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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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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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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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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The High Cost of Freedom

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Jeremy Medley, September 11th, 2017

As we mark another anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, is now the time to rethink American foreign policy? When did America abandon the principles laid out by our founders, best stated by Thomas Jefferson as “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none,” to the current stance of nation building across the globe? A strong case could be made for World War I. But that’s for a different time and post. This path of nation making isn’t what we are about.

We as a nation were not attacked on that bright September day because of our lifestyles, not because we own a home with a two car garage and 2.5 children. We were attacked because we have allowed our elected officials to wage wars and occupy territories in sovereign nations without any thought of the cost paid not just in dollars and cents, but in lives snuffed out so we can “bomb some freedom in to ‘em.”

We’ve added 2 trillion dollars to the national debt in this endeavor alone. Yet, where has it gotten us? President Trump stated in August (2017) he plans to send an additional 4,000 troops to Afghanistan in the coming months. Why? Have we not learned anything in over the years? As a United States Marine, I learned very quickly that we are fighting new people every day because they don’t want their homeland occupied. Would you?

How much did your home cost? We spend 110 thousand dollars just for 1 hellfire missile to strike a building that wouldn’t even be classified as a shack here in America.

We have more people killed here in U.S. cities in a single year than we have from 9/11 and the troop losses following the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the F.B.I. Should we expect armed troops patrolling our streets soon?

There is no need to even to go into the (un)Patriot Act or the lost liberty from it, but think about these things the next time you hear someone say, “They need a good dose of freedom.”

 
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Sixteen Years (and counting) Of Eroded Liberty: Where Does It Originate?

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A Guest Article, by Franc Turner, September 9, 2017

Do you know what our last three Presidents have in common?

Inner me – “Everything?”

Well, yes. But to be more specific, Bush, Obama, and Trump all escalated military action in Afghanistan within their first several months in office after running on a platform of non-interventionism.

The Bush Administration, along with the neoconservatives, laid the groundwork of never-ending military intervention, occupation, and destabilization of country after country. The torch was then passed to “anti-war” Obama, who expanded the reach, scope, and magnitude of the policies which he inherited from his predecessor. And Trump is the culmination of everything that the neoconservatives wanted to bring about during the Bush era, but just had a hard time accomplishing in eight short years.

Among these objectives were multiple and simultaneous theater wars, along with achieving military strongholds in specific geopolitical regions of the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere; not only as a means of acquiring finite resources, but also to assert dominance in areas that are considered “unfavorable” to U.S. interests (commercially, politically, or otherwise).  Also on the table was the implementation of regime change in those nations through economic sabotage, instigating manufactured uprisings, or all-out coup d’etat via tomahawk cruise missiles. They would then engage in nation building after the initial destruction, and give contracts to businesses that profit off of that very destruction. Similar to our own government, those private contractors have a vested interest in keeping all of these regions in a state of conflict.

Each and every item listed above was desired, including the countries with whom we’ve since gone to war or at least suggested that we should, by the very people who propped up the Bush presidency before he even took office. In September of 2000, one year before 9/11, a neoconservative think tank called the Project for a New American Century, or PNAC, described the objectives they wished to achieve in their publication entitled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.” However, they also acknowledged that, “the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”

It has been sixteen years since they got their wish for that catastrophic and catalyzing event.  Yet, our nation is still doing the bidding for these people, even though their reign allegedly ended when Obama took office, and their  “swamp” was supposed to be “drained” when Trump took office.

Major aspects of life in this country are based entirely off that one day. This includes most aspects of foreign and domestic policy, travel, homeland security, militarized police, the ever-expanding government, the subversion of the Bill of Rights through the Patriot Act, TSA, NDAA, MCA, the surveillance state “smart grid” built up around us, warrantless searches of property, and “free speech zones.” All of which could mean the end of your privacy in regards to every action you take — whether it’s where you go, how you spend your money, your personal beliefs, etc.

Each new military action taken along with the loss of thousands of our own military, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians abroad, the torture, the destruction, the destabilization, the blowback, and new “threats” are a direct result of 19 individuals with box cutters and a bearded freak, apparently.

