Federalism

12 12 2006

Is France justified in invading New York City to force the latter to get rid its rent control legislation? Would it be compatible with libertarianism for California to forcibly prevent the US government from imposing a draft on California citizens? The federal government physically attacks Mississippi in 1950 for its Jim Crow legislation; Mississippi resists. Which side does the libertarian root for?

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Anarchism and Force

12 12 2006

Because I claim and teach that Anarchism justifies the application of force to invasive men and condemns force only when applied to non-invasive men, Mr. Hugh O. Pentecost declares that the only difference between Anarchism on the one hand and Monarchism or Republicanism on the other is the difference between the popular conception of invasion and my own.

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The Life and Death of the Old Right

10 12 2006

The libertarian movement was once a mighty movement, hardcore but not kooky, part of the mainstream of American ideological and political life. In the XVIII and XIX centuries (for example, in the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian movements), libertarians were even the dominant political force in the country. America was, indeed, conceived in liberty. But right now, I’m not going back that far: I’m talking about the origins of the modern XX century movement.

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Cato’s Letters (1720-1723)

9 12 2006

These articles, written under the name “Cato,” were the work of John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, a pair of uppity English Whigs who, writing in the immediate aftermath of one of histories’ great corporate scandals, produced what is, without question, some of the best liberal writing ever published in a popular format. In the course of 144 articles, published over a three-year period in the
London Journal and British Journal, few subjects are left unbroached. Some of those subjects, of course, relate to then-contemporary matters, and are of little interest to modern readers, but others present remarkable parallels with contemporary politics. The letters are very well argued, the writing straightforward, concise, and quite hard-hitting; delightful and inspiring reading that became one of the major sources of American revolutionary thought. “No one,” notes historian Clinton Rossiter, “can spend any time in the newspapers, library inventories, and pamphlets of colonial
America without realizing that Cato’s Letters rather than Locke’s Civil Government was the most popular, quotable, esteemed source of political ideas in the colonial period.”

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The Non-Aggression Axiom of Libertarianism

9 12 2006

The non-aggression axiom is the lynchpin of the philosophy of libertarianism. It states, simply, that it shall be legal for anyone to do anything he wants, provided only that he not initiate (or threaten) violence against the person or legitimately owned property of another. That is, in the free society, one has the right to manufacture, buy or sell any good or service at any mutually agreeable terms. Thus, there would be no victimless crime prohibitions, price controls, government regulation of the economy, etc.

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A Libertarian Theory of Secession and Slavery

8 12 2006

Professor Tibor Machan, in his “Lincoln, Secession and Slavery” (6/1/02) has taken the position that while secession in and of itself is unobjectionable to the libertarian, it cannot properly be applied to political jurisdictions which practice slavery. For, if secession rights were allowed to slave owning countries, it would in effect be to justify kidnappers absconding with their victims. He applies this perspective to the United States, circa 1861, and concludes that Abraham Lincoln, for whatever his faults, and Machan concedes they were many and serious, is still “a good American.” Why? This is because he was justified in stopping the Confederate (slave) States from seceding, even though, Machan again stipulates, stopping slavery was no part of Lincoln’s motivation.

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On Resisting Evil

6 12 2006

How can anyone, finding himself surrounded by a rising tide of evil, fail to do his utmost to fight against it? In our century, we have been inundated by a flood of evil, in the form of collectivism, socialism, egalitarianism, and nihilism. It has always been crystal clear to me that we have a compelling moral obligation, for the sake of ourselves, our loved ones, our posterity, our friends, our neighbors, and our country, to do battle against that evil.

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