Taxation is Theft

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Kris Morgan 10/23/17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kris Morgan   September 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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UBI Part II: Education

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Kris Morgan, September 15, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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Government Unchained

 

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Jeremy Medley, September 14, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Are You A Voluntary Socialist?

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Travis Hallman, September 6, 2017

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

2.11 Retirement and Income Security

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

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

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

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

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

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

In liberty,

-Travis Hallman

 

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UBI Part I: Economics

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Kris Morgan  September 13, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Socialism As An Affront To The LP

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Mark Kibler  September 7, 2017

Currently, there is a vocal minority vying to corrupt and control the Libertarian Party. They are espousing libertarian socialism and the rejection of property rights. There is a lot of confusion about the term and what it means.

Many good Libertarians defend voluntarily choosing to socialize and share property in a group because it is by choice.  The unfortunate consequence of this is the libertarian socialist’s insistent and continued presence in the party.  The Libertarian Party has held that property rights are a key component of liberty.  Conversely, the ideas of libertarian socialists are generally of the communist or mutualist ideologies. They either hold that all property belongs to all people, that any property which can be used to generate a profit be communally owned, or that property can only be claimed by occupancy and use.  It is the last of these ideas that have been heard in the “rent is theft” arguments coming from the deep fringe of the party. Their belief is that as soon as you allow someone to stay on property you own, or use property you own, they are now entitled to or are the owner of that property. Not only do they believe they are not obligated to pay the agreed upon price for use of the property (contractual law), they do not believe the person should have to surrender the property back to the owner.

In the wake of the hurricane that has hit Texas in 2017, please consider the consequences of such an ideology. Say you have a camper in your yard- If you voluntarily choose to let an evacuee stay there, even if you do not charge any rent, by the libertarian socialist ideas they now own your trailer and the land it is sitting on.  If you were to lend your car to someone who lost theirs in the storm, they are under no obligation to return it. When the waters recede and people return to their property to repair and rebuild, if someone is in your house before you get there, you cannot evict them. In the eyes of the libertarian socialist, you no longer own your house; the squatters do.  There are of course obvious problems with this line of thinking.  If I leave my house for work or to go to the store and someone breaks into my house, they are now the owner of my house and there is no recourse to retain my property.

While it is true that there was a historical usage of Proudhon being labeled a libertarian, at that time Bastiat was a liberal. The meanings have shifted and changed.  In the words Dean Russel wrote in 1955, “Many of us call ourselves “liberals.”  It is true that the word “liberal” once described persons who respected the individual and feared the use of mass compulsions, but the leftists have now corrupted that once-proud term to identify themselves and their program of more government ownership of property (and more controls over persons).  As a result, those of us who believe in freedom must explain that when we call ourselves liberals, we mean liberals in the uncorrupted classical sense.  At best, this is awkward and subject to misunderstanding.

Here is a suggestion:  Let those of us who love liberty trade-mark and reserve for our own use, the good and honorable word “libertarian.”

The socialists usurped the word Liberal and had long abandoned the word libertarian in antiquity.  There is an effort for their morally bankrupt ideals to steal and corrupt the word “libertarian” today.  If the socialists truly believe their ideas of occupancy and use, then get out.  Libertarian is our word.  This is our party.  We are still occupying and using it, and plan to change the world for the better with it.

 

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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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