months informed your views?

I don’t know about “informed” but my views on political philosophy have not changed in the last 2 months.

What does the immediate future hold?

Who know?. It depends to a great degree on what politicians do. I expect that the US and most other countries will follow the Swedish model, and we’ll achieve herd immunity by 2021 world wide. At least I hope so. If we get rid of the FDA, fat chance, we’ll sooner have a cure or a vaccine for Covid.  As to the rebound of the economy, U shaped or V shaped, if we deregulate, then the latter.

Is there anything else of note we should mention?

Best regards,

Walter

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3:58 pm on July 15, 2020

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Letter 1

From: R Huff

Subject: Forced vaccination questions and quarantine breakers as The Undefendable in need of defense

Dear Dr. Block,

I always enjoy hearing your thoughts on issues where it’s not clear how we would apply libertarian principles.  I usually find myself in agreement with you.  However, I strongly disagree with the argument you make in favor of forced vaccination.

In a recent article on the LRC Blog, you link to responses to several letters regarding forced vaccination, including one from a libertarian physician (“letter 3”) who said some of your assumptions were not realistic.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/02/walter-e-block/forced-vaccinations/

Reading your responses, I believe your argument is flawed on at least 3 counts.

Count #1: Dr. Block, you and I and “Typhoid Mary” and everyone else on the planet are already “guilty” of murder, if we extend your logic in light of the following facts:

1) Each year tens of thousands of people (just in the US) die of seasonal flu.

2) Many, many more people each year contract flu viruses and are asymptomatic or experience only mild symptoms and thus become “carriers.”

3) Countless carriers of the virus unwittingly pass the virus to countless other people, who, in turn, become carriers themselves or become ill.

4) A percentage of people who become ill end up hospitalized.

5) A percentage of hospitalized people end up dying, although the vast majority had co-morbidities that contributed to their demise.

Thus, if you have ever been exposed to any number of seasonal viruses (which you have) or have ever been sick with the flu, there is a very high likelihood (approaching 100% certainty) that you, at one time or another, participated in a causal chain of events that ended in someone else’s death.

Do you believe that everyone is a murderer, given these facts?  Would you count yourself among the murderers?

Count #2: In response to letter 5, you use the analogy of the rancher whose cows may wander off and damage a farmer’s property. However, this analogy fails to accurately reflect the dynamics of virus transmission.

For instance, how do I “own” a virus in the same way a rancher owns his cows?  Unlike the rancher’s cows, the virus invaded my property—my body—without my permission, presumably launching an attack on me from some other body it had previously invaded and colonized (and without that person’s permission either).

I do not see the similarity to cattle ranching.

I do not “own” the virus that trespassed on me, without my knowledge or consent. It is not mine to give or let loose on anyone else.  Therefore, I cannot be held legally responsible for damages caused by something I do not own or control (e.g., someone else’s viral infection).

Count #3: Furthermore, I would not hold that other person (the previous “carrier”) responsible for my getting sick.  In a world full of viruses, sickness is an ever present possibility. In such a world, I have to take responsibility for my own health.  Each of us implicitly understands and accepts this: There is a level of risk we accept every time we go outside and mingle with other people during flu season—in the same way we understand and accept the risks involved in driving cars or having sex without condoms.

How many times have you heard someone in the office say, “Yeah, there’s something goin’ around”?  People nod in agreement.  No one ever shouts, “Bloody murder!”

Everyone understands the nature of viruses: They go around every year and people get sick.  And every year, tens of thousands people die of flu-related illnesses. Yet, we still go about our business, because we accept the risks involved, like two boxers stepping into the ring. (If you can’t stand the thought of getting punched, then stay out of the ring.)

Meanwhile, there are also risks associated with not going outside and avoiding contact with other people, since the strength of our immune systems depends on our frequent exposure to viruses, as determined by human evolution. (This is another cost of universal lockdowns that government “experts” do not take into account: Our immune systems grow weaker and more vulnerable the longer we isolate ourselves in lockdown.)

It is also worth pointing out that herd immunity is the way we have overcome every other virus that has now become part of the seasonal “viral load” we face every year—and accept. Vaccines are no guarantee, and if they work at all, it is because they facilitate herd immunity.

So we want healthy, low-risk people to get exposed to the virus to increase population (herd) immunity, if we’re ever going to get back to normal.  This means universal lockdowns must end now, and the preposterous idea of “contact tracing” and quarantining asymptomatic, healthy people needs to be abandoned.

The people who break quarantine In the “new normal” Orwellian police state, so they can work and feed their families—and, in the process, bring us closer to herd immunity—are the unsung heroes who will lead us back to normal—perhaps “The Undefendable” in need of defense!

The idea that you could face murder charges if you do not submit to the totalitarian New Normal Order is a dubious and dangerous idea. I hope you will reconsider your position.

Warm regards,

Rodney

Letter 2

To: R Huff

Subject: RE: Forced vaccination questions and quarantine breakers as The Undefendable in need of defense

Dear Rodney:

We are talking at cross purposes. You are making empirical claims. You know way more about this sort of thing than I do. I make no empirical claim whatsoever. I’m making, instead, a theoretical claim. IF the vaccine worked 100%. IF there was ZERO chance if it having bad side effects with those who were innoculated with it. IF there were innocent people who would die if Mr. Smith, who would be fully safe, but refuses to get vaccinated, were not vaccinated. There are several other IFs floating around too, but its late and I can’t think of them. THEN would it be a violation of the NAP to compel Smith to be vaccinated? Are there NO scenarios within our imagination where this could be true?

I am trying to counter the widespread claim, held by many libertarians, that compulsory vaccinations NECESSARILY violate the NAP, under ALL conceivable circumstances.

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 3

From: R Huff

Subject: Re: Forced vaccination questions and quarantine breakers as The Undefendable in need of defense

Dear Dr. Block,

I appreciate your response to my letter. I understand what you are trying to do, but I do not think your argument is compelling.

If your “conceivable circumstances” under which forced vaccination is permissible consist of a series of increasingly unrealistic (if not false) assumptions (e.g. risk-free vaccination), then why would the theoretical conclusion you reach be compelling or even useful?

(I know that in answering purely economic questions, it does make sense to posit unrealistic assumptions, e.g., all other things being equal, to isolate phenomena being logically deduced (e.g., the effect of inflation on prices).  But what we’re talking about is not a purely economic question. It’s a political question that involves moral considerations, medical knowledge, and empirical claims.

Unconstrained by reality, I could make a series of unrealistic assumptions and imagine circumstances under which the hypothetical hamburger you just ate is murder, making you a murderer. Granted my assumptions, you would have to concede that anyone who has ever eaten a hamburger is a murderer (or an accomplice after the fact), even though the “guilty” party has no mens rea.

Theoretically, I can imagine a world in which 2+2=5. It’s conceivable. I can also imagine a world in which the Keynesians are right and Austrian economists are wrong. That’s conceivable too. I just imagined it.  In fact, there’s virtually no limit to what I can imagine. In which case, we would be wrong to oppose the statists who rely on Keynesian econometrics to centrally plan the economy. Would you find that scenario theoretically compelling?

Isn’t the point of these thought experiments to find some “real world” application for our principles? If so, what utility is there in basing your argument on unrealistic or false assumptions, circumstances that don’t actually prevail in the real world?  Does it not make sense to check our assumptions against reality?  Otherwise, aren’t we just engaging in intellectual parlor games for amusement?

If you are on shaky ground when it comes to making assumptions involving medicine, then why not firm up those assumptions by doing some research? Ron Paul is a doctor. Why not talk to Dr. Paul or the libertarian physician who contacted you (letter 3) and see if your assumptions are realistic?

I don’t think you fully engaged my critique.

For Count 1, I simply extend your logic, using your assumptions. Yes, I throw in some empirical claims (which you can check), but these are relevant facts that make up the real world in which we live and apply our principles.

For Count 2, I examine the rancher analogy you use to defend your position. That analogy does not hold up, because viruses that invade my body are nothing like cows owned by the rancher.

Count 3 is really an extension of Count 1. Here, I simply apply the Golden Rule as I would do in the real world, not in some hypothetical fantasy land where anything conceivable is actual.

Again, I appreciate the food for thought.  Thank you for your reply.

Many thanks and cheers!

