Hating Energy Dependence, Not Loving Energy Independence

Hating Energy Dependence, Not Loving Energy Independence.

I worked on this piece on and off from November 30th to January 21st. I wrote the bulk of it on the first day, and most of the editing since then had been cosmetic. It is somewhat related to a project I was helping a friend with, although that is not the reason I wrote it. This piece originally appeared on January 21st at Notes on Liberty, where it was my first for that blog.

WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT ENERGY DEPENDENCE?

Contrary to what one might be led to think, energy independence need not be the opposite of energy (inter)dependence. Likewise, contrary to what many advocates of free markets and free trade will say, energy dependence (perhaps not their choice of words), is not a good thing. Energy interdependence certainly can be a good thing, but in today’s world I can’t agree that every instance of it always is. Continue reading

One Year Later at PTPOL

One Year Later at PTPOL.

Well, this blog has been registered at WordPress.com for one year now. It took a while to get it off the ground, but it hit the ground running. (How’s that for a mixed – and contradictory – metaphor, by the way?) Click here to learn more about the blog, and here to learn a little bit about it’s author.

140 posts, 6,602 views, 482 comments, 200 WordPress likes, 192 Facebook likes, 54 followers on WordPress, 1150 followers on Twitter.

Not bad for an amateur one-man team, right? Well, its the readers that are more to thank. Without them there really is no point in writing.

Continue reading

Patriotism versus Nationalism (versus Internationalism?)

Patriotism versus Nationalism (versus Internationalism?).

Also syndicated here.

Patriotism to me can be a love for the place where one lives, which need not necessarily exhibit irrational feelings of superiority or inherent exceptionalism. It also can mean a love for the exceptionalism (which may be incidental or dependent on factors other than race and geography) of a culture, often within geographical confines. It can extend to a willingness to die to preserve the place or the ideas in question. Patriotism can manifest itself in both agreement and dissent.

Nationalism, on the other hand, is blind love for a specific geographical or racial entity for irrational reasons, such as perceived inherent superiority or traditional feuding. Most often it is manifested in a subtle form of groupthink, the consequences of not conforming to include: ostracism, ridicule, bigotry, prohibitions of expressions of culture or language, and even confiscation of property. In extreme forms, and much less subtle, overt violence and genocide. It is often mixed with or perhaps intentionally covered by higher ideals. Democracy. Social justice. Equality. Brotherhood. Humanity. Liberty. To this extent is has an appeal with both the base and the virtuous, and is thus pervasive and not even all those who hold some of the views (for very few hold all of them) realize where they originate, or what their intended purposes are in the form they are presented.

Both ideas rest on that of taste. One acknowledges it as a personal preference and in relations with others it either defends from attacks (ideally not overreacting) or promotes its underlying ideas through persuasion and not force, and the other (according to its own idealism, though not always according to the practice of its leaders) seeks to foist it equally upon all (assuming, of course, you are one of the ones it suffers to live), the consequences and human rights be damned.

According to these definitions, which are my own but not too far distant from how they are defined by others, individual persons and conventions of persons, experts in fields and students of ideas, nationalism is very much the more problematic of the two.

And if you break it down further this is true for two reasons. One is the way it treats outsiders (geographical foreigners, ethnic inferiors, and so on). The other is the way it treats its own. Eliminating nationalism and replacing it with a generic internationalism (some would call this world government) only eradicates the first problem in the best case scenario. A highly decentralized internationalism (some would call this globalization) would go a long way towards reducing, and in some cases eliminating, both problems.

Amongst those that agree that globalization (even those afraid to use the word for fear of being associated with, or who recognize that the word has been misused by; those who either openly embrace, or whose proposals and ideas in some way perpetuate; world government) is a good idea, there is some disagreement about the way to go about it. I won’t go into arguments for or against (uni/bi/multi)lateral/free/managed trade or international law as it pertains to evident violations of human rights or other controversial subjects with well meaning and intelligent individuals on either side of the argument. I would instead like to delineate between potent attempts at world government and relatively impotent (but still menacing in their own right) attempts.

In the first category (potent) I would put imperialism, where it should be obvious that internationalism is in fact just nationalism applied to the world stage. Attempts such as this never fully succeed (partly because they may not really be conscious of what they are doing, or if they are, may have different goals in mind than that of tyrannizing the globe) in subjugating the entire world, but are potent in the sense that they cause much suffering and disorder and do so under a gradually increasing authority (in terms of both power and geography).

Also there is mercantilism. This often goes hand in hand with imperialism. Sometimes they have the same origin. Other times they just “benefit” from each other. And still there may be some combination thereof. In a sense, aspects of it have been practiced by every “traditional” empire going back to the Sumerians, but not until the rise of the modern, benevolent, humanitarian nations did it come into its own. France, Britain, the United States. And though not “true” mercantlism in the sense of application to one nation, several aspects of it have been incorporated into the cooperative efforts of the civilized nations (treaties and alliances; NATO being a prime example, the IMF another).

I wouldn’t even rule transnational corporations (in some instances being creations of, though not always faithful servants to, the state) and Non-Government Organizations out of having at least a small part in this category (potent attempts at world government), but at the present I would like to refrain from theorizing about possible conspiracies.

In the second category (impotent) I would put such things as failed attempts at international cooperation. Take the League of Nations or the United Nations. I do not deny that they were/are to be feared. But the reason has more to do with the stupidity and inefficiency of bureaucracy than it does the greed or violence of imperialism. But more than that it is not so much the bodies themselves that should be of concern, but rather the ways they may be used by the member nations in their imperialistic and mercantilistic endeavors. 

Things such as the World Trade Organization I would have a hard time categorizing. Besides, as I said, I do not wish to formulate arguments on the issue of trade nor delve into conspiracy theories.

New Discovery: Jacques Delacroix (I had not read his piece in its entirety until moments ago, so I hope no one thinks I wrote this as some sort of response to it) goes into all of this as well (I had no idea until, for the purpose of seeing what others had to say on the subject I did a search for “WTO” on my friend Brandon Christensen’s blog), but is far less charitable to these types than I am (I think mirroring his overall more establishmentarian variant of libertarianism).

Anyways, at this stage I am not a flag burner. But neither am I a flag worshipper. At the present, this one will do:

File:Flag of Montana 1905.svg

Ron Paul’s Farewell Speech

Ron Paul’s Farewell Speech.

Farewell to Congress

It was my opinion, that the course the U.S. embarked on in the latter part of the 20th Century would bring us a major financial crisis and engulf us in a foreign policy that would overextend us and undermine our national security.This may well be the last time I speak on the House Floor. At the end of the year I’ll leave Congress after 23 years in office over a 36 year period. My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today: promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty.

To achieve the goals I sought, government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable costs of policing the world and expanding the American Empire.

The problems seemed to be overwhelming and impossible to solve, yet from my view point, just following the constraints placed on the federal government by the Constitution would have been a good place to start.

How Much Did I Accomplish?

In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little. No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways—thank goodness. In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues. Wars are constant and pursued without Congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant and dependency on the federal government is now worse than any time in our history.

All this with minimal concerns for the deficits and unfunded liabilities that common sense tells us cannot go on much longer. A grand, but never mentioned, bipartisan agreement allows for the well-kept secret that keeps the spending going. One side doesn’t give up one penny on military spending, the other side doesn’t give up one penny on welfare spending, while both sides support the bailouts and subsidies for the banking and corporate elite. And the spending continues as the economy weakens and the downward spiral continues. As the government continues fiddling around, our liberties and our wealth burn in the flames of a foreign policy that makes us less safe.

The major stumbling block to real change in Washington is the total resistance to admitting that the country is broke. This has made compromising, just to agree to increase spending, inevitable since neither side has any intention of cutting spending.

The country and the Congress will remain divisive since there’s no “loot left to divvy up.”

Without this recognition the spenders in Washington will continue the march toward a fiscal cliff much bigger than the one anticipated this coming January.

I have thought a lot about why those of us who believe in liberty, as a solution, have done so poorly in convincing others of its benefits. If liberty is what we claim it is- the principle that protects all personal, social and economic decisions necessary for maximum prosperity and the best chance for peace- it should be an easy sell. Yet, history has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled.

Authoritarianism vs. Liberty
During my time in Congress the appetite for liberty has been quite weak; the understanding of its significance negligible. Yet the good news is that compared to 1976 when I first came to Congress, the desire for more freedom and less government in 2012 is much greater and growing, especially in grassroots America. Tens of thousands of teenagers and college age students are, with great enthusiasm, welcoming the message of liberty.If authoritarianism leads to poverty and war and less freedom for all individuals and is controlled by rich special interests, the people should be begging for liberty. There certainly was a strong enough sentiment for more freedom at the time of our founding that motivated those who were willing to fight in the revolution against the powerful British government.

I have a few thoughts as to why the people of a country like ours, once the freest and most prosperous, allowed the conditions to deteriorate to the degree that they have.

Freedom, private property, and enforceable voluntary contracts, generate wealth. In our early history we were very much aware of this. But in the early part of the 20thcentury our politicians promoted the notion that the tax and monetary systems had to change if we were to involve ourselves in excessive domestic and military spending. That is why Congress gave us the Federal Reserve and the income tax. The majority of Americans and many government officials agreed that sacrificing some liberty was necessary to carry out what some claimed to be “progressive” ideas. Pure democracy became acceptable.

They failed to recognized that what they were doing was exactly opposite of what the colonists were seeking when they broke away from the British.

Some complain that my arguments makes no sense, since great wealth and the standard of living improved for many Americans over the last 100 years, even with these new policies.

But the damage to the market economy, and the currency, has been insidious and steady. It took a long time to consume our wealth, destroy the currency and undermine productivity and get our financial obligations to a point of no return. Confidence sometimes lasts longer than deserved. Most of our wealth today depends on debt.

The wealth that we enjoyed and seemed to be endless, allowed concern for the principle of a free society to be neglected. As long as most people believed the material abundance would last forever, worrying about protecting a competitive productive economy and individual liberty seemed unnecessary.

The Age of Redistribution

This neglect ushered in an age of redistribution of wealth by government kowtowing to any and all special interests, except for those who just wanted to left alone. That is why today money in politics far surpasses money currently going into research and development and productive entrepreneurial efforts.

The material benefits became more important than the understanding and promoting the principles of liberty and a free market. It is good that material abundance is a result of liberty but if materialism is all that we care about, problems are guaranteed.

The crisis arrived because the illusion that wealth and prosperity would last forever has ended. Since it was based on debt and a pretense that debt can be papered over by an out-of-control fiat monetary system, it was doomed to fail. We have ended up with a system that doesn’t produce enough even to finance the debt and no fundamental understanding of why a free society is crucial to reversing these trends.

If this is not recognized, the recovery will linger for a long time. Bigger government, more spending, more debt, more poverty for the middle class, and a more intense scramble by the elite special interests will continue.

We Need an Intellectual Awakening
If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties. Prosperity for a large middle class though will become an abstract dream.Without an intellectual awakening, the turning point will be driven by economic law. A dollar crisis will bring the current out-of-control system to its knees.

This continuous move is no different than what we have seen in how our financial crisis of 2008 was handled. Congress first directed, with bipartisan support, bailouts for the wealthy. Then it was the Federal Reserve with its endless quantitative easing. If at first it doesn’t succeed try again; QE1, QE2, and QE3 and with no results we try QE indefinitely—that is until it too fails. There’s a cost to all of this and let me assure you delaying the payment is no longer an option. The rules of the market will extract its pound of flesh and it won’t be pretty.

The current crisis elicits a lot of pessimism. And the pessimism adds to less confidence in the future. The two feed on themselves, making our situation worse.

If the underlying cause of the crisis is not understood we cannot solve our problems. The issues of warfare, welfare, deficits, inflationism, corporatism, bailouts and authoritarianism cannot be ignored. By only expanding these policies we cannot expect good results.

Everyone claims support for freedom. But too often it’s for one’s own freedom and not for others. Too many believe that there must be limits on freedom. They argue that freedom must be directed and managed to achieve fairness and equality thus making it acceptable to curtail, through force, certain liberties.

Some decide what and whose freedoms are to be limited. These are the politicians whose goal in life is power. Their success depends on gaining support from special interests.

No More ‘isms’

The great news is the answer is not to be found in more “isms.” The answers are to be found in more liberty which cost so much less. Under these circumstances spending goes down, wealth production goes up, and the quality of life improves.

Just this recognition—especially if we move in this direction—increases optimism which in itself is beneficial. The follow through with sound policies are required which must be understood and supported by the people.

But there is good evidence that the generation coming of age at the present time is supportive of moving in the direction of more liberty and self-reliance. The more this change in direction and the solutions become known, the quicker will be the return of optimism.

Our job, for those of us who believe that a different system than the one that we have had for the last 100 years, has driven us to this unsustainable crisis, is to be more convincing that there is a wonderful, uncomplicated, and moral system that provides the answers. We had a taste of it in our early history. We need not give up on the notion of advancing this cause.

It worked, but we allowed our leaders to concentrate on the material abundance that freedom generates, while ignoring freedom itself. Now we have neither, but the door is open, out of necessity, for an answer. The answer available is based on the Constitution, individual liberty and prohibiting the use of government force to provide privileges and benefits to all special interests.

After over 100 years we face a society quite different from the one that was intended by the Founders. In many ways their efforts to protect future generations with the Constitution from this danger has failed. Skeptics, at the time the Constitution was written in 1787, warned us of today’s possible outcome. The insidious nature of the erosion of our liberties and the reassurance our great abundance gave us, allowed the process to evolve into the dangerous period in which we now live.

Dependency on Government Largesse

Today we face a dependency on government largesse for almost every need. Our liberties are restricted and government operates outside the rule of law, protecting and rewarding those who buy or coerce government into satisfying their demands. Here are a few examples:

  • Undeclared wars are commonplace.
  • Welfare for the rich and poor is considered an entitlement.
  • The economy is overregulated, overtaxed and grossly distorted by a deeply flawed monetary system.
  • Debt is growing exponentially.
  • The Patriot Act and FISA legislation passed without much debate have resulted in a steady erosion of our 4th Amendment rights.
  • Tragically our government engages in preemptive war, otherwise known as aggression, with no complaints from the American people.
  • The drone warfare we are pursuing worldwide is destined to end badly for us as the hatred builds for innocent lives lost and the international laws flaunted. Once we are financially weakened and militarily challenged, there will be a lot resentment thrown our way.
  • It’s now the law of the land that the military can arrest American citizens, hold them indefinitely, without charges or a trial.
  • Rampant hostility toward free trade is supported by a large number in Washington.
  • Supporters of sanctions, currency manipulation and WTO trade retaliation, call the true free traders “isolationists.”
  • Sanctions are used to punish countries that don’t follow our orders.
  • Bailouts and guarantees for all kinds of misbehavior are routine.
  • Central economic planning through monetary policy, regulations and legislative mandates has been an acceptable policy.

