Protesters are young, libertarian and furious at Turkish PM, says survey
An online survey of 3000 protesters conducted by two academics found, among other things:
A majority of the protesters who completed the survey, 81.2 percent, defined themselves as “libertarian.” A total of 64.5 percent of the respondents defined themselves as “secular.”
And now the Washington Post tells us that one young protester, Aysun Yerlikaya, objects to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan because he’s, well, too much like Michelle Obama and Michael Bloomberg:
Erdogan “pokes into everything — what you drink, what you eat,” she said, referring to advice he gave earlier this year to eat “genuine wheat bread” with a lot of bran in it.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
The Failure of the Libertarian Movement
By Paul Rosenberg, FreemansPerspective.com
Turn on a television after midnight some time and watch the churches that offer prayer for the sick, the depressed, and the overwhelmed. At first you’ll probably be put off by it and angered by hucksters who are selling things that they can’t possibly deliver. But if you stay with it for a few minutes, you may see something important.
Look at the people in the pews. Don’t just classify them as a group of stupid people – look at them – see the individuals. These are people who know they need help. They know that they are in pain, that they have failed to become what they should be, that they have hurt others, that they are lost in the middle of a confusing world, and that they don’t know a way out.
These people are not morons. They know that dipping slips of paper with their names on them into holy oil is silly. But they overlook the stupidity, because they’re desperate for help. And don’t kid yourself, they do get some temporary help from these places. Yes, they are also removed from their money, but if they go to that church, they will be surrounded by people who will try to help them. Humans are clever creatures, and when they try to help each other, they often succeed. (This help will come from the other attendees, not the guy with the holy oil.)
You can complain all you like about the huckster, but he’s only in business because people have nowhere better to turn. They’re sitting in front of the TV at 1 AM because they are depressed, guilty, desperate, and they need something.
So, what if there was a group of people who had the answers to these problems, who knew how to eliminate the pressures that caused them? And what if those people didn’t have the sense to recognize it and spread it? How would you describe them?
Well, take a look in the mirror, Mr. and Ms. Libertarian, because that’s you.
I was one of the early libertarians. We were engineers and analysts and financial experts. We knew math and analysis, science, and the intricacies of law. If you wanted to know how property rights led to increased financial output, we could tell you immediately. If you asked aloud why central control of commerce led to shortages, five of us would turn around to enlighten you. But we were insular; we were contained. We didn’t appreciate that we held the world’s cure in our hands.
I’m not trying to be critical here; I was a part of it all. But the truth is that we missed the biggest philosophical opportunity of the century; we failed to see how our new truth applied to millions of people who needed help so badly that they’d put up with TV hucksters.
Our Enemies Judged Correctly
We really should have known. We’ve all had the experience of people embedded in the state system flying into a wild rage upon hearing our ideas. We thought we were just talking about economics, but they acted as if we were trying to destroy everything they loved.
Our enemies thought our ideas were far more powerful than we did.
And they were right; we didn’t appreciate what we had.
If our message is ever understood by average people (and it isn’t hard to understand), the systems that treat them like farm animals will simply vanish. They have a stunning amount to gain from our discoveries, and whatever pain they take along the way would be a joke compared to what the existing system lays upon them.
So, yes, our enemies’ judgments were right when they flew into malicious rages. And if we are grudgingly accepted by them now, it’s because we’ve been limited to abstract and confusing areas like finance and politics.
How many personal problems do you suppose thrive on low self-esteem?
How many personal disasters happen because people are afraid to act on their own judgment?
The answer to both of these questions is “most of them.”
So, why are self-esteem and judgment at such abysmal levels? The answer is simple: Because the state and its agents are dedicated to this result. They’ve been doing this since their inception, and they have no other choice. Can you imagine trying to get tax money out of people who felt perfectly confident in themselves and their own judgments?
Governments are necessarily against human will. If they can’t make us feel that our desires and judgments are shameful, their entire operation will collapse. Their game requires Joe Average to feel insecure and flawed.
Our enemies were right to freak out. Now it’s time for us to agree with them, and to start fixing the world.
We hold the cure in our hands. It’s time to break out of our bubbles and start distributing it. Once people see that the pressures crushing them are artificial, they will begin shrugging them off.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:35 pm
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This post comes to us from TomWoods.com. Tom Woods is an economist, writer, and strikes me always as someone who’s heart is in the right place. In perusing his site tonight I stumbled across this post and I thought it was worth sharing.
(From Tom Woods.com)
Four years ago I was a twenty-one-year-old heroin addict living on the streets of Portland, Oregon. I was walking to my job and I noticed a dollar bill lying in the grass along the sidewalk next to a book. For whatever reason I picked that book up, along with the dollar, and read it. The book was The Revolution: A Manifesto by Ron Paul. I could not put it down. I read every page as many times as it took for me to understand the content. I finished the book two weeks later in inpatient drug rehabilitation…
View full post on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org
Once a member of Ayn Rand’s inner circle, Nathaniel Branden has played a prominent role in spreading the ideas of Objectivism, including founding the Nathaniel Branden Institute. He is also a prominent psychotherapist and is well-known for his work establishing the self-esteem movement in psychology.
