Liberty

Stephen Ware: Debate on masks, freedom

Stephen Ware: Debate on masks, freedom

Can libertarians accept a mask mandate? This op-ed by Kansas University Law Professor and noted libertarian Stephen Ware shows how libertarians can tolerate, if not embrace, a government mandate to wear masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19. It is free to read in the Topeka Capital-Journal here. Here is an excerpt that I believe presents the heart of the reasoning: In that sense, a mask requirement is less like a seatbelt law designed to protect the wearer and more like a law against driving under the influence of alcohol. Many deaths have been caused by drunken drivers who…
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In Wichita, the surveillance state expands again — and again

In Wichita, the surveillance state expands again — and again

In Wichita, we see another example of how once government starts a surveillance program, the urge to expand it is irresistible. Earlier this year the City of Wichita installed 70 cameras in Old Town for the purpose of enhancing public safety. [1. Leflier, Dion. If you think someone’s watching you in Old Town -- they are. Wichita Eagle, June 22, 2017. Available at http://www.kansas.com/news/local/crime/article157654759.html.] Now we've learned two things, according to Wichita Eagle reporting: The cameras aided in making one arrest for a serious crime, and the role of the cameras has expanded to include traffic enforcement. [2. Manna, Nicole.…
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In Wichita, the surveillance state expands again

In Wichita, the surveillance state expands again

In Wichita, we see another example of how once government starts a surveillance program, it probably won't produce the promised results, yet will be expanded. This week the Wichita City Council will consider adding more surveillance cameras to Old Town. City documents don't specify how many video cameras will be installed as part of the $618,261 program (for one-time installation costs only), except that it may be "as many as 100." The city is also asking council members to pass an ordinance with bonding authority of up to $750,000 to pay for this project. In other words, the city is…
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The unprecedented campaign against free speech

The unprecedented campaign against free speech

The political left's campaign to silence opponents and reorder society in accordance with their personal beliefs is in many ways the single greatest threat to America's experiment in self-governance, writes Mark Holden. The unprecedented campaign against free speech By Mark Holden. Originally published in The Hill. The liberal Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once warned of the biggest danger facing free speech: "If you have no doubt of your premises or your power, and want a certain result with all your heart, you naturally express your wishes in law, and sweep away all opposition." Yet many lawmakers today are…
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AFP Foundation wins a battle for free speech for everyone

AFP Foundation wins a battle for free speech for everyone

Americans for Prosperity Foundation achieves a victory for free speech and free association. Must donors to non-profit organizations live in “fear of exercising their First Amendment right to support” any organization, which effect is to “diminish the amount of expressive and associational activity?” Should these people be denied the right to their speech? The constitution says, no. Non-profit organizations file a form known as IRS Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. [1. Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (2016). Irs.gov. Available at www.irs.gov/uac/About-Form-990.] The first part of this form is public information and may…
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‘Love Gov’ humorous and revealing of government’s nature

‘Love Gov’ humorous and revealing of government’s nature

A series of short videos from the Independent Institute entertains and teaches lessons at the same time. The Independent Institute has produced a series of humorous and satirical videos to present lessons about the nature of government. The Institute describes the series here: Love Gov depicts an overbearing boyfriend -- Scott “Gov” Govinsky -- who foists his good intentions on a hapless, idealistic college student, Alexis. Each episode follows Alexis's relationship with Gov as his intrusions wreak (comic) havoc on her life, professionally, financially, and socially. Alexis's loyal friend Libby tries to help her see Gov for what he really…
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Classical liberalism means liberty, individualism, and civil society

Not to be confused with modern American liberalism or liberal Republicans, classical liberalism places highest value on liberty and the individual. In a short video, Nigel Ashford of Institute for Humane Studies explains the tenets of classical liberalism. Not to be confused with modern American liberalism or liberal Republicans, classical liberalism places highest value on liberty and the individual. Modern American liberals, or progressives as they often prefer to be called, may value some of these principles, but most, such as free markets and limited government -- and I would add individualism and toleration -- are held in disdain by…
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David Theroux: C.S. Lewis on mere liberty and the evils of statism

Following is a very interesting lecture I recommend you view or listen to. David J. Theroux, founder and president of The Independent Institute and the C.S. Lewis Society of California, discusses the writings of C.S. Lewis and Lewis's views on liberty, natural law and statism. The presentation was the keynote talk at the first annual conference of Christians for Liberty, that was held at St. Edwards University in San Antonio, TX, August 2, 2014. View below, or click here to view in high definition at YouTube. For further discussion, see the following: "C.S. Lewis on Mere Liberty and the Evils…
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Fireworks!

Fireworks!

In honor of our nation's birthday, a video presentation of photographs of fireworks that I have taken. View below, or click here to view at YouTube.
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Defining liberty: The future of freedom

From The Independent Institute, an important video on current and future issues relating to freedom and liberty. How can Americans overcome record government spending and debt, escalating healthcare costs, intrusive federal surveillance, endless wars, ongoing economic malaise, high unemployment, failing schools, and increasing abuses of civil and economic liberties? In this superb, new video from the recent, sold-out event sponsored by The Independent Institute and The Smith Center for Private Enterprise Studies (CSU-East Bay), former, twelve-term Congressman and Presidential candidate, Dr. Ron Paul, takes a candid look at America’s increasingly dysfunctional political system. Drawing on his 24 years in Congress, he highlights the need to rein in unchecked government…
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Recommended reading: Foundations of a Free Society

Described as "An introduction to the core principles that define a free society," I highly recommend this short book. It's written by Eamonn Butler and published by Institute of Economic Affairs, a British think tank whose mission is to "improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems." (Being written in British English, a few words are spelled wrongly now and then.) The book may be purchased or downloaded at no charge at Foundations of a Free Society. Here is the summary of the book,…
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Zoltan Kesz on collectivism and racism in Hungary

Zoltan Kesz on collectivism and racism in Hungary

Zoltan Kesz, founder of the Free Market Foundation in Hungary, speaks to a luncheon gathering at the Wichita, Kansas Pachyderm Club on February 21, 2014. For more about this topic, see In Hungary, the rise of nationalism and racism. View the video below, or click here to view at YouTube. Paul Soutar is the videographer.
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In Hungary, the rise of nationalism and racism

In Hungary, the rise of nationalism and racism

Zoltán Kész will speak at the Wichita Pachyderm Club on Friday February 21. The public is welcome to attend. For more information on this event, see Hungarian activist to address Pachyderms and guests. In Hungary, nationalism and racism are rising problems. The Free Market Foundation of Hungary, co-founded by Zoltán Kész fights against these problems. Last November Kesz was in Wichita and I visited with him and a small group. I asked about economic freedom in Hungary, noting that according to the economic freedom of the world report, Hungary was about in the middle of the European countries, although it…
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John J. Ingalls Spirit of Freedom Award

Last night I was recognized by the Kansas Policy Institute with the John J. Ingalls Spirit of Freedom Award. Following are my remarks I delivered to the audience. Thank you. I'm humbled to be recognized this way by the Kansas Policy Institute. I am also honored to be receiving this award along with John Todd, who really deserves this more than I, and who is an inspiration to me. I'd like to say thank you for the support of my mother Marty and my wife Lynn. Thank you also to the board of trustees of KPI and its chair George…
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Why Liberty

Cato Institute senior fellow Tom G. Palmer has released another new book in what seems to be an annual series aimed at young people. This year's book is titled Why Liberty. The book's webpage is at Why Liberty, and you can download your copy there. Why Liberty is described as "a broad and multidisciplinary introduction to the ideas of liberty. It focuses not just on political theory but also on liberty through the lens of culture, entrepreneurship, health, art, technology, philosophy, and the transformative power of freedom. Edited by Dr. Tom G. Palmer, the book features articles from experts in…
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Classical liberalism means liberty, individualism, and civil society

In a short video, Nigel Ashford of Institute for Humane Studies explains the tenets of classical liberalism. Not to be confused with modern American liberalism or liberal Republicans, classical liberalism places highest value on liberty and the individual. Modern American liberals, or progressives as they often prefer to be called, may value some of these principles, but most, such as free markets and limited government -- and I would add individualism and toleration -- are held in disdain by them. Here are the principles of classical liberalism that Ashford identifies: Liberty is the primary political value. "When deciding what to…
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Laws that do harm

As we approach another birthday of Milton Friedman, here's his column from Newsweek in 1982 that explains that despite good intentions, the result of government intervention often harms those it is intended to help. There is a sure-fire way to predict the consequences of a government social program adopted to achieve worthy ends. Find out what the well-meaning, public-interested persons who advocated its adoption expected it to accomplish. Then reverse those expectations. You will have an accurate prediction of actual results. To illustrate on the broadest level, idealists from Marx to Lenin and the subsequent fellow travelers claimed that communism…
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Surveillance state arrives in Wichita

In an effort to control crime in Old Town, Wichita is importing the police surveillance state. Right now the targeted area is a small part of the city during certain periods of time. But once camera use has started, it is likely to spread across town, especially given the enthusiasm of police and elected officials like Wichita city council member Lavonta Williams (district 1, northeast Wichita), according to Wichita Eagle reporting. Many people may not be aware of the gross invasion of privacy that government cameras represent. Have you used the facial recognition technology in Google's Picasa software? It's uncanny…
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Central planning: Are we humans or pawns?

From LearnLiberty.org, a project of Institute for Humane Studies, a video titled Adam Smith and the Follies of Central Planning. "How do you like being told what to do? If someone tells you to do something you find enjoyable or fulfilling, you may not mind. What if you are told to do something contrary to what you would choose for yourself? What if the government was the one telling you to do it? Adam Smith, the philosopher and father of economics, talks about a "man of system," a central planner who believes he can orchestrate the lives of others, like…
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