Sunday, March 26, 2006

And Yet Another Bush Power Grab

As if the fact that the President routinely ignores the U.S. Constitution wasn’t bad enough, now we have him completely ignoring the laws passed by Congress.

When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.

Now, I’m no fan of the Patriot Act – it should never have been allowed to pass – but, damn! Even its flimsy restraints on the abuse of power should be followed. I mean, why bother having a Congress at all, if the President can simply do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.

Bush signed the bill with fanfare at a White House ceremony March 9, calling it ''a piece of legislation that's vital to win the war on terror and to protect the American people." But after the reporters and guests had left, the White House quietly issued a ''signing statement," an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law.

I’ve posted items before observing how the erosion of the separation of powers doctrine is a very serious threat to our liberty. So now, in addition to the President ignoring a law passed by Congress, he’s assuming the authority to interpret how that law is to be applied. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that the job of the Supreme Court?

Perhaps sometime in the future, the President will “quietly issue” a statement indication that he does not “feel obliged to obey” the rulings of the Court? Of course, Conservatives everywhere will undoubtedly cheer on this ruthless power grab, as they’ve been whining for years about reigning in those “black robes”, to curb their “judicial activism” and whatnot.

Federalism died a long time ago. Now, we are beginning to see the demolition of the separate branches.

In the statement, Bush said that he did not consider himself bound to tell Congress how the Patriot Act powers were being used and that, despite the law's requirements, he could withhold the information if he decided that disclosure would ''impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."

Bush wrote: ''The executive branch shall construe the provisions . . . that call for furnishing information to entities outside the executive branch . . . in a manner consistent with the president's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information . . . "

So there you have it. The laws passed by Congress shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with the unchecked ability of Bush to wield power.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Bad Arguments for War

And speaking of Gene Callahan , he’s got a superb essay posted this morning at , entitled “Some Common, Bad Arguments for the Recent U.S. Policy Towards Iraq” . In it, he destroys the following arguments in favor of the Iraq war, and it’s continuation:

1) The U.S. tried "giving peace a chance," and look where that got us: 9/11.

2) Saddam Hussein, and not American policy, is to blame for all of the deaths and suffering stemming from the sanctions.

3) A failure to support the American invasion of Iraq demonstrates a contemptible disregard for the welfare of the Iraqi people.

4) Sitting idly by while terrorists prepare to attack America again is not an acceptable option; the U.S. government must actively strive to pre-empt terrorism before more, perhaps many, many more, Americans are killed.

5) Sure, invading Iraq was a mistake, but now that we’re in there, we’ve got to finish the job.

If you are a war hawk, and you find yourself saying any of the previous lines during conversation, you owe it to yourself to read Callahan’s article.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Some Recent Articles and Essays

In the past few weeks or so, I’ve come across some simply amazing articles and essays. Here are a sampling of a few of them:

Poltical Boundaries Are Not – And Ought Not Be – Economic Boundaries by Donald Boudreaux
Thinking of economies as national phenomena, we measure them as if they are so. We measure Gross Domestic Product of the United States and compare it to the GDP figures of other nations. We calculate America's trade deficit. These statistical exercises reinforce the presumption that the salient economic unit is the nation-state.

But as Arnold Kling
argues, this practice of using political boundaries to define economic boundaries is troublesome. In fact, the term "American economy" is more misleading than useful.
This has got to be one of the best articles explaining the shortcomings of the currently accepted way of analyzing economic health and the non-threats that free trade brings that I have read in a LONG time. And it’s short, too.

Trust the President? by Jacob Hornberger

Ask yourself: Why do government officials monitor anti-war protests and demonstrations? How likely is it that a person who is planning a terrorist attack is going to be speaking at or demonstrating at a public anti-war rally, where he knows that cops, secret agents, and cameras are all over the place?

The problem is that, as their policies begin to fail, the increasingly paranoid and fearful government officials come to believe that their “enemies” include those who are exposing the lies and false realities generated by the government. In the mind of the government official, telling the truth about government policy decreases morale and empowers the enemy.

Thus, people who oppose the government’s policies and tell the truth about such policies increasingly become part of the “problem.” They become a “threat,” one that can more easily be monitored and targeted than genuine terrorists can be.
…and to follow up on that theme...

The Fantasy of State Protection by Stefen Molyneux:

Governments protect their own interests, not those of their citizens. However, it does illuminate an interesting point, which is that – despite the evidence of the entire 20th century – people still believe that governments exist to protect their citizens. It is an interesting – and eminently testable – theory. To put it to the test, let's look at some of these State "protections" throughout history. If State power exists to protect citizens, then State power should rise and fall relative to the threats those citizens face. If I say that my dentist drills my teeth because they have cavities, then obviously he should drill less – or not at all – if they don't have cavities.

The first and gravest danger to a citizen is war. It is governments, of course, that always start wars, but those governments always say that they are protecting citizens from the aggression of other governments. In other words, other governments are bad, therefore war cannot be avoided – and so we must be partially enslaved by our own government to protect us from these inevitable wars.

Think about it… When a politician (or pundit) talks about “protecting American interests”…is he talking about your interests, or the interests of the State and it’s cronies? When a politician (or pundit) states that dissent empowers “the enemy”, who exactly is “the enemy”?

And finally…

Production versus Consumption by George Reisman

There are two fundamental views of economic life. One dominated the economic philosophy of the nineteenth century, under the influence of the British classical economists, such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo. The other dominated the economic philosophy of the seventeenth century, under the influence of Mercantilism, and has returned to dominate the economic philosophy of the twentieth century, largely under the influence of Lord Keynes.

What distinguishes these two views is this: In the nineteenth century, economists identified the fundamental problem of economic life as how to expand production. Implicitly or explicitly, they perceived the base both of economic activity and economic theory in the fact that man's life and well-being depend on the production of wealth. Man's nature makes him need wealth; his most elementary judgments make him desire it; the problem, they held, is to produce it. Economic theory, therefore, could take for granted the desire to consume, and focus on the ways and means by which production might be increased.

In the twentieth century, economists have returned to the directly opposite view. Instead of the problem being understood as how continuously to expand production in the face of a limitless desire for wealth resulting from the limitless possibilities of improvement in the satisfaction of man's needs, the problem is erroneously believed to be how to expand the desire to consume so that consumption may be adequate to production. Economic theory in the twentieth century takes production for granted and focuses on the ways and means by which consumption may be increased. It proceeds as though the problem of economic life were not the production of wealth, but the production of consumption.
This last one is rather long, but easy to read, even if it is only of interest to economics geeks like me. However, if you want a rather profound lesson in how economic ideas shape the very way we think, and the public policies that we often pursue, it’s worth taking the time to read.

Callahan on Malkin's Dilemma

From Gene Callahan (the author of one of the best books for ordinary people on economics, ever! ) over at Crash Landing....

Regarding the recent story of the Muslim-turned-Christian, who is being sentenced to death in Afghanistan for his "crime", he writes about Michelle Malkin's confused outrage:

Michelle Malkin is upset about the Afghani government planning to execute a man for converting to Christianity, but understandably she is somewhat at a loss as to what to do about it... She'd like to call for the US to invade Afghanistan, overthrow its government, and install one of American choosing, but of course America already has invaded Afghanistan, already has overthrown its government, and the offending ruling body is the very one that the US installed.

(You have to see the picture of Malkin posted...It's hilarious.)

Gene brings up a very good point that is bound to puzzle Warmongers everywhere. How can this happen in a place that we've already "liberated" from the clutches of "Evil-Doers" who oppress and brutalize their people under a repressive, theocratic, "Islamofascist" regime?

Our policies aren't meant to "spread Democracy" or "liberate foreigners", or fulfill any other high-sounding, Utopian fantasies. Our foriegn policies are designed to do one thing: maintain, intensify, and expand global hegemony for the Empire.

Human rights be damned.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Lew Rockwell, M3, and Writing Your Congressman

Lew Rockwell is one of my favorite writers out there. The man is a poet, pure and simple.

He wrote a review of the book, Empire of Debt: The Rise of an Epic Financial Crisis, by William Bonner and Addison Wiggin for the magazine The American Conservative. Read it. It’s a good article. Here is an excerpt:

The authors not only provide a frightening picture of the mess that the U.S. government has made at home and abroad, they also understand the crucial role that the monetary regime has played in this debacle. They show how the legal right to counterfeit—that’s what the Federal Reserve grants the government—has changed the structure of the government and led to the loss of liberty and the rise of an imperial power unlike any in history.

In the commercial republic of Jefferson, money was gold and silver. Government had no power to print currency. It was not even allowed to tax directly. What money it had came from tariff revenue, and pressure from exporters and importers kept it low. Even if Jefferson had wanted to establish a tyranny, there was no means to do so. If the wall of separation between money and the state was not as high as it might have been, there was still a barrier that put a curb on power-mongering.

Today, however, all the money government could ever want is easily available via a monetary policy that depends critically on the capacity of the Fed to create currency out of thin air. The Fed’s printing presses back every debt note issued by the Fed, and the new currency is sopped up by foreign central banks and private holdings around the world, particularly among Asian nations. The dollar is, for now, the world reserve currency, which permits the U.S. to sustain a world empire without paying the price—again, for now.

Ironically, beginning tomorrow, the Federal Reserve is going to stop publishing a critical statistic that gauges the inflation of the money supply, known as M3. Now, I know that most of you out there reading this are thinking, so what? Why should I care about some obscure statistic only important to academics? Well, you should. Without going into a 10 hour class on the economics of money, banking, and currency, let’s just say that if you value the strength of the dollar, and are concerned that it will still be worth something tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year, then it is absolutely critical that we keep track of all the factors which help us to measure its value. M3 is critical to the measure of inflation. If you don’t like inflation, and want to do something about it, then we must measure M3.

Coincidentally, Downsize DC is organizing a “contact your Congressman” campaign to get some support for a bill that’s being introduced by none other than the Honorable Ron Paul (R-Tx, Former LP candidate for President) to force the Federal Reserve to continue reporting this figure.

I would encourage everyone to go over there and drop a line to your congressman to get them to support this bill. You may do it here .

Read the article. Send a letter. What could a be more simple way of doing something for liberty today?

...Oh, yeah… and here is another excerpt from the Rockwell article. Enjoy!

The paranoia of the Bush circle has infected the whole regime. The entire government—elected officials, appointed staff, permanent bureaucracy—has shifted in the last decade from pretending to be the people’s servants to admitting that they regard the people as a threat. Thus do we see the stream of legislation permitting ever more powers to spy, confiscate, and jail without trial.

Never has sociologist Franz Oppenheimer’s view of the state been more clearly on display: it is there to dominate, exploit, and protect itself against any challenges to its power. It clings to power like Gollum holding the ring. And that power is deployed not for the purpose of protecting people but for protecting the state and its interests. When Oppenheimer theorized in 1908 that this was the true nature of the state, he was shouted down and pilloried for denying the doctrine of government as a social compact. Now his claims read like a description of the day’s political news.

The Carnival of Ohio Politics #15

The Carnival of Ohio Politics #15 is now posted by the Newshound over at Check it out.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Taking a break from our normal posting on more serious matters, I was tagged by Matthew over at Freedom IS Free (now renamed "This Blog Is A Pipe Bomb") to engage in a little "get-to-know-you" fun.

Four Jobs I've had:
1. Paperboy
2. Account Manager
3. Estimator
4. Economics Professor

Four movies I can watch over and over:
1. Groundhog Day (ha!)
2. Enemy at the Gates
3. O Brother! Where Art Thou
4. Any Austin Powers

Four places I've lived:
1. Dunkirk, NY
2. Rochester, NY
3. Washington DC metro area
4. Dayton, OH

Four TV shows I love:
1. All things Star Trek
2. Boston Legal
3. House
4. South Park

Four highly regarded and recommended TV shows I haven't seen:
1. 24
2. Lost
3. Survivor
4. The Sopranos

Four places I've vacationed:
1. Florida
2. San Francisco
3. Nova Scotia
4. Virginia

Four of my favorite dishes:
1. Taco Bell
2. New England Clam Chowder
3. Klondike Bars
4. A good mushroom and swiss burger.

Four sites I visit daily:
1. Lew
2. Rational Review News Digest
3. Mises Institute

Four places I'd rather be right now:
1. Amongst good friends
2. Phoenix, AZ
3. The Canadian Rockies
4. Kansas City, MO

Four bloggers I'm tagging:
1. Evan (at The Future Uncertain)
2. James (at Right On!)
3. Gene Callahan
4. Speedothebrief

Monday, March 20, 2006

Castle Coalition Holds Conference on Eminent Domain Abuse

I got this in my inbox tonight. All concerned about private property rights should attend....



It is with great pleasure that I extend to you a formal invitation to attend the Castle Coalition’s Ohio Eminent Domain Conference. These regional conferences are a main component of the Hands Off My Home campaign, and the Castle Coalition will be holding them around the country. This conference will take place Saturday, April 29, from 9:00am to 4:00pm at the Westin Columbus in Columbus, Ohio. Breakfast and registration will begin at 8:30am. The purpose of this conference is to bring together a diverse group of eminent domain activists from around your state for a day of workshops and strategy sessions. Similar to our national conference, we will focus on how to coordinate effective multi-faceted approaches to defeating eminent domain abuse. This will also serve as an opportunity to network and build relationships with other activists in your region.

The workshops will cover such topics as how to build a grassroots coalition, how to prepare for legal action, and how to harness the media to help in your grassroots fight. Included among the participants will be activists who are fighting current eminent domain projects, as well as a number of activists who bring to the table important lessons learned from their own successful battles against eminent domain abuse. Panelists from the Institute for Justice will also share their own wide array of expertise gained from almost a decade of litigating eminent domain cases, and teach conference participants how to take the fight beyond the courts of law, and directly into the court of public opinion through coalition-building and effective media strategies.

As you know, on June 23, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Kelo v. City of New London, giving local governments nationwide a green light to condemn homes and businesses for private economic development. Since, we’ve seen a flurry of legislative activity at the local, state and federal levels. The Institute for Justice and Castle Coalition are eager to capitalize on this momentum - and we want you to bring your energy and insight to our first regional conference, so that you can utilize these tools in your own fight against eminent domain abuse.

The conference is free of charge. The Institute for Justice will provide you with breakfast and lunch, along with conference materials. Participants will be responsible for their own travel. Please let us know by no later than Wednesday, April 19 if you will be able to attend by replying to this email with the information listed below. Spots will be reserved on a first come, first served basis, so please RSVP as soon as possible. I will respond to your RSVP with further details about the conference. If you have any questions or would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact me at 703-682-9320 or by email at

We look forward to seeing you in Columbus!


Christina Walsh
Assistant Castle Coalition Coordinator
Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 682-9320

If you would like to attend, please provide us with the following information:

Briefly explain your interest in attending this conference.
Are you or have you ever been threatened by eminent domain abuse? Please explain briefly.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Reason to Hate Michigan #37985562

Those vile Wolverines!

Tax Policy Can Curb Workaholism

So…let’s take all the rewards from working beyond a politically correct amount of time away from those who earned it, so that way there is no reason to work any further. After all, government is that institution we should all look to find out what’s best for us. Right? And if it socially desirable that people have more leisure time, and using tax policy can engineer socially desirable outcomes, then why not?

It probably never occurred to this researcher that the possibility may exist that people are workaholics because they are truly invested in what they are doing, and have a high desire to create. In my experience, most people who are high achievers, and as a result, high income-earners, are that way because they have a innate drive to produce. Assuming that simply taking away their pay will change their desire to create puts the cart before the horse. (No doubt, some will not want to work without reward…but that’s beside the point.)

So, according to this Wolverine, we need to get the government to stomp out the creative energies of over-acheivers. Maybe, instead of taxing them, we could have jail sentences for people who want to work more than, say, 50 or 60 hours a week.

(Maybe, in a twist of irony, we could sentence them to community service.)

Go Buckeyes!!!

Property Rights: The REAL Social Security

Cincinnati. Isn’t that the native American word for “land of thieves”?

As if the Norwood travesty wasn’t enough, it seems as if the politicians down there won’t rest until they beat up yet another little old lady. This time, it’s an 87 year-old SWF who’s looking at the possibility of being kicked out on to the streets.

When will it end?

And for all you “conservatives” out there, who think that the last best hope for property rights is to have more of your kind elected to office, I’d like to point out that one of the most Conservative members of the State House, Bill Seitz (R, of course), has NOT been very supportive of reforming the laws which government Eminent Domain in Ohio. Cincinnati is home to Ken Blackwell. Has he made any statements regarding the egregious use of Eminent Domain? What about Pietro? Montgomery? Hell, what about Taft?

(Ok, you caught me... Taft is a joke.)

Are there ANY prominent Republicans out there making an issue out of the abuse of the most basic element of the American Dream?

Yet, most of you will walk into the voting booth and November and punch the ‘R’ button, because the alternative – those hippy-dippy, Communist Democrats – are just too much of a threat.

Newsflash! Your property rights are under siege NOW. Republicans are in power at all levels of government, and your right to property is being trampled, NOW. How could voting Republican (again) possibly be seen as a desire to stop the theft?

Well… At least Bill Peirce is making an issue out of defending our senior citizens, who worked long and hard to enjoy a secure retirement.

