— Greg Lukianoff, "Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate"
— Conor Friedersdorf, "The Decline of the American War Hawk"
America’s prisons are dangerously overcrowded, and the war on drugs is mainly to blame.
Over 50 percent of inmates currently in federal prison are there for drug offenses, according to an infographic recently released by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (see chart below). That percentage has risen fairly consistently over decades, all the way from 16 percent in 1970.
The second-largest category, immigration-related crimes, accounts for 10.6 percent of inmates. This means that people convicted of two broad categories of nonviolent crimes — drugs and immigration — make up over 60 percent of the U.S. prison population.
I don’t think I actually want flamboyantly floral furniture, but I do love looking at pictures of it.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection is accused of detaining an Indiana woman at the airport without cause and then quizzing her about her sex life on knowledge the agents may have gained through the interception of private emails.
Christine Von Der Haar, a senior lecturer at the Department of Sociology at Indiana University, has teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union and filed suit against the agency, saying it violated her constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizures. […]
The suit charges the only way authorities could have known that information and been able to question the nature of [her] relationship was by reading emails stored on [her boyfriend’s] hard drive.
Even more concrete evidence that yes, the government will use the information it gets from spying on innocent people.
Seriously, though, it’s not that difficult to tell these two apart.
- Opposed to free trade agreements.
- Opposed to relaxed immigration laws (or outright opposed to immigration altogether).
- Oppose the use of American military to intervene elsewhere.
- Support strict tariffs and laws aimed at protecting American business from foreign competition.
Ron Paul and other prominent libertarians believe in opening up trade with Cuba, ending sanctions and promoting “peace through prosperity.” Tell me, exactly, how that is “isolationist”?
“Non-interventionism,” on the other hand, means being opposed to “entangling alliances” abroad and the interference in and/or starting of military action. All while supporting freedom of commerce, travel, and immigration.
I’ve got a new article up at Rare!
If you’re a liberty supporter who votes — and I recognize and respect, of course, that many don’t — this article is for you.
Your concentric circles of politics may not match mine, and that’s totally cool, but we each need a principled, nuanced model to make our voting decisions about imperfect candidates.
I’m not trying to convince you to support or oppose Senator Rand Paul — I just want you to have a consistent reason for your decision.:
As the liberty movement matures and continues to have real influence, libertarians need a new way to make voting decisions. Most elections won’t feature the black and white choice of a Ron Paul v. Mitt Romney match; and as new candidates with varying credentials come on the scene, simple purity tests become increasingly unhelpful.
So what should we do instead? I propose we borrow an idea from theology.
If you know anything about church history, you know that Christians have literally spent thousands of years arguing. It’s against that backdrop that we’ve come to so value an old saying which you may recognize: “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.”
To visualize this advice, some theologians draw concentric circles of theology: In the center is dogma; in the middle ring, doctrines; in the outer ring, matters of opinion. So, for example, that Jesus is God is dogma—in other words, it’s a vital part of the Christian faith. That goes in the center.
A doctrinal issue would be something like free will v. predestination: It’s really important, but it’s not vital to the faith. Both Baptists (free will) and Presbyterians (predestination) are Christians. And in the outer circle of opinion are questions which can happily coexist in one church, like whether there are animals in heaven.
So how does this apply to politics?
Libertarians need a similar model to help decide which candidates they can support and which they can’t. Without these distinctions, it’s all too easy to reject a candidate who is wrong about an opinion-level issue even though he’s awesome on all “dogma” issues. Or libertarians might support a candidate who got a 90% on simple purity tests—but the 10% he got wrong was a “dogma” vital to liberty.