“No Nation Building” ==> “Let’s Build Democracies!” Rinse. Repeat.

From George W. Bush to Barack Obama to Donald Trump, we have seen candidate after candidate attest that we should not wade into the affairs of other countries only to argue as president why we must and then do it whether the argument compels or not.

In reviewing some old notes, I found in a May 2017 document a “What to Watch Out For” (#WTWOF) to myself:

Read more“No Nation Building” ==> “Let’s Build Democracies!” Rinse. Repeat.

Alt Right or Alt Wrong? Podcast of Aug 27 2016 show


This week’s podcast on youtube 🙂

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This is a good time for a RedSilverJ video 🙂





The Propaganda Report: Coercive Engineered Migration Qaddafi-Style


Last year I added a glossary entry “coercive engineered migration” about a phenomenon described in Kelly Greenhill’s book, Weapons of Mass Migration, in which she uses as her best example Qaddafi threatening Europe with uncontrolled migration from Africa if they didn’t comply with his demands.

The theory behind coercive engineered migration is that relatively weak foreign rulers can effect policy change in democratic Western countries by forcing politicians to make a choice: either capitulate to their demands or be faced with a choice to either accept a flood of migrants or to refuse migrants and expose your country and its citizens as hypocrites. It was a very effective tactic and now, having bombed Libya into the stone age and set up Qaddafi to be killed, the West is using his tactic against its own people.

From charging European countries exorbitant fines upward of $300,000 per migrant refused, to threatening uncontrolled African migration if Libya is not taken in hand, the ruling elite of the EU and the US are, by hook or by crook, getting Europe to consent to participating in the military conquest of the Middle East.

Here is today’s propaganda from The Wall Street Journal: Arm our version of a government in Libya or be overrun…

U.S. and Others Open to Arming Libyan Government
Secretary of State John Kerry and top diplomats meet in Vienna to discuss anti-Islamic State measures

The Vienna meeting was co-chaired by Italy, Libya’s former colonial ruler, which is concerned about the country’s stability because of the threat of uncontrolled migration. Libya’s Mediterranean coast is a main departure point for migrants to southern Europe.

My distinction between recognizing the free exercise of the rights to work and travel and calling out coercive engineered migration has drawn some fire from libertarians, and I understand why, but one of my arguments for resisting this tactic is that the more effective it is the more it gives the powers that be–and even the powers that wanna-be–an incentive to continue to use it by destabilizing regimes from within through radical Islamic fifth columns and economic destabilization and without through mercenaries and military action.

To me, it is an inescapable conclusion that radical Islam and the migrant crisis are tools being used by the global military industrial complex for the subjugation of the Middle East. What else would explain the West’s policy of toppling secular Arab strongmen who kept radical Islam in check? The pattern is undeniable, from Qaddafi to Hussein to Assad in recent memory, to the mid-Twentieth century regime changes of the secular governments of Iran and Afghanistan. (Am I missing any? Oh yeah–using the Muslim Brotherhood against Nasser in Egypt and against Assad père in Homs, though those attempts at regime change were unsuccessful.)



A Libertarian Take on School Loans & International Students

This is part of a series I’m testing out called: The Propaganda Report, Your MSM Companion. Here’s what it’s about: I read the WSJ to keep up with the official narrative–if we know what they’re trying to feed us, we might be able to figure out why. I have concluded that nothing in The Wall Street Journal, which I consider to be the “conservative” newspaper of record, is put there simply to inform. It is to misinform in order to serve an agenda or to spin real information that cannot be ignored. With that said, I thought I would take an article or related articles from The Journal (and occasionally elsewhere) every day and try to start a conversation. The format: article title in bold linked to the online version of the article, subtitle in italics followed by excerpts from the article as block quotes, then my take.


Heavy Recruitment of Chinese Students Sows Discord on U.S. Campuses
Colleges need international students in part for the tuition revenue, but language and cultural barriers make assimilation a struggle

…A decade ago, facing falling state financial support, Oregon State decided it needed to attract more students from outside the U.S. State appropriations per full-time college student have fallen 45% in the past five years.

In an effort to jump start international enrollment, Oregon State launched an English-immersion program in partnership with a private British-based firm called INTO, which accepts students with limited English skills and aims to prepare them for regular course work.

The program is housed in a $52 million state-of-the-art facility, paid for by Oregon State, which boasts a store stocked with organic and Asian food products, eco-friendly plumbing and solar panels on the roof.

“Our primary goal was to double the number of international students in five years,” says Chris A. Bell, an engineering professor who was on the team that launched the INTO partnership. “We had blown through that in four.”

Oregon State’s international population surpassed 3,300 last fall, up from 988 in 2008, the year before INTO began operating. The revenue has enabled the university to add 300 tenure-track professors and expand overall enrollment to nearly 29,000 from about 19,000 during the same period.

One concentration, the school’s accountancy masters of business, now has more Chinese than American students, says senior professor Roger Graham Jr. That raises questions, he says, such as, “Do I stick with the original learning objectives or modify them” to suit the needs of Chinese students?…

Whenever I discuss immigration issues, I have to reiterate that I am a libertarian in favor of a free society. In a free society, market forces work to regulate employment, migrant flows, skills, etc., and the right of individuals to engage in arms’ length transactions include recognition of their rights to work and travel. (For my views on immigration in an unfree society such as ours, click here.) All that said, in discussing this article, I’m not offering a judgment call on what is right or wrong, I merely aim to point out the government policies that are resulting in this phenomenon and how a free market would result in a very different outcome….

Universities are engaging in active recruitment of international students and investing hundreds of millions of dollars in that effort in order to increase tuition income by charging international students higher rates. This article describes this practice and some of the difficulties that have arisen as a result. My libertarian alternative to these problems is simple: Eliminate government subsidies for higher education.

If state and federal governments stopped providing grants and subsidizing school loans, college students would only be able to get loans from private institutions if their chosen major is calculated to generate enough income to allow the student to repay the debt. This would eliminate the moral hazard of encouraging students to take on school debt (debt that cannot be forgiven even in bankruptcy), without any feedback mechanism as to whether or not their commitment makes financial sense and would begin to reverse our looming student debt crisis. Eliminating college subsidies would also allow college tuition to become much more affordable, eliminating the artificial demand that has resulted in exorbitant tuition-inflation.

The pressure on colleges to generate out-sized tuition is no doubt a result of bloated budgets which have resulted from subsidized demand for college and from government decision-makers who know that cutting their budgets cuts their power. Ending government subsidies for higher education would result in a shake-out as colleges downsized or shuttered in response to reduced demand, but after the market adjusted there would be less if any pressure on colleges to recruit international students and less if any demand by industry for H1B1 visas for higher-skilled jobs as American students choose smarter majors in order to qualify for private loans.

As marginal students for whom college debt does not make sense stopped falling for the moral hazard of subsidized school loans, there would be more Americans available to take the jobs that currently draw in lower-skilled immigrants. As it stands, over-educated under-performers are better off taking government jobs or non-profit work to get government rescue packages (see article below), but without the burden of ill-conceived loans, they could have followed market signals to their highest and best occupations, and be debt-free already.

As an added free market boon, if we used the savings of ending the college subsidy program to eliminate corporate taxes (the source of much government-bestowed privilege and cronyism anyway), new firms would flock to the US and many would pay to educate employees for higher-skilled jobs, a practice that was common here a few decades ago. This would help reduce American unemployment as would allowing market forces to reassert themselves in students’ decisions on whether or not to go on to college and if so, what majors to choose.

Finally, this report on the challenges presented by a government-fostered international student body reveals the fallacy that a wall between the US and Mexico is a solution to citizens’ fears about immigration. As Germans and Swedes, for example, are seeing, conflicts over immigration do not concern primarily those who enter illegally despite governments’ best efforts, it’s government immigration policy overall. The same is true here. As this Journal article foreshadows, middle class American parents will find out more and more, that their children will not so much face competition from illegal immigrants taking low-skilled jobs (for more on the surprising policy sources of that phenomenon, click here), but from legal immigrants benefiting from an ever-weakening dollar who will compete for enrollment at good schools and higher-skilled jobs upon graduation. As a libertarian, I welcome free market competition anytime, anywhere; likewise as a libertarian, I object to government policy that distorts markets and incentives, as is the case with college subsidies.

Student-Loan Delinquencies Decline
Number of Americans at least a month behind on payments falls, but many don’t see debt load diminishing

The number of Americans at least a month behind on their student-loan payments is declining, reversing a trend the Obama administration has called a threat to the nation’s economic health.

About one in five Americans, 19.7%, who were out of school and required to be making payments on federal student loans, were at least 31 days behind as of Dec. 31, the Education Department said Thursday.

That figure, which covered only loans made directly by the government, the most common type of student loan, was down from a delinquency rate of 22.2% a year earlier.

But don’t let the headline fool you. The numbers are looking up primarily because the government is spending yet more money to fix the problem it had caused when it lured millions of people into college debt who would be better off without it and drove college costs sky high with indiscriminate subsidies.

Delinquencies remain exceptionally high compared with any other form of household credit, after surging during the recession and through much of the recovery. But the Obama administration touted the latest drop as a sign its multiyear campaign to help troubled borrowers with debt-relief programs was working, even though the programs cost taxpayers….

The plans cost taxpayers because they include a provision to forgive student debt after a period of payments. For example, borrowers who make payments under the plans while working in government or nonprofit jobs can have any remaining balance forgiven after 10 years of payments. Those in the private sector can have balances forgiven in 20 to 25 years. Any forgiven balances are covered by taxpayers.

