Category Archives: Admin

Writers Wanted!

Are you a classical liberal, small government conservative, conservatarian, or libertarian (big “L” or small “l”) with something to say? Do you think you can say it in a clever and creative way?

If so, we want you to write for us!

What we’re looking for are new contributors who can and are:

  • Have basic knowledge of grammar
  • Somewhat familiar with the classical liberal tradition, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence
  • Express an idea with creativity, brevity, and cleverness
  • Commit to writing somewhat regularly, however if you just write occasionally, still apply
  • Previous blogging experience preferred, but not required
  • Has read The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein (just kidding….maybe)
  • If you think you’re what we’re looking for, just send an e-mail to kevin@thelibertypapers.org with the following:

  • Your name (obviously)
  • A brief description of your political philosophy
  • A link to your Twitter handle, Facebook page, and or Google+ page
  • A link to your blog (if any) or any previous writing you have done
  • Also, make sure you have New Liberty Papers Writer or something like that in the subject line or the e-mail may not get read.

    Although we cannot offer and are not offering any pay at this time, some of our present and past contributors have gone on to establish lucrative writing careers for outside publications and organizations. Another benefit is that you will work with and learn from an editor in chief with over 10 years blogging and writing experience and some of it is professional. Others on this team have similiar experience so this is an opportunity to grow as a writer. Finally, you will be backed by an aggressive social media strategy to help generate traffic and exposure for your posts.

    I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.
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    Why I Decided To Take Over The Liberty Papers

    This site published its first post on November 22, 2005. I was part of the original team recruited for this group blog. Many things have changed in those nearly nine years.

    From a personal standpoint, I’ve certainly had my own ups and downs. I’ve been married and divorced, entered professional politics and then left it, failed at a business venture, struggled with depression, in the meantime launched a successful career as a professional blogger and commentator, and entered the think tank world as well. All this before I turned 30.

    Now to dispel any rumors before they begin, I have no plans to leave IJ Review or the R Street Institute, both of whom I write for for my day job. In fact, I’m sure you’ll see pieces I write for both (along with other publications I occasionally write at such as Rare) linked here and in on our Facebook and Twitter pages. By the way, you should like and follow us on both.

    This site has undergone many changes as well. In the initial e-mail our founder, Eric, sent to a select group of libertarian leaning bloggers back in 2005, this is what he invisioned:

    The goal is for it to be a group setting similar to Catallarchy (http://www.catallarchy.net/) author’s note: Catallarchy moved here and published its last post in January 2013, but for classic liberal thinking rather than anarcho-capitalist. You know, us folks who think radical libertarian anarchy can never happen in the real world, but who do think that the Founding Fathers got it right and would like to see a rejuvenation of the Constitution, individual liberty, classic liberal thinking, values and politics.

    Of course some of the contributors, both past and present, are philosophical anarchists to an extent, but there has always been a realistic approach towards liberty and classical liberalism that we have tried to promote. To take liberty from merely an intellectual discussion and help influence the culture and politics and ultimately policy. This is what I have tried to do in my professional career as a commentator and writer. Sometimes I get it right, other times I get it really wrong and I’m sure that will continue to be the case. I look forward to rededicating this blog’s mission to align with that original goal and bring this blog back to its glory days.

    Change is the one constant in this world and the world has changed from 2005, and to be honest it has been mixed for liberty. We elected Barack Obama president in 2008 and reelected him in 2012 and he has been a disaster for liberty. We have watched government grow harming both the prosperity and the liberties of the American people. America is now firmly on the road to nationalized healthcare. This government now claims the authority to kill Americans overseas without any kind of due process and to detain Americans indefinitely, without charge. Finally, this government openly claims the right intercept and read e-mails and listen to phone calls without warrant. We have seen free speech and the right of someone to earn a living come under threat as a result of mob action in the name of political correctness. And that’s not going into things that have been proposed but not enacted yet such as internet kill switches, hate speech laws, and new gun bans.

    However, there have been some positive trends towards liberty as well. The American people are generally more reluctant to use military force than they have been in decades. There is a clear libertarian current in American politics, especially among the right, than has been seen in decades. Part of it is due to, and credit where credit is due, to the Presidential campaigns of Ron Paul and the work his son, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), have done since 2008. Gay marriage is now legal in most of the states in the country and will likely be legal nationwide by the end of the decade. Marijuana is now legal in Colorado and Washington and the trend in drug policy is either towards decriminalization or legalization. The American people now generally believe we’re facing problems with our $17 trillion national debt and massive budget deficits and are for (at least in theory) spending cuts. School choice, either in the form of school vouchers or charter schools, is gaining more acceptance across the country. Finally, with the rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, there is now an increasingly viable alternative to government fiat currencies for global e-commerce.

    With humble gratitute, I humbly accept the responsibility of renewing this blog. We have already added new social media sharing options and the Disqus comments section. We’re going to be expanding our social media presence. Finally, I will be adding some new faces, to compliment some of us who have been here from the beginning.

    This blog was my first break into blogging from a free Blogspot page. I’ve watched Doug Mataconis go on to great success at Outside The Beltway, essentially making that site synonymous with him. Jason Pye took over United Liberty and made it one of the top blogs on the internet, before moving on to FreedomWorks recently. Stephen Gordon has become a nationally successful political consultant. This site has launched some careers and I hope it will launch more over the next few years.

    Now I will just say this, fasten your seat belts and lift up your tray tables. Sit back and enjoy the ride, because I think it’ll be worth it.

    I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

    Changing of the Guard

    To me, it’s a bit crazy that I’m one month from my 10-year blogiversary. It’s been a just under 9 years since Eric started The Liberty Papers, and merely May 2006 that he handed the reins over to me.

    A lot has happened in the 8 years since. For some time, The Liberty Papers was riding high. The run-up to the 2008 election was big here, as was the initial fight between SoCon and Libertarian control of the Tea Party.

    Unfortunately, things since have slowly waned. There are a lot of reasons for that, and I can’t speak for any other authors here at the site, but my own life has intervened and made blogging much more difficult. My career has progressed and my family has grown, my political stance has grown ever-more apathetic, and between these forces, I’ve allowed The Liberty Papers to fall off the map.

    I want The Liberty Papers to be relevant again. And I know I don’t have the bandwidth to make it so. So I’m happy to report that I’m turning over the reins to someone who can devote his time, Kevin Boyd. Kevin has been an author here since the founding of the site, and is poised to return this site to its former glory — if not to exceed it. I’m excited to see it!

    As for me, I’m not exactly going anywhere. Like most bloggers, I still do have ideas percolating in my grey matter that I need to get out. I hope that with the revitalization of The Liberty Papers, I’ll have a renewed audience for whatever madness I manage to emit. Writers can’t not write, so I’m looking forward to stepping into the background while still doing my part to make The Liberty Papers successful.

    For our collection of active writers, and for those readers who have stuck with us in their RSS feeds while posting has fallen off, I thank you. I’ve been proud of what The Liberty Papers has been over the last ~9 years, and can only imagine where it can go from here.

    5 Years Of The Liberty Papers

    5 years ago today, Eric introduced The Liberty Papers to the world. A blog that was once a general “classical liberal” home has significantly expanded, as those of us writing here have grown and changed. When the doors first opened, we generally followed a Constitutionalist small-l libertarian mindset in general, and as Eric pointed out, were not anarcho-capitalists or neolibertarians. Since, I think we’ve grown to span the range from anarchist to RLC-style Republican writing. Some contributors, for various reasons, have moved on. Some new folks have joined us in those 5 years. Through it all, though, we’ve worked hard to be a consistent voice in favor of liberty in all its forms.

    In 5 years, we’ve written nearly 4,000 posts, had almost 33,000 comments, and have crossed the traffic thresholds of 1.5M unique visits and 2M page views. If you had told me personally back in 2005 that some of the posts I’d written would have reached as many people as they have, I’m not sure I’d have believed it. We’ve had contributors interviewed on cable news networks, had traffic spikes (described below) as we broke a major story picked up by both Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, and in general have either elated or enraged people on all sides of the aisle. Even more importantly, though, from meeting many of our contributors and from interacting with them over 5 years, I believe that everything that we’ve done at this site has been from the heart. We’re not about deference to conventional wisdom or spewing the party line — at various points I’ve seen almost every contributor to this site willing to slaughter the sacred cow if he thought it had to be done. Our readers won’t always agree with us — hell, we contributors don’t always agree with each other — but I know that intellectual honesty is never sacrificed. That fact itself has generated a great deal of respect from me for everyone who writes here, and I hope it has done so for those of you who visit as well.

    Eric, the founder of The Liberty Papers, was able to get an exception to his no-blogging policy and sent along this message:

    5 years, what a cool thing that is! I remember how upset I was by Kelo and how I felt the need to respond. I started the Life, Liberty and Property group (does it still exist?), I encouraged all of my friends online to have a new Tea Party (I’m pretty sure I was the original Tea Partier) and I started The Liberty Papers. Boy, this has gone way beyond what I thought it would do. This group has broken news stories, helped influence politics, been the lead item on Google News lord knows how many times and some how managed to keep going in the face of blog fatigue.

    I am very pleased that they put my post in their top posts of all time, but when I compare to some of the other folks that write here, I feel fairly lucky and rather humbled. I regret not being able to participate in this effort and all the other online efforts around liberty, smaller government and more individualism. But I made some choices about my career that ended up with employer desired limits on what I can say and write publicly.

    I’m looking foward to 5 more years ……. and perhaps one or two anonymous comments when the urge strikes!

    So how does a blog such as this celebrate a milestone like this? We thought the way to remember 5 years is to highlight the best of those 5 years. Over the past few weeks, we’ve worked as a group to catalog some of the top posts we’ve written, and then balloted them off to build up a top-10 list. I’ve presented that below, and suggest you take a look there and through the archives. I’d also like to open the comments to contributors and commenters alike. Do you have a specific memory of something that’s occurred here, or a post you really enjoyed? Feel free to offer your thoughts.

    It’s been a good five years. Many times through the past five years, we’ve talked about fulfilling one of Eric’s promises in this opening post — to take longer-form writing and expand it into more permanent articles called “Liberty Papers”. In generating the posts making up our internal ballot, we’ve done the hard work and identified most of the posts which fit that criteria. While I can’t say that I was able to devote the necessary time to actually have that ready by this anniversary, it’s on the way.

    Top 10 Liberty Papers posts of the last 5 years:

    #1. The Sovereign Individual – Eric: When Eric first developed the idea of this site and offered contributor spots to those of us in the wake of the Kelo ruling, one may ask why we’d have joined the site. This essay is an example of the writing and the depth of thought that convinced us all to follow behind Eric. Due to his own career aspirations (holding a job with too much public visibility to present controversial opinion) he had to cease blogging, and I hope you read this essay and realize that the general fight for liberty is worse off for his absence. Of all the posts in our balloting, this one is the only to achieve unanimous votes for inclusion.

    #2. The Case Against an Article V Constitutional Convention – Doug Mataconis: Those of us in favor of liberty often look at our Constitution, see the way that it has slowly been eviscerated by the ever-wider interpretation of its clauses, and wonder whether we might be able to “plug the holes” in the document. Doug points out, powerfully yet pragmatically, why the conditions that led to even the imperfect document we have no longer exist. He points out all the reasons that simply demanding change is likely to result in something worse than we have today, and nothing like libertarians might expect.

    #3. The Politics of Liberty – Chris: If you’re looking for a logical foundation for basically 90% of libertarian or classical liberal thought, you’re not going to do much better than this piece. One of the things that has always impressed me about Chris’ writing and thinking is his ability to boil complex issues down to their roots, and explain them from those roots up. His posts can sometimes be very long, but that is due to necessity — you can’t write a foundation for all libertarian thought in 800 words. Unlike me, though, he wastes very little space.

    #4. Liberty and Racial Discrimination: Responding to David Duke – tarran: Running up to the 2008 election, Ron Paul was a lightning rod for racial tension. Much was due to his own tone-deafness on the subject, and much was due to many unsavory elements of society finding his room within his stances for economic liberty to fit their own discrimination. Because of this, many people associate Ron Paul’s libertarian leanings (and libertarianism in general) with being an apologist for racism and discrimination. tarran wades into the depths of controversy to defend libertarianism and destroy some arguments of David Duke.

