Nat Hentoff Joins Cato

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The great civil libertarian Nat Hentoff—one of my personal heroes—was laid off last year after writing a column for Village Voice for 50 years. He has just joined the Cato Institute as a senior fellow.

Good for Cato, and great news for libertarianism in general.

NEXT: Libertarian Crisis Management

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  1. Nat’s book “The War on the Bill of Rights (and the Gathering Resistance)” was one of the first books to really question the PATRIOT Act and the other post-9/11 restrictions on civil liberties, and has helped me to open some peoples’ eyes on the subject. Glad to see CATO pick him up.

  2. Hentoff’s The War on the Bill of Rights is a fantastic book, but one cannot leave out Free Speech for Me–but Not for Thee and Living the Bill of Rights. Hentoff also proves that one can be a true civil libertarian and be pro-life, too. However, he is no economic libertarian, but at least he’s half right.

  3. “You fool! You raving Oriental idiot! There is a time and a place for everything, Cato! And this is it!”

  4. “Free Speech for Me — But Not for Thee” is one of my favorite book titles. I’ve had many occasions to quote, paraphrase, or steal it.

  5. Hentoff also proves that one can be a true civil libertarian and be pro-life, too.

    This may be a good time to plug the “Nat Hentoff on Abortion” section on the (recently resurrected) “No Violence, Period” site–and, on a related note, the “Libertarians for Life” site.

  6. Hentoff also proves that one can be a true civil libertarian and be pro-life

    Pro-life…when? You cannot be a civil libertarian and truly believe that humanity begins at conception or within the first few weeks of fertilization.

    It just wouldn’t make sense to believe that birth control causes murders and still be in favor of liberty.

  7. Nat Hentoff had a regular column in the old Inquiry Magazine before it folded. It was always a good read. Since Inquiry and Cato were related this is not altogether a surprise to me.

    I’m sure both he and Cato will benefit from this association.

    Inquiry was possibly my favorite coming in a little ahead of Reason in those days. Good deal too, when they folded Reason took over their subscriptions so I got an extra bunch of months on my Reason subscription.

    Mind you I read the Nation in those days too, something I can’t see myself doing now. Mainly for Hitch and Cockburn though.

    Inquiry and the Nation were good because they both regularly ragged on the Reagan Administration which was useful because one could easily fall into the old “Reagan is a libertarian” trap if one wasn’t careful. Both those rags provided lots do disabuse one of any of those notions.

    Oh, and in addition to his civil liberties blather Hentoff is also one of the most interesting commentators on jazz that I have run across.

  8. It just wouldn’t make sense to believe that birth control causes murders and still be in favor of liberty.

    Strawman much? Or does “being in favor of liberty” require one to believe that a baby passing through the birth canal is just a lump of cells, which can be dismembered and disposed of as another person wishes, but upon exiting seconds later becomes a human individual with rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

  9. So does this mean he’ll be moving to DC, or will he be able to work from New York?

  10. Strawman much? Or does “being in favor of liberty” require one to believe that a baby passing through the birth canal is just a lump of cells, which can be dismembered and disposed of as another person wishes, but upon exiting seconds later becomes a human individual with rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    TAO is referring to the idea that the Pill is considered an abortifacient by some pro-lifers. If conception is considered the point at which civil liberties are protected, then a fertilized egg which cannot implant itself due to uterine conditions caused by the Pill’s hormones is murder.

  11. Personally, I like the ideas of Wilbur Larch and early American common law which states that abortion can be performed before quickening of the fetus.

  12. What about “life begins at implantation”? Unless the cell implants, it can’t divide, and this happens all the time regardless if the pill is used or not. Personally I follow the Evictionist position, which was conceived (no pun intended) by Walter Block.

  13. “Personally, I like the ideas of Wilbur Larch and early American common law which states that abortion can be performed before quickening of the fetus.”

    Interestingly enough, this coincides perfectly with the Evictionist Position.

  14. There is cell division before the blastocyst implants, but according to wikipedia implantation is the point at which pregnancy is considered to occur.

  15. Well these people disagree with the evictionist POV because they believe conception is the point of humanity. This, of course, would lead to a belief that birth control (such as the Pill, not condoms, obv) is a form of murder. Of course, these same nutjobs believe that a life-threatening pregnancy is also no reason for an abortion. So I’ll leave them to their quackery.

  16. Did you know that another name for miscarriage is “spontaneous abortion”? I guess that needs to be stamped out too. In fact, we should have nutritionists monitoring every fertile female to make sure they eat enough folate and DHA. Police should pull over any woman of birthing age attempting to drive on a bumpy road.

  17. And I meant to say “cell division stops” unless it implants.

  18. That the soul enters the body at conception is pretty obvious to anyone who’s thought seriously about the subject. What this implies for abortion policy is not obvious, however.

  19. “That the soul enters the body at conception is pretty obvious to anyone who’s thought seriously about the subject.”

    Does that mean that identical twins (who separate days after conception) have only half a soul each? Cool.

  20. That the soul enters the body at conception is pretty obvious to anyone who’s thought seriously about the subject.

    Yeah!
    Totally!
    Duh!

  21. That the soul enters the body at conception is pretty obvious to anyone

    What is a soul and how are you going to prove its existence.

  22. Clearly, zoltan, you have not thought seriously about the subject.

  23. It’s difficult, highnumber, to think seriously. I hope green can teach me.

  24. Did you know that another name for miscarriage is “spontaneous abortion”? I guess that needs to be stamped out too.

    Just as a point of clarification, events only have a moral component if they are the direct consequence of purposeful human action. We can consider “murder” wrong without assuming a concomitant moral obligation to stamp out “natural death.”

    In other words, if you bash my skull in with a thick tree branch, that’s morally wrong. However, if I’m walking in the forest and a rotting branch falls off a tree and bashes in my skull, there’s nothing immoral about that, even though I’m dead either way. Also, nor does this imply a general moral obligation to go around reinforcing tree branches with glue and nails to make sure they don’t fall on someone’s head.

    This moment of moral clarity has been brought to you by the I’m Irritable Foundation. You may now resume your nomrally scheduled bickering sophistry.

  25. Hentoff has been a druggie for years. CATO must really be in the dumps to hire such an individual. Its like Bank of America hiring Madoff as a financial adviser.

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