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: A Two Part Article

 

farming2Amanda Perkins-January 29, 2017

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

Libertarianism and Small Farming Operations

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

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

What does this mean for you as a consumer?

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

How will the Libertarian Party help small farmers?

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

Libertarians and Large Scale/Corporate Farming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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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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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Legal Theft

 

legal-theft  Donnie Davis- Jan 11, 2017

Legal theft: The passage of laws that their sole purpose is to extort the citizens for creating revenue in the community in which the laws apply. This style of criminalization is done by making an action illegal that has no victim and does not harm property under the guise of protecting the community or protecting people from themselves.

Taylor Trupiano, who left his car running with the keys in the ignition, has been labeled a criminal by his community, or better yet, the politicians who passed this legislation have labeled him a criminal for using his property as he willed with no harm being done to anyone or anything.

Again, he was ticketed for a misdemeanor crime of leaving HIS car, his own property, running with the keys in the ignition with it not affecting anyone except his own pocket.

Frederick Mercado, the Libertarian candidate for Michigan State Representative in the 57th district, who will be taking on rogue legislation come 2018 aimed at reducing or eliminating victimless crimes or infractions which do nothing further to protect our community other than scheme at revenue building, was appalled at the actions of local law enforcement, and that laws have been passed which criminalized non-criminal behavior had this to say:

“No harm had come to anyone, and this is not what Michigan needs as something counter to common sense legislation. We need to be able to trust people to make their own decisions as adults, whether it involves risk. Honestly, it’s wasteful spending on behalf of our government and resources to cite people for these types of offenses, wasting officer and judicial time. Citizens should feel secure in their person and property, while trusting law enforcement to apprehend those who intend on harming us.”

There are many instances of this in modern American life; food distribution licenses that are needed to serve food as a charity to the homeless; drivers licenses that do not keep the roads safer by keeping unsafe drivers off the road;  gun laws, drug laws, traffic laws, and any other form of social control legislation that is geared towards protecting people from others through oppression of their freedom or to protect people from themselves.

The idea of protectionism is defined as the passing of laws to keep citizens from performing any action that society does not condone aside from the already illegal acts of violating someone’s life/health, liberty, and property. Our society has become so attuned to using a protectionism train of thought that people want to control other people by passing laws so they may not be able to do that thing that they don’t like. This is a real issue that this nation has and this train of thought/law making is violating everyone’s freedoms.

Benjamin Franklin said it best when he engraved our first national coinage, “Mind Your Business.” If it does not affect you or society, it is their liberty to do as they please.

Be a good neighbor. Allow your neighbors the freedom to do as they please as you would like the freedom to do the same.

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Why I’m a Libertarian

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Jennifer Andreas-  Jan 4, 2017

I’m a member of the Libertarian Party. A short articulation of why is “my body, my choice.” One might reasonably assume I’m referring to my right to choose regarding abortion or recreational drug use, and I do support both, but to claim that is the whole story would be a superficial reading of my commitment to liberty. “My body, my choice” as a maxim must extend to the choice to sell one’s own sexual services. Otherwise, it is a shallow refrain with little meaning and less impact.

It is perplexing when pro-choice advocates, with whom I largely agree, have boo to say regarding an individual’s natural right to sell their own body as a commodity. Or, even worse, when they reject that right.

Consider the positon of feminist scholar Andrea Dworkin. Regarding abortion, Dworkin claims the state has a duty to provide the legal option to terminate any pregnancy; she asserts abortion is, in fact, a civil right. This argument turns on two claims, one more controversial than the other.

The first claim is that because terminating a pregnancy is a medical procedure which only women can undergo, denying abortive services violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. The second, more provocative claim, is that the patriarchal culture in which we live and which is supported by the state, conditions toxic gender roles; men are trained and conditioned to be sexually dominant and women, against their own self-interest, to find pleasure in submission. Thus, Dworkin concludes sex is always a coercive act and becoming pregnant can never be interpreted as a free choice. Additionally, the state ought to be considered complicit in every unwanted pregnancy. Drawing again from the 14th amendment and a state’s obligation to promote gender equality, the state must provide legal means by which those pregnancies can be terminated.

Now, one can reasonably reject the premise that all sex is coercive and still recognize the fundamental right of individuals to bodily autonomy. Dworkin rightly points out the state is largely responsible for the systemic oppression and patriarchy in our society. However, when it comes to the question of whether a woman-or any individual-should be free from government reprisal for prostitution, she gives the state a pass.

Even though she argues the state must provide legal means of abortion, she contends prostitution ought to remain illegal and this puzzles me. Dworkin, a powerful communicator and writer of feminist ideas, seems to ignore the danger her theoretical arguments present to real sex workers, most of whom are women. Because the sexual marketplace remains illicit, prostitutes are left without the legal redress of monetary and physical damages incurred in their line of work. Not only are these individuals deprived of legal protections, their workplace itself is made exponentially more dangerous because it exists in the shadows.

Furthermore, those who argue for the continued prohibition of prostitution don’t seem to recognize that individuals with felony records are unlikely to break free from poverty and oppression. Having a felony diminishes the likelihood of obtaining employment and with no other means to support themselves or loved ones, individuals (again, mostly women) return to the sex trade, perpetually trapped.

Liberty is the solution to these problems, not institutionalized paternalism. The Libertarian Party recognizes, as Dworkin did, the state is culpable for perpetuating a cycle of oppression. But, by supporting an individual’s liberty to engage in the sex market with a legal safety net, the Libertarian Party stands taller than those who simply want the freedom to terminate pregnancies or use drugs. The Libertarian Party is working to liberate those women forced into sexual slavery and to encourage voluntary individual entrepreneurship. That’s why I am a Libertarian.

Further reading:

Women Hating by Andrea Dworkin

Intercourse by Andrea Dworkin

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UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME

ubi

Melissa Davis – Contributing Editor – 11/17/16

The discussion on Universal Basic Income (UBI) is becoming more prevalent across the globe. Countries including Canada, the Netherlands, as well as the Dutch city of Utrecht are developing pilot programs to test its effectiveness. FinlandIndia, and France are considering UBI as an option to streamline government welfare programs. Though there are still many unknown variables, an incremental approach may prove to be a viable solution to resolving the disastrous mess that is our welfare system here in the United States.

According to an article posted by FiveThirtyEight: What Would Happen If We Just Gave People Money?  The “U.S. government spends nearly $1 trillion across dozens of separate programs at the state and federal level…This all requires enormous administrative oversight on the part of the government, and it requires the ability to navigate multiple agencies on the part of recipients.” “In the U.S., we’re left with a patchwork benefits system, an indecipherable alphabet soup of programs: SNAP, TANF, CHIP, Section 8, EITC, WIC, SSDI.” “The problems with this system go beyond its complicated structure. Because eligibility for most social assistance is based on income (or is “means-tested”), recipients lose their benefits as they earn more income — this is often labeled the “welfare trap” or “poverty trap.”

We are all aware of the “poverty trap” where recipients on such programs cannot earn income in addition to the assistance they receive from the government, discouraging work even if one is capable in slight capacity. This leads to either hiding extra income through “under the table” cash payments or non-efforts by the recipient to seek extra income elsewhere. With UBI, these limitations would not be relevant. Therefore, if one chose to seek extra income, to better their life through education, and so on, they would not be penalized by losing the safety net their families rely on for basic living expenses.

Switzerland rejected the idea of UBI earlier this year citing fears that “disconnecting the link between work done and money earned would have been bad for society.” However, so far, studies have shown the opposite to be the case. One Study led by Johannes Haushofer (Princeton) and Jeremy Shapiro (Princeton) “documented large, positive, and sustainable impacts across a wide range of outcomes including assets, earnings (from sources other than our transfers), food security, mental health, and domestic violence, after on average four months. The study found no evidence of impacts on alcohol or tobacco use, crime, or inflation.”  Another U.K. based program, the Universal Credit Pathfinder Evaluation, cited by Cato Institute claims that “recipients of the cash payment were more likely to look for work and believed that the program offered a “better reward for small amounts of work“.

In an interview with CNBC Elon Musk of Tesla Motors says “there is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation. He based his assessment on the prospect of increased automation in society. Given that his companies use robots and automation extensively in their products and that he has started a non-profit to explore judicious uses for artificial intelligence, Musk should know a thing or two about such matters.”

Silicon Valley agrees, “If technology eliminates jobs or jobs continue to become less secure, an increasing number of people will be unable to make ends meet with earnings from employment. UBI becomes a consolation prize for those whose lives are disrupted. Benefits still accrue to the designers and owners of the technologies, but now with less guilt and pushback about the collateral damage.”

While factors still need to be considered, including the counter argument from a libertarian perspective that it would be a form of socialism, perpetuating the “slave to the system” mentality, a slippery slope to communism; the overall concept of providing a universal basic income implementation gets complicated. How would it be distributed fairly across states with varying costs of living?

While It would eliminate the current complex government welfare system which has proven to be a dramatic failure, it would provide opportunity to those who wish to better themselves sans penalty for their efforts.

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The World As We Know It Ends! What’s the Path to Libertarian Recovery?

 

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John Schlosser, November 9, 2016

The 2016 election is over. Donald Trump, AKA Cheeto Jesus, the Great Pumpkin, the Orange Calf, the Mango Mussolini, the Tangerine Tyrant, and many other things you shouldn’t let your children read, is President of the United States (for as long as he can avoid prison).

How should we react, as Libertarians, to the situation we all find ourselves in?

We could always try the method it appears Democrats are exercising; it’s called “The U.S. Air Force Disaster Drill”, and it goes like this:

“When in trouble

Or in doubt,

Run in circles,

Scream, and shout.”

It is quickly evident to sane people that said drill is ineffective. It also greatly annoys your more peaceable neighbors. In fact, if you keep it up for any period of time, constables of the peace are liable to escort you to a small locked “safe space”, where you can pull all your micro-aggressed triggers until the magazine is empty. A nice person in a white lab coat will then give you pills to make certain it stays empty, and send you on your way. While that technique can be entertaining for a few days, perhaps we should avoid it.

It goes without saying that we should also avoid the apparent Republican method, which seems to have spread like the Black Plague throughout all their ranks, even those of the “never-Trump” persuasion. Libertarians do poorly at kissing rings, genuflecting and prostrating ourselves. We often seem to have enough trouble even being kind to the genuinely religious within our own ranks; we certainly aren’t game for helping the Republicans with their new cult, the Cult of the Little Itty Bitty Teeny Tiny Orange…um…Hands.

Ew. Definitely not kissing the hand.

What should we do then?

We could go back to the ancient and dishonorable “typical” post-election behavior of the Libertarian Party we’ve always reverted to–making ineffective protest noises, then returning to all our usual internecine infighting and backbiting, always trying to determine what a “real Libertarian” is while we haggle over every jot and tittle of the platform. We could do what we’ve always done, expecting different results, which is the very definition of insanity.

Or…we could change.

First, as individuals, we should find our copy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Not the book Doug Adams wrote, but the Guide itself. Read the big red friendly letters on the cover. DON’T PANIC. Do not, at this point, hitch a ride on a Vogon ship: Vogons are but slimy green versions of Trump, and we need you here. You could grab your towel, rush to the nearest pub, down as many pints and peanuts as you can in twenty minutes, and put a paper bag over your head. It won’t help, of course, when the Giant Orange Trump Bulldozers arrive, but…

Next, it’s time to do something effective. Something we’ve never tried. Here it goes.

NOW–right now–TODAY–is when the campaigns for ’18 and ’20 begin. We don’t do that, which is one of the reasons we lose. NOW is the time to start building a formidable $war chest$ for all our future candidates, from dog catcher to POTUS. NOW is the time to begin organizing ground game at the PRECINCT level. Find your county Libertarian organization and get connected. If your county doesn’t have one, start one. We’ll help. NOW is the time to find (or draft) serious, qualified, viable and marketable candidates, and to start vetting and prepping them. NOW is the time to LIVE LIBERTARIAN, all day, every day. NOW is the time to be the loud–but polite and principled–opposition. Let’s get going!