Category Archives: The Contributors

Alan Dobson- first time caller, long time listener

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I have spent a very long time looking for the perfect website to contribute to, and after an exhausting and intense vetting process I decided to go with none other than TLP.

I am 23 years old and currently live in Oklahoma City. I haven’t always lived in the best state in the Union. I am the youngest of three in a military family. I grew up all over the United States. However, I call Southern Maryland my home. Even though I have moved on from Maryland, my pride will never fade (excluding anything involving their politics).

I currently work as the Oklahoma City district recruiter for a national insurance agency, and as a United States Army Reservist. I am no stranger to politics, having spent the last five years working or volunteering in many different capacities on campaigns and in Washington. I am definitely looking forward to the day I return politics. It was sometime in middle school I got my first taste of politics, and since then there has been no going back.

My political views are honestly one of a kind. I can be found on the corner of conservative, libertarian, and liberal. It can certainly get confusing when you get down to it. My beliefs can’t be divided into fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Even if I am fiscally conservative and have a few socially liberal beliefs. Why draw a line, life is too short to be boring. My life motto is, “Courage invites critics. Endure.” No matter how well you are doing something someone will have a problem with it.

In my free time I enjoy reading, fishing, and just hanging out with friends. If we ever meet you can buy me an old fashion. I am a big fan of the Washington Nationals and Oklahoma Sooners. You can reach me on Twitter, @_AlanDobson, or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/alan.dobson.18.

Hi. I’m Elle Woods and this is Bruiser Woods. And we’re both Gemini vegetarians!

Just. Kidding.

I am a 2014 graduate of Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in Government. Although I’m sure it all began when I read “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut in sixth grade, I started to develop my political ideas in earnest during my senior year of high school. They were forged in the crucible of liberal sentiment that was my college. My thinking was forcibly clarified, as I was in an environment where my ideas were opposed by a hostile majority. Classical liberals and those thereabout are in this position in American culture. However, I also learned a lot from the people I went to school with, and my mode of engagement shifted from debate to conversation. The Three Languages of Politics by Arnold Kling presents an excellent overview of the way I came to understand the ways my peers think.

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As an undergraduate I was not involved in campus social events or programs. I spent between 20-30 hours a week working for Harvard Recreation, and much more during breaks and exam weeks (no class = more work time). There are great people there, and I wouldn’t trade those hours for anything.

I identify as an Objectivist, and believe that good government is necessary for human flourishing. I think that the proper role of government is the proper role of force, because that’s what government is. So: I think a proper government should provide internal and external defense and a court system to help individuals peacefully settle disputes. When I discuss political philosophy, and philosophy widely, I don’t usually use explicitly Objectivist language (at least not immediately). I’ve found that it’s easier to speak in the language of a mutual respect for the facts of reality.

I grew up on a farm in Indiana, one of a set of triplets. I’m currently living in Boston and trying to make my way in the world. Right now I’m in the “big dreams small checking account” stage. I’ve wanted to be a writer for a long time, and this August I self-published my first novel, Climbing Olympus. It’s science fiction, which is my favorite genre. I learned a lot by writing it, and now that it’s done I’m working on several other short stories that I will develop into novels as well. I look to Gone with the Wind and Atlas Shrugged for inspiration.

In my spare time I read, write, and conversate. I enjoy history, economics, philosophy of all kinds, and vast swaths of fiction. I run, and I work on foreign languages I’ve studied over the years (Spanish, German, and Portuguese). I look forward to writing for The Liberty Papers. I think I have valuable things to contribute, and I know I’ll learn an immense amount.

Here’s my Facebook and here’s my website!

 

What the Heck is a Muscular Minarchist?

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I am a Muscular Minarchist.

What does that mean?

Well, the way I’ve introduced the concept for the past 20 or so years is”

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist. 

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

That’s a bit of “ha ha only serious” there… and really does fairly encapsulate my personal moral and ethical position… it’s the “elevator pitch” version as it were.

The next sentence of the elevator pitch is:

I believe in an absolutely minimalist government that provides a strong defense. I want a government that stays out of my wallet, out of my bedroom, and out of my business.

I realize that’s a lot to ask, but I don’t believe it should be.

I write, because from time to time I must express my anger, frustration, ire, pique, and general cussedness in a format that is unlikely to result in my imprisonment.

I can just see it now “Radical right wing gun nut takes out entire joint session of congress”

Hey a guy can dream can’t he?

Of course I’m not a radical right wing anything; I’m a radical about liberty. I make careful note that I am a philosophical libertarian (note the small “L”) and I take those principles seriously. It’s not just a question of politics, it’s a matter of morals and ethics. Since I hold all involuntary collectivism as an inherent evil; that, by the very definition used by modern media, is radical right wing.

The thing is, my opposition to involuntary collectivism is from all sides. I reject collectivist government, as much as I reject collectivist social policy, as much as I reject collectivist moral policy, or religion (not all religion, just the promulgation of involuntary collectivism through religion) , or any other concentration of the power to coercively limit liberty.

I believe in Liberty, Responsibility, Service, and Honor… I guess I’m just funny that way.

Okay so who am I?

Personally, I’m a husband, a father of three, a son, and a friend. I am a sincere and faithful, but dissenting and schismatic, Catholic. I am a cancer warrior, because I didn’t just survive cancer, I kicked its ass.

Professionally, I’m a veteran of the United States Air Force, an Aerospace Engineer and Computer Scientist by education; and an enterprise, infrastructure, systems, and security, architect and educator; by way of employment.

Passionately, I am a shooter, a singer, a guitar and bass player, a driver, a rider, a sailor, a pilot, a builder, a craftsman, a hunter, an outdoorsman, a reader, a writer, a poet, a cook and brewer, and a lover of fine food, and spirituous beverages.

Finally, by fundamental nature, I’m a hard core geek, about all of those things above, and more. I am by my nature compelled to learn, and love, and know, and understand, everything I care about, as fully and deeply as I possibly can.

I revel in my geekitude.

I work, play, game, read, speak, think, drink, and live, geek.

I am one of the original co-founders, contributors, and editors of  The Liberty Papers. I’ve been here from the beginning, and plan to be here until they pull the plug and turn out the lights.

And now, I’m getting tired of talking about me, so if you want more, look at my personal blog… or my post archive here on The Liberty Papers, and let the ranting begin again.

NOTE: This profile was originally published November 22nd 2005, for the launch of The Liberty Papers. The author was lazy and didn’t get around to updating it until October 16th 2014… when it was pointed out that in the intervening almost decade, he had somehow managed to acquire a wife and children (he met his wife shortly after the founding of the site), which he had neglected to mention. 

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Christopher Bowen, TLP’s Token Liberal Libertarian

Taken in an independent coffee shop in Fairfield, Connecticut. I can hea "hipster!" from all across the nation.Hello to everyone. My name is Christopher Bowen, and though I’ve been writing professionally for about eight years now, this is my political debut. I also come at this from a challenging perspective: in a field where the term is often openly dismissed, I am what is called a “liberaltarian”: a libertarian who came from the liberal side of the divide.

… Are they all gone? How many are left? Wow, that’s not a lot. Well, at least we can stretch our legs…

In actuality, I don’t believe there’s much of a difference between myself and others like me – the bleeding heart libertarians, if you will – and those who come from a more conservative base. It sums up simply, in my mind: the only tangible difference between a conservative libertarian and a liberal libertarian is the hill they’re willing to die on. A conservative libertarian will not back down on issues relating to commerce; keep the markets free at all cost, Adam Smith style. Conservatives tend to come over from the Republican party out of disgust at the large spending sprees of the Reagan and Bush era. Liberal libertarians like me, on the other hand, consider social issues and civil liberties to be sacrosanct. I’m more flexible on economic policy, but when it comes to our ability to live free lives – everything from LGBT issues to gun ownership – I am a fierce advocate for freedom, and unlike many “liberals”, I understand that is a two way street; I don’t believe the government should disallow a loving couple from marrying, but I also believe the person too bigoted to make their wedding cake has the right to act on that. I left the Democratic Party when I learned that they were just fine with wars, the surveillance state and other issues when one of their guys was in charge.

My political evolution has been like many at this site, if only from the other direction. Living in Connecticut most of my life, I grew up a standard, blue state, Clinton-era Democrat, though I’ve always had a mistrust of authority and government. That has reflected in my recent voting patterns, culminating in my support for Gary Johnson’s 2012 Presidential bid. I started to stretch my “damn the man” legs a bit when I started writing about the video games industry professionally in 2006, with part of my work being a series of articles investigating a myriad of issues from a pro-consumer viewpoint. I wrote professionally for six years, though my games writing has become sporadic of late, as I look to broaden my horizons and make my political writing debut.

Personally, I’m 34, still live in Connecticut, and currently work in IT. I also work ice hockey from the semi-professional level and down, primarily as a linesman. I’m a four year veteran of the United States Navy, where I served on the USS George Washington during the Afghanistan and second Iraq wars.

My Twitter is @superbus, and my brand spanking new Facebook “fan” page for all of my writing is here. I also have a Google Plus account that I really should start using more. I look forward to this new challenge in my career, and hopefully can turn some opinions on what a “liberaltarian” is.

Christopher Bowen covered the video games industry for eight years before moving onto politics and general interest. He is the Editor in Chief of Gaming Bus, and has worked for Diehard GameFan, Daily Games News, TalkingAboutGames.com and has freelanced elsewhere. He is a “liberaltarian” – a liberal libertarian. A network engineer by trade, he lives in Derby CT.

Albert Northrup: My Own Little World

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I have been wanting to blog for quite some time and I want to thank Kevin for the opportunity to post my humble opinions to The Liberty Papers.

With that being said, my name is Albert Northrup. I am 36 years old and I currently reside in Oviedo, FL, which is just north of Orlando, Florida or Flori-duh, as I like to call it. :) I hold a B.A. in Political Science and an MBA from the University of Central Florida (UCF), where I was a member of the College Republicans and Delta Tau Delta Fraternity. Side note: UCF is the second largest university in the country and we were also ranked the second best looking student body. We are a good-looking group of people. You can’t argue with facts. :) Go Knights! Charge On!  I also hold a JD from Barry University School of Law where I competed for their nationally-recognized trial advocacy team and moot court team. As a law student, I was chapter president of the Federalist Society and treasurer of the American Association for Justice.

Politically, I am a classical liberal/right libertarian. I believe that there are three functions of the government: (1) to protect against foreign invasion; (2) to promote justice and defend against injustice; and (3) to protect property rights. My love for politics began at the young age of six when my father took me to the voting booth in 1984 to vote for Ronald Reagan. I began to develop many of my own views on government during the 1994  midterm elections while I was a senior in high school. Since then, my political views have evolved from staunch conservative to libertarian (small “l”). I am still a registered Republican and I want to believe Ronald Reagan when he said that “at the very heart of conservatism is libertarianism.” However, I find it unfortunate that the GOP has been hijacked by big-government social conservatives who are just as statist as the big-government Democrats they criticize.

One of the beautiful things about this country is that we have the right to disagree. You won’t agree with everything that I say and I won’t agree with everything that you say. However, I ascribe to the old adage that “even though I disapprove of what you say, I will fight to the death your right to say it.”

I am the proud father of a 17 year old boy. He is my pride and joy and an outstanding soccer player. When I’m not debating with someone on law or politics, you can find me playing soccer, running, playing poker, in the gym, or at the gun range. I am a huge fan of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team, the Buffalo Bills, the New York Yankees, and the UCF Knights. You can follow me on Facebook or on . I look forward to our Twitter dialogue.

Greetings All – Sorry in Advance!

Good day to my fellow lovers of liberty! My name is Matthew Souders – I am a lifelong conservative, but don’t let that fool you into thinking I’ve always held the same beliefs – or that I always knew what I was talking about. Or that I know what I’m talking about now. Warning – headshot below may cause brain damage!

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NYAAHH!!

Now that we got that out of the way, I’ll tell you a little about my history. Some basic facts that have contributed to my political development.

