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Justin Amashs potential third-party presidential bid, explained – Vox.com

When I got on the phone with Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) the day after he announced the launch of an exploratory committee for a potential run for the White House, my first question was, Why are you doing this?

The question didnt come as a surprise to Amash, who entered Congress in 2010 as a strident Tea Party fiscal conservative only to leave the GOP last year before becoming the lone House conservative lawmaker to vote to impeach President Donald Trump. Now, five months later and staring down an increasingly impossible reelection bid hes considering a third-party presidential run as a libertarian.

Amash, 40, told me hes running because he believes hes the best person for the job. I think its important that we have someone whos honest, whos practical, who will have humility about the entire legislative process and the entire process for government and will allow us to get back to a place where we have a government that actually represents the people.

Amashs decision didnt come as a total surprise after all, he tweeted on April 15 that he was considering a presidential run. But the reactions to his announcement came fast and furious, particularly from Never Trump conservatives concerned he could pull votes away from Joe Biden and help incumbent Donald Trump win reelection.

Others noted Amashs lack of national name recognition and the historic lack of success for third-party candidates. A writer at the conservative-leaning blog Ordinary Times said Amashs 2020 campaign would be something 10 years from now you will be mildly upset for not remembering during a rousing round of bar trivia while waiting on your wings at B-Dubs:

Democrats only liked him for having the token R-turned-I to make their impeachment technically bipartisan. Trump voters arent going to give him anything but vitriol. So if your plan is for a little-known lame duck congressman with no discernible achievements in the one job he has held outside of a brief stint in the family business to revolutionize American politics, you might need to reconsider what you are pitching the American people.

Amash knows this. Hes tweeted about the angry response his announcement had received, and he told me hes well aware of his lack of name recognition. Its important to get out there, talk about the issues, talk about the approach I would take to government, talk about the practical ideas Id bring to the table, he told me.

The Congress member is making a big bet, not just on himself and his ability to reach out to Americans outside of his home state of Michigan, but on Americans in general, who he believes are far more libertarian-minded than their voting patterns indicate. Its highly unlikely to pay off. Even if voters say they want an option other than Trump or Biden, history shows third-party candidates rarely affect the outcome of an election. Amash, if he wins the Libertarian Partys ticket, probably wont be any different.

People are being left behind, he told me. They dont feel like theyre being treated fairly. They want to be treated with respect. And right now we have a government that doesnt do that, and people have an opportunity in this election to change that.

Before Amash became better known as a vigorous opponent of Donald Trump, he was a Tea Party stalwart and co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus. In 2010, a Michigan outlet described him as a throwback who preaches a gospel of old-school conservatism: less government, lower taxes and less regulation. He was known briefly as Dr. No for his penchant for voting against bills supported by his Republican allies, but some libertarians believed he could inherit the mantle carried by former representative (and former presidential candidate) Ron Paul as Americas best-known libertarian.

He argued against reauthorization of the Patriot Act (and was nearly primaried for it) and legislation aimed at prosecuting and fining websites that promote sex work. He opposed the Affordable Care Act, argued against federal support for the city of Flint, Michigan, and supported adding a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

But libertarian-leaning conservatism has lost its luster in the Trump era, and among many Republicans, so has Amash. He left the House Freedom Caucus last June, after the caucus voted to condemn him for tweeting that Trumps conduct regarding the Ukraine investigation was impeachable. As I wrote last year:

But the crackup between Amash and the HFC is indicative of a larger and growing divide between Republicans and libertarians, one with real-world implications for Congress and our politics.

The growing conservative populist movement (of sorts) that stands directly athwart libertarian values of free minds and free markets is being felt in Republican politics. Rising stars in conservative circles, like Sen. Josh Hawley, are arguing against so-called free market orthodoxy on trade and calling for the regulation of social media companies, arguing that holding big companies accountable who have amassed significant market power and are using it among other things to squelch conservative voices is a conservative cause.

But Amash isnt running as an independent in 2020. Rather, he wants to contest the nomination for the Libertarian Party, believing, as he told me, that voters value being a part of something, including a political party.

Given the current dynamic with both parties, Amash said, the Libertarian Party can pull a lot of votes from those parties and can also consolidate a lot of independent voters who are not strongly affiliated with either party.

The Libertarian Party nomination process also offers Amash the timing he needs to make an entrance into the presidential discussion. While the Libertarian Party does hold primaries and caucuses, those events are nonbinding. The presidential nominee is ultimately chosen at the national convention, currently scheduled to take place in late May. The candidate who wins the most delegates at the convention wins, period.

And while Amash is popular among libertarians, he has not previously identified with the party, leading some to feel as if the Libertarian Party is, as Reason Magazines Matt Welch said, sloppy seconds for former Republicans.

If he wins the nomination, its the fourth consecutive former Republican elected official [to win], Welch said. It kind of starts making you feel a little bit used. Daniel McCarthy, a writer at the conservative outlet the Spectator, wrote of the Libertarian Party, the fact that it doesnt even have a leadership cadre of its own, but every four years now turns to a former Republican as its presidential standard-bearer, is revealing.

But Amash offers valuable attention and a fundraising opportunity for the party, which Welch told me it badly needs. The main problem is that the natural state of affairs for third parties in this country is just misery, he said. So yes, you could try to reassert yourself and say, Lets have some home grown energy, [and nominate] lifetime libertarian types of people from within, and you will go out and you will get your 0.4 percent of the vote, which has been pretty constant over long periods of time.

The current frontrunner for the nomination, Jacob Hornberger, founder of the libertarian think tank Future of Freedom Foundation, agrees. Hornberger won primary contests in New York, North Carolina, California, Missouri, and Connecticut. And though he somewhat dismissively told the Dispatch that Amash would likely run a Republican-lite campaign, he also told Vox he welcomed the national media attention the Michigan lawmaker might bring.

Congressman Amashs entry into the race for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination provides a big benefit to the LP, he wrote in an email. It not only brings an air of excitement to the race, it also focuses the attention of the national media on the LP presidential debates. ... Moreover, whoever wins the LP presidential nomination will now be assured of national media attention.

Welch added that Amash is actually the most libertarian dude of this parade of Republicans by far hes objectively more libertarian than [2016 LP nominee] Gary Johnson in most ways, and certainly more than [2008 nominee] Bob Barr.

He certainly is. Amash voted against a proposed national suicide prevention hotline because he thought the bill lacked a constitutional basis. He voted against a bill expressing support for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. He thinks the Department of Education should be abolished. In fact, on many issues, particularly those regarding executive power and the role of government, Amash is far more conservative than Trump.

But Amash believes his views mirror those of most Americans, but those Americans arent being heard. When I spoke with him back in July, he told me:

One of the reasons Ive always described myself as libertarian and use that word repeatedly is so that people will connect the word to the work Im doing. One of the things I like to tell libertarians when I go to conferences and other places is that libertarians are not really a small minority in the country. Most Americans have rather libertarian tendencies or classical liberal tendencies the spirit of this country is very much libertarian or classical liberal.

Most Americans, in my view, fall within the sphere of libertarianism or classical liberalism. They might not call themselves libertarian, they might not call themselves classical liberals, but they fall within that sphere and could support a party that presents those ideas. And so I think that there is room for a third party presenting those, thats presenting that vision.

When we spoke, I was reminded of a conversation I had in 2016 with Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson. He also told me, I think most Americans are libertarian, they just dont know it, adding that libertarianism in his view, a combination of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism made him the ideal alternative to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. (Johnson won just over 3 percent of the popular vote in 2016.)

And while the Libertarian Party is growing rapidly, relatively few Americans describe themselves as being libertarian, though they might hold libertarian views. So whether any more Americans would vote for a Libertarian Party nominee for president than in 2016 is questionable, particularly in an election many see as a binary choice between Trump and Biden.

While many Americans support the concept of third parties, they dont tend to vote for them, particularly in presidential elections featuring an incumbent nominee. For example, while in 2016 third-party candidates (Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, and independent candidate Evan McMullin) received roughly 7 million votes, Johnson won just 1.2 million votes in 2012. Ralph Nader won 2.8 million votes in 2000 and received just over 465,000 votes in 2004.

As FiveThirtyEights Geoffrey Skelley detailed in 2019, while many voters identify as independents and thus might be more amenable to a third-party candidate, their voting patterns indicate otherwise:

For example, if we include independent leaners with the party they preferred, 92 percent of Democrats and Republicans backed their respective party nominees in the 2016 presidential election. And despite the 2016 election featuring the two most unpopular major-party nominees in modern times, only 6 percent of voters decided to cast ballots for third-party candidates. In fact, the last time third-party candidates accounted for more than 10 percent of the vote was more than 20 years ago, in the 1996 election.

I spoke with David Byler, a data analyst and political columnist at the Washington Post, who told me these results are due, in part, to partisan affiliation and increasing political polarization. All of that stuff has downstream effects on third-party candidates. Its just hard for them to get a lot of votes, he said. And in most scenarios, even in 2016 when we had two historically really disliked candidates, the third-party candidates, Johnson and Stein, didnt crack double digits.

Byler added that the voters who look to third parties are generally not interested in either Democrats or Republicans, contra concerns from some liberals and anti-Trump conservatives who think Amash could play spoiler. Some [third-party voters] are Republicans or Democrats who are protesting against the major-party candidates or feel like they cant vote for their partys candidate. But some of them are just libertarians, and are people whose true first preference are these third-party candidates and arent really as up for grabs as I think people might think.

And even that portion of third-party voters who are protesting the two main parties will probably shrink this year, according to Miles Coleman, associate editor of Sabatos Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics. In 2020, Democrats are less disposed to a protest vote if it means Trump staying in office. Coleman told me, If Im a Democratic voter and Im not too enthused about Joe Biden, well, its more important that we beat Trump.

I dont think that were going to see as much of a third-party influence in 2020, Coleman said. Because I think compared to 2016, both sides are going to probably be doing a better job of mobilizing their base.

Its worth noting another possible factor in Amashs decision-making though he told me he felt confident I could win reelection in his district, available data says otherwise. Yes, Amash stopped fundraising earlier this spring in advance of a possible presidential run, but he faced an uphill battle in any case, running as an independent in a state that permits straight-ticket voting against both Democratic and Republican candidates (particularly as a Trump critic).

Amash told me hes not worried about accusations that his run might keep Trump in office. People should vote for the person they want to win, he said. And if someone wants me to win, they should vote for me. And if someone wants someone else to win, they should vote for that other person. Its a pretty simple, frankly, and more choices is better for the American people.

Moreover, he fundamentally believes that Trump and Biden represent equally bad choices for American voters.

If people want to vote for me, they can vote for me. And if they dont want to, theyre welcome to vote for one of the other candidates, he said. I think theyd be making a mistake. And I think they probably know that theyd be making a mistake voting for one of the other candidates. And I think most Americans would believe that, but thats up to each person and theyre allowed to do whatever they want. Theyre individuals.

Correction, May 4: A previous version of this story misstated Gary Johnsons 2016 vote total.

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Armed mobs: the grim apotheosis of libertarianism – National Catholic Reporter

The scene was the most unnerving of any in my political adulthood at least since the assassinations of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Sen. Robert Kennedy, and this scene also involved guns: Dozens of protesters armed with automatic weapons stormed the state capitol in Lansing, Michigan, demanding an end to enforced social distancing requirements made necessary by the coronavirus. Unnerving, but not entirely surprising.

The protest had some of the symbolic trappings of the Tea Party movement, for example: the prominent display of both U.S. and Gadsden flags, the latter emblazoned with the group's motto, "Don't Tread on Me." This Revolutionary-era motto was a tad excessive then, but at least the marines who hoisted it really were fighting for the principle that free men should not be disenfranchised, as the colonists were.

The crowd in Lansing is surely free to vote for the political leaders they desire, to be taxed only by their freely chosen representatives, is not required to quarter troops from abroad in their homes, nor risk being sent to London if they commit a crime. The 6% sales tax Michiganders pay exempts groceries, so there is no tax on tea either.

The mood was dark, but not the skin color of the protesters: This was a mostly all-white affair, as these libertarian events usually are.

The racist roots of modern libertarianism were well documented in Nancy MacLean's book Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America, which I reviewed in two parts, here and here. The godfather of the movement, James Buchanan, was unapologetically committed to states rights and proudly fond of John C. Calhoun. Watching the protest in Lansing, I could not but recall that George Wallace won the Michigan primary in 1972.

There were the self-contradictory signs invoking freedom when the absence of violence and the peaceful transfer of power have long been distinguishing marks of Western democracy. Only a deeply inadequate political theory would not see that the defense of the freedom of speech and promotion of self-government are essential to the protection of freedom and that bringing a gun to the legislature inhibits free speech and threatens the functioning of democracy. The only freedom these libertarians are committed to is their own and, while we can perhaps comfort ourselves that the protesters in Lansing were fringe extremists, the highbrow libertarians at the Cato Institute also operate from an impoverished, in their case excessively formal, definition of freedom. For them, the rich man and the homeless man are both free to forage in the dumpster for their dinner.

There was a sense of grievance driving the emotion of the mob, a sense that was palpable at Tea Party rallies in 2010, long before any virus infected the land. To be clear, America's working class has good reason to feel aggrieved, but it is the economic structures that flow from this same libertarian attitude that have left them as so much collateral damage in the laissez-faire, globalized economy. Unwilling or unable to identify the true culprit, they are happy to find scapegoats: immigrants, union bosses, "welfare queens." This sense of grievance has been nurtured by Republicans since Reagan's time, but it has been stoked into fever pitch by President Donald Trump.

True, the political left has been afflicted by socio-cultural memes concocted in academic laboratories, all of which tend to invite Democratic politicians to traffic in condescension. Remember "deplorables?" Only an activist political left, focused on economic justice, will bring any help to those cast aside by the Reaganite-Thatcherite economic landscape of the last 40 years. How grimly ironic that such political promise may be destroyed by the penchant on both left and right for culture wars rather than for political solutions.

Five years ago, Alan Wolfe warned us of the totalitarian core of libertarian ideology in a brilliant essay in Commonweal. He followed it up with an extraordinarily well-done conference on the topic at Boston College's Boisi Center, which he then led. The fact that libertarianism is at odds with Catholicism has long been obvious, which is why the courting of libertarian guru and funder Charles Koch by the Catholic of University of America was so repulsive. With my great friend Stephen Schneck, I helped organize a series of conferences on the wrongheadedness of libertarianism that began with a speech by Cardinal scar Rodrguez Maradiaga. This video starts with the cardinal being introduced by Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO. I hasten to point out that the defeat of libertarianism in our polity and culture will begin here, in an alliance of labor and the Catholic Church.

Those "Erroneous Autonomy" conferences started in 2014, which seems like a lifetime ago. Dark as the threat of libertarianism appeared then, none of us foresaw what we witnessed last week, armed protesters storming a citadel of democracy. The rest was predictable: the abuse of symbols, the racism, the self-contradictions, the totalitarian itch. But the threat of violence, expressed so openly and in such a raw fashion, this is new. Let the condemnations be swift and loud, before it is too late.

[Michael Sean Winters covers the nexus of religion and politics for NCR.]

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Political scientist finds disconnect in Libertarian Party platform, voters – University of Dayton – News Home

University of Dayton political scientist Christopher Devine has written the definitive academic study of the Libertarian Party Americas third largest political party. He documents a growing disconnect between the partys radical platform and the more mainstream, fiscally conservative and socially liberal policy preferences of its rank-and-file supporters.

His research is timely. This week, Michigan Congressman Justin Amash announced that he would run for the Libertarian Partys presidential nomination at next months national convention.

Devine examines the Libertarian Partys history, electoral performance and prospects for growth in the future. In addition, he conducts the first-ever survey-based analysis of party voters and members policy views for Beyond Donkeys and Elephants: Minor Political Parties in Contemporary American Politics. The book, released this spring, is the most comprehensive account ever written of contemporary minor political parties in the United States, according to publisher University Press of Kansas.

The Libertarian Party portrays itself as the third choice for Americans who find themselves dissatisfied with the two-party system not a fringe group of small-government radicals but a mainstream alternative to the Democratic and Republican parties with broad electoral appeal and the potential to emerge as a major party in its own right, Devine writes.

Devines analysis shows that Libertarian Party voters and members are fiscally conservative and socially liberal but not radically so. Essentially, they agree with Republicans on economic policy and Democrats on social policy. However, Libertarians are less likely than Democrats or Republicans to support the use of military force. Yet they hardly qualify as extreme in this regard or even noninterventionist, really, Devine writes.

Libertarians, it would seem, are not nearly as radical as their party platform, he writes. For instance, only 12% of Libertarian Party voters agree that taxes should never be increased.

Devine shows that Libertarians successes mostly have come at the local level. No one running as a Libertarian ever has been elected to federal office, or to any state legislature since 2000. Amashs recent party switch makes him the first Libertarian ever to serve in the U.S. Congress.

Amash is hoping to build on the Libertarian Partys success in 2016, when presidential candidate Gary Johnson appeared on all 50 state ballots and won 3.3% of the national popular vote three times more than the nearest competitor, Jill Stein of the Green Party, and more than any other minor-party candidate since 1996. Devine also notes that in 2016, the Libertarian Party had more registered voters (approximately 500,000) than any other minor party, and won a higher percentage of the vote in U.S. Senate races than at any other point in party history.

To succeed in 2020 and beyond, Devine argues, the Libertarian Party must focus less on ideological purity and more on appealing to the broader electorate with its fiscally conservative and socially liberal message. It could do so by moderating the partys radical platform, and by nominating a credible presidential candidate, such as Congressman Amash -- even if doing so may upset the partys ideological base.

The change that they seek may never come, Devine writes, if Libertarians continue to win only the most votes among losing parties.

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Political scientist finds disconnect in Libertarian Party platform, voters - University of Dayton - News Home

Be Free: A Libertarian Look At The Music Of Kemo The Blaxician – The Libertarian Republic

Kemo the Blaxican is one of the founding members of one of the pioneering Latin rap groups, Delinquent Habits. As a dedicated fan of Blaxicans music, I have noted many of his songs are loaded with messages libertarians will love.

Id like to take you on a journey a sampling of his some jams that speak of liberty in Spanglish.

Thats When She DiedThis song has to be the most Libertarian rap song I have ever heard. It sends a powerful message concerning the abuse of government authority. Kemos lyrics speak of how the American government has betrayed the ideas of individual liberty, which were foundational to the creation of our Constitutional Republic for money and power. The song also samples audio from former Congressman Ron Paul speaking about defending our liberties. How much more Libertarian can you get?

Be FreeThis song is sure to pull on the heartstrings of any liberty-lover as it hits on the foundational beliefs of Libertarians the ability of all people to live free provided they dont hurt anyone else. As the hook of the song says, Kids, be free! Just dont hurt anybody! The song also speaks about making the most of your life instead of wasting it by making stupid decisions. I think its a song Steffi Cole would appreciate as she always reminds everyone to be free at the end of her videos.

U Dont Own MeLike the previous song, this one harmonizes with the heart of Libertarian thought. Self-ownership is a core belief of all Libertarians, and this Delinquent Habits track talks about living how you please and not giving a damn what anyone else thinks. The song samples Leslie Gores 1960s hit of the same name and is a real headbanger with themes centering around self-ownership.

RebelA little rebellion is good now and then. The Blaxican spits hot fire on this number. Calling out the government and media for trying to control the people. Our battle is primarily on the battlefield of ideas as Kemo says in this anthem for liberty, The mind is your gun, the trigger your tongue, fighting for freedom, the war has begun.

Kemo the Black Latino has put some heavily liberty-themed rhymes on wax during his career and continues to make waves in the world of Hip-Hop with his signature Latin style. If you love liberty and rap, Id recommend giving Kemo The Blaxicans music a listen. His rhymes are hotter than Lady Libertys torch!

Image: Tade Bednarz

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Be Free: A Libertarian Look At The Music Of Kemo The Blaxician - The Libertarian Republic

What You Need to Know About the CARES Act – The Libertarian Republic

The coronavirus pandemic has created chaos in many sectors, and higher education is not exempt. Fortunately, the CARES Act, a 2 trillion-dollar relief package signed on March 27, included many benefits for students. Understanding what parts of the CARES Act are designed for students and what those benefits are can help you navigate this scary time.

The Educational Stabilization Fund makes up almost 31 billion dollars. It is dedicated to both K-12 and higher education. It gives money to governors who can distribute it as needed in their state. It also includes funds that are passed directly to schools, both K-12 and higher education, without going through the governors of the states. This money is used in a variety of ways. At least half must be used to provide emergency grants to those who have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations. This means the funds can pay for a wide range of things, such as housing, child care, and technology.

You do not need to be in school to see relief from the CARES Act. If you are currently in default, the bill suspends involuntary collections on defaulted student loans. This includes tax refund offsets and Social Security garnishments as well as wage garnishments. If you have Direct or FFEL Loans through the federal government, billing is suspended on those through September 30, 2020. During this time, you will not accrue interest, and the payment suspension will count as qualifying payments for the benefit of those working toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness or who are repaying on an income-based plan. The months of the suspension are also counted as qualifying payments for individuals rehabilitating their default. It is important to note that these benefits do not cover Perkins loans, which are campus-based, and FFEL held by commercial lenders. Private education loans are also not covered by these benefits.

There is a temporary, for the 2020 tax year only, benefit included in the CARES Act. The tax break allows an employer to provide up to $5,250 toward the existing student loan debt of an employee. This is excluded from wages and is not taxed. It is an addition to the existing law that allows employers to provide the same amount to an employees education cost but allows the money to be used for student loan debt. It will expire after the 2020 tax year.

If you are in a situation that is not covered under these existing benefits, there may still be options. There is a provision in the CARES Act that allows for flexibility in the money colleges and universities provide for their students. They can, for example, release work-study funds to students who are unable to work due to closures. They can waive program requirements for pursuing loan forgiveness. They can also refuse to penalize students who may not have made Satisfactory Academic Progress this term and would otherwise be in danger of not meeting financial aid requirements for time limits. There is a good deal of flexibility built into the higher education segment of the CARES Act, so if you are experiencing a particular need, you should reach out to your school for a discussion into how it may be possible to reach a solution.

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What You Need to Know About the CARES Act - The Libertarian Republic

Who should be included in the libertarian canon – UConn Daily Campus

Many are familiar with the long intellectual tradition of progressivism within academia. While progressive ideas may hold true, it is important students are exposed to the full breadth of knowledge academia holds. Without ideological diversity, students lose the critical thinking skills to discern between important ideas. Who I think should be included in the libertarian canon is merely a sample, but sufficient enough for readers to get their feet wet in libertarianism. My methodology is multidisciplinary, ranging from literature, to economics and more. All of the figures in this article are a product of my own research and I have never been formally taught any of them in school, which is why it is doubly important this message is expressed. Besides, one of the main tenets of libertarianism is self-directed education.

Firstly, lets discuss literature. My favorite author, George Orwell was a libertarian socialist. Another author, Ayn Rand, was a libertarian capitalist. Ive read both 1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell and enjoyed them, thoroughly. Both were a critique of the overreach of government and totalitarianism. Some readers believe Snowball and Napoleon from Animal Farm represent dictators, Stalin and Trotsky.

Orwell also coined such phrases as The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians, and If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. In short this man stood up for and advocated what he believed in: libertarianism.

As for Ayn Rand: I listened to half of her audiobook, Anthem. The book is written in first-person, plural pronouns. Individuality in the book is deemphasized. In fact, individuality is an important theme in her books and her philosophy, which she called Objectivism. Though I disagree with major components of Objectivism it believes altruism is evil I appreciate that it stresses capitalism, individualism and limited government. Ive been learning a lot about Ayn Rands work through her think tanks and through Yaron Brook, businessman and president of the Ayn Rand institute.

