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Liberty Is the Politics of Love

November 19, 2014 in Blogs

By Robin Koerner

You know you love someone when you want for them what they want for themselves.

The three little words that really convey this sentiment are not, “I love you,” which can mean all kinds of things to all kinds of people; rather they are, “As you wish.”

Love is kind, expansive, proactive, and fundamentally non-constraining. And although some of us may disagree on a positive definition of love, we can surely all agree about what it is not: restricting, compelling, imposing, or violating the right of another to pursue his own happiness and self-actualization. Those characteristics attach to something altogether incompatible with love – and that is Fear.

And it is evident that fear has also been the driver of our nation’s politics for many years.

In a divided nation, as partisans work to use the political system and the institutions of power to impose their worldview on those who disagree with them, could we develop a politics not of Fear or imposition, but of Love? What would it look like? What system or philosophy could possibly be Love, politicized?

The answer is the politics of Liberty. Liberty, like Love, says to its recipients, “As You Wish” or “I want for you what you want for yourself.” Liberty seeks to build a society in which people can express themselves most fully because they can express themselves most freely.

While this identity between Liberty and Love is for me the best argument for the former as a political philosophy, it poses serious challenges to those of us who are fighting for it.

As I discussed with the wonderful Jeffrey Tucker on two episodes of my Blue Republican Radio show, liberty that is not Loving is not true liberty. Even libertarianism, like all political philosophies, can become a dogma, purporting a principled basis but in practice chiefly concerned with proving its own rightness and imposing itself on unwilling recipients. Even libertarianism can be imposed without consent – but only if it is not loving, and fails to put people first.

Tucker calls the latter tendency “Brutalism,” after the architectural school that was associated with the Soviet ideology and era – for, like brutalist architecture, brutalist libertarianism refuses to make any concessions to the culture, history or aesthetics of the people who are supposed to …read more

Source: ROBIN KOERNER BLOG

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Coming in Winter 2015

November 19, 2014 in History

November 19, 2014 11:45 a.m.

In January and February, 2015, American Experience is premiering five new documentaries. “More than ever before,” said Executive Producer Mark Samels, “this season’s films reflect on times when American was dealing with many of the iddues that we find ourselves facing today – murky wars with no simple way out, institutionalized racism, and terrifying contagions that arouse public panic and fear.” Watch this synopsis with Mark’s commentary, and check out descriptions below.

Ripley: Believe It or Not
January 6, 9/8c
Robert LeRoy Ripley rose to fame during the Great Depression, transforming himself from a skinny, bucktoothed boy into an entertainer who mesmerized the nation with a razzle-dazzle blend of homespun Americana, colorful exotica, and freakish oddities. Over three decades, his “Believe It or Not!” franchise grew into an entertainment empire, expanding from newspapers to every form of “new media” in the 20th century: radio, film, and ultimately, television. At the center of it all was Ripley, whose obsession with the odd and keen eye for the curious made him one of the richest men in the country. Americans not only loved his bizarre fare, but were fascinated by the man himself, and the eccentric, globetrotting playboy became an unlikely national celebrity.

Klansville U.S.A.
January 13, 9/8c
As the civil rights movement grew in the 1960s, the long-dormant Ku Klux Klan reemerged with a vengeance. That the Klan would rise up once again wasn’t surprising, but where the reincarnation took place was. North Carolina, long seen as the most progressive southern state, saw a boom in Klan membership under the leadership of Bob Jones, the most successful Grand Dragon in the country. In just three years, he grew the North Carolina Klan from a handful of friends to some 10,000 members – more than the Klans of all other southern states combined. In the process, Jones helped give the Tarheel State a new nickname: “Klansville, U.S.A.”

Edison
January 20, 9/8c (2 hours)
By the time he died in 1931, Thomas Alva Edison was one of the most famous men in the world, and the name “Edison” was virtually synonymous with invention. The holder of more patents than any other inventor in history, Edison had been lauded during his lifetime for the invention of sound recording, motion pictures, and electric light, and would be remembered as the genius who created the modern world. Edison explores the complex alchemy …read more

Source: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

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Why Congress Should Legalize Pot

November 19, 2014 in Economics

By Jeffrey Miron

Jeffrey Miron

Following the liberal footsteps of Colorado and Washington, Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia passed ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana this month. Florida’s medical marijuana law failed, but only because as a constitutional amendment it needed 60% support; 58% voted in favor of it.

In 2016, another five to 10 states will likely consider legalization — possibly Arizona, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. It’s not surprising. Opinion polls show that marijuana legalization now commands majority support across the country.

Do these developments mean that full legalization is inevitable?

Any society that professes to value liberty should leave adults free to consume marijuana.”

Not necessarily, but one would hope so. Marijuana legalization is a policy no-brainer. Any society that professes to value liberty should leave adults free to consume marijuana.

Moreover, the evidence from states and countries that have decriminalized or medicalized marijuana suggests that policy plays a modest role in limiting use. And while marijuana can harm the user or others when consumed inappropriately, the same applies to many legal goods such as alcohol, tobacco, excessive eating or driving a car.

Recent evidence from Colorado confirms that marijuana’s legal status has minimal impact on marijuana use or the harms allegedly caused by use. Since commercialization of medical marijuana in 2009, and since legalization in 2012, marijuana use, crime, traffic accidents, education and health outcomes have all followed their pre-existing trends rather than increasing or decreasing after policy liberalized.

The strong claims made by legalization critics are not borne out in the data. Likewise, some strong claims by legalization advocates — e.g., that marijuana tourism would be a major boom to the economy — have also not materialized.

The main impact of Colorado’s legalization has been that marijuana users can now purchase and use with less worry about harsh legal ramifications.

Yet despite the compelling case for legalization, and progress toward legalization at the state level, ultimate success is not assured.

Federal law still prohibits marijuana, and existing jurisprudence (Gonzales v. Raich 2005) holds that federal law trumps state law when it comes to marijuana prohibition. So far, the federal government has mostly taken a hands-off approach to state medicalizations and legalizations, but in January 2017, the country will have a new president. That person could order the attorney general to enforce federal prohibition regardless of state law.

Whether that will happen is hard to …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The 2014 Tax Revolt

November 19, 2014 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

As they whistle past the post-election graveyard, Democrats have found a new tune: Voters may have rejected their candidates for everything from U.S. Senate to dogcatcher, but they really still agree with them on the issues.

Of course this clearly isn’t true when it comes to Obamacare, which just dropped to its lowest approval ever in the most recent Gallup poll. And as we examine the election results in more detail, it’s apparent that voters don’t much like other liberal ideas — like tax hikes — either.

Kansas is exhibit A. Democrats and much of the media were convinced that Republican governor Sam Brownback’s decision to slash state taxes would doom him. Brownback cut the personal-income-tax rate by more than a third, from 6.45 to 3.9 percent, and Kansas became the first state ever to completely eliminate taxes on pass-through income (income earned by individual business proprietors). The papers were full of stories suggesting that Brownback was “an object lesson in the limits of conservative governance,” according to the Washington Post. “Tax Cuts on Trial in Governors’ Races,” echoed a headline in the New York Times. The Fiscal Times warned “Brownback Feeling Big Backlash to Tax Cuts in Kansas.”

American voters are clearly fed up with a government that demands ever more and more of their money.”

But when the smoke cleared, Brownback was reelected.

So were other tax-cutting Republican governors. Obviously taxes were far from the only issue in these races. Still, it is interesting that of the two Republican governors who lost reelection, the most prominent — Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania — was one of the few who raised taxes.

Taxes were a big issue in blue states, as well. In fact, they may have been the biggest reason that some normally solid-blue states turned red. In Massachusetts, for instance, Democratic candidate Martha Coakley said she wanted to explore ways to replace the state’s flat 5.2 percent income tax with a graduated one. She also opposed an initiative on the ballot that would repeal automatic indexation of the state’s gas tax. While Coakley left the door open to additional tax hikes in the future, her opponent, Charlie Baker, ran on a firm “no new taxes” platform. No doubt Coakley was a poor candidate all around, but this was still Massachusetts, the home of Michael Dukakis, Ted Kennedy, and John Kerry. That Baker will be the next governor shows that the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Sen. Paul Blocks the Renewal of Patriot Act

November 19, 2014 in Politics & Elections

Earlier this evening, Sen. Rand Paul voted against further consideration of the USA Freedom Act as it currently extends key provisions of the Patriot Act until 2017. Sen. Paul led the charge against the Patriot Act extension and offered the following statement: “In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Americans were eager to catch and punish the terrorists who attacked us. I, like most Americans, demanded justice. But one common misconception is that the Patriot Act applies only to foreigners—when in reality, the Patriot Act was instituted precisely to widen the surveillance laws to include U.S. citizens,” Sen. Paul said, “As Benjamin Franklin put it, ‘those who trade their liberty for security may wind up with neither.’ Today’s vote to oppose further consideration of the Patriot Act extension proves that we are one step closer to restoring civil liberties in America.” …read more

Source: RAND PAUL