“255: About Us – The 10 Principles of We Are Libertarians”

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January 3rd, 2018

Chris Spangle and Harry Price explain the 10 Principles of We Are Libertarians. If you are new to the show, start here.

“255: About Us – The 10 Principles of We Are Libertarians”

Sorry, listening to the audio on this website requires Flash support in your browser. You can try playing the MP3 file directly by clicking here.

Chris Spangle and Harry Price explain the 10 Principles of We Are Libertarians. If you are new to the show, start here. (more…)

Announcing WAL Politics

A New Brand from We Are Libertarians

From Chris Spangle:

Thanks for making 2017 our best year ever. We added 1,000 subscribers every month. Our Patreon nearly has 100 subscribers with $1000 a month funding our growth. As I look to the future, I am tweaking the online presence of what I do. The podcasts will not change. The We Are Libertarians website, Facebook, and overall brand will be very libertarian focused. I am launching the WAL Politics brand for political commentary. Why two separate buckets? In short, it is about setting clear expectations of what the masses are getting from my brands.

Over the past year, I’ve watched the outside world struggle with our opinion on current events. We lose 20ish people a day on the Facebook pages because it fails to match their version of libertarianism or it conflicts with their bias. People initially hit We Are Libertarians looking for information about libertarianism. I want this to continue to be an effective leader in growing the libertarian movement, my brand as a political commentator, and our community. The WAL website and Facebook will now be more libertarianism-focused.

Once we get them woke, then we will move them to the more day-to-day analysis of WAL Politics. This is where I will continue to post information I think people need, my view on current events, submissions from contributors, and it will be more news-focused. I’ve also run into problems getting credentials for political events because of the inherently partisan name of WAL. This gives me some cover when I eventually start covering events like Presidential primaries (when I can do this full-time).

My eventual end goal is to work at WAL full-time. The Chris Spangle Show is currently a feed where I’m teaching about podcasting, but it will end up a daily podcast in the vein of the Ben Shapiro Show. The WAL podcast will continue as it has been the last couple months. The numbers are up from 5,000 an episode in September to an average of 7,000 per episode, which puts us in the top 1% of all podcasts. I don’t dare change what is working.

Sincerely,

Chris Spangle

I hope you will follow All of our social media accounts:

WAL Politics

Learn more about us at https://www.walpolitics.com/
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Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/walpolitics
Watch on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVk3E5hPwSJDGYbSJ1qPz7w
spangle@walpolitics.com

We Are Libertarians

The ten principles of WAL: https://wearelibertarians.com/ten-principles-libertarians/
Our podcast airs Wednesdays and Fridays: https://wal.fireside.fm/
Learn more about us at http://wearelibertarians.com/
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Chris Spangle

https://chrisspangleshow.fireside.fm/
http://chrisspangle.com/
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chris@chris-spangle.com

The Ten Principles of We Are Libertarians

What We Believe

We are libertarians. We love politics and the news, and our mission is to apply libertarian principles to the stories you and your friends are discussing. We want to make you sound smarter while treating modern politics with all of the irreverence it deserves. We seek to teach individuals about the news of the day, the libertarian philosophy, the libertarian movement, and how to think differently. Our host is Chris Spangle, a fifteen year veteran of politics and media. He leads a discussion amongst friends that span the libertarian spectrum of thought. The twice-weekly podcast was founded in 2012.

We hold the following paradigms for our political analysis:

1. First and Foremost, We Ask ‘What Is Best For Liberty?”

There are many strains of libertarianism, but ours is best defined by David Boaz’s article titled “Key Concepts of Libertarianism.” Our philosophy is determined by these concepts:

  • Individualism
  • Individual Rights
  • Spontaneous Order
  • Limited Government
  • Free Markets
  • The Virtue of Production
  • Natural Harmony of Interest
  • Peace

As a result, we believe in capitalism, noninterventionism, and American constitutionalism. Libertarians often term this as minarchism.

2. All Contributions Towards Moving Society in This Direction are Valued

We are nonpartisan. Our founder Chris Spangle spent four years working for the Libertarian Party of Indiana and votes Libertarian the majority of the time. Many of our cohosts are Republicans. Some are former Democrats. Some are anarcho-capitalists that do not believe in voting. The principles of libertarianism transcend the empty vessels of political parties. If a libertarian is making progress towards a more free society, we think that is worthwhile.

