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Niall Ferguson: “Biden is the idiot.”

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Historian Niall Ferguson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, speaking on Bari Weiss podcast on “Russia’s War on Ukraine: A Roundtable“:

In Russian literature, there is a great novel: Dostoevsky’s The Idiot.

Biden is the idiot.

The reason this happened is because the Biden administration slowed down deliveries of armaments to Ukraine, lifted the sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that was supposed to bypass Ukraine, signaled to Russia that the U.S. would not support Ukraine militarily, and therefore made it clear to Putin that he had an opportunity to take military action with only sanctions to fear.

The administration’s strategy was to threaten the worst sanctions—as if sanctions were going to deter Putin. Then they tried something even crazier, which was to say, “You’re going to invade, and we know the date”—as if that was somehow going to stop him from invading. And the worst thing they tried was to get the Chinese to dissuade him from invading, when the Chinese had given him the green light on the condition that he didn’t go until after the Beijing Olympics.

This has been a debacle that has allowed a massive war to break out, one that could have been prevented had there not been such clear signs of weakness.

(Joe Biden apologist, Francis Fukuyama, disagrees.)

Ferguson later adds:

The problem is that we created the possibility of Ukraine’s joining NATO and joining the European Union. But our actual attitude was like that New Yorker cartoon of the guy on the phone who says, “No, I can’t do Thursday. How about never?” We never seriously meant for them to join NATO or the EU. We didn’t supply nearly enough armaments for them to deter Russia from attacking. And as a consequence, we have a massive geopolitical crisis that could have been avoided. Telling people that you saw it coming is not an act of strategic genius. It’s an act of strategic feebleness.

The consequences of this are far-reaching indeed. First of all, in the administration’s anxiety to avoid even higher inflation, they’re desperately trying to resuscitate the Iran nuclear deal and get Iranian oil back onto the world market in the process, making all kinds of concessions that I think will come back to haunt them. Meanwhile, in China, Xi Jinping is watching this fiasco and saying to himself, “Well, if the most I have to fear is the threat of sanctions, then if I decide to take control of Taiwan, I’m in good shape.” And when Putin took out his little nuclear saber and rattled it, we were immediately deterred. The Europeans were so terrified that they immediately canceled the plan to make fighter jets available to the Ukrainians, which they had offered in the early days after the invasion.

Listen to the podcast.


As an aside:

Brook: Elon Musk Best Represents “The Spirit of America”

Yaron Brook is at his finest as he explains why capitalist Elon Musk best represents “the Spirit of America”:

Starlink is high-speed, low-latency broadband satellite internet engineered by SpaceX.

Shellenberger: How Green Ideology Empowered Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine

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Michael Shellenberger on how green ideology empowered Putin and when it comes to understanding the relationship between energy independence and political-economic security Putin is “smart” and Europe and much of the West has been “dumb”:

How has Vladimir Putin—a man ruling a country with an economy smaller than that of Texas, with an average life expectancy 10 years lower than that of France—managed to launch an unprovoked full-scale assault on Ukraine?


Missing from that explanation, though, is a story about material reality and basic economics—two things that Putin seems to understand far better than his counterparts in the free world and especially in Europe. 


The reason Europe didn’t have a muscular deterrent threat to prevent Russian aggression—and in fact prevented the U.S. from getting allies to do more—is that it needs Putin’s oil and gas. 


For all his fawning over Putin, Donald Trump, back in 2018, defied diplomatic protocol to call out Germany publicly for its dependence on Moscow. “Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is captive to Russia because it’s getting so much of its energy from Russia,” Trump said. This prompted Germany’s then-chancellor, Angela Merkel, who had been widely praised in polite circles for being the last serious leader in the West, to say that her country “can make our own policies and make our own decisions.”

The result has been the worst global energy crisis since 1973, driving prices for electricity and gasoline higher around the world. It is a crisis, fundamentally, of inadequate supply. But the scarcity is entirely manufactured.

Read the rest…


Ukranian Kira Rudik: On Why She Fights For Freedom


China: “Taiwan is not Ukraine”

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From “Lawmakers fear Russian invasion could increase Chinese threat to Taiwan” (Washington Examiner):

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are sounding the alarm that Russia’s attack on Ukraine could increase the threat of China invading Taiwan, with some calling for the United States to ramp up its efforts to deter an incursion. These concerns spiked after China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday that “Taiwan is not Ukraine,” arguing it has “always been an inalienable part of China” and refusing to call Russia’s actions an invasion.


