Why I’m Libertarian

I’m pretty sure that if the presidential election were held today, and if everyone tossed aside their predetermined notions of who has a chance of winning, and then voted according to things they actually believe in, Gary Johnson would win the election in a landslide.  Are most of us not fiscally conservative and socially tolerant?

Being Libertarian is somewhat frustrating, because when I watch these presidential debates, it’s just like watching (if I may borrow this quote from the Internet) “McDonald’s and Burger King argue over whose french fries are healthier.”  It is not so much a debate as it is a joint press conference on statism.

It’s so strange to see people flock to these authoritarian candidates that want to run everyone’s lives.  Democrats want to spend your money for you, and Republicans want to tell you what decisions you can make in your personal life.  This is absolutely ridiculous.

As I’ve written before, all taxation that is not voluntary (basically any tax that isn’t a use tax) is theft.  Liberals will scoff at this, saying that we have our debt to society – that we have to pay for public services and pay welfare to poor people.  Of course we have to help poor people, but why do we also have to fund a government bureaucracy to do that?  What is the argument for this – that people would not be charitable without a government to force them by threat of kidnapping, because people can’t be trusted to be charitable?  But then, people run the government, so what exactly is the argument, again?  And why should you be allowed to steal my money to pay for a bus service that I will never use?  Why can’t we all pay for things as we use them?  If you are a liberal and you truly believe in the logic behind your reasoning for staying out of people’s bedrooms, then why doesn’t that logic apply to my wallet?

This same thing applies to scumbag Republicans that want to say who you can marry, control what substances you put into your own body, and make laws based around their one religion when America is a diverse place consisting of people of many different faiths (or lack thereof).  Just as above, if you are a conservative and you believe in staying out of my wallet, then why don’t you also apply that logic to staying out of my personal life?

Libertarianism is about personal responsibility.  I can make my own decisions, and I do not need the government to hold my hand.  Do most of us not want to be left alone to make our own decisions, as long as those decisions do not infringe upon the freedom of others?  Do you really want to be told that you are working one day out of every week as a slave to the government to fund things you may not believe in?  It absolutely disgusts and infuriates me that my tax dollars are paying for the Obama administration to be warmongers in the middle east, to indefinitely detain and kill American citizens, and to keep nonviolent drug users in jail.  And it would be no different if a Republican was president right now, I’m sure.

I just don’t see how other people can feel justified in telling me how to live my life, whether you are violating my financial or my personal freedom.  You do not have the right to steal my money and let someone else spend it for me.  You do not have the right to tell me what I can do with my own body.  I am a grown-ass man and can make all of those decisions for myself.  Simple example: It is stupid to have laws that mandate seat-belt usage.  Seat belts are safer, so I will use them.  If you don’t want to use one and you want to take that risk, then go for it.  That is your choice and your life to live and risk.  More complex example: It is stupid to force productive members of society to pay welfare for the less fortunate.  Why not just give everyone back their entire paycheck, cut the middleman out, and donate straight to people that you know are in need?  We would neither be funding a bureaucracy in addition to helping less fortunate people that way, nor would that system as easily enable cheating, like so many on welfare do.  And most importantly in both the seat belt case and this welfare case, these things are voluntary.

I love this quote, so I will go ahead and put it here to end this wall of text:

The Power of Words

There are a lot of things about American society that puzzle me.  Some of it makes sense, and some doesn’t.  I get that doing lewd things in public is bad.  You probably should not perform sexual acts in the park, for example.  But something I don’t understand – as a member of society in general and as a writer – is how much some people frown upon cursing, or rather, using words that society deems as curse words, such as ‘shit.’

I personally believe that the function of cursing is in the meaning, not of just a word itself.  Using words as weapons to hurt someone is cursing.  Saying “get up off of your ass” is not.  But, for the purposes of this post, cursing is what society generally defines it as – just using a certain set of words that are deemed inappropriate by said society.

Some people will argue that one should just choose to use different words to avoid the “problem of cursing” altogether, but those people don’t understand what role those words play in a person’s vocabulary.  Saying “I stepped in a pile of dog mess” and “I stepped in a pile of dog shit” is essentially the same thing because they hold the same meaning.  Yet, even in this simple example, you may picture two completely different people saying each of those phrases because of the word choice.

