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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Lincoln Movie: A Libertarian Review 

By C.J. Engle
The Liberty Crier
Nov. 26, 201

As I walked away from the movie, an older man behind me whispered to his friend: “that movie should have come out ten years ago.  What a needed story for our time.”  Needed? I’m not so sure.  But the timing was impeccable.  With the recent talk of frustrated citizens storming the White House petition website demanding the allowance of secession, perhaps this movie, which portrayed the closest the United States has ever come to a break up, was reinforcement of “unity above principle.”  A disturbing political tendency that haunts our current political climate.  Uniting” together as one nation in “times of trouble” has been the public goal of leaders, not only in the American narrative, but throughout countries worldwide, including and especially those countries considered to be overseen by tyrannical or dictatorial leaderships.
The Lincoln movie was everything I expected it to be and more.  Lousy historical scholarship, a sense of positive bubbling emotion for one of our country’s worst presidents, and a praiseworthy cast.  Tommy Lee Jones was outstanding as a supporting actor and, in my opinion, stole the show.  Sally Fields too did well in portraying the wife of President Lincoln, a role that demanded her to be a frustrated and constantly ill woman, full of contradicting and bi polar emotions.  Of course Daniel Day-Lewis was a spectacular choice for the seemingly depressed, yet always thoughtful President who faced a unique crisis in American history.  One might have been left, at the end of the two and a half hour movie, feeling rather frustrated with the South and their ever-so-racist ways.  But glad with all the hard work that Lincoln did in his second term on behalf of the slavery issue.
Unfortunately however, history tells a different tale about the Lincoln we have learned to cherish in our propaganda ridden secular schools.  Lincoln, according to Thomas Dilorenzo, was a master politician. Murray Rothbard described a politician as a liar, conniver, and manipulator.
In 1832, Lincoln begins his career as a politician with a bang, saying things like:
“I presume you all know who I am. I am humble Abraham Lincoln. I have been solicited by many friends to become a candidate for the legislature. My politics are short and sweet, like the old woman’s dance. I am in favor of a national bank…in favor of the internal improvements system and a high protective tariff.”
Central banking, corporate welfare, high taxation; portrayed as an “old woman’s dance.”  The perfect and masterful politician indeed.
What of his views on slavery?  In Lincoln the Racist, Dilorenzo, shows that Lincoln was “a man of his time,” that is, he consistently stated his belief that blacks are “inferior,” not to be seen as “socially and politically equal,” unqualified to “intermarry with white people” or “hold office,” and perhaps saddest of all, that “America was made for the White people and not for the Negroes.”  A very different portrait than the Lincoln of Hollywood who went out of his way to talk to the black soldiers and the black maid that worked in the White House.  Lincoln at one point in the movie said, “Slavery bothered me as long as I could remember.”  Yet historically, we have only indication of the opposite sentiment.
For more on the real Lincoln, see DiLorenzo hereherehere, and here.  See Chris Rossini here.  For the real causes of the Civil War, see herehere, and here.
One of the most important aspects of the theatrical emotion that was stirred by the modern capabilities of contemporary cinema was the yearning that the audience had to see Lincoln succeed.  This dangerous ability that movies have on the citizen’s understanding of history has been utilized time and again.  At one time fiction novels such as Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle persuaded the people.  Now it is movies.  Take a child without an opinion into the movie Lincoln, and out he will come with a new childhood hero and favorite president.
The entire movie was one big thrust for a new era of Lincoln worshippers.  For those of us who have already discovered and developed our opinions on the big-government, big spending, high taxing, anti-Constitution President Lincoln, there were a wonderful number of opportunities to practice the skillful act of eye-rolling.  For instance, Hollywood Lincoln’s drive and passion for peace is laughable.  On the contrary, whereas the South desired peaceful secession, Lincoln gave them an ultimatum: rejoin the Union or suffer Union attacks.  Lincoln’s dream of a consolidated Federal Government (which he was successful in achieving) was the primary reason the south wanted out, and the primary reason Lincoln needed a war to keep them in.  Slavery was never the focus.
At one point in the movie, Lincoln expresses the reason behind his emancipation proclamation as a military-time order.  He says that he was not sure if such a power was constitutional, but since he needed the power, he took it.  Such is the nature of the Lincoln presidency as a whole.  From banishing a congressman who disagreed with him (and exiling him to Canada) to closing down newspapers (destroying the freedom of the press) to suspending the writ of habeas corpus (by setting up military tribunals) to enacting a “boots on the ground” campaign in the peaceful South, it seems that in many ways, when Lincoln needed a power that was not granted to him by the Constitution, he grabbed at it.  Rule of law?  Not in Lincoln’s world.
For a split second in one scene, there was a portrait of President Andrew Jackson on the wall.  This man, a stalwart of the Old Jeffersonian Democrats, was everything Lincoln was not.  Anti-central bank, anti tariffs, and pro State’s rights.  I find it amusing that, not only was Jackson hanging there in Lincoln’s office, but just less than a half hour later, two people collide and a number of “Greenbacks” (Lincoln’s paper money) fall to the ground.  Jackson would have been fuming.  He had killed the bank.  Lincoln gave it a new life.
The southern “traitors” and “rebels” were portrayed as bitter racists.  Perhaps they were.  Not all of them mind you, but racism in the south, just like in the north, was a sad reality of the day.  But while this was so, it is harmful to today’s liberty movement that when the case for “natural law” was declared in the House of Representatives during the movie, it was used as a defense against the freedom of the black man.  Connecting racism with natural law theory is a distortion of not only the admirable theory, but also of history.  One can only think of the abolitionist natural law theorist Lysander Spooner who, while bitterly against the concept of slavery, was also consistently an opponent of the Presidency of Abe Lincoln and Lincoln’s war.
The movie was largely centered around the passage of the thirteenth amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States.  This is important to note because Lincoln’s famous Emancipation Proclamation actually freed nobody as it only applied to those specific areas that had declared secession.  The “proclamation” was actually so specific that it exempted those southern places that were under union control.  In other words, the Emancipation Proclamation effectively did nothing.  Except perhaps later gave ammo to historians a hundred years later in their fictional tales of Lincoln as liberator.  Even so, with the movie giving legitimacy to the unfounded notion that Lincoln was a warrior on behalf of the 13th amendment, history again was distorted.  Lincoln had opposed passage of the 13th amendment for long into his career, until northern abolitionists were able to twist the political arm of Lincoln so that he would support their efforts.  Lincoln was not a 13th amendment supporter.
In a correspondence with General Lee of the South, Lord Acton, the famous Catholic philosopher (“power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”) noted this:
Without presuming to decide the purely legal question, on which it seems evident to me from Madison’s and Hamilton’s papers that the Fathers of the Constitution were not agreed, I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy.”
The war was over the Southern right to secede and the Southern right to nullify Union laws.  Lincoln wanted a stronger Federal Government.  The South said “no” and left.  Lincoln would hear nothing of it.  He was the first President of the newly formed Republican Party, which was the resurrection of the nationalist Whig party, the crusaders on behalf of Henry Clay’s “American System” (centralization, protectionism, and mercantilism).  
Today, Lincoln is paraded as a hero of the abolitionist movement.  But not only was Lincoln no abolitionist, the slavery issue was secondary to that of the rights of States to determine their own way.  But in this post-Lincoln world of ever increasing centralization and power grabbing, Lincoln must be seen as a hero.  And anybody advocating for a strict reading of the tenth amendment must be rendered both a racist and an anti-American.  A rebel, as it were.
But maybe the true rebels are those who refuse to honor the American way of private property and the rights of the States to secede if DC becomes too tyrannical.  Maybe Lincoln was the rebel.  The progressive.  The one who had no business doing what he did and starting a war to get his way.
But alas, the American society praises him and continues to pay tribute to a dictator.
Was the man behind me in the theater correct in saying that this movie was “needed?”  I don’t think so.  The Lincoln myth was set in stone long ago.  The viewers did not need more Lincoln propaganda thrown their way in order to support the status quo.
It was a decent and entertaining movie.  I liked the political humor and the characterizations of the congressional battles.  It held my interests.  But do your homework before and after.  Lest you too become enthralled by the emotion of Hollywood Lincoln.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

