David Koch, the billionaire free market philanthropist, has died at the age of 79.
In 1980, Koch was the vice presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, whose platform that year endorsed the then-radical notions of legalizing drugs, ending penalties for victimless crimes, and full acceptance of gays and lesbians. The platform also called for the abolition of the CIA and FBI in the wake of the Church Commission findings of widespread abuse. In 1987, he told Reason, "Pursuing a very aggressive foreign policy…is an extremely expensive endeavor for the U.S. government. The cost of maintaining a huge military force abroad is gigantic. It's so big it puts a severe strain on the U.S. economy, creating economic hardships here at home." Not surprisingly, he was a critic of the Iraq War and other 21st-century interventions.
When entire demographic groups are kept politically powerless, government authority is easier to abuse. For many decades, the U.S. Constitution condoned official discrimination against women and racial minorities by allowing states to deny them their fundamental right to vote. The 15th Amendment finally prohibited disenfranchisement based on race in 1870, but it would take another 50 years to guarantee women’s suffrage nationwide. On Aug. 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify 19th Amendment, adding these words to the Constitution: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
It has been 99 years since the rights of women to political participation and representation were recognized by the passage of the 19th Amendment, and the world is a remarkably different place. There’s still a long way to go, however, to ensure that all individual rights are recognized and protected.
“When asked, many Americans will cite the freedom of speech as one of the most important natural rights that must be recognized by any country,” said Libertarian National Committee Secretary Caryn Ann Harlos. “Yet, until 100 years ago, the cornerstone of free speech — the right of political free speech — was fundamentally denied by the United States, with rare pockets of limited exceptions in several states, to one group of people based only upon the fact that they were women. This is important to remember and honor so that we do not repeat this ignorance in the areas of other fundamental rights.”
The passage of the 19th Amendment reminds us that we’re not stuck with abusive laws and policies. It’s within our power to implement real political change, rooting out every form of oppression and protecting all of your rights all of the time.
“I am a Libertarian because I believe in the fundamental inherent dignity and rights of all people — that they have the right to fully participate in all aspects of life subject only to their choice and avoidance of infringing upon the equal right of others to do the same,” Harlos said. “In the area of political speech, when that is denied, violence and oppression is inevitable. In the area of the full social and economic equality of women, this is a day to remember how far we have come and to look with optimism towards the future. Radical change is possible. It has happened before. A future free of all aggression against the rights of all people can happen. I believe it will.”
Robert Bender, a Libertarian Party of Ohio candidate for the Reynoldsburg City Council, has been returned to the November ballot by court order after previously having a critical number of his petition signatures invalidated by election officials.
Robert Bender had filed suit seeking reinstatement in the race for the Ward 3 council seat after elections officials invalidated several petition signatures he had submitted, leaving him short of the number needed to appear on the ballot.
According to court documents, Bender submitted his candidacy declaration in early February, and elections officials determined that he had the requisite number of valid petition signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Cato Institute's Center For Global Liberty and Prosperity
Director of Immigration Studies
Alex Nowrasteh is the director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. His popular publications have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, and most other major publications in the United States. His peer-reviewed academic publications have appeared in The World Bank Economic Review, the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Economic Affairs, the Fletcher Security Review, the Journal of Bioeconomics, and Public Choice. Alex regularly appears on Fox News, MSNBC, Bloomberg, NPR, and numerous television and radio stations across the United States. He is a coauthor of the booklet Open Immigration: Yea and Nay (Encounter Broadsides, 2014).
He is a native of Southern California and received a BA in economics from George Mason University and a Master of Science in economic history from the London School of Economics.
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