Thursday, August 17, 2017

Libertarian Party wants "racists and bigots" out

Libertarian Party to White nationalists: Get out - Christie Zizo, Central Florida News 13:

August 15, 2017 - The National Libertarian Party says it stands for freedom for all, but it won't stand for white nationalists.

"The party, considered the fastest growing third party in the country, issued a statement Tuesday asking any white nationalists who belong to the party to leave.

"'There is no room for racists and bigots in the Libertarian Party,' said Libertarian National Committee executive director Wes Benedict. 'If there are white nationalists who — inappropriately — are members of the Libertarian Party, I ask them to submit their resignations today. We don’t want them to associate with the Libertarian Party, and we don’t want their money. I’m not expecting many resignations, because our membership already knows this well.'

"Benedict says the Libertarian Party supports civil liberties, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation. The party also believes in open borders, racial diversity and free trade -- things he says white nationalists abhor.

"The statement comes in the wake of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville that turned violent as protesters engaged with some counterprotesters and one suspected white nationalist drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring 19.

"Among the headliners of that 'Unite the Right' Rally was Augustus Invictus, who ran for U.S. Senate as a Libertarian in 2016. At the time his candidacy caused a stir. Florida Libertarian Party Chairman Adrian Wyllie resigned his post because he believed Invictus was a white nationalist who believed in eugenics [and] wanted to start a civil war. Invictus denied the charge....

"Invictus announced he was leaving the Libertarians in July for the Republican Party. He announced Tuesday he is running as a Republican candidate for Senate in Florida in 2018."

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Antony Fisher, libertarian think-tank pioneer

Sphere of Influence: How American Libertarians Are Remaking Latin American Politics - Lee Fang, The Intercept:

August 9, 2017 - "Antony Fisher, a British entrepreneur and the founder of the Atlas Network, pioneered the sale of libertarian economics to the broader public.... Fisher made it his mission to, in the words of an associate, 'litter the world with free-market think tanks.'

"The basis for Fisher’s ideals came from Friedrich Hayek, a forbearer of modern thought on limited government. In 1946, after reading the Reader’s Digest version of Hayek’s seminal book, The Road to Serfdom,” Fisher sought a meeting with the Austrian economist in London....

"Fisher was propelled forward by a fateful visit to [Leonard] Read’s newly formed nonprofit, the Foundation for Economic Education, in New York, which was founded to help sponsor and promote the ideas of free-market intellectuals. There, libertarian economist F.A. Harper, at the time working at FEE, advised Fisher on methods for creating his own nonprofit in the U.K....

"In 1955, Fisher founded the Institute of Economic Affairs [IEA].... The institute was a place to showcase opposition to British society’s growing welfare state, connecting journalists to free-market academics and disseminating critiques on a regular basis through opinion columns, radio interviews, and conferences. Businesses provided the bulk of funding to IEA, as leading British industrial and banking giants — from Barclays to BP — pitched in with annual contributions....

"As the economic slowdown and rising inflation of the 1970s shook the foundations of British society, Tory politicians gravitated more and more to the IEA to provide an alternative vision — and IEA obliged with accessible issue briefs and talking points politicians could use to bring free-market concepts to the public. The Atlas Network proudly proclaims that the IEA 'laid the intellectual groundwork for what later became the Thatcher Revolution of the 1980s.' IEA staff provided speechwriting for Margaret Thatcher; supplemented her campaign with policy papers on topics as varied as labor unions and price controls; and provided a response to her critics in the mass media. In a letter to Fisher after her 1979 victory, Thatcher wrote that the IEA created 'the climate of opinion which made our victory possible'....

"Hayek set up an invitation-only group of free-market economists called the Mont Pelerin Society. One of its members, Ed Feulner, helped found the conservative Washington think tank the Heritage Foundation, drawing on IEA’s work for inspiration. Another Mont Pelerin member, Ed Crane, founded the Cato Institute, the most prominent libertarian think tank....

In 1981, Fisher, who had settled in San Francisco, set out to develop the Atlas Economic Research Foundation at the urging of Hayek. Fisher had used his success with IEA to court corporate donors to help establish a string of smaller, sometimes regional think tanks in New York, Canada, California, and Texas, among other places. With Atlas, though, the scale for Fisher’s free-market think tank project would now be global: a nonprofit dedicated to continuing his work of establishing libertarian beachheads in every country of the world. 'The more institutes established throughout the world,” Fisher declared, “the more opportunity to tackle diverse problems begging for resolution.'"

