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September 11, 2001 – The day liberty died

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness – Declaration of Independence __________________________________________ As we approach another anniversary of the terrorist attacks that took place in New York City and Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001, we are reminded of many things. We remember the thousands of innocent lives that were lost and the billions of dollars lost in economic damage. As great and tragic as these losses were, there was another loss that is proving to be the greatest loss of all. Because it was on that dreadful day that liberty died in America. Sadly, the demise of this God-given right didn’t occur at the hands of the hijackers. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The Patriot Act. The Patriot Act II. Spying by the National Security Agency (NSA). Fake cell phone towers used to tap your cell phone. These are just a few examples of how government of, by, and for the people has become government over, above, and beyond the people. As the list of post-9/11 changes above shows, the president who “abandoned free market principles to save the free market system,” could […]

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Natural Rights in Europe and America: Shoring-Up Each Other’s Weak Spots

The Declaration of Independence made by the thirteen newly sovereign American states in 1776 recognizes “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These rights are not dependent on any government, and thus exist equally so in the state of nature. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, made in Europe thirteen years later, omits any mention of a creator-deity. “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights.” The equality here is more limited, being solely in terms of rights, “man’s natural and imprescriptible rights” in particular. These “are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.” We can thus compare and contrast the two sets of rights, which important implications for public policy for both America and Europe.


The entire essay is at “Natural Rights in Europe and America

Continue reading Natural Rights in Europe and America: Shoring-Up Each Other’s Weak Spots

Natural Rights in Europe and America: Shoring-Up Each Other’s Weak Spots

The Declaration of Independence made by the thirteen newly sovereign American states in 1776 recognizes “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These rights are not dependent on any government, and thus exist equally so in the state of nature. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, made in Europe thirteen years later, omits any mention of a creator-deity. “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights.” The equality here is more limited, being solely in terms of rights, “man’s natural and imprescriptible rights” in particular. These “are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.” We can thus compare and contrast the two sets of rights, which important implications for public policy for both America and Europe.


The entire essay is at “Natural Rights in Europe and America

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America’s Libertarian Moment?

I work at the libertarian Cato Institute (aka, America’s most effective think tank), and I think libertarianism is the philosophy that best reflects human decency. But I sometimes wonder why libertarians aren’t more persuasive and why there aren’t any libertarian societies. However, maybe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve been asked […]

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What Happens When Libertarian Fantasies Become Reality?

No, this post is not about that kind of fantasy. Instead, we’re dealing strictly with public policy and specifically addressing whether the libertarian agenda is unrealistic. This is because when I talk to people about libertarianism, they often will say something mildly supportive such as: “I like the idea of getting government out of my […]

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Libertarianism and Human Decency

Some people confuse being libertarian with being libertine. I’m sometimes asked, for instance, if I’m a libertarian because I want to smoke pot or do other drugs. I respond that I’ve never done drugs and have no desire to use drugs. Then I’m asked if I’m a libertarian because I want to gamble. I respond […]

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