Saturday, December 30, 2017

Swiss students fight against mandatory TV fees

How Swiss students fight against imposed TV fees | Freedom Today Network - Bill Wirtz:

November 20, 2017 - "Together with other classical liberals in Switzerland, Frédéric Jollien is fighting against the royalties imposed by the government for media consumption. 450 Swiss Francs, the equivalent of €382, is the annual fee that consumers need to pay, regardless if they want state-run TV and radio channels or not. 'We are not trying to abolish anything. We merely want consumers to choose for themselves which channels they want to watch.', says Frédéric, who works in the campaign of 'NoBillag', the citizen's initiative that intends to overturn the fee via referendum.

"The state-run channels in Switzerland date back to World War One, when they were used to communicate with the citizens. The government had completely monopolised both TV and radio 'for security reasons'. After the war period, Switzerland opened the market to private media companies, but it kept the 'Billag' fee in order to pay for the state channels which still absolutely dominate the market until this day.

"The fee even has its own website, on which the mandatory contribution is explained as follows: 'In Switzerland, you are legally obligated to pay the radio and television fees. By paying the fees you enable radio and television programmes in every part of Switzerland.'

"Which almost sounds like you couldn't have any TV or radio stations if it wasn't for governmental control. For Frédéric Jollien, who is a Senior Local Coordinator for European Students for Liberty and founder of Swiss Students for Liberty, this description is dishonest: 'The opponents to our campaign claim that without the "Billag", nobody would pay for state channels, yet they simultaneously also argue that people are very fond of the content. Which one is it now?'

"The 'NoBillag' campaign has been working on the issue of media royalties for three years now, and effectively managed to get their citizen's initiative approved. This means that a public vote on the repeal of the 'Billag' will take place on March 4, 2018. Until then, the campaign is tirelessly working to promote its ideas.

"However, running such a campaign demands considerable efforts: 'The government has extended the "Billag" to include private companies as well. Despite them only receiving less than 10 per cent of the revenue generated by the fee, they now also have vested interests in keeping it in place'.... The print media is equally unimpressed by the 'NoBillag' campaign, as owners also seek to convince the government to initiate large subsidies for the papers, the same way it is practiced in countries like France.....

"Jollien is very optimistic regardless: 'We started a crowdfunding campaign and raised over 50,000 Francs in only ten days, bringing us closer of our 100,000 CHF objective. But not only that: several polls have indicated that we might very well be able to win the public vote!'

"[J]ournalists (who by the way, are exempt from paying this fee) are releasing heavy verbal fire on the campaigners. They claim it would cause massive unemployment in the media sector, that it is anti-democratic or that it would enable big foreign companies to take over the Swiss market. "It's actually quite peculiar: the Swiss conservatives, who are usually the ones spreading fear of foreigners, support us because they believe that state media is being biased against them, while the Left opposes us because they believe the evil foreign media channels from Germany, Italy and France will eat us up. This shows how strange the idea of a free market can sound to people', says Frédéric."

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Friday, December 29, 2017

Ron Paul sees opening for a libertarian in 2020

Ron Paul: A Popular Libertarian Candidate in 2020 Is 'Very Possible' - Hit & Run : - Ed Krayewski :

December 27, 2017 - "Distrust in America's foreign and monetary policies, unrelieved by the election of Donald Trump, is going to be a 'big opening' for libertarians in 2020, former Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul told the Washington Examiner....

"'The appearance of the libertarian movement has been set back partially because of Trump, but intellectually we've been doing well,' Paul said. 'We as libertarians have some work to do before [voters] are going to accept a true-blue libertarian, but I think moving in that direction and having a popular candidate is very possible' in 2020.

"Paul called the economic upturn this year 'a bit of an illusion,' and said U.S. monetary policy benefits those connected to government... 'It's a bubble economy in many, many different ways and it's going to come unglued,' said Paul.... 'We're on the verge of something like what happened in '89 when the Soviet system just collapsed'....

"'I think our stature in the world and our empire will end, and that's when, hopefully, the doors will be open and [people will] say,  "Hey, maybe these libertarians have some answers to this",' Paul told the Examiner. 'If they only hear our message, I know they would choose liberty and sound money and freedom and peace over the mess we have today.'

"Paul's criticism of Trump's foreign policy is understandable. Trump was never the non-interventionist some (at times even Paul's son, Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul) made him out to be.

"'I think [his] foreign policy is a total disaster,' Paul told the Examiner. 'Trump's approach sounds good one day but the next day he's antagonizing everyone in the world and thinks we should start a war here and there.'

"Paul also said he'd be delighted if Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has been a disaster for civil liberties, although he's not optimistic the replacement would be any better."

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

U.S. government cuts UN funding

The UN Cuts Are a Step in the Right Direction - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world - Daniel J. Mitchell:

December 28, 2017 - "According to the Associated Press, steps are being taken to reduce the fiscal burden of the United Nations.
The U.S. government says it has negotiated a significant cut in the United Nations budget. The U.S. Mission to the United Nations said on Sunday that the U.N.’s 2018-2019 budge would be slashed by over $285 million. The mission said reductions would also be made to the U.N.’s management and support functions. The announcement didn’t make clear the entire amount of the budget or specify what effect the cut would have on the U.S. contribution. U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said that the 'inefficiency and overspending' of the organization is well-known, and she would not let 'the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of.'
"By the way, 'nicked' or 'trimmed' would be more accurate than 'slashed.' Nonetheless, at least it’s a small step in the right direction.

"And the recent U.N. vote against the U.S. may lead to additional budgetary savings, as explained in the Wall Street Journal by John Bolton, a former ambassador from the United States to that bureaucracy.
…the U.N. showed its true colors with a 128-9 vote condemning President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.… Despite decades of U.N. 'reform' efforts, little or nothing in its culture or effectiveness has changed  … largely because most U.N. budgets are financed through effectively mandatory contributions.... The U.S. should reject this international taxation regime and move instead to voluntary contributions. This means paying only for what the country wants—and expecting to get what it pays for. Agencies failing to deliver will see their budgets cut, modestly or substantially. Perhaps America will depart some organizations entirely.
"Bolton has some targets in mind.
…earlier this year the U.N. dispatched a special rapporteur to investigate poverty in the U.S.? American taxpayers effectively paid a progressive professor to lecture them about how evil their country is. The U.N.’s five regional economic and social councils, which have no concrete accomplishments, don’t deserve American funding either....Next come vast swaths of U.N. bureaucracy. Most of these budgets could be slashed with little or no real-world impact.... 
"My view, for what it’s worth, is that the United Nations is better (less worse?) than the OECD or IMF. But that’s mostly because it doesn’t have much power. When it does try to intervene in policy (global warming and gun control, for instance, as well as the Internet, the War on Drugs, monetary policy, and taxpayer-financed birth control), the U.N. inevitably urges more power and control for government."

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Lichtenstein, the libertarian principality

Libertarian Paradise: Liechtenstein - 71 Republic - Jackson Parker:

December 23, 2017 - "The Principality of Liechtenstein situated on the eastern border of Switzerland goes unnoticed by many despite its record achievements. The small country, only spanning a total of 62 square miles, ... holds one of the highest ratings of GDP per capita in the world, first if not adjusting for purchasing power parity. It has an astounding human development index of .912, above numbers such as the UK’s, Japan’s and South Korea’s. The country’s population of around 37,000 have had a minuscule unemployment rating of less than 3%.

"The cause is the libertarian tendencies of the country’s policy....

"With 88% of the legislature belonging to fiscally right-wing parties, the people of Liechtenstein have one of the freest economies in the world. Liechtenstein holds some of the lowest tax rates in the world [with] a basic personal income tax of 1.2% and corporate profits ... taxed 12.5%. This economic freedom has allowed the small country to have more registered companies than citizens that make up for its lack of natural resources with opportunity in an extremely strong financial sector.

"The sitting Prince of Liechtenstein, Hans-Adam II also strongly believes in the ideas of liberty stated in his book, The State in the Third Millennium.
I would like to set out in this book the reasons why the traditional state as a monopoly enterprise not only is an inefficient enterprise with a poor price-performance ratio, but even more importantly, becomes more of a danger for humanity the longer it lasts....

