October 12

The Labor Theory of Value (an analysis)

by Donald C. Ernsberger edited by Jarret Wollstein At the heart of economic theory is the concept of value. What gives an article value? Is it something inherent in an object, or is it some other factor? Does value derive from human effort, or something else? The two major and fundamentally opposite economic systems – capitalism and Marxism – give completely different answers. The Labor Theory Karl Marx's labor theory of value asserts that the value of an object is solely a result of the labor expended to produce it. According to this theory, the more labor or labor time that goes into an object, the more it is worth. Marx defined value as "consumed labor time", and stated that "all goods, considered economically, are only the product of labor and cost nothing except labor". The labor theory of value is the fundamental premise of Marx's economics and the basis of his analysis of the free market. If it is correct, then much of Marx's critique of capitalism is also correct. But if it is false, virtually all of Marx's economic theory is wrong. Here is an example of how the labor theory of value works: A worker in a…Read More

October 12

Privatization: Providing Better Services With Lower Taxes

by Robert Poole, Jr. All around the world, government services and enterprises are being shifted into the private sector via a phenomenon known as privatization. In Britain, nationalized industries such as British Airways and Jaguar have been returned to investor-ownership via stock offerings. Similarly, in Chile, hundreds of firms nationalized by the Allende government have been returned to private ownership. But privatization goes further than simply re-turning once-private firms to the business sector. Margaret Thatcher's government privatized over 1.5 million council houses – public housing units which were created by the public sector. It also privatized the major airports, the gas utility, and the telephone system – all of which had always been in the public sector. Likewise, the Japanese government is privatizing Nippon Telephone and Japan National Railways, which have been fixtures of the public sector. So in a very real sense, privatization is actually dismantling big government, not merely correcting the excesses of socialist regimes. The Move Toward Privatization Privatization was first identified as a phenomenon in the mid-1970s in the United States when the trend of municipal governments to purchase service from private firms under contract was discussed in Reason magazine. This ultimately led to the creation…Read More

February 12

Jobs For Everyone, Without Minimum Wage Laws

by Mark Tier Some years ago, on a ferry crossing Hong Kong's harbor (before the communist takeover), I struck up a conversation with a black musician from Seattle, who told me how much he preferred Hong Kong to the States. What impressed him most about Hong Kong was that "everybody has a job!" Each time he repeated this comment his eyes would almost caress the Hong Kong skyline. He spoke as if a place where everyone has a job was alien to his experience, as if he thought of Hong Kong as a fantasy land, a place that simply could not exist on Earth. Back home, he told me, unemployment, especially for blacks, is high. He was also puzzled at the widespread influence of the United States here, and the evident esteem in which his country was held when his personal experiences were quite at variance to this image. Something he definitely did not miss, he said, was his treatment by the Seattle police. Back home, most blacks were poor and therefore, treated badly by the police. Those who appeared to have money weren't much better off. The police assumed they were drug dealers, and treated them badly too. This man's sense of…Read More

May 12

Gun Control, Patriotism and Civil Disobedience

by Jacob G. Hornberger The State of California recently enacted a law which requires owners of semiautomatic weapons to register their guns with the state. But when the law went into effect, thousands of California gun owners, although risking a felony conviction, refused to comply with its requirements. These gun owners were immediately showered with harsh criticism, not only from their public officials, but from their fellow citizens as well. The critics implied, among other things, that since the law had been passed by the duly elected representatives of the people, the gun owners, as members of society, had a duty to comply with its terms. The controversy raised important issues concerning liberty, property, government, patriotism, and civil disobedience. By adopting the welfare-state, planned-economy way of life in the 20th Century, the American people of our time have abandoned the principles of individual freedom and limited government upon which our nation was founded. But they have also rejected and abandoned something of equal importance: the concept of patriotism which characterized America's Founding Fathers. Two Different Notions Of Patriotism There have been two different notions of patriotism in American history. The one which characterizes the American people of the 20th Century…Read More

October 12

The Pollution Solution

by Dr. Mary J. Ruwart We all want a safe, pollution-free environment - and with hope in our hearts many of us have turned to government rules and regulations to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the horrors of a ravaged world. Yet pollution of our air and water still threatens. In South America the rainforests are cleared so rapidly that some of us may live to see them vanish from the earth. In Africa, big game animals are hunted to extinction. Where has our environmental strategy failed? What can we do to make things right again? The Greatest Threat Of All Toxic Waste: Ironically, the greatest toxic polluter of our nation's environment is the very government we've turned to for protection. The greatest polluter is the US military. Pentagon spokesperson Kevin Doxey told the National Academy of Sciences in 1991 that, "We have found some 17,400 contaminated sites at 1,850 installations, not including formerly used sites." The "contamination" consists of toxic solvents used to de-ice military planes, byproducts of the manufacture of nerve gas and mustard gas, and radioactive debris. In 1988, the Department of Energy estimated that it would take 50 years and $100 billion to clean up a…Read More

October 12

We Can Have Affordable Health Care

by Jarret B. Wollstein Affordable medical care is now a major concern for most Americans. Nearly 80% agree that our "health care system is headed toward a crisis because of rising costs." In the last five years, the cost of health insurance has increased over 2½ times faster than inflation. But if you don't have health insurance, you risk bankruptcy if someone in your family has a serious illness or accident. Consequently, many of us face agonizing choices: How can I pay for medical care and still provide for the other needs of my family? Can I accept a new job if it means losing coverage for a pre-existing condition? As a solution, Bill and Hillary Clinton have proposed government health alliances and health care taxes – in effect, nationalized medical care. And many states are also considering their own form of government medical care, particularly a "single-payer" system, like Canada's. But how well would government-run medicine really work? We can learn from the experience of Canada, England, and other countries that have had national health insurance for decades. The Worldwide Failure Of National Health Insurance According to Michael Walker of Canada's prestigious Fraser Institute, the claimed administrative cost-savings in…Read More

October 12

Immigration: An Open or Closed Door?

by Geoffrey Erikson The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command. The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep your ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty Fear vs. Hope Certainly one of the most controversial topics of debate in the political arena - anywhere in the world - is the topic of immigration. On the question of immigration policy, opinions range from "open door" advocates of free immigration to "closed door" advocates of zero immigration, and every shade of the spectrum in between. Most Americans fall somewhere in the middle. They recognize, that unless they are Native Americans, their ancestors were once immigrants. They also…Read More

October 12

Will You Be Safer If Guns Are Banned?

by David Kopel & Jarret B. Wollstein "Violence is out of control. Guns are a major cause. They all should be banned – the sooner the better." That's what many Americans seem to believe. As a result, a nationwide movement to ban all guns is growing. Legislation is now pending in Congress to confiscate all handguns, register all guns, and tax ammunition up to 500%. Others want to go much farther. Within a few years it could be illegal for you to buy any guns or ammunition. If you already own guns, you may be required to turn them in to the government – under penalty of fine and imprisonment. On February 28, 1994, Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen announced the reclassification of several 12-gauge revolver-action shotguns. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) announced they would trace the owners, and order them to be fingerprinted and register with the BATF within 30 days or face a $250,000 fine and 10 years imprisonment. In some cities – like Chicago – police have already begun warrantless, door-to-door searches of public housing projects for guns. Will gun prohibition make you and your family safer? The evidence from cities in the US where guns…Read More

May 12

In Pursuit of Liberty

by Jarret B. Wollstein We are living in exciting times. From the Soviet Union, to Cuba, to East Germany, totalitarian socialism is crumbling and human liberty is advancing throughout the world. With little more than their bare hands and raw courage, ordinary people on every continent are defeating the tanks and secret police of tyrants. We are eyewitnesses to the realization of Victor Hugo's famous maxim, "An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come." Without Liberty, No Other Human Values Are Possible Liberty is the freedom to act as you please so long as you don't coerce others. Liberty means you can associate with others voluntarily, you can speak and publish freely, you can practice the religion of your choice (or none at all), keep what you earn, run your own business, and love and live as you please (so long as you don't violate the rights of others). We need liberty to think, to create, and to fulfill our individual and unique potential. Liberty is as much a requirement of our psychological nature as food and air are requirements of our biological nature. When liberty is denied, economies stagnate, cultures deteriorate, science declines,…Read More

July 12

Revoking The Governments License to Kill

The Case For Abolishing Sovereign Immunity Laws by Jarret B. Wollstein On March 26, 1994, 75-year-old Reverend Acelynne Williams was sitting in his living room in Boston, when 13 men with sledgehammers broke down his front door. Screaming as they entered, the heavily-armed intruders threw Rev. Williams to the floor, twisted the old man's arms behind his back, and roughly handcuffed him. Then they proceeded to utterly ransack his home. Rev. Williams went into cardiac arrest and died. Who were these vandals? They were members of a Boston police SWAT team searching for drugs and guns. They found nothing. They had the wrong apartment. The Boston police said they were sorry. If you and I had broken into Rev. Williams apartment, assaulted him, and caused his death, we'd probably be put behind bars for years. But the men who invaded Williams' apartment weren't ordinary citizens. They were cops, and therefore it is unlikely they will be held accountable for his death. Like most government agents and officials, they have sovereign immunity; a virtual license to steal, kill, and destroy. Sovereign Immunity is the legal doctrine that the sovereign or government and its agents cannot be legally prosecuted for harm done…Read More

