Category Archives: Book Reviews

End The Fed, Save America

It seems improbable that monetary policy could become a “sexy” political topic, but Ron Paul has done it. It started during his 2008 Presidential campaign when he continually talked about the Federal Reserve when asked about the economy, continued through his oft-entertaining interrogations of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, and most recently has culminated his sponsorship of H.R. 1207, a bill to conduct a General Accounting Office audit of the entire Federal Reserve System. It’s all pretty amazing actually; who would have ever thought that people would be getting excited over the Federal Reserve Board ?

In his new book End the Fed, though, Paul provides a clear, concise explanation for why we all need to be worried about the fiat paper money system that we’ve lived under for decades. As Paul says, the system itself is unsustainable over the long term, and Federal Reserve itself has contributed to economic instability in the 96 years since it’s founding.

This isn’t a detailed economic treatise, it’s a call to political action, and Paul does an excellent job of making his case for the argument that we need to bring an end to the monetary system that is, slowly but surely and inevitably, destroying us and destroying freedom. Instead, he argues that we need to return to the days of the Gold Standard, which doesn’t even need a central bank to function properly. You may disagree with the end scenario that Paul proposes, but it’s hard to disagree with his assertion that liberty in money is as necessary for a free society as liberty in thought or property.

Paul’s most important insight in this book, though, comes in his concise demonstration of how the “magical printing press” monetary system that we have today makes possible the leviathan state that is threatening to bankrupt us. Without a central bank with the ability to create money at will and in secret, it’s highly unlikely that the welfare-warfare state would be able to exist. Without free money, the state would be forced to either raise taxes or borrow money to finance it’s ventures and adventures and it’s unlikely that either taxpayers or bondholders the kind of unlimited spending that fiat money makes possible.

What this means is this — you’ll never have a truly limited government as long as you have a central bank with the power to create “money” at will.

That’s why it’s important to End the Fed, and that’s why this book is one that everyone should read.

Taxation And Morality

There have been plenty of books and policy papers written, plenty of speeches and television and radio interviews, about the economic reasons that high progressive taxation is a bad idea. We’ve heard many times about how it restricts innovation by discouraging investments, or how higher tax rates actually have the seemingly perverse impact of decreasing government revenue, while lower tax rates lead to more money in the Treasury. Those arguments have been made and re-made, stated and re-stated, so many times that most fiscal conservatives can restate them on their own.

What we haven’t seen very often, though, is an argument about tax policy from a moral perspective, an examination of the impact that tax policy has on society in the manner that it punishes good behavior and rewards bad behavior. That is exactly the argument that Leslie Carbone takes up in Slaying Leviathan: The Moral Case for Tax Reform, and it’s a welcome addition to the debate.

Through a combination of history, economic analysis, and good old-fashioned common sense, Carbone demonstrates quite clearly how tax policies over the past 70 years or longer have succeeded in sending the wrong signals to citizens and helped to encourage behaviors that have adverse consequences for individuals and society as a whole. In one compelling section, Carbone examines the immorality behind the IRS’s tax enforcement mechanism and concludes with this devastating point:

When a government does to people not convicted of any wrongdoing what the people cannot do to one another, the march toward tyranny has begun. When it takes from some just because they have more than others, when it places its interests in self-support above the privacy of its citizens, when its enforcement of unnatural law is identical to its enforcement of heinous natural offenses, when it can’t even understand it’s own laws, it has shifted from enforcing justice to enforcing injustice and sows disrespect for the Rule of Law. It becomes an instrument of the very wrongs it is instituted to subdue.

That’s the America we live in today.

The book concludes with an insightful analysis of the various tax reform proposals that have been made in recent years, ranging from the flat tax to the national sales tax, and makes clear that only reform that allows the people to keep more of what they earn can ever be considered moral.

For a quick read, this is an excellent edition to the voluminous literature condemning the leviathan that has become America’s tax system.

Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do

THIS BOOK IS BASED on a single idea: You should be allowed to do whatever you want with your own person and property, as long as you don’t physically harm the person or property of a nonconsenting other.

Thus begins a book that everyone interested in politics should read; Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in a Free Country by Peter McWilliams. Published in 1998, it is a damning survey of how the United States had become a state composed of “clergymen with billy-clubs”. It analyzes the consequences of punishing so-called victimless crimes from numerous viewpoints, demonstrating that regardless of what you think is the most important organizing principle or purpose of society the investigation, prosecution and punishment of these non-crimes is harmful to society.

This remarkable book is now posted online, and if one can bear to wade through the awful website design (perhaps taking time to look at wix versus wordpress articles would help there), one will find lots of thought-provoking worthwhile commentary, analysis, theory and history.

