Liberty & Power: Group Blog
Roderick T. Long
Tomorrow Im off to Las Vegas for the (unluckily monikered) APEE, where Ill be contributing to a panel on Happiness: Philosophical and Economic Perspectives. (Essentially Ill be trying to defend an Aristotelean conception of happiness on praxeological grounds.) Take a look at the participant list and youll see why it would be a bad thing for the libertarian movement if Vegas got nuked over the weekend.
I have more to say about the French situation, but itll have to wait until I get back.
In the meantime, check out Charles recent rebuttal of a frequent argument against worker-run industry, as well as an interesting discussion of urban vs. agrarian virtues in the comments section of his recent post on immigration.
Kenneth R. Gregg
Liberty & Power bloggers will be in force at the APEE31st Annual Conference in Las Vegas at the Renaissance Hotel next week, April 2-4 (if I've left anybody out or any of your topics and times, please add in the comments):
- Session 2.7 Mon 9:10-10:30am "Happiness: Philosophical and Economic Perspectives";
- Plenary Session IV Tues 3:35-4:35pm "Liberty Vs. Power in the 21st Century. What Role for Economic Analysis?"
- Session 2.7 Mon 9:10-10:30am "Happiness: Philosophical and Economic Perspectives";
- Session 9.6 Tues 2:20-3:30pm "Panel Discussion-Science, Evolution, and Markets"
- Session 1.7 Mon 7:15-8:45am "Topics in Austrian Economics"
- Session 3.1 Mon 1:05-2:15pm "Economic History in the Antebellup Period of the U.S. South"
- Session 2.7 Mon 9:10-10:30am "Happiness: Philosophical and Economic Perspectives"
- Session 8.2 Tues 1:05-2:15pm "The State Versus the Market II"
- Session 5.1 Mon 3:55-5:25pm "Religion and the Free Market"
David T. Beito
Until I did some research this afternoon, my knowledge of Cesar Estrada Chavez (1927-1993) was very limited. I knew he had sought to unionize farm workers back in the 1960s and 1970s and was now celebrated in the pantheon of multicultural heroes of contemporary America, and that was about it. However, according to an entry in Wikipedia, Chavez collaborated with the Immigration and Naturalization Service to reduce the flow of workers that were undermining his efforts to unionize the workforce. If true, it is ironic that his name is now invoked by those who assist undocumented immigrants in fighting the INS and who seek to relax or abolish immigration controls from Mexico. According to Wikipedia,
"In 1969, Chávez and members of the UFW marched through the Imperial and Coachella Valley to the border of Mexico to protest growers' use of illegal aliens as temporary replacement workers during a strike. Joining him on the march were both a Reverend Ralph Abernathy and a U.S. Senator Walter Mondale. Chávez and the UFW would often report suspected illegal aliens who served as temporary replacement workers as well as who refused to unionize to the INS."
This article generated quite vigorous discussion. One person objected to the last sentence in the paragraph above. In response someone else quoted Steve Sailor in support of the allegation and cited Sailor's article"La Causa or La Raza." Sailor is well known for his opposition to further immigration, which isn’t to say he’s got his facts wrong. Sailor informs us that,
"[Chavez] frequently complained that the Immigration & Naturalization Service wasn't tough enough. When Chavez would lead a strike, the grower would send trucks across the Mexican border, load them up with scabs, and race back to the Central Valley in the dead of night. Chavez even offered his UFW staffers to the INS to serve as volunteer border guards to keep Mexicans from sneaking into California."
Sailor then quotes Ruben Navarrette Jr. in the Arizona Republic (August 31, 1997):
"Cesar Chavez, a labor leader intent on protecting union membership, was as effective a surrogate for the INS as ever existed. Indeed, Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union he headed routinely reported, to the INS, for deportation, suspected illegal immigrants who served as strikebreakers or refused to unionize."
Can any readers throw more light on the allegation that Cesar Chavez formed a pragmatic alliance with the INS or, for that matter, on any other aspect of his activities?