Economics is where the vast majority of libertarian theories arises. It goes without saying that I believe students should study the works of F.A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. As Hayek says, The argument for liberty is not an argument against organization, which is one of the most powerful tools human reason can employ, but an argument against all exclusive, privileged, monopolistic organization, against the use of coercion to prevent others from doing better. Despite these economists long accolades and contributions to society, my favorite economist is someone else, an obscure economist from Virginia.

I first became a fan of economist Bryan Caplan when I was googling libertarian quizzes, several years ago. From there, I became curious about his work, watching lectures, interviews and debates he participated in. I eventually bought two of his books, The Case Against Education and Open Borders. Caplans statistics were educational and pointed to an idea he called signalling, the idea that educations mere purpose is to convey intelligence, conformity and conscientiousness. In Open Borders, he explained a philosophical thought experiment my favorite about a man named Marvin. I had emailed Dr. Caplan last summer, out of sheer curiosity, about his positions of abolishing the FDA and anti-discrimination laws, ideas hes defended in the past. He answered my emails, thanking me for emailing him, along with a link for senior economics students, using statistics to convey why the general public is not bigoted. Overall, it was an interesting read, but Im not sure if Im ready to repeal anti-discrimination laws just yet, but he definitely deserves to be in the canon.

Overall, this is a sampling of who should be in the libertarian canon. You are free to research, enjoy and discern between opinions. I hope this article helps someone in exploring libertarianism, even if they decide libertarianism is not for them.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual writers in the opinion section do not reflect the views and opinions of The Daily Campus or other staff members. Only articles labeled Editorial are the official opinions of The Daily Campus.

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Who should be included in the libertarian canon - UConn Daily Campus

The insipid libertarian memes of COVID-19 – Ryan Bohl – Elemental

What a time to be alive. The libertarian right is suddenly rediscovering their balls after years of watching the GOPs steady entrenchment of presidential power under Trump. And their memes are here to tell you tyranny is upon us!

Perhaps youve seen some of these floating around your social media newsfeed, or at least seen a version of them. You may ask, how do I know these are specifically libertarian memes? Well, like all memes, ownership is fluid but I will say I did take them from popular posts in libertarian Facebook groups and Reddit. Even if the creators were not libertarian themselves (perhaps Russian?), the audiences sure ended up being so.

There are far too many memes to repudiate comprehensively, let alone in a Medium post, but I thought Id grab a few recurrent ones Ive seen. When given even a dash of scrutiny, the memes find themselves collapsing faster than Trumps poll numbers.

The I dont know what quarantine means meme

Americas school system has failed again! This meme doesnt know what quarantine means, and for some reason the creator didnt bother to Google the dictionary definition. Quarantine is not just about sick people its also about exposed people. Because COVID-19 is so virulent (with an r-nought of perhaps up to 5.7, meaning its super spreadable) and also often asymptomatic, we 1). have to assume its been spread a lot more than it has been and 2). a lot of people have it and we dont know it.

Hence the widespread measures that look like quarantines the public health strategy assumes that a lot of people have been exposed, and its so many that there is no viable neighborhood by neighborhood strategy, let alone an individual by individual one.

The meme also just totally ignores modern quarantine practices: immigrants and cargo crews coming into the United States are routinely quarantined if its believed they may have been exposed to some kind of infectious disease; often, the threshold is as simple as Been anywhere near Ebola lately? Many of them are healthy. Most of all, this has been standard practice since the word quarantine was invented in the 14th or 15th century.

At its core, quarantine is about individual rights the rights of millions of people not to get sick and die. The exchange is the temporary suspension of movement for others. And thats the real problem here: its not just that the meme doesnt understand quarantine, its that its arguing that the temporary interruption of daily life for some is pure tyranny. My God, what if I cant visit the Olive Garden for unlimited breadsticks for a few months?

The I want to bring back gilded age depressions meme

Woof here! This meme suggests that businesses affected by COVID-19 lockdowns should be slaughtered like the sickened wild hogs they are. There are a few libertarian fetishes tickled by this meme: hunting, blood, and disproportionate punishment for personal failure. In the 21st century, the only ones who survive should be the ones who trick their fellow citizens into purchasing artificially scarce goods and services.

Of course, this memes underlying principles are based on an often fatal combination of myth and fantasy. The myth is that businesses are entirely responsible for their own success and not part of an interconnected economic and political system in which even good ideas do not immediately achieve success. The fantasy is that adopting Darwinian capitalism would somehow be a better world, and not revert the U.S. back into the late 19th centurys murderous cycle of booms and depressions rather than Americas current cycle of booms and recessions.

The I dont understand how laws work meme

Ah yes, proof positive that we are but on the cusp of totalitarianism. Apparently, this really did happen but the meme is still stupid. According to reports, the man was part of a group told to disperse; everyone else did, but because this guy is probably a dick, he refused to. So he was arrested.

And yet this libertarian meme makes it out as if this is 1). widespread and 2). not reasonable. First of all, we dont have any evidence that police across the nation are arresting thousands of people for lockdown violations, and the arrests that are happening are resulting in fines, not concentration camps. Its like the memes creator thinks that Hitlers rise to power was paved with traffic tickets.

So to answer the memes question, yes, its about a virus, because law enforcement had a non-compliant individual violating a reasonable anti-pandemic order multiple times and had no choice but to end social distancing to ensure the order still had any meaning. Pretty sure tanks didnt roll out the next day in LA.

The Im really bad at history one

Heres the problem with historical comparisons: they most often tell you how things are not repeating themselves. You can do the broad strokes things (Rome got so corrupt it fell apart, so corruption is bad), but when you get into specific policies, let alone your news of the day, youre gonna end up looking dumb.

The idea behind this meme is that the tyranny of the British in 1776 is somehow the same as the tyranny of public health officials in 2020. But boy does that ignore a lot of history including all the times public health officials used to quarantine our asses before vaccines were invented for pandemics like measles, polio, and the Spanish flu. Somehow that all gets ignored, in addition to the very big fact that the American Revolution wasnt even remotely fought over Britains right to impose quarantines during pandemics.

Instead, this is just lazy libertarian ahistorical math: one tyranny is the same as all the others. It says something foolish and wrong, and contributes nothing to the public debate happening over how the U.S. should approach COVID-19.

That surely wont stop more from coming, though. The best we can do is lambast them.

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The insipid libertarian memes of COVID-19 - Ryan Bohl - Elemental

COVID-19 is killing minor parties’ ability to get candidates on the ballot in Minnesota – MinnPost

The most fertile places for Minnesotas minor political parties to gather signatures to get their candidates on the ballot are lakes and festivals. But COVID-19 has made both off-limits for party petitioners and going door-to-door isnt a viable alternative.

So the leaders of Minnesotas Libertarian, Green and Independence-Alliance parties have asked state lawmakers for emergency relief to let them gather those signatures electronically.

Secretary of State Steve Simon has included that provision among several others related to the peacetime emergency caused by the coronavirus. But that request has been caught up in the fight over expanded vote by mail in Minnesota.

Under state election law, minor parties must gather signatures of 2,000 registered voters to place a U.S. Senate candidate before fall voters; 1,000 signatures for a U.S. House candidate; and 500 for state House and Senate candidates. They must collect those signatures from May 19 to June 2 (though they have more time for a presidential nominee).

Minnesotas requirements are already a heavy lift, the parties complain, which is why they are part of a federal lawsuit that is set to be heard on May 19.

We can only get so many signatures every day, and we only have 14 days to do it, maybe it limits the number of candidates for us, said Chris Holbrook, the chair of the Minnesota Libertarian party. The coronavirus only underscores the structural problems that we started suing on last year in the first place.

He said the Libertarians get 80 percent of the signatures needed by petitioning around the lakes in Minneapolis and at festivals like Grand Old Day in St. Paul. The parks will likely remain closed and Grand Old Day has been cancelled this year.

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Libertarian Party Chair Chris Holbrook

The Libertarians are working with the Green Party and the Independence-Alliance Party to win the changes at the capitol.

Were all in the same boat, Holbrook said of the other parties. They have their different political philosophies and ideologies, and were not merging our political efforts with the exception of all minor parties are going to get screwed if they dont give us some option to participate.

The lawsuit is asking the U.S. District Court for injunctive relief to extend the petition window to the August 11 state primary date. At the same time, the minor parties have also asked Gov. Tim Walz to use an executive order to change the dates or lower the signature requirements. Finally, the parties are also asking the legislature to allow electronic signatures so we dont endanger the public or ourselves in getting our candidates on the ballots.

But Holbrook said the changes minor parties have asked for have previously been blocked by legislative Republicans, and that he expects a similar reaction this year.

The bill before the House State Government Finance subcommittee addressing some of the minor parties concerns tries to do a lot of things. Initially, the purpose of the bill was to appropriate money sent to the states by Congress for cybersecurity projects. While some of that money was eventually cleared for use by Secretary of State Steve Simon, an argument between DFLer Simon and the GOP-controlled Senate over voter ID and provisional balloting has left the rest, some $7.39 million, unappropriated. (In the meantime, Congress has sent even more money to the states, this time for COVID-19 related expenses related to elections; Minnesotas share is $6.9 million.)

Amendments to the bill, House File 3499, would give Simon the authority to make other election changes if the COVID-19 crisis continues through the primary and general elections. Those changes could include ordering the closure of high-risk polling places such as those in long-term care facilities. It would also authorize remote filing for office as well as extend the period before and after elections for absentee ballots to be processed and counted. Finally, it would respond to the request of the minor parties to be allowed to gather petition signatures electronically.

It is not really right and fair to make supporters of those parties go door-to-door or to public places to gather physical human signatures, Simon told the House committee Thursday. We might have our differences with people from non-major parties, but to ask them to go out and hustle signatures in public places doesnt seem very safe.

MinnPost photo by Greta Kaul

Secretary of State Steve Simon

Vote-by-mail has drawn opposition for national and state Republicans, making it unlikely to pass the GOP-controlled Senate. But Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia, said he was leery of giving Simon any of the emergency powers the bill envisions. Instead, the Legislature could return to pass changes related to COVID-19 should they be needed as the election dates draw nearer.

Im hesitant to say were gonna wrap this up in a bow and let the secretary figure it out, Nash said. The Legislature has to continue operating as the Legislature. We have the election certificates, we have the ability to make these changes, committees are still meeting, we have a commitment to address election issues.

Rep. Michael Nelson, a DFLer from Brooklyn Park and chair of the committee, said the committee will keep working on the bill. I dont see this as us handing huge powers to the Secretary of State, Nelson said.

Current law does not allow any changes to polling places after December, 2019, for example, so moving or combining them because of concerns over COVID exposure must be authorized by the Legislature. There are things that have got to get done in here, he said.

Continued here:

COVID-19 is killing minor parties' ability to get candidates on the ballot in Minnesota - MinnPost

We need to be the Rosa Parks: Trump ally plans Wisconsin protest of coronavirus restrictions – POLITICO

Moore said in the video he had spoken to an unnamed donor in the state who promised to pay the bail and legal fees for anyone who gets arrested during the rally.

Were going to see a lot more of [the protests], Moore predicted. So, this is a great time, gentleman and ladies, for civil disobedience."

"I think actually think we should have started this a week or two ago, Moore said in Friday's interview with CBSs Major Garrett. "I don't think we can wait two or three or four more weeks for testing The rate of infection to the economy is very similar to the rate of infection of this disease."

Business leaders on Wednesday called on Trump during his councils first conference call to increase the scale and scope of coronavirus testing before people felt safe to leave their homes.

Moore, who has argued the Federal Reserve should be responsive to the president, was picked by Trump for a seat on the central banks board in March 2019. The former Trump campaign adviser withdrew from consideration in May 2019 after his selection spurred public and private criticism, including from many GOP lawmakers who expressed wariness over disparaging comments he made about women and fellow Republicans.