But, “Hey, I guess it’s all just to “protect us from the terrorists” and to “preserve freedoms,” right?” Weren’t those freedoms obliterated for the sake of having the illusion of security?  Weren’t they swept under the rug while we were too busy updating our Twitter statuses, and arguing about Obama vs. Trump vs. Hillary, and walls, and Russia, and statues, and fringe “radical” groups?”….. Yes, they were.

Every aspect of our lives seems to have been molded by that one day. The real question is who stands to gain from everything that’s transpired over the last 16 years. Is it the American citizen? Is it the countries we’re at war with? Is it those pesky terrorist organizations we just can’t seem to stamp out? Or is it the folks who were wanting these kind of things to take place, long before they ever came to fruition?

Just some food for thought, folks.

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Betrayal Of The American Media

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Kris​ ​Morgan,​ ​September​ ​6,​ ​2017 
 
I​ ​know​ ​everyone​ ​loves​ ​their​ ​right​ ​to​ ​bear​ ​arms,​ ​but​ ​freedom​ ​of​ ​the​ ​press​ ​is​ ​first​ ​in​ ​America’s​ ​Bill of​ ​Rights.​ ​​ ​The​ ​right​ ​to​ ​bear​ ​arms​ ​exists​ ​for​ ​the​ ​instance​ ​that​ ​our​ ​government​ ​becomes unbearable.​ ​​ ​Freedom​ ​of​ ​speech​ ​is​ ​designed​ ​to​ ​stop​ ​tyranny​ ​from​ ​forming.​ ​​ ​The​ ​late​ ​Former President​ ​John​ ​F.​ ​Kennedy​ ​​articulated​​ ​the​ ​importance​ ​of​ ​the​ ​press​ ​on​ ​April​ ​27,​ ​1961​ ​when​ ​he addressed​ ​the​ ​profession​ ​directly,​ ​stating: 
 
​ ​“…And​ ​that​ ​is​ ​why​ ​our​ ​press​ ​was​ ​protected​ ​by​ ​the​ ​first​ ​amendment.​ ​​ ​The​ ​only​ ​business​ ​in America​ ​specifically​ ​protected​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Constitution–​ ​not​ ​primarily​ ​to​ ​amuse​ ​and​ entertain,​ ​not​ ​to emphasize​ ​the​ ​trivial​ ​and​ ​the​ ​sentimental,​ ​not​ ​to​ ​simply​ ​give​ ​the​ ​public​ ​what​ ​it​ ​wants–but​ ​to inform,​ ​to​ ​arouse,​ ​to​ ​reflect,​ ​to​ ​state​ ​our​ ​dangers​ ​and​ ​our​ ​opportunities,​ ​to​ ​indicate​ ​our​ ​crises and​ ​our​ ​choices,​ ​to​ ​lead,​ ​mold,​ ​educate​ ​and​ ​sometimes​ ​even​ ​anger​ ​public​ ​opinion…​ ​And​ ​so​ ​it​ ​is to​ ​the​ ​printing​ ​press,​ ​to​ ​the​ ​recorder​ ​of​ ​man’s​ ​deeds,​ ​the​ ​keeper​ ​of​ ​his​ ​conscience,​ ​the​ ​courier​ ​of his​ ​news,​ ​that​ ​we​ ​look​ ​for​ ​strength​ ​and​ ​assistance,​ ​confident​ ​that​ ​with​ ​your​ ​help​ ​man​ ​will​ ​be what​ ​he​ ​was​ ​born​ ​to​ ​be,​ ​free​ ​and​ ​independent.”  
 
