Friday, June 28, 2013

Lew Rockwell and Bill Birnes on "Dr. Feelgood"

Lew Rockwell and author Bill Birnes did an interview recently on Dr. Max "Feelgood" Jacobson, who administered amphetamines to the soon-to-be president John F. "Jack" Kennedy. Rockwell and Birnes explore how this changed the course of history.

Here is the interview. Enjoy.


Laws You Didn't Know Existed (and Didn't Know You Broke)

Lee Ann McAdoo at InfoWars reports on laws that almost no one knew existed and were broken without knowledge by the lawbreakers.

The Truth About Syria

Ben Swann of Full Disclosure exposes the truth about Syria and nothing but the truth. It seems that the groups trying to overthrow the Assad regime are aligned with al-Qaeda, all while receiving US aid.

Here is his report. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Milton Friedman: Freshwater Keynesian

David Stockman, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan, has these words of wisdom on the late free-market economist Milton Friedman:

At the end of the day, Friedman jettisoned the gold standard for a remarkable statist reason. Just as Keynes had been, he was afflicted with the economist’s ambition to prescribe the route to higher national income and prosperity and the intervention tools and recipes that would deliver it. The only difference was that Keynes was originally and primarily a fiscalist, whereas Friedman had seized upon open market operations by the central bank as the route to optimum aggregate demand and national income.
There were massive and multiple ironies in that stance. It put the central bank in the proactive and morally sanctioned business of buying the government’s debt in the conduct of its open market operations. Friedman said, of course, that the FOMC should buy bonds and bills at a rate no greater than 3 percent per annum, but that limit was a thin reed.
Indeed, it cannot be gainsaid that it was Professor Friedman, the scourge of Big Government, who showed the way for Republican central bankers to foster that very thing. Under their auspices, the Fed was soon gorging on the Treasury’s debt emissions, thereby alleviating the inconvenience of funding more government with more taxes.
Read the rest here

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Meaning of Liberalism (Part 1): The Old Liberalism

Note: This is the first part in a three-part series on liberalism and its meaning. At the end of the series, I will explore the intersection of biblical Christianity and liberalism and whether they are compatible. 

"Liberal" is one of the most misinterpreted, maligned, abused, and downright overused term. Both the detractors of the term and the people who claim to be liberals misunderstand the real meaning of that term. In the United States, it now means someone who votes Democrat, who supports gun control, who supports libertine values, who supports "coddling criminals," who supports public schooling, who supports redistribution of wealth, who supports anti-discrimination and hate speech legislation, who supports universal healthcare, who supports state intervention (both federal and local) in the economy, and a host of other things. However, when the term was originally used, it meant something radically different from what it means now. As libertarian historian Ralph Raico notes, liberalism (otherwise known as classical liberalism or "old liberalism") is the term designating "the ideology advocating private property, an unhampered market economy, the rule of law, constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and of the press, and international peace based on free trade. Up until around 1900, this ideology was generally known simply as liberalism. The qualifying "classical" is now usually necessary, in English-speaking countries at least (but not, for instance, in France), because liberalism has come to be associated with wide-ranging interferences with private property and the market on behalf of egalitarian goals. This version of liberalism — if such it can still be called — is sometimes designated as "social," or (erroneously) "modern" or the "new," liberalism." The classical liberal viewpoint stands in stark contrast to modern-day liberalism.

Liberalism (in the classical tradition) had its origins in John Locke, (though there were prototypes of liberal/libertarian thought in traditions like the Bible, the Middle Ages, natural law, the School of Salamanca and the Scholastics) who is known as the "Father of Classical Liberalism." He wove such traditions as Cicero, Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and the Thomists, the Scholastics, the natural law tradition, radicalism, the Whigs, the English Revolution, and Christianity to form this brilliant philosophy that has given us such principles as inalienable rights, the homesteading principle, the triad of life, liberty, and private property (the last being changed by Jefferson as the "pursuit of happiness"). How does Christianity factor into this? Amy Sturgis at the LockeSmith Institute argues that "Christianity offered a religion less collectivist than the pagan pantheons or Hebraic law." She argues that as the Alexandrian Church Fathers rediscovered the classics, notions of self-cultivation gained wider acceptance. Also, the Reformation left a great schism in Christendom, "leaving individualism to the Protestants via the "priesthood of the believer" doctrine and natural-law theory to the Catholics." Eventually, the rise of absolutism and the decline of liberty led to the birth of the Levellers, which were led by such liberals as Richard Overton and John Liliburne. As Ralph Raico notes, "this movement of middle-class radicals demanded freedom of trade and an end to state monopolies, separation of church and state, popular representation, and strict limits even to parliamentary authority. Their emphasis on property, beginning with the individual's ownership of himself, and their hostility to state power show that the amalgamation of the Levellers to the presocialist Diggers was mere enemy propaganda. Although failures in their time, the Levellers furnished the prototype of a middle-class radical liberalism that has been a feature of the politics of English-speaking peoples ever since." Then came John Locke, who "framed the doctrine of the natural rights to life, liberty, and estate — which he collectively termed 'property' — in the form that would be passed down, through the Real Whigs of the 18th century, to the generation of the American Revolution." With all this rich heritage, the Founders of this country led a mighty libertarian revolution against the British Empire. After this, unprecedented restrictions on power came into place, first in the form of the Articles of Confederation and then in the form of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Raico notes that "through much of the 19th century it was in many respects a society in which the state could hardly be said to exist, as European observers noted with awe. Radical liberal ideas were manifested and applied by groups such as the Jeffersonians, Jacksonians, abolitionists, and late-19th-century anti-imperialists." Not only that, we had such people as Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Lloyd Garrison, Lysander Spooner, Benjamin Tucker,  and the individualist anarchists who, in the words of Rothbard, "were basically laissez-faire individualists who carried on the age-old battle for liberty and against all forms of State privilege." 

Now, there were inconsistencies in these liberals that definitely should be noticed. Thomas Paine and Marquis de Condorcet supported some form or another of the welfare state. Thomas Jefferson sold out when he was in power. Also, as Raico notes, "they turned to the state to promote their own values. In France, for instance, liberals used state-funded schools and institutes to promote secularism under the Directory, and they supported anticlerical legislation during the Third Republic, while in Bismarck's Germany they spearheaded the Kulturkampf against the Catholic Church. These efforts, however, can be seen as betrayals of liberal principles and in fact were eschewed by those acknowledged to be the most consistent and doctrinaire in their liberalism." Also, as Murray Rothbard recognized, "the chief defects of Enlightenment liberalism, I believe, are these: an inordinate passion for democracy, and an inordinate hatred for institutional religion, particularly for the Roman Catholic Church." However, as the libertarian scholar and author Lew Rockwell noted in his speech "The Misesian Vision," they were united in their undying belief that "society contains within itself the capacity for self-management, and there is nothing that government can do to improve on the results of the voluntary association, exchange, creativity, and choices of every member of the human family." They have left us with a wonderful heritage to build upon and to develop. They built the United States, gave us the Industrial Revolution, gave us the principles and values of liberty, justice, human rights, private property rights, limited government, and peace that we now commonly associate with Western civilization, and laid the foundations for modern libertarianism.