    #5. The Scales of Justice Need Rebalancing – Stephen Littau: The statue of the goddess of justice is often depicted blindfolded, with scales and a sword. The scales denote impartiality, the sword signifies the punishment, and the blindfold suggests that the facts shall be weighed without consideration to he who presents them. As we all, know, the practice does not live up to the ideal. Juries are swayed by appeal to authority, by character rather than evidentiary consideration, and by the fact that often the state can easily out-spend and out-defend their argument. Cases that should be tried in a court of law are tried in the court of public opinion, and the question of a “fair trial” stretches the limit of fair. Stephen blows the doors off the prosecution-friendly system we have, and even — note my previous statements about sacred cows — suggests that our civil liberties are better served by furnishing through public funds access to the same level of experts & attorneys for the defense as for the state. When the cost of error is stealing years of a man’s life, I find it hard to disagree.

    #6. You Should Want What I Want – Quincy: Much of politics is simply human biology and social evolution run on a massive scale. We’re simple tribal creatures, trapped in our own minds and our own biases. Some people think that those who don’t share those biases are depraved and immoral. We call those people conservatives. Some people want to enshrine those biases into law. We call those people leftists [okay, and some conservatives]. Quincy lays out the basis for these people, while arguing why their impulses to ban everything in sight are completely incorrect, immoral, and incompatible with human individualism.

    #7. Homeland Security document targets most conservatives and libertarians in the country – Stephen Gordon: I mentioned above the point at which we broke news catching the notice of both Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, and this is the post in question. DHS released a report basically claiming that everyone with a distrust of federal power, believing in limited government or states rights, and/or a fan of Ron Paul, might just be a domestic terrorist. No, I’m not exaggerating. Read it, and you’ll see why it was probably the highest traffic day we’ve ever had.

    #8. On Tea Parties and Republican hypocrisy – Jason Pye: The Tea Party movement exploded on the scene in early 2009, and drew a lot of compliment and a lot of criticism across the ‘sphere — we offered both here. Both our compliments and our criticism did include the same point, as suggested by Jason in the post: “The involvement of politically polarizing figures will ruin and destroy the credibility of a good movement.” Jason’s post came early in the Tea Party movement, and yet with folks like Palin and Huckabee seizing “leadership” of the movement, it seems that he has been proven correct.

    #9. Mercantilism, Fascism, Corporatism — And Capitalism – Brad Warbiany: One of the hardest political subjects to grasp is economics, largely due to constantly misused terminology. This post simply and directly defines the terms and explains how they’re misused.

    #10. Libertarianism and Democracy (pt 1), Libertarianism and Utilitarianism (pt 2) – Brad Warbiany: These two posts became a bit of a two-part series based upon comments, but at this point they still fit together quite nicely. The first post of this pair is a response to a leftist who complained that libertarianism is anti-democratic. In short, one is a moral system and the other is a political system, making the statement in itself nonsensical. The second post compares libertarianism to utilitarianism, which is much more apt as both are moral systems. Those who support socialism often [misguidedly] do so for utilitarian ends. Crowing to them about liberty accomplishes little, because they are working from different first principles. Showing them that socialism isn’t the best utilitarian system is a much better tactic.

    Honorable Mentions:

    The below two posts advanced far enough in the voting to merit mention, falling just short of the above:

    Ramos and Compean Should NOT be Pardoned – Stephen Littau: In the waning days of the Bush administration, conservatives argued a pardon for two Border Patrol agents who were convicted of shooting an unarmed illegal immigrant in the back while he fled resisting arrest, and then covered it up. Stephen pointed out quite well that even if the facts those advocating pardon suggested (that the fleeing immigrant was a drug smuggler), a pardon was STILL not warranted.

    An Open Letter To Neal Boortz – Jason Pye: Neal Boortz, a prominent libertarian/Republican radio host and advocate of the FairTax, was actively pushing for Mike Huckabee in the 2008 elections. He did this, one must think, because of Huck’s support for the FairTax, as having listened to Boortz quite a bit, the two agree on very little else. Jason Pye, in intense detail, explained all the reasons why Mike Huckabee is and should be anathema to libertarians. Replete with enough supporting links to crash Internet Explorer (sorry, bad example, that’s not saying much), I think that this post is one that should be kept around in the run-up to 2012, when Huck may return.

    That wraps it up. As mentioned, feel free to post your memories of the last five years down below in the comments.

    4 Years

    Somewhere during the summer/fall of 2005, Eric started kicking around an idea with some of us on the old Life, Liberty, Property blog community. Many of us at our own personal blogs had risen to the level of Marauding Marsupial in Truth Laid Bear’s old tracking system, but Eric thought we could be a more effective force for liberty by pooling our resources. He started building The Liberty Papers, and invited a few of us (of the current contributors, that includes Chris, Doug, Kevin, Quincy and myself) to join his little experiment.

    Well, today marks four years since the site began, and it’s been quite a ride since then. Some contributors have moved on, due to life intruding on blogging. We’ve expanded our rolls to replace them and try to expand our ideological coverage as well. And Eric, our founder, was put into the choice of taking a new job that would be wonderful for his family and career, but would mean he had to stop blogging. He turned the reins of the site over to me, and I’ve tried not to muck it up too badly.

    In four years, we’ve written over 3500 posts, received over 31,000 comments, and we’re well on our way to 1.5M unique visits. We’ve had our successes, with Stephen Gordon breaking the DHS “domestic terrorist” report, attracting attention from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

    All in all, I think we fit into a very nice space in the libertarian blogosphere. We hail from a wide range of disciplines, with nearly none of us in a position to call “political operative” an occupation rather than a hobby. We hail from such diverse fields as technology, law, and even music. We all share, though, a common fight — for the increase of liberty.

    We’ve come a long way in four years, and I’m proud of the contributors who work to make this site great and thankful for all our readers who regularly comment here and make The Liberty Papers more than a broadsheet, but a conversation. I’m very happy with what this site has become — but I’m not sure I’m satisfied. My hope is that one year from today, we can mark our fifth year as a site bigger, stronger, and more active than its ever been.

    30,000th Comment

    This evening, we had our 30,000th comment here on the Liberty Papers.

    On behalf of all of us who post here, I’d like to thank you, our audience, for your feedback, arguments, discussions, and explanations.

    You, our readers, are why we write.

    Thanks for reading.

    I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

    Administrivia

    If you’ve clicked through to any comment threads, you’ll have noticed that we’ve added a comment notification box. You can subscribe to comments whether you leave one or not, so it should be a good way to keep up on comment threads without having to manually check back to the site.

    I’m planning on being more active on our twitter feed, which currently only feeds updates to our post. I say “planning”, because I’m still trying to decide which BlackBerry app will best do Twitter… Any suggestions would be welcome.

    Our Kindle version price was recently reduced from $1.99 to $0.99. As I’ve said before, I’d prefer it come free, but Amazon sets the prices. I suspect nobody was signing up, so they reduced it. But if TLP-Kindle Edition wasn’t worth it to you at $1.99 and is worth it at $0.99, feel free to sign up. This isn’t a for-profit blog, but a little bit to offset hosting costs wouldn’t hurt.

    The Liberty Papers Now Available For Amazon Kindle

    For those of you on the front end of the technology curve, you now have a new way to receive your daily TLP fix — The Liberty Papers – Kindle Edition. Amazon is expanding their Kindle blogs offering, and we were able to get ourselves in early.

    Now is where I’d usually give you all the stories about how amazing the Kindle is, and how incredible it makes my life — but I don’t have one yet. I’m still waffling on whether to drop nearly $500 on a Kindle DX, so if there are any Kindle users out there, feel free to tell me about how incredibly awesome and life-changing it is in the comments section.

    Finally, there’s one aspect that I know will bring up questions — the price. Before you get on my case about it, this is set by Amazon. If you don’t think the TLP Kindle version, considering that you can get this content here for free, is worth $1.99, I won’t be offended if you don’t purchase it. If it had been my decision, I would have set the price at “free” or “tiny”. But this is Amazon’s call, and I hope over time they’ll drop it down to a more reasonable level. But if you do decide to pay the $1.99, I thank you, as this blog is not free for us to operate, and it will help to offset some of our hosting costs.

    1,000,000

    Early this morning, The Liberty Papers recorded our millionth unique visitor. A visitor from Terre Haute, Indiana. I’ve got fond memories of Terre Haute; from a mardi gras party at Rose-Hulman [I attended Purdue, but visited a friend there] and a visiting Indiana State coed… But that’s a story for another time.

    The Liberty Papers was started in November 2005, just over three years ago. In the interim, we’ve written almost 3,000 posts, had nearly 27,000 comments, and the blog has grown from a little outpost on the libertarian frontier to at least a midsized suburb around the libertarian center of action.

    I’d like to thank the contributors of this blog, both past and present, for everything they’ve done to make this site what it is today. I’d also like to thank the regular readers and commenters for helping to make this a conversation. Finally, of course, I’d like to thank the founder of the site, Eric, for having the thought to create The Liberty Papers in the first place.

    Where are we headed in the future? I’m not sure that the roadmap is clear, but I do know that we’re kicking around ideas. We’d like to see The Liberty Papers ascend to become a more regular stop for those who appreciate liberty, as well as a site where our political opponents are welcomed for cordial debate. We’ll continue to work hard at what we do, and to try to expand the scope with new ideas and new contributors over time, and hope that one day The Liberty Papers will move out of the ‘burbs and into a mid-town high-rise.

    Administrative Notes

    Two main things:

    1. I’ve changed the “Contributors” blogroll to make a distinction between currently active contributors, and those who (for whatever reason) no longer have the time or inclination to post on a regular basis. This is part of a wider effort, to become a little bit more consistent in our output… Which brings me to:

    2. Welcome Stephen Gordon, the newest contributor to The Liberty Papers. Stephen has a long history with the libertarian movement, but I’ll let him speak for himself when he puts an introductory post up in the next few days.

    We’re working internally on finding ways to improve The Liberty Papers in a more general sense, and we hope to become a bigger force for liberty in the future. As always, if you have suggestions, I’m happy to take them.

    A Little Bit About UCrawford

    I suppose the best way to describe myself would be to say that I have a problem with authority. I’ve always disliked when people told me what to do, even as a young child, and I’ve always preferred to find my own path through life and make my own decisions, even if it occasionally went against the conventional wisdom and sometimes worked to my short-term disadvantage. My dad said I inherited it from him, but that I’ve taken it to a whole new level. When I was young I wanted to be a journalist, until I got to college and realized that journalism was less about the search for objective truth than it was about writing the stories that best suited your employer’s interests, whether they were true or not (which didn’t sit well with me at all). So I drifted aimlessly through a couple of years of college as an indifferent (often drunk) student, unsure of what to do with myself until one of my fraternity brothers gave me a copy of “The Fountainhead” and I got hooked on the ideas that success and a refusal to conform to societal standards were not mutally exclusive, and that the greatest evil in the world was society and government’s failure to recognize or accept individuality and individual freedom as a strength, not a weakness. So I threw myself into studying politics and history, worked in a few political campaigns after college, had some success, and thought about doing a career in politics until I realized that most of the people I knew who had never had a career outside of politics had no comprehension of how the real world actually worked and tended to make a lot of bad, self-absorbed decisions that rarely helped the people they claimed to be representing.

    That didn’t sit well with me either, so I decided to put any thoughts of going into politics on hold until I’d actually had a life and possibly a real career, and I spent the next couple of years drifting between a series of random yet educational jobs (debt collector, deliveryman, computer salesman, repo man, dairy worker) that taught me the value of hard work, personal responsibility and the financial benefits of dining at Taco John’s on Tuesday nights (2 tacos for a buck) when money got tight.

    After awhile, however, the desire to see the world (and the need for a more consistent and slightly larger paycheck) convinced me to join the Army, where I spent ten years traveling around the world on the government dime working as an intelligence analyst. I generally enjoyed my time in the military, despite the aforementioned problem with authority (which wasn’t as much of an issue in the military as many people might think it would be), and I got to see that the decisions our political leaders make were sometimes frivolous, often ill-informed, and always had unforeseen repercussions down the road…especially on the soldiers tasked with implementing those decisions. I was fortunate enough to spend most of my 10 years in the military doing jobs I enjoyed, traveling to countries that I always wanted to see (Scotland is the greatest place in the world to hang out, Afghanistan is very underrated) and working with people I liked and respected, until I finally decided that at 35 it was time to move into a job where I didn’t have the threat of relocation lying over my head every two or three years, where I didn’t have to worry about my friends being blown up, and where I didn’t have to work in any capacity for George W. Bush.

    I work now for a trust company in Kansas where I’m responsible for overseeing, pricing and maintaining farms, commercial and residential properties, mineral assets, insurance policies, annuities, etc. In my spare time I like to read books on economics, history, and politics (I’m preparing to tackle Murray Rothbard’s “Man, Economy & State” and Von Mises’ “Human Action”…should take me about a year at the rate I’m currently finishing books), watch movies, and destroy posers on “Halo 3″ (where I’m signed in under “UCrawford” for anyone interested in taking a shot at me some time). I used to play rugby until age, inconsistent conditioning, and a string of gradually worsening injuries finally convinced me to quit. I’m a rabid fan of the Kansas Jayhawks in general and their basketball and football programs in particular and I’m also a devoted fan of the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals. I’m also fond of going online and debating/picking fights with people on the merits of the philosophy of individual freedom…sometimes to the point of being an asshole (but hopefully a reasonably well-informed asshole). I’ve been a big fan of The Liberty Papers ever since finding it online, I respect the body of work they’ve put out, and I’m honored that Brad Warbiany invited me to join his jolly band of freedom fighters. So cheers, Brad, and to everyone else I look forward to reaching consensus or locking horns with you in the near future.

    I Can’t Think Of A Catchy Title

    I suppose the best way to describe myself would be to say that I have a problem with authority. I’ve always disliked when people told me what to do, even as a young child, and I’ve always preferred to find my own path through life and make my own decisions, even if it occasionally went against the conventional wisdom and sometimes worked to my short-term disadvantage. My dad said I inherited it from him, but that I’ve taken it to a whole new level. When I was young I wanted to be a journalist, until I got to college and realized that journalism was less about the search for objective truth than it was about writing the stories that best suited your employer’s interests, whether they were true or not (which didn’t sit well with me at all). So I drifted aimlessly through a couple of years of college as an indifferent (often drunk) student, unsure of what to do with myself until one of my fraternity brothers gave me a copy of “The Fountainhead” and I got hooked on the ideas that success and a refusal to conform to societal standards were not mutally exclusive, and that the greatest evil in the world was society and government’s failure to recognize or accept individuality and individual freedom as a strength, not a weakness. So I threw myself into studying politics and history, worked in a few political campaigns after college, had some success, and thought about doing a career in politics until I realized that most of the people I knew who had never had a career outside of politics had no comprehension of how the real world actually worked and tended to make a lot of bad, self-absorbed decisions that rarely helped the people they claimed to be representing.

    That didn’t sit well with me either, so I decided to put any thoughts of going into politics on hold until I’d actually had a life and possibly a real career, and I spent the next couple of years drifting between a series of random yet educational jobs (debt collector, deliveryman, computer salesman, repo man, dairy worker) that taught me the value of hard work, personal responsibility and the financial benefits of dining at Taco John’s on Tuesday nights (2 tacos for a buck) when money got tight.

    After awhile, however, the desire to see the world (and the need for a more consistent and slightly larger paycheck) convinced me to join the Army, where I spent ten years traveling around the world on the government dime working as an intelligence analyst. I generally enjoyed my time in the military, despite the aforementioned problem with authority (which wasn’t as much of an issue in the military as many people might think it would be), and I got to see that the decisions our political leaders make were sometimes frivolous, often ill-informed, and always had unforeseen repercussions down the road…especially on the soldiers tasked with implementing those decisions. I was fortunate enough to spend most of my 10 years in the military doing jobs I enjoyed, traveling to countries that I always wanted to see (Scotland is the greatest place in the world to hang out, Afghanistan is very underrated) and working with people I liked and respected, until I finally decided that at 35 it was time to move into a job where I didn’t have the threat of relocation lying over my head every two or three years, where I didn’t have to worry about my friends being blown up, and where I didn’t have to work in any capacity for George W. Bush.

    I work now for a financial company in Kansas where I’m responsible for overseeing, pricing and maintaining farms, commercial and residential properties, mineral assets, insurance policies, annuities, etc. In my spare time I like to read books on economics, history, and politics (I’m preparing to tackle Murray Rothbard’s “Man, Economy & State” and Von Mises’ “Human Action”…should take me about a year at the rate I’m currently finishing books), watch movies, and destroy posers on “Halo 3″ (where I’m signed in under “UCrawford” for anyone interested in taking a shot at me some time). I used to play rugby until age, inconsistent conditioning, and a string of gradually worsening injuries finally convinced me to quit. I’m a rabid fan of the Kansas Jayhawks in general and their basketball and football programs in particular and I’m also a devoted fan of the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals. I’m also fond of going online and debating/picking fights with people on the merits of the philosophy of individual freedom…sometimes to the point of being an asshole (but hopefully a reasonably well-informed asshole). I’ve been a big fan of The Liberty Papers ever since finding it online, I respect the body of work they’ve put out, and I’m honored that Brad Warbiany invited me to join his jolly band of freedom fighters. So cheers, Brad, and to everyone else I look forward to reaching consensus or locking horns with you in the near future.

    Welcoming A New Contributor

    I’d like to give a hearty welcome to tarran, our newest contributor.

    As the site has expanded, we have realized that we’d like to offer content from the full spectrum of the pro-liberty movement. On the upper bound, this would be the libertarians who simply believe that our federal government is too large and want to return to a Constitutional, federalist system. There are several contributors here who head up to the upper bound of that spectrum. On the absolute lowest bound is anarcho-capitalism, and we have had no contributor that officially takes that title. Tarran is a self-described anarcho-capitalist, and will offer that point of view.

    When the time comes that we start really getting into the Point/Counterpoint debates, and in general, this could lead to some rather interesting discussions. So say welcome to our newest contributor, tarran, who will be putting up his introductory post shortly.

    Virginia Tech Fund

    For those of you who would like to contribute and help out the people whose lives were devastated yesterday, please head over to find donation info here.

    While many of us want to abstract this situation into something political, as a way to not have to deal with the human cost of such a tragedy, we must remember that these were real people who were affected. Nothing that we do will replace what was lost yesterday, but if you can spare anything to help, please do so.
    » Read more

    Point/Counterpoint

    As Doug mentioned Monday night, we here at The Liberty Papers have been brainstorming some interesting new features here. One, that we will roll out shortly (likely before the end of the week) is called Point/Counterpoint.

    While our contributors generally agree on most issues, there are always issues where we don’t. We all share a love of liberty, but the contributors run the gamut from those who are nearly anarchists to those who would feel at home amongst small-government conservatives. Thus, Point/Counterpoint will be an opportunity for one contributor to offer a topic for debate, and be rebutted by another contributor a day or two later.

    If nothing else, I think we contributors will enjoy this. In addition, I hope that it will be entertaining for you. In the future, we will make sure that every post in this series is tagged as part of the category “Point/Counterpoint”, and will try to keep titles on-topic so that readers scrolling through the category itself can keep up with who is responding to who.

    We’ve got a couple other things in the works as well, so stay tuned!

    200,000

    Within the last few minutes, the 200,000th unique visitor as recorded by Sitemeter passed through The Liberty Papers. We reached the 100,000 mark on January 23, 2007 and it took about 428 days of posting to get that far. In other words, in the past 55 days, we’ve had as many visitors as we did during the first 14 months of existence.

    The one thing I attribute that to is the great group of contributors that we’ve got here, and the great job they’ve all done in posting things that people want to read, even when it causes no small degree of controversy.

    We’ve been having some discussions about where to take The Liberty Papers next, so keep an eye out for what will hopefully be some exciting additions. The great writing will still be here, of course, but we’re hoping to bring some new things that will keep all you new readers coming back for more.

    And that, is where I’d like to end this little bit of self-congratulation. If you’ve found this site thanks to a link from Reddit, or Google News, or anyplace else for that matter. Stick around and read what else we’ve got here, and come back often because there’s more to come.

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    100,000

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