Category Archives: live blogging

Aren’t You Glad To Be A Gamma?

I had a really interesting philosophical discussion with Brad Warbiany, our curator at The Liberty Papers, over a Facebook status I wrote. I had just re-listened to the CBS Radio Workshop rendition of Brave New World and had commented that it seemed like a far more livable situation than 1984.

Warbiany added that California, if Prop. 19 passes and allows the modern equivalent of soma to be freely ingested, the state really will look like Brave New World. With the state already self-organized into a caste system (Listen to someone from Northern California talk about Southern California or someone from Berkeley talk about Sacramento some time), abortion and every sort of contraceptive widely available and the domination of a vapid mass culture (seen at San Diego Comic Con or Wonder Con in San Francisco) taking precedence over civic involvement for Californians, the Golden State really resembles Huxley’s “negative utopia.”

Warbiany also handed me this great cartoon:
Orwell v. Huxley

On Twitter, alot of progressive and libertarian leaning activists tend to advocate alot for issues of freedom and emancipation in countries like Iran or China. In a way, situations in so obviously repressive countries like those are much easier for the activist. They fit into the Orwell dynamic and the villains and heroes are very clear. In his opposition to the death penalty, our own Stephen Littau does take on the American equivalent to state repression. Along with questionable foreign policy and drug policy, however, those are really the only avenues for passionate American political activism.

Beyond such clear issues of state force, however, one runs into a brick wall when faced with the mass culture, dullness and vapidity of consumer society. It seems that in this society, the majority of more normal people (myself and most people reading this strongly excepted) do not become Jeffersonians but instead “turn on, tune in and cop out,” as Gil Scott Heron once said. How does one become an activist in a society in which people freely subjugate, segregate and limit themselves?

I have a funny story that relates to this, that I didn’t even remember until I read what Brad said. While living in Alameda, California, I lost my phone. A teenage girl, around college age most likely, found it and called my mom, who e-mailed me about it. When I got the phone back, I was really grateful but had no money on hand. The only possession I had literally was a copy of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. I offered it to her.

She literally responded, “No thanks. I don’t read.”

I know. Alameda is not a low income area where reading should be rare, either. There are several bookstores in the area, along with hip restaurants, record stores and everything else you expect in cosmopolitan society. It even has an incredible vintage movie theatre that I rank as the best in Northern California, next to Oakland’s Grand Lake Theatre. This girl was obviously more involved in other factors of modern life, all of which I can safely assume are of less consequence intellectually than the work of Huxley.

It’s especially ironic given that there is a passage in Brave New World in which infants are given books while bombarded with screeching, loud noises, in order to dissuade them from being too intellectual when they reach adulthood. With video games, television, the internet and iPhones, that seems unnecessary as modern people have been incentivized out of intellectualism.

That girl did go to extra trouble to give me my phone back, with no advantage to her, however. That means she had a decency and sense of altruism that her lack of reading hadn’t impeded. Having grown up around the hyper-educated and being on that road myself, I can also attest that we’re not the nicest group of people. Perhaps then we really are on the road to progress.

A libertarian live-blog of the State of the Union address

United Liberty’s live-blog of the State of the Union address will begin around 8:30pm. President Barack Obama will begin his speech to the joint session of Congress around 9pm.  Liberty Papers contributors Jason Pye, Kevin Boyd and Stephen Gordon will be among the live bloggers for the event.  Trying to insert the embed code now.  Here goes…

Live Chat With Mayor Cheye Calvo Tonight @ 8 p.m. EST (5 p.m. PST) @ The Agitator

Check in this Thursday night at 8pm ET with your questions for Cheye Calvo, the Berwyn Heights, Maryland mayor who was subject to a violent, botched drug raid last year.

Calvo’s pushing legislation that would bring transparency to how Maryland’s police departments use their SWAT teams.

I’m hoping to be home in time to participate in this chat because I am very interested in what Mayor Calvo has to say. For those who are unfamiliar with the story, the mayor spoke at a Cato Policy Forum on September 12, 2008. The full 90 minute podcast can be downloaded here; the podcast below is a much shorter (just under 9 minutes) interview with the mayor following the Cato event.

Post Chat Report:
The chat with Mayor Calvo ended just a few minutes ago. The mayor stayed about a half hour over the scheduled chat to answer more questions from participants. I managed to have a couple of questions answered and the other questions which were asked were also very good. The chat was very informative and worthwhile. Readers who would like to read the full chat can click here.

The mayor answered questions about his ordeal with the SWAT team raiding his home as well as some legislation he is pushing in the State of Maryland. The proposed legislation would require all police departments with SWAT teams to provide monthly reports to the Attorney General, local officials and the general public. These reports would provide the number of raids, general locations, purpose, authorization, and results of raids. The overall goal is to provide additional oversight.

For more information about this legislation and how you can help, go to

Live Blogging the 2008 Libertarian Presidential Debate

7:06 p.m. Barr admires Ayn Rand.

7:10 p.m. Gravel describes the problems associated with the two party system, incorrectly calls the U.S. a democracy, slams big oil, and champions the Libertarian Party.

7:11 p.m. Phillies says vote Libertarian. Describes himself as “the centrist libertarian.” Slams the Bush Administration.

7:14 p.m. Network Down. Sorry.

7:20 p.m. Jingozian’s philosophical hero is Ben Franklin

7:21 p.m. Mary Ruwart’s philosophical hero is also Ayn Rand.

7:23 p.m. Steve Kubby’s philosophical hero was Nolan.

7:25 p.m. Root’s is Yogi Berra

7:30 p.m. Phillies says we should bring the troops home.

7:31 p.m. Jingozian says war in Iraq will not end if Barack Obama is elected…vote Libertarian.

7:33 p.m. Root says war in Iraq was a mistake. He supported the war in the beginning but now says it was a mistake. All future wars must be authorized by congress.

7:35 p.m. Barr says that we should have a defensive military policy rather than offensive.
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GOP Debate Open Thread

There is another Republican debate tonight on Fox News (8pm EST). I’ve missed the last two or three, so I may sit down and live-blog this one.

The candidates that will be participating are: Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, John McCain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Tom Tancredo and Fred Thompson.

Winners – Giuliani, Romney, Huckabee and McCain
Giuliani, in my opinion, won the debate. He managed to hit Clinton pretty hard and he managed to voice his support for some issues that conservatives care about, such as school choice and private Social Security accounts. Romney is still managing to spin his position changes well and took his shots at Clinton as well. Huckabee is managing to hide his past record and getting along by being humorous. I’ll give the guy this, he is good at communicating a message, but that message belongs to someone else and is far different from the populist crap he espouses on talk shows and what his past record is…but the crowd responded to him. McCain had one of the best reactions from the audience this evening. He managed to stay on point and took some shots at Romney and Cinton.

Losers – Paul, Tancredo, Hunter and Thompson
I’m a Ron Paul supporter, but every time he speaks…I cringe. He manages to turn every question, not matter what subject into a rant about our foreign policy. I don’t disagree with him at all, but he is preaching to an audience that doesn’t want to hear him. Tancredo just isn’t clear. We know he is anti-immigration, but he has trouble communicating his opinion that or any other topic. Hunter needs to get out of the race. The guy is either intellectually dishonest or just doesn’t understand economics. Thompson is simply not the savior that conservatives wanted. The more they find out about him, the less they support him.

[7:56pm] Fox News is going through the pre-debate focus group, all of whom are saying that they want another Ronald Reagan.

[7:58pm] They just gave out the text voting information. I’m going to go ahead and declare Ron Paul the winner of that. It’s just a hunch I have.

[8:02pm] Brit Hume is getting it started along with Carl Cameron, Chris Wallace and Wendell Goler, as well as a welcome message from the Republican Party of Florida and Gov. Charlie Crist.

[8:04pm] The candidates are lined up like this: Tancredo, Paul, Huckabee, Giuliani, Romney, Thompson, McCain and Hunter.
» Read more

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