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Just found this old letter I had published in the ABA’s Young Lawyer division magazine, Barrister (now Young Lawyer), from 1996. I was reminded when I saw this scan of nancy 1996 from a fellow lawyer about it (to right). Coincidentally, I met and became friends years later with Raquel “Rocky” Rodriguez through my involvement with the MultiLaw group.

For a related letter, see my post about “The Enlightened Bar.”

Stephan Kinsella, Esq.
66 Bridle Way · Newtown Square, Pennsylvania 19073 · USA
(215) 751-2157 (work) · (215) 972-7362 (fax) · (610) 325-3360 (home) · kinsella@shsl.com (internet)

January 11, 1996

Diana L. Moro, Editor-in-Chief
Barrister Magazine
Young Lawyers Division
American Bar Association
750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Re:       Letter to editor in response to Raquel Rodriguez’s “Chairperson’s Column” in the Winter 1996 issue of Barrister Magazine

Dear Ms. Moro:

Please consider the following for publication as a letter-to-the-editor in Barrister Magazine.

Raquel A. Rodriguez suggests, in her Winter 1996 “Chairperson’s Column,” that lawyers should support federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), which provides legal services to the poor. Ms. Rodriguez states that this “is not a partisan issue” and implies that all reasonable attorneys “agree on the importance of keeping LSC alive.”

Ms. Rodriguez has a right to her own opinion concerning LSC, but so do others who oppose LSC. I reject her attempt to paint anyone opposing LSC as being outside the mainstream and as therefore wrong. If it is reasonable for Ms. Rodriguez and others to support forced “charity,” despite America’s strong individualist, anti-statist origins, then certainly attorneys that still adhere to the classical liberal wisdom of the Founders can also reasonably oppose socialist policies. Lawyers having a principled opposition to statism and institutionalized aggression against property rights should not be excluded from the realm of reasonable discourse, especially not in the land that gave birth to the Declaration of Independence.

What Ms. Rodriguez is recommending is that attorneys urge Congress to enact laws to forcibly take the property of citizens and redistribute this confiscated property to others. To some this smacks of mob rule and organized theft, which is certainly not something that a supporter of the rule of law should encourage.

And in addition to the ethical (de)merits of programs like the LSC, I am unable to find authority in the U.S. Constitution for Congress to create or fund the LSC. The LSC is clearly unconstitutional, whether one likes it or not, whether the Supreme Court recognizes this or not. As lawyers, and, indeed, as citizens, we have a moral and civic duty to support and defend the Constitution. Indeed, lawyers take a solemn oath to support the Constitution. This duty seems completely forgotten by many lawyers today who agitate for blatantly unconstitutional laws. I would urge that attorneys keep in mind their Constitutional responsibilities and not advocate organized theft or other unconstitutional laws. Far better to encourage respect for individual rights and for the Constitution.

Very truly yours,

Stephan Kinsella



Kinsella Clan Keeps Growing

No no, we’re done having kids. None of this prepper “have a ton of kids” stuff.

Kinsella is for me an interesting name to have inherited (literally, as I’m adopted). It’s not too weird, hard to spell, or ethnic, yet not too common here in the US. Every now and then someone says “say, Kinsella, as in Ray Kinsella, from Field of Dreams“? Yep. Or Sophie Kinsella of Confessions of a Shopaholic—? Yep, but hers is a ‘nym. There’s WP Kinsella, related somehow to that baseball lore of Field of Dreams fame. I can’t keep it straight.

As far as I can tell the Kinsellas came from some county in Ireland. When I visited Ireland as a law student I did see Kinsella sometimes, so it’s more common there than in the US. Apparently it’s rooted in some gaelic thing like “Cinnsealach” or something hard to remember and to care about. Apparently the “same” as Tinsley or Kinsley or Kinsel. Whatever that means—to be “the same”. But apparently they all mean “unclean head.” That’s right, I’m a “dirty-head”.

Since people are stupid they can’t tell the difference between Stephen, Steven, Stefan, and Stephan. And Steffen and Steffond, and so on. So over the years, well, there are enough Kinsellas so that there are some Stephens out there. No Stephans as far as I can tell, but people are too stupid too tell the difference. After all, a and e used to be the same letter, hence the dipthong æ. Or something.

So as my career progressed as did my notoriety in free market/libertarian circles, and on the Internet, occasionally I became aware of a couple of other Kinsellas who were similarly-named: a couple of Stephens. Not Stephan but close enough for regular people to think it’s the same. One is an antitrust (competition) lawyer in Europe, Stephen Kinsella. Another is an economic journalist in Ireland. We’ve talked from time to time. Sometimes we get each other’s emails. We help each other out.

The Irish Economist one, Stephen Kinsella, occasionally receives emails meant for me [stephen.kinsella@ul.ie; Stephen Kinsella, PhD, Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of Limerick, Ireland; see e.g. his bitcoin comment here]. Why? Because people can’t tell e from a. He got one meant for me from Southwest Airlines last year about one of my flights, and helpfully sent it to me. And just a few months ago he received a paper from an anarchist from PorcFest meant for me, but sent to him by accident, which he sent on to me. And he told me: “I’m the Irish economist one. The Irish journalist one was actually one of my students, just to make it more confusing.”

And there is another guy, Nate Kinsella, I think he’s some kind of artist in New York, who gets my emails occasionally, since his is nkinsella@ gmail and mine is nskinsella@gmail, and he graciously forwards them on to me. He’s helped a brother out a few times.

I mean, look, I have this haunting feeling I am the only libertarian Kinsella. Let’s not be fooled by similar surnames. After all, my original surname was Doiron. So… I mean come on. If my brother, sister, and parents are not libertarian, why should these Euro-Kinsellas be? However, I will say my wife and son are pretty damn libertarian. At least I have some influence over them.

Anyway the latest entrant into the Kinsellaverse: someone named Eileen Kinsella, reporting on some copyright-related lawsuit in Australia.

I have half-a-mind to wrangle some of these Kinsellas into a libertarian-themed podcast interview just to see what a disaster it might be.


KOL191 | The Economy with Albert Lu: Can You Own Bitcoin? (1/3)

Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 191.

This is my appearance on Albert Lu’s “The Economy” podcast. This is part 1 of 3. We discussed property rights, bitcoin ownership, intellectual property, and related matters.

Parts 2 and 3 to follow in due course.

And, from a note from Lu:

Audio download (3 parts)

Video below:


Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 190.

This is my talk “On Life without Patents and Copyright: Or, Who Would Pick The Cotton?”, delivered at the Property and Freedom Society, 10th Annual Meeting, Bodrum, Turkey (Sep. 13, 2015).

Video below. This version is taken from my iPhone recording. My notes used for the speech are pasted below. Also below is a video of the Q&A panel session following the talk.

Related: Do Business Without Intellectual Property (Liberty.me, 2014) (PDF).

[click to continue…]


Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 189.

This is an interview I did a few weeks ago with English libertarian Richard Storey. We discuss the nature of libertarianism, its roots in Western Rationalism and how to defend and promote it, property rights and scarcity, the significance of Hoppe’s argumentation ethics, praxeology, Misesian dualism, logical positivism, legal positivism,  and related matters.

Related material:



I am slated to deliver a keynote speech on “Legislation and the State’s Corruption of Private Law—Louisiana’s Special Connection,” for the Louisiana Libertarian Party Annual Convention (tentative topic), to be held at the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino and Hotel (April 16, 2016). More details presently.


My 2011 Mises Daily article, “Argumentation Ethics and Liberty: A Concise Guide,”1 has been translated into Spanish by Mariano Bas Uribe and published at Mises Hispano, as “Ética de la argumentación y libertad: una guía breve.”

My work has so far been translated into 14 languages; online here.

  1. Includes “Discourse Ethics and Liberty: A Skeletal Ebook”; supplemental resourcesarchived version of the comments on the Mises blog. []

Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 188.

I was a guest last night (Sunday night, Aug. 23, 2015) on the Free Talk Live radio show, with hosts Mark Edge and Ian Freeman, discussing the common law, legislation, restitution, and related issues. For background/related:


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