Common-Sense Guns

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Donnie Davis, October 5, 2017

Let’s end the debate on gun control. Criminals will always be able to acquire guns because they don’t abide by laws. Laws make it harder for ordinary citizens to buy weapons to protect themselves, while criminals access the black market.

In many states, purchasing a firearm requires passing a NICS check. It consists of running your ID through federal and state databases to screen people who have been involved in domestic disturbances or have criminal records.

In addition to the NICS background check, potential gun owners must meet local and state requirements. It is noteworthy that in some cities, such as Chicago, it is illegal to own handguns.  In 2016, Chicago experienced 762 homicides; the gun control crowd bears a heavy burden explaining this. While some instinctually believe restrictions are not rigorous enough, libertarians argue the regulations cause black market activity, which in turn breeds violence. According to the article, “police and prosecutors agree that the city’s black market for illegal guns has thrived in no small part because of street gangs and their drug operations.”

To understand the nature of prohibition we can look at the market for illegal substances, where much study has been completed. Heroin is a perfect example. Though it is illegal to use, possess, manufacture, and sell, our country is experiencing an epidemic. The same is happening with other drugs such as methamphetamines and cocaine. In fact, politicsmadepublic.com reported that the illegal drug trade is one of the most profitable markets in the economy.

Alcohol prohibition in the early 20th century didn’t work either. Bathtub gin, speakeasies, rum runners, and the like managed to maneuver around the law. The black market in alcohol created the environment for organized crime to flourish, offering those willing to take the risk an opportunity to provide that service/commodity anyway. If not for alcohol prohibition, organized crime would have never existed in the capacity it did.

Promoters of gun control may point to a recent review of multiple studies that have shown regulations actually do lower homicide rates. However, the findings “were observational, which meant that researchers couldn’t control for variables. That’s a problem… Failing to control for variables in any social study is huge when we consider the complexities of human society. The article also mentions bias within the team, though they do believe it was not shown in the results.

The real debate is control vs freedom. Permitting incremental losses in freedom for the illusion of gains in security is the path to serfdom. If we allow the government to violate the bill of rights, sooner or later freedom of speech will be legislated against…. oh wait, it already is.

100% freedom is preferable. passing legislation to control people shifts the focus from individual growth to political control. Rather than getting at the roots of violence, we try to manage the symptoms, ironically, using violence.

Laws are only necessary when there are victims; i.e. murder, rape, theft, kidnapping, assault, etc. Passing legislation which is designed to control our behavior violates of our liberty, and arguably the Ninth Amendment. Crime can only exist when someone can claim victimhood. Anything else is just a matter of personal opinion and moral values.

Should negligent behavior be legislated? No. Should negligent behavior that results in someone/thing being victimized be legislated? Could negligence increase the punishment for a crime? Most certainly, because there is a victim. But when we use the law to force people to abstain from doing things that don’t directly threaten us or our rights, we become the criminals.

 

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It Is A Privilege

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Kris Morgan

President Trump signaled his intention to stop allowing transgender individuals to enlist in the military. He transmitted the following in a series of tweets:

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

This decision can be seen in multiple ways, most obvious as being a step back for LGBTQ rights, as service to country is once again being blocked. Another way of viewing this decision is that it is nothing more than a calculated move to make the military more efficient and focused, taking the president at his word. Hardly anyone questions whether joining the military is a right.  That is where libertarian philosophy comes into play.

If our military were strictly restrained to national defense, there would be no reason to refuse transgenders from serving. However, that is not how things are. Ever since Saddam Hussein first attempted to annex Kuwait back in the early 1990’s, the United States military has been involved heavily in the Middle East. They’ve done everything from invading Iraq (twice) to laying sanctions and establishing no fly zones. The conflict has spread to Syria, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan.

Major conflicts going on today began as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which killed almost 3,000 people. Operation Enduring Freedom began in 2001 when US forces hunted down Osama Bin Laden. Operation Iraqi Freedom began in 2003 when President Bush’s administration couldn’t decide if Hussein possessed WMDs, was a party to the 9/11 attacks, or both (neither turned out to be true). The result of these operations has been a refugee crisis, the destabilization of the Middle East, the creation of ISIS, and the US desperately trying to restore stability.  

