Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Five Libertarian Ideas #26 - NFL, Redbox, and ISIS

The Arab-Israeli conflict
As far as the Arab-Israeli conflict goes, international intervention is a lose-lose scenario. That guerrilla war's been going on for almost 70 years. As a soldier I think the Israelis should slug it out with Hamas and erase the Gaza strip. As a constitutionalist I think they should make the Arabs full Israeli citizens guaranteed the rights thereof while also recognizing them as a protected minority. Furthermore, Israel should allow international companies to invest in the West Bank and create jobs for the Arabs. But other countries should stay the hell out. Let both sides stop killing and start trading. -9/11

Domestic violence is bad for business
I love seeing the backlash of sponsors withdrawing their support of the NFL or individual players amidst all the domestic violence scandals. The NFL doesn't need government to regulate behavior. They're finding out that hiring players who behave abhorrently is simply bad for business. -9/18

The Scotland referendum
[In response to the UK winning the vote:] William Wallace is rolling in his grave. -9/18

ISIS and the homeland
The more threats the Islamic State issues against my homeland and the people I love, the greater is my resolve not to be intimidated. Free people will not live in fear. As a matter of fact, I think I'll go grill up some bacon just to spite them. -9/19

Redbox vs Piracy
used to work at Hollywood Video until we were put out of business by bad corporate leadership and the convenience of Netflix. Then FiOs gave Netflix a run for their money. Now we have amazing Redbox which lets me see the movies I want for $1.20 per day instead of $3.99. I never thought I'd see the day when ingenious entrepreneurship made DVD piracy a waste of time and money, but here it is! -9/22

* * *


Friday, September 19, 2014

Five Libertarian Ideas #25 - War, Economics, Freedom

Free market abundance
My 14 year old nephew tells me he and his buddies went into Sam's Club and ate a full lunch just from being offered free samples. This speaks volumes about the abundance created by profit-seeking ingenuity, when groups of people at a time get a free feast from an advertising campaign. -9/2

Seceding from the Confederacy
Jones County, Mississippi is an interesting historical case. During the War Between the States, Jones County became a haven for Confederate Army deserters. These deserters fought a sporadic guerrilla war against state militia and Confederate Army troops, vigorously defending their status and free and individually self-governed people. -9/5

Fast food minimum wage
Fast food workers in Southern California are protesting for a $15 an hour wage. Truly, minimum wage is a job killer. It wouldn't be "necessary" if government didn't tax the working class back into poverty, nor inflate their hard-earned dollars til the value is next to nothing, nor strangled private sector job growth by picking winners and losers via "bailouts" and subsidized loans. -9/5

Libertarian role models
It's safe to say my role models are Jesus of Nazareth, Ethan Allen, and Bart Simpson. I'm a believer, a fighter, and I won't be told how to live my life. -9/8

Nazis and Commies in Ukraine
Ukraine's Azov Batallion is an openly white supremacist militia, while the Russians are nostalgic for communism and Stalin. God help us all, history is repeating itself. Socialists and fascists are slugging it out over whose way is right, and people are dying. The ONLY right way is maximum individual LIBERTY. Oh, by the way, the Russians violated the ceasefire today. -9/8

* * *

Sam's Club logo is the property of Wal-Mart and used here in accordance with Fair Use law. Azov Battalion is an element of the Ukrainian government. Both images were obtained from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Civil War movies that didn't make the Top 5

The Birth of a Nation (1915)
There's no denying that D.W. Griffith was a genius at filmmaking. Compare this three-hour 1915 epic war film other "moving pictures" from that era and it becomes clear that Griffith was way ahead of his time.

Being the son of a Confederate general, it's understandable that Griffith would have naturally been sympathetic to the Ku Klux Klan in their guerrilla war against Union occupation troops. The film shows US troops burning cities and black troops raping and pillaging Southern towns, and this is actually historically accurate. That situation is similar to the insurgent groups in Iraq; take a group of uneducated people who have been brutally oppressed for decades, arm them, and turn them loose and (surprise!) they're going to run wild.

However, portraying the Klansmen as noble heroes fighting for the purity of Southern women is little more than a charade. Any moral high ground the KKK had in their fight against Union occupation troops evaporated once the Klan began a campaign of terror against black civilians. Countless black Americans were tortured or murdered for such heinous offenses as VOTING. As for the final segment of the film... No, just no.

Lincoln (2013)

Let me start off by saying that there is a difference between entertainment and ideology. I'm able to enjoy a well-made movie even if I disagree with it. Just because I'm libertarian and believed the Union in the Civil War was the moral equivalent to the British in the Revolutionary War doesn't mean I didn't enjoy Lincoln. Hell, Jeffrey Tucker has written and spoken positively about Warren Beatty's movie Reds (which I also enjoyed) even though he's not a communist (nor am I).

Steven Spielberg made a great flick which I enjoyed because it brought to the screen an era that's awfully hard to imagine today. Daniel Day-Lewis is an amazing actor and really brought to life the man from the paintings. My favorite actor in the whole film was Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens: "I'm a Republican. And you are... a Democrat? Good God, man, are you wicked?"

This film didn't make the Top 5 because it was more about politics in Washington than about Lincoln being an effective Commander-in-Chief. While I did appreciate that the film was honest about Lincoln's lukewarm attitude toward black Americans, I wasn't fond of the way the US cabinet members were portrayed as heroes and the Confederate cabinet members like sleazy used car salesmen.

Gods and Generals (2003)
The prequel to Gettysburg is notorious for being a ridiculously long movie (in the neighborhood of three and a half hours, theatrical version). The movie received lukewarm reviews for being awfully confused, with too much back story and too many historical events packed into one film. This isn't due to the director, but rather to bad editing at the behest of the studio. Check out the extended director's cut on Blu Ray (five hours long) and the movie has a much better flow and makes a hell of a lot more sense.

Like Gettysburg (made ten years earlier by the same director), Gods and Generals is fair and balanced and presents both sides' cause for fighting. Despite this film being one of my favorites, I chose Gettysburg for the Top 5 because it does much the same as the prequel and is easier for viewers to digest.

Ride With the Devil (1999)
This was a decent film, though far from the best of Civil War movies. Still, I'm incredibly glad this movie was made because there are few others that portray guerrilla warfare in the Civil War, much less in the far western theater of Missouri and Kansas. On one side of the coin I feel that all of Ang Lee's movies are slow paced and this one was underwhelming. I also think Jonathan Rhys-Meyers would have made a much better leading man than Toby Maguire. Who else can play both Elvis Presley and Henry VIII?

On the flip side, I appreciate that the movie portrays atrocities by both sides, as well as the prominence of a black volunteer in the Confederate guerrilla band. However, I think The Outlaw Josey Wales did a much better job of spotlighting Civil War guerrillas and smashing the myth of the all-white Confederate military.

The Last Confederate (2007)
I very much like this movie and what it has to offer. Though it follows the hero through the thick and thin of combat and being a prisoner of war, it's primarily a love story. This movie is based on a true story and it's freaking cool that the leading man and lady are actual descendants of the lovers portrayed in the film. Despite all its strong points, the movie zeros in on the star-crossed lovers rather than trying to capture the "big picture." Still, it's definitely worth seeing!

Copperhead (2013)
From the same director as Gods and Generals and Gettysburg, Copperhead is a movie that delivers. It was refreshing to see a movie about the anti-war movement on the home front and is certainly worth seeing. I especially love how the film ties anti-war paleoconservatism to the Constitution and Biblical Christianity. While the message of the movie is powerful, Shenandoah was a much more heart wrenching movie (and epic), thus bumping Copperhead from the Top 5.

* * *

All movie posters used here are the property of their respective film studios. The images were obtained from Wikipedia and are presented here according to Fair Use law.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Top 5 American Civil War movies

5. Gangs of New York (2002)

Make no mistake, this Martin Scorsese masterpiece is about gang violence and sectarian violence, not about soldiers. However, this movie is very much about America at war with itself, and in more ways than one.

The defining event of this movie is the New York City Draft Riot of 1863 in which the immigrant and American-born working-classes simultaneously fought each other to settle old scores, and against the Union Army to resist the draft in a war they didn't believe in. 

Better yet, the antagonist William Cutting reminds me of so many of today's radical Republicans; zealously anti-immigrant, militantly patriotic, and rabidly pro-war despite having never served a day in the armed forces.

4. Glory (1989)

The overt pro-Union sentiment should be overlooked in favor of what the movie offers: a true account of black Americans who fought in the war. It is no small feat and no small accomplishment that most of the men of the 54th Massachusetts escaped slavery, made it north, and went back South as conquerers. These men proved to the world that black men could also fight, and that America is their country too. If only there were also a movie about the 50,000 black men who fought for the South!

3. Gettysburg (1993)

Gettysburg is a four-hour epic masterpiece that offers a detailed blow-by-blow of the biggest battle ever fought in North America. Director Ronald Maxwell also made the libertarian film Copperhead, so the standard is high here. The Gettysburg movie has an incredible instrumental soundtrack, epic panoramic battle scenes, and accurate depictions of army camp life. It offers equal attention to Union and Confederate forces, explains different people's motivations to fight, and best of all, the movie doesn't pick sides.

Let it be noted, Jeff Daniels was awesome as Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, but Martin Sheen steals the show as Robert E. Lee!

2. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

Clint Eastwood plays a gritty anti-hero that the viewer quickly understands and soon begins to root for. Josey Wales is a Confederate guerrilla with Quantrill's Raiders fighting the Union in the West. His family is murdered by pro-Union forces during the war, and his unit ambushed by Union troops when formally surrendering at war's end. His men dead, Josey Wales becomes a "bandit" fighting a new guerrilla war to punish those responsible.

Chief Dan George lends a commendable performance. George's character is based on Stand Watie, Confederate Army general and chief of the Cherokee nation. While the record about slavery has been worn out, this movie offers a fresh glimpse of Union atrocities, as well as Native American participation in the Southern war effort.

1. Shenandoah (1965)

"That war doesn't concern us. These aren't Virginia's sons, they're my sons!" So says the protagonist played by James Stewart. This hardworking farmer is intent on keeping his family out of the war, until the war comes to his doorstep. In a nutshell, Stewart's character is the living, breathing non-aggression principle. When his teenage son is mistaken for a rebel soldier and taken prisoner by the Union Army, neither hell nor high water will stop a father from getting his son back. However, the cost will be too high to bear.

This amazing movie is one of the best anti-war films ever made. The film has several battle scenes, a gripping plot, and gut-wrenching performances. It shows both sides utilizing underage soldiers and war's immediate economic effects due to the lack of productive labor. Most importantly, it shows the war's toll on civilians who get caught in the crossfire when war comes to their doorstep.

Next: Civil War movies that didn't make the Top 5 list. Coming Wednesday!

* * *

All movie posters used here are the property of their respective film studios. The images were obtained from Wikipedia and are presented here according to Fair Use law.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Five Libertarian Ideas #24 - People, War, and Austrian Economics

On the Libertarian Party
I used to think the Libertarian Party was a waste of time before I eventually joined. Now I know that a winning political strategy for us is to support libertarian Republicans like Ron Paul, Rand Paul, and Art Alas for state and federal races, while supporting LP candidates for local races.

But when there are no libertarians on the Republican ticket, the red blanket babies can forget it. I WILL NOT SETTLE for "Team R" when I can vote for a candidate who represents my beliefs. -8/14

Non-intervention and blowback
Non-intervention is excellent for preventing FUTURE blowback, but doesn't do anything about the anti-American blowback that currently exists and is still percolating. This is why the liberty movement needs to start forming strategies for national defense AND fighting terrorism at home in ways that remain in harmony with libertarian principles. -8/26

Cathy Reisenwitz
Cathy Reisenwitz
I just saw Cathy Reisenwitz's "resignation" announcement and it makes me sad to see such a great pioneer of liberty for our generation is temporarily "leaving" the movement. In reality, she's not leaving, per se; she's taking an important step out of the realm of talking politics/theory and into that of the market economy (i.e. the REAL world). The folks where she's going need her, and her libertarian influence, a lot more than we do. -8/29

Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Russia, Ukraine, and Iraq
President Obama finally admitted that "Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine." Ironically, this was right after addressing US military operations against the Islamic State (in Iraq and Syria). -8/29

Happy Birthday Hans-Hermann Hoppe!
Hans-Hermann Hoppe turned 65 today (Happy Birthday Hans!!!).  He is credited with advancing the field of knowledge trail blazed by Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard.  Perhaps the most important theme to take away from reading his works is that any deviation from the free market (i.e. government) is socialism, and that the more government, the more socialism, and so the descent into authoritarianism and tyranny begins. -9/2

* * *

Libertarian Party banner from; Cathy Reisenwitz photo from; Hans-Hermann Hoppe photo from

Monday, September 1, 2014

Libertarian Star Wars images

For a while now I've been a big stickler on libertarian culture. Bridging the gap between libertarian ideas and mainstream culture is a key way to grow the liberty movement.

Doing so was my objective in making these hi-resolution libertarian e-posters featuring stunning Star Wars artwork and quotes from famous libertarians, including Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Ron Paul.

Just so you know, I did not create these beautiful images. I also do not own or possess the rights to them.  I simply found them on various Google image searches and put text on them.

Despite the libertarian opposition to intellectual property, we still don't want to get sued, so... You may use these libertarian Star Wars e-posters strictly for non-commercial purposes (i.e. no currency exchanged).

Now that that's out of the way, let's share some ideas!

Share these images far and wide!  Re-post!  Re-blog!

May the Force [and God-given liberty] be with you.

Click the images to enlarge

* * *

Star Wars is the property of Lucasfilm Ltd., The Walt Disney Corporation, and Twentieth Century Fox. The potentially copyrighted images were used for free speech and strictly for non-commercial purposes.