An American Moral Crisis: Gizmodo Talks Drones with Dennis Kucinich 

By Sam Biddle
Nov. 20, 201

There's Foxconn, there's torrented TV shows, there's patent bickering. But for the use of right and wrong in technology, there's one question that supersedes all others: Should our country be killing ordinary people with robotic soldiers in the sky?
I sat down with Congressman Dennis Kucinich after a briefing on UAV warfare. He makes an argument—one that's hard to shrug off—that lethal drones aren't just bad foreign policy, but one of the greatest ethical failings of our time. "We are shredding our Constitution," he says, about as gravely as you can expect a member of Congress to say those words. His head moves between his shoulders and his hands, and he fiddles with a small laminated map of the Middle East. We need to think about how we're killing.
Congressman Kucinich is sitting in a back room of his 4th floor HQ in the Rayburn Congressional Office Building. His head is palmed, kneading wrinkles, small eyes closed gently. There's a container of rice for lunch from the basement cafeteria that he's told me he won't touch until we're through talking. He's spent this morning leading a public panel briefing on drone warfare—the first of its kind ever convened on Capitol Hill—and now we're going to talk about drones a bit more. The laminated map under his hands is held down on the table between us by a glass paperweight with a three-dimensional laser-etched dove inside, bouncing the littlest sun rays across the room.
An American Moral Crisis: Gizmodo Talks Drones with Dennis Kucinich
It's easy to forget sometimes, but here's the world we're living in: over the past several years, the United States has conducted hundreds of drone strikes under the secret authority of the CIA—which is accountable to no one—resulting in the deaths of several thousand people. These people are killed based on a process that creates a secret list that is disclosed to no one outside of the intelligence community elite, and executed via flying robots, which track humans from above and then blow up them up with Hellfire missiles in the sovereign territory of other countries.
According to members of the panel selected by Kucinich's office, the CIA frequently engages in the practice of "double tapping"—firing a second Hellfire volley after the initial blast, often killing emergency workers and first responders, and clearly violating international law. Reports of CIA targeting "chips" were also mentioned, a shadowy practice wherein the CIA distributes tracking chips to lock in Hellfire strikes, presumably planted on suspicious targets by trusted local informants. Increasingly, though, the panel reported, the chips are now used as a black market currency, allowing tribal Pakistanis to buy an assassination against, say, a local foe, courtesy of the American taxpayer.
Even if the chips are nothing more than a rumor, the mere thought of them, researchers say, has been enough to bloat distrust and paranoia within drone-hunted regions. It's not hard to imagine why.
So how do the American people get out of the dark? What can be done about a CIA that's an unstoppable, untouchable, robotic judge, robotic jury, and robotic, missile-firing executioner?
Kucinich: Congress [must] reclaim the power of the Constitution which it has ceded by its inaction. The use of this technology has put us in a whole new world. Whether that [drone operator] has personally transgressed the territory of another nation is irrelevant, because that is a US drone and it has violated the international airspace of another country. It commits acts of aggression against foreign nationals. It unleashes acts of war abroad without Congress' knowledge or consent. The Constitution Article I was written to have the capacity to adapt to an undreamed of future—it encompassed the thought that the world would change. But there are certain principles in that Constitution that are timeless: No person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
An American Moral Crisis: Gizmodo Talks Drones with Dennis Kucinich
Gizmodo: How is that control reclaimed from the CIA with no cooperation on their part?
Kucinich: It is an appropriate time for the historic mission of the CIA to be reviewed. The CIA does best when it focuses on intelligence gathering. We have had spy planes in the past, it's nothing new. Surveillance is one thing, armed aggression is something else. The CIA should not be involved in any matter which would put it as a second army. It's very dangerous. It's dangerous constitutionally. And it's dangerous in terms of mistakes being made for which there is no transparency or accountability. Combat roles are most appropriately fulfilled by members of the armed forces who are trained in that. One thing is that Congress made need to do is legislatively delineate the role of the CIA, with respect to the use of combat drones themselves.
Congress needs to specifically remind the executive branch that it reserves the right to determine whether or not any offensive weapons should be used within any country for any reason. George Bush may have thought that the authorization for the use of military force was a blank check for the global war on terror. Perhaps there are people in the Obama administration who think the same thing. But it was not, it was specific, it was to respond to the attacks of 9/11, it was not a blank check for war forever. So Congress needs to remind the administration that it cannot wage war with abandon, it cannot continue to expose the United States to counter attacks in the form of increased terrorism attacks which will inevitably come as a result of the free hand that this administration would take in waging war abroad.
An American Moral Crisis: Gizmodo Talks Drones with Dennis Kucinich
Gizmodo: Do you think this technology has come out of the box too much to be rolled back?
Kucinich: No, not at all! It isn't a question of whether the technology is so far out of the box that we can't roll it back, the question is have we put the Constitution in a box and buried it. That's the question.
Gizmodo: So you would support the use of drone surveillance cases under appropriate oversight?
Kucinich: Look, we have to distinguish between surveillance and armed aggression. And there is an obvious difference. The CIA's appropriate role is gather information. Information gathering necessarily will involve a certain degree of surveillance. Subject to laws, not freehand, but subject to laws.
But as I said in our hearing if Congress doesn't claim its authority is just conjectural what the penalties are for someone violating the Constitution. Congress must reclaim it. This is the problem here.
Gizmodo: Do you think there is support within Congress to delineate [the CIA's proper role]?
Kucinich: Yeah, I think it's bipartisan. I think that's part of what emerged in our debate over Libya. Members were aware of our Article I failings. We haven't properly claimed Congress' fundamental role that was laid out very closely by the founders. So here we are, hundreds of years after the passage of the Constitution. We are still looking at "Does it apply?" Of course it applies. "Should we be demanding accountability?" You bet we should. Look, the drones are getting smaller and smaller and the legal capacity will become more and more pronounced. Miniaturization, even nanotechnology comes into play here. We can never be in position where a development of technology outstrips our humanity, outstrips our fundamental human rights, outstrips our Constitution. We should be thinking in terms of technology for peace. We should be thinking in terms of technology for world unity, for human cooperation, for the survival of our species. Not to use the beautiful mechanisms of the human mind to develop more and more ingenious ways to kill people.
An American Moral Crisis: Gizmodo Talks Drones with Dennis Kucinich
Gizmodo: How do we reorient ourselves as a technological society out of new and faster and better ways to kill?
Kucinich: When you can go faster and higher, it's a greater responsibility. Unfortunately we see less and less responsibility involved. It should have profound responsibility. But unfortunately speed and distance and altitude separate us from responsibility. The fact that somebody could be thousands of miles away and be operating a joystick as if it were a video game, surveiling an individual group of people and begin to arm the drone and lock in a target 10,000 miles away and push the button and a missile is launched that ends a human life or lives.
An American Moral Crisis: Gizmodo Talks Drones with Dennis Kucinich
Gizmodo: What do you think that does to our humanity, as a country that wages war that way?
Kucinich: It is not just a target that is obliterated, it is our own humanity. So we are moving into a world and creating a time and space which may become post-human. Food that's genetically engineered. Robots that fights wars. A surveillance society that gathers pieces of information and stores them for use at a later date. Cloning. Alfred North Whitehead once wrote that the greatest technological advances of mankind are processes that all but destroy the societies in which they occur. We have to make sure that we are able to control our inventions. We cannot be in a situation where they become more important than we are. We have to recognize that they are externalities, not intrinsic. We have to understand that there is a moral equation that has to be met. You have to realize that while technology can sometimes have a neutral application, if a technology is being applied in a situation where it is decidedly not neutral we have responsibility. There is a moral responsibly. The question is not whether the technology is moral or not but if we are moral, because we are using it.
So we have an opportunity for tremendous technological advancement. And we shouldn't be afraid of it. Be we have to also control it. And we have to be ready to apply a moral measure to what we are creating so that we are aware at all times of how things are used and how they can be misused. And then we have to make a decision. Do we want to create this? It's not that just that because you can create something, you do. The question is, is this something we should be creating given the impact it can have on the world. We have to think about those things. We have to think about our creations. This power to create: it's a profoundly human power. Its godlike: the power to create.
Gizmodo: Well this seems something that goes beyond legislation. It's the fabric of ourselves.
Kucinich: Absolutely. This is a deeply philosophical question. Congress is not a place where there is much discussion of philosophy. It's a discussion of means and ends. But the backdrops must always be philosophical and moral. In a post-9/11 world we've jettisoned a lot of those concerns out of fear. And that's interesting because it's fear that excites the lower limbic system. The lower limbic system is part of our evolutionary past. And we have to get in touch with our higher intellectual coordinates that come from an evolutionary path of new engineers and not simply be excited at the lower levels of fight or flight. We really are called upon to achieve a new level of our humanity. To evolve. To be more than we are and better than we are. And not simply be locked into a place where we are groping in the darkness trying to grasp the contours of our own creations.
An American Moral Crisis: Gizmodo Talks Drones with Dennis Kucinich
Gizmodo: I wonder though how we could have a reflection like that when so much is obscured from the public.
Well its being less obscured now because people are talking about it. People are writing about it. People are reporting on it. And the more that happens and the more that's exposed people have to say "Well yeah." Americans need to be given a chance to reflect.
Gizmodo: I have a hypothetical for you. I'm sure you are aware of the video that was posted on YouTube of the Hamas assassination. The helicopter attack. It reached two million views and was put up there in a bragging way "Look who we killed." Which a lot of people found off-putting. Do you think we might be in a different situation of drones in American society if that footage were made public? If we had to confront the scenes of people we killed?
Kucinich: Well you know that's why this question of the Apple drone app becomes important. It would be interesting if people could actually come to understand what's happening here. This isn't stagecraft. This is bloodlust. That's nothing new under the sun really. If you were to read Beowulf you'll see that there was a concept of war guilt. Necessarily it involves seeking retaliation for somebody who kills one of your own. The Old Testament, an eye for an eye really meant measure for a measure. Now were seeing a disequilibrium in the use of force. We are really at a point where non-symmetrical attacks are going to becomes dispersed as people seek revenge for the loss of their loved ones and family. You have to realize these consequences for what we are doing. They may not be felt for this Congress, this administration or even in this decade—but they will be felt. For every action there is a reaction. There is just no way to get around it. When we act we have to encompass what the reaction will be. Otherwise we are adrift.
An American Moral Crisis: Gizmodo Talks Drones with Dennis Kucinich