1) My father was a Navy submariner – he trained as a nuclear technician and gradually rose through the officer ranks. He saw all of the strengths and all of the weaknesses of the Navy, and is not shy about discussing either side of that ledger (anything he’s allowed to discuss, at any rate!). So I developed a general respect for our men and women in uniform.

2) I am legally blind, and therefore faced a number of challenges in life. My mobility is limited (can’t drive), my freedom is cherished.

3) I spent most of my young adult life agnostic, but, through a long and winding philosophical journey and scholarly study of Catholic history and teachings, I returned to the faith in which I was baptized, and did so with great enthusiasm. I believe that the long history of Catholic scholarship is ideal for a scientist seeking faith.

4) I began my political life a dedicated Republican (briefly, a denizen of FreeRepublic.com, to my lasting sorrow). I even still have a couple of counter-protest shirts!

5) Since then, I’ve developed a deep skepticism of all sources of concentrated power. Big corporations, big government, big labor, big lobbies, big press, big churches. I’m a Catholic, so how can that be? Because the Catholic Church no longer exercises centralized power over anything but the faith itself. I’d have been very skeptical of a church that ruled over kings had I lived back then, and, in fact, most of the worst parts of Catholic history were directly the result of that kind of power. But Catholics figured that out on their own and dialed back the Papacy, and the authority of the Pope is now limited to matters of faith. That’s the great thing about 2000 years of scholarly work – change might come slowly, but it comes, and it always moves in a direction that is progress….without being progressive.

6) I am also a scientist and jack of many trades. My current profession is meteorology (specifically at the intersection of longer-range forecasting and seasonal and climate forecasting), which means you’ll probably get a lot of commentary from me about the state of climate “science”, since, to get a Masters in Meteorology, I attended the University that is directly tied to the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize in climate alarmism. This means I got a big whiff of the stench of dry-rot coming from climatologists who think they know anything about the weather.

All of which has left me in an awkward position. I’m socially conservative, but not in the top-down way that the GOP is except on the matter of abortion. I’m pro-liberty, first and foremost, but highly skeptical of some planks in the straight Libertarian platform. I’m a man without a party. The closest description for me would be: conservative counter-cultural populist.

I’m happy to join the Liberty Papers as a commentator and lightning rod of contention, since it seems I’m not really on anyone’s side at the moment. I variously get accused of being too libertarian by Republicans and too Republican by libertarians…it’s a boatload of fun.

I’ll be around to annoy all of you soon!

Sorry about that in advance. :)

Sarah Baker: Excited to Be Here

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I am a mother, a libertarian, a lawyer and a writer.

I grew up in one of those families where everyone shouts at each about politics and then gets confused when other people think we’re “fighting.” This is just how we talk! I was in fifth grade the first time one of my teachers called me stubborn and opinionated. Even then, I took that as a compliment.

I am the person everyone else complains about for polluting the social media newsfeeds with political screeds. I put up with the inspirational greeting cards, the workout reports, and the photos of their latest paleo masterpiece. So I figure we’re even.

I have never been anything but a libertarian. I came out of the womb this way. Through my high school and college years, I did not know other libertarians outside my own family. When I was in college and finally read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, I thought to myself, “Whew, what a relief. There’re others out there and one of them even wrote a book!”

I know Rand did not call herself a libertarian, but I use the word to mean, very simply, an advocate of liberty.

I graduated from college with a degree so worthless I will not record it here. The best I can say is that, recognizing its limitations, I immediately set about getting into law school. I obtained my J.D. in 2000 and passed the California Bar Exam later that same year.

That was about when the Internet came into my life, putting a world of other libertarians at my fingertips for the first time. I was fully looking forward to my future as the next Alan Isaacman, arguing persuasively before the U.S. Supreme Court on matters of Great Import.

Alas, I instead spent many hours at a desk writing (concededly brilliant) briefs for insurance companies. In 2002, I ran for office as a Libertarian. In the race for California State Assembly, District 76, I received 3.51% of the vote.

