Latin America: Curing the cancer with liberty

By Dr. Kyle Varner Latin America is a fascinating place with an amazing culture and a political landscape that is ten times more interesting than anything that happens in the United States or Europe. It is also a region with a profound ideological sickness that has caused multiple once-wealthy countries, such as Cuba and Venezuela, and to a lesser extent Argentina, to self-immolate. Today, Latin America is experiencing a crisis of enormous proportions, and thae extent of the crisis is underappreciated by most observers in the world. Most people know about the crisis in Venezuela–about the six million refugees, the rampant spread of diseases like tuberculosis, measles and malaria and the extrajudicial murders carried out by the criminal regime of Nicolas Maduro. What many observers don’t know is that while the Maduro regime has received widespread condemnation throughout Latin America, there remain a handful of vocal supporters as well as an enormous number of individuals who refuse to recognize that the collapse and devastation in Venezuela is the inevitable result of revolutionary socialism. Socialism, in short, remains popular as an idea ​despite​the fact that people all across Latin American see desperate, suffering Venezuelan refugees, in person, on a daily basis. Why is socialism such a popular idea in Latin America? A variety of historical factors conspire to create a near perfect storm. Spanish colonizers created a rigid class structure that was highly exploitative, and even after independence much of the rigid class structure remained, creating feelings of economic resentment among a large portion of the population. Latin America also experiences a culture phenomena called patrimonialism, whereby the population tends to look for political figures that resemble saviors (think of Simon Bolivar, Eva Peron, Che Guvara, and Hugo Chavez as examples of fervent personality cults that have driven Latin American politics …

Liberty International Podcast #1

Liberty International is a podcast hosted by LI’s President Jacek Spendel. The idea behind the podcast is to introduce passionate freedom fighters form faraway countries to international audience. Guest of 1st episode is Jorge Galicia Rodriguez who is a young lawyer and one of the active oppositionists, fighting against socialist regime of Nicolas Maduro. Jorge is involved in the youth branch of VENTE Venezuela, classical liberal political party which is becoming gradually more and more popular. Jorge is Alumnus of Project Arizona 2019 – leadership project of Liberty International, designed for young liberty activists. Project Arizona is organized every year in Phoenix and its website is http://www.projectarizona.us https://youtu.be/egFRkXL5z

Free Speech Under Siege

by Jarret B. Wollstein How the rise of censorship and violent political correctness threatens democracy, diversity, and your freedom  “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”   – Voltaire “The thought police are watching you. If you say the ‘wrong thing’ you could lose your job or you could rapidly end up in court. Michael Snyder, “20 Outrageous Examples That Show How Political Correctness is Taking Over America,” Thetruthwins.com   In the U.S. and throughout the world, free speech is under siege. At risk are our ability to speak truth to power, our freedom to create and pursue our vision of a good life, the right to report and reform abuses of power, and our freedom. The threat is global, but in this essay, I will focus on the growing assaults on free speech in the United States. Free Speech is Essential for Every Free & Prosperous Society No right is more fundamental and important then freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech you can’t communicate your ideas and feelings, decry a social injustice, pursue an artistic vision, challenge prevailing “wisdom,” contradict establishment media, investigate scientific truth, expose corruption, practice a religion, protest police brutality, oppose war, or criticize government. If freedom of speech is destroyed, self-development is crippled, social progress grinds to a halt, and official lies become the only “truth.” Free speech is essential for every free, progressive and prosperous society. Censorship: The Handmaiden of a Police State Censorship is the use of force or intimidation to control what you can say, read, or see. The greatest threat to free speech is government, which has a monopoly on legalized force and the power to shut down publishers, arrest dissenters, ban books, control media, and imprison or destroy any …

Bolivia: A liberty hell

By José Manuel Ormachea For the last few years, most of the regional analysis as to the status of civil, political and economic liberties has focused on the Venezuelan crisis. Nonetheless, there is another country where a crisis is taking place and basic freedoms are at stake. That country is Bolivia. Bolivia has always been poor regarding protection of individual rights and liberties, but since President Evo Morales took office back in 2006, most threats to civil rights not only stayed untouched, but actually multiplied at a scale not seen since the days of the military dictatorships. A study named “Doing Business 2016” made by the World Bank places Bolivia between the 32 worst countries in the world to have a business. This particular phenomenon has to do mostly with the legal uncertainties the country presents for local and international investors. It is normal to identify Bolivia as an “unfriendly” environment for businesses, and to see neighbors like Brazil, Chile and Peru as potential partners. This tends to happen in economic sectors that Bolivia has in common with other South American countries; like the wool industry, nuts, quinoa, soy, and, most recently, the lithium industry. The general perception of uncertainty is due to a risk of social unrest the country continuously shows, as a vicious cycle not even the Morales´ administration (the longest and most “stable” the landlocked country has ever had) could change in the last decade. According to CERES foundation, for the last four decades the Andean nation suffered at least 1 roadblock, strike or protest every day of every week and more than 50 social conflicts per month. This non-stop social unrest, which naturally led to the existence of a very small, weak, private and formal sector, is the most important reason why 70% of the Bolivian economy …

Women for Liberty

As the world gets ready to celebrate International Human Rights Day this Friday, SFL is thrilled to announce some timely news: Women For Liberty will be launching a brand new website this Friday, December 10th! (Check back here for updates.) Women For Liberty (WFL) endeavors to raise awareness about women’s rights violations and educate, develop, and empower women to promote liberty worldwide. Speaking from the standpoint of individualist feminism, WFL envisions a free and prosperous society for every individual while recognizing that women often face a particular set of challenges that require focused attention. The program is primarily an educational forum, spreading awareness on a wide range of issues including economic well-being, employment, reproductive rights, gender expression, and family, as well as training women in how to be entrepreneurs, academics, and and much more. Our goal is to build a pro-liberty social community that supports classically liberal feminist ideas while encouraging peaceful dialogue across ideological, national, and even gender boundaries. Recently, you might have noticed the #OrangeTheWorld hashtag around the web, as people express support for the United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. The idea behind the campaign is to raise awareness about gender-based violence. Through Women For Liberty’s participation in this campaign, we aim to present the individualist voice against gender-based violence and demonstrate that we stand together with people of all ideological persuasions in raising a cohesive voice for the rights of women to own property, to be safe from gender-based violence, and to direct their own lives. Gender-based stereotypes have restricted the ability of both men and women to express themselves as individuals in tremendous ways. These stereotypes aren’t confined to any one society. Due to the idea that women are less capable or deserving than men, in many parts of the world, …

Political Freedom: A Matter of Life and Death

Dr. Mary Ruwart shows how having political freedom is ultimately a humanitarian issue.  She talks about the history of poverty in the world, and the miracle of freedom in pulling the world out of poverty. She gave her talk at CYCLE 15, an online libertarian conference hosted by Liberty.me and the International Society for Individual Liberty. Dr. Ruwart asked, “What does wealth have to do with life and death?” She continued, “The more money we have enables us to have a longer life expectancy . . . Wealth isn’t just about having fancy cars or fancy houses, it’s literally a matter of life and death.  And since freedom is what helps you create wealth, it also is a matter of life and death.” Video attached below:

Pakistan, and the Rise of State Aristocracy

Khalil Ahmad, Executive Director of the Alternate Solutions Institute, a libertarian think-tank based in Lahore, Pakistan gave a lecture at the 2015 Summer World Conference on Market Liberalization in Bali, Indonesia about his new book, “The Rise of State Aristocracy in Pakistan” Goodmorning.  (This talk) is not about my personal journey.  Rather it’s about this book, which I wrote and published in 2012 in Pakistan.  In English, it means, “The Rise of State Aristocracy in Pakistan”. I have distinguished between two terms: aristocracy and elite.  So when I read my paper, then you will come to know what’s the difference between the aristocracy and the elite class. In 2011, our Institute wanted to hold a series of seminars on the theme, “Not for Ashrafia — Pakistan for Everyone”. Ashrafia is a Urdu word meaning, ‘those who are of higher decent’. In Pakistan, the word ‘elite’ is in vogue.  The word ‘elite’ means “a class of persons superior to others, because of their intelligence, wealth, social standing . . .” etc. That’s why the nearest word for Ashrafia is aristocracy. Aristocracy is a class.  And at the same time makes the ruling class also. (What) does the slogan, “Not for Ashrafia – Pakistan for Everyone” mean?  (It means) Not for the Aristocratic classes, but Pakistan for everyone. For the same seminar, I thought of writing a 2-3 page explaination of the slogan.  But the paper kept on expanding, and I let it.  In that sense, it’s not a planned book; rather it’s an elaborated argument. Here are some of the important points of my thesis that this book presents. First, the book tries to argue that rule of this or that class suggests rule of philosphers or rule of the proletariat puts one class in conflict with other classes, and does …

Rizal Mallarangeng: Liberalism Already Won, No Need for Celebrations

The following interview is re-posted with permission from Suarakebebasan.org. Let’s talk about the freedom in recent years, Bang Rizal. The government has systematically control our website and internet. Then recently the government also banned alcoholic beverages with low alcohol percentage and that includes some beer. What’s going on with the people’s acceptance to our freedom? Sometimes a restriction does not have a deep philosophical foundation. Policies which are prohibiting were only based on cultural background of “the parents forbid their children from doing things”. But we should be able to see the larger context of freedom from time to time. If we see the fundamental problem, a system that guarantees individual rights, there is actually quite a big progress. In the last 15 years we’ve laid a sufficient foundation for democracy to maintain freedom. In the system, it is much better than before. 32 years under Soeharto’s presidency we had very limited civil liberties. Certainly there are many shortcomings that need to be improved. However now it is much better. These restrictions are made because there are people in our government which are reactionary. They have an erroneous understanding, and happen to have power. Or perhaps because the idea of freedom has not been working effectively in Indonesia? Again, look at the big picture. It clearly has an effect. If it is not working we might not have democracy, decentralization, and a constitution that respects freedom of speech and association. History is as a linear line, up and down. Well, maybe there will be some people opposing the idea of liberalism. But is there a match to the idea of liberalism? No, there is not. The issue on the Islamic liberalism which has no party to it is another matter. Idea of religious tolerance and religious pluralism has become stronger. …

Equal Freedom For Men and Women!

In Chile this year’s International Women’s Day was marked by president Michelle Bachelet’s announcement of a new Ministry of Women and Gender Equality to be installed this year. Aimed at ending gender inequality and violence and discrimination towards women, the ministry will propose and implement public policies to combat the perceived gender gap as part of a National Program of Equality. Other measures that have been passed recently include the obligation for political parties to have at least 40 percent of their candidates be female. Female participation in the Chilean labor force has historically been below that of comparable countries, although it has been on the rise in the last decade. On the surface Bachelet may seem like a brave crusader for justice on this issue, and perhaps she even perceives herself as such. Yet it is worth examining what she is really advocating for. After all, no matter how noble one’s goals, the specific actions taken to achieve that end should themselves stand up to ethical scrutiny, even aside from the question of their effectiveness. In fact the nobler the goals the more important choosing the right steps toward them becomes. What is that old saying about the road to hell? Being a Socialist Party president it is easy to identify the ideological bias upon which Bachelet’s actions are based. At the root of this ideology lies the utopian idea that society can be molded and formed into perfection from the top down. This basic premise has many ramifications, all founded on the idea that paradise can simply be legislated into existence by the stroke of a pen. In short it is the sort of thinking that leads to 40,000 new laws taking effect in a single country in a single year. After any initiatives aimed at the aforementioned …