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May 11, 2010

Getting to Liberty and Community

Since I have been involved with libertarian blogging, I have constantly been called a statist or a socialist. This is odd, because I left the Green Party of the US precisely because they were statists and I really was not. Lately I have been attracted to the Independent Green Party of Virginia, which is "unaffiliated" with the Greens and recently affiliated with the Independence Party of America. I will leave it to the reader to research the Independence Party (which seems to be dominated by Reform Party veterans and Bloomberg supporters) and will confine this entry to the various ways to pursue liberty.

Being a cantankerous lot, libertarians have many factions - probably as many as there are libertarians. There is, of course, the Libertarian Party, the stawarts of which hold fast to the Pledge to exercise no force or violence. There is also the reform movement within the Party which seeks to end the pledge and to field a more realistic platform. I wish them well, but I doubt they will live down the reputation of past ideology. Speaking of ideology, there are libertarian anarchists - who Carl Milsted calls Radical Libertarians, Social Libertarians (who Carl calls Left Leaning Freedom Lovers) and Economic Libertarians (who Carl calls Right Leaning Freedom Lovers). In a somewhat analagous breakdown, there are the laize faire libertarians who resist the state, but not corporate power, as typified by the Austrian School (and who are as likely to be Republicans as LP members). Their close cousins are the anarcho-capitalists, who favor individual solutions. There are the libertarian socialists (aka anarcho syndicalists), who also reject corporate power and priviledge. They believe in cooperativism (as I do) but reject government action to help it along. True anarchists fall into both camps. Then there is me. I have been called an anarcho-synidicalist by our publisher, but I really am not, since I believe in changing taxation in order to encourage private cooperatives and social action, rather than abandonning taxation and expecting society to organize.

Examining implementation scenarios is instructive to this exercise. The LP does not expect to ever win power at the ballot box and does not seek electoral victory - and if it did the hardcore partisans believe in tearing down the system rather than reforming it. They believe in using campaigns as an educational tool, rather than a means to gain power. Similar to the LP are the anarchists, who encourage people to opt out of the system in what amounts to separatism - either in place or as a group - depending on whether one is an indvidualist or a cooperativist. At the heart of both philosophies is the belief that if only the state were out of the way, people would self organize and everything would work out fairly quickly. Of course, the state will not just get out of the way, people need to stop supporting it or it is expected to collapse, perhaps in a debt crisis or an environmental catastrophe. There are also the non-libertarian anarchists who believe in violent resistence, however I do not take these people seriously as what they are espousing is a form of terrorism. To me, they are no different then al Queda.

I find none of the societal collapse or separatist notions very appealing. First, I don't think they will be successful. People are not unaware drones who continue to vote bad people into office because they have no choice. Most people with a high school education know and accept the basic parameters of the electoral system and most citizens draw their income from some governmental salary, contract or benefit program - and have for decades. They will not part with these benefits easily and certainly will not be guilted out of them. Neither do most of them have a decent appreciation of the rights of their fellow citizens, especially in the areas of criminal justice and free expression. It is mostly government elites that protect society from the un-freedom loving ways of its citizens.

The only way out has to be a system that the population will accept and the solution must make sense. While appeals to liberty are certainly viral, as with the Tea Partiers who screamed last summer that they did not want socialism but they didn't want their Medicare touched (for the record, benefits were not altered, however Medicare Advantage providers did lose some money), they did not project the kind of clear message that could lead to action or even alternative policies. It is not enough for libertarians to stop action, since demands for governmental action usually arise from an unmet need.

The problem of the uninsured is very real and simply resisting action did not prove effective. What is needed are alternative policy solutions within the realm of government action. In the Medicare area, this could have looked like an exemption from Medicare taxation for those companies that provide comprehensive retiree health care which is at least as comprehensive as the governmental plan. Indeed, if senior Medicaid and Medicare were funded by the same tax, it could be avoided by providing long term insurance coverage (or direct care) to retirees instead of letting the government and medical sector do it. The alternative to single-payer health care (which is almost inevitable) could be direct medical care (hiring doctors and pre-paying hospital care and specialists) rather than participating in a single-payer system and paying a single-payer tax. What I cannot see, at least right away, is that absent some kind of taxation, the emergence of the libertarian alternative.

Charitable contributions are at their highest when tax rates are high. Cutting taxes leaves a lot of givers out of philanthropy - which contradicts the claim that charity cannot or should not be forced. A more productive approach is to offer a charitable alternative to governmental action, the funding of which eliminates the obligation to pay tax. Without the existence of taxation, however, all you will get is an unmet need, since most employers and taxpayers will advance their individual interests over the interest of the group. After a generation or two of such alternative systems, it could very well be that alternatives become ingrained so that taxation might be dispensed with, but I have my doubts.

Obviously, advocating the continuation of taxation puts me outside either the "anarcho" part of anarcho-syndicalism or the libertarian part of libertarian socialism. Indeed, what I am advocating demands political involvement. To be a player at the table and offer alternatives to governmental action, one must be part of the government and eventually control the government. This is not Animal Farm, which was an allegory for the replacement of one group of authoritarians (the Tsar) with another (the Bolshevicks). What I advocate is a way to ween the people off of dependence on the state for services, with the eventual hope that cooperative arrangements will make the state unneccessary. I believe this is a more realistic path than hoping for a collapse - and one which won't have old people suddenly losing their Social Security and Medicare - regardless of their - or their children's - ability to pick up the slack.

The remaining question is what to call this ideology. It could be seen as a part of what I call inter-independence, where a cooperative builds systems for its members that make them totally independent - including habitats which have food production capabilities. That is fine for explaining the macro ideology, but it does not fit into the usual typologies without a great deal of explanation. If I am not an anarcho-syndicalist or a libertarian socialist, then what am I. I am not a politico-socialist, since I don't believe (like my former mates in the Greens) in having an expanding governmental sector. The Greens believe in a different kind of libertarian socialism. Unlike Kerpotnick, they believe in strong government but personal liberty in social issues. I would contract and eventually elimiate public agencies (although not public obligations).

This leads me to the following label: politico-syndicalist. Does this fit what I have been talking about or does someone have a better term. Comments please.

Posted by MichaelBindner at 12:32 AM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2009

Songs of Freedom:Tales from the rEVOLUtion

is a new book edited by Darryl Perry, consisting of "essays, stories, poems and artwork" reflecting on the past, present, and future of the Ron Paul rEVOLUtion from a grassroots perspective.

Posted by NormSingleton at 09:36 PM | Comments (1)

January 07, 2009

Just Keep Saying, "Free Paul Jacob"

Some things are so obvious, they need repeating.

The Wall Street Journal and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette have joined the call to end the prosecution of our friend Paul Jacob for the audacity of petitioning Oklahoma's government.

It's been over a year since the legal battle began. I worry that it is hard for people to maintain enthusiasm for the cause (or rather, outrage at the government) over long periods of time. It is probably easier for me to keep up the rage, as I know Paul personally, and whenever I think of the government caging this wonderful, decent man, my blood boils.

Certainly, campaigns such as "Free Mumia" have had long runs, and the abortion battle rages on. As time passes, one wonders if the battle lines just become more hardened, or if there are no more people to be recruited to join the fight. But if bitter diehards we must be, then so be it.

Anyone who sees the injustice of this, should think and act creatively RIGHT NOW, because it will be much better to keep Paul Jacob out of prison than to have to fight for his release if somehow the Supreme Court overturns the 10th Circuit's dismissal of the case. Oklahomans who find reprehensible this behavior of their Attorney General, must do everything they can to sabotage his campaign and bring his political career to a total and final end.

For those of us who are angered, but can't think of a new way of saying something we firmly believe in, just keep saying, "Free Paul Jacob."


Posted by KevinRollins at 11:03 AM | Comments (6)

July 03, 2008

Honoring Kent Snyder

Kent Snyder family is not just coping with the tragedy of his passing, but with the over $4,000 of unpaid medical bills. Fortunately, a group of Kent's friends has organized an online effort to raise funds to pay Kent's medical expenses.

