The government’s K-12 schools–aka “public schools”–are once again a battleground on which a bitter dispute is playing out. Wait!–once again? The government’s schools have been a battleground since their inception in the 19th century. Since that’s where the children are, how could it have been otherwise? For an institution that was supposed to produce social unity, it’s done the exact opposite.
When a libertarian says that the most basic individual right is the right not to be aggressed against, a clever interlocutor may accuse the libertarian of begging the question, of stuffing the rabbit into the hat. The trick, the critic will say, is in the word aggress: libertarians allegedly rig the game by restricting the category of aggression to only the actions they disapprove of, thereby institutionalizing many corrupt activities.
It’s always important not to miss the forest for the trees. U.S. government announcements, such as its report of the turnover to the Afghan government of the seventh and last military base in Afghanistan, Bagram, should lead no one to think that U.S. foreign policy has changed worldwide or even in that particular region. Far from it.
The libertarian philosophy is embedded in Enlightenment liberalism. This is clearly seen in its commitment to free inquiry (reason) and free speech, the full realization of which, I argue, requires complete respect for individual rights, including property rights.
Strictly speaking, liberty isn’t the solution to problems. It’s what creates the framework in which solutions can be discovered. That is an important distinction because it reminds us that advocates of full-blown liberty do not offer the world a problem-free society but “only” a society in which problems are discovered and problem-solvers are mobilized as quickly, fairly, and efficiently as impossible.
American leaders and their loyal media pundits love to sit in judgment of other countries’ election, declaring them fair or rigged according to their seemingly meticulous standards. In fact, the real standard is that the regimes “we” like hold free and fair (enough) elections, while the regimes “we” dislike don’t. What about regimes “we” like that hold no elections at all, like Saudi Arabia? They are forgotten whenever the loveliness of democracy is the topic of discussion.
Telling Guatemalans or anyone else “Do not come” is no different from telling them to stay in the place where they belong. The long-suffering victims of tyranny, corruption, and government planning are properly resentful of American officials who give them such a condescending admonition.
To better understand the nature of government, one can think of it as an agency that sells or, more precisely, rents power to others. The greater the power and the wider its scope, the more opportunities the state’s agents will have to sell access to it in return for favors.
When the Israeli government describes the conflict over the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem as just a “real-estate dispute,” it has a point.
Why should government at any level have the power to overrule how workers and companies define their relationships? This question has become more important than previously with the rise of the gig economy, in which workers such as Uber and Lyft drivers are regarded by their companies and themselves as independent contractors rather than conventional employees.