The Obama administration isn't going to budge a micron when it comes to the business of secret robot killing. The CIA is, well, the CIA—secret killing is its bread and butter. But the tragedy of people who either shrug, "Drones, sure"—or don't even know the campaigns happen—is a massive one. Our America is one ignorant of its robot war, the most advanced, secretive, and concerning in military history. Humans have simply never killed each other this way before. And it's too secret for us to know almost anything about.
But the notion of inscrutable extrajudicial death from above rubs you the wrong way, talk about it. Think about it. Tell someone else about it. Argue about it. Disagree with me. Disagree with Congressman Kucinich. Maybe you don't find CIA drone strikes disturbing. But to conduct a war by tiny robots and put it out of mind, silent, like a bad spring break? That's something that should make us all ill.
Photos via USAF, Dronestagram, Gary Williams/Getty

Thursday, November 22, 2012

How Free Speech Died on Campus 
A young activist describes how universities became the most authoritarian institutions in America

By Sohrab Ahmari
The Wall Street Journal Interview
Nov. 16, 2012

At Yale University, you can be prevented from putting an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote on your T-shirt. At Tufts, you can be censured for quoting certain passages from the Quran. Welcome to the most authoritarian institution in America: the modern university—"a bizarre, parallel dimension," as Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, calls it.

Mr. Lukianoff, a 38-year-old Stanford Law grad, has spent the past decade fighting free-speech battles on college campuses. The latest was last week at Fordham University, where President Joseph McShane scolded College Republicans for the sin of inviting Ann Coulter to speak.

"To say that I am disappointed with the judgment and maturity of the College Republicans . . . would be a tremendous understatement," Mr. McShane said in a Nov. 9 statement condemning the club's invitation to the caustic conservative pundit. He vowed to "hold out great contempt for anyone who would intentionally inflict pain on another human being because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or creed."

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To be clear, Mr. McShane didn't block Ms. Coulter's speech, but he said that her presence would serve as a "test" for Fordham. A day later, the students disinvited Ms. Coulter. Mr. McShane then praised them for having taken "responsibility for their decisions" and expressing "their regrets sincerely and eloquently."

Mr. Lukianoff says that the Fordham-Coulter affair took campus censorship to a new level: "This was the longest, strongest condemnation of a speaker that I've ever seen in which a university president also tried to claim that he was defending freedom of speech."

I caught up with Mr. Lukianoff at New York University in downtown Manhattan, where he was once targeted by the same speech restrictions that he has built a career exposing. Six years ago, a student group at the university invited him to participate in a panel discussion about the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that had sparked violent rioting by Muslims across the world.

When Muslim students protested the event, NYU threatened to close the panel to the public if the offending cartoons were displayed. The discussion went on—without the cartoons. Instead, the student hosts displayed a blank easel, registering their own protest.

"The people who believe that colleges and universities are places where we want less freedom of speech have won," Mr. Lukianoff says. "If anything, there should be even greater freedom of speech on college campuses. But now things have been turned around to give campus communities the expectation that if someone's feelings are hurt by something that is said, the university will protect that person. As soon as you allow something as vague as Big Brother protecting your feelings, anything and everything can be punished."

You might say Greg Lukianoff was born to fight college censorship. With his unruly red hair and a voice given to booming, he certainly looks and sounds the part. His ethnically Irish, British-born mother moved to America during the 1960s British-nanny fad, while his Russian father came from Yugoslavia to study at the University of Wisconsin. Russian history, Mr. Lukianoff says, "taught me about the worst things that can happen with good intentions."