In this audio-only lecture from the 1979 Libertarian Party Presidential Nominating Convention, Nathaniel Branden talks about “how self-concept determines destiny” and shares his own thoughts on coming challenges to the libertarian movement. He also takes questions from the audience.
View full post on Libertarianism.org
In 2008 Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch hailed a “libertarian moment,” encompassing everything from the Internet to the collapse of “legacy” industries and legacy entitlement programs. I’ve used the same term here, when NPR talked about Ron Paul and when polls showed rising support for smaller government, gay marriage, and drug legalization.
But suddenly, today, everyone seems to see a libertarian moment. Driving in to work, I got so tired of the smug self-satisfaction on public radio’s pledge drive, I switched to the vigorously right-wing Chris Plante Show just in time to hear Plante say, “This is a great day for libertarianism” in regard to the abuse-of-power stories dominating the mainstream media.
And then, mirabile dictu, I got to the office, opened the Washington Post, and found today’s column by Michael Gerson. Now, as he says in today’s column, Gerson is “conspicuously not a libertarian.” Indeed, he is the most vociferously anti-libertarian columnist in contemporary punditry. And yet his column today is titled (in the print paper):
Making libertarians of us all
Man, you’ve got to abuse power something awful to make Michael Gerson start thinking libertarian. So thanks, IRS and Justice Department!
And now that the Obama administration’s abuse of power has got our attention, can we broaden our focus to take in health care mandates, recess appointments, campus speech regulations, the anti-constitutional Independent Payment Advisory Board, similar extra-legislative bodies in Dodd-Frank, the expropriation of Chrysler creditors, and illegal wars?
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
Richard A. Epstein
My recent observations on Hoover’s Defining Ideas about the relationship of civil liberties to national security have drawn a stern response from Cato’s own Jim Harper, whose central claim is that I have sounded “needless anti-privacy notes” in my attack on the privacy protective policies that have been championed by Massachusetts Republican State Senator Robert Hedlund, whom I criticized for being too squeamish on aggressive and targeted government action to counter the threats that became all too visible on April 15, 2013.
Harper’s initial parry is to stress a proposition that no one should care to deny, namely, that the Fourth Amendment imposes a bar against unreasonable searches and seizures, which in turn requires an examination of the purported relationship between the restriction that government seeks to impose and the evil that it seeks to defend against. But in his choice of example and articulation of principle, Harper is guilty of grievous non sequiturs that add needless confusion to a problem that is already difficult enough to handle.
To examine the relationship between privacy and security, it is always a mistake to start with an example that the author describes as “an illustration ad absurdum,” which is just what Harper does when he bravely denounces a rule that allows for “100% crotch checks at street corners in major cities.” The simple response is that this kind of action is under current law regarded as per se illegal even in connection with the so-called Terry stopswhich allow a police officer “to stop and frisk” individual on the public street if he or she has “reasonable suspicion” to think that the targeted person has engaged in illegal activity.
That example has absolutely nothing to do with the design of a workable surveillance system. It also falsely calibrates the relevant choices by dismissing the current cries for increased surveillance as a “closer” question, when the two situations are worlds apart. The Fourth Amendment treatment of unreasonable searches and seizures rests on a critical distinction between investigation of particular suspects and the stopping of dangers from unknown quarters. There is a lot more information in the first case, so that a dragnet search makes no sense, which is why particularized evidence is required. But general surveillance at unknown targets has to spread its net far wider. It is both less intrusive and more comprehensive, and it can and does work. It was painfully clear from the pattern of events in Boston that the private surveillance cameras that were trained on the Boston Marathon provided indispensable information toward identifying and apprehending the Tsarnaev brothers. What makes their use unreasonable, when there is not the slightest evidence that the information so acquired was used for improper purposes unrelated to the search?
It may be “worth discussing,” as Harper suggests, whether the use of surveillance will help deter some crimes and stop others. But, if so, the only useful discussion is one that asks the means-ends question of how, in light of cost and privacy concerns, one can construct the best cost-effective surveillance system available, which can then be coordinated with the activities of police officers and volunteers on the ground, especially at any public event that presents a soft target.
But to dismiss these efforts on the unsupported speculation that “the possibility of apprehension seems not have occurred to the Tsarnaev brothers” can only be described as blinding error, especially in light of their frantic efforts to escape capture so they could strike again. Nor does it make the slightest sense to tie general surveillance policy to some dubious account of the psychological make-up of two individuals. It is far wiser to develop policies that improve the ability to track and identify dangerous suspects. Of course it is possible to construct a “surveillance architecture” that so dense as to be useless. But once again, the sensible case for beefing up Boston’s public surveillance does not require that system designers leap from one indispensable extreme to another. The real question is how to identify the comprehensive policies that do make sense.
Harper is equally off target about the potential gains from racial or ethnic profiling. No one accepts the extreme proposition that all terrorists come from the same ethnic stock or practice the same religion. But that observation offers absolutely no reason to ignore valuable information that could help tweak the design of surveillance systems of searches. The question here is not whether sensible protocols and profiles can narrow the search down to one-fifth the world’s population, most of which does not live in Boston anyhow. It is the question of whether one can winnow the list of potential suspects from 100 to 20 people, which, if done reliably, gives law enforcement a huge leg up in conducting its investigations.
In sum, Harper would have a stronger case if he had tried to comment constructively on serious proposals that are put forward. But to take an ill-advised a priori position that does nothing to advance either the protection of human life and human property, both private and public, is inconsistent with any sound libertarian position. Remember that libertarians like myself, and I hope Harper, regard the protection of both as the primary function of the state. Harper’s careless and imprecise invocation of the Fourth Amendment cannot conceal this fundamental truth.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
Leonard Liggio is currently the Executive Vice President of Academics at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, a Distinguished Senior Scholar at the Institute for Humane Studies, and a Research Professor at George Mason University’s School of Law.
In this lecture from a Laissez-Faire Supper Club meeting in 1981, Liggio gives a history of foreign policy beginning in England during the Enlightenment and spanning all the way up to the Cold War. He makes the case that government intervention abroad through the centuries has been just as disastrous and has been fraught with just as many unintended consequences as government intervention in domestic policy.
View full post on Libertarianism.org
Daniel J. Mitchell
I’ve never been a big Shakespeare fan, but that may need to change. It seems the Bard of Avon may be the world’s first libertarian.
Some of you are probably shaking your heads and saying that this is wrong, that Thomas Jefferson or Adam Smith are more deserving of this honor.
Others would argue we should go back earlier in time and give that title to John Locke.
But based on some new research reported in Tax-news.com, we need to travel back to the days of Shakespeare:
Uncertainty over the likely future success of his plays led William Shakespeare to do “all he could to avoid taxes,” new research by scholars at Aberystwyth University has claimed. The collaborative paper: “Reading with the Grain: Sustainability and the Literary Imagination,”…alleges that, in his “other” life as a major landowner, Shakespeare avoided paying his taxes, illegally hoarded food and sidelined in money lending. …According to Dr Jayne Archer, lead author and a lecturer in Renaissance literature at Aberystwyth: “There was another side to Shakespeare besides the brilliant playwright – a ruthless businessman who did all he could to avoid taxes, maximize profits at others’ expense and exploit the vulnerable – while also writing plays.”
In that short excerpt, we find three strong indications of Shakespeare’s libertarianism.
- What does it mean that Shakespeare did everything he could to avoid taxes? His actions obviously would have upset the United Kingdom’s current political elite, which views tax maximization as a religious sacrament, but it shows that Shakespeare believed in the right of private property. Check one box for libertarianism.
- What does it mean that the Bard “illegally hoarded food”? Well, such a law probably existed because government was interfering with the free market with something like price controls. Or there was a misguided hostility by the government against “speculation,” similar to what you would find from the deadbeats in today’s Occupy movement. In either event, Shakespeare was standing up for the principle of freedom of contract. Check another box for libertarianism.
- Last but not least, what does it mean that Shakespeare “sidelined in money lending”? Nations used to have statist “usury laws” that interfered with the ability to charge interest when lending money. Shakespeare apparently didn’t think “usury” was a bad thing, so he was standing up for the liberty of consenting adults to engage in voluntary exchange. Check another box for libertarianism.
To be sure, it appears that Shakespeare was more of an operational libertarian rather than a philosophical libertarian.
And now that I’m giving it more thought, perhaps that doesn’t qualify him for the honor of being the world’s first libertarian.
After all, does the former Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, deserve to be called a libertarian for evading taxes? Does the new Treasury secretary, Jack Lew, somehow become a libertarian simply because he utilized the Cayman Islands?
Or what about lawmakers such as John Kerry, Bill Clinton, John Edwards, and others on the left who have utilized tax havens to boost their own personal finances? I very much doubt that any of them deserve to be called libertarian (though the burden of government shrank under Bill Clinton, so maybe we can consider him an unintentional libertarian).
But maybe with a bit of literary license, we can make Shakespeare a full-fledged libertarian.
“O liberty, liberty! Wherefore art thou liberty?”
“Double, double, statism and trouble;
Taxes burn, and regulations bubble!”
Hmmm… perhaps instead of my budding second career as a movie star, I should become a playwright instead?
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
A prolific author and Austrian economist, Murray Rothbard promoted a form of free market anarchism he called “anarcho-capitalism.”
In this video from the first Libertarian International World Libertarian Convention in 1982 in Zurich, Switzerland, Rothbard gives a lecture on what he identified as the six stages of building an independent libertarian (or any philosophical) movement. Rothbard identifies possible growing pains associated with the growing popularity of libertarianism but ultimately concludes that such risks are necessary because “Libertarians, it seems to me, are not content with contemplating justice, contemplating truth, goodness and beauty, we’re not playing intellectual games — we mean to change the world. We want to put this thing into reality.”
View full post on Libertarianism.org