Update (March 23, 2016): Just making it worse…
Colleges Brace for Overtime Overhaul
Many schools say rule is at odds with Obama goal of making higher education affordable

Coercive Engineered Migration

I recently wrote an article called The Libertarian Immigration Conundrum in which I discuss how the state can use our principles of liberty to get us to lose control of government and end up with less free societies. I hadn’t realized that this was a defined strategy until I saw the video below. The video is an excellent overview of the state of affairs in Europe today, and I’m more than intrigued by the reference made to Kelly Greenhill’s book, Weapons of Mass Migration. I haven’t read it yet, but the blurb is promising.

Defending an individual’s rights to work and travel is an essential element of libertarianism, but when governments destroy each other to change the fabric of society to benefit themselves at the expense of all of the populations, what is a libertarian to do?  The rights to work and travel are based on free will, not coercion, deception and military force. These are not free people responding to demographic or technological changes or even to a wanderlust, these are people deliberately displaced into populations that are not organically drawing them in.

Another question I’ve been considering as a libertarian concerns the immediate question of whether we should invite Syrian refugees by the thousands or even millions (what would be the fair number at which to stop?) to the United States as a result of the current crisis. My question is: does accommodating these refugees solve a problem created by our government against our will and insulate them from the consequences of their illegal and immoral behavior. The citizens of the United States made it very clear two years ago that we did not want John Kerry and Barack Obama to send Tomahawk missiles into Damascus Syria. We did not want war. They prosecuted the war anyway, however surreptitiously, and created a horrendous crisis. If we the people accept responsibility for this crisis, does this further enable our lawless leaders to continue this deadly and destructive behavior, or do we need to make it clear they are acting without our consent by repudiating their actions and all responsibility for their consequences?

In addition to discussing coercive engineered migration, Gearoid O Colmain gives in this video a very lucid overview of the major forces at work in the world today. (h/t American Everyman)

Don’t like the term “financial capitalism?” See my recent post Captive Institutions.

US Labor Participation Rate Plummets While Black Market for Labor Booms

labor force peopleAlmost 100 million Americans who could work aren’t. Burdening the labor market with payroll taxes, obamacare, regulatory compliance costs, minimum wage and indiscriminate college loan subsidies, among other things, as well as creating a wage floor with welfare, unemployment insurance, food stamps, etc., creates systemic unemployment like this.  The value to employers of the work these Americans could do falls below the wage these Americans are permitted or willing to take. That in turn creates a huge black market for labor, which is why “immigration reform” will never achieve its stated goal. Liberate the labor market and we would achieve without even trying a just, sustainable, organic rate of immigration that responds to genuine demographic and technological factors.

From ZeroHedge:
Participation Rate Crashes To October 1977 Level: Americans Not In The Labor Force Soar By 579,000 To Record 94.6 Million

The Libertarian Immigration Conundrum

1892_small_fullsizeUPDATE: I wrote this Original Article without realizing how contentious and emotional an issue immigration is in the libertarian community. I find libertarians to have an economic cast of mind and I tend to address issues in a highly analytical way that I think is easily understood. After I wrote this, however, I found that the immigration issue really brings out emotions in everyone, including libertarians, likely because so much human suffering is at stake, so I think it makes sense for me to back up a little and explain how I got to the point where I thought libertarians had a conundrum on their hands when it comes to immigration.

As a hardcore libertarian, I never gave a second thought to the rightness of allowing immigrants to come into this country and engage in private arms-length transactions for employment and housing. I never bought the argument that they use roads we already paid for–we pay as we go with fuel taxes, and with $17 trillion in national debt, seems that nothing we have here is actually bought and paid for anyway.

On a personal level, as a New Yorker, I always loved the melting pot, and every New Yorker I knew growing up effectively volunteered for the melting pot either through immigrant parents or grandparents; and, later, as an investment banker in Money-Making Manhattan, I found we New Yorkers, no matter where from originally, all shared the same values in that “eat-what-you-kill” environment. It’s an immigrant culture, it’s eminently American and I’ve always loved it.

As the granddaughter of immigrants and a New Yorker born and bred, I just didn’t get why people were against immigration, and after some thought, I concluded that there must just be an underlying feeling of racism or xenophobia. That motive, I felt, could not be indulged, not because it’s wrong on it’s face, but because it’s unjustifiable. We have no rights as a society, only as individuals. If others wish to transact with immigrants, there is no moral justification whatsoever to stop them. If cultures change as a result, so be it. Organic change is normal. We should retain our values through strict adherence to just law and welcome new people into our communities as MLK urged us to judge one another: based on content of character not color of skin.

However, after I got on the radio and did a few shows on immigration explaining my libertarian position, I was inundated by email and opinions from the conservative to the otherwise libertarian-leaning expressing concern that I didn’t realize the danger imposed on us by excessive immigration, so I gave the topic still more thought.

Again, as a libertarian, I accept the consequences of liberty, including the liberty inherent in the rights to work and travel. But as with economics in general, I felt that immigration patterns respond to demographics and technology and as conditions changed, immigration ebbed and flowed. I have found that the feedback mechanisms inherent in free systems allow changing conditions to be adapted to without too much harm done–usually things end up for the better. For example, as immigrants entered the system and had to learn needed skills, including English, they tended to integrate in the important ways: work ethic, fair business practices, etc., and contribute in other ways: different perspectives, new cuisines, old world values.  And if they couldn’t offer what was needed, they would go back. (One of my great grandparents actually did go back after his wife died, leaving my grandmother in an orphanage in New York.)

I began to notice, however, that immigration patterns were changing–not necessarily in where people were coming from, but in the fact that they were not integrating. It wasn’t a melting pot, but a fractured society with competing fundamental values. That’s not how it was in New York. We were all–my immigrant grandparents and my investment banking co-workers–there for the same purpose: the opportunity to work very hard and get ahead. Then I realized that changing immigration laws (prioritizing family reunification over needed skills, for example) as well as an increasingly dysfunctional labor market (leading to a black market for labor that is irresistible to the poor across the border) was leading to skewed immigration patterns that were likely foreseen and manipulated by the political class. That’s when I realized that libertarian principles might be exploited in centrally controlled societies to gain consent for policies that will have what we might think are unintended consequences but which were in reality the plan all along (perhaps for example, to create a less literate electorate, or one with a predisposition to vote for a larger central government.)

As a staunch libertarian, I continue to defend the rights of individuals to work and travel and of employers and landlords (and everyone else) to engage in arms’ length transactions with consenting adults, but I do realize that there are conscious forces at work that exploit our principles for their own self-interest.

I hope this clarifies my thinking on this issue. Now for the Original Article…

“I began to rethink my views on immigration when, as the Soviet Union collapsed, it became clear that ethnic Russians had been encouraged to flood into Estonia and Latvia in order to destroy the cultures and languages of these people.”
Murray Rothbard
Nations by Consent: Decomposing the Nation-State, 1994

The libertarian position on immigration is clear: every person on earth has the right to work and travel as long as he doesn’t encroach on the rights of others in the process. In a free society, you must accept the consequences to society of the choices individuals make, even if you don’t like them. Fortunately, in a free (capitalist) society, the pricing mechanism gives constant feedback to actors of the costs of their actions, and migration patterns, like the labor market (and in conjunction with it), would constantly adjust to reflect the changing marginal value of the choices individuals are making. The result would be an organic, gradual process of adjustment to technological and demographic changes, rather than the systemic, manipulated upheavals we experience in today’s highly controlled society.

In our controlled society, however, there are many costs and implications of government policy that individuals are literally forced to accept. These are not simply unintended consequences, but deliberate policies crafted to change our underlying culture to further the state’s purposes. These purposes include manipulating the body politic to erode voter defense of rights and liberties, especially property rights and the absolute right to self-defense, as well as (together with trade policy) manipulating the competitive landscape for goods and labor in favor of government-connected firms at the expense of entrepreneurs and individual wage-earners. Perhaps even more sinister, immigration policy may be used as a way to integrate populations and normalize laws across regions to facilitate Zbigniew Brzezinski‘s famous goal of “gradual convergence of East and West.” (For more on this last point, click here; see also my long comment in the “comments” section below.)

In the face of these abuses, is it the correct libertarian position to “take any liberties we can get” even though they are being picked and chosen for us by a power elite intentionally exploiting these principles of freedom to create a less free society?

The Libertarian Conundrum

Here are the main sticking points I see to applying libertarian immigration principles to our centrally controlled society:

Read moreThe Libertarian Immigration Conundrum

A Wall Is the Solution to the Wrong Problem: Podcast of August 22, 2015 Show

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Here’s a great article on the ratification controversy surrounding the 14th Amendment…


Here is the show I did recently in which I defended Donald Trump better than he defended himself in the Megyn Kelly dust-up!


For more of my libertarian views on immigration, check out The Libertarian Immigration Conundrum.

Stefan Kinsella on AnCap Immigration (podcast)

hqdefaultKOL074 | The Libertarian: Interview by Keir Martland: Argumentation Ethics, Immigration, Libertarian Property Theory

Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 074.

This is my interview from The Libertarian, by Keir MartlandIt was released as The Libertarian: Podcast #1. We discussed libertarian theory, Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s libertarian views, argumentation ethics, immigration, and related matters. For further background on these topics see:

I also did a previous written interview with Martland for that site: Interview by The Libertarian.