House Foreign Affairs ranking member Micheal McCaul said he believes it is “only a matter of time” before China invades Taiwan, noting that at least nine Chinese military jets have already been seen crossing into the self-governed island’s airspace. “I think we all saw this unholy alliance coming together at the Beijing Olympics, where Putin and [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping] were hand-in-hand condemning NATO’s ‘aggression’ and calling for the West to stay out of the South China Sea and Taiwan,” the Texas Republican said in an interview.

“So these two events are interconnected and intertwined, and I think Putin has always wanted to do this, it was all about the right time. And I think Xi has always wanted to take Taiwan — it’s about basically going back to the glory of their empires.”


McCaul said that after speaking with military officials, he believes the U.S. needs to help provide Taiwan with the resources necessary for the island to prepare for an attack.

Deterrence is always a key. I didn’t really see any deterrence with respect to Ukraine. In fact, waving the Nord Stream 2 sanctions [last May] was, in my judgment, a really bad mistake and emboldened Putin,” he said in an interview.



Enes Freedom Booted From NBA For Defending Freedom

Writes Marc Thiessen in the Washington Post on why “Enes Freedom was cut for exposing how U.S. corporations became foreign agents of Communist China“:

When the United States supported China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in the 1990s, through its admission in 2001, the hope was that U.S. businesses would influence China to be less repressive. Instead, U.S. businesses became lobbyists for the totalitarian regime here at home. It’s not the Chinese government that is trying to silence Freedom; it’s the NBA — worried about its bottom line and its corporate sponsors — who pressured Freedom to stop criticizing China, and then clearly drove him from the court when he refused. The Chinese Communist Party sat back and watched while its paid vassals did its dirty work.

Their malign influence extends beyond the basketball court. U.S. corporations now effectively act as foreign agents of the Chinese regime, lobbying Congress on its behalf. Freedom pointed out that U.S. corporations such as Apple, Coca-Cola and Nike lobbied against the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which bans imported goods made with slave labor. “Instead of Communist Party, they are the ones that are doing their propaganda,” he said.

Then there is the hypocrisy. Companies such as Coca-Cola spoke out against Georgia’s voting law but now sponsor the Olympics in a country engaged in genocide. They “preach social justice at home but ignore it when it could affect their revenue” from China, Freedom says.


When he became a U.S. citizen in November, he changed his last name from Kanter to Freedom. Now, for exercising his newfound freedoms, he might lose his basketball career. “I’m 29,” he told me. “I’m healthy. I can play another six years. So, hope that’s not the case.” But he adds, “If that is the reason that I am not going to be able to play basketball again, then you know what? Oh well. I can look back at least and say I did the right thing.”

Many other athletes share Enes Kanter Freedom’s convictions, but not his courage — which is why Beijing made an example of him. The Chinese regime might have the power to silence its critics at home. But for the NBA to help a totalitarian dictatorship reach into this country and punish one of its leading critics is a disgrace.

Jennifer Sey Shrugs: A Businesswomen with Integrity

Why Levi’s brand President and the woman lined up to be the next CEO of Levi’s, turned down a $1 million severance in exchange for her freedom to speak about the irrational “woke” culture that permeates the Levi’s corporation.

Writes Jennifer Sey writes in Yesterday I Was Levi’s Brand President. I Quit So I Could Be Free:

…Early on in the pandemic, I publicly questioned whether schools had to be shut down. This didn’t seem at all controversial to me. I felt—and still do—that the draconian policies would cause the most harm to those least at risk, and the burden would fall heaviest on disadvantaged kids in public schools, who need the safety and routine of school the most.

I wrote op-eds, appeared on local news shows, attended meetings with the mayor’s office, organized rallies and pleaded on social media to get the schools open. I was condemned for speaking out. This time, I was called a racist—a strange accusation given that I have two black sons—a eugenicist, and a QAnon conspiracy theorist.

… the Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the company asked that I do an “apology tour.” I was told that the main complaint against me was that “I was not a friend of the Black community at Levi’s.” I was told to say that “I am an imperfect ally.” (I refused.)

The fact that I had been asked, back in 2017, to be the executive sponsor of the Black Employee Resource Group by two black employees did not matter. The fact that I’ve fought for kids for years didn’t matter. That I was just citing facts didn’t matter. The head of HR told me personally that even though I was right about the schools, that it was classist and racist that public schools stayed shut while private schools were open, and that I was probably right about everything else, I still shouldn’t say so. I kept thinking: Why shouldn’t I?

In the fall of 2021, during a dinner with the CEO, I was told that I was on track to become the next CEO of Levi’s—the stock price had doubled under my leadership, and revenue had returned to pre-pandemic levels. The only thing standing in my way, he said, was me. All I had to do was stop talking about the school thing.

Read the rest.

Correction: Voice of Capitalism Newsletter

Our February 13th, 2002, newsletter Voice of Capitalism inaccurately credited Ayn Rand with the following quote:

“I believe that totalitarianism in the form of some kind of national socialism is on its way. That the Democrats are pushing for it and the Republicans are impotent – they’re not strong enough – they don’t fight it the right way.”

The actual source of the quote is the heir of her estate, Leonard Peikoff, author of Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.


Workers Unite Against The Fascist Trudeau Regime: Canadian Freedom Protest

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Comments Gren Reynolds in the NY Post:

So we’re finally seeing a genuine, bottom-up, working-class revolution. In Canada, and increasingly in the United States, truckers and others are refusing to follow government orders, telling the powerful that, in a popular lefty formulation, if there’s no justice, there’s no peace.

Naturally, the left hates it.

For more than a century, lefties have talked about such a revolt. But if you really paid attention, the actual role of the working class in their working-class revolution was not to call the shots — it was to do what it was told by the “intellectual vanguard” of the left.

A working-class revolution led by the working class is the left’s worst nightmare because the working class doesn’t want what the left wants. The working class wants jobs, a stable economy, safe streets, low inflation, schools that teach things and a conservative, non-adventurous foreign policy that won’t get a lot of working-class people killed. It’s not excited about gender fluidity, critical race theory, “modern monetary theory,” foreign adventures and defunding police. [“Truckers are starting a working-class revolution — and the left hates it“]



Making The World Safe for Dictatorship: Putin and Xi at the Winter Olympics

I am sure everyone saw that Putin was eagerly meeting with Xi at the Olympics. Maybe there was some discussion of economic cooperation, but the real reason was revealed by the Washington Post: they want to make the world safe for dictatorships!

The dictators use double-speak: we are democracies but we have a different definition of democracy. The dictators’ implicit definition includes one-party rule, no free elections. no freedom of speech, no separation of powers, and punishments for “political” crimes. “Consent”  in this context means” obedience insured by the gun.

I wonder if the dictators are feeling some moral pressure now? Even the UN was not happy about Russia’s threat to invade the Ukraine (which Russia denied planning). Another aspect of dictators’ double-speak is that attempts by the free world to make defense treaties and arm themselves against aggression are labeled provocations while their own arms buildups and threats are labeled self-defense.

Ayn Rand said that morality was the strongest of all intellectual powers. Maybe the dictators’ are feeling the heat. Let us hope so. – Edwin A. Locke

Substeading: Using the Space Below Cities

Write economist Raymond Niles and urbanist Kyle M. Kirschling on the importance of a Substeading Act:

Imagine if getting to the airport were as easy as riding an elevator, if trains were as clean and comfortable as a limousine, if it took half as long to get anywhere in the city. In this paper, we show how Substeading (underground homesteading) can achieve this within a generation. In addition to proposing a new legal technology, we present specific projects that would be profitable today, despite high tunneling costs.

  • Substeading is economically powerful, based on proven technology, and could transform big cities in a generation.

  • Substeading would create brand-new and conveniently-located rights-of-way, ideal for new urban transportation networks and other infrastructure.

  • Substeading is politically practical because it has minimal environmental impacts, requires no government funding, and doesn’t use eminent domain.

  • Substeading would naturally pave the way for bigger and better cities by nurturing new construction and infrastructure technologies and by eroding regulatory obstacles to new development.

You can download their free report at