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Atlas Network spreads liberty in Latin America

Sphere of Influence: How American Libertarians Are Remaking Latin American Politics - Lee Fang, The Intercept:

August 9, 2017 - "Alejandro Chafuen ... was among friends at the 2017 Latin America Liberty Forum. The international meeting of libertarian activists was sponsored by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, a leadership-training nonprofit now known simply as the Atlas Network, which Chafuen has led since 1991....

"Chafuen pointed to numerous Atlas-affiliated leaders now in the spotlight: ministers in the new conservative government in Argentina, senators in Bolivia, and the leaders of the Free Brazil Movement that took down Dilma Rousseff’s presidency, where Chafuen’s network sprang to life before his very eyes.... A rightward shift is afoot in Latin American politics [and] the Atlas Network seems ever-present, a common thread nudging political developments along......

"[T]he Atlas Network, which receives funding from Koch foundations, has recreated methods honed in the Western world for developing countries. The network is expansive, currently boasting loose partnerships with 450 think tanks around the world. Atlas says it dispensed over $5 million to its partners in 2016 alone.

"Over the years, Atlas and its affiliated charitable foundations have provided hundreds of grants to conservative and free-market think tanks in Latin America, including the libertarian network that supported the Free Brazil Movement and organizations behind a libertarian push in Argentina, including Fundación Pensar, the Atlas think tank that merged with the political party formed by Mauricio Macri, a businessman who now leads the country. The leaders of the Free Brazil Movement and the founder of Fundación Eléutera in Honduras, an influential post-coup neoliberal think tank, have received financial support from Atlas, and are among the next generation of political operatives that have gone through Atlas’s training seminars.

"The Atlas Network spans dozens of other think tanks across the region.... It gives grants for new think tanks, provides courses on political management and public relations, sponsors networking events around the world, and, in recent years, has devoted special resources to prodding libertarians to influence public opinion through social media and online videos. An annual competition encourages Atlas’s network to produce viral YouTube videos promoting laissez-faire ideas and ridiculing proponents of the welfare state....

"Chafuen intimated that there was more to come: more think tanks, more efforts to overturn leftist governments, and more Atlas devotees and alumni elevated to the highest levels of government the world over. 'The work is ongoing,' he said."

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Cory Booker introduces Marijuana Justice Act

Marijuana politics emerge as 2020 flash point - POLITICO - Carla Marinucci:

August 13, 2017 - "Between a sweeping new package of legislation introduced last week by one of the top Democratic presidential prospects and, on the other end of the spectrum, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vigorous opposition to recreational use of marijuana, the debate over legalization of cannabis is about to receive a full airing on the presidential campaign trail.

"Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, a bipartisan nonprofit advocacy group, said New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s introduction of 'the farthest-reaching bill ever proposed' will have a catalytic effect on the politics of legalized marijuana and the myriad criminal justice issues related to it....

"Booker’s rollout of the Marijuana Justice Act — introduced to a wide audience via Facebook Live — was more than just a call for legalizing marijuana at the federal level. The measure also addresses withholding federal funds for the construction of jails and prisons from states whose pot laws are shown to disproportionately incarcerate minorities; expunging federal convictions for cannabis use; and mandating sentencing hearings for prisoners now serving time for pot offenses....

"With Republicans in control of the House and Senate, the ambitious legislation is viewed as unlikely to pass. But its attachment to a top prospective 2020 candidate — and the growing action on marijuana legalization at the state level — all but guarantees presidential contenders will need a fully formed position.

"Several possible Democratic presidential candidates — including Booker and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — have already signed on to a separate bipartisan medical marijuana bill. In Massachusetts, where voters approved a ballot measure last year legalizing recreational marijuana, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has addressed the issues of creating legal and secure banking for the cannabis industry.

"On the Republican side, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has called for a repeal on the pot prohibition — making him popular with young libertarians — and won some conservative backing with his strong stand for states’ rights on the issue.

