Why Blame The Police For Doing Their Job?

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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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On Approach

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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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“What Does Libertarianism Mean to Me?”

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Jake Harper July 6, 2017

Liberty: The idea that you or I could pursue our dreams free from compulsion, the foundation on which America was formed. In the years since, we have strayed from the principles of liberty. Libertarianism is the rebirth of that noble idea. Unlike other political ideas or parties, everyone can live as they please so long as they don’t hurt others. Republicans and Democrats demand all of society follow their morals, whether you share them or not. Libertarianism holds the belief that everyone is free to pursue their dreams, so long as they do not harm others; peace is a core principle. As peace flourishes, so too does the human spirit and all of the beauty and prosperity that comes from it. The prosperity I speak of is not only monetary, but spiritual, cultural, and intellectual. Everyone can live precisely how they desire whether they are fundamental Christians or Communists. You can even form communities that function as such, so long as nobody is forced to stay or join. This prosperity also allows us to be charitable and help anyone in need. We are already some of the most charitable people. Imagine if we kept more of what we made. So much of what we make is taken from us; income tax, sales tax, gasoline tax, local taxes and countless others. Equipped with more of our own money and the freedom to use it, the numerous charities that would arise to help our neighbors would be limitless.

It is the promise of prosperity and opportunity, and an absence of force that  drew me to the Libertarian Party. If the ideas of peace, tolerance, individualism, limited government, and free markets sound like your principles, or simply a good way to organize a government, I implore you to find a political philosophy with the promise, and proven track record, of creating a bright future for everyone; Libertarianism.

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In Support of the 2nd

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Andrew Deemer, June 13, 2017

Hello. My name is Andrew Deemer, I am going to discuss the 2nd amendment, why I support said amendment, why some people want to add more restrictions to said amendment, and why these restrictions are ineffective. I will also discuss why I prefer the AR 15 over a shotgun for home defense, AR15 facts, and more.

To understand why it is that I choose to support the second amendment, you must look at my past. I grew up in Ohio in a family that had weapons. My parents taught me about the weapons in the house. They made sure that, even though they taught me, those weapons were never within my reach. They taught me to respect the weapon at all times and to handle it as if it were loaded. I also have a military background. It was here I learned how to use an M16. I fell in love with the format of the weapon which is the main reason I prefer this weapon for home defense. It is a platform that I am well trained and am very confident. Fixing jams is second nature. I could take it apart blindfolded. A shotgun is longer than most AR15’s. I can sweep corners and clear my house easier with an AR15 than a shotgun because of the overall length of my shotguns. The AR15 is also faster to bring up than a shotgun. The sights are easy to adjust to what makes you comfortable. The recoil of the AR15 is easier to control in close quarters.

Now when it comes to supporting the second amendment, I truly believe it is one of the most important to defend. When this amendment was ratified in the year 1791, our fathers wrote this amendment because they were afraid of a one free-standing army. It was put in place to protect the American people from a government that had become too powerful.

The individuals that want to put more restrictions on the 2nd amendment truly believe that they are helping to stop mass shootings. Sadly, this is as far from reality as Star Wars. If you want physical proof, let’s take a look at Chicago. This city is controlled by the democratic party, which is the same party that believes in very strict gun laws. In the 8 months since the year 2016 had begun, Chicago has seen more murders than the whole year of 2015. Within those 8 months 474 people were murdered. The whole year of 2015, in Chicago, there were 468 murders. This number is staggering. Throughout 2015, out of 2,327 shootings, 2,843 people were either killed or wounded. As of Friday Sept 2, 2016, there were 2,318 shootings, and out of those, 2,848 people were killed, or wounded. This number was still on the rise, with four more months in the year. Now you might ask, “Well how is this relevant?” These are numbers from one of the most, if not the most, gun restricted places in the country. This is why gun control does not work as intended. Imagine, if you will, if more people in Chicago concealed carried? How low would those numbers be?

