Friday, February 28, 2014

Letter of Liberty News Edition (2-28-2014)

Ilana Mercer attacks the founders for making a loophole for eminent domain.

Pat Buchanan asks whether or not to intervene or end the Syrian war.

Robert Murphy explains the destructiveness of Obamacare.

James E. Miller attacks the mercantilism of Nouriel Roubani.

Judge Andrew Napolitano reveals the truth about Abraham Lincoln, for which he was attacked by Jon Stewart.

Robert Blumen explains Say's Law and the permanent recession.

Jason Maxham explains the economics of replacement, repair, and division of labor.

Justin Raimondo explains the most disturbing Snowden revelation of all time.

Glenn Greenwald explains how covert agents are using the Internet.

John Feffer explains the trouble that Ukraine is geting into.

Karen Greenberg explains how Barack Obama's five commandments are twisted.

Kelly Vlahos shows the defense budget crisis that wasn't.

John Odermatt exposes a new State attack on guns.

Paul Rosenberg explains the final warnings of Jefferson.

Eric Margolis warns of the horrors ahead.

Michael Rozeff exposes the real reason for USG intervention in Ukraine.

Laurence Vance shows how to properly pray for our troops.

Matt Moore explains how to make the perfect meatball.

Fred Reed gives his thoughts on crime and the streets.

Robert Wenzel uses the power of charts to explain America's military dominance.

Sheldon Richman argues that Obama should stay out of Ukraine.

Steven D. Greydanus explians why no one should panick over the Noah movie.

Christian film critic Peter Chattaway explains the new Son of God movie.

Dan Novak explains new DOJ evil.

Logan Albright looks at environmentalists who are calling for less, not more, regulation.

Sheldon Richman gives his tips on how to end bigotry without Statism.

Taki writes on his experiences with Sean Connery and Roger Moore, the two definitive James Bond movies (not excluding Daniel Craig, of course).

Robert Higgs looks back on Crisis and Leviathan and the national-security state.

Jonathan Turley argues that Obama's regime brought constitutional government to its tipping point.

Glenn Greenwald focuses on British intelligence abuses on The Independents.

The Washington Times editorial board show the lies government tells.

Mike Lolgren anatomizes the "Deep State."

Bruce Schneier exposes yet another NSA evil: robots.

Doug Bandow: Can selling ivory save elephants?

Wendy McElroy gives the classical perspective on how to live the good life.

GRAVITY (2013) - First Thoughts

Gravity (2013) - ****

Director: Alfanso Cuarón
Producer: Alfonso Cuarón, David Heyman
Story/Screenplay: Alfonso and Jonas Cuarón
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki
Music: Steven Price
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

Run Time: 91 minutes

Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

MPAA Rating: PG-13


So I just got the Blu-ray for the box-office smash/critically-acclaimed/award-winning hit movie Gravity and popped it in my system, equipped with a good projector, an AV receiver, a Blu-ray player, and surround sound speakers.

I was interested in this film due to the hype. But I never got to see it in IMAX or 3D.

So I just decided to what this 91-minute space movie in the comfort of my own home.

And how was it?

It was very good, but I felt it was a bit overrated and not the masterpiece that some have called this. This may be due to not appreciating it on the IMAX screen, but still, the plot is just basic adventure story enlarged with cinematic imagery that actually looks very brilliant.

So the basic plot is this: Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) and Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) get stuck in space in an attempt to suspend a mission, leaving them to fend for themselves alone in space. But Matt Kowalski disappears, leaving Ryan Stone to try to get back to earth.

So what makes this film unique, despite its simplistic surface plot that would make for an average disaster flick? Several things: the impeccably good performances from George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, Cuarón's direction, the cinematography that feels so realistic and ethereal and the stunning visuals in this film.

Sandra Bullock manages to give a very good performance as the troubled astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone, giving us shades of substance amidst all her screaming for about 90 minutes of the movie. We see her wonder and fear of space, her personal life's influence on her space travels, and her fear for her life in space. Sandra Bullock manages to wrap up all these character traits quite well.

And George Clooney does a great (if brief) job portraying Matt Kowalski, who is the only other survivor with Stone. His performance as the macho, experienced pro astronaut is very entertaining and confirms that George Clooney may be one of the best actors of our time (and he does manage to attract the ladies, hence his being called "ladies' man").

The rest of the stuff is good to great, including Cuarón's direction, which gives the film further energy amidst the vacant and engrossing atmosphere of outer space. He makes the film feel both realistic in its accuracy to space details and surreal in his cinematic imagery. While I couldn't appreciate it in 3D or IMAX, the cinematography is still something to behold, engrossing, dizzying, and interesting at the same time. The cinematic techniques of Cuarón fit well in this film. His penchant for long and thoughtful shots works well in this movie, not only fitting into the fast-paced, 91 minute time length of the movie but also reconciling quite nicely with cinematic engrossment. The CGi effects are used to brilliant effect, managing not to be overdone but rather to fit quite nicely, making for some truly awesome visuals.

But why is this film not a masterpiece?

While I did note that the film was suspenseful, I didn't feel my spine-tingling, and at times I felt like the movie should end quickly. Even though it was 91 minutes, the film dig drag at certain points.

Also, while Gravity is a very good film, the thing that holds this film back from being a masterpiece is the somewhat corny acting of the otherwise good Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

So even if the film weren't a masterpiece, I did enjoy it very much, which is why I will give the film a 4/5 (A-) grade.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Revisiting THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (2004) - Mel Gibson's Cinematic Masterpiece

This Friday, Mark and Roma Downey, creators of the popular miniseries The Bible, decided to release a new movie entitled Son of God this Friday. It combines clips from the original miniseries with deleted footage to make for a suitable two-hours plus of movie to sit through.

So I decided to revisit Mel Gibson's controversial 2004 smash hit The Passion of the Christ (which I rewatched recently), that controversial movie dividing people and critics, leaving those who loved it (e.g. Roger Ebert, James Berardinelli, Steven Greydanus) and those who hated it (e.g. Jami Bernard, David Edelstein). Defenders compared it to Carl Dreyer's 1920s classic The Passion of Joan of Arc, while critics of the movie had an opinion that was aptly summed up in this one phrase: "The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre" (in loving reference to the infamous horror franchise Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Defenders praised the power of the film conveyed through the graphic violence and technical mastery while the critics attacked it for alleged anti-Semitism and graphic violence reminiscent of exploitation cinema.

As for me, I consider this to be one of the all-time best movies ever, albeit a very underappreciated film. While it does have many moments of brilliance, it is very powerful ultimately due to its exaltation of Christ as Savior and powerful evisceration of anti-Christian doctrine. If one is not a Christian, then one can appreciate the technical elements of the film, down from Caleb Deschandel's superb cinematography to Jim Caviezel's impassioned performance as the tortured Jesus Christ (not in the sense of the dark and moody movie superheroes of today, but rather physically tortured for about two hours) to Mel Gibson's raw direction.

So I will break down several reasons as to why I think that The Passion of the Christ still holds up after its much-hyped debut in 2004.

The Filmmaking

The Passion of the Christ ultimately works not only because it is a great Christian-themed display but because it is a great film.

The acting is phenomenal; Jim Caviezel empowers his role as the crucified and tortured Jesus Christ, starting from the very heartbreaking opening shots with Him praying to God down to the very violent scenes where he is tortured and crucified. His role adds a new layer of understanding to the much-quoted passage from Isaiah 53:5: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (KJV)

The performance from Caviezel doesn't add to that but rather exemplifies that in a brutal and emotionally cathartic manner; and I would like to note that the intercuts of Jesus' previous moments before His crucifixion work effectively well, not only due to Caviezel's performance but also give us a glimmer of hope and triumph amidst all this justifiably R-rated violence.

Also, Mel Gibson's raw direction fits well for this film, not only working with the massive amounts of graphic violence in the film but also the raw and intense feel one gets when viewing this film. I don't feel it pornographic or exploitative; rather, I feel it fits well for a film of this type, setting it apart from the other Christ-related films in its rawness, seriousness, cathartic feel and graphic depiction of suffering.

The screenwriting is not very traditional in the sense that it adheres to the standard three-act structure and the standard character-development rules of movie-making; in fact, there is no character development that i know of. But the film does not need character development, in my view, for The Passion shows the sufferings of a perfect God at the hands of those He came to save. This is the basis of the film and it works very well, without being preachy like many a Christian-made movie that has come out. And the events in the film are well-integrated into the structure of the film, interchanging with the bloodied Christ and the Christ who preached messages of love.

And the use of dead languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin) fit well into the authentic, down-to-earth aura of the movie, with subtitltes to assist the viewer.

Overall, The Passion works because it is a very good film; otherwise, it would not be able to hold up.

The Graphic Violence

One of the reasons The Passion stands out among the other films related to the crucifixion is precisely due to the graphic violence that Mel Gibson paints into the film. Normally, such graphic violence would fit well into a midnight exploitation flick, but in this film, because of the emotional catharsis established in the beginning scenes, the graphic violence further serves that purpose, to feel sympathy for Christ and to feel disgusted at this level of brutality leveled at Christ (which was probably much more gory than what was displayed in the film).

Some critics of the film would deride the violence as exploitative, and I will confess that this is true to a degree (and I will confess that the violence can get tedious at times). In fact, Gibson exploits the graphic nature of the violence to grab us and display cathartic rawness. But unlike the average exploitation film, I hold that the "exploitation" in this film is for a noble purpose and doesn't get out of hand by displaying distateful scenes. In fact, even during the very first display of graphic blood, there are moments when it cuts away from the action to display emotions on those who watch, especially Mary the Mother of Jesus (played effectively by Maia Morgenstern) and Mary Magdalene (played by Italian beauty Monica Belluci).

I guess that the emotional catharsis caused by the graphic imagery was also a reason many disliked the movie; they felt that the movie was being too distateful and exploitative in the violence in an attempt to gain an emotional reaction and that thus it made it a bad movie. But I hold that film is "manipulative" in that it uses images and emotions and technology to gain emotional reaction to it. If one could accuse The Passion of the Christ of doing this, then one could accuse some of the greatest movies of all time (Citizen Kane, Schindler's List, Ben-Hur, Lawrence of Arabia, etc.).

The Themes and Message

The final reason why I think The Passion of the Christ stands out is how forcefully it tells the message without always using words (not to say that words aren't used; in fact, during the many juxtapositions, they are). It displays the themes of salvation, love, forgiveness, and mercy even when we see people mercilessly taunt and torture the God of love, Jesus Christ. And it condemns those who reject the message (which I see is another reaosn why many people dislike this film) by contrasting them to the very goodness of Christ.

To those who condemn the film as anti-Semitic, I would say that the film is not anti-Semitic, not only because it did not cause anti-Semitic riots (as some feared), but because some of the very main characters are essentially Jewish, and the film is proud to display that Jewishness throughout the film, not shying away from it at all. Also, the villains of the film include Gentiles (Romans) along with the Jews, and many of the Jewish villains are not so much average Jews as they are hierarchical leaders that are threatened by Jesus and decide to act to crush Him. This is depicted as villanous, not the Semitism.

Also, the themes of love and forgiveness are effectively displayed, not only through the sufferings of Christ on the Cross but also through those sequences that were juxtaposed with the carrying of the Cross. The scenes with the final Passover, His preaching to crowds, and brief shots of people throwing down palm branches when He enters into Jerusalem, contrast so effectively to the hate that is spewed toward Him by the government and by regular folk who once celebrated Him. It utilizes one of the best methods of spreading a message (contrasting it to its opposite) and uses the power of film to effectively do this very well.

And that is why I hold that The Passion of the Christ is a very great film, especially years after its premiere.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Letter of Liberty News Edition (2-25-2014)

Justin Raimondo gives his thoughts on the Ukraine situation.

Glenn Greenwald looks into the mind of James Clapper.

Robert Batemarco explains John K. Galbraith's views on advertising.

Colleen Rowley reports on new calls for war against Syria surfacing.

Thomas Sowell exposes the "fairness" fraud.

Ron Paul admonishes us to stay out of Ukraine's affairs.

John Whitehead exposes the police's war against the American people.

William Anderson takes a look at the Loyola University president's lies against Walter Block.

James Altucher gives a "cheat sheet" for dealing with haters.

Pat Buchanan explains how freedom dies.

Jonathan Goodwin shows the real reason why football sucks: it's PR for the American State.

C. Jay Engel explains how the political narrative is propaganda, pure and simple.

Peter Dale Scott gives his thoughts on 9/11, Deep State politics, and Internet politics.

Rick Ector reports on a new pro-gun resurgence in Detroit.

Margaret Durst explains the harm caused by inflammation.

Joseph Mercola explains what's wrong with the American diet.

Gaye Levy gives 20 tips to survive an economic breakdown.

Chris Horlacher smashes more Stalin apologias (it's sad that Stalin apologias even exist).

James E. Miller: Libertarianism is the only peaceful philosophy.

Alvaro V. Llosa explores the life of Leopoldo Lopez.

Resource Page on Ukraine

I guess that one has heard of the situation in Ukraine, with mass protestors attempting to get rid of a government that they are discontented of. Since I haven't focused too much on the issue of Ukraine itself, I will compile a resource page that lists several articles dealing with this better than I can.

"Coup in Kiev" by Justin Raimondo;, Feb. 24, 2014

"Leave Ukraine Alone" by Ron Paul;, Feb. 25, 2014

"Diplomacy, Not Empty Threats, Are Needed in Ukraine" by Eric Margolis;, Feb. 22, 2014

"Is Ukraine Driving Toward a Civil War And Great Power Confrontation" by Paul Craig Roberts;, Feb. 20, 2014

"The Truth About Ukraine - A U.S. Coup?" by Stefan Molyneux; Freedomain Radio, Feb. 22, 2014

"Democracy Murdered by Protests: Ukraine Falls to Intrigue and Violence" by Paul Craig Roberts;, Feb. 23, 2014

"In Ukraine, EU and US Are Nearing the Civil War They Caused" by Michael Scheuer;, Feb. 23, 2014

"The U.S. and the Ukranian Revolt" by Tom Woods (interview with Daniel McAdams);, Feb. 1, 2014

"Ukraine's Crisis, Not Ours" by Pat Buchanan;, Feb. 21, 2014

"A Fire Bell In The Night for the EU" by Pat Buchanan;, Feb. 18, 2014

"Dispatch from Ukraine" by Lawrence Reed;, Jan. 20, 2014

"What Is Happening In Ukraine Is Far More Important Than People Realize" by Michael Snyder;, Feb. 25, 2014

"Did Susan Rice Just Threaten Russia With War?" by Daniel McAdams; LRC Blog, Feb. 23, 2014

"Victoria Nuland's 'Ukraine-Gate' Deceptions" by Daniel McAdams;, Feb. 10, 2014

"'F**k the EU': Tape Reveals US Runs Ukraine Opposition" by Daniel McAdams;, Feb. 8, 2014

"The US Is Pushing Ukraine Into a Civil War" by Jack Douglas;, Feb. 21, 2014

"The Crisis in Ukraine" by Paul Craig Roberts;, Feb. 25, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

Letter of Liberty News Edition (2-21-2014)

Here is the Friday News Edition of Letter of Liberty

John Odermatt writes on the new problem of Utah's attempting to take DNA from you.

Ilana Mercer looks at the presstitute's misinfo on Ukraine.

Pat Buchanan explains why we should stay out of Ukraine.

Justin Raimondo writes on the FCC's bringing Chavismo to America.

Nebojsa Malic comments further on Ukraine and Bosnia.

Ryan McMaken comments on Colorado's new cannabis economy

Patrick Barron writes on Mises, Kant, and welfare spending.

Laurence Vance explains why discrimination means freedom of association.

Murray Rothbard made the case against the minimum wage years ago.

Judge Napolitano makes the case that the president is a dictator.

John Pigler explains why WW2 wasn't so "good" after all.

The Voice of Russia interviews Ron Paul on Snowden, Ukraine, Syria, Iran talks, and much more.

Taki writes on WWI.

Tom Engelhardt shows how a thug State opeartes.

Jeffrey Scribner: NSA spying is the tip of the iceberg.

Paul Joseph Watson explains how masculinity is under attack.

Creek Stewart makes the case for owning a bow-and-arrow.

Daisy Luther asks if gluten-free is a fad or not.

Jack Douglas: Amerika is pushing Ukraine into civil war.

Jesse Ventura explains the "secret life" of drones.

Kevin Carson gives five libertarian reforms millennials should fight for.

Trevor Hultner explains why the new film The Purge 2 is wrong about anarchy.

Thomas Knapp explains why libertarianism does not mean conservatism, despite Justin Amash.

Jacob Hornberger explains the lessons Egypt hold for us.

Faré gives his case arguing that libertarianism is neither left-wing or right-wing.

Randy England gives his thoughts on the "left-libertarian"-"vulgar libertarian" conflict.

C. Jay Engel gives an interesting take on libertarianism and Christian theonomy.

Sheldon Richman explains the phony trade-off between privacy and security.

Tom Woods interviews Michael Huemer, the anarcho-libertarian philosopher and author of The Problem of Political Authority.

C. Jay Engel also writes up on Jeff Johnson's views on the Christian and the state.

Libertarianism, Christianity, and the Problem of Human Nature

Libertarianism, Christianity, and the Problem of Human Nature

Anand Venigalla

The question of human nature has always left libertarians and freedom lovers with a dilemma. Conservatives, particularly Christians, routinely accuse libertarians of neglecting the sinfulness of human nature when they advocate such measures as non-interventionism in foreign policy, legalization of vices such as prostitution, drug use, alcohol use, pornography, sexual immorality, and other things that we Christians ought to abhor, as well as rejecting the role of government in criminalizing these sins. So, since we libertarians reject coercing morality and foreign interventionism, we are attacked as naive and careless. Of course, there are leftist arguments against libertarians with regards to human nature, but I will primarily deal with conservative arguments against libertarianism, for  these arguments are popular among my brothers and sisters in Christ, and I will defend libertarianism against these false and exaggerated charges.

Arguments Against Libertarianism

1. Libertarianism is contrary to the Bible since it rejects the legitimacy of the state's coercing of morality on its subject. The argument holds that since Romans 13 is supposed to tell us that the role of governments is to promote good and condemn evil, then that means "legislating morality." Such laws would include legislation placing restrictions on narcotic drugs, excessive alcohol consumption, premarital and extramarital sex, adultery, homosexual relations, polygamy, prostitution, peep shows, and other things that are deemed immoral by the conservative. Since libertarianism rejects the role of government in restricting such activity, the conservative Christian will argue that libertarianism is contrary to God's design for government. They may concede that the laws would be unenforcable, or that such laws won't make a man moral or regenerate. But they do argue that the law is there as a guide and a terror to evil, so that even if such laws don't increase the amount of born-again Christians, it will decrease the amount of immorality. I will refute this argument later on, but this is a pretty good summary of what is being held.