Now let’s take this and apply it to what is generally considered to be one of the “worst” curse words.  Saying “I went home and cried in my freaking closet” and “I went home and cried in my fucking closet” hold basically the same meaning: this person went to their home and cried in their closet, and either out of frustration or for some other reason, they want to emphasize the fact that the crying they did was in this particular place.  As a writer, the power of the word “fuck” amazes me.  When used in the right situation, it can create this emotional response within a person.  A “freaking closet” is not really that big of a deal.  Think about a “freaking closet.”  Trying mouthing it.  Now think about the alternative with the curse word.  Mouth it.  Notice how different it is sounding out the “fr” and the “fu.”  For me, with the latter, my bottom teeth touch my upper lip.  It feels angrier.  It feels more frustrating.  This is the power of words.

Of course, cursing can be and is often overused.  If every sentence you articulate has a curse word in it, then those words lose their meaning, and, to me, it sounds like you’re either just angry all of the time or don’t have a large enough vocabulary to pick an alternative word that is more fitting to the situation.

What is “Freedom”?

Depending on who you ask, the word “freedom” will probably have different definitions, but if you’re asking me, it’s pretty simple.  Freedom is the ability to do whatever you choose to do that does not infringe upon the freedom of others.

You do not have the ability to steal from someone else, because that infringes upon their freedom.  You should, however, have the freedom to do whatever you choose to do with your own property (including your own body).  Being forced to purchase something is not freedom.  Buying something because you choose to mitigate risks to your property is freedom.

Just a random thought.  Most people proudly call America the land of the free, while sadly ignoring that our freedom is slowly eroding away.

On the supposed hypocrisy of a political belief system

As a fiscal conservative/libertarian, I come across a lot of cases of liberals “calling out” other fiscally conservative/libertarian individuals for taking advantage of systems that they do not politically approve of – perhaps for accepting social security benefits or using public infrastructure.

This is, of course, a flawed criticism by liberals (in most cases), and is the fault of their own authoritarian political policies.  A libertarian society allows for the maximum amount of freedom, and would allow for a socialist society to exist – by contract – within itself.  The opposite – a libertarian society existing within a socialist society – is not possible.  A socialist society imposes values and ideas upon all citizens, and a libertarian society allows citizens to live freely within a principal of non-aggression toward others (aggression being anything from an imposition of values to physical attacks).

If a fiscally conservative individual accepts social security benefits, this is not hypocrisy.  Was this individual allowed to opt out of paying into social security?  No, they were not, because authoritarian law that was imposed upon them stole a certain percentage of their income every month to pay into this system.  Why shouldn’t this individual collect benefits from a system they’ve paid into and had no choice of opting out of?

Similarly, why shouldn’t a libertarian take advantage of public fire safety services?  One cannot opt out of the taxes that provide that service.

It would only be hypocritical to accept public services if there was a way to opt out of that service (and its taxes), you opted out, and still tried to take advantage of those services.

Taxation

Warning: Politics

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, then it’s no secret that I think taxation is theft.  Or, more specifically, that income tax, property tax, and any other tax that is not voluntarily paid is theft.  I am okay with use tax.  That is to say that I don’t like it, but it’s fair and is not theft.

There are two ways that I can transfer my money to another person – either voluntarily, such as by purchasing gasoline or groceries, or it can be involuntary, such as when a thief steals my wallet or the federal government takes money out of my salary.

The reason use taxes are fair is because I have the option of paying those taxes.  I don’t have to buy my clothes at J.Crew.  I could go through the trouble of manually weaving the fabric, making the thread, designing patterns, etc all myself.  Instead of this, I choose to pay sales tax and buy my clothes from other people.  I could also grow my own fruits and vegetables, but instead I choose to buy them at the store.  This is acceptable because I have a choice.  Furthermore, it is acceptable because I can decide to purchase less of an item and or a less expensive item to pay less in taxes.

However, to simply maintain my life by having an income, I have no choice but to pay taxes at risk of force and kidnapping if I do not.  If I own my house and property free and clear, which I maintain and develop the value of, the government could potentially kick me off of it for not paying property tax.  The only way to escape income tax and property tax would be to abandon society and go live in the woods, and to be honest, I’m not sure if that’s even legal because someone (perhaps even the government) has got to own those woods.

The common argument against this ideology is that someone has to pay for the services the government offers, or perhaps that the government services are useful/enjoyable.  In the case of the former, if the government has to steal from citizens to pay for those services, then it does not have the right or the authority to offer those services.  Similarly, and in the case of the latter, you are paying for these services through taxes anyway, so why not privatize them, pay for them when you use them, and enjoy what will likely be a better quality of service?

If the government did not have the ability to steal from citizens, then it would have to innovate just like private enterprises do.  A friend of mine recently brought to my attention the possibility of a government lottery, which would be run just like a private lottery, and would likely be highly profitable for the government by completely voluntary means.

I do encourage discussion on this matter, despite the highly opinionated nature of the content. :)

The Future of the Republican Party

I’ve written a bit here about the current, bleak state of the political party with which I sometimes hate to associate myself. How about a more positive note, though?

The Republican party currently has a few groups within it: Neoconservative/establishment, tea party (honestly, I’m not sure what the difference is between the tea party and the establishment, but they’re often grouped separately in the media), and the Libertarian-leaning, Ron Paul Republicans.

If you take a look at poll numbers, Ron Paul consistently does well with the younger demographic of Republicans (17-30, I think is the age group I heard). Establishment candidates like Mitt Romney do well with the older age groups (the baby boomers).

I realize this isn’t an all-inclusive analysis, but voters in the establishment group don’t seem to believe in one person or cause – rather, they’re more concerned about electing “anyone but Barack Obama.” The Libertarian-leaning voters are different, though. They believe in something. They have a cause. They are steadfast and resolute in their beliefs. That’s why Ron Paul’s poll numbers are generally on the rise, and other candidates peak/surge and then fall when they come under scrutiny.

So what does that mean? Well, the biggest implication this has is that when the baby boomers are gone, the Republican party may suddenly shift from the current neoconservative establishment to a much more Libertarian-leaning party. Old people are the vast majority of the population that make up the socially regressive group. Young Republicans, like myself, are strong believers in personal liberty.

We approach the political institution with a strange, new outlook on the process – maybe we should listen to this founding document of our country called the Constitution? Establishment Republicans constantly tout being “Constitutional conservatives” but when you examine their record, this turns out to be factually incorrect.

This is why I see the future of the party as being different. We know how to research on our own rather than listening to mainstream media sources and hoping they’re telling the truth. We are the generation born in the information age. We won’t fall as easily for fast talkers and kind faces. Everything the candidates do, have done, and will do is on YouTube. I can see video evidence of Mitt Romney being hypocritical and uncompassionate, and I can see Ron Paul saying the same things in 1988 that he’s still saying today.

The future of the Republican party will be a much brighter place.

Free Marketplaces

For those of you that don’t like my political opinion posts, skip this one.  :)

Yesterday, Gary Johnson officially left the Republican party and is now seeking the Libertarian nomination for president.  The Libertarian party has never had a popular, two-term governor running under their ticket.  Should be interesting.  Once again, if Ron Paul doesn’t get the Republican nomination, I’m completely ready to buy my Gary Johnson 2012 yard sign.

That’s not really what this is about though.  This is about how the marketplace works, and why it is my opinion that Democrats (and some Republicans) are flat out wrong when it comes to corporate regulations.

The other day, there was an article on reddit about the Italian government suing Apple because Apple only provides a 1 year warranty standard, and the Italian government apparently has a law that says companies must provide a 2 year warranty.  Of course, this got upvoted like crazy and it was suggested that the U.S. do the same.

That, however, just doesn’t make sense.  First of all, what right does our government have to tell a company how long they have to warrant a product?  Free marketplaces operate around the simple principal that you will support companies you like and avoid supporting companies you don’t like.  If you don’t like that you have to buy Apple Care to get a 3 year warranty, then don’t buy Apple’s products.  Vote with your wallet.  Period.  Why would you want to give a company your money if you fundamentally disagree with how they operate?  If the government steps in and forces them to warranty their products for longer than a year, they’ve learned nothing, they still get your money, and you’ll probably still end up paying the same amount of money that you would’ve paid for the product and the extended warranty.

Why?  If you force a company to include a 3 year warranty instead of giving the consumer the option to purchase an extended warranty, the company will certainly up their warranty and up the price of their product to cover the expense.  Tell me – why would you want to take away your own choice to pay more money for a product or not?  I would like to always have the option to not purchase the extended warranty, take that risk, and save money.  If it breaks after a year, then that was my mistake to make.  I don’t need the government to hold my hand when I spend my money.

Politics As Usual

Back in 2007, when Digg was still slightly relevant, was when I first started hearing about Ron Paul.  His name was plastered all over both Digg and reddit, and for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why these liberal communities were so obsessed with such a conservative fellow.  Mike Gravel I understood, Dennis Kucinich I understood, but this old, Republican OBGYN-turned-congressman – why?

I began researching him – clicking all of the stories about him on Digg and reddit, reading Wikipedia articles, watching videos of him speaking.  Suddenly, I understood.  The man was consistent.  He had integrity.  His actions were completely predictable.  In any given situation, you could find his viewpoint from that year, the year before that, and 1988, and it was always the same.  He didn’t accept money from anyone to sway his vote.

Furthermore, he had great ideas.  “Republicans should love this man,” I thought.  But as I watched the debates, it became suddenly apparent as Ron Paul got booed for speaking on factual information derived for the 9-11 commission’s report about the reasons we were attacked in 2001 (blowback for us being over there – not because the terrorists hate our freedom) that Republicans weren’t interested in a truly conservative candidate.  To make matters worse, his opponents that were front-runners were a man who is well-known for flip flopping (Romney) and another man that was basically another 4 years of George W. Bush that had actually lost to Bush for the Republican nomination in 2000 (McCain).

Boy, did the media try its best to ignore Dr. Paul.  They acted like he practically didn’t exist, even though every time there was a campaign event, the Ron Paul 2008 signs were front and center on camera surrounding the reporters, even though he constantly won straw polls, and even though he broke fundraising records and received the most monetary support from the U.S. military – I think more than all of the other candidates combined.

I knew Ron Paul wouldn’t win that election, but interestingly enough, his supporters were the most loyal and active supporters of any candidate’s.  McCain got the nomination, and slowly, though Digg basically died, the brainwashed drones of reddit finally realized that, though Dr. Paul was a man of integrity and consistency, he was still a Republican, and his support dropped on that site.  I have to laugh when I think about how sad it is that reddit loved this man until they suddenly started to think for themselves.  I imagine the thought process was “Wait a minute, I’m liberal.  I don’t actually agree with him at all.  I just liked him cause reddit liked him.”  But I still liked him, because, well, I’m not a liberal.  I’ve always self-identified as a conservative, and Ron Paul was my candidate.

A year or so after Obama was elected, a friend of mine turned me on to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.  He was a two-term Republican governor from a state that was 2-1 democrat.  He was also a marathon contestant and scaled Mount Everest.  Quite impressive.  Even more impressive were his politics and ethics.  He was similar to Dr. Paul in consistency and also exactly the same in politics, except slightly more moderate/liberal on some social issues, such as LGBT rights and abortion.

I thought for sure that Dr. Paul wouldn’t run again for the 2012 election, so I planned to throw my support behind Gov. Johnson, and figured many other Paul supporters would do the same.  Gov. Johnson had even been a Paul-supporter in the 2008 election.  He was younger and even seemed more electable to me, but as the friend that turned me on to Gov. Johnson pointed out – those social issues would not help him garner support with the religious right, which I recently heard/read was about 60% of the Republican base.

Much to my surprise, though, Dr. Paul decided to run again.  I suddenly had visions in my head of a Paul/Johnson ticket.  That, to me, would be incredible.  These are the two guys I would trust my country with.

I was unsure, though, about how Gov. Johnson would gain support.  Over the years, Paul’s supporters and groups (Campaign for Liberty, Young Americans for Liberty) had apparently grown.  Paul’s support was much greater than it was last time around, and it seemed as though any support that would’ve gone to Johnson instead went to Paul.  That, in and of itself, is fine.  That’s how elections work.  But the media ignored Johnson, only inviting him to 2 of the very many Republican debates held thus far, even though his support rivaled or was greater than that of Rick Santorum’s or John Huntsman’s – except they were still invited to most of the debates.

The media still tried to ignore Dr. Paul in the meantime, and they mostly succeeded, but it was harder.  In 2007, Ron Paul placed 5th in the Ames straw poll.  In 2011, he placed 2nd, literally just shy of 1st.  3rd place wasn’t even close behind him.

Dr. Paul gets invited onto political talk shows, but is either asked about other candidates or is not taken seriously.  As of this writing, he’s polling 1 percentage point behind Newt Gingrich in Iowa, yet the current headline on Fox News features only pictures of Romney and Gingrich.  More than halfway down the page, we find this treat: “The other candidates still have a chance to break through. While the national polls show Gingrich and Romney at the top, the Iowa polls have Texas Rep. Ron Paul right up there on the leader board.”  No mention that he’s not only #2, but is polling comfortably ahead of Romney.

And that brings me to the point of this post.  Our country is not in disarray because of our politicians.  Our politicians are elected – by us.  It is our fault, as the people of the United States, for electing terrible and corrupt politicians.  Yet, here I sit, looking at polls that tell me that Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney will be my party’s nominee.

Mitt Romney has flip-flopped on many key conservative issues, many of which there are videos of.  Heck, I don’t even have to waste my time listing them all.  Just click on this link and refresh the page for a new one.

Newt Gingrich is a serial adulterer, yet criticized President Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.  There is a huge list of things he has done at notonewt.com that paint him not only as an inadequate nominee, but could perhaps lead one to the conclusion that he’s not even a conservative.  Blatant disregard for the 10th amendment, lobbying, and an advocate of many big government ideas, such as a national ID and another federal agency to fight terrorism.

In short, my party has placed its hopes between a man whose own wife can barely trust him and a man who will probably change his mind on another issue before the campaign season is over.  Looking at the two of them, Romney is probably a better choice, but not by much.

This is sad and discouraging.  When Ron Paul speaks the truth, he is booed or written off as the crazy old grandpa.  Just recently, on the topic of Israel, he spoke about how the Israelis could defend themselves – about how we didn’t need to be over there policing the world.  Republicans act as though this is blasphemy, yet the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu said himself just months ago, “My friends, you don’t need to do nation building in Israel.  We’re already built.  You don’t need to export democracy to Israel.  We’ve already got it.  And you don’t need to send American troops to Israel – we defend ourselves.”  You’d never, ever guess that Israel doesn’t want or need our help if you only listen to the jibber-jabber of the Republican party.

And now, Gary Johnson, completely abandoned by the party he could’ve done so much good for, is considering a switch to the Libertarian party to continue his presidential run.

Is the truth really too much for America?  Are consistency, integrity, and respect for the Constitution not valued anymore by my party?

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  Earlier this year, my party booed a gay soldier, cheered at the execution of 234 death row inmates, and one person in the audience of a debate even shouted out “yes!” when Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul if we should let someone without health insurance die in the case of a deadly medical emergency.  The others are hopefully obvious, but I don’t understand how the religious right can cheer the death penalty, which even Bill O’Reilly disagrees with.  Jesus Christ was wrongly crucified by that very law.  You’d think the religious people would care at least a little about that.

This is the state of politics.  In 2012, if I am faced with an Obama vs. Romney or Obama vs. Gingrich vote, I will be forced to do the only thing that is right: voting for the people I stand by.  If Ron Paul does not get the Republican nomination and Gary Johnson does indeed run as a Libertarian, I am voting for Gary Johnson.  It may be one, small, insignificant vote, and it may be considered a waste by some, but I just can’t bring myself to vote for Romney or Gingrich when there are people of integrity and sincerity in the race.

To the GOP and its members – if you continue to ignore Dr. Paul, shame on you.  Shame, shame, shame.  And shame on you for likely driving Gary Johnson out of his own party, and for ignoring him.

America, if you vote in Gingrich or Romney or Obama in 2012, nothing will change, and you will deserve whatever happens.  We, the people, vote in corruption.  We are given a choice, and we get what we vote for.  Whether Newt gets paid off by a corproation, or Mitt changes his mind about a campaign promise, or Obama involves the federal government in yet another place where it will only hurt the people, you will get what you voted for.

In 2012, we will be given the opportunity to elect an ideologically pure man of sound integrity and political beliefs.  Dr. Paul has a proven record.  He is the champion of liberty and of the Constitution.  He has never flip-flopped, never voted to raise taxes, never broke with the Constitution on an issue.  He believes in the importance of our individual liberties and in the importance of not sacrificing our freedoms for a false sense of security.  He is a proponent of sound money, and has proposed $1 trillion worth of cuts in his first year in office.  Ron Paul understands economics more than any other candidate – he’s written 6 books on the subject.  He understands that we can’t do nation building overseas when we’re broke and failing our own citizens here at home.  He is absolutely the only real fiscal conservative on the stage.

We were given this opportunity in 2008, and we failed.  America, don’t fail again.  Please.

The State of the Republican Party

There is something seriously wrong with my political party. From recent debates:

  • Rick Perry says that his state executed 234 death row inmates. Crowd cheers.
  • Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul if we should let someone without health insurance die in the case of a deadly medical emergency, and someone in the audience shouted out “Yes!”

Are we not supposed to be the party that protects life?

And furthermore, the crowd booed at Ron Paul when he stated factual information on why we were attacked on 9/11. It baffles me that mainstream Republicans can possibly think that terrorists attacked us because they hate our freedom. You know, as if there aren’t other countries just as free (or freer) than us in the world. Strange, I wonder why they weren’t attacked? Maybe because those countries weren’t setting up bases in other people’s holy land?

I hate to even admit to intelligent people that I’m Republican because of shit like this.

In a mostly related note, I will definitely not be voting for either of the Ricks.

-Philip

Ugh, GOP Debate

Rick Santorum is infuriating.

The government does NOT have the right to mandate its own moral code. I do NOT want your morals pushed onto me. Nowhere does the Constitution give the federal government the right to teach me what is morally right and wrong. That is the job of parents and family, you complete and total moron. You say you are conservative, but you want to expand the reach of the federal government? Give me a break.