30 Years Later, Pedophile Guilds Still Run the World

On the cusp of the 2016 presidential election, it is becoming more and more difficult for the average voter to remain apathetic towards government corruption.  As each day brings another WikiLeaks data dump with increasingly explosive evidence of crimes by the political elite, ignorance is no longer an option.  The American people are moving in two opposite directions: going further down the rabbit hole, or moving deeper into denial.

At the beginning of the Wikileaks "Podesta Emails" campaign, the public was exposed to the exact form of "boss hog" corruption that everyone pretty much expected to find.  Unfair advantages against Bernie in the primary, unethical collaboration with the main-stream media, and lies regarding her private e-mails are all things we can wrap our heads around.  These types of crimes can be rationalized.  We can imagine ourselves doing similar things when walking in a different pair of shoes.

But over the last few days one email regarding an invitation to a "spirit dinner" combined with the alternative media, reddit investigators and FBI revelations from Anthony Weiner's laptop have unleashed a path of evidence that is incredibly difficult, if not impossible for the average Trump supporter or Hillary detractor to come to terms with: Satanism, child abuse, and pedophile rings at the highest levels of power.  The accusations and implications are so outrageous, so outside the Overton window that even those that muster the intellectual courage to follow the evidence to its logical conclusion have a difficult decision to make: do you violate every instinct of taste and manners to encourage others to look at the most gut-wrenching evidence, or do you maintain the expectations of polite society by imposing self-censorship? There is also a tactical element to this question.  If speaking about these atrocities would harm your credibility by falling under the label of a "conspiracy theorist", is it better to instead focus on exposing smaller crimes that are more palatable?

For some of us, these have been questions that didn't just come up this weekend, but ones we have been struggling with for years or even decades.  For many, it all depends on whether or not you are familiar with the Franklin Cover-up.

The Franklin Cover-Up
"What you have to understand, John, is that sometimes there are forces and events too big, too powerful, with so much at stake for other people or institutions, that you cannot do anything about them, no matter how evil or wrong they are and no matter how dedicated or sincere you are or how much evidence you have.  That is simply one of the hard facts of life you have to face.  You have done your part. You have tried to expose the evil and the wrongdoing.  It has hurt you terribly. But it has not killed you up to this point.  I am telling you, get out of this before it does." - William Colby, Executive Director of the CIA , to John W. DeCamp
The Franklin Cover-up: Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska is the work of State Senator John W. DeCamp, a book written to tell the story of his involvement from the inside of researching and prosecuting the crimes and eventual cover-up of a nationwide Satanic child abuse ring, discovered in the nexus of Omaha, Nebraska's Franklin Community Federal Credit Union.  While my political "awakening" was initially triggered from a conspiracy, and only then did I discover libertarianism and Austrian economics, this work is the only non-economics book that I routinely buy multiple copies of to give out to family and friends.  Whereas my general approach to the latest conspiracy theory is to keep it at arm's length and acknowledge that I wouldn't be surprised if it were true, the Franklin cover-up is one of my few exceptions to that rule.

My approach to this blog is not to lay out every piece of evidence to make the convincing case to the most skeptical observer, but to point to the relevant resources and explain at a high-level why it has been convincing to me.  In addition to John DeCamp's book, other recommended resources include Nick Bryant's The Franklin Scandal, FranklinCase.org, the investigations of former FBI chief, Ted Gunderson, and a telling piece of evidence in itself, the Discovery Channel documentary Conspiracy of Silence which was pulled from national television at the last minute, had the rights purchased and all physical copies destroyed.

Through these resources, you will learn the story of how dozens of children in the vicinity of Omaha, Nebraska independently came forward through various channels and had remarkably similar stories to tell.  These victims confessed horrific sexual abuse, naming some of the most powerful people in Omaha, including the Mayor, the Omaha Chief of Police, the editor of the Omaha World-Herald, wealthy businessmen, an Omaha Judge, and Larry King, the manager of the Franklin Credit Union and high level Republican Party activist.

When a special Franklin committee of the Nebraska Legislature launched its own probe, they not only found evidence of money-laundering and other financial crimes that corroborated the victim's stories (for which Larry King was sentenced to a 15 year sentence), but evidence that the high-profile suspects were indeed guilty of committing crimes against children.  As local and state law enforcement, the FBI, and the Omaha World-Herald maliciously attacked the victims and the Franklin investigation, John DeCamp made a daring calculation by publicly releasing "The Franklin Memo", which identified some of the key child abusers for the first time.  Predictably, DeCamp was threatened with a lawsuit for leaking this memo, but his risk paid off: concerned parents whose children had ties to the named abusers confronted their children, and additional victims came forward, resulting in Peter Citron, a columnist for the Omaha World-Herald, being convicted of child abuse, and Alan Baer, a wealthy businessman, being indicted of felony pandering.

Once it goes to the White House, the fix is in: it could be nothing other than a "Carefully Crafted Hoax".

So my key take-away has always been this: the police found the children's testimony consistent and credible, experts confirmed the victims were sexually abused, some of the accused were convicted of said child abuse, and the "pimp" Larry King was convicted of money laundering (and also had a creepy bedroom in the basement of the Credit Union).  And just when you would think this story would wrap-up with the remaining child abusers brought to justice, the "cover-up" part of the story takes over in 1990. The Franklin Committee's chief investigator Gary Caradori and his son died in a suspicious plane crash as he was allegedly bringing back damning photographic evidence from Chicago, and his rapid death was only one of more than a dozen others tied to the Franklin case.  Almost all of the child victims were threatened into recanting their stories, and those that didn't, notably Alicia Owen and Paul Bonacci, were convicted of perjury charges and sentenced to years in prison, with the grand jury wrapping a bow on the whole ordeal by labeling it a "carefully crafted hoax".

As admitted in the courts, the children were abused by someone, those they accused were guilty of child abuse and other crimes, and yet through some unbelievable act of mental gymnastics we arrive at the absurd conclusion that the whole thing was a hoax, just as dead bodies start piling up? Could the kingpins of Omaha, Nebraska really pull this off?  This doesn't make sense until you consider the final part of the story: in addition to naming the prominent Omaha abusers, the children also told incredible stories of being flown on airplanes by Larry King to Washington D.C. to be served up to the "very top" political elites of the country - implicitly indicating Skull & Bones alumnus H.W. Bush.  The stories they told were not only of sexual abuse, but of Satanic ritual abuse up to and including murder of the victims at the conclusion of the ceremonies.  This is no longer an issue of depraved boss-hogism, but a threat to national security.

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Fast-forward some 30-odd years, and we could be looking at the same story under a different name.  On the one hand, we don't have victims coming forward, which is hardly surprising.  The precedent set by Franklin is that "snitches" are killed or imprisoned for perjury, while the abusers are "too big to jail".  And yet, the latest batches of the WikiLeaks Podesta e-mails contain both explicit references to Satanic rituals, as well as what looks to be coded references to child sexual abuse.  Let's review the evidence, keeping in mind the Franklin "lens" to the power elite.

First, we have e-mails from "performance artist" Marina Abramovic to John and Tony Podesta discussing their upcoming "Spirit Cooking dinner".  This e-mail went largely unnoticed, until WikiLeaks linked to an alternative media article putting together incredibly graphic videos and pictures of Abramovic's "spirit cooking" which include mock child sacrifice, buckets of pig blood, and consuming human "fluids" in a satanic ritual.  For those defending this as art, we need only read her own words where she says it should not be considered art when done in a private home.  Could this all be a misunderstanding? The fact that Podesta has creepy cannibalistic / spirit cooking art hanging in his campaign office, and "documentary-style pictures of naked teenagers" in his home indicates we should keep looking - where there is smoke, there may be fire.

Next, we look at the growing list of e-mails that use words like "hotdog" and "pizza" in ways that do not make sense, unless they are code-words for something else.  As reddit users keyword searched the leaked e-mails, the alternative media started reporting on the emerging pattern that matched these words to common pedophile terms referring to preferences for children based on gender, age, and race.  Some of the stranger e-mails included:
The use of "pizza" (coded for "girl") is especially prevalent, with the below images attached to e-mails saying "Do not forward :)" and "it doesn't get any better than this". Not to mention "Would love to get pizza for an hour?", "If you will be around for dinner or pizza", and reference to an upcoming "pizza extravaganza".  To top it off, we then have two pizza places in Washington, DC with blatant FBI sourced pedophile imagery in their logos, with multiple ties to the Podesta e-mail group.

This pattern is also leading to new revelations on other e-mails from previous WikiLeaks projects, such as this chain from the Global Intelligence Files where, in response to the president of Stratfor asking if the recipients are ready for "Chicago Hot Dog Friday", one Stratfor employee makes reference to Obama spending "$65,000 of the tax payers money flying in pizza/dogs from Chicago for a private party at the white house" and asks if they are "using the same channels?"  In response, they say "If we get the same "waitresses", I'm all for it!!!".  While some conservative blogs originally highlighted this e-mail to point out government waste, now the e-mail takes on an entirely different meaning.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  One can spend countless hours going further down the rabbit hole reading through various theories on reddit's Operation Berenstain, WikiLeaks, and Conspiracy sub-reddits without end.  How this all comes together is when Erik Prince, former Navy SEAL and founder of BlackWater gave a recent interview explaining that his sources in the NYPD are "disgusted" by the Anthony Weiner computer, and that it has been handed over to the FBI with 650,000 e-mails containing evidence of "money laundering, underage sex, pay-for-play, and, of course, plenty of proof of inappropriate handling, sending/receiving of classified information, up to SAP level Special Access Programs."

