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Denver SEO – #1 Search Engine Optimization Company – SEO Denver

 SEO  Comments Off on Denver SEO – #1 Search Engine Optimization Company – SEO Denver
Feb 072016
 

Looking for a reliable Denver SEO expert? Since 1996, Colorado SEO has specialized in providing organic search engine optimization (SEO) and internet marketing services to businesses worldwide.

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Denver SEO – #1 Search Engine Optimization Company – SEO Denver

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cryonics – The Skeptic’s Dictionary – Skepdic.com

 Cryonics  Comments Off on cryonics – The Skeptic’s Dictionary – Skepdic.com
Feb 022016
 

Cryonics claims it can store a dead human body at low temperatures in such a way that it will be possible to revitalize that body and restore life at some unspecified future date. One hook the cryonics folks use is to give hope that a cure for a disease one dies of today will be found tomorrow, allowing that cure to be applied to the thawed body before or while bringing the dead person back to life. Cryonics might be called resurrection by technology and believers in it might be classified as suffering from the Moses syndrome. The simple fact is once you are dead, you are dead forever. This fact may seem horrifying, but it is not nearly as horrifying as the thought of living forever.

The technology exists to freeze or preserve people and that technology is improving and will probably get better. The technology to revivify a frozen body exists in the imagination. Nanotechnology, for example, is a technology that supporters of cryonics appeal to. Someday, they say, we’ll be able to rebuild anything, including diseased or damaged cells in the body, with nanobots. So, no matter what disease destroyed healthy cells in the living body before preservation and no matter what damage was done to the cells of the frozen body during storage, nanotechnology will allow us to bring the dead back to life. This seems like wishful thinking. Nanotechnology might rebuild a mass of dead tissue into a mass of healthy tissue, but without a complete isomorphic model of the brain it will be impossible to return a mushy brain to the exact state it was in before death occurred. (Of course, since this is an exercise in imagination, one can posit that some day we will be able to preserve the brain without any decomposition or transformation at all.) In any case, some other jolt, probably electricity, will be needed to get the heart beating and the brain working again, assuming, of course, that the mush brain has been reconstructed into a healthy brain.

Some preserved by cryonics have the head severed from the body after death. Then, either the head alone is preserved, or both the head and the body are preserved separately. Maybe some future technology will allow the head to be attached to an artificial body. It can be imagined without contradiction, as the philosophers say, so it is not logically impossible that some day our planet will be inhabited by bodiless heads that are connected to machines that allow either actual or virtual experiences of any kind imaginable without requiring the head to leave the room. Of course, when that times comes medical science will have advanced to the point where the aging process can be reversed or maintained in stasis.

A business based on little more than hope for developments that can be imagined by science is quackery. (Cryonics should not be confused with cryogenics, which is a branch of physics that studies the effects of low temperatures on the structure of objects.) There is little reason to believe that the promises of cryonics will ever be fulfilled. Even if a dead body is somehow preserved for a century or two and then repaired, whatever is animated by whatever process will not be the same person who died. The brain is the key to consciousness and to who a person is. There is no reason to believe that a brain preserved by whatever means and restored to whatever state by nanobots will result in a consciousness that is in any way connected to the consciousness of the person who died two centuries earlier.

For those who want to live forever, cloning might be a more realistic possibility but I wouldn’t bank on it. First, there is the aging problem. Even if cloning is successful, you won’t be able to clone yourself as younger. Of course, you can hope that future technology will have solved the aging problem. Perhaps your body can be cloned repeatedly until science can assist you to overcome aging. However, there is no reason to believe that your clone would be a continuation of you. Your bodies might have identical looking cells, but the only way your minds could be identical is if you had no experience. (It is logically impossible for your bodies to have identical experiences since they occupy different spatial and temporal coordinates.) In that case, you would be as good as dead.

origin of cryonics

Teacher Robert Ettinger (physics and math) brought cryonics into the intellectual mainstream in 1964 with The Prospect of Immortality. Ettinger founded the Cryonics Institute and the related Immortalist Society. He got the idea for cryonics from a story by Neil R. Jones. “The Jameson Satellite” appeared in the July 1931 issue of Amazing Stories. It told the tale of

one Professor Jameson [who] had his corpse sent into earth orbit where (as the author mistakenly thought) it would remain preserved indefinitely at near absolute zero. And so it did, in the story, until millions of years later, when, with humanity extinct, a race of mechanical men with organic brains chanced upon it. They revived and repaired Jameson’s brain, installed it in a mechanical body, and he became one of their company.*

Thus was born the idea that we could freeze our bodies, repair them at a later date, and bring them back to life when technology had advanced sufficiently to do the repairs and the reviving.

ethical & other issues

I will leave to others to discuss most of the ethical, legal, political, and economic issues of cryonics. I’ll conclude with some comments about the cryonics case of Ted Williams.

Williams died in 2002 at the age of 83. According to his estranged daughter, Barbara Joyce (Bobby-Jo Ferrell) Williams, he left a will in which he expressed his desire to be cremated and have his ashes spread over his favorite fishing grounds in the Florida Keys. His son (Barbara Joyce’s half-brother), John Henry Williams, arranged for Williams’s body to be processed by Alcor LIfe Extension Foundation. A story in SportsIllustrated.com (SI) stated:

Hall of Famer Ted Williams’ head and body are being stored in separate containers at an Arizona cryonics lab that is still trying to collect a $111,000 bill from Williams’ son [he had already paid $25,000], according to a story by Tom Verducci in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated.

Alcor still has Williams’s head in a canister and his body in a tank, both filled with liquid nitrogen (to keep the remains at a cool -321 degrees Fahrenheit). According to SI, Alcor representatives met with John Henry Williams, but not Ted Williams, about a year before Ted’s death. Furthermore, SI reported that the Consent for Cryonic Suspension form submitted to Alcor after Williams had died had a blank line where his signature should have been.

There was a lawsuit by the estranged daughter that fizzled, allegedly for lack of funds, but no legal action by the authorities was taken against John Henry or Alcor. There is a movement still going to right this ship (see the Free Ted Williams website.) Larry Johnson, who worked briefly at Alcor, is leading the crusade to get Congress and a couple of state legislatures to regulate the cryonics industry and have Ted Williams cremated. A video interview with Johnson on “Good Morning America” discussing the disposition of Ted Williams’s body at Alcor can be viewed by clicking here. Johnson’s book on the subject, Shiver: A Whistleblower’s Chilling Expose of Cryonics and the Truth Behind What Happened to Ted Williams, is scheduled to be published in May 2009.

See also Ralian and my comments on cryonics in Mass Media Funk.

further reading

books and articles

Ettinger, Robert C. W. 1964. The Prospect of Immortality. Doubleday.

Kunzman, Alan, with Paul Nieto. 2004. Mothermelters: The inside story of Cryonics and the Dora Kent Homicide. 1st Books Library. (For Alcor’s version of the case, see Our Finest Hours: Notes On the Dora Kent Crisis by Michael Perry, Ph.D.)

Johnson, Larry with Scott Baldyga. 2009. Shiver: A Whistleblower’s Chilling Expose of Cryonics and the Truth Behind What Happened to Ted Williams. Morgan James Publishing.

Polidoro, J. P. 2005. Brain Freeze -321 f ~Saving “Reggie” Sanford~. Xlibris Corporation. (A novel about a former baseball player whose body is whisked off to a cryonics facility….)

websites and blogs

Nano Nonsense & Cryonics by Michael Shermer

CryonicsA futile desire for everlasting life – Only on Wednesdays

Is Cryonics Feasible? Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Dora Kent – Wikipedia (“News coverage at the time [1987] was limited, due to the gruesomeness of the case and the Christmas season.”)

Cryonics UK

Debates about cryonics with skeptics (condensed from exchanges that occurred in May-June 2006 in the James Randi Educational Forum (JREF).)

Cryonics: The Issues (An Overview) by Ben Best

Can cryogenic cooling miraculously improve car parts, sports equipment, and musical instruments? – The Straight Dope

Last updated 05-Dec-2013

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cryonics – The Skeptic’s Dictionary – Skepdic.com

First Amendment Activities | United States Courts

 Misc  Comments Off on First Amendment Activities | United States Courts
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 Activities | United States Courts

 Posted by at 8:41 pm  Tagged with:

First Amendment to the United States Constitution – Simple …

 Misc  Comments Off on First Amendment to the United States Constitution – Simple …
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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Days Inn Le Roy/Bloomington Southeast | Le Roy, IL 61752 Hotel

 Beaches  Comments Off on Days Inn Le Roy/Bloomington Southeast | Le Roy, IL 61752 Hotel
Jan 242016
 

Enjoy comfort and convenience at our Days Inn Le Roy/Bloomington Southeast hotel, located off Interstate 74, midway between Bloomington and Champaign. Our non-smoking Le Roy, IL, hotel is also just 15 miles from Bloomington-Normal Airport (BMI) and offers easy access to Illinois State University, Illinois Wesleyan University and companies like Pioneer Hi-Bred and Vestas Wind Energy, as well as golf and recreational activities, making us your ideal choice for hotels and motels in the Bloomington area.

Wake up each morning to a free Daybreak continental breakfast with hot waffles, surf the web or check your email using our free Wi-Fi, and take advantage of our ample free parking, including large-vehicle parking. Our in-room amenities include a microwave, mini-refrigerator and flat-screen HDTV, and kids 17 and under stay free with an adult at our pet-friendly hotel.

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

Those seeking to commune with nature can fish, go horseback riding and rent paddle boats at Moraine View State Park, just seven miles from our Le Roy, IL, hotel or take the drive to Clinton Lake State Recreation Area, just 20 miles away. Golfers can hit the links at nearby Le Roy Country Club, and those in the area visiting students will find Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University just 20 miles from our Le Roy hotel, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign just 35 miles away.

DINING OPTIONS

You will find several restaurants close by our hotel in Le Roy. Jacks Caf serves up hearty family-style fare, and Woodys Family Restaurant features an all-you-can-eat-buffet. Teddy Buckmens offers zesty southern fare, while China King is the place to go if you are craving Chinese food. For those on the run, familiar, tasty cheap eats including McDonalds, Arbys and Subway are all within a half-mile of our Le Roy, Illinois hotel.

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Days Inn Le Roy/Bloomington Southeast | Le Roy, IL 61752 Hotel

The Rational Response Squad

 Atheism  Comments Off on The Rational Response Squad
Jan 202016
 

In 2006 a member posted a thread on our message board to ask other atheists about favorite quotes that are anti-religious. The first post of this thread has been edited, to compile most of these atheist quotes in one place. Some of these quotes can be found at Celebatheists.com.

“Surely the ass who invented the first religion ought to be the first ass damned” – Mark Twain

“Faith is believing in that which I know ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

“The hands that help are better far than lips that pray.”Robert Green Ingersoll

“Nothing could be more idiotic and absurd than the doctrine of the trinity.”Robert Green Ingersoll

“Fear paints pictures of ghosts and hangs them in the gallery of ignorance.”Robert Green Ingersoll

“Nothing could be more idiotic and absurd than the doctrine of the trinity.”Robert Green Ingersoll

(paraphrase) – “If God objected to [people with various handicaps], he ought not have created such people.”Robert G Ingersoll

“All thinking men are atheists.” – Ernest Hemmingway

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Mohandas Gandhi

“Born again?! No, I’m not. Excuse me for getting it right the first time.” – Dennis Miller

Annie Dillard: Eskimo:”If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?” Priest: “No, not if you did not know.” Eskimo: “Then why did you tell me?”

“Religion is the most malevolent of all mind viruses.” – Arthur C. Clarke

“Without religion, we’d have good people doing good things, and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” Stephen Weinburg

“”Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear. ” Thomas Jefferson

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.” Thomas Jefferson

“To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise: but I believe I am supported in my creed of materialism by Locke, Tracy, and Stewart. At what age of the Christian church this heresy of immaterialism, this masked atheism, crept in, I do not know. But heresy it certainly is.” Thomas Jefferson

“And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter.” Thomas Jefferson

“In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point.”- Friederich Nietzsche

“The word “Christianity” is already a misunderstanding – in reality there has been only one Christian, and he died on the Cross.” Friederich Nietzsche

“The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.” Friederich Nietzsche

“There is not enough love and kindness in the world to give any of it away to imaginary beings.” – Friederich Nietzsche

“It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” – Carl Sagan

“This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.” – John Adams

“The world holds two classes of men – intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.” – Abu Ala Al-Maari

“Creationists make it sound like a ‘theory’ is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.” – Isaac Asimov

“So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake. Religion is all bunk.” – Thomas Alva Edison

“I am myself a dissenter from all known religions, and I hope that every kind of religious belief will die out.” – Bertrand Russell

“I do not believe any type of religion should ever be introduced into the public schools of the United States.” – Thomas Alva Edison

“Tell me there is a God in the serene heavens that will damn his children for the expression of an honest belief! More men have died in their sins, judged by your orthodox creeds, than there are leaves in all the forests in the wide world ten thousand times over. Tell me these men are in Hell; that these men are in torment; that these children are in eternal pain, and that they are to be punished forever and forever! I denounce this doctrine as the most infamous of lies.” – Robert G. Ingersoll

“The Christian god can easily be pictured as virtually the same god as the many ancient gods of past civilizations. The Christian god is a three headed monster; cruel, vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Religion is “so absurd that it comes close to imbecility.” – H. L. Mencken

“Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration–courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and, above all, love of the truth.”- H. L. Mencken

“. Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all. For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain.” – Gene Roddenberry

“If God has spoken, why is the world not convinced?” – Percy Bysshe Shelley

“It is easier to suppose that the universe has existed for all eternity than to conceive a being beyond its limits capable of creating it.” – Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world.” – Voltaire

“Reality is what it is, not what you want it to be.” – Frank Zappa

“To sit alone with my conscience will be judgment enough for me.” – Charles William Stubbs

“For there is nothing either good or bad, thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Hamlet, II.ii

“Faith: not wanting to know what is true.” – Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

“The being we call god is merely a pawn working for a powerful and rational force in some far-off galaxy. This force is trying to weed out people who are irrational by seeing who would be stupid enough to believe in his god illusion so easily. Those that believe in this illusion, he will send to eternal damnation and he will deliver the rational beings, those who stoically refused to believe in a god, to heaven.” – Nicholas Yee

“God for you is where you sweep away all the mysteries of the world, all the challenges to our intelligence. You simply turn your mind off and say God did it.” – Carl Sagan (1934-1996), Contact

“Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies.”–Thomas Jefferson

“It’s fair to say that the Bible contains equal amounts of fact, history, and pizza.” –Penn Jillette

“I don’t see any god up here” – Yuri Gagarin – first man in space, while in space.

God is a concept by which we measure our pain.- John Lennon

“We need more understanding of human nature, becausethe only real danger that exists is man himself.”- Carl Gustav Jung

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.- Susan B. Anthony

If the gods listened to the prayers of men, all humankind would quickly perish since they constantly pray for many evils to befall oneanother.- Epicurus

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? – Epicurus

God Himself, sir, does not propose to judge a man until his life is over. Why should you and I?- Samuel Johnson

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.- Galileo

To judge from the notions expounded by theologians, one must conclude that God created most men simply with a view to crowding hell.- Marquis De Sade

God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.- Voltaire

God is the great mysterious motivator of what we call nature and it has been said often by philosophers, that nature is the will of God . And, I prefer to say that nature is the only body of God that we shall ever see. – Frank Lloyd Wright

Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee And I’ll forgive Thy great big one on me. – Robert Frost

To know a person’s religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance.- Eric Hoffer

If I were personally to define religion, I would say that it is a bandage that man has invented to protect a soul made bloody by circustance.- Theodore Dreiser

A country dominated by televangelism would be unrecognizable to the Founding Fathers, who envisioned religion as personal and spiritua, not social and political. No particular variety of religion was intended to control the political agenda, to set the community’s moral tone or to judge who are the true believers and members of our society. But this is precisely the objective of the electric church- Razelle Frankel

My faith is that the only soul a man must save is his own.- William Orville Douglas

England has forty-two religions and only two sauces.- Voltaire

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to the garage makes you a car.- Laurence J. Peter

I think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability.- Oscar Wilde

If there is no God, who pops up the next Kleenex?- Art Hoppe

“Since no one really knows anything about God,those who think they do are justtroublemakers.”Rabia Al-Basri

The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance. – Socrates.

“I refuse to prove that I exist” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith, I am nothing.” “Oh,” says man, “but the Babel Fish is a dead give-away, isn’t it? It proves You exist, and so therefore You don’t. Q.E.D.” “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that,” says God, who promptly vanishes in a puff of logic. ~ Douglas Adams,Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Moral: a peerless maxim enumerated by God in his Holy Bible, such as that of Deut. 23:1, if your testicles are crushed or your male member missing, you must never enter a sanctuary of the Lord. ~ Donald Morgan

There is a story, which is fairly well known, about when the missionaries came to Africa. They had the Bible and we, the natives, had the land. They said “Let us pray,” and we dutifully shut our eyes. When we opened them, why, they now had the land and we had the Bible. ~Desmond M. Tutu, “Religious Human Rights and the Bible”

Religion: A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. ~ Ambrose Bierce

I am treated as evil by people who claim that they are being oppressed because they are not allowed to force me to practice what they do. ~ D. Dale Gulledge

Why should we take advice on sex from the pope? If he knows anything about it, he shouldn’t. ~ George Bernard Shaw

The world is not a prison house but a kind of spiritual kindergarten where millions of bewildered infants are trying to spell God with the wrong blocks. ~Edwin Arlington Robinson

The god who is reputed to have created fleas to keep dogs from moping over their situation must also have created fundamentalists to keep rationalists from getting flabby. Let us be duly thankful for out blessings. ~Garrett Hardin

Sunday school: a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents. ~H.L. Mencken

If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul. ~Isaac Asimov,I. Asimov: A Memoir

“There’s a big difference between kneeling down and bending over.” – Frank Zappa.

“How do I know the Bible isn’t the word of God? Well if it was the word of God it would be clear and easy to understand…considering God was the creator of LANGUAGE!” – Bill Hicks.

“”I’m proud to be an atheist – it helps me stand for so much more and fall for so much less.” – Dan Barker

“All religions have been made by men.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?” – Mark Twain

“We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.” – Richard Dawkins

“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beutiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?” – Douglas Adams

“We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the same sense to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beutiful and his children smart.” – H.L. Mencken

“One cannot really be a Catholic and grown up.” – George Orwell

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect, had intended for us to forgo their use.” – Galileo Galilei

“Atheism is a requirement for a complete human being. Religion is a crutch that is shackled to you, one you never really needed in the first place, but were convinced by others that you couldn’t live without. Once you discover it’s only an illusion, that it’s not even a real crutch, you discard it gladly.” -Brent Yaciw

“If there is a God, atheism must seem to Him as less of an insult than religion.–Edmond de Goncourt

“The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.”–Huang Po

“Faith is a cop-out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits.”–Dan Barker, former evangelist

“Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, ‘atheist’ is a term that should not ever exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a ‘non astrologer’ or a ‘non-alchemist’. We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. An atheist is simply a person who believes that the 260 million Americans (87 percent of the population) claiming to ‘never doubt the existence of God’ should be obliged to present evidence for his existence-and, indeed, for his BENEVOLENCE, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day.”–Sam Harris, “Letter to a Christian Nation”

“Religion is the opium of the masses.” Karl Marx

Heaven will be a great place as long as you keep the christians out. – G. Janus

“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest” – Denis Diderot.

Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quietNapoleon Bonaparte

Hence today I believe I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty CreatorAdolph Hitler

I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.George W. Bush

“Let’s face it; God has an ego problem, why do we always have to worship him? “- Bill Maher

“I don’t know anyone less Jesus like than Christians.” – Bill Maher

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The Libertarianism FAQ – catb.org

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Dec 142015
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All Libertarians are libertarians, but not the reverse. A libertarian is a person who believes in the Non-Coercion Principle and the libertarian program. A Libertarian is a person who believes the existing political system is a proper and effective means of implementing those principles; specifically, “Libertarian” usually means a member of the Libertarian Party, the U.S.’s largest and most successful third party. Small-ell libertarians are those who consider the Libertarian Party tactically ineffective, or who reject the political system generally and view democracy as “the tyranny of the majority”.

By privatizing them. Taxation is theft — if we must have a government, it should live on user fees, lotteries, and endowments. A government that’s too big to function without resorting to extortion is a government that’s too big, period. Insurance companies (stripped of the state-conferred immunities that make them arrogant) could use the free market to spread most of the risks we now “socialize” through government, and make a profit doing so.

Enforce contracts. Anarcho-libertarians believe the “government” in this sense can be a loose network of rent-a-cops, insurance companies, and for-profit arbitration boards operating under a shared legal code; minarchists believe more centralization would be necessary and envision something much like a Jeffersonian constitional government. All libertarians want to live in a society based (far more than ours now is) on free trade and mutual voluntary contract; the government’s job would be strictly to referee, and use the absolute minimum of force necessary to keep the peace.

Most libertarians are strongly in favor of abortion rights (the Libertarian Party often shows up at pro-rights rallies with banners that say “We’re Pro-Choice on Everything!”). Many libertarians are personally opposed to abortion, but reject governmental meddling in a decision that should be private between a woman and her physician. Most libertarians also oppose government funding of abortions, on the grounds that “pro-lifers” should not have to subsidize with their money behavior they consider to be murder.

Libertarians believe that every human being is entitled to equality before the law and fair treatment as an individual responsible for his or her own actions. We oppose racism, sexism, and sexual-preference bigotry, whether perpetrated by private individuals or (especially) by government. We reject racial discrimination, whether in its ugly traditional forms or in its newer guises as Affirmative Action quotas and “diversity” rules.

We recognize that there will always be bigotry and hatred in the world, just as there will always be fear and stupidity; but one cannot use laws to force understanding any more than one can use laws to force courage or intelligence. The only fair laws are those that never mention the words “black” or “white”; “man” or “woman”; “gay” or “straight”. When people use bigotry as an excuse to commit force or fraud, it is the act itself which is the crime, and deserves punishment, not the motive behind it.

Consistently opposed. The revolutionaries who kicked out King George based their call for insurrection on the idea that Americans have not only the right but the duty to oppose a tyrannical government with force — and that duty implies readiness to use force. This is why Thomas Jefferson said that “Firearms are the American yeoman’s liberty teeth” and, in common with many of the Founding Fathers, asserted that an armed citizenry is the securest guarantee of freedom. Libertarians assert that “gun control” is a propagandist’s lie for “people control”, and even if it worked for reducing crime and violence (which it does not; when it’s a crime to own guns, only criminals own them) it would be a fatally bad bargain.

Libertarians are opposed to any government-enforced limits on free expression whatsoever; we take an absolutist line on the First Amendment. On the other hand, we reject the “liberal” idea that refusing to subsidize a controversial artist is censorship. Thus, we would strike down all anti-pornography laws as unwarranted interference with private and voluntary acts (leaving in place laws punishing, for example, coercion of minors for the production of pornography). We would also end all government funding of art; the label of “artist” confers no special right to a living at public expense.

We believe the draft is slavery, pure and simple, and ought to be prohibited as “involuntary servitude” by the 13th Amendment. Any nation that cannot find enough volunteers to defend it among its citizenry does not deserve to survive.

That all drugs should be legalized. Drug-related crime (which is over 85% of all crime) is caused not by drugs but by drug laws that make the stuff expensive and a monopoly of criminals. This stance isn’t “approving” of drugs any more than defending free speech is “approving” of Nazi propaganda; it’s just realism — prohibition doesn’t work. And the very worst hazard of the drug war may be the expansion of police powers through confiscation laws, “no-knock” warrants and other “anti-drug” measures. These tactics can’t stop the drug trade, but they are making a mockery of our supposed Constitutional freedoms.

Libertarians would leave in place laws against actions which directly endanger the physical safety of others, like driving under the influence of drugs, or carrying a firearm under the influence.

First of all, stop creating them as our government does with military contractors and government-subsidized industries. Second, create a more fluid economic environment in which they’d break up. This happens naturally in a free market; even in ours, with taxes and regulatory policies that encourage gigantism, it’s quite rare for a company to stay in the biggest 500 for longer than twenty years. We’d abolish the limited-liability shield laws to make corporate officers and stockholders fully responsible for a corporation’s actions. We’d make it impossible for corporations to grow fat on “sweetheart deals” paid for with taxpayers’ money; we’d lower the cost of capital (by cutting taxes) and regulatory compliance (by repealing regulations that presume guilt until you prove your innocence), encouraging entrepreneurship and letting economic conditions (rather than government favoritism) determine the optimum size of the business unit.

Who owns the trees? The disastrous state of the environment in what was formerly the Soviet Union illustrates the truism that a resource theoretically “owned” by everyone is valued by no one. Ecological awareness is a fine thing, but without strong private-property rights no one can afford to care enough to conserve. Libertarians believe that the only effective way to save the Earth is to give everyone economic incentives to save their little bit of it.

No. What favors the rich is the system we have now — a fiction of strong property rights covering a reality of property by government fiat; the government can take away your “rights” by eminent domain, condemnation, taxation, regulation and a thousand other means. Because the rich have more money and time to spend on influencing and subverting government, such a system inevitably means they gain at others’ expense. A strong government always becomes the tool of privilege. Stronger property rights and a smaller government would weaken the power elite that inevitably seeks to seduce government and bend it to their own self-serving purposes — an elite far more dangerous than any ordinary criminal class.

No, though abandoning the poor might be merciful compared to what government has done to them. As the level of “anti-poverty” spending in this country has risen, so has poverty. Government bureaucracies have no incentive to lift people out of dependency and every incentive to keep them in it; after all, more poverty means a bigger budget and more power for the bureaucrats. Libertarians want to break this cycle by abolishing all income-transfer programs and allowing people to keep what they earn instead of taxing it away from them. The wealth freed up would go directly to the private sector, creating jobs for the poor, decreasing the demand on private charity, and increasing charitable giving. The results might diminish poverty or they might leave it at today’s levels — but it’s hard to see how they could be any less effective than the present wretched system.

This issue makes minarchists out of a lot of would-be anarchists. One view is that in a libertarian society everyone would be heavily armed, making invasion or usurpation by a domestic tyrant excessively risky. This is what the Founding Fathers clearly intended for the U.S. (the Constitution made no provision for a standing army, entrusting defense primarily to a militia consisting of the entirety of the armed citizenry). It works today in Switzerland (also furnishing one of the strongest anti-gun-control arguments). The key elements in libertarian-anarchist defense against an invader would be: a widespread ideology (libertarianism) that encourages resistance; ready availability of deadly weapons; and no structures of government that an invader can take over and use to rule indirectly. Think about the Afghans, the Viet Cong, the Minutemen — would you want to invade a country full of dedicated, heavily armed libertarians? :-)

Minarchist libertarians are less radical, observe that U.S. territory could certainly be protected effectively with a military costing less than half of the bloated U.S. military budget.

Voluntary cooperation is a wonderful thing, and we encourage it whenever we can. Despite the tired old tag line about “dog-eat-dog competition” and the presence of government intervention, the relatively free market of today’s capitalism is the most spectacular argument for voluntary cooperation in history; millions, even billions of people coordinating with each other every day to satisfy each others’ needs and create untold wealth.

What we oppose is the mockeries politicians and other criminals call cooperation but impose by force; there is no “cooperation” in taxation or the draft or censorship any more than you and I are “cooperating” when I put a gun to your head and steal your wallet.

Think about freedom, and act on your thoughts. Spend your dollars wisely. Oppose the expansion of state power. Promote “bottom-up” solutions to public problems, solutions that empower individuals rather than demanding intervention by force of government. Give to private charity. Join a libertarian organization; the Libertarian Party, or the Advocates for Self-Government, or the Reason Foundation. Start your own business; create wealth and celebrate others who create wealth. Support voluntary cooperation.

No one knows. Your author thinks libertarianism is about where constitutional republicanism was in 1750 — a solution waiting for its moment, a toy of political theorists and a few visionaries waiting for the people and leaders who can actualize it. The collapse of Communism and the triumph of capitalist economics will certainly help, by throwing central planning and the “nanny state” into a disrepute that may be permanent. Some libertarians believe we are headed for technological and economic changes so shattering that no statist ideology can possibly survive them (in particular, most of the nanotechnology “underground” is hard-core libertarian). Only time will tell.

There’s an excellent FAQ on anarchist theory and history at http://www.princeton.edu/~bdcaplan/anarfaq.htm with links to many other Web documents.

Peter McWilliams’s wise and funny book Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do is worth a read.

Friedman, Milton and Friedman, Rose, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980).

Hayek, Friedrich A. The Constitution of Liberty (Henry Regnery Company, 1960).

Hayek, Friedrich A. The Road to Serfdom (University of Chicago Press, 1944).

Lomasky, Loren, Persons, Rights, and the Moral Community (Oxford University Press, 1987).

Machan, Tibor, Individuals and Their Rights (Open Court, 1989).

Murray, Charles A. In Pursuit of Happiness and Good Government (Simon and Schuster, 1988).

Rasmussen, Douglas B. and Den Uyl, Douglas J., Liberty and Nature (Open Court, 1991).

Rothbard, Murray N. For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, 2nd ed (Macmillan, 1978).

Reason. Editorial contact: 3415 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90034. Subscriptions: PO Box 526, Mt. Morris, IL 61054

Liberty. PO Box 1167, Port Townsend, WA 98368.

1202 N. Tenn. St., Suite 202 Cartersville, GA 30120

3415 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90034

1000 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20001-5403

938 Howard St. San Francisco, Suite 202, CA 94103

818 S. Grand Ave., Suite 202, Los Angeles, CA 90017

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Nov 022015
 

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Free speech news, articles and information: – NaturalNews

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Nov 022015
 

Tell Congress to support the Free Speech about Science Act of 2011 4/13/2011 – Last year, the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), a nonprofit organization that works very hard to promote and protect freedom of health speech, came up with a very important piece of legislation called the Free Speech about Science Act (FSAS) that is designed to lift the restrictions on health speech… Support the Free Speech About Science Act and restore freedom of health speech 5/27/2010 – The Alliance for Natural Health, a nonprofit organization committed to protecting access to natural and integrative medicine, has recently come up with a Congressional bill designed to stop government censorship of truthful, scientific health claims about natural foods and herbs, and restore free speech… NaturalNews to launch Free Speech video network 5/4/2010 – On the heels of increasing video censorship committed by YouTube against natural health videos, NaturalNews is announcing the upcoming launch of its worldwide, multilingual video network called NaturalNews.TV. The service goes live in late June and is designed to offer a Free Speech platform for videos… Ron Paul Introduces Three New Bills Designed to Restore Free Speech to Health 8/10/2009 – In recent years, numerous companies have been targeted, raided, and even shut down by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for making health claims about the products they sell. These federal agencies operate outside the realm of constitutional legitimacy and thus… FDA tyranny and the censorship of cherry health facts (opinion) 5/2/2006 – In the past, I jokingly said that broccoli might someday be banned as soon as the public begins to learn about the potent anti-cancer chemicals found in the vegetable. Thats because, as I jested, the FDA wouldnt want people treating their own cancer with the anti-cancer medicines found in cruciferous… Counterthink roundup: Free Speech, Google News, and Big Brother (satire) 1/31/2006 – New provisions in the Patriot Act, which are about to become law, will make it a felony crime for protestors to step foot outside official “protest zones” designated by the U.S. Secret Service. This is how President Bush expands the freedom of Americans — by giving them all the freedom they want, as… See all 56 free speech feature articles. Police: People: Bush: Speech: President: Free: The internet: Internet: Government: Information: Society: World: Media: California: Victory: Financial: Most Popular Stories TED aligns with Monsanto, halting any talks about GMOs, ‘food as medicine’ or natural healing 10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns Warning: Enrolling in Obamacare allows government to link your IP address with your name, social security number, bank accounts and web surfing habits High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists New USDA rule allows hidden feces, pus, bacteria and bleach in conventional poultry Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it Harvard research links fluoridated water to ADHD, mental disorders 10 outrageous (but true) facts about vaccines the CDC and the vaccine industry don’t want you to know EBT card food stamp recipients ransack Wal-Mart stores, stealing carts full of food during federal computer glitch Cannabis kicks Lyme disease to the curb TV.NaturalNews.com is a free video website featuring thousands of videos on holistic health, nutrition, fitness, recipes, natural remedies and much more.

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First Amendment – constitution | Laws.com

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Oct 282015
 

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution is contained in the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment has proven to be one of the most fundamental and important in respects to the rights attributed to the populace of the United States. Originally, the First Amendment was implemented and applied solely to Congress. However, by the beginning of the twentieth century, it was upheld that the First Amendment is to apply to all forms of government, including state and local levels. The Supreme Court decided that the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause would apply to the 1st Amendment, and thus rendering such a decision.

As stated in the United States Constitution, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, of of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Though a relatively short and concise assertion, the text provides for quite an encompassing set of rights that protect the citizens of the United States, and some of the most important and basic human rights. The First Amendment has many clauses that relate to each of the concepts that it sets out to protect. Religion is discussed in two clauses, one regarding the establishment of religion, and the other the free exercise of religion.

This proves to be one of the most important rights to secure by the Fathers of the Constitution, for so many people of European descent immigrated to the American Colonies to avoid religious persecution, and to find a safe haven to practice their religion of choice without any dire consequences. The First Amendment prohibits the government to establish a formal or national religion for the nation. It also addresses that there will be no preference of any particular religion, including the practice of no religion, or non religion.

The 1st Amendment guarantees the people of the United States the free exercise of religion, without interference from governmental factions. This right would also extend to any organization or individual infringing on such right, and would be deemed as unconstitutional.

One of the most commonly referred to clauses under the 1st Amendment is the freedom of speech. This clause has proven to be of great importance, particularly in the twentieth century and continues on with such regard in our lifetime. Under the text of the First Amendment, many issues are addressed regarding Freedom of Speech, and restrictions to exist in which such a practice may prove to be harmful to the general population or public. An example is the concept of sedition, and how this conduct can lead to insurrection against the government.

Other concepts also addressed include commercial speech, political speech, obscenity, libel, slander, and symbolic speech, such as the desecration of the American Flag. Under the First Amendment, there have been important and key court cases that have established a form precedence in how to apply the Amendment to these kinds of circumstances. The Freedom of the press is also included, and subject to similar restrictions as the freedom of speech.

The rights to petition and assembly often seem to be overlooked, for freedom of religion and speech are most commonly associated with the 1st Amendment. The right to petition is important because it gives citizens the opportunity to address their government in issues that have relevance and importance to the commonwealth. The formulation of an assembly, under the First Amendment, can be interpreted as citizens gathering and unifying for the purpose of communicating views or opinions on national issues, and for the relaying of pertinent information. The right to assembly is often related to that of petition, in such a way where citizens may assemble in the process of petitioning the government.

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First Amendment – National Constitution Center

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Oct 282015
 

Clauses of the First Amendment

The Establishment Clause

Americas early settlers came from a variety of religious backgrounds: Puritans predominated in New England; Anglicans predominated in the South; Quakers and Lutherans flocked especially to Pennsylvania; Roman Catholics settled mostly in Maryland; Presbyterians were most numerous in the middle colonies; and there were Jewish congregations in five cities.

During colonial times, the Church of England was established by law in all of the southern colonies, while localized Puritan (or Congregationalist) establishments held sway in most New England states. In those colonies, clergy were appointed and disciplined by colonial authorities and colonists were required to pay religious taxes and (often) to attend church services. Dissenters were often punished for preaching without a license or refusing to pay taxes to a church they disagreed with. Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and much of New York had no established church.

After Independence, there was widespread agreement that there should be no nationally established church. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, principally authored by James Madison, reflects this consensus. The language of the Establishment Clause itself applies only to the federal government (Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion). All states disestablished religion by 1833, and in the 1940s the Supreme Court held that disestablishment applies to state governments through the Fourteenth Amendment.

Virtually all jurists agree that it would violate the Establishment Clause for the government to compel attendance or financial support of a religious institution as such, for the government to interfere with a religious organizations selection of clergy or religious doctrine; for religious organizations or figures acting in a religious capacity to exercise governmental power; or for the government to extend benefits to some religious entities and not others without adequate secular justification. Beyond that, the meaning of the Amendment is often hotly contested, and Establishment cases in the Supreme Court often lead to 5-4 splits.

The Lemon Test

In 1971, the Supreme Court surveyed its previous Establishment Clause cases and identified three factors that identify when a government practice violates the Establishment Clause: First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; finally, the statute must not foster an excessive entanglement with religion. Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971). In the years since Lemon, the test has been much criticized and the Court often decides Establishment Clause cases without reference to it. Yet the Justices have not overruled the Lemon test, meaning the lower courts remain obliged to use it. In some specific areas of controversy, however, the Court has adopted specific, more targeted tests to replace Lemon.

The vast majority of Establishment Clause cases have fallen in four areas: monetary aid to religious education or other social welfare activities conducted by religious institutions; government-sponsored prayer; accommodation of religious dissenters from generally-applicable laws; and government owned or sponsored religious symbols.

Aid to religious institutions

Scholars have long debated between two opposing interpretations of the Establishment Clause as it applies to government funding: (1) that the government must be neutral between religious and non-religious institutions that provide education or other social services; or (2) that no taxpayer funds should be given to religious institutions if they might be used to communicate religious doctrine. Initially, the Court tended toward the first interpretation, in the 1970s and 1980s the Court shifted to the second interpretation, and more recently the Court has decisively moved back to the first idea.

After two early decisions upholding state statutes allowing students who attend private religious schools to receive transportation, Everson v. Board of Education (1947), and textbook subsidies available to all elementary and secondary students, Board of Education v. Allen (1968), the Court attempted for about fifteen years to draw increasingly sharp lines against the use of tax-funded assistance for the religious aspects of education. At one point the Court even forbade public school teaching specialists from going on the premises of religious schools to provide remedial assistance. Aguilar v. Felton (1985). More recently, the Court has upheld programs that provide aid to educational or social programs on a neutral basis only as a result of the genuine and independent choices of private individuals. Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002). Indeed, the Court has held that it is unconstitutional under free speech or free exercise principles to exclude otherwise eligible recipients from government assistance solely because their activity is religious in nature. Rosenberger v. University of Virginia (1995).

Government-sponsored prayer

The Courts best-known Establishment Clause decisions held it unconstitutional for public schools to lead schoolchildren in prayer or Bible reading, even on an ostensibly voluntary basis. Engel v. Vitale (1962); Abington School District v. Schempp (1963). Although these decisions were highly controversial among the public (less so among scholars), the Court has not backed down. Instead it has extended the prohibition to prayers at graduation ceremonies, Lee v. Weisman (1992), and football games, Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe (2000).

In less coercive settings involving adults, the Court has generally allowed government-sponsored prayer. In Marsh v. Chambers (1983), the Court upheld legislative prayer, specifically because it was steeped in history. More recently, the Court approved an opening prayer or statement at town council meetings, where the Town represented that it would accept any prayers of any faith. Town of Greece v. Galloway (2014).

Accommodation of religion

Hundreds of federal, state, and local laws exempt or accommodate religious believers or institutions from otherwise neutral, generally-applicable laws for whom compliance would conflict with religiously motivated conduct. Examples include military draft exemptions, kosher or halal meals for prisoners, medical neglect exemptions for parents who do not believe in medical treatment for their ill children, exemptions from some anti-discrimination laws for religious entities, military headgear requirements, and exemptions for the sacramental use of certain drugs. The Supreme Court has addressed very few of these exemptions. While the Court held that a state sales tax exemption limited to religious publications was unconstitutional in Texas Monthly, Inc. v. Bullock (1989), it unanimously upheld the exemption of religious organizations from prohibitions on employment discrimination for ministers. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. E.E.O.C. (2012).

Two federal laws, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), provide broad-based statutory accommodations for religious practice when it conflicts with federal and certain state and local laws. A unanimous Court upheld this approach for prisoners against a claim that granting religious accommodations violates the Establishment Clause, reasoning that RLUIPA alleviates exceptional government-created burdens on private religious exercise in prisons. Cutter v. Wilkinson (2005).

The Court in Cutter left open the question whether such a regime applied to land use is constitutional and it also left open the possibility that even some applications in prisons may be unconstitutional if they are not even-handed among religions or impose too extreme a burden on non-believers. The Courts recent 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (2014), holding that RFRA exempts for-profit employers from paying for insurance coverage of contraceptive drugs that they believe are abortion-inducing, has reinvigorated the debate over such laws.

Government-sponsored religious symbols

The cases involving governmental displays of religious symbolssuch as Ten Commandment displays in public school classrooms, courthouses, or public parks; nativity scenes in courthouses and shopping districts; or crosses on public landhave generated much debate. The most prominent approach in more recent cases is called the endorsement test; it asks whether a reasonable observer acquainted with the full context would regard the display as the government endorsing religion and, therefore, sending a message of disenfranchisement to other believers and non-believers.

The Courts decisions in this arena are often closely divided. They also illustrate that the Court has declined to take a rigid, absolutist view of the separation of church and state. In Lynch v. Donnelly (1984), the Court allowed display of a nativity scene surrounded by other holiday decorations in the heart of a shopping district, stating that it engenders a friendly community spirit of good will in keeping with the season. But in County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union (1989), a different majority of Justices held that the display of a nativity scene by itself at the top of the grand stairway in a courthouse violated the Establishment Clause because it was indisputably religiousindeed sectarian. In McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union (2005), the Court held that a prominent display of the Ten Commandments at the county courthouse, which was preceded by an officials description of the Ten Commandments as the embodiment of ethics in Christ, was a religious display that was unconstitutional. The same day, it upheld a Ten Commandments monument, which was donated by a secular organization dedicated to reducing juvenile delinquency and surrounded by other monuments on the spacious statehouse grounds. Van Orden v. Perry (2005). Only one Justice was in the majority in both cases.

More broadly, the Establishment Clause provides a legal framework for resolving disagreements about the public role of religion in our increasingly pluralistic republic.

An accurate recounting of history is necessary to appreciate the need for disestablishment and a separation between church and state.

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion is one of the most misunderstood in the Constitution.

The Establishment Clause: A Check on Religious Tyranny by Marci A. Hamilton

An accurate recounting of history is necessary to appreciate the need for disestablishment and a separation between church and state. The religiosity of the generation that framed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (of which the First Amendment is the first as a result of historical accident, not the preference for religious liberty over any other right) has been overstated. In reality, many of the Framers and the most influential men of that generation rarely attended church, were often Deist rather than Christian, and had a healthy understanding of the potential for religious tyranny. This latter concern is to be expected as European history was awash with executions of religious heretics: Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim. Three of the most influential men in the Framing era provide valuable insights into the mindset at the time: Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and John Adams. Franklin saw a pattern:

If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. These found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here [England] and in New England.

Benjamin Franklin, Letter to the London Packet (June 3, 1772).

The father of the Constitution and primary drafter of the First Amendment, James Madison, in his most important document on the topic, Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments (1785), stated:

During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. . . . What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people.

Two years later, John Adams described the states as having been derived from reason, not religious belief:

It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. . . .Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.

The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Vol. 4, 292-93 (Charles C. Little & James Brown, eds., 1851).

Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are examples of early discord. In Massachusetts, the Congregationalist establishment enforced taxation on all believers and expelled or even put to death dissenters. Baptist clergy became the first in the United States to advocate for a separation of church and state and an absolute right to believe what one chooses. Baptist pastor John Leland was an eloquent and forceful proponent of the freedom of conscience and the separation of church and state. For him, America was not a Christian nation, but rather should recognize the equality of all believers, whether Jews, Turks, Pagans [or] Christians. Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. He proposed an amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution in 1794 because of the evils . . . occasioned in the world by religious establishments, and to keep up the proper distinction between religion and politics.”

Pennsylvania, dubbed the Holy Experiment by founder William Penn, was politically controlled by Quakers, who advocated tolerance of all believers and the mutual co-existence of differing faiths, but who made their Christianity a prerequisite for public office, only permitted Christians to vote, and forbade work on the Sabbath. Even so, the Quakers set in motion a principle that became a mainstay in religious liberty jurisprudence: the government may not coerce citizens to believe what they are unwilling to believe. If one looks carefully into the history of the United States religious experiment, one also uncovers a widely-shared view that too much liberty, or licentiousness, is as bad as no liberty. According to historian John Philip Reid, those in the eighteenth century had as great a duty to oppose licentiousness as to defend liberty.

Establishment Clause Doctrine

The Establishment Clause has yielded a wide array of doctrines (legal theories articulated by courts), each of which is largely distinct from the others, some of which are described in Professor McConnells and my joint contribution on the Establishment Clause. The reason for this proliferation of distinct doctrines is that the Establishment Clause is rooted in a concept of separating the power of church and state. These are the two most authoritative forces of human existence, and drawing a boundary line between them is not easy. The further complication is that the exercise of power is fluid, which leads both state and church to alter their positions to gain power either one over the other or as a union in opposition to the general public or particular minorities.

The separation of church and state does not mean that there is an impermeable wall between the two, but rather that the Framers fundamentally understood that the union of power between church and state would lead inevitably to tyranny. The established churches of Europe were well-known to the Founding era and the Framers and undoubtedly contributed to James Madisons inclusion of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment, and its ratification. The following are some of the most important principles.

The Government May Not Delegate Governing Authority to Religious Entities

The Court has been sensitive to incipient establishments of religion. A Massachusetts law delegated authority to churches and schools to determine who could receive a liquor license within 500 feet of their buildings. The Supreme Court struck down the law, because it delegated to churches zoning power, which belongs to state and local government, not private entities. Larkin v. Grendels Den, Inc. (1982). According to the Court: The law substitutes the unilateral and absolute power of a church for the reasoned decision making of a public legislative body . . . on issues with significant economic and political implications. The challenged statute thus enmeshes churches in the processes of government and creates the danger of [p]olitical fragmentation and divisiveness along religious lines.

In another scenario, the Supreme Court rejected an attempt to define political boundaries solely according to religion. In Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet (1994), the state of New York designated the neighborhood boundaries of Satmar Hasidim Orthodox Jews in Kiryas Joel Village as a public school district to itself. Thus, the boundary was determined solely by religious identity, in part because the community did not want their children to be exposed to children outside the faith. The Court invalidated the school district because political boundaries identified solely by reference to religion violate the Establishment Clause.

There Is No Such Thing as Church Autonomy Although There Is a Doctrine that Forbids the Courts from Determining What Religious Organizations Believe

In recent years, religious litigants have asserted a right to church autonomythat churches should not be subject to governmental regulationin a wide variety of cases, and in particular in cases involving the sexual abuse of children by clergy. The phrase, however, is misleading. The Supreme Court has never interpreted the First Amendment to confer on religious organizations a right to autonomy from the law. In fact, in the case in which they have most recently demanded such a right, arguing religious ministers should be exempt from laws prohibiting employment discrimination, the Court majority did not embrace the theory, not even using the term once. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. E.E.O.C. (2012).

The courts are forbidden, however, from getting involved in determining what a religious organization believes, how it organizes itself internally, or who it chooses to be ministers of the faith. Therefore, if the dispute brought to a court can only be resolved by a judge or jury settling an intra-church, ecclesiastical dispute, the dispute is beyond judicial consideration. This is a corollary to the absolute right to believe what one chooses; it is not a right to be above the laws that apply to everyone else. There is extraordinary slippage in legal briefs in numerous cases where the entity is arguing for autonomy, but what they really mean is freedom from the law, per se. For the Court and basic common sense, these are arguments for placing religion above the law, and in violation of the Establishment Clause. They are also fundamentally at odds with the common sense of the Framing generation that understood so well the evils of religious tyranny.

The Establishment Clause: Co-Guarantor of Religious Freedom by Michael McConnell

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion is one of the most misunderstood in the Constitution. Unlike most of the Constitution, it refers to a legal arrangement, the establishment of religion, which has not existed in the United States in almost two centuries. We understand what freedom of speech is, we know what private property” is, and we know what searches and seizures are, but most of us have no familiarity with what an establishment of religion would be.

The Church by Law Established in Britain was a church under control of the government. The monarch was (and is) the supreme head of the established church and chooses its leadership; Parliament enacted its Articles of Faith; the state composed or directed the content of its prayers and liturgy; clergy had to take an oath of allegiance to the king or queen; and not surprisingly, the established church was used to inculcate the idea that British subjects had a religious as well as a civic obligation to obey royal authority. The established church was a bit like a government-controlled press: it was a means by which the government could mold public opinion.

British subjects (including Americans in eight of the colonies) were legally required to attend and financially support the established church, ministers were licensed or selected by the government, and the content of church services was partially dictated by the state.

The establishment of religion was bad for liberty and it was bad for religion, too. It was opposed by a coalition of the most fervently evangelical religious sects in America (especially the Baptists), who thought the hand of government was poisonous to genuine religion, joined by the enlightenment and often deist elite (like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin), who thought church and state should be separate, and by the leadership of minority religions, who worried that government involvement would disadvantage them. Accordingly, there was virtually no opposition to abolishing establishment of religion at the national level. Establishments survived for a while in a few states, but the last state (Massachusetts) ended its establishment in 1833.

The abolition of establishment of religion entails a number of obvious and uncontroversial elements. Individuals may not be required to contribute to, attend, or participate in religious activities. These must be voluntary. The government may not control the doctrine, liturgy, or personnel of religious organizations. These must be free of state control. Other issues are harder.

For a few decades between the late 1960s and the early 1990s, the Supreme Court attempted to forbid states to provide tax subsidies to schools that teach religious doctrine along with ordinary secular subjects. Most of these schools were Roman Catholic. This effort was largely based on a misinterpretation of history, egged on by residual anti-Catholicism. The Justices said that neutral aid to schools is just like a 1785 effort to force Virginians to contribute to the church of their choice. The analogy, however, made little sense: there is all the difference in the world between funding churches because they inculcate religion and funding schools because they provide education. In fact, the history of the early republic shows that states (and later the federal government, during Reconstruction) funded education by subsidizing all schools on a nondiscriminatory basis, and no one ever suggested this violated the non-establishment principle. By 2002, in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, the Supreme Court returned to this original idea, allowing the government to fund schools on a neutral basis so long as the choice of religious schools was left to voluntary choice. Not only was ruling this true to history, it also best serves the ideal of religious freedom, making it possible for families to choose the type of education they want for their children.

It is sometimes suggested that laws making special accommodations for people whose religious beliefs are at odds with government policy violate the Establishment Clause, on the theory that these accommodations privilege or advance religion. This is a recently-minted idea, and not a sensible one. In all cases of accommodation, the religion involved is dissenting from prevailing policy, which means, by definition, that the religion is not dominating society. The idea that making exceptions for the benefit of people whose beliefs conflict with the majority somehow establishes religion is a plain distortion of the words. And the Supreme Court has unanimously held that religious accommodations are permissible so long as they lift a governmental obstacle to the exercise of religion, take account of costs to others, and do not favor one faith over another. Nonetheless, when religions take unpopular stances on hot-button issues (for example, regarding abortion-inducing contraceptives or same-sex marriage), critics are quick to assert that it violates the Constitution to accommodate their differences, no matter how little support that position has in history or Supreme Court precedent.

The fundamental error is to think that the Establishment Clause is designed to reduce the role of religion in American life. A better understanding is captured in this statement by Justice William O. Douglas of the Supreme Court: this country sponsor[s] an attitude on the part of government that shows no partiality to any one group and that lets each flourish according to the zeal of its adherents and the appeal of its dogma. Zorach v. Clauson (1952).

The Free Exercise Clause

Many settlers from Europe braved the hardships of immigration to the American colonies to escape religious persecution in their home countries and to secure the freedom to worship according to their own conscience and conviction. Although the colonists often understood freedom of religion more narrowly than we do today, support for protection of some conception of religious freedom was broad and deep. By the time of Independence and the construction of a new Constitution, freedom of religion was among the most widely recognized inalienable rights, protected in some fashion by state bills of rights and judicial decisions. James Madison, for example, the principal author of the First Amendment, eloquently expressed his support for such a provision in Virginia: It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.

Although the original Constitution contained only a prohibition of religious tests for federal office (Article VI, Clause 3), the Free Exercise Clause was added as part of the First Amendment in 1791. In drafting the Clause, Congress considered several formulations, but ultimately settled on protecting the free exercise of religion. This phrase makes plain the protection of actions as well as beliefs, but only those in some way connected to religion.

From the beginning, courts in the United States have struggled to find a balance between the religious liberty of believers, who often claim the right to be excused or exempted from laws that interfere with their religious practices, and the interests of society reflected in those very laws. Early state court decisions went both ways on this central question.

The Supreme Court first addressed the question in a series of cases involving nineteenth-century laws aimed at suppressing the practice of polygamy by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), also known as Mormons. The Court unanimously rejected free exercise challenges to these laws, holding that the Free Exercise Clause protects beliefs but not conduct. Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. Reynolds v. United States (1878). What followed was perhaps the most extreme government assault on religious freedom in American history. Hundreds of church leaders were jailed, rank-and-file Mormons were deprived of their right to vote, and Congress dissolved the LDS Church and expropriated most of its property, until the church finally agreed to abandon polygamy.

The belief-action distinction ignored the Free Exercise Clauses obvious protection of religious practice, but spoke to the concern that allowing believers to disobey laws that bind everyone else would undermine the value of a government of laws applied to all. Doing so, Reynolds warned, would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.

Reynolds influenced the meaning of the Free Exercise Clause well into the twentieth century. In 1940, for example, the Court extended the Clausewhich by its terms constrains only the federal governmentto limit state laws and other state actions that burden religious exercise. Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940). Though it recognized that governments may not unduly infringe religious exercise, the Court reiterated that [c]onduct remains subject to regulation for the protection of society, citing Reynolds as authority. Similarly, the Court held in 1961 that the Free Exercise Clause did not exempt an orthodox Jewish merchant from Sunday closing laws, again citing Reynolds.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, the Court shifted, strengthening protection for religious conduct by construing the Free Exercise Clause to protect a right of religious believers to exemption from generally applicable laws which burden religious exercise. The Court held that the government may not enforce even a religiously-neutral law that applies generally to all or most of society unless the public interest in enforcement is compelling. Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972). Yoder thus held that Amish families could not be punished for refusing to send their children to school beyond the age of 14.

Although the language of this compelling-interest test suggested powerful protections for religion, these were never fully realized. The cases in which the Supreme Court denied exemptions outnumbered those in which it granted them. Aside from Yoder, the Court exempted believers from availability for work requirements, which denied unemployment benefits to workers terminated for prioritizing religious practices over job requirements. But it denied exemptions to believers and religious organizations which found their religious practices burdened by conditions for federal tax exemption, military uniform regulations, federal minimum wage laws, state prison regulations, state sales taxes, federal administration of public lands, and mandatory taxation and other requirements of the Social Security system. In all of these cases the Court found, often controversially, either that the governments interest in enforcement was compelling, or that the law in question did not constitute a legally-recognizable burden on religious practice.

In 1990, the Supreme Court changed course yet again, holding that the Free Exercise Clause does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes). Employment Division v. Smith (1990). Though it did not return to the belief-action distinction, the Court echoed Reynolds concern that religious exemptions permit a person, by virtue of his beliefs, to become a law unto himself, contradicting both constitutional tradition and common sense. Any exceptions to religiously-neutral and generally-applicable laws, therefore, must come from the political process. Smith went on to hold that the Free Exercise Clause does not protect the sacramental use of peyote, a hallucinogenic drug, by members of the Native American Church.

Smith proved to be controversial. In 1993, overwhelming majorities in Congress voted to reinstate the pre-Smith compelling-interest test by statute with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). RFRA authorizes courts to exempt a person from any law that imposes a substantial burden on sincere religious beliefs or actions, unless the government can show that the law is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest. Almost half of the states have passed similar lawsstate RFRAsapplicable to their own laws. In 1997 the Supreme Court held that Congress had constitutional authority only to apply RFRA to federal laws, and not to state or local laws. Congress then enacted a narrower law, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), which applies the compelling-interest test to state laws affecting prisoners and land use. RFRA and RLUIPA have afforded exemptions in a wide range of federal and state contextsfrom kosher and halal diets for prisoners, to relief from zoning and landmark regulations on churches and ministries, to exemptions from jury service.

Although some exemption claims brought under these religious freedom statutes have been relatively uncontroversialthe Supreme Court unanimously protected the right of a tiny religious sect to use a hallucinogenic drug prohibited by federal law and the right of a Muslim prisoner to wear a half-inch beard prohibited by state prison rulessome touch on highly contested moral questions. For example, the Court by a 5-4 vote excused a commercial family-owned corporation from complying with the contraception mandate, a regulation which required the corporations health insurance plan to cover what its owners believe are abortion-inducing drugs. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. (2014). In the wake of Hobby Lobby and the Courts subsequent determination that states may not deny gays and lesbians the right to civil marriage, state RFRAs have become a flashpoint in conflicts over whether commercial vendors with religious objections may refuse their products and services to same-sex weddings.

Besides RFRA and other exemption statutes, the Free Exercise Clause itself, even after Smith, continues to provide protection for believers against burdens on religious exercise from laws that target religious practices, or that disadvantage religion in discretionary, case-by-case decision making. In Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah (1993), for example, the Court unanimously struck down a local ordinance against the unnecessary killing of animals in a ritual or ceremonya law that was drawn to apply only to a small and unpopular religious sect whose worship includes animal sacrifice.

The Court recently recognized that the Free Exercise Clause (along with the Establishment Clause) required a religious exemption from a neutral and general federal antidiscrimination law that interfered with a churchs freedom to select its own ministers. The Court distinguished Smith on the ground that it involved government regulation of only outward physical acts, while this case concerns government interference with an internal church decision that affects the faith and mission of the church itself. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. E.E.O.C. (2012).

It remains unclear whether Lukumi and Hosanna-Tabor are narrow exceptions to Smiths general presumption against religious exemptions, or foreshadow yet another shift towards a more exemption-friendly free exercise doctrine.

At the time the United States adopted the First Amendment to the Constitution, other nations routinely imposed disabilities on religious minorities within their borders, depriving them of legal rights, making it difficult or impossible to practice their faith, and often enabling violent persecution.

One of this nations deepest commitments is to the full, equal, and free exercise of religion a right that protects not only believers, but unbelievers as well.

Religious Liberty Is Equal Liberty by Frederick Gedicks

At the time the United States adopted the First Amendment to the Constitution, other nations routinely imposed disabilities on religious minorities within their borders, depriving them of legal rights, making it difficult or impossible to practice their faith, and often enabling violent persecution. The Free Exercise Clause was thus an exceptional political achievement, imposing a constitutional norm of civic equality by prohibiting the federal government from interfering with all religious exerciseregardless of affiliation.

Only a few years before the First Amendment was ratified, James Madison wrote that all people naturally retain equal title to the free exercise of Religion according to the dictates of conscience without the governments subjecting some to peculiar burdens or granting to others peculiar exemptions. A Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments (1785). As Madison suggested, at the time the Constitution and Bill of Rights were ratified, the guarantee of religious free exercise was understood to protect against government discrimination or abuse on the basis of religion, but not to require favorable government treatment of believers. In particular, there is little evidence that the Founders understood the Free Exercise Clause to mandate religious exemptions that would excuse believers from complying with neutral and general laws that constrain the rest of society.

The Supreme Court has historically left the question of religious exemptions to Congress and the state legislatures. The first judicially-ordered exemptions arose in the 1960s and early 1970s, when the Supreme Court held the Free Exercise Clause required religious exemptions for Amish families who objected to sending their children to high school, and for employees who were denied unemployment benefits when they lost their jobs for refusing to work on their Sabbath. This doctrine of judicially-ordered exemptions, however, was an historical aberration. In Employment Division v. Smith (1990), the Court considered a claim by members of a Native American religion who lost their jobs as drug counselors for using an illegal drug in a religious ritual. The Court abandoned its new doctrine of religious exemptions, ruling that the Free Exercise Clause did not grant believers a right to exemptions from religiously neutral, generally applicable laws, though legislatures were free to grant such exemptions if they wished. This relegation of exemptions to the political process in most circumstances returned the Free Exercise Clause to its historical baseline. Notwithstanding the narrow ministerial exception recognized in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Church & School v. EEOC (2012), the Court has repeatedly affirmed Smith and the century of precedent cited in that case, and has shown no inclination to overturn its basic principle that neutral and general laws should apply equally to all, regardless of religious belief or unbelief.

The growth of social welfare entitlements and religious diversity in the United States has underscored the wisdom of the Smith rule. Exempting believers from social welfare laws may give them a competitive advantage, and also may harm those whom the law was designed to protect or benefit.

For example, the Court refused to exempt an Amish employer from paying Social Security taxes for his employees, reasoning that doing so would impose the employers religious faith on the employees by reducing their social security benefits regardless of whether they shared their employers religious objection to government entitlement programs. United States v. Lee (1982). Similarly, the Court refused to exempt a religious employer from federal minimum wage laws, because doing so would give the employer an advantage over competitors and depress the wages of all employees in local labor markets. Tony & Susan Alamo Foundation v. Secretary of Labor (1985).

Read the full discussion here.

The Court seems poised to adopt this third-party burden principle in decisions interpreting the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) as well. Five Justices in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (2014), expressly stated that RFRA exemptions imposing significant costs on others are not allowed. The majority opinion likewise acknowledged that courts must take adequate account of third-party burdens before ordering a RFRA exemption.

The growth of religious diversity makes a religious exemption regime doubly impractical. The vast range of religious beliefs and practices in the United States means that there is a potential religious objector to almost any law the government might enact. If religious objectors were presumptively entitled to exemption from any burdensome law, religious exemptions would threaten to swallow the rule of law, which presupposes its equal application to everyone. As the Court observed in Lee, a religiously diverse social welfare state cannot shield every person . . . from all the burdens incident to exercising every aspect of the right to practice religious beliefs.

Even under the equal-liberty regime contemplated by the Founders and restored by Smith, government remains subject to important constraints that protect religious liberty. Religious gerrymanders, or laws that single out particular religions for burdens not imposed on other religions or on comparable secular conduct, must satisfy strict scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause. Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah (1993); Sherbert v. Verner (1963). Under RFRA and the related Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), the federal government and often the state governments are prohibited from burdening religious exercise without adequate justification. Holt v. Hobbs (2015); Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal (2005). And, like judicially-ordered exemptions, legislative exemptions that impose material costs on others in order to protect believers free exercise interests may be invalid under the Establishment Clause, which protects believers and unbelievers alike from bearing the burdens of practicing someone elses religion. Estate of Thornton v. Caldor (1985).

If exemptions are to be afforded to those whose religious practices are burdened by neutral and general laws, they should generally not be granted by courts, but by the politically accountable branches of the federal and state governments. These branches are better situated to weigh and balance the competing interests of believers and others in a complex and religiously-diverse society.

Free Exercise: A Vital Protection for Diversity and Freedom by Michael McConnell

One of this nations deepest commitments is to the full, equal, and free exercise of religion a right that protects not only believers, but unbelievers as well. The government cannot use its authority to forbid Americans to conduct their lives in accordance with their religious beliefs or to require them to engage in actions contrary to religious conscience even when the vast majority of their countrymen regard those beliefs as backward, mistaken, or even immoral.

Unfortunately, in the last few years and especially since the Supreme Courts decision requiring states to recognize same-sex marriage this consensus in favor of tolerance has been slipping. All too often, we hear demands that religious people and religious institutions such as colleges or adoption agencies must join the state in recognizing same-sex marriages (or performing abortions or supplying contraceptives, or whatever the issues happen to be), or lose their right to operate.

That has not been the American way. When this country severed its ties with the British Empire, one thing that went with it was the established church. To an unprecedented degree, the young United States not only tolerated but actively welcomed people of all faiths. For example, despite his annoyance with the Quakers for their refusal to support the revolutionary war effort, Washington wrote to a Quaker Society to express his wish and desire, that the laws may always be as extensively accommodated to them, as a due regard for the protection and essential interests of the nation may justify and permit. Letter to the Annual Meeting of Quakers (1789).

What would it mean to have a regime of free exercise of religion? No one knew; there had been no such thing before. It quickly became clear that it was not enough just to cease persecution or discrimination against religious minorities. Just two years after the ink was dry on the First Amendment, the leader of the Jewish community in Philadelphia went to court and asked, under authority of his states free exercise clause, to be excused from complying with a subpoena to appear in court on his day of sabbath. He did not ask that the state cease to do official business on Saturday, but he did ask the court to make an exception an accommodation that would enable him to be faithful to the Jewish law.

This would become the central interpretive question under the Free Exercise Clause: Does it give Americans whose religions conflict with government practices the right to ask for special accommodation, assuming an accommodation can be made without great harm to the public interest or the rights of others?

Read the full discussion here.

In the early years, some religious claimants won and some lost. The Mormon Church lost in a big way, in the first such case to reach the United States Supreme Court. Reynolds v. United States (1878). In 1963, the Supreme Court held that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment does require the government to make accommodations for religious exercise, subject as always to limitations based on the public interest and the rights of others. Sherbert v. Verner (1963). In 1990, the Court shifted to the opposite view, in a case involving the sacramental use of peyote by members of the Native American Church. Employment Division v. Smith (1990).

Today we have a patchwork of rules. When the federal government is involved, legislation called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act grants us the right to seek appropriate accommodation when our religious practices conflict with government policy. About half the states have similar rules, and a similar rule protects prisoners like the Muslim prisoner who recently won the right to wear a half-inch beard in accordance with Islamic law, by a 9-0 vote in the Supreme Court. Holt v. Hobbs (2015).

The range of claims has been as diverse as the religious demography of the country. A small Brazilian sect won the right to use a hallucinogenic drug in worship ceremonies; Amish farmers have won exceptions from traffic rules; Muslim soldiers have been given special accommodation when fasting for Ramadan; Orthodox Jewish boys won the right to wear their skullcaps when playing high school basketball; a Jehovahs Witness won the right to unemployment compensation after he quit rather than working to produce tank turrets; a Mormon acting student won the right to refuse roles involving nudity or profanity; and in the most controversial recent case, a family-owned business with religious objections to paying for abortion-inducing drugs persuaded the Supreme Court that the government should make those contraceptives available without forcing them to be involved.

In all these cases, courts or agencies came to the conclusion that religious exercise could be accommodated with little or no harm to the public interest or to others. As Justice Sandra Day OConnor (joined by liberal lions Brennan, Marshall, and Blackmun) wrote: courts have been quite capable of applying our free exercise jurisprudence to strike sensible balances between religious liberty and competing state interests. Employment Division v. Smith (1989) (concurring opinion).

At a time when the Supreme Courts same-sex marriage decision has allowed many millions of Americans to live their lives in accordance with their own identity, it would be tragic if we turned our backs on the right to live in accordance with our religious conviction, which is also part of who we are. A robust protection for free exercise of religion is not only part of the American tradition, it is vital to our protection for diversity and freedom.

Freedom of Speech and the Press

Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. What does this mean today? Generally speaking, it means that the government may not jail, fine, or impose civil liability on people or organizations based on what they say or write, except in exceptional circumstances.

Although the First Amendment says Congress, the Supreme Court has held that speakers are protected against all government agencies and officials: federal, state, and local, and legislative, executive, or judicial. The First Amendment does not protect speakers, however, against private individuals or organizations, such as private employers, private colleges, or private landowners. The First Amendment restrains only the government.

The Supreme Court has interpreted speech and press broadly as covering not only talking, writing, and printing, but also broadcasting, using the Internet, and other forms of expression. The freedom of speech also applies to symbolic expression, such as displaying flags, burning flags, wearing armbands, burning crosses, and the like.

The Supreme Court has held that restrictions on speech because of its contentthat is, when the government targets the speakers messagegenerally violate the First Amendment. Laws that prohibit people from criticizing a war, opposing abortion, or advocating high taxes are examples of unconstitutional content-based restrictions. Such laws are thought to be especially problematic because they distort public debate and contradict a basic principle of self-governance: that the government cannot be trusted to decide what ideas or information the people should be allowed to hear.

There are generally three situations in which the government can constitutionally restrict speech under a less demanding standard.

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First Amendment – National Constitution Center

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First Amendment Center | Newseum Institute

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Oct 282015
 

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.

The Newseum Institutes First Amendment Center, with offices at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. and at the John Seigenthaler Center, on the Vanderbilt University campus, in Nashville, Tenn., serves as a forum for the study and exploration of free-expression issues through education, information and entertainment.

Founded by John Seigenthaler on Dec. 15, 1991, the 200th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution, the Center provides education and information to the public and groups, including First Amendment scholars and experts, educators, government policy makers, legal experts and students. The Center is nonpartisan and does not lobby, litigate or provide legal advice. It has become one of the most authoritative sources of news, information and commentary in the nation on First Amendment-related developments, as well as detailed reports about U.S. Supreme Court cases involving the First Amendment, and commentary, analysis and special reports on free expression, press freedom and religious-liberty issues.

For older articles and commentary, please visit the First Amendment Centers archival site.

Find First Amendment research articles by topic or keyword.

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Download or order publications on First Amendment issues.

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Learn more about the five freedoms of the First Amendment.

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One third of Americans still think the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees, according to the 2014 State of the First Amendment survey released June 24 by the Newseum Institute.

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Learn more about the First Amendment Center and what we do.

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The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution the cornerstone of American democracy is the focus of the Seigenthaler-Sutherland Cup National First Amendment Moot Court Competition.

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John Seigenthaler founded the Newseum Institutes First Amendment Center in 1991 with the mission of creating national discussion, dialogue and debate about First Amendment rights and values.

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Calisphere – The Free Speech Movement

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Oct 262015
 

Questions to Consider

Where did the Free Speech Movement start?

Who were the leaders of the movement?

What did they want?

These images show UC Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement as it happened. Photographs record the standoff and the aftermath.

The Free Speech Movement (FSM) was a college campus phenomenon inspired first by the struggle for civil rights and later fueled by opposition to the Vietnam War. The Free Speech Movement began in 1964, when students at the University of California, Berkeley protested a ban on on-campus political activities. The protest was led by several students, who also demanded their right to free speech and academic freedom. The FSM sparked an unprecedented wave of student activism and involvement.

Many images in this group make it clear that the center of the activity on the UC Berkeley campus was in Sproul Plaza. One photograph shows students occupying the balconies of Sproul Hall, a campus administration building, holding FSM banners and an American flag. Another photograph shows student leader Mario Savio leading a group of students through Sather Gate toward a meeting of the UC Regents.

In defiance of the ban on on-campus political activities, graduate student Jack Weinberg set up a table with political information and was arrested. But a group of approximately 3,000 students surrounded the police car in which he was held, preventing it from moving for 36 hours. Photographs show Weinberg in the car, both Mario Savio and Jack Weinberg on top of the surrounded car speaking to the crowd, and the car encircled by protesters and police.

Other photographs that portray key people and events of the Free Speech Movement include the eight students (including Mario Savio) suspended for operating a table on campus without a permit and raising money for unauthorized purposes; Mario Savio speaking to a crowd; students signing a pledge; and students sleeping on the steps of Sproul Plaza. Photographs of students being arrested, holding a mass sit-in, and picketing in support of the student-faculty strike as they protest demonstrators’ arrests reflect other aspects of the Free Speech Movement.

Singer Joan Baez supported the FSM, and a photograph shows her singing to the demonstrators. Bettina Aptheker, who later became a professor of Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz, also supported the FSM. A photograph shows her speaking in front of Sproul Hall. Other photographs in this topic demonstrate that groups such as Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the International Workers of the World (IWW) showed solidarity and supported the FSM. Other images in this group include UC President Clark Kerr speaking at the UC Berkeley Greek Theater, and CORE co-founder James Farmer at a CORE rally.

Learn more, visit these UC Berkeley sites: Free Speech Movement Digital Archives Social Activism Sound Recording Project

1.0 Writing Strategies: Research and Technology

2.0 Writing Applications 2.4 Write historical investigation reports.

2.0 Speaking Applications 2.2 Deliver oral reports on historical investigations. 2.4 Delivery multimedia presentations.

3.0 Historical and Cultural Context Understanding the Historical Contributions and Cultural Dimensions of the Visual Arts. Students analyze the role and development of the visual arts in past and present cultures throughout the world, noting human diversity as it relates to the visual arts and artists.

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Calisphere – The Free Speech Movement

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International Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology: Libertarianism

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Oct 262015
 

This essay first appeared in the International Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology, edited by Jens Beckert and Milan Zafirovski (London and New York: Routledge, 2006, pp. 403-407). It was posted as a Notablog entry on 5 January 2006. Comments welcome (post here).

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“LIBERTARIANISM”

By Chris Matthew Sciabarra

Libertarianism is the political ideology ofvoluntarism, a commitment to voluntary action in a social context, where no individual or group of individuals can initiate the use of force against others. It is not a monolithic ideological paradigm; rather, it signifies a variety of approaches that celebrate therule of law and the free exchange of goods, services, and ideas a laissez-faire attitude towards what philosopher Robert Nozick (1974) once called capitalist acts between consenting adults.

Modern libertarians draw inspiration from writings attributed to the Chinese sage Lao Tzu, as well as the works of Aristotle, among the ancients; [seventeenth-,] eighteenth- and nineteenth-century classicalliberalism (e.g. John Locke, the Scottish Enlightenment, the American founders, Carl Menger, andHerbert Spencer); individualist anarchism (e.g. Benjamin Tucker and Lysander Spooner); Old Right opponents of Franklin D. Roosevelts New Deal (e.g. Albert Jay Nock, John T. Flynn, Isabel Paterson andH. L. Mencken); modern Austrian economics (e.g. Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek and Murray Rothbard), as well as the economics of the Chicago school(Milton Friedman) and Virginia school (James Buchanan); and the Objectivist philosopherAyn Rand.

Classical liberalism is the most immediatepredecessor of contemporary libertarianism. Locke and the American founders had an impact on those libertarians, such as Rothbard and Rand, who stress individual rights, while the Scottish Enlightenment and Spencer had a major impact on thinkerssuch as Hayek, who stress the evolutionary wisdom of customs and traditions in contradistinctionto the constructivist rationalism of state planners.

Among evolutionists, Spencer in particularmade important contributions to what would become known as general systems theory; some consider him to be the founder of modern sociology. Indeed, he authored Principles of Sociology and TheStudy of Sociology, which was the textbook used for the first sociology course offered in the United States, at Yale University. A contemporary of Charles Darwin, he focused on social evolution the development of societies and organizational structuresfrom simple to compound forms. In such works as The Man Versus the State, he presented a conception of society as a spontaneous, integrated growth and not amanufacture, an organically evolving context for the development of heterogeneity and differentiation among the individuals who compose it. Just as Spencer emphasized organic social evolution, so too did he focus on the organic evolution of the state with its mutually reinforcing reliance onbureaucracy and militarism, and how it might be overcome.

The Austrian-born Carl Menger, a founder along with W. S. Jevons and Lon Walras of the marginalist revolution in economics, held a similar view of social life as a dynamic, spontaneous, evolving process. Influenced by Aristotle in his methodological individualism, Menger wasfervently opposed to the historical relativism of the German historicists of the Methodenstreit. Menger focused on the purposeful actions of individuals in generating unintended sociologicalconsequences a host of institutions, such as language, religion, law, the state, markets, competition and money.

In the twentieth century, the Nobel laureate Austrian economist F. A. Hayek carried on Mengers evolutionist discussion and praised it for providing outstanding guidelines for general sociology. For Hayek (1991), Menger was among the Darwinians before Darwin those evolutionists,such as the conservative Edmund Burke and the liberals of the Scottish Enlightenment, who stressed the evolution of institutions as the product of unintended consequences, rather than deliberate design. Hayek drew a direct parallel between hisown concept of spontaneous order and Adam Smiths notion of the invisible hand. Hayek argued that, over time, there is a competition among various emergent traditions, each of which embodies rivalrules of action and perception. Through a process of natural selection, those rules and institutions that are more durable than others will tend to flourish, resulting in a relative increase in population and wealth. Though he didnt argue for a theory of inevitable progress, as Spencer had, heclearly assumed that liberalism was the social system most conducive to such flourishing.

Like Karl Marx, Hayek criticized utopiansfor their desire to construct social institutions as if from an Archimedean standpoint, external to history and culture. But Hayek turned this analysis on Marx; he developed a full-fledged critique of socialism and central planning as utopian requiring an unattainable synoptic knowledge of all the articulated and tacit dimensions of social life. Hayek argued that market prices were indispensable to rational entrepreneurial calculation. He also focused on the sociological and psychological ramifications of the movement away from markets. He maintains in The Road to Serfdom (1944), for example, that there is a structural connection between social psychology and politics: to the extent that the stateimposes collectivist arrangements on individuals, it is destructive of individualchoice, morals and responsibility, and this destruction of individualism reinforces the spread of statism. And the more the state comes to dominate social life, says Hayek, the more state power will be the only power worth having which is why theworst get on top.

The Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises was similarly opposed to statism and collectivism, and presented, in [1922], an influential book entitled Socialism, which was an economic and sociological analysis of all forms of state intervention from fascism to communism. Mises used the tools of praxeology, the science of humanaction, to demonstrate the calculational problems that all non-market systems face, due to their elimination of private property, entrepreneurialism and the price system. More important, perhaps, is Misess development of a non-Marxist, libertarian theoryof class. Like Charles Dunoyer, Charles Comte, James Mill and other classical liberals, Mises argued that traders on the market share a mutuality of benefit that is destroyed by political intervention. For Mises, the long-term interests of marketparticipants are not in fundamental conflict. It is only with government action that such conflict becomes possible, Mises claims,because it is only government that can create a caste system based on the bestowal of special privileges.

Mises located the central caste conflictin the financial sector of the economy. In such books as The Theory of Money and Credit, he contends that government control over money and banking led to the cycle of boom and bust. A systematicincrease in the money supply creates differentialeffects over time, redistributing wealth to those social groups, especially banks and debtor industries, which are the first beneficiaries of the inflation.

Mises student, Murray Rothbard, developed this theory of caste conflict into a full-fledged libertarian class analysis. Rothbard views central banking as a cartelizing device that has created a powerful structure of class privilege in modern political economy. These privileges growexponentially as government restricts market competition and free entry, thereby creating monopoly through various coercive means (e.g. compulsory cartelization, price controls, output quotas, licensing, tariffs, immigration restrictions, labourlaws, conscription, patents, franchises, etc.).

Rothbards view of the relationship between big business and government in the rise of American statism draws additionally from the work of New Left historical revisionists, such as Gabriel Kolko andJames Weinstein. These historians held that big business was at the forefront of the movement towards government regulation of the market. That movement, according to Rothbard, had both a domestic and foreigncomponent, since it often entailed both domestic regulation and foreign imperialism to secure global markets. The creation of a welfare-warfare state leads necessarily to economic inefficiencies and deep distortions in the structure of production. Like Marx, Rothbard views these internal contradictions as potentially fatal to the economic system; unlike Marx, Rothbard blames these contradictions not on the free market, but on the growth of statism.

Drawing inspiration from Franz Oppenheimers and Albert Jay Nocks distinction between state power and social power, or state and market, and from John C. Calhouns class theory, as presented in Disquisition on Government, Rothbard sawsociety fragmenting, ultimately, into two opposing classes: taxpayers and tax-consumers. In his book Power and Market, Rothbard identifies bureaucrats, politicians and the net beneficiaries of government privilege as among the tax-consumers. Unlike his Austrian predecessors Hayek andMises, however, Rothbard argues that it is only with the elimination of the state that a fully just and productive society can emerge. His anarcho-capitalist ideal society would end the states monopoly on the coercive use of force, as well as taxation and conscription, and allow for the emergence of contractual agencies for the protectionof fully delineated private property rights (thereby resolving the problems of externalities and public goods) and the adjudication of disputes. His scenario had a major impact on Nozick, whose Anarchy,State, and Utopia was written in response to the Rothbardian anarchist challenge.

Ayn Rand, the Russian-born novelist and philosopher, author of best-selling novels TheFountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, was one of those who eschewed the libertarian label, partially because of its association with anarchism. An epistemological realist, ethical egoist and advocate of laissez-faire capitalism, Rand maintained that libertarians had focused too much attention on politics to the exclusion of the philosophical and cultural factors upon which it depended. But even though she saw politics as hierarchically dependent on these factors, she often stressed the reciprocal relationships among disparate elements, from politicsand pedagogy to sex, economics and psychology. She sought to transcend the dualities of mind and body, reason and emotion, theory and practice, fact and value, morality and prudence, and theconventional philosophic dichotomies of materialism and idealism, rationalism and empiricism, subjectivism and classical objectivism (which she called intrinsicism). Yet, despite her protestations, Rand can be placed in the libertarian tradition, given her adherence to its voluntarist political credo.

From the perspective of social theory, Rand proposed a multi-level sociological analysis of human relations under statism. Echoing the Austrian critique of state intervention in her analysis of politics and economics, Rand extended her critique toencompass epistemology, psychology, ethics and culture. She argued that statism both nourished and depended upon an irrational altruist and collectivist ethos that demanded the sacrifice of the individual to the group. It required and perpetuated a psychology of dependence and a groupmentality that was destructive of individual authenticity, integrity, honesty and responsibility. Rand also focused on the cultural preconditions and effects of statism since coercive social relations required fundamental alterations in the nature of language, education, pedagogy, aesthetics and ideology. Just as relations of power operatethrough ethical, psychological, cultural, political and economic dimensions, so too, for Rand, the struggle for freedom and individualism depends upon a certain constellation of moral, psychological, cultural and structural factors that support it. Randadvocated capitalism, the unknown ideal, as the only system capable of generating just social conditions, conducive to the individuals survival and flourishing.

See also: inflation; laissez faire; monopolyand oligopoly.

References and further reading

Calhoun, John C. ([1853]1953) A Disquisition onGovernment and Selections from the Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States, Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill.

Hayek, F. A. (1944) The Road to Serfdom, Chicago:University of Chicago Press.

(1991) The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek,Volume 3: The Trend of Economic Thinking: Essays on Political Economists and Economic History, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Mises, Ludwig von ([1912]1981) The Theory ofMoney and Credit, Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Classics.

(1936) Socialism: An Economic and SociologicalAnalysis, London: Jonathan Cape.

Nozick, Robert (1974) Anarchy, State, and Utopia,New York: Basic Books.

Rand, Ayn (1967) Capitalism: The UnknownIdeal, New York: New American Library.

Rothbard, Murray ([1970]1977) Power and Market:Government and the Economy, Kansas City, MO: Sheed Andrews and McMeel.

(1978) For a New Liberty: The LibertarianManifesto, revised edition, New York: Collier Books.

Sciabarra, Chris Matthew (1995) Ayn Rand: TheRussian Radical, University Park, PA: PennsylvaniaState University Press.

(1995) Marx, Hayek, and Utopia, Albany,NY: State University of New York Press.

(2000) Total Freedom: Toward a DialecticalLibertarianism, University Park, PA: PennsylvaniaState University Press.

Spencer, Herbert (1873) The Study of Sociology,New York: D. Appleton.

(188298) The Principles of Sociology, threevolumes, London: Williams and Norgate.

([1940]1981) The Man Versus the State, withSix Essays on Government, Society, and Freedom, Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Classics.

CHRIS MATTHEW SCIABARRA

______ Note: [bracketed words] above are corrections to online version

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International Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology: Libertarianism

SEO Keywords: Guide to Better SEO Keyword Research …

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Oct 182015
 

SEO Keyword: What Are SEO Keywords?

Your SEO keywords are the key words and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines. A website that is well optimized for search engines “speaks the same language” as its potential visitor base with keywords for SEO that help connect searchers to your site. Keywords are one of the main elements of SEO basics.

In other words, you need to know how people are looking for the products, services or information that you offer, in order to make it easy for them to find youotherwise, they’ll land on one of the many other pages in the Google results. Implementing keyword SEO will help your site rank above your competitors.

This is why developing a list of keywords is one of the first and most important steps in any search engine optimization initiative. Keywords and SEO are directly connected when it comes to running a winning search marketing campaign. Because keywords are foundational for all your other SEO efforts, it’s well worth the time and investment to ensure your SEO keywords are highly relevant to your audience and effectively organized for action.

Settling on the right SEO keywords is a delicate process involving both trial and error, but the basics are easy to understand. Here well walk you through researching what your customers are looking for, discovering those keywords that will help you rank on a search engine results page (SERP), and putting them to work in your online content.

Most beginning search marketers make the same mistakes when it comes to SEOkeyword research:

Basically, SEO keyword research should be an ongoing and ever-evolving part of your job as a marketer. Old keywords need to be reevaluated periodically, and high-volume, competitive keywords (or head keywords, as opposed to long-tailed keywords) can often be usefully replaced or augmented with longer, more specific phrases designed not to bring in just any visitor but exactly the right visitors. (Who visits your site particularly if theyre people who are actively looking for your services is at least as important as how many people visit.)

And youve got to diversify. Heres a tongue-twister thats absolutely true: diversity is a key word in the keyword world. Youre not going to stand out if you find yourself using all of the same keywords as your competitors. Not only should you try new keyword tools and keep track of the results, but you should feel free to experiment based on your own research who else uses your keywords? And how do you make yourself stand out? By providing great content that truly answers the questions your prospective customers are asking with their keyword searches.

WordStream’s freeSEO keyword research tools that help you find your best, most relevant keywordskeywords that will drive ongoingweb trafficand conversions on your site.

Benefits of using WordStreams keyword toolsfor better SEO include:

WordStreams keyword toolset is also hugely valuable for PPC marketing use the Keyword Niche Finder to identify new ad groups for your AdWords campaigns, and use the free Negative Keyword Tool to find negative keywords that will reduce wasteful clicks and save you money.

Now that youve found the best keywords, you need to put them to work in order to get SEO results (search-driven traffic, conversions, and all that good stuff).

So: how to proceed? On the one hand, SEObest practices recommend that you include relevant keywords in a number of high-attention areas on your site, everywhere from the titles and body text of your pages to your URLs to your meta tags to your image file names. On the other hand, successfully optimized websites tend to have thousands or evenmillionsof keywords. You can’t very well craft a single, unique page for every one of your keywords; at the same time, you can’t try to cram everything onto a handful of pages with keyword stuffing and expect torankfor every individual keyword. It just doesn’t work that way.

So how does it work? The answer iskeyword grouping and organization. By dividing your keywords into small, manageable groups of related keywords, youll cut down on your workload (significantly), while still creating targeted, specific pages.

For example, lets say you were running the website of an online pet store. You might be wise to create one keyword grouping for all your dog-related products, then one for all of your parakeet-related projects, etc. The next step would be to segment each individual group into smaller subgroups (parakeet cages, parakeet toys, parakeet snacks) and then even smaller groups for each type of product (low-fat parakeet snacks, luxury parakeet snacks you get the idea). Now your pet store can create individual pages optimized for each small keyword group.

A marketer attempting to optimize a web page for the “gourmet parakeet snacks” keyword group should consider doing most if not all of the following:

When optimizing your web pages, keep in mind thatkeyword relevanceis more important thankeyword densityin SEO.

Manual keyword grouping can be very time-consuming, of course. Some of our own tools, which may prove helpful in a pinch, include our KeywordNiche Finder, which works just like a regular SEO keyword tool, but returns you suggestions pre-grouped into relevant clusters. We also provide a Keyword Grouper, which groups preexisting lists automatically.

Try our Free Keyword Tool today.

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SEO Keywords: Guide to Better SEO Keyword Research …

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Second Amendment – National Constitution Center

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Oct 122015
 

The Second Amendment

Modern debates about the Second Amendment have focused on whether it protects a private right of individuals to keep and bear arms, or a right that can be exercised only through militia organizations like the National Guard. This question, however, was not even raised until long after the Bill of Rights was adopted.

Many in the Founding generation believed that governments are prone to use soldiers to oppress the people. English history suggested that this risk could be controlled by permitting the government to raise armies (consisting of full-time paid troops) only when needed to fight foreign adversaries. For other purposes, such as responding to sudden invasions or other emergencies, the government could rely on a militia that consisted of ordinary civilians who supplied their own weapons and received some part-time, unpaid military training.

The onset of war does not always allow time to raise and train an army, and the Revolutionary War showed that militia forces could not be relied on for national defense. The Constitutional Convention therefore decided that the federal government should have almost unfettered authority to establish peacetime standing armies and to regulate the militia.

This massive shift of power from the states to the federal government generated one of the chief objections to the proposed Constitution. Anti-Federalists argued that the proposed Constitution would take from the states their principal means of defense against federal usurpation. The Federalists responded that fears of federal oppression were overblown, in part because the American people were armed and would be almost impossible to subdue through military force.

Implicit in the debate between Federalists and Anti-Federalists were two shared assumptions. First, that the proposed new Constitution gave the federal government almost total legal authority over the army and militia. Second, that the federal government should not have any authority at all to disarm the citizenry. They disagreed only about whether an armed populace could adequately deter federal oppression.

The Second Amendment conceded nothing to the Anti-Federalists desire to sharply curtail the military power of the federal government, which would have required substantial changes in the original Constitution. Yet the Amendment was easily accepted because of widespread agreement that the federal government should not have the power to infringe the right of the people to keep and bear arms, any more than it should have the power to abridge the freedom of speech or prohibit the free exercise of religion.

Much has changed since 1791. The traditional militia fell into desuetude, and state-based militia organizations were eventually incorporated into the federal military structure. The nations military establishment has become enormously more powerful than eighteenth century armies. We still hear political rhetoric about federal tyranny, but most Americans do not fear the nations armed forces and virtually no one thinks that an armed populace could defeat those forces in battle. Furthermore, eighteenth century civilians routinely kept at home the very same weapons they would need if called to serve in the militia, while modern soldiers are equipped with weapons that differ significantly from those generally thought appropriate for civilian uses. Civilians no longer expect to use their household weapons for militia duty, although they still keep and bear arms to defend against common criminals (as well as for hunting and other forms of recreation).

The law has also changed. While states in the Founding era regulated gunsblacks were often prohibited from possessing firearms and militia weapons were frequently registered on government rollsgun laws today are more extensive and controversial. Another important legal development was the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Second Amendment originally applied only to the federal government, leaving the states to regulate weapons as they saw fit. Although there is substantial evidence that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was meant to protect the right of individuals to keep and bear arms from infringement by the states, the Supreme Court rejected this interpretation in United States v. Cruikshank (1876).

Until recently, the judiciary treated the Second Amendment almost as a dead letter. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), however, the Supreme Court invalidated a federal law that forbade nearly all civilians from possessing handguns in the nations capital. A 54 majority ruled that the language and history of the Second Amendment showed that it protects a private right of individuals to have arms for their own defense, not a right of the states to maintain a militia.

The dissenters disagreed. They concluded that the Second Amendment protects a nominally individual right, though one that protects only the right of the people of each of the several States to maintain a well-regulated militia. They also argued that even if the Second Amendment did protect an individual right to have arms for self-defense, it should be interpreted to allow the government to ban handguns in high-crime urban areas.

Two years later, in McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), the Court struck down a similar handgun ban at the state level, again by a 54 vote. Four Justices relied on judicial precedents under the Fourteenth Amendments Due Process Clause. Justice Thomas rejected those precedents in favor of reliance on the Privileges or Immunities Clause, but all five members of the majority concluded that the Fourteenth Amendment protects against state infringement the same individual right that is protected from federal infringement by the Second Amendment.

Notwithstanding the lengthy opinions in Heller and McDonald, they technically ruled only that government may not ban the possession of handguns by civilians in their homes. Heller tentatively suggested a list of presumptively lawful regulations, including bans on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, bans on carrying firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, laws restricting the commercial sale of arms, bans on the concealed carry of firearms, and bans on weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes. Many issues remain open, and the lower courts have disagreed with one another about some of them, including important questions involving restrictions on carrying weapons in public.

The right to keep and bear arms is a lot like the right to freedom of speech. In each case, the Constitution expressly protects a liberty that needs to be insulated from the ordinary political process.

Gun control is as much a part of the Second Amendment as the right to keep and bear arms. The text of the amendment, which refers to a well regulated Militia, suggests as much.

Not a Second Class Right: The Second Amendment Today by Nelson Lund

The right to keep and bear arms is a lot like the right to freedom of speech. In each case, the Constitution expressly protects a liberty that needs to be insulated from the ordinary political process. Neither right, however, is absolute. The First Amendment, for example, has never protected perjury, fraud, or countless other crimes that are committed through the use of speech. Similarly, no reasonable person could believe that violent criminals should have unrestricted access to guns, or that any individual should possess a nuclear weapon.

Inevitably, courts must draw lines, allowing government to carry out its duty to preserve an orderly society, without unduly infringing the legitimate interests of individuals in expressing their thoughts and protecting themselves from criminal violence. This is not a precise science or one that will ever be free from controversy.

One judicial approach, however, should be unequivocally rejected. During the nineteenth century, courts routinely refused to invalidate restrictions on free speech that struck the judges as reasonable. This meant that speech got virtually no judicial protection. Government suppression of speech can usually be thought to serve some reasonable purpose, such as reducing social discord or promoting healthy morals. Similarly, most gun control laws can be viewed as efforts to save lives and prevent crime, which are perfectly reasonable goals. If thats enough to justify infringements on individual liberty, neither constitutional guarantee means much of anything.

During the twentieth century, the Supreme Court finally started taking the First Amendment seriously. Today, individual freedom is generally protected unless the government can make a strong case that it has a real need to suppress speech or expressive conduct, and that its regulations are tailored to that need. The legal doctrines have become quite complex, and there is room for disagreement about many of the Courts specific decisions. Taken as a whole, however, this body of case law shows what the Court can do when it appreciates the value of an individual right enshrined in the Constitution.

The Second Amendment also raises issues about which reasonable people can disagree. But if the Supreme Court takes this provision of the Constitution as seriously as it now takes the First Amendment, which it should do, there will be some easy issues as well.

District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) is one example. The right of the people protected by the Second Amendment is an individual right, just like the right[s] of the people protected by the First and Fourth Amendments. The Constitution does not say that the Second Amendment protects a right of the states or a right of the militia, and nobody offered such an interpretation during the Founding era. Abundant historical evidence indicates that the Second Amendment was meant to leave citizens with the ability to defend themselves against unlawful violence. Such threats might come from usurpers of governmental power, but they might also come from criminals whom the government is unwilling or unable to control.

McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) was also an easy case under the Courts precedents. Most other provisions of the Bill of Rights had already been applied to the states because they are deeply rooted in this Nations history and tradition. The right to keep and bear arms clearly meets this test.

The text of the Constitution expressly guarantees the right to bear arms, not just the right to keep them. The courts should invalidate regulations that prevent law-abiding citizens from carrying weapons in public, where the vast majority of violent crimes occur. First Amendment rights are not confined to the home, and neither are those protected by the Second Amendment.

Nor should the government be allowed to create burdensome bureaucratic obstacles designed to frustrate the exercise of Second Amendment rights. The courts are vigilant in preventing government from evading the First Amendment through regulations that indirectly abridge free speech rights by making them difficult to exercise. Courts should exercise the same vigilance in protecting Second Amendment rights.

Some other regulations that may appear innocuous should be struck down because they are little more than political stunts. Popular bans on so-called assault rifles, for example, define this class of guns in terms of cosmetic features, leaving functionally identical semi-automatic rifles to circulate freely. This is unconstitutional for the same reason that it would violate the First Amendment to ban words that have a French etymology, or to require that French fries be called freedom fries.

In most American states, including many with large urban population centers, responsible adults have easy access to ordinary firearms, and they are permitted to carry them in public. Experience has shown that these policies do not lead to increased levels of violence. Criminals pay no more attention to gun control regulations than they do to laws against murder, rape, and robbery. Armed citizens, however, prevent countless crimes and have saved many lives. Whats more, the most vulnerable peopleincluding women, the elderly, and those who live in high crime neighborhoodsare among the greatest beneficiaries of the Second Amendment. If the courts require the remaining jurisdictions to stop infringing on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, their citizens will be more free and probably safer as well.

The Reasonable Right to Bear Arms by Adam Winkler

Gun control is as much a part of the Second Amendment as the right to keep and bear arms. The text of the amendment, which refers to a well regulated Militia, suggests as much. As the Supreme Court correctly noted in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the militia of the founding era was the body of ordinary citizens capable of taking up arms to defend the nation. While the Founders sought to protect the citizenry from being disarmed entirely, they did not wish to prevent government from adopting reasonable regulations of guns and gun owners.

Although Americans today often think that gun control is a modern invention, the Founding era had laws regulating the armed citizenry. There were laws designed to ensure an effective militia, such as laws requiring armed citizens to appear at mandatory musters where their guns would be inspected. Governments also compiled registries of civilian-owned guns appropriate for militia service, sometimes conducting door-to-door surveys. The Founders had broad bans on gun possession by people deemed untrustworthy, including slaves and loyalists. The Founders even had laws requiring people to have guns appropriate for militia service.

The wide range of Founding-era laws suggests that the Founders understood gun rights quite differently from many people today. The right to keep and bear arms was not a libertarian license for anyone to have any kind of ordinary firearm, anywhere they wanted. Nor did the Second Amendment protect a right to revolt against a tyrannical government. The Second Amendment was about ensuring public safety, and nothing in its language was thought to prevent what would be seen today as quite burdensome forms of regulation.

The Founding-era laws indicate why the First Amendment is not a good analogy to the Second. While there have always been laws restricting perjury and fraud by the spoken word, such speech was not thought to be part of the freedom of speech. The Second Amendment, by contrast, unambiguously recognizes that the armed citizenry must be regulatedand regulated well. This language most closely aligns with the Fourth Amendment, which protects a right to privacy but also recognizes the authority of the government to conduct reasonable searches and seizures.

The principle that reasonable regulations are consistent with the Second Amendment has been affirmed throughout American history. Ever since the first cases challenging gun controls for violating the Second Amendment or similar provisions in state constitutions, courts have repeatedly held that reasonable gun lawsthose that dont completely deny access to guns by law-abiding peopleare constitutionally permissible. For 150 years, this was the settled law of the landuntil Heller.

Heller, however, rejected the principle of reasonableness only in name, not in practice. The decision insisted that many types of gun control laws are presumptively lawful, including bans on possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, bans on concealed carry, bans on dangerous and unusual weapons, restrictions on guns in sensitive places like schools and government buildings, and commercial sale restrictions. Nearly all gun control laws today fit within these exceptions. Importantly, these exceptions for modern-day gun laws unheard of in the Founding era also show that lawmakers are not limited to the types of gun control in place at the time of the Second Amendments ratification.

In the years since Heller, the federal courts have upheld the overwhelming majority of gun control laws challenged under the Second Amendment. Bans on assault weapons have been consistently upheld, as have restrictions on gun magazines that hold more than a minimum number of rounds of ammunition. Bans on guns in national parks, post offices, bars, and college campuses also survived. These decisions make clear that lawmakers have wide leeway to restrict guns to promote public safety so long as the basic right of law-abiding people to have a gun for self-defense is preserved.

Perhaps the biggest open question after Heller is whether the Second Amendment protects a right to carry guns in public. While every state allows public carry, some states restrict that right to people who can show a special reason to have a gun on the street. To the extent these laws give local law enforcement unfettered discretion over who can carry, they are problematic. At the same time, however, many constitutional rights are far more limited in public than in the home. Parades can be required to have a permit, the police have broader powers to search pedestrians and motorists than private homes, and sexual intimacy in public places can be completely prohibited.

The Supreme Court may yet decide that more stringent limits on gun control are required under the Second Amendment. Such a decision, however, would be contrary to the text, history, and tradition of the right to keep and bear arms.

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Second Amendment – National Constitution Center

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Illuminati – Crystalinks

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Oct 032015
 

Illuminati

Eye Symbology

The Illuminati is the name of many groups, modern and historical, real and fictitious, verified and alleged. Most commonly, however, The Illuminati refers specifically to the Bavarian Illuminati, perhaps the least secret of all secret societies in the world, described below. Most use refers to an alleged shadowy conspiratorial organization which controls world affairs behind the scenes, usually a modern incarnation or continuation of the Bavarian Illuminati. Illuminati is sometimes used synonymously with New World Order.

Illuminati is a Greek word meaning Illumination a name given to those who submitted to Christian baptism. Those who were baptized were called Illuminati or Illuminated / Enlightened Ones by the Ante-Nicene clergy, on the assumption that those who were instructed for baptism in the Apostolic faith had an enlightened understanding. The Alumbrados, a mystical 16th-century Spanish sect, were among the societies that subsequently adopted the name Illuminati.

Since Illuminati literally means ‘enlightened ones’ in Latin, it is natural that several unrelated historical groups have identified themselves as Illuminati. Often, this was due to claims of possessing gnostic texts or other arcane information not generally available.

The designation illuminati was also in use from the 14th century by the Brethren of the Free Spirit, and in the 15th century was assumed by other enthusiasts who claimed that the illuminating light came, not by being communicated from an authoritative but secret source, but from within, the result of exalted consciousness, or “enlightenment”.

Alumbrados of Spain

To the former class belong the alumbrados of Spain. The historian Marcelino Menendez y Pelayo found the name as early as 1492 (in the form iluminados, 1498), but traced them to a Gnostic origin, and thought their views were promoted in Spain through influences from Italy. One of their earliest leaders, born in Salamanca, a laborer’s daughter known as La Beata de Piedrahita, came under the notice of the Inquisition in 1511, as claiming to hold colloquies with Jesus and the Virgin Mary; some high patronage saved her from a rigorous denunciation. (Menendez Pelayo, Los Heterodoxos Espaoles, 1881, vol. V.). Ignatius Loyola, while studying at Salamanca in 1527, was brought before an ecclesiastical commission on a charge of sympathy with the alumbrados, but escaped with an admonition.

Illumines of France

The movement (under the name of Illumines) seems to have reached France from Seville in 1623, and attained some following in Picardy when joined (1634) by Pierce Guerin, cure of Saint-Georges de Roye, whose followers, known as Gurinets, were suppressed in 1635. A century later, another, more obscure body of Illumines came to light in the south of France in 1722, and appears to have lingered till 1794, having affinities with those known contemporaneously in Britain as ‘French Prophets’, an offshoot of the Camisards.

Rosicrucians

A different class were the Rosicrucians, who claimed to originate in 1407, but rose into notice in 1614 when their main text Fama Fraternitatis appeared; a secret society, that claimed to combine the possession of esoteric principles of religion with the mysteries of alchemy. Their positions are embodied in three anonymous treatises of 1614 (mentioned in Richard and Giraud, Dictionnaire universel des sciences ecclesiastiques, Paris 1825), as well as in the Confessio Fraternitatis of 1615. Rosicrucians also claimed heritage from the Knights Templar.

Martinists

Later, the title Illuminati was applied to the French Martinists which had been founded in 1754 by Martinez Pasqualis, and to their imitators the Russian Martinists, headed about 1790 by Professor Schwartz of Moscow; both were occultist cabalists and allegorists, absorbing eclectic ideas from Jakob Boehme and Emanuel Swedenborg.

History

A movement of freethinkers that were the most radical offshoot of The Enlightenment – whose adherents were given the name Illuminati (but who called themselves “Perfectibilists”) – was founded on May 1, 1776 by Jesuit-taught Adam Weishaupt (d. 1830), who was the first lay professor of canon law. The group has also been called the Illuminati Order, the Order of the Illuminati, and the Bavarian Illuminati.In the conservative state of Bavaria, where the progressive and enlightened elector Maximilian III Joseph von Wittelsbach was succeeded (1777) by his conservative heir Karl Theodor, and which was dominated by the Roman Catholic Church and the aristocracy, such an organization did not last long before it was suppressed by the powers of the day.

In 1784, the Bavarian government banned all secret societies, including the Illuminati and the Freemasons. The structure of the Illuminati soon collapsed, but while it was in existence many influential intellectuals and progressive politicians counted themselves as members.

Its members were supposedly drawn primarily from Masons and former Masons, and although some Masons were known to be members there is no evidence that it was supported by Freemasons. The members pledged obedience to their superiors, and were divided into three main classes: the first, known as the Nursery, encompassed the ascending degrees or offices of Preparation, Novice, Minerval and Illuminatus Minor; the second, known as the Masonry, consisting of the ascending degrees of Illuminatus Major and Illuminatus dirigens, the latter also sometimes called Scotch Knight; the third, designated the Mysteries, was subdivided into the degrees of the Lesser Mysteries (Presbyter and Regent) and those of the Greater Mysteries (Magus and Rex). Relations with Masonic lodges were established at Munich and Freising in 1780.

The order had its branches in most countries of the European continent; its members were reportedly around 3,000-4,000 members in the span of 10 years. The scheme had its attraction for literary men, such as Goethe and Herder, and even for the reigning dukes of Gotha and Weimar. Internal rupture preceded its downfall, which was effected by an edict of the Bavarian government in 1785.

The Bavarian Illuminati have cast a long shadow in popular history thanks to the writings of their opponents; the lurid allegations of conspiracy that have colored the image of the Freemasons have practically opaqued that of the Illuminati. In 1797, Abbe Augustin Barruel published Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism outlining a vivid conspiracy theory involving the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, the Jacobins and the Illuminati.

A Scottish Mason and professor of natural history named John Robison started to publish Proofs of a Conspiracy Against all the Religions and Governments of Europe in 1798. Robison claimed to present evidence of an Illuminati conspiracy striving to replace all religions with humanism and all nations with a single world government.

More recently, Antony C. Sutton suggested that the secret society Skull and Bones was founded as the American branch of the Illuminati; others think Scroll and Key had Illuminati origins, as well. Writer Robert Gillette claimed that these Illuminati ultimately intend to establish a world government through assassination, bribery, blackmail, the control of banks and other financial powers, the infiltration of governments, mind control, and by causing wars and revolution to move their own people into higher positions in the political hierarchy.

Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, claimed they intended to spread information and the principles of true morality. He attributed the secrecy of the Illuminati to what he called “the tyranny of a despot and priests”.

Both seem to agree that the enemies of the Illuminati were the monarchs of Europe and the Church; Barrul claimed that the French revolution (1789) was engineered and controlled by the Illuminati through the Jacobins, and later conspiracy theorists have also claimed their responsibility for the Russian Revolution (1917), although the order was officially shut down in 1790. Few historians give credence to these views; they regard such claims as the products of over-fertile imaginations.

Several sources suggest that the Bavarian Illuminati survived, and perhaps even exists today. Conspiracy theorists highlight the link between the Illuminati and Freemasonry. It is also suggested that the United States’ founding fathers – some being Freemasons – were rife with corruption from the Illuminati. Often the symbol of the all-seeing pyramid in the Great Seal of the United States is cited as an example of the Illuminati’s ever-present watchful eye over Americans.

Very little reliable evidence can be found to suggest that Weishaupt’s group survived into the 19th century. However, several groups have since used the name Illuminati to found their own rites, claiming to be the Illuminati. Such groups include the Grand Lodge Rockefeller of David Goldman (USA), Orden Illuminati of Gabriel Lopez de Rojas (Spain), and The Illuminati Order of Solomon Tulbure (USA).

In 1995, Gabriel Lpez de Rojas founded Illuminati Order in Barcelona, Spain, elaborating the Operative Rite of The Illuminati of Bavaria. This Rite is based on the Rite of the Illuminati and high degrees of Scottish Rite of 33 degrees.The System of its Illuminati Grand Master, Gabriel Lpez de Rojas, is the Redism. This system is based on the lemma HOMO EST DEUS, or “man is god”.

Groups describing themselves as Illuminati say they have members and chapters (lodges) throughout the world.

About the time that the Illuminati were outlawed in Bavaria, the Roman Catholic Church prohibited its members from joining Masonic lodges, on pain of excommunication. This was done as a general edict, since the Church believed many lodges to have been infiltrated and subverted by the Illuminati, but was not able to accurately ascertain which ones. This rule was relaxed only in the late 20th century.

Illuminati Wikipedia

MYSTERY SCHOOLS & SECRET SOCIETIES

CONSPIRACIES INDEX

ALPHABETICAL INDEX OF ALL FILES

CRYSTALINKS HOME PAGE

PSYCHIC READING WITH ELLIE

2012 THE ALCHEMY OF TIME

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Illuminati – News, Updates, Images & Quotes

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Sep 232015
 

Status message You are currently viewing our site as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions, videos and photo galleries. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other users, upload videos and photos in your own photo album and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today! Articles (7) Illuminati Cliff Notes By admin 3 years 1 week ago

Cliffs notes for those who care: Illuminatti was started by Adam Weishaupt in the 1760s, who was financed by the recently reorganized and consolidated House of Rothschild, the largest len…

“The question of how and why the United Nations is the crux of the great conspiracy to destroy the sovereignty of the United States and the enslavement of the American people within a U.N. o…

The leader of the Earths Illuminati is called the “Pindar”. The Pindar is a member of one of the 13 ruling Illuminati families, and is always male. The title, Pindar, is an abbreviated ter…

Compartmentalization has been a key instrument in keeping people away from information that would make them free to discover the truth. The less information people have to go off, the smalle…

The illuminati Big Brother is listening the illuminati Big Brother wants you, and the illuminati Big Brother actually already has you under his full surveillance. But we still accept this fa…

In the Preface to “Brave New World,” (1932) Aldous Huxley wrote: “As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends correspondingly to increase. And the dictator will do…

This article illustrates a few key distinguishing factors between you and the Illuminati….

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SEO Copywriting Tips, Secrets, and Strategies

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Sep 232015
 

This free ebook reveals the tips, secrets, and strategies of writing for search engine optimization.

SEO copywriting has traditionally been about optimizing web page copy by targeting keyword phrases in certain frequencies and densities. And yet search engine research shows that almost 85% of the total factors that determine how a web page is ranked in a search engine is based on things that happen off the page itself.

While keyword research is still crucial, search engine algorithms have evolved. Google treats the trust and authority of your domain, what others think about your content, and the words they use to describe it in links as an important indication of quality and relevance.

Thanks to blogging and social media platforms, more people than ever are able to cast their vote on whats relevant by linking to it, bookmarking it, and tweeting it.

Modern SEO is all about crafting content so compelling that other people want to promote it by linking to it or sharing it, which increases your trust and authority and helps the pages you want to rank well for certain keywords.

This free 27-page ebook written by Copyblogger founder Brian Clark provides you a step-by-step strategy for creating content that scores links and social sharing, is highly readable and engaging, and ranks well in search engines. Youll discover:

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SEO Miami | Miami SEO Company | Miami SEO Expert

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Sep 172015
 

Our Miami SEO Solutions = Revenue

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