Questions

Excessive government has created such a mess it prompts many questions:

  • Why are sick people who use medical marijuana put in prison?
  • Why does the federal government restrict the drinking of raw milk?
  • Why can’t Americans manufacturer rope and other products from hemp?
  • Why are Americans not allowed to use gold and silver as legal tender as mandated by the Constitution?
  • Why is Germany concerned enough to consider repatriating their gold held by the FED for her in New York? Is it that the trust in the U.S. and dollar supremacy beginning to wane?
  • Why do our political leaders believe it’s unnecessary to thoroughly audit our own gold?
  • Why can’t Americans decide which type of light bulbs they can buy?
  • Why is the TSA permitted to abuse the rights of any American traveling by air?
  • Why should there be mandatory sentences—even up to life for crimes without victims—as our drug laws require?
  • Why have we allowed the federal government to regulate commodes in our homes?
  • Why is it political suicide for anyone to criticize AIPAC ?
  • Why haven’t we given up on the drug war since it’s an obvious failure and violates the people’s rights? Has nobody noticed that the authorities can’t even keep drugs out of the prisons? How can making our entire society a prison solve the problem?
  • Why do we sacrifice so much getting needlessly involved in border disputes and civil strife around the world and ignore the root cause of the most deadly border in the world-the one between Mexico and the US?
  • Why does Congress willingly give up its prerogatives to the Executive Branch?
  • Why does changing the party in power never change policy? Could it be that the views of both parties are essentially the same?
  • Why did the big banks, the large corporations, and foreign banks and foreign central banks get bailed out in 2008 and the middle class lost their jobs and their homes?
  • Why do so many in the government and the federal officials believe that creating money out of thin air creates wealth?
  • Why do so many accept the deeply flawed principle that government bureaucrats and politicians can protect us from ourselves without totally destroying the principle of liberty?
  • Why can’t people understand that war always destroys wealth and liberty?
  • Why is there so little concern for the Executive Order that gives the President authority to establish a “kill list,” including American citizens, of those targeted for assassination?
  • Why is patriotism thought to be blind loyalty to the government and the politicians who run it, rather than loyalty to the principles of liberty and support for the people? Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it’s wrong.
  • Why is it is claimed that if people won’t or can’t take care of their own needs, that people in government can do it for them?
  • Why did we ever give the government a safe haven for initiating violence against the people?
  • Why do some members defend free markets, but not civil liberties?
  • Why do some members defend civil liberties but not free markets? Aren’t they the same?
  • Why don’t more defend both economic liberty and personal liberty?
  • Why are there not more individuals who seek to intellectually influence others to bring about positive changes than those who seek power to force others to obey their commands?
  • Why does the use of religion to support a social gospel and preemptive wars, both of which requires authoritarians to use violence, or the threat of violence, go unchallenged? Aggression and forced redistribution of wealth has nothing to do with the teachings of the world great religions.
  • Why do we allow the government and the Federal Reserve to disseminate false information dealing with both economic and foreign policy?
  • Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it’s the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority?
  • Why should anyone be surprised that Congress has no credibility, since there’s such a disconnect between what politicians say and what they do?
  • Is there any explanation for all the deception, the unhappiness, the fear of the future, the loss of confidence in our leaders, the distrust, the anger and frustration? Yes there is, and there’s a way to reverse these attitudes. The negative perceptions are logical and a consequence of bad policies bringing about our problems. Identification of the problems and recognizing the cause allow the proper changes to come easy.

Trust Yourself, Not the Government

Too many people have for too long placed too much confidence and trust in government and not enough in themselves. Fortunately, many are now becoming aware of the seriousness of the gross mistakes of the past several decades. The blame is shared by both political parties. Many Americans now are demanding to hear the plain truth of things and want the demagoguing to stop. Without this first step, solutions are impossible.

Seeking the truth and finding the answers in liberty and self-reliance promotes the optimism necessary for restoring prosperity. The task is not that difficult if politics doesn’t get in the way.

We have allowed ourselves to get into such a mess for various reasons.

Politicians deceive themselves as to how wealth is produced. Excessive confidence is placed in the judgment of politicians and bureaucrats. This replaces the confidence in a free society. Too many in high places of authority became convinced that only they, armed with arbitrary government power, can bring about fairness, while facilitating wealth production. This always proves to be a utopian dream and destroys wealth and liberty. It impoverishes the people and rewards the special interests who end up controlling both political parties.

It’s no surprise then that much of what goes on in Washington is driven by aggressive partisanship and power seeking, with philosophic differences being minor.

Economic Ignorance

Economic ignorance is commonplace. Keynesianism continues to thrive, although today it is facing healthy and enthusiastic rebuttals. Believers in military Keynesianism and domestic Keynesianism continue to desperately promote their failed policies, as the economy languishes in a deep slumber.

Supporters of all government edicts use humanitarian arguments to justify them.

Humanitarian arguments are always used to justify government mandates related to the economy, monetary policy, foreign policy, and personal liberty. This is on purpose to make it more difficult to challenge. But, initiating violence for humanitarian reasons is still violence. Good intentions are no excuse and are just as harmful as when people use force with bad intentions. The results are always negative.

The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems. Sadly, many religious groups, secular organizations, and psychopathic authoritarians endorse government initiated force to change the world. Even when the desired goals are well-intentioned—or especially when well-intentioned—the results are dismal. The good results sought never materialize. The new problems created require even more government force as a solution. The net result is institutionalizing government initiated violence and morally justifying it on humanitarian grounds.

This is the same fundamental reason our government uses force for invading other countries at will, central economic planning at home, and the regulation of personal liberty and habits of our citizens.

It is rather strange, that unless one has a criminal mind and no respect for other people and their property, no one claims it’s permissible to go into one’s neighbor’s house and tell them how to behave, what they can eat, smoke and drink or how to spend their money.

Yet, rarely is it asked why it is morally acceptable that a stranger with a badge and a gun can do the same thing in the name of law and order. Any resistance is met with brute force, fines, taxes, arrests, and even imprisonment. This is done more frequently every day without a proper search warrant.

No Government Monopoly over Initiating Violence

Restraining aggressive behavior is one thing, but legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society. Permitting such authority and expecting saintly behavior from the bureaucrats and the politicians is a pipe dream. We now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc. numbering over 100,000. Citizens are guilty until proven innocent in the unconstitutional administrative courts.

Government in a free society should have no authority to meddle in social activities or the economic transactions of individuals. Nor should government meddle in the affairs of other nations. All things peaceful, even when controversial, should be permitted.

We must reject the notion of prior restraint in economic activity just we do in the area of free speech and religious liberty. But even in these areas government is starting to use a backdoor approach of political correctness to regulate speech-a dangerous trend. Since 9/11 monitoring speech on the internet is now a problem since warrants are no longer required.