Growing up in an immigrant neighborhood in Danbury, Conn., sharpened his views. When "you had so many people from so many different backgrounds, free speech made intuitive sense," Mr. Lukianoff recalls. "In every genuinely diverse community I've ever lived in, freedom of speech had to be the rule. . . . I find it deeply ironic that on college campuses diversity is used as an argument against unbridled freedom of speech."

After graduating from Stanford, where he specialized in First Amendment law, he joined the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an organization co-founded in 1999 by civil-rights lawyer Harvey Silverglate and Alan Charles Kors, a history professor at the University of Pennsylvania, to counter the growing but often hidden threats to free speech in academia. FIRE's tactics include waging publicity campaigns intended to embarrass college administrators into dropping speech-related disciplinary charges against individual students, or reversing speech-restricting policies. When that fails, FIRE often takes its cases to court, where it tends to prevail.

Zina Saunders

In his new book, "Unlearning Liberty," Mr. Lukianoff notes that baby-boom Americans who remember the student protests of the 1960s tend to assume that U.S. colleges are still some of the freest places on earth. But that idealized university no longer exists. It was wiped out in the 1990s by administrators, diversity hustlers and liability-management professionals, who were often abetted by professors committed to political agendas.

"What's disappointing and rightfully scorned," Mr. Lukianoff says, "is that in some cases the very professors who were benefiting from the free-speech movement turned around to advocate speech codes and speech zones in the 1980s and '90s."

Today, university bureaucrats suppress debate with anti-harassment policies that function as de facto speech codes. FIRE maintains a database of such policies on its website, and Mr. Lukianoff's book offers an eye-opening sampling. What they share is a view of "harassment" so broad and so removed from its legal definition that, Mr. Lukianoff says, "literally every student on campus is already guilty."

At Western Michigan University, it is considered harassment to hold a "condescending sex-based attitude." That just about sums up the line "I think of all Harvard men as sissies" (from F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1920 novel "This Side of Paradise"), a quote that was banned at Yale when students put it on a T-shirt. Tufts University in Boston proscribes the holding of "sexist attitudes," and a student newspaper there was found guilty of harassment in 2007 for printing violent passages from the Quran and facts about the status of women in Saudi Arabia during the school's "Islamic Awareness Week."

At California State University in Chico, it was prohibited until recently to engage in "continual use of generic masculine terms such as to refer to people of both sexes or references to both men and women as necessarily heterosexual." Luckily, there is no need to try to figure out what the school was talking about—the prohibition was removed earlier this year after FIRE named it as one of its two "Speech Codes of the Year" in 2011.

At Northeastern University, where I went to law school, it is a violation of the Internet-usage policy to transmit any message "which in the sole judgment" of administrators is "annoying."

Conservatives and libertarians are especially vulnerable to such charges of harassment. Even though Mr. Lukianoff's efforts might aid those censorship victims, he hardly counts himself as one of them: He says that he is a lifelong Democrat and a "passionate believer" in gay marriage and abortion rights. And free speech. "If you're going to get in trouble for an opinion on campus, it's more likely for a socially conservative opinion."

Consider the two students at Colorado College who were punished in 2008 for satirizing a gender-studies newsletter. The newsletter had included boisterous references to "male castration," "feminist porn" and other unprintable matters. The satire, published by the "Coalition of Some Dudes," tamely discussed "chainsaw etiquette" ("your chainsaw is not an indoor toy") and offered quotations from Teddy Roosevelt and The college found the student satirists guilty of "the juxtaposition of weaponry and sexuality."

"Even when we win our cases," says Mr. Lukianoff, "the universities almost never apologize to the students they hurt or the faculty they drag through the mud." Brandeis University has yet to withdraw a 2007 finding of racial harassment against Prof. Donald Hindley for explaining the origins of "wetback" in a Latin-American Studies course. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis apologized to a janitor found guilty of harassment—for reading a book celebrating the defeat of the Ku Klux Klan in the presence of two black colleagues—but only after protests by FIRE and an op-ed in these pages by Dorothy Rabinowitz.

What motivates college administrators to act so viciously? "It's both self-interest and ideological commitment," Mr. Lukianoff says. On the ideological front, "it's almost like you flip a switch, and these administrators, who talk so much about treating every student with dignity and compassion, suddenly come to see one student as a caricature of societal evil."

Administrative self-interest is also at work. "There's been this huge expansion in the bureaucratic class at universities," Mr. Lukianoff explains. "They passed the number of people involved in instruction sometime around 2006. So you get this ever-renewing crop of administrators, and their jobs aren't instruction but to police student behavior. In the worst cases, they see it as their duty to intervene on students' deepest beliefs."

Consider the University of Delaware, which in fall 2007 instituted an ideological orientation for freshmen. The "treatment," as the administrators called it, included personal interviews that probed students' private lives with such questions as: "When did you discover your sexual identity?" Students were taught in group sessions that the term racist "applies to all white people" while "people of color cannot be racists." Once FIRE spotlighted it, the university dismantled the program.

Yet in March 2012, Kathleen Kerr, the architect of the Delaware program, was elected vice president of the American College Personnel Association, the professional group of university administrators.

A 2010 survey by the American Association of Colleges and Universities found that of 24,000 college students, only 35.6% strongly agreed that "it is safe to hold unpopular views on campus." When the question was asked of 9,000 campus professionals—who are more familiar with the enforcement end of the censorship rules—only 18.8% strongly agreed.

Mr. Lukianoff thinks all of this should alarm students, parents and alumni enough to demand change: "If just a handful more students came in knowing what administrators are doing at orientation programs, with harassment codes, or free-speech zones—if students knew this was wrong—we could really change things."

The trouble is that students are usually intimidated into submission. "The startling majority of students don't bother. They're too concerned about their careers, too concerned about their grades, to bother fighting back," he says. Parents and alumni dismiss free-speech restrictions as something that only happens to conservatives, or that will never affect their own children.

"I make the point that this is happening, and even if it's happening to people you don't like, it's a fundamental violation of what the university means," says Mr. Lukianoff. "Free speech is about protecting minority rights. Free speech is about admitting you don't know everything. Free speech is about protecting oddballs. It means protecting dissenters."

It even means letting Ann Coulter speak.

Mr. Ahmari is an assistant books editor at the Journal.

A version of this article appeared November 17, 2012, on page A15 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: How Free Speech Died on Campus.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Ron Paul’s farewell address to Congress 

by Matthew Hawes
Campaign for Liberty
November 14, 2014

This may well be the last time I speak on the House Floor.  At the end of the year I’ll leave Congress after 23 years in office over a 36 year period.  My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today:  to promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty.
It was my opinion, that the course the U.S. embarked on in the latter part of the 20th Century would bring us a major financial crisis and engulf us in a foreign policy that would overextend us and undermine our national security.
To achieve the goals I sought, government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable costs of policing the world and expanding the American Empire.
The problems seemed to be overwhelming and impossible to solve, yet from my view point, just following the constraints placed on the federal government by the Constitution would have been a good place to start.
How Much Did I Accomplish?
In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little.  No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways—thank goodness.  In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues.  Wars are constant and pursued without Congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant and dependency on the federal government is now worse than any time in our history.
All this with minimal concerns for the deficits and unfunded liabilities that common sense tells us cannot go on much longer.  A grand, but never mentioned, bipartisan agreement allows for the well-kept secret that keeps the spending going. 

