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jamesmholland1's picture

Libertarian Poetry

on Sat, 07/04/2015 - 01:28

Any good movement needs good poetry. My web searches have only uncovered the fact that there is a dearth of libertarian poetry unfortunately. So, like any good libertarian, I have decided to fix this problem myself (as best as I can anyways). I encourage others to add try their own abilities at writing libertarian-themed poetry.

I am a Free, Independent, Beautiful Human Being

By James M. Holland (5.27.2015)

I am a free, independent, beautiful human being.

You are a free, independent, beautiful human being.


What can stop us from sharing ourselves with each other?

                                                  our love and liberty?

                                                  our personal property?


Not the labors of living,

Not brutes and their bullying,

Not bureaucrats and their bullying either!


I am a free, independent, beautiful human being.

You are a free, independent, beautiful human being.


Freedom is living, loving, laughing.

Freedom is the sweet kiss of sunshine on my cheek,

                   an inner warmth in troubling times,

                   a knowing smile.


You are a free, independent, beautiful human being.

I am a free, independent, beautiful human being.


Between us lies only an illusory fathom of fear,

                                                                  fear of failures past or futures lost.


Separating us is nothing more than one free moment,

                                                        one independent act,

                                                        one beautiful .   .         .


You are a free, independent, beautiful human being.

I am a free, independent, beautiful human being.


What can stop us from sharing ourselves with each other?


*Inspired by Adam Kokesh and Macey Tomlin

Historian's picture

How do libertarians think?

on Tue, 02/17/2015 - 16:57

It is easy to fall into policy arguments from different political perspectives. But deciding policy comes from underlying philsophy. A recent post on Quora gives insight not into just policy but on "how libertarians think". 

The following was posted by: John David Ward, Northern San Joaquin Valley, California.

  • A positive view of and appreciation for freedom and philanthropy as real things, not simply code words.  A philanthropist is something more than simply a euphemism for a rich guy buying respectability. There is a vital social role played by little philanthropists, who set up scholarships, volunteer in homeless shelters, develop vaccines, fund starving artists, lend money to their neighbors in need, and so on—even though most of these little philanthropists will never be recognized by history.
  • Freedom and personal responsibility, and that one implies the other. That freedom and responsibility are inseparable, like two sides of a coin. Freedom is more than having nothing left to lose. Having nothing left to lose just means having no responsibilities, not being free.
  • Methodological individualism, that good and evil really only exist on a personal level, as a result of decisions made by individuals. According to this view, it is wrong to blame or praise society for the good or bad choices made by individuals, or to blame or praise individuals for the bad choices made by others members of their society.
  • That there are unintended consequences to every action. Central planners often assume that people won't change their behavior in perverse and unpredictable ways in reaction to new rules, whereas libertarians, one might say, probably go too far in the other direction.
  • That history is primarily the history of the people than the history of government. All societies exist in time and are in the process of change, and history is the sum of decisions made and institutions founded by individuals. During times of rapid social change, laws are more often lagging indicators of a shift in values that began among the people than drivers of it. Fair laws don't make people good; it's the fact that people are good that makes them demand fair laws. In other words, wherever morality comes from, it's not from legislation.
  • That the burden of proof should fall on authority. It's not the place of the weak to convince the strong that they deserve to be free in some particular aspect of their life, but the place of the strong to convince the weak, and to abide by their judgment if they are unconvinced.
  • Regulation is not simply a uniform substance that you can turn up and down like the dial on a thermostat. Some regulations are good, and some of them are bad, but the overall effect of new regulation is neutral to detrimental. We can be more certain that we are working for the greater good when we critically evaluate currently existing regulations than by calling for the introduction of new regulations which, by being untested, may or may not work. It's as if there were a bag filled with marbles (possible types of regulation), orange and blue. We've poured some of the marbles out on the ground. If our goal is to make all the marbles orange (improve the average efficiency of the regulatory apparatus) we can better accomplish this by looking them over carefully and picking out the blue marbles than by pouring more out of the marbles out of the bag.
  • That regulatory capture is a real thing and big businesses are just as often interested in building government up as tearing it down. Regulations are often written by lobbyists of the very same industries they're supposed to regulate, and they'll usually be written in such a way as to magnify the comparative advantages of big businesses at the expense of smaller ones. We can't afford to fall into some simplistic dichotomy in which corporations want to tear government down and citizens want to build it up. The opposite is often true.
  • A realization that laws don't repeal themselves. It is the place of active, concerned citizens to do this. It takes just as much effort and participation from the people to repeal a law than it does to enact it in the first place, perhaps more so. If citizens don't take the lead in doing this, who will? We need to make sure that the people working to fix what the government is doing wrong are given the respect they deserve.
  • A nuanced, rather than black and white, view of the relationship between law and ethics. Just because doing something is good and a net benefit to society, doesn't mean that not doing it is bad and should be criminalized, and just because something is wrong doesn't mean that outlawing it couldn't make it worse and more dangerous. It's not enough to point out that some particular behavior is bad; we have to actually establish that government intervention can efficiently correct it.
  • There are things which are good only because they are consensual, and that when they cease to be consensual, they cease to be good.
Arthur Thomas's picture

Not Your Debates

on Fri, 07/25/2014 - 14:28

When we walk into voting booths we are expressing our wills for what we want for government to represent. The very act of making a choice for ourselves and that no one else should have power over that choice is central to this process. But what is it when people make choices not fully knowing about all the options? How can a voter express themselves if they know about only some of the options they can choose from? As free individuals we like to be informed about all kinds of choices we make in our lives. We even get very upset when those choices or information about them is restricted. Why is voting a special case? Why are we not demanding better?

It has become an annual struggle for Libertarians to be involved in debates. We hear the typical excuses every year. Probably one of the most perpetual ironic ones is how Libertarians are not included in debates because they don't get rank high enough in polls. Ok, a valid point of argument until you find out that the polls never included Libertarians in them at all. Should a news organization, an entity dedicated to research and facts, be so blatantly ignorant in promoting an impossible standard? Or we could look at the Presidential Debate Commission. A commission supposedly created to organize debates for citizens to help them make an informed choice. This commission is run by the Democrat and Republican parties and has a history that clearly shows it does not serve the interest of debate or citizens. This just further proves that government entities and the special interests that work closely with them have completely failed citizens.

Thankfully there are still a few organizations, like the League of Women Voters and PBS, that are still interested in providing meaningful debates. Voters should question news outlets that claim they are dedicated to providing fair and informative broadcasts or articles about politics when they do not include all options. If we believe that the state has setup proper ballot access and that the very state we are voting on provides these options on the ballot then why would others want to hide some of those options? If the government we are voting on has choices avaiable but those choices are not presented by the media, which claims to inform us about our government, then whos interests are they serving? Media often runs stories on election reforms and limiting money and special interest. Is there no bigger special interest than media outlets that refuse to show voters all their options? Is it not hypocrisy when media has stories on dishonest politicians when it is dishonest at worst and incompetent at best at informing the public?

Media will not change on their own. They are just as an entrenched as part of the status quo as a government that refuses to change. People have to become the change they want to see in the world. That starts by raising your voice. Let people know that the status quo is not ok. That its not ok to have candidates shoved onto you or to try to silence and restrict what your options are on the ballot. Being informed is the other side of being a responsible voters. Voting is great but finding out what you are voting for is the most important. Hold media accountable to the claim that they inform citizens. There is a petition to get the Texas Tribune to include all candidates in the debates. Let them know its time to quit playing their own interests and to do their jobs. A news service that does not inform is not a new service. Its an advertising agency. Gary Johnson with Our American Initiative is also suing the Presidential Debate Commission to have fair, honest, and open presidential debates. You can go there and learn more to help in that cause.

We have a government that we vote on. Doesn't it make sense to be informed about the choices we are making?

Arthur Thomas's picture

The Hangman

on Wed, 10/30/2013 - 11:36
          By Maurice Ogden
               Into our town the hangman came,
               smelling of gold and blood and flame.
               He paced our bricks with a different air,
               and built his frame on the courthouse square.
               The scaffold stood by the courthouse side,
               only as wide as the door was wide
               with a frame as tall, or a little more,
               than the capping sill of the courthouse door.
               And we wondered whenever we had the time,
               Who the criminal? What the crime?
               The hangman judged with the yellow twist
               of knotted hemp in his busy fist.
               And innocent though we were with dread,
               we passed those eyes of buckshot lead.
               Till one cried, "Hangman, who is he,
               for whom you raised the gallows-tree?"
               Then a twinkle grew in his buckshot eye
               and he gave a riddle instead of reply.
               "He who serves me best," said he
               "Shall earn the rope on the gallows-tree."
               And he stepped down and laid his hand
               on a man who came from another land.
               And we breathed again, for anothers grief
               at the hangmans hand, was our relief.
               And the gallows frame on the courthouse lawn
               by tomorrow's sun would be struck and gone.
               So we gave him way and no one spoke
               out of respect for his hangmans cloak.
               The next day's sun looked mildly down
               on roof and street in our quiet town;
               and stark and black in the morning air
               the gallows-tree on the courthouse square.
               And the hangman stood at his usual stand
               with the yellow hemp in his busy hand.
               With his buckshot eye and his jaw like a pike,
               and his air so knowing and business-like.
               And we cried, "Hangman, have you not done,
               yesterday with the alien one?"
               Then we fell silent and stood amazed.
               "Oh, not for him was the gallows raised."
               He laughed a laugh as he looked at us,
               "Do you think I've gone to all this fuss,
               To hang one man? That's the thing I do.
               To stretch the rope when the rope is new."
               Above our silence a voice cried "Shame!"
               and into our midst the hangman came;
               to that mans place, "Do you hold," said he,
               "With him that was meat for the gallows-tree?"
               He laid his hand on that one's arm
               and we shrank back in quick alarm.
               We gave him way, and no one spoke,
               out of fear of the hangmans cloak.
               That night we saw with dread surprise
               the hangmans scaffold had grown in size.
               Fed by the blood beneath the chute,
               the gallows-tree had taken root.
               Now as wide, or a little more
               than the steps that led to the courthouse door.
               As tall as the writing, or nearly as tall,
               half way up on the courthouse wall.
               The third he took, we had all heard tell,
               was a usurer..., an infidel.
               And "What" said the hangman, "Have you to do
               with the gallows-bound..., and he a Jew?"
               And we cried out, "Is this one he
               who has served you well and faithfully?"
               The hangman smiled, "It's a clever scheme
               to try the strength of the gallows beam."
               The fourth man's dark accusing song
               had scratched our comfort hard and long.
               "And what concern," he gave us back,
               "Have you ... for  the doomed and black?"
               The fifth, the sixth, and we cried again,
               "Hangman, hangman, is this the man?"
               "It's a trick", said he, "that we hangman know
               for easing the trap when the trap springs slow."
               And so we ceased and asked now more
               as the hangman tallied his bloody score.
               And sun by sun, and night by night
               the gallows grew to monstrous height.
               The wings of the scaffold opened wide
               until they covered the square from side to side.
               And the monster cross beam looking down,
               cast its shadow across the town.
               Then through the town the hangman came
               and called through the empy name.
               I looked at the gallows soaring tall
               and thought ... there's no one left at all
               for hanging ...  and so he called to me
               to help take down the gallows-tree.
Arthur Thomas's picture

Damaging Winds of Government

on Wed, 06/05/2013 - 04:20
The Texas Windstorm Insurance Agency isn't exactly a hot political topic, but it is a great example of government failure.
TWIA is an agency to subsidize insurance for areas along the Texas coast, that would have higher insurance premiums because of weather damage. The idea is to 'protect consumers' and make areas more affordable and accessible to more people without a high cost of living driving them away. 
To any free market person out there the problems are obvious. Markets put pressure  on prices in areas for a reason. Insurance premiums are high because the cost of damages are high. This is a market indicator that living in the area is more dangerous and more costly. Subsidization in this case removes market pressures and the indicators people have to make wise market choices. TWIA, as any reasonable person would figure, is now unable to pay off future claims without more money being dumped into it. This means taxpayers across the state get to pay for people making bad market decisions based on government subsidies. 

The government has actually given consumers incentive to make a poor choice that cost us all. Further this encourages development in an area that should not be developed without acknowledging market risks. These further developments mean even more people move into an area and take advantage of these subsidies which compounds the problem. Not only is the government setting up an initial failure in policy but a growing failure that will cost more and more as it encourages people to keep making bad decisions.
As a libertarians, though, what is most annoying isn't the market problem but the massive moral issue here. The government is putting peoples lives at risk by removing the pressures that would encourage them make other choices about where to build and live. This has absolutely nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with responsible decision making based on environmental factors. Government struck at the heart of this by taking away risk. It doesn't remove the physical threat, the weather, but it removed the downstream effects the weather causes. This increased risk is important in the decision making process but the government hides it through immoral action. It makes all Texas taxpayers hide risk so that consumers will find it easier to make a poor choice. 

This is very dangerous. How is it moral to make me fund someone else's danger? Not only have I been robbed  but I am now tangentially related to someone else's potential death? Me funding this somehow fits under a better and more just world? It is the height of arrogant immorality to me. People should be fully aware of the risks involved and take the full burden of the responsibility when facing those risks. This places the financial and moral burden fully upon anyone that wants to invest or live in a more risky area. 
I am saddened that I am forced to pay for potential future death under the guise of 'consumer protection'. How about protecting my choices in what I fund *(and protection through market risk in decision making for consumers? ) this is confusing to me. Make it a separate sentence and  and re write  for clarity??
This is what is meant when they say that the pathway to hell was paved with good intentions. Unfortunately in this case the cost isn't only money but potentially blood. Shame on the false morality and the most evil results of good intentions for anyone that supports such a system.
Historian's picture

My Life as a Tyrant

on Mon, 03/04/2013 - 18:39

Reposted from:

By: Chris Hernandez

I’m going to say something that will undoubtedly cause me to lose some police officer friends. But I feel it needs to be said anyway. I’m willing to take the heat for it.

Keep in mind, I became a police officer because I wanted to be a good guy. Even though we’ve all seen reports of police brutality and corruption, I still believe we cops are the good guys. I’ve seen cops perform brave, selfless acts for strangers on countless occasions. Even the worst cops I’ve ever known would risk their lives to defend the innocent. But I have to say this anyway. Before you start throwing shoes, hear me out. I have a good reason for saying it.

If you think our police are no threat to your freedom, you’re living in a fantasy world.

Now I’ll explain what I mean. I worked for the United Nations Police Mission in Kosovo for eighteen months. I wasn’t there as a soldier. I was a civilian cop, living in town, basically a Kosovo PD officer. For part of my tour I worked patrol with a group of international officers and local police. We had officers from America, the UK, Germany and Greece, plus local Kosovar Albanians. The Americans were regular street cops from police departments all over the United States.

One of the American officers in my station came from a very wealthy suburban police department. My cop stories were about murders, fights and chases; his were about citizens having garage sales without permits. For some reason, citizens selling things without permits aggravated him to no end.

In postwar Kosovo, many tens of thousands of war refugees lived in the capital. Not enough jobs existed to support them all. Many of them became vendors in a sprawling, dirty bazaar. They supported their families by selling cheap Turkish and Pakistani housewares and trinkets. Under old Yugoslav law, which was still the legal standard, those vendors had to have permits. Few bothered to stand in line at a dilapidated government building to pay for a permit.

This officer – I’ll call him Joe – became infuriated every time he patrolled the bazaar. He’d find vendors without permits, then ticket and berate them. He’d make note of other illegal vendors so he could ticket them later. He’d even drive through the bazaar off-duty to spot illegal vendors for future targeting. He’d vent his anger about illegal vendors at us, which always made me laugh. I didn’t care the least bit about vendors without permits, and thought Joe would eventually get over it. I was wrong.

Joe got so mad at illegal vendors that he researched Yugoslav law. We had been advised not to do anything that violated the Bill of Rights, but officially Yugoslav law was still in effect. And Joe discovered he could use Yugoslav law to do something about those damn illegal vendors.

Joe put a plan together. Officers from a couple of stations, along with some NATO troops, would go through the bazaar, identify which vendors had no permits, and confiscate all their merchandise. Local Albanian Kosovo Police Service (KPS) officers would assist. A large NATO truck would follow the officers so they could load all the confiscated items. All the seized property would immediately be donated to charity organizations.

When I heard the plan, I was amazed. Then I got angry. Why would anyone, in a country which had suffered through a horrible war less than two years earlier, think vendors without permits were such a big deal? We didn’t have a crime problem in the bazaar, the only reason we were going in there was because Officer Joe had a personal issue with the vendors. And wouldn’t an operation like that violate people’s rights?

I argued against the operation, and was overruled. Since Yugoslav law allowed it, we were doing it. I was ordered to take my team of KPS officers and participate.

The day of the operation, I forced myself to show up for work. My KPS officers were angry, frustrated and hesitant. They didn’t want to do to their people what we were about to make them do. But their jobs and livelihood, like mine, depended on following those orders. So we walked out of the station toward the bazaar.

An officer from a European country met me outside the bazaar, held out a stack of papers and sternly ordered, “Take these. You’ll need them to document what you confiscate.”

I kept my hands down. “I’m not taking them. I think this is wrong. We can’t just take people’s property.”

The officer held the papers out further. “It doesn’t matter. They’ve been warned. Take the forms.”

I didn’t move, or respond. The officer maintained his stern demeanor for a few seconds. Then, seeing that I wasn’t going along with it, he backed down.

“Okay, fine. Just take some forms, in case you change your mind.”

I took a few forms and stuck them in my pocket. The next time they came out, later that afternoon, I dumped them in the trash.

The operation began.

Arthur Thomas's picture

Politicians Choose Voters (and you thought it was the other way)

on Sat, 03/02/2013 - 23:36

The LP isn't just about getting ideas out. It is about stopping entrenched parties that will do anything to keep their power. This includes stopping them from destroying the republic and the freedom to choose representatives which is fundamental to how our government works.

House Bill 1842

Strama (D), a Texas House representative filed a bill that would cast a devastating blow to 3rd parties. No doubt seeing the increasing gains of the LP and the number of candidates on the ballot, giving a 3rd choice instead of a false binary choice, has filed a House bill attacking freedom of representation. Instead of working towards a rational voting system, he chooses to defend the archaic and least meaningful plurality voting system. And further to protect this system wants to wipe 3rd parties off the ballot.

This unity primary system would ensure only 2 parties every make it to a general ballot. This only furthers the annoying stereotype that voters are to weak minded to handle anything more than a binary choice. I remind you that the Texas LP works hard and earns its current ballot status by running candidates that get enough votes to maintain it. We are already following the burden of R & D election law to get candidate on the ballot. The cost of getting ballot access is very high and is a massive sink against reach voters with a message.

This bill would also burden candidate with direct fees which further encourages a political class in our country instead of citizen representatives. The burden of giving up part of your life as a regular middle income worker is already high when wanting to put yourself on the ballot. Why does there need to be what amounts to a fine for wanting to represent people on the ballot? This is a massive imposition meant to do nothing more than kill off 3rd parties.

Even if you try to look at this in the best light of a representative worrying about a ballot being flooded with to many choices, that is not a problem we have. We still have races with no choice. Politicians are being put in office because no one is running against them. Libertarians are in 2 way races many times because political district have been gerrymandered such that the two main parties just give areas to one another. There are some 3 way races which voters should have no problem handling. There are few 4 way races and very few with more than that. There is no reason to believe there will be a sudden explosion of 'to many' choices and 12 candidates in each race. We are a nation and state of variety. We get upset when its not available to us. When we shop at a store we are presented with a mass of choices because that is what freedom looks like. Its about choice and not going with what the state gives to you. Why would we want variety in every aspect of our lives except government? Why accept what is handed to you by those with a self interest to remain in power.

There is no more sure sign of success of the LP than those who would attack it with legislation that strips people of freedom of choice. These are ideas of people that have no interest in freedom. They have no interest in you being able to choose from anything other than what they hand to you.

They must be stopped because the LP is your only choice in having a choice.

LP Texas needs support. Its the only party fighting to give you a

Link to another blog on the topic: A Solider's Perspective by CJ Grisham

Lynn and Roger Bloxham's picture

Most Important Election Ever

on Fri, 11/02/2012 - 23:06

Interesting facts about important races in which Libertarian Party members are involved. Note how many with just 2% of the vote would gain Ballot Access. The R's and D's have done everything they can think of to limit and annihilate any other party from appearing on the ballot. For this reason alone, I could NOT under any circumstances vote for Romney.  

I agree partially with some of the Republican and Tea Party lip service, just as I agree partially with some of the Democrats favorite rhetoric about civil liberties and anti wars. But there are too many inconsistencies and most important actions once in elected office. Compare what Romney did as as governor. Look at what he did.  Then, compare that to two term Gov. Johnson. Look at Obama's rhetoric before being in office. A real civil libertarian until he got power. 
As I have said before, this election shows the dark side of both Obama and Romney. But let's analyze Romney as so many believe he is the lesser of two evils or maybe they hope he is a really god guy.  Well both men are probably good with their family. So were the Mafia Dons. 
Romney's complicity in absolute, no question about it, cheating on ballots tells me all I need to know about his character(he is willing to cheat and lie) and philosophy (pragmatism: the end justifies the means). Meanwhile the Dems are faulting him for all the wrong reasons; they love Romney Care and criticize him for Outsourcing. Idiotic. As they are pragmatists also,the Dems will not criticize Romney for the absolute skull duggery against Paul. They do this type of thing all the time. They are experts. They wrote the playbook the Republicans have begun to use more and more. the Democrats wrote it long ago Chicago.
The worse thing is that if Romney wins and when his policies are instigated, they will be almost the same as Obama's but all the while people will be calling them "free market"  When the economy has problems, the free market and a lack of regulation will be blamed. It happens every time. 
Romney has revealed his loyalty to the expansion of belligerence against and  invasion of other countries with his agreement of sanctions against Iran, the NDAA and the use of Drones. 
Most odd is Romney's evidently formal agreement to stand down and  stay silent regarding Benghazi. If we are so foolish to leave people there, why abandon them when they are being attacked and slaughtered. Very peculiar that Romney by his silence is literally agreeing with Obama that help should not have been sent.
Romney shows the same ignorance on economics when his remarks parallel Obama's on Health Care and China. He is showing that he believes in a mixed economy by his remarks that he wants national health care, but just not quite ObamaCare. ObamaCare Lite=Romney Care. He exhibits a lack of understanding of real free and voluntary markets when he will not better defend outsourcing and the right of any business to do so. When he does not want labor to move freely and cannot defend immigrants, but wishes they would return from whence they came. His attacks on China are definitely a play for the protectionist crowd.  Republicans are so blinded by the label of Republican he wears they cannot see he is only slightly different in actions and not much better than Obama.
Republicans had hopes for Ryan but he is definitely not a free market person nor does he understands Ayn Rand or the Austrian Economic positions. Rather Ryan has decimated the average person's understanding of Ayn Rand which is a prime example why pragmatists cause more harm than good. 
Every election since 1972 I have heard that this is the most important election and we must not vote third party and throw away our vote as the Dem is so bad. Well, I hardly think Nixon, Reagan, Bush 1, Bush 2,were better and certainly Mc Cain would not have improved things.  

I remember Neal Boortz using this idea on his radio show; "This is too important an election. I am a  Libertarian but "just this time" we must vote for the Republican". I cannot remember which election it was, but right after he pounded on this on his radio show Roger and I  went to the National Convention. Roger was at the front and center dinner table with Nolan, Boortz,  Bergland etc.  Boortz's feeling were hurt because he could not understand why the party was angry with him. Afterwards (I was not at the table during dinner) I tried to nicely explain, but wish now I had been more emphatic with Boortz.  

Given that voting for someone who may say they are peaceful, but decide to use force against others,turns voting into an  immoral act (Use of force by proxy). This  makes voting  bad enough. But voting for someone who clearly states, as Romney does,  they will use force, continue military adventurism all over the globe,  and thinks higher taxes, more drug war, more roundups of immigrants, Patriot Act and NDAA etc are Jim Dandy means it is even more immoral. 

So if you have not yet voted please
Historian's picture

Lesser of Two Evils...

on Wed, 09/12/2012 - 23:36

This is a short reminder from Texas Libertarian Jeff Daiell:

In 1952, Constitutionalists supported Eisenhower as "the lesser of two evils" and we got HEW (which became HHS).

In 1968, Constitutionalists supported Nixon "the lesser of two evils" and we got the EPA and peacetime wage and price controls.

In 1980, Constitutionalists believed the Republican Party was finally awakening to the need for a smaller Federal Government, and we got the biggest deficits in history to that point, and the largest tax increase in history to that point.

In 1988, Constitutionalists stuck with the Republicans and we got a massive tax increase and an increase in Federal economic regulation unmatched since FDR.

In 2000, Constitutionalists stuck with the Republicans and we got runaway Federal spending, reckless deficits, and socialized prescriptions.

Many years ago, there was a TV show about a family who was shipwrecked, along with another passenger from the vessel.
Week after week, this passenger would betray the family, would stab them in the back.
Week after week, they not only forgave him, they continued to trust him.
Being fictional characters, their naivete did no harm in the real world.
The naivete of those who continue to trust the Republican Party will have major harm in the real world: it will prevent any reversal of the pell-mell rush toward authoritarianism both Beltway parties are legislating, regardless of how much insincere Constitutionalist rhetoric they spout. 

Being a realist, I vote Libertarian.

For Texas and Liberty,
Jeff Daiell

Arthur Thomas's picture

Government Jenga

on Tue, 08/28/2012 - 17:35

“You didn’t build that” - Obama

Many have argued that individual business owners work on their own to build successful businesses. This is correct. I don’t think Obama was making the straightforward statement as many have argued though. It isn’t merely a statement of an individual not building up their business by their own hard work. I think he made a much more dangerous statement that people are ignoring. When he says someone didn’t build a business on their own he wasn’t just implying that others helped or that though government services (roads, loans, utilities) owners are assisted in building their businesses. The much more subversive implication of the comment is that a business cannot exist without government. Not only that it cannot be built without help but that only through government can these things even exist. Essentially he is saying that businesses are the product of government facilities. What a frightening idea.

The reality is that government doesn’t exist without private business. When asked the question: “Can you name products produced by private business?”, plenty of products easily flood one’s head. When asked “Can you name products produced by the federal government?” what comes to mind? How hard is it to populate that list? Certainly there is a grey ‘ideas’ area of products coming from government research. It becomes more clear who is actually behind the development and fulfillment of those products when you think about who brings those as consumable polished items to the consumer. When you also remove the implication that these things couldn’t have been created without government it becomes a starkly black and white idea. How much of the government depends on private companies? Look at the military and its complete reliance on private companies. When was the last time the government built a plane or tank? When the government wastes taxpayers money on extravagant meeting locations or even sensible and necessary office supplies who is it paying? Is it purchasing from itself? It is buying the goods that private companies produce? Imagine if the government had to supply everything it needed to function. It would come to a grinding halt for lack of ability to function.

Take the internet for example. It is used often to show how government created a common good we all use today. I can point out that the first ARPANET network created is nothing like the vast efficient internet we have today. In 1995 the ARPANET had to be decommissioned and deregulated so that commercial entities could actually start using the network. Ignoring the history though, does anyone believe the internet could not have been developed by others besides the government? Who knows how it would have happened, but development of ideas certainly are not limited to government entities. Again, I say look at the products you use and can think of that solve problems that meet needs of the private sector. When compared to government production of goods and services it becomes plainly obvious who actually solves problems. Because government was first to claim victory over something should not give it right to claim our futures and remove alternate possibilities for solutions. Ideas are not the domain of the government. Ideas and solutions are what the market provides and government can only get in the way of that function by claiming right to it.

Take something basic like roads. The government doesn’t actually build them. They take your money, funnel it through a bureaucratic system, and then pay private companies to build them. Why not take out the middleman and reduce cost? There is the underlying assumption in all of this that government is some altruistic guiding force that provides goods that we will never accomplish on our own. The logical problem with that is that we are supposed to be in control of government. If we cannot do these things for ourselves then why does the assumption exist that we can control a government that will do them better than us? Are not our choices better than a twice removed government bureaucracy? We have handed power over to a monopoly of force that takes credit for everything and continually claims it needs more power because we are incapable of doing things on our own. This is an extremely dangerous idea.

What we should be concerned with is lost opportunities. How many things does government prohibit and regulate which actually get in the way of solutions? When government does something it usually declares a monopoly over the area so that no one else can compete. Space exploration is a good example of this. If businesses were allowed to behave the same way, can you imagine the completely stifled market that would emerge? The market in the US would resemble Cuba of the old Soviet Union. Progress would halt. We should stop giving credit to a monopolizing and credit taking entity and start wondering why it won’t get out of the way.

When government does try to provide solutions it wipes