About theartfuldilettante

The Artful Dilettante is a native of Pittsburgh, PA, and a graduate of Penn State University. He is a lover of liberty and a lifelong and passionate student of the same. He is voracious reader of books on the Enlightenment and the American colonial and revolutionary periods. He is a student of libertarian and Objectivist philosophies. He collects revolutionary war and period currency, books, and newspapers. He is married and the father of one teenage son. He is kind, witty, generous to a fault, and unjustifiably proud of himself. He is the life of the party and an unparalleled raconteur.

Freedom Departs Europe

Yesterday the UK Telegraph reported that the UK is on the brink of joining the EU Covid Vaccine passport scheme. Essentially British and European peoples will not be able to leave their homes without the passport.

The propagandists for the agenda make the restriction of freedom of movement sound like a great advantage. They say that “the EU Digital Covid Certificate should make traveling in Europe easier and cheaper for British tourists.”

“The EU Digital Covid Certificate has quickly become the biggest vaccine passport scheme in the world and coves more than 40 countries, including all 27 EU states and others as far afield as Israel and Panama.”

People all over Europe, and especially in France, have been, and are, in the streets protesting this restriction on freedom of movement, but Paul Charles, a travel agent executive, claims the use of the Digital Certificate for entry to restaurants, bars and other venues in France has proved popular with the public.

Paul Charles says that “more people have got vaccinated as a result” of the restriction. Consequently the French have seen their infection rates “drop significantly because of this measure.” If this is true, it is contrary to the experience elsewhere. The data is clear that the most vaccinated countries, such as Israel, are experiencing the highest rate of new infections, and the evidence is clear that the new Covid victims are the vaccinated.

Many experts believe that the mRNA vaccine itself results in adverse reactions that are mislabeled new Covid cases and in the appearance of variants. Thus, new cases rise with vaccination. Experts say that the latest round of vaccinations will result in a new wave of fear this winter that governments will exploit to impose more societal controls.

Paul Charles says that the Digital Covid Certificate “is not for the short term. Governments are getting used to it.” In other words, the “Free West” is institutionalizing the internal passport of the Stalinist regime.

As Mike Yeadon and others have explained, the passport’s reach will be expanded to control all other aspects of a person’s existence. https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2021/09/22/everything-your-government-told-you-about-covid-virus-is-a-lie/

Of course, many reassurances come with the introduction of the totalitarian scheme described as “public health protection.” “Our vaccination status must never be allowed to determine our ability to live freely in our democracy,” which is precisely what it does do. The scheme “only has an initial license to run for 12 months” and privacy is protected by limiting personal data “to what is necessary.”

Anyone who believes that governments give up powers rather than expand them is gullible beyond belief.

Without any doubt the “Free West” has succumbed to Global Health Security. The orchestration of a Covid Pandemic has succeeded in its aim.


Paul Craig Roberts

Do We Really Need the Federal Government ?

With the federal government becoming (1) unspeakably negligent on the military and the border, and (2) brazenly more tyrannical by the hour, at what point will states like Texas and Florida start to wonder: Why are we paying taxes to support our own destruction? The question should not come just from red states, but from all those red countries.

The Biden regime is not America. So what’s in it for freedom-loving people? Why should we pay the federal government to pulverize us, demoralize us and ultimately annihilate every one of our liberties?

I expect to see this question asked a hell of a lot more in weeks and months to come.


Want to Know this World ? Read these Books

Here’s my short list of books I would recommend to someone who is interested in the ideas on this site and wants to learn more. If you read and absorb these books you will never look at the world the same way again.

If you’re like me, you are annoyed by books that teach you three new things. My time is limited. I like books that are full of things I didn’t know, or ideas I’d never thought of.

The books I recommend below belong in that category. They teach you something new and unexpected on every page. And they are a perfect antidote to the propaganda fed to us in the ideological prison camps where most of us spent our formative years. I list them in no particular order.

Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt. Important for beginners. Also useful for beginners is Peter Schiff’s book How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes.