To get an understanding of the legacy the US is leaving in Iraq, it’s important to review key pieces of information. First, in the 1990s the UN estimated that 500,000 children died as a result of US sanctions. The finding was one of the motivators behind the 9/11 attack. To be fair, that number is in dispute. However, then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright took credit for it when she told 60 Minutes that price was worth controlling Saddam.

On another point we turn our attention to Fallujah. Due to heavy bombings from US forces and their allies in the current occupation, Fallujah has experienced “the highest rate of genetics damage in any population ever studied”, according to Dr. Chris Busby who authored and co-authored several studies on the Fallujah Health Crisis. It is clear that the United States is the aggressor nation in modern conflicts in the Middle East.

The goal is to wage a war against terrorism. This is a crusade that will likely go on until the American economy completely collapses and the war effort can no longer be funded. The more we press on against countries and populations who have never harmed us, the more terrorists we will create. The more terrorists we create, the more fuel our politicians have to justify their actions.  It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Though a judge has recently blocked the ban, there is no right to join an organization that bombs and occupies other parts of the world. It makes no difference if you’re part of the LGBTQ community. To join the military, wage aggressive war while radiating populations, killing and displacing civilians, creating the very problems it is allegedly solving, and not come under formal charges is a legally created exemption. There is a world of difference between legal immunity and culturally created incentives, and human rights under natural law.

If President Trump wants to sort out this problem, our military has to be one that is strictly used to defend the United States. This would mean ending the operations in the Middle East, bringing our troops home, and giving the power to declare war back to Congress. Congress has not declared war since June 4, 1942. Until a formal constitutional amendment is passed altering the powers of Congress and the Presidency, anything which empowers the executive with the ability to start war is an act of treason.  

The transgender question cannot be properly resolved until we correct the issues with American Foreign Policy.

 

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Taxation is Theft

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Kris Morgan 10/23/17

“Taxation is Theft” captures the essence of libertarian political philosophy more accurately than any other phrase.  Libertarians believe that basic moral rules should apply to our rulers to the same degree they do private citizens.  In the case of taxation, we maintain that since the threat of force is a key feature, it is a form of theft.  Skeptics of this conclusion have several arguments that seem plausible on the surface, but we quickly see that on the fundamental level libertarians are correct.

The easiest argument to dispose of is the belief that since governments provide services, taxation is just.  One example is charity.  Most of us have room in our hearts to help those in need.  Nevertheless, that does not justify forcing us to fund the welfare state through progressive taxation.  Wanting to be charitable is not the same was wanting the government to take our money through the threat of imprisonment and distribute it as they see fit.  The same logic holds true for all government services. Demand for a good is not a license for a third party to coerce you into giving them money to provide it.  There are other objections that require more attention.

Philip Goff, writing for taxjustice.net, believes there is no moral nor legal right to our income.  The legality of taxation is a matter of fact and law, nothing more.  The moral question is what interests us.  He wrote “there is no justice in the fact that the pre-tax income of a city banker is many hundreds of times the pre-tax income of scientists working on a cure for cancer.”  This is a statement about human preferences and the organization of our financial system, but it is not a comment on the use of force to extract money from people.  Mr. Goff is little more than a tax apologist, using human imperfection to justify coercion.

Robert Nielson at whistlinginthewind.org took the approach of comparing taxation to rent.  “The state owns the land and if you want to live on the land you must pay rent. The state is like a shopping centre (or shopping mall for my American readers). If you want to enter it you must agree to abide by its rules.”  The issue with this position is the operant assumption that the state owns the land through honorable means.  Just ownership of property comes about through homesteading, trade, or gift.  This is not how governments acquire property.  They form hierarchies, draw borders, and assume ownership by fiat.  In contrast, shopping malls do not declare ownership of pre-owned property by force, then threaten to lock up people who refuse to pay tribute.  Mr. Nielson’s proposal serves only to remind us that land has been stolen as well.

