28 May 2012

Rebranding Anarcho-Capitalism as Silverpunk

Silverpunk girl Diahann.
The words 'anarcho' and 'capitalism' both have negative connotations among the general public. 'Anarchists' are assumed to be violent people who want to destroy property and tear down society. 'Capitalists' are assumed to be greedy, heartless, and controlling entities. 'Capitalism' is incorrectly used interchangeably with 'corporatocracy.'

An additional problem is that anarcho-capitalism is very boring to most people. The original philosophy is mostly expressed in daunting books by Murray Rothbard and Ludwig von Mises. Presenting the ideas with cold logic instead of appealing to the senses isn't the way to go.

Yet the idea of rebelling against authority and preserving individual liberty is quite popular. It is arguably the underlying element of all speculative fiction genres, although it seems to be addressed most directly in the cyberpunk subgenre. It certainly is the heart of the punk subculture ideology in general. The problem is that punks are almost always 'left' economically, whether they identify with progressives, socialists, or communists.

I do not wish to go into detail explaining why this arrangement is logically absurd. I merely wish to note that economic leftists seem drawn to punk culture rather than the other way around. Free market adherents are not excluded from punk culture; they merely seem underrepresented. We could find many reasons, such as that leftists tend to be drawn more to the arts, or whatever, but that is not the issue today.

Anarcho-capitalist views need to be incorporated into an entertaining package in order to make them popular. This package includes music, fiction, fashion, and video. And I would call this package Silverpunk. I chose silver instead of gold for a few reasons. 'Silver' is more similar to 'cyber,' as in 'cyberpunk.' Gold also has negative connotations; it is 'barbarous' and 'the money of kings.' Silver, while being more associated with the 'common person' instead of those in an authority position, is still free market money as much as gold.

There is little difference between silverpunk and (for example) typical punk rock music or cyberpunk literature except that silverpunk must, at all times, oppose 'crime' as defined by anarcho-capitalists: an act or direct threat of aggressive violence (coercion) against another person's private property.

Go make some music. Diahann will like it.

26 February 2012

Fibonacci Ferrari

I am convinced that people consider objects to be 'beautiful' when those objects demonstrate as many instances of the golden ratio (1.618) as possible. The ratio appears constantly in the human body, art, nature, and the financial markets. A few days ago I was discussing sexy cars with my apartment manager, and I assumed that the golden ratio theory also applies here. I decided to test the theory.

When I think of a sexy car, I would say that a Ferrari comes to mind right away. I found a picture of a side view of a Ferrari and looked for instances of the golden ratio. Not surprisingly, it was almost everywhere:


Conversely, when I searched for "!GI ugly car" on DuckDuckGo, almost every image that came up was a car that looks like a cube:


While the Austrian school teaches us that everyone values objects differently, I doubt that many people are buying these ugly ass cubes because they think that they look sexy.

16 February 2012

The Male Physique and Fibonacci Proportions

Bruce Lee killed Chuck Norris
in the Roman Colosseum.
My goal in life is to perfect all aspects of humanity. Throughout my youth I focused mainly on my natural strength of philosophy: thinking the correct way (logic) and expressing those ideas clearly (writing). In my twenties I focused more on the sciences of humanity, such as nutrition, psychology, and economics. My latest interest is the science of physical fitness.

I have neglected this area for a few reasons. I am an ectomorph, and so I've never worried about being fat. Fatness is primarily what I consider unattractive. I've considered myself 'fit' because my perfect diet ensures that I'm healthy, full of energy, and, again, not fat. I also do a lot of walking and lifting at work, and I considered that a workout.

Steve Reeves is a V.
Additionally, my inspiration is a fellow ectomorph, Mr. Bruce Lee. I share his philosophy. I have never aimed to become as 'big' as possible just to look good. I want to be powerful and fast for defensive purposes. Despite his size, Mr. Lee may have been the powerful human who ever lived. What I have recently realized, however, is that I can still aim for this goal while combining it with proper physique proportions. Proportion is what I have overlooked.

I have looked at the Eugene Sandow 'Grecian Ideal' as well as the Steve Reeves 'symmetry ratios.' I think they are very interesting ideas. But I decided to put my own twist on them. For example, Mr. Reeves thinks that the ideal male arm (bicep) size is 252% of the wrist size. I am not sure where he got this number. But it made a lot more sense to me when I thought "the bicep should be a 61.8% Fibonacci extension of the forearm." And so I just tweaked some of the values to conform to golden ratios that made sense.

Cromartie Fibonacci Proportions for men:

1. The forearm extends 61.8% of the wrist (6.25" wrist -> 10.1" forearm)
2. The biceps and neck should extend 61.8% of the forearm. (10.1" forearm -> 16.4" biceps.)
3. The (ideal) waist should extend 61.8% of the neck. (16.4" neck -> 26.5" waist)
4. The chest should extend 61.8% of the waist. (26.5" waist -> 43" chest)

5. The calves should extend 61.8% of the ankle. (8" ankle -> 13" calves.)
6. The thigh should extend 61.8% of the knee/calves. (13" calves -> 21" thigh.)


Workout schedule:

Monday: Shoulders and forearms
Tuesday: Trapezius and back
Wednesday: Chest
Thursday: Abs
Friday: Quads, hamstrings, calves
Saturday: Biceps and triceps
Sunday: Stretches

"When you're talking about fighting, as it is, with no rules, well then, baby you'd better train every part of your body!" -Bruce Lee

25 June 2011

Technology and Liberty

WikiLeaks Central Essay Competition #1:

How can individuals and societies protect themselves against the encroachment and abuse of government power in the modern age?

Continued improvements in technology will eventually render the State obsolete.

A human is, by nature, a capitalist—a producer of capital. As Frank Chodorov wrote in The Rise and Fall of Society, humans seek to satisfy their infinite desires with the least possible net expenditure of labor. Technology continuously improves over time because humans are capable of understanding nature's laws and calculating ways in which producing something today can make life easier in the future. For example, by expending the energy to produce a spear, an early human found hunting and self-defense significantly easier thereafter.

The State is not a producer; it is "a bandit gang writ large," as Murray Rothbard put it. Politics is not a science; it is simply control over other people. In The State, Franz Oppenheimer explained the origin of the State. The origin of the State is the conquest of capital-producing people. The State comes into existence entirely for the purpose of economic exploitation. The conquerors become masters and the producers become their slaves.

In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond supports the idea that the State arises out of conquest. Diamond cites, in detail, the example of the Battle of Cajamarca between the Spanish Empire and the Inca Empire. 168 Spanish soldiers massacred an army of approximately 80,000 Incans. The Spaniards won because they had superior technologies such as guns, cannons, and steel.

In recent times, however, people around the world have become convinced of Abraham Lincoln's "propaganda" (as Albert Jay Nock calls it in Our Enemy, the State) that 'democracy' or 'republicanism' is government "of the people, by the
people, for the people." Having a democratic government is considered synonymous with 'liberty' solely because the people have the choice of who their master will be. Unfortunately, democracy necessarily entails that only the worst possible people can rise into these positions of power, as noted by Hans-Hermann Hoppe in "Why Bad Men Rule." The most electable politicians will be the ones who promise to rob society's biggest producers and take control of the most vital aspects of Society—education, agriculture, medicine, and so on.

Regardless of whether the State uses aggressive violence to physically conquer the people or hides behind the mask of "providing social services" in order to psychologically trick the people, the State is the enemy of humanity. Technology may have allowed the State to come into existence, but technology also will eventually render the State as an unnecessary relic that the people will no longer accept.

The two things over which the State demands absolute control are violence and money. The State creates an army in order to protect itself from other States, and it creates a police force in order to protect itself from its own people. The State then convinces the people that the purpose of this monopoly on violence is to keep the people safe. Likewise, the State creates its own currency—or counterfeit money—in order to enrich itself while convincing the people that the currency is safer and more efficient than free-market money, such as gold and silver.

In order to render the State obsolete, technologies must advance to the point that the people no longer accept the State's monopolies on violence on money. Fortunately, the human desire for an easier life through technology inevitably overcomes the State's desire to regulate and control. The most important technological advancements have been the revolutions in the personal computer and Internet.

The Internet is essentially a virtual, laissez-faire Society. The Internet has transformed the concept of liberty more than anything or anyone else in humanity's history. People realize that the voluntary 'phyles' of the Internet work wonderfully despite the absence of rulers with centralized power. Cybercrimes and cyberwarfare certainly exist, but these problems cannot be solved by 'Internet police' nor 'Internet militaries.' Such institutions are just as ineffective in the real world as they are in the digital world. In the digital world, individuals understand that they need to protect themselves with strong passwords and crytography. This idea will continue to spread into the physical world. People will increasingly seek effective, voluntary, technological solutions to crime as opposed to unwillingly giving power to increasingly unpopular and corrupt groups of bullies. The State can exist only as long as the people support it.

Digital currencies have already arisen to challenge the dominance of the State's currency. The anonymity and ease of services such as e-gold and Bitcoin have clear advantages over the State's banks that are subject to draconian regulations that exist solely for tax-collection purposes. The State aggressively prosecutes so-called "money laundering" or "counterfeiting" mechanisms. (Anne M. Tompkins went as far as calling the Liberty dollar "a unique form of domestic terrorism.") But the natural laws of the world cannot be overcome, even with coercion. It is not possible to change human behavior through legislation. Technologies that make global monetary exchange quicker and more convenient will win out. Again, the State will eventually be seen as little more than a dinosaur and a nuisance that lies in Society's way.

21 March 2011

Review of The Rise and Fall of Society by Frank Chodorov

This book is too important not to review. It's five-star anarcho-capitalist literature.

This book is so good, even the foreword, acknowledgement, and introduction blow you away. The first sentence blows you away: "It is hard to think of an age which, with less reason, has been more smugly self-satisfied than ours." Chodorov wrote this book in 1959! Chodorov laments the distortion and outright denial of truth in favor of self-worship of the State. Chodorov vows to defend the individual and natural law.

We move on to the acknowledgement, in which Chodorov explains that the purpose of the book is to continue the work that Albert Jay Nock started in Our Enemy, the State. In the introduction, Chodorov rages against the idea that the purpose of the individual is to play a role within the collective. Statism—the worship of political power—has become the religion of the modern day. The State and Society were once clearly distinguished, but they no longer are. Abraham Lincoln immortalized the connection with the phrase, "government of the people, by the people, for the people." In democracy, "freedom" comes from government.

And now we begin chapter one. The common thinking is that economics is a branch of political science. Economics is, indeed, a science. Politics is not; it is simply control over other people. History has demonstrated that every attempt by politicians to interfere with the laws of economics has failed. Yet, today's efforts by politicians to disobey the laws of economics are perhaps stronger than ever. The State always fails, because it overlooks the consequences of its actions. Every State in history has failed because it has increasingly attempted to interfere in the economy. The founders of America understood this fact, and they attempted to prevent its happening by writing the Constitution. Yet, this brilliant document has been interpreted into irrelevance. America will end up like Rome. When the parasitic State finally collapses the Society on which it depends, the State destroys itself.

Chapter two examines the origin of the State. In classic theory, the State came from God. Later, Hobbes theorized that the State arose as an authority to restrain humans from their "brutish" nature. Locke theorized that the State arose to protect private property. Rousseau theorized that the State arose to help overcome the difficulties of nature. Today's theorists automatically accept the State and focus on how to improve it. Chodorov, however, takes a historical approach. He argues that the State arose when herdsmen (raisers of livestock) attacked the desirable land owned by agricultural workers. Eventually, instead of merely killing the males, the herdsmen formed a master-slave relationship with them—the rulers and the ruled. The rulers exacted tribute from the ruled. From there, the herdsmen realized the importance of 'protecting' their people from other herdsmen. As time went on, the two classes interacted more and became a homogeneous culture, but the master-slave relationship continued.

Chapter three explains that it is the logical nature of an individual to pursue economics. Unlike other animals, a human is not content with mere food and shelter. A human has an infinite desire for happiness. A human uses reason to transform commodities in an effort to become happier. For example, a human may transform land and grow food on it rather than continuously search for food. A human is, by nature, a capitalist—a producer of capital. But, a human seeks to satisfy those infinite desires via the least amount of labor necessary (the law of parsimony). Technology constantly improves for this reason.

Chapter four explains that Society is a collection of individuals rather than a singular collective. Society has no attributes that we would attribute to an individual. It's a word. When individuals cooperate, they find that they can produce more than twice as much as would be produced by the individuals alone. Cooperation within a sufficiently large Society allows people to become specialists. A tailor, who finds it quite easy and enjoyable to make clothing, produces numerous high-quality shirts because the tailor expects to engage in voluntary economic exchange with the other people in the Society. But, it is not Society that produces anything; the individuals are the producers. The individuals work in order to satisfy their own desires—not for the benefit of Society.

Chapter five expands on the concept of the marketplace. The market is the heart of Society—where the specialists make exchanges. Value cannot be expressed with mathematical formulas. Value is subjective; it is determined by each individual. There is no data to give to a central planner that can predict future values. No one knows exactly what they will want in the future. A central planner will never succeed in telling individuals what they should want (e.g., drugs) or at what price a product should sell (e.g., gasoline). All that a central planner can do "successfully" is decrease an individual's production. A central planner robs a producer of money—the medium of exchange. The individual's pursuit of happiness is disrupted.

Chapter six explains that trade is an attempt by both parties involved to increase their happiness. The specialists trade their abundances for things that they believe will make them happier. And as trades occur all over the world, people exchange culture and ideas. The marketplace is the unifier of the world. Any act that disrupts a marketplace (e.g., a protectionist tariff) is an act of war. Whereas free trade brings people together, coercively restricting trade tears people apart. The most effective way to bring about global peace is to remove restrictions on trade.

Chapter seven discusses competition in the marketplace. In Society, there will likely be more than one weapon producer, for example. Competing producers are driven by the self-interest of profits to be skilled relative to the other competitors. A competitor who offers higher quality at a lower price can drive the inferior competitor out of business. The community will not show loyalty to an inferior product. Profits, therefore, are a measure of the skill of a producer to supply the demands of a Society. Everyone in a Society benefits from competition. If a hypothetical inferior producer used force in order to induce scarcity and create a coercive monopoly, however, only the inferior producer would benefit. Unfortunately, politics allows exactly this scenario to occur. For those who complain about big business against small business, Chodorov points out that the mass production of the big business is very inflexible. The small business can adapt and supply what the big business does not. Competition is always better than force. But a free-market Society has not yet existed, because of the State.

Chapter eight begins the examination of the State. Authority is the imposition of one's will on another person's will. It can be defensive (e.g., using a gun in self-defense), but authority always means the use or threat of force. The individual, however, usually does not desire to devote constant time and effort solely to the defense of their property. Other individuals feel the same way. And so, they form a 'government'—an entity that uses force to protect everyone's private property. Because of inevitable questions of proper ownership, government becomes a judge, as well. Government produces nothing; it is simply given a monopoly on coercion in order to prevent other community members from committing coercive acts. In a long discussion of property, Chodorov points out that producers don't produce for money but for the things that money will buy—what other people are producing. When a person is deprived of their property through coercive force, they are unable to exchange. The thief—who produces nothing—will also be unable to exchange when there is nothing left to steal. The producers, then, find their products underconsumed. With no one to exchange with (as a result of lack of property rather than lack of desire to exchange), the producers must stop producing. If theft is rampant, the Society must collapse, because mere spending doesn't stimulate output.

Chapter nine explains that after the State has stretched taxation to the limit, it borrows. And rather than repay its debt, the State monetizes it with inflation. (Again, this book was written more than 50 years ago.) The best that we can hope for from politicians is that they not interfere with the market. But, as production increases, they always interfere. They rob the producers. The more productive a Society is, the more the State's penchant for predation will increase. Because, as the law of parsimony states, humans seek to increase their happiness with the least amount of labor necessary. In a democracy, it is common for the criminal psychopaths of Society to be drawn to the positions in which they have control over other people.

Chapter ten opens with a discussion of the Judges of the Israelites. Before the arrival of the kings, the Judges were leaders rather than rulers; they did not hold coercive power. It was, instead, a position of social suasion. But the Israelites eventually demanded a king. Samuel attempted to warn them of the consequences: conscription, servitude, bureaucracy, confiscation, and taxation. But, it was a time of emergency, and the Israelities were willing to give up freedom (permanently) for the feeling of security. Fear led them to put blind faith in the State. And so, Saul became king, and the Israelites' troubles rapidly multiplied. And with the next king, David, the throne becomes divine, separated from 'ordinary' people. Solomon, then, consolidated power. There is no 'right person' to be in charge of the State, which is not an inanimate, impersonal institution. The State is one or more individuals. These seemingly divine individuals hold power over people by convincing them that the State provides necessary social services. In reality, the State robs the people for its own growth, protection, and deification.