Also, the Ludwig Von Mises Institute has announced a to help educate the next generation in the cause to which Kent devoted his all to short life.

June 30, 2008

Kent Snyder: Hail and Farewell

With the passing of Kent Snyder the freedom movement has lost a true champion. Most of you know Kent as the Chairman of the Ron Paul 2008 campaign, some of you may also remember him as the executive director of the Liberty Committee, while a few of you may even know he worked in Dr. Paul's 1988 Libertarian Party Presidential Campaign.

I had the fortune of knowing Kent as a friend and a brother-in-arms. Kent was the first person in Dr. Paul's inner circle to suggest that Dr. Paul run for President, without Kent there would have been no Ron Paul 2008 presidential campaign and think where the freedom movement would be without the rEVOLUtion. For one thing, imagine all the young people who are joining our movement who, absent Dr. Paul's campaign, would have drifted to Obama because they associated free markets with neoconservatism.

Kent defined "grace under pressure." No matter how tough things got during the campaign, whenever I spoke to him he was friendly and calm. Kent also never failed to thank everyone for their contributions to the cause. Unlike so many in DC, Kent never judged people by status or how they could help him. Kent treated everyone the same and had a genuine interest in his fellow human beings, and was one of the most generous people I have had the privileged to know.

Thank you, for everything Kent, I know I speak for everyone who knew and loved you when I say the world seems a much darker and confusing place without you there to help light our way.

BTW- Here is Ron Paul's tribute to Kent.

Posted by NormSingleton at 09:40 PM | Comments (1)

June 16, 2008

Personally, I kinda want to slay the dragon...Let's Get to Work

Thursday I got a call from a friend disappointed over the end of Ron Paul's Presidential campaign. I told my friend that this is not an ending, but the beginning of the next chapter in an ongoing rEVOLUtion and, thanks to the Ron Paul campaign, the movement for peace and liberty is now stronger than it has been at any time in recent history. Therefore, this is not a time for mourning but a time for celebrating what has been accomplished and preparing for the hard work ahead of us in the ongoing struggle for liberty.

Headline comes from the last scene of the last episode of Joss Wheldon's Angel, where we see the champions refusing to give up the fight no matter the odds or the setbacks. It seems appropriate reference for this posting.

Posted by NormSingleton at 08:50 PM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2008

Ron Paul r(EVOL)tionary triumphs

Congratulations to Ron Paul supporter Kane for winning the ECW Championship at Wrestlmania XIV.

Today ECW tomorrow the world!

Posted by NormSingleton at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2008

Happy Birthday Paul Jacob!

Our friend Paul Jacob is celebrating his birthday today. Sadly, Paul is being prosecuted (and threatened with prison time) by the state of Oklahoma for challenging the status quo politics.

Read about Paul's fight at:


Posted by KevinRollins at 03:01 AM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2008

Lew Rockwell?

As a regular reader of (and occasional reader of, I find the allegation that Lew was, himself, behind some of the racist, homophobic screeds found in some of Dr. Paul's past newsletters disturbing, to say the least. Thus far, however, all I've seen here at TFL is vague suggestions about murmurings on message boards regarding Lew's authorship. Would anybody here like to put forth the evidence behind this accusation? If it can't be done, perhaps we should hold back on joining the anti-Rockwell train. Slander—if it is slander—does not help the freedom movement, regardless of whom it is aimed at.

Posted by DarylSawyer at 01:24 PM | Comments (3)

January 11, 2008

Is the Horse Dead?

In response to Radley Balko's post today at reason about being increasingly ashamed of having defended Ron Paul in the past, one commenter suggested the issue of the racist newsletters had passed already:

Sheesh...the horse is dead already.

Should we all just "Move On"?

Well, I get emails all day long from friends (and many people I've never met) trumpeting Ron Paul's successes and exhorting me to do something for Ron Paul. Indeed, in October, Walter Block even suggested that supporting Ron Paul is the litmus test of whether a person is a libertarian:

Ron is a one-man band of publicity for liberty. I am appalled that (your Institute) takes the stance on him that it does. In my view, Ron is a sort of litmus test for libertarianism.

But, if Ron Paul will be associated with hate-mongering, does a lover of liberty want to pass this test?
As Balko writes:

Perhaps it's too much for us to expect Paul to turn over the names of the paleo types who wrote those screeds...But if he can't, it's also too much to ask libertarians who find those views abhorrent to continue to support him.

The way Ron Paul can show that he does not support bigotry is to stop covering for those who wrote the newsletter. Ron Paul supporters who either brush over this matter or aid in the stonewalling are not convincing us to just drop it and jump back on the bandwagon.


Posted by KevinRollins at 02:58 PM | Comments (7)

January 10, 2008

Despicable Behavior

This video of a mob of Ron Paul supporters chasing Sean Hannity down the street is horrendous. Who are these people? Are they really advocates of peace and liberty?

Per my previous post on hatred in the libertarian movement, and my co-signed letter to the apparent writer of the racist newsletter to which Ron Paul's name was attached, this video constitutes further proof that there is a subset of "libertarians" who don't respect other people and are fueled by a boiling hatred.

To those people who took part in chasing Mr. Hannity down the street, "Shame on you."

Anyone who can name these individuals should post their names online so that other libertarians can shun them from the movement.

Posted by KevinRollins at 01:29 PM | Comments (13)

December 05, 2007

The L Word

Carl Milsted, responding to my previous blog, notes that the word "libertarian" is very much at the root of the Libertarian Party's internal battles. He suggest dropping it. I still call myself a "libertarian" as it is the only term close to my own position which others are likely to understand, e.g. facebook doesn't have a "free liberal" option. Alternatively, I like to tell people I'm a "Hayekian liberal."

As F.A. Hayek said:

In the United States, where it has become almost impossible to use "liberal" in the sense in which I have used it, the term "libertarian" has been used instead. It may be the answer; but for my part I find it singularly unattractive. For my taste it carries too much the flavor of a manufactured term and of a substitute. What I should want is a word which describes the party of life, the party that favors free growth and spontaneous evolution. But I have racked my brain unsuccessfully to find a descriptive term which commends itself.



Posted by KevinRollins at 04:45 PM | Comments (2)

Is the Libertarian Party worth the fight?

Over at Third Party Watch, Steve Gordon anticipates the upcoming battle at the 2008 Libertarian Party convention. He argues it will happen in multiple dimensions with a mishmash of factions:

But the showdown I’m talking about is the ongoing battle between the Reformers and the Radicals, the purists and the pragmatists, extremists and moderates, activists and hierarchists, those more interested in retail politics and those more interested in wholesale politics.

**Full disclosure: I remain a member of the Libertarian Reform Caucus (I was one of the first to join) and I suppose I'm still technically a member of the LP, but I have given up party meetings because they were just too costly time-wise/stress-wise and didn't seem to to provide anywhere near the personal satisfaction that projects such as The Free Liberal delivered.**

This contest is expected to express itself in the presidential nomination, the platform and bylaws debate, as well as the election of party officers. To the party's most hardcore, the control of the party's message and organization is a vital piece of real estate in the War for Liberty. Click your way through the big-L Libertarian blogosphere to witness the intensity which the debate attains. See this selection, "Teaching Pigs to Sing," from L. Neil Smith, who lambasts Libertarian Reform Caucus founder (and Free Liberal senior editor) Carl Milsted as a sell-out Keynesian:

Milsted and his accomplices in destruction may not care about the future. "In the long run, we are all dead," as one of his intellectual ancestors put it. In my experience, short-range thinking of this nature is a consistent characteristic of those who label themselves "pragmatic".

Later in the piece, he suggests that Milsted run into traffic (basically wishing death upon him -- which I think is sick.) Smith issues a threat, which I take as credible, that the attempts at reform would be met with sabotage at every step by those who feel the party should be radical.

Start your own Whimpertarian Party instead of hijacking the one your betters built. See how far it gets you, competing with something real. Try holding onto the LP you've stolen and we'll embarrass you out, using nothing more than genuine libertarian ideas, positions and policies. Try explaining to the round-heeled media our insistence that a nine-year-old girl should be free to buy a machinegun, ammunition, and heroin at the general store without signing anything or presenting identification.

Who wants to be the target of this kind of malice from other libertarians? Further, going to the Denver LP convention also means conducting the nastiness through a poorly designed set of bylaws -- debates devolve into discussions of minor points, while time runs out for the bigger questions. It is frustrating and unlikely to bridge the differences between the factions.

Moreover, there's an ethical question for libertarians: What are you willing to do to people who are basically on the same side, in order to win? When I first joined the caucus, I began penning a piece which laid out an elaborate plan to take down the other side. I envisioned a real brass tacks ground operation: walkie-talkies, infiltration of the opposing side, procedural skullduggery, etc. As I wrote, I became more and more disillusioned with what amounted to fratricide via parliamentary procedure. It just isn't decent. It doesn't advance liberty. Our political values should arise from our personal values. When in conflict, the latter should win.

What is the prize, anyways? The party's base has been dwindling for years and is now totally eclipsed by the success of the Ron Paul campaign. It occurs to me that the history of failure and burned out activists make the LP unlikely to undo its bad branding in the future. However, the combatants may not kill the party, whichever faction wins (or if none of them win). These sorts of climactic fights have happened before. In Justin Raimondo's biography of Murray Rothbard, the tale of the great walk-out at the 1983 convention is told. The cycle reminds me of the second Matrix movie where The Architect tells Neo that it is Neo's role to destroy Zion and take a small band of survivors to rebuild it elsewhere. But, as much as libertarians seem to overlap with sci-fi fans, this endless destruction and rebuilding seems unappealing as a strategy for liberty.


Posted by KevinRollins at 12:52 PM | Comments (4)

September 27, 2007

A Dear Friend Lost

John Berthoud, president of National Taxpayers Union, was found dead earlier today in his home. The Free Liberal mourns our friend, who was a dogged defender of liberty and truly principled and decent human being.

-- KDR

Posted by KevinRollins at 04:44 PM | Comments (2)

September 07, 2007

We broke it, we bought it?

Mike Huckabee, during last night's debate in New Hampshire, used the logic "we broke it, we bought it" to say that it doesn't matter that going into Iraq was a mistake, that now that we're there, we must stay and fix it.

The logic has a certain appeal. Our government did "break" Iraq. They certainly did break a lot of things over there.

The thing is, Iraq is not a fragile consumer good taken off the shelf for examination, and accidentally dropped. Iraq is a country, filled with people. If we must regard Iraq as a singular entity, a better analogy would be to refer to it as a patient, an injured man. By this analogy, Huckabee is basically saying that because a thug kicked some guy's ass, it is his responsibility (or that of someone else who shares his attitude) to "fix" the injured man, preferably using the same techniques used to "break" him in the first place.

Or perhaps Huckabee's "we" could be considered a quack of a surgeon, who incorrectly diagnosed a disease, cut in and predicted where a tumor might be found, couldn't find it, just kept digging until he nearly killed his patient. By Huckabee's logic, it would be wrong to force the quack to stop cutting into the patient, bandage his wounds, and leave him to heal.

It sounds to me like we need a doctor on the job. <.<

Posted by DarylSawyer at 11:53 PM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2007

Fall reading

The Mises Institute has made the sixties anthology A New History of Leviathan available for free in PDF. This anthology is the fruit of Murray Rothbard's collaboration with anti-state leftists and contains a number of important essays by Rothbard and other leading libertarian and leftists scholars.

The Mises Institute has also republished Ron Paul's classic Freedom Under Siege.

Posted by NormSingleton at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2007

The Nazi Welfare State

Did the German people acquiesce to Nazi rule because of Hitler's extensive welfare state? That is the thesis of Hitler’s Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, a provocative new book by Götz Aly. Reason's Michael Moynihan provides an insightful and largely favorable review although he disagrees with Aly's conclusions. The willingness of people to put up with tyranny in exchange for the illusion of economic security is something libertarians, free liberals, and all of us in the freedomnista movement should spend more time examining.

Posted by NormSingleton at 09:04 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2007

Notes from the Parlor Game

Over at Cato Unbound of all places, Peter T. Leeson makes the case, I think, for anarchy. Or, at least, that "self-governance works better than you think."

Free Liberals will generally agree with that one. Of course people should be free to govern their lives. But Leeson seems to want to push the envelope with empirical evidence that a complete absence of government "works better" than is commonly understood.

Fair enough.

His evidence was, to me, wanting. Leeson cites the history of pirates and their "honor among thieves" codes of conduct. Why we would want to apply the example of pirates to modern society escapes me.

He notes that sunny Somalia is, in fact, anarchy in action, right now. Yes, Leeson admits, Somalia is a challenging place to live, but since the shackles of a state were broken, things have gone from something like "terribly horrific" to just "horrific." That is progress, admittedly, but it seems hardly something to crow about.

Mostly, though, I found wanting of Leeson's application of self-governing anarchy in places like the US and most of the developed world. With trillions of dollars of assets on the line every day, why would people who have much to lose wish to give up protection from foreign invaders. Quaint 19th century-style theory can be grand, even intellectually stimulating, but the world now has stockpiles of nuclear weapons and WMD. With that reality in the balance, Leeson needs to develop a plausible theory for how people in places like the US would possibly want complete and total "self government," i.e., anarchy.

Until that's forthcoming, I'll keep this article in the science fiction files.

-Robert Capozzi

Posted by RobertCapozzi at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2007

Hands held high

Even if hip-hop is not your thing, you will still be inspired by this great Ron Paul video. (Caution, some strong language.)

Posted by NormSingleton at 09:40 PM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2007

quote of the month

comes from an Andrew Sullivan blog entry regarding one of the many merits of Ron Paul's candidacy and Ron Paul's followers:

"Whatever the merits and demerits of Ron Paul's candidacy, it has revived interest in many conservative ideas in ways not seen in any other candidacies. We may be about to enter a liberal age. So it's good to see someone keeping the torch alight for the next generation."

Posted by NormSingleton at 07:27 PM | Comments (0)

Take a few minutes

and complete Steve Gordon's Libertarian Presidential Survey. Also check out Steve's blog.

Posted by NormSingleton at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2007

See Ron Paul Wednesday

at the House Committee on Financial Services' hearing on "The State of the International Financial System," featuring Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. You can watch the live hearing on the Committee's web site.

Posted by NormSingleton at 09:48 PM | Comments (2)

Quote of the week

Comes from Brian Doherty:

"Ron Paul is the most energetic and consistent advocate on an issue of paramount political importance, especially to left-progressives—ending our involvement in Iraq. He’s willing to leave many controversial issues to states and localities. He wants to leave most of us alone to manage our own affairs, as either individuals or smaller polities. He’s a dedicated enemy of some of the most evil and repressive policies currently afoot in America. If America’s progressives can’t manage to give him at least two cheers, the fault lies not with their candidates, but with themselves."

Posted by NormSingleton at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2007

Ron Paul Revolution

A group of Ron Paul fans in Arizona started putting up Ron Paul Revolution signs. The signs are showing up across the country, popping up in unlikely places such as at John McCain's official announcement of his candidacy. The folks behind the Ron Paul Revolution have no official connection to the campaign, and are not getting paid for their efforts. They are liberty-loving Americans who want to help get the word out about the only true peace-and-freedom Presidential candidate.

One problem the mainstream media has in covering Dr. Paul is they are used to modern campaigns spending millions on pollsters, consultants, and "grassroots organizers" to create the illusion that have an army of passionate supporters. Thus, the media simply cannot comprehend that Dr. Paul's success on the Internet is not driven by DC-based consultants but by people responding to Dr. Paul's principled libertarian message.

Posted by NormSingleton at 10:21 PM | Comments (2)

April 16, 2007

Mises Media

Norm Singleton has posted on the Mises Institute's vast selection of print media. I have recently begun listening to "The Ethics of Liberty" by Murray Rothbard in the form of 20-minute sections that you can download free through your favorite RSS reader (I use iTunes).

