Liberty & Power: Group Blog
"But there was really nothing any of them could do, they all said. They were just adhering to protocol, following orders." Now where have I heard that before?
In the UK it was, and I think still is, legal to supply an alcoholic drink to your seven-year-old. I seem to remember my father, a secondary school principal, would allow me a glass of (alcoholic) cider some weekends when I was a kid. I understand the tradition continues today throughout Old Europe.
UPDATE: Lew Rockwell has an excellent article here on the state versus the family.
Skelton, who is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he was also disturbed by the ties between the military officers and defense firms.”
‘It hurts me to my core to think that there are those from the ranks of our retired officers who have decided to cash in and essentially prostitute themselves on the basis of their previous positions within the Department of Defense,’ he said.”
When members of Congress assume this shocked pose and spout such nonsense to the press, we may rest assured that they do indeed take us for fools. The congressman is hurt to his core, he says, to think that former military officers may be cashing in on their previous military service and their connections with former associates still at the Pentagon. Well, let’s see: this sort of thing has been going on actively for only sixty-five years or so. If Congressman Skelton has not yet become aware of it, especially given his service on the House Armed Services Committee, we may fairly conclude that the man is blind, deaf, and dumb. Come to think of it, reaching that conclusion would be more reassuring than knowing the truth about Skelton and his ilk.
Crossposted at The Beacon.
David T. Beito
Goicoechea was the key organizer of Venzuela's pro-democracy student movement. This movement has several victories to its credit including a successful campaign against President Hugo Chávez efforts to establish dictatorial power. The movement had first mobilized in response to a government order to shut down the country's oldest private television station.
David T. Beito
My op-ed piece, co-authored with Ilya Somin, has appeared in the Kansas City Star. We wrote the article in part to promote Tuesday's public forum at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham on the civil rights implications of eminent domain:
Few policies have done more to destroy community and opportunity for minorities than eminent domain. Some 3 to 4 million Americans, most of them ethnic minorities, have been forcibly displaced from their homes as a result of urban renewal takings since World War II
The fact is that eminent-domain abuse is a crucial constitutional rights issue. On Tuesday, the Alabama Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold a public forum at Birmingham’s historic Sixteenth Street Baptist church to address ongoing property seizures in the state. The church was not only a center of early civil rights action, but also, tragically, where four schoolgirls lost their lives in a bombing in 1963.
Read the rest here
According to Guinness World Records, Charles Hamilton (1876-1961), who wrote the Greyfriars stories under the nom de plume of Frank Richards, is the most prolific author of all time with a lifetime output calculated at 72-75 million words.
Now. Pupils shun Jamie Oliver's healthy diet for junk food runs.
And here is the money quote:"One young smuggling mastermind, when finally caught, said to his school's headmaster unapologetically: 'But we were only doing what you taught us in business studies, Sir.'"
Now they've raided his farm again.
Friend and fellow-farmer Jonas Stoltzfus compared the state to the Gestapo and drew a parallel between Nolt's right to sell raw milk products directly to his customers with Rosa Parks' right to sit wherever she wanted on the bus. Linn Cohen-Cole who quotes Stoltzfus writes about the war on raw milk products here (but conflates the two raids).
Read the FDA's threatening letter to Mark Nolt here and the state of New York's undercover activities against Meadowsweet Dairy here.
Here is the late George Melly's (updated) obituary.
And here is Bob Cryer's appreciation.
Wilby believes the war should have been fought but departs from the conventional wisdom when he acknowledges that"the war was not fought for humanitarian or democratic ends. Britain fought Germany for the same reason it had always fought wars in Europe: to maintain the balance of power and prevent a single state dominating the continent. America fought Japan to stop the growth of a powerful rival in the Pacific."
That, of course, was understood in 1939/1941. But it has been largely forgotten in recent years. Recognizing that fact again may help us question the wisdom of those fateful decisions that culminated in the declaration of war in 1939/41.