Amy H. Sturgis
Additional information on Lem:
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
Aeon J. Skoble
Aeon J. Skoble
Amy H. Sturgis
I beg your indulgence regarding the self-interested nature of this post, but I'm proud to announce this project... and it even relates to liberty and power!
The Magic Ring
by Baron de la Motte-Fouqué
Edited by Amy H. Sturgis
Published by Valancourt Books
Preorder now and SAVE 20%!
Description of the Book
It is the twelfth century, the era of Richard the Lion-heart and the Third Crusade. Along the Danube, the tranquil world shared by cousins Otto von Trautwangen and Bertha von Lichtenried is changed forever when they witness a knightly contest for possession of a magic ring. Soon both are drawn into a quest that transforms them and endangers all they love. The resulting adventures lead each to different paths of enchantment and peril, from the mysteries of Moorish Spain to the birthplace of Norse mythology. While navigating an ever-changing sea of allies and foes, both natural and magical, the two seek love, honor, survival, and a ring that possesses more power than either can possibly understand. In the process, the two protagonists learn about individual responsibility, abusive power, sacrifice, and redemption.
In a seamless blend of medieval quest, epic fantasy, Gothic nightmare, historical romance, and religious allegory, Baron de la Motte-Fouqué masterfully relates a story that is as elemental as the bond of parent and child, and as profound as the concept of individualism. The Magic Ring draws on an impressive host of inspirations, such as Germanic folk tales and Icelandic sagas, Arthurian romance and Gothic horror. This novel has earned its place as a text of considerable historical significance, and yet it continues to offer an exhilarating reading experience for the contemporary audience.
Special Features Included with This Edition
This edition includes the complete original text of the first English version of The Magic Ring, the 1825 translation by Robert Pearse Gillies, as well as a scholarly introduction, a glossary of literary influences and references, and the complete text of Baron de la Motte-Fouqué’s 1820 short story “The Field of Terror,” also translated by Gillies.
Click here for more information.
Just a few related articles
"Tolkien v. Power" by Alberto Mingardi
"Tolkien on Power and Market" by Alberto Mingardi and Carlo Stagnaro
"His Noblest Fantasy Had Little To Do With Elves and Wizards" by Vin Suprynowicz
"Tolkien's Ring: An Allegory for the Modern State" by Perry de Havilland
"Libertarian Novels" by Bob Wallace
David T. Beito
According to the a story published in USA Today: "She's in a very tough spot, either way it goes," said David Beito, a historian at the University of Alabama who has studied the Till case extensively and doubts there is enough evidence to file any criminal charges."Let's say she doesn't prosecute. There's been a lot of hype, and that has raised expectations. But if she does prosecute, there will be people saying this is a weak case. I would not want to be in her shoes."
While prosectors will probably not release the results of the FBI investigation until completion of a local inquiry, by all indications, it did not find evidence to justify the sensational claims over the past two years. This should be no surprise to anyone who has looked closely into the case. As Linda Royster Beito and I pointed out in a HNN article, the worst major offender was"60 Minutes." In a sloppy and poor researched report by Ed Bradley in 2004, it alleged that "more than a dozen people may have been involved in the murder of Emmett Till and that at least five of them are still alive."
Assuming no final surprises, the rest of the media will deserve to be roundly condemned when the final report appears for its spectacular failure to scrutinize, or even question, the wild allegations made by"60 Minutes" and others. These (apparently) false claims have unduly raised expectations and created much false hope.
Roderick T. Long
Victor S. Yarros, Liberty, 13 August 1887
Victor Yarros, who now parades in the role of a mere observer, was for years my most active participant in Anarchistic propaganda, a fact which he is now at pains to conceal. I once admired him; I now despise him. Benjamin R. Tucker, Free Vistas 2 (1937)
Victor Yarros our mystery philosopher from a few weeks back was one of the leading figures of 19th-century American anarchism: disciple of Herbert Spencer, populariser of Lysander Spooner, and sometime co-editor of Benjamin Tuckers periodical Liberty.
In the 20th century, however, Yarros eventually repudiated anarchism in favour of social democracy becoming an admirer of the policies of Wilson and FDR, waxing enthusiastic about the T.V.A., and apparently even making his peace with the Soviet Union, though he remained skeptical of Marxism. (He also became an adherent to logical positivism, though oddly still combining this with a kind of ethical naturalism à la Spencer. He had already long since repudiated his brief flirtation with Tuckers Stirnerite egoism in favour of a more Spencerian natural-rights position; for my own take on the Stirnerians-versus-Spencerians controversy, see my blog post Egoism and Anarchy.)
Ive just posted, on the Molinari site, three articles in which Yarros discusses individualist anarchism and explains the origins of his increasing dissatisfaction with it. In Benjamin R. Tucker and Philosophical Anarchism, Yarros gives a somewhat sympathetic account of the position he no longer holds, but in Adventures in the Realm of Ideas he is rather more hostile to Tuckers ideas, and in The Persistence of Utopian Thinking he extends the same critique inter alia to Albert J. Nock.
Yarros accuses his former anarchist colleagues of utopianism, by which he means any attempt to plan societies and civilizations in complete ignorance of, and indifference to, the human materials and instruments involved. Yarross description is reminiscent of Adam Smiths portrait of the man of system, who seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board, neglecting to consider that while the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them, yet in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might choose to impress upon it.
Now this might seem an odd indictment to make of the anarchist, who proposes to leave people alone rather than impose any legislative blueprint on them. But Yarros believes that those who agitate for the abolition of the State have no conception of human nature as it is.
Now Yarros is certainly right in condemning attempts to realise a political program without taking into account [t]ime, place, conditions, [and] realities. (Chris Sciabarra has likewise offered an excellent critique of this sort of utopianism in his book Total Freedom, where he too suggests that the critique may apply to anarchism though I should add that Chriss distance from anarchism, if distance it be, is far shorter than that of Yarros in these essays. My review of Chriss book will be online eventually, i.e., as soon as I get around to it; in the meantime, see the summary and Chriss reply.) But are anarchists really guilty of the error in question? Yarros writes:
Of all the possible and impossible Utopias, that of the Philosophical Anarchists is, of course, the most preposterous one. How many persons of the world today can even imagine a society without the State? The first thing people do under pioneering conditions is to organize a government. The first thing people in distress do at any time is to appeal to the State for aid.Now if all that Yarros means is that most people nowadays are not anarchists, and that converting them to anarchism will likely be a long and difficult process, thats not news to the anarchists; and merely embracing a long-term program cant be sufficient to earn one the title of utopian. Nor, despite occasional gestures in this direction, can Yarros really mean that anarchisms focus on a long-term ideal prevents them from supporting any short-term reformist measures; for he himself notes that the Tuckerites knew very well that progress toward their goal would be slow, and rejoiced in small steps toward their goal so long as none of these intermediate measures in any degree extended the sphere of government or compulsion. And if Yarros means that getting people to accept a stateless social order is not just a long-term but an impossible goal, we may simply point to the evidence collected by libertarian historians (see, e.g., Tom Bells bibliographical essay) to demonstrate that such stateless orders have in fact developed frequently through history, including under pioneering conditions.