Media​ ​today​ ​is​ ​certainly​ ​not​ ​focused​ ​on​ ​being​ ​watchdogs​ ​of​ ​government​ ​overreach.​ ​​ ​Instead​ ​we have​ ​what​ ​we​ ​all​ ​know​ ​to​ ​be​ ​the​ ​liberal​ ​media​ ​and​ ​conservative​ ​media.​ ​​ ​Deep​ ​down​ ​we​ ​know​ ​we are​ ​getting​ ​a​ ​spin,​ ​but​ ​hope​ ​that​ ​the​ ​effects​ ​are​ ​negligible​ ​and​ ​the​ ​facts​ ​are​ ​solid.​ ​​ ​​ ​We​ ​are​ ​in​ ​the midst​ ​of​ ​an​ ​anti-intellectual​ ​movement​ ​that​ ​is​ ​powered​ ​by​ ​these​ ​left/right​ ​biases.​ ​​ ​Conservatives and​ ​liberals​ ​tend​ ​to​ ​stick​ ​to​ ​their​ ​own​ ​sides​ ​in​ ​media​ ​consumption.​ ​​ ​As​ ​a​ ​result,​ ​each​ ​thinks​ ​the other​ ​nothing​ ​short​ ​of​ ​pure​ ​evil.  
 
This​ ​observation​ ​was​ ​echoed​ ​by​ ​​Mediaite​​ ​when​ ​they​ ​published​ ​the​ ​following​ ​in​ ​an​ ​article:​ ​“Most of​ ​those​ ​who​ ​get​ ​their​ ​news​ ​only​ ​from​ ​Fox​ ​News,​ ​Matt​ ​Drudge,​ ​Rush​ ​Limbaugh,​ ​Sean​ ​Hannity​ ​& Breitbart.com​ ​think​ ​Donald​ ​Trump​ ​is​ ​a​ ​savior​ ​who​ ​is​ ​certain​ ​to​ ​win​ ​(the​ ​2016​ ​election)​ ​and​ ​that Hillary​ ​Clinton​ ​is​ ​the​ ​anti-Christ​ ​[sic].​ ​​ ​Almost​ ​everyone​ ​who​ ​only​ ​consumes​ ​the​ ​New​ ​York​ ​Times, Washington​ ​Post,​ ​MSNBC,​ ​CNN,​ ​NPR​ ​&​ ​The​ ​Huffington​ ​Post​ ​are​ ​sure​ ​the​ ​opposite​ ​is​ ​true.”  
 
These​ ​attitudes​ ​stop​ ​intellectual​ ​discourse​ ​before​ ​it​ ​even​ ​starts.​ ​​ ​How​ ​can​ ​people​ ​with​ ​differing points​ ​of​ ​view​ ​possibly​ ​have​ ​a​ ​productive​ ​conversation​ ​if​ ​they​ ​each​ ​go​ ​in​ ​thinking​ ​of​ ​the​ ​other person​ ​as​ ​the​ ​devil? 
 
According​ ​to​ ​​Business​ ​Insider​,​ ​as​ ​of​ ​1983,​ ​90%​ ​of​ ​everything​ ​we​ ​read,​ ​hear,​ ​and​ ​see​ ​is​ ​owned by​ ​just​ ​six​ ​corporations.​ ​​ ​Prior,​ ​it​ ​took​ ​50​ ​companies​ ​to​ ​make​ ​that​ ​same​ ​market​ ​share.​ ​​ ​This​ ​is important​ ​because​ ​it’s​ ​much​ ​easier​ ​to​ ​manipulate​ ​a​ ​handful​ ​of​ ​companies​ ​than​ ​50.​ ​​ ​The​ ​lack​ ​of diversity​ ​in​ ​mainstream​ ​media​ ​is​ ​most​ ​visible​ ​when​ ​government​ ​wants​ ​war.
On​ ​the​ ​10th​ ​anniversary​ ​of​ ​the​ ​invasion​ ​of​ ​Iraq,​ ​​Howard​ ​Kurtz​​ ​(CNN)​ ​reflected​ ​on​ ​the​ ​beginnings of​ ​the​ ​war​ ​and​ ​wrote​ ​“Major​ ​news​ ​organizations​ ​aided​ ​and​ ​abetted​ ​the​ ​Bush​ ​administration’s march​ ​to​ ​war​ ​on​ ​what​ ​turned​ ​out​ ​to​ ​be​ ​faulty​ ​promises.​ ​​ ​All​ ​too​ ​often,​ ​skepticism​ ​was​ ​checked​ ​at the​ ​door,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​shaky​ ​claims​ ​of​ ​top​ ​officials​ ​and​ ​unnamed​ ​sources​ ​were​ ​trumpeted​ ​as​ ​fact… From​ ​August​ ​2002​ ​through​ ​the​ ​March​ ​19,​ ​2003​ ​launch​ ​of​ ​the​ ​war,​ ​I​ ​found​ ​more​ ​than​ ​140 front-page​ ​stories​ ​that​ ​focused​ ​heavily​ ​on​ ​administration​ ​rhetoric​ ​against​ ​Iraq.”  
 
While​ ​we​ ​do​ ​appreciate​ ​people​ ​like​ ​Mr.​ ​Kurtz​ ​writing​ ​such​ ​pieces​ ​years​ ​later,​ ​the​ ​damage​ ​is done.​ ​​ ​War​ ​is​ ​the​ ​first​ ​example​ ​used​ ​in​ ​this​ ​essay,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​media’s​ ​weakness​ ​is​ ​not​ ​limited​ ​there. How​ ​economic​ ​circumstances​ ​are​ ​reported​ ​is​ ​also​ ​not​ ​entirely​ ​factual. 
 
Matthew​ ​Stein​ ​of​ ​the​ ​​Huffington​ ​Post​​ ​opened​ ​an​ ​article​ ​on​ ​the​ ​2007​ ​financial​ ​collapse​ ​with criticism​ ​of​ ​the​ ​free​ ​market.​ ​​ ​“Unregulated​ ​greed​ ​will​ ​result​ ​in​ ​the​ ​demise​ ​of​ ​our​ ​planet​ ​just​ ​as surely​ ​as​ ​it​ ​is​ ​causing​ ​the​ ​collapse​ ​of​ ​our​ ​economy.”​ ​​ ​Indeed,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​always​ ​a​ ​tendency​ ​to blame​ ​free​ ​markets​ ​for​ ​all​ ​economic​ ​woes​ ​and​ ​praise​ ​government​ ​for​ ​economic​ ​boons.​ ​​ ​That​ ​is to​ ​be​ ​expected​ ​when​ ​the​ ​two​ ​major​ ​parties​ ​are​ ​products​ ​of​ ​​Keynesian​​ ​economics.​ ​​ ​For​ ​a​ ​market to​ ​be​ ​free,​ ​all​ ​levels​ ​of​ ​government​ ​(Federal,​ ​State,​ ​and​ ​Local)​ ​have​ ​to​ ​restrict​ ​their​ ​actions​ ​to the​ ​protection​ ​of​ ​private​ ​property.​ ​​ ​No​ ​economy​ ​riddled​ ​with​ ​regulations,​ ​taxation,​ ​fiat​ ​currency, central​ ​banking,​ ​wars,​ ​uncertainty​ ​about​ ​those​ ​in​ ​power,​ ​a​ ​welfare​ ​state,​ ​etc.​ ​can​ ​be​ ​said​ ​to​ ​be free.​ ​​ ​It​ ​makes​ ​absolutely​ ​no​ ​sense​ ​to​ ​blame​ ​that​ ​which​ ​doesn’t​ ​exist.  
 
Before​ ​2007,​ ​for​ ​about​ ​​two​ ​decades​,​ ​the​ ​central​ ​bankers​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Federal​ ​Reserve​ ​and​ ​politicians alike​ ​specifically​ ​focused​ ​on​ ​giving​ ​cheap​ ​credit​ ​in​ ​the​ ​housing​ ​sector.​ ​​ ​In​ ​essence,​ ​they​ ​inflated a​ ​bubble​ ​that​ ​was​ ​certain​ ​to​ ​burst.​ ​​ ​Credit​ ​and​ ​interest​ ​rates​ ​are​ ​reflections​ ​of​ ​assets​ ​on​ ​hand and​ ​time-preference.​ ​​ ​Using​ ​politics​ ​to​ ​control​ ​interest​ ​rates​ ​obscures​ ​the​ ​information entrepreneurs​ ​use​ ​to​ ​gauge​ ​how​ ​many​ ​resources​ ​are​ ​available​ ​and​ ​where​ ​to​ ​invest.​ ​​ ​It’s​ ​easier to​ ​spend​ ​$100​ ​in​ ​your​ ​wallet​ ​if​ ​you​ ​think​ ​you​ ​have​ ​$1,000​ ​in​ ​the​ ​bank.​ ​​ ​What​ ​happens​ ​when​ ​you spend​ ​that​ ​money,​ ​only​ ​to​ ​realize​ ​later​ ​that​ ​your​ ​account​ ​is​ ​also​ ​empty?​ ​​ ​Free​ ​Market?​ ​​ ​You might​ ​as​ ​well​ ​blame​ ​space​ ​aliens,​ ​at​ ​least​ ​then​ ​it​ ​might​ ​be​ ​possible. 
When​ ​I​ ​was​ ​younger​ ​I​ ​dutifully​ ​watched​ ​the​ ​news.​ ​​ ​I​ ​believed​ ​I​ ​was​ ​staying​ ​informed​ ​about​ ​the world.​ ​​ ​However,​ ​I​ ​later​ ​realized​ ​I​ ​was​ ​exposing​ ​myself​ ​to​ ​story​ ​after​ ​story​ ​of​ ​some​ ​evil​ ​crime taking​ ​place;​ ​people​ ​harming​ ​their​ ​own​ ​babies,​ ​shootings,​ ​robberies,​ ​assaults,​ ​etc.​ ​​ ​After​ ​years of​ ​studying​ ​economics,​ ​philosophy,​ ​politics,​ ​logic,​ ​etc.​ ​I​ ​came​ ​to​ ​the​ ​conclusion​ ​that​ ​the​ ​media​ ​is nothing​ ​more​ ​than​ ​the​ ​watchdog​ ​of​ ​the​ ​people.​ ​​ ​Rather​ ​than​ ​keeping​ ​an​ ​eye​ ​on​ ​government acquiring​ ​unjust​ ​power,​ ​the​ ​news​ ​seems​ ​more​ ​interested​ ​in​ ​running​ ​negative​ ​stories​ ​that originate​ ​in​ ​the​ ​general​ ​public,​ ​almost​ ​as​ ​a​ ​reminder​ ​of​ ​why​ ​we​ ​‘need’​ ​the​ ​state.  
 
​When​ ​politics​ ​is​ ​involved,​ ​reporters​ ​seem​ ​to​ ​act​ ​like​ ​starving​ ​dogs​ ​at​ ​a​ ​dinner​ ​table,​ ​waiting​ ​for their​ ​masters​ ​to​ ​offer​ ​up​ ​any​ ​extra​ ​crumbs,​ ​begging​ ​our​ ​politicians​ ​to​ ​answer​ ​a​ ​question​ ​or provide​ ​a​ ​comment,​ ​so​ ​they​ ​can​ ​simply​ ​repeat​ ​it.​ ​​ ​This​ ​is​ ​not​ ​the​ ​media​ ​JFK​ ​spoke​ ​about​ ​in​ ​his brilliant​ ​​speech​.​ ​​ ​I​ ​am​ ​not​ ​alone​ ​in​ ​this​ ​observation.​ ​​ ​​The​ ​Guardian​​ ​published​ ​an​ ​article explaining​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​negative​ ​effects​ ​of​ ​consuming​ ​too​ ​much​ ​news​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​the​ ​impotence of​ ​the​ ​media​ ​in​ ​explaining​ ​how​ ​the​ ​world​ ​actually​ ​works. 
 
Although​ ​much​ ​more​ ​could​ ​be​ ​written​ ​on​ ​this​ ​topic,​ ​I​ ​think​ ​it​ ​would​ ​be​ ​more​ ​productive​ ​to​ ​start brainstorming​ ​what​ ​changes​ ​we​ ​can​ ​make.​ ​​ ​The​ ​news​ ​gives​ ​us​ ​information​ ​about​ ​events​ ​taking place​ ​and​ ​provides​ ​us​ ​with​ ​some​ ​hard​ ​facts.​ ​​ ​However,​ ​when​ ​we​ ​dive​ ​into​ ​any​ ​analyses​ ​that requires​ ​serious​ ​thought,​ ​such​ ​as​ ​economics​ ​or​ ​whether​ ​or​ ​not​ ​to​ ​support​ ​wars,​ ​we​ ​have​ ​to research​ ​these​ ​topics​ ​in​ ​detail.​ ​​ ​It​ ​is​ ​irresponsible​ ​to​ ​use​ ​soundbites​ ​from​ ​biased​ ​media​ ​to​ ​make long-lasting​ ​decisions.​ ​​ ​Don’t​ ​be​ ​afraid​ ​to​ ​study​ ​opinions​ ​that​ ​contradict​ ​your​ ​own.​ ​Most​ ​people stick​ ​to​ ​media​ ​and​ ​explanations​ ​that​ ​reflect​ ​their​ ​own​ ​​assumptions​​ ​about​ ​the​ ​world.​ ​​ ​We​ ​are​ ​all prone​ ​to​ ​this​ ​behavior.​ ​Opening​ ​ourselves​ ​up​ ​to​ ​the​ ​possibility​ ​that​ ​we​ ​are​ ​wrong,​ ​or​ ​have​ ​been taught​ ​incorrectly​ ​by​ ​people​ ​we​ ​love​ ​and​ ​trust,​ ​creates​ ​uneasiness.​ ​​ Rather​ ​than​ ​put​ ​our​ ​first instincts​ ​to​ ​the​ ​test​ ​as​ ​we​ ​should,​ ​we​ ​tend​ ​to​ ​associate​ ​with​ ​people​ ​who​ ​echo​ ​our​ ​own​ ​bias.  
 
The​ ​world,​ ​with​ ​its​ ​nuclear​ ​weapons​ ​and​ ​tools​ ​for​ ​economic​ ​manipulation,​ ​cannot​ ​afford​ ​to​ ​be ruled​ ​by​ ​people​ ​who​ ​are​ ​not​ ​willing​ ​to​ ​step​ ​outside​ ​their​ ​comfort​ ​zones.​ ​​ ​Spotting​ ​our​ ​biases​ ​is not​ ​hard.​ ​​ ​Simply​ ​ask​ ​yourself​ ​why​ ​you​ ​believe​ ​X,​ ​and​ ​if​ ​you​ ​don’t​ ​have​ ​evidence​ ​and​ ​logic​ ​in your​ ​answer,​ ​then​ ​your​ ​stance​ ​is​ ​based​ ​on​ ​assumption.​ ​​ ​Ask​ ​yourself​ ​why​ ​others​ ​believe​ ​the opposite​ ​you​ ​do.​ ​​ ​Study​ ​their​ ​literature.​ ​​ ​Converse​ ​with​ ​those​ ​of​ ​varying​ ​viewpoints.​ ​​ ​Leave​ ​the “anyone​ ​who​ ​disagrees​ ​with​ ​me​ ​is​ ​the​ ​devil”​ ​stuff​ ​at​ ​home.​ ​​ ​While​ ​there​ ​are​ ​exceptions​ ​to​ ​every rule,​ ​for​ ​the​ ​most​ ​part​ ​we​ ​all​ ​want​ ​the​ ​same​ ​things,​ ​to​ ​be​ ​physically​ ​and​ ​financially​ ​secure​ ​and have​ ​long,​ ​happy,​ ​and​ ​productive​ ​lives.​ ​​ ​It​ ​may​ ​be​ ​more​ ​beneficial​ ​in​ ​debate,​ ​especially​ ​on​ ​social media,​ ​to​ ​determine​ ​if​ ​you​ ​and​ ​the​ ​other​ ​person​ ​share​ ​the​ ​same​ ​values​ ​before​ ​you​ ​begin.  
 
I presented​ ​this​ ​article​ ​for​ ​two​ ​major​ ​reasons.​ ​​ ​First,​ ​libertarianism​ ​takes​ ​a​ ​great​ ​deal​ ​of​ ​abstract reasoning​ ​to​ ​fully​ ​grasp,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​why​ ​we​ ​are​ ​so​ ​often​ ​painted​ ​as​ ​people​ ​who​ ​want​ ​the​ ​poor​ ​to die​ ​off​ ​and​ ​everyone​ ​else​ ​to​ ​shoot​ ​up​ ​heroin.​ ​​ ​Second​ ​as​ ​long​ ​as​ ​we​ ​let​ ​the​ ​news​ ​control​ ​us,​ ​by feeding​ ​us​ ​constant​ ​streams​ ​of​ ​negativity​ ​which​ ​make​ ​us​ ​fearful,​ ​we​ ​lose​ ​domestically​ ​and​ ​we lose​ ​internationally.​ ​​ ​We​ ​cannot​ ​expect​ ​to​ ​make​ ​sound​ ​decisions​ ​when​ ​we​ ​are​ ​driven​ ​by​ ​anxiety. When​ ​our​ ​population​ ​digs​ ​deep​ ​and​ ​pushes​ ​back​ ​against​ ​this​ ​news​ ​lead​ ​anti-intellectualism​ ​we will​ ​get​ ​on​ ​track​ ​towards​ ​real​ ​virtue. 
 
 
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The Why of Government

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Kristopher Morgan, July 13, 2017

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

 

Who We Were Before

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

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

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

 

Pre-Civilization

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

 

Farming And The Dawn of Civilization

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

 

The Go-Between

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

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

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

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

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

 

Why It Continues

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

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

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

Conclusions

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

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

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

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Libertarianism and Farming: A Two Part Article

 

farming2Amanda Perkins-January 29, 2017

Henry Kissinger once said, “If you control the food supply, you control the people.” This could not be more true today. Through government regulations, subsidies, and a highly controlled market, the US government controls a large chunk of the world by controlling the food supply.

Libertarianism and Small Farming Operations

Let’s say you run a small farm, which is defined by the USDA as one that grows and sells between $1,000 and $250,000 per year in agricultural products, which can include livestock, eggs/dairy, feed/fuel crops, fruits, vegetables, or any combination thereof. The government currently taxes the land the farmer owns and the money he makes throughout the year in order to pay for regular inspections provided through the USDA and often times, local authorities if someone deems the farming practices unorthodox.

In order to support small farms and their inhabitants, libertarians believe in abolishing the USDA and forcing a free market system. Without intense government regulation over what can be grown, how it can be grown, and how it can be marketed, small farms can take advantage of farm to table, herd sharing (an agreement where consumers pay a farmer a fee for boarding their livestock and caring for the livestock. The consumer then gets the product: milk, eggs, meat at no cost). This free market system would put an end to mono-cropping (practice of planting the same crop season after season on the same land, no crop rotation, no soil regeneration), therefore diversifying the products produced and assisting the soil in regenerating nutrients without forcing farmers to conserve land by threat of fines, imprisonment, and loss of land.

What does this mean for you as a consumer?

  • It means that the products grown will be exactly what the market is demanding. If the consumers want more tomato varieties, the farmers will have to abide by their wishes or lose business.
  • Certain government benefit plans would be cut and passed straight to charitable organizations for management. No more Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan. SNAP currently works with states and faith based agencies to provide a food safety net. Without government support, this program would most likely be passed straight to the community outreach centers, eliminating unnecessary regulations, red tape, and wasteful spending, while allowing the community to support their members in the best ways possible.
  • Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs, would not have to label themselves as such, but for the transparency of the market, may choose to do so on their own. To mandate companies to produce products in a certain way or label them in a particular fashion would be an act of aggression against the manufacturer by the government. Alternatively, organic products, non-GMOs, and heirloom varieties of food would also have the option to label themselves or leave it to consumers to research their own food sources. But who will protect us from false labeling?! Currently, many third party consumer advocates will test products to verify the information on labels and report it to the public. Watchdog testers are already operating in the food world, so it would not be terribly difficult for these consumer advocates to expand their label library and inform the public with what they need to know independent of government overrule.

How will the Libertarian Party help small farmers?

  • Libertarians want to eliminate the inheritance tax, meaning sons and daughters won’t have to worry about paying the taxes on hundreds of acres of undeveloped farmland. Small farms are known to be land rich, but money poor. This leads to many family farms and homesteads being taken away for back taxes.
  • By eliminating subsidies and price management on cash crops, such as corn and soy, small farmers have just as much chance to sell their products as large factory operations.
  • Maximum crop allotments would be prohibited allowing farmers to sell as much of a product as they want, in whatever quantities suit their buyer, whenever they want.
  • Less government regulation also means that farmers are free to sell products that have been “off limits” for quite some time. Raw dairy, unwashed eggs, and home butchered meats are the perfect example. Currently, in some states, these products are banned because the government finds them unsafe to consume. With consumers steering the market, the individual buyers have the option to choose what suits them and their family’s needs. The production and consumption of these goods will be driven by customers. A bad reputation for unsanitary product conditions will ruin a small farm faster than a government imposed fine.
  • Bringing an end to the Surface Transportation Board, formerly the Interstate Commerce Commission, which has oversight of railroads, trucking companies, pipelines, and every other over land transportation method. They currently regulate rates, construction, and services of the aforementioned modes of transportation. This board is currently exempt from federal, state, and local laws to best provide regulatory services. The STB has a policy of forcing the setting of “reasonable and just rates” instead of encouraging competition which would drive down transportation costs for shipping goods.

Libertarians and Large Scale/Corporate Farming

Corporate farms may have started as family run operations, but their production methods differ greatly and are in direct opposition with libertarian views on business. Deregulating the production of food sources put the power into consumers’ hands, instead of in the hands of Big Agri-Business.

  • Corporate farms have a high input, high output mentality. By growing cash crops continuously, they deplete soil nutrients, which leads to the use of more chemicals, many of which are hard to control. Libertarians have no issue with using chemicals or GMOs in farming, but they do have a problem when those products affect the surrounding land that may not utilize those practices. “Don’t tread on me” also includes land, private business, and mode of production.
  • By discontinuing subsidies for cash crops, the monetary output per acre for Big Ag will plummet. Those that only grow corn and soy will lose revenue unless they can find better ways to market their product.
  • Never fear, the Libertarian Party also has a solution for that! By eliminating ethanol limits in gasoline, corn can be fermented and distilled into oxygenating biomass to produce cleaner burning fuel. Most of the gasoline sold in the United States is based an E10 rating, which means 10% ethanol, 90% gasoline. Corn is currently used heavily in the production of E85 fuels. Corn oil is also used in the biodiesel industry, again burning cleaner and more efficient than traditional fuel. So although corn prices will initially drop due to the elimination of government subsidies, good business practices and marketing have the opportunity to bump the price right back up without any federal assistance.

Although libertarians want to abolish the USDA and EPA, that doesn’t mean there is no concern for public safety or environmental wellness. Libertarians preach individual responsibility which would include making the best food choices for your family and taking care of the land around you. Trusting government to choose what is safe and unsafe is like trusting the government to pick your daily wardrobe. Only you know what’s best for your body. Why should the modes of production for the foods you consume be anyone’s choice but your own?

https://reason.com/archives/2016/11/05/election-focus-on-food-policy-is-lacking

http://www.realmilk.com/herdshares/share-agreements/

http://newfoodeconomy.com/third-parties-stand-food-agriculture/

http://www.gracelinks.org/1181/the-rush-to-corn-based-ethanol-not-all-biofuels-are-created-equa

 

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Why I Support A Non-Interventionist Military Foreign Policy

nonintervention

David Beaver, 11/05/2016

During the 2016 Presidential Election, I read an article that seemed to suggest that many of Gary Johnson’s supporters are unaware of his policies other than his stance on legalizing marijuana. Well, it turns out this libertarian is. It would take the writing of a full-length novel to truly cover all of his policies as well as the reasons not to vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. For the purpose of this article, I’ll focus on the policy of non-interventionism as a foreign policy. This is a concept not shared by the other two candidates.

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

It Prevents Blowback

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Don’t Have the Money

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

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

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

Lest Innocent Blood be Spilled

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

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

I Am a Man of Peace

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

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

 

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