Manual Less We Can: The Case for Less Government, More Liberty, More Prosperity, and More Security

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I would like to ask you about a particular story that's fairly well known here. This is written by a Professor at Georgetown, Alvaro M. Bedoya, and he wrote about a famous case. The FBI was investigating someone, a prominent religious leader, sort of cleric, inside the United States, and the FBI said this guy was in contact with foreign radicals, he's possibly a threat.

The Attorney General himself was briefed on the case, personally approved wiretaps said, "This is fine, this is what we should be doing," even though this was a US citizen, even though he was born here. He was placed on a watch list to be detained in the event of a national emergency, to make sure he couldn't cause trouble. Of everybody the FBI was tracking at the time, the head of the FBI's Domestic Intelligence Unit said he thought this guy was the most dangerous from the standpoint of national security. Do you recognize this case?

That assessment, that he was the greatest national security threat that we were facing, this was the person we needed to be protected from, was made two days after he gave the, "I have a dream," speech. The programs that I revealed that everybody was saying was, "Oh my God this is necessary, the defense of the country, everything's going to end if the secret gets out," the president himself, Barack Obama, appointed two independent investigative commissions in the wake of the revelations of , who looked into these mass surveillance programs, they had complete access to classified information, they interviewed the CIA Director, NSA Director, FBA Director, all these guys, and they could not find a single instance in more than 10 years of operation, where this kind of mass surveillance had not only saved a life, it had never done that.

They said, it had never even made a, quote, "concrete difference" in the outcome of any counter terrorism investigation. Why are politicians justifying programs on the basis of saving lives of countering terrorism, that for more than a decade, have never shown any value for countering terrorism? They're not stupid, right? Governments are many things, but they're not often incompetent across all levels, particularly at the working level. When you go high up it's decision makers, you might get some questionable decisions. But the real answer is these programs were never about terrorism.

They do have value, mass surveillance has value, just not for saving lives. It is valuable for traditional espionage, diplomatic manipulation, economic espionage and social influence. Controlling the narrative, shaping the way the world thinks about issues and understanding what everybody's thinking, who is connected to who. These programs are about power, privacy verus security, and they say that's what this is about.

This is not what that's about. They are not competing values, when privacy increases of a person, their security increases. If no one knows what you're up to, no one can take action against you, no one can basically make you vulnerable. When you're being watched and recorded everywhere you go, not only are you becoming less private, you are becoming less secure. What this is really about is, this is about liberty versus surveillance. Not verus security or anything else like that.

Benjamin Franklin

Surveillance preys on vulnerability, surveillance preys on the lack of privacy. Therefore, you have this paramount public policy to consider — that you are not lightly to interfere with this freedom of contract. The doctrine of freedom of contract received one of its strongest expressions in the US Supreme Court case of Lochner v New York which struck down legal restrictions on the working hours of bakers. Critics of the classical view of freedom of contract argue that this freedom is illusory when the bargaining power of the parties is highly unequal, most notably in the case of contracts between employers and workers.

As in the case of restrictions on working hours, workers as a group may benefit from legal protections that prevent individuals agreeing to contracts that require long working hours. In its West Coast Hotel Co. Parrish decision in , overturning Lochner, the Supreme Court cited an earlier decisions. From this point on, the Lochner view of freedom of contract has been rejected by US courts. Some free market advocates argue that political and civil liberties have simultaneously expanded with market-based economies, and present empirical evidence to support the claim that economic and political freedoms are linked.

In Capitalism and Freedom , Friedman further developed Friedrich Hayek's argument that economic freedom, while itself an extremely important component of total freedom, is also a necessary condition for political freedom. He commented that centralized control of economic activities was always accompanied with political repression. In his view, voluntary character of all transactions in a free market economy and wide diversity that it permits are fundamental threats to repressive political leaders and greatly diminish power to coerce.

Through elimination of centralized control of economic activities, economic power is separated from political power, and the one can serve as counterbalance to the other.

Security v liberty

Friedman feels that competitive capitalism is especially important to minority groups, since impersonal market forces protect people from discrimination in their economic activities for reasons unrelated to their productivity. Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises argued that economic and political freedom were mutually dependent: "The idea that political freedom can be preserved in the absence of economic freedom, and vice versa, is an illusion.

Political freedom is the corollary of economic freedom. It is no accident that the age of capitalism became also the age of government by the people. In The Road to Serfdom , Hayek argued that "Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends. Gordon Tullock has argued that "the Hayek-Friedman argument" predicted totalitarian governments in much of Western Europe in the late 20th century — which did not occur.

He uses the example of Sweden, in which the government at that time controlled 63 percent of GNP , as an example to support his argument that the basic problem with The Road to Serfdom is "that it offered predictions which turned out to be false. The steady advance of government in places such as Sweden has not led to any loss of non-economic freedoms. The EFW index, originally developed by Gwartney, Lawson and Block at the Fraser Institute [29] was likely the most used in empirical studies as of The life expectancy of people living in the highest ranked nations is 20 years longer than for people in the lowest ranked countries.

Higher economic freedom, as measured by both the Heritage and the Fraser indices, correlates strongly with higher self-reported happiness. Erik Gartzke of the Fraser Institute estimates that countries with a high EFW are significantly less likely to be involved in wars, while his measure of democracy had little or no impact.

Benjamin Franklin - Wikiquote

The Economic Freedom of the World score for the entire world has grown considerably in recent decades. The average score has increased from 5. Of the nations in , 95 nations increased their score, seven saw a decline, and six were unchanged.


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Members of the World Bank Group also use Index of Economic Freedom as the indicator of investment climate, because it covers more aspects relevant to the private sector in wide number of countries. The nature of economic freedom is often in dispute. Robert Lawson , the co-author of EFW , even acknowledges the potential shortcomings of freedom indices: "The purpose of the EFW index is to measure, no doubt imprecisely, the degree of economic freedom that exists. Economic activity exists and their job was to measure it.

Likewise economic freedom exists. It is a thing. We can define and measure it. Critics of the indices e. Thom Hartmann also oppose the inclusion of business-related measures like corporate charters and intellectual property protection. For example, the treatment of a large informal sector common in poor countries as an indicator of restrictive government policy, and the use of the change in the ratio of government spending to national income, rather than the level of this ratio. Hartmann argues that these choices cause the social democratic European countries to rank higher than countries where the government share of the economy is small but growing.

Economists Dani Rodrik and Jeffrey Sachs have separately noted that there appears to be little correlation between measured economic freedom and economic growth when the least free countries are disregarded, as indicated by the strong growth of the Chinese economy in recent years. He argues that this is especially true when it comes to sub-indices relating to property rights and sound money, while he calls into question the importance of sub-indices relating to labor regulation and government size once certain threshold values are passed.

Amartya Sen and other economists consider economic freedom to be measured in terms of the set of economic choices available to individuals. Economic freedom is greater when individuals have more economic choices available — when, in some technical sense, the choice set of individuals expands. The differences between alternative views of economic freedom have been expressed in terms of Isaiah Berlin 's distinction between positive freedom and negative freedom. Classical liberals favour a focus on negative freedom as did Berlin himself. By contrast Amartya Sen argues for an understanding of freedom in terms of capabilities to pursue a range of goals.

It creates positive freedom within the society allowing for freedom of choice for an individual in a free society. Franklin D. Roosevelt included freedom from want in his Four Freedoms speech.


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  7. Roosevelt stated that freedom from want "translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world". Herbert Hoover saw economic freedom as a fifth freedom, which secures survival of Roosevelt's Four freedoms. He described economic freedom as freedom "for men to choose their own calling, to accumulate property in protection of their children and old age, [and] freedom of enterprise that does not injure others.

    The Philadelphia Declaration enshrined in the constitution of the International Labour Organization [50] states that "all human beings, irrespective of race, creed or sex, have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity. The socialist view of economic freedom conceives of freedom as a concrete situation as opposed to an abstract or moral concept. It is not found in any of his known writings, and the word "lunch" is not known to have appeared anywhere in English literature until the s, decades after his death.

    The phrasing itself has a very modern tone and the second sentence especially might not even be as old as the internet.

    America Wants Legal Immigrants

    Some of these observations are made in response to a query at Google Answers. Gary Strand, Usenet group sci. Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch. Also cited as by Bovard in the Sacramento Bee Lighthouses are more useful than churches. After describing a narrow escape from shipwreck he added: The bell ringing for church, we went thither immediately, and with hearts full of gratitude, returned sincere thanks to God for the mercies we had received: were I a Roman Catholic, perhaps I should on this occasion vow to build a chapel to some saint, but as I am not, if I were to vow at all, it should be to build a light-house.

    God made beer because he loves us and wants us to be happy. The quote, and its many variants, has been widely attributed to Franklin; however, there has never been an authoritative source for the quote, and research indicates that it is very likely a misquotation of Franklin's words regarding wine: "Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.

    The colonies would gladly have borne the little tax on tea and other matters had it not been that England took away from the colonies their money, which created unemployment and dissatisfaction. Widely quoted statement on the reasons for the American War of Independence sometimes cited as being from Franklin's autobiography, but this statement was never in any edition. Variant: The colonies would gladly have borne the little tax on tea and other matters had it not been that England and the Rothschild's Bank took away from the colonies their money which created unemployment, dissatisfaction and debt.

    Variants from various small publications from the s: The refusal of King George to allow the colonies to operate an honest money system, which freed the ordinary man from clutches of the money manipulators was probably the prime cause of the revolution. The refusal of King George to allow the Colonies to operate on an honest Colonial system, which freed the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators, was probably the prime cause of the revolution.

    The refusal of King George to allow the colonies to operate on an honest, colonial money system, which freed the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators, was probably the prime cause of the revolution. In the Colonies we issue our own money. It is called Colonial Scrip. We issue it in proper proportion to the demands of trade and industry to make the products pass easily from the producers to the consumers.

    Our struggle for liberty has become a fight against concentrated wealth

    In this manner, creating for ourselves our own paper money, we control its purchasing power, and we have no interest to pay no one. A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Misattributed to various people, including Albert Einstein and Mark Twain. An early occurrence was used as a teaching reference at University of California, Irvine in social science lectures in the later s.

    Also found in a text from Narcotics Anonymous. An earlier version from , spoken during a public talk by Osho: "The mind is always asking you to do something over again, something you have already done so many times before. And every time you see that by doing it nothing is achieved. What else can madness be? Osho, The Great Secret, Chapter 10 Each man has two countries, I think: His own, and France.

    Anonymous quip quoted in an essay in Logic, an Introduction by Lionel Ruby. A Benjamin Franklin quote immediately follows, so this statement was misattributed to Franklin. To find out a girl's faults, praise her to her girl friends. This has been widely attributed to Franklin since the s, but is not found in any of his works. The language is not Franklin's, nor that of his time. It does paraphrase a portion of something he wrote in under the name Alice Addertongue: If I have never heard Ill of some Person, I always impute it to defective Intelligence; for there are none without their Faults, no, not one.