The Proliferation of Federal Crimes

The Constitution established four federal crimes. Today the experts can’t even agree on how many federal crimes are now on the books—they number into the thousands. No one person can comprehend the enormity of the legal system—especially the tax code. Due to the ill-advised drug war and the endless federal expansion of the criminal code we have over 6 million people under correctional suspension, more than the Soviets ever had, and more than any other nation today, including China. I don’t understand the complacency of the Congress and the willingness to continue their obsession with passing more Federal laws. Mandatory sentencing laws associated with drug laws have compounded our prison problems.

The federal register is now 75,000 pages long and the tax code has 72,000 pages, and expands every year. When will the people start shouting, “enough is enough,” and demand Congress cease and desist.

Achieving Liberty

Liberty can only be achieved when government is denied the aggressive use of force. If one seeks liberty, a precise type of government is needed. To achieve it, more than lip service is required.

Two choices are available.

1. A government designed to protect liberty—a natural right—as its sole objective. The people are expected to care for themselves and reject the use of any force for interfering with another person’s liberty. Government is given a strictly limited authority to enforce contracts, property ownership, settle disputes, and defend against foreign aggression.

2. A government that pretends to protect liberty but is granted power to arbitrarily use force over the people and foreign nations. Though the grant of power many times is meant to be small and limited, it inevitably metastasizes into an omnipotent political cancer. This is the problem for which the world has suffered throughout the ages. Though meant to be limited it nevertheless is a 100% sacrifice of a principle that would-be-tyrants find irresistible. It is used vigorously—though incrementally and insidiously. Granting power to government officials always proves the adage that: “power corrupts.”

Once government gets a limited concession for the use of force to mold people habits and plan the economy, it causes a steady move toward tyrannical government. Only a revolutionary spirit can reverse the process and deny to the government this arbitrary use of aggression. There’s no in-between. Sacrificing a little liberty for imaginary safety always ends badly.

Today’s mess is a result of Americans accepting option #2, even though the Founders attempted to give us Option #1.

The results are not good. As our liberties have been eroded our wealth has been consumed. The wealth we see today is based on debt and a foolish willingness on the part of foreigners to take our dollars for goods and services. They then loan them back to us to perpetuate our debt system. It’s amazing that it has worked for this long but the impasse in Washington, in solving our problems indicate that many are starting to understand the seriousness of the world -wide debt crisis and the dangers we face. The longer this process continues the harsher the outcome will be.

The Financial Crisis Is a Moral Crisis
Ultimately, the people have to decide which form of government they want; option #1 or option #2. There is no other choice. Claiming there is a choice of a “little” tyranny is like describing pregnancy as a “touch of pregnancy.” It is a myth to believe that a mixture of free markets and government central economic planning is a worthy compromise. What we see today is a result of that type of thinking. And the results speak for themselves.Many are now acknowledging that a financial crisis looms but few understand it’s, in reality, a moral crisis. It’s the moral crisis that has allowed our liberties to be undermined and permits the exponential growth of illegal government power. Without a clear understanding of the nature of the crisis it will be difficult to prevent a steady march toward tyranny and the poverty that will accompany it.

A Culture of Violence

American now suffers from a culture of violence. It’s easy to reject the initiation of violence against one’s neighbor but it’s ironic that the people arbitrarily and freely anoint government officials with monopoly power to initiate violence against the American people—practically at will.

Because it’s the government that initiates force, most people accept it as being legitimate. Those who exert the force have no sense of guilt. It is believed by too many that governments are morally justified in initiating force supposedly to “do good.” They incorrectly believe that this authority has come from the “consent of the people.” The minority, or victims of government violence never consented to suffer the abuse of government mandates, even when dictated by the majority. Victims of TSA excesses never consented to this abuse.

This attitude has given us a policy of initiating war to “do good,” as well. It is claimed that war, to prevent war for noble purposes, is justified. This is similar to what we were once told that: “destroying a village to save a village” was justified. It was said by a US Secretary of State that the loss of 500,000 Iraqis, mostly children, in the 1990s, as a result of American bombs and sanctions, was “worth it” to achieve the “good” we brought to the Iraqi people. And look at the mess that Iraq is in today.

Government use of force to mold social and economic behavior at home and abroad has justified individuals using force on their own terms. The fact that violence by government is seen as morally justified, is the reason why violence will increase when the big financial crisis hits and becomes a political crisis as well.

First, we recognize that individuals shouldn’t initiate violence, then we give the authority to government. Eventually, the immoral use of government violence, when things goes badly, will be used to justify an individual’s “right” to do the same thing. Neither the government nor individuals have the moral right to initiate violence against another yet we are moving toward the day when both will claim this authority. If this cycle is not reversed society will break down.

When needs are pressing, conditions deteriorate and rights become relative to the demands and the whims of the majority. It’s then not a great leap for individuals to take it upon themselves to use violence to get what they claim is theirs. As the economy deteriorates and the wealth discrepancies increase—as are already occurring— violence increases as those in need take it in their own hands to get what they believe is theirs. They will not wait for a government rescue program.

When government officials wield power over others to bail out the special interests, even with disastrous results to the average citizen, they feel no guilt for the harm they do. Those who take us into undeclared wars with many casualties resulting, never lose sleep over the death and destruction their bad decisions caused. They are convinced that what they do is morally justified, and the fact that many suffer just can’t be helped.

When the street criminals do the same thing, they too have no remorse, believing they are only taking what is rightfully theirs. All moral standards become relative. Whether it’s bailouts, privileges, government subsidies or benefits for some from inflating a currency, it’s all part of a process justified by a philosophy of forced redistribution of wealth. Violence, or a threat of such, is the instrument required and unfortunately is of little concern of most members of Congress.

Some argue it’s only a matter of “fairness” that those in need are cared for. There are two problems with this. First, the principle is used to provide a greater amount of benefits to the rich than the poor. Second, no one seems to be concerned about whether or not it’s fair to those who end up paying for the benefits. The costs are usually placed on the backs of the middle class and are hidden from the public eye. Too many people believe government handouts are free, like printing money out of thin air, and there is no cost. That deception is coming to an end. The bills are coming due and that’s what the economic slowdown is all about.

Sadly, we have become accustomed to living with the illegitimate use of force by government. It is the tool for telling the people how to live, what to eat and drink, what to read and how to spend their money.

To develop a truly free society, the issue of initiating force must be understood and rejected. Granting to government even a small amount of force is a dangerous concession.

Limiting Government Excesses vs. a Virtuous Moral People

Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed. The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.

Most politicians and pundits are aware of the problems we face but spend all their time in trying to reform government. The sad part is that the suggested reforms almost always lead to less freedom and the importance of a virtuous and moral people is either ignored, or not understood. The new reforms serve only to further undermine liberty. The compounding effect has given us this steady erosion of liberty and the massive expansion of debt. The real question is: if it is liberty we seek, should most of the emphasis be placed on government reform or trying to understand what “a virtuous and moral people” means and how to promote it. The Constitution has not prevented the people from demanding handouts for both rich and poor in their efforts to reform the government, while ignoring the principles of a free society. All branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare/warfare state-and frequently their own wealth and power.

