Tag Archives: libertarianism

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.

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Libertarians Are Far Too Often Libertarianism’s Worst Enemy

When I launched LogicalLibertarian.com, my intent was to not only spread the message of why liberty and science are important, but also to incite reasoned debate. Through such debate, I believe we evolve for the better.

My last post about vaccinations, and why I believe that making them mandatory if you are not going to self-quarantine, was a prime example of what happens when someone is forced to challenge their own beliefs. Mine changed 180° from when I was first presented the issue and about three hours later after considering it critically.

When I became an adult, mostly thanks to the economic recovery during the Reagan era, I considered myself a Republican.

Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan

Adulthood also brought me to the embracing of science. While I hadn’t fully understood the scientific method and the concept of being a skeptic, my questioning of the world around me led me to leave religion behind, and become agnostic.

The term agnostic is not always understood as to how it varies form an atheist. An agnostic would say that they have no evidence to support there is a god, but are open to all evidence. A devout atheist actively believes no god exists, just as theists believe there is a god, and are generally not open to evidence supporting a creator.

Even though none of these really affect me personally, things like blue laws, the drug war, preventing gay-marriage, and other such laws with an obvious religious underpinning, were areas where I simply didn’t agree with my beloved Republican Party. “No victim, no crime” just made sense to me.gay-marriage1[1]

My friend Pat and I share a common love for the game of poker, which is how we came to know each other. Like me, Pat is also atheist and libertarian.

Despite it’s sometimes seedy reputation, poker is a game that attracts brilliant minds who often like to discuss just about anything. Occasionally, the subject of politics comes up, and as far as I know, Pat has always been libertarian.

At first, I didn’t know much about the party other than what I saw from a couple of interviews with Dr. Ron Paul I had seen on TV. While I often agreed with Dr. Paul, I always found his delivery to be a bit whiny, and sometimes he came off almost kooky. It wasn’t until I came to understand Dr. Ron Paul years later, that I began to listen to his message, despite his unappealing delivery, and appreciate his logic.

Ron Paul
Ron Paul

As we discussed politics, it was Pat who convinced me, through reasoned debate instead of personal attacks, that I was in fact, more libertarian than Republican. While I was always for legalizing pot, even though I don’t use it, it was Pat who convinced me that we should legalize all drugs, not just cannabis; again, using reasoned debate.

So the libertarian collective was increased by one person, thanks to my friend Pat, and I’m happy for it.

There is no doubt I’m opinionated as hell, but I’ve always felt it’s important to have as few sacred cows as possible, and these days, I have two. Logic and liberty—hence my website.

The one difference between Pat and I, is that if there were no libertarian option, he would choose a Democrat, and I would choose a Republican. So when Dr. Rand Paul voiced the “vaccines may lead to mental illness” hypothesis in a recent interview, Pat brought it to my attention in an unflattering way, since he knew I was a fan of the junior Dr. Paul.

At first, I was annoyed that he did it, because I know it was somewhat of a dig at my Republican-leaning views, but knowing that I love science, he was right to point this out to me. Indeed, this is one time I don’t “Stand with Rand.”

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

But that’s OK, because I’ve always made it clear, I champion ideals, not people or parties. As long as I agree with Rand more often than I do any other presidential contender, he’s going to get my nod.

What I didn’t do, is troll Rand Paul on Twitter and call him a “So-Called-Libertarian,” or demean him as a person in any way.

Instead, I gave the subject serious thought and decided to come to my independent conclusion, regardless of what Dr. Paul or my friend Pat had to say. So I did my research, challenged the science in my post, and respectfully agreed to disagree on the matter with Rand. Thankfully, I’m not the only libertarian doing this, but if we want libertarianism to grow, we need more.

Austin-petersen-libertarian-republic
Austin Petersen

For instance, recently, Austin Peterson from Libertarian Republic talked about how Sarah Palin wouldn’t be that bad of a choice for the VP if Rand Paul were to win the GOP nod. This despite most libertarians disliking her immensely, he argued she’s actually pretty supportive of libertarians, and far lass combative with us. It’s this kind of open-mindedness from Austin, putting logic over party, that I strive for myself. Yet, as expected, if you look at the comments, the libertarian trolls came out in droves.

It is important to understand that it’s this kind of open-mindedness that will attract independent voters to the libertarian cause, which I hope is what we want, not slinging insults like monkeys fling poo.

Have you ever changed your views because the person challenging that view called you an idiot? I know I often don’t. It usually closes my mind completely—an effect I’m assuming is often the opposite of what the “libertarianazi” wanted.

If libertarianism is about freedom, then it should be about free thought too. I can disagree with Ron or Rand Paul on a couple of issues without losing respect for them as a whole.

Many libertarians were incredibly disrespectful towards Glen Beck when he stated he was becoming libertarian. But let’s think about the logic of this for a second. He is a man with a huge following due to his own internet media site, who can clearly spread the message of libertarianism more than most of us, and instead of trying to welcome him with open arms, some libertarians act like they don’t want him in our party?

Glen Beck
Glen Beck

It was the saddest display of nonsensical arrogance by some libertarians I’ve ever seen, and it certainly wasn’t done with libertarianism’s best interests in mind.

We cannot insult other libertarians who aren’t anarchists, some of us feel there is a role for government. Instead we must respectfully challenge them with reasoned debate, possibly outlining the unforeseen outcomes they may have missed in their proposal. But otherwise, encourage them to join us wholeheartedly where we agree.

We must also encourage Republicans and Democrats alike that we’ll stand with them in times when we agree on an issue.

And lastly, on a side note, for the love of God, the Guy Fawkes masks so many libertarians use as a social media icon is not helping either. The masks are creepy at best. But more importantly, they are certainly not libertarian.

Guy Fawkes
Guy Fawkes

If you’re libertarian and proud of it, show your own face. Hiding behind a mask tells people you have something to hide and that you’re untrustworthy. Do you want to attract good people, or do you want to attract people who are one run-in with government away from blowing up a building with innocent people in it? Guy Fawkes was a would-be terrorist, not a libertarian. People like that will not help our cause.

Anarchy versus Libertarianism

I suppose it could accurately be said that all anarchists are libertarians, but not all libertarians are anarchists.

But I believe anarchists are to libertarianism what socialists are to Democrats. They are the extremists of the wing, and by no means the norm.

In my experience, most libertarians, including the Libertarian party, believe in the rule of law, and a government designed solely to protect rights, such as those enumerated in the United States Constitution. Anarchists of course, want no government nor laws whatsoever.

Libertarian Party Logo
Libertarian Party Logo

There are anarchists I’ll call the “Chaos Wing” who just want to “burn it all down, ” take whatever they want, kill whomever they want, etc.

Conversely, there are also anarchists I’ll call the “Utopian wing,” who are more practical. They think if we’re all free from any rule of law enforced by government, that we’ll all peacefully coexist.

As with anything in life, there are two sides to an opinion, and then there’s the middle ground that is likely closest to the truth. While I feel both anarchists are misguided in such beliefs, let’s explore the two sides, and what I believe to be the actual truth.

The Chaos Wing think it would be great to just steal whatever they wanted, but let’s think about this. Imagine you steal some rich guy’s Corvette, for instance. At first, it’s great, you have a free Corvette. But with a little critical thinking, it starts to display its problematic logical outcomes.

  • Why would anyone buy a Corvette if they knew that it was just going to get stolen, and they’d have to risk their life in an act of vigilantism to recover it?

    Corvette ZR1
    Corvette ZR1 executing a rather nice burnout
  • Why would Chevrolet build cars at all if they knew no one would pay for them or buy them because of the above?
  • Why would oil and gas companies dig oil out of the ground if they knew people would just steal it so you could drive the Corvette or any other car?
  • If you get shot or harmed in some way while stealing the car, where are you going to go for help? There won’t be hospitals with doctors in them, because they won’t show up if they aren’t getting paid.
  • Why would people go to work to earn money at all if stealing it were the path of least resistance?
  • If no one is working, who is going to build the things you want to steal?

Eventually, there would be no nice things to steal, no technology to enjoy, we would essentially be living the lives of cavemen.

While that seems silly, look at some third world countries that are largely defunct of any government. That’s effectively how they live, like modern day cavemen. The idea of such violent anarchy as a Utopia, is truly an delusional idea. I rarely take the chaos wing seriously, they lack the vision to understand the implications of their ideas. Many are simply violent psychopaths desiring to be unobstructed in life.

But more importantly, I think they are the more delusional of the two wings, because the evidence clearly shows that human nature is such that we’re typically not sociopaths like that. Humans are pack animals who have arisen on Earth as the most dominant species, in large part because of our inherent social nature.

Don’t believe me? How do you think democratically elected governments arose in the first place? It’s literally part of mankind’s natural evolution.

The more serious anarchists however, are of the Utopian wing. They are at least more thoughtful in their ideas, but I fear they are still eronious when considering the actual outcome compared to their desired and predicted outcome.

These folks believe that if people were free to do whatever they wanted, humans are inherently good and won’t harm others due to our genetic predisposition to be social creatures.

They rightly point out that many violent acts towards our fellow-man are because of government laws against things like drugs and prostitution, which encourage people to lash out because of the oppression of such laws, and to defend themselves violently against those who might infringe on their ability to do them freely.

They feel that if you get rid of victimless laws, certainly drug use, prostitution, gambling, etc., will occur, but will occur peacefully between two consenting adults.

In Colorado, where recreational marijuana was legalized, crime rates did indeed go down, despite the adamant belief by prohibitionists that the other would occur. It’s as if these folks forgot we had Alcohol Prohibition from 1920-1933. Not only did it not stop the consumption of alcohol; it drastically increased crime as well.

Marijuana Harvest
Marijuana Harvest

If you look at the number of violent crimes and people in jail because of marijuana consumption and distribution, the parallels to alcohol prohibition are so obvious, I can never fathom how any reasonable person could suggest that repealing alcohol prohibition was the right thing to do, but ending marijuana prohibition isn’t.

However, if I agree that humans are inherently kind to one another, why do I support a government to protect rights versus the rational anarchist system?

Because there are victimful crimes like murder and theft that occur all of the time, for one. And I don’t think the average citizen is capable of processing a crime scene for another. Again, let’s apply some logical thought to this theory.

  • If someone were to steal from me, I may be carrying a gun and shoot them. But what if I come home and my stuff is just gone? Are you really OK with me grabbing my gun and perusing the neighborhood, breaking into homes until I find my stuff? Because that’s the only way I can get justice in a governmentless community.
  • If I were to come home to a murdered relative, do I have the ability to process the crime scene, do a DNA test, and all the other staggeringly expensive investigative processes the police do? Maybe rich people could afford a private investigation, but most couldn’t. So do we want the poor having to resort to vigilantism where they just go after the person they think is guilty?
  • If there is no government to enforce contracts, how many businesses will willingly do business with another knowing there’s no recourse in case of a breach of contract? Most of the goods we have today are because companies have such contracts, so there is no doubt, we wouldn’t enjoy most of the technological advances brought to you by the cooperation amongst vendors.

In America, our government was established by the people and for the people. We have essentially agreed to pool our resources collectively for the purposes of protecting all of us from those who would do us harm. There are non-elected governments who oppress people, but by design, ours is supposed to essentially be an extension of our social nature.

Libertarians like myself, have a decent understanding of the ramifications of passing victimless crime laws, but we also understand the ramifications of anarchy. We want our rights protected honestly and fairly, something government is generally pretty good at in this modern technological era, and certainly better at it than your random individual. But we believe government would be better if it weren’t distracted by all the victimless crimes it’s currently far too involved with, which is why we non-anarchist libertarian fight our fight.

Eric Garner’s Death Should Never Be Equated To Michael Brown’s

A friend of mine who happens to be a government employee and now a died-in-the-wool statist (he keeps calling himself a liberal, but I don’t think he knows what it means) started a conversation with me stating that “you know how much of a liberal (read: statist) I am, but when is it OK to fight back against the police, get killed over it, then be labeled the victim?”

I read a good bit of the grand jury evidence against Michael Brown in Missouri, and like the grand jury, came to the conclusion Michael Brown was shot in self-defense.

I watched in disgust as he robbed a convenience store, forcefully pushing aside the owner as he was confronted for stealing the cigarillos. So I have little reason to believe the “gentle giant” argument put forth by those who knew him. Kind people don’t do what he did to that innocent store owner.

See the video here.

While I’m not glad he is dead, I have no reason to believe Michael Brown treated Darren Wilson with any more respect than that victimized store owner. I feel that if Michael Brown is a victim, he is only a victim of his own aggression, not a racist police officer’s actions.

But the Eric Garner death has a completely different meaning to me; one I cannot ignore.

Whereas Michael Brown robbed a store and attacked a police officer it seems, both felonious activities, and both with clearly defined victims; the impetus for police action against Eric Garner is very different.

Here is the video account of what happened. The actual interaction that lead to Garner’s death is at the end of the video at approximately the 8-minute mark.

Medical examiners ruled the death a homicide, due to neck compressions, as one can imagine. Famed medical examiner Michael Baden backed up the findings.

But what led to the police confronting Eric Garner in the first place?

Eric Garner was selling untaxed cigarettes in front of local area businesses, garnering complaints. New York has a $4.35 tax on packs of cigarettes from the state, but add to that, a $1.50 tax by the city of New York, and they are by far, the cigarette taxing capital of the United States.

This overtaxing of cigarettes in the city has led to an underground market for untaxed cigarettes bought out-of-state, them smuggled in and sold on the street. Often referred to as “loosies,” whereas a normal pack of cigarettes go for $14.50 in NYC, Eric Garner’s loosies would typically sell for around $8.00.

While I understand that businesses don’t like people outside their stores selling “illegal” goods, the sidewalk is public property. Aside from store owners who were annoyed, Eric Garner’s only victim would have been the city and state of New York for lost tax revenue—he was harming no fellow citizens.

The police are not rightfully given much of a choice on which laws they choose to enforce. Even if they didn’t agree with the law, they are sworn to uphold it, and regarding the cigarette tax, they did exactly that.

When I wrote The Point Of A Gun two years ago, I asked people to consider this basic principle when considering a proposed law. Would I be willing to kill someone over it? If not, I shouldn’t ask government to potentially kill someone for me over it.

Some people felt I was fear-mongering at the time, making up ludicrous arguments to promote libertarianism. Surely no police officer would kill someone over something so benign as cigarette taxes, they would argue.Utah-DPS-SWAT[1]

Apologies for saying us libertarians told you so, but…we told you so.

Eric Garner may have been a menace to local businesses, he did have a long criminal history for more serious crimes, and he certainly could have been more cooperative with the police. But while he was clearly irate, I didn’t see him attempt to attack any officer, so there was no victim the police were protecting at the time, including themselves.

If Eric Garner had been murdering a homeless guy, raping a woman, or molesting a child, no one would be upset he is dead now at the hands of the police. We’re mostly all willing to kill someone under those circumstances.

So that means the policeman’s actions were not the problem. The problem is, and often always will be, government oppression that leads to mini-revolts like this one.

If libertarians were in power, Garner would have been no different from any other street vendor selling random goods, but in New York, liberty is all but dead, especially for smokers.

So if you want freedom, you must start voting that way. Otherwise, you have no right complaining when the government carries out orders you essentially voted for them to enact. People yearning to be free will stand up for their rights, and under these statist-like rules in New York, will either get accidentally or purposefully killed for defying them.

We libertarians will always ask, “What is so wrong with the concept of No-Victim-No-Crime?” Because we can surely tell you what is wrong with statism. It results in deaths of victimless “criminals” like Eric Garner who should be alive today, and able to sell whatever the hell he wants to sell, so long as he isn’t hurting anyone.

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.

Production vs Sales. Let’s redirect our focus for a stronger America

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

Read any want ad section and you will notice one thing is abundantly clear. A predominance of the jobs available in the United States are in the field of sales & marketing. This phenomenon has always troubled me.

A salesperson is selling a product, but someone has to produce that product, a process that is surely more labor intensive than selling it. So how can it be that we always need more sales people? Because the production jobs are going away.

I’ll briefly point out that many sales positions are commissioned, so companies often over-hire because they don’t really have to pay salespeople unless they do well. They’re effectively throwing ten darts at once in hopes of hitting a bull’s-eye instead of putting the effort in to being a better dart thrower. It’s both lazy and ineffective. You often damage your brand more than improving your actual sales.

But while advertising is important, it should always play second fiddle to production, let me give an example.

If I were to offer you the car of your choice, cost-no-object, what would it be? All over the world, many of you would choose a Ferrari. Yet, have any of you ever seen a Ferrari television or magazine ad? Likely not.

2014 LaFerrari from Ferrari
2014 LaFerrari from Ferrari

Yet, millions of you would buy one tomorrow if you could afford it, despite never being faced with a single advertisement from them. Aside from their racing efforts and emails, Ferrari doesn’t really do much marketing. People wear Ferrari-logoed clothing and put up Ferrari posters, essentially marketing Ferrari for free. This is genius! You pay Ferrari for the privilege of marketing their stuff, instead of them paying someone to market it for them.

So how is it possible that one of the most desired and recognized objects on the planet does not need to be sold? Because it sells itself, just look at it!

A beautiful design, flawless engineering, a sound that is mechanically orgasmic, and a palpable passion ooze from these machines. This quick video, one of their few actual marketing efforts which will never air on TV, but has been shared (for free) at the time of this posting 5 million times, should illustrate my point.
The lesson here is pretty clear. Too often you see business owners thinking that their issues stem from poor salesmanship instead of poor craftsmanship.

There are certainly bad salespeople, and some turnover should be expected, but marketing in general seems to be where companies want to spend their money instead of research, development, and production. I see (and occasionally have worked for) companies who have incredibly outdated equipment, inefficient internal processes, and products of inferior quality that could be easily updated, but they’ve emptied their bank account on advertising instead.

We’ve all heard the story of The Goose that laid the Golden Egg, this is exactly what many companies are doing. Profit-margin is the holy grail these folks are after, but this is how they kill the goose.

A company with a great reputation will hunt for a more cheaply made product, often in China, and then hope through marketing they can continue holding on to their market share. But once you gut that goose, and people find out you used a respected name to market an inferior product; profit margins may remain high, but overall profits will start to plummet as people take their business elsewhere.

For instance, let’s look at Irwin tools. You may have never heard of Irwin, but you’ve certainly heard of Vise-Grips, and they’re the makers of them. Since 1921, they have been making these pliers that just about every person has in their “tool drawer” at home. Irwin Vise Grips have been a superior quality hand tool for nearly a century, but no more. Irwin moved them to China in recent years as they hunt for greater profit margin.

As a libertarian, I certainly want companies to have the freedom to build wherever they wish to, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s stupid.

These companies are hoping most people won’t notice the loss in quality and continue paying a premium price, but consumers who use products are pretty good at noticing when a product’s quality has been diminished, and it’s insulting. Believe me, I notice the difference—the new Vise-Grips are clearly inferior.

So these days, I don’t mind buying a cheap $5 pair from the local Harbor Freight, because I know they’re probably the same plier at this point, and I’m not paying extra for the Irwin name if I’m not going to get the legendary Irwin quality.

They’re now just another cheap Chinese version no different from all the other copies out there, there’s a good chance they all come from the same factory—China doesn’t exactly believe in intellectual property. We are talking about a country that brazenly opened up an Apple Store that wasn’t actually affiliated with Apple in any way. So it’s not unlikely that the factory Irwin commissioned to make their pliers isn’t selling the exact same pliers to others, literally giving Irwin’s design away to someone Irwin didn’t sell it to.zhuhai-iphone-store[2]

I want to point out that there can be no doubt, with labor unions, overbearing regulations, the highest corporate tax rate on Earth, and the ever-increasing cost of living in the United States thanks to a poor economy, the costs of building in the U.S.A. are ruining our chances of keeping these jobs. Irwin is not completely to blame here.

But if the American people demanded our government ease regulations, get rid of the corporate tax rate (they can’t vote, so why should they be taxed?), and make the concept of manufacturing in the United States more viable again, maybe the want ads will be looking for more than just the next Ron Popeil, and real jobs and quality products will again be a part of the American economy.