Will we actually see the FBI or NYPD release this information?  Will Assange go through with the next set of leaks that he says is 50 times worse than anything released so far?  Will Anonymous come through with the video proof they claim they have of Clinton child abuse?  Or will all of this become just another "conspiracy theory" swept into the dustbin of history?

Incompetence vs. Evil: The Big Lie in Action

As I combed through the various WikiLeaks threads on this topic, it seemed every other post was one expressing the feeling of witnessing something unthinkable and unbelievable.  Even for those that were convinced that there was a coded message contained in some of the e-mails, they would rather believe that it was referencing illegal drugs, money-laundering payments or run-of-the-mill prostitutes - anything but children.

And this gets to the heart of Hitler's "Big Lie", that as long as the lie is so colossal, then you have the added advantage that no one will believe it.  We expect the government to be incompetent, we expect them to be corrupt. We expect them to take bribes and bend the rules to enrich themselves and their friends.  We can even imagine government officials going down a path that started out with good intentions but resulted in something evil, as we all can relate to the "white lie" or small indiscretion that slowly runs out of control.

But this?  Pedophiles?  Satanism?  This is the stuff of creepy trailer parks, abandoned warehouses and the "dark web", certainly not belonging to mansions, capitol buildings, and the campaigns of presidential candidates.

And yet, as impossible as it is to believe, from a certain angle the worldview where these heinous crimes are possible is certainly more logically consistent.  For instance, it stretches the imagination to believe that certain politicians that were the top of their class at prestigious universities are really so daft as to not understand basic economics, or even to pick up on the criticisms of their opponents as their government interventionist policies spectacularly fail one after the other.  If they are really trying to help the poor, how do they not see that their policies perpetuate behaviors that increase poverty?  If they are trying to stop racism, how do they not see that their interventions increase it?  If they wanted to stop crime, how do they not see that gun control makes it worse, not better?

If we follow this inconsistency to its conclusion, that some of these people aren't incompetent or "useful idiots", but evil, then we are faced with a psychological barrier because we simply can't relate to people like that.  The level of selfishness and disregard for the lives of other human beings at such a colossal scale boggles the mind.  But if we follow the evidence, and uneasily sit with the idea of an elite political class that routinely engage in practices directly out of Eyes Wide Shut, then aren't we left with a number of undeniable consistencies?

What kind of person starts a war that kills millions of people over a known lie?  What kind of person says the death of 500,000 children from sanctions was "worth it"?  What kind of a person destroys evidence to set a brutal child rapist free and then laughs about it?  What kind of person funds extremist groups that brutalize women, rape children, and murder hundreds of thousands of innocent people?  Satanic pedophiles, that's who.


Going back to the original question, we ask, what do we do with this information?  Researching the Franklin Cover-up was a transformative event in my life many years ago.  I read the books, watched the documentaries, and attended conventions where I was able to meet FBI chief Ted Gunderson and hear of the horrors that he investigated first-hand.  This is a topic that I've wanted to write on for some time, especially as various pedophile scandals would come up, such as Penn State, billionaire  Clinton pal Jeffrey Epstein, and the royal family's connection to Jimmy Savile and their own pedophile scandal that was shut down for national security.

There are a few benefits to looking into this mother of all scandals, even though the information can be so disgusting and sad that it literally makes stomachs churn and grown men cry.  First, if it is the truth, then we have an unstated and implicit assumption that it is better to be aware of the truth than to be ignorant.  I would always argue for the red pill over the blue pill.  You may not like what you see, but it is better to deal with reality than to hide from it.

Second, the more people that are aware of this information, or at least view it as conceivable in their world view, then the power of the "big lie" loses its strength, bit by bit.  The power elite can only get to this level of hubris when they believe that the masses are too ignorant or naive to deal with the information.  If a growing percentage of the population are of a mindset to accept these types of revelations, then the "good people" in government are less likely to want to hide these crimes from a "national security" perspective.  Rather than fearing the burning of cities and total insanity, they can hope for a structured and level-headed revolution to dispense with the evil elements while maintaining law and order.

But finally, from an an-cap perspective, I am all too eager for the illusion of government benevolence to disappear in one mighty stroke.  The American people think of government like Santa Clause or any other imaginary entity, and it is time they wake from their dream and see that those in power are imperfect souls like the rest of us.  To take it one step further, they'll finally have the undeniable proof from Hayek's lesson that in government, the worst truly rise to the top.  If this information ever got out, it would be a lesson that we would never forget.


Election 2016: A Libertarian Analysis

It is 30 days before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and as predictable as an eclipse, every media personality and government authority at home and abroad assures us that this is the most important decision of our lives.  This time, maybe it's true.

The polls change day to day, some show Trump ahead, while others show Hillary with the edge.  Both candidates have a healthy list of scandals that are ignored by their supporters and decried by their detractors, and they keep coming.  In a single weekend we've seen twin bombshells land with Trump's vulgar comments from an Access Hollywood hot mic, and WikiLeaks dumping Hillary's open-border promoting speeches to Goldman Sachs.  We're barely more than a week into October, so God knows what further October surprises await us.  Trump has -1 endorsements across the top 100 news publications, and even the top Democrat politicos admit they have a tough job getting their constituents excited for Hillary.  With both major candidates having 58% negative favorability rating, it is clear that a large swath of the voting public aren't voting for one candidate, as much as they are voting against the other.

This state of affairs should have been the opportunity of a lifetime for the Libertarian Party, but instead we have become a laughing stock.  In 2012, I triumphantly reported that Gary Johnson accepted my gift and assured me that he would read For a New Liberty.  Either he did not follow through, or anything he learned has been smoked away in recent years.  As for the LP VP Bill Weld, the anti-gun pro-Hillary establishment Republican, all shame belongs to the delegates at the LP convention and those like myself that did not even attend to try and stop this predictable disaster.

Given all this, what can a libertarian reasonably expect?  What should we hope for, and what should we prepare for?  And for those inclined to vote libertarian, as I argued should be the obvious choice just 4 years ago, is that still the best course of action?

Option Hillary - God Help Us

Imagine the horror: it's a month from now, the fix is in, and Hillary wins the presidency.  As much as I hate to say, this is a very plausible scenario - not necessarily because she will get a majority vote, but because it is unimaginable that the establishment could allow a Trump victory.  In the wake of the victorious Brexit movement the Economist declared that left vs. right is over, and all globalists of both parties must support Hillary to save the New World Order.  But this goes beyond the American elite, the who's who of Bilderberg, the CFR, and other globalist organizations are all in a state of panic, with the UN going so far as to tweet in desperation for foreign Americans to stop Trump.

So imagine the worst-case scenario: we have Hillary Clinton, a career-criminal psychopath with dozens of scandals across multiple decades sitting in the White House once again.  But for a moment, let's forget her financial crimes of the "boss-hog" variety, like getting rich off insider trade deals, stealing donations meant for Haiti, and operating her foundation as a money laundering operation for the State Department.  Let's even put aside her more personal offenses, like concealing evidence to defend a known pedophile rapist, her smear campaigns against Bill's consensual and non-consensual affairs, and even the ever-growing body count left in her wake.  The real concern is this: how will Hillary react when the market acknowledges that the Fed can never raise interest rates without throwing the economy into a depression worse than 2008?  What happens when the bond bubble bursts?  What happens when the dollar is in a state of free-fall?

Hillary is exactly the type of person the New World Order wants to be steering the ship of state when we go off the financial cliff.  Martial law, gun-grabs, and all out civil-war are all on the table when an establishment puppet has to take "emergency measures" to deal with an America in meltdown.  But that's just on the domestic front, the perfect way to distract the people from problems at home is to create an even bigger international crisis, and we've already seen what Hillary is capable of.  She is foaming at the mouth in anticipation of additional foreign wars to complete the job of overthrowing countries in Africa and the Middle East to create failed states and bases for ISIS.  But we must never forget that these proxy wars are on Russia's door-step, and even if the American media decides it isn't newsworthy, that doesn't discredit the ever-increasing danger of all-out nuclear war.

Hence, the best-case scenario under a Hillary presidency is that we survive anything short of nuclear war.  Considering all the other potential Democratic candidates that could have been offered, it is indeed strange that they would push someone as unlikable and scandal-ridden as Hillary.  Perhaps Hillary's insatiable power hunger could be her downfall.  Is it too much to hope that the lame duck presidency of Obama could follow Hillary into her first term? Would the military refuse to serve as the ISIS air force or to participate in gun confiscation?  The bright side of having a villain of comic-book proportions sitting as president is that the outrageous crimes that she will engage in will be too much for even the most brain-dead, Stockholm-syndrome statists to ignore.  Perhaps future history books will look back at her administration as the time when the people finally woke up to the evil, incompetent, self-destructive nature of government.  She could be the final indignity that Americans can stand, the catalyst that brings down the empire of lies through her own wickedness, the darkest hour just before dawn.