The AR15 is one of the most popular platforms being sold today, considered to be today’s modern sporting rifle. But sadly the AR15 has been given a bad reputation by gun grabbers. Thankfully, there are people out there that will stand up for this weapon, myself included. So let me lay down some facts. First and foremost, the AR in AR15 does not stand for “assault rifle,” nor does it stand for automatic rifle. AR stands for ArmaLite (which is a brand). An assault rifle is fully automatic which means the AR15 does not fit into this category. If you would like to see a real assault rifle, look up the M249 S.A.W. Though the AR15 looks like your standard issue M16, this is not the case. The M16, depending on the model M16 A1, A2, A3, A4, and the M4, has two firing positions, semi-auto and full-auto, as well as safe mode. The AR15 has safe and fire. It is reliable, accurate, versatile, great for target shooting and hunting.

We all want the American people to be safer. The current government programs go about it all wrong. The LA buy-back program, for example, not only has people turning in their weapons, they are only given $100 for weapons that cost at minimum of $300. When LA does these programs they are televised. Anybody can see who no longer has weapons in their home, making them an easy target. What is even worse is that these people are willing to put their family in harm’s way. The average response time for emergency services to reach your house is 6 minutes. What are you going to do if the person breaking into your home isn’t a burglar? What if this individual is a murderer? Now I understand that this is a hypothetical, but the fact that some are willing to risk it being a burglar vs a murder is just insane. This is not a risk I would be willing to take. So, with that said, this is why I chose to be a libertarian. I believe in the doctrine of free will.

If you would like more 2nd amendment content from me, make sure to check out my Facebook page: vets4the2nd Twitter: vets4the2nd

 

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The McDonald’s Standard: A Guide for Determining The Legitimate Role of Government

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Kristopher Morgan, May 23, 2017

We all have things we would like to see humanity do, whether we want to feed the poor, move towards clean energy, protect endangered species, scientific research, or setting floors on wages.  We all like to believe that passing a law is akin to waving some magic wand that simply makes things better. We get ourselves into trouble when we consider the reality of the situation;  there is no wand.  When we realize passing and enforcing new laws means making criminals out of more and more people, we have to choose responsibly.

Coming to a balanced belief system as to what the proper place of government in society takes an immense amount of study into the social sciences, history, political economy, ethics, philosophy, etc.  This can be extremely time-consuming… fortunately there are shortcuts to answering most questions pertaining to the proper role of government.  I call one of them the ‘McDonald’s Standard.’  The method is very simple: Clarify what action the government is taking and ask yourself “how would I feel if McDonald’s were doing this?”  Here are a few examples to demonstrate how it works.

  1. Taxation.  On one hand, we are threatened with fines and jail time if we do not pay taxes.  On the other hand, those taxes pay for services such as roads.  Let’s imagine that McDonald’s decided to use the same business model.  McDonald’s decides to provide every resident within a 1mi radius with a Big Mac.  McDonald’s then decides that they will collect money from all residents, and those who decline simply get locked in a room on McDonald’s property.  Is food not a vital service?
  2. Welfare programs.  On one hand, they are paid for through taxation, on the other hand poor people benefit from them.  So, let’s imagine McDonald’s decides that they’re going to send their employees in a neighborhood, armed with tasers, guns, and clubs, and they collect money from some residents to give to others (while keeping about 80% for themselves!).  What would we think about McDonald’s?
  3. War.  On one hand, evil do-ers really should be taken out of power.  On the other hand, innocent people die in government wars.  So, let’s imagine a McDonald’s employee tracks a criminal into a Burger King bathroom, right after taking from the BK cashier’s drawer.  The McDonald’s employee then proceeds to blow up the entire Burger King restaurant to get this criminal.  Does this person get to claim all the other people inside the Burger King were simply collateral damage?

