Law vs Morality

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Donnie Davis, June 15, 2017

Laws do not prevent actions, morality does. Laws are there to set in stone what will happen if certain actions are taken against someone or their property. They are not meant to scare you into following someone else’s moral code to avoid punishment. Or at least, that is how our society is supposed to work. Government is not the parent of the people, nor can it dictate their morality. It can only hold them accountable for their actions transgressed against another person.

You cannot rape yourself. You cannot violate yourself. You cannot steal from yourself.  These are actions committed against someone else, and that it is correct to punish the perpetrator of those actions.

The idea that you cannot put x, y, or z into your own body by your own choice because it’s bad for you is the same as saying that drinking anything but water and eating anything except fruits and vegetables is now illegal because it’s bad for you.

Saying that it is illegal to prevent anyone from doing REAL crime is like saying having large amounts of money is illegal to keep you from purchasing illegal items. It’s like saying owning a firearm is illegal because all they are used for is killing, or that owning a straightened coat hanger is illegal because it’s used to break into cars….

Do you see where this is going? Once you go down that road, there is no coming back from it without violence.

We, as Libertarians, are trying to stop that pattern of thinking before it’s too late. 

Our slogan is that we are “The Party of Principle”, because we stand firmly on our principles….

  • We seek to substantially reduce the size and intrusiveness of government and cut and eliminate taxes at every opportunity.
  • We believe that peaceful, honest people should be able to offer their goods and services to willing consumers without inappropriate interference from government.
  • We believe that peaceful, honest people should decide for themselves how to live their lives, without fear of criminal or civil penalties.
  • We believe that government’s only responsibility, if any, should be protecting people from force and fraud.”

“Libertarian Pledge, which all must agree to in order to join the Libertarian Party, declares, “I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.”

Libertarians strongly oppose any government interference into their personal, family, and business decisions. Essentially, we believe all Americans should be free to live their lives and pursue their interests as they see fit as long as they do no harm to another.

People that want the government to tend to their every whim, because they couldn’t be bothered to protect themselves from harm, want us to give up our freedoms so they feel “safe.” That has never been enough to stop anyone from doing harm, to themselves or otherwise.

 

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Thinking Beyond Pro-Choice & Pro-Life

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Travis Hallman, June 6, 2017

First and foremost, thanks for opening this article. Your engagement proves your willingness to be open to new ideas.

Before diving right into the subject of abortion clinics, I want to preface by saying that these ideas represent my own view, and not necessarily those of every libertarian nor even all members of the Ask A Libertarian team. There are many pro-choice, pro-life, and pro-privatize libertarians running for offices on your voting ballot. However, I identify as the last option because my end goal is to have ZERO demand for abortion clinics. I believe privatizing abortion clinics and empowering moral agents will achieve this goal more effectively than other means. Here’s why:

Libertarian Party Platform,

1.5 Abortion
Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.

https://www.lp.org/platform/

To me, one statement stands out among all other statements within that platform: “We believe that government should be kept out of the matter.”

Government should not be allowed to create, fund or even prohibit abortion clinics from operating. Giving them power to prevent abortion clinics from opening because you don’t like them will enable them to use that same power to block your ability to open your business (of any kind) tomorrow, because someone else doesn’t like it. The best way for me to protect MY freedom of choice is to protect YOUR freedom of choice.

QUESTION: Can you think of any examples when government uses one power to restrict another freedom?

In addition to being allowed to operate, abortion services must also stand independent of any government funding or involvement. Realizing government doesn’t (yet) own abortion clinics, offering government funds to them still creates incentives to earn more funds by doing more abortions.  And as long as abortion providers are receiving funding or any other special treatment from the government, it is against their own interests for the government to allow moral agents to easily impact potential clients. By allowing government involvement in this sector, they can now appeal to it to take action in many forms against those moral agents. This may include, but is not limited to, lobbying for laws requiring standards such as licenses for pro-family or anti-abortion groups to open, increasing their taxes, or denying the same bailouts and incentives to those moral or private agencies.