I was interested to find out that Rothbard comes off as very much a geolibertarian in his section on Land Monopoly. Not all the chapters are equally convincing to this free liberal, but the print version of "The Ethics of Liberty" sat on my bookshelf for nearly two years unread, before I began the podcasts of the book. The podcasts "shuffled" the content so that I downloaded the chapters based on which looked most interesting. I have since begun shuffling through the print chapters. Consuming the ideas in this manner is both less daunting (because it requires less commitment), and more fun (as it allows you to focus on what is most interesting to you).

The Mises folks should be commended for the multiplicity of forms of media that they offer.


Posted by KevinRollins at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

Read two books

by a presidential candidate this year and make them Ron Paul's new A Foreign Policy of Freedom and Ron Paul's classic The Case for Gold, the minority report of the US Gold Commission.

Posted by NormSingleton at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

Left and Right

The Mises Institute's great new student series uses "on-demand" printing technology to make available numerous libertarian, classical liberal, and "old right" classics.

Free Liberals will be particularly interested in the complete set of Left and Right, one of the first libertarian newsletters which was published from 1965-1968. Edited by Murray Rothbard, Leonard Liggio, and H. George Resch, this publication represents an attempt to forge an alliance between libertarians who rejected the official conservative movement's embrace of, in Bill Buckley's famous words, a "totalitarian bureaucracy" for the duration of the cold war, with the pro-freedom, pro-decentralization elements of what was then the New Left. Free Liberals looking for ways to approach the left without compromising their pro-liberty principles will find guidance and ammunition in these pages.

Also see Rodrick Long's Rothbard's Left and Right:Forty Years latter. The early issues of the Libertarian Forum where Rothbard explains his eventual disillusion with the left also provide a warning of some of the dangers faced by Free Liberals who attempt to revive the libertarian-left alliance.

Posted by NormSingleton at 10:10 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2007

Cowen’s “Package Deal”

Excellent, provocative piece by Professor Tyler Cowen over at Cato Unbound. He writes:

“Those developments have brought us much greater wealth and much greater liberty, at least in the positive sense of greater life opportunities. They’ve also brought much bigger government. The more wealth we have, the more government we can afford. Furthermore, the better government operates, the more government people will demand. That is the fundamental paradox of libertarianism. Many initial victories bring later defeats.”

He calls this tendency for more wealth leading to more government a “package deal.” That’s a most excellent insight. With more wealth, the relative cost of government is reduced. And, with a bottomless pit of human wants and needs, the tendency is for government to grow along with national wealth.

I do believe it is possible, though unlikely, to decouple economic and government growth. It would involve cutting taxes from the bottom up, where the need for tax relief is highest. And, at the same time, cutting spending on domestic, discretionary spending, where the benefits are least concentrated and least numerous. Can you envision a march on Washington over a 5% cut in the Department of Commerce?

Still, Cowen’s point about focusing on liberty and not as much on regulation inserts a dynamic into the calculation that is long overdue.

-Robert Capozzi

Posted by RobertCapozzi at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2007

The Movement

Brian Doherty has a great article on Cato Unbound about the history of the libertarian movement and where it is going.

I could not agree more with his suggestion that we take a libertarian approach to the movement and not think that "our way" is the only way. I believe that being a "free liberal" means respecting the rights of others to pursue liberty as they see fit, even while I have my own preferred vision. Moreover, there is a tremendous amount we can learn from others' approaches, as well as succesful and failed programs from the past.

Doherty paints a picture of a rich libertarian movement, of which anyone should be proud to be a member. This reminds us that as thinkers and actors in the policy arena, we are not separate from our cause, and the strange and beautiful situations and people we encouter make our lives what they are. Free liberals and libertarians should appreciate the quality of people in our movement, even when we disagree.

When my reading stack gets a little lighter, I will be picking up a copy of his book. Also, I've added a category for this sort of discussion on Free for All, "The Freedomnista Movment."


Posted by KevinRollins at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

Free-for-all (frfr-ôl) -- n. A disorderly fight, argument, or competition in which everyone present participates.