A friend offered up, on Facebook, an eloquent defense of his early, by-mail vote for Trump. He expressed how he had “no choice” but to place his vote for the Republican candidate. And then, he — a Christian, last I heard — defended his vote for a man whose vulgarity and sinfulness are widely known. Why? On the grounds that Hillary is worse.

Now, she may in fact (or according to decent values) be worse. In one or two dimensions, at least. And she may even likely do more damage than would Donald Trump. But, as eloquent as my friend was, I was unmoved by his reasoning.

I was going to comment on his Facebook post, at first. I wrote it up, and placed my finger over the “Post” link. But I thought better of it. I’m already a gadfly to my whole community and a troublesome spirit to my friends and family on Facebook; I’m sure, by now, I annoy more than I edify. Why push it?

So I did not respond on his page. But I obviously am under the impression my words matter. So . . . I publish my response here:

Chuck, nifty apologia, but . . . of course you had other choices! There were

  • other candidates on your ballot;
  • you could skip the presidential ticket; or
  • not vote at all.

And since your vote will not decide the election, you are under no desperate pragmatism to veto your values. And yet you chose to give it (and signal us as so doing) to a man who is the very form of crass cupidity and concupiscence covering a substance of ignorance and inanity.

Hey, it’s your vote. I’m not aghast or appalled or offended. And I certainly understand wanting to stand against the Witch Queen of Sinister. But it just seems strange to me that any rational citizen would play along to a rigged and farcical game on the terms set by statists only to signal his virtue by fecklessly pitching for vice.

I am serious about the value of one’s vote. There are only a few uses of a vote. From my perspective, my vote can find use in only a few categories:

  4. OTHER_______
  5. Since I’m familiar enough with economics and probability, I know that my vote cannot gain value by the use it plays in the first category. When I vote, my vote does not decide anything. So, despite what value a candidate or some political tribe may put on it, its marginal utility in terms of choice effectiveness is ZERO.

    But it can serve to signal my preferences (if I tell somebody) or, more broadly, my allegiances (once again, if I tell somebody), and, merely by being counted and thus noticed, it tallies up in some candidate’s or cause’s column. (And thus in some way is of practical value to him or her or them, etc.) So, the mere existence of my vote in some cause or other, counted as a cardinal number, can be the first use for my vote. And thereby gains its value, its marginal utility.

    Though this does not exhaust the theory of voting, it is enough to discredit the idea that one “wastes one’s vote” when one votes for a losing candidate. If you think your vote only gains value because it has a drop-in-the-bucket value to a winning candidate and his or her team, you have very strange values indeed. They are not about policy or philosophy or integrity or even tribe. Those values (in voting, mind you), are, if you fear “wasting it,” based entirely on the pathetic desire to appear “not a loser” by being tallied in the winners’ column.*

    No individualist would be such a group cultist.

    And there remains no desperate pragmatism to constrain your vote in any way.

    * That OTHER____ use to which my vote may be put includes a few subtle points that I hope to deal with before the fateful day in November in which we expend much time and energy voting and counting votes. And talking about the results. And even a few other subjects.





Hillary and Donald both represent villainy as seen by their respective opposing sides.

Indeed, they seem called up out of Central Casting.

Central Casting has been taken over by Grim Ironists, Inc.
Donald Trump is the corrupting, womanizing, vulgar Evil Capitalist as imagined by the Left for decades, if not centuries. He is Simon Legree for the Age of Celebrity. From his gropings to his breaches of contract, he fulfills every common man’s fear of the rich man. And he is rich enough that even your average richman Democrat can think of him as “too rich.” This is the Devil as imagined by insecure urbanites.

Too rich is right!

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is the corrupt insider worried about by normal citizens (folks with normal jobs and families). She personifies the use of a common trust (working for government) as a means for self-advancement at others’ expense. Scandal after scandal shows a dark strain of avarice combined with an elitism that secures the cultural cachet to cover up all enormities. And as if to conform to every stereotype, not only does she demonstrate a recklessness with the rules (the emails), her scandals include both those of outright corruption (cattle futures as quid-pro-quo bribes) and sexual misconduct (covering up for her powerful husband’s many flashings, gropings, and even accusations of rape). She has it all. She is the rural/suburbanite’s Devil incarnate, the abuser of the public trust par excellence.

