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Today: Wed, September 28 2016  -  Last modified: April, 26 2007
 Libertarian Theory
24 September 2016
 
 
The State is Not a Tool
by Danilo Cuellar
 sub-topic» General

As long as human beings possess free will they can never be tools, for this would reduce them to soulless machines. This would strip them of their fundamental humanity and make them a shell of a human being. Every day we make choices that shape our future. True freedom is taking full responsibility for one’s actions. Embrace it unconditionally! Be the captain of your destiny! Be the master of your fate!

 more» 
12 September 2016
 
 
Purpose or Perish
by Paul Rosenberg
 sub-topic» General

The point is this: We already know how to feed, clothe, and comfortably house every human being on the planet. That’s no longer even disputable. No, we don’t actually do this, but we absolutely know how. And get this: There’s no longer any actual need to fight over resources.

 more» 
23 August 2016
 
 
Liberty Today
by Nathan Barton
 sub-topic» General

But it is important to remember that we have NO moral obligation or freedom to prevent someone from making themselves a victim: we are NOT responsible for their actions. They are. All of us are responsible both for our actions and the consequences of our actions. Unless we understand that, we truly have no liberty.

Today, even though the media and politicians claim that we have more liberty than ever before, too much of their idea of liberty is “do anything you want within these very carefully (and strictly) defined limits.” Not my idea at all.

 more» 
18 August 2016
 
 
Patriotism
by Kent McManigal
 sub-topic» General

I can discern between "America" and the US government, and in fact I see them as mortal enemies. Most people don't seem to make that distinction, just like they conflate "government" and "society". There are no good States. Not one. But don't hate the people suffering under those States. They are victims.

 more» 
16 August 2016
 
 
Morality Is Not A Numbers Game
by Danilo Cuellar
 sub-topic» General

Morality is not a numbers game. Wrong is wrong no matter if everyone is doing it. Right is right no matter if you are the only one doing it. The laws of morality are as universal and consistent as the laws of mathematics, physics, and thermodynamics. Just because there are people who practice bad mathematics does not invalidate mathematics. In the same way just because there are some people who survive off of theft, assault, rape, and murder does not invalidate morality. If it cannot be universalizable it is an invalid concept.

 more» 
07 August 2016
 
 
Legality and Morality are Diametrically Opposed
by Danilo Cuellar
 sub-topic» General

Legality is an arbitrary construct fabricated by those in power to supplant one’s understanding of Morality. In reality these two concepts are diametrically opposed. If legality is used as a metric for how to behave it has failed miserably. For time immemorial many more atrocities have been committed in the name of the State than were ever committed by private individuals.

 more» 
05 August 2016
 
 
What is and isn’t a victimless crime
by James Leroy Wilson
 sub-topic» General

Those are huge parts of life. That doesn't mean they should be a part of the law. Because to legislate their prevention requires the threat of inflicting measurable damages on people who themselves aren't inflicting measurable damages. When you punish the immeasurable, the law becomes arbitrary. And when law's arbitrary, there's no freedom. Where there's no freedom, there's no happiness.

 more» 
28 June 2016
 
 
Equality, justice and the social contract - Part 3
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

On the subject of the social contract for governance, I see peace and justice as valuable to human beings. And so, it’s good for groups of people to contract together to secure these ends. Unlike the situation in a political state, however, I don’t see why every individual in a given geographical area needs to sign up to the same contract.

I envisage the new form of the social contract to be more like an agreement between individuals and an insurance company, than submission to the authority of a political government. I expect that the contract will be voluntary and explicit, never tacit. And it will be a business contract like any other. For example, it will clearly state the deliverables. It will state the terms and conditions for payment. And it will cover such issues as renewal and termination options, procedures for dispute resolution, and an agreement on the handling of breaches by either party.

 more» 
27 June 2016
 
 
Equality, justice and the social contract - Part 2
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

It’s clear that this kind of “social justice” is no more than an excuse for totalitarian government powers. And, when implemented, it leads to a three-class society. On one hand, there is the productive class of honest, economically active people, who are drained of our earnings and denied the wealth we deserve. On the other, there is a recipient class, partly of the lazy and dishonest and partly of the stupid, who are spoon-fed drips of wealth that they do not earn. And between and above the two is a ruling class, that creams off for itself much of the wealth generated by the productive, and feeds the remainder to the recipient class in exchange for their political support.

 more» 
26 June 2016
 
 
Equality, justice and the social contract - Part 1
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

Looking at these shades of inequality, I see that those that make inequality out to be a problem often want to go well beyond equality of opportunity, towards something much closer to equality of outcome. Which, as Hayek pointed out, can only be accomplished by a tyranny; and one that has no compunction about taking resources from the talented, the hard-working, the honest and the deserving, and re-distributing them to the mediocre, the lazy, the dishonest and the undeserving.

 more» 
17 June 2016
 
 
The keys to human prosperity: Individual liberty and rule of law - Part 3
by Richard M. Ebeling
 sub-topic» General

We can never possess tomorrow’s knowledge today. We can never know what innovations, creative ideas, and useful improvements will be generated in the minds of free men in the years to come. That is why we must leave men and their minds free. The man of system, the social engineer, who sees only the apparent problems from these global changes, wants to plan America’s place in the new, emerging global economy. But to do so, he must confine and straitjacket all of us to what his mind sees as the possible, profitable, and desirable from his own narrow perspective with the knowledge he possesses in the present.

 more» 
16 June 2016
 
 
The keys to human prosperity: Individual liberty and rule of law - Part 2
by Richard M. Ebeling
 sub-topic» General

Classical liberalism has always emphasized the inseparable connection between individual liberty and the right to private property. Partly it has been based on the idea of justice: that which a man produces honestly and peacefully through his own efforts, or which he acquires through voluntary acts of exchange with others, should be considered rightfully his. The case for private property has also been made on the basis of utilitarian efficiency: when men know that the rewards from their work belong to them, they have the motives and the incentives to apply their industry in productive and creative ways.

But in addition, the classical liberal has defended the institution of private property because it provides the individual with a degree of autonomy from potentially abusive political power. Private property gives the individual an arena, or domain, in which he has the ability to shape and design his own life, free from the control of political force.

 more» 
15 June 2016
 
 
The keys to human prosperity: Individual liberty and rule of law - Part 1
by Richard M. Ebeling
 sub-topic» General

The history of liberty and prosperity is inseparable from the practice of free enterprise and respect for the rule of law. Both are products of the spirit of classical liberalism. But a correct understanding of free enterprise, the rule of law, and liberalism (rightly understood) is greatly lacking in the world today.

 more» 
11 June 2016
 
 
Historical Understanding Versus Moral Appraisal
by Robert Higgs
 sub-topic» General

Natural law propounds a concept of justice applicable to human beings as such. It applies to any moral judgment of human actions. Differing dominant ideologies and changes in the prevailing social and economic conventions and institutions do not alter it. To reduce moral judgments to nothing but a consideration of what was viewed as proper or improper in another time and place is to embrace a form of moral relativism that, in fact, obliterates moral appraisal as such and substitutes the all-purpose excuse that “that’s just how it was then and there,” which, however accurate it may be in a factual sense, is merely descriptive and wholly divorced from genuine moral judgment.

 more» 
09 May 2016
 
 
Evil is Weak
by Paul Rosenberg
 sub-topic» General

And this brings us to one of the great, simple truths of our times:

If goodness ever stops allowing evil to take advantage of it, evil is simply finished.

The good don’t need the evil, but the evil are fully dependent on the good.

It is the good (or at least the basically productive) who permit evil to continue. These decent people are laboring under fears and flawed ideas of course, but without their acquiescence, evil could accomplish very little. And this is massively good news: Evil is vulnerable… deeply vulnerable.

 more» 
27 April 2016
 
 
The Birth of the State
by David S. D'Amato
 sub-topic» General

Today, most people, even (perhaps especially) politicians and public policy experts, fail to acknowledge a distinction between the state and civil society; one frequently hears formulations of civil and political life that explicitly rely on conflating the two, as in the remarkable oft-repeated phrase that “government is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together.” Under these notions, the state is never culpable, for it is only when its agents act commendably that they are the state. In their misdeeds, they are conveniently no longer agents of the state, but rogues acting outside the scope of their authority, arrogating to themselves powers that polite society would rather not associate with government. Thus the idea of the state itself is never the subject of serious scrutiny; when its proxies commit atrocities, those are attributed to the individuals themselves, the evil act tokens treated as the proximate result of moral failings unique to the particular individuals, or sometimes regimes, in question. Rather than seeing Soviet Communism or Nazism as symptomatic or suggestive of the problems with political power generally, we want to treat them as sui generis, somehow unrelated to or unrepresentative of the state as a concept. Attempts to puzzle out the set of circumstances that begot the state can yield crucial insights and clarity about what’s going wrong in politics and why.

 more» 
17 April 2016
 
 
Crossing an Arbitrary Line: The Libertarian Case for Open Borders
by John M. Hudak
 sub-topic» General

In the case of illegal immigration, a person breaking the law is crossing an arbitrary line. The location of this line has been chosen by a small group of people who have almost definitely never been to the place where the person is crossing. The immigrant is probably committing this action peacefully. If they are not, they are committing a different crime, and their act of crossing a line is not the issue. When someone says that they are in favor of penalizing those who cross the border illegally, they are saying that they want violence (or the threat of violence) used against someone who is aggressing upon the rights of no one. They want an armed police officer or immigration official to detain this person; this detention is done under the assumption that any attempt to run away or any attempted self-defense will be met with escalation on the part of the law enforcer, up to and including lethal force. They want this person to be kidnapped and thrown in a cage, eventually being forcibly moved to the place that they were trying to escape from in the first place. Again, this is all because the previously referenced person crossed an imaginary line, harming no one in the process; anyone who was not conditioned to find this normal from a young age would likely find it to be patently absurd.

 more» 
13 April 2016
 
 
Why Progressives Don’t Understand and are Enemies of Liberty - Part 3
by Richard M. Ebeling
 sub-topic» General

Through all the progressive’s rhetoric about “democracy” and “equality” and “social justice” and “diversity,” theirs is a political philosophy and public policy ideology of elitism, hubris, and authoritarianism dominated by the idea and ideal of remaking human beings, human relationships and the structure and order of society into redesigned patterns and shapes that reflect their notion of how people should live, work, associate and earn a living.

That is why the modern liberal or progressive represents the face of a contemporary political, economic and cultural “soft” tyranny – compared to the brutal and murdering totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century – against which the classical liberal and libertarian must continue their centuries-long fight for human liberty.

 more» 
12 April 2016
 
 
Why Progressives Don’t Understand and are Enemies of Liberty - Part 2
by Richard M. Ebeling
 sub-topic» General

I pointed out the paternalistic attitude in his view of things that people are neither responsible nor informed nor interested enough in their own lives to take care of these matters. He said, “Yes, look at how many people are obese, who clearly do not know how to follow reasonable and healthy diet choices. They need to be educated and trained by qualified experts in the government to move the uninformed and irresponsible citizen in the better direction that they don’t always seem willing or able to do for themselves.”

 more» 
11 April 2016
 
 
Why Progressives Don’t Understand and are Enemies of Liberty - Part 1
by Richard M. Ebeling
 sub-topic» General

For a classical liberal, freedom means that each individual possesses as a human being certain inviolable rights, those being rights to his life, liberty and honestly acquired property. And that human relationships should be based on voluntary consent and mutual agreement.

For my interlocutor, freedom means “empowerment” or the ability to do or achieve certain things, without which “freedom” is not complete. These include a minimum or “decent” standard of living and the ability to attain certain potentials in life, which are everyone’s “right” as a member of society.

 more» 
30 March 2016
 
 
Libertarian Failure: The Paradigm that Never Shifts
by Sean Gabb
 sub-topic» General

Intellectual activism is not a waste of time. Someone needs to articulate the counter-paradigm. But this is not sufficient in itself to overthrow the dominant paradigm. It should be seen rather as one line of attack in a largely cultural assault. We need our economists and philosophers. We also need our writers and artists and musicians. We need our own unofficial and unregulated – and that probably means secret – schools. We need our own structures of family life and arbitration. Our counter-paradigm must be seen to exist across the whole spectrum. We cannot try to privatise defence procurement, or bring back gold, and expect the tone of Hollywood and the BBC and the publishing industry to change accordingly. We must provide our own full-spectrum alternative. Plainly, we have done almost nothing in this direction. Hardly surprising if we life in a grotty police state.

 more» 
28 March 2016
 
 
To Oppose Free Trade Is To Embrace Violence
by Ryan McMaken
 sub-topic» General

Supporting free trade is simply a matter of taking no action when another person exchanges in non-violent exchange with another person. That person may be right down the street, or that person may be in another country somewhere. No “free trade agreements” or other paperwork of any kind is required.

To oppose free trade, on the other hand, is to engage in the imposition of fines, prison terms, and other sanctions on people for engaging in non-violent exchange.

 more» 
23 March 2016
 
 
Toward a Theory of Peace
by Dan Sanchez
 sub-topic» General

Liberty does not preclude force, but aggression, which is the initiation of force. And war always entails aggression. The term “war” is almost never used to describe the selective pursuit of justice targeting specific individuals. Wars target not specific perpetrators to make specific victims whole, but whole populations for obliteration and conquest.

Thus war always entails the massacre of innocent civilians (as well as much arbitrary violence inflicted on soldiers and officials).

 more» 
10 March 2016
 
 
The Entitled and the Unentitled
by Don Boudreaux
 sub-topic» General

There are two types of people in the world: the “entitled” (that is, those who feel themselves to be entitled) and the “unentitled” (that is, those who understand that neither they nor others are entitled).

Some of the entitled feel themselves entitled to other people’s property and to other people’s opportunities; others of the entitled feel themselves entitled to prescribe and proscribe how other people should live. Many of the entitled feel themselves entitled to it all.

 more» 
15 February 2016
 
 
Who Should Decide?
by Laurence M. Vance
 sub-topic» General

Here are fifty questions about who should decide certain things that people, as individuals or as business owners, do or might want to do. The answers should make it abundantly clear who the real libertarians are.

 more» 
22 January 2016
 
 
The Morality of Libertarianism
by Laurence M. Vance
 sub-topic» General

It is liberalism and conservatism that have a morality problem, not libertarianism. It is liberals and conservatives who support the immoral actions of government and demonize genuinely moral impulses. “Libertarians,” as economist Robert Higgs has said, “should never concede the moral high ground to those who insist on coercively interfering with freedom.”

 more» 
21 January 2016
 
 
Property or Zwolinski
by Andy Curzon
 sub-topic» General

It may be worth repeating that the NAP is really only relevant as a legal proscription on action and as such this does not mean someone may not be socially ostracized for unsociable behaviour deemed ‘bad’ by some that does not infringe on anyone’s private property. In fact I would imagine a polity devoid of laws forcing social norms to be more discriminatory and more aware of reputation as one of the measures of whether to engage or so business with a particular individual. In addition to this, Libertarians, within the ambit of the application of the NAP, would label the word ‘political’ in the phrase ‘political morality’ either as a pleonasm, or an attempt to justify moral relativism. Any ‘externalities’ present in such cases as that of pollution may adequately be dealt with by explicit and mutually agreed-upon contracts without the phantasmagorical creation of the abstraction of the ‘political’ or group – usually the monopoly State employees – as an identifiable object subject to its own special morality.

 more» 
20 January 2016
 
 
Six Reasons Libertarians Should Reject the Non-Aggression Principle
by Matt Zwolinski
 sub-topic» General

Many libertarians believe that the whole of their political philosophy can be summed up in a single, simple principle. This principle—the “non-aggression principle” or “non-aggression axiom” (hereafter “NAP”)—holds that aggression against the person or property of others is always wrong, where aggression is defined narrowly in terms of the use or threat of physical violence.

 more» 
16 January 2016
 
 
Stand up for what’s right
by Kent McManigal
 sub-topic» General

If you come to me on an equal footing, without seeking to violate my life, liberty, or property, then you are not approaching me as government. If you come at me and intend to violate me in some way, you may call yourself government or you may be called a criminal, but your actions are the same. You can either respect liberty and voluntary interactions, reject governing others and oppose slavery, or you can be the problem.

 more» 
14 January 2016
 
 
Against legislating morality
by Darryl W. Perry
 sub-topic» General

There is a question that often comes up in a variety of ways, and boils down to: “Should any government legislate or attempt to legislate morality?” Most people would answer in the affirmative. However that’s where the disagreements and the question of “whose version of morality is to be used?” begin.

 more» 
12 January 2016
 
 
Breaking the Law
by Nathan Barton
 sub-topic» General

What is implied, but no less true, is that each of us must decide FOR OURSELVES whether or not a government is godly enough to be obeyed, and whether each individual action of that government is to be accepted or not: we, not a majority or a preacher or a king, but each of us. And also understood is that NO human government is truly godly, for it exists in rebellion to God. We have no moral obligation to support a government, but ONLY such actions as are in accordance with God’s will: it is a choice we must each individually make. If a law exists which is in accordance with the godly purpose for government, then we must decide whether to obey it or not, and answer to God for our decision. If it makes sense to obey a law, then we should do so; but again, it is a choice, a decision, which we must make. Whatever decision we make: to obey or not to obey, we WILL answer to God for it. Pray that we make the right one, one in keeping with His love and His will, and not to support an evil, wicked government that thinks that IT is god.

 more» 
22 November 2015
 
 
The Right Time Will Never Come
by Paul Rosenberg
 sub-topic» General

Let me make this very clear: There is no blueprint for freedom. There will be no great plan to follow. People who say they have such a thing, while they may be well-meaning, bright, and even respectable, are moving in the wrong direction. (And I truly don’t mean to criticize here; we’ve all made our mistakes.) Here’s the core of the issue:

If we want a world that is safe for individuals, we’ll have to create it as individuals, not as groups.

Groups beget after their own kind, and individuals beget after their own kind.

 more» 
14 November 2015
 
 
Hierarchy of Bullies
by Kent McManigal
 sub-topic» General

Then you finally have the people who aren't bullies at all, and don't support those who are. These are simply trying to live their lives without violating anyone else. Respecting the Rightful Liberty, property, and self determination of everyone, whether they like or agree with them or not. This is a tiny group, but I hope it keeps growing. The world- and the lives of each non-parasitic individual in it- will be so much better the larger this group gets.

 more» 
10 November 2015
 
 
Community? What Community? - Part 3
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

Third, legal versus illegal immigration. Now for me, what is legal conduct and what is illegal conduct must be the same for everyone. You cannot reasonably claim, of twin brothers Mo and Ahmed, neither of whom has ever committed a crime, that it’s legal for one to be in a particular place in the public space, and illegal for the other.

You can, of course, rightly say that Mo is legally on your property (because he’s a plumber, and you have invited him in to fix a leak), while Ahmed, if he was in the same place, would be trespassing. But to say that an immigrant is legal or illegal is to miss the vital difference between property and sovereignty. All valid claims to set boundaries, across which individuals may not pass, arise from property rights. But if you claim a right to stop individuals from crossing a line in some place you don’t own, like the Port of Dover or Heathrow Airport, you’re not basing your claim on property rights. Rather, you’re arrogating to yourself a sovereignty which neither you nor anyone else has any right to.

 more» 
09 November 2015
 
 
“Keep out!” applies to all
by Kent McManigal
 sub-topic» General

You can say "Keep out!" to anyone, but those bullies who work for The State believe they are exempt. They believe if they are the ones doing it, it can't be "trespassing". They believe there is nowhere off limits to them because otherwise they couldn't do their "job".

 more» 
08 November 2015
 
 
Community? What Community? - Part 2
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

Under democracy-3, the differences between the political factions become greatly reduced. They may sometimes spout different rhetoric; and they may, perhaps, propose slightly different bad laws. But their ideologies are essentially the same. And their policies are directed, not to the benefit of the people, but for the personal benefit of the political class and their hangers-on, and to satisfy the agendas of special interest groups.

