Mass Shootings, Gun Control, And The Misdirected Masses

massshootings

Franc Turner  August 8, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The world has literally gone insane, my friends.

 

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Why Blame The Police For Doing Their Job?

420

Jared Miller, 4/20/18

“Sin, regardless of how someone may define it, it is not a crime. Creating a victim, regardless if it is a sin, is a crime”.    – Larry Sharpe

For many, today is an excuse to smoke weed and pretend to be edgy. For others, it is an act of civil disobedience intended to highlight the absurdity of cannabis prohibition. Others like me, who don’t personally smoke, still share a sense of excitement about eventually winning back some measure of self determination in this area. But we still have a long way to go before we can say we’ve overcome the mentality that enables prohibition in the first place.

I recently made a snarky comment on a post from a police department criticizing the bust of a huge marijuana grow operation in Cleveland, Ohio. I was poking fun at the idea that these officers were keeping our children safe.

Someone I respect very deeply took issue with it, taking the all too common stance that one should fight the law and leave the police alone. “They are just good men doing their jobs. They don’t get to decide which laws to enforce.” I understand where he’s coming from, because I used to share that sentiment. On the surface it seems like the only respectable position. But it is wrong.

First, they do decide which laws to enforce. Police departments decide how to spend their resources. They decide what leads to follow and where officers patrol. Officers decide in the field, for example at a traffic stop, whether to let it slide or find every possible violation. They choose every day and in every situation which laws are important and which laws are not — which laws are worth enforcing and which laws are garbage.

Either they can “just do their job” as stalwart defenders of the law no matter what, or they can admit that they are intentional about which cases are worth pursuing. They shouldn’t get to hide behind their job to justify their actions in one situation, and opt to let someone off the hook in another. They always choose. And that can be a good thing. But when it comes to drug law, they generally choose poorly.

Often, the law was drafted with a specific moral goal in mind. So sometimes the officer is forced to make his choice either based on his moral code, or contradictory to it. In the latter case, he can compartmentalize his guilt by “just following orders.” At that moment, justice is no longer the goal, and the officer shows that he can be made capable, as we all can, of almost any action the ruling body sees fit to carry out. The inescapable conclusion is that morality is not just a poor basis for the formation of law. As a legal standard, it lays the foundation for all manner of injustice. When morality is the goal, anything can be justified.

What else is there? That’s a longer answer… but I’ll try to keep it short. Law exists to reduce or eliminate the ability of one person or group to do direct, intentional harm to another person or group. That’s all.

A law that causes more harm than it prevents stands in direct opposition to its proper role, and should be fought. If the person enforcing it is the one who causes the harm, then law enforcement should also be held accountable.

If an officer’s actions cause direct harm because he’s “just following orders,” he’s not more virtuous than a mafia thug that whacks a guy because it’s “just business.” In that case he just works for a more socially acceptable gang.

So what harm can an officer do in the course of “just doing his job?” The immediate effect is the most obvious. Individuals who have harmed literally no one by cultivating what should be an agricultural product are now felons. For the rest of their lives, they can’t vote, can’t own a gun, can’t find the meaningful employment that might help them live a life outside of “crime,” and will likely be imprisoned at the cost of the taxpayer for something that has not harmed anyone.

You might say the growers knew the risks when they started, and fair enough. But every one of those risks has nothing to do with the product itself, or the manufacture, sale, and use of the product. Every ounce of harm done by growing marijuana is done by enforcing a bad law.

And what about the extended effects? Instead of having legitimate, legal businesses, it has to be done on the black market. The number one cash crop of every drug cartel and street gang is marijuana. If you are concerned with fighting organized crime, the very first step is to cut off their income. In this case, that means fighting this terrible, destructive law.

That is to say nothing of the people actually using marijuana who are now criminals also. Before you say, “it’s not the same thing,“ prohibition requires that the user be punished at the same time as the producer. It’s all just different pieces of the same pie.

This is not meant to be anti-cop. I’m certain these cops aren’t bad men. They don’t have to be. History is littered with good men doing terrible things to others because “it’s the law.“  That is the real crime. Remaining complicit in that is what allows it to continue. It is absolutely right to say that the problem begins with the law forcing the cop into a false dichotomy between causing harm and potentially losing his livelihood.

Which is why sometimes both fighting a bad law and drawing attention to its enforcement are necessary. If you don’t believe that, I’ll assume you never go above 55 on the highway, or that you’d never oppose a cop enforcing any law, no matter how tyrannical. Where would you draw the line? If we have determined that a law is wrong, is the enforcement thereof not also wrong? With so many states taking a stand against federal marijuana law, and a majority of US citizens believing the law to be unjust, there has never been a better time for police officers and local departments to choose to devote their resources elsewhere.

 

 

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Time To Say Goodbye To Bipartisanship

Bipartisan

By John Klear, 4/7/2018

I know this is considered unconventional thinking and will probably offend the masses, but why does it have to be called ‘bipartisan?’ In a society where people are offended if the wind blows in the wrong direction, and all are encouraged to be individuals, it is demanded that we be ‘right’ or ‘left.’ There can be no happy median, only pro or con. And once a side is chosen, DO NOT attempt to go against the party. However, this is not a sporting event where you root for either the home team or visitor, these are real life decisions that affect everyone.

Lately, I have heard the phrase ‘if our forefathers were alive today…’ tirelessly used.  Our forefathers were average citizens; farmers, shoppe owners, chemists, doctors, and lawyers who came out of the fields and stores to meet and vote on laws meant to further society, not stifle it. And that is why they created a democracy that represents the voice of the PEOPLE, not the voice of one person or party. Our system is meant to help advance, as a whole, and not just one side or the other — to represent the voices of the of majority, while allowing those whose beliefs are not aligned with the collective the freedom to enjoy their own lives as they choose.

The system, much like the Constitution, must remain solid but fluid, changing and adapting to societal needs. However, this does not mean that it should immediately change to meet the ‘complaint du jour’ (see Amendment 18). The pace of society today is quick, but changes to our laws should not follow the same tempo.

I am not a politician, nor related to any politicians. I am an average middle-aged American who grew up in this great Nation. I still believe in its principles and values. My education came from an equal mix of books and the streets. I paid MY OWN way through Masters and part of my PhD. In addition to my regular work, I give back by volunteering in a homeless shelter, am active in different charities, and teach part-time with the hope that I can still make a difference.

With the support of this party, and other ‘3rd’ party options, I believe we can break those bipartisan chains that unintentionally suppress the great freedoms that so many died to ensure. The days of the two party system must come to end. This was illustrated in the recent Presidential election. The two parties offered what I’ve heard many call ‘subpar’ candidates. For an event that should have been based on which candidate represented a continued commitment to freedom, was instead on who was least despised at the time.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.” Continued support of a two-party system greatly limits the growth of the nation. By rewarding the elite for their decisions, we hinder progress. And for the country to thrive, we should never accept status quo.

 

 

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On Approach

approach

Kris Morgan   2/26/2018

If you’re a libertarian, chances are you have debated someone who seems to think you stuck your head in the sand. If you are lucky enough, you have conversed with people who stumped you by asking how services could be provided outside of politics. However, if you’re like 99.9% of us, you have also spoken to someone who just can’t seem to figure out why you would support liberty in the first place. At first your opponent may just think you are naive, but after chatting with you for a while, they are left with the impression that you are hopelessly dogmatic. The truth is we are neither naive nor dogmatic; we simply believe in a different method of approaching problems.

A perfect example of such thinking can be found in an article titled “The Libertarian Delusion” published by the American Prospect Magazine in 2015. The piece touches on a wide range of topics including pollution, income inequality, and the 2007 housing crash. It then goes on to discuss the great marvels pursued by governments which have lead to private investment, using Apple as an example. The author later suggests the market is a creature of government. While some arguments are well thought out, it is painfully obvious the writer fails to understand libertarianism.

As tempting as it is to write a point by point response, it is much more important to clarify something our critics almost always fail to grasp. Libertarianism is not an ideology revolved around results or personal gain, nor do we wish to bury our heads in the sand and pretend problems don’t exist. Instead, we hope to persuade others to approach our shared challenges within the context of free associations and individual freedom. This is in sharp contrast to other schools of thought, which rely heavily on solving problems through the force of law.

This is made more clear by reviewing the way Mr. Kuttner closed his piece: “So if we are to win the argument with the libertarians, we need to take back effective government. Friedman was wrong to argue that the cure for market failure is more market. However, the cure for weak or corrupted democracy has to be more democracy. The only way to redeem public confidence in government as a necessary check on the market is to repair faith in democracy itself. It is not difficult to prove that the claim of market efficiency is delusional.”

Critics such as Mr. Kuttner could speak about market failures and political efficiency until they are blue in the face; it is not going to make the slightest difference to any serious libertarian. What speaks to us are ideals, such as justice and peace. Prosperity is more of a bonus. The mechanism by which justice and peace are achieved is respect for legitimate property rights; legitimate property defined as that which is gained through proper homestead, received as gift, or earned through trade.

Most treat this opinion as a minor difference in politics, but there are great implications which result from this perspective. Most importantly, we are not interested in using political power nor any other form of coercion to solve problems. Rather than asking how the law should be modified to suit the circumstances we want to change, we ask ‘what can we do within the framework of liberty to make life better?’

There are many benefits to approaching society’s troubles this way. First, it is the only way to sustain a free state. Seeking new laws in order to overcome obstacles has the inevitable consequence of creating a totalitarian regime, since we will always have our imperfections. Secondly, we avoid the pitfall of pretending law can make society more secure. Seeking to increase our own safety at the expense of other people’s liberty (i.e. gun control) is a method that is sure to fail for obvious reasons, as liberty and safety are one and the same. Perhaps most importantly, we are forced to deal with the roots of our problems, whereas the use of law encourages us to focus only on the symptoms.

The next time someone demands you know every detail about how a free society would work, remind them that our message is really one about method. Don’t be scared to leave omniscience to God. Where we don’t already have answers, the logical thing to do is brainstorm. According to gallup, only 27% of Americans can be characterized as libertarian. If so, 73% of our nation’s brain power is open to, likely relying on, the passing of new laws as a panacea when facing challenges. Freedom cannot last if every problem is met with a reduction in liberty, and passing laws will never ‘fix’ humanity. We can do better. The only caveat is we need that other 73% to work with us.

 

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Who Are The Cronies Part I: War

cronyism-out-of-control

Kris Morgan 2/5/2018

Crony capitalism is a catchphrase that crosses all political ideologies. In libertarian circles, one is also exposed to sophisticated sounding jargon like military-industrial complex. Unfortunately the specifics are rarely discussed. Who are these crony capitalists who align themselves with big government to benefit at the expense of the rest of the population? Since we have been at endless war since 2001, the logical place to start is with military suppliers.

According to USA Today, the ten companies which profit the most from war are: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Bae Systems, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, EADS, Finmeccanica, L-3 Communications, and United Technologies. A profile of the top five CEOs is in order.

 

Marillyn Hewson

hewson

Marillyn Hewson became CEO of Lockheed Martin in 2013. According to bizjournals.com she made $25.13million in spite of having a base pay of $1.34 million. “The company bases its CEO’s final salary mostly on meeting long-term goals, and 73 percent of her target salary comes from long-term incentives. Annual incentives are 17 percent of her salary. Her base salary is 10 percent of her pay. Salon.com reported in 2016 Lockheed Martin “received a generous $220 million gift from Connecticut taxpayers to keep its Sikorsky Aircraft division in the city of Stratford.”

Hewson by the numbers:

Base salary: $1.34 million

Stock awards: $8.16 million

Incentive Plan compensation: $5.98 million

Pension earnings: $9.41 million

Other compensation: $238,150

Total: $25.16 million

 

Dennis Muilenburg

Muilenburg

Dennis Muilenburg became CEO of Boeing in 2015 and acquired a base pay of $1.6 million. Boeing makes military aircrafts, including B-52 bombers, F-15 Eagles, H-47 Chinooks, and more, according to their webpage. On top of his base pay he could earn an Annual incentive award of $2.72 million and 18,709 Stock units when he takes over. Subsidy Tracker noted that from 2000 to present, Boeing has received $14,444,913,320 in subsidies awarded.

 

Phebe Novakovic

Novakovic

Phebe Novakovic is the chief executive at General Dynamics (GD). GD is involved in aviation, land vehicles, marine systems and more. Novakovic has been CEO since 2013 with a higher base salary than Hewson, at $1.5 million. She was able to secure an additional $4 million in bonuses and other long-term compensation which was difficult to quantify. Fiscal Year (FY) 2000 to present, GD received $466,504,107 in awarded subsidies.

 

Thomas A. Kennedy

RAYTHEON THOMAS KENNEDY

Thomas A. Kennedy is in charge at Raytheon. According to Raytheon.com, they provide goods in missile defense, command and control, sensors and imaging, electronic warfare, and precision weapons. Salary.com reported in 2017 Kennedy earned $13,772,854 in base pay, bonuses, and stock awards. Raytheon has received $256,502,031 in subsidies awarded from FY 2000 to present.

 

Wes Bush

Bush

Wes Bush (no relation to the two former U.S. Presidents) has been the big boss at Northrop Grumman since 2010. The company makes B-2 Spirits, B-21 Raiders, and X-47B strikers on top of other products. Bush was able to make over $16 million in 2016, with a $1.53 million base pay, while acting as CEO, Chairman, and President. Northrop Grumman received $1,079,415,526 in subsidies from FY 2000 to present.

As I write this article, I’ve also set aside the time to read Scott Horton’s brilliant book Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan. I leave the reader to ponder the following quote:

“…then came legions of New York and Washington, D.C. based pressure groups subsidized by America tax dollars that had been laundered through defense firms like Lockheed, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and General Dynamics. These companies recycle a small fraction of the money they make from weapons contracts in the form of donations to think tanks and institutions of ‘experts’ from the ‘foreign policy community,’ who write up endless ‘studies,’ rationalizations and justifications for staying the course in the War on Terror.”

 

Part II                                                           Part III                                                       Part IV

 

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Envisioning a 12-Step Limited Government

12step

By Travis Hallman 11/30/2017

The speakers in 12-step meetings are remarkably inspiring. They have a genuine understanding of serenity and the necessary steps to attain it. One wonders what a government would look like if its representatives applied the same simple principles to its policies. Here is a presentation of each step and how they can be applied to government.

Limiting our government using a 12-step program would require more effort than any individual could offer. It would challenge communities to elect local, state, and national representatives which support limited power.

Step 1:

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

Adjusted:

We admitted we were powerless over others—that people were unmanageable by government.

  Applied:

Prohibition is ineffective and immoral.
“The United States has focused its efforts on the criminalization of drug use. The government has, to no avail, spent billions of dollars attempting  to eradicate the supply of drugs. Efforts of interdiction and law enforcement have not produced decreases in the availability of drugs in America. Apart from being costly, drug law enforcement has been counterproductive. Current drug laws need to be relaxed.”
These principles could be applied to any form of prohibition. Prohibiting non-violent activities drives demand into black markets which negatively affects every aspect of society.
Government tactics for modifying behavior through punishment have been costly and ineffective. Friends, family, and local community programs have much greater ability to tailor solutions to the struggling individual’s personality..

Step 2:

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Adjusted:

Came to believe that a community greater than ourselves could restore our government to sanity.

Applied:

Governments extorting people (via taxes) to fund departments such as the DEA, FDA, EPA, DoE, CIA, FBI, IRS, NSA, etc that are not only immoral but impractical.

Step 3:

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him

Adjusted:

Made a decision to turn our government and representing politicians over to the care of the community as we understood it

Applied:

It is well known that many politicians pass bills in the interest of their lobbyists. This is called crony capitalism. However, limiting businesses that partake in lobbying would be immoral and detrimental as they provide valuable products and services to the community. The solution is to elect representatives which consistently support free markets. “A free market consists of economic freedom such that anybody could open a business without having to pay the government for permission (permits, licenses, etc). A free market would have no taxes, eliminating reasons for corporations to partner with politicians for tax breaks. A free market would not allow bailouts, allowing businesses to have setbacks, and avoiding the creation of artificial monopolies. These economic freedoms would enable new competition to compete more efficiently.” –How Free Markets Empower Green Markets

Case in point: Corporations do not tend to donate large sums of money to libertarian campaigns because in a free market, which libertarians support, that would be a conflict of interest.

Step 4:

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Adjusted:

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our government.

Applied:

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” –Nelson Mandela
If we perform a moral efficiency audit of various government programs, we will discover many are ineffective and immoral. Officials keep a self-determined portion of that income, spend ample amounts on services most Americans deem undesirable, and give only a small amount to citizens on welfare. Welfare limits the amount of income individuals can earn, resulting in multiple dependent generations who often seek non-taxable income elsewhere. Voluntary Socialism would be a moral and efficient means of establishing a safety net within our communities. The list of flaws in government operated welfare highlights what happens when government restricts freedoms. Other examples include immigration; foreign policy; and prohibition of various civil liberties.

Step 5:

Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Adjusted:

Admitted to our community, to ourselves, and to others the exact nature of wrongs by our government.

Applied:

Ignorance is bliss until we realize it allows government to limit the liberties of others and ultimately ourselves.
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” –Martin Niemöller
Avoiding intellectual discussion results in people continuing to vote in a manner that precipitates the nightmare presented by Martin Niemöller. We must engage in intellectual discussions about the wrongs of our government in order to make changes.

Step 6:

We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Adjusted:

We’re entirely ready to have our community remove all these defects of government.

