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

October 16, 2014

What the Heck is a Muscular Minarchist?

by Chris Byrne

CByrneIVHeadShot

 

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. 

Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/16/what-the-heck-is-a-muscular-minarchist/trackback/
Read more posts from
• • •

The Nanny State Strikes Again: School’s Implementation of Zero Tolerance Goes Too Far

by Albert Northrup

In an effort to control perceived growing violence in schools, Congress passed the 1994 Gun Free Schools Act (GFSA) which required states to implement zero tolerance policies on school property as a prerequisite for receiving federal aid from the U.S. Department of Education. In 2002, Congress repealed this version but reauthorized the zero tolerance requirement under the No Child Left Behind Act. The revised bill expanded the school’s jurisdiction for such offenses from school property to any school-related function. So under the No Child Left Behind Act, school districts would not receive federal funding unless they implemented zero tolerance policies with a mandatory one year expulsion for any student who brings or possesses any firearm on school property or at any school function. School officials are also required to report these offenses to law enforcement agencies.

Have school boards taken these policies too far? Despite no duty or requirement to do so, most school districts have enacted strict zero tolerance policies for other offenses including possession of knives, drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. They have also enacted zero tolerance offenses for acts of violence and even expression of speech, all under the guise of protecting students. For example, an honor student in Dearborn, MI was suspended this month for a year because school officials found a small pocket knife in her bag at a football game.  From the Huffington Post:

A Detroit-area high school has suspended an honors student for the rest of the school year over a pocketknife the student says she had by accident.

Atiya Haynes, 17, was caught with the pocketknife at a homecoming football game in late September at Annapolis High School in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. School officials were searching the bags of female students exiting the restroom after a security guard claimed to have smelled marijuana nearby, according to local outlet WXYZ-TV. When officials searched Atiya’s bag, they found no marijuana, but did find a small knife.

Atiya says she did not realize the knife was in her bag. Her grandfather had given it to her over the summer, urging her to carry it for protection when riding her bike through dangerous neighborhoods to her lifeguarding job, according to MLive.

Atiya, an Advanced Placement student, was originally expelled from Annapolis High following the incident. However, on Monday, the school board rolled back her punishment, albeit slightly. Atiya is now suspended for the rest of the year, but will be allowed to take online classes and graduate with her class in 2015, reports local outlet WJBK-TV.

For starters, students do not lose their constitutional rights when they enter school property. Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch Dist, 393 U.S. 503 (1969). The Supreme Court has further held that public school administrators are considered state actors for purposes of Fourth Amendment searches. New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325 (1985). Students also have a reasonable expectation of privacy in items that they bring to school, even though this expectation is diminished. School officials do not need probable cause to search, like law enforcement would. They may search based on a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing and most jurisdictions require that this reasonable suspicion is individualized. One US District Court has held that the scent of marijuana is insufficient to show an individualized reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing if the scent cannot be determined to come from any individual or confined group. Here, the security guard claimed that s/he detected the scent of marijuana “nearby”, but there is nothing to suggest that the scent could be confined to Atiya or anyone else in the immediate area. I would argue that this was an unreasonable search and the knife is just “fruit from the poisonous tree.”

Let’s say, for all intents and purposes, that the search was valid. The punishment still does not fit and is excessive. Miss Haynes is an honor roll student, enrolled in AP classes, and potentially college bound. I would imagine that this suspension will go on her permanent record, which could affect her ability to receive scholarships or even get into certain colleges. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that she didn’t even know that the knife was in her purse. Is this the type of protection that Congress had in mind when it passed No Child Left Behind? In this case, Atiya Haynes is the only child being left behind and she is not the only one. Here are some other examples of overreaching zero tolerance policies:

In 1998, a Colorado school expelled a ten year old student when her mother inadvertently packed a small paring knife in her lunch. Despite trying to do the right thing by turning it in, she was expelled under zero tolerance policies and school officials said they had no discretion. While the expulsion was eventually overturned, her family was forced to move after receiving harassing letters that her family was trying to destroy the school.

In 1999, a Florida high school student was suspended for one year for bringing nail clippers to school. This expulsion was also reduced to a ten day suspension. However, the principal of the school was quoted as saying that he “was not…ready to arm kids with more ammo, to bring more items on our campus and make it an unsafe place.” Forget the fact that the student never used the nail clippers herself. Did I mention that her “crime” was bringing nail clippers to school? Nail. Clippers. This is the kind of “dangerous” activity we are trying to protect students from? Let that one sink in.

In 2013, two Virginia middle school students were suspended for nine months for shooting airsoft guns (similar to BB guns) in their front yard. The school claimed jurisdiction because the bus stop was in front of their house.

In 2012, a six year old student in Maryland was suspended for pointing his finger in the shape of a gun and saying “pow.” The principal sent a letter home to the parents stating that the boy “threatened to shoot another student.” Yes, this will be on this boy’s permanent record.

Similarly, a seven year old Maryland student was suspended in 2013 when he bit his pop tart into the shape of a gun and said “bang bang.” These two events led Maryland State Senator J.B. Jennings (R-Baltimore) to introduce the “Reasonable School Discipline Act of 2013″ to the Maryland Legislature, which would prohibit schools from suspending or expelling students who use any object that resembles a gun, but serves another purpose. In other words, the bill requires school administrators to use a little common sense. Has it really come to the point where we need such legislation?

In 1999, a Missouri high school junior was suspended for ten days when he responded “yes!” to an online message board asking whether students thought that a Columbine incident could happen at their school. As a result, he became ineligible for the National Honors Society and missed taking achievement tests which would have placed him in college level courses.

Finally, we saw the post made by Tom Knighton yesterday about the five year old student who was forced to undergo a psychological evaluation and sign an agreement to not harm anyone or herself because she drew a picture of a gun and held up a crayon, saying “pew pew.” She is five!

According to the National Association of School Psychologists, students who are suspended from school are more likely to suffer psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety from being ostracized. They are also much more likely to wind up in the juvenile justice system and therefore, the “playground to prison pipeline.” The American Psychological Association’s Zero Tolerance Task Force further found that zero tolerance policies had the opposite effect on preventing school violence. This is just another example of overreaching state power and the government, in its “infinite wisdom”, thinks it knows best. We would be better off to eliminate or reduce zero tolerance offenses. Our kids and future generations will thank us.

Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/16/the-nanny-state-strikes-again-schools-implementation-of-zero-tolerance-goes-too-far/trackback/
Read more posts from
• • •

“Climate Change”, and the false dichotomy of “evil or stupid”

by Chris Byrne

As we run up to the midterm elections, the drumbeat is once again sounding throughout that land, that Republicans… or rather, everyone not Leftist… are “anti-science”, “pro-ignorance” etc… etc…

I am constantly hearing some variant of “Republicans are either evil or stupid for not… X”.

The sad part of course, is that a certain percentage of non-leftists, including libertarians and conservatives are in fact, nuts, particularly about science… and another large block are ignorant.

Of course, so are large blocks of those on the left… but that’s not what we’re talking about right now.

There are certainly many scientific issues over which the ideological spectrum split, but likely the biggest one, with the most uniform split (there’s very few whose ideological “side” don’t match the position staked out by that side, to some degree or another)….

“Climate Change”

Ok, talked about it here before, and there’s plenty of great resources on the topic (try Climate Skeptic for a start)… But it’s an issue among my friends right now, and Neil Degrasse Tyson has been talking about it lately (before his most recent brouhaha), facebook is… well, pretty much always covered with it etc…

Let me just lay things out for a bit…

First, YES, there ARE loonies out there who say that there is no climate change “because Jesus” or “It’s all a conspiracy man” etc… etc… etc…

Feel free to ignore them, as you would on every other subject. They don’t represent any kind of reality based universe, never mind a rational position.

There are also those who simply say that there is no such thing as climate change whatsoever… But mostly they are either ignorant of, or don’t understand, the science, math, or historical record in question

And yes, there are far more of those than there should be in 2014.

However, some of us come to our positions through a knowledge of science, engineering, math, the scientific method, research methodologies and data analysis.

There are those, myself among them, who actually DO understand science, and don’t believe in CATASTROPHIC, ANTHROPOGENIC, global warming, leading to systemic, catastrophic climate change.

We are not irrational, ignorant, evil, driven by unsavory motives, or stupid.

We come to this position, because we understand that:

  1. The question isn’t whether climate is changing and will change in the future, it always has and always will. The question is how much has it, how much will it in the future, and why.
  2. Catastrophic, anthropogenic, global warming leading to catastrophic climate change, is a tightly interconnected theory. For any element of the conclusions to be correct, ALL of the suppositions within the theory must be correct. The instant any of them changes, at all, the theory falls apart.
  3. The mathematical models for this have always been highly speculative and have proven non predictive both forward and backward.
  4. The data is greatly variable ( and often poor) in quality, and is adjusted in ways that make it less than useful for a model with high sensitivity predictions, because small changes or inconsistencies in the data make big changes in the model.
  5. The catastrophic model adopted by the U.N. has some major dependencies which are entirely theoretical, and have not been borne out by historical facts; specifically estimates of forcing, estimates of weighting of various factors, and particularly estimates of extremely high sensitivity to certain factors (especially CO2), that while throughout all of history have exhibited one behavior (a stable, negative feedback system), for some reason (i.e. humanity is bad and stuff), things have changed now… even though CO2 has been much higher in the past, and it didn’t happen then… Such that a very small change in CO2 will have a large multiplier effect, transforming the stable negative feedback system that the climate has been throughout the entirety of history to this point, to an unstable positive feedback system.
  6. There is no evidence for this catastrophic theory, nor does it correspond with historical models, or models that prove to be historically predictive (i.e. if you run the model backwards and forwards in time, it matches roughly with what actually happened).
  7. This prediction has been made since the mid 80s (prior to the mid 80, from the early 70s they were predicting global cooling and ice age by the way), and the models have proven to be grossly inaccurate. They are constantly revised to reflect the same conclusion, but never actually predict what ACTUALLY happens in the real world. There was initially slightly more warming than the previous historical models predicted, but by 1991 warming was back to the historical trend line, and there has actually been no significant warming since 1994-1998 depending on exactly which dataset you look at.
  8. Human outputs from all of industry, vehicles etc… Make up less than 1% of total atmospheric CO2… actually between .3 and .4%. The VAST majority of CO2 comes from forests, oceans, animals, and soil (and the bacteria contained therein). They also absorb CO2 in the natural CO2 cycle.
  9. If the historical, non catastrophic models prove correct, and they have so far, there will be between less than 1 and just over 2 degrees centigrade warming in the next 100 years. This is not catastrophic, and is consistent with warming/cooling cycles throughout history.
  10. If all human output of carbon dioxide and other theorized elements of climate change stopped right now, today… That number wouldn’t change at all, or at most very little. Within the margin of error.
  11. Once you take the catastrophic sensitivity to a tiny change out of the model, many other factors become far greater “forcings”, particularly the suns variability (relating to sunspot cycles).
  12. If the catastrophic models are correct, either we already have, or we soon will, pass the point of no return. We would not only have to completely stop emitting CO2 entirely, but we would have to take large amounts of it out of the environment.
  13. No matter what, the developing world isn’t going to stop burning wood, and coal, and growing and modernizing and using as much hydrocarbons as they can. They don’t give a damn what european liberals think, they just want to cook their dinners and have lights at night.
  14. No matter what, China and India aren’t going to stop being 60+% of all CO2 emissions from human sources (that’s according to the environmentalist group, the earth policy institute. UN numbers say it’s more like 30-40%), because if they did they’d all be plunged into even greater poverty and likely starve to death.

What it comes down to is this:

  • If the catastrophic models are correct, it’s too late to do anything about it anyway.
  • Even if every western nation utterly stopped producing ANY output which contributed to climate change, it wouldn’t make any difference whatsoever.
  • If the catastrophic theory is wrong, and everything point to it being so, then we would be spending trillions of dollars, destroying economies, ruining millions or billions of peoples lives etc… All for little or nothing.
  • There are real, actual, proven problems that are far more likely to be important, and that we can actually do something about, that are much better ways to spend our time and money.
  • Ok… so why do so many people support the idea… particularly so many scientists?

    The same reason anyone does anything… because it aligns with their perceived incentives, beliefs, worldview, narrative, and identity.

    To wit…

    1. Funding
    2. Social signaling an ingroup identification
    3. Politics
    4. Power and control (climate change legislation is all about taking power and control from one group, and giving it to another)
    5. Ideology and alignment with world view
    6. The precautionary principle
    7. Anti-capitalism
    8. Funding
    9. Because if they don’t, they don’t get jobs, their papers don’t get published, they don’t get university positions etc…
    10. Because they know that it’s not as bad as the press makes it out to be, but that making it super duper scary is the only way to make the morons out there pay attention and actually make some of the good positive changes that need to happen (like more energy efficient technology, and more research into alternative energy)
    11. Because the entire world has lined up into teams, not just about climate change, but about ALL social, cultural, and scientific issues… Evolution, homosexuality, everything else about the environment etc… and one team has decided to label themselves “progressive” and “liberal” and “pro science” and the other team “anti science”, and nobody wants to be “regressive” and “anti-science”.
    12. Did I mention funding? There is no funding in saying “things are going to be about like they always have been, with some small changes as expected, and maybe a very small degree of increased change… it will have some moderate impacts”. That’s boring, and it gets ignored, and no-one gets any funding, and you can’t do additional research on it. No-one is paying for research into squirrel populations and how “1 degree per century of climate change will impact them).

    Yes… I repeated myself, in several different ways there… That was intentional.

    The Broken Record

    Catastrophists have a record, of being broken records… and being mostly or entirely wrong.

    From 1974 until 1985 or thereabouts, many of the exact same scientists, politicians, pundits, and environmentalists who today are saying are going to warm our way into a combination of ice age, deserts, and typhoons everywhere… were saying the exact opposite.

    At the time, their theories and models said that we were going to precipitate our own ice age, blocking out the sun, and that crops would fail and we would starve to death.

    The fact is, we’ve heard over and over again for decades that if we don’t do exactly what this one particular group wants us to do about any particular issue within 5, 10, 20 years etc… that we’re all gonna die, the world is gonna end, everything will turn to dust, there will be no birds, no trees…

    Anyone remember when acid rain was going to kill us all?

    Yes, in part, it’s because we did respond to the concerns of the environmentalists, regulations were changed somewhat, technology got better, we polluted less and cleaned up more. These are all good things.

    But mostly it was because they were dramatically overstating both the problems, and the solutions; either because they actually believed it, or for political reasons…

    Seems to me, mostly for political reasons.

    Mostly we haven’t done what they asked.

    The world didn’t end.

    We didn’t all die.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean they aren’t right this time…

    …One of these times they just might be… or at least they might be more right than wrong…

    …it just means that we should really be very careful, and very skeptical, about what they say, what we believe, and what we do about it.

    Oh and one more thing…

    There is one final, and almost universal test of the validity of someones claim that “everything has to change”.

    It can’t prove that a claim is true… but it can nearly always prove a false claim to be false, or at least greatly exaggerated.

    Simplified, it’s called the “Act as If” test.

    Does the person making the claim, act as they would if the claim were true, and as urgent as they say?

    Is it conclusive? No… but it’s a pretty strong indicator.

    Do those who say they believe in truly catastrophic anthropogenic global warming pass this test?

    Do they actually act as they would, if they actually believed their predictions.

    The answer is very much no… not even close.

    So, if they don’t… why should anyone else?

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/16/climate-change-and-the-false-dichotomy-of-evil-or-stupid/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    Watch A Couple Of Millennials Talk About Barack Obama’s Policies Have Harmed Their Generation

    by Kevin Boyd

    A couple of young Millennial women, Alyssa Lafage and Elly Mae, appeared on “The Rick Amato Show” on the One America News Network (don’t worry, you probably don’t even get the channel). Amato had both young ladies on to talk about how the policies of President Obama and progressives have harmed the Millennial generation.

    Some reports show that Millennial unemployment remains high at 15% in September. This summer, it was estimated that Millennials are 40% of the overall unemployed in this country. Millennials still cannot afford health insurance, despite Obamacare’s promises.  Finally, Millennials are trapped by high amounts of student loan debt, which cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, in order to obtain near worthless degrees.

    Watch these two Millennial women describe how the polices of President Obama and progressives have harmed their generation and made their generation worse off than ever. Also, check out our own Quincy’s takedown of Obama drone Paul Krugman’s proclamation of Obama as one of the greatest presidents ever which touches on some of these same issues.

    h/t: Wayne Dupree

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/16/watch-a-couple-of-millennials-talk-about-barack-obamas-policies-have-harmed-their-generation/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    Rant: People Who Don’t Link To Source Material

    by Brad Warbiany

    Earlier today, my new co-contributor Matt wrote about the ridiculous Houston city council subpoena on a group who was against the transgender bathroom-rights law.

    Where did the original story come from? Right here at The Washington Times.

    It’s a busy article.

    It comes complete with a picture from the San Francisco gay pride parade. What does San Francisco have to do with Houston bathrooms? I’m not quite sure.

    It has a minute-long vapid video featuring a reading of the first two paragraphs of the article, because apparently 300 words is such a weighty article that it elicits “tl;dr” from typical readers of the Washington Times.

    And of course it has a rather superficial 300-word article touching only ever-so-slightly on the merits of the case. The article which doesn’t even summarize the basic legal rationale for the group who is challenging the subpoena. The basic legal rationale that’s so simple that I’ll summarize it for you in two sentences:

    The law states that subpoenas may only ask for evidence likely to result in admissable evidence on the merits of the case and doesn’t violate various legal privileges. ADF asserts that the subpoenas are overly-broad and violate the law by asking for such wide-ranging materials (some of which are Constitutionally-protected expression and others that are attorney-client privilege or protections against nonparties to lawsuits) that it cannot possibly be within the law.

    You know what the Washington Times article is also lacking? ANY GODDAMN LINK TO THE ACTUAL SOURCE MATERIAL!!

    It’s not like it was hard to find. A 10-second Google search led me to the ADF web site. A prominent link on the front page of the site got me to their press release in the first 10 seconds on their site. And ADF, to their credit, linked both the subpoena and their motion to quash in the first paragraph. And it’s not like links are expensive. Hyperlinks are free.

    So I read them. I realize, this is ridiculous in the days of blogging when everyone has an opinion on Supreme court decisions despite the fact that none of them ever actually reads the opinions. When I read the subpoena and the motion to quash, it was pretty apparent that the subpoena was overly broad. When you dig into it, though, there are a lot of areas of the subpoena that are quite likely to result in admissible evidence. Hence why in the motion to quash, you’ll see this statement:

    The Nonparty Pastors respectfully request that the Court issue an order quashing their subpoenas. Alternatively, the Nonparty Pastors request an order modifying the subpoenas to clarify that they do not include (or a protective order declaring that the Nonparty Pastors need not produce) the requested documents that are not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence and the requested documents protected by the First Amendment privilege, the deliberative-process privilege, the attorney-client privilege, and the work-product doctrine.

    In a lawsuit alleging that a city council unfairly determined that an insufficient number of petitions were gathered, the portions of the subpoena related to the records of petitioners are certainly likely to result in admissible evidence. The content of sermons discussing the Mayor, on the other hand, are clearly not. So if the city attorneys narrow the scope of their subpoena (as the WSJ–an entity which deserves kudos for actually linking the subpoena and motion!–reports they’re already backing away from), they’ll probably still be able to get the discovery information they need to prepare an adequate defense to the lawsuit.

    Of course, IANAL, and it’s entirely possible that I got my legal analysis wrong. But what I do know is that I’ve already given you, the readers of The Liberty Papers, a more cogent (and more entertaining, I hope) analysis of the issues than Valerie Richardson of The Washington Times. And unlike Valerie Richardson, I actually gave you the links to go form you own opinion if you doubt my reporting in any way. Because frankly, my dear readers, you’re worth it!

    Publications that give you opinion without linking to original source material are trying to keep you dumb. They either want you to keep coming directly to them for analysis (likely), or don’t want you to read the source material and realize they’ve gotten something terribly wrong. Or maybe they’re just terrified that you’ll click on the link and not come back. Or maybe all of the above. Either way, they treat you like infants.

    Don’t let them get away with it. Demand better. This is 2014. I hate to use the term “mainstream media” in such a derisive tone that went out of style in about my third year of blogging–right about the time Sarah Palin started calling it the lamestream media–but even The Washington Times should have figured out how to hyperlink by now.

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/16/rant-people-who-dont-link-to-source-material/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    Christopher Bowen, TLP’s Token Liberal Libertarian

    by Christopher Bowen

    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.

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/16/christopher-bowen-tlps-token-liberal-libertarian/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    Why Do We Give These People So Much Control Over Our Lives

    by Kevin Boyd

    In one of the most mind boggling moments in American politics ever, Florida Governor Rick Scott refused to debate his opponent, former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, because……..Crist placed a fan underneath his podium.

    Scott claims that the rules forbid any electronics on stage, however Crist says that the rules didn’t ban fans on stage. Scott wouldn’t come on stage for four minutes and then after Crist ripped into him for being petty, Scott eventually came on stage.

    Question is, why are we electing people who cry about fans and give them so much control over our lives?

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/16/why-do-we-give-these-people-so-much-control-over-our-lives/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    October 15, 2014

    The view from the bubble

    by Quincy

    They say we’re entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts. Except, of course, if we’re Paul Krugman:

    When it comes to Barack Obama, I’ve always been out of sync. Back in 2008, when many liberals were wildly enthusiastic about his candidacy and his press was strongly favorable, I was skeptical. I worried that he was naive, that his talk about transcending the political divide was a dangerous illusion given the unyielding extremism of the modern American right. Furthermore, it seemed clear to me that, far from being the transformational figure his supporters imagined, he was rather conventional-minded: Even before taking office, he showed signs of paying far too much attention to what some of us would later take to calling Very Serious People, people who regarded cutting budget deficits and a willingness to slash Social Security as the very essence of political virtue.

    And I wasn’t wrong. Obama was indeed naive: He faced scorched-earth Republican opposition from Day One, and it took him years to start dealing with that opposition realistically. Furthermore, he came perilously close to doing terrible things to the U.S. safety net in pursuit of a budget Grand Bargain; we were saved from significant cuts to Social Security and a rise in the Medicare age only by Republican greed, the GOP’s unwillingness to make even token concessions.

    But now the shoe is on the other foot: Obama faces trash talk left, right and center – literally – and doesn’t deserve it. Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history. His health reform is imperfect but still a huge step forward – and it’s working better than anyone expected. Financial reform fell far short of what should have happened, but it’s much more effective than you’d think. Economic management has been half-crippled by Republican obstruction, but has nonetheless been much better than in other advanced countries. And environmental policy is starting to look like it could be a major legacy.

    As usual, his screed is filled with cherry picked statistics, unsupported claims, and plenty of vitriol for those who don’t agree with him. He uses these weapons, such as they are, to paint a picture of Barack Obama as a consequential and successful president. While I certainly won’t argue with consequential (there have certainly been consequences for electing Obama), the bar Krugman sets for success is convenient for his case but meaningless to Americans outside the elite bubble.

    How does Krugman address this?

    Yes, Obama has a low approval rating compared with earlier presidents. But there are a number of reasons to believe that presidential approval doesn’t mean the same thing that it used to: There is much more party-sorting (in which Republicans never, ever have a good word for a Democratic president, and vice versa), the public is negative on politicians in general, and so on. Obviously the midterm election hasn’t happened yet, but in a year when Republicans have a huge structural advantage – Democrats are defending a disproportionate number of Senate seats in deep-red states – most analyses suggest that control of the Senate is in doubt, with Democrats doing considerably better than they were supposed to. This isn’t what you’d expect to see if a failing president were dragging his party down.

    More important, however, polls – or even elections – are not the measure of a president. High office shouldn’t be about putting points on the electoral scoreboard, it should be about changing the country for the better. Has Obama done that? Do his achievements look likely to endure? The answer to both questions is yes.

    Krugman’s point about changing the country for the better is an interesting one. It inevitably leads to the question of better for whom. We the people, pesky knaves who base our opinions on the reality we face every day, have been rejecting the claim that Obama has been successful in poll after poll for years.

    That rejection is not hard to understand. Jobs are still hard to come by. Our hours have been cut. Our benefits have been slashed. Our savings haven’t earned interest in half a decade. We see more and more people on the streets, not just in big cities but in suburban towns. We know we might be one job loss away from joining them. We see a generation graduating from college into a hopeless economic situation. We know our children might be next. Worst of all, we’ve had to listen to the media trumpet recovery and economic good news while our situations are still terrible.

    Instead of acknowledging the reality faced by the people, Krugman moves to silence and marginalize us. Our opinions are due to partisanship and being down on politicians in general. With a wave of a hand, he rewrites our stories to fit his narrative. This leaves room to for Krugman to explain Obama’s successes using only his preferences and priorities for reference. Inside the bubble, he matters and we don’t.

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/15/the-view-from-the-bubble/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    PRESS RELEASE: Libertarian Women Find Their Voice Online

    by Kevin Boyd

    If you run a liberty-friendly organization or blog and you have a press release you want shared, please e-mail kevin@thelibertypapers.org (Note: we are unable to accept press releases from any political candidates, regardless of party affiliation or office sought)

    October 15th, 2014

     

    Contact: Associate Editor Elizabeth BeShears

    liz.erob@gmail.com

    (256) 527-8133

     

    Libertarian Women Find Their Voice Online

     

    The online-only libertarian publication Thoughts on Liberty, a women’s magazine, is celebrating its second anniversary this month. It heads into its third year boasting a year-over-year readership increase of 44.5 percent. Thoughts on Liberty, while it initially only had three writers on staff, has grown to nine contributors, all of whom are female, and regularly publishes guest submissions and student writers.

     

    Its growth online and boom in brand awareness speaks volumes to the growth of women in the libertarian movement.

     

    “A recent study by Pew shows that approximately seven percent of women are libertarian, far more than what has been reflected in the voting polls in previous years,” said associate editor Rachel Burger. “This number tells us that there are millions of women who value personal liberty and are interested in making those values a larger part of the mainstream conversation.”

     

    In response to the growing demand for female libertarian voices, Thoughts on Liberty is building an interactive community that is engaged with both women and men across the political and ideological spectrum by producing quality long-form content and building allies both in and outside of the greater liberty movement.

     

    “In the past two years, Thoughts on Liberty has shaped conversations in the liberty movement and pushed libertarians to think about liberty in ways they might not have before,” said Gina Luttrell, editor-in-chief. “This just goes to show what women in particular can add to our movement, and why there should be more of them.”

     

    Thoughts on Liberty’s writers and alumnae have been featured national and international publications such as Forbes, Mic, The Blaze, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and have founded Citizens for Media Accountability. They have been quoted in The Los Angeles Times, Jezebel, and other respected outlets.

     

    Thoughts on Liberty is a growing women’s publication that strives to be the premier site for women libertarian voices. Its aims to provide a focused platform for women already participating in the liberty movement  and to speak to show women at large why a free society is best. It proudly represents ideas across the ideological spectrum and promotes intellectual exploration among its writers. You can read more and subscribe at thoughtsonliberty.com

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/15/press-release-libertarian-women-find-their-voice-online/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    Schools’ zero gun tolerance get more ridiculous

    by Tom Knighton

    A student’s mom in Mobile, AL is a little upset these days. You see, her daughter’s school got upset because the daughter drew a picture of a gun, then reportedly pointed a crayon at another student and said, “Pew pew!” (The school has not commented on whether or not the crayon was loaded, however)

    In reaction, the school reportedly had the daughter evaluated by a psychologist and had the daughter sign a contract stating that she would reach out to someone should she want to hurt herself or another. Such contracts are fairly standard for people with mental health issues involving suicidal or homicidal intentions.

    Why is the mother upset? Probably because her daughter is just five years old. (more…)

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/15/schools-zero-gun-tolerance-get-more-ridiculous/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    Houston Loses Collective Mind – Subpoenas Pastors

    by Matt Souders

    Here is the news story in its original form for your shocked brains to attempt to process:

    Houston Subpoenas the Churches Over ‘HERO’

    The Alliance Defending Freedom is countering this abuse of freedom with legal action – a motion to stop these subpoenas from going ahead (and you can find their legal reasoning here.

    Notably, ADF claims that the city’s subpoenas, which the city claims go toward answering a lawsuit filed by Houston citizens over this new rule (dubbed HERO – cute), is a fishing expedition, and that the pastors being subpoenaed were not even involved in the lawsuit. It looks as though the city may be hunting for some way of legally punishing the city’s religious leaders for taking a position counter to ‘HERO’, and their methods are questionable at best.

    But let’s step back a minute and talk about that rule.

    ‘HERO’ states that transgendered persons who identify as a different gender than what shows up biologically cannot be denied access to opposite-gender bathrooms in any public building in Houston. The theory is that it is a hardship for a biologically male (or female) person who identifies as the opposite gender to be forced to use the bathroom of their biological gender.

    A lawsuit filed to stop this rule from going live is what brought the debate to a boil, but I do want to briefly discuss the merits of the rule itself. I want to be sympathetic here – but how can any purveyor of a public restroom be certain of the state of mind of anyone wishing to use the opposite gender bathroom? It is well known, thanks to the internet and its cornucopia of platforms for discussion of sexual orientation and proclivities, that there exist a not-insignificant number of individuals who obtain sexual gratification from spying on the bathroom habits of the opposite sex. Houston is the place for these folks! Simply claim you are transgendered and spend all the time you want in there. I, for one, do not believe it is possible to uphold this law without creating a huge array of unintended consequences, not the least of which being a big increase in sexual assault and rape in ladies rooms in the city.

    But – and this is hard to believe – there is a bigger issue. In order to enforce the rule and punitively punish anyone who would bring a legal challenge, city officials feel within their rights to spy on – oops, I mean subpoena – the sermons of pastors not directly involved in said legal challenge on the topic of this rule. It is a deeply alarming world in which we now live, if it is considered normal behavior for a city to decide that compliance with this rule shall include absolute verbal agreement at the threat of legal action; and that in order to obtain this agreement, they shall have the unfettered right to pry into the private worship of any congregation in their jurisdiction on a fishing expedition. What’s next – the Justice Department deciding that it has the right to subpoena all churches to make sure they comply with the Affordable Care Act or do not explicitly oppose democrat candidates? Oh wait – the IRS is beginning to consider spying on churches to make sure they do nothing “political”.

    Here’s hoping that ADF is successful in its challenge – but, to be honest, I doubt it will matter in the long run if these abusive legal tactics become the norm (as they already seem to be doing).

    I fear for us all.

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

    Permalink || Comments (1) || Categories: General
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/15/houston-loses-collective-mind-subpoenas-pastors/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    Albert Northrup: My Own Little World

    by Albert Northrup

    Albert White House

    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.

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/15/albert-northrup-my-own-little-world/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    Cost is NOT Price, and Neither Cost, nor Price, are Value

    by Chris Byrne

    Prices Provide a Misleading Measure of Dollar Devaluation
    Forbes Magazine Online – Keith Weiner

    There’s not a human being alive who doesn’t know the dollar is falling. Everyone over 25 has stories of what prices were like, way back when (and younger people have heard them). I remember when gasoline was 60 cents a gallon, and my mom remembers when it was 20 cents.

    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen acknowledges the official objective to push the dollar down by 2 percent per year. This intention is behind the Fed’s ill-conceived loose money policy.

    It’s important to measure each drop. This is not just to keep a scorecard on the Fed, but because a change in the dollar skews historical comparisons and distorts business decisions, like giving increases to workers and pensioners….

    Read the whole piece, and then come back…

    The thesis statement of the piece is correct, in that prices provide a misleading indicator of currency valuation (and that our weak dollar policy, as pursued by every administration since Bush 1 to some degree or another, is fundamentally wrong and destructive for that matter).

    Unfortunately the author suggests that simply using a different price denomination and comparison (to gold) is a less misleading indicator… In this, he’s absolutely incorrect.

    What you really want to compare is purchasing power parity (PPP) as measured by equivalent standard of living, expressed as a dollar cost in constant dollars normalized to average labor hour wage or compensation.

    i.e. this item costs 5 minutes of average labor, this costs 8 hours, this costs 20 years; the cost to maintain this equivalent normalized standard of living across an aggregate population is 1940 hours of median labor wage etc… etc…

    Note, this is NOT an expression of the fallacious labor theory of value, it is an explicit measure of purchasing power parity as actual cost, INCLUDING opportunity cost (in terms of time), not currency denomination.

    The critical function isn’t price, and it isn’t wage… it’s cost, in this case expressed as a cost to value ratio as a normalized dollar (to make it easy to relate to wages and prices).

    Cost is not price; it’s a totalized measure of inputs including resources, time, and opportunity.

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/15/cost-is-not-price-and-neither-cost-nor-price-are-value/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    How ‘Affirmative Consent’ Laws Threaten Due Process

    by Kevin Boyd

    A few weeks ago, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the nation’s first “affirmative consent” law. When it was proposed back in June, I said the proponents were control freaks. The law essentially says that consent must be given, affirmatively and actively, for each act of a sexual encounter. In other words “yes means yes.” It sounds reasonable enough doesn’t it?

    The law has already spread with lawmakers proposing similiar laws across the country. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo implimented the policy at the SUNY system of universities across New York with plans to incorporate it into state law. Lawmakers in Illinois, New Hampshire, and New Jersey have plans to introduce similiar legislation across the country.

    While the lawmakers proposing the bills are all Democrats, the laws have found support in unlikely corners, social conservatives and even some libertarians. Townhall.com writer Conn Carroll supports the laws because he wants to discourage the “hookup culture.” Libertarian blogger Kelli Gulite argues that the laws clear up the “ambiguity of the existing consent standards.”

    However, while the affirmative consent laws are a well-intentioned attempt to address a problem (rape), they ultimately do more harm than good, especially where civil liberties are concerned. These laws will result in (mostly) young men either being expelled from universities and/or charged with a crime they did not commit.

    Here’s some reasons why affirmative consent laws are not the way to go:

    1) Sets us on the road to “precrime”. One of the lawmakers proposing these laws for their state, N.H. State Rep. Renny Cushing state this “We need to change the dialogue and we need to start talking about prevention rather than have a legal concern about whether or not someone was capable of giving their consent.”

    I’ve heard that before somewhere:

    These laws will no more prevent rape than laws against hate speech will prevent murder.

    2) It eliminates the presumption of innocence. The laws state that someone is guilty of rape if there was no yes. This will force the defendant to have to prove that there was a yes. That forces the burden of proof on the defendant, not the state and the university. The only logical way for a potential defendant to protect themselves from a rape allegation is to record the sexual encounter or some kind of proof that the encounter was explicitly consentual.

    In other words, we’re right back to the problem these laws were trying to prevent “he said vs she said.” Under the reasonable doubt standard, that’s clearly not enough evidence on its own to force a conviction. However, in a campus proceding or a civil lawsuit, there is no reasonable doubt but only preponderance of evidence.

    These laws codify the process of the campus-based procedings which have been criticized as essentially kangaroo courts that threaten the rights of the accused.

    3) It will lead to the prosecution of boorish behavior and bad sex as rape. In her defense of these laws, Gulite wrote:

    The best way to show why affirmative consent is a better standard than previous standards is through an example. Two students agree to have vaginal intercourse, but without warning or asking permission, the male student begins to have anal intercourse. Of course, the female could say no immediately after taking a few seconds to register what happened and the male could oblige. However, the sexual assault has already occurred.

    Under the affirmative consent standard, the victim has recourse. Without it, she does not. (emphasis hers)

    Perhaps I’m a caveman, but I fail to see a case for disciplining, suspending, or expelling the young man; let alone having him arrested and subjected to the legal process for essentially an act of boorish behavior. This particular example looks like something that should be best handled between the two of them without involving the university or the authorities.

    If this woman has recourse under this example under affirmative consent, what about bad sex in general? Or if a woman regrets a sexual encounter the next day? We know false rape accusations happen, even if we don’t know what the exact percentage is. I fear this standard will just increase the number of them.

    The road to hell, or the loss of liberties, is often paved with good intentions. The affirmative consent standards are an excellent example of this. We should resist the urge to “just do something” to address sexual assualt at colleges. We should also resist using the government to impose our own personal morality. All those will do is just lead to erosion of more liberties.

     

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/15/how-affirmative-consent-laws-threaten-due-process/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    “Bad” or “Wrong” or “I don’t like it” is not equivalent to “Unconstitutional”

    by Chris Byrne

    In a comment on someone elses post, another reader wrote “The DEA is an unconstitutional and illegal agency”.

    This bugs me… We frequently see these sorts of statements made about the DEA, the ATF, the federal reserve (where ok, there’s at least a rational and reasonable though flawed argument to be made… most of the people shouting stuff like that above aren’t making those arguments, but still)… Basically any federal agency that they don’t like, or which enforces laws, or uses delegated powers which they personally don’t like.

