Archive for Libertarianism
Dave Killion — April 28, 2013
The Atlantic has an article on open borders that is getting a lot of attention in the libertarian community –
“What if there was a program that would cost nothing, improve the lives of millions of people from poorer nations, and double world GDP? At least one economist says that increased mobility of people is by far the biggest missed opportunity in development. And an informally aligned group of advocates is doing its best to make the world aware of the “open borders” movement, which suggests that individuals should be able to move between countries at will.”
Like abortion, immigration is an area where libertarians are frequently at odds with one another, one concern being the impact of allowing immigration of people who are very likely to be anti-libertarian. In the early days of my libertarian awakening, I felt that some government restrictions were necessary and appropriate, but my eldest son (whose biases had not been so deeply entrenched as my own) gave me an intellectual backhand by asking, “Where, in libertarianism, do you find any defence of the notion that you have the right to initiate violence against peaceful persons crossing some arbitrary and imaginary line?” In that Zen-like moment, I attained enlightenment, and have been an open-borders man ever since.
As such, I advocate for the immediate and total elimination of all state restrictions on immigration and emigration. Knowing that that is unlikely, I would be happy to see someone in Canada pushing for an international treaty allowing open borders between countries. For reasons I’ve discussed previously, I think such an arrangement between the U.S. and Canada might meet too much resistance, but if Albertans don’t bar Newfoundlanders, and Quebecers don’t bar British Columbians, then what objection could Canadians have to any law-abiding New Zealanders? This is doable, and I’d be happy to see it done.
Dave Killion — April 27, 2013
Cherokee Gothic has a post up about ‘A Singaporean Strategy for Increasing the Fertility Rate‘ –
“So what did the SDU try?
1. “Increased financial incentives to encourage bigger families, amounting to cash gifts of S$3000 (US$1889) for the first child and savings of up to S$18,000 each for the third and fourth child.”
2. Tax rebates
3. Tax cuts on maids plus more childcare and maternity benefits.
4. “Offer graduate women with three children priority in securing places at the top nursery schools, an advantage in helping children get ahead at school, university and in the workplace.”
5. Set up “love cruises” for singles!
6. “Speed-dating and online dating services, along with an agony aunt called Dr Love.”
Somehow all of those awesome ideas didn’t make Singaporean couples want to procreate. So now the government has paired up with Mentos (huh?) to urge citizens to do their patriotic duty and make babies on “National Night.” You truly cannot make this stuff up.”
He concludes by asking the same thing any libertarian would ask –
“I guess just allowing more young people to immigrate there is out of the question?”
All of this reminds me of a previous post in which I listed ways in which an individual libertarian can help make the world a little more libertarian. Now that many advanced countries are seeing declining birth rates, and an easing of immigration restrictions will likely result, I think I will add to that list a recommendation that those of you looking for love cast your eyes abroad for libertarian partners. If you live in Canada or the U.S., you are a more desirable mate to someone living in a less wonderful place, and if the person you’re wooing is libertarian, you are way ahead knowing that he/she is at least as smart, well-informed, and open-minded as you are. And of course, if any of you try this out, please let me know how it works, and make sure to invite me to the wedding.
Dave Killion — April 9, 2013
At “The Bright Pink Libertarian”, Chris Murphy shares some of Stephan Kinsella’s opinion concerning ‘Left Libertarianism’ –
” They want libertarians to stop saying capitalism because they want us to adopt their substantive unlibertarian, Marxian agenda. Yet they pretend it’s just for strategical or lexical concerns–which it’s not. This is yet another reason I think we should dig our heels in and not give in: they will then count it as a substantive victory for unlibertarian, leftist ideas.”
At the risk of gilding the lily, let me add this: if you claim to be either a left libertarian or a right libertarian, and by that claim you mean that you support some level of coercive governance, then you are no libertarian at all. Progressives can lean libertarian. Conservatives can lean libertarian. But libertarians do not lean. We are upright.
Dave Killion — April 2, 2013
“Remember, your pets will be waiting for you in Valhalla to be the fierce protectors of you they always imagined themselves to be.”
Commentator Brett L, in the comments to this thread. It is common for the comments in the A.M. Links and P.M. Links at the Reason Blog to wander far and wide, and one of the other participants had mentioned her grief over the recent loss of her cat. To which commentator Sparky added –
“Or if they’re cats they’ll be waiting to engage you in glorious battle every day.”
This is how libertarians support each other. Is it not wonderful?
Dave Killion — March 30, 2013
It’s one thing to be uninformed, but it’s entirely another to repeatedly avert one’s eyes from the evidence. Whether it’s school choice, private health care, gun rights, drug decriminalization, or any one of dozens of other topics, every libertarian has endured moments like this… moments when confronted with the determinedly close-minded. A great deal of what I read ends with me promising myself to buy more ammo, but these interactions with the invincibly ignorant usually prompt me to prioritize growing and strengthening my relationships with other libertarians. There are certain people, and lots of them, who will never accept that their appetite for dominion over others is immoral and unacceptable. The stronger the ties are amongst the libertarian nation, the less the opposition matters.
Dave Killion — March 19, 2013
As libertarians continue to battle statism in what has become a new Cold War, another proposal for a libertarian, free-market enclave has been forwarded. A new novel suggests a charter city, but with a twist; build it smack-dab in America’s heartland –
“… despite all the efforts of many good people, (Detroit) has lost most of its population and is now the poorest, most dangerous, most run down city in America.
Detroit needs a game changer. The 982 acre island of Belle Isle can be that game changer for Detroit. The book Belle Isle is about that vision.
The setting is Belle Isle, 30 years in the future. Twenty nine years prior (2014), Belle Isle was sold by the city of Detroit for $1 billion dollars to a group of investors who believed in individual freedom, liberty and free markets.
They formed their own city-state, with innovative systems of government, taxation, labor and money. People soon came from all over the world to be part of this culture of unlimited opportunity. Belle Isle became the “Midwest Tiger,” rivaling Singapore as an economic miracle. Although numbering only 35,000 citizens, it generated billions of dollars in desperately needed economic growth and became a social laboratory for the western world.”
As of this writing, “Belle Isle“ has an average customer review of 3.5/5 at Amazon.com, with only two negative reviews. Both negative reviews come from people who have not read the book, but rather simply don’t like the idea. Well, Detroit is facing some big problems, and there are a lot of other U.S. cities lining up to follow them down the same path. Under the circumstances, it’s probably wise to consider trying out even those ideas you might not like.
Dave Killion — March 17, 2013
The Victoria Libertarian Book Club has been boosted by the membership of Cato Institute Senior Fellow Jim Powell. Jim specializes in the history of liberty, and his most recent book is “The Fight for Liberty: Critical Lessons From Liberty’s Greatest Champions Of The Last 2,000 Years“. I have, of course, purchased the Kindle version, and placed near the top of my queue.
Jim used to keep a website called Liberty Story, and a large part of it is archived here. The site has about 20 brief articles concerning people and events critical to the advance of freedom, as well as a few other items. You will see that Jim’s is a very accessible writing style, and the history is both illuminating and motivating. Additionally, from March 8, there is this – “Remembering Harriet Tubman on the Centennial of Her Death” –
“Few freedom fighters were more tenacious than petite Harriet Tubman, the African-American slave-turned-abolitionist who died March 10, 1913 when she was about 92. She escaped to freedom, then was reported to have gone back into the Confederacy 19 times, risking capture as she “conducted” some 300 slaves to freedom. Although she was illiterate, she came to know the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region so well that she could take confusing, zig-zag routes, making it hard for pursuers to figure out where they might be able to intercept her. She was tough, too, enduring brutal conditions and always packing a pistol.”
Jim and I have exchanged a few emails, and he seems to be a gracious and intelligent person. He has been fighting for the cause a long time, and I am flattered that he would bother to join such a humble group so far from his home. I hope that he might one day make his way up here, and see our own little contribution to the history of liberty.
Dave Killion — March 11, 2013
In a previous post concerning the Free Province Project, I bemoan the comparatively unfavourable political and economic climate. Yet, I have noticed that in every discussion amongst libertarians regarding Colorado, someone points out how much better Colorado was before being ‘invaded’ by progressives fleeing states that had been ruined by the very policies they endorse, and how those same progressives are doing to Colorado what they did to their former homes. The same phenomenon occurs in discussions concerning the Free State Project; Bay Staters are migrating from Massachusetts into New Hampshire faster than are Free Staters. It is feared the progressive wave may swamp the libertarian lifeboat.
Could it be that I am too hasty in declaring the bleak state of affairs in PEI to be a detriment to libertarian ambitions? Perhaps, by selecting a region with such gloomy prospects, libertarians won’t have to battle an onslaught of idiot authoritarians, and can more readily construct a peaceful, market-oriented homeland. Yes, indeed… I do believe that I have mistaken an asset for a liability.
Incidentally, the Free Province Project remains little other than a Facebook page. If you (or someone you know) would like to step up and start administrating, it could one day prove a great blow for liberty. Think about it.
Dave Killion — March 10, 2013
Ann Coulter recently garnered more attention than she deserves by declaring that “people think libertarians are pussies“. Over at The Volunteer, Terrence Watson says that libertarians ARE (mostly) wimps –
“Hiding the real reason you support some policy and allowing others to believe you support it for some other reasons is so close to hypocrisy as to be indistinguishable.
To let politics drive your priorities is to necessarily become more like a politician. And it is exceedingly difficult to object to politicians who do what is popular over what is right when you are, in your own way, doing the same thing. If you are an orthodox libertarian who wants to abolish all anti-discrimination law — even if the result will be a proliferation of “whites only” signs and a culture awash in hate literature – then you should say so.”
Mr. Watson has a pretty simple position: libertarians should recognize that our preferred policies have potentially negative outcomes, and we should be more forthright in declaring that we support those policies, regardless. However, his defence of that position is confused. Consider the above quote. Is there any libertarian who opposes anti-discrimination laws because he desires a ‘culture awash in hate literature’ ? I think not. Unfortunately, the article is sprinkled with such errors. None of them, though, is as serious as the error he makes in listing 10 beliefs he attributes to what he calls ‘orthodox libertarians’. Here are a few –
” 2. White employers should be allowed to hang a “Help Wanted — whites only” signs on their doors. Even if the result is that black people are unable to find employment.
3. Property owners should be permitted to refuse to rent to gay people. Even if the result is that gay people end up homeless.
4. Neo-Nazis should be permitted to publish whatever they want. Even if the result is that Jews and other minorities are attacked in the streets.”
Statements like these concede far too much, in that they confuse ‘should not be punished by the state’ with ‘should be permitted’ or ‘should be allowed’. Left unchallenged, they make it easier for our opponents to portray us as unfeeling and indifferent. Rather than playing into that, choose instead to state the libertarian position correctly – “Property owners who refuse to rent to gay people should be punished by the market and the community, so that gay people do not go homeless.” Leave the ‘even ifs’ with the statists – “People should be forced to support a coercive welfare state, even if it destroys community and creates a cycle of dependency.”
None of this is to say Mr. Watson is entirely wrong. One of the reasons I think the coercive state will fail is because it is being attacked relentlessly on all fronts. Mr. Watson is suggesting one approach to that assault, and I wish him all the luck in the world with it.
Dave Killion — February 26, 2013
The Victoria LBC met at my place last week to share some pizza and screen ‘Atlas Shrugged II’ (Shrug Harder?). I’m sorry to say that it wasn’t very good. And by ‘it’, I don’t mean the pizza. Although some of the lines came across very well, the overall production value of the movie was shockingly low. The special effects, in particular, were so obvious that we felt uncomfortable. As viewers! And yet, according to the most recent numbers at Metacritic, Part II is even better liked by viewers than was Part I. So, there’s no accounting for taste. If you’re libertarian, enjoy it with your friends. Your libertarian friends. Anyone else, and I fear you might damage the cause.
Somewhat better was Christina Heller’s documentary ‘Libertopia‘. Over a 90 minute period, Heller looks at three individuals participating in the Free State Project. Although a little slow, the film effectively captures the earnest determination of people so enthralled by liberty that they elect to build their lives around its preservation and expansion. No matter your political orientation, ‘Libertopia’ is a beautiful, touching insight into human drive, and the power of an idea.