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Nov 5

Libertarians and politics

“Set a fire cracker off in your open palm, you get a third degree burn. Close your fist, It’ll do some serious damage. If we can get a nuke deep in one of the asteroid’s fault lines, she’ll split in two, like a diamond”.

This sentence is an extract of a dialogue held in the movie “Armageddon”. There are different versions of the same idea: the Trojan Horse that the Greeks used to enter and destroy Troy (from inside) after 10 years siege (from outside); the moles infiltrated in terrorist groups to fight them (from inside); even Nature uses the same strategy: a virus can not attack you from outside your body, it needs to get inside, and destroy you from there. Unfortunately, some viruses are very good at doing this.

In short: everybody knows that the best strategy to destroy, attack, fight, combat anything is to do it from inside. Everybody… except libertarians. And that´s ironic, cause we, libertarians, tend to think that we are the cleverest human beings on the Earth. Maybe we are not, dudes.

It has been a long time I wanted to write this, and I was postponing it because I did not want to open a stormy discussion with friends. But I can not wait anymore. I don´t want to.

Libertarianism will never reach any, absolutely any of its objectives. Read it: never ever. Thanks to the libertarians, who will never be anything else than just the annoying kid shouting around and kicking in the shin of the big boys. Nothing else. 

While libertarians give great speeches on the top of their self-erected tribunes, most of the cases only listened by themselves, taxes will go on rising, debt will go on increasing, and economic liberties will go on dying. While libertarians write books that nobody reads, or that even if people try to do it, they will never be able to understand, people will go on losing their civil rights in Russia, and in the US.

If something is ever reached, like any improvement of the economical situation or of civil liberties, it will not be “thanks” to libertarians, but in spite of them.

Most of the Libertarians don´t vote. They consider that it is legitimating the system they are fighting against. Or that it is a waste of time. That one vote, in the ocean of stupidity that current democracies are, can not change anything. That nothing will be ever reached through politics. That politics stink. That libertarians that involve themselves in politics are not “pure” (Hitler would be proud of this).

Fair enough. Maybe they are right. Maybe writing books or articles that only your Granddad reads is a better way. Maybe giving master lessons that just a few already convinced devotees listen to, will really make the difference. Maybe staring from the top of your podium of self-satisfaction to the people around you, will really help the Government to reduce your taxes. I disagree but I can accept it.

However, what I accept less, or what I do not accept is when libertarians mock or despise other colleagues who work and invest their time and money in trying to reach the same goals (or “any” goal) through politics, basically, to move from the mystic fairy-tale world of philosophy and theory, to the practice, to the pragmatic solutions of real, I repeat, REAL people’s problems and concerns, a place where the left has decades of unfortunate experience and success.

But guys, someone has to go down to the mud to fight with the pigs, if you want to eat ham and sausages. Staying all the day wanking on your couch tweeting and “facebooking” will not bring you the food to the table.

Don’t get me wrong. I support all means of fighting against the State and to promote libertarians ideas. I support the libertarian think-tanks, the libertarian authors and of course the students’ movements. But also the political activism. However Libertarians should understand that the people out there don´t give a shit who Hayek, Rothbard or Mises are, or what they said. They don´t care at all about your last philosophical dissertation about the deepness of the human reason or your three pages posts in Facebook. People has real problems, real needs, and they want them to be solved now, not tomorrow, not waiting until you convince the intellectuals and then the intellectuals have any effect on the politicians. Their taxes increase now. Their business where they deposited all their dreams and money are being suffering now. Their liberties are dying now. Come on, their families and friends are being killed now! All those things are happening through these shitty democracies that we have the honor to enjoy, and through the politicians who were, are and will be in power.

You can go with the eternal 10-years siege of Troy from outside, or try to introduce a Trojan horse inside and to destroy it. It’s your decision.
If everybody that call themselves libertarians were joining this fight, maybe, I repeat, maybe, there would be an opportunity, very small, but it would exist. 