Chapter eleven reiterates that the State is a coercive gang of people who falsely proclaim to provide 'social services.' A person who provides 'social services' is a person who devotes their time to satisfying human desires—a successful producer. The 'social services' provided by the State are chosen by the State rather than Society. The use of coercion entails that Society has no say in the matter. In the United States, first-class mail delivery is a 'social service' because the State has a coercive monopoly on it. In communism, the State is relied upon for all 'social services.' When the State provides these 'social services,' it does not care whether its income exceed its losses, because it can make up the difference with taxes. It has no incentive to perform well. Well-intentioned people believe control over water, sanitation, roads, education, and so on should belong to the State because everyone in the community benefits from those services. But any service could and would be done more efficiently if privatized. The State operates these services merely to make itself look useful while increasing its own power. It creates more opportunities to tax.

Chapter twelve slams the socialist notion that the State is the antidote for all evil. Socialists worship the State. Any supposed flaws in the State are because of those devilish capitalists. These reformers believe that one day the omnipotent, omniscient State will be realized, as long as the State's power is continuously increased. Individualistic thought must be crushed. The law must compel people to change their wicked ways. These fools succeed in increasing the State's power, but that is all. The Biblical story of Joseph and the Pharaoh is an example. Politicians adopt socialist ideas not because they truly believe in them but because they are so obviously beneficial to the State. The politicians create laws that benefit themselves. The bureaucrats ('civil servants') carry out the laws. The bureaucrats are well-paid by the State for assisting in the predation of Society. The bureaucrats are socialists. There have been many reforms (e.g., the income tax) in the history of the United States, and they all increased the State's power rather than achieving their intended purpose. There is a vast bureaucracy in the United States.

Chapter thirteen explains that political interference in the market is no different in consequences than a raid on the market by bandits. The difference is in supposed intent. The bandits do not pretend to be moral, whereas the State does. The people believe the State. If they did not, the State could not exist. Taxation causes shortages because production suffers. The argument that the State provides protection from other States is flawed. Does it particularly matter which State is robbing the people? They would be better off if they were not robbed at all. As discussed in chapter ten, giving up freedom for a sense of security is a foolish idea. The only tool in the State's kit is force. When the State interferes in the market, it excludes competition and creates shortages. Anything supposedly advantageous to Society (e.g., rent control, minimum wage, etc.) is, in fact, disadvantageous. Market mechanisms are self-operating. The State's laws cannot control human behavior.

Chapter fourteen declares that the State is always at war with Society, regardless of size. The State will always intervene in the market, and the State is always corrupt. Chodorov uses the example of the New York City subway, which was originally private. Because of political force, it was impossible to raise the price of fare. The city bought the subway at a price far higher than the open market offered. It became a bureaucrat-run monopoly. The fares rose, and taxpayers must make up the constant deficits. The State gained power. The politicians will utilize the popular socialist notion of 'soaking the rich' because the politicians know how beneficial it is to the State. The larger a Society becomes, the more distant the politicians become from the people. There is less and less social persuasion affecting the politician's actions. The purpose of centralization (see Abraham Lincoln) is to create protective distance between the State and Society. The US Constitution was a brilliant attempt to prevent centralization, but it failed. The Sixteenth Amendment was the death blow. Taxation is key to centralization.

Chapter fifteen attempts to solve the problem of State v Society. Chodorov wonders whether there is any solution at all, but suggests that human reason may provide the answer. Reason indicates that cooperation multiplies satisfactions. It is superior to self-sufficiency. But a human still dreams of getting something for nothing. When humans who make up 'government' are given a monopoly on the use of coercion (in order to protect production), they will naturally abuse this power and seek to get something for nothing. They cannot resist using their power to interfere in the market. They become the State. Chodorov suggests that the State is made in the image of humans, who dream of getting something for nothing. Humans are predatory. Social suasion, however, restrains this predation. Thus, Chodorov proposes accepting government at an extremely decentralized level. He repeats that the best that we can hope for out of politics is that it do its intended job of preventing disruption to production. Chodorov argues that as long as government is deprived of the ability to tax at will, it cannot transform into a powerful State.

26 September 2010

Unorthodox Football Tactics

I was watching the Colts v Broncos. Commentators Jim Nantz and Phil Simms made a very interesting point. The Broncos committed a 15-yard penalty that was enforced on the kickoff after a field goal. Thus, the Colts kicked off from their 45-yard line. Nantz and Simms wondered why teams never "make the other team pay" for the penalty. They just kick it deep, out the back of the end zone.

Unorthodox Tactic #1: Onside kick from the 45-yard line. The worst case scenario is that the other team would get the ball at their own 45. Analysis from Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats indicates that only 20 percent of expected onside kicks succeed, but 60 percent of surprise onside kicks succeed. Burke goes on to argue that since the 'break-even success rate' is 42 percent, surprise onside kicks are well worth the risk under normal circumstances. Considering that my scenario involves an extra 15 yards in the kicking team's favor, they almost certainly should attempt a surprise onside kick. When other teams start to catch on, they could switch to the squibbing, difficult-to-handle kickoff and race to the ball.

Unorthodox Tactic #2: Risking offsides on goal-line stands. An automatic first down cannot be awarded for an offsides penalty. When the ball is on the one-yard line, especially on third or fourth down, why would a defense not continuously attempt to perfectly time the snap until they succeed in doing so? The referee will blow the play dead if the defense is unabated to the quarterback or commits encroachment.

Unorthodox Tactic #3: Risking offsides on game-winning field goals. This tactic is the same as the erstwhile one except that it occurs on game-winning field goal attempts. Why not send the whole team rushing in with running starts? Two guys take the outside edges, and two guys run at the outside blockers, and the other seven guys run up the middle. Since it is potentially the last play of the game (or of regulation, if tied), giving up a first down does not matter.

Unorthodox Tactic #4: Lateral the football. See my previous articles about rugby and Ed Reed.

Unorthodox Tactic #5: Line of scrimmage abuse. Pretend to run the ball. Lateral the ball. Run an option. Run the Wildcat. Whatever. But stay behind the line of scrimmage until the safeties and corners come up to make the tackle. Then throw the ball to the open receiver.

Unorthodox Tactic #6: Run out the clock with constant holding. In so many games, we see a team attempt to run out the clock at the end of the game in order to prevent the other team from getting one last drive. Why not instruct every blocker to hold the defenders? The advantage is that the offense will keep repeating downs while time keeps running off the clock. The defense might want to decline these penalties. But, theoretically, the running back should get plenty of yardage if everyone is holding. The defense would have to accept the penalties and replay the downs. Note that intentionally attempting to utilize 10-second runoff penalties can be declined by the defense.

Unorthodox Tactic #7: Fake punts. On punts, there are four defenders on the outside and only seven in the middle of the field, including the returner. A good athlete as a punter could run the ball or throw it to someone in the middle and likely pick up the first down. The element of surprise is key here. No one expects fake punts in the NFL.

Unorthodox Tactic #8: Fake extra points. Again, they are extremely rare in the NFL. Have a TE near the sideline, pretending to come in or go out. Throw it to him. Two points.

Unorthodox Tactic #9: Let the other team score. 27 September 2010, Packers v Bears. The score was tied. The Bears had the ball near the goal line with about one minute remaining. Matt Forté rushed three times, but the Packers stopped him all three times. With four seconds remaining, the Bears kicked the game-winning field goal. The Packers should have allowed the Bears a touchdown so that Aaron Rodgers would have time to drive for an equalizing touchdown. Conversely, the Bears should not have been attempting to score a touchdown. They should have ran down the clock.

Unorthodox Tactic #10: Don't spike the ball in order to stop the clock. See my brief article on Tarvaris Jackson.

18 July 2010

The Truman Show and the Failure of Socialism

I have seen The Truman Show at least ten times since its initial release in 1998. Even as a 15-year-old boy who knew nothing of politics nor economics, the film—particularly its ending—has never failed to elicit from me tears of joy. A human being cannot help but celebrate Truman's irrepressible desire to escape from his island prison into the freedom of the real world.

Yet, I find it astonishing that neither Wikipedia nor a quick search of Google yield a comparison of The Truman Show to a socialist state, when the film appears to be such an overt criticism of the socialist construct. Even the honorable libertarian Jacob G. Hornberger chooses to discuss the "false reality" aspect of film, rather than the socialism itself.

Surely the show's creator and director—Christof—should be compared not to Christ but to a socialist central planner. Christof's dream is no different than any individual socialist's dream: to become an omniscient, omnipotent entity who can benevolently ensure the happiness of his society. Christof provides Truman with a good job, a loving wife, a true friend, and a secure community.

But Christof must contradict himself by holding Truman in this prison. To attempt to thwart Truman's efforts to leave is to prevent Truman's attempt to improve his own happiness. Truman would be happier if he escaped and found the girl whom he truly loves, Sylvia.

Likewise, the socialist central planner must use coercion to force members of society to act in an involuntary manner. Such an action—applied to non-politicians—is universally recognized by human nature to be a crime. Why do socialists believe that calling oneself 'government' excuses these monstrous crimes? Surely the use of force against another individual, rather than ensuring happiness, is the best way to ensure unhappiness, resentment, anger, and psychological anguish.

The Truman Show demonstrates the inevitable triumph of the individual's anarchist spirit over the controlling, self-interested socialist. All humans, at all times, must be allowed to act in a voluntary manner up to the point at which they violate another's right to act in a voluntary manner. Surely Christof, who attempted to relegate Truman to a lifetime of imprisoned slavery, should be considered not an inspirational visionary but one of the most diabolical villains ever imagined.

This review was referenced by Alexander S. Peakin his review of The Truman Show as a libertarian film.

14 March 2010

Review of What Has Government Done to Our Money? by Murray Rothbard

Murray Rothbard: a Jew who was good with money.Murray Rothbard is not a well-known name to most Americans. But he was one of the most brilliant philosophers of the twentieth century. His clear writing style, endless knowledge, and wonderful ideas make all of his books worth reading.

What Has Government Done to Our Money? is only 112 pages. It can be read quickly. It is available for free online at the Mises Institute's website. It is as relevant today as it was when it was first written in 1963. Let's review the major points that Rothbard makes in this book.

MONEY IN A FREE SOCIETY

1. Specialization permits each man to develop his best skill, and allows each region to develop its own particular resources. If no one could exchange, if every man were forced to be completely self-sufficient, it is obvious that most of us would starve to death, and the rest would barely remain alive. Exchange is the lifeblood, not only of our economy, but of civilization itself. (p. 12.)

Rothbard establishes the value of exchange. I do not have the ability nor time to raise various crops, engineer a vehicle, build a computer, and so forth. What I can do is recognize the skill at which I am best and exchange my ability with people who lack that skill. It is within the nature of humans to exchange, because it makes each individual's survival easier.

2. But man discovered, in the process of trial and error, the route that permits a greatly-expanding economy: indirect exchange. Under indirect exchange, you sell your product not for a good which you need directly, but for another good which you then, in turn, sell for the good you want. At first glance, this seems like a clumsy and round-about operation. But it is actually the marvelous instrument that permits civilization to develop. (p. 13.)

Barter is a problematic way to exchange. A farmer cannot exchange his plow for eggs, bread, and a suit unless he manages to find someone who both wants his whole plow and is willing to make eggs, bread, and a suit available for trade. The plow is indivisible and may not be desired. The farmer must use a more marketable good as a medium of exchange.

3. A most important truth about money now emerges from our discussion: money is a commodity. Learning this simple lesson is one of the world’s most important tasks. (p. 15.)

Money must be durable, divisible, consistent, convenient, and valuable. The free market has identified that gold and silver are the most suitable objects to use as money. The farmer can trade his plow for gold. He can then trade his gold for eggs, bread, and a suit. Additionally, the existence of prices allows the farmer to make economic calculations. He can have some gold left over after the exchange. He can make profits. He will accumulate as much gold as he can (in terms of weight) so that he can obtain more of the things that he desires.

4. In our example, she magically doubled our supply of gold. Would we be twice as rich? Obviously not. What makes us rich is an abundance of goods, and what limits that abundance is a scarcity of resources: namely land, labor, and capital. Multiplying coin will not whisk these resources into being. We may feel twice as rich for the moment, but clearly all we are doing is diluting the money supply. As the public rushes out to spend its new-found wealth, prices will, very roughly, double—or at least rise until the demand is satisfied, and money no longer bids against itself for the existing goods. (p. 28–29.)

Rothbard outlines inflation. There is no social benefit in increasing the money supply. It makes an ounce of gold less valuable than it was before. In the real world, of course, the amount of gold can never double overnight.

5. For larger transactions, it is awkward and expensive to transport several hundred pounds of gold. But the free market, ever ready to satisfy social needs, comes to the rescue. Gold, in the first place, must be stored somewhere, and just as specialization is most efficient in other lines of business, so it will be most efficient in the warehousing business. Certain firms, then, will be successful on the market in providing warehousing services. Some will be gold warehouses, and will store gold for its myriad owners. As in the case of all warehouses, the owner’s right to the stored goods is established by a warehouse receipt which he receives in exchange for storing the goods. The receipt entitles the owner to claim his goods at any time he desires. (p. 39.)

A bank is a money warehouse. Like any other warehouse, it profits by charging a small fee in exchange for offering storage space and security for customers' gold and silver. The bank gives its customers pieces of paper that can be redeemed for the amount of gold and silver deposited. For convenience, people sometimes offer these pieces of paper during exchanges rather than the actual gold and silver. Warehouses work when people trust that when they redeem their receipts, all of their property will be there.

GOVERNMENT MEDDLING WITH MONEY

6. On the free market, money can be acquired by producing and selling goods and services that people want, or by mining (a business no more profitable, in the long run, than any other). But if government can find ways to engage in counterfeiting—the creation of new money out of thin air—it can quickly produce its own money without taking the trouble to sell services or mine gold. It can then appropriate resources slyly and almost unnoticed, without rousing the hostility touched off by taxation. (p. 52.)

Governments do not earn money, nor is money voluntarily donated to them. Governments must rob people without angering the people too much; inflation is the most effective technique. Government counterfeiters can create new money and buy what they want; the prices increase thereafter because more money is available. Only the people who get the new money first benefit from inflation. Inflation diminishes savings and encourages debt.

7. As a result, the demand for money now falls and prices go up more, proportionately, than the increase in the money supply. At this point, the government is often called upon to “relieve the money shortage” caused by the accelerated price rise, and it inflates even faster. Soon, the country reaches the stage of the “crack-up boom,” when people say: “I must buy anything now—anything to get rid of money which depreciates on my hands.” The supply of money skyrockets, the demand plummets, and prices rise astronomically. Production falls sharply, as people spend more and more of their time finding ways to get rid of their money. (p. 56.)

Rothbard now outlines hyperinflation. Hyperinflation has occurred many times in history (e.g., the American Revolution, the Weimar Republic, and Zimbabwe). But how does government gain such complete control over money that it can completely destroy its economy? What happened to the people's gold and silver in the warehouses?

8. Until a few centuries ago, there were no banks, and therefore the government could not use the banking engine for massive inflation as it can today. What could it do when only gold and silver circulated? The first step, taken firmly by every sizeable government, was to seize an absolute monopoly of the minting business. (p. 58.)

American coins are issued by the U.S. Mint. It has existed since 1792. Private minting efforts are shut down. Originally, the coins were composed of relatively valuable metals like silver (in dollars, halves, quarters, and dimes), nickel (in nickels), and copper (in pennies).

9. Having acquired the mintage monopoly, governments fostered the use of the name of the monetary unit, doing their best to separate the name from its true base in the underlying weight of the coin. This, too, was a highly important step, for it liberated each government from the necessity of abiding by the common money of the world market. Instead of using grains or grams of gold or silver, each State fostered its own national name in the supposed interests of monetary patriotism: dollars, marks, francs, and the like. (p. 58.)

Government propaganda is always at work. Being rich is redefined from owning a large amount of gold to owning a large amount of that government's currency. Government reeducates people to desire "dollars" instead of gold.

10. Debasement was the State’s method of counterfeiting the very coins it had banned private firms from making in the name of vigorous protection of the monetary standard. Sometimes, the government committed simple fraud, secretly diluting gold with a base alloy, making shortweight coins. More characteristically, the mint melted and recoined all the coins of the realm, giving the subjects back the same number of “pounds” or “marks,” but of a lighter weight. The leftover ounces of gold or silver were pocketed by the King and used to pay his expenses. (p. 59.)

U.S. coins no longer have silver in them. Cheap zinc replaced copper in pennies. Even cheaper steel will likely replace cupronickel in the near future. The melt value of US coins is now far less than their supposed monetary value; they are artificially overvalued. The undervalued silver coins were driven out of circulation; nickels are on their way out as well. This phenomenon is known as Gresham's Law. Likewise, when government attempts to artificially fix the ratio between two metals, one will become undervalued and disappear. Therefore, governments opt to use one metal as the standard. Gold has historically been the chosen metal.

11. We have seen that no fractional-reserve bank can redeem all of its liabilities; and we have also seen that this is the gamble that every bank takes. But it is, of course, essential to any system of private property that contract obligations be fulfilled. The bluntest way for government to foster inflation, then, is to grant the banks the special privilege of refusing to pay their obligations, while yet continuing in their operation. While everyone else must pay their debts or go bankrupt, the banks are permitted to refuse redemption of their receipts, at the same time forcing their own debtors to pay when their loans fall due. The usual name for this is a “suspension of specie payments.” A more accurate name would be “license for theft;” for what else can we call a governmental permission to continue in business without fulfilling one’s contract? (p. 66.)

The next step in government's control of money is the establishment of the government's debased, renamed currency as legal tender. Whenever the banks gets into trouble (viz., too many people want their gold back), they break their promise to redeem receipts for gold because government allows them to do so. Therefore, there is nothing to stop the banks from "wildcat banking." Of course, banks could not continue to exist without customers who trust the banks, and so the "suspension of specie payments" was always a temporary, imperfect method of inflation.

12. [A]ll the banks in the country became clients of the Central Bank. Gold poured into the Central Bank from the private banks, and, in exchange, the public got Central Bank notes and the disuse of gold coins. Gold coins were scoffed at by “official” opinion as cumbersome, old-fashioned, inefficient—an ancient “fetish,” perhaps useful in children’s socks at Christmas, but that’s about all. How much safer, more convenient, more efficient is the gold when resting as bullion in the mighty vaults of the Central Bank! Bathed by this propaganda, and influenced by the convenience and governmental backing of the notes, the public more and more stopped using gold coins in its daily life. Inexorably, the gold flowed into the Central Bank where, more “centralized,” it permitted a far greater degree of inflation of money-substitutes. (p. 69.)

The Federal Reserve was created in 1913. Government grants the Fed a monopoly on issuing notes. These Federal Reserve notes are "legal tender for all debts, public and private." People eventually accept these paper dollars as preferable to their gold because the government-backed central bank cannot fail. People willingly trade in their gold for scraps of paper. The Fed can print more of these scraps of paper whenever it wishes. It is one of the cleverest cons in history.

13. There is still the problem of the Central Bank itself. The citizens can conceivably make a run on the Central Bank, but this is most improbable. A more formidable threat is the loss of gold to foreign nations. For just as the expansion of one bank loses gold to the clients of other, nonexpanding banks, so does monetary expansion in one country cause a loss of gold to the citizens of other countries. Countries that expand faster are in danger of gold losses and calls upon their banking system for gold redemption. This was the classic cyclical pattern of the nineteenth century; a country’s Central Bank would generate bank credit expansion; prices would rise; and as the new money spread from domestic to foreign clientele, foreigners would more and more try to redeem the currency in gold. (p. 75.)

In other words, the gold standard is problematic. There are ways for the central bank to lose the gold that it has so cleverly obtained. At this point, government admits to its crime by "going off the gold standard." Government refuses to give up its gold. It may even make private gold ownership illegal. (FDR did so during the Great Depression.) Dollar bills are now literally mere scraps of paper. Government has obtained absolute control over money by deceiving the people. Complete control of money paves the road to complete control over the economy: full socialism.

14. Furthermore, government meddling with money has not only brought untold tyranny into the world; it has also brought chaos and not order. It has fragmented the peaceful, productive world market and shattered it into a thousand pieces, with trade and investment hobbled and hampered by myriad restrictions, controls, artificial rates, currency breakdowns, etc. It has helped bring about wars by transforming a world of peaceful intercourse into a jungle of warring currency blocs. In short, we find that coercion, in money as in other matters, brings, not order, but conflict and chaos. (p. 84.)

Rothbard uses the remaining pages to outline the modern Western history of governmental meddling in money. The gold standard of the nineteenth century was not perfect (because of government interventions), but it generally allowed a century of peace and prosperity. World War I changed everything. Most governments (other than these United States) inflated and went off the gold standard in order to pay for the war. The British ruined post-war efforts to restore gold. Monetary conflicts eventually plunged the world into another war. This time around, it was the Americans who caused post-war economic problems to arise. Europeans eventually got tired of the dollar inflation and demanded gold. Thus, President Nixon took these United States off of the gold standard in 1971. In the free market, the price of gold has skyrocketed ever since, completely contrary to the expectations of Keynesians and Friedmanites. Unless we return to the usage of private gold as money, the inevitable future is continued inflation, economic breakdown, and warfare.

Rating: 10/10. This book should be essential reading for the entire world.

26 December 2009

A Libertarian Ranking of the United States Presidents

Martin Van Buren: America's best president.Note: I have updated the list on 16 January 2013 to rate the entirety of Barack Obama's first four years as president. His score is -292, making him currently the second-worst President ever. But he is on pace to easily surpass George W. Bush's eight-year score of -332.

I enjoy reading rankings of the American presidents. But, it's very difficult to find libertarian presidential rankings. (I found only one online that is decent, but there is also a book.) Most rankings are problematic because they reward successful conquests and legislating as much as possible. Shouldn't presidents be commended for not killing people and for giving us as much freedom as possible? Another problem is that we rarely read about what presidents actually did. All we read is the twisted propaganda (e.g., Lincoln preserved the nation, FDR got us through the Great Depression). And so, my goal in this article, which took about 60 hours of research over two months to create, is to (1) objectively rank the 43 US presidents from best to worst by libertarian standards and (2) summarize and score the actions that they took.

The Greats

None.

The Near Greats

1. Martin Van Buren (1837-1841)
Good: Deregulated finances (+5), supported gold and silver as money (+7),[1] advocated lower tariffs (+4) and free trade (+4), opposed war abroad (+8),[2] kept federal troops out of Mormon War (+9), laissez-faire policies during Panic of 1837 (+9).[3]
Bad: Implemented Trail of Tears (-10).[4]
Score: 34

2. Grover Cleveland (1885-1889, 1893-1897)
Good: Vetoed hundreds of pension expansion bills and other wasteful spending (+9), fought against numerous tariffs (+7), fought valiantly for gold standard (+10), despised imperialism and prevented American colonialism in the Congo (+10),[5] appointed government employees by merit (+5), reduced number of government employees (+4),[6] refused to annex Hawai'i (+9).[7]
Bad: Created Interstate Commerce Commission (-2), Dawes Act (-3), Scott Act (-3), used Army to forcefully stop Pullman Strike (-10), pushed Britain out of Latin America with interventions/threats (-10).[8]
Score: 26

3. John Tyler (1841-1845)
Good: Vetoed Third Bank (+9) twice,[9] vetoed tariff bill (+5),[10] ended Second Seminole War (+7), held back federal troops in Dorr Rebellion (+7), established trade with China (+2),[11] established role of Vice President while fending off Henry Clay (+2).[12]
Bad: Annexed Texas (led to war with Mexico) (-10).[13]
Score: 20

4. Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)
Good: Oversaw Roaring Twenties (+5) and budget surpluses (+5), reduced national debt somewhat (+3), almost no inflation despite existence of Fed (+4),[14] resisted federal crop pricing (+5),[15] despised and minimized regulation (+9),[16] massively decreased income taxes but raised estate tax and created gift tax (+5),[17] granted citizenship to Native Americans (+1),[18] anti-war but pro-self-defense Kellogg-Briand Pact (+9),[19] withdrew from Dominican Republic (+8).[20]
Bad: Signed race-based Immigration Act of 1924 (-2), mismanaged Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 (-3), supported Mexico against rebels (-10) and maintained occupations of Nicaragua (-10) and Haiti (-10).[21]
Score: 19

5. Zachary Taylor (1849-1850)
Good: Clayton-Bulwer Treaty (+8), stopped Narciso López's filibustering expedition to Cuba (+9), opposed Compromise of 1850 (+1).[22]
Bad: Nothing.
Score: 18

6. Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877)
Good: General Mining Act of 1872 (+9), supported equal rights for blacks and Native Americans (Fifteenth Amendment) (+4), favored but failed to institute civil service reform (+1),[23] vetoed Inflation Bill of 1874 (+7), cut taxes (+6), lowered debt (+3), fired 2,248 government employees (+6),[24] de facto gold standard (+8),[25] Specie Payment Resumption Act (+7), avoided war with Spain/Cuba despite Virginius Affair (+9),[26] peaceful Treaty of Washington (+6).
Bad: Created Office of Solicitor General (-1), left Reconstruction violence problems to state militias instead of Army but kept some federal troops in South (-2),[27] Ku Klux Klan Act that suspended habeas corpus (-9), wanted to annex Dominican Republic (-10),[28] intervened in Liberian-Grebo War (-10), Comstock laws (censorship) (-5), anti-Mormon Poland Act (-8), Civil Rights Act of 1875 (-9), numerous scandals (-2).[29]
Score: 10

