"Ironically, in view of Marx and socialist doctrine generally, capitalism is most rampant in communist countries. It is there that the most extreme measures are taken to accumulate capital. The Soviet Union, for example, has long used slave labor to mine gold in forbidding climes. It has done the same for cutting timber in the arctic cold of Siberia and for reaching other hard-to-get natural resources. The basic aim of much of this is capital accumulation to foster industrialization. There is perhaps no better way to visualize the preference for capital over labor than political prisoners (slave labor) working in gold mines."
— Clarence Carson, "Capitalism: Yes and No" - The Freeman (February 1985)
"Just as a matter of documented historical fact, it’s indisputable that capitalism — in the sense of the actual historic system of political economy that succeeded feudalism five or six hundred years ago — had its origins in massive robbery and enclosure of most of the earth’s land and mineral resources, and continues to get the overwhelming bulk of its profits from rents on state-enforced monopolies, entry barriers, enclosures and subsidies. The present system, both in its origins and its present structure, in no way even remotely approximates a free market. It is a system of massive state subsidies and massive state-enforced monopolies, all in defense of enormous concentrations of stolen property and continuing guaranteed returns on that stolen property."
‘Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed- in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical – and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.'
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from ‘After Ten Years’ in Letters and Papers from Prison
Bonhoeffer was imprisoned by the Nazis.
"Communism was not really a new or radical idea, even in 1917. It was simply a clever repackaging of the old, old story that the king knows best. That the state should decide how to plan and run society. It matters not whether his name is Rameses or Augustus or Suleiman or Henry or Napoleon or Adolf or Vladimir or Josef or Mao or Fidel or Kim or Hugo. It’s the same recipe."
— Matt Ridley, "The Case for Free-Market Anticapitalism" (July 12, 2017)
"Samaras' Chevy Cobalt was traveling east down a dirt road with the tornado to his south. He almost certainly didn't know that the rain-shrouded vortex was hooking toward him, to the northeast, and that he had entered its circulation. The breathtakingly fast subvortex -- the tornado within a tornado -- is visible to the south in footage captured by fellow chaser Dan Robinson's rear dashboard cameras as he fled several hundred yards ahead of Samaras. The debris field created by Samaras' wrecked car, the report concludes, corroborates the footage, which shows the subvortex moving across the face of the larger tornado at about the time Samaras' headlights disappear. What's eerie is that the subvortex becomes stationary on the road, like it chose to stop right on top of them. After 20 seconds, it rotates back around to the south side of the tornado.
The shredded pieces of the car hook to the south then across the road to the northeast:
The last sighting of the Samaras vehicle's headlights, the location of the trunk contents, and the location where the vehicle was discovered are consistent with it being transported initially southward by strong northerly flow on the west side of the sub-vortex, then roughly eastward about the south side of the vortex as the vortex remained quasi-stationary for about 20 (seconds). The vehicle could have covered the approximately (656-yard) path from starting to ending location during the 20 (second) period that the sub-vortex was quasi-stationary, if the vehicle was transported at a plausible speed of about (30 yards per second)...
I have difficulty fathoming the violence implied in that paragraph."
"The first duty of man, on becoming intelligent and free, is to continually hunt the idea of God out of his mind and conscience. For God, if he exists, is essentially hostile to our nature, and we do not depend at all upon his authority. We arrive at knowledge in spite of him, at comfort in spite of him, at society in spite of him; every step we take in advance is a victory in which we crush Divinity."
"Political rights do not originate in parliaments; they are, rather, forced upon parliaments from without. And even their enactment into law has for a long time been no guarantee of their security. Just as the employers always try to nullify every concession they had made to labor as soon as opportunity offered, as soon as any signs of weakness were observable in the workers' organizations, so governments also are always inclined to restrict or to abrogate completely rights and freedoms that have been achieved if they imagine that the people will put up no resistance. Even in those countries where such things as freedom of the press, right of assembly, right of combination, and the like have long existed, governments are constantly trying to restrict those rights or to reinterpret them by juridical hair-splitting. Political rights do not exist because they have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with the violent resistance of the populace. Where this is not the case, there is no help in any parliamentary Opposition or any Platonic appeals to the constitution."
— Rudolf Rocker, Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory & Practice (1947)
"The man of system … is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamored with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might [choose] to impress upon it. If those two principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder."
— Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759)
"Despite [Astra]Taylor's fears that content creators won't be paid, I think the truth is far closer to Tim O'Reilly's observation that for the little guy, obscurity is a lot bigger danger than 'piracy.'⁸⁶ I suspect a lot of the critics are pretty unimaginative when it comes to thinking of alternative ways for content creators to monetize their products.
All they’re thinking of is the stuff the proprietary content companies can’t charge money for to pay content creators. They’re not thinking of the new possibilities opened up by all the things that content creators can now do for themselves, at virtually zero cost, that formerly only a highly capitalized record or publishing company could do for them. Their entire view of the world is still shaped by a time when publishing, or producing and selling records, required capital assets costing many millions of dollars, and the way to make money from music or writing was to convince some such giant company that your work was worth producing and marketing.
I'm sure the overall revenue pie is a lot smaller. But that's offset to a significant extent by a reduction in the share of total revenue previously absorbed by recording studios and corporate marketing operations that are now within the means of the artists themselves. This is borne out by figures for the years 2004-2008, which show that while total music revenues in the UK fell from 1.067 million pounds to .782 million pounds, total payments to artists actually rose.⁸⁷
But even assuming that 'piracy'' really does cut into the total revenues of the little guy who’s trying to make a full-time career out of music or writing, that’s looking at only one side of the picture. It neglects what Bastiat called 'the unseen.'⁸⁸ What revenue does come in to artists follows a much longer tail distribution, spread out among a larger number of people making small amounts of money, as opposed to larger amounts being concentrated in the hands of a smaller number of artists.
Let’s consider my case. I don’t waste time worrying about the sharing of pdf files of my books at torrent sites, or how much money it’s costing me. To me, the proper basis for comparison is the money I still can make that I never could have made at all in the 'good old days.' In the good old days, I’d have painstakingly put together a manuscript of hundreds of pages, and then put it away to gather cobwebs when I couldn’t persuade the gatekeepers at a conventional publisher that it was worth the cost of printing and marketing. Never mind whether online file-sharing’s costing me money (I don’t think it is–I believe the ebooks are more like free advertising). More importantly, if it weren’t for digital publishing technologies and free publishing venues on the Internet, I would probably have lived and died doing menial labor with nobody anywhere ever hearing of my ideas. If I'd had to persuade a conventional publisher that my books could sell ten thousand copies before I could be heard, my entire writing career would have been confined to letters to the editor. Thanks to digital culture, I’m able to make my work directly available to anyone in the world who has an Internet connection, and market it virally to a niche readership at virtually no cost. If only a tiny fraction of the people who can read it for free decide to buy it, that's still enough to give me a few thousand dollars a year in royalties (my stipend for writing for Center for a Stateless Society, some freelance articles for The Freeman and my book royalties together netted about $7,000 last year), which is a few thousand more than I would have received in the 'good old days' when my manuscripts would have yellowed in an attic.
For people like me, writing may not be a 'job,' but it serves a function much like access to the commons three hundred years ago: it provides supplemental income and reduces my short-term dependence on the job. My writing has enabled me to pay off my debts and to accumulate 'go to hell money,' so that even if I can't do without a job for an extended period of time, I am at least in a better bargaining position.
For every small full-time musician or writer who has a harder time scraping by, and may have to supplement his performing revenues with a day job, I suspect there are ten people like me who would have spent their entire lives as (if you’ll pardon the expression) mute inglorious Miltons, without ever making a single penny from their music or writing, but who can now be heard. And for every blockbuster writer or musician, who has a few million shaved off his multi-million dollar revenues as a result of online 'piracy,' I suspect there are probably a hundred or a thousand people like me."
— Kevin A. Carson, "Thermidor of the Progressives - Managerialist Liberalism’s Hostility to Decentralized Organization" - Center for a Stateless Society Paper No. 9 (Second Quarter 2010)
“This Act (the Federal Reserve Act, Dec. 23rd 1913) establishes the most gigantic trust on earth. When the President (Woodrow Wilson) signs the Bill, the invisible government of the Monetary Power will be legalised… The worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetrated by this banking and currency Bill.”
"We seem to be moving steadily in the direction of a society where no one is responsible for what he himself did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did, either in the present or in the past."
"This imperfect policy of non-intervention, or laissez-faire, led straight to a most hideous and dreadful economic exploitation; starvation wages, slum dwelling, killing hours, pauperism, coffin-ships, child-labour—nothing like it had ever been seen in modern times. ...People began to say, if this is what State abstention comes to, let us have some State intervention.
But the state had intervened; that was the whole trouble. The State had established one monopoly—the landlord's monopoly of economic rent—thereby shutting off great hordes of people from free access to the only source of human subsistence, and driving them into factories to work for whatever Mr. Gradgrind and Mr. Bottles chose to give them. The land of England, while by no means nearly all actually occupied, was all legally occupied; and this State-created monopoly enabled landlords to satisfy their needs and desires with little exertion or none, but it also removed the land from competition with industry in the labor market, thus creating a huge, constant and exigent labour-surplus." [Emphasis Nock's]
— Albert J. Nock, "The Gods' Lookout" (February 1934)