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Laurence M. Vance

Laurence M. Vance

Laurence M. Vance is an author, a publisher, a lecturer, a freelance writer, the editor of the Classic Reprints series, and the director of the Francis Wayland Institute. He holds degrees in history, theology, accounting, and economics. The author of twenty-four books, he has contributed over 700 articles and book reviews to both secular and religious periodicals.

Articles by Laurence M. Vance

The Supreme Court Is Not the National Abortion Control Board

22 days ago

Pro-life conservatives were disappointed last year when—thanks to Bush appointee John Roberts—the Supreme Court, by a vote of 5-4, in the case of June Medical Services LLC v. Russo, ruled that a Louisiana law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital was unconstitutional. These conservatives don’t mind if the Supreme Court functions as the national abortion control board as long as it rules in favor of restrictions on abortion.
The phrase comes from the dissenting opinion of Justice Byron White, joined by William Rehnquist and Chief Justice Warren Burger, in the case of Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth (1976). In this case, the Supreme Court struck down as

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Christians, the Military, and the Transgender Issue

March 24, 2021

Has it come down to this? Is the transgender issue what will finally persuade Christians that the U.S. military is an unholy institution?
For many years now, I have pointed out how most Christians—and especially conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians—from all manner of denominations, have had no problem with the military doing things like:
Fighting unjust wars
Making widows and orphans
Helping to carry out an evil, reckless, and interventionist U.S. foreign policy
Bombing, invading, and occupying countries that posed no threat to the United States
Fighting unnecessary wars
Destroying foreign industry, infrastructure, and culture
Fighting undeclared wars
Engaging in state-sponsored terrorism
Fighting senseless

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The Unholy Trinity

March 17, 2021

The Holy Trinity is a doctrine of tremendous importance to Christians of all persuasions. Unfortunately, some of them also worship the unholy trinity, and especially conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians.
The unholy trinity is the military, the police, and the Republican Party.
The military is an unholy institution.
But you wouldn’t know that in some churches because of all the military blasphemy and idolatry that takes place on Sundays, and especially on the Sundays before Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Veterans Day.
Any Sunday of the year you might see young persons recognized who announce their intention to join the military, prayers for the troops overseas to be kept out of harm’s way, the equating

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The US War Industry

March 10, 2021

Review of Christian Sorensen, Understanding the War Industry (Clarity Press, 2020), xxvii + 415 pgs.
I had never heard of Christian Sorensen, author of Understanding the War Industry, before I was sent his new book for review. However, when I saw on the back cover that he was termed “the Seymour Melman of the 21st century,” I was intrigued. I first learned of Melman from Mises Institute senior fellow Tom Woods, who has written this description of him:
Seymour Melman (1917–2004). Melman was a professor of industrial engineering and operations research at Columbia University. In a scholarly career that yielded a great many books and articles, he focused much of his energy on the economics of the warfare and military-oriented state.

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AOC: The Perfect Republican Senate Candidate

March 3, 2021

In an article last year about the shortcomings of Republicans, I stated that outspoken Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was more conservative than the majority of Republican House members.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC as she likes to be called, represents New York’s 14th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district includes parts of the Bronx and Queens.
No doubt some thought that my characterization of AOC as more conservative than the majority of Republican House members was hyperbole. No doubt others thought that AOC scoring higher than Republican House members on the New American magazine’s “Freedom Index” was just an anomoly.
Both groups are wrong. AOC is, in fact, the perfect

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A Note on the Second Amendment

February 17, 2021

On January 4, 2020, on just the second day of the 117th Congress, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), introduced the Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing and Registration Act (H.R.127) “to provide for the licensing of firearm and ammunition possession and the registration of firearms, and to prohibit the possession of certain ammunition.” The bill is named after a Pakistani Muslim exchange student who was shot to death in a Santa Fe, Texas, high school in 2018, although seven other students and two teachers were murdered as well.
So far the bill has no cosponsors. That’s a good thing because this is one of the most evil bills ever introduced in Congress (and members of Congress have introduced some utterly evil bills over the

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Conservatives and Libertarians for Education Socialism

February 3, 2021

Last week was National School Choice Week (NSCW). It was sad to hear conservatives, along with some libertarians, expresses support for the idea that some Americans should have the choice of where to spend other Americans’ money to educate their children.
Since 2011, NSCW has been celebrated the last week in January. NSCW “features tens of thousands of events and activities each January, which are independently planned by schools, homeschool groups, organizations, and individuals.” However, due to the Covid-19 “pandemic,” January celebrations focused “on projects and activities, not in-person events.”
According to the NSCW website:
School choice means giving parents access to the best K-12 education options for their children.

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Will Women Have To Register for the Draft in 2021?

January 20, 2021

In January 2013, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta ordered the armed services to lift the ban on women serving in combat roles in the military. The services were ordered to study the issue and develop an implementation plan by January 2016. In December 2015, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that the military would be opening all “remaining occupations and positions to women,” with “no exceptions,” effective January 2016.
Yet, to this day, women are still not required to register for the draft. Could this change in 2021?
The draft ended in 1973, but in 1980, President Jimmy Carter reinstated the requirement that men must register with the Selective Service System.
According to the Selective Service System:

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Lynching the Constitution

January 8, 2021

Heard of anyone being lynched lately?
Neither have I.
Lynching, even if it is not explicitly called lynching, is illegal in every state. For example, in the South Carolina Code of Laws, in Title 16, “Crimes and Offenses,” in chapter 3, “Offenses Against the Person,” under article 3, “Lynching,” in section 16-3-210, “Assault and battery by mob; investigation and apprehension; civil liability,” it says:
(A) For purposes of this section, a “mob” is defined as the assemblage of two or more persons, without color or authority of law, for the premeditated purpose and with the premeditated intent of committing an act of violence upon the person of another.
(B) Any act of violence inflicted by a mob upon the body of another person, which

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A Discrimination Question Answered

November 17, 2020

I basically get two kinds of questions.
I get rhetorical questions when I write something negative about the U.S. military, the U.S. global empire, or U.S. soldiers. Things like: Why don’t you move to Cuba or North Korea? Why do you hate America? Why don’t you live somewhere else if you don’t like what the government does? Why do you despise our troops so much? Why do you spew forth such bile? Don’t you know that it is U.S. soldiers who give you the freedom to write the crap you do?
I get interrogative questions about so many different things that I couldn’t possible categorize them here. Most of them I try to answer. However, I don’t respond to any e-mail when the subject line or the first two words are “F*** you.” (That was a

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Does the Military Defend Our First Amendment Freedoms?

November 11, 2020

It happens almost every time I write an article that is critical of the U.S. military. But it happens every time I write an article on Veterans Day that is critical of the U.S. military.
In either case, I get a few e-mails that upbraid me for daring to criticize the military and its soldiers—as if you could really separate the two. The soldiers, after all, are the ones who do the actual fighting. You can’t have a war without soldiers.
Sometimes the writer of one of these e-mails informs me of his current or previous military service, but usually not. In fact, most of the criticisms I receive in response to my articles about the military are not from soldiers at all. They are typically from armchair warriors, employees of defense

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Marijuana on the Ballot

November 4, 2020

There is good news and bad news on the marijuana front.
First the bad news.
A bill (H.R.3884) to decriminalize marijuana that “removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and eliminates criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana” has been languishing in the U.S. House of Representatives for over a year.
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019 also:
replaces statutory references to marijuana and marihuana with cannabis,
requires the Bureau of Labor Statistics to regularly publish demographic data on cannabis business owners and employees,
establishes a trust fund to support various programs and services

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Twenty-Five More Reasons Why I Could Never Be Elected to Office

October 21, 2020

“Please, another column with the other 25 reasons. I am with you on the first 25.” ~ A reader
“It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.” ~ H. L. Mencken
Back on election day in 2014, I gave twenty-five reasons why I could never be elected to office. I concluded that “if I had the time, I could give you twenty-five more reasons why I could never be elected to office.”
With such a “historic election” coming up, now is the time to do so.
Every government (federal, state, and local) response to the Covid-19 “pandemic” has been irrational, draconian, and wrong.
All U.S. troops should be withdrawn from

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What Would Happen?

October 13, 2020

What would happen—
If kids in all K-12 schools, colleges, and universities went back to school.
If neither teachers nor students wore masks.
If sporting events had spectators.
If stadiums were allowed to fill to capacity.
If football coaches and their staff ceased wearing masks.
If stores removed directional arrows from their floors.
If waiters and waitresses stopped wearing masks.
If cities and counties reopened their parks, playgrounds, and basketball courts.
If restaurant patrons stopped wearing masks when they walked to their table and to the restroom.
If every place of business removed social distancing lines and circles from their floors.
If all the bars and nightclubs reopened.
If all the gyms reopened.
If family members

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Time To End Ridiculous Prostitution Laws

September 30, 2020

I neither follow nor watch football, and have not for decades, but I don’t have my head in the sand. Even though I live in Florida, I know that Tom Brady was New England Patriots’ star quarterback for about twenty years, Bill Belichick is the team’s head coach, and Robert Kraft is the team’s owner.
It was in Florida about a year ago that part-time Palm Beach resident Kraft was arrested, along with about sixty other men, on misdemeanor charges of prostitution solicitation after several law-enforcement agencies secretly installed hidden cameras inside massage parlors in an attempt to uncover an alleged prostitution ring.
Detectives obtained the video showing the alleged crimes via a “sneak-and-peek” warrant—a warrant authorizing

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I Have Never Served in the Military

September 22, 2020

There are many things that I have done in my life that I am glad that I did. And there are many things that I wish I had done differently. There are some things that I have done in my life that I am proud of. And there are some things that I did that I am ashamed of. But there are a lot of things that I have never done in my life—like serve in the military.
I don’t know which one of my articles a recent critic of mine is referring to. All she said was: “Your ludicrous comment about America doing the wrong thing by bombing Japan is sheer ignorance and nothing more than a useless opinion. My question is how long did you serve in the military?”
Because I have hundreds and hundreds of articles online—some of them dating back fifteen

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Libertarian Positions

September 14, 2020

What is the libertarian position on _______ ?
There probably isn’t one.
Here is Murray Rothbard’s classic description of libertarianism:
Libertarianism is not and does not pretend to be a complete moral, or aesthetic theory; it is only a political theory, that is, the important subset of moral theory that deals with the proper role of violence in social life. Political theory deals with what is proper or improper for government to do, and government is distinguished from every other group in society as being the institution of organized violence. Libertarianism holds that the only proper role of violence is to defend person and property against violence, that any use of violence that goes beyond such just defense is itself

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Foreign Aid Folly

September 9, 2020

The Trump administration is threatening to withhold nearly $130 million in U.S. foreign aid to Ethiopia.
Good. But this is simply another case of the right policy for the wrong reason.
The reason is not important. I will make it as simple as I can.
Ethiopia wants to build a dam on the Nile River. Egypt and Sudan oppose the dam “until the countries reached a legally binding deal that would address how to manage water flows during droughts or dryer rainy seasons, and established a mechanism to resolve disputes regarding the dam.” The United States is trying to mediate the dispute.
According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in fiscal year 2019, the United States provided $829 million in foreign assistance to

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James Champlin’s Lessons on Political Economy

September 3, 2020

James Tift Champlin (1811–82) was born in Colchester, Connecticut. He enrolled at Brown University in 1830, where the president, Francis Wayland, greatly impressed him. Wayland was a staunch defender of private property, the free market, and classical liberalism. His book The Elements of Political Economy (1837) is based on sound and insightful economic principles with an …

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Progressives, the President, Privatization, and the Post Office

September 1, 2020

The latest spat between progressives and President Trump is over the Post Office.
The New York Times is all but accusing the president of withholding funds from the Post Office so as to undercut voting by mail, which he sees as being riddled with fraud. A spokesman for the Biden campaign put it this way:
The president of the United States is sabotaging a basic service that hundreds of millions of people rely upon, cutting a critical lifeline for rural economies and for delivery of medicines, because he wants to deprive Americans of their fundamental right to vote safely during the most catastrophic public health crisis in over 100 years.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was even more adamant: “I am not exaggerating when I say this

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What Jeb Should Have Said

August 25, 2020

Former Florida governor and failed Republican presidential candidate, Jeb Bush, was recently interviewed for Education Week by Frederick “Rick” Hess, a resident scholar and director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
Here is how Hess introduced Bush:
Gov. Jeb Bush has been a leader on efforts to improve schooling for more than two decades. He has mentored a generation of governors, carried the banner for reforms including school choice and accountaility, and launched ExcelinEd, a hugely influential voice in the world of K-12 schooling. During his tenure in office and in the many years since, Gov. Bush has wrestled with the practical challenges of how elected leaders can help make schools work

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Discrimination Is Freedom

August 19, 2020

To comply with the letter of the non-law issued by the fascist mayor of Orange County, Florida, Jerry Demings, most restaurants in the county want their patrons to (1) Wear a mask upon entering the restaurant, (2) Wear a mask while waiting for a table, (3) Wear a mask while walking to your table, (4) Wear a mask when going to the restroom, and (5) Wear a mask upon leaving the restaurant. At least we don’t have to wear a mask while eating (although I have seen at least one person at a restaurant pull their mask down to insert a bite of food in their mouth and then put their mask right back over their mouth to chew their food).
Most of the restaurants I have been to in Orange County aren’t enforcing the mayor’s dictate. They don’t

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Rethinking Discrimination

August 15, 2020

Does discrimination on the basis of sex include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity? For several years now, federal agencies and courts have been split on the issue. Last year, the Supreme Court agreed to hear three cases to settle the matter. And now the court has finally ruled: Discrimination on the basis of sex includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
There is much misunderstanding about discrimination — even among conservatives and libertarians. But first, to understand the court’s decision, we must go back to 1964.
The Civil Rights Act
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964 (shown above). It claimed to be:
An act to enforce the

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What If We Are Wrong?

August 11, 2020

Since the advent of the coronavirus in the United States, we have been told over and over again by every government official and health professional that we should practice social distancing.
To reinforce the importance of social distancing, we have been bombarded with slogans like “Shop smart, stay 6 feet apart,” “Do your part, stay 6 feet apart,” “Safety first, stay 6 feet apart.” And my favorite:  “6 feet apart or 6 feet under.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “Limiting close face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).” We should all practice social distancing, which the CDC explains as: “To practice social or physical

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Thomas Massie vs. the Other 434

August 3, 2020

There are 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Only one would get my vote (if I voted).
Thomas Massie is a Republican who has represented Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District, which stretches across Northern Kentucky and 280 miles of the Ohio River, since 2012. With a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, both from MIT, Massie is a smart guy. But more importantly, he is a friend of the Constitution, liberty, property, and peace; that is, he doesn’t just recite the conservative mantra: his votes in Congress speak for themselves.
The New American magazine publishes four times each term of Congress “The Freedom Index: A Congressional Scorecard Based on the U.S.

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Yes, Mother

July 21, 2020

Those of us who had a good mother growing up were generally given some good and practical advice:
Don’t swim right after you eat.Don’t bite your fingernails.Don’t suck your thumb.Eat your vegetables.Don’t be late for school.Don’t stay out too late.Don’t stay up too late.Do your homework.Wash your hands before you eat.Don’t sleep in too long.Don’t skip breakfast.Put on your coat before you go outside in the cold.Brush your teeth.Look both ways before you cross the street.Don’t take candy from a strangerTake your vitamins.Don’t get into a strange car.
Then the government started to give us what it thought was motherly advice:
Don’t eat eggs.Don’t eat butter.Don’t smoke.Don’t consume trans fat.Don’t breathe in second-hand

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CDC Churches

July 14, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it should never be forgotten, is an agency of the federal government under the umbrella of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The CDC’s official mission is:
CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.
CDC increases the health security of our nation. As the nation’s health protection agency, CDC saves lives and protects people from health threats. To accomplish our mission, CDC conducts critical science and provides

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A Double Whammy

July 6, 2020

“Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry” ~ Acts 17:16
Many Christians recently received a double whammy of blasphemy and idolatry because the Fourth of July fell on a Saturday this year.
Most churches—and especially conservative, evangelical churches—usually have some kind of a patriotic service on the Sunday before the Fourth of July. If you have the misfortune of attending, there you will see the church building and the grounds around the church decorated with American flags, hear special prayers for the troops and government officials, see military personnel wearing their uniforms to church, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, see veterans recognized,

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The US Empire Is Alive and Well

June 30, 2020

Before Donald Trump was elected president, the U.S. military garrisoned the planet with troops and bases. President Trump has been in office now for three and a half years. The U.S. military is still garrisoning the planet with troops and bases.
Oh, but Trump wants to withdraw 10,000 U.S. troops from Germany. Although some bloodthirsty imperialists at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) oppose the withdrawal, and twenty-two militarist, warmonger Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee expressed concern that the withdrawal would “strengthen the position of Russia to our detriment,” Trump is not without criticism since he just wants to move these troops to permanent U.S. bases in Poland.
Moving U.S. troops to Poland

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Masks in a Free Society

June 23, 2020

I think the idea of healthy people wearing face masks when they are out in public is ridiculous, stupid, silly, ludicrous, comical, unhealthy, and harmful, but I offer here a qualified defense of masks in the context of a free society and private property rights.
Not content with playing dictator and issuing decrees for their subjects to stay at home, close their unessential businesses, stop going to parks and playgrounds, and practice anti-social distancing, governors and mayors all around the country are now starting to mandate that all of their subjects wear a face mask when going out in public (unless they are protesting, rioting, or looting).
On June 18, California governor Gavin Newsom ordered California residents statewide

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