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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

First Amendment Schools: Resources for Students, Teachers …

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Jul 222015
 

The Five Freedoms Read More About the Five Freedoms

FAQ at School Learn About Your Rights & Responsibilities at School

Newsmania Quiz Game Play the news trivia game that’s as fresh as today’s headlines

Lesson Plans Review First Amendment Lesson Plans

How Does Your School Rate? Find Out How Well Your School Models First Amendment Principles

Take the First Amendment 101 Challenge Test your knowledge of the First Amendment

ASCD Advocacy Guide Learn how to be respected and effective as an advocate for education policy

Fifth Annual FAS Leadership Conference FAS hosted an annual conference for schools in the FAS Network on June 29-July 2, 2006

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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 | Libertarianism.org

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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 | Libertarianism.org

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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First Amendment – U.S. Constitution – FindLaw

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Jul 212015
 

Amendment Text | Annotations

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.

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libertarianism | politics | Britannica.com

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Jul 212015
 

libertarianism,Locke, JohnOxford Science Archive/Heritage-Imagespolitical philosophy that takes individual liberty to be the primary political value. It may be understood as a form of liberalism, the political philosophy associated with the English philosophers John Locke and John Stuart Mill, the Scottish economist Adam Smith, and the American statesman Thomas Jefferson. Liberalism seeks to define and justify the legitimate powers of government in terms of certain natural or God-given individual rights. These rights include the rights to life, liberty, private property, freedom of speech and association, freedom of worship, government by consent, equality under the law, and moral autonomy (the pursuit of ones own conception … (100 of 4,040 words)

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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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Non-Aggression – Libertarianism.org

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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.

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First Amendment news, articles and information:

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May 252015
 

TV.NaturalNews.com is a free video website featuring thousands of videos on holistic health, nutrition, fitness, recipes, natural remedies and much more.

CounterThink Cartoons are free to view and download. They cover topics like health, environment and freedom.

The Consumer Wellness Center is a non-profit organization offering nutrition education grants to programs that help children and expectant mothers around the world.

Food Investigations is a series of mini-documentaries exposing the truth about dangerous ingredients in the food supply.

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NutrientReference.com is a free online reference database of phytonutrients (natural medicines found in foods) and their health benefits. Lists diseases, foods, herbs and more.

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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

Coast Guard creates First Amendment zone in Puget Sound for anti-Shell protests

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Apr 142015
 

The U.S. Coast Guard, with help from activist groups, has identified an informal First Amendment Zone, just north of Terminal 5, where protesters can take to the water against Shell Oils Arctic drilling fleet when it arrives at the Port of Seattle.

The Shell Arctic drilling rig Polar Pioneer. It was occupied by Greenpeace protesters last week, demonstrating against Shells plans to drill in Arctic waters this summer. It is due soon in Washington waters.

I didnt choose this area: I gave them a chart and asked them where they wanted to be, Capt. Joe Raymond, captain of the port, said Tuesday.

Raymond initiated a meeting on Monday with organizers of a sea of kayaks protest. He described the zone as an excellent place for protesters wishing a high-visibility presence while not interfering with ferries, tugs and other marine traffic in the harbor.

Still, a key player in the anti-Shell protests Greenpeace says no accord was reached at the meeting on where sea-borne protests can take place.

We did not walk away with an agreement on where people can be or how they will conduct themselves, said John Deans, Arctic campaign specialist with Greenpeace.

For us, the questions will be: What do people want to do? Where do people want to be? This is a movement that we are talking about.

If its drilling plan passes final muster with two U.S. Interior Department agencies, Shell intends to operate two drilling rigs and drill two exploratory wells this summer in Alaskas remote Chukchi Sea.

The Shell drilling ship Noble Discoverer drifts near shore near Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island in the summer of 2012 after losing its moorings. Its due back this summer. Photo: Capt. Kristjan B. Laxfoss / AP

The Polar Pioneer occupied at sea last week by six Greenpeace activists is due soon in Washington waters, but will stop in Port Angeles, as first reported Monday by The Stranger.

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Coast Guard creates First Amendment zone in Puget Sound for anti-Shell protests

9 ways in which Nehru was a bad pioneer

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Apr 132015
 

1. The first snooper: So Indias first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru is also the allegedmastermind for Indias first #Snoopgate when it appears that the family of Netaji SubhasChandra Bose was spied upon for the whole of his term as PM.

Information was also exchanged with British intelligence about Netaji and it is clear that Nehrufeared that Netaji was his rival and also may have known that Netaji did not die in a plane crashin 1945. This is an ongoing case and the results are eagerly awaited.

2. The first to suppress dissent: Nehrus rivals like Sardar Vallabhai Patel and CRajagopalachari were suppressed by Mahatma Gandhi before Independence. However after 1947the attitude continued.

Nehru introduced the First Amendment curbing free speech and saw more than half of hisCabinet quit on him. He suppressed regional leaders at the State level too.

3. The first to lose land: After Independence Kashmir was in limbo land and Field MarshallSam Manekshaw has gone on record saying that while Nehru dithered, it was only Patel whoforced the situation for India to take control of Kashmir.

We failed to get the land that is now called Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

4. The first to lose a war: You can defend Nehru for the above saying that in 1947-48 we hadjust won our Independence or that our defence forces were led by British or that the Mahatmawent on a fast unto death to release Pakistani funds which would have been a great bargainingchip.

However 1962 was nothing but disaster. The Chinese first officially asked to buy Aksai Chin andwhen we refused they made moves to take it forcefully. Nehru ignored the plans and woreblinkers even when the Chinese invaded our territory.

Finally at that time the Indian Air Force was far superior to the Chinese Air Force and still Nehrurefused to use it!

5. The first scams: Its not that we have suddenly become corrupt today or after liberalization.Nehrus Licence Raj festered corruption right from Day 1. Nehru and VK Krishna Menon werebest friends.

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9 ways in which Nehru was a bad pioneer

The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom

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Apr 132015
 

Libertarianism the philosophy of personal and economic freedom has deep roots in Western civilization and in American history, and its growing stronger. Two long wars, chronic deficits, the financial crisis, the costly drug war, the campaigns of Ron Paul and Rand Paul, the growth of executive power under Presidents Bush and Obama, and the revelations about NSA abuses have pushed millions more Americans in a libertarian direction. The Libertarian Mind, by David Boaz, the longtime executive vice president of the Cato Institute, is the best available guide to the history, ideas, and growth of this increasingly important political movement.

Boaz has updated the book with new information on the threat of government surveillance; the policies that led up to and stemmed from the 2008 financial crisis; corruption in Washington; and the unsustainable welfare state. The Libertarian Mind is the ultimate resource for the current, burgeoning libertarian movement.

He is a provocative commentator and a leading authority on domestic issues such as education choice, drug legalization, the growth of government, and the rise of libertarianism. Boaz is the former editor of New Guard magazine and was executive director of the Council for a Competitive Economy prior to joining Cato in 1981. The earlier edition of The Libertarian Mind, titled Libertarianism: A Primer, was described by the Los Angeles Times as a well-researched manifesto of libertarian ideas. His other books include The Politics of Freedom and the Cato Handbook for Policymakers.

His articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, National Review, and Slate, and he wrote the entry on libertarianism at the Encyclopedia Britannica. He is a frequent guest on national television and radio shows, and has appeared on ABCs Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, CNNs Crossfire, NPRs Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered, The McLaughlin Group, Stossel, The Independents, Fox News Channel, BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other media.

Virginia: April 16 Hampden-Sydney College: The Libertarian Mind with Author David Boaz April 18 Young Americans for Liberty state convention, Blacksburg: http://www.yaliberty.org/convention/state/2015/va

Texas: April 22 Southern Methodist University: http://oneil.cox.smu.edu/events April 22 Americas Future Foundation, Dallas, TX: https://www.facebook.com/events/433923173452893/

Missouri April 30 St. Louis http://www.cato.org/events/cato-institute-policy-forum-st-louis-april July 7 or 8 Kansas City Public Library

Nevada July 8-11 FreedomFest, Las Vegas

Washington D.C. July 26 31 Washington D.C. Cato University http://www.cato.org/cato-university/2015

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The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom

Volokh Conspiracy: Paul Krugman claims there basically arent any libertarians

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Apr 132015
 

In a recent post , famed economist Paul Krugman claims that there basically arent any libertarians out there because public opinion breaks down neatly along a liberal-conservative spectrum where almost everyone who favors government intervention in the economy is a social liberal and almost everyone who is skeptical of it is a social conservative. But Krugman cites no data to support his conclusion. And, in fact, extensive survey data contradicts it.

The relevant evidence has been catalogued by David Boaz, polling guru Nate Silver (who is far from being a libertarian himself), and economist Bryan Caplan. Depending on what measures you use, anywhere from about 10% to as many as 44 percent of Americans hold generally libertarian views in the sense that they favor strict limits on government power in both the economic and social spheres. I believe the lower estimates are more credible than the higher ones. But even the former are still a substantial fraction of the population.

Most of these people arent as consistent and thoroughgoing in their views as libertarian intellectuals are. But the same can be said of most conservatives and liberals in the general public relative to intellectual advocates of those viewpoints. At least within the Republican Party (which is a major focus of Krugmans post), the percentage of libertarians is rapidly increasing; younger Republicans are much more libertarian on social issues than their elders, while still being skeptical of government intervention in the economy.

Krugman also claims that almost no one holds views that are the opposite of libertarianism: combining social conservatism with support for extensive government intervention in the economy (he calls such people hardhats, though public opinion researchers more commonly call them populists). This too is clearly false. As Boaz and Caplan note, surveys show a substantial number of people who fall into that category. In recent years, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum both ran campaigns for the GOP presidential nomination on such a platform, and both attracted substantial support. Perhaps even more telling, George W. Bushs policies as president included a combination of social conservatism and the biggest new welfare state program in some forty years, as well as a major expansion of federal government involvement in education. Bush and his advisers clearly believed there were enough hardhats out there to make this program politically viable. In Europe, the combination of social conservatism and economic interventionism is even more common than in the US, as witness the recent resurgence of parties such as Frances National Front, which combine right-wing nationalism with support for a large welfare state. As a libertarian myself, Im no fan of hardhat/populist ideologies. But I cant deny that there are large numbers of people who support them.

Admittedly, Krugmans claim might be right if we interpret his framework literally. He defines libertarians as people who combine social liberalism with the view that there should be no social insurance. As David Boaz notes in his critique, the latter is an extreme definition that would exclude such prominent libertarian thinkers as Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek (both of whom were willing to accept a strictly limited welfare state); it would also rule out the vast majority of those people who hold roughly libertarian views in the general population. But if Krugman means that definition literally, it would also prove there are no conservatives either. After all, very few people who consider themselves to be conservatives favor the complete abolition of the welfare state, as opposed to its restriction to levels smaller than that favored by the left. In the 2012 election, the GOP even ran on a platform attacking Obama for supposedly cutting Medicare too much.

Its also possible to try to justify Krugmans claim by arguing that most of those people who hold seemingly libertarian views havent thought carefully about their implications and are not completely consistent in their beliefs. This is likely true. But it is also true of most conservatives and liberals. Political ignorance and irrationality are very common across the political spectrum and only a small minority of voters think carefully about their views and make a systematic attempt at consistency. Libertarian-leaning voters are not an exception to this trend. But it is worth noting that, controlling for other variables, increasing political knowledge tends to make people more libertarian in their views than they would be otherwise.

Finally, Krugman is wrong to suggest that the difference between supporters and opponents of more extensive government intervention in the economy is solely or even primarily about social insurance that breaks down traditional structures of authority. In many places, early expansions of government intervention in the economy were in part intended to reinforce rather than break down traditional structures of authority, which is one reason why it was often pioneered by right-wingers like Otto von Bismarck. More recently, there are have been many forms of government intervention that tend to benefit the relatively affluent and and well-connected interest groups at the expense of the poor. If you dont want to take my word for it, read Krugmans own recent columns on zoning and farm subsidies.

In his critique of Krugmans post, Bryan Caplan suggests that Krugmans neglect of readily available evidence in this case gives us reason to doubt his reliability more generally. I dont go quite that far. As I see it, this is yet another case where a pundit gets into trouble by pontificating on issues outside their expertise.

Even if you are a brilliant Nobel Prize-winning economist like Krugman, its easy to go wrong in commenting on a subject you may not have much knowledge about. Moreover, in dealing with such issues, we are more likely to act like political fans and default to simplistic frameworks that make it easy to feel good about our own views, while dismissing those of the opposition.

In this case, postulating a simplistic one-dimensional distribution of political opinion enables Krugman to claim that virtually all of the people who oppose his views on government intervention in the economy do not, in reality, love liberty, and also to ignore the fact that many people who endorse a large welfare state also have illiberal social views. These assumptions make it easy to divide the world into good guys who want to break down traditional forms of authority and bad guys who want to maintain them. But, however comforting it might be, this approach fails to capture the true distribution of political opinion.

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Volokh Conspiracy: Paul Krugman claims there basically arent any libertarians

The Impact of the First Amendment on American Businesses – Opening Remarks – Video

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Apr 122015
 



The Impact of the First Amendment on American Businesses – Opening Remarks
Dean Donald Tobin delivers the opening remarks at Maryland Carey Law's 2015 JBTL Symposium, “The Impact of the First Amendment on American Businesses.” The symposium facilitated a …

By: Maryland Carey Law

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The Impact of the First Amendment on American Businesses – Opening Remarks – Video

Elbert P. Tuttle Federal Courthouse, First Amendment Audit – Video

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Apr 122015
 



Elbert P. Tuttle Federal Courthouse, First Amendment Audit
Stay cool, Be polite, Assert Your Rights, and Always Film The Police. I am not an attorney. Please seek legal advice from a licensed attorney. The views expressed in the comments section are…

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Elbert P. Tuttle Federal Courthouse, First Amendment Audit – Video

The Impact of the First Amendment on American Businesses – Closing Remarks – Video

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Apr 112015
 



The Impact of the First Amendment on American Businesses – Closing Remarks
Maryland Carey Law Professor Danielle Citron delivers the closing remarks at the 2015 JBTL Symposium, “The Impact of the First Amendment on American Businesses.” The symposium facilitated a…

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The Impact of the First Amendment on American Businesses – Closing Remarks – Video




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