UPDATE (8/02/2013): This piece was published at The Reformed Libertarian. For more information on my job at The Reformed Libertarian, see here.


Gabriel Over the White House (1933)

Synopsis: U. S. President Judson C. "Judd" Hammond (Walter Huston) starts off as a do-nothing partisan hack. However, he suffers a near-fatal automobile accident, which motivates him to become a sort of "Gabriel over the White House." His first actions are to dissolve Congress and the cabinet of "big-business lackeys." His presidency eventually becomes a celestial dictatorship.

Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Year: 1933

Rated: NR

Run Time: 86 min.

Budget: $232,400


Walter Huston: President Judson Hammond
Karen Morley: Pendola Molloy
Franchot Tone: Hartley Beekman-Secretary to the President
Arthur Byron: Jasper Brooks
Dickie Moore: Jimmy Vetter
C. Henry Gordon: Nick Diamond
David Landau: John Bronson
Samuel S. Hinds: Dr. Eastman (billed as Samuel Hinds)
William Pawley: Borell
Jean Parker: Alice Bronson
Clare Du Brey: Nurse (billed as Claire DuBrey)


Director: Gregory La Cava
Producer(s): William Randolph Hearst and Walter Wagner
Writers: T. F. Tweed (story), Carey Wilson and Bertram Bloch (screenplay)
Cinematography: Bert Glennon
Music: William Axt
Editing: Basil Wrangell

Rating: 2/4

REVIEW (Warning: Spoilers):

The plot is simple: president enters office, president is party hack, president has accident, president is enlightened, president becomes activist, president becomes dictator, president spreads his values by bombing other countries, president dies and is remembered as a hero. How simple can it get. Yet, deep down, within this simplistic plot lies a darker and more satanic message than even the darkest of horror cinema. It is a fascistic, socialistic, activist, and statist film of the first order. This is significant particularly because it inspired that totalitarian and overrated FDR. It was indeed the movie made for his inauguration. What makes this movie more disturbing is the initial popularity of this movie among Depression-era Americans. People actually thought this could be a possibility in America, especially during that tragic era known as the Great Depression. The message of the film can be explained just within the poster.

Let's start with the story of the movie. The film begins with the inauguration of Judson C. "Judd" Hammond (Walter Huston) into the presidency. He turns out to be a political hack and a puppet in the hands of his party. He shows more interest in playing with Jim and having sex with Pendola Molloy (Karen Morley) than with actually doing stuff, dismissing unemployment and bootlegging as "local problems." However, when he suffers a near-fatal car accident, he is almost dead; however, something supernatural happens to him. He is revived (by Gabriel the Archangel), and promises his doctor, "Judd Hammond isn't going to die." Unable to cope with this resurrection, the doctor keeps it a secret for several weeks. Finally, when Pendola is allowed to see him, she finds out about this transformation; Judd is careless about her and he is now distant. Soon, the president reveals his activist views before Congress in these words: "I believe in democracy as Washington and Jefferson and Lincoln believed in democracy. And if what I plan to do in the name of the people makes me a dictator, then it is a dictatorship based on Jefferson's definition of democracy." He soon begins to use Jefferson's belief in democracy to justify his dictatorship and his imposing of martial law. After all, isn't it "the greatest good for the greatest number?" His actions include: calling for the resignation of the vice president and the Cabinet, demanding that Congress vote him extraordinary executive powers, outlawing foreclosures, issuing a federal bank insurance to protect depositors, and grant subsidies to farmers. He starts an "Army of Construction," which will give every working American a job until the economy recovers. After all this, Hammond turns his eye on crime, particularly on the immigrant bootlegger Nick Diamond (C. Henry Gordon); he repeals the 18th Amendment, starts the creation of government liquor stores, and gives Diamond the choice to return voluntarily to his immigrant country. However, Diamond refuses, and he bombs the first government liquor store and attempts to assassinate the president in a drive-way shootout, which wounds Pendola. As revenge, Hammond sends his army to ambush Nick Diamond and capture him and his gang. The army succeeds and "technicalities of the law" are circumvented in a brief military tribunal led by Hartley Beekman (Franchot Tone) in the name of "first principles." After that, Diamond and his gang are executed by gun. Yet that is not enough to show Hammond's greatness. His last and most important test is foreign policy. He moves to collect unpaid war debts from WWI, inviting all the world leaders on a yacht and broadcasting on radio his demand for payment. When the representatives protest their inability to pay, Hammond bombs their ships and refuses to abide any longer by the naval limitations treaty. He threatens carnage and destruction to the human race unless the other countries balance their budgets and pay their debts. Desperate, the leaders agree on a peace covenant, and all sign. However, as Hammond is signing, he collapses and is taken to his office. Before he dies, Pendola sees the return of the old Hammond, who sought her approval. She assures him that he is one of the greatest men of all time before he dies. Finally, the spirit of Gabriel leaves him, and it is there that the movie ends.

This film is animated by Walter Huston's good performance, followed by Karen Morley's passable depiction of Pendola Molloy. It shows the desperation of the people during this hard time, the activism that transform Hammond from political hack to political dictator. Gregory La Cava's direction is also passable, though it gets interesting after the transformation of Hammond. One thing I would like to note is how Hammond is transformed. Instead of showing Gabriel in all his glory, the movie shows him appearing through the light movement of the curtains. It happens during Hammond's resurrection and death. That's all you need to know. However, from what the spirit motivates him to do, this is anything but Gabriel. This spirit is somewhat like the spirit that inhabits the Antichrist; the president is killed in an accident, then dies, then comes back to life and imposes dictatorship and fascism, then dies again. See the similarity?

Anyways, if you want to see something bizarre and strange, and if you want to watch a movie about politics, then this is the film for you. It contains political propaganda akin to Triumph of the Will and all the other Nazi propaganda films made during the Third Reich.

Watch it just for the historical value; other than that, this movie's politics are dump.

For a good libertarian analysis on this movie, watch this.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Funny NSA Ad

Funny or Die brings us a very funny ad for the NSA starring Sasha Grey. It is very satirical and worth watching.

Here it is. Enjoy.

Warning: Some suggestive content and one bleeped F word

Blimey Cow Summer Begins

Blimey Cow is hands down one of my favorite YouTube channels of all time. It contains vital information for our daily lives and it is intelligent, witty and funny. Now it is starting a new episode every Wednesday for the whole summer, entitled What's Updates.

Here is the introduction. I hope you enjoy it. 

