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Ryan McMaken



Articles by Ryan McMaken

Why Dominion’s Defamation Lawsuits Are Garbage

10 days ago

Dominion Voting Systems is suing MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell for $1.3 billion. This comes in the wake of other Dominion lawsuits against Trump advisors Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell. All are accused of lying about Dominion’s supposed complicity in using the company’s vote-counting software to favor presidential candidate Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
The company claims Lindell’s accusations “have caused irreparable harm to Dominion’s good reputation and threatened the safety of our employees and customers.” In the case of Giuliani, the company claims: “For Dominion—whose business is producing and providing voting systems for elections—there are no accusations [other than Giuliani’s claims of fraud and election fixing] that could do more to damage

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“Weapons of Mass Destruction”: The Last Refuge of the Global Interventionist

12 days ago

The threat of “nuclear proliferation” remains one of the great catch-all reasons—the other being “humanitarian” intervention—given for why the US regime and its allies ought to be given unlimited power to invade foreign states and impose sanctions at any given time.
We saw this at work during the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was said that nuclear weapons were among the “weapons of mass destruction” being developed or harbored by Saddam Hussein’s regime. Thus, it was “necessary” that the United States invade Iraq and enact regime change.
It is now very clear, of course, that the Bush-Cheney administration was lying and there was no credible evidence that Iraq’s long-defunct nuclear program had been revived.
But let’s say for the sake of argument that

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If America Splits Up, What Happens to the Nukes?

17 days ago

Opposition to American secession movements often hinges on the idea that foreign policy concerns trump any notions that the United States ought to be broken up into smaller pieces.
It almost goes without saying that those who subscribe to neoconservative ideology or other highly interventionist foreign policy views treat the idea of political division with alarm or contempt. Or both.
They have a point. It’s likely that were the US to be broken up into smaller pieces, it would be weakened in its ability to act as a global hegemon, invading foreign nations at will, imposing “regime change,” and threatening war with any regime that opposes the whims of the American regime.
For some of us, however, this would be a feature of secession rather than a bug.
Moreover, the

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The Fight over Economics Is a Fight over Culture

19 days ago

The Left long ago figured out how to get ordinary people interested in economic policy. The strategy is two pronged. The first part is to frame the problem as a moral problem. The second part is to make the fight over economic policy into a fight over something much bigger than economics: it’s a fight between views of what it means to be a good person. The Left knows how to make the war over economics into a war over culture.
Yet when it comes to economic policy, some opponents of the Left’s economic views—views which are, of course, very wrong—don’t seem to understand the rules of the game. For example, a typical left-wing economic scheme might call for a higher minimum wage, declaring this policy to be a matter of simple decency, and by extension, the moral

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How Wall Street Became an Enemy of Free Markets

22 days ago

After decades of financialization and government favors, Wall Street now has little to do with free, functioning markets anymore and has largely become an adjunct of the central bank. Today, entrepreneurship is out, and bailouts are in.

Be sure to follow Radio Rothbard at Mises.org/RadioRothbard.

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Politics and Ideas
2021-02-09

In the Age of Enlightenment, in the years in which the North Americans founded their independence, and a few years later, when the Spanish and Portuguese colonies were transformed into independent nations, the prevailing mood in Western civilization was optimistic.

Weekly SNB Sight Deposits and Speculative Positions: SNB selling

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Why No State Needs Thousands of Nuclear Warheads

24 days ago

Last week, the United States signed a five-year extension of the New START arms control treaty with Russia. Russia’s President Putin signed the treaty shortly thereafter. The “Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty” allows Russia and the US to monitor each other’s nuclear forces, facilities, and activities. The idea is to keep track of the relative strength of the two regimes’ respective arsenals and to encourage reductions. The treaty also caps the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads at 1,550 each. (The total stockpiles for the US and Russia are 4,700 and 4,300, respectively.)
The move is a departure from the Trump administration’s opposition to the treaty. The Trump administration had wanted to renegotiate the treaty, insisting that so-called tactical

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Why the Utes Opposed Biden’s Plans to Limit Oil Drilling

January 28, 2021

Within a day of the inauguration, the Biden administration issues a bevy of new executive orders designed to please a variety of the Democratic Party’s core special-interest groups. Among these was an executive order curtailing oil and gas leasing on federal and tribal lands.
But a problem quickly presented itself: many tribes earn a significant amount of income through oil and gas drilling on their lands. These operations also provide jobs for tribal members. The administration’s new orders would curtail tribal control and instead place decision-making authority over these drilling operations on a handful of federal officials.
Not surprisingly, at least one tribe reacted with alarm to these new federal limits. Reuters reports:
An oil-producing Native American

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Yet Another Study Shows—Yet Again—That Lockdowns Don’t Work

January 22, 2021

Although advocates for covid-19 lockdowns continue to insist that they save lives, actual experience keeps suggesting otherwise.
On a national level, just eyeballing the data makes this clear. Countries that have implemented harsh lockdowns shouldn’t expect to have comparatively lower numbers of covid-19 deaths per million.
In Italy and the United Kingdom, for example, where lockdowns have been repeatedly imposed, death totals per million remain among the worst in the world. Meanwhile, in the United States, states with with the most harsh lockdown rules—such as New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts are among the states with the worst total deaths.
Lockdown advocates, of course, are likely to argue if researchers control for a variety of other variables, then

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When It Comes to National Defense, Bigger Isn’t Always Better

January 19, 2021

In the debate over whether or not China will soon rise to challenge the United States as the world’s hegemon, it is often assumed that states with large aggregate economies are necessarily more militarily powerful ones.
This stems from decades-old methods that remain popular among scholars and pundits who write on international relations and foreign policy.
The theory goes like this: states that rule over economies with a large gross domestic product (GDP) have more access to resources. This means more access to weapons, food, personnel, and a variety of other resources necessary to carry out military operations or project power in the international sphere.
Consequently, theorists in international relations have long used GDP and similar measures—such as the

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The Capitol Riot Wasn’t a Coup. It Wasn’t Even Close.

January 10, 2021

On Wednesday, a mob apparently composed of Trump supporters forced its way past US Capitol security guards and briefly moved unrestrained through much of the capitol building. They displayed virtually no organization and no clear goals.
The only deaths were on the side of the mob, with one woman—apparently unarmed—shot dead by panicky and trigger-happy capitol police, with three others suffering non-specific “medical emergencies.”
Yet, the media response has been to act as if the event constituted a coup d’etat. This was “A Very American Coup” according to a headline at The New Republic. “This is a Coup” insists a writer at Foreign Policy. The Atlantic presented photos purported to be “Scenes From an American Coup.”
But this wasn’t a coup, and what happened on

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Pelosi’s “Mandate”: What “Consent of the Governed” Really Means

December 23, 2020

The 2020 election failed to live up to the projections of many pollsters and Democratic strategists . The predicted landslide failed to materialize, and the Democrats lost seats in the House. This means in 2022 the Democrats will be defending a razor-thin majority in the House—a majority they’re almost certain to lose in a mid-term election if Biden is the final victor. The Democrats did well. But not that well.
Nonetheless, Nancy Pelosi, in the days following the election, reportedly declared the Democrats “have a mandate!”
But do they?
Let consider what constitutes a democratic victory given the standard handed down to us by pundits and politicians on the Left. According to the current narrative, the legitimacy of a president’s electoral victory depends on the

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The American Revolution Was a Culture War

December 22, 2020

Two hundred and forty-seven years ago this month, a group of American opponents of the Crown’s tax policy donned disguises and set about methodically destroying a shipment of tea imported into Boston by the East India Company. The vandals trespassed on privately owned ships in Boston Harbor and threw the tea into the ocean. These protesters were thorough. Not content with having destroyed most of the company’s imported tea that night, the activists later discovered another tea shipment which had been unloaded at a warehouse in Boston. The activists then broke into the warehouse and destroyed that tea, too. Total damages amounted to more than $1.5 million in today’s dollars.
This was the work of the Sons of Liberty, a group led in part by Samuel Adams and which

