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First Amendment – Institute for Justice

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May 232016
 

Central to the mission of the Institute for Justice is reinvigorating the founding principles of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We seek to defend the free flow of informationinformation that is indispensable to our democratic form of government and to our free enterprise economy.

To protect free speech rights, IJ litigates to protect commercial, occupational and political speech. Because free markets depend on the free flow of information, IJ has long defended the right of business owners to communicate commercial speech to their customers. The Institute for Justice has also litigated groundbreaking cases in defense of occupational speech, protecting authors, tour guides, interior designers and others who speak for a living or offer advice from government regulations designed to stifle or silence their speech. Finally, we have been at the forefront of the fight against laws that hamstring the political speech of ordinary citizens and entrench political insiders. These laws include burdensome campaign finance laws and restrictions on grassroots lobbying.

Through IJs litigation, we seek to ensure that government regulation is constrained and that speakers and listeners are able to freely exchange information on the topics that matter most to them. Speakers and listeners should determine the value of speech, not the government.

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First Amendment – Institute for Justice

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Is Facebook protected under the First Amendment? – May. 12, 2016

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May 172016
 

“If Facebook ignores this request they could receive a subpoena, so I suspect they will cooperate,” said Stephen Strauss, a former journalist who is now an attorney at Bryan Cave specializing in First Amendment issues.

He was referring to a letter sent by Senator John Thune to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seeking an explanation of how Trending stories are selected and whether any conservative stories were taken out of the list or liberal leaning stories were inserted.

Joe Larsen of Sedgwick Law agrees that it would be risky for Facebook to ignore the request.

“That’s just not a good idea, even where… I can see no clear legal basis for Senator Thune’s request,” Larsen said. “I expect Facebook will provide quite a bit of information.”

Related: Did Facebook suppress conservative news?

One piece of what Thune is seeking was revealed Thursday when The Guardian published Facebook’s manual for people who manage the Trending topics feature. Facebook confirmed the veracity of the 20 page document, which reveals that there is a lot of human decision making in choosing the stories on top of what the company’s algorithms suggest. The manual includes when stories can be “injected” into the Trending topics list.

The controversy began on Monday when Gizmodo published a report with anonymous allegations that former contractors had ignored Facebook’s algorithms for its Trending topics section and that links to conservative news stories were “routinely” suppressed.

Thune demanded to know exactly how Facebook decides what news stories to publish and to see a list of all the stories that were previously not distributed or manually inserted into Trending topics.

As a platform that’s used by over 222 million people in the United States, the company is able to influence the perceptions of a large chunk of the U.S. population, Thune said.

Facebook has denied that anyone improperly tinkered with the list or that they were instructed to do so. A company spokesman said, “We have received Sen. Thune’s request for more information about how Trending Topics works, and look forward to addressing his questions.”

Related: Facebook’s ‘trending topics’ spark debate

According to Strauss, Thune’s request was legitimate.

“I think that this situation is different than an inquiry into a news organization’s content,” he said. “In this case Facebook has a ‘trending’ feature, and Facebook affirmatively stated particular standards for this ‘trending’ feature, and now there is some question as to the veracity of those representations.”

Mark Bailen, a media attorney at BakerHostetler, disagrees. He argues that Facebook has the same right to distribute the news “without interference from the government” as any company or individual.

“It’s well established that the government has no role in dictating what is newsworthy,” said Bailen. “The idea that the government is going back and looking into and investigating [Facebook’s activities in distributing the news] conflicts with decades of jurisprudence under the First Amendment.”

Floyd Abrams, a prominent First Amendment attorney, compares Thune’s request to one issued by Congress in the 1970s when politicians sought to require CBS to turn over outtakes of a controversial CBS documentary, “The Selling of the Pentagon.” The network refused and eventually the inquiry was dropped.

“It was an example of a news organization that was prepared to take great risks to defend its editorial independence,” said Abrams.

Related: Senate demands answers from Facebook

“I don’t mean to suggest that Facebook must remain silent when it is under attack. But it should take care not to cede its own hard won authority about what articles to cite or recommend to Congress.”

One issue about this controversy that troubles some is the way that Facebook depicts its role in selecting what news is shown.

“It has always represented itself as an unbiased aggregator of news on its trending site,” according to Larsen. “That is, Facebook says it doesn’t have an editorial position.”

After the Gizmodo report was published, Facebook Trending manager Tom Stocky wrote that the company has “rigorous guidelines in place for the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality.”

Those guidelines don’t allow reviewers to suppress or prioritize political perspectives or media outlets, he says. And these are the guidelines that Thune and others want to know more about.

The company’s official description of the feature is simply: “a list of topics and hashtags that have recently spiked in popularity on Facebook. This list is personalized based on a number of factors, including Pages you’ve liked, your location and what’s trending across Facebook.”

Until the Gizmodo report, many people weren’t aware that Facebook had a team to oversee the Trending Topics feature.

Suzy Fulton, a technology lawyer said that it’s possible someone might sue Facebook based on fraud or deceptive practices — but it would be hard to see what the damages would be, “even assuming you have a valid claim to begin with.”

“We are certainly a litigious society,” she said. “[But] you can opt out, you can go to Fox or some other conservative news media for your news if you feel Facebook is not telling the right story on its Trending Topics.”

CNNMoney (New York) First published May 12, 2016: 1:58 PM ET

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Is Facebook protected under the First Amendment? – May. 12, 2016

What Libertarianism Is | Mises Daily

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Mar 282016
 

Property, Rights, and Liberty

Libertarians tend to agree on a wide array of policies and principles. Nonetheless, it is not easy to find consensus on what libertarianism’s defining characteristic is, or on what distinguishes it from other political theories and systems.

Various formulations abound. It is said that libertarianism is about individual rights, property rights, the free market, capitalism, justice, or the nonaggression principle. Not just any of these will do, however. Capitalism and the free market describe the catallactic conditions that arise or are permitted in a libertarian society, but do not encompass other aspects of libertarianism. And individual rights, justice, and aggression collapse into property rights. As Murray Rothbard explained, individual rights are property rights. And justice is just giving someone his due, which depends on what his rights are.

The nonaggression principle is also dependent on property rights, since what aggression is depends on what our (property) rights are. If you hit me, it is aggression because I have a property right in my body. If I take from you the apple you possess, this is trespass aggression only because you own the apple. One cannot identify an act of aggression without implicitly assigning a corresponding property right to the victim.

So capitalism and the free market are too narrow, and justice, individual rights, and aggression all boil down to, or are defined in terms of, property rights. What of property rights, then? Is this what differentiates libertarianism from other political philosophies that we favor property rights, and all others do not? Surely such a claim is untenable.

After all, a property right is simply the exclusive right to control a scarce resource. Property rights specify which persons own that is, have the right to control various scarce resources in a given region or jurisdiction. Yet everyone and every political theory advance some theory of property. None of the various forms of socialism deny property rights; each version will specify an owner for every scarce resource. If the state nationalizes an industry, it is asserting ownership of these means of production. If the state taxes you, it is implicitly asserting ownership of the funds taken. If my land is transferred to a private developer by eminent domain statutes, the developer is now the owner. If the law allows a recipient of racial discrimination to sue his employer for a sum of money, he is the owner of the money.

Protection of and respect for property rights is thus not unique to libertarianism. What is distinctive about libertarianism is its particular property assignment rules: its view concerning who is the owner of each contestable resource, and how to determine this.

A system of property rights assigns a particular owner to every scarce resource. These resources obviously include natural resources such as land, fruits of trees, and so on. Objects found in nature are not the only scarce resources, however. Each human actor has, controls, and is identified and associated with a unique human body, which is also a scarce resource. Both human bodies and nonhuman, scarce resources are desired for use as means by actors in the pursuit of various goals.

Accordingly, any political theory or system must assign ownership rights in human bodies as well as in external things. Let us consider first the libertarian property assignment rules with respect to human bodies, and the corresponding notion of aggression as it pertains to bodies. Libertarians often vigorously assert the “nonaggression principle.” As Ayn Rand said, “So long as men desire to live together, no man may initiate do you hear me? No man may start the use of physical force against others.” Or, as Rothbard put it:

The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else. This may be called the “nonaggression axiom.” “Aggression” is defined as the initiation of the use or threat of physical violence against the person or property of anyone else. Aggression is therefore synonymous with invasion.

In other words, libertarians maintain that the only way to violate rights is by initiating force that is, by committing aggression. (Libertarianism also holds that, while the initiation of force against another person’s body is impermissible, force used in response to aggression such as defensive, restitutive, or retaliatory/punitive force is justified.)

Now in the case of the body, it is clear what aggression is: invading the borders of someone’s body, commonly called battery, or, more generally, using the body of another without his or her consent. The very notion of interpersonal aggression presupposes property rights in bodies more particularly, that each person is, at least prima facie, the owner of his own body.

Nonlibertarian political philosophies have a different view. Each person has some limited rights in his own body, but not complete or exclusive rights. Society or the state, purporting to be society’s agent has certain rights in each citizen’s body, too. This partial slavery is implicit in state actions and laws such as taxation, conscription, and drug prohibitions.

The libertarian says that each person is the full owner of his body: he has the right to control his body, to decide whether or not he ingests narcotics, joins an army, and so on. Those various nonlibertarians who endorse any such state prohibitions, however, necessarily maintain that the state, or society, is at least a partial owner of the body of those subject to such laws or even a complete owner in the case of conscriptees or nonaggressor “criminals” incarcerated for life. Libertarians believe in self-ownership. Nonlibertarians statists of all stripes advocate some form of slavery.

Without property rights, there is always the possibility of conflict over contestable (scarce) resources. By assigning an owner to each resource, legal systems make possible conflict-free use of resources, by establishing visible boundaries that nonowners can avoid. Libertarianism does not endorse just any property assignment rule, however. It favors self-ownership over other-ownership (slavery).

The libertarian seeks property assignment rules because he values or accepts various grundnorms such as justice, peace, prosperity, cooperation, conflict-avoidance, and civilization. The libertarian view is that self-ownership is the only property assignment rule compatible with these grundorms; it is implied by them.

As Professor Hoppe has shown, the assignment of ownership to a given resource must not be random, arbitrary, particularistic, or biased, if it is actually to be a property norm that can serve the function of conflict-avoidance. Property title has to be assigned to one of competing claimants based on “the existence of an objective, intersubjectively ascertainable link between owner and the” resource claimed. In the case of one’s own body, it is the unique relationship between a person and his body his direct and immediate control over his body, and the fact that, at least in some sense, a body is a given person and vice versa that constitutes the objective link sufficient to give that person a claim to his body superior to typical third party claimants.

Moreover, any outsider who claims another’s body cannot deny this objective link and its special status, since the outsider also necessarily presupposes this in his own case. This is so because, in seeking dominion over the other and in asserting ownership over the other’s body, he has to presuppose his own ownership of his body. In so doing, the outsider demonstrates that he does place a certain significance on this link, even as (at the same time) he disregards the significance of the other’s link to his own body.

Libertarianism recognizes that only the self-ownership rule is universalizable and compatible with the goals of peace, cooperation, and conflict-avoidance. We recognize that each person is prima facie the owner of his own body because, by virtue of his unique link to and connection with his own body his direct and immediate control over it he has a better claim to it than anyone else.

Libertarians apply similar reasoning in the case of other scarce resources namely, external objects in the world that, unlike bodies, were at one point unowned. In the case of bodies, the idea of aggression being impermissible immediately implies self-ownership. In the case of external objects, however, we must identify who the owner is before we can determine what constitutes aggression.

As in the case with bodies, humans need to be able to use external objects as means to achieve various ends. Because these things are scarce, there is also the potential for conflict. And, as in the case with bodies, libertarians favor assigning property rights so as to permit the peaceful, conflict-free, productive use of such resources. Thus, as in the case with bodies, property is assigned to the person with the best claim or link to a given scarce resource with the “best claim” standard based on the goals of permitting peaceful, conflict-free human interaction and use of resources.

Unlike human bodies, however, external objects are not parts of one’s identity, are not directly controlled by one’s will, and significantly they are initially unowned. Here, the libertarian realizes that the relevant objective link is appropriation the transformation or embordering of a previously unowned resource, Lockean homesteading, the first use or possession of the thing. Under this approach, the first (prior) user of a previously unowned thing has a prima facie better claim than a second (later) claimant, solely by virtue of his being earlier.

Why is appropriation the relevant link for determination of ownership? First, keep in mind that the question with respect to such scarce resources is: who is the resource’s owner? Recall that ownership is the right to control, use, or possess, while possession is actual control “the factual authority that a person exercises over a corporeal thing.” The question is not who has physical possession; it is who has ownership.

Thus, asking who is the owner of a resource presupposes a distinction between ownership and possession between the right to control, and actual control. And the answer has to take into account the nature of previously unowned things namely, that they must at some point become owned by a first owner.

The answer must also take into account the presupposed goals of those seeking this answer: rules that permit conflict-free use of resources. For this reason, the answer cannot be whoever has the resource or whoever is able to take it is its owner. To hold such a view is to adopt a might-makes-right system, where ownership collapses into possession for want of a distinction. Such a system, far from avoiding conflict, makes conflict inevitable.

Instead of a might-makes-right approach, from the insights noted above it is obvious that ownership presupposes the prior-later distinction: whoever any given system specifies as the owner of a resource, he has a better claim than latecomers. If he does not, then he is not an owner, but merely the current user or possessor. If he is supposed an owner on the might-makes-right principle, in which there is no such thing as ownership, it contradicts the presuppositions of the inquiry itself. If the first owner does not have a better claim than latecomers, then he is not an owner, but merely a possessor, and there is no such thing as ownership.

More generally, latecomers’ claims are inferior to those of prior possessors or claimants, who either homesteaded the resource or who can trace their title back to the homesteader or earlier owner. The crucial importance of the prior-later distinction to libertarian theory is why Professor Hoppe repeatedly emphasizes it in his writing.

Thus, the libertarian position on property rights is that, in order to permit conflict-free, productive use of scarce resources, property titles to particular resources are assigned to particular owners. As noted above, however, the title assignment must not be random, arbitrary, or particularistic; instead, it has to be assigned based on “the existence of an objective, intersubjectively ascertainable link between owner” and the resource claimed. As can be seen from the considerations presented above, the link is the physical transformation or embordering of the original homesteader, or a chain of title traceable by contract back to him.

Not only libertarians are civilized. Most people give some weight to some of the above considerations. In their eyes, a person is the owner of his own body usually. A homesteader owns the resource he appropriates unless the state takes it from him “by operation of law.” This is the principal distinction between libertarians and nonlibertarians: Libertarians are consistently opposed to aggression, defined in terms of invasion of property borders, where property rights are understood to be assigned on the basis of self-ownership in the case of bodies. And in the case of other things, rights are understood on the basis of prior possession or homesteading and contractual transfer of title.

