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Libertards / January 24, 2012

Y’all have probably heard of the ancient Sumerian peoples and their penchant for spooky burial rituals and books like the Necronomicon Ex Mortis, which was penned in human blood and has the ability to raise the dead. But did you know they also cared deeply about liberty, freemarkets and private property rights?

Or at least that’s what the Liberty Fund, a libertarian moneybag outfit that bankrolls all sorts of Koch-linked youth-oriented baggertarian propaganda projects, would have you believe. In what must go down as the mother of all cuneiform-malapropisms, the Liberty Fund appropriated a weird looking Sumerian cuneiform symbol as its cult-logo, in what appears to be an attempt to prove that libertarianism is not just an ideology thought up by a bunch of rank 20th century oligarchs, but rather comes from an ancient small government tradition older than even Jesus. It goes back back to the dawn of civilization itself!

If you go onto one of the Liberty Fund’s project websites, the Library for Economics & Liberty, you’ll find this ancient cuneiform symbol at the footer of the home page:

The Liberty Fund-backed website goes on to explain that the significance of the amagi symbol goes deeper than just the word “liberty.” It represents the first popular struggle against big government tyranny:

Lagash was the site of the first recorded social-reform movement. Once considered a relatively free society of farmers, cattle breeders, boatmen, fishermen, merchants, and craftsmen, the Lagashites found that a change in political power had stripped them of their political and economic freedoms and subjected them to heavy taxation and exploitation by wealthy officials.

Sumerian historians believe that at this low point in Lagash’s history, Urukagina became the leader of the Sumerian city-state of Girsu/Lagash and led a popular movement that resulted in the reform of the oppressive legal and governmental structure of Sumeria. … On the tablets of the period is found the first written reference to the concept of liberty (amagi or amargi, literally, “return to the mother”), used in reference to the process of reform…

There’s only problem with Liberty Fund’s lesson in Sumerian history and language: the real meaning of the amagi cuneiform isn’t about abolishing “big government” or abolishing the Fed–nope, it’s about abolishing debts to free citizens from debt slavery. What the history-failures at Liberty Fund hilariously mistranslated was that the term “return to mother” is Sumerian-speak for “jubilee”–as in “debt forgiveness” or “freedom from debt.”

Here’s how David Graeber explains it in his brilliant book Debt: The First 5,000 Years:

Faced with the potential for complete social breakdown, Sumerian and later Babylonian kings periodically announced general amnesties … Such decrees would typically declare all outstanding consumer debt null and void (commercial debts were not affected), return all land to its original owners, and allow all debt-peons to return to their families. Before long, it became more or less a regular habit for kings to make such a declaration on first assuming power, and many were forced to repeat it periodically over the course of their reigns.

In Sumeria, these were called “declarations of freedom”—and it is significant that the Sumerian word amargi, the first recorded word for “freedom” in any known human language, literally means “return to mother”—since this is what freed debt-peons were finally allowed to do.

So in other words, amagi’s not about “freedom” from government interference at all–it’s about welching on your debts and sending Sumerian deadbeats back home to mooch off mommy. “Moochers,” “deadbeats,” “debt welchers”–Now that sounds more like the true face of libertarianism!

Despite the misunderstanding—or maybe because of it—the amagi symbol has become all the rage with baggertarian youngins’ all across the USA, many of whom have been known to get their pasty white hides branded with “deadbeat 4-ever” tats en masse at Koch-sponsored Free State campouts.

So does this make them moocher-bashing moochers? Or maybe closet-freeloader freeloaderphobes?

We’d like to thank Koch operative Peter Eyre for taking the time to maintain an up-to-date bagtard tat page, which includes a big collection of Sumerian deadbeat tats, as well as a nice range of other freemarket groupie ink. Eyre’s got himself branded a “deadbeat” in 2007, back before it was considered cool:

An amagi – one of two tattoos (the other being a quote on my left forearm) I got during a break at the Free State Project’s 2007 Liberty Forum. Months before the conference I researched tattoo shops in the area and had scheduled my session. The amagi appealed to me as the oldest written word/symbol for liberty as it shows these ideas are universal and that rights are not contigent on where one happens to be born but inherent in each individual. Done at Gothic Tattoo in Concord, NH.

