Che rimuoverà questa pietra dalla mia scarpa?”

The Beatings Will Continue Until They Hear Your Bones Break

Austin Dispatches No. 225 May 29, 2020

e225fig1Soon after the Trump administration succumbed to pandemic pressure to halt American life, some minor court intellectual posted a screed that reactive government and business policy changes revealed just how absurd and arbitrary are the rules we regularly encountered:

All over America, the coronavirus is revealing, or at least reminding us, just how much of contemporary American life is bullshit, with power structures built on punishment and fear as opposed to our best interest. Whenever the government or a corporation benevolently withdraws some punitive threat because of the coronavirus, it’s a signal that there was never any good reason for that threat to exist in the first place.1

Au contraire. We contend with many new absurd and arbitrary obstacles imposed amid the pandemic that outnumber those that've been abandoned. Individually and cumulatively, these burdens qualify more as chickenshit, best defined as

... petty harassment of the weak by the strong; open scrimmage for power and authority and prestige; sadism thinly disguised as necessary discipline; a constant "paying off of old scores"; and insistence on the letter rather than the spirit of the ordinances ... Chickenshit is so called – instead of horse – or bull – or elephant shit – because it is small-minded and ignoble and takes the trivial seriously.2

But then, that court intellectual by definition has to bullshit – even about bullshit – in a frantic attempt to maintain his status and income as a junior member of the corporatist, managerial-therapeutic, warfare welfare state that afflicts most of us.3 Otherwise, he's Just Another Guy on the Internet With an Opinion.

Regardless, either type, chicken or bull, shows no sign of abating in Travis County.4 Both Austin and county governments have resisted easing the months-long lockdown,5 despite protests,6 threatened legal action,7 and even mounting governmental budgetary damage.8 The local power elite seems determined to kill the city it rules like a pangolin at a Chinese food court.9 Keep Austin weird?10 They won't even keep it open.

Among other consequences, the local power elite's intransigence forced the Libertarian Party to reschedule its national convention. Instead of nominating its presidential ticket in a downtown hotel over Memorial Day weekend, the party did so via cyberspace. It's either an indication of print media's decline or how little impact the post-Portland Libertarian Party's achieved that the matter received no coverage in the local papers. Even the Chronicle didn't bother to jeer at the LP.

Amazingly, the delegates nominated a real libertarian for president, for the first time since 2004.11 Typically, when the post-Portland LP sends candidates into the political arena, it's not sending its best.12 In partisan terms, Jo Jorgensen could perform well against her establishment-party opponents – with the usual caveats about ballot access, campaign funds, media coverage, and campaign staff ability and cohesion.

While President Trump may be uniquely qualified to survive the prison knife fights that Beltway politics has become in response to his continued presence there, the pandemic highlights a lot of his deficiencies.13 It's one thing for Trump to antagonize loudmouthed celebrities, other elected officials, bureaucrats, and the media – all of whom ought to have understood that taking lumps is part of their jobs. It's another for his administration to jeopardize citizens' and business' wealth by its economic responses to coronavirus.14 Tellingly, now that Trump's done something as president that truly deserves impeachment, his foes say nothing.15

Yet Trump still can conceivably win re-election, if the Democrats nominate former Vice President Joe Biden, beset by allegations of financial corruption and sexual harassment, and perhaps worse, persistent speculation about senility.16 That is, when Jabberin' Joe isn't cramming his brogues into his dental orifice.17 If the Democrats persist with the handsy Hibernian, they can reasonably expect him to do as well as their 1872 nominee, who died before the Electoral College vote.18 Biden's merely dead from the neck up.

However, to best affect this battle of the blowhards, Jorgensen must confront her weakest policy position: not where she differs from the corporatist consensus, but where she agrees: her support for open immigration.19 From her Web site, as of May 29:


Anymore, such a position will squelch her support among her natural constituency, the American bourgeoisie; fail to attract support from immigrants or their immediate descendants; and merely contribute to the leaf blower-like pro-immigration din, a din that conveys, "We care about them more than we care about you."20

To be fair, a pro-immigration conclusion derives logically from libertarian theory, but in practice, immigration’s one matter where even most libertarian theorists display a common obtuseness.21 They either don't think about the details of the matter, or when prompted, display the mindset exemplified by financial adviser Doug Casey, whose writings espouse a reflexive pro-immigrant stance while simultaneously bemoaning the decline of libertarianistic values in America.22 Perhaps he lacks the guts to challenge status quo views, which calls into question his value as an adviser.

Libertarians advocate a society where people are smart enough to cooperate voluntarily without civil government. Yet in the same breath many proclaim how stupid most people are, i.e., incapable of understanding or accepting libertarianism. It’s a pose that was tiresome when Albert Jay Nock did it 100 years ago.23 Somehow, though, foreigners who often come from statist, collectivist, or even hunter-gatherer cultures, bringing with them their mentalities that don’t adapt well to advanced social organization, concepts of divisible time, deferred gratification, or paperwork, among other concepts, can immediately understand libertarianism where native-born Americans of Northwest European stock cannot.24 If this were so, post-1965 immigrants, mostly from Latin America and Asia, and their descendents would display support for libertarianism that recent research indicates they don’t and won’t.25

For the ethnic interest groups that have benefitted politically from the current arrangement, U.S. immigration policy has become a virtual entitlement to be defended at all costs.”26 For libertarians, reflexive support for open immigration is inexplicable even beyond them unthinkingly accepting Ellis Island mythology. (This also probably accounts for so many libertarians of non-WASP provenance who display tacky sartorial choices, questionable hygiene, and lack of decorum in social settings, but we’ll save the nasty cracks for later.)27

Not to keep flogging a trespassing camel, but few libertarians have openly considered these questions:

  1. Which position will put us in power, or closer to power?

  2. Which position will cost us more, and how severely?

  3. Which position will benefit us more, and how greatly?

  4. Will a pro-immigrant stance actually translate into blocks of voters or ethno-racial-religious groups not just the occasional individual supporting us consistently?

  5. Can we achieve No. 4 without losing our existing base?

  6. If we do lose our existing base, will immigrants more than make up for the loss?

  7. If we can't achieve No. 4, and take a pro-immigrant stance, will we lose or decimate our existing base?

  8. Are the values or gestalts of foreign-born voters consistent with libertarian principles, as expressed in the party platform?

  9. Will a pro-immigrant position harm party members financially, and thus, harm the LP financially?

  10. Will an anti-immigrant stance actually translate into blocks of voters or ethno-racial-religious groups not just the occasional individual supporting us consistently?

Moreover, few libertarians discuss such non-rights policy matters as:

The ultimate question facing libertarians: Do you want to be martyrs, or victors?

Neighborhood News

Neiman Marcus filed for bankruptcy.29 For years, I couldn't afford to shop there. Then, during the brief period when I didn't feel financially squeezed, none of its merchandise appealed to me or I'd found similar items for less elsewhere.

KXAN-TV’s traffic Web page recorded collisions at Lamplight Village Avenue and Pipers Field Drive on May 13, at Parmer Lane between MoPac Expressway and Tomanet Trail on May 20, at Research Boulevard and Burnet Road and at Rutland and Metropolitan drives on May 22, and at Rutland and McKalla Place on May 28.

Cultural Canapés

Hard Case Crime published the English-language version of a novel by director Brian De Palma, who sketches a stereotypically self-satisfied sleazy, sordid scenario.30

Little Richard, who delivered one of the worst performances I've ever witnessed by a supposed professional musician, died at age 87.31

Bevo and Butt-Heads

The University of Texas chancellor claims even the successive, extravagant emergency federal funds don't compensate for the coronavirus-induced loss of revenue from college sports or student dorm payments.32 Consequently, the school is considering staff cuts.33

Media Indigest

The Chronicle's editor admitted to being an alcoholic "control freak." That explains a lot about the paper.34

Business Roundup

J.C. Penney Co. filed for bankruptcy.35 Unlike Neiman Marcus, JCP often had what I wanted when I wanted it and could afford it, so naturally the company failed. Also, J.C. Penney only started offering such merchandise after I canceled my never-used charge card.


Home Archives


1 Kois, Dan. "America Is a Sham." 14 Mar. 2020 <>.

2 Fussell, Paul. Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War. New York City: Oxford UP, 1989: 80-81.

3 AD No. 97n41 (March 13, 2007); Brooks, David. The Paradise Suite: Bobos in Paradise; and, On Paradise Drive. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 2011: 140-188; Frankfurt, Harry G. On Bullshit. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 2005: 5-6; Gordon, David. The Essential Rothbard. Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2007: 58.

4 Munoz, Gabrielle, and Philip Jankowski. "What Stay-at-Home Orders Mean." AAS 26 Mar. 2020: B1+; Salazar, Daniel. "City Citing Businesses for Not Following Rules During Pandemic." ABJ 15 May 2020: 10; Wilson, Mark D. "First Batch of 'Healthy Streets' Closures to Begin Friday." AAS 21 May 2020: B4.

5 Flores, Nancy. "County to Extend Stay-at-Home Orders." AAS 6 May 2020: B1-2; Jankowski. "Austin, Travis County Extend Stay-Home Orders." AAS 9 May 2020: A1+; Jankowski. "Facial Covers Now Required." AAS 14 Apr. 2020: A1+; Moreno-Lozano, Luz. "Crowds Flock to Travis County Parks." AAS 25 May 2020: B1+; Villalpando, Roberto. "Coronavirus Protesters 'Pretty Selfish,' Austin Mayor Says." AAS 20 Apr. 2020: B2; Villalpando. "Overcrowding Prompts Closures of Four Travis County Parks." AAS 24 May 2020: B7; Wilson. "Austin Council Wades Into Coronavirus Recovery." AAS 22 Apr. 2020: B1-2; Wilson. "Austin to Increase Park Monitoring." AAS 22 May 2020: B1+.

6 Tilove, Jonathan, and Emily Hernandez. "Rally Defies Virus Rules to Decry Them." AAS 19 Apr. 2020: B1+.

7 Autullo, Ryan, and Jankowski. "Paxton: Ease Stay-Home Orders." AAS 13 May 2020: A1+; Clark-Madison, Mike. "That's Not an Order." AC 15 May 2020: 10.

8 "Capital Metro Projects an Estimated $136 Million in Lost Revenue." CIN Apr. 2020, Northwest Austin ed.: 11. CIN Apr. 2020, Northwest Austin ed.: 18; Price, Asher. "Sales Tax Money Drops 5% for Austin." AAS 7 May 2020: A1+; Taboada, Melissa B. "Coronavirus Hammers Texas School Budgets." AAS 22 May 2020: A1+.

9 Gorman, James. "Role of Pangolin Viruses in Pandemic Is Still Murkey." NYT 27 Mar. 2020: A5; "Illegally Hunted Pangolin Could Have Spread Coronavirus." Daily Telegraph 8 Feb. 2020: 7.

10 Wassenich, Red. Keep Austin Weird: A Guide to the Odd Side of Town. Atglen, Pa.: Schiffer Publishing, 2007; Wassenich. Keep Austin Weird: A Guide to the Odd Side of Town. Atglen, Pa.: Schiffer Publishing, 2016.

11 Harper, Jennifer. "Inside the Beltway." Washington Times 25 May 2020: 2.

12 Kranish, Michael, and Marc Fisher. Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power, 1st ed. New York City: Scribner, 2016: 311; Mann, Windsor. “The Great Donald Could Make America Great, Too.” USAT 19 Jun. 2015: 9A.

13 Pentacost, Don. Put ‘em Down, Take ‘em Out!: Knife Fighting Techniques From Folsom Prison. Boulder, Colo.: Paladin Press, 1988.

14 Deist, Jeff. "Introduction." Anatomy of the Crash: The Financial Crisis of 2020. Ed. Tho Bishop. Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute, 2020: 13-16.

15 Lillis, Mike et al. "Senate Votes to Acquit Trump." The Hill 6 Feb. 2020: 1+.

16 Carr, Howie. "Biden 'Ain't Black' Either – Dems' Cringe Candidate His Own Worst Enemy." Boston Herald 24 May 2020: 9A; Carr. "Biden out of Basement – Candidate Makes Rare Outside Appearance." Boston Herald 26 May 2020: 7A; "Investigate Tara Reade's Allegations." NYT 2 May 2020: A26; Schweizer, Peter. Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, rev. ed. New York City: Harper, 2019: Ch. 4.

17 Glueck, Katie, Jonathan Martin, and Lisa Lerer. "Biden Knows He's Prone to Gaffes. But Will They Really Hurt Him?" NYT 13 Aug. 2019: A11; Sabur, Rozina. "President Mocks Biden Over Verbal Gaffes." Daily Telegraph 7 Mar. 2020: 16.

18 Seitz, Don C. The “Also Rans”: Great Men Who Missed Making the Presidential Goal. New York City: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1928: 252-253.

19 Williamson, Chilton Jr. The Immigration Mystique: America’s False Conscience, 1st ed. New York City: Basic Books, 1996: 9.

20 Coupland, Douglas. Microserfs. New York City: Regan Books, 1995: 130.

21 Williamson, op. cit., 108.

22 Casey, Douglas R. Crisis Investing for the Rest of the ‘90s, rev. ed. New York City: Birch Lane Press/Carol Publishing Group, 1993: 351-354, 415; Casey, and Louis James. Right on the Money: Doug Casey on Economics, Investing, and the Ways of the Real World. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2014: Ch. 34.

23 Nock, Albert Jay. Snoring As a Fine Art and Twelve Other Essays. Rindge, N.H.: Richard R. Smith, Publisher, 1958: 152-153.

24 Carson, Dale C., and Wes Denham. Arrest-Proof Yourself: An Ex-Cop Reveals How Easy It Is for Anyone to Get Arrested, How to Just Say No to Car Searches, How to Legally Defend Yourself With Firearms, How to Keep Lawmen Out of Your Phone and Computer, rev. ed. Chicago:L Chicago Review Press, 2014: 98-105.

25 Pashler, Hal, U.S. Immigrants’ Attitudes Toward Libertarian Values (March 15, 2013). Available at SSRN: or; Richwine, Jason. “IQ and Immigration Policy.” Diss. Harvard U., 2009.

26 McCarthy, Eugene. A Colony of the World: The United States Today – America’s Senior Statesman Warns His Countrymen. New York City: Hippocrene Books, 1992: 59.

27 Dentinger, John. “Envy vs. Cooperation.” Liberty Nov. 1988: 69-70; Insults: A Practical Anthology of Scathing Remarks and Acid Portraits. Ed. Max Herzberg. New York City: The Greystone Press, 1941.

28 Eisler, Dan. “Re: Immigration.” E-mail to Wes Benedict, 5 Jun. 2006; Nunberg, Geoffrey. Going Nuclear: Language, Politics, and Culture in Confrontational Times, 1st ed. New York City: PublicAffairs, 2009: 118.

29 Halkias, Maria. "Neiman's Files for Bankruptcy." DMN 8 May 2020: 1A+.

30 De Palma, Brian, and Susan Lehman. Les Serpents Sont-Ils Nécessaires? Trans. Jean Esch. Paris: Payot & Rivages, 2018. Rpt. Are Snakes Necessary? London: Hard Case Crime, 2020.

31 Gliatto, Tom. "Little Richard 1932-2020: Rock's Wild King." People 25 May 2020: 46-47.

32 Korte, Laura. "UT System Chancellor Looks at Path Forward." AAS 24 Apr. 2020: A1+.

33 Korte. "UT Eyes Staff Cuts Amid Panic." AAS 21 May 2020: A1+.

34 Jones, Kimberley. "Redefining Distance." AC 15 May 2020: 2.

35 Maheshwari, Sapna, and Michael Corkery. "J.C. Penny Latest Casualty in Big Retail." NYT 16 May 2020: B1+.