The Revolution: A Manifesto, by Ron Paul. This is another good one for beginners. It has a good track record as a proselytizing device.

The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey, by Michael Huemer. An extremely convincing defense of libertarianism that features powerful common-sense analogies as well as arguments drawn from basic moral intuitions shared by everyone.

Modern Times: The World From the Twenties to the Nineties, by Paul Johnson. I strongly prefer the earlier edition that went only through the 1980s, because Johnson starts sounding like a neocon by the time he gets to the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Ignore all that. The rest of the book is astonishingly good, and a devastating indictment of the collectivism of the 20th century.

Democracy: The God that Failed, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe. Just read it. Trust me on this.

The Left, the Right, and the State, by Lew Rockwell. Lew (who of course runs the indispensable LewRockwell.com) did the world an incalculable service with the founding of the Mises Institute, but he is grossly underrated as a thinker in his own right. He has extended Rothbardian thought in numerous ways, and has influenced my own thinking more than almost anyone in the world.

The Quest for Community, by Robert Nisbet. Here is a graduate course in political philosophy. Except in this one, the state is not the glorious summit of civilization and the indispensable source of human flourishing. As the new edition explains, “Nisbet argued that the rise of the powerful modern state had eroded the sources of community—the family, the neighborhood, the church, the guild. Alienation and loneliness inevitably resulted. But as the traditional ties that bind fell away, the human impulse toward community led people to turn even more to the government itself, allowing statism — even totalitarianism — to flourish.”

The Austrian Theory of the Trade Cycle and Other Essays. Features essays by Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Gottfried Haberler, and Murray N. Rothbard. An effective introduction to the Austrian theory of the business cycle. You can read or listen to it online.

What Has Government Done to Our Money? by Murray N. Rothbard. An excellent little overview of the origin of money and its fate at the hands of government. You can listen to this book (along with The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar) for free.

Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays, by Murray N. Rothbard. The quality of the essays in this book is astounding. You will not think the same way ever again after reading “Anatomy of the State” and “War, Peace, and the State,” to name just two. You can read it online.

After you read these, I recommend the following:

A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe. Hoppe’s books put everything together for me. You can read this one online.

The Economics and Ethics of Private Property, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe. This book blew me away when I first read it. Its title makes it sound dull. It is one of the most intellectually exciting books I have ever read.

Man, Economy, and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles, by Murray N. Rothbard. This one, and the two that follow, are for the especially ambitious. This is a systematic exposition of Austrian economics. The sheer elegance of the Austrian system is on impressive display here. The entire text is available online. A study guide is available for purchase and online.

Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, by Ludwig von Mises. Available online, and as a free audiobook. See also the study guide, which can be purchased or read online. (Some disagree with me, but I favor beginning with Rothbard before moving on to Human Action.)

Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles, by Jesús Huerta de Soto. Here is the Austrian theory on money, banking, and business cycles, presented in systematic fashion, and compared with the Chicago and Keynesian alternatives. I have a friend who was so impressed by this book that he learned Spanish so he could pursue his Ph.D. under the author in Spain. It is also available online.

I could name other books, naturally, but to my mind these are the absolutely indispensable ones.

One of the goals of my own books, for that matter, has been to get people up to speed on various topics as quickly and with as little exertion on their part as possible.Hence The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History33 Questions About American HistoryMeltdown [on the 2008 financial crisis], and Nullification.

I hope you find these

Read the original article at TomWoods.com. http://tomwoods.com/goodbooks/?omhide=true

The Coming Dem/Progressive Civil War

Conservatives, Republicans, and Trump supporters should start licking their chops in anticipation, because in the very near future the spectacle we’ve long been waiting for will finally materialize: Democrats and “progressives” will form one of the most brutal and effective circular firing squads of all time!

The trigger for this bloodbath on the Left will be simple: after months of painstaking legislative sausage-making, Democratic efforts to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure bill plus a $3.5 trillion social spending and entitlement bill, will collapse in a heap. The Squad’s recent success in getting funding for Israel’s “Iron Dome” stricken from a spending bill was a mere shot across the bow. The bigger problem is that the least that Congressional progressives will accept, in terms of new federal funding of their pie-in-the-sky priorities, is far more than moderate Dems, afraid of being swept away by a “red tide” in the 2022 midterm elections, will vote for. The more time that passes, moreover, and the lower “resident” Biden’s approval numbers sink, the harder it becomes to corral leftists and centrists into voting for compromise legislation.

Ergo, the Dems’ big bet on history-making social spending and entitlement expansion is about to come up empty. The new dawn for the welfare state, for “climate justice”, and for (integrity-less) “democracy” that Democrats and progressives predicted when they captured the White House, House, and Senate in January 2021, has instead become a nightmare in which the Left cannot accomplish any significant reforms at the federal level, but it can be held accountable for the policy mistakes of the Biden Administration, and for the resurgence of COVID, inflation, illegal immigration, street crime, and more.

It’s enough to drive all your favorite liberals absolutely batty!

All this, however, is just the appetizer. The main course will be the internecine fighting and backstabbing that this series of political setbacks will engender.

For one thing, consider that Joe Biden “won” the 2020 election only because the media and social media conspired to suppress any negative stories about him and his family, no matter how accurate. Biden barely campaigned, and most ardent progressives, not to mention many young and minority voters, viewed him, and continue to view him, with disdain.

Nonetheless, as the anti-Trump in 2020, the entire Left, and the entire Democratic Party coalition, was prepared to support Biden – as were many independents, because of the warped, carefully curated version of reality they were fed by a compliant press. All this, plus the widespread violation of election laws to ensure that even suspect mail-in ballots (for Biden) were counted, netted “Sleepy Joe” a margin of victory in the three critical states of Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin of 10,457, 11,779, and 20,682 votes, respectively.

Whew! That was a close one!

Thanks to his already-accumulating policy failures, however, the media’s love affair with Joe Biden is already at an end. Coverage of the Biden Administration has become vastly more negative and critical, and journalists themselves have become more aggressive, accusatory, and disrespectful.

How much worse, therefore, will the atmosphere in the White House Briefing Room become when Biden’s agenda in Congress goes down to epic defeat? At that point, it will be clear to progressives (and most elite journalists count themselves among them) that the grand bargain that the Left made when it accepted Joe Biden as its standard-bearer – that a familiar, if desiccated, white male face could ensure electoral victory and the passage of most of their wish-list items in Congress – was an exercise in futility.

Combine Biden’s impending legislative humiliation with his increasingly disastrous polling numbers (Rasmussen now has Trump defeating Biden by ten points in a rematch), and the gloves will assuredly come off as progressives unload on the putative leader of their movement and their party. To say that the fur is about to fly would be an insult to catfights everywhere!

And that’s not all. As the Left loses faith in its “moderate” leadership, both in the White House and in Congress, questions will inevitably arise about Biden’s fitness to remain in office, as well as his medium- and long-term political viability. Some Democrats and progressives will promote Kamala Harris as a younger, female, and more diverse alternative to Biden. Others will recoil at that prospect, given Harris’s obvious negatives, including her rhetorical stumbles and her rank unpopularity.

The truth, therefore, is that in political terms the Dems and progressives really did bet the farm on Joe Biden in 2020. They have no viable Plan B, in case he should prove to be a dead end, at least not until the primary process begins in early 2024 and they can begin to choose a more suitable successor.

In the meantime, all that leftists can do is wallow in squalor and misery…and curse themselves for not choosing Buttigieg, or Sanders, or Warren, or Klobuchar in 2020, when they had a tantalizing opportunity to “win it all” and usher in a new era of Big Government, and instead shackled themselves to a corpse, and an unprepossessing corpse at that.

Conservatives, Republicans, and Trumpers should rejoice, therefore! Our recapture of the House, Senate, and presidency may not be guaranteed, but the humbling of our enemies and tormentors is about to begin in earnest. To say that the months and years ahead will present us with “opportunities” would be the understatement of the century!


