Tag Archives: libertarian

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.

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The Left vs The Right: Who Has The Moral High Ground?

Democrats often wish to portray Republicans and libertarians as immoral beings who are greedy and don’t want to help the little guy.

So far, it has been an effective tactic for getting votes. We’ve got plenty of historical evidence to show that statism doesn’t actually work, yet people who know very little about the historical effects of statism keep voting for more government on the principle of morality. But is it the more morally sound method?

Morality is a man-made concept where we behave in such a way as to either not do harm to others, or to help those who are in need. Even if you’re not religious, morality is an evolutionary trait social beings like humans use to advance our species—a subject Michael Shermer elaborates on quite well in this article.

Michael Shermer
Michael Shermer

So then the question begs, does capitalism or statism jive better with the concept of morality?

I’ve mentioned on several previous posts that there are four officially socialist nations in this world. North Korea, China, Cuba, and Laos. Two other former socialist nations worth mentioning—the USSR, and Nazi Germany. Is there anyone who honestly wishes to argue that those nations were either:

A) More moral than the United States

or

B) Had a citizenry whose poor had a better quality of life than the poor of the United States.

I don’t believe any honest debate can say that America is the less moral nation, but what about the idea of a happy medium? Is some socialism good?

I would argue socialism is like smoking, there’s a decent amount you may get away with without killing the user, but the safest amount is the least amount. That’s the libertarian opinion, but do the facts support it?Statism-c-c[1]

We know that all animals instinctively work to advance their species, it’s the underpinnings of evolution. Organisms on this planet have been innately competing with one another to become the dominant species since the day single-celled organisms first sprung into life.

You’ll notice I said competing—competition is the foundation for capitalism, not socialism. Therefore, I feel I can logically conclude that capitalism is congruent with the natural behavior of all living organisms. But that doesn’t necessarily make it more moral, does it?

All life competes with other life for food and resources. In doing so, through the process of natural selection, life as a whole is advanced. Without this, we would still be just single-celled organisms floating around in a primordial soup. Forcing inferior organisms to either improve, or die trying, advances life far greater than nursing a losing battle. While I don’t believe asking for help is immoral, demanding help at the point of a gun sure is.

If we look at communist era Russian cars, have you noticed there is no real collector’s market for them? There are plenty of 100-year-old model T’s puttering around the globe, the market for them is still quite strong. But look around for a communist era Russian car, and you’ll be hard pressed to find one. They were horrid and hateful machines that no one wants.

Even when America allowed the socialist made Yugo to invade our shores, it was clear that these things were racking up more miles on the back of a tow-truck than they were under their own power.9780809098910_custom-815d71859a4a1992cb9174e6290928df7b86bac7-s99-c85[1]

If we were under socialist rule, we’d still be driving them, or something similar, but free markets and competition brought us better cars at a lower price, and the Yugo, along with communist Yugoslavia took their rightful place in the annals of history as failed experiments.

Many Democrats accept this, and claim they are pro-capitalism, but still believe we should have more government regulation and assistance for the underprivileged. They argue that social programs help the poor and needy, something they feel rich people wouldn’t do voluntarily.

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are two of the richest men in America, and they voluntarily give billions away to charitable causes every year. Even old stalwarts like Andrew Carnegie, someone famous for being a monopolous and ruthless businessman, gave away most of his money in the end.

Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie

There is plenty of evidence to show that people will give to charities, rich and poor alike, so long as they feel the money will go to a good cause, will be appreciated, or will benefit mankind in general. It’s effectively a capitalist charity system where the best and most worthwhile charities garner the greatest contributions, and the ones that are not so deserving rightfully lose out.

The part where Democrats go wrong is that they fail to understand that government is not a charitable organization, it is an agent of force. You cannot argue that putting a gun to someone’s head, and forcing them to give to a cause they do not support is moral. If the cause needs support, and is worthy of the assistance it asks for, it will gain support on its merits, not because glad-handing politicians decided it was worthy.

What Democrats are pushing for when asking for more government isn’t moral, it’s lazy and selfish. They have their causes that they wish to support, but instead of making a case in the marketplace of ideas as to why the rest of us should support it, they try to pass laws to force us to do so whether we like it or not. Does that really sound moral to you?

Penn Jillette
Penn Jillette

The argument that if they don’t, people won’t help has a lesson in there that they routinely fail to see. People don’t support it, because it’s often not a good idea. Just because someone’s intentions are well-meaning, doesn’t mean they are right.

I might want to help the doctor saving the life of a loved one, but any help I attempt to provide in an operating room would likely be less than helpful at best. I don’t know what I’m doing, and can help the most by staying out of the way, something government officials should understand, but the desire to do something always seems to overwhelm them.

Famous examples like Solyndra, where we invested $500 million taxpayer dollars with little knowledge of the solar industry, and lost it all. Or with General Motors, where we invested $49.5 billion that GM didn’t even want, only to lose $10.5 billion when all General Motors needed to do, according to ousted CEO Rick Wagoner, was to file bankruptcy, which they ended up doing anyway.

Rick Wagoner
Rick Wagoner

Both instances, Obama and his administration meant well, just as I would in the aforementioned operating room, but good intentions still yielded bad results.

The problem for many Republicans is that they are quick to paint Democrats as evil, or immoral in response to the Democratic attacks. Ultimately, they’re often just wrong, and we’d be smart to focus our message on the factual inaccuracies Democrats use to justify their agenda.

Name calling has never advanced society, and it never gives you the moral high-ground. Republicans and Libertarians alike, should acknowledge the altruistic intent of every Democrat-proposed item on their agenda, but then break down why they are bad ideas with logic and reason. People will respond to this better than bickering and insults.

Our government is designed to be a guarantor of rights, which it must do at the point of a gun. That is a morally sound thing to do when using an agent of force.

But deploying the might of government into free markets, free will, and the individual pursuit of happiness, is oppression. It isn’t oppression like we saw in the 1700’s under monarchies, or into the 1800’s with slavery, but it’s still forcing people to be subservient against their will. Much like government, oppression of any kind, should be minimized as much as reasonably possible and should never be portrayed as moral.

The fact is, both parties mean well, and should be portrayed as moral. We simply disagree on the methodology and implementation of how to best advance our nation. We on the right feel freedom accomplishes this best, Democrats believe government regulation does. Since the historical evidence is on the libertarian side of the argument, I will always contend we are effectively the most moral.

Is Evil A Passé term? An Atheist’s Thought Experiment.

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

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on what it means to be an atheist. Since I wasn’t always one, how might I feel differently than someone who never had faith to begin with?

For instance, there are people who behave as though they hate their respective deity, then call themselves atheists. I’d argue those people are deists who hate themselves, yet blame their god for their own shortcomings instead of accepting personal responsibility for the way their lives are turning out.

zeus_1[1]
Mythological Greek God Zeus
In my mind, an atheist wouldn’t have any stronger feelings about God, Jesus, or Allah than they would about Zeus or Odin. To me, the only difference between mythology and religion is that the latter still has people who believe in it.

But one thing has curiously struck me lately; the concept of evil. Is this a passé term?

For those who are religious, evil is something put forth by the counterpart of their chosen deity. But I feel this term thwarts understanding of these acts by blaming a being like Satan instead of the perpetrator.

So let’s break down humans for a minute; or as we’re affectionately known in the biological community;  Animalia (Kingdom); Chordate (Phylum); Mammalia (Class); Primates (Order); Hominidae (Family); Homini (Tribe); Homo (Genus); H. sapiens (Species).

Regarding the kingdom classification of Animalia, that means that despite our own desire to feel special, we are ultimately just an animal in the animal kingdom. We are certainly the most intelligent, but there are many animals that are stronger, faster, or otherwise better adapted to their environment, as natural selection dictates.

So while we are special for our intellect, all animals have their own unique specialties, making us all special in different ways, or none of us particularly special at all; depending on how you want to look at it.

Homo-sapiens have evolved as well or better than any other species to life on Earth in many unique ways. For instance, because of our intellect, we’re the best at customizing our environment to suit our needs, instead of having to adapt like all the others. We build houses with air conditioning and heaters, after all.

We’re also intelligent enough to not only be excellent hunters, yet also quite adept at growing our own food. When’s the last time you saw an elephant planting a row of corn?

One trait that many overlook however, is our unparalleled linguistic skills. Because we are social animals, our advanced ability to communicate with others, whether it be face-to-face, or using technology such as the phone or internet, strengthens our society in ways other animals cannot achieve. Every time you ask for help and receive it, you’ve exemplified this.

Oddly enough, we’re the only animal smart enough to have observed and understood natural selection and the benefits it brings to life as a whole, yet we’re compassionate enough to try to prevent it by helping the weak among us instead of allowing them to succumb to whatever their inferior traits might be. If that’s not an ultimate display of commonly accepted morally benevolent societal behavior, I don’t know what is.

This can be seen in the way we help the disadvantaged through charity, medical care, etc. Or simply the endangered species list, where we actively work to preserve an animal that seems incapable of adapting to its environment as natural selection dictates it should.

stalin-hitler_1644235c[1]
Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin
But back to the term “evil.” The term conjures up names like Adolf Hitler, Paul Pot, Saddam Hussein, Josef Stalin, et al., who are often touted out as examples, and it seems quite fitting on the face of it.

The reality is that if we define murder as the killing of an innocent life, the animal kingdom is full of mass murderers. Cheetahs are mass murderers of gazelles, but maybe we will give that a pass since they eat them to survive.

Lions however, will often kill cheetahs, not for consumption, but just to eliminate the competition for food. Not very sporting at all, if you ask me. So are they evil too? Of course not.

So what makes them different from human mass murderers? The fact that we are smarter, or that we understand the value of empathy and therefore can associate with the victim? In reality, it’s just that we are societal in ways that many other meat eaters are not.

The concept of morality is generally thought to be a religious one, where you are either with or against a particular dogma. Some people would argue that morals are universal, but this is a false premise. Whether it be gay rights, abortion, the death penalty, drugs, prostitution, gambling, etc., what is immoral to some is moral to others.

If we throw out the religious component, morality would generally describe behavior someone does for the good of society, immoral behaviors are to the detriment of it. While many deists would argue that without religion, there would be no morality, Professor of Psychology, Dr. Michael Shermer explains the evolutionary benefit of commonly held moral behaviors here. Evidence suggests we would be just as moral without religion.

When people think of natural selection, they often use the phrase “survival of the fittest,” which can be misleading. It conjures images of some unyielding beast who kills anything that gets in its way. But societal beings are actually “fitter.”

If a strong violent psychopath were going through the neighborhood killing people, he might be successful if everyone in the neighborhood were also a sociopath and failed to band together to combat him. But if the others unite, the psychopath would likely end up dead due to simple strength in numbers.

They wouldn’t do it for the thrill of killing as the psychopath does, but simply for the betterment of their group. Via the death penalty, war, self-defense, and vigilantism, we tend to weed out the violent psychopaths among us for our own mutual benefit.

Lethal Injection Table
Lethal Injection Table

Many like to think it’s because we’re exterminating evil, but if there is no deity or anti-deity, all we’re really doing is preserving our societal construct.

As for those we consider evil, they’re just psychopaths, pure and simple. People lacking empathy and the innate desire to contribute to the advancement of the human race through societal behavior.

When we think of them as evil, we feed their ego by giving them the impression that they’re somehow closer to a deity or otherwise superhuman. But if evolution has worked in our favor because we are societal, they are actually inferior—arguably, mentally handicapped beings.

As psychological research continues to advance our understanding of the human brain, there is hope we’ll find solutions to mental disorders like sociopathy and/or psychopathy. But in the meantime, it would be nice if we stop sensationalizing these people by calling them evil; they’re just genetically and behaviorally defective. Elevating their status to something superhuman by calling them evil, will only encourage their behavior.

Worship an ideal, not a politician. The Key To Political Happiness and Avoiding Hypocrisy.

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

I call myself a libertarian with a small L. This distinction is pretty simple. It means I believe in the idea of libertarianism, whereas a large L would signify I’m a member of the Libertarian party. Since I believe in the idea of a constitution; technically, I’m a republican with a small R as well.

So why do I draw these distinctions?

Libertarianism and constitutionalism are principles I hold quite dear. Politicians from the Democratic Party occasionally champion libertarianism; usually on social issues such as marriage rights for the LGBT community. Republicans champion libertarianism on fiscal issues such as lower taxes and deregulation. Libertarians of course, champion libertarianism on both counts.

As such, since libertarianism can be found in all three parties at times, I don’t feel it is justified to stand silent when a member of a party other than the Libertarian Party does something good just because I don’t want to “promote the enemy.” When a politician is on the right side of liberty, no matter what party they’re affiliated with, they deserve to be recognized for it. Such respect when common ground is found helps to unite us all and gets things done. Partisans who can’t bring themselves to stand with their opponents when they agree are putting party-loyalty before the greater good.

Libertarian Party Logo
Libertarian Party Logo

When someone claims to be part of a party, they often feel it necessary to toe that party’s line as well. As such, on an issue where they might be prone to take a counter-opinion, they somehow lose their moral compass in favor of loyalty to their party.

For instance, when I was a member of the Republican party prior to understanding what libertarianism really was, I was against big government, yet was OK with  The Patriot Act.

Am I ashamed of that? Ultimately, I have to say yes, I made a mistake.

I feel that George W. Bush believed he was doing what was best for the safety of our nation. I also saw that he expressed reservations about such power and was hesitant to use them unless he felt it absolutely necessary to save ‘Murican lives. So I trusted him with this power because I trusted him as a person, and therefore expected he would not abuse it.

George W. Bush
George W. Bush

But seeing the NSA abuses (among others) that have ensued since he left office tells me that the current ruling party are not encumbered by such reservations.

As such, I realize that even if I think a sitting president will serve the greater good with powers that are proposed to be bestowed upon them, such powers are bestowed upon successive presidents as well, and I must take that into account.

So now I’m committed to the notion that I will not support a legislative power given to someone I trust that I wouldn’t support with someone I didn’t trust—lesson learned.

But let’s look at my polar opposite; political pundits on TV who were furious about the Patriot Act during the Bush administration who seem to have few qualms with Obama’s abuse of those powers now. It’s clear they’re exhibiting a cult mentality where their leader can do no wrong—or they’re just plain hypocrites.

I was a person who simply failed to see the slippery slope, which admittedly was my ignorance, but they saw it as problematic from the word go, yet somehow decided it was good now that their guy is using it.

Libertarians aren’t immune to this nonsense either. Like any other political-party zealots, they can be very cultish and don’t deserve any less ridicule for doing so. They’re no better than a Debbie Wasserman Shultz for instance; a woman who takes lying and double-speak to an exquisite art form to defend her beloved Democratic Party.

Or Republicans like Rep. Pete King who trash Obama one minute, but then fail to stand beside Senators Ted Cruz or Rand Paul when they fought with every breath they had (literally) to stop the Affordable Care Act or potential drone strikes on Americans without due process Obama has put into practice.

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

If I tweet one role of government I agree with, I often get anarchist-libertarians attacking me with vitriol, name calling, and the “you so-called libertarian” nonsense.

A fundamental part of libertarianism is the idea that people should be free to think independently, yet espouse a different belief from some libertarian zealots, and you’ll find they often seem to forget that principle. Zealots from all parties are often incapable of separating opinion from fact, and understanding that only factual information has a right and wrong answer. Agreeing to disagree is the adult-like way to handle differences of opinion.

So instead of pledging allegiance to a party made up of people who will inevitably disagree with me at some point, I champion ideals and the people who share those ideals with me when we agree. When they don’t, I attempt to respectfully critique them by explaining my grievance with logic and reason. Whether their part of the Democratic, Republican, or Libertarian party is irrelevant to me.

For instance, I make no bones about believing Rand Paul is the best hope to shift our country towards libertarianism despite him being a Republican, yet I don’t agree with him on his stance against gay marriage and abortion. Once I discovered he differed from me on these issues, I didn’t start insulting him as if somehow he had unforgivably betrayed the cause, or become the Antichrist. I accept that we simply don’t agree on these particular issues, but that we still agree on most of the others.

If you endeavor to find a candidate who is entirely in line with your beliefs, you’re on the most foolish of missions. Getting enraged because the candidate you like suddenly espouses a belief you’re vehemently against only serves to needlessly increase your blood pressure, and frankly, if you’re the type to do this, you deserve it. It’s time to put on your adult-shoes and accept that no one is your ideological identical twin—get over it.

It is inevitable that at some point, those you place complete trust in will disappoint you. From your sweet & innocent little baby that destroys your prize lava lamp to see what’s inside, your spouse who accidentally forgot your birthday, or your favorite politician who is pro-life when you’re pro-choice. If you’re not going to put your kid up for adoption, or divorce the forgetful spouse, why crucify your favorite politician?

So while people and parties will occasionally disappoint, ideals never will, and frankly, no one outside your party respects a party zealot anyway. If you want to get things done, put aside parties, and stand with those who champion your ideals. The rise of independent voters is well noted. So I’d like to think I’m not the only one thinking this way.

Libertarian Party Nominee Gary Johnson
Libertarian Party Nominee Gary Johnson

If I were to run for office, I’d proudly run as a Libertarian or a Republican just as Ron Paul and Gary Johnson did, there’s nothing wrong with identifying with both if you care more about ideals than parties.

 

The Point Of A Gun

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

On any given day, we are bombarded with news media, film stars, and sometimes just random citizens who champion the idea of government doing more to solve all the world’s woes. Those of us on the side of liberty think these folks are misguided and/or ignorant, but the question has always troubled me as to why two people, often of similar intellect, can come to two drastically different conclusions about the role of government.

I pride myself on embracing empathy. I try to imagine what it is like to think the way my ideological opponents think; it helps to break down any claims of theirs I consider erroneous, if I first understand them. While sometimes I get frustrated to no end with the semi-socialist mantra, I give them credit for simply wanting no person left behind. There is a beautiful altruism in the idea that people should always help other people in need.

So why can’t I come on board with them?

Socialism has been tried many times in history; we have four nations in the world today that practice it as official policy. China, Lao, North Korea, and Cuba. As near as I can tell, living conditions in these nations, by no account whatsoever, can be considered even remotely as nice as what we have in America or most other capitalist nations.

Russia, a former communist nation with similar land mass and natural resources to America collapsed under communist rule while trying to compete with us. We hardly batted an eye vying with them for economic might.

Even comparing same cultures, look no further than Hong Kong versus the motherland China. Where capitalist Hong Kong natives live largely free, make good wages, and enjoy a strong economy; the Chinese struggle to keep workers from just killing themselves.

Suicide Prevention Nets at Foxconn factory
Suicide Prevention Nets at Foxconn factory

Altruistic or not, history has shown complete socialism, as official policy, doesn’t have any successful examples (from the perspective of the citizenry) to choose from. So being someone who tries to approach everything with logic, why would I champion something so historically laden with failure?

But if someone eschews history, and simply believes that somehow the only reason a government controlled economy has always failed is because they haven’t been the one running it, that person may be stuck in an ideological Alcatraz.

For those who are willing to consider a different viewpoint however, I wish to ask you to empathize with me. I’m going to give you an exercise to try to understand how I think of government, then pick any government policy you condone and apply this simple test.

First, I want you to remember one thing:

Everything government does, it does so at the point of a gun—sometimes just implied, but the threat is always real.

I know that may seem like hyperbole, but I assure you it’s not. The IRS will show up with guns on the doorsteps of those who simply refuse to pay taxes. If you fail to comply with a government demand (they don’t make requests) every step of the way, as the situation escalates, government will not simply say, “OK,” and walk away; the ultimate conclusion will either be you or a government official getting shot and killed.Bad-boys-bad-boys-watcha-gunna-do-courtesy-freepatriot.org_[1]

So when I consider any law, the first thing I imagine is whether I would be willing to put my own gun on that person to make them do what the law being proposed is asked.

For instance, I do not use recreational drugs—I think doing so is an illogical act and they simply do not interest me. But if my neighbor were next door smoking a joint, would I be compelled to walk over there, put a gun to his head, and tell him stop immediately or I’ll shoot?

Of course not.

Yet every one of you who argue to keep marijuana illegal are asking the government to ultimately do exactly that in your name. Government is an extension of you in this country, so if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, you’re being lazy and hypocritical asking government to do it.

Conversely, if my neighbor were next door molesting a child, would I be compelled to go over and tell him to stop at the point of my gun? Honestly, I’m not so sure I’d even pause to ask him to stop. I’d probably go straight to “kill” mode. Therefore, I’m very comfortable asking government to enforce such a law.

I am firmly convinced that those of you who will not acquiesce to calling yourself a libertarian have never applied this simple principle to every single law you’ve considered a good idea.

But that’s sticking your head in the sand, because you cannot remove “being compelled by lethal force” from the equation of legislation.

Would the average Democrat put a gun to Bill Gates head and demand he pay a welfare mom who refuses to work, despite being physically able to, a chunk of the salary he worked so hard to attain?

Would the average environmentalist put a gun to the CEO of General Motors head and demand his vehicles get 30 mpg or you’ll splatter his brains all over the wall?

Would the average Republican put a gun to the head of a gay couple and tell them they had better not try to marry one another?

I’d like to think none would. But unlike me, they wrongly never take the time to think of considering the government in the proper way I proposed.

Libertarian Party Logo
Libertarian Party Logo

So I ask all of you, think about a law either proposed or on the books that you condone. Then imagine putting a gun to the head of the would-be violator and honestly ask yourself if you still feel the same.

If you do, I would like to think that for many of you, I can now warmly welcome you into realm of libertarianism. We’re glad to have you.

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.

Drug Legalization is the Yin, don’t forget the Yang

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

Recently on Stossel, Ann Coulter made an argument that was factually accurate, yet fundamentally wrong if she wishes to fight for liberty, where she is in essence proposing to treat the symptom, not the cause.

She argued that drugs should be illegal because of our welfare state. Meaning that because a drug user destroys themself, they usually end up in a hospital with conditions arising from drug use. Rarely can they afford to pay for treatment since many are unemployed and/or broke from their habit; so as a result, their expenses are often at the expense of others. Therefore; by her logic, these drug users are violating our right to property (money) by burdening us with the costs born from their habit.

Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter

The reason this argument upsets me is that she’s going after the users who are only hurting themselves instead of going after the government for compelling hospitals to help them.

In 1986, Congress passed the Emergency Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) as part of COBRA. It prohibits a hospital from turning away a patient in need of emergency care, regardless of their ability to pay.

But hospitals, like any other business, should have the right to choose whether to help someone based on their own criteria. Make it easier for a hospital to garnish accounts, property, and wages if the patient agrees to it, or allow them to let nature take its course if the patients refuse.

If a hospital wants to have a free clinic supported by charitable donations, they should be lauded for doing so. Many already do this. But if you opt to kill yourself, or engage in behavior that may get you killed, that’s your right. It’s none of the government’s business, and certainly not the responsibility of hospitals and taxpayers to take that right from you.

When I make this argument, people accuse me of sociopath wanting others to die. But like any other strawman argument and ad hominem attack, that’s not what I said—it’s a diversionary argument. I don’t want people to die, and would vehemently fight to save a family member from their attempts at hari-kari, but I’m not OK with being pilfered of my earnings to keep the entirety of the American populace alive, especially those in danger due to their own lack of personal responsibility or desire to die.

As I said in my previous article,  illogical arguments that destroy your rights, in a free country, the starting point must be that everything is legal. From there, one must make a case as to why something should be made illegal by showing that it infringes on the rights of another. So making laws that protect someone from their own self-destructive behavior is fundamentally wrong.

As long as the government compels hospitals to provide care to people, regardless of whether or not they can pay, then arguing that such activity should remain illegal under that paradigm is fair. The problem with this tactic is that I can make the same argument for taking away alcohol, cigarettes, Cheetos, red meat, or Bloomy’s big soda ban.

So while Ann’s argument makes sense, it only makes sense if we just roll over and take the assault on liberty that is EMTALA. I’ve never gotten the impression Ann Coulter is afraid to say what she thinks, so ignoring this lends me to believe that she’s either given up fighting for liberty in favor of taking the path of least resistance, she’s ignorant, or there’s something else at play; which I’ll get to in a moment.

Another common argument is that it is illegal because it cannot be easily taxed. If I apply some basic skepticism, I have to look at this is a false argument too. First, while I think politicians are not always honest, I don’t believe they’re evil. I can’t rationally imagine they sit in a room and say, “We can’t let people do something they love unless we figure out a way to tax it.” I think one has to be mighty jaded and cynical to believe that’s happening. I can’t prove it doesn’t, but I’m not buying it until someone shows me evidence it does. Politicians are people, just like you and I; let’s not make them out to be satan’s minions.

Just a dude growin' some bud
Just a dude growin’ some bud

Although marijuana is significantly easier to grow than tobacco in the U.S., the fact remains it can be done, and prior to corporations with assembly lines, it was done. Yet, companies assemble cigarettes and people buy them because it’s easier than doing it themselves. The government overtaxes them like it’s part of their religion, which I believe it actually may be, but people don’t seem to care enough to resort to making their own. I have a friend who buys raw tobacco and makes them because he’s poor and it’s cheap, so it is done on occasion, but most simply can’t be bothered.

So where do I believe the problem truly resides? Ignorance and religious conditioning. The ignorance part is seen every time someone makes the improper statistical argument that marijuana is a gateway drug (Also explained in illogical arguments that destroy your rights). People believe marijuana is capable of doing a myriad of things that science has proven it can’t or generally won’t do.

As for the religious component; we’ve been conditioned to believe using mind-altering substances is a morally wrong thing to do, regardless of the fact it isn’t harming anyone else. Even alcohol, which is legal now by virtue of the disaster of prohibition, is still restricted on Sundays and after certain hours of the evening in most states; this is solely because of religious values. Don’t believe me? Remind me again, what is special about Sunday?

While I don’t necessarily believe politicians are consciously outlawing such things based on religious views, I believe that religious conditioning is causing them to subconsciously make decisions they feel are morally just, based on what they’ve been taught, not what science might have proven to the contrary. Much like a bad detective may look for evidence that a husband is his wife’s murderer based on statistics and pre-conceived notions instead of following the evidence without bias.

The 1st Amendment
The 1st Amendment

While we have a clear first amendment that prohibits laws establishing or prohibiting religion, we seem to be far too tolerant with laws that are based on religious principles instead of the protection of one’s rights.

Since this is a fine line, lawmakers make diversionary arguments to deflect away from the fact their legislation violates the spirit of the 1st amendment such as one like Ann Coulter’s argument. It’s easier to attack the drug user’s rights than to fight Washington. Since they’ve been conditioned by their religion to believe that these people are behaving immorally, taking that right away from them is inherently good in their eyes.

Because Americans are a caring and moral people, we’re quick to pass laws to prevent them from killing themselves or being declined a life-saving service they cannot pay for—liberty for the doctor or taxpayer be damned. But when us libertarians argue to let people use, we also have to be OK with letting those people die. If you cannot reconcile that, then you must side with Ann Coulter on this issue.

Note about the author: I have never used, nor have much interest in using marijuana. I care about liberty, not getting high.