    No, the mere existence of the DEA is not unconstitutional or illegal. It is perfectly constitutional in that it is an executive agency chartered to enforce the laws promulgated by the legislative branch.

    The fact that the federal government has no constitutional authority to outright ban or criminalize such substances as the DEA is chartered to regulate, or to ban or criminalize their manufacture, use, or possession (and only limited power to regulate their sale. No, sorry, regulating interstate commerce and making such laws as necessary for the general welfare does not grant them such broad and deterministic powers… and Wickard v. Filburn is bad law and needs to be overturned), does not mean that all laws relating to such substances are illegal or unconstitutional. There are legitimate regulatory powers that such an agency may lawfully and constitutionally exercise.

    AS CURRENTLY EXTANT AND IN THEIR CURRENT ROLES AND ACTIONS… The DEA often engages in unconstitutional behaviors, and acts to enforce unconstitutional laws. That much is certainly true. But they are not inherently unconstitutional, or illegal.

    Those are actually really important distinctions. Not just semantics or distinctions without difference.

    This is so, because you go about addressing the issues, and solving the problems, differently. Things which are blatantly and directly illegal or unconstitutional are best addressed in one way. Things which are peripherally so, are best addressed in a very different way.

    You have to shoot at the proper target, with the proper ammunition.

    Also, it’s really important to remember, that “bad and stupid” or “harmful” or “undesirable”, or “pointless”; does not necessarily mean “unconstitutional”. Nor does “constitutional” mean “good”, or “useful” or “effective”.

    That’s not even a matter of judges discretion or interpretation… The constitution actually provides far less protection of rights, and limitation of powers, than people believe it, expect it, and wish it to (at least explicitly… the 9th and 10th amendments… there’s much bigger and messier issue).

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/15/bad-or-wrong-or-i-dont-like-it-is-not-equivalent-to-unconstitutional/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    October 14, 2014

    Windowpanes, Pencils, and Paperclips

    by Chris Byrne

    A few days ago I wrote something on facebook that bears repeating here:

    A comprehensive understanding of the pencil problem, combined with a thorough understanding of the broken window fallacy (and its inputs and corollaries… Hazlitt for example), makes a pretty good inoculant against socioeconomic lies and stupidities.

    Although they are implied by the conditions above, perhaps one should also specifically reference the scale and complexity problems, the perfect information fallacy, the perfect man fallacy, and the law of unintended consequences…

    Some of our readers may be unfamiliar with the pencil problem.

    In comments, the novelist Ryk Spoor provided a decent explanation, which I’m going to paraphrase here, with my own edits and revisions (and the addition of the last bit, about planning and control):

    No one man, can make a pencil, or at least a pencil which could be sold economically.
    In general terms, the pencil problem, is that even simplest and most common objects in our civilization generally require an immense number of people and inputs; to not merely build, but manufacture and sell in sufficient numbers, to make it worthwhile to build them cheaply (or at least so that they can be sold economically).

    The applies to everything from cars and computers, to pencils, to paperclips.

    If you wanted ONE paperclip, it would be an epic undertaking, from locating the appropriate ores, refining them, turning them into steel, figuring out how to draw the steel into the appropriate size of wire, and then finally producing the paperclip from that wire. The amount of effort involved in it would be months of your labor, assuming you had the talent and resources to do it at all.

    Instead, you go to a store and buy a 100ct box of them for a dollar; or even at minimum wage, a few minutes of your time for a hundred of the things.

    Multiply that by all the different types of goods and services in a modern civilized society, and it starts to become clear just how many people, in how many different specialties, with how much infrastructure, are needed to keep everything running.

    Given that scale and complexity, it should also be clear how impossible it would be to plan, control, and manage, anything approaching a national economy or infrastructure centrally; or in fact in any way other than as devolved and decentralized as possible.

    The original statement of the problem in this way came from an essay by Milton Friedman (which was a restatement of an earlier essay, “I, Pencil” from Leonard Read, which was a restatement of Hazlitt, which was a restatement of Bastiat and back down the chain).

    A video of Friedman explaining the problem:

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/14/windowpanes-pencils-and-paperclips/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    The problem with “Wouldn’t it be…” and “Wasn’t it…”

    by Chris Byrne

    Progressive ideas usually begin with:

    “Wouldn’t it be great if…” (progressives are generally theorists)

    Ok, right there with you so far…

    Conservative ideas usually begin with:

    “Wasn’t it great when…” (conservatives are generally empiricists)

    Yup, that works for me too…

    The complication is the next step, taken by both progressives and conservatives:

    “Since that would be great, it is our moral obligation, to use the force of government to MAKE it that way”

    … and that’s where we part ways.

    The problem, is that I believe I have no moral right to force MY personal beliefs, preferences, or ideas on anyone else (no matter how “great” or “right” they may be).

    I also believe that we have a moral obligation to use the force of government as little as possible (even if doing so may be “for the greater good”).

    Of course, that’s where the kicker hits, from both left and right…

    “Since you oppose something which is great, and which is a moral obligation, you must either be stupid, or evil”

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/14/the-problem-with-wouldnt-it-be-and-wasnt-it/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    Why Libertarians Should Vote Libertarian This November (and Always)

    by Sarah Baker

    As usual at this stage in the election cycle, my social media newsfeeds are filled with indignant Republicans lecturing libertarians about “spoiling” elections in favor of Democrats. I will do as always, listen to the howls as they cast themselves impotently upon the shoals of my principles—and continue to fill in ovals only for those candidates with an established commitment to limited government, enumerated powers and fiscal restraint.

    I urge my fellow libertarians to do the same.

    Never mind Libertarian candidates pull votes from Democrats as well as Republicans. Never mind Libertarians sometimes spoil elections in favor of the Republican. What I find even more interesting this election cycle is how much more sympathetic the howlers are to third parties and spoilers now that it is the social conservatives feeling betrayed by the GOP.

    Tax-Hike Mike Huckabee is threatening to leave the party and take “a whole bunch of still God-fearing, Bible-believing people” with him if the party “abdicates” on gay marriage. Chairman of the (misnamed) Liberty Council Matthew Staver is now openly calling for the creation of a third party if Republican “cowards” cannot hold the line against gay marriage. The (misnamed) National Organization for Marriage is actively campaigning against Republican candidates Carl DeMaio and Richard Tisei for their breach of party orthodoxy:

    We refuse to follow the leaders in Washington as if we were sheep expected to dutifully support candidates whose positions are an insult to conservatives and will severely damage the nation. We are going to do our best to defeat these candidates because they are wholly unworthy of holding high office.