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It Should Shock Us That There’s Any Consumer Price Inflation at All

December 19, 2020

Thanks to lockdowns, high unemployment, and general uncertainty and fear over covid-19, the personal saving rate in the United States in October was 13.6 percent, the highest since the mid-1970s. This is down from April’s rate of 33.7 percent, which was the highest saving rate recorded since the Second World War.
Moreover, among those who received “stimulus” checks under the CARES Act, only 15 percent of those surveyed in a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) study reported spending it. Thirty-three percent said they saved the payment, and 52 percent said they used the money to pay down debt.
Taken all together, these factors should spell an immense amount of deflationary pressure, both on the money supply, and ultimately on consumer prices as well.1

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The US Money Supply Was up 37 Percent in November

December 16, 2020

In November, money supply growth rate was essentially unchanged from October and remains near September’s all-time high. The stabilization we find in money-supply growth in recent months comes after eight months of record-breaking growth in the US which came in the wake of unprecedented quantitative easing, central bank asset purchases, and various stimulus packages.
Historically, the growth rate has never been higher than what we’ve seen this year, with the 1970s being the only period that comes close. It was expected that money supply growth would surge in recent months. This usually happens in the wake of the early months of a recession or financial crisis. But it appears that now the United States is several months into an extended economic crisis, with around

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Why Commies Hate Your Thanksgiving Dinner

December 3, 2020

In 1923 Lenin released a propaganda pamphlet titled Down with the Private Kitchen. It explained how private dinners with one’s family are reactionary, bourgeois, and generally something requiring total destruction.

Original Article: “Why Commies Hate Your Thanksgiving Dinner“.
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.

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What Germany Must Do for a Speedy Recovery
2020-07-08

On June 29, the German parliament reacted as parliaments normally do when there is a problem, namely, by allowing the government to spend more. In order to respond to the economic difficulties due to the corona epidemic and the government restrictions, it

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In October, Money Supply Growth Remained Near All-Time Highs

December 1, 2020

In October, money supply growth fell slightly from September’s all-time high, although growth still remains at levels that would have been considered outlandish just eight months ago. October’s easing in money-supply growth comes after eight months of record-breaking growth in the US which came in the wake of unprecedented quantitative easing, central bank asset purchases, and various stimulus packages.
Historically, the growth rate has never been higher than what we’ve seen this year, with the 1970s being the only period that comes close. It was expected that money supply growth would surge in recent months. This usually happens in the wake of the early months of a recession or financial crisis. But it appears that now the United States is several months into an

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Both Theory and Praxis: Rothbard’s Plan for Laissez-Faire Activism

November 20, 2020

It should be self-evident that a just and moral political regime can only exist in the long term if a sufficiently large number of people actually believe in it.
Original Article: “Both Theory and Praxis: Rothbard’s Plan for Laissez-Faire Activism“.

This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Millian Quinteros.

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How Historians Changed the Meaning of “Liberalism”
Understandably enough, the current disfavor into which socialism has fallen has spurred what Raimondo Cubeddu (1997: 138) refers to as “the frenzy to proclaim oneself a liberal.” Many writers today have recourse to the stratagem of “inventing for oneself a ‘liberalism’ according to one’s

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Here’s What Donald Trump Should Do Before Inauguration Day

November 15, 2020

Even if he loses, Donald Trump still has time to change military policy, pardon allies, unseat the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and throw a wrench in the deep state apparatus.

Original Article: “Here’s What Donald Trump Should Do Before Inauguration Day​“.
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.

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The COVID Crisis Supercharged the War on Cash
The corona crisis has already taken a very high toll and caused deep damage in our societies and our economies, the extent of which is yet to become apparent. We have seen its impact on productivity, on unemployment, on social cohesion and on political division. However, there is

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The Benefits of Secession Are Becoming Increasingly Obvious

November 5, 2020

“Countries threaten to split apart when their people seem hopelessly divided…. We’re less united today than we’ve been at any time since the Civil War.”

This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.
Original Article: “The Benefits of Secession Are Becoming Increasingly Obvious“.

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The Disastrous Legacy of Woodrow Wilson
[unable to retrieve full-text content]Princeton University has made it official: Woodrow Wilson’s name no longer will have any place on campus. The former president, or at least his memory, now is part of cancel culture, which is sweeping the nation. The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs will

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Why Threats of Election Violence May Be Here to Stay

November 5, 2020

Both private sector businesses and police departments believe there is a good chance there will be postelection unrest. Both groups are taking steps to protect themselves in case of riots. Some left-wing protest groups state they plan to do “whatever it takes” to make sure the correct candidate—i.e., Joe Biden—wins. The National Guard has mobilized in several states in anticipation of riots.
It remains to be seen if this apocalyptic rhetoric proves to be well founded. If Trump wins, we may or may not see anything more than a few flare-ups of violence in a small number of cities. In a nation of more than 330 million people, that wouldn’t exactly indicate a state of general upheaval. On the other hand, if Biden wins, we may never know if the Left’s plans for chaos

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Populism Worked for the Pro-Freedom Party in the Past. Can It Work Again?

November 1, 2020

Although he was a scholar with degrees in mathematics and economics, Murray Rothbard was very much a fan of the American layman. Indeed, he was a populist both in temperament and in his political views. In a 1992 column outlining his populist strategy, Rothbard noted the importance of reaching out to the general public and especially to those groups that were most negatively impacted by state power:
This two-pronged strategy is (a) to build up a cadre of our own libertarians, minimal-government opinion-molders, based on correct ideas; and (b) to tap the masses directly, to short-circuit the dominant media and intellectual elites, to rouse the masses of people against the elites that are looting them, and confusing them, and oppressing them, both socially and

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How Decades of Media and Faculty Bias Have Pushed America to the Left

October 24, 2020

It’s been clear for decades that national news organizations such as CNN and the New York Times tend to be biased in favor of social democracy (i.e., “progressivism”) and what we would generally call a “left-wing” ideology. Journalists, for instance, identify as Democrats in far higher numbers than any other partisan group. And political donations by members of the media overwhelmingly go to Democratic candidates.
This is why even as far back as the 1940s, libertarian and conservative groups felt the need to found their own news sources, publishing houses, and other outlets for the distribution of information.
Similarly, in recent decades, higher education faculty have been shown to be overwhelmingly in favor of the Democratic Party, both in affiliation and in

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The 2020 Debate: A Breakdown

October 4, 2020

Ryan McMaken and Tho Bishop talk about Tuesday’s debate, why “the issues” don’t matter, and why the debate probably won’t change the minds of many voters.

And be sure to follow Radio Rothbard at mises.org/RadioRothbard.

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A Review of Stephanie Kelton’s The Deficit Myth
The good news is that Stephanie Kelton has written a book on MMT that is very readable and will strike many readers as persuasive and clever. The bad news is that Stephanie Kelton has written a book on MMT that is very readable and will strike many readers as persuasive and clever.
Narrated by the author. 
Original Article: "A Review of Stephanie Kelton’s The Deficit Myth".

Will the Police Crack Down

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Rising Homicides This Year May Be Yet Another Side Effect of Covid Lockdowns

October 3, 2020

During Tuesday’s presidential debate, former vice president Biden attempted to paint Donald Trump as the bad-on-crime candidate when he claimed that crime had gone down during the Obama administration but increased during Trump’s term.
Whether or not this is a plausible claim depends on how one looks at the data. And given that law enforcement and criminal prosecutions for street crime are generally a state and local matter, it’s unclear why any president ought to be awarded blame or plaudits for short-term trends that occur during his administration.
Overall, however, it does look like homicides—which tend to be a good indicator of general crime trends—are indeed rising this year. While many factors are likely at play, we may be seeing yet another side effect of

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The Fed Is Planning Another Ultralong Period of Ultralow Rates

September 22, 2020

The Fed plans to keep interest rates near zero, while monetizing debt, financing zombie companies, and pouring new dollars into the market. But that may not be enough.
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.
Original Article: “The Fed Is Planning Another Ultralong Period of Ultralow Rates“.

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Walter Berns and the Cult of “Patriotic” Sacrifice
[unable to retrieve full-text content]In his great new book The Problem with Lincoln, Tom DiLorenzo brought back an old memory. As Tom points out, Walter Berns, who taught political science at Cornell and then worked for the American Enterprise Institute, was one of the main figures urging

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Federal Judge: Pennsylvania’s Stay-at-Home Order Is an Assault on Human Rights

September 19, 2020

A federal judge on Monday ruled that Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf’s covid-19 stay-at-home orders and forced business closures were unconstitutional.
US district judge William Stickman IV of the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled that Wolf’s orders violated the Constitution in three ways. They violated the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly, and they violated both the due process and equal protections clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
As a staunch decentralist, I don’t support the notion that federal courts have the authority to strike down state laws. Federal courts should rule only on federal laws, and federal laws ought to be few and far between. State laws are the business of the state’s supreme court. And if that

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The Evidence Keeps Piling up: Lockdowns Don’t Work

September 17, 2020

Extraordinary measures require extraordinary evidence. Have the advocates for lockdowns made their case? The data suggests they have not.

This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.
Original Article: “The Evidence Keeps Piling up: Lockdowns Don’t Work“.

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The Disastrous Legacy of Woodrow Wilson
[unable to retrieve full-text content]Princeton University has made it official: Woodrow Wilson’s name no longer will have any place on campus. The former president, or at least his memory, now is part of cancel culture, which is sweeping the nation. The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs will replace the former

Read More »

It’s Far Too Late to Think Lockdowns Can Make Covid-19 Go Away

September 15, 2020

In the early days of the coronavirus crisis, the rationale given for lockdowns was that it was necessary to stay at home for “fifteen days to slow the spread.” The idea was that social distancing was necessary so that hospitals and other healthcare resources would not be overwhelmed.
However, by the summer of 2020, whether by design or not, it became common to hear media pundits, politicians, and even some scientists either imply or outright claim that social distancing could permanently flatten the curve or otherwise somehow cause a drastic reduction in overall covid-19 deaths.
For example, The Hill’s Reid Wilson claimed in July: “We know how to stop this virus, it requires social distancing, it requires wearing a mask, and constant hand sanitizers and staying

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Will the Police Crack Down on Lockdown Violators the Second Time Around?

July 5, 2020

It will be very interesting if the police—who did nothing to disperse protests that were obviously in violation of bans on mass gatherings—turn around and arrest business owners and other “violators” of a second round of stay-at-home orders.

This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Millian Quinteros.
Original Article: “Will the Police Crack Down on Lockdown Violators the Second Time Around?​“

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A Review of Stephanie Kelton’s The Deficit Myth
The good news is that Stephanie Kelton has written a book on MMT that is very readable and will strike many readers as persuasive and clever. The bad news is that Stephanie Kelton has written a book on MMT

Read More »

Some Conservatives Want Americans to Abandon Classical Liberalism. Don’t Listen to Them.

June 22, 2020

Donald Trump’s economic populism, and his break with the established post-war conservative movement, has created an opening for new types of conservatism. Among these is the anti-market wing of the movement characterized by a renewed enthusiasm for trade controls, more spending on welfare programs, and more government regulation in the everyday lives of ordinary Americans.
The economic agenda has been voiced perhaps most enthusiastically by pundit Tucker Carlson and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon. Both have attacked what they apparently see as “excessive” freedom.  This freedom — especially when exercised in the marketplace — has led, they believe, to the decline of the middle class  for consumers and businesses which Bannon and Carlson blame for creating

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