Right on schedule, Trump actually went.  I’m at least a little surprised.  So now that it’s actually over, let’s look back a bit at the Trump regime, and then take a look at what’s to come.

I will give credit where credit is due. Much as Obama had 3 1/2 good things in his 8 years (rapprochement with Iran and Cuba, having the DOJ prosecute corrupt cops, and being around when the Supreme Court handed down Obergfell), Trump had, by my reckoning, 1 and 2 small fractions good things. The tax code is slightly simpler for a lot of people. There was a bit of rapprochement with North Korea. And, though it probably pained him to tell the truth about something as much as it pains me to admit it, Trump was more or less right when he said he started no new wars. This makes him the first US president since Warren G. Harding not to do so-and before that it was Grover Cleveland.

And the fact that this is actually a major, not-in-a-century accomplishment says a lot about just how far we’ve fallen.

Now let’s look at the awful. While not a completely comprehensive list, some of the especially egregious lowlights include, in no particular order…

Worst president ever? Eh. As I’ve said before, we still have Wilson and Jackson in our history, so maybe not. But Donald J. Trump, you were still complete shit who did a lot of things that ranged from awful to outright evil. You will not be missed, please let the door hit you upside the head on your way out, and I hope against hope that you were the one that was finally egregious enough to convince a Senate or a jury to convict your sorry ass and set a precedent of accountability for all of your successors.
@#^! you, and good @#6!ing riddance.

So with Trump actually out of the way, how about the new boss?  I hope I’m wrong about Biden. I hope he decides not to be a warmongering jackass with a cop sidekick. I hope his immigration proposal goes through. I hope he backs off/forgets about/gives it up in exchange for money to prosecute corrupt cops/is defeated in court his gun control plan. I hope he ends the trade war. I hope he ends the drug war. I hope having a president that only votes for racist legislation and says racist things on occasion improves things over someone who signs racist legislation and says racist things every day. I hope he magically decides to tear down the insane system of subsidies, bailouts, and other corporate welfare that strangles our populace. I hope that talking to other countries in complete sentences again might increase the chance of peace in the world and reduce the US’s elected class’ appetite for war. I hope that maybe someone will be able to sneak pardons for the most important whistleblowers of our age past him. I hope that someone around him will say something to the effect of “Hey! 27 trillion in debt is kind of a bad idea!”.

I had similar hopes for Obama too. But much like Obama’s record made me very skeptical about the reality to come (and I was essentially 100% right), Biden’s record does not inspire.

Sure, @#^! Trump, I’m glad he’s gone, and I’m glad peaceful transfer of power is still a thing around here. But expecting much different from Biden where it counts? I’m not holding my breath.

Wow.  It’s the end of my first calendar year writing here at Flawed Jewel.  Something I’ve been meaning to do for at least a decade has finally come to life.  In about 5 months of doing this I’ve written 17 full essays and a couple of minor posts, and gone from zero to over 1200 followers on twitter.  Rookie numbers, almost certainly, but not a terrible start for someone writing part time with no actual name recognition.

This year was, in many ways, a terrible one for liberty.  Police murdering people in very public ways all year.  Federal troops used against protestors.  Corporate welfare out the ass.  Continuation of awful wars, and footing the bill for other peoples’ awful wars.  98% of the country voting for one of two bastards rather than one of the good candidates on the ballot.  A virus that made people on both sides act like complete idiots, and where both the disease and the response caused vast amounts of destruction.  Ever escalating national debt.  Protectionism.  Rumblings about repealing important protections of free speech.   Racist bullshit.  Transphobic bullshit.  The usual assault on the right to keep and bear arms.  The drug war is still a thing.  A small but obnoxious contingent of former libertarian stalwarts decided to support Trump, for some reason.  Impeachment was tried for the weaker of possible reasons, and failed.

It’s easy to be depressed about all of that.  All of that is real, and depressing.  But there were bright spots too.  There was massive resistance to police murder.  There were people all over the country that finally fought back, and gods bless the commies with cardboard, umbrellas, and hockey sticks.  A DA was elected in LA on the explicit promise to, and I quote, “end the racist drug war”.  The Libertarian Party picked up 2 state representatives and a bunch of local offices, and ran its best presidential ticket in a decade and a half.  The drug war lost BIG at the state level across the country.  Economic liberty made real gains at the ballot in places like California (I know, right?).  3D printed guns made major advancements.  Bitcoin and other crypto currencies soared in value as more people finally put money in them.  The liberty movement itself, for all its infighting and crankiness, picked up a lot of new members, reinvigorated many of its old guard, and went to places that it had never existed before, let alone been received positively.  And maybe, just maybe, people are listening about making 2021 the year of libertarians rather than waiting for the next presidential cycle.

And for me personally I finally got back into things after a decade away, and a lot longer of planning on doing this but never actually doing anything about it.  The result has been that I met a lot of wonderful people, both online and in person, I’ve learned a lot more, I’ve examined my beliefs and tried to understand them and the beliefs of others better, and dare I say I’ve even had fun doing it.  For the tens of people that actually read this, thank you.  For the people that follow me on twitter, thank you.  For those of you that get up every day and try to make the world a better, freer place, thank you.  And for everyone who survived 2020, thank you.  You made it. 

The clock turning to January 1, 2021 is not a magic panacea.  There is still so much to be done, so much to rebuild and so much to build anew.  There are bastards to be fought at every turn.  But as Neil Gaiman says, the point of fairytales isn’t to show that dragons exist.  It’s to show that dragons can be beaten.

2021.  Let’s go slay some dragons.


In Liberty,


For libertarians there’s plenty to hate about giant corporations.  The insane amount of subsidies they often receive.  Bailouts (and these).  Sweetheart government contracts.  The horrible connection between the military and oil.  The way they often get the US military to do their bidding (dramatic reading).  See also this, this, and this, among others.  Often despicable labor practices (and yes, I know that grinding urban poverty is often the first step out of even worse grinding rural poverty, but when you don’t pay people what they owe on a massive scale, or you hold them prisoner and threaten them with deportation or other terrors, you suck).  The way they’re often exempted from any accountability for the environmental damage they cause.  All of these are real things that happen, they’re concerns we tend to share with the left, and they’re terrible.  However, having the government break up corporations because they supposedly get too big?  That’s just dumb.  And the current antitrust investigation of facebook, which may result in facebook being partially broken up is part of a long tradition of dumb. 

The idea that corporations will tend towards absolute control of a market absent government regulation is natural monopoly theory, and it’s a common complaint amongst the left about corporate power…except in a free or relatively free market it doesn’t hold up to history.  While perhaps this could be dismissed as a bit of “one data point and you’re jumping for joy”, I think two of the largest examples in the public eye illustrate the point nicely.

The classic example is the classic monopoly, Standard Oil.  At the height of its power in 1904 Standard Oil had about a 90% market share, but when it was broken up just 7 years later it was down to about 64% market share-still big, still powerful, but a company in decline.  It was in decline because competitors were figuring out how to beat them at their own game, and it was before major oil subsidies took over.  Likewise, the biggest example of my lifetime so far is the the Microsoft antitrust suit of 1992 to 2001. Now…Microsoft as a company was no saint, and there were plenty of criminal and civil charges that could have been brought about their conduct with Stac Electronics, the crap that went down with them and IBM, and more.  But monopoly? Why? There was basically a decade of investigation, from 1992 to 2001, during which Apple revitalized, Blackberry and later Android came on the scene, Linux was developed, and any number of other things happened that ate a lot of the market share of Windows.

Now let’s look at facebook.  Facebook is a giant, an absolute titan of tech, to be sure.  A LOT of people use its services, at no out of pocket cost to them.  It buys up potential rivals regularly and locks them out of its platform.  There’s concerns (vastly overblown to my mind, but that’s a separate post) about the role it played in the most recent election.  It is arguably at the absolute zenith of its power.

We’ll put aside for the moment the really obvious fact, which is that facebook charges its users nothing unless they buy advertising, in exchange for the use of their data, and pretty much everyone agrees to this contract.

And yet, like myspace before it, like Microsoft, like Standard Oil, like IBM, like buggy whip and typewriter manufacturers before them, they’ve made missteps as of late.  While many decry them as safe spaces for racist snowflakes (and probably not without reason), parler and mewe are exploding.  Specialized discussion forums are still very much a thing.  Bitchute has become an alternate content hosting site.  The market continues to respond faster than the state ever could.

The only companies that survive are either those that figure out how to compete and innovate and keep giving people what they want, or those that keep getting bailouts from your wallet. In a libertarian world, only the first would survive.

If you want to hate amazon for their CIA contracts, fine.  If you want to hate car companies for getting bailed out by the government when they weren’t make things people wanted, fine.  If you want to hate  any number of companies (and the California department of corrections) for slave labor, I’m with you.  But if you want to hate them simply for getting too big by giving people what they want, I suggest you calm down, read a bit of history, and let the market do its job.

For those that study history, the history of World War I is considered one of its great tragedies.  While the Gilded Age is often decried on many of the left (and not without some merit), it’s also worth celebrating as the First Age of Globalization, producing major advancements in human lifespan, health sciences, physics, inventions such as x-rays, radio, the automobile, and powered flight, industrialization, and greatly increased global travel, all in an era of relative peace outside of Africa.  This came crashing down when an obscure nobleman by someone from a tiny country led the entire world into four years of sickeningly deadly war, all because everyone had entangling alliances with everyone else that blew up (literally) in everyone’s faces.  It wrecked Europe for a generation and directly set the stage for the rise of the Nazis and World War II.  It was, in short, not a good time or a good time or a good idea for anyone involved.

Flash forward to 2020, shitshow that it’s been.  Enter onto the world stage Armenia and Azerbaijan, two small and (at least to Americans) relatively obscure countries in Central Asia.  Nagorno-Karabakh is a disputed border region that has had multiple flareups over the past several decades, finally erupting into more or less open warfare in late September, and October ceasefires falling apart quickly.  It has already killed hundreds of people and wrecked countless lives, along with the trust between the different groups of people that lived there.  It’s had ripple effects among the Armenian diaspora worldwide as people scramble to help their families and worry about relatives.  It’s a human tragedy.

However, it has literally nothing to do with the United States.  Neither side is attacking us, and even the most collateral of damage could never come close to any of our territory.  Other than a general interest in peace, there’s no interest here.


Enter those entangling alliances that Washington warned us against.  Armenia is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a post-Warsaw Pact alliance centered around Russia and former Soviet republics.  Azerbaijan, on the other hand, is a strong ally of Turkey, and Turkey…is a member of NATO. 

Which, for some reason, we’re still in 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Right now Armenia could officially request assistance under the CSTO, and Russia would be obligated to get involved in the war in a big way.  Turkey could do the same with NATO, and the United States would be similarly obliged. 

Thankfully at the moment Armenia has made no such official request, which is the fig leaf Russia has used to not jump in.  And neither Putin nor Trump, nor their domestic constituencies, seem to have the stomach for a fight right now.  This is good.

But the world seemed peaceful on July 27, 1914 too.  No one would have thought there was much stomach for a fight then either.

I hope this gets resolved peacefully quickly.  I hope that there continues to be relative sanity on the issue from the great powers.  But it presents one hell of an argument for bringing the troops home and getting the hell out of NATO.  We should, in the words of John Quincy Adams, be the well wisher to the freedom and independence of all, and be the champion and vindicator only of our own. 

And this would be one heck of a time to do it.