Dec 222014
 

Sometimes people who are new to libertarianism think that libertarianism is just a subset of conservatism. Nothing could be further from the truth. While there are some overlaps on economic issues, libertarianism is a philosophy that stands squarely against conservatism and, for that matter, liberalism or, as it is commonly known, progressivism.

The current national debate on torture provides a good dividing line between libertarians and conservatives. Conservatives love the fact that the U.S. government has a program of “enhanced interrogation.” They want to see more of it.

Libertarians hold that the U.S. government’s torture program is one of the most shameful and despicable federal programs in U.S. history.

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Nov 072014
 

Expressing their obvious contempt for the overall situation in America, voters played their latest game of musical chairs by putting Republicans back in charge of Congress.

It won’t make any difference at all. That’s because the Republicans who have been installed into power are as statist as the Democrats they are replacing.

What really matters with respect to a free society is not a new set of statists to replace an old set of statists. That’s one of the things that distinguish libertarians from statists. Libertarians understand that the problem in the United States is a structural one, not one involving getting “better” people into public office.

What is that structural problem? Libertarians refer to it as the welfare-warfare state. It involves enormous apparatuses that, many decades ago, statists attached onto our original governmental system in America.

The welfare-state apparatus is based on the concept of mandatory charity. The federal government forces people to be good and caring toward others. The income tax and the IRS are the primary means by which this is accomplished. The federal government taxes people and gives the money to others who the government deems need the money more.

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Jun 202014
 

Prior to the U.S. government’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, longtime supporters of The Future of Freedom Foundation will recall that we stood squarely against the operation.

We emphasized that the excuse given for the operation — that Saddam Hussein was supposedly about to unleash nuclear weapons and other WMDs against the United States — was entirely bogus and was simply a clever device to garner support from the American people.

We pointed out that the U.S. government had no constitutional authority to invade Iraq because there was no congressional declaration of war, as the Constitution requires. If President Bush had tried to secure a congressional declaration of war, the likelihood is that some members of Congress would have exposed the WMD scare as bogus.

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May 122014
 

The bottle is now labeled libertarianism. But its content is nothing new; it is what in the nineteenth century, and up to the time of Franklin Roosevelt, was called liberalism — the advocacy of limited government and a free economy. (If you think of it, you will see that there is a redundancy in this formula, for a government of limited powers would have little chance of interfering with the economy.) The liberals were robbed of their time-honored name by the unprincipled socialists and near socialists, whose avidity for prestige words knows no bounds. So, forced to look for another and distinctive label for their philosophy, they came up with libertarianism — good enough but somewhat difficult for the tongue.

They might have done better by adopting the older and more meaningful name of individualism, but they bypassed it because it too had been more than sullied by its opponents …

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May 092014
 

I am a libertarian. I am not Democrat or Republican. I am not liberal or conservative. I am not left or right. I am not moderate or progressive. I am not a Libertarian. I am not a fusionist. I am not a constitutionalist.

I am a libertarian. I am not thin or thick. I am not brutalist or humanitarian. I am not holist or solipsist. I am not moralist or consequentialist. I am not open or closed. I am not a modal, cosmopolitan, cultural, regime, sophisticated, or Beltway libertarian. I do not have a bleeding heart. I am not a neo, second wave, or millennial libertarian. I am a plain old libertarian, one who needs no labels, issues no caveats, and makes no apologies.

I am a libertarian. Libertarianism is a political philosophy concerned with the permissible use of force or violence. It is not a political philosophy that says limited government is the best kind of government. It is not a political philosophy that is socially liberal and economically conservative. It is not a political philosophy that says government is less efficient than the private sector. It is not a political philosophy that says freedom can be achieved by promoting some government policies over others. It is not a political philosophy that is low-tax liberalism. Libertarianism is not the absence of racism, sexism, homophobism, xenophobism, nationalism, nativism, classism, authoritarianism, patriarchy, inequality, or hierarchy. Libertarianism is not diversity or activism. Libertarianism is not egalitarianism. Libertarianism is not toleration or respect. Libertarianism is not a social attitude, lifestyle, or aesthetic sensibility.

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Apr 282014
 

From the moment automobiles became commonplace in society, people have been dying in them at astonishing rates. Tragically, over the last century almost 4 million people (around 35,000 per year) lost their lives on U.S. roadways alone, with India, China, and Russia averaging almost 300,000 per year combined.

But early figures indicate that 2013 saw the lowest number of traffic fatalities in the U.S. since 1936. Jenny Robinson of AAA Mid-Atlantic commented that this is “good news” and that it appears “tougher laws … have been effective.”

Certainly this begs the question: if tougher laws are such an easy solution, why do so many people still lose their lives? Whenever the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) attempts to answer this question, they typically point to such well-known culprits as texting, car safety, drunk driving, weather, or inexperienced drivers. In its sum, the total list of causes is limited only to the number of factors that one can think of.

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Feb 172014
 


The WikiLeaks revelations have shined a light on the dark nature of U.S. foreign policy, including, as Eric Margolis recently described it: “Washington’s heavy-handed treatment of friends and foes alike, its bullying, use of diplomats as junior-grade spies, narrow-minded views, and snide remarks about world leaders.”

As much as I, an American, hate to say it, U.S. foreign policy is actually much worse. It is aggressive, reckless, belligerent, and meddling. It sanctions the destabilization and overthrow of governments, the assassination of leaders, the destruction of industry and infrastructure, the backing of military coups, death squads, and drug traffickers, and imperialism under the guise of humanitarianism. It supports corrupt and tyrannical governments and brutal sanctions and embargoes. It results in discord, strife, hatred, and terrorism toward the United States.

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Feb 142014
 

This year marks the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. In June of 1914, a Serbian nationalist assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, along with his wife, Sophie, in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. This set in motion a chain of events that in July and August 1914 brought all the Great Powers of Europe into war with each other.

Men marched off to war in all the major European capitals, cheered on by huge crowds. There was a joyous excitement among many that heroic adventures awaited them on the battlefields across the continent. Large numbers of those going off to war in each country were confident that God was on their side, and easy victories would soon be theirs. They would all be home by Christmas, their heads bearing laurels of military glory.

Reality soon confronted them all. The war did not end by Christmas time in 1914. It did not end in 1915, or 1916, or even 1917. It went on-and-on until they were mutually exhausted in terms of manpower and material ability to continue any longer. Finally, the Germans and Austrians, and their Turkish and Bulgarian allies sued for an armistice in November 1918, when the military and economic might of the United States – which had entered the war in April 1917 – turned the scales in favor of a British, French and Italian victory.

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Dec 092013
 

Libertarians can offer a positive, optimistic alternative vision of society

I have always found it quaint and rather touching that there is a movement [Libertarians] in the U.S. that thinks Americans are not yet selfish enough.
—Christopher Hitchens

Quite a few of my friends have forwarded me this quote. They consider it funny, but also insightful. In their view, the libertarian movement has no positive program, no specific goals or values of any kind. All libertarians do is oppose things and praise greed.

Given the general perception of libertarians, this seems to be a fair point: Other than greed, what are libertarians for?

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Nov 082013
 

Though politicians and analysts often conflate the two, libertarians have different views on many issues than Tea Partiers—and they're not as big a faction of the GOP.

Gary Cameron/Reuters

Observers of the right often classify the Tea Party as an essentially libertarian strain of conservatism. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, for example, recently described Tea Partiers to me as part of the GOP’s anti-establishment “libertarian wing”; Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who calls himself a libertarian Republican, has written two books claiming the Tea Party mantle.

A new report, however, finds the link between libertarians and the Tea Party is weak at best. In fact, according to an in-depth survey by the Public Religion Research Institute released Tuesday, most libertarians don’t identify as Tea Party adherents, and less than half consider themselves Republicans. Among Republicans, meanwhile, those who are libertarians tend to have views and priorities distinct from many of their fellow GOPers.

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