However I am not optimistic. It would mean to go with the mass; would not be individualistic enough; would not be pure.

There´s nothing to do. I hope that you don´t complain then. 

If you were gay, where in the world would you like to live? Would you choose a capitalist or a communist country? A Christian or a Muslim one? A secular or a religious one?

Astonishing the decrease of the tolerance to homosexuality in France. 

Source.

The terrorists already won

After the revelations that the US Government led by Obama had developed the wider and most advanced system of massive surveillance both in Internet and telephone calls, one could expect (making use of the common sense) that people would wake up from their lethargy and start requesting explanations and responsibilities to officials and authorities, the “watchmen”. Even if I was not totally shocked for the news (somehow you suspect it, it happens also in Spain), I would have liked to see this kind of healthy reaction in people. However, with the exception of libertarians all over the world, and some European leaders (guided for the jealousy of not having such a wonderful surveillance system I guess), most of the people reacted with total indifference (just 30% of Americans are aware of the case), they support the surveillance, or, what is worse, they reacted not against the American Government, but against the whistleblower Edward Snowden: he is a traitor. Not Obama, but Snowden. 

Actually this case also reveals how weak are the beliefs of the people. Seven years ago, when Obama was challenging the surveillance doctrine implemented by his predecessor George W. Bush, the support among democrats for the State surveillance was just 37%. Now it is 64%. It is clear that some people don´t choose the person who defend their ideas, but they choose their ideas depending on the person they defend. Sad to say.

Some reactions went even beyond to the (deliberate) ignorance of the case or the support of surveillance to the detriment of their privacy. Some people started spreading the idea that “they don´t have anything to hide”, suggesting that if you don´t like to be spied it is because you have something (bad, of course) to hide. They don´t know how wrong they are…

The following passage is from Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”:

- “But, after all, I did break one of your laws.”

- “Well, what do you think they’re for? (…) Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against-then you’ll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We’re after power and we mean it.

You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted-and you create a nation of law-breakers-and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

Is it not clear enough? Well, you have “nothing to hide” until the Government decides that you have something to hide. Actually the only way to have “nothing to hide” is when you are dead. If you are (still) alive, you always have something to hide. When you write an email to your wife with the place of your appointment with her for lunch, you have something to hide. When you send to your boss the new marketing strategy that will defeat the competition, you have something to hide. When you organize your holidays with your friends, you have something to hide. When you plan a secret party for you daughter, you have something to hide. When you tell your best friends the last problems you are having with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you have something to hide. When you share with your partner your sexual problems, you have something to hide. When you are telling your workmate how bastard and incompetent is your boss, you have something to hide. When you tell your mother that you have been diagnosed a serious disease, you have something to hide.

Something to hide not because you are a terrorist, but because that information may be used against you, and you don´t want anyone listen to or read it. Don’t forget that the people who read your emails, who listen to your phone calls and track your activity in Internet are people pretty similar to the one that you now are calling a traitor. They could be working under the orders of an officer of certain department in Washington or Brussels with connections with a competing company. Or they may be just perverts. Whatever. And they are reading your emails and listening to your conversations. Do you have anything to hide or not? 

But things can be worse. Because you consider that your privacy is not important, you don´t have the right to consider that the privacy of others is not. And this brings to very dramatic situations: when you as journalist discover a new corruption case of the police or of the authorities, you have something to hide. When you are a victim of an abuse of the authority and want to make justice, you have something to hide. When you have a political different opinion with the authority and this could affect your life or even your physical integrity, you have something to hide. Don´t forget that in the USSR, the people who was not involved in political activities, or in the opposition to the dictatorial regimes, were not living extremely bad, because “they had nothing to hide”. Do you want that also for your country? Are you sure?

No, no, but I give up my privacy in order to get the protection of the State against terrorists attacks”. Well, this could be the case. Even if I reject this argument, and even if I consider that the loop security/death of liberties are the best example of the self-fulfilling prophecy, let´s accept the argument… so far.

