Everyone knows the old saw, attributed to George Bernard Shaw, "Britain and America are two countries, divided by a common language."
Fortunately, there is a simple formula for translating between them: the British understate, while the Americans overstate. (The word, "Everyone" in the preceding paragraph is a nice example of the latter.)
If a Briton finds something to be good, he will declare it "not bad". An American will declare it to be "awesome". A translation table between the two cultures could therefore include,
"Good (Actual) = Not Bad (Brit.) = Awesome (Amer.)"
August 13, 2014
Many in America’s freedom movement still hope that the Libertarian Party will one day become a power on the political scene to challenge the Democrat-Republican monolith. But in 42 years it hasn’t happened, and it probably won’t happen. There are some very distinct reasons why the LP and all other alternative / independent parties fail. This essay will examine them.
The battle has begun. The National Independent Party is now officially launched to challenge the egregious monopoly that Democrats and Republicans have in America.
AFR's video speech, Why We Must Form a Second Political Party in America is our opening salvo to Washington and its relentless destruction of our country.
It signals the death knell of the Democrat-Republican monolith's control over our political system. It shows how to put forth a challenge in 2016 that will far exceed Ross Perot's campaign in 1992 - a true freedom challenge that will rock the nation and make history.
Last month, I did something I’d done only once before: I went to a range and shot some guns. Lots of guns. All shapes, ages and sizes.
This is a very strange thing to do for a guy born British. Guns feature nowhere in British culture.
Accordingly, I was unsurprised by the reaction of my mother when I called home and told her that I’d had a great time learning about firearms and discovering I wasn’t a bad shot, even with a second-world-war Enfield. “That’s the last thing I’d ever imagine you’d enjoy doing,” she said to me. She wasn’t being judgmental: it was an expression of genuine surprise.
“That’s because you just can’t imagine why nice or normal people would enjoy guns … because you don’t know any… no Brits know any,” I replied.
Mom thoughtfully agreed.
To a first approximation, American political history before the 18th century is British political history. As most American schoolchildren know, in the 17th century, John Locke crystallized the idea that human law should reflect Natural Law, but the idea that Law must serve the well-being of the people on whom it is imposed goes back at least to the Anglo-Saxons.
Since tyranny must shape to itself both the law and the political institutions of its day, it stands to reason that when a governing elite has gone too far in abusing its power, the fight back for liberty by the people at large does not start directly in the political realm or in legislation, itself.
Throughout history, changing a country's politics and statutes has been the final goal of forceful popular attempts to contain power, but mass-refusal to accept political abuses has always begun in the culture. "Culture" is a vague term so let us define it as the sum of actions of the citizens of a country, the attitudes that drive their responses to events, their expectations of what they may do and the memories of what they, and perhaps their ancestors, have always done.
Primary elections (and a runoff election of note) were held on June 24th in numerous states. Candidates for office were chosen to represent various political parties. The voters spoke one way or another. Millions of dollars were spent. The airwaves were clogged with advertisements, the mailboxes with literature, and the streets with signs. All of this should be changed, and here is why.
The purpose of a primary election is to select candidates for the general election. In many states, such as Oklahoma, the primary is "closed", meaning only those who are registered to vote Republican by a certain date may vote in the primary election. The reason for this restriction is that the primary election is the process to select the candidate that will represent that political party - and the platform, beliefs, values and virtues of that party - in the general election. In other states, there is an "open" primary, meaning anyone registered to vote can cross party lines (which obviously can present some serious problems).
Problem #1: Campaign Finance
In a "closed" primary state, frequently whoever spends the most money wins. While spending money is certainly an expression of free speech and should not be restricted politically, "purchasing" elections is a serious issue. There are two major Supreme Court decisions that have dramatically changed the landscape of elections. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission freed independent groups such as labor unions, corporations and associations to spend whatever they want on an election - as long as it is independent of the candidate's campaign. McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission struck down aggregate donations to political parties and candidates - meaning, there is no longer a cap on what an individual can donate (it was $117,000 for every two years to national parties plus federal candidates, with $46,200 of that being to candidates and the rest to a political party). Both of these decisions are good Constitutional rulings. The left frequently complains we need to reform "campaign finance" and "campaign spending", but they would do so at the expense of our Liberty. There is another way, which will be addressed shortly, that decreases the impact and influence of donations when choosing who the Party will nominate for office. The sad result is this - our elections have become auctions.
Problem #2: The Platform
The essential economic problem we confront today is that our dominant Keynesian intellectuals have abandoned reality. They do not grasp what they have wrought with the mountainous loads of debt and malinvestment that are overwhelming us. Much of this burden must be liquidated before genuine demand and growth can be restored, which will require radical reform if we are to evoke a genuine cure.
by Nelson Hultberg | Americans for a Free Republic
It began in the early 1940s. FDR had launched the New Deal’s collectivization of America, and a small but prescient group of libertarian and conservative intellectuals were in rebellion – such thinkers as Richard Weaver, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, John T. Flynn, Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, and Ayn Rand, to be followed a decade later by the likes of Russell Kirk, Frank Meyer, and Murray Rothbard.
Out of their cerebral and activist efforts there began the movement to repeal the overweening statism that was infiltrating America from Europe via Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. The infamous year of 1913 was the infiltration’s major manifestation. FDR’s New Deal was its Rubicon. In reaction to the radical political changes taking place during the 1913-1940 era, today’s freedom movement was born.
It is not well-known by the general public, but when the modern freedom movement first began in the early 1940s, it was not split between libertarians and conservatives. It was one coalition unified in rebellion against FDR’s monster welfare state. By 1970, however, the movement had become tragically bifurcated. The radical economist Murray Rothbard took libertarians off into anarchy, while the traditionalist philosopher Russell Kirk drove conservatives into statism. This split has created two incomplete visions – contemporary libertarianism and conservatism – that are, in their singularity, incapable of effectively challenging the authoritarian mega-state.
Conservatives are caught up in the puritanical swamps of legislating morality and hegemonic conquest of the world, while libertarians chase the philosophical absurdities of moral subjectivism and ersatz individualism. Conservatives wish to return to the Middle Ages and mandate morality via the state, while Libertarians wish to do away with any reference to morality altogether. Conservatives revere leaders like Savonarola and John Calvin. Libertarians excite themselves with Larry Flynt and the Beatles’ “Nowhere Man.” Somewhere the Founding Fathers are twisting in their graves over each of these political movements and their embarrassing lack of comprehension concerning the requisites for a free and individualist society.
When people hear "UKIP", they usually think of Nigel Farage.
But the Chairman of the party is Stephen Crowther, and eloquent Brit who is referenced in this article.
Blue Republican Radio has an exclusive interview with Crowther, in which I press him on the question, "In what sense is UKIP libertarian?"
The answer is extremely interesting, and shows the importance of culture and history in politics.
I was a boring kid, more concerned with topping out in my next exam than with any sports team or rock band.
I think that was an early manifestation of a tendency I retain in my adult life and will likely take to my grave: a slight disdain for what everyone else thinks is great and, by implication, thinks that I should think is great. In other words, my precociousness as a child was an assertion of my individuality. Maturity as soft rebellion, if you will. In any youth culture, behaving like an adult is good a way to train as a future libertarian.
Although, as a kid, I mostly avoided pop music and sports (and still do), for some years, the music that I could guarantee to hear every day from my friends' desks at school was Nirvana and Guns 'N' Roses. Those bands provided the sonic backdrop of my geography revision and math homework.
Whatever grunge was, I wasn't. The school I went to was an old English manor house (check out the final scene of "If" -- that was our dining hall) and I was being educated among many who would in a few years be wearing academic gowns in the hallowed halls of Cambridge and Oxford Universities. I ended up being one of them. I certainly couldn't even imagine "dropping out" as a psychological possibility, let alone as something that could inform a culture. I mean, I wouldn't even know how to drop out or hate myself, to borrow from one of Nirvana's titles.
Many people regard Magna Carta as the first Constitutional guarantee of the basic liberties of the English-speaking world.
Fewer people know that Magna Carta wasn’t imposed on King John just because he abused his power (which after all has been true of most kings and governments throughout history), but because he had handed away the sovereignty of England to a foreign governing institution in Europe. That institution was The Holy Roman Empire.
by Nelson Hultberg | Americans for a Free Republic
May 15, 2014
It is believed by many on the left today that our Constitution resulted from the Founding Fathers deceitfully conspiring to form a society ruled by aristocrats, and that the seeds for modernity’s corruption lie in the Founders’ elitist Constitution that now plagues us. This is why it is so easy for today’s liberals to ignore the Constitution with no qualms or regrets. They feel it is their duty to do so.
Conservatives and libertarians see things differently. It was not the Founders in the beginning who warped the ideal of justice with “elitism.” It was the Progressives of the early twentieth century who did the warping with “egalitarianism.” And it has been modern day liberals who have furthered this tyrannical leveling of society. Worse, it has been our greed and shortsightedness as a people that have compelled us to complicity with such criminality.
The intent of the Founders was to provide a document that would keep the growth of government under wraps for all of time. Unfortunately, there were flaws in their document that should not have been included, but it was not because of deceit. It was because of their desire to get all 13 colonies to sign on to it.
Of all of their political parties that most Brits have heard of, only UKIP – the United Kingdom Independence Party – calls itself “libertarian”.
Being only two decades old, UKIP - now polling 38% for the European elections this year and about 15% for the general election next year – has achieved a success on paper that the American Libertarian Party can only dream of.
Indeed, in my work of helping the US liberty movement achieve more success in changing the minds of the people and the politicians and policies that they support, I often point out that American activists can learn much from what UKIP has been doing right.
Both UKIP and the US libertarians form insurgent, anti-establishment movements in an early stage of development: they are both influencing and drawing strength from public dissatisfaction with the current political settlement, but have not yet made significant changes to national electoral outcomes. For example, UKIP has not a single seat in the British parliament, and only a handful of representatives in the American House or Senate self-identify as aligned with the liberty movement’s goals.
So it was with some curiosity that I attended my first UKIP meeting on a visit back to England last month.
by Nelson Hultberg | Americans for a Free Republic
April 25, 2014
It is now five years since the crash of 2008. Today's media and much of our academic crowd, of course, believe that the crisis has been handled, and that we can settle back to "business as usual."
But such pundits are so immersed in the Keynesian paradigm that they are viewing only the trees, not the forest. They are viewing only the specific recessionary cycles and not connecting such cycles to the big picture of the overall boom / bust nature of 20th century economics. Since they have accepted Keynesianism as valid, they see in today's economy normal activity and business cycles. They see correct Federal Reserve policy and legitimate fiscal policy on the part of the Federal Government. But this view comes from a false concept of economics and from a major failing of humans – their use of "euphemism" to evade the fact they are trying to circumvent natural law so as to get something for nothing.
For example, almost all of today's scholars and pundits use the term "liquidity" to describe what the Federal Reserve injects into the economy to manage it. Tune into CNBC or Fox Business on any given day, and you will hear repeatedly about how the Fed needs to "inject liquidity" into the system.
But if we do not use euphemism in this discussion and call "liquidity" what it actually is, then we get a considerably different picture about what the Fed is doing. The Fed is not injecting "liquidity" into the system when it performs its FOMC functions. It is injecting "credit" into the system. But what is credit? Simply another word for DEBT. So this is what the Fed is injecting into our economy when it performs its Keynesian mandated functions. It is injecting massive DEBT into the system, which means it is enticing Americans to go substantially in debt to live their lives and likewise with the government to perform its functions.
If much of the economic commentary in the mainstream media is to be believed, the rising inequality of wealth in Anglo societies and the crashing of our economy by the big banks and financial class make the problems of capitalism not just evident but self-evident.
Such claims are made, of course, against a background of hundreds of years of capitalist growth that has, for the overwhelming bulk of our population, made affordable the books that these claimants have presumably read, the computers on which they type, the Internet on which they do their research, the air-conditioning or central heating in the room where they do it, and even the food in their bellies – food of a variety and quality unparalleled in history.
But this background of utter success is taken so much for granted that it is almost entirely invisible.