Here are a few deabeat tats from Eyre’s ink page:

Sumerian Deadbeat President 2016

Deadbeat #1: This guy’s name is Daryl and he’s running for President 2016…

Deadbeat #2: Nothing says sexy like “deadbeat moocher chick” in Sumerian…

Sumerian Deadbeat 2

Deadbeat #3: Some libertarian dude who thinks wristband tats are macho…

Sumerian Deadbeat: Ass. Professor at Layola

Deadbeat #4: Freeloadin’ Assistant Professor of Economics at Loyola… Totally, brah!


Update: The libertarian “moocher-4-life” campaign has made it across the Atlantic. The official journal of the Hayek Society at the London School of Economics is called “ama-gi,” and sports the awesome Sumerian “freedom for deadbeats” cuneiform. Which is a fitting for a man like Hayek. After all, we here at the eXiled were the ones who first outed Freddie von Hayek as a socialized medicine queen, who sucked on America’s Social Security teat with blessings from his patron and master, Charles Koch.


Want to know more? Read Yasha Levine’s account of LAPD’s appalling treatment of detained Occupy LA protesters…His other Occupy LA coverage…And LA Weekly’s writeup of his arrest.

Yasha Levine is an editor of The eXiled. You can reach him at levine [at]

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Add your own

  • 1. Dimitri Ratz  |  January 27th, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Twitching! Ah.. My eyes!!….. The custome of nailing the pigeon on the boss’ door and sprinkling rice was so popular and widely used that it even found it’s way into the old testament and there till this day. Recent study linked more knowledgeable with left-leaning in the States so editing the Newton comment will only hurt the cause of improving people’s lives and hinder their progration into existance of their choosing. Leaving that fate on your conscience. However, the part about the tattoo went through so there is still hope albight small.

  • 2. Anton  |  January 27th, 2012 at 3:12 am

    Why even bother with trollicide? That blowfly is an intellectual kamikaze anyway. Flies like shit, but that fly is flying straight into its own asshole.

  • 3. Anton  |  January 27th, 2012 at 3:21 am

    One more thing : Albeit it might be a hasty assertion – for reasons perhaps not graspable by the wan cognitive skills of person resembling a puckered rectum – I would dare to venture to state that the best way to make one’s self to look really fucking stupid and retarded is to use convoluted sentences with no substance, like some precocious snotty little girl. Fuck all you libertard girls and the thesaurus you rode in on.

  • 4. Sam Kinison  |  January 27th, 2012 at 4:40 am

    Either get a job, or fuck someone who has a job.

  • 5. Dimitri Ratz  |  January 27th, 2012 at 8:05 am

    You are correct. Without the Nietzsche part it is convoluted. Exiled is correct in avoiding into diverging into many directions and solidifying it’s base if it wants money, power and influence, but that leaves only half the national problems solved.

  • 6. Dimitri Ratz  |  January 27th, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Sorry, I’m just into the whole BDSM.

  • 7. Cernunnos  |  January 27th, 2012 at 9:11 am

    @ 47

    As the AEC seems to have informed you, it’s a fictional book from the Evil Dead series, but the is based on another fictional tome called simply the “Necronomicon” or “Al Azif” featured in the stories of H.P. Lovecraft & friends, though it wasn’t Sumerian nor penned in blood in that universe.

  • 8. Bradford C.  |  January 27th, 2012 at 11:24 am

    If the mighty eXile censor didn’t understand my meaning, Debt Peonage would be the rule of the land if libertards had their way. In which case they’d all wish they could return to their mothers regardless. Libertarians aren’t necessarily deadbeats, they are dead-in-the-head. No spark to crackle.