Yes, it’s all here, folks!

It’s as if the Anointed One, Hillary Clinton, taken up as the Center Left/cultural progressive avatar heedless of likely backlash — the de rigueur advocate for dim class interests under cover of scarcely believable “common good” rhetoric — was designed for no better purpose than to thumb the nose and raise the middle finger to Center Right/cultural traditional values. Her selection was inevitably provocative in a way even Obama’s (a “community organizer” with a long history of far left connections) was not, for she does not represent to her enemies anything earnest or sincere, not even plausibly so.

And so, if one side conjures up as their Messiah their opposition’s Devil, then why should that other side not call up the opposing Devil? And that’s precisely how it turned out. It is as if the night mind of traditional America saw the writing on the wall (Mene, mene, tekel, parsin) and not seeing Darius riding in to unseat the Corrupt, drew from the depths a Nemesis to mirror the enemy.

You fight fire with fire; you fight missiles with missiles: you fight the Devil with the Devil’s Own Shadow Fiend.

Or so goes the night mind of modern politics, a rich vein of paranoia, hatred, and suspicion transformed into a travesty of idealism. Here, the shadows of two ways of life are mounted upon high horses under the gonfalons of Hope and Justice and The American Way, propped up by shit shovels.

Nothing could be clearer. Has not some literary critic already drawn out the archetypes here? The theme is clear: it is all borne of values upturned. The roots are raised as leaf and branch, and the green has been stuffed into the manure. Calling Hieronymous: we need the right kind of realism here.

This is the Election from Hell, where bipartisan democracy has finally abandoned all sense and both sides praise Evil and battle Evil and mire themselves further in Evil, ensuring only Evil. Both sides having cut themselves so far off, in their imaginations and empathy, from their opponents, the two now can only see the worst, and, seeing only the worst, prop up as the Good what the other side sees as Evil, calling it a Day.

Name the Day. Go ahead, name it. I dare you.

The next question, as Theodore Sturgeon of Sturgeon’s Law liked to say . . . What is the next question?

It is not whether Democracy or The Republic can survive. It is: should either? Or both? Or none?


A libertarian friend on Facebook asks the basic question, which could be translated as “if we’re right, why do so few people agree?”

Actually, he wondered how anyone who has read his intellectual heroes, Mises, Rand and Nozick, could disagree.

There were many interesting answers. Here is mine, hot off the Facebook press (with a few revisions, basically turning a first draft into a second), in which I take on the individualist’s main current enemy, progressivism:


They Have Already Won!

Progressives are the new conservatives.

Americans have lived under dirigisme since Roosevelt’s time, and major inroads into market interference (beyond the 19th century’s love of protectionism and pork projects) had been made since at least 1913, so we of the Land of the Free haven’t seen much like a free market in our lifetimes or our parents’ and grandparents’ lifetimes. The best we can do is point to a few industries in the voluntary sector as examples of what we want. Beyond that it’s mostly conjecture, hypothesis, “theory.” Since progressives basically have what they want, they can point to what exists and say it works. So their basic attitude to major critics of interventionism is to rest on the Presumptive Case for the Status Quo. In this they are conservatives.

And can pretend to be empiricists.


Practical people shaking their heads at deluded fools.

Of course, they also want to further increase the scope of government into private property and market institutions, so they retain their basic “progressive” attitude, as well as being conservative. They halve their cake and eat both halfs.

Resting on the past, and on the institutional inertia, they don’t have to think hard.

And those who buy into this paradigm can read anything critical with a foot on the garbage pail lever even as they begin. Few will learn anything even if they were actually to study Smith, Say, Bastiat, Menger, Mises et al, and even kept up with contemporary revisions and corrections. They could hear the Spencer-Mises line that trade is cooperation and still miss the point, because their whole paradigm is set to muddy the foundational way we think: in terms of transactional clarity*. They think, instead, in broad categories, and engage in constant tribalistic rituals instead of real thinking. They are creatures of collectivism and macroeconomics.

The individual is something to be pushed around, like a pawn.

They imagine themselves at the top of the board, surveying the checkered landscape. The sheer exhilaration of this culturally-defined role is enough a taste of power to firmly corrupt them for the rest of their lives.

Power tends to corrupt; even imagined unlimited power corrupts absolutely.


Few people change their minds on much after their mid-20s. So, with governments running public schools and the Academy, it is, as Trump says in goofy ways about other aspects of the established order, “a rigged system.”

It takes a certain type of person, or sheer beneficent accident, to produce anyone but proponents of an existing and persisting system. The reward centers and conduits are firmly in place to continually entice groupthink and group solidarity.

We are the early adopter types. (Another way of thinking about all this: practical marketing.) Until we can sell our vision to more regular consumers of ideology, we won’t get far, and most folks will remain unconvinced.

Widespread resistance to criticism is completely understandable. After all, the dirigiste mindset and redistributive instinct in Late Welfare State Capitalism set traps, and most people are savvy enough to see the obvious incentives to play along, which push many people to double down on the system. Even further, they try to game what is already rigged.

Too few people see that this lattice-work of incentives and disincentives yields perverse consequences, is indeed best seen as a set of traps. Only a few folks are bright enough (or cussed enough) to see all this for what it is, truly a “systemic oppression” (SJWs have nothing on us!) that produces a more insidious-than-natural “state of nature” set of dilemmas (not all of them Prisoner’s Dilemmas; but many are) that catch and hold and incentivize participants to join in on the general idea: live at the expense of everybody else.


* This is usually called “methodological individualism.”

My recent answer to this question, as published on Quora: http://www.quora.com/Whats-the-difference-between-classical-liberalism-anarchism-and-libertarianism/answer/Timo-Virkkala

I know some very unfamiliar bits of history related to this question. And impart some of them in this piece. Here is a sample:

In the late 19th century, many of the more radical classical liberals had abandoned Liberalism for “individualism.” See the writings of Auberon Herbert (who coined a term for his variant, “voluntaryism”), J. H. Levy, and Wordsworth Donisthorpe. A mere generation later H. L. Mencken used that term to defend a simple market-based republicanism in Men versus the Man. More radical forms of individualism were revived by Albert Jay Nock, Isabel Paterson, Rose Wilder Lane, and Ayn Rand in the decades after, and at mid-century this group in America took “libertarian” from the anarchists. And then these anarchists manqué reinvented the Molinarian idea, and things go even more confusing.

In the 1960s, a simple newsletter called Innovator had begun its life as Liberal Innovator. Other samizdat journals abounded in this decade, and by 1972, the Libertarian Party had been formed by Ayn Rand fans who had given up on Nixon’s heavily statist Republican administration.

In any election in which the complexion of the major-party campaigns makes a minor-party run look plausible and more hopeful than usual, multiple minor-party and independent candidates will see that advantage and dilute the effect, thereby diminishing the minor-party advantage.

I wrote about this years ago, though I cannot find where it was published. Back in my Liberty days. Oh, well. The Evan McMullin gambit in this election, as in the John Anderson media-backed run in 1980, shows why the minor-party strategy is such a nonstarter. And surely this wisdom should inform Libertarian Party strategy.

The law, above, by the way, should sound very familiar to economists. It looks a lot like the Efficient Market Hypothesis, doesn’t it? Or Stigler’s Equilibrium Always position.

Yes, I know. This is a fairly obvious point, but I’ve not seen it made in the Public Choice literature I’ve read.


Conspiracies are fun to contemplate, more for some than others. I am not obsessed. As I see it, a conspiracy is merely a secret enterprise. Though maybe that needs to be a little more selective: an enterprise kept secret because illegal or disreputable. Be that as it may, I have only been associated (if usually in small roles) with public enterprises — where the publicity is integral to success — than to engage in shady dealings in back rooms.