7. Warren G. Harding (1921-1923)
Good: Swiftly ended severe depression of 1920–1921 by cutting spending (+7) and taxes (+7) and refusing to intervene in private economy (+9), leading to Roaring Twenties (+7),[30] pardoned Wilson's political prisoners (+2), signed peace treaties to end WWI (+3), called Washington Naval Conference for worldwide naval disarmament (+8),[31] immigration quota (+3),[32] Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 (+1), wise Supreme Court choices (+2), supported blacks' rights (+2).[33]
Bad: Created Dept. of Veterans Affairs (-4),[34] protectionist Fordney-McCumber Tariff (-6), regulation/tax on grain futures (-4),[35] appointed allies who were involved in Teapot Dome Scandal (-2),[36] continued occupations of Dominican Republic (-10), Haiti (-10), and Nicaragua (-10).
Score: 5

The Average

8. Andrew Johnson (1865-1869)
Good: Vetoed post-war military occupation (+9), vetoed 14th Amendment for honorable reasons (+3), rightly fired Edwin Stanton (+1),[37] granted amnesty to Confederates (+2).[38]
Bad: Expansionist/costly Purchase of Alaska (-2), interfered with French in Mexico (-10).[39]
Score: 3

9. Millard Fillmore (1850-1853)
Good: Appointed Brigham Young as governor of Utah (+2),[41] didn't interfere in Europe (+9),[42] initiated White House library.[43]
Bad: Supported Compromise of 1850 (-1),[44] threatened to bomb Japan (-8).[45]
Score: 2

10. Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885)
Good: Ended spoils system with Pendleton Act (+6), lowered tariffs (+2),[46] advocated International Meridian Conference (+1).
Bad: Anti-Mormon Edmunds Act (-5), racist Chinese Exclusion Act (-3).
Score: 1

11a. William Henry Harrison (1841-1841)
Good: Did no damage.
Bad: Nothing.
Score: 0

11b. James A. Garfield (1881-1881)
Good: Favored gold/silver as money (+2).
Bad: Didn't care for Mormons (-2).[47]
Score: 0

13. Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881)
Good: Ended Reconstruction and withdrew federal troops (+9),[48] vetoed inflationary Bland-Allison Act (+5).
Bad: Used federal troops to murder 70 striking workers (-10),[49] wanted to control Panama Canal (-5),[50] banned sale of alcohol at Army forts (-1).[51]
Score: -2

The Below Average

14. John Quincy Adams (1825-1829)
Good: America "goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy" (+9).[52]
Bad: Supported American System (-9), enraged South with Tariff of 1828 (-7).[53]
Score: -7

15a. Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
Good: Reduced taxes (+6) and paid down national debt (+8),[54] banned slavery in Northwest Territory (+7).[55]
Bad: Started Barbary Wars (-10),[56] unilaterally purchased Louisiana Territory (-5),[57] advocated Indian removal (-8),[58] Embargo Act of 1807 (-9).[59]
Score: -11

15b. Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
Good: Tax Reduction Act of 1975 (+5), urged end to domestic oil price controls (+4),[60] refused to bail out bankrupt New York City (+9),[61] supported women's rights (+3),[62] helped expose (+8) and limit (+10) CIA activities,[63] helped create Human Rights Watch (+10),[64] legalized private gold ownership (+10).[65]
Bad: Supported Indonesian genocide in East Timor (-10),[66] 5 percent tax surcharge (-4),[67] urged deadly H1N1 vaccinations (-4),[68] Education for All Handicapped Children Act (-2), forceful rescue during Mayaguez_Incident (-10), requested huge financial aid for Southeast Asia (-10), vetoed end to military aid to Turkey (-10), gave in to Israel's request for US$2.59 billion in aid (-6),[69] funded Kurdish rebellion in Iraq (-10),[70] railroad subsidies (-4).[71]
Score: -11

17. Franklin Pierce (1853-1857)
Good: Opposed Civil War (+6),[72] installed heating in White House,[73] reduced national debt (+4).[74]
Bad: Ostend Manifesto (attempted annexation of Cuba) (-10), expansionist Gadsden Purchase (-2), caused Bleeding Kansas (-10).[75]
Score: -12

The Failures

18a. George Washington (1789-1797)
Good: Foreign policy of neutrality (+10),[76] set precedent for constitutional veto power (+9),[77] left office after two terms (+5).[78]
Bad: Created First Bank (-8), appointed Alexander Hamilton Secretary of the Treasury (-9),[79] introduced national draft (-10),[80] Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 (-5), used federal military to crush revolt against whiskey tax (-10).[81]
Score: -18

18b. James Monroe (1817-1825)
Good: Improved relations with Britain after war (+4),[82] did basically nothing in response to Panic of 1819 (+10).
Bad: Declared war on Seminole (-10) and Creek (-10) Indians in Spanish Florida (-10),[83] Monroe Doctrine (-2).[84]
Score: -18

20. James Buchanan (1857-1861)
Good: Refused to use force to stop Southern secession (+9).[85]
Bad: Pushed in favor of Dred Scott Decision (-2),[86] protectionist Morrill Tariff (-7),[87] anti-Mormon Utah War (-10),[88] supported pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution in Kansas (-3), ran deficits when hard money was accepted (-8).[89]
Score: -21

21. John Adams (1797-1801)
Good: Nothing.
Bad: Unconstitutional Alien and Sedition Acts (-9),[90] appointed John Marshall to Supreme Court (-5),[91] Quasi-War (-10).
Score: -24

22. James K. Polk (1845-1849)
Good: Supported Jacksonian economic policies (+9).[92]
Bad: Started war with Mexico (-10) and lied about it (-3),[93] provoked Britain in Oregon Territory negotiations (-8),[94] tried to buy Cuba (-10),[95] created Dept. of Interior (-3).[96]
Score: -25

23. William Taft (1909-1913)
Good: Peaceful free-trade treaties (+8).[97]
Bad: Added more tariffs with Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act (-6),[98] 80 antitrust suits (-4),[99] Dollar Diplomacy (-10), blatantly selfish intervention in Nicaragua (-10),[100] Sixteenth Amendment (-9),[101] white supremacist (-2).[102]
Score: -33

24. Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)
Good: Believed in hard money (+9),[103] paid off national debt (+10), refused to recharter Second Bank (+8).[104]
Bad: Forced removals of Choctaw (-10), Creek (-10), Chickasaw (-10), Cherokee (-10), and Seminoles (-10),[105] threatened war with South Carolina over tariff (-7),[106] instituted spoils system (-6).[107]
Score: -36

25. James Madison (1809-1817)
Good: Nothing.
Bad: Started War of 1812 (-10),[108] Creek War (-10), occupied Spanish Florida (-10),[109] created Second Bank of the United States (-9).[110]
Score: -39

26. Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
Good: Deregulated oil prices and telecommunications (+6),[111] ended occupation of Panama Canal (+8),[112] wanted to withdraw from South Korea (+4),[113] sought disarming of nuclear weapons (+8),[114] Voyager Golden Record (+1).
Bad: Caused gasoline shortage (-7), funded Mujahideen (-10), signed FISA (-9) and CRA (-9),[115] backed Indonesia's genocide in East Timor (-10),[116] accelerated inflation but appointed Volcker to stop it (-4),[117] wanted to control prices (-8),[118] bailed out Chrysler (-8),[119] allowed Iran hostage crisis (-4).[120]
Score: -42

27. John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
Good: Wanted to dismantle CIA (+5), refused to attack/send troops to Laos (+8), refused to bomb/invade Cuba during Cuban Missile Crisis (+8), wanted to abolish nuclear weapons and signed Partial Test Ban Treaty (+9),[121] attempted to prevent future bankruptcy with Executive Order 11110 (+4).[122]
Bad: Went along with CIA's disastrous Bay of Pigs Invasion (-10), state-sponsored terrorism in Cuba (-10),[123] costly/failed "Alliance for Progress" in Latin America (-9), created Peace Corps (-3), funded/lied about successful South Vietnamese coup (-10),[124] fully supported coup in Iraq (-10),[125] spendy/foolish New Frontier programs (-9), sent 3,000 troops to protect James Meredith (-6),[126] wiretapped Martin Luther King, Jr. (-4),[127] influenced steel prices (-4),[128] violated Native Americans' rights by constructing Kinzua Dam (-5), costly/nonsensical "space race" (-4).[129]
Score: -50

28. William McKinley (1897-1901)
Good: Kept federal troops out of the South (+3),[130] Gold Standard Act (+9).
Bad: Annexed Hawai'i (-10),[131] signed the highest tariff to date (Dingley Act) (-7), contrived Spanish-American War (-10) in order to conquer Guam (-10), Puerto Rico (-10), Cuba (-10), and the Philippines (-10),[132] ensuing Philippine-American War (-10), sent American troops to crush Boxer Rebellion (-10).[133]
Score: -75

29. Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893)
Good: Installed electricity in White House.[134]
Bad: Spendy Dependent and Disability Pension Act (-6), protectionist McKinley Tariff (-6), subsidized sugar (-5),[135] anti-capitalist Sherman Antitrust Act (-9),[136] supported free silver/Sherman Silver Purchase Act and depleted gold supply (-8)[137] attempted to establish naval base in Haiti (-10), seized Canadian ships in fishing dispute (-10), intervened in Chilean Civil War (-10), attempted annexation of Hawai'i (-10),[138] Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1890 (-2).[139]
Score: -76

30. George H. W. Bush (1989-1993)
Good: START I nuclear disarmament treaty with USSR (+7).
Bad: Broke promise and raised taxes (-7) in order to support increased spending (-7), increased welfare (-5), increased unemployment benefits (-5),[140] Americans with Disabilities Act (-6), regulatory Clean Air Act (-2), invaded Panama in order to remove Manuel Noriega from power (-10),[141] Gulf War (-10),[142] Andean Initiative (anti-drug military funding abroad) (-10),[143] intervened in 1989 Philippine coup attempt (-10), Operation Restore Hope in Somalia (-10), NAFTA (reduced tariffs but increased regulation and moved toward world government) (-3).[144]
Score: -78

31. Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
Good: Mediated Treaty of Portsmouth to end Russo-Japanese War (+4).
Bad: Created regulatory state via Meat Inspection Act (-6), Pure Food and Drug Act (-6), and railroad-killing Hepburn Act (-8), filed antitrust suit against Northern Securities Company (-6), desired war with numerous countries (-7), white supremacist (-2), brutal war against the Philippines (-10), unilaterally took over customs houses in Dominican Republic (-10), sent out entire battle fleet in order to intimidate Japan (-7), supported Panamanian rebels (-10) in order to build Panama Canal for America (-10),[145] high protectionist tariffs (-5), spendy/damaging "conservation" policies (-5), pushed for income tax (-6),[146] threatened to use Army to seize coal mines (-7).[147]
Score: -101

32. Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
Good: Withdrew troops from Nicaragua (+8) and Haiti (+8), wanted to reduce world's navy (+6), mediated Treaty of Lima (+3).[169]
Bad: Told businesses not to reduce wages (-9),[170] Children's Charter that made government instead of parents responsible for children (-9),[171] expanded civil service (-4), 5.3 million acres for national parks/forests (-4), doubled veterans' hospitals (-2), created antitrust division (-6), air mail regulations (-3), proposed Dept. of Education (-5), pro-union Norris-La Guardia Act (-5),[172] loans to failed businesses (-9), unemployment relief (-8), farm subsidies (-6), price controls (-9),[173] white supremacist (-2),[174] Davis-Bacon Act (-6), Mexican Repatriation (-10), Smoot-Hawley Tariff (-8), Federal Home Loan Bank Act (-5), Revenue Act of 1932 (-8), Bonus Army (-10).
Score: -103

33. William J. Clinton (1993-2001)
Good: Utilized and promoted Internet technology (+4),[175] Defense of Marriage Act (left same-sex marriage laws to the states) (+7),[176] Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (+3), Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (improved but did not end welfare) (+6), supported Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (+5).
Bad: Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (-5),[177] 1993 World Trade Center Bombing (-10),[178] Brady Bill (-9),[179] health care reform attempt (-9), skyrocketed EITC socialism (-9),[180] caught lying about Monica Lewinsky affair (-2),[181] created SCHIP (-9), Digital Millennium Copyright Act (-8),[182] INS raid on Elián González (-6), Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (-9), Communications Decency Act (attempted to regulate Internet) (-6), increased minimum wage (-9),[183] Iraq Liberation Act (-10), Battle of Mogadishu (-10), non-combatant intervention in Rwanda (-4),[184] bombed Afghani civilians (-10) and a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory (-10),[185] bombed Yugoslavia (-10),[186] military intervention in Haiti (-10),[187] Waco Siege (-10),[188] regulatory "free trade" agreements (-5).[189]
Score: -145

34. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)
Good: Swiftly ended Korean War (+10),[190] did not intervene militarily in Hungarian Revolution of 1956 (+5).[191]
Bad: Arpaio-like fascist crackdown on "Mexican-looking" people (-8),[192] sent federal troops to protect Little Rock Nine (-7), government ownership of interstate highways (-7),[193] minor increase to debt despite efforts to balance budget (-2),[194] created SEATO (-7) and CENTO (-7), Pact of Madrid (-6), Operation Ajax (1953 Iranian coup d'état) (-10), Operation PBSUCCESS (1954 Guatemalan coup d'état) (-10), CIA intervention in Cuba/attempted assassination of Castro (-10),[195] Operation Blue Bat (sent Marines to suppress uprising against pro-American president of Lebanon) (-10), CIA assistance during Congo Crisis (-10), sent first soldiers/assistance to South Vietnam (-7),[196] strong-armed Britain/France/Israel to end Egyptian invasion during Suez Crisis (-1), document NSC 162/2 (built up and threatened attacks with nuclear weapons) (-9), 1960 U-2 incident (-8), created NASA in response to Sputnik (-7), signed Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (up to 91 percent income tax) (-9),[197] paranoid criminalization of joining Communist Party (-8),[198] created Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare (-9), appointed Earl Warren to Supreme Court (-9).[199]
Score: -146

35. Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
Good: Lowered absurd defense spending level (+5),[200] opened normal relations with China (+8),[201] SALT I (+7),[202] ended draft (eventually) (+9).[203]
Bad: Bombed Cambodia (-10), Laos (-10), and Vietnam (-10),[204] continued Vietnam War for five years (-10),[205] increased Social Security (-8) and Medicare (-8) payments, billions of dollars more for food aid/public assistance (-8),[206] instituted multiple disastrous wage and price freezes (-9),[207] openly Keynesian and destroyed/inflated the dollar (-10) by eradicating the gold standard (-10),[208] 10 percent tax on all imports (-9),[209] created DEA (-9), EPA (-9), OSHA (-9), and CPSC (-9),[210] expanded "civil rights" (-9) and created affirmative action (-9),[211] continued costly/nonsensical "space race" (-4),[212] supported Pakistan/genocide against India (-10),[213] increased federal employees' wages (-4),[214] support for Israel (-9) that caused 1973 oil crisis (-9),[215] 55-MPH speed limit (-2),[216] Watergate (-5).
Score: -170

36. Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)
Good: Freedom of Information Act (+5), significant income tax cut (+5).[217]
Bad: Mammoth 25 percent chicken tax (-7), egalitarian, divisive, freedom-killing Civil Rights Act of 1964 (-9),[218] Voting Rights Act (-9), Fair Housing Act (-9),[219] Age Discrimination in Employment Act (-9), Food Stamp Act (-9), Economic Opportunity Act (-8), Higher Education Act (-7), created Medicare (-10) and Medicaid (-10), Public Broadcasting Act (-7),[220] Elementary and Secondary Education Act (-9),[221] Gun Control Act (-9),[222] Immigration and Nationality Act (-9),[223] continued costly/nonsensical "space race" (-4),[224] sent in federal troops to deal with urban riots and wanted to spend billions more to 'solve' the problems (-10),[225] contrived, interventionist, costly Vietnam War (-10),[226] murdered/disabled millions of Vietnamese civilians with bombs/Agent Orange (-10),[227] drafted 2.2 million Americans (-10),[228] provoked USSR (-4),[229] milk co-op corruption (-3), continued wiretapping of Martin Luther King, Jr. (-4),[230] supported overthrow of democratically elected leaders of Dominican Republic (-10)[231] and Brazil (-10).[232]
Score: -186

37. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)
Good: Nothing.
Bad: Created Federal Reserve (-10), created federal income tax (-10),[233] Adamson Act (imposed eight-hour workday) (-8), Clayton Antitrust Act (-8), unnecessarily entered Europe's war (-10),[234] created League of Nations (-9), Espionage Act of 1917 (-9), Sedition Act of 1918 (-9), militarily forced Nicaragua (-10) and Haiti (-10) to do what he wanted,[235] brutal occupation of Dominican Republic (-10),[236] sent troops to Mexico (-10)[237] and Russia (-10),[238] created Federal Trade Commission (-8), socialist Federal Farm Loan Act (-8), Prohibition (-9), caused disastrous Treaty of Versailles (-10),[239] Harrison Narcotics Act (-9),[240] draft (-10),[241] Palmer Raids (-9), white supremacist (-2).[242]
Score: -188

38. Harry S Truman (1945-1953)
Good: Integrated armed forces (+3),[243] chose Berlin Airlift over more threatening options (+2).
Bad: Dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima (-10) and Nagasaki (-10), demanded Japan's unconditional surrender (-3),[244] seized control of railroads (-8) and threatened to draft striking railroad workers (-9),[245] fathered "containment" by giving US$400 million to Greece (-10) and Turkey (-10) to "fight communism," created CIA for expensive, secret wars (-10), US$17 billion Marshall Plan for Europe (-9), joined NATO military alliance (-6), massive Keynesian increase in military spending (-8), unconstitutional Korean War (-10), gave France US$500 million per year to fight Ho Chi Minh (-10), wanted to seize meat industry (-4), seized steel industry (-8), created concept of ridiculously costly Third World aid (-9), created Israel in order to win Jewish votes (-10), endorsed vindictive Nuremberg trials (-2), Operation Keelhaul (-10), corrupt administration (-2),[246] proposed national health insurance (-5),[247] Housing Act of 1949 (-7), Social Security Act of 1950 (-7), high inflation (-5), supported creation of UN (-8),[248] draft (-10).[249]
Score: -195

39. Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
Good: Fired 11,359 striking federal air traffic union employees after giving them a fair warning (+8), loosened national 55-MPH speed limit law (+2).[250]
Bad: Intervened in Lebanese Civil War (-10),[251] intervened in Iraq-Iran War (-10),[252] Iran-Contra Affair (-10), bombed Libya (-10),[253] invasion of Grenada (-10), funded murderous military groups in Colombia (-10), El Salvador (-10), Guatemala (-10), Panama (-10),[254] Honduras (-10),[255] Nicaragua (-10), Afghanistan (-10), Mozambique (-10), Angola (-10), and Cambodia (-10),[256] crackdown/war against "all drugs" (-9),[257] claimed to lower taxes while raising them, especially for Social Security (-7),[258] massive spending that tripled debt from US$1 trillion to US$3 trillion (-9),[259] increased government regulation (-4), expanded government departments (-4), encouraged inflation (-5), protectionist trade policies (-8), expanded foreign aid (-8), heavy restrictions on "sinful" choices (smoking/drinking/pornography) (-8).[260]
Score: -202

40. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945)
Good: Economy Act (cut federal salaries and veteran payments) (+5), vetoed Bonus Bill (+3), approved abolishment of Prohibition (+5),[261] completed end to occupation of Haiti (+7).
Bad: Seized gold from citizens (-9) and forbid owning it (-9),[262] suspended gold standard (-9) and revalued gold from US$20.67 to US$35 after Treasury had taken it (-9),[263] took control of banks (-9),[264] Agricultural Adjustment Act that forced up prices (-8) while destroying farmland/animals (-7), federal monopoly of bungling Tennessee Valley Authority (-7),[265] insane National Industrial Recovery Act that created 500 cartels (-9),[266] National Labor Relations Act (surged labor costs) (-7), US$3.3 billion Public Works Administration (-4), National Recovery Administration featuring price-fixing (-9) and minimum wages (-8), blatantly coercive, ruinous, Madoff scheme known as Social Security (-10), Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps, etc. (costly pointless temp jobs) (-6),[267] created SEC (-9),[268] United States Housing Authority (-9), extreme tax increases (-9),[269] allowed Pearl Harbor (-10) in order to enter WWII (-10),[270] German-American internment (-9), Italian-American internment (-9), Japanese-American internment (-10), drafted 10 million Americans (-10),[271] complete firebombing of Dresden (-10), ended two-term limit (-3),[272] Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 (-7), authorized Manhattan Project (-10).
Score: -215

41. Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)
Good: Did not finish second term.
Bad: Started catastrophic war (-10) in order to prevent freedom to secede (-10), murdered 350,000 Americans (-10), white supremacist who did not care about slaves and tried to deport all blacks to Liberia (-9), destroyed 10th Amendment (-9), suspended habeas corpus (-9), Union blockade (-5), imprisoned 15,000 political opponents without a trial (-9), shut down newspapers (-8), restricted firearm ownership (-8), rigged elections (-4), started draft (-10) and murdered its protesters (-10), divided Virginia for electoral advantage (-6), ordered destruction (-9), plundering (-9), rape (-9), and murder (-10) of Southern civilian towns,[273] used European mercenaries (-6),[274] Chicago machine "pay to play" politician (-2),[275] nationalized railroads (-7), anti-capitalist (mercantilist) policies: Morrill Tariff (-7), National Banking Act (-9), greenbacks (-9), and deficits (-7), genocidal policy toward Sioux (-10),[276] Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act (-3), created temporary income tax in order to fund Civil War (-9),[277] made medicine contraband during war (-10),[278] attempted assassination of Jefferson Davis (Dahlgren Affair) (-10),[279] used water torture on Northern civilians (-9),[280] cotton industry takeover/cronyism (-9).[281]
Score: -261

42. Barack Obama (2009–2013)
Good: Ended moratorium on drilling (+4), New START (+1), withdrew troops from Iraq (+5)
Bad: Lied about closing Guantanamo (-10), drone strikes in Pakistan (-10), continued Afghanistan genocide (-10), auto regulations (-7), billions for "AIDS" (-5), Ledbetter Act (-3), CHIP (-4), US$787 billion ARRA (-9), major expansion of AmeriCorps (-5), furthered reliance on federal government in states with high unemployment (-6), Omnibus Appropriations Act (-5), sanctions against Iranian people (-9), murder of Somalis (-10) and Yemenis (-10), Omnibus Public Land Management Act (-4), "see something say something" police state (-9), doubled foreign aid (-10), persecution of Julian Assange (-10), tobacco regulations (-6), health care reform (-10) that coerced ownership (-10), Shepard Act (-3), Haiti aid (-2), banking regulations (-7), threw money at the worst schools (-3), Libya intervention (-10), Benghazi scandal (-10), Fast & Furious scandal (-10), EPA regulations (-8), debt ceiling drama (-5), proposed even more spending (-8), assassination of American Anwar al-Awlaki (-10), Syria intervention (-10), NDAA (-10), STOCK Act (-4), "you didn't build that" (-2), soaked the rich (-9), raised Social Security tax (-9), post-Newtown gun regulation (-10) via tyrannical executive decree (-10)[313]
Score: -292

43. George Walker Bush (2001-2009)
Good: Significant tax cuts (+5),[282] opposed Kyoto Protocol (+5).[283]
Bad: 9/11 (-10), invasion of Afghanistan (-10),[284] Military Commissions Act that ended habeas corpus (-9),[285] USA PATRIOT Act that destroyed civil liberties: spying on citizens (-9), restriction of freedom of association (-7), seizure of private "evidence" (-9), indefinite suspensions without evidence (-9), as well as various regulations/expenditures (-9), tortured prisoners (-9),[286] created No Child Left Behind (further federal control over education) (-7), Sarbanes-Oxley Act (-9), Iraq invasion (-10) and occupation (-10), created Dept. of Homeland Security (centralized police state) (-9),[287] vastly expanded Medicare (-8),[288] Energy Policy Act of 2005 (-6), $286 billion for transportation projects (-7),[289] Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (-5), spending to overthrow Iran's government (-10),[290] wasteful spending on Vision for Space Exploration (-4), steel tariff (-5), US$1 billion for tsunami aid (-1),[291] Hurricane Katrina incompetence/martial law (-4),[292] incredible spending/deficits (-9),[293] funded Somali warlords against ICU (-10),[294] supported Ethiopian invasion of Somalia (-10),[295] attempted coup in Venezuela (-10),[296] provoked Palestinian civil war after Hamas was democratically elected (-10),[297] attempted destabilization of Pakistan (-10),[298] orchestrated civic coup in Bolivia (-10),[299] Operation Pipe Dreams/expanded drug war at home (-7)[300] and militarily abroad (-10),[301] "counterterrorism" military training abroad (-10),[302] restricted Second Amendment (Project Safe Neighborhoods) (-4),[303] nationalized (-9) and bailed out (-9) economic disasters,[304] encouraged easy credit/housing bubble (-8),[305] created "free-speech zones" (-7),[306] one-million people on "no fly lists" (-9),[307] TSA searches (-7),[308] US$190 billion farm subsidies (-7),[309] Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (-4), sought partial privatization of Social Security that would have accelerated borrowing/spending (-2),[310] no-bid contract corruption (-2),[311] vetoed less than any other President (-2).[312]
Score: -332