The State should treat its citizens like an enterprise treats its customers. For this to work, the State also needs competition. We therefore support the right of self-determination at the municipal level, in order to end the monopoly of the State over its territory.
- HSH Sovereign Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, The State in the Third Millennium
"With the massive successes in economic and human development, Liechtenstein presents a favorable case towards how smaller government benefits everyone involved. With legislation to eliminate overstepping government regulations, taxes, and control, perhaps the whole world can take a card out of the Alpine microstate’s playbook to further the freedom of their citizens and to promote economic growth inside of their own borders."

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The economic case for regifting

Don't Be Ashamed, Regifting is Good Economics - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world - James Walpole:

December 26, 2017 - "Regifting is like free trade for Christmas presents. Allowing and encouraging regifting represents the true spirit of Christmas.

"Let’s say you want to be a great gift-giver. If you do, you need to 1) desire the best possible life outcomes for your recipient and also 2) recognize that you don’t exactly know what that best outcome is.

"All gifts, like all capitalistic ventures, require some risk and leap of faith that you have found the solution to a problem for your recipient, despite all the unknown variables. It’s also true that most gifts, like most capitalistic ventures, fail to do that.

"You should encourage your recipient to feel free to regift your presents. An oven mitt which is useless to Sally (who already has an abundance of oven mitts) may be a perfect gift for her friend Sue (who is just getting started with cooking). One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Our social stigma against regifting would leave Sue without a good oven mitt and leave a good oven mitt gathering dust in Sally’s kitchen drawer.

"With a healthy regifting economy, gifts (like goods and services) flow to their most efficient uses.

"You might tell me that regifting is bad because of a loss of symbolic value when you regift something. 'It’s the thought that counts,' you might say.

"I’m not suggesting that you take the positive thought or intention out of your gifts. I’m suggesting that your intentions should include the possibility that regifting and trade is actually a good thing for the recipient, too."

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

GDPA wishes you a Happy Federal Holiday

More Christmas madness: Prof wants 'Merry Christmas' scrubbed, decorations called unsafe - The College Fix - Jennifer Kabbany:

December 23, 2015 - "University of Central Florida [UCF] professor Terri Fine suggested to her campus recently that they should stop saying 'Merry Christmas,' and instead use the more inclusive 'Happy Federal Holiday.'

"'A Holiday Greeting That Applies to Everyone' was the title of a column she penned for UCF Today that argued her idea was the best way to assure no one was offended in any way, shape or form in December.
[Because the U.S. government in some cases and the state government in others have identified certain days during the year as state and federal holidays ... we have no choice but to observe these holidays whether we want to or not. Most everyone is included and no one is excluded no matter their religious beliefs or practices.... The upside to wishing each other a “Happy Federal Holiday” is that we have lots of opportunities to do so during the year and not just during the current “Holiday Season."]
"'My friends and I wish each other a "Happy Federal Holiday,"' she explained, noting it’s the least offensive. Even 'happy holidays' doesn’t cut it, she stated.

"'Couldn’t "Happy Holidays" be the most inclusive greeting because it is so non-specific? Yes, perhaps, but it is the non-specificity of ‘Happy Holidays’ that makes it inappropriate because it fails to recognize the importance of Christmas to Christians while it also suggests that Chanukah should be more important to Jews than the high holidays and festivals that come at other times during the year,' Fine wrote....

"Moving right along, at the University of Missouri’s Student Health Center, administrators are so worried that seeing Christmas decorations might scar students they’ve banished them.

"'I’m aware that many of you are in the mood to decorate your areas with the holiday spirit in mind.  However ... I’ve decided that holiday decorations will not be displayed this year. Our mission is to provide a safe, comfortable place for all students to receive their health care. Without meaning to, some of the holiday symbols that we may display could contradict that mission,' stated an email sent out by Susan Even, executive director of the center."

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

An anarchist rereads A Christmas Carol

Misunderstanding the Moral of A Christmas Carol | The Anarchist Notebook:

December 24, 2014 - "Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol is an extremely well known fictional character, and one people often like to use as the stereotype of corrupt businessmen who steal from people in order to enrich themselves.

"Yet, even as a child, I understood that Scrooge wasn’t a criminal; he was a shrewd businessmen. He also wasn’t obsessed with material possessions, for he lived an austere life and ate meager meals. What made him disagreeable was his stinginess, his harsh demeanor, and his personal treatment of people such as his only nephew....

"Dickens’ solution to altering Scrooge’s conduct was not through violence, coercion, or aggression. No law is passed demanding that Scrooge hand over his money to the poor.

"The three Spirits of Christmas merely show him things that were, are, and will be. Scrooge is then left to decide what he will do with the information given, and it is here he has a change of heart. What he does from thereon out is purely voluntary; it is true charity.

"As he demonstrated previously in Oliver Twist, Dickens is making a critical point lost on so many social justice warriors who insist on using the state to redistribute wealth. True charity comes from the heart, and this can only be done through free will. If you attempt to bring out the end through involuntary means, you will fail.

"Dickens is drawing a critical distinction between what is moral and what is legal, and how to respond. Scrooge’s behavior is selfish and therefore immoral, but selfishness is a moral issue, not a criminal one. He is not violating anyone’s rights. Therefore, the use of force against him is not justified.

"The moral of A Christmas Carol, the message it conveys, is that the moral society is one in which the wealthy care for the poor of their own volition. A society which forces the wealthy to care for the poor is not a moral one because it relies on coercion rather than true charity.

"The morality of every society originates from the heart of its people. It does not come from the state.

"On that note, God Bless Us, Everyone (except the state)."

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Friday, December 22, 2017

Libertarian site FEE seeking website publisher

Oldest Libertarian Organization, FEE, Looking for Publisher/Editorial Director - Hit & Run : - Nick Gillespie:

December 20, 2017 - "The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is looking for someone to run its publications and website. From the job description:
FEE's Publisher is responsible for the strategic and operational success of FEE's content across all print and digital platforms, including, social media, third-party websites, ebooks, and print. This role requires an editorial visionary with a digital savvy, business focus. The Publisher supervises the Editorial staff and partners with the Marketing and Development (fundraising) departments to dramatically increase readership of and engagement with Furthermore, this role works with FEE leadership to create a FEE brand that will deliver a content experience attractive to FEE customers, partners, supporters, and advertisers. The role also communicates the business goals of the organization to the editors and writers, helping to plan editorial calendars and develop new content products. The Publisher reports to the COO.
[S]ome background on the group founded by Leonard Read, right after World War II:
Established in 1946, FEE (the Foundation for Economic Education) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to make the ideas of a free society–including free markets, civil society, and individual rights–familiar and credible to the rising generation (14-26 year-olds). Over the past three years, FEE has installed the latest digital marketing capabilities and assembled an editorial team to become the leading voice for ideas and commentary on the humane values and ethical principles of a free society. attracts an average of over 1 million monthly sessions, making it one of the top 5,000 websites in the U.S. and one of the top 21,000 websites in the world. FEE is well-positioned for continued growth with repeatable annual revenues having increased 79% since 2015.
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Thursday, December 21, 2017

MI judge orders seized $11K, SUVs, Christmas presents returned

Oakland County man battles to get back property seized in drug raid - Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press:

December 19, 2017 - "Only a few people were in a courtroom north of Detroit last week to hear the judge tongue-lash a prosecutor for delaying the return of a bank account with $11,000 that she ruled was improperly seized by drug investigators.

"'I’m outraged by the way this was handled,' Oakland County Circuit Judge Rae Lee Chabot exclaimed.... 'This hints at more than just a mistake. This continuous action hints at obstruction,' Chabot said, citing the 22 months it took to obey a court order and unfreeze the account. Chabot even slapped a fine on the prosecutor, awarding $2,500 'in sanctions' to defense attorneys, though they’d asked for three times that much....

"The ... hearing in Pontiac ...  was to get back the joint bank account of a mother and son — an account containing $10,938, of which $10,000 belonged not to medical-marijuana user Donny Barnes, 42, of Orion Township, but to Barnes’ mother.

"It was in November 2014 that a platoon of heavily armed police seized their joint bank account, along with Donny Barnes’ two SUVs and his children’s Christmas presents, according to legal pleadings. At the same time, they shut down Barnes’ three small businesses — a furniture resale firm, a spyware shop and a medical-marijuana magazine.....

"A different judge, in a criminal trial in February, dismissed the only charge against him — marijuana possession with intent to distribute — after ruling that police failed to establish probable cause for raiding Barnes' house, office and warehouse....

"The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office is awaiting a ruling on Barnes’ criminal case from the Michigan Court of Appeals, 'and we fully expect to win,' Chief Assistant Prosecutor Paul Walton said..... The prosecutors' goal? To show that Barnes, at the time of the raid, was a big-time marijuana dealer, one who’d tried to hide his illegal activity under the cloak of medical marijuana.... 'He was operating a dispensary, clearly,' Walton said.

"No matter that dispensaries have operated for years and largely without police interference in numerous other Michigan counties.... Barnes’ battle seems far from over. Also far from over is the debate over just how much power police and prosecutors should have in permanently confiscating the property of people who weren't convicted of any crime — and, in some cases, were never even arrested."

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Instructor fired for protesting gets libertarian aid

Libertarian advocates defend professor who was fired for protesting conservative student group – TheBlaze - Sara Gonzelez:

December 19, 2017 - "University of Nebraska-Lincoln [UNL] graduate instructor Courtney Lawton became a minor internet sensation earlier this year when members of the conservative student organization, TurningPoint USA, posted video of her peacefully protesting one of their recruiting events.

"Now, Lawton claims that she has been fired by the university, and with the help of prominent libertarian free speech activists, she’s fighting back.

"In the video, Lawton can be seen holding a sign that says 'Say no to neo-fascism' and verbally criticizing both TPUSA and the recruiters who were present. At one point, Lawton flips off the person holding the camera. The video did not indicate that any violence or threats of violence occurred....

"When video of the confrontation was posted online by TPUSA, the school was bombarded with emails and threats.

"Lawton was removed from the classroom effective Sept. 1 and was informed that her contract would not be renewed.... In a statement released to libertarian free speech organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education [FIRE], UNL claimed that Lawton was released because she failed to meet the university’s 'expectations for civility.'

"In an email to popular libertarian blog Reason, however, Lawton claims that the school gave her contradictory reasons for her termination. Lawton claims that she was initially told that her removal was due to 'safety concerns for students' but later was told in a follow-up meeting that she was being removed from the classroom because her presence would be 'too disruptive to students'....

"Both FIRE and Reason have responded to the university, arguing that the policy under which Lawton was dismissed was unconstitutionally vague. Additionally, ... FIRE argued that Lawton’s speech was constitutionally protected under the First Amendment and that her termination was unconstitutional....

"FIRE has filed lawsuits on behalf of students and professors in order to preserve free speech on campus. It is not clear if FIRE intends to file a lawsuit against the university if it does not respond in a timely manner."

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Facebook shuts down Libertarian Catholic page

The Libertarian Catholic Has Incurred the Wrath of Zuckerberg - Being Libertarian - Michael Morris:

December 11, 2017 - "I would like to think that our often maligned, but still boisterous, hybrid of libertarian Catholics have managed to make one huge step towards legitimacy in pro-liberty circles. Unfortunately we have also taken a huge step backwards.... You see, our page, The Libertarian Catholic, was 'Zucked' recently for what Facebook considered hate speech.....

"We were shut down specifically because we posted a meme to our page that alerted a large community of 'Bernie Bros' to our existence and, since reason and math offer a check on their utopian sensibilities, they lashed out by running to daddy Zuckerberg and begged him to intervene....

"A quick look at any random profile that accused The Libertarian Catholic of 'hating the poor' or 'disappointing Jesus' consistently revealed an almost fetishistic nostalgia of childhood memories. We all love to wax poetic about the times long past, but as the Apostle Paul explained about adulthood, 'When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became an adult, I put aside childish things'. (1 Cor. 13:11)....

"We also encountered some interesting views on property that intended to make a distinction between personal goods and private ones.  The problem is, for every socialist who had infiltrated our page there was a uniquely Orwellian distinction of the two.... Ultimately, the need for this dichotomy occurs precisely because they wish to take from certain groups to keep for themselves. So they are only socialist insofar as you have something that they want....

"The final accusation which we had encountered on our site repeatedly, and still encounter often from within the church as well as from outside, is some version of the belief in the incongruousness of being both a libertarian and a catholic. Straw men abound when leftward leaning ideologues begin to conjecture on fundamental human rights.....

"This line of thinking also abjectly fails to consider Vatican II’s declaration 'that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself.” It ignores Pope Leo XIII’s unequivocal support for the right to own private property according to the dignity of man being made in the image of God. Furthermore it fails to account for the way free markets have allowed individuals and communities to escape poverty, time and again, in ways that have never before been experienced throughout human history.  Instead they yell, 'Jesus was a socialist!' (wrong) and 'libertarians hate the poor!” (patently false)

"In summary, our page was shut down over an inability to encounter ideas at odds with the preconceived notions of several thousand basement dwellers that live as children in perpetuity. We were shut down because, in an effort to establish equality and fairness, Facebook acquiesced to the pleas of those grown up children and unfairly deemed our well-reasoned — though against the social grain — beliefs to be hate speech. We were singled out for providing a different view than our critics cared to hear and thus had our page thrown onto the metaphorical fire to burn like a forbidden book. "

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Monday, December 18, 2017

Reason webathon raises record $375,000

Thank You for a Record-Shattering Reason Webathon! - Hit & Run : - Matt Welch:

December 7, 2017 - "Reason's 10th annual webathon crushed all its predecessors like a bug on a windshield, for which we thank you, mouths agape, and vow to leap back into the fray like Popeye after 10 cans of spinach.

"The final tally: More than 1,300 of you generous souls made tax-deductible donations totaling an unbelievable $375,000+, doubling last year's haul of $187,000, and clearing far above our previous record (the year before that) of $246,000. This gobsmacking sum, which included a single gift of $75,000 worth of bitcoin (way back when the crypto currency was trading at like $11,000) allows us to be even more editorially independent and financially resilient, a rare and precious combination in today's creatively destructing media landscape.

"Your gifts also allow us to do new stuff you like — redesign the magazine, develop a podcast line, bring John Stossel into the fold — while keeping ourselves well-covered on the classics of cutting government, combating criminal injustice, fighting tyranny in far-flung locales, defending alcohol sales at cinemas that show unicorn-masturbation scenes. As we enter our 50th anniversary year, this massive jolt of adrenaline gives us the step on another half-century of innovative irreverence, sober number-crunching, and flying the libertarian flag in all kinds of unlikely places.

"On behalf of Katherine Mangu-Ward and Nick Gillespie, as well as the many behind-the-scenes heroes who made not only the webathon but our entire day-to-day existence here at Reason possible, THANK YOU."

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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Life after Rush: libertarian metal is alive and well

Libertarianism and Heavy Metal: Two Peas in a Pod? - 71 Republic - Mason Mohon:

December 12, 2017 - "Anybody who knows me, even just a little bit, knows that I am a big fan of metal....

"The genre itself seems to appeal in a few ways to the anti-government crowd. Lyrics of many major bands in the metal scene reflect very anti-government anti-authoritarian themes. The most notable of these will probably be familiar to those in libertarian circles: Backwordz. Their songs reflect various aspects of anarcho-capitalist philosophy, from the economic foundations made clear in 'Praxeology' to the basic idea of control over one’s life in 'Self Ownership'. Their merch often sports 'taxation is theft' and other libertarian friendly slogans, and on stage lead singer Eric July is always ready to speak of freedom to the crowd.

"Backwordz is very libertarian, but the genre as a whole also seems to be very reflecting of the ideas, although not explicitly. Libertarianism and heavy metal have a parallel in their stance against the established way of things and refusal to conform to the norm. Libertarians are ... characterized by their opposition to coercive power, and will not settle for the way things are.... Similarly, metal tends to stand against the conventional order of music and genre....  It is loud and seen by many as scary, but the metalheads do not care.... An article from the Scientific American outlines that people of other genres tend to be conformists, while metalheads stick to their guns....