October 9

Democracy vs. Freedom

by Jarret Wollstein "Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and conflict; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths." James Madison 4th President of the USA and primary framer of the US Constitution Politicians and major media constantly tell us that oppressed peoples crave "democracy," and that only a democratic world will be free and peaceful. Now President Bush has launched a campaign to bring "freedom and democracy" to the world. But are freedom and democracy the same thing? And will democracy imposed by force guarantee peace? Democracy, Collectivism and Individualism Consider the meaning of three key political concepts: Democracy: that form of government in which sovereign power resides in the people as a whole, and is exercised either directly by them or by officers elected by them. Collectivism: a politico-economic system in which the means of production and the distribution of goods and services are controlled by the collective, that is, the society or state considered as a group – e.g. Nazi Germany and Communist China. Individualism: The social theory which advocates the free and…Read More

October 12

Libertarianism: The Path to Peace, Prosperity and Freedom

by Jarret Wollstein Would you like to live in a society of peace, prosperity and freedom? Would you like to earn a lot more money than your parents, be free to do whatever you want so long as it doesn't harm others, and see the threats of violence and war largely disappear? Would you like to live in an age of artistic freedom and rapid scientific progress in which anything seems possible? Such a world is not only possible – it is a part of our history. For nearly fifty years, between the end of the Civil War in 1865 and the beginning of World War I in 1914, the United States was the freest, most prosperous society on earth. Living standards rose nearly 5% a year. The average American's income was six timeshigher at the end of the period than at the beginning. There was little restriction upon personal, economic and artistic freedom. There was no income tax, no military draft, little government regulation of business, and no prohibition of drugs. Independent schools and private charities made education available for all, and helped those in need. And, except for the brief Spanish-American War, the nation enjoyed the longest period without…Read More

November 12

End Tax Slavery Now

WE MUST END TAX SLAVERY NOW! by Jarret B. Wollstein Out-of-control taxes and regulations are crippling America. According to current federal budget projections, within 15 years the government will take 70% of your income directly in taxes.  America will look like East Germany under the Soviets. IRS agents raided the Engleworld Learning Center near Detroit. Parents were told their children would not be allowed to leave until parents immediately paid any balance due to the Learning Center for the coming months. However, the money would not go to the Center, but to the IRS. A creative IRS official thought he had a great way to force parents to pay the Center's taxes. "It was like something out of a police state," Sue Stoia says. "They were using the children as collateral." Marilyn Derby, director of Engleworld, said, "Parents were not allowed to see their children until they had signed an agreement with the IRS. It was a very scary situation, like the Gestapo was here. Children were crying, parents were trembling. I told one woman whose hands were shaking that she shouldn't sign anything she didn't want to. She signed anyway." 18 Elderly Nursing Home Residents Die When The IRS Seizes…Read More

December 12

The Endangered Middle Class

  Why millions of Americans are on the verge of bankruptcy despite a "booming" economy by Jarret B. Wollstein On the surface, America's economy is in great shape. Unemployment and inflation are reportedly low. Corporate profitability is at record levels. The bull market in stocks and bonds seems endless. But beneath the surface there are many warning signs: Debt is at record levels. Bankruptcies – both personal and business – are at the highest level since the Great Depression. Many people are working 60 or 70 hours a week, or more, to make ends meet. Taxes are at the highest level ever, taking over half of the average person's income. The Orange County Register [10/7/95] puts it bluntly: "The old American middle class is vanishing. Stagnant incomes, growing gaps between rich and poor and corporate downsizing are changing how America lives. . . . Two-income families in 1995 earn less than the one-income family of the 1960s." Here are some other warning signs: "The wages of the average American worker, after inflation and taxes, have decreased 17% since 1973," according to Martin Gross, author of The Tax Racket.At the same time, the price of food, housing, clothing, cars, and other necessities – have…Read More

