Liberty: There is No Greater Cause

“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

“Evaluating the Current Union of the States: Character and a Consolidated Union,” By Bruce P. Frohen

It is not very often you come across a piece that is as intellectually exhilarating as this.

Nomocracy In Politics


Editorial Foreword: This essay by Bruce P. Frohnen is the first installment of a new Nomocracy in Politics symposium, “Evaluating the Current Union of States.” The symposium will examine the various costs and benefits that Americans and others incur as a result of our current Union of States–a.k.a., the United States of America. The symposium will progress gradually over a period of weeks.

Essay: A symposium devoted to “evaluating the current union of the states” may sound designed to institute reconsideration of the issues and grievances precipitating and resulting from the Civil War.  Perhaps in part because I was born and raised (mostly) in the West, I have no emotional investment in such a debate.  Moreover, it seems to me that there is plenty of fault on both sides in relation to that war, and that the airing of grievances in terms of a conflict 150 years gone, while certainly…

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Female Philly Cop Pulls Teen’s Scrotum – During Stop/Frisk Genitals Torn Off 16-Year-Old

Ouch!

Warfare, Welfare, and Wonder Woman

Mises Daily:
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 by Ron Paul

Supporters of warfare, welfare, and Wonder Woman cheered last week as Congress passed a one trillion dollar “omnibus” appropriation bill. This legislation funds the operations of government for the remainder of the fiscal year. Wonder Woman fans can cheer that buried in the bill was a $10,000 grant for a theater program to explore the comic book heroine.

That is just one of the many outrageous projects buried in this 1,582-page bill. The legislation gives the Department of Education more money to continue nationalizing education via “common core.” Also, despite new evidence of Obamacare’s failure emerging on an almost daily basis, the Omnibus bill does nothing to roll back this disastrous law.

Even though the Omnibus bill dramatically increases government spending, it passed with the support of many self-described “fiscal conservatives.” Those wondering why anyone who opposes increasing spending on programs like common core and Obamacare would vote for the bill, may find an answer in the fact that the legislation increases funding for the “Overseas Continuing Operations” — which is the official name for the war budget — for the first time since 2010. This $85 billion war budget contains $6 billion earmarked for projects benefiting Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and other big defense contractors.

Ever since “sequestration” went into effect at the beginning of last year, the military-industrial complex’s congressional cheering session has complained that sequestration imposed “draconian cuts” on the Pentagon that will “decimate” our military — even though most of the “cuts” were actually reductions in the “projected rate of growth.” In fact, under sequestration, defense spending was to increase by 18 percent over ten years, as opposed to growing by 20 percent without sequestration.

Many of the defenders of increased war spending are opponents of welfare, but they are willing to set aside their opposition to increased welfare spending in order to increase warfare spending. They are supported in this position by the lobbyists for the military-industrial complex and the neoconservatives, whose continued influence on foreign policy is mystifying. After all, the neocons were the major promoters of the disastrous military intervention in Iraq.

While many neocons give lip service to limiting domestic spending, their main priority remains protecting high levels of military spending to maintain an interventionist foreign policy. The influence of the neocons provides intellectual justification for politicians to vote for ever-larger military budgets — and break the campaign promises to vote against increases in spending and debt.

Fortunately, in recent years more Americans have recognized that a constant defense of liberty requires opposing both war and welfare. Many of these Americans, especially the younger ones, have joined the intellectual and political movement in favor of limiting government in all areas. This movement presents the most serious challenge the bipartisan welfare-warfare consensus has faced in generations. Hopefully, the influence of this movement will lead to bipartisan deals cutting both welfare and warfare spending.

The question facing Americans is not whether Congress will ever cut spending. The question is will the spending be reduced in an orderly manner that avoids inflecting massive harm on those depending on government programs, or will spending be slashed in response to an economic crisis caused by ever-increasing levels of deficit spending. Because politicians are followers rather than leaders, it is ultimately up to the people what course we will take. This is why it is vital that those of us who understand the dangerous path we are currently on do all we can to expand the movement for liberty, peace, and prosperity.

[Via The FREE Foundation and The Mises Institute]

Opinion: DPS Has No Authority To Arrest

Open Carry Texas

I’ve been doing a lot of research since two of our members were assaulted and falsely arrested by DPS troopers at the Capitol a few weeks ago. Besides the law that we already are aware wasn’t broken with respect to having BP pistols, I found some other interesting tidbits of law that I think support our assertion that DPS is overstepping its bounds.

The State Preservation Board is an agency of the state. Among its responsibilities is to “adopt rules concerning the buildings, their contents, and their grounds.” Additionally, “the board may allocate specific duties and responsibilities to any other state agency, if the other agency agrees to perform the duty or accept the responsibility.”

Section 443.018 of the Government Code allows the Board to regulate visitors and vendors to the capitol under certain circumstances.

