Category: Liberty’s Labors Lost

Dying Wishes

I am the last person to go around denigrating a person’s dying wishes, let alone advising that anyone ignore or outright refuse to respect a person’s dying wishes. As Milan Kundera says in his excellent musing on artistic intentions, Testaments Betrayed, if a farmer on his death bed tells his son not to cut down the old tree next to the house, we...

How many have you killed?

Among the many pernicious effects of the worldwide panic over The Pandemic that Ate a Planet, few are as disturbing as the ease with which public authorities and media propagandists have been able to turn ordinary citizens against one another, effectively raising a universal lynch mob prepared to publicly destroy their neighbors at the drop of a virus-infected hat. Here is a news...

When Should Government Act?

When one objects to lawless government responses to a public health problem — or any other social issue for that matter — it is natural to be asked occasionally, and also appropriate to ask oneself, “But if we are not simply taking a knee-jerk libertarian position, then where exactly should we draw the line limiting government action in such atypical situations?” Here, with...

On Comfort and Freedom

In my “Impolitic Reflections,” I noted Plato’s antagonism toward democracy, rooted in his presumption that the majority of men will always have appetitive natures, and therefore be unfit to direct a city that wishes to be just and wise. For this reason, I explained, he has his Socrates argue that in founding a good city, “you would never place any of its decision-making...

Impolitic Reflections

Plato’s Socrates begins his great political speculation with the presumption that the vast majority of men in even the best imaginable city will be ruled by appetite, from which he infers that if you actually wanted a city to be governed wisely, you would never place any of its decision-making authority in the hands of the innately and irreversibly appetitive majority. The modern...

Pandemics and Freedoms

Most Koreans are currently furious with that proportion of the Christian minority which, having been vilified and demonized by the Moon Jae-in government for months due to their desire to pray together in spite of COVID-19, has taken to holding public demonstrations in Seoul and elsewhere in protest of the government’s restrictions on church gatherings.  The government, in response to these conscientious objectors,...

Mandatory Musings

Joe Biden has renewed his call for a U.S.-wide mask mandate. This is paternalistic tyranny, without ever so much as a veneer of genuine concern for the public welfare. (Liberty used to be regarded as at least a factor in calculations of the public welfare.) Meanwhile, U.S. Today keeps the flame of progressive revolution burning bright with this increasingly typical, and thoroughly predictable,...

Take Me To Your Leader

Yesterday, one expert* noted that there is an interesting feature of America’s current spasm of societal implosion that distinguishes today’s “protests” and “calls for change” from all the more legitimate, i.e., sincere, moments of upheaval in the past: this supposed “movement” has no visible leaders. Past uprisings, such as in the 1950s or ’60s, had highly identifiable (and sometimes competing) figureheads, individuals whom...

This Is What They Do (Part Two)

We all know the expression of Voltaire biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall, commonly misattributed to Voltaire himself, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Believers in modern liberty are wont to see this sensibility, elevated to the status of a principle, as a guarantor of the free speech so essential to classical liberalism....

Propaganda, Thinly Masked

A few minutes ago, about 6:40am Korea Time, I opened the internet on my computer, which automatically directed me to my MSN homepage, where I was greeted by this top headline: “Model lowers death projection as more wear masks.”  My first thought was, “That is not a news headline, but a propaganda slogan, revealing yet again how thoroughly in the tank for the...