December 12

Government Schools in Crisis

by George L. O'Brien edited by Geoffrey Erikson The tax-supported "public school" system is in trouble. There are chronic problems with discipline, mounting violence, declining test scores, and administrative costs spiraling out of control. Government schools continue to graduate functional illiterates, and US public school students' math skills are now among the worst in the industrialized world. How bad is it? The US has 27 million illiterates as well as 40 to 50 million people who can barely read at the fourth-grade level. The US is also among the worst industrialized countries in the areas of math and science. More than half of all 18-year-olds cannot find Britain or France on a map. The defenders of the government schools claim the problem is a lack of money. However, in real terms, spending on education has actually risen over the last 40 years. The US ranks near the top in the world in per student spending – more than either the Germans or the Japanese. The cost per student in government schools is nearly twice that of a typical private school, yet the results are distinctly inferior. There is so much dissatisfaction with government schools that many parents are paying to send…Read More

December 12

Just Say No to Extortion Futures!

Why buying government bonds is a bad investment for yourself, and our future by James R. Elwood Most people think that buying government bonds is the safest investment you can make, and that the money is used for beneficial purposes. The truth is that lending money to governments causes more harm than good. It leads to higher taxes and wasteful spending. And, bondholders almost always lose money. Encouraging Waste and Corruption Politicians tell us that buying government bonds is "an investment in the future," but giving government more money causes great economic harm. Most national government borrowings are designed to cover operating deficits – to subsidize wasteful spending. So long as the money flows, bureaucrats don't have any profit-or-loss-incentives to control their expenditures. Indeed, success in government is measured by how large you can make your department budget and staff! The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spends 80% of its budget on administrative overhead, while private charities are prosecuted for fraud if more than 20-30% of donations goes for staff. In California, there are an average of 132 administrators for every 100 teachers in the public schools, while there are only 18 per 100 teachers in the parochial…Read More

January 12

The Looting of America (Civil Asset Forfeiture)

How over 200 Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws Enable Police to Confiscate Your Home, Bank Accounts & Business Without Trial by Jarret B. Wollstein "A police dog scratched at your luggage, so we're confiscating your life savings and you'll never get it back." Police stopped 49-year-old Ethel Hylton at Houston's Hobby Airport and told her she was under arrest because a drug dog had scratched at her luggage. Agents searched her bags and strip-searched her, but they found no drugs. They did find $39,110 in cash, money she had received from an insurance settlement and her life savings; accumulated through over 20 years of work as a hotel housekeeper and hospital janitor. Ethel Hylton completely documented where she got the money and was never charged with a crime. But the police kept her money anyway. Nearly four years later, she is still trying to get her money back. Ethel Hylton is just one of a large and growing list of Americans – now numbering in the hundreds of thousands – who have been victimized by civil asset forfeiture. Under civil asset forfeiture, everything you own can be legally taken away even if you are never convicted of a crime. Suspicion of offenses which, if…Read More

May 9

The Disaster of International Foreign Aid Programs

by Ken Schoolland FEAST AND FAMINE: An Age of Irony Conscience money, popularly known as "foreign aid", cannot undo the harm that is done to developing countries by the trade and agricultural policies of industrial nations. While millions of people are starving across Africa, it is not uncommon to read about tons of food being stored or destroyed in the United States, Western Europe, and Japan. These reports seem as if they were coming from different planets: an impoverished Third World suffers while a prosperous First World disposes of surplus food. The food being destroyed is not just the accumulated discard from schoolchildren's lunch plates. Instead, the great destruction of food is the result of an official agricultural program to keep food off the domestic market in order to raise farm prices. PLANNED WASTE Not long ago, Japanese officials announced plans to destroy 8,600 tons of cabbages and radishes because their prices slumped below "acceptable" levels. West European officials are reported to have socked away mountains of butter and lakes of milk for the same reason. And US officials ordered 3.5 billion oranges, two-fifths of all production, to be removed from the California market in order to raise prices. One…Read More

May 12

To Create Order, Remove the Planner

by Sheldon Richman Unplanned Order Which came first, the chicken of economics or the egg of economic action? Did the discipline of economics precede the object of its interest? The obvious answer is no. To say yes would be like saying that astronomy preceded the planets and stars – or that before Newton, apples didn't fall from trees. Yet, there are people who speak as though they believe that there was no economy before there were economists. This isn't just an interesting intellectual exercise. It bears on how we understand the economic process and ultimately how we view government involvement in that process. The first people who could be called economists were descriptivists rather than prescriptivists. They were concerned with what people do, not with what they should do. The discipline of economics began as a riddle to be solved. At least as far back as the Middle Ages, some perceptive observers noticed a kind of order – things were produced and placed in proximity to the people who were willing to make trades to obtain them. Yet this order was undesigned. No one planned the overall scheme. How did it happen? How could there be unplanned order? It was…Read More

