Liberty and Power

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  • The Gig Is Up

    by Sheldon Richman

    My 15-year gig editing The Freeman will end September 30. I'm looking for a full-time editorial position with an online or paper publication.

  • Vote for Gary Johnson

    by Keith Halderman

    Gary Johnson announcing his bid for the presidency as the candidate of the Libertarian Party, December 28, 2011. Credit: Flickr

    “And the man under the influence of hasseesh catches up his knife and runs through the streets hacking and killing everyone he meets.”

    DOPE: The Story of the Living Dead by Winfred Black, William Randolph Hearst employee, 1932.

  • U.S. Encourages Israel's War Aims

    by Sheldon Richman

    While Israel—cheered on by its American boosters led by AIPAC and Mitt Romney—beats the drums ever louder for a war of aggression against Iran, President Obama in late July signed the United States-Israel Enhanced Cooperation Act. This was hardly a signal that Obama would like to defuse the explosive situation building in the Middle East. The Rose Garden signing, attended by AIPCA representatives, came on top of the latest in a series of harsh economic sanctions approved by AIPAC-dominated Congress and Obama against the Iranian people. This intensifying economic warfare is predictably creating hardship for average Iranians, including shortages of life-saving medicines. (Sanctions come on top of covert warfare and assassination of Iranian scientists by Israel and cyber warfare by the United States, and an increasing U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf and surrounding area. Iran is nearly ringed by U.S. military installations.)
    Signing the Act, Obama said:

  • The Three Rs

    by Roderick T. Long

    ff on the Ryan/Rand connection, from the usually insufferable Lawrence O’Donnell:

    How disappointed would Ayn Rand be in her formerly devoted public disciple Paul Ryan? Well, she wouldn’t miss his devotion very much. Because his recent betrayal just wouldn’t surprise her. Because Paul Ryan was never true to Rand’s philosophy. Right-wing hero Ayn Rand couldn’t stand Ronald Reagan. She urged people not to vote for Ronald Reagan and insisted that Reagan clearly did not believe in freedom and respect for the rights of the individual, because, among many other reasons, Reagan opposed the right to choose abortion.

    That’s right, Paul Ryan, a Republican anti-abortion fanatic, has until very recently been publicly proclaiming his philosophical hero to be a woman who was a relentless champion of a woman’s right to choose. And Ryan’s pro-war stance in the Congress on every issue and every funding issue involving the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War would have disappointed Rand too. …

  • John T. Flynn Opposes Internment Camps

    by David T. Beito

    Very few Americans opposed Japanese internment but prominent among those who did were conservatives, libertarians, and classical liberals, such as George Schuyler and R.C. Hoiles. Here is what Old-Right activist John T. Flynn had to say:

    "Many of you have forgotten, I am sure, an incident which occurred just after that war [World War II] started. We were at war with Japan, and on our West Coast there lived thousands of Japanese-Americans - many of them born in this country - American citizens. President Roosevelt called in the War Relocation Authority, uprooted these American citizens, routed them out of their homes and farms and businesses and moved them lock, stock and barrel into the interior of the country. They were put in concentration camps - that's what they are called in Europe. But of course we called them relocation centers. This was because we were at war with Japan. But whatever the reason, it was and remains one of the greatest assaults on civil liberties in our history."

    John T. Flynn, Behind the Headlines, Script No. M159, February 8, 1957, John T. Flynn Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries.

  • John T. Flynn on Japanese Internment Camps

    by David T. Beito

    Very few Americans opposed Japanese internment but prominent among those who did were conservatives, libertarians, and classical liberals, such as George Schuyler and R.C. Hoiles. Here is what Old-Right activist John T. Flynn had to say:

  • The Colorado Shootings: Irrelevant to Gun Congrol

    by Lester Hunt

    In the wake of mass shootings like the one in Aurora Colorado, there are always renewed calls for gun control. This familiar phenomenon is a testament to human imperviousness to facts and logic, as such shootings are. of all gun-related deaths, the least likely to be deterred by gun laws. The worst such shooting, ever, happened in Norway (death toll 77) and the worst K-12 school shooting happened in Erfurt Germany (18 dead).

  • Counsel of Despair?

    by Robert Higgs

    Over the years, I have heard many people say that the government’s adoption of a laissez-faire stance during a business recession or depression amounts to “do-nothing government”—the unstated assumption always being that it is better for the government to “do something” than to do nothing. Recommending such a hands-off stance is often described as a “counsel of despair.” Moreover, it is frequently added, in a democratic polity, the electorate will not tolerate such a policy.

    Implicit in such criticism is the assumption that the government knows how to improve the situation and has an incentive to do so. If only it will take the known remedial action, people’s suffering will be relieved, and the economy will return more quickly to full employment and rapid economic growth. All that blocks such remedial action, it would seem, are outdated ideas about the proper role of government and, perhaps, the opposition of certain selfish special interests. Government need only step on the gas pedal, by means of expansionary fiscal and monetary policies, and the economic engine will accelerate. If the government is already taking such actions, it need only press down harder on the gas pedal.

  • Settlements Yesterday, Settlements Today, Settlements Tomorrow!

    by Sheldon Richman

    The New York Times did us all a favor last week when it published the blunt declaration that "Israel’s Settlers Are Here to Stay." It was an op-ed by Dani Dayan, described as chairman of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria, which is how Israelis and their fanatical supporters, Jews and evangelical Christians, refer to Palestinian occupied territory on the West Bank of the Jordan River. Dayan writes:


    Israel legitimately seized the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria in self-defense. Israel’s moral claim to these territories, and the right of Israelis to call them home today, is therefore unassailable. Giving up this land in the name of a hallowed two-state solution would mean rewarding those who’ve historically sought to destroy Israel, a manifestly immoral outcome. . . .

  • Alexander Cockburn, RIP

    by Sheldon Richman

     Alex Cockburn, 71, died today. I am saddened. He was a true maverick who wasn’t afraid to take positions that alienated allies and lost him friends and publishing outlets. From the start he saw through Obama. He distrusted centralized power and hated war. He was pro-gun and a skeptic about manmade catastrophic global warming. Alex was not fond of the free market (which he probably thought could not be kept clear of corporatism) but his website, Counterpunch, was open to libertarians (me and Kevin Carson included).

    I met Alex once a few years ago and kept in touch with after that. I liked him and admired him. I’m sorry he’s gone.


  • Latter-Day Acceptance (and Pushback)

    by David T. Beito

    Jesse Walker, one of my favorite historians, provides a thoughtful and informative overview of the history, and increasing respectability, of Mormonism in the United States:

    For many Americans Mormons are scary, or weird, or at least not the sort of folk you'd want marrying your first lady. Last year a Gallup poll found that 22 percent of the country would not support a Mormon candidate for president. MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell claimed in early April that Mormonism "was created by a guy in upstate New York in 1830 when he got caught having sex with the maid and explained to his wife that God told him to do it." Jacob Weisberg, generally a reliable barometer of center-left conventional wisdom, wrote during the run-up to the last presidential campaign that he "wouldn't vote for someone who truly believed in the founding whoppers of Mormonism."
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