civil liberties

Was it all worth it?

As every last soul has surely heard by now, Osama bin Laden is dead.  Finally located and taken out by American special forces, the death of bin Laden marks a significant moment for America.  The occasion was marked by numerous celebrations and expressions of profound relief and satisfaction, coupled with a harsh brushing of the wounds left by 9/11.  Whether it helps Obama’s political fortunes is yet to be seen, but it surely has raised Americans’ spirits.

But one question still remains in the minds of many - were the sacrifices we have made up to this point worth it?  Over the past nine years Americans have had their privacy invaded, their values called into question, and their coffers tapped to fund two wars expensive in both treasure and blood.  We’ve certainly engaged in some ugly practices in our anger over what bin Laden did to us on that fall day in 2001.  Your average citizen may never know the true extent of the things done in the name of fighting terrorism.

It’s clear to me then that we have paid an immense price for this victory, one that is hard to justify in retrospect.  It’s hard to look at the way our lives have profoundly changed and not say that, despite the fact that his life ended at the point of an American rifle, Osama bin Laden will go down as a victor.  His actions have altered the American landscape permanently and have led us to do things that we ought be ashamed of.

Podcast: Liberty Candidate - John Dennis (California’s 8th District)

Continuing our “Liberty Candidate Series” of interviews, Jason and Brett talk with John Dennis, discussing his opponent, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, liberty in San Francisco, and his candidacy.  Dennis is a “Pro-Liberty” Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in California’s 8th Congressional District.

This special edition podcast is the fifth in a series devoted to showcasing liberty candidates nationwide.  Dennis talks about his liberty-focused campaign against the Speaker of the House in California.

You can download the podcast here. The introduction music is “Silence is Violence” by the always lovely Aimee Allen.

You can subscribe to the RSS of JUST our podcasts here, or you can find our podcasts on iTunes here.

Podcast: Liberty Candidate - Jake Towne (Pennsylvania’s 15th District)

Continuing the Liberty Candidate Series, Brett interviews Jake Towne, discussing his campaign, positions on issues, and his candidacy.  Towne is running for U.S. Congress in Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District as an unaffiliated candidate.

This special edition podcast is the fourth in a series devoted to showcasing liberty candidates nationwide.  Towne talks about his fiscal economics-driven campaign against an incumbent Republican in Pennsylvania (in a seat previously held by Pat Toomey).

You can download the podcast here. The introduction music is “Silence is Violence” by the always lovely Aimee Allen.

You can subscribe to the RSS of JUST our podcasts here, or you can find our podcasts on iTunes here.

Campaign for Liberty Staffer Questioned by TSA for Carrying Cash

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Campaign for Liberty staffer, Steve Bierfeldt, tells his story about being detained by the TSA and police because of the amount of cash he was carrying on him, and why the MIAC report factored into his decision to tread carefully while answering questions.

H/T: Matt Chancey

Spoof: Big Brother Helps You Order a Pizza

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Ok, so it’s not really this bad… yet.  But if the incremental intrusions into our privacy aren’t stopped, a phone call like this isn’t so far-fetched for our future.

Peter Schiff: Why the Meltdown Should Have Surprised No One

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Naturally a recurrent theme of this lecture was monetary policy, specifically having to do with the dollar’s spiral toward hyper-inflation in the midst of the current economic collapse.  Schiff stressed that sooner than later the rest of the world, more importantly those still buying our debt would wise up to our inability to repay those fiscal obligations.  He told a short story about a wily old man in a certain neighborhood who had hoodwinked the neighborhood kids into vying for the job of painting his fence.  He related the metaphor by surmising, “We’ve got the world painting our fences, as if they don’t have their own fences to paint.”  Essentially, he said the way it is now, we get all the stuff and they only get the jobs.  He then fittingly asked, “What good are jobs without stuff?”  In short, we are barreling straight toward a currency crisis.

Hayek’s path to victory may not run through practical politics

F. A. Hayek

How do we inspire people to become passionate about liberty?

In his famous essay Intellectuals and Socialism, F.A. Hayek identified a serious problem with classical liberals. They were too practical. Their strategy was to try to work within the existing political order. They devised practical solutions which they hoped would be adopted by practical statesmen. They avoided broad speculations about a fundamentally different world. They were afraid to be marginalized, to be seen as too radical.

The socialists at the time had no such reservations. They were marginalized to begin with. They ran with it. Unlike the liberals, they painted a vision of a fundamentally transformed world. They sold a utopia. They acknowledged that they were in for a long fight, which might last many years, but one day, they insisted, their vision would become real. They were true believers.

At the time of Hayek’s essay, the socialists were winning. Their vision of a better world had captured the imagination of the intellectuals. These same intellectuals had transmitted the socialistic ideas to the broader public. Hayek lamented that the classical liberals had nothing comparable. He ends his essay:

Prepare for the Paradigm Shift

Paradigm Shift

There are two ways to solve any problem. The first could be characterized as “pre-rational.” People using this method seek to solve a problem by asking “What has worked in the past?” This method is empirical, intuitive, and inductive. It is an approach that leverages the mistakes of others, and the wisdom implicit in our customs and tradition.

As a rule, primitive people solved problems using this method. They did what worked, and didn’t ask WHY it worked. A few examples will illustrate:

Washington Post stumped by Rand Paul because he’s shattering media narratives about the Tea Party

Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) outreach efforts to minorities and young people with a heavy focus on criminal justice reform, police militarization, and civil liberties has perplexed the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake.

Over at Washington Post’s The Fix, Blake declared that the “Tea Party” label — which, as he notes, has been overused since the peak of the movement in 2010 — is “far too simple” for Paul. He points to the Kentucky Republican’s piece in Time on the startling scenes from Ferguson, Missouri and police militarization:

Given Paul’s political rise — he defeated an establishment-aligned Republican in a 2010 primary — it was natural to label him a tea partier. We have done it too — repeatedly. It’s the easiest short-hand for a GOP outsider. But more and more, it’s looking like that label doesn’t really fit. While Paul is certainly aligned with the tea party on a lot of stuff, the label doesn’t describe him as well as it does someone like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). An op-ed Paul wrote Thursday in Time magazine was just the latest example of that. The things Paul said in it are not the kind of things you would expect from a tea partier.
The trouble with Paul is that no well-known labels seem to fit him well. While his dad, Ron Paul, is a pretty straight-line libertarian, that’s not really who the younger Paul is. He’s not an establishment Republican, a neo-conservative, an arch-conservative or a moderate Republican.

We still don’t know what label would be better than “tea party,” but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that this label doesn’t really fit. Maybe he’s just a Rand Paul Republican.

Ted Cruz says the new and improved USA FREEDOM Act would end the NSA’s unconstitutional spying program

The new version of the USA FREEDOM Act rolled out on Tuesday by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has picked up the support of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who announced the addition of his name a cosponsor.

The latest version of the USA FREEDOM Act, a compromise Leahy worked out with the White House, would end the National Service Agency’s bulk metadata collection program as well as add a civil liberties panel to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to provide some much-needed oversight.

Cruz hailed the measure a bipartisan approach to ending NSA spying.

“Republicans and Democrats are showing America that the government can respect the privacy rights of law-abiding citizens, while at the same time, giving law enforcement the tools needed to target terrorists,” said Cruz in a press release on Tuesday. “The USA FREEDOM Act of 2014 ends the government’s bulk record collection program and implements other necessary surveillance reforms.”

“Importantly, it also sends a strong signal that a bipartisan coalition in Congress is working to safeguard our privacy rights,” said Cruz. “I am honored to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle toward delivering this bill to the President’s desk for his signature. We need to protect the constitutional rights of every American.”


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