"That’s the same stance that was endorsed repeatedly by President Donald Trump, who also enthusiastically backed medical marijuana legalization on the campaign trail — though many cannabis advocates now worry about Sessions’ hard-line opposition....

"A recent CBS News poll tracked 61 percent support for legal cannabis — a 5-percentage-point bump up from last year and the highest percentage ever recorded in the poll. And nearly three-quarters of Americans now support a states rights approach — that states should be allowed to make the decision on legal pot sales — and oppose government moves to crack down in states that have legalized cannabis, the poll showed."

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Libertarians should support climate action, iff...

Should Natural Rights Libertarians Support Carbon Mitigation? The Answer May Surprise You - Niskanen Center - Kevin Vallier:

July 18,2017 - "Here are the conditions under which natural rights libertarians should support a carbon mitigation policy.
  1. The actions of human beings generate carbon emissions significant enough to pose a non-trivial risk of violating property rights (in one’s body or external objects) of persons whom the state has a duty to protect.
  2. A carbon mitigation policy (CMP) will provide an effective protection against the risk.
  3. The CMP will not in itself violate property rights, or take an excessive risk of violating them, because it will generally be targeted at persons or groups that generate problematic carbon emissions (and persons don’t have rights against restraints upon their rights-violating actions), where: a. The CMP coerces the smallest number of people sufficient to deter the emissions;  b.  The CMP is the least coercive means of deterring the emissions.
  4. No non-governmental, non-rights violating alternative to CMP is socially or politically feasible....
"A complication with condition 1 is that no one person or small group produces enough carbon emissions to pose a non-trivial risk to legitimate property holdings. But this did not prevent Murray Rothbard from arguing that ... these threats should be handled through class-action lawsuits. But appeals to Rothbard aside, it’s clear enough that libertarians should be prepared to hold large, diffuse collectives accountable for property damages....

"Condition 2 is critical because the coercion involved in imposing a CMP can only be justified if it actually protects property rights. Condition 3 is critical because natural rights libertarians are not consequentialists. You cannot justify violating John’s property rights in order to protect Reba’s property rights more effectively....  Condition 4 is critical because if there is a non-coercive, non-governmental solution to a negative externality, the natural rights libertarian will hold that this solution is morally superior to a CMP.... .

"But how can ... anarchist natural rights libertarians, support governmental action to do anything? Well, in lieu of abolishing the state, presumably libertarians ... will insist that states be as just as possible. So if justice requires protecting people from negative externalities, then states should act to protect people from negative externalities....

"I fully acknowledge that a CMP will be imperfect. But the mere fact that it will be imperfect doesn’t mean we should forgo our libertarian duty to support policies that protect property rights, a duty we have even if the costs of protection are large....

"[A] CMP has to impose no greater burden on people, and on no more people, than is required to prevent the rights violation. And it is a virtual certainty that the CMP will be either too stringent or too lax. But that again is not a reason to not have a CMP, any more than the fact that the police are usually too stringent or too lax is a reason not to have them stop thieves and killers....

"However, there is an alternative to a CMP: geo-engineering, such as cloud-seeding with sulfuric compounds, diamond dust, or calcium carbonate, which can prevent rising sea levels by reflecting more sunlight from the Earth. These solutions are in principle far less economically costly than any proposed CMP and are much easier to coordinate (the US could do enough cloud seeding for the whole world all by itself). Moreover, while many climate change activists don’t take geo-engineering seriously and few support it, it is not obviously infeasible that the way in which Rothbardian mass-class-action lawsuits are. Most importantly, geo-engineering solutions appear to violate property rights less in comparison with CMPs....

"Geo-engineering is seriously problematic for lots of reasons. But there is nonetheless still some case for qualifying support for a CMP by making it conditional on the infeasibility or excessive risk of geo-engineering solutions that violate property rights less (if there are any)."

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

The idiocy behind the Paris Climate Accord

Global Village Idiots | Liberty Unbound - Steve Murphy:

August 8, 2017 - "Blunderdale, a fictitious village located on a river bank, decided to build a levee to save its people (and their homes and businesses) from the devastation of flooding.... [S]cientists informed the flood task force ... that a 4’ levee would be required for protection against most floods, but that an 8’ levee would be required to ensure village safety against all floods. Armed with this sobering advice, the village leaders ... decided that a 2’ levee would be their goal [and] hammered out a plan to construct one from costly and unreliable materials instead of much cheaper and much more available proven materials.... When completed, the exorbitantly expensive structure would be 0.17’ high. Having bamboozled the credulous villagers, they celebrated their victory.