3. The Golden Rule is the Foundational Principle Of a Libertarian Society

‘Treating others as you’d like to be treated’ is a profound and straightforward precept for life. Every human is worthy of dignity and respect. We reject any ideology or policy that depends on stripping an individual or group of their humanity for implementation. We are not libertarians because of greed or selfishness. We are libertarians because government policy often strips individuals of their dignity and fails to provide them with effective outcomes as detailed in our podcast ‘The Cost: The Human Toll of Public Policy.” We believe that the rules of good interpersonal relationships extend to the masses. While many libertarian outlets start with economics, we believe telling the human story is more relatable.

4. Government Exists And Politics Will Not Cease In Our Lifetime

Many libertarian outlets do a great job explaining the result of libertarian beliefs, but we are not one of them. We support these ideas and believe the world would be better if we existed in a purely libertarian society. The reality is that our times demand a counter-argument to the leviathan of the modern city-state. We believe in engaging in the debates of the day to insert a libertarian voice to move our current government in a libertarian direction. Utopian scenarios are always exciting for the libertarian mind, but usually, serve to drive libertarian-curious individuals away from our movement.

5. We Are Libertarians Will Serve As an Entry Point into the Libertarian Movement

Acting as the entry point for those interested in the libertarian philosophy is one happy outcome of focusing on current events. We do our best to teach individuals about the entirety of the libertarian movement without bias. While we favor certain individuals and outlets, we recognize that not every new person will have the same tastes. We don’t believe in shaming other libertarians for engaging in political activities that we do not personally find worthwhile.

6. We Believe in Presenting All Sides of An Issue To Let the Listener or Reader Make Up Their Minds

While we have a clear bias towards freedom and liberty, we want to present as many sides of an argument to let our listeners and readers make up their mind. We reject all forms of censorship. All voices must be heard to have a healthy society. The best way to neutralize dangerous ideas? Expose them to scrutiny. Propaganda and echo chambers have become pervasive in the social media era, and have caused the atrophy of critical thinking. We reject the idea that any idea is off limits for discussion.

7. Achieving Liberty is a Never-Ending Fight and Libertarians Must Invest in Future Generations

Progressives in the early 20th century planned to spend 100 years advancing their political goals. Libertarians must show the safe preparation and coordination to begin moving us towards principles of self-government. Those looking for short-term success will be frustrated quickly.

8. Every Individual Can Make Societal Change

The average individual has the power to influence modern politics with a post, a tweet, a discussion, a vote or through their voice. Every act is an extension of their values and must be used wisely.

9. We Embrace Complexity and Reject Tribalism

Our newer listeners and readers are always trying to determine our “tribe.” We reject the tribalism of modern politics and do not try to fit our content to curry favor with the biases of particular political movements. We are not right or left-libertarians. We believe that there are valuable ideas from all different ideologies within global politics. We do not engage in flat and simplistic thinking. We reject propagandist tactics. Humans are complex animals that deserve in-depth study and analysis.

10. We Treat Modern Politics With All of the Irreverence It Deserves

Political commentary is boring. We recognize the serious outcomes of politics while not taking it too seriously. We believe that humor is a useful tool to explain complex ideas. Our podcast reflects a kitchen-table conversation as opposed to experts sitting at a news desk.

Interact With Us:

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Disclaimer: This site and its content is not an endorsement of any political group, candidate, or party. All of the opinions are those of the individual author making the statement. The views of each contributor do not reflect the opinion of their employer or other contributors. 

Your Host

Chris Spangle, Publisher/Editor-In-Chief of We Are Libertarians and Podcast Host:

chris-spangleChris Spangle was raised in Plainfield, Indiana. He attended IUPUI where he was the College Republicans President during the 2004 elections. While working on Andy Horning’s Congressional campaign in 2004, Horning inspired Spangle to research the libertarian philosophy. Spangle went on to work at Newstalk 1430 AM, WXNT for five years as a producer and reporter. During his last year where he was the producer of “Abdul in the Morning,” the premier political talk show in Indianapolis. It was during this time that he witnessed first-hand how broken the two-party system is, although he had been a life-long Republican, he decided to work to grow the Libertarian Party of Indiana and to affect social and political change in a libertarian direction.

Spangle served as the full-time Executive Director of the LPIN in October of 2008 and left in December of 2012. He went on to work in marketing for the Englehart Group, a political consulting and marketing firm in Indianapolis. He also served as the Marketing Director of the Advocates for Self-Government, the premier libertarian organization giving libertarians the tools to share the message with the general public effectively. He now works as the digital director of a nationally syndicated morning show.

Spangle resides in Indianapolis, IN with his two cats, Mittens and Muffins.

Contact:

  • spangle@wearelibertarians.com
  • About.Me
  • Chris' Facebook
  • Chris' Google+
  • Chris' Twitter
  • Chris' LinkedIn
  • Chris' Email

“254: Basics of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency”

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Chris Spangle, Jesse Riddle, and Jeff Erdman discuss the basics of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. What is it? Is it a safe way to invest or purchase items? What are the best coins to use? How does one get started? We cover all the basics. (more…)

The Real Story of Collusion Emerges in the Mueller Investigation

A friend recently asked me to boil down the Russian-Trump investigations. What were the smoking guns? What had he supposedly done wrong? The truth is that no one has articulated clearly and accurately what Trump or his campaign had done wrong. I offered the following analysis:

Incredibly, the educated guess has become a reality due to leaks, likely from Republicans on various Congressional committees, which are exposing the seedy inner workings of the FBI and the special prosecutor’s investigation. One text, in particular, is a damning piece of evidence.

“253: Murder of Daniel Shaver, Russian Investigation Corrupt, Media Melts Down, Moore Loses”

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Chris Spangle and Harry Price break down the murder of Daniel Shaver by police. They also explain how Trump spends his day and Spangle reacts to the shocking loss of Roy Moore. Harry outlines why this was one of the worst weeks for the media, and we expose the corrupt nature of the deep state and Russian collusion investigative team.

Show Links: (more…)

Chris Spangle and Harry Price break down the murder of Daniel Shaver by police. They also explain how Trump spends his day and Spangle reacts to the shocking loss of Roy Moore. Harry outlines why this was one of the worst weeks for the media, and we expose the corrupt nature of the deep state and Russian collusion investigative team.

“252: Virtue and Politics – Can you have both?”

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Chris Spangle, Chris Gault, and Tad Western discuss virtue signaling, morals and their place in politics, and at what point can one no longer support a politician they agree with politically.

Phony Virtue is Ruining Western Society – http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/phony-virtue-is-ruining-western-society/
Key Concepts of Libertarianism – https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/key-concepts-libertarianism

Chris Spangle, Chris Gault, and Tad Western discuss virtue signaling, morals and their place in politics, and at what point can one no longer support a politician they agree with politically.

Phony Virtue is Ruining Western Society – http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/phony-virtue-is-ruining-western-society/
Key Concepts of Libertarianism – https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/key-concepts-liber

“251: Flynn, Trump s Para-CIA, Gay Cakes in SCOTUS”

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Chris Spangle and Harry Price discuss the Flynn charges, if Russiagate is anything of substance, the new counter-intelligence agency being considered, the gay cakes go to the Supreme Court, and Bitcoin secrecy is under attack. (more…)

Trump Declares Jerusalem the Capital of Israel

Lookout fam… The internet is about to be filled with foreign policy experts.

The truth is that no one knows how the Arab street will react in the short-term. The long-term? There will never be peace as long as Israel exists and the governments of the U.S., Russia, and China are willing to ship weapons to Israel and Muslim nations by the billions. America will have a vastly diminished role in the Mid-East peace process, but so what? We are only involved in it so President’s can be the “one” that solves this problem. It is a vanity project. The sky is not falling and the world is not coming to an end.

This is Trump delivering on promises to his base. Trump is the first President to not pretend that he is everyone’s President. He is the President of his base. He is just not faking that he cares about the opinions of his opposition

“250: Are Social Media Sites Public Utilities? & Cara Schulz, LP Candidate Recruiting Specialist”

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Chris Spangle and digital marketing expert Doug Karr discuss the future of social media and independent news outlets as companies like Facebook and YouTube begin censoring small media outlets like We Are Libertarians. Then Spangle interviews Cara Schulz, the new Libertarian Party Candidate Recruiting Specialist on the challenges and benefits of running for office. Learn more: https://www.lp.org/run-for-office.

Ending Net Neutrality Will Bring Free Internet Access To The World

With the exception of the 2015 Net Neutrality ruling by the FCC, the Internet has largely been left alone by the most powerful government on the planet.  This “light touch” regulation has resulted in industry growth that is virtually unmatched in human history.  From AOL, to DSL modems, to fiber optic cable, to 3, 4, and 5G phones, to near ubiquitous Wi-Fi, delivering the Internet to the masses is a story of ever increasing options, exponentially better speeds, and decreasing prices.  The logical next step is worldwide Internet connection to everyone on the planet for free.  However, the 2015 Net Neutrality ruling may have empowered the largest government in the world to slow, and possibly stop, the inevitable future of free Internet access to the world.

How Is Free Internet Access Possible?

The idea of free or low cost Internet being broadcast to the world has been in development by several people and companies for years.  Internet giant Facebook has plans in the works.  Google has plans as well.  A little known company based in New York, called the Media Development Investment Fund, is attempting to throw their hat in the ring by creating something called the Outernet.  An alternative to the Internet that’ll broadcast for free all around the world from cube satellites circling the globe in low Earth orbit.

Perhaps of most interest to libertarians is Nexus Earth.  Nexus is a crypto currency that has teamed up with Vector Space Systems to launch cube satellites into low Earth orbit in order to broadcast their blockchain to the world for free.  The development team of Nexus sees this as a step towards a fully decentralized and free (meaning both no cost to the user and free from government censorship and control) Internet for the world.

Basically, all these organizations are attempting to beam connectivity down from the sky rather than using expensive infrastructure down on Earth.  As these sky-based technologies become cheaper, and as more and more competition enter this market, it’s just a matter of time before the price is driven down to zero for anyone, anywhere to access the Internet.

Current Problems

Like all advancing technologies, this will not go from 0-60 overnight.  There will be incremental advancements.  The current problem with connecting to the Internet from the sky is that it is extremely expensive to send access to the entire Internet this way.  Not only do you have to put hundreds of cube satellites in orbit to have a functioning and fast network, but you have to send data to these satellites from the ground.

Thankfully, launching these cube satellites is becoming cheaper and cheaper.  It’s building the means of sending Internet data to the cube satellites that is going to be one of the biggest (non-regulatory) stumbling blocks.  Until it becomes cost effective to access the entire Internet this way, companies are experimenting by only sending specific websites and applications directly to the user.

How Will Net Neutrality Stop Free Internet Access?

As we’ve heard over and over again, Net Neutrality is in place to prevent Internet Service Providers (ISP) from prioritizing data.  Under this regulation, your ISP can’t decide to block you from accessing a certain website and they can’t send data from one website at faster rate than another website.  The idea is to prevent censorship and to prevent an ISP from holding certain websites hostage unless they (or you) pay an extra fee.

I’m not going to get into these specific concerns here, as they’ve been addressed thoroughly elsewhere and this post is focusing on a different aspect of the debate.  But if you’re interested in hearing a quick, funny take down of these concerns you can check out Why John Oliver is Wrong about Net Neutrality by Andrew Heaton via Reason TV.

If the idea of Net Neutrality is to make sure all ISP’s give full access to all of the Internet, then free Internet beaming down from satellites will be almost impossible to develop.  Net Neutrality will effectively make it illegal for a company to beam free Internet down from satellites unless they can guarantee that the people receiving the Internet will get ALL of the Internet.  In fact, this has already happened.

Facebook has been attempting to beam free Internet to some of the poorest regions of the world.  Regions that have no access to the Internet.  They are doing this by using a combination of drones and satellites to beam down a limited number of useful websites.  They call it Free Basics.  So is Facebook being heralded as an important leader in bringing about much needed Internet access to the third world?

They are not.  According to this Guardian article, Facebook Lures Africa with Free Internet – But What is the Hidden Cost?, there is no shortage of outrage over Facebook not being able to connect the world’s poorest people to the entire Internet for free.  In fact, they aren’t even allowed to offer their Free Basics program in India.  From the article:

It is not the first time Facebook has faced challenges to its initiative. In India, Free Basics was effectively banned after a groundswell of support for net neutrality – a principle affirming that what you look at, who you talk to and what you read is ultimately determined by you, not a business.

That’s right.  Net Neutrality was used by the Indian government as an excuse to stop their people from accessing free Internet services.

Later in the article, this tidbit also stood out:

In April, Reuters revealed that Free Basics had been blocked by Egypt’s increasingly oppressive government after Facebook refused to let it snoop on users.

Imagine that, governments are pushing back against free Internet access because it’s harder to spy on you.

The Future of Free Internet Access

Currently, all major ISP’s support Net Neutrality.  Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon have all issued statements of support.  Yes, they do push back on some of the regulations they face from the FCC, but when it comes to delivering content to their customers, they all wholeheartedly support the idea that all ISP’s should be forced to deliver all of the Internet to their customers.  If I were them, I would too!

They know more than anyone that their business model will soon be obsolete.  It’s only a matter of time.  Who in their right mind would deal with these companies, and pay for their services, if they could get free Internet access from satellites?  It’s not just ISP’s who are scared.  You’d be hard-pressed to find any Internet giant that opposes Net Neutrality.  Again, I would support it too if I were in their shoes!

These businesses will be disrupted as well by free Internet access.  Companies could launch their own satellites and beam down their own service for streaming TV shows and movies.  Their customers wouldn’t need an ISP, they’ll just need a device that is Wi-Fi enabled.  Social media sites, email companies, shopping sites, anyone could do this.  And their customers wouldn’t be confined to any certain geographical region, either.  The entire world would have access to their sites without having to pay for an ISP first.

This is precisely what Nexus Earth, the crypto currency I mentioned earlier, is attempting to do with their blockchain. They have the ambitious plan of giving the entire world free access to their crypto currency.  No Internet connection required.  Just a Wi-Fi enabled device.

As more and more companies utilize this business model, innovation will happen quickly.  This will bring down costs and eventually the entire Internet will be accessible to the entire world for free.

Plenty of billionaires and billion-dollar companies stand to lose money and market share from such a truly free and open decentralized Internet.  It’s no wonder they all support Net Neutrality.  Think about it this way, when’s the last time a group of billionaires got together with the government to conspire to help you out at their personal expense?

Originally published on Mike’s website here.  Check out his blog levelheadedlibertarian.com for more!

“248: Conyers, Tax Bill, Zimbabwe, Net Neutrality”

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Chris Spangle and Harry Price explain the Conyers scandal, all of the House and Senate Tax Bills, the coup in Zimbabwe, and an update on Net Neutrality.

Digital Lynchings Aren’t New – Fatty Arbuckle

No, none of what we are experiencing is new.

“At a raucous, three-day party in September 1921, a young starlet became severely ill and died four days later. Newspapers went wild with the story: popular silent-screen comedian Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle had killed Virginia Rappe with his weight while savagely raping her.” – It wasn’t true.

A Failed Promise

A viewpoint on our increasing lack of statesmanship.

By John Bonanni

Newly elected presidents win elections by convincing voters of their opponent’s inability to avoid the mistakes of the previous administration. Inevitably, the victor creates their demise through the overexposure of a personal or political agenda; usually fostered by a congressional ambush of the opposing party. The self-assassination of Bill Clinton’s character
sidetracked his plan of prosperity for all and reset tolerances of moral relativity. George W. Bush’s candidacy was little more than a minor political blue blood riding on family gravitas with historical probitas. Barack Obama offered a passive standard of diplomacy and strategic leadership. All eventually failed the promise that has never been entirely kept since the country’s inception.

In 2008, we were at the threshold of the most significant opportunity for nation building since the American Civil War. Our discriminatory traditions that had evolved from reluctantly
freeing uneducated, labor-trafficked men and women of color to tolerating them as socially inferior, ineducable freeloaders continued its function in the form of economic discrimination.

We continued the traditional pattern of political yin and yang that had occurred since the country’s founding. From Edward Rutledge to Henry Clay to George Wallace—and there is a
basketful of biased politicos who fill the bill of racial complicity throughout our history—to today, race-based statesmanship had been a covert operative. It is not the failure of the political process. It is a persistent disregard for ethics, integrity, and human dignity.

