Posts Tagged ‘liberty

02
Nov
08

Liberty’s Best Week Ever!

NO, I am not talking about the impending undemocratic, non-election about to be perpetrated on us a couple of days hence between Wall Street Candidate A and Wall Street candidate A’ This one has been decided already – ordinary Americans have lost, and the banksters have won.

I am, rather, calling attention to the surprising upside to the continuing global financial collapse. The completely deserted checkout lanes today at my local wholesale club underscored the rapid retreat of consumer spending that’s occurring now. What is occurring now in the public intellectual mind is both thoroughly awful, and blindingly brilliant.

Awful, due to the present and future suffering of millions, nay, billions of people around the world, but brilliant, because the fact is that the economic predictive power of Austrian-School economics has been thoroughly vindicated, no matter what stupid, nonsensical things the Keynesians and Friedmanites say. We were right, we told them all what was coming, and they failed to listen. More Important, we have the correct answers.

And, better late than never, even some mainstream journalists, conservative Republicans, and left progressives are trying to re-orient their thinking in the midst of an unprecedented global financial calamity, where suddenly “Liberal” nor “Conservative” (as we have been brainwashed to call Socialist and Fascist policy ‘solutions’) ideas seem to have no discernible relevance at all.

This week two astounding interviews took place, between serious people of the left, and two of the current stars of the Austro-Libertarian movement.

On Thursday, the charming, brainy lefty journalist Rachel Maddow of MSNBC interviewed Ron Paul, focusing on his eerie (not to us of course) prescience on the economic meltdown, and on the significance of his recent campaign, and what it portends for the future of Republican Party as well as the electoral system.

On Friday, Lew Rockwell, founder and president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute interviewed Naomi Wolf on his podcast. This is a MUST LISTEN interview with the principled, thoughtful left-wing journalist. Ms Wolf, author of several books, including “The Beauty Myth”, and more notably “The End of America”, was last heard of in libertarian circles promoting, along with Ron Paul the American Freedom Agenda, calling for an end to America’s belligerent foreign policy and its depredations on domestic liberty.

Listen to her questioning Lew about definitions of libertarianism, and her response to his answers – I half held my breath throughout the unedited 50-minute conversation, waiting perhaps to hear Lew say something to make Ms Wolf ‘fall out of the ether’ as they say in the car business.

He doesn’t, and she didn’t. It is an extended dialog on the principled embrace of universal liberty, in honest, non-agendized terms that will speak to the heart of every thinking, compassionate person on the left, right, or middle. This shows how there is not, and never has been, such a thing as Democrat liberty, or Republican liberty, only Liberty For All.

Do yourself and your loved ones (particularly intelligent, leftish and rightish ones) a favor and get them to listen to this podcast to give them an understanding why you are a principled, onsistent advocate of liberty.

Then go to www.campaignforliberty.com , and get involved.

UPDATE: If you are still, for some unfathomable reason a McCain supporter, PLEASE watch this video of Dr. Paul taking apart McCain’s dumbass foreign policy prescriptions in the St. Petersburg debate;

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12
Aug
08

IFC Film – “Larry Flynt: The Right To Be Left Alone”

Larry Flynt In Happier Times

Larry Flynt, In Happier Times

Growing up a good Catholic boy, I learned to despise pornographers like Al Goldstein, Bob Guccione, and Larry Flynt (a not AHEM entirely unhypocritical position.) Coming of age in the confused-but-prosperous 1980’s, I was further encouraged (by the now-burnt-out women’s movement) to despise porn and pornographers as somehow primarily responsible for the oppression of women. The good Catholic liberal in me righteously grunted in assent, if not exactly approval.

I finally awoke from this fog of illogic when I read that some feminists believed and wrote not only did porn cause sexual assaults of women, but that, incredibly, some of them seriously proposed that there was no such thing as volition involved in sexual relations between men and women. This pretty much vaporized any remaining credibility of the “women’s movement” for me, standing in opposition to even my somewhat limited experience.

Yet I retained enough residual revulsion for Mr. Flynt and his ilk to be vaguely disgusted by the hagiographic film “The People vs. Larry Flynt”, a response not helped at all by the casting of the addled-yet-smug Woody Harrelson as Flynt, and the walking trainwreck that is Courtney Love as Flynt’s now-late wife.

Later, Flynt, in response to the wrongheaded and politicized impeachment of President Clinton, offered a reward for evidence of sexual impropriety on the part of a sitting member of Congress. I was, having over several years quietly absorbed the political and culture-war rhetoric of talking heads like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, still more disgusted by Flynt, as well as his cultural and spiritual alliance with Clinton, exactly according to the plans of the people who were conducting psy-ops on me and no doubt many thoughtful, small-l liberal people, who were nonetheless not fans of the Clintons.

But after the terrorist attacks of 2001, and particularly after the ‘WTF?’ moment I had a couple of days after Bush’s infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech, all the Bush Administration bullshit and lies that had been foisted off on us as a people to get us to support and agitate for what was now ever more clearly an unjust, criminal war in Iraq, started to collapse for me.

I started peeling back the layers of the onion, so to speak, canceling my subscription to the War Street Journal, turning off Fox News, and removing the presets that once delivered me to Limbaugh and the now-appallingly bad Hannity (I had been a fan since his local-show days in New York, where he at least still had a shred of decency about him). I started to read Lew Rockwell’s site, and antiwar.com.

I got turned onto alternate news sources, read everything I could about what was REALLY going on in the world, helped start this blog, and became a warrior (mostly cyber) for Liberty, free markets, and freedom of association and expression. I began to see that even among people with very different cultural, moral, and spiritual views than me, there still existed real dedication to those founding ideals, and that shared devotion to freedom and liberty was far more important than differences on matters of personal morality. This is embodied in the fundamental, negative right to be left alone, easily deducible from the non-aggression axiom. This was a central lesson of Ron Paul’s recent presidential campaign. As Murray Rothbard said;

It should not be surprising, therefore, that there are libertarians who are indeed hedonists and devotees of alternative life-styles, and that there are also libertarians who are firm adherents of ‘bourgeois’ conventional or religious morality. There are libertarian libertines and there are libertarians who cleave firmly to the disciplines of natural or religious law. There are other libertarians who have no moral theory at all apart from the imperative of non-violation of rights. That is because libertarianism per se has no general or personal moral theory. Libertarianism does not offer a way of life; it offers liberty, so that each person is free to adopt and act upon his own values and moral principles. Libertarians agree with Lord Acton that ‘liberty is the highest political end’ – not necessarily the highest end on everyone’s personal scale of values.

And so, we come around to our old nemesis Larry Flynt. The Independent Film Channel has just aired a new documentary, “Larry Flynt: The Right To Be Left Alone”, video here, which finds Larry and I in almost eerie concord with regard to the natural rights that inhere in our persons, aptly summarized by the subtitle. It turns out that, at least on matters of freedom of speech, expression, association, and the use of government force to commit war and destruction on people, as well as the aforementioned liberties, I have to confess I’m beginning to find a lot to like about the old smut-peddler.

(link from Independent Film Channel via our pal violet)

19
Jun
08

The (Insurgent) Campaign For Liberty

The term ‘insurgent’ has been used (and misused) a whole lot since about ten minutes after the officially announced ‘end’ of the Iraq War.

Lucky for us, the US Army Special Forces Counterinsurgency Field Manual

(the book that ‘Surgin’ General’ Petraeus is said to have ‘written’ on the subject)

contains, along with tips on how to win friends, subvert democracy and destroy due process in an occupied country, a handy field guide to three main types of insurgency.

One of these, in light of the end of Ron Paul’s Republican presidential bid, and the beginning of his new vehicle for change, The Campaign For Liberty, is pretty interesting;

“Foco Insurgency.

A foco (Spanish word meaning focus or focal point) is a single, armed cell that emerges from hidden strongholds in an atmosphere of disintegrating legitimacy. In theory, this cell is the nucleus around which mass popular support rallies. The insurgents build new institutions and establish control on the basis of that support.”

Except for the “armed” part (The Revolution has always been explicitly peaceful and anti-war) and the “establish control” bit, this essentially describes the new strategy – to establish a core group of liberty-loving people and to have them (democratically) infiltrate the current system so that they will be ready to liberate the masses when the corrupt, incompetent Empire falls flat on its face.

“The insurgents build new institutions and establish control on the basis of that support. For a foco insurgency to succeed, government legitimacy must be near total collapse. Timing is critical. The foco must mature at the same time the government loses legitimacy and before any alternative appears. The most famous foco insurgencies were those led by Castro and Che Guevara.”

Bad role models from a philosophical perspective, for sure, but in terms of strategy pretty relevant.

“The distinguishing characteristics of a foco insurgency are The deliberate avoidance of preparatory organizational work. The rationale is based on the premise that most peasants are intimidated by the authorities and will betray any group that cannot defend itself. ”

This part doesn’t apply, because this revolution is peaceful, democratic, and overt, the ‘counter-insurgency’ strategies to this will be completely ineffective. Unfortunately, many other CI strategies are already in place and are well-advanced;

“Restrictions. Rights on the legality of detention or imprisonment of personnel (for example, habeas corpus) may be temporarily suspended. This measure must be taken as a last resort, since it may provide the insurgents with an effective propaganda theme. PRC [Population & Resources Control] measures can also include curfews or blackouts, travel restrictions, and restricted residential areas such as protected villages or resettlement areas. Registration and pass systems and control of … critical supplies such as weapons, food, and fuel are other PRC measures. Checkpoints, searches, roadblocks; surveillance, censorship, and press control…”

You get the picture.

Apparently ‘Counter-Insurgency’ has become ‘Pre-emptive Counter-Insurgency’.

We have our work cut out for us.

17
Jun
08

Boris Meets His Match

A hilarious article on bike helmets by London mayor (and lewrockwell.com reader) Boris Johnson;

“Here, then, is the political position. In my efforts to do the right thing, I have ended up giving offence to both opposing factions. As soon as I started to wear a helmet, I was denounced as a wimp, a milquetoast, a sell-out to the elf and safety lobby, a man so cravenly attached to his own survival that he was willing to wear this undignified plastic hat.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2008/06/17/do1701.xml