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Liberty and Power



  • To Serve Man

    by Liberty and Power

    [cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]

    Two weeks ago I discussed what I called the"paradox of religious conservatism" -- namely, the fact that those who are allegedly dedicated to the supremacy of spirit over matter are in practice committed to subordinating the spiritual aspects of human life to the merely biological aspects. The latest confirmation of this comes in the form of

  • Bill O'Reilly Reports for Duty

    by Liberty and Power

    [cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]

    The other night I saw Bill O'Reilly interviewing Michael Moore. As one would expect from such a collision of blowhards, more heat than light was generated. But there was one memorable moment: Moore asked O'Reilly whether he would be willing to sacrifice the life of his son or daughter to secure Fallujah. O'Reilly refused to answer; but he did say that he would readily give his own

  • This Mind Is Your Mind

    by Liberty and Power

    [cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]

    I’ve been saying for years that so-called"intellectual property rights" are really attempts to claim ownership over the contents and activities of other people's minds -- and are thus radically inconsistent with property rights in the libertarian sense, which are grounded in the principle of self-ownership. (See the Molinari Institute's

  • Kerry Stays the Course

    by Liberty and Power

    Okay, I'll admit this: John Kerry surprised me last night in that his speech was filled with terrific rhetorical flourishes and was delivered with passion, something that this candidate usually lacks. I didn't even yawn once.

    Michael Goodwin wrote


  • Scott Ritter Right Again

    by Liberty and Power

    The release of the 9-11 commission report had to please the Bush administration somewhat because it blamed faulty intelligence gathering, rather than outright lying by the President and his minions, for the lack of weapons of mass destruction, which would have justified the administration’s actions. Yet, I am not inclined to let Bush off the hook because I knew all along no WMDs existed. Anyone who saw Scott Ritter on television before he was

  • Morality, the Left, and Free Trade

    by Liberty and Power

    As the Democrats meet in Boston this week and continue to decry the loss of American jobs overseas it's important to remember that this national debate about"protecting" American workers has an important moral dimension that the Democrats are ignoring. However that same moral argument may eventually swing left-wing voters to support free trade. As Joseph Stiglitz reminds us in this essay, w

  • Al Sharpton and Dem Dems

    by Liberty and Power

    Okay, I admit it, I'm a political junkie. I've been super busy preparing the next issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, but I have been unable to switch off the Democratic Convention, as predictable as it has been. Switching between network coverage, cable news coverage, and gavel-to-gavel C-SPAN coverage, I've been entertained.

    But I have to say that the most riveting of all the speakers was fellow Brooklynite,


  • Misguided Libertarian Support for the Afghan War

    by Liberty and Power

    I did not and do not support the U.S. in Afghanistan (or Iraq), and I believe that those defending such actions for self-defense or otherwise are misguided. On 9/11, Al Qaeda was itself responding to U.S. interventions, which have only greatly intensified. Furthermore, Letters of Marque (LOM) would have been far more efficient and targeted (see here and here

  • Weighing in on a Foreign Policy Debate, Again

    by Liberty and Power

    I've been following the debate over libertarianism and foreign policy and applaud the many points made by my colleagues here.

    I was struck particularly by this exchange between Matt Hill and Gene Healy. Matt agrees with the principles that Gene enunciates, but asks:"what do you say to the argument that the government is taking the money anyway, so it is just a question of how it is allocated—and perhaps, one could a


  • Badnarik on the Road to Damascus?

    by Liberty and Power

    [cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]

    Badnarik’s website used to have an"issues" section which included, inter alia, a position statement on abortion. In it, Badnarik said that, after much wrestling with the issue, he was inclined to view abortion as a rights-violation. I can't remember whether he said explicitly that it should be illegal, but that would seem a plausible infe

  • Barnett on War and Liberty

    by Liberty and Power

    I admire Randy Barnett tremendously as a scholar. But I'm not finding any of his recent posts on Libertarians and War convincing. There's a lot there to respond to, but to take one example:

    But would the U.S. Army been acting unjustly on Libertarian grounds it it goes to the aid of innocent civilians in Somalia, the Sudan, or Iraq? I do not see why. If these people are indeed the victim of horrible rights violat


  • Back Off Man - I'm a Government Lawyer

    by Liberty and Power

    Fans of the movie Ghostbusters may remember an early scene in which Bill Murray is in the New York Public Library hunting down a ghost. He interviews one of the librarians and asks her some, well inappropriate questions, which prompts the supervisor of the library to say"what has that got to do with it?" Murray's character, a hack academic replies"Back off man, I'm a scientist."

    It is with similar logic that many lifetime hangers-on at the Justice Department argue in favor of the Patriot


  • Southern League

    by Liberty and Power

    I like many of the things the League of the South has to say about big government and American imperialism, among other issues. However, at the same time many positions are objectionable—the call for reparations in particular.

    It does not seem to me that “Southerners” (whoever they might be) are especially oppressed, at least in the realm of politics. Over the past decade or a majority of the most powerful political figures in DC have been from the South: Bill Clinton, George

  • Report Omits Key Player-Foreign Policy

    by Liberty and Power

    Although the 9/11 commission’s investigation has won praise in the media for being bipartisan, on balance it has not made us safer. The commission discovered new information to rewrite the history of the Sept. 11 attacks, uncovered government incompetence that should make Americans wonder if those attacks could have been prevented and made some useful recommendations. But the panel avoided the most important question surrounding the attacks—their underlying cause.

    The commission sho

  • Kennedy v. Nixon, Kerry v. Bush

    by Liberty and Power

    Last night's speeches reminded me of an earlier campaign, the Nixon/Kenndy square-off of 1960. As in that election, both candidates agree on the fundamental direction of American policy. Neither questions the war in Iraq. Both support an expanded military.

    Instead, as in 1960, the debate is over who can best"manage" America's foreign empire. The biographies of Senators Kennedy and Kerry have similar ironies in this regard. One was the son, and lifetime dependent, of an isolationist