It was just a couple of years ago. The housing market wasn’t doing so hot, and these things called derivatives were supposedly making things very difficult for the banks. President Bush stood behind a podium and addressed the American people. He told us that the government needed to buy these derivatives because it would help the banks, and then when the value went up, the government could sell them. It sounded fine.
What we got was something else entirely as various banks began to fail. Then auto companies were barely limping. There was panic in Washington, and they said we simply had to do something. But did we?
Economic matters are always tricky, and there’s always another point of view that will disagree with whatever you think. However, the biggest mistake we made was believing in the idea of “to big to fail”.
Take a hypothetical bank called Bank of Tom (BoT). BoT starts out as a small community bank, but grows and grows. Thanks to government assistance, it becomes one of the largest banks in the United States. It buys up smaller competitors with loans from the government, as well as lobbies Congress for laws that are favorable to it while hurting smaller competitors. It’s massive, employing thousands and controlling a huge part of the market.
Then the economy goes to crap and BoT is in serious trouble. If it’s going to stay, it needs help from the government. This is where we found ourselves just a couple of years ago. We already know what can happen if BoT gets the help. The economy stagnates for at least a couple of years and the company continues doing business as it always had, confident that they’re “to big to fail”. But what if we had taken the other road? What if BoT had been allowed to fail?
Freedom. It’s the most precious thing a human being can have. We all crave it. Wars are fought to achieve it. Oaths are sworn to defend it. Songs and poems are made to describe it. It is truly the most precious thing in this world. It’s more precious than gold, oil, or anything else.
Why then is it so hard to protect?
Freedom, as a concept, is nearly universal. Freedom, in practice, is quite a bit harder. In practice, actual freedom means that we all do as we wish, bearing the full brunt of responsibilities of our actions. Unfortunately, that’s to hard for some folks.
Far to many Americans say they want freedom, but have no problem asking the government to step in and regulate or eliminate practices that they find distasteful. Laws forbidding homosexuality, drugs, alcohol, firearm ownership, and any number of other things have all falled into the cross hairs of someone who thought that another’s freedom needed to blocked.
So why is it that people who love freedom are so eager to take it away?
The answer lies in the people who seek to regulate others. Rarely does a crusader seek to block a freedom they hold dear. Racists never seek to block hate speech, gun buffs never seek out gun control regulations. In the mind of those who want to take away these things, they will still be just as free with the new laws as they were without it.
The vast majority of Americans are blind to one inescapable fact: If you attack one freedom, you ultimately attack all freedoms. Any abridgement of freedom, even the proverbial “you can’t yell fire in a movie theater” abridgement, will eventually be used to justify another attempt to take away your freedom. The argument has always been “but we already do X”, as if that justifies the whole thing. It’s a classic example of the camel’s nose soon leading to the whole camel being inside the tend.
In a special podcast, Jason and Brett interview Rob McNealy, discussing his campaign, positions on issues, and his candidacy. McNealy is currently a Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. Congress in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District.
This special edition podcast is the third in a series devoted to showcasing liberty candidates nationwide. McNealy talks about his liberty-focused campaign against an incumbent Republican in Colorado (Tom Tancredo’s former seat) and a pro-war Democrat.
What if we wake up one day and learn that the terrorist threat is a predictable consequence of our meddling in affairs of others and has nothing to do with us being free and prosperous?
Thursday evening I posted on my Facebook profile the speech that Congressman Ron Paul gave on the House floor, opposing the auto industry bailout (the so-called “bridge loan”), along with the following comment:
“This speech on the auto bailout speaks for itself. Congressman Paul really puts it all into perspective. Were that there were more in Congress like him.”
While Americans should at all times continuously educate themselves about the founding of this nation, its founding fathers, and its founding documents, this is especially true during times of great uncertainty and inevitable political change. I think it would be safe to guess that Thomas Jefferson is the favorite revolutionary American philosopher and politician of a majority of United Liberty readers, so I have compiled some of my favorite Jefferson quotes-
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.