Additionally, the government has to use your tax dollars to pay the employees responsible for counting your money and rationing it to abortion clinics. This is irresponsible spending at best and absolutely evil at worst. Never will 100% of taxpayers be satisfied with how the taxes are being spent (that applies in all aspects for all government run agencies). Allowing abortion clinics to exist solely in the private sector, removing taxes (to remove incentive for crony partnership with politicians), and ending bailouts (to avoid the creation of a monopoly) will allow for each individual to choose a business that 100% satisfies their needs.

“But abortion is murder!”

Then let’s expose abortion clinics to the free market so that demand can dictate the survival of the murder clinic (not the force of the government keeping them open). Then let’s empower churches and other moral agents to empower individuals not to demand the murder clinics. This would, in part, require better sex education and other related services.

I realize there are already many churches and moral agents making strides in sex education. However, establishing complete privatization without licensing, taxation, and bailouts would greater empower these organizations and allow for more of them to open and run effectively.

I’m offering a moral solution instead of using force, coercion, extortion, or incarceration to END ABORTIONS.

QUESTION: Is there another way to stop abortions (without using force, coercion, extortion, or incarceration)?

“[The] Simplest way to stop abortions is to teach our children about celibacy & hold them to it.”
-Joy Waymire (candidate for president in 2016)

 

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The McDonald’s Standard: A Guide for Determining The Legitimate Role of Government

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Kristopher Morgan, May 23, 2017

We all have things we would like to see humanity do, whether we want to feed the poor, move towards clean energy, protect endangered species, scientific research, or setting floors on wages.  We all like to believe that passing a law is akin to waving some magic wand that simply makes things better. We get ourselves into trouble when we consider the reality of the situation;  there is no wand.  When we realize passing and enforcing new laws means making criminals out of more and more people, we have to choose responsibly.

Coming to a balanced belief system as to what the proper place of government in society takes an immense amount of study into the social sciences, history, political economy, ethics, philosophy, etc.  This can be extremely time-consuming… fortunately there are shortcuts to answering most questions pertaining to the proper role of government.  I call one of them the ‘McDonald’s Standard.’  The method is very simple: Clarify what action the government is taking and ask yourself “how would I feel if McDonald’s were doing this?”  Here are a few examples to demonstrate how it works.

  1. Taxation.  On one hand, we are threatened with fines and jail time if we do not pay taxes.  On the other hand, those taxes pay for services such as roads.  Let’s imagine that McDonald’s decided to use the same business model.  McDonald’s decides to provide every resident within a 1mi radius with a Big Mac.  McDonald’s then decides that they will collect money from all residents, and those who decline simply get locked in a room on McDonald’s property.  Is food not a vital service?
  2. Welfare programs.  On one hand, they are paid for through taxation, on the other hand poor people benefit from them.  So, let’s imagine McDonald’s decides that they’re going to send their employees in a neighborhood, armed with tasers, guns, and clubs, and they collect money from some residents to give to others (while keeping about 80% for themselves!).  What would we think about McDonald’s?
  3. War.  On one hand, evil do-ers really should be taken out of power.  On the other hand, innocent people die in government wars.  So, let’s imagine a McDonald’s employee tracks a criminal into a Burger King bathroom, right after taking from the BK cashier’s drawer.  The McDonald’s employee then proceeds to blow up the entire Burger King restaurant to get this criminal.  Does this person get to claim all the other people inside the Burger King were simply collateral damage?

Now I know someone out there is going to say something along the lines of: “of course we don’t expect McDonald’s to take on the same role as the government ya dope!  McDonald’s doesn’t have a Constitution, and we don’t elect politicians to operate McDonald’s like we do the government.  We don’t expect these things from them because they’re not the government!”

This line of reason is exactly why I am writing this article.  What we are actually talking about is government legitimacy, so let’s examine the reasons people believe government has it.

1. The government represents the people through voting.  Their job is to carry out the will of the people they represent.

  • False.  All governments operate via law and enforcement thereof.  So what that means is the first thing politicians assume is that they do not have your consent.  If they had your consent, there would be no need to use law enforcement measures.  Also, the idea that some bureaucrat you have never met before can accurately take your conscience and values into account when making decisions… come on…

2. The government is an entity on its own charged with the task of running society.

  • False.  The government is a collection of human beings.  Society is not a machine that needs an operator, but rather a collection of people.  If no human being has the moral right to use force against another, then the government can’t possibly have it.  Morality for McDonald’s doesn’t change if they change their name to McGovernment!

3. The government derived its power to use force from the consent of the people.

  • False.  If nobody has the power to use force against others to begin with, nobody could have possibly given that power to the government.  Giving one’s consent to others to use force against themself is a contradiction in terms.

This list could grow exponentially, but I hope the point is clear.  Governments are nothing more than groups of people, same as any other, whether it’s a business, a family, a charity, a community watch group, etc.  It doesn’t have to be McDonald’s necessarily, but before you support anything any government does, ask yourself “what if someone else in society were doing the same thing? How would that make me feel?”  Because let’s face it:  most of us spent our formative years pledging allegiance to the flag and learning politically correct/tainted history.  By projecting government actions onto parties we feel neutral about, we can overcome these biases.

 

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The Why of Libertarianism

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?

 

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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.

 

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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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Voting & Gun Rights Restored for Non-Violent Drug Offenders?

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“Arguably, the government had no authority to “take” the right of self-protection in the first place, it being a natural right, protected-from, NOT bestowed-by, government. By contrast, the “right” to vote is a privilege bestowed by government. Further, any “crime” which did not involve depriving, or attempting to deprive, another person of life, liberty, or property, is in fact no crime at all. The State, not being a person, cannot be a victim. That stipulated, anyone not actually incarcerated should retain all rights belonging to any other citizen.”

J.D. Parks-Ask A Libertarian- Jan 26, 2017

Further Reading:

Restoring Voting Rights for Former Felons

Felon Voting Rights

House votes to let nonviolent ex-felons restore gun rights

Federal Lawsuit Could Restore Gun Rights To Nonviolent Felons

 

*Contest Winner Mr. J.D. Parks was selected based on the articulation of his argument which made persuasive points that we feel best represents the libertarian perspective on “voting and gun rights for those convicted of non-violent drug offenses.

 

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Legal Theft

 

legal-theft  Donnie Davis- Jan 11, 2017

Legal theft: The passage of laws that their sole purpose is to extort the citizens for creating revenue in the community in which the laws apply. This style of criminalization is done by making an action illegal that has no victim and does not harm property under the guise of protecting the community or protecting people from themselves.

Taylor Trupiano, who left his car running with the keys in the ignition, has been labeled a criminal by his community, or better yet, the politicians who passed this legislation have labeled him a criminal for using his property as he willed with no harm being done to anyone or anything.

Again, he was ticketed for a misdemeanor crime of leaving HIS car, his own property, running with the keys in the ignition with it not affecting anyone except his own pocket.

Frederick Mercado, the Libertarian candidate for Michigan State Representative in the 57th district, who will be taking on rogue legislation come 2018 aimed at reducing or eliminating victimless crimes or infractions which do nothing further to protect our community other than scheme at revenue building, was appalled at the actions of local law enforcement, and that laws have been passed which criminalized non-criminal behavior had this to say:

“No harm had come to anyone, and this is not what Michigan needs as something counter to common sense legislation. We need to be able to trust people to make their own decisions as adults, whether it involves risk. Honestly, it’s wasteful spending on behalf of our government and resources to cite people for these types of offenses, wasting officer and judicial time. Citizens should feel secure in their person and property, while trusting law enforcement to apprehend those who intend on harming us.”

There are many instances of this in modern American life; food distribution licenses that are needed to serve food as a charity to the homeless; drivers licenses that do not keep the roads safer by keeping unsafe drivers off the road;  gun laws, drug laws, traffic laws, and any other form of social control legislation that is geared towards protecting people from others through oppression of their freedom or to protect people from themselves.

The idea of protectionism is defined as the passing of laws to keep citizens from performing any action that society does not condone aside from the already illegal acts of violating someone’s life/health, liberty, and property. Our society has become so attuned to using a protectionism train of thought that people want to control other people by passing laws so they may not be able to do that thing that they don’t like. This is a real issue that this nation has and this train of thought/law making is violating everyone’s freedoms.

Benjamin Franklin said it best when he engraved our first national coinage, “Mind Your Business.” If it does not affect you or society, it is their liberty to do as they please.

Be a good neighbor. Allow your neighbors the freedom to do as they please as you would like the freedom to do the same.

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Why I’m a Libertarian

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Jennifer Andreas-  Jan 4, 2017

I’m a member of the Libertarian Party. A short articulation of why is “my body, my choice.” One might reasonably assume I’m referring to my right to choose regarding abortion or recreational drug use, and I do support both, but to claim that is the whole story would be a superficial reading of my commitment to liberty. “My body, my choice” as a maxim must extend to the choice to sell one’s own sexual services. Otherwise, it is a shallow refrain with little meaning and less impact.

It is perplexing when pro-choice advocates, with whom I largely agree, have boo to say regarding an individual’s natural right to sell their own body as a commodity. Or, even worse, when they reject that right.

Consider the positon of feminist scholar Andrea Dworkin. Regarding abortion, Dworkin claims the state has a duty to provide the legal option to terminate any pregnancy; she asserts abortion is, in fact, a civil right. This argument turns on two claims, one more controversial than the other.

The first claim is that because terminating a pregnancy is a medical procedure which only women can undergo, denying abortive services violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. The second, more provocative claim, is that the patriarchal culture in which we live and which is supported by the state, conditions toxic gender roles; men are trained and conditioned to be sexually dominant and women, against their own self-interest, to find pleasure in submission. Thus, Dworkin concludes sex is always a coercive act and becoming pregnant can never be interpreted as a free choice. Additionally, the state ought to be considered complicit in every unwanted pregnancy. Drawing again from the 14th amendment and a state’s obligation to promote gender equality, the state must provide legal means by which those pregnancies can be terminated.

Now, one can reasonably reject the premise that all sex is coercive and still recognize the fundamental right of individuals to bodily autonomy. Dworkin rightly points out the state is largely responsible for the systemic oppression and patriarchy in our society. However, when it comes to the question of whether a woman-or any individual-should be free from government reprisal for prostitution, she gives the state a pass.

Even though she argues the state must provide legal means of abortion, she contends prostitution ought to remain illegal and this puzzles me. Dworkin, a powerful communicator and writer of feminist ideas, seems to ignore the danger her theoretical arguments present to real sex workers, most of whom are women. Because the sexual marketplace remains illicit, prostitutes are left without the legal redress of monetary and physical damages incurred in their line of work. Not only are these individuals deprived of legal protections, their workplace itself is made exponentially more dangerous because it exists in the shadows.

Furthermore, those who argue for the continued prohibition of prostitution don’t seem to recognize that individuals with felony records are unlikely to break free from poverty and oppression. Having a felony diminishes the likelihood of obtaining employment and with no other means to support themselves or loved ones, individuals (again, mostly women) return to the sex trade, perpetually trapped.

Liberty is the solution to these problems, not institutionalized paternalism. The Libertarian Party recognizes, as Dworkin did, the state is culpable for perpetuating a cycle of oppression. But, by supporting an individual’s liberty to engage in the sex market with a legal safety net, the Libertarian Party stands taller than those who simply want the freedom to terminate pregnancies or use drugs. The Libertarian Party is working to liberate those women forced into sexual slavery and to encourage voluntary individual entrepreneurship. That’s why I am a Libertarian.

Further reading:

Women Hating by Andrea Dworkin

Intercourse by Andrea Dworkin

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Why I Support A Non-Interventionist Military Foreign Policy

nonintervention

David Beaver, 11/05/2016

Recently I read an article that seemed to suggest that many of Gary Johnson’s supporters are unaware of his policies other than his stance on legalizing marijuana. Well, it turns this libertarian does. It would take the writing of a full-length novel to truly cover all of his policies as well as the reasons not to vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. For the purpose of this article, I’ll focus on the policy of non-interventionism as a foreign policy. This is a concept not shared by the other two candidates.

In simplest terms, non-interventionism is America tending to its own affairs and living in peace with their neighbors rather than trying to be the policemen of the world. It is best defined by Thomas Jefferson who said, “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none.”

It Prevents Blowback

Blowback is a term that has historically been used by the CIA to describe the unintended consequences of various covert operations. The term has also expanded to describe the unintended consequences of foreign policy as a whole, especially as it relates to our covert and military operations.

One example of the surprises produced by blowback came to us via the Reagan Doctrine, which sought to stamp out the evils of communism throughout the world. In the name of this well-intended idea, as well as to help bring about the demise of the Soviet Empire, the United States supplied weapons to anti-communist Islamic groups in Afghanistan during the Soviet Invasion of the country. Collectively known as the Mujahideen, these resistance groups eventually splintered into various factions. This would eventually lead to the rise of Al-Queda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, leading to many unpleasant surprises for the U.S in the years to follow.

An example of the blowback of our militarized foreign policy would also include the war in Iraq under the administration of George W. Bush. After winning this war we saw an Iraq that was fractured politically and religiously, leaving a void for ISIS to emerge.

Finally, we get one more example with Syrian Civil War, this one under the administration of Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, noted by some to the “most hawkish” member of his cabinet at the time. During the civil war, the U.S cooperated with Saudi Arabia to provide arms for the Syrian Free Army and groups moving for the overthrow of Assad. Later on, these same groups were found to be associated with ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups.

It turns out, however, that this isn’t just an American problem but a global one. Just ask the Israelis whose government, through their efforts to weaken the Palestinian Liberation Organization helped create one of their bitterest of foes, the terrorist group Hamas.

History both American and abroad is full of examples just like this. Examples where we seek to impose our will on the world, often with the best of intentions, yet time and time again we intervene only to make things better they end up worse. We toppled Saddam Hussein and traded him for ISIS. We seek to overthrow Assad and we might be supporting ISIS. We helped overthrow the tyrant Mubarak and aided the Arab Spring; now we have The Muslim Brotherhood.

It leads one to believe that this policy is clearly not working. Much like a hornet’s nest, the more we poke the more we feel its sting. When it comes to ideas and policies I tend to ignore the politics of it in favor of examining the results. Speaking as a former GOP hawk myself I can honestly say that history has shown time and time again that our interventions, military and covert, just aren’t working. Not only are they not working, but they’re making the world I live in a more dangerous place.

We Don’t Have the Money

It’s no secret that the national debt is still on the rise. Some of us are still old enough to remember when $6 trillion seemed like a lot. Now we are up to $20 trillion and the numbers are still rising. During his 2012 campaign, Gary Johnson cited the debt as one of the greatest threats to our country as a whole. So what does military policy have to do with this? Everything actually. While you’ll hear a lot of conservatives paying lip service to small government and spending cuts, you’ll never hear these same pundits, or anyone for that matter, advocate cuts in military spending.

Yet our military spending is over half of the overall U.S budget and we outspend most of the world on military expenditures. 800 of our bases are operated overseas, begging the question of why we need to subsidize the defense of Germany, Japan, and a number of other nations we essentially have on a military form of welfare. Is it worth the cost? The only thing that could justify the cost (other than the joy of sightseeing around the world for our military personnel) is an interventionist foreign policy that requires us to defend some of the people of the world while attacking others.

The simple fact is, however, we can’t afford it.

Lest Innocent Blood be Spilled

In Iraq alone thousands of civilian deaths have been the result of our military operations in the country. In just the year 2006 we saw civilian casualties of over 29,000. Each year from 2003 up until 2009 saw the numbers in the tens of thousands. Even today the casualties still remain in the thousands figure. This is one country and one conflict. Add to this the deaths of our men and servicewomen, and you have to ask at some point: is this worth it?

The return argument is often that there are always casualties in war, innocent bystanders that suffer as the result of a necessary action. This is true. But because it’s true we should exhaust every other option before going to war. Most of all, however, if we have to go to war we should have a discussion as a nation about it. This is precisely why the constitution requires a declaration from congress, a provision not followed in years, despite its reassertion in the War Powers Act.

I Am a Man of Peace

At the end of the day, I support non-interventionism because I’m a man of peace. I don’t want bloodshed performed in my name through my elected representatives unless it’s absolutely paramount to the safety of my loved ones and my country. I also don’t feel the need to tell others how to run their lives, much less the people thousands of miles away whom I may never meet how to run their countries.

Johnson, myself, and fellow Libertarians have been called isolationists as a result. What greater symbol of isolationism could be however, than a wall and massive tariffs? But I digress If being a man of peace makes me an isolationist, then so be it.

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