So, under democracy-3, society inevitably descends towards where we are today. Everything is politicized. Government has been hi-jacked by special interests, such as environmentalists, warmongers and the pro-EU lobby. And the interests of the political class and their cronies have become diametrically opposed to the interests of good people. The fox is back in control of the hen-house.

 more» 
06 November 2015
 
 
Community? What Community? - Part 1
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

In my scheme, there’s no place for a political community. Indeed, as I put it back in 2007 [3]: “Any community, of which I could feel a part, would blackball most, if not all, of today's politicians, and many of their toadies.” I feel no sense of community or shared culture with Blair, Brown or Cameron, or with any of their cronies or hangers-on. Far from sharing my values like truth, honesty, non-aggression and respect for individual rights, they actively flout them. Blair, Brown, Cameron and their kind are no more my fellows than Hitler or Stalin would have been.

As to the state, I see its claim of sovereignty, and the moral privileges it arrogates to itself, as incompatible with moral equality, and so with the rule of law and justice. Thus, I reject the state as [4]: “a hangover from a way of thinking that pre-dates John Locke by 100+ years.” And that’s why I say, of the UK state: bugger bloody Britain.

 more» 
28 October 2015
 
 
Social Undesirability Bias
by Bryan Caplan
 sub-topic» General

When people look at millions of desperate Syrian refugees, and insist that they're going to "ruin our institutions" if we grant them refuge, they're guilty of Social Undesirability Bias.

When people look at rapid increase in the use of fossil fuels in the developing world, and declare that mankind will ultimately be poorer as a result, they're guilty of Social Undesirability Bias.

 more» 
27 October 2015
 
 
Employment Is Nothing Like Slavery
by Julian Adorney
 sub-topic» General

The issue of coercion is important to understand because it’s the central difference between government and the private sector. If you don’t do X, government can punish you: it can take away your savings, throw you in jail, even shoot you. That’s true coercion. By contrast, if an employer asks you to do X, she can’t threaten you; all she can do if you say no is refuse to keep giving you money.

This difference highlights the essential freedom of the market. In any market-based relationship, one party can leave and the other party can do them no harm. This is a freedom that is noticeably lacking in our interactions with government.

 more» 
14 October 2015
 
 
Free-Market Socialism
by Sheldon Richman
 sub-topic» General

Think about it: When the marketplace is really free and competitive (rather than constricted by the state to protect privileged interests), it is we collectively who decide who controls the means of production. We don’t do this in the legal sense, for example, by literally expropriating the assets of some people and transferring them to others. Yet that’s the effect of free competition and individual liberty.

In other words, the freed market would give traditional leftists what they say they want: a society in which free, voluntary, and peaceful cooperation ultimately controls the means of production for the good of all people.

 more» 
09 October 2015
 
 
Justice Without State
by Paul Rosenberg
 sub-topic» General

You always know you’re venturing into interesting territory when you arouse defenses like “Because!,” “You’re an idiot,” or “Everyone knows…”

Such are the defenses that pop up when touching the concept of justice separate from the state. It was, in my experience, something of a verboten subject, considered ridiculous and rude at the same time. It was – again in my personal experience – something that everyone just “knew” was impossible and which they also knew was dangerous.

 more» 
23 September 2015
 
 
What Kind of Society do you Want and How Do You Get It?
by Jacob G. Hornberger
 sub-topic» General

The only system that will produce a society based on freedom, prosperity, peace, and harmony is one that is not based on a welfare-warfare state. That is, the way to attain the type of society most of us want is to adopt a system in which there is no income tax, IRS, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, education grants, Pentagon, CIA, NSA, standing army, military-industrial complex, drug laws, economic regulations, foreign aid, and other aspects of the welfare-warfare state.

 more» 
09 September 2015
 
 
Peak Obedience
by Paul Rosenberg
 sub-topic» General

Automatic obedience, however, is a brittle thing. Economies of scale are failing, the money cartel has been exposed, government schools have lost respect, mass media is fading away, and the game continues because the populace is distracted and afraid. And that will not last forever.

 more» 
31 August 2015
 
 
Who Really Cares About the Poor?: A Socratic Dialogue
by Bryan Caplan
 sub-topic» General

Glaucon: So your point is that democrats and aristocrats are equally bad?

Socrates: A question for another day. But at least on the issue we're discussing, my point is that you democrats are worse.

Glaucon: Worse? How could we possibly be worse than them?

Socrates: They live up to their stated principles. You don't live up to yours.

 more» 
30 August 2015
 
 
Riches and Poverty
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

So, why not help the economy to become sustainable, by taking away the unearned privileges of those responsible for others’ poverty – such as politicians, bureaucrats and corporatists? Why not simply replace redistributory taxes, bureaucracies, regulations and anti-business culture by justice, competition in a fully free market, pro-business culture, property rights and a stable, honest financial system?

That would go a long way towards eliminating poverty among civil human beings, no? And wouldn’t winding up morally and financially bankrupt political states, and distributing their assets among those they taxed and other genuine creditors, help a lot as well?

 more» 
18 August 2015
 
 
Towards an International Libertarianism
by Martin van Staden
 sub-topic» General

We should make a point to not use the United States as a template of liberty. The American experiment of freedom was largely successful, but as a matter of perception, we cannot make libertarianism seem like a product to be imported from America. Our philosophical basis is that freedom is natural, and that as individuals, we have an inalienable right to do as we please while respecting the same right of others.

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30 July 2015
 
 
The Monopoly on Crime
by Skyler J. Collins
 sub-topic» General

Because the state claims a monopoly on the provision of law and order, the state decides what and what does not constitute crime. In order to maintain its position, the state requires that its subjects provide for it the necessary funds, liberties, and lives. What would be called theft, trespass, and murder in a free society, the state calls taxation, regulation, and conscription. As the state decides what is and what is not crime, it follows that the state not on claims a monopoly on the provision of law and order, but it also claims a monopoly on the provision of crime. It uses this monopoly power to allow itself to commit just enough crime for its own maintenance, but forcefully prevents anyone else from attempting likewise.

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28 July 2015
 
 
Flux versus Stasis
by Madsen Pirie
 sub-topic» General

I now propose to divide the world as the Pope did. Putting on my papal zucchetto, I divide the world into the followers of Parmenides and those of Heraclitus. It is a division between flux and stasis.

The division is between those who seek the stability and predictability of permanence, and those who are ready to embrace change – even to welcome it.

This is far from more conventional divisions into left and right. Normally we associate conservative temperament with wanting to keep things familiar and comfortable, and resisting change as unsettling as it is unfamiliar. Yet if we look about us today, at those who yearn for the world of Parmenides, we find some strange alliances.

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19 July 2015
 
 
A Blueprint for Human Civilization
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

The fundamental question, for liberty lovers who reject the anarchist label, is: How can we have law and justice without a political state? In this paper, I put forward for discussion a possible basis for an answer to this question. And I aim to do it from the bottom up; that is, from first principles and in a constructive manner.

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15 July 2015
 
 
Man Is Not Always Blind
by Paul Rosenberg
 sub-topic» General

The extent to which such people have broken out of the Western Autopilot Life is greater – far greater – than any I’ve seen over my lifetime. Furthermore, the very number of them is greater than any I’ve ever seen.

And not only that, but to a larger extent than most of us realize, this is flowing into the low spots of mainstream culture. During my youth, politicians were held to be important men; wise and virtuous men. And that is simply no longer true. I don’t think there is any place left in the West where the phrase, “Politicians are liars and thieves” would fail to garner general agreement at a bus stop. That is a big, serious change.

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06 July 2015
 
 
The unholy trinity: collectivism, sovereignty, corruption – Part 4
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

I said earlier that I know the name of the devilhead. I know the name of that which stands in the same relationship to the unholy trinity, as the godhead does to the Christian trinity. That name is... dishonesty.

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04 July 2015
 
 
The unholy trinity: collectivism, sovereignty, corruption – Part 3
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

Now, to take freely offered charity isn’t corrupt. To take an insurance pay-out isn’t corrupt. To take at need from a fund, to which you and others have voluntarily contributed for the purpose of mutual aid in need, isn’t corrupt. But to take, without a by-your-leave or a thank you, money which has been taken against their wills from those who would rather have done something else with it, shows lack of integrity. It’s a corrupt act. And those quite capable of earning their living, but choosing the lazy option of sponging off others, are even more corrupt.

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02 July 2015
 
 
The unholy trinity: collectivism, sovereignty, corruption – Part 2
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

Surely, we’ve put some bags on the side of this system over time. We’ve tried parliaments that are meant to “represent” us. But they don’t – their members have merely become part of the élite, and so part of the problem. We’ve tried constitutions meant to limit the sovereign’s power. But they haven’t worked. We’ve tried to separate powers between legislative, executive and judiciary. But that hasn’t worked either. We’ve tried ideals of “social contract,” but the élite don’t even try to keep to their side of any bargain. We’ve tried charters and bills of rights and human rights acts. But the ruling élite either simply ignore them, or seek to destroy them.

We’ve even tried to bolt on the rule of law as a bag on the side of the state. But did we get, in John Adams’ words, “government of laws, not of men?” Not a bit of it. What we got, instead, was government of bad legislation made by evil politicians. What we suffer today is exactly what Edmund Burke warned against almost 250 years ago, when he said: “Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.”

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30 June 2015
 
 
The unholy trinity: collectivism, sovereignty, corruption – Part 1
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

Furthermore, collectivists often seem to believe that their collective has a will, or even a Grand Purpose; and one which is, conveniently, aligned with their own. So, they like to invent political Great Causes, out of thin air if necessary. And they like to use them as excuses to impose their arbitrary dictates on people. History is littered with examples: communism, fascism, racism (and anti-racism), religious persecutions, nationalism, wealth re-distribution and welfarism, and deep green environmentalism, to name but a few.

