If you hate evils committed by individuals as much as you hates evils committed by institutions, and vice versa, as I think most people who are even remotely libertarian — wait, no! remotely human! — do, does it truly follow that you must condone one in order to combat the other? Maybe it does, at least in the short term, in a place and time where relationships between all these things have been so distorted. In this case, the distortion is caused primarily by the monopolization of not only judicious force, but very nearly all force, initiative and responsive, at every level, by a single institution (with many manifestations and interlocking jurisdictions). If you haven’t guessed already, that institution is the state. Continue reading
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.
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.
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:
Please read it here.
That’s what it’s actually called. I have no problem with honoring veterans, per se, although taken to the logical extreme someone who volunteers for an unjust war is either ignorant or evil. Here are possible exceptions:
First exception. The war itself was not unjust. Therefore, the individual soldiers that fought in it may have been genuinely fulfilling a moral duty to protect them and theirs. A just war is a defensive war. There are many scenarios that could lead to a defensive war, not all of which necessarily require being fired upon first. But outside of the most obvious reason for going to war defensively, in retaliation or defense against invasion or attack, the legitimacy of the reasons for going to war come into play. Especially in the context of previous wars of aggression.
Consider this scenario: Iraq is alleged to have weapons of mass destruction that they intend to use against the United States, either directly against the homeland or against Americans abroad (let us ignore for now the fact that many Americans “abroad” have no business being so in the first place), or in conjunction with terrorists who intend to do the same. So we go to war against them only to later find out three things: there were no WMDs (that really does depend on how that term was defined), there were no intentions to attack America or Americans, and there were no ties to terrorists with a focus on attacking the United States or its citizens.
More than a decade later we find the exact same people making the exact same claims about Iran. This should lead us to a question: even if they are right (there is simply no reason to believe that they are as not only are they proven liars and have obvious conflicts of interest, but the facts point in the opposite direction than that which they would lead us), Would that war be just?
Of course that war would be just. But because of past deviations from a just and peaceful and honest foreign policy, there is simply no reason to risk it without actual proof first. Some worry that that proof might come in the form of a dirty bomb. Others in the form of a warhead sent right into the US or a region heavily populated with Americans. And others still in the form of an attack against our “ally” Israel.
The first possibility is not absurd, per se, but because of how tenuous it is, it in and of itself is not a justification for war. If there was a legitimate fear of that sort of thing happening, it would easily be prevented, then the answer is not going to war but security checks. And if it did happen, it was because there was no real effort made to prevent it, in which case the indication should be that the players would not have been known, as the attack itself was not ofreseen. The second and third possibilities truly are absurd, as there are such things as nuclear defense shields. The US and Israel both have that area covered. Further, there is the possibility of retaliation. For those that maintain that the Iranians just want to see the world go up and smoke and don’t mind dying to accomplish that, the idea of retaliation is not an objection to their fears. But it is still a losing battle for the Iranians. More than that, its a battle in which they wouldn’t even be able to land a blow.
And the possibility of an attack on Israel is the most absurd of all. And not because it can’t or won’t happen, but because it truly is none of our concern. Some think it is cruel to say such things, and not just because they are our “ally”, but because they are human beings. They might even be right were it not for the fact that Israel can and will take care of itself and doesn’t even need our help (though some interests in that nation and in ours will see to it that we are permanently entangled, and not always with simplistic or well-understood motives).
Second exception. The soldiers were drafted. This is slavery. There may have been ways for them to avoid this draft, but it won’t have been without its own set of risks. Some might feel it is better to go “over there” and risk their lives than it is to be in hiding the rest of their days and risk not only their lives, but their livelihoods, and to disquiet the lives or comforts of their families. Whether this line of thinking is right or not, and regardless of which route they take, they are no less victims for it.
Third exception. The soldiers volunteered on their own terms rather than be drafted on the state’s terms. There was a draft in effect, but in order to avoid getting the short end of the stick, they volunteered knowing the deal they got would not be quite so raw. Just as with the draftees, they are forced to choose between two choices, neither of which is entirely moral on their part and neither of which is moral at all on the state’s part. Thus, they are, once again, the victims.
Fourth exception. The soldiers volunteered in a time of peace expecting that their duly elected representatives would only send them to die for a just cause. But then an unjust war is waged and they have no choice but to serve or become a fugitive. This applies to the US Army, US Navy, US Marine Corps, and the US Air Force (although it is worth noting the Air Force is unconstitutional.)
Fifth exception. The soldiers volunteered for a branch of the service that is only called forth for combat duty in a time of invasion or rebellion, but then are sent to combat in a foreign land against which the United States is the clear aggressor. This applies to the various National Guard groups.
Of course, one can question the idea of a “public” military itself. But it is reasonable that so long as the Westphalian Nation State is the prime mode of political organization and that citizens a part of and within that paradigm are in need of protection that can not be adequately provided (in theory they could, but such a society does not exist yet) in some other way, that the state-controlled standing army is a necessary evil that can, and has at times, been used in a moral way, even with a nonvolunteer force. Though this in no way cancels out the underlying violation of rights that such systems of defense (and offense) are predicated on in the first place.
So, join with me to celebrate the Armistice that was declared to end the Great War. That war in which many men were enthralled and then brutally murdered. That war which ever since, every US-involved conflict can be easily traced to the entanglements that arose therefrom. And if you know a veteran, you might even consider understanding his story before you either thank him or condemn him.
Veterans Day, as it is now called, has become just another excuse to get into a flag waving frenzy and to feel good about things that perhaps no one should be feeling good about. But if you’ve read what I’ve written, don’t take this day for granted. Rather, commemorate the day in the way it was intended. Reflectively. Soberly. With an eye towards peace.
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 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.”
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Picture is worth a thousand words.
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.