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We need to be the Rosa Parks: Trump ally plans Wisconsin protest of coronavirus restrictions - POLITICO

Berkeley institution Top Dog is on the ropes. But they still wont take federal aid. – SFGate

Tony Robinson grills a sausage for an order. Top Dog, a Berkeley food institution, has stayed open with take out orders during the Covid-19 shelter-in-place order in Berkeley, Calif. on April 14, 2020.

Tony Robinson grills a sausage for an order. Top Dog, a Berkeley food institution, has stayed open with take out orders during the Covid-19 shelter-in-place order in Berkeley, Calif. on April 14, 2020.

Photo: Douglas Zimmerman/SFGate

Tony Robinson grills a sausage for an order. Top Dog, a Berkeley food institution, has stayed open with take out orders during the Covid-19 shelter-in-place order in Berkeley, Calif. on April 14, 2020.

Tony Robinson grills a sausage for an order. Top Dog, a Berkeley food institution, has stayed open with take out orders during the Covid-19 shelter-in-place order in Berkeley, Calif. on April 14, 2020.

Berkeley institution Top Dog is on the ropes. But they still wont take federal aid.

For more coverage, visit our complete coronavirus section here.

You never forget your first trip to Top Dog.

The tiny, Berkeley-born grab-and-go grill is a rite of passage for Cal students, slinging superlative sausages late night til 3 a.m. along with a side of libertarian literature.

Top Dog opened in 1966, during the heart of the Free Speech Movement, and 54 years later, it still features walls plastered with everything from yellow-ish newspaper clippings pushing for the privatization of the postal service to "Freedom Works Better Than Government" bumper stickers.

All of which has made the coronavirus pandemic uniquely difficult for its owners, Richard and Renie Riemann.

"We dont want to take money from the government," Renie says. "Our political background is for smaller government regulations how can we turn around and do the opposite? This will challenge what we believe in."

Will it ever.

Top Dog has closed two of its three locations since the coronavirus pandemic forced a shelter-in-place order for six Bay Area counties including Alameda County and was forced to lay off one-third of its 19-person staff.

Renie, who graduated from Cal in 1967 and married Richard in 1968, said shes hopeful Top Dog can last through April.

"Its a pretty scary time," she admits from inside of a tiny office behind Top Dogs Durant Avenue location the only one still open. "Were trying to stay afloat, but the hardest part is bringing in enough money for rent for all three places and utilities."

The city of Berkeley launched a $3 million relief fund on March 22, offering $10,000 grants to struggling small businesses with 50 or fewer employees to help cover operational expenses (payroll, rent, working capital).

The federal government approved the CARES Act on March 27, which includes the Paycheck Protection Program. The government assistance program offers loans to brick-and-mortars like Top Dog that they promise to fully forgive provided at least 75% of the borrowed dollars are going to payroll costs, and the other 25% are to interest on mortgages, rent, and/or utilities.

Riemann has zero interest in both.

"Theres always something of a catch," she said of borrowing money from the government. "We need a lot more transparency in general. Ive talked to other businesses and customers, and theyre all disgusted by the way money is taken in and we dont know whats happening to it.

"Were fixing our own potholes it just doesnt make sense."

Renie, 76, spends her days in the office and still eats a sausage almost every day (for "quality control"). Like everyone else, she shouts her order from Top Dogs doorway to keep the recommended 6 feet of social distance, and marvels at a grill thats slightly less full of sizzling dogs than usual.

She wears a mask and remembers to wash her hands, but generally feels a bit helpless.

"With the '89 earthquake, my first thought was I need to help somehow. I need to work in a cafeteria, or help at a hospital. But now, Ive realized Im not 30 anymore. I feel 30, but Im 76, and I cant expose myself that would put my husband at risk."

And Renie is at risk, but that seems beside the point for her.

Instead, her full attention is on keeping the business alive not only for her and her husbands legacy, but for the Top Dog employees in their wills. Thats right: Four Top Dog employees will be bequeathed the Top Dog empire when the owners pass.

"A lot of our staff has been around for a long time our main manager, Jeremy (Bower), hes gonna be 60. I think he came on board when he was 18. Theyre all in the will," she says. "My husband and I said, 'You know, we have to keep this going, because when we depart we want to leave this to you guys.'"

To that end, Top Dog has asked for some forgiveness from local suppliers that have deferred bills, plus it haspartnered with Uber Eats to expand its reach locally ("thats been helpful," she says), and, less locally, theres been a slight uptick in mail orders from Old Blues.

"Cal has had so many people come through it; theres still a nostalgia for us," she says. "We just got an order back East, somebodys father who was a Cal grad, probably my age, and they remembered he liked Top Dog. It was costly to them, but I can appreciate it. Id do something like that. And every little bit helps.

"Most businesses like us have a thin profit margin, thats the scary part. You dont have a big buildup of back money to ride this out. Were staying afloat as long as we can."

Its just not entirely clear how long that will be.

"Were struggling along, weve got a skeleton crew, were just hoping the pandemic wont last too much longer for peoples health first of all, but also so we can all go back to business."

The one still-open Top Dog is located at 2534 Durant Ave. in Berkeley and open 10 a.m. to midnight. You can mail order sausages and buns at topdoghotdogs.com.

Grant Marek is the Editorial Director of SFGATE. Email: grant.marek@sfgate.com | Twitter: @grant_marek

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Berkeley institution Top Dog is on the ropes. But they still wont take federal aid. - SFGate

Why You Should Be a Socialist and a Marxist – Jacobin magazine

Review of Nathan RobinsonsWhy You Should Be a Socialist(Macmillan, 2019).

Like Moses and the ancient Israelites, for forty or so years, socialists were lost in the wilderness. From 1975 to 2015, socialists were a fast-greying lot with no power and influence and very little hope. A small few cornered appointments at universities, stuck by their politics, but remained politically isolated. The rest congregated on the margins of political life; or hid their full convictions from their coworkers, friends, and family; or threw themselves into union and community activism but never dared to use the s word. Or they gave up altogether.

That has changed, thank God. Socialismis back. And were now in a moment that is calling out for new books, magazines, documentaries, podcasts, and commentary making the case for democratic-socialist politics to millions of readers.

Thats what makes Nathan Robinsons new book Why You Should Be a Socialist a welcome and useful addition to the bumper crop in cases for left-wing politics. In a little over 250 pages, Robinson persuasively lays out the moral case against capitalism, a system of brutal exploitation, oppression, and waste that Robinson dissects and disposes of in short order.

Robinson launches the book by engaging a hypothetical reader who is extremely dubious about socialist ideas and promises to win them over. Its a fruitful strategy. Even though most of his readers will probably be at the very least already curious about democratic-socialist politics, theyll find many of their doubts assuaged and questions answered.

Robinson does so by directing his attention first to awakening in his readers a socialist instinct. He invokes basic moral principles that many of us share, a hatred of cruelty and a passionate desire to alleviate suffering being prominent among them.

His own process of radicalization provides the starting point for this part of the argument. I saw people buying new phones every year and keeping the old ones in a drawer, while a few miles away, day laborers picked tomatoes, earning 45 cents for every 30-pound bucket. I saw reports of Americans being charged $5,000 by hospitals for an icepack and a bandage, or paying $1,200 a month in rent for a bunk bed.

No doubt every reader has had similar experiences. And while the depravities of the capitalist system are onerous enough for those of us not on the top, the life of luxury for the lucky few makes it all the worse. Robinson appeals to those readers who want to see what being super-wealthy means, but [who] dont have the door codes to get inside their lairs sorry, homes to buy a copy of the Wall Street Journal and turn to its real estate section, which is literally called Mansion.

Robinsons point is a basic one, but one that deserves constant repetition: these shared moral inclinations ought to lead us to want to make dramatic changes to society in a socialist direction.

He then pivots to show how those moral instincts can be hardened into more concrete political commitments, particularly towards policies that help build a more solidaristic and egalitarian society. Such a society, Robinson points out, would actually be far freer than the world of capitalist freedom we live in today. Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, a real plan to end mass incarceration all would expand the freedoms and quality of life of the vast majority, and are part of walking the fine line Robinson draws between both dream[ing] of a very different world and look[ing] closely at the world you actually live in and be[ing] realistic in setting short-term political goals.

Finally, Robinson dispatches with alternative political orientations. He shows how a conservative worldview is at its core an ugly one, and how liberalism is wholly inadequate to the challenges of the moment. In Robinsons apt phrasing, conservatives today are mean, false, and hopeless while liberals are engaged in the unenviable task of polishing turds.

Robinson carries out the core tasks he sets for himself with admirable skill. The socialist movement is lucky to have him, and he has made a valuable contribution to the debate about capitalism and socialism now underway in the United States.

But Robinson runs into trouble when he approaches strategic debates within the socialist left. Though a relatively small part of the book, its worth focusing in on two points where he is on much shakier ground: his unsubstantiated attacks on the most important political tradition in the history of the Left, Marxism, and his self-proclaimed identity with the politics of libertarian socialism.

The problems begin when Robinson turns his attention to Karl Marx, who he introduces as a thinker who cant be ignored. After recognizing the force of Marxs writings on capitalism and economics, Robinson disappointingly drudges up accusations against Marx from Marxs nineteenth-century anarchist contemporaries.

The accusations include claims that Marx had authoritarian tendencies. Where? When? Robinson doesnt say. Marxists have had too little regard for the importance of individual liberty. This is certainly true for Stalinism, but its hardly a fair picture of the rich democratic-socialist tradition inspired by Marx.

And the anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Robinson writes, was right to worry that Marx and other socialists had become fanatics of state power. This is a bizarre claim, considering Marx spent his life running from state authorities in Germany and never lived to see a socialist state for which he could be fanatical.

Robinsons accusations against Marx go beyond establishing some critical distance from an important thinker. They play into destructive anti-socialist tropes that are as common as they are unwarranted.

Contrary to the claims of Robinson, Proudhon, and others, Marx was a committed small-d democrat. Marx was so committed to democracy that in The Communist Manifesto, he and Friedrich Engels argued that the struggle and realization of a democratic society were the key to the achievement of socialism: [T]he first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy.

Marxs successors in the socialist parties of Europe in the late nineteenth century were no less democratic in their politics. In fact, they were the main organizers for movements to extend suffrage to all, to defend and expand civil liberties, and to build unions and organs of democratic control in the workplace.

Robinsons attempted takedown of Marx therefore does an injustice to a committed democratic socialist, to many who identify as Marxists, and most troubling to young socialists looking for political direction. New socialists political development will benefit enormously from taking Marx and the Marxist tradition seriously and incorporating it into their newfound democratic socialism.

Robinson also throws his hat in with the tradition of libertarian socialism. Libertarian socialists hate government and capitalism alike, according to Robinson. It is a tradition that commits itself unwaveringly to a set of respectable principles and compromises neither its radical socialism nor its radical libertarianism.

What this really amounts to for Robinson personally, however, beyond an understandable desire to reject the authoritarian socialist experiments of the twentieth century, is unclear. If what Robinson wants is a credible alternative to authoritarian socialism, he does not need to reject Marxism. Marxists from Rosa Luxemburg to Ralph Miliband and Michael Harrington have maintained a clear-eyed criticism of Stalinism and its ideological brethren without embracing a hazy notion of libertarian socialism.

These confusing twists limit the effectiveness of Robinsons overall argument. While his moral indictment of capitalism is compelling, his moral defense of the positive program of democratic socialism is lacking.

This is not because Robinson fails to make the case for why democratic-socialist ends would be morally desirable. The democratic-socialist future that Robinson trumpets a world where people do not go to war; there are no class, racial, and gender hierarchies; there are no significant imbalances of power; there is no poverty coexisting alongside wealth; and everyone leads a pleasant and fulfilled life is clearly a desirable one, and he makes that point effectively.

But Robinsons peculiar commitment to the politics of libertarian socialism makes presenting a defense of the democratic-socialist means to get there difficult, if not impossible. After all of Robinsons celebration of the desirability of Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and other policies paid for by new taxes on the wealthy, he fails to make a moral defense of the necessity of using state power to win them precisely the kind of question the socialist-dubious reader, fed on a steady diet of libertarian capitalist talking points for most of their life, is likely most uneasy about.

Surely Robinson knows that if Bernie Sanders had won the 2020 presidential election and was able to enact these policies, it would have required a massive redistribution of power in society power that he would say he supports. But that redistribution would only have been possible because Sanders and the democratic-socialist movement he now leads would have had access to a portion of state power.

To take just one example, under the very best-case scenario, Sanders would have signed a bill enacting Medicare for All at some point in his administration. The millionaires and billionaires and the CEOs of major health insurance companies would inevitably object. But officials from the IRS and the power of the US judicial system would be used to ensure that new taxes are collected and the doors to every health insurance company in the country shuttered by force if necessary. (The collective shout for joy on that day, when it finally does come, will be overwhelming. I predict fireworks and mass parades.)

Robinson is free to have misgivings about all this as a libertarian socialist. But he must recognize that the kind of political revolution Sanders put forward, that millions of working-class Americans rallied to, and that Robinson himself supported, is a process that would be carried out through the use of state power.

The strategy of the political revolution is therefore at odds with the intellectual tradition that Robinson professes. Proudhon, Mikhail Bakunin, and generations of anarchists would read Why You Should Be a Socialist and be baffled to find one of their ideological progeny advocating such a strategy. Theyd likely apply the same accusations of authoritarianism and state-power worship they once lobbed at Karl Marx at one Nathan J. Robinson.

All this matters because were sure to see a new and forceful moral indictment of redistribution made by libertarian capitalists as part of an ideological offensive against democratic socialism in the years to come. If as a movement we cant compellingly defend the moral desirability and necessity of using state power to redistribute resources, we open ourselves up to defeat in the battle of ideas.

The defense of the use of state power as a means to achieve democratic-socialist ends is readily supplied. Democratic majorities have a right in any society to make decisions for the whole as long as basic minority rights to dissent, dignity, and personal freedom are respected. And massive majorities exist for all the key points of Bernies program. The real activists undermining democracy are precisely todays libertarian capitalists who defend a system that has so far blocked these majorities.

But making that case depends on jettisoning the debilitating anarchist misgivings about majority rule and state power that are still too common even among socialists.

Robinsons views on Marxism and libertarian socialism are inconsistent with the politics he so effectively puts forward elsewhere in the book. But they make up only a small selection from an otherwise admirable work. And I imagine Robinson himself has embraced a kind of cognitive dissonance on this front, enjoying the entertaining prose of Bakunin and friends while advocating for a democratic-socialist strategy for using state power to rebuild the United States.

But if Why You Should Be a Socialist is intended as an introduction to socialist politics, Robinsons false starts on the question of strategy deserve a critical look. After all, as Robinson rightly notes, the battle of ideas is an essential part of the struggle, and getting our ideas right about strategy and history matters. And Robinson himself would be more than welcome in the Marxist-influenced democratic-socialist movement. On every other question, his ideas line up precisely with our tradition.

Still, none of this is to diminish an otherwise rich book that deserves to be read. We need more talented writers and thinkers like Nathan Robinson in the fight for socialism, and his work is a much-needed contribution to our shared project.

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Why You Should Be a Socialist and a Marxist - Jacobin magazine

Mark Cuban To Run For President? Billionaire Dallas Mavericks Owner Does Not Rule Out 2020 White House Bid – International Business Times

Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban said Sunday that he would not rule out running for president this year. Cuban owns the Dallas Mavericks professional basketball team and is one of the shark investors on the ABC reality television series Shark Tank.

I would've never considered it prior to a month ago. Now things are changing rapidly and dramatically, Cuban said on the Fox News Sunday program. Im not saying no, but it's not something Im actively pursuing. Im just keeping the door open.

Cuban, who is worth an estimated $4.1billion according to Forbes, has previously described himself as somewhat of a libertarian.

"Not so much libertarian as much as I'd like to be libertarian, he told ABC Dallas-based affiliate WFAA in 2015. "When I think libertarian, it's 'as small of a government as we can get, right now you just cut right through it and you make it [smaller] right now.' That's not real. There's got to be a process. There's got to be a transition. As a country, we make decisions. We make decisions that we're going to provide healthcare, right? We don't just let people die on the street. You can go into any hospital and they have to treat you."

Cuban has also said that while he would be interested in joining the Republican party, he feels the party is too rigid.

"I'm a Republican in the respect that I like smaller government and I like less intrusion in some areas. But there's sometimes where I think we have to intrude. I think there's sometimes when you have to do things," he continued.

The November election will likely be a race between Republicanincumbent Donald Trump, who is seeking a second term, and Democratic rival former Vice President Joe Biden. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders exited the race last week, leaving Biden as the almost certain Democratic nominee.

Cuban and Trump have feuded since 2016. Cuba, who endorsed Hillary Clinton,had harsh words for Trump at a Clinton campaign stop in Pittsburgh.

"You know what we call a person like that in Pittsburgh? A jagoff," Cuban said. "Is there any bigger jagoff in the world than Donald Trump?"

Trump would later callCubandopey" andnot smart.

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has canceled in-person campaign rallies, forcing candidates to resort to digital events. As of Monday at 2:15 p.m. ET, there have been560,891 cases and 22,681-coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S.

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Mark Cuban To Run For President? Billionaire Dallas Mavericks Owner Does Not Rule Out 2020 White House Bid - International Business Times

The Hill’s Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020 | TheHill – The Hill

Welcome to The Hills Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

Were Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Heres what were watching today on the campaign trail.

LEADING THE DAY:

200 DAYS OUT: Were officially 200 days away from Election Day in November, and while Americas attention is on the coronavirus pandemic, campaigns are gearing up.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden campaign seeks to let Sanders keep his delegates in unusual move GOP online donor platform expanded to state level Overnight Energy: US oil prices hit 18-year-low | Green groups, coal companies attack EPA power plant rollback from both sides | EPA weighs lifting ethanol requirements for oil refiners MORE scored three major back-to-back endorsements this week from Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden campaign seeks to let Sanders keep his delegates in unusual move The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump inflames red state-blue state coronavirus divide Joe Biden's record on Social Security isn't perfect, but Donald Trump's is far worse MORE (I-Vt.), former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaCOVID-19: The leadership failure The Memo: Public may be more cautious than Trump on reopening Biden assembling White House transition team MORE and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden campaign seeks to let Sanders keep his delegates in unusual move McConnell rolls out GOP oversight efforts for coronavirus relief package Joe Biden's record on Social Security isn't perfect, but Donald Trump's is far worse MORE (D-Mass).

The show of unity from the partys leadership demonstrates Democrats urgency to unify ahead of November. It also puts Biden in a better position than 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden campaign seeks to let Sanders keep his delegates in unusual move The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump inflames red state-blue state coronavirus divide Sanders sends fundraising email for DNC MORE was in four years ago. Sanders did not endorse Clinton until the summer of 2016, leading to questions about how deep the partys divisions were. Additionally, Biden racked up larger wins over Sanders than Clinton did in 2016.

In terms of a head-to-head matchup against President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign seeks to let Sanders keep his delegates in unusual move Lady Gaga calls WHO chief a 'superstar' McCarthy says he supports incorporating hospital funding into small business aid package MORE, Biden leads the president in a number of key swing states according to recent polls. Biden currently leads Trump in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.

However, Trump has the advantage of having a massivefinancialwar chest, thanks to his campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC). Trump has also gotten massive media exposure due to his daily White House coronavirus task force briefings.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, Democrats need to win the White House and a net three seats to get a majority in the upper chamber. However, they will have to win four Republican seats to flip the Senate. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) is facing an uphill reelection battle in Alabama, which Trump is likely to sweep in November.

Democrats will have to unseat Sens. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyThe Hill's Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020 Here's where things stand 200 days before Election Day The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren throws her support behind Biden MORE, Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020 Hickenlooper outraises Gardner in Q1 in Colorado Senate race Here's where things stand 200 days before Election Day MORE and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020 Democratic challenger outraises Collins in Maine Senate race Trump taps members of Congress to advise on reopening MORE in Arizona, Colorado, and Maine, respectively, in addition to winning a fourth seat. The party appears to have a decent shot in all three of the contests.

The House, on the other hand, is the least likely chamber to flip in the general election.The GOPneeds a net gain of 20 seats to take back the majority. Republicans also have to take into account the redistricting in North Carolina, which will endanger two GOP-held seats, as well as retiring Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdThe Hill's Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020 Here's where things stand 200 days before Election Day Garth Brooks accepts Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song MOREs (R-Texas) district, which Democrats are favored to take.

The focus for Republicans will be on districts Trump won in 2016, but that are currently held by Democrats. The Cook Political Report rates Rep. Angie Craigs (D-Minn.) district, which Trump won by 1.2 percentage points, as lean Democratic.

Meanwhile, Cook rates Reps. Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillThe Hill's Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020 Here's where things stand 200 days before Election Day NY, NJ lawmakers call for more aid to help fight coronavirus MORE (D-N.J.) and Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindThe Hill's Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020 Here's where things stand 200 days before Election Day Bottom line MOREs (D-Wis.) races as likely Democratic. Trump won Sherrills district by 1 point and Kinds district by 4 points.

However, Republicans do have an advantage in a number of key districts. For example, Rep. Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerThe Hill's Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020 Here's where things stand 200 days before Election Day Juan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal MOREs (D-Va.) race in Virginias 7th District, which was also won by Trump in 2016, is considered a toss-up by Cook's report. The website also rates Rep. Lucy McBathLucia (Lucy) Kay McBathThe Hill's Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020 Ava DuVernay-produced documentary highlighting rising female politicians of color to air in June Here's where things stand 200 days before Election Day MOREs (D-Ga.) seat in Georgias 6th District as a toss-up. That district was won by Trump in 2016 and was formerly held by former Rep. Karen HandelKaren Christine HandelThe Hill's Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020 Here's where things stand 200 days before Election Day Conservative women's group rolls out new GOP endorsements for 2020 MORE (R-Ga.), who is running again for the seat.

READ MORE:

Here's where things stand 200 days before Election Day, by Julia Manchester and Max Greenwood

FROM THE TRAIL:

Bidens campaign is planning a rollout for Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaHouse Democrats push hard for mail-in voting funds The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Will Trump's plan to reopen the economy work? The Hill's Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020 MOREs endorsement, although there are questions about just how public a role the enormously popular former first lady will play in his campaign. Sources tell The Hill that the Biden campaigns early plans include a focus on remote fundraising and voter registration efforts. The trick for Michelle Obama and the Biden campaign is finding the right balance for the pop culture icon, who could be a massive asset for the campaign but has never shown much enthusiasm for campaign politics. Amie Parnes and Jonathan Easley report.

Sen. Warren said she would agree to be Bidens running mate if shes offered the job, The Hills Rebecca Klar reports. Asked by MSNBCs Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowWhitmer says protesters' 'irresponsible actions' can lead to extension of stay-at-home orders The Hill's Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020 Harris on if she'd serve as Biden's VP: 'I'd be honored to serve with Joe' MORE on Wednesday night what she would say if the former vice president offered her the No. 2 slot on the Democratic ticket, Warren answered bluntly: Yes.

The Democratic National Convention (DNC) host committee is laying off and reassigning employees in the latest sign of trouble for the party ahead of the scheduled convention in August, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe told the paper its very unlikely there will be a convention in Milwaukee this year, and he urged the party to get creative in considering a workaround.

PERSPECTIVES:

Zachary Wamp and Meredith McGehee:How Congress must aid states to ensure safe and secure elections

David Brady and Brett Parker: The Trump Bumps likely demise

David Siders: Why Democratic unity is a problem for Trump

FROM CONGRESS & THE STATES:

Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashThe Hill's Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump may exert unprecedented power on nominees Libertarians view Amash as potential 2020 game changer for party MORE (I-Mich.), who left the Republican Party and registered as an Independent last year, has reignited speculation that hell run for president on a third party ticket in the fall. That speculation has led to excitement among Libertarians, who view him as their best shot at breaking through on the national stage in 2020. Amash has described himself as a libertarian in the past. There has never been a sitting member of Congress from the Libertarian Party. Jonathan Easley takes a look at what an Amash candidacy could mean for the presidential race, particularly in the battleground state of Michigan.

Mail-in voting doesnt lend an advantage to either major political party. Thats according to a new study from Stanford Universitys Democracy and Polarization Lab, which looks at election results in three states that phased in vote-by-mail programs county by county. More from The Hills Zack Budryk: Comparing county-level election results and public party registration data for California and Utah voters ranging from 1996 to 2018, researchers found 'a truly negligible effect' on partisan turnout rates with the addition of a vote-by-mail option, with turnout slightly up across the entire voting-age population.

MONEY WATCH:

Democrats in some of the most competitive Senate races out-raised their Republican opponents in the first quarter of 2019, recent filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show. Heres a quick rundown:

Arizona

-Mark Kelly (D):

-Receipts: $11,008,599.35

-Disbursements: $4,910,934.63

-Cash on hand: $19,706,843.19

-Martha McSally (R):

-Receipts: $6,372,756.09

-Disbursements: $3,780,574.23

-Cash on hand: $10,252,063.35

Colorado

-John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperThe Hill's Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020 Hickenlooper outraises Gardner in Q1 in Colorado Senate race Here's where things stand 200 days before Election Day MORE (D)

-Receipts: $4,077,784.93

-Disbursements: $2,413,321.07

-Cash on hand: $4,880,041.96

-Sen. Cory Gardner (R):

-Receipts: $2,469,739.20

-Disbursements: $656,715.07

-Cash on hand: $9,565,416.45

Maine

-Sara Gideon (D):

-Receipts: $7,100,800.94

-Disbursements: $5,229,219.02

-Cash on hand: $4,649,432.36

-Susan Collins (R):

-Receipts: $2,405,597.36

-Disbursements: $3,989,003.52

-Cash on hand: $5,611,935.58

North Carolina

-Cal Cunningham (D):

-Receipts: $2,983,423.54

-Disbursements: $1,451,578.91

-Cash on hand: $3,000,479.06

-Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenate misses deadline, but talks on loans go on The Hill's Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020 Democratic challenger outraises Tillis in North Carolina Senate race MORE (R):

-Receipts: $1,376,774.26

-Disbursements: $298,583.77

-Cash on hand: $6,483,413.82

POLL WATCH:

Gallup: Trumps job approval rating dips by 6 points.

PUBLIC POLICY POLLING NORTH CAROLINA PRESIDENTIAL

Biden: 48 percent

Trump: 47 percent

PUBLIC POLICY POLLING NORTH CAROLINA SENATE

Cunningham: 47 percent

Tillis: 40 percent

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

(Keep in mind these dates could change because of the outbreak)

April 17:

Wyoming

April 28:

Ohio

May 2:

Continued here:

The Hill's Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020 | TheHill - The Hill

The Coronavirus Outbreak Is Exposing Government Follies on Many Levels – Reason

After the coronavirus spread, left-leaning writers began declaringthat no one is a libertarian during a pandemic. We all need collective action to save us from this frightening health risk, they say.

But a funny thing happened on the way to big-government Nirvana, as officials try to ramp up testing and assure that we all have access to vital medical and other services.

The first thing that state officials did was grab various executive powers to order us to stay at home. Now, the federal government is pumping$2 trillionin taxpayer funds into the economy in the form of various bailoutssomething that might help ease the economic pain in the short term, but will cause more harm (exploding debt) in the long run.

These governmentresponsesgrab headlines, but offer little relief. Most serious approaches to the crisis, however, are decidedly libertarian. They involve reducing regulations that keep industries from responding rapidly in an emergency situation.

I recentlyexplainedhow the market economyand its sophisticated supply chainsis keeping us fed in these isolated times. Now we're seeing that government is more of an obstacle than a help. Pretty soon, we'll all be libertarians during a pandemic. The question is why more of us aren't libertarians the rest of the time, given what we're learning about the nature of government.

Let's start at the federal level. AsReason'sJohn Stossel recently explained, the Centers for Disease Control's COVID-19 tests were woefully inaccurate, but private companies were forbidden from developing tests unless they went through the long process of Food and Drug Administration approval. The Trump administration has temporarily waived those rules, but they left our country in a precarious position when a pandemic struck.

"The federal government regulates and monitors practically every activity that takes place in the US economy, from where and when truck drivers drop off their deliveries, to what tests hospitals and labs can use on patients," CNNreports. That's an eye-popping statement about the degree to which government controls everything. (So much for America being the land of unbridled capitalism!)

Because of the delays these rules cause, the Department of Transportation now iswaiving restrictionson how many hours truck drivers can work. The Department of Health and Human Services is waiving privacy laws so more Americans can use telehealth servicesallowing them to access medical advice from home. During good times, few people notice the burdens. They are more obvious when the chips are down.

At the local level, police departments are suspending the enforcement of picayune infractions. Some cities, such as Philadelphia, are not making minor drug and prostitution busts. Los Angeles isreleasingsome low-level inmates from its jails. It makes you wonder why law enforcement focuses on such things during normal times.

California state officials, however, have been resistant to eliminating the nonsensical rules that are making it tough for hospitals to treat increasing numbers of coronavirus patients. The state already has a vastnursing shortage, caused largely by the bureaucracy's limits on nursing-school attendeessomething designed to reduce the numbers and boost salaries.

As The Orange County Register reported, a number of hospitals are discontinuing clinical rotations during the crisis, which will delay nursing graduations because students are required to spend 75 percent of their clinical education in a hospital. The other 25 percent is done through simulations. The schools are asking the governor to reduce that requirement to 50 percent. He has yet to give an OK, but relaxing that rule will reduce nursing shortages.

Meanwhile, California is in a minority of states that does not recognize nurse-licensure compactsagreements that allow qualified and licensed nurses from other states to work here. Licensing rules in general impose steep barriers to entryfor workersand mostly are about established industries artificially boosting pay by reducing competition. They unquestionably create shortages, which create real dangers in a health emergency.

Sen. John Moorlach (RCosta Mesa) has introduced Senate Bill 1053, which would include our state in a 34-state nursing compact. It's a sensible reform, especially in these dire times. If the Legislature were serious about assuring that we have enough trained staff to deal with coronavirus patients, they ought to pass this measure as soon as possible. Remember this when you hear lawmakers complain about healthcare shortages.

If the governor were serious about improving resilience during the current mess, he should immediately postpone enforcement ofAssembly Bill 5, which forbids many industries from using contractors as workers. The law impoverishes freelancers during a time of hardship, discourages people from working at home and imposes hurdles on those providing vital delivery services. It creates a real impediment.

Government has a role, but a lot of what it does isharmful. We need to suspend counterproductive rules nowand then think twice before we reinstitute them after the crisis has passed.

This column was first published in the Orange County Register.

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The Coronavirus Outbreak Is Exposing Government Follies on Many Levels - Reason

Stuck at Home? Read about the History of Liberty – Cato Institute

Looking for intellectual stimulation while youre stuck at home? Why not take ashort course in the history of liberty?

The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, published in 2008in hard copy, is now available free online at Libertarianism.org. The Encyclopedia includes more than 300 succinct, original articles on libertarian ideas, institutions, and thinkers. Contributors include James Buchanan, Richard Epstein, Tyler Cowen, Randy Barnett, Ellen Frankel Paul, Deirdre McCloskey, and more than 100 other scholars.

In an interesting discussion of social change and especially the best ways to spread classical liberal ideas at Liberty Funds Online Library of Liberty, historian David M. Hart had high praise for the Encyclopedia:

The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism provides an excellent survey of the key movements, individuals, and events in the evolution of the classical liberal movement.

One should begin with Steve Davies General Introduction, pp. xxvxxxvii, which is an excellent survey of the ideas, movements, and key events in the development of liberty, then read some of the articles on specific historical periods, movements, schools of thought, and individuals.

He goes on to suggest specific articles in the Encyclopedia that are essential reading for understanding successful radical change in ideas and political and economic structures, in both aproliberty and antiliberty direction. Heres his guide to learning about the history of liberty in the Encyclopedia of Libertarianism:

I could add more essays to his list, but Ill restrain myself to just one: Along with the essays on the Constitution and James Madison, read Federalists Versus AntiFederalists by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel.

By the way, you can still get the beautiful hardcover edition if you prefer real books, for yourself or as agift.

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Stuck at Home? Read about the History of Liberty - Cato Institute

This Libertarian Country Defeated The Coronavirus With The Free Market – Patheos

Hail! Hail, Freedonia!

The country of Freedonia has successfully fought off the COVID-19 virus successfully. This small European nation in the middle of the coronavirus maelstrom reportedly used free market forces to keep its citizens safe.

President Rufus T. Canard remarked on the remarkable story of laissez-faire economics and public health. Did you know the invisible hand of the market belongs to God? He is better than a legion of unelected bureaucrats telling you to put face masks on.

Once the government of Freedonia realized the pandemic was sweeping through its neighbors it took tough action nothing. Privately funded hospitals had all the respirators they needed because thats how capitalism works. The citizens of this nation whose motto isHail Freedonia, land of the Brave and Free!immediately engaged in complicated statistical analysis and realized they had all better start practice social distancing. And best of all no one hoarded toilet paper.

Unrestrained market forces do not create panics where people hoard items like toilet paper, remarked President Canard. You can look that up in any economics textbook.

Citizens of Freedonia are proud of their nations dedication to Ayn Rands ideals,Friedrich Hayeks economics, and a total disregard of reality. They point to how the Great Depression never depressed and their successful pay-by-the-minute education system. The world envies how each and every enrolled student has their own coin operatededu-meter,Canard quipped.

I dream of a world where people can do what they want whenever they want regardless of facts, President Canard said. And that will make the world a better place.

In related news, an American televangelist pays for a private jet with sperm bank donations.

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This Libertarian Country Defeated The Coronavirus With The Free Market - Patheos

A Little-Known Democratic Governor Is Breaking Out in Kentucky – The Intercept

In the absence of federal leadership, governors have become the public face of the effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Some of them, like New Yorks Andrew Cuomo and Californias Gavin Newsom, have risen to the media status of national hero, certainly in comparison to the deadly, daily clown show on display at the White House. Others have exposed themselves as unfit for office such as Georgias Brian Kemp, who this week expressed shock after learning a basic fact about the disease, namely that asymptomatic carriers can spread it.

Lost between the coasts, meanwhile, is the remarkable story of Kentuckys Andy Beshear, whose handling of the coronavirus crisis looks especially strong next to neighboring Tennessee. The two states are like a life-and-death experiment, showing the difference between governing and not governing in the face of a pandemic.

The 42-year-old son of former Gov.Steve Beshear, he won a contested Democratic primary against a more progressive opponent, and then went on to face the extraordinarily unpopular Matt Bevin in the general election in the fall. The Libertarian Party, which Bevin had tussled with, decided to field a candidate simply to undermine him. The libertarian pulled 28,000 votes, enough to swing the election; Beshear beat Bevin by just 5,000 votes.

Republicans in the state legislature immediately began calling the result illegitimate, with Republican Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers saying it was appropriate of Bevin not to concede and that the GOP-controlled legislature might end up choosing the victor. He specifically cited the libertarian vote, claiming the results werent a genuine reflection of support for the Republican incumbent. It felt like a dry run of the 2020 presidential election, which skeptics have warned Donald Trump may not concede even if he loses.

But instead of the quivering response the public has come to expect from Democrats a threat of a lawsuit, complaints about norms to the media Beshear plowed forward, talking and acting like the rightful winner of the election. He began naming cabinet members and setting up his government, and in the face of his show of force, the media recognized him as the winner of the election and the GOP crumpled.

