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The “Left” in Left Libertarian

My previous post regarding the nature of left libertarianism was fairly general and vague about what I mean by “left.” If the notion of left libertarianism is going to make sense, we need to be clear on what is and isn’t left.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong-headed about other recent characterizations of the central concern of the left as anti-authoritarianism, openness to the future, or opposition to privilege. I want, though, to offer a different proposal regarding what I take to be the central elements of a leftist agenda and to suggest what may be a thread capable unifying these elements.

An authentically leftist position, I suggest, is marked by opposition to subordination,exclusion, and deprivation. …

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College students build bionic arm for 6-year-old, free of charge

An engineering student at University of Central Florida is making a six-year-old’s dream of being a normal kid, come true, by creating a new bionic arm.

The trick? All of the parts were made by a 3D printer.

UCF engineering student Albert Moreno has dreamed of making amazing things since he was 6-years old.

And he’s seen some truly amazing things during his time in the university’s engineering school.

"I’ve seen… the most incredible particle accelerators um… giant lasers… and incredible machines… ah… experiment halls," said Moreno.

6-year old Alex Pring, on the other hand, just dreams of being a normal kid.

He was born with only half a right arm.

"He was like 2 or 3 the first time he realized. He was in preschool and they were showing him sames and differents. And he was just sitting in the car and he looked down and goes, my arms are different. And I said ‘What do you mean?’ And he goes, ‘I don’t have a hand,’" said his Mother Alyson. …

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Victims No More: Congo’s Badass Women Mechanics

Girls in the devastated city of Goma, “the rape capital of the world,” are breaking stereotypes to find work—and independence—as car mechanics and carpenters.

In a large auto body shop off a dusty alley in the Democratic Republic of Congo, two teenage girls climb behind a stripped-down truck to take a break under a shady cluster of trees. A few moments before, 16-year-old Kubuya Mushingano, clad in a blue mechanic’s uniform, and 17-year-old Dorcas Lukonge, her hair wrapped in a scarf, were, respectively, wielding a circular saw and power drill.

Each day, these two young trainees saw, drill and weld—making doors and windows for cars at the auto yard, a dirt enclosure littered with scrap wood and metal.

In the eastern provincial capital of Goma, where perceptions of women are shaded by a regional nickname, “The Rape Capital of the World,” a group of girls handy with power tools are throwing a literal wrench into gender norms and stereotypes of victimhood. …

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Police Leave Woman Stranded and Say “Its Not Our Job To Help” After Arresting Husband

Last February, Oregon police left a woman on the side of the road at 2 A.M with no money and a dead cellphone, after they arrested her fiance for a DUI and impounded their car.  23 year old Jessica Ojeda was told by police that they had no obligation to help her and that she would have to find her own way home.

Jessica even pleaded with the officer to arrest her along with her fiance, so she would at least have a ride to somewhere where she would be able to make a phone call.  The police refused and told her that she had to leave the area, knowing that she would have to walk the streets by herself late at night.

I don’t have any way to get home, can you book me?” Ojeda asked the officers as calmly as she could, obviously intimidated by the situation. She said that when she asked the question, one of deputies turned to Watkin, the arresting officer, and asked, “Is there a way we can work around this?” To which Watkin immediately responded by saying, “we’re not taking her home. It’s not our obligation, it’s not our job.” …

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Professor Donald Boudreaux has destroyed the economic argument against immigration beautifully on his blog. Taken to its absurd but logical extreme, if walling off a territory to prevent competition from flowing in were an economic benefit, then why not apply it on a state level, or even the city, neighborhood or household level? Wall yourself and your family off from the rest of the world and produce everything in-house. See what kind of prosperity results.

I’ll continue to embrace isolationism as long as the political class is defining the term, but I long for the day when we can call a spade a spade. Yes, it is the government that is the real isolator. Immigration is just one small facet of their isolationist attitude. There are countless other ways in which government seeks to cut you off from the entire world around you.

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This curtailing of civil rights also occurs because the state claims the right to register every citizen with mandatory identification documents, which are meant to police and control everyone.

As Erick Vasconcelos commented, Brazil is under an “identification totalitarianism,” that finds pretexts to justify ever more collections of information by the government with no transparency. So, we should raise the flag of individual privacy and the first step to achieving this is giving back to trans people the right to claim their gender identity.

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In this lecture from 2004, left-libertarian philo­soph­er Roderick Long takes on ten common objections to Market Anarchism and makes the argument for a free and flourishing stateless social order. Long tackles statist fallacies from the philosophical tradition and from modern econo­m­ists, including:

1. “Government is not a coercive monopoly!”

2. “Government is necessary for cooperation!”

3. Locke’s three “inconveniencies” of anarchy

4. “Private protection agencies will battle!”

5. “There’s no final arbiter of disputes!”

6. “Property rights cannot emerge from the market!”

7. “Organized crime will take over!”

8. “The rich will take over!”

9. “The masses will demand bad laws!”

10. “Private protection agencies will become a de facto government!”

The transcript of the lecture appears here along with the discussion from the Question & Answer period, in which Long discusses division of labor, what will prevent private prot­ection agencies from becoming a protection racket, and what best explains the origins of the State. . . .

Support C4SS with Roderick T. Long’s “Ten Common Objections to Market Anarchy, with 10 Responses”

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Framing Left Libertarianism: A First Pass

Left libertarianism (hereinafter LL) can be seen as an exercise in packaging and propaganda. Or it can be seen as a powerful expression of concerns that ought to be at the heart of movements for freedom.

Cynical libertarians and leftists alike might see talking about LL as an exercise in spin. Perhaps it’s an attempt to sell unsuspecting leftists on libertarian ideals that are fundamentally at odds with the left’s agenda. Or perhaps it’s an effort to graft an alien life-form onto the body of the libertarian movement, saddling it with concerns that have no place on a genuinely libertarian agenda.

Neither account of LL is remotely persuasive or appealing.

LL is authentically libertarian both because it is anti-statist (the LLs who come readily to mind are all anarchists; I take it as a given here that the LL is an anarchist or something close enough for the difference to be irrelevant) and because it affirms the value of markets and property rights. At the same time, LL is authentically leftist because it seeks to challenge privilege, hierarchy, exclusion, deprivation, and domination–both ideologically and practically–and because it can exhibit a genuine commitment to inclusion, empowerment, and mutual respect. …

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Jeremy Scahill: Leaked U.S. Terrorist Watchlist Rulebook Reveals "Global Stop and Frisk Program"

The Obama administration has expanded the national terrorist watchlist system by approving broad guidelines over who can be targeted. A leaked copy of the secret government guidebook reveals that to be deemed a “terrorist” target, “irrefutable evidence or concrete facts are not necessary.” Both “known” and “suspected” suspects are tracked, and terrorism is so broadly defined that it includes people accused of damaging property belonging to the government or financial institutions. Other factors that can justify inclusion on the watchlist include postings on social media or having a relative already deemed a terrorist. We are joined by investigative reporters Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux of The Intercept. Last week they published the secret U.S. document along with their new article, “The Secret Government Rulebook for Labeling You a Terrorist.”

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Satanists want to use Hobby Lobby decision to exempt women from anti-abortion laws

In a statement, the Satanic Temple said that it will use the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision to exempt its believers from state-mandated informed consent laws that require women considering abortions to read pro-life material.

Informed consent or “right to know” laws state that women seeking elective abortions be provided with information about alternatives to the procedure, often couched in language that attempts to personify the fetus. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 35 states currently have informed consent laws, and of those, 33 require that the woman be told the gestational age of the fetus.

In some states, that information consists of pro-life propaganda that links abortion to a higher incidence of breast and ovarian cancers, or discusses “post-abortion syndrome,” a mental condition not recognized by any major medical or psychiatric organization. …