Chris Calton

Chris Calton has 20 articles published.

Chris Calton is a senior contributor to The Liberty Conservative and through his work tries to educate people about Anarcho-Capitalist ideas and general anarchist history.
Posted on in Economics/Tech

How Free Market Economics Birthed the Video-Game Era

In 1962, the first version of Spacewar! was completed. Technically, this wasn’t the first video game ever created, but it was probably the first one that really mattered, as it serves as the beginning of the long line of advances in video game technology that continues into the present day. The invention of the game is generally credited to Steve Russell, who was the primary programmer. But the development of the game was the product of a handful of programmers working with an early computer known as the PDP-1. The original version of the game employed two “ships” – really just shapes… Keep Reading

Posted on in History

Was John Brown Sane?

The exploits of John Brown have long fascinated historians. His actions, for better or worse, certainly had a significant effect on the country prior to Southern secession, but the fascination with Brown is largely driven by the enigma the man himself has proven to be. In trying to explain his actions and motives, historians have wrestled with questionable and biased testimonies by the people who knew him, and many of the mysteries surrounding John Brown have been explained – then and now – by mental disorders. But was John Brown crazy? Diagnosing historical figures is an ambitious task, but the… Keep Reading

Posted on in History

Two Portraits from the American Civil War

Here are the portraits of famous figures from the Civil War: The first is a Democrat. Politically, he was the polar opposite of Abraham Lincoln and the new Republican Party. He was ardently pro-slavery. He supported the Lecompton Constitution that sought to make Kansas a slave state, and favored the Dred Scott decision that threw out the Missouri Compromise and opened even Northern territories to slavery. In 1860, this person attended the Democratic Convention. Before the party split and produced two rival nominees for president, he supported Jefferson Davis. After the split between the Northern and Southern democrats, he supported the Southern candidate,… Keep Reading

Posted on in History/Philosophy

Lysander Spooner: Freedom Trumps The Rule Of Law

On May 22, 1856, South Carolina Representatives Preston Brooks and Laurence Keitt, along with Virginia Representative Henry Edmundson, made a visit to the Senate chamber. When they arrived, the balcony above the chamber still contained some straggling observers, mostly wives of senators. Since Brooks and Keitt were southern gentlemen, they respectfully waited for the ladies to leave. Once the galleries were clear and only men remained in the chamber, Brooks and his allies approached Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, who was writing at his desk. Their reason for approaching Sumner was to respond to a speech Sumner had recently given, called… Keep Reading

Posted on in Culture/Politics

Johnny Appleseed: Land Speculator, Alcohol Dealer, Capitalist

Similar to the English legend of Robin Hood, the character Johnny Appleseed has evolved over time into a progressive icon. In the former, the famed outlaw, made an enemy of the government by reclaiming unjust taxes, became a socialist folklore hero who “stole from the rich and gave to the poor.” Johnny Appleseed, an American legend, is depicted as a selfless peripatetic, traveling the country planting apple trees so that nobody would go hungry. He lived an ascetic lifestyle, preached the gospel of Jesus Christ, and refused to hurt any of God’s creatures (one apocryphal tale claims that he angrily… Keep Reading

Posted on in Economics/News

Maine Is Nullifying Federal Regulations that Cripple Local Farmers

A few weeks ago, Maine Governor Paul LePage signed a Food Sovereignty Bill into law, guaranteeing the rights of Maine towns to regulate food production locally, rather than submitting to federal regulation. Although the press is avoiding describing the bill as such, this is a nullification of federal food regulations. The movement for food sovereignty in Maine began in the town of Sedgwick, which passed its own food sovereignty bill, and the idea quickly spread to twenty towns across the state. The Sedwick law explicitly gave citizens of the town the right to “produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local… Keep Reading

Posted on in History/Philosophy

Why Decentralized Militias Matter

In 1852, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech in Springfield, Illinois in which he talked about the attempts at required militia training. He described how much of a joke the citizens made of any attempt at mandatory militia training. “No man,” Lincoln said, citing the rules, “is to wear more than five pounds of cod-fish for epaulets, or more than thirty yards of bologna sausages for a sash; and no two men are to dress alike, and if any two should dress alike the one that dresses most alike is to be fined.” He also described the militia figure of “our… Keep Reading

Posted on in Economics/Politics

The Tragedy of the Commons in the Prison System

In a previous article, I wrote about how the war on drugs and the government monopoly on the legal system has created the Tragedy of the Commons in our justice system. Because legislators and police officers have every incentive to appear “tough on crime” but the cost of the sending a criminal to a courtroom is socialized, the courts have become increasingly backlogged. What that article did not cover is the related “commons problem” in the prison system and the consequences that follow. Where legislators and police officers have in-built incentives to send as many people through the courts as… Keep Reading

Posted on in Philosophy

Natural-Law Libertarianism and the Pursuit of Justice

Brink Lindsey of the Cato Institute recently wrote an article arguing that libertarians should abandon any arguments regarding natural rights. As Lindsey sees it, the concept of natural rights is an “intellectual dead end” and that adherence to natural rights arguments should be abandoned. His perspective can largely be boiled down into two categories: strategic pragmatism and the inadequacy of the natural rights doctrine in constructing a libertarian legal order. Libertarians always have and always will debate strategy. This question is not very interesting to me as it can ultimately only be answered empirically. Lindsey argues that “Instead of spinning… Keep Reading

Posted on in Economics

The Racist History of Minimum Wage Laws

In 1966, Milton Friedman wrote an op-ed for Newsweek entitled “Minimum Wage Rates.” In it, he argued “that the minimum-wage law is the most anti-Negro law on our statute books.” He was, of course, referring to the then-present era, after the far more explicitly racist laws from the eras of slavery and segregation had already been removed. Friedman’s observation about the racist effects of minimum wage laws can be traced back to the nineteenth century, and they continue to have a disproportionately deleterious effect on African-Americans into the present day. The earliest of such laws were regulations passed in regards… Keep Reading

Posted on in Law

The Tragedy of the Commons in the Courtroom

As many who follow websites like already know, Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison for running a dark web drug marketplace known as Silk Road under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts. After receiving his sentence — a deliberately harsh ruling for a man barely in his thirties — Ulbricht’s defense team began to work on his appeal. On May 31, Ulbricht lost the appeal, meaning that his life sentence will stand. To libertarians, this is a tragedy. Even for many supporters of the Drug War or at least some regulation of narcotics, Ulbricht’s punishment was far from… Keep Reading

Posted on in Economics

Why Conservatives Need Mises University

“Without Austrian economics, I would not have had my political career.” These are the words of Ron Paul summarizing his belief that the Austrian school of economic thought provides the best framework for understanding the principles and blessings of a society organized around personal liberty. This should not be confused as saying that to study Austrian economics, you must hold any specific political ideology. As Ron Paul also wrote, “I t is possible to learn the Austrian tradition without holding a particular political position.” But to paraphrase Dr. Tom Woods in his opening remarks at this year’s Mises University, if… Keep Reading

Posted on in Culture

The Politically Correct Perversion of Superhero Movies

In 2002, Marvel published the first issue of The Ultimates, their alternative “Ultimate” universe run of the Avengers comics. Although this comic didn’t offer the first appearance of the new version of Nick Fury, it did offer the fully developed revision of the character. In it, he was changed from the traditional white, military-officer-esque character to a New York-tough black man. The new Nick Fury was intentionally modeled after Samuel L. Jackson, both in appearance and personality. Six years before the debut of the first Iron Man movie in which Jackson appeared in the post-credits scene, it was a foregone… Keep Reading

Posted on in Politics

Donald Trump, Libertarians, and the Potential “Victorious Defeat.”

In the 1856 election, the country was bitterly divided between the Democratic Party – which had dominated the office of the Presidency since Thomas Jefferson – and the new parties that came about from the destruction of the Whigs. In 1848, members of the Whig party had been branching off and forming third parties, mostly due to the contentious issue of slavery in the western territories. In 1848, former Whigs formed the Free Soil Party, the platform of which revolved around the issue of territorial slavery. In the 1850s, the anti-Irish immigrant American Party (known colloquially as the “Know Nothings”)… Keep Reading

Posted on in Philosophy/Politics

Bernie Sanders, Karl Marx, and “Democratic Socialism.”

Despite his bleak prospects for securing the Democrat nomination, Bernie Sanders has amassed a popularity that indicates his ideas are far from dead. Sanders is a Socialist, and young people in particular love it. But, they are quick to remind us, he is not like the brutal Marxist regimes we read about in our history books…he’s a DEMOCRATIC Socialist. We are told that this is a considerable difference. But is Democratic Socialism so different from historic Marx’s Socialism? Let’s take a look at the history of these ideas: The term “Socialism” was coined by Pierre Leroux, a Saint-Simonian (referring to… Keep Reading

Posted on in Economics

Romanticizing Reagan: Part II – Regulations And Free Trade

Continued from Part II: Regulations and Free Trade. Perhaps Reagan’s most egregious hypocrisies were his actions in the name of the “War on Drugs” while espousing the common bromides about liberty. “Government’s first duty,” a common Reagan quote from a 1981 speechbegins, “is to protect the people, not run their lives.” But when it came to what people put into their bodies – even for medicinal purposes – Reagan was energetically devoted to running the lives of United States citizens. In 1982, the National Academy of Sciences published a six-year study that concluded with a recommendation for the decriminalizing of marijuana which, the study… Keep Reading

Posted on in Economics/Politics

Romanticizing Reagan: Part II – Regulations and Free Trade

Continued from Part I – Taxation and Spending During Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign, the third of his four pillars of Reaganomics was regulatory reform. Namely, he was on a mission to reduce federal regulations (an applaudable goal). This is, in fact, one of the chief reasons why democrats criticize his presidency; he supposedly spent his tenure recklessly deregulating. In a speech given by Art Laffer, Reagan’s economic advisor, Dr. Laffer mentions a story of Reagan dropping the Code of Federal Regulations on a table to demonstrate its massive size. “Do you remember that?” Laffer asked the audience, “Do you remember… Keep Reading

Posted on in Economics/Politics

Romantacizing Reagan: Part I – Taxation and Spending

Among conservatives, Ronald Reagan is held in deific esteem. Find any Republican debate Bingo or drinking game, and his name is certain to be one of the triggers to take a drink. Even among libertarians (of the non-anarchist persuasion), Reagan is still viewed as one of our greatest presidents, if not the greatest outright. The reasons for the romanticization of Reagan are difficult to understand. Ronald Reagan did have some of the best rhetoric when it came to conservative and Libertarian issues, and perhaps this is a good explanation for his appeal. But when you look at his policies as… Keep Reading

Posted on in Philosophy

My Veteran’s Day Dilemma

I’m never really sure how to react to Veteran’s Day. My anti-government views are no secret, and as an anarchist, this has clear implications on military policy. It isn’t simply that I think the military in general is something that can be abolished outright (although I do think this), but I reject the idea – as a matter of policy – that any of our foreign interventions do anything to keep Americans safe. Rather, I believe our foreign policy has a deleterious effect on American safety. But I’m not like many anarchists. I don’t blame the soldier for the politician’s… Keep Reading

Posted on in Philosophy

A Republic: Did We Keep It?

A few days ago, Burnie Thompson wrote the article “Is America a Democracy or a Republic?” Conservatives and Libertarians often like to point out, as Burnie did, that the the United States was founded as a Republic, and this is certainly true. The problem is that this is a present-tense question that is answered with a past-tense answer. You can’t respond to the question of what we are by pointing out what we used to be. And despite the many valid points that Burnie makes in his article, this is where I believe he is mistaken. Burnie writes: “One thing the… Keep Reading

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