In 2004, I left California and returned to my native Montana, where I spent even more years writing (equally brilliant) briefs for the people who sue insurance companies. I became involved in local government by serving on the County Planning Board and County Board of Adjustment, the latter of which I remain a member. While it is a struggle at times to remain true to my principles in these capacities, I think it is important for libertarians to make the effort. Otherwise, local governments will always be comprised of statists. I took an oath to uphold the law, which I do. Most days, I leave our meetings believing that I have done some small part to ensure that government—assuming we have to have it (this is not an assumption I actually make)—works the way it is supposed to work.

Recently, I quit my day job to Be A Writer. In the time since, I have been working on a libertarian-themed fantasy novel, which I hope to finish sometime before the end of times. I have also tried to start a website called Liberty Ground Zero. Between not really being qualified for such things and embroiled in other endeavors, the website has been “under construction” for some time now. It will likely be completed in about the same time frame as the novel, which is to say sometime before the Rapture. In this context, imagine my pleasure and overwhelming giddiness at being accepted as a contributor to the Liberty Papers. I look forward to working hard to deserve this opportunity.

I live in Montana with my six-year-old daughter and a house full of pets. I can be found on Twitter and Facebook. If you follow, rest assured I will pollute your newsfeed with stubborn, opinionated political screeds on a near daily basis until you yearn for the respite of another paleo recipe.

Sarah Baker is a libertarian, attorney and writer. She lives in Montana with her daughter and a house full of pets.

A little bit about Tom Knighton

First, I’d like to take a moment to mention how great it is to be posting something to The Liberty Papers. In 2009, I joined with a friend in a project he had started where we blogged about area politics. I’d blogged a little bit here and there before about whatever random things, but my libertarian streak had never really gotten a chance to fly. » Read more

First, I’d like to take a moment to mention how great it is to be posting something to The Liberty Papers. In 2009, I joined with a friend in a project he had started where we blogged about area politics. I’d blogged a little bit here and there before about whatever random things, but my libertarian streak had never really gotten a chance to fly.

Suddenly, I had a platform. To say it changed my life was…well, a significant understatement. It lead to me getting to know some pretty cool people, many of whom are here at The Liberty Papers. It gave me the opportunity to first write for a local newspaper, and then eventually buy it. While that didn’t necessarily work out, it was yet another example of me being able to write a lot of words in a fairly short amount of time. So, I did like a lot of people and decided to write a book. Bloody Eden came out in August and is available at Amazon (or your favorite book website for that matter).

Now that we’ve gotten the history out of the way, a bit about the politics. First, I’m probably best described as a classical liberal. At least, that’s what every “What kind of libertarian are you?” quiz has told me, and they’re probably right. I’m a constitutional libertarian, for the most part. If the Constitution says they can do it, it doesn’t mean they should, but if the Constitution says they can’t, then they can’t. It just doesn’t get any simpler than that.

I look forward to contributing here at The Liberty Papers.

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.

    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.

    Quote of the Day: Pye r Squared Edition

    Former Liberty Papers contributor and Editor-in-Chief of United Liberty Jason Pye has been making the rounds lately speaking at FreedomWorks’ Spring Break College Summit in Washington D.C. and interviewing leaders in the liberty movement such as Cato’s David Boaz, Sen. Mike Lee, and Igor Birman.

    Here’s just an excerpt from his recent speech entitled: “Standing on the Sidelines is Not an Option for the Freedom Movement”

    Recently, I had dinner with a friend and we were talking about some of the issues in the freedom movement, including the resistance to those who are interested in our message. He explained that he found it odd that those who are the most likely to quote Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek are the same people who face so much animosity from some people in our movement. I completely agreed with his assessment.

    In his book, Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman explained why economic liberty serves as the basis for a free society. From where I stand, it makes no sense for any of us to be fighting amongst ourselves when the very basis of liberty is under attack. We should have discussions along the way about ancillary issues, but we have to understand that person who disagrees with us on 10% or 20% of issues is not our enemy.

    Very well said, Jason.

    The Right to Bear Arms Highest Ranked Topic at The Liberty Papers

    Every now and then I take a look at the sitemeter for The Liberty Papers to get some idea of how many people are actually reading and what they are reading. When I went to the pages ranked by entry and exit, I couldn’t help but notice how many pages were being viewed concerning the 2nd Amendment or the right to bear arms. Of the top 20 entry pages, 8 are 2nd Amendment related and the same is true for exit pages.

    Given how much discussion there is at present time about the meaning of the 2nd Amendment, I suppose this shouldn’t come to much of a surprise. Since this is an important as well as popular issue, and rather than restate many of the same arguments in favor of the right to bear arms yet again, I thought I would link these 8 posts here by entry page ranking.

    #2 (351 visits) The Best Explanation of the Second Amendment I Have Ever Heard by Stephen Littau (2007)

    #5 (155 visits) Why Does the Second Amendment Exist? by Eric (2005)

    #7 (133 visits) Larry Correia on Gun Control by Quincy (2012)

    #10 (59 visits) Yes, the Second Amendment really means what it says… and that means you too Chicago by Chris (2010)

    #13 (40 visits) Random Acts of Violence Can Be Mitigated But Not Prevented by Stephen Littau (2012)

    #14 (39 visits) Hillary Clinton: Second Amendment Defender? by Stephen Littau (2008)

    #15 (38 visits) When is Armed Rebellion Appropriate? by tarran (2008)

    #17 (31 visits) Harold Fish is Free! by tarran (2009)

    Read these posts again and let’s discuss them in the comments section.

    Your Incredibly Stupid Progressive Economic Propaganda for the Day

    There is so much economic ignorance/stupidity in this video (below), I wouldn’t even know where to begin. John Maynard Keynes himself would probably be embarrassed by this video courtesy of the California* Federation of Teachers and narrated by the great economist of our time Ed Asner.

    I don’t have much else to say about this video right now, it’s too easy (though feel free to rip it apart here…or defend it). Actually, I am in the planning stages of writing a book that challenges this sort of mentality (I’m shooting for a release date about May 2013). I’m hoping Liberty Papers readers will buy it; I will have discounts for Liberty Papers readers.

    And now for your, um…enjoyment[?]: Tax the Rich: An animated fairy tale**

    WARNING: This is 7 minutes and 50 seconds of your life you will never get back.

    *Oh yes, the state of California which is being run by people with this kind of mentality! Yeah, their economic policies have been working great, haven’t they?

    **Fairy tale is actually a very good description.

    Former Liberty Papers Contributor Jason Pye to be a Panelist in Cato Discussion

    Former Liberty Papers contributor and current editor at United Liberty Jason Pye is going to do something I have only dreamed of doing: being a panelist in a Cato Institute discussion.

    If you want to know more and possibly attend this event, here’s a link to Jason’s post at United Liberty.

    As for me, I will be watching the pod cast and sharing it here once Cato makes it available.

    Did Justice Roberts Help Romney and Provide a Path to Repeal ObamaCare?

    Over at Red State, Erick Ericson theorizes that Chief Justice John Roberts joined the majority opinion as a way to put ObamaCare back into the hands of the political branches to decide the law’s fate:

    The Democrats have been saying for a while that individual pieces of Obamacare are quite popular. With John Roberts’ opinion, the repeal fight takes place on GOP turf, not Democrat turf. The all or nothing repeal has always been better ground for the GOP and now John Roberts has forced everyone onto that ground. Oh, and as I mentioned earlier, because John Roberts concluded it [the individual mandate] was a tax, the Democrats cannot filibuster its repeal because of the same reconciliation procedure the Democrats used to pass it.

    It seems very, very clear to me in reviewing John Roberts’ decision that he is playing a much longer game than us and can afford to with a life tenure. And he probably just handed Mitt Romney the White House.

    Our own Doug Mataconis said he “would not be surprised to see it be a 6-3 decision” way back in April for the following reason:

    Ordinarily, the most senior Justice in the majority gets to decide who writes the majority opinion. However, if the Chief Justice is in the majority he gets to make that decision. If Kennedy ends up voting to uphold the mandate then I could see Chief Justice Roberts joining him so that he can write the opinion himself and make the precedential value of the decision as limited as possible.

    Erick Erickson also mentioned on his radio program that many conservatives and libertarians who aren’t thrilled with Romney as the nominee will put aside their objections and vote for him if it means repealing ObamaCare.

    I hate to say it but I think Erickson has a point. ObamaCare being upheld is a game changer. Prior to this decision that was supposed to strike down all or part of ObamaCare, I was absolutely certain that I would enthusiastically vote for the Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson rather than settle for the lesser of the two evils. With ObamaCare being upheld, now I have to say I’m not so sure. I’m not normally a single issue voter but if ObamaCare isn’t stopped and soon, we will be stuck with it for at least a generation.

    The problem is though, it might already be too late. Several things have to happen just right. First Romney must be elected and the GOP must take control of the Senate and hold the House. Second, we have to trust that Romney and the Republicans in congress will actually follow through. We’ve been disappointed before.

    TBD Names Doug Mataconis Among “The 51 D.C. Journalists with the Most Klout”

    Liberty Papers contributor Doug Mataconis has been named by a D.C. website called TBD as one of “The 51 D.C. Journalists with the Most Klout.”

    According to the website the criteria for making this distinguished list is as follows:

    If Twitter is a popularity contest, then Klout is the judge. Using an algorithm that factors “true reach,” “amplification,” and “network impact,” the website assigns every tweep a score, on a scale of 1 to 100. It’s not perfect, but nonetheless, here’s how Klout scored notable members of D.C.’s press corps.

    Doug made the list at number 46 with a score of 74. This is what the site had to say about Doug:

    Doug Mataconis: 74
    “Lawyer, libertarian, Yankee fan. Very Opinionated, ‘Hell bound sinner,’ blogger.” Sample tweet: “OMG the extent to which these people don’t understand what Senate Reconciliation means is incredible #EconDebate.” Followers: 5,456


    In addition to writing here* at The Liberty Papers, Doug is a contributor to Outside the Beltway, writes at his own blog called Below the Beltway, and as mentioned above, very active on Twitter with an impressive following.

    On behalf of all of us here at The Liberty Papers, congratulations Doug!

    » Read more

    Policing the Right Way: A Positive Personal Encounter with a Highway Patrolman

    Many of my detractors may assume that I am someone who encounters the police on a regular basis since I am very critical of bad cops. The truth is personal encounters with the police are very rare for me; it’s very rare that I get pulled over and I haven’t had the cops called on me since I was in my early 20’s.

    Well, my streak of not getting pulled over came to an end last Thursday. I was driving to my mother-in-law’s house when I saw the dreaded flashing lights in my rearview mirror. As I pulled over having no idea why I was being stopped, I started thinking about the “10 Rules for Dealing with Police.”
    With my window rolled down and my hands on the steering wheel (always a good idea to keep your hands where the police can see them) the highway patrolman asked why I thought he pulled me over. I shrugged and patiently waited to hear his response.

    So why did I get pulled over? I didn’t have a license plate on my front bumper. The bracket for my front plate had broken off some months ago. When he told me his reason for pulling me over, I pointed to the plate that I had put just inside the front windshield. From there the patrolman explained that by Colorado law, the plate has to be attached to the front of the vehicle because sometimes the plate falls off in hit-and-run collisions (a plate left at the scene makes it very easy to identify the vehicle’s owner).

    I have lived in three states, one of which does not even require a front plate at all (at least when I lived there). I wasn’t sure exactly what the Colorado law was so I took the gamble that placing the plate on the dash would be good enough. It wasn’t.

    Of course there’s the old expression: “ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law.” The patrolman was well within his rights to write a citation but he chose to give me a verbal warning instead. A verbal warning and something else: a business card with his name and badge number.

    The patrolman handed me the business card and said that I could call the number on the card to make a comment about the stop whether good or bad.

    “When did they start doing this?” I wondered. I was taken aback. What kind of comments would I leave if I actually called the number?

    As I reflected on this, on balance I thought the patrolman did his job well. Though he could have written the citation, he decided to inform me instead of punish me. For my part, I followed rule #1 (Always be calm and cool) and was very respectful (again, this may surprise my detractors that I wasn’t being snarky toward the patrolman. It probably helped that my wife answered the one question that annoyed me: “Where you folks headed?”). In following this first rule, I didn’t need to worry about the other nine.

    But the thing that impressed me the most about this encounter with an officer of the law was the business card. Apparently the Colorado DPS actually cares about how well their patrolmen do their jobs! How refreshing! This in a time of police scandals, use of unnecessary force, and “professional courtesy” that has plagued the Denver Police Department and departments across the country.

    What the business card policy (?) says to me is that yes, the police work for me. It’s a statement that recognizes that the job of the police it to serve and protect me: their customer, their boss, the person who pays his salary.

    This is how the police should do their jobs and I hope this is something we will see more of more generally.

    TLP Contributor Stephen Gordon Injured In Car Accident

    Via Jason Pye, I’m passing along news that many of you may already be aware of:

    Stephen Gordon, a very good friend of mine and fellow libertarian, was involved in a serious car accident on Tuesday evening in his hometown of Hartselle, Alabama. From what I’ve been told, a truck crossed over into his lane and hit him head on, causing his car to flip. In addition to Steve’s lungs collapsing, he suffered broken ribs and a broken ankle. He was airlifted to a hospital in Huntsville and is in critical, but stable condition. The good news is his prognosis is positive.

    I know I speak for everyone at The Liberty Papers when I say that we pass along our thoughts and prayers for Steve’s recovery.

    Eyewitness Misidentification: Revisiting a Previous Discussion

    Disclaimer: The views expressed here at The Liberty Papers either by the post authors or views found in the comments section do not necessarily reflect the views of The Innocence Project nor its affiliates.

    In support of our fundraising efforts for The Innocence Project, I have decided to dedicate at least one post per week over the next four weeks to the cause of criminal justice reform – many of which are the very reforms The Innocence Project are working to bring about. As of this writing, you readers have already donated $310 – 62% of our $500 goal! Thanks to everyone who has donated so far or plans to donate. Remember: your donations are 100% tax deductible.

    With that out of the way, now I will turn your attention to the topic at hand: Eyewitness Misidentification.

    Back almost three years ago to the day, I wrote a post about Troy Davis who had his death row appeal denied despite seven eyewitnesses recanting their testimonies (this case is still winding its way through the courts; here is an update on where the case stands today). As is often the case whether here at The Liberty Papers or at other blogs, the discussion that followed my post was actually a great deal more interesting than the post itself IMHO. Jeff Molby, a person who comments on a somewhat regular basis, really got the discussion going with several Liberty Papers contributors and readers.

    The part of the post that Jeff believed to be “misleading” was the following statement I took from The Innocence Project webpage that dealt with the role eyewitness misidentification plays in wrongful convictions:

    Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in more than 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing.

    While eyewitness testimony can be persuasive evidence before a judge or jury, 30 years of strong social science research has proven that eyewitness identification is often unreliable. Research shows that the human mind is not like a tape recorder; we neither record events exactly as we see them, nor recall them like a tape that has been rewound. Instead, witness memory is like any other evidence at a crime scene; it must be preserved carefully and retrieved methodically, or it can be contaminated.

    This was Jeff’s response:

    Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in more than 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing.

    That’s a misleading stat. The relevant stat would be the percentage of convictions based on eyewitness identification that were later overturned due to DNA testing.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — March 17, 2008 @ 12:51 pm

    Perhaps the reason Jeff found the quote was misleading was my fault rather than The Innocence Project’s. The page that I took the quote from goes into greater detail complete with links for further reading. From my reading of their material, it seems to me that the statistics they are dealing with are from their now 266 exonerations. As the discussion unfolded, this forced me to do some additional research outside of The Innocence Project [Thanks a lot Jeff : ) ] to see if I could find more data to support –or refute The Innocence Project’s claim. Fellow contributor and lawyer by trade, Doug Mataconis also weighed in with his thought about the reliability of eyewitness testimony.

    The highlights from this discussion are below the fold.
    » Read more

    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.

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