June 9

Creating a Successful Libertarian Outreach Organization

by Jarret Wollstein WHY START A LIBERTARIAN OUTREACH GROUP? First, because it's fun and emotionally-rewarding. Libertarians like to associate with other libertarians - as friends, lovers, business associates, and activity-partners. Starting a group and holding regular meetings makes it easier to find each other. Another reason is to advance the cause of liberty. Today liberty is under siege throughout the world. Taxes consume some 50% to 70% of your income, drastically reducing your standard of living. Possession of sexually-explicit pictures or unapproved drugs can put you in prison for decades. Small businesses are being taxed and regulated to death. Attempting to keep your finances private is now the "crime" of money-laundering. Parents who don't send their children to government approved indoctrination centers - known as public schools - are subject to arrest and fines. Medicine is increasingly monopolized by the state and police confiscations are growing like an unchecked cancer. There's plenty to be concerned about, and an urgent need to build effective outreach organizations. And we can win. Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) - begun by two women operating out of a spare bedroom, and now a national movement - demonstrates that with determination and courage, a…Read More

June 12

How To Sell Liberty

by Jarret Wollstein Why Liberty Must Be Sold In folklore, to succeed all you need to do is come up with a great idea or product. "Invent a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door." Unfortunately, the world almost never beats a path to anyone's door. Countless brilliant inventors, artists, and scientists have died in abject poverty. On the other hand, thousands of people who developed modest improvements have become wealthy and successful. What is the difference between these two groups? Why have so many ordinary people with so-so ideas succeeded while many brilliant people with great ideas have failed? Certainly there are factors outside of your control which contribute to success or failure. But one of the most important factors is something you can learn and develop: effective salesmanship. Salesmanship simply means presenting your product in a way that is attractive and emotionally compelling to your audience. If you want your ideas or products to be accepted, you must beat a path to the world's doors. This is particularly true if your product is a new or misunderstood idea, such as liberty. Like any other product, liberty must be sold. Selling Liberty Below are…Read More

August 12

It’s Time To End Social Security

Why the System is Bankrupt - and How We Can Replace It by George L. O'Brien edited by Mark Valverde and James R. Elwood      "If the US government were required to keep its books the way businesses are required to keep theirs, the national debt wouldn't be $5 trillion. It would be $17 trillion, an amount equal to 2½ times the nation's gross domestic product." Forbes, "The Legal Ponzi Scheme," October 9, 1995 The Legal Ponzi Scheme Discussions of Social Security remind me of the joke about a man who jumps from the top of a fifty-story building and after falling half-way is asked, "How are you doing?" He answers, "Fine, so far." The issue of Social Security has long been considered the "third rail'' of politics – as on the electrified subway: "touch it and you die." But like the falling man, Social Security is not really "fine." There are many reasons for the popularity of Social Security. It is the only part of the welfare state which promises benefits to nearly every person. It is also seen to relieve adult children of the responsibility of supporting their elderly parents, and it helps the elderly poor for whom there is…Read More

October 27

Libre Comercio o Proteccionismo?

Razones en contra de las restricciones comerciales por Vincent H. Miller y James R. Elwood traducido por Alberto Mansueti El señuelo del proteccionismo El argumento en pro del llamado "proteccionismo" (que algunos llaman comercio "justo" o "leal") puede sonar atractivo al principio. Los partidarios de las leyes "proteccionistas" sostienen que dejar fuera los artículos extranjeros conservará puestos de trabajo, dará a las industrias achacosas oportunidad de recuperarse y prosperar, y reducirá los deficits comerciales. ¿Son válidos esos argumentos? Proteccionismo: sus costos John Stuart Mill "el filósofo liberal clásico del siglo pasado" observó agudamente que "las barreras comerciales infieren graves daños a los países que las imponen." Y eso es verdad hoy como entonces, por las siguientes razones: Empleos Perdidos: Las leyes proteccionistas erigen impuestos (derechos) sobre los bienes importados, y/o decretan límites (cuotas) sobre las cantidades que de los mismos se permite ingresar al país. Son leyes que no sólo restringen la elección de bienes de consumo, sino que también contribuyen grandemente al costo superior tanto de bienes como de hacer negocios. De esta manera, bajo el "proteccionismo" Ud. termina más pobre, con menos dinero para comprar otras cosas que Ud. quiere y necesita. Además, las leyes proteccionistas que disminuyen…Read More

