WolfesBlogArchives: June 2005

Thursday, June 30, 2005


Guess the cartoonist means the recent KKK case -- and implies that there's been real change. I think of the Nine Nazgul (as Silver describes them) and the Kelo decision and ... well, somehow the two robes don't look all that different to me. "Justice" in Mississippi may have improved. But in the nation ... ?

Posted by Claire @ 12:11 PM CST [Link]

by guestblogger Silver

Less than 35 years ago money was fundamentally different from the consensual mass illusion we call money today. During the 10,000-plus years since the invention of money, it has always been a commodity.

The commodity used as money has varied over time, places, and peoples. An amazing array of commodities have been used: cattle and other livestock, sugar, salt, copper, iron nails, tobacco, grain, tea, shells, feathers, beads, carved stones, various kinds of tools such as knives or spades, even fishhooks. Metallic coins were introduced in Asia Minor fully 600 years before the birth of Christ; King Croesus introduced coins of pure gold and silver about 550 B.C.

There are many properties that make a commodity suitable for use as money. One of the most important is durability. You don’t want your money rotting, walking away, dying, or being eaten by rodents and insects. Another is marketability; money is of little use if it is not widely accepted. A third is portability; carved stone money, with “coins” that were sometimes meters across, were not very good on this score. There are many others, and the process of free market competition and refinement that led to the near universal use of gold and silver as money is an interesting one. I promised to keep these essays short, so I will defer telling that tale.

One nice thing about commodity money is that its value can’t go to zero. The value of commodities certainly changes with supply and demand, but unless demand goes to zero, or supply becomes so plentiful that no one wants any more, there will always be some value to your commodity. If your commodity begins being used as money, its value tends to go up, as there are now two sources of demand: one for use as a commodity, and one for use as money. But even if the second source of demand vanishes, you are not stuck with something worthless, just something worth less.

The fact that money has always been a durable commodity has some very important implications for those who want to live free. There are few things that curtail freedom more effectively than debt; free men and women adjust their lifestyles to their means, and the wiser among them invariably save some part of their money. The savings are used to make large purchases such as houses or educations, to cover expenses when illness or job loss curtails income, and to provide for one’s old age. Free people take care of themselves, and that means saving.

Saving money is impossible if the money is not durable. Cattle money is problematic because it takes a lot of work to feed, water, and tend the animals, things you can’t do so well as you get older. Grain money is likewise subject to rot and infestation. That is why, for thousands of years, the frugal, the wise, and the free have saved gold and silver coins.

It is possible to save this way today. It has never been easier to buy gold and silver bullion coins; a few mouse clicks or a phone call, send a paper check or some electronic bits to the merchant, a short while later the postman gives you a small and curiously heavy package. You have turned hallucination into cold hard reality. You can even do so in IRA and 401(k) accounts, although you have to find someone you trust to hold the coins until our masters say you can have them. You have to trust the masters not to change the rules before that day comes. Readers of this blog have reason not to be so trusting, but you can save directly, without the IRA/401(k) tax benefits.

Durability was lost when money became a consensual mass hallucination. It was not lost by accident. Future essays will explore who profits, and how, from non-durable money that makes saving by free people all but impossible.

Posted by Silver @ 04:16 AM CST [Link]

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

THAT WAS A VERY GOOD REVIEW OF THE BLACK ARROW at LewRockwell.com today. Yeah, let's have more rebellion and romance, less poly-ticking. That's what life's all about ...

Posted by Claire @ 10:42 PM CST [Link]

OH, THIS IS A GOOD, GOOD DAY. :-) Developer proposes to build a hotel on Justice David Souter's land.

Justice Souter's vote in the "Kelo vs. City of New London" decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.

On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.

Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.

The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."

Posted by Claire @ 01:38 PM CST [Link]

V for Vendetta

NOW HOW'S THAT FOR A MOVIE POSTER, EH? This day-brightener came to me from Scott the Browncoat, who says Serenity isn't the only movie freedom lovers should be looking forward to.

I'd never heard of this one. But Scott writes:

"V For Vendetta" is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore (great british comic author). It is one of the first modern comics to go beyond superhero stories and jump into art. And this is art for adults. The following is from [the book's listing on Amazon.com]: "A frightening and powerful story of the loss of freedom and identity in a totalitarian world, V for Vendetta takes place in an alternate future in which Germany wins WWII and Britain becomes a fascist state. A vigilante named 'V' stalks the streets of London trying to free England of its ideological chains."