One side doesn’t give up one penny on military spending, the other side doesn’t give up one penny on welfare spending, while both sides support the bailouts and subsidies for the banking and  corporate elite.  And the spending continues as the economy weakens and the downward spiral continues.   As the government continues fiddling around, our liberties and our wealth burn in the flames of a foreign policy that makes us less safe.
The major stumbling block to real change in Washington is the total resistance to admitting that the country is broke. This has made compromising, just to agree to increase spending, inevitable since neither side has any intention of cutting spending.
The country and the Congress will remain divisive since there’s no “loot left to divvy up.”
Without this recognition the spenders in Washington will continue the march toward a fiscal cliff much bigger than the one anticipated this coming January.
I have thought a lot about why those of us who believe in liberty, as a solution, have done so poorly in convincing others of its benefits.  If liberty is what we claim it is- the principle that protects all personal, social and economic decisions necessary for maximum prosperity and the best chance for peace- it should be an easy sell.  Yet, history has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled.
Authoritarianism vs. Liberty
If authoritarianism leads to poverty and war and less freedom for all individuals and is controlled by rich special interests, the people should be begging for liberty.  There certainly was a strong enough sentiment for more freedom at the time of our founding that motivated those who were willing to fight in the revolution against the powerful British government.
During my time in Congress the appetite for liberty has been quite weak; the understanding of its significance negligible.  Yet the good news is that compared to 1976 when I first came to Congress, the desire for more freedom and less government in 2012 is much greater and growing, especially in grassroots America. Tens of thousands of teenagers and college age students are, with great enthusiasm, welcoming the message of liberty.
I have a few thoughts as to why the people of a country like ours, once the freest and most prosperous, allowed the conditions to deteriorate to the degree that they have.
Freedom, private property, and enforceable voluntary contracts, generate wealth.  In our early history we were very much aware of this.  But in the early part of the 20th century our politicians promoted the notion that the tax and monetary systems had to change if we were to involve ourselves in excessive domestic and military spending. That is why Congress gave us the Federal Reserve and the income tax.  The majority of Americans and many government officials agreed that sacrificing some liberty was necessary to carry out what some claimed to be “progressive” ideas. Pure democracy became acceptable.
They failed to recognized that what they were doing was exactly opposite of what the colonists were seeking when they broke away from the British.
Some complain that my arguments makes no sense, since great wealth and the standard of living improved  for many Americans over the last 100 years, even with these new policies.
But the damage to the market economy, and the currency, has been insidious and steady.  It took a long time to consume our wealth, destroy the currency and undermine productivity and get our financial obligations to a point of no return. Confidence sometimes lasts longer than deserved. Most of our wealth today depends on debt.
The wealth that we enjoyed and seemed to be endless, allowed concern for the principle of a free society to be neglected.  As long as most people believed the material abundance would last forever, worrying about protecting a competitive productive economy and individual liberty seemed unnecessary.

The Age of Redistribution
This neglect ushered in an age of redistribution of wealth by government kowtowing to any and all special interests, except for those who just wanted to left alone.  That is why today money in politics far surpasses money currently going into research and development and productive entrepreneurial efforts.
The material benefits became more important than the understanding and promoting the principles of liberty and a free market.  It is good that material abundance is a result of liberty but if materialism is all that we care about, problems are guaranteed.
The crisis arrived because the illusion that wealth and prosperity would last forever has ended. Since it was based on debt and a pretense that debt can be papered over by an out-of-control fiat monetary system, it was doomed to fail.  We have ended up with a system that doesn’t produce enough even to finance the debt and no fundamental understanding of why a free society is crucial to reversing these trends.
If this is not recognized, the recovery will linger for a long time.  Bigger government, more spending, more debt, more poverty for the middle class, and a more intense scramble by the elite special interests will continue.

We Need an Intellectual Awakening
Without an intellectual awakening, the turning point will be driven by economic law.  A dollar crisis will bring the current out-of-control system to its knees.
If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties.  Prosperity for a large middle class though will become an abstract dream.
This continuous move is no different than what we have seen in how our financial crisis of 2008 was handled.  Congress first directed, with bipartisan support, bailouts for the wealthy.  Then it was the Federal Reserve with its endless quantitative easing. If at first it doesn’t succeed try again; QE1, QE2, and QE3 and with no results we try QE indefinitely—that is until it too fails.  There’s a cost to all of this and let me assure you delaying the payment is no longer an option.  The rules of the market will extract its pound of flesh and it won’t be pretty.
The current crisis elicits a lot of pessimism.  And the pessimism adds to less confidence in the future.  The two feed on themselves, making our situation worse.
If the underlying cause of the crisis is not understood we cannot solve our problems. The issues of warfare, welfare, deficits, inflationism, corporatism, bailouts and authoritarianism cannot be ignored.  By only expanding these policies we cannot expect good results.
Everyone claims support for freedom.  But too often it’s for one’s own freedom and not for others.  Too many believe that there must be limits on freedom. They argue that freedom must be directed and managed to achieve fairness and equality thus making it acceptable to curtail, through force, certain liberties.
Some decide what and whose freedoms are to be limited.  These are the politicians whose goal in life is power. Their success depends on gaining support from special interests.

No More ‘isms’
The great news is the answer is not to be found in more “isms.”  The answers are to be found in more liberty which cost so much less.  Under these circumstances spending goes down, wealth production goes up, and the quality of life improves.
Just this recognition—especially if we move in this direction—increases optimism which in itself is beneficial.  The follow through with sound policies are required which must be understood and supported by the people.
But there is good evidence that the generation coming of age at the present time is supportive of moving in the direction of more liberty and self-reliance. The more this change in direction and the solutions become known, the quicker will be the return of optimism.
Our job, for those of us who believe that a different system than the  one that we have  had for the  last 100 years, has driven us to this unsustainable crisis, is to be more convincing that there is a wonderful, uncomplicated, and moral system that provides the answers.  We had a taste of it in our early history. We need not give up on the notion of advancing this cause.
It worked, but we allowed our leaders to concentrate on the material abundance that freedom generates, while ignoring freedom itself.  Now we have neither, but the door is open, out of necessity, for an answer.  The answer available is based on the Constitution, individual liberty and prohibiting the use of government force to provide privileges and benefits to all special interests.
After over 100 years we face a society quite different from the one that was intended by the Founders.  In many ways their efforts to protect future generations with the Constitution from this danger has failed.  Skeptics, at the time the Constitution was written in 1787, warned us of today’s possible outcome.  The insidious nature of the erosion of our liberties and the reassurance our great abundance gave us, allowed the process to evolve into the dangerous period in which we now live.

Dependency on Government Largesse
Today we face a dependency on government largesse for almost every need.  Our liberties are restricted and government operates outside the rule of law, protecting and rewarding those who buy or coerce government into satisfying their demands. Here are a few examples:
  • Undeclared wars are commonplace.
  • Welfare for the rich and poor is considered an entitlement.
  • The economy is overregulated, overtaxed and grossly distorted by a deeply flawed monetary system.
  • Debt is growing exponentially.
  • The Patriot Act and FISA legislation passed without much debate have resulted in a steady erosion of our 4th Amendment rights.
  • Tragically our government engages in preemptive war, otherwise known as aggression, with no complaints from the American people.
  • The drone warfare we are pursuing worldwide is destined to end badly for us as the hatred builds for innocent lives lost and the international laws flaunted. Once we are financially weakened and militarily challenged, there will be a lot resentment thrown our way.
  • It’s now the law of the land that the military can arrest American citizens, hold them indefinitely, without charges or a trial.
  • Rampant hostility toward free trade is supported by a large number in Washington.
  • Supporters of sanctions, currency manipulation and WTO trade retaliation, call the true free traders “isolationists.”
  • Sanctions are used to punish countries that don’t follow our orders.
  • Bailouts and guarantees for all kinds of misbehavior are routine.
  • Central economic planning through monetary policy, regulations and legislative mandates has been an acceptable policy.

Excessive government has created such a mess it prompts many questions:
  • Why are sick people who use medical marijuana put in prison?
  • Why does the federal government restrict the drinking of raw milk?
  • Why can’t Americans manufacturer rope and other products from hemp?
  • Why are Americans not allowed to use gold and silver as legal tender as mandated by the Constitution?
  • Why is Germany concerned enough to consider repatriating their gold held by the FED for her in New York?  Is it that the trust in the U.S. and dollar supremacy beginning to wane?
  • Why do our political leaders believe it’s unnecessary to thoroughly audit our own gold?
  • Why can’t Americans decide which type of light bulbs they can buy?
  • Why is the TSA permitted to abuse the rights of any American traveling by air?
  • Why should there be mandatory sentences—even up to life for crimes without victims—as our drug laws require?
  • Why have we allowed the federal government to regulate commodes in our homes?
  • Why is it political suicide for anyone to criticize AIPAC ?
  • Why haven’t we given up on the drug war since it’s an obvious failure and violates the people’s rights? Has nobody noticed that the authorities can’t even keep drugs out of the prisons? How can making our entire society a prison solve the problem?
  • Why do we sacrifice so much getting needlessly involved in border disputes and civil strife around the world and ignore the root cause of the most deadly border in the world-the one between Mexico and the US?
  • Why does Congress willingly give up its prerogatives to the Executive Branch?
  • Why does changing the party in power never change policy? Could it be that the views of both parties are essentially the same?
  • Why did the big banks, the large corporations, and foreign banks and foreign central banks get bailed out in 2008 and the middle class lost their jobs and their homes?
  • Why do so many in the government and the federal officials believe that creating money out of thin air creates wealth?
  • Why do so many accept the deeply flawed principle that government bureaucrats and politicians can protect us from ourselves without totally destroying the principle of liberty?
  • Why can’t people understand that war always destroys wealth and liberty?
  • Why is there so little concern for the Executive Order that gives the President authority to establish a “kill list,” including American citizens, of those targeted for assassination?
  • Why is patriotism thought to be blind loyalty to the government and the politicians who run it, rather than loyalty to the principles of liberty and support for the people? Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it’s wrong.
  • Why is it is claimed that if people won’t  or can’t take care of their own needs, that people in government can do it for them?
  • Why did we ever give the government a safe haven for initiating violence against the people?
  • Why do some members defend free markets, but not civil liberties?
  • Why do some members defend civil liberties but not free markets? Aren’t they the same?
  • Why don’t more defend both economic liberty and personal liberty?
  • Why are there not more individuals who seek to intellectually influence others to bring about positive changes than those who seek power to force others to obey their commands?
  • Why does the use of religion to support a social gospel and preemptive wars, both of which requires authoritarians to use violence, or the threat of violence, go unchallenged? Aggression and forced redistribution of wealth has nothing to do with the teachings of the world great religions.
  • Why do we allow the government and the Federal Reserve to disseminate false information dealing with both economic and  foreign policy?
  • Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it’s the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority?
  • Why should anyone be surprised that Congress has no credibility, since there’s such a disconnect between what politicians say and what they do?
  • Is there any explanation for all the deception, the unhappiness, the fear of the future, the loss of confidence in our leaders, the distrust, the anger and frustration?   Yes there is, and there’s a way to reverse these attitudes.  The negative perceptions are logical and a consequence of bad policies bringing about our problems.  Identification of the problems and recognizing the cause allow the proper changes to come easy.

Trust Yourself, Not the Government
Too many people have for too long placed too much confidence and trust in government and not enough in themselves.  Fortunately, many are now becoming aware of the seriousness of the gross mistakes of the past several decades.  The blame is shared by both political parties.  Many Americans now are demanding to hear the plain truth of things and want the demagoguing to stop.  Without this first step, solutions are impossible.
Seeking the truth and finding the answers in liberty and self-reliance promotes the optimism necessary for restoring prosperity.  The task is not that difficult if politics doesn’t get in the way.
We have allowed ourselves to get into such a mess for various reasons.
Politicians deceive themselves as to how wealth is produced.  Excessive confidence is placed in the judgment of politicians and bureaucrats.  This replaces the confidence in a free society.  Too many in high places of authority became convinced that only they,   armed with arbitrary government power, can bring about fairness, while facilitating wealth production.  This always proves to be a utopian dream and destroys wealth and liberty.  It impoverishes the people and rewards the special interests who end up controlling both political parties.
It’s no surprise then that much of what goes on in Washington is driven by aggressive partisanship and power seeking, with philosophic differences being minor.

Economic Ignorance
Economic ignorance is commonplace.  Keynesianism continues to thrive, although today it is facing healthy and enthusiastic rebuttals.  Believers in military Keynesianism and domestic Keynesianism continue to desperately promote their failed policies, as the economy languishes in a deep slumber.
Supporters of all government edicts use humanitarian arguments to justify them.
Humanitarian arguments are always used to justify government mandates related to the economy, monetary policy, foreign policy, and personal liberty.  This is on purpose to make it more difficult to challenge.  But, initiating violence for humanitarian reasons is still violence.  Good intentions are no excuse and are just as harmful as when people use force with bad intentions.  The results are always negative.
The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems.  Sadly, many religious groups, secular organizations, and psychopathic authoritarians endorse government initiated force to change the world.  Even when the desired goals are well-intentioned—or especially when well-intentioned—the results are dismal.  The good results sought never materialize.  The new problems created require even more government force as a solution.  The net result is institutionalizing government initiated violence and morally justifying it on humanitarian grounds.
This is the same fundamental reason our government  uses force  for invading other countries at will, central economic planning at home, and the regulation of personal liberty and habits of our citizens.
It is rather strange, that unless one has a criminal mind and no respect for other people and their property, no one claims it’s permissible to go into one’s neighbor’s house and tell them how to behave, what they can eat, smoke and drink or how to spend their money.
Yet, rarely is it asked why it is morally acceptable that a stranger with a badge and a gun can do the same thing in the name of law and order.  Any resistance is met with brute force, fines, taxes, arrests, and even imprisonment. This is done more frequently every day without a proper search warrant.

No Government Monopoly over Initiating Violence
Restraining aggressive behavior is one thing, but legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society.  Permitting such authority and expecting saintly behavior from the bureaucrats and the politicians is a pipe dream.  We now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc. numbering over 100,000.  Citizens are guilty until proven innocent in the unconstitutional administrative courts.
Government in a free society should have no authority to meddle in social activities or the economic transactions of individuals. Nor should government meddle in the affairs of other nations. All things peaceful, even when controversial, should be permitted.
We must reject the notion of prior restraint in economic activity just we do in the area of free speech and religious liberty. But even in these areas government is starting to use a backdoor approach of political correctness to regulate speech-a dangerous trend. Since 9/11 monitoring speech on the internet is now a problem since warrants are no longer required.

The Proliferation of Federal Crimes
The Constitution established four federal crimes.  Today the experts can’t even agree on how many federal crimes are now on the books—they number into the thousands.  No one person can comprehend the enormity of the legal system—especially the tax code.  Due to the ill-advised drug war and the endless federal expansion of the criminal code we have over 6 million people under correctional suspension, more than the Soviets ever had, and more than any other nation today, including China.  I don’t understand the complacency of the Congress and the willingness to continue their obsession with passing more Federal laws.  Mandatory sentencing laws associated with drug laws have compounded our prison problems.
The federal register is now 75,000 pages long and the tax code has 72,000 pages, and expands every year.  When will the people start shouting, “enough is enough,” and demand Congress cease and desist.

Achieving Liberty
Liberty can only be achieved when government is denied the aggressive use of force.  If one seeks liberty, a precise type of government is needed.  To achieve it, more than lip service is required.
Two choices are available.
  1. A government designed to protect liberty—a natural right—as its sole objective.  The people are expected to care for themselves and reject the use of any force for interfering with another person’s liberty.  Government is given a strictly limited authority to enforce contracts, property ownership, settle disputes, and defend against foreign aggression.
  2. A government that pretends to protect liberty but is granted power to arbitrarily use force over the people and foreign nations.  Though the grant of power many times is meant to be small and limited, it inevitably metastasizes into an omnipotent political cancer.  This is the problem for which the world has suffered throughout the ages.  Though meant to be limited it nevertheless is a 100% sacrifice of a principle that would-be-tyrants find irresistible.  It is used vigorously—though incrementally and insidiously.  Granting power to government officials always proves the adage that:  “power corrupts.”
Once government gets a limited concession for the use of force to mold people habits and plan the economy, it causes a steady move toward tyrannical government.  Only a revolutionary spirit can reverse the process and deny to the government this arbitrary use of aggression.  There’s no in-between.  Sacrificing a little liberty for imaginary safety always ends badly.
Today’s mess is a result of Americans accepting option #2, even though the Founders attempted to give us Option #1.
The results are not good.  As our liberties have been eroded our wealth has been consumed.  The wealth we see today is based on debt and a foolish willingness on the part of foreigners to take our dollars for goods and services. They then loan them back to us to perpetuate our debt system.  It’s amazing that it has worked for this long but the impasse in Washington, in solving our problems indicate that many are starting to understand the seriousness of the world -wide debt crisis and the dangers we face. The longer this process continues the harsher the outcome will be.

The Financial Crisis Is a Moral Crisis
Many are now acknowledging that a financial crisis looms but few understand it’s, in reality, a moral crisis.  It’s the moral crisis that has allowed our liberties to be undermined and permits the exponential growth of illegal government power.  Without a clear understanding of the nature of the crisis it will be difficult to prevent a steady march toward tyranny and the poverty that will accompany it.
Ultimately, the people have to decide which form of government they want; option #1 or option #2.  There is no other choice.  Claiming there is a choice of a “little” tyranny is like describing pregnancy as a “touch of pregnancy.”  It is a myth to believe that a mixture of free markets and government central economic planning is a worthy compromise.  What we see today is a result of that type of thinking.  And the results speak for themselves.

A Culture of Violence
American now suffers from a culture of violence.  It’s easy to reject the initiation of violence against one’s neighbor but it’s ironic that the people arbitrarily and freely anoint government officials with monopoly power to initiate violence against the American people—practically at will.
Because it’s the government that initiates force, most people accept it as being legitimate.  Those who exert the force have no sense of guilt.  It is believed by too many that governments are morally justified in initiating force supposedly to “do good.”  They incorrectly believe that this authority has come from the “consent of the people.”  The minority, or victims of government violence never consented to suffer the abuse of government mandates, even when dictated by the majority.  Victims of TSA excesses never consented to this abuse.
This attitude has given us a policy of initiating war to “do good,” as well. It is claimed that war, to prevent war for noble purposes, is justified.  This is similar to what we were once told that:  “destroying a village to save a village” was justified.  It was said by a US Secretary of State that the loss of 500,000 Iraqis, mostly children, in the 1990s, as a result of American bombs and sanctions, was “worth it” to achieve the “good” we brought to the Iraqi people.  And look at the mess that Iraq is in today.
Government use of force to mold social and economic behavior at home and abroad has justified individuals using force on their own terms.  The fact that violence by government is seen as morally justified, is the reason why violence will increase when the big financial crisis hits and becomes a political crisis as well.
First, we recognize that individuals shouldn’t initiate violence, then we give the authority to government.   Eventually, the immoral use of government violence, when things goes badly, will be used to justify an individual’s “right” to do the same thing. Neither the government nor individuals have the moral right to initiate violence against another yet we are moving toward the day when both will claim this authority.  If this cycle is not reversed society will break down.
When needs are pressing, conditions deteriorate and rights become relative to the demands and the whims of the majority.  It’s then not a great leap for individuals to take it upon themselves to use violence to get what they claim is theirs.  As the economy deteriorates and the wealth discrepancies increase—as are already occurring— violence increases as those in need take it in their own hands to get what they believe is theirs.  They will not wait for a government rescue program.
When government officials wield power over others to bail out the special interests, even with disastrous results to the average citizen, they feel no guilt for the harm they do. Those who take us into undeclared wars with many casualties resulting, never lose sleep over the death and destruction their bad decisions caused. They are convinced that what they do is morally justified, and the fact that many suffer   just can’t be helped.
When the street criminals do the same thing, they too have no remorse, believing they are only taking what is rightfully theirs.  All moral standards become relative.  Whether it’s bailouts, privileges, government subsidies or benefits for some from inflating a currency, it’s all part of a process justified by a philosophy of forced redistribution of wealth.  Violence, or a threat of such, is the instrument required and unfortunately is of little concern of most members of Congress.
Some argue it’s only a matter of “fairness” that those in need are cared for. There are two problems with this. First, the principle is used to provide a greater amount of benefits to the rich than the poor. Second, no one seems to be concerned about whether or not it’s fair to those who end up paying for the benefits. The costs are usually placed on the backs of the middle class and are hidden from the public eye. Too many people believe government handouts are free, like printing money out of thin air, and there is no cost. That deception is coming to an end. The bills are coming due and that’s what the economic slowdown is all about.
Sadly, we have become accustomed to living with the illegitimate use of force by government.  It is the tool for telling the people how to live, what to eat and drink, what to read and how to spend their money.
To develop a truly free society, the issue of initiating force must be understood and rejected.  Granting to government even a small amount of force is a dangerous concession.

Limiting Government Excesses vs. a Virtuous Moral People
Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed.  The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people.  The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.
Most politicians and pundits are aware of the problems we face but spend all their time in trying to reform government.  The sad part is that the suggested reforms almost always lead to less freedom and the importance of a virtuous and moral people is either ignored, or not understood. The new reforms serve only to further undermine liberty.  The compounding effect has given us this steady erosion of liberty and the massive expansion of debt.  The real question is: if it is liberty we seek, should most of the emphasis be placed on government reform or trying to understand what “a virtuous and moral people” means and how to promote it. The Constitution has not prevented the people from demanding handouts for both rich and poor in their efforts to reform the government, while ignoring the principles of a free society. All branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare/warfare state-and frequently their own wealth and power.
If the people are unhappy with the government performance it must be recognized that government is merely a reflection of an immoral society that rejected a moral government of constitutional limitations of power and love of freedom.
If this is the problem all the tinkering with thousands of pages of new laws and regulations will do nothing to solve the problem.
It is self-evident that our freedoms have been severely limited and the apparent prosperity we still have, is nothing more than leftover wealth from a previous time.  This fictitious wealth based on debt and benefits from a false trust in our currency and credit, will play havoc with our society when the bills come due.  This means that the full consequence of our lost liberties is yet to be felt.
But that illusion is now ending.  Reversing a downward spiral depends on accepting a new approach.
Expect the rapidly expanding homeschooling movement to play a significant role in the revolutionary reforms needed to build a free society with Constitutional protections. We cannot expect a Federal government controlled school system to provide the intellectual ammunition to combat the dangerous growth of government that threatens our liberties.
The internet will provide the alternative to the government/media complex that controls the news and most political propaganda. This is why it’s essential that the internet remains free of government regulation.
Many of our religious institutions and secular organizations support greater dependency on the state by supporting war, welfare and corporatism and ignore the need for a virtuous people.
I never believed that the world or our country could be made more free by politicians, if the people had no desire for freedom.
Under the current circumstances the most we can hope to achieve in the political process is to use it as a podium to reach the people to alert them of the nature of the crisis and the importance of their need to assume responsibility for themselves, if it is liberty that they truly seek.  Without this, a constitutionally protected free society is impossible.
If this is true, our individual goal in life ought to be for us to seek virtue and excellence and recognize that self-esteem and happiness only comes from using one’s natural ability, in the most productive manner possible, according to one’s own talents.
Productivity and creativity are the true source of personal satisfaction. Freedom, and not dependency, provides the environment needed to achieve these goals. Government cannot do this for us; it only gets in the way. When the government gets involved, the goal becomes a bailout or a subsidy and these cannot provide a sense of  personal achievement.
Achieving legislative power and political influence should not be our goal. Most of the change, if it is to come, will not come from the politicians, but rather from individuals, family, friends, intellectual leaders and our religious institutions.  The solution can only come from rejecting the use of coercion, compulsion, government commands, and aggressive force, to mold social and economic behavior.  Without accepting these restraints, inevitably the consensus will be to allow the government to mandate economic equality and obedience to the politicians who gain power and promote an environment that smothers the freedoms of everyone. It is then that the responsible individuals who seek excellence and self-esteem by being self-reliance and productive, become the true victims.

What are the greatest dangers that the American people face today and impede the goal of a free society? There are five.
1. The continuous attack on our civil liberties which threatens the rule of law and our ability to resist the onrush of tyranny.               
2. Violent anti-Americanism that has engulfed the world. Because the phenomenon of “blow-back” is not understood or denied, our foreign policy is destined to keep us involved in many wars that we have no business being in. National bankruptcy and a greater threat to our national security will result.                                                         
3. The ease in which we go to war, without a declaration by Congress, but accepting international authority from the UN or NATO even for preemptive wars, otherwise known as aggression.                                        
4. A financial political crisis as a consequence of excessive debt, unfunded liabilities, spending, bailouts, and gross discrepancy in wealth distribution going from the middle class to the rich. The danger of central economic planning, by the Federal Reserve must be understood.                                               
 5. World government taking over  local and US sovereignty by getting involved in the issues of war, welfare, trade, banking,  a world currency, taxes, property ownership, and private ownership of guns.
Happily, there is an answer for these very dangerous trends.                                                     
What a wonderful world it would be if everyone accepted the simple moral premise of rejecting all acts of aggression.  The retort to such a suggestion is always:  it’s too simplistic, too idealistic, impractical, naïve, utopian, dangerous, and unrealistic to strive for such an ideal.
The answer to that is that for thousands of years the acceptance of government force, to rule over the people, at the sacrifice of liberty, was considered moral and the only available option for achieving peace and prosperity.
What could be more utopian than that myth—considering the results especially looking at the state sponsored killing, by nearly every government during the 20th Century, estimated to be in the hundreds of millions.  It’s time to reconsider this grant of authority to the state.
No good has ever come from granting monopoly power to the state to use aggression against the people to arbitrarily mold human behavior.  Such power, when left unchecked, becomes the seed of an ugly tyranny.  This method of governance has been adequately tested, and the results are in: reality dictates we try liberty.
The idealism of non-aggression and rejecting all offensive use of force should be tried.  The idealism of government sanctioned violence has been abused throughout history and is the primary source of poverty and war.  The theory of a society being based on individual freedom has been around for a long time.  It’s time to take a bold step and actually permit it by advancing this cause, rather than taking a step backwards as some would like us to do.
Today the principle of habeas corpus, established when King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215, is under attack. There’s every reason to believe that a renewed effort with the use of the internet that we can instead advance the cause of liberty by spreading an uncensored message that will serve to rein in government authority and challenge the obsession with war and welfare.
What I’m talking about is a system of government guided by the moral principles of peace and tolerance.
The Founders were convinced that a free society could not exist without a moral people.  Just writing rules won’t work if the people choose to ignore them.  Today the rule of law written in the Constitution has little meaning for most Americans, especially those who work in Washington DC.
Benjamin Franklin claimed “only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”  John Adams concurred:  “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
A moral people must reject all violence in an effort to mold people’s beliefs or habits.
A society that boos or ridicules the Golden Rule is not a moral society.  All great religions endorse the Golden Rule.  The same moral standards that individuals are required to follow should apply to all government officials.  They cannot be exempt.
The ultimate solution is not in the hands of the government.
The solution falls on each and every individual, with guidance from family, friends and community.
The #1 responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow.  This is of greater importance than working on changing the government; that is secondary to promoting a virtuous society.  If we can achieve this, then the government will change.
It doesn’t mean that political action or holding office has no value. At times it does nudge policy in the right direction. But what is true is that when seeking office is done for personal aggrandizement, money or power, it becomes useless if not harmful. When political action is taken for the right reasons it’s easy to understand why compromise should be avoided. It also becomes clear why progress is best achieved by working with coalitions, which bring people together, without anyone sacrificing his principles.
Political action, to be truly beneficial, must be directed toward changing the hearts and minds of the people, recognizing that it’s the virtue and morality of the people that allow liberty to flourish.
The Constitution or more laws per se, have no value if the people’s attitudes aren’t changed.
To achieve liberty and peace, two powerful human emotions have to be overcome.  Number one is “envy” which leads to hate and class warfare.  Number two is “intolerance” which leads to bigoted and judgmental policies.  These emotions must be replaced with a much better understanding of love, compassion, tolerance and free market economics. Freedom, when understood, brings people together. When tried, freedom is popular.
The problem we have faced over the years has been that economic interventionists are swayed by envy, whereas social interventionists are swayed by intolerance of habits and lifestyles. The misunderstanding that tolerance is an endorsement of certain activities, motivates many to legislate moral standards which should only be set by individuals making their own choices. Both sides use force to deal with these misplaced emotions. Both are authoritarians. Neither endorses voluntarism.  Both views ought to be rejected.
I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out “the plain truth of things.”  The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people world-wide, is to pursue the cause of LIBERTY.
If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land.