Rod

Letter 4

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

To: R Huff

Subject: RE: Forced vaccination questions and quarantine breakers as The Undefendable in need of defense

https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/vaccinations-part-ii/

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

To: ‘R Huff’

Subject: RE: Forced vaccination questions and quarantine breakers as The Undefendable in need of defense

I try to answer all polite letters. In this and in so many other ways, I try to model my life after my friend, my mentor, my guru, Murray N. Rothbard. However, I can’t engage in too many back and forth letters on any one topic. I get, oh, about 200 e mails every day, and I have to economize on time in some way.

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

Letter 5

From: R Huff

Subject: Re: Forced vaccination questions and quarantine breakers as The Undefendable in need of defense

Dear Dr. Block,

Thank you for the link. I appreciate your reply and can only imagine the amount of time you spend corresponding with friends and foes alike. Please count me among your friends, despite our disagreement.

I think the reason why so many libertarians are hostile to your thought experiment regarding forced vaccination (or, to be more precise, the conclusion you draw from it) is that you seem to be inadvertently providing intellectual ammunition to our enemies.

Please hear me out. This is the impression I get when I read your critics.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the stealth communist revolution underway (to quote Peter Schiff).  And I’m sure you’ve noticed that the authoritarians justify their actions by using propaganda phrases such as “saving lives.”

The authoritarians have made it clear that “saving lives” means “contact tracing,” which is a euphemism for Big Brother “pre-crime” surveillance. And they’re dropping hints that forced vaccination may also be necessary.

Big Brother surveillance and forced vaccination will likely form the central pillars of the medical martial law they are foisting on us.  Anyone paying attention can see this coming.

In order to justify medical martial law, the authoritarians will make pre-crime arguments similar to yours (they already have implicitly), and perhaps even cite you favorably in this regard to reinforce the false impression of consensus. They can say (disingenuously), “Look! Even Libertarians agree with us!” (The NYT has way of pouncing on you and twisting your words, so this is quite possible.)

Of course, they will also lie about the safety of the vaccine they’re now rushing to market, cutting corners along the way.

Which brings me to the exchange you had with Kenn, your buddy and coauthor.

It appears Kenn got the upper hand when he showed that vaccination is inherently risky, by definition.  This means that your assumption of a risk-free vaccine is not just unrealistic; it’s a logical contradiction (a risk-free risk), which puts it in the same category of “impossible” with 2+2=5.

What I think bothers your critics most is that, while you seem preoccupied with esoteric thought experiments and hypothetical impossibilities, your critics are grappling with the very real threat of medical martial law being imposed by a totalitarian government, here and now. Society is sweeping toward destruction, and you seem to be out to lunch.  (I’m not saying this is the case, but your critics seem to have this impression.)

This seems to be the thought process behind the hostility of your critics:

The natural tendency of any State, given the resources, is total control. And here we are on the brink of totalitarian government controlled by technocrats taking their cues from the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other globalist institutions. (I don’t think it was hyperbole when Peter Schiff said we are witnessing a stealth communist revolution.) This is the big game! The authoritarians are conditioning us to accept our own subjugation by telling us transparent lies about this virus and the need for forced vaccination.  We need all hands on deck to resist the “new normal” tyranny — to expose the scientific fraud, lies, and propaganda.  We need Ron Paul (here!), Daniel McAdams (here!) Tom Woods (here!), Lew Rockwell (here!), Thomas DiLorenzo (here!), Gene Epstein (here!), Professor Block… Professor Block?

(cough cough) Bionic Mosquito (here!), Becky Akers (here!), Dave Smith (here!), etc.

Again, these are impressions I get when I read your critics. I’m not saying this is the case. I don’t know what keeps you up at night.

What keeps me up at night and writing letters to the editor is this “new normal” Orwellian police state.

Attached are three (very short) letters I’ve written to various newspapers in my area.  The first one got published.   I’d be honored if you’d read them and provide feedback.  Of course, I understand if you don’t have the time.

Many thanks and cheers!

Rodney

Letter 6

Dear Rodney:

I think your explanation of the hostility hits the nail on the head.

Best regards,

Walter

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3:57 pm on July 15, 2020

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Yesterday, I sent out this request for help, given my ignorance of the question posed to me.

Today, I’ve had quite a response. I thank all who have helped me out on this. But, please, “no mas!” I think we have now amassed enough suggestions, some of it a bit repetitive, but thanks again. I’m sure Alvin and his kids will greatly benefit.

From: Charles Hanes

Sent: Monday, July 13, 2020 2:52 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: What about the Connor Boyack series The Tuttle Twins?

Walter,

Connor Boyack has been a frequent guest on the Tom Woods show, here is an Amazon link:

https://www.amazon.com/Tuttle-Twins-Set-8/dp/B07PRNJFKL/

These books are designed for youngsters with definite libertarian messages, in many cases keying off well-known libertarian books.

-Charles Hanes

Cfhanes@mac.com

P. S. It was nice to see you in San Francisco at the debate with Robert Wenzel. -C

From: roydrake

Sent: Monday, July 13, 2020 2:11 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Query help

https://mises.org/library/incredible-bread-machine

From: Scott Tibbetts

Sent: Monday, July 13, 2020 1:21 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Books for young libertatians

https://www.bluestockingpress.com/whatever-happened-penny-candy.htm

Richard J. Maybury has many books for that age  about liberty, but this is the one that opened my eyes to what money is.

This was part of a homeschool curriculum for young teens, but I was the one who was hooked!

After reading this, I saw the world completely different.  I think his other books would be worth reading as well.

Scott Tibbetts

From: Dominick Armentano

Sent: Monday, July 13, 2020 12:31 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Books for Teens

I think that young teens are probably not (yet) ready for any serious discussion of libertarianism, even at a basic level. My recommendation would be to recommend a work of fiction where the principles of individualism and integrity are made explicit through plot and the action of heroes.  And without question, Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” is the one and only choice. It’s what started me and many others on the road to liberty.

Best to you Walter,

Dom Armentano

From: Jason B

Sent: Monday, July 13, 2020 12:31 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Libertarian books for kids

Good morning Mr. Block,

I believe I have exactly what Alvin may be looking for.

I imagine you may be familiar, but probably 10-15 years ago, I had received a recommendation from my friend to read a series of books by Richard Maybury, which I found to be must reads for anyone just learning about libertarian thinking.  These books are written in such a simple, easy to understand manner, and are even written in a format as if “Uncle Eric” is presenting to his own niece or nephew.   Any teen just learning, will learn the fundamentals of money, law, history, and why it is so important to understand in today’s world.  I strongly recommend beginning with “What Ever Happened to Penny Candy” and “What Ever Happened to Justice” and then proceeding with all of his history books from “Ancient Rome” through “ World War II and What it Means Today”

I recommend these books for anybody, adult or young teen, and my sons will be reading those in the coming years.l

https://www.bluestockingpress.com/uncle-eric-books.htm

Yours,

Jason

From: David Lewis

Sent: Monday, July 13, 2020 12:20 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Re: Libertarian books for kids and teens

I’m sure you’re aware of and will be recommended several non-fiction books appropriate for a younger audience.  I thought I would add some of my favorite libertarianesque novels that the younger set could read.

The Walton Street Tycoons

Pallas

The Probability Broach

North to Freedom, aka I Am David

(https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews/north-to-freedom)

Anything that has won the Prometheus Award:

http://lfs.org/awards.shtml

Please don’t forget to post your final short list on LRC!  I’m interested to see others’ recommendations.

Regards,

David Lewis, long time fan

From: Chuck LeBer

Sent: Monday, July 13, 2020 12:01 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Books for young libertarians

Dr. Block,

I believe the best books for future libertarians is the Harry Potter series.

If you have not read or listened to them here is what they promulgate:

1. There are evil people in power for its own sake.

2. Family is important.

3. Gold is money.

4. Good triumphs over evil.

5. Hard work pays off.

Chuck LeBer

From: Jim

Sent: Monday, July 13, 2020 11:55 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Libertarian books for teens

Not sure if this is useful, but I did find a link, in case nobody already pointed you to it.

https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/01/books-liberty-oriented-economics-young-people.html

Enjoy.

Jim

From: mike carl

Sent: Monday, July 13, 2020 11:48 AM

To: Dr. Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Libertarian Literature

Hey Doc-

Let them hone their grammar, spelling, and reading skills on good old fiction. Here are what a few others recommend.

https://www.artforliberty.com/best-free-libertarian-novels/

http://www.andersmonsen.com/50-works-of-fiction-libertarians-should-read/

Education comes in many forms.

