Author Archive

Investment Club

David — December 7, 2012

A few months ago we added another pillar to the Victoria Libertarian Book Club by creating an investment club. The turnout has been small so far but the new group has housed many interesting conversations and facilitated a ton of learning. The group is lead by Gordon, a member of the Libertarian Book Club, and he is very knowledgable in the area of investing and the markets.

The first book we read is called How Buffet Does It (24 Simple Investing Strategies from the World’s Greatest Value Investor) by Warren Buffett. It is an excellent introduction to Warren Buffett’s investing style which is known as value investing. The chapters are bite sized and can be read in a short sitting. Packed with wisdom I can’t imagine that their are many other books out their with this much good advice on the subject. More than once I stopped while reading this and thought to myself how much sense this book makes. Its truths are simple but powerful. Here are a few of Buffett’s suggestions for long term value investing: a) Don’t own any stock for 10 minutes that you wouldn’t own for 10 years. b) Do your own research. c) Be patient. d) By business, not stock.

Moving on from value investing Gordon decided to pick Reminiscences of a Stock Operator as our next book. Although we haven’t finished this book yet I can tell it is fantastic so far. Praise has been heaped on this book from many corners and for good reason. After twenty years and many re-reads Kenneth L. Fisher of Forbes says it is still one of his favourite reads. It is a classic and well worth reading whether you are interested studying investing or not. It is about the life of Jesse Livermore, a man who began investing at a very young age in New England bucket shops. He ends up on Wall Street where he makes and loses fortunes several times over.

Opting Out of BC’s Medical Services Plan (MSP)

David — March 1, 2012

I am in the process of opting out of BC’s Medical Services Plan (MSP). Here are a few things I have found out so far:

  1. When you opt out you have to do it for a minimum of one year. How odd. I suspect they do this as a scare tactic to stop people from exiting the system. Insurance companies are always happy to protect people for payment regardless of how recently you stopped using their services. Companies are clearly more compassionate than our provincial government.
  2. Based on the first point you would think our government didn’t want BC residents to have MSP once they opted out. Here is where it gets strange: they automatically opt you back in after a year. In other words you have to fill out a form and send it in to them every year if you want to stay opted out. The first point is odd but this is outrageous and criminal. If a private company were to automatically opt customers back into services they had opted out of and immediately started charging for it they would be promptly taken to court. If the first law suit didn’t bankrupt them, surely the class action suit that followed would. Can you imagine if Netflix automatically opted all customers back in to its service after one year after said parties de-activated their accounts? Criminal.
  3. This is the part where I was going to recommend some great private options to any of you who are interested in opting out. The troubling thing is that I found little to no private health insurance options in BC. Pacific Blue Cross only provides insurance for those already covered by MSP. In fact Blue Cross seems to think BC residents are required to get MSP – this is what it said on their website: “All BC residents are required to enroll with the Medical Services Plan.” This is an error – you can opt out of MSP. You just have to waist precious time doing it every year because our provincial government is a criminal gang writ large. My assumption is that private options are few – maybe even non-existent – for the same reason that there are no private ferries going to the mainland: the government has subsidised through tax funding and leveraged its monopoly position to extinguish competitors. Maybe we can get the Canadian Federal Government to break up the Provincial Government’s abusive monopoly? If only the government applied the laws it applies to individuals and companies to itself.

 

Ron Paul & Doug Wead

David — December 28, 2011

There are some great quotes from this recent Haaretz interview with Ron Paul:

“‘Any kind of racism or anti-Semitism is incompatible with my philosophy,’ Paul said in an interview with Haaretz, conducted by email. ‘Ludwig von Mises, the great economist whose writing helped inspire my political career, was a Jew who was forced to leave his native Austria to escape the Nazis. Mises wrote about the folly of seeing people as part of groups rather than as individuals,’ Paul said.”

“Q. Do you support completely cutting all foreign aid, including the aid to Israel? Paul: Yes, I am personally against all foreign aid. We give $3 billion to Israel and $12 billion to her avowed enemies. How does that help Israel? And in return, we act like her master and demand veto power over her foreign policy.”

Also, check out Megan Kelly’s interview with Doug Wead, senior advisor to the Good Doctor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IasdHdZ5YjA&feature=youtu.be

Mr. Wead needs to be in the spotlight more as he is very effective at answering questions.

Ron Paul Update

David — October 20, 2011

For those interested in following Ron Paul’s campaign I recommend Daily Paul and Google News.

Daily Paul gives you the libertarian perspective while Google News, a popular news aggregator, shows you any and all news related to Paul whether negative or positive. Combining these two sites gives one a good overall sense of what is happening.

For those who haven’t been following along here are some of the recent videos put out by Ron Paul’s campaign:

Google Trends Shows Ron Paul Spike

David — August 22, 2011

Ron Paul on Google Trends

Since Ron Paul officially entered the 2012 US Presidential race I have been checking Google Trends to get an idea of his popularity across the internet. I checked it again today and to my delight I found that his popularity has spiked in the last few weeks. By ignoring Ron Paul all the media does is invigorate his supporters. He just received a money bomb on his birthday for $1.82 million dollars. No other candidate receives amounts of that size coming from small donors on a regular basis. This came just after his close second place finish in the Ames Iowa Straw Poll. I look forward to Ron Paul winning the war of ideas and influencing a generation in the ways of peace, sound money and limited government.

