Americans’ rights and prosperity are being threatened by cronyism, Ayn Rand Institute’s Steven Simpson said last week during a symposium hosted by Heartland Institute in Chicago. “The issue is that government has too much power and has strayed far beyond its proper purpose of protecting rights,” Simpson declared.
October 25th marked the 247th birthday of one of the greatest voices of liberty, the French political philosopher of freedom, Benjamin Constant. He may not be a household name to friends of freedom today, but he should be. He wrote one of the most principled and consistent defenses of individual liberty and freedom of enterprise to appear in the last two hundred years, the Principles of Politics Applied to All Governments (1815).
A fundamental fallacy of our time is that democracy is the open-sesame to peace, freedom, and prosperity. The political events surrounding what was called the ill-fated “Arab Spring” a couple of years ago was a based on the idea that “democracy” would solve all the problems of any society. But democracy in itself does not define or guarantee a free society. History has told many stories of democratic societies that have degenerated into corruption, plunder, and tyranny.
America! For more than two hundred years the word has represented hope, opportunity, a second chance, and freedom. In America the accident of a man’s birth did not serve as an inescapable weight that dictated a person’s fate or that of his family. The individual owned his own life and was free to shape it as his own mind guided him.
With the birth of social media people have become far more interconnected to each other, and have become able to gain access to news and information with incredible rapidity. That new access has given groups unprecedented power to organize. Social networking tools have been mobilized in the United States to develop grassroots political action on a myriad of topics. It was what propelled Barack Obama to office, and it aided the swift rise and mobilization of the Tea Party.
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.
U.S. oil and natural gas production has skyrocketed in recent years thanks to hydraulic fracturing, a technology that allows engineers to access deep-underground resources from rock formations once too expensive to develop. This technology has made the United States the largest producer of natural gas in the world and on track to surpass Saudi Arabia as the leading producer of oil by 2015. The entire U.S. public benefits from this inexpensive domestic source of fuel.
Some of those who support government regulation–and most mainstream contributors do so–maintained that being opposed to government regulations is like being opposed to laws. And since laws are necessary for a just society, the inference was drawn that so are government regulations.
Why should unduly burdensome regulations that place obstacles in the path of those looking to exercise one right be struck down while equally burdensome regulations that infringe on another right are upheld?
If the demonization of the enforcement of intellectual property rights were to catch on, the brightest among us would be significantly less likely to invent in every case where the benefits of expending the effort do not overwhelmingly outweigh the costs.
The likelihood an innocent person will be injured or killed with a so-called ‘assault weapon’ is slim by any standard – let alone the standard that should be met before interfering with the freedoms of American citizens.