Ron Paul on the Trump-Kim Summit

Ron Paul on the Trump-Kim Summit

06/12/2018Ron Paul

"I can't help but feel a little bit proud that our views, which aren't mentioned very often, are really being talked about. They are talking about a peace treaty and ending the war. They are talking about bringing troops home. They are talking about spending less money and no more military games over there. Wow. That is very good." - Ron Paul

 

Who Won At The Summit? Trump or Kim?

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Tariffs: Tax Hikes Wrapped in the Flag

08/04/2018Doug French

Trump’s tariffs are simply, in the words of economist Murray Rothbard, “not only nonsense, but dangerous nonsense, destructive of all economic prosperity.” Business owners who are suffering from this ham-handed government intervention should be the first to complain, whether having voted for Trump or not.

I asked a friend of a business owner (a fan of the president), what the owner thought of the tariffs. “He’s for them,” came the answer.

“But his profits have to be impacted,” I countered, “since he uses steel in his manufacturing.”

“Yes, but he thinks it will all work out in the long run,” was the reply.

“But, his profits are being diverted to the government. Wouldn’t he rather have the profits than the government?”

“Yes, but there are not any American cars being sold in China,” my friend countered, using one of the president’s bromides.

Dangerous nonsense indeed.

The New York Times’ Nelson Schwartz reports a similar feeling from Banner Metals in Columbus, Ohio. “I’m not looking at what’s best for Banner right now,” Bronson Jones, a part-owner of the company and its chief executive told Schwartz. “I’m looking at what’s best for the national economy. The U.S. has been taken advantage of for too long.”

What? The Fed and Treasury conspire to conjure dollars from the ether, and these amounts on a ledger or pieces of paper are tradable for actual goods, but the US has somehow been done wrong? How could anyone, the owner of a business no less, believe such a thing?

“We are not, if we were ever, a world of self-sufficient farmers,” Rothbard wrote. “The market economy is one vast latticework throughout the world, in which each individual, each region, each country, produces what he or it is best at, most relatively efficient in, and exchanges that product for the goods and services of others.”

“If it comes out of my paycheck, so be it,” Banner maintenance technician Casey Jackson told the Times. “You got to look at the big picture. That tiny bit of sacrifice we make will create jobs.”

No, that sacrifice destroys jobs. What’s taken from Jackson is given to inefficient producers who will waste capital and ultimately extinguish jobs. “Protectionism is simply a plea that consumers, as well as general prosperity, be hurt so as to confer permanent special privilege upon groups of inefficient producers, at the expense of competent firms and of consumers,” wrote Rothbard.

However, tariff victims are standing by their man. “He’s going for the jugular, which is typical Trump style,” Mr. Jones said. “I’m not used to it, and it’s not a presidential style we are accustomed to. But he’s the only president who’s taken a significant stance on trade, and we need a brash approach.”

Actual free trade would be a brash approach, not going full blown Smoot-Hawley. But don’t try to convince the guys on the Banner shop floor of any economics 101 mumbo-jumbo. “It’s aggressive, it’s tough, and he [Trump] won’t back down,” Mr. Jackson said. “Using trade as a bargaining chip will help someone else put food on the table.”

Todd Grizzle, a 25-year-old maintenance technician, put in his two cents worth and hit the nail on the head. “I like the idea of the U.S. having allies,” he said. “But if this can bring more jobs back to America, that’s a good thing.”

Consumers will pay more for goods, some people will lose their jobs or receive pay cuts but it’s all worth it for the red, white, and blue. Rothbard explained the danger decades ago. Tariffs and protectionism “is a peculiarly destructive kind of bailout, because it permanently shackles trade under the cloak of patriotism.”

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Big MacCoins vs. the US Dollar

08/02/2018Tho Bishop

McDonalds has announced that they will be releasing MacCoins in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Big Mac. While crypto-related gimmicks have proven to be profitable, there is no blockchain involved, instead customers will receive a physical coin whenever they purchase a Big Mac. CNN Money reports that McDonalds has 6.2 million MacCoins ready for distribution.

On social media, I've seen conversations about whether MacCoins, at 1:1 part with a Big Mac, would be a more effective store of value than a traditional Federal Reserve dollar. If the chain was willing to honor MacCoins indefinitely in the future, the answer would appear to be yes. Looking at the Big Mac Price index, a measure The Economist uses to track Purchasing Power Parity between foreign currencies, the price of a Big Mac has risen over 300% in the past 32 years. In fact, as D. H. Taylor has noted, the Big Mac is an American staple that has seen its price rise dramatically more than official CPI numbers. 
bigmac chart_0.png
Unfortunately Ronald McNixon will close the Big Mac window at the end of the year, rendering the MacCoins to simply nominal value. Of course, if we had a system of competing currencies — as Ron Paul has long championed — it would be fun to see what sort of experiments would emerge in money. Senator Rand Paul openly discussed currency backed by private stocks during his presidential campaign, while the rise of cryptomania has even smalltime pizza companies looking at ways to provide additional value to workers. 

Eliminate taxes on alternative currencies and ending legal tender laws would not only open the doors to monetary innovation but help empower Americans to new ways to protect their savings. Because at the end of the day, I would much rather trust the Hamburglar​ than those currently in charge with the Fed.

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JRR Tolkien on the Danger of Centralized Political Power

08/01/2018Zachary Yost

At the recent Mises University, Jeff Deist and Ryan McMaken recorded a live edition of Mises Weekends focused on radical decentralization and addressing some of the points raised against it. While in this conversation and in many others related to it intellectual titans like Mises and Rothbard are invoked to support the decentralist view, many libertarians unfortunately fail to call upon one of the most articulate critics of centralized political power with unparalleled intellectual and cultural influence; JRR Tolkien. While Tolkien is no doubt a popular figure among many libertarians, an unfortunate unfamiliarity with his work on a deeper intellectual level often prevents his enormous cultural influence from being brought to bear against the forces of statism and centralization.

There is no need to wonder about Tolkien’s political leanings, as he made them quite explicitly clear in a 1943 letter to his son Christopher Tolkien (who would later edit a great many of Tolkien’s posthumous works) he wrote “My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) – or to 'unconstitutional' Monarchy.” In the same letter Tolkien continued that “Anyway the proper study of Man is anything but Man; and the most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.”

With such political sentiments, it is hardly surprising then that Tolkien incorporates a disdain for centralized power and a warning about its seductive nature in his work. In The Lord of the Rings, perhaps Tolkien’s best known work, the story traces the journey to destroy the One Ring of Power and chronicles the various effects the potential to wield this power can have. Tolkien does not attempt to hide the nature of the Ring, its purpose is clearly labeled upon itself:“One ring to rule them all, one ring to bind them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” The One Ring is just that, one, singular, representative of a unitary will that imposes itself upon all.​

Sauron, the creator of the One Ring, is unambiguously evil, driven by a desire to impose his will and dominate all others. Yet, Tolkien’s message does not simply end with the idea that power should not rest in the hands of clearly evil tyrants, but rather penetrates much deeper into why centralized power by its very nature is too dangerous to exist.

One of the first characters to fall prey to the temptation of the Ring’s power is the wizard Saruman. Saruman’s reasoning for wanting power is quite simple and is certainly a sentiment that we hear everyday from the DC class. “The time of the Elves is over” he tells fellow wizard Gandalf, “but our time is at hand: the world of Men, which we must rule. But we must have power, power to order all things as we will, for that good which only the wise can see.” Such an attitude is all to common when it comes to the actual and aspiring members of the governing class who believe that they know best and are justified in imposing their kind hearted plans upon everyone else. Whether it is social democrats who believe they can plan the economy, or neo-conservatives who believe they can plan the entire world order and engage in “building” entire nations at the point of the gun in the Middle East, the world is full of wannabe Saruman’s fully convinced of their own wisdom and infallibility.

Tolkien examines in great psychological depth the process by which ordinary people end up abusing power, most poignantly in his creation of the Ring Wraiths; men who were once mighty kings who over time became subdued to Sauron’s will after accepting the nine rings of power gifted to men. Tolkien expert Dr. Thomas Shippey has said that “the Ringwraiths are Tolkien’s most original and distinctive image of evil” in part because they represent the danger that power poses in the hands of anyone, even oneself. Shippey calls this process by which ordinary people who begin with good intentions end up becoming corrupted and twisted as they acquire power the “wraithing process.” The use of the adjective “twisted” is quite intentional, as the word “wraith” stems from words such as wreath and writhe which are both twisted things. The etymology of “wraith” also draws upon the important element that wraiths are more defined by shape than by substance. According to Shippey, what fills this shape is ideology with power.

The suspicion is that people make themselves into wraiths. They accept the gifts of Sauron, quite likely with the intention of using them for some purpose which they identify as good. But then they start to cut corners, to eliminate opponents, to believe in some ‘cause’ which justifies everything they do. In the end the ‘cause’, or the habits they have acquired while working for the ‘cause’, destroys any moral sense and even any remaining humanity. The spectacle of the person ‘eaten up inside’ by devotion to some abstraction has been so familiar throughout the twentieth century as to make the idea of the wraith, and the wraithing-process, horribly recognizable, in a non-fantastic way.1

The dangers of the wraithing-process by which ordinary people end up becoming consumed by ideological power and committing atrocities are known all too well to anyone familiar with the bloody history of the 20th Century, a century in which, with bureaucratic efficiency, millions were exterminated in the ideological crusades of the USSR, Nazi Germany, and Communist China among others. According to Shippey, Tolkien’s portrayal of evil through the wraithing-process “is a curiously distinctive image of evil, and… a very unwelcome one because what it says is it could be you and under the right circumstances, or I should say the wrong circumstances, it will be you.”

While there is still much left to unpack from Tolkien’s prodigious body of work, one of his central theses is very clear: centralized power is too dangerous to be allowed to exist. If concentrated power exists people will be corrupted by it. This important point cannot be ignored in arguments for decentralization.

  • 1. Shippey, Tom J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century pg. 125
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3D Gun Debates Shows the Limits of Politics

08/01/2018Tho Bishop

In a great interview with CBS, Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed declares that the  "debate is over" in terms of the availability of 3D printed guns. 

3D-printed gun advocate Cody Wilson says "debate is over"

Honest, well intentioned people can have genuine concerns about what this means for society, in much the same way that concerns exist about the existence of pornography or certain types of drugs. Those concerns, however, don't change the fact remains that designs for 3D printing guns are obtainable and there is nothing the government can do to change that reality. 

In a better world, this would serve a reminder to society of the limitations of politics and government. Government, after all, is simply force. The only thing the state can do is attempt scare the population into giving them further powers to hunt down individuals who choose to access these files - which is precisely what we are seeing now with the political theatre playing out in Washington. It can even go further and harass Mr. Wilson, perhaps even try to throw him behind bars next to Ross Ulbricht. Perhaps it can go even further and use the threat of "ghost guns" to give the state new powers to regulate the internet and try to control data. 

It can't however, change the fact that Cody Wilson's designs exist. For all the power horrific government has, it simply can't change that.

 

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Medicare For All – Getting the Math Straight

Okay, so I’ve been looking at the Mercatus numbers.

First, Think Progress IS wrong in their representation. (Think Progress makes the very simple error of acting like an ADDITION to cost is the WHOLE cost.)

HOWEVER,  my initial impression was also wrong. My error was a bit more complicated – I assumed constancy in some things that weren’t constant in the Mercatus estimates, and ended up misrepresenting the results, TOO.

So, let’s try to get it right, and we’ll just focus on one year.

Before we hop in, we need to figure out what we’re talking about. We’re going to look at National Health Expenditures (page 5 is my reference here). What this is: Personal Health Care Expenses + Government Administrative Cost + Net Cost of Insurance (Basically, private administrative costs, I would guess) + Government Public Health Activities

Mercatus starts by looking at personal health care expenses in 2022. They suggest these are projected, under our current system, as being $3.859 trillion. (Note: this includes both public and private systems.) With Medicare 4 All, there would be a big jump in healthcare utilization – amounting to $435 billion. This comes from the currently uninsured being covered and from Medicare covering things that some private insurance doesn’t, and from people using more medical care because they are no longer responsible for copays or coinsurance (so, on the margin, they go to the doctor more often – though I suspect this effect is small). BUT, providers would receive less because of M4A’s pay structure. That would cut $384 billion from provider payments, and $61 billion from prescription drug costs. Net effect: personal health care spending FALLS by $10 billion in 2021.

The other change is that total administrative cost is expected to fall by about $83 billion. Basically, we’re eliminating private health insurance costs,  but Medicare’s administration would have to eat that up – but with some economies of scale, there would be a net savings on the administrative side.

So, total effect: $93 billion in National Health Expenditure savings. The other years in the estimate project savings of up to $300 billion in NHE by 2031.

Now, Mercatus’s point is that, EVEN WITH this savings, the government would be spending an additional $2.535 trillion that year – since it is absorbing the private insurance industry’s costs. They want to know where the money is coming from, since doubling income taxes on both individuals and corporations wouldn’t be enough to bring in that money.

On the one hand, progressives can reasonably point out that we’re already spending this money, it’s just a matter of redirecting it. And there’s a point in that. This $2.535 trillion is not new to the ECONOMY, it’s just new to the GOVERNMENT BUDGET. Okay.

But, would progressives then suggest that we should just have the government absorb the health insurance premiums currently paid by employees, employers, and individuals? I suspect not. That would mean that each person’s premium would vary not based on income, but on their current employer. This would be an administrative nightmare, I suspect. So, while the money is there, there is still the practical question of how best to collect it in a way that isn’t politically disastrous.

Another big point: Blahous is very clear that he’s being generous in his estimates of savings because he wants to estimate the MINIMUM amount of additional tax revenue that would be required.

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Have You Gained or Lost Weight? Congrats, TSA Is Now Tracking You for Suspicious Activity

07/31/2018James Bovard

If you fall asleep or use the bathroom during your next flight, those incriminating facts could be added to your federal dossier. Likewise, if you use your laptop or look at noisy children seated nearby with a “cold, penetrating stare,” that may be included on your permanent record. If you fidget, sweat or have “strong body odor” — BOOM! the feds are onto you.

Welcome to the latest profiling idiocy from the Transportation Security Administration. TSA’s Quiet Skies surveillance program is spurring federal air marshals to target dozens of Americans each day on the flimsiest of pretexts. The secret program, first exposed by Jana Winter in The Boston Globe, is security theater at its best. 

What does it take to become a Quiet Skies target? “The criteria for surveillance appear fluid. Internal agency emails show some confusion about the program’s parameters and implementation,” The Globe noted. 

Anyone who has recently traveled to Turkey can apparently be put on the list — as well as people “possibly affiliated” with someone on a terrorist watchlist (which contain more than a million names). The program is so slipshod that it has targeted at least one airline flight attendant and a federal law enforcement agent.

After a person makes the Quiet Skies list, a TSA air marshal team is placed on his next flight. Marshals receive “a file containing a photo and basic information” and carefully note whether the suspect’s “appearance was different from information provided” — such as whether he has “gained weight,” is “balding” or “graying,” has a beard or “visible tattoos” (bad news for Juggalo fans of the Insane Clown Posse). Marshals record and report any “significant derogatory information” on suspects.

TSA air marshals follow travelers targeted by this program, even writing down their license plates. Marshals must ascertain whether a “subject was abnormally aware of surroundings.” Does that include noticing the undercover G-men who are stalking them in the parking lot? No wonder the president of the Air Marshal Association, John Casaretti, considers the program unjustified.

Read the full article at USA Today
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Peter Klein Receives the 2018 Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal Best Paper Prize

07/31/2018Mises Institute

Congratulations to Mises Senior Fellow Peter Klein for being recognized by the Strategic Entrepreneurship Society with its Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal Best Paper Prize for his paper "Opportunity Discovery, Entrepreneurial Action, and Economic Organization."

One of the aspects that makes this award particularly important is that it recognizes the impact of a paper. As such, papers are not eligible until they have been published for five or more years. 

The award committee consists of the Editorial Board of the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal and is supplemented by surveys of leading figures in the field of strategic entrepreneurship conducted by the Co-Editors of the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal.

This paper is included in Dr. Klein's 2010 book The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur.

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A Modest Proposal from Dr. Walter Block

07/27/2018Walter Block

If you're reading this, you should be supporting the Mises Institute every month!

I recently taught at the Mises University. This weekly experience is the highlight of my entire professional year, as it has been for lo these many decades. (When I started, I was an enfant terrible; now, I’m an old duffer. I don’t know what happened. Time goes by fast whey you’re having fun).  It is an honor to work with my colleagues on the academic staff. The students, as always, were superb. Presumably, in the next few years, more than just a few of them will become MU professors, as are about half of the present faculty ex students of MU.

Thanks go out to Lew Rockwell, Jeff  Deist, Joe Salerno, Pat Barnett and some dozen other members of the Mises Institute staff. Lew started off the entire institution, Jeff is the president of the MI, Joe put together the entire MU program, and Pat is the excellent administrator of the operation.

Who is the forgotten man? Who are they, such that without their support, the entire institution would fall to the ground? Have never been able to be started up in the first place? I’ll give you just one guess. Yes, it is the donors of course. I must take my hat off to them, for without these generous people, there, literally, would be no Mises Institute.

We had about 200 students at this year’s MU. Most of them are at the stages of their careers where all they have is brilliance and enthusiasm. Neither undergraduate students, nor those in graduate school have much money to donate to the MI.  I had occasion during that week, nevertheless, to ask each of them to contribute $5 on an annual basis (until they have more money) to the Mises Institute (by the way, I myself donate a bit more than that). Why did I make this plea? It is not really that the $1000 that would be raised in that manner if all attendees complied with my request would spell the difference between success and failure. Yes, every $1000 helps, and I would be grateful to anyone who can afford to donate that amount, or more. No, the reason I asked all students to contribute this relative small amount of money was quite different.

It was this. Wealthy people will be more likely to contribute funds to the MI, and more heavily so, if this institution has many donors. They do not like to be the only ones financially supporting an organization such as the MI. Moreover, the more people who contribute to the MI this $5 per year I am asking for, the smaller is the average donation. That, too, encourages potential large donors to contribute in the first place, and in greater amounts.

I am now extending my plea from the some 200 students who attended MU 2018, to all those who are reading these words. Please donate $5 to the MI (I’d lower this to $1 per year, but, thanks to the fed, that doesn’t amount to two cents, so to speak). If all readers of LewRockwell.com did so, it would not, to be fully honest, help all that much, directly. But it would be of immense aid indirectly, in encourage larger donations.

So, poverty stricken students and other impecunious folk, please reach deep down into your pockets, and cough up that $5. You can do so at this easy to reach link: mises.org/giving/now.

I will be the BFF of everyone who complies with this request of mine.

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Red Flag Laws: The Latest Anti-Gun Scheme

07/27/2018José Niño

Gun control may be coming to a legislature near you.

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas, shootings, elected officials on both sides of the political aisle are rallying around “red flag” legislation.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), informally known as red flag laws, are gaining traction in legislatures nationwide. Red flag laws are presented as a common-sense proposal to disarm people who allegedly present a danger to themselves or others around them.

Political leaders assure gun owners red flag laws won’t trample over civil liberties and are a middle ground solution that appease pro-gunners and gun controllers alike. But the devil is in the details when dealing with any form of government intervention.

The Potential Threat of Red Flag Laws

In Gunpowder Magazine, Ted Patterson details the potential dangers of “red flag” laws. Four points stick out the most:

1. Due process rights are put on the chopping block.

Anti-gun family members, friends, or acquaintances can levy dubious accusations to justify the confiscation of law-abiding gun owners’ guns. They can take these accusations to a court of law, even if the individual in question was not charged or convicted of a crime. In turn, due process rights are turned upside down, as gun owners are presumed to be guilty and must then prove their innocence.

2. Indefinite time frames for gun confiscation.

The duration of ERPOs is unclear — which could end up being weeks, months, or even a year. Gun owners would then be forced to go to court multiple times just to win their Constitutional rights back.

3. Red Flag Laws have Bipartisan Support

What makes red flag laws even more dangerous is the bipartisan support they currently boast. It is no secret when both parties come together on legislative matters, nothing good can come out of it.

Political insiders constantly remind us that Republicans are staunch supporters of the Second Amendment. They contend Republicans play a pivotal role in defending our gun rights, and any criticism directed toward them is unjustified.

But nothing could be further from the truth. A Republican governor in Maryland recently signed a red flag bill into law, while Republicans in states like Colorado and Pennsylvania have actively pushed red flag bills of their own.

Lawmakers under the impression that compromising on red flag laws will curtail further gun control attempts, are in for a rude awakening. The nature of the government beast is to expand.

Economist Ludwig von Mises recognized full well how interventionism is “illogical and unsuitable, as it can never attain what its champions and authors hope to attain.” Once the regulations fail, the political class will clamor for even more regulations to “fix” the problems they ironically created in the first place.

This has been on display in sectors such as healthcare. Under the banner of “compassionate conservatism,” George W. Bush signed Medicare, Part D into law — the largest welfare expansion since Medicare was originally established in 1965.

Even with the passage of Medicare, Part D, healthcare interventionists were still not satisfied. Once Democrats returned to power with significant majorities in both chambers of Congress, then President Barack Obama passed a hefty piece of government intervention in Obamacare with ease.

We can expect the same dynamic to occur if politicians start kowtowing to red flag laws. The recent passage of Fix NICS is already a troubling development.

At this point in the game, it may behoove gun rights activists to start shifting their focus toward decentralization and fight for expanding gun rights in their own backyards instead of looking for Washington to change its ways.

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You'll Soon Be 3-D Printing Guns at Home

07/26/2018Ryan McMaken

Remember Cody Wilson? In 2013, he's the guy who successfully tested a fully-3-D-printed gun. Shortly thereafter, he posted information on how to make the guns online.

Shortly after that, as many predicted, the federal government took steps to shut the whole thing down.

Recent developments, however, mean that the guns and plans on how to make them, will soon be seeing the light of day again.

Last week, Wired reported:

Two months ago, the Department of Justice quietly offered Wilson a settlement to end a lawsuit he and a group of co-plaintiffs have pursued since 2015 against the United States government . Wilson and his team of lawyers focused their legal argument on a free speech claim: They pointed out that by forbidding Wilson from posting his 3-D-printable data, the State Department was not only violating his right to bear arms but his right to freely share information. By blurring the line between a gun and a digital file, Wilson had also successfully blurred the lines between the Second Amendment and the First.

The Department of Justice's surprising settlement, confirmed in court documents earlier this month, essentially surrenders to that argument. It promises to change the export control rules surrounding any firearm below .50 caliber—with a few exceptions like fully automatic weapons and rare gun designs that use caseless ammunition—and move their regulation to the Commerce Department, which won't try to police technical data about the guns posted on the public internet. In the meantime, it gives Wilson a unique license to publish data about those weapons anywhere he chooses.

This isn't exactly a total victory for laissez-faire, of course. The federal government is hardly abandoning any attempts to regulate firearms — including those created by Wilson. But, the recent court settlement does signal the political and legal realities that make it difficult for the federal government to arbitrarily decide what sort of information is legal to share.

The effect of the settlement will soon be felt, it seems:

Now Wilson is making up for lost time. Later this month, he and the nonprofit he founded, Defense Distributed, are relaunching their website Defcad.com as a repository of firearm blueprints they've been privately creating and collecting, from the original one-shot 3-D-printable pistol he fired in 2013 to AR-15 frames and more exotic DIY semi-automatic weapons. The relaunched site will be open to user contributions, too; Wilson hopes it will soon serve as a searchable, user-generated database of practically any firearm imaginable.

All of that will be available to anyone anywhere in the world with an uncensored internet connection, to download, alter, remix, and fabricate into lethal weapons with tools like 3-D printers and computer-controlled milling machines. “We’re doing the encyclopedic work of collecting this data and putting it into the commons,” Wilson says. “What’s about to happen is a Cambrian explosion of the digital content related to firearms.” He intends that database, and the inexorable evolution of homemade weapons it helps make possible, to serve as a kind of bulwark against all future gun control, demonstrating its futility by making access to weapons as ubiquitous as the internet.

The triumphalist response to all this, voiced by some libertarians is that gun control will "end" as soon as Wilson's operation goes online. They're not totally wrong, although history suggests we're really just about to head down a long road of quasi-legality and court battles over these sorts of weapons. 

After all, the US government has not said it has no role in regulating guns. It still says it can prohibit publication of information on how to make fully automatic weapons, for example.

Nevertheless, the court settlement does suggest the federal government, for now, has been forced to admit that it is at least somewhat constrained in just how much it can prohibit the spread of information — even if that information involves the manufacture of firearms.

Over the next decade as this issue further works its way through the courts and legislatures — as is sure to happen — we will nevertheless see here a true decentralization of both the information and the tools necessary to make guns.

Historically, this has always posed a threat to states, and decentralized distribution and ownership of weapons has long been a hallmark of guerrilla warfare.

RELATED: When Guerrilla Warfare Can Succeed — And When It Will Fail by Ryan McMaken

The US state, of course, is as well aware as any state that the ability to manufacture guns at home — at relatively low cost — does indeed change the landscape.

But what will the state do in response? States, to be successful, must be able to maintain a monopoly on the means of coercion. The US state is no different, and it will be interesting to see what steps the US government takes to restrict the ability to crank out guns with a 3-D printer. Will the US government simply tell itself that it can easily overpower any challenge to its monopoly that might arise from the proliferation of homemade guns? After all, it's still not possible to churn out tanks or rocket launchers or Apache helicopters with any equipment one might have in one's basement.

To some extent, this strategy of relying on better firepower will depend partially on just how much gun ownership might proliferate in an age of DIY guns. After all, it's easy enough the deal with a small number of angry gunmen with superior firepower. This advantage becomes smaller, however, the more gun owners there are. Even today, when many types of guns can still be easily bought, only 42 percent of Americans say they live in a home with guns. I happen to be of the opinion that these numbers tend to understate the probable real ownership rate. But by how much? Even if the 42-percent figure gets it wrong by 10 percent, we're still talking about only half the population with an apparent interest in having guns. And even fewer of these are likely skilled in the usage of firearms. Ownership rates, are important, though, because someone who owns guns is less likely to support efforts to confiscate them. 

The fact that guns are easy to come by,however, doesn't mean every one will want one. Of course, things could change substantially in a crisis situation that would significantly undermine public opinions of the state. This could arise from a serious economic crisis or from a surge in crime and civil unrest. Or all of the above. Then we might see a lot more interest in private gun ownership.

And Cody Wilson's gun operation might make it much harder for governments to assert control in such a situation.

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