Most of us probably will admit that we keep resolutions only slightly better than politicians keep campaign promises. Even President Obama couldn’t keep a promise not to raise taxes on all but the wealthiest Americans, as the current “fiscal cliff” deal does not extend the 2% payroll tax cut, which impacts every person earning a paycheck.
So don’t look to Washington to keep any resolutions in the new year. Instead, we’ve come up with a list of suggestions for our readers to continue stoking the flames of liberty, or at least keep them flickering a little while longer. (Editorial resolution for TLS: drop the tired metaphors for liberty already.)
1. Play with guns (and invite a non-gun owner to come with you)
Guns, and more to the point gun control, promise to figure prominently in the media and in Congress this year, as the country still grapples with its most horrific school shooting yet. But the public debate is largely fueled by hysteria, misinformation, and outright lies. For the vast majority of gun owners, they are simply tools for self-defense, hunting, and having fun. And what better way to demonstrate the latter than an outing to a shooting range? For a lot of people, that’s the only legal place to try their hand at firing some types of guns. Actually handling an AR-15, the so-called assault rifle that is the focus of both media pundits and gun policy wonks, may help demystify them and return some sanity to the average non-gun owner’s perspective on these useful and important tools.
I was interviewed Feb. 23, 2012, by Fabrizio Sitzia of the Italian libertarian group LibertariaNation.org. It was posted today on YouTube. We discussed intellectual property and related issues such as SOPA, plagiarism, IP-by-contract, and other libertarian issues such as prospects for liberty in the future; the importance of technology, the Internet, and globalism; Ron Paul and electoral politics; and libertarian sentiments and receptiveness among today’s young people. The audio file is here, and streamed below. (See also Italian Libertarian IP Debate.)
Mike Masnick has this interesting post up today at Techdirt:
Crowd Cheers Loudly As All Four GOP Candidates Say No To SOPA/PIPA
from the national-issue dept
It really was just a few weeks ago that a Hollywood lobbyist laughed at me (literally) when I suggested that SOPA/PIPA might become a national issue during the Presidential campaign. As he noted, copyright issues just aren’t interesting outside of a small group of people. My, how things have changed. After this week’s protests made front pages and top stories everywhere, it’s not all that surprising that the candidates at the latest GOP debate were asked their opinion of the bills… and all four came out against them. Of course, this seems to fit with the new GOP positioning that they’re the anti-SOPA/PIPA party (so sorry Lamar Smith…). Mediaite has the video:
Masnick quotes each of the four candidates’ responses to the question. I provide them below, with “translations” provided by my friend Daniel Coleman for the three statist candidates:
Gingrich: “You are asking a conservative about the economic interests of Hollywood? I am weighing it and thinking fondly of the many left wing people that I am so eager to protect. On the other hand, you have so many people that are technologically advanced such as Google and You Tube and Facebook that say this is totally going to mess up the Internet. The bill in its current form is written really badly and leads to a range of censorship that is totally unacceptable. I believe in freedom and think that we have a patent office, copyright law and if a company believes it has generally been infringed upon it has the right to sue. But the idea that we have the government start preemptively start censoring the Internet and corporations’ economic interest is exactly the wrong thing to do.”
Translation: I joke about using power to hurt people who disagree with me on policy. But seriously, folks, this bill got way too unpopular for me to be able to support it. I think you need the powers of this bill vested differently so that it won’t cause as much of an outrage. [Keep reading…]
Another full chapter of Libertarianism Today is now online for free — this one on why libertarianism is antiwar. This is my favorite chapter of the book, so I’m especially glad I could make it available through Antiwar.com.
Other parts of the book you can read for free online:
Every year, I like to construct a list of some of the best books released in the past year and a few a others that are worth recommending at any time. Of course, this is my opinion, but if you’re looking for a gift for your libertarian loved one this Christmas season then perhaps you’ll give one of these books a go. So without further adieu, the Top 10 Libertarian Books for Christmas 2011!
1. It is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government is Wrong by Andrew Napolitano – The Judge, host of FreedomWatch on Fox Business, has put together an amazing book that analyzes a host of topics from the standpoint of natural law. I will be reviewing this book on my personal website soon but I’m going to say it now – you need to read this book. The data and stories he presents in the book make it easily worth every penny, and it deserves a prominent place on your (or anyone else’s) bookshelf.
2. Libertarianism Today by Jacob Huebert – This book was on the list last year, but it warrants another mention because you can get it at a significantly reduced price by purchasing directly from the publisher. Huebert’s book is definitely a must-read, and is one of the best recent books on hardcore libertarianism in the past few years. LRC writer Laurence Vance has called it, “The best introduction to libertarianism on the market.”