Current Events

BOOK RELEASE: Libertarian Dialogues: Ten Years at FreedomCocktail

Essays of Eric Wojciechowski over the first ten years of the FreedomCocaktail blog. Available in print for the first time at Amazon!

From the Forward of the book:

FORWARD

In the beginning, there was a friendship that found itself in the hound-halls of Malow Junior High in southeast, Michigan. I can’t quite remember the first meeting or the words exchanged, but Alan J. Sanders became one of my best friends that lasts until this day. Unfortunately, our day to day contact back then during junior high only lasted a couple of years as his father obtained new employment in the State of Georgia and sometime around or after our ninth grade year, his family moved out of Michigan and down south.

Some letters were exchanged, including short stories we were super proud of (all of which I still have, in hard and digital copies). I visited down there and he came up here. Then, the Internet and cell phones were born and we’ve been in contact through the various channels those mediums have to offer ever since.

One of many things we found ourselves having in common as far back as the 1990s was our position regarding politics. We’d label ourselves primarily libertarian, classical liberal, constitutional conservatives. And so for a few years, I’d entertain the idea that we should start a blog and Alan would as well. But we never put digital pen to paper, if you will. Not until 2012 when the United States Supreme Court fully cemented the Affordable Care Act. Alan and I, being against government run healthcare (and just about anything else government run), decided that was the catalyst and with that, we were off and brainstorming on that long considered blog.

Besides politics, Alan and I have a long history and appreciation of fine scotch and whiskeys. So why not combine

those enjoyments into the blog? And I believe it was Alan who came up with the name: FreedomCocktail.

The front page of the blog reads:

“Welcome to our ‘conversation’ bar, where we are always serving up fresh content to be consumed by our readers. The goal here is to publish pieces that range from our thoughts on government and history, to how our culture is changing, to comments on current events. We tend to write from a Constitutional/Libertarian perspective, but welcome all to comment and continue the discussion regardless of political persuasion.

Beyond this blog site, we want to encourage you to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. In today’s social media-driven world, we know we need to have an outlet to post and make quick comments on news that is sometimes breaking multiple times a day. As with our more thoughtful pieces here, we encourage our readers to engage with our social media outlets by commenting, sharing or retweeting.

So, take a look around, search for a given topic, subscribe to be notified when we post a new piece or just share our URL with others. However you choose to consume our offerings is entirely up to you. We believe in individual freedom and choice here at Freedom Cocktail and encourage you to adopt that same worldview.

May your glass never run dry and your thoughts always overflow.

Cheers!”

But a more descriptive version and mission statement appears in the ABOUT US section of the blog. There, you will read:

“Hey! Welcome to Freedom Cocktail.

Everyone here enjoys the occasional adult beverage. By ‘occasional’ we sometimes mean nightly. A good bourbon, scotch, vodka, whiskey blend, glass of wine or an ice cold beer are among the favorites. When Eric and Alan first decided to create a political blog site, they kicked around several ideas. They eventually landed on the idea of a virtual bar. Both of them had commented about having some of the best political conversations, often with total strangers, while enjoying a drink. Thus the metaphor of a bar lent itself to the idea of spurring discussion. Anyone and everyone is invited to sit down, drink in hand, and chat with one of our bartenders.

Every bar has a look and feel — a theme. We don’t waste time with useless bric-a-brac, though. Our servers aren’t going to be sporting pieces of flair. What you will notice is our focus is on freedom, liberty and a love of the Constitution as originally conceived by our Founding Fathers.

You are free to disagree or to add a new wrinkle to anything here. All we ask is for you to be respectful. Be passionate, but be mindful of facts and focus. We will be watching for those who like to shift the subject, ignore the facts or resort to name-calling. Those are good ways to be escorted off the premises. A spirited debate is good for the soul, but mindless screaming accomplishes nothing.

Enjoy your time here and if you had a good time, bring a friend next time. The only goal here is to engage in the conversation and introduce the topics. It’s up to everyone else to keep the communication flowing.

Cheers!”

As you can see, the idea was to have our essays more conversational, as if we were engaging in back and forth discussion and friendly debate in a bar room atmosphere. Like the television show, CHEERS, I suppose. In hindsight, it’s a bit dangerous of us to encourage political discussions where alcohol is involved but I hope you get the point.

The blog launched in 2012 with the first article by yours truly. But just prior to publishing that, we published the opening volley on June 30, 2012:

“Federalist Resurrection: We don’t need another political blog! Yep, I heard ya yell it when you clicked the button and fell upon us. But I disagree. We DO need another political blog. We need one in favor of the American Republic as envisioned by Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and all those other old dead guys. There are numerous Socialist, Democrat and Communitarian (my personal favorite of the rename-game) out there that the more the merrier when it comes to comment to the contrary.

Let’s recall the Federalist Papers. While the Founding Fathers were debating whether or not to ratify the Constitution, those in favor wrote opinion pieces that were meant to persuade the public. Consider Freedom Cocktail to be a continuation of those Papers, an attempt to get the United States back to its roots, its freedoms and personal responsibilities.

If the message gets repeated, the chances are greater that change can be accomplished. (Damn, my first post and I used the word ‘change’).

As a note, us Contributors quibble sometimes on certain issues but note that no one anywhere ever will agree on 100% of topics. Each of us Contributors is his own entity and what one says doesn’t necessarily reflect the exact opinion of the other. However, we desperately wish to get back to the Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness the Founding Fathers envisioned and we’re working together to assist in its return.”

And with that, Alan and I set about publishing on our own time and schedule, picking our own topics without any governing or control from the other side. By that, I mean, Alan and I never bothered to ask for permission or approval of essays. We’d just write and pretty much surprise each other with the uploading of new content. Sometimes this happened a few times a week, sometimes only once a month. And then in later years, even less so (to which I’ll speak more on).

From time to time, we had guest essayists and one or two regular contributors for a time. But primarily, the essays came from Alan and I.

In the end, it’s been our blog.

This present volume and collection of essays are mine that I put up over the past ten years at FreedomCocktail. I don’t space the name of the blog as that’s the way it appears at Freedomcocktail.com. And I’m simply used to seeing it as one word.

I considered arranging them for this book based on topic but after reviewing them, I think it’s better to present them in the same order they appeared on the blog. The evolution of thought and what was important at the time shows itself better that way. And since I regularly reference prior essays, it makes more sense if you’ve read the previous work when you come across it (although it is not necessary to read any of these in order).

I do hope you enjoy these writings. In reviewing them for this collection, I find no points where I’ve changed my mind. By that I mean I still agree with the points made in each article. And while that can be sometimes seen as stuck to a position without any reflection or ability to change one’s mind, to me, it means that after all these years (even being massaged prior to FreedomCocktail), I’m even more convinced the libertarian philosophy is the best there is.

Let me unpack that a little.

There’s all sorts of political philosophies, more than even I can remember. Some of this is explored in the essay in this collection titled, Schrodinger’s Other Cat. And after exploring the many offerings, I still think the basic premises and goals of libertarianism offers the best course of action for a society.

The basic idea of libertarianism is that you should be able to live your life any way you choose as long as those choices do not injure someone else’s person or property. It really is that simple.

When it comes to the serious issues of the day like healthcare, education, immigration, employment, foreign policy, guns, etc, libertarians understand that no one person can be an expert in all these areas. And because of that, we don’t trust politicians who claim to have answers in all these areas. If you listen to libertarian candidates, when asked questions on the issues, the honest candidate will admit ignorance where ignorance is present and defer to the experts.

As an example, if I were running for office and someone asked me how best to educate the children, I’d answer that I don’t know. That’s not my expertise. And because of that, you won’t want me to issue decrees and policies on how to run a school. This is why schools should be left to the private sector where experts can build and operate them (like an auto mechanic, not a politician, operates a garage) and parents can make choices on where they’d like to send their children.

So in reviewing the essays from the first ten years at FreedomCocktail, I’m still quite pleased with them.

Besides politics, the essays attempted to offer ways to achieve more liberty and freedom in all areas of life. And so you’ll find pieces on achieving more freedom in publishing, more liberty if you were a business owner, more freedom from religious mandates, more freedom in educational or career choices and then some.

One of my favorite books is Harry Browne’s, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. In that book, Browne lays out ways to live life on your own terms despite demands of family, government, friendships, business, etc. I’ve found it helpful in my own life and through the essays at FreedomCocktail, I attempted to work with that same template of Browne’s by looking at topics of interest and offering advice from a libertarian viewpoint. It will be up to you, dear reader, to determine if I managed to accomplish this.

And now, a few words and things to consider:

Many of the essays had hyperlinks that no longer work. And in reviewing these essays, I noticed that most were only helpful pointers to quotes and proofs but don’t detract from the essay without them. And for that reason, I simply didn’t include most hyperlinks. It wouldn’t be functional anyhow in printed format. In some instances where I felt it still helpful, I put in a short bracketed explanation of what I was pointing to. The essays (to date) still exist at the website and if the reader is interested, they can review them there.

Another thing to note is that it will be evident as you get to the end of the book that there’s a change of tone and focus. With the assassinations at Charlie Hebdo and the rise of ISIS, and Muslims attempting to shut down free speech and other offenses against civilized society, I spent some time combating the ideology of Islamism. I found it (and still find it) to be a dangerous belief system if let run freely. But this goes for all religions.

If you stay long enough to the end of this book, you’ll see my concern changed during the Trump Administration and became primarily focused on the rise of Nationalism, primarily White Christian Dominionism and today, I believe it’s more of a danger to this country than Islam ever was or will be. This became more evident than ever on January 6, 2021 when then President Donald J. Trump refused to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election and convinced his audience of the same, causing an attempted insurrection that took the United States Capitol Building, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since the War of 1812.

Should you pay attention to the dates of these essays, you’ll notice my contributions at FreedomCocktail became less and less. Sometimes months would go by before I had anything to say. The reason for this is quite simple: Since the Trump Administration, policy and political positions have become less important. It may just be my own observations or interactions but it appears no one really cares anymore about a proper form of government or position on an issue. What matters are personalities, owning the other side, insults, one-upmanship, and the dreaded alternative facts. You can be completely right about something and it doesn’t seem to matter. What matters lately are the loudest voices. And because of that, I don’t quite feel at home in that atmosphere (considering that’s pretty much how junior high operated). And so I contribute less and less being on the receiving end of insults and demands I be sent to a gas chamber. I mean, why bother preparing a position paper on something when it’s going to be answered by comments ranging from libtard to much worse?

We’re seeing less and less discussion on proper drug policy, immigration, self-defense, foreign policy, taxation, healthcare and numerous other subjects you’ll come in contact with here in these essays. My interest lies in what makes up good governance and what is good public policy; and yet, these issues aren’t very interesting to the general reader anymore. Again, it’s because too much time seems to be spent in the mud pits and less on intellectual pursuits.

As Thomas Nicholas wrote in the beginning of the Conclusion of his book, OUR OWN WORST ENEMY, “Liberal democracy depends on knowledge and virtue, and both of these are now in short supply among the citizens of the developed world. So many of the challenges we now think of as mortal dangers to democracy are, in reality, policy dilemmas we might solve if we were more disciplined in our willingness to learn and be more civic in our public life. Around the world, citizens resolutely reject both paths to recovery.”

And for this reason, unless things change, I’m afraid intellectual arguments and the goal of FreedomCocktail as laid out in the ABOUT US section, is just too difficult to manage. If a quality argument is met with fuck yous and murder threats, I’m afraid it’s just not worth it.

But I’m hopeful. The tides tend to wax and wane and maybe these are just trying times that will massage themselves out. I don’t know. I have every intention to continue to publish on topics at FreedomCocktail when the time and topic feels right.

And finally, you may be asking, if these essays are all free at the blog, why spend any money at all on this edition? Well, if you’re a bibliophile like myself, you like hard copies. So you may want this on paper (which was one of the reasons I put this together for myself). Secondly, the Internet is ever changing, morphing and evolving. The blog may disappear one day either through neglect or WordPress (our host) going under. It happens. I’d hate for these essays to one day just be gone.

So I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed putting them up at the FreedomCocktail blog over the past ten years. And who knows, maybe in 2032, we’ll have a Volume II.

Cheers,

Eric Wojciechowski

June 30, 2022

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