Meet PA Senatorial Candidate Dale Kerns

David Beaver, January 29, 2018

The Senate races are heating up across the country and the state of Pennsylvania is no exception. With soon to be former Congressman Lou Barletta taking on the incumbent, Senator Bob Casey many are unaware that there’s a third candidate in the race. Senatorial candidate Dale Kerns plans to change that as he runs for the seat with the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania. A former businessman and Eddystone borough councilman he is not what you would describe as a typical career politician and has stated that if elected he will only serve one term.

“…I will not accept a pension, will not take the healthcare, and will only run for one term. I am not part of DC and will not allow myself to be either. I am asking for one term to get some work done, and take back the seat in DC owned by Pennsylvanians and hijacked by the two-party system.” he said in a recent interview. While acknowledging the struggles of running with a third party, especially in fundraising, he is very optimistic about his chances of winning. “Being that our team is volunteer-based, and we are fiscally responsible, we do not need millions to win, but we do need to raise more.”

With opponents like Lou Barletta fighting it out over wedge issues like immigration Dale Kerns has placed individual liberties and the values of small government at the forefront of his campaign. He has also taken on controversial issues, hosting town halls across the state discussing the opioid crisis and proposing unique solutions. He believes in allowing the free market to provide addiction treatments and in treating drug use as a medical issue rather than as a matter of criminal justice. His proposed bill, Addiction is Not a Crime would in effect accomplish these goals, and he has been busy advocating for it around the state. In addition to providing treatment for addicts in lieu of prison sentences he has also supported a controversial measure in which clinics around the country would off maintenance levels of heroin for addicts who reject treatment, citing its success in Portugal who has seen a drop as high as 90% in drug-related HIV infections and a rate of drug-induced deaths that has fallen to a stunning five times lower than the European Union average as a result of its more lenient and care-based policies.

In addition to shrinking the size and scope of federal government, and enforcing constitutional restrictions on its authority, Kerns has stated a number other goals in running.

“I want to show everyone that a Libertarian can be elected and that they want more Libertarians. I want them to know they don’t have to choose the lesser of two evils anymore – we are here to free them from that burden.”

A loving husband and father of two he also expressed a more personal goal in his pursuit of the Senate seat:

“I now have two young girls that cannot know the world we live in, and the world we are headed towards. I owe them the best life, a life of freedom.”

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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 sound-bites 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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Free Access to Healthcare, Is This Wrong? What Are The Economic Arguments?

John Smith, March 1, 2017

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Please note this article is written from the perspective of a UK citizen and hence is written in regards primarily to UK affairs and to their nationalised health service with concerns regarding support for the implementation of socialised medicine in the US, an important issue as socialised medicine has done great damage to the economy and has given government excessive powers in the UK.

A free-market system would be not only an efficient system, but a fair system in which individuals pay for their consumption rather than the taxpayer. Those who fall ill as a result of unwise lifestyle choices will become responsible for the choices they have made and would eliminate the burden on the taxpayer. 

It seems reasonable to suggest that those who have created their own health problems should not be granted access to the national health service. However, there are several problems with this argument. Firstly, given the individual in need of treatment has paid taxation in the form of income tax and national insurance, they have paid for the health care services which they are requesting and therefore should be granted access. Secondly, there is often no definitive way to prove that an illness has been caused by lifestyle choices and hence it would be difficult to differentiate between those who are ill due to their lifestyle choices and those who are unfortunately ill through no fault of their own. While I would agree that those who fall under the latter should be prioritized ahead of those who have made unwise lifestyle choices causing their illness considering both have similar illnesses in terms of the threat to one’s life, I believe a better solution for all could be provided through a free market healthcare system.

Economists such as Milton Friedman would argue that healthcare in a free market would be of a much higher quality and of a lower average cost than that of a centrally-planned health care system. One argument put forward by such economists is that healthcare costs are significantly increased and freedoms significantly more restricted by government intervention than they otherwise would be in the free market. For example, in the US, there are certain restrictions on the entering of new and potentially life-saving drugs to the market by the regulatory body known as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This also prevents patient access to certain drugs which without regulations could possibly save lives (Milton Friedman, 1978).

One example of the FDA’s failures, Friedman uses, is the restriction of beta-blockers (that are used to reduce blood pressure) from entering the market due to certain safety concerns, costing an estimated 10,000 lives each year. While the US’s healthcare system is far from perfect, I would argue it is preferable to a nationalised system like we have here in the UK. There are several reasons for this. Most importantly, it incentivizes research and development into new drugs and treatments since firms compete against each other to provide the highest quality of care. This also incentivizes investments into capital goods, which expands the production capabilities of the market, also producing a higher quality of healthcare. This leads to the creation of new, lifesaving drugs therefore further increasing the amount of lives saved by healthcare firms. Evidence of this can be shown in comparisons between lives saved in UK healthcare and US healthcare systems. US survival rates are better for leukemia, ovarian cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer (Ryan Bourne, 2017). Furthermore, a free market healthcare system would give consumers the freedom to choose the level of health insurance they would like, if any.

A free-market system would be not only an efficient system, but a fair system in which individuals pay for their consumption rather than the taxpayer. Those who fall ill as a result of unwise lifestyle choices will become responsible for the choices they have made and would eliminate the burden on the taxpayer. Some would argue that this could lead to a significant increase in prices, as the consumer is not protected by the government. However, in order for the healthcare providing firm to make a profit, they must supply their services at an affordable price which consumers are both willing and able to pay. It is in the interests of firms to provide their services at a rate which is affordable as this enables them access to a larger number of consumers. This system of healthcare would shift the burden of those who are ill due to their lifestyle choices from the taxpayer to the individual who made the choices. Furthermore, this would cut government expenditure by £142.7bn ($175.75bn USD) allowing the government to make tax cuts to individuals and firms, incentivize investments and create jobs, boosting the economy. This boost to the economy would create employment opportunities for those currently reliant on welfare, further reducing government expenditure. It would also enable the UK government to eliminate the budget deficit of £19.1bn ($23.58bn USD). In summary. I believe that a free market healthcare system would not only make individuals responsible for their lifestyle choices, but produce higher quality healthcare and create huge economic prosperities due to the tax cuts which are enabled by the decrease in government expenditure.

 

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