Option Trump - The Battle has just Begun

If we assumed a fair voting process, then one could objectively say that this election is Trump's to lose.  With even rigged polls that contain more democrats than republicans, Trump is neck and neck in areas that democrats traditionally dominate, and is outright winning in many swing states.  Also, these polls assume the type of voter turn-out that occurred in 2008 and 2012, and ignore the fact that Trump has inspired a record breaking voter turnout for the Republican primary as well as early voting turnouts in some states.  If Trump's landslide victory is large enough, it may be too much for voter fraud to combat without jeopardizing all faith and support for the government.  At that point, the shadow government may view stealing the election as a hollow victory, throwing out the government baby with the Trump bath water.

In the worst-case scenario, we can imagine the entire New World Order system throwing everything they have against a Trump presidency.  They would be more than happy to pull the plug on the economy and blame the resulting devastation on the Trump victory.  Would the Trump administration be able to entirely clean house and rid itself of every double-agent, or would enough snakes wait in the grass to strike at an opportune moment?  With terrorist attacks, dirty bombs, and racial mobs funded by George Soros burning down inner cities - they could truly create hell.  We must remember that the globalist enemies would not only be fighting to keep their privileged possessions, but perhaps for their freedom and their very lives.  They could be the most dangerous of cornered rats.

These challenges would be a given in a Trump administration.  But the real question is how would the Donald respond?  We could see every libertarian Trump supporter swallowing his endorsement as the worst things Trump said over the course of the campaign come to fruition.  The candidate of "law and order" may bring an outrageous police state to America, complete with a border wall to keep us from leaving.  The candidate who simplifies complex economic laws into the need for "better trade deals" may truly be that simple.  We must remember that Trump the master entrepreneur has the indispensable element of profits and loses to guide his decisions to expand a successful business or to put a failing one into bankruptcy.  Trump the politician will lose that data and will be as helpless to make correct economic decisions as the tsar of any 3rd-world socialist state.  He will have to operate by instinct alone, and if he fails to bring about the success that his ego demands, he could become a fascist strong-man of the worst order, even with the best intentions.

The best-case scenario is almost too fantastic to take seriously, but we should review it just the same.  Talk show host Alex Jones has repeatedly claimed from his inside sources that Trump is a sleeper-cell super-patriot decades in the making.  Just as George Washington and other founding fathers were the wealthiest Americans who were tired of licking British boots, Trump is a self-made billionaire that detests the New World Order and has pledged his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor to take them down.  Rather than use his billions to escape the coming chaos and live a life of secluded luxury, Trump is ready to risk it all in an epic battle to the death to save America and the world from a eugenics-based, technocratic, satanic elite hell-bent on destroying the world.  In this rosy scenario, Trump understands the free-market solutions needed to solve our problems, but he has made the calculated decision to speak to the American voter in the childish terms they want to hear in order to get elected.  But when the tough decisions need to be made, Trump will boldly dispense the much-needed medicine to reignite the potential of the economy and make America great again.

The Biggest Loser - Libertarians

A colossal opportunity has been lost.  A realistic look at the body-politic of America could convince any but the most delusional that Americans are simply not anywhere close to electing a true libertarian to office.  Decades of government school and media influence have erected substantial mental barriers that make it incredibly difficult for our ideas to be understood.   Fallacy upon fallacy stand in the way between the people we wish to reach and the information we wish to provide.  Clearly, we have a lot of work to do.

So just as myself and others have warned, by nominating candidates that may "look presidential" but are mental midgets in communicating the libertarian message, we will lose twice: first we will lose the election, and second we have failed to educate.

But unlike other years where our candidate was simply ignored, this year we may have done catastrophic and possibly irreparable damage to the libertarian brand.  What is it to be a libertarian?  To force a baker to bake a Nazi cake?  To endorse government managed trade through the TPP?  To support gun control?  To espouse a wishy-washing hodge-podge collection of random positions and repeatedly fail to explain even the most basic libertarian principles of self-ownership or the non-aggression principle?

When the presidential ticket, the supposed leaders of the Libertarian Party, ignorantly spout such nonsensical positions that are so blatantly anti-libertarian we may have screwed up our public image beyond repair.  Will we look back at this time and say this is when we had to abandon the libertarian term in order to communicate?  Just as the liberalism of Ludwig von Mises has morphed over a century into a term equivalent to the omnipotent state, will future "voluntaryists" need to refer to the "libertarianism of Murray Rothbard" to have an unambiguous conversation?  Let us hope not.  But beyond hope, we must ensure that our core marketing and communication initiatives are not through the political arena, but are through promoting and supporting libertarian competition in education like Tom Wood's Liberty Classroom and news sites like LewRockwell.com.


As we've reviewed the conceivable best and worst case scenarios for the 2016 election, the questions that remain are what can we reasonably expect, what should we work towards, and what should we prepare for?

One thing is for certain; even if Trump is in an unstealable lead the establishment will not go quietly into the night or meekly be led to jail.  Elites around the globe are unanimous that the New World Order must have a Hillary victory to survive.  To what length will these globalist terrorists go to save themselves?  Economic crises, dirty bombs, terrorist attacks, war - nothing is off the table.  We have backed uber-criminals into a corner, and there is no end to what they could do.

So on the one hand, the romantic in me would love to see a Trump victory that reinforces the anti-globalist sentiment and inspires new waves of nationalism and secession across the planet.  However the empire chooses to strike back, let them do their worst, and let us hope that Trump becomes the next George Washington in a world-wide 1776 2.0.

But on the other hand, do we really want the lesson learned from this historic time to be that the American people can only be saved by a politician, albeit one that comes from outside the establishment?  At a time when the public has all-time disapproval and distrust for their political leaders, do we want the political system rescued by producing a savior?  Perhaps in the long run, the best thing really would be for Hillary to break the US into a thousand pieces and force the American people to start looking outside politics to solve their problems.  Assuming this can be done without nuclear war, sometimes things must get worse before they get better.


Prop 1 Failed and Everybody Lost

In an unfortunate confirmation that nothing is sacred, last night's election results brought devastating news to thousands of would-be Mother's Day celebrators in Austin, Texas: the failure of Proposition 1.  How could this be?  Elections are generally neither noteworthy nor meaningful in the sense that they impact our day-to-day lives, and they certainly shouldn't ruin an event as hallowed as Mother's Day.  Get together with family, share a meal, and leave your politics at the door.  Regardless of what day it is, consider that it is almost statistically impossible to be the deciding vote that tips the scales one way or the other, and you are left with the conclusion that it is generally best to stay out of the sticky mess of politics altogether... but this time it's different.

The sole item up for vote was Proposition 1, a confusingly-worded ballot initiative that sought to overturn a recent City Council ordinance regulating ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft in several ways, most notably requiring fingerprint background checks on all drivers.  Both companies have warned that they will be forced to leave the city of Austin if these regulations are enforced, and as of today they have proven good on their word.  Uber and Lyft have shut down their service to the detriment of the 10,000-15,000 full and part-time drivers and the hundreds of thousands of their satisfied customers.

In the grand scheme of things, the City Council’s regulation on ride-sharing companies is a small crime of the State.  Compare it to 1,000,000 dead Iraqis or dropping atomic bombs on civilian cities and it's easy to dismiss this event as a first world problem.  However, just as some of my favorite pieces by Jeffrey Tucker concern the little ways the State screws us every day, like why our toilets require plungers or why our clothes aren't clean, the sorry tale of Prop 1 is a microcosm for why every day, in a million different ways both seen and unseen, the State makes our lives worse.

So on this celebration of Motherhood, when thousands of Austinites are going to open their iPhones expecting to effortlessly catch a ride to their favorite trendy brunch-spot and realize that 56% out of the 17% of eligible Travis County voters have made one of their most important apps stop working overnight, we should use this opportunity to restate the case that can never be made enough: that the State is the common enemy of mankind.

The Losers of Prop 1

To take the representatives of Lyft and Uber at their word, the decision to pack up and leave Austin is no small decision.  Obviously, they wouldn't have launched in Austin to begin with unless it were profitable to do so, so shutting down implies a reduction of those same profits.  When a new law or tax is passed, sometimes the additional cost can be passed onto the consumer, but many times it can be the breaking point between a company staying open or moving on to greener pastures.  So in this sense, the corporate employees and owners are the direct losers of Prop 1, but these individuals are not likely to draw sympathy from the selfish voter.  Instead, let's consider how the users, the drivers, and the average Austinite who doesn't use a ride-sharing service will suffer due to this action by the State.

