Silk Road

Ross Ulbricht was a quiet nerd — an Eagle Scout who never cursed.

Then he became a libertarian, and he decided, "I want to use economic theory as a means to abolish the use of coercion."

By coercion, Ulbricht meant force.

He viewed laws against drugs as coercion — government force that stops people from living the way they want.

So he created a website called Silk Road. Silk Road let people buy and sell contraband — mostly drugs — using bitcoin. The site became successful quickly. It soon carried a billion dollars in transactions.

Because Silk Road didn't use dollars, it was also private, said Ulbricht. "The State is unable to get its thieving murderous mitts on it."

But he was wrong. Ulbricht slipped up, using his real name in an internet forum, and the FBI found him and jailed him.

A jury, looking at his former website, convicted him of things like "conspiracy to traffic narcotics." He was clearly guilty of that.

But then Judge Katherine Forrest said that because "Silk Road was a black market of unprecedented scope" she would sentence Ulbricht to "double life plus 40 years, without parole."

That's a longer sentence than many murderers get.       ... MORE

How Free Are You?
Keep It Closed
Selling Hate
Punish Poor People
Liberate Food Trucks
The Evil Rich
Thankful for Property Rights
Legalize Sex Work
Simpler Tax Simplification
Communism Turns 100
A Private Military
A CNN Smear
Let Them Leave
Disabled by Government
Blame for Disaster
Seeing Alternatives
Regulating Guns
Government's $2 Million Bathroom
Fly Better
Chomsky's Venezuela Lesson
The New York Times' Hostility to Industry Gets Worse
The Drug War Escalation is Stupid and Cruel
Break the Chains
The Next President
Earth Day Dopes
Kindest Cuts
The Bloated Military
Devos Should Have Said
The Rest of the Ballot
What Candidates Won't Say
Admiring Foreign Leaders
Supreme Court Picks
Sausage Party Politics
Neither Dictator nor King
Libertarian Town Hall
Vice Presidential Prospects
Lies Politicians Tell
Beyond Two Evils
Clinton Cash
Ignoring Politicians
Cops, Blacks and Crime
Libertarianism for Beginners
Convicted and Unemployed
Warning: Labels
My Lunch with Hillary
Taught Not to Try
Private is Better
Nasty Politics
Free Market Medicine
Who would Bankrupt America first, Clinton or Trump?
Another Libertarian Moment?
Freedom to Disagree
A Better Choice for 2016
The Art of Trump
Political Promises
Libertarian Lite
Regulating the Future
Joy and Bad Law
Robot Cars
High-Tech Ted
Running On Empty
Economic Myths
Bettors Beat The Pundits
Politicians Without Borders
Pretend Answers on Terror
Liberty, Fraternity, Security
The Smear
Anti-Liberty Politicians
My Trump Problem
Fear, The States' Favorite Tool
Forced Silence
Censorship in America
Escaping Tyranny
The Cult of Victims
Government: Here To Help!
Law and Border
Cutting Red Tape
Market Magic
Ranking The Candidates
Breaking the Rules
Immigration is Great
Gun Lies
Governed by Zealots
The War on Uber
Progress Through State Violence or Smaller Government
Wealth Gap
Heroes, Villains
Mankiller Money
The Anti-Science Left
Green Lies
Socialist "Justice"
Don't Go
Dr. Capitalism
Hillary's Armor
What Creates Jobs?
The Next President
Freedom Of And From Religion
A Right To Discriminate
The Next Bubble
Chicago Fray
What's Fair?
Raping Culture
Kochs And Unions
No Gatekeepers
Spontaneous Order
Owning Ideas
The Better Option
Up-Lyft-Ing Xmas Tale