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13 votes

The Modern Freedom Movement, 1940-2014

by Nelson Hultberg | Americans for a Free Republic
June 2014

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.

9 votes

Is UKIP Libertarian? Blue Republican Asked Its Chairman That Question

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.

19 votes

Come As You Are. (A libertarian tribute to Nirvana)

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.

27 votes

Why UKIP? The Answer Is In History - Not Bigotry

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.

5 votes

Musings on Modernity

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.

23 votes

What UKIP Must Learn from the American Liberty Movement

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.

23 votes

Keynesianism’s Ugly Secret

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.

19 votes

Capitalism is Progressive - and Must Get Off the Defensive

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.

26 votes

The War on Raw Milk

by Nelson Hultberg | Americans for a Free Republic

Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers have recently introduced legislation to allow for the sale of raw milk, i.e., unpasteurized milk. Their Milk Freedom Act of 2014 would make it legal for “certified dairy farmers” to sell unpasteurized milk products without harassment and criminal prosecution on the part of the FDA. If enacted, this would be a major victory for those who are health conscious and understand the grievous misperception by our medical establishment regarding the safety of raw milk.

The distribution of raw milk has been banned in the U.S. since inception of the pasteurization laws in the 1920s. The American Medical Association together with the FDA brought about this ban of raw milk because of its susceptibility to being a carrier for certain infectious microbes such as salmonella.

The error here is that it was never “raw milk” that was a problem. It was “warm raw milk” produced in crowded, unsanitary conditions from grain-fed cows instead of grass-fed that was prone to an unhealthy level of microbes. Grass-fed cows produce a milk with natural “inhibins,” anti-microbial agents that keep pathogens low, while grain-fed cows do not produce high “inhibin” levels in their milk.

5 votes

Welfare Without the State

by Nelson Hultberg | Americans for a Free Republic

Libertarians and free-market conservatives take an unequivocal stand on the provision of state welfare. It should be phased out and returned to the private sector. Charity is not a proper function of government.

This, of course, attracts the usual horrified denunciations of, "My God, what kind of human being are you? Don't you have any compassion? How can you wish to suppress poor people so? We can't just let people be poor; we must do something!"

But to be against state funded welfare does not mean one is devoid of compassion or desirous of suppressing poor people. It means one is against the dispensing of special privi­leges from the government to the citizens of a country, which means that the help we give to poor people must be done with our own money and time, and not be confiscated from others to gratify our desires and assuage our guilt. It means that if American citizens are to possess equal rights, then government cannot take money from some and give it to others. To enact such a policy is to convey pri­vileges upon some at the expense of others, which destroys the moral-philosophical foundation of our entire system. So if we are to maintain justice (i.e., equal rights), government must be barred from transferring wealth from some individuals to other individuals. This means that all charity must be private.

The “safety net” for low income earners will still function in a laissez-faire society. What our present day intellectual community refuses to face is that the phasing out of state welfare would not, in any way, eliminate the safety net. It would just transfer the safety net from the ministra­tions of power hungry government bureaucracies to a vast, private sector of concerned and humane persons. There are countless charitable organizations, agencies and groups, of both religious and secular nature, that would capably assume the role of a "welfare safety net" for people in need.

20 votes

Dogmatic Libertarians: Libertarian on Everything - Except Liberty?

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.

8 votes

The problem with libertarians - alternative version (also for fun!)

8 votes

The Problem with Libertarians (for fun)

47 votes

Equal Rights vs. Special Privileges

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:

44 votes

The USA Has a Monarchy. Let It Have a Glorious Revolution

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.

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