"...and down goes Fraziah!"

You know you’re in trouble when your own party is abandoning you. Bush has been losing his court intellectuals like Francis Fukuyama and, most-stunningly, the Conservative movement’s Godfather, William F. Buckley, Jr., and now it’s translating into a loss of political clout and the cohesion of the GOP.

Which brings to mind an observation. For all the popularity various presidents have enjoyed in the past 50 or 60 years, when was the last time that a president enjoyed a second term that wasn’t marked by controversy, scandal, and other malfeasance?

Bush has the spying/torture scandals, among others.

Clinton had the Lewinsky affair and impeachment.

Reagan had Iran-Contra.

Nixon had Watergate. (And resigned over it.)

LBJ, technically not a full two-termer, had such trouble with Vietnam that he declined to run for an additional term.

Eisenhower… hmm…anyone remember anything controversial happening in Eisenhower’s second term?

So, assuming that Eisenhower’s second term was above board, it’s been at least 60 years since we’ve had a president who had a relatively non-controversial second term.

How much has government grown in those years? Is it any coincidence that the American Empire has blossomed in those same 60 years?

For those of us who love liberty, watching the Bush II administration at work has been a very aggravating and worrisome experience. However, we should always remember that eventually, human nature asserts itself, and the “political capital” a tyrant enjoys one day can evaporate overnight if he’s not careful. And let’s face it…most are not. Those in love with their own power get cocky, arrogant, and self-righteous. The rush of power can make one think they are invincible.

What’s that they say? Pride precedes a fall.

And what else do they say? Power corrupts.


Too Funny!

Saw these articles in the past week, and could not help but laugh at their juxtaposition.

President’s Poll Rating at New Low

Jessica Simpson Snubs Bush

But hey… if it’s any consolation to Dubya, there’s at least one person who’ll hang with him.

Reflecting on Harry Browne

It’s been more than two weeks since the death of Harry Browne, successful author and two-time Libertarian Party candidate for President, and I still have yet to compose a meaningful commentary on his passing. In the time since, I’ve come across countless blogs and articles written in tribute to the man. Even listening to his radio show the weekend before last, and hearing many guests and callers to the show, really brought home just how much of an impact this man had the lives of so many people. The more I see and hear, the more I realize, what could I possibly say about him that hasn’t been said dozens of times over by far more eloquent people than me? Something, though, just won’t let me rest until I am able to put down in words the significance of my encounter with Harry Browne.

Words were Harry Browne’s most useful tool. The man could write and essay or deliver a speech with such clarity and skill, it’s hard to imagine how a person could not be persuaded by his arguments. I think back to the year 2000 when I got my first exposure to libertarian thought, and it was Harry’s words that struck a chord deep down inside me. I had recently studied the subject of economics, and I read some Frederic Bastiat, so I guess you could say that I was primed for libertarianism. Upon hearing him speak, I was hooked. I followed the campaign and listened to his radio interviews over the net to hear how Harry would respond to various situations, people, and questions. Every time was the same: succinctly witty and direct, all while maintaining a polite, gentleman-like composure. Even today, when I have to do any public speaking, I watch clips of his speeches as a motivational tactic, hoping to channel his charm and grace. He was a model for us all.

Harry was not only a persuasive and enlightening communicator, he was also incredibly principled in his views, and to my knowledge, never backed down from saying what he thought to be true. I took special comfort in the days following 9-11 when Harry published his article, “When Will We Learn?”, which reflected much of the views on American Empire I had come to adopt. Libertarians had been warning for years that the price of our imperial, meddlesome, interventionist foreign policies was to put a giant target on the backs of every American citizen. In the 1996 and 2000 campaigns he spoke about this time and again. Yet, after that fateful Tuesday morning, it had seemed as if the whole world had forgotten (if they ever listened) to these warnings. (There are a couple of people who I still have not talked to since that day, as they were so offended by the suggestion that our government’s policies could have anything to do with the motive for the attacks, they called me everything but a child of God, and refused to talk to me further.) Harry was steadfastly against the war, and never hesitated to say so. His powerful communication style helped to verbalize the thoughts and feelings of anti-war libertarians everywhere. But more than that, whatever the issue, Harry would never hesitate to speak the truth that the solution is never more government – in fact, most problems are government created – the solution is always more liberty.

