This past week saw the death of one of my great comedy heroes, Don Rickles, along with one of my great libertarian heroes, William N. Grigg. As a libertarian humorist, that’s kind of a tough week!
Will Grigg was the great libertarian thinker and writer who is responsible more than anyone else (with the possible exception of Radley Balko) for shedding light on the atrocities committed by the modern American police state. Over the past ten years, Grigg wrote hundreds of articles at his own blog, Pro Libertate, most of them dealing with the American criminal justice system and the wreckage it leaves in its wake. Will Grigg also wrote countless articles and blog posts for lewrockwell.com, and was one of the founding members of the Libertarian Institute. I cannot (and do not) claim to be one of the many people Will Grigg’s work helped to get free from the clutches of the "punitive priesthood," as he called it; I am merely someone who learned from Will Grigg, but that, to my mind, is high praise as it stands.
Don Rickles, of course, scarcely needs an introduction. He was the legendary insult comic dubbed "Mr. Warmth," and was possessed of an inimitable ability to command a stage with his rapid-fire, ceaseless wit. No subject was off limits for Don Rickles, very much including the sacred shibboleths of modern America: race, sex, and handicaps. Rickles had a joke for any occasion, and usually a flood of them; he was callous, he was politicially incorrect, and he was a member of the old school of Jewish comedians who would spontaneously shift into Yiddish just to annoy the audience. He was, in short, the best.
Do the Bartman
Somehow — and I don’t profess to know how — the Chicago Cubs won the World Series last week. The game itself was utterly absurd, packed with virtually every insane occurrence that can occur in the game of baseball — but isn’t it always? That’s part of the wonder of baseball. Against all odds, it still manages to be full of surprises, even long after we should have seen everything there is to see. For my part, I’ve never seen a wild pitch score two runs before. I’ve also never seen a bunt call as bizarre as the one Joe Maddon put on in the ninth inning, a call so bad it makes one wonder if the game really is rigged for maximum drama. Unlike elections, however, baseball would be too difficult to gimmick, what with the unknown ball position and all.
One might ask, not unreasonably, why I’m writing about baseball on a site about libertarianism. I might respond, also not unreasonably, that this is a lesson in property rights; specifically, it’s my blog and I’ll write what I please.
This is the end, my only friend
It’s not just the utterly unhinged Hillary Clinton anymore; now we have general Mark Milley, U.S. Army chief of staff, going on record threatening open war against Russia for unspecified "harms:"
The U.S. Army’s chief of staff on Tuesday issued a stern warning to potential threats such as Russia and vowed the service will defeat any foe in ground combat.
"The strategic resolve of our nation, the United States, is being challenged and our alliances tested in ways that we haven’t faced in many, many decades," Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told an audience at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
"I want to be clear to those who wish to do us harm… the United States military — despite all of our challenges, despite our [operational] tempo, despite everything we have been doing — we will stop you and we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before. Make no mistake about that."
Your humble narrator is compelled to point out that history doesn’t contain a very comprehensive set of examples of Russia being beaten before. At least United States Army chief of staff Milley had the presence of mind to clarify which nation he claims membership in — a point that probably needed repeating at the Association of the United States Army’s meeting in the capital of the United States.
I’ve always been firmly planted on the "against" side of the big "should libertarians vote" debate, so I was pleased to discover that, in a recent episode of The Tom Woods Show, Jeff Deist made the case for why libertarians shouldn’t vote in a much more lucid and succinct manner than I’ve ever heard it presented. The whole interview’s worth listening to, of course — Woods and Deist are always engaging and insightful — but I’ll quote the relevant portion below for your perusal.
Here’s why I tell people they can’t get emotionally attached to Hillary, or to Trump, or even to Gary Johnson, and that they, in my opinion anyway, shouldn’t vote for any of the three, and it’s very simple: at some point, regardless of who wins, regardless of your take on the "lesser of evils" argument (which applies equally to Gary Johnson, I might add) — regardless of your take on that, at some point, whoever is president is going to order bombs to be dropped somewhere, and at some point the person for whom you pulled the lever is going to be responsible for a young child somewhere, probably in the Islamic world, laying there with his arm blown off or something like this, and I think that no libertarian ought to live with that, or to give that his or her sanction. So that’s why I try very hard to be emotionally detached from this, to view things as they are, and to simply not vote — not as some great, noble gesture on my part, but just as a tiny drip, another drop in the bucket, hopefully, of people who don’t sanction this whole sordid affair.