HOW TO TOPPLE IMMORAL MONUMENTS WITHOUT FORCE

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Travis Hallman, August 17, 2017

Physically damaging property that isn’t owned by oneself is aggression. Taxing citizens to maintain property is also aggression. Aggression is immoral, impractical, and (above all) not necessary. If you perceive taxing and damaging other’s property as wrong then you may be a libertarian.

This libertarian does not personally support glorifying monuments that represent any form of aggression (such as the Robert E. Lee statue representing slavery, the Vladimir Lenin statue representing communism, the Nathan Bedford Forrest Monument representing the original grand wizard of the KKK, the El Mesteño blue demon horse of death in Denver, and more). Furthermore, I believe Libertarians would have fought the war within the United States to abolish slavery without the intentions to draft slaves into a military (like Abraham Lincoln did).

How do we abolish immoral monuments without using force?

Simple answer, free markets.

What is a free market?

A free market consists of economic freedom such that anybody can open a business without having to pay the government for permission (permits, licenses, etc). A free market has no taxes, eliminating reasons for corporations to partner with politicians for tax breaks. A free market does not allow bailouts, letting businesses have setbacks, avoiding the creation of artificial monopolies. A free market does not allow patents. These economic freedoms enable new competition to compete more efficiently. Click here to see how free markets empower green markets!

How does a free market abolish immoral monuments?

Allowing monuments to be maintained by private owners would allow the owners to require a pay-per-view for the monuments, in museums for example. The immoral monuments that have a lacking of demand for viewing could be abolished by the private owners if they’re not profitable. The immoral monuments that have a demand for viewing would continue to have a supply. There is no reason to abolish immoral monuments with high enough of a demand to continue the pay-per-view business because it’s still deemed to have historical value by the consumer. However, you could collect funds to (consensually) purchase this property and abolish it. That choice may not be pragmatic because profits are attainable.

When will the immoral monuments be abolished?

History creates itself daily with new stories and new monuments. Eventually all (current) monuments will lose their appeal and be replaced with new monuments. Even if they aren’t, I don’t agree with the practices of the ancient Mayans or Egyptians but that doesn’t mean I feel the temples and pyramids should be demolished.

How do we establish a free market?

The libertarian party is the largest political party that consistently supports free markets.


2.0 ECONOMIC LIBERTY

“Libertarians want all members of society to have abundant opportunities to achieve economic success. A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society.”
Lp.org/platform

Voting libertarian in upcoming local, state, and national elections expresses you care about the methods which monuments are allowed to exist or be abolished.

Ask A Libertarian Facebook page encourages you to message us with your questions!

In liberty,

-Travis Hallman

 

Battle of the Laws

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Kristopher Morgan, August 14th

One of the hardest aspects of being a libertarian is being portrayed as someone who does not want any of the goods and services provided by the state.  For example,  when libertarians express the notion that government should not be involved in something like education, our opponents sometimes assume we don’t want an educated population.  Sometimes they’re just creating a strawman, but just as often they are sincere in their belief.  Why do people automatically assume if you don’t want the government to provide a service, it means you don’t want the service to exist at all?  It occurred  to me that the misunderstanding is due to competing philosophies of law.  The libertarian conclusion that natural law is just and moral, while positivism is not, is what separates us from the rest of society, and the consequences of that finding run much deeper than we realize.

Positivism

Positivism dominates society in terms of what constitutes a legit approach to law.  According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Legal positivism is the thesis that the existence and content of law depends on social facts and not on its merits…  positivism is the view that law is a social construction.” In essence, in positivism law is seen as artificial, and as such, the approach isn’t limited by concerns for natural rights.  It’s no wonder there are so many laws in the US the average citizen commits three felonies every day.  Society wants legislation passed and rulers push to make it happen.  A good example is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the bill gets voted on, approved, and signed into law by our politicians.  There is clearly demand for more affordable healthcare, so the political system proposed legislation to solve the problem, and it eventually became law.  Furthermore, the biggest supporters of the ACA paint anyone wanting it repealed as monsters who want to see tens of millions of people dying in the street.  But what if that’s not really the case?  What if the so-called monsters don’t see government as the only acting body within society?  What if we also happen to have an entirely different philosophy of law; one that is incompatible with positivism?

Natural Law

Allaboutphilosophy describes natural law as law that “finds its power in discovering certain universal standards in morality and ethics.” Basically, people who subscribe to natural law believe that concepts of right and wrong are what matter.  In natural law, rules are discovered, not legislated.  Law is not seen an artificial construct, rather we develop our understanding of right and wrong and the human condition is what determines what law ought to be.  Governments are artificial.  They don’t sprout up on their own, people have to form them.  Since they’re made of people, they are held to the same moral standards as everyone else in society.  So when a libertarian says they oppose a bill, such as the ACA, they do so because they perceive violations of natural law.  Private citizens could never get away with using an armed force to regulate local insurance companies and hospitals the way the government does.  Most of us would look at citizens behaving in such a manner and label them criminals.  Natural law does not make a distinction between governing body and private people.  Standards of behavior are universal, not dependent on artificial classes (in this case of rulers and subjects).

Which Is More Just?

Despite what goes on in politics, in private life most people are already followers of natural law.  We don’t hurt each other, we don’t steal from each other, etc. because deep down we identify those actions as flat out wrong.  In fact, if a policeman were caught observing a theft and not confronting the suspect, people would be outraged.  Nobody sits around reading gigantic books on law; but we do assume that we will not be harassed too much if we don’t harm anyone and drive safely.  Because of positivism, we have a superstructure in society that possesses the power to take money from other people through force, to ensure compliance with society’s artificial laws.  So why do we bother making theft a crime?  Why do we get so concerned if a thief knocks over a 7/11 and makes off with a few measly hundred dollars, when all children born last year already ‘owe’ the government $42,000?  While it may be true that security services are paid for through taxation, using taxation as a means removes the universality feature of justice.  Having one law that says you get to take through force, yet another that says nobody else can, is clearly meant to create privileges for those in power.

Positivism empowers political forces at the expense of everyone.  Artificial laws always come from politicians, regardless of what form of government.  But in natural law, we are all free to hold each other accountable to universal standards of behavior rooted in the human condition.  We all have the right to defend ourselves and what is rightfully ours.  For physical survival, the one thing everyone has to have to satisfy their needs for food, water, and shelter is property.  Property is nothing more than having control over resources.  It follows logically that interference with the property of another undermines their attempts to satisfy their needs, and so our guide for determining if natural law is violated is whether property is violated.

Society has to choose between these two philosophies.  Either legal positivism is just, in which case law has no real meaning and justice is really just about power and pandering to it; Or natural law is correct, in which case we have to start looking at government as an agency that has no right to initiate force to make its ends meet.  Justice is based on universal standards that flow consistently from the human condition which nobody has the right to take away.  The choice is ours.

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Individualism vs. Collectivism: A False Dichotomy

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Kristopher Morgan, July 19, 2017

In political philosophy, individualism and collectivism are treated as two opposing forces that duke it out in an attempt to find justice.  For collectivists, to quote Mr. Spock, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” In politics, this idea leads to governments who willingly encroach on rights for the benefit of society.  Individualists see this as the barbaric tyranny of the majority.  The people have no power to violate the rights of others so neither should the state.  While these ideas seem different, in practice they are actually two sides of the same coin.

Collectivism

In a brief article on collectivism, Armstrong Economics describes collectivism as a “term used to denote a political or economic system in which the means of production and the distribution of goods and services are controlled by the people as a group.” This usually occurs through the state.  In socialism it means the state takes control through direct ownership.  In interventionism, ownership may remain in private hands, but the state exercises control through heavy regulations and taxation.  

Individualism

Boundless explained individualism as incompatible with collectivism.  “Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses the moral worth of the individual. Individualists promote the exercise of one’s goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing external interference upon one’s own interests by society or institutions such as the government.” The economic corollary of individualism is capitalism, where ownership of property and control of it rests with the individual, and taxation and regulations are relatively low.

Sounds simple enough, right?  Collectivists support state power to carry out the will of society when it conflicts with individual motives.  Individualists think it completely immoral for governments to disrespect rights.  How can these two possibly be one-in-the-same?

Collectivism In Practice

The stated goal of collectivism is to put decision-making power into the hands of the many over the few, or the one, through government power.  Using the state as a means to accomplish this goal is entirely counter-productive.  Governments are always a minority of the population.  In the United States, the Federal Government is made up of 535 members of Congress, nine Supreme Court Justices, and one President.  Even when local governments are taken into account, the legislators and executives are vastly outnumbered by the general population.  This means when laws are passed and enforced, a minority is forcing their will upon the majority.  While the idea of a minority representing the will of the majority of voters seems reasonable, there is simply no possible way they can know nor understand the values of so many people.  Claiming to represent the general public is one thing, actually doing it is quite another.  Not only do politicians lack the knowledge they need, but by codifying decisions in formal law, it becomes difficult for us to change our minds.  For example, those voters who first supported the war in Iraq in 2003 are not in a position to stop funding it now.  Is it not a little bizarre that we look at countries that are run by dictators, a single will forced upon an entire population, and call it a collective?  

Individualism In Practice

Individualism, where decision making lies with private property owners, appears as though a minority of people are in charge.  There are fewer rich people who own businesses than there are laborers, but the profit motive keeps this control in check.  To gain profits, capitalists and entrepreneurs have to sell goods to consumers.  Consumers reward those who satisfy their preferences by frequenting their establishments.  The little acknowledged truth in these relationships is that everyone is a consumer.  Everyone at minimum needs food and water to survive.  Entrepreneurs who fail to satisfy consumers are put out of business by those who do.  Since consumers drive production, and everyone is a consumer, the collective finds its power within the individualist framework.  When we are free to make choices and live our lives as we see fit, with nobody using law to suppress our will, the outcome is a society that embraces diversity by respecting individual rights.  Diversity is far stronger than pure conformity, as there are multiple approaches to solving complex problems.

Effects on Political Discourse

When a minority of politicians make laws that affect the majority of people, we can safely say the collective loses its influence.  This is most visible in corporate welfare.  Are there really citizens who would consider giving their hard earned money to enormous, multinational, corporations for nothing in return?  If consumers preferred to give their money to said corporations, they would not need the welfare in the first place. Everywhere law is used, collective choice is diluted.  This is a bold hypothesis, but luckily there is a way to test it.

The test for determining if a law truly reflects collective will is to repeal the law in question.  A perfect example is the marketplace plans created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  At Obamacareplans.com, one is free to shop various plans created by the ACA.  Being created by a matter of law, if this marketplace does not reflect true consumer preferences, it is a fine example of power weakening our collective choices.  By repealing at least the marketplace portion of the bill, we can put it to the test.  If it satisfies demand, it will stand on its own without the power of law supporting it.  Entrepreneurs will declare it an efficient use of resources and maintain the business model.  Consumers will frequent the marketplace and make their purchases.  If it collapses, it will disappear and its resources can be put to better use.  

Conclusion

I am a libertarian, but I also believe in the collective.  At first I considered collectivist societies similar to The Borg in Star Trek.  The borg are a cybernetic race linked to a single consciousness, all members sharing a single will.  Though their actions are all directed towards the same goals, their personalities are completely replaced.  An entire species is subjected to the will of a single member, in their case, The Borg Queen.  How can it be called a collectivist society if the entire species is directed by the mind of one?  They don’t celebrate differences in preference or diversity in thinking. All signs of autonomy are eradicated from the collective.  To be truly collectivist, all members of a species must be able to make their own decisions and express themselves free from subjugation and coercion.  By taking the allocation of resources away from consumer control, politicians create an environment where power trumps collective will.  To be strong, we have to band together against centralized control.  Those who use the word collective in conjunction with the idea of a society dominated through law actually want the wills of those around them replaced, similar to The Borg. Such a person may be described as despotic or tyrannical, but hardly collectivist.  Power is the rejection of those around you. It is the need to dominate others instead of allowing society to absorb their individuality.  

Individualism and collectivism are not opposing forces.  The collective only has power if its members have control of their own lives.  A government that has the power to encroach on any individual’s rights has actually seized power over the entire collective, as we are all subject to law.  It’s no wonder the so-called collectivist societies in the 20th century butchered so many of their own people.  How can society thrive if our individual wills are undermined?  It is a contradiction.  Perhaps the best illustration of this point was made by Martin Niemoller when he said:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

 

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Decreasing the homicide rate in Chicago

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Cameron Williams, July 19, 2017

What I usually hear from the people of Chicago who want to decrease the homicide rate there is “Take the guns away and there will be no homicides.” In theory they’re right. If no guns are present in Chicago, or anywhere for that matter, gun-related homicides would then disappear. However, is it really necessary to take guns from legal and responsible gun owners? Is it legal or illegal gun owners committing crimes at high rates?

This topic is tricky. There are multiple solutions. One solution would be to allow responsible gun ownership and defensive training in areas of high crime. This skilled and armed community would act as a deterrent for would-be criminals. Last year, Chicago had well over 700+ homicides. What communities suffered the most? Black communities. Under gun laws that heavily favor the restriction of gun ownership, the people of Chicago were still unable to protect their families and communities.

I support Maj Toure’s “Black Guns Matter” (BGM) movement of pro-second amendment rights and gun safety. BGM is a pro-second amendment movement aimed at educating urban communities on their second amendment rights and responsibilities. The BGM movement has given attention to a much misunderstood topic. Join me and the Libertarian Party of Chicago as we move forward in making Chicago citizens safer and more knowledgeable through gun ownership.

 

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The Guise of Neutrality

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Andrew Patts- Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Sacramento- July 13, 2017

A popular stance to take in the “Battle of the Internet” is to side with the FCC in support of what is known as Net Neutrality. It is such a widely popular stance that objectors are nearly demonized; who could possibly be against the fair and free exchange of ideas known as the internet (this is due to its moniker, more on that later)? For a long time I sided with the FCC; I signed petitions with John Oliver, spread awareness on Facebook, I helped my mom write a college essay in support of Net Neutrality. My loyalty to the cause was unquestionable.

My opinion of the matter began to change after reading and receiving yet another bombardment of the atrocities that would be committed by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) without the FCC’s regulation. It came to the point that I found myself becoming suspicious of the one-sided, dark and hyperbolic language that was common in defense of the FCC Regulation.

The argument in favor of FCC Regulation (I refuse to call it by its purposely innocuous title) is that without it, ISPs would destroy the freedom that the internet provides by manipulating and censoring what content is visible to consumers. The ISPs would force fledgling companies to pay a fee in order to have its content delivered to homes. Netflix would be forced to pay exorbitant fees to Comcast for the privilege of having premium bandwidth; fees that would be passed down to the consumer. Netflix would be able to outbid its competition for rights to the bandwidth. I argue that these are healthy indicators of a free market. Not only does the FCC’s Regulation strip the free market of these indicators, but it merely shifts oversight of these indicators from the people who find it to be in their best interest to watch these markers to people who have no vested interest in advancing technology, but rather a maintenance of the status quo.

Without the government, who would prevent Comcast from blocking Fox News or CNN from their customers? Who would prevent Comcast from charging ridiculous fees to one news organization but not the other? The free market. Comcast owns their service, it’s their property and they can do as they wish with it – if they want to restrict the internet to everyone but those who were willing to pay $1000 a month, let them! They’ll find a 99% reduction in subscription and their competition will love Comcast for their horrible decision to restrict the internet. In a free market and society, news of Comcast’s blatant censorship and restriction of the internet would be far-reaching; even consumers who don’t ascribe to the political views of the organization in question would be hesitant to continue their business with Comcast. How long could a company survive the economic pressure to remove roadblocks from their service and provide the best possible internet to the most amount of people (to make the most amount of money, those greedy capitalists!)?

The FCC, on the other hand, would have the authority to do everything Comcast did in the previous hypothetical situation. Fox News? Hate Speech. CNN? Fake news. The FCC, depending on whose administration oversees the agency (currently, President Trump and his administration), would have the power to force organizations to pay registration fees in order to buy the privilege to be on the internet in the first place. The constitutionality of such an action would be called into question. Months or years may pass while waiting for the decision of the Supreme Court, and, depending on whose administration, the Supreme Court may rule that the FCC’s actions are unconstitutional or they may fabricate an obscure but justifiable reason that the FCC is allowed to charge one organization but not another. In the former situation, you could switch providers. Good luck switching governments in the latter situation.

It is Comcast’s right to run their service as they please. Imagine the possibility of Comcast charging exorbitant fees to new companies who are trying to gain market entry. Suppose Comcast and Myspace have an agreement that Myspace would give Comcast x amount of money to prevent startup social media companies from posing a threat. In order to keep Myspace pleased and to make more money, they charge Facebook an enormous fee that will prevent them from solidifying any real market share. I say, good for them!

While Comcast is busy suppressing innovation, their competition is welcoming it with open arms by eliminating fees altogether. Facebook goes to ATT and flourishes. Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder, and countless other companies see that there is money to be made in rebuking Comcast and their fees so they switch to ATT as well. Comcast and Myspace would stagnate and die.

It is in Comcast’s best interest (financially) to provide the most open internet possible in order to attract innovators to their service. The notion that Comcast would willingly hamstring themselves by stifling startups, I came to realize, is nothing but a scare tactic – and that’s where I saw the narrative in favor of FCC Regulation beginning to lose its veneered facade.

With FCC Regulation, on the other hand, large corporations would have a method of buying votes in the government to preserve their status as primary market holders. This isn’t a new concept. We see lobbyists of every facet of society bidding for the votes of politicians – the FCC would be no exception. Myspace would be able to spend millions of dollars that startups don’t have in order to buy a few votes in the FCC to preserve their status as the dominant social media. In order to mask their corruption, they would obfuscate their intent by creating hoops and ladders that startups would be forced to overcome in order to have a (virtual) seat at the table. This would cost startups not only in programming, but in lawyers to make sure they comply with the purportedly “Free” internet of FCC Regulation. Instead of investing in their infrastructure to provide groundbreaking new features, startups would be forced to pay for their compliance with the law and adopt features that consumers are sick of, don’t want, or don’t need.

One fear tactic that proponents of FCC Regulation use is the idea that Comcast would begin charging people and companies alike for premium access to their bandwidth, or else Comcast would throttle internet speeds. This is a practice that every company does. Pay X amount for 10 mbps, or pay Y amount for 100 mbps. Proponents of FCC Regulation believe that this is extortionate. Do people have a right to demand paying less for more? Yes they do. But, it is also the right of Comcast to assess the viability of allowing an additional amount of stress to pummel their servers. It’s also the right of the consumer to switch to a service that charges less for more. FCC Regulation to treat every user as equal would have detrimental effect on everyone’s experience if it were enforced to its fullest sense of equality.

I argue, let Comcast practice extortion. Companies would leave Comcast’s service and flock to other services, and consumers would follow – leaving Comcast to suffer a slow but inevitable bankruptcy. Preventing this from happening and forcing ISPs to adopt certain regulations only allows inefficient but established ISPs to maintain their market share while hindering startups who would be expected to comply with inefficient standards that result in the consumer paying more for less. FCC Regulation would empower established corporations, diminishing consumer choice and stifling innovation.

Let us imagine that Comcast, in a lust for greed, decided to allow companies like Netflix and Hulu to wage an economic bandwidth war against each other in an effort to buy the most bandwidth and force the other to suffer limited speeds in order to foster a better rapport among their own customers. I don’t see this as a bad thing. This sort of cutthroat economic warfare culls the herd of devious ISPs. Netflix and Hulu would duke it out, buying bandwidth and reveling in the company’s inability to service their customers. But truly, who is hurt the most? The ISP. When Hulu loses to Netflix and ultimately discontinues service with Comcast, others who love Hulu’s service would leave Comcast as well. This scenario would play out similarly to the one outlined earlier; Comcast’s decision to play favorites with certain companies would utterly backfire when the established order becomes old, outdated, and unfashionable. Comcast would suffer as a result of their greed. This is how the free market punishes the greedy.

FCC Regulation, on the other hand, would expose the internet to the world of politics and allow favorites to be played by the politicians. Netflix could hire lobbyists to ensure that regulations are written to ensure their dominance and force their competition to overcome jungles of red tape for the simple act of gaining market entry. If Comcast were to do this and Hulu discontinued service, Comcast would be held accountable and be punished by the free market. In the case of FCC Regulation, Comcast would be absolved from their involvement and the internet would be beholden to the interest of the 1%, lobbyists, and large corporations like Comcast.

The solution to this problem (if a problem existed in the first place) is to allow the free market to reward the greed that fosters innovation, entrepreneurship, and the uninhibited freedom of ideas. The free market does not reward those whose greed results in the stifling of advancement. FCC Regulation rewards the inverse of the free market. Rather than rewarding innovation, the government rewards the established corporations. Rather than rewarding entrepreneurship, the government creates barriers of entry to protect their own greedy interests. Rather than unleashing freedom, the government would have us apply for permits to practice our free speech over the internet.

Some may call me paranoid when I mention the possibility of government tyranny; they may tell me to put on my tin foil hat when I say that the FCC would have Apple surrender their encryption to the FBI. I know there has never been a single documented case in the entire history of the internet, anywhere in the world, of a government seizing control of the internet and confining its use to state-sanctioned activities, but I embrace my paranoia, nonetheless.

P.S. I find the name choice nefarious in and of itself. “Net Neutrality,” who could possibly want a restricted internet? The name shuts down meaningful conversation and obfuscates the true objective of the law – government control. I liken it to naming a gun ban the “Safe Children Act.” Who wants children in danger? It’s a disgusting manipulation of emotion that should be addressed. “The PATRIOT Act” is a moniker that also appeals to emotion rather than logic; a similar bill named “The Orwellian Expansion of Governmental Powers of Surveillance” would have a snowflake’s chance in hell to be passed.

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A Libertarian Perspective on Trump’s Travel Ban

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M. J. July 13, 2017

Supporters of Trump’s Travel Ban may find themselves justifiably filled with satisfaction that our President has taken a bold step to countering, what for many Americans, is a pressing issue of national security. The federal government of recent memory has been enmeshed in an endless cycle of flaccid chattering, far removed from concrete solutions and novel approaches to solving the myriad issues facing the contemporary United States. When people look to a government for action and receive only glib drivel, a leader willing to take action is a welcome change. However, I caution that adoration of this Travel Ban is perhaps premature, and misplaced. Trump’s Travel Ban is a brute force approach to solving a complex and nuanced issue, and may diminish the United States’s global standing while emboldening our enemies. What follows in this writing is a Libertarian analysis of the Travel Ban, potential consequences, and what is perhaps a more useful approach to reforming our immigration and visa policy.

For the liberty minded individual, a ban on anything is likely to evoke a strong sensation of revulsion. This writing seeks to examine Trump’s Travel Ban, through the lens of Libertarian mores. A national origin based Travel Ban is likely to offend two themes central to Libertarian philosophy. First, one residing in a country where travel to the United States is banned, is consigned to an existence in which he or she is likely prohibited from exercising his or her personal agency because of the tyranny and repression, that is likely present in such a state. Secondly, by fanning the flames of discord in the majority Muslim countries in which travel from is banned or severely curtailed, the United States’ position in the world is diminished. This assumes that a nation is more likely to participate in cordial relations with other nations if that nation does not purposefully create rifts and feuds with entire national populations. This Libertarian’s position on foreign policy is that we avoid complex entanglements, often the product of alliances, and lessen the likelihood of global conflict by maintaining a state of cordial cooperation with all nations of the world.

Free exercise of one’s personal agency is a central tenet of Libertarianism, and if a state or social structure exists in which one is not freely able to exercise his or her personal agency, personal liberty is but a distant dream. Providing a substrate that facilitates the growth and exercise of free will, as long as such exercise does not purposefully cause harm to another or impede his or her own exercise of personal agency, is perhaps the highest goal of Libertarianism, regarding how Libertarianism pertains to the individual actor. However, it is important to consider, if a free society is flooded with those who seek to do it harm or impose their restrictive beliefs on others, the ability of those already residing in the country to exercise their agency is severely diminished. Due care must be taken when permitting foreign nationals access to the United States. We should strive to establish an immigration system that accurately assesses the intentions of all those who seek to enter the United States. In short, one who can demonstrate he or she would be an asset to this nation by way of his or her personal merit or an exuberance for western ideals, and an affinity with classical liberalism should always be permitted access to visit or reside in the United States. Those who seek to do this nation harm, defile its liberty, or repress its people should never be granted access. A blanket travel ban is purely an infantile approach to tackling a complex issue, and is perhaps likely to do far more harm than good.

Individuals currently residing in repressive states are likely to suffer because of this travel ban, however, this nation may bear the brunt of the deleterious consequences. If our enemies can point to our actions as a recruiting tool, the consequences of our bad actions are only amplified. Certainly, we want to coexist in a world in which fewer rather than greater numbers of foreign nationals hate us, and alienating entire national populations does not seemingly present as an effective strategy regarding the realization of this goal. Furthermore, it is likely that bad actors exist in the countries impacted by the travel ban, however it is equally likely that similar bad actors currently reside in all nations on earth. I suggest that most of the people caught in the snare of Trump’s Travel Ban, are no less likely to pose a threat to the United States than the average United States Citizen. However, one who held warm feelings for the United States before then ban, may now possess a cold reserve to do it harm. This is the danger of blanket bans based on national origin. Banning the free movement of one solely based, on his or her national origin, is antithetical to the essence of Libertarian ideals.
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How Free Markets Empower Green Markets

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“It constantly amazes me that defenders of the free market are expected to offer certainty and perfection while government has only to make promises and express good intentions.”
Lawrence W. Reed

How does a free market create a more environmentally friendly business economy?

Reasonably, many voters hesitate to vote for free market political candidates due to concerns that unrestricted and unregulated businesses will naturally choose the least caring routes for profits. Another concern is that a free market will require individuals to shop more wisely (whereas individuals will regularly shop for the least expensive and most efficient product/ service). This simply is not true and here is why:

The free market would create more competition for corporations such as Wal Mart. These corporations would then be forced to offer the best products (green) at the cheapest prices (or fail). Therefore, the responsibility of the consumer to shop wisely would not be required due to the business practices of the corporations who must keep the best products (green) at the lowest prices because that’s what customers want.

A free market consists of economic freedom such that anybody could open a business without having to pay the government for permission (permits, licenses, etc). A free market would have no taxes,eliminating reasons for corporations to partner with politicians for tax breaks. A free market would not allow bailouts, allowing businesses to have setbacks, and avoiding the creation of artificial monopolies. These economic freedoms would enable new competition to compete more efficiently.

Would a free market allow businesses to operate using brown energy?

Yes, A free market would allow businesses to utilize brown energy, but would not offer them bailout money while allowing anybody to open a green company right next door. However, not forcing new competition to pay taxes or purchase licenses would enable new competition to invest that money into the business to more efficiently compete. Then new competition could offer a more efficient (green) product or service at an equal or lesser price to drive the corrupt corporations out of the market. Corporations (like Wal-Mart) will always choose the more efficient product or service if the price is the same or less.

The free market is a solution to climate change that does not require any form of force, coercion, extortion, or incarceration. It is the pragmatic and ethical solution.

Respectfully, are there any other solutions which do not incorporate force, coercion, extortion, or incarceration? Just to clarify, if anybody doesn’t pay taxes then that person will go to jail. Because of this, using any tax dollars is a form of theft called extortion.

Does supporting a free market simultaneously support anarchism?

“Although I wish the anarchists luck, since that’s the way we ought to be moving now. But I believe we need government to enforce the rules of the game. By prosecuting antitrust violations, for instance. We need a government to maintain a system of courts that will uphold contracts and rule on compensation for damages. We need a government to ensure the safety of its citizens–to provide police protection. But government is failing at a lot of these things that it ought to be doing because it’s involved in so many things it shouldn’t be doing.”
A 1973 Interview with Milton Friedman – Playboy Magazine

In other words, if a business is polluting the property you own (whether by damaging your air via dangerous inhalants, damaging your ground via fracking, etc) then you would rightfully be able to sue that business. After enough lawsuits and not receiving bailout money then that business will have to either change its methods of operation, increase the prices (driving them out of the market), or run out of funds to continue operating.

“The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.” -Milton Friedman

What if a corrupt corporation that uses brown energy buys out new technology that utilizes green energy?

The free market would not allow patents to exist. Therefore, the corporation may offer new competition money in exchange for the new competition to cease production. However, thousands of other entrepreneurs across the globe would be able to create this new technology and possibly accept the same offer from the corrupt corporation. But this would not be a wise decision for the corrupt corporation because eventually it will lose all funds from the purchases. All of which still would not prevent the  next new company from utilizing the new technology, driving the corrupt corporation out of the market.

In opposition, would disallowing patents be detrimental to new businesses because big corporations could simply mass produce more of the product without requiring the purchase of a patent?

“Up to 25 million of our customers are going to use this [new technology]; it’s very motivating. And not just 25 million of our customers but other companies tend to follow us. You know it takes a few years but other companies tend to copy us if it works.” –Steve Jobs

In other words, it takes time for new technology to prove itself to be beneficial. In addition, it takes time for any competition to replicate, and they may never precisely emulate the new technology.  This amount of time would allow new competition to attain profits and create more efficient (green) technology of their own in abundance.

To further illustrate:

For 125 years, Coke’s secret recipe has remained one of the most heavily guarded trade secrets in the world.

“The [Coca-Cola] company has always said, and as far as I know it’s true, that at any given time only two people know how to mix the 7X flavoring ingredient,” Mark Pendergrast, historian and author of For God, Country and Coke told This American Life. “Those two people never travel on the same plane in case it crashes; it’s this carefully passed-on secret ritual and the formula is kept in a bank vault.”

The libertarian party is the largest political party that consistently supports free markets. Voting for libertarians at local, state, and federal levels expresses one cares for the environment because corrupt corporations will always circumvent regulations and restrictions whereas new competing business cannot. Only a free market, which removes big corporate protections, will allow room for smaller, greener companies to arise and compete.

*Disclaimer:

This article is written under the assumption climate change is 100% man-made. However, climates have always had changes and scientists have not reached a consensus on how much is man-made vs naturally occurring. Please consider accounting for natural occurrence when debating the practicality of climate change.

In liberty,

-Travis Hallman

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The Why of Government

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Kristopher Morgan, July 13, 2017

It’s a question every libertarian faces at some point in our lives.  The origins of Governments as they exist today, in the form of the state (a monopoly of legitimate coercion), are important to understand if we are ever going to break this vicious cycle.  We can gain an intuitive understanding of how governments were first formed by looking at the evolution of man and the formation of history’s earliest civilization.  The journey begins before the arrival of modern man.

 

Who We Were Before

We have all heard the scientific name Homo Sapiens, but you may be unaware that Homo Sapiens evolved from an earlier form of man called Homo Erectus.  As can be guessed, the name signifies the first time the genus could stand upright.  Existing around two million years ago up to about 200,000 years ago, not only were they taller than their predecessors, their brains were around 50% greater in volume (still only 60% that of modern man). Their large brains gave them the capacity to cook with fire and make tools.  As Homo Erectus gained more intelligence and used more tools, modern man was ready to make an appearance, as what we call a Neanderthal.

Neanderthals not only used tools and controlled fire, they also buried their dead and may have had language.  They lived in what is referred to today as a nuclear family, and even took care of others who were too sick to care for themselves.  Their diets consisted of meat, cooked vegetables, and they occasionally engaged in cannibalism.  Brutish as they seem to have been, and dumb as portrayed, it is believed that breeding with their evolutionary superiors is what lead to their extinction.  Modern man has only been on the scene for the last 30,000 – 50,000 years.  

The human brain thrives when stress is reduced, so it’s likely as man learned to use tools and become more productive, stress over survival was reduced and intelligence gained.  People today will hopefully never know what it’s like to have to resort to cannibalism as a means of survival… but what we can do is imagine the amount of stress that might cause a person to feel.  Before civilizations could rise, farming had to be learned in the area of food production.  As hunter-gatherers learned to farm land, modern civilization formed.  Before examining humanity’s earliest civilizations, we should know something about what conditions were like just before.

 

Pre-Civilization

Prior to farming, our ancestors survived as hunter-gatherers.  Since people traveled in groups of about twelve, decisions were made on the basis of consensus.  Each small group was part of a “clan” that consisted of about a hundred adults.  There were elders who were seen as wise, or even mystical, but they didn’t have authority the way we think of it today.  They were merely trusted to know what is best.  These societies, existing between 10,000bc to present, are the closest thing we know of that could be considered a voluntaryist egalitarian society. All food and resources are shared equally out of a sense of equal needs and social justice. In such small groups, where everyone needs food and everyone labors fairly equally, who has the right to more than others? Eventually hunter-gatherers realized seeds are what make plant food grow, and accrued the idea of farming.

 

Farming And The Dawn of Civilization

The discovery of farming methods, as well as the domestication of animals, is what lead to civilization.  Farming makes it possible for large groups of people to remain in one place and settle, rather than roam the land searching for food.  The first place to achieve civilization was called Mesopotamia, around 3300 bc, a land we refer to today as Iraq.  This was roughly 5,500 years ago, and again, modern man has existed for 30,000 – 50,000yrs.  Mesopotamian government was as one today might expect; a series of city-states owned by Gods with the inhabitants subject to their will.  Distribution of food and resources came from the temple itself, located at the center of the city, where the farmers and craftsmen worked.  

 

The Go-Between

There seems to be very little written about what exactly happened when societies began farming and civilizations formed.  Drawing on what has been presented about hunter-gatherer values, as well as some basic facts about the forming of Ancient Mesopotamia, some logical conclusions can be made.

Farming had to have been first discovered by a few, while other hunter-gatherer tribes continued to search for food.  In fact, according to the timemaps article referenced above, the coming together of civilization “is the result of gradual steps taken over hundreds, even thousands, of years, and only appears to arrive fully formed as written records begin to shed their light”.  Writing came about around 3,500bc but civilization itself may have been established as early as 5,000bc, a 1,500 year gap.  While gathering crops, the gatherers may have come across farms and, not understanding the principles of farming, helped themselves.  The farmers, on the other hand, were finally beginning to produce enough food to eat and survive comfortably.  They had to protect their food from the gatherers.  The only two means to do this would have been peaceful or violent, and we must keep in mind the stress levels early farmers still felt living on subsistence.  Since governments today use violent means to enforce law, we shall turn our attention there.

By violent means, farmers would have repelled intruders on their land.  Rather than opening up the farm for others to join, they would have been upset and fought off the looters.  The likelihood of this method being preferred would become greater the bigger society grew.  Hunter-gatherers often spent their entire lives never meeting another person outside their clan, so it’s likely their ability to sympathize, and therefore behave peacefully, didn’t extend to those beyond their own.

To take on the task of securing the farmland, the bigger and stronger of the population may have been offered food (among other incentives) in exchange for security; an early system of barter.  As farms grew and networked with other farms, the possibility that during periods of low yield, due to circumstances such as famines, climate changes, droughts, etc. some farmers were unable to pay their share of food to those in charge of security.  The security force (hungry, scared, and angry) would have outed such farmers for not paying their fair share, resulting in the rest having to give more; the birth of what we call taxation.  From this point the dots are easy to connect.  Realizing that security forces could be used to make an easier living, the meaning of security could be manipulated the same way it is today.  Including ways that make people believe aggression is security and security alone is just isolationism.  Everything else governments do has been brought about in the same way, politics, and through the same tool, fear.

However accurate this narrative on the formation of governments may be, we still have to wonder why it persists.  Surely modern man and modern society have outgrown our barbaric roots, so what gives?  Well, it turns out we may not be as smart as we think. Though, we are making progress.

 

Why It Continues

As we know, governments have been part of the human experience for almost 7,000 years, since Ancient Mesopotamia.  They began during a time when the world may have been more Hobbesian than we realize, as stress levels were very high due to subsistence.  Today we have far more than we need, which gives humanity the extra time it takes to ask serious questions about the nature of our governments.  Our emotional styles have also moved towards less anxiety, which makes it possible for us to think more clearly and be more accepting of peaceful government.

We have much to overcome intellectually.  The creative use of language noted above has evolved to what we now call propaganda.  In politics, this is what is winning the day; emotionally charged rhetoric designed to excite and feed off fear.  We have news feeds, videos, and pictures that are used by our rulers to make the emotional case for their actions.  Our children are taught politically correct history, in which our government is portrayed as society’s saviour.  Spending our formative years learning such things and pledging our allegiance to “the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands” is all that is needed to lock most people in the statist mindset for their entire lives.  Consider that empiricism itself is only a few hundred years old.

Should people try to break free of their training and be objective, there is a natural psychological barrier holding them back called cognitive dissonance.  When they are faced with information that contradicts their current beliefs, they have a natural need to defend their present beliefs against others.  Dissonance stems from a need for consistency and certainty, which we all have, and it should not be underestimated.  The scientific community has a system of peer review that sprung up naturally in large part due to confirmation bias, a product of dissonance.  We accept and absorb information that confirms what we already believe.  Anyone not aware of this phenomena runs the risk of closing themselves off to ideas that might be more logically consistent and empirically valid.

Conclusions

Governments formed when hunter-gatherers first learned to farm.  They had to have a way of protecting their crops from other hunter-gatherers who had not yet learned the skill.  Those in charge of protecting the farm didn’t have time to grow crops as well, so an early form of barter was established, food for security. Some realized life might be easier in the ranks of security.  During famines and other low yield times, security forces would have used public pressure to gain food from those refusing to pay what they agreed.  Other farmers wanting security for their land would have either gave extra food or joined in in pressuring those who didn’t pay.  This would be the launching pad for taxation.

We still have governments today for a variety of reasons.  Not only have they been a part of life since the first civilizations were formed, not only do we experience dissonance when challenged with the very idea that governments are evil by their nature, but parenting, that is the shaping of future generations, is riddled with barbarism.  The granting of human rights to children is a relatively new concept in the history of parenting.  Lloyd Demause covers the history of parenting and it’s effects on countries in “The Emotional Life of Nations”, a book that is a crucial read for anyone wanting to know how the family ties in to what form of government we create.  We all hear about genetics and nurture, but rarely does anyone mention the phrase psychogenics.

There are steps we can all take to create a better future.  Parents, we can look at embracing parenting techniques that keep our children with a positive emotional style.  Non-parents, please don’t operate under the assumption that the job of the parent is to control their kids so you don’t get annoyed.  All adults can take steps, such as meditation or therapy, to improve our own emotional styles.  The government we have is often a reflection of the overall emotional state we are in.  In short, as Mother Teresa put it, “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.”

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EXCLUSIVE: Inside Info on Larry Sharpe’s Announcement

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Jared Miller July 16, 2017

Larry Sharpe has been everywhere for the past few weeks. He has been making the rounds on libertarian podcasts, putting out more videos, and even using paid ads to hype up his July 12th announcement. There’s been a lot of speculation about what this announcement could be, but no solid info. There is a countdown clock on his webpage, and there’s also been talk on social media about “the biggest libertarian ticket since Jonson/Weld.” There were even (not so serious) rumors circulating about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson seeming to reply to Johnson/Weld’s campaign slogan on SNL. While on the topic of running for president, he stated, “I’m In.”  Of course, unless Dwayne Johnson himself shows up in Sharpe’s announcement, this is all just wild (mostly sarcastic) speculation.

Someone close to Sharpe has approached us with more information on the event. While they would not tell us exactly what the announcement was, we think we have a pretty good idea. I asked them some questions under the condition of anonymity. In light of that, I will be referring to them as “The Emissary.”

AAL: What is Larry’s announcement?

Emissary: Larry’s announcement is about the future of the LP. He’s put in a ton of work behind the scenes this year to give Libertarians replicable new ways to spread our message more effectively, and he’s almost ready to put the next phase of that plan into action.

AAL: Is it political, or is it a new personal project?

Emissary: It’s political. I think a lot of Libertarians have been hoping to see Larry run for office for a while now, and he’s doing it in a way that really leverages the talents and aspirations of the untapped wave of activists we’ve attracted as a movement since 2016.

AAL: Does it have anything to do with his 7 year plan?

Emissary: This is definitely a part of the 7 year plan. The Liberty movement needs a replicable model infrastructure-wise to support great candidates at every level of government, especially candidates who will support other candidates. Larry has really gone above and beyond on both fronts.

AAL: Does this concern the “biggest ticket since Johnson/Weld” I keep hearing about?

Emissary: Larry is an all-in type of guy. If he’s going to go, he’s going to go big.

AAL: Has Larry been in contact with Dwayne Johnson?

Emissary: Haha! I hope so.

AAL: Could this be part of a “long game” leading up to a Sharpe presidential run?

Emissary: There definitely seems to be a lot of excitement around that possibility, so I suppose it’s not out of the question. 2020 will be here before we know it, and it’ll be exciting to see how we evolve as a movement in the next couple years.

AAL: Does it directly involve any other candidates or activists?

Emissary: We have an incredible team on this project, hundreds of talented volunteers at the time of this conversation, and growing every day. That’s one of our top priorities right now, is finding new ways to leverage the talents of our most passionate activists

After talking to The Emissary, we know it is a political run. Most likely it will be something more immediate than a Presidential campaign. If his goal is to be the big ticket race that diverts more attention to the small ticket races, it is likely either a Congressional run, or a state level office. There are many state level candidates in New York that Larry works with very closely, so it would make a lot of sense if he focused his attention there. Our best guess is that Larry will be announcing his candidacy  for Governor of New York. A gubernatorial run would accomplish each of his goals, and as The Emissary hinted, it would be the perfect place to develop a replicable infrastructure for future libertarian campaigns. If we are correct, and Sharpe can use this to create an exportable  “campaign template,” we could start running more efficient and successful campaigns in the future.
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“What does Libertarianism mean to me?”

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Jake Harper July 6, 2017

Liberty: The idea that you or I could pursue our dreams free from compulsion, the foundation on which America was formed. In the years since, we have strayed from the principles of liberty. Libertarianism is the rebirth of that noble idea. Unlike other political ideas or parties, everyone can live as they please so long as they don’t hurt others. Republicans and Democrats demand all of society follow their morals, whether you share them or not. Libertarianism holds the belief that everyone is free to pursue their dreams, so long as they do not harm others; peace is a core principle. As peace flourishes, so too does the human spirit and all of the beauty and prosperity that comes from it. The prosperity I speak of is not only monetary, but spiritual, cultural, and intellectual. Everyone can live precisely how they desire whether they are fundamental Christians or Communists. You can even form communities that function as such, so long as nobody is forced to stay or join. This prosperity also allows us to be charitable and help anyone in need. We are already some of the most charitable people. Imagine if we kept more of what we made. So much of what we make is taken from us; income tax, sales tax, gasoline tax, local taxes and countless others. Equipped with more of our own money and the freedom to use it, the numerous charities that would arise to help our neighbors would be limitless.

 

It is the promise of prosperity and opportunity, and an absence of force that  drew me to the Libertarian Party. If the ideas of peace, tolerance, individualism, limited government, and free markets sound like your principles, or simply a good way to organize a government, I implore you to find a political philosophy with the promise, and proven track record, of creating a bright future for everyone; Libertarianism.

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