Because of Harry Browne, I am a libertarian today. I am a libertarian today because Harry Browne convinced me of the sublime beauty of a simple, yet profoundly radical idea: liberty. He awoke in me the desire, the longing, the yearning for freedom. (Even the name of this blog comes from one of his many speeches and articles, as he would talk about the founding of America and the significance of the Statue of Liberty.) By inspiring in me the desire to know more about the true meaning of liberty, I found so many other writers and thinkers - people like Ludwig von Mises , Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell, Jacob Hornberger, Vin Suprynowicz, Sheldon Richman, Richard Ebeling, Anthony Gregory , and many, many others. To this day, these people continue to inspire me with the power of the idea that we can, should, and ought to be free, sovereign, self-governing individuals controlling our own destinies. And I would not have known about the works of these people had it not started with Harry Browne.

His optimism was infectious because he knew how powerful an idea liberty really is. Whenever he spoke on any issue, it was obvious to any listener that his optimism was barely contained, often infectiously bubbling over. My personal favorite was when he would talk about the free market, and what sort of educational system we might have if we were to truly separate school and state. No more bureaucrats harassing parents for exercising their rights. No more cookie-cutter, mind-numbingly boring curricula inflicted on kids locked up in glorified asylums. No more “culture war” fights over evolution or creationism. In its place: innovation, progress, and most importantly, a populace imbued with a passion for learning and knowledge. Listening to him, one could not help but be overwhelmed by the possibilities that freedom would bring!

I’m reminded of a speech by another man, idolized for the hope and inspiration he brought others. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said:

I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight.

Harry had a vision for a better, freer world. And although he will not get to see it with us, Harry knew that the day would come when all of our efforts will have paid off. He knew it, and it was the source of his profound optimism. It should be the source for our own as well. If we truly believe in the idea of liberty, then what choice do we have but to be optimistic?

So what can I say after the passing of a man that has affected my life – and others – so profoundly? I think the only real answer I can give – indeed, the only honest answer – is simply: nothing. Nothing I can ever say can measure up to the impact this man had. Instead, I think it’s important what we do after his passing. We should focus on living the best life we can, prospering and finding the rewards we want from this world. Living free means living joyously. We should continue the fight for liberty in whatever way we are best suited. And it is in this vein that, as I reflect on Harry Browne’s death, I renew my commitment to fight for liberty in any and every way I know how. Although he is no longer here to continue on the fight, I consider it my personal debt of gratitude to continue on in his memory.

Thank you, Harry. You were a wonderful gift. You will not be soon forgotten.

Note: If you are not familiar with the works of Harry Browne, visit his website.

I've also written reviews of his books over at See The Great Libertarian Offer ; Why Government Doesn't Work ; and Fail Safe Investing

Sunday, March 05, 2006

We Believe In You

In still finding it very difficult to organize my thoughts and feelings about the passing of Harry Browne. As I go back and review his various articles, speeches and interviews, I am overwhelmed by the superb way the man communicated, and I am reminded why I was persuaded to become a libertarian. The following is the beginning of the first speech I saw Harry Browne give - his acceptance speech for the nomination for President at the 2000 Libertarian Party Convention. I would encourage everyone to read the entire speech, or even better, watch the clip that's archived on his website. Links are below.


We Believe in You

This is a happy day for me. Aside from the day that Pamela gave me her hand in marriage, this is probably the proudest day of my life. I thank you and I am honored by your nomination.

And I will end the suspense right now. Yes, I do accept your nomination for President.

I am running for President because it is obvious that no Democrat or Republican is ever going to stop the relentless growth of the federal government.

Only a Libertarian will free you from the income tax.

Only a Libertarian will unlock the door and let you out of Social Security.

Only a Libertarian will end the insane War on Drugs.

Only a Libertarian will end the reckless foreign policy that puts your children at risk of fighting and dying in a foreign war, and that makes your city a target for terrorists.

Only a Libertarian is going to return us to constitutional government.

Only a Libertarian is going to set you free.

Who Are the Libertarians?

Who are we? Who are these Libertarians you've been watching on television — these Libertarians who presume to challenge the Republicans and Democrats?

We could explain ourselves in terms of philosophy, economics, morality, or in other ways. But it's really very simple:

We are the people who want you to be free — free to live your life as you want to live it, not as Al Gore or George Bush thinks is best for you.

We want you to be free to raise your children by your values, not the values of some bureaucrat who's trying to create a Brave New World.

We want you to be able to keep every dollar you earn — to spend it, save it, give it away as you think best, not as the politicians will allow you to do.

We Believe in You

As this election season continues, you're going to see Al Gore, George Bush, Pat Buchanan, and Ralph Nader talking about the issues — the issues of the environment, education, health care, foreign policy, foreign trade, jobs, and many other things.

But in reality they're talking about only one question. What they're discussing is simply this:

Which one of them is best qualified to run your life?

Which one of them should decide exactly what kind of school your children should attend — and every other child in America should attend as well?

Which one knows best how your doctor should treat you — or what you should encounter when you enter a hospital?

Which one is best able to run your life?

Do you know what makes Libertarians different? Now this is going to be an earth-shaking discovery — a revelation, perhaps — but we think you should run your life.

In short, we believe in you.

We believe you are a responsible individual — that you can take care of yourself, that you know what is best for your children, that you know how to care for yourself and your family. We believe you know how to live your life.

Even as you make mistakes, you'll find your way through life a lot better than Al Gore or George Bush can lead you — or Bill Clinton or Newt Gingrich or Pat Buchanan or Ralph Nader or any of the other politicians who presume to know how you should live your life.

We believe in you.

The rest of the speech can be read here.

The video for this speech can be viewed here with Windows Media Player or here with Real Player.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Radio Memorial Tonight for Harry Browne

This just passed to me from Downsize DC :

Special notice: Word has it that there may be a mention of Harry Browne's passing on ABC's "This Week" tomorrow, and perhaps on NBC's "Meet the Press." This cannot be confirmed, but it is a real possibility. Meanwhile . . .

You are all invited to participate in a memorial for Harry Browne that will be held on his radio show tonight, and on the Downsize DC Conference call tomorrow. You can listen on the Internet, call-in to share your memories of Harry, and ask questions of those who knew him best.

Guests on tonight's show will include . . .
  • Perry Willis - co-founder of Downsize DC and former Harry Browne campaign manager
  • Kristen Overn - producer of Harry's award-winning "Great Libertarian Offer" video and TV commercials
  • Ron Paul - Republican Congressman, Texas
  • Michael Cloud - founder of the Center for Small Government
  • Steve Willis - Traveling Secretary for the 2000 Browne for President campaign
  • Steve Dasbach, former National Chair and former Executive Director, Libertarian Party
Guests on the Downsize DC Conference Call tomorrow will include . . .

  • Jo Jorgenson - 1996 Vice Presidential nominee, Libertarian Party
  • Art Olivier - 2000 Vice Presidential nominee, Libertarian Party
  • Bill Winter - former Communications Director, Libertarian Party
  • George Getz - former Communications Director, Libertarian Party
Tonight's show can be heard by clicking on the "Listen Live" button at , and then selecting one of the first two channels. The show can be heard at...

Eastern: 10pm - Midnight
Central: 9pm - 11pm
Mountain: 8pm - 10pm
Pacific: 7pm - 9pm
Alaska: 6pm - 8pm
Hawaii: 5pm - 7pm

Tomorrow's show can be heard by clicking on the "Listen Live" button at , and then selecting one of the first two channels. The show can be heard at...

Eastern: 5pm - 6pm
Central: 4pm - 5pm
Mountain: 3pm - 4pm
Pacific: 2pm - 3pm
Alaska: 1pm - 2pm
Hawaii: Noon - 1pm

More Harry Browne Tributes

There have been many articles, blog posts, and news stories covering the sad developments in the Liberty movement, as Harry Browne passed away earlier this week. I'm still trying to collect my thoughts on how to eulogize the man who convinced me personally to commit myself fully to the cause of liberty. For now, here is a small collection of remembrances of a great man.

Los Angeles Times : Harry Browne, 1933-2006

Lew Rockwell: Harry Browne, RIP

Anthony Gregory: Harry Browne’s Cogent Wisdom, and Why I’m A Libertarian

Carla Howell’s “The One and Only Harry Browne” and Michael Cloud’s “A Goodbye Letter to Harry Browne”

Anthony Wile: Memories of Harry Browne

Jim Babka and Perry Willis : Harry Browne, RIP

Thomas L. Knapp: Harry Browne, 1933-2006

Richard Ebeling: Harry Browne (1933-2006)

Brian M. Doherty: Harry Browne, RIP

Stephen Funk: How I Found Harry In An Unfree World

Bob Smith: We lost a fine gentleman

James Babb: Harry Browne: 1933-2006

Stephen Gordon: Former Libertarian presidential candidate passes away

Mike Kole: Harry Browne, 1933-2006

Karina Rollins, National Review: Flashback on Harry Browne

Friday, March 03, 2006

I Love America. Do You?

Harry Browne, two time Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate, and the man primarily responsible for me being the libertarian that I am today, passed away two days ago. I will be preparing my own eulogy of the passing of this great man, who uplifted, inspired, and motivated thousands of liberty-lovers everywhere - but at the moment I am at a complete and utter loss for words to pay a proper tribute. My heart goes out to all that were closest to Harry, to whom his passing can only be infinitely more devastasting than it is to me. For now, I would like to repost just one of his many inspiring articles. Enjoy.


I love America.

I love every concept the Statue of Liberty stands for – that individual liberty is held above the objectives of government; that, as Washington and Jefferson said, America imparts good will toward all and threatens no one; that this country is so big-hearted and prosperous it can welcome people from all over the world fleeing oppression or poverty.

I love the Bill of Rights – the most noble document ever written to define the limits that government should obey.

I love the concepts of free speech, absolute privacy, and religious freedom embodied in our traditions and our Constitution.

I love the rule of law – the right of accused persons to confront their accusers, the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, the right to refuse admission to government officials wanting to enter your home or office.

These are just some of the things that have made America unique in the history of the world. They are a direct cause of America's prosperity, of our security, of what makes America attractive to so many would-be immigrants.

The "Hate America" Crowd

Unfortunately, too many Americans seem to have little love for that America. They are quite willing to throw away the concepts I've described – in order to satisfy a lust for revenge against the September terrorists.

They're willing to abandon our cherished liberties – giving the government the power to do anything it wants. They assume – falsely – that such invasions of liberty and privacy won't affect them, even though the history of government demonstrates that what's applied against suspected terrorists today will be applied against innocent Americans tomorrow. They're willing to abandon free speech – wanting to shut up those who don't join in the rah-rah cheering as President Bush abandons the essence of what made America unique and great.

They're willing to abandon the rule of law and transform America into a police state – where any law-enforcement agency, military court, or intelligence agency can act as prosecutor, judge, and jury to decide your future.

They're willing to let innocent Americans die – by encouraging our government to bomb innocent foreigners at will, almost guaranteeing that there will be further terrorist attacks against us.

They're willing to continue transforming what was once a worldwide love of America into a hatred for America – caused by the correct perception that American presidents believe they can force any foreign nation to do their bidding.

They make no objection when congressmen pass bills – without reading them first or having any idea what's actually in them – bills that take away your liberties, pile more government debt on your family, and give the president the power to do whatever he wants, as though he were a Roman Emperor.

Words and Deeds

These people may not actually hate America. They may even profess to love America, but they show no understanding of what made America the precious nation it is. Here is what some of their sentiments amount to…

  • Contrary to the American respect for peace-loving people, they think our hurt entitles us to hurt others – even people who didn't hurt us.
  • Contrary to the American tradition of individual responsibility, they want to treat all Afghans as though they're bin Laden, and all Iraqis as though they're Saddam Hussein – making no distinction between the innocent and the guilty.
  • Contrary to the American ideal of individual liberty, they think freedom may be a nice concept but state security is more important.
  • Contrary to the American tradition of independent thought, they assert that questioning your government is unpatriotic, paranoid, and tantamount to treason.
  • Contrary to the distrust of government that marked the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, they think that – despite all the mistakes our government has made – allegiance to the Fatherland is your highest duty.
  • Contrary to the American way of good will toward all, they acknowledge that America is being transformed into an armed fortress, but say that's the price we must pay to be a superpower.
Those aren't the sentiments of people who recognize what made America the most attractive place on earth to live. But in the supreme irony, these people label those who protest against the destruction of American ideals "America-haters."

Where Do You Stand?

Do you love America?

If so, isn't it time you spoke out on behalf of America – before the president and Congress take away the rest of what made this the land of the free?

Or are you just as happy to see America transformed into one more bureaucratic warrior state, like so many of those in Europe and Asia?

I love America – the one symbolized by the Statue of Liberty – the America that was the beacon of liberty, providing light and hope and inspiration to the entire world. I want that America back.

The warmongers may say they're patriotic Americans, but they're willing to discard everything unique about America in order to satisfy their lust to avenge the September tragedy.

The desire for revenge is understandable. But the rush to permanently abandon the wonders of America to satisfy a temporary rage is not.