Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

November 21, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the first posting here at The Liberty Papers.

Twelve months and exactly 400 posts later, and thanks to some great contributors, I think its fair to say we’ve done alot. Hey, 52,000+ visitors can’t be wrong.

Great work everyone !

Posted By: Doug Mataconis @ 6:40 pm || Permalink || Comments (6) || TrackBack URI || Categories: General,The Contributors
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September 12, 2006

Hi Everybody!

First things first, time for introductions. My name’s Mike. I’m a 19 year old who currently attends Iowa State University, located in lovely Ames, IA, but I’m originally from Omaha, NE. I’m studying to be an Aerospace Engineer, which could explain part of the reason why I blog about politics: it gives me something to do that a) has absolutely nothing to do with calculus, b)I actually enjoy, and c) doesn’t make me want to tear my hair out. Anyway, I’m also in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) and I plan on commissioning as an officer in the USAF and making a career out of it, if they’ll let me. I’m an Eagle Scout, which hopefully tells you quite a bit about me right there. I used to enjoy camping and still do somewhat, but I’m a much bigger fan of climbing, especially 14’ers in Colorado. Better views, and I get to eat real food for dinner and sleep in a bed. I also enjoy hunting upland game birds, although in Nebraska the activity should properly be titled “morning stroll through field with shotgun,” because there never seems to be too many birds.

As you might have guessed, I’m a pretty big geek. I love airplanes and anything to do with them. I’ve gotten laughed at numerous times for referring to an airplane as “sexy.” I also love to read. I used to be real big into military techno-thrillers along the lines of Clancy’s work, but I’ve kind of gotten away from that in recent years, primarily because I unfortunately only have a limited amount of time to read, and so much important stuff to read it in. I have gotten back into reading fiction with some Heinlein, and fully intend on reading everything he’s written sometime in the future, but for now I’ve been focusing on military strategy documents, papers, and books, primarily on fighting counter-insurgency.

But that’s the kind of stuff that belongs over at my home blog, the No Angst Zone (shameless plug #1). What you’re interested in is the libertarian side of things. My early political views were shaped by my Dad who would best be described as a Reagan Republican. While I would whole-heartedly back the GOP if they were to return to the Reagan days, I’m much more to the libertarian side of things than a typical Reagan Republican. A lot of that change happened when I started reading libertarian blogs; Eric’s, Brad’s, Robert’s, T.F.’s, and Perry’s are all some I started reading 2 or so years ago. Since that time I’ve become closely acquainted with Jefferson, Madison, Locke, Smith, Bastiat, and several others, in part thanks to those guys. Sadly, I feel quite alone when it comes to being able to discuss these people and their ideas. I’ve become known as the “crazy libertarian” in my group of friends; I even had one come up to me and ask me to explain to her what exactly libertarianism is.

So. Now that you know about me, what do I believe in? I feel that the Founding Fathers knew what the hell they were doing, so perhaps we should stop trying to interpret what they “really” meant and simply take the Constitution for what it is. I think that the most important Amendment to the Constitution was the 10th. I believe in unalienable rights to life, liberty, and property. I believe in the right of people to act aggressively and if necessary violently to protect their unalienable rights, whether from intrusion by other citizens or by the government. I believe in a strong foreign policy. I think such a foreign policy is necessary because we’re currently engaged in a war that has been going on for 30 odd years and that will be going on for another hundred. Finally, I think having a federal drinking age of 21 is one of the stupidest things this government has done in the past 25 years. (Come on, you know that last one was coming; I am a college student, after all.)

Most importantly, I believe in me. And in every other individual out there. The individual is what always has and always will make this country great. It is the right and idea of the individual that must be protected above all else.

Like I said above, my personal blog is the No Angst Zone. It’s a mix of libertarian and military/foreign policy themed material, with some humor thrown in every now and again. Feel free to check it out if you’re interested.

Finally, I’d just like to say thanks to Brad for inviting me to contribute over here. I’m definitely excited to be given the opportunity.

(In case you didn’t get the reference in the title, head on over to wikipedia. I’m a HUGE Simpsons fan.)

Posted By: mike @ 10:13 pm || Permalink || Comments (10) || TrackBack URI || Categories: General,The Contributors
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July 9, 2006

Interrupting Serious Blogging

I don’t care about Italy winning the World Cup or the latest Pirates of the Carribean movie setting a new Hollywood record.

Serious, liberty-minded blogging will now resume.

Posted By: Kevin Boyd @ 7:33 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || TrackBack URI || Categories: General,The Contributors
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May 26, 2006

Just Call Me Token…

My Blog

I make it my business to understand what makes people tick. In high school, by virtue of being big, older-looking, and trustworthy, my peers laid upon me the mantle of lay psychologist. In undergrad, I studied the biology of the brain itself. And then on a lark I went off to england to get a master’s in human evolution and primate behavio(u)ral ecology. Now, at 22, I’m trying (mostly failing) to keep playing primatologist as I enter my second year of medical school, eventually to become a child and adolescent psychiatrist. Understanding a man’s political ideology is in many ways merely a matter of understanding his psychological mindset. Understanding the nuts and bolts of how a person interacts with and within a political system merely an extension of behavioral ecology (of which economics is a subfield).

I blog because I love to write and I love to think. I love writing about why I think the way I do (philosophy). I blog because I think I have an interesting take on the world, being a broadly educated guy who attempts to apply the lessons of evolution and ecology to human interaction. I blog because you can only have one (1.25 in my case) career, but you can have many interests. And, of course, I blog because it’s a good ego boost.

Words and Numbers. That’s how I see the world. Words are important, they define what we experience, they help us categorize and systematize it. They help turn the infinite complexity around us into an intelligible construct. And numbers. Whether Newton’s Theory of Universal Gravitation or the Laws of Supply and Demand, numbers are a powerful predictive force, even when it comes to understanding the choices that as complex a being as a human makes.

I call myself a classical liberal because I’m dissatisfied with both groups claiming to be the tradition’s ideological heirs. Libertarians deify self-interest in an almost Randian way while failing to acknowledge that the market has limitations. Progressives on the other hand, posit that freedom and comfort are interchangeable and close their eyes to the evidence that humans are and will always be self-interested. One group takes too superficial a view of a valid concept (the efficiency of the market). In addition to its oxymoronic motto of “greater freedom through increased regulation!”, the other posits a political system based upon assumptions known to be completely invalid (group selection). Both are childish.

As a classical liberal I believe government’s role should be minimal, to protect our inalienable rights and to intervene where self-interested individuals acting in a self-interested manner will fail to do what is necessary to preserve their rights and maintain their liberty(Tragedy of the Commons). It’s what Chris calls minarchy. The market isn’t perfect. If it was we wouldn’t need any government. I will from time to time talk about where government intrusion may be necessary (education for instance…although not as it is now), but I will never say the state intrusion is good, merely necessary. Just like an amputation that could save your life.

Oh. For those of you who don’t get the joke in the title, here you go. I’m not black, but I do own a few do-rags, can rap along with Twista and Busta when I feel like it, and…I can dance.

Posted By: Nick @ 8:16 pm || Permalink || Comments (24) || TrackBack URI || Categories: The Contributors
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November 22, 2005

About Quincy – The (highly) abridged version

In the blogosphere I go by Quincy, which is a nickname I picked up in high school. I’m a twenty-something working as a software designer at an insurance company here in Marin County, CA. Odd place to find someone with my pro-liberty beliefs, I know. More on that in a moment. I spend my off time as a trumpet player, classical singer, composer, and conductor. I also spend it blogging, obviously.

So, why the nickname? Well, as you may have imagined, Marin County is not exactly friendly to those who don’t ascribe to the progressive ideology, and as you can gather from my presence at this blog, I don’t. Actually, my interest in liberty was born out of Marin’s progressive orthodoxy. I grew up here, and for a while as an early teen bought into the progressive ideology. Then I began to compare Marin’s politics with the writings of the founding fathers and realized something was wrong. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was quite Jeffersonian in my beliefs and a constant pain in the rear to my civics teacher, who was a devotee of FDR.

So, that’s it. If you want to get to know more about my personal views, come on by my blog, Pith ‘n Vinegar, and check it out.

Posted By: Quincy @ 9:31 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || TrackBack URI || Categories: The Contributors
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Robert: a thumbnail sketch

I, along with my co-contributors, recognize that liberty inheres to the generic viagra individual; liberty is not that which is granted by governments or benevolent rulers. It's as an individual that I think and act, with the full understanding that I, alone, am responsible for the consequences of my thoughts and actions. In light of that, it is incumbent upon me to cultivate a set of core principles—guided by ethics and morals—by which to govern my life. But don’t misunderstand, I’m not speaking of moralism, but rather morality. Among other things, that is what informs my world-view, my political philosophy, etc.

I’m not real fond of any of our major political parties, but I have, in the recent past, held my nose and

voted Republican. However, the way things look at present, I’m seriously thinking of voting for gridlock. It may be the best short-term solution to the problem of ever-evaporating individual liberties.

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While I happen to be a Christian, I'm somewhat atypical. My beliefs are inconsistent with the religious right, as well as the religious left. In short, I’m not a proselytizer, so suffice it to say: my faith will rarely, if ever,

be the subject of my posts on this particular blog.

I’m happily divorced and the single father of three kids: Kelsey, Levi and Amaris. I’m viagra or cialis a residential architect, primarily focusing on the various classical European styles; those of the 17th through the 19th centuries.

One more thing. I just want to emphasize the fact that I own my life…who owns you?

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Posted By: Robert @ 9:22 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || TrackBack URI || Categories: The Contributors
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Who Am I ? Why Am I Here ?

A very good question, some people who know me might say.

I’m a 37 year old attorney living in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. Those of you who know Washington know that it is surrounding by an eight-lane highway called the Beltway. My homestead is about 30 miles south of the Beltway, hence the admittedly unoriginal name for my blog, Below The Beltway

My experience with politics goes further back than I care to remember sometimes. I can remember following the Presidential election of 1976 as a class project in 3rd grade. I was in 6th grade when the Iranian Hostage Crisis took place and recall celebrating with a few friends the day Ronald Reagan was elected President. For a time in high school and college I was involved in politics on the local and state levels in the Republican Party, volunteering on campaigns, serving for several months as unpaid volunteer/intern in the District office of what was then the only conservative Congressman in the entire State of New Jersey. And, it was probably my interest in politics that most signficantly motivated my decision to go to law school.

On the intellectual side, I guess its fair to say that I started out as a conservative of some variety and gradually became a libertarian. In college, I was a subscriber to National Review and started reading Milton Friedman and other economists. That eventually led me to Hayek, Mises, and Rothbard. Then the floodgates started to open. I discovered Ayn Rand and read everything she wrote as fast as I could. For a time, I considered myself an Objectivist but, that infatuation started to fade as I became more familiar with some of the more cult-like elements of that philosophy.

I’ve also distanced myself from the more extreme elements of the libertarian movement. I was, I will admit, not entirely a supporter of the first Gulf War. I found the idea of American soldiers being sent into battle to defend the Kuwaiti and Saudi Royal families and their 15th Century ideologies to be offensive. I opposed the interventions in Somalia and the former Yugoslavia. But then, September 11th happened. Call me a pro-war libertarian who watched the Twin Towers fall live on television. All I know is that the evidence is clear that Western Civilization is in a fight for its own survival right now. Following the naive foreign policy advocated by the Libertarian Party and its pacifist allies is, quite frankly, a prescription for suicide.

Anyway, I started blogging, most appropriately I might say, on July 4th 2005. I’d been reading blogs for years before then and had told myself on more than one occasion that I would start one myself. Along with research, writing is one of the things I enjoy most about being an attorney and its nice to have an outlet to write about the things that interest, amuse or annoy me on a daily basis.

In addition to writing, I enjoy listening to music, specifically jazz. Being from New Jersey, I suppose its inevitable that I’m a big Frank Sinatra fan, although the one regret I have is that I passed up the one opportunity I had to see him in concert. When I’m not enjoying time with my wife and dog, writing, practicing law, or listening to Sinatra, I am also a fan of the New York Yankees and, thanks to my lovely bride, the Ohio State Buckeyes. I am a huge science fiction fan and have read pretty much everything written by Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke; currently, I am in the process of continuing to discover the alternate-history fiction written by Harry Turtledove.

Cross-posted at Below The Beltway, because I’m really in need of a biographical post.

Posted By: Doug Mataconis @ 7:38 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || TrackBack URI || Categories: The Contributors
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A Bit About Kevin

I am a 21 year old university student attending Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. My majors are history and political science. My politics are roughly classical liberal, like everyone else here, and I normally self-identify as a libertarian though I have been described and self-identify sometimes as a conservative. I believe the only legitimate use for government is to protect the rights to life, liberty, and property against those who seek to violate those rights.

My political experience is mostly in the Republican Party. From September 2004 until March 2005, I was the Director of Communications for the SLU College Republicans. Then in March, I became Assistant Minister of Truth for Bureaucrash and in April, became Minister of Operations until I left in September after Hurricane Katrina.

I believe that our Founding Fathers were the continuation of much older and broader trend toward liberty that began in Classical Greece and Rome, developed further in Britain, and was exported throughout the Anglosphere and blossomed into our own revolution and successful (so far) Republic. I also believe that the way to preserve the libertarian-conservative alliance is for us to rediscover our Anglosphere perspective that yes calls for a strong civil society including families and other voluntary community and cultural institutions, but at the same time supports the free market, individual liberty, and keeping these institutions voluntary.

Other than writing, I enjoy listening to both new and classic rock, reading great writers like Clancy, Heinlein, Pournelle; playing strategy games on my computer, debating history and politics with my friends, shooting my Mosin-Nagant 91/30 and .22, and occassionally watching baseball and football.

My other blog is Louisiana Libertarian where I write about everything from foreign policy to heckling the idiots, lunatics, populists, and socialists who run Louisiana.

Posted By: Kevin Boyd @ 12:48 pm || Permalink || Comments Off || TrackBack URI || Categories: The Contributors
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Who is Kay?

Wife, Mother, Political “Junkie”, Teacher, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Photographer . . . Not necessarily in that order! As a home-schooling mom, I wear a lot of hats.

I’m Kay (known to some of you as Left Brain Female), a 40-something who loves her life, family, and freedom. In my work life before children, I was a secretary, sales representative, catering manager, reservations manager, typographer & editor. In my personal life before children, I was a student pilot, amateur actress, genealogist and bookworm. My widely varied background has translated fairly well to being a stay-at-home mom. I no longer fly (never did get my pilots license – I was young and it became cost prohibative – but I did solo a few times). I’m no longer involved in little theater (although that could change one day), I still love genealogy and have traced my family history back to the 1500’s in early America. I don’t read as much as I used to read, and I tend to be more familiar these days with children’s authors than others. I generally prefer great literature rather than bubble-gum non-nutritional junk food for the mind, and I’m trying to instill that preference in my daughters, who at 9 and 11 enjoy reading and learning about history.

My hubby, Tony (aka SurfinDaddy) is a 50-something who enjoys surfing (having grown up about two blocks from the beach) and rather than be a surf widow, when the waves are good, we go with him to play on the beach and I do some amateur surf photography. Tony is very laid-back and has patiently listened to me over the years as I’ve ranted over political issues that irritate me – and in the process has become a great sounding board as well. He often helps to congeal my thoughts into something a bit more cohesive – and encourages me to put them in writing.

I became a real computer geek after I quit my job when our youngest was born – I’ve built and maintained several computers and played around with a number of websites. I really got inspired after 9/11 and the Iraq War began to try to see if there were anything I could do to make a difference. Bloggers 4 Freedom was born of that thought, and while it hasn’t set the world on fire, it certainly helped with my mental attitude – just the act of “doing something” is cathartic for me.

While my family attends church regularly, and I am daughter of a minister, you won’t hear a lot from me on the subject of Christianity. For one thing, it was (and is) ingrained in me that talk is cheap – and actions speak louder than words. Words are powerful – but only if they’re directed at someone who is interested in hearing what you have to say – and as most people are not looking to be “converted” to anyone’s way of thinking, my personal credo is that in the public forum, God doesn’t need me to open my mouth to anyone – He just expects me to conduct my behavior in such a way that others will see and glorify Him. And believe you me, when I don’t, I suffer the pangs of my own transgressions. And, politically, there are a number of so-called Christian “hot-buttons” that I refuse to touch, because, frankly, I don’t believe they have any business in politics. So while I may personally hold strong feelings about the morality of those issues, don’t expect to see me asking the government to legislate on them.

So you see, I’m very much on the side of the Sovreign Individual be it Libertarian, Rational Anarchist, or whatever you choose to call it.

Posted By: Kay @ 6:21 am || Permalink || Comments Off || TrackBack URI || Categories: The Contributors
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The World’s Youngest Curmudgeon

There are many roads to becoming a classical liberal, and I would be sure that among the various contributors to this blog, we’ll have traveled a wide variety of them. Many people older than myself once held faith in the institutions of government, only to learn over time that their faith was unfounded. They were part of the system until they learned how asinine the system was. I took the opposite road.

I’m a bit of an introvert. I grew up without a lot of confidence in social situations, and accordingly, found myself a fly on the wall observing the behavior of others. You learn quite a bit about the world when you close your mouth and open your ears, and what I saw increasingly just didn’t make sense. I watched the group dynamics of my “peer group” throughout school, where more importance was placed on which clique you were a part of than what occurred between your ears. It became more important as people got older that you acted to “fit in” to a group than be yourself and let the chips fall where they may.

And it’s not gotten any better with age. I sit now and watch the bickering between the Democrats and the Republicans, knowing that neither group considers principles or ideas to be the guiding force in their actions, it is partisan politics and satisfying interest groups that’s important. It has become a clan mentality, where protecting members of your clan is a moral imperative regardless of whether or not they deserve it. Where you regularly proceed with slandering members of opposite clan, even if they’d normally be someone you’d be friends with. It is now more important to fit in with your political party, or your race, or your class, or your gender, or any number of manufactured cliques than it is to even hold beliefs and stand up for your own thoughts.

I observed all this from a vantage point on the outside, and I became disgusted. I resigned myself to make up my own mind on every issue based on the evidence and the arguments I had available to me. I named my personal blog the Unrepentant Individual, which has led some to believe that I hold myself above reproach and act without apology for things I do. This is not true. What I will not apologize for is being myself and only myself. I consider myself to be an individual, and any “membership” I hold with others of my political party, my race, my socioeconomic class, my gender, or any other manufactured clique is just ancillary. I am not a “classical liberal” because it sounds fashionable, rather because the arguments I’ve found towards classical liberalism seem much more compelling than any other political philosophy I have yet found.

Eric has asked me, as well as many other bloggers, to blog here because we tend to agree on a wide variety of issues. We look at the world in much the same way, and we have very similar goals. But I am not here to kowtow to the wishes of a group, because while this is a “group blog”, it is a coalition of like-minded individuals, not membership in a club. Most of these bloggers are people who I consider to be my closest friends in the blogosphere, and are all people I respect very highly. I can’t say that for all conservatives, all libertarians, or even all people who consider themselves to be classical liberals, and there are quite a few people on the opposite side of the debate who I highly respect, no matter how much I may disagree with them. These are individuals that I respect, not members of my clan.

To people that don’t understand the way I think, I tend to appear far more obstinate, stubborn, and curmudgeonly than anyone born in the late ’70s has a right to. But part of being an unrepentant individual makes me not care one iota about that. I am who I am, and people who don’t like that know where to go.

I write primarily for The Unrepentant Individual, and am also a contributor at The FairTax Blog.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 6:15 am || Permalink || Comments (3) || TrackBack URI || Categories: The Contributors
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November 21, 2005

Who Is Eric

I’m an American who served in the US Army and fought in Operation Desert Storm. I have two kids, David and Karyn. These days, after “paying my dues” in the industry, I’m an Information Security Manager/Officer for a company that provides IT services in the healthcare industry. I directly support a government customer, so I don’t seem to be able to escape the government, maybe that’s just a fact of life in modern America. I certainly didn’t plan out some program to get where I am today, but I am also apparently a HIPAA/Healthcare Privacy and Security expert.

Once upon a time I used to be an avid skiier, but as I age I seem to be less interested in that. I must be getting old, I recently took up golf and found a bunch of good reasons for it that I would have laughed at in my younger years. I love to read, especially science fiction & fantasy, military/action adventure, politics and history. My favorite authors include Heinlein, Pournelle, Dickson, Clancy, Larry Bond, Tolkien and Stephen King. I recently read “The Stand” for the first time ever, great story.

I’m a computer geek, I’ve been on the Internet since about 1991, before that I was involved with Prodigy, CompuServ and FidoNet. I’m also a Unix/Linux geek, with Linux experience going back to sometime in 1996. I like to play military strategy and simulation games. My current favorites are Hearts of Iron, a grand strategy game of World War II and Sid Meier’s Civilization III.

Why do I write and blog about politics? I assume that’s what you all really want to know, right? I came of age, politically speaking, in the Reagan years. I remember the slow transition from the malaise, angst and lack of focus during the 1970’s, the rejuvenation of the belief in the individual. More than that, I remember how clear it was when Reagan said that the problems we faced were due to government. As I look around today, 25 years later, our government is larger and more intrusive, and people are even more resigned to it, that it was then. In the intervening years I have read Ayn Rand, Robert Heinlein, Thomas Jefferson, John Locke, Adam Smith and many others who wrote on classic liberal theory, and various sorts of objectivism and anarchy. I’ve read the works of the other side too, the collectivists and socialists and the rest who believe in absolute egalitarianism or the efficacy of the state more generally.

What I’ve found is that I believe, deeply, in the morality and utlitarian value of individual liberty. Not only is it right, but it works. And I’ve seen the other side, in Europe and the Middle East. I’ve seen the places where the state rules the individual. I write and blog and expound on these topics in the hopes that I touch at least one other person. I do it because I enjoy it and I believe in Liberty.

Posted By: Eric @ 11:43 pm || Permalink || Comments (1) || TrackBack URI || Categories: The Contributors
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What’s In A Name?

It will come to no surprise of the readers of this weblog that we contributors don’t fit the normal political nomenclature; it’s hard to describe “what we are” politically, given the available labels. The current political parties are an increasingly poor fit for me, and (I suspect) for my co-authors; to borrow Daffyd ab Hugh’s happy usage, we may caucus with one or the other party, but we aren’t happy in either one.

Lots of others have grappled with this dilemma, and a variety of usages are starting to emerge:

Neo-libertarians…
Freedomists…
Radical centrists…

Let me offer another way of discussing this.

Rather than trying to fit somewhere within a political spectrum which ranges from puritan authoritarianism, through big-government corporate statism, through to transnationalist socialism and the dictatorship-of-the-smarter-than-thou, I suggest we set a different course.

Let’s have done with “isms” and oh-so-seductive theories.

I choose to start, not with all manner of grand philosphies, but here:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

I hold that self-evident; axiomatic, if you prefer.

I’ll start there, in the enjoyment of my liberty.

I am… yes.

Liberty People.

Over the next bit of time, I’ll write about what comes of that starting point.

Posted By: De Doc @ 11:13 pm || Permalink || Comments (1) || TrackBack URI || Categories: The Contributors
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