Even Jimmy Carter was Better

I miss Jimmy Carter. At least when HE was wrecking the country, everyone–including himself–viewed inflation, military weakness, poor national self-esteem, cultural and economic decline as BAD things. Today, those things are enabled, championed and supported by the media, by teachers, by so-called intellectuals, by huge woke corporations and by the government. Carter’s era was one of temporary “malaise.” Today we’re witnessing the sociological equivalent of murder-suicide. We thought Carter was bad back then…but Biden’s unaccountable wrecking ball of today is much, much worse.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

The Empire Strikes Back: China Back in Afghanistan

If you read the North American and European press, you will get the impression that the Chinese have, geopolitically, reached their westernmost geographical limit in offering themselves as the new patrons of Afghanistan.  It’s a bold strike against China’s NATO competitors, who have left, or who have been driven out of  Afghanistan by the Taliban.  And so, China is making the new government of Taliban rulers in Afghanistan its tributary, or client state.

The Taliban do not have money and look to the Chinese for aid and investment because the only shrewd and right thing the U.S. government did before its panicked retreat from Afghanistan was to ensure that the gold of Afghanistan and its currency reserves were safely in a vault in or around New York City.  From these funds, no doubt, the Biden administration is now offering its first sixty-four million dollars of “development assistance,” or perhaps ransom money, to that self-declared Islamic dictatorship.  We can be sure that the Taliban will use these funds to empower women and protect ethnic minorities.

Despite the hybrid and contorted Marxism of today’s ruling Communist Party of China, the Chinese and their leaders are a country and people with a long historical memory, at least 2,500 years of it.  It is common Chinese practice to look at the present through the lens of the past.  And so, Chinese people are well aware that they once ruled or at least lorded it over Afghanistan, for at least about one hundred years.

This was during the period of the Tang Dynasty, whose imperial rulers of the Tang Empire (618–907) controlled a landmass that began in the Pacific and reached the Hindu Kush in the west.  During that time, what is today Afghanistan, Pakistan, and much of Northern India was part of a series of sophisticated, urbane, and literate Buddhist cultures.

At the time, the area was a world center of Buddhist scholarship and teaching.  Its artisans and sculptors were the creators of the massive Buddhist rock sculptures of the Bamiyan valley in Afghanistan, which were blown up by the iconoclastic Afghan Taliban on the 21st of February, 2001.

During the seventh century A.D., a traveling monk from China knew that the texts and the teaching of Buddhism were purer in the Afghan and Indian monasteries, and so Chinese Buddhist monk and pilgrim Xuan Zang (602–664) walked from China to Afghanistan, India, and back, after having spent years studying Sanskrit and collecting Buddhist manuscripts, which he then brought back to China.

The emperor of China at the time welcomed him home, subsidized his translation work, rewarded him highly, and thus triggered yet another and one of the more substantial waves of Buddhist influence on the Chinese people, an imported religion that has waxed and waned there until the present day.

All literate Chinese know about Xuan Zang, and he is still a national hero.  So, from a Chinese historical and political perspective, they are not replacing the Americans in today’s Afghanistan.  They actually feel that they are simply and justly re-asserting their manifest destiny in a land they once ruled, just before the rise of Islam destroyed every vestige of Buddhist civilization in and around the Hindu Kush.

During the sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen hundreds, the Chinese empire began to shrink.  It suffered losses against the Russians to the west and northeast and to the Western Europeans, who occupied its eastern coast, where they created independent enclaves.

Nevertheless, in the late nineteenth century, the Chinese empire reasserted itself in eastern central Asia and conquered the Uighur Turkish-speaking Muslims who have dominated the Sinkiang region for centuries.  This became China’s unruly “Muslim wild west” and is a sore spot in the national consciousness and the foreign policy establishment in China.Read More

The Uighurs of Sinkiang have witnessed the successful disengagement from the Soviet Union (since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991) of most Central Asian peoples and republics, who comprise Turkish- and Persian-speaking Muslim townspeople, farmers, and nomads.  They reasserted their Muslim identities and religious practices after the enforcement of Russian-dominated Marxist secular governments during the previous seventy years (that is, from the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990).

