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This is what so many libertarians cannot understand…

So many libertarians, such as the good fellows at Reason magazine for example (who I do like, I hasten to add), have a simplistic, dare I say dualistic notion about bad-things-done-by-private-business and bad-things-done-by-the-state. One is met with “so start up a rival company” the other with “an outrageous example of state overreach that must be opposed politically.”

And in an ideal world, yes, that makes sense. We do not live in anything resembling an ideal world.

In an era when three (two really) credit card companies and a handful of payment processors have an off-switch for pretty much any on-line business they take a dislike to (unless they are called Apple or Amazon), as more and more of the economy goes virtual, what we have is turn-key tyranny for sale to the highest bidder, and the highest bidder is always going to be a state. I am uncertain what the solution is, but as we do not live in a ‘free market’, not convinced “so go set up your own global credit card and payment processing network” adds anything meaningful to the discussion. It is a bit like saying when the local electric provider turns off the power in your office (or home) because they disapprove of what you are doing “so go set up your own electric supply company”, as if that would be allowed to happen.

Fascism is the organised attempt to introduce socialist planning with the consent of big business

– Edward Conze (1934)

24 comments to This is what so many libertarians cannot understand…

  • Deep Lurker

    I’ve seen this rodeo before, where various undesirables were cut off from banking and credit card processing. Only it wasn’t the purely private actions of purely private businesses that did this. The US Government had its filthy paws in the matter, secretly so until “Operation Chokepoint” got leaked.

    I very strongly suspect that the current “private business” shenanigans likewise have government bureaucrats in the shadows whispering “Nice business you have there. Be a shame if anything happened to it.”

    Or alternately, the businesses can be viewed as offering non-monetary bribes to government officials. When the “I’m from the government, and I’m here to regulate you!” guy comes calling, the businesses that paid the woke-bribes can hope for some slack, while the businesses that didn’t are screwed.

  • They have already tested this with Gab. Not content with removing payment processing from the business, they did so with Andrew Torba and his immediate family, so they made it personal. The precedent was set there, so this is nothing new. It should not be up to payment processors to dictate what political views or content may be bought and sold.

    As is usual, they go for the soft targets first. After all, Gab is “far right.” OnlyFans has made a name for itself as a purveyor of soft porn and who will leap to to defence of the “far right” or purveyors of soft porn? They’ve already thrown allegations of rape and kiddie porn into the mix to strengthen their case, so anyone speaking out against this action can be labelled accordingly. It’s a time-honoured tactic.

  • Paul Marks

    One problem was identified by Richard Cantillon some 300 years ago – if there is Credit Money (money from NOTHING) the people and organisations who get the Credit Money will be at advantage (in buying real assets) against people and enterprises who do not. The “Cantillon Effect”.

    The economy (of Britain, the United States and so on) is now totally dominated by the flow of funny money from the Central Banks and the pet commercial banks – that is why we have such things as “Bank of America” campaigning against white toddlers (little children are evil – as long as the little children have pinkish grey skin).

    This is not a normal business – a normal money lender would not be obsessed with destroying little white children as “racists”. And Bank of America is in no way unusual – all the banks and major “Woke” corporations are signed up to the same Collectivist Totalitarian ideology. For example the celebrating of the deaths of white people (as reported in the latest U.S. Census) as a blow against “racism” – they celebrate the deaths of people on the basis of skin colour and think that is a blow AGAINST racism.

    “Set up your own bank” or “set up your internet” (the Reason magazine response) is indeed rather daft – especially as Reason is bankrolled by Charles Koch who actually (in recent times) has endorsed censorship – he does not grasp that what he is told will only be used against “racists” will eventually be used against HIM. After all the Frankfurt School defines any opposition to socialism – as “racist”, and Mr Charles Koch is a white, male, “cis gender”, capitalist (and therefore, by definition, guilty and worthy of extermination).

    In short Deep Lurker and Longrider are both correct.

    And so was Edward Conze back in 1934.

    It was already clear by 1934 that Mussolini has not given up his socialism – and that Fascism was leading to more and more direct state ownership of business. Not “just” the end of competition via government regulations (as with the Fascist “National Industrial Recovery Act” and “National Recovery Agency”, the Blue Eagle thugs, in the United States – which all nine of the Supreme Court justices, even the worse of them, rejected as totalitarianism in 1935), but actual state ownership.

    This Saint-Simon style “planning” by Big Business, led by the Credit Bubble banks, was always meant to lead to socialism – after all Saint-Simon and his followers openly said so.

    So did Mussolini – see the “Social Republic” he set up after the Nazis rescued him from captivity.

    Why should, for example, Jeff Bezos be allowed to keep his money? He may not support any of this in private – but his Amazon and Washington Post backs all of it.

    Once all small business enterprises have been destroyed (by “Climate Lockdowns” or whatever) why not just nationalise the handful of mega Corporations that remain.

    Amazon, Google, Microsoft, the Credit Bubble banks – all in all not many enterprises.

    Let them scream their support for tyranny at Davos and other places – their support for planning everyone from the cradle to the grave. Thinking it is only going to apply to small business – but why should “YOU WILL OWN NOTHING – AND YOU WILL BE HAPPY (OR ELSE)” not apply to them as well?

    “You will remain the nominal owner – but you will have to go along with the greater good, as the German Chancellor explained from 1933 onwards”.

    And why should anyone care about the “Woke” Big Business types.

    Take some small business person in Arizona who just has their tax DOUBLED by the will of Google – because the State income tax does not apply to big Corporations like Google, but it does apply to private business enterprises.

    Why should some small business person (not bankrupt and destitute – destroyed by lockdowns and massive taxes) care about Google?

    Google supported the lockdowns, and it supported the doubling of taxes on small business (to provide even more money for the Marxist brainwashing of the education system).

    If I was begging in the street due to the policies of Google (its taxes and its lockdowns – also supported by Amazon and the rest of them), and heard that Google was being nationalised (and its senior managers hung from lamp posts) why would I care?

    As for Reason and “create your own Google” – oh just F. off.

    Still the senior managers of all these Corporations are “educated” – so they would be quite happy being government managers (the officials are also “educated”).

    But there must come a time when “the masses” look at these managers (in their vast homes and so on) and start saying “this is not the equality you promised us”.

    I note the hostility of the international elite to the President of Mexico – who actually takes the equality stuff seriously. Cutting the very high incomes of senior GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS – and taking a hard look at the income of Corporate Managers.

    As the economy collapses (and it will collapse) so the very rich leftists who live in such cities as New York, L.A. and San Francisco are going to get looked at.

    Very hungry looks will be going their way – very hungry indeed. “Eat the Rich” say the Corporate Managers – not understanding that they are the rich.

    And, I DO NOT CARE.

    They have created it all themselves – they wanted all this. Now let them have it.

  • Paul Marks

    “Only Fans” is indeed the canary in the coal mine.

    The very same Social Justice agenda that is pro the censorship of porn (the agenda that the banks and payment processors have signed up to) is also pro the censorship of conservative thought.

    “Just racist thought” – NO, unless you define any opposition to Collectivism (opposition to Social Justice – i.e. the doctrine that all income and wealth rightly belong to the collective and should be distributed on the basis of egalitarian principles) as “racism”.

    Anyone who dissents against Collectivism is going to (eventually) find no access to banking or other financial services – that is the point of the agendas that the Woke banks and payment processors have signed up to. In an economy where everything depends on the funny money…

    And why should senior government officials and senior Corporate managers be paid vastly more than Joe Bloggs?

    Surely they should only get the “Universal Basic Income” they want for other people – that is the Social Justice they proclaim.

    They have signed up for all this – and “equality – apart from for me and my mates” is not going to stand.

    Particularly as the economy collapses.

  • Paul Marks

    The Gentleman who made the film could have made more of the fact that this (the banning of porn) is a part (a small part) of the much wider code that was first drawn up by the Obama Administration and which the banks and payment processors are now being pushed into supporting (not that they need to be pushed very hard – as they are made up of the same “educated” types who are government officials) – and that the code is mainly about pushing Social Justice and (de facto) censoring opposition to Social Justice.

    It is the cultural side of various international agreements (legally “nonbinding” till they are binding) – and has been thought about for a very long time indeed (long before the Obama Administration), and most Western nations are signed up to this “nonbinding” cultural (as well as economic) agenda.

    Oddly enough, legally speaking, the United States is NOT committed to all this – as the Senate has never ratified these international agreements. Technically he signature of the Secretary of State or the President is NOT legally binding.

    That is why the code that was drawn up under President Obama could be quietly dropped under President Trump and then pushed under President Biden.

    A future United States President could, at least in theory, rip all this up – and tell the financial government agencies that financial corporations are NOT to do this.

    I repeat – neither Agenda 21 or anything else of that sort has ever been ratified by the United States Senate.

  • Paul Marks

    For people who love jargon it is about ESG – Environment and Social (Corporate) Governance.

    Environment is easy to understand – basically if you oppose the human emissions of CO2 cause global warming theory, get ready to live a cardboard box begging for food. But “Social” can cover just about anything – basically it is all about being “Woke”.

    Porn is not Woke – because it is against Third Wave Feminism.

    Lower taxes are also not Woke – because they violate Social Justice.

    So “Only Fans” has to go – so that corporations (such as the payment processors) can keep up their ESG scores (if they do not – then government, the financial agencies, will punish them – although the Corporate managers want to be Woke anyway).

    But, eventually, people who want lower government spending (and taxes) will suffer the same fate – for the same reason.

    Some years ago “Reason” itself complained about Operation Chokepoint (although it did not fully understand that this was just the local, American, version of an international agenda – one agreed by the corporations as well as government officials) – ESG is Operation Chokepoint made into a universal system designed to exterminate liberty (in all aspects).

    The future (internationally – on a world level) is intended to be a boot stamping down on a human face for ever – that is the bad news.

    The good news is that economic collapse will destroy these governments and their corporate pets.

  • Paul Marks

    I will end on an optimistic note.

    I repeat – a future President of the United States could issue an Executive Order saying the Federal government will not do business, in any way, with a company that discriminates on the basis of political or cultural opinions, and all this “Social Justice”, Environment and Social Governance (ESG), Agenda 21 – Agenda 2030 stuff would be stopped in its tracks.

    The international establishment keeps saying that all of this is “legally nonbinding” and that it is a “conspiracy theory” to say that the Rio agreement of 1992 or Agenda 2030 now is about building world wide totalitarianism, a boot stamping down on the face of humanity for ever, so just AGREE with them.

    “Yes we agree this is legally nonbinding – so we are ripping up Agenda 2021 Agenda 2030 – including the cultural side agreed in 2002”.

    But you can not do that! – “You just said it was legally nonbinding – and I am AGREEING with you”.

    The United States Senate has not ratified any of this. Banning “Only Fans” and so on is NOT the law.

    And if the “Woke” Corporations carry on with it – Executive Order forbidding any business from the Federal Government and Federal Employees with companies that discriminate on political or cultural grounds (that would cripple the banks and payment processors in a day – and the internet companies as well).

    Also such things as the Payment Processors and banks depend on government licensing (this is NOT a free market) – any bank or payment processor that discriminates (that pushes censorship) should lose its license. “That is violating the free market” – what free market? In a free market if a bank did not pay “cash on the nail” would go bank-rupt, and their would be no “licensing” of banks and payment processors in the first place.

    And they all depend on the endless funny money from Federal Reserve (which is why, for example, Hollywood, not just the banks, can show such contempt for CUSTOMERS) – and this absurd economic system is going to collapse.

  • Peter MacFarlane


  • Dougie Dawg

    FFS Paul, who is going to wade through that in a comment section? 🤣

  • CaptDMO

    Me, for one.
    When you’re familiar with the basics, it’s more of a stroll.
    Although I must freely admit, personally I would have shoehorned “The Merchant of Venice”, and individual credit “rating” scores in somehow.

  • asiaseen


    (note: other remarks deleted by the management, unacceptable)

  • anonymous lurker

    asiaseen August 23, 2021 at 11:43 am

    Mr. Marks is one of the best writers of this site.
    Yes, this site is for literate and educated people.
    If reading many words causes you pain, maybe you should consider leaving this place and watching Mickey Mouse cartoons instead.

  • asiaseen

    anonymous lurker

    Why anonymous?

    I appreciate writing that is concise and to the point – not 100+ lines (I can’t be bothered to count the words) whose message can be expressed in 100 or so words.

  • Shlomo Maistre


    This website is for adults. I think you should go read the NYT. They will give you bite size truths that are easily digestable.

  • JohnK


    Max Keiser is of the view that Bitcoin will take out credit money, and with it the banks and payment processors which depend on it. I don’t know if this is true, but I would like it to be. Then Only Fans and other businesses which are being cancelled by banks and payment processors could tell them to f off and leave them alone.

    Certainly, the current system is unsustainable. For exactly 50 years now, the US dollar, and thus the world financial system, has been backed by nothing. It has been like Wile E. Coyote, when he runs off the mountain ledge but does not fall at once, as long as he does not look down. Well, QE to infinity must be the signal that Wile E. has run out of road. Governments have found that there is a magic money tree, and they won’t stop printing until a penny chew costs a million dollars.

  • asiaseen

    @ Shlomo Maistre

    Read, mark an learn: Conciseness and relevance in NOT the same as byte-size

    Conciseness and relevance is a characteristic to be treasured in an adult.

  • Shlomo Maistre


    Max Keiser is of the view that Bitcoin will take out credit money, and with it the banks and payment processors which depend on it. I don’t know if this is true, but I would like it to be. Then Only Fans and other businesses which are being cancelled by banks and payment processors could tell them to f off and leave them alone.



  • Fraser Orr

    As you say PdH, I’m not sure of the solution. But the problem was very well enunciated by Harry Browne back in one of his Libertarian campaign books — “You’re not King”. Even if anyone in power gave a toss what you or I thought and decided to reign in these businesses using powers like anti trust or regulation, what exactly would we expect? An improvement in the situation? Once the “great idea” passes through all the millions of corrupt hands that move a law or regulation, it will bear little resemblance to what the original author intended.

    I remember hearing a discussion of Section 203 of the CDA (which is an American law that immunizes web sites from liability for what they publish), and there was talk that the solution was to remove that immunity. The idea being that if they were forced to chose between “liable for their editorial decisions” and “publish as a common carrier without editorializing” they’d chose the latter. However, this quickly evolved into the idea that these companies would be FORCED by law and threat to do some of the dreadful censorship they have been engaged in. As is often the case, any change with good intent often ends up producing the exact opposite effect that we intended.

    When has getting the government involved, through anti trust or regulation or any other mechanism ever made anything any better? One thing we have learned from the Covid crisis is that the number of people who care a fig about liberty as an end in itself is smaller than we might imagine, and growing smaller by the day when cowed with the smallest of threats magnified through the arms of disinformation and propaganda.

    It seems to me that the only real way forward is through entrepreneurship and technological changes. It was these that produced the internet and the web which caused in the 1990s and 2000s a massive explosion of freedom, the likes of which we never saw, this blog being a product of that very thing. Of course the tyrants eventually caught up, but the idea that we can establish liberty and then our work is done belies the lessons of the whole of history. Governments are powerful and oppressive but they are not nimble, and that is our advantage. It is only through constant change, innovation and adaption that we can keep ahead of the curve, that we can find ephemeral bubbles of freedom. And for those of us who cannot innovate, cannot advance technology we can still do our part by participating and supporting those who do. Use bitcoin when you can. Adopt freer services like Brave browser and DuckDuckGo. Download a non Google/Apple app store on your phone. Refuse to use Apple because they don’t let you do that. Learn how to use encryption and tor. Pay a few pennies for a secure email provider and a VPN. Assuming you don’t live in rainy Britain, get solar panels on your roof to reduce your dependence on central power suppliers. Avoid as much tax as you can within the rules to feed yourself and starve the beast. Accumulate tiny freedoms for yourself, and SUPPORT THOSE WHO PROVIDE THEM and we can move in a better direction.

  • @Fraser Orr. This is precisely what I do. Small things in my own way. I have moved quietly through the latest panic without obeying a single one of their absurd rules. Being self employed, I engage in vigorous and highly aggressive tax avoidance. If it’s claimable, I claim it, down to the last penny.

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    That their payment processors were able to exert such control over OnlyFans is outrageous and needs to be addressed, by legislation if needs be.

    But I’m also curious. It seems (I’ve never visited the site) OnlyFans promotes what some would call smut, and not unacceptable (i.e., right-wing) thought. So why did the payment processors go after them? There are innumerable porn sites on the web, some of them quite significant, such as PornHub. Why are they left alone?

    And this sudden crackdown on internet porn by the payment processors is rather ironic. I’ve heard it said that it was pornography, with its need to download high-resolution images and movies, which at least partially drove the development of the internet.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Schrodinger’s Dog
    I found this piece that I think gets at what is going on here:


    In this article Mastercard claimed they were not involved in the decision, however, as you read on you I think you find the root of what is going on, and, in fairness to the credit card companies, I don’t think it is their fault, or due to some Puritan revival. Rather the problem is fear of liability. Specifically, fear that some kiddie porn, or trafficked sex, might get published and the payment processed through their switch, making them liable for that transaction. And they, being the deep pockets, would be a major target of a lawsuit.

    So really, in truth this is a problem of the utterly screwed up legal system in America. I believe that loser pays would fix this, or, ironically, a kind of CDA section 203 for payment processors. But congress is full of lawyers, so you can be sure that nothing will ever get fixed in the legal system.

  • The absurd US system of joint & several liability leads to shit like this.

  • Fraser Orr

    Certainly, the current system is unsustainable. For exactly 50 years now, the US dollar, and thus the world financial system, has been backed by nothing.

    That is a common libertarian myth. The US dollars is absolutely backed by something — the full faith and credit of the United States. And what does that mean? It means that the dollar is backed by the guarantee that the United States will tax you and your children and their children ad infinitum. They will take some of the value that these people produce as a backing for the currency.

    It isn’t very nice, but it is simply not true that the US Dollar is backed by nothing. It is backed by your ass whether you like it or not. Assuming you are a US citizen, that is.

    FWIW, I don’t have a lot of confidence in the dollar (which is why I just shorted it by taking out a mortgage), but its death will be slow by virtue of the fact that most of the debts that are drowning it are denominated in dollars (things like social security, government bonds etc) so as they inflate the currency there is a supporting feedback loop of deflating the debt. Which is nice if you are a economics guy, but sucks if you are an old person living on a fixed government pension that buys less and less every day. Which is to say, another way the dollar is backed is by stealing old people’s pension money. One wonders when they are going to screw over orphans and widows next.

  • Bit of an update on this story – OF appears to have retracted in response to the backlash, so we see what will happen now…