Tag Archives: libertarianism

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing

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

 

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing. ~ Edmund Burke (Disputed)

There has been much heated debate about the subject of Stand Your Ground Legislation. Proponents argue that when faced with a dangerous situation, a person’s fight-or-flight response should default to flight by law.
keep-calm-and-stand-your-ground-5[1]

Imagine a scenario where a middle-aged person of average health like myself gets confronted by a would be attacker who is much younger, fitter, stronger, and faster. I’m expected to make an attempt to flee in states where Duty-To-Retreat is the legislation du-jour instead of Stand-Your-Ground.

What happens in this scenario? Ultimately I run—hopefully to some place safe. But this creates a very unsafe situation for me instead of my attacker, because now I’m on defense and I have to hope I can run fast enough to get away. I also have to hope my attacker doesn’t have a gun, because I wouldn’t know once I started running; I have my back to them—a position that makes me as vulnerable as a person can be. Plus, like most people, I can’t outrun a bullet, if they’re armed.

In this situation, the victim is ultimately expected to put themselves in a more dangerous position because of the actions of a would-be attacker, but also they’re often expected to abandon their property as well. But why does the attacker get the benefit of having the upper hand or having their rights protected while mine are diminished?

Victim Drawing On An Attacker
Victim Drawing On An Attacker

With Stand-Your-Ground, I simply draw my gun, keep my eyes on my would-be attacker, and ultimately either they flee, or they get shot due to a scenario they created. I could flee if I thought it was the best way to protect myself, but I shouldn’t have the threat of 20-to-life hanging over me if I opt not to.

The problem has often been that politicians hear news stories about young attackers getting shot and killed and court voters as the compassionate one who feels it’s a tragedy a child is dead. While I agree it is sad on the face of it, I feel this is disgusting to act as if a young felon’s life is somehow more important than the life of the innocent victims they decided to attack.

Let’s dispel some scientific nonsense first. Nothing magical happens at 18 years of age. There’s no radical change that takes place in the human body. Making 18 the age of adulthood was something Americans decided via legislators, and it has little do with science. It is generally just that we know humans stop growing around that age, not their mental capacity to understand the weight of their actions; that varies from person to person.

To act as if a 16-year-old for instance, who is putting someone’s life or property at risk with malicious intent is somehow  innocent or unaware of what they are doing, or doesn’t understand the heinousness of the act, requires a monumental amount of ignorance.

To act as if the victim should understand the person is under 18 is equally nonsensical. Attackers usually don’t show you an I.D. first.

I don’t want anyone to die needlessly, but whatever bad outcome happens to a violent felon caught in the act, up to and including death, is justice in my eyes. Whether they are 14, 18, or 40 is irrelevant. They voluntarily chose to create this situation, and they’ll potentially pay the price for it. If so, they will serve as a warning to others not to choose a psychopath’s lifestyle.

However, an often not discussed issue I want to delve into is the psyche of the victim. While I don’t profess to live in the middle of gangland, I have had the unfortunate honor of being attacked, robbed, and had a gun put in my face at different times in my life.

While it’s easy for politicians to pass laws that a rational person would adhere to, until you’ve been victimized, it’s impossible to understand the natural and sometimes uncontrollable rage that will fill every victim who is put into that situation.

In each instance, if I had been carrying a firearm, I would have emptied it into my attacker and then probably pulled the trigger at least a dozen more times to make sure there weren’t any bullets left that my gun just somehow missed.

Now maybe you’re thinking I’m a violent guy, but I’ve genuinely never instigated a physical altercation, so the evidence indicates otherwise. These three instances are the only ones I’ve been involved in since 5th grade, and all of them were unprovoked on my part.

It is a fool’s mission to expect a reasonable person to behave reasonably when they are thrust into a situation that puts them in mortal danger. It’s hard to predict what a situation like that will do to someone, but assuming they’re not an emotionless sociopath or a trained soldier mentally equipped for such an act, it will affect them in a way they’ve never been affected before, and a controlled outcome should not be expected.

Putting innocent victims in jail because they overreacted to a violent attack is one of America’s biggest atrocities it commits on its own denizen.US Constitution

Not only do I believe that the Constitution should be amended to include Stand-Your-Ground, I also believe that the law should clearly state two things:

  1. Attackers have no rights during the commission of, or while fleeing from a felony. Nor shall they or their family have any legal right to civil damages incurred by their counter-attacker later.
  2. If the victim, or an innocent bystander harms the attacker in any way during the commission or fleeing of a felony, the person acting against the attacker should be immunized from all criminal prosecution.

(In both instances, I emphasize during the act—I do not condone hunting them down later in an act of vigilantism)

I understand that people may think my idea is radical and heartless, but you shall not convince me I’m on the moral low ground.

While I do value life, I only value the lives of people who respect the rights of others. If you opt to attack, rape, murder, or rob another person, I feel your early and untimely death will be to the benefit of humanity.

It not only protects society from your future bad acts, but if sociopathy is genetic, which some in the psychiatric profession suspect it is, the genes of a sociopath are removed from the gene pool as well. From a purely logical standpoint, my argument makes the most sense to advance society as a whole.

So what about the Edmund Burke quote? My plan would hopefully encourage the good men from the anecdote to do something instead of nothing. If a victim is killed because a good person who could have helped opted to do nothing out of a fear of prosecution for intervening, then evil will have triumphed, and the right to life isn’t nearly as Constitutionally protected as it should be.

 

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.

 

Libertarians: What they say about us; what we are.

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

As someone who identifies with the Libertarian Party, the Republican Party, the Tea Party, and libertarianism in general, unless you identify with those groups along with me, you would probably have some stereotypical notions about who I am.

Libertarian Party Logo
Libertarian Party Logo

Stereotypes, whether they be about someone’s race, religion, sex, or political affiliation are the work of fools. You are engaging in bigotry and ignorant behavior, and you should stop.

With that in mind, I’d like to cover some stereotypes about people like me, and answer them individually. Bear in mind though, that to each person, libertarianism can have a different meaning, and some people are more “hard-core” about it than others. So these are only my views about these stereotypes, other libertarians may differ:

  • Conservatives only care about rich people.

Truth is, we care about liberty for ALL people. Unlike many statist-minded folks, we consider the wealthy among us to be people too. In our opinion, if you feel it’s wrong to steal from someone who is poor, you shouldn’t champion stealing from someone who is rich either.

Conservatives favor tax cuts for the rich AND the poor, despite the notion Democrats attempt to push that we want tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the poor. I’m not aware of any conservative legislation proposed to raise taxes on the poor while lowering them on the rich.

  • Libertarians are anarchists

A libertarian can and occasionally is an anarchist, but usually not in the sense people think of. Anarchy is simply the idea that people can manage themselves without government. It is not the idea that people should just kill, maim, steal, and otherwise violate the rights of others without consequence.

That being said, I generally believe many libertarians are like myself, and are what I’d call “Constitutional Libertarians” who believe in a Republic where the government exists to protect rights to life, liberty, and property by enforcing contracts and prosecuting those who are a danger to society, even if those rights deemed unalienable are against the wishes of the majority.

  • Libertarians just want to legalize drugs because they smoke weed themselves

We want to legalize drugs because we believe in the idea of “no victim, no crime.” I’m a staunch supporter of legalizing drugs, yet I’ve never used them unless prescribed by a doctor, and I’ve never been prescribed weed, for the record. Which brings me to another important point.Don't Tread On Me

Libertarians aren’t generally hypocrites. Even though I think recreational drugs are a really bad idea and would never encourage someone to use them, nor have any interest in them myself, I don’t just champion liberty for me, I champion liberty for people who believe differently than I. This sentiment of liberty for all is often lost on traditional Democrats and Republicans.

  • Libertarians are isolationists

Libertarians generally want our country to work out free trade agreements with others. We understand that the best way to keep a positive relationship with other nations, and grow our economy, is to sell things that are of less value to us, to nations who need it more, and for them to do the same in return.

For instance, let’s say here in America, we have an abundance of corn, but not enough oil to fill our needs. So we sell off some of our corn to a nation like Iraq who has more oil than it needs, but cannot grow nearly enough corn in their climate. This is a win-win for both nations, and in essence, what good trade is supposed to be like. I believe almost every libertarian wants this.

The problem is, people mistake our desire to let other countries do whatever they want within their own borders without us sticking our nose in their affairs as isolationist. It’s not. It’s called understanding it’s none of our &%$#@ business how they choose to live.

If you’ve ever been working on a complicated problem that you understand only to have a co-worker come up and impose their ideas when they don’t understand the problem as well as you do, you should understand why libertarians feel this to-each-their-own policy is best.

  • Libertarians want to gut the military

If America, or possibly our allies, were attacked, I believe America should and would respond with all the might the U.S. Military has to offer and destroy anything and everything our enemies who dared attack us could use to wage war. I take a very passive-aggressive approach in this respect.

Predator Drone
Predator Drone

Ronald Reagan had a peace-through-strength mentality, and I tend to agree. It did work after all. For all the complaints about him growing of the military, he put troops in harm’s way less than every president who succeeded him, in large part because America was respected and more importantly feared, under his watch.

But all that being said, the military is somewhat famous for wasting money, sometimes on very big things, such as weapons systems to defend against an enemy that doesn’t exist.

Secondly, we have troops in places where they do not need to be, defending countries who are capable of defending themselves. I don’t want to gut the military, but I don’t want them in harm’s way if they don’t absolutely need to be, and I don’t want to build a defense system to protect us from a technology no one has.

  • Libertarians are atheists who just want to advance a pro-gay marriage agenda, legalize abortions, or remove God from schools

Tell that to Rep. Justin Amash (R) from Michigan, he’s an orthodox Christian, and arguably the most libertarian representative in congress. Ron Paul is a Christian too and does not support legal abortions as noted here.

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

While I am an atheist and am for removing government from marriage altogether as I outlined here, libertarians generally just believe that religion is something that should be between family and friends, not enforced by government at the point of a gun. It is part of the First Amendment after all, and part of the reason it was first, is likely because even our forefathers understood, free speech, religion, and press were the most important components of a free nation.

Thanks for reading. And I hope that armed with this information, you will do your part to squash the libertarian stereotypes. Liberty is worth fighting for, and as libertarians grow in credibility and start winning on election day, liberty itself can and will be restored to this great nation.

Democrats and Republicans: They can be a crazy bunch!

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

In matters of choice, there are two basic options: those made by logical thought versus those made from emotion. As I read about those who attack libertarianism, I can’t help but note that their opinions often eschew logical thought and dive head first down the hole of hypocrisy and illogical assumptions. So with that in mind, let’s explore the hypocritical logic of those who think libertarians are “crazy.” I may use some tongue-in-cheek humor and hyperbole here, but there is a mountain of truth to all of it, the facts are the facts.

  • The media constantly push to infringe our right to bear arms, yet they’d be apoplectic if we attempted to infringe on their freedom-of-the-press rights. They’re welcome to show me where the Constitution indicates one right as more negotiable than another, but I’ve actually read it, it’s not there.
  • The left staunchly support a woman’s right-to-choose regarding something as important as aborting what is arguably a life. Yet they think choosing an incandescent light bulb or a toilet that can flush more than 1.6 gallons of water is a choice people cannot be trusted with. I am pro-choice on all accounts, but certainly think the choice to end a potential life is a decision that is infinitely more important than my choice of household appliances.
  • The left are constantly fighting against hatred and bigotry stating we cannot judge people by their race, religion, sex, etc. They couldn’t be more right—denying the rights of a specific group of people en masse is immoral. Yet they have no qualms with infringing on the rights of those who earn six-figures or more. Apparently, the rich are the new “separate-but-equals”? This should come as no surprise since Democrats have a history of such rights violations with their pointy white hats in tow. Only four Democrats voted to abolish slavery, after all. Hats off to Democrats though, they’ve done a phenomenal job of pinning their own documented history of bigotry on Republicans. While we’re at it,  women can thank Republicans for their rights as well.
  • Democrats will argue we need to improve education in order to win votes—the youth are our future, right? Yet they attack private schools which generally outperform public schools. Then they champion teacher’s unions which have policies like tenure; a system by which teachers remain employed based on their time on the job while ignoring their actual job-performance. I’m curious what would happen if you asked one of them regarding their own children, “If you had the choice of a teacher with documented positive results versus a disinterested teacher just waiting it out until retirement, which one would you choose?” How do you think they’d respond then?
  • Social conservatives claim to be the party of liberty, limited government, and Constitutionality, yet the liberty of homosexuals or those who wish to engage in paid sexual activity where there is no victim, just two consenting adults…well…we can’t give them liberty, they’re sinners. These “social conservatives” should just ask that we change the first amendment from “establishment of religion” to “establishment of religion unless it’s the King James Bible” and get it over with. As long as I’m potentially forbidden to buy liquor on Sundays in this great nation, I do not live in a country free from religious oppression. It is free-ish at best.

    The 1st Amendment
    The 1st Amendment
  • Both sides of the aisle claim to be against government waste, yet have you ever seen a government building? They’re often ornate structures with massively expensive architecture. If they were serious about reducing government waste, city halls would be as sparse as pole barns, if they even existed at all. They could meet at private meeting halls for much less money. I look at the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court buildings, and all I can think about is how much of the cost of those monoliths affects my ability to pay my electric bill each month. While I’m at it, no American branch of government should be permitted to buy statues, paintings, or other decorative items either. How exactly do they serve the people’s interest?

    Library of Congress
    Library of Congress
  • The left tout small business as the people they are vehemently in support of. Yet somehow, when a small business owner gets it right and becomes a large corporation, they have suddenly become evil and should be taxed to hell and back? At what point exactly did they become evil? Was it the part where they had a good idea, wanted control of their own destiny, or just the part where they made a profit?
  • If we disagree with Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, it’s because we’re racist and/or sexist. If we support Thomas Sowell or Ayn Rand, we’re still somehow racist and/or sexist.
  • The left often champion socialist policies like Social Security or single-payer healthcare, ignoring the history which shows the deplorable living conditions and human rights violations of Cuba, North Korea, China, Nazi Germany, or the former Russia, all shining examples of what socialism is when taken to its ultimate conclusion. If the left could supply one example of a socialist nation whose people live in conditions that are remotely as good as those in America, I’ll be willing to talk about the logic of social engineering. They argue that there is a good balance between socialism and capitalism to be met. I like to retort, “then there must be a good balance between a healthy diet and an arsenic diet as well.” They’re usually not amused.
  • A man solely with a law degree, two years of senatorial experience, and no private sector work experience was eminently qualified to govern the United States. Two former governors with a plethora of executive experience and both highly successful business owners as well (Mitt Romney and Gary Johnson) somehow were not.
  • The left will complain about the right’s advocacy of the death penalty and our staunch rebuke of Democratic policies, but then wear a Che Guevara shirt, a man not only famous for executing people who didn’t agree with him, but often for doing so without a trial.
  • The left complained about The Patriot Act, drone strikes, and Guantanamo Bay under Bush. Obama has either carried these policies on, or even grown them, but it’s now magically the right thing to do.
  • When Obama lies about keeping our health care plans, Benghazi, etc., it’s OK because he knows what’s best for us and he meant well. When Bush received what appeared to be bad intelligence in hindsight, and then acted earnestly on that bad info to protect American interests, he should have been impeached and imprisoned. There was never a shred of evidence that Bush knew the info was wrong, making it an error, not a lie. And there is evidence the weapons were simply relocated out of Iraq prior to the invasion. I am neither accepting or rejecting this theory without more info, and I’m not condoning the Iraq war either, but it leaves reasonable doubt about whether Bush was inaccurate on Iraq’s WMD’s.
  • While I could go on forever it seems, let me end it here: Princeton University defines classical liberalism as “a philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets. So what has transpired here? There is a stigma attached to socialism and communism. As such, leftists who are fully aware they are promoting socialist policies have decided somehow to call it liberalism, something big government and non-free markets certainly are not. If socialism really works, let it stand on its merits, don’t lie and call it something it is not. I intend to never to call them liberals again. But to be clear, I won’t call myself one either just to avoid the confusion. That word is dead to me.

Libertarianism: The Non-Hypocritical Ideology

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

The word liberty is rooted in the word *libertarian—makes sense, right? That’s the cause for which we always fight. But believe it or not, while it may often not seem like it, Democrats and Republicans fight for liberty also.

For instance, Democrats often push for it on social issues such as gay rights and abortion, but they push just as rigorously to deny fiscal liberties to those achieving the American dream of unfettered wealth.PHP491F5DFE68687[1]

Republicans strive for liberty on financial issues such as lower taxation and corporate rights, but they attempt to deny social rights to people via legislation such as the Defense of Marriage Act or The War On Drugs.

Libertarians like myself of course, take liberty to the brink of anarchy and fight for both. We generally believe government’s role should be restricted to protecting our rights to life, liberty, and property as enumerated in the Constitution.

As we libertarians watch Republicans and Democrats squabble over which liberties are important and which liberties are expendable, we wonder why those parties don’t agree that liberty for all is best. It’s in our pledge of allegiance after all.

To be fair to the GOP, there is a new sect of libertarian-leaning Republicans like Rand Paul and Justin Amash to whom this rarely applies, and their rise in popularity is encouraging. I cannot recall a libertarian-leaning democrat, or I’d mention them too.

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

In matters of issues like assisted suicide, recreational drugs, prostitution, gay marriage, and gambling for instance, these acts rarely involve a party whose rights were violated. But all of these practices are still often considered socially unacceptable despite the fact that if you’re not an active participant, they don’t affect you in the slightest.

Legislators tend to look at a behavior they don’t agree with and determine it is their civic duty to legislate it away in order to elevate our collective moral compass. Their proposed legislation being a mirror image of how they would choose to live their own lives. But when it comes to fighting for liberty for those who don’t share their views, they often can’t find the will to do so. Instead, they insist on making futile attempts to socially engineer our great nation.

I say “futile” because anyone who has ever been told they aren’t allowed to do something they really want to do and wouldn’t harm anyone doing it, knows that the simple act of telling them “no,” often incites them to do so even more—making a special effort to not get caught. So these laws don’t prevent such acts, they merely add a new element of danger for those who will likely do them anyway.

I want liberty for everyone, including the people I have little to no respect for. If you’re a member of the Ku Klux Klan or the Black Panthers and want to open a white/black only business establishment; go for it! I think your bigotry and hatred make you a vile human being, but I’ll still fight for your rights to be the biggest piece of trash you want to be and let the market sort it out.

Black Panthers
Black Panthers

Want to go on a crack bender until you fall off a twenty story building because you thought you could fly? I think you’re an idiot, but go for it! It’s your life, live it or end it how you see fit. Just be sure not to land on someone on your way down, thus violating their right to life.

I want to fling poo like a zoo monkey at Westboro Baptist Church members every time I think about those hateful bastards. As I’m writing this, I wish them all the worst possible outcome in life. But if I were a legislator tomorrow, I wouldn’t dream of putting my pen to paper to draft a bill denying their right to spew their massively bigoted and ignorant rhetoric.

Westboro Baptist Church Member
Westboro Baptist Church Member

So why would I support these people’s rights to be this way?

It’s important for us level-headed people to know such demons exist. We can choose to either encourage them to change, or marginalize them and ignore them. But believe it or not, I feel they do serve a purpose. It is hard to explain “good” when you don’t have a “bad” standard-bearer to compare “good” to.

It is human nature to want the freedom to do the things you want to do and therefore fight for the liberty of people like you—it’s why all three political camps do so. But the minute you try to quash the liberty of someone you don’t agree with, you have stumbled your way into the land of legislative hypocrisy. It takes a much stronger conviction to fight for the rights of those you despise, but it’s the only way to legislate without being a hypocrite.

So my request to Democrats and the non-libertarian Republicans is simple. Give me one good reason your liberty is important but the liberty of others who don’t share your ideology isn’t. If the answer to this question renders you stumbling for an answer that makes any logical sense, welcome to the libertarian camp—we’re happy to have you. Now stop writing so many new laws; you’ve done enough damage already.

*Libertarian with a capital L represents the Libertarian party. But with a small L, it represents people who just champion liberty regardless of party affiliations. For instance, Gary Johnson is a Libertarian and a libertarian, whereas Rand Paul is just a libertarian.

I’m rather Blue over Sharia Law

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

In 2010, a legal decision in New Jersey incited national debate when Judge Joseph Charles decided not to grant a restraining order to a Moroccan woman who had been raped, according to legal standards in the United States, by her ex-husband. The reason given was that the judge accepted the Muslim man’s argument that under Sharia Law, he had done nothing wrong, and that ruling against him would violate his religious rights as enumerated in the 1st amendment.

As a result of this ruling and the potential for others like it, several states across the U.S. enacted anti-Sharia law statutes, including Oklahoma. However, after Oklahoma’s “Save Our State Amendment” passed, it was overturned by a higher court due to its targeting of one specific religion, specifically Sharia law, again citing that such a law violates the 1st amendment.

Judge Charles was wrong in his decision, but Oklahoma legislators reacted wrongly as well, and the higher courts were charged with making it all right. Many conservatives were upset the Save Our State Amendment was overturned, but they shouldn’t have been. If a statute can lawfully target the Muslim faith, one could lawfully draft laws targeting Christian faith as well.shariah-law[1]

American legislators define American law in their respective jurisdictions. There should not be a need to specifically exclude Sharia law, because unless Sharia law verbiage happens to be on that jurisdiction’s register, it should never be considered in the first place. The exception being in civil court where Sharia law may have been part of a contract.

Rape is not excusable under U.S. law because of religious views, so Judge Charles simply made an improper ruling that needed overturned—no additional legislation needed. If the man had killed his wife in an honor-killing, would the judge still have come to the same conclusion?

While I applaud Oklahoma and other such states attempting to take measures to prevent this in the future, the higher courts are there to reverse such decisions, and there are mechanisms in place to remove judges who go afoul of the law they are charged with adjudicating. Oklahoma didn’t need to amend their state constitution, they merely needed to deal with a judge violating his oath to uphold it.

If they truly felt it was necessary to elaborate, the Oklahoma legislature could have simply wrote something to the effect of the following:

The criminal court of Oklahoma may not consider laws which are not specifically on the United States Federal Register, Oklahoma State Register, or any applicable local registers as an argument for innocence or guilt.

It is succinct, and doesn’t target any single religion.

However, there’s a deep hypocrisy here with many conservatives. A majority of them are Christian, and they were the ones most vocal about prohibiting Sharia law, yet they often have no qualms about legislation such as blue laws or the proposed Defense Of Marriage Act.

Blue laws have curiously stood up to constitutional challenges because proponents have argued that while they were enacted as a way to force people to conform to a religious doctrine of the Sabbath, it can also be viewed as merely the government in question, ordering a day of rest, and does not necessarily have a religious component, making it okay.

Somehow the Supreme Court agreed—but how? It’s not a day of rest, it’s a day of not being able to buy alcohol. If they closed down all business on Sundays, then and only then would it be a forced day of rest.

SundayAlcohol[1]

More important, what business does government have telling you when to rest  in the first place? Why not tell me when I have to go to bed then? Maybe force me to take a nap too, while we’re at it.

As for the Defense of Marriage act, it is entirely contrary to the purpose of the Constitution. It was never intended to be a dictionary to define something such as marriage, nor was it intended to tell the people, in this case the gay community, what rights they have. One look at the Bill of Rights and it’s clear that it was written to define limits to the federal government, not the people. The Volstead Act (Prohibition) was the first attempt at perverting the Constitution in such a manner, also largely based on religious doctrine, and that was rightfully repealed a short time later. All such acts imply the government has the power, not the people.

As for blue laws, the supreme court did something in declaring these laws constitutional that I think violates their oath of office.

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

The Supreme Court Justices are sworn to uphold the Constitution, not the will of the majority. If we were a democracy, a system where only the majority opinion mattered, instead of a republic with a Constitution, we would have no need for them.

But we have a Constitution, and it exists to protect the rights of the minority from the majority. The Supreme Court is charged with interpreting it as written. What the SCOTUS did was find away to allow the majority to deny rights to the minority (atheists like myself), instead of judging these laws on their merits against the Constitution.

In so doing, they undermined the purpose of them being appointed, not elected, so that they don’t act on popular opinion. They behaved like legislators instead of guarantors of our rights.

Christians upset about Sharia Law arguments being allowed in criminal courts are absolutely right to be upset. But they must cease to endeavor to make American laws congruent with Christian doctrine also, or they are no better than the cause they are fighting against—hypocrisy destroys credibility.

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.