Category Archives: The Contributors

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!

Me_Citi_Field

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 The Hayride.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 The Hayride.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.
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