Libertarian women’s history month: Deirdre McCloskey

28 Mar
Deirdre N. McCloskey (September 11, 1942 – ) was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the eldest child of Robert McCloskey, a professor of government at Harvard University, and the former Helen Stueland, a poet.  McCloskey is a Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She is also adjunct professor of Philosophy and Classics there, and for five years was a visiting Professor of philosophy at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. Since October 2007 she has received six honorary doctorates. In 2013, she received the Julian L. Simon Memorial Award from the Competitive Enterprise Institute for her work examining factors in history that led to advancement in human achievement and prosperity. Her main research interests are (1) the origins of the modern world, (2) the misuse of statistical significance in economics and other sciences, and (3) the study of capitalism, among many others.

McCloskey earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Economics at Harvard University. Her dissertation on British iron and steel won in 1973 the David A. Wells Prize.
In 1968, McCloskey became an assistant professor of economics at the University of Chicago, where she stayed for 12 years, gaining tenure as an associate professor in economics in 1975, and an associate professorship in history in 1979.  This was during the final years of Milton Friedman’s residence at the University.   Undergraduates in McCloskey’s microeconomics classes at Chicago remember how she was scrupulously fair with students, like socialist students who wanted to question basic aspects of markets and price theory.
 Her work at Chicago is marked by her contribution to the cliometric revolution in economic history, and teaching generations of leading economists Chicago Price Theory, a course which culminated in her book The Applied Theory of Price, now a standard advanced textbook in microeconomics. In 1979, at the suggestion of Wayne Booth in English at Chicago, she turned to the study of rhetoric in economics. Later at the University of Iowa, McCloskey, the John Murray Professor of Economics and of History (1980–99), published The Rhetoric of Economics (1985) and co-founded with John S. Nelson, Allan Megill, and others “the rhetoric of inquiry,” and an institution and graduate program, the Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry. McCloskey has authored 16 books and some 360 articles in her many fields.
Her major contributions have been to the economic history of Britain (19th-century trade, modern history, and medieval agriculture) the quantification of historical inquiry (cliometrics), the rhetoric of economics, the rhetoric of the human sciences, economic methodology, virtue ethics, feminist economicsheterodox economics, the role of mathematics in economic analysis, and the use (and misuse) of significance testing in economics, and recently in her trilogy “The Bourgeois Era”, the origins of the Industrial Revolution.
She argued in the inaugural James M. Buchanan Lecture at George Mason University on April 7, 2006 that capitalism “is an ethically drenched human activity” which requires attention to all of the classical seven virtues, while economists usually focus exclusively on prudence. Her book The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce was the first of the trilogy, published in 2006. The second, Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World was published in 2010, and the third, The Treasured Bourgeoisie: How Markets and Innovation Became Ethical, 1600-1848, and then Suspect was published in 2014.

Married for thirty years and the parent of two children, she transitioned from male to female in 1995, at the age of 53, writing about her experience in a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Crossing: A Memoir (1999, University of Chicago Press). It is an account of her growing recognition (while a boy and man) of her female identity, and her transition—both surgical and social—into a woman (including her reluctant divorce from her wife). The book describes her new life, following sex-reassignment surgery, continuing her career as a female academic economist.

McCloskey advocates on behalf of the rights of persons and organizations in the LGBT community. She was also a key person in the Blanchard, Bailey, and Lawrence theory controversy and in the debate over J. Michael Bailey‘s book The Man Who Would Be Queen, both regarding the reasons why transsexuals desire a male to female transformation.  In 2015 she was a featured speaker at the International Students for Liberty conference in Washington, D.C.
McCloskey has described herself as a “literary, quantitative, postmodern, free-market, progressive Episcopalian, Midwestern woman from Boston who was once a man. Not ‘conservative’! I’m a Christian libertarian.”

Libertarian women’s history month: Mary Ruwart

27 Mar

Mary J. Ruwart, PhD (October 16, 1949 – ) is a research scientist and libertarian speaker, writer, and activist. She was a leading candidate for the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nomination and is the author of the award-winning international bestseller Healing Our World.

Born in Detroit, Ruwart holds an undergraduate degree in biochemistry (BS, 1970), and a graduate degree in biophysics (PhD, 1974) from Michigan State University. After a brief term as an Assistant Professor of Surgery at St. Louis University Medical School, Ruwart spent 19 years as a pharmaceutical research scientist for Upjohn PharmaceuticalsAs a senior research scientist, Dr. Ruwart was involved in developing new therapies for a variety of diseases, including liver cirrhosis and AIDS.
Dr. Ruwart left Upjohn in 1995 to devote her time to consulting and writing. Her communications course for scientists, covering written, oral, and poster presentations has received high praise from attendees. She also provides consulting services for nutraceutical companies, clinical research organizations, and universities.

Between 2003 and 2006, Dr. Ruwart was an adjunct Associate Professor of Biology at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.  During that time, she served with the Center for Applied and Professional Ethics, designing a medical research ethics course for the University.  Her radical application of ethics to medical regulation, especially regulations regarding pharmaceuticals, has life-and-death-implications.

Dr. Ruwart’s sister, Martie, provided extensive editorial critique to the first (1992) edition of Healing Our World. In 1993, Martie was diagnosed with terminal cancer and became one of Dr. Kevorkian’s patients. In memory of her sister, Dr. Ruwart shares her story with those interested in the ethical issues surrounding assisted suicide in both public (Larry King Radio; The Morton Downey, Jr. Show; Rolanda, etc.) and private forums (e.g., churches, schools, hospice).

Her Internet column, Ask Dr. Ruwart, is a popular feature of the Advocates for Self-Government “Liberator OnLine” e-zine. Her book, Short Answers to the Tough Question, is based on these and other questions she has received over the years.
Dr. Ruwart has worked extensively with the poor through her decade-long efforts to rehabilitate low-income housing in the Kalamazoo area.  She was also an active member of the Kalamazoo Rainforest Action Committee and has been profiled in American Men and Women of Science, Who’s Who in Science and Technology, World Who’s Who of Women, International Leaders of Achievement, Who’s Who of American Women, Community Leaders of North America and several other prestigious biographical works.
Currently, Dr. Ruwart serves as Chair of the International Society for Individual Liberty  and Secretary of the Foundation for a Free Society. She has been an At-Large member of the Libertarian National Committee, served on the Board of both the Heartland Institute (Michigan Chapter) and the Fully Informed Jury Amendment Association .
In 1992, Ruwart published her best-selling book Healing Our World: The Other Piece of the Puzzle (ISBN 0-9632336-2-9); in 2003, the third edition was published, retitled Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression (ISBN 0-9632336-6-1). In the afterword of the third edition of Healing Our World, Ruwart describes the experience of her sister’s death, an assisted suicide facilitated by Jack Kevorkian.
A member of the Libertarian Party since 1982, Ruwart campaigned unsuccessfully for the party’s presidential nomination in 1984 and for the vice-presidential nomination in 1992. Ruwart was the Libertarian Party of Texas’s nominee for U.S. Senate in 2000, where she faced incumbent Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison; Ruwart polled 1.16% of the popular vote (72,798 votes), finishing fourth of four candidates behind Green Party candidate Douglas Sandage.
Ruwart has served on the Libertarian National Committee, and was a keynote speaker at the 2004 Libertarian National Convention. In 2002, libertarians launched an unsuccessful lobbying campaign to get Dr. Ruwart appointed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner. Additionally, Ruwart has served on the boards of the International Society for Individual Liberty, the Fully Informed Jury Association, and the Michigan chapter of the Heartland Institute. Ruwart is a longtime supporter of the Free State Project and officially endorsed it on May 17, 2008 while on-air on Free Talk Live.
Ruwart unsuccessfully ran for Texas Comptroller in 2010 against incumbent Republican Susan Combs. She received 417,523 votes or 10.5% in a race that had no Democrat.


In March 2008, in response to an informal draft effort by a group of Libertarian Party activists, Ruwart announced her candidacy for the Libertarian presidential nomination in the 2008 election. She lost the nomination to Bob Barr on the sixth ballot at the 2008 Libertarian National Convention on May 25, 2008. Despite tying with Barr on the third and fourth ballots and taking the lead on the fifth, she ultimately lost after third-placed candidate Wayne Allyn Root threw his support behind Barr. Root later received the vice-presidential nomination.
Dr. Ruwart is part of a Texas Libertarian power couple, as her partner, R. Lee Wrights, also narrowly missed being nominated as a presidential candidate, at the Libertarian Party Nominating Convention in Las Vegas in 2012, where he lost his bid to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.  Ruwart is usually associated with a “radical caucus” wing within the Libertarian Party, that questions current vaccinations laws and age of consent laws criminalizing sex between teenagers only a year apart in age.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/24177253
Mary Ruwart and Lee Wrights from Matthew Bowler on Vimeo.

DC pot seed queue meets the tragedy of the commons, kind of

27 Mar



Basic microeconomics strikes again – it’s illegal to sell pot seeds in DC, you can only give them away.  So a line 4 blocks long formed to get free seeds, at a venue  — appropriately called Libertine — only open for two and a half hours.  So only 60% of those in line got seeds.  There is a second free seed distribution this Saturday.  Rumor is the local Libertarian Party will pass out free – and regular – brownies.  Where the same thing may happen again.  Still, it’s better than government cheese…



reasonTV was covering this event – but, we beat them to the press!  So until they post you will just have to enjoy our videos – vegans against pot (roast), hydroponics salespeeps, etc.  Located in the trendy Adams Morgan neighborhood, just a bongs through from the homes of various Cato, Institute for Justice, and Atlas Network dynamos (– and only 8 blocks from reason magazine’s DC offices, so I don’t know why they can’t load their damn video quicker!)  Besides reasonTV‘s Todd Krainen, the only other libertarians I noticed about were a local conservatarian who works in the private sector for CoStar, and a
Ron Paulista public interest lawyer who works for the Electronic Freedom Foundation.

I’m from the government and I am hear to dint you.

26 Mar

Libertarian women’s history month: Dana Berliner

26 Mar
Dana Berliner (May 31, 196? – ) was born in southern California, where her father, Michael Berliner, was the first executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute and a professor of education at California State University and her mother, Dr. Judith Berliner, is a researcher on blood vessel diseases at UCLA Medical School.   Berliner is Litigation Director at the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm in Arlington, Virginia founded in 1991 by Chip Mellor and Clint Bolick. She was co-lead counsel for Susette Kelo in the landmark United States Supreme Court case Kelo v. City of New London
Dana received her law (1991) and undergraduate (psychology, 1987) degrees from Yale University, where she was a member of the Yale Law Journal and represented clients through the legal services program. After law school, she clerked for Judge Jerry Edwin Smith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  Younger colleagues at the Institute of Justice, when asked about Ms. Berliner, praise her brilliance.  (Indeed, one can imagine reading about her work would inspire many to desire to go to law school, or wish that they had done so.)   Living in the once bohemian Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C. , Berliner has recently become active in a common libertarian passion, finding people interested in starting a Montessori school for her child to attend.

 

Ms. Berliner is best known for her work in the area of eminent domain. Along with co-counsel Scott Bullock, Dana litigated the landmark case Kelo v. City of New London, one of the most divisive and widely discussed Supreme Court decisions in decades. More recently, Berliner acted as lead counsel for Bill Brody in the New York eminent domain case Brody v. Village of Port Chester. Currently, Ms. Berliner is representing the Community Youth and Athletic Center, a non-profit boxing gym for children in National City, California, defending it from potential eminent domain use by the city. She has also served as lead counsel in a successful case that garnered national attention challenging Ohio’s requirement that African hairbraiders spend a year in cosmetology school, in which they learn nothing about braiding, in order to practice their profession.  When she successfully defended Vera Coking, an elderly widow in Atlantic City, N.J., the Institute’s work defending small property owners from eminent domain became nationally prominent. As co-counsel, she stopped a state agency from condemning Mrs. Coking’s house to give it to Donald Trump for a limousine waiting area. She has gone on to litigate many other free enterprise and eminent domain cases.  Dana has previously secured a victory in favor of two New Orleans entrepreneurs in a federal First Amendment challenge to the City of New Orleans’ ban on sidewalk book vending. As trial counsel, Dana also secured a ruling that the Nevada Transportation Services Authority violated the rights of several would-be limousine entrepreneurs by subjecting them to an onerous and arbitrary licensing process that gave undue power to existing companies opposing competition. 
In addition to her work in the courtroom, Ms. Berliner has authored two works concerning eminent domain and been involved with the issue in other ways. In 2003, she wrote Public Power, Private Gain: A Five-Year, State-by-State Report Examining the Abuse of Eminent Domain. She also authored Opening the Floodgates: Eminent Domain Abuse in the Post-Kelo World, a report published by the Castle Coalition on the use and threatened use of eminent domain for private development in the year since the Kelo decision. Dana has also written amicus curiae briefs on constitutional eminent domain issues in more than ten states. Over the past few years, she has also taught many continuing legal education classes on public use. She works with owners around the country in opposing the condemnation of their homes and businesses for private use.

http://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?193070-5/eminent-domain

Dana has written for or had her ideas quoted in The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Capitalism magazine, The Washington Post, and The Washington Timesas well as on various radio and television broadcasts, including 60 Minutes.  In 2012 she was on the faculty of the Ayn Rand Institute’s summer conference.
Linda Greenhouse, covering the Supreme Court case decriminalizing homosexuality, in which IJ filed a brief (along with the Cato Institute),  quoted Berliner  in the New York Times :  “Most people may see this as a case purely about homosexuality, but we don’t look at it that way at all.  If the government can regulate private sexual behavior, it’s hard to imagine what the government couldn’t regulate.  That’s almost so basic that it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees.
In her most famous case, Berliner foreshadowed Edward Snowden in her assessment of what it’s like to be the libertarian David (or Dana) going up against the governmental Goliath, saying that the United States Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. New London, gave rise to “a tidal wave of outrage.  The decision brought to light this incredible rift between what lawyers and cities thought was the law and what the American people thought was the law,” Ms. Berliner said. “This is certainly the situation of losing the battle and winning the war.”
Ms. Berliner published the following commentary on the Kelo decision in the New York Times:
No one should be surprised by the aftermath of the Kelo case — neither the fact that absolutely nothing has been built on the land nor the fact that Pfizer is now pulling out of New London altogether.
Nor is it surprising that Pfizer has now pulled out. The company took advantage of the phenomenal tax break when it was there and is pulling out just before it ends. The deal and the project didn’t make any financial sense for a private company, and no one would have agreed to it without a huge subsidy.The evidence at trial showed that nothing would be built on that land. The developer (who has now left the project) did a study showing there was no market for the biotech office buildings the city claimed would replace the homes. But the courts didn’t want to look at that evidence. If they had, Susette Kelo would still be in her home and the rest of us would be safe from eminent domain abuse.
Risky real estate deals are, well, risky. That means they often fail. And if a private company made a risky deal that failed, we wouldn’t even be discussing it. But when government uses eminent domain to remove people from their homes, while spending tens of millions of public dollars on a failed risky deal, that’s a travesty.
The public was upset even before the project went down in flames. To the utter astonishment of local governments, developers and the courts, the American public despises eminent domain. Indeed, after the decision, there was overwhelming public disapproval, crossing political lines.
Eminent domain is wildly unpopular and pie-in-the-sky promises usually turn out to be empty. Hopefully local governments have learned an important lesson.

Is “Taxpayer” Now Verboten?

26 Mar

Originally posted on JONATHAN TURLEY:

600px-Caution_sign_used_on_roads_pn.svgWe have previously discussed how there appears to an ever-expanding list of words deemed inappropriate or biased. It appears “taxpayer” may be the next suspect noun. While Republicans and Democrats alike have made pitches to protecting taxpayers, New Republic’s Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig wrote an article objecting that the use of the word in the 2016 budget is problematic and that we should start to view the noun as yet another loaded and coded word.

View original 400 more words

Libertarian women’s history month: Virginia Postrel

26 Mar

Virginia Inman Postrel (born January 14, 1960 – ) is an American political and cultural writer of broadly libertarian views who was the editor of reason magazine during the 1990s.

She is best known for her non-fiction books, The Future and Its Enemies and The Substance of Style. In the former she explains her philosophy, “dynamism,” a forward-looking and change-seeking philosophy that generally favors unregulated organization through “spontaneous order“. She contrasts it with “stasis“, a philosophy that favors top-down control and regulation and is marked by desire to maintain the present state of affairs. In November 2013, she published a third book, The Power of Glamour, which defined glamour as “nonverbal rhetoric” that “leads us to feel that the life we dream of exists, and to desire it even more.”  (It would be interesting if Postrel had returned to reason to do its recent interview with Camille Paglia, given her research interests.)

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/virginia_postrel_on_glamour.html

Virginia Inman was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. Her father was an engineer and her mother was a homemaker who later went on to get her masters degree and teach at the college level. Virginia went on to college at Princeton University, graduating in 1982 with a degree in English Literature.


Postrel was editor of Reason from July 1989 to January 2000, and remained on the masthead as editor-at-large through 2001. Her writing has been attacked by paleo-libertarian Justin Raimondo and praised by Objectivist philosopher Diana Hsieh.  She hired editor Nick Gillespie, her successor at reason.  Prior to that, she was a reporter for Inc. and the Wall Street Journal. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). From 2000 to 2006, she wrote an economics column for the New York Times and from 2006 to 2009 she wrote the “Commerce and Culture” column for The Atlantic. She also appeared on the last episode of the third season of Pennand Teller‘s Bullshit!.

Postrel wrote the biweekly column “Commerce & Culture” for the Wall Street Journal until April 2011. Since May 2011, she has written a biweekly column foR Bloomberg News.

Postrel has written several articles on health care and bioethics, including accounts of her own experiences.  In March 2006 Postrel donated a kidney to an acquaintance, writer Sally Satel. She has recounted the experience, and referred to it in several subsequent articles and blog posts—many of which are critical of legal prohibitions against compensating organ donors. In some of these pieces she discusses strategies for working around these restrictions, such as organ donor transplant chains.
In her March 2009 article “My Drug Problem” in The Atlantic, Postrel wrote about her own experience of being treated for breast cancer with the expensive drug Herceptin.  She questioned if such a costly treatment would be available to others and if the risky research that makes such innovative treatments possible would be profitable under proposed health care reforms in the United States.

Postrel has also referred to her experience as a cancer patient in her writing about the importance of design aesthetics in hospitals, and the competitive forces that drive them to create more attractive environments for patients. This ties into the thesis of her second book—that beauty is more than simply a superficial, frivolous trait, and can go more than skin deep. Notions of beauty and desirability—and thoughts on what makes good design good beyond the needs of sound engineering—inform her work at the “Deep Glamour” blog.

On December 10, 2013, Postrel was criticized by The Colbert Report for an opinion article she wrote for Bloomberg.com titled, “Who Needs a Raise When You Have TV?”
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