What intrigued such gentlemen [the press corps] in the compositions of Dr. Wilson was the plain fact that he was their superior in their own special field – that he accomplished with a great deal more skill than they did themselves the great task of reducing all the difficulties of the hour to a few sonorous and unintelligible phrases, often with theological overtones – that he knew better than they did how to arrest and enchant the boobery with words that were simply words, and nothing else. The vulgar like and respect that sort of balderdash. A discourse packed with valid ideas, accurately expressed, is quite incomprehensible to them. What they want is the sough of vague and comforting words – words cast into phrases made familiar to them by the whooping of their customary political and ecclesiastical rabble-rousers, and by the highfalutin style of the newspapers that they read. Woodrow knew how to conjure up such words. He knew how to make them glow, and weep. He wasted no time upon the heads of his dupes, but aimed directly at their ears, diaphragms and hearts.
But reading his speeches in cold blood offers a curious experience. It is difficult to believe that even idiots ever succumbed to such transparent contradictions, to such gaudy processions of mere counter-words, to so vast and obvious a nonsensicality. Hale produces sentence after sentence that has no apparent meaning at all – stuff quite as bad as the worst bosh of the Hon. Gamaliel Harding. When Wilson got upon his legs in those days he seems to have gone into a sort of trance, with all the peculiar illusions and delusions that belong to a frenzied pedagogue.
Karl Popper blamed Plato for the rise of totalitarianism in the 20th century, seeing Plato’s philosopher kings, with their dreams of ‘social engineering’ and ‘idealism’, as leading directly to Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler (via Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx). In addition, Ayatollah Khomeini is said to have been inspired by the Platonic vision of the philosopher king while in Qum in the 1920s when he became interested in Islamic mysticism and Plato’s Republic. As such, it has been speculated that he was inspired by Plato’s philosopher king, and subsequently based elements of his Islamic Republic on it.
McCain and Graham are big government statists who happen to be Rs.
Is it just me or do McCain and his Boy Wonder sidekick Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) bear a growing resemblance to Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy from Sponge Bob Squarepants? Like the version of the GOP they represent, their best days are behind them. Which may well be good news for just about everybody else.
If GOP members of Congress have finally (and mostly reluctantly) signed on to the reality of sequester cuts, the country’s Republican governors seem a lot more bent out of shape at the idea of losing various crumbs from federal coffers.
Libertarians believe in individual liberty, persuasion not coercion, nonaggression. Libertarians are leery of all forms of concentrated power, whether that power is wielded by the state, big business, big religion, a mob, big wheels, big political parties, big nonprofits, etc. As Lord Acton wrote: Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The real conflict in political theory … is not between individualism and community. It’s between voluntary association and coerced association.
Libertarianism is the fastest growing political creed in America today. Before judging and evaluating libertarianism, it is vitally important to find out precisely what that doctrine is, and, more particularly, what it is not. It is especially important to clear up a number of misconceptions about libertarianism that are held by most people, and particularly by conservatives. In this essay I shall enumerate and critically analyze the most common myths that are held about libertarianism. When these are cleared away, people will then be able to discuss libertarianism free of egregious myths and misconceptions, and to deal with it as it should be on its very own merits or demerits.
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Myth #1: Libertarians believe that each individual is an isolated, hermetically sealed atom, acting in a vacuum without influencing each other.
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Myth #2: Libertarians are libertines: they are hedonists who hanker after “alternative” lifestyles.
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Myth #3: Libertarians do not believe in moral principles; they limit themselves to cost-benefit analysis on the assumption that man is always rational.
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Myth #4: Libertarianism is atheistic and materialist, and neglects the spiritual side of life.
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Myth #5: Libertarians are utopians who believe that all people are good, and that therefore state control is not necessary.
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Myth #6: Libertarians believe that every person knows his own interests best.
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Conservatives and everyone else should politely be put on notice that libertarians do not believe that everyone is good, nor that everyone is an all-wise expert on his own interest, nor that every individual is an isolated and hermetically sealed atom. Libertarians are not necessarily libertines or hedonists, nor are they necessarily atheists; and libertarians emphatically do believe in moral principles.
Libertarianism is, as the name implies, the belief in liberty. Libertarians strive for a free, peaceful, abundant world where each individual has the maximum opportunity to pursue his or her dreams and to realize his full potential.
The core idea is simply stated, but profound and far-reaching in its implications. Libertarians believe that each person owns his own life and property, and has the right to make his own choices as to how he lives his life – as long as he simply respects the same right of others to do the same.
Another way of saying this is that libertarians believe you should be free to do as you choose with your own life and property, as long as you don’t harm the person and property of others.
Libertarianism is thus the combination of liberty (the freedom to live your life in any peaceful way you choose), responsibility (the prohibition against the use of force against others, except in defense), and tolerance (honoring and respecting the peaceful choices of others).
In my experience, many pro-life conservatives would consider themselves ‘libertarian’ were it not for the abortion issue. Once they learn that there are pro-life libertarians, they are happy calling themselves ‘libertarians’ rather than ‘conservatives.’ Many ‘conservatives’ realize that there are serious problems with their ideology, but do not realize that there is an alternative.
The first problem with conservatism is that it has been hypocritical in power. Under unified Republican control of the federal government, discretionary non-defense federal spending has risen faster than it did under Clinton (and such spending actually fell under Reagan).
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The second problem with modern conservatism is that it is internally incoherent. Modern conservatism comes out of the 1950′s anticommunist movement. On the one hand, it proclaims respect for the Constitution and for the system of limited government devised by the Founders; on the other hand, it celebrates an aggressive U.S. foreign policy and a powerful bureaucracy that gives the federal government the resources to intervene, through aid or invasion, in any part of the world.
People who say they are socially liberal often call themselves libertarians and many libertarians call themselves socially liberal. But libertarianism and liberalism on social issues are not the same thing.
Your typical liberal Democrat says she’s liberal on social issues but that doesn’t make her in any meaningful way a libertarian. For instance, the vast majority of the libertarians I know hate things like speech codes, smoking bans, racial quotas, and the vast swaths of political indoctrination that pass for “education” today. They tend to oppose gun control, think fondly of homeschooling (if not always homeschoolers) and are generally split on the question of abortion. They do not, however, think that the government should be steamrolling religious institutions with Obamacare or subsidizing birth control. Liberals tend to loathe federalism or states’ rights (though there’s been some movement there) libertarians usually love the idea. The liberals who don’t like it fear that states or local communities might use their autonomy to live in ways liberals don’t approve of. Libertarians couldn’t care less.
Libertarians are not liberals, although most libertarians would agree they are are “classical liberals”.
Libertarianism is a political philosophy concerned with the justified use of force. Libertarian law is guided by the non-aggression axiom, which stipulates that it ought to be legal for adults to do whatever they please provided they do not aggress against the person or property of another.
To all of you who think that Ayn Rand is the dominant, or even one of the dominant voices in libertarianism right now, please feel free to leave the 1970s behind and join us in the 21st century. Indeed, even when Rand was at the height of her powers, she was still only one of several important voices in the movement. During the days of Rand’s greatest popularity, [Murray] Rothbard could certainly lay claim to being a far more important theorist within the movement, although he was certainly far less famous. Indeed, Rand was a novelist, so to keep referring back to Rand in an attempt to score points against libertarianism for its alleged devotion to egoism, only displays a lack of knowledge about the intellectual history of the movement.
In a city where the unemployment rate is 9.1 percent, above both the statewide and national average, you’d think that mayoral candidates would be competing to attract businesses and jobs.
And in a city where the cost of living is so high that the city pays $3,000 a month for landlords to house the “homeless” in rooms without kitchens or private bathrooms, you’d think that mayoral candidates would be competing to welcome a discount retailer that would allow residents to save money on clothing and groceries.
Yet this is New York City. Instead of laying out a welcome mat for Walmart, the Democratic mayoral candidates are trying to keep the company out of the city. An account in The New York Times recently quoted the speaker of the City Council, Christine Quinn, declaring, “As long as Wal-Mart’s behavior remains the same, they’re not welcome in New York City…New York isn’t changing. Wal-Mart has to change.”
Maybe Quinn can make “New York isn’t changing” the slogan of the mayoral campaign she launched over the weekend. The candidate who would be the city’s first woman and first lesbian mayor turns out to be, on economic development questions, the spokeswoman for stasis.
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Is it that Walmart employees are not represented by a labor union? Neither are most of the workers at Bloomberg News, yet we haven’t yet heard any calls by Quinn to kick the mayor’s financial news and information company out of the city. The New York Post notes that she is endorsed by a union that represents grocery store workers.
Like most of this company town, I’m addicted to Netflix’s Beltway “telenovela,” House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey as a conspiratorial House majority whip. But the show unwittingly flatters D.C., depicting a city of ruthless, steely competence. The real thing is a clown show consumed by trivialities.
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[D]espite appearances, bipartisanship abounds: “The same Congress that barely averted the fiscal cliff swiftly passed extensions of warrantless wiretapping and indefinite detention” and favors “profligate drone use.” They mainly bicker when the bill for the welfare-warfare state comes due.
What Woodward, Fournier and more than a few other Washington journalists ought to regret is the degree to which they have allowed themselves to become personally attached to the presidency of Barack Obama.
Engaged a relentless battle against time and fatigue, a select group of message scientists assembled by the White House’s Center for Narrative Control say they will take “all steps necessary” to contain a recent outbreak of scrutonium, a deadly poll-eating supervirus that attacks the immuno-hope system, leaving victims vulnerable to material facts.
Cargo cult: a religious practice that has appeared in many traditional pre-industrial tribal societies in the wake of interaction with technologically advanced cultures. The cults focus on obtaining the material wealth (the “cargo”) of the advanced culture through magic and religious rituals and practices. This same magical thinking is evident in modern cargo cults found in welfare states where it commonly manifests as statolatry, celebrity “wisdom,” higher ed credentialism, doublespeak, increased centralization, prohibition, crony capitalism, nannyism, denigration of the individual and individual liberty, and a sycophantic press. Continue reading ‘Markers of Success, Cargo Cults, Statolatry’ »
It seems that Argentina has tried virtually every possible method of getting wealthier except working harder. The current government has currency controls, an official exchange rate, laws against changing money at the real rate, a variety of export and import controls, etc. Graffiti demands “Bread. Work. Justice.” This theme has been echoed in demonstrations since the 19th century and is depicted in a 1934 oil painting by Antonio Berni at the MALBA art museum (see accompanying photo album). It is hard to think of a country where mass demonstrations of people demanding that they be made wealthier has resulted in an actual increase in average wealth (the Greeks are trying this right now!). Continue reading ‘Argentina and Inflation’ »