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Its Hip! Its Cool! Its Libertarianism! – By Connor …

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Sep 232015

Calling yourself a libertarian today is a lot like wearing a mullet back in the nineteen eighties. It sends a clear signal: business up front, party in the back.

You know, those guys who call themselves socially liberal but fiscally conservative? Yeah. Its for them.

Today, the ruling class knows that theyve lost the culture wars. And unlike with our parents, they cant count on weeping eagles and the stars n bars to get us to fall in line. So libertarianism is their last ditch effort to ensure a succession to the throne.

Republicans freak you out but think the Democrats are wimps? You must be a libertarian! Want to sound smart and thoughtful in front of your boss without alienating your socially liberal buds? Just say the L-word, pass the coke and everyones happy!

Just look at how they play it up as the cool alternative to traditional conservatism. Its pathetic. George Will wore the bowtie. But Reason magazines Nick Gillespie wears an ironic D.A.R.E. t-shirt. And dont forget the rest of his all-black wardrobe, complete with leather jacket. What a totally with-it badass.


With such a bleak economic forecast for the Millennials, it shouldnt surprise anyone that our elites want to make libertarianism shorthand for political disaffection. Now theres a demographic with some growth potential. And its inspired a lot of poorly-sourced, speculative babble about how the kids have all gone Galt, almost always through the personal anecdotes of young white men.

A couple of months ago, after Harvard released a poll on the political views of Millennials, libertarians took to the internet to tell the world how the youth of America was little more than a giant anarcho-capitalist sleeper cellready to overthrow the state and privatize the air supply at a moments notice. So I took a look at the poll numbers. And you know what? Its utter horseshit.

Right off the bat, were told that 79% of Millennials dont consider themselves politically-engaged at all so, uh, keep that in mind.

Much is made of the fact that less than half of the survey respondents thought the government should provide free health care to those who cant afford it. What they dont mention is that that number (44 percent) is twice the percentage who say they stand against (22 percent) such hand outs. Nearly a third didnt think one way or the other.

Then we hear that the poll proves kids dont care about climate change. But they dont mention that slightly more Millennials wanted the government to do more on that front than theyre doing noweven if it hurt economic growth. Nearly half, you guessed it, neither agree nor disagree. (Come on kids, Rock the Vote!)

More Millennials identify as liberals than conservatives. Hardly any of them (10 percent) support the libertarian-embraced Tea Party. About three-quarters say they despise congressional Republicans.

Nearly two-thirds voted for Obama in 2008. Slightly over half approve of him now. Nearly three-quarters of Millennials hate congressional Republicans. 55% trust in the U.S. military, one of the largest state-socialist programs in the entire world, also responsible for, you know, those wars that libertarians supposedly hate.

Over a quarter put their faith in the federal government all or most of the time, and 55% some of the time. Only 17% answered never. And despite all their supposed Ron Paul love, they trust the globalist United Nations even more than they do the feds.

A little nibble here with only 36% approving of Obamas handling of the budget deficit, but then again, thats actually better than his rating on the deficit with Americans of all ages. Plus, worrying about the budget deficit is how dumb people have tried to sound smart since the days of FDR. And most people are dumb.

And when we finally get down to a hypothetical libertarian match-up between Obama and Ron Paul41 percent pick Obama and only 27 percent pick Paul.

Oh, but the kiddies are cool with gay marriage and tired of bombing brown people overseas? No shit. That just makes them normal people living in the 21st century. Im for single-payer health care and cant stand Barney Frank. Does that mean I sip the Kool-Aid at the Lyndon LaRouche compound?

None of this should be too surprising. For almost two decades, roughly two-thirds of the American public have supported what wed call a moderate European welfare stateputting the average U.S. citizen significantly to the left of the Democratic party, a center/center-right organization saddled, much to their dismay, with a perpetually-disappointed center-left constituency.

But hey, our ruling class would shit a brick if any of that wealth redistribution stuff happened over here. Which is why this is a center-right nation has been a favorite Fox News talking point for over ten years. Its only nowafter Occupy Wall Street forced their handthat the media is finally willing to admit that it might be bullshit.

But libertarianism? Our ruling class is totally fine with that. Smoke your reefer and sodomize whomever you please, just keep your mouth shut and hand over your Social Security account.


Never trust a hippietarian

I get the appeal. The states been sticking it to working folks for decades. It seems almost unimaginable that Big Government could ever be run by us and not the One Percent.

But child labor laws, the Civil Rights act, federal income tax, minimum wage laws, Social Security, Medicare, food safetylibertarians have accused all of them as infringements upon the free market that would lead to economic ruin. And over and over again, theyve been proven wrong. Life goes ona little less gruesomelyand society prospers.

There is no such thing as a free-market, economist Ha-Joon Chang has said repeatedly. A market looks free only because we so unconditionally accept its underlying restrictions that we fail to see them.

In other words, markets are social institutions, just as much under the thumb of politics and government as everything else. Which means theyre subject to democratic pressures, as they should be.

And what you earn from said markets? Chang: All our wages are, at root, politically determined. Despite what Ron Pauls trolls might have you believe, gold Krugerrands dont spray out your asshole every time you type up a spreadsheet or pour a Grande mochachino for your next customer.

Capitalism has always been a product of Big Government. Ever since the railroads of the nineteenth century, to Silicon Valley, Big Pharma and the banks, the Nanny State has been there all along, passing subsidies and tax breaks, and eating the costs the private sector doesnt want.

So whenever a libertarian says that capitalism is at odds with the state, laugh at him. Its like saying that the NFL is at war with football fields. To be a libertarian is to say that God or the universe marked up that field, squirted out the pigskins from the bowels of the earth and handed down the playbooks from Mt. Sinai.


When a Red like me wants to argue for something like universal health care or free college tuition, we can point to dozens of wealthy democratic societies doing just that. The Stalinist left is nothing more than a faint memory. But where are the libertarian Utopias?

General Pinochets Chile was a longtime favorite. But seeing as how it relied on a fascist coupwith a big assist from Nixon and KissingerChiles lost a bit of that Cold War luster. So these days, for the slightly more with-it libertarian, we get Singapore as the model of choice.

Hey, isnt that where the Facebook guy lives these days? Thats pretty hip!

Ah, Singapore: a city-state near the very top in the world when it comes to number of police and execution rate per capita. Its a charming little one-party state where soft-core pornography is outlawed, labor rights are almost nonexistent and gay sex is banned. Expect a caning if you break a window. And death for a baggie of cocaine.

But hey: no capital gains tax! (Freedom!)

Singapore: Libertarian Paradise

Its not like any of this will make it through the glassy eyes of the true-believers. Ludwig von Mises, another libertarian pin-up boy, wrote in 1927 that, Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization.

Lately, Ron Pauls economic advisor has been claiming that Communist Party-ruled China has a freer market than the U.S.s.


So lets talk a little about this freedom theyre always going on about. Or, to paraphrase Lenin, the libertarians ultimate nemesis: freedom for who to do what?

Most American adults spend about half their waking hours at a job. And during that time, libertarians do not give a flying fuck about your liberty. Instead, they condone the most brutal of tyrannies all in the name of a private employers freedom.

Racial discrimination, verbal abuse, random drug testing, body-searches, sexual harassment, illegal termination, email monitoring, union busting, even withholding piss-breaksask any libertarian how they feel about workplace unfreedom and theyll tell you: Hey man, if you dont like it, you have the freedom to get another job. If folks are hiring. But with four-and-a-half applicants for every job, theyre probably not.

Heres another thing libertarians always forget to mention: a free-market capitalist society has never and by definition can never lead to full-employment. It has to be made to byyou guessed itthe Nanny State. Free market capitalism actually requires a huge mass of the unemployedits not just a side effect.

And make no mistake: corporate America loves a high unemployment rate.

When most everyone has a job, workers are less likely to take shit. They do nutty things like join unions, demand better wages and refuse to work off-the-clock. They start to stand up to real power: not to the EPA, and not the King of England, but to their bosses.

But with a real unemployment rate close to 20 percent, that aint happening. Well, fuck. Better sign up for that Big Government welfare state theyre always whining about. Hey, dont worry. You could always sell a little crack and turn a few tricks. Libertarians totally support that.

After all, thats your freedom, dude!


Libertarianism isnt some cutting-edge political philosophy that somehow transcends the traditional left to right spectrum. Its a radical, hard-right economic doctrine promoted by wealthy people who always end up backing Republican candidates, no matter how often they talk about civil liberties, ending the wars and legalizing pot. Funny how that works.

Its the third way for a society in which turning against capitalism or even taking your foot off the pedal is not an option. Thanks to our shitty constitution and the most violent labor history in the West, we never even got a social-democratic party like the rest of the developed world.

So what do we get? The libertarian line: No, no: the problem isnt that were too capitalist. Its that were not capitalist enough!


At a time in which our society has never been more interdependent in every possible way, libertarians think theyre John fucking Wayne looking out over his ranch with an Apache scalp in his belt, or John fucking Galt doingwhatever it is he does. (Collect vintage desk toys from the Sharper Image?)

Their whole ideology is like a big game of Dungeons & Dragons. Its all make-believe, except for the chain-mailthey brought that from home. Elves, dwarves and fair maidens for capital. Even with the supposedly good onesanti-war libertarianswere still talking about people who think Medicares going to lead to Stalinism.

So my advice is to call them out.

Ask them what their beef really is with the welfare state. First, theyll talk about the deficit and say we just cant afford entitlement programs. Well, thats obviously a joke, so move on. Then theyll say that it gives the government tyrannical power. Okay. Let me know when the Danes open a Guantnamo Bay in Greenland.

Heres the real reason libertarians hate the idea. The welfare state is a check against servility towards the rich. A strong welfare state would give us the power to say Fuck You to our bossesthis is the power to say Im gonna work odd jobs for twenty hours a week while I work on my driftwood sculptures and play keyboards in my chillwave band. And Ill still be able to go to the doctor and make rent.

Sounds like freedom to me.

Connor Kilpatrick is the managing editor of Jacobin magazine.

Would you like to know more? Read Thirty More Years of Hell and Silent Majority Millennials by Connor Kilpatrick.

Read more: child labor laws, deficit, democratic party, fascism, fdr, george will, ha-joon chang, libertarian, ludwig von mises, lyndon larouche, medicare, millennials, nick gillespie, pinochet, reason, ron paul, Singapore, social security, socialism, Tea Party, Connor Kilpatrick, Class War For Idiots, Libertards

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Its Hip! Its Cool! Its Libertarianism! – By Connor …

First Amendment of our countrys Bill of Rights

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Sep 102015

Freedom of Speech and of the Press: The First Amendment allows citizens to express and to be exposed to a wide range of opinions and views. It was intended to ensure a free exchange of ideas even if the ideas are unpopular.

Freedom of speech encompasses not only the spoken and written word, but also all kinds of expression (including non-verbal communications, such as sit-ins, art, photographs, films and advertisements). Under its provisions, the media including television, radio and the Internet is free to distribute a wide range of news, facts, opinions and pictures. The amendment protects not only the speaker, but also the person who receives the information. The right to read, hear, see and obtain different points of view is a First Amendment right as well.

But the right to free speech is not absolute. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the government sometimes may be allowed to limit speech. For example, the government may limit or ban libel (the communication of false statements about a person that may injure his or her reputation), obscenity, fighting words, and words that present a clear and present danger of inciting violence. The government also may regulate speech by limiting the time, place or manner in which it is made. For example the government may require activists to obtain a permit before holding a large protest rally on a public street. Freedom of Assembly and Right to Petition the Government: The First Amendment also protects the freedom of assembly, which can mean physically gathering with a group of people to picket or protest; or associating with one another in groups for economic, political or religious purposes.

The First Amendment also protects the right not to associate, which means that the government cannot force people to join a group they do not wish to join. A related right is the right to petition the government, including everything from signing a petition to filing a lawsuit.

Freedom of Religion: The First Amendment’s free exercise clause allows a person to hold whatever religious beliefs he or she wants, and to exercise that belief by attending religious services, praying in public or in private, proselytizing or wearing religious clothing, such as yarmulkes or headscarves. Also included in the free exercise clause is the right not to believe in any religion, and the right not to participate in religious activities.

Second, the establishment clause prevents the government from creating a church, endorsing religion in general, or favoring one set of religious beliefs over another. As the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1947 in Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing Township, the establishment clause was intended to erect “a wall of separation between church and state,” although the degree to which government should accommodate religion in public life has been debated in numerous Supreme Court decisions since then.

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First Amendment – Kids |

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Sep 102015

A Guide to the First Amendment

The First Amendment, sometimes called Amendment 1, is the first amendment to the United States Constitution and is also one out of ten amendments in the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment makes it illegal to make a law that establishes a religion, stops the freedom of speech, stops people from practicing their religion, stops the press from printing what they want, and stops people from exercising their right to assemble peacefully or demonstrating against the government.

Text of the First Amendment

The text of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution is the following:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

What Does the First Amendment Mean?

There are many key phrases in the first Amendment. Here are some explanations on what exactly they mean.

Freedom of religion: The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prevents the government from setting up or establishing an official religion of the country. American Citizens have the freedom to attend a church, mosque, synagogue, temple, or other house of worship of their choice. They can also choose to not be involved in any religion as well. Because of the First Amendment, we can practice our religion however we want to.

Freedom of speech: The First Amendment of the United States Constitution stops the government from making any laws that may stop us from saying what we feel or think. The American people have the right to share their opinions with other people or criticize the government.

Freedom of the press: Freedom of the press means we have the right to get information from many different sources of information. The government does not have the power to control what is broadcasted on radio or TV, what is printed in books or newspapers, or what is offered online. American citizens can request time on TV to respond to any views that they disagree with. They can also write letters to newspapers, which might be printed for others readers to see. Americans can also pass out leaflets that state their opinions. They may also their own online web pages that have their opinions.

Freedom of assembly: American citizens have the right to come together in private and public gatherings. Citizens can join groups for religious, social, recreational, or political reasons. By organizing in order to act on a common idea and accomplish a common goal, American citizens can more easily spread their ideas to others.

Right to petition: The right to petition the government means that American citizens can ask for adjustments or changes in the government. Citizens can do this by collecting signatures for petitions and sending them to elected representatives. They can also call, e-mail, or write to their elected representatives as well. Another way they can petition the government is by creating support groups that try to cause change by lobbying the government.


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Federal court rules that only drug companies, not supplement …

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Sep 102015

(NaturalNews) In a ruling that many holistic healers and homeopathic physicians are likely to find hypocritical, a federal court has handed Big Pharma an unprecedented victory by giving a drug company preliminary approval to market a drug for a condition for which it has yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The drug, Vascepa, manufactured by Amarin Pharma, is approved for use in treating very high levels of fats known as triglycerides over 500 mg per deciliter in a patient’s bloodstream, reports But Amarin also wanted to promote the medication for use in patients who have “persistently high levels” of triglycerides, from 200 to 499 mg/deciliter.

The FDA denied that request earlier this year over concerns that Vascepa would not help such patients avoid heart attacks or heart disease. That decision led Amarin to file suit in court, claiming its First Amendment rights permitted the company to provide information to physicians and other primary care providers.

Providers have long prescribed medications for “off-label” uses those not included in a drug’s literature or for uses not specifically approved by federal regulators but the drug companies have traditionally been banned from marketing their products for such off-label uses.

“This is huge,” Jacob Sherkow, an associate professor at New York Law School, told The Washington Post. “There have been other instances a court has held that off-label marketing is protected by the First Amendment, but… this is the first time, I think, that any federal court that any court has held in such a clear, full-throated way that off-label marketing is protected by the First Amendment, period, full stop.” reported that the case stemmed from a 2012 New York City federal appeals court ruling finding that a Big Pharma sales rep had not violated FDA regulations by promoting off-label use for a drug to treat narcolepsy, Xyrem, because his speech as long as he was not being misleading was protected by the First Amendment. However, in the Amarin case, the FDA said that the Xyrem decision was limited in scope and therefore could not be applied to Vascepa, but Engelmayer disagreed.

However, the parameter of “truthful speech” and a complete statement of facts has proved concerning to some.

“I find the decision very troubling. It’s a big push off on to a very slippery slope, a very steep slippery slope toward removing the government’s authority to limit the claims that drug companies can make about the effectiveness of their products,” Harvard Medical School professor Jerry Avorn told the Post.

“There’s an enormous amount, enormous numbers of statements that drug companies could make about their products that are not overtly fraudulent, but are not the same as a comprehensive review of all the good and bad evidence, that the FDA undertakes when it reviews a drug,” Avorn added.

Makers and consumers of health-related supplements, however, are also decrying the ruling, especially companies whose First Amendment rights have been ignored by courts and the FDA in the past.

In December 2012, we reported that a federal appeals court in New York upheld the free speech rights of a pharmaceutical company regarding off-label uses of Xyrem, even as courts and the FDA were gagging makers of natural supplements.

And in March 2013, we reported that the FDA used a truth-in-labeling regulation in issuing warning letters to a pair of supplement companies whose “crime” was nothing more than having customer-related interactions via the Internet.

It appears that there are two separate standards for Big Pharma and holistic and homeopathic healers.


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What is Libertarianism? – Institute for Humane Studies

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Sep 082015

According to Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary

lib-er-tar-i-an, n. 1. a person who advocates liberty, esp. with regard to thought or conduct. advocating liberty or conforming to principles of liberty.

According to American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition, 2000.

NOUN: 1. One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.

The Challenge of Democracy (6th edition), by Kenneth Janda, Jeffrey Berry, and Jerry Goldman

Liberals favor government action to promote equality, whereas conservativesfavor government action to promote order. Libertarians favor freedom and oppose government action to promote either equality or order.

According to What It Means to Be a Libertarian by Charles Murray, Broadway Books, 1997.

The American Founders created a society based on the belief that human happiness is intimately connected with personal freedom and responsibility. The twin pillars of the system they created were limits on the power of the central government and protection of individual rights. . . .

A few people, of whom I am one, think that the Founders insights are as true today as they were two centuries ago. We believe that human happiness requires freedom and that freedom requires limited government.

The correct word for my view of the world is liberal. Liberal is the simplest anglicization of the Latin liber, and freedom is what classical liberalism is all about. The writers of the nineteenth century who expounded on this view were called liberals. In Continental Europe they still are. . . . But words mean what people think they mean, and in the United States the unmodified term liberal now refers to the politics of an expansive government and the welfare state. The contemporary alternative is libertarian. . . .

Libertarianism is a vision of how people should be able to live their lives-as individuals, striving to realize the best they have within them; together, cooperating for the common good without compulsion. It is a vision of how people may endow their lives with meaning-living according to their deepest beliefs and taking responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

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What is Libertarianism? – Institute for Humane Studies

What Is Libertarian – Institute for Humane Studies

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Sep 052015

According to Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary

lib-er-tar-i-an, n. 1. a person who advocates liberty, esp. with regard to thought or conduct. advocating liberty or conforming to principles of liberty.

According to American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition, 2000.

NOUN: 1. One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.

The Challenge of Democracy (6th edition), by Kenneth Janda, Jeffrey Berry, and Jerry Goldman

Liberals favor government action to promote equality, whereas conservativesfavor government action to promote order. Libertarians favor freedom and oppose government action to promote either equality or order.

According to What It Means to Be a Libertarian by Charles Murray, Broadway Books, 1997.

The American Founders created a society based on the belief that human happiness is intimately connected with personal freedom and responsibility. The twin pillars of the system they created were limits on the power of the central government and protection of individual rights. . . .

A few people, of whom I am one, think that the Founders insights are as true today as they were two centuries ago. We believe that human happiness requires freedom and that freedom requires limited government.

The correct word for my view of the world is liberal. Liberal is the simplest anglicization of the Latin liber, and freedom is what classical liberalism is all about. The writers of the nineteenth century who expounded on this view were called liberals. In Continental Europe they still are. . . . But words mean what people think they mean, and in the United States the unmodified term liberal now refers to the politics of an expansive government and the welfare state. The contemporary alternative is libertarian. . . .

Libertarianism is a vision of how people should be able to live their lives-as individuals, striving to realize the best they have within them; together, cooperating for the common good without compulsion. It is a vision of how people may endow their lives with meaning-living according to their deepest beliefs and taking responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

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What Is Libertarian – Institute for Humane Studies

Essay: John Rawls and Robert Nozick: liberalism vs …

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Aug 152015

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These days , in the occasional university philosophy classroom, the differences between Robert Nozicks Anarchy, State, and Utopia (libertarianism) and John Rawls A Theory of Justice (social liberalism) are still discussed vigorously. In order to demonstrate a broad spectrum of possible political philosophies it is necessary to define the outer boundaries, these two treatises stand like sentries at opposite gatesof the polis

John Rawls, A Theory of Justice. Rawls presents an account of justice in the form of two principles: (1) liberty principle= peoples equal basic liberties such as freedom of speech, freedom of conscience (religion), and the right to vote should be maximized, and (2) difference principle= inequalities in social and economic goods are acceptable only if they promote the welfare of the least advantaged members of society. Rawls writes in the social contract tradition. He seeks to define equilibrium points that, when accumulated, form a civil system characterized by what he calls justice as fairness. To get there he deploys an argument whereby people in an original position (state of nature), make decisions (legislate laws) behind a veil of ignorance (of their place in the society rich or poor) using a reasoning technique he calls reflective equilibrium. It goes something like: behind the veil of ignorance, with no knowledge of their own places in civil society, Rawls posits that reasonable people will default to social and economic positions that maximize the prospects for the worst off feed and house the poor in case you happen to become one. Its much like the prisoners dilemma in game theory. By his own words Rawls = left-liberalism.

Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, libertarian response to Rawls which argues that only a minimal state devoted to the enforcement of contracts and protecting people against crimes like assault, robbery, fraud can be morally justified. Nozick suggests that the fundamental question of political philosophy is not how government should be organized but whether there should be any state at all, he is close to John Locke in that government is legitimate only to the degree that it promotes greater security for life, liberty, and property than would exist in a chaotic, pre-political state of nature. Nozick concludes, however, that the need for security justifies only a minimal, or night-watchman, state, since it cannot be demonstrated that citizens will attain any more security through extensive governmental intervention. (Nozick p.25-27)

the state may not use its coercive apparatus for the purpose of getting some citizens to aid others, or in order to prohibit activities to people for their own good or protection. (Nozick Preface p.ix)



Some Practical Questions for Rawls:

Some Practical Questions for Nozick:

Read The Liberal Imagination of Frederick Douglass for an excellent discussion on the state of liberalism in America today.


Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Robert Nozick. Basic Books. 1974

A Theory of Justice. John Rawls. Harvard University Press. 1971

Disclaimer: This is a forum for me to capture in digital type my understanding of various philosophies and philosophers. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the interpretations.

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Essay: John Rawls and Robert Nozick: liberalism vs …

Portal:Libertarianism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Aug 082015

The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, who remained president and CEO for 35 years until 2012 when he was replaced by John A. Allison, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc., the second largest privately held company (after Cargill) by revenue in the United States.

The Institute’s stated mission is “to broaden the parameters of public policy debate to allow consideration of the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets, and peace” by striving “to achieve greater involvement of the intelligent, lay public in questions of policy and the proper role of government.” Cato scholars conduct policy research on a broad range of public policy issues, and produce books, studies, op-eds, and blog posts. They are also frequent guests in the media.

Cato scholars were critical of George W. Bush’s Republican administration (20012009) on several issues, including the Iraq War, civil liberties, education, agriculture, energy policy, and excessive government spending. On other issues, most notably health care, Social Security, global warming, tax policy, and immigration, Cato scholars praised Bush administration initiatives. During the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Cato scholars criticized both major-party candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama.

The Cato Institute was named the fifth-ranked think tank in the world for 2009 in a study of leading think tanks by James G. McGann, Ph.D. of the University of Pennsylvania, based on a criterion of excellence in “producing rigorous and relevant research, publications and programs in one or more substantive areas of research”. It has been called “Washingtons premier libertarian think tank.”

Ronald Ernest Paul (born August 20, 1935) is a Republican United States Congressman from Lake Jackson, Texas, a physician, a bestselling author, and the fourth-place finisher in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries.

Originally from the Green Tree suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he graduated from Gettysburg College in 1957, then studied at Duke University School of Medicine; after his 1961 graduation and a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, he became a U.S. Air Force flight surgeon, serving outside the Vietnam War zone. He later represented Texas districts in the U.S. House of Representatives (19761977, 19791985, and 1997present). He entered the 1988 presidential election, running as the Libertarian nominee while remaining a registered Republican, and placed a distant third.

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How Laissez-Faire Made Sweden Rich |

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Aug 082015

October 25, 2013 essays

Sweden often gets held up as an example of how socialism can work better than markets. But, as Norberg shows, Swedens history in fact points to the opposite conclusion.

Once upon a time I got interested in theories of economic development because I had studied a low-income country, poorer than Congo, with life expectancy half as long and infant mortality three times as high as the average developing country.

That country is my own country, Swedenless than 150 years ago.

At that time Sweden was incredibly poorand hungry. When there was a crop failure, my ancestors in northern Sweden, in ngermanland, had to mix bark into the bread because they were short of flour. Life in towns and cities was no easier. Overcrowding and a lack of health services, sanitation, and refuse disposal claimed lives every day. Well into the twentieth century, an ordinary Swedish working-class family with five children might have to live in one room and a kitchen, which doubled as a dining room and bedroom. Many people lodged with other families. Housing statistics from Stockholm show that in 1900, as many as 1,400 people could live in a building consisting of 200 one-room flats. In conditions like these it is little wonder that disease was rife. People had large numbers of children not only for lack of contraception, but also because of the risk that not many would survive for long.

As Vilhelm Moberg, our greatest author, observed when he wrote a history of the Swedish people: Of all the wondrous adventures of the Swedish people, none is more remarkable and wonderful than this: that it survived all of them.

But in one century, everything was changed. Sweden had the fastest economic and social development that its people had ever experienced, and one of the fastest the world had ever seen. Between 1850 and 1950 the average Swedish income multiplied eightfold, while population doubled. Infant mortality fell from 15 to 2 per cent, and average life expectancy rose an incredible 28 years. A poor peasant nation had become one of the worlds richest countries.

Many people abroad think that this was the triumph of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, which somehow found the perfect middle way, managing to tax, spend, and regulate Sweden into a more equitable distribution of wealthwithout hurting its productive capacity. And so Swedena small country of nine million inhabitants in the north of Europebecame a source of inspiration for people around the world who believe in government-led development and distribution.

But there is something wrong with this interpretation. In 1950, when Sweden was known worldwide as the great success story, taxes in Sweden were lower and the public sector smaller than in the rest of Europe and the United States. It was not until then that Swedish politicians started levying taxes and disbursing handouts on a large scale, that is, redistributing the wealth that businesses and workers had already created. Swedens biggest social and economic successes took place when Sweden had a laissez-faire economy, and widely distributed wealth preceded the welfare state.

This is the story about how that happened. It is a story that must be learned by countries that want to be where Sweden is today, because if they are to accomplish that feat, they must do what Sweden did back then, not what an already-rich Sweden does now.

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Does The First Amendment Protect The Release of Videos …

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Aug 062015

A Los Angeles court has ordered the Center for Medical Progress not to publish further video exposing Planned Parenthoods sale of aborted babies. Another Federal Court has also barred the release of specific documents pertinent to CMPs investigation. On Federalist Radio today, Ben cuts through the legalese with scholars from Powerline Legal Blog and the Alliance Defense Fund.

Paul Mirengoff, a lawyer and author at Power Line Blog, explains that both courts have made use of prior restraint, an instrument barring free expression before publication. He says that this legal mechanism has long been deemed as unconstitutional and highly unfavorable in most cases.

Casey Mattox, Senior Council for the Alliance Defense Fund, predicts that, in the long run, these videos will keep coming out.

Also during the program, the founder of Puerto Rico Clearing House, Cate Long, explains how that US territory ended up in default for the first time in history.

Click here to listen, or use the embedded link below.

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The First Amendment, as others see it

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Aug 042015

5:48 p.m. CDT July 30, 2015

Gene Policinski Gene Policinski writes the First Amendment column distributed by Gannett News Service. (Gannett News Service, Sam Kittner/First Amendment Center/File)(Photo: SAM KITTNER / GNS)

Theres no doubt that a huge number of Americans are unable to name the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment national survey results each year since 1997 sadly leave little doubt about that circumstance.

On a more positive note, when reminded of the core freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition, our fellow citizens line up behind them in large numbers.

But when it comes to how those freedoms apply in everyday life? Well, its not that theres less support. Rather, less agreement.

About a month ago, the Newseum Institutes First Amendment Center published the results of its annual State of the First Amendment survey and the findings of a follow-up survey that focused on issues around display of the Confederate battle flag. The former was taken before a U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows Texas officials to ban display of the flag on state license plates, and before the killings in Charleston, South Carolina, by an apparent racist who had posed for a photo displaying the flag. The latter survey was taken after both had occurred.

In sum, the two survey results showed a shift in how the public viewed the Texas auto tag ban swinging from opposed to support. And the second survey found that while a majority of white and Hispanic respondents did not attach the same racist meaning to the flag as did black respondents, all three groups favored taking down the battle flag from public monuments and government buildings and approved of private companies removing flag-related items from store offerings.

Some interesting reactions to the reporting of those results have come via email.

In one , noted as a Letter to the Editor, in which the writer complained that the reporting, citing this column, seems to be saying that as long as a majority believes then the First Amendment does not apply. Well, thats hardly the case. Freedom of speech means that you and I and others get to say what we will regardless of majority opinion including, if we wish, public and vigorous display of the Confederate battle flag.

The First Amendment protects our right to speak, but doesnt silence others who are just as free to disagree, criticize and oppose.

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The First Amendment, as others see it

Libertarianism versus other Political Perspectives

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Jul 222015

In simplest terms the primary difference between libertarianism and other political philosophies involves beliefs about the amount of authority government should have over peoples’ personal and business matters.

Liberals want government to focus on doing what is “good,” including providing what is often referred to as “social justice.” To do that, among other policies, liberals expect government to: a)tax corporations and “wealthy” and “high income” citizens heavily to pay for the social justice programs and b)regulate business and personal behavior to the extent necessary for social justice.

Conservatives want government to control “bad,” offensive, and immoral behavior, even if that behavior brings no harm or danger to non-participants. Most often bad is defined based on the prevailing interpretation of Judeo-Christian rules. And, though conservatives tend to express a belief in small government, they usually cannot resist government programs that serve their agenda such as “family values.”

Liberals and conservatives both believe that government’s mission is some combination of: a)making the world better, b)providing moral leadership, and c)protecting people from themselves. Of course conservatives and liberals tend to disagree about what is good and what is moral. And whether or not you agree with those objectives, you are forced to pay for them with your money and/or your liberty. Ironically you pay for liberal and conservative programs, rules, and regulations — with your money and your liberty.

Libertarians believe that goodness is voluntary, morality is personal, human nature cannot be legislated away, and only harm to others should be illegal.

And, though libertarians believe in limited government, as described in the U.S. Constitution, they do not want chaos. Libertarians recognize that government has a clear and critical mission: preserving and enhancing liberty. To achieve that goal government must: a)protect citizens from foreign enemies, b)arrest, try, and punish people that harm or endanger others, and c)make some judgment calls when peoples’ liberties conflict.

When considering where to locate your politics on the Nolan Chart first ask yourself: “How much should government do to make my preferences mandatory?” Then ask yourself, “How much should government control what I do based on what other people think, believe, or want?”

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Libertarianism versus other Political Perspectives

Jeremy Benthams Attack on Natural Rights |

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Jul 222015

June 26, 2012 essays

Smith discusses the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham and why it so alarmed the defenders of natural rights.

In my last four essays, I discussed the ideas of Thomas Hodgskin. No discussion of Hodgskin would be complete without considering his great classic, The Natural and Artificial Right of Property Contrasted (1832). But in order to understand and appreciate this book, we need to know something about the doctrine that Hodgskin was criticizing, namely, the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832). I shall therefore devote this essay to Bentham and then resume my discussion of Hodgskin in the next essay.

Natural-rights theory was the revolutionary doctrine of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, being used to justify resistance to unjust laws and revolution against tyrannical governments. This was the main reason why Edmund Burke attacked natural rightsor abstract rights, as he called themso vehemently in his famous polemic against the French Revolution, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790). Burke later condemned the French Constitution of 1791, which exhibited a strong American influence, as a digest of anarchy.

Similarly, Jeremy Bentham, in his criticism of the French Declaration of Rights (1789), called natural rights anarchical fallacies, because (like Burke) he believed that no government can possibly meet the standards demanded by the doctrine of natural rights. Earlier, a liberal critic of the American Revolution, the English clergyman Josiah Tucker, had argued that the Lockean system of natural rights is an universal demolisher of all governments, but not the builder of any.

The fear that defenders of natural rights would foment a revolution in Britain, just as they had in America and France, alarmed British rulers, causing them to institute repressive measures. It is therefore hardly surprising that natural-rights theory went underground, so to speak, during the long war with France. Even after peace returned in 1815 a cloud of suspicion hung over this way of thinking. Natural rights were commonly associated with the French Jacobins Robespierre and others who had instigated the Reign of Terror so a defender of natural rights ran the risk of being condemned as a French sympathizer, a Jacobin, or (worst of all) an anarchist.

Thus did British liberalism don a new face after 1815, as an atmosphere of peace resuscitated the movement for political and economic reforms, and as many middle-class liberals embraced a non-revolutionary foundation for economic and civil liberties. The premier theory in this regard, which would become known as utilitarianism, was developed by Jeremy Bentham and popularized by his Scottish protg James Mill (the father of John Stuart Mill) and by many other disciples.

Bentham did not originate the utilitarian principle of the greatest happiness for the greatest number; we find similar expressions in a number of eighteenth-century philosophers, such as Hutcheson, Helvetius and Beccaria. For our purpose, the most significant feature of Benthams utilitarianism was its unequivocal rejection of natural rights.

Natural rights, according to Bentham, are simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense, nonsense upon stilts So-called moral and natural rights are mischievous fictions and anarchical fallacies that encourage civil unrest, disobedience and resistance to laws, and revolution against established governments. Only political rights, those positive rights established and enforced by government, have any determinate and intelligible meaning. Rights are the fruits of the law, and of the law alone. There are no rights without lawno rights contrary to the lawno rights anterior to the law.

The significance of Bentham does not lie in his advocacy of social utility, or the general welfare, or the common goodfor this idea, by whatever name it was called, was regarded by many earlier classical liberals as the purpose of legislation, in contradistinction to its standard.

