Great PhD topic; please suggest others

Micronational activities were disproportionately common throughout Australia in the final three decades of the 20th century.

– The Principality of Hutt River was founded in 1970, when Leonard Casley declared his property independent after a dispute over wheat quotas.

–  1976 witnessed the creation of the Province of Bumbunga on a rural property near Snowtown, South Australia, by an eccentric British monarchist.

–  The Sovereign State of Aeterna Lucina was created in a hamlet on the New South Wales north coast in 1978.

–  An anti-taxation campaigner founded the Grand Duchy of Avram in western Tasmania in the 1980s; “His Grace the Duke of Avram” was later elected to the Tasmanian Parliament.

–  In Victoria, a long-running dispute over flood damage to farm properties led to the creation of the Independent State of Rainbow Creek in 1979.

–  The Empire of Atlantium was established in Sydney, in 1981 as a non-territorial global government.

–  A mortgage foreclosure dispute led George and Stephanie Muirhead of Rockhampton, Queensland, to briefly and abortively secede as the Principality of Marlborough in 1993.

–  The Principality of Snake Hill was established in 2003 as a result of a mortgage dispute and is located near Mudgee, New South Wales. The Head of State is Prince Paul and the constitution is based on the Ten Commandments. Lawyers are barred from entering.

–  The Principality of Wy was established in 2004 by Paul Delprat after a dispute with the local council of Mosman Municipality in Sydney.

–  The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands was established in 2004 as a symbolic political protest by a group of gay rights activists based in southeast Queensland.

–  The United Federation of Koronis, based in Australia, claims the Koronis family of asteroids as its territory.

–  The Principality of Ponderosa, based on a small farm in Northern Victoria, achieved notoriety in 2005 when its founders—Vergilio and “Little Joe” Rigoli—were convicted of tax fraud.

–  The Independent State of Aramoana was established in 1980.

–  The Republic of Whangamomona was established in 1989.

Does the RBA really “print money out of thin air”?

I’m trying to understand the mechanics of how the Reserve Bank of Australia monetizes government debt by “printing money out of thin air”. Dr. Robert Murphy has written a clear and simple explanation about the Federal Reserve, but can someone tell me if Murphy’s explanation applies to the Australian context?

The key elements of Murphy’s explanation are:

  1. The central bank buys Treasury bonds from private dealers.
  2. The central bank pays for these Treasuries using cheques drawn on itself (it’s here that it allegedly creates the money out of nothing).
  3. The central bank remits interest payments on the bonds to the Treasury.
  4. The central bank “rolls over” government debt so that the government never really has to pay back the principal.

It’s evident that the RBA buys Treasury bonds from the public, e.g. the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, predecessor of the RBA, was involved in financing the World Wars. But does the Australian central bank create the money it uses to pay for these bonds out of nothing?

Update: The answer appears to be ‘yes’. See page 223 of The Evil Princes of Martin Place

Let’s say that the central bank decides to buy a house and that the owner of a particular house agrees to sell it for $100,000. To pay for it, the central bank writes a cheque and gives it to the seller. Where does it get the money? It simply conjures the money ex nihilo – that’s Latin for “out of thin air and the clear blue sky”.

Ron Paul inspires peace sentiment among Republicans

Chris Berg is probably the best representative of libertarianism at the usually neo-conservative Institute of Public Affairs:

Perhaps one of the most striking attributes of the current Republican field is their dovishness.

Last week’s forum for presidential candidates made clear scepticism about foreign interventionism isn’t limited to the libertarians Ron Paul and Gary Johnson.

On Afghanistan, frontrunner Mitt Romney said, “I also think we’ve learned that our troops shouldn’t go off and try and fight a war of independence for another nation”. On the Middle East, Newt Gingrich opined that, “we need to think fundamentally about reassessing our entire strategy in the region”.

If you agree, join the facebook group.

The Case Against the Afghan War

After September 11, the United Nations authorized the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in the hunt to kill or capture Osama bin Laden.

September 11 was to many a clear instance of an “unprovoked” attack. The true facts, of course, are much different. The Americans had for decades been meddling in the Middle East, stirring up hatred by occupying holy land such as Saudi Arabia. Successive retaliatory attacks against American interests throughout the 1990s failed to register with policymakers, who were chock full of hubris and refused to consider an alternative foreign policy – one that doesn’t involve the CIA propping up brutal dictators and torturing alleged terrorists.

Recognizing the role that the U.S. played in unnecessarily provoking its enemy is not the politically correct thing to do, but many such as academic Robert Pape and ex-CIA official Michael Scheur have done just that.

After 9/11 one could plausibly have argued, as does Ron Paul, for a more restrained intervention in Afghanistan. Rather than aiming for all out regime change and nation building that may have created further blowback, there was a legitimate case for an inconspicuous hunt for bin Laden. But emotional public demands for vengeance negated debate over such an option.

Libertarians, however, continue to probe the question of whether the Afghan war is justified. The best piece I have seen in this regard is by David Henderson, who points out that the Taliban actually offered to hand over Osama bin Laden:

The Taliban asked President Bush to present evidence that Osama bin Laden was behind the attacks and stated that if the evidence were sufficient, it would cooperate in turning him over to the proper authorities. President Bush refused to do so. Ironically, the Taliban, a disgusting, bloodthirsty regime, agreed to play by the rules of international law, while President Bush, president of a democratic, relatively free society, refused.

Libertarians consider it immoral to initiate force: force is justified only in self-defence. If the use of force were not restricted to situations of self-defence, then the government could start wars willy-nilly. This in turn would demolish the liberties of citizens through the taxation required to finance war efforts, the military draft and so on.

So, libertarians should oppose the invasion of Afghanistan because it was not an act of self-defence. Although politicians claimed that military action was a response to 9/11, those who understand history know that al Qaeda didn’t attack America without provocation.

Don’t trust libertarian politicians

No politician – not even a libertarian one – can be trusted. Once a politician gains power and is faced with the temptations that are thrust upon them daily, it is only human to succumb, regardless of whether they ran on a good platform or not.

The only hope for lasting change is to convince the masses of libertarian ideas. Education is a more reliable tool than activism, because there is always an issue of trustworthiness when dealing with libertarian politicians.

Any libertarian party should prioritize the education of voters, rather than trying every trick in the book to gain votes for fallible human beings. They should not seek electoral success, so much as spreading awareness of an alternative set of ideas. Unfortunately, compromising principle for the sake of expediency is where the American Libertarian Party has gone wrong in recent years, according to its founder David Nolan.