Letter of Liberty News Edition (6-25-2013)

Here is my first news edition of Letter of Liberty, where I collect some of the best news and articles out there for your own reading pleasure and enlightenment.

Ron Paul warns us that we have learned nothing, even after the long, pointless intervention in Afghanistan.

Murray Rothbard explained how and how not to desocialize eleven years ago.

Leonard Liggio explored the anti-imperialism of the great libertarian laissez-faire economist and radical Ludwig Von Mises. It was originally published in the Libertarian Forum in 1974, and now it is up again as a Mises Daily article.

Laurence Vance at LCC defends the libertarian perspective on adultery and the state from a Christian perspective. 

John Whitehead describes the blindness of America as it is under the illusion of freedom, even as Big Brother is growing. The situation is similar to something in the Wachowski Brothers' classic film The Matrix.

Laurence Vance shows that Christianity, war and the state are fundamentally incompatible amongst themselves in the introduction to his new book War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the Folly of Christian Militarism

Marc Clair at Lions of Liberty takes a look at Rothbard's views on Thomas Jefferson on this week's Mondays with Murray edition. It seems that while Rothbard admired Jefferson for his belief in laissez-faire capitalism and considered him to be a radical revolutionary and libertarian, he was also critical of Jefferson's administration; Rothbard also noted that the Jeffersonians were among Jefferson's biggest critics, among whom were John Taylor of Caroline and John Randolph of Roanoke. For an interesting article by Rothabrd on Jefferson, see his article "Jefferson's Philosophy," republished at as "Jeffersonian or Hamiltonian?" It was originally published in Faith and Freedom, March 1951.

Walter Williams exposes the bit-by-bit strategy of tyrants and busybodies in a hard-hitting article today.

Will Grigg on Edward Snowden vs. the Soyuz.

Sean Thomas explains that American supremacy has ended already.

Pat Buchanan on the Pentagon's feminist imperialism.

The Reformed Libertarian remembers Howard Buffett, forgotten libertarian and champion of the Old Right.

The Reformed Libertarian teaches us about the proper origins of rights. Contrary to John Locke and Murray Rothbard, rights don't come from ourselves; they come from our Creator God. For another interesting take, see Doug Douma's article at LCC.

Jacob Hornberger's 11th part to his 12-part series on the evil of the national security state.

Jacob Hornberger on the national-security state vs. freedom.

The Organic Prepper on how processed foods make us sick.

Was Tamerlan Tsarnaev an FBI double agent? Russ Baker at WhoWhatWhy searches for the answer.

Monday, June 24, 2013

In Defense of Snowden

Edward Snowden, like most anti-establishment heroes, is being attacked by regime defenders, leftist sell-outs, and even indirectly by self-described libertarians at the Cato Institute. I will defend him against such charges as: (1) he's a narcissist, (2) he leaked something that was perfectly legal, and (3) he is a traitor.

First charge: he's a narcissist. Richard Cohen at the Washington Post claims that since "jettisoned a girlfriend, a career and, undoubtedly, his personal freedom to expose programs that were known to our elected officials and could have been deduced by anyone who has ever Googled anything," Snowden is a narcissist who is not worthy of respect. I will respond with the fact that Edward Snowden had $200,000 in salary, and he had a dream life with his girlfriend in Hawaii. He risked everything to reveal this fraud. Jeff Tucker, in his great article on Edward Snowden at The Freeman, reminds us that "he was surrounded by people who just took it for granted that every American deserves to be spied on, that government has the full right to everyone’s information." This was his culture. This was the world he was in. He had every opportunity to succumb to peer pressure and the lure of corrupting power. However, he resisted that lure and did the right thing. Fox News political analyst Kirsten Powers rightly analyzes that Snowden understood this truth: "the allegiance we have as Americans is to the Constitution, not the institution of government." This wonderful truth reminds us that the real commitment that Snowden has, and that we should all have, is to the rule of law, not to the rule of men. Snowden himself took a great risk to protect the liberty of all Americans; he did something that was noble, and he woke us up to the crimes of the state. He revived the true American spirit in us all, and in his own words, I’m neither a traitor nor a hero. I’m an American.” 

Second charge: He leaked something that was perfectly legal. William Saletan at Slate argues that (a) it is not wiretapping, (b) it is judicially supervised, (c) it is congressionally supervised, (d) it expires quickly until it's reauthorized, and (e) wiretaps would require further court orders. Is the order wiretapping? Maybe not. However, it is definitely mass in its collection of records. Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian notes in his explosive report that under the 2008 FISA law, there is no requirement for individualized warrants. "Under the FAA, which was just renewed last December for another five years, no warrants are needed for the NSA to eavesdrop on a wide array of calls, emails and online chats involving US citizens.Individualized warrants are required only when the target of the surveillance is a US person or the call is entirely domestic. But even under the law, no individualized warrant is needed to listen in on the calls or read the emails of Americans when they communicate with a foreign national whom the NSA has targeted for surveillance." This means that the State can listen to any phone call, read any email, and any other things. One might not know whether a foreign national is targeted by the NSA or not, as no one can know everything. This is contrary to the claims of Barack Obama and other defenders of the NSA. Not only that, "the Obama DOJ has repeatedly thwarted any efforts to obtain judicial rulings on whether this law is consistent with the Fourth Amendment or otherwise legal. Every time a lawsuit is brought contesting the legality of intercepting Americans' communications without warrants, the Obama DOJ raises claims of secrecy, standing and immunity to prevent any such determination from being made." The next argument made for the legality of the surveillance is that it is judicially supervised. However, the "supervision" it gets is empty and hollow. As Glenn Greenwald notes, "those documents [the top secret orders] demonstrate that this entire process is a fig leaf, 'oversight' in name only. It offers no real safeguards. That's because no court monitors what the NSA is actually doing when it claims to comply with the court-approved procedures." Also, as Greenwald further reveals, the NSA doesn't tell FISA who it is going to target for surveillance; rather, they just give general guidelines they ostensibly live by, and once they get the approval from FISA they can target anyone chosen by the analysts and order telecommunications and Internet companies to hand over their targets' emails, phone calls, chats and other records. I don't have all the time to reply to all the arguments; however, this is the best I can do. Anyways, even if he did break the law, he did so in defense of freedom and liberty. His only offense was that he revealed the creation of a mass surveillance state that was intended to humiliate and lord over the American people

