I’m Happy to be Here!

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Greetings to readers of The Agitator, which happens to be my favorite blog. I am William Anderson, and I am a professor of economics at Frostburg State University. (I’m also coordinator of our MBA program.) I first want to thank Radley for giving me blogging privileges for August, and I hope that my posts will be informative and interesting.

Before I go into the subjects on which I write, I’ll give a bit of personal information. I’m 58 and have five children and two grandchildren. Four of my children are adopted from overseas, including two boys from Ethiopia, a girl from Guatemala, and a girl from Latvia. All four are teenagers, and this last comment is self-explanatory. My wife, Johanna, and I have our hands full, although all four of them really are wonderful kids and we are proud of them.

I place myself in a very tiny category, being a theologically-conservative evangelical who is libertarian. I am against the Drug War and I don’t believe that the modern state can define or should control marriage any more than it can define and control the weather (although it tries to do it). The modern American State, I believe, is a major threat to liberty at both home and abroad, and I cannot say that I am enthusiastic about political and legal developments in this country, and I am not hopeful about its future. Because of my particular stands on things, I have lost a lot of friends from the evangelical subculture in which I grew up.

While I have written on many different subjects in both popular and academic publications, I tend to concentrate now on economic and criminal justice issues. About 10 years ago, I became alarmed at the development of federal criminal law and, if anything, I am more alarmed today at the absolute power that is in the hands of federal prosecutors, who face almost no legal constraints upon their behavior. As one might predict, people who are not held accountable (thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court) are more likely to run off the rails, and there is no greater threat to individual liberty in this country than an out-of-control federal prosecutor.

State courts and prosecutors also face few, if any, sanctions and because of federal intervention into state legal matters, we are seeing more and more false accusations and wrongful convictions. Radley’s stand on these matters has been both admirable and very effective, and I consider him to be perhaps the most reasoned and accurate voice on the state of police and the courts in this country. Just his debunking of fraudulent government witnesses in Mississippi alone was a major accomplishment, and he is one of the few people out there who is willing to take on the government’s junk science that invades the courtrooms.

One of my areas of interest regarding state courts has been in what might be called the proliferation of “sex crimes.” Because of two federal laws, the Mondale Act of 1974 and the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, it has become very easy for people to make false accusations of child molestation, rape, and sexual assault, and I believe that it has resulted in the wrongful convictions of thousands of people. Not only do these law promise huge amounts of federal dollars for the pursuance and “prevention” of these crimes, but they also forced states to rewrite the rules of evidence and to eviscerate due process of law when people are accused of such wrongdoing.

The unfortunate result is not just wrongful convictions at trials (which often resemble kangaroo courts), but also with guilty pleas, as it is very difficult for people to be able to afford adequate representation, especially when the authorities already have rigged much of the system. I have written a lot about this unjust situation both in my own blog, and also in the blog run by Lew Rockwell.

Two cases on which I wrote heavily were the Duke Lacrosse Case of 2006-07, and the trial of Tonya Craft in 2010. The North Carolina attorney general declared prosecutor Michael Nifong’s charges against three lacrosse players from Duke University for allegedly raping an African-American stripper and prostitute to be a fraud, and Craft was acquitted after a month-long trial after being accused of molesting three young girls, including her own daughter. In both situations, the authorities tried to rig the system, they lied, broke the law, and charged people with crimes that never happened. Yes, the “system” allegedly worked, but only after the defendants were forced to spend millions of dollars in order to debunk charges that never should have been brought in the first place.

On economic matters, I have my own blog that mostly deals with the latest missives from Paul Krugman. Yes, he is a Nobel winner, but as an economist in the Austrian tradition, I believe that when a decorated academic economist calls for inflation and massive taxation and regulation as a “cure” for economic depressions, then what he writes should be fair game.

Again, thanks to Radley for asking me to blog this month. I look forward to writing and hearing from readers.

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30 Responses to “I’m Happy to be Here!”

  1. #1 |  Pine Tree | 

    Welcome professor. Enjoyed your work on the Craft case.

    Regarding the intro to your third paragraph (theologically conservative evangelical libertarian) – I have reason to be encouraged to think we’re not as tiny a category as one might initially think.

    Besides there being a goodly number (from my perspective) of us, there are a lot of our friends on the tipping point. So – maybe moving in the right direction.

  2. #2 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Personally, I think that “when a decorated academic economist calls for inflation and massive taxation and regulation as a “cure” for economic depressions”, somebody should see if his medication needs adjusting.

  3. #3 |  MH | 

    Welcome to the Agitator. And thanks for the pointer to Krugman in Wonderland which I had to bookmark.

  4. #4 |  crazybob | 

    Your criticisms of Krugman might be worth reading, if they weren’t just straw man “arguments”. Show us some actual economic arguments, how ’bout.

  5. #5 |  Marty | 

    Krugman won a Nobel for economics, Obama won one for peace… I’d love to know what the committee’s looking for.

  6. #6 |  marie | 

    One of my areas of interest regarding state courts has been in what might be called the proliferation of “sex crimes.”

    I look forward to reading your thoughts and have already taken a peek at your blog. Am particularly interested in your July 26 piece about shaken baby syndrome. I am astounded by how quickly the courts adopt new ideas when the ideas so easily put more people behind bars.

    When Radley first announced that he was taking a break and turning his blog over to guests for awhile, I was disappointed. Turns out to have been a really great idea.

    One problem: my time online is limited, so discovering new blogs that I want/need to follow is going to throw some time-management challenges in my path. It is a good problem to have.

  7. #7 |  Sean L. | 

    “I place myself in a very tiny category, being a theologically-conservative evangelical who is libertarian.”

    That’s okay. I’m an atheist libertarian who thinks abortion is wrong for purely logical reasons.

  8. #8 |  Rick H. | 

    I’ve been quite gratified recently to see commenters ignoring the increasingly desperate “look at me!” posts of our resident troll. Good work, guys.

  9. #9 |  johnl | 

    Between Bill Anderson, Jason Kuznicki, and America’s Worst Mother, we have a lot of people really informed about family law. It might be interesting if we had more of a focus on children than we usually do.

  10. #10 |  Carl Drega | 

    Glad to see you posting here Mr. Anderson. Thanks again and always for your work on the Craft case.

  11. #11 |  JPatterson | 

    “I place myself in a very tiny category, being a theologically-conservative evangelical who is libertarian.”

    Awesome…I thought I was the only one (tiny, indeed). I’ve already added your two other blogs to Google Reader and look forward to reading.

  12. #12 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @2 – Of course you would, typical far right Stateist, Social Darwinistic tactics – call for medicating and “treating” all opposition.

  13. #13 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    @9

    Yes! I look forward to discussing adoption law and/or other areas of family policy here soon. It should be interesting.

  14. #14 |  Bee | 

    This anarchist atheist was a big fan of the Duke LaCrosse blog. I wouldn’t have been able to recognize your name, though….perhaps “William Anderson” just doesn’t stick in the memory like “Radley Balko” does. =)

    You’ve done a lot of good, in my opinion, just as Radley has. Thank you.

  15. #15 |  dave smith | 

    Welcome here. I am also a libertarian (I call my self a “classical liberal”), a conservative Christian, and an economics professor.

    I can’t wait to see what you have to write.

  16. #16 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    You had me at “Paul Krugman is an idiot”. What? You didn’t exactly say that? It must be the voices screaming that in own head every time I see his name.

  17. #17 |  Chris Lee | 

    Greetings, professor. As a devout Catholic libertarian (as well as history prof in training) it’s always good to encounter a fellow Christian among our political milieu. I’d be interested to know where you stand on abortion. Unlike my ‘traditional’ libertarian stances towards things like drugs, prostitution, or gay marriage, I can’t help but draw the line at on-demand destruction of human life. Look forward to reading your posts.

  18. #18 |  Isaios | 

    @OP Interesting topics, though I’m hoping you’ll go less with the economics. When we (socialist eurotrash that is) discuss the dream that was America (a dream we mostly consider dead by the way), the egrerious violations of your legal system come up quite often. And when it does, the plea-bargain system is possibly the most popular.

    By the way, you know that civil forfeiture thing you’ve got going? Well, when a SOCIALIST thinks you’re (you as a nation that is) being buggered (and I do) by the state… well… take that as you will ;)

    @Marty They’re not the same commitee. The Peace Price is awarded by a group of five people selected by the Norwegian parliament, and they in turn select the recipient based on three criteria (you only need to fulfill one of them): Reducing the military, arranging peace conferences or bringing nations closer together (Obama got it mostly for the latter, and partly on the promise of doing the first).

    The prize in economics isn’t a Nobels price at all. It was established by the National Bank of Sweden (with the full name of Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel). The recipient is selected by the Royal Science Academy (who also chooses the recipient for Chemistry and Physics), and their criteria are about advancing the understanding of economics. And if you’re gonna complain about Krugman getting it how about Friedman?

    @Sean L. That one you’ve gotta explain. Seems rather difficult to arrive at that position without some redefinition of the word logic.

  19. #19 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    @18:

    I forget who made the observation that Economics is the only academic field where two people can both win the Nobel Prize for saying the exact opposite of each other.

  20. #20 |  Isaios | 

    @#19 It’s not a quote, but a joke based on a quote. The quote is “The First Law of Economists: For every economist, there exists an equal and opposite economist. The Second Law of Economists: They’re both wrong.” It’s usually attributed to David Wildasin (though the sourcing might be a bit shaky).

    There’s a second joke though:

    Economics is the only academic field where two people can share the same Nobel prize for saying the opposite thing. (Referring to Myrdal and Hayek in 1974.)

  21. #21 |  Samrobb | 

    Add another “theologically conservative evangelical libertarian” who’s looking forward to your posts.

  22. #22 |  Lynne | 

    Looking forward to reading your articles here!

  23. #23 |  Michael Chaney | 

    I think there are a lot of us Christian libertarians. Actually, libertarianism seems to be split pretty well between Christians and atheists, which makes it interesting.

  24. #24 |  UvalDuvalCuckoo | 

    Welcome Professor. I never really followed the Craft case until about 30 minutes ago. Looks like another one of Radley’s guest bloggers just got another dedicated follower. Great to have you hear to help deal with Radley withdrawal.

  25. #25 |  alexa-blue | 

    This sounds very promising! I would love to hear more about the route to becoming a conservative evangelical Christian and libertarian. What is the scriptural justification for this? It seems (to my untrained eye) that many evangelics consider it a moral and religious imperative to make the laws of the land consistent with God’s law.

  26. #26 |  St. Alex the Foolish | 

    @ alexa-blue: Much of what “many evangelic(al)s” believe is not scriptural. I, too, consider myself a Bible-believing Christian. But knowing that morality cannot be legislated (until the Millennium Age), I too, take a Libertarian approach to government. This, in order that we may remain free to seek out God, or to ignore Him, as our free will dictates.

  27. #27 |  William Anderson | 

    Hi, Alexa. I agree with your comments. I’m in the “natural law” category, and I have written a lot on the tendency of evangelicals to want to have secular law mirror their own sets of dislikes. As one who has lived all of his life in that particular subculture, I can say there are real issues and I think that you certainly have pointed out a problem.

    Time will keep me from covering everything that is on my mind, but I do hope you will read some of my material from time to time and I will try to answer some of those issues you bring up.

  28. #28 |  CyniCAl | 

    I am heartened by the presence of other anarcho-atheists.

  29. #29 |  CyniCAl | 

    Oh, and welcome Bill. I have been reading your work for a decade now via FFF. Your work on Nifong was the best ever.

  30. #30 |  Danny | 

    In never ceases to amaze me how the “Duke Lacrosse” case continues to epitomize prosecutorial excess among the white male commentariat. The notion that some white jocks would — gasp! — be wrongfully accused of rape when all they had really done was innocently hire a young black prostitute to do a “strip tease” in a room full of drunken college frat boys — oh the horror. No good deed goes unpunished in this vale of tears.

    The Duke Lacrosse players never even made it to trial, and thier prosecutor was disgraced and driven out of the profession for getting their case wrong.

    Let’s compare the “Central Park Jogger” case. Five non-white males get screwed, shoed, and bar-b-qued with forced confessions and are exonerated only by the happenstance of a DNA matchup to the real perpetrator after spending the years of their youth in New York State prison. Ever see it brought up among the small government rahrah crowd these days? Me neither.

    No doubt all right-minded “libertarian evangelicals” would express equal indignation over the Central Park Jogger case, provided you brought it up first, but what they put foremost in their writings speaks volumes.

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