Thursday, July 21, 2011

One Big, Happy Polygamous Family

by Jonathan Turley

New York Times

July 20, 2011

Since the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, Americans have enjoyed unprecedented freedom in their lifestyles and private relationships. The decision held that states could no longer use the criminal code for social engineering, dictating the most intimate decisions of citizens in their choice of partners and relations. But even as states have abandoned laws criminalizing homosexual and adulterous relations, they have continued to prosecute one group of consenting adults: polygamists.

Last week in Utah, one such family filed a challenge to the state’s criminal law. That family — a man, Kody Brown, and his four wives and 16 children — is the focus of a reality program on the cable channel TLC called “Sister Wives.” One of the marriages is legal and the others are what the family calls “spiritual.” They are not asking for the state to recognize their marriages. They are simply asking for the state to leave them alone.

Utah and eight other states make polygamy a crime, while 49 states have bigamy statutes that can be used to prosecute plural families. And they’re not a small population: the number of fundamentalist Mormon or Christian polygamists alone has been estimated to be as high as 50,000. When Muslim as well as nonreligious plural families are considered, the real number is likely many times greater.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Revolution Is Not Over Yet

by Hamadi Redissi

New York Times

July 15, 2011

Six months ago, after weeks of protests, the Tunisian people gathered in front of the Interior Ministry to demand that their longtime president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, leave the country. He fled for Saudi Arabia on Jan. 14.

But the country’s future remains uncertain. Giant sit-ins by opposition groups plagued the interim government that replaced Mr. Ben Ali. As in the French Revolution, they came armed with “Lists of Grievances.” The standoff ended when an interim prime minister, Béji Caïd Essebsi, an old hand in Tunisian politics, took office at the end of February. He managed the trick of both placating the impatient and not alarming those who want nothing to change.

The key to establishing a new democracy will be how the interim government deals with members of the old regime. Unfortunately, it has been reluctant to bring them to justice immediately, opting instead to leave this pivotal responsibility to the government that will take power after elections in October.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

What is classical liberalism?

February 11, 2011

Dr. Nigel Ashford explains the 10 core principles of the classical liberal & libertarian view of society and the proper role of government:

1) Liberty as the primary political value
2) Individualism
3) Skepticism about power
4) Rule of Law
5) Civil Society
6) Spontaneous Order
7) Free Markets
8) Toleration
9) Peace
10) Limited Government

Dr. Ashford is Senior Program Officer at the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) at George Mason University.


Letters to Castro: Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa Rejects Socialism

Atlas Network
July 6, 2011

Nobel Laureate and Atlas Templeton Leadership Fellow, Mario Vargas Llosa, tells the story of his conversion from Marxism to free market capitalism after visiting Cuba and the Soviet Union.


Monday, July 4, 2011

David Fitzsimmons (Arizona Daily Star)

Free Speech and the Internet

New York Times
July 3, 2011

As the United Nations has said, access to the Internet is a human right. A report by the U.N.’s special rapporteur presented last month to the Human Rights Council in Geneva warns that this right is being threatened by governments around the world — democracies included.

The main concern is about oppressive regimes trying to squash political dissent — like China, which jails bloggers, blocks Web sites and filters the Internet to eradicate words, including “democracy,” from the conversation.

The report also warned against overzealous attempts by democratic states to control or censor online communications. Stopping infringement of intellectual property or the distribution of child pornography is legitimate. But governments must protect citizens’ rights to speak freely — anonymously when necessary.

In Italy, a court convicted Google executives because a user uploaded a video on YouTube depicting cruelty to a disabled teenager, even though Google quickly removed the offending content. Brazil’s Congress is debating legislation that would require Internet service providers to keep a log of customers’ online activity for three years, which authorities could access without a court order to pursue crimes such as calumny.

The French and British parliaments have passed draconian laws that would ban users from the Internet for illegally downloading copyrighted material. The United States Senate is considering an intellectual property bill that would allow the government or private businesses to take action against a potentially large array of Web sites for “facilitating” piracy, an excessively broad definition.