Imagine that you live in a great city, a marvellous one, with a lot of parks, services, theatres, cinemas, hospitals, nice prices, without traffic problems, etc. A wonderful city to live in. You and all the citizens are extremely happy. One day, and because a terrorist threat, the authorities close to access one district of the city (of a total of five). The people living there must be evacuated, and access to this area is prohibited. Many of the services, shops, hospitals, are not accessible any more. Some problems increase, there are no houses for all the people evacuated, traffic problems increase, delinquency, etc. But you accept it because it is for your security.

Some time later, and again, due to a terrorist threat the authorities are forced to close a second district of the city. The previous problems are now multiplied by two, more people living in less space and with less services like transport facilities, medical services, shops, etc. More homeless people, more unemployed people, more taxes to keep “the security system”, its officials and the services for the evacuated people… but you accept it, because it is for your security.

After a while, due to a new terrorist threat, a new district of the city, the third of five has to be closed. Until when are you able to accept this, in the name of “your security”? Does it make sense to live (and to survive to terrorist attacks) with this kind of life?

This is what is happening to your civil liberties. The terrorists did not win when they made the twin towers collapse. The terrorist did not win when they blew up the trains in Madrid, or the metro and buses in London. The terrorists did not win when they killed 4 people in Boston. The terrorists won when the Patriot Act was formulated. The terrorists won when Spanish people changed their vote after the attacks. The terrorists won when the surveillance in London was increased. The terrorists win not because of their acts, but because we accept to give up our civil liberties, our freedom and our way of life due to their threat. Then is when they win. And they already did it.

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Source of the image.

Apr 8
R.I.P. Margaret Tatcher. Thank you.
Via @sinonevero

R.I.P. Margaret Tatcher. Thank you.

Via @sinonevero

There is still hope for Europe

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Yes. The 2nd European Students for Liberty Conference is over. But the event closed by Gilles Verstraeten and the full SFL/ESFL boards singing for liberty will remain in the heads and hearts of the participants for a long time. 

The European Students for Liberty Conference has become by its own merits in the most important of all the students’ events that happen along the year in the old continent. And I am not talking about size (yet), but about its meaning and implications:

  • when you are able to make that people crosses Europe by car from Lithuania to Belgium driving more than 20 hours;
  • when you are able to attract more than 350 students from all over Europe (and other parts of the world) who travel by their own means sacrificing their time and money;
  • when you are able to organize such an event without any subsidy or support of public funds or Administration (considering that in Europe almost nothing is organized without subsidies) and just use private donors;
  • when you are able to bring people from every country in Europe (*) to a single event (including Belarus, the last dictatorship in the continent)

and everything in the name of libertythen you know that you are big. And again, I am not talking about size. Yet. 

One year and a half ago I decided to attend the 1st ESFL Conference, also in Leuven. I had not heard anything about “Students for Liberty” before. It sounded interesting and it was just a couple of hours driving from where I live so I decided to go. That weekend changed my life in such a way that I have been attending as much SFL events as I could. You might think that I am just being nice with my (now) friends at (E)SFL when I say this, but these are not just words: it did it, because it brought me hope again. Hope in the future.

When you meet so many young people whose main driver are the ideas of liberty in the middle of such a hostile environment for liberty as is the current one in Europe, you can only have hope. And precisely that was the essence of this year’s conference: hope. From the Tom Palmer’s speech early on Saturday morning to the closing speech by Steve Davies on Sunday afternoon, hope in the future was present as the main thread of the speeches: with the history of the humanity in perspective the World has evolved, in general terms, in the right direction (religious freedom, abolition of slavery, freedom of speech, women rights, fall of the USSR, gay rights, technological development, quality of life…). We have a better world now, thanks to people who not only thought that liberty was a good idea, but who also acted to defend that idea, sometimes paying with their own lives. And there are no reasons to think that the things will change, that the World will start evolving in the wrong direction now, as long as there are still people willing to fight for liberty: exactly as Students for Liberty is doing.

