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  • Archive for the 'Libertarianism' Category

    Letting It Burn

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 29th April 2014 (All posts by )

    As a matter of interest as an independent author, with some affection for science fiction … (principally Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series, and once upon a time for Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series, both of which explored in an interesting and readable way, a whole range of civilizational conceits and technologies with a bearing on what they produced vis-a-viz political organizations, man-woman relations, and alternate societies of the possible future … oh, where was I? Complicated parenthetical sentence again; science fiction. Right-ho, Jeeves – back on track.) … I have been following the current SFWA-bruhaha with the fascinated interest of someone squeezing past a spectacular multi-car pile-upon the Interstate. Not so much – how did this happen, and whose stupid move at high speed impelled the disaster – but how will it impact ordinary commuters in their daily journey, and will everyone walk away from it OK? So far, the answers to that are pretty much that it will only matter to those directly involved (although it will be productive of much temporary pain) and yes – pretty near everyone will walk away. Scared, scarred, P-O’d and harboring enduring grudges, but yes, they will walk away, personally and professionally. Some of these are walking away at speed and being pretty vocal about why.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Academia, Arts & Letters, Civil Society, Current Events, Deep Thoughts, Entrepreneurship, Human Behavior, Leftism, Libertarianism, Media, USA | 17 Comments »

    Review of America 3.0 by Arnold Kling

    Posted by Lexington Green on 4th September 2013 (All posts by )

    We are very pleased that America 3.0 received a thoughtful and positive review from Arnold Kling. The review, entitled “America’s Past and America’s Future”is here.

    Mr. Kling is one of the smartest and most civil commenters we have on current affairs from an economics perspective. (This group of articles is a good sample.)

    Mr. Kling’s philosophy of blogging is the gold standard: “I will try to keep the posts here free of put-downs, snark, cheap shots, straw-man arguments, and taking the least charitable interpretation of what others say.” Let us examine ourselves against this and see if we are found wanting!

    Mr. Kling’s review provides a very good summary of the book. He concludes by noting:

    The vision that Bennett and Lotus put forth is not the technocratically-run national system that most contemporary politicians and pundits presume is ideal. Nor is it the philosophically-driven rights-based society that libertarians might prefer. However, if the authors are correct in their cultural anthropology, then their idea of America 3.0 is what fits best with our culture.

    Our antipathy toward a “technocratically-run national system” is common to most American Conservatives and Libertarians, whether capitalized or not. Mr. Kling is astute to note our vision is not one of a “philosophically-driven rights-based society” which many libertarians hope for. We do believe in a rights-based society, but we believe such a society will work, and that certain rights will be understood and respected, not due to any universally derivable philosophy, but due to a historically grounded set of cultural attitudes, orientations and practices. Our assessment of America, its history and its future, is indeed based on cultural anthropology, with economics, law and politics as superstructure on that foundation. While the society we hope for can be and should be compatible with a libertarian philosophy, it will not be caused by or derived from any such philosophy. Libertarian values and America’s historically derived culture are compatible with each other empirically. On the other hand, America cannot be forced into any philosophically-derived form that is contrary to its historically-derived culture, at least not easily, and not without considerable resistance. Hence the current “doubling down” on state-centric policies will fail. We propose reforms that go “with the grain” of our culture, though these reforms will need to overcome the resisted of incumbent rent seekers. We predict a free and prosperous future once these obstacles are overcome which will be continuous and consistent with our past, even our distant past.

    UPDATE from Jim Bennett:

    A libertarian, rights-based political system can only exist within the framework of an individualist culture. It requires it as much as fish require water to swim, but many libertarians are as oblivious to this basic fact as fish are to the existence of the water in which they swim. We do believe that if the American system evolves in the direction we suggest and advocate, that at least some of the autonomous units within it can support libertarian systems that are much closer to what they would like than is possible today.

    Posted in America 3.0, Book Notes, Libertarianism, USA | 3 Comments »

    America 3.0 author Mike Lotus at America’s Future Foundation Chicago, Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

    Posted by Lexington Green on 28th August 2013 (All posts by )

    I will be speaking to on September 11, 2013 to the Chicago chapter of America’s Future Foundation about our book America 3.0, answering the question: “are America’s greatest days yet to come?”

    Spoiler alert … The answer is YES.

    Details at this handy link. (Interestingly, this page has a version of the cover of the book that we did not end up using.)

    The event is at Ontourage, 157 West Ontario Street, Chicago, at 6:00 p.m.

    You can purchase tickets here. General admission is $10, but for $30 you can pre-order the book as well. That is actually a pretty good deal.

    I am thrilled to be speaking to AFF. I like their libertarian stance, which I mostly share. I like the earnestness and braininess. I like the liquor at their parties. I like the tenor of the evening at their events. I like the whole stimmung of it.

    Our book has several target audiences, and our libertarian friends are one of them. Let’s see how the ideas go over with them.

    I hope to see many of you there.

    Posted in America 3.0, Announcements, Chicagoania, Libertarianism | 3 Comments »

    The Drug War

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 15th August 2013 (All posts by )

    My sentiments on the whole drug question have been influenced by some experience with the medical aspect of the problem. Drugs are slipping out of any control due to developments in synthetic variations of older substances that stimulate brain chemistry, sometimes in unknown ways. The traditional drugs, if we can use that term, are also slipping out of control with Mexican drug wars replacing the Columbian cartels even more violent than their predecessors.

    What about marijuana ? It is widely used by the younger generation and, while I do think there are some harmful consequences, especially in potential schizophrenics, the fact is that the laws are widely ignored and do little good and much harm. First, what about the link to psychosis ?

    Epidemiological studies suggest that Cannabis use during adolescence confers an increased risk for developing psychotic symptoms later in life. However, despite their interest, the epidemiological data are not conclusive, due to their heterogeneity; thus modeling the adolescent phase in animals is useful for investigating the impact of Cannabis use on deviations of adolescent brain development that might confer a vulnerability to later psychotic disorders. Although scant, preclinical data seem to support the presence of impaired social behaviors, cognitive and sensorimotor gating deficits as well as psychotic-like signs in adult rodents after adolescent cannabinoid exposure, clearly suggesting that this exposure may trigger a complex behavioral phenotype closely resembling a schizophrenia-like disorder. Similar treatments performed at adulthood were not able to produce such phenotype, thus pointing to a vulnerability of the adolescent brain towards cannabinoid exposure.

    This suggests that adult use may be less harmful.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Society, Health Care, Law Enforcement, Libertarianism, Medicine, Political Philosophy, Science | 26 Comments »

    The Common Law, Free Markets, and Voluntaristic Rather than Coercive Order: Three Great Things That Go Great Together

    Posted by Lexington Green on 13th May 2013 (All posts by )

    In America 3.0 we discuss the origins of the common law, and how it was well-suited to adapt inductively to changing conditions, in contrast to the more top-down Roman law that predominated on the Continent.

    This recent post on the John Wilkes Club blog, makes this point nicely:

    There is no eschatology in the common law: its purpose is to reflect changes in the cultural, social and economic structure, not to direct them towards an objective preconceived in the minds of cultured and erudite elites for our betterment. Likewise there is no eschatology in free markets: they are a tool for the allocation of goods and services according to ever-changing consumer preferences, not for directing them towards some imaginary ‘ideal’ allocation. Not only is there no ethical basis for the social and economic coercion which rational, artificial, imposed order inevitably involves; but also, because even a benevolent genius is trapped in the prison of imperfect information described by Hayek and others, it does not work.

    The post cites to The New World of the Gothic Fox: Culture and Economy in English and Spanish America by Claudio Veliz, a great favorite of ours, and concludes in Hayekian fashion: “… the ability to manage the modern welfare state is not just beyond any particular person, but beyond anybody … .”

    Quite so. And that why is it is failing. And that is why the next iteration of America will be flatter, more networked, less coercive and better, cheaper and faster at everything that matters. But we have to get all this detritus out of the way, first … .

    Cross-posted on America 3.0.

    Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Book Notes, Britain, Civil Liberties, History, Libertarianism, Quotations, Society, USA | 5 Comments »

    Coming Soon, to Places Near You?

    Posted by David Foster on 5th May 2013 (All posts by )

    I’ve written before about Rose Wilder Lane, the writer and political thinker. In 1926, Rose and her friend Helen Dore Boylston, both then living in Paris, decided to buy a Model T Ford and drive it to Albania. I recently picked up the book Travels With Zenobia, which is the chronicle of their adventure.

    Acquisition of the car–a “glamorized” 1926 model which was maroon in color rather than the traditional Ford black–went smoothly. Acquisition of the proper government documentation allowing them to actually drive it–not so much:

    Having bought this splendid Ford, my friend and I set out to get permission to drive it, and to drive it out of Paris and out of France. We worked separately, to make double use of time. For six weeks we worked, steadily, every day and every hour the Government offices were open. When they closed, we met to rest in the lovely leisure of a cafe and compared notes and considered ways of pulling wires…

    One requirement was twelve passport pictures of that car…But this was a Ford, naked from the factory; not a detail nor a mark distinguished it from the millions of its kind; yet I had to engage a photographer to take a full-radiator-front picture of it, where it still stood in the salesroom, and to make twelve prints, each certified to be a portrait of that identical car. The proper official pasted these, one by one, in my presence, to twelve identical documents, each of which was filled out in ink, signed and counter-signed, stamped and tax-stamped; and, of course, I paid for them…

    After six hard-working weeks, we had all the car’s papers. Nearly an inch think they were, laid flat. Each was correctly signed and stamped, each had in addition the little stamp stuck on, showing that the tax was paid that must be paid on every legal document; this is the Stamp tax that Americans refused to pay. I believe we had license plates besides; I know we had drivers’ licenses.

    Gaily at last we set out in our car, and in the first block two policemen stopped us…Being stopped by the police was not unusual, of course. The car’s papers were in its pocket, and confidently I handed them over, with our personal papers, as requested.

    The policemen examined each one, found it in order, and noted it in their little black books. Then courteously they arrested us.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Biography, Book Notes, Europe, France, History, Libertarianism, Political Philosophy | 3 Comments »

    RERUN–Author Appreciation: Rose Wilder Lane

    Posted by David Foster on 30th March 2013 (All posts by )

    (Originally posted in February 2012. I don’t usually rerun posts that are this recent, but RWL’s thoughts are relevant to the recent posts by Jonathan and myself, and more broadly, to the issues of freedom versus control which dominate our current political debates.)

    Rose Wilder Lane, born in 1886 in the Dakota Territory, was the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the “Little House on the Prairie” books. Lane is best known for her writings on political philosophy and has been referred to as a “Founding Mother” of libertarianism; she was also a novelist and the author of several biographies.

    In her article Credo, published in 1936, she describes her political journey, beginning with the words:

    In 1919 I was a communist.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, Civil Society, Europe, History, Libertarianism, Political Philosophy, USA | Comments Off

    The Lost Boys

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 2nd March 2013 (All posts by )

    UPDATE: Here is one solution.

    This week Europe blew up. The media haven’t caught up yet, because they are what they are. But the markets are catching up fast.

    This is a huge event for the United States, because our political elite is bound and determined to turn us into Europe. Hasn’t the EU found the answer to war and peace and prosperity forever?

    Our Democrats believe it. Europe is their model. Every batty new idea they have is copied from the glorious European Union. Twenty years ago they still celebrated the Soviet Union, until that house of cards crumbled. Now they have shifted their fantasy paradise to Europe.

    Over there, fifty years of increasingly centralized control have made it impossible for voters to be heard. The political parties are stuck in GroupThink. Only the fascist “protest” parties agitate for reform. The ruling class doesn’t listen. They don’t have to — they don’t have to run for election.

    So European voters fled to the fascists to express their rage and despair. Imagine one out of four US voters going for Lincoln Rockwell, and you get the idea.

    Read the rest, as they say.

    Belmont Club has an unusually good post for yesterday. I could say that more than once a week, if truth be known. This one is quite to the point on Sequester Day.

    The NHS, which its creators boasted would be the ‘envy of the world’, has been found to have been responsible for up to 40,000 preventable deaths under the helm of Sir David Nicholson, a former member of the Communist Party of Britain. “He was no ordinary revolutionary. He was on the hardline, so-called ‘Tankie’ wing of the party which backed the Kremlin using military action to crush dissident uprisings” — before he acquired a taste for young wives, first class travel and honors.

    The NHS is dealing with the shortage of funds by pruning its tree of life, so to speak. He also does not tolerate anyone telling the truth about it.

    it emerged he spent 15 million pounds in taxpayer money to gag and prosecute whistleblowers — often doctors and administrators who could not stomach his policies.

    The public money spent on stopping NHS staff from speaking out is almost equivalent to the salaries of around 750 nurses.

    It has recently been noted that NHS staff no longer recommend their own hospital for family members. Also one quarter report being harassed or bullied at work.

    The other half of the equation involves the youth.

    The European Youth will remain outside the Death Pathways for some time yet. But they will spend the time waiting for their turn at affordable, caring and passionate medicine in poverty and hopelessness. With the exception of Germany youth unemployment in Europe is over 20%. “A full 62% of young Greeks are out of work, 55% of young Spaniards don’t have jobs, and 38.7% of young Italians aren’t employed.”

    Unemployment exceeds even our own Obama economy for failure. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Britain, Civil Society, Coolidge, Economics & Finance, Elections, Europe, Health Care, Leftism, Libertarianism, Obama, Political Philosophy, Public Finance, Tea Party | 11 Comments »

    What lies ahead, I fear.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 8th February 2013 (All posts by )

    UPDATE: An an article at Belmont Club describes interest in alternative money creation as a way of anticipating inflation. It also goes further into a discussion of general competence.

    The idea that Virginia should consider issuing its own money was dismissed as just another quixotic quest by one of the most conservative members of the state legislature when Marshall introduced it three years ago. But it has since gained traction not only in Virginia, but also in states across the country as Americans have grown increasingly suspicious of the institutions entrusted with safeguarding the economy.

    What has changed is faith in the federal government, not just in Virginia but in a growing number of places. The lack of faith in the competence of government — and the soundness of the dollar — has been growing leading some states to create contingency plans in case the currency goes bust.

    Once again, I apologize for my pessimism but this is what I see. First, there is this article, which quotes a well known financier.

    There may be a natural evolution to our fractionally reserved credit system that characterizes modern global finance. Much like the universe, which began with a big bang nearly 14 billion years ago, but is expanding so rapidly that scientists predict it will all end in a “big freeze” trillions of years from now, our current monetary system seems to require perpetual expansion to maintain its existence. And too, the advancing entropy in the physical universe may in fact portend a similar decline of “energy” and “heat” within the credit markets. If so, then the legitimate response of creditors, debtors and investors inextricably intertwined within it, should logically be to ask about the economic and investment implications of its ongoing transition.

    Certainly “growth” seems to be fundamental to our economic health. That, of course, presumes a growing population but it also would be affected by a stagnant population with a growing age disparity. The obvious example of the latter is Japan.

    The creation of credit in our modern day fractional reserve banking system began with a deposit and the profitable expansion of that deposit via leverage. Banks and other lenders don’t always keep 100% of their deposits in the “vault” at any one time – in fact they keep very little – thus the term “fractional reserves.” That first deposit then, and the explosion outward of 10x and more of levered lending, is modern day finance’s equivalent of the big bang. When it began is actually harder to determine than the birth of the physical universe but it certainly accelerated with the invention of central banking – the U.S. in 1913 – and with it the increased confidence that these newly licensed lenders of last resort would provide support to financial and real economies. Banking and central banks were and remain essential elements of a productive global economy.

    The effect of asset bubbles on such a system is worrisome as the history of Japan and the recent history of the US have shown. The Panic of 1907 was largely responsible for the creation of the Federal Reserve. That financial crisis is thought, by the authors of a recent book, to have been a consequence of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, which destroyed a large amount of real assets and the insurance costs that were associated. The immediate cause was financial speculation but the real losses had added to the fragility of the system.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Civil Liberties, Conservatism, Economics & Finance, Elections, Libertarianism, Political Philosophy, Politics, Predictions, Public Finance | 23 Comments »

    The Controversial CTC Report

    Posted by Zenpundit on 26th January 2013 (All posts by )

    Cross-posted from Zenpundit.com

    The Center for Combating Terrorism at West Point released a report on domestic terrorism that raised hackles for a number of reasons. Despite the dismissals of liberal political pundits, the reasons for objections to the CTC report are legitimate but they did not need to arise in the first place and might have been avoided with a slightly different editorial approach or appropriate caveats (I just finished reading the report, which is primarily focused on the usual suspects). Here’s why I think the normally well-regarded CTC stumbled into a hornet’s nest:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Academia, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Conservatism, Law Enforcement, Libertarianism, Military Affairs, National Security, North America, Political Philosophy, Politics, Society, Terrorism, USA | 12 Comments »

    America 3.0, The Future of Manufacturing and Employment

    Posted by Lexington Green on 8th January 2013 (All posts by )

    In our upcoming book, America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century – Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come (available for pre-order here), Jim Bennett and Mike Lotus paint a word-picture of America in 2040, which is less a prediction and more an exercise in hopeful and forward-looking thinking for conservatives and libertarians. We include predictions regarding the impact of distributed manufacturing.

    The recent article in Wired by Kevin Kelly entitled Better Than Human: Why Robots Will — And Must — Take Our Jobs makes similar points. Here are two good quotes from Kelly:

    Right now we think of manufacturing as happening in China. But as manufacturing costs sink because of robots, the costs of transportation become a far greater factor than the cost of production. Nearby will be cheap. So we’ll get this network of locally franchised factories, where most things will be made within 5 miles of where they are needed.
    ***
    It is a safe bet that the highest-earning professions in the year 2050 will depend on automations and machines that have not been invented yet. That is, we can’t see these jobs from here, because we can’t yet see the machines and technologies that will make them possible. Robots create jobs that we did not even know we wanted done.

    It is important to remember that technological change destroys categories of jobs, and creates new ones that literally cannot be imagined yet.

    We are going to be facing a tidal wave of creative destruction in the years immediately ahead.

    Our book offers some ideas about why we are well suited to benefit from these changes, and how to navigate the rapids to get from here to there.

    Stand by for very interesting times.

    Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Arts & Letters, Book Notes, Conservatism, Libertarianism, Politics, Predictions, USA | 17 Comments »

    America 3.0 — Now Available for Pre-Order

    Posted by Lexington Green on 2nd January 2013 (All posts by )

    As previously announced, Jim Bennett and Mike Lotus (a/k/a Lexington Green), have co-authored a book:

    America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century – Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come.

    The book is currently in the hands of our publisher, Encounter Books and editing is underway.

    There is now an Amazon pre-order page for the book.

    All such early orders would be very greatly appreciated.

    The book is coming out in May. Promotional plans are chugging away. Any ideas anyone may have would be very much appreciated, and can be left in the comments on this post or future posts related to the book.

    A friend asked for a three sentence summary. This is what I came up with:

    America’s greatest days are yet to come. Just as the world of family farms and small businesses, America 1.0, gave way to the industrialized world of big cities, big business, big labor unions and big government, America 2.0, we are now moving into a new world of immense productivity, rapid technological progress, greater scope for individual and family-scale autonomy, and a leaner and strictly limited government. The cultural roots of the American people go back at least fifteen centuries, and make us individualistic, enterprising, and liberty-loving, equipping us to prosper in the upcoming America 3.0.

    We will be posting frequently in the months ahead (both here and on the book’s own blog) about the America 3.0 and its arguments, and how the themes in the book relate to current events, to efforts to devise a long term strategy for the political Right in America, or to other writers or books which interest us or influenced us.

    We anticipate setting up a Facebook and Twitter account for the book as well.

    Stand by!

    Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Announcements, Arts & Letters, Book Notes, Conservatism, Libertarianism, Politics, Predictions, USA | 29 Comments »

    Congratulations!

    Posted by David Foster on 1st January 2013 (All posts by )

    …to NeoNeocon, who is this year’s Grande Conservative Blogress Diva, as determined by Gay Patriot based on the blogosphere voting.

    Congratulation’s also to Neo’s court, consisting of Diva Regent Sarah Hoyt and Diva in Waiting Bookworm.

    These are all excellent bloggers and well worth bookmarking and regularly reading.

    Posted in Blogging, Conservatism, Libertarianism | Comments Off

    Who Really Cares – The Myth of the Compassionate Secular-Left

    Posted by Shannon Love on 22nd September 2012 (All posts by )

    Mitt Romney gave 29.65% of his income last year to charity and gave an average of 13.5% over the last 20 years.  No surprise. He’s a Mormon. That’s what they do along with wacky things like staying married, paying attention to their children, being involved in their communities and other things that Leftists find strange and disturbing. The people we should really be surprised to find generous are the only notionally religious Leftists like Kerry, Edwards, Biden and Obama.

    Surprise! The ironclad faith of Secular-Leftists in themselves as vastly more compassionate than anyone else, is, according to the best research, nothing but self-righteous, egomaniacal, self-aggrandizement. Leftists make the Pharisees of New Testament parable look pretty good in comparison. At least when the Pharisees bragged about their piety and how much they gave to the Temple, they actually performed the rituals and gave money. Leftists brag about how compassionate they are and then don’t give much from their own time and pocket books.

    This would be a good time to mention again Arthur C. Brooks’ Who Really Cares, which, as near as I can tell, is the only scientific (as much as sociology can be scientific) study of charitable giving in the US. Brooks was very careful in methodology correcting for variables of income, race, etc as well as breaking apart giving to religious versus secular charities.

    I found a summary online [PDF] that covers most of the findings of the book in condensed form..  It makes an eye opening read if you’ve always taken the Left’s self-mythology for granted.

    Some choice bits:

    Conservatives are more likely to give to charity than liberals, but only by a percentage point or two. Liberals, on the other hand, are more likely to volunteer their time than conservatives, but only by a percentage point or two. This might make it seem as if there really isn’t that much difference between the two groups when it comes to giving. However, when factors like average dollar amounts donated are examined, the differences become striking: “In 2000, households headed by a conservative gave, on average, 30 percent more money than a household headed by a liberal.” This, despite the fact that families headed by liberals earned more on average than conservative families. 

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, Leftism, Libertarianism, Morality and Philosphy, Political Philosophy, Religion, Society | 14 Comments »

    “What is seen and what is not seen”

    Posted by Jonathan on 18th July 2012 (All posts by )

    Tom Smith on Obama’s recent comments about business:

    Much could be said about how stupid was President { }'s recent comments about business founders not really having built their businesses by themselves, but rather owing them in large part to things others, especially the government, did for them. You drove on a public road to meet your 457th potential angel investor. Your third grade public school teacher taught you always to say please. And so government gets a lot of the credit for the thing you sweated blood to create. Big surprize. If you build anything, you can absolutely bet people will line up for the credit, like Al Gores for the internet. Failure, you can keep the credit for that.
     
    But here's the question to ask — how many more successful businesses, inventions, products, services, toys, tools, insights, and just plain fun would there be, if government did not in the first place make it so ridiculously difficult to start a business and keep it going? I don't see our young president taking credit on behalf of the state for all the failures it help cause, all the ideas that never got off the ground because the regulatory hurdles were so high, or all the established companies that never had to face competition because they had managed to get their rents written into law. This is part of the seen and not seen insight of Bastiat. What you see is a successful business when it manages to survive, and then people run up, the same people who taxed and regulated it nearly to death, and say I helped! I helped! What you don't see are all the businesses that perished or never got started because of the heavy hand of the state. And it's a very heavy hand.

    Read the whole thing.

    Posted in Big Government, Business, Economics & Finance, Libertarianism, Obama, Personal Narrative, Quotations | 8 Comments »

    What Libertarianism Is Not

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 12th July 2012 (All posts by )

    A short list, and not intended to be exhaustive. Read to the end for a special announcement.

    • A Gold Standard – I could have put one of the others first, but this is the one that gets mixed up with libertarianism the most often, presumably as a result of FDR’s seizure of gold in 1933. All libertarianism requires is free banking, and how the competing currencies are backed is the banks’ problem. I suppose some would attempt a commodity standard, and a few might even try to do it with gold, absurd as that is in an age of e-currencies. Attempting to predefine it for the entire financial industry ahead of time is … not wise.
    • Pacifism – This is really my one-word epithet for the mentality that blames the US for most of the world’s problems, and asserts that every conflict we find ourselves in is ultimately an unforced error on our part. Most of it can be traced to Stalinist and Maoist propaganda of the early Cold War period, not a great thing to base one’s libertarianism on. “It takes but one foe to breed a war, not two.” – JRR Tolkien
    • Anarchism – I would prefer to think that an entirely stateless civil society is possible. But I do not know, and neither does anyone else. Insisting on it as a precondition of libertarianism pretends to knowledge that we do not have.
    • Minarchism – The logical complement of the above, left as an exercise for the reader.
    • Sectarianism – Speaking from my own background, all political advice in the New Testament adds up to “stay out of trouble.” Attempts to ineluctably tie libertarianism to other belief systems, including ostensible non-belief systems, are no better. To be sure, I think a Biblical value system at least implies a concern for human freedom and tends to nudge a population adhering to it in the direction of greater liberty. But this is not the same as asserting that it is directly prescriptive.
    • Conspiracy Theorizing – Leave the Birtherism and Trutherism to others. And if something like that is the reason you self-identify as libertarian, the question is obvious: would you still be fighting for freedom if you learned your theory wasn’t true?
    • Scapegoating – The general case of conspiracy theorizing, indulged in by many more people. The current classic example is the OWSers’ “1%.” Nice that they only want to expropriate or murder 3 million Americans, I suppose, not that anybody who’s been paying attention should think they would stop there. But far too many supposed libertarians are prone to ranting about “banksters,” et al, in language that, to borrow a phrase, sounded better in the original German. Or perhaps Russian.

    OK, The Announcement: I am about to be in South Florida for about 18 hours, from midday Saturday to early Sunday. Contact Jonathan for info on a possible meetup, which as I write this is an idea without a plan; I will be calling him after deplaning at FLL.

    Posted in Announcements, Anti-Americanism, Libertarianism, Political Philosophy, USA | 17 Comments »

    Chicago Tea Party Patriots: March 7, 2012

    Posted by Lexington Green on 2nd March 2012 (All posts by )

    The next meeting of the Chicago Tea Party Patriots will take place on Wednesday, March 7 at 7:00PM at Blackie’s Chicago, 755 S. Clark Street. Be sure to order some food and/or a drink and tip generously.

    There is an easy to find, easy to use $6 parking lot across the street and metered parking in the area.

    “Our monthly meetings are open to all freedom loving Americans.”

    The theme for the meeting will be: “The Legacy of Andrew Breitbart”. Further details will be announced.

    We will also have as our featured speaker: Patrick Hughes, Conservative Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010.

    I hope some of you will join us.

    Posted in Announcements, Chicagoania, Civil Society, Conservatism, Libertarianism, Media, Tea Party, USA | 7 Comments »

    Author Appreciation: Rose Wilder Lane

    Posted by David Foster on 4th February 2012 (All posts by )

    I got a Kindle a few months ago, and have been very pleased to discover lots of old and largely-forgotten but very worthwhile books available for download, often for free or for 99 cents. In this and future posts, I’ll be giving some focus to these neglected but worthy books and their authors.

    Rose Wilder Lane, born in 1886 in the Dakota Territory, was the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the “Little House on the Prairie” books. Lane is best known for her writings on political philosophy and has been referred to as a “Founding Mother” of libertarianism; she was also a novelist and the author of several biographies.

    In her article Credo, published in 1936, she describes her political journey, beginning with the words:

    In 1919 I was a communist.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, Civil Society, Europe, History, Libertarianism, Political Philosophy, USA | 11 Comments »

    Why we care about the Saxons

    Posted by Lexington Green on 14th December 2011 (All posts by )

    I just spent some money on more books about the Saxons, who lived in England and ruled it prior to the Norman conquest of 1066. I am working on a part of the book where I talk about the Saxons. I had to ask myself this question before I clicked on the purchase button: Why should we care about the Saxons?

    We care about all this old stuff simply to show how deeply rooted our culture is, and the institutions that have grown up on that basis. This means that very basic changes in how we do things, what we want, what our aspirations and life-plans and life-goals are going to be, are simply not going to happen. As a result, we have certain strong points as a culture and we should be playing to those strong points. So it is not a matter of establishing whether people actually thought that much about the Magna Carta in the centuries before Lord Coke, or whether we have unimpeachable evidence that the Saxons lived in single family homes (though in both cases I believe the answer is yes). The point is the continuity over the centuries, with changes being bounded by these basic Anglospheric impulses. The point is not antiquarianism, as much as your authors are in fact antiquarians, but to show the incredible depth of this continuity.

    The further point is that America 2.0 was a partial detour away from some of these things, with a constant pushback by ordinary people who wanted autonomy, their own homes, their own businesses, middle class respectability, mobility, etc.

    And the yet further point is that America 3.0 is shaping up to even further get us back onto the track we have been on for all these centuries, while taking best advantage of all the new technology which is coming along. Your authors want to encourage and facilitate that because it is the most natural fit with the deepest roots of American culture, and thus the most realistic path to the continued success of the American experiment.

    Cross posted at America 3.0

    Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Book Notes, Conservatism, History, Libertarianism, USA | 9 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Lexington Green on 6th December 2011 (All posts by )

    From kings, indeed, we have no more to fear; they have come to be as
    spooks and bogies of the nursery. But the gravest dangers are those
    which present themselves in new forms, against which people’s minds
    have not yet been fortified with traditional sentiments and phrases.
    The inherited predatory tendency of men to seize upon the fruits of
    other people’s labour is still very strong, and while we have nothing
    more to fear from kings, we may yet have trouble enough from
    commercial monopolies and favoured industries, marching to the polls
    their hordes of bribed retainers. Well indeed has it been said that
    eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. God never meant that in
    this fair but treacherous world in which He has placed us we should
    earn our salvation without steadfast labour.

    John Fiske, The Beginnings of New England or, the Puritan Theocracy in its Relations to Civil and Religious Liberty (1889)

    Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Arts & Letters, Book Notes, Britain, Civil Society, History, Libertarianism, Political Philosophy, Politics, Quotations, Tea Party, USA | 1 Comment »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Lexington Green on 31st October 2011 (All posts by )

    A later realization – I suppose I have sensed it most of my life, but I have understood it philosophically only during the preparation of this talk – has been the beauty of the idea of the pursuit of happiness. Familiar words, easy to take for granted; easy to misconstrue. The idea of the pursuit of happiness is at the heart of the attractiveness of the civilization to so many outside it or on its periphery. I find it marvelous to contemplate to what an extent, after two centuries, and after the terrible history of the earlier part of this century, the idea has come to a kind of fruition. It is an elastic idea; it fits all men. It implies a certain kind of society, a certain kind of awakened spirit. I don’t imagine my father’s parents would have been able to understand this idea. So much is contained in it; the idea of the individual, responsibility, choice, the life of the intellect, the idea of a vocation and perfectibility and achievement. It is an immense human idea. It cannot be reduced to a fixed system. It cannot generate fanaticism. But it is known to exist; and because of that, other more rigid systems in the end blow away.

    V.S. Naipaul, “Our Universal Civilization” (1992) in The Writer and the World.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Arts & Letters, Book Notes, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Human Behavior, Libertarianism, USA | 2 Comments »

    William Niskanen, 1933-2011

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 26th October 2011 (All posts by )

    Cato obituary here. Requiescat in pace.

    Posted in Libertarianism, Obits | 1 Comment »

    Ed Thompson

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 22nd October 2011 (All posts by )

    I just learned that Ed Thompson finally lost his long battle with cancer. Ed is Tommy Thompson’s brother.

    Ed was one of those characters that you only meet every once in a while. I remember the campaign for governor here in Wisconsin in 2002. It was my first serious foray into politics. I attended meetings that Ed had and eventually decided he was the guy for me. I donated to his campaign and worked on it as well. Ed was a Libertarian through and through. It was amazing to talk to the guy.

    He got an astounding 11% of the vote in that election. We were all very proud of what we had done. At the meetings there was every political stripe represented. There were people who just wanted more lax drug laws. There were businessmen. Women. All colors. Everyone believed in Ed and knew we were all tired of the same ‘ol two party system.

    Thank you Ed. You taught me more than you will ever know. RIP.

    Posted in Libertarianism, Obits, Politics | Comments Off

    Tea Party – Occupy Whatever

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 10th October 2011 (All posts by )

    It has been terribly amusing for me to observe the genesis and development of the Occupy-Insert-Location-Here movement over the last couple of weeks, especially as it has been trumpeted as the liberal answer to the Tea Party. First on Open Salon a good few of the resident bloggers were sniffling over how this Terribly Important Movement was being callously ignored by the main-stream establishment media. As of last week, thought, conventional media can’t seem to keep their eyeballs or their cameras off them – especially the Occupy Wall Street faction. Cynicism leads me to suspect that this is because it is convenient to establishment organs such as the New York Times, who all but gave faux-movements like the Coffee Party essential life-support, but that’s just me. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Society, Conservatism, Leftism, Libertarianism, Media, Politics, Tea Party | 11 Comments »

    Tea Party and / or Occupy?

    Posted by Charles Cameron on 9th October 2011 (All posts by )

    [ cross-posted from Zenpundit -- parallels, opppositions, analysis, games, coincidentia oppositorum ]

    .

    labelling-bodies1.jpg

    My friend Cath Styles, who has been developing an iPad playable version of my HipBone Games under the name Sembl for the National Museum of Australia, made a point I’ve been trying to make for a while now, with sweet lucidity, in a recent blog post:

    A general principle can be distilled from this. Perhaps: In the very moment we identify a similarity between two objects, we recognise their difference. In other words, the process of drawing two things together creates an equal opposite force that draws attention to their natural distance. So the act of seeking resemblance – consistency, or patterns – simultaneously renders visible the inconsistencies, the structures and textures of our social world. And the greater the conceptual distance between the two likened objects, the more interesting the likening – and the greater the understanding to be found.

    That’s absolutely right, and it gets to the heart of my games and analytic practice — to see and acknowledge both parallelisms and differences, oppositions…

    Oxford is the polar opposite of Cambridge as anyone at the annual boat race between them will tell you — yet they’re so similar that the term Oxbridge exists to distinguish them as a dyad from all else the wide world round…

    Similarly, in the example illustrated above, Cath shows two items from the Museum collection that were juxtaposed by players of an early version of her game, and writes:

    the Sembl players who linked the above branding iron to the breastplate – because both are tools for labeling bodies – cast new light on the colonial practice of giving metal breastplates to Aboriginal people.

    * *

    Since the essence of my own analytic style (and that of HipBone and Sembl games) is the recognition of parallelisms and oppositions, I was particularly interested to see one group of early Tea Party folk reaching out to the emerging Occupy movement. Here, then, are two posts in which we can see the beginnings of recognition that there may be a kinship between the two…

    Occupy Wall Street: Another View:

    You know what the “Occupy Wall Street” movement is?
    .
    It is all the things that were in the original Tea Party, but were steadily ignored as the TP became a Republican booster club.

    That comes from a post on FedUpUSA, a site with the Gadsden flag as its web-logo that was [as "Market Ticker"], one of the founding orgs behind the TP. It’s from someone who identified as a Libertarian Party activist.

    Here’s another post from FedUpUSA, not so identified:

    An Open Letter From FedUpUSA To Occupy Wall Street Protestors All Over The Country:

    This is a letter to OWS from FedUpUSA, one of the original Tea Parties:
    .
    We support you in exercising your First Amendment Right. We are outraged that any peaceful demonstrator would be assaulted or abused by any authorities.
    .
    If you are protesting because there are no jobs— We stand with you.
    .
    We are for a free economy and recognize that what we have now is NOT a free economy; it is not capitalism what we have is a fascist state or crony-capitalism. There is nothing free about doing business with Countries that manipulate their currencies to attract cheap labor. We agree that these jobs need to come back to America.
    .
    If you are protesting because no one has gone to jail— We stand with you.
    .
    Regardless of what is being said from the white house and media, we know that there are many in the financial district and the banks that have committed fraud and outright theft and we too want to see them prosecuted. We support the stop looting and start prosecuting.
    .
    If you are protesting because everything costs more— We stand with you.
    .
    We see prices rise in our food, gas, clothes yet our wages have stayed the same or have decreased. The Federal Reserve has bailed everyone out but us and not only are we going to have to pay for that, those bailouts make the price of everything else go up because it devalues our currency. We support monetary reform.
    .
    If you are protesting because you are tired of our bought and paid for government on both sides— We stand with you.
    .
    We are also against the banks and big corporations buying our politicians and writing laws that favor their special interests. We understand that our economy is broken BECAUSE of this and that all of our other issues will never be addressed as long as the financial elite control OUR government.
    .
    We understand that these issues cross party lines and ideologies and effect each and every one of us. We also understand that these issues will never get fixed as long as we continue to let the media, the elite, and members of the government separate us by our differing ideologies.
    .
    Only Together, can we Implement Change
    .
    It is time, We Americans, put our ideologies in our back pocket and not let them separate us so that we can work together for this ONE COMMON GOAL: to get the special interest money and elite out of OUR Government and return it to US — the people.
    .
    As long as the banks, largest corporations, and wealthy elite control our government, we will never have a representative republic and laws will continue to be passed that only benefit the few 1% at the expense of us 99
    .
    Demand that NOT ONE MORE LAW gets passed until they pass:
    .
    Lobby reform:
    .
    It is a Federal Offense punishable by a minimum 5 years in prison to:
    .
    Lobby any member of the US Congress outside of the district you live, work, or own a business.
    Lobby a member of congress while they are physically outside the district they represent.
    .
    Campaign Reform:
    .
    It is a Federal Offense punishable by a minimum 5 years in prison to:
    .
    For any one person, corporation, enterprise, group, union or the like, to donate more than $2,000 to any one candidate during one campaign period.
    For any member of the media to deny equal access to competing candidates.
    .
    These two laws will cut the control the Financial elite have on our government by leveling the playing field. You will have just as big as a voice with your representative as the big box retailer that resides in your town. Simply, it will end the Crony-Capitalism that is strangling our economy.
    .
    I encourage all my fellow Tea Partiers to join Occupy Wall Street protesters in their non-violent, peaceful protests and together demand that the Government be returned to the people. After all, this is precisely what the Tea Party was intended to be before it was taken over and marginalized by the establishment politicians.
    .
    FedUpUSA.org

    * *

    And we’re deep into John Robb territory…

    What do you think? Do the parallelisms strike you, or the oppositions — or, perhaps, both?

    FWIW, Cath’s Sembl version of my game looks like it is going to be a beautiful steampunk affair…

    Posted in Americas, Conservatism, Leftism, Libertarianism, Miscellaneous, Tea Party, USA | 25 Comments »