Though like anyone I have private affairs, and I fully acknowledge that some of a public business’s biz is not everybody’s bIzzy.

All this apropos of what? One candidacy in this election that, though legal, can hardly be considered reputable: the presidential candidacy of Evan McMullin.

Evan who? Read the rest of this entry »


I wonder how many of the automatic, clichéd challenges and quips that are made to solidify the cause of feminism fall apart upon inspection. Consider this interchange between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a journalistic inquisitor:

MODERATOR 1: Okay. Which designers do you prefer?

SECRETARY CLINTON: What designers of clothes?


SECRETARY CLINTON: Would you ever ask a man that question? [Laughter, applause]

MODERATOR 1: Probably not. Probably not. [Applause]*

Now that everyone has had his or her de rigueur anti-sexist moment, and we can collectively shiver with that all-too-familiar frisson of self-righteousness as we think less of the shamed moderator, consider the context ignored above: men are constrained by fashion to wear one kind of garment in high society, a suit — which is upped to tuxedo level only on very rare occasions — the differences among which are minuscule compared to women’s formal wear, to which “fashion” insists on a vast variety, and continued annual, even seasonal, novelty.
Read the rest of this entry »


I have just begun reading David Stockman’s new book, Trumped!

I agree with Stockman’s basic analysis, even his core political thesis, but it looks like he is not going to draw the most important lesson from the Trump phenomenon. It is a lesson Republicans need to learn, and, especially, one that the neophyte alt-right must learn:

You, too, can be cucked. And by an alpha male.

Read it and weep.




In the 1970s, unions were out of control in Great Britain.
Fun fact: some of the leaders of some of the unions were paid by Moscow to monkeywrench the system.

So, British unions served as tools of the Communists. This is not an unfounded accusation. This is a fact gleaned from evidence in the Soviet archives, to which scholars were granted access in the early 1990s (since rescinded).

Now, compare and contrast:

Today, Hillary Clinton and her team charge Julian Assange and WikiLeaks with being subsidized by Putin’s Russia. The batches of Clinton campaign emails, as indexed and published by WikiLeaks, are castigated by the Clintonistas as attempts by Russia to influence the American election in favor of Donald Trump.

Shades of the Cold War!

img_0742Note, the Clinton camp is not denying their leaked emails’ veracity. Instead, they are merely trying to poison the well of respectsbility, using shame to dissuade anyone from bringing up inconvenient truths about Mrs. Clinton’s many, uh, shenanigans.

The anti-WikiLeaks/Russian subversion charge would be easier to accept, and its defendants more excoriable, had we not learned from these very same emails that the Clinton team itself had encouraged, during the primary period, friendly media outlets to promote Trump over his GOP competitors. Why? For the secret purpose of scuttling the candidacies of Republicans they thought harder to beat, primarily Rand Paul.

The Clinton team is attempting to blame Russia for doing what it itself did! And on flimsier evidence than has been so far supplied.

trumpinghillaryIt is possible, in politics, to be too clever for one’s own good.

The British paid agents of the Kremlin were traitors, back in the 1970s, sure. And what Maggie Thatcher did to them was necessary for the survival of the country.

But Julian Assange? Is he an enemy of the U. S.?

No more than Hillary herself, who appears to be a traitor . . . well, at the very least to her own cause, her own campaign.

She thought she could bleed trump by pushing Donald Trump, and take the last tricks of the campaign to win the election handily. Now, it appears, she may not succeed. It is still possible for Trump to win (though if you watch CNN, that seems impossible), even if oddsmakers put Hillary out ahead. Unless Trump’s reputation completely implodes in these last weeks, whatever the Electoral College meld tallies out to be, it will be a close election.

And if Hillary does indeed fail, she will have no one but herself to blame.


See: http://tomwoods.com/podcast/ep-756-was-margaret-thatcher-a-libertarian-hero/ and http://rare.us/story/leaked-email-shows-how-much-hillary-clintons-campaign-feared-rand-paul/. Visual meme, at top, courtesy of Paul Jacob at ThisIsCommonSense.com.