Tag: freedom

Hey! We’re Not That Free!

 

shutterstock_212683828In a post below, member Mike Rapkoch writes:

Both the criminal and the civil law are ultimately controlled by private citizens who sit on juries and adjudicate cases without coercion.

I take issue with this. It’s a nice fairy tale, but it is not the way our system works, at least not any more. It may be the design, but it is no longer the reality. Very few cases actually get to a jury, and that is by design of the government. According to Conrad Black:

Hey! We’re Still Free!

 

shutterstock_204614026Writing for National Review, Jonah Goldberg asks “who’s running the country?” His conclusion: nobody. And that’s a very good thing.

As I read the article, the thought occurred to me that not only is nobody running the country but that — to a very large extent — we are running ourselves. That is reassuring. In a world where many governments do run their countries and the private lives of their citizens, Americans still have overwhelming control over our personal affairs. That is: we are still very free.

A quick look around the world shows how little freedom is afforded the majority of human beings. In Iran, for example, anyone who dances to a silly little song risks a whipping. In Russia, homosexuals live in fear. As for China, res ipsa loquitor. Even Canada has criminalized vaguely-defined hate speech and — although one of the more opprobrious of those laws has been repealed — an amorphous criminal code provision still imposes the risk of prosecution and jail time on those who dare speak their minds in public.

About Libertarianism

 

We’ve seen recently here on Ricochet lots of threads trying to parse libertarianism, or qualify libertarianism, or trying to understand libertarianism. How about, rather do all that, let’s just say that libertarianism means one thing:

People should be free to do as they please so long as they don’t aggress against other people.

Pro-Choice Republicans and the Art of War

 

Frontal assaults rarely succeed in war, and they are even less likely to be successful in politics and policy. Defense is easier than offense, and troops rarely have the stomach for the kind of sustained attack (and all the casualties) required to have a chance of victory against an entrenched enemy. Hard-won campaigns can often end up as losses.

Republicans did not campaign on a coherent platform, nor do they have the fortitude or unity for a frontal assault. We should not castigate them for it! In the history of the welfare state, full-frontal assaults on entrenched bureaucracies have, with almost no exceptions, always failed.

Member Post

 

My wife just texted me from Columbus International Airport. She says everything has changed. No more shoes off, no more liquids out, no more body scanners! What’s going on? Is Columbus some kind of test airport? This would be ridiculously good news for liberty, privacy, sanity, and simple convenience! Has anyone else seen this in […]

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Member Post

 

  So, this site has a down drumbeat at the moment, about the loss of our freedom and liberty. Many people apparently are harbor seditious feelings. The feeling appears to be that we are less free than in the good old days of yore, liberty is at an end, and the Federal Government is the […]

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Time To Lift the Embargo on Cuba?

 

This is my first post on Ricochet — though I am a long-time lurker — and have come to greatly enjoy all the great personalities and the exchange of ideas.

To bring something a little different into the conversation, I would like to hear some of your ideas regarding the US embargo of Cuba.

Member Post

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on the US to push Kiev into giving up its military campaign against pro-Russia rebels in the east and negotiate a political compromise, as an influx of support for the rebels from Russia began reversing Ukrainian gains on the battlefield. “It’s imperative to moderate the ‘party of war’ in […]

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Obama, ISIS, and Being on the Right Side of History Between Tee Times

 

obama-vacation-1-300x211President Obama on Wednesday slightly delayed his afternoon tee time to speak about the monstrous beheading of American journalist James Foley by ISIS. It was an underwhelming address from the Leader of the Free World who finds the crown so heavy and bothersome that he puts it down aside the putting green.

In his address, Obama did well in the “sympathy-in-chief” role. I do believe that Obama is horrified and saddened, as all Americans are, about the tragic fate of James Foley. But Obama failed in his actual job — that of a leader who must express genuine and righteous anger about this act of barbarism against all people who cherish liberty.

Obama has displayed more passion and employed sharper rhetoric when talking about Republicans in Congress — who, last I heard, are not in the business of sawing off heads to make their point clear. Maybe we’ll get a better performance from our president if ISIS makes fun of the Obamacare website.

Grant Me Freedom and Small Government — But Not Yet

 

libertinesda mihi castitatem et continentam, sed noli modo — St Augustine

Ricochet contributor Rachel Lu wrote an article in the FEDERALIST yesterday, taking the left-anarchist wing of the libertarian movement to task for wanting to dissolve the bonds of family and community. At least I think that is who she is attacking — it is never quite clear who actually holds the views she disagrees with (although she almost implies it is Ben Domenech). Nevertheless, the core of her argument is that, yes, freedom is great and all, and small government is a fine idea in theory, but until a strong conventional morality is re-established in society they are just too dangerous.

Small government will not succeed unless people have a strong ability to govern their own affairs. That requires a culture that provides people with clear norms and expectations, and replaces the hard and impersonal boundaries of law with the softer forces of social approval and sanction. What we need, in short, are traditional morals.

People Fear Choice

 

shutterstock_152968568When a person is offered to choose between a pen and a pencil, 50% choose the pen.

But offer the same person the choice between 1 pen and 3 pencils and 80% choose the pen. If offered 1 pencil and 3 pens, 80% choose the pencil.

I think, writ small, this is precisely what lies behind the thinking of single women (who vote very strongly liberal), the Russian or Turkish or Venezuelan masses (who usually vote for bad strongmen), and even much of the American public (who vote liberal no matter how conservative they might be personally). People fear choices.

In Response to Mark Krikorian

 

It was very nice of Mark Krikorian to mention me and my recent post during the last Ricochet Flagship podcast. If you’re interested, here is the podcast, and the relevant section can be found starting around the 55:00 mark.

I need to respond to a few things Mark said. First, I’m not a member of the “political class,” and if their position is at all similar to mine, that people should be able to move freely across borders, well that’s news to me. Would that it were so! If it were, frankly, we wouldn’t be having the problems we’re having with this. It’s not a lack of action on the part of the government to exclude people that’s causing problems, rather its the federal government’s byzantine immigration system that in no way matches reality. This graphic from the good people at Reason gives you a good idea of what the system looks like. The government’s legal immigration system has the efficiency and rationality of the VA or the Post Office. (When I ran that graphic by a friend of mine, now back in England because she left when she was asked to, she dismissed it as oversimplified.) Small wonder people, when faced with an non-functional immigration system choose to avoid the system all together.

No, I Don’t Have An Immigration Limit In Mind And Neither Should You

 

I am an unashamed, unabashed “open borders type.” I’m not a communitarian, so I don’t see the issue in utilitarian terms (although if I did, I’d still be an “open borders type”). I am an individualist, so I see things through the lens of the rights of the individual: an individual’s right to engage in non-violent actions, including to move without restriction, and my right to associate freely with whomever I damn well please.

In another thread, the question was put to me what, if any, maximum number of immigrants would be acceptable. The implied alternative to a numerical limit would be an infinite number. I don’t have a specific number in mind, nor should I. 

Member Post

 

Relayed from a Facebook group:  “Our Blessed Lord said that the Truth would make us free. By this He meant that only by obedience to the highest law and authority do we become free. Take an example from the realm of arts. If an artist in a fever of broad-mindedness and a desire to be […]

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Member Post

 

Over the weekend, lefties on my Twitter feed offered smirking links to a report that Canada’s middle class has surpassed that in the U.S. I was genuinely confused. What point did they think they were making? What polemical advantage did they think the news gave them? I know, I know: they feel vindicated because this […]

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America Needs Its Own Passover Seder — Son of Spengler

 

One of my daughter’s teachers posed the question: Is Passover a liberal holiday, or a conservative one?

By “conservative” and “liberal”, he was referring not to contemporary American political movements, but the terms’ classical meanings. Is Passover a holiday of continuity, or reform? Does the “Festival of Freedom” celebrate national liberation, or individual liberty?