If you’ve ever played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, you know about the level “No Russian,” in which the player goes undercover as “Alexei Borodin,” an American soldier who has infiltrated a Russian nationalist terrorist group.
In this level, the user joins the nationalists, led by antagonist Vladimir Makarov, in a massacre of innocent civilians at an airport in Moscow. It’s an important part of the game’s plot, as it sparks a war between the United States and Russia. The user can, of course, go through the level without shooting any of the fictional characters. The plot would remain the same, regardless.
But the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) wants video game companies to subject players to war crimes in the games if they commit illegal acts or kill innocent people:
The International Committee of the Red Cross have called for video games to punish crimes committed in battle by adhering to real-life international war conventions.
“The ICRC believes there is a place for international humanitarian law (the law of armed conflict) in video games,” the organization that works worldwide to provide humanitarian help for people caught in war zones said in a statement on their website.
Despite what those who say that the NSA’s spying programs aren’t a threat to Americans, James Otteson argues government snooping is, in fact, a real threat to our privacy.
In a new video from Learn Liberty, Otteson, a professor of philosophy and economics at Yeshiva University, explains that the NSA’s spying is part of a “serious and growing problem in this country” and that Americans might not learn how important the right to privacy is until it’s taken away.
“We have a serious and growing problem in this country. We’ve been asleep too long about our privacy,” says Otteson. “And when we’ve taken something for granted, we may not appreciate it until it’s taken away.
“When Edward Snowden revealed the NSA had been looking into the lives of every American, many people were shocked. Under the guise of protecting us from terrorism and crime, government agencies have dramatically expanded the spying that they do on us — on you, on me.” he explained. “The NSA and other agencies now record every single email, phone call, Facebook post, tweet, purchase, every digital transmission you make — no matter how personal or private you thought it was. No matter how anonymous you thought it was.”
Though the programs supporters say that the if “we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear,” Otteson points out that the invasion of our privacy “robs us of the power to say ‘no.’”
“When the slave can say ‘no’ to the slaveholder, when the serf can say ‘no’ to the Lord, when the child can say ‘no’ to the bully, that’s when each of them has established a boundary of freedom,” added Otteson. “That’s really the importance of privacy.”
Capitalism is truly a wonderful thing. This economic system is empowers the individual and limits government control over economies, which draws criticism and derision from the Left. They like to claim that capitalism is greed and they use that populist sentiment to push more state control and regulations.
But what the Left won’t admit is that capitalism is saving lives and reducing poverty in countries where free trade and market liberalization are being enacted. An editorial in the most recent issue of The Economist outlines the successes of capitalism:
The world’s achievement in the field of poverty reduction is, by almost any measure, impressive. Although many of the original Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) —such as cutting maternal mortality by three-quarters and child mortality by two-thirds—will not be met, the aim of halving global poverty between 1990 and 2015 was achieved five years early.
The MDGs may have helped marginally, by creating a yardstick for measuring progress, and by focusing minds on the evil of poverty. Most of the credit, however, must go to capitalism and free trade, for they enable economies to grow—and it was growth, principally, that has eased destitution.
Over the weekend, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gave the commencement address at Michigan’s Hillsdale College. This school is known for its conservative bent, which is rare in academia today.
Cruz, who is considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, opened with a touch a humor and self-depreciation and then went onto discuss the values of freedom and liberty and also praised the American Dream and economic prosperity. he told graduates that one of the great ideals in the Constitution is that “power comes not from the monarch on down, but instead up from ‘We the People.’”
He also went onto directly challenge the culture of dependency on government that President Obama has pushed. You might recall that President Obama clamored for more big government and warned against the voices that warned of tyranny at Ohio State University earlier this month.
“Human beings are not happiest when they’re taken care of by the state. Areas under the yoke of dependency on government are among the least joyish parts of our society,” Cruz told graduates. “The story of Julia is not an attractive utopia. We all flourish instead when afforded opportunity, the ability to work and create and accomplish. Economic growth and opportunity is the answer that works.”
Watch the speech below. It’s definitely worth it: