The Why of Libertarianism

 

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Kristopher Morgan, May 22, 2017

My journey to libertarianism didn’t start until I graduated high school, spent 4 years in the Army, and was on the final year of my BS in Criminal Justice.  When the economy crashed in 2007, I found myself in awe and searching for answers.  It started me on a journey of self-education that focused heavily in areas of political science, philosophy, and economics.  It is a journey that has helped to define who I am and what my values in life really are.  I would not trade any of it for the world; however, what I find most interesting about libertarians is we are very much the same in these respects.

What makes this article necessary is how libertarians are portrayed by the media.  Here are a few article titles to demonstrate:

Libertarians: Rich White Males of the Republican Party

Libertarianism is for white men: the ugly truth about the right’s favorite movement.

Libertarians: The Great White Hope   

Rather than go through every article I can find and refute every false claim about libertarianism, I have decided simply to lay out the basics of what we think.  

Libertarians, in my experience, take two approaches to politics.  The first approach is the economic approach.  This is why so many libertarians offer entrepreneurship as a replacement for government provided services when questioned.  Austrian economics provides the key to understanding basic economics and how economic growth occurs.  An entrepreneur recognizes demand for a product and obtains capital either through savings or investors and implements a business plan to provide the said service.  All very simple, and an accurate way of understanding economics.  When governments interfere with this process, they distort real demand, make certain products no-longer feasible due to taxation and regulations, making less desirable substitutes available in lieu; a fancy way of saying they make society as a whole poorer.  Since governments operate through the power of law, classes of winners and losers are always created, whereas free exchanges benefit all parties involved.

The second approach to politics is a firm belief in justice.  Libertarians recognize that all human beings possess the same basic characteristics: self-ownership, consciousness, and the need for property to survive.  This need to own property in order to survive gives all of us the right to self-defense.  Without property we can’t meet our basic needs for food, water, or shelter; a species without the ability to defend their property is an endangered species, as others throughout the animal kingdom will swoop in and deprive them of their food.  Hence it follows that the individual has the right to repel any encroachments, from the animal kingdom or from other people, on the rights to their property.  The libertarian, knowing they have the right to self-defense, also recognizes that if they themself attempt to encroach on another’s property, that person also has the right to defend from their attack.  This creates a principle that libertarians live by: The Non-Aggression principle.  This approach to politics is not much concerned with what will provide the strongest economic or social outcome; it is simply a matter of whether or not someone’s property rights were violated.

What both classes have in common; what separates libertarianism from all other ideologies, is the refutation of delusion and respect for truth.  Libertarians do not pretend, for example, that our material problems will be solved if we simply pass a new law.  Passing a law does nothing to add to the amount of goods and services available to us all; only production can do that, and only production of things people demand (not government directed production such as ‘digging holes and filling them back up’).  The justice-oriented libertarian does not pretend that passing a law and sending policemen to enforce said law with guns and other weapons and endless backup is what defines justice.  Justice; natural rights, whatever you want to call it, is everyone’s birthright.

It is my sincere hope that the reader considers what has NOT been said here at least as much as what has been said.  Libertarianism does not mean we cannot have a commune… It does not mean we cannot have charities… It does not mean we believe in state capitalism (that really does benefit the rich)…  There is room for anything and everything in a libertarian society.  What concerns libertarians is the means, not the ends.  As long as coercive means are not being used, libertarians will not oppose it, even if they don’t necessarily agree.  We don’t ask “Who is going to benefit from this?” or “How will this benefit rich white people?”  We ask: Is one party using force against another?

Your Questions Answered: Why Can’t Intervention Fix Capitalism’s Flaws?

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Jared Miller May 22, 2017

One of the worst side effects of this conversation is that most often interventionist policies create exactly the conditions which they claim to prevent. One of the other worst is that people begin to assume, at least to some degree, that legal and moral are interchangeable terms. I’ve been studying on my own for several years now, and so far I haven’t seen many examples of capitalism causing more problems than interventionism/crony corporatism.

Of course, interventionism and cronyism do often go by more appealing names, but they are still the same thing. There is a trend in recent years to refer to anything “good” a government does as Socialism. But socialism is not simply the act of paying for services with tax money, nor is it bringing about some broad moral reformation through government intervention. It is something much more specific. Socialism is when the government owns all means of production. There are plenty of examples of government activity that are not socialist in nature. Military and rule of law aren’t socialist. Taxes for national defense and public safety aren’t socialist. Prevention of fraud and exploitation, and even certain kinds of environmental protection, aren’t socialist.

What we really have is not socialism, or even capitalism. What we currently have is crony corporatism; a system whereby businesses are able to lobby government for special treatment. This leads to a lack of competition since it keeps new businesses from entering the market. Competition keeps profit margins thinner, often boosts wages (contrary to popular belief), and diminishes the wealth gap while also increasing income mobility (the ability to increase your income over time). Any policy that prevents or hinders competition damages the lower and middle classes. These policies make the very thing they supposedly claim to be trying to prevent into an absolute certainty.

“But depressions!!”
Our depression was caused by a glut of cheap credit, which made it a common practice to borrow money in order to invest it. That cheap credit was caused by intervention; specifically the federal reserve manipulating interest rates. After the recession began, the fed also started shrinking the money supply, further exacerbating the already delicate situation. Even if they had done everything right, just the existence of the Fed caused some damaging distortions. Before the fed, large banks would intervene on behalf of the smaller banks in order to limit the effects of financial panics and protect their own bottom line. After the fed, the large banks no longer saw this as their responsibility. As a result, more small banks failed, causing a snowball effect that eventually harmed the large banks too. Similar causes can be found for our more recent recessions as well. The dot com bubble and the housing market bubble were both at the very least amplified to disastrous proportions by bad monetary policy and interventionist legislation. Without them, that particular market may have hit hard times, but they would not have become national, systemic failures.

 

“But child labor!”
Child labor was already by and large a thing of the past when the legislation outlawing it was passed. Don’t get me wrong, if regulation actually had the power to end that kind of thing, then that’s exactly what it should be doing. But in places where child labor happens, it’s because the entire economy is underdeveloped. It’s not a choice between work and school, it’s a choice between work and prostitution, or worse. Kids don’t work because corporations are greedy. Kids work because avoiding homelessness and starvation is more important than education. No law will change that. It just eliminates their only legal means of helping their families survive. And it’s the same with the rest of the labor market. But don’t take my word for it:

Video: “THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH ABOUT SWEAT SHOPS.”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=O2sW2wt3nLU
(Note: this video isn’t supposed to give the full argument, it’s just an introduction to the topic by someone who has spent most of his career studying this specific subject)

“But Monopolies!”

There are very few, if any, examples of big businesses having that kind of power without getting it from the government. The natural business cycle is such that virtually never does a business accumulate monopolistic power without appealing to organized force to eliminate the competition. Instead, legislators are either manipulated or outright bribed into passing legislation that favors one business over another. Often it is with the best of intentions. Even safety and environmental regulations are often pushed by the industries they are being levied against. Usually, there is some moral or humanitarian motive attached to these new restrictions as a means of gaining support, feeding off of the idea of government as a moral force in order to manipulate the masses into voting against themselves in favor of corporate interest. But here’s the trick: the big guys usually already follow those guidelines, and the startup business has no hope of implementing that kind of infrastructure before they even start production. The manufacturing world is overrun with precisely this style of protectionism. Incidentally this is also one invisible factor that leads to more production overseas, and less domestically. Of course, not all regulation comes from corporate interest or emotional manipulation, but the result is the same nonetheless. We may argue about what level of market distortion we are comfortable with in order to promote the wellbeing of the worker, but we cannot ignore its existence. That is how monopolies happen, and it’s how they stay monopolies.

Video: “IDENTIFYING A MONOPOLY: IT’S MORE THAN JUST MARKET SHARE.”

https://www.policyed.org/intellections/identifying-monopoly-its-more-just-market-share/video
(Once again, just a brief introduction to the topic.)

When we say markets are self regulating, we don’t mean that abuse cannot happen. What we mean is that in a free market those who do abuse people are not protected from the consequences of that abuse. As long as there is a law or regulation, there will be someone with deep pockets and great lawyers looking for ways to exploit it or modify it to their advantage. There will always be a politician to bribe who can find ways to prevent a corporation’s competition from ever existing. Without organized force to hide behind, having piles of cash can’t make people buy your product, or use your service. It can’t prevent someone else from starting their own business to do it better.

By putting the economy in the hands of government, we are not preventing people from being exploited. We are ensuring it. That is why communist and socialist countries always develop a wealthy ruling class, and the rest of their citizens suffer. We don’t have to debate that fact. It is what has historically happened every single time.

The interventionists are half right though… free markets don’t make people more moral, and they don’t keep rich people from being assholes. But neither does government. It just gives them hired guns (law is force imposed at the point of a gun), and the power and authority to use them. Only with the backing of the law also comes the assumption that their actions are somehow right or just simply because they are executed through the mechanism of the law.

Hello Patriots!!! Let them know that we expect a #FullRepeal as promised

Hello Patriots!!! Today we take our #FullRepeal fight to the Senate. It is important to note that we don’t know where many of the 52 Republican Senators stand on the healthcare issue but much can be gleaned from their liberty scores, which are provided. There is some speculation that they will change the bill from its current form. So, let them know that we expect a #FullRepeal as promised.

Ben Sasse- Nebraska (Liberty Score 94%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://m.facebook.com/story.php…

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/SenSasse/status/857295504216117257

Dean Heller- Nevada (Liberty Score 61%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://m.facebook.com/story.php…

TWITTER LINK>>>

https://twitter.com/SenDeanHeller/status/862774320061235204

Richard Burr- N. Carolina (Liberty Score 40%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://m.facebook.com/story.php…

TWITTER LINK>>>

https://twitter.com/SenatorBurr/status/857640678217715712

Thom Tillis- N. Carolina (Liberty Score 37%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://m.facebook.com/SenatorThomTillis/photos/a.1583863498515522.1073741828.1576257352609470/1938639513037917/?type=3

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/SenThomTillis/status/862769854134308864

John Hoeven- N. Dakota (Liberty Score 26%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://m.facebook.com/story.php…

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/SenJohnHoeven/status/862760538962632704

Rob Portmam- Ohio (Liberty Score 49%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://m.facebook.com/story.php…

Respond to @SentorEnzi and @SenJohnBarrasso

John retweeted:

https://twitter.com/SenatorEnzi/status/856892053854212097

@SenJohnBarrasso… scroll down to April 25 tweet and reply…both he and Enzi will be tagged:

https://twitter.com/SenJohnBarrasso

@SenRobPortman on his Drug Free Communities Act:

Reply to Senator Portman about #FullRepeal

https://twitter.com/senrobportman/status/861602377354358786

@SenAlexander needs help… and reminding to support free market reforms and #FullRepeal

https://twitter.com/SenAlexander/status/860238114924752897

Bill Cassidy- Louisiana (Liberty Score 47%)

FACEBOOK LINK>>>

https://www.facebook.com/billcassidy/posts/10154433200681776

TWITTER LINK>>>

https://twitter.com/BillCassidy/status/862332600291078146

John Kennedy- Louisiana (Liberty Score 100%)

FACEBOOK LINK>>>

https://www.facebook.com/SenatorJohnKennedy/videos/994368334033946/

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/SenJohnKennedy/status/861642737178877952

Susan Collins- Maine (Liberty Score 12%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/collins4senator/posts/1360074034074549

TWITTER LINK>>>

https://twitter.com/SenatorCollins/status/861233635063730176

Roger Wicker- Mississippi (Liberty Score 30%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/SenatorWicker/posts/1296044893784709

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/SenatorWicker/status/861585553938108416

Roy Blunt- Missouri (Liberty Score 41%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/SenatorBlunt/videos/1490364424354837/

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/RoyBlunt/status/862363866570915847

Steve Daines- Montana (Liberty Score 74%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/SteveDainesMT/posts/1101556223322326

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/SteveDaines/status/862329016078016513

Deb Fischer- Nebraska (Liberty Score 58%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/senatordebfischer/posts/1492407007445256

TWITTER LINK>>>

https://twitter.com/SenatorFischer/status/862446934010847232

Respond to @SenMajLdr Mitch McConnell talking about the failed Obamacare he helped pass:

https://twitter.com/SenateMajLdr/status/861669608281034752

Respond to @SenTom Cotton:

https://twitter.com/SenTomCotton/status/861628060914900992

Respond to @SenJohnThune:

https://twitter.com/SenJohnThune/status/860210062161305604

Todd Young- Indiana (Liberty Score 50%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/SenatorToddYoung/videos/1853984764626979/

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/SenToddYoung/status/861680565103321089

Chuck Grassley- Iowa (Liberty Score 66%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/grassley/posts/10155163167190797

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/ChuckGrassley/status/861980100161679360

Joni Ernst- Iowa (Liberty Score 59%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/senjoniernst/posts/701460383348732:0

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/SenJoniErnst/status/862058551350525952

Pat Roberts- Kansas (Liberty Score 67%)

FACEBOOK LINK>>>

https://www.facebook.com/SenPatRoberts/posts/1499703313408062

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/SenPatRoberts/status/861673589677989888

Jerry Moran- Kansas (Liberty Score 51%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/jerrymoran/posts/10154682156067106

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/JerryMoran/status/861977055428325378

Mitch McConnell- Kentucky (Liberty Score 40%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/mitchmcconnell/posts/1404146616290692

Rand Paul- Kentucky (Liberty Score 92%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/SenatorRandPaul/posts/1521721364547328

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/RandPaul/status/860222800862302209

@OrrinHatch (Utah)

No real tweets on healthcare but this would be a start: https://twitter.com/OrrinHatch/status/858365618575114240

@TedCruz (TX)

His statement on Trumpcare:

https://twitter.com/FoxNews/status/860198785376550913

Respond to @SenMike Lee (Utah) and @SenHatch on this tweet

(Mostly discussing Bears Ears but this photo has both Lee and Hatch)

https://twitter.com/SenMikeLee/status/861324432568197121

Tom Cotton – Arkansas (Liberty Score 76%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/SenatorTomCotton/videos/793091614185709/

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/SenTomCotton/status/861649490041876480

Cory Gardner- Colorado (Liberty Score 41%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/SenCoryGardner/posts/1403607133019303

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/SenCoryGardner/status/861588063323131905

Marco Rubio – Florida (Liberty Score 74%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/SenatorMarcoRubio/videos/1680489968643027/

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/marcorubio/status/860899556330008578

Johnny Isakson- Georgia (Liberty Score 30%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/isakson/posts/10154975165975673:0

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/SenatorIsakson/status/860553387754086400

David Perdue- Georgia (Liberty Score 75%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/SenatorDavidPerdue/posts/617691118428616

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/sendavidperdue/status/860232825911619584

Mike Crapo- Indiana (Liberty Score 72%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/mikecrapo/posts/10154518901467267:0

TWITTER LINK >>>

https://twitter.com/MikeCrapo/status/860201578120314881

Jim Risch- Indiana (Liberty Score 76%)

FACEBOOK LINK >>>

https://www.facebook.com/SenatorRisch/posts/10152733907202368

TWITTER LINK>>>

https://twitter.com/SenatorRisch/status/859874845408079881

Your Questions Answered: Should You Bake the Cake?

 

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Emily Miller Jocham, April 24, 2017

To say the 2016 presidential election season was ugly is a vast understatement. Democrats were self destructing; Republicans had 67 candidates (at least it seemed); Libertarians were at odds over…cake. And other things, but mostly cake.

There was a spirited debate among libertarians over this question: If someone wants you to bake their cake, do you have to bake it? The context for this question was provided mostly by the Oregon bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa and their refusal to bake a cake for a lesbian couple in 2013, citing their religious beliefs as support for their refusal to bake the cake. Ultimately, their decision led to the bakery’s closure later that year. A legal battle ensued, and in 2015–while all 96 presidential campaigns for the 2016 election were in full swing–Sweet Cakes’ owners were ordered to pay $135,000.00 in damages to the lesbian couple whose cake they did not want to bake. This spurred the debate among libertarians about who should have to bake whose cake. At the time, two Libertarian Party candidates–Austin Petersen and Gary Johnson–issued two conflicting opinions. Petersen believed bakers should not be forced to bake cakes for customers whom they do not want to bake cakes. Johnson, on the other hand, made statements in support of the couple seeking the cake, stating in part that businesses should not be able to discriminate against their customers.

The masses continue to debate this issue, and it remains a controversial topic among libertarians. You will see at times that we apply the principles of libertarianism differently, which results in more than one perspective in situations such as these, like we saw with Austin Petersen and Gary Johnson. But on this issue, this writer has pitched her tent in Austin Petersen’s camp (and is roasting marshmallows by the fire, discussing Libertarian Utopia and how we will build the roads). But there is a good explanation.

As controversial as it may sound, a baker should be able to refuse service to anyone he wants for any reason he wants without governmental interference with his decision, even in the most reprehensible situations. Libertarians generally believe that people have a right to choose with whom they associate, and as a result, people have a right to choose with whom they do business. Therefore, if a Jewish baker wants to deny a neo-Nazi’s non-Kosher swastika cookie order (yep, I went full cliché), then he should be able to do that without punitive repercussions from the government. That freedom should be afforded to every business owner.

Now, in the same respect, a consumer also has every right to observe a business’s behavior and decide whether that business is entitled to his money. Enter now, the free market. If a business owner decides to discriminate against customers based upon their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or any other reason with which other consumers disagree, then those consumers have the right to object to that business owner’s behavior and act accordingly by refusing to solicit the services of that business. Among other things, you could organize a peaceful protest against the business or even chastise the business on Yelp (or using any other means via the Internet to spread the word of that business’s actions). So although consumers should not have the right to dictate how a business owner runs his business by invoking Daddy Government’s powers, they do have the right to protest the business and refuse to solicit that business’s services, as well as influence others to do the same. These recourses have the potential to shut down the business in question or severely negatively affect that business’s income. This is how the free market resolves these issues, without the need for government punishments and/or burdensome, unnecessary regulations. (If you don’t believe the free market works, see the recent United Airlines debacle as an example. It works.) Moreover, once you give the government an inch, it takes 500 miles. So when we allow the government an opportunity to restrict freedoms of individuals—even in their capacities as business owners—the sky’s the limit for what is next, and it puts every single business owner in the nation at risk for undue influence in his business operations, which ultimately puts our economy at risk. The free market eliminates the need for such interference by the government.

Finally, it’s generally accepted among libertarians that as long as you are not depriving someone’s rights or causing actual harm to someone, then you are free to act as you wish. People do not have an inherent right to a business’s services by forcing that business to accomplish their demands. But, a business owner does have an inherent right to refuse his services to anyone he wishes, based upon the principle of freedom of association. By forcing business owners to act against their will, their individual rights are not only ignored and violated, but in essence, they become indentured servants to consumers and are therefore subject to consumers’ whims du jour. This creates the slippery slope situation with the Jewish baker, described above.

Is it upsetting to see a business owner refuse service to a person based upon that person’s race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or otherwise? Absolutely. Would this writer support the protest against a business that refuses service to a person based upon his race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or otherwise and actively engage in any boycott of said business and refuse to give it a penny? You better believe it. But, should personal opinions influence how a business owner conducts himself in that capacity, and should the government involve itself in such situations at consumers’ behest? Absolutely not. Business owners are free to act however they wish, but always at their own peril. The free market offers natural rewards and natural consequences, and business owners have to accept both.

Fighting Human Trafficking Requires More Liberty, Not Less

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Jared Miller, April 14, 2017

A while back, our page posted a meme about human trafficking. It stated that if prostitution were legal, human trafficking would end. While it was an excellent conversation starter, the realities of this despicable practice are not that easy to solve. That doesn’t mean it was totally wrong. A strong solution includes multiple strategies, and a legal and well regulated adult services industry could very well be one of them.

Human trafficking is broadly defined as the illegal transport of humans from one area or country to another. Since that is such a vague definition, the objective of this article will be to focus solely on human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. What should be done from a libertarian perspective? There is no single answer, but I will do my best to put together a solid foundation from which to mount an attack.

First and foremost, we need to remember that a problem like this is exactly what libertarians believe government is supposed to address. There can be no more clear a violation of an individual’s life, liberty, or property than involuntary human trafficking. Sometimes it seems we libertarians get too caught up in what government shouldn’t do. Then, when we do come across a problem that fits our narrow vision of the just use of force we reflexively default to, “Muh liberty! Muh freedoms!” In this case, we may argue about what form intervention should take, but we cannot argue against its necessity. Personally I would love to see us rain hell on anyone involved in such a disgusting practice with even more ferocity than we have used against nonviolent drug offenders or middle eastern civilians.

Is direct police or military intervention the only answer though? Is that really all we can do? No, nor should it be. In this author’s humble opinion, we should approach it on three main fronts: law enforcement, adult services, and immigration reform.

The first I won’t spend much time on. Devoting law enforcement resources to tracking and eliminating traffickers is already happening, and it doesn’t need me to advocate for it. Although in conjunction with another necessary human rights reform, ending the drug war, many more resources could be devoted to a crime that actually has victims.

The second is adult services, specifically legal prostitution. Like all forms of full prohibition, making a product or service illegal does not eliminate it from existence, it merely creates a new black market to be exploited. Volumes could be, and have already been, written about the possible benefits of legalized prostitution, but the only one we must concern ourselves with is that now a new industry is ready to be staffed legitimately. Without the need to fill an illegal industry with illegal workers, the necessity for trafficking humans would also decline.

“Ah,” the astute observer may begin, “but you are making a huge assumption. You are assuming that there will be enough people willing to staff such an industry at a price the consumer can afford. What’s more, what if the customer has a specific request? Is there not still a demand that may not be filled by legitimate means?”

Mr Observer is correct. An easily overlooked reality of prostitution is that it doesn’t just create a black market service. It relies on the black market for people.

Which is why none of this will help without immigration reform. We don’t like to think of people as commodities, because they aren’t. But their labor is. Again I must repeat myself: Prohibition does not eliminate demand. It only creates a black market. There will be a demand for people to work within this newly legal industry. If there is not a high enough domestic supply of individuals who desire to work in this field then it also creates a new avenue for immigration. I do not have to tell you how hard it is currently even to enter this country on a work visa. If someone wanted to enter this country in search of a better life, and saw sex work as their most viable option, they should have the ability to do so. If, due to an unnecessarily arduous immigration system they are prevented from entry, someone will find a way to fill that demand. Some will voluntarily seek to be trafficked, while others are kidnapped and sold into slavery. Either way, we have only created both a criminal and human rights disaster without reducing either demand or willingness of someone to fill that demand.

It would take all three reforms happening simultaneously to truly address this complex issue. But there is an even more important reason to enact these reforms. It stands to reason that once these changes are implemented, child trafficking offenses will also diminish. In addition to the increase in vigilance by law enforcement, we can once more draw a parallel from the drug war. In order to use marijuana, I have to become familiar with an entire criminal world. I may get lucky and get a dealer that’s only selling weed, or I may find one that also pushes meth, ecstasy, heroine, etc. One day, for whatever reason, I may be looking for a more intense high. If I am already breaking the law, and already introduced to that criminal world, it is a very small leap to other drugs.

Several years ago a friend of mine wanted to buy some medical-grade cannabis oil for a loved one stricken with cancer. In order to do so, he had to familiarize himself with what is essentially the Internet black market. He showed it to me one day, and I could not believe what he could find: massive quantities of hard drugs, highly illegal weaponry, essentially any illicit craving a little black heart could desire. There were even listings for illegal services that make prostitution seem like child’s play by comparison. Incidentally, the fact that he had to go through all of that just to take care of a loved one is what made me realize that marijuana prohibition was a far greater evil than marijuana use ever could be.

Granted, the vast majority of people do just stick with weed. Just like most people stick with adult prostitution. But if the law is already being broken, those who are more inclined toward the more sickening side of sex work have just as easy access to it as they do adults. Making adult prostitution legal and relaxing immigration laws eliminates that easy access, and in this case may prevent lesser perverts from crossing over into much more sinister filth.

https://polarisproject.org/national-human-trafficking-hotline https://humantraffickinghotline.org https://www.acf.hhs.gov/otip/victim-assistance/national-human-trafficking-hotline

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Monteneg-NO: Stop Encouraging the NATO Fiasco.

 

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Emily Miller Jocham, March 31, 2017

First, let me qualify this article with the following statement: In Libertarian Utopia, there is no NATO, or, at the very least, Libertarian Utopia is not a party to NATO. But this is not Libertarian Utopia; this is the United States. And unfortunately, the United States is very much an active party to NATO.