Now I know someone out there is going to say something along the lines of: “of course we don’t expect McDonald’s to take on the same role as the government ya dope!  McDonald’s doesn’t have a Constitution, and we don’t elect politicians to operate McDonald’s like we do the government.  We don’t expect these things from them because they’re not the government!”

This line of reason is exactly why I am writing this article.  What we are actually talking about is government legitimacy, so let’s examine the reasons people believe government has it.

1. The government represents the people through voting.  Their job is to carry out the will of the people they represent.

  • False.  All governments operate via law and enforcement thereof.  So what that means is the first thing politicians assume is that they do not have your consent.  If they had your consent, there would be no need to use law enforcement measures.  Also, the idea that some bureaucrat you have never met before can accurately take your conscience and values into account when making decisions… come on…

2. The government is an entity on its own charged with the task of running society.

  • False.  The government is a collection of human beings.  Society is not a machine that needs an operator, but rather a collection of people.  If no human being has the moral right to use force against another, then the government can’t possibly have it.  Morality for McDonald’s doesn’t change if they change their name to McGovernment!

3. The government derived its power to use force from the consent of the people.

  • False.  If nobody has the power to use force against others to begin with, nobody could have possibly given that power to the government.  Giving one’s consent to others to use force against themself is a contradiction in terms.

This list could grow exponentially, but I hope the point is clear.  Governments are nothing more than groups of people, same as any other, whether it’s a business, a family, a charity, a community watch group, etc.  It doesn’t have to be McDonald’s necessarily, but before you support anything any government does, ask yourself “what if someone else in society were doing the same thing? How would that make me feel?”  Because let’s face it:  most of us spent our formative years pledging allegiance to the flag and learning politically correct/tainted history.  By projecting government actions onto parties we feel neutral about, we can overcome these biases.

 

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Wasted Paper

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“End the lies! Give responsibility back to the people. The government was not founded to regulate life… only to represent the minorities across this nation on an international scale and to secure freedom for all with limitations to none.”

Donnie Davis, Feb 10, 2017

The American dollar is worth nothing, more or less, when compared to the silver certificates of yesteryear. Our currency is inflated, to this we can all agree, yes?

Ok, so our currency is inflated exponentially over time, during which, we have seen more and more government control of our markets. Since the birth of “controlled monopolization” as I like to call it, or government assured markets, our jobs have been shipped overseas, “minimum wage” has fallen way below where it needs to be (matter of opinion), the price of goods skyrocketed, stock markets crashed, too big to exist corporations falter and fail then are bailed out by our government who now owns them more or less, corrupt bankers give loans, and crashed marketplaces for profit, etc etc etc….. all while under the strict eye of big brother government.

We have seen that more regulations bring about cronyism, the controlled monopolies I was speaking about earlier. This is where lobbyist and politicians band together to not give business licenses to new businesses because it will threaten the profit margins of the already established monopoly that is secured through “law”. Not ending there, we have lobbyist. People that are paid to “persuade” politicians to vote in corporate interest by any means possible, the literal definition of corruption. Yet it’s legalized and nobody’s doing anything about it. We [libertarians] are one of the only parties who have this as a main issue of concern. Moving on, we have the mis-informed public, who have never seen what a free market actually is, that has to suffer the checks and balances of social justice. Meaning that if a corporation is immoral in its business practices that it will suffer profit loss. The common idea that monopolies will be rampant and take over the nation are a fallacy. Child labor is a fallacy. People need to stand up and take responsibility for their society. Personal responsibility goes a long way in libertarian ideas. If someone is willing to shorthand themselves, good for them. Hopefully they will learn that through pride in oneself that they can demand their employer to raise their wage to an acceptable level or find a new occupation. It is literally that easy.

If you wouldn’t send your kids to go work in sweatshops, take a wage that is not worth the job, or support monopolization…. why do you think anyone else will? Probably because they have been lied to their entire lives to believe that this is the best that it can ever be.

 

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Libertarianism and Farming

 

farming2Amanda Perkins-January 29, 2017

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

Libertarianism and Small Farming Operations

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

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

What does this mean for you as a consumer?

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

How will the Libertarian Party help small farmers?

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

Libertarians and Large Scale/Corporate Farming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Voting & Gun Rights Restored for Non-Violent Drug Offenders?

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“Arguably, the government had no authority to “take” the right of self-protection in the first place, it being a natural right, protected-from, NOT bestowed-by, government. By contrast, the “right” to vote is a privilege bestowed by government. Further, any “crime” which did not involve depriving, or attempting to deprive, another person of life, liberty, or property, is in fact no crime at all. The State, not being a person, cannot be a victim. That stipulated, anyone not actually incarcerated should retain all rights belonging to any other citizen.”

J.D. Parks-Ask A Libertarian- Jan 26, 2017

Further Reading:

Restoring Voting Rights for Former Felons

Felon Voting Rights

House votes to let nonviolent ex-felons restore gun rights

Federal Lawsuit Could Restore Gun Rights To Nonviolent Felons

 

*Contest Winner Mr. J.D. Parks was selected based on the articulation of his argument which made persuasive points that we feel best represents the libertarian perspective on “voting and gun rights for those convicted of non-violent drug offenses.

 

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

Money vs Wealth

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Eliyahu Neiman-Jan 23, 2017

Do the wealthy accumulate their riches at the expense of the poor? Some believe that wealth inequality means that the poor must be losing out – because, after all, there is only so much money to go around. However, this is not exactly true. To see why, it is important to understand the difference between money and wealth.

Consider a case focusing on only two people: a tool manufacturer and a contractor. Say that the manufacturer pays the contractor $100,000 to build a production facility. Over the course of a year, the contractor buys $100,000 in tools from the manufacturer. Having paid off his initial investment, the manufacturer now pays $100,000 to the contractor to expand his facility.

How much money has changed hands? Apparently, only $100,000 – three times. But how much wealth has been created? The tool manufacturer has produced $100,000 worth of tools for the contractor. The contractor has built $200,000 worth of construction for the manufacturer. Our two-person economy now contains $400,000 in wealth. It is richer by $300,000. In fact, that would be its GDP if it were a country.

How is it possible that only $100,000 of money has created $300,000 of wealth? The secret is that money is not actually worth anything – other than as a means of exchange. Money represents a collective IOU that can be collected from anyone at all. This allows anyone to use their skill set to create wealth on behalf of anyone else,  requiring nothing in return but an anonymous IOU. Those who find ways to create wealth for consumers accumulate money, which they can exchange for other forms of wealth. This is the reward that the free market delivers for serving consumers. If Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have more money than anyone else, it is because they have created real wealth for consumers, and used their initial profits to create more wealth for consumers to purchase.

Two government activities are particularly harmful to this process:

1. High taxes. By confiscating the IOUs, government becomes the new recipient of the wealth owed in exchange for creative activity. This reduces the reward for wealth creation. (Equivalently, it diminishes the purchasing power of consumers). If government then spends this money on activities which don’t create wealth (i.e. goods or services that don’t improve people’s lives), then it has wasted resources, making them unavailable for real wealth creation.

2. Overregulation. If a small business owner cannot afford to spend the time and energy, or to purchase the additional equipment, required by government regulations, they may not have enough remaining resources to create wealth at a price that consumers are willing to pay. Overregulation can shut down the means of wealth production entirely.

In short, money is just an IOU, or stand-in for real wealth. Anyone, rich or poor, who can sell their services to a consumer has not only earned a share of their own wealth – they have contributed more wealth to the whole economy. Taxing the creation of wealth harms everyone; this is because everyone benefits from being able to purchase the goods and services that wealth creators produce. Policies that benefit poor people most are those that encourage and enable them to create valuable goods and services. When more people are able to create and contribute to the economy, we all become richer.

 

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