Thanks to the generosity of the Koch Foundation, we have inaugurated a Visiting Speaker Series in Political Economy here at St. Lawrence. Our kickoff speaker in March was Chris Coyne, who did a fantastic job with a talk on After War. Last night was our second speaker for the semester, Pierre Desrochers of the Geography Department of the University of Toronto at Mississauga. Many of you are probably familiar with Pierre's work.
As I did with Chris, I gave a brief introduction that both said something about the speaker but also talked about the issues each was addressing. I tried to pick themes that illustrated the ways in which libertarianism shares the values of the left. In Chris's case, I talked about the anti-imperialist tradition of classical liberalism. For Pierre last night, I talked about the parallels between the War in Iraq and the calls, especially in the current issue of Time, for a"war on global warming." I share a slightly revised version of my thoughts on those parallels below.
The willingness of people such as Pierre to challenge the commonly held beliefs about capitalism and the environment is a model of critical thinking and courageous scholarship. It is especially so when one considers the current issue of Time magazine, with its cover image of the Iwo Jima Marines planting not the US flag but a tree and its title of “How to Win the War on Global Warming.” That is a powerful image that suggests both that the debate over the facts is over and that we all should be in this war together, much as was the case in World War II… and it also recalls the atmosphere created in 2003 by supporters of going to war in Iraq. The text of the articles support this interpretation of the image.
The use of the war metaphor is troubling on several grounds. Any time war is invoked as a common cause, both critical thought and our freedoms can easily be lost in the name of militarizing society in pursuit of a moral cause. As Hayek recognized, the invocation of war is implicitly an attempt to turn a free society into a consciously organized one, with all of the attendant problems such an attempt will bring with it.
It is particularly ironic that a good number of folks who were rightly critical of the rush to war in Iraq because they questioned the apparent consensus about the existence of weapons of mass destruction there, as well as the ability of the US to “nation build,” appear to be so willing to undertake a “war on global warming.” I would hope that those who fit this category are as willing to entertain “dissent” on environmental issues as they are with dissent on the War in Iraq. Principled and courageous dissent can look like something different, and tolerating it can be a lot harder, when you’re on the “pro” side of a war.
More generally I would ask several questions of people critical of the War in Iraq but gung-ho about a War on Global Warming. Should we not be asking the same deep, critical questions about what we do and do not know about climate change and environmental issues more broadly, and how we acquired that information, as we should have asked about Iraqi WMDs before we go rushing to “war” on global warming? Though the earth has been warming, it is not at all clear that the consensus on the causes and consequences of said warming is as widely shared among scientists as Al Gore and others would like us to believe. Should we not also be asking the same questions about the effects that such a war will have on innocents in the third world as dissenters did with respect to Iraq? After all, the environmentalism-driven rush to biofuels appears to be a significant contributing factor to the run-up in world food prices, which is causing great harm to the poorest folks on the planet. And shouldn’t we be asking what the consequences of this “war” will be on our own freedoms and our own standard of living, just as critics of the War in Iraq have rightly drawn attention to those same issues in the context of that war? Finally, is it really all that much more imperialistic to try to create democracy at the point of a gun in Iraq than it is to tell the Third World that they must abide by high Western standards of environmental regulation in the name of a war on global warming and environmental destruction, when the consequences of doing so are sure to prolong their poverty?
The scholarship of those who are challenging the conventional wisdom of environmentalism, but who also do not have feature films to promote their views, are a crucial part of the critical thinking and provision of historical context that we need in order to make sure that we don’t go rushing into another mistaken war – one that will once again harm us and perhaps millions of innocents in the name of a moral cause whose factual assumptions may not be as certain as its proponents believe.
And those who have argued the hardest for the toleration, if not the encouragement, of dissent on the War in Iraq have an equal obligation to do so for the War on Global Warming. Whether they will do so is very much an open question. So far, when dissenters are relabeled as “deniers,” with the parallels to Holocaust deniers made explicit by some critics, the outlook for the toleration of dissent during this war remains unclear.
