02 Nov 2012

Bill Hicks on Newly Elected Presidents

Conspiracy 43 Comments

There is some naughty language in this, so be careful kids. I’m not saying it’s literally like this, but I think this is a heck of a lot closer to reality than the views of the people arguing with me in the comments of my earlier post.

43 Responses to “Bill Hicks on Newly Elected Presidents”

  1. RPLong says:

    Nah, that’s not how I see it. I don’t think the system is rigged at all. I don’t think there’s anything “wrong” with the system, other than that (a) Few peole understand that it is actually more of a clusterf–k than a conspiracy and (b) therefore, they expect way too much from it.

    The federal government is an army of (literal) fat people with bad attitudes whose only job is to write executive summaries of “issues.” What defines an issue is whatever someone decides to call an issue. These execuctive summaries gradually turn into “facts” as they work their way up the chain of command. It’s like that party game, “telephone,” where you start out with a simple statement and it gets warped and screwed up, the more people who pass the message along.

    Imagine if the blogosphere ran the country. And I don’t mean good blogs like Free Advice or EconLog, I mean poorly researched hack blogs like mine (ha ha). Imagine if everyone in power got all their information from Wikipedia. Do you have that picture in your mind?

    That’s what the federal government looks like. There’s no conspiracy because these guys are all hacks. The “evil geniuses” don’t run the system, they game the system. They extract billions by starting up government contracting/consulting firms and perpetuate project management, syphoning off government cheese like ticks and leeches.

    There is no conspiracy, just a whole lot of incompetence. That’s how I see it, anyway.

    • J Cortez says:

      I disagree with Hicks and I agree with you it’s more of a clusterfuck. Consider the stupidity, ego, and arrogance of some of the sociopaths. I mean, how often could these people really work together or even have a coherent plan?

      I think it’s hundreds of different groups that generally fights, sometimes work together, both legally and illegally. The individual members of these groups change and the groups themselves sometimes get replaced by an altogether different competing interest from another sector.

      Sometimes their motives are ideology and sometimes money, but it’s all achieved through state power. The worst of what happens is when both act in concert with each other. (Take the neo-cons and defense contractors in the middle east as an example.)

      I don’t think the Hicks scenario is close to what happens wholesale.

  2. Ken B says:

    Bob’s 10% looks unattainable. I say that because I think it’s clear that I should be part of Bob’s target audience for recruitment. (So should many here). I’m pro free market already. I’m clearly interested enough in Libertarian ideas to not just read blogs and books but to engage seriously even with Bob’s post for professional economists ( which I certainly am not). I want to buiy his Mises book. I’m definitely pro-freedom, and some of my sharpest exchanges with Bob were over whether his kind of Libertarianism is really that good for gaining liberty (for others). And I don’t find conspiracy minded stand up comedy convincing, even if it is funny.

    • Dan says:

      Unbelievable. The ego on this guy. So if we can’t convince you then we have little hope of getting 10%?

      • Ken B says:

        I thought you guys put a premium on anecdotal evidence. Anyway, just think of it as a small focus group and you’ll get the idea.

        • Dan says:

          Ken, what you are overlooking because you puff yourself up so big, is that people like you are the reason a small minority is always responsible for change. No philosophy needs you in order to get the change they desire. You’ll go along for the ride, making smarmy, egotistical comments no matter what philosophy has the momentum. You’re not influential enough, and any help to the cause you would make would be negligible.

          Now, that’s not to say that I am needed, either. The influence I wield is relegated to the people I am in immediate contact with. I’m not bringing numbers to the movement like Murphy, Tom Woods, Lew Rockwell, Ron Paul, etc. Those are the kind of people a movement needs to create change. People like you and me are just cogs in the machine. Sure we might add a few numbers to the aggregate, but it would be delusional for us to think we are that important to any particular cause. That doesn’t mean I don’t try my best to promote the ideas I believe in, but I’m not going to go around thinking that any philosophy without me has no hope of success.

          • Ken B says:

            What you’re overlooking is that I’m claiming to be *typical* of a large class. That’s not claiming special status or insights at all.

            • Dan says:

              Yeah, you aren’t typical. Outside of this blog, I have never been in a conversation with someone about politics that would represent the Ken B wing of Free Advice.

              • Dan says:

                To clarify, I mean unless I’m on the Internet I don’t run into people who would represent your political views.

            • Bob Murphy says:

              Ken B. wrote:

              What you’re overlooking is that I’m claiming to be *typical* of a large class.

              Oh I please please please hope you are wrong.

        • Dan says:

          Also, I don’t see Murphy not being able to bring you to libertarianism as a bad sign. I think it is predictable. Most people coming to this blog and making comments have already picked sides. The commenters coming here are a terrible representation of the American people as a whole.

  3. President Awesome says:

    I think bill hicks would have voted for obama

    • Dan says:

      Considering his view on Clinton, I doubt it.

      • President Awesome says:

        the criticisms by these types are usually extremely harsh on republican presidents, and while negative on dem presidents, they don’t have that same gut hatred. but being a comedian, it would make sense that they would oppose the party that is more friendly to religion, as to try avoid censure that would harm their livelihood.

        • Dan says:

          You’re clearly not familiar with Bill Hicks.

    • Joseph Fetz says:

      No, I’m pretty sure that Bill would see Obama as a mass-murderer. In fact, I’m positive that he would.

      • Dan says:


      • Joseph Fetz says:

        If you’re talking about Hicks voting for Obama in 2008, then I can buy that. But then, many people bought Obama’s BS in 2008, only to find that they had elected Super BlackBush.

        • Dan says:

          I don’t know. I doubt he would’ve voted or supported anyone. If anything, I could’ve seen him getting behind Ron Paul because of his views on civil liberties and war.

          • President Awesome says:

            well, he would have liked ron paul’s position on weed. i’ve heard some bill hicks – and they are usually about executing/killing various republicans. if you have some clips with the same visceral hatred of clinton let me know. its fine if he hates one more than the other. like would hicks/carlin hate nationalized health care; not sure – i think they agree with the progressive position but then are unhappy with them becoming one of the boys once they are in. they completely deny the need for the state to act according to the convention by which it is defined.

            • Dan says:

              I’m not claiming Hicks to be a libertarian. I just mean that he had such an extreme hatred for war that he would’ve despised a guy like Obama.


              • Joseph Fetz says:

                Exactly. Bill’s political leanings notwithstanding, he absolutely despised murder and war. Of course, he often talked about such things in a joking manner, but he was a comedian, after all.

          • Joseph Fetz says:

            Dan, I agree with that. I don’t think that Bill would have voted in either election, but I do believe that if we are talking about him voting for Obama, 2008 would have had the greatest odds in that regard.

            This is neither here nor there, because Bill is gone. Regardless of his political leanings, we are living in a time that is ripe for his style of humor. He is sorely missed.

            • Ken B says:

              I’ve never seen him before, but the clips are funny.

              • Joseph Fetz says:

                One of my favorite routines of his is “officer nigger hater” (hey, that’s what it’s called). Look it up, I think you’ll like it.

            • Dan says:

              Yeah, I agree with that.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      I really doubt it President Awesome.

      • President Awesome says:

        Look I know you guys have all this “evidence,” but here is hicks clearly supporting obama:


  4. Dyspeptic says:

    The bit is funny but not very realistic. Yes there is a ruling elite. No, it isn’t a dozen stogey smoking capitalist pigs. The ruling class in this country is more broad based and complex than that and therefore even more dangerous. The place isn’t run by robber baron caricatures like Hicks seems to think, but by a group of ruthlessly ambitious overachievers in business, finance, media and politics who all get their statist values from the same academic fountainhead (predominantly the elite ivy league institutions and related think tanks and foundations). Since they control America’s popular culture they control what most people think of as normative reality. When you control the general perception of reality conspiracy isn’t necessary although it still happens.

    As H.L. Mencken noted a hundred years ago, it’s easy to bamboozle the masses with idiotic nostrums and bumper sticker slogans. They like being told comforting lies. The practical art of demagoguery consists of nothing more than finding out the lies voters want to hear and repeating them in an entertaining and superficially sincere manner. Understanding The System requires exercising more skepticism than most people are willing to engage in. It takes a certain perverse and masochistic impulse to entertain the notion that The System is a fraud. Most people are temperamentally disinclined to separate themselves from the herd and point out it’s faults and foibles because it means being ostracized and marginalized at best, and at worst hunted down like a rabid dog and slaughtered mercilessly. In fact individual intelligence has very little to do with political activity, most of which is socially primitive (tribalistic), highly emotional and dangerously stupid.

  5. Lee Waaks says:

    I don’t deny there are conspiracies but I am often quite disappointed when I see libertarians pushing outrageous conspiracies about the Kennedy assasinations, etc. Yes, the state is an oligarchy that often benefits special interests. The state also engages in clandestine, immoral actions and foments/wages wars. That’s enough to make me an anarchist. But I don’t need to sign on to ridiculous conspiracy theories to make this case. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with assuming the worst about the state, but we should keep our heads.

    • Dave says:

      “The state also engages in clandestine, immoral actions and foments/wages wars. That’s enough to make me an anarchist. But I don’t need to sign on to ridiculous conspiracy theories to make this case.”

      Do you know what the word conspiracy means?


      1.A secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.

      Because if “the state engages in clandestine, immoral actions and foments/wages wars” how do you figure they manage to do all of this without the act of conspiring?

  6. Chris H says:

    Conspiracy or voter incompetence, I don’t think either situation makes much difference to the libertarian cause. If what opposes libertarianism is a conspiracy then it is an entrenched group with more resources and more capability to propagandize than libertarians who happens to be evil. If it’s incompetence then we’re up against an entrenched group with more resources and more capability to propagandize than libertarians who likely suffer from (as Bryan Caplan puts it) rational irrationality. The battle seems nearly equally tough regardless of which is the truth.

    Of course the exact same thing was true for the anti-slavery movement that got it’s first stirrings in the late 18th century, and 200 years later their victory was so complete that defending anything that is even perceived to be like slavery is social and political suicide. So no reason to become discouraged because of limited success so far.

  7. Keshav Srinivasan says:

    Bob, off-topic, but Krugman has made yet another post where he says that the lack of upward pressure on wages is evidence that we have a demand-side problem, not a supply-side problem:


    This is also what he said in his old post about what would take him to change his worldview. So as an Austrian, how do you account for the lack of wage inflation?

    • Joseph Fetz says:

      Obviously, I’m not Bob. But, if one looks at value imputation and where the source of wages ultimately comes from, it should be no surprise that wages have not inflated. We still haven’t allowed asset prices to reach their clearing price, instead propping up certain assets by use of monetary policy. So, even though such asset prices are held higher than what the free market would dictate, they also create a discoordination between factors, one of these being labor (an original factor). There is also the fact that many of these assets that are being artificially pushed up are in sectors that are not those that the economy views as being the most urgent, thus the demand for labor in these sectors, and the wages thereof, is much lower than the price of the underlying asset would dictate.

      • Joseph Fetz says:

        Basically, it’s a price coordination problem, not necessarily a demand vs supply side problem. In such a problem, the original factors tend to take the biggest brunt (land and labor). Obviously, the interest rate also has a great impact on this, as a low interest rate tends to bid up the price of land, thus leaving less means for other factors (including labor). This is, of course, exacerbated by the fact that the inputs of production other than land and labor have had an increase in price due to monetary inflation. There is only so many resources to go around, and if capital and land is being bid upward by way of policy, then labor will certainly take the hit.

  8. Eric Evans says:

    Wow, some people here really aren’t familiar with Bill Hicks.

    The above portion was from the end of Hicks’ life, on the album ‘Rant in E-Minor’. He previously seemed to lean in a very cliché liberal direction, fashionably dissing the government as a whole at times but really ranting about Republicans. But the Waco incident, which occurred under the liberal president everyone wanted (and with a liberal attorney general) was a pivotal moment for him. He realized that it wasn’t just lip service, there really was no one in government that was trustworthy, and he was tired of being nice about it.

    It was this very dark, no holds barred turn in his comedy which got him the popular attention that had eluded him for so long, but unfortunately he wouldn’t live to see it through.

    That said, I don’t think he would’ve supported any candidate, or any politicians for that matter, in an election. Who knows where his anger and bitterness would’ve taken him, but I would have a hard time believing that would suddenly compromise his beliefs for the sake of a cult of personality. Anyone who slaps a Bill Hicks photo in an Obama symbol as if Hicks would’ve been a natural ally, much less a supporter, is a complete ignoramus.

  9. konst says:

    Although the following article is alleged to be fictional, it’s actually true and this is how the abusive “system” works:


  10. konst says:

    Note to Bob Murphy: Glenn Greenwald’s blog has changed from Salon to The Guardian newspaper. You still ahve the old link in `your blogroll. His link is now:


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