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What Happened to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?

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by JON HARARI

Today is an unusual day, unlike many July 4th’s of years past.

What happened to all of our unalienable Rights, the ones written 244 years ago in our Declaration of Independence of July 4th, 1776, including Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness?  Well, maybe today is not so unusual, as never before do we have more of our unalienable Rights as we do today.

Life – we are alive, there never has been more live Americans in existance, our life expectancy and health standards have never been historically higher as human beings, and the sacrifices those are making on the front lines and the ones everyone else are making like quarantining and social distancing is helping to further increase the lives of others.

Continue reading What Happened to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?

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Attorney Says,” there is no longer any justification for denying people their Constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s time to #ReopenNJ “

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill
I have been getting calls from small business owners all over the State of New Jersey who have been contacted by police enforcing Governor Murphy’s “Stay At Home” Executive Orders regarding COVID-19, and have otherwise been financially devastated. These Orders were initially handed down 2 months ago by Governor Murphy for the alleged purpose of “flattening the curve,” in other words, preventing hospitals and health care services from being overwhelmed by everyone getting the virus all at once. That mission has since been accomplished because we all worked together in good faith to make it happen. Now, Gov. Murphy has moved the goalpost to “finding a vaccine.”
In my opinion, as an attorney and business owner, there is no longer any justification for denying people their Constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s time to #ReopenNJ and let people feed their families again.
Daryl J. Kipnis, Esq.
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This Independence Day, Keep the Pageantry but Add Some Principle

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John York / July 01, 2016

While America’s birthday has always been “solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other” as John Adams anticipated, these revelries were once paired with other traditions that kept the cause for celebration front of mind.

Independence Day orations, often lasting an hour or more, were once delivered in town squares and fraternal halls across the country. Politicians like Daniel Webster and Charles Sumner, activists like William Lloyd Garrison, prominent local attorneys, even defeated Native American warriors gave speeches that were well attended and widely disseminated thereafter.

These speeches delved deeply into the principles expressed in our declaration, often summarizing the major works of the Enlightenment that shaped our founders’ view of government.

An 1824 oration delivered by a local reverend to a gathering of New York City firemen referenced Hume, Voltaire, Paine, Bolingbroke, Shaftsbury, Locke, and Bacon all in the space of about two minutes.

Patriotic toasts were also common during the 19th century. After the day’s festivities concluded, revelers would raise their glasses for 13 toasts, one for each of the original states.

The topics of these toasts were wide ranging. Participants drank to everything from “the American Revolution: founded upon principle, its origin the source of lasting happiness to millions left unborn” to “kingcraft, on its last legs on the Western continent.”

Dramatic readings of the Declaration of Independence were also a staple of Fourth of July celebrations in most cities and towns around the country. These readings took place before the day’s parade kicked off, preceding the evening’s fireworks, or any point in between. Like the oration, the reading of the declaration was often conducted by a town notable, but occasionally the honor was bestowed upon a local young person.

Some of these traditions have faded completely. While fraternal organizations like the Knights of Columbus and the Elks still hold Fourth of July cookouts in many towns, few begin with the once-customary 13 patriotic toasts.

Others still exist if in much diminished form. For instance, today presidents still typically give a short oration on the Fourth of July though these speeches are not widely watched or read. Nor do they deserve to be. Typically the president takes a moment to thank members of the military for their service, praises the founding generation for their courage, and wraps things up before the flies get to the potato salad.

At least one tradition of the past is making a comeback. This Independence Day, towns like Gadsden, Alabama; Dover, Delaware; and Bell Buckle, Tennessee will hold recitations of the declaration in town squares and local parks.

This is a good sign. Americans should work to ground pageantry in principle. True, attending an hour-long lecture on Enlightenment philosophy might be a little much to ask.

Instead, read the Declaration of Independence just as the first fireworks ignite overhead. Give a toast to those who pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to our new nation. Say a short prayer to the God who granted our founding generation one of the most improbable victories in military history.

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America(*): Happy (Founding) Fathers Day

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Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/21/2015 11:45 -0400

Submitted by Thad Beversdorf via FirstRebuttal.com,

I got into an early discussion today about America.  I came to the conclusion that today’s America* is an ugly fraud.  We wave the flag adorned with stars and stripes, we reminisce about a glorious history, we point to the constitution, the founding fathers and freedom and then we include ourselves as part of this legacy; as though we have some natural right to call ourselves by the same name.  But is that true?  Do Americans* by way of history simply get to partake in the greatness of our past?  Do we get to say we are somehow part of all the great things done by those who came before us?

Continue reading America(*): Happy (Founding) Fathers Day

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Frederick Douglass on Liberty, Slavery, and the Fourth of July

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“Interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a glorious liberty document.”

Damon Root|Jul. 4, 2015 9:15 am

On July 5, 1852, the abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass delivered one of the greatest speeches of his long and storied career. Titled “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?,” Douglass’ speech contained both a searing denunciation of American slavery and a rousing defense of the libertarian principles coursing through the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. “Interpreted as it ought to be interpreted,” Douglass thundered from the stage, “the Constitution is a glorious liberty document.”

In my view, there’s no such thing as a bad day to reflect on the wisdom of Frederick Douglass—but July Fourth is perhaps a better day for it than most. So as a way of both honoring Douglass and marking the anniversary of his remarkable July Fourth speech, here are two stories from the Reason archives which examine the life and legacy of this indispensable American hero.

Frederick Douglass, Classical Liberal

It’s true that Frederick Douglass simultaneously championed both civil rights and economic liberty. But the proper term for that combination isn’t Social Darwinism; it’s classical liberalism. The central component of Douglass’ worldview was the principle of self-ownership, which he understood to include both racial equality and the right to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor.

Consider the remarkable 1848 letter Doug­lass wrote to his old master, the slaveholder Thomas Auld. It rings out repeatedly with the tenets of classical liberalism. “You are a man and so am I,” Douglass declared. “In leaving you, I took nothing but what belonged to me, and in no way lessened your means for obtaining an honest living.” Escaping from slavery wasn’t just an act of self-preservation, Douglass maintained; it was an affirmation of his unalienable natural rights. “Your faculties remained yours,” he wrote, “and mine became useful to their rightful owner.”

Douglass struck a similar note in his powerful 1852 speech “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” Evoking John Locke’s famous description of private property emerging from man mixing his labor with the natural world, Douglass pointed to slaves “plowing, planting and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses” as proof that they too deserved the full range of natural rights. “Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? That he is the rightful owner of his own body?” Douglass asked his mostly white audience. “There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven, that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.”

What Frederick Douglass Teaches Us About American Exceptionalism and the Growth of Freedom

Douglass’ genius was not in hailing or excoriating American in hyperbolic terms. Plenty of people before and after him have done that. To simply assert that the United States is the either most perfect or most depraved nation is a form of exceptionalism, to be sure. But it is also an indulgent gesture that presumes that we can’t redeem ourselves or ever be held in error.

https://reason.com/blog/2015/07/04/frederick-douglass-on-liberty-slavery-an

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Ron Paul: “Reality Is Now Setting In For America… It Was All Based On Lies & Ignorance”

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Ron Paul: “Reality Is Now Setting In For America… It Was All Based On Lies & Ignorance”

Submitted by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity,

If Americans were honest with themselves they would acknowledge that the Republic is no more. We now live in a police state. If we do not recognize and resist this development, freedom and prosperity for all Americans will continue to deteriorate. All liberties in America today are under siege.

It didn’t happen overnight. It took many years of neglect for our liberties to be given away so casually for a promise of security from the politicians. The tragic part is that the more security was promised — physical and economic — the less liberty was protected.

With cradle-to-grave welfare protecting all citizens from any mistakes and a perpetual global war on terrorism, which a majority of Americans were convinced was absolutely necessary for our survival, our security and prosperity has been sacrificed.

It was all based on lies and ignorance. Many came to believe that their best interests were served by giving up a little freedom now and then to gain a better life.

The trap was set. At the beginning of a cycle that systematically undermines liberty with delusions of easy prosperity, the change may actually seem to be beneficial to a few. But to me that’s like excusing embezzlement as a road to leisure and wealth — eventually payment and punishment always come due. One cannot escape the fact that a society’s wealth cannot be sustained or increased without work and productive effort. Yes, some criminal elements can benefit for a while, but reality always sets in.

Reality is now setting in for America and for that matter for most of the world.The piper will get his due even if “the children” have to suffer. The deception of promising “success” has lasted for quite a while. It was accomplished by ever-increasing taxes, deficits, borrowing, and printing press money. In the meantime the policing powers of the federal government were systematically and significantly expanded. No one cared much, as there seemed to be enough “gravy” for the rich, the poor, the politicians, and the bureaucrats.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-10/ron-paul-reality-now-setting-america-it-was-all-based-lies-ignorance

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Lamenting Liberty Lost

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Lamenting Liberty Lost

Unless we have a radical change, we will continue our march toward the federal destruction of the presumption of liberty.

Andrew Napolitano | January 8, 2015

A British author, residing in the United States for the past 30 years, created a small firestorm earlier this week with his candid observations that modern-day Americans have been duped by the government into accepting a European-style march toward socialism because we fail to appreciate the rich legacy of personal liberty that is everyone’s birthright and is expressly articulated in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Os Guinness, the author of more than a dozen books defending traditional Judeo-Christian values and Jeffersonian personal liberty, argued that we should embrace individual liberty and personal dignity and reject the “no givens, no rules, no limits” government we now have. He went on to opine that the government today is not the constitutionally restrained protector of personal freedoms the Framers left us, but rather has become the wealth-distributing protector of collective interests the Founding Fathers never could have imagined.

Yet the problem is a deep one. The Framers believed in the presumption of liberty, which declares that we are free to make personal choices, and the government cannot interfere with our liberties unless we violate the rights of others. Stated differently, the federal government cannot interfere with our personal choices by writing any law it wants; it can only regulate behavior or spend money when the Constitution authorizes it to do so.

But for the past 100 years, the federal government has rejected the Madisonian concept that it is limited to the 16 discrete powers the Constitution delegates to it, and has claimed its powers are unlimited, subject only to the express prohibitions in the Constitution. Even those prohibitions can be gotten around since government lawyers have persuaded federal courts to rule that Congress can spend tax dollars or borrowed money on any projects it wishes, whether authorized by the Constitution or not. The courts even have authorized Congress to use federal tax dollars to bribe the states into enacting laws that Congress is powerless to enact, and Congress has done so.

https://reason.com/archives/2015/01/08/lamenting-liberty-lost

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11 Countries With the Most Personal Freedom

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11 Countries With the Most Personal Freedom

Personal freedom is one of the standards of capitalism. What is the point of economic profit if you can’t do what you want with it? The most important thing is that individuals are able to sustain themselves and live as they see fit, regardless of even class level. Unfortunately, not all countries are created equal when it comes to this metric.

The Cato Institute conducted a study on the personal freedoms of countries all over the world. They measured the degree to which people were free to enjoy civil liberties (speech, association, assembly, etc) as well as freedom of movement and the amount of legal discrimination based on gender and sexuality (there was no mention of race). Though many countries shared the same score in terms of personal freedom, tie breakers were decided based on economic freedom which, though a separate entity, ties into total freedom within a country. Without further ado, here are the 11 countries with the most personal freedom in the world.

https://capitalismisfreedom.com/11-countries-personal-freedom/

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Four Reasons NOT to Raise the Minimum Wage

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Four Reasons NOT to Raise the Minimum Wage
The Cato Institute
June 21, 2014

The debate over minimum wage continues to rage across the country. But, would raising the minimum wage actually harm the very people it is purportedly designed to help?

Research shows that businesses would respond to the increased costs by reducing employment, particularly for low-skilled workers. Some businesses may even pass the higher costs on to consumers. Despite the hope of proponents, raising the minimum wage would do little, if anything, to decrease poverty.

Here are four reasons NOT to raise the minimum wage….

It Would Result In Job Loss

Evidence of job losses have been found since the earliest imposition of the minimum wage

The first 25-cent minimum wage in 1938 resulted in significant job losses.
Minimum wage increases recently imposed in American Samoa resulted in economic effects so pronounced that President Obama signed into law a bill postponing them.
A 2006 review of more than 100 minimum wage studies by David Neumark and William Wascher found that about two-thirds found negative employment effects.
In 2010, Joseph Sabia and Richard Burkhauser estimated: “nearly 1.3 million jobs will be lost if the federal minimum wage is increased to $9.50 per hour.”

It Would Hurt Low-Skilled Workers

Evidence shows minimum wage increases disproportionately hurt the people they’re supposed to help

The 2006 Neumark and Wascher review found the literature “as largely solidifying the conventional view that minimum wages reduce employment among low-skilled workers.”
A 2012 analysis of the New York State minimum wage increase from $5.15 to $6.75 per hour found a “20.2 to 21.8 percent reduction in the employment of younger less-educated individuals.”
A 2010 analysis by Michael J. Hicks found: “the latest round of minimum wage increases” account “for roughly 550,000 fewer part-time jobs,” including “roughly 310,000 fewer teenagers working part-time.”

It Would Have Little Effect On Reducing Poverty

Evidence suggests that minimum wage increases don’t reduce poverty

In the previous federal minimum wage increase from $5.15 to $7.25, only 15 percent of the workers who were expected to gain from it lived in poor households, according to a 2012 review by Mark Wilson. If the minimum were today raised to $9.50, only 11 percent of workers who would gain live in poor households.
The 2012 Wilson review noted: “Since 1995, eight studies have examined the income and poverty effects of minimum wage increases, and all but one have found that past minimum wage hikes had no effect on poverty.”
The 2012 Wilson review noted: “One recent academic study found that both state and federal minimum wage increases between 2003 and 2007 had no effect on state poverty rates.”

It May Result In Higher Prices For Consumers

The costs of minimum wage increases must be paid by someone

The 2012 Wilson review noted: A 2004 “review of more than 20 minimum wage studies looking at price effects found that a 10 percent increase in the U.S. minimum wage raises food prices by up to 4 percent.”
A 2007 study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago found that restaurant prices increase in response to minimum wage increases