It is worth noting that the same argument can be made in reverse - conservatives who agree with my cautions about global warming should do some soul-searching about their support for the war. I'm not optimistic about that possibility either, especially when Rich Lowry of National Review says of the Time cover: "Regarding that Time global warming cover, just imagine if the mainstream media were as exercised about the war on terror and as devoted to crusading to win it. How different would the political environment look?" Sigh. The right-wing worship of war continues unabated.
Of course none of this is to say that we shouldn’t be attempting to tackle real environmental problems. Nor is to deny that such problems exist. But invoking the war metaphor to do so is not helpful to say the least, and a severe threat to liberty and prosperity at the most.Cross-posted at The Austrian Economists.
Aeon J. Skoble
I wish to add an anecdote that illustrates Anthony Gregory’s last point. Back in the 1990s I participated in Waco protests organized by Carol Moore author of the book Davidian Massacre: Disturbing Questions About Waco Which Must Be Answered. One time someone, either a patriot or an individual with a perverse sense of humor, granted us a permit for the Ellipse right across from the White House on the same day as the traditional Easter egg roll. About ten of us showed up to display our crosses representing each person killed and an outstanding banner, created by Ian Goddard, depicting the tanks crashing into the building. Meanwhile, the tens of thousands of people waiting for hours a mere 15 yards away, seeking their chance to step foot on some of government’s most hallowed ground, treated us, for the most part, with profound indifference. They reminded me of a line for communion only instead of the body of Christ they would receive paper bunny ears and a cheap plastic egg. In a just and knowledgeable world the number of protestors and the number of worshippers would have been reversed.
David T. Beito
The meeting will be begin at 9:00 a.m. on April 29 and there will be an opportunity for members of the audience to speak after 4:15. I'll be chairing the meeting.
For more information, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Matthew Sciabarra
"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran. That's what we will do. There is no safe haven."
"Whatever stage of development they might be in their nuclear weapons program in the next ten years during which they may foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them," Clinton said.
"That's a terrible thing to say, but those people who run Iran need to understand that, because that perhaps will deter them from doing something that would be reckless, foolish and tragic."
Barack Obama responded, "I was absolutely clear about the fact that if Iran used nuclear weapons on Israel, or any of our allies, we would respond forcefully and swiftly."
"But, in some ways, this hypothetical presupposes a failure to begin with," said Obama. "We shouldn't allow Iran to have nuclear weapons, period."
"I have consistently said that I will do everything in my power to prevent them from having it and I have not ruled out military force as an option," he said.
Obama suggested that Clinton's use of terms such as "obliterate" in reference to Iran are ineffective "saber rattling."
"Talk using words like obliterate doesn't actually produce good results," said Obama. "I think the Iranians can be confident that I will respond forcefully, and it will be completely unacceptable if they attacked Israel, or any other of our allies in the region, with conventional weapons or nuclear weapons."
There was, of course, no mention by either candidate that Israel has the nuclear capability to destroy much of Iran. But it's not kosher to mention that fact. And both Democratic candidates Clinton and Obama are keen to project U.S. military power abroad, just as surely as the Republican John McCain.
Tonight Fox News reports that, with 88% of precincts reporting, Ron Paul has won almost 16% of the vote in the Republican primary in Pennsylvania. This beats Mike Huckabee (less than 12%) although, it ought to be added, Huckabee conceded to McCain some weeks ago. Today McCain received just over 72% of the vote. This means that Paul has won more than a fifth as many votes as McCain. Certainly there are a good many Republicans who are unhappy with McCain and his policies of high spending, inflation and war. Ron Paul's decision to stay in the race demonstrates this very clearly and sets down a marker for future Republican contests. And his impressive vote total raises some interesting questions. What will be the impact on the race for the Libertarian Party nomination? And how will those Ron Paul supporters vote, if they vote at all, this November?