Irwin Schiff, RIP

Irwin Schiff, serving a 13-plus-year prison sentence for challenging the federal government’s mass robbery scheme known as income taxation, has passed away. Schiff was a political prisoner whose “crime” was to refuse to have his money stolen by the state. His free-market teachings have reached countless people, with his son Peter continuing to spread the ideas of the Austrian School of economics. I was first introduced to Austrian economics by Peter, who wrote the book inspired by his father called “How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes.” Irwin himself was the author of a few books, including “The Biggest Con: How the Government Is Fleecing You.”

David Gordon writes:

Irwin Schiff, imprisoned for his resistance to the federal income tax, died yesterday. Efforts by his son, the noted financial commentator Peter Schiff, to secure his release from prison so that he could die with his family, were unsuccessful. Schiff’s sad passing illustrates an essential truth about the state: if you resist its orders, you will be dealt with by force.

Lew Rockwell followed up:

David, I only saw Irwin speak once. He was running for the Libertarian nomination for president. (He lost to Ron Paul, not exactly a disgrace.) Like his son Peter, Irwin was an extraordinary speaker: no ums or ahs, eloquent sentence following eloquent sentence in logical progrression, classical rhetorical skills.

He was caged for the last years of his life in the big prison in Angola, Indiana, a desperately ill, 87-year-old man handcuffed to his bed, just in case he might wobble out and challenge the machinegun-toting guards.

Irwin was punished for answering a question in public about his last book, which a federal judge had ordered him never to discuss.

Irwin Schiff was a hero in every respect who stopped at nothing to continue fighting for our freedom. We are eternally grateful.


Cenk Uygur and The Young Turks’ Advocacy of Violence

(Photo Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

The initiation of violence is the fulcrum for just about everything Cenk and TYT promote

Whenever we come face-to-face with ideas that contradict our longest-held notions, our first instinct usually is to put them off and discard them as incorrect or flat-out wrong, especially if they are ideas so radical so as to be rejected by almost every single major establishment institution in the world. One of those ideas, and in my opinion the most radical and humane of all, is libertarianism, particularly known as Anarcho-Capitalism.

As a young and naive progressive during my first two years in college, I advocated government’s use of force to solve most of our problems, be they related to income inequality, discrimination, or any other perceived social ill relevant to most of us. Basically, I supported the state’s use of violence and coercion to impose its will on the people. That is ultimately what progressives such as The Young Turks promote whenever they advocate for more taxation, regulations, etc., plain and simple.

Adam Kokesh was generous enough to let me do a brief video for his show talking about my progressive past and eventual realization of libertarian ideas. To clarify, the transition from progressive to libertarian was by no means sudden or instant. It took some time (the span of about a year-and-a-half) for me to actually understand what the concepts were about. It all began with a sort of peripheral awareness that took the form of skeptical open-mindedness and later morphed into more of an active inquisitiveness where I began reading much of the classic works the major thinkers of libertarianism have written over time. As mentioned in the video, the spark was Murray Rothbard’s For a New LibertySo, it’s only logical not to expect to have a paradigm shift overnight where you wake up one morning and are suddenly a dead set and determined anarcho-capitalist. The process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months or even years. The goal is to expose yourself to something new that offers real change. A great start, as suggested, would be Adam’s new book – FREEDOM! – which you can read online. See if you dare to disagree with what’s in there.

Progressives seem to understand that government is the root of the problem when it comes to things like restricting marriage equality, mass surveillance/wiretapping, the militarization of police and police brutality, the “war on terror,” the “war on drugs,” and so on.

But when talking about economic issues, they fall hook, line and sinker for just about every typical caricature of free-market capitalism ever uttered. Classic misconceptions and ignorant beliefs abound whenever discussing issues ranging anywhere from monopolies to child labor to pollution. And how else, we’re asked, are roads and protection services ever to be provided without pointing guns at people’s heads?! Little, if any, attention has been paid to those great minds that have thoroughly addressed matters such as the private production of roads and protection and defense services. Moreover, why do so many turn a blind eye to the Federal Reserve, that government institution that causes not only the bubbles that lead to disastrous economic crises, but the very income inequality progressives claim to fight so hard against?

And no, Cenk, “campaign finance reform” and “getting money out of politics” won’t fix what’s wrong, for that ignores the fundamental realities of the problem. We are subject to an agency that monopolizes and institutionalizes on a mass scale the initiation of force in a given territory or region, in our case that which is currently called the United States. As Adam writes in FREEDOM!:

“If it is wrong for one person to do something, why is it acceptable when 51% of a voting population agrees to hire someone to do it for them? Democracy is not freedom. When fully living up to its ideal, democracy is at best a majority coming up with an excuse to impose its will on a minority. [Page 8]

“Fighting for ‘equal participation’ in the forced control of others prevents us from achieving the greater goal of a society that respects self-ownership. Democracy is a way to pretend that we are all equal slave-owners. The reality is always going to be far less than the champions of democracy promise, because it is based on a fundamentally immoral ideal. No one has the right to force a leader on anyone else and no mandate from the majority gives any leader the right to use force against anyone.” [Pages 13-14]

As Rothbard writes in For a New Liberty:

“The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else. This may be called the ‘nonaggression axiom.’ ‘Aggression’ is defined as the initiation of the use or threat of physical violence against the person or property of anyone else. Aggression is therefore synonymous with invasion.” [Page 27]

It’s really that simple. How can anyone be against the initiation of violence, right?

Cenk, have Adam (who happens to be a gazillion times more eloquent than I am) on your show for a friendly debate. Put your ideas up to the test. For the sake of sincerity in the search for truth, be fair to your viewers. What do you have to lose if your position is as righteous as you claim?

P.S. The Young Turks have yet to back up their half-baked assertions: