Dave is a libertarian commentator, covering the globe. Libertarians believe in limited­­ — or no — government. Dave now favors anarchy (“no ruler”) as the ideal. His many other interests include leadership, entrepreneurship, and animal welfare.


Only When We Are Free of Rulers Will We Live with Dignity

by David E. Shellenberger on April 15, 2014

Dignity requires liberty. Only when we are truly free — free of rulers — will we live with dignity.

The state steals our dignity. It imposes authority, exploits fear, compels collectivism, enforces conformity, and demands capitulation. It denies respect for individual rights and responsibilities, the essence of human dignity.

A victim might have to obey a kidnapper, in order to endure. If he goes further and accepts the captor’s authority, this is a failure of perception or character. And if he allies with the criminal, he too becomes a criminal.

The state kidnaps us at birth, and we have to decide how we will respond. To tolerate the state is corrosive, to embrace it is wrong, and to affiliate with it is immoral. [click to continue…]

Security Means Liberty: Why You Cannot Trade One for the Other

by David E. Shellenberger on April 11, 2014

Security means being free from danger, threat, or harm. It is a state that cannot fully exist, and one that would make our lives sterile if it did exist. Helen Keller cautioned,

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.

We do, nonetheless, strive to achieve a degree of security, each of us seeking protection from risks that concern us. Looking to the state for security, however, entails the loss of liberty. Benjamin Franklin famously warned, “They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Roderick T. Long notes that the “balance” commonly sought is a trap: “You can’t trade off freedom against security because they’re exactly the same thing.”

The state is the most dangerous provider of security, since it exacts liberty in exchange for its promises. Since the state imposes itself through violence and the threat of violence, and acts as a monopolist, it is also the worst provider of any service, including security. When the state promises security, it delivers insecurity. [click to continue…]

Tear Down Trade Walls, Unilaterally

March 21, 2014

Free trade is a moral issue. When government stands between buyers and sellers and imposes tariffs, quotas, or other barriers, it interferes with the right of people to engage in exchange. It also impedes all the morally positive effects of trade. Trade between people in different countries is no different from trade between people in different [...]

Read the full article →

March 2014: Fighting Neofascism in Hungary

March 16, 2014

A year ago, in “Hungary, March 2013, Part II: Emerging Neofascism,” we discussed the problem of neofascism in Hungary — represented by bigotry and extreme nationalism —and the efforts of the Hungarian Free Market Foundation to counter this plague. The problem continues to draw international media attention. Three examples follow. First, on May 18, 2013, the [...]

Read the full article →

The Gift of Truth

March 2, 2014

If your eyes have opened, and you see the truth, then you know that liberty means no ruler. You know that democracy is not the goal, since it is just a form of government. You understand that a constitutional government is still a government, and that a constitution does not really constrain. You recognize that [...]

Read the full article →

Remembering Rev. Spencer Morgan Rice

January 31, 2014

It has been my privilege to know a few great men. One was Rev. Spencer Morgan Rice, who passed away on January 15, 2014. In 1989, a friend who was active in Trinity Church in Boston, Massachusetts suggested that I attend an Inquirers’ Class. This was a good idea. After Rev. Rice’s presentation, I was [...]

Read the full article →

Visit to Wolf Conservation Center: Elephant Edition

December 18, 2013

I recently wrote about my first visit to the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC). I enjoyed visiting again on December 7th for the program “Saving Elephants – One Creature at a Time.” The speaker was Carol Buckley, the founder, president, and CEO of Elephant Aid International (EAI). Ms. Buckley also co-founded The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Many [...]

Read the full article →

Fortunate

December 2, 2013

In the spring of 1996, after Elizabeth, one of my two beloved Burmese cats, died at a young age, I told myself I would just look. The handsome orange tabby at the MSPCA-Angell Adoption Center in Boston peered up at me and put his nose through the bars of his cage. I asked the attendant [...]

Read the full article →

Visit to Wolf Conservation Center

November 22, 2013

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, New York. As a friend and supporter of the organization, I had looked forward to seeing the center. Having returned to Connecticut, I was able to attend an event. Wolf Conservation Center The center’s mission is to promote wolf conservation and recovery: The [...]

Read the full article →

Appearance on The Stateless Man, September 2013

September 23, 2013

I enjoyed being a guest on Fergus Hodgson’s radio program, The Stateless Man, on September 15. Mr. Hodgson is editor in chief of the PanAmerican Post and a policy adviser with the Future of Freedom Foundation. Mr. Hodgson’s article about the show, “Collectivism in Latin America | Decades of the Liberty Movement | Update on [...]

Read the full article →