His final chapter, on how to change the system, while consisting mainly of pie-in-the-sky, ineffective suggestions of working within the system, starts of with an extremely good bit of advice that I urge all our readers to try:

The single most effective form of change is one-on-one interaction with the people you come into contact with day-by-day. The next time someone condemns a consensual activity in your presence, you can ask the simple question, “Well, isn’t that their own business?” Asking this, of course, may be like hitting a beehive with a baseball bat, and it may seem-after the commotion (and emotion) has died down-that attitudes have not changed. If, however, a beehive is hit often enough, the bees move somewhere else. Of course, you don’t have to hit the same hive every time. If all the people who agree that the laws against consensual crimes should be repealed post haste would go around whacking (or at least firmly tapping) every beehive that presented itself, the bees would buzz less often.

I highly recommend this book. Even though I have some pretty fundamental disagreements with some of his proposals, I think that this book is a fine addition to the bookshelf of any advocate of freedom and civilization.

Hat Tip: J.D. Tuccille of Disloyal Opposition.

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

Buy This Book — Your Stomach Will Thank You


Co-blogger Chris just announced a new cookbook that he and his wife are putting together, heavily based upon a number of recipes that he’s posted on his blog. I still haven’t managed to go and enjoy any of said cooking on my trips into the Phoenix area, but I can say that based on the recipes I’ve seen him post — I’m looking forward to it.

Since the book hasn’t been released yet, I can’t offer any definitive comments. But I can tell you that I’m not expecting The French Chef; rather something more along the lines of 1,001 Ways to Cook Large Dead Animals. Either way, I expect to see a lot of tasty offerings.

Chris mentions that since it will be a limited print run, the best option is to pre-order for a book that will be officially available sometime in the next month or so. You might want to jump on this one quickly. Head on over and take a look.
» Read more

Patches, Security, and Blog Contests

A few weeks ago, I wrote on my personal blog, about an author who had, essentially by accident, trained himself to become an intelligence analyst:

Trevor Paglen is an author, and Dr. of Geography, who developed a fascination for the “black” side of the military some years ago; and started snooping.

His first book on the subject “I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me“, was basically a recounting of his experiences in trying to figure out what mission patches for classified projects meant.

…snipped a video…

His new book is “Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon’s Secret World.“; in which he extends and develops on the methods and means from the first book, into an expanded view of the black world, focused on geography (and specifically logistics, and how they are related).

…snipped another video…

If you haven’t watched them yet, go back to the original post and watch the videos; and be prepared to be amazed at just how much can be inferred about black projects, by simple things like unit patches, and public records.

Amazed, and/or horrified (or perhaps simply resigned and amused), if your job is (or used to be) to keep such things secure…

Which brings me to the fun part of this post.

Dr. Paglens publishers saw my original post, and have graciously sent me a review copy of the book; which I plan to read and review this weekend.

In addition, they’ve offered a signed copy of the book to one of my readers, to be decided by blog contest (smart publicists these ones).

So, here’s the rules and parameters of the contest:

  1. Submissions accepted as comments to the contest post on my blog, from now through Monday morning 12:01 AM
  2. At 12:01 I will pick what I think are the top five posts if we get ten or more, or top ten if we get 20 or more. I will them put them up for a vote to the readers of the anarchangel blog, (and copy the stories here, but it would be a little complicated to have two polls) open from the time I post the stories, until 5pm Monday evening (at which time I will also be posting a review of Dr. Paglens book).
  3. Entries will consist of one each of the following:

    a. Your best, funniest, most interesting, or scariest (from a security perspective) patch, flash, sign, symbol, or insignia story; preferably with a pic, but at least with a very clear description and detailed story.

    b. Your best, funniest, most interesting, stupidest, or scariest (from a security perspective) security story. It can be infosec, comsec, psec, prosec, opsec, doesn’t matter.

  4. Stories do not have to be military or governmental in nature; though I suspect most of the best and funniest will be (governments are even better at absurdity than big corporations), so make it good
  5. Multiple entries from a single individual will be accepted; and if the stories are good, are in fact encouraged.
  6. All entries must be true and correct to the best of your knowledge (notice the out I gave you there).
  7. First hand stories are preferred, and will be given more credit; but a sufficiently good second or third hand story will certainly be considered.
  8. All entries should be either declassified, or sanitized sufficiently to avoid compromise; or in the case of non-military security stories to avoid compromise or disclosure of private or confidential (or higher) information.

Also, although I’m generally not a linker or memer, I would ask that if you find this interesting, please link it up, and forward it around. I’d really love to see what we get.

If there are enough entries, or if people post some REALLY GREAT after the deadline, I might even throw in a consolation prize myself afterwards.

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

1 2 3 4 5 6 7