From: Barbara & Don Buckler

Sent: Monday, July 13, 2020 11:44 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Libertarian books for teens?

Not sure if these are the best books , but they got me started way back in my murky past.

Anthem by Ayn Rand, restoring the American Dream and looking out for #1 by Robert Ringer and then there is the free to choose series  by Milton Freedman still on utube , a day in the life of Ivan Denisovich by the author who’s name I can’t spell…Also I would recommend the recorded lectures and talks by Ralph Rayco and Butler Schafer at the Mises web site. While some of these are not strictly libertarian , I think they point in that direction and I think are accessible to younger and hopefully still open minds.

Best regards

D. Buckler

From: teddy.johnson122060

Sent: Monday, July 13, 2020 11:43 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: I Need Help In Answering This Query

Walter,

Tell him that the kids need to begin with God’s word.

If they are not reading the Bible then it will not matter what they read.

Teddy

From: Kyle Fellhoelter

Sent: Monday, July 13, 2020 11:36 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Libertarian books for kids and teens.

Dr. Block,

My wife and I homeschool our kids. They all love the following books.

Kids

* I, Pencil – Leonard E. Reed

* The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible – Ken Schoolland

Teens

* Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? – Richard J. Maybury

* Why Government Doesn’t Work – Harry Browne

There are more, but the four mentioned set a solid foundation.

I hope this is helpful.

Kyle

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

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4:54 pm on July 13, 2020

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I Need Help In Answering This Query

Usually, silver-tongued devil that I am, I can answer virtually all questions put to me. But, this one’s got me stumped. I admit it. I need some help answering it. So, please, if you can, share your thoughts on this with me. I’ll put together a bibliography on this and send it to Alvin.

I’ve got twin boy grandchildren, aged 5. So, soon (in about 5 years?) I’ll be able to use this information myself.

Thanks,

Walter

From: A.J. G

Sent: Sunday, July 12, 2020 3:24 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Libertarian books for kids and teens

Dear Mr. Block,

Thank you for providing an intro list for libertarianism and for your awesome website.

My teenage kids between 13-16 years old are getting into libertarianism.  My son watches Stossel videos, reads articles on popular libertarian websites, and has started reading Sowell and Milton Friedman.  My daughter is younger and watches mostly videos but is interested in libertarian books for young teens – I don’t think she’s ready for Milton Friedman or Murray Rothbard.

Can you recommend some libertarian books for middle school kids and younger teenagers?

Thanks,

Alvin

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11:48 am on July 13, 2020

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Mike Rozeff Commits the Fallacy of Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility, Part 4

In his latest missive on the ICU issue, Mike says this:

“By recognizing that a society has a law against theft, we bypass the unanimity problem.”

Try as I might, I just don’t see my way clear to agreeing with this. But society has lots of laws, not only just ones against theft. There are also laws compelling us to pay taxes, mandating the employers pay minimum wages. The Nazis had laws vitiating against Jews, gays, homosexuals, blacks, Romany and other non Ayrans. I don’t see how this in the slightest allows us to say that when A steals from B, social utility decreases. Social utility consists of the economic welfare of both of them. But A benefits (he wouldn’t steal was this not true, at least not ex ante), while B loses (he prefers to keep his own money; did he not, he would have voluntarily made a donation of it to A). How we can add them up and declare that B’s loss is greater than A’s benefit is simply beyond me.

Suppose that Nazi Germany had a law stipulating that it is alright for Ayrans to compel the “inferiors” mentioned above to give them money, against the will of the latter. By Mike’s reasoning, could we then conclude the very opposite: that the victim’s loss is now less than the perpetrator’s gain? That seems to be where his logic is taking him. But this is equally false, unless we support ICU, which allows us to make such comparisons in the first place. But where is Mike’s defense of ICU?

Austrians support ordinal utility. I like apples better than bananas and bananas better than carrots. I just purchased a shirt for $20. I prefer this clothing more than the money, and the person who sold it to me made the opposite ranking. So far, so good. But praxeologists take a dim view of cardinal utility. We take the position that to say apples give me 20 utils of pleasure, bananas 10, and carrots 5, and that therefore I like apples twice as much as bananas and four times as much as carrots, it nonsensical. But ICU is an aspect of cardinal, not ordinal, utility. It allows us to say that Mike likes shoes at the rate of 100 utils, while Walter likes bicycles a the rate of 50 utils, and that therefore Mike lies footwear twice as much as Walter likes bikes. Does Mike really want to support this?

I enjoy a good debate. But, unless Mike says something new, I’ll not be contributing any more to this one. I’m too busy with other writing commitments.

But I must end with a compliment to him. As far as I’m concerned, his position is roughly the equivalent of 2+2=5, or the earth is flat, or voluntary trade is not mutually beneficial ex ante, or man doesn’t act. Yet, brilliant scholar that he is, he has been able to give me a good run for my money in defending ICU. I wouldn’t have thought that possible before running into him on this. My hat is off to him.

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3:49 am on July 13, 2020

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Best Intro Books for Libertarianism

From: Advik Trivedi

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Libertarianism

Hey,

I was getting interested in libertarianism and I was wondering if you had any books you could recommend to me to get started.

-Advik Trivedi

Dear Advik:

Here are my best recommendations to start you off:

Rothbard, Murray N. 1998 [1982]. The Ethics of Liberty, New York: New York University Press. http://www.mises.org/rothbard/ethics/ethics.asp

Rothbard, Murray N. 1973. For a New Liberty, Macmillan, New York; http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp

Here are the two books that got me started:

Rand, Ayn. 1957. Atlas Shrugged, New York, NY: Random House.

Hazlitt, Henry. 2008 [1946]. Economics in One Lesson. Auburn, AL: Mises Institute; http://mises.org/books/economics_in_one_lesson_hazlitt.pdf;

https://mises.org/store/Economics-in-One-Lesson-P33C1.aspx

Best regards,

Walter

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3:13 pm on July 12, 2020

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Mike Rozeff Commits the Fallacy of Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility, Part 3

I can’t comment on each and every voluminous word of my friend Mike’s on this Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility debate we’re having. I’ve got too many other commitments. Let me confine myself, then, to just this little bit. He writes

“The answer to this is that ‘we’ are not making an interpersonal utility comparison. Society has already made that comparison implicitly when it prohibited theft, and we can infer that it has decided that it’s better off with that prohibition than without it.”

As a libertarian, I of course agree with Mike. The prohibition of theft is entirely justified. But we are now not discussing libertarianism. Rather, what is at issue between us is the Austrian claim, which he continually denies, that interpersonal comparisons of utility (ICU) are invalid.

“Society” as such, made no such determination to the effect that laws against theft are justified. Rather, only the overwhelming majority supported it. But, suppose that the minority of thieves, who oppose laws prohibiting theft, lost more utility from this legislation than the rest of us gained? Is this impossible? Not for the neoclassical economist who’s side Mike is now taking.

I suggested to Mike that he read this:

Rothbard. Murray N. 1997 [1956]. “Toward a Reconstruction of Utility and Welfare Economics.” reprinted in “The Logic of Action” Vol. I. Lyme, NH: Edward Elgar. pp. 211-254; http://www.mises.org/rothbard/toward.pdf

He shows no evidence of having done so. I really don’t think we can get to the bottom of this issue until and unless he does, and demonstrates why Murray was wrong on the ICU issue.

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

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3:11 pm on July 12, 2020

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An 18 Part Discussion of Covid and Libertarian Theory

Letter 1

From: Bubba Shaffer

To: Tom Woods <tom@tomwoods.com>

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Tom,

I am happy to see this email.  I cannot agree with you more.  I have never slowed my business activities nor my personal ones.  I believe the government response is a giant overreach.   I have respected everybody who wants to keep their distance away from me. (freedom of association as we Libertarians call it).

In my HVAC service business its funny how welcoming these folks are that normally would not have me near them all the sudden welcome me into their home or business.

If only I could find a barber.  I haven’t had hair like this since the high school in the late 70s.

Take care, and keep up the good work.

Bubba Shaffer

General Manager

Orlando, FL

Letter 2

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2020 3:58 PM

To: Bubba Shaffer – Shaffer Air; Tom Woods

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Dear Bubba:

Thanks.

Here is a pub of mine on this:

Block, Walter E. 2020. “Quarantines.” March 10;

https://www.targetliberty.com/2020/03/walter-block-on-quarantines-because-of.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+TargetLiberty+(Target+Liberty);

https://www.targetliberty.com/2020/03/walter-block-on-quarantines-because-of.html?fbclid=IwAR2eKAqVI1zJ-2d-aCW6IQwwJQQKRWJf_lcJsDxLHp9RIfNx-1fYuMzUrO8

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 3

From: Bubba Shaffer – Shaffer Air

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Geez Walter why on earth do you always want to be fighting with me.  You make it hard to keep loving you!!  Haha…You believe the government should have the power to force people to stay inside their house?

Bubba Shaffer

General Manager

Orlando, FL

Letter 4

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2020 5:42 PM

To: Bubba Shaffer

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Dear Bubba:

Do you believe that it was justified to quarantine Typhoid Mary?

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 5

From: Bubba Shaffer

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Dear Walter,

I read about Typhoid Mary on the internet to get the story.  According to what I read she was a carrier because she did not wash her hands properly after she took a shit.  Her profession was that of a cook, and she had several employers as she cooked for many different affluent households.  If she was under my employ I would ensure that she use sanitation practices that are in line with good health.

I think this is really a case of non-property rights.  If all property were owned privately this would not be an issue.  Also, I think that word would get around that Mary Mallon maybe a good cook but her hygiene lacks considerably and a free society would handle this.  The problem is the State, almost all the time.  So I would not place her in a cage.

I miss you and hope to see you soon!!  I is enjoyable to debate you but I wish we agreed a little too!!

Bubba Shaffer

General Manager

Orlando, FL

Letter 6

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Friday, May 08, 2020 12:01 PM

To: Bubba Shaffer

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Dear Bubba:

As libertarians, we agree on 99% of everything. We just discuss the 1% since it is more interesting to disagree.

Suppose Typhoid Mary were as innocent as the driven snow. She was asymptomatic, but spreading typhoid thru the air. Should she have been quarantined against her will? I say yes. How say you? I also say there may be no difference between this hypothetical Mary and someone nowadays who has asymptomatic Covid.

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 7

From: Bubba Shaffer

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

My Dear Walter,

I not only say no, I say hell no!!  You are on a slippery slope here, you are asserting that she can be quarantined by whom?, the state?  You want to give the power to quarantine to the State?  I have no contract with the state, the constitution that the state holds I did not agree to.  If I was in a free society and I had a contract with my fellow properties owners that if that my breathing caused them harm I would do X, then fine.  Do you see my point.  You know that I am a radical, I ignore the state.

And we both agree that we two are the best looking boys in the Liberty movement!!

Bubba Shaffer

General Manager

Orlando, FL

Letter 8

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Friday, May 08, 2020 12:18 PM

To: Bubba Shaffer

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Dear Bubba:

The quarantiner would be the state only for minarchists. We’re anarchists. So, the quarantiner would have to be the private defense agencies, the ones who stop murder, rape, trespass, kidnap, etc.

In my view, the  hypothetical Typhoid Mary would be guilty of assault with a deadly weapon, trespass, etc. It is as if she is shooting off a gun in all directions, only it is loaded with Typhoid germs, not lead bullets. Where have I erred in this claim?

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 9

From: Bubba Shaffer

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Walter,

Yes, If there were a community group that I was in contract with and the contract had a clause for this I would want it enforced to the degree probably where she would not be allowed onto other peoples property.

Mary would have to be confined to her own property (whether it be leased or owned).  So the other people in the community would either allow her on there property or not.  Isn’t this much like your stance on air/noise/water pollution?  I do agree with those…

Bubba Shaffer

General Manager

Orlando, FL

Letter 10

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

To: Bubba Shaffer

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Dear Bubba:

Contracts are limited to commercial interactions. Rape, murder, theft, kidnapping, trespass, are done by criminals. My claim is that Typhoid Mary is in effect a criminal, albeit without any mens rea, intent to initiate in effect, violence against innocent people.

Just as rapists, murderers, etc., must be forcibly stopped from their depredations without any binding contracts, so must be the case for Typhoid Mary.

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 11

From: Bubba Shaffer

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Hmm..,  how about people that drive their cars recklessly (all women and a few men)?  Are they murders? And be forcibly stopped?  This is where I was coming from as far as contacts as to drive on a private road.