Scott Tibbs at Conservatibbs.com declared “Government does need to do certain things. The most obvious Biblical reason is to bear the sword against criminals, which requires a criminal justice system complete with lawyers, police and judges and the support staff for all of them. We also need to defend our nation against foreign aggression…”  If protection from those who wish to do us harm is the goal, threatening people with jail time and economic hardship is a contradiction to the stated objective.  We fail before we even begin.  Like the others above, Mr. Tibbs does not address the act of threatening imprisonment for tax evasion;  he is simply another apologist.  The question is how do we fill the vacuum if we end taxation, not whether taxation is theft.

There are those who believe our consent may be assumed until we decide to leave the country.  This is not true.  Not only is it more patriotic to fight for what’s right, it is inconsistent with justice to demand victims of power leave if they don’t like it. Indeed, if refusing to leave the country is the same as accepting everything our rulers do, there are far fewer tyrants around than it would seem.  Only when dealing with government power do people tell the victims to leave the area if they don’t like the injustices they are suffering.

The fact that taxation is theft is precisely what makes politics so hostile.  The left is usually not interested in funding conservative projects.  The right would prefer not to fund left-wing programs like the welfare state, and the left does not favor our interventionist foreign policy.  Libertarians do not wish to be party to anything outside the confines of security and national-defense.  Both our support for government spending on the things we like and our resistance to it for the things we despise indicate the criminal nature of taxation.  This is why Hans Hermann Hoppe called democracy a soft variant of communism.

Human morality is a universal concept that does not disappear because your organization names itself “The Government.”  Since they are nothing more than groups of people, they should be bound by the same rules as any other group or individual. When governments enforce laws against tax evasion, possessing drug paraphernalia, or any other victimless crime, they are allocating themselves authority which is denied any other group.  This is wrong.

What is most telling when it comes to those who proclaim taxation to be just is their statements only apply to governments.  Defense attorneys would never dream of asserting that a client’s actions were justified because they used the money they stole in a socially beneficial way.  It would be very entertaining to see a criminal in court use social contract theory as a means of defense.  It would be laughable if a suspect seriously suggested they’ve committed no crime because the victim could move to a new neighborhood if they don’t accept being robbed.  

Those wishing to promote the validity of taxation without addressing the well founded threats of imprisonment can be immediately dismissed.  Pointing out services provided, and ignoring the coercion and removal of choice in the matter, is a tactic designed to deflect from the central issues and prey on our shared anxieties about the future.  There are those, such as Mr. Nielson, who intelligently highlight the issue of property ownership.  However, when we look at the full picture, we see such claims are not as well founded as they seem.  If we are honest enough to admit the foul nature of taxation, and follow it up with “you can leave the country”, we consciously choose the side of evil.

There is no doubt taxation is theft.  Not even consent makes it legit, as the compliant individual has no freedom to change their mind and withdraw their money.  If we are to have any chance at real justice, liberty, peace, and a truly civil society, admitting taxation is theft and either limiting it to what’s needed to sustain a secure state and/or eventually eliminating it entirely would be a fantastic step.  We would all be much more open to each other’s thoughts and feelings if the constant threat of government power was removed from the equation.
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The Quest For Moral Superiority

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Kris Morgan  September 17, 2017

Liberals believe in big government at home, whereas conservatives support an interventionist foreign policy.  The two combined have given us a welfare/warfare state that cannot last.  The United States has accumulated over 20 trillion dollars in debt, over 127 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities, killed innocent people abroad, and jailed millions of peaceful people.  In spite of this, the Federal Government shows no signs of slowing down.  How is it that the “freest nation in the world” manages to imprison more of its citizens than North Korea, a communist dictatorship?  Ironically, these evils exist because our debates revolve around attempts at gaining the moral upper-hand rather than an unhindered search for truth.

Since politics is always a question of when it becomes morally acceptable to use force, our views reflect our sense of justice.  We assume ourselves good and just upon entering political debates.  As a result, we define opposing ideas as unjust.  Any admission on our part that our beliefs are flawed inherently implies the other person is more just and morally superior.  These biases cause our conversations to get out of hand.

For example, many believe that the United States did not provoke Osama Bin Laden to carry out the 9/11 attacks.  Some lash out when presented with a review of US interventions in the Middle East, including sanctions in the 1990s that lead to half-a-million children dying, and our Secretary of State affirming their deaths were acceptable.  They often label the messenger as part of the “blame-America-first” crowd and ignore the facts.

Conservatives who push for interventionism abroad are frequently combative to those who highlight US aggression.  They dismiss the opposition with cliches about how the world is an unfriendly place, or claim the dissenter hates America. Admitting the US is a hostile nation contradicts their view that America is the greatest country on the planet.  To backtrack on that base belief would make them appear weak and discredit their moral authority, so they often react with a critique of their own without acknowledging yours.  This method is not restricted to conservatives.

Liberals voice support for civil liberties, yet favor central economic controls.  When an opponent points out that economic controls are violations of our freedom, they claim their foe is uncaring to those in need.  Their inconsistency goes unrecognized as they focus on attacking their opponents.  It is easier to blindly accuse adversaries of being sexists, racists, or wanting the needy to starve than face their contradiction.

Democrats and Republicans alike listen to their own bases.  If their supporters are not willing to admit discrepancies in their platforms, then politicians will continue to roam free.  The welfare/warfare state will endure until there is no wealth left to tax and the currency hyper-inflates.  Making excuses, creating strawmen, deflecting legitimate critiques, and ignoring new information has allowed our government to grow completely out of control. It is an unsustainable model for political discourse.

One can argue that libertarians are not exempt from taking part in this manner of conversation, and there may be some valid critiques.  However, libertarians have a ‘north star’ with which to follow.  While Republicans and Democrats have only their own sense of moral superiority to guide them, libertarians have the Non-Aggression Principle. This keeps our personal virtues away from our politics.  For instance, a libertarian may wish for society to build a sound safety net.  Nevertheless, progressive taxation is the initiation of force and is accordingly rejected by libertarians.  Libertarians do not use morality to justify coercion.

We are being taken advantage of by a system that knows people have a desire to appear morally strong, so much so that they will defend politicians in order to protect themselves.  The best way to smash this system is to set aside our own egos, admit when we are wrong, develop consistent ideologies, and hold our rulers accountable. We have to make this change if we are ever going to claim our rightful place as the dominant party in our relationship with our power structure.

 

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UBI Part III: Alternatives

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Kris Morgan   September 21, 2017

Universal Basic Income (UBI) comes with high costs.  Economically, it will inhibit growth by placing a tax burden on production, making it more difficult to start new businesses and for small ones to compete.  Taxation also detracts from funds which could be used for reinvestment.  Monetizing more debt would put heavier pressure on our already weak dollar, as well as cause malinvestments.  Our government is not only 20 trillion dollars in debt, but it presently holds over 127 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities, in addition to wartime spending.  If we do not reject the UBI on our own terms, basic economics will force the issue.  That does not mean we must embark on the future without a plan.

Fortunately, plenty of economic reforms have been presented which are worthy of support.  Regulations that do not directly protect the property rights of others can be discarded.  Overtime rules, wage floors, truth in advertising, licensing requirements, and others restrict market forces from allocating resources to meet demand efficiently.  For example, the operant assumption in truth in advertising is that a particular business has engaged in false advertising, until proven otherwise.  By pushing back harmful regulations, we give ourselves a fighting chance to build.  It is unwise to face an uncertain future with our hands tied.  

Support for UBI indicates people have empathy for those who are unable to adequately adapt.  UBI is a means of expressing this feeling.  The alternative to government power is the conduit of civil society.  Entrepreneurs could market goods and services as products which support jobs.  Consumers can use purchasing power to reinforce such ventures, and philanthropists could fill in the remaining vacuum.  