If the people are unhappy with the government performance it must be recognized that government is merely a reflection of an immoral society that rejected a moral government of constitutional limitations of power and love of freedom.

If this is the problem all the tinkering with thousands of pages of new laws and regulations will do nothing to solve the problem.

It is self-evident that our freedoms have been severely limited and the apparent prosperity we still have, is nothing more than leftover wealth from a previous time. This fictitious wealth based on debt and benefits from a false trust in our currency and credit, will play havoc with our society when the bills come due. This means that the full consequence of our lost liberties is yet to be felt.

But that illusion is now ending. Reversing a downward spiral depends on accepting a new approach.

Expect the rapidly expanding homeschooling movement to play a significant role in the revolutionary reforms needed to build a free society with Constitutional protections. We cannot expect a Federal government controlled school system to provide the intellectual ammunition to combat the dangerous growth of government that threatens our liberties.

The internet will provide the alternative to the government/media complex that controls the news and most political propaganda. This is why it’s essential that the internet remains free of government regulation.

Many of our religious institutions and secular organizations support greater dependency on the state by supporting war, welfare and corporatism and ignore the need for a virtuous people.

I never believed that the world or our country could be made more free by politicians, if the people had no desire for freedom.

Under the current circumstances the most we can hope to achieve in the political process is to use it as a podium to reach the people to alert them of the nature of the crisis and the importance of their need to assume responsibility for themselves, if it is liberty that they truly seek. Without this, a constitutionally protected free society is impossible.

If this is true, our individual goal in life ought to be for us to seek virtue and excellence and recognize that self-esteem and happiness only comes from using one’s natural ability, in the most productive manner possible, according to one’s own talents.

Productivity and creativity are the true source of personal satisfaction. Freedom, and not dependency, provides the environment needed to achieve these goals. Government cannot do this for us; it only gets in the way. When the government gets involved, the goal becomes a bailout or a subsidy and these cannot provide a sense of personal achievement.

Achieving legislative power and political influence should not be our goal. Most of the change, if it is to come, will not come from the politicians, but rather from individuals, family, friends, intellectual leaders and our religious institutions. The solution can only come from rejecting the use of coercion, compulsion, government commands, and aggressive force, to mold social and economic behavior. Without accepting these restraints, inevitably the consensus will be to allow the government to mandate economic equality and obedience to the politicians who gain power and promote an environment that smothers the freedoms of everyone. It is then that the responsible individuals who seek excellence and self-esteem by being self-reliance and productive, become the true victims.

Conclusion

What are the greatest dangers that the American people face today and impede the goal of a free society? There are five.

1. The continuous attack on our civil liberties which threatens

the rule of law and our ability to resist the onrush of tyranny.

2. Violent anti-Americanism that has engulfed the world. Because the phenomenon of “blow-back” is not understood or denied, our foreign policy is destined to keep us involved in many wars that we have no business being in. National bankruptcy and a greater threat to our national security will result.

3. The ease in which we go to war, without a declaration by Congress, but accepting international authority from the UN or NATO even for preemptive wars, otherwise known as aggression.

4. A financial political crisis as a consequence of excessive debt, unfunded liabilities, spending, bailouts, and gross discrepancy in wealth distribution going from the middle class to the rich. The danger of central economic planning, by the Federal Reserve must be understood.

5. World government taking over local and US sovereignty by getting involved in the issues of war, welfare, trade, banking, a world currency, taxes, property ownership, and private ownership of guns.
Happily, there is an answer for these very dangerous trends.

What a wonderful world it would be if everyone accepted the simple moral premise of rejecting all acts of aggression. The retort to such a suggestion is always: it’s too simplistic, too idealistic, impractical, naïve, utopian, dangerous, and unrealistic to strive for such an ideal.

The answer to that is that for thousands of years the acceptance of government force, to rule over the people, at the sacrifice of liberty, was considered moral and the only available option for achieving peace and prosperity.

What could be more utopian than that myth—considering the results especially looking at the state sponsored killing, by nearly every government during the 20th Century, estimated to be in the hundreds of millions. It’s time to reconsider this grant of authority to the state.

No good has ever come from granting monopoly power to the state to use aggression against the people to arbitrarily mold human behavior. Such power, when left unchecked, becomes the seed of an ugly tyranny. This method of governance has been adequately tested, and the results are in: reality dictates we try liberty.

The idealism of non-aggression and rejecting all offensive use of force should be tried. The idealism of government sanctioned violence has been abused throughout history and is the primary source of poverty and war. The theory of a society being based on individual freedom has been around for a long time. It’s time to take a bold step and actually permit it by advancing this cause, rather than taking a step backwards as some would like us to do.

Today the principle of habeas corpus, established when King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215, is under attack. There’s every reason to believe that a renewed effort with the use of the internet that we can instead advance the cause of liberty by spreading an uncensored message that will serve to rein in government authority and challenge the obsession with war and welfare.

What I’m talking about is a system of government guided by the moral principles of peace and tolerance.

The Founders were convinced that a free society could not exist without a moral people. Just writing rules won’t work if the people choose to ignore them. Today the rule of law written in the Constitution has little meaning for most Americans, especially those who work in Washington DC.

Benjamin Franklin claimed “only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” John Adams concurred: “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

A moral people must reject all violence in an effort to mold people’s beliefs or habits.

A society that boos or ridicules the Golden Rule is not a moral society. All great religions endorse the Golden Rule. The same moral standards that individuals are required to follow should apply to all government officials. They cannot be exempt.

The ultimate solution is not in the hands of the government.

The solution falls on each and every individual, with guidance from family, friends and community.

The #1 responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow. This is of greater importance than working on changing the government; that is secondary to promoting a virtuous society. If we can achieve this, then the government will change.

It doesn’t mean that political action or holding office has no value. At times it does nudge policy in the right direction. But what is true is that when seeking office is done for personal aggrandizement, money or power, it becomes useless if not harmful. When political action is taken for the right reasons it’s easy to understand why compromise should be avoided. It also becomes clear why progress is best achieved by working with coalitions, which bring people together, without anyone sacrificing his principles.

Political action, to be truly beneficial, must be directed toward changing the hearts and minds of the people, recognizing that it’s the virtue and morality of the people that allow liberty to flourish.

The Constitution or more laws per se, have no value if the people’s attitudes aren’t changed.

To achieve liberty and peace, two powerful human emotions have to be overcome. Number one is “envy” which leads to hate and class warfare. Number two is “intolerance” which leads to bigoted and judgemental policies. These emotions must be replaced with a much better understanding of love, compassion, tolerance and free market economics. Freedom, when understood, brings people together. When tried, freedom is popular.

The problem we have faced over the years has been that economic interventionists are swayed by envy, whereas social interventionists are swayed by intolerance of habits and lifestyles. The misunderstanding that tolerance is an endorsement of certain activities, motivates many to legislate moral standards which should only be set by individuals making their own choices. Both sides use force to deal with these misplaced emotions. Both are authoritarians. Neither endorses voluntarism. Both views ought to be rejected.

I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out “the plain truth of things.” The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people world-wide, is to pursue the cause of LIBERTY.

If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land.

 

Who Else Is Running?

Who Else Is Running?.

Check this out at the new blog as well!

Other than the two, shall we say, Fascists, and who shall remain nameless, that are running, is there anyone else worth voting for? It is subjective because it depends on your own conscience, of course. But who is running does not, because it is an objective fact, even if it is not a fair one (because there are so many schools of thought that do not have party representation, and even a few who reject the notion of political parties, and others still that reject democracy altogether). So, I’ve decided to do the whole profile-the-candidates thing. I am sure this has been done before, but as always, I will put my own unique spin on it. I’ll also include a number of people no longer technically running anymore, but who will likely get a few write-in votes and fill a void that cannot be fully filled by any of the others.

At first I was going to put the candidates in order from least favorite to favorite, something that was hard to do because some of these people are plain nuts and some of them are princes among men. I decide to put them into categories. I’ve got your Out-and-Out Commie Pinko Sons of Guns, I’ve got your Intolerant Racist-Bigot-Homophobe-Islamophobes. I’ve got your Economically Clueless Civil-Liberty Progressives.  I’ve got your Run-of-the-Mill Well Meaning Nationalists. And I’ve got your Constitutionalists, some of whom lean Conservative, some of whom lean Libertarian. The Big-Labor Big-Business Big-Government Corporate Fascists couldn’t make it this evening. I think they were busy lying their way through the swing states or something else important.

OUT-AND-OUT COMMIE PINKO SONS OF GUNS

ROSEANNE BARR

Roseanne Barr is running on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket. The PFP is not necessarily the most dangerous or radical of the parties here represented, but its current nominee is the most dangerous and radical of all the candidates I have here. Aside from being stupid and obnoxious (and rarely funny), she is downright malicious. Here is one quote:

“Part of my platform is, of course, the guilty must be punished and that we no longer let our children see their guilty leaders getting away with murder. Because it teaches children, you know, that they don’t have to have any morals as long as they have guns and are bullies and I don’t think that’s a good message. . . . I do say that I am in favor of the return of the guillotine and that is for the worst of the worst of the guilty.”

“I first would allow the guilty bankers to pay, you know, the ability to pay back anything over $100 million [of] personal wealth because I believe in a maximum wage of $100 million. And if they are unable to live on that amount of that amount then they should, you know, go to the reeducation camps and if that doesn’t help, then being beheaded.”

Read more disgusting quotes!

And while I think she has some of the right instincts, some of the bankers are indeed guilty (particularly those at, or with a direct line of credit to, the Federal Reserve), her rhetoric is dangerous. Though still protected free speech, thank God. Can you imagine how warped things would be if someone as sick and demented as Roseanne Barr was running but she never told you what she really thought because of some hate speech law? I want to know who the criminally insane ones are, thank you very much. I’ll take being offended any day over being tricked into letting my guard down so someone can go all Robespierre on me.

Why is it dangerous? One, because the punishment does not fit the crime, although I can think of plenty that do. Two, because it is hasty, we don’t know who is who and what is what yet. Three, because some of the people that might be reasonably scapegoated, be they speculators, short-sellers, house-flippers, Peter Schiff types were not doing anything that could reasonably be considered criminal or immoral, let alone something that lead directly to economic collapse or subsequent stimulus cronyism. Four, because even some of those bankers and rich Wall Street types that might be said to have been doing something they really shouldn’t have may not have been acting intentionally or maliciously.

A cap on income (anyone who thinks it would remain at $100,000,000, when not very many people make this amount anyways, and as the need for tax revenue increases just to service the exponentially increasing interest payments on the National Debt and unfunded liabilities, is naive) leaves open three options for earners who have reached their max: Discontinue productivity, thereby robbing the world of potential wealth and governments of potential revenue. Game the system so some income does not register as income, in which case you will likely have to hire legions of lawyers and lobbyists to do things that are not productive in and of themselves, which also robs the world of potential productivity and wealth. Or hand over every penny above the cap to the government, which is a 100% tax on income above the cap. There may be some charitable people that would be okay with this sort of thing, but odds are that they themselves could spend that money better than some central planning board. Its not as though I feel particularly sympathetic towards rich people or anything, I just think it is immoral to steal and impractical to stifle productivity.

And Barr’s disrespectful actions upon Jill Stein winning the Green Party nomination (which Roseanne was also initially vying for) didn’t do her any favors. I’m not all that big on Ralph Nader (he seems like a sincere guy, molded in the fashion of Robert M. Lafollette, Sr., and Burton K. Wheeler, two of my favorite “progressives”) but Jill Stein (especially in light of her applaudable stunt at the second presidential debate) deserves to inherit his legacy much more than Roseanne Barr does. Unfortunately Barr is running on a ticket (PFP) that Nader himself was on (in spite of running as an Independent) in 2008. Oh well, vote for her anyways if you want. In any other election cycle voting for Roseanne would be the equivalent of right in Hitler or Mickey Mouse. Which means her candidacy this cycle is the equivalent of a party actually nominating Rip van Winkle or Elmer Fudd. Its a joke candidacy, but it is still a protest vote.

STEPHEN DURHAM

This guy is a male feminist. Need I say more? Well, since you asked. He’s a whacked out socialist agitator to boot. There’s plenty more of those, but the male feminist thing really weirds me out. Little says “STAY…THE HELL…AWAY FROM ME!” more than someone trying to interlope on something that has nothing to do with them. Just saying.

JAMES HARRIS

Castro-loving communist on the Socialist Worker’s Party ticket. He’s basically the guy that conservatives think Obama is. Those few conservatives that don’t think he’s a Nazi, a Jihadist, or the Anti-Christ. I must reiterate that in spite of all the rhetoric Obama is little different than most other presidents in the last 50 to 100 years. He may even be the most arrogant president (but still not the worst). The differences besides these things are his background, his ethnicity, and the fact that he came after the others. My point being that every new president in recent memory adds to our problems; none take away, on net. Some are better than others in terms of how little damage they have done, but none of them in recent memory have in any way been worthy of praise. Even Reagan was ashamed of much of his legacy. How often do you hear that from his obnoxious fan club?

PETA LINDSAY

Peta Lindsay is not even old enough to be eligible to become president but that did not stop her from accepting the PSL nomination. It should be noted that she tried to get nominated on the PFP, but they barred (pun intended) her because of her age. The little I can find out about her stances on the issues I do like. For example, she’s more of an anti-colonialist than Barack Obama ever was (so there!). But I suspect that if I delved deeper, our relationship would go south. The PSL, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, is a Marxist-Leninist party after all. So in theory it is the worst party on the list.

JEROME WHITE

He’s a hard left social democrat, aka socialist, who rejects both militarism and austerity and supports both social equality and political independence. Jerry White is more Obama than Obama is.

STEWART ALEXANDER

Stewart Alexander is another “real” socialist (according to Brian Moore, Alexander’s predecessor on the SPUSA presidential ticket, Barack Obama is not a Socialist, and while the President’s rhetoric sometimes leaves one guessing, I am inclined to agree with my distant cousin, though he is easily not my favorite one.) that is running. He is the best of the six as he more represents the tendency that ranges from Eugene Debs to Daniel De Leon to Rosa Luxemburg than he does from Leon Trotsky to Josef Stalin to Mao Tse-tung. And yes, there is a difference and everyone would be better off if they realized and appreciated it.

INTOLERANT RACIST-BIGOT-HOMOPHOBE-ISLAMOPHOBES

MERLIN MILLER

His name even sounds like he’s a white supremacist. So there’s really no surprise here. Policy wise he’s probably a heck of a lot better than most of the reds he’s sandwiched with, but the last thing this country needs is a conservative who actually is a racist. That’ll start a race war faster than anything.

JACK FELLURE

The Prohibition Party is still alive and well (ok, they’re “alive,” not to sure about “well”) in the United States of America in the year 2012 and they’ve even got a guy running for the highest office of the land. It wouldn’t be so bad if he was just on some moral crusade about the horrors of alcohol (the most destructive drug in history I hear, and I’m not ashamed to say that I am a user), but when you tack on things that make Rick Santorum look like a flag-burning war-protesting hippie you know you’ve got yourself a winner.

TERRY JONES

You want to burn a Quran? Go ahead, this is a free country. You think that Islam is the chief thing this country suffers from and until we stamp out every one of them Sharia-pushing bomb-strapping ragheads even sleeping at night is a sin? God Bless you. But you want to pretend you have enough credibility to run for president (let alone win)? I believe in free speech and all, but that’s where I draw the line. I am glad that he wants to bring the troops home. But what he might do with them is something I don’t want to think about.

RANDALL TERRY

An abortion abolitionist in the worst way. I’m all for ending it myself, and hope to write a piece (maybe up to three) on practical and moral and constitutional ways to do so. Don’t get me wrong, he’s no Eric Rudolph, not even close, but he’s convinced that being outlandish and obnoxious will help his cause when it only brings about more alienation and leads one to lose focus on other important things, like other issues (I have no idea where he stands on most of them, which probably means he would be like putty in “their” hands) and his family. His personal life rivals that of Newt Gingrich’s in terms of sleaziness and hypocrisy. But kudos to him for challenging Obama in the Democratic Primary.

RUN-OF-THE-MILL WELL MEANING NATIONALISTS

JOSEPH SCHRINER

Joe “the painter” is a really smart guy. Too smart. He’s basically a technocrat. If he was running this country we’d all be better off. Whether we like it or not. But at the same time I think he might be a phony. His claim to fame is running around the country for a decade trying to decide what he would do as president. So while some of his policy prescriptions may in fact be smart, just how dumb (yet dedicated) do you have to be to come up with them in this manner? But the real deal breakers are things like gun control, his contradictory desire to bring down taxes and spending while maintaing and adding government programs, and his patronizing attitude on things like the average American’s diet. Seems like a nice guy though. Just like most of the other people who think central planning is the answer to fixing the problems that central planning caused in the first place. This guy is a utopian through and through, which in my estimation makes him a lot more dangerous than most hard left revolutionaries, who though they may have an idealized vision of a society that is to come, remain practical in the present.

JAMES MCMILLAN

Jimmy McMillan of the Rent is Too Damn High Party appears to be a libertarian in every way beyond things like rent, education, and maybe a couple of other issues, which comprehensive information on seems hard to come by. He opposes bailouts and the two-party system, which is a start, but his priorities and solutions are all messed up.

TOM HOEFLING

No one would ever guess that Tom Hoefling has enough ballot access (on two tickets, the American Independent Party of George Wallace fame and America’s Party of Alan Keyes renown) to get him the required 270 electoral votes (which should be the only requirement for getting into presidential debates, besides being of the right age, having natural born citizenship, and not having been president twice already, these being explicitly required in the United States Constitution. I can’t imagine something more fair than this. Sure it would force a tie, but once broken the outcome couldn’t possibly be any worse than what we do now which is simply handing the presidency to a red fascist or a blue fascist based on some bastardized version of the 51 % rule. Tom Hoefling would be about the same as Virgil Goode were it not for his more interventionist positions.There are many different variants of Paleoconservatism. It is not so monolithic as its rivals, the Realism/Pragmatism that became dominant in the Republican Party in the 1940s and 1950s, and the Neoconservatism that came into their own in the 1970s and 1980s. Rifts, between Pat Buchanan and Alan Keyes in 1996, and Chuck Baldwin and Alan Keyes in 2008, haven’t helped the matter.

ROBERT BURCK

This here is New York’s famous Naked Cowboy (this link will not get you in trouble!). He’s not really naked, so that’s a plus. He’s a Borders, Language and Culture Tea Party type, believe it or not. A very enterprising young man as well.

ANDRE BARNETT

The Reform Party has ran just about every big name dissenting presidential candidate you can think of. Well, maybe not that many, but you can put Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, and Ralph Nader on that list. In the year 2000 there was an attempt to draft Ron Paul and even Donald Trump briefly ran for the nomination. I won’t go into any of their candidacies here, but only say that the Party has had numerous rifts and that Andre Barnett seems to have largely stayed true to the Party’s original platform. Opposition to NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO, open borders, and deficit spending being the central issues. Two to three years ago, this would have been my ideal party.

BUDDY ROEMER

Buddy Roemer, former Governor of Louisiana, is similar to Andre Barnett and in fact lost to him for the Reform Party nomination. Early on he dabbled in getting the GOP nomination but dropped out and pursued the Americans Elect nomination, which turned out to be a total flop. He has since endorsed Gary Johnson (interestingly not Andre Barnett) but will probably still get a write-in vote from some quarters. 

T. J. O’HARA

Mr. O’Hara’s party (the Modern Whigs) is similar to the Reform Party in some respects in that it is somewhat centrist on the left-right scale. It has a greater emphasis on States’ Rights than does the Reform Party, and does not seem to focus on immigration or trade apart from its support for energy independence. 

ECONOMICALLY CLUELESS CIVIL-LIBERTY PROGRESSIVES

VERMIN SUPREME

This guy may not actually be as insane as one might otherwise correctly suppose. He is a parody of the two-party system more than anything else. Even when he says he would pass such totalitarian measures as a law requiring everyone to brush their teeth or giving everyone a free pony, I don’t look at that as something that’s wrong with him. Because the point he is making is that he can be just as absurd as Republicans, some of whom want to have crackdowns on every immoral and impractical action, and Democrats, some of whom think there is such a thing as a free lunch. So even if this guy was elected I don’t think he would try to pass these laws. The only reason he says such things, though I would expect him to deny it, it to get people to think about just how looney even the conventional parties are. For my part, I’d much rather have a free pony and clean teeth than free indoctrination and a cleaned-out wallet. But for the lack of ability to put him in another category, I will take him at face value when he says he wants to give things away and pass ridiculous laws, and put him with the other progressives.

ROCKY ANDERSON

The Justice Party’s candidate for 2012 is a bleeding heart liberal and former Democrat. This means he is a gun-grabber, a nanny-statist, an eco-alarmist, an affirmative action supporter, anti-war, anti-tobacco, anti-oil, etc. So like most sincere liberals (they are fairly common but not usually in positions of power) he’s a mixed bag. To his credit he has a reputation as a fiscal conservative. Most of his competition will come from Jill Stein in the Green Party. They are both vying for the support mainly from the Dennis Kucinich-Ralph Nader crowd.

DAVID RANDALL BLYTHE

Heavy Metal Band Lamb of God’s vocalist Randy Blythe may not be the most serious of candidates but he talks a good game. He is basically a regular guy, and has one of the best foreign policies ever: His first act as president will be to take a bullet in the arm so he knows what it means to send troops into harm’s way. He will not declare war on any country that he would not be willing to die on the field of battle against and would prove as much by leading the troops on the front lines. That’s not the least bit realistic, but if you take it at face value it’s pretty awesome. On the other issues he loses me.

JIM CARLSON

Not many presidential candidates can claim that their business was raided by the police. And it should come as no surprise to find out that one of them is the candidate for the Grassroots Party. Get it? “Grass” roots? They are allegedly the same as the Green Party but with a stronger focus on bringing about an end to the Drug War, known in certain circles as Prohibition. As far as I can tell, the Green Party is also committed to permanently ending the Drug War, it is just not their Raison d’être.

JILL STEIN

I have a lot of admiration for Mrs. Stein. She seems like a nice woman, a sincere person, and a courageous fighter. Of course getting arrested for protesting the October 16th debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney doesn’t hurt her reputation in my eyes. Civil disobedience and nonviolent noncooperation are virtues in today’s political landscape, even if your political platform is not the most desirable. Decent on foreign policy. Great on the drug war. Civil liberties, check. A few other small things, and that’s about all she really has going for her from a libertarian perspective. To put it simply, on economics, healthcare, education, the environment, and maybe even energy she really sucks. The Green New Deal is really not a selling point for me. Unlike Rocky Anderson, however, she seems to be somewhat warm to federalism. She and Rocky Anderson will be vying for that remnant of the OWS/Nader/Kucinich vote (do they even vote?) that has not been in the tank for Obama or cleverly “liberated” by the efforts of the Ron Paul and Gary Johnson campaigns.

CONSTITUTIONALISTS

VIRGIL GOODE

The Constitution Party lives up to its name in most cases. I personally do not hold the Constitution in as high of regard as I did a year ago, coming to realize since then that like anything manmade, it is not impervious to human nature. Neither in its original writing nor in its modern interpretation. No mere document ever could be. Some, obviously, are better than others. Our Constitution is quite possibly the best ever written that is still in use. But I can think of better ones that have fallen out of use. Including the one the Constitution was written to replace. The Articles of Confederation were themselves by no means perfect, and the Constitution was intended to be a simple amendment of them. But instead what happened was a whole-sale replacement and a bastardization of the original founding principles. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That’s all in the past now, so I won’t hold it against anyone for wanting to return to the original intent of the Constitution. But those who seek to uphold past usurpations of unconstitutional power or who seek to subvert the document further do not merit this consideration. They are fiends. Which is why I must call to task Virgil Goode’s continued support for prohibition policies beyond the state level, albeit scaled back from what they are now for the sake of spending less money.

WILL CHRISTENSEN

It is hard to find information on some of the candidates, so I instead talk about their parties. This applies to Will Christensen. The Independent American Party seems identical to the Constitution Party in every way I can think of. There are two areas where they differ: The Constitution Party has had power struggles and has been infiltrated by “Neocons” (who have since been purged in one way or another) and has more ballot access. Will Christensen is only on the ballot in New Mexico.

GARY JOHNSON

I really like Gary Johnson. Just how much depends on the issue as well as my mood that day. Sometimes I’m a purist and sometimes I’m a pragmatist. I won’t say much more about him here because he is already so well known. I have written about him here, here, and here.

TOM STEVENS

The founder of the Objectivist Party and the Vice Chairman of the now defunct Boston Tea Party. He is running on the Objectivist Party’s ticket, and if his time with the Boston Tea Party is any indication, is closer to Ron Paul than Gary Johnson is. But alas, that thing with the ballot access again.

TIFFANY BRISCOE

She was ousted by the Boston Tea Party in favor of Jim Duensing. I have no idea why. She is running as an independent now and she appears to be spot on on all the issues she tackles. She is critical, as I have been, of Gary Johnson’s lest than perfect foreign policy, taxation, and the Federal Reserve.

JIM DUENSING

He was running for the Libertarian Party’s nomination until Ron paul entered the GOP race. He dropped out an endorsed Ron Paul. Later he became the new nominee for the Boston Tea Party, which has since disbanded. Jim was tased and then shot by a Las Vegas police officer in 2009. I don’t know very many details as many of the links I found that had them are now defunct, but my gut leads me to take his part.

JILL REED

How did a virtual no name make it this high on the list? Because she makes a lot of sense. Her Platform is Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Sure that’s a little out of touch, but it is no less right because of it. And boy do she and her mentor Mark Hamilton have some things to say. I urge you to take a look if for no other reason than to just feel good about agreeing with her.

RON PAUL

A Picture is worth a thousand words.

From the Comments: Loose Fiscal and Monetary Policy is the Cause of the Problem, not the Solution

From the Comments: Loose Fiscal and Monetary Policy is the Cause of the Problem, not the Solution.

There is a comment on one of my posts. It is really off-subject, but since I rarely get comments that aren’t pure spam (I even suspect that the comment in question is cleverly disguised spam), and since it is something that I talk about here on the site, replying to it and bringing it to my readers’ attention seemed like a good option. I don’t do this with all of the comments, just the ones that give me a clear opportunity to get a point across. It is probably bad blogger etiquette to do it at all, but at the moment I am working on several fairly extensive projects so I need a quick and easy post.

Mercadee: We have used both monetary and fiscal policy to battle this recession, and without the Fed’s actions to limit the downturn things would have been much worse. Fiscal policy in the form of the stimulus package, though too little, too late, and too tilted towards tax cuts, also helped to limit the damage to the economy. But when it comes to promoting a faster recovery, both monetary and fiscal policymakers have failed to do enough to help the economy return to full employment.

Me: Wrong! You are suggesting that policymakers should do those things which brought about the bubbles in the first place. What caused the depressions of 1920-1921 and 1930-45, and what made the latter one so long that did not occur in the case of the former? Loose fiscal and monetary policy. Stimulus to fund World War One, stimulus to pay off debts accrued from World War One, stimulus to fund public works projects, and stimulus to fund World War Two. What caused the housing bubble and its burst? The malinvestment that arose from the stimulative monetary and fiscal policy that was supposedly necessary to soften the blow of the dot-com burst, which was itself the result of prior loose policies. And here you are arguing for the same thing again. This time the bubbles are in student loans, car loans, and sovereign debt. It would be fine if there was a never ending series of bubbles that could burst and re-inflate, but there isn’t. Sovereign debt and government bonds are the end of the line. When that bubble bursts it will destroy the dollar, as the bubble and the false confidence it gave rise to is the only thing that has been propping it up. What gave rise to this bubble? There are many factors, and I suspect that, unlike the case of the other bubbles, this one was intended. Whether it is/was the Nixon Shock and completely detaching from a commodity standard; or wars for oil (the first one arguably being World War Two, as evidenced by the events leading up to Pearl Harbor, but perhaps more notable than this being the 1953 coup in Iran); or the creation of Bretton Woods in 1945; or the creation of the Fed in 1913; or the strengthening of the Fed in 1917; or the price controls and confiscation of gold in 1933; or the social programs and public works projects that created the current high levels of National Debt and Unfunded Liabilities, leading to the need to print more unbacked dollars; that is/was the chief cause I know not. And I care not as they are all contributing factors and all were misguided policies. The effects of these policies must be diminished. And similar policies must be prevented.