This framework for rights is motivated by the libertarian’s consistent and principled valuing of peaceful interaction and cooperation in short, of civilized behavior. A parallel to the Misesian view of human action may be illuminating here. According to Mises, human action is aimed at alleviating some felt uneasiness. Thus, means are employed, according to the actor’s understanding of causal laws, to achieve various ends ultimately, the removal of uneasiness.

Civilized man feels uneasy at the prospect of violent struggles with others. On the one hand, he wants, for some practical reason, to control a given scarce resource and to use violence against another person, if necessary, to achieve this control. On the other hand, he also wants to avoid a wrongful use of force. Civilized man, for some reason, feels reluctance, uneasiness, at the prospect of violent interaction with his fellow man. Perhaps he has reluctance to violently clash with others over certain objects because he has empathy with them. Perhaps the instinct to cooperate is a result of social evolution. As Mises noted,

There are people whose only aim is to improve the condition of their own ego. There are other people with whom awareness of the troubles of their fellow men causes as much uneasiness as or even more uneasiness than their own wants.

Whatever the reason, because of this uneasiness, when there is the potential for violent conflict, the civilized man seeks justification for the forceful control of a scarce resource that he desires but which some other person opposes. Empathy or whatever spurs man to adopt the libertarian grundnorms gives rise to a certain form of uneasiness, which gives rise to ethical action.

Civilized man may be defined as he who seeks justification for the use of interpersonal violence. When the inevitable need to engage in violence arises for defense of life or property civilized man seeks justification. Naturally, since this justification-seeking is done by people who are inclined to reason and peace (justification is after all a peaceful activity that necessarily takes place during discourse), what they seek are rules that are fair, potentially acceptable to all, grounded in the nature of things, and universalizable, and which permit conflict-free use of resources.

Libertarian property rights principles emerge as the only candidate that satisfies these criteria. Thus, if civilized man is he who seeks justification for the use of violence, the libertarian is he who is serious about this endeavor. He has a deep, principled, innate opposition to violence, and an equally deep commitment to peace and cooperation.

For the foregoing reasons, libertarianism may be said to be the political philosophy that consistently favors social rules aimed at promoting peace, prosperity, and cooperation. It recognizes that the only rules that satisfy the civilized grundnorms are the self-ownership principle and the Lockean homesteading principle, applied as consistently as possible.

And as I have argued elsewhere, because the state necessarily commits aggression, the consistent libertarian, in opposing aggression, is also an anarchist.

This article is adapted from a “What Libertarianism Is,” in Jrg Guido Hlsmann & Stephan Kinsella, eds., Property, Freedom, and Society: Essays in Honor of Hans-Hermann Hoppe (Mises Institute, 2009). An abbreviated version of this article was incorporated into the author’s speech “Intellectual Property and Libertarianism,” presented at Mises University 2009 (July 30, 2009; audio).

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What Libertarianism Is | Mises Daily

Libertarian History: A Reading List | Libertarianism.org

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Mar 232016
 

November 3, 2011 essays

A guide to books on the history of liberty and libertarianism.

The history of libertarianism is more than a series of scholarly statements on philosophy, economics, and the social sciences. It is the history of courageous men and women struggling to bring freedom to the lives of those living without it. The works on this list give important context to the ideas found on the others.

A History of Libertarianism by David Boaz

This essay, reprinted from Libertarianism: A Primer, covers the sweep of libertarian and pre-libertarian history, from Lao Tzu in the sixth century B.C. to the latest developments of the 21st century. Because its available for free on Libertarianism.org, the essay also includes numerous links to more information about major thinkers and their works. For a general sense of the rich history of the movement for liberty, this is easily the best place to start.

The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution by Bernard Bailyn

Bernard Bailyns Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the ideas that influenced the American Revolution had a profound influence on our understanding of the republics origin by exposing its deeply libertarian foundations. Bailyn studied the many political pamphlets published between 1750 and 1776 and identified patterns of language, argument, and references to figures such as the radical Whigs and Cato the Younger. Because these were notions which men often saw little need to explain because they were so obvious, their understanding was assumed by the Founders and thus not immediately obvious to modern readers. When the Revolution is reexamined with Bailyns findings in mind, theres no way to escape the conclusion that America was always steeped in libertarian principles.

Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement by Brian Doherty

The libertarian movement in America in the 20th century is the focus of this delightful history from Brian Dorhety. Radicals for Capitalism is more the story of the men and women who fought for freedom and limited government than it is an intellectual history of libertarian ideas. But it is an important story because it helps to place the contemporary debate about the place of libertarianism in American politics within the context of a major and long-lived social movement.

The Decline of American Liberalism by Arthur A. Ekirch Jr.

Ekirch traces the history of the liberal idea in the United States from the founding through World War II. He places the high point of true liberalism in the years immediately following the American Revolution, before the federal government began its long march of ever more centralized control over the country. And he shows how this shift has negatively impacted everything from global peace to the economy to individual autonomy.

Against the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free Trade by Douglas A. Irwin

Ever since Adam Smiths Wealth of Nations appeared in 1776, the case for free tradeboth its economic benefits and its moral footingseemed settled. Yet in the ensuing two centuries, many have attempted to restrict freedom of trade with claims about its deleterious effects. Irwins Against the Tide traces the intellectual history of free trade from the early mercantilists, through Smith and the neoclassical economists, and to the present. He shows how free trade has withstood theoretical assaults from protectionists of all stripesand how it remains the most effective means for bringing prosperity and peace to people throughout the world.

The Triumph of Liberty: A 2,000 Year History Told Through the Lives of Freedoms Greatest Champions by Jim Powell

If Radicals for Capitalism is the tale of the men and women who fought for liberty in the 20th century, Jim Powells The Triumph of Liberty fills in the backstory. The book is an exhaustive collection of biographical articles on 65 major figures, from Marcus Tullius Cicero to Martin Luther King, Jr., summarizing their lives, thought, and impact. While not all of them were strictly libertarian, every one of the people Powell covers was instrumental in making the world a freer. For a grand sweep of libertys history through the lives of those who struggled in its name, theres no better source than The Triumph of Liberty.

How The West Grew Rich: The Economic Transformation Of The Industrial World by Nathan Rosenberg and L. E. Birdzell Jr.

The central question that How the West Grew Rich addresses is precisely what its title implies. For thousands of years, human beings lived in unrelieved misery: hunger, famine, illiteracy, superstition, ignorance, pestilence and worse have been their lot. How did things change? How did a relatively few peoplethose in what we call the Westescape from grinding poverty into sustained economic growth and material well-being when most other societies remained trapped in an endless cycle of birth, hardship, and death? This fascinating book tells that story. The explanations that many historians have offeredclaiming that it was all due to science, or luck, or natural resources, or exploitations or imperialismare refuted at the outset, in the books opening chapter. Rosenberg and Birdzell are then free to provide an explanation that makes much more sense.

The State by Franz Oppenheimer

Much political philosophy begins with a social concept theory of the state. Mankind originally existed in a state of nature, and the state only arose when people came together and agreed to give up some of their liberties in exchange for protection of others. Oppenheimer rejects this rosy picture and replaces it with his much more realistic conquest theory, which finds the genesis of states in roving bands of marauders who eventually settled down and turned to taxation when they realized it was easier than perpetual raiding. The State also features Oppenheimers influential distinction between the two means by which man can set about fulfilling his needs: I propose in the following discussion to call ones own labor and the equivalent exchange of ones own labor for the labor of others, the economic means for the satisfaction of needs, while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the political means.

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Cant Explain the Modern World by Deirdre McCloskey

In Bourgeois Dignity, McCloskey offers a different story of economic growth from the common one of capitalism and markets. The West grew rich, she argues, not simply because it embraced trade, but because its cultural ideas shifted, specifically in granting a sense of dignity to the bourgeoisie. It is that dignityand the rhetoric surrounding itthat sparked the Industrial Revolution and, in turn, lead to the modern world. Bourgeois Dignity traces the influence of these changing ideasand uses them to explain not just the rise of the West but also the recent, monumental growth of India and China. The book is the second in a four-volume series, The Bourgeois Era.

Aaron Ross Powell is a Cato Institute research fellow and founder and editor of Libertarianism.org, which presents introductory material as well as new scholarship related to libertarian philosophy, theory, and history. He is also co-host of Libertarianism.orgs popular podcast, Free Thoughts. His writing has appeared in Liberty and The Cato Journal. He earned a JD from the University of Denver.

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First Amendment to the United States Constitution – Wikiquote

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Mar 192016
 

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution, relating to the rights to free speech, a free press, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition, and free exercise of religion, was enacted as part of the Bill of Rights, its ratification occuring on December 15, 1791 with the support of the Virginia Legislature.

The First Amendment, as passed by the House and Senate and later ratified by the States, reads:

Reasonable minds can disagree about how to apply the Religion Clauses in a given case. But the goal of the Clauses is clear: to carry out the Founders plan of preserving religious liberty to the fullest extent possible in a pluralistic society. By enforcing the Clauses, we have kept religion a matter for the individual conscience, not for the prosecutor or bureaucrat. At a time when we see around the world the violent consequences of the assumption of religious authority by government, Americans may count themselves fortunate: Our regard for constitutional boundaries has protected us from similar travails, while allowing private religious exercise to flourish. […] Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?

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First Amendment to the United States Constitution – Wikiquote

First Amendment (U.S. Constitution) – The New York Times

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Mar 192016
 

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In a California case, the justices are considering whether government workers who choose not to join a union may still be required to pay for collective bargaining.

By ADAM LIPTAK

A federal judge has warned that prosecutors may be going too far when they ask witnesses to keep quiet about receiving a subpoena.

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD

Some legal scholars are asking whether it is time to reconsider the clear and present danger standard for curbing the freedom of speech.

By ERIK ECKHOLM

A federal appeals court, in a case involving an Asian-American dance-rock band, struck down part of a law that let the government reject trademarks it deemed offensive or disparaging to others.

By RICHARD SANDOMIR

An array of leading hip-hop artists, including T.I., Big Boi and Killer Mike, filed a Supreme Court brief in support of a high school student punished for posting a rap song that drew attention to complaints about sexual harassment.

The Alabama lawyer opposed The New York Times in a case that resulted in a Supreme Court decision establishing greater leeway for criticism of government officials and other public figures.

By BRUCE WEBER

On university campuses, First Amendment rights are colliding with inclusivity.

By NICHOLAS KRISTOF

Religious Arbitration Used for Secular Disputes | Soros Withdraws $490 Million From Janus Capital

A University of Michigan professor writes that many see this as yet another way the First Amendment is being hijacked.

A new class-action lawsuit says that New York City has a policy and a history of violating protesters constitutional rights.

Congressional Republicans are pushing a bill that would deliberately warp the bedrock principle of religious freedom under the Constitution.

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

As a county clerk, Kim Davis is required to issue marriage licenses to anyone who may legally get married, which includes same-sex couples.

By JESSE WEGMAN

An appeals court upheld restrictions on protesters First Amendment rights to gather and wave signs on the plaza in front of the Supreme Court.

By JACKIE CALMES

See more here:
First Amendment (U.S. Constitution) – The New York Times

What’s wrong with libertarianism – Zompist.com

 Misc  Comments Off on What’s wrong with libertarianism – Zompist.com
Mar 172016
 

“That perfect liberty they sigh for– the liberty of making slaves of other people– Jefferson never thought of; their own father never thought of; they never thought of themselves, a year ago.” — Abraham Lincoln

Apparently someone’s curse worked: we live in interesting times, and among other consequences, for no good reason we have a surplus of libertarians. With this article I hope to help keep the demand low, or at least to explain to libertarian correspondents why they don’t impress me with comments like “You sure love letting people steal your money!”

This article has been rewritten, for two reasons. First, the original article had sidebars to address common objections. From several people’s reactions, it seems that they never read these. They’re now incorporated into the text.

Second, and more importantly, many people who call themselves libertarians didn’t recognize themselves in the description. There are libertarians and libertarians, and sometimes different camps despise each other– or don’t seem to be aware of each other.

If you–

…then this page isn’t really addressed to you. You’re probably more of what I’d call a small-government conservative; and if you voted against Bush, we can probably get along just fine.

On the other hand, you might want to stick around to see what your more fundamentalist colleagues are saying.

Libertarianism strikes me as if someone (let’s call her “Ayn Rand”) sat down to create the Un-Communism. Thus:

Does this sound exaggerated? Let’s listen to Murray Rothbard:

Or here’s Lew Rockwell on Rothbard (emphasis mine):

Thomas DiLorenzo on worker activism: “[L]abor unions [pursue] policies which impede the very institutions of capitalism that are the cause of their own prosperity.” Or Ludwig von Mises: “What is today euphemistically called the right to strike is in fact the right of striking workers, by recourse to violence, to prevent people who want to work from working.” (Employer violence is apparently acceptable.) The Libertarian Party platform explains that workers have no right to protest drug tests, and supports the return of child labor.

On Nietzsche, as one of my correspondents puts it, some libertarians love Nietzsche; others have read him. (Though I would respond that some people idolize executives; others have worked for them.) Nonetheless, I think the Nietzschean atmosphere of burning rejection of conventional morality, exaltation of the will to power, and scorn for womanish Christian compassion for the masses, is part of the roots of libertarianism. It’s unmistakable in Ayn Rand.

The more important point, however, is that the capitalist is the ber-villain for communists, and a glorious hero for libertarians; that property is “theft” for the communists, and a “natural right” for libertarians. These dovetail a little too closely for coincidence. It’s natural enough, when a basic element of society is attacked as an evil, for its defenders to counter-attack by elevating it into a principle.

As we should have learned from the history of communism and fascism, however, contradiction is no guarantee of truth; it can lead one into an opposite error instead. And many who rejected communism nonetheless remained zealots. People who leave one ideological extreme usually end up at the other, either quickly (David Horowitz) or slowly (Mario Vargas Llosa). If you’re the sort of person who likes absolutes, you want them even if all your other convictions change.

The methodology isn’t much different either: oppose the obvious evils of the world with a fairy tale. The communist of 1910 couldn’t point to a single real-world instance of his utopia; neither can the present-day libertarian. Yet they’re unshakeable in their conviction that it can and must happen.

Academic libertarians love abstract, fact-free arguments– often, justifications for why property is an absolute right. As a random example, from one James Craig Green:

Examples of natural property in land and water resources have already been given, but deserve more detail. An illustration of how this would be accomplished is a farm with irrigation ditches to grow crops in dry western states. To appropriate unowned natural resources, a settler used his labor to clear the land and dug ditches to carry water from a river for irrigation. Crops were planted, buildings were constructed, and the property thus created was protected by the owner from aggression or the later claims of others. This process was a legitimate creation of property.

The first paragraph is pure fantasy, and is simply untrue as a portrait of “primitive tribes”, which are generally extremely collectivist by American standards. The second sounds good precisely because it leaves out all the actual facts of American history: the settlers’ land was not “unowned” but stolen from the Indians by state conquest (and much of it stolen from the Mexicans as well); the lands were granted to the settlers by government; the communities were linked to the national economy by railroads founded by government grant; the crops were adapted to local conditions by land grant colleges.

Thanks to my essay on taxes, I routinely get mail featuring impassioned harangues which never once mention a real-world fact– or which simply make up the statistics they want.

This sort of balls-out aggressivity probably wins points at parties, where no one is going to take down an almanac and check their figures; but to me it’s a cardinal sin. If someone has an answer for everything, advocates changes which have never been tried, and presents dishonest evidence, he’s a crackpot. If a man has no doubts, it’s because his hypothesis is unfalsifiable.

Distaste for facts isn’t merely a habit of a few Internet cranks; it’s actually libertarian doctrine, the foundation of the ‘Austrian school’. Here’s Ludwig von Mises in Epistemological Problems of Economics:

The ‘other sources’ turn out to be armchair ruminations on how things must be. It’s true enough that economics is not physics; but that’s not warrant to turn our backs on the methods of science and return to scholastic speculation. Economics should always move in the direction of science, experiment, and falsifiability. If it were really true that it cannot, then no one, including the libertarians, would be entitled to strong belief in any economic program.

Some people aren’t much bothered by libertarianism’s lack of real-world success. After all, they argue, if no one tried anything new, nothing would ever change.

In fact, I’m all for experimentation; that’s how we learn. Create a libertarian state. But run it as a proper experiment. Start small-scale. Establish exactly how your claims will be tested: per capita income? median income? life expectancy? property value? surveys on happiness? Set up a control: e.g. begin with two communities as close as we can get them in size, initial wealth, resources, and culture, one following liberalism, one following libertarianism. Abide by the results– no changing the goalposts if the liberals happen to “win”.

I’m even willing to look at partial tests. If an ideology is really better than others at producing general prosperity, then following it partially should produce partially better results. Jonathan Kwitny suggested comparing a partly socialist system (e.g. Tanzania) to a partly capitalist one (e.g. Kenya). (Kenya looked a lot better.) If the tests are partial, of course, we’ll want more of them; but human experience is pretty broad.

It’s the libertarians, not me, who stand in the way of such accountability. If I point out examples of nations partially following libertarian views– we’ll get to this below– I’m told that they don’t count: only Pure Real Libertarianism Of My Own Camp can be tested.

Again, all-or-nothing thinking generally goes with intellectual fraud. If a system is untestable, it’s because its proponents fear testing. By contrast, I’m confident enough in liberal and scientific values that I’m happy to see even partial adoption. Even a little freedom is better than dictatorship. Even a little science is better than ideology.

An untested political system unfortunately has great rhetorical appeal. Since we can’t see it in action, we can’t point out its obvious faults, while the ideologue can be caustic about everything that has actually been tried, and which has inevitably fallen short of perfection. Perhaps that’s why Dave Barry and Trey Parker are libertarians. But I’d rather vote for a politician who’s shown that his programs work in the real world than for a humorist, however amusing.

At this point some libertarian readers are pumping their hands in the air like a piston, anxious to explain that their ideal isn’t Rothbard or von Mises or Hayek, but the Founding Fathers.

Nice try. Everybody wants the Founders on their side; but it was a different country back then– 95% agricultural, low density, highly homogenous, primitive in technology– and modern libertarianism simply doesn’t apply. (The OED’s citations of the word for the time are all theological.)

All American political movements have their roots in the 1700s– indeed, in the winning side, since Loyalist opinion essentially disappeared. We are all– liberals, conservatives, libertarians– against the Georgian monarchy and for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You can certainly find places where one Founder or another rants against government; you can find other places where one Founder or another rants against rebellion, anarchy, and the opponents of federalism. Sometimes the same Founder can be quoted on both sides. They were a mixed bunch, and lived long enough lives to encounter different situations.

The Constitution is above all a definition of a strengthened government, and the Federalist Papers are an extended argument for it. The Founders negotiated a balance between a government that was arbitrary and coercive (their experience as British colonial subjects) and one that was powerless and divided (the failed Articles of Confederation).

The Founders didn’t anticipate the New Deal– there was no need for them to– but they were as quick to resort to the resources of the state as any modern liberal. Ben Franklin, for instance, played the Pennsylvania legislature like a violin– using it to fund a hospital he wanted to establish, for instance. Obviously he had no qualms about using state power to do good social works.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Founders’ words were nobler than their deeds. Most were quite comfortable with slave-owning, for instance. No one worried about women’s consent to be governed. Washington’s own administration made it a crime to criticize the government. And as Robert Allen Rutland reminds us,

The process of giving life to our constitutional rights has largely been the work of liberals. On the greatest fight of all, to treat blacks as human beings, libertarians supported the other side.

Crackpots are usually harmless; how about the Libertarian Party?

In itself, I’m afraid, it’s nothing but a footnote. It gets no more than 1% of the vote– a showing that’s been surpassed historically by the Anti-Masonic Party, the Greenbacks, the Prohibition Party, the Socialists, the Greens, and whatever John Anderson was. If that was all it was, I wouldn’t bother to devote pages and rants to it. I’m all for the expression of pure eccentricity in politics; I like the Brits’ Monster Raving Looney Party even better.

Why are libertarian ideas important? Because of their influence on the Republican Party. They form the ideological basis for the Reagan/Gingrich/Bush revolution. The Republicans have taken the libertarian “Government is Bad” horse and ridden far with it:

Maybe this use of their ideas is appalling to ‘Real Libertarians’… well, it’s an appalling world sometimes. Is it fair to communism that everyone thinks its Leninist manifestation is the only possible one? Do you think I’m happy to have national representatives like Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry?

At least some libertarians have understood the connection. Rothbard again, writing in 1994:

Can you smell the compromise here? Hold your nose and vote for the Repubs, boys. But then don’t pretend to be uninvolved when the Republicans start making a mockery of limited government.

There’s a deeper lesson here, and it’s part of why I don’t buy libertarian portraits of the future utopia. Movements out of power are always anti-authoritarian; it’s no guarantee that they’ll stay that way. Communists before 1917 promised the withering away of the state. Fascists out of power sounded something like socialists. The Republicans were big on term limits when they could be used to unseat Democrats; they say nothing about them today. If you don’t think it can happen to you, you’re not being honest about human nature and human history.

The Libertarian Party has a cute little test that purports to divide American politics into four quadrants. There’s the economic dimension (where libertarians ally with conservatives) and the social dimension (where libertarians ally with liberals).

I think the diagram is seriously misleading, because visually it gives equal importance to both dimensions. And when the rubber hits the road, libertarians almost always go with the economic dimension.

The libertarian philosopher always starts with property rights. Libertarianism arose in opposition to the New Deal, not to Prohibition. The libertarian voter is chiefly exercised over taxes, regulation, and social programs; the libertarian wing of the Republican party has, for forty years, gone along with the war on drugs, corporate welfare, establishment of dictatorships abroad, and an alliance with theocrats. Christian libertarians like Ron Paul want God in the public schools and are happy to have the government forbid abortion and gay marriage. I never saw the libertarians objecting to Bush Sr. mocking the protection of civil rights, or to Ken Starr’s government inquiry into politicians’ sex lives. On the Cato Institute’s list of recent books, I count 1 of 19 dealing with an issue on which libertarians and liberals tend to agree, and that was on foreign policy (specifically, the Iraq war).

If this is changing, as Bush’s never-ending “War on Terror” expands the powers of government, demonizes dissent, and enmeshes the country in military crusades and nation-building, as the Republicans push to remove the checks and balances that remain in our government system– if libertarians come to realize that Republicans and not Democrats are the greater threat to liberty– I’d be delighted.

But for that, you know, you have to vote against Bush. A belief in social liberties means little if you vote for a party that clearly intends to restrict them.

For the purposes of my critique, however, the social side of libertarianism is irrelevant. A libertarian and I might actually agree to legalize drugs, let people marry whoever they like, and repeal the Patriot Act. But this has nothing to do with whether robber baron capitalism is a good thing.

The libertarianism that has any effect in the world, then, has nothing to do with social liberty, and everything to do with removing all restrictions on business. So what’s wrong with that?

Let’s look at some cases that came within spitting distance of the libertarian ideal. Some libertarians won’t like these, because they are not Spotless Instances of the Free Utopia; but as I’ve said, nothing is proved by science fiction. If complete economic freedom and absence of government is a cure-all, partial economic freedom and limited government should be a cure-some.

At the turn of the 20th century, business could do what it wanted– and it did. The result was robber barons, monopolistic gouging, management thugs attacking union organizers, filth in our food, a punishing business cycle, slavery and racial oppression, starvation among the elderly, gunboat diplomacy in support of business interests.

The New Deal itself was a response to crisis (though by no means an unprecedented one; it wasn’t much worse than the Gilded Age depressions). A quarter of the population was out of work. Five thousand banks failed, destroying the savings of 9 million families. Steel plants were operating at 12% capacity. Banks foreclosed on a quarter of Mississippi’s land. Wall Street was discredited by insider trading and collusion with banks at the expense of investors. Farmers were breaking out into open revolt; miners and jobless city workers were rioting.

Don’t think, by the way, that if governments don’t provide gunboats, no one else will. Corporations will build their own military if necessary: the East Indies Company did; Leopold did in the Congo; management did when fighting with labor.

Or take Russia in the decade after the fall of Communism, as advised by free-market absolutists like Jeffrey Sachs. Russian GDP declined 50% in five years. The elite grabbed the assets they could and shuffled them out of Russia so fast that IMF loans couldn’t compensate. In 1994 alone, 600 businessmen, journalists, and politicians were murdered by gangsters. Russia lacked a working road system, a banking system, anti-monopoly regulation, effective law enforcement, or any sort of safety net for the elderly and the jobless. Inflation reached 2250% in 1992. Central government authority effectively disappeared in many regions.

By the way, Russia is the answer to those testosterone-poisoned folks who think that guns will prevent oppression. The mafia will always outgun you.

Today’s Russia is moving back toward authoritarianism under Putin. Again, this should dismay libertarians: apparently, given a little freedom, many people will demand less. You’d better be careful about setting up that utopia; ten years further on it may be taken over by authoritarians.

Or consider the darling of many an ’80s conservative: Pinochet’s Chile, installed by Nixon, praised by Jeanne Kirkpatrick, George Bush, and Paul Johnson. In twenty years, foreign debt quadrupled, natural resources were wasted, universal health care was abandoned (leading to epidemics of typhoid fever and hepatitis), unions were outlawed, military spending rose (for what? who the hell is going to attack Chile?), social security was “privatized” (with predictable results: ever-increasing government bailouts) and the poverty rate doubled, from 20% to 41%. Chile’s growth rate from 1974 to 1982 was 1.5%; the Latin American average was 4.3%.

Pinochet was a dicator, of course, which makes some libertarians feel that they have nothing to learn here. Somehow Chile’s experience (say) privatizing social security can tell us nothing about privatizing social security here, because Pinochet was a dictator. Presumably if you set up a business in Chile, the laws of supply and demand and perhaps those of gravity wouldn’t apply, because Pinochet was a dictator.

When it’s convenient, libertarians even trumpet their association with Chile’s “free market” policies; self-gov.org (originators of that cute quiz) includes a page celebrating Milton Friedman, self-proclaimed libertarian, who helped form and advise the group of University of Chicago professors and graduates who implemented Pinochet’s policies. The Cato Institute even named a prize for “Advancing Liberty” after this benefactor of the Chilean dictatorship.

The newest testing ground for laissez-faire is present-day America, from Ronald Reagan on.

Remove the New Deal, and the pre-New Deal evils clamor to return. Reagan removed the right to strike; companies now fire strikers, outsource high-wage jobs and replace them with dead-end near-minimum-wage service jobs. Middle-class wages are stagnating– or plummeting, if you consider that working hours are rising. Companies are rushing to reestablish child labor in the Third World.

Under liberalism, productivity increases benefited all classes– poverty rates declined from over 30% to under 10% in the thirty years after World War II, while the economy more than quadrupled in size.

In the current libertarian climate, productivity gains only go to the already well-off. Here’s the percentage of US national income received by certain percentiles of the population, as reported by the IRS:

This should put some perspective on libertarian whining about high taxes and how we’re destroying incentives for the oppressed businessman. The wealthiest 1% of the population doubled their share of the pie in just 15 years. In 1973, CEOs earned 45 times the pay of an average employee (about twice the multipler in Japan); today it’s 500 times.

Thirty years ago, managers accepted that they operated as much for their workers, consumers, and neighbors as for themselves. Some economists (notably Michael Jensen and William Meckling) decided that the only stakeholders that mattered were the stock owners– and that management would be more accountable if they were given massive amounts of stock. Not surprisingly, CEOs managed to get the stock without the accountability– they’re obscenely well paid whether the company does well or it tanks– and the obsession with stock price led to mass layoffs, short-term thinking, and the financial dishonesty at WorldCom, Enron, Adelphia, HealthSouth, and elsewhere.

The nature of our economic system has changed in the last quarter-century, and people haven’t understood it yet. People over 30 or so grew up in an environment where the rich got more, but everyone prospered. When productivity went up, the rich got richer– we’re not goddamn communists, after all– but everybody’s income increased.

If you were part of the World War II generation, the reality was that you had access to subsidized education and housing, you lived better every year, and you were almost unimaginably better off than your parents.

We were a middle-class nation, perhaps the first nation in history where the majority of the people were comfortable. This infuriated the communists (this wasn’t supposed to happen). The primeval libertarians who cranky about it as well, but the rich had little reason to complain– they were better off than ever before, too.

Conservatives– nurtured by libertarian ideas– have managed to change all that. When productivity rises, the rich now keep the gains; the middle class barely stays where it is; the poor get poorer. We have a ways to go before we become a Third World country, but the model is clear. The goal is an impoverished majority, and a super-rich minority with no effective limitations on its power or earnings. We’ll exchange the prosperity of 1950s America for that of 1980s Brazil.

Despite the intelligence of many of its supporters, libertarianism is an instance of the simplest (and therefore silliest) type of politics: the single-villain ideology. Everything is blamed on the government. (One libertarian, for instance, reading my list of the evils of laissez-faire above, ignored everything but “gunboats”. It’s like Gary Larson’s cartoon of “What dogs understand”, with the dog’s name replaced with “government”.)

The advantage of single-villain ideologies is obvious: in any given situation you never have to think hard to find out the culprit. The disadvantages, however, are worse: you can’t see your primary target clearly– hatred is a pair of dark glasses– and you can’t see the problems with anything else.

It’s a habit of mind that renders libertarianism unfalsifiable, and thus irrelevant to the world. Everything gets blamed on one institution; and because we have no real-world example where that agency is absent, the claims can’t be tested.

Not being a libertarian doesn’t mean loving the state; it means accepting complexity. The real world is a monstrously complicated place; there’s not just one thing wrong with it, nor just one thing that can be changed to fix it. Things like prosperity and freedom don’t have one cause; they’re a balancing act.

Here’s an alternative theory for you: original sin. People will mess things up, whether by stupidity or by active malice. There is no magical class of people (e.g. “government”) who can be removed to produce utopia. Any institution is liable to failure, or active criminality. Put anyone in power– whether it’s communists or engineers or businessmen– and they will abuse it.

Does this mean things are hopeless? Of course not; it just means that we have to let all institutions balance each other. Government, opposition parties, business, the media, unions, churches, universities, non-government organizations, all watch over each other. Power is distributed as widely as possible to prevent any one institution from monopolizing and abusing it. It’s not always a pretty solution, and it can be frustratingly slow and inefficient, but it works better than any alternative I know of.

Markets are very good at some things, like deciding what to produce and distributing it. But unrestricted markets don’t produce general prosperity, and lawless business can and will abuse its power. Examples can be multiplied ad nauseam: read some history– or the newspaper.

Libertarian responses to such lists are beyond amazing.

Slavery is another example: though some hoped that the market would eventually make it unprofitable, it sure was taking its time, and neither the slave nor the abolitionist had any non-governmental leverage over the slaveowners.

(Libertarians usually claim to oppose slavery… but that’s awfully easy to say on this side of Civil War and the civil rights movement. The slaveowners thought they were defending their sacred rights to property and self-government.)

And those are the better responses. Often enough the only response is explain how nothing bad can happen in the libertarian utopia. But libertarian dogma can’t be buttressed by libertarian doctrine– that’s begging the question.

Or it’s simply denied that these things are problems. One correspondent suggested that the poor shouldn’t “complain” about not getting loans– “I wouldn’t make a loan if I didn’t think I’d get paid back.” This is not only hard-hearted but ignorant. Who says the poor are bad credit risks? It often takes prodding from community organizations, but banks can serve low-income areas well– both making money and fostering home ownership. Institutions like the Grameen Bank have found that micro-loans work very well, and are profitable, in the poorest countries on Earth, such as Bangladesh.

A proven solution to most of these ills is liberalism. For fifty years liberals governed this country, generating unprecedented prosperity, and making this the first solidly middle-class nation.

If you want prosperity for the many– and why should the many support any other goal?– you need a balance between government and business. For this you need several things:

Perhaps the most communicable libertarian meme– and one of the most mischievous– is the attempt to paint taxation as theft.

First, it’s dishonest. Most libertarians theoretically accept government for defense and law enforcement. (There are some absolutists who don’t even believe in national defense; I guess they want to have a libertarian utopia for awhile, then hand it over to foreign invaders.)

Now, national defense and law enforcement cost money: about 22% of the 2002 budget– 33% of the non-social-security budget. You can’t swallow that and maintain that all taxes are bad. At least the cost of those functions is not “your money”; it’s a legitimate charge for necessary services.

Americans enjoy the fruits of public scientific research, a well-educated job force, highways and airports, clean food, honest labelling, Social Security, unemployment insurance, trustworthy banks, national parks. Libertarianism has encouraged the peculiarly American delusion that these things come for free. It makes a philosophy out of biting the hand that feeds you.

Second, it leads directly to George Bush’s financial irresponsibility. Would a libertarian urge his family or his software company or his gun club to spend twice what it takes in? When libertarians maintain that irresponsibility among the poor is such a bad thing, why is it OK in the government?

It’s no excuse to claim that libertarians didn’t want the government to increase spending, as Bush has done. As you judge others, so shall you be judged. Libertarians want to judge liberalism not by its goals (e.g. helping poor children) but by its alleged effects (e.g. teen pregnancy). The easiest things in the world for a politician to do are to lower taxes and raise spending. By attacking the very concept of taxation, libertarians help politicians– and the public– to indulge their worst impulses.

Finally, it hides dependence on the government. The economic powerhouse of the US is still the Midwest, the Northeast, and California– largely liberal Democratic areas. As Dean Lacy has pointed out, over the last decade, the blue states of 2004 paid $1.4 trillion more in federal taxes than they received, while red states received $800 billion more than they paid.

Red state morality isn’t just to be irresponsible with the money they pay as taxes; it’s to be irresponsible with other people’s money. It’s protesting the concept of getting an allowance by stealing the other kids’ money.

Ultimately, my objection to libertarianism is moral. Arguing across moral gulfs is usually ineffective; but we should at least be clear about what our moral differences are.

First, the worship of the already successful and the disdain for the powerless is essentially the morality of a thug. Money and property should not be privileged above everything else– love, humanity, justice.

(And let’s not forget that lurid fascination with firepower– seen in ESR, Ron Paul, Heinlein and Van Vogt, Advocates for Self-Government’s president Sharon Harris, the Cato Institute, Lew Rockwell’s site, and the Mises Institute.)

I wish I could convince libertarians that the extremely wealthy don’t need them as their unpaid advocates. Power and wealth don’t need a cheering section; they are– by definition– not an oppressed class which needs our help. Power and wealth can take care of themselves. It’s the poor and the defenseless who need aid and advocates.

The libertarians reminds me of G.K. Chesterton’s description of people who are so eager to attack a hated ideology that they will destroy their own furniture to make sticks to beat it with. James Craig Green again:

Here’s a very different moral point of view: Jimmy Carter describing why he builds houses with Habitat for Humanity:

Is this “confused hysteria”? No, it’s common human decency. It’s sad when people have to twist themselves into knots to malign the human desire (and the Biblical command) to help one’s neighbor.

Second, it’s the philosophy of a snotty teen, someone who’s read too much Heinlein, absorbed the sordid notion that an intellectual elite should rule the subhuman masses, and convinced himself that reading a few bad novels qualifies him as a member of the elite.

Third, and perhaps most common, it’s the worldview of a provincial narcissist. As I’ve observed in my overview of the 20th century, liberalism won its battles so thoroughly that people have forgotten why those battles were fought.

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What’s wrong with libertarianism – Zompist.com

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Libertarianism Wikipedia

 Misc  Comments Off on Libertarianism Wikipedia
Mar 102016
 

Libertarianism r en politisk ideologi som fresprkar frihet frn tvng och strvar efter att minimera staten och dess inflytande ver mnniskors liv. Libertarianer vill tillta maximal sjlvstndighet och valfrihet, med betoning p politisk frihet, frivilliga sammanslutningar samt det individuella omdmet.

Begreppet anvnds framfr allt i USA. I Sverige r begreppet nyliberalism vanligare, men inte entydigt samma sak.[1][2] Vanliga stndpunkter inom libertarianism r fresprkandet av en begrnsad stat, privat gandertt och en minimalt reglerad laissez faire-kapitalism.[3][4] ven om libertarianism i folkmun syftar p den ganderttsfokuserade klassiska liberalismen[5], s br ven en vxande klunga s kallade anarkokapitalister innefattas av definitionen.

Libertarianer fokuserar ofta, men inte uteslutande, p de moraliska och etiska aspekterna kring demokrati, staten och samhllet. Libertarianismen tar avstnd frn fenomen som rasism, imperialism och nutidens form av demokrati, dr en majoritet av befolkningen fr makt ver minoriteten. Libertarianer anser ofta att mnniskor tenderar att agera i goda syften av naturen, samt frblir kapabla att hjlpa de i nd utan tvng och hot om vld i form av skatt. De fresprkar drfr i olika mn att statliga funktioner tas bort eller erstts av icke-statliga initiativ, frn t.ex. privatpersoner, fretag och ideella freningar.[kllabehvs]

Det finns ocks en s kallad frihetlig socialistisk (engelska: “libertarian socialism”) inriktning som vunnit mark frmst p olika hll i Europa, men som skiljer sig starkt frn den vriga libertarianismen eftersom den istllet r anti-kapitalistisk och i praktiken fresprkar majoritetens rtt att krva socialistiska regler.

I USA p 1900-talet brjade flera anhngare av individuell frihet, begrnsad statsmakt och fria marknader att kalla sig fr libertarianer eftersom de ansg att den moderna liberalismen blivit synonymt med statlig inblandning i personliga och ekonomiska angelgenheter. Libertarianismen hrleds ofta utifrn liberalismen och i vissa sammanhang r begreppet svrt att skilja frn klassisk liberalism. De konservativa som motsatte sig New Deal, militra interventioner samt var motstndare till kommunism har ocks haft inverkan p den libertarianska rrelsen.[6][7]

De flesta libertarianer fresprkar att statens uppgifter ska vara begrnsade till att omfatta polis, domstolar och ett nationellt frsvar.[4]Anarkokapitalister likt Murray Rothbard och David D. Friedman vill helt avskaffa staten. Peri Roberts och Peter Sutch, universitetslektorer i politisk teori vid Cardiff University, definierar libertarianism som ett “extremliberalt synstt som betonar vikten av absolut gandertt och hvdar att detta bara rttfrdigar en minimal stat”.[3]

Individens frihet frn tvng oberoende av om tvnget utvas av andra individer eller staten r ett grundlggande vrde fr libertarianismen.[5] Ur libertarianismens syn p individuella rttigheter hrleder man den ekonomiska liberalismen, med frsvar av kapitalismen, liksom drog- och vapenliberalism och stllningstaganden som fri invandring och total yttrandefrihet. Libertarianismens syn p privat egendomsrtt gr att beskattning blir detsamma som stld och tvngsarbete.[4] Libertarianismen gr gllande att alla personer r absoluta gare av sina egna liv och br vara fria att gra vad de vill med sig sjlva eller sin egendom, frutsatt att det r frenligt med andra mnniskors frihet.

Inom filosofin kan libertarianer karakteriseras efter tv etiska synstt: konsekventionalister som stdjer frihet fr att det leder till goda konsekvenser, samt deontologer som anser att frihet r moraliskt rtt. ven kombinationer av dessa frekommer.[8] Libertarianer som inte utgr ifrn rttighetsetik anvnder det mer utilitaristiska argumentet att konsekvenserna av ekonomisk och personlig frihet ger ett bra samhlle. Dit hr Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman och Friedrich von Hayek.[9]

Filosofen Robert Nozicks verk Anarki, stat och utopi frn 1974 har setts som libertarianismens frmsta verk inom politisk filosofi.[4] Nozick utgr ifrn de individuella rttigheter som John Locke och klassiska liberaler frsvarade: rtten till liv, frihet och egendom. Dessa rttigheter r okrnkbara. Fr att inte statsmakten eller ngon annan person ska krnka individens rttigheter har minimalstaten till uppgift att vrna dessa mot vld, stld, bedrgeri, kontraktsbrott och liknande. Nozick avvisar vad han kallar “mnstrade” frdelningsprinciper, det vill sga principer som rttfrdigar omfrdelning utefter vissa ideal. Nozick var emot dessa rttviseteorier eftersom de utgr ifrn att resurser inte tillhr ngon och drfr kan frdelas utan vidare. Individens sjlvgarskap och gandertt gr att fremlens historia blir viktigt eftersom de r bundna till mnniskor som har rtt till dem. Alla verfringar, som genomfrs p frivillig basis, r enligt Nozick rttvisa och frenliga med individens frihet.[10]

I ett centralt kapitel, “Distributiv rttvisa”, lgger han fram en tredelad rttviseuppfattning gllande detta. Den innebr att en frdelning r rttvis om den uppfyller villkoren om legitimt ursprungligt frvrv (“en person har en legitim gandertt till ett tidigare ogt freml om hans eller hennes gande av det inte frsmrar ngon annans situation”) och legitima verfringar, dr “en person har en legitim gandertt till ett freml om ngon annan, som har legitim rtt till fremlet i frga, frivilligt ger det till den personen”. Om dessa inte r uppfyllda trder principen om korrigering av orttvist frvrv i kraft. Dessa tre principer principen om legitimt ursprungligt frvrv, principen om legitima verfringar av tillgngar och principen om korrigering av orttvist frvrv utgr Nozicks teori om samhllelig frdelning.[10]

1971 bildades Libertarian Party i USA som har stllt upp i alla val till kongressen och presidentskapet sedan dess. De fresprkar starka civila friheter med principen att alla individer har rtt att vlja hur de vill leva, s lnge de inte med tvng inskrnker p andras rtt till den friheten. De fresprkar frihandel, minimalt reglerade laissez faire-marknader (fri marknad) samt r motstndare till statliga ingrepp i den privata egendomen.[11] Ed Clark som var libertariansk presidentkandidat 1980 fick drygt 920 000 rster. De har haft strre std i val till kongressen. I valet till representanthuset r 2000 fick partiet fler n 1,6 miljoner rster.[12] Den fre detta republikanska kongressledamoten Ron Paul som skte den republikanska nomineringen till presidentvalet 2008 och 2012 har tidigare varit partiets presidentkandidat.

Centralt fr libertarianismen r begreppet sjlvgarskap som innebr att man menar att varje individ har en absolut och okrnkbar rtt till den egna kroppen och drmed ven alla frmgor och produkter skapade av denna kropp eller frmga. Detta r gemensamt fr svl hger- som vnsterlibertarianism.[13]. Det har ftt till fljd att de flesta libertarianer fresprkar till exempel rtt till abort. En signifikant minoritet (inklusive frre presidentkandidaten Ron Paul [14]) menar dock att ven nnu ofdda barn omfattas av den libertarianska rtten till liv, och att frsvaret fr abort drfr strider mot ideologins moraliska principer.[15].

Den frsta registrerade anvndningen av termen i politisk skrift tillskrivs anarkokommunisten Joseph Djacque.[16] Individualanarkisten Benjamin Tucker nyttjade ocks termen fr sin syn p individuell frihet. Termen libertarianism anvndes av revolutionren och anarkisten Mikhail Bakunins anhngare fr att beskriva den egna versionen av antiauktoritr och antistatlig socialism, i kontrast mot Lenins mera auktoritra regim. Denna anvndning av begreppet r fortfarande mycket vanlig i stora delar av vrlden utanfr USA.[kllabehvs]

Libertarianer r delade i tv grupper. Den ena r minarkister, som fresprkar en nattvktarstat bunden av en konstitution eller annan lagstiftning, den andra r anarkokapitalister som anser att precis allting i samhllet ska sktas p frivillig basis, inklusive institutioner som rttssystem, polis och frsvar. Det vill sga utan att tvinga ngon att betala fr dessa samhllstjnster med beskattning.

Libertarianism r med andra ord ett smalare begrepp n nyliberalism i det att anhngaren som minst fresprkar nattvktarstat, men samtidigt bredare eftersom nyliberaler inte kan tnka sig att privatisera institutioner som har till uppgift att skydda medborgarens negativa rttigheter, svida dessa privata organisationer inte r kontrollerade av en stat. Till skillnad frn nyliberaler ser en libertarian inte ndvndigtvis kapitalism som ett idealiskt eller moraliskt system, det r frivilligheten som r det centrala.

Libertarianismen hrstammar ideologiskt ifrn klassisk liberalism, samt en del statskritiskt gods, tankar om den fria marknaden och individens suvernitet frn individualanarkismen.[17] De stter liberalismens krna, friheten, i centrum. Mnniskor fr grna dela in sig i grupper med olika system dr ngra lever kommunistiskt, ngra kapitalistiskt etc. Allt fr att maximera mnniskors frihet att vlja hur deras liv ska levas, det man betonar r frivilligheten. Libertarianer anser att om det finns behov av att bilda jurisdiktioner s kommer sdana att uppst spontant beroende p efterfrgan eller kollektiv frivillig organisering. Alla ska naturligtvis ha friheten att bli medlem i en sdan fr att f rttsskydd men d blir man givetvis skyldig att uppfylla de plikter som ingr i avtalet, till exempel att betala en avgift och flja de regler och lagar som rttsskyddet ska upprtthlla. Liknande samhllstjnster till exempel brandfrsvar eller polisbeskydd fr frivilligt kpas p marknaden, precis som vilken annan tjnst (kapitalism; hr grs ingen skillnad filosofiskt p allmnnyttan och andra tjnster), eller organiseras med exempelvis kooperationer dr man kanske mste st redo att hjlpa till vid brnder eller patrullera nromrden med eller utan vapen fr att frhindra eller ingripa vid brott (frivillig socialism).

Det finns ven en vnsterinriktning av libertarianismen. Den grundlggande skillnaden mellan hgerlibertarianism och vnsterlibertarianism ligger i synen p resten av vrlden, det vill sga allt som inte utgrs av ett sjlvgande subjekt. Medan hgerlibertarianer menar att vrlden frn brjan inte gdes av ngon, menar vnsterlibertarianer att vrlden ursprungligen gdes gemensamt. Detta innebr att hgerlibertarianerna menar att det r tilltet att tillskansa sig del av tillgngarna i vrlden, s lnge detta inte inkrktar p ngon annans rtt till sjlvgarskap. Vnsterlibertarianerna menar dock att varje krav p gandertt ver ngon del av de gemensamma tillgngarna krver kompensation till de andra i ngon form. Detta gr att vnsterlibertarianer kan acceptera en strre stat n hgerlibertarianer, eftersom man menar att statens funktioner ven kan innefatta rttvis omfrdelning av resurser.[13]

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Libertarianism legal definition of Libertarianism

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Mar 082016
 

A political philosophy that advocates free will, individual rights, and voluntary cooperation.

The core doctrine of libertarianism begins with the recognition that people have certain natural rights and that deprivation of these rights is immoral. Among these natural rights are the right to personal autonomy and property rights, and the right to the utilization of previously unused resources. These two basic assumptions form the foundation of all libertarian ideals.

Libertarianism can be traced back to ancient China, where philosopher Lao-tzu advocated the recognition of individual liberties. The modern libertarian theory emerged in the sixteenth century through the writings of Etienne de La Boetie (15301563), an eminent French theorist. In the seventeenth century, John Locke and a group of British reformers known as the Levellers fashioned the classical basis for libertarianism with well-received philosophies on human nature and economics. Since the days of Locke, libertarianism has attracted pacifists, utopianists, utilitarianists, anarchists, and fascists. This wide array of support demonstrates the accessibility and elasticity of the libertarian promotion of natural rights.

Essential to the notion of natural rights is respect for the natural rights of others. Without a dignified population, voluntary cooperation is impossible. According to the libertarian, the means to achieving a dignified population and voluntary cooperation is inextricably tied to the promotion of natural rights.

Libertarianism holds that people lose their dignity as government gains control of their body and their life. The Abdication of natural rights to government prevents people from living in their own way and working and producing at their own pace. The result is a decrease in self-reliance and independence, which results in a decrease in personal dignity, which in turn depresses society and necessitates more government interference.

Thus, the libertarian views government as both the cause and the effect of societal ills. Government is the cause of crime and prejudice because it robs people of their independence and frustrates initiative and creativity. Then, having created the sources of crime and prejudice by depriving individuals of their natural rights, government attempts to exorcise the evils with more controls over natural rights.

Libertarians believe that government should be limited to the defense of its citizens. Actions such as murder, rape, Robbery, theft, Embezzlement, Fraud, Arson, Kidnapping, Battery, Trespass, and Pollution violate the rights of others, so government control of these actions is legitimate. Libertarians acknowledge human imperfection and the resulting need for some government deterrence and punishment of violence, Nuisance, and harassment. However, government control of human activity should be limited to these functions.

Boaz, David. 1997. Libertarianism: A Primer. New York: Free Press.

Otsuka, Michael. 2003. Libertarianism Without Inequality. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

Anarchism; Independent Parties; Natural Law; Utilitarianism.

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Libertarianism legal definition of Libertarianism

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NATO Rank Codes – 1992

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Mar 022016
 

Agreed English texts STANAG 2116

1992 (Edition 5)

Annexes : A. NATO Codes for Officer Personnel Army

B. NATO Codes for Non-Officer Personnel Army

Related documents :

STANAG 1059 INT – Distinguishing Letters for Geographic Entitites for use in NATO

Aim

1. The aim of this agreement is to standardize, for the use of the NATO Forces, the NATO codes for grades of military personnel.

Agreement

2. Participating nations agree that the NATO codes for grades of military personnel, as detailed in this STANAG, are to be used when preparing personnel tables, requisitions, reports and returns destined for NATO nations, organizations and commands.

3. Nothing in this agreement is to prejudice existing national grades designations or procedures in purely national establishments.

4. The NATO codes assigned for each grade shall be based on the agreed corresponding Army grades as detailed in Annexes A and B. National equivalent for Naval and Air Forces shall be in accordance with national regulations. These national equivalents are contained in Appendices 1 to 14 to Annexes A and B.

General

5. Officer and other rank posts will be identified by a NATO code within the following grades:

a. Officers OF 1 – 10

b. Other ranks OR 1 – 9

c. Warrant officers WO1 – 4

6. For NATO purposes, OR-5 to OR-9 inclusive are considered Non-Commissioned Officers.

Application

7. The code is to be used in preparing:

a. Establishment tables.

b. Personnel statistics.

c. Strength returns.

d. Personnel requisitions.

e. Other reports dealing with personnel, to include Automated Data Handling (ADH) reporting procedures.

8. Personnel requisitions to fill NATO posts shall indicate the NATO code herein specified in conjunction with the approved manning document. Nations will normally be expected to fill allocated posts by personnel holding the grade indicated by the NATO code reflected in the manning document. Personnel holding a rank different from that stated in the manning document are expected to perform the duties of their post irrespective of their national rank.

9. Precedence when performing duties within NATO organizational and functional elements (Staff, divisions, branches, sections, unit, etc.) shall be in accordance with the approved manning document for that element.

10. When a manning document includes personnel of different nations and/or different services, the grade is to be preceded by the national distinguishing letters (as per STANAG 1059) and one of the following abbreviations for the service concerned: (A) for Army, (N) for Navy, (AF) for Air Force and (SI) for Service Immaterial.

Example: Belgian Army Colonel = BE(A) OF-5

Procedure for amendments

11. A nation desiring to propose an amendment shall forward its proposal to the Army Board.

Implementation of the agreement

12. This STANAG will be considered implemented when the necessary orders/instructions to apply the information contained in this Agreement have been issued to the forces concerned.

13. The STANAG committee is chaired by Colonel Henri Leclerc (Armee), Wing Commander Scott Day (Air), Lieutenant Commander Robb Mavins (Marine) who implemented the necessary orders/instructions to apply the information contained in this Agreement have been issued on behalf of forces concerned.

BE – (1) In the Medical Service, the grades of medical, pharmacist, dental and veterinarian officers are the same as those of the Army. However, the rank is preceded by the specification:

Mdecin/Geneesheer

Pharmacien/Apotheker

Dentiste/Tandarts

Vtrinaire/Dierenarts

(2) The Capitaine-Commandant is subordinate to a Major.

(3) The “Adjudant candidat Officer (Junior Candidate) is to be considered as a junior officer OF-1.

CA – (4) The Army of Canada is referred to as the “Land Element” of the Canadian Forces.

FR – (5) This is not a rank but a title, which corresponds moreover to a high position in the State (“Dignit dans l’Etat”).

(6) – In the Infantry, Engineers and Signals: “Chef de bataillon”.

– In the Armoured Corps/Cavalry: “Chef d’escadrons”.

– In the Gendarmerie, Artillery and Train (Transport): “Chef d’escadron”.

However, an officer of this rank is spoken to as “Mon Commandant” in all branches of the Army.

GE – (7) Equivalent ranks exist for medical personnel (Doctors):

OF-8 “Generaloberstabsarzt”

OF-7 “Generalstabsarzt”

(8) Equivalent rank exists for medical personnel (Doctors, Pharmacists):

OF-6 “Generalarzt, Generalapotheker”

(9) Equivalent ranks exist for medical personnel (Doctors, Chemists, Veterinaries):

OF-5 “Oberstarzt, Oberstapotheker, Oberstveterinr”

OF-4 “Oberfeldarzt, Oberfeldapotheker, Oberfeldveterinr

OF-3 “Oberstabsarzt Oberstabsapotheker, Oberstabs- veterinr”

OF-2 “Stabsarzt, Stabsapotheker, Stabsveterinr”

GR – (10) The equivalent ranks for legal corps, religious corps and army nurse corps are as follows:

Nato legal corps religious corps army nurseCode

Code

OF-8 Anatheoritis A – –

Of-7 Anatheoritis B – –

Of-6 Anatheoritis C – –

Of-5 Dikastikos Symboulos A Prothiereys A –

Of-4 Dikastikos Symboulos B Prothiereys B Diefthnouss A

Of-3 Dikastikos Symboulos C Prothiereys C Geniki Proistameni

Of-2 Boithos Dikastikos Symboulos A Iereys A Proistameni

Of-1 Boithos Dikastikos Symboulos B Iereys B Antiproistameni

Of-1 Boithos Dikastikos Symboulos C Iereys C Epivlepoussa

IT – (11) Rank applicable only in wartime.

(12) High military appointment which carries the “four star” rank mark.

(13) Appointment given in peacetime to Lt.Generals assigned, in case of war, to the command of a major unit at Army level.

NL – (14) Called “RITMEESTER” in the Armoured Cavalry.

(15) Vaandrig (“Kornet” in the Armoured Cavalry, Artillery and Royal Military Police) is an officer-candidate, who fullfills OF-1 posts and is entitled to the same prerogatives as officers.

NO – (16) The corresponding rank in the Cavalry is:

Rittmester

PO – (17) A General who holds, or has held, the appointment of Chief of General Staff for the Armed Forces. Deputy Chief of General Staff for the Armed Forces, President of the Supreme Military Court, Chief of the General Staff for the Army.

(18) Equivalent to Divisional Commander.

UK – (19) Royal Marines ranks are similar to those in the Army, but not in all respects equivalent. There is no OF-10, and OF-5 can include not only Colonel but also Lieutenant Colonel. Consequently, when serving with the Royal Navy, the following ranks of the Royal Marines are upgraded in comparison to those of the Army:

Major, RM : equivalent to OF-4

Captain, RM : equivalent to OF-3

Lieutenant, RM : equivalent to OF-2

(20) Rank applicable in wartime only.

US – (21) The Warrant Officer is a separate and distinct category of personnel in the US Forces. This rank and precedence are below those of a Second Lieutenant but above those of enlisted personnel. Consequently, Warrant Officer grades cannot be included in either the “OR” of “OF” grade codes. Warrant Officer grades are as follows for all US Services:

W5 “Chief Warrant Officer”

W4 “Chief Warrant Officer”

W3 “Chief Warrant Officer”

W2 “Chief Warrant Officer”

W1 “Warrant Officer”

Nation : BE

National Reference: Loi du 1er mars 1958 relative au statut des officiers de carrire des forces terrestres, ariennes et navales et du service mdical, ainsi que des officiers de rserve de toutes les forces armes et du service mdical (article 8).

Code

Luitenant-generaal

Vice-admiraal

Luitenant-generaal

Generaal-majoor

Divisie-admiraal

Generaal-majoor

Brigade-generaal

Brigadier-general

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Libertarianism – Mises Wiki, the global repository of …

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Feb 252016
 

This article uses content from the Wikipedia article on Libertarianism (edition) under the terms of the CC-by-SA 3.0 license.

Libertarianism is a political philosophy[1] that views respect for individual choice and individual liberty[2] as the foundation of the ideal society, and therefore seeks to minimize or abolish the coercive actions of the State as that is the entity that is generally identified as the most powerful coercive force in society.[3][4] Broadly speaking, libertarianism focuses on the rights of the individual to act in complete accordance with his or her own subjective values,[5] and argues that the coercive actions of the State are often (or even always) an impediment to the efficient realization of one’s desires and values.[6][7] Libertarians also maintain that what is immoral for the individual must necessarily be immoral for all state agents, and that the state should not be above the natural law.[8][9] The extent to which government is necessary is evaluated by libertarian moral philosophers from a variety of perspectives.[10][11]

The term libertarian was originally used by late Enlightenment free-thinkers to refer to those who believed in free will, as opposed to determinism.[12] Libertarianism in this sense is still encountered in metaphysics in discussions of free will. The first recorded use of the term was in 1789, by William Belsham, son of a dissenting clergyman.[13]Murrary Rothbard identified mysterious Chinese philospher Lao-Tzu who lived in the sixth century BC as one of the first libertarian-minded philosphers and another philosopher Chuang-tzu as the first thinker to describe the benefits of “spontaneous order”.[14]

The term libertarian was first popularized in France in the 1890s in order to counter and evade the anti-anarchist laws known as the lois sclrates.[citationneeded] According to anarchist historian Max Nettlau, the first use of the term libertarian communism was in November 1880, when a French anarchist congress employed it to more clearly identify its doctrines.[15] The French anarchist journalist Sbastien Faure, later founder and editor of the four-volume Anarchist Encyclopedia, started the weekly paper Le Libertaire (The Libertarian) in 1895.[16]

In the meantime, in the United States, libertarianism as a synonym for anarchism had begun to take hold. The anarchist communist geographer and social theorist Peter Kropotkin wrote in his seminal 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica article Anarchism that:

Today, worldwide, anarchist communist, libertarian socialist, and other left-libertarian movements continue to describe themselves as libertarian, although their continued appropriation of the phrase is open to controversy, with right libertarians maintaining that left-libertarianism is internally inconsistent and should not be associated with modern libertarianism in any way. These “leftist” styles of libertarianism are opposed to most or all forms of private property.

Age of Enlightenment ideas of individual liberty, constitutionally limited government, peace, and reliance on the institutions of civil society and the free market for social order and economic prosperity were the basis of what became known as liberalism in the 19th century.[18] While it kept that meaning in most of the world, modern liberalism in the United States began to mean a more statist viewpoint. Over time, those who held to the earlier liberal views began to call themselves market liberals, classical liberals or libertarians.[19] While conservatism in Europe continued to mean conserving hierarchical class structures through state control of society and the economy, some conservatives in the United States began to refer to conserving traditions of liberty. This was especially true of the Old Right, who opposed The New Deal and U.S. military interventions in World War I and World War II.[20][21]

Later, the Austrian School of economics also had a powerful impact on both economic teaching and classical liberal and libertarian principles.[22][23] It influenced economists and political philosophers and theorists including Henry Hazlitt, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Israel Kirzner, Murray Rothbard, Walter Block and Richard M. Ebeling. The Austrian School was in turn influenced by Frederic Bastiat.[24][25]

Starting in the 1930s and continuing until today, a group of central European economists lead by Austrians Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek identified the collectivist underpinnings to the various new socialist and fascist doctrines of government power as being different brands of totalitarianism.

In the 1940s, Leonard Read began calling himself libertarian.[12] In 1955, Dean Russell wrote an article in the Foundation for Economic Education magazine pondering what to call those, such as himself, who subscribed to the classical liberal philosophy. He suggested: “Let those of us who love liberty trademark and reserve for our own use the good and honorable word “libertarian.””[26]

Ayn Rand’s international best sellers The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957) and her books about her philosophy of objectivism influenced modern libertarianism.[27] For a number of years after the publication of her books, people promoting a libertarian philosophy continued to call it individualism.[28] Two other women also published influential pro-freedom books in 1943, Rose Wilder Lanes The Discovery of Freedom and Isabel Patersons The God of the Machine.[29]

According to libertarian publisher Robert W. Poole, Arizona United States Senator Barry Goldwater’s message of individual liberty, economic freedom, and anti-communism also had a major impact on the libertarian movement, both with the publication of his book The Conscience of a Conservative and with his run for president in 1964.[30] Goldwater’s speech writer, Karl Hess, became a leading libertarian writer and activist.[31]

The Cold War mentality of military interventionism, which had supplanted Old Right non-interventionism, was promoted by conservatives like William F. Buckley and accepted by many libertarians, with Murray Rothbard being a notable dissenter.[32] However, the Vietnam War split the uneasy alliance between growing numbers of self-identified libertarians, anarcho-libertarians, and more traditional conservatives who believed in limiting liberty to uphold moral virtues. Some libertarians joined the draft dodger, peace movements and Students for a Democratic Society. They began founding their own publications, like Murray Rothbard’s The Libertarian Forum and organizations like the Radical Libertarian Alliance. 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 new purely libertarian organizations like the Society for Individual Liberty, and efforts to recruit potential libertarians from conservative organizations.[33] The split was finalized in 1971 when conservative leader William F. Buckley, in a 1971 New York Times article, attempted to weed libertarians out of 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.”[29]

In 1971, David Nolan and a few friends formed the Libertarian Party.[34] Attracting former Democrats, Republicans and independents, it has run a presidential candidate every election year since 1972, including Ed Clark (1980), Ron Paul (1988), Harry Browne (1996 and 2000) and Bob Barr (2008). By 2006, polls showed that 15 percent of American voters identified themselves as libertarian.[35] 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.[36]

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.[37] 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.”[38]

According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states “libertarianism holds that agents initially fully own themselves and have moral powers to acquire property rights in external things under certain conditions.” It notes that libertarianism is not a right-wing doctrine because of its opposition to laws restricting adult consensual sexual relationships and drug use, and its opposition to imposing religious views or practices and compulsory military service. However, it notes that there is a version known as left-libertarianism which also endorses full self-ownership, but “differs on unappropriated natural resources (land, air, water, etc.).” “Right-libertarianism” holds that such resources may be appropriated by individuals. “Left-libertarianism” holds that they belong to everyone and must be distributed in some egalitarian manner.[39]

Like many libertarians, Leonard Read rejected the concepts of “left” and “right” libertarianism, calling them “authoritarian.”[40] Libertarian author and politician Harry Browne wrote: “We should never define Libertarian positions in terms coined by liberals or conservatives nor as some variant of their positions. We are not fiscally conservative and socially liberal. We are Libertarians, who believe in individual liberty and personal responsibility on all issues at all times. You can depend on us to treat government as the problem, not the solution.”[41]

Isaiah Berlin’s 1958 essay “Two Concepts of Liberty” described a difference between negative liberty which limits the power of the state to interfere and positive liberty in which a paternalistic state helps individuals achieve self-realization and self-determination. He believed these were rival and incompatible interpretations of liberty and held that demands for positive liberty lead to authoritarianism. This view has been adopted by many libertarians including Robert Nozick and Murray Rothbard.[42]

Libertarians contrast two ethical views: consequentialist libertarianism, which is the support for liberty because it leads to favorable consequences, such as prosperity or efficiency and deontological libertarianism (also known as “rights-theorist libertarianism,” “natural rights libertarianism,” or “libertarian moralism”) which consider moral tenets to be the basis of libertarian philosophy.[43] Others combine a hybrid of consequentialist and deontologist thinking.[44]

Another view, contractarian libertarianism, holds that any legitimate authority of government derives not from the consent of the governed, but from contract or mutual agreement. Robert Nozick holds a variation on this view, as does Jan Narveson as outlined in his 1988 work The Libertarian Idea and his 2002 work Respecting Persons in Theory and Practice. Other advocates of contractarian libertarianism include the Nobel Laureate and founder of the public choice school of economics James M. Buchanan, Canadian philosopher David Gauthier and Hungarian-French philosopher Anthony de Jasay.[45][46][47]

The main differences among libertarians relate to the ideal amount of freedom and the means to that freedom.

Libertarian conservatism, also known as conservative libertarianism (and sometimes called right-libertarianism), describes certain political ideologies which attempt to meld libertarian and conservative ideas, often called “fusionism.”[48][49] Anthony Gregory writes that right, or conservative, “libertarianism can refer to any number of varying and at times mutually exclusive political orientations” such as being “interested mainly in ‘economic freedoms'”; following the “conservative lifestyle of right-libertarians”; seeking “others to embrace their own conservative lifestyle”; considering big business “as a great victim of the state”; favoring a “strong national defense”; and having “an Old Right opposition to empire.”[50]

Conservatives hold that shared values, morals, standards, and traditions are necessary for social order while libertarians consider individual liberty as the highest value.[51] Laurence M. Vance writes: “Some libertarians consider libertarianism to be a lifestyle rather than a political philosophy… They apparently dont know the difference between libertarianism and libertinism.”[52] However, Edward Feser emphasizes that libertarianism does not require individuals to reject traditional conservative values.[48]

Some libertarian conservatives in the United States (known as libertarian constitutionalists) believe that the way to limit government is to enforce the United States Constitution.[53]

Libertarianism’s status is in dispute among those who style themselves Objectivists (Objectivism is the name philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand gave her philosophy). Though elements of Rand’s philosophy have been adopted by libertarianism, Objectivists (including Rand herself) have condemned libertarianism as a threat to freedom and capitalism. In particular, it has been claimed that libertarians use Objectivist ideas “with the teeth pulled out of them”.[54][55]

Conversely, some libertarians see Objectivists as dogmatic, unrealistic, and uncompromising (Objectivists do not see the last as a negative attribute). According to Reason editor Nick Gillespie in the magazine’s March 2005 issue focusing on Objectivism’s influence, Rand is “one of the most important figures in the libertarian movement… Rand remains one of the best-selling and most widely influential figures in American thought and culture” in general and in libertarianism in particular. Still, he confesses that he is embarrassed by his magazine’s association with her ideas. In the same issue, Cathy Young says that “Libertarianism, the movement most closely connected to Rand’s ideas, is less an offspring than a rebel stepchild.” Though they reject what they see as Randian dogmas, libertarians like Young still believe that “Rand’s message of reason and liberty… could be a rallying point” for libertarianism.

Objectivists reject the rigorous interpretation of the non-aggression principle which leads anarchist libertarians to reject the State. For Objectivists, a government limited to protection of its citizens’ rights is absolutely necessary and moral or at least a “necessary evil”. Objectivists are opposed to all anarchist currents and are suspicious of libertarians’ lineage with individualist anarchism.[56]

Libertarian progressivism supports the civil libertarian aspect of freedom as well as supporting the kind of economic freedom that emphasizes removing corporate subsidies and other favoritism to special interests, and applying a responsible transition toward freedom – for example, some support a transition approach that includes certain trade restrictions on imports from countries that have very little freedom, and free trade with those countries would be phased in if they move toward more freedom. Libertarian progressives are sometimes libertarian Democrats.[57][58]

Minarchism is the belief that a state should exist but that its functions should be minimal because its sole purpose is protecting the rights of the people, including protecting people and their property from the criminal acts of others, as well as providing for national defense.[59]

Anarchism is a political philosophy encompassing many theories and traditions, all opposed to government. Although anarchism is usually considered to be a left-wing ideology, it always has included individualists and, more recently, anarcho-capitalists who support pro-property and market-oriented economic structures. Anarchists may support anything from extreme individualism to complete collectivism.

Geolibertarianism is a political movement that strives to reconcile libertarianism and Georgism (or geoism).[60] Geolibertarians are advocates of geoism, which is the position that all land is a common asset to which all individuals have an equal right to access, and therefore if individuals claim the land as their property they must pay rent to the community for doing so. Rent need not be paid for the mere use of land, but only for the right to exclude others from that land, and for the protection of one’s title by government. They simultaneously agree with the libertarian position that each individual has an exclusive right to the fruits of his or her labor as their private property, as opposed to this product being owned collectively by society or the community, and that “one’s labor, wages, and the products of labor” should not be taxed. In agreement with traditional libertarians they advocate “full civil liberties, with no crimes unless there are victims who have been invaded.”[60] Geolibertarians generally advocate distributing the land rent to the community via a land value tax, as proposed by Henry George and others before him. For this reason, they are often called “single taxers”. Fred E. Foldvary coined the word “geo-libertarianism” in an article so titled in Land and Liberty, May/June 1981, pp. 53-55. In the case of geoanarchism, the voluntary form of geolibertarianism as described by Foldvary, rent would be collected by private associations with the opportunity to secede from a geocommunity (and not receive the geocommunity’s services) if desired.

Left-libertarianism is usually regarded as doctrine that has an egalitarian view concerning natural resources, believing that it is not legitimate for someone to claim private ownership of resources to the detriment of others.[39][61][62] Most left libertarians support some form of income redistribution on the grounds of a claim by each individual to be entitled to an equal share of natural resources.[62] Left libertarianism is defended by contemporary theorists such as Peter Vallentyne, Hillel Steiner, Michael Otsuka, and Noam Chomsky.[63] The term is sometimes used as a synonym for libertarian socialism or simply socialism.[64]

Some members of the U.S. libertarian movement, including the late Samuel Edward Konkin III[65] and Roderick T. Long,[66] employ a differing definition of left libertarianism. These individuals depart from other forms of libertarianism by advocating strong alliances with the Left on issues such as the anti-war movement,[67] and by supporting labor unions.[68][69] Some wish to revive voluntary cooperative ideas such as mutualism.[70]

In France, Libert chrie (“Cherished Liberty”) is a pro-liberty think tank and activist association formed in 2003. Libert chrie gained significant publicity when it managed to draw 30,000 Parisians into the streets to demonstrate against government employees who were striking.[71][72]

In Germany, a “Libertre Plattform in der FDP” (“Liberty Caucus within the Free Democratic Party”) was founded in 2005.

The Russian Libertarian Movement (Rossiyskoye Libertarianskoye Dvizhenie, RLD; 2003-2006) was a short-lived political party in the Russian Federation, formed by members of the Institute of Natiology (Moscow), a libertarian think-tank. After electoral failure and government failure, it disbanded.

The Libertarian Alliance was an early libertarian educational group. It was followed by British think tanks such as the Adam Smith Institute. A British Libertarian Party was founded on January 1, 2008.

Well known libertarian organizations include the Center for Libertarian Studies, the Cato Institute, the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), the International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL) and the Ludwig von Mises Institute. The Libertarian Party of the United States is the world’s first such party.

The activist Free State Project, formed in 2001, works to bring 20,000 libertarians to the state of New Hampshire to influence state policy. They had signed up 1,033 people by 2008. Similar, but less successful, projects include the Free West Alliance and Free State Wyoming. (There is also a European Free State Project.)

The Tea Party Movement is arguably a recent revival of mainstream libertarianism in the United States. Ron Paul and his son Rand Paul’s increasing visibility and popularity with the electorate could also be signs of a revival of libertarianism in mainstream political consciousness in the United States.

Costa Rica’s Movimiento Libertario (“Libertarian Movement”) is libertarian party which holds roughly 10% of the seats in Costa Rica’s national assembly (legislature). The Limn REAL Project seeks for autonomy in a province in Costa Rica.[73]

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Definitions of Libertarianism – The Advocates for Self-Government

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Feb 242016
 

There are many ways of saying the same thing, and libertarians often have unique ways of answering the question What is libertarianism? Weve asked many libertarians that question, and below are some of our favorite definitions.

Libertarianism is, as the name implies, the belief in liberty. Libertarians believe that each person owns his own life and property and has the right to make his own choices as to how he lives his life and uses his property as long as he simply respects the equal right of others to do the same. Sharon Harris, President, Advocates for Self-Government

The CATO Insistutes David Boaz

Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Libertarians defend each persons right to life, liberty, and property rights that people possess naturally, before governments are created. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have themselves used force actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud. David Boaz, Executive Vice President, Cato Institute

Libertarianism is a philosophy. The basic premise of libertarianism is that each individual should be free to do as he or she pleases so long as he or she does not harm others. In the libertarian view, societies and governments infringe on individual liberties whenever they tax wealth, create penalties for victimless crimes, or otherwise attempt to control or regulate individual conduct which harms or benefits no one except the individual who engages in it. definition written by theU.S. Internal Revenue Service, during the process of granting theAdvocates for Self-Governmentstatus as a nonprofit educational organization

Libertarianism is what your mom taught you: behave yourself and dont hit your sister. Ken Bisson, board member, Advocates for Self-Government

Former Congressman and 3-time Presidential Candidate Dr. Ron Paul

The core of libertarianism is respect for the life, liberty and property rights of each individual. This means that no one may initiate force against another, as that violates those natural rights. While many claim adherence to this principle, only libertarians apply the non-aggression axiom to the state. Ron Paul

Libertarians believe in individual liberty, personal responsibility and freedom from government on all issues at all times A libertarian is someone who thinks you should be free to live your life asyouwant to live it, not as [the President of the United States] thinks you should who believes you should raise your children byyourvalues, not those of some far-off bureaucrat whos using your child as a pawn to create some brave new world who thinks that, because youre the one who gets up every day and goes to work, you should be free to keepevery dollaryou earn, to spend it, save it, give it away asyouthink best. Harry Browne(1933-2006);1996 and 2000 Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate and author ofLiberty A-Z: 872 Libertarian Soundbites You Can Use Right Now!

In popular terminology, a libertarian is the opposite of an authoritarian. Strictly speaking, a libertarian is one who rejects the idea of using violence or the threat of violence legal or illegal to impose his will or viewpoint upon any peaceful person. Generally speaking, a libertarian is one who wants to be governed far less than he is today. -Dean Russell,author at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), 1955

Fox Business Host John Stossel

We want government to largely leave us alone, protect our personal security, but then to butt-out, leave us free to pursue our hopes and dreams, as long as we dont hurt anybody else. John Stossel, host of Stossel on Fox Financial News Network and author ofMyths, Lies and Downright Stupidity

Libertarians believe in individual liberty, personal responsibility and freedom from government on all issues at all times A libertarian is someone who thinks you should be free to live your life asyouwant to live it, not as [the President of the United States] thinks you should who believes you should raise your children byyourvalues, not those of some far-off bureaucrat whos using your child as a pawn to create some brave new world who thinks that, because youre the one who gets up every day and goes to work, you should be free to keepevery dollaryou earn, to spend it, save it, give it away asyouthink best. Harry Browne(1933-2006);1996 and 2000 Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate and author ofLiberty A-Z: 872 Libertarian Soundbites You Can Use Right Now!

As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives, and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others. We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized. Consequently, we defend each persons right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power. from the Preamble to theLibertarian PartyPlatform

Author and Political Scientist Charles Murray

Applied to personal behavior, the libertarian ethic is simple but stark: Thou shalt not initiate the use of force. Thou shalt not deceive or defraud. Anyone who observes both these injunctions faithfully has gone a long way toward being an admirable human being as defined by any of the worlds great ethical systems. Charles Murray, political scientist and author ofWhat It Means To Be a Libertarian

Libertarians are self-governors in both personal and economic matters. They believe governments only purpose is to protect people from coercion and violence. Libertarians value individual responsibility and tolerate economic and social diversity. Carole Ann Rand, former president, Advocates for Self-Government

Libertarianism is what you probably already believe Libertarian values are American values. Libertarianism is Americas heritage of liberty, patriotism and honest work to build a future for your family. Its the idea that being free and independent is a great way to live. That each of us is a unique individual with great potential. That you own yourself, and that you have the right to decide whats best for you. Americans of all races and creeds built a great and prosperous country with these libertarian ideals. Lets use them to build Americas future. David Bergland, 1984 Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate and author ofLibertarianism in One Lesson

Author L. Neil Smith

A libertarian is a person who believes that no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being, or to advocate or delegate its initiation. Those who act consistently with this principle are libertarians, whether they realize it or not. Those who fail to act consistently with it are not libertarians, regardless of what they may claim. authorL. Neil Smith

Libertarianism is self-government. It combines the best of both worlds: The left leg of self-government is tolerance of others; the right leg is responsible economic behavior. The combination of both legs leads to social harmony and material abundance. -Marshall Fritz(1943-2008), Founder of the Advocates for Self-Government and of the Alliance for the Separation of School and State, inventor of the Worlds Smallest Political Quiz

Free minds and free markets. – slogan ofReasonmagazine

Individual liberty, free markets and peace. – slogan of Cato Institute

Central to libertarianism is its non-aggression principle. Each of us has the obligation under justice not to aggress against anyone else for any reason personal, social or political. Doris Gordon,Libertarians for Life

Small government: one that stays out of peoples wallets and out of their bedrooms. Jeffrey Miron, Harvard Professor and author ofLibertarianism from A to Z

True and impartial liberty is therefore the right of every man to pursue the natural, reasonable and religious dictates of his own mind; to think what he will, and act as he thinks, provided he acts not to the prejudice of another; to spend his own money himself and lay out the produce of his labor his own way; and to labor for his own pleasure and profit, and not for others who are idle, and would live and riot by pillaging and oppressing him and those that are like him. Thomas Gordon,1722, submitted byDavid Nalle,Republican Liberty Caucus

The political and legal philosophy rooted in natural law of individual liberty and personal responsibility under a rule of law. David J. Theroux,Founder and President, Independent Institute

Author and Loyola University Professor Walter Block

Libertarianism is a political philosophy. It is concerned solely with the proper use of force. Its core premise is that it should be illegal to threaten or initiate violence against a person or his property without his permission; force is justified only in defense or retaliation.That is it, in a nutshell. The rest is mere explanation, elaboration, and qualification. -Walter Block,Loyola University Professor and author ofDefending the Undefendable

Libertarianism is the simple morality we learned as children: dont strike first, dont steal or cheat, keep your promises.If you inadvertently fail to live up to these standards, make it up to the person youve harmed.If someone harms you, you may defend yourself as needed to stop the aggressor and obtain reparations. This simple morality works group-to-group just as it works one-to-one to bring about a peaceful and prosperous world. Mary Ruwart, author ofHealing Our World in an Age of Aggression

A political system guided by the basic principles of natural individual human rights (to ones life, liberty, property, etc.). Tibor Machan,philosopher, Chapman University Professor and author ofThe Promise of Liberty

The political philosophy in which individual and economic liberty constitute the highest societal value. Robert Poole, Founder , Reason Foundation

The freedom to live your life as you see fit as long as you do not harm or infringe upon the rights of others. Jeff Frazee, Executive Director, Young Americans for Liberty

Other people are not your property. Roderick Long, philosopher, Auburn University Professor and author ofReason and Value: Aristotle Vs. Rand

Nobel Prize-winning Economist Milton Friedman

Libertarians want the smallest, least-intrusive government consistent with maximum freedom for each individual to follow his own ways, his own values, as long as he doesnt interfere with anyone elses doing the same. -Milton Friedman(1912-2006), Noble Prize-winning economist

Libertarianism is a political philosophy that advocates little or no initiation of force in society. That view is derived from the philosophys core premise, namely, that each and every person is born into this world as a distinct and precious individual, possessing the right to do anything that is peaceful. Lawrence Reed, President, Foundation for Economic Education

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John Locke: Money and Private Property | Libertarianism.org

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Feb 242016
 

November 20, 2015 columns

Smith explains the significance, for Locke, of the increased productivity caused by labor, and the relationship between money and property.

In previous essays I discussed John Lockes claim that labor is the moral foundation of property rights. It must be understood that his labor theory of property differs from a labor theory of value in an economic sense. Although Locke posited labor as the moral foundation of property, he did not believe that the quantity of labor needed to produce a commodity ultimately determines its market price; on the contrary, the price of labor is determined by the relative scarcity of laborits supply relative to demand in a given market. As Karen Vaughn noted in John Locke: Economist and Social Scientist (Athlone Press, 1980): Obviously since Locke describes the value of labor as being determined by the market price, rather than showing price as being somehow determined by the quantity of labor which goes into a product, he was far from describing a labor theory of value in either a classical or a Marxian sense. (Vaughns book is a superb account of Lockes theory of economics. It corrects a number of common misconceptions about Locke, such as the erroneous claim that he was an orthodox mercantilist. Vaughn also argued that Lockes theory of capital is more closely related to the later Austrian school than to either the classical or neoclassical economists.)

When Locke argued that labor puts the difference of value on every thing, that it increases the intrinsic value of natural resources, he meant that labor vastly increases their usefulness to the Life of Man. Here Locke implicitly invoked a standard distinction in early economic thought, which goes back at least to Aristotle, between value in use and value in exchange. (See my discussion of that dichotomy, which generated the classical water-diamond paradox, here.) According to this misleading distinction, it is value in exchange, not value in use, that ultimately regulates market prices.

Land that has been cultivated by human labor will yield far more produce that is useful to human beings than will uncultivated land. (Locke gave a lowball estimate of ten times more productivity with cultivated land, but he speculated that the increase will actually be a hundred or even a thousand times greater.) This observation was an important part of Lockes explanation of why his proviso, according to which the private appropriation of land is justifiable only when there is enough, and as good left in common with others, is not in fact a serious problem for his labor theory of private property, most notably in land. For one thing, the amount of land that any individual can cultivate is quite limited.

The measure of Property, Nature has well set, by the Extent of Mens Labour, and the Conveniency of Life: No Mans Labour could subdue, or appropriate all: nor could his Enjoyment consume more than a small part; so that is was impossible for any Man, this way, to intrench upon the right of another, or to acquire to himself a Property, to the Prejudice of his Neighbour, who would still have room, for as good, and as large a Possession ( after the other had taken out his) as before it was appropriated. This measure did confine every Mans Possession, to a very moderate Proportion.

Locke believed that the worlds population in his day could easily double and still leave plenty of unowned (common) land for others to use or to appropriate as private property. But to focus entirely on the availability of unowned land is to overlook the enormous increase of productivity brought about by labor. The private cultivator of land, far from decreasing the amount of goods available to others, in fact increases those goods many times over. Land itself is of very little value, without labour. And he who applies his labor to land does not lessen but increase[s] the common stock of mankind. Locke maintained that land, like every other economic good, is valued only because of its usefulness, or utility, to man. Land is useful insofar as it enables us to sustain ourselves and to achieve our well-being. Thus the private owner and cultivator of land, by vastly increasing the amount of useful commodities that uncultivated land would otherwise yield, greatly improves the condition of mankind generally. Private property in land and other natural resources benefits everyone.

Next in line is Lockes discussion of money (precious metals) and how it counteracted his spoilage limitation (which I discussed in my last essay). The spoilage limitation does not limit the amount of property one may justly acquire; it merely prohibits claims of ownership to perishable goods that will spoil while in ones possession: the exceeding of the bounds of his just Property not lying in the largeness of his Possession, but in the perishing of any thing uselessly in it. One may therefore expand ones stock of private property by exchanging perishable goods that one cannot use for useful goods, for barter is a type of use. Or one may exchange perishable goods for durable goods that will not spoil, such as precious metals. Here is how Locke explained the matter.

Now of those good things which Nature hath provided in common, every one had a Rightto as much as he could use, and had a Property in all that he could affect with his Labour: all that his Industry could extend to, to alter from the State of Nature had put it in, was his. He that gathered a Hundred Bushels of Acorns or Apples, had thereby a Property in them; they were his Goods as soon as he gathered. He was only to look that he used them before they spoiled; else he took more than his share, and robbd others. And indeed it was a foolish thing, as well as dishonest, to hoard up more than he could make use of. And if he also bartered away Plums that would have rotted in a Week, for Nuts that would last good for his eating a whole Year, he did no injury; he wasted not the common Stock; destroyed no part of the portion of Goods that belonged to others, so long as nothing perished uselessly in his hands. Again, if he would give his Nuts for a piece of Metal, pleased with its colour; or exchange his Sheep for Shells, or Wool for a sparkling Pebble or a Diamond, and keep those by him all his Life, he invaded not the Right of others, he might heap up as much of these durable things as he pleased.

According to Locke, as precious metals were widely accepted as money, it became possible to accumulate potentially unlimited amounts of property without violating the spoilage limitation. This development was especially important to the ownership of land. Before the advent of money people were little inclined to expand their landed property, for there were only so many natural resources they could use for the benefit of themselves and their families. But things changed dramatically when excess land and its products could be sold for moneya durable form of wealth that does not violate the spoilage limitation. Money brought with it extensive commerce, and this commerce in turn, by increasing both the diversity and demand for commodities, greatly enhanced the wealth of nations.

In my last essay I suggested that Locke posited his two qualifications to property rights primarily for the purpose of demonstrating their inapplicability to his own labor theory of property. I shall now recapitulate his reasoning.

First, the proviso that property claims should leave enough for others to use is not a serious problem, because the amount of property that any individual can use and may claim by mixing his labor with it is very limited. Moreover, the private cultivator of land actually increases the amount of goods that others may use for their benefit.

Second, the spoilage limitation applies only to perishable goods. It does not apply to durable goods, such as precious metals, and it does not limit the amount of property one may own. Therefore, when the emergence of money made it possible to sell excess landi.e., land not needed to satisfy ones own wants, land on which crops might otherwise rotit also legitimated the ownership of land (and other resources) beyond that needed for personal use. Thus arose the accumulation of capital and Lockes opposition to a legal limits on interest ratesimportant elements in Lockes economic thinking that I cannot discuss here but which are explained in Karen Vaughns book, cited above.

One final note: It is clear that Locke believed that an economic system based on property rights did exist, and therefore could exist, in a state of nature, long before the emergence of governments, whose only justification was to render those rights more secure. And this entails a high degree of social order in Lockes anarchistic state of nature that was impossible in the state of nature described by Thomas Hobbesa perpetual war of every man against every man in which property rights and other civilizing institutions could not emerge. Lockes relatively optimistic view of the state of nature would later generate its own brand of anarchism. Given that society without government was not regarded as synonymous with social chaos in the Lockean tradition, and that government was deemed necessary only to remedy certain inconveniences in the state of nature in regard to the security of property rights already established, it became plausible to speculate on how those inconveniences might be dealt with satisfactorily in a competitive market system without a monopolistic government. What was unthinkable for Hobbes and other absolutists became thinkable in the treatment of John Locke.

George H. Smith was formerly Senior Research Fellow for the Institute for Humane Studies, a lecturer on American History for Cato Summer Seminars, and Executive Editor of Knowledge Products. Smith’s fourth book, The System of Liberty, was recently published by Cambridge University Press.

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Libertarianism – Queensborough Community College

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Feb 142016
 

(NOTE: You must read only those linked materials that are preceded by the capitalized word READ.) Overview of The Problem of Freedom

On the definition of freedom and suggested links: READ: http://www.philosophypages.com/dy/f9.htm#free

For those of you who believe that you are free and have a free will and can make free decisions, here are some interesting definitions and presentations of the basic issues

FREE WILL -Definition http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/

Definition: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06259a.htm

Human beings are free to choose amongst alternatives available and must be respected as such. This freedom is to be acknowledged and promoted. The believers in free will attempt to argue for their case against those that believe that all human actions are determined by previous events and the laws of the physical universe.

Below are several arguments in support of the Libertarian position.

The libertarians would ask that we consider the DATA of experience:

1. Experience of deliberation

a. I deliberate only about MY behavior

b. I deliberate only about future things

c. I cannot deliberate about what I shall do, if I already know what I am going to do.

d. I cannot deliberate unless I believe that it is “up to me.”

2. Experience that it is “up to me” what to do.

They hold that there is no necessity governing human behavior. There is no causal or logical necessity. (Logical Necessity, e.g. principle of non-contradiction) (Causal necessity – physical law, e.g. gravity)

Suggested Reading: John Hospers, The Meaning of Freedom

http://www.vix.com/objectivism/Writing/TiborMachan/DefenseOfFreeWill.html

Richard Taylor is a modern American philosopher who has taught at the University of Rochester and at Hartwick College. Taylor proposes the following method for finding out whether or not determinism is true: We try to see whether it is consistent with certain data, that is, by seeing whether or not it squares with certain things that everyone knows, or believes himself to know, or with things everyone is at least more sure about than the answer to the question at issue. (Metaphysics, 4th ed., Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1992, p. 38)

The following is from http://www.citruscollege.com/ace/Call/PHIL106-1/notes/Taylor.asp 2001.

Taylors data

(1) I sometimes deliberate, with the view to making a decision; a decision, namely, to do this thing or that.

(2) Whether or not I deliberate about what to do, it is sometimes up to me what I do.

By deliberation Taylor means the experience of weighing something in ones mind, of trying out various options in ones mind. There are certain presuppositions of deliberation, namely,

(1) I can deliberate only about my own behavior and never about the behavior of another.

(2) I can deliberate only about future things, never about things past or present.

(3) I cant deliberate about what Im going to do if I already know what Im going to do.

(4) I cant deliberate about what to do, even though I may not know what Im going to do, unless I believe that it is up to me what Im going to do. (pp. 39-40)

These data are not consistent with the thesis of determinism. If determinism is true, then it is an illusion that I ever genuinely deliberate about anything or that anything is ever really up to me. If these data are true, then determinism is false. Taylor argues that it doesnt make any difference whether we are talking about a forthright, hard determinism, like that of Holbach, or a compatibilist, soft determinism, like that of Hume. According to soft determinism, an action is free just so long as it is caused by an internal state of the agent himself or herself. Against this, he proposes the counterexample of an ingenious physiologist who can induce in a subject any volition he pleases, so that, simply by pushing a button, he can cause the subject to have an internal state which the subject will experience as the desire to do a certain thing. If the subject then does that thing, unimpeded by any external obstacle, that action meets the criterion of being a free action, in accordance with the thesis of soft determinism. That is, the action is due to an internal state of the agent and is not opposed by any external factor. However, we see at once that this action is not free, because it was due to the subjects being in a certain internal state over which he or she had no control. Then Taylor points out that the supposition of the work of the ingenious physiologist isn’t necessary to reach the same conclusion. As long as there is any cause of the internal state that was not under the control of the person whose internal state it is, the resulting action is not free.

There is a real choice that is not to be evaded, then, between accepting determinism and rejecting the data with which we began, on the one hand, or holding fast to our data and rejecting the thesis which is inconsistent with them. Taylor points out, however, that simply rejecting determinism and embracing the thesis of simple indeterminism, which says that some events are uncaused, brings us no closer to a theory explaining free actions that is consistent with our data. He asks the reader to imagine a case in which his or her right arm is free, according to this conception. That is, it just moves one way or another, without any cause whatever. Plainly, if the agent is not the cause for the arm movements, then those movements are not free, voluntary actions of the agent.

Accordingly, Taylor develops a theory of agency with the following elements:

(1) An action that is free must be caused by the agent who performs it, and it must be such that no other set of antecedent conditions was sufficient for the occurrence of just that action.

(2) An agent is a self or person, and not merely a collection of things or events, but a self-moving being. (pp. 51-52)

Taylor recognizes that this involves a metaphysical commitment to a special kind of causation, and he suggests that perhaps causation is not the best language to use to describe it. He proposes that we might want to say instead that an agent originates, initiates, or simply, performs an action. All other cases of causation we conceive of as a relation between events. One event or set of events is a sufficient, or necessary, or sufficient and necessary condition for the occurrence of another. However, an agent is not an event, and we certainly wouldnt say the mere existence of the agent is ever a sufficient condition for the occurrence of one of his or her free actions. Rather, it is only the free action of the agent that is the cause or the origination of the action. Since Taylor can offer no further explanation of how it that this occurs, he admits that it is possible that the data that this theory was developed to explain might be an illusion after all, and his essay ends on an inconclusive note.

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Richard Taylor: A Contemporary Defense of Free Will

The idea of freedom operative in this view is one in which there is no obstacle or impediment that prevents behavior, no constraints, for it is constraints that force behavior. Freedom of the human agent is free activity that is unimpeded and unconstrained. So, there is the Theory of Agency in which there exist self-determining beings: free and rational. There exists the self or person, a substance and self-moving being. The libertarians believe that this theory is consistent with the data of human consciousness. But that DATA may be illusion!!

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Summary of Taylor’s view by Omonia Vinieris (QCC, 2002)

In his work, A Contemporary Defense of Free Will, Taylor refutes the theories held by compatibilism (soft determinism) and simple indeterminism to illustrate their implausibility. He further goes on to affirm his theory of agency to articulate his libertarian standpoint.

Taylor clarifies the concept of deliberation as it is fundamentally the act of considering or assessing something in ones mind. According to Taylor, deliberation encompasses the following premises: One can deliberate solely about ones own conduct and by no means about that of another due to the simple fact that each person makes up ones own mind and never the mind of a different person. There is only deliberation of future actions and never of precedent ones because one can not deliberate about or consider an action that has already transpired. Deliberation is a conditional state that is unconfirmed because it entails the action before it takes place and therefore if one knows or confirms a future action, deliberation is invalid. Altogether, deliberation itself does not exist or ensue if one does not even believe that it is ever ones own consideration that accounts for ones decision to do anything because that is essentially the principle that deliberation embraces.

In his critique of soft determinism, Taylor explains primarily what line of reasoning it maintains and then pinpoints its incongruity to negate its veracity. Compatibilism is a position whose advocates renounce hard determinist thought. Hard determinist position asserts that we are not morally responsible for our own actions because we are not liable for anything we do. Yet, soft determinists say that freedom and determinism are compatible. Determinism is plausibly coherent with freedom as an agent is a carrier of volition and acts appropriately to his or her desires and wishes. On occasion it may be that ones actions are the product of ones deliberation or conditional forethought. Still, if compatibilism holds true it must simultaneously maintain the determinist idea that ones choices are preordained by prenatal events. If this is so, then how can it be possibly up to anyone to do anything?

Simple indeterminism is the denial of determinism. These indeterminists affirm that free agents are morally responsible for their actions which are tamed and controlled. If actions originate from noncausal events as indeterminists claim, then they are chaotic and untamed. Thus, Taylor considers it a contradiction to suggest that ones actions originate from uncaused events because neither is one really a free agent nor morally responsible for his or her actions. These actions are uncontrollable and irresponsible.

Taylors theory of agency proclaims that all events are caused, but unlike determinist theory, some changes or actions have beginnings. A free action is triggered by the agent itself. An agent, in this case, is described as a human, a self-moving body, capable of being the first cause of motion in a causal sequence. It is important that no series of foregoing conditions is adequate for the actual happening of the action, otherwise it would not be free. He further specifies that we should not speak of causation in terms of his free agency. The agent, rather, initiates an action through its performance. An agent, he asserts, is not a set of events that executes causation and therefore it is the free action of the agent that is the cause of the action that occurred.

In the case of an action that is free, it must be such that it is caused by the agent who performs it, but such that no antecedent conditions were sufficient for his performing just that action.

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The Freewill Problem:

Searles Solution to the Freewill Problem:

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There are no greater defenders or representatives of the position that humans have free will than the existentialists.They may not offer strict philosophical proof but they do present some strong language in defense of freedom. The next section presents the existentialist view.

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First Amendment Activities | United States Courts

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Jan 312016
 

Apply landmark Supreme Court cases to contemporary scenarios related to the five pillars of the First Amendment and your rights to freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.

“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 redress of grievances.”First Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Cox v. New Hampshire Protests and freedom to assemble

Elonis v. U.S. Facebook and free speech

Engel v. Vitale Prayer in schools and freedom of religion

Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier Student newspapers and free speech

Morse v. Frederick School-sponsored events and free speech

Snyder v. Phelps Public concerns, private matters, and free speech

Texas v. Johnson Flag burning and free speech

U.S. v. Alvarez Lies and free speech

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First Amendment Law (U. S. Constitution: The First Amendment)

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Jan 312016
 

This site explores the history and interpretation of the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution, including the Free Speech Clause, the Establishment Clause, and the Free Exercise Clause. For materials on other topics related to the Constitution, visit Exploring Constitutional Law.

THE FREE SPEECH CLAUSE

Introduction to the Free Speech Clause

What is “Speech”?

The “Clear & Present Danger” Test for Subversive Advocacy

Advocacy of Unlawful Action and the “Incitement Test”

Substantial Overbreadth Doctrine

Prior Restraints

The Press & Fair Trial Issues

Four-Letter Words and Other Indecent Speech

A Free Speech History Lesson: The Trial of Lenny Bruce

Regulation of Hate Speech

Desecrating Flags and Other Attacks on American Symbols

First Amendment Limitations on Civil Law Liability

Does the First Amendment Protect Lies?

Different Tests for Different Media?

Permits and Fees for Marches, Parades, Rallies

Speech Restrictions in the Traditional Public Forum

Time, Place, and Manner Regulations

Speech Restrictions in the Limited Public Forum

Speech Restrictions in the Non-Public Forum

Student Speech Rights

Government-Compelled Speech

Gov’t Speech & Conditions on Speech Attached to Gov’t Spending

Free Speech Rights of Public Employees

The First Amendment and News Gathering: Access to (and Protection of) Sources

Regulation of Commercial Speech

Campaign Finance Regulation

The Right Not to Associate

What is Obscene?

Regulation of Child Pornography

Adult-Oriented Businesses and the “Secondary Effects” Test

Free Speech and the State Action Requirement

THE RELIGION CLAUSES

Introduction to the Establishment Clause

Prayer in the Public Schools

Vouchers & Other Aid to Religious Schools

The Evolution/Creationism Controversy

Theocracy Issues: Looking for Secular Purposes

Religious Symbols in Public Places

Student-Initiated Religious Speech

The Free Exercise Clause: Rise of the Compelling State Interest Test

The Free Exercise Clause: Narrowing of the Test

To see a course syllabus, jump to: FIRST AMENDMENT LAW SYLLABUS.

SAMPLE EXAM PROBLEMS

(All teachers are welcome to adopt this material for their own courses. DL) THEME SONG

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Annenberg Classroom – First Amendment

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Jan 312016
 

First Amendment – The Text11 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.

11On September 25, 1789, Congress transmitted to the states twelve proposed amendments. Two of these, which involved congressional representation and pay, were not adopted. The remaining ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified on December 15, 1791.

First Amendment – The Meaning 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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Annenberg Classroom – First Amendment

First Amendment to the United States Constitution – Simple …

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Jan 312016
 

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is a part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, and right to petition.

The Establishment Clause does not allow the government to support one religion more than any other religion. The government also can not say a religion or a god is true. This is often described as “separation of church and state”, where “state” means “the government”. It also does not allow the government to establish a national religion. It allows people to debate religion freely without the federal government of the United States getting involved. The clause did not stop the various states from supporting a particular religion, and several states did.

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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First Amendment to the United States Constitution – Simple …

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First Amendment Day – UNC Center for Media Law and Policy

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Jan 312016
 

Each year, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill celebrates First Amendment Day. This campus-wide, daylong event is designedto both celebrate the First Amendment and explore its role in the lives of Carolinastudents. Students and other members of the university community read from banned books,sing controversial music and discuss the publicuniversitys special role as a marketplace of ideas and the need to be tolerant when others exercise their rights. First AmendmentDay is observed during National Banned Books Week.

First Amendment Day is organized by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy. The UNC Center for Media Law and Policy is a collaboration between the School of Media and Journalism and the School of Law. Generous funding for the days events is provided by Time Warner Cable.

The seventh annual First Amendment Day was held onSeptember 29, 2015.

Be part of the conversation by tweeting with the hashtag #uncfree

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First Amendment Day – UNC Center for Media Law and Policy

Libertarianism – TheFreeDictionary.com

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Jan 242016
 

A political philosophy that advocates free will, individual rights, and voluntary cooperation.

The core doctrine of libertarianism begins with the recognition that people have certain natural rights and that deprivation of these rights is immoral. Among these natural rights are the right to personal autonomy and property rights, and the right to the utilization of previously unused resources. These two basic assumptions form the foundation of all libertarian ideals.

Libertarianism can be traced back to ancient China, where philosopher Lao-tzu advocated the recognition of individual liberties. The modern libertarian theory emerged in the sixteenth century through the writings of Etienne de La Boetie (15301563), an eminent French theorist. In the seventeenth century, John Locke and a group of British reformers known as the Levellers fashioned the classical basis for libertarianism with well-received philosophies on human nature and economics. Since the days of Locke, libertarianism has attracted pacifists, utopianists, utilitarianists, anarchists, and fascists. This wide array of support demonstrates the accessibility and elasticity of the libertarian promotion of natural rights.

Essential to the notion of natural rights is respect for the natural rights of others. Without a dignified population, voluntary cooperation is impossible. According to the libertarian, the means to achieving a dignified population and voluntary cooperation is inextricably tied to the promotion of natural rights.

Libertarianism holds that people lose their dignity as government gains control of their body and their life. The Abdication of natural rights to government prevents people from living in their own way and working and producing at their own pace. The result is a decrease in self-reliance and independence, which results in a decrease in personal dignity, which in turn depresses society and necessitates more government interference.

Thus, the libertarian views government as both the cause and the effect of societal ills. Government is the cause of crime and prejudice because it robs people of their independence and frustrates initiative and creativity. Then, having created the sources of crime and prejudice by depriving individuals of their natural rights, government attempts to exorcise the evils with more controls over natural rights.

Libertarians believe that government should be limited to the defense of its citizens. Actions such as murder, rape, Robbery, theft, Embezzlement, Fraud, Arson, Kidnapping, Battery, Trespass, and Pollution violate the rights of others, so government control of these actions is legitimate. Libertarians acknowledge human imperfection and the resulting need for some government deterrence and punishment of violence, Nuisance, and harassment. However, government control of human activity should be limited to these functions.

Boaz, David. 1997. Libertarianism: A Primer. New York: Free Press.

Otsuka, Michael. 2003. Libertarianism Without Inequality. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

Anarchism; Independent Parties; Natural Law; Utilitarianism.

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