The American Liberty movement is no longer nascent. Its mainstreaming is under way, as evidenced by this article in the New York Times - the paper that (almost) defines the American mainstream - about the impact of liberty-focused activists on the ("mainstream") Republican party, as reflected at CPAC last week.
Both culturally and politically, libertarianism is on the rise.
At its simplest, it is a philosophy that asserts the simple principle that we are all free to live our lives as we please inasmuch as we do not limit the freedom of others to do the same. It recognizes that we all have different backgrounds, desires and ambitions, and different metrics and systems for judging the behaviors and choices of ourselves and others.
Since it rests on the notion that one human being cannot know what is best for another - or at least cannot know it better than the other person, himself - it is an essentially humble philosophy in disposition and an essentially tolerant philosophy in prescription. Indeed, tolerance, manifest as lack of aggression, is just about its only hard-and-fast prescription.
by Nelson Hultberg | Americans for a Free Republic
One of the major evils of the welfare state in libertarian eyes is that it destroys the concept of objective law (i.e., equal rights under the law) throughout society. This is because the welfare state is based upon the violation of individual rights in order to convey privileges to special interest groups. All primary policies of state welfarism entail such a violation and conveyance. This is why justice can never be achieved under a welfare state philosophy, liberal or conservative.
Government's job is to protect rights, not violate them. It’s laws must be applied equally, which means no privileges. Yet we are taught today that government conveyance of privileges to special interest groups will bring us a just society. It is even taught that our concern with “special interest groups” is the American Way – this in face of the fact that the Founders’ repeatedly warned against the creation of “political factions.”
Special Privilege Defined
What follows will hopefully throw some light on this important issue and clarify how government’s conveyance of special privileges is destroying freedom and justice. Because of the heavy ideological obfuscation that prevails in our media and our schools, we need to first define the term special privilege. It means the intervention of government into the free-market to legislate policy that favors specific individuals and groups over other individuals or groups. It is the enactment of laws that either aid or suppress some people in relation to other people. Special privilege can take any number of forms. For example:
This year marks the 1,000th anniversary of political liberty. When the United States began, the tradition in which it was founded was already 762 years old.
As I wrote recently in celebration of this magnificent anniversary, those who would protect freedom in our country badly scupper themselves by their ignorance of history, and there is perhaps no greater obstacle to our understanding of the history that matters than our founding myth.
America was born as a liberty-protecting Republic in opposition to a tyrannical monarchy, so the story goes. While more and more Americans are (thankfully) beginning to see the myriad travesties against our liberty that are being performed by our governing elite as threatening our very identity as a nation that exists to defend natural, unalienable and individual rights, we are all doing very much less well at seeing quite how deeply the founding purpose of our country has been subverted.
Because we "know" that not only are we not a monarchy Constitutionally, but also that our very existence is owed to its denial as a morally decadent institution, we cannot possibly admit the truth about what we have let our country become: America is now a monarchy.
Monarchy has a simple meaning - the "rule of one". As Alexander Hamilton correctly said, "'monarch' is an indefinite term. It marks not either the degree or duration of power". The fact that our king is elected for four years, then, does not change his status as a monarch.
In America today, the President can sign executive orders such as E.O. 13603, on "National Defense Resources Preparedness", in which he claims the right to revoke all contracts and nationalize all aspects of American life even outside a state of emergency. (Bill Clinton had signed a similar order, but with applicability limited to a state of emergency only, however that may be defined. Power only ever drives in one direction.) The Executive has also claimed the authority to strike militarily countries that do not threaten our own, without a supporting vote in the House, and even to kill American citizens without any independent legal process. It also works with its agents, again without the express approval of the people's representatives or, certainly, the knowledge of the people themselves, to receive by covert means the most private details of our lives.
For the first 125 years of our history (1789-1913), America was a country comprised of libertarian politics and conservative cultural values.
1) Libertarian politics is based upon the fact that man was meant to be free. Thus his government must be strictly limited by a Constitution rather than determined by the dictates of an autocrat or the passions of the majority. And his economy must be a free marketplace, i.e., laissez-faire capitalism.
2) Conservative cultural values are based upon the fact that there is an objective moral order in the universe, i.e., certain rights and wrongs in human life that are applicable to all of us for all of time. Man’s culture is to be guided by these objective moral values by instilling them into young people at an early age.
These are the two vital elements that built us into the most desired nation in history – libertarian politics and conservative cultural values. The Founding Founders believed that if political freedom is to avoid degenerating into license and anarchy, we cannot promote different opinions on morality within the same society, i.e., a “do-your-own-thing” moral philosophy.
For example, no rational person would tolerate different opinions on whether six-year olds would make good congressmen in Washington, or whether cyanide is as good a season as salt, or whether the sun and rain are necessary for a farmer's crops. Why then would he tolerate different opinions on what is right and wrong in the moral realms of life? In other words morality is not, as today's pundits insist, relative to the person and the culture. There are fundamental rights and wrongs that can be agreed upon and upheld by all members of society. To do otherwise is to create a culture of chaos and decadence, which is what is being created all around us today.
Ernest Renan, a nineteenth-century French philosopher, noted, "Getting its history wrong is part of being a nation."
This truth has profound implications, chief among which is that the cultural and political trajectory of a nation is determined not only by its past, but also - and to a greater extent - by the stories it tells itself about its past.
The United States' founding myth rests on the idea that suppressed Americans fought for liberty against some tyrannical and foreign "other".
by Nelson Hultberg | Americans for a Free Republic
February 6, 2014
As most Americans are now painfully aware, our Constitution was not a perfect document, for there were certain powers granted to the government that should never have been granted. But if interpreted literally, it was a magnificent beginning because it valued freedom so highly. It was, and still is in conception and meaning, the greatest single political work in the history of man.
Should it not then be our goal as a people to return to a literal interpretation of this Constitution that valued freedom so highly and then set about to perfect it where it was flawed? Is it not then our job to reduce the tyrannical power of government and once again allow men to live, and trade, and interact as they see fit?
If freedom is right and just for men to possess, why on earth are we tolerating a government that will not allow us to be free? Why are we enduring a bloated and arrogant bureaucracy that takes over half our earnings every year and refuses to let us make our own choices in life? Why are we allowing social engineers in Washington to dictate how our businesses are to be run, where our children are to go to school, what prices we are to charge, what wages we are to offer, who we are to employ, who we are to associate with, what type of charities we are to support, how and when we are to retire, what is in our best interests, and what is not in our best interests? Are we sons of the heroes of '76 who pledged their lives and noble honor for the right to live as independent men, or are we naught but modern-day vassals to be formed and cared for by condescending bureaucrats?
In summer 2011, Robin Koerner, a then completely unknown writer, had an article published on the Huffington Post that went viral. It inspired a movement, called “Blue Republican”, which endures to this day, and put him on the map as a political activist and a writer in the liberty tradition. Since then, some of Robin’s articles have seen even greater traffic.
On 18th Feb, five people will have the chance to speak with Robin in a kind of masterclass in Political Journalism.
by Nelson Hultberg | Americans for a Free Republic
With the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination this past November, I began revisiting the various conspiracy theories that have appeared over the years. I never put any stock in the Warren Commission and the establishment verdict of “Oswald as lone killer.” But among all the conspiracy portrayals put forth, none truly satisfied me as definitive. That is until I read JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, by James W. Douglass.
There are hundreds of “JFK conspiracy” books in print, but Douglass takes the reader to places not visited by others eloquently and hauntingly. And he backs up his disclosures with 2,041 source notes. This is a book that will linger in the recesses of one’s mind for a lifetime. Establishment defenders of the Warren Commission – like Vincent Bugliosi, Gerald Posner, and Bill O’Reilly – come off as grubby lap dogs of the state in comparison.
Something conspiratorial, indeed, took place in Dallas that frightful November day in 1963, and the fact that all establishment partisans scrambled so quickly to obfuscate so blatantly in their explanations afterwards should be a clear signal that evil was at work on the part of our government. The Warren Commission’s “single bullet theory” is so embarrassing that an intelligent individual feels immense shame in even listening to it, much less extending any probability to it. It’s not a theory; it’s a “Big Lie” the likes of which Joseph Goebbels popularized.
But, of course, the Warren Commission was not after the truth. It was an egregious whitewash from the beginning with its conclusion well-formed prior to its assembly, which was to then be rammed home to the American public by LBJ and Chief Justice Earl Warren. Why? Because they wanted to avoid all evidence pointing to conspiracy so as to bring a quick closure to the horrific tragedy and any possibility of the truth being exposed, any possibility of the government’s connection to a modern day regicide finding its way into the public mind.
Important Corruptions and Suppressions
There is really only one argument in support of mass surveillance by the State: increased security can be bought with reduced privacy.
That claim begs the question: “how much privacy buys how much security?”
It is almost impossible to imagine how two completely different abstractions – security and liberty – could be compared, when idiomatically, we can’t even compare apples and oranges, so we should be very uneasy that an entire political age has been built on just such a comparison.
Its argument stands, but I have just learned that that article included an error - an error made because of problems with the WA Health Exchange site through which I purchased my plan.
by Nelson Hultberg | Americans for a Free Republic
January 27, 2014
Webster’s defines a dupe as “one who is easily deceived.” But a misperception prevails among most people. They think of dupes as ignorant people only. On the contrary, there are large amounts of intelligent dupes in all societies. Brains are no protection against dupery. In fact, I would classify dupery as one of the deadly sins that curse all men and women no matter what level of class and smarts they possess. Dictatorships depend upon dupery to perpetuate themselves – especially dupery among the intelligentsia.
There are, in this writer’s opinion, three forms of dupery afflicting the human race, or three major archetypes of dupery: 1) the dupes of ignorance, 2) the dupes of apathy, and 3) the dupes of inconceivability. These archetypes are always with us, and they are why tyranny has thrived so well throughout history. Let’s examine each of them.
1) Naturally dupes of ignorance are the most prevalent because the masses of low IQ humans outnumber the much smaller number of intelligentsia in all societies. Think of humanity as formed in the shape of a pyramid. Those lacking in the capacity to reason and think clearly make up the bottom half of the pyramid, far more than 50 percent of humanity. So this sector is going to produce far more dupes than any other.
2) The dupes of apathy encompass all classes of men and women and all levels of intelligence. These types get so caught up in their careers, their families, and their country clubs, that the political direction of their country takes a tragic back seat to their personal concerns. Many individuals succumb to this problem, some temporarily, but most perpetually for a lifetime. Then all of a sudden they wake up in the midst of a full blown dictatorship and exclaim, “This is not what America is supposed to be. The Founders must be turning over in their graves.” But it is too late. The doors to freedom have closed. Our rights have been suspended by stealth. Centralized government has usurped all our important freedoms and left us with only a few bones of superficial freedom, such as the right to watch pornography and do dope. Or a bunch of false rights, such as the right to happiness, automatic acceptance, and security, instead of our true rights, which are to PURSUE happiness, acceptance, and security.
Sometime toward the end of this year, I shall become an American citizen.
A few of my European friends look confused when they realize that I go around the world expounding the importance of liberty -- and yet choose to live in the U.S.
They are thinking, of course, of all the obvious stuff, like the abuses against privacy by the NSA; the killing of innocents in ill-considered or even dishonest interventionist militarism; the foreign policy that produces terrorists in the name of destroying them. These Americanisms are made all the more ugly by the apparent hypocrisy: any abuses against liberty are bad, but those that are perpetrated by a state that consistently justifies them by the need to protect liberty, are a special kind of pathetic.
Some Europeans also know something about America's almost unique taxation of its citizens on income earned outside the country -- a clear disincentive that superficially, at least, makes American citizenship one of the most unappealing in the world.
As a liberty-lover, why would I tie myself to all of that -- for life?
I am not interested in becoming American because America has less than anywhere else of what is bad: I'll do it because America has more of what is good -- the good of informed, passionate and principled resistance against all of those things that shouldn't be so.
Stuck on an L.A. freeway in 2005, I was listening to NPR, when an interview came on with Greg Palast, a celebrated American journalist and author who moved to the U.K. when he realized that his investigative work was not getting the air-time it deserved in the U.S.. During the interview, Palast was asked whether he wanted to bring up his newly born children in England -- the country where he had built a life and highly successful career -- or in the United States -- the country of his birth.
I have been trying to work out why I am so upset about Obamacare.
We already live in a social democratic state that forcibly takes my money through taxes for things that I don't think anyone's money should be taken for. I may feel there is a better way to build the roads than have the government pay for them through massively redistributive taxation, collected essentially by force, but I don't get angry about using them every day.
So isn't there a prima facie case to be made that if we are stuck with a huge state, taxing and spending to the tune of about a third of the economy, then at least the attempt to save lives and maintain health through this questionable system is better than the funding of secret agencies to spy on us and otherwise eliminate our basic civil rights, the deployment of massive military capability that makes more enemies rather than eliminating any immediate threat, or the transfer of the hard earned wealth of working Americans to already privileged financiers?
How can Obamacare possibly be as bad as that litany, and why do I find myself angry about it, even as I find deeply hypocritical the objections of many Republicans whose party was actually responsible for designing the ACA that they now decry?