This is the archive for Liberty.
- Interview with John Durant
Originally posted at The Primal Challenge blog. Enjoy!
I had the great fortune of being able to listen to a lecture by professional caveman John Durant at Hillsdale College last night. I also got to hang out and chat with him for the evening and he graciously agreed to do an interview for The Primal Challenge! Click on the link below to listen to the interview.
Interview with John Durant (approximately 13 minutes in length)
Topics: The gourmet hot dog party that started it all, the role of community in keeping you with your new identity, advice for people who want to start blogging or doing something in health, why so many libertarians are attracted to paleo, and advice for people just starting out with paleo.
For those of you who don’t know him, John is a barefoot runner who started the NYC Barefoot Run, a health entrepreneur, and a libertarian who runs a popular blog on the paleo lifestyle, Hunter-Gatherer.com.
I had a great time chatting with him and learning from him. Thanks, John!
Here is a photo of John at the Hillsdale Lecture:
- The Cost of the War on Drugs
Today marks the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s War on Drugs. Check out the video and infographic below to see what the war on drugs costs and decide if it is worth it.
- Summer Job
This summer I had an internship with the Foundation for Economic Education. I was based out of Atlanta where I worked with the Programs branch of the organization. We did a total of 7 week-long seminars in 3 cities (Atlanta, Estes Park, CO, and Irvington, NY) with over 600 students in attendance during the 2010 summer seminar series.
To see more about the summer, check out the Summer In Review book I put together for FEE (3.6mb pdf). It is full of my photos from the summer!
- Happy Independence Day
Read the Declaration today. Print it out and discuss it with friends and family. It is profoundly important. Spend time going through the structure and diction. Each word is important and was not idly chosen––the words written here have power, meaning, and purpose.
Only through a proper understanding of these ideas can one know what it truly means to be a patriot.
The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
- Day 328 – Case Dismissed
On Day 301, I wrote about getting a moving violation for passing a vehicle on the right. After weighing my options, I decided to challenge it (against much advice to the contrary). The date of my pre-trial meeting with the county prosecutor was today. I took in a highlighted copy of the Michigan Vehicle Code, photos of the spot I supposedly made the violation, a diagram of exactly what happened (including measurements of the lane and paved shoulder), and an outline of my main points about what I wanted to contest.
After discussing what happened with the prosecutor’s office, standing my ground, and constantly but politely questioning the prosecutor’s points about why she felt the ticket was legitimate, she finally dismissed the charges against me. I don’t know if she actually bought my arguments, or if she was tired of listening to me, but either way, the case was dismissed. It looks like I am exempt from the state taking my money… at least for the time being. In fact, the money I had to post as bond was given back to me.
- Day 325 – Two Types of Fair Trade
I realized tonight that there are two different, commonly accepted meanings of “Fair Trade,” and only one meaning I support.
The first type focuses on paying producers a higher price for goods, typically raw materials, raw food, etc. (This is the meaning I am against.)
The second type is against products that use slavery anywhere along the production line.
I am against the first meaning and the first meaning only. The reason I am against the it is because even though it sounds like a noble idea, it actually does more harm than good. First of all, it is based on bad ideas. What is a “fair price”? In the absence of using force in a trade, the notion of a “fair price” does not mean anything. Surely, if someone was using force to make someone accept a low price, that would be wrong and unfair. That is not happening here, though. “Fair Trade” proponents advocate paying producers a higher price when the producers are willing to accept a lower price. Now, before you leave nasty comments calling me a terrible person, let me explain briefly why this is harmful. Prices send signals to both producers and consumers. Artificially bidding up prices sends distorted signals to both groups; essentially telling producers to supply more, and telling consumers to buy less. Also, it encourages other producers to enter the market, which further encourages excess supply. While this might benefit a small group of producers in the short run, in the long run it hurts both them and the entire economy, slowing growth and long-run development. Typically, harmful protectionist (redundancy, I know) legislation is used to encourage “fair trade practices.”
I obviously am in full support of the second type, though, as I believe slavery is always and everywhere wrong.
The only trade I support is free trade: trade without coercion, whether for or against the trade. (The second definition of fair trade falls into this category, the first does not.) I believe you should not be forced to buy or sell anything, nor should you be forced not to buy or sell anything, given that the seller has ownership over the given item.
If you want to help people in developing countries, the best thing to do it get rid of protectionist policies and trade with them. Trade without coercion is always mutually beneficial. Also, check out microlending. This can do a great deal more to help developing countries than the “fair trade” movement can.
(Note: Don’t quote me as being a proponent of “Fair Trade” unless you clarify what meaning of the phrase you are using. It is best to say that I support trade without coercion.)
If you want to discuss fair trade with me, please email me at: email@example.com
- Day 324 – Liberty Fund
Hillsdale College just had a Liberty Fund Library dedication ceremony today that I attended. Liberty Fund gave the college an entire set of the books it publishes, which is available to students in the Grewcock Formal Lounge.
For those of you not familiar with Liberty Fund, I want to give you a quick introduction in today’s post.
From Liberty Fund’s website:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals. The Foundation develops, supervises, and finances its own educational activities to foster thought and encourage discourse on enduring issues pertaining to liberty.
Liberty Fund does this by publishing scholarly editions of classic, hard-to-find, or rare/expensive works pertaining to liberty on multiple fronts: history, philosophy, literature, economics, and law. It makes these high-quality, well-bounded, and durable books available to the public generally at a pretty low price. Liberty Fund is a blessing for cash-strapped students.
L.F. also holds numerous conferences each year.
In my opinion, though, the best part about Liberty Fund is the massive amount of books they have made available for free online at the Online Library of Liberty. The folks at Liberty Fund also have an online library dedicated solely dedicated to economics, where they also provide a huge number of free, searchable books. This is the Library of Economics and Liberty, which is also home to the EconLog.
I highly suggest checking out Liberty Fund‘s multiple online resources. What a wonderful institution!
- Day 313 – Twenty Year Anniversary of Tearing Down The Berlin Wall
Today, the Classical Liberal Organization (a group at Hillsdale I am the president of) organized a speaker panel on the topic: “The Fall of the Berlin Wall: Past, Present, and Future.” The CLO set up this panel to bring to light the reality of communism and how it affected the entire world. For far too many students today who did not live through the Cold War era, communism and its end can become just another set of historical facts. We don’t want this to happen here.
Here are the three speakers we had:
Dr. Bradley Birzer, History:
Dr. Charles Steele, Economics:
Dr. William Morrisey, Political Science:
We had a great turnout. Around 65 people showed up and filled the room we were in, even though today was a busy day at Hillsdale. The talks were excellent, and provoked some thoughtful questions. The event was a success!
If you have time, read this post Dr. Birzer had yesterday at De Regno Christi, entitled “The Priest, the Prophet, and the King.”