In any case, one fundamental reason for rejecting the charge of utopianism is that the institutions and incentives to which anarchists look as the basis for social order in a stateless future are not imaginary constructions which might or might not work in practice; they are already here and already functioning. Thomas Paine made the point in The Rights of Man:
Great part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect of government. It has its origin in the principles of society and the natural constitution of man. It existed prior to government, and would exist if the formality of government was abolished. The mutual dependence and reciprocal interest which man has upon man, and all the parts of civilised community upon each other, create that great chain of connection which holds it together. ... In fine, society performs for itself almost everything which is ascribed to government.Or, as Rothbard observed in The Spooner-Tucker Doctrine: An Economists View (which is scheduled be reprinted in the next issue of JLS), the market anarchists of the 19th century not only advanced libertarian individualism from a protest against existing evils to pointing the way to an ideal society toward which we can move, but correctly located that ideal in the free market which already partially existed and was providing vast economic and social benefits; in this respect, Rothbard argues, the anarchists greatly surpassed previous utopians in locating [their] goal in already-existing institutions rather than in a coercive or impossible vision of a transformed mankind.
Yarross real objection to anarchism, it transpires, is not that it rejects all intermediate measures simpliciter, but rather that it rejects all intermediate measures that increase State power. By opposing the growth of the State, Yarros charges, the anarchists have played into the hands of the Bourbons and Tories and given aid and comfort to plutocracy, since the defenders of plutocracy and monopoly have talked and written exactly as the Anarchists have.
Well, it is certainly true that plutocratic conservatives have often invoked the same sort of anti-government rhetoric that free-market anarchists use. But the conservative employment of such rhetoric is manifestly insincere as Yarros is well aware. For as he goes on to explain, the corporate elites opposition to government intervention is selective; they hate government when it makes too many concessions to labor or to progressivism, or undertakes to curb greed and tyranny on the part of capital and finance, but to special privilege, of which capital and Big Business are the beneficiaries, there is never any objection from that quarter. Theres nothing new about bad guys aping the rhetoric of good guys; their doing so is no argument against the good guys. There must be more to Yarross objection than this.
And indeed there is; for along with his increased pessimism about anarchy went increased optimism about the state. In particular, Yarros had come to reject the view that the state is necessarily a tool of the ruling class:
The American farmers do not regard the State as their enemy. They are grateful to it for small favors; and organized labor is equally grateful for like favors. If the State is the enemy, what is Plutocracy, and what is predatory big business? ...Yarros concludes that state power is now a viable tool in the struggle against plutocracy: Where democracy is strong and mature, the State serves the interests of the masses, not of the classes. Here, once again, Yarross theories run up against historical facts. As libertarian and New Left historians have exhaustively demonstrated (see, for example, Gabriel Kolkos The Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900-1916, Butler Shaffers In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918-1938, and other sources cited here), big business interests were the chief beneficiaries of Wilsons and Roosevelts economic programs, whose cartelising measures functioned to insulate the corporate elite from upstart competition. By supporting such measures, it was Yarros, not Tucker or Nock, who was playing into the hands of the plutocracy.
[W]hatever the origin of the State, it was absurd to assert that it was always and inevitably the instrument of privilege and monopoly, and must remain such under all conditions. The evidence glaringly contradicted that conception. The democratic governments have increasingly yielded to the pressure of farmers, wage workers, and middle-class reformers.
The hatred of our plutocrats and reactionaries for the New Deal is alone sufficient to dispose of the charge that the State is simply the tool of the economic oligarchy. In the past, the same interests bitterly fought Woodrow Wilson’s reform program, and fought in vain.
Does this mean that the business lobbys hostility to the New Deal was pure fakery? No, not entirely; but Yarros misunderstands its significance. As I wrote in my Rothbard Memorial Lecture:
We might compare the alliance between government and big business to the alliance between church and state in the Middle Ages. Of course its in the interest of both parties to maintain the alliance but all the same, each side would like to be the dominant partner, so its no surprise that the history of such alliances will often look like a history of conflict and antipathy, as each side struggles to get the upper hand. But this struggle must be read against a common background framework of cooperation to maintain the system of control.Yarros allowed himself to be taken in by the populist veneer of the New Deal, but in fact the struggle between FDR and the business lobby was merely (with a few honourable exceptions) a squabble between two different flavours of fascism with each faction far preferring the victory of its rival to any genuine liberalisation. And as for the gratitude of organized labor for governmental favors, the true legacy of New Deal labour legislation was to defang the labour movement by co-opting it into the corporate establishment.
