Voting Libertarian

 

votinglibertarianoverduopoly

Franc Turner  11/3/2018

Voting for political leaders to rule over you is the equivalent of lab rats pulling levers to receive doses of heroine; as, in both situations, the conditions of your own bondage and what you get to “choose” are set up by those who are using you to further and fulfill their own objectives. But if you’re going to vote in a few days, consider voting for LIBERTARIAN candidates as opposed to members of the two-party-duopoly of Demopublicans and Republicrats.

Libertarianism is the only current political philosophy which enables human beings to live their lives the way they want. If a person wants to be a staunch free market capitalist, they are free to do so. If people want to pool their resources for the benefit of others in a more collective approach between consenting human beings, they are free to do that as well. The difference is that it’s all based on voluntary exchange and human interactions, not government mandates dictating that you “must” live this way and you “must” pay us (the government) to have the “privilege” of living this way. You own yourself and no one gets to exert force over the decisions you make for your life.

Mandatory extortion of the American citizenry only leads to all the things members of both major parties complain about, but never actually do anything to fix. As in, they wait generation after generation for political parasites to, hopefully one day, legislate into existence how they envision life should be for everyone else, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

History hath shown that putting trust into a handful of power-hungry sociopaths inevitably leads to police states and imperialistic bloodshed. I would argue that this country’s government reached that point long ago. They just hide behind the public relations banner of “combating terrorism” and “spreading democracy.” Don’t fall for it again.

“The limits of debate in this country are established before the debate even begins.” -George Carlin

 

For more content from askalibertarian, follow us on the following platforms:

 

 

 

 

Do you have a libertarian oriented message you want to get out? Consider contacting Ask A Libertarian via messenger at https://www.facebook.com/messages/t/askalibertarian to find out how you can become a volunteer in our Journalism Department.

The author’s views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Ask A Libertarian Team or its followers.

Advertisements

My Candidate Isn’t Going To Win The Midterm Election, And That’s Ok

nowastedvote

By: Jacob Chesky  10/25/2018

I’ll be casting my ballot in the midterm election soon here in Wisconsin, and I’ll be voting for Phil Anderson, the Libertarian candidate for governor.

In many polls, Anderson is not shown at all. On the polls in which he is represented, he’s a distant third to the two establishment parties—as of this writing, the latest poll places him at just 5%. So why spend my vote on someone who, from the looks of things, is just not a winning candidate?

Sure, I may not like Scott Walker’s (R) corruption and cronyist deals (which have cost some residents their homes due to eminent domain abuse). I also may not like his determination to continue waging the drug war nor his lack of concern for Wisconsin’s mass incarceration of nonviolent citizens. But what if Walker, despite his clear record of flaws and corruption, is the lesser of two evils? At least he stands a good chance of winning.

Or what about the other guy? This is a close race, after all, and either establishment candidate could win it. I may not like Tony Evers’ (D) philosophy of government intervention in healthcare, (including using tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood), his plan to raise the minimum wage to $15, or his skepticism of gun rights, but at least he doesn’t (yet) have the obvious record of corruption that Scott Walker has, right? Maybe this guy will be different.

Should I try to decide which of the two possible winners would be worse, hold my nose, and vote for the one that might not prove to be quite as bad?

No, I shouldn’t. And here’s why:

#1 My Vote Doesn’t Belong to Any Candidate or Party

I owe my vote to no one. I have no obligation to any party; and by voting according to my principles, I’m not helping either Walker or Evers. As Phil Anderson said when critics accused him of stealing votes from Walker, thereby helping Evers win:

“As of the last Marist poll, I’m pulling more from Evers than Walker. In the 2016 race I pulled evenly from Johnson and Feingold. If Walker wants my votes, he should get a little more conservative on guns, less stupid on cannabis, and less corrupt on Foxconn. And if he’s losing to that bland career politician Evers, that’s on him.”

Ultimately, the results of the election aren’t on me. They’re on the candidates and the messages they send to voters, both through their words and actions.

#2 We Can’t Change Our Government Without Changing Culture

I’m not interested in supporting the state and its increasingly evil and authoritarian ways. In order to change it, there has to be a point at which I, my friends, neighbors, state, and country realize that if we continue to vote for the lesser of two evils and remain apathetic about the wrongs committed by our chosen party, it will only enable our bloated, corrupt government and toxic political climate to worsen.

So what can we do instead? It’s possible there will never be more than two dominant political parties in America. An eternal duopoly of power in the US doesn’t sound ideal to me, but the Libertarian Party, despite the handful of elections it does win, may never become as prominent as the Democratic or Republican ones.

If that’s the case, what good does it do me to support non-establishment candidates who better represent my beliefs, but are unlikely to win? The answer is that I’m looking beyond this election. I’m playing the long game.

Libertarian Party candidates win some elections, but not many. I’d love for them to win more, and it will be great if they do in the future, but my hope for US politics is not limited to an increase in the number of LP members in office. My ultimate hope is that culture changes to more greatly value freedom.

The success of such congressman as Justin Amash (R), Thomas Massie (R), and Jared Polis (D) might be a sign of libertarian ideas influencing voters to support candidates who promote freedom and individuality. This might not be a win for the Libertarian Party, per se, but it’s a win for American culture as a whole. Libertarians are more than just the Libertarian Party, and many of them consider the party to simply be a tool for spreading the message of freedom to those who are concerned about the direction of our country.

So if I vote for Anderson and he doesn’t beat Walker and Evers, have I thrown away my vote? No. As much as I would love to see Anderson win and shake up established government in Wisconsin, I know that’s a long shot. My true goal is to send a message to culture, the media, and the political establishment. I’m voting against state control and corruption. I’m voting to change our culture for liberty.

 

For more content from askalibertarian, follow us on the following platforms:

 

 

 

 

Do you have a libertarian oriented message you want to get out? Consider contacting Ask A Libertarian via messenger at https://www.facebook.com/messages/t/askalibertarian to find out how you can become a volunteer in our Journalism Department.

The author’s views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Ask A Libertarian Team or its followers.

The Lesser Hell Of Leaving

caravan

Jared Miller  10/26/18

What kind of life would force a family to travel on foot for a distance comparable to that between New York City and Baton Rouge? A trip where women and children have a 60% chance of being raped, and everyone is at risk of kidnapping for ransom, human trafficking, or worse. What kind of hell would you have to be fleeing to justify the lesser hell of such a trek, knowing your chances of success are slim? Imagine living in a situation so bleak that you truly believe subjecting your children to this journey is a better chance at life than staying in your own home.

By the numbers, that is exactly the situation Central American refugees face. Occasionally, enough of them make that decision simultaneously that they form large groups traveling with the same goal. Right now, one of the largest of these groups is headed through Mexico to the US border. At its peak, it numbered around 7,000, but that number has already dropped in half. They weren’t all coming here in the first place.

Mexican authorities say they’ve begun processing asylum requests for more than 2,700 Central Americans who arrived with this caravan. And nearly 500 more Hondurans have voluntarily agreed to return to their home country, Mexican officials said.

That seems to be par for the course, as earlier this year there was a caravan of over 1,500. By the time they got to the border, only about 400 remained intent on entering the United States. If we held the same ratio for this new group, we can expect about 2,400 people to reach our border.

I get why this “migrant caravan” can be scary from one point of view. It may start with refugees, but soon swells with people of many different backgrounds and intentions. It’s only prudent to be prepared at the border, but sending an additional 5,200 troops? Come on, let’s have a bit of perspective here. Ellis Island used to take in over 5,000 immigrants and refugees a day. Our screening process is more rigorous, and is aided with some pretty sophisticated technology. We can handle this.

Not just that, but so far what they’re doing is neither threatening in any military sense nor breaking U.S. immigration law. It is 100% legal to approach the border and request entry or asylum. As long as they don’t try to cross the border illegally or act violently towards us, acting like these people are “invaders” is some serious fear-mongering sensationalism.

They’re not going to overthrow American values or take over our country, either. You had a much better chance of making that claim in the Ellis Island days, but even then it was weak. Right now, the caravan is roughly 3500 people. Even if every one of them enter the country, that’s .001 (one thousandth of one percent!) of our population. It may be tough, but I’m sure we can take the hit.

I don’t know the situation in every country in Central America, obviously, but current events do warrant a look into Honduras. Many migrants have told news outlets they are fleeing poverty and gang violence. It’s not as if they haven’t tried to fix their own country, either. The president they elected to reform their government was overthrown by the military. Their entire system is overrun by corruption and foreign interests.

There’s even strong evidence that our interference helped cause the situation in the first place. Am I trying to blame the US? Not really. But it’s wrong to pretend we had nothing to do with it, and it’s also wrong to act like these people are just a roving band of cowardly miscreants.

We’re spoiled by our bill of rights here — and rightfully so — but things don’t work this way everywhere. There is often no recourse for addressing the kinds of systemic corruption these people are fleeing. Fighting back is not an option because they wouldn’t just be fighting the government. They would also have to worry about the police, cartels, foreign special interests looking to protect their economic gains by enforcing the status quo, and an extreme lack of resources compared to their enemies.

Please don’t let actual humanitarian concerns be devalued into just another election issue. This is neither uncommon nor cause for concern. It’s not an unstoppable hoard of terrorists and criminals on their way here to steal our jobs and take our food stamps. These are real people fleeing from real, existential hell. They’ve chosen the lesser hell of leaving everything they’ve ever known for the chance of something more. We don’t have to agree that they should be allowed into the country, but we should at least be willing to treat them all like humans facing disastrous circumstances.

 

For more content from askalibertarian, follow us on the following platforms:

 

 

 

Do you have a libertarian oriented message you want to get out? Consider contacting Ask A Libertarian via messenger at https://www.facebook.com/messages/t/askalibertarian to find out how you can volunteer on our team.

The author’s views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Ask A Libertarian Team or its followers.

Not A Joke: How An Academic Hoax Revealed A Scandal In Our Universities

badstudies

A Guest Article by: Roy Meredith  10/16/2018

In our supercharged media environment, events that happened only three weeks ago feel like old news. There’s one story, however, that you shouldn’t let slip past your radar. You may have heard of the major hoax three liberal academics played on multiple widely-respected journals in the humanities and social sciences. The trio – Peter Boghossian, James Lindsay, and Helen Pluckrose – spent a year authoring and submitting twenty fake academic papers to test the rigor of controversial disciplines such as gender studies, race studies, and women’s studies. All their conclusions were purposefully outlandish, flagrantly immoral, or both.  

One of the papers they submitted rewrote passages from Mein Kampf using the terminology of intersectional feminism. Affilia, a social work journal, accepted it. Another suggested that dog humping in public parks was evidence of rape culture, and that men could be trained out of rape just like dogs. Not only did the feminist geography journal Gender, Place & Culture publish it, the reviewers honored the article as an outstanding contribution.  

By far, the most hilarious submission was “Moon Meetings and the Meaning of Sisterhood: A Poetic Portrayal of Lived Feminist Spirituality,” an autoethnography from the perspective of a bitter, recently divorced feminist scholar. Sandwiched between the meandering tangents about menstruation, capitalism, and the potential connections between witchcraft and beer were poems generated by an internet bot. The slapdash prose should have been a dead giveaway, including gems such as, “We aren’t nice women. We’re fierce and free. We’re the witches of brewsters past.” The phony paper took less than six hours to write, but you can probably guess what happened next: The Journal of Poetry Therapy published it without suggesting any revisions.

By the time the Wall Street Journal exposed their project on October 2nd, the trio already managed to have seven of their papers accepted for publication. Seven more were still under consideration. Just six had been rejected.  For context, only two or three peer-reviewed articles over the course of one’s career are necessary to get tenure in many regional universities. That’s a breathtaking success rate for people with no professional background in those fields, and yes, it should worry you.

Lindsay has freely admitted that he and the others reasoned backwards from absurd conclusions, scouring academic literature for work that would buttress their claims while coddling the reviewers’ left-of-fringe political sensibilities. This is the opposite of what we expect from careful scholarship. Within several fields, however, a fashionable idea has taken hold that asperses scientific objectivity as a tool of social oppression.  Don’t just take my word for it. Back in May, the Journal for Cultural Anthropology’s official account tweeted, “good morning. All research is political. Have a great day everyone!” Curricula infused with these ideas are dangerous social experiments, and not the least because a common faith in objective reality enables us to hold those in power accountable.  

As a graduate student of social work, I find this troubling for another reason. Clinical social workers, for example, often partner with clients who suffer from mental illnesses that require evidence-based interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Others work as policy analysts and wield considerable authority in designing welfare programs. Who seriously believes monthly meetings in designated “womb rooms” and praying to Norse goddesses are effective interventions for women in dysfunctional relationships? Poorly-vetted material in our curricula undermines our ability to troubleshoot effectively with our clients and consider the full range of options they have for improving their lives.

I commonly encounter such misinformation at my school. Microaggression theory, for instance, is especially pernicious in its current iteration, because it encourages people to become hypersensitive to perceived slights and read them as signs of unconscious hostility. This behavior, known in clinical literature as mind reading, is widely recognized as a cognitive distortion. Why, then, is it being promoted in social work school? On some campuses, university administrators have even established bias response teams to intimidate the unfortunate faculty members who have the guile to teach engagement with opposing viewpoints.

Liberals of all stripes – especially libertarians – should recognize that such “theories” function primarily as ammunition for stigmatizing dissent. Unfortunately, many have leaked from academia into everyday parlance; it is now impossible to openly discuss topics such as potential links between cultural norms and poverty without giving offense, even though the people who suffer the brunt of these underdiscussed problems are among the most marginalized in society.  

I urge my fellow university students to take notice. Don’t just sit silently in class when you hear unjust or far-fetched ideas among your peers to avoid social ostracization. Remember, too, that as students at American universities, we already enjoy many unique socioeconomic privileges. The most consequential among them is proximity to scholarship that changes lives.  The impulse to protect our own reputations by taking the path of least resistance is understandable, but it is not a moral course of action. The time to speak up is now.

 

For more content from askalibertarian, follow us on the following platforms:

 

 

 

 

Do you have a libertarian oriented message you want to get out? Consider contacting Ask A Libertarian via messenger at https://www.facebook.com/messages/t/askalibertarian to find out how you can become a volunteer in our Journalism Department.

The author’s views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Ask A Libertarian Team or its followers.

The Why Not Of Democratic Socialism

democraticsocialismno

Kris Morgan 9/6/2018

Democratic Socialism is a phrase that has been popularized by Vermont Senator and former Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders. The word ‘socialism’ sets off red flags in the minds of Libertarians and Conservatives alike. This is understandable given the body count of the 20th century that traces back to socialist countries. Nevertheless, supporters of the ideology claim that those opposed are merely associating their form of socialism with that of totalitarian dictatorships. Whether we agree with this statement or not, one thing is for certain; Democratic Socialism is gaining in popularity and if we are going to successfully push back against that tide, we should not engage in hyperbole. The Democratic Socialists of America webpage has two major tasks for the visitor to explore. It behooves us to listen to their message and highlight where we disagree and offer alternatives.

Number one on the to-do list is providing medicare for all. The text reads “In the capitalist system, you have to pay to get care or go without, and under a democratic socialist system, we would collectively provide care as a society.” It would be great to reach a point where everyone has access to quality healthcare. However, there are two major points worthy of examination.

First, the present medicare program is due to go bankrupt by 2026, despite the fact that it does not cover all citizens. A piece in the LA Times noted “The report from program trustees says Medicare will become insolvent in 2026 — three years earlier than previously forecast. Its giant trust fund for inpatient care won’t be able to fully cover projected medical bills starting at that point.” The Democratic Socialists would likely develop a financial plan designed to resolve this issue. However, we must keep in mind that no government program is ever presented as if it will be poorly managed and leave us bankrupt. Yet here we are, over $21tril in debt; not because of a single party or even a single office, but because of the system as a whole.

Second, though libertarians recognize and sympathize with the current state of medical services, we identify the problem as being government interventionism in the first place. Mises.org has a great piece showing step-by-step how the United States has empowered and enriched private entities at the expense of the people, resulting in higher costs and fewer services. Our solution is to end the practices that lead to the current state of affairs to begin with. We want to trust communities and markets with the ability to solve problems. Contrary to the popular belief that we have a do-nothing answer, we would remove artificial barriers so individuals can make investments and increase efficiency of current services. Models that don’t result in greater output than input end in bankruptcy, whereas political failures continue until change is advantageous for those in power, regardless of the damage they cause.

Next on their list of objectives is stronger unions. Notwithstanding the lack in details, their ideas still warrant attention. Not surprising, capitalism itself is made the target.

“Capitalism pits us against each other and workplaces are fundamentally authoritarian unless workers can self-organize and build collective power. This is why people build unions, and why employers undermine them. It is also why the capitalists as a class constantly work to undermine unions and promote narratives about unions that frame them as unnecessary, undemocratic or ineffective. We are forming a national project to fight back and build power in the economy, since outside of Wall Street, workplaces are the place where the owning class extract resources from the working class.”

Yes, under capitalism there is competition. The nature of this competition is largely peaceful, with workers determined to prove themselves more valuable than each other, and entrepreneurs working on meeting demand most efficiently. While it can be argued this is less than perfect, it is much more preferable than competing for power over each other. In free markets the goal is to trade one’s economic efforts for material gain. In socialism, the goal is to pander to, or seize, power and force everyone to do what we want. Talk about pitting us against each other!

Libertarians are not anti-union per se. Our objections only arise where force is being used. Rules which make it illegal for an employer to end associations with those wanting to form unions go against individual liberty. Freedom in these decisions would make it possible for workers and employers to weigh their options and do what is in their best interest. If a skill is valuable and rare enough, those who have it have a bargaining chip. Industry leaders would understand that negotiating is in their best interest under those circumstances. Economic problems persist where skills are not scarce, but law restricts entrepreneurs from opting out of negotiations. Demand for such labor diminishes under artificially higher costs, and lower-level employees assume added responsibilities, or technology fills in the gap. Opportunities for unskilled workers to gain experience, skills, and knowledge fade.

These Democratic Socialist stepping stones are just a launching pad to encompass key aspects of life. In their view, eventually everything would be transformed from spontaneous order to a centrally-planned, democratic decision making process. In their words, “Democratic socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives.”

Trade by itself is here to meet public needs. In markets, our highest order needs and wants are expressed in the pricing system. Consumers willing to buy products at high prices signal producers to direct more resources towards said goods, and the result is lower prices and a supply and demand reaching as close to equilibrium as conditions would allow.

Who determines if the public’s needs are being met in Democratic Socialism? Or, in the existential sense, how do we determine what exactly the public needs to begin with? Life is infinitely complex and peoples’ wants and needs are in a constant state of change. Running everything in a democratic manner would never allow for the flexibility needed to match these conditions, not to mention whatever the politics involved would look like. The only way to adapt to is to untie our hands and let us react to changes. A handful of us cannot possibly know what all of us need, and if they did, the bureaucratic process of democracy is far too slow to adjust.

Whatever the intentions are of democratic socialists, the course of action they have chosen will not make the world a better place. Our economy is already riddled with trade cycles, endless deficits, regulations, wars, etc, we don’t need more. The move to provide medicare for everyone is a step in the wrong direction. In bad times, just as in good times, the real solution is increased capital investment to make labor more productive and directed to meet real demand. This only occurs under conditions of freedom. The government’s job is simple; get out of the way and deal with people who infringe on private property rights. Stop running deficits, eliminate tariffs, allow interest rates to reflect economic realities, and stop inflating bubbles.

The task of taking purposeful economic action is on the people. For example, if more medical services are really what we want, then new models should be constructed and invested in privately, so that in the event the planners are wrong, they fail as they should. Under conditions where entrepreneurs hit their mark, they have a solvent system in play and get to remain. In spite of popular opinion, no form of socialism is synonymous with sharing, it’s about institutionalized theft. Scarce resources are not something we should want politicized under any circumstances. Political decision-making is precisely what got us to where we are today, and we should not be entertaining the notion of expanding it.

 

For more content from askalibertarian, follow us on the following platforms:

 

 

 

 

Do you have a libertarian oriented message you want to get out? Consider contacting Ask A Libertarian via messenger at https://www.facebook.com/messages/t/askalibertarian to find out how you can become a volunteer in our Journalism Department.

The author’s views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Ask A Libertarian Team or its followers.

What The Comment Section Is Teaching Us

disagree

Kris Morgan 7/8/2018

It seems like everyone on social media has been part of a thread that has gone off the deep end. Political discussions there are flooded with name-calling, condescending attitudes, and all-to-often the mention of Adolf Hitler. In fact, the Nazis have been mentioned so frequently that we now have ‘Godwin’s Law’, which states that “if you mention Adolf Hitler or Nazis within a discussion thread, you’ve automatically ended whatever discussion you were taking part in.” None of this is to say that there is no truth being shared, but it is regularly drowned by deflections, personal attacks, misinformation, cognitive dissonance, and other barriers. It is very tempting to conclude that there’s not a lot we can learn on a discussion thread, but that’s not quite true.

Veterans of social media will instantly agree with two basic conclusions drawn from the comment section. First, everyone thinks they are right. No matter how well or how poorly informed a person may be, when a position is taken, it is taken definitively. The individual, aware of the never-ending feed of fake news, conspiracy theories, and other seemingly-less-intelligent people on the web is very unlikely to change. To us, our beliefs and the reasons behind them are clear, so what kind of person disagrees? A wrong one.

Secondly, the politically active among us must realize that we are not all going to agree, probably ever. While we have general groups of conservatives, liberals, libertarians, etc., each of us is also unique in life experience and knowledge. The idea of two people agreeing on every foreseeable situation in human affairs is unimaginable. Though it may not seem it, there is a foundation from which we can move forward. If we acknowledge our disagreements, rather than preach our own version of the gospel, there is no reason we cannot move past them together, as there is a third truth we have to keep in mind.

Deep down, kept away from comment sections, or “in places you don’t talk about at parties,” we know that we don’t know everything. We are fallible, have biases, dissonance, and are even aware of the sway in the media we consume. So we share this world, full of different people, each believing themself to be right, and yet none is omniscient. What do we do when we all think we are right, our opinions rarely change, and none of us even has all the necessary information?

The only sane position is freedom. Freedom from coercion brought upon us from political and private entities. This means limiting government to the defense of individual liberty and private property rights. Only in this framework will we all be able to try what we believe is right and determine for ourselves if we are satisfied with the results.

Just because a group of people want a welfare state doesn’t make it the job of the politicians to threaten anyone who doesn’t participate with fines or jail. Just because someone thinks the Middle East should be invaded and occupied doesn’t mean soldiers who swore an oath to defend the United States should face a Courts Martial for not taking part in it. Just because some among us think the risk is too great to use new drugs before they’ve had the chance to be properly tested by the FDA doesn’t mean anyone should be banned from making a different decision for themselves.

The common belief is that there is strength in numbers. This is difficult to dispute on a battlefield, however, civil society is not a war zone. Our disagreements make us strong. Who among us hasn’t been forced through debate to find new ways to articulate their positions or address concerns they have never considered?

Private charity is a great example of how differences in opinion can help us cover our bases. Some believe it enables people, while others focus on helping the less fortunate. This has the effect of sending two important messages simultaneously. First, it tells people that there are those among us who are willing to help in times of need. Missions, food trucks, and other charitable services feed the homeless daily. At the same time, charity can be pulled at any time. If people get the sense they are being taken advantage of, they will likely pull their resources. This fact is a deterrent to people who are capable of doing more, but would be happy to live off charity.

We may want numbers, but what we need more than anything is a willingness to debate. Rather than trying to stamp out opposing views through law, we should welcome them. When the goal is to expand our horizons, and make our ideas, and ourselves, as good as possible, disagreement is extremely beneficial. Besides, it’s not as though we are going to wake up one day and find we all share the exact same beliefs.

Solidarity works out for the squad of soldiers on the battlefield only because the intellectual labor has already been done. Behind the scenes, where Generals and Admirals regularly meet with top government officials, disagreement refines the strategy. Let’s be the best version of ourselves we can, by supporting each other’s freedom to act on our own opinions. Ironically, taking power out of the picture could lead to more willingness to listen on all our parts.

 

For more content from askalibertarian, follow us on the following platforms:

 

 

 

 

Do you have a libertarian oriented message you want to get out? Consider contacting Ask A Libertarian via messenger at https://www.facebook.com/messages/t/askalibertarian to find out how you can become a volunteer in our Journalism Department.

The author’s views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Ask A Libertarian Team or its followers.

 

Gun Control In The Western Hemisphere: Venezuela

venezuelaguns

David B. Beaver 7/9/2018

The gun control conversation has devolved into the same small handful of arguments from both sides. In the course of a debate, you will hear historical and international examples. For instance, the gun control advocate will cite the examples of Germany and the United Kingdom. They were successful in eradicating gun ownership and gun violence in one smooth motion (notwithstanding knife violence in the U.K) and they never descended into tyranny despite the fears of “conspiracy-rattled gun nuts!” So why wouldn’t it work here?

That’s actually a good question. Generally, when a principle applies, it applies universally. What’s good for one is good for all. This issue, however, seems to be a bit more complicated here in the West. Let’s look at one example of how gun control has fared on this side of the planet.

In 2012, the Venezuelan legislative body passed a law banning all guns and weapons for civilians. The law banned the sale of firearms to anyone outside of government agencies. Even a small violation carries a sentence of at least 20 years in prison. So what were the results? The government invested millions of dollars into massive firearms confiscation plans. Very few surrendered willingly, and even after thousands of confiscations, millions of weapons remain in the country. This is despite a well-organized and aggressive disarmament effort which should have been painless since the gun laws there were already strict, and all firearms were registered.

Armed robberies became rampant, and homicide rates skyrocketed. Today, Venezuela boasts the second highest global homicide rate —just below Honduras. These crimes and gun homicide rates continue to grow along with the substantial increases in violence and crime; the economy crashed as is often a side-effect of violent crime spikes.

But surely it didn’t become tyrannical! Well, what we do know for sure is that incidences of state violence have been on the rise since the law passed. From 2014-2017, many protesters organized to combat the growing power of the state, and some were killed by government gunmen in the effort. Not only did government and pro-government groups use lethal rounds against the protesters, but Human Rights Watch also reported during that time that police had often fired rubber bullets and tear gas cartridges at point blank range with the intent to kill. As far as we know 30 people were killed with “non-lethal” weaponry alone.  

We also know that their government encourages many of its most loyal citizens to do their dirty work for them. Collectivos (a Chavez creation, “Collectives” in English), are formed of loyalist private citizens who organize as a counter resistance movement. They have been known to use violence, lethal force, and even fully automatic machine guns to take the lives of would-be protesters or freedom fighters. We know the government, while seeking to absolve itself of responsibility, fully encourages these activities. We also know the most likely way these groups obtained weapons was with the approval of the government, who generally grants them immunity to certain laws in the execution of their activities.

Finally, gun prohibition in Venezuela has also led to a substantial increase in violence against law enforcement officers in the country, particularly for their firearms, which carry a much higher black market value under the strict ban. In other words, they have applied the black market principle, which substantially increases the desirability of an item to habitual criminals, to all guns. By allowing only police officers to carry guns, they have essentially drawn targets on the heads of every law enforcement officer in the country.

While it is true that certain principles can apply universally when citing examples for what does and doesn’t work, it is important to consider multiple factors. Gun control, for instance, may not work the same in the Americas as it does in Europe due to a number of variables. Many do not consider cultural factors, the available supply of guns, the structure and stability of surrounding governments, and even unforseen current events.

I’m sure there are many who would agree that if we could turn all guns into piles of sugar, and thus rid the world of gun violence forever, we would. Venezuela is one example of why we cannot. They are also neither the first nor the only government try, and sadly will not be the last.

 

For more content from askalibertarian, follow us on the following platforms:

 

 

 

 

Do you have a libertarian oriented message you want to get out? Consider contacting Ask A Libertarian via messenger at https://www.facebook.com/messages/t/askalibertarian to find out how you can volunteer on our team.

The author’s views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Ask A Libertarian Team or its followers.

Viability Of The Libertarian Party

viability

Travis Hallman  September 5th

Many voters assume 3rd party candidates can’t win, so they resort to voting for the lesser-of-two-evils presented by the two major parties. This is becoming less of a problem because the Libertarian Party is growing daily. The purpose of this article is to present a few facts supporting the viability of the Libertarian Party.

FACT #1:

“The number of U.S. voters registered as Libertarian has surged by 92 percent since 2008, reports Ballot Access News in its March 2018 edition. That increase has come at the expense of both Democrats, who are down by 8 percent over the same time period, and Republicans, who are down by 5 percent. The number of voters registered as independent or with other parties has increased by 19 percent.”

FACT #2:

“The Libertarian Party is the third-largest political party in the United States after the Republican and Democratic parties.”

FACT #3:

“The recently concluded Libertarian National Convention, held in New Orleans, set attendance and fundraising records. Preliminary figures indicate that this year’s convention may have surpassed the 2016 presidential nominating convention in both attendance and fundraising.”

FACT #4:

“Nationwide, there are 174 Libertarians holding elected offices: 55 partisan offices, and 119 nonpartisan offices.”

FACT #5:

Gary Johnson was the Libertarian Party presidential nominee in 2016. He was on the ballot in all fifty states plus D.C., but was only listed as a Libertarian on the ballot in forty-seven of those states plus D.C. Nationwide, he received approximately 3.24% of the vote. He received between 1.19% and 9.34% in each of the fifty states plus D. C.

Because presidential candidate election results affect ballot access [in most states], Johnson’s run was able to secure ballot access for the Libertarian Party for at least one election cycle in twenty-two states. In eighteen of those states, Libertarian Party ballot access is secured for all offices. In two of those states, Johnson only secured ballot access for the 2020 Libertarian Party presidential nominee. In Georgia, Johnson only secured ballot access in 2018 to Libertarian candidates running for statewide offices, while in Pennsylvania, Johnson was only able to secure Libertarian Party ballot access in special elections in 2017 and 2018.”

This means the candidates nominated by the Libertarian Party in these states can redirect resources (typically spent on gaining ballot access) to marketing and campaigning.

FACT #5 continued:

“As of July 2018, we have 2018 ballot access in 44 states.”

Unfortunately, because of a variety of factors, we are unable to pursue statewide access in Alabama, Tennessee, or Rhode Island this year. But we are pushing forward aggressively in the other 3 states.”

“It is likely that the Libertarian Party [LP] will have at least one nominee for a federal or state office on the ballot in all 50 states in November 2018, for the first time in a midterm year.”

FACT #6:

“December 28, 2017, Washington, DC — Attorneys with the Our America Initiative, a nonprofit advocacy organization, have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a Writ of Certiorari asking the Justices to reinstate an antitrust suit brought against the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) by former presidential candidate Gary Johnson and others challenging the Commission’s boycott of third party and independent candidates from nationally televised debates.”

FACT #7:

Libertarian candidates like Craig Bowden, Larry Sharpe, Laura Ebke, Bill Gelineau, Honor “Mimi” Robson, Autumn Browne, Gail Lightfoot, Derrick Michael Reid, and many others are breaking old records with their campaigns.

In conclusion, the Libertarian Party is becoming very much more viable every day. However, viability should not determine the way we vote. The founding fathers created a representative republic so we could vote for the candidates we want to win (as opposed to voting for who we think may win). Voting for who we think can win will always give us a less desirable government. We should only be casting support for the projected winners during sport matches, not political campaigns.

In liberty,

-Travis Hallman

 

For more content from askalibertarian, follow us on the following platforms:

 

 

 

 

Do you have a libertarian oriented message you want to get out? Consider contacting Ask A Libertarian via messenger at https://www.facebook.com/messages/t/askalibertarian to find out how you can become a volunteer in our Journalism Department.

The author’s views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Ask A Libertarian Team or its followers.

Social Media Censorship; Mainstream Media Lies

smcensorship

By Franc Turner  August 26, 2018

I’d like to preface these next thoughts by saying that I disagree with practically everything that Alex Jones has said in recent years. That said, I’ve heard that the alternative media radio host has been banned from Facebook, YouTube, and Apple all on the same day, within the span of 12 hours. All of his content, thousands upon thousands of videos, podcasts, live streams, etc; all deemed to be “unfit for human consumption” i.e. removed because it might offend a listening ear. In other words, they’re worried about losing ad revenue for their social media outlets.

Again, I’d like to point out that I don’t think Mr. Jones has had anything even remotely enlightening or relevant to say lately. However, the fact that WHAT he says has been “banned” throughout the social media world has set a rather concerning precedent for anyone who doesn’t fit into the cookie-cutter paradigm of “general consensus” concepts, ideas, or expressions. This may have been the purpose of having someone like Jones on the airwaves in the first place. Here’s someone who was completely anti-authoritarian, questioning the motives behind all of those in power, and gradually made to appear crazier and crazier. He ultimately became a caricature of himself, of “conspiracy theorists,” and of alternative media outlets in general; thereby, giving the greenlight to remove any voices who may use these various platforms to go against the grain.

It seems the only outlets allowed to have opinions (political or otherwise) in the 24-hour news-cycle world are Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. Anything else is “fake news” and subject to censorship. If I remember correctly, all three of these organizations were cheerleaders, initially, for the Bush Jr. administration when the War in Iraq was in its infancy. They all willfully parroted the blatant lies of WMD’s that brainwashed the country into believing Iraq was a threat to the United States, and also believing that perpetuating the never-ending War on Terror was a just cause.

During those years, before it became cool to criticise Bush Jr.’s Presidency, Alex Jones was an anti-war/peace activist who called out the Neoconservatives/Republicans with every action they took. This was a time when no one else (at least in the mainstream media) had the balls to do so (with the exception of maybe Jon Stewart). The fact that Jones is now basically a talking-piece for every Neoconservative policy and agenda should, at the very least, make a person wonder why that is.

I personally think that this is all an attempt to take anyone who questions official news and equate them with the likes of Alex Jones or whoever else they choose to censor. It seems as though the goal is to make the idea of questioning the “official” anything, in and of itself, seem “crazy,” “off-hinged,” and “dangerous.”

The reality is the opposite. It’s the “officials” who have done nothing to shed light on all of the government-sanctioned bloodshed and brutality inflicted upon specific geopolitical regions for the past seventeen years, against people and nations who had nothing to do with the events of 9/11. Instead, the “real” news is too concerned with what Stormy Daniels is saying, what Roseanne is saying, what gender Bruce Jenner is, where alt-right vs. antifa fights are breaking out, and what our puppet presidents are tweeting.

While some people may argue that these are private corporations, and they have the “right” to censor whatever they want on their platforms, these same people are also arguing whether or not football players have the right to kneel during the national anthem. And the reason given is, you guessed it, FREE SPEECH; despite the fact that NFL teams are also private organizations. The whole “violating the terms of service” isn’t the issue here. Individuals who are just now being deplatformed are, for the most part, saying the exact same things that they’ve always been saying since the beginning of social media. Yet, they are only now being taken down by popular demand i.e. media hype and taking words out of context to make it all fit a certain narrative. While at the same time, other major organizations are saying/doing very similar things on these platforms and not given the ax. Social Media is cherry-picking who they decide to ban on these forums of apparent “free expression” and the voting population is cherry-picking what constitutes free speech/expression.

The bottom line is: as a society, we either believe in freedom of speech or we don’t. And if you believe that it is ok to censor thoughts and beliefs that you personally don’t agree with, then you are also saying that it is ok for those in power to censor what YOU have to say, simply because they don’t agree with YOU.

Questioning and voicing your opinion, no matter how unpopular your particular views are… is a good thing. Never be afraid to say what you believe, for that fear is the essence of authoritarianism.

 

 

Mass Shootings, Gun Control, And The Misdirected Masses

massshootings

Franc Turner  August 8, 2018

“We’ve now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” – George Orwell

I was recently doing some statistical analysis for my own curiosity and amusement. My thoughts on these matters may not be very popular, but I think that it is rather important to consider uncommon perspectives when it comes to the “leaders” of this nation enacting legislation due to the momentum of perceived public outcry, demand, and public relations.

With the heated atmosphere of anti-gun vs. pro-gun, gun violence, the NRA, mass shootings, rallies, town hall meetings, Democrat vs. Republican screaming matches, etc., I wanted to research the numbers that relate to the topics at hand. Through a little bit of digging, I was able to look up the data from every mass shooting in this country, from Columbine to Parkland, and every mass shooting in between. And when I say “mass shooting”, I am using the Congressional Research Service’s definition of the term in which four or more people are killed, not including the perpetrator. I started at Columbine because that incident seems to have been the jumping-off-point of the exponential trend of similar events happening more frequently in the public consciousness.

I gathered the numbers of individuals killed in each of the 58 shootings. Through some simple and straightforward mathematics, I totalled the number of individuals killed in mass shootings from Columbine (1999) to Parkland (2018). The total number of people killed in mass shootings in this country during that nearly two decade time span is 535. (https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-full-data/).

That number made me wonder how many individuals are shot and killed by police each year in this country. Unfortunately, people didn’t keep records of that kind of thing until three years ago, as far as I could find. For 2015, the number of people shot and killed by police was 995. For 2016, the number was 963. And for 2017, it was 987. This year, so far, there have been 531; for a grand total of 3,476 in the past three years alone. While it can be argued that many of those instances are “justified in the line of duty”, many others have transpired like that of the Daniel Shaver shooting.

The 24- hour media circus also made me think back to the (never discussed) number of civilians estimated to have been killed in the 17-year-long “War On Terror”, which is between 1-2 million, conservatively; none of which had anything to do with the events of 9/11 (a day which was used as the catalyst for these indiscriminate regional massacres), while the majority of those killed are women and, yes, CHILDREN. And I would bet that the current number is more likely to be much higher, as those estimates are from a few years ago .

This also caused me to think back to events such as Kent State, Ruby Ridge, and Waco, TX; all of which took place in the not-so-distant past, carried out by your own benevolent government. Again, if you’re unfamiliar with those incidents, I suggest you read about them.

The point is that your own government kills more people in a matter of a few days (on the average) than all of the mass shootings that have taken place in this country in the past 20 years, combined. And yet, there is almost zero outrage about this blatant and disturbing fact. There are no marches, no rallies, no town hall meetings, no wall-to-wall media coverage. Your own government is committing mass murder on a daily basis and will continue to do so while they con the citizenry into bankrolling the whole thing.

For the past couple of years, I’ve found it fascinating to watch the willfully oblivious masses feed right into the “Us vs. Them” political mindset; with each and every new hashtag spreading like a zombie outbreak from “World War Z.” People seem to find comfort and peace of mind through recreational outrage, as instructed by the various news agencies.

The individuals who support the two major political gangs (Republicans and Democrats) in this country have compared the “opposing” faction’s de facto leader to Hitler. I’m guilty of it too, but I’m biased because I think that that every President we’ve had in the past 40 years has been a fake-smiled, friendly-faced fascist. But since Trump is the current figurehead, I’ll use that particular cult-of-personality as an example. For many self-proclaimed Democrats, Trump is Hitler-incarnate. And yet these masses of people are also demanding that Trump’s government enact legislation to ban the population from having certain firearms which they deem “only military and law enforcement should have.”

So, basically it’s, “Trump is Hitler! You can’t trust anything he does! Give HIM all of your guns! That’ll show him! VICTORY!” They also want universal background checks, mental health screenings, and more. And Trump, himself, has even stated that he would like the government to be able to take weapons from anyone whom they deem to be a threat, without due process. His exact quote was, “Take the guns first, go through due process second.” And there’s a certain percentage of Trump supporters who will go along with anything he says because they still believe he’s going to “Make America Great Again”, which is useful for the continued perpetuation of the incremental obsolescence of the Constitution as a safeguard against government overreach.

This is the same Trump which recently sold $350 billion dollars worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia. So, it’s ok to give Saudi Arabia weapons, but not ok for American citizens to have weapons? That makes perfect sense. And I’ve heard arguments such as, “Europe has strict gun control and these kind of events don’t take place over there. It’s uniquely an American phenomenon.” Didn’t the deadliest mass shooting in recent memory happen in France just a few years ago? That one in which 137 people died, causing everyone to change their profile picture to have the colors of the French flag?

And all of this is aside from the fact that our government, along with other major governments of the world, are holding the citizenry of the entire planet hostage under the threat of nuclear annihilation. It’s not the people doing these things, it’s their governments.

Do we really want Trump’s government to be the only ones who have guns? It has been argued by many (whom you may never hear speak on any major news outlet) that the purpose of government is to cause the problems which they, in lock step, offer to “fix”; hence, creating an artificial “need” for themselves to “protect” you from each boogie man they’re conditioning you to fear. “The people can’t be trusted to protect themselves, so let’s make ’em all rely on those in power to do that job for them.” Genius, I tells ya.

Pollution, war, poverty, hunger, scarcity, oil, hatred, hardship, violence, drugs, waste, etc..; these are not combatted by governments, but carried out and perpetuated by them. Max Igan described this trend as applying to even the simplest aspects of our daily lives. Take something as simple and seemingly straightforward as seatbelt laws. “If you don’t wear a seatbelt, you pay a fine. If you don’t pay the fine, you’ll go to jail. If you don’t let them take you to jail, they’ll come and arrest you. If you don’t allow them to arrest you, they’ll kill you.”

Whether it’s in the wake of mass shootings, terrorism, war, or any other reason, actions taken by governments are not just about creating safety, security, protection, and harmony in everyday life. They’re also often about creating, enforcing, and conditioning obedience within the population, so they don’t question who’s got the keys to the shackles around their ankles.

The bottom line is that human beings have a right to defend themselves. Period. And the ironic thing is that any kind of gun ban would be enforced at the barrel of a gun (the same guns which they are banning). I was always a person who believed that people should lead by example. Therefore, if the governments of the world would like their citizens to disarm, they should first destroy each and every one of their own weapons, starting with every nuclear weapon.

A few months ago, half a million people marched on Washington to beg their imperial overlords to take away more of their own rights. If people are genuinely concerned with saving the lives of children, then stop allowing your own government to kill innocent people around the globe with impunity, and stop pretending like you or the government have the moral authority to “allow” other people to have the right to defend themselves. A human being doesn’t have to ask permission to do that, it’s self evident.

The world has literally gone insane, my friends.

 

For more content from askalibertarian, follow us on the following platforms:

 

 

 

 

Do you have a libertarian oriented message you want to get out? Consider contacting Ask A Libertarian via messenger at https://www.facebook.com/messages/t/askalibertarian to find out how you can become a volunteer in our Journalism Department.

The author’s views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Ask A Libertarian Team or its followers.