"Many would assume that metalheads tend to be angry aggressive scalawags that wander the streets late at night, hoping to mug an unsuspecting soul....  Metalheads are generalized as people who would cause harm.... The fact of the matter is, though, that this stereotype of metalheads is wrong.

"A Humboldt State University study reveals that those who listen to metal and entrench themselves into the genre’s subculture receive an array of benefits (mostly psychological)  throughout life. When metalheads were labeled the same way I did in the previous paragraph, this study, which was done over 30 years on nearly 400 people, revealed that metal listeners 'were significantly happier in their youth and better adjusted currently than either middle-aged or current college-age youth comparison groups'....

"The metal community and libertarian community seem to parallel in many ways. The groups often share a common anti-authoritarian message, and they both have an anti-status quo theme. They are always working against what is popular and refuse to give in to the masses. They also both promote a lifestyle of non-aggression and voluntary action. The two seem to mesh well together, which is why we only hope to see more heavy metal with a libertarian theme."

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Why the #BaketheCake case is important

The freedoms at stake in the gay cake case - CapX - Marian L. Tupy:

December 15, 2017 - "On December 5, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States heard the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission. It’s a case that raises important questions about freedom of speech and of association that even the most fervent supporters of equality for gay people ought to take to heart.

"In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a same-sex couple, visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver to order a custom wedding cake to celebrate their nuptials. Jack Phillips, the shop’s owner and a practising Christian, was happy to sell the couple any of the goods in the store, but he refused to create a bespoke cake for a gay wedding, arguing that it would contravene his religious beliefs.

"Craig and Mullins bought their wedding cake from a different bakery and went ahead with their happy event. The couple also filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission... A lower court ruling decided in favour of the plaintiffs. The bakery was ordered to provide cakes for same-sex marriages and to ... provide quarterly reports for the next two years regarding steps it has taken to come into compliance....

"The Cato Institute, where I work, has been at the forefront of the fight for gay equality, submitting amici curiae briefs in favour of the gay community in such ground-breaking cases as Lawrence v Texas, which decriminalised sodomy in the United States in 2003, and Obergefell v Hodges, which legalised gay marriage throughout the country in 2015. In Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission, we have taken Phillips’s side....

"Just as we would support a gay baker’s right to decline to convey a homophobic message, we support this Christian baker’s right to decline to celebrate a same-sex wedding. That is because Masterpiece isn’t really about religious liberty ... but about freedom of speech....

"Although making cakes may not initially appear to be speech to some, ... the Supreme Court has long recognised that the First Amendment protects artistic as well as verbal expression, and that protection should likewise extend to this sort of baking....

"The law says that private discrimination is fine so long as it does not involve a business, which ought to be open to everyone. That’s a perfectly fine legal distinction, but not a logical or moral one. Consider... Suppose that you operate a private dining club ... and choose from a list of paying gourmands in accordance with your preference for, exempli gratia, straight people.... Were you to incorporate, you would be guilty of discrimination. Without it, you are free to do as you please.

"So, private discrimination is not cut and dried. As one of the pioneers of gay marriage, the British-born writer Andrew Sullivan, noted, advocates of gay equality ought to acquire some perspective. 'I think it was a prudential mistake to sue the baker,” he wrote. 'Live and let live would have been a far better response.' That’s where Cato stands as well."

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Volokh blog moves from Post to Reason

Inside the Beltway: Legal blog departs Washington Post for libertarian publication - Washington Times - Jennifer Harper:

December 13, 2017 - "An influential Washington Post blogger has bid farewell to that news organization. The Volokh Conspiracy — a legal and policy blog launched 15 years ago by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh — has moved to Reason Magazine, published by the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation, a bastion of libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets and the rule of law....

"Volokh — whose has two dozen law professors and attorneys on his vibrant team — describes the contributors as 'libertarian, conservative, centrist, or some mixture of these.' He also says he was concerned by the Post’s ever-tightening paywall and said that he wanted to assert the blog’s editorial independence — 'making sure that we can write what we want, in the way that we think is right....

"'We especially value our loyal, longtime readers, who are particularly likely to trust and enjoy our work. And it’s important to us that law students, college students, young lawyers, and others have free, easy access to the analysis and discussion on our site. Moving to Reason lets us do these things, while still partnering with a respected media organization that we have long admired'....

"'In an era of hyper-partisanship and tribal politics, The Volokh Conspiracy’s commitment to intellectual honesty and rational discourse has never been more essential or important. Eugene and the blog’s contributors have shaped national conversations on key policy areas and changed the way Supreme Court cases and legal issues are framed and discussed precisely because they engage ideas and opponents fairly, openly, and factually,' notes Nick Gillespie, editor-in-chief of, who vows to provide 'the openness and independence the blog needs to thrive and expand its impressive influence.'"

Find the legal eagles’ new nest at"

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Canada to repeal discriminatory anal sex ban

Canada to repeal discriminatory anal sex ban | The Independent - Charlotte England:

November 16, 2016 - "Anal sex is to be decriminalised in Canada.

"The country's centre-left Liberal government has said it intends to repeal Section 159 of the criminal code, which states that every person who engages in an act of anal intercourse is guilty of an 'indictable offence' and 'liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years'.

"Exceptions are made in the law for heterosexual married couples and for any two people over the age of 18 who both consent to the act. However anal sex is illegal for 16 and 17 year olds, in public places, and if more than two people 'take part or are present'.

"LGBT rights activists say the law is discriminatory because the legal age of consent for anal sex differs from the age of consent for almost all other forms of sex.

"People in Canada can legally have vaginal and oral sex when they are 16, as long as this does not involve prostitution or pornography, and the sex act does not occur 'in a relationship of authority, trust or dependency,' such as with a teacher or coach.

"Section 159 has been ruled unconstitutional by several different courts in cases spanning three decades. In the 1990s, Ontario’s Court of Appeal said the law violated Section 15 of the Canadian Charter by discriminating on the basis of age. Appellate courts in Quebec, Alberta, B.C. and Nova Scotia, and at the federal level, followed suit.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Libertarian chair declares for Phoenix mayor

Libertarian Party Chairman Nicholas Sarwark Is Running For Mayor of Phoenix - The Jack News - Andy Craig:

December 11, 2017 - "Nicholas Sarwark, the chairman of the national Libertarian Party, has thrown his hat into the ring for mayor of Phoenix, America’s fifth-largest city. On Tuesday, Sarwark filed his paperwork with the city clerk’s office, and posted a video explaining why he’s seeking public office for the first time.

"Nicholas Sarwark, the chairman of the national Libertarian Party, has thrown his hat into the ring for mayor of Phoenix, America’s fifth-largest city. On Tuesday, Sarwark filed his paperwork with the city clerk’s office, and posted a video explaining why he’s seeking public office for the first time.

"The incumbent mayor, Greg Stanton, has announced that he is running for Congress as a Democrat in the 2018 elections. Under Arizona’s 'resign to run' law ... he must resign his current office no later than May 30. The timing of the special election, which is officially nonpartisan, will be determined by exactly when Stanton resigns....

"Sarwark is best-known to Libertarians as the party’s national chairman, including presiding over the convention last year in Orlando that nominated Govs. Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. Sarwark was first elected to the position in 2014, and was re-elected in a landslide in 2016.

"He is also an attorney, who worked for several years as a public defender, and the third-generation owner of Sarwark Consolidated Auto Sales, the largest and oldest independent car dealership in Phoenix.... A substantial chunk of the city’s population has done business with Sarwark, and everyone else has at least seen the ads featuring his memorable and unique surname....

"It’s an uphill fight, but Sarwark is putting together a team to take a serious run at it, bringing in both Libertarian and nonpartisan talent. As the national party chair, Sarwark has also developed a personal relationship with major donors, some of whom may now support his campaign.

"Because it’s a nonpartisan race, party labels won’t appear on the ballot, and both Democrats will face Sarwark in the general election. If no candidate wins outright with over 50% of the vote, a runoff election will be held between the top-two vote-getters."

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Monday, December 11, 2017

BC Libertarian in Kelowna West byelection

B.C. Libertarian candidate running in Kelowna West byelection - InfoNews:

December 9, 2017 - "A fourth candidate has thrown his hat into the ring in the upcoming byelection in Kelowna West riding. Kyle Geronazzo is running for the B.C. Libertarian Party.

"Geronazzo says he decided to run for the Libertarian Party because he doesn’t think the province’s two big parties have the interests of the people at heart.

"'They want you to help them help themselves, whereas I want to help you help yourself,” he says in a video posted to his Facebook page....

"'I pin myself as a family man at hear and believe that giving the next generation more choices in their economic freedoms is the key to creating a more prosperous future for us all,” he says....

"The byelection in Kelowna West was called following the resignation of former Premier and B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark after her government lost a confidence vote weeks after the general election."

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Libertarian land reform in South Africa

Restoring Property Rights to Generational Apartheid Victims - Atlas Network:

"Maria Mothupi held the official deed to her land for the first time.... Until she was 99 years old, she had never experienced living in her own home or in a home legally owned by her family, because she was only two years old when the 1913 Land Act banned land ownership by black people in South Africa — a law that continues to have consequences today, despite its repeal more than two decades ago....

"This unlikely happy chapter toward the end of a hard life came about thanks to the Free Market Foundation (FMF) of South Africa’s Khaya Lam (My House) Land Reform project. FMF’s pilot project focused on the Ngwathe municipal area of the Free State province, where FMF Director Eustace Davie estimates that there are about 20,000 houses for which the ownership rights have not been documented and registered.

"The Khaya Lam project has already provided resources to carry out the conversion of some of these properties — out of an estimated 5 to 7 million that are eligible countrywide — to freehold title ownership.... Progress, however, has been slow.... Distrust, ambiguity, and prohibitive costs have all worked together to prevent a more rapid transfer of otherwise available titles. Through bulk processing and other cost reduction measures, FMF has reduced the cost from about $378 to $122 per title deed.

"The major purpose of the Ngwathe pilot project was to determine the most rapid and cost-efficient method of registering the rights of the homeowners and placing them in possession of title deeds that prove their rights and enable them to trade with their property legally, in any way they please.... More than 800 of the Ngwathe houses had either already been converted or were in the process of being converted by the end of October 2015, and by January 2016 FMF had 300 conversions sponsored in Cape Town and another 60 in the town of Grabouw.

"'Our task is to make everyone in the country aware of how the country will change for the better if we can extinguish the effects of one of the greatest crimes of apartheid: depriving black South Africans of property rights for 78 years,' Davie said. 'Calls for information are coming in from all over the country'....

"FMF is one of Atlas Network’s more-than-450 global partners working to restore and strengthen property rights.... Liberty Institute in New Delhi, India ... developed an innovative project that provides villagers with GPS devices and satellite mapping technology in order to prove their farming claims to the government and establish legal title to their own ancestral lands..... [I]in Honduras, where some believe uncertainty in property rights accounts for as much as 4 percent of their prohibitive loan interest rates, Atlas Network partner Fundación Eléutera has worked during the past year to help government leaders transform an ongoing and costly land titling digitalization effort by using blockchain technology....

"By protecting property rights, FMF through its Khaya Lam land titling project and these other projects by Atlas Network partners all strengthen individual liberty and prosperity."

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Capitalism was built on ideas, not capital

The Great Enrichment Was Built on Ideas, Not Capital - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world - Deirdre N. McCloskey:

November 22, 2017 - "The ... modern world was made not by material causes, such as coal or thrift or capital or exports or exploitation or imperialism or good property rights or even good science, all of which have been widespread in other cultures and other times. It was made by ideas from and about the bourgeoisie — by an explosion after 1800 in technical ideas and a few institutional concepts, backed by a massive ideological shift toward market-tested betterment, on a large scale at first peculiar to northwestern Europe.

"What made us rich are the ideas backing the system — usually but misleadingly called modern 'capitalism' — in place since the year of European political revolutions, 1848. We should call the system  'trade-tested progress.' Or maybe 'innovationism'?...

"The upshot of the new ideas has been a gigantic improvement since 1848 for the poor.... The greatly enriched world cannot be explained in any deep way by the accumulation of capital, despite what economists from the blessed Adam Smith through Karl Marx to Thomas Piketty have believed, and as the very word 'capitalism' seems to imply. The word embodies a scientific mistake.

"Our riches did not come from piling brick on brick, or bachelor’s degree on bachelor’s degree, or bank balance on bank balance, but from piling idea on idea. The bricks, B.A.s, and bank balances — the 'capital' accumulations — were of course necessary. But ... [s]uch materialist ways and means are too common in world history and, as explanation, too feeble....

"The bettering ideas arose in northwestern Europe from a novel liberty and dignity that was slowly extended to all commoners (though admittedly we are still working on the project), among them the bourgeoisie. The new liberty and dignity resulted in a startling revaluation by the society as a whole of the trading and betterment in which the bourgeoisie specialized. 

"The revaluation was derived not from some ancient superiority of the Europeans but from egalitarian accidents in their politics between Luther’s Reformation in 1517 and the American Constitution and the French Revolution in 1789. The Leveller Richard Rumbold, facing his execution in 1685, declared, 'I am sure there was no man born marked of God above another; for none comes into the world with a saddle on his back, neither any booted and spurred to ride him.' Few in the crowd gathered to mock him would have agreed. A century later, many would have. By now, almost everyone.

"Along with the new equality came another leveling idea, countering the rule of aristocrat or central planner: a 'Bourgeois Deal.' In the first act, let a bourgeoise try out in the marketplace her proposed betterment, such as window screens or alternating-current electricity or the little black dress.... [C]ompetitors will imitate her success, driving down the price of screens, electricity, and dresses. But if the society lets her in the first act have a go, enriching her for a while, then, by the third act, the payoff from the deal is that she will make you all rich....

 "In other words, what mattered were two levels of ideas: the ideas for the betterments themselves (the electric motor, the airplane, the stock market), dreamed up in the heads of the new entrepreneurs drawn from the ranks of ordinary people; and the ideas in the society at large about such people and their betterments — in a word, liberalism, in all but the modern American sense."

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Musician gets back $91K seized via civil forfeiture

Wyoming police took an innocent man's $91,800. After a Vox report, he will get it back. - Vox - German Lopez:

December 1, 2017 - "Phil Parhamovich is getting his $91,800 in cash back — just hours after Vox broke the story of how the Wyoming Highway Patrol seized the money without charging him with a serious crime....

"Parhamovich was stopped in March this year while traveling on the I-80 in Wyoming during a concert tour with his band, the Dirt Brothers. Parhamovich, who has no criminal record, was not accused of or charged with a serious crime; he only got a $25 ticket for improperly wearing his seat belt and a warning for 'lane use.'

"But Wyoming law enforcement officers found and eventually seized the $91,800 in cash, as it was hidden in a speaker cabinet — by getting Parhamovich, under what he claims was duress, to sign away his interest in the money through a waiver. According to Parhamovich, police pushed him to sign the waiver after he said the money was not his, following aggressive questioning that he said made him fear that carrying that much cash is illegal. (It is not.)

"Parhamovich intends to use the money as a down payment to buy a music studio in Madison, Wisconsin, called Smart Studios, where Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins recorded songs. Without the cash, Parhamovich was worried that the deal for the studio could fall through after a nine-month lease expired. But now he’s able to move forward with closing the deal.

"Parhamovich and Anya Bidwell, one of his attorneys with the Institute for Justice, showed up at a Friday court hearing not quite sure what to expect. They were met by legislators from Wyoming, who had read Vox’s story and reached out to the Institute for Justice to see what they could do to help. According to Bidwell and one of the state legislators who was present, the judge agreed that if Parhamovich was willing to testify that the money was his, he would order the state to give the money back. When Parhamovich agreed to that, the judge ruled in his favor....

"Parhamovich’s case was unique in that police seemed to bypass civil forfeiture law — including reforms enacted by Wyoming in 2016 — by getting him to sign a waiver that supposedly gave up his interest in the cash. Despite the waiver, the state will now be forced to give Parhamovich his money back....

"While Parhamovich and his attorneys were celebratory following the judge’s decision on Friday, Bidwell offered a cautionary note.

"'Not everybody can find the Institute for Justice, and not everyone can just raise hell about this kind of stuff,' she told me. 'So even though today’s hearing was very successful, it still doesn’t remedy the bigger issue. Civil forfeiture is still a problem. They shouldn’t be able to take anybody’s property without accusing them of a crime.'"

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Libertarian enters Newfoundland byelection

Shane Stapleton running for Libertarian Party in Bonavista-Burin-Trinity | Local | News | The Beacon:

December 6, 2017 - "Shane Stapleton of Marystown will run in the upcoming federal byelection under the Libertarian Party of Canada banner.

"'I wanted to give a Libertarian voice to the voters in this riding,' he said in an e-mail to The Southern Gazette. 'An alternative to the Liberal or Conservative parties'....

"Stapleton said he has been a member of the party for a little over a year.

"According to the party’s website, the Libertarians’ mission 'is to reduce the responsibilities and expense of government … so that we may each manage our lives to mutually fulfill our needs by the free and voluntary exchange of our efforts and property for the value that best realizes our happiness.'

"'I became involved in the Libertarian party because I am passionate about freedom,' said Stapleton. 'I got angry, (and) after witnessing big government failures both at home and away, I became convinced that less government was the solution....

'I'd like to make this area more favorable to entrepreneurs,” he said. 'Government doesn’t create prosperity or sustainable jobs. I want to facilitate an environment of prosperity by getting Ottawa out of the way and talking to the community. Ask them what government policies prevent them from prospering and expanding. These proprietors know what to do and how to make money, Ottawa doesn't.'”

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

GOP calls It's a Wonderful Life screenings illegal

GOP to Libertarian Legislator: Your It's a Wonderful Life Screening Is Against the Law - Hit & Run : - Brian Doherty:

December 5, 2017 - "Could it be a crime to give your fellow Americans a chance to enjoy a theatrical screening of that modern American myth, It's a Wonderful Life? The Nebraska Republican Party thinks it is. Or at least it thinks it of political benefit to say it is, in their quest to unseat one of America's few sitting Libertarian state legislators, state Sen. Laura Ebke.

"Ebke switched her party allegiance from GOP to L.P. in 2016, and she's up for reelection as a Libertarian in 2018. The Republicans are running Al Riskowski, a man who formerly ran the Nebraska Family Alliance. That's a conservative activist group obsessed with the legalities of gambling, gender identity, suicide, and 'human trafficking'....

?Ebke sponsored two screenings of the movie to celebrate the revival of a local theater in her hometown that had gone under when the switch to digital projection swept the industry. On Friday, the state GOP denounced the events in a press release. 'Not only is Ebke in potential violation of state law herself for attempting to bribe voters,' the email declared, 'but she is also putting those who attend the screenings at risk of committing a violation as well.'

"By giving voters a free movie, the Republicans claim, Ebke is bribing voters. That's a class II misdemeanor under state law, punishable by six months in jail and a thousand-buck fine. And so is accepting such a bribe.

"Undeterred, Ebke held two more screenings in other towns after the threat went out, and she has two more planned.... Ebke says that 'we read the rules' and that the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission (NADC) 'says that it's acceptable to use campaign contributions for social events for constituents.' She notes that the governor does something comparable when he hosts tailgate parties.....

"The Omaha World-Herald reports that the Republicans 'are reviewing the situation to determine whether to pursue any legal action'.... Ebke says neither she nor any constituent she's met takes this threat at all seriously, though she wouldn't put it past the GOP to go ahead and file some sort of complaint with the NADC. If they do, she's confident that it will go nowhere."

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Young Americans for Liberty sue UC Berkeley

Libertarian Student Group Sues UC Berkeley for Refusing to Grant It Official Club Status - Rachel Frommer, Washington Free Beacon:

December 5, 2017 - "A libertarian student group has sued the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) for refusing to grant it official club status, alleging political discrimination.

"Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), which describes itself as 'not political, or partisan,' has challenged the university's explanation that it denied the club recognition because YAL is 'too similar' to an extant campus organization, the Cal Libertarians.

"The federal lawsuit, filed Monday, charges that Berkeley's policies governing status recognition are 'arbitrary and without justification and result in and from content and/or viewpoint discrimination.'

"Lacking official status, YAL cannot reserve space, invite speakers, or receive university funding drawn from the $694 per-semester campus fee, according to the suit.

"In the absence of Berkeley support, YAL members say they have spent over $100 to fund their activities.....

"YAL says multiple clubs exist that "appear almost identical," such as the Queer Alliance & Resource Center, the Queer Student Union, and the UNITY Resource Center."

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Monday, December 4, 2017

Catholicism and Islam

by George J. Dance

When I joined the Libertarian Party of Canada, conspiracy theory was in vogue. One book that used to be circulated a lot was Gary Allen's None Dare Call it Conspiracy. Naturally I read it. I was struck by the constant references to Carroll Quigley's Tragedy and Hope, which Allen considered the Bible of the conspirators; so, a copy being in the LPC library, I read that too.

Years later, I have forgotten most of Quigley's book. But one thing that stood out was Quigley's theory of the "Peru to Pakistan Axis", which stuck in my head and which contemporary events keep reminding me of.

Quigley's idea was that the roughly 1,000-year Muslim occupation of Spain and southern Italy turned those 2 regions culturally Muslim. Even after the Christians regained them, the culture remained essentially Muslim, and its fundamentalist Catholicism essentially the same as fundamentalist Islam, with things like the subordination of women and the killing of "heretics" and "infidels."

When a strong Catholic state emerged in Spain, it, too, was culturally Muslim, and its foreign policy was the Islamic policy of jihad. We all know the history: the invasion of and massacres in the Netherlands; the attempted invasion of England; 100 years of war, looting, and killing in Germany; and - worst of all - the jihad in South America, with the almost total extermination of the "infidel" population. Through it all, the Spanish state was stauchly supported by the official Catholic church, with its own power base in culturally Islamic southern Italy.

Spain emerged as a world power in the 16th century, due to the massive gold reserves looted from South America. It collapsed as a power less than 100 years later, for the same reason: rampant inflation caused by too much money chasing too little real wealth. But only in the 19th century did Spain start emerging from the cultural Islamic paradigm, and only in the anarchist revolution of the 20th did it shake off the Catholic Islamist hegemony. (Note that almost the first act of the Spanish anarchists in any community, as George Orwell noted in Homage to Catalonia, was to kill the priests.)

The Catholic church itself has largely shaken off the Islamist paradigm, at least in northern Europe and North America. But many are still infected by it, including those who grew up in the culturally Islamic areas of Italy, Spain, and the Spanish-occupied parts of South America (such as Argentina, the birthplace of the present Pope).

Which explains one motivation - not the only motivation, of course - for the hostility of some in the Catholic church to libertarians and libertarianism. They see us too as heretics or infidels, suitable only for killing the bodies to save the souls, as with the people of the Netherlands, Germany, and Spanish-occupied South America. Fortunately, with the Church tamed by the Enlightenment, they lack the power, and can only rant and rave about the 'libertarian invasion." But there is nothing but lack of power stopping them from reverting to their previous methods of persuasion.

It is time to identify the Catholic anti-libertarian "crusade" as what it is: a continuation of the historical pattern of Catholic jihadism.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Ron Paul on The Revolution At Ten Years (video)

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Ron Paul: The Revolution At Ten Years - Daniel McAdams:

October 6, 2017 - "December 16, 2007 ... was the day when a grassroots group launched a mock Boston Tea Party money bomb in support of Ron Paul's Republican presidential campaign. The fundraiser broke all online records at the time and suddenly everyone was talking about the Ron Paul Revolution. As we approach the tenth anniversary of that fateful day, Ron Paul has written a new book, The Revolution at Ten Years, taking a look back to those times, but more importantly taking a very sober look at where the spirit of the Revolution is today...and where it's going. We discuss the Revolution and the new book in today's Liberty Report."

