Republicans won 225 Years Ago—Democrats just won’t let it go.

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Have you ever had one of those common misconceptions you’re constantly prone to correct?

People often state that America is a democracy, yet it’s not—America is a republic because we have a constitution. In a democracy, the majority always rules, but in a republic, the majority only rules when they do not violate a constitution. The purpose? To protect minorities from the whims of the majority.

The 1st Amendment
The 1st Amendment

A great quote from an unknown source, often falsely attributed to Benjamin Franklin is that a Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for lunch. A republic is an armed lamb contesting the vote. Who knows who actually wrote this, but it’s elegant in its accuracy and simplicity.

I find the distinction of a democracy versus a republic odd for Democrats, because they go to great lengths to paint themselves as the party who supports the needs of minorities, but democracy being the heart of their name is the polar opposite.

In theory, being a Republican means you believe in the idea of a constitution—a protector for the rights of everyone, including minorities. Whether that minority is someone of a different race, sex, age, religion, or economic status. Something Republicans of late often struggle with too as they pass legislation which grows government contrary to their core values.

On a side note, the name Libertarian of course is fairly obvious and still very appropriate—we’re solely about liberty. Some are pure anarchists, some are just government minimalists, but the basic mantra of limited government is always the same.

Libertarian Party Logo
Libertarian Party Logo

Republican and Democrat nomenclature is largely moot these days—Democrats aren’t running on a platform of abolishing the constitution, nor are Republicans running on the platform of establishing a constitution since we already have one.

But, as I think about their respective policies, it is often the Democrats who wish to push through popular legislation regardless of whether it seems to jive with the Constitution or not, leaving Republicans as the one of the two more often standing with our founding document when battling against a populist agenda.

If you look at many social policies to help the poor, they help the majority (those who aren’t rich) at the expense of the minority (those who are rich). Something more charitable wealthy folks like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates may not mind, but others who believe that they can help the people and the economy better by investing themselves, instead of giving their money to a largely wasteful government, find infuriating.

Americans still largely believe socialism and communism are wrong. So politicians proposing laws that are socialistic in nature have had little choice but to rebrand them. They can’t publicly acknowledge many of their policies are socialism, the people would have none of that. But if you call it “Fair share” taxation, and appeal to the class envy of the masses, you can get them to believe that legislative-lemon is legal-lemonade.

But wouldn’t it be nice if we had honesty in politics? If the policies a prospective politician is proposing are so good, shouldn’t they want to be honest about them and let them stand on their merits? As a proper skeptic, the first red flag any voter should recognize is when a politician refuses to go into the nuts & bolts of their proposals. It’s a sure sign there’s something in there they don’t want you to see.

Senator Rand Paul (R)
Senator Rand Paul (R)

If you look at politicians like Gary Johnson, Justin Amash, Rand & Ron Paul, they have made a name for themselves telling the people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.

Their message of, “Give me the power so I can then take it away from myself and the rest of government” is a refreshing sentiment that seems to be gaining ground with the populace in the wake of the recent government scandal smörgåsbord, although I may just be optimistic.

In the coming years, it will be interesting to see if Republicans choose a libertarian leaning candidate like Rand Paul, will the Libertarian Party unite with them to defeat the authoritarian leaning left, or will they continue to fight each other while socialists continue to work with Democrats instead of splitting off like the Libertarian Party did with the Republicans?

I believe the era of big government Republicans is over. As America continues to evolve away from the strict religious dogma of eras past, embrace science in a way that methodically deconstructs most vice laws for the ineffectual farce that they so often are, and become more libertine in their views about sexual orientations and preferences, the future of the Republican Party is best served by becoming more libertarian.

While I understand these core religious beliefs are important to them; they must understand that these are policies better pushed for on a personal level instead of a legislative one. Our forefathers never intended for government to police individual morality; it was designed to protect our rights from another who would threaten them.

Congressman Justin Amash (R)
Congressman Justin Amash (R)

Our forefathers thought liberty was worth fighting for and dying for. Yet most Americans and politicians seem to overlook that public workers, soldiers, and politicians swear to defend the constitution, not the government.

But either way, the Democrats lost their battle in 1787 when we adopted a Constitution, yet they still won’t let go of the name—it is kind of sad. Then again, they might have an uphill battle if they decide to go with a more accurate “Socialist Party, ” so I guess I can’t blame them.

The Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act Poll

As you may or may not know, (you’d know if you read my blog anyway) in 1996 the federal government passed the Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) which requires hospitals to aid a dying patient regardless of their ability to pay or circumstances surrounding their injuries.

Do you feel this is a good thing, bad thing, or somewhere in between?

Prostitution Poll

A common libertarian theme is “No victim, no crime.” If this were true, there would effectively be no police vice squad. With that in mind, since I’ve already asked about drugs in a previous poll, this time let’s talk about what is presumed to be the world’s oldest profession (I still contend hunters preceded prostitutes).

What is your position on prostitution?

Utopia: The Grand Oxymoron

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

The Associated press recently reported here that in Michigan, after a year of repealing their mandatory helmet law, motorcycle injury costs were on a significant rise. Since more riders are riding sans helmet, this makes sense. But is it a problem? I say yes and no.

As you may know, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) which passed in 1996 prohibits a practice called patient dumping, thus requiring hospitals to treat critically ill or injured patients regardless of their ability to pay, or the reckless actions that may have put them in that situation.

Helmet Law Map
Helmet Law Map

EMTALA is a very good example of how one law often leads to another which is only justified by citing the first. We libertarians argue that the duty to protect our rights is the only duty of government. EMTALA gives the left a reason to use our own arguments against us by saying that we have to enact helmet laws to protect the public from having to pay for their reckless decisions, when if we didn’t have EMTALA in the first place, that wouldn’t be an issue.

Health care is part of the market place, but people often see hospitals as a public service like local police, fire, and rescue, then pass laws that treat them as such. Their argument being that if government has a duty to protect your life, then health care is, by extension, a right as well, and thus a role of government.

Why do I believe otherwise? Because government mandated health care means I have to pay for your poor choices; like doing drugs, over-eating, or riding a motorcycle without a helmet. Therefore, it violates my right to property to preserve your right to life. A conflict that only occurs if you choose the opinion of those pushing for health care as a publicly mandated service that must be provided to everyone. If it’s a private service available to those who can pay for it or those whom doctors choose to help pro-bono, the conflict is gone.

We feel it’s morally wrong to let someone die—I do to, to some extent. But it’s a moral issue, not a legal one. Just as I don’t want the government outlawing adultery, lying, or just generally being a jerk, I don’t want them outlawing the ability of a doctor to decide to help or not help someone who has done themselves harm—passing those costs on to me afterwards.

Health Care CostsWe all agree that when someone dies, it is sad, even tragic. But we also all know that no one gets out alive. Death is a natural and unchangeable part of life, at least for now. So if we understand we’re all going to die anyway, we cannot spend ourselves into oblivion trying to evade the inevitable.

When asked about the difference between libertarians and authoritarians, one of the distinctions I feel is often overlooked is that authoritarians are idealists, libertarians are realists. Authoritarians believe that government can create a Utopia if they just spend and regulate enough to rid the world of every immoral or dangerous act; creating a perfectly sterile and safe society. Libertarians see this as foolhardy and misguided goal.

While I generally abhor comparisons to Hitler; they’re so often hyperbole used for shock value, in this case it is somewhat appropriate here. Hitler also believe he could create a Utopia through ridding the world of all but the master race and by using advancements in genetic engineering. What he wanted to do violently and unethically, authoritarians aspire to achieve through legislation and regulation.

“The rich should all be like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, giving their money away to charity and happily paying more taxes. If they don’t, we’ll legislate it away from them” is just a financial version of “People should all worship this particular god or be killed.” One is an infringement of property, one life, but our Constitution guarantees rights to both. So why tolerate the first if we wouldn’t dream of tolerating the second?

I don’t want a boring life without any danger, and I defy you to honestly tell me you’ve never done something reckless just for the thrill of it. But if we take the authoritarian mentality to its logical conclusion, all risky behavior will be illegal.

Casual BASE Jump
Casual BASE Jump

We ride motorcycles without a helmet (I alternated depending on my mood), jump out of airplanes, or engage in extreme sports because we enjoy the freedom and the excitement that comes from the inherent danger. Humans love pushing the envelope, and without it, we wouldn’t be happy. So doesn’t that defeat the point of a Utopia?

I’m sad for these people who got injured without helmets. I was wearing mine when I wrecked and despite my noggin surviving in tact, I still got a collapsed lung out of the deal. Maybe we should legislate a suit of armor for motorcycle riders, and training wheels while we’re at it? The last two of course seem silly, so why is the first not?

Risk is fun, but risk means there’s also a chance of harm. While death may be the downside of risk, no one wants to live in a world without it—we’d all effectually become drones.

So I say that Utopia is an oxymoron. It’s supposed to be a perfect world where everyone is happy, but human nature dictates that almost no one would actually be happy in a Utopia. So let’s always mourn the lost—I’m not arguing that death is good; but let’s champion the freedom that allowed them to live and die by their own accord instead.

Moral Dilemma Poll

A few years back, I knew a person that was a potential customer of mine, not a friend. I only say this to explain why I was interacting with him and the level of our relationship. I have a scenario that always troubled me, and I thought, why not see what others think, here.

I was calling on his place of business as I did every week, and one day he decided to tell me he probably wouldn’t be working there much longer, and why. I should point out at this time, he was probably making $12 an hour at best.

His reason was this. He was told by some acquaintance that there was a publicly traded company called ABC Oil (Made up name for this post) that was currently selling at nearly a penny per share. This acquaintance of his advised him that in short order, they expected this stock to balloon to approximately $25 a share within a few months. So if he bought $2,000 worth of stock, it would be worth $500,000 later.

I’m not a trader, but I am a devout skeptic. So of course, my bullshit radar went through the roof. After speaking with him, a quick Google search showed that ABC Oil stock purchases were a scam. But aside from that, I know enough about stocks to know two things.

  1. Stocks do not multiply by 2500 times within a few months. A company worth $100,000 isn’t going to suddenly be worth $250,000,000 tomorrow. It may have happened in history somewhere, but these stories are clearly more bogus urban legend than common occurrence or even rare occurrence.
  2. The acquaintance investor who was rich had NOTHING to gain by giving him this tip, UNLESS they already owned this worthless stock and needed to dump it. If it was truly going to grow 250,000%, they would have just bought it themselves.

So my question to you is this: knowing that this was most certainly a scam, that he was fairly poor and didn’t really have $2,000 to waste, that he wasn’t a friend or someone I knew very well, and he was about to get duped, (He had either already committed to buy, or wrote them a check, but I vaguely recall he was somewhat already obliged.) would you have said something and tried to stop him? Or would have let him have a dream for 2 months, then a $2,000 life lesson thereafter?

Public Unions Poll

With local governments scrambling to get money wherever they can, many people are voting down levies left and right. Much of this is due to the costs that are so often associated with public employees who are almost always unionized. So with that in mind, what’s your position on public unions? Are they the problem, part of the problem, or have nothing to do with the problem? Vote now, and as always, please share or re-tweet the poll once completed. Thanks!