Beshear was sworn in as governor on December 10, 2019, and immediately began wielding power. That day, he signed an order restoring voting rights to more than 100,000 felons. On December 16, he killed Bevins Medicaid overhaul, which had been designed to throw people off the rolls. Another key issue in the election had been anger from teachers at Bevin over a slew of assaults, chief among them his attempt to undercut their pensions. Bevin had been concealing a 65-page official analysis of that plan showing its cost to public workers and its ineffectiveness in the long term. Beshear spiked the plan, and, on December 20, publicly released the assessment, in all its gory details.

In February, Beshear, a deacon at his local church, became the first governor to appear at the Fairness Rally, an anti-discrimination event organized each year by LGBTQ leaders.

A photo he took with a group of drag queens launched a local scandal, and one Republican lawmaker lashed out at him for defiling the state Capitol. Beshear again fought back, calling the lawmakers attack homophobic and demanding he apologize personally to everybody in the photo. Beshears aides, and the state party, called on the man to resign, transforming the scandal into one about Republicans and their backward views on social issues.

Days later, on March 6, Beshear became one of the first governors in the country to treat the coronavirus pandemic with the seriousness it deserves, declaring a state of emergency when he announced the states first confirmed case a day before New York state.

Trump was still laughing the pandemic off as no worse than the common flu. That same day, March 6, Trump toured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, declaring himself a natural expert. Anybody that wants a test can get a test, Trump lied from the CDC. I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, How do you know so much about this? Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.

Trumps expertise had led him to conclude, on March 2, the pandemic would be less of a problem than the flu. Were talking about a much smaller range of deaths, he said. Two days later, he told Fox Newss Sean Hannity, Its very mild. The day after Beshear had declared a state of emergency, Trump said, at a dinner with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his entourage (who all went home with the virus) at Mar-a-Lago, Im not concerned at all. On March 10, he was still full of bliss. It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away, he said.

Tennessees Republican Gov. Bill Lee followed Trumps lead, telling his states residents no emergency declaration was necessary, even though Tennessee has more large urban centers than neighboring Kentucky. He finally switched course nearly a week later and declared an emergency, citing new information.

By that point, Beshear had already ratcheted up his warnings, urging Kentuckians to take the crisis seriously and to avoid large gatherings. By March 11, he announced the coming closure of schools. Beshear began 5 p.m. daily press briefings that have become appointment TV for a nervous public, even as Kentucky has one of the lowest spreads of the virus producing endless memes celebrating the governors empathy and authoritative style.

Less than two weeks later, Beshear began warning Kentuckians not to travel to Tennessee, where cases were exploding. Here in Kentucky, we have taken very aggressive steps to try to stop or limit the spread of the coronavirus to try to protect our people, he said. We have made major sacrifices such as shutting down bars and restaurants, nail salons, all these forward-facing businesses. But our neighbors from the south in many cases have not. On Sunday, the U.S. Army restricted travel to Nashville from nearby Fort Campbell in Kentucky, as well.

Tennessees mistakes couldnt be allowed to harm Kentuckians, he warned. I cannot control that Tennessee has not taken the steps that we have, Beshear said. I need you to be strong in your pride in this state, and I need you to make sure that you dont take someone elses lack of action and ultimately bring it back to Kentucky to harm us.

Beshear, by choosing to govern, has gradually risen to his own hero status, and, like Cuomo, become an unlikely sex symbol. A Reddit thread titled Govern me, daddy, became a Salon headline and a T-shirt.

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A Little-Known Democratic Governor Is Breaking Out in Kentucky - The Intercept

Three political philosophies, and how they apply to the coronavirus pandemic – BioEdge

As the coronavirus pandemic escalates, countries are facing increasingly complex ethical decisions in their bid to control the virus and save lives.

ICU Physicians are being forced to ration healthcare resources like ventilators and medication. Governments have introduced sweeping public health restrictions that have radically altered peoples day to day lives. And as authorities seek to stop the spread of the virus, questions are being asked about our duties to prisoners, migrants, and people on sea vessels.

These ethical dilemmas lead us to reflect on the philosophical frameworks that inform our decision making when faced with a global threat like the coronavirus. Commentators have discussed three philosophies in particular in recent days: communitarianism, utilitarianism, and libertarianism.

Communitarianism

Communitarianism is a political philosophy that emphasises the connection between individuals and communities. Communitarian thinkers suggest that individuals derive their identity from social groups, and that individual rights cannot and should not be viewed in isolation from community norms and interests. Communitarians, furthermore, see the welfare of society or communities to be the orienting principle of political decision-making, and are inclined to prioritise the public interest over the preservation of the liberties of individual citizens. Notable communitarian thinkers include Princeton philosopher Michael Waltzer and Harvard political theorist Michael Sandel (though Sandel is somewhat reluctant to identify as a communitarian).

As Bloomberg columnist John Authers observes, China practiced an authoritarian kind of communitarianism after the coronavirus first appeared in Wuhan in January. The people of the city of Wuhan were told to lock themselves in their houses, and often forcibly quarantined, for the good of the community and the state, largely identified with the Communist Party.

Yet there is a democratic form of communitarianism that is more in line with Western liberal values. The latter form of communitarianism is more defined by solidarity with societys most vulnerable rather than an idolisation of the State or some other political entity. Many of the restrictions on civil liberties in Western countries have been brought in under the guise of protecting societys most vulnerable (such as the elderly or people with disabilities).

In a recent address in St Peters Square, Pope Francis offered communitarian perspective on the current crisis, stating that we have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other.

Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is a philosophy that gives primary importance to the consequences of actions, and, in particular, the utility that those actions produce. In the context of politics, utilitarianism takes the form of a calculus about political decision-making, whereby actors consider which course of action would bring about the greatest benefits for society at large.

One controversial example of a utilitarian approach to COVID-19 pandemic would be the so-called herd immunity strategy for managing the coronavirus threat. Some epidemiologists, as well as politicians, have advocated intentionally exposing society at large to the virus, with the aim of developing population immunity to COVID-19. This strategy would involve massive rates of infection and loss of life, but would allow for greater economic activity during the pandemic and would address the problem of the virus head on. A herd immunity policy was recommended to the UK government by its Chief Scientific Advisor Patrick Vallance in mid-March, though the government says it is not currently pursuing this approach.

Utilitarianism is also exemplified in the rationing policies currently being advocated by many influential medical ethicists. Recently, several prominent doctors and ethicists in the United States published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, arguing that the value of maximising benefits is the most important value in ICU rationing.

Libertarianism

Libertarianism is a political philosophy that prioritises individual liberties over other goods. Libertarians are deeply suspicious of any attempt to limit individual freedom, even if this may be necessary to prevent some grave risk to society. Libertarians suggest that people should be free to take risks if they want to, even if this behaviour may be seen as imprudent, immoral or unreasonable by other members of society.

Libertarianism is exemplified in the behaviour of some members of the public in response to government warnings about the risk of contagion. Social media in recent weeks has been full of images of big social gatherings -- often in luxurious social settings -- even after governments have introduced strong new measures to stop the spread of the virus. If I get corona, I get corona, as a 22-year-old said on video recently in Florida. At the end of the day, Im not gonna let it stop me from partying.

Recently, scholars from the Mises Institute -- a libertarian think-tank in the United States -- argued that governments should immediately rescind lock-down laws, and instead allow individuals and families to decide what level of risk the wish to take in continuing with their daily lives during the pandemic. In a recent editorial, the editors of Institutes official blog state:

Xavier Symons is deputy editor of BioEdge

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Three political philosophies, and how they apply to the coronavirus pandemic - BioEdge

Beyond Originalism – The Atlantic

Read: How the pandemic will end

Alternatives to originalism have always existed on the right, loosely defined. One is libertarian (or classical liberal) constitutionalism, which emphasizes principles of individual freedom that are often in uneasy tension with the Constitutions original meaning and the founding generations norms. The founding era was hardly libertarian on a number of fronts that loom large today, such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion; consider that in 1811, the New York courts, in an opinion written by the influential early jurist Chancellor James Kent, upheld a conviction for blasphemy against Jesus Christ as an offense against the public peace and morals. Another alternative is Burkean traditionalism, which tries to slow the pace of legal innovation. Here, too, the difference with originalism is clear, because originalism is sometimes revolutionary; consider the Courts originalist opinion declaring a constitutional right to own guns, a startling break with the Courts long-standing precedents.

These alternatives still have scattered adherents, but originalism has prevailed, mainly because it has met the political and rhetorical needs of legal conservatives struggling against an overwhelmingly left-liberal legal culture. The theory of originalism, initially developed in the 1970s and 80s, enjoyed its initial growth because it helped legal conservatives survive and even flourish in a hostile environment, all without fundamentally challenging the premises of the legal liberalism that dominated both the courts and the academy. It enabled conservatives to oppose constitutional innovations by the Warren and Burger Courts, appealing over the heads of the justices to the putative true meaning of the Constitution itself. When, in recent years, legal conservatism has won the upper hand in the Court and then in the judiciary generally, originalism was the natural coordinating point for a creed, something to which potential nominees could pledge fidelity.

But circumstances have now changed. The hostile environment that made originalism a useful rhetorical and political expedient is now gone. Outside the legal academy, at least, legal conservatism is no longer besieged. If President Donald Trump is reelected, some version of legal conservatism will become the laws animating spirit for a generation or more; and even if he is not, the reconstruction of the judiciary has proceeded far enough that legal conservatism will remain a potent force, not a beleaguered and eccentric view.

Assured of this, conservatives ought to turn their attention to developing new and more robust alternatives to both originalism and left-liberal constitutionalism. It is now possible to imagine a substantive moral constitutionalism that, although not enslaved to the original meaning of the Constitution, is also liberated from the left-liberals overarching sacramental narrative, the relentless expansion of individualistic autonomy. Alternatively, in a formulation I prefer, one can imagine an illiberal legalism that is not conservative at all, insofar as standard conservatism is content to play defensively within the procedural rules of the liberal order.

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Beyond Originalism - The Atlantic

The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Set Off A Massive Expansion Of Government Surveillance. Civil Libertarians Aren’t Sure What To Do. – BuzzFeed News

The journalists at BuzzFeed News are proud to bring you trustworthy and relevant reporting about the coronavirus. To help keep this news free, become a member and sign up for our newsletter, Outbreak Today.

The coronavirus pandemic, which has grown to over 740,000 cases and 35,000 deaths around the world, has been so singular an event that even some staunch advocates for civil liberties say theyre willing to accept previously unthinkable surveillance measures.

Im very concerned about civil liberties, writer Glenn Greenwald, cofounder of the Intercept, who built his career as a critic of government surveillance, told BuzzFeed News. But at the same time, I'm also much more receptive to proposals that in my entire life I never expected I would be, because of the gravity of the threat.

Greenwald won a Pulitzer Prize in 2014 for his reporting on the disclosures by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who revealed a vast secret infrastructure of US government surveillance. But like others who have spent years raising concerns about government overreach, he now accepts the idea that surveilling people who have contracted the coronavirus could be better than harsher measures to save lives.

The kind of digital surveillance that I spent a lot of years even before Snowden, and then obviously, the two or three years during Snowden advocating against is now something I think could be warranted principally to stave off the more brute solutions that were used in China, Greenwald said.

Greenwald said he was still trying to understand how to balance his own views on privacy against the current unprecedented situation. We have to be very careful not to get into that impulse either where we say, Hey, because your actions affect the society collectively, we have the right now to restrict it in every single way. We're in this early stage where our survival instincts are guiding our thinking, and that can be really dangerous. And Im trying myself to calibrate that.

The kind of digital surveillance that I spent a lot of years advocating against is now something I think could be warranted principally to stave off the more brute solutions that were used in China.

