img_2320This morning I disengaged from the closed-but-unmoderated Libertarian Facebook group that my friend James Littleton Gill has promoted in the past. Why? It mostly consisted of posts about how libertarians are racist and really like or approve of Nazis. Yikes.

Apparently, if you set the cost of joining a group at FREE, and don’t vet anything, then, why, your enemies will ruin it!

Wow. Who would have thought!

It is almost as if private property and the legitimate threat of expulsion serve a function. In a free society.

There are perils, it is commonly said, of minds so open that brains fall out. Something similar happens with free speech.

Indeed, the problem we encounter here is scalability. In the West, our civilization has prioritized freedom of thought, speech, press, religion and assembly as basic freedoms — freedoms that, in North America, anyway, the United States’s federal government is not supposed to abridge at all.

But what of other governments? And what of other institutions?

At the time of the founding, states routinely engaged in activities that were forbidden to the “general government” in Philadelphia and then in Washington, D.C. There were, for instance, established churches in several states. The founders considered it “up to the states” to protect citizens from state and local government incursions and regulations.

With the 14th Amendment, that changed. Many or all of the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights were extended to all citizens against state governments as well. And then the postmodern mess began, as we began the strange task of fitting the old wine of natural rights into the new wineskin of the centralized Administrative State.

This gets tricky, for a number of reasons. I mention it here to show, only, that there are levels of jurisdiction that make a difference in the American federal system, and the more serious [to be continued…]