Anything peaceful and voluntary.

Archive for August, 2011

How To Find Education Experts You Can Trust

In October 1991, my husband and I took our two children, ages 6 and 8, out of government school and began our homeschooling adventure. After making this decision, I spent a lot of time searching for education experts who might be able to offer just the right input and advice.

I wasted a lot of time before I finally found the experts I could trust – the experts who really had education and learning figured out.

I clearly remember the day it happened…

I was deep into one of the many books I’ve read about education when my son tugged on my shirt and asked, “Mom, are nuts also seeds?”

“Yes,” I answered quickly, trying to get back to my book.

“Well, where do walnuts come from?”

“From a walnut tree of course,” I replied, not lifting my eyes from the page.

“Oh, so I could grow another tree if I planted them.”

I looked up, annoyed.  “Did you finish your workbook pages yet?”  I wanted to (more…)

Quickening of Social Evolution


Negotiating the Last Rapids, Perhaps
Spencer Heath MacCallum
The Independent Review
A Journal of Political Economy
Vol. II  No. 2  (Fall 1997) (Revised by the author 2011)

The Quickening of Social Evolution
Spencer Heath MacCallum

Years ago I read a translation, supposedly true, of an early Egyptian sequence of hieroglyphs that said in effect that the world was going to the dogs. After listing a number of lamentations, including the disobedience of young people and how they no longer respected their elders, it ended with the observation that “everybody’s trying to write a book.” (more…)

The Somali Way: Rule of Law without the State

The Law of  the Somalis, by Michael van Notten, is a landmark book. See a review of it: (  It is a pioneering study of one of the world’s half-dozen great legal systems. The author, a Dutch legal scholar (and voluntaryist), married into Somalia’s fifth largest clan, the Samaron, and lived the last dozen years of his life with his adoptive kinsmen, taking full advantage of that unique opportunity to study Somali politics and customary law. The book is the first study of (more…)

Miracle of Mata Ortiz


Here are some YouTube pictures of my involvement, 1976-present, with the village of Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Mexico. They were put together for the occasion of the University of Juárez recognizing my promotion of tourism in the region. But the story has to do with the village itself, which in 1976 was desperately poor and fast becoming a ghost town. At best, the villagers raised some beans and corn, and grazed some animals on unfenced mountain range. It was remote, without even a graded road to it and, because of this, (more…)

Enterprise of Community

The Enterprise of Community

Here is one of my most important papers, originally published in the Journal of Libertarian Studies (Vol. 17 No. 4 / Fall 2003). Inspired by the work of Spencer Heath, it explains the close relationship between land and environmental concerns. But it addresses a further question: whether common, community needs might not be handled entrepreneurially just as our private and individual needs are today.

This idea that communities as such might be operated entrepreneurially is uncomfortable for many libertarians, and I was long puzzled as to why. (more…)

If We Are On The Titanic With The Iceberg In Sight

I’m reminded of the Titanic as I see our “ship of state” approaching the iceberg of national bankruptcy. There are only two choices for the person steering the ship with the iceberg already too close to avoid. One is to accept the reality of the iceberg and hold steady to meet it head on, trusting the design of the ship (the “design” of human nature) to withstand the disaster. The other is to react intuitively by trying to turn the ship to avoid the iceberg when it is already clearly too late.

The Titanic chose the second option and sank, killing the majority of the people on board. The Titanic was considered “unsinkable” because it had been designed to withstand a head on collision without sinking. What the designer didn’t anticipate was (more…)

When Government Gives You Regulation, Make Lemonade!

When I was a youth, my sister and I saw our perfect opportunity. It was a sunny summer day in San Francisco (an anomaly right there) and our quiet little neighborhood inconveniently placed on top of a hill was abuzz with the sounds of hammers and saws as there was construction going on right down the block. These two factors seemed to be the perfect alignment for entrepreneurial activity. We had been biding our time and finally found the right moment for our very own lemonade stand. Before that, the closest we had gotten (more…)