Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Now, more than ever.

The Moorfield Storey Institute put in its application for 501(c)3 tax-exempt status a year ago. We were told a few days ago that it will be granted. But, while waiting for the IRS to process the paperwork, we went through our start up capital. To put it mildly, we are currently in financial distress. Waiting a full year before we could ramp up fund raising hurt our bottom line very badly.

We need to raise about $10,000 to stay afloat. And the only way we can do that is with your support. Would you please consider making a donation today. You can click the "Donate Now" button under the photograph of Moorfield Storey, in the top right corner of this page. Any amount will help us avoid closing.

In the last year our Cobden Press published the first, complete collection of Lysander Spooner's essays on religion. We also published a new collection of essays on taxation, edited by Carl Watner, Gary Chartier's The Conscience of an Anarchist, and James Peron's Within Reason: Essays on Objectivism, Ayn Rand and Christianity.

We have published almost 40 columns at Huffington Post which have been read by hundreds of thousands, probably millions, of people. We are contributing a Hayekian perspective on the evolution of marriage for a new anthology edited by Sharon Presley. And we are working on several new books of our own. Of course, our book service, www.fr33minds.com, continues to be the ONLY libertarian source for steeply discounted books. Our prices beat those of Amazon, on average.

Without your help we are going to have to close.

For any donation of $100 or more we will send you a free copy of Capitalist at Large, in appreciation. For $500 or more we will send, Capitalist at Large, Liberty in a Globalized World, and Why Liberty. If you can donate $1000 or more we will send you all those titles, plus Within Reason, The Conscience of an Anarchist and Render Not. Larger donations will receive selections of DVDs as well.

We believe that when the economy recovers we can survive mostly on the income we earn through the sale of books. Until then we must rely on the kindness of friends. Donate via PayPal using the "donate now" button. To donate by phone call toll-free at 866-254-3701. Donations by check can be sent to:

Moorfield Storey Institute
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Apple Valley, CA 92307

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Uncomfortable Questions for the DOMA Defenders.

There are numerous court cases that are investigating the legality of the sort of discriminatory policies which where imposed by the Defense of Marriage Act.  The Republican congress passed a measure to spend millions of taxpayer’s dollars in order to defend this intrusive regulation. They even created a misnamed  Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to handle defending the undefendable.

 One of the cases winding its way through the coursts is Golinski v. U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The court that will be hearing the case has asked BLAG and attorneys for Golinski to address numerous questions in a hearing scheduled for December 16. These are all good questions and we are reprinting them here, though in shorter format geared for non-legal audiences. These questions get to the heart of DOMA and why it was such a radical assault on the traditional separation of powers between the states and the federal government. I shall be curious to see how the Republicans answer these question and what mental gymnastics will be required for them to justify this unprecedented attack on the federalist principles that apply to marriage laws.

Monday, December 12, 2011

British Police Trample on Free Speech Apologize

Jules Mattsson was 15 years old when he went to a parade of military cadets in Romford, England. The police immediately came after Mattsson claiming that he was committing a crime by photographing the parade.

Several things were involved here. First, was the paranoia about people photographing children. The cadets were under the age of consent presumably and thus considered children. You listen to the actual recording of the incident. Note how the paranoid officer is attacking the boy for taking "photographs of children." Next, the police officer tries to claim that the boy has no right to take photographs of "military personnel" in in a public parade. Are they children or military personnel?

You can hear Jules standing up for his rights below. This is a recording of the actual incident. The police try to intimidate him by demanding his personal details. They are telling him that they don't need a law to do what they are doing. The police then try to claim he must have permission from everyone in a public place to take their photographs. Next they return to the claim that he was taking photos of children. Next they claim that the "military personnel" have to have parental permission to be photographed.

The police claimed he was disturbing the peace, hazardous to the public and that the police "were concerned about terrorism and that photographing police and police officials is a criminal offense." When the boy asks under what law it is a criminal offense (there is none) the office says: "You are an agitator." Then the police officer just announces: "You know what. I consider you a threat under the terrorism act." He has the boy arrested for NO legal reason at all. The police officer steals the boy's camera and they they grabbed the boy. And when the boy asks: "Under what law am I being detained," the police refuse to tell him, push him down stairs and threaten. Once again they return to the bogus claim that he has no right to "photograph" children.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Randian Insight on Today's Prop 8 Trial

Listening in to parts of the hearings today regarding the Prop 8 trial brought to mind something Ayn Rand had said, and how her insight could help make a decision about one factor of the hearing.

It wasn’t Rand’s thoughts on legal theory that came to mind. It was what she wrote about art and artists. She held that art and artists were very important as they indicate the state of the culture.
Rand said that art was a selective recreation of reality by the artist. This is not the part that I found particularly insightful, but her next observation was. She also noted that because as artist is selectively recreating reality that they are revealing what they find to be of metaphysical importance. There is much from which they can pick and choose, that they pick certain aspects of reality, over others, indicates what they find to be of importance.
So, how does this apply to today’s hearings?

Rugby Star on Why He's Fighting Anti-Gay Bigotry and Bullying

Monday, December 5, 2011

Why Life Expectancy Can't Be Used to Judge Health Care.

Here is how the infamous Daily Mail, a paragon of tabloid journalism, reports on health care in the United States. “The study said Americans pay more than $7,900 per person for health care each…but still die earlier than their peers in the industrialized world.”

Now, perhaps this sort of bad reporting is not the Daily Mail’s fault. They do claim they get this from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

It just doesn’t work to compare life expectancy rates to quality of health care. There are dozens of factors involved in life expectancy. The paper reports that in America the average life expectancy is 80.6 now. The highest in the world is 86.4 in Japan.

A lot of people are trying to claim that this proves that state-run health care is better because people in those nations live longer. Well, the nation that I keep having thrown at me regarding nationalized health care is the United Kingdom. Their life expectancy is lower than for the United States. While the Daily Mail mentions life expectancy in the UK, it never divulges what it is in the UK.

Using life expectancy to judge health care is similar to using the supply of apples to determine the price of oranges. Life expectancy is more about life style than it is about health care.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fundamentalist Church Defends Marriage: Bans Interracial Couple

Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church in Johns Creek, Kentucky recently faced something they just never considered before. Stella Harville, 24, a member of the church brought her fiance to church and he was black! Not even a good ol' American black, but a genuine negro from darkest Africa. The fiance, Ticha Chikuni is from Zimbabwe. The couple came to the church and sang—once.

The pastor of the church, Melvin Thompson, then banned them from further performances. But Thompson resigned due to health and a new pastor said they could perform. But then Thompson proposed that the church pass a resolution condemning interracial marriage. It said "parties of such marriages will not be received as members, or will they be used in worship services" or other church activities, unless it is a funeral. A meeting was held and by a 9 to 6 vote the proposal was passed. The proposal claimed to be a measure to enhance unity.

Of course, Rev. Thompson insists he's not racist. He said he is "not prejudiced against any race of people, have never in my lifetime spoke evil about a race. That's what this being portrayed as, but it is not." Stella's father, Dean Harville, asked: "If he's not racist, what is this?"

Where have we heard this before?

Friday, November 25, 2011

"Family Values" and the Crisis of the Welfare State

In 1995 I wrote a small book, Exploding Population Myths, the purpose of which was to debunk the very popular theory that the world was grossly overpopulated and headed toward disaster. I believe the evidence was compelling then, and now, 16 years later, the case is actually stronger than ever. If the book had a flaw, it was that I, considered an optimist, was too pessimistic.

The book debunked claims of catastrophists of the day, all predicting doom and gloom with spiraling birth rates, resource depletion, and population growing with no end in sight. I showed that the reality was that the world was not overpopulated in any meaningful sense of the word; that population concentrations are not the same thing as overpopulated; that birth rates were actually plummeting at great rates, and that it was only a matter of decades before world population would begin declining. The main force for growing populations, as I noted, wasn’t the birth rate, so much as the much applauded decline in death rates.
The political Left hated the book and the Right loved it. Now, oddly, I find some extremists on the Religious Right trying to whip up fear and doom over the very pattern I had shown: declining birth rates.
 Janice Crouse is a spokesman—I use the term intentionally as I’m sure she is offended by feminist values—for the Concerned Women of America, a fundamentalist political group. She lists a lot of political material about herself, but, while she touts herself as “Dr. Crouse,” leaves out exactly how she got a doctorate and in what field. The only credentials she mentions are her conservative credentials and writing for Right-wing organizations. Even her own website biography neglects to offer this information. She did work at a Christian college as a debate coach, but that doesn’t say very much. All I can find is she graduated from a Wesleyian-Holiness college in 1961, and then went on to another fundamentalist university.
What drew my attention to Crouse, was a recent piece she wrote in which she seemed to insinuate that population declines in Europe were do to the result of the much exaggerated “death of the family.” Crouse lamented:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Our Top Ten Columns at Huffington Post

The following are the top ten columns we have at Huffington Post as judged by the number of Facebook "likes" each column has received. We do not necessarily agree that these are the ten best columns. There are others which, in our judgment, should have been higher than they were. Here is each column by name, with a link and short description. These are in reverse order.

#10 The Artificial Imposition of Poverty: Deals with the reality of poverty in Africa and how the African people themselves are industrious and hard working but that corrupt governments impeded their economic progress and plunder their wealth.

#9 Baby Samuel Finally Comes Home: This was our first column. It told the story of Samuel Ghilain and how Belgian bureaucrats forced the child to stay in an orphanage for two years because he was born to a surrogate mother. His father's repeated requests were rejected because they had no "policy" to deal with the issue.

#8 Drug Warriors Gun Down Young Father: How a bad drug raid lead to the gunning down of an Iraqi War verteran in Tucson, Arizona.

#7 Gays, Lies and Videotape: Video of the Proposition 8 trial in California exists, but the advocates of Prop 8 are trying to keep the video under wraps. Why? The video will show how their campaign was a tissue of lies and how they couldn't substantiate their accusations in court.

#6 How Texas May Accidentally Legalize Same-Sex Marraige: Texas passed a new law refusing to recognize sex change operations. We argued the result would be that some same-sex marriages would be allowed provided one partner is transgendered. Some time later that actually happened.

#5 F.A. Hayek Against the Conservative: Hayek was not a conservative and outlined his precise problems with conservatives, something conservatives try to overlook.

#4 Why Atheists Aren't Afraid to Die: It is precisely because atheists do not believe in life after death that they do fear it.

#3 Gay Marriage Poll Touted by Mormons Seems Dubious: A poll that the Deseret News said showed a majority of Americans oppose marriage equality was, in simple terms, rigged through a selective polling process. The actual poll results showed how it was done.

#2 The Gay Marriage Revolution Started Centuries Ago: Discusses how the rise of classical liberalism changed how marriage is viewed for the better, setting the groundwork for today's debate about marriage equality.

#1 Can a Pro-Gay, Pot Legalizing, Fiscal Conservative Win the White House?: Discusses the unique, libertarian positions of Gov. Gary Johnson and his bid for the White House.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Two New Loans Through Storey Institute's Benevolent Fund

Charity is too important to be left up to government. Since its inception the Moorfield Storey Institute has operated the Adam Smith Benevolent Fund. Portions of all donations to the Storey Institute, and a portion of sales through our book distribution service, Fr33minds, go into the fund.

We put most of these funds into micro lending projects targeting worthy recipients in developing countries. We try to find individuals who have already shown a willingness to work and who are budding entrepreneurs. In the long term our hopes are that such entrepreneurs, through expansion, will reach the point that they are creating jobs for others, and not just for themselves.
We have two new recipients for our loans: Yony Vicente of Ica, Peru, and Rosemary Clementina, of La Paz, Bolivia.

Yony began a taxi service a year ago with a motorcycle taxi. He has been renting a motorcycle to conduct business but now wants to invest in the capital of having his own motorcycle instead. His goal is to eventually own a car for his taxi service to use instead. The repayment plan is to have all his loans repaid by December 2012.

Rosemary Clementina is a single mother with four children in school. Two of her children are now attending college.  She sells shoes to the public. Her plan is to use the loan to buy sneakers for the end-of-the-year season.  Loan repayment begins in February with the loan being paid in full by January 2013. Rosemary has been in the shoe business for sometime and has paid previous loans for inventory.

The policy of the Storey Institute is that as loans are repaid funds are rolled over into new loans. New funds are added but we do not intend to ever remove funds, just make additional loans to further economic development at the ground level.

Wilber Alexander, a photographer in El Salvador, used one of our early loans to expand his business. His loan is now fully back.  Nidia Pereira of Paraguay was a fish seller that we loaned to earlier. Her loan is now 90% paid. Temuujin Myagmar of Mongolia has a loan for his popcorn business that is now 54% repaid. Hamza Vahobov of Tajikistan had a loan for his business selling spare car parts. His loan is now 46% repaid. And Vafa Huseynova of Azerbaijan, borrowed money to expand the beauty salon she ran. Her loan is now 40% paid back.

So far 43% of our loans have gone to female entrepreneurs and 57% to males. Approximately 28% of loans are in the food sector, 28% in retail, 28% in services, and 14% in transportation.
 Your contributions to the Institute help us spread the libertarian message about individual rights and freedoms and supports economic development. Remember that at www.fr33minds.com you will not only find excellent libertarian books, at discounted prices, but all profits further the goals of the Institute, including our Adam Smith Benevolent Fund.

Anti-Marriage Right Bets the Farm and They Can Lose It All

The hateful Prop 8 campaign has placed an all-or-nothing bet on their initiative. If they win, they win nothing more than what they already have. But they also have the potential of losing absolutely everything.

Prop 8 was challenged in the courts. During the trial the Prop 8 campaign had tried to defend their bigoted initiative but failed miserably. They had a couple of problems. One was that the rules of evidence exclude 99% of the claims they were making in public. They couldn’t come into court and make the same claims without having to prove them.
Given that the campaign was engaged in one “big lie” after another, this removed most of their claims. In court, they could be cross-examined if they made the same dishonest assertions.  Their campaign lies wouldn’t stand up to cross-examination. What the court saw, instead of the confident assertions made in TV commercials, was a lot of bumbling replies. When openly asked what harms would come from marriage equality their legal counsel couldn’t answer the question. He didn’t know.  Neither did the Prop 8 proponents, which is why they resorted to lying.
Prop 8 lost that round and the ruling went into great detail as to why they were wrong and why Prop 8 was a discriminatory piece of legislation. At this point the state of California said it did not want to pursue defense of Prop 8. Since it was a state law, under California’s ill-conceived initiative process, it would be their job to defend 8. But they did not want to do so. Neither the governor nor attorney general wanted to be associated with that law. The bigots behind the law demanded the right to step in, in place of the state, to defend their law. Today the California Supreme Court said they have the right to try to defend their legislation in the courts.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Artificial Imposition of Poverty

Most of the world's poverty is not self-inflicted, yet apparently many seem to think it is.

My experience, living in Africa, tells me otherwise. Much of global poverty is imposed and I don't mean by evil "multi-national corporations" or "globalization." Those myths are easily debunked. The real causes of poverty in these nations are not hard to find.

First, however, I'd like to start with what is not the cause of poverty. People in poor nations are not poor because they lack ambition or are lazy.

When I first moved to Africa, I lived in small apartment. Almost immediately upon moving in there was a knock on the door. A woman asked if she could have a job cleaning for me. The idea was foreign to me. I even had negative emotions about people "exploiting" the poor and hiring them at low wages. I declined, but she begged. She insisted she was a hard worker. My dilemma was that I didn't have a lot of money. I told her that. She named a wage that seemed ridiculously low.

I could not pay her what I thought to be a decent wage. Yet, by refusing her services I was sending her away with nothing. Clearly, she did not agree with my evaluation of the situation. I relented and hired her.

When I moved to a house, the same thing happened. A woman with a child appeared at my door looking for work. She had no home and was staying in a small "maid's quarters" with another women she knew. The child was a grandchild that she cared for. I agreed to hire her without a second thought and then she asked if I had a place for her to live. There was a small building behind the house, with storage on the ground level and two rooms above it. I thought it insufficient but it was all I had to offer. She thought it fantastic and started clapping her hands with joy when she looked at it. It was a huge improvement for her.

I regularly had people asking for work, while few asked for hand-outs. These people were willing to work. In the streets of the city, I would pass hundreds of hawkers, with blankets on the ground, or just cardboard. They would have paper plates of tomatoes or potatoes or some other vegetable. Some sold handicrafts. They would sit on the ground from early morning until it was dark, trying to earn what most Westerners would see as small change.

Outside the cities, the industriousness of the poor was more apparent. In rural areas, women would walk long distances for water. Their homes, sometimes barely shelters at all, were built by themselves, as best they could. There were villages I would drive by, with every home built by the people who lived in them. People would plant small gardens to grow food. Some just planted flowers to make the desolation a bit more bearable.

But here is what else I saw. Periodically, the police would sweep through the cities confiscating all the goods hawkers were trying to sell. Hundreds at a time would lose everything they had, because they didn't have permits to sell their goods. Nor did the legal system recognize their property rights. It was not unheard of for governments to send in bulldozers and level entire villages because no land titles were held.

Read the rest of this column at Huffington Post.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Who is Hated When Hate Crimes Are Committed?

The FBI has released its report on reported incidents of hate crimes in the United States. The report allows to determine who the victims are in these cases.

The largest category of hate crimes remains those that are racially motivated. They accounted for 47.3% of all such incidents in the country. Of those 69.8% of the victims were black, 18.2% were white, 5.7% were mixed race, 5.1% were Asian or Pacific Islander and 1.2% were Native Americans.

In spite of what conservatives may say the majority of hate crimes were not committed by blacks. Whites made up 58.6% of offenders in racially-motivate hate crimes.

Hate crimes based on sexual orientation and religion were neck-in-neck for second place with religious hate crimes barely taking the lead. They accounted for 20% of all hate crimes. Now, groups on the Religious Right have claimed that fundamentalists are frequently hate crime targets. The National Organization for Marriage has refused to reveal who is funding them on the basis that they will become targets of hate crimes. But the actually hate crime incidents don't support their hysteria.

Two-thirds of all hate crimes, 65.4% were directed against Jews. Another 13.2% were directed against Muslims. Just 4.3% were anti-Catholic and 3.3% were anti-Protestant. The rest were undefined or against non-beliebvers.

Attacks based on sexual orientation made up 19.3% of all incidents. The main victim were gay men, making up 57.9% of all cases. Anti-lesbian attacks made up 11.4% of the cases while 27.4% were directed at gay people in general.  Only 1.4% of cases indicated an anti-heterosexual bias and 1.9% were directed at bisexuals.

Two-thirds of these crimes were classified as crimes against persons and one-third were crimes against property. In 46% of the crimes against persons it was an act of intimidation, in 53% of the cases someone was the victim of assault. There were seven cases of murder and 4 cases of rape that were hate inspired.

In crimes against property the vast majority, 81% were incidents of vandalism or destruction of property. The rest were crimes involving robbery motivated by hate.

The report probably underestimates actual hate crimes in the United States. The classification of a crime, as a hate crime, requires the local police agency to cooperate. If they do not report it as a hate crime it is not included. Given the document racial biases, and anti-gay attitudes of law enforcement officials, they are more likely to exclude legitimate cases from the classification than they are to included incidents that don't belong there.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Catholicism and the "Intolerance" Hoax

The Washington Post says that Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput “painted a bleak picture of a nation increasingly intolerant of Christianity.” Chaput, who achieved an ecclesiastical position superior to Christ himself, says, “The America emerging in the next several decades is likely to be much less friendly to Christian faith than anything in our country’s past.”
Please note the bait-and-switch here. One may be unfriendly to a dogma without being intolerant. Merriam-Webster defines intolerant, in the religious sense, as “unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters.”

This sort of “intolerance” is not actually an issue. What the Archbishop whines about is not any attempt to prevent representatives of the Vatican from expressing a viewpoint, or even from practicing their faith, within their churches, as they see fit. This simply is not happening. What the Catholic Church complains about something is quite different. The areas where they are most upset have to do with granting equality of rights to gay people. The Church is quite intolerant of men who have romantic/sexual relationships with other adult men, for instance. They desire that the law reflect their religious views.

That is an entirely different issue; they are the ones being intolerant. Tolerance implies the granting of equal freedom to others. It does not require that one be “friendly” to ideas that one finds distasteful, whatever the reason for the sour taste. Disliking gay marriage is not "friendly," wanting to ban it is intolerant.

The Catholic Bishops, are “feeling under siege: from a broader culture moving toward accepting gay marriage.” This is correct, but when they say that is “chipping away at religious liberty” they have engaged in semantics of Orwellian proportions. They have completely reversed the facts. The Church, when gay couples are given equal rights, can still practice its faith. No religious group has ever been forced to perform a marriage to which it is religiously opposed. The Church can also set its own policies for who may, or may not, hold ecclesiastical office—and one would think the Bishops would be looking at the choices they have made for the priesthood before worrying about the marriage contracts of others.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tea Party Group Tells Objectivists Where to Go

Some Tea Party "patriots" got bitchy about an Objectivist group that wanted to join their coalition. Surprise, surprise. A group of Minnesota Objectivists tried to join the coalition that made up the local Tea Party. The Christians that control the Tea Party had fits and eventually the Objectivists withrdrew. Had this "Objectivist" group had paid any attention to Rand they would know that the Tea Party is not a group that they should join and would not have the humiliation of retreating.
Rand thought multi-issue coalitions were unstable and bad ideas and that one would get dragged into the mud on the issues where one’s allies were bad. Second, she despised conservatives, especially religious conservatives. She referred to them as the "God-Family-Tradition swamp." Third, Rand thought that attempting to justify capitalism or individual rights on the basis of religion would backfire because it implied there is no rational justification for these ideas, only mystical inventions.
Now, one Tea Party writer, Walter Hudson, tries to defend Rand to the Tea Party. What a crock! He claims that the reason these advocates of irrationalism attacked the Objectivist group is because "attacks upon religious expression by a relentless secular minority have placed many religious people on the defensive.” For people on the defensive, they spend a lot of time being offensive, in every sense of the word. I would like to see a list of these attacks on religious expression.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Politics of the Clock: Daylight Saving Time is a Bad Idea

I am not a daylight saving time skeptic, but rather a full out atheist on the topic. That’s right, I don’t believe in daylight saving time. To paraphrase some dead hillbilly: “I’m agin it.”
I have lived in places that practice this ritual and places where the twice-yearly ritual of changing the clocks is not practiced. I preferred the latter.

Each Spring, the government has deemed we all go through the ritual of setting the clocks ahead. For most of us, that meant losing an hour of sleep, getting up the following day a bit more tired than usual and still driving around as normal, just with less sleep. I had to wonder if anyone has looked at the traffic accident rate for the day following the loss of one hour of sleep in order to placate the gods of time, also known as slime-sucking, pocket-picking, war-mongering politicians.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The High Cost of Government-Mandated Discrimination: DOMA and the Regulatory State

Conservatives frequently talk about the cost of regulations. For instance, Freedomworks, a well-known conservative organization, published a piece called The Hidden Cost of Regulation. It said: “Complying with regulations is not cheap,” noting that regulations aren’t paid for by just corporations, but by “the entire economy.” It notes that consumers pay higher prices as well, due to these regulations, and that they “act as a drag on economic growth.”

Allow me to add two other points Freedomworks did not mention, but which I believe they would agree with. 1) Motives of the regulators do not change costs imposed by the regulations. That is, costs are not lower if the motives of regulators are good. 2) Costs are not changed if regulations are imposed by one political party rather than the other. In other words, the cost of Republican-imposed regulations would be just the same if Democrats had been the guilty party.

With this in mind, let us turn to a set of regulations Republicans put into place, with the claimed motive of “protecting the family:” The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Review: 100 Voices—An Oral History of Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand with husband, Frank O'Connor
Anyone who has read the biographies of Ayn Rand, such as Barbara Branden’s The Passion of Ayn Rand, or Anne Heller’s Ayn Rand and the World She Made, will find 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand, a wonderful companion.

What we have is a collection of excerpts from interviews with 100 people who dealt with Rand over the years, including friends, relatives, and business associates. And much of the information is refreshingly new and offers new insights into a complex and controversial figure in American history.
There are, however, caveats to consider. Scott McConnell of the Ayn Rand Institute conducts these interviews and they are not entirely free of an agenda. But, for the most part, they seem fairly balanced and individuals are quoted saying things that are not always pleasant. But neither are they always accurate.

These are first person accounts of Rand and all first person accounts tend to be prone to errors and personal agendas. Rand’s sister, Nora, for instance, is particularly bitter and unpleasant. A few other relatives make claims that sound utterly absurd to this reviewer. One insists that the penniless Rand promised to buy them a Rolls Royce if she made good, another seems to believe she promised a mink coat.  Additionally, you will find a few interviewees who seem to insist that Ayn Rand’s career was assured because of them.  Had she failed in her endeavors I’m not sure they would be so quick to claim credit for her efforts.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Michelle Bachmann on Separation of Church and State

In the Florida Republican debate Michelle Bachmann was asked about her claim that separation of church and state are a myth. This position is popular with conservatives, even Ron Paul, who purports to be a libertarian, has said the same thing.

Bachmann defended her ahistorical views by appealing to the letter that the Danbury Baptists wrote to Thomas Jefferson. She claimed the Baptists were concerned about a "national church" and that was all. This is important for the revisionists because it was Jefferson's reply to the Baptists in which the term "a wall of separation between church and state was coined." The Supreme Court later quoted that phrase to illustrate the system the Founders established, which is why theocrats always point out the term in not in the Constitution. That term is not, the principle it explains, is in the Constitution.

The reality is that the Danbury Baptists never once asked about a national church. What they did was point out that the importance of freedom. They didn't make demands, or ask anything of the President. They merely noted that they supported individual freedom of choice and knew that Jefferson did so as well.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Libertarian Case for Marriage Equality

Robert Levy, president of the Cato Institute, discusses the libertarian case for marriage equality for gay couples. About 11 minutes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Largest Boatlift in History and It Was Here

So many people remember the evacuation at Dunkirk, when hundreds of private boats crossed the English Channel to rescue trapped soldiers, their backs to the sea and the Nazi troops in front of them. The Dunkirk Boatlift rescued over 300,000 soldiers. But on 9/11 500,000 people were evacuated from Manhattan.

There was no government plan to evacuate. In fact, the people trapped on Manhattan were trapped because the authorities had shut down mass transit and closed the bridges. People were stuck and afraid. Many had no idea what was going on. All they knew was there was an attack, the Twin Towers were down and the lower part of the island was covered in dirt and dust from the collapse, the air was difficult to breath. And they wanted to go home.

One Coast Guard official, witnessing the throngs of people who had fled to the water's edge put out a radio message. He simply asked the public, the people the politicians don't trust in these circumstances, to help. He urged anyone with a boat to please come to Manhattan and help these people.

And they did, by the hundreds. Yet, when we watch disasters unfold, inevitably the politicians and bureaucrats rush in and try to order the "civilians" to cease all assistance immediately and "leave it to the experts."

I was in San Francisco the day the earthquake hit in 1989. Throughout that day the "civilians" were putting out fires, directing traffic, and shuttling commuters around the city. In addition, they were the ones rescuing people from the collapsed highway and from buildings that had pancaked. They did so while the "professionals" were standing around debating whether to do anything, and, what.  Here is a short documentary about how civilians shuttled 500,000 people out of Manhattan on 9/11.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

If libertarians are selfish, how do you explain him?

Libertarians are selfish, self-centered, mean people only out for themselves. Well, that’s what I’ve heard. Critics on both the left, and the right have said so. It must be true. But how do they explain John Perry?
John Perry, like President Obama, is the offspring of an interracial marriage. And like Obama he had a strong interest in politics and even went to law school, befriending John F. Kennedy, Jr. there. It hadn’t always been clear that John would go to law school, or any university for that matter. As a child he was believed to have a learning disability. He was nine before he learned to tie his shoes or to read. But he discovered a passion for learning. After studying French he went to learn Spanish, Russian, Portuguese and Swedish.

After law school, John and a friend specialized in helping immigrants find their way through the legal labyrinth constructed by xenophobes to keep them out. John helped many of them file for political asylum. Then John did something odd, he went to the police academy and became a police officer, taking a job investigating police abuses after his graduation. He became active in the New York Civil Liberties Union and a board member. Executive director Barbara Bernstein remembers him as a passionate defender of the rights of others. She said: “At board meetings… he sort of out libertarianed us. If someone thought it wasn’t the right timing or wasn’t winnable, he was an idealist. He made us justify what we were doing.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why Does Los Angeles County Hate the Poor?

A short drive from the offices of the Moorfield Storey Institute is the region of California known as the Antelope Valley. When we go to Los Angeles we drive through the area. It is one of the least densely populated areas of the greater LA region, with around 5,000 people spread out over 442 square miles. About a third of the residents are black or Latino. The population is older than average, less educated than average, and less wealthy.

Many of these people live miles from their nearest neighbors. Like us, these are people who enjoy life in the high desert. But the Los Angeles Country is doing its best to drive these people off their land and make their lives miserable. The county insists it has nothing to do with confiscating property later for a boondoggle of a transportation project that is being planned.

These are people who live in isolated happiness. They are not problems to anyone. But government is sending armed "Nuisance Abatement Teams" to order people off their land and ordering them to destroy their homes. The government says they can own the land, just not live on it. (That would certainly lower the value when they pay for property stolen through eminent domain later on.) The county makes repeated demands on people to "fix" their property with expensive changes that most simply can't afford.

Now, let us assume the worst, and let us assume that these people have substandard homes that need repairs. If they don't have the fucking money, they don't have the fucking money! But the politicians, like Mike Antonovich, are used to spending other people's money and simply can't relate to what they are doing to poor people. Forcing these people off their land will ONLY make their lives worse, not better. If these people could better their lives by moving they are likely to have done so already. They aren't out to hurt themselves. They are out trying to make the most with what they have. And unrealistic demands by uncaring politicians and armed bureaucrats will NOT improve their lives. It is government run amok. I should note that the politician behind these attacks on property rights are "small government" Republicans.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Why Can't They Tell the Truth?

One of the most disheartening aspects about the debate regarding marriage equality, other than the fact that there is a debate, is the dishonesty of opponents. In particular, the Christian Right simply seems unable or unwilling to tell the public the facts. They always seem to twist or distort facts in order to try to panic people into supporting their agenda. 
Recently, Baptist Press published a series of falsehoods by Dale Schowengerdt, who works for the far right Alliance Defense Fund. The article is entitled Religious liberty & the case against gay ‘marriage.’” Even in headlines,, they can’t resist the urge to put “scare” quotes around marriage when it refers to gay couples. I guess it is like the Klan saying, “Blacks want their ‘human’ rights.”

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Marriage Equality in New Zealand?

Research New Zealand did a poll of Kiwis asking them about their support of same-sex marriage there. Currently Civil Unions are allowed but marriage is restricted and regulated to opposite sex couples only. The most recent poll found that 60% of Kiwis said they were accepting of same-sex marriage, only 34% said they opposed the idea. Two percent felt there was no difference between marriage and civil unions and 4% were not sure what they thought.

The numbers showed that women, more than men, supported marriage equality, with 66% of all females supporting it where 54% of men supported marriage equality.

As all polls in the United States indicate as well, there is a clear and strong difference in support according to age. Kiwis between the ages of 18 and 34 support marriage equality 79% to 19%. Even among those between the ages of 35 and 54 support exceeds opposition by 61% to 32%. Only older Kiwis, over the age of 55 oppose marriage equality and even there they are close to being evenly split: 44% to 49%.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Classical liberalism as a Form of Progressivism

The following is by Prof. Steve Horwitz. These are notes from a speech he gave on the role of classical liberalism as a form of progressivism. This is not a finished essay but the material is in sufficient form that it is easily understood by the average reader. His views represent well the views of the Moorfield Storey Institute and are added here you consideration and distribution.

My title is meant to provoke.  I want to make a case for what has recently been termed “bleeding-heart libertarianism.”  Or, put differently, I want to argue that libertarians should more consciously attempt to think of themselves as “on the left” rather than “on the right.”  Some libertarians say we should be “neither,” but I want to argue that history suggests we have a home on the left and that many of our ideas suggest that too. I also want to take a short detour to ask how “progressive” the Progressives of 100 years ago really were. 

Who really IS on the side of the poor?  Who really IS on the side of African-Americans or women?  Who really IS on the side of the innocent victims of American imperialism?  I’m going to try to argue that historically classical liberalism was and so was libertarianism for much of its history, and I’m going to argue that we SHOULD be and need to recapture that spirit of progressivism.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Commerical Culture and Its Critics: Why Conservatives Are Wrong.

The argument is made that the media is responsible for the alleged decline in moral standards. There is nothing new in such an assertion. The media of the day, for centuries, has been attacked for precipitating moral decline.
Dominican Friar Filippo di Strata lamented that the printing press allowed the production of "cheap" books for the general public. He argued that these books drove morally uplifting books from the market, and allowed the lower classes the illusion of believing that they could think for themselves. Even worse, books promoted immorality. He noted that the world had gotten along for millenniums without books, and he saw no reason to change that. A common phrase of the day was, "The pen a virgin, the printing press a whore."
Even in colonial America similar statements were made. The royal governor of Virginia, in 1671 wrote: "I thank God that are no free schools nor printing" and he hoped such things would not come to his colony for hundreds of years. His reasoning was simple: "learning has brought disobedience, and heresy, and sects into the world." When Omar burned the great library at Alexandra in 642 AD, using the books as fuel to heat water for baths he built, he was unconcerned about the loss of knowledge. He said that the books were either in accordance with God's will, as revealed in the Koran, or not. If they were in accordance, they are useless since God's word is sufficient. And, if they were not in accordance, they deserved to be burned.
The moral pessimists will concede that not a generation has been born that didn't eventually conclude that the next generation was making things worse. The mere presence of the phrase "the good old days" is indicative of how pervasive this tendency has been. Yet, by any objective and measurable standard, people tend to be better off today than at any time in human history.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bastiat: A Liberal Against Socialism

 In the history of classical liberalism Claude Frédéric Bastiat is a unique figure. He was only productive in liberal causes for a period of a few years. But he was the preeminent advocate of liberal thinking in France during a crucial stage of history. His efforts for free trade are directly linked to major legislative changes in France, which took place after his untimely death. Within a few decades Bastiat sank into obscurity only to have his works and ideas resurrected a century later.
Frédéric Bastiat was born in Bayonne, a tiny French town on the Bay of Biscay. The exact date of his birth is in dispute but it is known that he was born in June of 1801. After the death of his mother in 1808, Frédéric moved, with his father, to Mugron, a small town near the Spanish border. His father too, as was common in those days, died while Bastiat was just a boy, in 1810. Again various biographies dispute what happened next. Some argue that Bastiat became a ward of his grandparents, while others say he was left under the guardianship of an Aunt.
While no one doubted Frédéric's intelligence he didn't seem particularly interested in his academic work. He enrolled at the Benedictine College of Soreze but never finished his degree. His father had once lamented that he had "a lazy streak that is without equal."
Frédéric went to work with an uncle in Bayonne and the family trading business peaked an interest in Bastiat to study political economy and philosophy. He read the works of Jean-Baptist Say, Adam Smith, Destutt de Tracy, Charles Dunoyer, Charles Comte and other liberal thinkers. He seriously considered returning to academia to finish his schooling, but his grandfather's death in 1825 changed that. Frédéric was now the heir to a large estate and his interest in modern technological methods of farming inspired him. But efforts on his part to persuade others that new technology could help French farmers fell on deaf ears, a trend in France that has not changed much in the last 150 years.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Beware of Your Inner Fundamentalist

Are you a fundamentalist? The mere question would shock some readers, especially those of a more secular, libertarian bent who would think that rather impossible.

We are used to the idea of fundamentalism being associated with religion. After all it originated with the hateful, intolerant, small-minded Protestant sects that clung to a literalistic interpretation of the Bible in spite of overwhelming evidence against that view. We are used to seeing the fanatical terrorists as part of fundamentalist Islam. The anti-Semitic rants of Mel Gibson, and his even more hateful father, fit well with fundamentalist Catholicism.
But, as noted already, the strict definition of fundamentalism applied only to the Protestants sects defending “the fundamentals of the faith.” But the word took on a broader definition; one that described an attitude held by an individual believers.

Still many are reluctant to apply it outside of religious circles. Yet I see no reason to restrict the use of the term to only religious beliefs. A fundamentalist attitude can be found in numerous ideological circles as well. There are fundamentalist Marxists, fundamentalist Objectivists, fundamentalist liberals, fundamentalist libertarians, etc. No belief system is immune to the fundamentalist virus.
I want to outline a few of the traits of the fundamentalist mind. I do not claim that this an exhaustive description, I only wish to highlight a few of the more obvious thought patterns of the fundamentalist believer of all stripes.

Monday, June 27, 2011

How libertarian is the Tea Party? Not very!

One of the great urban legends in American politics is that the so-called Tea Party movement is libertarian, or significantly libertarian. All the data I’ve seen, and personal experience, has indicated to me that the Tea Party is overwhelmingly conservative, in every sense of the word, and not libertarian at all.

I have no doubt that some libertarians participate in this movement. That is their right, and their problem. But adding a sprinkling of salt to your bath doesn’t make it the Pacific Ocean, and adding a handful of libertarians to conservative movement doesn’t make the movement libertarian. Given how outnumbered the libertarians are by conservatives I suggest that the influence is more likely to push these libertarians in a conservative direction, than the other way around. Many would consciously alter libertarian theory in order to sound more acceptable to their new conservative friends. Others will simply adopt the unthinking, Right-wing views of the Tea Party as their own.

Various surveys and polls have clearly shown the Tea Party to be typically conservatives, at least in regards to today’s conservative movement. It was more religious than the Republican Party but less religious than the Religious Right. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Falsifying reality to prove their point: NOM and gay marriage.

The Right-wing Christian Post claims that a new poll shows that "57 percent of New York voters oppose gay marriage." This new poll was released to convince Republicans to continue stalling the vote on marriage equality.

In paragraph three we read that 57% want only heterosexual marriage, while 32% support equality, and 11% don't know what they believe. It takes another couple paragraphs before they tell you that the "poll was commissioned by National Organization for (sic) Marriage." This is the secretive, highly funded anti-gay group run by Maggie Gallagher. The group is enmeshed with numerous state agencies around the country as they are the only political campaign in the country that illegally hides the donors from public scrutiny.

But, earlier this year the New York Daily News reported a Quinnipiac University poll found that 56% of voters supported marriage equality. Earlier this month the same poll was conducted again and found support had edged up slightly to 58%. This is slightly higher than the national average. Gallup, in May, found that 53% of all Americans support marriage equality. CNN, in April, found 51% support it. An ABC/Washington Post poll March also found 53% support.

So, why is it when respected, professional polling outfits ask about marriage equality they get a much higher ratio of support, than when NOM commissions a right-wing, Republican outfit to do it for them?

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Republican of a different kind.

While Republicans like Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, et. al. all jostle for the position of being the most bigoted Republican there are a some rare and wonder exceptions. Gov. Gary Johnson, who is seeking the GOP presidential nomination, but who is being blackballed by CNN, is one of them Another is State Senator Roy McDonald of New York.

New York is ready for marriage equality, which remains the great civil rights battle of this decade. The Republican Party is adamant in support of all sorts of bigotry, but especially against the rights of gay and lesbian citizens. Marriage equality was voted down narrowly last year and McDonald did what the party leadership demands. This year he announced he would support marriage equality. And he put his thoughts in some plain, easy-to-understand words that I think will resonate with people.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Markets don't solve problems, people do.

What if there is no perfect solution? A lot of people certainly believe there are such things for the problems that arise from the complexities of life. I personally believe a great deal of the desire for there to be a deity comes from the yearning that their be perfect solutions. The entire concept of the Kingdom of God on earth comes with the belief that it will usher in perfection.

I, however, tend to think there are no perfect solutions. I believe there are only human solutions and human solutions will tend toward imperfection since humans themselves are imperfect. What exist are choices between imperfect solutions. Market liberals, such as myself, do NOT advocate markets because they promise perfection, though we do advocate markets.

And I know some fellow travelers who do seem to operate under the illusion that “markets” can solve every possible problem. You hear it with terms like “the market will take care of it.”

But markets don’t take care of anything. Markets can’t solve problems because markets are not sentient beings. They don’t understand problems; they can’t consider solutions. They have no brain. In one sense they do not even exist.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Constitutional Case for Marriage Equality

A seven minute video from our friends at the Cato Institute on the case for marriage equality.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Tale of Two Polls

In recent weeks Gallup has done two polls on the state of equality of rights for gay and lesbian people—which remains the major civil rights battle of the day. Looking at each poll alone is fascinating but considering them together is very enlightening.

The most recent poll on support marriage equality showed that a majority of Americans now view gay marriage as an acceptable option. Now this question is only for full-on marriage rights. The marriage-lite option, civil unions, is not included here. Numerous polls show that when that is offered into the mix then support rises to about 66% with one third firmly opposed to any legal rights for gay relationships.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Gary Johnson, Drug Warriors and Gay Bullies?

We continue to post a regular column at Huffington Post regarding various issues impacting on civil liberties and personal freedom today. While we don't know the per page readership for the columns it is certainly safe to say that tens of thousands of people read them, it not hundreds of thousands. Huffington Post is one of the most widely read websites on the Net today.  Here are links to our most recent articles and a brief description of them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

At least he's honest about it.

Here is an interesting exchange on the floor of the Minnesota state senate between Senator Patricia Torres Ray and Senantor Warren Limmer. Limmer is a Republican who has sponsored legislation to "protect marriage," by which he means to continue to deny marriage rights to gay couples. Throughout this debate on equal rights before the law for gay couples I have heard anti-gay opponents pretending that they are really just "protecting marriage." They are vague and imprecise about what harm will be done and what is being protected. They want to continue to use state power to deny equality of rights to one class of people, they want to use big government to enforce a moral agenda.

They say it must be done to protect marriage. So, Senator Ray asks Limmer how his legislation will protect her marriage. His admission is enlightening.

If these pieces of legislation do NOT protect marriage in any tangible way, then what is the purpose? May I suggest the obvious answer, one that comes to mind ever time one of these people insist that they do not hate gay people. May I suggest that they do in fact hate gay people and this is how they express their hatred.

Monday, May 16, 2011

No Marriage Rights: Kill Them Instead

Religious opponents of equality of rights for gay people held a rally in New York to oppose measures that would give gay couples the same recognition that heterosexual couples currently have. The National Organization for (sic) Marriage was one of the sponsors.

One speaker invited to address the several hundred sized crowd was Rev. Ariel Torres Ortega, who preached in Spanish, with an interpreter translating into English. The two-minute video below is of that incident.

The Reverend launches into a list of all the awful sins that will follow if you allow gay men to exist, the Bible says nothing about lesbians, an oversight I'm sure. The disjointed nature of the "sermon," being translated phrase by phrase makes it a bit difficult to follow. But  it goes something like this:

Committing sexual acts between man and man. And receiving the retribution of the things that they have done....(long list of other sins)...those who practice such things are worthy to death, not only do they that do it, but those who also practice it.

So, apparently at this NOM Rally one of their prime speakers, instead allowing gay men to marry, wants to have them executed.

This isn't the first time this sentiment has been expressed at a NOM rally, though I believe it is the first time they turned the microphone over to someone who wants gay men killed. (Please note the verse in the Bible only mentions men, and that the Bible no where even acknowledges that lesbians exist.) At a rally in Indianapolis the following sign was held by one minister. It is titled: "The Solution to Gay Marriage" and shows two nooses. It then quotes Leviticus saying that gay men "shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." It then references  Cross Bearer Ministry and gives their contact details.

I fear most Americans do not understand the absolute depth of hatred that these fundamentalists have for gay people.

Below is a second video, this time from a rally for gay rights in Australia. The peaceful rally when disrupted when a group of fundamentalists literally stormed into the rally shouting at the people assembled that God hates them. I had read accounts of this but hadn't seen any video until now. It appears these fundamentalists were quite intent on disrupting the event. Who is aggressing against whom here? No doubt, the Religious Right will portray these fundamentalists as victims of hate, but the video shows the opposite.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fundamentalism and Intolerance

Today I stumbled upon Andrew Himes, as well a relative of his, Stephen Lamb. The reason I found them of interest is that both are descendants of fundamentalist power-house John R. Rice, whose publication The Sword of the Lord, was a major voice for fundamentalist intolerance in the United States. To get the relationships clear: Stephen is the great-grandson of Rice, Himes is the grandson of Rice, and uncle to Lamb.)

Above Himes talks about how black children were treated in his school in Tennessee. It is god-awful to listen to the description and I fear, had I been there, that I would have broken down emotionally as he did. It is shameful. But this is par for the course in the fundamentalist South.

Many people simply don't understand the origins of the "Christian school" movement in America. They think the inspiration was godlessness in government schools. Such secularism was a factor, but it was a minor factor. The real inspiration for the Christian schools movement in the United States was racism. Most these schools cropped up in the American South as a means to avoid having to send white children to school where black children would be allowed to attend.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Newest Loans from Adam Smith Benevolent Fund

Vahobov Hamza
As believers in voluntary charity we try to practice what we preach. The purpose of the Adam Smith Benevolent Fund, through the Moorfield Storey Institute, is to make donations or loans to worthy causes. Our microlending projects are meant to encourage self-sufficiency and encourage economic development in poorer nations. We believe that this development will reduce social conflict, increase individual well-being and promote peace.

In the microlending project we look for individuals who have exhibited some ability in their field and who need a temporary loan in order to expand their business. As these loans are repaid they accumulate and are then lent out to new individuals for new projects. A portion of donations we receive, as well as income earned through our book distribution service, www.fr33minds.com, are used for these charitable purposes.

The most recent loan we made is to Vahobov Hamza, who runs a business selling spare parts for cars in Kurgantyube, Tajikistan. Vahobov has been in business for 16 years and is an experience entrepreneur. His kiosk is located in a good location with lots of traffic. He started his business because he wanted independence from government and from working for someone else. He wishes to expand his business. We wish him the best in his venture and are happy to make a small loan to make this possible.

Half of this loan is new money invested by the Storey Institute and half is from previous loans that are being paid back.

We recently made a donation, not a loan, to the Master Teachers by Satellite for Afghanistan project run by our friend Carol Ruth Silver. Using the One Laptop Per Child laptop computer the program delivers education to children without schools and without teachers. In Kabul at this time Carol Ruth reports that the city is looking better but that the most exciting thing for her is "crowds of girls, in their white scarf uniform, coming from their shift at schools." We are pleased to have a small part in helping this worthy project and appreciate Carol Ruth's efforts, throughout the years, to make life better for everyone.

As a charitable, educational organization we rely entirely on donations or income earned through the sales of book at our fr33minds.com website. Your help allows us to continue our educational efforts to insure equal rights for all Americans, to promote the concepts and values of a free and just society, and to help promote economic development in the developing world. You may make donations either by calling our toll-free at 866-254-3701 or by donating through the Fr33minds website.

The Bully Project

The video speaks for itself.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Damn the Facts. Full Speed Ahead

Here is a perfect example of how Right-wing web sites, with the flimsiest bits of evidence, make grand pronouncements that can be devastating to a person’s reputation and career. Kyle Olson is founder and CEO of something called the “Education Action Group Foundation” dedicated to “exposing those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo” and apparently at exposing Reds, Commies, Pinkos and Marxists.

He contributes to Right-wing sites such Townhall.com and has been cited by “Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.” In other words, he is considered a reputable source for information in Right-wing circles. Recently he exposed a college professor who he said was “explaining how to push Marxist principles in public school classrooms.”

The professor in question, according to Olson’s article on Andrew Breitbart’s site Big Government, is a “self-described  ‘Marxist educator.’” Olson claims the professor “explained in a video that Marxist teachers must show children early in their school years, before they become ‘conditioned’ capitalists.  He says this will help form the ‘cadre of revolutionaries’ that will be necessary to bring about a socialist government and economy.”

According to this well-respected “researcher,” a source for Limbaugh and Beck, this professor is peddling “poison that is filling the brains of America’s students and future leaders.”

What fringe Right groups pass off as research is so shoddy and unreliable, that they targeted a man who is not only NOT a Marxist, but a philosopher who was influenced by Ayn Rand. Dr. Stephen Hicks teaches philosophy at Rockford University, and runs the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship. He was a Fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation and was Senior Fellow at The Objectivist Center. He’s also been a contributor The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.

Monday, May 2, 2011

NRA inserts itself in DOMA controversy.

One would expect the National Rifle Association to defend the rights of gun owners and not really concern itself with the rights of others. They are supposed to be a one-issue lobbying group. So, I don’t get worried when they refuse to defend the First Amendment and instead concentrate on the Second Amendment. I’m the sort of guy who likes all of the Bill of Rights, not just selective parts of it. If anything the Bill of Rights didn’t go far enough for me.

But I would not expect the NRA to actively insert itself in campaigns to deny other people their rights. But that is precisely what the NRA has done. That, in my opinions, moves them into a whole different category.

First, some background regarding the situation with the law firm King & Spalding. Unfortunately a lot of conservatives have actively been lying about the facts to twist the case into something far different than what it really is.

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives recently hired King & Spalding. They wanted the firm to defend the odious Defense of Marriage Act, a measure that created a federal definition of marriage for the first time in history. Previously marriage was regulated as the state level. Republicans, in the name of states’ rights, moved the definition to the federal level so that it trumps state definitions on all federal matters.