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The conferences were great. I enjoyed almost every second (and I tweeted every second also :P ). It was sometimes made clear that to be a great mind does not always imply to be a great speaker, but when you find people who meet both requirements, like Tom Palmer, James Lark or Steve Davies, then you succumb to their excellence.

But the conferences is not (only) about the speakers, it is about the networking, one of the most enriching experience that you can imagine. For that, the “socials” after the conferences play a crucial role. You are able to talk to a lot of people who shares similar ideas, but with extremely different backgrounds and experiences. You are able to increase your knowledge network. You always learn, and make friends. And sometimes you dance.

As I told to Wolf von Laer on Saturday night, maybe Alexander McCobin was not yet aware of the importance of what he and the people who founded Students for Liberty had achieved. Maybe not even us. But I am sure that the entire world will benefit from it, sooner or later.

Last words to thank all the team from SFL, ESFL and specially to Nick Roskams and the people of LVSV Leuven who hosted us for their great work and for making this possible. Thanks to all of you. The only think that I regret is not being able to talk to more people during the weekend.

If you are reading this and you did not attend the conference, then you should start planning it for next year, if you want to be part of the future :-)


(*) As far as I am aware, only Ireland was not represented this year.

If you want to read what I wrote about the International Students for Liberty Conference celebrated last month in Washington DC, click here.

If the future of mankind exists, it met last weekend in Washington

Peace, Love, Liberty”. With this slogan in mind, more than 1300 students (and not students) from all around the world met in Washington DC (the probably most corrupt and bureaucratic city in the world) to discuss, learn, network, and enjoy, with the concept of liberty as the engine that moves them (us) all. It was the 6th International Conference of Students for Liberty (my second one), the maximum event of a libertarian student’s organization that if you still don´t know then you should, as world’s future is called to revolve around it. It is incredible what Alexander McCobin and his highly motivated and encouraging team has been able to achieve in just 5 years: 

  • Over 863 pro-liberty groups in its global network of Universities students groups.
  • The true internationalization of Students For Liberty with on the ground operations in Europe, Brazil, Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia featuring events such as the first European, Brazilian, and Venezuelan SFL Conferences.
  • 15 US Regional Conferences with 2,072 total attendees and 5 European Regional Conferences with over 570 total attendees.
  • 75 Campus Coordinators in North America and 21 Local Coordinators from 15 countries in Europe.
  • Record breaking resource distribution including 150 Tabling Kits and 175,000 copies of our new book After the Welfare State.

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Everything in the name of liberty. And this is just to start with. As Alexander McCobin said in his opening speech during last weekend’s conferences: “If we can organize a 80-person libertarian event in Venezuela, we can do it anywhere in the world”. And that may be true. Actually, in the also-not-so-free Ecuador who recently re-elected tyrant Rafael Correa, a group of students won the “Students group of the year” prize. “Estudiantes por la Libertad” from Ecuador started as a 4 members group and now joins together more than 300 members. The work in Africa, even more difficult than in Latin America has also already started, with African Students for Liberty.

It was my second International SFL Conference. If last year I discovered “a new world beyond European socialism”, this year I really had the opportunity to make the most of it. The opening keynote by John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, the socials, the breakout sessions carried out by speakers from the most renowned think-tanks, organizations, associations and foundations (Cato Institute, Institute for Human Studies, Foundation for Economic Education, The Atlas Society, the American Enterprise Institute, The Independent Institute, Young Americans for Liberty, etc. including of course Students for Liberty and  Alumni for Liberty), the panels, the John Stossel Show (with Gary Johnson and Justin Amash on the freedom side, and Ann Coulter and John Bolton on the dark side), the Liberty Fair at the exhibition hall (where you could learn about the Seasteading Institute, entrepreneur initiatives like Liberty Business Bureau or to test the fist prototype of Bitcoin ATM in the world among other multiple stands) and of course the networking. The conferences were international and not only because they were called like that, they really were. In less than 48 hours I spoke with people from many different parts of US, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Greece, Italy, Lithuania and  Australia. That was just me but I know that there were people from many other countries.  

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However it is not just the variety of people attending the conferences. It is even more encouraging their compromise and effort in support of the cause of liberty. Students who themselves alone were able to set-up a libertarian group in not precisely friendly environments, entrepreneurs fully compromised with the cause of liberty, donors, etc. A full myriad of profiles that would make any “liberty lover” to feel “at home”. And everything, self paid, with not a single dollar of public money involved. Because yes, it is possible.

Unfortunately due to the schedule of my plane on Sunday I could not attend the speech of Magatte Wade, who gave an encouraging speech about the need of action in Africa, and the closing ceremonies.

In summary, the future of the mankind, if it exists, met last weekend in Washington DC. This is not just a compliment or an exaggeration. Considering the current evolution of the world, with increasing intolerance, envy, bigotry, State sponsored crimes, censorship, murders in the name of flags, anti-liberty regulation and other kinds of evil, 1300 young students travelling from all around the world rising the flame of peace, love and liberty is the only future, if such future exists.

P.S. The Conference in Washington was a great event, yes, but from the old continent we are threatening its predominance: from 8th to 10th of March takes place in Leuven (Belgium) the 2nd European Students for Liberty Conference (#ESFLC13). I discovered SFL during the first conference in year 2011 and since then I see the world a better place where to live in. You don´t want to miss it, do you?


Here you can read the opening speech by Alexander McCobin during the ISFLC13.

If you want to read all my tweets during the conferences with detailed information about the breakout sessions and everything that happened that weekend just go here, filter by my twitter user “@elreystadesnudo”, the hashtag “#ISFLC13” and go back in time until 15th of February. I did my best ;)

Other great articles about the conference herehere and here by Zak Slayback, who I had the pleasure to meet in person (finally) during the conferences. 

Nov 9

23 years ago… never forget… never go back… #LET

The video that all people from these “well accommodated” movements against “capitalism” should watch #let #tlot

Wikileaks is dead. We need a new wikileaks

Julian Assange is an asshole. And the Government of Rafael Correa in Ecuador is bullshit. Right. But Wikileaks is (or at least was) a good idea: only if Governments know that whatever they do is going to be made public, they will take care of doing something illegal. Or at least, they will try to. 

However the current Wikileaks is dead. Its death sentence was signed when on Thrusday the Government of Ecuador gave assylum to Julian Assange. And it is death not because US (of course they will go on acting against them). It is death because Wikileaks as it is known now will never publish any dirty information from Ecuador’s Government or any of its allies (Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Argentina…the “crème de la crème” of the democracy and respect for liberties) as long as Assange is protected by Correa’s Government.

Therefore the concept of Wikileaks as the website where all the dirty (and/or illegal) actions performed by any Government in the World is published, is dead. Actually, it was never that as far as I know. Its proper name would have been “US-leaks” as their target for the time being has been only US (and its allies) and that´s why they gained the support of the left worldwide, left who would retire their support if WL starts publishing shit about Cuba or Venezuela (if it is possible to publish something crappier with regards to what we already know).  

That´s why we need a “new Wikileaks”. A really independent information service, independent from any pseudo dictatorship and independent from “annoying and arrogant” people. An information service which publishes information, secret information, classified information from any dirty and/or illegal action from any Government in the World. Not only the US (yes), but also Iran, China, Russia, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, Burma, Afghanistan, etc. And probably a service who pays big amounts of money to the people from those Governments who reveals and sends the information, in order to obtain really relevant information. That´s what we need. 

Current Wikileaks now is just a muppet in the hands of south-american pseudodictatorship. Hence Wikileaks is dead. It´s a pity that the only real loser of all this story has been soldier Bradley Manning, whose sacrifice has been used for the benefit of some of the crappiest regimes in the World. 

Btw, Free Manning!

Free men are not equal and equal men are not free.

- Lawrence Reed