Third charge: he's a traitor. This is the charge of Tea Party leader Michelle Bachmann, former Vice President Dick Cheney, House Speaker John Boehner, Chicago Tribune op-ed columnist Dennis Byrne, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (or "Frankenfeinstein" as conservative talk show host Mark Levin calls her) and others. The argument goes that the information he leaked will help terrorists, and many people opposing Snowden will argue that he will give this information to China, Russia, Ecuador, or any other country he might go to. I can respond to the argument on terrorists with a response from Glenn Greenwald that "the Terrorists already knew, and have long known, that the US government is doing everything possible to surveil their telephonic and internet communications. The Chinese have long known, and have repeatedly said, that the US is hacking into both their governmental and civilian systems (just as the Chinese are doing to the US). The Russians have long known that the US and UK try to intercept the conversations of their leaders just as the Russians do to the US and the UK." This means that any charge against Snowden revealing info to terrorists is meaningless and vapid. As Greenwald rightly notes, the only people who learned anything new at all is the American people. Also, unauthorized leaks aren't the Obama administration's main concern (for example, the Obama administration leaked vital information about the Seal Team Six raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan to Hollywood, which then made the two movies Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden and Zero Dark Thirty). What their main concern is are the leaks that will expose, embarrass, and reveal them. Also, in Snowden's own words, "I did not reveal any US operations against legitimate military targets. I pointed out where the NSA has hacked civilian infrastructure such as universities, hospitals, and private businesses because it is dangerous. These nakedly, aggressively criminal acts are wrong no matter the target. Not only that, when NSA makes a technical mistake during an exploitation operation, critical systems crash." This means that Snowden was not revealing information of US targets against terrorists but rather against civilian infrastructure, all while using fascism (the usage of private businesses in statist ways) to do so. Also, if Snowden really was a spy, then why didn't he go directly to Beijing to reveal information to China, and why didn't he sell all that information and become a millionaire and live in his own Shangri-La with his girlfriend? Why didn't he join Al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood or any other terrorist group if he really wanted to hurt his country? Simple. Snowden is an American; he is "neither a traitor nor a patriot." He doesn't want to hurt his country; rather, he wants to save it before we reach the point of no return, before we reach to the point where we become an Orwellian state as described in the classic novel 1984. Snowden is indeed our modern Paul Revere. He was given great knowledge, and he fulfilled his responsibility to reveal that to those who needed it most, and for that most Americans, specifically the young generation, recognize him for the hero he is, even while they contradict themselves in supporting him being charged. 

My conclusion is that Edward Snowden is an American hero who revealed vitally important information that exposed the secret creation of a massive, Orwellian surveillance state. He left us, the American people, with the choice to either stand up against the State or to be a nation of sheep. He is not perfect; the only perfect hero was Jesus Christ, who was crucified 2,000 years ago and who came back to life three days to save us from our sin to restore perfect fellowship with God. However, he has done immense good to our generation; he has shown personal responsibility.

UPDATE (6/26/2013): Ivan Eland at has an article up on Snowden. He cautions us against automatically labeling Snowden a hero. "Even if Snowden has divulged too much about U.S. intelligence activities – and that would be a serious offense – this is more than offset by his vital revelation of the government’s unconstitutional search of likely every American’s phone records in direct contravention of the 4th Amendment’s prohibition against general searches and searches without probable cause that a crime has been committed." Also, what was Snowden's motive? I will answer that his motive was to expose surveillance state crimes. But what was his original motive before he found out about the surveillance state crimes against the people? Some would argue that he was looking to reveal classified information and sell it and make money. I will argue that he intended to find evidence of NSA surveillance. He intended to stop the wonderful tool of technology from being used for technocracy, similar to Aaron Swartz. Snowden himself said, "I don't see myself as a hero, because what I'm doing is self-interested: I don't want to live in a world where there's no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity." He was looking for someone else to act, but saw no one standing up. So he decided to do so himself. Also, why did Snowden run away to other countries, particularly Russia? William Grigg answers that "he is hopscotching around the world to countries not ruled by governments that kill people by remote control, and are strong enough to prevent him from being seized and tortured by the only government that routinely commits crimes of that kind." Ryan McMaken noted that Snowden "is simply doing what states do all the time, which is to engage in realpolitik in pursuit of their own interests." However, the main difference between Snowden and the State is that the State uses it to suppress others, while Snowden uses it to protect himself. He understands that it would be better to be in China than in prison like Bradley Manning. He is indeed "the master of realpolitik." Also, at The Tenth Amendment Center, Joel Poindexter calls Edward Snowden a "nullifier."

UPATE (6/27/2013): Butler Shaffer at the LRC blog today compares Snowden to a slave named Joshua Glover, a slave who in 1854 ran away from the plantation to Wisconsin where he was arrested under the abominable Fugitive Slave Act. The slave was probably seen as a "security threat" for upholding liberty in a similar way that Snowden is seen today.

UPDATE (6/28/2013): John Cohen at the New York Times has written an excellent op-ed on the service of Snowden. Also, even when Snowden broke the "law," he merely broke an unjust law. Such laws are no laws, as Thomas Aquinas and the Founders of this country recognized. As the classical-liberal scholar F. A. Hayek asserted long ago in his three-volume magnus opus Law, Legislation and Liberty, law is different from legislation. This is very crucial. Also, Justin Raimondo reports on the smear brigade going after Glenn Greenwald.

UPDATE (7/01/2013): Justin Raimondo at explores the relevance of the Snowden as "hero or traitor" debate in a brilliant article entitled "Politics and Persona: Edward Snowden as Symbol." Particularly attention-grabbing was the attention Raimondo gave to the claim of Snowden as a narcissist. "Pundits left and right denounce the "traitor" Snowden as a "narcissist," yet people like David Brooks deliberately conflate narcissism with individualism, and "selfishness" with independence of mind. More to life than material comfort or career stability? No narcissist would ever say such a thing. A true narcissist is a moral nihilist for whom the existence of other people, let alone the principle enshrined by the Constitution, is irrelevant." Snowden is anything but the selfish man that pundits made him out to be; rather, as Glenn Greenwald notes in his speech at the Socialism 2013 conference by the International Socialist Organization (ISO), he was willing "to throw all that away and become an instant fugitive and somebody who would probably spend the rest of their life in a cage" and that he recognized "there’s no point in waiting for a leader, that leadership is about going first and setting and example for others." 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Additions to the Links and Resources Page: June 17th

Here are some new additions to the links and resources page.

Christian Resources:
Christian Apologetics Research Ministries (CARM)
Living Waters Ministries
Lignoier Ministries
Sermon Audio
Reasonable Faith with William Laine Craig

Favorite Libertarian and Conservative Writers

Lew Rockwell
Ron Paul
Murray Rothbard
Laurence Vance
Jeffrey Tucker (also see his archive at Laissez-Faire Books)
Tom Woods (also see his webpage)
Walter Williams
Ilana Mercer
Gary North
Norman Horn
Thomas DiLorenzo
Joseph Diedrich
Tom Mullen
Wes Messamore
Paul Craig Roberts
C. Jay Engel
Andrew Napolitano
Ryan McMaken
Becky Akers
Karen Kwiatkowski
Karen De Coster
William L. Anderson
David Gordon
Pat Buchanan
Ralph Raico
Walter Block

I might add more to these two categories in the future, as well as to other categories. Keep up to learn more about the updates.

The Reformed Libertarian Gives Tips on How to Start the Recovery

C. Jay Engel at the Reformed Libertarian blog gives some excellent tips on how to start the economic recovery of this nation. Here are his tips:

  1. Repeal all legal tender acts and all laws that prohibit competition in currency
  2. Eliminate and prohibit all taxes on gold and silver
  3. Allow for the full GAO audit on the Federal Reserve
  4. Amend the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 to deny it the powers to manipulate the dollar and continue its inflationary policy
  5. Reaffirm the role of the United States Treasury in issuing and controlling the official mint of the U. S. dollar
Read the rest here.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tom Woods Takes On Michael Lind and Defends Liberty

The great Catholic libertarian historian and scholar Thomas E. Woods has come out in defense of libertarianism against the attack by Michael Lind that there is this one question libertarians can't answer.
Woods responded with several questions. Here are the questions:

(1) “If your approach is so great, why doesn’t local law enforcement want to give up the money, supplies, and authority that come from the drug war?”
(2) “If your approach is so great, why don’t big financial firms prefer to stand or fall on their merits, and prefer bailouts instead?”
(3) “If your approach is so great, why do people prefer to earn a living by means of special privilege instead of by honest production?”
(4) “If your approach is so great, why does the military-industrial complex prefer its revolving-door arrangement and its present strategy of fleecing the taxpayers via its dual strategy of front-loading and political engineering?”
(5) “If your approach is so great, why do businessmen often prefer subsidies and special privileges?”
(6) “If your approach is so great, why do some people prefer to achieve their ends through war instead?”
(7) “If your approach is so great, why does the political class prefer to live off the labor of others, and exercise vast power over everyone else?”
(8) “Special interests win special benefits for themselves because those benefits are concentrated and significant. The costs, dispersed among the general public, are so insignificant to any particular person, that the general public has no vested interest in organizing against it. An extra 25 cents per gallon of orange juice is hardly worth devoting one’s life to opposing, but an extra $100 million per year in profits for the companies involved sure is worth the time to lobby for.
“If your approach is so great, why does this happen?”
(9) “If your approach is so great, why don’t people want to try it out, after having been propagandized against it nonstop for 17 years?” (K-12, then four years of college.)
Then, E. J. Dionne came out against libertarianism in attempt to defend Lind. Tom Woods also responded likewise. Woods pointed out that contrary to what Dionne asserted, there was nothing such as "retirement" in the nineteenth century, Herbert Hoover was not the laissez-faire president anti-capitalists make him out to be, and government involvement in the War on Poverty worsened poverty. He brilliantly demolishes these claims made out by those who hate libertarianism. 
Now, Michael Lind is admonishing libertarians to "grow up." He calls our ideology "superficial, juvenile nonsense." Tom Woods has taken on him again, just as he did before when Lind called libertarianism a cult. Woods responds that we can return to the gold standard, we need to abolish the Fed, and secession isn't a bad thing. 
Now, having discussed Woods's take on Michael Lind, I would like to take on Michael Lind myself. In the conclusion to his article on libertarianism and cultism, Lind tells us that libertarianism cannot point to the founding of America for an example on libertarianism working in any country. May I refer him to Murray Rothbard's four-volume history on colonial America and the first chapter to the classic book For a New Liberty. Also, the reason no country has tried libertarianism (the subject of Lind's question) is because most people, even while liberty is their natural state, don't necessarily want to be free. They want security most of all, and this is why many people will succumb to tyranny. Also, in his article on libertarians "growing up", Lind claims that libertarianism is too dogmatic to be experimental. May I add that libertarians are willing to experiment with certain things as long as they are in line with libertarian principles. And libertarians are not perfectionists, though some are. Most of them admire the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers, even though they both had their imperfections. And libertarian orthodoxy isn't bad; in fact, it can sometimes be a good thing. And most genuine libertarians are willing to work together, even while they might have disagreements on certain things (like the issues of limited government vs. anarchy, intellectual property, abortion, immigration, and other things). I remember that many libertarian anarchists showed admiration toward a radical minarchist like Ron Paul. Libertarian anarchists such as Lew Rockwell showed admiration for him. Other examples include when staunch anarchist Walter Block defended him against the criticism of certain libertarian anarchists, Anthony Gregory defended him before anarchists, and the late great Murray Rothbard praised him, defended his libertarian credentials when he was running for the Libertarian Party presidential candidacy in 1989 and was a dear friend of his. These examples I gave you are intended to prove that libertarian purists will be willing to work with radical libertarians who might not agree with their purism but are committed to the goals of liberty and of limiting the government.
For some more resources to answer those who object to libertarianism, see The Humble Libertarian's 100 answers to objections against libertarianism.

UPDATE (6/19/2013): Jacob Hornberger has replied to Michael Lind in a very powerful blog post today. Also, Jordan Bloom at The American Conservative reminds us that Michael Lind is taking on "cartoon libertarians." Also, Reason has a great piece by Ron Bailey. For more on the discussion, see here.

UPDATE (6/26/2013): In response to Michael Lind, Joel Poindexter at Economicharmonies makes the case that "privatization" doesn't always mean "free market."

New Additions to the Links and Resources Page

Kevin Gutzman on Roger Sherman and Calvinism

Kevin Gutzman, acclaimed historian and constitutionalist libertarian/conservative scholar, has written a great piece at The American Conservative (one of the few good conservative resources, may I add) entitled "Constitutional Calvinist." It details the influence of Calvinist thought on Roger Sherman and on the American founding.

Gutzman rightly points out that Lockean thought is not only compatible with Calvinist thought on revolution, it is influenced by it. Here is a quote from the article: "The typical account of the Declaration has Thomas Jefferson producing a Lockean document notably devoid of traditional Christian language. Hall demonstrates that while the Declaration’s reference to “nature’s God,” its claim that government’s function is to protect citizens’ rights, and its assertion of a right to overthrow usurpatious rulers are consistent with Lockean thinking, they also are perfectly in keeping with John Calvin’s teaching on those subjects, which antedated Locke’s Second Treatise—and likely influenced Locke. That Sherman and his fellow Calvinists in the Second Continental Congress should have signed the Declaration is not the mystery that Louis Hartz and other proponents of the idea that American has always been Lockean have wanted to make it.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Two New Articles at Christianity Today

Christianity Today has two great articles up. One of them is on God's "terrifying grace" and the other is on the issue of banning a "gruesome" church project that shows mutilated fetuses.

Here is a great quote from the first article:

"Would I be accepted if I told all? That's the question. We long to be accepted, to be in the company of someone who will not blink regardless of what we say. But long ago we came to believe that this isn't possible. At some point we have all chosen to share a vulnerable secret, only to later endure humiliation or shame. So now we live with a low-grade fear that somebody is going to find out something about us we do not wish to reveal. It's a fear that nags us for life. 