NATO is not something anyone addresses very often, and if its attempt to add Montenegro to the club hadn’t been briefly mentioned in recent headlines, you probably would not be reading this article. So let’s have a very quick and oversimplified review. NATO–the North Atlantic Treaty Association–goes all the way back to 1949. Western European countries had major concerns about the threats Communism posed to their societies, so the Treaty of Brussels was organized among Belgium, The United Kingdom, France, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The Treaty of Brussels was an agreement of obligation among those countries to provide defense services to each other in the event it became necessary. Shortly afterward, the fearless leaders of those countries realized the world superpower at the time–the United States–would be an invaluable member of such an agreement (because of course). Thus, the North Atlantic Treaty was born. By affixing his signature to the agreement, President Truman committed unlimited future generations to the defense of other nations’ wars, and the United States officially became a member of NATO. By virtue of its membership, the United States has guaranteed a measure of military support and assistance to other countries who are members of NATO, if any of those countries light up the skies with their Bat Signals.

Fast forward almost 70 years, several internationally-cooperative conflicts, and the addition of 20+ members, and you find our current debacle. Montenegro has been invited to become a member of the super exclusive Defense Charity Club that is NATO, and the Unites States Congress has recently addressed the issue (and by “address”, I mean demand that everyone affirm their support for Montenegro and ratify its admission to NATO or risk being called a Putin operative). It makes a lot of sense for Montenegro. Montenegro is a small country. Its military has a total headcount of less than 2,000 people, and its long, bloody history of having to fight for its independence makes Montenegro feel vulnerable to countries that may want to undo the decades-long pursuit of that independence. Even I will admit there is a very legitimate concern about Russia’s objectives for the small country. So I get it.

But here’s the problem. The United States has already vastly overextended itself in foreign conflicts. The “War on Terror”, patrolling various international borders around the world, and maintaining heavily-staffed military bases in just about every country you can think of–just to name a few things–has not only stretched the United States’ military thin, it has involved the United States in conflicts that are not its own. It has also negatively affected the United States’ ability to maintain an atmosphere of peace with the rest of the world. Don’t get me wrong. As a libertarian, I favor a robust military with well-established defense strategies. However, I do not believe national defense is characterized by maintaining an offensive presence in other countries, and I am certain national defense does not include carrying out military operations in other countries just so we can be good friends with countries that can’t handle their own conflicts. Libertarians favor a foreign policy that puts actual defense first–that is, the ability to defend our country only in the event it is attacked, as opposed to preemptively fighting wars and establishing guard in countries whose conflicts do not arise from attacks directly perpetrated against the United States.

The cost of war is high–not just financially, but even more importantly for the men and women charged with fighting in those wars. Death, dismemberment, and permanent physical and/or mental incapacities are the prices paid by our military personnel. The responsibility our government has to its military personnel is immense. To drop them into an obligatory war without due consideration is unconscionable. Yet, that is the web of entanglement which NATO creates for its members. Ideally, the United States would withdraw from NATO entirely, but since that is definitely not on the table, the best we can expect now is for the United States to put a stop to issuing new membership cards.

Because in the end, adding more countries to NATO means being obligated to engage in more wars and international conflicts, which also means irresponsibly putting even more of our armed forces on other countries’ frontlines, forcing them to fight and/or die and/or become permanently injured in a war in which the United States has no interest. That should be unacceptable not just to libertarians, but to everyone.

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Your Questions Answered: Why Are you Against Climate Change?

Jared Miller – March 17, 2017

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Let’s make a few things clear right out of the gate:

Is climate change real? Yes.

Is it man made? At least a little.

Is it harmful? Depends who you ask.

Should we base policy on it? No.

Ten years ago I would have said (in order), “depends who you ask, no, doubtful, and no.” Ok, the last one’s still the same.

The climate change debate bugs me not because it isn’t or can’t be true, but because it’s hysterical. It’s not about conservation. It’s about signaling to your group that you’re the same as they are, and everyone else is an asshole.

Because of my background, one group in particular comes to mind when I think about the climate change debate, and I’d like to present them as an example. I grew up in a Christian household. We were always taught to be “good stewards” of everything that God has given us. In that light, even Christians are called BY GOD to a life of environmental concern and conservation. Of course the stewardship the Bible refers to is more than just environmental, but it is not less. Then comes climate change and its “with us or against us” false dichotomy. Even the most environmentally conscious Christian who thinks climate change is nonsense is assumed not to care about the environment at all! What an ignorant fool that Christian must be!
This is one of the most damaging aspects of collectivism, and is one reason the blunt club of government is such a terrible tool for environmental protection. If your individual motives do not line up perfectly with the collective, you are ignored at best and criminalized at worst. There is no room for individual motive or creative problem solving. There is no place for the concerns of the few. What arrogance it takes to convince yourself that your solution and your concerns are the only ones worthy of engagement! When we eliminate individual opinions, we also eliminate their potential contribution to a cause.

Is it anyone else’s business why I do or do not care about climate change? Why would it matter what my motives are if we are both working towards the same goals?  Can we all agree that pollution is bad? Can we also agree that higher efficiency and better conservation of natural resources are good?

Great!

So what has happened since our obsession with climate change? Environmental conservation is no longer a nuanced issue with lots of different points of view, a broad array of motives, and many different interests working toward the same endgame. It’s treated as black or white. This or that. 100% with us, or 100% against us. Those of us who are not 100% get lumped in with a group we don’t belong to, and our concerns and contributions are lost.

Some people are concerned about the environment because they care about nature.

Some are concerned about climate change.

Some are worried about conservation of natural resources, economic stability and sustainability, and efficiency.

Some just enjoy clean air and not having cancer.

Climate change hysteria reduces those concerns and possible contributions to an overly simplified scare tactic. That is the true legacy of the climate change debate: division and impediment of progress. We need to acknowledge this destructive attitude and move past it. If we do not, we will continue to do irreversible harm to the cause of conservation.

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Libertarianism vs Anarchy, The Great Misconception

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Donnie Davis – March 17, 2017

We often find ourselves as Libertarians, at odds with pretty much all political parties. Whether it be the Democrats on the topics of socialism and welfare, the Republicans on the topics of crime and warfare, or some other smaller party that plans to use “tax revenue” for some purpose they see befitting to their particular (usually personal) needs. I.E. “The Law” by Frederic Bastiat.

When faced with differences in opinions, and having their emotional arguments fought with rational logic, most people with whom we debate will start to lash out and try to prove themselves right by labeling us as one thing or another. The ones I personally tend to hear most are as follows; Statist (insert laughing emoji here), Globalist, Corporationalist (the hard left love this one), Liberal, Libtard, or etc. This all pales in comparison to the most used, Anarchist.

Anarchy as defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary;

A: Absence of Government

B: A state of lawlessness of political disorder to the absence of governmental authority

C: A utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government

Now when we speak about the ideas that we hold dear, particularly downsizing or repealing most or all government ran entities, we are labeled “Anarchist” by those who would oppose our way of thinking. That is honestly fine and fully within their 1st amendment right, but the use of the word always brings a smirk to my face due to its ignorant application. Anarchy to government is what Atheism is to religion. It is the complete absence of. We as Libertarians, are a political party. We fully believe in, and want a government of a VERY limited sort to exist. That in and of itself proves the claim that we are anarchists to be a complete falsehood.

We as young children are indoctrinated to believe that police are good, the government protects us from evils overseas, our social construct is to benefit everyone equally, and that Anarchy aka lawlessness is bad. As we start getting older, we naturally start to see that laws are an attempt by people in power to control people below them in social standing, and the enforcement agencies are their muscle. These laws are an attempt to impose through legislation the morality of those in power upon those who are their societal “underlings” by the agencies of enforcement. It is only a natural human response to rebel against this to bring an end to the “rule of law” over any facet of life. This is the “ebb and flow” of society, unfortunately too much flowing and not enough ebbing has occurred, but that is another topic for discussion later. Our society would label those who would rebel by any means, an Anarchist. This is the fruition of the social conditioning that we have all undergone, and we as Libertarians have rejected. This puts the WHOLE claim to rest, that we as Libertarians, are somehow Anarchist. Rest assured that even though we have a claim to political affiliation, we will still be called Anarchist. It never fails.

I would like to discuss the main principle differences that Libertarianism, Anarchy, and Protectionism (our current system) have just to clarify a few things.

Libertarianism: Clear cut definitions of law in which there is a violation of the natural rights of life, liberty, or property of a victim and will have clear cut punishments/reparations to those crimes

Anarchy: No clear cut definition of crimes, no clear cut definition of punishments to crimes, undefined and subjective

Protectionism: No clear cut definition of crime, no clear cut definition of punishments to crimes, attempts to keep people “safe” by making risky or shunned behavior illegal with no victims, nothing stolen, and nothing damaged, basically making natural selection illegal so people feel safe while living in a nerfed world

With the three systems that most people debate about in our nation described its clear to see that libertarianism and anarchy are no where close to being similar, aside from the freedom of the individual to do as they please. Even that is only a “close” comparison as we are free to do as we will up until the rights of another are violated. Libertarians realize that too many laws creates a world of oppression/tyranny and that you cannot legislate morality or darwinism.

“It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws are so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow.” – James Madison

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AUDIT THE FED

Johnny Ordille, March 2, 2017

I recently read a USA Today article where it listed the top 20 presidents in our history.  Despite feelings as to the individuals themselves, Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Lincoln were all on the list as were recent presidents Clinton, Bush 41 and Obama. The surprising choice of Woodrow Wilson was one that would leave most scratching their heads.

Wilson is best known, for better or worse, for creating the third reincarnation of the central bank known as the Fed. The original intent of creating a central bank was a noble one. However, like most noble causes they have no business in government and were soon dissolved due to corruption and incompetence…sound familiar?

The current Fed was established in 1913 and was most recently renewed in 2013.  The Fed received its first real test during the 1920’s, a time of great prosperity; but bearish monetary policy lead to a decreasing of the money supply that ended up being one of the chief causes that lead to the stock market crash and following great depression.  Smartly, things were changed after that, mainly FDIC insurance and Glass-Stegall.

Fast forward to the present.

Today’s Fed has little to no accountability.  In the last 10 years, the Fed’s bullish monetary policy has resulted in a more than doubling of the M1 from just under $1,500B to just under $3,500B with little to no inflation.  In comparison, the M1 increased from $1,000B to $1500B over the 20 years before that.

While this may seem like a dream come true on the surface, we need to ask: “Where is this money going?”  If it were going towards purchases of tangible goods, then inflation would be rampant.  It’s not going to the government as evidenced by an astounding $20T debt.

Let’s look at the stock market.  From a recent low of 6,600 in 2008 to today’s high of 21,000, the stock market has become a hiding place for the new money; a hiding place for money hidden by businesses unsure of what to expect during an Obama presidency and really unsure now in a Trump presidency.

But businesses will do what businesses will do.  A better question is why would the Fed continue to increase the money supply when it is obvious that the money was creating a bubble in the stock market?  This is incompetence at best and criminal at worst in the fact that so many people will be hurt when this bubble bursts.

It is time that the Libertarian Party and the American public demand an audit of the Fed and a full accountability as to why this problem has been allowed to continue and get worse.

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If you don’t look after your health, you can’t expect free access to healthcare. Is this wrong? What are the economic arguments?

Cameron Lievesley, March 1, 2017

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Cameron Lievesley is an advocate for libertarian views in the UK and a member of the Ask A Libertarian team. Please note this article is written from the perspective of a UK citizen and hence is written in regards primarily to UK affairs and to their nationalised health service with concerns regarding support for the implementation of socialised medicine in the US, an important issue as socialised medicine has done great damage to the economy and has given government excessive powers in the UK.

A free-market system would be not only an efficient system, but a fair system in which individuals pay for their consumption rather than the taxpayer. Those who fall ill as a result of unwise lifestyle choices will become responsible for the choices they have made and would eliminate the burden on the taxpayer. 

It seems reasonable to suggest that those who have created their own health problems should not be granted access to the national health service. However, there are several problems with this argument. Firstly, given the individual in need of treatment has paid taxation in the form of income tax and national insurance, they have paid for the health care services which they are requesting and therefore should be granted access. Secondly, there is often no definitive way to prove that an illness has been caused by lifestyle choices and hence it would be difficult to differentiate between those who are ill due to their lifestyle choices and those who are unfortunately ill through no fault of their own. While I would agree that those who fall under the latter should be prioritized ahead of those who have made unwise lifestyle choices causing their illness considering both have similar illnesses in terms of the threat to one’s life, I believe a better solution for all could be provided through a free market healthcare system.

Economists such as Milton Friedman would argue that healthcare in a free market would be of a much higher quality and of a lower average cost than that of a centrally-planned health care system. One argument put forward by such economists is that healthcare costs are significantly increased and freedoms significantly more restricted by government intervention than they otherwise would be in the free market. For example, in the US, there are certain restrictions on the entering of new and potentially life-saving drugs to the market by the regulatory body known as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This also prevents patient access to certain drugs which without regulations could possibly save lives (Milton Friedman, 1978).

One example of the FDA’s failures, Friedman uses, is the restriction of beta-blockers (that are used to reduce blood pressure) from entering the market due to certain safety concerns, costing an estimated 10,000 lives each year. While the US’s healthcare system is far from perfect, I would argue it is preferable to a nationalised system like we have here in the UK. There are several reasons for this. Most importantly, it incentivizes research and development into new drugs and treatments since firms compete against each other to provide the highest quality of care. This also incentivizes investments into capital goods, which expands the production capabilities of the market, also producing a higher quality of healthcare. This leads to the creation of new, lifesaving drugs therefore further increasing the amount of lives saved by healthcare firms. Evidence of this can be shown in comparisons between lives saved in UK healthcare and US healthcare systems. US survival rates are better for leukemia, ovarian cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer (Ryan Bourne, 2017). Furthermore, a free market healthcare system would give consumers the freedom to choose the level of health insurance they would like, if any.

A free-market system would be not only an efficient system, but a fair system in which individuals pay for their consumption rather than the taxpayer. Those who fall ill as a result of unwise lifestyle choices will become responsible for the choices they have made and would eliminate the burden on the taxpayer. Some would argue that this could lead to a significant increase in prices, as the consumer is not protected by the government. However, in order for the healthcare providing firm to make a profit, they must supply their services at an affordable price which consumers are both willing and able to pay. It is in the interests of firms to provide their services at a rate which is affordable as this enables them access to a larger number of consumers. This system of healthcare would shift the burden of those who are ill due to their lifestyle choices from the taxpayer to the individual who made the choices. Furthermore, this would cut government expenditure by £142.7bn ($175.75bn USD) allowing the government to make tax cuts to individuals and firms, incentivize investments and create jobs, boosting the economy. This boost to the economy would create employment opportunities for those currently reliant on welfare, further reducing government expenditure. It would also enable the UK government to eliminate the budget deficit of £19.1bn ($23.58bn USD). In summary. I believe that a free market healthcare system would not only make individuals responsible for their lifestyle choices, but produce higher quality healthcare and create huge economic prosperities due to the tax cuts which are enabled by the decrease in government expenditure.

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