Robert Alan Goldberg on American Conspiracy Theories

Historian Robert Alan Goldberg discusses the history of conspiracy thinking in the U.S. and explains how “new” conspiracy theories such as that involving QAnon recycle and embellish old themes. This is the Self in Society Podcast #20. This episode also is available on iTunes.

Buy Goldberg’s book, Enemies Within: The Culture of Conspiracy in Modern America (paid link), via Amazon.

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Timothy Sandefur on Frederick Douglass

Timothy Sandefur, author of Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man, discusses Douglass’s life, political philosophy, and influence in his day and up to the present. This is the Self in Society Podcast #19. This episode also is available via iTunes.

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Buy Sandefur’s book, Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man (paid link), at Amazon.

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Michael Donnelly on Homeschooling and the Law

Michael Donnelly, Senior Counsel and Director of Global Outreach with the Home School Legal Defense Association, discusses the motivations for homeschooling and the legal aspects of it, with a special focus on Colorado. This is the Self in Society Podcast #18. The episode also is available via iTunes.

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Mark Silverstein on Your Rights when Interacting with Police

Mark Silverstein, Legal Director of the ACLU of Colorado, discusses your rights when interacting with police, troubling police actions during protests, and Colorado police reforms. This is the Self in Society Podcast #16.

Listen to the episode via iTunes or YouTube (audio only).

Read my article based in part on my discussion with Silverstein, “Police interactions come with rights, responsibilities.”

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Six Steps Toward Ending Police Abuses

“Please, I can’t breathe!” George Floyd begged as a Minneapolis police officer crushed a knee into his neck as he lay prone and handcuffed. The officer who killed Floyd deserves to be tried for murder, and the officers who participated or stood by and watched deserve to be tried as accomplices.

It doesn’t matter here what Floyd is alleged to have done. The person who called 911 said that Floyd was trying to pay a store with fake bills and that he was intoxicated. I have no idea whether the allegations are true. The officers involved claimed that Floyd resisted arrest. Video shows that Floyd struggled as police yanked him from a vehicle, after which Floyd cooperated. [Update: Subsequently released video seems to show Floyd struggling with police in a police vehicle.] Regardless, the officer’s extreme use of force obviously was entirely unnecessary to subdue Floyd. No reasonable person doubts that crushing a person’s throat for minutes on end can kill the victim. It is a police officer’s job to bring the accused to the courts for justice, not to play street executioner.

What, practically, can we as regular people do toward stopping such senseless violence by a minority of the people we pay to protect us? Here I review six main ways.

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Why Libertarians Should Abandon the Libertarian Party

In urging liberty advocates to actively join the Republican Party to advance better candidates, do I ignore the elephant haters in the room, the Libertarians? Is the Libertarian Party (LP) a viable path for pro-liberty activism?

On the contrary: The LP impedes progress toward liberty by wasting resources, muddying the ideological waters (as I’ll explain), and leaving electoral outcomes more fully under the control of authoritarians. Members of the LP should abandon that party and either join the GOP, if they wish to engage in electoral politics, or else devote their energies to other causes. Continue reading “Why Libertarians Should Abandon the Libertarian Party”

Theocratic Republicans Dominate Colorado Assembly

Colorado voters remain caught in the vicegrip of theocratic Republicans and hard-left Democrats who often select candidates far from the values of mainstream Colorado. Here I focus on the Republican side of the problem as revealed at the April 14 state assembly, which I attended as a delegate. Continue reading “Theocratic Republicans Dominate Colorado Assembly”

Reflections on American Gun Laws

Sensible gun laws will not be achieved by demonizing peaceable gun owners or by ignoring the realities of gun use (including defensive use) and gun laws. Some possible changes in gun laws are worthy of reasoned discussion.

Some people who believe that changes in American gun laws would save lives seem to think that somehow it will help to demonize the millions of peaceable (and voting) Americans who own guns or who are members of the National Rifle Association. This is despite the fact that many gun owners favor certain changes to gun laws and that many have good reasons to oppose certain changes.

Is the goal to gin up partisan rage for the 2018 elections or to actually achieve the most sensible set of laws? Continue reading “Reflections on American Gun Laws”