Audio Clips

30 April 2011

Hope For Liberty In Our Time?

Jacob Huebert has written a good article at the Mises Institute putting into perspective the true timeframe for the fight for freedom: generations. He points out that true change leading to leadership can really only begin with ourselves. To paraphrase Ghandi, we have to be the change we want to see in the world. A couple of highlights:

What we can do to advance liberty is to work first and foremost on the one unit of society we're actually capable of improving: ourselves. Each of us can learn more about liberty, learn more about history, learn more about Austrian economics. We can learn to improve ourselves in every respect, especially in our speaking and writing skills so we can then pass the things that we learn on to others.

But I know some people will still say, "Okay, that's fine, but how do we get a libertarian society? How can we get rid of the state?"

The answer is that we have to keep doing our never-ending job of self-improvement, and we have to be patient.

Someday — we don't know when — the existing Leviathan will collapse, just as the Soviet Union collapsed. Nothing lasts forever — especially not a socialist or fascist government. When that day comes, however it comes, if we've done well in spreading our ideas, there will be a natural aristocracy of libertarian leaders ready to help rebuild society on a better foundation.

This could be many years from now, and my guess is that it will be well after our lifetimes. Or it might not happen at all. That's just reality.

And it's nothing to be upset about. There are many good things that might happen in the future that we're going to miss out on because we happen to have been born in this particular time period. Think of all the advances in technology that will probably happen someday that none of us will get to see: interplanetary travel, human lifespans extended to hundreds of years, the holodeck from Star Trek, and, of course, at long last, flying cars. Do you sit around all day being bummed out about that? No! You enjoy the stuff you do have, and you're glad you don't live in some previous century when you would have had it a lot worse.

It should be no different for liberty. There's no reason why we should expect progress in this area to be faster or easier than progress in other areas. Getting a whole society to change its mind about some of its most fundamental beliefs is really difficult — especially when all the world's governments, which have all the guns and all the money, are working hard against you.

Are You Unpatriotic? If You Bought An Ipod You Might Be.

This video highlights one of my main contentions that the lack of economic understanding is what leads to most of the problems our country faces.

Fascinating Interview with Walter Williams

Nick Gillespie of Reason Magazine interviewed Walter Williams and there were some very interesting tidbit in it. Mr. Williams wonders if the constitutional movement that the Tea Party represents is too late. He makes the point that it is silly for Americans to believe that America is somehow not subject to the same problems that plagued empires before it. Very interesting interview. It's about 29 minutes.

Keynes v. Hayek: Round 2

Some of you may remember me posting a rap song about John Maynard Keynes and F.A. Hayek. Proving that the first one was not just a random, serendipitous fluke of nature in its coolness, has returned with a second round.

22 April 2011

Security Theater

I would imagine that many Americans are, at the very least, irritated by the security theater that is our airport screening nowadays. Gene Healy of the Cato Institute wrote a great op-ed recently about the indignities of the TSA. A couple of highlights:

In his 2008 book The Science of Fear, Daniel Gardener noted that even if terrorists crashed a plane a week, "a person who took one flight a month for a year would have only a 1-in-135,000 chance of being killed in a hijacking — a trivial risk compared with the annual 1-in-6,000 odds of being killed in a car."

[O]n Friday, CNN revealed a list of "behavioral indicators" TSA uses to scope out travelers who deserve extra manhandling. Among the agency's red flags are "arrogant" expressions of "contempt against airport passenger procedures."

Because, clearly, making a scene on the airport security line is sound strategy for anyone trying to sneak a bomb onto a plane.

He's Been There

My sister-in-law wrote this song and put together the video to go along with it. It's fantastic!

19 April 2011

Outlawing Lunches from Home

A friend of mine posted about the Chicago school banning lunches from home. He makes a great point about the reading level of that particular school's kids. Maybe the principal should worry about bigger problems.

Outlawing Lunches from Home

18 April 2011

Police Identify and Arrest the Wrong Man

Three New York cops falsely identified Shane Rhooms as the man who shot at them. Mr. Rhooms was arrested and spent a few weeks in jail until, fortuitously, footage of him entering a raggae concert was unearthed. In spite of the video footage and Mr. Rhooms' eventual acquittal, the three officers insist he's the man. Okay, it's bad enough that you're identifying the wrong guy, but to then stand by your accusation in the face of video evidence means you're too stupid to be a cop. It also turns out that one of the officers has cost NY City over half a million dollars because lawsuits against him. Sounds like it's time to put this guy out to pasture.

