Lawrence M. Ludlow's blog

Libertarian Themes in the Seven Deadly Sins of Dante's Divine Comedy

As some readers are aware, I often try to identify historical events and documents that show a libertarian streak in them. In May 2013, I wrote an essay for STR entitled Dante’s Divine Comedy and the Divine Origins of the Free Market. In the blog comments that followed, I suggested that Dante’s ranking of the seven deadly sins—in particular, the sequence by which he distinguished less serious from more serious sins—reflected insights that we share as libertarians, regardless of our status as atheists, agnostics, or Christians.
In an essay entitled “Libertarian Themes in the Seven Deadly Sins of Dante’s Divine Comedy” and published at, I fleshed out that suggestion; I showed how Dante and aspects of medieval Catholic theology had more in common with libertarian beliefs than the beliefs of many modern-day Christians, who have been infused with a puritanical—and even Manichaean—attitude about the natural world and its bounty and beauty. Indeed, the perceptions about the natural world shared by the theologian Thomas Aquinas and some of today’s libertarians may help explain why libertarianism resonates so deeply with Catholics, Jews, and other minorities—including Native Americans and members of the gay community.

Marc Stein Spells Out Chickenhawk Family Values

Today, military-socialist Marc Steyn sat in for Rush Blablaugh (remember, he's the guy who forced his maid to score drugs for him while castigating drugs and cheering the drug war) and criticized Bowe Bergdahl's father for doing all he could to save his son's life--and possibly his son's mind. His mind? Remember, his son has been a captive for years, and when US-government employees keep you captive as at Guantanamo, they wreck your mind with sensory deprivation and isolation. This happens to people in captivity for long periods. Anyway, the senior Berglahl studied Islam and grew a terrorist beard. Yes. That alone should get the TSA on him according to Steyn.
Apparently that beard-growing and studying, and the audacity of Bowe's father to try to understand those who held his son captive for coming to their country to kill them, was far too evil for his saintliness, Mark Steyn. And besides, Bowe's father was learning to speak Arabic--you know, the language designed for terrorists! How dare any American step outside of the English sandbox! Treason! Treason to language! He had no business trying to learn anything about the people who controlled the destiny of his son. Apparently, Steyn would have preferred that this father act like so many real American patriot hero chickenhawk dads. He should encourage his son to abandon his career, go on the socialist government payroll, eat tax dollars, take orders from people who obey politicians, and, if possible, go off to kill people far away and maybe face death if they dare to fight back with weapons that are no match for the arsenal brought by the hero Americans. Doesn't Bowe's father realize that even though the vast majority of casualties in the war are innocent bystanders, his son should be forgotten? Surely his son should never have evolved after witnessing the many lies unravel in that war as innocent civilians were killed by drones operated by pimply-faced teenagers in a trailer park in the California desert. That's the American Way.
So Bowe's father should just sit home and wait for a flag to wrap around his conscience to protect it from reality. Don't you just love conservative family values in Steyn's America?

Edward Snowden's Christmas Message and Its Antithesis

On this Christmas day, when Edward Snowden releases his Christmas message, it is appropriate to also provide an example of the antithesis of the Snowden message. And by antithesis, I do not mean opposite. I mean a countering thesis in the dialectic process that is meant to undermine and de-fang and deflect and derail the impact of the vital message of Edward Snowden about the cancerous rot that lies at the center of the military-industrial-congressional-surveillance complex that now rules the United States and—through it—seeks to dominate the rest of this planet.
Any barroom brawler with a knee-jerk “patriotic” opinion can be immediately recognized as a Boobus americanus of H.L. Mencken vintage. We can count on such beings to spit out the latest propaganda. But it takes a particularly chameleon-like “creature of the state” (see chapter 7 of Rothbard’s For a New Liberty)—one such as University of Chicago Professor of Law Geoffrey Stone—to understand how the dictators of our time will attempt to sideline the growing movement against government totalitarianism. In my recent article about Professor Stone, you’ll note his tiresome fear of anything that could “damage national security,” which he holds so much closer to heart than liberty. Benjamin Franklin already rendered an apt judgment of creatures such as Professor Stone.
Let us hope that by tomorrow, on the Feast of Saint Stephen, we have fully digested the meaning and significance of Edward Snowden’s message about privacy, freedom, and what it means to be a human being.

Detroit and Chicago Are Sister Cities

I can't wait to find out what happens in Chicago and Detroit. In Detroit the bottom has already been reached as government has been proven incompetent. In Chicago they still have that lesson to learn. Furthermore Illinois is just as much a basket case as Michigan was 20 years ago. They are headed in the same direction. I only hope that they don't try to restore the situation that pertained earlier in Detroit. Let the government there die as it should.

Finally, A News Organization That's Not a Government Agency Pretending to Be One?

This is great news that Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras are joining forces with multimillionaire Pierre Omidyar to resurrect journalism with their new venture. I wonder if the various PR arms of the government -- like the Washington Post and New York Times -- will have to compete for eyes in the future. Or will they be driven offshore as GovCo increases its lockdown on information? Is the market working in spite of having its legs broken?

D.C. Police Execute Unarmed Dental Hygienist for Traffic Mishap -- to Congressional Applause

Am I the only one who finds it barbaric that a uniformed donut-grazer (thanks, Becky Akers for the technical term) automatically shot to death a woman who was guilty of nothing more than reckless driving when nobody had been seriously injured as a result? The victim, Miriam Carey, was unarmed, completely surrounded by police, was never capable of harming the Sanctified One in the heavily barricaded White House, and apparently she was suffering from post-partum depression. Is an automatic death sentence without trial the new treatment protocol for this sad condition under ObamaCare? Now her one-year-old daughter has no mother. And will Obama now claim that the death was the result of the so-called government shutdown?

NSA Tries to Shut Down Spoof T-Shirts

The folks at sell a hilarious t-shirt that triggered a tweet from Glenn Greenwald. The NSA wanted to shut them down and forbid sale of the t-shirts. Their complaint? Copyright infringement! Well, maybe if they weren't so busy spying on, they wouldn't have noticed! I've taken to wearing this t-shirt whenever I go out in public. You should, too. Among its phrases:

  • The NSA. The only part of government that actually listens.
  • Peeping While You're Sleeping (around the seal of the NSA).

With these shirts, you can do somethig for liberty awareness even while your mouth is shut!

NBC's Brian Williams Broadcasts Another Lie to Keep War Narrative Going

We already witnessed the abysmal treatment that Williams gave to Ron Paul. Here's the latest fib from NBC's expert liear, Brian Williams, as he describes the words of the new president of Iran about Iran never seeking nuclear weapons:
"This is all part of a new leadership effort by Iran - suddenly claiming they don't want nuclear weapons! ; what they want is talks and transparency and good will. And while that would be enough to define a whole new era, skepticism is high and there's a good reason for it."

Vegas Cops Kill with Impunity

This is so disturbing, I don't know how Will Grigg can keep his equanimity.
Here's the link.

Escaping the School Monopoly in Detroit and Everywhere Else

Like most people, I was forced to attend miserable government monopoly schools – in my case, in the Warren Consolidated School district north of Detroit, where I graduated from Cousino High School. During that 13-year prison sentence, I encountered a handful of decent teachers—a tiny fraction of the total. The rest were merely putting in their time as I was in a temporary-release prison system.
Detroit Goes Belly-Up – Yes!
Later, before I discovered the freedom philosophy, but after I had completed my master’s degree in medieval studies at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Medieval Studies and at the Pontifical Institute for Medieval Studies, I became one of these teachers for a short period of time in the Detroit Public Schools. I left after 2 years. Today I am pleased that the city of Detroit is bankrupt, and I sincerely hope that its public schools will disappear along with the fetid teachers’ union and the rest of the criminal enterprise that constitutes public schooling and city government. Let’s hope it spreads to other cities — and it will. Karen de Koster has a wonderful blog on the anarcho re-invention of Detroit, called Detroit: From Rust to Riches.
Detroit has an exciting future without the parasites of government. While I was a teacher there, I saw many dozens of examples of bullying by teachers and students, the imposition of mindless textbooks, clueless textbook committees that evaluated future textbooks using evaluation criteria that had nothing to do with the subject matter but everything to do with the currently approved political winds emanating from the rump end of some bureaucrat, examples of gross ignorance among the teaching staff, and amazing levels of waste in the lunch program and other “safety net” programs. It was embarrassing to witness and even more embarrassing to be part of – even without the perceptions I now have.
Ron Paul’s Program
Here is John Stossel’s interview with Ron Paul, who has launched a homeschooling curriculum. His is merely one version of homeschooling, and even though his curriculum does not embody the full-blown concept of un-schooling, where students are entirely self-directed and progress according to their own (naturally branching-out) interests, he has attempted to provide one vector to escape from the indoctrination mechanism of government monopoly schools. I find it interesting that government propagandists have been so successful at isolating homeschoolers and un-schoolers with smears of “anti-social” and “unbalanced” – all as children are searched, gunned down, recruited into gangs, bullied, robbed, smothered in useless homework, and numbed by mindless teachers with toilet-paper degrees in “education” -- as if that process is some form of “positive” socialization. The propaganda is beginning to fray, and even students in the wealthiest school districts are beginning to see the holes in the underwear of public schools. As we used to say in the 1980a, “When you think of public schools, think of public toilets.”
The Real Roots of Mass Literacy: Johann Gutenberg’s Printing Press
If you are interested in the roots of literacy, it has nothing to do with government schools and a lot to do with the increased availability of cheap reading material made possible by Johann Gutenberg when he launched the IP-free concept of printing with moveable type in the years 1454 and 1455. Thus he fathered not only a revolution in literacy and private learning, but religious revolutions, the scientific revolution, and perhaps the revolution of freedom in thinking and the philosophy of individualism as people could easily parse text in front of their own eyes more cheaply than ever before. You may want to read about this in one of my very old STR articles, Johann Gutenberg Genuine Inventor and Benefactor of Mankind. Now, with the Internet, Gutenberg’s revolution has been given an exponential boost, and everyone has a printing press! And STR is one of them!

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