"Most of us would call such leaders despicable morons; in Blunderdale, the village leaders are the village idiots. After all, they are almost as underhanded and scandalously stupid as the world leaders (from 195 of the world’s 196 countries) who concocted the Paris Climate Accord....

"Climate experts (particularly those who support the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change [IPCC]) ... informed them that, on its present course, the earth’s temperature is expected to rise to something in the range of 4.0°C by the end of this century. Some authors insist that an increase of 8.0°C is possible. Even a 2.0°C rise, which many believe is already baked into the climate cake, will soon inundate low-lying population centers (cities such as Miami and nations such as Bangladesh) and create tens of millions of climate refugees....

"But let’s say that mankind implemented ... the Paris Accord. And let’s say that it was scrupulously executed — that is, the emissions reductions pledges of all 195 nations were fully met, annually, through the end of the century. What would be the cost? According to Bjorn Lomborg, it would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 trillion. This staggering amount includes lost GDP growth, increased taxes (e.g., $3 trillion to pay for subsidies over the next 25 years), and higher household electricity expenses. A Heritage Foundation study of the effects of the Paris agreement on only the US economy, and only through 2035, found that there would be an overall annual average shortfall of nearly 400,000 jobs (200,000 manufacturing jobs), a total income loss of more than $20,000 for a family of four, an aggregate GDP loss of over $2.5 trillion, and increases in household electricity expenditures of between 13% and 20%.

"What is the expected effectiveness of the plan?... An analysis by Lomborg found that fastidious adherence to the agreement, maintained throughout the century, would reduce the global temperature rise by 0.17°C. An MIT analysis found a similar result, 0.2°C. Thus, if the end-of-century temperature rise is the mass extinction-causing 4°C that the signatories believe will occur without the Paris accord , then, with the Paris accord, the end-of-century temperature rise will shrink to only, well, a mass extinction-causing 4°C.

 "With full knowledge that their plan would have absolutely no influence on diminishing catastrophic global warming, the leaders from 195 countries signed the Paris accord. Having surreptitiously united the world behind a $100 trillion scheme that would be of no help to Mother Earth, if she even notices, they celebrated their achievement."

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Friday, August 11, 2017

DDoS attack crashes libertarian site after gender differences article posted

Site Suffers DDoS Attack After Supporting James Damore - Toni Airaksinen, PJ Media:

August 9, 2017 - "Quillette Magazine, a small but respected libertarian publication based in Australia, suffered a DDoS attack Tuesday after publishing an article supportive of James Damore, the fired Google memo writer.

"The attack, which crashed the site for a day, came after Quillette published the opinion of four scientists on the Google memo. The scientists found that the conservative Google employee’s views on gender differences were supported by substantial scientific evidence.

"The Google memo’s 'key claims about sex differences are especially well-supported by large volumes of research across species, culture,' wrote Geoffrey Miller, a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of New Mexico, explaining that the memo 'is consistent with the scientific state of the art on sex differences'....

"Deborah Soh, who has a PhD in sexual neuroscience and works as a Toronto-based science writer, concurred with Miller. 'Sex differences between women and men — when it comes to brain structure and function and associated differences in personality and occupational preferences — are understood to be true, because the evidence for them (thousands of studies) is strong.'

"'This is not information that’s considered controversial or up for debate; if you tried to argue otherwise, or for purely social influences, you’d be laughed at,' Soh said....

"Claire Lehmann, the founder of Quillette, told PJ Media that her website was especially susceptible to attack. While there are many programs that can be used to protect against DDoS attacks (which are when hackers flood websites with traffic to crash it), Claire said she didn’t have any....

"Her site, which has received endorsements from well-known figures such as Charles Murray and Richard Dawkins, ... has been dedicated to supporting alternative viewpoints since it launched in 2016.... [She] said her work is crucial to helping people see the truth behind things. 'It’s important to hear alternative viewpoints so that we can work out what is the truth, and not merely consensus,' Lehmann said."

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