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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘libertarian movement’

The Second Amendment Works – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 21, 2020

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/01/james-ostrowski/the-second-amendment-works/

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Note: This is an excerpt from The Second Amendment Works:  A Primer on How to Defend Our Most Important Right.

When I was a teenager, I supported gun control.  I had no real understanding of the issue, having never been taught about the history, purpose or efficacy of the right to bear arms in school.  I read Robert Sherrill’s book, The Saturday Night Special, and supported candidates who were anti-gun such as Ramsey Clark and Morris Udall.  I was on all other issues strongly in favor of civil liberties, but I did not make the connection at a young age.

In 1979, I joined the libertarian movement which is based on the natural rights of the individual to life, liberty and property, so the right to bear arms was an obvious part of the package.  Occasionally over the years, I would discuss the Second Amendment in my writings. In 1994, I wrote a column for the Mises Institute called “Guns and Drugs,”[1] in which I predicted, correctly, that the violence caused by the war on drugs would lead to an intensification of the war on guns, ironically since most gun owners favored the war on drugs.  I have urged, to no avail so far, advocates of the right to bear arms to join forces with advocates of the right to bear drugs, both being private property.  In the same article, published fourteen years before Heller v. District of Columbia, I argued that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms to deter government tyranny.

In 2001, the Journal of Libertarian Studies published my article on “The Rise and Fall of Jury Nullification,” in which I drew an analogy between the right to trial by jury and the right to bear arms, as instances of the Founders preserving liberty by allowing the people to retain certain fundamental rights lest the government get out of control.  That article, heavily reproduced herein, reiterates that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms, not merely the right of states to maintain militias.

Although a long-time Second Amendment advocate, I only got involved with gun litigation in recent years.  In 2015, I filed a lawsuit to overturn the New York Pistol Permit Law.  That case, Libertarian Party of Erie County v. Cuomo, is pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  At oral argument last year, the Court indicated it would hold the case until the Supreme Court issued a ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. City of New York, argued on December 2, 2019.

In the lower courts, I have won some gun cases and lost some gun cases.  My biggest win so far was overturning the first SAFE Act conviction in People v. Wassell, 2019 NY Slip Op 03187 (4th Dept. 2019).  However, overall, New York State courts continue to operate as if Heller and McDonald had never been decided.

Frustrated with lower court rulings ignoring Heller and noting that public opinion appeared to be swinging against the right to bear arms, I helped organize a forum on Second Amendment strategy in Batavia, New York on April 15, 2018.  As a result of that meeting, it was decided that the movement needed a short, readable primer on the Second Amendment that would be made freely available to all those interested in learning the history and purpose of the Second Amendment.  I hope this book fulfills that mission.

There was no foundation or deep pocket behind this book.  It is the product of a genuine grassroots movement.  It effectively responds to and rebuts a gun confiscation movement funded by billionaires who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to take your guns away by force.  These men and women have armed bodyguards protecting them 24 hours a day.  They have the most sophisticated security systems money can buy protecting their many mansions.  They are driven around in limousines.  They are shielded from the mean streets that most of us must navigate daily. Despite being outspent by hundreds of millions of dollars, I have the advantage of having truth and justice on my side.  With all their billions, the sponsors of gun confiscation cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

If you like this book, you can support my work on behalf of American liberty by buying my other books: Political Class Dismissed (2004), Government Schools Are Bad for Your Kids (2009), Direct Citizen Action (2010) and Progressivism: A Primer (2014)These books form a quadrilogy that, together, provides the education about politics and liberty you did not receive in any school.

Though I make much of my living selling books, I decided this cause was so important that I would make this book available for free online at 2awny.com and at libertymovement.org (forthcoming).  We will also be making print copies available at cost.  To take advantage of the world’s best distribution system, the book will also be available for sale at Amazon.com for a nominal cost since Amazon has to make a living too. Please spread the word far and wide because the Gun Grabbers are coming!  The Gun Grabbers are coming!

[1] See, Appendix.