Bringing God into the picture does not seem to help at first. But bring him in we must, because a key attribute of God is his omniscience (lit. "all knowledge")—that he knows everything, in particular everything about us. Jesus makes this clear time and again when he says things like, "Your Father knows what you need" (Matt. 6:8). He admitted that while his own knowledge was temporarily limited—for example, he does not know the "day or hour" of his own return—the Father does know (Mark 13:32). Jesus always frames God's complete knowledge as a point of comfort, but if we're honest with ourselves, we see that we aren't always comforted."

Read the rest here.

Also, on the issue of the gruesome display of mutilated fetuses while there is a church service, I think that it would not be wise for those who oppose abortion, like I do, to go and disrupt a church service. While I am all for exposing the truth about this gruesome murder of unborn children, I would not advise that the group disrupt the service in such a manner. Also, free speech doesn't just mean the freedom to say what others want heard. It means the freedom to say things that would otherwise be uncomfortable to speak. If the group did this thing peacefully, they should be free to speak what they want, so long as they don't hurt anyone's life, liberty, and property in doing so. Also, why is the Supreme Court in this issue anyway?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Truth About NSA Spying

The great Jacob Hornberger has brilliantly exposed the real reason for the NSA spying on us in his commentary today. He reminds us that most citizens, who conform to the Establishment, show deference to State authority. However, "if you’re the type who has an independent mindset, one that might come to recognize that the warfare state is one great big racket by which power-lusters use federal power to plunder and loot your wealth and income, and if you’re the type of person who might begin objecting to this racket and calling for a restoration of American freedom, then it’s entirely possible that the files that the government is keeping on your private life might come back to haunt you." Some examples of this include Daniel Ellsberg, who released the Pentagon Papers and revealed the lies put out by the State officials regarding the progress of the Vietnam War. Some modern examples include the heroes Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, who are actively persecuted by the State for revealing the truth about the State, about the military-industrial complex, about the surveillance-state communism behind it all. 

Hornberger warns us that when something is said against the military state, the State can use your records and twist them and use them against you to humiliate, repress, and discredit you. "When the time comes that such information is necessary to use, all they have to do is just type in the person’s name into the search field. Voila! Telephone records, emails, telephone recordings, medical records, and lots more." This shows the terrible consequences of such horrendous power. As the great British libertarian historian Lord Acton said, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Theses powers allow the State "to maintain their tax-and-control racket over the citizenry and to ensure that everyone continues behaving like a good little citizen, one who always defers to authority and never makes waves." The ultimate goal is to control people, not to defend the country.

I recommend you read his commentary and send it to everyone you know. This is vital, and you need it. Also, don't forget to read these shocking InfoWars reports on mass American compliance to the NSA's spying, the connection between surveillance and Obamacare, the effort to portray Edward Snowden as a Chinese intelligence operative underway, and the massive American opposition to the Fourth Amendment. These are valuable in a time of crisis.

UPDATE: A new Gallup poll shows that most American adults (53%) disapprove of the spying. This is encouraging news, considering that there was an InfoWars report on mass compliance to the spying. InfoWars has a report on this.

UPDATE (6/21/2013): Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian exposes the whole FISA process in a hard-hitting report. It details the secrecy, the disregard for the rule of law, and a host of other corrupt things. Also, he has another report that details the court orders that allow the NSA to collect data without warrants. 

UPDATE (6/24/2013): For a Christian viewpoint on this, Bethany Keeley-Jonker has a thought-provoking article at ThinkChristian on why the sinfulness of man should make us wary of NSA surveillance. Here is a thoughtful quote from that great article:

Despite these concerns, I’m still inclined to believe programs like PRISM should be discontinued or at least subject to greater checks and balances. Partly, I’m concerned that even if the program is meant for safety, some of the people working for NSA contractors might use them to target individuals for reasons of prejudice or vengeance. Alan Jacob’s recent post on the topic also reminds me that as Christians, we should be especially attentive to how programs like this might endanger those who are at the fringes of society or disadvantaged in some way. He highlights a traditionalist desire for tolerance of our own differences, but I think also concern for orphans, widows and aliens might extend to those the law tends to come down harder on. Some groups or individuals get increased scrutiny because of their ethnicity, or their (perfectly legal) jobs or interests. Even if my interests and habits won’t put me at risk, I want to take a position that protects minorities, journalists and non-violent political activists.

I recommend that you read it and learn from it. Also, read this two-year old article at The Chronicle of Higher Education to learn why privacy matters, even when you got "nothing to hide."

Ron Paul on Piers Morgan: The Government Hates Truth

Ron Paul appears on the Piers Morgan Show, along with CIA Director James Woolsey. Butler Shaffer at the Lew Rockwell blog comments that he has "all the demeanor of a statist villain from 1984, V For Vendettaor Fahrenheit 451." Ron Paul defends Edward Snowden brilliantly and forcefully argues for the Fourth Amendment and the rule of law, while Woolsey defends the spying. I agree with Ron Paul on this issue.

I would like to note that as much I dislike Piers Morgan, he rightly notices (at the 10:35 mark) that most Second Amendment advocates who brilliantly argue for gun rights fail in regards to supporting the Fourth Amendment. Lew Rockwell noted a similar problem among most gun rights people in a blog post three months ago. Rockwell said that "most of them endorse the empire and its mountain of skulls. This is especially true of the pro-gun organizations, who support a neocon foreign policy." 

Here is the interview. I hope you enjoy it.

Great Debate on Conservative-Libertarian "Fusionism" at Cato Unbound Blog

At the Cato Unbound Blog, there is a great debate between several libertarian and conservative writers on the issue of a "fusionism" between libertarianism and conservatism. The writers include Jacqueline Otto, Jordan Bailor, Clark Ruper, and Jeremy Kolassa.

I will review each writer and analyze whether their analyses succeeded or failed:

Jacqueline Otto of Values and Capitalism: In the opening article "The State of the Debate", Otto rightly argues that "the differences between libertarians and conservatives are already well defined" and that we should not redefine them. She also rightly argues that Christianity and libertarianism are compatible as both are based on voluntarism. She warns us that there should be social responsibility with freedom, in opposition to the world of Aldous Huxley, where government gives the people everything they want. However, in her article "A Strategy for the Brand Management of Libertarianism", she argues that "our goal should be to create as many drops as possible to make a brand for libertarianism that will permeate society so effectively that we see massive political change in the direction of freedom." Then she argues that libertarian purism will hinder this cause. However, I differ from her in this aspect. I will point out that "Mr. Libertarian" Murray Rothbard, one of the purest libertarians (he was an anarcho-capitalist) in the history of liberty, was willing to make alliances with certain political sects even when he disagreed with them. Later in his life, he planned his "outreach to the rednecks" and termed it "right wing populism." He did so because the right was on the opposition and was forming a "paleo" movement that harkened back to the old forms of conservatism and libertarianism. Purism doesn't necessarily distract from alliances, and it certainly didn't distract Rothbard from making alliances with the paleo right. However, despite these flaws, Jacqueline Otto argues her points brilliantly, and makes a convincing case for fusionism.