UBI has brought attention to significant defects in our education system.  Its original intent may have been to create a labor force suitable for factory work, rather than enlightened critical thinkers.  In 1903, when John D. Rockefeller founded the General Education Board, his advisor Frederick Gates informed “…We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning of science. We are not to raise among them authors, orators, poets, or men of letters.  We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians…”  

This design was confirmed in 1990 by New York Teacher of the Year John Taylor Gatto, who said the following during his acceptance speech: “…Schools are intended to produce through the application of formulae, formulaic human beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlled.  To a very great extent, schools succeed in doing this. But our society is disintegrating, and in such a society, the only successful people are self-reliant, confident, and individualistic…”  

Education to induce conformity may have worked in the past, but it will not suffice any longer.  According to careerfaqs.com, the skills needed in the future include cognitive flexibility, creativity, critical thinking, and complex problem solving, among a few others. We should be pressuring our local school boards to focus on building skill sets, such as these, which are projected for future success.

As parents, we should not leave the task entirely to school.  Computer competence can be taught in our homes.  By teaching our kids a programming language, we could give them a head start in facing the future with a marketable skill.  If need be, we could find someone to act as a tutor.  

It is clear that the areas which need the most reform are our economy and our education system.  Our children must be able to exercise their creative muscles, and it is fundamental they be economically free to adapt.  Anyone supporting the idea of UBI without considering our weak financial position should consider what is addressed in this article.  It is not a question of whether we will have to take responsibility for ourselves, it is whether a severe economic crash will be the cause.

 

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UBI Part II: Education

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Kris Morgan, September 15, 2017

Since Universal Basic Income (UBI) in the United States would potentially fill in for wages lost to automation, it is wise to get a snapshot of where American education stands in terms of science and technology. Presumably, the labor market will be reoriented towards developing software and other tasks workers are presently unqualified to perform.  What do we know about science?  Per ultratechlife:  “According to an MIT report, at least 216 million Americans are scientifically illiterate. There are several other reports that seem to highlight this assessment of US ignorance. There appears to be a failure in American culture and the educational system especially when an adult cannot understand basic science concepts.  Where did we go wrong and what can be done about this? Believe it or not, science literacy is a matter of national security, critical for our economy and future as a competitive nation.”  

By solving the mystery of our ignorance, and closing the gap, we can cultivate logical alternatives to the UBI.  Perhaps the explanation of American ignorance can be solved by taking a glance at our school curriculums.

The Atlantic reported that just half of children between seventh and 12th grades attend schools that offer computer science courses, which are typically electives. It is noteworthy that according to the article, minorities are less likely to have access to computer classes, and males are more encouraged to take Computer Science courses than females.

The scientific community is not silent about this issue.  Renowned physicist, cosmologist, futurist, professor, and author Dr. Michio Kaku made the following comments on education in 2016: “The United States has the worst educational system known to science.  Our graduates routinely compete at the level of third world countries.” Referring to our tech sector specifically, he remarked “Without the H1B (visa), the scientific establishment of this country would collapse!  Forget about Google.  Forget about Silicon Valley, there would be no Silicon Valley without H1B.”  The visa allows non-immigrants to work for American businesses if they have “theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine, etc.”

This lack of education is precisely what is causing many of our anxieties and support for UBI. At present, 50% of the population surveyed already favor it.  It is reasonable to expect this number to grow as we see our economy decline due to war spending, quantitative easing, inflation, and the rest of government inflicted hardships.  Indeed, we are facing automation earlier than we would had it not been for wage floors, regulations, and political involvement in the hiring and firing processes.  

Fortunately, we have more tools than ever for self-directed education.  Khan Academy, Rosetta Stone, iTunes U, books on pdf, and of course libraries, are all excellent supplemental educational resources.  We can teach ourselves skills. We can hire tutors to help us and our kids learn basic programming. We can pressure our local schools to do a better job of preparing our children for the future.  Many businesses offer programs for their employees to earn certificates and degrees in areas such as robotics and programming, as they do for maintenance personnel and other departments.

We need not always focus on where we disagree on education, i.e. religion’s place, or how much money teachers are being paid.  The coming of automation and whether we need to be prepared for it is a completely bi-partisan issue.  We all share the responsibility of making this transition easier for future generations, even if that means it is hard for us today.  We should get involved in our local schools and ask “What is being done to ensure our kids have the necessary skills to thrive in the future?”  

People avoid growth often times because it is time consuming, means making mistakes, and invites the possibility of embarrassment. Growth is often painful.  What gets ignored due to these fears is how much better off we will be when we succeed.  Within a generation, mental labor will be the norm and physical labor will be rare.  We have the opportunity to permanently change humanity for the better.  We either fight for a future that revolves around subsidies, with little to show for it in the long run, and remain absent from history; Or we fight for a future dependent on growth, enrich society for generations to come, and go down as one of the great generations in human history.


 

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Government Unchained

 

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Jeremy Medley, September 14, 2017

Federalism is defined by Merriam-Webster as “The distribution of power in an organization (such as a government) between a central authority and the constituent units.” Our founders were so intent on this idea that they gave us the Tenth Amendment in our Bill of Rights. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution delegated few enumerated powers to the Federal Government, reserving all remaining powers to the States and the people. Thus, powers of the Federal Government were meant to be limited by our founders, with no exception. They knew then, as we are learning now, the true dangers of a government unfettered and the beast it can become.

Our federal republic was created by joint action of the several states. It has been gradually perverted into a socialist machine for federal control in the domestic affairs of the states and the individual. The Federal Government has no authority to mandate policies relating to state affairs, natural resources, transportation, private business, housing, nor healthcare. Yet these gross violations of our rights happen every day. We, as a society, are more in awe of what celebrities are wearing, or how our favorite football team is doing. We have given up on the idea that the government is beholden to the people. What caused this societal shift to take place? Can we right the course? The people must call on the Federal Government to close all unconstitutional federal agencies that usurp state power and infringe on the rights of this nation’s citizenry, such as the NSA, EPA, IRS, DEA, DHS, etc.

Throughout our history, as a nation we have allowed the Federal Government to squeeze the rights of the people away. We have nearly nothing left to give, but our labor and our lives. President Lincoln is regarded by many historians as a hero of the nation.  However, the issue of slavery aside, he was actually nothing more than a tyrannical ruler who discarded the constitution as it suited him, when southern states attempted secession.  President Franklin Roosevelt vowed to fill the Supreme Court with justices friendly to New Deal policies, which helped pave the way for our current welfare state. President Johnson and his “War on Poverty” has laid a tax burden on the people that is nearly unsustainable. President Nixon attacked the African American community with the “War on Drugs.” In recent history, Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump implemented legislation which has basically thrown your cConstitutional rights out the window with the Patriot Act. The blame does not only lie at the feet of the presidents, but they are the figurative head of the beast. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin. Yet, we have given up the the warm embrace of liberty to suckle the teat of big government.

In a nation that honors itself on freedom we have allowed basic liberties to be swept away by a few legislators like thieves in the night. Why is there no outcry? What happened to the idea of “Give me liberty or give me death”?  Does this only apply in times of national threat or crisis? If so, aren’t we standing at the precipice of a cliff on which we will be unable to climb back? Yet, we still elect the same failed officials for political expedience. We can’t be bothered with the corrupt or troublesome world of politics unless it is sensationalized via Facebook, soundbite, or tweet.

Libertarians see atrocities across the globe committed in the guise of government doing what is right for the people, and for “freedom.” In the words of Ronald Reagan  “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on Earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”

Our nation was started by individuals who were tired of the corrupt and oppressive rule of a government that never truly cared for its commoners, the same as we have today. Their political awakening started as a grassroots movement much like ours. Let our voices not go quietly in the night and unheard as if we were never here. We must continue our pursuit of true liberty for all.

 

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Are You A Voluntary Socialist?

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Travis Hallman, September 6, 2017

Libertarians and Socialists may have more in common than the two realize. There are many denominations of libertarianism within the liberty movement such as; classical liberalism, minarchism, libertarian transhumanism, anarchism, progressive libertarianism, anarcho-communism, etc. Overall, Libertarians agree our current state should be drastically reduced in size and power. Libertarians and Socialists are no exception. Voluntary Socialists support competing voluntary organizations operating within a free market to create a safety net.

2.11 Retirement and Income Security

“Retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government. Libertarians would phase out the current government-sponsored Social Security system and transition to a private voluntary system. The proper and most effective source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals [as witnessed with the recent string of hurricanes].  We believe members of society will become even more charitable and civil society will be strengthened as government reduces its activity in this realm.”