Sec. 443.018. REGULATION OF VISITORS AND VENDORS. (a) The board shall adopt rules that regulate…

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Gun Forum Community Rallies Around Ailing Member, Raises Over $45,000 in 48 Hours

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The civilian disarmament movement often likes to portray our side as a bunch of knuckle-dragging neanderthals who love the idea of death and destruction and don’t give a damn about anyone else. If you’re familiar with ar15.com, specifically GD, you might understand that impression. But right now there’s something pretty awesome going on. At about 5 a.m. Monday morning, an arfcom member reached out for support, not monetary but emotional, in a thread titled “I’m Dying.” He’s got Stage IV Burkitt’s Lymphoma. He talks of his 8 year old son, and how he’s got a brand-new Chipmunk rifle ready to go, but “dad just needs to get better.” He asks, “Will somebody teach him when I’m gone?” As the thread went on, one guy offered to take care of his mortgage for the rest of the year. Several members of arfcom visited him in the hospital before the day was out. That afternoon, someone set up a fund to help him cover the impending rollover of his $15,000 insurance deductible. At 5 p.m. that day they had about $600. As of this writing, about 48 hours later, they have nearly $44,000, including one guy who donated $8787 for college expenses. I’m not telling you to donate, just suggesting you go look.

Visit the fundraising page here.

via thetruthaboutguns.com

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The Power of the State vs. the Power of Love – Robert Higgs – Mises Daily

The Power of the State vs. the Power of Love – Robert Higgs – Mises Daily.

The Power of the State vs. the Power of Love - Robert Higgs - Mises Daily

For thousands of years, philosophers have argued that society must invest great power in the rulers because only great power can hold back the forces of evil — violence, plunder, and disorder. They have often conceded, however, that this solution has a down side: powerful rulers may themselves resort to violence and plunder.

In any event, society’s positive, productive forces always resided within the people themselves. All the genuine peace, cooperation, production, and order the society enjoyed sprang from them. So the state was never a solution to a problem the people could not solve for themselves, but itself a problem masquerading as the only solution to problems whose real solutions already lay close at hand, if they existed at all.

Given that wealth destruction undermines social well-being, how did it come to pass that the state — an institution based on violence and plunder — has overridden peaceful cooperation as the dominant factor in social life virtually everywhere on earth? Although this simple question requires a complex answer, we know that the rulers have used fear — of themselves and of other dangers known and unknown — to terrorize the people and convince them that they are incapable of providing security, that only the state can provide it. First through fear alone, then through complementary religion, and ultimately through complementary ideology, the people’s convictions were twisted into forms compatible with the rulers, the priest/ideologists, and the military elite’s living at the expense of the plundered masses, who were kept in line more by false beliefs than by raw force.

So it remains today. Is any feasible alternative conceivable?

Hardheaded people mock the idea that “love is the answer” to the people’s dire situation. They insist that evil forces and evil men are afoot in the world, men who care nothing for love and seek only vile ends, and that such malevolence can be fended off effectively only by meeting it with adequate force and violence. Thus does the perceived “security gap” fuel a race to the bottom in which the ostensible protectors become more and more indistinguishable from the evil men who allegedly seek to hurt us. By meeting evil only with the rulers’ upward ratcheting force and violence and their upward ratcheting suppression of our liberties and our means of self-protection, the ultimate goal — a social environment of real security and peaceful cooperation — recedes ever farther from realization.

Jesus declared, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44). Of course, people — even most Christians, no doubt — will say that this admonition, however lovely it might sound in a sermon, is utterly impractical, that behaving in accordance with it would leave us entirely at the mercy of those who seek to harm us. Perhaps it would.

Yet, here we are, inhabiting a world divided in countless ways by mutual misunderstandings, hatreds, and yearnings for vengeance. Because each society is subject to a state whose own interests are served by keeping this vicious pot boiling, we have no prospect of ever breaking out of the endless cycle of evil, violence, and retribution. In the process, the whole world forgoes the immense blessings that would flow from mutual cooperation, peace, and tolerance.

Individuals may rest their personal lives on love and thereby find the peace that seemingly evades all philosophical and sociological understanding of social affairs. Whatever wise men and women may know and practice in their own lives, however, essentially Hobbesian analysis holds the great thinkers in its iron grip, and those who recommend love are dismissed as muddle-headed and simplistic. Yet, to repeat, here we are, inhabiting a world made no better by our hanging on the words of the greatest political philosophers, statesmen, and international-relations experts. In their view, the state is a given, and their analyses take for granted its nature and conduct. Perhaps this point of departure is their root error: that they readily accept what most needs to be challenged.

So long as the state exists, with its intrinsic violence, plunder, and insolence, and we seek solutions to our pressing social problems through it or in its dark shadow, we are doomed not to second-best or third-best solutions, but to make-believe solutions that are, at best, momentary rest stops on the road to our worsening degradation and ultimate demise. Destruction is what states do (or threaten to do); it is the nature of the beast. As technological changes augment state powers, the culmination of this terrible sequence may be our absolute annihilation.

Love turns us in the opposite direction. It seeks to build up, whereas the state seeks to overawe and kill in the service of the self-interested elites who control it at the expense of the people at large. Love has no need to flex violent muscles or seek vengeance time and again. Love intends the good of the other for its own sake, not as a means toward the end of one’s own aggrandizement. Love is patient and long-suffering; power is impatient and easily provoked.

Love does not keep score; international rivals do so in numerous dimensions. Love leads to inner peace and cordial relations with others, whereas the state remains always at war, if not against other states, then certainly against its own subjects, on whom it preys ceaselessly in order to sustain itself and to gratify the rulers’ insatiable ambitions for personal acclaim and unchecked power.

Hardheaded people will say, of course, that in socio-political life, love just doesn’t work. In sharp contrast, they insist, power in the hands of the rulers does work. And indeed it does. That’s the trouble.

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I Fight for The Collective Good

Givemeliberty

I needed to address this for the moment.

I am SICK and TIRED of hearing conservatives and libertarians complaining that the Progressives are arguing for the ‘collective good.’

These damn progressives don’t get it, it is about the individual NOT the collective good.

It’s always about the collective good with these dang progressives!

See I disagree, albeit in part. It is not a battle between the good of the individual and the good of the collective. What is best for the individual IS best for the collective. They are two seeds in the same pod. It is NOT about the collective good with progressives. Don’t let them have that moral high ground. LIBERTY is about the collective good, not oppression via progression. They sell their tyranny as for the good of the people but it is about the good of themselves, the ruling class, and exploiting the misguided philanthropy of the masses to get it.

Read more…

Incendiary Image of the Day: Blue Cross Canceled My Health Care Policy. So How Can I Trust Democrats When They Say I Can Keep My Guns? Edition | The Truth About Guns

Incendiary Image of the Day: Blue Cross Canceled My Health Care Policy. So How Can I Trust Democrats When They Say I Can Keep My Guns? Edition | The Truth About Guns.

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The Fall of Rome and Modern Parallels | Lawrence Reed at FreedomFest

If you have 17 minutes to spare this is an excellent, quick description of the Fall of Rome. The speaker need not even draw the parallels to modern society, it will be so obvious, you will do it on your own.

Bad character leads to bad policy and bad economics, which is bad for liberty. Without character, a free society is just not unlikely, it’s impossible.

To avoid the fate of the dead and buried Roman Republic, what does America need today?

America needs more men and women who do not have a price at which they can be bought; who do not borrow from integrity for expediency; who have their priorities straight and in proper order; whose handshake is an iron-clad contract; who are not afraid of taking risks to advance what is right; who are honest in small matters as well as in large ones; who treat the rights and properties of others as they expect others should regard theirs.

More transcript available after the break, or just watch above…

Read more…

City of Seattle abuses eminent domain so a parking lot can become a parking lot | The Freedom Foundation

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Courtesy The Freedom Foundation Blog.

Seattle’s City Council voted unanimously Monday to use eminent domain to take private property. They say they must seize the private property, which is currently being used as a parking lot, in order to turn it into … a parking lot. (Here is the link to the original notice). Local Station Q13Foxnews discussed this story here.

In addition to eminent domain abuse, the City of Seattle has recently been in the news for hiding public records, and sinking the farm boat. The common thread among all three of these stories is that, in Seattle, central planning takes priority over people. In this case, they decided it was critically important to seize a parking lot from its 103-year-old owner so that it can be a parking lot. At least this is their stated justification.

Seattle has a history of complete and total incompetence in managing parking, well-documented at the Pacific Place parking garage. Instead of abusing eminent domain, the City Council should have passed a resolution that would prevent Seattle from ever getting into the parking business again. For people familiar with eminent domain abuse, however, this is just another example of how Big Government Central Planners use their power to crush the dreams and aspirations of the “little people.”

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The desire of the Central Planners for control is once again permitted to outweigh the people’s need for government to make rational decisions that benefit taxpayers and citizens (Of course, the City of Seattle just banned using the term “Citizen”). In this case, a 103-year old lady’s property is slated to be taken “for the greater good.” Yet that “good” is really just the personal aspirations of city planners and officials.

As has been pointed out, the City of Seattle actually has plans to “redevelop” this property and turn it into a parking garage or mixed use development once the Viaduct is gone. Most observers believe that when Seattle’s Big Dig is done and the Viaduct construction is over (assuming this ever happens), this woman’s land will be prime real estate worth far more than what the City of Seattle will pay by seizing it now. This might be true (although the City wants us to believe there is nothing to see here), but the property owner appears to have a plan to donate this property to charity at the maximum value so that her desired charity will benefit:

Read the rest at The Freedom Foundation Blog.

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