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18 June 2015
 
 
Social and Convivial Order
by Frank van Dun
 sub-topic» General

In a libertarian world, many societies will be very authoritarian. As long as those on the inside respect outsiders and can opt out, this is not a problem for libertarian theory. However, it is illogical to want an anarchistic society. The first action of new "societies" is to "elect a government" and appoint "officers". This is true also for libertarian societies, including the one which is being organized right here in Bodrum. Leaders of societies create rules and positions, a positive law, for their organizations. The laws of conviviality, on the other hand, are in no way positivistic creations. They are given in the nature of things, in particular in the objective distinction between order and disorder in human relations. Hence, the convivial order is essentially and inherently anarchic -- like the market order and unlike any social order. It has no order of positions, roles and functions; no directors or managers, no certified members. It is a horizontal arrangement. In contrast, even the most egalitarian society has a rigid vertical order: the general assembly (where every member presumably has equal "rights") is sovereign and all the parts and members are subordinated to it.

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13 June 2015
 
 
Contra Argumentation Ethics
by Fred Foldvary
 sub-topic» General

It is curious why some natural-law libertarians have not accepted Locke’s libertarian ethic and have instead turned to German discourse philosophy. Perhaps the answer involves psychology and sociology rather than pure philosophy. At any rate, argumentation ethics is not the answer.

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02 June 2015
 
 
10 Things I Had to Unlearn that my Children Won’t
by The Dissident Dad
 sub-topic» General

There are a lot of bad ideas that dominate the world we live in today, most of which are uncritically accepted as the norm and fully embraced by society.

As a millennial myself, I’ve noticed my peers seem to accept most of these as conventional wisdom. Hook, line, and sinker.

Here are some ideas I was propagandized with that I hope my children will never have to “unlearn.”

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31 May 2015
 
 
How Valuable is a Human Life?
by Seth King
 sub-topic» General

We live in a world where every individual has a value to every other individual.

Some individuals I value highly. I would be willing to fork over large chunks of money to save certain people. Other people actually have a negative value to me.

That’s an interesting concept that most people, including many libertarians, aren’t quite ready to accept. Some people have negative value.

How do we react to people we value negatively? Generally speaking, when one individual negatively values another, they’d be willing to pay money to see them dead or incapacitated. Now, most people don’t say that, but that’s how the world works.

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20 May 2015
 
 
Libertarianism and Political Violence
by Jared Labell
 sub-topic» General

Fellow libertarians would be mistaken to look back on the history of libertarian political violence in America and conclude that the events should be uniformly celebrated or denounced, as comprehensively detailed by Churchill’s To Shake Their Guns in the Tyrant’s Face. The history of taking up arms against the state is multifaceted, as Churchill notes, “the invocation of the past to justify present action is a perpetual theme in American politics. It need not, however, command our deference. If there is a point at which the practice of history departs from the practice of collective memory, it is in the recognition that no word or deed from ages past can in and of itself justify the recourse to violence in the present.”

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12 May 2015
 
 
Liberty Lines, May 7, 2015
by Kent McManigal
 sub-topic» General

If government were necessary- it isn't, but I'll humor you- its one and only possible justification is to protect the rights of the individual. Only individuals have rights; not "society" or any other collective. There is no such thing as "the common good"- this is just a flimsy excuse to harm individuals, which always harms society as a whole since society is made of nothing but individuals.

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23 April 2015
 
 
On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Part 21 and final
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

The analogy with cancer is, I think, a good one. For, just as cancer cells often don’t stop growing until the host dies, so the cancerous political state doesn’t stop growing until it has consumed its body politic. Just as cancer cells ignore messages sent to them by other cells, so do cancerous thinkers ignore what other people think or want. Just as cancer cells send out messages to other cells to confuse them into doing things against their and the host’s interests, so do cancerous thinkers spew out lies, scares and deceptions to confuse people into acting against their true interests. (They spew out lots of legislation to coerce people into acting against their interests, too). And, just as cancer cells fail to mature and grow up into roles useful to the host, so do most cancerous thinkers fail to grow up into productive, honest, useful members of society.

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21 April 2015
 
 
On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Part 20
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

But now, consider: What if we could make bottom up thinking the norm, rather than top down? Wouldn’t it encourage tolerance, individual freedom, the rule of honest law, respect for rights, economic progress and prosperity? What human being would not prefer these things to the results of top down thinking?

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19 April 2015
 
 
On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Part 19
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

The bottom up thinker values honesty. Indeed, honesty is one of the most important values in his entire stock. Not only does he prize truth and straightforwardness. Not only does he make efforts to understand right and wrong, to do only the right, and to treat people with civility. Not only does he aim to be conscientious and trustworthy. Not only does he seek to earn his living by work and trade, rather than to live off others by theft or deception. No; above and beyond all these, he always tries to practise what he preaches.

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17 April 2015
 
 
On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Part 18
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

To put all this another way. Users of the economic means have to do a decent job. For if they don’t, they will lose customers. So, the economic means is a bottom up approach. You have to give something in order to get something back. It’s a self-correcting approach, too: for the discipline of market competition will eventually weed out the lazy and the dishonest. And thus, the bottom up approach encourages economic progress and increasing prosperity.

But for users of the political means, there is no such discipline. Nothing beyond social pressure – and even this is frequently lacking – obliges them to be diligent or honest. Having reduced or eliminated competition, they can get away with delivering services wastefully, at low quality and often in a dishonest, politicized way. Theirs is a top down approach. The customers have no come-back, so they’ll just have to be happy with what they get.

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15 April 2015
 
 
On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Part 17
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

The bottom up thinker comes to recognize that many of the moral rules passed down from ancient times are good and valid. For example, Confucius’ Golden Rule: don’t do to others what you wouldn’t like done to you. It’s also possible to derive some core rules from the Judaeo-Christian Ten Commandments. For example: Don’t commit aggressions. Keep your freely made promises. Don’t steal. Don’t lie or mislead.

But he recognizes, also, that many customs (mores) or traditions of particular cultures or religions – not eating pork, or not drinking alcohol, for example – are not part of the core ethics of civilized behaviour. For anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the religion or culture, these moral rules are optional.

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13 April 2015
 
 
On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Parts 15/16
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

The top down thinker, on the other hand, sees education, at best, as a process of preparing an individual for life in a particular culture. So, like the look-say trainer, the top down educator looks to stuff his pupils’ minds with information. He seeks to impart top down rote knowledge, rather than the tools which enable bottom up learning. And so, he is likely to turn his pupils into top down thinkers like him.

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11 April 2015
 
 
On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Part 14
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

In contrast, top down thinkers advocate and admire a charade they call democracy; or in US-speak, Demahcracy. They like to set democracy up on a pedestal, and to make of it an idol to be worshipped.

In democracy, individuals may vote on which of a number of criminal gangs (political parties) they wish to direct a state for the time being. Then, there is a more or less complicated process of totting up the votes. This process determines which gang (or gangs) will have licence to “legally” oppress and exploit everyone for the next several years.

It’s obvious that this system entirely ignores the wishes of the minority. It does nothing at all for those who are alienated from politics, and feel that none of the political parties have any concern for them. And, the way the system operates, it usually ends up ignoring the desires of the majority, too.

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09 April 2015
 
 
On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Parts 12/13
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

The bottom up thinker understands that all justly owned property comes, ultimately, from someone expending time and effort, either to create the property, to improve it, or to earn enough to trade for it. So for the great majority of us, who don’t receive big legacies from rich parents or uncles, all our property comes from our own time and effort, which we have expended in order to gain it. So, property is life. That is why property rights are so important. That’s why they mustn’t be violated. Ever.

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07 April 2015
 
 
On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Parts 10/11
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

The top down thinker, on the other hand, often talks a good game about human rights. But in reality, he doesn’t care about others’ rights at all. He may support, for example, cameras on every street corner, or routine interception of people’s e-mails. He may want to control even the smallest details of others’ lives. He may agitate to restrict freedom of speech or assembly. He may support policies that damage the economy, or make it harder for people to find work. He may seek to re-distribute wealth and power from the honest and productive to himself and his cronies. Or to the lazy, or to the dishonest, or to the politically connected. And he wants, of course, to impose heavy taxation to pay for his evil schemes.

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05 April 2015
 
 
On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Parts 8/9
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

In contrast, the top down thinker sees law as a tool, to be used by those in power to achieve their ends. So, legislation made by politicians is to be enforced, whether or not it’s right or just. And it doesn’t matter whether the motives behind legislation are good or bad, or whether it has bad consequences for innocent people.

So, the top down thinker finds it OK to subject people to political agendas hostile to them. Or to enrich or otherwise favour certain groups at the expense of others. Or to expand bureaucracy. Or to create perverse incentives to encourage people to support a Cause. Or to hurt people they don’t like, or who refuse to follow the latest politically correct fad. Or to victimize those who have earned success through their own efforts. Or merely for the sake of ordering people around.

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03 April 2015
 
 
On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Parts 6/7
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

The bottom up thinker wants to see each individual treated as he deserves. So, in his view, anyone who fairly and honestly earns good things has earned the right to enjoy them. “From each according to his abilities,” declares the bottom up thinker; “to each according to his deserts.”

He will, of course, be charitable towards those who are unable to earn satisfaction of their needs for reasons outside their control. After all, if you aren’t willing to help others when they are in need, you can’t reasonably expect them to help you when you’re the one in trouble. But he doesn’t feel that he owes any charity to those whose failure to earn is due to their own laziness or dishonesty.

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01 April 2015
 
 
On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Parts 4/5
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

In contrast, the top down thinker wants to impose political correctness on others’ speech as well as on their thinking. Cleverly, this enables him to frame any debates so the other side find it hard to put their position. Furthermore, he likes to bombard others with politically correct sound bites, that help his side of any debate. This, I think, is why we hear so much rubbish about things like “democracy day” or “international womens’ day.”