According to Yarros, the paternalistic and bureaucratic character of statist collectivism, and its regrettable focus on economic improvement to the detriment of spiritual progress, are necessary byproducts of a temporary phase through which the struggle against plutocracy must pass; accordingly he counsels opportunism, pragmatism, and cheerful acceptance of the unavoidable. Its not clear whether hes talking about the Soviet Union or the New Deal; but paternalistic seems an odd term for Stalins reign of terror and democide, while Roosevelts corporatist policies as Rothbard, Higgs, and others have shown worsened economic misery rather than remedying it.
The individualist anarchists may not have been Austrians, but they certainly understood economics well enough to understand why the New Deal would be economically disastrous; Yarros seems to have forgotten much that he had once known. As for the Soviet Union, Yarros traveled there several times but unlike Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, Rose Wilder Lane, and Bertrand Russell, he does not seem to have profited from the experience.
Yarross work even his later, post-anarchist work! contains much that is interesting and valuable, and I will probably post more congenial fare from him in the future. But against anarchism Yarross charge of utopianism misfires; in seeking to obtain libertarian goals by increasing the power of the centralised coercive state, Yarros proved himself to be the true utopian.
Roderick T. Long
What the current protests in France are about, at least inter alia, is the French governments proposal to allow employers to fire their workers a right theyre currently not allowed.
It might seem clear which side a libertarian has to be on in this dispute: of course libertarians favour freedom of association, which includes the freedom of either party to exit an employment contract. Thus the new proposal apparently represents a move in the direction of a free market: the government is right, and the protestors are wrong.
But things arent quite so simple.
Of course in a free market there would be no legal restrictions (except those contractually agreed to) on an employers right to fire an employee. But from the fact that there would be no X in a free society, it doesnt follow that absolutely any situation will be moved in the direction of freedom simply by removing X. (Compare: from the fact that a healthy person wouldnt have a pacemaker, it doesnt follow that the health of anyone who has a pacemaker would be improved by its removal.)
As I recently wrote elsewhere:
Whether something counts as a reduction of restrictions on liberty depends on the context. Remember when Reagan deregulated the Savings & Loans such deregulation could be a good thing under many circumstances, but given that he didnt remove federal deposit insurance, deregulation amounted in that context to an increase of aggression against the taxpayers, licensing the S&Ls to takes greater risks with taxpayers money.
So in this case: when government passes laws giving group A unjust privileges over group B, and then passes another law giving B some protection against A, then repealing the second law without repealing the first amounts to increasing As unjust privilege over B. Of course a free society would have neither the first nor the second law, but repealing them in the wrong order can actually decrease rather than increase liberty.
Just as deregulating the S&Ls doesnt count as a move toward liberty if it isnt accompanied by an end to tax-funded deposit insurance, so in general a removal of restrictions on an entity doesnt count as a move toward liberty if the entity is still a substantial recipient of government privilege or subsidy. For the more that an entity benefits from government intervention, the closer it comes to being an arm of the State in which case lifting restrictions on it is, to that extent, lifting restrictions on the State.
As Kevin Carson writes:
[S]ince the states intervention, directly or indirectly, has been in the interests of the plutocracy, it matters a great deal which functions of the state should be axed first. The first to go should be those forms of intervention in the market that subsidize economic centralization and the concentration of wealth, reduce the bargaining power of labor, and ensure monopoly returns to the owners of land and capital. The last to go should be those government functions that make the system of class exploitation marginally bearable for labor. In the words of Thomas Knapp of the Democratic Freedom Caucus, that means cutting welfare from the top down, and taxes from the bottom up.
While I dont agree with Kevin as to what in every case counts as monopoly returns to the owners of land and capital (he thinks absentee land ownership is unjust, I dont see our exchange on Lockean vs. Tuckerite theories of property rights in the forthcoming issue of JLS), I certainly agree with the general sentiment.
To clarify: the claim is not that we need to favour some restrictions on liberty now in order to gain greater liberty later. There are plenty whove held that view, from Marx to Chomsky to Victor Yarros but not me, comrade. The claim is rather that what would count as lifting a restriction on liberty in one context does not so count in another context.
All this is by way of introduction to fellow left-libertarian blogospheroid Brad Spanglers letter to the French protestors, which expresses solidarity with their struggle while disambiguating genuine from faux market reform and inviting the protestors to adopt libertarian aims and methods. Of course I had to sign it, since it begins with a quotation from me! (By coincidence, the Rothbard Memorial Lecture I delivered at the ASC last weekend ended with a quote from Brad. The mutualist admiration society continues .... And speaking whichly, congratulations to Wally Conger, another fellow left-libertarian blogospheroid, for being awarded the Karl Hess Clubs 2006 Samuel Edward Konkin III Memorial Chauntecleer. But wasnt that the name of a play by Ayn Rands favourite playwright?)
1968: back by popular demand!
I might have the ultimate double, however. My undergraduate alma mater, the University of Michigan (AB 1985) is in the final four of the "other" college basketball tournament, the NIT. By a week from tomorrow, I could be the graduate of both tournament champion schools!
Of course should Mason make the championship game, I, along with a good number of other Mason economists and econ alums, will be in Las Vegas at the APEE conference when they play. I can think of no better environment to watch that game than with a bunch of Masonites at the sportsbook at one of the Strip hotels.
Sandy has done a lot of interesting work with David Levy in straightening out a number of misconceptions in the history of economics. See, in particular, their illuminating "The Secret History of the Dismal Science: Economics, Religion, and Race in the Nineteenth Century," which, among other things, sets out the real source of the epithet “dismal science.”
Refusal to take administration officials at their word when they allege that Iraq had a role in September 11th or that the regime harbors Al Qaeda isn't paranoia: it's hard-headed realism, borne of experience. When you're listening to our leaders make their case for war, remember that--despite what they told you in civics class--the citizen's first duty is skepticism. ...
The MacArthur Regency worked in Japan because the U.S. occupiers entered a country sick to death of war, with a tradition of deference to authority (encouraged by the Emperor's call to cooperate with U.S. authorities) and a monocultural middle class that could form the basis of a democracy. As historian John Dower puts it,"the ideals of peace and democracy took root in Japan—not as a borrowed ideology of imposed vision, but as a lived experience and a seized opportunity…. It was an extraordinary, and extraordinarily fluid moment—never seen before in history and, as it turned out, never to be repeated." That process is particularly unlikely to be repeated in Iraq, a fissiparous amalgam of Sunnis, separatist Shiites and Kurds. Keeping the country together will require a strong hand and threatens to make U.S. servicemen walking targets for discontented radicals.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger-—no dove, he—-noted that he was"viscerally opposed to a prolonged occupation of a Muslim country at the heart of the Muslim world by Western nations who proclaim the right to re-educate that country." As well he should be. Such a policy would be the most generous gift imaginable to the Al Qaeda recruitment drive. It makes Bin Laden's ravings about a Crusader-Zionist alliance to de-Islamicize the Middle East look half-plausible to the angry young men of that hate-filled, backward region.
Regrets? I have a few: I believed that Hussein had WMD, and placed too much emphasis on the possibility that an American invasion would encourage him to pass them off to terrorists, though I did note that"WMD" is a misnomer and the hysteria over chem/bio is unwarranted. I'm also deeply ashamed that I used the term"fissiparious amalgam" to describe Iraq's ethnoreligious makeup. What was it, Consult Your Thesaurus Day?
More generally, and more seriously, I regret this entire hideous mistake of a war, and I hope we don't have cause to regret it even more later.
"Frank Ellis, a lecturer in Russian and Slavonic Studies, was sent home on full pay by the University of Leeds, which accused him of breaching its obligations to promote racial harmony under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000.
