“Nowadays to be intelligible is to be found out.” — Oscar WildeIn the wacky world of American politics, if you as an employer have a religious objection to paying for your employees’ contraceptives, it is you who is contemptuous of religious freedom.As the New York Times editorial board lectured a judge who thinks otherwise, “the […]
Socialism is the big lie of the 20th century. While it promised prosperity, equality, and security, it delivered poverty, misery, and tyranny. Equality was achieved only in the sense that everyone was equal in his or her misery.In the same way that a Ponzi scheme or chain letter initially succeeds but eventually collapses, socialism may […]
Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government’s National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist’s camera. I shared with the world evidence proving some governments are building a worldwide surveillance system to secretly track how we live, who we talk to, and what we say. I […]
I opened a new bottle of probiotics this morning, and it had one of those circular seals on the top. You know, the one that reads, “Sealed for your protection.”And that seal got me thinking… how much protection do we need? How much security is enough?How much homogenization, pasteurization, disinfection, national security, etc…. do we […]
Last spring, Barack Obama told the graduating class of Ohio State University:“Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems… They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because […]
In the Huffington Post last week, Glenn Greenwald, Slate contributor Ryan Gallagher, and Ryan Grim had an investigative piece reporting that the NSA had been tracking the online porn-viewing habits of several Muslim leaders whom it viewed as radicals. A top-secret document shows that the agency was considering exposing these firebrands’ Internet dalliances as a […]
Americans are still trying to get a handle on the full extent of the government’s domestic spying activities, including the recent revelation that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been collecting and storing the email address books of ordinary Americans using online messaging services. Many users of such services are looking to tech executives for […]
A few months ago at a demonstration against the president of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, a Canadian citizen made the following claim: “We don’t have guns, we are not Americans, we are civilized.” A few days before, in early July, a train of the company had run away and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing […]
From the Tongue-In-Cheek Department of Laissez Faire Books…Washington, D.C. — Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, announced that her committee will hold a “major review into all intelligence-collection programs.” This surprising declaration followed the revelation, through documents leaked by government whistle-blower Edward Snowden, that the NSA has been listening to the […]
From the Tongue-in-Cheek Department of Laissez Faire Books…Washington, D.C. – The complex negotiations aimed at bringing a long-term solution to the federal government’s expenditure and debt problem have produced an unconventional proposal. “Although the solution only focuses on a tiny fraction of government expenditures,” declared President Barack Obama, “it is a step in the right […]
I’ve just spent a harrowing weekend reflecting on Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, the pamphlet that came out in January 1776 and turned the public toward seeking independence from Britain. I say harrowing because the distance between the ideals found in this pamphlet and those of today’s America is so vast as to be nearly unrecognizable.The […]
It was a wild ride last week in the world of the Deep Web, that section of the Internet that requires special tools to access. The feds took down the site called Silk Road and claim to have arrested its founder and administrator. The news streams were filled with lurid tales of derring-do in this […]
Want to know just how invasive the state is going to get in the United States?Well, take a look across the pond.In terms of the large, invasive state, we English are way ahead of you guys. We’re a good 50 or more years further down the road to serfdom.Nineteenth-century Britain was about as glorious a […]
A tense drama unfolded this week with the virtual shutdown of vital government agencies: the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as many other such federal agencies. Without them, the Founding Fathers could not have imagined the republic.Even if fewer […]
Three months after Edward Snowden’s leaks began to reveal the extent of the U.S.’ mass surveillance program, “serious people” are beginning to make the case that it’s time for the outrage and indignation to subside and give way to a “national conversation” about the future of surveillance. So has the moment come for us to […]
A sixth-grader has been suspended for drawing an inappropriate picture. The drawing did not include any gun, but showed a checkpoint backed up by a SWAT team carrying flower pots while an unarmed drone hovered above.The suspended girl, whose name is kept secret at the request of her family, said she “just wanted to draw […]
The second part of this two-part article reveals an untold part of the story about how they were stopped last time. And shows how, if not again stopped, how it could lead to a fundamental loss of civil rights and freedom on the Internet.The offending legislation was barreling down the track, seemingly — even in […]
Two years ago, Hollywood, no kidding, masterminded a plot to, in effect, steal the Internet (by criminalizing certain conduct, booby trapping the Web in ways that few non-mega-corporations could cope with). There are signs, as perceptively flagged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, that the perps are back at it. We should care.This two-part article reveals […]
It has now been nearly two centuries since French political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville visited America and compared American democracy to the French variety. The Martian asked his Earth correspondent to redo the comparison.The typical Frenchman thinks that Paris is the center of the universe, life without a baguette is not worth living, France is […]
I was at the Canadian border, headed toward the freedom that exists a few feet beyond the last security check. I was gently waved down a side corridor.Ninety minutes later, I was let go, but not before something truly alarming happened. I’m pretty sure that the Canadian government captured a mirrored version of my smartphone […]
Fort Meade, MD – The United States, the least unfree country on Earth, is fighting a major invasion of the Blueshirts.The most visible Blueshirts constitute a 50,000-plus army that occupies all the airports in America. Recognizable by their blue shirts and their inquisitive eyes and hands, they search and humiliate all Americans trying to leave […]
Sometimes, the news of the day causes me to say, “Huh?” The New York Times revelations last month about NSA programs and activities to enhance the agency’s ability to spy on ordinary citizens prompts today’s “Huh?” Who knew that our every phone call, Internet post and tweet is being recorded by the government?I have operated […]
U.S. and British intelligence agencies have successfully cracked much of the online encryption relied upon by hundreds of millions of people to protect the privacy of their personal data, online transactions and emails, according to top-secret documents revealed by former contractor Edward Snowden.The files show that the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ […]
Oh, how the media love a good strike. Look at these fast-food workers and peasants standing up to the owners of capital! They aren’t going to take the oppression anymore. The suits in the boardrooms had better shape up and stop hoarding all that money. They need to give it up to the men and […]
Like all great historical ideas, the project of licensing journalists so that they may benefit from the First Amendment was born in a very modest place. In fact, it began in the most modest of all places: the brain of Dianne Feinstein, U.S. senator from California.The new law, which was just adopted by Congress and […]
The position that there need be a state is too often taken for granted.The main body of Sartwell’s book Against the State is dedicated to destroying the arguments for a state from the likes of Hobbes, Rousseau and Hegel. In fact, one thing that becomes crystal clear in reading Sartwell’s book is how bad the […]
Crispin Sartwell is someone you should know. He is doing important work in recovering forgotten greats in America’s anti-authoritarian tradition. Among other works, he’s put forward a lean and powerful book titled Against the State.In what follows, you’ll see why he’s my favorite living philosopher. Sartwell will take you on an intellectual tour de force […]
The typical libertarian sees the world’s glass of water as half-empty. No wonder people avoid freedom lovers. While they tend to be smart and well-informed, they’re often socially inept, ill-tempered, underemployed, and overeducated. While they can explain the functions and evils of the Federal Reserve, their version of dress for success is a trip to JoS. A. Bank once a decade.
Jeffrey Tucker stands apart from that crowd. Believing a man must dress appropriately for work, whether dressing himself or not, Tucker is always nattily attired in a business suit punctuated with one of his signature bow ties. But what makes him truly special and different is his optimistic worldview.
While others see growing government oppression, Tucker sees entrepreneurial genius making our lives better (despite the government). Each day is a wonderful opportunity to inform the world of the glories of free markets, whether in print, tweet, Skype, video, or whatever the latest medium. Yes, the thuggish authorities are doing this or that, but a man who strives to live free figures out ways to foil the tyrannical government. Why be down when technology makes our lives better each and every day?
Yes, Jeffrey Tucker is every bit as enthusiastic as his words portray. He’s dressed and ready for intellectual combat every day. A smile on his face, a spring in his step, oozing with energy and enthusiasm to make the ideas of liberty personal and accessible. He eats, sleeps, drinks, and dresses freedom.
He doesn’t toil in academia, wasting his talents, trying in vain to inspire listless undergraduates and playing department office politics. He has his sights set much higher, to make the world free and prosperous, inspiring millions along the way to join his cause. While the academic world narrows its focus by excluding those thought less than pure, Tucker constantly broadens his. A classical liberal in the truest sense.
He has worked in the freedom movement for decades, rescuing hundreds of forgotten texts that were relegated to history’s dustbin. He brought these classics back to life to inspire and educate a whole new generation of freedom lovers. All this while building the most magnificent source for the education of liberty ever created. Oh, and in his spare time, Tucker wrote more than a few articles, some of which are contained in this book. It’s likely there has not been as productive a libertarian thinker and writer since Murray Rothbard.
These articles illuminate how private parties create and the state destroys. What you will read comes from a personal level, instead of the abstractions that bog down so much libertarian writing. While most of us moan and groan of life’s disappointments, Tucker reminds us that we, indeed, live in a Jetsons world. We are quick to take for granted and, at the same time, completely dependent on technology that had not even been invented a decade (or half-decade) ago. When Internet service goes down, entire office buildings full of people are left wondering what to do, paralyzed by not having a world of information at their fingertips, their lives put on hold until they can update their Facebook pages.
Andy Warhol promised we’d all get 15 minutes of fame. With YouTube and the Web, nothing stops us but our dignity. And although it seems like it was the Stone Age, you don’t have to be close to drawing Social Security if you regularly used a phone that was stationary and didn’t take pictures.
But while technology barrels along, government stops progress wherever it can. To keep us safe. Enemies are everywhere. In our drinking water. In our food and produce. In our airports, trying to board planes. In entrepreneurs, who are always trying to take advantage of the customer. Government believes it must slow down innovation to keep us from harm’s way. If that weren’t bad enough, government outlaws innovation for our own good, turning back the clock to make us worse off.
Most of us pay no mind when our clothes don’t come clean or our new mower won’t cut the grass as well as the old one did. But Mr. Tucker always finds a government edict buried somewhere that’s the culprit. Most would call it being good at delivering that bad news, but he offers workarounds for the arbitrary barriers government erects.
Perhaps government’s greatest crime has been the creation and enforcement of intellectual property laws. For it is ideas that push the world forward. Thomas Jefferson and Ludwig von Mises were early to see that ideas can’t be owned like a piece of property or a herd of cows. But it was Stephan Kinsella who, only a decade ago, fully fleshed out the case against intellectual property (IP).
His friend Jeffrey Tucker, once slow to see it Kinsella’s way, now paints IP laws in the tyrannical hue the laws embody: an arbitrary monopoly privilege benefiting a select few at the expense of generations, turning innovators into rent seekers.
It’s hard to fathom the amount of human progress that has been wasted in court with lawsuits and legal briefs. Vast amounts of capital are in the most productive hands, but instead, the creators must waste the funds and energy in the muck of the legal system, protecting something that can’t really be owned.
You are about to enter Jeffrey Tucker’s world: a world of endless possibilities, where freedom and ideas provide for a bountiful life. The state may lurk, constantly looking to oppress. But the person who demands to live free, looks beyond the state’s obstacles, and seeks ways to make life richer and more fulfilling for the journey, that is the here and now. May this book make you see the world in a different light. A freer light. Tucker’s light.
Douglas E. French