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 a 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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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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Betrayal Of The American Media

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

Kristopher Morgan, May 22, 2017

My journey to libertarianism didn’t start until I graduated high school, spent 4 years in the Army, and was on the final year of my BS in Criminal Justice.  When the economy crashed in 2007, I found myself in awe and searching for answers.  It started me on a journey of self-education that focused heavily in areas of political science, philosophy, and economics.  It is a journey that has helped to define who I am and what my values in life really are.  I would not trade any of it for the world; however, what I find most interesting about libertarians is we are very much the same in these respects.

What makes this article necessary is how libertarians are portrayed by the media.  Here are a few article titles to demonstrate:

Libertarians: Rich White Males of the Republican Party

Libertarianism is for white men: the ugly truth about the right’s favorite movement.

Libertarians: The Great White Hope   

Rather than go through every article I can find and refute every false claim about libertarianism, I have decided simply to lay out the basics of what we think.  

Libertarians, in my experience, take two approaches to politics.  The first approach is the economic approach.  This is why so many libertarians offer entrepreneurship as a replacement for government provided services when questioned.  Austrian economics provides the key to understanding basic economics and how economic growth occurs.  An entrepreneur recognizes demand for a product and obtains capital either through savings or investors and implements a business plan to provide the said service.  All very simple, and an accurate way of understanding economics.  When governments interfere with this process, they distort real demand, make certain products no-longer feasible due to taxation and regulations, making less desirable substitutes available in lieu; a fancy way of saying they make society as a whole poorer.  Since governments operate through the power of law, classes of winners and losers are always created, whereas free exchanges benefit all parties involved.

The second approach to politics is a firm belief in justice.  Libertarians recognize that all human beings possess the same basic characteristics: self-ownership, consciousness, and the need for property to survive.  This need to own property in order to survive gives all of us the right to self-defense.  Without property we can’t meet our basic needs for food, water, or shelter; a species without the ability to defend their property is an endangered species, as others throughout the animal kingdom will swoop in and deprive them of their food.  Hence it follows that the individual has the right to repel any encroachments, from the animal kingdom or from other people, on the rights to their property.  The libertarian, knowing they have the right to self-defense, also recognizes that if they themself attempt to encroach on another’s property, that person also has the right to defend from their attack.  This creates a principle that libertarians live by: The Non-Aggression principle.  This approach to politics is not much concerned with what will provide the strongest economic or social outcome; it is simply a matter of whether or not someone’s property rights were violated.

What both classes have in common; what separates libertarianism from all other ideologies, is the refutation of delusion and respect for truth.  Libertarians do not pretend, for example, that our material problems will be solved if we simply pass a new law.  Passing a law does nothing to add to the amount of goods and services available to us all; only production can do that, and only production of things people demand (not government directed production such as ‘digging holes and filling them back up’).  The justice-oriented libertarian does not pretend that passing a law and sending policemen to enforce said law with guns and other weapons and endless backup is what defines justice.  Justice; natural rights, whatever you want to call it, is everyone’s birthright.

It is my sincere hope that the reader considers what has NOT been said here at least as much as what has been said.  Libertarianism does not mean we cannot have a commune… It does not mean we cannot have charities… It does not mean we believe in state capitalism (that really does benefit the rich)…  There is room for anything and everything in a libertarian society.  What concerns libertarians is the means, not the ends.  As long as coercive means are not being used, libertarians will not oppose it, even if they don’t necessarily agree.  We don’t ask “Who is going to benefit from this?” or “How will this benefit rich white people?”  We ask: Is one party using force against another?

 

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