A Libertarian History of Canada

David — June 27, 2011

Michael McConkeyMichael McConkey is an author, educator, and writer for the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada. He has a Masters in Canadian history from Concordia and a Ph.D. from McGill and he currently resides in Vancouver, BC.

Dr. McConkey plans on writing a libertarian history of Canada but needs help funding the project. Such a history has never been written although there was a failed attempt made by George Woodcock. The history would be written in the style of Murray Rothbard. The following is an excerpt taken from Michael’s Prospectus (PDF):

“Free market libertarians who are ethical and consistent do not have access to the popular short cut of simply seizing the reins of state power and imposing their values on others. Consequently, the struggle for free markets and sovereign private property is above all a struggle of ideas. In Canada, where the state’s control over schooling is amplified by a major role by so‐called public broadcasting this challenge is especially acute. Indeed, in both academic and popular scholarship – from Donald Creighton to Pierre Berton – the idea of Canada as country and federal government being indistinguishable is pervasive. From the RCMP and the CBC; through the National Policy and the National Film Board; to the Canada Health Act, the idea of the Canadian state as nation builder has informed the country’s mythology. Amidst all this, there has never been a free market libertarian history of Canada. The closest thing was the work of George Woodcock, but he was a “libertarian socialist” – a fact frequently revealed in his analyses. There’s no evidence that Woodcock was fluent in economics or understood dynamic markets. In the struggle for ideas – hearts and minds – this is a major blind spot in Canada’s scholarly culture. This project to write a Libertarian History of Canada is an effort to fill that woeful gap in Canada’s intellectual culture.”

If you want to support this project please make a pledge.

The Vancouver Libertarian Book Club

David — May 21, 2011

The Vancouver Libertarian Book Club logo over a map of Vancouver with a map push pin in the center.

My girlfriend recently took a job in Vancouver and thus I will be going over to visit her every second weekend starting in June. While pondering what I would do on weekend visits I decided that spending a few hours with liberty minded people would be a wise use of time. So a few days ago I created the Vancouver Libertarian Book Club through Meetup.com. No changes will be made to the book club in Victoria: same time, place and good conversation.

There are a couple of things which make a book club work and there are some things which don’t work. When trying to get libertarians together it can be difficult. As my prolific co-blogger Dave says, “organising libertarians is like trying to herd cats.”

After pondering what it is that makes a book club successful I have come up with at least part of the formula. Below is a list of recommendations:

  1. Have a set meeting time and place. Thanks to Todd Kuipers of the Calgary Libertarian Meetup Group for suggesting this.
  2. Find the right meeting place. Currently the Victoria Libertarian Book Club meets in the best space in downtown Victoria for this kind of thing: QVs Cafe & Bakery. The staff are friendly and there is a ton of options for food and drink. They also have the space to accommodate us when we need it.
  3. Stay focused: Groups need a focal point to engage in meaningful discussion. Without it people lose interest and discussion strays off topic. That is why from its inception the Victoria Libertarian Book Club was named as such and focuses on classic libertarian literature. There are a lot of liberty clubs who just get together to talk about current events and there is nothing wrong with this, but what I have noticed is that when groups read and discuss books together it has a transformative effect. Hearts and minds are changed. Deeper realisations occur and the conversation that ensues is more intelligent.
  4. Stick to a schedule: Well, we don’t always do this, but we try. Having a meeting start and finish time is good. Our group enjoys discussing both the book we’re reading and current events.
  5. Mix it up a bit: Too much repetition and things get stale. From time to time do a topic night that is of particular interest to libertarians and try to get everyone to bring essays and do research on the topic. If you really want to make things fun then have a debate night. Give everyone the opportunity to play devils advocate on a topic that libertarians are often chided for.

The recommendations above apply to almost any type of book club. Below are five categories that I think every libertarian group should focus on:

  • Foreign policy: end the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan and promote peace & non-interventionism.
  • Money & banking: abolish central banks and encourage sound money.
  • Substances: end drug prohibition.
  • Size of government: reduce taxation and regulation.
  • Self defense: end gun registration and allow people to defend themselves.

I am looking forward to meeting like minded individuals in Vancouver. For those interested in joining this newly formed group here is the URL: http://www.meetup.com/vancouver-libertarian-bookclub/

 

Ron Paul 2012!

David — April 29, 2011

Congressman Ron Paul of Texas has formed an exploratory committee for the 2012 presidential election.

I hope he runs not only because of what it will do for US politics but for the far reaching impact it will have on the message of liberty everywhere.

Here are a few of my favorite Ron Paul videos made by his supporters during the 2008 election.



Corrupt Montreal CRA Auditors

David — April 27, 2011

According to the CBC Montreal Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) auditors have been caught taking bribes in exchange for helping businesses evade taxes. This has been going on for a decade supposedly. Unbelievable.

The government is once again indistinguishable from organized crime. Just like the mafia the government gives special favor to those willing to pay the right price. The rest of us who play fairly have to pay full price and face audits. What a wonderful situation.

The question we have to ask is how often does this happen without anyone ever hearing about it? What are the chances CRA auditors are doing this in other provinces?

Ron Paul on The View

David — April 27, 2011

The prophet speaks! Wow. I am really excited to say the least. I didn’t think Ron Paul would run. If he does I honestly believe he will have a good chance  – his supporters will be more motivated to push his message this time. Hopefully a lot of the grassroots left who considered him for his anti war position will get on board after seeing Obama deploy 30,000 troops in Afghanistan and continue to bomb Pakistan with drones.