Category Archives: Elections

A lesson In Skepticism: Assumptions Are Bad, but Great Discussions Can Ensue From Them Nonetheless

Recently, a friend shared this meme on Twitter. Like anyone who stands behind and supports our military, I couldn’t help but be a little put off by Lena’s supposed argument. So I quoted the tweet with “We all have our problems. Unless your problems are life and death, your problems don’t make you special, they make you normal.”

This meme appeals to those of us who feel a heavy debt of gratitude towards our military. Sadly I jumped to conclusions that I absolutely shouldn’t have, and neither should my friend I discussed this meme with shortly after.

While we took different positions, he and I both assumed that Lena was referring to her claims of assault/rape during college. Sadly for Lena, the accusations she made against a person she identified as “Barry” were deemed to be about someone who never met her, and she was forced to walk her statement back.

She later stated that “Barry” was a pseudonym she had given to her attacker. It just happened to coincidentally somewhat describe a man she went to school with named Barry, who was then sadly attacked in the media after many assumed he was her rapist. To her credit, Lena eventually confirmed he was not her attacker, but no doubt Barry endured a lot of unfair stress and insults to his character as a result.People will argue whether it was her exhibiting a Munchausen Syndrome type scenario, seeking attention by claiming to be a victim when she wasn’t. But unless you were there, or unless she ultimately admits no such attack happens, she should rightfully be taken at her word that she was assaulted. Rape is not so uncommon, especially when the parties are impaired (drugs and alcohol), as Lena admits to during the attack.

Being famous, she would also likely understand that she may open herself up to a slander claim if she identified her potential attacker by name, when that attacker has neither been indicted, nor convicted of such an assault. So her pseudonym claims are entirely plausible and even logical if true.

As I give her the benefit of the doubt, I also have nothing but sincerest sympathy for what she would have went through. While I think her literal words—as written in the meme—are effectively falsified by the meme, I absolutely understand and acknowledge that I have not known the fear of being raped, nor ever been the victim of any type of sexual assault. So while I absolutely sympathize—in that context—I cannot empathize.

It should be noted that there are many false rape accusations leveled at people for a myriad of reasons from later regret of a consensual tryst, to the aforementioned Munchausen Syndrome where people derive pleasure from playing the victim. But that being said, unless I am the accused and know I’m innocent, or witnessed the event with my own eyes and saw the consent, I will never claim a woman is lying when she says she was raped, and neither should you.

Because if they are telling the truth, how dare you make them feel like the villain in this equation when you have no knowledge of the truth. We have a presumption of innocence in this country. It’s based on the solid scientific principle of falsification, largely attributed to Karl Popper. Because of its greater likelihood of coming to a truth, it’s the moral way to approach such a claim as well.

So what was our mistake in the assumptions we made? There were actually a few.

  1. We both assumed that the text of the meme was what she said verbatim—it wasn’t.
  2. We assumed she was talking about herself—she wasn’t.
  3. We assumed it was about rape—it wasn’t.

My friend and I weren’t even in the same ZIP code.Lena Dunham endorses Hillary Clinton

As it turns out, Lena—being a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton—was supporting her campaign in an interview with Page Six (I could not find a reputable source to confirm what she said or where she said it, so I’m taking this with a grain of salt too). Lena is quoted as saying, “The other candidates are white men and they cannot understand, even if they can understand it intellectually . . . for what it’s like to be under that kind of attack, and I’m so impressed by the way she continues to soldier forth.”

Lesson learned, always be skeptical of memes, even if they’re shared by someone you trust. But nonetheless, there are many great discussions worth having about the assumptions we did make—even if they weren’t true—aside from the lesson we already learned about making assumptions.

So let’s take a couple of them on.


If she had been discussing women living in constant fear of being attacked by man, is that fair?

Well, yes and no.

From a purely literal sense, if you fear someone who is of no threat to you, that is effectively an irrational fear. But as famed psychologist and skeptic Dr. Michael Shermer explains, in man’s evolutionary history, we are prone to a phenomenon he calls patternicity: finding meaningful patterns in meaningless noise.

Dr. Michael Shermer

As he goes on to explain (click the link above for a more descriptive example), if you assume something is a threat that isn’t and flee the scene, you’ve endured no harm. But if you assume no threat when there is one, you are likely to be harmed. So it makes sense we’ve evolved to assume things are threats, even when that assumption may be false, as an effective method of self-preservation.

So for women to assume that some men are predators, even if those men are perfectly honorable in their intentions, is not entirely irrational, even though the feared assault is highly improbable (most men do not assault women). They have my sincerest sympathy that a small segment of the male population have implanted this fear in them, even if they have nothing to fear from me personally.

So men, while it’s easy to get mad at women for assuming the worst in us, understand that it’s a simple self-preservation instinct which is entirely natural and beneficial to their safety. Just make a sincere effort to make them feel as safe as possible if you wish to quash that fear and/or get to know them.


If we address my reply to the Tweet, I believe this is also a worthwhile discussion to have—not all problems are equal.

I get depressed about being single, or not reaching the level of success that I feel I should have attained in life. But I do have a job, I’m reasonably healthy, and have a wonderful family and friends. So I rarely openly share my issues, because I feel some level of guilt for complaining about these things when I see a baby with Leukemia, a soldier who lost limbs in battle, or homeless and/or jobless people whose lives are largely without hope.

It is important that we empathize where we can with people, and sympathize with them otherwise, no matter what they’re problems are. It helps to bring our community together, and it’s just the right thing to do in my opinion.

But for the person doing the complaining, it’s also important to keep your own problems in perspective. Problems aren’t that different from a hospital’s triage.

Society’s efforts should be focused on the most dire problems first, and we can address the less dire ones when the emergencies have all been dealt with. For instance, if I encountered both a drowning baby and a guy who’s depressed he broke up with his girlfriend and just wants to talk, I’m probably going to try to save that baby and leave the heartbroken dude to sort out his own problems. If my love-struck compadre were to complain about my choice, I think we all understand he’d be out of line.

My underlying point though, is that almost everyone has problems. We all love to believe we are unique in our pain—and somehow most others have a nearly perfect life.

But is this true?

No one was more loved or respected than Robin Williams, and with his portrayal of a homosexual cowboy, and then Batman’s The Joker, Heath Ledger had just solidified himself as Hollywood’s newest top shelf actor. Both of these men, by all accounts, were on top of the world.

Yet sadly both of these men, with so much love and respect heaped upon them, with none of the financial stresses many of us face either, could bear to live life another day.

And frankly, I defy you to ask anyone about their problems and find someone who responds that they don’t have any.

While someone may not know your specific pain, they almost assuredly have problems you don’t understand either. If you want sympathy and respect, don’t assume you’re the only one hurting. You’re dismissing the pain others around you are enduring—that’s pretty insulting.

I can’t emphasize enough how important I think it is that we be open about our problems, and discuss them with others. Bottling them up often ends in self-harmful or violent acts. So making the effort to not alienate those you’d like to sympathize with is something I think we should all strive for when we do reach out for help. I believe my approach would yield a more positive social interaction.


So now that we’ve covered our false assumptions, let’s address Lena’s actual claim.

A large portion of political arguments these days are hyperbole and hyper-partisanship. All sides of the aisle tend to overstate their strengths, while dishonestly ignoring their weaknesses. I’d be skeptical of anyone making a political argument on the campaign trail. But that being said, does Lena have a point?

On the face of it, no. History is littered with politicians attacking other politicians. Hillary Clinton was by no means the first to be the brunt of hateful political attacks. Some of hers are only unique in that she’s a woman, but most arguments were against her policy or character—not the fact she’s missing equipment down below.

America has never had a woman president, nor even a female vice-president. For a significant portion of American history, they wouldn’t have been allowed to do so. They weren’t even allowed to vote before 1920, with the passage of the 19th amendment.

The heinous acts toward the black community in American history dominate our culture. There are a multitude of movies, documentaries, and other media depicting the slavery era and civil rights movement—far more than there are about the hardships and atrocities women have endured as a group.

Yet I suspect many may be surprised to know that black men had the right to vote after the passage of the 15th amendment in 1869, over 50 years before woman had such rights in America.

So women have gotten pretty poor treatment throughout history (not just America) without nearly as much attention given to that fact, compared to others.

I readily admit it’s plausible that a large majority of men will vote for another man. And, since many women still claim to support the traditional notion of being subservient to their male counterparts, many women may not necessarily vote for a woman either. This makes Lena’s underlying point more than fair.

Much like Obama overcoming the racial barrier on the path to the presidency, our first female president will likely have higher hurdles to jump than her male counterparts do to get there too.

However, if I can pose a hypothetical situation for a minute, I don’t think I could be easily convinced that if Republicans had chosen a well-respected woman like Condoleezza Rice, and Democrats had chosen  someone who’s largely scandal-free like Tim Kaine as their nominees, I’m not convinced Condoleezza wouldn’t have gotten the same votes Trump did, and Kane gotten most of the votes Hillary did—yielding the same result.

I think if we’re honest, it would have been a far better election, with a better outcome, no matter who won, compared to the two highly-hated candidates the big parties actually picked.

Hillary most assuredly lost some votes solely by virtue of her pesky second X chromosome, but I am firmly convinced that she lost far more votes be virtue of being laden with a series of potentially immoral, corrupt, and even potentially criminal acts.

I’m of the opinion she got far more votes by virtue of being a Democrat from people who didn’t like her, than she lost by virtue of being a women from people who would have otherwise voted Democrat. Most heated political arguments are partisan in nature, not sexist.

So is Lena’s argument valid? Somewhat. Do I think it cost Hillary the election? No.

I think Hillary Clinton’s actions and persona cost Hillary Clinton the election. Trump was arguable one of the most beatable Republicans in recent history. Laying that defeat at the feet of her gender seems improbable to me.

But if you disagree, there’s a comment section below…have at it. Debate is good! Thanks for taking the time to read this.

The Path to the White House for Libertarians

The votes have been tallied, and Former governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld are officially the Libertarian Party’s (LP) nominees for President and Vice President respectively.

Bill Weld - LP VP Nominee (Left) and Gary Johnson LP POTUS Nominee (Right)
Bill Weld – LP VP Nominee (Left) and Gary Johnson LP POTUS Nominee (Right)

Gary Johnson was the LP nominee last election cycle as well, where he garnered a mere 0.99% (1,275,923 votes). While that may not sound like much, as it turns out, it was the highest number ever attained by a Libertarian candidate in its 45 year history.

So how do we take this momentum to the house? I’d like to outline a few simple points.

Take the High Road and Act Like You Belong Here

Sadly, we libertarians are used to being a fringe group, and our party being a fringe party. As such, often what we say or do garners little attention from the media because we simply aren’t deemed viable by most of them yet. So there’s little repercussions for behaving badly as a result.

One way to get attention when you aren’t getting it through normal means, is to behave abnormally. But I caution libertarians not to fall into this trap. Thanks to the poor choices from the DNC and RNC faithful, the attention has shifted to us organically. Behaving abnormally garnered those two party’s a lot of attention, but it isn’t good and people are looking for alternatives.

So if we’re to be deemed the party of reason, we have to distance ourselves from people like James Weeks, who serve as a pure embarrassment, and will surely set our movement back. We must be on our best behavior 24/7 if we want to win, because our detractors are just waiting for us to behave inappropriately and pounce on it.

Our message of liberty and freedom is exactly what our founding fathers envisioned when they declared independence and subsequently drafted a constitution to limit the government’s power over the people. Everyone inherently wants to be free—we don’t have to sell people on that. We simply have to explain to them that they’ve slowly and deceptively been robbed of their liberty through the years, and we want to give it back.

Now that we’re getting attention, the best thing we can do is be the adults in the room. While Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton sling insults like a monkey in a cage slings poo, we must to be the party of reason and critical thinking. We know our ideas aren’t radical, and I think most of us agree that the majority of people are already libertarians and just don’t know it. But behaving radically will make independents question those ideals, because they won’t want to be associated with “whack jobs.”

Avoid The Anarchy Trap

Another important group we have to distance ourselves from are anarchists. Especially those wearing the Guy Fawkes masks.

Person wearing a Guy Fawkes Mask
Person wearing a Guy Fawkes Mask

Aside from the fact that Guy Fawkes wasn’t a libertarian, he was simply someone who wanted to trade one theocracy for another, and murder people to do it, it’s creepy to outsiders. If you come off like someone who wants to “burn it all down,” no reasonable person will side with you. So for the love of the movement, lose the mask and be that person which supports a government to protect our rights, but ONLY protect our rights.

On a personal note, I’d also like to point out that wearing a mask reeks of being too cowardly to promote your ideas openly and honestly. If you believe in what we’re doing, use your real name, and show your face. Let people know you’re a real person who’s really a libertarian, and your proud of it.

Lose The Conspiracy Theories

I get it, you hate government, and therefore want to believe any story about government doing evil things. But the fact remains that conspiracy theories are almost entirely fictional. There have been conspiracies that were uncovered like Watergate or the Lewinsky affair, but try to think of a conspiracy theory that was put out into the world, then evidence came to light about it afterwards—it simply never happens.

From the faked moon landing, to the idea that 9/11 was orchestrated by anyone other than Al Qaeda, if you believe that, you’re being supremely ignorant. All of these have been thoroughly debunked by a myriad of well-respected independent science universities and publications to the point that only the willfully ignorant, or the vehemently unscientific still believe them. But if you insist on believing such things, at least know most don’t, and promoting those ideas will hurt our cause. (See video above regarding the 9/11 myth)

Give Real Examples

It’s important when promoting liberty, that you give examples that people can relate to. For instance, we libertarians often talk about people dying to enforce irrational laws, and most just roll their eyes thinking we’re making stuff up. But there are real examples, like Eric Garner, who was killed because police were enforcing the sale of untaxed cigarettes.

Some may blame the police, but the fact remains that if New York respected it’s citizen’s rights to engage in dangerous behavior (smoking), and thus didn’t have ridiculous additional taxes on cigarettes in the first place, this would never have happened.

Police rarely kill citizens for no reason, they kill because they were called to enforce laws. So it’s important to push the idea that if we’re going to pass a law, it should be a law we’re comfortable with the police killing someone who fails to comply; such as rape, theft, murder, child molestation, etc.

How To Explain The Legalization of Vices

When promoting legalization of vices like drugs, prostitution, gambling, etc., be sure to point out that doesn’t mean you’re advocating them. Maybe even go a step further and argue that people probably shouldn’t do them. But instead, promote that idea that you’re just not comfortable killing people who do them, or throwing them in jail and ruining their lives for such actions.1427760478737[1]

I know there are a lot of new medicinal uses for marijuana being discovered, but there’s no recreational use that’s healthy. It’s important you do not promote these things as if they’re things we should all do. Acknowledge that you understand such things are unhealthy or risky, but that because there is no victim in such things, we shouldn’t pass laws to prevent people from doing them.

Instead, we should pass laws that prosecute people who violate the rights of others while doing them. For instance, we don’t make alcohol illegal, but drunk driving is. That same logic can be applied to all vices, and it’s a far safer and more reasonable alternative than outright banning vices, as evidenced by prohibition.

Many crimes and deaths that result from such vices are because of the laws preventing them, not the usage itself. It’s imperative that this be our reason for promoting legalization, because it shows we’re concerned about others versus simply wanting them legalized for selfish reason that we want to engage in such behavior without penalty ourselves.

Be Reasonable

The last point I wish to make is to be reasonable with your ideas. People don’t typically like change, they’re often scared of it. If you propose radical change right away, the voters we need to win, will run away in droves.

This is why Governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld might be the best candidates we’ve ever had. Not because they’re the perfect libertarians, but they’re the perfect bridge from Republicans to Libertarians. If they win, and do what they’ve done as governors, it will turn our country away from oppression, and back towards liberty in a very meaningful way. Then in 2020 or 2024, maybe we can elect a more libertarian Libertarian (small “L” is someone who is libertarian, capital “L” is someone who is part of the Libertarian Party) once people realize liberty is something worth fighting for again.

The Myth of the Wasted Vote

I was a pretty ardent supporter of Senator Rand Paul for president, stating that he’s the only Republican Party candidate I would have voted for in the upcoming election. Since he’s no longer running, my support has shifted to Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, but will generally support whomever of the three remaining LP nominees wins their party.

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

On Twitter, I campaigned hard to any of my Republican voting followers that Senator Paul is their only candidate who can get libertarian votes, and even some Democrat votes, because his positions of liberty often span party lines. As such, I felt this strategy was their best path to the White House.

Was he polling well? No. But, this was mostly due to lack of name recognition versus the issues. More importantly, though, it’s important to understand that most Republicans will vote Republican irregardless of the specific candidate, so they would certainly follow Rand. Once he was the only person on the debate stage against a Democratic nominee, I felt he would easily win on the issues.

This might seem like I’m asking Republicans to pick my candidate instead of their own, which is counter to what I’m suggesting in this post in the first place, but the reality is that I always preferred Gary Johnson.

In supporting Rand however, I was offering what I would consider a highly favorable compromise. But the rest of the Republican voting block didn’t seem interested in such a compromise, and turned this into a negotiation where both sides agreed there simply was no deal to be made.

While I believe the remaining Republicans are slightly better than Democratic offerings, I refuse to vote for any Republican on the sole premise that it’s imperative to beat the Democrats at any cost.

The most common disagreement we have with the GOP, is that we largely disagree with their consistent efforts to subversively legislate Christian values, while skirting 1st amendment objections by simply not specifically mentioning god in such legislation.

For instance, if you look at Ted Cruz’s website, he has an “Issues” section where he specifically talks about fighting for religious liberty.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R)
Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R)

But one look at this page, it is clear that this is actually not about religious liberty, but instead, a Christian crusade of sorts.

While it might look like religious liberty to Christians, almost every issue is about fighting for Christians specifically with no protections offered to other religions nor atheists.

Let’s look at his 11th bullet reads as follows:

“Successfully defended the words “under God” in the Texas Pledge of Allegiance and Texas schools’ moment of silence law in federal district court.”

Not only is this NOT promoting religious freedom, he’s specifically promoting government imposing a religious reference in a government sanctioned pledge—the absolute polar opposite of religious liberty.

It’s this kind of hypocrisy, and misunderstanding of the Constitution from a lawyer who should clearly understand it better than most, that makes Ted Cruz come off as disingenuous, ignorant, and wrong.

While this is on Ted Cruz’s website, these Christian based ideals, are echoed by almost all Republican candidates, including Donald Trump.

Donald Trump (R)

While I have no war with religion, I don’t want to live in a country where I have to fear my leaders forcing me to be more Christian either.

Do I consider “Under God” a big issue? Not in the least.

I’m bothered that Ted Cruz considers it big enough to put on his website as one of his credentials, and under the banner of religious freedom.

More importantly though, I’d like to think he’d fight for my rights as an atheist if a Christian legislator attempts to violate them by legislating religious ideology. Based on this page of his website however, I genuinely don’t believe he would.

So what about the wasted vote?

Many Republicans have lashed out at me, arguing that people like me are giving Democrats the win if we vote Libertarian, and that we’re wasting our vote on someone who won’t win.

At first thought, it does make some sense. A majority of libertarians would choose a Republican over a Democrat if those are their only two choices, but this is a short-sighted view on their part, and frankly somewhat arrogant and presumptuous to assume I’d prefer them. More importantly, it’s counter to my own best interests in the long term.

Former Governer Gary Johnson - Libertarian nominee for President
Former Governor Gary Johnson – Libertarian nominee for President

The first and most important point I’d like to make is this. My vote is mine. No one has any right to it, and no one has any right to dictate to me who I should vote for. So if you’re a Republican who wants to attack me for voting libertarian, you’re out of line.

Second: Your vote is your way to influence change in government. It’s not just about winning, it’s about letting people know that while they may have a majority, that majority is potentially in jeopardy if they lose some support. That growing their support will require them to give more deference towards our ideals too.

But the more important point to understand about the wasted vote myth, is that if I continue to go along with the (not Rand Paul) Republican nominee, I’m supporting a system I don’t agree with. Voting for someone who won’t win isn’t a wasted vote, voting for someone I don’t want to be president is.

Because if I want libertarianism to grow, the only way I can do that is to vote for libertarian candidates and issues. Voting for Republicans will only reinforce the current Republican agenda with no deference to my own. In other words, what argument could one possibly make to believe libertarianism would grow if no one votes libertarian? So the only way I can waste my vote is by not voting for those who promote the ideals which I support.

If I vote libertarian, and Republicans do lose, this puts Republicans in a position of self-reflection as to why they lost, and how they can grow their party.

Libertarian Party
Libertarian Party

Many Republicans are quite libertarian in their views already, so it’s not that big of a leap, and I hope they consider it more seriously. They’ll hopefully recognize that the way to grow their party, is to be more libertarian on the issues. When you look at the issues that people part with the GOP on in the first place, you’ll find it’s the issues that libertarians and Democrats agree, and when people lash out at Democrats, it’s usually the policies where libertarians and Republicans agree.

I’d argue there’s a lesson in that for both the major parties, hopefully one or both of them figure it out soon.

Banning Muslims – Knee-Jerk Reactions vs. Critical Thinking

Donald Trump has recently announced that as president, he would use executive order to ban Muslims from entering the country temporarily.

As an atheist, I feel all religion can be dangerous if taken to extremes. But that being said, there can be no doubt that around the world, in the 21st century, the overwhelming majority of atrocities committed in the name of religion are committed by people of the Muslim faith.

Any time a tragedy happens, we as a people tend to believe we should try to analyze the problem that caused the tragedy and fix it. If the problem is too big for any one of us to fix, the non-libertarian population often feel government should fix it for them.

But let’s apply a little critical thinking to Trump’s idea of banning foreign Muslims from entering the United States.

How exactly do we go about banning all Muslims? If a Muslim applies to come to America, do the authorities ask that Muslim if they’re Muslim?visa_application_rejection[1]

While an honest Muslim might answer truthfully, knowing it would preclude them from coming, wouldn’t a radical Muslim intending to kill Americans, or a desperate but peaceful Muslim hoping to flee a war-zone,  just lie to get into the United States?

Quite similarly to the “If guns are outlawed, only criminals will have them” argument, if Muslims are banned from entering the United States, only deceitful Muslims will enter.

There is no DNA test that tells you what religion someone is—religion isn’t genetic. There is nothing science has to offer to detect one’s religion.

Lie detectors have been proven time and time again to be faulty at best. Even physiologist John Larson, Ph.D., one of the early inventors of the lie detector, regretted ever inventing the device. Before his death in 1965, he stated, “Beyond my expectation, through uncontrollable factors, this scientific investigation became for practical purposes a Frankenstein’s monster, which I have spent over 40 years in combating.”

Joe Larson administering a Lie Detector test
Dr. Larson administering a Lie Detector test

The 1st amendment states that, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

By the letter of the Constitution, the president could in-fact pass such an order, because it isn’t Congress passing a law, it’s the president passing an executive order.

So while some have put forth the constitutionality argument, I would have to argue it is a non sequitur.

U.S. Constitution: 1st Amendment
U.S. Constitution: 1st Amendment

But, the Supreme Court continues to allow Blue Laws which are clearly an establishment of religion, proving the letter of the Constitution isn’t always their ultimate guide.

So it’s quite possible that the Supreme Court would strike such an executive order down based on the “principles” of the first amendment, versus the letter of it, as they tend to err on the side of secularism these days—something I typically appreciate.

The Supreme Court Of The United States
The Supreme Court Of The United States

So now we understand that if Trump wrote such an order, there’s no way to know who is and isn’t a Muslim. Even if the Supreme Court didn’t strike it down as an executive order, if Congress tried to pass it as law, it would most assuredly get struck down then.

But also, it is important to consider that even if such a law did somehow evade the Supreme Court’s wrath, and scientists invented a Muslim detector that really worked; when exactly is “temporary” over?

We’ve been fighting the war on terror since 2001, and it’s not like there are any fewer radical Muslims killing people. While the radicals may be a small minority at best, if he’s passing such an order to eliminate the threat, the threat won’t be eliminated until all Muslims are dead—an idea I assume most people would not support.

Because much like it’s impossible to identify a Muslim with any certainty if they choose to hide it, it’s equally impossible to identify a radical Muslim hell-bent on killing innocent civilians they deem to be infidels deserving of death.

Hopefully, Trump and his supporters will come to their senses and realize this isn’t a workable plan, and instead look for ways to better screen all people coming into the United States. But they should also understand that with freedom comes danger, as illustrated by our gun laws—something most Trump supporters do support, and anyone else who is serious about liberty.

So if we’re OK with one danger, we should be OK with the other, lest we be hypocrites.

While I don’t claim to have the answer; if we’re seeking one, I’d at least like to know there’s a bit of logic and reason behind the ideas being proposed, because this one has very little.

“If you see something, say something,” is a much simpler notion, it’s something we can all do to help government officials find these people. Exercising our 2nd amendment rights to arm ourselves so we can take down any would-be killers in our midst if we encounter one is pretty simple too.

Both are far more likely to be effective and far more doable than Trump’s entirely unworkable notion.

She Who Shouldn’t Be Named – Why I’ve Always Despised Hillary, and a Strategy For Defeating Her

I recently stated among friends, that I’ve vehemently despised Hillary Clinton since she was first lady; she has not done anything to change my opinion of her since.

My friend, attempting to challenge me on this, poignantly asked me what she could have possibly done as first lady to raise my ire. He was assuming I was just being a political ideologue with a hatred for anyone who is a Democrat, or at least Democratic in nature.

Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_crop[1]
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Little did he know, I actually do have a reason, and it’s called The Health Security Act of 1993, affectionately known as Hillary Care. Despite neither being an elected official of Congress or the Senate, Hillary Clinton, at the pleasure of her husband Bill, drafted a legislative proposal for a government mandated single-payer health care system—a socialized medicine scheme. It was similar to what Obama really wanted when he ultimately settled for the Affordable Care Act, a quasi-free market system.

This wasn’t “Just say no” or Michelle Obama’s campaign to get people to eat healthy, this was an attempt at a massive overhaul of the American way of life (free-market capitalism) that would have cost taxpayers more than any other subsidy before it—by far. Yet she didn’t have a single taxpayer vote for her, thus giving her any legitimate reason to do such a thing. Not to mention, it was equally disturbing her husband appointed her to do so.

If Hillary had an ounce of medical training, or a history of leadership in the insurance industry, she would have some qualifications to point to in proposing such a scheme, but she’s a lawyer, nothing more, and thus unilaterally unqualified to run a taxpayer-funded, trillion-dollar (likely) system.

In my opinion, this showed a monumental amount of arrogance, and an unprecedented lack of respect for the Constitution and the American people.  As the years have passed, she has never shown herself to be anything other than arrogant, disrespectful to our nation’s framework. Since then, she has also demonstrated a massive amount of untrustworthiness, with her various lies and legal indiscretions.

The United States Constitution
The United States Constitution

While I would never vote for a Democrat due to their current largely non-libertarian ideology, there are many Democrats I at least find respectful and trustworthy, just possessing a different ideology than my own, and I can respect that, to some extent.

Nonetheless, it would appear that the rest of the Democratic machine wants to have a baby with her, and unless she executes a bunny on national TV, she’s likely to be their nominee.

So with that in mind, I want to address Senator Rand Paul’s reaction to her, along with others from the GOP, and potentially the LP.

FORGET ABOUT HER, AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, UNTIL THE DEBATES.

Rand, Rubio, Cruz, and others are on full attack mode against Hillary, and it’s a horrible strategy. People already hate attack ads, but for better or worse, a trait instilled within all of us is that a man attacking a woman, even if only verbally, is unbecoming and in poor taste. Just close your eyes for a minute, and imagine a bunch of guys angrily ganging up on a woman, and tell me who comes off looking like the villain—I assure you, it isn’t Hillary.

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

There is no metric where any GOP or LP candidate will win votes from people who weren’t going to already vote for them by attacking Hillary.

Instead, they should focus on why they will be a great president as they see it, then if asked about Hillary in general, simply respond that they assume she’s a patriot, but simply has a different idea for America than they do, and more importantly, than our forefathers did when they drafted the Constitution.

The news media, led by Fox News, but also some main stream outlets, print media, and internet agencies have challenged Hillary’s shortcomings, let them be the ones pointing out the flaws in her character, they aren’t running for anything.

Her ideas are atrocious, socialism always is. So attacking her character as a campaign opponent is unnecessary when you can simply point out the flaws in the ideas she’s promoting with logic and reason, letting her and her ideology die on their merits, without ever even mentioning her name.

But every time a candidate mentions her, she is effectively getting press. If you mention her in an attack, she’s now getting press as the woman being attacked by those mean men (since no other woman has indicated she is looking to enter the fray). This will only bolster her likability as she milks playing the victim.

Former Governor Gary Johnson - Libertarian nominee for President
Former Governer Gary Johnson – Libertarian nominee for President

I’ve made it clear on numerous occasions that while I like Gary Johnson first and foremost, Senator Paul is the one GOP candidate who would likely wrestle my vote from Governor Johnson. But I would still consider Rubio or Cruz a severe improvement over Obama a monumentally better choice than Hillary, even if they don’t get my vote.

So Senators Paul, Rubio, and Cruz, and anyone else yet to enter the presidential arena who happens to be a champion of liberty, please heed my advice, and consider Hillary “she who should not be named.”

Focus on the issues, and attack Democratic issues, but do whatever you came to not let the name Hillary Clinton leave your mouth unless you have to.

 

What Does It Take To Be A Great President?

An American president is an icon, “The leader of the free world,” they’re often referred to. History has judged some kindly, others—not so much.

So what qualities does it take to ensure that a president has the kind of legacy that guarantees people will think of them with reverence?

First, the president must be a leader. Ask anyone what it takes to be  a leader, and you’ll hear things like charisma, strong ideas, motivation, etc. But frankly, the only thing you need to be a leader, by definition, is followers.

While I don’t think there are any polls indicating how many Americans consider themselves apolitical, the fact is, if you attempt to start a political conversation with a majority of Americans, in my experience, people more often than not will say things like, “they’re all corrupt” or “I couldn’t care less about politics.”Political Corruption

Many people do have political views, but not many can be bothered to actually listen to the news, inform themselves on the issues, consider both sides of an argument, and actively be engaged in the political process.

The Washington Times reported that voter turnout was just 36.4% in 2014, indicating that a significant majority of Americans have simply succumbed to whatever fate the voting minority foists upon them. This is a clear indication that few of our politicians anymore are leaders, because they simply aren’t engaging people in a way that makes them want to participate.

So what should a potential president do to be a leader?

Leaders are the opposite of followers. Seems simple enough, but that means that by definition, they should not be using polling, social media trending, or other such factors when making arguments. Instead, they should be original in their thoughts.  Find issues people have either ignored, forgotten about, or weren’t aware of, and bring them to light with a fresh focus, and clearly understandable arguments.

For instance, Steve Jobs brought the iPod, iPhone, and iPad to market, not because of focus groups, but because he thought of something no one else did that we consumers didn’t even know we wanted, but now can’t live without. There was no focus group telling him to do it, he used his imagination to pave a trail every one of his competitors are now following. That’s leadership.

Steve Jobs - Apple Founder
Steve Jobs – Apple Founder

Rand Paul is doing a great job of this by reaching out to colleges, minority groups, and other potential voters who traditionally do not vote GOP, and he’s making a solid case as to why they should.

A great president must also be strong. One little forgotten example would have to be George H.W. Bush in his dealing with Iraq invading Kuwait. After gaining support to address Hussein militarily, Bush delivered an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to leave Kuwait by January 15th, 1991 or else.

Saddam Hussein ignored the warning, and the full brunt of the United States military and its willing allies was unleashed on Saddam’s army the following night. Bush did not give him a second warning, he did not do some half-hearted, “I mean it Saddam, get out” nonsense, extending the deadline to avoid war. He said what he was going to do and he did it. This kind of strength of conviction puts all other would-be enemies on notice that we are not to be messed with.

George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush

A president must be an intelligent problem solver. Some of the greatest corporate leaders are great, not because they know everything, but because they know who to ask when they need answers and/or help, and can make intelligent decisions based on the information those advisers provide.

When you see a president who behaves as if they know everything, that should be your first sign they are not an effective leader, as they’re simply far too arrogant and ignorant to listen to people who often know better.

For instance, when Obama fired then GM CEO Rick Wagoner, as if somehow he knew what was better for GM than their acting CEO, his unwarranted hubris was obvious to everyone in the automotive industry, many of who rightfully found it offense and wrong, and of course, GM ended up filing for bankruptcy anyway, which is what Wagoner said needed done all along.

A most recent Gallup poll shows that 42% of Americans are also independent. This makes independents effectively the largest “party” in America, albeit effectively a non-party. So a great president will find a way to not only appeal to their base, but also to reach out to people who aren’t partisan.

How does a president do that? It is my opinion that such a president would have to show that he or she places logic and reason before party lines. Any conclusion they come to should be well thought out, well-reasoned, and then told in a way that everyone can understand.

It is all too common for a Democrat or Republican to be strangely apoplectic about something the opposition does that is obviously quite benign, and most people can’t be bother with. A president should understand that the more they complain about their political opponents, the more they become the boy who cries wolf. If you want to be a great president, put politics aside when analyzing any issue, and make sure if you do attack, it is genuinely warranted—pick your battles wisely.

The president should be someone who doesn’t want the job, but begrudgingly accepts the position for the greater good.

George Washington railed against the idea of a president at all, fearing a president would be too much like a king. He begrudgingly accepted the nomination once it was determined there would be one, and was elected handily.Gilbert_Stuart_Williamstown_Portrait_of_George_Washington[1]

When it was asked by the Senate if he wanted a title such as “your excellency” or “your highness,” Washington simply wanted to be called the more modest “Mr. President.”

When it came time for a potential 3rd term, he stepped down voluntarily, again to avoid the idea of being some sort of supreme ruler. As such, all following presidents, until the American statist icon Franklin D. Roosevelt ran and was re-elected for a third term, never sought out a 2nd re-election as an homage to Washington.

An American president should ultimately see themselves not as a ruler, but as a guarantor of rights—a person charged with protecting the people, not presiding over them. Sadly, Gary Johnson and Rand Paul seem to be the only two candidates running with this mentality. But with any luck, one of them will gain the traction to bring America what can fairly be called another great president.

 

Consenting Adults Amendment: How Columbus City Council Screwed The Little Guy

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

Like many internet writers, I’m an amateur—I do this for the joy of spreading the liberty and rational thought message to any who will listen. If you’ve ever gotten the impression I’m rich, your hypothesis regarding my financial status, is indeed quite flawed.

Many on the left champion more regulation because they say such things protect and/or help the little guy, the underprivileged guy, the poor guy—that’s me!

So let’s see how this is working out for me so far.

In order to help lift myself out of financial distress, I ultimately need to either get promoted, find a new job, or obtain a second job—I’m ruling out the lottery due to statistical improbability. Of the three choices, the latter is the easiest and least risk-involved, so I endeavored to find additional ways to pad my pocketbook.

As I was watching an episode of The Independents on Fox Business, host Kennedy did a segment on Lyft, the peer-2-peer app based car service. It’s a very novel, yet simple, idea.Pinkout81-640x426[1]

  • You have a car and want to earn some extra cash.
  • You download the Lyft app and apply to be a driver
  • They do a quick background check to ensure you’re not one of Charles Manson’s kids.
  • Then a Lyft mentor comes out, shows you the ropes, inspects your vehicle, then gives you a big pink mustache to put on the front of your car signifying you’re a Lyft driver for users to easily identify
  • Once you’re ready, you launch the app, then signify you’re a driver awaiting a rider
  • Any riders needing a lift would launch the app and select a driver who is available and closest to them
  • You meet up, a ride is given, and upon completion, money is exchanged
  • The driver and rider then both rate each other on the experience. If either rates the other below three stars, they’ll never get matched again

Immediately I thought, this was for me. I have a very clean, well-maintained, low-mileage 2002 Honda Accord sedan that would be ideal.

2002 Honda Accord: According to Columbus City Council—death trap
2002 Honda Accord: According to Columbus City Council—death trap

So I installed the Lyft app, went on to the website, and signed up. I’m a personable guy, I love to talk to people, I can work when I want, and I don’t mind driving. Plus, I get to be self-employed again (I’m a previous small business owner), no jerk boss to deal with—it couldn’t be any more perfect, right? I was genuinely excited!

So Lyft contacted me, set me up with my mentor, but then an overreaching government hit me like a ton of bricks.

My 2002 Honda Accord is two years older than the 10-year-old or newer requirement a recently passed law by Columbus Ohio City Council requires, which meant that legally, I could not be a Lyft driver with my car; I’d need to buy a newer one. Generally speaking, if we had the money to buy newer cars, we likely wouldn’t be looking to drive for Lyft, right?

So these bureaucratic do-gooders, either guided by ignorant benevolence, or pressure from much-richer-than-I taxi company lobbyists (or both), who claim to be out for the little guy like me, took away this little guy’s right to go into business for myself in this manner.

Columbus City Council: AKA People Who Violated My Right To Earn A Living
Columbus City Council: AKA People Who Violated My Right To Earn A Living

I’m sure the Columbus City Council patted themselves on the back for their chicanery, touting out how they have protected would-be victims from someone with an unsafe automobile. But this assumes many things which cannot be deemed true with any certainty.

  • It assumes any car 10 years old or newer is safe. (False)
  • It assumes any car 11 years old or older is unsafe (False)
  • It assumes a would-be adult rider cannot make a reasonably intelligent decision about whether to get into a car and accept a ride from someone (Typically false)
  • It assumes that people who want to earn some extra money have the money to buy a newer car (Typically false)
  • It assumes Lyft mentors safety inspections aren’t good enough (Typically false). Remember, unlike Lyft,  government isn’t even inspecting your vehicle. Their regulation’s assumptions are solely based on the age of your car.

As I ponder the idea that I live in a free country where government exists solely to protect my rights, I am appalled that my city council, in a misguided effort to protect others, have harmed me with no legitimate justification—both me, and my car, are quite safe.

While I generally believe our Constitution’s framers did a pretty good job, if you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll recall I’m not afraid to propose constitutional amendments that I think would advance their principles of limited government, and deny power-hungry rights-infringers that which pleases them most.

The 1st Amendment
The 1st Amendment

That said, as a result of this incident, it got me thinking about a new amendment I wish legislators would adopt which would solve this problem and many like it—I’ll call it the “Consenting Adults” amendment.

The right for adults to engage in any agreement among themselves, barring any affected and unwitting third party, shall not be infringed.

It’s simple, and quite consistent with the Constitution’s intent as a limit on the how the government may deny your right to pursue happiness. Whether it be me providing a ride to someone for money; two or more people wanting to get married, regardless of their sex or preference; or any other act wherein consenting adults wish to engage. “We The People” should be able to do whatever we want to do, so long as we’re not hurting anyone else doing it. Libertarianism 101: No victim-no crime.

To be fair, I do understand our government usually acts with the best of intentions when they pass these laws. But sadly, many politicians neither have the intellectually capacity or knowledge to understand the ramifications of their actions to their full extent. Nor do they have the honor to admit when their actions have failed or had detrimental unintended consequences. Such instances should prompt them to repeal these regulations, but they rarely do.

They’re also sorely lacking in the understanding that everything they do, is ultimately done so, at the point of a gun. If such proposals were thought of in this manner, they would often be rejected.

Would you support cops showing up, guns drawn on me, screaming “Don’t you dare give that person a ride in your twelve-year-old death trap, or we’ll shoot!”? I sure hope not. But ultimately, if I defied this regulation long enough, that is precisely what would happen.

SWAT team: AKA People I'd eventually see if I used my 12 year old death trap to give people rides via Lyft
SWAT team: AKA People I’d eventually see if I used my 12-year-old death trap to give people rides via Lyft

Politicians should honestly understand that much of what people ask them to do is simply none of their business. Most of the time, when people say, “there ought to be a law,” they’re wrong. These days, our country is sadly free-ish at best thanks to such people. But if you vote for libertarian-minded politicians, we can correct that.