Category Archives: Libertarianism

Average Joe SCOTUS: Lamone v. Benisek

So gerrymandering—it’s a thing. Weirdly, every politician says they hate it, and it should be stopped. Yet, every politician quietly does it in their party’s favor. But nonetheless, some people dislike it so much, that they decide to go to court to prevent it, so here we go.

Maryland drew up a map in a district the was traditionally Republican. But because of their redistricting map, a Democrat won the seat. So Republicans were like, “this is some bullshit.”

So they sought injunction against those scumbags who rigged the election legally, and a district court granted it. So now this thing meanders its way to SCOTUS, where the Maryland peeps hoped SCOTUS would tell the lower court they needed to know their fucking role.

SCOTUS on the other hand, decided the lower court was fine. But also, they were looking at another case, and they wanted to wait on the outcome of that shit, which they did.

So after hearing this shit the second time, they were like, “You know what? Fuck it. This is none of our fucking business. Good luck assholes. We care about the Constitution, not your childish fucking political games.”

5:4 Judgement for Lamone, and the courts to stay the fuck out of it. Separation of powers and shit. Good luck. The opinion was given under Rucho v. Common Cause in North Carolina, because there was gerrymandering fucking everywhere, and challenges were coming in like they were half-off on Black Friday.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.

Analysis: Free College For All

Unless you’ve sworn off all news media, you’re no doubt aware that self-described Democratic Socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and other members of the DNC, campaign on the idea that college education should be treated essentially like an extended public high school—paid for via tax dollars, and open to everyone.

Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

I won’t go into the weeds of analyzing Bernie’s “College for All” plan, or how he intends to pay for it. You can click here for a Vox article which goes over his plan, and that of Elizabeth Warren to some extent.

I also won’t elaborate on the fact that some in congress infamously didn’t even know they were the ones doing the lending in the first place, when for instance Senator Maxine Waters attempted to blame banks for what she and her party perceived as a student-loan debt problem. But this should at least give you pause that such ignorance is not ideal from the people you’re asking to take over education altogether.

Maxine Waters

We libertarians are generally against any plan that says person A should pay for goods or services consumed by person B; this is no different. It’s simply immoral, in our view. While I accept “immoral” is a subjective term, please allow me to explain.

If I buy a widget from you, I get a widget (a positive action), and you get the money you asked for (also positive). That’s a net positive (moral) transaction.

If I just give you money (positive) because I’m being charitable, but you don’t offer me a good or service in return (negative), that’s a net neutral transaction. The positive and negative cancel each other out.

But if I take from you by fiat (negative), and you receive something without offering a quid pro quo (also negative), that’s a net negative, or immoral transaction.

But, as was said, the morality issue is subjective, so now let’s talk about a few of the facts that should be considered if you don’t take issue with the morality of it all.

The Need Isn’t There:

This study from Georgetown University estimates that approximately 30% of  the jobs next year, will require a college degree, which obviously means that 70% do not.

Georgetown University

As such, more than two-thirds of the labor force, if they went to college, would have essentially made a poor investment—they didn’t need it, and won’t be using it.

As such, it’s not logical to argue that the taxpayers should be pilfered to the tune of $2.2 trillion, if Bernie’s math is to be believed. $1.54 trillion of it will be your tax dollars literally wasted.

While I don’t like to personally attack anyone, Bernie’s math, like any politician’s, is often suspect. If he is wrong, and history is any indication, it’ll most assuredly cost more, not less. Coming in under budget is not government’s forte. I’d like to think that $1.54 trillion wasted, is not something critically-thinking voters would pull the lever for.

The Desire Isn’t There:

Bernie’s argument supposes that everyone wants to go to college, when many don’t. The 70% mentioned earlier aren’t just entry level jobs. The “College For All” crowd would have you believe that these jobs are all careers one can’t make a living with. If someone truly wishes to have a career they can support a family on, they’ll need a college degree.

But skilled trades such as plumbers, mechanics, ot electricians, are crucial jobs that can pay six-figure salaries with enough effort. Lucrative sales jobs, aren’t all that uncommon, either.

But even entry level jobs can become careers to the right person. Every simple call center or food service job has a supervisor or manager; most of which were promoted from within.

Based on the amount of time spent partying, cutting class, and even dropping out voluntarily for non-financial reasons, it’s obvious many of these students are simply not interested in their chosen education. They would be better off, and happier, following a career path they actually wanted.

It’s a cliche that a young adult is forced to go to college when all he/she wanted to do, was be an artist, pursue a skilled trade, or some other alternate career path. So we know many of them don’t want the education when their parents opt to pay for it (free college for them). So why would they want it, if government is paying instead?

Sadly, the issue with such children isn’t their career choices, we need people doing those skilled trades. A world without people to fix all the things we break every day, would fall to its knees. The problem is parents who refuse to believe their child is anything other than the next great doctor or lawyer, and behave as if they’d be ashamed of their child if they chose what they believe is a menial career.

We should support people’s dreams for themselves, not the dreams others have for them—even well-meaning parents.

Not Everyone Needs a Career

One of the poorest assumptions is that everyone needs a career they can support a family with.

However, some people will go to their grave never getting married, and never having children.

Some others will get married, and their spouse will be the main income for their family, while they work a smaller job that pays less, just to add to the overall income of the household.

Some will also choose to cohabitate. They’re not getting married or having children, but they share a home with a roommate, and therefore household costs are split.

All of these options dictate that a high-salary career needing a college degree, simply isn’t necessary for them. And while some of us think that such a life sounds unrewarding, there’s little to no evidence such people are universally more unhappy, and people working a higher-salaried career are more happy. As such, there’s certainly no argument to make we should force others to pay for an education to get them out of that lifestyle.

Bad Economics

The cost of higher education is largely fixed. You have to pay the professors, and build the infrastructure. This is why it costs so much to go in the first place. But if you try to make nearly every child go, then you’re going to need more colleges and professors.

Do you trust that Bernie has factored in the additional costs for all that? Or do you assume like me, that he’s simply making the assumption that the colleges that exist can take all the extra students?

The Devaluation Problem

It also devalues the college degree itself, if everyone has one. This is simple supply and demand.

If I’m an employer who’s hiring, I might have a job that doesn’t require a degree. But that doesn’t mean certain degrees might not be helpful, if for no other reason than to show me this person chose to educate themselves further versus another candidate.

But if everyone has that degree, then the person who would have went to college if it weren’t free, and thus was more motivated and possibly the person I’d prefer, won’t be known to me. They’ll simply look the same on a resume as the others, and I’ll have no inherent reason to believe they’re the better candidate now, making their degree inherently less valuable.

More Bad Economics

We often talk about the problems with Social Security, and misleading unemployment stats by citing the drop in the labor participation rates. As people decide not to work anymore, such as a spouse relying on a working partner, or people retiring after a successful career, we know that this results in less “producers” for the economy making it work.

But if we remove a significant chunk of the 18-24+ year old crowd from the labor force, when they’re at their most energetic, healthy, and strongest, we reduce the labor participation rate significantly of the most able-bodied people. Most people work from 18-65 (47 years), and it’s been estimated that kids are taking nearly 6 years on average to get their degree. So six years off of 47 total years for 70% of the population could add up to an 8-9% loss in labor participation, which is already a problem, when compared to other nations who are out-producing the United States increasingly more as time goes on.

Even More Bad Economics

As more students enter college, you’re seeing more courses, and even majors, with little to no employers in need of those holding such degrees. While philosophy for instance, helps with general critical thinking, other than being a professor teaching philosophy, the want ads aren’t exactly littered with people looking for a full-time philosopher. The liberal arts in general, are notorious for having few career paths after college related to such a degree.

There are several reports like this one from Simple Dollar showing degrees that are proving to be incredibly poor investments, even for those who were truly motivated to get them. But if you hand out educations freely, you can bet the number of useless degrees will not only grow commensurately, the people who didn’t want them, and didn’t learn much getting them, will grow, too.

Summary

While we libertarians always support people wanting to better themselves, the logic of providing free education is dubious at best. The morality of it, is highly questionable as well.

Instead, free markets should be left to do what they do best, providing the best education at the best price for the people who want it.

We also believe people should promote the idea that college isn’t for everyone, and take notice that companies like Google, Facebook, IBM, et al., are starting to realize that there’s a lot of talented people who never have, nor ever will step foot on a college campus.

 

 

Average Joe SCOTUS: Quarles v. United States

All around scumbag Jamar Quarles broke into a home years ago. And as such, was deemed a violent felon. Then, because of this, was not allowed to be carrying a gun, which this dumb motherfucker proceeded to do.

As such, his possession felony sent this idiot scumbag to prison for 204 months. But Quarles hired some scumbag ambulance chaser who was trying to get Quarles off on a lesser sentence.

Since the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) makes three felonies a condition for being considered as a career criminal, Quarles and his hired ambulance chaser were trying to argue that his burglary from years ago, which he didn’t dispute he did, wasn’t a burglary, because he didn’t form intent to burgle until after he was in the home, as opposed to the idea he broke in for the purposes of burgling.

Yeah, it’s one of those ridiculous semantic bullshit arguments I despise, but hey! At least he’s imaginative. Here’s one particular exchange that went to his point.

Stephen G. Breyer

Is there any reason to think that the person who stays in the bank, and then, ah, what a nice idea, I’ll help myself to some money, is any the less violent or at risk of violence or risk of — is there any less risk there than when he gets the idea of going into the bank two weeks earlier?

Jeremy C. Marwell

Yes.

I think the — the — the existence of pre-formed intent, so somebody who comes to the bank with the advance plan to commit another crime shows that they will be more resolute in their desire to accomplish that crime. It may result in them bringing a weapon because they know they’re going to do that.

And I think it aligns with this — with the fact that ACCA is governing career criminals, trying to select people who have that profit motive to do multiple crimes. And you look at the fact patterns of the cases that are really the point of disagreement between us and the government, you know, Gaines from the New York Court of Appeals, a homeless person who breaks into a warehouse to get out of the cold, while he’s in there decides to grab a jacket and is caught coming out, or the case of young people who break into a house not — not intending to steal something — this is the JNS case from Oregon — take something while they’re in there and caught on the way out.

So after losing in lower courts, they ended up at SCOTUS who was asked to define burglary further, and determine if intent had to be present before he wrongly entered the property he then burgled.

SCOTUS found him and his bullshit argument less than impressive, and unanimously told him to go fuck himself. Judgment for United States.

Hear oral arguments, and read about the case here.

A Libertarian View on Vaping

When non-libertarian people think of libertarianism, the first thought they tend to have, is usually the idea we want to let bad people do bad things as libertarians sit back and watch the world burn. You can probably blame Hollywood’s portrayal of anarchy for this, and the V for Vendetta fans with their creepy Guy Fawkes masks.

As the CDC recently reported here,  an outbreak of lung injury is forming from the use of vaping products, the majority of which are related to products containing THC, which are presumably illegal, and not made under any regulated control.

It’s easy to believe that because libertarians are vehemently against laws recently passed in multiple states banning vaping, that libertarians are happy to watch people get injured or die—that is the impression we have after all. But this is a gross mischaracterization of libertarianism.

The problem lies at the heart of conflating a desire to not legislate away people’s right to do things, with the encouragement of people to do those things.

Libertarians know that vaping is bad for you. And we suffer like anyone else when a family member is injured or killed as a result of using such products. So how would we prevent it?

First, you must know with the failed alcohol prohibition nearly a century ago, and the continued rampant illegal drug use of today despite current prohibitions, that vice bans simply aren’t efficacious for preventing use. Yet, legislators continue going to the dry well of “banning,” hoping it will miraculously produce water this time.

So how do our ideas of removing legislation, and allowing free markets to do what they’ll do help?

  • A free market quickly weeds out inferior quality products, and removes them from the marketplace. Companies go out of business all the time. It would be ridiculous to think that companies who are harming their customers, or selling bad products are thriving, while great companies with superior products are dying. The cream always rises to the top in a free market.
  • A free market ensures investors will invest in the quality of the product, because they aren’t worried about government shutting them down and destroying their investment.
  • A free market drives more people to enter the marketplace with the idea of building a better product in the first place.

How does allowing people to be free help?

  • It removes the allure of doing something forbidden. Just like people all want Cuban cigars, despite the fact Dominicans which are equally good, and perfectly legal, removing bans takes away that excitement of doing something illegal.
  • It removes the risk of an encounter with law enforcement that could end in death, a la Eric Garner, after police attempted to enforce a simple cigarette tax.
  • It allows the usage to be done in a safer place. For instance, you have an issue at a bar that serves legal alcohol, the bar calls 911, an ambulance shows up, and you’re hopefully saved. But if a problem arises at an illegal crack house for instance, they’re probably not calling 911 to come get you from there, tipping police off to the location of the crack house in question.
  • It allows for freer discussions when help is needed. I’m far less likely to ask for help from others, if I fear I’ll go to jail for the actions I’ve taken.

We libertarians do believe you own your own body, and should be free to care for it, or destroy it, however you see fit.

While we want all people to avoid things that may harm them, we don’t want to authorize police to shoot them, or courts to prosecute them, for doing it. Any issues surrounding your health should be between you, and the people you choose to share that information with, such as your doctor, your family, or your friends.

We should all know that freedom is in direct opposition from security. You could be locked up in a padded room, so you’re never able to be harmed or harmed yourself. But it’s a miserable existence for any animal. So we choose freedom instead, and accept the risks that come with it. It may lead to more bad outcomes, but it also leads to many greater outcomes, too.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Rehaif v United States

So this dumb motherfucker Hamid Mohamed Ahmed Ali Rehaif from the United Arab Emirates came to the United States to study at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) on a student visa. I say dumb, because FIT dismissed him for academic achievement issues, which loosely translates to “he was a dumb motherfucker.”

Once he was sent packing from FIT, he was no longer a student, and thus no longer eligible for a student visa, and it was revoked accordingly by the government. We’ll assume he was not notified in any way, because that’s the crux of this case.

During his time here though, Rehaif embraced his inner American, because he headed to the shooting range for a little good ole American shoot ’em up, rented a gun, and bought some ammo to do so. So while the 2nd amendment guarantees a right to bear arms to all Americans, it doesn’t guarantee such a right to immigrants, especially for ones who’ve overstayed their visa.

The statute 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2) in question uses the term “knowingly” to charge someone with the crime of possessing a firearm, and doing so while being here illegally. It says:

Whoever knowingly violates subsection (a)(6), (d), (g), (h), (i), (j), or (o) of section 922 shall be fined as provided in this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

So the argument at hand, was this action of going to a shooting range, which is otherwise a perfectly normal thing to do here, all of a sudden a ten year crime, and if so, does the United States have to know Rehaif both know he had a gun and/or ammo on his possession (That sounds silly, but someone could have left one in his home for instance, without him knowing), and he knew his visa had been revoked.

SCOTUS opted to say knowingly means just what the fuck you think it means—the government has to have evidence he knew he was in the wrong, and did it anyway. Or contrary to what cops say when you get a ticket, ignorance is an excuse.

7:2 Decision for Rehaif’s ignorant and stupid ass. Alito and Thomas dissented, arguing that ignorance isn’t an excuse. A crime is a fucking crime.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Parker Drilling Management Services Ltd. v. Newton

Parker Drilling Management Services (PDMS) hired this lazy motherfucker named Newton. He took breaks like he was part of a labor union, so they fired his lazy ass.

Being pissed he was fired, he decided to sue PDMS for unfair labor practices. He could have sued while he still worked there, if it bothered him that much, but he didn’t. He was just a lazy fuck trying to get revenge. The nature of his business was that he was on a drilling rig 14 days in a row, working in often 12-hour shifts.

The Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal law, has certain labor standards on how many breaks are required and shit. The Socialist Republic of California has their own commie bullshit laws. The drilling rig, while off the coast of California, was still not within California’s borders. So the issue was whether state law or federal law governs what goes on there. Sort of an argument as to whether “off the coast of California” is part of California, or its own unique district.

Newton sued in California, because he was hoping they’d rule in his favor with their commie bullshit laws. But PDMS presumably realized this was a federal case and took it to federal court, whose laws favored them. The federal court determined that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act  (OCSLA) allows for state laws to intervene on wage issues and such not covered in FLSA. But that it didn’t protect Newton in this instance over his excessive lazy-ass breaks. But the ninth circuit was like, “get fucked federal court” and vacated the judgement. They were arguing that state law should preempt federal law when the state law addresses the issue at hand. As if to say, that state law goes before federal law.

So off to SCOTUS we go.

SCOTUS clearly thought Newton was a lazy fuck, and that as usual, the ninth circuit was probably smoking crack—unanimous decision for PDMS. They basically said that if the Federal Law covers the scenario, that’s the applicable law and Cali’s commie bullshit is irrelevant. But if there is no standard in FLSA for an issue, then and only then can California law be used.

Average Joe SCOTUS – Roe v. Wade [Classic]

We all know that Roe v. Wade made abortion legal across the United States, but the this shit is WAY more nuanced and complicated than most know. So let’s really dig into this bitch, because it’s interesting AF.

First, Jane Roe was a fictional name used to represent an anonymous woman. She chose to remain anonymous at the time, but was later identified as Norma McCorvey. She had gotten pregnant with her third child, and wanted an abortion. The first two she had given up for adoption, but this time, she didn’t want to go through all of that.

But there was a Texas law that said outside of rape and incest, unless your doctor orders an abortion to save your life, your doctor can’t perform a fucking abortion on you.

So Jane lied and said she had been raped. But when there was no police report to corroborate the rape, they suspected she was full of shit, and denied her an abortion, leaving her with no way in Texas to get a legal abortion.

Jane Roe wasn’t the only appellant, though. There was also an anonymous couple that had gotten pregnant, and a doctor Hallford who was under indictment for performing an abortion (Presumably not the lead singer for Judas Priest, Rob Halford, although that’d be pretty fucking awesome).

They sought justice in a Texas district court citing first amendment violations (presumably arguing it was a law based on religion). But she also argued Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

The Texas district court gave her a victory on 9th amendment grounds, that just because the right to an abortion isn’t enumerated in the Constitution, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a right to  do it. But also, it effectively argues a person has a right to privacy. They cited the 14th amendment as well, which guarantees rights to “all citizens born.” So if you aren’t born yet, you’ve got no rights, little fella.

But Texas only gave a declaratory relief (they clarified the law), not injuctive relief, which would have effectively intervened on Roe’s behalf so she could get her abortion.

Texas decided that despite this decision, it was going to continue prosecuting doctors for performing illegal abortions.

By the time it made it to SCOTUS, the appellant focused on the 9th amendment and 14th amendment arguments, since that’s how they won in Texas, when pleading their case to SCOTUS.

Also, the appellants argued that based on some of the situations that were unique to that time, made Roe a victim. She noted that some jobs make the woman quit, some schools make the woman drop out, and the woman can’t get unemployment or welfar if she were pregnant. She stated,

It disrupts her body. It disrupts her education. It disrupts her employment. And it often disrupts her entire family life.

And we feel that, because of the impact on the woman, this certainly and as far as there are any rights which are fundamental is a matter which is of such fundamental and basic concern to the woman involved that she should be allowed to make the choice as to whether to continue or to terminate her pregnancy.

Here’s where this shit starts to get interesting. The Texas law only forbade a doctor from doing the abortion. And it held a significantly lower penalty than murder, which appellant’s argued that showed they weren’t considering it murder. A woman could perform her own abortion, which is dangerous as hell, and there was no law against that shit at all. As a matter of fact, in the law, the pregnant female was considered the victim, and the doctor was the criminal.

Part of the blow dealt to Texas was that from the doctor’s perspective, the law was too vague or subjective. Meaning that a doctor could run afoul of the law, and not even know.

Imagine if the doctor performed the abortion because they said the mother’s life was in danger. But then another doctor comes in after the fact and argues that the mother wasn’t in danger, the doctor performing the abortion was a shit doctor, and thus it’s an illegal abortion. Who the hell wants to sort that shit out? And what doctor will ever perform an abortion, when they know they could be thrown in jail for it later?

So this shady motherfucker on the side of Wade, tried to argue the case moot, because it had been 21 months, and Roe had long since given birth and put the baby up for adoption. Basically, this dipshit was setting up a system where a woman could never get injuctive relief, because it would take too long to get it, and actually be able to perform the abortion. This case tool 21 months, but obviously, the abortion needs to happen within a few months. So the court called him on this, and the exchange was awkward at best.

Justice Byron R. White

How do you suggest, if you’re right, what procedure would you suggest for any pregnant female in the State of Texas ever to get any judicial consideration of this constitutional claim?

Jay Floyd – Wade advocate

Your Honor, let me answer your question with a statement, if I may. I do not believe it can be done. There are situations in which, of course as the Court knows, no remedy is provided.

Now I think she makes her choice prior to the time she becomes pregnant. That is the time of the choice. It’s like, more or less, the first three or four years of our life we don’t remember anything.

But, once a child is born, a woman no longer has a choice, and I think pregnancy may terminate that choice. That’s when

Justice Byron R. White

Maybe she makes her choice when she decides to live in Texas.

As arguments proceeded, the question was asked of the state by SCOTUS, what’s your interest here? To preserve the life of the fetus? So Wade’s attorney was all like, I don’t fucking know, sounds about right.

You’ll think I’m joking there, but he genuinely fucking said when asked what the state’s interest was,

“They recognized the humanness of the embryo, or the fetus, and they said, we have an interest in protecting fetal life.

Whether or not that was the original intent of the statute, I have no idea.”

Clearly, this motherfucker was prepared.

So then the justice was like, well then how the fuck is the woman the victim? Shouldn’t the woman and the doctor be the criminals, and the fetus be the victim?

It became clear that no compelling argument had been made, nor precedent set, to constitute a fetus being a life with equal protection under the law. As a matter of fact, this motherfucker when asked about not making the fetus the victim said,

That is correct, Your Honor. And the matter has been brought to my attention. Why not punish for murder, since you are destroying what you – or what has been said to be a human being?

I do not know, except that I will say this. As medical science progresses, maybe the law will progress along with it. Maybe at one time it could be possible, I suppose, statutes could be passed. Whether or not that would be constitutional or not, I don’t know.

I’ve eaten a bowl of alphabet soup and shit better arguments than that. No wonder that mother fucker lost. Seriously!

He was so bad, that when the case was re-argued at the suggestion of justice Harry Blackmun nearly a year later (due to the fact the court was two justices short from retirements prior to the case, and those seats having not yet been filled), Texas replaced his dumb ass as their advocate.

Anyway, back to Captain Anonymous, Jane Roe. Effectively, if the court accepted that the state’s interest was protecting a life other than the mother’s life, then the court was put into a quagmire, where they’re forced to choose the rights of one life over another.

So eventually SCOTUS decided 7-2 in favor of Roe. Based on the idea that they’re choosing one life over the other, they divide the pregnancy up into three trimesters, which is where the whole “trimester” term came to be.

They gave the mother sole discretion, with her doctor, to terminate in the first trimester (this is where the trimester concept started). They gave deference to the mother in the second trimester to terminate if her life was at risk, but the state could regulate outside of that. Then they gave deference to the state’s ability to protect the fetus in the third trimester, basically arguing, the state could legislate it to say, you’ve come this fucking far, just have the baby and put it up for adoption if you don’t want it. But if the state didn’t pass such a law, go ahead and have the abortion.

Justices Rehnquist and White dissented.

Read about the case, and hear both oral arguments here