Thursday, December 22, 2016 is a collaborative effort by Houstonians who reject the ideas that dominate our culture today. Our purpose is to present an integrated, rational alternative to Houstonians.

Politically, we are neither progressive (the term that many on the political Left are now using) nor are we conservative. We are advocates of laissez faire capitalism, not the mixture of controls and freedom that exists today. While we will write extensively on political issues, politics is not a primary. Political positions derive from more fundamental philosophical ideas. And so, our focus will be on the fundamental philosophical ideas that underlie whatever issue, event, or topic that we are addressing.

Ethically, we are neither altruists--the view that individuals have a moral duty to self-sacrificially serve others (a view held by both progressives and conservatives)--nor hedonists. We advocate rational self-interest. We hold that it is proper and moral for individuals to pursue their own personal happiness.

Epistemologically (the theory of knowledge), we reject the positions of both progressives and conservatives. Progressives hold that truth is determined by a consensus of "the people," while conservatives hold that truth is revealed to the enlightened few. We hold that truth is accessible to all individuals who choose to use their rational mind and reject emotions as a means for evaluating the facts.

Esthetically, we espouse Aristotle's view that art should depict life as it could be and should be. Art should show man at his heroic best.

We disagree with progressives that humans are inherently poor at making personal decisions and need a paternalistic government to make it through life. We disagree with conservatives that humans are inherently sinful. Certainly some humans make poor decisions and some are sinful, but neither is inherent in human nature. We hold that humans are capable of greatness, and the history of Houston stands as testament to that fact.

For the past century, Houston has stood as a unique city in America. More than any large city in the country, it has rejected the intrusive controls and regulations of city government. Houston's growth and prosperity is a direct result of that fact.

But there are many who want to change Houston and make it more like other cities. They have embraced the ideas and policies of progressives. Despite their criticism of progressives, conservatives have done little to stop the tide, because fundamentally conservatives agree with progressives on every important philosophical issue.

If Houston is to retain its greatness, it must reject these false alternatives. Houston must discover the source of its greatness, and then defend it with the courage and moral rectitude of the defenders of the Alamo.
We invite you to join us in discovering what makes Houston great. Let the Renaissance begin.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Individual Rights and Government Wrongs

Politicians and pundits regularly decry the increasingly divisive nature of American politics. From the Tea Parties to Occupy Wall Street, Americans are not happy with their government, and they are making their displeasure known. But what is causing this divide? And what is the solution?

"In his book, Individual Rights and Government Wrongs, Brian Phillips has contributed a much needed corrective to the debate over capitalism today. Phillips adeptly drills below the froth of contemporary debate that blames the market for our problems to investigate and explain how the free market has actually worked in the past. Rich in historical examples, the book illuminates the diverse ways in which free individuals can solve social problems without government intervention. Phillips also does well to integrate these examples within a theoretical framework that justifies and explains the moral case for freedom."
Eric Daniels, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism, Clemson University
Individual Rights and Government Wrongs examines two fundamentally different views regarding what type of nation America should be. Using examples from history and the contemporary world, this book looks at what happens when individuals are free and what happens when government intervenes in the lives of citizens. In every issue examined—mail delivery, education, roads, energy, land-use, employer/employee relations, and more, government intervention has led to higher costs, fewer choices for consumers, violations of individual rights, and destroyed lives. In contrast, freedom—the recognition and protection of individual rights—has led to economic progress, prosperity, and individual liberty.

“Brian Phillips takes the fundamental principles of our Founding Fathers, which made America great, and interprets them in light of a modern industrial society. Well worth reading.”
John Allison
Retired Chairman & CEO, BB&T
Distinguished Professor of Practice
Wake Forest University
Individual Rights and Government Wrongs challenges both conservatives and progressives. It rejects the notion that government intervention is ever practical or moral, no matter the issue, no matter the “general welfare” that will allegedly result, no matter the “will of the people.” If you are concerned about the future of America, Individual Rights and Government Wrongs will give you the intellectual ammunition you need to fight current trends.

“Are you appalled by the increasing intrusion of government in to every area of our lives? Brian Phillips’ remarkable book, Individual Rights and Government Wrongs, articulates how and why this menace spread. He examines a broad range of areas where the government is inappropriately and ineffectively engaged in activities that should be the province of private individuals and businesses, and provides many eye-opening examples that demonstrate just how the areas have been successfully addressed without government. Through these examples Phillips provides repeated evidence for the essential role of individual rights.”
Jeri Eagan, former CFO, Shell Oil Company

You will learn how government intervention destroys jobs, stifles energy production, institutionalizes racism, and leads to polluted air and water. You will also learn how the protection of individual rights, including property rights, creates jobs, encourages the discovery of new energy sources, combats racism and other irrational ideas, and leads to clean air and water. Individual Rights and Government Wrongs shows what is possible when individuals are free.

Click below to order:
Individual Rights and Government Wrongs in paperback is $19.95 $17.96
Individual Rights and Government Wrongs for Kindle is $8.99
Individual Rights and Government Wrongs for ePub (Nook and iBooks) is $8.99
Individual Rights and Government Wrongs in PDF is $7.49

I am  available for interviews, guest blogging, and speaking engagements. Click here to contact me.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I'm back, sort of

It has been a long since since I last posted. I have a very good reason--I have been writing a book.

Late last year I grew weary of writing about negative aspects of our culture. I decided that I would start writing about more positive topics. As I did research, I realized that I was uncovering information that was unknown to many people. I also realized that the information, if properly integrated, was perfect for a book.

The idea for the book actually began nearly twenty years ago. I have long been interested in the idea of financing government without taxation. In the early 1990s I delivered a paper on the topic at the Texas Objectivst Societies Conference. Since that time, I have wanted to develop the idea into a book. In early 2010 I started to do so. However, I soon realized that government without taxation was only a small part of a bigger issue--how a capitalist society functions.

My book explores this topic. I look at a multitude of topics--parks, mail, education, roads, sanitation, charity, and much more--and show how these services are provided by private companies and individuals, rather than government. I also examine the destructive consequences of government involvement in these areas. I present actual examples from history and the contemporary world.

In support of the book, which is scheduled to be published later this year, and to give myself a fresh start, I have a new blog, Individual Rights and Government Wrongs. I do not plan to post on a daily basis, but hope to do so several times a week. I still have considerable work to do on my book, and that will be my priority.

This blog was instrumental in making it possible for me to write my book. I'd like to thank everyone who helped make Live Oaks a success.