2. Libertarian foreign policy rejects reality because it is utopian in its view of nations, States, and terrorists; it also rejects America's superiority because it rejects America's foreign interventionism. Conservative Christians often attack libertarians on their foreign policy views because it rejects interventionism, American exceptionalism, pre-emptive warfare as a deterrent to rogue nations, and the use of nuclear weapons as a defense tool. The libertarian rejects the use of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction because he sees them as totally incapable of pure defense and limitation of the toll of lives it takes. The conservative Christian will usually protest that it is not so much the weapons that are evil but rather who has them and how they will be used. Thus, he will be more comfortable with certain governments (such as the American, British, and Israeli governments) using nuclear weapons and uncomfortable with other governments (like North Korea, China, and Iran) possessing them. Also, libertarians often reject interventionism because they see it as a provocation for terrorists to attack a country due to discontent from a nation's intervention. For example, the majority of libertarians (including myself) hold that the attacks on 9/11 were in part (or wholly) a result of America's interventions in the Middle East (an example of this would be the CIA's participation in the 1953 Iranian coup and the support for the Shah, which discontented many Muslims). Ron Paul brought this view to light, and he was attacked by many for it, including Christian conservatives. And most libertarians (including myself) believe that economic sanctions should not be placed on Iran or any other alleged "rogue nations." Conservatives will object to this for fear of Iran's developing nuclear capabilities and for fear that Iran might use it to develop nuclear weapons and use them against America and its main ally Israel (this is due to some alleged statements that Islamic leaders have made). The accusation goes that libertarian foreign policy is naive, stupid, and immoral because it doesn't subscribe to conservative viewpoints. This is false, as I will show later in the article.

3. Libertarian views on vices, crimes, and the State are based on a moral standard other than the objective standards of God's Word. Similar to the first argument against libertarianism, they hold that since libertarianism rejects government's role in enforcing laws against vices (not including murder, theft, fraud, or other things), they are rejecting God's role for government and basing their morality on a base other than God's Word in doing so. The libertarians would say: "Government shouldn't legislate morality." By this, we mean that government shouldn't use the law to crack down and punish those who practice vices that otherwise don't infringe on other people's rights. The conservative will say, "All laws legislate morality, and all laws have a moral base. Therefore, you libertarians are hypocrites for condemning use for using the law to crack down on vices and yet saying that there is no moral basis in law." They will also say, "Since God is the author of morality, then we should codify his law into legislation, which means banning porn, prostitution, drugs, sodomy, as other stuff." They see libertarianism as hypocritical because it allegedly rejects the source of morality: God. The conservative may concede that the law might not make a person regenerate or at the very least good, but at least it prevents even further corruption. Therefore, laws against vices are moral and decent. This is also going to refuted later on.


1. Because we libertarians reject the right to coerce morality, we recognize the freedom of choice (or "free will") bestowed by God on humanity, and we reject the use of statist and immoral means unto morality. Libertarians reject the use of immoral and statist means as used by leftists and conservatives to instill morality into citizens and people, because we recognize the right to freedom of choice. For the Christian libertarian, it is recognizing that humans have a free will, and that government attempts to deny this free will through legislation is wrong. The agnostic scholar Murray Rothbard said, "By attempting to compel virtue, we eliminate its possibility." And the religious scholar Frank Meyer said in his book In Defense of Freedom:

. . . freedom can exist at no lesser price than the danger of damnation; and if freedom is indeed the essence of man's being, that which distinguishes him from the beasts, he must be free to choose his worst as well as his best end. Unless he can choose his worst, he cannot choose his best. (p. 50)

Why do we say this? We say this because we recognize that freedom is part and parcel to a moral action to be truly moral and virtuous, and that if the government tries to compel morality or remove immorality, then the action is no longer truly moral nor is it truly free. Thus, while we libertarians may have differing opinions on the ethical or moral nature of an activity like prostitution, premarital and/or extramarital sex, or drug consumption, we know the the law should not use force to stop these types of activities, or the law can only be used against coercive activities (such as murder, rape, fraud, theft, or kidnapping). Vices do not fall into the realm of coercive activities, so they should not be banned by legislative fiat.

As for a Biblical case for the freedom of choice, there are many examples in Scripture in which goodness is a choice rather than a compulsory choice. Joshua 24:15 says to choose who should be served. Isaiah 7:15 says, "Choose good." And in Genesis 3, in the story of the Fall, we see God giving the freedom of choice in that he doesn't automatically use His power to kill Adam and Eve when they sinned against Him. Yes, it is true that He punished them and made them leave the Garden of Eden, and He did command them not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But there was a freedom of choice, and even when they abused it, God did not take away that freedom of choice from them. Proverbs 16:9 says this: "A man's heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps." This implies that indeed God does direct the footsteps of man and He is ultimately sovereign, but man is ultimately what plans his way as well. Actions and choices most certainly have consequences, but that does not negate God's gift of the freedom of choice at all.

But how does the issue of Romans 13 square with this? Let me say this: even if, as the conservative says, all laws legislate morality by definition, the role of government (if it is to exist at all) is to use violence only when violent aggression takes place. In Genesis 9, before the Mosaic civil codes were established, the role of violence was only limited as a punishment for prior aggression, and the only roles of violence are for self-defense and rightful punishment. And when the Mosaic Law was fulfilled and the legal and ceremonial laws were fulfilled in Christ, the Ten Commandments remained and so did the Noahic covenant. And not only that, the Scriptures gave us ways to deal with the immoral actions of sins committed among Christians and non-Christians: for Christians, that method is forgiveness for confessed sin and expulsion for unconfessed sins (1 Corinthians 5). So my final conclusion is that use of government force on immoral actions is not necessary and is outside the role of government.

