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Libertarian Party to meet Aug. 10 | Lifestyles | tahlequahdailypress … – Tahlequah Daily Press

Members of the Libertarian Party in Cherokee County will gather for fellowship Thursday, Aug. 10, 6:30 p.m. at Red Moon, 761 Holiday Drive.

Guest speaker will be Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Rex Lawhorn.

The Cherokee County Libertarian Party invites everyone out to meet Lawhorn and join them as they discuss future activities, activism, and visit with other people who value and respect the rights and freedoms of the community.

The Libertarian Party respects everyone’s individual rights and believes in all rights, of all people, all the time.

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Libertarian Party to meet Aug. 10 | Lifestyles | tahlequahdailypress … – Tahlequah Daily Press

The Google Memo Exposes a Libertarian Blindspot When It Comes To Power – Reason (blog)

HotAir.comThe “Google Memo” (read it here) raises at least two big questions from a specifically libertarian perspective: When does an employer have a right to fire an employee and how do social pressures work to shut down speech that makes powerful people uncomfortable?

The answer to the first question is pretty clear-cut, at least when talking about an at-will employee: Google (and other employers) should and do have extremely broad rights to fire any worker at any time. Exceptions rightly exist (and depending on the state one lives in, there may be fewer or more legal exceptions recognized by the courts) but they are narrow. Critics fear that at-will employment will result in chronic job instability, but no firm thrives over time by firing its workers on a regular basis and without good reasons (at-will employment also gives workers the not-insignificant ability to leave a situation without having to explain themselves or negotiate out of contractual obligations). The vast majority of Americans have never signed an employment contract (in nearly three decades of adult work, I know I never have) and are not the worse off for it.

Shortly before the memo’s author was fired, Google’s vice president of diversity, integrity, and governance wrote

Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul. As Ari Balogh said in his internal G+ post, “Building an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do. ‘Nuff said.”

You might think that such values would have meant that James Damore, who penned the memo, might have been lauded for raising the issues he did, if not necessarily the way he did. Just earlier this year, at a shareholder meeting of Google’s parent corporation Alphabet, chairman Eric Schmidt told an audience, “The company was founded under the principles of freedom of expression, diversity, inclusiveness and science-based thinking.”

But whether you agree with Google’s specific decision in this case, there should be no question that it has the right to fire people. If a company does that consistently for arbitrary and unconvincing reasons (ranging from enforcing ideological consistency in non-ideological organizations to erratic management to whatever), it will have huge trouble attracting and keeping talent. But in a free society, every company should have the right to put itself out fo business through bad management practices.

James Damore, the author of the memo, says that his most-recent performance review at Google rated him as “superb, which is the top few percentile” at the company. Supporters of the firing say that nobody at the company would want to work with a person who publicly questioned the announced demographic diversity goals at Google, a fact belied by reports that “over half” of Google employees don’t think he should have been let go. If his firing causes more morale problems than it solves, that’s Google’s problem and it shouldn’t erode confidence in the system of at-will employment.

The second question raised by the Google Memodubbed “an anti-diversity screed” by Gizmodo, the site that posted it in its entirety apparently without reading itis a more-complicated and interesting topic from a libertarian point of view.

Damore titled his memo “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” and management’s quick response to it underscores his titular implication, which is that political correctness has in many ways stymied any sort of good-faith conversation about issues touching on race, class, gender, and other highly charged topics. If libertarians instinctively only think about state power as worthy of critique, such a myopic perspective misses all the ways in which power asserts itself in society. As linguist Steven Pinker tweeted in response to Damore’s firing, Google’s hair-trigger response actually gives the supporters of President Donald Trump a juicy talking point in their war against the tyrannical ideological orthodoxy that Trump specifically said he was running against. From Pinker:

The situation is compounded by the fact that Damore’s text is not in any sense the screed or rant that detractors call it. In fact, it starts with the statement, “I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes” and continues

People generally have good intentions, but we all have biases which are invisible to us. Thankfully, open and honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots and help us grow, which is why I wrote this document.

The result is a discussion of possible causes, including genetic and cultural influences, for why Google’s attempt to hire more women and minorities is going so badly despite massive and ongoing efforts to change that. I suspect that the real problem with the essay’s logic (as opposed to, say, Damore’s personality and reputation within Google, of which I know nothing) is calling attention to the costs and effectiveness of diversity programs along with their benefits, which are simply taken for granted. Additionally, he makes a plea for ideological diversity, which never turns out well in most places that say they value “diversity”:

I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn’t try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology. I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

At Quillette, a website whose editor says suffered a denial-of-service attack after publishing stories critical of Google’s actions, Rutgers psychologist Lee Jussim writes:

The author of the Google essay on issues related to diversity gets nearly all of the science and its implications exactly right. Its main points are that: 1. Neither the left nor the right gets diversity completely right; 2. The social science evidence on implicit and explicit bias has been wildly oversold and is far weaker than most people seem to realize; 3. Google has, perhaps unintentionally, created an authoritarian atmosphere that has stifled discussion of these issues by stigmatizing anyone who disagrees as a bigot and instituted authoritarian policies of reverse discrimination; 4. The policies and atmosphere systematically ignore biological, cognitive, educational, and social science research on the nature and sources of individual and group differences….

This essay may not get everything 100% right, but it is certainly not a rant. And it stands in sharp contrast to most of the comments, which are little more than snarky modern slurs.

That last point is indisputable, as the more charitable negative assessments of Damore include only calling him a “shitball” and the like. And of course, the near-immediate firing of Damore, thus at least superficially proving his large point that Google’s commitment to “freedom of expression, diversity, inclusiveness and science-based thinking” is a joke.

Even self-described Marxists such as Princeton philosopher Peter Singer have criticized Google for its actions:

On an issue that matters, Damore put forward a view that has reasonable scientific support, and on which it is important to know what the facts are. Why then was he fired?

Again, from a libertarian point of view, one traditional response to Singer’s question would be: Who cares, it’s none of our business what a private entity does because libertarianism is ultimately about relations between individuals and the state, not individuals and voluntary associations they make, including employment.

The Google Memo controversy reveals the limitations of such narrow or “thin” libertarianism. Political correctnesswhich is both the enforcement of an orthodox set of beliefs and the delegitimation of any criticism of those beliefsis an attitude that is hardly limited only to state capitols, state agencies, and state universities. It exists everywhere in our lives and should be battled wherever we encounter it since it undermines free-thinking and free expression, the very hallmarks of a libertarian society. We have not just a right to criticize the actions of private actors but arguably a responsibility to do so, even if there is no public policy change being called for (Google should be allowed to fire whomever it wants, though its grounds for doing so are fair game for public discussion). Libertarianism is ultimately grounded not in anything like knowable objective, scientific truths, but in epistemological humility built on (per Hayek and other unacknowledged postmodernists) a tremendous amount of epistemological humility. That is, because we don’t know objective truths, we need to have an open exchange of ideas and innovation that allows us to gain more knowledge and understanding even if we never get to truth with a capital T. Political correctness is not simply an attack a given set of current beliefs, it is an attack on the process by which we become smarter and more humane. That’s exactly why it’s so pernicious and destructive.

With that in mind, here’s Penn Jillette in 2011 talking about why he’s a libertarian. It’s a provocative and persuasive argument, I think:

Follow this link:

The Google Memo Exposes a Libertarian Blindspot When It Comes To Power – Reason (blog)

Sphere of Influence: How American Libertarians Are Remaking Latin American Politics – The Intercept

For Alejandro Chafuen, the gathering this spring at the Brick Hotel in Buenos Aires was as much a homecoming as it was a victory lap. Chafuen, a lanky Argentine-American, had spent his adult life working to undermine left-wing social movements and governments in South and Central America, and boost a business-friendly version of libertarianism instead.

It was a lonely battle for decades, but not lately. Chafuen was among friends at the 2017 Latin America Liberty Forum. The international meeting of libertarian activists was sponsored by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, a leadership-training nonprofit now known simply as the Atlas Network, which Chafuen has led since 1991. At the Brick Hotel, Chafuen was reveling in recent victories; his years of work werestarting to pay off, thanks to political and economic circumstances but also because ofthe network of activists Chafuen has been working for so long to cultivate.

Over the past 10years, leftist governments have used money to buy votes, to redistribute, said Chafuen, seated comfortably in the lobby. But the recent drop in commodity prices, coupled with corruption scandals, hasgiven an opportunity for Atlas Network groups to spring into action. When there is an opening, you have a crisis, and there is some demand for change, you have people who are trained to push for certain policies, Chafuen noted, paraphrasing the late Milton Friedman. And in our case, we tend to favor to private solutions to public problems.

Chafuen pointed to numerous Atlas-affiliated leaders now in the spotlight: ministers in the new conservative government in Argentina, senators in Bolivia, and the leaders of the Free Brazil Movement that took down Dilma Rousseffs presidency, where Chafuens network sprang to life before his very eyes.

In Brazil, I have been in the street demonstrations, and Im like, Hey, this guy I met when he was 17, 18 he is up there on the bus leading this. This is crazy! Chafuen said, excitedly. Those in Atlass orbit were no less excited to run into Chafuen in Buenos Aires. Activists from various countries stopped Chafuen intermittently to sing his praises as he walked through the hotel. For many, Chafuen, from his perch at Atlas, has served as a mentor, fiscal sponsor, and guiding beacon for a new political paradigm in their country.

Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, left, looks down inside a car on the outskirts of San Jose on his way to the airport toboard a flight to Nicaragua, June 28, 2009.

Photo: Kent Gilbert/AP

A rightward shiftis afoot in Latin American politics. Triumphant socialist governments had once swept the region for much of the 21st century from Argentinas Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner to land reform populist Manuel Zelaya in Honduras championing new programs for the poor, nationalizing businesses, and challenging U.S. dominance in hemispheric affairs.

This shift might appear as part of a larger regional rebalancing, merely economic circumstances taking hold. And yet the Atlas Network seems ever-present, a common thread nudging political developments along.

The story of the Atlas Network and its profound impact on ideology and political power has never been fully told. But business filings and records from three continents, along with interviews with libertarian leaders across the hemisphere, reveal the scope of its influential history. The libertarian network, which has reshaped political power in country after country, has also operated as a quiet extension of U.S. foreign policy, with Atlas-associated think tanks receiving quiet funding from the State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy, a critical arm of American soft power.

The network is expansive, currently boasting loose partnerships with 450 think tanks around the world. Atlas says it dispensed over $5 million to its partners in 2016 alone.

Over the years, Atlas and its affiliated charitable foundations have provided hundreds of grants to conservative and free-market think tanks in Latin America, including the libertarian network that supported the Free Brazil Movement and organizations behind a libertarian push in Argentina,including Fundacin Pensar, the Atlas think tank that merged with the political party formed by Mauricio Macri, a businessman who now leads the country. The leaders of the Free Brazil Movement and the founder of Fundacin Elutera in Honduras, an influential post-coup neoliberal think tank, have received financial support from Atlas, and are among the next generation of political operatives that have gonethrough Atlass training seminars.

The Atlas Network spans dozens of other think tanks across the region, including prominent groups supporting right-wing forces behind the unfolding anti-government movement in Venezuela and the campaign of Sebastin Piera, the right-of-center candidate leading the polls for this years presidential election in Chile.

People demonstrate in favor of impeaching Brazils President Dilma Rousseff in front of the National Congress in Brasilia, Brazil, Dec. 2, 2015.

Photo: Eraldo Peres/AP

Nowhere has theAtlas method been better encapsulated than in a newly formed network of Brazilian free-market think tanks. Recently formed institutes worked together to foment anger at socialist policies, with some cultivating academic centers, while others work to train activists and maintain a constant war in the Brazilian media against leftist ideas.

The effort to focus anger solely at the left paid dividends last year for the Brazilian right. The millennial activists of the Free Brazil Movement, many of them trained in political organizing in the U.S., led a mass movement to channel public anger over a vast corruption scandal against Dilma, the left-of-center president popularly known by her first name. The scandal, nicknamed Operao Lava Jato, or Operation Car Wash, is a still-unfolding tale of bribery involving leading politicians from all of Brazils major political parties, including the right-wing and center-right parties. But the social media-savvy Free Brazil Movement, known by its Portuguese initials, MBL, managed to direct the bulk of outrage squarely at Dilma, demanding her ousting and an end to the welfare-centric policies of her Workers Party.

The uprising, which has drawn comparisons to the tea party movement, especially considering the quiet support from local industrial conglomerates and a new conspiracy-minded network of far-right media voices, ended 13 years of rule by the Workers Party by removing Dilma from office through impeachment in 2016.

The landscape that MBL sprang from is a new development in Brazil. There were perhaps three active libertarian think tanks 10 years ago, said Helio Beltro, a former hedge fund executive who now leads Instituto Mises, a nonprofit named after the libertarian philosopher, Ludwig von Mises. Now, he said, with the support of Atlas, there are close to 30 such institutes active in Brazil, all working collaboratively, along with groups, such as Students for Liberty and MBL.

Its like a soccer team. Defense is the academia. The forward guys are the politicians. Weve scored a few goals, he said, referring to Dilmas impeachment. The midfield, he said, are the cultural guys that shape public opinion.

Beltro explained that the think tank network is hoping to privatize the national post office in Brazil, calling it low-hanging fruit that could lead to a larger wave of free-market reforms. Many of the conservative parties in Brazil embraced libertarian campaigners when they showed they could mobilize hundreds of thousands of people to protest against Dilma, but havent yet adopted the fundamentals of supply-side theory.

Brazil has 17,000 unions paid by public money, one day of salary per year goes to unions, completely controlled by the left, said Schler. The only way to reverse the socialist trend has been to out-maneuver them. With technology, people could by themselves participate, organize at low cost WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, using networks, a kind of public manifestation, he continued, explaining the way libertarian organizers mobilized a protest movement against left-leaning politicians.

Organizers against Dilma had created a daily barrage of YouTube videos mocking the Workers Party government, along with an interactive scoreboard to encourage citizens to lobby their legislators to support impeachment.

Schler noted that the Free Brazil Movement and his own think tank receive financial support from local industrial trade groups, but the movement had succeeded in part because it is not identified with the incumbent political parties, most of which the general public views with suspicion. He argued that the only way to radically reshape society and reverse popular sentiment in support of the welfare state was to wage a permanent cultural war to confront left intellectuals and the media.

Fernando Schler.

Photo: Screen shot from YouTube

One of thefounders of Schlers Instituto Millenium think tank, Brazilian blogger Rodrigo Constantino, has polarized Brazilian politics with hyperpartisan rhetoric. Constantino, who has been called the Breitbart of Brazil for his conspiratorial views and acidic right-wing commentary, chairs yet another Atlas think tank, Instituto Liberal. He sees the Brazilian lefts every move as a veiled attempt at subverting democracy, from the use of the color red in the countrys World Cup logo to the Bolsa Famlia cash assistance program to poor families.

The Breitbartization of public discourse is but one of the many ways the Atlas network has subtly influenced political debate.

Its a very paternalistic state. Its crazy. Its a lot of state control, and thats the long-term challenge, said Schler, adding that despite recent victories, libertarians had a long way to go in Brazil. He hoped to copy the model of Margaret Thatcher, who relied on a network of libertarian think tanks to push unpopular reforms. This pension system is absurd. I would privatize all education, Schler, rattling off a litany of changes he would make to society, from defunding labor unions to repealing the law that makes voting compulsory.

Yet the only way to make all that possible, he added, would be to build a network of politically active nonprofits all waging separate battles to push the same libertarian goals. The existing model the constellation of right-wing think tanks in Washington, D.C., supported by powerful endowments is the only path forward for Brazil, Schler said.

Atlas, for its part, is busy doing just that. It gives grants for new think tanks, provides courses on political management and public relations, sponsors networking events around the world, and, in recent years, has devoted special resources to prodding libertarians to influence public opinion through social media and online videos.

An annual competition encourages Atlass network to produce viral YouTube videos promoting laissez-faire ideas and ridiculing proponents of the welfare state. James OKeefe, the provocateur famous for needling Democrats with his undercover videos, has appeared before Atlas to explain his methods. Producers from a Wisconsin group that worked to create online videos to discredit teacher protests against Gov. Scott Walkers law busting public sector unions have also provided instructions for Atlass training sessions.

Crowd members burn apuppet of Venezuelan President Hugo Chvez at Plaza Altamira in protest against the government.

Photo: Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

As early as 1998, Cedice Libertad, Atlass flagship think tank in Caracas, Venezuelas capital, received regular financial support from the Center for International Private Enterprise. In one grant letter, NED funds marked for Cedice are listed to help advocate a change in government. The director of Cedice was among the signatories of the controversy Carmona Decree supporting the short-lived military coup against Chvez in 2002.

A2006 cable laid out a strategy from U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield for funding politically active nonprofits in Venezuela: 1) Strengthening democratic institutions, 2) penetrating Chvezs political base, 3) dividing Chavismo, 4) protecting vital U.S. business, and 5) isolating Chvez internationally.

In Venezulas current crisis, Cedice has promoted the recent spate of protests against President Nichols Maduro, Chvezs embattled successor. Cedice is closely affiliated with opposition figure Mara Corina Machado, one of the leaders of the massive anti-government street demonstrations in recent months. Machado has publicly recognized Atlas for its work. In a videotape message delivered to the groupin 2014, shesaid, Thank you to the Atlas Network, to all freedom fighters.

At the AtlasNetworks Latin American Liberty Forum in Buenos Aires, young leaders buzzed back and forth, sharing ideas on how to defeat socialism at every level, from pitched battles on college campuses to mobilizing an entire country to embrace impeachment.

Think tank entrepreneurs from Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras competed in a format along the lines of Shark Tank, an America reality show where start-up businesses pitch to a panel of wealthy, ruthless investors. Instead of seeking investments from a panel of venture capitalists, however, the think tank leaders pitched policy marketing ideas for a contest that awarded $5,000. In another session, strategies were debated for attracting industry support to back economic reforms. In another room, political operatives debated arguments lovers of liberty can use to respond to the global rise of populism to redirect the sense of injustice many feel toward free-market goals.

One young leader from CADAL, a think tank in Buenos Aires, presented on an idea to rank each Argentine province using what he called an economic liberty index, which would use the level of taxation and regulation as the main criteria to generate buzz for free-market reforms. The idea is consciously modeled on similar strategies from the U.S., including the Heritage Foundations Index of Economic Freedom, which measures countries based on criteria that includes tax policies and regulatory barriers to business formation.

Think tanks are traditionally associated with independent institutes formed to develop unconventional solutions. But the Atlas model focuses less on developing genuinely new policy proposals, and more on establishing political organizations that carry the credibility of academic institutions, making them an effective organ for winning hearts and minds.

Free-market ideas such as slashing taxes on the wealthy; whittling down the public sector and placing it under the control of private operators; and liberalized trade rules and restrictions on labor unions have always struggled with a perception problem. Proponents of this vision have found that voters tend to view such ideas as a vehicle for serving societys upper crust. Rebranding economic libertarianism as a public interest ideology has required elaborate strategies for mass persuasion.

But the Atlas model now spreading rapidly through Latin America is based on a method perfected by decades of struggle in the U.S. and the U.K., as libertarians worked to stem the tide of the surging post-war welfare state.

Map of Atlas group locations in South America.

Map: The Intercept

Antony Fisher, a British entrepreneur and the founder of the Atlas Network, pioneered the sale of libertarian economics to the broader public. The tack was simple: Fisher made it his mission to, in the words of an associate, litter the world with free-market think tanks.

The basis for Fishers ideals came from Friedrich Hayek, a forbearer of modern thought on limited government. In 1946, after reading the Readers Digest version of Hayeks seminal book, The Road to Serfdom, Fisher sought a meeting with the Austrian economist in London. As recounted by his close colleague John Blundell, Fisher suggested Hayek enter politics. But Hayek demurred, replying that a bottom-up focus on shifting the public discourse could better shape society.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., another free-market ideologue, Leonard Read, was entertaining similar notions after leading the U.S. Chamber of Commerces Los Angeles branch into bruising battles with organized labor. To counter the growth of the welfare state, a more elaborate response would be necessary to share popular debates around the direction of society, without the visible link to corporate interests.

Fisher was propelled forward by a fateful visit to Reads newly formed nonprofit, the Foundation for Economic Education, in New York, which was founded to help sponsor and promote the ideas of free-market intellectuals. There, libertarian economist F.A. Harper, at the time working at FEE, advised Fisher on methods for creating his own nonprofit in the U.K.

During the trip, Fisher also traveled with Harper to Cornell University to observe the latest animal industry breakthrough of battery cages, marveling at the sight of 15,000 chickens housed in a single building. Fisher was inspired to bring the innovation home with him. His factory, Buxted Chickens, grew rapidly and made Fisher a substantial fortune in the process. Some of those profits went into the other goal fostered during his New York trip: In 1955, Fisher founded the Institute of Economic Affairs.

IEA helped popularize the once-obscure set of economists loosely affiliated with Hayeks ideas. The institute was a place to showcase opposition to British societys growing welfare state, connecting journalists to free-market academics and disseminating critiques on a regular basis through opinion columns, radio interviews, and conferences.

Businesses provided the bulk of funding to IEA, as leading British industrial and banking giants from Barclays to BP pitched in with annual contributions. According to Making Thatchers Britain, by historians Ben Jackson and Robert Saunders, one shipping magnate remarked that, since universities were providing ammunition for the unions, the IEA was an important source of bullets for business.

As the economic slowdown and rising inflation of the 1970s shook the foundations of British society, Tory politicians gravitated more and more to the IEA to provide an alternative vision and IEA obliged with accessible issue briefs and talking points politicians could use to bring free-market concepts to the public. The Atlas Network proudly proclaims that the IEA laid the intellectual groundwork for what later became the Thatcher Revolution of the 1980s. IEA staff provided speechwriting for Margaret Thatcher; supplemented her campaign with policy papers on topics as varied as labor unions and price controls; and provided a response to her critics in the mass media. In a letter to Fisher after her 1979 victory, Thatcher wrote that the IEA created the climate of opinion which made our victory possible.

Theres no doubt theres been enormous progress in Britain, the Institute of Economic Affairs, which Antony Fisher set up, made an enormous difference, Milton Friedman once said. It made possible Margaret Thatcher. It made possible not her election as prime minister but the policies that she was able to follow. And the same thing in this country, the developing thought along these lines made possible Ronald Reagan and the policies he was able to follow.

IEA had come full circle. Hayek set up an invitation-only group of free-market economists called the Mont Pelerin Society. One of its members, Ed Feulner, helped found the conservative Washington think tank the Heritage Foundation, drawing on IEAs work for inspiration. Another Mont Pelerin member, Ed Crane, founded the Cato Institute, the most prominent libertarian think tank in the U.S.

Austrian-British economist and political philosopher Friedrich Hayek with a class of students at the London School of Economics, 1948.

Photo: Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images

In 1981, Fisher,who had settled in San Francisco, set out to develop the Atlas Economic Research Foundation at the urging of Hayek. Fisher had used his success with IEA to court corporate donors to help establish a string of smaller, sometimes regional think tanks in New York, Canada, California, and Texas, among other places. With Atlas, though, the scale for Fishers free-market think tank project would now be global: a nonprofit dedicated to continuing his work of establishing libertarian beachheads in every country of the world. The more institutes established throughout the world, Fisher declared, the more opportunity to tackle diverse problems begging for resolution.

Fisher began to fundraise, pitching corporate donors with the help of letters from Hayek, Thatcher, and Friedman, including an urgent call for donors to help reproduce the success of IEA through Atlas. Hayek wrote that the IEA model ought to be used to create similar institutes all over the world. He added, It would be money well spent if large sums could be made available for such a concerted effort.