Be seeing you

 

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Ayn Rand’s Greatest Mistake – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on December 28, 2019

As I finally began to realize, business people, Rand’s heroic figures notwithstanding, generally aren’t the champions of laizze-faire and free market voluntary exchange many libertarians tend to assume. Often, quite the contrary. Assuming otherwise was Ayn Rand’s greatest mistake.

Merchants using government to stifle the competition etc. is nearly as old as government itself. Like this “seven or eight hundred years’” effort to stifle competition from rural textile production and early trading for example – – –

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/12/l-reichard-white/ayn-rands-greatest-mistake/

By

It was those heady early days of the Libertarian Movement. Icons like David Nolan, Murray Rothbard and James Libertarian Burns still walked the earth — and L. Neil Smith was just getting up a head of steam.

That’s when I got my first clue to Ayn Rand’s greatest mistake, though, as often happens, I failed to understand it at the time. It came as Larry Moser and I gave a talk to the Las Vegas Junior Chamber of Commerce (the “JCs“).

We presented two libertarian issues; heroin decriminalization to demonstrate civil liberties and voluntary exchange in free markets to demonstrate economic freedom. Since JCs are business folks, we figured we’d get static on decriminalization, but if we addressed the free-trade issues last, we would leave them happy.

Sure enough, immediately after the decriminalization presentation one JC stood up and in no uncertain terms told us we were crazy to propose such a thing. Before we could answer, another JC said, “Sit down Bob. They’re right.”

There was a murmur of assent from the rest of the thirty or so, presumably conservative, business folks in the audience.

Larry and I looked at each other amazed. We figured we were over the hump.

After our free market presentation, however, there was dead silence. We felt a chill. Someone murmured something like “You can’t have that sort of thing going on.” Another murmur of assent. What was going on here?

My second clue came a few years later at the Colorado LP Presedential Nominating Convention just outside Denver where Bill Huncher was squaring off against Ed Clark. It came in a story related to me by a libertarian, let’s call him “Jim,” running for office in Colorado.

Jim had managed to get an appointment with Adolph Coors Jr., purportedly a libertarian sympathizer himself. During small-talk, Coors expressed admiration and support for the Libertarian Party and its “bold pro-freedom platform” about which he proved himself well informed. However when Jim asked for a campaign contribution, Mr. Coors declined.

If you were elected, you’d eliminate the ICC (Interstate Commerce Commission) wouldn’t you?” he asked. Jim responded that, in accordance with the LP Platform, indeed he would.

Mr. Coors explained that because of a regulatory technicality, Coors trucking subsidiaries didn’t have to “dead-head” and could bring their trucks back loaded, something ICC didn’t permit other trucking companies to do at the time.

ICC literally defined a truck returning full as “illegal competition” with the railroads. Coors Jr. forth-rightly told Jim that elimination of the ICC would thus weaken Coors’ competitive advantage and so he couldn’t justify supporting Libertarian candidates.

And another clue: In the late 1970s, developers in Lake Tahoe wanted to build a hotel/casino they were calling “The Park Tahoe,” but an environmental organization calling itself approximately “The Society to Preserve Lake Tahoe” (SPLT) blocked them every step of the way.

The main movers and shakers behind SPLT weren’t, however, environmentalists; they were Harrah’s, Harvey’s, Barney’s, Sahara Tahoe, and the other hotel/casino operators already established in the Stateline-South Shore area. Had all these casino organizations suddenly become environmentally conscious?

Shortly after the grand opening of Park Tahoe — which later became Caesar’s Tahoe — a local rancher applied for permits to build yet another hotel/casino across the street. Would you care to guess the identity of the newest environmentally conscious member of SPLT who zealously led the fight against this newest environmental hazard?

Park Tahoe of course!

As I finally began to realize, business people, Rand’s heroic figures notwithstanding, generally aren’t the champions of laizze-faire and free market voluntary exchange many libertarians tend to assume. Often, quite the contrary. Assuming otherwise was Ayn Rand’s greatest mistake.

Merchants using government to stifle the competition etc. is nearly as old as government itself. Like this “seven or eight hundred years’” effort to stifle competition from rural textile production and early trading for example – – –

“(h) The countryside was cut out of trade in the Middle Ages.
+
‘Up to and during the course of the fifteenth century the towns were the sole centers of commerce and industry to such an extent that none of it was allowed to escape into the open country’ (Pirenne, _Economic and Social History_, p.169). ‘The struggle against rural trading and against rural handicrafts lasted at least seven or eight hundred years’ (Heckscher, _Mercantilism_, 1935, Vol. I, p. 129). ‘The severity of these measures increased with the growth of ‘democratic government‘ . . . . ‘All through the fourteenth century regular armed expeditions were sent out against all the villages in the neighborhood and looms or fulling-vats [in which cloth was dyed] were broken or carried away.’ (Pirenne, op.cit., p. 211).” -Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation. (Boston: Beacon Press 1957), p. 277

You have to admit a century of loom-stealing and fulling-vat smashing shows persistence and dedication. And notice the connection to ‘democratic government.’

Seminal Austrian-school economist Ludwig von Mises completely understood the broader context of vested economic interests using government for their own ends, which of course, has been quite thoroughly perfected today – – –

The consumers do not care about the investments made with regard to past market conditions and do not bother about the vested interests of entrepreneurs, capitalists, land-owners, and workers… It is precisely the fact that the market does not respect vested interests that makes the people concerned ask for government interference. –Ludwig von Mises, Human Action

So, when vested interests ask for government interference — to protect themselves from markets and competition — they have to do it in cahoots with politicians.

To make this work, they regularly disguise the interference as “regulation.” They pretend “regulation” is to protect us “consumers” from businesses instead of the other way around.

You can catch a surprising glimpse of just how remarkably successful vested interests are at using politicians to get their disguised and bogus protective “regulation” here:

UNCOMMON SENSE: What government regulation is REALLY used for

HERE for updates, additions, comments, and corrections.

AND, “Like,” “Tweet,” and otherwise, pass this along!

Be seeing you

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Rothbard and War – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 26, 2019

First and foremost, war deforms us morally.

War corrupts the culture

War distorts reality itself. 

Be decent. Be human. Do not be deceived by the Joe Bidens, the John McCains, the John Boltons, Hillary Clintons and the whole gang of neocons.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/08/lew-rockwell/rothbard-on-war/

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This talk was delivered at the Ron Paul Institute’s Conference on Breaking Washington’s Addiction to War.

Murray Rothbard was the creator of the modern libertarian movement and a close friend of both Ron Paul and me. His legacy was a great one, and at the Mises Institute I try every day to live up to his hopes for us.

One issue was the most important to him, of all the many issues that concerned him. This was the issue of war and peace. Because of his support for a peaceful, noninterventionist foreign policy for America, the CIA agent William F. Buckley blacklisted him from National Review and tried, fortunately without success, to silence his voice.

During the 1950’s, Murray worked for the Volker Fund, and in a letter to Ken Templeton in 1959, he complained about the situation:  “I can think of no other magazine which might publish this, though I might fix it up a bit and try one of the leftist-pacifist publications. The thing is that I am getting more and more convinced that the war-peace question is the key to the whole libertarian business, and that we will never get anywhere in this great intellectual counterrevolution (or revolution) unless we can end this . . . cold war-a war for which I believe our tough policy is largely responsible.”

Buckley’s position was that it would be necessary to erect a “totalitarian bureaucracy” within our shores in order to battle communism abroad. The implication was that once the communist menace subsided, this extraordinary effort, domestic and foreign, could likewise diminish.

Since government programs do not have a habit of diminishing but instead seek new justifications when the old ones no longer exist, few of us were surprised when the warfare state, and its right-wing apologists, hummed right along after its initial rationale vanished from history.

As it turns out, by the way, the Soviet threat was grossly exaggerated, as such threats always are. The wickedness of the Soviet regime was never in doubt, but its capabilities and intentions were consistently distorted and overblown.

Despite the dubious foundations on which the hysterical claims behind the alleged “Soviet threat” rested, its existence ossified into one of the unchallengeable orthodoxies of National Review and of the broader conservative movement then being born. When Murray pointed out the silliness of the whole thing, not to mention the counterproductive nature of American military intervention abroad, he quickly became an un-person at National Review, which had published him in its early years.

Well before there was an official “conservative movement,” with its magazines, its crusty orthodoxies, its ineffectual think-tanks (complete with sinecures for ex-politicians) and its craving for respectability, there was a loose, less formal association of writers and intellectuals who opposed Franklin Roosevelt (in both his domestic and foreign policies), a group Murray dubbed the “Old Right.”

There was no party line among these intrepid thinkers because there was nobody to impose one.

Even into the 1950s and the advance of the Cold War, voices of restraint amidst the remnants of the Old Right could still be found. In a 1966 article, Murray points to the right-wing group For America, a political action group whose foreign-policy platform demanded “no conscription” as well as the principle, “Enter no foreign wars unless the safety of the United States is directly threatened.”

Murray likewise pointed to the Jeffersonian novelist Louis Bromfield, who wrote in 1954 that military intervention against the Soviet Union was counterproductive:

One of the great failures of our foreign policy throughout the world arises from the fact that we have permitted ourselves to be identified everywhere with the old, doomed, and rotting colonial-imperialist small European nations which once imposed upon so much of the world the pattern of exploitation and economic and political domination…. None of these rebellious, awakening peoples will…trust us or cooperate in any way so long as we remain identified with the economic colonial system of Europe, which represents, even in its capitalistic pattern, the last remnants of feudalism…. We leave these awakening peoples with no choice but to turn to Russian and communist comfort and promise of Utopia.

Murray likewise made note of a 1953 article by George Morgenstern, editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune, in Human Events (“now become a hack organ for the ‘Conservative Movement,’” Murray lamented in 1966) that deplored the imperialist tradition in American history. Morgenstern ridiculed those who “swoon on very sight of the phrase ‘world leadership,’” and wrote:

An all-pervasive propaganda has established a myth of inevitability in American action: all wars were necessary, all wars were good. The burden of proof rests with those who contend that America is better off, that American security has been enhanced, and that prospects of world peace have been improved by American intervention in four wars in half a century. Intervention began with deceit by McKinley; it ends with deceit by Roosevelt and Truman.

Perhaps we would have a rational foreign policy…if Americans could be brought to realize that the first necessity is the renunciation of the lie as an instrument of foreign policy.

With the advent of National Review, these increasingly isolated voices would be silenced and marginalized. Even the heroic John T. Flynn, whose anti-FDR biography The Roosevelt Myth had reached number two on the New York Times bestseller list, was turned away from National Review when he tried to warn of the dangers of a policy of military interventionism.

Why did Murray oppose war? Here are a few points basic to his thought:…

You will have to see for yourself here…

See through the propaganda. Stop empowering and enriching the state by cheering its wars. Set aside the television talking points. Look at the world anew, without the prejudices of the past, and without favoring your own government’s version of things.

Be decent. Be human. Do not be deceived by the Joe Bidens, the John McCains, the John Boltons, Hillary Clintons and the whole gang of necons. Reject the biggest government program of them all.

Peace builds. War destroys.

Let’s return for a moment to Murray. When he opposed the Vietnam War, he alienated not only National Review, the major right-wing magazine and the most important conservative voice in the country, as well as virtually everyone on the right. He had to write for a small number of newsletter subscribers. By the late 1960s, he told Walter Block there were probably only 25 libertarians in the entire world.

Things are much easier for us today, thanks in large part to Murray’s commitment and Ron Paul’s extraordinary example. There are now millions of people who are resolutely antiwar, and who don’t care which political party the president launching any particular war happens to belong to.

On top of that, it’s encouraging to know that younger people are much less convinced of the need for an interventionist foreign policy. The younger the audience, the less the warmongers’ fact-free exhortations fall on receptive ears.

This in my view is Murray Rothbard’s greatest legacy. It’s up to all of us to help carry it forward.

Be  seeing you

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