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30 March 2015
 
 
On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Part 3
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

Furthermore, many top down thinkers see the primary purpose of politics as being to promote a Cause or Causes. What specific policies the top down thinker favours may vary from time to time. But to him, the Cause for the time being is the common good. Even if some, or even many, individuals are unjustly harmed by actions taken to further the Cause.

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28 March 2015
 
 
On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Part 2
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

The bottom up thinker focuses on the basic unit of all human societies; the individual. He knows that each human being is unique, and different from every other. He knows that every human being, including himself, is an individual. So he views, and seeks to deal with, others as individuals too.

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26 March 2015
 
 
On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Part 1
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

The top down thinker, on the other hand, has far less concern for truth and rationality. He tends only to accept new ideas if they fit his pre-existing beliefs. Where new facts are incompatible with his world view, therefore, he must ignore them, twist them or deny them. Evidence that there has been no significant global warming over the last 18 years, for example, won’t disturb his belief that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing catastrophic global warming. Nor will it quiet his oft-repeated chants that those who point out such evidence are kooks or “deniers,” nor is it likely to prevent him abusing the scientific method in his efforts to deny reality. Psychologists call this effect “confirmation bias.”

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24 March 2015
 
 
On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Introduction
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

These examples are by way of preliminary to my main theme: bottom up thinking versus top down thinking. I’m going to make a case that bottom up thinking produces better results than top down.

Further, I’m going to claim that the troubles of our current age are due, at their root, to a battle between two opposing mental forces. These forces are: enlightenment, which is associated with bottom up thinking, and endarkenment, which is the cause of top down thinking. I’m going to compare endarkenment to cancer. And I’m going to liken the promoters of top down thinking, that carry the disease, to cancer cells.

 more» 
18 March 2015
 
 
Nation, state and culture - Part 3
An individual view
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

And this applies on the personal level as well. So, I count as enemies those that promote or support political policies that damage me, inconvenience me or restrict my freedom in any way, or are intended to do any of these things. Those that vote for politicians and parties, that make such policies. Those that take my earnings away from me, yet give me nothing that I value in return. Those that commit or support any violation of my human rights. Those that behave as if they were a superior species to me, and want to control me. Those that demand that I make sacrifices for good sounding causes like “helping the needy” or “the environment,” yet make no such sacrifices themselves. Those that want to impose on me any kind of political correctness. Those that lie to me, or try to deceive, bullshit or browbeat me, or to manipulate my emotions against my will. Those that try to cover up the truth, or to offer lame excuses or rationalizations.

These are my enemies, not my friends or my brothers or sisters. They owe me compensation for what they have done to me; I don’t owe them anything. And by their conduct, they have forfeited all right to my concern, my compassion or my charity. I feel no more fellowship for them than a Jew would feel for nazis.

 more» 
16 March 2015
 
 
Nation, state and culture - Part 2
An individual view
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

Indeed, I find the idea of geographical community, in an age of mass migration and of the Internet, to be no longer helpful. It may have been workable in the days of walled city states, when the safety of one really was the safety of all. But today, does it really make sense to judge individuals as friend or foe simply by where they live? I think not.

And I’ve never approved of tribalism. In a cynical mood, I like to say that lovers of tribalism ought to go to Africa and start playing Tutsi v. Hutu. So, I don’t find judging friend or foe by bloodlines terribly appealing either.

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14 March 2015
 
 
Nation, state and culture - Part 1
An individual view
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

And consider, if you will, the huge progress which we humans have made over the 400+ years since Bodin died. We have made great strides in science, in medicine, in technology and communications, in our understanding of human rights, in finance, in the economy, in the ability to blow each other up, and in much else. We’ve even been through the Enlightenment, for goodness’ sake! So why haven’t our political institutions made similar progress in all these centuries? Why are we still suffering a system that allows a ruling élite to do to us exactly what it wants, with no come-back? And as for the charade called democracy, that’s the last straw, giving as it does a veneer of apparent legitimacy to the whole shebang.

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11 March 2015
 
 
Some Quotations from "Two Treatises of Government" - Part 2
by John Locke
 sub-topic» General

30. “…but government being for the preservation of every man’s right and property, by preserving him from the violence or injury of others, is for the good of the governed: for the magistrate’s sword being for a ‘terror to evil doers,’ and by that terror to enforce men to observe the positive laws of the society, made conformable to the laws of nature, for the public good, i.e., the good of every particular member of that society, as far as by common rules it can be provided for.” (First Treatise, §92).

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09 March 2015
 
 
Some Quotations from "Two Treatises of Government" - Part 1
by John Locke
 sub-topic» General

17. “…by which law, common to them all, he and all the rest of mankind are one community, make up one society distinct from all other creatures, and were it not for the corruption and viciousness of degenerate men, there would be no need of any other, no necessity that men should separate from this great and natural community, and associate into lesser combinations.” (Second Treatise, §128).

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08 March 2015
 
 
Statement by Willie Soon
by Wei-Hock "Willie" Soon
 sub-topic» General

“In recent weeks I have been the target of attacks in the press by various radical environmental and politically motivated groups. This effort should be seen for what it is: a shameless attempt to silence my scientific research and writings, and to make an example out of me as a warning to any other researcher who may dare question in the slightest their fervently held orthodoxy of anthropogenic global warming.

“I am saddened and appalled by this effort, not only because of the personal hurt it causes me and my family and friends, but also because of the damage it does to the integrity of the scientific process. I am willing to debate the substance of my research and competing views of climate change with anyone, anytime, anywhere. It is a shame that those who disagree with me resolutely decline all public debate and stoop instead to underhanded and unscientific ad hominem tactics.

 more» 
05 March 2015
 
 
What is Social Justice?
by Wendy McElroy
 sub-topic» General

To the extent there is a solid SJW goal, it is probably "equality" or equal distribution of privilege. What the words mean, however, is mandated and special benefits to preferred groups. There is no defined end point, no sense of when equality is and can be attained because SJWs reach back to the dawn of time when assessing the social debt owed to the preferred groups. They are remedial historians who impose the cost of centuries of wrongdoing on individuals who are innocent. They will continue to do so because there is no downside for them.

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12 January 2015
 
 
Libertarian Theory for the Real World
by Matt Zwolinski
 sub-topic» General

Libertarians disagree with each other about the exact shape of their ideal. Some want a minimal state, some want a somewhat larger state, and some want no state at all. And we spend a lot of time arguing with each other about those differences. But even if all of those arguments were to be resolved, there would still remain important philosophical questions about how to get from here to there. What’s the just way to act in a deeply unjust society? What does justice require in an imperfect situation, when the full demands of justice simply aren’t a viable option?

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07 January 2015
 
 
Our Enemy, the State - Part 4
by Albert Jay Nock
 sub-topic» General

The historical method, moreover, establishes the important fact that, as in the case of tabetic or parasitic diseases, the depletion of social power by the State can not be checked after a certain point of progress is passed. History does not show an instance where, once beyond this point, this depletion has not ended in a complete and permanent collapse. In some cases, disintegration is slow and painful. Death set its mark on Rome at the end of the second century, but she dragged out a pitiable existence for some time after the Antonines. Athens, on the other hand, collapsed quickly. Some authorities think Europe is dangerously near that point, if not already past it; but contemporary conjecture is probably without much value. That point may have been reached in America, and it may not; again, certainty is unattainable – plausible arguments may be made either way. Of two things, however, we may be certain; the first is, that the rate of America’s approach to that point is being prodigiously accelerated; and the second is, that there is no evidence of any disposition to retard it, or any intelligent apprehension of the danger which that acceleration betokens.

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06 January 2015
 
 
Our Enemy, the State - Part 3
by Albert Jay Nock
 sub-topic» General

Such are the antecedents of the institution which is everywhere now so busily converting social power by wholesale into State power. The recognition of them goes a long way towards resolving most, if not all, of the apparent anomalies which the conduct of the modern State exhibits. It is of great help, for example, in accounting for the open and notorious fact that the State always moves slowly and grudgingly towards any purpose that accrues to society’s advantage, but moves rapidly and with alacrity towards one that accrues to its own advantage; nor does it ever move towards social purposes on its own initiative, but only under heavy pressure, while its motion towards anti-social purposes is self-sprung.

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05 January 2015
 
 
Our Enemy, the State - Part 2
by Albert Jay Nock
 sub-topic» General

It may now be easily seen how great the difference is between the institution of government, as understood by Paine and the Declaration of Independence, and the institution of the State. Government may quite conceivably have originated as Paine thought it did, or Aristotle, or Hobbes, or Rousseau; whereas the State not only never did originate in any of those ways, but never could have done so. The nature and intention of government, as adduced by Parkman, Schoolcraft and Spencer, are social. Based on the idea of natural rights, government secures those rights to the individual by strictly negative intervention, making justice costless and easy of access; and beyond that it does not go. The State, on the other hand, both in its genesis and by its primary intention, is purely anti-social. It is not based on the idea of natural rights, but on the idea that the individual has no rights except those that the State may provisionally grant him. It has always made justice costly and difficult of access, and has invariably held itself above justice and common morality whenever it could advantage itself by so doing.

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04 January 2015
 
 
Our Enemy, the State - Part 1
by Albert Jay Nock
 sub-topic» General

Clearly, then, we have two distinct types of political organization to take into account; and clearly, too, when their origins are considered, it is impossible to make out that the one is a mere perversion of the other. Therefore when we include both types under a general term like government, we get into logical difficulties; difficulties of which most writers on the subject have been more or less vaguely aware, but which, until within the last half-century, none of them has tried to resolve.