The proposal was sent to a list of high-level executives and soon, money began pouring in from corporate coffers and Republican mega-donors, including Richard Mellon Scaife. Companies, such as Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, and Shell, all gave to Atlas. But their influence would need to remain cloaked for the project to work, Fisher contended. To influence public opinion, it is necessary to avoid any suggestion of vested interest or intent to indoctrinate, Fisher noted in a proposal outlining the purpose of Atlas. Fisher added that IEAs success hinged on the perception that it was academic and impartial.

Atlas grew rapidly. By 1985, the network featured 27 institutions in 17 countries, including nonprofits in Italy, Mexico, Australia, and Peru.

And the timing could not have been better: Atlass international expansion came just as the Reagan administration was doubling down on an aggressive foreign policy, hoping to beat back leftist governments abroad.

While in public, Atlas declared that it received no government funding (Fisher belittled foreign aid as just another bribe used to distort market forces), records show the network quietly worked to channel government money to its growing list of international partners.

In one 1982 letter from the International Communication Agency, a small federal agency devoted to promote U.S. interests overseas, a bureaucrat at the Office of Private Sector Programs wrote to Fisher, in response to an inquiry about acquiring federal grants. The bureaucrat said he was barred from giving directly to foreign organizations, but could cosponsor conferences or exchanges with organizations hosted by groups like Atlas. He encouraged Fisher to send over a proposal. The letter, sent one year after Atlass founding, was the first indication that the network would become a covert partner to U.S. foreign policy interests.

Memos and other records from Fisher show that, by 1986, Atlas had helped schedule meetings with business executives to direct U.S. funds to its network of think tanks. In one instance, an official from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the principal foreign aid arm of the federal government, recommended that the head of Coca-Colas subsidiary in Panama work with Atlas to set up an IEA-style affiliate think tank there. Atlas partners also drew funding from the coffers of the National Endowment for Democracy, a government-charted nonprofit, founded in 1983, that is funded largely by the State Department and USAID to build U.S.-friendly political institutions in the developing world.

Alejandro Chafuen, of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, back right, shakes hands with Rafael Alonzo, of Venezuelas Freedom Center for Economic Studies, CEDICE, left, as Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa applauds during the opening of the Freedom and Democracy international forum in Caracas, May 28, 2009.

Photo: Ariana Cubillos/AP

With corporate andU.S. government funding pouring in, Atlas took another fortuitous turn in 1985 with the arrival of Alejandro Chafuen. Linda Whetstone, Fishers daughter, remembered in a tribute that, in 1985, a young Chafuen, then living in Oakland, showed up to Atlass San Francisco office and was willing to work for nothing.

The Buenos Aires-born Chafuen hailed from what he described as an anti-Peronist family. They were wealthy and, though raised in an era of incredible turmoil in Argentina, Chafuen lived a life of relative privilege. He spent his teenage years playing tennis, dreaming of becoming a professional athlete.

Chafuen credits his youthful ideological path to his appetite for devouring libertarian texts, from Ayn Rand to booklets published by FEE, the Leonard Read group that had originally inspired Fisher. After studying at Grove City College, a deeply conservative Christian liberal arts school in Pennsylvania, where he served as the president of the student libertarian club, Chafuen returned to his home country. The military had stepped in, claiming a threat from communist revolutionaries. Thousands of students and activists would be tortured and killed in the crackdown on left-wing dissent following the coup detat.

Chafuen remembers the time in a mostly positive light, later writing that the military had acted out of necessity to prevent a communist takeover of the country. While pursuing a teaching career, Chafuen encountered totalitarians of every style within academic life. After the military coup, he wrote that he noticed that his professors became gentler, despite their differences with him.

In other Latin American countries, too, libertarianism was finding a receptive audience among military governments. In Chile, after the military swept out the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende, Mont Pelerin Society economists quickly flocked to the country, setting the stage for widespread libertarian reforms, including the privatization of industry and the countrys pension system. Throughout the region, under the watch of right-wing military leaders that had seized power, libertarian economic policies began to take root.

For his part, Chafuens ideological zeal was on display as early as 1979, when he published an essay for FEE titled War Without End. He described the horrors of leftist terror, like the Charles Manson family, or in regimental strength, like the guerilla troops in the Middle East, Africa, and South America. There was a need, he wrote, for the forces of individual freedom and private property to fight back.

His enthusiasm garnered attention. In 1980, at age 26, Chafuen was invited to become the youngest member of the Mont Pelerin Society. He traveled to Stanford, an opportunity that put him in direct contact with Read, Hayek, and other leading libertarians. Within five years, Chafuen had married an American and was living in Oakland. He began reaching out to Mont Pelerin members in the Bay Area, including Fisher.

According to Atlass board meeting notes, Fisher told his colleagues he had made a $500 ex gratia Christmas payment that year to Chafuen, and hoped to hire the young economist full-time to develop Atlas think tanks in Latin America. The following year, Chafuen organized the first Atlas summit of Latin American think tanks in Jamaica.

Chafuen understood theAtlas model well and worked diligently to expand the network, helping to launch think tanks in Africa and Europe, though focusing his efforts in Latin America. Describing how to attract donors, Chafuen once noted in a lecture that donors cannot appear to pay for public surveys because the polls would lose credibility. Pfizer Inc. would not sponsor surveys on health issues nor would Exxon pay for surveys on environmental issues, Chafuen noted. Libertarian think tanks, such as the ones in Atlass network, however, could not only present the same survey with more credibility, but do so in a way that garnered coverage in the local media.

Journalists are very much attracted by whatever is new and easy to report, Chafuen said. The press is less interested in quoting libertarian philosophers, he contended, but when a think tank produced a survey people would listen. And donors also see this, he added.

In 1991, three years after Fisher died, Chafuen took the helm of Atlas and would have the opportunity to speak to donors with authority about Atlass work. He quickly began to rack up corporate sponsors to push company-specific goals through the network. Philip Morris contributed regular grants to Atlas, including a $50,000 contribution to the group in 1994, which was disclosed years later through litigation. Records show that the tobacco giant viewed Atlas as an ally for working on international litigation issues.

Journalists in Chile, however, found out that Atlas-backed think tanks had worked to quietly lobby against smoking regulations without disclosing their funding from tobacco companies, a strategy similar think tanks repeated across the globe.

Chafuens fundraising prowess extended to the growing number of wealthy conservative foundations that were beginning to flourish. He was a founding member of Donors Trust, a secretive donor-advised fund that has doled out over $400 million to libertarian nonprofits, including members of the Atlas Network. He also serves as a trustee to the Chase Foundation of Virginia, which was founded by a Mont Pelerin Society member and similarly sends cash to Atlas think tanks.

Another wellspring of money came from the American government. Initially, the National Endowment for Democracy encountered difficulty setting up U.S.-friendly political nonprofits. Gerardo Bongiovanni, the president of Fundacin Libertad, an Atlas think tank in Rosario, Argentina, noted during a lecture with Chafuen that the early seed money from NEDs grant partner, the Center for International Private Enterprise, totaled $1 million between 1985 and 1987. The think tanks that received those initial grants quickly folded, Bongiovanni said, citing lack of management training.

Atlas, however, managed to turn U.S. taxpayer money coming through the NED and Center for International Private Enterprise into an important source of funding for its growing network. The funding vehicles provided money to help boost Atlas think tanks in Eastern Europe, following the fall of the Soviet Union, and, later, to promote U.S. interests in the Middle East. Among the recipients of the Center for International Private Enterprises cash is Cedice Libertad, the group thanked by Venezuelan opposition leader Mara Corina Machado.

Sebastian Gorka, White House deputy assistant to the president, participates in a television interview outside the West Wing on June 9, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

At the Brick Hotel in Buenos Aires, Chafuen reflected on the last three decades. Fisher would be overall pleased, and he would not believe how much our network grew, Chafuen said, noting that perhaps the Atlas founder would not have expected the level of direct political engagement the group is involved in.

Perhaps Chafuens most prized figure in the administration, however, is Judy Shelton, an economist and senior fellow at the Atlas Network. After Trumps victory, Shelton was made the chair of the NED. She previously served as an adviser to the Trump campaign and transition effort. Chafuen beamed when he talked about it. There you have the Atlas people being the chair of the National Endowment for Democracy, he said.

Before ending the interview, Chafuen intimated that there was more to come: more think tanks, more efforts to overturn leftist governments, and more Atlas devotees and alumni elevated to the highest levels of government the world over. The work is ongoing, he said.

Later, Chafuen appeared at the gala for the Latin America Liberty Forum. Along with a panel of Atlas experts, he discussed the need to ramp up libertarian opposition movements in Ecuador and Venezuela.

Listen to reporter Lee Fang discuss his investigation of the Atlas Network on our podcast Intercepted:

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Sphere of Influence: How American Libertarians Are Remaking Latin American Politics – The Intercept

Is There a Second Libertarian Running for Governor of Virginia? – Reason (blog)

If you thought Cliff Hyra was the only libertarian running for governor of Virginia this year, think again. There might be a second: Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam.

Up to now Northam has stuck about as close to the middle of the road as you can get without turning into a double stripe of yellow paint. Nominally a Democrat, he voted for George W. Bush twiceand at one point there was some talk that he might join the GOP (Northam says such rumors were false). Still, he holds the party line on issues such as Medicaid expansion, gun control, and abortionareas where he and his Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie, differ.

Gillespie has said he would like to see abortion banned in most cases, and recently admitted he would sign legislation defunding Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood promptly endorsed Northam, and its political action committee plans to spend $3 million supporting his campaign.

Northam has been milking the endorsement. “As I always say,” he insisted on Friday, “there is no room for a bunch of legislators, most of whom are men, to tell women what they should and shouldn’t do with their own bodies.” He repeated the point in a tweet: “There’s no excuse for legislators to tell women what they can do with their bodies.”

A commendably bold and unequivocal position. The question is: Does Northam actually mean it? Because it leads to all sorts of conclusions that qualify as provocative, if not radical.

If there is no excuse for legislators to tell women what they can do with their bodies, then Virginia should pass right-to-try legislation that lets terminally ill patients experiment with new and untested treatments. The U.S. Senate approved such a measure the very day Planned Parenthood endorsed Northam.

Laws like that apply to both men and women, but it’s safe to assume that Northam thinks men and women have equal rightsand therefore that lawmakers have no excuse to tell men what they can do with their bodies, either.

If there is no excuse to tell people what they can do with their bodies, then there also is no excuse to require that motorcycle riders wear helmets, if they would prefer not to. And no excuse to make drivers wear seat belts.

Similarly, there is no excuse to prevent a woman from using drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Or to stop her from selling her organs.

There is no excuse for outlawing prostitution. There is no excuse for prohibiting someone from working for less than an arbitrarily determined minimum wage.

And so on.

This is libertarianism in its purest crystalline form: Every person owns his or her self, and has the absolute right to control his or her own body and what is done with it. You might think society has very good reasons for making people wear seat belts and outlawing heroin and so on. But as good as those reasons might be, libertarians argue, they do not trump the individual’s right to bodily self-determination.

Moreover, it is a deontological argument, not a consequentialist one. In other words, the point is not simply that, on balance, things generally go better when the government lets people decide for themselvesbut it may decide for them when the scales tip the other way. The point is that the government has no moral authority to order people around, period.

Candidates don’t win general elections arguing for pure crystalline libertarianism like that, though. So when asked about some of the implications of his stance, a spokesman for Northam wisely dodged the question: “Theoretical discussions about political philosophy are stimulating, but the reality of governing is more complicated. Dr. Northam believes reproductive freedom leads to economic freedom. If the legislature were to limit it, they are controlling what women can and cannot do in the workforce.”

A smart answer, but not a helpful one. Because either the government can tell a woman what to do with her body, or it can’t.

