The censorship or banning of books is a phenomenon that occurs in countries around the world. Books that are considered “scandalous” or inciteful in some way are often targets of censorship by governments, schools, libraries and other entities.
In the United States, as NPR explains, books have historically been banned for violence and sexual content, as well as profanity, and continue to be banned by individual school districts. In Australia, the sale of certain books—such as Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho—is restricted to readers 18 and over. In Egypt, books challenging the political status quo are often targets of censorship. Amazon maintains a list of countries where particular books cannot be shipped. And the list goes on.
For individuals living in countries with high levels of censorship, the Internet has become a means for circumventing restrictions on book sales. Access to online bookstores and platforms like Kindle have, for example, helped people in China get around the infamous Great Firewall. New platforms like Oyster provide reading materials in English that might not be available for purchase, either due to censorship or lack of demand. And free platforms like Project Gutenberg create access where cost or censorship is an issue.
But for some, these workarounds have restrictions as well. …
The Problem Stated
Today I’m hoping to make you puzzled about a problem that has puzzled me on and off over the years. Misery loves company, I suppose — though the problem doesn’t actually puzzle me at the moment, because at the moment I think I’ve got a solution to it. But I’ve thought this before, and found myself deceived; so I’m not breaking out the champagne just yet.
The problem is this: why does justice have good consequences?
By “justice” I mean the moral system of rights, or more precisely, the virtue concerned with respecting such rights. By “good consequences” I mean not optimal consequences, nor exceptionlessly good consequences, but at least a reliable tendency to produce good consequences, both for oneself and for others. More precisely, to say that justice has good consequences is to say that a policy of respecting people’s rights will ordinarily promote, or at least not require great sacrifices of, the well-being of three groups: those whose rights are being respected, those doing the respecting, and third parties.
The question is: why should this be so?
There are two simple answers to this question. If either of them were true, there would be no puzzle. But I don’t think either of them is true. …
- 1 month ago
""Privatizations" in Brazil did not involve any transference or pulverization of power and economic control; they were effectively corporate restructurings that changed very little the distribution of economic control and altered their legal regimes only as little as necessary to make them economically viable again."
- 2 months ago
How libertarians and leftists are changing American politics, from foreign policy to Ferguson.
In 2010, Lindsey Graham could see it coming.
"You know what I worry most about?" the Republican Senator from South Carolina told CNN about the growing opposition to the war in Afghanistan. “An unholy alliance between the right and the left.” If the war continued to yield no clear victories for the U.S., libertarian-leaning Republicans who believed it was “impossible for us to win” could join with “people on the left who are mad with the president because he is doing exactly what Bush did and we’re in a war we can’t win.” Such a coalition would pose the gravest threat to the joint war-making project of the Republican and Democratic establishments. “My concern is that, for different reasons, they join forces and we lose the ability to hold this thing together.”
Six months later, progressive icon Ralph Nader saw the potential power of a libertarian-left alliance, too, but welcomed it. Appearing with Ron Paul on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s “Freedom Watch” show on Fox Business Network in January 2011, Nader issued a manifesto for “a dynamic political force” that would not only stop the war in Afghanistan but radically re-shape American politics. What he called “genuine libertarian conservatives” were “great allies” and together with “many liberals and progressives” could challenge “the bloated, wasteful military budget,” “undeclared wars overseas,” “hundreds of billions of dollars of corporate welfare,” “invasions of our civil liberties and civil rights,” “the sovereignty-shredding, job-destroying NAFTA and World Trade Organization agreements,” and the “completely out-of-control” and unaccountable Federal Reserve System. Nader could also have mentioned the criminalization of drugs, police abuses, and immigration restrictions, which the left and libertarians have fought together against for years. …
- 2 months ago
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."
"There is no better illustration of the difference between the economic means (labor, production, exchange) and the political means (force, coercion), as Franz Oppenheimer put it. Another World Cup was possible, without expropriations, repression, subsidies, but it would be a World Cup without the power of the state, made by free people forgoing the use of force."
- 4 months ago
"Free markets don’t have to mean the particular incarnation of corporate world dominance we see all around us today. For an entire tradition, an individualist anarchism that once blossomed in the United States, free markets meant simply voluntary exchange between sovereign individuals with equal rights and liberties. If consistently adhered to, such a system would, these anarchists argued, distribute wealth and property more evenly and equitably, effectively ending the exploitation of the working poor."
- 5 months ago
"The implications are obvious. Climate change is not something for the government to combat by prohibiting or taxing various activities that contribute to CO2 emissions. Just the contrary: The best way to combat anthropogenic global warming is for government to stop doing stuff like actively subsidizing or mandating sprawl, subsidizing long-distance shipping and transportation, and subsidizing energy consumption. Government is the problem, not the solution."
- 6 months ago
I’ve been nervously waiting for a dog owner whose animal has been killed by police to try to even the score—it’s inevitable, even though the outcome will be not so swell for the outraged dog lover. But what if a canicidal cop took active measures to prevent himself from poaching a pooch? Fantasy, you say?
Nope. It happened.
In Riverside County, California, “a large pitbull breed dog attacked” an unnamed sheriff’s deputy according to a police spokesman who seems to be having a little trouble taking his own script seriously. “In defense of himself…he fired one round at the dog, and inadvertently struck himself in the leg.” …