The cast looks intriguing. Definitely going to keep an eye on this one.

The tagline asks us to "Remember, remember the Fifth of November" -- Guy Fawkes Day (the character "V" wears a Guy Fawkes mask). But it wouldn't do to release a film on a Saturday night, so November 4 is the date to await.

Posted by Claire @ 11:52 AM CST [Link]

Monday, June 27, 2005

Keeping It Simple, Stupid!

Raving reporter Thunder here. Many of us in the freedom-loving community have embraced the concept of gulching. For those not in the know, might I suggest this short primer. Well, as we all know there are different types of gulches. Some people may choose to vacate themselves to the backwoods of New Hampshire, some may retreat to the mountains and hills of one o' dem square states. Heck, some may even retreat to the desert surrounding the strip of Las Vegas or Palm Springs. Many will build their homesteads off-grid, utilizing wind, solar, or hydro power. A few may even utilize all three, if the resources are available.

The main hurdle once you're generating your own power is not using too much of it. The electrical resources that one will have when generating their own are [more]

Posted by Thunder @ 07:50 PM CST [Link]

THOSE JOLLY BRITS ARE AHEAD OF US AGAIN. And could it be that one reason they're so eager to impose a national ID card is that their government plans to make a handy profit selling the data?

It seems, however, that even the usually bovine British might finally be ready to rebel against at least one aspect of their surveillance state.

(This item found via Wendy McElroy's McBlog.)

Posted by Claire @ 08:44 AM CST [Link]

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Blog_Suki_Standing030705 (35k image)

I THOUGHT, IN THIS TIME OF GLOOM AND CONSTANT BAD NEWS, That it would be nice to show a small success story. The dog above is Suki, a feral rescue dog who came into my life on Memorial Day weekend, 2004.

Here's what she looked like at the vet's office the day my friend Ken and I brought her in on an improvised blanket stretcher. (Click only if you think you can handle it -- and then remember that she smelled even worse than she looked.)

And here's my favorite photo showing a typical moment in the oh-so-tough life Suki endures today.

You can see she's still not quite as furry as she ought to be. And she's still semi-wild and easily frightened. But on those days when it seems life has been in vain, it's encouraging to look at Suki and say, "Well, at least I've done one good and worthwhile thing."

Posted by Claire @ 04:10 PM CST [Link]

BUT DON'T WORRY. The feds have never used the Patriot Act to get library records. That's what they keep telling us (with a sneer toward "hysterical" privacy activists). And surely our masters wouldn't lie?

Good thing the freedom to read still has some friends. But the enemies are still at it and they're sneakier than we are.

(Thanks to Mystery Woman for the links.)

Posted by Claire @ 03:42 PM CST [Link]

by Silver

The relentless assault upon privacy, property, peace, and freedom seems to increase in scope and intensity with every passing day. The torrent of vile spew from SCOTUS at this time of year exacerbates the trend.

Each new outrage reinforces the image of SCOTUS as the nine Nazgul. Like the dark lords in Tolkien’s works, these creatures were once human. They had lives, families, and homes. Long ago they were seduced by power, and little by little they have given up their humanity, their compassion, even their ability to read and understand the plain meaning of simple, declarative language. Now they live in a netherworld, interacting with our world only to further erode the chains that once bound their master. They can cause great fear among mortal men and women, but they feel nothing, and no longer understand sickness, or privacy, or liberty, or life itself.

“They could see things in worlds invisible to mortal men; but too often they beheld only the phantoms and delusions of the State. And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thralldom of the power that they wielded and began to support the supremacy of the State over all things. And they became forever invisible save to those that served the State, and they entered into the realm of shadows. The Nazgul were they, the Benchwraiths, the Enemy's most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death.”
(My apologies to JRR Tolkien for paraphrasing The Silmarillion. )

Today’s Nazgul believe that their rituals and dark powers protect and legitimize their evil works. They tell each other that crafting aggressive language citing the writings of their predecessors makes their rulings wise and just.

The charade is failing. The naked hand of power reveals itself ever more clearly, as it smites the sick, the poor, and the innocent with increasingly careless abandon. Today only the minions of the state pay heed to the screeching of these Benchwraiths. Their legitimacy begins and ends at the muzzles of the State's guns, for they have long ceased to be fit judges of anything at all concerning the affairs of a free people.

Posted by Silver @ 05:49 AM CST [Link]

Saturday, June 25, 2005

THUNDER IS RIGHT. The ruling that your property belongs to whichever gang of rich mucky mucks colludes with government to take it came straight from the belly of the Beast. Now the Beast is slavering in anticipation of the bloody meals it itself intends to consume.

But outrages like the Kelo decision also make interesting allies. BlackEnterprise.com has one of the best analyses on Kelo's devastation of private property rights. Perhaps the Beast's diverse prey will unite in defense.

Posted by Claire @ 10:28 AM CST [Link]

Friday, June 24, 2005


Guest blogger Thunder here.

It would appear that the ink on the Supreme Court decision allowing theft of private property has not even dried yet and already localities are seizing the opportunity to start their sprees of wholesale pilfering of privately owned land to give to other people.

The town of Freeport, Texas and their lawyers jumped into action without hesitation.

Bastards. I would wax a bit more eloquent than that, but I'm almost too angry for words. I feel violated.

Posted by Thunder @ 09:38 PM CST [Link]

WHAT CAN A SERVER LEARN ABOUT YOU AND YOUR BROWSER? Charles Curley sends this series of tests that are far more detailed than others I've seen. Check out the vulnerabilities, opportunities, and revelations your browser offers to the Net -- and to hackers, crackers, spammers, spyware makers, and snooping gummint scum.

Posted by Claire @ 10:55 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The nature of money today

Silver here. It is a real honor and a privilege to be a guest in this place, and I thank Claire for the opportunity.

The focus of this blog is freedom. What does money have to do with freedom? Money is one of those things, like air or electricity, which is so common and deeply ingrained in our everyday lives that most people don’t bother to worry about where it comes from, how it is made, who controls it. Take it away, and your life gets very difficult, very quickly. Manipulate it, and unscrupulous people can take advantage of the ignorant or unwary.

Most of us know from personal experience what comes from not having enough money. Charles Dickens was succinct: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”

Happiness is not the same as freedom. A sweeping, unfair generalization about Amerika today would be “fat, dumb, happy, and less free every single day.” You can be poor and free, rich and a slave. (I'm aiming for rich and free, but that's another story.) As a nation, we’re rich, and we’re slaves. There are reasons we have come to this, and the nature of our money is one of those reasons.

Individual liberty is meaningless if it does not include the freedom to trade with others, to make contracts, to exchange goods and services. Even the most die-hard gulchers at TCF spend a lot of time discussing how gulches might organize their economies and trade within a gulch or with other gulches. Almost no one seeks individual autarchy, absolute self-sufficiency. The wondrous array of goods and services available today makes any attempt to live in complete isolation an exercise in severe deprivation, with a life that is shorter, sicker, lonelier, and much, much harder than it needs to be.

Money is absolutely essential to trade. There are no advanced barter economies in the world today. The introduction of money completely revolutionized trade, allowed entrepreneurs to make complex calculations regarding costs, prices, and profits, and solved the problem of one farmer with one cow to trade trying to find one merchant to sell him just the right combination of shoes, clothes, drink, spices, glass, jewelry, cooking oil, and fuel. It’s not that barter can’t work, it’s that money works so much better that barter immediately becomes a very minor part of economic life whenever money is introduced. Money was created by and for free people and free markets. Theft and violence, the basis of all government, preceded the creation of money, and when money was introduced governments quickly shifted their demands from shares of crops and indentured servants to money.

The nature of money today is very different than it has been for thousands of years, different than pretty much all of the recorded and unrecorded history of humanity. Modern money is a consensual mass hallucination. Today's money has no substance, no value of its own. We believe in our money because it is easy and convenient to do so, and because our masters command it. With direct deposit, credit cards, and on-line banking services, it is quite possible to live a perfectly normal lifestyle while only rarely touching the bits of colored paper that we call money. Most Amerikan money is in the form of electronic bits. They keep track of our bank accounts, record the transfer of money from our employer’s account to (first) the ever-growing legions of tax collectors, your 401(k), perhaps various loan payments, and whatever is left to your bank account, while reporting every detail to the federales on request. Most of the new money being created out of thin air is no longer printed; why pay $20 and change for $1,000 in new bills when you can do the same with a few keystrokes?

When William Gibson explored the concept of the matrix in his book Neuromancer it was possible to enter and exit at will. Today’s matrix, the consensual mass hallucination we call money, is nearly impossible to exit. But like all illusions, there are those who control its workings for their own benefit. In the essays to come, I hope to pull the curtains aside just a bit for those who are curious about this cornerstone of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Posted by Silver @ 08:27 PM CST [Link]


Blogispondent Ian here. I would like to announce that the first TCF Combat Rifle Postal Match will be taking place over Independence Day weekend! For those of you not familiar with postal matches, the idea is that a bunch of people all shoot the same course of fire and then mail their targets to a single person for scoring. It allows us to hold a rifle match without needing to get everyone together at the same shooting range. For the privacy-minded, you may scan your targets and email them in rather than using a mail carrier.

Everyone with a military-style rifle is encouraged to participate, regardless of skill level. Click "more" for detailed information: [more]

Posted by Ian @ 03:10 PM CST [Link]

WELL, THE FEDDIES CERTAINLY WASTED NO TIME cracking down on those evil dangerous sick people following the Supermes' verdict in the Raich case.

Thank god we have the state to protect us. Otherwise ... well, my lord, we might have anarchy!

Posted by Claire @ 01:32 PM CST [Link]

HOW IRONIC. I review the movie The Castle on the morning of the day the U.S. Supremes say the government really can take your property and give it to another private party ... as long as the mucky mucks consider the transaction an "improvement."

And won't they always consider it an improvement to see your property in their pals' hands? Especially when it means more tax loot for them?

Posted by Claire @ 11:47 AM CST [Link]

DO YOU FEEL A DRAFT? Pentagon begins creating detailed student database.

WASHINGTON - The Defense Department began working yesterday with a private marketing firm to create a database of high school students ages 16 to 18 and all college students to help the military identify potential recruits in a time of dwindling enlistment in some branches. ...

The new database will include personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying.

And typically ...

Privacy advocates said the plan appeared to be an effort to circumvent laws that restrict the government's right to collect or hold citizen information by turning to private firms to do the work.

(Found by Thunder.)

Posted by Claire @ 09:29 AM CST [Link]

DARRYL VS. GOLIATH. (A review of The Castle, Rated R for language, 83 minutes, Australia 1997.)

Darryl Kerrigan has a great life. He's thrilled that his family's home is at the end of the Melbourne airport runway where the "big, beautiful machines" fly so close overhead that it almost feels as though they're going to drop on the house. He's delighted to live under the power highlines, which to him symbolize all the greatness of mankind's creations. His porch has the best plastic trim on the block. He's amazed at the glory of every meat loaf his wife cooks. He's even got a daughter who's the first in the family to graduate from "college" -- with a degree in hairdressing.

In fact, the whole Kerrigan family is as loving and as near perfectly content as a family can be.

Until one day they receive notice that their home is being taken by compulsory acquisition (the Australian equivalent of eminent domain) to expand the airport. Their neighbors' homes are being taken, too.

It's all according to law, explains a polite lady bureaucrat. There's an agreement between the federal, state, and county governments and the airport commission that allows it.

"Yeah?" demands Darryl, "Well where's the agreement with Darryl Kerrigan, 3 Highview Crescent, Coolaroo?" [more]

Posted by Claire @ 12:41 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

COMPANY IS EXPECTED. Old friends from TCF, Silver and Thunder will soon be joining Ian, Debra, and me for 45-day stints as Wolfesblog guest bloggers. I've asked them to post at least once a week -- and more often if they like.

I'm not going anywhere; I just thought some additional voices would go well in this little chorus.

I admire Silver's expertise on money and economics, and those are probably the topics he'll focus on. Thunder ... well, he just rants reel gud. And after his role in The Bug-Out Campout I'm hoping he might also gift us occasionally with survival gear reviews, recipes, and such.

Posted by Claire @ 08:39 PM CST [Link]

OOOOH. PAYING TO BE BIOMETRICALLY SCANNED AND DATABASED. Well, isn't that just a hot little trend for the fast-lane folk? Especially considering this is being done -- by a "free-market" private contractor, of course -- on behalf of the TSA, which has so recently given yet another demonstration of its trustworthiness.

(Thanks to SJ.)

Posted by Claire @ 12:31 PM CST [Link]

THE TOP 100 MOVIE QUOTES OF ALL TIME. Very good. :-) But where's "No matter where you go ... there you are"? And its variations?

Posted by Claire @ 12:15 PM CST [Link]

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

HUMAN BEINGS ARE NOT MADE TO "MULTITASK." So indicate several recent studies. And it's not just about whether we can safely drive and talk on a cellphone at the same time. It's about whether we do our best as human beings.

Mystery Woman sent this link after reading yesterday's post on "How to be Idle." Like a lot of us, all my conditioning says "do, do, do." But the more seriously I delve into the virtues of idleness, the more I realize how much went wrong when we surrendered the ideal of leisure for the rather less pleasant ideals of "the work ethic" and "productivity."

What the hell did we let ourselves be talked into? The work ethic initially may lead to greater prosperity. But ultimately, it seems to lead to nothing but a more frantic work ethic ... which spills over into an ethic that says that even our play and our family activities must be carried out with a terrible intensity of pace and purpose. We work at everything as though we're convinced the whole world (espcially the economic world) will collapse under our feet if we stop.

Then, already exhausted, we discover that pleasurable idleness itself becomes hard work -- largely because of all the internal and external barriers we have to break through to find that sort of simplicity again.

Posted by Claire @ 01:45 PM CST [Link]


Murray Rothbard, Karl Hess, and Samuel Edward Konkin III were all bridge-builders to freedom lovers on the left. Unfortunately, they're all dead. But libertarianism (aka "classical liberalism") began on the left. And it's as important as ever -- maybe moreso -- to keep those bridges open.

Posted by Claire @ 01:34 PM CST [Link]

NOT A MELTING POT, BUT ... Something else altogether, says Thunder.

I've been considering opening Wolfesblog up to two or three other posters -- both to add variety and to make sure there's plenty of content here even on days I take a break. Thunder is one of the people I'm talking with. We haven't quite worked out a co-blogging or guest-blogging arrangement, but he already submitted his first rumination.

Not only does Thunder have an ... er, unique idea about freedom lovers. It turns out (cue Twilight Zone theme) he and I have a weakness for the same rare and strange version of a classic 1950s concoction -- which you'll find at the bottom of his message.

I'll now leave the stage (or should I say the kitchen?) and let Thunder take over:

When we grew up, with most of us attending government schools, we were taught that America was the Great Melting Pot. A smorgasbord of cultures and nationalities. A buffet, if you will. The main dish on this buffet was freedom. It's what attracted all of those different peoples here from around the globe. The freedom to live their lives the way they wanted to, not how they were told to do.

Times have changed however. No longer is freedom the meat and potatoes of the buffet that is America. True freedom lovers have become a minority. Ostracized, ridiculed, and damned near hated by the vast majority of Americans nowadays, the freedom-loving community has now become one of the most dreaded of dishes on the American buffet. We've become ...............


Posted by Claire @ 01:30 PM CST [Link]

Monday, June 20, 2005

HOW TO BE IDLE. I'm still working on it. Others are more accomplished:

I had lunch with these French people who said, “Travailler moins, produire plus.” In other words, the less you work, the more you produce. And certainly in my own experience—even in the really good jobs—a lot of the day is just spent sitting there, staring at your screen, pretending to work, checking your emails, on the phone to your girlfriend. I realized I’d rather work hard for two or three hours in a day—which was the only real work I was doing—and then bobble about the rest of the time, in the park or whatever. I’ve found that there isn’t any correlation whatsoever between the hours put in and the quality of what comes out. Most of the Beatles’ songs probably originated in about five minutes. Often, the things that a lot of work has gone into have been incredibly bad because they’re over-worked.

Posted by Claire @ 01:00 PM CST [Link]

Sunday, June 19, 2005

ACTORS, ACTRESSES, MUSINGS ON MUSES. Wally Conger praises Batman Begins, which I hope to see as soon as it hits the local one-plex.

I'd probably have gone, anyway, but this week I belatedly discovered the wonders of Christian Bale, who plays Batman/Bruce Wayne. I'd been aware of Bale, but not until my movie-reviewing pal Oliver recommended The Machinist did I bow before Bale's glories. His performance in that film is astonishing.

I've seen three of last year's five "best actor" Oscar performances, including the winner. And Bale demolishes them all (including the performance by my favorite actor, Johnny Depp). So of course, they didn't even nominate him.

Sigh. Not the first time the Hollywoodizens have been so short-sighted.

Bale, who is 6'2", also reduced his weight to under 120 pounds to play the role of Trevor Reznik, a man tormenting himself into non-existence. No camera or lighting tricks; that emaciated creature who looks like he just staggered out of Auschwitz is all Bale -- or what was left of him. Doing that to himself may have been madness, but it was effective madness.

Bale's performance got me thinking about great contemporary actors and actresses. Mostly actors. I have to ask where are the actresses?

In about five minutes with a pen and a notepad, I can think of two dozen contemporary actors who've given at least one performance (and sometimes many more) that just flat blew me off my feet:

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