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20 December 2014
 
 
Liberty needs no lies
by Kent McManigal
 sub-topic» General

Telling the truth is better and usually easier, even when it hurts people's feelings. "Taxation" is theft. Cops are bad guys. The State is a silly, arbitrary, and harmful mental glitch. Supporting any of those things is a poor decision, based upon self-contradictory errors in thinking. If that hurts your feelings, you need to do some deep thinking and make the decision to go with the truth rather than with what feels nice.

 more» 
06 December 2014
 
 
Poverty, the Rule of Law, and Human Flourishing
by Samuel Gregg
 sub-topic» General

At the core of the rule of law’s reliance upon preceding commitments to goods such as freedom and reason is another key revelation: we expect the law’s internal workings to be underpinned by reason and to facilitate human freedom because we think there is something distinct about all human beings that makes them worthy (dignus) of such treatment. That should also remind us we want as many people as possible to escape the material poverty that attracts our sympathy.

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21 November 2014
 
 
Morality, Economics, and the Problem with Preferences
by Adam Gurri
 sub-topic» General

There is no way to measure satisfaction or happiness; no utils, no hedometers. And if there were, it’s unlikely that maximizing such things would be a morally defensible strategy. Economics is no substitute for serious moral philosophy, or religion, or the embedded moral wisdom in our traditions and practices. Stepping outside of the straightjacket of Pareto-style ranked preference analysis, it’s clear that most people intuitively feel many things are important beyond mere preferences. People care about non-preference consequences, as in the case of the heroin user whose life looks dire as a result of the choices they have made. They also care about duties, and about the kind of person that they have become, subjects treated in Kantian and virtue approaches to moral philosophy. This is not the space to discuss such subjects in detail, but suffice to say that economic theory alone is a highly impoverished lens through which to view morality.

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20 November 2014
 
 
Economic Means vs. Political Means
by Harrison Dean
 sub-topic» General

Individuals who become wealthy through the economic means deserve our praise. Their goods and services have benefited mankind. We know they have benefited mankind because their consumers wouldn’t give them money in exchange for their products if they didn’t have something to gain. They can lose their market share at any point if their customers decide to stop giving them their business.

On the other hand, those who acquire their wealth by the political means should be scorned. Their methods have invaded individual liberty, turned the machinery of government into an instrument of cronyism, and undermined the prosperity of the market.

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11 November 2014
 
 
Common Sense Freedom
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

Fourth and last comes the Principle of Common Sense Freedom:

Except where countermanded by justice, the law or respect for rights, every individual is free to choose and act as he or she wishes.

This Principle is a catch-all. It’s a little bit like the Tenth Amendment to the US constitution. It says, in essence: When there is no other guide, the choice in any matter affecting you is yours.

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09 November 2014
 
 
Common Sense Rights
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

My third Principle is a consequence of the Principle of Common Sense Justice. But it’s sufficiently important, that it merits its own title and statement. Furthermore, I separate it from Common Sense Justice because it occupies a different place in the hierarchy. For rights can, at need, be trumped by both justice and moral equality.

I call it the Principle of Common Sense Rights:

Provided you behave as a civil human being, you have the right to be treated as a civil human being.

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07 November 2014
 
 
Common Sense Equality
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

Neither the political right nor left offer a helpful view on equality. Yet my common sense tells me that in one very strong sense at least, we human beings are all equal. Although each of us is different and unique, we’re all morally equal; we all have the same moral rights. I express this in my Principle of Common Sense Equality:

What is right for one to do, is right for another to do under similar circumstances, and vice versa.

This kind of equality is usually called equality before the law. The idea being, that the same law and the same rules should apply to all of us. It is an essential part of the so called “rule of law.”

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05 November 2014
 
 
Common Sense Justice
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

My definition of justice, as it happens, is not so far from Ulpian’s. For me, justice is that condition in which each individual is treated, overall, as he or she treats others.

To make this idea into a Principle, I prefer to put it as a should. So my Principle of Common Sense Justice, the first and most fundamental principle for any civilization, is:

Each individual, over the long term and in the round, should be treated as he or she treats others.

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27 October 2014
 
 
LGBT Libertarianism: Queer and Free
by Will Smith
 sub-topic» General

I’m proud to be part of a philosophy that holds up the rights of all people: one that is based in ideas instead of politics. A libertarian society is one where everyone is treated the same under the law. It rewards tolerance and benevolence by crushing bigots under the boot of public opinion. It’s a society where people are treated with respect, and where love isn’t defined by a piece of paper. Libertarianism frees markets and builds a culture where everyone can flourish free from state coercion. That is how you help the LGBT community: not by making special rules and different classes of people, but by helping everyone. A freed market would do more to improve the lives of those in the LGBT community than every government program and permission combined.

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10 October 2014
 
 
In Praise of Self Development and the Work Ethic
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

It seems to me that those that criticize the work ethic actually hate competition. They’re too lazy, or too dishonest, to do things better, or quicker, or cheaper; or to make any effort to innovate. And a lot of them are so lazy and dishonest, that they use Oppenheimer’s political means to live off others’ efforts.

Oh, and most of them are collectivist, intolerant, liars and bullshitters, criminals and/or political operators. Many are hypocrites, too.

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20 September 2014
 
 
Morality and Voluntaryism
by Skyler J. Collins
 sub-topic» General

Morality is an idea that can be confusing. To some, morality is whatever their god says it is. To others, morality is what each person decides it is for themselves. And to still others, morality is a tool used by some to force their values onto others. But what if morality isn't any of these things? What if morality means something concrete, something objective? And if it does, what does it have to do with voluntaryism?

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06 September 2014
 
 
You Are Not Guilty!
by Neil Lock
 sub-topic» General

But there’s more. The guilt-trippers bombard you with guilt for just about anything. For example: wars, pollution, poverty, the decay of society. Over-population, stress, not caring about future generations. Even though you have no, or almost no, control over any of these things. How can you possibly be guilty for anything you could never have controlled, or even influenced?

Now, my friend, you’re an honest, truthful human being. Yes? You make your contribution to the economy. You take responsibility for what you do. You don’t use or support aggressive violence. You don’t support political agendas designed to harm innocent people. Yes? Why, then, are you being treated as if you were guilty? Why are you bombarded by messages trying to make you accept guilt? Something’s wrong here.

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05 September 2014
 
 
Tolerance before Empathy
by Bryan Caplan
 sub-topic» General

It's tempting to ask your neighbor to show some empathy for your awkward position. But what's awful about Mr. Nosy is that he fails to show you something more basic: tolerance. Instead of preaching at you, your neighbor should admit that there are decent arguments on both sides, and butt out.

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12 August 2014
 
 
I Can't Help That I'm a Libertarian
by Sheldon Richman
 sub-topic» General

It’s not easy being a libertarian. I am not looking for sympathy when I say that. I just mean to point out that rejecting the conventional wisdom on virtually (do I really need this adverb?) every political question, current and historical, can be wearying. Life could be so much simpler if it were otherwise. No doubt about that. I really don’t like conflict, especially when it can quickly turn personal, as it so often does. (I embrace the advice that one can disagree without being disagreeable.) But for a libertarian, disagreement with most people is not an option. We can’t help it.

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07 August 2014
 
 
Relationship of Politics to Morality
by Wendy McElroy
 sub-topic» General

Nonviolence is not hatred. And conflating politics with morality is theoretically reckless, especially when it is done to condemn those who disagree with the content of a specific moral code. Morality resides in the benevolence one human being feels toward another; it can be expressed in a myriad of ways that should not be dictated. When morality is proscribed – particularly in tandem with downplaying the value of nonviolence – it ceases to be moral and becomes moralizing. It becomes a dangerously self-righteous and intolerant act, which does not and cannot benefit all parties involved unless, of course, all parties agree to march to the same moral drum.

Aren't we individuals?

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29 July 2014
 
 
Rand, Egoism and Rights: To Be Clear
by Jason Brennan
 sub-topic» General

Ethical egoism, by definition, cannot allow you to value other people as ends in themselves. As soon as you endorse the statement “Others are ends in themselves, not merely means to my own ends, and not merely constitutive of my self-interest,” you reject egoism. Egoism implies that other people can at most only have 1) instrumental or 2) constitutive value to you. Suppose, to be charitable, that Rand is right about what constitutes a person’s self-interest. She might then be able to show that in most cases, the rational egoist will have reason to respect people’s rights. However, that’s not good enough. As Huemer points out, it’s easy to imagine a scenario in which 1) another person has neither instrumental nor constitutive value to an Objectivist egoist, and 2) the Objectivist’s objective self-interest would best be served by killing that person. In this case, egoism implies that the Objectivist *must* (or *may*, in a non-maximizing version of egoism) kill that person. Since that’s false, egoism is false. Huemer’s thought experiment is not incoherent or metaphysically impossible.

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10 July 2014
 
 
The Defense of Property
by Skyler J. Collins
 sub-topic» General

Property is defined differently among various cultures and societies. This is the result of what has been defended either by force or by reason throughout the course of history. If we favor self-ownership, privately-assigned property, for both adults and children, then we must defend it, or we will lose it. My values push me to defending my property primarily by reason, but I am not opposed to defending it by force (I am not a pacifist). Ultimately, I value my life and the lives of my loved ones more than the life or lives of those who would take them from us. If their lives are the price I must pay to save ours, I'll gladly pay it.

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07 July 2014
 
 
Liberal Authoritarianism
by Bryan Caplan
 sub-topic» General

Suppose government forcing everyone to do A has slightly better consequences than the next-best alternative of leaving people alone. True to his name, the consequentialist announces, "We should force everyone to do A." A nay-sayer raises his hand and says, "What's the big deal? I don't want to do A. Leave me alone." The clever consequentialist responds, "My calculations of the overall consequences take your reluctance into account. So we should still force you to do A." The nay-sayer nays, "The overall consequences are only slightly better. Just leave me alone."

In the end, the consequentialist has to either abandon consequentialism or say, "I refuse to leave you alone. Although the difference between the best and second-best is small, you have to do A whether you like it or not." And isn't that an awfully authoritarian attitude?

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27 June 2014
 
 
What is Left-Libertarianism? - Part 2
by Kevin Carson
 sub-topic» General

We of the Libertarian Left, as we understand it at C4SS, want to take back free market principles from the hirelings of big business and the plutocracy, and put them back to their original use: an all-out assault on the entrenched economic interests and privileged classes of our day. If the classical liberalism of Smith and Ricardo was an attack on the power of the Whig landed oligarchs and the moneyed interests, our left-libertarianism is an attack on the closest thing in our own time: global finance capital and the transnational corporations. We repudiate mainstream libertarianism’s role in defense of corporate capitalism in the 20th century, and its alliance with conservatism.

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26 June 2014
 
 
What is Libertarianism?
by Sean Gabb
 sub-topic» General

The great difference between a libertarian society and the present order is the existence of the State – which is a shorthand term for a network of people who get their living at the expense of others, and whose other mission in life is to make others dance as they desire. We are systematically oppressed by the State. It steals tax money from us. It regulates every detail of our lives. Though its privileged and licensed media, it lies to us. It lies to us more profoundly through its regulated or directly-funded schools and universities. It also kills on our behalf. It may not kill us very often, but it does send off young men in uniform to commit atrocities abroad for reasons that are never honestly discussed with us. We are against the State.

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25 June 2014
 
 
What is Left-Libertarianism? - Part 1
by Kevin Carson
 sub-topic» General

We on the Libertarian Left consider it utterly perverse that free market libertarianism, a doctrine which had its origins as an attack on the economic privilege of landlords and merchants, should ever have been coopted in defense of the entrenched power of the plutocracy and big business. The use of the “free market” as a legitimizing ideology for triumphant corporate capitalism, and the growth of a community of “libertarian” propagandists, is as much a perversion of free market principles as Stalinist regimes’ cooptation of rhetoric and symbols from the historic socialist movement was a perversion of the working class movement.

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18 June 2014
 
 
Do You Really Want to Be Correct?
by Wendy McElroy
 sub-topic» General

Otherwise stated: Basing a theory on evidence and reason is a risky thing. When you hold such a theory up in order to judge it against reality, you could be proven wrong. Even a simple statement of fact, such as "a trout is in the milk," carries the possibility of being empirically disproven. If there is no risk – if it is impossible to disprove a statement – then the 'fact' being presented is invulnerable to evidence; it can neither be proven or disproven. As the physicist Wolfgang Pauli explained, an unfalsifiable theory "is not only not right, it is not even wrong." (There are unfalsifiable statements but they often communicate no facts; for example a tautological claim like "sour is sour.")

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13 June 2014
 
 
Piercing the Status Quo
by Scott Thomas Outlar
 sub-topic» General

We are at the threshold of a New Age. In fact, we have already entered the sphere of its space and time. Those who sense it are coming awake, alert and alive in exponential number, and taking on the responsibility of tending the soil in their own hearts and minds. These individuals, as they come to realize their intuitive, inherent, abundant, infinite, eternal nature, begin to blossom and reach full fruition by expressing themselves through their specific gifts, talents and skills.

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24 May 2014
 
 
Rothbard's For a New Liberty
by Sheldon Richman
 sub-topic» General

In light of his concern with human flourishing, it is unsurprising that Rothbard would write that “it is evident that individuals always learn from each other, cooperate and interact with each other; and that this, too, is required for man’s survival” and that “the libertarian welcomes the process of voluntary exchange and cooperation between freely acting individuals.” Hence, Rothbard’s interest in the free market, with its division of labor, as a natural habitat for human beings.

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17 May 2014
 
 
John Hospers on What Libertarianism Is
by James E. White
 sub-topic» General

Hospers offer three versions of the central thesis:

  1. No one is anyone else's master, and no one is anyone else's slave.
  2. Other people's lives are not yours to dispose of.
  3. No human being should be a nonvoluntary mortgage on the life of another.

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12 May 2014
 
 
Libertarianism Rightly Conceived
by Sheldon Richman
 sub-topic» General

In other words, classical liberalism sought to, and to an extent did, ameliorate the suffering of the masses indirectly by removing burdens imposed by the state and letting natural social and market forces do their work. In contrast, the New Tories sought to ameliorate suffering directly through affirmative state measures. Where are the self-styled thick libertarians who call for ameliorative state measures or advocate the use of force except to counter aggressive force? There are none.

For this reason, Rockwell need not lose sleep worrying that these libertarians might choose some other value over other people’s freedom. No one understands better than they that no rational value can be achieved by violating individuals’ rights.

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11 May 2014
 
 
The Future of Libertarianism
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
 sub-topic» General

If some libertarians wish to hope for or work toward a society that conforms to their ideological preferences, they are of course free to do so. But it is wrong for them – especially given their insistence on a big tent within libertarianism – to impose on other libertarians whatever idiosyncratic spin they happen to have placed on our venerable tradition, to imply that people who do not share these other ideologies can’t be real libertarians, or to suggest that it would be “highly unlikely” that anyone who fails to hold them could really be a libertarian. That these are the same people who complain about “intolerance” is only the most glaring of the ironies.

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26 April 2014
 
 
In Praise of "Thick" Libertarianism
by Sheldon Richman
 sub-topic» General

I continue to have trouble believing that the libertarian philosophy is concerned only with the proper and improper uses of force. According to this view, the philosophy sets out a prohibition on the initiation of force and otherwise has nothing to say about anything else. (Fraud is conceived as an indirect form of force because, say, a deceptive seller obtains money from a buyer on terms other than those to which the buyer agreed.)

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05 April 2014
 
 
What Libertarianism Is, and Isn't
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
 sub-topic» General

Libertarians are of course free to concern themselves with issues like feminism and egalitarianism. But their interest in those issues has nothing to do with, and is not required by or a necessary feature of, their libertarianism. Accordingly, they may not impose these preferences on other libertarians, or portray themselves as fuller, more consistent, or more complete libertarians. We have seen enough of our words twisted and appropriated by others. We do not mean to let them have libertarian.

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30 March 2014
 
 
Libertarian Holism
by Max Borders
 sub-topic» General

It takes a lot more effort to have a conversation across great ideological gulfs than to fire missiles across them. But we have to make the effort. Because there are certain, though perhaps unsettling, human truths we all have to face. First, there are only two forces of social change in this world that matter: persuasion and coercion. One can have all the principles and axioms she likes but the people with the jails, the guns and the jackboots may not care about your principles. Second, those committed to peaceful means of social change have only persuasion at their disposal. So if we think using violence is wrong, we’d better become master persuaders—libertarian holists—willing to stare through other lenses and find a way to connect with their values before the people with the guns, jails and jackboots do.

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26 March 2014
 
 
Libertarianism 101
by Robert A. Levy
 sub-topic» General

Libertarians understand the necessity of cooperation to attain personal goals. My colleague, Tom Palmer, observes that individuals can “never actually be self-sufficient, which is precisely why we must have rules to make peaceful cooperation possible.” Government enforces those rules. The risk, however, is that rules too extensive will produce, not a common good for all, but rather a veneer for a system of special favors to secure largesse for the politically connected at the expense of others. By contrast, individualism promotes the common good, spontaneously, as long as no commanding power preempts freely chosen actions.

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22 March 2014
 
 
Anarchist vs. minarchist debate misses the shift to post-statist world
by David McElroy
 sub-topic» General

I believe the real issue is looking to what comes next — to planning what we’re going to do when the state starts collapsing.

I might be wrong, but I’ve slowly become convinced of this over the last 20 years or so. I started looking at bits and pieces of the evidence nearly two decades ago, but I was so entrenched in “the way things are” that it was hard to wrap my mind around how much was going to change. (A book that was important to opening my eyes to the possibility was 1994's “The Great Reckoning,” by James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg. They turned out to have their timing badly off, but their logic and historical analysis still hold true for the longer term, as far as I’m concerned.) It’s taking even longer to put that into words and find a new paradigm to explain what’s coming. I’m just happy to see that other people have been looking toward alternatives, too, and are further down the road to figuring it out than I’ve been.

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21 March 2014
 
 
Against Libertarian Brutalism - Part 2
by Jeffrey A. Tucker
 sub-topic» General

Brutalism is more than a stripped-down, antimodern, and gutted version of the original libertarianism. It is also a style of argumentation and an approach to rhetorical engagement. As with architecture, it rejects marketing, the commercial ethos, and the idea of “selling” a worldview. Liberty must be accepted or rejected based entirely on its most reduced form. Thus is it quick to pounce, denounce, and declare victory. It detects compromise everywhere. It loves nothing more than to ferret it out. It has no patience for subtlety of exposition much less the nuances of the circumstances of time and place. It sees only raw truth and clings to it as the one and only truth to the exclusion of all other truth.

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20 March 2014
 
 
Libertarian Divisions - Part 3
by Wirkman Netizen
 sub-topic» General

The real and most recalcitrant differences among libertarians-as-such are probably these questions of “radicalism vs. gradualism” (an old term from my early days in the movement). Alas, they are not well explored, in part because of the variety and vaguenesses of the philosophies libertarians bring to ground their philosophy.

Most discussions of radicalism and gradualism are horribly simplistic. And are likely to remain so for the near future.

Which is why I consider libertarianism still a doctrine in its adolescence, and why my own position remains, vexingly, that of “agnarchism.”

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19 March 2014
 
 
Against Libertarian Brutalism - Part 1
by Jeffrey A. Tucker
 sub-topic» General

In the libertarian world, however, brutalism is rooted in the pure theory of the rights of individuals to live their values whatever they may be. The core truth is there and indisputable, but the application is made raw to push a point. Thus do the brutalists assert the right to be racist, the right to be a misogynist, the right to hate Jews or foreigners, the right to ignore civil standards of social engagement, the right to be uncivilized, to be rude and crude. It is all permissible and even meritorious because embracing what is awful can constitute a kind of test. After all, what is liberty if not the right to be a boor?

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18 March 2014
 
 
Libertarian Divisions - Part 2
by Wirkman Netizen
 sub-topic» General

What is that position? It’s the “simple system of natural liberty” (Adam Smith), and nothing but. It’s Liberty conceived as “the Law of Equal Freedom” (Herbert Spencer) or “freedom from interference” (Henry Sidgwick) and “non-aggression” (Rothbard). It is the right to liberty construed as the only basic right, with all other rights flowing from it, grounding on it, and with this one right and the resultant rights structure determining the proper scope of government.

That’s it. I find the position mightily attractive. I judge it the most interesting political idea ever stumbled upon by Distracted Man. But I am not certain that it is workable, and believe that we are so far from it now, in political and legal practice, that I do not believe we can actually know whether it will “work” — that is, will engender a sustainable social order to the benefit of the overwhelming run of humanity.

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16 March 2014
 
 
Libertarian Divisions - Part 1
by Wirkman Netizen
 sub-topic» General

So, today, there are “left libertarians” of the old anarchist type, basically communists pretending to be anti-authoritarians, and there are “right libertarians” of the classical liberal type — “right” because they believe in private property. The “left” as defined by socialists were thoroughly anti-private-property, so, on that one criterion, the classical liberals can be legitimately considered “of the right.”

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13 March 2014
 
 
Equality: The Unknown Ideal - Part 3
by Roderick T. Long
 sub-topic» General

But to ignore or mask the violence upon which socioeconomic legislation necessarily rests is to acquiesce in the unconscionable subordination and subjection that such violence embodies. It is to treat those subordinated and subjected as mere means to the ends of those doing the subordinating, and thus to assume a legitimate inequality in power and jurisdiction between the two groups. The libertarian revulsion against such arrogant presumption is ipso facto an egalitarian impulse. Those who feel no such revulsion should not expect their egalitarian credentials to pass unquestioned; they may revere equality in theory, but they fail to recognize it in practice.

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12 March 2014
 
 
Whither Libertarianism?
by Michael Enoch
 sub-topic» General

The problem is not that Libertarianism is primarily made up of affluent white males. Just the opposite. The problem is that this is seen as a problem. The problem is that people take these complaints seriously and try to integrate women and non-whites for no other reason than race or gender. Libertarianism has always been an ideology for white males. It is an intellectual forum in which they can engage in philosophical argument, repartee, camaraderie and nonviolent competition for status. It should be celebrated and preserved as a masculine, Western-oriented political movement standing against the tide of progressivism, Marxism, feminism and egalitarianism, not allow itself to be co-opted or handicapped by these poisonous ideologies.

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11 March 2014
 
 
Equality: The Unknown Ideal - Part 2
by Roderick T. Long
 sub-topic» General

Nor would an anarchistic version of socialism fare any better; as long as some people are imposing redistributive policies by force or threat of force on unconsenting others, we have inequality in authority between the coercers and the coerced, regardless of whether those doing the coercing are public citizens or private individuals, and regardless of whether they represent a majority or a minority. Nor would a Hobbesian jungle, where anyone is free to impose her will on anyone else, embody equality in authority; for as soon as one person does succeed in subordinating another, an inequality in authority emerges.

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09 March 2014
 
 
Equality: The Unknown Ideal - Part 1
by Roderick T. Long
 sub-topic» General

We can now see how socioeconomic equality and legal equality both fall short of the radicalism of Lockean equality. For neither of those forms of equality calls into question the authority of those who administer the legal system; such administrators are merely required to ensure equality, of the relevant sort, among those administered. Thus socioeconomic equality, despite the bold claims of its adherents, does no more to challenge the existing power structure than does legal equality. Both forms of equality call upon that power structure to do certain things; but in so doing, they both assume, and indeed require, an inequality in authority between those who administer the legal framework and everybody else.

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18 February 2014
 
 
Voting and Markets
by Don Boudreaux
 sub-topic» General

Go to a supermarket and observe a dozen different shoppers. Each shopper will have in his or her shopping cart a different selection (and different number) of groceries to buy than will any of the other 11 shoppers. It doesn’t matter what you think of Ms. Jones’s selection of groceries (perhaps she’s buying a bottle of white zinfandel that you find to be yucky); it doesn’t matter what any other shopper, say, Mr. Smith, thinks of Ms. Jones’s selections or what Ms. Jones thinks of Mr. Smith’s selections. Neither Ms. Jones nor Mr. Smith needs to win your approval, to win each other’s approval, or to win the approval of any other shopper or shoppers to choose what each chooses to purchase. The only agreement required is that between each shopper and the supermarket: if the shopper values each chosen product as least as highly as the price charged for the item, and as long as the supermarket is willing to sell each of the items at its posted price, all is well.

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07 February 2014
 
 
The Sucker Tax
by James Schneider
 sub-topic» General

Imagine a state of anarchy (a lack of government not a house full of boys). An evil genius announces that he will impose a sucker tax. Everyone will be taxed ten dollars, and the proceeds will be redistributed back to all the citizens in equal shares without reference to who paid the tax. In a certain sense, this tax maximizes unfairness. It serves no other purpose than to punish people in direct proportion to how much of the tax they paid. To make tax compliers feel even more ridiculous, the evil genius announces that he will make no effort to punish "tax cheats." A fair outcome of the game requires that there be no suckers. This will occur if everyone evades the tax. However, it will also occur if everyone pays the tax. Under this scenario, you probably wouldn't pay the tax (even if you believed in fairness) because you would assume that no one else was going to pay the tax.

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06 February 2014
 
 
What Would You Do for "Truth?"
by Paul Rosenberg
 sub-topic» General

Anyone who is serious about goodness becomes an enemy of the system. Anyone who is serious about liberty is already an enemy of the system. We can either accept that or evade that, but it will not go away.

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28 January 2014
 
 
Equality of Opportunity Does Not Mean Equality of Results
by Wendy McElroy
 sub-topic» General

The ideas of fairness and justness are vague because sharply defining them would reveal unfairness and injustice. For one thing, to achieve an equality of results requires government to strip people (especially business ones) of the right to use their own property; it requires a forced redistribution of ‘rights’, wealth and power. An equality of results can only occur through social control by which one group of people benefit at the expense of another group. Indeed, as evidenced by the current lack of women firefighters and CEOs, even then an inequality of results continues. The imbalance doesn’t necessarily say anything about women’s equality: it may reveal nothing more than women’s preferences. It may reveal nothing more than freedom of choice.

 more» 
03 January 2014
 
 
Why States are Illegitimate
by Skyler J. Collins
 sub-topic» General

When statists use concepts like "tacit consent" and "social contract" in their arguments, they are assuming what they are trying to prove; namely, the legitimacy of the state in question. Assuming the social contract does exist, what makes the prevailing state the rightful authority in enforcing it? Since we must consider legitimacy, let us consider what legitimacy is.

 more» 
22 December 2013
 
 
Pathological Altruism
The Road to Hell Really Is Often Paved with Good Intentions, Argues New Study
by Ronald Bailey
 sub-topic» General

In a remarkably interesting new paper, “Concepts and implications of altruism bias and pathological altruism,” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Oakland University systems engineer Barbara Oakley argues that intentions to help people all too often hurt them. Unintended harm is the outcome of she what calls pathological altruism. She defines pathological altruism “as behavior in which attempts to promote the welfare of another, or others, results instead in harm that an external observer would conclude was reasonably foreseeable.” In her study Oakley explores the psychological and evolutionary underpinnings of empathy and altruism and how they can go wrong. It turns out that pathological altruism is a pervasive problem affecting public policy.

 more» 
13 December 2013
 
 
Death by Methodological Individualism
by Wendy McElroy
 sub-topic» General

The state exists as an engine of privilege only because the vast majority of people believe that the individuals who comprise it can properly operate on a double standard. If state agents, from the president to post office workers, were viewed as individuals who are bound to the same rules of decency as the rest of us, then the state as we know it would crumble as the illusion it is. Freedom will come when the same standard of morality is applied to the individuals who are the state; the path to freedom is methodological individualism.

 more» 
03 December 2013
 
 
IP Anyone?
by Tibor R. Machan
 sub-topic» General

However all of this comes out in the end, one thing is certain: the status of something as property appears to hinge on its being in significant measure an intentional object. But then it would seem that so called intellectual stuff is a far better candidate for qualifying as private property than is, say, a tree or mountain. Both of the latter are only remotely related to human intentions, whereas a poem or novel cannot have their essential identity without having been intended (mentally created) by human beings.

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30 November 2013
 
 
One Moral Standard for All
by Sheldon Richman
 sub-topic» General

What am I talking about? It’s quite simple. Libertarians believe that the initiation of force is wrong. So do the overwhelming majority of nonlibertarians. They, too, think it is wrong to commit offenses against person and property. I don’t believe they abstain merely because they fear the consequences (retaliation, prosecution, fines, jail, lack of economic growth). They abstain because they sense deep down that it is wrong, unjust, improper. In other words, even if they never articulate it, they believe that other individuals are ends in themselves and not merely means to other people’s the ends. They believe in the dignity of individuals. As a result, they perceive and respect the moral space around others. (This doesn’t mean they are consistent, but when they are not, at least they feel compelled to rationalize.)

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19 November 2013
 
 
Am I a Radical Extremist?
by Skyler J. Collins
 sub-topic» General

I don't think you can be any further away from a position than by advocating for its opposite. The status quo of general opinion and the positions I take are, plainly put, antithetical. Yes, I think I do qualify for the label of "radical extremist." I wear it proudly, but look forward to the time when my radical extremism is the status quo of general opinion, when everyone, adult and child alike, has the liberty to do as they please with themselves and their property. To that end, do I labor.

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09 November 2013
 
 
Know Your Class Enemy, Know Your Class Ally
by Wendy McElroy
 sub-topic» General

The much vaunted class conflict between rich and poor is political fraud on stilts. It comes from a bastardization of class analysis that is used to divide people who might otherwise unite and turn against the true threat: the state. In reality, entrepreneurs and ditch diggers, venture capitalists and waitresses are members of the same class: producers. Instead of resenting each other, they should join ranks against the class that loots their labor and lives: the rulers.

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