Thursday, July 6, 2017

This Has Gotten Out of Hand

I am referring to my post, Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire.

When I wrote the post, I debated introducing it with a disclaimer; I decided not to do so, and this has caused some misunderstandings.

Here is the disclaimer: the post is fiction; I do not live in such a place; I don’t know of such a place; if I knew of such a place I would move there…if they would have me.

I wrote the post as a follow-on to a very long and meaningful (to me, at least) dialogue I have been having with myself and with many individuals who comment at this blog.  The subject is the intersection of libertarian theory and culture; how one plays against the other and what this interaction means regarding the prospect of achieving and keeping liberty. 

I wanted to come up with a different and unique way to get my thoughts on this topic out there.  By personalizing the issue and also describing an NAP violation that most people would consider relatively minor, I thought the picture I have tried to convey would be made clear to a few more eyes.

The subject is meaningful enough to me that I have dedicated a page at this site to document and summarize the many posts I have written on this topic.

I decided not to add the disclaimer because I felt that those who visit here to read this stuff are pretty aware of the dialogue.  This was my big mistake, and for this I owe many of you an apology.

You can tell by the comments in response to the post that many individuals misunderstood my intent; I do not blame any of you.  I have also received emails along the same lines; I do not blame any of these writers.

But the whopper came this morning: Libertarian Good Old Boys: A Community Experiment, by Gary North:

The editor of a libertarian website, Bionic Mosquito, recently posted this article. I have never heard of anything like this in my life.

Well, I know why he hasn’t heard of such a thing; and I don’t blame Dr. North.

He goes on to publish a large portion of the essay, along with some comments of his own at the end.  Now is not the time to give my thoughts, if any, regarding his comments – other than to say that I agree with many of the points he makes.  But I will revisit this in the coming days.

Talk about something getting out of hand.

I will say again, to all who misunderstood the purpose of the subject post, I apologize for creating a misunderstanding.  The fault is mine.

In the future, if I ever write fiction again (this may be only the second or third time that I can recall), I will label it as such.


  1. You have lost nothing of value by losing this critic as a reader of your blog.

    I have dealt with him myself. He is a nitpicker from way back, overly critical and nasty, with an over-inflated view of himself. Despite his many years as a libertarian icon, he's a man for whom I have no respect.

    Aside from all of that, despite his many years as a writer, his style of writing is so monotonous it would put Rip Van Winkle back to sleep immediately upon awakening.

    1. If you are referring to Gary North you are spot on. He thought Y2K would end the modern civilized world as we know it. Boy, was he ever wrong and never offered an apology but kept on as if nothing had happened and indeed nothing did happen as far as it was concerned.He lost all credibility with me at that point.

    2. I think North would not refer to himself as a libertarian.

      As to the other points, we all have strengths and weaknesses.

    3. North has repeatedly referred to himself as a conservative.

      LOL: Y2K? What about the "Christian" Reconstructionist capital punishment via stoning policy? It would apply to not just murderers but "blasphemers, children who curse their parents, and male homosexuals." Has this guy ever read John 8:7 where Jesus said, "He who is without sin can cast the first stone?"

      The stoning nonsense is far more embarrassing and un-libertarian than anything.

    4. Gary North *did* offer an apology for being wrong about Y2K, or at least an acknowledgment that he was wrong. I had egg on my face for believing him and spreading the message, and whatever he said was enough for me.

      Since then he has offered many valuable columns for Lew Rockwell.

      He may not be a confessing libertarian, but he published "Rich Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators" in 1981, and that book single-handedly converted me from welfare statism to libertarianism in about fifty pages. So he is not an anarchist. I became one on the basis of his writings. Maybe I'm tweaking his work to suit my present views more than I should, but I'm grateful to the guy for a good 90% of what he's written.

      As for stoning, I've read many volumes of his economic commentary on the Bible and don't remember seeing him claim that it applies to violations of the Sabbath or to blasphemy. Murder and adultery, yes.

      But under a state system, how do you deal with murder? (For that matter, I would expect that under a private law system, at least some murderers would be permanently put out of circulation.) There is no way for the perp to make restitution. A state judge has no skin in the game and so can't be trusted to render a just verdict. Whatever verdict he does render has to be answerable to the community. To participate in the stoning is to agree with the verdict and take personal responsibility for the punishment (as the evil subjects of Ahab did with Naboth), something capital punishment fans don't do when the tax-funded hangman does the job. To refuse to participate in the stoning (as one would hope at least some of Ahab's subjects, like Micaiah and Obadiah would have) is to repudiate the justice system of the society. "If you don't want to be one of us, you don't have to -- you're on your own."

  2. This response to Gary North is entirely too charitable. I have read Gary North's articles sporadically for over 10 years now - I was highly disappointed as his overreaction to what was obviously fiction. No disclaimer was or should have been necessary. Gary wrote "He can write anything from now on. I will never trust his site again. This kind of stunt is irreparable. The man has no ethics. He has rotten judgment. He has shot himself in a more delicate place than his foot." No, Gary, you are doing the shooting, and you are shooting something more delicate than your foot: your readers. I question what value there is in anything else Gary has to say when he overreacts to something so small. I generally read Gary for his folksy wisdom, but I can find that somewhere else until he retracts this.

    1. Did North really write this, what you have quoted? Do you have a link, or is it hiding behind his paywall?

    2. He's updated the public article to note that it was fiction. No, the 'will never trust' is in that public article.

  3. I thought it was a good story, but real? I got the impression it was being relayed from someone else, and was wondering why you posted it unattributed.

    When I first read it I almost posted a joke about the lack of ATF agents crawling around, but deleted it before hitting publish. I wish I had posted it now.

  4. I, for one, loved the fictional article, although it is disappointing to hear that your neighborhood--as described--doesn't exist.

    Dr. North's sense of humor is irreparably damaged, apparently.

  5. Good grief! People thought it was actually happening?
    Your hypothetical neighborly extroverts was fun. It provided for a little jocularity.
    Definitely sounds like North did lose his sense of humor.
    Refuse, BM, to submit. Keep the much entertaining front lawn activities.

  6. wew lads, wew

    The fact that North couldn't tell this was a thought experiment says more about him than it does about BM's writing. North's reaction? Wow. The anon above quoted it accurately.

    If I was in North's position, having misunderstood the context and purpose of an article, I would laugh at *myself,* clarify for my readers, and maybe reevaluate it with the proper context in mind. What I would not do is attack the credibility of its author and act like he maliciously deceived me.

    However, Gary North's ego is not like normal men. North is used to being taken as a religious authority and apparently cannot handle being made to look a bit foolish in front of his flock. Its like Y2K all over again for him. Sad!

  7. It was obvious to me that you were talking about a scenario. Perhaps it created misunderstandings for some people, but I don't think that it warrants an apology.

  8. I honestly understood it to be a thought experiment about midway through, and an extensive of your front lawn analogy. I visit here maybe once or twice a week, so I don't know how someone who read more regularly could mistake it for otherwise.

    My only thought was that if such a place existed, it would've been constructed and not organic or naturally occurring as you described. In such a necessarily constructed place, you wouldn't likely run into the problem you describe.

    I mean, a whole neighborhood full of LRC readers (or whatever you exactly described). Comon, you're lucky to get two on the same street.

    1. "...and an extensive of your front lawn analogy."

      I think this is the main reason I did not offer a prologue or disclaimer. I didn't want to trigger an automatic response by immediately reminding the reader of this analogy - although I felt eventually anyone who has read a decent amount of my stuff and the dialogue here would figure it out before they got done reading.

      But at least by the time they figured it out they would have been invested in the plight of the original residents. Maybe this empathy would generate a different response for those whom have not yet been swayed.


  9. "I believe virtually everything I read, and I think that is what makes me more of a selective human than someone who doesn't believe anything."

    David St. Hubbins

    BM, in my opinion you owe no one an apology. You had me fooled until I read your comment that refereed to the OP as a "thought experiment" (I was in the "it's a plant" camp. I was also guessing that the plant was an agent provocateur funded by George Soros.) When I learned that your post was fiction, I realized that I believed it because I WANTED it to be true.

    Keep up the good work.

  10. Of all the things, the great topics you have written, thought provoking, and you grief over a sex on the front lawn. Moar lawn sex. Admit guys, it is the stuff you dream about.
    Snicker, snicker. I cannot help myself BM. Almost I am sorry but I will let it rest ... I will really really try.
    Laughing onto the night ...
    I think I will get stuff to brew a batch of mead on Saturday.

  11. I subscribed to Dr. North for a short while. Quick to criticize and slow to praise (absolutely glacial), his style wore on me quickly.

    It's rare for me to click on his articles. That includes this instance as well. His intransigence will have to thaw without me reading about it.

  12. Thank you for publishing your "fake news" article. I too started out believing it true. That was my confirmation bias. I still want to find that such a community actually exists.

    Setting that disappointment aside, I think what is needed is many more articles like this that attempt to describe the practical inner workings of a libertarian approach to maintaining a civil society.