Bubba Shaffer

General Manager

Orlando, FL

Letter 12

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

To: Bubba Shaffer

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Dear Bubba:

In my view as a minarchist, the government is justified in fining, jailing, drunken drivers, texters, sleepers, those who travel at 90 miles per hour on city streets, or 250 mph on highways. They are threats, even if they have not yet impacted anyone. Certainly, as an anarchist, private road owners would be justified in imposing such rules on their contractual customers.

However, murder, rape, spreading disease, is totally divorced from contracts. Contracts simply do not apply to these acts. Thus, you get us off point when you mention them.

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 13

From: Bubba Shaffer

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Walter,

Ok, I am gonna think about this and get back to you.  Just so I have more to consider, please give me any other ones besides rape, murder, kidnapping, and spreading disease that you consider non-property right violations and instead classify them as criminal (only)?  I see theft and trespassing as violations of property rights.  Am I wrong to think of property rights different than criminal activities.   Rape and murder are certainly a violation of property rights. I mean the more I think of it all criminal activity is a violation of someone’s property.

Murder- takes away a life (which only belongs to you)

Rape- trespasses your body (which only belongs to you)

Kidnapping- takes away freedom (which limits your movements)

I don’t see the difference all criminal activity is the opposite of the NAP and is a violation of property rights.

Boy, you have me thinking…

Bubba Shaffer

Letter 14

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

To: Bubba Shaffer

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

The difference, as I see matters, is that drunken driving can be a contractual violation, on a private road.

But murder, rape, etc., are not contract violations.

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

Letter 15

From: Bubba Shaffer

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Her movements can be controlled with the recognition of Private Property rights.  I don’t think she needs to be locked into a cage.  A man can fire a gun on his own property, I have a gun range on mine.  If I were to shoot someone from my property across to theirs I would be responsible for their injury.  If she transferred her (bullet) she would be responsible for that.

What do you think?

Bubba Shaffer

General Manager

Orlando, FL

Letter 16

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Sunday, May 10, 2020 11:36 AM

To: Bubba Shaffer

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Dear Bubba:

Of course she shouldn’t be locked into a cage, or a jail cell. She’s innocent. Lacks mens rea. However, I think she should be “locked into” her house, or a nice hotel room, or something like that. House arrest. She poses a danger to everyone else. It is as if she can’t help punching people in the nose, or shooting not bullets at them, but contagion. It is as if she has a gun range in her property, but is such a bad shot that she keeps shooting passersby. Surely, her pistol ought to be taken away from her, and she not allowed in her gun range as long as she has this disability. Is our harsh treatment of her a violation of the NAP, of private property rights? No, the very opposite is true. House arrest for her (bringing her food, comfort, etc), is the embodiment of the NAP, of private property rights.

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 17

From: Bubba Shaffer

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Ok so we do agree!!  With this one asterisk.  I am speaking in terms of a An-Cap or Libertarian society where there is nothing that is un-owned or owned by the public.  Meaning I would not force her to stay on her property and as long as she had permission to enter another’s property that would be fine.  No different than a rapist who may walk around on his property fantasizing about rape but could never leave his property to go another’s property unless invited.  If he or she  was welcomed on another property by the property owner and then rapes that is an act against the NAP and there would be punishment for it.  Side note: Death for rapists would be a start.  Two eyes for one is good.  Rape is like murder to me.  But I digress

Bubba Shaffer

General Manager

Orlando, FL

Letter 18

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

To: Bubba Shaffer

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Dear Bubba:

Not quite. But, we’re almost there.

I would allow Mary off her property only on to a contiguous property, where she could not infect, en route, others beside her new host. But then he too would have to be under house arrest.[Bubba]  Ok I agree!!

Hey, we both have daughters, and are therefore justifiably harsh with rapists. However, which would you rather have occur to them? Be raped, or be killed. I’d rather my daughter were raped many times than murdered (even once). Would I rather be raped or murdered? Same answer. I’m a big fan of the movie Godfather I where the godfather was asked by the baker to kill the man who raped his daughter. The answer was, we’ll beat him to within an inch of his life (paraphrase), but he didn’t kill your daughter, so we won’t kill him. The godfather as libertarian.[Bubba]  Can I do the beating?  And I would volunteer and be honored to be your beating Surrogate if you needed help…

Best regards,

Walter

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3:10 pm on July 12, 2020

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