Edward Crane on Becoming a Libertarian

Question: How did you develop your political philosophy?

Edward Crane:  I read the Conscience of the Conservative by Goldwater.  And I guess he didn’t really write the book, but he approved it, and it was a terrific read.  It still is to this day, and it did influence me.  It made me a limited government person, a constitutionalist.  And from that, you get involved with people who agree with you on those issues and learn from them about Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Ayn Rand, those-- I read all those people’s books and became very much a libertarian. 

Question: What did you like about Goldwater?

Edward Crane:  I don’t think that I was affected by what was actually going on in society so much as I was attracted to the logic of what he was saying, that people should be left alone and that the role of government was to protect your rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  And I found that very compelling.  I ended up going to Berkeley and saw a kind of attitude that the law didn’t matter in some of the sit-ins and certainly the riots and so forth, so that reinforced my views.  But I’ve always thought I was a libertarian.  I always believed that there was no justification for other people telling me how to live your life.  And subsequently learned about the importance of private property and the rule of law and so forth, but I think-- my father was a conservative, so I disagreed with him on a lot of things.  My mother was apolitical, but I’ve always been a libertarian.

Question: How did you first become active in politics?

Edward Crane:  Well, I ran for student government at Berkeley on a platform of abolishing the student government.  And I thought that was pretty radical, but I actually lost the election.  Those were tough years for those who believed in less government on the Berkeley campus.  And so I got involved with the Goldwater campaign in 1964.  I was a member of Youth for Goldwater at Berkeley, which was a small group. And I actually was a precinct captain for two precincts in Berkeley, and I knew every single voter who was going to vote for Barry Goldwater.  There was five one district, I think, and six in the other.  But I’d knock on everyone’s door in the precincts, and they were, for the most part, civil to me, but some were a little hostile.  And then Goldwater’s campaign itself disappointed me.  He had originally said we need to privatize Social Security and then backed away from it very shortly thereafter.  And I always thought he was too hawkish about Vietnam.  So I figured I’m out of politics; I’m a libertarian.  All there is out there is conservatives and liberals, and I don’t buy into either camp, and so I was going to get out of it.  And I went to work for Scudder Stevens & Clark, an investment firm, and then my loyalty to Scudder ended when Alliance Capital offered to double my salary.  And so I went to work for them.  And eventually, I got involved with the Libertarian Party.  In 1971, the Libertarian Party had its founding convention at the Radisson Hotel in Denver, Colorado, and I went to that.  And I was like the only person with a suit on.  And as a libertarian, I always knew it was important to be tolerant of alternative lifestyles, but I always say, until I went into that convention hall, I had no idea how many alternatives there were.  <laughing> It was a really weird-- it was like a Star Wars bar scene.  They had Randians with long cigarette holders and cold bugs [ph?] and anarchists and gay rights activists and some hardcore conservatives who were still in favor of the war in Vietnam.  But it was an eclectic group, and they all shared this kind of commitment to liberty, and I found myself attracted to it.  And I went back to California and flipped a coin with a friend and lost and became the Vice Chairman of the Libertarian Party of California at 12 districts.  I organized and drove all around the Southern part of the state and got involved.  And then in 1974, I was elected National Chairman of the party, and I kind of ran it, really, through 1980.

The Cato Institute CEO remembers reading Barry Goldwater’s Conscious of a Conservative.

Volcanoes to power bitcoin mining in El Salvador

The first nation to make bitcoin legal tender will use geothermal energy to mine it.

Credit: Aaron Thomas via Unsplash
Technology & Innovation

This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.

In June 2021, El Salvador became the first nation in the world to make bitcoin legal tender. Soon after, President Nayib Bukele instructed a state-owned power company to provide bitcoin mining facilities with cheap, clean energy — harnessed from the country's volcanoes.

The challenge: Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a digital form of money and a payment system. Crypto has several advantages over physical dollars and cents — it's incredibly difficult to counterfeit, and transactions are more secure — but it also has a major downside.

Crypto transactions are recorded and new coins are added into circulation through a process called mining.

Crypto mining involves computers solving incredibly difficult mathematical puzzles. It is also incredibly energy-intensive — Cambridge University researchers estimate that bitcoin mining alone consumes more electricity every year than Argentina.

Most of that electricity is generated by carbon-emitting fossil fuels. As it stands, bitcoin mining produces an estimated 36.95 megatons of CO2 annually.

A world first: On June 9, El Salvador became the first nation to make bitcoin legal tender, meaning businesses have to accept it as payment and citizens can use it to pay taxes.

Less than a day later, Bukele tweeted that he'd instructed a state-owned geothermal electric company to put together a plan to provide bitcoin mining facilities with "very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy."

Geothermal electricity is produced by capturing heat from the Earth itself. In El Salvador, that heat comes from volcanoes, and an estimated two-thirds of their energy potential is currently untapped.

Why it matters: El Salvador's decision to make bitcoin legal tender could be a win for both the crypto and the nation itself.

"(W)hat it does for bitcoin is further legitimizes its status as a potential reserve asset for sovereign and super sovereign entities," Greg King, CEO of crypto asset management firm Osprey Funds, told CBS News of the legislation.

Meanwhile, El Salvador is one of the poorest nations in North America, and bitcoin miners — the people who own and operate the computers doing the mining — receive bitcoins as a reward for their efforts.

"This is going to evolve fast!"

If El Salvador begins operating bitcoin mining facilities powered by clean, cheap geothermal energy, it could become a global hub for mining — and receive a much-needed economic boost in the process.

The next steps: It remains to be seen whether Salvadorans will fully embrace bitcoin — which is notoriously volatile — or continue business-as-usual with the nation's other legal tender, the U.S. dollar.

Only time will tell if Bukele's plan for volcano-powered bitcoin mining facilities comes to fruition, too — but based on the speed of things so far, we won't have to wait long to find out.

Less than three hours after tweeting about the idea, Bukele followed up with another tweet claiming that the nation's geothermal energy company had already dug a new well and was designing a "mining hub" around it.

"This is going to evolve fast!" the president promised.

How Pfizer and BioNTech made history with their vaccine

How were mRNA vaccines developed? Pfizer's Dr Bill Gruber explains the science behind this record-breaking achievement and how it was developed without compromising safety.

Sponsored by Pfizer
  • Wondering how Pfizer and partner BioNTech developed a COVID-19 vaccine in record time without compromising safety? Dr Bill Gruber, SVP of Pfizer Vaccine Clinical Research and Development, explains the process from start to finish.
  • "I told my team, at first we were inspired by hope and now we're inspired by reality," Dr Gruber said. "If you bring critical science together, talented team members together, government, academia, industry, public health officials—you can achieve what was previously the unachievable."
  • The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has not been approved or licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to prevent COVID-19 for use in individuals 12 years of age and older. The emergency use of this product is only authorized for the duration of the emergency declaration unless ended sooner. See Fact Sheet: cvdvaccine-us.com/recipients.

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Massive 'Darth Vader' isopod found lurking in the Indian Ocean

The father of all giant sea bugs was recently discovered off the coast of Java.

SJADE 2018
Surprising Science
  • A new species of isopod with a resemblance to a certain Sith lord was just discovered.
  • It is the first known giant isopod from the Indian Ocean.
  • The finding extends the list of giant isopods even further.
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Astronomers find more than 100,000 "stellar nurseries"

Every star we can see, including our sun, was born in one of these violent clouds.

Credit: NASA / ESA via Getty Images
Surprising Science

This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.

An international team of astronomers has conducted the biggest survey of stellar nurseries to date, charting more than 100,000 star-birthing regions across our corner of the universe.

Stellar nurseries: Outer space is filled with clouds of dust and gas called nebulae. In some of these nebulae, gravity will pull the dust and gas into clumps that eventually get so big, they collapse on themselves — and a star is born.

These star-birthing nebulae are known as stellar nurseries.

The challenge: Stars are a key part of the universe — they lead to the formation of planets and produce the elements needed to create life as we know it. A better understanding of stars, then, means a better understanding of the universe — but there's still a lot we don't know about star formation.

This is partly because it's hard to see what's going on in stellar nurseries — the clouds of dust obscure optical telescopes' view — and also because there are just so many of them that it's hard to know what the average nursery is like.

The survey: The astronomers conducted their survey of stellar nurseries using the massive ALMA telescope array in Chile. Because ALMA is a radio telescope, it captures the radio waves emanating from celestial objects, rather than the light.

"The new thing ... is that we can use ALMA to take pictures of many galaxies, and these pictures are as sharp and detailed as those taken by optical telescopes," Jiayi Sun, an Ohio State University (OSU) researcher, said in a press release.

"This just hasn't been possible before."

Over the course of the five-year survey, the group was able to chart more than 100,000 stellar nurseries across more than 90 nearby galaxies, expanding the amount of available data on the celestial objects tenfold, according to OSU researcher Adam Leroy.

New insights: The survey is already yielding new insights into stellar nurseries, including the fact that they appear to be more diverse than previously thought.

"For a long time, conventional wisdom among astronomers was that all stellar nurseries looked more or less the same," Sun said. "But with this survey we can see that this is really not the case."

"While there are some similarities, the nature and appearance of these nurseries change within and among galaxies," he continued, "just like cities or trees may vary in important ways as you go from place to place across the world."

Astronomers have also learned from the survey that stellar nurseries aren't particularly efficient at producing stars and tend to live for only 10 to 30 million years, which isn't very long on a universal scale.

Looking ahead: Data from the survey is now publicly available, so expect to see other researchers using it to make their own observations about stellar nurseries in the future.

"We have an incredible dataset here that will continue to be useful," Leroy said. "This is really a new view of galaxies and we expect to be learning from it for years to come."