2.  Libertarian foreign policy is the most sensible and moral foreign policy of all, contrary to claims from conservatives. The second point in my defense of the libertarian creed is with regards to foreign policy. Libertarian foreign policy, the policy of non-interventionism, is moral and compatible with Christianity and a realistic understanding of human nature, contrary to the claims of the conservative. But before we can defend the libertarian foreign policy from a Christian perspective, we must learn what it is. And since I cannot go fully in-depth into this (as many great libertarian theorists and scholars have), I will give only a brief outline of libertarian foreign policy. The essentials are:

  • The policy is based on non-aggression, that no one should have the right to commit aggression against another man's life, liberty or property. Violence is limited only to the defense of life, liberty and property (or even to proper restitution and retaliatory violence).
  • The application to foreign affairs is clear. No nation or State may commit aggression at all, not in the name of spreading democracy or protecting an ally, not in the name of imperialism, and not for any other supposed reason. In fact, such warfare depends on theft and taxation, which is unnecessary and wrong (unlike in voluntary revolutionary forces).
  • Collective security, the idea that one nation should take the moral responsibility to fight for another nation (like country A fighting against country B to defend country C), is immoral, for it involves aggression and initiation of force.
  • Nuclear weapons and aerial bombs are forbidden under libertarian standards, for not only have they opened doors for mass murder, but they also cannot be used in a libertarian manner; in other words, they cannot pinpoint to the enemies and thus avoid killing innocent non-combatants and civilians (which is a rule of just war theory)

Libertarian foreign policy is the most moral foreign policy out of all of them, for it not only recognizes the principle of non-aggression and consistently applies it, but that it is a negative expression of the Golden Rule (“don’t do to others what you would not have them do to you”). That means: no participation in coups, no support of foreign government leaders, no entangling alliances, and no imperialism. But some might say, “What about terrorists and rogue nations that threaten to kill us or might do harm to us? Then we ought to attack them preemptively, and that would be self-defense.” Such preemptive attacks fall outside the realm of self-defense, for if person A jumps out and attacks person B (who is practicing open carry), he is not justified in his attack, for there is no clear and present danger. It would be justified for A to prepare and keep watch, but it would not be justified to attack him and initiate force.

Another example would be if Jonas heard of a thief by the name of Doug who is robbing many houses and persons. Would Jonas be justified in initiating force on Doug merely because the thief
threatened to rob his house? No. He would be justified in taking heed and preparing to defend himself and his family, but he would not be justified in starting violent action against Doug. In fact, Doug himself would have the right to defend his own person against Jonas in this case (though the thief would not have the right to keep what he stole).

As to the Christian argument for libertarian foreign policy, let us look at why it is compatible with Christianity;

a. Aggression is fundamentally immoral and not, for not only does it profane the image of God (Genesis 9:6-7; Exodus 20:7), but it violates the rights of others not to be aggressed against. An offensive war is based on initiation of violence, which is immoral.

b. The wars in Scripture, which are used to justify America's current wars, are not license for offensive warfare. For example, many of the Old Testament wars were only called of by Gld, and they were for specific purposes (i.e. taking the Promised Land and purging it of pagan influences). While those wars have important lessons to teach us, they are not meant to be a template for warfare per se. And even then, many of the wars God commanded had limitations, and the nation of Israel, even under a monarchy, did not wage wars against other countries to "spread God's laws." Even when they did face threats, most of the wars were solely designed as self-defense, not any grand schemes.

Laurence Vance, the great anti-war Christian writer and libertarian columnist, says of the Old Testament wars and their relation to the Christian view of war: is wrong to invoke the Jewish wars of the Old Testament against the heathen as a justification for the actions of the U.S. government and its military. Although God sponsored these wars, and used the Jewish nation to conduct them, it does not follow that God sponsors American wars or that America is God’s chosen nation. The U.S. president is not Moses, Joshua, King David, or God Almighty, America is neither the nation of Israel nor God’s chosen nation, the U.S. military is not the Lord’s army, and the Lord never sanctioned any Christian to go on a crusade, commanded him to war on his behalf, or encouraged any  Christian to kill, make apologies for the killing of, or excuse the killing of any adherent to a false religion.

c. Aggressive warfare, for any reason whatsoever (even in the name of "spreading democracy and freedom" and "combatting terrorists and rogue nations"), violates the Biblical doctrines of peace and the Golden Rule. For in aggressive warfare, one is basically doing what one does not want to be done to him. 1 Peter 4:15 says not to be a busybody in the matters of other affairs and persons. An aggressive foreign policy does just precisely that.

Contrast this to the non-interventionist foreign policy, a policy that rejects entangling alliances, supports free trade among the nations, rejects aggressive warfare and limits it only to defensive purposes, and even then only uses war against enemies rather than using intimidation and killing of civilians to prove one’s point.

Laurence Vance has some wise words regarding an aggressive foreign policy as opposed to the non-interventionist policy:

A noninterventionist foreign policy is a policy of peace, neutrality, and free trade. A noninterventionist foreign policy would mean no more invasions, no more threats, no more sanctions, no more embargoes, no more foreign aid, no more spies, no more meddling, no more bullying, no more foreign entanglements, no more entangling alliances, no more military advisors, no more troops and bases on foreign soil, no more NATO-like commitments, no more trying to be the world's social worker, fireman, and policeman, no more nation building, no more peacekeeping operations, no more spreading democracy at the point of a gun, no more regime changes, no more covert actions, no more forcibly opening markets, no more enforcing UN resolutions, no more liberations, and no more shooting, bombing, maiming, and killing. A noninterventionist foreign policy would also mean no foreign aid, no humanitarian aid, no disaster relief, and no payments to the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, or the World Bank.

Does this mean that America should let the rest of the world starve in a famine, die of disease after a natural disaster, labor in sweatshops, participate in fraudulent elections, suffer human rights abuses, or be killed in a civil war? America yes, Americans no. The American people are a compassionate, concerned, and generous people. There would be no shortage of American people and American dollars to help the rest of the world in these situations. There would be no shortage of organizations to monitor foreign elections and point out human rights violations. But those who desire not to provide assistance should not be forced to pay for it with their tax dollars.

The United States cannot police the world. We have no right to police the world. It is the height of arrogance to try and remake the world in our image. Most of what happens in the world is none of our concern and certainly none of our business. It is not the responsibility of the United States to remove corrupt rulers and oppressive dictators from power. The kind of government a country has and the type of leader it has is the sole responsibility of the people in that country. There is absolutely no reason why the United States would be justified in attacking and invading a sovereign country — no matter what we thought of that country's ruler, system of government, treatment of women, economic policies, religious intolerance, or human rights record. If the people in a country don't like their ruler, then they should get rid of him themselves and not expect the United States to intervene. The truth of the matter is that the handful of men who hold political power in a country cannot in and of themselves compel that country's citizens to obey them in every respect. They have to have the cooperation of the people. If an individual American feels so strongly about one side in a civil war or border dispute, then he can send money to the side he favors, pray for one side to be victorious, or enlist in the army of his preferred side; that is, anything but call for sending in the U.S. Marines. How strange it is that advocates of U.S. military interventions consider us noninterventionists to be unpatriotic and anti-American when we are the ones concerned about the life of even one American being used as cannon fodder for the state. We never considered the shedding of the blood of even one American to be "worth" the latest lie that U.S. troops are dying for.

So what should the United States do? In the words of the late Murray Rothbard, the United States should "abandon its policy of global interventionism," "withdraw immediately and completely, militarily and politically, from everywhere," and "maintain a policy of strict political ‘isolation' or neutrality everywhere." Political isolation is the only isolation we desire. Our example should be a country like Switzerland. This is a country that has consistently practiced neutrality and nonintervention, and remained secure when the world was at war. The first step toward abandoning an interventionist foreign policy and completely withdrawing would be for the United States to immediately withdraw all of its forces from Iraq. But not because we have suffered too many casualties, not because there are too many insurgents, and not because the troop surge is not working — we should withdraw our troops because the war was a grave injustice, a monstrous wrong, and a great evil from the very beginning.

3. We have our differences on the morality of certain things, but we view libertarianism as a way of life, not a lifestyle. We see libertarianism as a way of approaching the proper use of coercion, force and violence. Many libertarians have differing views of the morality of certain acts, such as participation in non-martial sexual activity, prostitution, gambling, drug use, or any other things. But we are all united in our opposition of using violence to prevent such activities. That means that legislation passed to prevent this is forbidden. This section is dedicated to showing that the Christian creed not only doesn’t command the use of violence to prevent such things, but that the use of violence in these cases is actually wrong by Christian standards. As I have pointed out before, the Scriptures show us God’s gift of freedom of choice, and that we can reject compulsory morality (which is what “legislating morality” really is) and criminalization of vice.

First, compulsory legislation unto morality is immoral because, like aggressive warfare, it violates the Biblical principle of not being a busybody in other people's matters (1 Peter 4:15; 1 Timothy 4:15). And not only that, Proverbs 3:30 reminds us to “Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.” When we depend upon compulsory legislation to use violence against sinful activity that is in no way criminal, we violate these two principles.

Second, if mankind is indeed sinful, then why should we have to trust the government, which is composed of fallible human beings, to intervene in such personal matters such as sexuality, gambling, prostitution, and other things? Murray Rothbard, while he was not a BIble-believing Christian at all, made this crucial insight when he dealt with the government and morality:

There is an odd aspect of the statist position on the enforcement of virtue that has gone unnoticed. It is bad enough, from the libertarian perspective, that the non-libertarian conservatives (along with all other breeds of statists) are eager to enforce compulsory virtue; but which group of men do they pick to do the enforcing? Which group in society are to be the guardians of virtue, the ones who define and enforce their vision of what virtue is supposed to be? None other, I would say, than the state apparatus, the social instrument of legalized violence. Now, even if we concede legitimate functions to the policeman, the soldier, the jailer, it is a peculiar vision that would entrust the guardianship of morality to a social group whose historical record for moral behavior is hardly encouraging. Why should the sort of persons who are good at, and will therefore tend to exercise, the arts of shooting, gouging, and stomping, be the same persons we would want to select as our keepers of the moral flame?

Government, while it does have the legal power to commit violence against sinners, should not have that legal power. As I have said before, freedom is part and parcel of morality, and if government attempts to coerce this morality by passing laws compelling moral actions or forbidding immoral actions, it destroys a crucial aspect of moral actions, which are done from the heart and from the free choices of man.

Third, in response to the “All laws legislate morality by definition” argument, I would say that when we argue against legislating morality, we don’t say that laws have no ethical basis, for indeed, we libertarians, for the most part, have moral views and base our view on the State and liberty on moral foundations. We say that the government should not use violence to prevent immoral actions from being practiced or to jail someone who has already committed them. The Christian libertarian viewpoint does not forbid the use of violence to defend against initiation of violence, but rather it forbids the use of violence with regards to preventing immoral and unethical actions (which are different from violent and aggressive actions in their nature). So when we libertarians oppose the use of violence to prevent such victimless actions, we are not being selective in our morality or being hypocrites at all. Rather, we recognize that only aggressive violence deserves to be punished with the use of responsive violence by either the victims or the governing agencies. This does not mean we oppose the cultivation of virtue and order, for those things can be cultivated by the church and the family and through civil organizations (that are based on voluntary organizations rather than on monopoly force). But we oppose the forced morals and virtues of the State, and this is what differentiates the libertarian from the conservative.


While this essay is imperfect and written by a fallible human being such as I, I have made the case for libertarianism from the perspective of a Christian understanding of human nature and morality, and I have attempted to show that libertarianism is compatible with Christianity. I have not went too much into specific issues, for that will be for other essays. And I myself have much to learn and I am never too young or too old to grow as both a Christian and as a libertarian.

But I hope that this essay will convince some to look further into libertarianism, to read writings from Christian and atheist libertarians, to delve further into Christian thought, both early and modern, to test it by Scripture, and to learn from it.

If this was not the most definitive take on the subject, then let it be a starting point for others to delve further into the subject.

Here is the link where the footnotes I intended are included into the essay.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Review: FOR A NEW LIBERTY (1973) by Murray N. Rothbard

For A New Liberty (1973; 1978) by Murray N. Rothbard,
Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006. 420 pages (including index)

Have you ever wanted to read a libertarian book that systematically defended the concept of liberty? Have you wanted something radical, something that offers real solutions, even if those solutions would seem uncomfortable at first?

Well, in 1973, the great economist and theorist Murray N. Rothbard published a radical, powerful, and invigorating book entitled For A New Liberty, a profoundly radical, realist, powerful and simple book; it was republished in 1978 in a revised edition, and in the 21st century, it was republished in 2006 by the Ludwig von Mises Institute, opening the way for more readers to enjoy this brilliant work.

And what does this book contain that makes it so powerful? It defends the idea of liberty so radically, based on the moral and practical arguments, even applying it to the state, calling for its abolition by showing how law and rights can be protected and upheld without the coercive and aggressive nature of the State. It defends laissez-faire economics consistently, even to the point of defending the idea of defense services, harkening upon not only Gustave de Molinari's The Production of Security (which many consider the first anarcho-capitalist tract) but also the great Frederic Bastiat tract The Law, in which the true purpose and nature of the law was revealed (hint: it's not what conservatives and left-wing liberals think). It looks at the tough problems and applies the libertarian creed to them, ranging from welfare to education to law to police to roads to the issue of war and peace itself.

Introduction: Libertarian History

Murray Rothbard opens with a brilliant chapter explaining America's libertarian origins (which has been delved further into Rothbard's massive Conceived in Liberty, Bernard Bailyn's The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution and other great works), showing how Locke and the "Cato" folks laid the foundation for the American Revolution's doctrine, defending the right to private property, liberty, natural rights, and the limited government. Rothbard says this profound statement in that chapter:

...the revolution was not only the first successful modern attempt to throw off the yoke of Western imperialism—at that time, of the world’s mightiest power. More important, for the first time in history, Americans hedged in their new governments with numerous limits and restrictions embodied in constitutions and particularly in bills of rights. Church and State were rigorously separated throughout the new states,and religious freedom enshrined. Remnants of feudalism were eliminated throughout the states by the abolition of the feudal privileges of entail and primogeniture. (In the former, a dead ancestor is able to entail landed estates in his family forever, preventing his heirs from selling any part of the land; in the latter, the government requires sole inheritance of property by the oldest son.) (pp. 5-6)

He shows how this laid the foundation for the libertarian movement which arose in the mid-20th century, as well as the ideology of classical liberalism which was predominant in late 18th and 19th century Western civilization, the ideology which defended the right to private property, laissez-faire capitalism, individual freedom and natural rights. It was on these two foundations that the libertarian movement branched out and formed. It was a wonderful movement, a wonderful time, and a lively theory. But what happened that led to the demise of true liberalism. There were many factors, including socialism and growth of statism, but Rothbard points out that the liberals lost their original liveliness and radicalism and shifted toward quasi-conservatism and gradualism, especially with regard to many if the 19th century. They abandoned the higher law/natural law theory that previously undergirded their libertarianism and instead turned to utilitarianism. While it is true that there were utilitarians who were still radical, like the 20th century libertarian economist Ludwig von Mises, most lacked the radicalism that was inherent in natural law theory. So it was this that caused the liberals to start conceding major functions to the State, laying the foundations for the modern welfare-warfare state, which was in many ways a return to the previous conservative Order of pre-liberal Western civilization and also a new form, using democracy (a classical-liberal goal) to support the new statist order and manufacture consent. 

It is this tragedy (exemplified in the major wars and statist atrocities of the 20th century) that now gives further reason for a systematic and radical theory of libertarianism which not only is morally consistent but also practical and realistic.

The Libertarian Creed

The next part of the book is entitled The Libertarian Creed, in which Rothbard starts with the central axiom of libertarianism: the nonaggression principle, which states that no man may aggress against another's life, liberty and/or just private property titles. He shows how natural law and self-ownership means that property rights exist and out of them arise all the other libertarian rights such as free speech, human rights, civil liberties, and others. He shows what is just, what is unjust, and how property becomes private property, based off a radical (neo-)Lockean theory of property titles and homesteading, where man mixes labor with previously unowned and untouched property, thus making it his own property. This is the root of just property titles; the only other ways of obtaining property and resources, as Rothbard shows, are through voluntary exchange and contact or through aggressive and forceful means. 

He also shows that natural rights is the only proper foundation for property-rights and libertarian theory, showing not only the flaws with emotionalism and utilitarianism but also the flaws of other non-libertarian systems like communism and communitarianism. Particularly important is his rebuttal to communism:

“The second alternative, what we might call “participatory communalism” or “communism,” holds that every man should have the right to own his equal quotal share of everyone else. If there are two billion people in the world, then everyone has the right to own one two-billionth of every other person. In the first place, we can state that this ideal rests on an absurdity: proclaiming that every man is entitled to own a part of everyone else, yet is not entitled to own himself. Secondly, we can picture the viability of such a world: a world in which no man is free to take any action whatever without prior approval or indeed command by everyone else in society. It should be clear that in that sort of “communist” world, no one would be able to do anything, and the human race would quickly perish. But if a world of zero self-ownership and one hundred percent other ownership spells death for the human race, then any steps in that direction also contravene the natural law of what is best for man and his life on earth. 

Finally, however, the participatory communist world cannot be put into practice. For it is physically impossible for everyone to keep continual tabs on everyone else, and thereby to exercise his equal quotal share of partial ownership over every other man. In practice, then, the concept of universal and equal other-ownership is utopian and impossible, and supervision and therefore control and ownership of others necessarily devolves upon a specialized group of people, who thereby become a ruling class. Hence, in practice, any attempt at communist rule will automatically become class rule, and we would be back at our first alternative.”
Excerpt From: Murray N. Rothbard. “For A New Liberty.” Ludwig von Mises Institue. iBooks. This material may be protected by copyright.

The rest of that chapter on "Property and Exchange" is beautiful, but especially vital is his chapter on "The State." He is very convincing, radical, excellent and refreshing, exposing the immorality of the State and its roots in exploitation and force, which is contrary to the voluntary nature of other societal institutions. Rothbard beautifully explains, like he did in his essay "The Anatomy of the State" that the State is inherently aggressive and that libertarians, in applying the nonaggression principle, are consistent in their antistatism (I would also add that even the limited-government libertarians are still very consistent in their opposition to statism). He points out that the State never voluntarily gives up its power, no matter how small or big, and that the State can't be put on the same moral plane as other voluntary institutions, for it uses forced takings of resources ("taxation"), forced slavery ("conscription"), and use of violence in ways no other institution can or would use. 

As to checks on the government, he shows, from the historical witness of people such as John C. Calhoun, that even constitutions are ultimately ineffective in limiting the government, for somehow the government will use a constitution and interpret it in a way that finds itself favorable. Such is the tragic case of the U.S. Constitution, which was started out with good intentions (or maybe not) but ended up being a permission for the State to increase its own power. He also argues against collectivism, showing that the people do not equal the government, that government is not voluntary (thus putting an end to "If you don't like it, leave!"), that government is inherently oligarchic (even a democracy is oligarchic to one degree or another), parasitic (it can't be run like a business, despite what some politicians might have you think), and sporadic and legalized (private, non-State crime doesn't receive the same love that State crime does, and rightly so).

He beautifully shows how the State manages to propagandize its citizens using intellectuals (the secular alternative to the conservative throne-and-altar regime of past times), how there is a class division (between tax payers and tax looters; not between producers and workers), how many of the doctrines intended to limit government lost their original purpose in the process (the divine right of kings, utilitarianism, constitutions/bills of rights, and others come into mind), and that it is not a good institution. 

Libertarian Applications to Current Problems

Now that we have tasted the meat of the foundations, let us taste the meat of the application, where Rothbard goes further into applying the libertarian creed to current problems (he does this moreso in his 1982 treatise The Ethics of Liberty, a much denser and more philosophical masterpiece than For A New Liberty). He states stuff like education, pollution, the military-industrial complex, economic problems, and the issue of Watergate (other scandals can stand in place, since Watergate is over), union strikes and restrictions and others, showing why this merits libertarianism.

He starts with the issue of involuntary servitude, the foundation of government services. He exposes the army, conscription, antistrike laws, the tax system, and commitment (the practice of committing mentally ill patients), and the courts as all participating in involuntary servitude, which is forbidden by the Thirteenth Amendment. He defends the argument against such from utilitarian and moral grounds, showing that not only is involuntary servitude ineffective but also immoral, be it in any form at all, even if it's a more "politically correct" form.

On the issue of personal liberty, Rothbard makes radical conclusions about the nature of free speech (rooting it in property rights in contrast to some vague "human rights"), even going so far as to say that libel and slander are not worthy of criminalizing, stating that no one has the right to a reputation in the same way that one has a right to private property. 

On sex laws, pornography laws, and prostitution laws, he advocates for their abolition and freedom in these areas. He shows that such laws are not only violations of individual freedom but also violations of property rights. Rothbard also shows that forced morality is not true morality, for real moral action has an element of freedom with it; without that element, no true morality can exist. As to the issue of birth control and abortion (which I agree with on the former but not the latter), he gives a very interesting take which, while one may not agree with, is worth reading and considering.

On the radio and television issue, he advocates a complete free market in this area, allowing for property rights rather than these two being "public" services. He shows that the coming regulations were not because of chaos in the airwaves but because it wanted to prevent competition from television and radio companies establishing private property rights and prevented government power from interfering in the area. He shows that government involvement in radio and television airwaves is not only incompatible with libertarianism and freedom but also with the constitutional rights of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment.

On wiretapping, Rothbard shows the impracticality of such an action. While he does concede that wiretapping might work in some circumstances and that the police have the right to invade the property of a thief who has committed a crime, he does show that wiretapping is immoral and a violation of property rights.

On gambling and drugs, Rothbard also advocates for freedom in these actions, and on the issues of police corruption and gun laws, he also makes the case for freedom as not only a moral right but also a practical ailment to the problem of both issues.

His other chapters on education, welfare, and the business cycle are also great and worth a read; the chapter on the business cycle clarified many things for me (but I will still have to reread that chapter and maybe the whole book to grasp more of what it has to offer), and it is not too complicated for even the regular person to read.

The chapters on the public sector are really awesome, making the case for a total free market with business, leaving no government involvement whatsoever, showing that without the "public" sector businesses will have incentives to please their consumers and provide high quality to their clients and consumers, because there is a strong link between service and payment, something lacking in government services. The roads chapter is also brilliant too, but what made me change from a classical minarchist libertarian to an anarcho-capitalist libertarian was his chapter on "Police, Law, and the Courts," where he makes not only the moral but the practical case for freedom in the production of security services, the defense of law (as opposed to a monopoly Supreme Court), and even national-security concerns. He points out that the private courts have more incentive for higher quality than government courts, that even the worst conflicts in an anarchist society would not be as bad as government violence, that arbitration courts can work out something, that voluntary justice can be successful (giving historical examples), that private courts would have more incentive to be just in their judgment than government courts, and that even the law itself can be provided privately in the free market, showing the historical example of ancient Ireland (before it was conquered by England).

This chapter made me convinced that anarchy can be ordered and based on law, that it is not chaos (even though I was convinced internally of this truth before I officially became an anarcho-capitalist), and that government is not necessary for order (and in many ways is a hindrance to order). And the rest of the chapter convinced me of the merits and morality of free-market defense, law, courts, and national security. I know that I will have to learn more and solidify my beliefs through more wisdom and knowledge (and I believe that anarcho-capitalism is compatible with biblical Christianity like classical libertarianism is), but as of now, I am fully glad that I became an anarcho-capitalist. I detailed my conversion on this Reddit thread at /r/christian_ancaps

And one thing that the book really did for me was to open my eyes to see a new way of dealing with the issue of conservation and ecology, showing how property rights and liberty will help this issue and alleviate many of the problems. He shows that class action suits against polluters is lawful from a libertarian standpoint, that pollution violates property rights and the nonaggression principle (that applies even to noise), that technological growth and prosperity is compatible with a better world and better ecology, and that a true free market is vital to great conservation.

Also important and vital is his chapter on "War and Foreign Policy," the last and final problem to which libertarianism will be applied to in this great work. Rothbard gives some uniquely interesting history on Soviet foreign policy, that collective security is wrong, that noninterventionism ("isolationism" in his own words) is libertarian foreign policy, and that nuclear weapons and other modern weapons are so deadly and aggressive that they should be abolished completely. As he favors the anarcho-capitalist society, Rothbard opposes the formation of States everywhere, which allows him to see with great clarity the issue of collective security, aggressive warfare, just war, and revolutionary-guerrilla warfare. I agree with his take on foreign policy, for noninterventionism-isolationism is the only right foreign policy, for it promotes freedom, peace, and prosperity. It not only reflects much of American tradition but it also reflects true moral principles and the Golden Rule.

The final chapter, which proposes some strategies for achieving liberty, is especially important, arguing against both sectarianism and opportunism, supporting a happy middle ground with radical goals in mind and even small achievements swiftly supported, all while attaining to the radical goal of pure liberty and a free society. He makes the case for optimism (which I have some reservations about, based on my theology of the last days), which is mostly important for libertarians but helpful for the other readers (who may or may not have become libertarians in the process of reading this book and other libertarian resources).

Overall, despite my disagreement with Rothbard on the issue of abortion (he supports abortion rights and feels that they are not violations of the nonaggression principle; I think they are, but more on that in other posts; BTW, I think that one can be a true Christian and support the Rothbardian view on abortion and the law, but more on that in another post), I overall admire this great book and give it my highest recommendation.

5/5: For A New Liberty is a masterpiece of libertarian literature and worth reading for everyone interested in politics and the science of liberty. It is a truly radical and thoughtful work that deserves not only a read but consideration of the deeper philosophy. While it would be great for people to accept the anarcho-capitalist message of this book, it is still deserving of a read, even if you ultimately disagree with Rothbard. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Here is the Reddit thread on /r/Anarcho_Capitalism (one of my Reddit faves) on my post: