Thursday, December 25, 2014

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill ― Strict gun laws are bad for blacks: Why African-Americans should value Second Amendment protections

The Daily News: 

"It's little-known that throughout its history, the United States government has gone to great lengths to disarm black people - from early "slave codes" that prohibited blacks from possessing firearms to exorbitant postwar gun tariffs that priced blacks out of the gun market.

As a result, blacks were rendered especially vulnerable. Hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan would probably have been far less effective if blacks had the same access to guns as the white citizens under hoods. The threat remains today - though the culprit is not white men under hoods but crime perpetrators of all colors.

Today's gun control laws may be racially neutral on their face, but they have a clear and disproportionate impact on poor communities of color, which are often left defenseless against predators in their own backyards.

Over the past 20 years, many states and cities have imposed gun laws that allow police and other state agencies to determine which individuals are worthy of gun ownership.

Consistently, blacks are overrepresented among the "unworthy," despite being statistically more likely to confront random violence. Gun bans against public housing residents, supposedly designed to prevent violent crime, have served to disarm poor blacks almost exclusively."

Read complete article here

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Dr. Walter E. Williams ― Black Progression and Retrogression

From Cybercast News Service:

There is no question, though it's not acknowledged enough, that black Americans have made greater gains, over some of the highest hurdles and in a very short span of time, than any other racial group in mankind's history. 

What's the evidence? If black Americans were thought of as a nation with their own gross domestic product, they'd rank among the 20 wealthiest nations. It was a black American, Gen. Colin Powell, who headed the mightiest military in mankind's history. A few black Americans are among the world's wealthiest. Many black Americans are among the world's most famous personalities.

The significance of all this is that in 1865, neither an ex-slave nor an ex-slave owner would have believed that such progress would be possible in less than a century and a half. As such, it speaks to the intestinal fortitude of a people. Just as importantly, it speaks to the greatness of a nation within which such progress was possible. That progress would have been impossible anywhere except in the United States of America. The challenge that lies before us is how those gains can be extended to a large percentage of black people for whom they appear elusive.

Read complete article here

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dr. CHE Sadaphal ― The Value of Life

C.H.E. Sadaphal is a board-certified physician and Libertarian writer.
"At no other point in my life has the harsh, cruel, oppressive, and perverse order in which we all live become so palpable and obvious and hits so close to home. This recognition comes after the nonindictment of Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the murder of Eric Garner, a decision passed down merely a week after the nonindictment of Officer Darren Wilson in the murder of Michael Brown. The former case is particularly troubling because the entire episode was filmed on camera and it is clear that Mr. Garner never harmed any police officer in any way. He simply asked to be left alone, and in his request for his person not to be molested by an aggressive police force, he lost his life after being put in a banned NYPD maneuver: the choke hold. Even the NYC medical examiner had determined that Mr. Garner’s death was a homicide, eliminating any other secondary causes as the immediate reason for death.
Yet despite all of this, the grand jury still decided not to indict Officer Pantaleo, who by the way had already been charged in two other instances of racially motivated police misconduct. How could any reasonable person look at all the facts and decide not to indict was the just course of action? After all, an indictment means that there’s enough evidence to warrant Officer Pantaleo to be put on trial with a proper defense and prosecuting team. If ever the officer didn’t intend to kill Mr. Garner, he still used aggressive force against a nonviolent citizen for a nonviolent crime using a violent and murderous tactic. Just like the grand jury for Michael Brown, the jury in Mr. Garner’s case was given evidence in favor of Pantaleo, with the same convenience of the offended being deceased and therefore unable to provide any arguments. These two unfortunate cases have proven that the grand jury system is not meant to foster justice and uphold the law but rather to protect those allegedly enforcing the law."

Derrick Grayson ― White Privilege Is Dead

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Jonathan Blanks ― On the NYPD Tragedy and Its Aftermath

Jonathan Blanks, a black Libertarian writer and researcher in Washington, D.C., offers his opinion on the recent murder of two police officers in New York City and the reactions that followed.

"As most people, I am horrified and saddened by the murder of the two police officers in Brooklyn yesterday. My heart goes out to the family, friends, and colleagues of officers Wenjian Lui and Raphael Ramos. But the reaction by some self-styled allies of the NYPD are nothing short of inexcusable. This sentiment may be best illustrated by former New York governor George Pataki:

 Like Eric Holder, I have immediate family that served honorably and proudly in law enforcement. To assert that people like Holder (and me) who criticize police practices and want police to be better than they are should be held responsible for the acts of a murderous lunatic is reckless and unforgivably insulting.

Need the preening, self-important politicians be reminded: the United States is a country where free speech is an essential tool by which the government for, by, and of the people is held accountable. To say that those who criticize the police are responsible for the random violence inflicted upon some officers by an evidently suicidal man is to express a sentiment that is not only baseless and malicious, but fundamentally un-American in implication."

Read complete article here

Falsely Accused of Rape? Rolling Stone Rape Story! Black on Black Murders!

Nick Gillespie ― In the Rush to Blame Everyone for the Shooting of NYPD Cops, Don't Forget to Include the Actual Shooter

From Reason Magazine:

Just as Sarah Palin's defense of gun rights has zero culpability in the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords and Dallas's right-wing "climate of hate" had nothing to do with Marxist-Leninist Lee Harvey Oswald's assassinaton of JFK, it's worth underscoring at every moment of what is already shaping up as a very ugly debate that the actual killer is the culprit here.
As the New York Daily News and other outlets are reporting, the apparent shooter was not only violent and unhinged but had bragged via Instagram that he was "putting wings on pigs" and "putting pigs in a blanket."
The distance between such rantings and, even worse, the act of shooting policemen sitting in a patrol car is so vast that they simply have no relation to legitimate and even impassioned criticism of the militarization of police and the protesting of specific acts of apparent injustice.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Problem With Blaming Black Crime for Police Shootings

From Reason Magazine:

When a white cop kills an unarmed black man, many blacks see a pattern of prejudice that generates official suspicion, hostility and abuse based on skin color. Many whites, however, say it's the fault of blacks. If they didn't commit so much crime, they wouldn't get so much attention from police.

This is not just a favorite theme of overt bigots and Internet trolls. It's the view of Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and Republican presidential candidate, and many other whites.

Black-on-black crime "is the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community," he asserted on NBC's Meet the Press. "So why don't (they) cut it down so so many white police officers don't have to be in black areas?"

In this view, African Americans have only themselves to blame for the presence and behavior of cops in their neighborhoods. If they would get serious about cleaning up the problems in their own communities, police would not be arresting or killing so many black people.

There's an element of truth to this line of argument. Violent crime rates are far higher among blacks than among whites and other groups. One reason cops have a disproportionate number of interactions with African-American males is that these men commit a disproportionate number of offenses.

Where the argument fails is in its assumption that blacks are complacent about these realities and that whites are blameless. The gist of the message is that blacks created the problem and blacks need to solve it.

Read complete article here

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Dr. Virgil Storr - Markets as Social and Moral Spaces

Virgil Henry Storr, a libertarian economist at George Mason University defends markets from it critics.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Police Misconduct, in Ferguson and Beyond

The violence in Ferguson is inexcusable. But it should not be seen as primarily a reaction to the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson. Rather, it should be seen as a reaction to years of racially charged policing and a discriminatory justice. Focusing on Officer Wilson’s culpability detracts from the bigger, nation-wide story: That every month there are innumerable police abuses throughout the country that go unnoticed and unreported, and, even if they are reported, the accused officers will likely never be disciplined, much less charged with a crime.

Unfortunately, many of these abuses are disproportionately felt by people of color. Abuses can be small and nearly impossible to discover, such as stopping a car full of black men without probable cause, or they can be large and public, such as unjustifiably gunning down an unarmed black teenager. Sometimes the police action may be justified, and sometimes it may not, but the systems in place for determining culpability are egregiously biased in favor of police officers.

 Add to this an over-militarized police force that uses surplus military gear to violently break into homes 100 times per day, usually to only execute search warrants, and you have a recipe for disaster and an urgent need for reform. We should take advantage of this time of heightened awareness to reform a justice system that has too much power and too little accountability. Hopefully the violence in the street will not overshadow the legitimate protests, but I fear it may.

Trevor Burrus is a research fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies. His research interests include constitutional law, civil and criminal law, legal and political philosophy, and legal history

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ron Paul interview on C-SPAN

Ferguson is Burning

My commentary on the looting and arson in Ferguson, Missouri after the grand jury in the Michael Brown case decided not to indicted the officer.


Jonathan Blanks - There’s no respect for the rule of law in Ferguson because the government destroyed it

What we’ve seen play out in Ferguson over the past few months, culminating with the rage and destruction last night, is the result of a system that does not work for the people in that community.

Use of force laws protect police officers to an extent that, in the absence of convincing evidence and a forceful prosecution, Officer Darren Wilson was quite unlikely to have been convicted of a crime even if the grand jury had handed down any indictments last night.

But the problems in Ferguson go beyond one officer-involved shooting. From the altercation that left Michael Brown’s body in the street for four hours throughout this ordeal, law enforcement officials have lied, leaked, and obfuscated at seemingly every opportunity. The release of the shoplifting video under false pretense and implementation of bogus no-fly-zones for media helicopters were hallmarks of a law enforcement community circling the wagons around one of their own, regardless of his guilt or innocence.

Read complete article here

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Book Review- Black Libertarian Slams "Please Stop Helping Us" Book

Jonathan Blanks, a black Libertarian writer and researcher in Washington, D.C., slams Jason Riley's new book "Please Stop Helping Us" arguing that the book is more about justifying racial resentment than it is about black conservative policies.

Although often painted as a united movement, the black struggle for civil rights and equality has almost always been contentious and acrimonious among those ‘on the same side.’ For decades, this fight was primarily over tactics and rhetoric.

There are differing opinions to how to make lives for black Americans better, and those to the economic right of center—probably due in part to its ties to the South and the small government rhetoric once used to support Jim Crow segregation—get the short end of it, despite their valid critiques of the status quo.

The unintended consequences of social programs still create perverse incentives for the poor. Many public schools trap students in low achieving tiers that stunt their academic growth and lower their chances at becoming successful members of a global economy. Stressing the importance of self-reliance, personal responsibility, and entrepreneurship is not as sexy as “social justice” and communal outrage.

The vastly outnumbered black conservatives are sometimes called “[Uncle] Toms” and “sellouts” for pointing these facts out, as if they do not care about black people. Indeed, such treatment led me to title one piece for my school newspaper, “Angry, Black, and Conservative.”

I don’t self-identify as a conservative anymore, but that’s more about the (d)evolution of the Republican Party since the end of the Cold War than a great shift in my own politics, though there has been some.

Indeed, when I first started learning about politics as a young adult, and to an extent, race, I probably would have enjoyed Jason L. Riley’s Please Stop Helping Us because it completely fit my worldview.

But then I grew up and learned a few things.

Read complete article here

Jackson-Green - Body cameras for police a win for citizens, officers and taxpayers

Bryant Jackson-Green, a libertarian legal researcher and policy analyst with the Liberty Justice Center ask the question: "should Illinois police officers wear body cameras?" 

 What’s a low-cost way to improve police accountability in Illinois while saving taxpayer dollars? Some say body cameras for police officers. After the events in Ferguson, MO, several editorials have encouraged Illinois police officers to wear body cameras as a way to deter misconduct, and some departments have already signed on to the idea. But considering how much taxpayers currently put out to litigate and settle police-misconduct cases, we should also support it as an effective cost-saving measure.

Chicago, for instance, has paid more than half a billion dollars in police settlements, legal fees and associated costs within the last decade, according to a study released by the Better Government Association earlier this year. It’s clear enough that many of the incidents might have been avoided if there was reliable video footage of the incidents in question. At the very least, an objective record of the event would be available.

Here are some examples of payouts from the city of Chicago for police misconduct:

Read complete article here

Black Libertarian Responds to Twitter #YesWeDid Campaign

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Quote of the Day

"State-imposed segregation is the antithesis of what every libertarian theory requires, by imposing legal barriers that make it virtually impossible for individuals to enter freely into voluntary transitions with trading partners of their own choice, white or black. With Jim Crow in the South this set of insidious practices was not accomplished by explicit laws mandating racial segregation. Rather, those inflexible social and economic patterns were supported by four interlocking strategies. First, illicit control of the electoral franchise, which in turn translated into control of the police and the courts. Second, corrupt use over the infrastructure translated into an ability to deny water and electrical hookups to firms that did not toe the segregationist line. Third, private violence to which southern police forces turned a blind eye when they did not actively support it. Fourth, social ostracism to those who spoke up against the system. Sensible people either left, stayed away or remained silent."

 Richard Epstein (Libertarian legal scholar, specializing in the field of law and economics)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

2014 Black Libertarian Candidates

The full list of black Libertarian candidates is as follows:

Martin Moulton is the 2014 candidate for Mayor for the District of Columbia
Texas: Linda Wilbert is running for Justice of the Peace Precinct 4, Texas 

Massachusetts:  Hassan Smith is the Libertarian candidate for Sheriff in Suffolk County
Kansas: Brent Stackhouse to the Kansas House of Representatives, District 14
Georgia: John Monds running in 2014 for Georgia Public Service Commissioner
Alabama: Eric Calhoun is the Libertarian candidate for Jefferson County Commission District 3 IN Alabama
DC: Martin Moulton is the 2014 candidate for Mayor for the District of Columbia

If you know any other candidates, feel free to add them in the comment section! 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A libertarian argument for race conscious policing: viewing civil rights like property rights

When American children are taught about the Civil Rights Era, the focus tends to be on laws like Jim Crow, people like Bull Connor and Martin Luther King Jr., and issues like equality and justice. The thinking goes today, to simplify the reasoning on the right and among libertarians, that those times were long ago, the laws are gone, Bull Connor and his ilk are long dead, and we have fairness before the law and everything else is just a matter of applying oneself now.

But the changes from those times have, in fact, been gradual. There’s nothing to indicate, and certainly no defining moment, when racism ceased to be a problem for blacks and other minorities in America. Coming as far as the nation has in a relatively short amount of time is impressive, given the way racism was ingrained in the American culture, politics, and education. But part of that progress was due to the explicit societal and governmental acknowledgement that laws and society made life very unfair for a segment of the population. We’re getting to a point where that recognition is becoming less and less obvious, and the remnants of centuries of racism linger and continue to affect millions of Americans.

You can read the whole thing here.

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.

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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 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

Experimental Ebola Serum Grown in Tobacco Leaves

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:

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

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, 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.

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Walter E. Williams on Libertarians and Liberty

How To Deal With 'Unwanted' Cops

Don't be bullied. Stand up for your rights!

 The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. - The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV) to the United States Constitution 


Declining Empires are Desperate Empires

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Bryant Jackson-Green - Why are regulators so out of touch?

Why are regulators so out of touch? At a Chicago City Council committee hearing on ride-sharing services last week, taxi-industry lobbyist Matthew Daus, president of the International Association of Transportation Regulators, reportedly said that “millennials” were responsible for the rise of companies such as Lyft and Uber because they care more about “cost” than about the public interest.

 But what’s wrong with caring about costs? Everyone prefers to pay less money for better service if they can. Millennials in particular can hardly be blamed for being cost-conscious in an economy where they face a high unemployment rate and relatively poor job prospects.

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Monday, May 26, 2014

The most dangerous monopoly: When caution kills

Why Aren't There More Black Libertarians?

Throughout the history of the United States, government at all levels has been an oppressive force on people of color, especially black people. The republic was founded with African chattel slavery implicitly recognized in the Constitution. After Reconstruction, state and local governments enacted harsh laws and stripped rights from freedmen, ushering an era of white American terrorism that was aided, abetted, and sometimes perpetrated by law enforcement itself.

 One hundred years after Emancipation, police sicced dogs and firemen turned fire hoses on men, women, and children alike who were peacefully appealing for equal treatment, dignity, and individual rights. Today, police officers sometimes harass, profile, and abuse black people in cities all over the nation, contributing to the disproportionate number of blacks and other minorities in jails and prisons in the country that leads the world in incarceration.

 Given this historical experience with the government, why aren’t there more black libertarians?

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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.

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