Author Archive

Putin’s Libertarians

Thursday, April 10th, 2014   Submitted by Roman Skaskiw

u-genghis-khan-monumentLast August, I met former Belarusian Presidential candidate Yaroslav Romanchuk at a libertarian conference near Lviv, Ukraine. He was somewhat of a Ron Paul figure, a businessman-turned-politician advocating radical free market reforms in Belarus. The consequences for being a libertarian in or near Russia are much more severe than in the United States. In 1994 he faced pressure: to stay in business he’d have to either join the mafia or join the government. He ended up abandoning the import-export business he had spent years building.

We joked about America’s RT (Russia Today) news service — that the United States government should sponsor a Russian language libertarian channel in Russia and Eastern Europe. The joke, which for us needed no explanation, was that governments can invoke principles of freedom when they undermine a rival government, while simultaneously behaving like a savage tyrant at home. This should not be difficult to understand. (more…)

A Conversation With Genghis Khan

Sunday, February 16th, 2014   Submitted by Roman Skaskiw

u-genghis-khan-monumentGenghis Khan: I am Genghis Khan. Not the actual one, but the author’s imperfect allegorical reflection. I like to rape, pillage, loot, and in general, be the flail of God.

Libertarian Villager: You shouldn’t do that stuff.

GK: Hahahahaha.

LV: Seriously.

GK: Why shouldn’t I?

LV: It violates self-ownership. Every person owns themselves.

GK: No they don’t. I own them. Don’t you see me deciding who gets raped or killed? Those who live do so by my mercy.

LV: Okay, I stated that incorrectly. Everyone is the rightful owner of their body. You should respect that.

GK: Hahahahaha. I am Genghis Khan. I make my own “should” with warriors and horses.

LV: Rights are not created by force of arms.

GK: <brandishing sword> Yes. They. Are.

LV: No. Self-ownership is a universal. It’s a natural right given by nature or nature’s God. It does not and can not come from violence. (more…)

Book Review: AJ Nock’s Memoirs

Saturday, January 25th, 2014   Submitted by Roman Skaskiw

GoldBit Imagine a world in which libertarians had no easy means of finding one another, a world without an internet, where newspapers and broadcast media faithfully upheld the official pronouncements of the day, rendering culture and propaganda indistinguishable. Imagine a world careening toward another cataclysmic war just a decade after the one often described as the end of European civilization. This was the world of Albert Jay Nock. He published his Memoirs of a Superfluous Man in 1943, and described it as an “autobiography of a mind in relation to the society in which it found itself.”

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Civil Unrest in Ukraine

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014   Submitted by Roman Skaskiw

UKRAINE2Wars and revolutions, regardless of their soundness, gain legitimacy when sprinkled with the blood of good people, a baptism of sorts. Think back to 2003 when the war makers celebrated the first American casualties in Iraq. Their youthful, smiling images appeared everywhere. What tragedy! How dare the enemy do this? In the name of fallen, we shall proceed ever more boldly!

As wars drag on, the dead and suffering put increasing pressure on the war makers to justify the cause. So, instead of being paraded as sanctifying relics, military remains are quietly dumped into landfills. But the soldiers’ role in propaganda is an issue I’ve covered before. Let’s talk about Ukraine, where I live.

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The End of Surface Warfare?

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013   Submitted by Roman Skaskiw

GoldBitWho wouldn’t want a seat at Brzezinski’s Grand Chessboard, if only occasionally — say, on long weekends?

The grand chessboard is a paradigm which substitutes individual wills for collective ones and treats each of them as a chess piece for you to command.

The book which popularized the phrase focuses on Eurasia, but its title and tone portrays the world at large as a giant amusement park for aspiring collectivists and their myriad admirers, for people with all of Napoleon’s ambition and none of his ability or initiative. On some days, this describes me.

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Clearing Up The Bitcoin Versus Gold Debate

Monday, November 4th, 2013   Submitted by Roman Skaskiw

GoldBitA lot of otherwise useful analysis of Bitcoin versus gold misses an important point. This analysis only considers physical gold, and points out its obvious disadvantages. Mainly, physical gold can’t be transported almost effortlessly, and almost instantly to anyone with an internet connection. Gold is also more difficult to divide and to verify. This analysis is accurate, but through the ingenuity of entrepreneurs, gold can behave like Bitcoin. In fact, it used to.

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Libertarianism is a First World Problem

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013   Submitted by Roman Skaskiw

PlaneWHY FOREIGN HAVENS?

It seems the illusion of good government is in free fall and no one knows precisely what will happen when it shatters upon the rocks. An enormous lie upon which the masses have staked livelihoods and personal identities is about to be shattered. How should we brace for the likely interruption to the global division of labor?

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Bitcoin Skepticism and Bitcoin Fever

Friday, April 12th, 2013   Submitted by Roman Skaskiw

BitCrashSkepticism of Bitcoin usually begins, quite reasonably, by citing its lack of intrinsic value. In this regard, it compares unfavorably to gold, as discussed recently by Patrik Korda on Mises.org.

The second reason for recent Bitcoin skepticism is its meteoric (some would say bubble-like rise), which indeed experienced a sharp correction the day after Parik’s article. Time will surely tell, but for the impatient, the philosophers and the gamblers, I offer these reasons for measured optimism in everything but the very-long term.

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Warrior Culture and Women in Ranger School

Monday, January 28th, 2013   Submitted by Roman Skaskiw

rangersI dream about the military almost every other night, about Afghanistan more often than Iraq, sometimes about training. The dreams are usually tense, but not disturbing. I think my training prepared me for combat. Amazingly, the most troubling dream involves my returning to Ranger School. A bureaucratic error requires me to go again. It’s recurred more times than I can count.

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The Burden Of The Soldier

Thursday, December 29th, 2011   Submitted by Roman Skaskiw

Earlier this month, a little-discussed headline read "Muted Ceremony Marks End Of Iraq War."[1] Of course, neither the war in Iraq nor the occupation are really ending. Thousands of private security contractors remain in the country (as do the fifteen thousand employees of the Baghdad embassy).[2] The end of conventional military operations reflects the changing usefulness of the soldier to the state.

Generally speaking, the soldier’s role as provider of security is secondary to his role in propaganda. Regardless of an individual soldier’s motivation in joining the military, his primary function is to serve as a rallying cry for the fellow subjects of his state.

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