I want to thank all of you who have contributed to the conversation on this blog. As you can tell, I haven’t been able to keep it up to date and am therefore going to consolidate much of the content on it to a new domain – GregMcMurdie.com – which will address many of the same subjects, but also cover a much broader range of topics. The new site will be up and running in a few weeks and will be announced via the channels below.

You can continue to find me at:

Twitter – Greg McMurdie
Google+ – Greg McMurdie
Facebook – Greg McMurdie
Instagram – Greg McMurdie
LinkedIn – Greg McMurdie

Thanks again.

Jerry cans are a good way to store gas in preparation for an emergency. Historically, jerrycans were first designed in Germany in the 1930s for military use. In fact they’re called jerry cans because Jerry was a slang word for Germans during the war.

Jerry cans were designed to hold 20 liters of fuel or about 5.3 U.S. gallons. Prior to WWII, Germany had stockpiled thousands in anticipation of war. During the war, the Allies copied the design. They were primarily used by motorized troops to transport fuel efficiently. Rubber hoses were used siphon the fuel from the cans.

Below is a video by Arkansas Prepper that reviews some of the features of well made cans and how to determine fake cans.

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Below are some tips for purchase, storage and use:

  • If you live in California, purchase cans that are CARB compliant.
  • If purchasing old cans, inspect them prior to purchase, check for internal paint flakes or other internal residue, and clean them prior to use.
  • Use Sta-bil or some other fuel stabilizer to keep the fuel fresh while in storage.
  • Rotate the cans – every six months if possible – so the oldest fuel is used first.
  • Periodically check the gaskets or seals in order to minimize leakage.
  • Check with your state or local government for fuel storage regulations.

There are numerous places to purchase jerry cans, from specialized online retailers to army surplus stores to garage sales. A relatively inexpensive place is at Lexington Container Company ($40 a can as of 26-Jul-13).

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Last month, Becky Gerritson, president of the Wetumpka Tea Party testified before The House Ways and Means Committee. Gerritson’s testimony provides a glimpse of a citizen’s perspective of being harassed by the IRS over the Party’s application for a 501(c)4 that originated in October 2010.

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Below are a few of her comments:

I am not here today as a serf or a vassal. I am not begging my lords for mercy. I am a born free, American woman – wife, mother and citizen – and I’m telling MY government that you have forgotten your place. It is not your responsibility to look out for my well being or monitor my speech. It is not your right to assert an agenda. The posts you occupy exist to preserve American liberty. You have sworn to perform that duty. And you have faltered. The abuses I will discuss today occurred on your watch. It is your responsibility to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

In explaining the “facts of [the] case”, Gerritson described the IRS’ demands that she “found alarming and inappropriate”, including:

  • They wanted us to identify our volunteers.
  • They wanted to know if any of our donors or volunteers had run or would be running for office in the near future, remember this was an election year, and they want us to identify the office they would be running for.
  • They wanted us to provide detailed contents of all speeches or forums, names of speakers, or panels and their credentials.
  • Provide copies of the written communication and contents of other forms of communication to legislators.
  • Information regarding our voter education activities, including dates, times and locations of our events.

In winding up her testimony, Gerritson went on to explain:

What the government did to our little group in Wetumpka, Alabama is un-American. This isn’t a matter of firing or arresting a few individuals. The individuals who sought to intimidate us were acting as they thought they should in a government culture that has little respect for its citizens.

Many of the agents and agencies of the federal government do not understand that they are servants of the people. They think they are our masters. And they are mistaken.

I’m not interested in scoring political points. I want to protect and preserve the America I grew up in, the America that people cross oceans and risk their lives to become a part of. And I’m terrified that it’s slipping away.

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Murray Rothbard wrote about rent seeking in his treatise Man, Economy and State. In economic terms, rent seeking is “one of the most important insights in the last fifty years of economics and, unfortunately, one of the most inappropriately labeled . . . The idea is simple but powerful. People are said to seek rents when they try to obtain benefits for themselves through the political arena .  . Economists . . . use the term to describe people’s lobbying of government to give them special privileges. A much better term is ‘privilege seeking’.”1

Rent-SeekingFurthermore, the more government intervenes and subsidizes, the more caste conflict will be created in society, for individuals and groups will benefit only at one another’s expense. The more widespread the tax-and-subsidy process, the more people will be induced to abandon production and join the army of those who live coercively off production. Production and living standards will be progressively lowered as energy is diverted from production to politics and as government saddles a dwindling base of production with a growing and more top-heavy burden of the State-privileged. This process will be all the more accelerated because those who succeed in any activity will invariably tend to be those who are best at performing it. Those who particularly flourish on the free market, therefore, will be those most adept at production and at serving their fellow men; those who succeed in the political struggle for subsidies, on the other hand, will be those most adept at wielding coercion or at winning favors from wielders of coercion. Generally, different people will be in the different categories of the successful, in accordance with the universal specialization of skills. Furthermore, for those who are skilled at both, the tax-and-subsidy system will encourage and promote their predatory skills and penalize their productive ones.2

Government control over providing rent seeking privileges appears to be a popular topic in the Book of Mormon. As Nephite society periodically slipped backed into the “old materialism”3, they became especially enamored with leaders who would provide these privileges – first the king-men, and subsequently the Gadiantons.


  1. Henderson, David R. “Rent Seeking“. Library of Economics and Liberty. Retrieved 17 Jun 2013.
  2. Rothbard, Murray N. Man, Economy, and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles with Power and Market and the Economy. Scholar’s Edition, second edition. Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2009. 942. PDF copy.
  3. Nibley, Hugh W. “Freemen and King-men in the Book of Mormon”.  Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. 17 Jun 2013.

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In 1978, two years following his deportation from the Soviet Union, dissident writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn delivered A World Split Apart, Harvard’s commencement speech. He is perhaps best known as the author of “The Gulag Archipelago” and “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” and winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize in literature.

Aleksandr-SolzhenitsynSolzhenitsyn  was born in the Caucasus town of Kislovodsk in 1918, a year after Red October. His father was a Russian artillery officer on the German front and died in a hunting accident six months before Aleksandr’s birth. At age 12, young Aleksandr “joined the Young Pioneers and later became a member of Komsomol, the Communist youth organization. . . In February 1945, as the war in Europe drew to a close, he was arrested on the East Prussian front by agents of Smersh, the Soviet spy agency. The evidence against him was found in a letter to a school friend in which he referred to Stalin – disrespectfully, the authorities said – as ‘the man with the mustache.’ Though he was a loyal Communist, he was sentenced to eight years in a labor camp. It was his entry into the vast network of punitive institutions that he would later name the Gulag Archipelago, after the Russian acronym for the Main Administration of Camps.”1

At the height of the cold war, and as evidence of today’s polarized societies as described in the Book of Mormon, Solzhenitsyn began2:

The split in today’s world is perceptible even to a hasty glance. Any of our contemporaries readily identifies two world powers, each of them already capable of entirely destroying the other. However, understanding of the split often is limited to this political conception, to the illusion that danger may be abolished through successful diplomatic negotiations or by achieving a balance of armed forces. The truth is that the split is a much profounder and a more alienating one, that the rifts are more than one can see at first glance. This deep manifold split bears the danger of manifold disaster for all of us, in accordance with the ancient truth that a Kingdom — in this case, our Earth — divided against itself cannot stand. . . . How short a time ago, relatively, the small new European world was easily seizing colonies everywhere, not only without anticipating any real resistance, but also usually despising any possible values in the conquered peoples’ approach to life. On the face of it, it was an overwhelming success, there were no geographic frontiers to it. Western society expanded in a triumph of human independence and power. And all of a sudden in the twentieth century came the discovery of its fragility and friability. We now see that the conquests proved to be short lived and precarious, and this in turn points to defects in the Western view of the world which led to these conquests. Relations with the former colonial world now have turned into their opposite and the Western world often goes to extremes of obsequiousness, but it is difficult yet to estimate the total size of the bill which former colonial countries will present to the West, and it is difficult to predict whether the surrender not only of its last colonies, but of everything it owns will be sufficient for the West to foot the bill.


But the blindness of superiority continues in spite of all and upholds the belief that vast regions everywhere on our planet should develop and mature to the level of present day Western systems which in theory are the best and in practice the most attractive. There is this belief that all those other worlds are only being temporarily prevented by wicked governments or by heavy crises or by their own barbarity or incomprehension from taking the way of Western pluralistic democracy and from adopting the Western way of life. Countries are judged on the merit of their progress in this direction. However, it is a conception which developed out of Western incomprehension of the essence of other worlds, out of the mistake of measuring them all with a Western yardstick. The real picture of our planet’s development is quite different.3

Read the rest of this entry »

  1. Kaufman, Michael T. “Solzhenitsyn, 20th-century oracle, dies”. 4 Aug 2008. The New York Times. 25 Mar 2013.
  2. Compare Nibley, Hugh W. “The Prophetic Book of Mormon”. 1989. Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. 25 Mar 2013; hereafter The Prophetic Book of Mormon.
  3. A PDF of his address can be found at “Solzhenitsyn Flays the West”. 25 Apr 2011. Harvard Magazine. 25 Mar 2013.

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