We’re back on the self-publishing beat today…In today’s episode, you’re going to learn about two fantastic services you should consider if you’re self-publishing a book.Even if you’re not writing a book, if you’re an avid reader you’ll love these websites too. They’re how you can find some of the world’s best “hidden” authors in the […]
Is Democracy really all its cracked up to be? Does Hong Kong really need it? That’s the question Chris Campbell ponders today as he observes the protests in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has enjoyed low taxes, free business and trade, and high social freedom without our favored system of governing.
The government is on a mad race to create a vaccine for Ebola. What they aren’t telling you is that, in 2003, they may have found a way to beat it naturally. According to one unclassified government document, this little-known plant beat Ebola 90% of the time. Why isn’t the government developing it? Read on…
The mainstream media has been complacent in reporting the truth about Ebola. They’re not telling the truth about how dangerous the Ebola situation really is. Because of this, millions of lives are at risk. Inside today’s Laissez Faire Today, learn what the mainstream should be telling you about how to protect yourself in the case of an outbreak in the United States. Read on…
Writing a book? Chris Campbell shows you three secrets to successfully self-publishing. Secrets including, how to get a professional-looking cover for as little as $5… how to format your book to get people to love it and buy your next one… and how to market your book to hundreds of thousands of people -- absolutely free. Read on…
One CIA insider visited our Baltimore HQ yesterday. While here, he leaked 30 potential events to cause the next financial avalanche. Even more, he also gave us several ways everyday Americans can thrive because of these events. Why did he impart so much valuable information? Find out in today’s Laissez Faire Today. Read on…
Instead of letting you choose, the government has found it fit to force one potentially dangerous medication on you and your family. Where is it? In your drinking water. Even more outrageous: While Uncle Sam forces medication down your throat, he also says you have no right to choose your own milk. Chris Campbell has all the details. Read on…
ISIS’ spokesperson is a kid from Calgary who wants to “paint the White House black.” In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris Campbell asks one question none of the “officials” seem to care to ask: Why? Why are foreigners flocking to the Middle East to fight alongside ISIS? Why is Saudi Arabia so keen on getting involved? How far does Obama really want to go? Find out inside. Read on…
If you’ve ever wanted to expose some heinous crime against humanity, here’s your chance. In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris Campbell shows you how to make sure the world accesses to your leaks, even if something happens to you. Chris also shares why this is probably a terrible idea. Read on…
America has about 4% of the world’s population, yet houses 25% of the world’s incarcerated. What’s going on here? Chris Campbell digs deep into the industry to figure out the truth. While many blame the private prison industry, the real culprit, says Chris, begins right outside your door. Read on…
When Obama first announced U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, most people have no idea that it was to destroy U.S. military equipment in the hands of ISIS. How did ISIS get U.S. weapons? Chris Campbell blows the story wide open in today’s Laissez Faire Today. Read on…
Every 37 seconds, an American is arrested and criminalized because of one racist and ridiculous law. Join Chris Campbell as he takes you back to when marijuana became illegal… why it’s hurting America… and why you should fight to end the prohibition. And it’s not so you can smoke it. Read on…
An ancient guide has been in hiding… until now. As it dusts itself off, some early adopters are calling it “the definitive text on self-discipline, personal ethics, humility, self-actualization and strength.” And, according to Chris Campbell, it could be the only thing you need to thrive in our day-to-day life of modern chaos. Embrace it, and become the hero of your own story. Ignore it, and risk living a whimper of a life on someone else’s terms. Read on…
Think it’s impossible to escape Obamacare? Think again. Laissez Faire Today reader David F. shares how he did it and how you can do it too. Don’t see another doctor, take another pill, or shop around for better medical insurance until you read his story. Read on…
“What… is… that?!”That’s what one colleague asked when she saw this on my desk…My face, according to 3-D printing“My face,” I said. “What does it look like?”“Uh…”OK, sure. It’s a rough depiction. Eh. It’s pretty choppy…And, as you can see, the glasses didn’t really take well… making for an eerie sunken eye look.Didn’t really turn […]
“While I heartily subscribe to your premise of pursuing one’s dream,” one reader, Donald J., wrote, “there are alternate perspectives worth considering.”[We’re listening… go on.]“Some wiseguy once said that life is what happens to you while you’re waiting for something better to come along. Milton put it a little more poetically in one of his […]
“Where were you when it happened?” How many times have we been asked -- and asked -- this question since 2001? Today, Chris Campbell asks us to pose a different question: What can I do today to making Sept. 11 another turning point in my life? And then, of course, taking that first step. Read on…
Chris Campbell got more than he bargained for during Sunday brunch. In a packed restaurant, he learned about a hidden sex boom that’s taking the world by storm. You won’t believe how much money ordinary Americans are making in this boom. It’s so much…you may even consider cashing in yourself.
“Nowadays to be intelligible is to be found out.” — Oscar WildeIn the wacky world of American politics, if you as an employer have a religious objection to paying for your employees’ contraceptives, it is you who is contemptuous of religious freedom.As the New York Times editorial board lectured a judge who thinks otherwise, “the […]
Socialism is the big lie of the 20th century. While it promised prosperity, equality, and security, it delivered poverty, misery, and tyranny. Equality was achieved only in the sense that everyone was equal in his or her misery.In the same way that a Ponzi scheme or chain letter initially succeeds but eventually collapses, socialism may […]
Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government’s National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist’s camera. I shared with the world evidence proving some governments are building a worldwide surveillance system to secretly track how we live, who we talk to, and what we say. I […]
I opened a new bottle of probiotics this morning, and it had one of those circular seals on the top. You know, the one that reads, “Sealed for your protection.”And that seal got me thinking… how much protection do we need? How much security is enough?How much homogenization, pasteurization, disinfection, national security, etc…. do we […]
Last spring, Barack Obama told the graduating class of Ohio State University:“Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems… They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because […]
In the Huffington Post last week, Glenn Greenwald, Slate contributor Ryan Gallagher, and Ryan Grim had an investigative piece reporting that the NSA had been tracking the online porn-viewing habits of several Muslim leaders whom it viewed as radicals. A top-secret document shows that the agency was considering exposing these firebrands’ Internet dalliances as a […]
Americans are still trying to get a handle on the full extent of the government’s domestic spying activities, including the recent revelation that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been collecting and storing the email address books of ordinary Americans using online messaging services. Many users of such services are looking to tech executives for […]
A few months ago at a demonstration against the president of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, a Canadian citizen made the following claim: “We don’t have guns, we are not Americans, we are civilized.” A few days before, in early July, a train of the company had run away and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing […]
From the Tongue-In-Cheek Department of Laissez Faire Books…Washington, D.C. — Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, announced that her committee will hold a “major review into all intelligence-collection programs.” This surprising declaration followed the revelation, through documents leaked by government whistle-blower Edward Snowden, that the NSA has been listening to the […]
My most surprising findings in Brazil, aside from the amazing fruits that I didn’t know existed because the U.S. government doesn’t think I need them, were the young American kids who have moved here to find economic opportunity. This I had not expected, but now fully understand.
Brazil is a marvelous and massive country where private wealth thrives without embarrassment, where well-protected and healthy familial dynasties form the infrastructure of social and economic life, where technology is popular and beloved by everyone, where the police leave you alone and where Americans can feel right at home.
The world is changing fast. Freedom in America is slipping away so quickly that we are already seeing a wave of young people leaving in search of new opportunities, just as people from the around the world once came to America to live the dream. Brazil is one of many countries benefiting from the generational emigration from the U.S.
Discovering this rattled me more than I might have expected. But the young people themselves are not unhappy, and I can see why. They are valued. They are earning good money doing interesting things. They have access to one of the most beautiful and exotic and friendly places on Earth. They eat well, live well and have rich social lives.
More than anything else, they have the sense of freedom.
Now, you might wonder how it is that people have to leave the “home of the free” to find freedom. Over the last 10 years, something horrible has happened to the United States. The police state has cracked down hard, not so much on “terrorists” or real criminals, but on regular citizens. The news items spill out of my feed on an hourly basis, things that just shock and alarm those who are paying attention.
Maybe it is not so surprising. The U.S. military is larger than most of the world’s militaries combined. We have the largest prison population on the planet, and most are locked up for nonviolent crimes. The political culture focuses more on the need for security than for freedom. Add it all up and you have the perfect recipe for the emergence of a police state.
But most Americans are not entirely conscious of the change. It has been fast, but slow enough not to cause alarm. It hits you only once you leave. This happened to me two years ago when I went to Spain. I could move about and do what I wanted without bumping into authority at every turn. I felt it again in Austria last year. It is not something you can quite put your finger on, just a sense that you are not under constant surveillance in suspicion. You can breathe easily.
It was the same in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a happy and prosperous land of exotic fruits, thriving markets, consumer products that actually work and are not depreciated by regulatory mandates, and polite and warm people.
I received a very generous invitation to be a main speaker at the third conference on Austrian economics sponsored by Mises Brasil, a young organization with a very bright future. It was founded only four years ago. Yet today, it has a gigantic presence in Brazilian intellectual life. The hunger for the intellectual basis of freedom is palpable.
Three hundred or more people were here to listen to lectures and engage in debates on ideas. The audience was a sea of young people, most everyone under 30. They were students, professionals, traders and workers of all sorts, all passionate about freedom and the economic answers provided by the Austrian tradition of Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek and Murray Rothbard.
What most excited them was the classic idea of laissez faire — that is, the idea that society can thrive on its own in the absence of central management and that the government operates as a drain on society. The culture of the group was certainly more intellectual and educational than political. They were invigorated by ideas and given hope by the idea of freedom. Apparently, nothing like this organization existed in Brazil until recently. Now the group’s website is one of the most heavily trafficked in the country.
My hosts were enormously generous with their time, and they knew exactly what I really wanted to do on the first day: see the delights of the open-air markets. I was told they are in the center of town. If you had seen a map of Sao Paulo, you would know just how odd it is even to imagine such a thing. The city seems to be everywhere in sight, everywhere you turn, going on forever. It is like 100 New Yorks.
Driving here is not for the faint of heart. The street layout makes no rational sense at all. I could have been driven the short distance between the hotel and the conference center a hundred times and still not have had the slightest clue about the layout. I was told that it would take at least two years of living here to gain a sense that you really know the place.
Go to a high spot in the center of town and look around on all sides. Everywhere you see a beautiful thing, a world built by millions of human hands. No central plan could have made this. No single mind could have conceived of it. To anyone who is intellectually curious, the obvious questions are how does this place work? How is order achieved? The answer is one that few people in the United States seem to care about today. The miracle is obtained through the coordinating forces of the market itself, of millions of free people interacting in small ways toward their mutual self-betterment. This is the answer that inspires a lifetime of intellectual curiosity.
On the first lunch on my first day, my hosts took me to a place like I had never seen, and they are as unconscious of its significance as Americans would be startled by its very existence. Again, it seemed to be in the center of town. To obtain entry requires extensive security checks. But once you are in, a new world emerges: restaurants, soccer fields, gigantic swimming pools of many varieties and delights as far as the eye can see.
This is a city within a city. But it is entirely private, what Americans would call a “country club,” but of a particularly elaborate type. It is not hidden away in some alcove on the outskirts of town. It is right there in the city for everyone to see — something nonmembers can also take pride in. It is marvelous in every way, a living monument to the possibility of orderly, privately owned anarchist communities.
One thing kept gnawing at me during my entire visit. I kept coming across people who were members of large and extended families with roots very far back in Brazilian history. They were impressive entrepreneurs, but the wealth was more robust than you would find in a place like Silicon Valley. It reminded more of Gilded Age families in the United States, people who carried themselves with grace and confidence born of excellent breeding and material security.
As I thought about it more, the ingredients were unusual by American standards: large and extended families, protected wealth, well-bred youths, a predominantly young population. What was the reason for this? I developed a quick, back-of-the-napkin theory. It had something to do with the inheritance tax. So I asked my hosts, “What are estate taxes like in this country?” The answer came fast: There are none. Some areas charge 3%, maybe 6%, but it is rather easy to escape even those minimal charges.
This contrasts with the United States, where estate taxes can be as high as 35%. We’ve been looting our best families for 100 years. We’ve gouged and smashed the richest generations of American capitalists upon death ever since the Progressive Era. We’ve been living one generation at a time. Time horizons have fallen. Large-scale, privately held capital accumulation has been discouraged, even made illegal. Families have shrunk in size. The population has become ever more aged.
This tax policy has eaten the heart out of the desire of a free people to create dynasties. So our wealthy have to hide. They are encouraged to give their money away to causes, rather than to children. We live one generation to the next. Children are perceived as an economic burden, rather than a path to immortalizing a legacy.
In Brazil, the time horizon extends beyond the single lifetime. And this is what has given rise to the dramatic cultural, social and economic differences between our countries. These dynasties serve as robust intermediating institutions between the individual and the state. We have ever fewer such things in the United States. Maybe this is what accounts for the incoherent sense that this is a freer country than the U.S.
There are other factors, too. The military consumes only a tiny percentage of wealth, and Brazilians dread wars because they know that they will be roped into supporting whatever wacky war the U.S. starts. What’s more, the police are well-known to be as likely to commit as prevent or punish crime, so they are not trusted.. Security is extremely important in Brazil, but everyone knows that it is a private function and not anything anyone would entrust to the state.
The beautiful thing about Mises Brasil as an organization is that it is working to further encourage these instincts and spread an intellectual culture that openly embraces liberty as a model of life itself. They publish books and monographs, hold conferences and spread the liberal tradition far and wide among an idea-hungry generation. This is all about the future, and Mises Brasil is right to have confidence in it.
As I waited in the customs line to enter the U.S. again, we were all shown a film designed to introduce America to new visitors. The film featured kids in ballet class, people riding horses, barn raisings, people water surfing, dances from coast to coast, smiling people of all ages, all against the backdrop of an exciting Coplandesque musical score.. It ended with the Statue of Liberty. It was wholly inspiring, but there was something missing: The government was nowhere to be seen.
How I wish this film were the whole truth about our country. It once was. But the American dream is not about geography; the American dream is an idea that moves like a spirit around the world, landing wherever people are willing to embrace it and confess it as creed. That spirit has landed in Brazil, and it was a great honor to be witness to it.