The Quest For Moral Superiority

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Kris Morgan  September 17, 2017

Liberals believe in big government at home, whereas conservatives support an interventionist foreign policy.  The two combined have given us a welfare/warfare state that cannot last.  The United States has accumulated over 20 trillion dollars in debt, over 127 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities, killed innocent people abroad, and jailed millions of peaceful people.  In spite of this, the Federal Government shows no signs of slowing down.  How is it that the “freest nation in the world” manages to imprison more of its citizens than North Korea, a communist dictatorship?  Ironically, these evils exist because our debates revolve around attempts at gaining the moral upper-hand rather than an unhindered search for truth.

Since politics is always a question of when it becomes morally acceptable to use force, our views reflect our sense of justice.  We assume ourselves good and just upon entering political debates.  As a result, we define opposing ideas as unjust.  Any admission on our part that our beliefs are flawed inherently implies the other person is more just and morally superior.  These biases cause our conversations to get out of hand.

For example, many believe that the United States did not provoke Osama Bin Laden to carry out the 9/11 attacks.  Some lash out when presented with a review of US interventions in the Middle East, including sanctions in the 1990s that lead to half-a-million children dying, and our Secretary of State affirming their deaths were acceptable.  They often label the messenger as part of the “blame-America-first” crowd and ignore the facts.

Conservatives who push for interventionism abroad are frequently combative to those who highlight US aggression.  They dismiss the opposition with cliches about how the world is an unfriendly place, or claim the dissenter hates America. Admitting the US is a hostile nation contradicts their view that America is the greatest country on the planet.  To backtrack on that base belief would make them appear weak and discredit their moral authority, so they often react with a critique of their own without acknowledging yours.  This method is not restricted to conservatives.

Liberals voice support for civil liberties, yet favor central economic controls.  When an opponent points out that economic controls are violations of our freedom, they claim their foe is uncaring to those in need.  Their inconsistency goes unrecognized as they focus on attacking their opponents.  It is easier to blindly accuse adversaries of being sexists, racists, or wanting the needy to starve than face their contradiction.

Democrats and Republicans alike listen to their own bases.  If their supporters are not willing to admit discrepancies in their platforms, then politicians will continue to roam free.  The welfare/warfare state will endure until there is no wealth left to tax and the currency hyper-inflates.  Making excuses, creating strawmen, deflecting legitimate critiques, and ignoring new information has allowed our government to grow completely out of control. It is an unsustainable model for political discourse.

One can argue that libertarians are not exempt from taking part in this manner of conversation, and there may be some valid critiques.  However, libertarians have a ‘north star’ with which to follow.  While Republicans and Democrats have only their own sense of moral superiority to guide them, libertarians have the Non-Aggression Principle. This keeps our personal virtues away from our politics.  For instance, a libertarian may wish for society to build a sound safety net.  Nevertheless, progressive taxation is the initiation of force and is accordingly rejected by libertarians.  Libertarians do not use morality to justify coercion.

We are being taken advantage of by a system that knows people have a desire to appear morally strong, so much so that they will defend politicians in order to protect themselves.  The best way to smash this system is to set aside our own egos, admit when we are wrong, develop consistent ideologies, and hold our rulers accountable. We have to make this change if we are ever going to claim our rightful place as the dominant party in our relationship with our power structure.

 

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Socialism As An Affront To The LP

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Mark Kibler  September 7, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Law vs Morality

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Donnie Davis, June 15, 2017

Laws do not prevent actions, morality does. Laws are there to set in stone what will happen if certain actions are taken against someone or their property. They are not meant to scare you into following someone else’s moral code to avoid punishment. Or at least, that is how our society is supposed to work. Government is not the parent of the people, nor can it dictate their morality. It can only hold them accountable for their actions transgressed against another person.

You cannot rape yourself. You cannot violate yourself. You cannot steal from yourself.  These are actions committed against someone else, and it is correct to punish the perpetrator of those actions.

The idea that you cannot put x, y, or z into your own body by your own choice because it’s bad for you is the same as saying that drinking anything but water and eating anything except fruits and vegetables is now illegal because it’s bad for you.

Saying that it is illegal to prevent anyone from doing REAL crime is like saying having large amounts of money is illegal to keep you from purchasing illegal items. It’s like saying owning a firearm is illegal because all they are used for is killing, or that owning a straightened coat hanger is illegal because it’s used to break into cars….

Do you see where this is going? Once you go down that road, there is no coming back from it without violence.

We, as Libertarians, are trying to stop that pattern of thinking before it’s too late. 

Our slogan is that we are “The Party of Principle”, because we stand firmly on our principles….

  • We seek to substantially reduce the size and intrusiveness of government and cut and eliminate taxes at every opportunity.
  • We believe that peaceful, honest people should be able to offer their goods and services to willing consumers without inappropriate interference from government.
  • We believe that peaceful, honest people should decide for themselves how to live their lives, without fear of criminal or civil penalties.
  • We believe that government’s only responsibility, if any, should be protecting people from force and fraud.”

“Libertarian Pledge, which all must agree to in order to join the Libertarian Party, declares, “I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.”

Libertarians strongly oppose any government interference into their personal, family, and business decisions. Essentially, we believe all Americans should be free to live their lives and pursue their interests as they see fit as long as they do no harm to another.

People that want the government to tend to their every whim, because they couldn’t be bothered to protect themselves from harm, want us to give up our freedoms so they feel “safe.” That has never been enough to stop anyone from doing harm, to themselves or otherwise.

 

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