After This Year’s Mess, Small Is More Beautiful Than Ever Reply

By Kirkpatrick Sale

There is one and only one conclusion that I should think everyone alive during this last year of sequester and shutdown and gridlock and Obamacare, and unprecedented government intrusion, would come to is this: the government we have in this country is too incompetent, inept, corrupt, wasteful, and inefficient, too centralized,  undemocratic, unjust, and invasive, and too unresponsive to the needs of individual citizens and small communities, and all because it is too big.  Simple as that.
The reason that more of us don’t come to it is that as a nation we have long been fixated on the value of bigness, size, super-this and colossal-that, immensity, bulk, quantity, greatness, Big Macs, Whoppers, Green Giant, big-box stores, king-size mattresses, global trade, mass production, mcmansions, high rises, double-wides—and the smallest olive size is jumbo.  We’re just not trained to see things in terms of scale, proportion, adequacy, appropriateness.  As a nation we killed nearly a million of our own people to reinforce the value of oneness and largeness, and to punish the idea of division and separateness.

Attack the System: Who Are the Power Elite? 8

Attack the System
Who Are the Power Elite?

December 29, 2013

Keith Preston dissects the American ruling class.

Topics include:

  • The difference between power elite analysis and conspiracy theories.
  • Power elite analysis versus theories of democratic pluralism.
  • Classical elite theory as developed during the interwar period of the 1920s.
  • C. Wright Mills as the godfather of power elite theory.
  • James Burnham and the managerial revolution.
  • William Domhoff and the role of ideological institutions.
  • Robert Putnam and the role of technological elites.
  • Thomas Dye and the development of consensus among elites.
  • How the power elite uses demographic, cultural, and class conflict to protect its own position of dominance.

File type: MP3
Length: 1:14:02
Bitrate: 32kb/s CBR

Download (right click, ‘save as’)

Email Keith:

The Complete List of Weird Sex Laws in the U.S.A. Reply

Observation Deck

Over on io9, we posted a map of all the weirdest sex laws in the U.S.A. We didn’t have room for every weird sex law we found, and some of them we had to shorten a bit to make them fit. So here’s the complete, unedited list of sex laws!


Incestuous marriages are legal.


Moose are banned from having sex on city streets (in Fairbanks).


You may not have more than two dildos in the same house.


Flirtation and “lascivious banter” between men and women on the streets may result in a 30-day jailterm. (in Little Rock.)


It’s illegal to sell stuffed items resembling breasts (“boobie pillows”) within 1000 feet of a highway.

No man shall dress as a woman without the written permission of the sheriff. (In Walnut, CA)


Why Conservative Christians Need to Be Libertarians 2

By Laurence Vance

I admire much of the work of the Acton Institute. I recently very favorably reviewed Robert Sirico’s new book (he is the organization’s president). However, I deplore the people there that are Christian warmongers. The Acton Institute is advertising a new event to be held on January 30: “Why Libertarians Need God.” The speaker is Jay Richards. Says the ad (with my correction of a typo):

There are many who believe that atheism and libertarianism are compatible. Some even contend that atheism is essential to libertarianism. But the opposite is much nearer the truth. The core “libertarian” principles if [of] individual rights, freedom and responsibility, reason, moral truth, and limited government make little sense in an atheistic and materialistic worldview; but make far more sense in a theistic context. Come hear Dr. Jay Richards explain and please the case “Why Libertarians Need God.”

I agree with Dr. Richards. Libertarians need God. Just like Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives, whites, and blacks need God. My problem is a conservative lecturing libertarians on why they need God. I’m afraid that it is conversion to the god of conservatism that is the real agenda. I, a libertarian, have written about why libertarians need God in this article. I answer the question of “Should libertarians be conservatives?” in this article in which I also critique Richards.

Why Do Some Libertarian Atheists Get So Upset When You Mention Religion? Reply

By Laurence Vance

It happens every time I even mention religion in an article or blog post. Some libertarian atheists get so upset. Today I was referred to the work of the atheist George Smith, something I was already familiar with. For an introduction to Smith, here is a review of one of Smith’s books by the Mises Institute’s David Gordon.

And yes, I know that Murray Rothbard was an agnostic. I never met Rothbard, but have read everything he ever wrote and have friends that knew him well, including Ralph Raico. I can’t imagine Rothbard getting the least bit as upset as some libertarian atheists do when they read something about religion.

Why do I believe in God? Not because of any “proofs.” As a former teacher of theology, I am quite familiar with them. I simply believe in God because the Bible says he exists.

Although I am an Independent Baptist, I have friends and acquaintances who are libertarian atheists, libertarian agnostics, libertarian Catholics, libertarian Jews, and libertarian Protestants. I have gotten many e-mails from the first two groups that say that they like and respect my Christian libertarian viewpoint. I have never one time written an atheist or agnostic and complained about his religious viewpoint. It doesn’t upset me in the least.

Update: An atheist reader (SW) makes a distinction between atheists and antitheists, who, he says, give atheists a bad name.

Update: Several cheerful atheists have e-mailed me to wish me a Merry Christmas.


This will shock you, gentle reader, but most feminists are not libertarians, and neither are most gays Reply

By Walter Block

1. Check this out on the feminists, at least those in India responsible for this horrid video. There has been a spate of horrendous rapes in this country. Do the feminists there come out against rape? Well, of course, some of them do, quite properly, as rape is a per se violation of the libertarian non aggression principle (NAP). But, many of them also oppose “leering”: The title of this 90 second video is: “Indian ad shows the absurdity of leering men.” At best, this video just muddies the waters; it takes time, effort, treasure, away from the only proper task, the elimination of rape. At worst, it implies that leering violates the NAP, and should be proscribed by law. But leering is just looking. People have a right to look at whatever they want. “He is looking at me,” when true, is not a rights violation. In any case, it is a perfectly legitimate action, on the part of both sexes, to look at each other. How, else, is the next generation to arise, if everyone has to keep his (or her) eyes to himself? More…

The Return of Debtors Prisons Reply

The Daily Mail

The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that debtors’ prisons are unconstitutional – but that has done little to stop some judges from jailing people because they cannot pay their court fines.

In an troubling development straight out of a Charles Dickens novel, indigent defendants are being incarcerated in de facto modern-day debtors’ prisons.

The United States abolished traditional debtors’ prisons in the 1830s, but more than a third of states now allow to jail people who cannot or are won’t pay their debts to be jailed.

The Brennan Center for Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union have been sounding the alarm  for several years now about the proliferation of new debtors’ prisons in states like Missouri, Louisiana, Georgia, Michigan, Washington, Ohio and Colorado.

Human rights advocates claim that the system disproportionally victimizes poor people while draining government resources in the process.

‘It’s a waste of taxpayer resources, and it undermines the integrity of the justice system,’ Carl Takei, staff attorney for the ACLU’s National Prison Project, told


George Soros and Totalitarian Humanism Reply

By Robert Wenzel

The DC reports:

The gay advocacy group that launched a pressure campaign to block comedian Bob Newhart from speaking at a Catholic summit is funded by progressive billionaire George Soros and has close links to President Obama’s new White House counselor, records reveal.

Newhart, 84, pulled out of speaking at a Christmas Week conference in Orlando organized by the Catholic networking group Legatus[…]

Newhart backed out after the gay rights group GLAAD launched a targeted campaign to pressure the legendary comedian and his representatives to disavow his association with Legatus, a supposedly homophobic group that believes in traditional marriage .GLAAD double-teamed Newhart with the gay Christian activist group Faithful America, which launched a petition to force the “Elf” star off the stage[…]

Soros’ Open Society Institute awarded two grants, each totaling $400,000, to Faithful America during Obama’s election year in 2008, according to the institute’s calendar year 2008 990′s.


Treating Phil Robertson seriously means slouching toward ‘Idiocracy’ Reply

By David McElroy

Idiocracy-Ow My Balls

It finally occurred to me over the weekend why I hate the responses of people on both sides of the Phil Robertson controversy. I would object to pretty much any reaction to what Robertson said — because paying attention to him at all is treating something trivial as though it’s important.

I’m no more interested in what Robertson has to say about homosexuality than I would be if he weighed in on whether McDonald’s or Burger King has better burgers — or whether Ukraine should join the European Union. He’s just a random nobody who has been elevated to being a faux “somebody” because of “reality” television. His views should matter about as much as the views of any random person from the phone book.


Utah Is on Track to End Homelessness by 2015 With This One Simple Idea 1


Give them an apartment first, ask questions later.

Utah has reduced its rate of chronic homelessness by 78 percent over the past eight years, moving 2000 people off the street and putting the state on track to eradicate homelessness altogether by 2015. How’d they do it? The state is giving away apartments, no strings attached. In 2005, Utah calculated the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for an average homeless person was $16,670, while the cost of providing an apartment and social worker would be $11,000. Each participant works with a caseworker to become self-sufficient, but if they fail, they still get to keep their apartment.

MORE: San Francisco’s homeless take free showers on a bus retrofitted with bathrooms

Other states are eager to emulate Utah’s results. Wyoming has seen its homeless population more than double in the past three years, and it only provides shelter for 26 percent of them, the lowest rate in the country. City officials in Casper, Wyoming, now plan to launch a pilot program using the methods of Utah’s Housing First program. There’s no telling how far the idea might go.

AND: One organization’s goal to improve the health of African-American women


Californians outraged after police acquire military armored vehicle to patrol city 5

Russia Today

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images / AFP

Police in Salinas, California are under fire after the department acquired a heavily armored military vehicle for SWAT team operations.

The $650,000 vehicle was gifted to the Salinas Police Department from the government through the 1033 program, which redistributes used equipment to other agencies. According to KSBW, the truck was used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to numerous outlets, police stated their SWAT team was in desperate need of a new vehicle. KSBW added that the new truck, built to withstand rifle fire and minefield explosions, has already aided officers looking to arrest a dangerous suspect. The individual was apparently spotted via the vehicle’s high observation deck.

While Police Chief Kelly McMillin believes the vehicle “provides a high capability of protection for our officers and the community,” other members of the community have been outspoken in their disagreement.


Texas student reports rape and gets suspended for ‘public lewdness’ Reply

Raw Story

Rachel Bradshaw-Bean (NBC News/screen grab)

A former Texas high school student has come forward with accusations that school officials suspended her for “public lewdness” after she reported that she had been raped in a band room.

In her first extensive interview, Rachel Bradshaw-Bean told NBC News that a boy had asked her to go into the band room at Henderson High School in East Texas on Dec. 6, 2010 while they were waiting for a Key Club meeting to begin after school. That’s when things turned violent and the boy raped her.

After crying and cleaning herself up in the bathroom, she went to an assistant band director to report the crime.

“He told me to work it out with the boy,” she recalled. “There’s no way I would do that. But I didn’t know what to think. I was 17.”


US schools attempted to ban 49 books in 2013 Reply

Russia Today

Andrew Burton / Getty Images / AFP Censorship in American schools and libraries is on the rise as more institutions attempt to ban books tackling racial and sexual issues, as well as those written by minorities, according to the anti-censorship group Kids’ Right to Read Project.

In a report by the Guardian, the KRRP stated it has dealt with 49 separate cases of book bannings across 29 states this year, up more than 50 percent compared to the previous year. November alone found the group, part of the National Coalition Against Censorship, investigating three times the typical number of book bannings in the United States.

“Whether or not patterns like this are the result of co-ordination between would-be censors across the country is impossible to say,” said Acacia O’Connor to the Guardian. “But there are moments, when a half-dozen or so challenges regarding race or LGBT content hit within a couple weeks, where you just have to ask ‘what is going on out there?’”


The “War on Christmas” As Blowback Reply

By Roderick Long

I spent my last two years of elementary school in Idaho Falls, a town that was at that time 70% Mormon. In the public school the only Christmas songs that were permitted were purely secular ones with no religious references.

I spent high school in Hanover, NH, a town dominated by Dartmouth College and thus by liberal humanists. In the public school we sang the full range of Christmas carols, including religious ones.

This may initially seem surprising; one might expect religious songs to be more tightly restricted in the liberal humanist community rather than in the Mormon one. But upon reflection it makes perfect sense.

In Idaho Falls there was a serious danger of a religious takeover of just about every institution, public education included. For example, my Boy Scout group met in the Mormon church and was taught Mormon propaganda, contrary to the national organisation’s rules. (Though we also watched Dracula: Prince of Darkness in the church basement, so there’s that.) Hence the secularists were motivated to fight tooth and nail to keep religious references out.

In Hanover, by contrast, there was no serious danger of a religious takeover of the public schools, so the carols were experienced as a cultural tradition rather than as the nose of a proselytising camel, and so were embraced.

I leave the moral as an exercise for the reader.

Saudi blogger may face death penalty for apostasy Reply

Russia Today

Raif Badawi.(Photo from user Raif Badawi)

Saudi blogger and activist, Raif Badawi, currently serving his 7-year prison term for “insulting Islam”, may soon appear in a higher court on graver charges of apostasy. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to death.

Bringing Badawi back to court to face graver charges was recommended by a judge in Saudi Arabia, the activist’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, told CNN on Wednesday. The news has caused an uproar in social media.

Raif Badawi is the founder of the Free Saudi Liberals website, created in 2008 to discuss the role of religion in Saudi Arabia freely. Badawi’s persecution for what was described as “insulting Islam” started the same year the site was set up. The blogger then fled the country to escape arrest. He returned when the charges against him were dropped, but was eventually jailed in June 2012.


Thai police officer killed in clashes with anti-government protesters Reply

Russia Today

Thai anti government protesters carry an injured from gunshot during a rally at a stadium to register party-list candidates in Bangkok on December 26, 2013. (AFP Photo / Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

Thai police say an officer has been killed during an anti-government rally in the country’s capital, Bangkok. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets on protesters who attempted to halt planning for the February elections over the controversial security law.

The officer died after being airlifted to hospital, and it hasn’t been confirmed yet how he lost his life. Earlier, police reported that he had been hit by a bullet during the clashes.

97 people were injured, 25 of them police officers.

The law that the crowds are protesting against allows security forces to ban rallies, block roads, impose curfews and conduct searches.


‘Tracked everywhere you go’: Snowden delivers Xmas message on govt spying Reply

Russia Today

US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.(AFP Photo / Channel 4)

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has delivered his ‘Alternative Christmas Message’ via a British TV channel. The whistleblower called for an end to mass spying by governments, stating that a child born today will have “no conception of privacy.”

Snowden’s address aired by the UK’s Channel 4 comes as an alternative to the Queen’s traditional Christmas speech, which is shown by the country’s other leading broadcasters.

Filmed in Russia, the address is the first TV appearance of the whistleblower since his arrival in the country, where he was granted temporary asylum in August.

The message starts with Snowden appealing to each and every family, warning them that the scope of government surveillance has gone to the extent that “a child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all”.


Is pedophilia a sexual orientation? 1

Toronto Star

Dr. James Cantor of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has spent the last decade on research suggesting that pedophilia is a deep-rooted, unchangeable predisposition.

Laura Kane / Toronto Star Order this photo

Dr. James Cantor of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has spent the last decade on research suggesting that pedophilia is a deep-rooted, unchangeable predisposition.

Pedophilia has been widely viewed as a psychological disorder triggered by early childhood trauma.

Now, many experts see it as a biologically rooted condition that does not change — like a sexual orientation — thanks largely to a decade of research by Dr. James Cantor at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Cantor’s team has found that pedophiles share a number of physical characteristics, including differences in brain wiring. It’s now thought that about 1 to 5 per cent of men are pedophiles, meaning they are primarily attracted to children.

These findings have been widely accepted among scientists, but have had little impact on social attitudes or law. However, we are left with the alarming question: if some men are born pedophiles, what should society do with them?


McDonald’s takes down employee website following ridicule Reply

Russia Today

AFP Photo / Joe Raedle

Following repeated backlash over the advice handed out on its McResource website, McDonald’s has officially taken the page down altogether.

The McResource website was intended to help employees manage stress, health, and financial issues, but had come under fire multiple times over the past few months. Most recently, the website told employees to avoid eating fast food, causing a chain reaction of scorn and ridicule across the internet. The website even labeled a meal that looked very much like a typical McDonald’s offering – a hamburger, French fries, and a cola – as an “unhealthy choice.”

When the post began spreading around on social networking sites, McDonald’s told the third party company in charge of managing the site to take it down. It will still offer employees advice via its telephone hotline.