A very good example of this happening in America occurred when President Trump cut the spending for Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels was receiving approximately $1,000 per day but they immediately received $50,000 in donations when the president cut their (government-funded) allowance.

For example, if 999 of 1,000 people living in a free market choose to contribute to an organization which provides a safety net but does not require the one person to join,  would that be moral? Yes. Would it be immoral to not allow the 999 to (voluntarily) establish their said safety net if they so desire? Yes.

Libertarians would not prevent an organization from creating a voluntary safety net after we establish a free market for our nation. It’s neither pragmatic nor moral to do so.

One good explanation of Libertarian Socialism can be found in the following excerpt by David Boaz, “The Coming Libertarian Age” Cato Policy Report , “One difference between libertarianism and socialism is that a socialist society can’t tolerate groups of people practicing freedom, but a libertarian society can comfortably allow people to choose voluntary socialism. If a group of people—even a very large group—wanted to purchase land and own it in common, they would be free to do so. The libertarian legal order would require only that no one be coerced into joining or giving up his property.”

Voluntary socialism should not be confused with progressive libertarianism. Progressive libertarians support a government operated safety net but are socially tolerant regarding civil liberties, immigration, and foreign policy. Progressive libertarians should not be confused with liberals either. Liberals support a government operated safety net but are socially liberal regarding civil liberties, immigration, and foreign policy. Socially liberal and socially tolerant individuals both support the legalization of choices regarding bodily-autonomy but socially liberal individuals would require government permissions (permits) to engage in such acts; whereas socially tolerant individuals would support your freedom of choice without requiring (the purchase of) government permission. Voluntary Socialists do not support politicians creating the safety net. Instead, these are maintained by communal efforts of the volunteers.

In liberty,

-Travis Hallman

 

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UBI Part I: Economics

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Kris Morgan  September 13, 2017

Breakthroughs in robotics are making it possible for businesses to replace employees with machines which can be programmed to perform repetitive tasks. The Economist cited a study which found, “…47% of workers in America had jobs at high risk of potential automation…  What determines vulnerability to automation is not whether the work is manual or white-collar but whether or not it is routine.”  This topic has the potential to do the same thing 9/11 did, that is, cause us enough anxiety that we follow a path of terrible decisions, beginning with the universal basic income (UBI). However, unlike 9/11, we see this coming.  If we are to be responsible citizens, we need to think clearly before we act.

UBI is very simple.  The state provides all citizens with enough income to survive on subsistence.  According to futurism.com, the average proposal is around $10,000 per household annually.  The idea is with so much automation, there simply won’t be enough work. By providing every household with a basic income, the laborers will still have enough money to acquire things they need and businesses can rest assured they will still make money.  The UBI could be funded by taxing businesses, issuing carbon taxes, increasing capital gains, decreases in military spending; conceivably anywhere the government can get it.

It is a tax on production, as all taxes are.  We are all accustomed to looking at taxation in the progressive paradigm, trying to determine which economic class will get hit hardest, but all taxes work their way through the economy.  Glass ceilings on the rich discourage investment and production, which means less work and fewer goods. Taxing the other classes would make them less able to purchase goods at the store, which will again result in decreased investments and production.  Whether it’s income, returns on investments, gasoline, property, emissions, etc. it all results in a net loss in our material well-being. Things that generate no revenue, no economic growth, cannot be taxed, as they have no source for taxable funds.  Taxation combined with subsidizing idle, unproductive activity, compounds the problem.

Let’s suppose all routine labor jobs get automated.  People could take on work that requires more flexibility and mental agility.  The labor class would shift into the creative fields, such as performing live music, plays, comedy shows, ballets, the service industry, and so on.  We already have a website which anyone can use to make their own television videos, called Youtube, and yes people make a living off it. When civilization began, labor was centered on agriculture.  The Industrial Revolution shifted workers to the factory.  We are in the middle of a technological revolution, and the UBI seems like an attempt at staving off the painful adjustments we will all have to make.  Won’t we rob future generations if we refuse to change today?

Making UBI a matter of taxation and law would most certainly freeze labor in its tracks. Our energies should be focused on learning programming, robotics, and other creative skills, not how we are going to use the law to ensure we don’t have to adjust. UBI and other layers that follow could trap us in stagnation, as increased taxes and regulations would make it harder to compete with already existing businesses.

The beautiful thing about freedom is we have the flexibility to respond to any social problem with a variety of solutions.  UBI would rob us of that.  When production is penalized, and idleness is subsidized, the motivation to be creative and take on problems in productive ways dies.  We all lose.  The idea that there’s a limit to the number of jobs a society has available is a Keynesian myth and meant to distract from the unemployment their own policies cause.  If it ever turns out that our choices are limited to UBI or the collapse of our civilization, we will work out our own UBI without the law being involved.

Progressive taxation is a product that creates its own demand.  Laying taxes on business to give to the poor reduces resources for said business to invest and produce, which means a reduction in existing work.  This cycle allows the system to feed itself. We have a welfare state and we see firsthand how taxing productivity and subsidizing leisure is a proven method for failure.  We will always have problems on top of problems that need answered before we reach our end goal, in this case economic stability in the midst of mass automation.  

Let’s not pretend we even comprehend all the complexities of the issue and know exactly what everyone must do.  Working together to face this challenge will be more effective than one idea being made law for everyone to follow.  We’re all uneasy about the future, but what will determine our success or failure as a society will be our ability to set our fears aside and think rationally.  When the solution is unclear, better we are free to try as many solutions as we can conjure up than be forced in a single system.  As Stephen Hawking stated so eloquently, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”, so let’s be smart about this.

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Give Me Liberty

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Jeremy Medley September 14, 2017

What comes to mind when you hear, “I’m gluten free” or “Yeah I do Crossfit?” If you’re like 99% of Americans you tune the person out, regardless of what may come after. They have touched a nerve. You don’t want to listen to them even though what follows may hold some value.

This is what the libertarian movement has become. From its meteoric rise with the 2008 and 2012 Presidential campaigns of Representative Ron Paul to the “What is Aleppo?” Gary Johnson moment; which in my opinion is when he became dead in the water, even though Google experienced a huge increase in searches regarding Aleppo following this. When did we allow the party of liberty and individual choice to become cliche? Was it when we became meme warriors? Where all you saw was “I just want to smoke pot, carry my gun, at my gay friend’s wedding?” Was it when few libertarians couldn’t offer a concise solution to the argument when they heard, “What about the roads?” Comical at best I give you, but we can cover this in another article.

As a party we face an uphill battle. We need to focus on our core principles. Even though we may have differing opinions on some issues, we are the party of truly limited government. We believe that you as an individual know what choice best suits your needs, not the government. You wouldn’t want your neighbor coming in your home telling you how you need to live your life. Why would you allow elected officials do this?

The biggest issue within the libertarian movement is libertarians themselves. We can’t go a day without someone saying “You’re not a real libertarian.” This is the difference between the party of liberty and the Republican and Democrat parties. They can rally their base while we have constant infighting. They also have the privilege and curse of being so at odds with one another their bases never side with the opposition. They look at themselves as uniting against the common enemy. Where, regardless of how our views differ from both major parties, we have the opportunity to appeal to both sides of the proverbial aisle. Remember just because you and another member of the party have some small disagreement on an issue doesn’t make you more libertarian than them. They have their ideas; you have yours.

If you’re brave enough to discuss politics with someone without mentioning the Libertarian Party, just focusing on the issues, chances are they will see the awe inspiring light. When you hear them talk about the failures of the establishment, show them an alternative.  

Following the 2016 election, the Libertarian party gained ballot access in all 50 states. This is nothing short of amazing for a party that began in 1971, especially with the duopoly political system where we are lumped into groups of conservatives or liberals. Why can’t you just be the individual? In a time when identity politics is all the rage, remember the individual is the smallest minority.

The seeds of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have been planted into each one of us, regardless if our ancestors landed upon these shores with the Mayflower or we are first generation Americans. Let us nurture these ideas to grow and flourish in a newly awakened America.

The revolution has just begun.

 
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