Applied:

Limiting government will require responsibility within ourselves, our families, and our communities. Currently governments incarcerate children caught using drugs, whereas a 12-step limited government would allow the family, friends, and community to rehabilitate them.

Step 7:

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Adjusted:

Humbly asked our community to remove the shortcomings of our government.

Applied:

Having a community remove the shortcomings of our government consists of electing limited-government politicians, and replacing excessive or incompetent departments with voluntary charities and organizations which are more compassionate and efficient.

Step 8:

Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Adjusted:

Made a list of all persons our government had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Applied:

Most people have been harmed by our government somehow by either having money extorted from them via taxes, earning a criminal record for non-aggressive offenses, prohibition from non-aggressive activities, or something altogether different. Making amends by establishing voluntary safety nets, rehabilitation centers, halfway houses, etc, would encourage these persons to vote for limited-government politicians; making dependence on the government no longer necessary. The aforementioned businesses could be for profit, competing in a free market, costing less per consumer, with higher quality than government operated/regulated non-profit businesses.

Step 9:

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Adjusted:

Made direct amends to such people harmed by government wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Applied:

Returning all taxes collected and expunging all non-aggressive criminal records would directly amend people harmed by the government. Furthermore, allowing citizens to voluntarily choose which government programs to support during tax season would be a benevolent deed to follow up with direct amends. Concurrently allowing socialist programs to be funded by the free market, creating a voluntary tax system, and making legal immigration easier would encourage undocumented immigrants to become documented.
Darryl Perry stated how to best make amends during the 2016 LP presidential debate: “How many people in here, (and I actually do want a show of hands,) love grandma’s? How many of you would donate money to feed grandma’s? I do not see a single person that did not raise their hand. That’s how you fund social security, medicaid, and medicare.”
Voluntary Socialism would provide a more efficient and moral solution to the problems caused by government.

Step 10:

Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Adjusted:

Continued to take personal inventory of our government and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

Applied:

Limiting government officials will be an endless task. We will need to work together (to assess the damages so far), analyze the data with realistic goals, and continue educating new voters about the dangers of a powerful government.

Step 11:

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Adjusted:

Sought to improve our conscious contact with representatives, only for their knowledge of our will for us and the power to carry that out.

Applied:

It is our responsibility to remain in contact with  our legislators, informing them of our wishes. By remaining active in our communities we ensure our voices are heard and our representatives held accountable.

Step 12:

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Adjusted:

Having had a political awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other communities, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Applied:

Caring for other communities as we care for our own is essential to establishing federal liberties for our states. Focusing on single States would likely create a domino effect by setting an example of success for other states to follow. Once several states prove the success of liberty, voters nationwide would be more likely to elect liberty-minded Representatives at federal levels.

Conclusion

The Libertarian Party consistently supports limited-government via free markets, social tolerance, decreasing border controls, and not intervening in foreign affairs. Voting for libertarians at local, state, and federal levels expresses care for others as much as oneself. “As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty — a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values.” Correspondingly, selfishness isn’t taught to be necessary for recovery anywhere in the 12-step program.

12-step slogans that align with libertarian slogans

12 step: “Live and let live.”

Libertarian: “Choose for yourself, not for others.”

12 step: “One day at a time.”

Libertarian: “Just vote Libertarian until you’re too free.”

12 step: “Feelings are not facts.”

Libertarian: “Our freedom is more important than your good idea.”

12 step: “Principles before personality.”

Libertarian: “If you don’t trust us to govern ourselves, how can you trust us to govern others?”

12 step: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”

Libertarian: “Ask not what your country can force other people to do for you.”

12 step: “You can’t think your way into a new way of living…you have to live your way into a new way of thinking.”

Libertarian: “Vote Libertarian. Win a free country.”

12 step: “Your worth should never depend on another person’s opinion.”

Libertarian: “Excuse me, your security is standing on my freedom.”

12 step: “It’s a simple program for complicated people.”

Libertarian: “People are complex, but liberty is simple.”

12 step: “Keep it simple.”

Libertarian: “Legalize freedom.”

12 step: “To thine own self be true.”

Libertarian: “Everyone should be free to be true to their self.”

12 step: “Keep the plug in the jug.”

Libertarian: “Please don’t feed the donkeys and elephants. It just increases their output.”

12 step: “I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Libertarian: “Screw this. I’m voting Libertarian.”

12 step: “You only get out of it what you put into it.”

Libertarian: “Your money. Your body. Your planet. Take responsibility for what you do with them. Vote Libertarian.”

In liberty,

-Travis Hallman

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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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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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