For instance: If the government has the authority to force a woman to wear a helmet when riding a motorcyclebecause, say, her physical safety has implications for aggregate social spending on medical care, on workplace productivity, on her family’s well-being, and so onthen it also has the authority to make her childbearing decisions for her. Because (some would argue) her pregnancy has implications for aggregate spending on public education, consumer demand, the solvency of old-age pension programs in future years, and so forth. Just look at China, with its one-child policy, or the alarm over falling birthrates in Europe.

In the end, the government might decide such impositions are unjustified on a cost/benefit basis, and forbear from telling a woman what to do. But such a decision would be contingent on how the scales tip. No bright-line principle would prevent it from making such impositions in the future, if circumstances change. Enshrining such a principle is the only guarantee that it won’tbut a bright-line principle opens Pandora’s Box.

Northam’s team is right: Questions about political philosophy are stimulating. Bet his answers would be even more so.

See the article here:

Is There a Second Libertarian Running for Governor of Virginia? – Reason (blog)

The Growing World of Libertarian Transhumanism | The American … – The American Conservative

Transhumanists are curiosity addicts. If its new, different, untouched, or even despised, were probably interested in it. If it involves a revolution or a possible paradigm shift in human experience, you have our full attention. We are obsessed with the mysteries of existence, and we spend our time using the scientific method to explore anything we can find about the evolving universe and our tiny place in it.

Obsessive curiosity is a strange bedfellow. It stems from a profound sense of wanting something better in lifeof not being satisfied. It makes one search, ponder, and strive for just about everything and anything that might improve existence. In the 21st century, that leads one right into transhumanism. Thats where Ive landed right now: A journalist and activist in the transhumanist movement. Im also currently a Libertarian candidate for California Governor. I advocate for science and tech-themed policies that give everyone the opportunity to live indefinitely in perfect health and freedom.

Politics aside, transhumanism is the international movement of using science and technology to radically change the human being and experience. Its primary goal is to deliver and embrace a utopian techno-optimistic worlda world that consists of biohackers, cyborgists, roboticists, life extension advocates, cryonicists, Singularitarians, and other science-devoted people.

Transhumanism was formally started in 1980s by philosophers in California. For decades it remained low key, mostly discussed in science fiction novels and unknown academic conferences. Lately, however, transhumanism seems to be surging in popularity. What once was a smallish band of fringe people discussing how science and technology can solve all humanitys problems has now become a burgeoning social mission of millions around the planet.

At the recent FreedomFest, the worlds largest festival on liberty, transhumanism was a theme explored in numerous panels, including some I had the privilege of being on. Libertarian transhumanism is one of the fastest growing segments of the libertarian movement. A top priority for transhumanists is to have freedom from the government so radical science experiments and research can go on undisturbed and unregulated.

So why are so many people jumping on the transhumanist bandwagon? I think it has to do with the mishmash of tech inundating and dominating our daily lives. Everything from our smartphone addictions to flying at 30,000 feet in jet airplanes to Roombas freaking out our pets in our homes. Nothing is like it was for our forbearers. In fact, little is like it was even a generation ago. And the near future will be many times more dramatic: driverless cars, robotic hearts, virtual reality sex, and telepathy via mind-reading headsets. Each of these technologies is already here, and in some cases being marketed to billions of people. The world is shifting under our feetand libertarian transhumanism is a sure way to navigate the chaos to make sure we arrive at the best future possible.

My interest in transhumanism began over 20 years ago when I was a philosophy and religion student at Columbia University in New York City. We were assigned to read an article on life extension techniques and the strange field of cryonics, where human beings are frozen after theyve died in hopes of reviving them with better medicine in the future. While Id read about these ideas in science fiction before, I didnt realize an entire cottage industry and movement existed in America that is dedicated to warding off death with radical science. It was an epiphany for me, and I knew after finishing that article I was passionately committed to transhumanism and wanted to help it.

However, it wasnt until I was in the Demilitarized Zone of Vietnam, on assignment for National Geographic Channel as a journalist, that I came to dedicate my life to transhumanism. Walking in the jungle, my guide tackled me and I fell to the ground with my camera. A moment later he pointed at the half-hidden landmine I almost stepped on. Id been through dozens of dangerous experiences in the over 100 countries I visited during my twenties and early thirtieshunting down wildlife poachers with WildAid, volcano boarding in the South Pacific, and even facing a pirate attack off Yemen on my small sailboat where I hid my girlfriend in the bilge and begged masked men with AK47s not to shoot me. But this experience in Vietnam was the one that forced a U-turn in my life. Looking at the unexploded landmine, I felt like a philosophical explosive had gone off in my head. It was time to directly dedicate my skills and hours to overcoming biological human death.

I returned home to America immediately and plunged into the field of transhumanism, reading everything I could on the topic, talking with people about it, and preparing a plan to contribute to the movement. I also began by writing my libertarian-minded novel The Transhumanist Wager, which went on to become a bestseller in philosophy on Amazon and helped launched my career as a futurist. Of course, a bestseller in philosophy on Amazon doesnt mean very many sales (theres been about 50,000 downloads to date), but it did mean that transhumanism was starting to appear alongside the ideas of Plato, Marx, Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, Sam Harris, and other philosophers that inspired people to look outside their scope of experience into the unknown.

And transhumanism is the unknown. Bionic arms, brain implants ectogenesis, artificial intelligence, exoskeleton suits, designer babies, gene editing tech. These technologies are no longer part of some Star Trek sequel, but are already here or being worked on. They will change the world and how we see ourselves as human beings. The conundrum facing society is whether were ready for this. Transhumanists say yes. But America may not welcome that.

In fact, the civil rights battle of the century may be looming because of coming transhumanist tech. If conservatives think abortion rights are unethical, how will they feel about scientists who want to genetically combine the best aspects of species, including humans and animals together? And should people be able to marry their sexbots? Will transhumanist Christians try to convert artificial intelligence and lead us to something termed a Jesus Singularity? Should we allow scientists to reverse aging, something researchers have already had success with in mice? Finally, as we become more cyborg-like with artificial hips, cranial implants, and 3D-printed organs, should we rename the human species?

Whether people like it or not, transhumanism has arrived. Not only has it become a leading buzzword for a new generation pondering the significance of merging with machines, but transhumanist-themed columns are appearing in major media. Celebrity conspiracy theorists like Mark Dice and Alex Jones bash it regularly, and even mainstream media heavyweights like John Stossel, Joe Rogan, and Glenn Beck discuss it publicly. Then theres Google hiring famed inventor Ray Kurzweil as lead engineer to work on artificial intelligence, or J. Craig Ventures new San Diego-based genome sequencing start-up (co-founded with Peter Diamandis of the X-Prize Foundation and stem cell pioneer Robert Hariri) which already has 70 million dollars in financing.

Its not just companies either. Recently, the British Parliament approved a procedure to create babies with material from three different parents. Even President Obama, before he left office, jumped in the game by giving DARPA $70 million dollars to develop brain chip technology, part of Americas multi-billion dollar BRAIN Initiative. The future is coming fast, people around the world are realizing, and theres no denying that the transhumanist age fascinates tens of millions of people as they wonder where the species might go and what health benefits it might mean for society.

At the end of the day, transhumanism is still really focused on one thing: satisfying that essential addiction to curiosity. With science, technology, and a liberty-minded outlook as our tools, the species can seek out and even challenge the very nature of its being and place in the universe. That might mean the end of human death by mid-century if governments allow the science and medicine to develop. It will likely mean the transformation of the species from biological entities into something with much more tech built directly into it. Perhaps most important of all, it will mean we will have the chance to grow and evolve with our families, friends, and loved ones for as long as we like, regardless how weird or wild transhumanist existence becomes.

Zoltan Istvan is the author of The Transhumanist Wager, and a Libertarian candidate for Governor in California.

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The Growing World of Libertarian Transhumanism | The American … – The American Conservative

Libertarian Hyra Cracks 8% in VCU Poll – Bacon’s Rebellion

VCU poll results

The predictable headline of the new Virginia Commonwealth University poll is that Democrat Ralph Northam has a five-point edge, with a five-point margin of error, among likely voters over Republican Ed Gillespie in the gubernatorial race. You can read all about it in the Washington Post article filed this morning.

The more interesting story is how well the Libertarian Party candidate, Cliff Hyra, is faring. Among registered voters, he scored 8%. Among likely voters, he snagged 6%.

Thats in the same ballpark as the 6.5% vote that Robert Sarvis won in the McAuliffe-Cuccinelli match-up four years ago. The difference is that Sarvis was thought to have benefited from a large none of the above sentiment among voters who found Terry McAuliffes wheeler-dealer persona and Ken Cuccinellis strong cultural conservatism to be off-putting. By contrast, the Northam-Gillespie match-up is a battle of the bland. Both candidates are cautious and inoffensive. No one has to hold their nose to vote for them.

If thats the case, how does one explain the strong showing of Hyra, a political novice who is campaigning part-time on a shoe-string budget? Maybe, just maybe, his libertarian principles are resonating with voters. Could Virginia become a three-party state? Its not impossible.

More:

Libertarian Hyra Cracks 8% in VCU Poll – Bacon’s Rebellion

A Libertarian Case Against the Death Penalty – Being Libertarian

There are certain situationswhere results matter more than intentions.

An engineer who builds a bridge, for example, may have intended for it to be successful, but a faulty design would render him liable if someone lost their life while crossing said bridge.

A CEO who intended to make his company richer only to end up declaring bankruptcy is again remembered for his results, not intentions.

The idea that actions are judged by their outcomes and not by their intentions is something that is seen in the real world all the time, and yet people feel anxious and ambivalent in using this as a medium to judge law-makers and politicians.

We then make the mistake of believing that the egregious outcomes of some laws should be excused provided that they were originally written in good faith.

The death penalty is one such law. Although written with seemingly good intentions, it has still brought about more harm than good.

Yes, everyone wants to hang murderers, rapists, pedophiles, and the rest of societys scum as it seems to be the right thing to do and it appears to be with good intentions.

The reason why civilized countries have abolished the death penalty, however, is because they realized that it is actually not as just as the self-righteous claimit to be.

More specifically, the death penalty is not justified because of its high cost for the taxpayer, and its incompatibility with an individuals natural and universally-understood rights. These two affronts to liberty an assault on the taxpayer and an assault on civil liberties is why libertarians are the only ones within the right-wing community to despise capital punishment.

To begin, the death penalty is not justified (i.e. it is not reasonable or fair) because it is both highly inefficient and highly ineffective for the taxpayer. Primarily, the death penalty is ineffective because it neglects to do its job as a punishment in a civilized legal code: deter crime. There is not a single nation-state in the world that has, through implementing capital punishment, achieved a lower crime rate.

In fact, American states that still have the death penalty have, on average, a 25% higher homicide rate than states that do not have such a punishment (Deterrence: States Without the Death Penalty Have Had Consistently Lower Murder Rates).

We see in the above citation that everyoneloses when the death penalty is in effect, and that this punishment only brings about more pain and sorrow for our society, not less. If a penalty only serves to perpetuate a problem that it was meant to solve, then it has no business being included in the criminal code.

On top of not being effective, the death penalty is simply not efficient even if you believe the end goal isnt to deter crime but to instead exact revenge.I say this because the death penalty curses society with an unfair financial burden.

The State of Maryland is just one of many places where the death penalty serves as a colossal waste of tax dollars as the death penalty cases cost 3 times more than the non-death penalty ones.

On top of this, we see a similar complaint with law professor, JeffreyFagan, who estimates that the cost of an individual state execution can range anywhere between $2.5 million and $5 million.

Both Fagan and the State of Maryland teach us that the death penalty is a more expensive alternative than simply incarcerating a violent felon because defense lawyers will seek a lot more appeals for court cases if their client is otherwise faced with certain death.

These appeals combined with the time and money needed to hear and file them all cost the taxpayer extra money.

