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Free Speech Is Your Right, But It Could Get You Killed

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“The freedom of individuals verbally to oppose or challenge police action without thereby risking arrest is one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state.”— Justice William J. Brennan, City of Houston v. Hill What the architects of the police state want are submissive, compliant, cooperative, obedient, meek citizens who don’t talk back, don’t challenge government authority, don’t speak out against government misconduct, and don’t step out of line. What the First Amendment protects—and a healthy constitutional republic requires—are citizens who routinely exercise their right to speak truth to power. It’s not an easy undertaking. Weaponized by police, prosecutors, courts and legislatures, “disorderly conduct” charges have become a convenient means by which to punish those individuals who refuse to be muzzled. Deyshia Hargrave, a language arts teacher in Louisiana, was thrown to the ground, handcuffed and arrested for speaking out during a public comment period at a school board meeting. Fane Lozman ...

Ludwig von Mises on Liberalism, Nationalism, and Self-Determination

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Ludwig von Mises was one of the most important Austrian economists of the 20th century, having left his mark on economic theory and policy by demonstrating that socialist central planning was inherently unworkable because of the abolition of a market-based pricing system for purposes of economic calculation, and by developing a theory of the business cycle that argued that inflationary booms and recessionary busts had their origin in the monetary mismanagements by central banks. In the immediate aftermath of the First World War, in 1919, Mises published a lesser-known work, Nation, State, and Economy, that contains many of the essential ideas that he very soon developed in his critique of comprehensive government planning. But he also offered an analysis of the relationship between national identities, oppression of linguistic and ethnic minorities, democratic government, and political self-determination. Though formulated 100 years ago at a time when political and economic nationalist sentiments were strongly manifesting themselves in Central and Eastern ...

Pay Your Blessings Forward

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“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”—John F. Kennedy Listen: I know it’s been a hard, heart-wrenching, stomach-churning kind of year. It’s been a year of hotheads and blowhards and killing sprees and bloodshed and takedowns. It’s been a year in which tyranny took a few more steps forward and freedom got knocked down a few more notches. It’s been a year with an abundance of bad news and a shortage of good news. It’s been a year of too much hate and too little kindness. It’s been a year in which politics and profit margins took precedence over decency, compassion and human-kindness. We’ve been operating in this soul-sucking, topsy-turvy, inside-out, upside-down state for so long that it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by all that is wrong in the world in order to reflect and give thanks for what is good. And now we find ourselves at this present moment, ...

Liberal Capitalism as the Ideology of Freedom and Moderation

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Nowadays, many along the political spectrum seem to agree that America increasingly has become a polarized society. Ideological and public policy discourse has been gravitating more toward the extremes: progressives and the Democratic Party with a more explicitly socialist rhetoric and proposed government agenda, and conservatives and Republicans who increasingly appear to be moving in the direction of populist, ...