September 12

Is Your Freedom In Danger: Destruction of the Bill of Rights

by Jarret B. Wollstein What defines the character of America and makes this country a good place to live? For over 200 years, our prosperity and liberty had been the envy of much of the world. But prosperity is inseparable from our liberty. Take away freedom of speech, association, religion and enterprise, and our country would be neither free nor prosperous. Unique among modern nations, the United States was literally conceived in liberty. The guiding philosophy of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, George Mason and our other Founders was the inalienable rights of the individual. As the Declaration of Independence states, 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 – That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it . . . . America's Founders had experienced horrible demonstrations of the power of unlimited government: destructive taxation, forcible invasions of homes…Read More

September 12

Juries: New Hope for Freedom: Fully Informed Juries

by Larry Dodge & Don Doig edited by Mark Valverde & Larry Dodge "For more than six hundred years – that is, since Magna Carta, in 1215, there has been no clearer principle of English or American constitutional law, than that, in criminal cases, it is not only the right and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their right, and their primary and paramount duty, to judge of the justice of the law, and to hold all laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust or oppressive, and all persons guiltless in violating, or resisting the execution of such laws." Lysander Spooner "An Essay on The Trial By Jury," 1852 Jury Veto Power America's founders worried that the government they created might someday grow too powerful, passing and enforcing laws which would violate the rights of the very people it was intended to protect: ordinary, peaceful, productive folks. So they kept an "ace in the hole," a trump card they believed citizens could and would use to hold this new, experimental government in check. That ace was the right to…Read More

October 9

Death by Regulation: The Price We Pay for the FDA

by  Dr. Mary J. Ruwart   A Matter of Life and Death Have you lost a loved one to breast cancer recently? If so, you probably wished with all your heart that your sister, mother, or wife had detected it earlier. Perhaps they would have - if the device that clinicians are calling "one of the most effective weapons against breast cancer" hadn't been banned from the US market by the FDA. The Sensor Pad, developed in Decatur, Illinois, is simply two sealed plastic sheets with lubricant in between. When a woman or her doctor places the pad over her breast, friction is reduced, making lump detection easier. The FDA has refused to approve this simple medical device for over a decade, even though the product is sold in Japan, Singapore, Korea, and most West European countries. The reason? The FDA wants this $7 device to go through the same testing procedures that it demands for expensive pharmaceuticals. After such testing, the FDA will take up to six years to decide whether or not the device should be approved. Because drug manufacturers are required to spend much more time and money getting US approvals than offshore ones, Americans get new, life-saving…Read More

October 12

Freedom of Speech Under Siege

by Jarret B. Wollstein "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."      Voltaire No right is more fundamental than freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech you can't communicate your ideas and feelings, decry a social injustice, pursue an artistic vision, investigate scientific truth, practice a religion, 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." Although freedom of speech can be inhibited by intolerant people, it can only be destroyed by brute force, particularly government force. If evangelical Christians demand that Playboy magazines be removed from store shelves, that is not censorship. Others are free to demand – just as forcefully – that Playboy be kept on the shelves. And merchants can reject the evangelical's demands. But when government sends in police to close down bookstores, arrest musicians, artists, and photographers, burn videotapes, or shut down computer networks, that is censorship. Censorship Is The Handmaiden Of A Police State Censorship is the use of force to control what you can say, read, or see. Although occasionally private individuals and groups engage in censorship – for example by stealing…Read More

October 12

The Green Gestapo

by Jarret Wollstein For the "crime" of cleaning up his own property without a federal permit, the EPA charged him with 41 violations of the Clean Water Act. According to the EPA, water retained in decaying tires and rusty ditches made Posgai's land a federally-protected "wetland." Posgai was sentenced to three years in a federal prison and fined $202,000. In 1956, Posgai had fled tyrannical bureaucrats in Hungary. Forty years later, tyrannical bureaucrats in the United States put him in prison. Environmentalism Out Of Control John Posgai is just one of thousands of victims of America's "Green Gestapo" – environmental zealots in the EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, OSHA and other agencies – who enforce often absurd rules, at the point of a gun. Our environmental laws were supposed to protect the land, air and water by stopping big polluters. But that's not how it turned out. Large corporations have staffs of attorneys and deep pockets. They pay the fines as just another cost of doing business, or pay off politicians. But small business owners and average citizens don't have the resources to fight or bribe city hall, so they end up as the primary victims of bad laws. Rationally,…Read More

January 12

New Declaration of Independence

NEW DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE by Vincent H. Miller & Jarret B. Wollstein Two hundred years ago our ancestors signed a document which forever changed the course of history: the Declaration of Independence. That document severed the bonds of Colonial America to a tyrannical king and parliament in England, and established for the first time a society based on the principle of the rule of law and limited government. The result was a glorious 200+ years which witnessed the greatest achievements, the highest standard of living, and the greatest levels of individual freedom in human history. But, bit by bit, the principles which made this country great have been forgotten – to the point where the uncontrolled growth of government now threatens to totally destroy our liberty and our prosperity. Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and the other signers of the original Declaration of Independence were well aware of that danger. That's why they made these observations about the nature of man and government, which are as valid today as the day they were written: 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…Read More

March 12

The Swiss Cantonal System: A Model democracy

by Frances Kendall In this, the first of the "ISIL Solutions" series, we examine the "Swiss model" of government – a highly-decentralized system which Swiss economist Robert Nef more accurately describes as an "ongoing experiment" than a "model." The concepts of devolution of power, local autonomy, and participatory democracy have produced the world's most peaceful and prosperous country. Of course, Switzerland, with its compulsory military service, state controlled monetary system, railroad and telephone services, and taxation, is not a pure libertarian society – but for those interested in reining in out-of-control governments in other parts of the world, there are large parts of the Swiss cantonal system that are worthy of emulation. The word "democracy" is derived from the Greek words for people (demos) and power (kratos). Inherent in the concept is the idea that ordinary people should keep control of the decisions that effect their lives. In an ideal democracy, the power of those who govern is limited by safeguards that ensure that citizens can prevent their elected leaders from abusing their powers. – Switzerland – Switzerland is considered by many to be the most democratic country in the world. It is also one of the world's most successful…Read More

June 9

The Causes of Aggression

by Jarret B. Wollstein We live in a world which often seems more violent with every passing day. Terrorist bombings, school-yard massacres, war, and atrocities fill news headlines. At times it even seems that humanity has a collective death wish. Human aggression has been blamed on many things, including broken homes, poverty, racism, inequality, chemical imbalances in the brain, toy guns, TV violence, sexual repression, sexual freedom, overpopulation, alienation, bad genes, and original sin. However, virtually all of these potential causes have one thing in common: Unfulfilled Human Needs and Desires Human needs and desires are endless. Virtually all of us would like to have fancy homes, social status in our community, the ability to eat all we want without getting fat, sex whenever we want it, perpetual health, unconditional love, and the ability to live until we're 200. Most of us will enjoy few of these things. Fortunately, most people are realistic and sane enough not to turn to violence to deal with their frustrations. However, self-control sometimes breaks down - resulting in aggressions ranging from petty theft - to the Columbine massacre - to the mass killing fields of Cambodia. What causes people and societies to turn to aggression?…Read More

June 12

The Hidden War On Your Privacy

How government secretly spies on you, your children and your finances . . . and uses that information to control you. by Jarret B. Wollstein There is a hidden war on your privacy. If you're like most Americans, you probably don't realize how closely you are being watched and how easily your life could be destroyed by this secret war. And who is the enemy? Although private investigators, big companies, and other snoops are threats to your privacy, by far the biggest threat comes from the very people we entrust to protect our privacy and freedom: the high-level bureaucrats and politicians who control government. Government at all levels now has scores of computer files on each of us, giving authorities the potential to track – and eventually control – our lives from birth until death. Information is being collected by the IRS, FBI, local police, public schools, and hospitals. It's all available to the government to use as they see fit. We are also increasingly encouraged and manipulated to spy on each other. Virtually every regulatory and police agency – from Health and Human Services to the IRS – now has a toll-free "tip line" you can call to turn…Read More

June 12

Juries: A History of Jury Nullification

"If a juror accepts as the law that which the judge states, then that juror has accepted the exercise of absolute authority of a government employee and has surrendered a power and right that once was the citizen's safeguard of liberty." (1788) (2 Elliots Debates, 94, Bancroft, History of the Constitution, 267) "Jury nullification of law," as it is sometimes called, is a traditional right that was rigorously defended by America's Founding Fathers. Those great men, Patriots all, intended the jury to serve as a final safeguard – a test that laws must pass before gaining sufficient popular authority for enforcement. Thus the Constitution provides five separate tribunals with veto power – representatives, senate, executive, judges – and finally juries. Each enactment of law must pass all these hurdles before it gains the authority to punish those who may choose to violate it. Thomas Jefferson said, "I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." From Magna Carta To Edward Bushell The power of the jury to judge the justice of the law and to hold laws invalid by a finding of "not…Read More

June 12

Seven Great Ways to Protect Your Privacy Freedom

by Jarret Wollstein Ron Paul – the only true libertarian in Congress – gives this answer to the question, "What is the relationship of privacy to freedom?" "Privacy is freedom. Leave us alone!" Unfortunately, Paul is one of the few politicians who truly understands or cares about protecting your privacy. Why You Need To Protect Your Privacy The last few years have witnessed an all-out assault on your personal and financial privacy. Credit-reporting agencies, schools, Internet marketers, medical clearing-houses, and dozens of other private organizations all now maintain detailed records on us. However, by far the worst offender has been the U.S. government. In just the last few years, the government has: Authorized the FBI, NSA and other agencies to intercept your e-mail, phone calls, and faxes, and keep track of your Internet surfing, without search warrants or other protections. Quietly implemented "Know Your Customer" bank regulations which force your bank to spy on you and turn you in to police and the IRS for "suspicious transactions." Introduced scanners at US international airports which display your naked image to attendants (justified as a "non-intrusive" way of searching for guns and drugs). Launched an all-out war on offshore tax havens ordering…Read More

August 12

Ending Our Drug Nightmare: A Humane Solution That Will Make Our Streets Safe

by Jarret B. Wollstein America is living through a drug nightmare. Up to 80% of street assaults, murders and burglaries are drug-related. Drug gangs have spread their power to every city and town. Many police have been corrupted, courts are overcrowded, and prisons are bursting at the seams. The lure of big drug profits is turning children into pushers and cops into crooks. Every year the War on Drugs escalates. More money is spent, more drugs are seized and penalties for drug use become more severe. Yet illegal drugs are still plentiful. There's a simple reason why America is not winning the War on Drugs. We have been fighting the wrong enemy. We have been told that the cause of our drug nightmare is drug sellers and users. The real cause is drug criminalization. Prohibition Revisited This is not the first time the US government has tried to save Americans from themselves. In 1919, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution prohibited the manufacture of alcoholic beverages. Suddenly honest, responsible Americans who just wanted a drink, were turned into criminals. Respectable bars became underground speakeasies, and legitimate liquor manufacturers were replaced by criminal bootleggers. Gang shoot-outs became common. There was massive…Read More

May 9

Dictatorship at Your Doorstep: Why ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Laws Threaten You

by James R. Elwood & Jarret B. Wollstein May 2002 "I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people, and the West in general, into an unbearable hell and a choking life." Osama bin Laden, October, 2001 (quoted in NewsMax.com 2/1/02) At 5 am in the morning on September 12, 2001 – less than one day after the 9/11 Attack – a half-dozen heavily-armed federal agents raided the home of Dr. Al-Hazmi in San Antonio, Texas. Without any search warrant, the agents ransacked his home, while his wife and young children (6 & 8) were held at gunpoint. Then – without being charged with any crime – Dr. Al-Hazmi was shackled and thrown naked into a freezing cold FBI holding cell. Even his eyeglasses and bronchitis medicine were taken away. Next, Al-Hazmi was flown to a New York prison, where he says he was repeatedly beaten while the FBI interrogated him. One week later, he was finally allowed to talk to an attorney and learned the reason for his arrest: Dr. Al-Hazmi's name (the "Smith" of the Middle East) is similar to that of two 9/11 hijackers, and he had…Read More

October 9


by Wendy McElroy Last week I learned that a friend had been passed over for tenure at an ivy-league school. He had been teaching at the university for several years and was immensely popular - not only with the students but also within the department. With a book and several journal articles to his credit, his qualifications were in good order. So what was the problem? He was a white male in a department that needed more visible women and minorities. Never mind that the woman hired had less experience and fewer credentials. Never mind that the university had been grooming him - or that my friend now tells his male students to forget pursuing a degree in the humanities, because "credentials and quality do not matter anymore." Had my friend been a woman, he would have been able to sue the university for unfair employment practices under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act states that it is unlawful for any employer: "(1) to fail or refuse to hire or discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, or privileges of employment because of such individual's race, color,…Read More