    Remember all the times libertarians have said the same thing, not in connection to gay marriage, but as to a plethora of other issues? I know my social media will soon light up with outrage  at these social conservatives actively spoiling elections against Republic candidates.

    …Any time now…

    It is ironic, really, because however faithless the GOP has been with the theocratic wing of its base, its breach of faith with the small government contingent has been near absolute. The GOP has given us the Patriot Act, warrantless wire-tapping, protectionist tariffs, expensive subsidies for agribusiness, a crony capitalist energy bill, and Sarbanes-Oxley.

    It has bequeathed us a $1.9 trillion war waged on credit to topple a secular dictator whose position is now being filled by the group known as ISIS. Its War on Drugs is a spectacular failure, whose face looks like this, and which is now opposed by the majority of Americans—along with five Nobel prize economists.

    The GOP “abdicated” long ago on local control of schools, federalizing education to an unprecedented extent with No Child Left Behind. In an irony observed by Edward H. Crane of the Cato Institute back in 2002:

    Mr. Bush campaigned for the greatest federal role in education that any president, Republican or Democrat, had in US history. Never mind that 20 years before, Mr. Reagan had won a landslide victory on a platform that called for the abolition of the Department of Education.

    The GOP oversaw an incredible expansion in the federal budget, even for non-defense discretionary spending, and a new entitlement program in the form Medicare Part D, with net expenditures of $727.3 billion through 2018. Its candidates now openly campaign against cuts to Medicare and Social Security and the party leadership takes the position that it cannot risk unpopular cuts when winning re-election is so crucial.

    …So they can cut spending?

    There will always be another election looming. This is not the logic of a party sincere in its intent to rein in the size and scope of government. It is the logic of a party whose purpose in winning elections is to hold onto power for its own sake.

    Even if the GOP had given libertarians a reason for support this November, it is increasingly unclear it can deliver in national elections. Only 25% of Americans identify as Republican, the party having lost fully 12% of its base to Independents, who now make up 42% of the electorate (31% are Democrats).

    Is there a target electorate for a party of politicians who are entitlement-state liberals on economic issues, hawks on foreign policy, surveillance state security-fetishists, and who believe in using the power of the government to promote conservative values on social issues? How big can that voting block be? According to Dave Nalle writing for American Broadside, Huckabee’s following consists of about 6-8% of Republican voters nationwide.

    In contrast, as many as 59 % of voters self-identify as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal,” the exact opposite of the “socially conservative, fiscally liberal” brand of conservatism the GOP has served up in the last fifteen years. Against Huckabee’s 6-8% following, 61% of young Republicans and 64% of millennial evangelicals support treating same-sex marriages equally under the law.

    Even the Catholic Church sees the writing on the wall.

    Contrary to Huckabee’s handwringing, the GOP can maintain its position on abortion and remain a viable party. Forty-six percent of American adults, 45% of independents and 28% of Democrats are pro-life. Even outspoken Democrat women like Kirsten Powers would put a limits on abortion well before the end of the second trimester. There is common ground to be had there.

    But the GOP cannot remain a viable party without the libertarian swing vote. Even under conservative estimates, 15% of voters can be treated as consistently “libertarian” in their positions, representing a voting block as big as the religious right—and one that is far more willing to stray from the GOP.

    It is clear the GOP needs libertarians this November—hence the shrill refrain from the peanut gallery of social media. But it is not clear what the GOP has to offer. Its tent is big enough to cover both libertarians and social conservatives. But there is no such thing as a tent big enough to cover both libertarians and social conservatives who want to use the power of the government to promote their social preferences.

    Those two are mutually exclusive. They are matter and anti-matter. They cannot exist in the same time in the same place.

    Until the GOP chooses, it will remain a splintered force in politics. And unless it chooses the side of small government, it offers little incentive for libertarians to look for shelter in its tent.

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/14/why-libertarians-should-vote-libertarian-this-november-and-always/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    Greetings All – Sorry in Advance!

    by Matt Souders

    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. :)

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/14/greetings-all-sorry-in-advance/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •

    An Open Letter to Jeffco Student Protesters Concerning History Standards

    by Stephen Littau

    Author’s Note: The following post was intended to be published on September 29th but due to technical difficulties here at The Liberty Papers, publication had to wait. I do believe, however; this is still an ongoing, present concern and the subject matter extends far beyond the Jefferson County School District in the Centennial State.

    Dear Student Protesters of Jefferson County:

    I must begin with a confession. When I first learned of your student walkouts concerning some proposed changes to the AP History curriculum, I was more than a little bit cynical. These walkouts, I thought, were little more than an excuse to skip class and be ‘part of something.’ I don’t doubt that some students joined the walkouts for that reason; there are always individuals who join a cause because it seems to be the popular thing to do (I should point out that there are many people my age and older who do the very same thing so this is not a criticism of young people per se). This open letter is not intended for these students but for those of you who honestly care about the proposed changes to the history curriculum.

    As I started reading about these protests it didn’t take me long to realize that you have very good reason to protest: the aims of the Jeffco School Board for the history curriculum are at best contradictory and misguided. The following paragraph in the Board Committee for Curriculum Review must be the primary reason for your protests:

    Review criteria shall include the following: instructional materials should present the most current factual information accurately and objectively. Theories should be distinguished from fact. Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage. Content pertaining to political and social movements in history should present balanced and factual treatment of the positions.

    The first three sentences and the last sentence, I am sure, you have no problem with. The materials should be presented “accurately and objectively.”  But if the first goal is objectivity, how can the materials also “promote” other ideas such as citizenship and patriotism at the same time? Promotion of ideas by definition means they intend to encourage students to accept certain ideas and reject others. Objectivity means presenting the material without promoting a certain world view (which is much easier said than done). (more…)

    Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone
    TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2014/10/14/an-open-letter-to-jeffco-student-protesters-concerning-history-standards/trackback/
    Read more posts from
    • • •
    « Previous PageNext Page »
    Powered by: WordPress • Template by: Eric • Banner #1, #3, #4 by Stephen Macklin • Banner #2 by Mark RaynerXML