February 12, 2012

Bryan Caplan on “the stranger”

Filed under: Government, Law, Liberty — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 11:36

An interesting post at Econlog:

What do you call a man you never met? A stranger.

What are you morally forbidden to do to a stranger? You may not murder him. You may not attack him. You may not enslave him. Neither may you rob him.

What are you morally required to do for a stranger? Not much. Even if he seems hungry and asks you for food, you’re probably within your rights to refuse. If you’ve ever been in a large city, you’ve refused to help the homeless on more than one occasion. And even if you think you broke your moral obligation to give, your moral obligation wasn’t strong enough to let the beggar justifiably mug you.

Notice: These common-sense ethics regarding strangers, ethics that almost everyone admits, are unequivocally libertarian. Yes, you have an obligation to leave strangers alone, but charity is optional.

Interpol system key in arrest of Hamza Kashgari

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Law, Liberty, Religion — Tags: , , , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:27

Abuse of a system designed to catch international criminals led to the arrest of Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari for “insulting the Prophet Muhammed” on Twitter:

Interpol has been accused of abusing its powers after Saudi Arabia used the organisation’s red notice system to get a journalist arrested in Malaysia for insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

Police in Kuala Lumpur said Hamza Kashgari, 23, was detained at the airport “following a request made to us by Interpol” the international police cooperation agency, on behalf of the Saudi authorities.

Kashgari, a newspaper columnist, fled Saudi Arabia after posting a tweet on the prophet’s birthday that sparked more than 30,000 responses and several death threats. The posting, which was later deleted, read: “I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don’t understand about you … I will not pray for you.”

More than 13,000 people joined a Facebook page titled “The Saudi People Demand the Execution of Hamza Kashgari”.

Clerics in Saudi Arabia called for him to be charged with apostasy, a religious offence punishable by death. Reports suggest that the Malaysian authorities intend to return him to his native country.

Daniel Hannan at CPAC 2012

Filed under: Britain, Government, Politics, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 11:11

If you want to hear from someone who unmistakably understands the profound impact of America’s founding and believes there is still time for its citizens to take hold of its bureaucratic laden government and return it back to the will of it’s founding, then you must hear this speech from Daniel Hannan. You’ll appreciate America all the more afterwards, I assure you.

H/T to John Ward for the link.

Gary Johnson in the Washington Times

Filed under: Economics, Government, Liberty, Politics, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 10:30

Libertarian presidential hopeful Gary Johnson is interviewed by Brett M. Decker:

Decker: America would be a lot better off if Washington adopted more libertarian positions, especially those that advocate cutting red tape, slashing taxes and getting Big Brother off our backs. In a very tangible way, however, many Americans have gotten hooked on federal largesse and aren’t willing to give up their government goodies. How can you make the message of smaller government resonate in this growing climate of dependency, and who is your main audience?

Johnson: I believe most observers would agree that, of all governors in modern history, I governed from a more libertarian foundation than any other. When I ran for governor and when I took office, many claimed the sky would fall. It didn’t, and I was re-elected and even today enjoy the highest approval ratings in my home state of all the governors in the presidential race. And New Mexico is a Democratic state. That tells me that people actually get it. They understand that government “largesse” is not largesse at all; rather, big government and the “benefits” it provides come at a price that is simply too great. They also understand that by limiting the federal government to that which it really needs to do, we will free the states to deliver essential services in innovative and efficient ways. And we will free the private economy to create real jobs and restore opportunity as an American trademark. Government would not disappear in a Johnson administration. It would live within its means and do what the Constitution says it should do. No more, and no less.

As I convey this message, I find that Americans of all ages, incomes and demographics respond. Young people, in particular, are embracing a libertarian approach to government. They want to be left alone to live their lives, chase their dreams and do so without government imposing values and burdens that limit their freedoms. I am convinced that there is a majority of voters in America today who are classical liberals — committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law,due process and individual liberty.

Never before has that majority been more poised to organize and exert itself in a political environment that has for too long been controlled by the two “major” parties.

Decker: Conventional wisdom is that a third-party challenger cannot be elected president of the United States. Certainly, a Libertarian candidacy siphons votes away from the GOP. Is that the point — to send a message of protest that Republicans need to be more principled, especially on fiscal issues?

Johnson: Conventional wisdom has never been a guiding principle in my life or career. Conventional wisdom held that a businessman who had never been in elected office could not run and win as a Libertarian-Republican in New Mexico. And conventional wisdom would argue against a former governor with a not-yet-healed broken leg making it to the summit of Mt. Everest. My candidacy is not about a message of protest. It is about defying conventional wisdom and giving voice to what I believe is a majority of Americans who today do not feel comfortable in either the Democratic or Republican Party.

Likewise, I do not accept the premise that my candidacy siphons more votes from Republicans than from Democrats.As I hold online town halls, travel the country and read the emails and messages coming into our campaign every day, it is obvious that we are connecting with at least as many Obama voters as McCain voters from 2008. A lot of people who thought they were voting for change in 2008 are today very disappointed that what they achieved was only a slightly different version of the same business-as-usual they wanted to reject. The desire for a truly new approach cuts across all parties and independents alike.

Interested in early SF pulps?

Filed under: History, Media — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 10:17

You can now read the full text, including pictures and ads, of the first six issues of Amazing Stories online:

The Pulp Magazines Project has just posted the first several issues of Amazing Stories. Read the classic pulp magazine edited by Hugo Gernsback in all its scanned-in glory, with stories by H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Allan Poe, Murray Leinster and more.

Powered by WordPress