To relay a personal story, I recall my weekly trips to the airport being an anxious crapshoot.  Every Sunday I would pre-order my taxi for the following morning, and it seemed half the time there would be some kind of problem.  Maybe the taxi would arrive late, or maybe the order would get lost and no one would show up at all.  This unpleasant game went on for years, and I had resigned myself to accept it, thinking that I would never see a higher level of service in this lifetime.

But then the skies parted, I rubbed my tired eyes and found Uber and Lyft.  Imagine my delight at opening the app and immediately seeing how many mere minutes away the nearest driver was from my location.  I could track, in real time, the driver approaching my home.  When my driver arrived I was often welcomed with complimentary water, and this stellar level of service was achieved for nearly half the cost of my previous taxi trips.  In other words, Uber and Lyft achieved both a higher quality of service and a lower cost, the holy grail of market competition.  And now, due to the actions of the State, hundreds of thousands of ride-sharing users like me are forced back into barbarism.

Now let's consider the drivers.  Whenever I used a ride-sharing service I always asked my drivers how long they had been pursuing their occupation and how the liked it.  I met single mothers who drove 1 day a week for supplemental income.  I met an Uber driver who started out part-time, but switched to full-time after repeatedly calling in sick to a dead-end job to drive instead.  I met the newly retired, driving for Lyft because they found their social-security benefits lacking or just because they enjoyed meeting new people and finding exciting things about the city.  All of them loved their job and the freedom to make their own hours and be their own bosses.  What awaits these former ride-sharing drivers now, Wal-Mart greeters?  The taxi-medallion mafia?  Destitution?  What kind of government "protection" is this?

Both users and drivers of apps like Uber and Lyft are examples of what is seen.  Now, let us consider the consequences that are not seen.  The first example is the user of Uber whose primary draw isn't its higher quality service but its lower cost.  Perhaps this individual will only pay for a ride if it can cost $10, but will not purchase the same ride from a taxi for $20.  Now the entire economic transaction is lost.  On the flip side, consider the aforementioned single mother who can only get a part-time job if it can be on her terms and her hours.  Without this option, all the economic transactions that would have taken place with her extra income as a ride-sharing driver will no longer happen.  And it is these innumerable mutually beneficial transactions that will now never take place that make our society inexorably poorer as a result.

Finally, to end with a sobering note, remember the people that may die as a result of this decision.  Given our Sovietized road system and the high cost and unreliable service from the government-monopolized taxi industry, it is plain that the removal of the ride-sharing option will result in more drunk drivers on the roads.  Whether it is a factor of cost or convenience, inebriated individuals who would otherwise have ordered an Uber or Lyft driver with the swipe of the finger will instead get behind the wheel.  This is an ironic but expected result of a government mandate purported to increase safety.  Like the anti-Midas touch, everything the government attempts to do fails miserably and generally produces the exact opposite of what they were hoping to achieve.

Ride-Sharing Apps: Benefactors of Mankind

Now that ride-sharing regulations have driven this service out of the market, let's review the actual function that companies like Uber and Lyft brought to Austin.  To do this, we first imagine a truly free market society where caveat emptor ruled the day.  In this world, anyone would be at liberty to start driving their car as a service with nothing more than slapping on a hand-drawn sign that says "Bob's Ride-Sharing".  Even ignoring the real-world regulatory perils of the taxi-monopoly, Bob would face major obstacles from earning any kind of meaningful income from his enterprise.

First, Bob would have to get his message out to his potential customers.  Without the capital of a company that can invest in market analytics and an advertising budget, Bob will have a hard time finding all the people that need a ride at a particular time and place, and letting them know that "Bob's Ride-Sharing Co." can meet their needs.

Second, even if Bob could solve this Herculean task before him, he will have a hard time convincing his potential customers to accept his business.  The average person does not know Bob, they don't know the quality of service he will provide, the cost he will charge, or the recourse they will have if they are unsatisfied with the experience.  Perhaps a determined person could spend all their time overcoming these obstacles through word of mouth, but if we consider the "part-time Bob" who is just looking to make money on the side a few hours a week, there is no feasible way for the transfer of knowledge to be facilitated between the "Bobs" of the world and their potential customers.  Those mutually beneficial transactions have no chance of taking place.

But then, mirable dictu, in comes Uber and Lyft, companies that leverage the latest technology to swiftly and simply solve all the problems for Bob and his potential customers.  First, they create the platform for people like Bob to get knowledge of his service out to everyone that seeks it.  Second, they agree on a price point that is satisfactory to both Bob and his customers.  And third, they are in the business of ensuring a safe and reliable product, bringing confidence and value to their brand.  This is the indispensable element of ride-sharing apps that gets to the heart of Prop 1.  It is the brand which allows ride-sharing customers to put faith in their drivers, men and women whom they have never met.

Ride-sharing companies have a financially-driven vested interest in making sure "Bob", "Tom", "Sally" and the thousands of other drivers are worthy of representing the Uber or Lyft brand.  While taxi companies don't need to focus on quality of service when they’re the only game in town through government-enforced monopoly, a private company sinks or swims depending on the whims of the consumer.  Given these natural incentives of the market, it should be no surprise that you actually see Uber having more stringent background checks then those enforced by the State for taxi cartels.

To drive the point home I'll end with a personal example.  One of my Uber drivers relayed a story of how he was working a Saturday night and accepted two rides for a "pool" trip, where different people accept the same driver at a reduced cost. His first passenger was a female and the second was male.  The driver became alert to the male passenger's intoxication after he made an inappropriate comment, and then immediately stopped the car when the female yelled, "DON'T TOUCH ME".  This entire scene was caught on video, and the driver demanded that the male passenger get out immediately or he would be arrested. When this was reported to Uber, the company responded by banning the male passenger for life, refunding the female passenger's money, and offering to pay the full cost of litigation to prosecute the male passenger.

Uber's response was commendable, but ultimately makes common sense in a voluntary, market-based context.  If Uber allowed this kind of behavior then passengers would stop using their service and go to a competitor like Lyft.  Compare this response to what you'd expect from the government-monopoly alternative, and not only would nothing of the sort have been done to compensate the female passenger for her trouble, but at best, she would be taxed for the prosecution!

Not Yours to Regulate

Many of the anti-Prop 1 commentators have focused on reasoning like "they should follow the same rules as taxi companies" or "the government can regulate commerce, so just like we license doctors, we can create safety rules for any company".  However, these assertions confuse the concept of something being promoted because it is right in itself, versus promoted because it is merely a precedent of how things have been done in the past - which speaks to neither the thing's rightness nor wrongness.

To absolutely prevent the charge of hypocrisy or false comparisons, let's be clear - the way to reach "fairness" is not to bring new regulation against companies that currently avoid it via loophole, but to de-regulate all industries.  In the examples above, a true sense of "fairness" makes it plain that any customer of "Bob" has the absolute right to accept or reject his service, just like any passenger can request or reject a private ride versus a pool-ride from Uber.  If an individual dares to assume the inherent risks of an uncertain world by merely getting out of bed in the morning, they should be free to engage in any transaction with anyone else that does not violate the right of another.  So when the question is posed to Austin City Council of whether or not to regulate ride-sharing services, it should not be answered by an analysis of whether the benefits for or against regulation outweigh one another, but to modify a famous speech by Congressman Davy Crockett, the sacred domain of voluntary transactions should simply be not yours to regulate.

Why do we need to continually restate this maxim that everyone follows in their personal lives and follows directly from the golden rule?  When put simply, it is absurd to argue the opposite.  I can't run into a grocery store and forcibly stop someone from buying produce that I think is too expensive or less healthy than some alternative.  I can't force my "protection" on them no matter how right I think I am, nor should I even if 98 out of 100 other people agree with me.  And yet, with the failure of Prop 1 we're not looking at the Tyranny of 98 over 2, but the Tyranny of 56% out of 17% of eligible voters.  With 49,158 voting for Prop 1 in a county with over 1.1 million people, that is the Tyranny of 4 over 96!  Remember this sham when Austin Mayor Steve Adler says "The people have spoken tonight loud and clear."  Rid yourself of the glib expressions and you're left with the shocking fact that our "representative democracy" has just ratified that 4% of the people can enforce their beliefs with the all-powerful violence of the State regarding with whom one can or cannot get a ride from down to the grocery store!


If the myths of "we are the government" or "the government serves the people" had any merit whatsoever, the draconian regulations regarding ride-sharing companies should put an end to such nonsense.  If I have no business inserting myself between two consenting adults regarding a voluntary transaction as innocent as getting a ride in a car, then putting on a costume and calling myself the government does not change that.  Put simply, if I do not have the power to do something, and the government serves me, then how could the government do that very thing in my name?  How can the servant have more power than the master?  How do multiple people acquire the moral authority to do something that a single person cannot?

The only logical answer is to accept the myth of government answering to the people as an outrageous lie.  The government does not serve the people in the way that a servant obeys the commands of his master, but as a chef serves chicken for dinner.  We are the dinner.  We are fed on by those that presume to rule over us like chattel.  The only good thing that has come from Proposition 1 is the hope that some politically apathetic souls will panic when they realize their Uber and Lyft apps no longer work, and they will begin to question just what happened to their "free country".
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