Our Complex Liberties

Samuel Goldman has written an excellent essay about the complex position of liberties in our current society. In this brief reply, I first amplify some of his points, most importantly underscoring how the pluralism of liberties creates difficulties in modernity. Second, I describe why the freedom of association is our most undervalued liberty because associations help people mediate between potentially conflicting liberties amidst this pluralism. Finally, I register a disagreement about the virtues of simplicity of government programs, because in my view Goldman has not sufficiently internalized his own analysis to recognize that such pluralism sometimes may require complexity in schemes of social governance.

The Plurality of Liberty

Goldman offers at least three insights about liberty in our current world. First, “liberty is plural,” and includes such varied liberties as civic freedom, commercial freedom, and the more radical autonomy of modernity with its familiar expression in sexual freedom. There is … Read the rest

Saturday Night Owls: The source of the next pandemic could be an industrial farm here or abroad

Night Owls, a themed open thread, appears at Daily Kos seven days a week


At Vice, Valerie Kipnis and Joe Hill write—The Next Pandemic Could Come From an American Factory Farm:

In the dead of night, four animal rights activists prepare to break into an industrial-scale pig farm in central California. They write lawyers’ phone numbers on their bodies with a Sharpie, their cell phones are locked away in signal-blocking cases to protect them from being tracked. After a 30-minute trek through almond groves under moonlight, they arrive at the pigpens and take out their gear: hazmat suits, N95 masks, flashlights.

They’re here to collect nasal and fecal samples to find the source of the next potential global pandemic.

These activists are part of Direct Action Everywhere, or DxE, a global grassroots network fighting for

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Mark Levin Slams Joe Biden’s Cabinet Picks For Being Appeasers Of China (VIDEO)

Mark Levin went on an epic rant during the Sean Hannity show this week.

He slammed the people Joe Biden is surrounding himself with as appeasers of China.

Joe Biden doesn’t have a great record on China either, and Levin offered plenty of reminders.

From BizPac Review:

Mark Levin goes off on Biden cabinet picks: They’re all ‘appeasers of China!’

Fox News’ Mark Levin went off on the top Cabinet picks recently announced by Joe Biden, should the 2020 Democratic nominee become president, saying those named are all “appeasers of China.”

The issue of China taking on renewed interest after the bombshell report that Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., had a relationship with a female Communist China spy that U.S. intelligence authorities believe was sexual.

Appearing Thursday night on Fox News’ “Hannity,” Levin did not hold back in his assessment of Biden’s picks.

“The fact of the matter is, the people

Read the rest

A Nondelegation Doctrine the Court Can Believe In

After several generations in which the nondelegation doctrine has been largely ignored, the Supreme Court has given hints that it may start to enforce the doctrine once again. This change in constitutional interpretation could have enormous consequences, because a strong nondelegation doctrine poses a significant check on the excesses of the administrative state. But enforcing the nondelegation doctrine raises a problem that has made even those sympathetic to the doctrine hesitant about applying it—the view that there is no clear way to distinguish between constitutional and unconstitutional delegations of policymaking authority to the executive. Here, I want to propose a solution to that problem (elaborated in this article) that would allow for a judicially manageable nondelegation doctrine.

The nondelegation doctrine holds that Congress cannot delegate its legislative power to the executive branch. The legislative power is normally identified with policymaking discretion. Thus, the doctrine limits Congress from assigning … Read the rest

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: SCOTUS says not here, not now, and maybe not never


Biden’s electors prepare to seal his victory, as Trump and coronavirus rage

In interviews, more than two dozen swing-state electors detailed plans for Monday’s vote — and a hint of anxiety about Trump.

Sasse: “every American who cares about the rule of law should take comfort that the Supreme Court — including all three of President Trump’s picks — closed the book on the nonsense.”

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) December 12, 2020

None of the people who supported that document—not a one—can ever again honestly claim to believe in freedom, democracy, individual rights, or constitutional government. All they believe in is their own divine right to rule, no matter what the people say.

— Adam Serwer 🍝 (@AdamSerwer) December 11, 2020


Senate Republicans shun House GOP bid to overturn the election

The failed Texas lawsuit backing Trump’s effort to stay in power highlighted the different incentives facing GOP

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DA Drops Charges On Portland Autonomous Zone Occupiers, Including Felon with Body Armor, After Police Find Multiple Guns

Predictably, Multnomah County district attorney Mike Schmidt has dropped charges against all of the protesters who were arrested on Tuesday as part of the autonomous zone blockade and ensuing melee with police. The occupied zone is now being referred to RHAZ; Red House Autonomous Zone.

A press release from Portland Police on Tuesday read, in part:

Today, as Portland Police remained on the perimeter of properties in the 4400 Block of North Mississippi Avenue waiting for private contractors to fence the property, people began to gather nearby. People attempted to get inside the perimeter at various locations, despite the presence of uniformed police personnel, police vehicles and police tape. Officers also reminded people not to enter the perimeter. Officers made some arrests and reported using pepper spray in at least one instance.

As police stood on the perimeter, some were subjected to thrown objects such as rocks

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Poe in the City

The Man of the Crowd, by Scott Peeples, has something for everyone. It should be equally attractive to Edgar Allan Poe scholars, aficionados, and those who simply want to read more of Poe’s stories, poems, and essays. The volume is pitched so that it is of value to academics and lesser mortals alike: For scholars, Peeples fills a lacuna in Poe scholarship, much of which is devoted to overinterpreting Poe’s stories and poems by psychoanalysis at a distance. For aficionados and general readers, the text is accessible, informative, and encourages the reader to read more, this time with the discrimination and insight that Peeples provides.

Understanding Edgar

Peeples convincingly supplies an important balance to those who explain Poe as largely unmoored from any meaningful human or physical connections, an imaginer who drew only upon his uneasy interior life. It is true, as Peeples notes, that Poe “relocated approximately thirty-five … Read the rest

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: PA labels the TX election lawsuit as sedition, and they're right

Pennsylvania opposition to Texas’ Bill of Complaint to Supreme Court:

Texas’s effort to get this Court to pick the next President has no basis in law or fact. The Court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated.

Statement from @BenSasse on the Texas lawsuit: pic.twitter.com/pjRsAWmYIr

— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) December 10, 2020

Boston Globe:

Trump’s election legal strategy is all but doomed, but still could damage American democracy, experts say

First, President Trump lost the Nov. 3 election.

Then, his lawyers lost in court as they tried to allege fraud and irregularities — over and over and over again.

Now, Trump’s throw-it-all-at-the-wall strategy has apparently morphed into a brazen attempt to use his power as president to overturn Joe Biden’s victory. The effort seems to be aimed as much at fueling

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Rep. Dan Crenshaw Slams Nancy Pelosi and Democrats Over COVID Lockdowns In EPIC Speech (VIDEO)

Every once in a while, someone in Congress makes a speech on the House floor that deserves attention.

Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas gave a speech this week that millions of Americans want to hear. He slammed Nancy Pelosi for deliberately withholding COVID relief funds for political reasons.

Crenshaw also called out hypocritical Democrats for destroying businesses with COVID rules that even they don’t want to follow.

From the Post Millennial:

Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw took to the floor of the House of Representatives to condemn Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for blocking a coronavirus relief package for the American people supported by President Donald Trump to prevent him from receiving a political victory.

“She said the quiet part out loud,” Crenshaw said. “This was never about what was best for the American people, never about honest policy disagreement, it was about preventing President Trump getting any credit. It’s

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The Economy after COVID-19

Richard Reinsch (00:18):

Welcome to Liberty Law Talk, I’m Richard Reinsch. Today we’re talking with Arnold Kling about the post-COVID economy. Arnold Kling is an economist. He’s a scholar and he’s a writer, frequent public commentator on policy issues, which he approaches from an economics perspective. He writes frequently for EconLog, a sister website to Law & Liberty. He also contributes to Law & Liberty from time to time, usually on issues related to macroeconomics. He’s the author of numerous books, including The Three Languages of Politics: Talking Across The Political Divides, Specialization and Trade: A Re-Introduction Economics and also Unchecked and Unbalanced. Arnold, this essay that we’re going to discuss, and I’m glad to have you on Liberty Law Talk, this essay appeared in the summer edition of National Affairs and is a sort of an exploration of our economy during this … Read the rest