Clark Ruper, Vice President of Students for Liberty (SFL) International: Clark Ruper brilliantly argues in his opening article "The Death of Fusionism" that "fusionism is dead, and conservaties killed it" because of such neoconservatives as George W. Bush, Karl Rove, and Rick Santorum. 
"Where once libertarians and conservatives could debate intelligently on the pages of National Review, now the traditionalists are all but forgotten, replaced by pandering to social conservatives who see heroes in the likes of Rick Santorum. Once we could unite behind Barry Goldwater, but for years now those on the right have taken their marching orders from the imperialist big government neoconservatives under George W. Bush and the puppet master Karl Rove. The fusionist stool is irreparably broken. Fusionism is dead, and conservatives killed it.
In his next article "Liberalism and the Individualist Worldview," Ruper argues that libertarianism is in a sense closer to liberalism than conservatism. He is right in that libertarianism was originally known as classical liberalism. The fine libertarian scholar Murray Rothbard argued in his classic essay "Left and Right" that "Liberalism had indeed brought to the Western world not only liberty, the prospect of peace, and the rising living standards of an industrial society, but above all, perhaps, it brought hope, a hope in ever-greater progress that lifted the mass of mankind out of its age-old sinkhole of stagnation and despair." However, liberalism shifted from the classical liberalism of John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and other great liberals of the 18th and 19th centuries when it lost its original radicalism and began to compromise with statism, and because of this, it eventually birthed itself into socialism. Rothbard argued:
"Socialism, like liberalism and against conservatism, accepted the industrial system and the liberal goals of freedom, reason, mobility, progress, higher living standards for the masses, and an end to theocracy and war; but it tried to achieve these ends by the use of incompatible, conservative means: statism, central planning, communitarianism, etc. Or rather, to be more precise, there were from the beginning two different strands within socialism: one was the right-wing, authoritarian strand, from Saint-Simon down, which glorified statism, hierarchy, and collectivism and which was thus a projection of conservatism trying to accept and dominate the new industrial civilization. The other was the left-wing, relatively libertarian strand, exemplified in their different ways by Marx and Bakunin, revolutionary and far more interested in achieving the libertarian goals of liberalism and socialism; but especially the smashing of the state apparatus to achieve the “withering away of the State” and the “end of the exploitation of man by man.” 
So today, in many ways do modern liberals agree with libertarians, in that they mostly stand for civil liberties, oppose slavery, support freedom of speech, religious toleration, and other things. However, they contradict themselves when they oppose states' rights and secession, support universal healthcare, support marriage licenses, support progressive taxation, support drivers'    licenses, support gun control and assault-weapons bans, support central planning, and humanitarian interventionism. Only libertarianism can be considered to be genuine liberalism, and while we may take advantage of certain agreements with modern liberals, ultimately we are the true liberals, not the progressives. Ruper also brilliantly argues, along with Rothbard in his 1956 letter to Frank Meyer, that conservatism was the original enemy of classical liberalism and libertarianism. It was originally against the laissez-faire capitalism that it now ostensibly supports. Clark Ruper also stands up in defense of Ron Paul as an example of libertarians transcending the bounds of fusionism. "He was not afraid to stand up to conservatives on social issues and foreign policy. He became famous for challenging Rudy Giuliani on the issue of Blowback during the 2008 presidential debates. He gained legions of young followers by consistently championing libertarian issues like the drug war, civil liberties, and privacy. He proved that libertarian issues beyond markets are popular, that we do not have to narrow our focus to markets or kowtow to conservatives.I agree with Ruper that Ron Paul is a shining example of a libertarian that is willing to work with both conservatives and liberals, and yet ultimately transcends these two groups. I would also like to note that in his article on Ron Paul, Ruper gives a fitting criticism of the Koch orbit: "Many affiliates under the Koch umbrella focused their attention narrowly on the area of economic freedom, such as their educational project of that name. While the project is valuable in its narrow scope, it is an example of libertarians avoiding social issues to work with conservatives on market issues." Read all his articles hereherehere, and here.

Jordan Bailor, research fellow at the Acton Institute and executive editor for Journal of Markets & Morality: Jordan Bailor brings the conservative viewpoint to all this. He is right in arguing, along with Otto, that religion, specifically Christianity, and liberty are compatible and connected. However, I take issue with his conservative view on several issues. For example, in his opening article "Avoiding Confusionism," he argues that "a core principle for many libertarians, the view that there is nothing between the individual and the state, has arguably done more to permit, if not promote, tyranny, and to undermine true liberty, than pragmatic reliance on state power in pursuit of a particular social agenda." While I would agree that many libertarians neglect to mention family, church and other mediating organizations in the context of libertarianism, libertarianism itself does not neglect family, church, or other institutions. Many libertarians are willing to accept them, even as they remain hardcore individualists. I doubt that this is a core principle in libertarianism per se. He seems to hold that atomistic or even "rugged" individualism and tyranny are two sides of the same coin. However, as Murray Rothbard argues, "what libertarians are opposed to is not voluntary persuasion, but the 
coercive imposition of values by the use of force and police power. Libertarians are in no way opposed to the voluntary cooperation and collaboration between individuals: only to the compulsory pseudo-”cooperation” imposed by the state." Bailor argues that the best way to limit government is not through individualism, but through cooperation with each other. However, individualism is fully compatible in my view with cooperation and voluntary organizations such as the family, the church, and other institutions; they form something like "cooperative individualism." Next, I would like to comment on his second article "In Search of Augustinian Fusionism," where Bailor argues for a fusion, however temporary, between the conservative and the libertarian. However, he goes on to critique the libertarian scholar Gerard Casey on the conclusion that liberty is most fundamental, a sine qua non of a human action’s being susceptible to moral evaluation at all.” I will come to Casey's defense. He did not say that liberty was the most fundamental of human values. Rather, he said that "liberty is the lowest of social values, lowest in the sense of being most fundamental, sine qua non of a human action's being susceptible to moral evaluation in any way at all." He merely claimed that the libertarian 
believes that human action is impossible unless there is freedom. In his article "Distinguishing Morality from Legality," Bailor rightfully argues, along with the great theologian Thomas Aquinas that government's duty is not to repress all human vice, and that there is indeed a distinction between the legal status of an action and its moral status. He excellently states that "to permit something legally is not the same as acknowledging it as morally permissible. Legal toleration is not the same as moral approbation." However, he seems to imply that libertarians fail to recognize that government has no warrant for actively promoting or subsidizing vice. I will answer this claim and argue that while indeed some libertarians might support some subsidization of vice (such as marriage equality for same-sex couples), I know of no libertarian who would actively support such things. This characteristic is more common in the progressive liberal circles. I will also answer his claim in his first article that "one views liberty as the freedom to do what we ought, while the other views liberty as the freedom to do what we want." I will answer this objection with the claim that while libertarianism does view freedom as doing what we want, it views liberty more specifically as freedom from coercion. This is the traditional libertarian understanding of freedom, as was accepted by John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, Murray Rothbard, and the entire classical liberal and libertarian tradition. Freedom from coercion allows us to do both what we ought and what we wantHe slightly criticizes the opinion of those libertarians such as I who support the government getting out of marriage, referring to people such as Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson, who argue that privatizing marriage would be "a catastrophe for limited government." I will respond to this criticism from a libertarian viewpoint. Laurence Vance, a Christian libertarian columnist, says that "marriage predates the nation-state, the community, society, states and counties, cities and towns, governmental bodies of any kind, and even the church." It has survived throughout the ages. The conservative who worries that marriage will be redefined are overreacting. Marriage will still remain marriage; it will only be redefined in the eyes of society, but it will not be redefined in its original form. The libertarian Catholic political scientist Ryan McMaken, in his excellent article "Privatize Marriage" argues that "marriage was traditionally governed by religious law and was a religious matter. The Church recognized that with marriage being a sacrament, the state had no more right to regulate marriage than it had the right to regulate who could be baptized or who could be ordained a priest." He argues that the power to define marriage should not be entrusted to the state, as the State will devalue marriage. Daniel A. Crane, in his magnificent article "The 'Judeo-Christian' Case for Privatizing Marriage" at the Cardoza Law Reviewargues that "marriage is an inherently spiritual activity whose legitimacy depends on the sanction of the Church and whose regulation requires the involvement of a Christian magistracy." Thomas Woods, the Catholic libertarian historian and scholar, argues that privatizing marriage is truly conservative in his interview with Steve Deace where he makes the Christian case for Ron Paul (he mentions marriage at the 21:00 mark). Woods states that:
"until the French Revolution, which was the most anti-Christian event until Communism,...if you had asked a Christian that [to give up the role of the marriage to the state] in 1500 or 1200 or 300, they would have thought that this was crazy. This in area for civil society and churches, not for the state. The state shouldn't regulate everything, especially an institution as sacred as marriage."
Woods made a strong case from history against the government getting into marriage. I will write more on the issue of marriage in the future from both the libertarian and Christian perpsectives. However, one thing I would like to note; in his first article, Bailor seems to argue that libertarianism diminishes freedom when he argues that a certain aspect of libertarianism seems to lean more to tyranny than to liberty. However, I will close with this argument from Laurence Vance in his great article on libertarianism and freedom. "For the libertarian, freedom is not the absence of morality, the rule of law, or tradition; it is the absence of government paternalism. Libertarianism is the absence of the ability of puritanical busybodies, nanny-statists, and government bureaucrats to make it their business to mind everyone else’s business." Libertarianism embraces freedom, not tyranny. 

Jeremy Kolassa, freelance writer and communications specialist within the liberty movement: Jeremy Kolassa's "An Unequal Treaty" forcefully argues that "this fusion can best be described as an unequal treaty, with conservatives in control, while libertarians are told to sit down, be quiet, and just support whatever conservatives are pushing at the moment." This supposed alliance has wrought a watered-down version of libertarianism. Murray Rothbard, in his 1969 open letter to YAF , warned that "the only liberty they [the fusionists and conservatives] are willing to grant is a liberty within "tradition," within "order," in other words a weak and puny false imitation of liberty within a framework dictated by the State apparatus." The fusionists make a big mistake in mixing two incompatible worldviews, for "you [the libertarian] can see for yourselves that you have nothing in common with the frank theocrats, the worshippers of monarchy, the hawkers after a New Inquisition, the Bozells and the Wilhelmsens." Jeremy Kolassa is right in asserting that libertarianism is about liberty, while conservatism is about conserving as much as possible. However, he makes a fatal error when he states that libertarians love freedom and conservatives love tradition, nearly implying that a love for tradition is only a hallmark of conservatism. This is not exactly true, as Rothbard reminded us that "we libertarians have our traditions too, and they are glorious ones. It all depends on which traditions: the libertarian ones of Paine and Price, of Cobden and Thoreau, or the authoritarian ones of Torquemada and Burke and Metternich." We libertarians are not against all forms of tradition, as the conservative scholar Ernest van den Haag asserted long ago. We respect traditions that are in line with liberty, such as those of the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Leonard E. Read, Murray Rothbard, the Austrian school of economics, the Scholastics, John Locke, Lord Acton, Henry David Thoreau, Richard Cobden, William Lloyd Garrison, the Jacksonians, the abolitionists, and a host of other classical-liberal/libertarian traditions of the past. As Murray Rothbard said in his classic 1974 Libertarian Forum article "How to Destatize," "Liberty is profoundly American; we come to fulfill the best of the American tradition, from Ann Hutchinson and Roger Williams to the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Jeffersonian movement, and beyond. As Benjamin R. Tucker put it, we are 'unterrified Jeffersonian democrats', and we come not to destroy the American dream but to fulfill it." Kolassa reminds us that "because of this unequal treaty, the American people commonly don’t realize that libertarians were against the war in Iraq, against the USA-PATRIOT Act, against the Department of Homeland Security, against the bailouts, and against the big-government big-spending ways of the conservative administration of George W. Bush. Only lately, with the rise of libertarians such as Ron and Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Jeff Flake, have we been able to reach out and actually talk to people." Only by forming an independent and consistent view of liberty can we reclaim the American heritage of freedom; while there may be a place for the occasional alliance between libertarians and liberals or between libertarians and conservatives, they are only temporary. In response to Jordan Bailor's assertion that freedom to do what we ought rather than what we want, Kolassa argues that we don't agree on what we ought to do. He reminds us that politics exists because of different conceptions of the good life. Kolassa also reminds Bailor and us that "most libertarians recognize the power of civil society and hope to strengthen it as a bulwark against government excess." Indeed, we are not atomists as some assume; rather we are individualists who believe in voluntary groups and organizations. Kolassa reminds us that the conflict isn't between liberty and civil society, but rather liberty and coercion.

In my opinion, this was a much needed debate on the issue of fusionism, and it has been enlightening for me. Clark Ruper was the best of the writers in my opinion. He clearly distinguished between libertarianism and conservatism and how ultimately they are two different ideologies. I hope it will be so for both libertarians and conservatives alike. I will be working on a post on libertarian and conservatism to explore the similarities and differences between them. For more information on fusionism from a libertarian perspective, see these wonderful resources: