Sunday, February 2, 2014

Rose Wilder Lane and the Pittsburgh Courier: Selling Laissez-faire Antiracism to the Black Masses

During World War II, Rose Wilder Lane had one of the most remarkable, but little studied, phases of her career. From 1942 to 1945, she wrote a weekly column for The Pittsburgh Courier, the most widely read American black newspaper. Rather than hiding or trimming her laissez faire views, she seized the chance to sell them to the readership. She sought out topics of special interests of her audience.

 Her first entry glowingly characterized the Double V Campaign as part of the more general fight for individual liberty in American history. "Here, at last, is a place where I belong," she wrote of her new job. "Here are the Americans who know the value of equality and freedom." Her columns highlighted black success stories to illustrate broader themes about entrepreneurship, freedom, and creativity. In one, she compared the accomplishments of Robert Vann and Henry Ford. Vann's rags to riches story illustrated the benefits in a "capitalist society in which a penniless orphan, one of a despised minority can create The Pittsburgh Courier and publicly, vigorously, safely, attack a majority opinion" while Ford's showed how a poor mechanic can create "hundreds of jobs ... putting even beggars into cars."

 She combined advocacy of laissez faire and antiracism. The views she expressed on race were strikingly similar to those of Zora Neale Hurston, a fellow individualist and writer who was black. Lane's columns emphasized the arbitrariness of racial categories and stressed the centrality of the individual. Instead of indulging in the "ridiculous, idiotic and tragic fallacy of 'race,' [by] which a minority of the earth's population has deluded itself during the past century", it was time for all Americans (black and white) to "renounce their race". Judging by skin color was comparable to the Communists who assigned guilt or virtue on the basis of class. In her view, the fallacies of race and class hearkened to the "old English-feudal 'class' distinction." The collectivists, including the New Dealers, were to blame for filling "young minds with fantasies of 'races' and 'classes' and 'the masses,' all controlled by pagan gods, named Economic Determinism or Society or Government.

Read: Selling Laissez-faire Antiracism to the Black Masses Rose Wilder Lane and the Pittsburgh Courier

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bryant Jackson-Green - The Good, the bad and the ugly: Three new state laws for 2014

A new year brings new laws – good, bad and ugly – in Illinois. There’s

The Good: Speed limit raised to 70 mph

One piece of good news is that the state speed limit has been raised to a maximum of 70 mph outside of urban areas, generally on interstate highways, bringing Illinois closer in line with other states across the country. Unfortunately, the law excludes Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, McHenry, St. Clair and Will counties from the new maximum by reserving them the right to set lower speeds, which may mean that the impact of the change isn’t as far reaching as some might hope. Still, even a marginal increase in personal freedom should be applauded in a state that so often reduces freedom.
The Bad: Cigarette butt-flicking made a felony

On Jan. 1, an update to Illinois’ Litter Control Act will subject anyone who tosses a cigarette on the ground to increased penalties – the first offense now comes with a Class B misdemeanor and a fine up to $1,500.The second time offense becomes a Class A misdemeanor, and the third time, it’s a felony that can come with a one-to-three year jail sentence and a $25,000 fine.

But if that’s not enough, the Act forces private property owners to furnish trash receptacles in places where littering is illegal. After a warning, the property owner must provide the trash cans within 10 days or face a daily fine of $25 and a petty misdemeanor.

- See more at:

Saturday, December 28, 2013


No, the title is not an oxymoron. I am a libertarian (for the most part). I also happen to be of West Indian descent. People who are familiar with the central tenets of libertarianism wonder how I managed to reconcile my ethnic background with my choice of political philosophies. They have a hard time figuring out why any person of color in their right mind would ascribe to a philosophy that encourages private citizens to “discriminate”, condemns the use of governmental programs that economically benefit a proportionally larger percentage of the minority community, and stands firm in its opposition toward using race as a determinant for preferential treatment in education and employment (affirmative action).

1 In a nutshell, the resolution of the conflict is rooted in the idea that once you begin thinking that every person has certain unalienable rights, applicability becomes universal and any attempt to limit these rights thus becomes a human problem, not a racial one. After all, if we are all created equal, should we not also be treated as such?

In theory that may sound like a good idea, but in reality we all know it’s not the case. Despite all the progress that has been made in the past few decades, racism is still alive and well. Moreover, anyone who suggests that racism does not exist is a fool, not a minority, lying through their teeth, or living under a rock. The fact remains we still live in a society that is very race-conscious. What that means is Americans tend to view their own world in the context of what the other person looks like—the other person’s race is an overriding feature that forms initial impressions.

On the contrary, in the West Indies, where my parents were born and raised, that society tends to be very class-conscious, meaning your race subjugates itself to the “level” any one individual has achieved in society. Unfortunately, in America, regardless of what you have achieved, many will still regard someone else as “the Asian guy” or “the Latin female”. The inherent downfall in this assumption is that the user of said shortcut limits the other person’s relevance by restraining them in a box bound by race.

Read more: