The history of liberty and prosperity is inseparable from the practice of free enterprise and respect for the rule of law. Both are products of the spirit of classical liberalism. But a correct understanding of free enterprise, the rule of law, and liberalism (rightly understood) is greatly lacking in the world today.
The year that is just closing, 2015, has been full of events that continue to dominate the news, including renewed racial tensions on the streets of American cities, growing fears about terrorist attacks on the territory of the United States, and one of the most fear-focused presidential campaign seasons in living memory.
Free, competitive markets have been the engine for both freedom and prosperity. In addition, free market capitalism is morally based on the principle of individual rights to life, liberty and honestly acquired property, in which all social relationships require the voluntary and mutual consent of the participants.
It is a rare occurrence when Hollywood produces a film that neither glorifies the welfare-warfare state, nor vilifies capitalists and businessmen. Yet that is exactly what Marvel Studios has managed with the Iron Man series. In the character of Tony Stark we see the pinnacle of the capitalist fantasy: an ingenious businessman who values property rights and self-defense, and who does not compromise those fundamental rights in the face of government intimidation and force.
For a half century the idea that saturated fat in foods raises cholesterol and, consequently, causes heart attacks was dogma ostensibly justifying government regulation. The attacks on dietary fat have increased in recent years due to the “war on obesity.” But a new book based on nearly ten years of research has fired a devastating salvo in defense of this designated dietary enemy. The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz traces the origin of the fat myth from its faulty scientific beginning to its discrediting.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Monday, June 1, a power-plant proposal that seeks a 30% carbon dioxide emissions cut by 2030 from existing power plant, based on emission levels from 2005. With this proposal, the main piece of President Obama’s Climate Change Agenda has been set in motion. Although the rule is scheduled to be completed one year from now and will give flexibility to the states, it will regulate carbon emissions from hundreds of fossil-fuel power plants across the U.S. The 600 U.S. coal plants will be hardest hit by the standard.
Prominent libertarians have been making the news with various proposals to build libertarian paradises free of government control. Venture capitalist Peter Thiel has perhaps been the most vocal, with his support for building floating free cities in international waters well known. While such grand visions may be possible to achieve, they are still a ways off from fruition. If you are looking for a libertarian refuge in the here-and-now, however, there is a place for you to go: New Hampshire.
The issues surrounding the right to bear arms are many and varied. Most often the debate centers around the lethality of modern firearms, especially “assault weapons” that can fire rapidly with large magazines. Yet one element of the debate frequently referenced obliquely in the mainstream media concerns the actual intent and function of the Second Amendment. Some progressive groups have been endeavoring to turn the originalist position against itself, so to speak. Their arguments are often baffling to those unprepared for them, but they are easily beaten with a little preparation.
The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unlawful and unreasonable search and seizure. Yet that protection is being slowly eroded away. Thanks to the “War of Drugs” and the “War on Terror” government, at the state and federal level, has worked alongside the courts to gradually diminish the range and force of the protections that were meant to be inviolable rights of all citizens.
The banking crisis of 2008 and its attendant deep recession have been hailed by statists the world over as the ultimate demonstration of capitalist greed and a justification for more and more regulation and government control of the economy, particularly the financial sector. Their argument boils down to an accusation that private actors in the marketplace are incapable of dealing with systemic crises and that government is the only agent that can address the market as a whole in order to combat panics and economic shocks. That argument won out in the aftermath of the recession, leading to a raft of new regulations, most notably the voluminous Dodd-Frank Act.
The concept of the abortion selfie is in some ways an inevitable consequence of an increasingly atomized culture. Consider instead the lure that would motivate one to seek to share this moment, and then to share in the reaction to this moment from social media, and then to share again in the reaction to that reaction in the pages of Cosmo.
The siren song of independence and national self-determination has sounded once again across Europe. It is a song that holds echoes of a century ago, when the internal force of nationalism convulsed the European empires into world war. Yet, while the song remains the same, the tune has changed.
The Left has made an art form out of the maxim “If at first you don’t succeed – try, try again.” They perpetually push terrible, government-expanding policies – and no number of failures deters them from pushing until they win.
It is largely why they fight so hard to protect power grabs already won – no matter how huge the failures.
School teachers all over the nation are quitting their profession, often due to being forced to abandon what they considered an excellent education system and change to one they consider inferior. The faulty system they refer to is the new and highly controversial Common Core. Susan Sluyter recently provided her reason for resigning after 25 years of teaching. She stated “I have watched as my job requirements swung away from a focus on the children, their individual learning styles, emotional needs, and their individual families, interests and strengths, to a focus on testing, assessing, and scoring young children, thereby ramping up the academic demands and pressures on them.”
In whatever direction we turn, we find the heavy hand of government intruding into virtually every aspect of American society. Indeed, it has reached the point that it would a lot easier to list those areas of people’s lives into which government does not impose itself – and, alas, it would be a very short list. But it was not always that way.
If there is one label more than any other that principled advocates of individual liberty are often stamped with it is that they are “extremists.” How can you be so extreme, it is said, what is wrong with a compromise between personal freedom and some “reasonable” degree of government regulation, welfare legislation, and social intervention?
or almost a century, since the end of the First World War in 1918, mankind has been in search of international order and global peace through the political method of international organization. However, instead of peace among men, the last one hundred years as seen almost unending wars, great and small. Maybe it is because men have looked for peace from government rather than from a rebirth of the philosophy of individualism and classical liberalism.
Schoolyards are getting as regulated as the U.S. economy. A Colorado school, like many others, recently banned the game of “tag.” When kids run away from each other, they may trip, fall, and hurt themselves. A New York school banned kids from using balls during recess, but not during sports events, because “unstructured play with hardballs” is dangerous, school leaders said.
Russian president Vladimir Putin’s power grab and annexation of the Crimea has filled global news headlines as he attempts to reverse what he has called the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century” – the collapse of the Soviet Union. But it needs to be remembered that this conflict has its deeper roots in two ideas that have plagued the world for over two centuries: nationalism and government interventionism into economic affairs.