And he is far from the only prominent civil libertarian and opponent of surveillance trying to calibrate their response as governments around the world are planning or have already implemented location-tracking programs to monitor coronavirus transmission, and have ordered wide-scale shutdowns closing businesses and keeping people indoors. Broad expansions of surveillance power that would have been unimaginable in February are being presented as fait accompli in March.

That has split an international community that would have otherwise been staunchly opposed to such measures. Is the coronavirus the kind of emergency that requires setting aside otherwise sacrosanct commitments to privacy and civil liberties? Or like the 9/11 attacks before it, does it mark a moment in which panicked Americans will accept new erosions on their freedoms, only to regret it when the immediate danger recedes?

Under these circumstances? Yeah, go for it, Facebook. You know, go for it, Google, Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico and 2016 Libertarian Party presidential candidate, told BuzzFeed News. But then, when the crisis goes away, how is that going to apply given that it's in place? I mean, these are the obvious questions, and no, that would not be a good thing.

"My fear is that, historically, in any moment of crisis, people who always want massive surveillance powers will finally have an avenue and an excuse to get them, Matthew Guariglia, an analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told BuzzFeed News.

Marc Rotenberg, president and executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), told BuzzFeed News that its possible to find a solution that protects privacy and prevents the spread of the virus.

People like to say, 'well, we need to strike a balance between protecting public health and safeguarding privacy' but that is genuinely the wrong way to think about it, Rotenberg said. You really want both. And if you're not getting both, there's a problem with the policy proposal.

An aerial view from a drone shows an empty Interstate 280 leading into San Francisco, California, March 26.

Beyond the sick and dead, the most immediate effects that the pandemic has visited upon the United States have been broad constraints that state and local governments have imposed on day-to-day movement. Those are in keeping with public health experts recommendations to practice social distancing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

While the US hasnt announced a nationwide stay-at-home order like France and Italy have, large parts of the US are under some degree of lockdown, with nonessential businesses shuttered and nonessential activities outside the home either banned or discouraged. And while President Trump and his allies have focused on the economic devastation wrought by this shutdown, some libertarians have raised concerns about the damage those decrees have done to people's freedoms.

Appearing on libertarian former Texas lawmaker and two-time Republican presidential candidate Ron Pauls YouTube show on March 19, Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie pointed to a Kentucky man who, after testing positive for the coronavirus, refused to self-isolate, and whom sheriff's deputies forced to stay home. (Massie later came under bipartisan criticism for attempting to hold up the coronavirus stimulus bill in the House.)

What would they do if that man walked out and got in his car? Would they shoot him? Would they suit up in hazmat uniforms and drag him off? Massie said. Those are the images we saw in China two months ago and everybody was appalled at those images. And now were literally, we could be five minutes away from that happening in the United States, here in Kentucky.

Its crazy, and what concerns me the most is that once people start accepting that, in our own country, the fact that somebody could immobilize you without due process, that when this virus is over people will have a more paternalistic view of government and more tolerance for ignoring the Constitution, Massie said.

Last Monday, Paul's son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, announced that he had tested positive for the disease, only a few days after Ron Paul wrote in his online column that the pandemic could be a big hoax pushed by fearmongers to put more power in government hands.

But the elder Paul's concerns are not shared among some of his fellow former Libertarian Party nominees for president.

Johnson said measures to encourage people to stay in their homes and temporarily shutter businesses taken by states like New York were appropriate. I really have to believe that they're dealing with [this] in the best way that they possibly can, he told BuzzFeed News. And I think it's also telling that most of them are following the same route.

Johnson added that although it was easy to raise criticisms, as a former governor, he saw few other options.

You're just not hearing it: What are the alternatives? Johnson said. I don't know, not having [currently] sat at the table as governor, what the options were. And given that every state appears to be doing the same thing, I have to believe that everything is based on the best available information.

A security guard looks at tourists through his augmented reality eyewear equipped with an infrared temperature detector in Xixi Wetland Park in Hangzhou in east China's Zhejiang province Tuesday, March 24. Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

A map application developed by The Baidu Inc. displays the locations visited by people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in Shanghai, China, on Friday, Feb. 21. Qilai Shen / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gaming out the role of intense surveillance during a pandemic isnt just a theoretical political debate on YouTube. Surveillance at previously politically unimaginable scales has reached countries around the world.

Imagine opening an app, scanning a QR code, and creating a profile thats instantly linked with information about your health and where you've been. The app tells you if youve been in close contact with someone sick with the coronavirus.

This software already exists in China. Developed by the Electronics Technology Group Corporation and the Chinese government, it works by tapping into massive troves of data collected by the private sector and the Chinese government. In South Korea, the government is mapping the movements of COVID-19 patients using data from mobile carriers, credit card companies, and the Institute of Public Health and Environment. In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the country's internal security agency to tap into a previously undisclosed cache of cellphone data to trace the movements of infected persons in that country and in the West Bank. And in the Indian state of Karnataka, the government is requiring people in lockdown to send it selfies every hour to prove they are staying home.

No such tools currently exist in the United States but some in the tech community who might have been expected to oppose such capacities have found themselves favoring these previously unthinkable steps.

Maciej Cegowski, the founder of Pinboard and a frequent critic of tech companies intrusions into privacy, wrote a blog post arguing for a massive surveillance program to fight the virus.

My frustration is that we have this giant surveillance network deployed and working," Cegowski told BuzzFeed News. "We have location tracking. We have people carrying tracking devices on them all the time. But were using it to sell skin cream you know, advertising. And were using it to try to persuade investors to put more money into companies. Since that exists and we have this crisis right now, lets put it to use to save lives.

We put up with the fire department breaking down our door if theres a fire at our neighbors house or in our house because we know that in normal times our houses are sacrosanct.

This position is a major departure for Ceglowski, who has warned of how tech companies have invaded our ambient privacy and argued that tech giants reach into our lives is as pernicious a force as government surveillance.

We put up with the fire department breaking down our door if theres a fire at our neighbors house or in our house because we know that in normal times our houses are sacrosanct, Cegowski said. I think similarly if we can have a sense that well have real privacy regulation, then in emergency situations like this we can decide, hey, were going to change some things.

Those doors are already being broken down. The COVID-19 Mobility Data Network a collaboration between Facebook, Camber Systems, Cuebiq, and health researchers from 13 universities will use corporate location data from mobile devices to give local officials "consolidated daily situation reports" about "social distancing interventions."

Representatives from the COVID-19 Mobility Data Network did not respond to requests for comment.

A person watching live data reporting about the worldwide spread of the coronavirus.

Lots of companies claim that they have the technology to save peoples lives. But critics worry that they are taking advantage of a vulnerable time in American society to sign contracts that won't easily be backed out of when the threat passes.

Sometimes people have an almost sacrificial sense about their privacy, Rotenberg told BuzzFeed News. They say things like, Well, if it'll help save lives for me to disclose my data, of course, I should do that. But that's actually not the right way to solve a problem. Particularly if asking people to sacrifice their privacy is not part of an effective plan to save lives.

In response to the pandemic, some data analytics and facial recognition companies have offered new uses for existing services. Representatives from data analytics company have reportedly been working with the CDC on collecting and integrating data about COVID-19, while Clearview AI has reportedly been in talks with state agencies to track patients infected by the virus.

Neither Palantir nor Clearview AI responded to requests for comment, but the appearance of these controversial companies has raised alarms among those in the privacy community.

The deployment of face recognition, as a way of preventing the spread of virus, is something that does not pass the sniff test at all, Guariglia said. Even the companies themselves, I don't think, can put out a logical explanation as to how face recognition, especially Clearview, would help.

The leaders of other technology companies that design tools for law enforcement have tried to offer tools to combat COVID-19 as well. Banjo, which combines social media and satellite data with public information, like CCTV camera footage, 911 calls, and vehicle location, to detect criminal or suspicious activity, will be releasing a tool designed to respond to the outbreak.

We are working with our partners to finalize a new tool that would provide public health agencies and hospitals with HIPAA-compliant information that helps identify potential outbreaks and more efficiently apply resources to prevention and treatment, a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

We have so much history that shows us that mass surveillance generally isn't very effective, and mission creep is inevitable.

Those efforts cause concerns for people like Evan Greer, the deputy director of digital rights activist group Fight for the Future, who told BuzzFeed News that such tools, once deployed, would inevitably be used for more purposes than to fight the pandemic.

We have so much history that shows us that mass surveillance generally isn't very effective, and mission creep is inevitable, she said. It's not necessarily a question of if data that was handed over to the government because of this crisis would be repurposed. It's a matter of when.

In addition to those companies, many camera makers have been making a bold claim: Using just an infrared sensor, they can detect fevers, helping venues filter out the sick from the healthy. These firms include Dahua Technology in Israel, Guide Infrared in China, Diycam in India, Rapid-Tech Equipment in Australia, and Athena Security in the US.

In late February, Guide Infrared announced that it had donated about $144,000 worth of equipment that could warn users when fever is detected to Japan. The company said its devices would be used in Japanese hospitals and epidemic prevention stations.

Although Guide Infrared claimed that its temperature measurement solutions have helped in emergencies including SARS, H1N1, and Ebola, the Chinese army and government authorities are some of its major customers, according to the South China Morning Post. Its been used in railway stations and airports in major Chinese regions. Its also partnered with Hikvision, a Chinese company blacklisted by the US over its work outfitting Chinese detention centers with surveillance cameras.

Australian company Rapid-Tech Equipment claims that its fever-detection cameras can be used in "minimizing the spread [of] coronavirus infections." Its cameras are being used in Algeria, France, Egypt, Greece, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and many more countries, according to its website. UK camera maker Westminster International said that it has a "supply range of Fever Detection Systems for Coronavirus, Ebola & Flu."

US company Testo Thermal Imaging sells two cameras with a FeverDetection assistant. A section of its website titled Why fever detection? argues that managers of high-traffic venues have a responsibility to filter for fevers: Whether ebola, SARS or coronavirus: no-one wants to imagine the consequences of an epidemic or even a pandemic.

A Testo spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the company has seen a massive increase in demand for its products in response to the coronavirus and that its cameras are being used worldwide. The spokesperson declined to provide specific examples or name specific countries.

While the appetite for fever-detecting cameras is clearly there, civil liberties advocates have concerns. Guariglia said that, regardless of their thermal imaging capabilities, surveillance cameras are surveillance cameras.

More surveillance cameras always have dubious implications for civil liberties. Even if their contract with thermal imaging ends at the end of six months, Guariglia said, I bet those cameras are gonna stay up.

A man wearing a protective mask walks under surveillance cameras in Shanghai.

Julian Sanchez, an analyst with the Cato Institute and commentator on digital surveillance and privacy issues, told BuzzFeed News he was willing to accept measures he might otherwise have concerns about to limit the spread of the virus.

Im about as staunch a privacy guy as it gets, Sanchez said. In the middle of an epidemic outbreak, there are a number of things Im willing to countenance that I would normally object to, on the premise that they are temporary and will save a lot of lives.

But he still questioned the efficacy of some of the current proposals: Theres a ton of snake oil being pitched by surveillance vendors, he said.

More than that, he had concerns about what would happen to civil liberties after the pandemic passed, but the measure put in place to combat it did not.

I think a lot of civil liberties advocates would say, Well, if this is very tightly restricted, and only for this purpose, and it's temporary, then, you know, maybe that's all right. Maybe were able to accept that, if were confident it's for this purpose, and then it ends, Sanchez said. The question is whether that's the case.

Sanchez worried that the coronavirus, like the war on terror, is an open-ended threat with no clear end inviting opportunities for those surveillance measures to be abused long after the threat has passed.

In the same week that he spoke, the US Senate voted to extend until June the FBI's expanded powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, originally passed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks 19 years ago.

Mar. 30, 2020, at 21:57 PM

Clearview AI has reportedly been in talks with state governments. An earlier version of this story misstated the government agency it had reportedly been in contact with.

The rest is here:

The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Set Off A Massive Expansion Of Government Surveillance. Civil Libertarians Aren't Sure What To Do. - BuzzFeed News


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