The Anti-War Conservative Tradition

13 April 2011

The City That Privatized Their Services

She Really Is the Smartest Woman In the World

"How can we live in freedom and maintain that we are entitled to *anything* that we can't get without the labor of others? Remember, if we are entitled to the labor of others, that makes slaves of those others."
-Marilyn vos Savant, Parade Magazine, 12/31/95

11 April 2011

Why Doesn't Public Schooling Improve?

Hat tip: Why Homeschool

The Oathkeepers: Treasonous Radicals?

Reason recently posted an interview with Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oathkeepers, about his organization and why it gets such nasty press, particularly from progressives who would seem to love the positions that the Oathkeepers take. They stand against warrantless searches, detainment of enemy combatants indefinitely, cracking down on First Amendment rights, unconstitutional wars and a continuing laundry list of things that would put them in good-standing with the ACLU and other left-leaning organizations. And yet, they get creamed in the media. Here are some excerpts.

reason: What is the purpose of Oath Keepers?

Stewart Rhodes: The mission of Oath Keepers is to persuade the guys with the guns not to violate the Constitution. I look at it as constitutional triage. I worked for a congressman; I've worked with judges. And it seems clear to me that judges and politicians don't really care about our rights that the Constitution is supposed to protect. So I'm focusing on the guys with the guns, the ones who ultimately enforce the laws, on educating them about the Constitution. I think most of them are honorable people, but there's an ethos, especially in the officer corps in the military, that focuses on following orders. It's almost as if they're taking the oath to uphold the Constitution to mean that you should categorically defer to the president. Now I think civilian authority is important, but if the president asks the military to do something that isn't constitutional, their loyalty is to the Constitution, not the president.

reason: Oath Keepers seems to be primarily focused on the federal government. But state and local governments are certainly capable of violating the Constitution. Do you think the 14th Amendment allows the federal government to intervene if, say, a local sheriff is violating the rights of the residents of his county?

Rhodes: I don't think it allows it; I think it compels it. But that's not incompatible with the idea that the states should be left alone to make and enforce their own criminal laws. They should be free to do that. But if a state or local government isn't respecting the Bill of Rights, then yes, the federal government should intervene and investigate. Take Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona. I think he's a terrible sheriff. And I think it's really unfortunate that he's held up as some kind of a hero in parts of the freedom community. He's a constitutional disaster, a Bill of Rights disaster. So yes, in that case, you have a sheriff who's violating due process and who's violating the Eighth Amendment. There's definitely a role for the federal government to come in and say no.

reason: So you favor federal intervention to prevent civil rights abuses; you strongly criticize Joe Arpaio; you oppose military tribunals, indefinite detention, and warrantless searches; you're anti-war.…

Rhodes: Well, I'm opposed to unconstitutional wars. However, Oath Keepers stays neutral on Iraq or Afghanistan, although I think any soldier who chooses not to deploy on constitutional grounds should be allowed to make his case. It's not that the wars aren't important, but we want to reach as many active-duty troops as possible, so they don't violate our rights here at home. That's our priority.

reason: But these are all positions you share with the left. Why do you think you've been characterized as far right wing? Is it the support for gun rights? Your membership does seem to be quite a bit more conservative than you are. It seems like many of them would disagree with you about Arpaio, for example. Is it just the timing of when you started Oath Keepers?....

Rhodes:The critics don't actually challenge or criticize me for what I do or say. They criticize me for what they want me to have done or said. So they can criticize me. When I did that interview with Chris Matthews of MSNBC, he asked, "So how many men do you have ready to fight the government?" I said, "What are you talking about? We don't want to fight the government." He said, "Well, aren't your members armed?"

Well, yeah. They're cops and soldiers. That's the whole point. We're trying to make sure that the guys with the guns know that they can't follow orders that tell them to use those guns the wrong way. I mean, to say our members have guns is such a disingenuous way to scare people about what we're actually trying to do.

In that Mother Jones article, the reporter, Justine Sharrock, could have spoken with anyone who held a leadership position in our organization. We could have set her up with someone who is typical of our membership. Instead, she finds this private, the scariest guy she could find, this guy who talks about using violence against his fellow soldiers, and who poses for her with his gun, even though we explicitly denounce violence as an organization. It was just irresponsible. But you know, we're trying to prevent the government from doing the things the Constitution prevents it from doing. And right now the Democrats are in control of the government. So I guess the liberal groups see us as an enemy.

Interesting interview, go check it out.

01 April 2011