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Jeremy Benthams Attack on Natural Rights |

Anarcho-capitalism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jul 222015

Anarcho-capitalism (anarcho referring to the lack of a state and capitalism referring to the corresponding liberation of capital, also referred to as free-market anarchism,[2]market anarchism,[3]private-property anarchism,[4]libertarian anarchism,[5] among others (see below) and the short term “ancap”) is a political philosophy that advocates the elimination of the state – which distorts market signals, breeds corruption, and institutionalizes monopoly – in favor of individual sovereignty, absence of invasive private property policies and open markets (laissez-faire capitalism). Anarcho-capitalists believe that in the absence of statute (law by decree or legislation), society would improve itself through the discipline of the free market (or what its proponents describe as a “voluntary society”).[6][7] In an anarcho-capitalist society, law enforcement, courts, and all other security services would be operated by privately funded competitors rather than centrally through compulsory taxation. Money, along with all other goods and services, would be privately and competitively provided in an open market. Therefore, personal and economic activities under anarcho-capitalism would be regulated by victim-based dispute resolution organizations under tort and contract law, rather than by statute through centrally determined punishment under political monopolies.[8]

Various theorists have espoused legal philosophies similar to anarcho-capitalism. The first person to use the term, however, was Murray Rothbard, who in the mid-20th century synthesized elements from the Austrian School of economics, classical liberalism, and 19th-century American individualist anarchists Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker (while rejecting their labor theory of value and the norms they derived from it).[9] A Rothbardian anarcho-capitalist society would operate under a mutually agreed-upon libertarian “legal code which would be generally accepted, and which the courts would pledge themselves to follow.”[10] This pact would recognize self-ownership and the non-aggression principle (NAP), although methods of enforcement vary.

Anarcho-capitalists are to be distinguished from minarchists, who advocate a small government (often referred to as a ‘night-watchman state’) limited to the function of individual protection, and from social anarchists who seek to prohibit or regulate the accumulation of property and the flow of capital.

Anarcho-capitalists argue for a society based on the voluntary trade of private property and services (in sum, all relationships not caused by threats or violence, including exchanges of money, consumer goods, land, and capital goods) in order to minimize conflict while maximizing individual liberty and prosperity. However, they also recognize charity and communal arrangements as part of the same voluntary ethic.[11] Though anarcho-capitalists are known for asserting a right to private (individualized or joint non-public) property, some propose that non-state public or community property can also exist in an anarcho-capitalist society.[12] For them, what is important is that it is acquired and transferred without help or hindrance from the compulsory state. Anarcho-capitalist libertarians believe that the only just, and/or most economically beneficial, way to acquire property is through voluntary trade, gift, or labor-based original appropriation, rather than through aggression or fraud.[13]

Anarcho-capitalists see free-market capitalism as the basis for a free and prosperous society. Murray Rothbard said that the difference between free-market capitalism and “state capitalism” is the difference between “peaceful, voluntary exchange” and a collusive partnership between business and government that uses coercion to subvert the free market.[14] (Rothbard is credited with coining the term “Anarcho-capitalism”).[15][16] “Capitalism,” as anarcho-capitalists employ the term, is not to be confused with state monopoly capitalism, crony capitalism, corporatism, or contemporary mixed economies, wherein market incentives and disincentives may be altered by state action.[17] They therefore reject the state, seeing it as an entity which steals property (through taxation and expropriation), initiates aggression, has a compulsory monopoly on the use of force, uses its coercive powers to benefit some businesses and individuals at the expense of others, creates artificial monopolies, restricts trade, and restricts personal freedoms via drug laws, compulsory education, conscription, laws on food and morality, and the like.

Many anarchists view capitalism as an inherently authoritarian and hierarchical system, and seek the expropriation of private property.[18] There is disagreement between these left anarchists and laissez-faire anarcho-capitalists,[19] as the former generally rejects anarcho-capitalism as a form of anarchism and considers anarcho-capitalism an oxymoron,[20][21][22] while the latter holds that such expropriation is counterproductive to order, and would require a state.[8] On the Nolan chart, anarcho-capitalists are located at the northernmost apex of the libertarian quadrant – since they reject state involvement in both economic and personal affairs.[23]

Laissez-faire anarchists argue that the state is an initiation of force because force can be used against those who have not stolen private property, vandalized private property, assaulted anyone, or committed fraud. Many also argue that subsidized monopolies tend to be corrupt and inefficient. Anarchist theorist Rothbard argued that all government services, including defense, are inefficient because they lack a market-based pricing mechanism regulated by the voluntary decisions of consumers purchasing services that fulfill their highest-priority needs and by investors seeking the most profitable enterprises to invest in.[24] Many anarchists also argue that private defense and court agencies would have to have a good reputation in order to stay in business. Furthermore, Linda and Morris Tannehill argue that no coercive monopoly of force can arise on a truly free market and that a government’s citizenry can’t desert them in favor of a competent protection and defense agency.[25]

Rothbard bases his philosophy on natural law grounds and also provides economic explanations of why he thinks anarcho-capitalism is preferable on pragmatic grounds as well. David D. Friedman says he is not an absolutist rights theorist but is also “not a utilitarian”, however, he does believe that “utilitarian arguments are usually the best way to defend libertarian views”.[26]Peter Leeson argues that “the case for anarchy derives its strength from empirical evidence, not theory.”[27]Hans-Hermann Hoppe, meanwhile, uses “argumentation ethics” for his foundation of “private property anarchism”,[28] which is closer to Rothbard’s natural law approach.

I define anarchist society as one where there is no legal possibility for coercive aggression against the person or property of any individual. Anarchists oppose the State because it has its very being in such aggression, namely, the expropriation of private property through taxation, the coercive exclusion of other providers of defense service from its territory, and all of the other depredations and coercions that are built upon these twin foci of invasions of individual rights.

Rothbard in Society and State

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Libertarianism – RationalWiki

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Jun 202015

Libertarians secretly worried that ultimately someone will figure out the whole of their political philosophy boils down to ‘get off my property.’ News flash: This is not really a big secret to the rest of us.

Libertarianism is, at its simplest, the antonym of authoritarianism.[2] The term has been around since the beginning of the 20th century or earlier and was primarily used for self-identification with anarcho-syndicalism and labor movements. In the USA, the term was adopted by the Foundation for Economic Education think tank in the 1950’s[3] to describe a political and social philosophy that advocates laissez-faire capitalism as a panacea for virtually everything. Non-libertarians view this as synonymous with oligarchic plutocracy after the fashion of the American Gilded Age, while the reality-based community tends to realize that one cannot just yank economic theories out of the air and magically expect them to work.

This anti-government phenomenon is found primarily in the United States, likely due to Americans’ extensive experience with dysfunctional government, coupled with their unawareness of the existence of other countries. Historically, and almost everywhere other than America still today, the term has been associated with libertarian socialism and anarchism. The adoption of the libertarian label by advocates of free market economics is an ironic example of their tendency to take credit for other people’s ideas.

The US political party most aligned with libertarianism is the Libertarian Party, “America’s Third Largest Party,”[4] whose candidate obtained 1.3 million, or 0.99% of the popular vote in the 2012 Presidential election.[5] This, compared to 0.32% of the popular vote[6] in the 2004 Presidential election, was considered by many libertarians to be “an improvement.”

There is also an “Objectivist Party,” formed as a spin-off from the Libertarian Party by those who thought that the party’s 2008 presidential candidate, Bob Barr, was too left-wing,[7] and a Boston Tea Party (no connection other than ideological to that other tea party) formed as a spin-off by those who thought the Libertarian Party had become too right-wing on foreign policy and civil liberties after the LP deleted much of its platform in 2006.

Basically everyone agrees with libertarians on something, but they tend to get freaked out just as quickly by the ideologys other stances.

The dominant form of libertarianism (as found in the US) is an ideology based largely on Austrian school economics, which relies on axioms, rather than empirical analysis to inform economic and social policy. That said, the branch of libertarianism that has had the most success in influencing public policy is primarily informed by the Chicago school.

Proponents of libertarianism frequently cite the “Non-Aggression Principle” (NAP) as the moral basis of their ideology. The NAP states that everyone is free to do whatever they want with their lives and property, so long as it does not directly interfere with the freedom of others to do the same. Under this rule, you may only use “force” in response to prior inappropriate force against the life and/or property of yourself or others. Compare and contrast with John Stuart Mill’s “The Harm Principle.” The critical difference is that libertarians completely oppose the preemptive use of force. By contrast, Mill and other classical liberals believe that the preemptive use of force to prevent likely future harm can be justified. Under any logical scrutiny it becomes evident that the precise definition of aggression is highly subjective, supposes a strict libertarian view of property,[11] and hence the non-aggression principle can be used in almost any way its user intends, by changing the definition of aggression to suit their particular opinion/agenda. For example throwing someone in prison for massive tax evasion is seen as an act of aggression by the state, whereas selling someone cigarettes knowing they will kill them is not seen as aggression.

Libertarians frequently oppose taxation (as taxes are “theft of property by force”) for anything aside from a small wish list that libertarians like. The main exceptions are civil courts to handle contract disputes (including fraud) and to handle suits of harm (such as dumping of hazardous chemicals on your land; as opposed to dumping hazardous chemicals on public land, which isn’t an issue for libertarians, because every single person who doesn’t own the land and resources to allow for complete self-sufficiency deserves anything bad that happens to them), criminal courts, police, and an army. As one moves down the ideological spectrum towards the extremes, more and more things normally handled by the police and criminal courts are instead handled by civil courts, and eventually even the civil courts are privatized, i.e., anarcho-capitalism. Government, libertarians believe, is the biggest (and possibly the only) threat to freedom.

Specifically, libertarians are against the use of taxes to deal with externalities, commons, or free rider problems. The frequent answers to these problems involve the extensive use of civil suits to deal with (negative) externalities, and the privatization of all commons, which allows for civil suits to handle harms to this shared “private” property. Of course, these answers are woefully inadequate in practice.[12]

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Libertarianism – RationalWiki

Libertarianism in the United States – Wikipedia, the free …

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Jun 202015

Libertarianism in the United States is a movement promoting individual liberty and minimized government.[1][2] The Libertarian Party, asserts the following to be core beliefs of libertarianism:

Libertarians support maximum liberty in both personal and economic matters. They advocate a much smaller government; one that is limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence. Libertarians tend to embrace individual responsibility, oppose government bureaucracy and taxes, promote private charity, tolerate diverse lifestyles, support the free market, and defend civil liberties.[3][4]

Through 20 polls on this topic spanning 13 years, Gallup found that voters who are libertarian on the political spectrum ranged from 17%- 23% of the US electorate.[5] This includes members of the Republican Party (especially Libertarian Republicans), Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, and Independents.

In the 1950s many with classical liberal beliefs in the United States began to describe themselves as “libertarian.”[6] Academics as well as proponents of the free market perspectives note that free-market libertarianism has spread beyond the U.S. since the 1970s via think tanks and political parties[7][8] and that libertarianism is increasingly viewed worldwide as a free market position.[9][10] However, libertarian socialist intellectuals Noam Chomsky, Colin Ward, and others argue that the term “libertarianism” is considered a synonym for social anarchism by the international community and that the United States is unique in widely associating it with free market ideology.[11][12][13]

Arizona United States Senator Barry Goldwater’s libertarian-oriented challenge to authority had a major impact on the libertarian movement,[14] through his book The Conscience of a Conservative and his run for president in 1964.[15] Goldwater’s speech writer, Karl Hess, became a leading libertarian writer and activist.[16]

The Vietnam War split the uneasy alliance between growing numbers of self-identified libertarians, anarchist libertarians, and more traditional conservatives who believed in limiting liberty to uphold moral virtues. Libertarians opposed to the war joined the draft resistance and peace movements and organizations such as Students for a Democratic Society. They began founding their own publications, like Murray Rothbard’s The Libertarian Forum[17][18] and organizations like the Radical Libertarian Alliance.[19]

The split was aggravated at the 1969 Young Americans for Freedom convention, when more than 300 libertarians organized to take control of the organization from conservatives. The burning of a draft card in protest to a conservative proposal against draft resistance sparked physical confrontations among convention attendees, a walkout by a large number of libertarians, the creation of libertarian organizations like the Society for Individual Liberty, and efforts to recruit potential libertarians from conservative organizations.[20] The split was finalized in 1971 when conservative leader William F. Buckley, Jr., in a 1971 New York Times article, attempted to divorce libertarianism from the freedom movement. He wrote: “The ideological licentiousness that rages through America today makes anarchy attractive to the simple-minded. Even to the ingeniously simple-minded.”[21]

In 1971, David Nolan and a few friends formed the Libertarian Party.[22] Attracting former Democrats, Republicans and independents, it has run a presidential candidate every election year since 1972. Over the years, dozens of libertarian political parties have been formed worldwide. Educational organizations like the Center for Libertarian Studies and the Cato Institute were formed in the 1970s, and others have been created since then.[23]

Philosophical libertarianism gained a significant measure of recognition in academia with the publication of Harvard University professor Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia in 1974. The book won a National Book Award in 1975.[24] According to libertarian essayist Roy Childs, “Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia single-handedly established the legitimacy of libertarianism as a political theory in the world of academia.”[25]

Texas congressman Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns for the Republican Party presidential nomination were largely libertarian. Paul is affiliated with the libertarian-leaning Republican Liberty Caucus and founded the Campaign for Liberty, a libertarian-leaning membership and lobbying organization.

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Libertarianism in the United States – Wikipedia, the free …

The Libertarianism FAQ – CatB

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Jun 202015

Definitions, Principles and History What is a libertarian? What do libertarians want to do? Where does libertarianism come from? How do libertarians differ from “liberals”? How do libertarians differ from “conservatives”? Do libertarians want to abolish the government? What’s the difference between small-l libertarian and big-l Libertarian? How would libertarians fund vital public services? What would a libertarian “government” do and how would it work? Politics and Consequences What is the libertarian position on abortion? What is the libertarian position on minority, gay & women’s rights? What is the libertarian position on gun control? What is the libertarian position on art, pornography and censorship? What is the libertarian position on the draft? What is the libertarian position on the “drug war”? What would libertarians do about concentrations of corporate power? Standard Criticisms But what about the environment? Who speaks for the trees? Don’t strong property rights just favor the rich? Would libertarians just abandon the poor? What about national defense? Don’t you believe in cooperating? Shouldn’t people help each other? Prospects How can I get involved? Is libertarianism likely to get a practical test in my lifetime? Resources Online Books Magazines Libertarian political and service organizations

There are a number of standard questions about libertarianism that have been periodically resurfacing in the politics groups for years. This posting attempts to answer some of them. I make no claim that the answers are complete, nor that they reflect a (nonexistent) unanimity among libertarians; the issues touched on here are tremendously complex. This posting will be useful, however, if it successfully conveys the flavor of libertarian thought and gives some indication of what most libertarians believe.

The word means approximately “believer in liberty”. Libertarians believe in individual conscience and individual choice, and reject the use of force or fraud to compel others except in response to force or fraud. (This latter is called the “Non-Coercion Principle” and is the one thing all libertarians agree on.)

Help individuals take more control over their own lives. Take the state (and other self-appointed representatives of “society”) out of private decisions. Abolish both halves of the welfare/warfare bureaucracy (privatizing real services) and liberate the 7/8ths of our wealth that’s now soaked up by the costs of a bloated and ineffective government, to make us all richer and freer. Oppose tyranny everywhere, whether it’s the obvious variety driven by greed and power-lust or the subtler, well-intentioned kinds that coerce people “for their own good” but against their wills.

Modern libertarianism has multiple roots. Perhaps the oldest is the minimal-government republicanism of the U.S.’s founding revolutionaries, especially Thomas Jefferson and the Anti-Federalists. Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and the “classical liberals” of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were another key influence. More recently, Ayn Rand’s philosophy of “ethical egoism” and the Austrian School of free-market capitalist economics have both contributed important ideas. Libertarianism is alone among 20th-century secular radicalisms in owing virtually nothing to Marxism.

Once upon a time (in the 1800s), “liberal” and “libertarian” meant the same thing; “liberals” were individualist, distrustful of state power, pro-free- market, and opposed to the entrenched privilege of the feudal and mercantilist system. After 1870, the “liberals” were gradually seduced (primarily by the Fabian socialists) into believing that the state could and should be used to guarantee “social justice”. They largely forgot about individual freedom, especially economic freedom, and nowadays spend most of their time justifying higher taxes, bigger government, and more regulation. Libertarians call this socialism without the brand label and want no part of it.

For starters, by not being conservative. Most libertarians have no interest in returning to an idealized past. More generally, libertarians hold no brief for the right wing’s rather overt militarist, racist, sexist, and authoritarian tendencies and reject conservative attempts to “legislate morality” with censorship, drug laws, and obnoxious Bible-thumping. Though libertarians believe in free-enterprise capitalism, we also refuse to stooge for the military-industrial complex as conservatives are wont to do.

Libertarians want to abolish as much government as they practically can. About 3/4 are “minarchists” who favor stripping government of most of its accumulated power to meddle, leaving only the police and courts for law enforcement and a sharply reduced military for national defense (nowadays some might also leave special powers for environmental enforcement). The other 1/4 (including the author of this FAQ) are out-and-out anarchists who believe that “limited government” is a delusion and the free market can provide better law, order, and security than any goverment monopoly.

Also, current libertarian political candidates recognize that you can’t demolish a government as large as ours overnight, and that great care must be taken in dismantling it carefully. For example, libertarians believe in open borders, but unrestricted immigration now would attract in a huge mass of welfare clients, so most libertarians would start by abolishing welfare programs before opening the borders. Libertarians don’t believe in tax-funded education, but most favor the current “parental choice” laws and voucher systems as a step in the right direction.

Progress in freedom and prosperity is made in steps. The Magna Carta, which for the first time put limits on a monarchy, was a great step forward in human rights. The parliamentary system was another great step. The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, which affirmed that even a democratically-elected government couldn’t take away certain inalienable rights of individuals, was probably the single most important advance so far. But the journey isn’t over.

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The Libertarianism FAQ – CatB

Non-Aggression –

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Jun 202015

April 8, 2013 columns

Zwolinski argues that some of the results the non-aggression principle logically leads to mean we ought to question its universal application.

Many libertarians believe that the whole of their political philosophy can be summed up in a single, simple principle. This principlethe non-aggression principle or non-aggression axiom (hereafter NAP)holds that aggression against the person or property of others is always wrong, where aggression is defined narrowly in terms of the use or threat of physical violence.

From this principle, many libertarians believe, the rest of libertarianism can be deduced as a matter of mere logic. What is the proper libertarian stance on minimum wage laws? Aggression, and therefore wrong. What about anti-discrimination laws? Aggression, and therefore wrong. Public schools? Same answer. Public roads? Same answer. The libertarian armed with the NAP has little need for the close study of history, sociology, or empirical economics. With a little logic and a lot of faith in this basic axiom of morality, virtually any political problem can be neatly solved from the armchair.

On its face, the NAPs prohibition of aggression falls nicely in line with common sense. After all, who doesnt think its wrong to steal someone elses property, to club some innocent person over the head, or to force others to labor for ones own private benefit? And if its wrong for us to do these things as individuals, why would it be any less wrong for us to do it as a group as a club, a gang, ora state?

But the NAPs plausibility is superficial. It is, of course, common sense to think that aggression is a bad thing. But it is far from common sense to think that its badness is absolute, such that the wrongness of aggression always trumps any other possible consideration of justice or political morality. There is a vast difference between a strong but defeasible presumption against the justice of aggression, and an absolute, universal prohibition. As Bryan Caplan has said, if you cant think of counterexamples to the latter, youre not trying hard enough. But Im here to help.

In the remainder of this essay, I want to present six reasons why libertarians should reject the NAP. None of them are original to me. Each is logically independent of the others. Taken together, I think, they make a fairly overwhelming case.

Theres more to be said about each of these, of course. Libertarians havent written much about the issue of pollution. But they have been aware of the problem about fraud at least since James Child published his justly famous article in Ethics on the subject in 1994, and both Bryan Caplan and Stephan Kinsella have tried (unsatisfactorily, to my mind) to address it. Similarly, Roderick Long has some characteristically thoughtful and intelligent things to say about the issue of children and positive rights.

Libertarians are ingenious folk. And I have no doubt that, given sufficient time, they can think up a host of ways to tweak, tinker, and contextualize the NAP in a way that makes some progress in dealing with the problems I have raised in this essay. But there comes a point where adding another layer of epicycles to ones theory seems no longer to be the best way to proceed. There comes a point where what you need is not another refinement to the definition of aggression but a radical paradigm shift in which we put aside the idea that non-aggression is the sole, immovable center of the moral universe. Libertarianism needs its own Copernican Revolution.

Matt Zwolinski is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Diego, and co-director ofUSDs Institute for Law and Philosophy. He has publishednumerous articles at the intersection of politics, law, economics, with a special focus on issues of exploitation and political libertarianism. He is the editor of Arguing About Political Philosophy (Routledge, 2009), and is currently writing two books: Exploitation, Capitalism, and the State and, with John Tomasi, Libertarianism: A Bleeding Heart History. The latter is under contract with Princeton University Press. Matt Zwolinski is the founder of and a regular contributor to the blog Bleeding Heart Libertarians.

Non-Aggression –

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The First Amendment…(Historically Speaking) – Episode #21 – Video

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Apr 142015

The First Amendment…(Historically Speaking) – Episode #21
Curtis Kelly joins Frederick Douglass Dixon on this edition of “The First Amendment”.


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The First Amendment…(Historically Speaking) – Episode #21 – Video

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism