Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Jonathan Blanks - Could the New Republic be any more wrong about libertarians and police militarization?

TNR editor Franklin Foer took to his virtual pages today to argue for more federal involvement to protect our civil liberties. In the abstract, I agree with him: I think the federal government is a necessary check against wanton abuse by states and locals against their own people. (We kinda fought a war that settled that.)

 However, when it comes to details, he's about as far afield of correct as you can get: 
But back to the actual issue at hand, Foer cites civil asset forfeiture as the strongest evidence of need for federal intervention. Oh, if this were only the case.

 As this Institute for Justice’s 2010 paper on the subject makes clear, the rise civil asset forfeiture is a direct result of federal involvement in local policing. In what are known as “equitable sharing” agreements, federal law enforcement split forfeiture proceeds with state and local law authorities, supposedly in relation to the amount of work the agencies put into the investigation. While the amount of money is discretionary by statute, all reports indicate that the default split is the maximum allowed: 80 percent to local agencies, 20 percent to the federal government.

You can read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Robert Wicks - Coming Soon: More Black Libertarians


I read with interest the article by Wilt Alston on the dearth of black libertarians. I have long been the only libertarian among my circle of (mostly black) friends, and I think the somewhat unique cultural background of American blacks (the only type with whom I am intimately familiar) has made less than fertile ground for the growth of libertarian values.

 American blacks are generally the descendants of slaves. That peculiar institution set the groundwork for a lot of black cultural traditions and social habits. Individualists who fought for their own rights were in short supply because that trait did not make you better able to survive and prosper. Quite the opposite, in fact. Far too often, blacks who had the burning desire to improve themselves had to hide this desire, lest they be considered uppity and be subject to sanctions. Though I find Lincoln an opportunist and murderer, it is fact that actions he set into motion led to the freeing of the slaves at the time in which they were freed. That is something blacks can't say of Calhoun (though consistently following his ideas on government would lead to that conclusion, though he himself may have loathed that result), as much as I personally admire his insight into government and freedom. It is a historical accident that the federal government forced abolition on the South, which would have inevitably come without the assistance of Union soldiers. Readers of this site are keenly aware of this, but we all know that, all too often, we take the baby along with the bathwater, and, indeed, often have trouble realizing the two can be separated at all.

 What effects did the fact that blacks saw the federal government as their emancipators have on black culture? Well, for one thing, it meant that one of the first places blacks went for jobs was the government, which was basically all under federal control immediately after the Civil War. Growing up in Mississippi, I knew few successful black businessmen. Black professionals were usually teachers, preachers, and government workers of various sorts. That's just how it was. That's where the opportunities usually were. In particular during my father's and grandfather's times, the protection of the federal government was the best way black folk knew to be successful. Black-owned businesses generally catered to blacks only. It would, in fact, be dangerous in many parts of the country for them to attempt to do otherwise. This meant that most of the outside money which was coming into black neighborhoods was coming from the government, since the professionals, the high income earners, were frequently working for the government.

Read more: http://archive.lewrockwell.com/orig7/wicks1.html

Personal Page: https://plus.google.com/+RobertWicks/posts

Sunday, August 31, 2014

California Drought! Russians Hack U.S. Banks? France Record Unemployment!

My commentary on the FBI investigating Russians for hacking into U.S. banks (I.e. JP Morgan Chase), Germany’s Merkel hinting that the U.S. reign might be coming to an end, Germany cracking down on benefits tourism, France dealing with an economic crisis and Robin Williams suicide.

You NEED to Become a Libertarian

Jonathan Blanks - Beyond the Drug War: How Libertarians' Aversion to 'Black Issues' Impedes Their Own Relevance

Jonathan Blanks, a black Libertarian, writes about race and the Libertarian movement.


I have a new piece up at Rare today. In it, I lay out the case that color-conscious criminal justice reform is needed, and libertarians persistent refusal to take these problems head-on undercuts their message of individual liberty. 

Take the reaction to the Ferguson protests: only one third of white people surveyed by Pew thought tear gassing and pointing guns at peaceful black protesters (and journalists) was “too far.” Even subtracting the third who answered “I don’t know,” half of those who expressed any opinion thought the police’s actions against the primarily black crowd—captured on countless cameras, phones, and video recorders—were within the range of acceptable behavior.

In a world in which this well-documented, recorded, over-the-top enforcement is tolerated or condoned by a majority of Americans, relying on cameras to rein-in police behavior in minority enclaves or against minorities individually is probably quite na├»ve. 
Other big picture policy shifts like eliminating sex-work prohibitions, broad sentencing reform, and reducing the Pentagon programs that militarize and hyper-weaponize local police would also benefit millions of Americans. However, there’s no reason libertarians should not add an equal protection component to their criminal justice reform wish list and encourage law enforcement agencies to improve community relations with minorities. You can read the whole thing here.
You can read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kkali Pinckney - In The End, We Will Be Either Libertarians Or Slaves

If you haven’t noticed what has been going on in our society, culture, and our country as a whole, you are either blind, party-loyal (of which no one should be a loyal-Democrat or loyal-Republican), or you are socialist-leaning.

The United States was founded under the acknowledgement that the INDIVIDUAL human being has Natural (or God Given) rights. That merely by the sake of being human he is in control of certain facets of his own life (Speech, religion, ect). This is a clear acknowledgement that government DOES NOT allow or provide us our rights but government is forced to accept these rights as something it (government) cannot LEGALLY curtail because they are not “provided” or “granted” by the government.

These Natural (or God-Given) rights cannot be taken away by a government. A list of individual rights (The Bill Of Rights) were/are supposed to be inalienable — Meaning, they cannot be removed, seized, voted away, and you can’t give up your rights to government even if you wanted to; and you certainly cannot give up the rights of others.

Read complete article here.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Ferguson, Police Militarization, and the Culture of Harassment



  On August 13, 2014, Ferguson Police Department (FPD) and St. Charles County Sheriff's Department (SCCSD) dressed in riot gear fired rubber bullets and tear gas at Ferguson residents protesting the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. An officer from the Ferguson Police Department allegedly shot Brown to death on August 9.

But by the night of August 14, things looked very different in this small Missouri suburb after the governor took security duties out of the hands of FPD and SCCSD and handed it over to the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP).

"We are going to have a different approach and have the approach that we’re in this together," said Capt. Ronald S. Johnson of MSHP at a press conference. Johnson walked with protesters and posed for pictures with them later in the day.

While the atmosphere was free of a militarized police presence, and the mood of protesters was borderline celebratory, the resentment towards the Ferguson Police Department was palpbable.

Protesters told Reason TV that Brown's death was in line with a pattern of harrasment from police in the St. Louis area, ranging from excessive tickets and fines to overly aggressive officers. Many also said that the show of quasi-military force in response to the protest may have damaged the relationship between the people and the police beyond repair.

"We are not at war here. This looked like the demilitarized zone," says protester Earling McAllister Thomas.

Watch the video above. Appoximately 3 minutes. Produced by Zach Weissmueller and Paul Detrick.

Go to http://www.reason.com/reasontv for downloadable versions, and subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube channel for more content like this.

EBOLA: Experimental Serum Saves U.S. Patients? One-Dimensional Preppers!

My thoughts on an experimental serum saving the lives of two missionaries and why a prepper should never be one-dimensional.


Ebola outbreak: Stricken US missionary staff ‘improving’ after taking experimental serum
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wor...

Experimental Ebola Serum Grown in Tobacco Leaves
http://www.webmd.com/news/20140804/eb...

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