Author name: David Butler

A Comparison of Monies

by Carl Watner and Dave Scotese1 From Issue 174 – 3rd Quarter, 2017, and revised March, 2020   Real Money Counterfeit Note2 Federal Reserve Note Bitcoin What is it? Coins of gold or silver Piece of paper Piece of paper Generated by computer software What is its essence? A specific weight and purity of precious …

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Meeting the State Head-On

by Anonymous   [Author’s Note: This article was sparked by recently reading two older voluntaryist essays by Carl Watner: “Highway Tax vs. Poll Tax: Some Thoreau Tax Trivia” (Issue 71), and “Charles Lane: Voluntaryist”, the Introduction to A VOLUNTARY POLITICAL GOVERNMENT: LETTERS FROM CHARLES LANE.] In Henry David Thoreau’s famous essay “Civil Disobedience” (which was …

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Laying the Axe to the Root of the Tree: Voluntaryist Strategies to End Human Slavery

by Carl Watner In the Fall of 2013, I received a direct-mail campaign piece from The Foundation for Economic Education which was accompanied by a DVD titled AMAZING GRACE. The DVD told the story of the efforts of William Wilberforce and the British abolitionists to outlaw the slave trade. Their primary focus was on getting …

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H.L. Mencken

  By H.L. Mencken [Editor’s Note: This article is excerpted from Volume 117, No. 3048 of THE NATION (Dec. 5, 1923, pp. 647-648). In it, Mencken examines his penchant for liberty and its relationship to his work as a literary critic.] I often marvel that the gentlemen who concern themselves with my own books, often …

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A Voluntaryist Bibliography, Annotated (1982)

by Carl Watner General Introduction And Purpose Of This Bibliography     The Voluntaryists are a newly formed group of libertarians who have organized to promote non-political strategies to achieve a free society. We have chosen to label ourselves Voluntaryists because the term “libertarian” has become too closely associated with the Libertarian Party. We believe …

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In Favorem Libertatis: The Life and Work of Granville Sharp

by Carl Watner 1980     Libertarians, if they care to examine the subject, will discover that they have a rich historical tradition in the English and American antislavery movements. The libertarian tradition in antislavery thought may be concisely summed up: In Favorem Libertatis–In Favor of Liberty. No one familiar with this tradition could fail to …

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“All Mankind Is One”: The Libertarian Tradition In Sixteenth Century Spain

by Carl Watner 1987 [This article appeared in Volume 8, THE JOURNAL OF LIBERTARIAN STUDIES (Summer 1987), pp. 293-309.] It would probably be looked upon as unusual to associate sixteenth century Spain with the libertarian tradition. However, during that time there arose a school of natural law thinkers and activists who espoused a universal ethic …

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Libertarians and Indians: Proprietary Justice and Aboriginal Land Rights

CARL WATNER Two remarks will serve to introduce my subject. Several years ago, Rosalie Nichols was asked if the Indians had ever had a title deed to North America. She responded, “Who should have issued them one, I don’t know, unless it was the buffalo.”[1] Secondly, Jonathan Hughes, in his book The Governmental Habit, contrasts …

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“Oh, Ye Are For Anarchy!”: Consent Theory in the Radical Libertarian Tradition

  by Carl Watner 1986 The twentieth century libertarian movement has experienced an ongoing debate between the minarchists, the advocates of “limited” government, and the anarchists, who argue that the ultimate implications of libertarian principles are “no” government. Few of the parties to these arguments realize that they are participating in a discussion whose roots …

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“Oh, Ye Are For Anarchy!”: Consent Theory in the Radical Libertarian Tradition – Part II

  by Carl Watner 1986   (Much like the assumption that if one’s parents are English, one’s allegiance and citizenship are automatically British.) “In Thoreau’s day, the church taxed each member of its congregation, and the taxes were billed and collected by the town officials.”[118] The First Parish Church (Unitarian) of Concord “taxed” Thoreau in …

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Those “Impossible Citizens”: Civil Resistants in 19th Century New England

CARL WATNER 1979 Most libertarians view civil disobedience or resistance to the State differently than members of the general public.  Many people, of a variety of persuasions, recognize the right of the individual to resort to self-defense when attacked or threatened by the criminal.  In the libertarian view, and by libertarian definition, only the criminal …

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“Come What, Come Will!” Richard Overton, Libertarian Leveller

  by Carl Watner The Levellers were a group of politically active soldiers and civilians whose organized efforts during the English Civil War (1642-1649) were based on their beliefs in individual liberty.  John Lilburne was their popularly recognized leader, but it is in the works of his associate, Richard Overton, that we find the most …

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The English Individualists as They Appear in Liberty*

by Carl Watner 1982 The leading English individualists as they appear in Benjamin Tucker’s journal, Liberty, are Auberon Herbert, Wordsworth Donisthorpe, Joseph Hiam Levy, Joseph Greevz Fisher, John Badcock, Jr., Albert Tarn, and Henry Seymour. Ranked approximately according to their contributions and involvement in Liberty, this group also includes M. D. O’Brien, J. M. Armsden, …

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BENJAMIN TUCKER AND HIS PERIODICAL: LIBERTY

CARL WATNER Baltimore, Maryland In a letter to the New York Tribune on December 4, 1898, Benjamin Tucker (1854-1939) described himself as an Anarchist. “I was the first American–I may say the first Anglo-Saxon–to start (in 1881) an avowedly Anarchistic newspaper printed in the English language. I am still the editor, publisher, and proprietor of …

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BENJAMIN TUCKER AND HIS PERIODICAL: LIBERTY Part II

CARL WATNER Baltimore, Maryland Liberty truly touched on nearly all of the pressing social questions of its era. Space was devoted to articles about free love, marriage and divorce, and sexual relations among men and women. Even the woman suffrage movement came under attack: “Women are human beings, and-consequently have all the natural rights that …

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The “Criminal” Metaphor in the Libertarian Tradition

  by Carl Watner      During the last 350 years of constitutional and political struggle in England and the United States, perhaps the most libertarian image to be invoked by political theorists has been the comparison of existing, so-called “legitimate” governments to “organized gangs of banditti, pirates, highwaymen, and robbers.”  Such metaphors have been a …

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Abstain From Beans

By Robert LeFevre — (1911 – 1986) In ancient Athens, those who admired the Stoic philosophy of individualism took as their motto: “Abstain from Beans.” The phrase had a precise reference. It meant: don’t vote. Balloting in Athens occurred by dropping various colored beans into a receptacle. To vote is to express a preference. There …

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Foreword to Truth is Not a Halfway Place by Carl Watner

by Karl Hess It is a measure of the breadth of Robert LeFevre’s influence and character that so many will remember him for so many different reasons. Teacher. Schoolmaster. Consultant. Businessman. Philosopher. Soldier. Religionist. Social Theorist. Debater. Author. Socratic Goad. Experimenter. Maddening Demander of Consistency. Searcher. Finder. Good Friend. Implacable Foe. All of that is …

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What is Secession?

by Donald W. Livingstone Reprinted with permission of Rob Williams. Appeared November 2005 in Vermont Commons   Talk about secession makes Americans nervous. For many it evokes images of the Civil War, and is emotionally (if not logically) tied to slavery, war, and anarchy. That the word “secession” is laden with these negative connotations should …

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“How Murray Rothbard became an Anarchist” (not a voluntaryist)

by Murray Rothbard [Editor’s Note: The following transcription was taken from this youtube video: The transcription runs from 26:42 to 51:08, and was taken from a speech he delivered at the Libertarian Party Convention in Denver in 1981.]   I became an anarchist and I can remember exactly what happened. It was pure logic that …

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Slavery and National ID: A Portent of Things to Come?

  By Carl Watner   Jim Fussell, in a review of “group classification on National ID cards” observed that in the pre-Civil War United States “‘Free Passes’, Freedom papers, and Deeds of manumission” functioned as ID’s for the freed Negro. [1] This observation sparked my interest in the relationship between national ID and the history …

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A Monopoly on the Means of Identification: The Evolution of the Compulsory State Birth and Death Certificate

  by Carl Watner Number 118   Introduction When the Constitution of the United States was finally adopted by the thirteen states of the Articles of Confederation, the new federal government had no power to collect direct personal income taxes from each citizen or to record their births and deaths except once every ten years …

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NONVIOLENCE: A REVIEW OF MARK KURLANSKY’S 2006 BOOK BY THAT NAME

By Ned Netterville I seldom come across a book by an Earthling (voluntaryists and Austrian economists are from Mars or Venus, depending on their gender) that sends me to my feet pumping my fist like Tiger Woods when with talent and force of will he sends a forty-foot put curling into the cup. But that’s …

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Meeting the State Head-On

  by Anonymous [Author’s Note: This article was sparked by recently reading two older voluntaryist essays by Carl Watner: “Highway Tax vs. Poll Tax: Some Thoreau Tax Trivia” (Issue 71), and “Charles Lane: Voluntaryist”, the Introduction to A VOLUNTARY POLITICAL GOVERNMENT: LETTERS FROM CHARLES LANE.] In Henry David Thoreau’s famous essay “Civil Disobedience” (which was …

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My Taxes

  by Karl Hess On April 15 [1969], I sent the following letter, accompanying my filled-out 1040 Form to the Tax Collector: The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America establishes a bill of particulars in regard to intolerable infringements. abuses, and denials of political power which belongs to the people. The Federal …

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Jesus on Taxes

Excerpted from www.jesus-on-taxes.com (website no longer available) (pages 8-9). This essay contains three hypotheses. The primary thesis is that, contrary to what most people have been led to believe by their church and government leaders, Jesus did not condone taxation nor endorse the concept of the nation-state when he said ‘render unto Caesar therefore the …

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Is Taxation Theft?: An Exchange of Letters

  [Editor’s Note: I wrote the following letters to J. Budziszewski, who is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin. Professor Budziszewski did not give permission to reprint his replies.] October 30, 1999 Dear Dr. Budziszewski:I first learned of your new book, The Revenge of the …

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National Identification Systems: Essays in Opposition – TOC

The long awaited book! “This is more than a book about national ID. It is about all forms of government enumeration, from the census of antiquity, to government naming practices, fingerprinting, social security numbers, and drivers licenses, to cutting-edge biometric technologies such as DNA, iris scans, or subcutaneous microchips capable of allowing those in charge …

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An Open Letter on Taxation to the Global Ethic Foundation

from Carl Watner January 18, 2009 Doctor Hans Kung Global Ethic Foundation Waldhauser Strasse 23 72076 Tubingen Germany (email: office@weltethos.org) Dear Doctor Hans Kung: Re: Hans Kung and Karl-Josef Kuschel (eds.), A GLOBAL ETHIC: The Declaration of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, New York: Continuum, 1993. I recently read your book and was glad …

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Copyright Before (Statutory) Copyright: A Voluntaryist Perspective on a Statist Development

  by Carl Watner Would there be the equivalent of statutory copyright protection in a voluntaryist society? Would copyright as we know it today in 21st Century United States have developed in the absence of coercive government? While it is impossible to categorically answer “Yes” or “No” to such hypothetical questions, a study of history …

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On Andrew Galambos and His Primary Property Ideas

  by Alvin Lowi, Jr. (Original version: March 31, 1998)   “Alvin Lowi first met Andrew J. Galambos in 1958 when he joined the technical Staff of Ramo-Wooldridge Corp. where Galambos was a principal astrophysicist for that company, which became TRW Space Technology Laboratories shortly thereafter. At the time, Lowi was a Ph.D. candidate in …

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For Intellectual Property The Property Ideas of Andrew J. Galambos (2015)

  [First posted June 2015] by Richard Boren   [A note from the webmaster: To preserve the value added by those who discussed (and may continue to discuss) this early version, we will retain this page indefinitely. We’ve released the new Revision as a PDF with a separate public discussion page.] INTRODUCTION  I am in favor …

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If You Have A Tool, You’ll Probably Use it: On the Evolution of Tax-Supported Schools in Certain Parts of the United States

  By Carl Watner   In 2008, I discovered a two-volume set of books entitled UNIVERSAL EDUCATION IN THE SOUTH (1936) by Charles Dabney. The author was the son of Reverend Robert Lewis Dabney (1820- 1898), who had been a professor at the Union Theological Seminary in Richmond and was especially well-known for his attacks …

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Schools For All

By Oscar B. Johannsen Each individual is responsible for his own well-being. He feeds and clothes himself. Some do it better than others, but with the exception of the physically and mentally handicapped, there is no question of the individual’s obligation. Even in the case of the handicapped, he must care for himself to the …

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Neither Bullets nor Ballots

Introduction to Neither Bullets nor Ballots by Wendy McElroy Party Dialogue by George H. Smith Voluntaryism in the Libertarian Tradition by Carl Watner Demystifying the State by Wendy McElroy A Voluntaryist Bibliography, Annotated by Carl Watner A Voluntaryist Bibliography, The Short List by Carl Watner (with suggestions from subscribers) Voluntaryism in the European Anarchist Tradition …

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Voluntaryism in the European Anarchist Tradition

Carl Watner Introduction Voluntaryism, the doctrine that the State should be abolished through peaceful, non-electoral means, has been advocated by anarchists both in Europe and America. My earlier pamphlets, Voluntaryism in the Libertarian Tradition and A Voluntaryist Bibliography, Annotated generally dealt with the roots of the anti-electoral, voluntaryist tradition and its manifestations in the United …

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A Voluntaryist Bibliography, Annotated (1982)

by Carl Watner General Introduction And Purpose Of This Bibliography     The Voluntaryists are a newly formed group of libertarians who have organized to promote non-political strategies to achieve a free society. We have chosen to label ourselves Voluntaryists because the term “libertarian” has become too closely associated with the Libertarian Party. We believe …

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Voluntaryism in the Libertarian Tradition

by Carl Watner     Voluntaryism figures prominently in the libertarian tradition in three distinct ways. First, voluntaryism represents the final goal of all libertarians. After all, libertarianism is the doctrine that all the affairs of people, both public and private, should be carried out by individuals or their voluntary associations. Second-ly, voluntaryism is a …

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Voluntary Government as a Marketable Service: Reminiscences on the History of an Idea

By Alvin Lowi [1] Back in 1954, when he was at the Foundation for Economic Education at Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, economist Baldy Harper called the idea of voluntary government a most radical one. [2] At that time, Harper said he could count on the fingers of one hand all the people he knew in the …

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Two Kinds of Protection by Robert Lefevre

[Editor’s Note: The following two editorials ( Two Kinds of Protection by Robert Lefevre ) appeared in the Colorado Springs GAZETTE-TELEGRAPH, page 11, on September 6, 1957. They were penned by Robert Lefevre. Although Gustave de Molinari’s article in 1849, “The Production of Security,” is probably the earliest description of competing defense agencies providing protective services, …

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Insurance Companies as Competing Governments: Whose Idea Was It?

By Richard Boren The article ( Insurance Companies as Competing Governments: Whose Idea Was It? ) below was first published in Issue 167, 4th Quarter, 2015. [Editor’s Note: As some of you may know, I operate a small retail tire store and auto service center. Several problems in the store involve questions regarding the sale …

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Soul Rape

by Carl Watner The modern nation-state is predicated upon exercising control over a certain geographical territory, and depends on revenues which it generates by means of threats and/or compulsion. The English colonists, when they emigrated to New England in the early 17th Century, replicated much of the political and religious environment they had left behind. …

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“You’re Not My Master; I’m Not Your Slave”: Voluntaryism and the Story of Absolutist Objectors

By Carl Watner The Voluntaryist Statement of Purpose concludes by advocating the withdrawal of the cooperation and tacit consent on which State power ultimately depends. This conclusion, in turn, rests on the voluntaryist insight: the understanding that all government is necessarily grounded upon general popular acceptance. In short, the majority of the people themselves, for …

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“My Yea Is Yea, My Nay Is Nay”: Voluntaryism, Integrity and the Question of the Oath

By Carl Watner In his recent column, “The Solitary Leaker,” about Edward Snowden, David Brooks pointed out that Snowden betrayed all “honesty and integrity, … . He made explicit and implicit oaths to respect the secrecy of the information with which he was entrusted. He betrayed his oaths.” [1] Others have pointed out that perhaps …

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The Noose Continues to Tighten But No Government Lasts Forever

By Carl Watner Voluntaryists have a unique outlook on government. They view the State as an invasive institution. It imposes a coercive monopoly over defense services and collects its revenues via compulsory taxation. Theodore Lowi, a professor of political science at Cornell University in the early 1980s, authored a book, INCOMPLETE CONQUEST (1981), in which …