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Libertarians should campaign to take the center

Libertarians' Only Chance At Success Is Winning From The Center, Not The Extremes - The Jack News:

November 7, 2017 - "Libertarians have many ways to describe their political philosophy to those unfamiliar with the term. David F. Nolan, one of the primary co-founders of the Libertarian Party, used a method that has become a familiar sight ...[a] simple 10 by 10 grid, ... oriented as a diamond.

"On one axis, is a category labeled 'economic freedom,' and on the other 'personal freedom.' The familiar left-liberals and right-conservatives are shown in opposite corners. The libertarian quadrant occupies the top of the chart, at the center. Beneath it, falls the category variously labeled as populists or authoritarians [or totalitarian - gd], and in between fall centrists.

"This concept is familiar to political scientists, and ... reflects the broad idea that libertarians tend to agree with the right more on free markets and economic policy, and more with the left on personal freedoms, social issues, and civil liberties....

"Critics are quick to point out that it’s an imperfect visualization of more complex alignments and disagreements among different political ideologies.'Fiscally conservative and socially liberal' is an incomplete description at best. But it can also convey the broad strokes of how libertarians compare to typical Republicans and Democrats.....

"Even for those who push for a more radical branding, an important part of the message is that libertarianism is equidistant from both the left and right, or that it is distinct and apart from both..... The traditional target for Libertarian campaigns aren’t the hardcore base of Republicans or Democrats, but instead among Libertarians, among independents, and among voters disaffected from either of the two major parties....

"[T]here are some within the liberty movement – those who go by the paleolibertarian label – who would like to see libertarianism move in a more populist direction.... In this way, they might hope to become a part of and influence to movement conservatism, the GOP, and whatever the party will look like after Donald Trump comes out the other end.... You can already see this tilt in Sen. Rand Paul. His strategy has always appeared to be one of working within the mainstream of the Republican Party. Recently, he has downplayed or even mov[ed] to the right on social issues such as immigration and gay marriage.

"But Sen. Paul isn’t alt-right, sticking instead to a more mainstream sort of conservative-libertarian fusionism. This contrasts with the more extreme strain of the paleolibertarian movement includ[ing] such figures as Hans Herman-Hoppe, Lew Rockwell, and others associated with the Mises Institute..... The paleolibertarian alignment ... is a strategy to influence and remake the populist far right. That can include supporting so-called anti-establishment candidates, like Pat Buchanan, Klansman David Duke, and Roy Moore. It includes not just downplaying or watering down libertarian positions on social issues, but radically reversing them and embracing cultural and social conservatism. In turn, this leads to backlash and disputes with more mainstreams libertarian institutions....

"But at a time when both major parties are clearly fleeing the center, and partisan bipolarization is at record highs, there is an opportunity in selling libertarianism as the governing strategy of the only grown-ups in the room.... [T]he liberty movement can build an electoral coalition from the center outward.... There is something in it for everybody, and there’s a coherent guiding principle that ties it all together."

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Antifa chapter wants libertarian professor fired

Antifa Wants 'Bleeding Heart Libertarian' Professor Fired. We're Not Exactly Sure Why. - - Dan King:

November 30, 2017 - "The Eugene, Oregon chapter of Antifa wants Lane Community College philosophy instructor Jeffrey Borrowdale fired. The self-described libertarian's offenses? Borrowdale participated in a discussion of free speech versus hate speech, and he once included a politically incorrect question on a test.

"Fliers promoting a November 18 'LCC Speak Out' described ... as a 'deliberative dialogue discussion addressing issues on free speech versus hate speech' [had] ... no mention of race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, or any ... identity politics issues.... Nevertheless, on the day of the event, @EugeneAntifa sent out a tweet, urging students to attend the discussion and 'let him [Borrowdale] know it's time for him to go!' The tweet included a photo Borrowdale had previously taken with conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, and described the philosophy instructor as 'Young Americans for Liberty sponsor, alt-right, Milo admirer and all around crappy "instructor"'....

"Borrowdale is indeed the adviser for the school's Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) chapter. He describes himself as a 'bleeding heart libertarian, transhumanist, not a Nazi' and 'a trans ally.' Antifa never elaborated on what views of Borrowdale's justified its labeling of him as alt-right, other than the Milo photo.

"'They've been trying to incite students against me since last fall when someone found the picture I took with Milo on Facebook,' he told Campus Reform on November 21.... Borrowdale said activists have been sending him threatening messages, publishing his personal information on social media, tearing down or defacing fliers for his YAL group and urging students to infiltrate and disrupt YAL meetings.

"Photos Borrowdale provided to Reason show YAL posters covered by memes from Antifa members.... One meme features Sen. Rand Paul with the words 'Is Free Market, Dies Anyway.' Another is a picture of an Antifa member punching an alt-right figure with the words 'Good night, alt-right.'

"Some students, alleging he is transphobic, have attempted to get him fired, for a multiple choice current events question he asked on one of his midterm exams. ''Did you hear that the leader of this new transgender bathroom ordinance here in Charlotte is a registered sex offender? I'm voting No and so should you.'".... Students were to choose from three philosophy answers and one clearly sarcastic, wrong answer: 'a strong argument that the ordinance will lead to a rise in sexual molestation and assaults'.... Borrowdale said he 'miskeyed' the clearly sarcastic answer to show up as the correct answer and apologized for the mistake."

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

3 Libertarians in Oklahoma primary for governor

Libertarian gubernatorial candidates sound off on issues facing Oklahoma | Red Dirt Report:

"OKLAHOMA CITY-- Next year, Oklahoman voters will go to the polls again and cast their vote.... One big difference voters might notice this time around: a Libertarian on the ballot. Last year, the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma (OKLP) gained official recognition and had a candidate on the ballot for President, as well as candidates for many local offices.

"The Libertarian Party, like Republicans and Democrats, will be holding a primary in June so that those registered in their party can choose who will represent them in the general election.... The three candidates currently running for the Libertarian nomination for Oklahoma Governor are Chris Powell, Rex Lawhorn, and Joe Maldonado.

"Chris Powell, a former chairman of the Oklahoma Libertarian Party, ran for Oklahoma County Clerk in 2016.  Rex Lawhorn is a telecommunications technician from Broken Bow.  Joe Maldonado, also known as Joe Exotic, a former Police Chief, is the owner-operator of an animal park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma....

Why are you running for Governor of the State of Oklahoma?

POWELL: Both because this is the first gubernatorial election in which the OKLP will be able to participate and because of the very high level of dissatisfaction with both establishment parties; 2018 represents a tremendous opportunity to grow the LP in Oklahoma. As the most successful candidate the OKLP has had, I believe I am best situated to capitalize on this opportunity to increase the visibility and relevance of the Libertarian Party in Oklahoma.

LAWHORN: I’m running because I am tired of living in an Oklahoma that offers no positive future for our children. I’m tired of being over-taxed and over-regulated and I’m tired of watching my community suffer from the abuses inflicted on it by big government. Consumer-driven market options and pro-liberty policies can change those things. 

MALDONADO: I am running for Governor of the State of Oklahoma for the working people of this state. I am tired of the legislature passing thousands of laws without actually getting anything done. I am tired of the corporations and special interest groups buying our politicians. I am tired of taxes going up while our state sinks further and further into debt. It’s time we run this state like a business instead of a slush fund for the oil and gas industry and their political puppets at the capitol."

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Libertarian groups intervene in BaketheCake case

These Groups Support Gay Marriage While Backing a Cake Baker’s First Amendment Rights - Elizabeth Slatterly & Kaitlyn Finlay, Daily Signal:

November 28, 2017. "The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission on Dec. 5, in what will be one of the most closely watched cases of the term.

This is the case of Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, who declined to design a custom cake for a same-sex wedding. The same-sex couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which resulted in a finding that Phillips engaged in sexual orientation discrimination in violation of the state’s public accommodation law.

"Now, the case is before the Supreme Court, and the justices will consider Phillips’ free speech and free exercise claims. More than 100 groups have filed amicus briefs supporting one side or the other....

"The Cato Institute, Reason Foundation, and Individual Rights Foundation argue in their amicus brief that Phillips’ custom cakes are an artistic expression that deserves protection under the First Amendment’s free speech clause.

"The three groups cite Wooley v. Maynard, a 1976 Supreme Court decision that makes clear that the First Amendment protects against compelled speech.... In Wooley, the court ... explained that forcing people to 'becom[e] the courier[s] for … messages with which they disagree' interferes with the right to 'refuse to foster … an idea they find morally objectionable'....

"They also explain why the court should recognize Phillips’ trade of baking custom cakes as a form of art. They point out: 'The art of baking and decorating cakes, particularly wedding cakes, exhibits all the characteristics of other expressive formats that this Court has recognized as constitutionally protected.'

"The Supreme Court has previously found that many other forms of art qualify as speech—such as music without words, dance, theater, and movies. Even tattooing is considered expressive activity, as the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Anderson v. City of Hermosa Beach (2010)'....

"But they draw the line at compelled expression, explaining that the First Amendment would not protect 'caterers, hotels, and limousine companies' if they asserted a free speech right to refuse services for same-sex weddings. That’s because the free speech clause covers expression—not 'all human endeavors.'

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Tax call centers block, misinform Canadians

CRA call centre staff blocking calls, giving taxpayers incorrect information: AG | CTV News - Rachel Aiello:

"November 24, 2017 -  Canada's tax collectors often aren’t picking up the phone, and when they do, Canadians are being given incorrect information, a new federal audit reveals.

"The examination by Canada's Auditor General Michael Ferguson into whether the Canada Revenue Agency’s nine call centres were providing Canadian taxpayers with timely access to accurate information, found that call centre agents only answered the phone about one-third of the time.

"When the callers do get through to the call centre, the audit found that agents are giving Canadians incorrect information nearly 30 per cent of the time....

'"If people aren’t told the right date for when interest will be charged on what they owe, they may make a payment later than they should, and they may get charged interest that they weren’t expecting to get charged,' said Ferguson, giving an example of the impact of the CRA staff’s erroneous information. 'Every time the answer that they get from the call centre isn’t a right answer, there’s always the potential that that is going to impact individuals'....

"The auditor general found that ... the CRA blocked about 29 million calls, more than half of its 53.5 million total call volume.... The CRA reported that about 90 per cent of callers are able to be connected.... However when the blocked calls are factored in, the Agency’s overall success rate dropped to 36 per cent....

"Ferguson said ... calling in for help is the main way for Canadians to get help with specific questions, or is the only way for those without internet access or who are not comfortable or able to use a computer. 'If taxpayers cannot get timely access to accurate information, they may file incorrect returns, miss filing deadlines, pay too little or too much tax (and later be subject to reassessment), or miss out on benefits they are eligible to receive.'"

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

You're "leaving liberty"? Were you ever there?

Leaving Liberty? You Were Never Really There in the First Place - Being Libertarian - JSB Morse:

November 24, 2017 - "It happened again — one of my acquaintances gave up on the liberty movement. He made it clear in a very public way that he’s “leaving liberty'....

"Several of my friends have said they still love liberty, but can’t devote the time and energy into being a spokesperson and a public defender of the philosophy. I can certainly understand that.... Others, however, claim to no longer identify as a libertarian or that the message of liberty no longer makes sense. And these defections are much more curious.

"They’re curious because once you really understand the principles of liberty, it’s utterly illogical to then disown them. It’s like coming to understand that 2+2=4, only to later claim, 'No, I really just feel like 2+2=5 and that’s what I’m going with from now on'....

"Libertarianism holds that all humans have certain inalienable negative rights (life, liberty, and property) and that it is illegitimate for anyone to infringe on those rights.

"Other political philosophies maintain that people have positive rights granted by the government, such as the right to education, healthcare, or to watch football without protesters. The problem is that whenever one asserts positive rights, he necessarily infringes on another’s negative rights. You can’t have a right to education at the same time that teachers have the right to free association. You can’t have the right to health care and have the right to your property that pays for that health care. You can’t have the right to watch football without protests while others have the right to free speech.

"Libertarianism isn’t simply, 'You can do whatever you want,' as some will have you believe. Libertarianism is, 'You can do whatever you want as long as that doesn’t infringe on the same right of others.' It’s a beautiful, balanced and symmetric philosophy — the only one that makes logical sense....

"Of course, the principles of liberty may allow for some uncomfortable moments.... Enemies of liberty will take situations like that and use it to tarnish the philosophy. They will claim that if you allow a white supremacist to speak, you must be a white supremacist yourself! If you think even the top 1% should be able to keep the fruits of their labor, then you must hate poor people! If you’re skeptical of government funded climate science, you must be a denier!

"Liberty-haters want to paint libertarians as racist, money-grubbing, science deniers to make them abandon the cause, and it works sometimes. If your understanding of libertarianism is 'Hey, let’s do some weed!' then you risk losing faith when someone calls you names like that. But if you fully understand the logical beauty of the libertarian framework, there’s really no going back."

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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Why is ignorance of the law "no excuse"?

If the Law Is This Complicated, Why Shouldn’t Ignorance Be an Excuse? - Clark Neily & Jack Brown - Townhall:

October 30, 2017 - "When was the last time you sat down with a complete set of the federal, state, and local codes setting forth the tens of thousands of criminal violations for which you could be sent to jail? If you answered 'never,' you’re in good company. Nevertheless, America’s judges still cling to the proposition that it’s perfectly fine to lock people up for doing something they had no idea was illegal. But it’s not fine, and the justifications for that palpably unfair rule have only grown more threadbare with time....

"One rationale for the maxim that ignorance of the law is no excuse was to give people an incentive to educate themselves about legal requirements. But as any law student will attest, one can study those requirements for years and barely scratch the surface. Another rationale was to prevent people from escaping criminal penalties by claiming ignorance, even when they actually knew they were breaking the law. That might have made sense in ancient times when there were only a few dozen crimes on the books and all of them involved morally blameworthy conduct like murder, arson, or rape.

"But today the law has grown so complicated, and the relationship between law and morality so attenuated, that these supporting rationales no longer make sense. There have been multiple attempts to count the number of federal crimes, including by the Department of Justice, and no one has yet succeeded. Title 18 of the United States Code, which governs crimes and criminal procedure, has over 6,000 sections, and it is estimated that there are more than 4,500 federal crimes and over 300,000 agency regulations containing criminal penalties. And of course this does not include the dizzying array of state and local criminal codes, ignorance of which is practically assured but still not excused....

"Moreover, ... the increasing criminalization of morally blameless conduct makes the punishment of innocent mistakes even more likely. For example, federal law makes it illegalto possess the feather of any native migratory bird even if one just picks it up off the ground, and the potential penalties for doing so include fines and even time in prison....

"A trio of seafood importers were sentenced to eight years in federal prison because some of the lobsters they imported from Honduras were alleged to be undersized or egg-bearing females that were unlawfully shipped in plastic bags instead of the cardboard boxes mandated by federal law.....

"Indianapolis 500 champion Bobby Unser ... was convicted of illegally driving his snowmobile in a National Forest Wilderness Area in 1996 after he and a friend were stranded in the mountains during a blizzard, and forced to take shelter in a barn while suffering from hypothermia....

"In 2009, Robert Eldridge, a fisherman from West Chatham, Massachusetts, faced up to a $100,000 fine and a year in prison after he freed a humpback whale that had been caught in his fishing gear, and only escaped with a comparatively small $500 fine after pleading guilty. More recently, Alison Capo also faced a year in prison after her daughter rescued a federally protected woodpecker from the family cat.... (Her initial fine of $535 was ltimately rescinded by the agency, claiming it was a “clerical error.')....

"Subjecting well-meaning homeowners, desperate snowmobilers, innocent password sharers, and countless other blameless Americans to prosecution for conduct that no reasonable person would know was illegal does nothing to advance the cause of justice and much to undermine it."

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