Saturday, July 19, 2014

Shamara Riley - The Libertarian Case For The Civil Rights Act Of 1964




Last week, Congress hailed the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), a libertarian Republican, was the only dissenter. Rep. Paul argues that the CRA didn’t improve race relations or enhance individual freedom, but instead dictated “forced integration.” This is where I part ways with most white libertarians. Reading this piece reminded me of comments by Michael Bowen, a black Republican, hoping that “black libertarians could neutralize some of [Libertarians'] post-modernist yuppie crap in the process.” This is one of those times.

Rep. Paul acts as if there was no conflict before CRA. Did the “racial strife” & “racial balkanization” (Rep. Paul’s words) caused by denial of freedom under Jim Crow mean nothing? If I met Rep. Paul, I would ask: what about blacks’ individual freedom? Those of whites who wanted to associate with blacks? Here we have Jim Crow’s massive human rights violations — the state as evil oppressor, tyranny running rampant in the South — and yet libertarian capitulation and appeasement. Why?

I would ask Rep. Paul why black taxpayers should’ve paid for public facilities or government activities which we couldn’t access. Why blatant violation of voting rights – taxation without representation – was OK, under “states’ rights.” Or why it was OK for states to outlaw boycotts and civil rights groups like the NAACP, thus violating freedom of peaceful assembly. Or outlawing blacks’ freedom to launch a privately-funded bus boycott, when Montgomery tried to ban cab drivers who wanted to lower their fares for the boycotters. Or passing measures to prevent insurance companies from underwriting an alternative transport system.

Jim Crow violated the 1st Amendment (freedom of association, freedom of speech), 14th Amendment (equal protection) and 15th Amendment (voting rights). Jim Crow also empowered states to interfere with the rights of Southern whites who wanted to open their businesses, etc. to blacks, as they saw fit (many tried to do so and met state and private repercussions). Isn’t this initiation of force by the state, abuse of power? The Civil Rights Act, through the pre-existing interstate commerce clause in the U.S. Constitution, enforced laws already on the books.

Rep. Paul’s statement rings quite hollow to those of us whose relatives actually experienced Jim Crow. For example, my family fled Mississippi in 1923 because the Ku Klux Klan assaulted a family member, said “niggers be out of town by sundown tomorrow,” and burned down our small family farm (my great-grandparents were apparently “too uppity”). Physical assault and violated private property rights (and local government wouldn’t enforce the law), and yet what does Rep. Paul have to say here but “too bad.” Or did “states’ rights” override my family’s individual freedom and private property rights because of our race and because federal government didn’t do it?



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Why Aren't There More Black Libertarians? (with Jonathan Blanks)

Jonathan Blanks joins Aaron Powell and Trevor Burrus to talk about the relationship between African-Americans and the State, two groups that have historically not gotten along well, to say the least.


Besides the horrendous affront to human rights that was American slavery, black people in America have been and continue to be singled out for "special treatment" by the government in other ways, too: the federal drug war, minimum wage laws, the failure of public schooling, licensing restrictions on opening businesses, gun control laws, the indignity of welfare, and many more. So why aren't there more black libertarians?

Jonathan Blanks is a research associate at the Cato Institute's Center for Constitutional Studies.

Download the .mp3: http://bit.ly/1jElI7k

The Difference Between Libertarians and Conservatives

While both are free market, what are the differences between Libertarians and Conservatives philosophically and practically?


 

The absurdity of occupational licensing

This simple graphic shows the absurdity of occupational licensing. To become an interior designer in Florida, it takes the same amount of time to train to become an optician and an athletic trainer…combined.

Roderick Long on Race, Gender, Equality and Libertarianism


"We don't have the right to subordinate other people to our ends or treat them as objects for our uses," says Roderick Long, professor of philosophy at Auburn University and President of the Molinari Institute. "And that is a fundamental kind of equality that I think is at the heart of libertarianism." 

Reason TV talked with Long at Libertopia 2012 in San Diego. Topics included proper ways to deal with discrimination without state interference, why sometimes political correctness is good, and why libertarians should support some forms of equality.

Jonathan Blanks - Libertarians' Racial Blindspot

ore-ersula-close-up-vidstill.jpg
Screen-grab of dash-cam video of ASU assistant professor Ersula Ore's May 20 arrest.

My friends and former colleagues over at reason rightly note that a cop appears to have been way too aggressive when stopping a college professor for jaywalking:
A police encounter in Tempe, Arizona, over the weekend turned ugly after a campus police officer wrestled Arizona State University professor Ersula Ore to the ground. Video footage shows the officer attempting to pull Ore's hands behind her back and pin her against the dashboard before slamming her onto the ground in the middle of the street. 
 Ore's crime, evidently, was jaywalking in the middle of the night. 

Now, I'd seen people share this story on social media without clicking through, but it was something I wanted to check out. Without seeing her name--or even her gender--but hearing about the incident, I assumed that the professor was likely black and the officer was likely white. Why? Because black people's history with law enforcement has long been fraught with conflict and the years of police officers treating black people more harshly than they treat your average white person is no secret. Police abuse is by no means exclusive to black people, but it is and has been prevalent since law enforcement and black people have coexisted in this country. And jaywalking is one of those laws that is, for the most part, used as a pretextual stop (as opposed to, say, a priority of law enforcement) because the officer thinks the person is otherwise up to no good.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

John Stossel - Government Land Grabs


Philadelphia reporter Ryan Briggs and artist James DuPree explain how politicians use eminent domain laws to reward friends and the expense of common citizens.

What Can Hayek Teach Us About Race?


[Editor's Note: The following essay was written by James Padilioni Jr. as part of BHL's "New Voices" program. James is the North American Vice Chairman of Students for Liberty, and a Ph.D student in American studies at the College of William and Mary focusing on the aesthetics and epistemology of identity construction.]

Friedrich von Hayek accepting the Nobel Prize

Libertarianism and racism is a topic that crops up repeatedly. Whether related to discussions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or debates over the causes of the Civil War, libertarianism as an American political movement in the 20th century has struggled to articulate a theory regarding questions of race that is conscious of history. Indeed, some libertarians even deny that any such historical contextualization is necessary since libertarianism is a theory about individual rights. A political theory stemming from self-ownership and the protection of individual liberty is incapable of racism, since, as Ayn Rand postulated, “racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism.”

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Prof. Walter E. Williams: Slavery Reparations

Walter E. Williams, a libertarian economist, offers a candid response to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “The Case for Reparations”. 



"First off, let me say that I agree with reparations advocates that slavery was a horrible, despicable violation of basic human rights. The gross discrimination that followed emancipation made a mockery of the guarantees of the U.S. Constitution. I also agree that slave owners and slave traders should make reparations to those whom they enslaved. The problem, of course, is that slaves, slave owners and slave traders are all dead. Thus, punishing perpetrators and compensating victims is out of the hands of the living. Punishing perpetrators and compensating victims is not what reparations advocates want.

They want government to compensate today's blacks for the bondage suffered by our ancestors. But there’s a problem. Government has no resources of its very own. The only way for government to give one American a dollar is to first -- through intimidation, threats and coercion -- confiscate that dollar from some other American. Therefore, if anybody cares, a moral question arises. What moral principle justifies punishing a white of today to compensate a black of today for what a white of yesterday did to a black of yesterday?

Read complete article here.

Jonathan Blanks - Some Thoughts on Ta-Nehisi's 'Reparations' Essay



Some Thoughts on Ta-Nehisi's 'Reparations' Essay I read TNC's reparations essay in The Atlantic last night. The following is a slightly edited and modified version of my thoughts on first reading. I plan to read it again one or more times.

1. The piece should be read without reference to the headline. I think the greatest power of the piece is in its history and its ability to frame public policy in a milieu that is seldom discussed or addressed in educational or policy settings.

2. The history he recounts is only a fraction of the horrors the government and the American people inflicted upon black people for generations.

 The reason I think this is important is that ideologues, of all stripes, neglect what our government and our country looked like for the vast majority of its history. As I talk about in my upcoming essays for Libertarianism.org, there is a vast chasm between what we think should or will happen given our policy 'druthers and what experience and history tell us has happened. This is a lesson for conservatives, progressives, and libertarians alike.

Read more: http://blanksslate.blogspot.com/2014/05/my-initial-thoughts-on-ta-nehisis.html