Tho Bishop

Tho Bishop has 17 articles published.

Tho Bishop
Tho Bishop is a senior contributor to The Liberty Conservative and the Media Coordinator at the Mises Institute.

Ludwig Von Mises Understood “Meme Magic”

One of the most consistent themes through the works of Ludwig von Mises is the role ideas play in shaping society. As he wrote in Theory and History: “Thoughts and ideas are not phantoms. They are real things. Although intangible and immaterial, they are factors in bringing about changes in the realm of tangible and material things.” How those ideas are transmitted has changed dramatically over time: from reliance on the spoken word, to the spread of print, to the rise of television, and to today’s digital word. Even within each era, new forms of communication have arisen. For example, print transformed from a privilege of noble elites to a medium created for the masses. Today’s age of digital communication is one that is constantly changing, but there is one phenomenon that may be particularly useful in the battle of ideas: online memes. Keep Reading


What Derek Carr’s Contract Teaches Us About Wall Street And Income Inequality

Derek Carr has just signed the most lucrative deal in NFL history, receiving a five-year extension worth $125 million with the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders. At $25 million per year, Carr edges out Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (though Luck’s contract did reward him with over twice as much in guaranteed money). Carr also becomes a big winner in the Raiders’ taxpayer-funded escape from Oakland, with his contract scheduled so most of the money kicks in after the franchise moves to income-tax-free Nevada. While the structure of Carr’s contract offers another opportunity to discuss the “jock tax,” it also serves to illustrate a more important issue: why Wall Street wins whenever the Fed expands the monetary supply. Keep Reading


Could Donald Trump Save The Internet?

Ludwig von Mises dedicated a great amount of ink to the role that ideas play in shaping society. Not only does his analysis illustrate why it is so important to educate the public on topics such as economics, but also explains the enormous danger posed by widely accepted political myths. Examples include various false narratives such as deregulation caused the financial crisis, that American healthcare costs are driven up due to “capitalism,” or FDR saved America from the Great Depression. Of course. these various fictions, which all enjoy the support of most of the “intellectual” class, all conveniently lead to policy prescriptions that justify ever greater government intervention into the economy and individual’s daily lives. In recent years, another dangerous myth has worked its way into the American zeitgeist: that government is the only thing guaranteeing us a free and open internet. Cloaked in the friendly phrase “net neutrality” is an agenda of greater government control. The idea turned into political action in 2015 when the Obama administration ordered… Keep Reading


Trump’s Goldman Guys Are Dangerous

As the Trump Administration continues to try to figure where it wants to go with healthcare, his team at the Treasury is readying tax reform. Unfortunately, much like the Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s film Suicide Squad, initial optimism is facing the bitter reality of horrible early reviews. After all, during the campaign there was much to like from Candidate Trump. He campaigned on cutting both income and corporate taxes while eliminating the estate tax all together He frequently bragged that it was going to be the “biggest tax cut since Reagan” (reality of the Gipper’s record aside). Trump focused more on economic growth than the deficit and even though he wrongly supported tariff increases in order to “win on trade,” he frequently rejected the creation of new revenue mechanisms. Keep Reading


Trump Preparing To Name Radical Libertarian To FDA?

There are indications that Donald Trump is prepared to radically shake-up one of the most deadly Federal agencies: the FDA. Ever since Bloomberg reported in December that Jim O’Neill, managing director at Mithril Capital Management and noted FDA-critic, was being considered for the position, there has been reason to hope that Trump was considering a libertarian approach to the agency. Considering the influence Peter Theil , noted-libertarian and Hoppe-pal, wields in Trump’s inner orbit – and the PayPal’s founder’s personal interests in biotech – it makes sense that this is one area where Theil could leave a mark. And it seems that’s exactly what is happening. After a month with little news coming out on the position, President-elect Trump met Friday with not only with O’Neill but another Theil-associate, Balaji S. Srinivasan. Keep Reading


What Would Ludwig Von Mises Do In Venezuela?

The crisis in Venezuela is the most modern illustration of the horrific consequences of socialism and the devastating reality of hyperinflation. What makes this disaster all the more infuriating is that it could have been avoided with a basic understanding of history. We’ve seen the disaster of socialism and interventionism in various forms play out across the world time and time again with similar results, and yet new generations of central planners — backed by ideologically aligned intellectuals — are consistently able to fool people into believing that “this time will be different.” Ludwig von Mises himself lived through one of these historical episodes. Following defeat in World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was in a state of crisis. The Habsburg monarchy ended in 1918 and with it came the dissolution of the Empire. The German-speaking population formed what we now know as Austria, and the nation soon faced a severe economic crisis. The government, led by a coalition of Social Democrats, Christian Socialists, and a Nationalist Party, implemented… Keep Reading


In Defense Of Trump’s Deal With Carrier

Donald Trump hasn’t yet made the move from Trump Tower to America’s most expensive public housing, but he was able to come through with one campaign promise this week by announcing a deal with Indiana-based Carrier Air Conditioning that will keep almost 1,000 jobs in the state. As reported, the deal seems largely focused on the State of Indiana offering millions in tax breaks and an understanding that the Trump administration will push for regulatory and corporate tax relief at the Federal level. While the jobs Carrier will be keeping in the US only makes up about a third of the jobs the company had planned to move to Mexico, the underlying deal seems to reflect a larger commitment to addressing the corporate tax and regulatory burdens that have long held back the American economy. While some have described Trump’s approach as crony capitalism, if the terms of the deal really are limited to tax relief, such claims are baseless. While it is true that tax breaks for specific companies are less ideal… Keep Reading


White “Privilege” Has Nothing On State Privilege

Cultural Marxism enjoyed a victory last week when University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe resigned after members of the Missouri Tigers football team joined a student movement calling for his resignation. While I fully support the rights of these players to leverage their athletic ability to advocate a cause — as I would support their university if it decided to pull their scholarship — what is concerning is the actual list of demands shared by the cause they joined. The top priority of the #ConcernedStudent1950 movement was not the resignation of University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe, but that he “must acknowledge his white male privilege.” While I have little sympathy for Mr. Wolfe — I agree with Lew Rockwell when he says, “Virtually all university administrators deserve what’s in store for them, especially since they’ve promoted it” — the members of #ConcernedStudent1950 would do well to understand that Mr. Wolfe’s sin was not his skin color or his gender, but his position with the state. After all, as… Keep Reading


Are Term Limits A Solution?

In an American society increasingly polarized over politics, one uniting belief is that there is something very wrong with our government. While this is true, there is an unfortunate tendency — on both sides — to try to identify simple, easy to recite reforms to fix our woes. On the left, for example, the cries are usually for “getting money out of politics,” with various organizations pushing to “repeal” the Citizens United ruling. On the right, it is common to see calls for a Federal balanced-budget amendment and term limits. While there’s certainly no harm in preventing the Federal government from running up deficits — though the issue is more complicated than many realize — the call for term limits is every bit as misguided as the left’s call for restricting campaign funds. It misidentifies the underlying issue, and would actually manage to make the Federal government even more immune from voter accountability. One point in the favor of term limits is that they are popular. Polling in recent… Keep Reading


Is Steve Mnuchin Just Another Wall Street Banker?

After weeks of speculation, Donald Trump has announced Steve Mnuchin as his nominee for Treasury Secretary. Though Mnuchin can currently be seen in movie theaters playing a banker in Warren Beatty’s new film Rules Don’t Apply, he has a lower profile than most tapped to head the Treasury department. Probably to his credit, he has no experience with public policy and has made relatively few public statements on policy. Perhaps his best qualification for the position was that he was an early supporter of Trump’s campaign, serving as its fundraising director. Though Mnuchin himself has said little, his resume does seem to contrast sharply with Trump’s populist campaign. Mnuchin, like his father before him, was a partner at Goldman Sachs before joining the world of hedge funds, including working as a portfolio manager for George Soros. He went on to start his own hedge fund, Dune Capital Management, and become a prominent Hollywood financier serving as executive producer for such hits as Avatar, Lego Movie, Mad Max: Fury Road… Keep Reading


Why Are DC Libertarians Defending Hillary’s State Privilege?

Last night’s presidential debate was the latest episode in what appears to be a prolonged infomercial for Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Democracy: The God that Failed. One of the rare libertarian highlights of the 2016 campaign, however, came when Donald Trump called for a special prosecutor in the case of Hillary Clinton’s unprecedented recklessness with her private e-mail server. While this issue obviously is minor in the face of America’s insane monetary policy, or horrific foreign policy, a key tenant of any libertarian society is the idea of a rule of law, rather than the law of rulers. As such, it’s astonishing to see Will Wilkinson of the nominally libertarian Niskanen Center describe Trump’s suggestion as “dictator talk.” Explains Wilkinson: It’s not Mr. Trump’s open contempt for the norms of liberal democracy that made my blood run cold. It was the applause that came after. It is the fact that it’s no longer assured that you automatically lose a presidential debate in which you promise to jail your political rival. If it will help warm… Keep Reading


Sad Sack Gary Johnson Fails Again

The Johnson-Weld ticket had its second CNN primetime special on Wednesday, with the duo once again missing a great opportunity to be taken seriously by most of the country. While it’s great to see cable news acknowledge viewpoints outside of the corrupt duopoly (monopoly?) of the status quo, the attention given to the Libertarian Party during this unconventional election year is a constant reminder of how foolish it was for the LP to nominate an uncharismatic space cadet who seems utterly uninterested in any serious intellectual discussion. In a desperate attempt to be taken as seriously as the two major parties in DC, they have followed their example by selling out its principles for the false hope of boosting its ability to fund raise. CNN’s town hall was the perfect example of the ineptitude of the Johnson-Weld ticket. The event started out with Gary Johnson’s ritual of telling the world how much he admires and loves his Vice Presidential candidate, selling the ticket as “two-presidents-for-the-price of one” (the horror.)… Keep Reading


The 5 Most Libertarian Songs From Hamilton: The Musical

The Tonys this weekend featured a rarity in modern award ceremonies, a massive celebration for a work of art that romanticizes both America and the men that founded it. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash-hit Hamilton racked up 11 awards, including best musical, leading actor (Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr), featured actress (Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler Church) and featured actor for Daveed Diggs (as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson). As a nationalist-mercantilist who advocated for America replicating much of the government infrastructure of Great Britain, Hamilton himself was perhaps America’s least-libertarian founding father. That being said, liberty conservatives would be amiss to not recognize both the heroic achievements of Hamilton the man, as well as the beautiful themes of both his narrative and the musical it inspired. Hamilton’s rise, after all, is perhaps the perfect personification of the American dream — an orphan immigrant comes to America without a penny to his name and, through his talent, bravery, and work ethic, rises to have an astonishing impact on… Keep Reading


The Fight For The Libertarian Nomination, Explained

In Orlando this weekend, the Libertarian Party will settle on their standard bearer for 2016. Not since 2004 has there been such intrigue at a Libertarian Party convention, and with the traditional two-party system as weak as it has ever been, it’s the first time in decades the Libertarian Party nomination may have impact outside the LP. For this reason, I think it’s worthwhile to highlight what I see as the different tactics of the various camps, and what I think each nominee would mean to the future of the Libertarian Party, and Ron Paul’s “liberty movement” as a whole. In a way, the LP nomination battle has a similar story to what has played out in the two larger parties: the battle between the establishment and the outsiders. The LP establishment is obviously embodied by Gary Johnson, last year’s nominee and the long preferred “libertarian” politician of David Boaz and the beltwayatarian elite.  Johnson’s appeal to the Cato-crowd is obvious, he embodies the brand of libertarianism that would… Keep Reading


Gary Johnson Selects “Phony Libertarian” As VP

Gary Johnson, perceived front-runner for the Libertarian Party, announced today that he would choose former Massachusetts’s Governor Bill Weld as his Vice Presidential candidate. On paper, the move seems to make a lot of sense. Weld, like Johnson, is a former Republican who has long had a reputation for being a “libertarian,” having been a long standing supporter of abortion, gay marriage, and the legalization of marijuana. Unfortunately, also like Johnson, his grasp of libertarian principles is questionable outside these few social issues. In 1993 economist Murray Rothbard noted Weld’s disappointing fiscal record in an article titled “Phony Libertarians”: As Bill Weld increasingly becomes the darling of the Republican Left, his fiscal leftism, too, has now come out of the closet. Weld’s newly proposed budget for next year is a whopping $900 million increase over the current fiscal year, bringing the total up to $15.2 billion. Weld’s proposed big spending budget includes a $9 million increase on environmentalism (bringing the total up to $149 million), and no less than… Keep Reading


Academic Welfare Queens

During Monday’s chaotic day of demonstrations at the University of Missouri, professor Melissa Click accomplished something she may have never done before in her academic career – taught an important lesson. Click, an assistant professor of mass media at Mizzou’s communications department, was recorded intimidating and threatening student journalists trying to document the protests occurring on campus. Because in today’s progressive up-side down world, the communications professors are anti-free speech. So what exactly does a mass media professor who’s anti-journalism actually teach? As The Federalist reported, Click specializes in “audience studies, theories of gender and sexuality, and media literacy.” According to her to her school profile: [Click’s] research projects involve 50 Shades of Grey readers, the impact of social media in fans’ relationship with Lady Gaga, masculinity and male fans, messages about class and food in reality television programming, and messages about work in children’s television programs. Is there a better example of educational malinvestment than spending thousands of dollars a semester studying 50 Shades of Grey? More to… Keep Reading


Libertarians Should Support Jeb Hensarling For Speaker

As a proud libertarian working in Congress, it is easy to adopt a nihilistic tone. While it is great see members like Justin Amash and Thomas Massie communicate the message of liberty on the House floor – the direction of the GOP caucus is often not that discernable from the Democrats across the aisle.  So while it is worth celebrating the resignation of Speaker John Boehner, it means nothing if he is replaced with more of the same. Luckily, there stands one possible candidate that can shake things up in Washington – Congressman Jeb Hensarling of Texas. In January 2012, Congressman Jeb Hensarling took over the gavel of the Financial Services Committee from Spencer Bachus of Alabama. Even as a staffer who closely followed FSC hearings, I did not know what to expect from the new Texan chairman. His rhetoric during committee hearings was almost always strong and pointed, but talk is worth less than a Venezuelan bolivar within the beltway. Plus, he was leaving a leadership position as… Keep Reading

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