They are therefore sympathetic to their ethnic, linguistic, and religious Turkish-speaking cousins and co-religionists, the Uighurs of Sinkiang, who would like to break away from China and create an additional Central Asian Turkish-speaking state based on Islam.  At least four hundred thousand Uighurs have fled persecution in Sinkiang and have crossed over to neighbouring Kazakhstan so that they can live more freely.  The Chinese will have none of this.

The first thing the Chinese have done is drown the Turkish-speaking Uighur Muslims with secular, Christian, Buddhist, Confucian, or Taoist Chinese Han immigrants, which is the dominant Chinese ethnic group.  After the communist revolution in China in 1948, one year later, the Han population of Sinkiang numbered 300,000 people.  By the year 2000, of the 7.8 million people living in Sinkiang, more than 40% were Han Chinese, an increase of 2,200% over a mere half-century.

The local Uighurs have been treated to a carrot-and-stick approach by their Chinese overlords: increased investment in infrastructure, linking Sinkiang with its “Silk Road” initiative, alongside merciless persecution of any political resistance to Chinese domination.

In 2018, Human Rights Watch published a report on Chinese behavior in Sinkiang.  This paragraph distills the report:

Inside political education camps, detainees are forced to learn Mandarin Chinese, sing praises of the Chinese Communist Party, and memorize rules applicable primarily to Turkic Muslims. Those outside the camps are required to attend weekly, or even daily, Chinese flag-raising ceremonies, political indoctrination meetings, and at times Mandarin classes. Detainees are told they may not be allowed to leave the camps unless they have learned over 1,000 Chinese characters or are otherwise deemed to have become loyal Chinese subjects; Turkic Muslims living outside are subjected to movement restrictions ranging from house arrest, to being barred from leaving their locales, to being prevented from leaving the country. Inside, people are punished for peacefully practicing religion; outside, the government’s religious restrictions are so stringent that it has effectively outlawed Islam. Inside, people are closely watched by guards and are barred from contacting their families and friends. Those living in their homes are watched by their neighbors, officials, and tech-enabled mass surveillance systems, and are not allowed to contact those in foreign countries.

At the same time, the Chinese have established working groups such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which comprise China and most of the newly independent states of Central Asia.  The SCO has become one vehicle for aid, investment, diplomacy, and security, linking China’s stand against radical Islam in central Asia with its anti-terror metaphor for its suppression of the Uighurs.  This has, for example, included the Chinese National Petroleum company gaining ownership of  60% of gas-producing companies like Aktobemunaygaz in Kazakhstan.

Simply put, China is building roads, creating air links, flooding the central Asian markets with Chinese manufactured goods, and creating a security and intelligence network that ensures that its Central Asian neighbors will not challenge it in Sinkiang.  This is close to the kind of thinking of the Tang emperors who through trade (gifts/bribes), luxury goods, and military domination ensured Han dominance of Central Asia for a period.

The Chinese have done and continue to do all they can to offset the influence that NATO has created with the central Asian republics, slowly bringing them within the NATO umbrella, a policy until recently pushed most aggressively by the U.S., while also keeping Russia at bay, which conquered Central Asia during the 19th century until driven out in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union.

And so, we must conclude that despite the new Afghanistan’s radical Islamic agenda, it is unlikely that the Taliban will engage in a jihad to free their “Muslim brothers in Sinkiang.”  Like the rest of their “brothers” in the Islamic world, they will gladly ignore the destruction of the Uyghur people and nation so that they may feather their own nests and increase their share in the China-driven Silk Road initiative.

The Chinese, who have been the off-and-on imperialists of Central Asia for centuries, will know how to insulate themselves from the Taliban through their Central Asian quid pro quo.

The Chinese Communist Party cadres are laughing all the way to the mineral riches of Afghanistan, which they will exploit mercilessly while sticking it to Russia and the West.  The empire strikes back.

Geoffrey Clarfield, American Thinker

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How Can You Be Content with a Counterfactual Explanation of an Orchestrated Pandemic

Here is a collection of articles from Global Research documenting the Covid Deception that has been fostered on the Western World.  The deception that is being forced on people is so counterfactual that it is difficult to avoid the question whether a very dark agenda is in play.  Our insouciance and inaction are allowing the net of deception to close us in and prevent our resistance. 

Some of these articles below give one part of the deception but aren’t aware of other parts of the deception and thus give some ground to the official narrative.  When you read them keep in mind these established points:  (1) the PCR test is faulty and the false positives from this test are the foundation of the alleged “pandemic,” (2) deaths and injuries from the mRNA vaccines are attributed to Covid, not to the vaccine, and are not reported as reactions to the vaccine, (3) the mRNA vaccines in effect train the virus to escape immune response, thus creating variants that are not controlled by immune responses. Alternatively, adverse vaccine reactions are called “variants.”

 Clearly, the mRNA vaccines do not protect.  They worsen the situation. Pfizer’s own former Vice President and Chief Science Officer tells you this himself.

I have given you enough facts in articles on my website that if you don’t understand by now that The Covid Deception is an attack on your health, your career, and your civil liberties there is no hope for you.  If the information below fails to rouse you, you are as good as dead.

Paul Craig Roberts

Social Credit Scores: Will the Biden Regime Impose Them ?

Prediction: Soon, our federal regime will propose legislation, or perhaps issue an executive order, to quantify and identify the “social credit” or “trustworthiness” of a person from the government’s point-of-view. I guarantee it’s coming. As with vaccination mandates and government access to your private bank accounts–what’s to stop them? Chief Justice John Roberts?

Here’s how the social credit system works in Communist China, according to Communist-friendly Wikipedia:

The social credit initiative calls for the establishment of a unified record system so that businesses, individuals and government institutions can be tracked and evaluated for trustworthiness. Initial reports suggested that the system utilized a numerical score as the reward and punishment mechanism; recent reports suggest there are in fact multiple, different forms of the social credit system being experimented with. A numerical system has been implemented only in several regional pilot programs, while the nationwide regulatory method has been based primarily on blacklisting and whitelisting. The credit system is closely related to China’s mass surveillance systems such as Skynet, which incorporates facial recognition, big data analysis, and artificial intelligence.

The Social Credit System is an extension to the existing financial credit rating system in China. The origin of the system can be traced back to the 1980s when the Chinese government attempted to develop a personal banking and financial credit rating system, especially for rural individuals and small businesses that lack documented records. The Chinese government aims to enhance trust in the society with the system and regulate businesses regarding issues such as food safety, intellectual property theft, and financial fraud.

Supporters claim that the system helps to regulate social behavior, improve the “trustworthiness” of citizens (which includes paying taxes and bills on time), and promote traditional moral values. [TRANSLATION: Conformity and adherence to the State.] Critics of the system claim that it oversteps the rule of law and infringes the legal rights of residents and organizations, especially the right to reputation, the right to privacy as well as personal dignity, and that the system may be a tool for comprehensive government surveillance and for suppression of dissent from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). [TRANSLATION: That’s exactly what it is. And it will be part of the mandatory federal vaccine passport in America.]

Anti-Biden chants are growing in intensity and frequency at sports games. So which government agency will be employed, as OSHA was for vaccine mandates, in shutting down the games and silencing the chants against our nasty old dictator? If you don’t think they will try, you haven’t been paying attention to anything for the last year and a half.

56 percent of Americans reportedly don’t like the direction of the country under Biden. Only 56 percent, you might ask? That’s beyond disturbing.

Usually, a dictator generates fear, and even a resentful, odd respect. America’s dictator is an unpopular fool. As Ben Franklin would have said: he’s a blockhead. Biden’s cackling understudy would be even worse. So how in the world do they think they can pull this off?

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason