Tag Archives: rand paul

The Myth of the Wasted Vote

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump (R)

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

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

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

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

So what about the wasted vote?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Libertarian Party
Libertarian Party

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

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

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Pro-Life and Pro-Choice – They Are Not Mutually Exclusive

I found myself in a debate on Twitter with writer Sarah Benincasa. After the GOP debate, she had referred to all Republicans as “Shitheads.”

Your humble correspondent is a libertarian-republican. (Small L and small R). The small letters indicate I’m not beholden to either party, but just the principles of liberty and a constitution, the defining factors of being a libertarian and a republican.

Feeling somewhat insulted by someone I typically felt was fair and tolerant of other people’s opinions, I decided to respond by pointing out that some of the people on that stage had indeed shown that they were not your stereotypical Republican, and that ultimately the type of bigotry one uses to paint all people of a group with one brush, isn’t really fair. Below was my response followed by Sarah’s passionate counter-response.

Sarah Benincasa

This got me thinking about the issue a little deeper. I won’t point out more of the discussions that followed. They were mostly followers of Sarah attacking me or the candidates with contempt, instead of showing any interest in respectful debate. So I explained my position as respectfully as I could, and exited stage left.

But this exchange brings a couple of issues to light.

The first of which is the concept of being a one-issue person. I believe many of the pro-choice people are often pro-legalization of marijuana as well. Senator Rand Paul has worked with Democrat Corey Booker to accomplish exactly that. If that had been the one issue Sarah (if she is pro-legalization) opted to key on instead of abortion as an important issue to her, she might have painted him in a different light.

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

The point being that no candidate will ever agree with you 100%; It’s that simple. As a voter, the best you can do is find common ground with candidates where you’re able, support them when you do, and dissent when you don’t.

You should certainly side with the person who most commonly aligns with your beliefs, but it’s silly to assume someone is all bad and treat them as if they’re evil “shitheads.”

As much as I dislike Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, I don’t paint either one to be evil, or call them names. I just think they’re wrong, more often than not, and challenge their positions or their integrity when they are found to be disingenuous, a trait common in politicians of all parties.

But delving into the abortion issue, I first want to point out the flaws with the basic pro-life/pro-choice argument.

The converse of pro-life is not pro-choice, it’s anti-life. And thus the converse of pro-choice is not pro-life, it’s anti-choice. The two are slightly separate issues. So I’ll first explain my position and why.

As it is typically understood, I am pro-choice. I believe there are many understandable instances where a woman would choose to abort, that I compassionately cannot condone throwing her in jail on a 1st degree murder charge for, where I absolutely would if she killed the child the same child after birth. So I’ve always argued that viability is a fair cut-off in my opinion—emphasis on opinion.

But that being said, I’m also pro-life in an untraditional sense. I would encourage anyone who is pregnant and healthy, to bring the child to term and either raise it, or put it up for adoption if so desired. But that’s an issue between her and the father, not her and the government, also in my opinion.

Yet in my debate, despite being pro-choice myself, I ended up arguing the pro-life point. I suspect mostly because I believe in fairness over ideology.

It’s interesting that the pro-choice crowd typically claim to be the more scientifically enlightened, attacking the pro-life group who are largely religious, and often they argue are anti-science as a result, yet they overlook that fact that once an egg is fertilized, and the resultant zygote begins to replicate, approximately 24 to 30 hours after fertilization, it is inarguably a life because of that natural cell replication, and it’s purely human DNA means it is inarguably human. Like it or not, it is a human life, and all the science you can throw at it, backs that.

Human Zygote development directly after fertilization. (Click Image for more information)
Human Zygote development directly after fertilization.
(Click Image for more information)

Being atheist, I don’t lend much credence to religion, so I won’t point out the religious component to all of this, it doesn’t matter. Whether you believe it’s a human life because God says so, or because science says so, you believe it’s a human life.

So then the question becomes when is it a life that deserves protection under the law?

I cannot say this with enough emphasis; that question can never be a matter of fact. It is pure opinion, and no one person’s opinion is any more valid than another’s, because with opinions, there is no scientific truth you can apply to make one argument better than the other, otherwise it would be fact. I believe in such situations, you can either respectfully agree to disagree, or you can behave intolerantly and attack your dissenter for having a differing opinion.

But the issue I take with many of my fellow pro-choice advocates, is that they call this a woman’s right issue, then argue that pro-life advocates are against women’s rights. This is where the pro-life/anti-life and pro-choice/anti-choice argument I made earlier becomes rather important.

If you are concerned about the woman’s rights, you will either be pro-choice or anti-choice. If you are viewing this argument from the embryo’s point of view, you are either pro-life or anti-life. The two are not interchangeable.

So when pro-choice people attack pro-life people for being against women’s rights, that’s a straw man argument.

The pro-life people believe it is a human life, with rights under the law. They believe that it’s not part of the woman’s body, but instead a separate body inside the woman’s body. As such, not believing it a woman’s rights issue whatsoever, or even framing it that way.

Logical Fallacies (Click to enlarge)
Logical Fallacies
(Click to enlarge)

Pro-choice people however, believe that as long as the embryo resides in the mother, it is part of the mother, and therefore not a separate life, and not worthy of protection under the law, but instead, something a woman should have the right to remove, similar to a breast reduction to remove unwanted tissue to increase her quality of life.

I am not saying such people equate a fetus to a breast, so please no outraged response, understand I’m only saying they paint the procedures in a similar light, from an ethics perspective.

In either instance, again these positions as to whether it’s part of the woman’s body, or its own separate body within a body are matters of opinion, not fact, and can be argued either way. Tolerance dictates you must respect the converse opinion.

I have to point out that from a science perspective, the DNA of the embryo is unique from the mother’s, something that wouldn’t be true of any other organic substance inside the mother, she might opt to remove from her body; aside from a disease or another foreign invader of some sort anyway. So it’s hard to argue with science that the embryo is part of the mother’s body when it doesn’t share her exact DNA, but instead, a mix of her’s and the father’s.

Actual Image of Human DNA through an Electron Microscope. (Click image for more information)
Actual Image of Human DNA through an Electron Microscope.
(Click image for more information)

I have a long history on this site of being all about science, so in theory, I probably should be what is traditionally thought of as pro-life and equate abortion to murder.

But I frankly know that if I had a daughter, and she had an abortion a month after fertilization versus a year after the birth, I cannot conflate the two as equally heinous. So despite all the evidence to the contrary, I remain pro-choice from a legal standpoint, and pro-life from a personal one.

As for Sarah and her followers, they are passionate about women’s rights, and that’s a good thing—I wish them well even if they think I’m a jerk.

I just wish they would embrace a little more empathy for those with differing opinions, and not conflate opinion with fact, because arguing someone is wrong, must revolve around facts, never opinions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The United States Constitution
The United States Constitution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What Does It Take To Be A Great President?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steve Jobs - Apple Founder
Steve Jobs – Apple Founder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.

Vaccine Or No Vaccine: The Facts And This Libertarian’s Opinion

The latest litmus test for politicians seems to be the idea of mandatory versus voluntary vaccinations. Even libertarians are somewhat divided on this, but the liberty-minded factions seem to support pro-choice, and the statist-leaning folks are going towards making them mandatory.

First, let’s point out that most people agree that vaccinations are one of mankind’s greatest medical achievements. Whether you’re pro-choice or not, I think we all agree that science has proven them to be overwhelmingly effective.

Rand Paul recently weighed in that he supported a pro-choice position, but he got himself into trouble when he stated, “I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.”

If I were to give Rand Paul the benefit of the doubt here, I would like to believe he was simply arguing that some people are afraid of vaccines because children have been diagnosed with mental disorders after being vaccinated, as a means to explain why people might not want to vaccinate, even if this is anecdotal evidence, which is definitively not scientific.

I would like to think he was not arguing that there was any causality, since studies have almost universally debunked this myth. But if he was, that is sadly a very unscientific position for someone who is currently practicing medicine to posit.

While it has been reported that some vaccines may cause temporary issues, I don’t think any credible studies have supported the notion that any permanent complications have arisen.

But either way, let’s explore what actually happens when you’re given a vaccine. A vaccine is essentially a dead, or severely weakened version of a real virus.

Influenza Virus
Influenza Virus

To over-simplify things a bit, living things introduced into your body that don’t have your DNA will be seen by your immune system as a threat, and your immune system will go about trying to destroy it.

This is the reason that your immune system must be suppressed when you receive a donor organ for instance, and why organs harvested from your own DNA are much safer and advantageous.

On a side note, as fantastic as this may sound, I don’t think I’m overstating this one iota when I say that this particular field of research will revolutionize the world of medicine forever; we are truly on the cusp of never needing organ donors again.

Think of the vaccine as a new first-person war-simulating video game you just bought. At first, you don’t know any of the levels, how to defeat any of the enemies, etc. So you play the game on its easiest mode until you learn the most effective means to slay your enemies. Once you’ve mastered it, you are ready for the more advanced levels.

Characters from Halo 5
Characters from Halo 5

This is what vaccines are effectively doing. Because the vaccine is a dead or weak form of the virus, it’s like the game on “easy” mode where it’s of little to no threat to you. In this state, your body can train itself to kill the virus so it’s better prepared to kill the full strength version down the road, if it’s introduced into your system.

So why does it not work sometimes? Well, what if the copy of the video game you received was Halo, but the real disease is Call of Duty? You’ve prepared for the wrong game. There isn’t just one influenza virus, there are various strains. So it’s important that the medical field do their research well and introduce a vaccine that prepares you for the influenza strain that is expected to be most prevalent.

Now, let’s also explore the effects on your body when you get a vaccine. Your immune system is not magic, it uses energy from what you consume—energy you would otherwise use to run, jump, and play.

So it’s not uncommon for some short-term effects as your body diverts its resources to the battle you’ve just entered it into with the vaccine. When you get sick, you get weak also, right? It’s because your body is diverting energy to fight the virus you have. Whether it’s a vaccine or a live virus, your immune system has a lot of work to do, and you will be affected in that moment.

Since every person is different, people’s reactions will vary. Some people might get the vaccine and feel almost nothing, others may get the vaccine and feel like their energy level has been reduced by half. It’s for this reason that Rand Paul suggested staggering these immunizations so that your body can tackle one virus at a time to keep the short-term weakening effects to a minimum. Plus, if your immune system is busy fighting one battle, it may not be well-suited to fight another, which should make basic sense.

Now that we’ve covered the facts, let’s get towards the opinion of whether it should be optional or mandatory.

Vaccines are rather effective, but they’re not bulletproof. Depending on the vaccine, you will see here that the CDC has found the effectiveness to vary anywhere from as low as 59% and as high as 92%. This is the single most important factor I used in forming my opinion.

Some people online have posted memes asking the question, “If vaccines work, and you’ve had one, why are you concerned if I get one?”58737535[1]

On the face of it, it seems like a fair question, but it’s one born out of ignorance. As I stated above, at best, they seem about 90% effective. So imagine a scenario that I am interacting with you, and you have the virus in question. If you haven’t been vaccinated, there’s a 1:10 chance I may get the disease from you. But if you’ve also been vaccinated, that means my risk now goes from 1:10 to 1:100 (1/10 x 1/10 = 1/100). The more people who get vaccinated, the more the odds go down.

If enough get vaccinated, the odds will eventually exceed the number of people in an area, and the disease will likely be eradicated. Meaning that if the odds of you catching it get to 1:1,000, but there’s only 900 people in your community, the odds would then favor eradication of the disease—basic math.

Assuming you’re not an anarchist, almost all of us believe government’s duties are to protect our rights. Statists think government has many more duties, but I don’t know of any non-anarchists championing government causes that don’t include protecting rights first. The most important of these rights? The right to life.

So if vaccines are anything less than 100% effective, which they are, government enforcing you to get one isn’t for your benefit, it’s to protect others from you if you catch the virus.

What so often happens is people want to create a paradox to sound smart, something no one should ever intelligently do. For instance, it’s like asking a Christian if God can build a wall so high even he can’t climb it—a purely nonsensical  question.

The Pet Paradox
The Pet Paradox

Arguing that vaccines should be a choice creates a similar liberty-paradox. Because while you’re giving liberty to one person, you’re effectively taking it away from everyone else they’ll come in contact with, which mathematically, is a net loss for liberty.

It would be no different from arguing that slavery should be legal because it gives liberty to the slave owner, or as Greg Gutfeld pointed out (I don’t want to take credit for his argument), it would be like legalizing drinking and driving because you’re restoring liberty to the future AA member.

The only way you are truly for liberty is if you champion the view that gives the greatest amount of liberty. Giving one person liberty while denying the rights of ten others, is not a libertarian position, it’s a selfish one, in my opinion.

Now, you can rightfully argue I’ve created my own liberty-paradox by denying the right of the anti-vaccine person, but I have an answer for that. If they choose to self quarantine in some way, then by all means, let them not vaccinate. I’m perfectly OK with that—problem solved, paradox gone.

Otherwise, I think the only fair libertarian position is that you cannot own a slave, you cannot drink and drive, you cannot drive a car without insurance to cover me if you hit me, and as much as I hate government mandates, I feel you should not be allowed to introduce yourself or your children into the public arena unless you vaccinate.

 

 

 

 

 

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.