"It is the first significant test of academic freedom since the introduction of the Act, which places a duty on public bodies to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between different races."
"He voiced support for the theory set out in The Bell Curve, a book published in 1994 by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, that white people had higher average IQs than blacks. He said the study had 'demonstrated to me beyond any reasonable doubt there is a persistent gap in average black and white average intelligence'.
"Dr Ellis also told Leeds students that women did not have the same intellectual capacity as men and that feminism, along with multiculturalism, was “corroding” Britain. His views outraged students, who staged a campaign to have him dismissed from the university.
"Leeds responded initially by stating that Dr Ellis had a right to express his views, although they were 'abhorrent to the overwhelming majority of our staff and students'. Officials said that they had no evidence that his beliefs had led him to discriminate against students or colleagues.
"Yesterday, however, it announced that the ViceChancellor, Professor Michael Arthur, had suspended Dr Ellis and that disciplinary proceedings had begun. Roger Gair, the University Secretary, said that in publicising his views Dr Ellis had 'acted in breach of our equality and diversity policy, and in a way that is wholly at odds with our values'.
"The lecturer had 'recklessly jeopardised the fulfilment of the university’s obligations under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000'. Mr Gair said: 'As a public body, the university is required under that Act to promote good relations between people of different racial groups. That is a requirement we are happy to accept.'"
Whatever they may think of Frank Ellis’s views, or the truth of Herrnstein and Murray's Bell Curve, I imagine most readers will find this story very disturbing. To read the full story, go here.
I knew all that, but what I didn't know is that in their desire for a federal marriage amendment, they're following T.R.'s lead as well. Roosevelt was ahead of his time in proposing a constitutional amendment federalizing marriage, in his sixth Annual Message:
I am well aware of how difficult it is to pass a constitutional amendment. Nevertheless in my judgment the whole question of marriage and divorce should be relegated to the authority of the National Congress. At present the wide differences in the laws of the different States on this subject result in scandals and abuses; and surely there is nothing so vitally essential to the welfare of the nation, nothing around which the nation should so bend itself to throw every safeguard, as the home life of the average citizen. The change would be good from every standpoint. In particular it would be good because it would confer on the Congress the power at once to deal radically and efficiently with polygamy; and this should be done whether or not marriage and divorce are dealt with. It is neither safe nor proper to leave the question of polygamy to be dealt with by the several States. Power to deal with it should be conferred on the National Government.
T.R. also proclaimed that your care-free bachelor may look like a pleasant fellow, but he's really a race traitor:
When home ties are loosened; when men and women cease to regard a worthy family life, with all its duties fully performed, and all its responsibilities lived up to, as the life best worth living; then evil days for the commonwealth are at hand. There are regions in our land, and classes of our population, where the birth rate has sunk below the death rate. Surely it should need no demonstration to show that wilful sterility is, from the standpoint of the nation, from the standpoint of the human race, the one sin for which the penalty is national death, race death; a sin for which there is no atonement; a sin which is the more dreadful exactly in proportion as the men and women guilty thereof are in other respects, in character, and bodily and mental powers, those whom for the sake of the state it would be well to see the fathers and mothers of many healthy children, well brought up in homes made happy by their presence. No man, no woman, can shirk the primary duties of life, whether for love of ease and pleasure, or for any other cause, and retain his or her self-respect.
Chris Matthew Sciabarra
I just received a phone call from Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance. Sean tells me that my pal, Chris Tame, passed away at 3:37 pm, London time. Having battled cancer these many months, Chris's passing was, as Sean describes it, peaceful.
I'm very sad to hear this news, and I extend my deepest condolences to his friends and family. I was fortunate enough to speak with Chris last week; it was a"goodbye" phone call, as he knew the end was near. I will miss his almost daily"Ayn Rand Watch" postings, his warped sense of humor, and, most of all, the intellectual engagement. But I know that his legacy will live on.
Chris Tame: 1949-2006