The 20th-century remake of Abraham Lincoln, in the person of John F. Kennedy, redressed wounds that were assumed to have been healed by the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments one hundred years earlier. Progress was made, but racially biased entrenchment merely found new ways to function.

Somehow, the promise of tolerance and inclusion in the Obama Administration produced another racial equality revival. What could have been a correction of racial modus operandi erupted into a seizure of miscalculations and false patronizations; resulting in a political upset that produced the present near-constitutional crisis.

Democratic arrogance and dismissive self-righteousness in concert with Republican managerial ineptness and empathetic bankruptcy emboldened politically under-served voting blocks to deliver Donald Trump, a presidential entity who assumed the self-assassinating character of Clinton, the mismanagement of Bush, and the tenuous soapboxing of Obama into a predatory, reactionary, and dysfunctional sideshow of fright and oratorical floundering.

This new mix of presidential malfunction further damaged the dubious claim of American exceptionalism. From “Putting People First” (Clinton), “Compassionate Conservatism” (Bush), to “Yes We Can” (Obama), it seemed that no variation on the American exceptionalism theme in recent generations could achieve enough improvement to convince disenfranchised voters that change was working. America, apparently, needed to be made great again.

America is not unequivocally great. No country is. It has great ideas. We had tripped at the starting gate in 1776 by denying inalienable rights to an entire race of people, and inequality festered for generations to come in racial theatrics supported by both progressive and conservative agendas. How can a country claim exceptionalism as a clarion call when a fifth of its population had been dehumanized and considered property? Perhaps if we had addressed the accessibility of opportunity for all citizens, we might now be enjoying the pleasure of each other’s prosperity as a national pastime.

For generations, inert executive and entrenched legislative leadership have responded with obstructionism and preoccupied our energies with perfunctory grandstanding, bequeathing to us the civil unrest of our cities, the bankruptcy of our healthcare, the corruption of our processes. Did not these conditions of inequality demand the attention of the elected administration and the American public? Did we not dump excellent English tea for this misrepresentation? The pursuit of reconciliation through economic equality had been abandoned
once again.

So, we suffer still, not having completed the national purpose of self-determination. Democrats lure disenfranchised groups with proudly hailed social engineering programs that barely sustain a living environment. Republicans smugly shake off organizations they deem to be unworthy takers. Forever in debt and bereft of resources, these groups never gain access to building financial well being.

Our legislators bludgeon our economic stability, chalk up an astronomical national debt service, shackle tools of commerce and reduce educational institutions to reclusive safe spaces instead of centers of tolerance. This recurring depletion of statesmanship creates a congressional and social oligarchy and invites irreparable harm to democratic function. This time, with an administration filled with generals and independently wealthy individuals, our government resembles the largest, most powerful banana republic in history; which is the antithesis of a constitutional republic designed to empower every individual.

John spent a career in theatre management on tour, on Broadway, at Radio City Music Hall and many places in between managing every sensitive person he ever encountered. He now writes about them, among other things.

Stiglitz and Tocqueville on Freedom and Equality

By C.M. Hoy

Joseph E. Stiglitz, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics, is a professor of economics at Columbia University, and he is very concerned that there is far too much inequality of income in the United States. He believes that this inequality is the source of many problems in our country and that the government must take strong action to lower this disparity in income. He states his views in an article, “Inequality is Holding Back the Recovery,” and his book, The Price of Inequality. I am concerned by several aspects of his analysis and one aspect in particular as I will make clear in the ensuing paragraphs.

There is so much inequality in the U.S., that, says Stiglitz, “Tocqueville, who in the 1830s found the egalitarian impulse to be the essence of the American character, is rolling in his grave.” This remark is very misleading. Alexis de Tocqueville unequivocally indicated that equality was the wave of the future; however, he was not an egalitarian or a proponent of equality as this statement might lead you to believe. To conclude that Tocqueville was an egalitarian because he announced that egalitarianism was in our future, is like concluding that when Paul Revere shouted the British are coming, he was a supporter of the British invasion.

Tocqueville believes that liberty and equality do not mix and that equality could be inimical to liberty. He places liberty above equality.

Neither in his article nor his book does Stiglitz indicate that there is tension between equality and liberty. He misrepresents what the foremost problem for Tocqueville is, how to preserve individual freedom in an age of equality. For theorists other than Tocqueville, equality versus freedom is the major issue in the debate over equality. Stiglitz though appears to be ignorant of any literature contrasting equality and freedom. This is a major gap in his argument and knowledge. Since he cites Tocqueville as an authority, we will demonstrate that this authority is not a proponent of equality but liberty. This will set the record straight on Tocqueville and, perhaps, this will elevate the debate over inequality, to include a concern for liberty, which Tocqueville believes trumps equality.

Gita May, who has published widely on the French Enlightenment, states: “It was Tocqueville’s conviction that the particular quest for equality can only end up in servitude; that there is tension-and, not a concordance-between liberty and equality, and that egalitarianism can all too easily lead to the worst kind of tyranny… and can lead to questioning of the legitimacy of private property, this last bulwark of the individual against the state… He was keenly aware of the dangers presented to individual liberty.” Instead of referring to Tocqueville as an egalitarian, May instead refers to him “as a political libertarian.”

Tocqueville would unequivocally oppose the use of coercion to promote material equality.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. writes of Tocqueville that “The revolution of equality, he believed, was irresistible.” Schlesinger adds: “Tocqueville’s consuming passion was liberty; the challenge before a western man in his mind was to devise ways of securing liberty in the era of equality. He was vividly aware of the perils in the new dispensation. It was no simple thing to reconcile liberty and equality.”

Primrose Pratt Tisham tells us that “Tocqueville worried continuously that liberty was especially threatened in France where the passion for equality subsumed the desire for freedom.”

George Wilson Pierson describes Tocqueville as the “foreboding prophet of equality.”

These authors indicate that Tocqueville is not an egalitarian and they indicate that Tocqueville perceives a problem between equality and freedom, a problem that Stiglitz is either unaware of or simply ignores.

In the preface to the second volume of Democracy in America Tocqueville writes,” I believe that many persons would take it upon themselves to inform men of the benefits which they might hope to receive from the establishment of equality, while very few would venture to point out from afar the dangers which it would be attended. It is principally of these dangers, therefore, that I directed my gaze; and, believing that I had discerned what they are, it would have been cowardice to say nothing about them.”

In book 2, chapter 1, Tocqueville says, “that political freedom in its excesses may compromise the tranquility, the property, the lives of individuals are obvious even to narrow and unthinking minds. On the contrary, none but attentive and clear-sighted men perceive the perils with which equality threatens us, and they commonly avoid pointing them out. They know that the calamities they apprehend are remote and flatter themselves that they will only fall upon future generations, for which the present generation takes but little thought. The evils that freedom sometimes brings with it are immediate; they are apparent to all, and all are more or less affected by them. The evils that extreme equality may produce are slowly disclosed; they creep gradually into the social frame; they are seen only in intervals; and at the moment at which they become the most violent, habit already causes them to be no longer felt.”

Tocqueville further says, “I think that Democratic communities have a natural taste for freedom; left to themselves, they will seek it, cherish it, and view any privation of it with regret. But for equality their passion is ardent, insatiable, incessant, and invincible; they call for equality in freedom; if they cannot obtain that, they still call for equality in slavery.”

Please note that for Tocqueville equality and slavery are not mutually exclusive.

In book 2 chapter 4, he says, “but I contend that to combat the evils which equality may produce, there is only one effectual remedy: namely, political freedom.”

In book 4 chapter 1 he says: “I am convinced however that anarchy is not the principle of evil that democratic ages have to fear, but the least. For the principle of equality begets two tendencies: the one leads men straight to independence and may suddenly drive them into anarchy the other conducts them by a longer, more secret, more certain road to servitude. Nations readily discern the former tendency and are prepared to resist it; they are led away by the latter without receiving its drift hence it is peculiarly important to point it out.”

In a note in Tocqueville’s diary titled “My Instincts, My Opinions,” he writes “Liberty is the first of my passions. That is the plain truth.”

Obviously, equality is not his prime mover.

In Tocqueville’s Essay on American Government and Religion, he states: “we are ourselves going, my dear friend, toward a democratie [an equality] without limits. I do not say that it is a good thing…”

What would truly make Tocqueville roll over in his grave is someone representing him as a votary of egalitarianism rather than liberty.

In addition to Tocqueville, last century, there were at least four major writers who critically examined the relationship between equality (equality of condition or outcome) and concluded that liberty and equality were often in conflict with each other. And they came down on the side of liberty. The four that I have in mind is the sociologist Ralf Dahrendorf, the philosopher Robert Nozick, and the economists F. A. Hayek, and Milton Friedman.

In his book and his article, Stiglitz never so much as mentions the first three authors though he does discuss Friedman. However, his discussion of Friedman is rather odd. Though Friedman has written on the issues of equality, inequality, and individual liberty, Stiglitz never discusses Friedman’s ideas on these issues. Though the subject of Stiglitz book and article ostensibly is equality and inequality, he ignores Friedman’s treatment of these issues and wandering far afield, rather criticizes Friedman for not recognizing the imperfections of markets, such as asymmetric information, externalities, and public goods. He also criticizes Friedman’s view of the cause of the Great Depression. He is offended that Friedman argues that government was the cause of the Great Depression. He criticizes Friedman on many grounds but never discusses Friedman’s argument on the central topic of his (Stiglitz’s) book and article, on which Friedman has written so profoundly.

Browsing through the index to his book, neither the word liberty or freedom is ever mentioned. The lack of any discussion of the dilemma between liberty and equality is a major shortcoming of any discussion of equality of outcome, and it is thus a major shortcoming in Stiglitz as well.

By ignoring the incisive writings of Dahrendorf, Nozick, Hayek, Friedman, and Tocqueville, on the relationship between freedom and egalitarianism, Stiglitz provides an astonishingly shallow analysis.

In addition to the main problem in Stiglitz’s analysis, the complete absence of any discussion of the effects of egalitarianism on liberty, there are three other aspects of his analysis that we will briefly note.

In The Price of Inequality, he refers to “the alleged inequality- inefficiency trade-off, ” and he says that it “may not exist.” This trade-off shows, if true, that inequality is conducive to greater output and greater productivity than is equality. Though here he seems to think that the trade-off does not exist, in his textbook, Economics, he refers to an “incentive – equality trade-off, ” and he draws a graph with equality on the vertical axis and output on the horizontal axis showing that as equality increases output decreases. He says, “One of the basic questions facing members of society in their choice of tax rates and welfare systems is, how much would incentives be diminished by an increase in tax rates to finance a better welfare system and thus reduce inequality? What would be the results of those reduced incentives?”

No wonder there is an “alleged inequality-inefficiency trade-off.” Professor Stiglitz has been teaching it to generations of economics students.

Again, in The Price of Inequality, Stiglitz indicates that unions are essential for increasing wages in general and lessening inequality. But this is not what he is teaching economic students in his textbook. In Economics, he shows that as unions raise the wages of some workers “firms will employ fewer workers.” Even union employees that benefit in the short run could lose in the long run as employers do not replace the expiring capital and “jobs decrease.” Also, the unions gain pay increases for some workers by “the reduced employment of workers in the unionized sector” increasing “the supply of labor in the nonunionized sector, driving down wages there.” And finally, “the higher wages [of unionized workers] may well be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.”

Higher prices, increased unemployment in the union sector, and lower wages in the nonunionized sector do not seem likely to lower inequality, and they most certainly will not improve living conditions. There is a significant discrepancy between what Stiglitz teaches economic students and what he teaches the general public.

Finally, and again wandering rather far afield from his topic, Stiglitz is upset that industries such as the airlines have been deregulated. It appears that he would like to reregulate these industries. And he believes that further government regulations are in the general interest.

However, perhaps we should proceed cautiously. Additional regulations could prove onerous to producers, and this might concern Stiglitz. For example, the government might force authors to recall their defective products from the market. As the adage goes, be careful what you wish for, you just may get it.

“I have a PhD from Columbia University. I am a Professor of Economics at the County College of Morris in New Jersey. I have written many articles on individual freedom in regard to speech, equality, and the marketplace. I am the author of A Philosophy Of Individual Freedom: The Political Thought of F. A. Hayek published by Greenwood Press.” – C.M. Hoy

“247: Digital Stampedes and What It Is Like Serving In The Military”

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Chris Spangle, Doug Karr, and George discuss the current environment of digital stampedes, the accusations against Al Franken, and Doug and George discuss their military service and how it shapes their view of foreign policy.