    Libertarian ideals are formed first in the mind, then in reality.

    Thanks for your contribution toward that end.

    1. "...articles like this that attempt to describe the practical inner workings of a libertarian approach to maintaining a civil society."


      Until I read these words I didn't at all think of my article in such terms. Thank you for helping me see that part of it.

  13. It's a shame that it is fiction.

    But that merely begs what is perhaps the most important question.

    Why is it fiction?

    Why don't you live someplace like that?

    Why don''t we all?

    It appears that it is either much more difficult to do that common sense would dictate, or we actually place a lot lower priority on our values than we like to think.

    1. Look closely at the politics of any typical HOA (homeowners association) in the USSA, and you will have your answer. And once you are in, there is no escape except by selling again. I've looked far and wide for any legal precedent for "secession", in whole or in part, from an HOA, and have yet to find anything.

    2. "I've looked far and wide for any legal precedent for "secession", in whole or in part, from an HOA, and have yet to find anything."

      The thing is though, anyone a party to such an agreement had a chance to say "no" before purchasing/entering such an agreement...and McMaken's point about decentralization breeding choice is still an important point.

      I'd much rather than my choice of thousands of HOA's than one giant one that ran half the continent.

    3. I, too, would rather have a choice of a thousand HOAs. First of all, I doubt any would attempt to increase the fees in order to launch drone strikes 7000 miles away; second, if I had to relocate, it wouldn't involve moving 1500 miles away, learning a new language and culture, finding a new job, running away from relatives and friends, etc.

      Perfect isn't an option.

  14. North, who has a history of ranting about the end of the sinful world in time of y2k scare, and stoning as punishment for adultery, because, hey, stones are cheap has the gall of making a fool of himself yet another time.

  15. I was a subscriber to Gary North's website. The guy writes some solid articles on economics. I respect him and his opinion. I think he made some good points commenting on the article but I feel bad that this has soured him so much. The world is dominated by Keynesian economics. It would be nice if the free market guys didn't piss each other off. Nevertheless I will keep reading BM and GN. I think both are of great value

  16. Well, it was *good* fiction. Nice job!

  17. I wish Gary had contacted you first before launching off at you. Having talked with Gary many times at various conferences over the years and having followed him in his remnant review going back decades, I can assure you that while he is a really good guy, he's gotten more than his share of things wrong as we all have. Probably the biggest one was the end of the world that he proved logically would follow with the collapse of Y2K.
    If nothing else, his misunderstanding of the points you've tried to make actually prove them.

  18. I would not be surprised if Gary North were upset that Jesus used parables. He is probably waiting for "[t]he guy [to] come clean." Or maybe in such a case, Gary should apologize for misreading, and not Jesus for telling the parable.

  19. Yes, and the ever-sanctimonious Dr. North says he will never go here again. Trust me, that's not the end of the world. He also fervently believes that NASA's budget should be cut to zero because they are - literally - trying to destroy his religion. (Apparently, if they find a single microbe on Mars, Europa, or Enceladus, his entire belief system that he has defended for 60+ years would be shattered.)

    He also tried, around y2k, in a private email thread, to lecture me on the economics of the PC industry, in which I've worked for decades, and he still uses a PC-AT keyboard from 1986.

  20. I do not think its profitable for our cause to let our arguments reach a personal level. While I recognize that Gary North let that cat out of the bag, he also noted in the same article that libertarians rarely get along. I have found many gems out of both BM and GN - hopefully we can put this behind us.

    1. "...hopefully we can put this behind us."

      There really isn't any "we" in this argument, is there.

    2. IMO, GN is embarrassed that he thought the story was real. Instead of laughing it off, he decides to take the bully path and go completely ridiculous with his tirade. GN went over the top and pacifying a bully never works. I think GN would do the community a service by just retiring into the shadows and shut up. He is now more of a stumbling block than anything else.

  21. I actually know a guy that lives in an area without an HOA and with the most minimal restrictions (it is within city limits). The neighbors have a very lose association and most have fought against attempts at establishing an HOA. It is not too far from the fiction created by BM (a very good one BTW) but is nothing like the elders BM describes. The area is being gentrified which is why there have been some attempts at establishing an HOA - it ain't gonna happen.
    So, for me, BM's construct was believable, especially if the neighborhood was outside city limits and in the country. The elders rule was the part I wondered about and that is why I was interested in its "history."

    BM, have you read the book "The Missionaries' by Owen Stanley? If not, I highly recommend it.

    I think that you have a basis for a similar satirical book but dealing with your HYPOTHETICAL (that's so for the special you out there) neighborhood.

  22. Gary North fancies himself a prophet. Nothing in the universe is hidden from him. Here's his latest piece, today, 7/7/17. It's a decent article. But what's with

    "There is no way around this conflict of criteria. It will mark the debates that go on in five years, 10 years, or a century."

    North knows for sure what will happen in a century, and he needs you to believe him. Why? I don't know, but that may explain his ornery character.

  23. Will throw my 10 cents in too.

    I had a email war with Gary about 5 years ago.
    Very self conscious,arrogant,and rude......Brilliant mind !!!

    But asshole! just the same

    Owyhee Cowboy

  24. GN gave a very helpful article on how to repair yourself. You can do with it what you want. I hope you don't believe in the posters here. "GN fancies himself as a prophet". Really? Gn spent 30+ years writing about the economics of the Bible and do you really believe Gary fancies himself as a prophet? Good luck with with that. Either listen to your FREE subscribers ( losers ) or listen to the people who actually pay to listen to Gary. It is up to you

    1. You come to this house as a stranger and decide you are qualified to give advice on a topic you know nothing about? Save your breath.

      I have many years experience in that circle; I know it better than most. You have learned well from your master.

    2. The topic is either fact or fiction. Are you tell ing I know nothing about that? Read my post. Demitry said Gary fancies as a prophet. Yeah I know what the Bible says on Prophets. Yet, you allow it to be posted. If you knew, You would know Demetry is an absolute idiot and in no way should be allowed to post.

    3. I allow you to be published. Isn't that interesting....

      As to the article, besides Dr. North, everyone (and I mean EVERYONE)else who read it fell into one of two camps:

      1) They knew it was fiction, meant to illustrate a larger point, a point obviously over your head.

      2) They first believed it to be true, but at some point concluded that it wasn't. None of these went on the let their embarrassment control their emotions.

      Which, of course, Dr. North did. It is a sign of immaturity.

      But keep defending him; as long as you refrain from vulgarity or otherwise make personal attacks, you will be published. In other words, lay off Demetry. Deal with what is said; do not attack the individual.

      I know this isn't true in other forums that you visit.

    4. I actually subscribed for a year at GN's website. Since I know that I will not be believed, here is what he opens with in his subscription email.

      "Matthew Rowe,

      "Welcome aboard!

      You have just joined a community of people of all ages who are willing to consider unconventional solutions to common problems -- and sometimes some not-so-common problems.

      Here is where you get your bonuses. There are two manuals, "College Pitfalls" and "Surviving College." You can download them here"

      Also a funny part:

      To obey Federal law, I must refund immediately any membership fee from someone age 12 or younger. If you are 12 or under, please tell me by e-mail: I will send you a refund check. Instead, have a parent or adult guardian join. Then ask to be given the password"

      That should be sufficient as to proof.

      I thought Gary's site was OK, but the mystery of what is behind is paywall is greater than what is really behind the paywall, if you know what I mean (the same goes for Wenzel's paid newsletter subscription, which I also subscribed to).

      Just because BM offers his thoughts for free does not mean that they are of any lesser value. In fact, they are influencing people even now.

    5. "GN gave a very helpful article on how to repair yourself"

      In which article?

    6. There is no such thing as economics of the Bible, any more than physics of the Bible or mathematics of the Bible. But the figures in the Bible did undoubtedly economize, exactly like figures not in the Bible.

  25. You got Gary North's hopes up that your Libertarian Utopia was actually a real place,only to have it shattered.

    1. In addition to that, GN has possibly triggered a boomerang effect on himself. Looks like a lot of the old Taliban Tyler sewage is bubbling to the top

  26. To me, Doc North proved himself ungentlemanly in his YouTube debate with Doc Block on the value of becoming a Ph.D. economist. I chatted with Dr. Block back in '11 at an event at Reno (Freedom Fest?), and he was a bit chagrined about the 'debate.' In that debate, Doc North showed he goes for the jugular every time, wanting to win no matter the cost, instead of just sharing competing thoughts in a friendly manner and letting the audience decide on the merits.

    I was a subscriber to his website. I was kicked off for arguing with him about the merits of Andy Rooney (who I thought was a waste of time and a distraction for anyone with a brain, and whom Doc North thought was a witty fellow).

    Doc North has a fine mind and a painful-for-others personality, it seems to me.

    Keep up the fine work, b-m-!

    P.S. -- because I only visit your site once per week and take things at face value, I assumed your community was real and proposed my solution in a pragmatic frame of mind. It does not bother me one bit that I did not realize that the post was a hypothetical.