  • 9. Duncan  |  January 27th, 2012 at 11:59 am

    You guys are right, any one who would suggest a jubilee is deserving of all possible disdain…the banks are instruments of good and all effort must be directed towards their continued success…29.99% interest is both reasonable and honorable in light of the fact that the bankers have worked very hard to maneuver their bank into position to borrow money from the Fed at 0%…we should all remember that, in America, each of us has an equal opportunity to start his own bank, and I, the pathetic young, inexperienced grasshopper bottom troll that I am, am going to pretend like these “libertards”–and notice I’m using the word “libertard” here, as if I’m with you guys in hating the libertarians, but really I am a libertard masquerading as an anti-libertard to push libertard view in my trolling–are trying to deprive us of our God-given chance at the big bucks…no one is supposed to notice (and if you notice, you’re a deadbeat commie pinko fag) that the bankers PAY NOTHING for the money that is created at NO INTEREST, making the bankers the actual freeloaders, printing paper money at the xpense of every other user and holder of that currency…if you notice that, you’re a libertard. See this is where I make my switch–first I was saying that libertards are bad, no I’m implying that they’re not so bad because they want to keep the value of your assets–even though I don’t have any assets, and neither does the rest of America. Remember folks: .1 percent richest Americans have more assets than like 80 percent of the population. So…who really cares about asset/currency values? That’s right folks, the oligarchs! Anyway, moving along now…And another thing, we need to keep up the pressure on these fucktard libertards and the best way to do that is to talk and talk about the problems of the “free market” while actually talking about the problems with the manipulated paper money markets…It’s all about the FUCKING FED DUDE. READ RON PAUL’s END THE FED, DUDE! DUDE! DON’T TREAD ON MY RIGHT TO TREAD ON YOUR FIAT MONEY, BRAH! It matters not one iota that Libertarians believe in free enterprise and honest money–honest as in he who controls the gold controls the universe—we have to hammer tyhem (as in the herb) with the blame for the machinations and fraud that has occurred in the paper market as if those instruments are of, for and by the fucktard libertards…keep up the good work, comrades…

  • 10. Bradford C.  |  January 27th, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    People loved their kings because they could offer boons to the countryside (where The People actually lived) through protection from foreigners and usurers. Who now could say with a straight face that they love the state when teenage girls are beaten in order to protect a bank’s inalienable right to fraudulently foreclose on a house? It was all over the second somebody had enough money to buy the police, which has “American Dream” written all over it throughout labor history to the modern day.

    So now we don’t have to face machineguns like our ancestors, but LRADs & tazer batteries. All so some guy living upstate can let his crotch spawn suckle from the teat of a trust fund for the next forty years. Same problem, just different rules of engagement. Ones that “juries of our peers” aren’t sympathetic towards. Only the wrong way around.

    Quoting from \\WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW\\
    “When you talk about the tactic of sleeping in the park, and occupying certain locations, juries don’t like that,” Rothenberg said. “The juries have not been sympathetic at all.”

    So remember kiddos, if you steal people’s homes through legalistic fraud it will take years of dragging through reluctant DAs before anything gets done about it. In fact they may never have to face a jury without significant public pressure. But taking up public space is frowned upon by a jury comprised of We the People.

    Land of the Thieves, home of the Slave

  • 11. Cum  |  January 27th, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Woah freakout

  • 12. Duncan  |  January 28th, 2012 at 10:32 am

    The bottom-feeders are the pathetic neocollectivists standing in town squares across the country chanting “Throw us a bone!! Throw us a bone!!” instead of standing erect and moving forward to build a new economy based on something that works, rather than plotting in the dark to pursue the loser’s path that has been tread by so many has-been mass murderers…what the 1% has managed to accumulate is PAPER, nothing more. That’s why they were able to acquire so much of it, so fast…it’s just paper. I believe in free enterprise and honest money–there isn’t an “ism” for that. I want robust regulations against fraud and trespass (destroying the environment is trespass)…hasn’t been a lot of attention paid to trespass and fraud lately, if there had been, we wouldn’t be here. I am not young and I am not inexperienced, that’s why it pains me to see such hate and vitriol expressed by so many. Wars start with words just like those being bantered about here. I have seen war, you probably haven’t.It’s easy to talk doo-doo from the comfort of your gaming chair with an endless supply of hot pockets and Red Bull as close as the fridge. And it’s just as easy to come home from a protest, feeling like a combat vet. But there is NO RESTRAINT in war, no lawyers, no legislators no TV cameras (inmost places) to stop the carnage. War is generalized suffering, death and destruction. You hate the Libertarians because the Libertarians have pegged you a “looter”, an epithet which fits you like an Under Armour tee shirt. Libertarians despise fraud and theft–the bankstas represent fraud and you represent theft. Once loosed, there is practically no end to the murder that is unleashed at collectivist hands. First they eat the richest 1%, then they work there way down the chain until anyone with any savings or property at all has been eaten. Then the collectivists begin to starve; nobody left to eat, you see. This is precisely what happened in China and Russia and Cambodia, and it’s what you’ve got in mind for my country, and me, and my family. You won’t leave this comment up, of course. Having come from Russia, you know the value of collective hate and censorship. I won’t try irony again. No, straight forward, in-your-face anti-mass murder will be the rule from now on. Have a nice day

  • 13. Cum  |  January 31st, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Hey man there was tons of genocide in Modern Warfare 3, don’t shit on my gaming chair.

  • 14. Whoopdy Do  |  January 31st, 2012 at 4:18 am

    It’s incredible to me how you could write this article, and all these responders make these long-winded replies, when clearly none of you know the first thing about libertarian principles. I’ve never heard a single libertarian espouse freedom from debt. We just object to being handed the bill for your indebtedness. We are Randroids who are too Galtian to imagine taking on your parasitical moocher debts.

    I would say you’ve all been reading too much progressive propaganda, but that would be libertardian of me. This whole site is an anti-libertard propaganda outlet.

    To anybody coming here for a truly brainwashed alternative view, I would advise you to look elsewhere.

  • 15. Whatever  |  January 31st, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Wow. An entire comment section filled with rabid invective against the Evil Other. Who would have thunk it?

  • 16. MQ  |  February 1st, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Agree with comments above like 19, 20, and 25. Debt jubilees are great and a blow for *real* (as opposed to libertarian) freedom. Notice how libertards have screamed about even the smallest government efforts toward mandating debt forgiveness in this crisis, and likewise about strategic defaults / debt strikes by the common folk (but not by businesses, who do it all the time). Not sure why you are depicting it as ‘mooching’. Maybe it’s because I’m one of those humorless liberals people keep talking about. I don’t know… Anyway, debt forgiveness is key to seeing through libertarian BS too because it hits the point where government and private power merge — state enforcement of exploitative debts incurred to private parties.

  • 17. Ilona  |  February 1st, 2012 at 11:37 am

    As I said before: “Finally! Now we’re getting somewhere!”

  • 18. Ilona  |  February 1st, 2012 at 11:45 am

    @ 54. Sam Kinison

    “Either get a job, or fuck someone who has a job.”

    You job much? Just asking. Good fuck? Just asking.

  • 19. Benson  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 10:29 am

    The symbol kind of looks like someone taking an arrow to the knee. The box with the star in the center is actually a broken window, through which the arrow penetrated on its way to the adventurer’s knee.

  • 20. super390  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Oh boy! Now we’ve reached the part of this cartoon where the libertard trolls show up claiming that banking is not a part of capitalism.

    Next week, another bunch of right-wing trolls show up and tell us the bankers are evil not because they are capitalists, but because they are Jews.

    You know the rest of the cartoon.

  • 21. CB  |  February 3rd, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    @ Whoopdy Doo
    “I’ve never heard a single libertarian espouse freedom from debt.”

    That’s the whole fucking point you idiot — the Sumerian symbol they’re using because they think it represents their ideals actually represents something contrary to their ideals (government cancellation of private debt).

    It’s called “Irony” you nitwit!

  • 22. Duncan  |  February 6th, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Libertarians despise fiat currency in all its manifestations. Many of us would happily hit the “reset” button…

  • 23. super390  |  February 7th, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Duncan, all the evils of debt serfdom in the ancient societies being discussed here happened under the gold standard. As did the debt serfdom that happened under your sick-fantasy libertarian-paradise 19th century. A non-inflating currency has been the fastest guarantee that peasants will fall into a debt hole they can’t climb out of. That was the normal condition of most people in the civilized world under the gold standard. Pre-1933 America also featured constant bank collapses, stock market collapses, depressions, fraud, and land theft. Don’t you know any history at all?

  • 24. Duncan  |  February 28th, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I never said a word about a gold standard…I said “honest money”…another of those either/or tyrannies that leftists are famous for (either corporate medicine or government medicine, either republican or democrat, either liberal or conservative)…there are other ways to create money besides “either fiat or gold”…I am well aware of the FUBAR financial history of the United States, which started, like, ten seconds after we kicked the Brits out and continues without abatement until today…and I never said a word about the 18th or 19th centuries, nor did I say anything about any sort of vision at all, except perhaps the one where I expressed hope that mass murder could be stopped…that must be your point of contention…maybe it’s you that should read a little, or a lot, of history…maybe you should also spend a little time on Amazon and try to find a thinking cap that will help you break out of that “either capitalist or socialist” tyranny that somebody embedded in your brain…

  • 25. Nick  |  May 9th, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I wish you had studied the anthropological facts about the concept of jubilee before you decided to equate it with ‘deadbeat’
    Really, try to get bagjumicated

  • 26. Nestore  |  July 6th, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    oh danny boooooooy, the pipes the pipes are call-all-ling ….

  • 27. Nestore  |  July 6th, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    someone should come up with the cuneiform spelling of

    “i eat asshole 2 dolla yum yum”

    ..and spoof publish a bunch of “scholarly translations” that claim its says “tax and spend liberal”, or “market solutions” or something like that..and see if we can get these twats to tattoo it across thier foreheads.

  • 28. Ryan Poirier  |  July 13th, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Was planning on getting this tattood to myself.. read this… now I definitely am.

    You made absolutely no points at all against the relevance of the tattoo. You cited new information to me actually, and I’m appreciative of the primary sources, but you should go back to school dude.

    Libertarianism is about freedom – slavery is the absolute opposite of freedom! The word was meant about freeing slaves; so how is it not libertarian again?

    Also, why do you call Libertarians moochers? We’re the ones advocating free markets where people can personally manage their own affairs and then either sink or swim.

    I don’t understand your beef with this tattoo because you have no logical beef with it.


    You’re totally right. Yasha Levine is a dumbass, he’s totally wrong, don’t know why we allow him to publish here. You’re making the right decision to get branded with the freedom n liberty tat. Send pic after you’re done to Remember, Ryan, you are a fighter for freedom. Don’t be ashamed, no matter what statists like Yasha Levine say.

  • 29. K  |  October 1st, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Freedom in city states ruled by curly-bearded despots who could steal, rape and kill at will; of course.

  • 30. Gurimbom  |  October 19th, 2012 at 4:51 am

    If the debt was to the king/warlords in the Sumerian kingdom, then the sign is pretty fitting for libertarians, freedom of taxes is one of the primary goals. And there are a lot of knee-jerk reactions on here.. If anyone cares, yes, I’m a bagbot who forgot that libertarians want freedom ONLY from government taxes, but not private taxes imposed by corporate warlords.

  • 31. Brad Spangler  |  October 26th, 2012 at 11:12 am

    There’s no inconsistency here. The observation that amagi referred to debt cancellation simply begs the question of the validity of those my debt to the WIFI enabled vibrating spiked buttplug that all amagi tatted libertarians must have inserted at all times. How else would we know Mr. Koch is pleased with us? That’s human history for you!

  • 32. Casey  |  September 13th, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Well, if you wipe out individual debt, who would that destroy? The banks who hold the debt and their grip on society via big government. You say potato, I say potato.

  • 33. H  |  October 30th, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Only just found this site, and I’m now rather confused. Judging by the comments above, there are at least 70 odd people who know exactly what’s wrong with the world & how to fix it. So, er, why haven’t you?

    Surely no-one could stand up to someone who’s so overwhelmingly correct? Sure, they’d be forced to re-evaluate everything they thought was right, but they would eventually see reason.

    Guess it’s easier to just go to your job every day and convince yourself that you’re not a part of everything you hate because you express your opinions on a website. And I guess it makes life easier to believe that you’d be able to convince everyone of your viewpoints if only they’d just listen, rather than accept you’re just as close-minded and potentially wrong as those you hate.

    But hey, I have plenty of illusions myself (why else would I post this?), far be it for me to knock other people’s.

    I’m just glad that the economy is in such safe hands. After all, the above comments will help to ensure that, right?

  • 34. Bob  |  December 13th, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    To a Randroid dumbfuck like a certain commenter, it was funny to see the ‘donate’ (more like ‘let me mooch off your wealth’) button at the end of this piece of writing. Gold. See, to me it’s like I discovered you being hypocritical or something. Aren’t I fucking clever? My 4chan friends think so!

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