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Open Letter to President of USA and Prime Minister of India

From: Jeff Knaebel, Moral Sovereign – January 2011 [Editor’s Note: Jeff Knaebel destroyed himself by self-immolation on January 25, 2011 near the ancient Buddhist site of Bairat, near Rajasthan, India. The following letter was found near his incinerated body. “Knowing that under certain conditions it is not worthwhile to live” (Aristotle, ETHICS, IV, 3) he …

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Auberon Herbert

By Wendy McElroy [First published in Freedom Daily, February and March 2011. See the Future of Freedom Foundation website www.fff.org.] In his periodical Liberty (May 23, 1885), the quintessential American individualist-anarchist Benjamin Tucker wrote of his British counterpart Auberon Herbert, “I know of no more inspiring spectacle in England than that of this man of …

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The Good Funding the Evil

By Larken Rose [Reprinted with permission from THE MOST DANGEROUS SUPERSTITION by Larken Rose pp 87-92 (2011). Available from Box 653, Huntington, PA 19006 or amazon.com or by visiting http://www.larkenrose.com/store.html ] Even if an individual is never personally victimized by “law enforcement,” never has a run-in with the police, and sees little if any direct …

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On Power and Trust

  By Carl Watner I have been reading some very old back issues of THE FREEMAN and have already shared at least one gem with you. Here is another interesting commentary. In an October 1977 book review, Henry Hazlitt observed that the problem with ever-expanding democratic government is not a problem limited to the democratic …

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K. I. S. S. A Pig! – Anarchist or Minarchist?

By Carl Watner In recent years, there have been countless words exchanged between free market anarchists and limited government minarchists concerning such questions as  Must every human society have a government?  Is government necessarily coercive?  Can government be financed voluntarily (i.e., without coercion)? Debates over these questions have been going on for well over a …

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From Slingshot to Nukes

By Carl Watner [Author’s Prologue: This article was written in April 2005, and remained unpublished until this issue. My reason for hesitation is stated in my opening sentence: how could an advocate of nonviolence extend the argument for property rights to include nuclear bombs? What prompts publication at this time is the appearance of John …

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Why Voluntaryism Is the Best and Only Legitimate Moral Philosophy

By Ross Kenyon I explicitly refer to myself as a voluntaryist because I believe voluntaryism to be the only moral position worth assuming. It is my opinion that the only reason libertarianism is worth a damn is because it is a philosophy of non-aggression which acknowledges the incalculable value of individual sovereignty. Non-coercion is infinitely …

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Declaration of Renunciation and Severance of U.S. Citizenship

by Jeff Knaebel, Sovereign Individual of the Earth Jeff’s posthumous manuscript titled Message From a Moral Sovereign: The Life and Death Story of an American’s Journey from Warpath to Gandhi Path was published in India in Fall 2011. A 320 page paperback, it is now available from The Voluntaryist for postage paid to US addresses …

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Why The West?

By Paul Rosenberg [Editor’s Note: In early May 2009, I read a book, PRODUCTION VS PLUNDER, written by Paul Rosenberg, a subscriber to THE VOLUNTARYIST. (See www.VeraVerba.com for ordering information.)The short section entitled “The Foundation Is Established” (pp. 137-139) reminded me of an article that I considered writing a number of years ago (but which …

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An Open Letter on Taxation to the Global Ethic Foundation

January 18, 2009 Doctor Hans Kung Global Ethic Foundation Waldhauser Strasse 23 72076 Tubingen Germany (email: office@weltethos.org) Dear Doctor Hans Kung: Re: Hans Kung and Karl-Josef Kuschel (eds.), A GLOBAL ETHIC: The Declaration of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, New York: Continuum, 1993. I recently read your book and was glad to see its …

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R. C. Hoiles Revisited

By Carl Watner [Editor’s Note: Raymond Cyrus (R. C.) Hoiles (1878-1970) was the founder of the Freedom Chain of newspapers. For more than 35 years, in conversations, columns, and editorials, he stated his belief that human beings can enjoy happier and more prosperous lives where force and threats of force are absent from human relations. …

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