I think it goes without saying that we, as libertarians, have a very low tolerance for taxation as we can often be heard equating it to theft (which it is), and that is why we can never advocate for a policy that only triples the amount of theft we allow our robbers politicians to get away with.

Furthermore, when the taxpayer is really paying for a system that does not benefit them at all, it is easy to realize that the death penalty really isnt worth paying for.

With regard to the economic argument here, something can also be said about the issue of opportunity costs because the death penalty diverts resources from more effective programs that have actually been proven to reduce crime, i.e. money spent on taking a life (plus the tedious legal work behind it) is money that could have been used on the families of murder to accommodate psychological healing.

The money could have also been used for mental health research that could preclude others from going down a criminal path or even be used to uplift poverty-stricken communities and provide them with the resources and education needed to make crime unnecessary for ones survival.

Moreover, introducing the death penalty would be in violation of ones rights as declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

In particular, article 3 of the UDHR states that everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of the person.

The reason why this creed is so important is because it shows that life is an unalienable right bestowed on to every human being and that taking away this right would not only violate constitutional law, but also natural law.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are supposed to, in theory, be immune to positive law passed by humans. What this means is that no legislature is supposed to be able to draft a law that strips away any of these rights nor can an independent judiciary order one to surrender them. The state, in theory, is not even supposed to be the one to dispense the right to live but rather, they are obligated to protect and defend it.

A failure to protect and defend this right, even for societys most unwanted, will mean that the state is stooping down to the very murderers that they wish to hang.

Ultimately, the death penalty is not just breaking some abnormal right or privilege it is breaking a universally-understood right. And to violate such a right in its rawest, most natural form is grounds for an outcry from the libertarian community.

In the end, if there is one thing that libertarians will go to war over, it is, as their name implies, liberty. I then assert that the community should continue on with its crusade against things like the death penalty for it violates both the financial liberty of the taxpayer and the natural liberty of the individual.

We must remember that just because it may sound good to finally get revenge on those who have raped, murdered, or committed acts of terrorism against their fellow citizens, the greater injustice will always be allowing that thirst for revenge to trivialize both the taxpayer as well as the sacred possessions of life and liberty for all.

See also:

https://www.amnestyusa.org/issues/death-penalty/death-penalty-facts/death-penalty-and-innocence/

http://facade1.law.columbia.edu/law_school/communications/reports/summer06/capitalpunish

* Christopher X. Henry has just graduated high school and will be attending the University of Toronto to study political science. He wishes to become a lawyer, writer, and politician and has taken up writing as a hobby for both Being Libertarian and his own blog and Facebook page, Freedom Papers.

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A Libertarian Case Against the Death Penalty – Being Libertarian

Inside the Beltway: Libertarian health care: Repeal and deregulate … – Washington Times

The health care clash continues, pitting Republican against Democrat. A third combatant has entered the fray, however: The Libertarians now are weighing in on the challenge to create a workable, healthy health care system out of the loose ends and leftovers of Trumpcare and Obamacare.

Although Libertarians might disagree on what constitutes meaningful health care reform, it makes no sense to replace one bad plan with another. Obamacare is like two government bureaucrats and an insurance company bureaucrat getting between you and your doctor. The Republicans would replace that with two insurance bureaucrats and a government bureaucrat between you and your doctor, declares Nicholas Sarwark, chairman of the Libertarian National Committee.

The Libertarian solution is to repeal and deregulate. You dont cover oil changes with your car insurance. You should not be forced to cover flu shots with your health insurance, larding the cost with overhead and profits that flow to insurance companies and government functionaries, he says, pointing out that a certificate of need must be approved before new hospitals and other health care facilities can be built in 35 states. Find the partys healthcare ideas here

Econ 101 tells us that restricting the supply of medical care increases costs, Mr. Sarwark advises. Repeal and replace Obamacare with Obamacare light? The Libertarian Party says no. Instead, repeal and replace with massive deregulation that will make the health care market competitive again and result in lower prices for everyone.

WHERE THE GOP REALLY STANDS

A West Virginia governors switch from Democrat to Republican means the GOP will have full control of legislative and executive branch in 26 states. Democrats have full control in just six states, advises John Karch, spokesman for American for Tax Reform, a nonpartisan coalition of the frugal and fiscally minded.

Indeed, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice made his intentions clear on Thursday. Numbers are telling here.

Mr. Kartch points out the total population of Republican-controlled states is now 164,138,104 people. The population of Democrat-controlled states: 50,190,213.

INFANTILIZATION OF THE AMERICAN SPIRIT

Snowflakes have become a veritable blizzard as many of the nations universities and colleges give way to demands of students who seek safe places, careful conversations and utter political correctness when they are on campus. And here comes the book.

Not a Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth by Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, arrives Monday, published by Regnery Faith Books.

Mr. Piper has listened to students who felt victimized by passages in the Bible; he himself has cautioned them to seek faith, not self-actualization and to skip delivering arrogant lectures in favor of humble learning.

What has happened to the American spirit? Weve gone from give me liberty or give me death! to Take care of me, please. Our colleges were once bastions of free speech; now theyre bastions of speech codes. Our culture once rewarded independence; now it rewards victimhood. Parents once taught their kids how to fend for themselves; now, any parent who tries may get a visit from the police, the author writes in the book, found here.

Such schools as Yale University and Oberlin College now include safe spaces and trigger warnings as part of the campus vocabulary. Mr. Piper calls the trend a sad and dangerous infantilization of the American spirit.

Theres a way out though.

It will get worse before it gets better, Mr. Piper tells Inside the Beltway. When we avoid truth it creates a vacuum, causing anarchy, which always leads to tyranny. But in the end, I trust the words of Christ: the truth shall set us free. If we reintroduce truth, truth will prevail.

DAYS OF YORE

Annoyance with the news media has been fomenting for, well, centuries.

From 40 years experience of the wretched guesswork of newspapers of what is not done in the open daylight, and of the falsehoods even as to that, I rarely think them worth reading, and almost never worth notice, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to James Monroe.

The date: Feb. 4, 1816.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

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POLL DU JOUR

66 percent of Americans say the mood of the country is Its everyone for themselves; 65 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of independents and 67 percent of Democrats agree.

18 percent are unsure what the mood of the country is; 15 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of independents and 14 percent of Democrats agree.

16 percent say the mood is Were all in this together; 21 percent of Republicans, 11 percent of independents and 20 percent of Democrats agree.

64 percent are pessimistic that Republicans and Democrats in Congress can work together to solve the nations problems; 61 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of independents and 71 percent of Democrats agree.

20 percent are optimistic the two sides can work together; 30 percent of Republicans, 16 percent of independents and 20 percent of Democrats agree.

15 percent are not sure if they can work together; 9 percent of Republicans, 22 percent of independent and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

And Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted July 31-Aug. 1.

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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Inside the Beltway: Libertarian health care: Repeal and deregulate … – Washington Times

This Texas Town Went Full Libertarian and Hilarity Ensued – Esquire.com

LINCOLN, NEBRASKAThe shebeen has relocated for a few days to keep an eye on the hearings being conducted by this state’s Public Service Commission into our old friend, the Keystone XL pipeline, the continent-spanning death funnel and conservative fetish object. At its roots, the fight over the pipeline is a fight over the limits of corporate deregulation as it affects ordinary citizens, and over the obligation of elected officials to enforce those limits. (The PSC here is an elected body.)

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In that spirit, we should look at this sadly hilarious story from another state. The Texas Observer brings us the tale of a small place called Von Ormy, where the citizens voted themselves into a state of libertarian paralysis.

For the last few years, Von Ormy has been in near-constant turmoil over basic issues of governance: what form of municipal government to adopt, whether to tax its residents, and how to pay for services such as sewer, police, firefighters and animal control. Along the way, three City Council members were arrested for allegedly violating the Open Meetings Act, and the volunteer fire department collapsed for lack of funds. Nearly everyone in town has an opinion on who’s to blame. But it’s probably safe to say that the vision of the city’s founder, a libertarian lawyer whose family traces its roots in Von Ormy back six generations, has curdled into something that is part comedy, part tragedy.

In 2006, fearing annexation by rapidly encroaching San Antonio, some in Von Ormy proposed incorporating as a town. But in government-averse rural Texas, incorporation can be a hard sell. Unincorporated areas are governed mainly by counties, which have few rules about what you can do on private property and tend to only lightly tax. There’s no going back from what municipal government brings: taxes, ordinances, elections and tedious city council meetings. Still, the fear of being absorbed by San Antonio with its big-city taxes and regulations was too much for most Von Ormians.

Look out, Mother. It’s government! Head for the root cellar!

Initially, the city would impose property and sales taxes, but the property tax would ratchet down to zero over time. The business-friendly environment would draw new economic activity to Von Ormy, and eventually the town would cruise along on sales taxes alone. There would be no charge for building permits, which Martinez de Vara said would be hand-delivered by city staff. The nanny state would be kept at bay, too. Want to shoot off fireworks? Blast away. Want to smoke in a bar? Light up. Teens wandering around at night? No curfew, no problem.

Good morning, suckers.

Today, there is no city animal control program and stray dogs roam the streets. The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office patrols the town instead of city police, and City Hall resides in a mobile home with one full-time staffer though that’s a step up from the dive bar where City Council met until the owner bounced them out. If you go to the city’s website, you’ll be informed that it’s still under construction. If Von Ormy is a libertarian experiment with democracy, it’s one that hasn’t turned out as expected.

I would argue that, except perhaps for the dive bar part, the experiment has turned out exactly as expected, at least as expected by anyone not raised in a baby farm at the Cato Institute.

What ensued was a confusing series of boycotted meetings, obscure loopholes and eventually a possibly illegal hearing that landed the three women briefly in jail. In September 2014, Martinez de Vara had formally proposed zeroing out the property tax, but Goede, Hernandez and Aguilar voted it down 3-2 and, at least for five days, kept the property tax in place. However, to formally ratify the rate, per state law, at least four council members needed to hold another meeting to vote, but Sally Martinez and Debra Ivy refused to show up to any hearing with ratification on the agenda. The result: Martinez de Vara got his way and the property tax rate was eliminated.

The idea that you can run a self-governing republic with minimal government is one of the more pernicious (and persistent) lies of American history. (Ask Jefferson Davis how his experiment in that hypothesis turned out.) They’re going to be playing out that same old drama here in Lincoln this week. I’m not sure, but I don’t think we all want to live in a Von Ormy of the mind.

Even the Senate Is Fed Up with President* Trump

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This Texas Town Went Full Libertarian and Hilarity Ensued – Esquire.com

Libertarianism Was Born In Westminster And Other Historical Party Facts – Colorado Public Radio

Libertarian party founderDavid Nolan.

(CourtesyFran Holt of DuPage Libertarians)

In 1977, the condensed version of the party’s platform was described in this fashion by Nolan:

1. We favor the abolition of damn near everything.

2. We call for drastic reductions in everything else.

3. And we refuse to pay for what’s left!

The Libertarian party has grown to have somewhere around half a million registered voters nationwide. There’s a new project to document its history, led by Caryn Ann Harlos, Libertarian Party of Colorado communications director and Region 1 representative on the Libertarian National Committee. Harlos has been cataloging and digitizing party documents, photos and artifacts at LPedia.org.

Here’s a look at some of the things Harlos has unearthed:

A poster for the party’s first presidential ticket with John Hospers as president and Theodora “Tonie” Nathan as vice president. Nathan the first woman in U.S. history to get an electoral vote in the electoral college.

(Courtesy Libertarian Party of Colorado)

Harlos found issues of the Libertarian Party News, or the LP News, and early newsletters that she says “give a snapshot of what was going on at the time.”

(Courtesy Libertarian Party of Colorado)

There’s also this abridged history of the party.

(Courtesy Libertarian Party of Colorado)

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Mr. Petersen Goes To Washington – Being Libertarian

Unlike the protagonist in the Jimmy Stewart movie, Austin Petersen isnt entirely innocent when it comes to politics. In fact, you could say hes been angling for office for quite a while now, an opinion even more apparent since he announced he was going to challenge Democrat Claire McCaskill for her Senate seat in 2018.

But for those who arent entirely familiar with this former actor turned Libertarian activist, let me introduce you to the man who could permanently change Washington in ways Donald Trump never could.

Born in 1981, Petersen has played a pivotal role in libertarian politics since the early 2000s and has even developed something of a feud with his former boss, libertarian-Republican stalwart Ron Paul, which placed him in the middle of a fight over classical liberalism in the United States.

Even though Petersen originally studied musical theatre at Missouri State, his interest and activism in the libertarian movement led him to run in his partys primaries for the presidency in 2016. He ended up losing on the second ballot to Gary Johnson, but that didnt quench his thirst for public office. So, on July 4th, 2017, Petersen announced his bid for the US Senate, but as a Republican.

The decision shocked many of his supporters. However, Petersens large connections to media outlets such as Reason, Libertarian Republic (which he started), and Fox News was most likely a factor in the largely positive coverage he received.

Another big part of this good reception, in an otherwise difficult situation where youre trying to sell leaving your own party, is probably the interesting way Petersen is presenting himself.

Despite the rising tide of populism, libertarian-Republicans and self-proclaimed Constitutionalists such as Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ron Johnson are gaining leverage in the Senate. Petersen is currently following the same strategy himself.

These new Republicans have actually been around for a while, predating the MAGA movement and even in some cases the Evangelical surge during the Obama era. They represent a fresh dedication to economic conservatism, and in some cases even partially abandoning strong social positions.

In an interview with Reason Magazines Nick Gillespie, Petersen said many of these things himself.

Itd be good to have a more Libertarian Republican in her place to vote on the issues that we are about, Peterson said while discussing why he was better suited for the Senate than his potential Democratic opponent, Claire McCaskill.

Petersons presence in the Senate could lend a hand to this relatively small block of Republicans, and with battles over tax reform and healthcare still being hammered out, its very possible Petersen could help shift the balance of an extremely important war for the soul of the GOP.

The most important question is, Can this former Libertarian take his seat among the lions of the Senate?

Despite the fact that he could possibly get some high level endorsements and help from the aforementioned legislators, Petersen has a tough electoral mountain to climb.

He faces a potential primary field filled with strong Republican candidates like state attorney general Josh Hawley, whos much more likely to receive help from the state party. Even though Peterson has a bigger profile nationally than probably any of his future foes in the GOP primary, that doesnt necessary mean Republicans will be so accepting.

Even if he somehow managed to win the nomination, Missouri, despite being a tossup state, has a true conservative base that could view Petersens libertarian stances on social issues in a negative light.

Whoever the victor ends up being, the real enemy at the end of the day will be the wily Claire McCaskill, a rising star within the Democrat party. McCaskill, unlike other noticeable Democrats like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or Tulsi Gabbard, is known more for her moderate positions and ability to be dependable than her progressive record.

McCaskill first gained fame in 2006 when she beat Republican incumbent James Talent in her run for the Senate with a margin of 49.6% to 47.3%. She was the first ever female senator from her state, one of only 3 Democrats to hold that seat since 1953, and was one of the first senators to endorse Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries, a series of record breaking feats that were topped off by perhaps her greatest asset: shrewd political skills.

When youre a Democrat that represents a state that has a past of going red on the national level, you develop a pair of very sharp political claws.

McCaskill truly showed off her effectiveness at shredding an opponent when she first defended her seat in 2012. Perhaps it was more Todd Akins own quotes (If its a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.) that sabotaged his challenge, but McCaskills ability to use his words against him saved her from being poached by the GOP. She trounced Akin with 54.7% of the vote, surviving a red wave that gave Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney that same year the state with 53.9% of the vote.

Despite running against someone who could be considered the smartest Democrat in the Senate, Petersen might be able to ride his way to victory by energizing the Trump voter base. The former businessman from New York won the state during the 2016 presidential race by almost 20%, a landslide victory.

However, in order for this strategy to work, it would mean Petersen would have to stray a little from his libertarian roots. But since hes already left his own party to have a shot at victory, it seems the former Fox News producer might do just about anything to win it. Or, perhaps in this case, trump it.

Featured image: Wikipedia

* Caleb Mills is an analyst, journalist, and political strategist from the American Midwest.

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A Turning Point on the Left? Libertarian Caucus Debuts at Democratic Socialist Conference – Truth-Out

Roughly 100 anti-Trump protesters demonstrate peacefully in Market Square on February 19, 2017, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Swensen / Getty Images)

The Democratic Socialists of America, a traditionally progressive socialist organization founded in 1982, has seen it’s membership increase multiply from roughly 5,000 to 25,000 members in the past year following the Bernie Sanders campaign and the subsequent election of Trump. Now, many on the left are looking at the organization as a barometer of sorts for the fate of the larger left. In addition, many are viewing the DSA convention this week in Chicago as a key turning point within the organization. Coming out of the DSA is a new caucus called the Libertarian Socialist Caucus. The LSC promotes a vision of “libertarian socialism” — a traditional name for anarchism — that goes beyond the confines of traditional social democratic politics. I asked John Michael Coln, a member of the group’s provisional organizing committee, to talk about its vision and goals.

Adam Weaver: The DSA has a range of tendencies and is sort of a “big tent” of socialist politics. What made you want to form a Libertarian Socialist Caucus (DSA-LSC)? Tell us about yourself and what you see as the political influences of the group.

John Michael Coln: I’ve been a member of DSA for over a year; some of us involved have been members before the “Bernie and Trump bump.” So it’s not a matter of anarchists infiltrating and joining DSA … but anarchists who have been members of DSA all along. We want to organize them as we believe that libertarian socialism is democratic socialism.

Once upon a time, before Trump and Bernie Sanders, there had been a thing called the Left Caucus which aimed to organize all the DSA members who wanted to push the organization to the left. It was good, I was part of it, but it’s now basically defunct because with so many new members joining DSA, many are already to the left of the DSA. But what the existence of the Left Caucus proved was that caucuses based on ideological interests had a place in DSA. We want to be the first caucus within the DSA that had a more specific vision, that openly talks about a specific political direction that they would move towards. Rather than say we want to move the DSA to the left, we [are saying we] want to move to the left with specific positions and a specific manner. And not everyone who identifies with the left is going to agree.

Speaking for myself here, I believe that the LSC has an especially important role not just in promoting its own ideas, but also in setting an example for others for how to do caucuses right in being internally democratic, in co-existing, cooperating with and having cross-membership with other caucuses. Caucuses can be hubs of organizing activity, hubs of political education, hosting reading groups, etc. There’s a dimension of caucuses that are akin to being political parties within the larger DSA.

It’s important to note that you can’t be in the LSC unless you are a dues-paying member of DSA. Most of our members were people who were already members of the DSA. There are some people who, because we announced our existence, joined DSA, and that’s a consequence of the libertarian socialists already in DSA who were getting organized.

At the end of the day, the Libertarian Socialist Caucus, or any other caucus for that matter, is not an alien entity within DSA; rather it’s a caucus of DSA members united around a shared interest.

What do you see as the commonalities and differences between the politics that you are looking to put forward and DSA’s current politics and organizing? What are you looking to change?

I would contest the framing of the question a little bit. It’s important to note that beyond the idea of big-tent socialism, the DSA doesn’t actually have a party line. Outside observers, though, act as if DSA does, but the reality is it doesn’t have a set of positions that you have to accept. Rather, the DSA is an internally democratic organization of socialists that adjudicate their disputes through liberal parliamentary norms of conflict resolution. In other words, if we disagree, like on the convention floor, it will be argued out on the floor between delegates. It’s not a centralist organization where there’s a party line and if you disagree you have to leave.

The problem is that, at this point, it’s difficult to say exactly what LSC stands for because we don’t have official positions. We just finalized our membership, and because we are democratic we haven’t reached positions yet. There are probably shared values that we have that people in DSA don’t have, and we want to promote those values and make them more popular.

These [values include] skepticism of the state, a critique of the state and seeing the state as going hand-in-hand with capitalism. A second component is a belief in radical democracy with a higher standard of democracy, one which is more rigorous. A lot of people believe that democracy is just elections. But we believe democracy means more than electionsthat it is participatory.

We want to advocate and convince people by the strength of our ideas that there are things DSA should be doing and should be promoting. We want to see more things like directly democratic neighborhood assemblies, worker cooperatives, participatory budgeting, radical syndicalism and municipalism that DSA is currently not promoting, as well as the things DSA is already doing, like organizing workplaces and fighting bosses and landlords. We see these as the fullest embodiment of the values that unite the different kinds of socialism within the DSA under its banner.

The DSA’s convention is happening in Chicago this weekend. With over 40 proposals and with the huge influx of new members who have entered the organization, many observers see this convention as a turning point. Can you tell us what you see as the key issues at stake that will be debated at the coming convention? How is DSA-LSC leaning on these issues?

I do want to answer this one by saying, like I said before, LSC doesn’t have an official position yet. The very first event that we are organizing [Friday] morning is our first general assembly where members of LSC will follow a procedure presented to our membership to make decisions about convention debates. We are going to go one-by-one through all of the floor debate questions that will happen at the convention. If our assembly can arrive at a consensus, we are going to ask the delegates present to vote in accordance with that.

We don’t know how many will show up exactly, but we are expecting, based on our listserve, something like 20 confirmed delegates, and we are allowing any DSA member to attend.

A major decision at the convention will be elections for the 16-member National Political Committee of DSA, which acts as a sort of national level policy and steering committee for the organization. Right now there’s the competing Momentum/Spring Platform and Praxis slates, individuals drafted and signed onto a “Unity Platform” document, and now members of DSA-LSC are putting forward their candidates as well, called DSA Friends and Comrades. What do you see as the competing visions represented?

I can’t say anything on our official position on them. Speaking only for myself, I think that Momentum and Praxis both have some pros and they both have some cons. They are all good organizers and comrades that have done good work. But I personally disagree very strongly with what I would see as the centralizing tendencies in Momentum’s positions. But I’m only speaking for myself, and I know for a fact that other LSC members have different opinions.

What I would say about both Momentum and Praxis is that the way they came about is that [their candidates] only represent themselves. My hope is that in the future LSC sets an example where candidates are selected by caucuses and are accountable to them rather than self-selecting. And I think that’s important because the platforms of the slates have shaped the convention as a whole, and it’s more democratic if those conversations arise from larger groups of members within the DSA.

The DSA Friends and Comrades coalition is something that came out of LSC members and was organized by LSC members informally and hasn’t been approved by the group. We wish them well, and some of us will vote for them and promote them on our social media, but they don’t represent the LSC. Next convention we aim to organize a primary and democratic process to put forward a slate.

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A Turning Point on the Left? Libertarian Caucus Debuts at Democratic Socialist Conference – Truth-Out

Meet Randy Bryce | Randy Bryce for Congress

Randy Bryce is a U.S. Army veteran, cancer survivor, and union ironworker. He joined the race for Wisconsins 1st Congressional District because his values are our neighbors values, and Washington has gotten way off track.

Randy was raised in southeastern Wisconsin, and went to public schools. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was posted to Honduras, where he earned the Army Achievement Medal. Randys father was a police officer, and his mother worked in a doctors office. His sister is a public school teacher.

After returning stateside, Randy was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He didnt believe he could ever have children, and now calls his only son Ben, his miracle child. Ben is a public school student like his dad was.

Randy found his way to an apprenticeship as an iron worker, and has now been helping to build America for more than 20 years. Hes been active in Ironworkers Local 8, serving as political coordinator for the union, and until recently as a member of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council board of directors.

My mother has multiple sclerosis, my father is in assisted living, and I survived cancer in my 20s to have a miracle child in my 40s, said Bryce. What Paul Ryan and the Republicans are doing to take health care away from millions of us, to make it cost more and cover less, and to allow the protections weve gained to be stripped away its just unacceptable.

Randy currently serves as President of the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and as Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Veterans Caucus. He resides in Caledonia.

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Meet Randy Bryce | Randy Bryce for Congress

8 Tips for New and Aspiring Libertarian Writers The Chief’s Thoughts – Being Libertarian

Getting into writing can be quite daunting for people, but it is easier than ever before to be a writer. The internet has placed virtually all the information of consequence known to anyone at our fingertips. So it is vitally important for all those libertarian writers who feel so inclined, to be active.

With this article I hope to get some hesitant aspiring libertarian writers, or writers who have already started but are still unsure about some things, to put pen to paper.

This is simply a collection of those things which have helped me throughout my writing career and which I have told people when they asked me for advice. I am not a journalist or a literary scholar, so everything you will read here comes from my personal experience in writing. I have also had the privilege of being the editor in chief of two publications: The Rational Standard, South Africas only libertarian publication, and, of course, Being Libertarian. But dont see these tips as the only set of valid tips, as many different things work for many different people.

This list is also not comprehensive. These tips are merely some of my thoughts, and if pressed, I might be able to share many others.

This is the most important tip I hope aspiring libertarian writers take to heart.

While research and fact-checking are by default important for any type of writer, overthinking your endeavor can at best lead to significant delay, and at worst to abandonment. If you are unable to verify something dont worry, writing op-eds is not academic writing. Tell your readers that you were unable to verify it, but explain why you believe it to be true regardless. Make an argument; dont get hung up on the numbers, especially if you are writing from the perspective of Austrian economics. Dont, however, be dishonest or try to hide the fact that you couldnt find empirical evidence from your readers.

Also try to set limits on the scope of your article. I will address brevity below, but here it is important that you not consider your article to be the final word on a given topic. You do not need to explain everything you say at length. Assume your readers have a hunger to do some reading on the topic elsewhere!

The most important thing you should do, however, is to just start writing. Put your ideas on paper, and see what happens.

Remember, you are not writing an academic paper where you are investigating something. You already have a message you want to get across.

Start your article by writing down your core thought usually your conclusion and build it around that. For example, if you think minimum wage laws would hurt unskilled workers, start your article by writing exactly that. Your lead-up and introduction will come later, but you need to ensure the core message you want to convey appears in the text of the article in a similar way it came to your mind; usually brief and in understandable language.

We are ordinarily taught that conclusions need to be at the end of the text, but when writing articles, its important to get your message across in the very first paragraph, to ensure even those people who dont read the entire text have at least seen the most important information. This is known as the lede or lead of the article, and is essentially like a preface in a book.

The next paragraph, whether it has a heading or not, will usually be your introduction.

Many other editors will disagree with me on this point, but I must re-emphasise, again, that you are not writing an academic paper which requires extensive justification for your assertions. In ordinary articles, this is not necessary, depending on your audience. If you are writing to a libertarian audience, you usually do not need to explain at length why the State is a violent institution, for example.

The best length of an article has been said to be 500 to 800 words. Any longer than this might cause ordinary readers to bookmark your article to read later something which doesnt always happen. Longer articles, however, certainly have their place, and this will usually depend on what you intend your article to be a summary, a comprehensive analysis, a manifesto and whether or not you are commenting on something timely or timeless.

Many writers are very concerned about the responses they get to their articles. This is good, as this is how a market ordinarily functions. However, just like a company should be free to determine for itself how to do things, should a writer not submit himself entirely to the whims of his readers.

Be conscious of what your readers think about your work, but dont let that get in the way of continuing to do what youre doing. After all, you have an idea youre trying to sell, and just because others are not willing to buy it doesnt mean you have to stop. Otherwise, libertarians would be in big trouble!

Dont be afraid of preaching your message to the converted.

Libertarians often need to have our core principles put to us in different ways, or simply reminded of our core principles in the first place, which sometimes get lost in the academization of libertarianism. By reading others interpretations or conveyances of our principles, we can also learn how to more effective market our ideas.

Another common concern libertarian writers often have is that they have already written an article on a given topic, or that one of their colleagues wrote one, and thus they feel they shouldnt do so again or as well.

Repackage your previous article. Write it in a different way. Look at the topic from another angle. Or dont; write it from the same angle, but in response to a different event. But never think that it is not necessary to write something just because it has already been written about, by you or someone else. Libertarian ideas are not winning or widely known, so it is fair to say that most people probably have not read about that topic you think has been exhausted.

I left this one for last, as it tends to upset quite a number of new and even experienced writers.

It takes years for columnists to get paid a significant amount or any amount of money for writing. You should not set out to write because you want to get paid there is an oversupply of people who want to give their opinions for money. As an up and coming libertarian writer, you should always humble yourself, as you are part of an era where sharing your ideas with virtually everyone else in the world is easier than it has ever been. Imagine: Your ideas can reach further than the dictates of kings and dictators just a few hundred years ago.

We are all capitalists, and that means we believe that one shouldnt expect time and effort from someone else with some kind of reciprocity. However, being capitalists, we also accept the principle of value subjectivity and reject the labor theory of value. This means, principally, that other people must value being able to see your opinion more than they value the amount the paywall charges. But it also means that you have to value your time and effort more than you value writing for the libertarian cause and spreading our ideas. And this, for an up and coming writer, is not recommended. You should want to write because you have something meaningful to say and you want to share it with others.

Too many writers have argued that non-monetary payment does not qualify as payment. To up and coming libertarian writers, the payment offered by a platform is often the platform itself, with a potentially massive audience just waiting to be exposed to your brand and ideas. It is, unfortunately, quite one-dimensional to perceive payment in currency as the only valid type of payment. If your problem is putting food on the table, writing opinion articles might not be the best way to ensure that happens.

Keep at it consistently and develop yourself, and the money will come eventually.

* Disclosure: At the time of writing I was ill with a cold and sinusitis. Please excuse me if some of my writing here seems more abrupt than usual.

This post was written by Martin van Staden.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

Martin van Staden is the Editor in Chief of Being Libertarian, the Legal Researcher at the Free Market Foundation, a co-founder of the RationalStandard.com, and the Southern African Academic Programs Director at Students For Liberty. The views expressed in his articles are his own and do not represent any of the aforementioned organizations.

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8 Tips for New and Aspiring Libertarian Writers The Chief’s Thoughts – Being Libertarian

Libertarian Party to meet Aug. 10 – Tahlequah Daily Press

Members of the Libertarian Party in Cherokee County will gather for fellowship Thursday, Aug. 10, 6:30 p.m. at Red Moon, 761 Holiday Drive.

Guest speaker will be Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Rex Lawhorn.

The Cherokee County Libertarian Party invites everyone out to meet Lawhorn and join them as they discuss future activities, activism, and visit with other people who value and respect the rights and freedoms of the community.

The Libertarian Party respects everyone’s individual rights and believes in all rights, of all people, all the time.

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Libertarian Party to meet Aug. 10 – Tahlequah Daily Press

Libertarian health care: Repeal and deregulate – Washington Times


Washington Times
Libertarian health care: Repeal and deregulate
Washington Times
A third combatant has entered the fray, however: The Libertarians now are weighing in on the challenge to create a workable, healthy health care system out of the loose ends and leftovers of Trumpcare and Obamacare. Although Libertarians might
For first time, Libertarians to run for countywide officesDelco News Network

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Libertarian health care: Repeal and deregulate – Washington Times

Traditionally conservative college students reject the vocal liberalism and libertarianism of their peers. – National Review

Young Americans are usually thought of as decidedly liberal. This is an oversimplified picture. A sizeable minority of Millennials identify as conservative. Despite some evidence that Millennial conservatives lean left on social issues, it would be wrong to write all of them off as libertarians. Some young conservatives, in fact, hold anti-libertarian attitudes, and their numbers may be increasing.

Plainly speaking, these young conservatives hold socially and culturally conservative views. On the other hand, they are wary of individualism and free markets. They are not necessarily anti-capitalist, but fear that laissez-faire economic systems can be excessively cutthroat, prizing individual material gain above the wellbeing of the community.

This strain of conservative thought is closely related to the traditionalism of Russell Kirk, the 20th-century conservative political theorist who authored The Conservative Mind. Kirk identified ten foundational conservative principles. The first principle states that conservatives believe in an enduring moral order. Moral truths do not change with the times, and neither does human nature. Conservatives are champions, he continues, of custom, convention, and continuity because they prefer the devil they know to the devil they dont know.

Conservatives value private property because it is closely linked to freedom, but argue that getting and spending are not the chief aims of human existence. Decisions directly affecting members of a community should be made locally and voluntarily. Regarding governance, conservatives recognize that human passions must be restrained: Order and liberty must be balanced. Moreover, a conservative favors reasoned and temperate progress, but does not worship Progress as some type of magical force.

Young, anti-libertarian conservatives represent a new generation of traditionalists. And they are increasingly prominent on some college campuses.

Christian McGuire, a student at Virginias Patrick Henry College and editor-in-chief of the George Wythe Review, spoke to National Review about the schools conservative climate, saying the whole campus is fairly conservative. Patrick Henry College is a Christian school, so faith strongly influences students political views. McGuire says most students come from a background of religious conservatism, and feel as ifthey have been left out of the national discussion. More bluntly, he claims most of Patrick Henry College realizes we lost the culture war.

In response, McGuire and his fellow conservative classmates have started to turn to traditionalist thinkers such as Kirk. McGuire mentioned other increasingly popular thinkers among campus conservatives: Edmund Burke and G. K. Chesterton. Even Catholic social teaching is influencing some students. They are finding that these are rich sources of conservative thought.

When asked whether monarchist sentiments could be found on campus, McGuire responded firmly: Yes, absolutely. Though still very much a minority view at Patrick Henry College, some traditionalist-minded students are open to the idea of a king.

Traditionalist sentiments can also be found almost 600 miles northwest of Patrick Henry College, at the University of Notre Dame. Mimi Teixeira, a student at Notre Dame and vice president of the schools Young Americans for Freedom chapter, told National Review there is a sizeable group of students inclined to traditionalism. They are more interested in, and connected to, the Catholic faith and Catholic social teaching, she says. Besides Burke and Kirk, Pope Saint John Paul II is a powerful influence on this group.

The Notre Dame traditionalists are skeptical of classical liberalism. We do have a group of conservatives, she says, who dont agree with the Enlightenment. They contend classical liberalism is missing a piece.

Notre Dame isnt the only Catholic university with a sizeable number of young traditionalists. The Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C., is home to many students who could be understood as profoundly traditional, according to Friar Israel-Sebastian N. Arauz-Rosiles,O.F.M. Conv., a seminarian at the university. The schools Catholic identity deeply influences how students think. He describes Saint Thomas Aquinas as probably the single most influential thinker on the university campus, in terms of his impact onstudents theological and political outlook.

Friar Israel has noticed that some students attend a yearly Mass in honor of Blessed Karl of Austria celebrated at Saint Mary Mother of God Church in Washington, D.C. A member of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, Blessed Karl of Austria was the last emperor of Austria and king of Hungary. Friar Israel acknowledges this mightmerely represent a superficial interest in Catholic monarchy. Nevertheless, he has encountered a number of students who reject classical liberalism and such political theorists asThomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

At Hillsdale College in Michigan, traditionalist conservatism has many adherents. Michael Lucchese, a senior at Hillsdale, says lots of people come in libertarian, and come out hardcore traditionalist. They reject, he continues, the sort of free-markets-will-solve-everything mentality of libertarianism in favor of a more traditional conservatism. Hillsdale students are exposed to the Great Books of the Western canon, including texts by Plato and Aristotle. Russell Kirk, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Leo Strauss also influence Hillsdale students. Lucchese added that C. S. Lewis is the most uncontroversial figureon campus, beloved by everybody.

Like McGuire, Lucchese reports that some students are sympathetic to monarchism, especially in the history department. Pointedly, he says many students are dissatisfied with the modern world. They recoil at the prevalence of sexual immorality and the atomism at the heart of liberal capitalism. Traditionalism looks to higher, permanent things such astruth, goodness, and beauty. Students see that as more fulfilling than what the modern world has to offer.

Traditionalist conservatism is not establishing deep roots on all campuses. Marlo Safi, a student at the University of Pittsburgh and editor-in-chief of The Pitt Maverick, told National Review that most conservatives there are of a libertarian bent. I have only met maybe five people, she says, whom I would call traditionalists in the vein of Russell Kirk. Most conservative students prefer to talk about Milo Yiannopoulos and people who are currently on the scene, says Safi.

Similarly, Anthony Palumbo, editor-in-chief of the Wake Forest Review, told National Review theres not much traditionalist conservatism at Wake Forest. Most conservatives at Wake Forest care little about social and cultural issues, preferring to promote free-market economics.

Among students, traditionalist conservatism seems to be especially common at Catholic universities and smaller Christian colleges. These young traditionalists question the idea of Progress, and express discontent with the modern world. They find value in community, and their views are usually rooted in faith. The Left may be winning the culture wars, but these students keep the flame of traditional morality ablaze. They reject libertarianism, especially what they see as its excessive faith in free markets and individual material gain. They often look to similar thinkers for inspiration: political theorists such as Russell Kirk, statesmen such as Edmund Burke, philosophers such as Plato, numerous Catholic intellectuals, and others.

They are not quite a monolithic group. Not all of them are monarchists, for example. The degree to which they are skeptical of classical liberalism also differs. Some are very much opposed to Locke and Rousseau; others are more cautious in their criticism.

The presence of traditionalist conservatism among college students reveals that some young Americans reject the vocal liberalism and libertarianism of their peers. More than that, however, these young traditionalists fear that the modern world has gone astray. They are the vanguard of a new generation standing athwart history, trying to reorient Americans toward ideas and ideals thatnourish the whole person: community, truth, goodness, and beauty.

READ MORE: The Strange Traditionalism of the LiberalElite Did William F. Buckleys Conservative Project End in Failure? The End of Reaganism

Jeff Cimmino is a student of history at Georgetown University and an editorial intern at National Review.

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Traditionally conservative college students reject the vocal liberalism and libertarianism of their peers. – National Review

From Bork to Willett: Is the Conservative Legal Movement Going Libertarian? – Reason (blog)

Public DomainWhen President Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987, he praised his nominee for being “widely regarded as the most prominent and intellectually powerful advocate of judicial restraint.”

It was no exaggeration. During his decades-long career as a law professor, federal judge, and legal commentator, Bork routinely preached the virtues of a deferential judiciary, arguing that in the vast majority of cases “the only course for a principled Court is to let the majority have its way.”

Where Bork led, most legal conservatives were ready to follow. Judicial deference, or restraint, became a rallying cry on the legal right.

Borkean deference still holds sway today in many quarters. But it is also increasingly under fire from libertarian-minded legal thinkers who want the courts to play a more aggressive role in defense of individual liberty and against overreaching majorities.

Case in point: The new issue of Governing magazine profiles Don Willett, the Texas Supreme Court justice who recently appeared on Donald Trump’s shortlist of potential U.S. Supreme Court candidates. Willett “is witty and approachable, and he’s huge on Twitter,” writes journalist Alan Greenblatt. “He’s also one of the most influential jurists in the country right now.”

Willett’s rising influence signals Bork’s declining favor. It shows that libertarian legal ideas are gaining ground.

To be sure, Bork and Willett are both “conservative” and both have ties to the Republican Party. But they differ in important ways. Bork wanted judicial minimalism; Willett wants judicial engagement. “The State would have us wield a rubber stamp rather than a gavel,” Willett complained in the 2015 case of Patel v. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, “but a written constitution is mere meringue if courts rotely exalt majoritarianism over constitutionalism.”

Texas Supreme CourtAs Greenblatt notes in his profile, “Willett is pretty blunt about his overall intent. He’s a champion of individual rights, claiming a central role for the judiciary in protecting those rights against state encroachment.” Bork, by contrast, was obsessed with limiting the judiciary’s role. If Bork’s great enemy was judicial activism, Willett’s great enemy is judicial pacifism.

The differences don’t stop there. According to Bork’s interpretation, the 14th Amendment offers zero constitutional protection for economic liberty, which means that the courts have no business striking down government regulations on 14th Amendment grounds. Since the amendment does not explicitly refer to economic liberty, Bork reasoned, it does not protect it. When “the Constitution does not speak,” he insisted, we are “all at the mercy of legislative majorities.”

Willett takes a different view. “The Fourteenth Amendment’s legislative record,” he has pointed out, “is replete with indications that ‘privileges or immunities’ encompassed the right to earn a living free from unreasonable government intrusion.”

Willett has even thrown shade in Bork’s direction: “A conservative luminary, Bork is heir to a Progressive luminary, Justice Holmes, who also espoused judicial minimalism. Both men believed the foremost principle of American government was not individual liberty but majoritarianism.” Willett clearly ranks individual liberty first.

Thirty years ago, when Borkian judicial deference was in its heyday, the conservative legal mainstream was largely hostile to libertarian legal ideas. That Don Willett is now championing those same ideas and is at the same time under possible consideration for a Supreme Court seat demonstrates just how far the dial has moved in a libertarian direction.

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From Bork to Willett: Is the Conservative Legal Movement Going Libertarian? – Reason (blog)

Libertarians score big victory in ‘right-to-try’ drug bill – Politico

The Senate unanimously approved a bill Thursday that would allow people facing life-threatening diseases access to unapproved experimental drugs, providing a victory for libertarian advocates who see government regulators thwarting patients rights.

The bill, S. 204 (115), passed swiftly and easily in a Senate bitterly divided over health care. The powerful pharmaceutical lobby, which had quietly opposed an earlier version, kept an unusually low profile. The industry has been focused on fighting off any efforts to go after drug pricing, which President Donald Trump has said he would tackle.

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The bills chief champion, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), declared it a victory for individual liberty over government, and for the right to hope. Its also been championed by the libertarian Goldwater Institute, and Vice President Mike Pence, who tweeted that it gives patients hope & a chance.

The legislation would allow patients with serious diseases anything from a late-stage cancer to multiple sclerosis to request access to experimental drugs directly from drug companies without having to go through the FDA, which has its own compassionate use program that approves 99 percent of requests.

But the right-to-try bill doesnt require drugmakers to make the experimental treatments available. In the 37 states that have similar laws on the books, Goldwater can point to only one doctor who says he has utilized a state right-to-try law for a patient and that medicine was being made available to certain patients by the FDA anyway.

Thats led some critics to call it right-to-ask and it may give desperately ill people false hopes.

This bill is inherently deceptive, Alison Bateman-House, a medical ethicist at New York University who led the charge against Johnsons bills, wrote in an email. What [patients] have a right to (and did long before this bill) is to ask drug companies for permission to use their experimental drugs outside of clinical trials. If the drug company says no, both before and after this legislation, that’s the final word: neither the FDA nor the courts have to power to make companies provide access to their experimental drugs-in-development.

And if the experimental drugs do become widely used outside the standard clinical trial system, it could undermine some of the rigorous science needed to know whether medicines are safe and effective. Many drugs that start the clinical trial process flop. Some are harmful.

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You have a situation where patients think they want to take a risk and dont necessarily understand what risk they are taking,” said Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Health Research, which lobbied against the bill.

And while the revised bill would require annual reports on whether the drugs used by these patients helped or potentially harmed them, patient safety experts are concerned it may not be enough.

But its hard for lawmakers to say no to hope.

Opposing right-to-try laws is akin to opposing motherhood, apple pie, and the American flag; you just dont do it and expect to be re-elected, David Gorski, an oncologist at Wayne State University, wrote in his blog on science-based medicine. Its easier for a senator to vote for the bill than to explain to constituents the nuances of why the new law might not help them and might even harm them.

PhRMA issued a statement but declined to say whether it now supported the bill, which must still be approved by the House after the summer recess. We appreciated the opportunity to work with Sen. Johnson and look forward to continuing to work with his office, it said. The revised Right to Try legislation that passed the Senate includes important protections for patient safety and the clinical trial process.

Senate HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and ranking Democrat Patty Murray (D-Wash.) the same duo who are about to embark on bipartisan Obamacare stabilization” hearings played a role in helping Johnson work out a compromise. Alexander told POLITICO after the vote that Johnson tried to run it by everyone who was affected, including the pharmaceutical industry, trial lawyers and patients. Im very happy for him and the patients around the country who will benefit from it.

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), one of the few Democrats who had been in favor of it all along, said more liberal members all wanted to step up once the revised bill was explained to them.

FDA also worked behind the scenes to push for changes to make the bill safer for patients.

Not every senator endorses the libertarian rhetoric about getting federal regulators out of patients’ way that propelled right-to-try a key theme of the message the Goldwater Institute took through the states and to Washington.

Theres no more fundamental freedom than the right to save your own life. Right to Try guarantees that freedom by ensuring that patients, along with their doctors, are in control of the treatments they receive when facing a terminal diagnosis, Goldwater’s president and CEO Victor Riches said in a statement after passage.

But more liberal lawmakers faced significant lobbying, featuring heartbreaking stories of young children or newlyweds facing shortened lives. Meanwhile, the most powerful opposition, the drug industry and doctors groups, kept their disagreement very low-profile. Their soft voices gave lawmakers little political protection for a “no” vote.

Theres no doubt about it there are a lot of patients out there that think this is the answer to their prayers. They certainly believed that, and they pushed their members of Congress to support a bill that in many cases the members of Congress thought was not a good idea, said Zuckerman.

PhRMAs low-profile on right-to-try hurt detractors from the outset. The industry group never took a formal position on the state right-to-try laws or earlier federal proposals. But it consistently reiterated its concerns about any approach to experimental medicines that sought to bypass the FDA and the clinical trial process. Of the major drug makers, only Merck formally came out against the earlier Johnson bill.

Its huge, NYUs Bateman-House said of PhRMAs reluctance to take a stronger public stance. When I speak with legislators, they say, Well if its that bad, why isnt pharma speaking against it?

Critics of right-to-try concede the final Senate bill is much improved from earlier versions. It adds crucial safeguards that should help protect patients’ safety and their pocketbooks, as they can no longer be charged excessive amounts for unproven drugs.

But the critics, including bioethicists, safety advocates and researchers, still worry about the risk of undermining an agency like the FDA an important safety regulator that has ensured that drugs are studied in controlled settings so FDA can make informed decisions to approve or disapprove them.

The bill looks to be an “improvement,” said Patti Zettler, a professor at Georgia State University and former associate chief counsel at FDA. “However, the fundamental problem with the bill is not resolved in that it still envisions removing, or drastically reducing, FDA’s role in expanded access.”

And it may fall short an example of Congress checking a box, but not really solving a problem.

Its something where your reluctant representative can claim they are taking action but does not effectively address root problems, said Ameet Sarpatwari of Harvard Medical School. Weve seen this with rising drug prices, and now we see it with experimental treatment. It is a show, but it is also dangerous in the sense that it furthers this sort of attack on FDA as somehow being antithetical to the interest of patients.

Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified Patti Zettler’s affiliation. She is a professor at Georgia State University.

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Libertarians score big victory in ‘right-to-try’ drug bill – Politico

Jury Nullification Used To Free Libertarian Activist In Maryland – The Liberty Conservative


The Liberty Conservative
Jury Nullification Used To Free Libertarian Activist In Maryland
The Liberty Conservative
Dennis Fusaro, a libertarian activist, and Steve Waters were found not guilty by a jury of their own peers for illegal free speech. The men had sent a robocall back in 2014 to 5,000 people in Anne Arundel County, Maryland on the weekend before an

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Jury Nullification Used To Free Libertarian Activist In Maryland – The Liberty Conservative


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