Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tony Stark Knows that War is a Racket

This is too awesome....

.... Great stuff from Peter Santa-Maria ("Attack Peter") matching up the great character of Tony Stark with the legendary piece by Major General Smedly Butler called "War Is A Racket."

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Betty Buys Into War

Remember the good old days of an anti-war Democratic Party? Of course not! Ten years after both Parties in the US Congress gave Republican President George W. Bush a blank check on the Iraq War, Democratic President Barack Obama now desires the exact same thing as the drums beat for a new war in Syria.

This time, the American people are not particularly interested in jumping into another war in the Middle East. Good reason exists for this. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is clearly a monster but, amidst all the atrocities committed by both sides of the conflict, the United States has not been threatened. Also, the specifics of the conflict in Syria are complicated and the case for jumping into action is subsequently harder to make. All of this, along with the general war weariness felt throughout the United States, has kept public opinion firmly in the “opposed” camp nationwide. Representatives in Congress are getting an earful from constituents with a directive to keep the US out of Syria and some active members of the armed forces are even controversially protesting the possibility of war.

The only group of people in the United States that seem to be chomping at the bit to engage Syria militarily are politicians in Washington. Congresswoman Betty McCollum, representing Oakdale inside Minnesota’s 4th congressional district, recently released a statement regarding her position on the possibility of a new war in Syria (refer to a previous Patch article to read the statement in its entirety). This statement was no doubt carefully crafted to suggest that McCollum is in a state of deep deliberation on the matter but declarations sprinkled throughout about supposed “undeniable intelligence,” the necessity of “an unequivocal response from the US and the international community” and other nonsense about how “to do nothing... undermines fundamental global norms of conduct that keep Americans safe” reveal the opposite.

In other words, Betty McCollum plans to follow lock-step with the political establishment regarding a war against Syria. In repeating the bipartisan talking points in favor of a war in Syria and promoting this dangerous foreign policy that designates the United States as the policeman of the world, McCollum seems to feel that:

A) The US government (and its “allies”) can bomb any nation it chooses even if that nation has not threatened national security.

B) The possibility of a Russian and/or Iranian response to an attack on their ally Syria is of no concern to the United States... for some reason; likewise, a response from Syria itself against US allies in the region is apparently of no concern despite its probability.

C) Publicly announcing military strategies to the entire world, always stressing the "limited" part of the proposed strike (and therefore sounding awful threatening and effective, no?), is a really super idea.

D) The Syrian civilian deaths that would result from a US-led military strike are worth it in the long run to, as both the US and French governments have put it, "punish" the Assad regime.

E) Aiding the Syrian rebels, which includes elements of Al Qaeda and other government-defined terrorist groups, who have been actively and violently persecuting minority Syrian Christians, is in the best interest of the American people.
McCollum may need to see something in writing before she signs on the dotted line, true. However, by repeating the administration-approved case for a new war in Syria, McCollum’s statement certainly seems to reflect a keen interest to serve first the best interests of the military industrial complex and the government ruling class. But what about Minnesota's 4th congressional district? Are the American people that McCollum supposedly represents as willing as she to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war? Doubtful. Americans are catching on to the unintended consequences that result from the foreign policy conducted out of Washington. The many decades of heavy political and military involvement by the United States has not made the Middle East a freer place and the state of the region will not be improved by any future bombing of Syria.

Thanks to Oakdale Patch for also running this piece.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Justin Amash... Liberal?

Karl "MC" Rove was on the warpath for Michigan Representative Justin Amash in Denver earlier this week, calling him "the most liberal Republican" in Congress. Amash has since shot back citing his top ratings with limited government organizations. Of course, MC Rove, top lackey for the GOP establishment, calling anybody the "most liberal" of anything is more of a badge of honor than an insult considering how often Rove is on the wrong side of the issues.

But MC Rove can't be that stupid, can he? Maybe by calling Amash "the most liberal Republican" Rove meant "the most classical liberal Republican" because Amash is certainly cut from the same cloth as such great classical liberals as Frederic Bastiat and Thomas Jefferson.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Minnesota Needs Mises Not Minimum Wage Laws

The Minnesota House of Representatives passed a bill last Friday that could give Minnesota the highest minimum wage rates in the United States:
"Under the plan, Minnesota’s minimum wage for companies with $500,000 or more in earnings would go to $8 this summer, $9 a year later and $9.50 in 2015. After that, it would rise according to inflation, with possible yearly bumps up to 2.5 percent."
Although the bill is not law yet, its legislative advancement is no doubt celebrated by many as a victory for low wage workers. However, minimum wage laws actually achieve unintended results that end up hurting the entire population.

Economist Ludwig von Mises skillfully explains the situation in only 12 words: "As wages rise, so must the costs of production and also prices." Workers gain an increase in pay due to individual performance towards a productive end. By not allowing wages to rise and fall naturally as businesses attempt to produce to meet consumer demand, minimum wage laws simply make production, labor and consumption more expensive.

Companies are forced to compensate for a government-mandated higher wage rate by setting higher prices in order to maintain their cost of production. This makes prices go up for every class of buyer, including the minimum wage earner who recently saw the now-fleeted raise in his or her pay. The increase in prices forces everyone to consume less and subsequently causes demand to fall. This decrease in the consumer's demand for products sees an equal decrease in an employer's demand for labor. Many of the workers who initially supported the State-enforced increase of their minimum wage now find themselves unemployed because companies can no longer afford to keep them. Meanwhile, current job-seekers cannot gain employment because employers cannot afford to employ new workers at the higher wage rate. Since inflation is seemingly endless, this specific bill will continually "bump" up wages in accordance with inflation and reengage this cycle of unemployment and higher prices for years to come.

Proponents of this minimum wage bill are incorrect when claiming that its only effects will be an increase in pay for minimum wage earners. Raising the minimum wage will result in higher unemployment and higher prices which will hurt workers (especially low wage earners) but also businesses and consumers alike. Clearly, Minnesota should heed the economic guidance of Ludwig von Mises and not bow to more legislative interference into the market.

Thanks to Oakdale Patch for also running this piece.

Poking the Bear - July 4, 2013

In other news, self-described libertarian commentator/activist Adam Kokesh plans an armed march through Washington DC on July 4th of this year. The march will take a group of people carrying arms lead by Kokesh from Arlington National Cemetery throughout the Capitol, circling the White House and other prominent government buildings.

I am a fan of Adam Kokesh in general. I do not always agree with what he has to say or how he has to say it but his show is consistently entertaining and enlightening. No one argues against Kokesh and company's rights to protest or to carry arms but I agree with Lew Rockwell that this planned march is an unnecessary provoking of government. The government would love nothing more than a group of self-identifying "libertarians" to march on Washington DC with loaded weapons; what an excuse to not only brand an entire group of individuals as terrorists but to possibly practice shooting at live targets. So why poke the bear?

What ends up happening anyway if Kokesh's march does not end in violence? If Kokesh and company are allowed to conduct their armed march throughout Washington, it will simply reinforce the ideas of those who claim that government is our benevolent protector. "See! The government isn't tyrannical because, if it was, it would never have allowed Kokesh march through Washington!" Also, if Kokesh and company are not allowed to conduct their march in Washington, if they are stopped by troops before entering DC and end up simply holding a rally in Virginia, people will ignore the fact that Washington rejects the 2nd Amendment and their oath of office in general by pointing out that Kokesh is leading a self-described "armed revolt."

If libertarianism is based around one idea, it is the non-aggression principle. Kokesh is right to encourage the peaceful submission of those who march with him if they are to be arrested - the last thing anyone wants or needs is for someone to be shot. However, is it not an aggressive act to march upon the US capitol with loaded weapons? If one is to engage in civil disobedience regarding the government's stance on guns, an armed march through DC is not a good example. Civil disobedience would entail not registering your weapon or something like that; an armed march is not comparable to an act of civil disobedience. This leads me to think that Kokesh's march will misrepresent libertarianism by violating the non-aggression principle and set the libertarian movement back, especially since there are so many other non-aggressive ways to promote the ideas of liberty. If you think that the government has placed more than enough barriers in the way of owning a gun or that libertarianism has been demonized enough, you have not seen anything yet if one bad thing is to occur at Kokesh's march.

I hope for the best possible outcome with this march but I am not convinced that it is a necessary or even wise endeavor.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Problem with Gary Johnson

Former two-term Republican Governor of New Mexico and 2012 Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson has many qualities that attract the attention of libertarians. His views on states' rights, the economy and job creation are quite good and his views on foreign policy and taxes at least rub the establishment the wrong way. Johnson put his philosophy into practice as he, in a sense, "governed as a libertarian" during his two terms as Governor of New Mexico. He explains his many vetoes of Republican and Democrat legislation during his time in office, his many policy decisions, often choosing private rather than government solutions, and more in his short book Seven Principles of Good Government which I recommend. Perhaps not up to the standard set by other "Big 'L'" libertarians like Harry Browne, I cannot say that Johnson's views completely exclude him from being a libertarian - unlike, say, socialist Bill Maher or the self-described "low-tax liberal" Ed Clark - the tent is bigger than not. However, Johnson holds and promotes other views that I think does libertarianism a great disservice.

I usually approach Gary Johnson's articles and TV appearances with excitement, since libertarians do not get nearly as large of a voice amidst the interventionist US media, but I was disappointed by his latest appearance on Alan Colmes' Fox News radio show this past Wednesday.

The interview immediately begins with Colmes insinuating that Johnson is the leading libertarian voice in the country, ahead of that of Ron and Rand Paul. I will agree that Rand Paul has a number of ideological problems of his own but I find it impossible to agree with the claim that Johnson's libertarian credentials exceed those of Ron Paul.

Colmes asks Johnson flat-out if he thinks "Ron and Rand Paul are mislabeling themselves as 'libertarian,'" a question that sees Johnson initially fumbling for words. Colmes thinks that Ron and Rand Paul are not as libertarian as Gary Johnson because "they are anti-choice," alluding to the issue of abortion. Many libertarians do argue that abortion should be legal because of that tired old platitude about "a woman's right to choose." Johnson even goes as far as speaking for libertarians as a whole saying, "a libertarian would fundamentally believe that this issue belongs with the woman involved." What a grave misrepresentation. Many libertarians argue that the "fetus" is a human being that has a fundamental claim to his or her life. Few would argue that a woman has "the right to choose" to murder an adult, so pro-life libertarians argue that a woman does not have the right to choose to end the life of her unborn baby either. It is a legitimate libertarian argument that Johnson chooses to ignore.

Ron Paul's own position on abortion is basically two-fold. The first plank includes the recognition of the 9th and 10th Amendment that excludes the Federal Government from the issue altogether, which leaves the States to enforce abortion laws just as they enforce laws against murder. The second plank includes the idea that an unborn baby is a life and should be protected from aggression just as a life should not be violated outside of the womb. Ron Paul's position is a far more consistent libertarian position since it follows the Constitution and the non-aggression principle; also, as a practicing OB/GYN for many decades, Paul's position on abortion includes a unique medical perspective.

Johnson also misrepresents the libertarian position on gay marriage - or, rather, marriage as a whole - when he says people identifying as "Republican/libertarian" are "punting" on the issue that the States should deciding the legality of gay marriage. Johnson's main point on gay marriage is that he considers it a Federal issue: a "Constitutionally-guaranteed right on par with Civil Rights of the 60s." 

First of all, I find it ironic that Johnson considers the position of leaving the marriage issue to the States as "punting" while his own stated position is to "let each State decide" the issue of outlawing or legalizing abortion!

Secondly, marriage is a Constitutionally-guaranteed right? Really? Where is it written in the Constitution that the States have given the Federal Government authority to regulate marriage? (I'll give you a hint: it's not in there.) It is true that some libertarians argue for the Federal legalization of gay marriage; however, I would argue that the more consistent libertarian position on marriage (between gay or straight couples) is one that advocates the removal of government from the entire institution.

Government-sanctioned marriage (again, gay or straight) is not a "Constitutional right" - the government has no authority whatsoever in marriage. The "civil right" in question regarding marriage between people of any sexual orientation is the right of individuals to enter into voluntary relationships without the force of government in the way to ensure compliance with bureaucratic regulations or demand fees. I agree with Johnson insomuch that leaving marriage "to the States" is not good enough (even though I understand the 10th Amendment application there); however, I disagree with Johnson that government needs to be involved in marriage at all. I say leave marriage to the individuals! Whose idea was it anyway to fork over your cash, property, so that the government can sign off on your marriage?

As if it were not bad enough that Johnson misrepresents the "libertarian" brand regarding marriage, he continues to misrepresent the specific position of Ron Paul himself saying, "Ron Paul would say 'Give [gay marriage] to the States.'"

Johnson makes a special effort to separate the words "tolerant" and "accepting" on the idea that "tolerance" suggests a personal objection to a certain lifestyle. His view is noble but flawed. Everybody objects to particular lifestyles by the very fact of living the way they choose: straight people personally object to engaging in homosexual activities themselves by choosing to date people of the opposite sex, vegetarians personally object to eating meat by avoiding it, etc. Everybody personally objects to other particular lifestyles, that is why they chose not to engage in them; but that does not mean that they object to other people engaging in those particular lifestyles.

Problems arise when people try and force others (usually using the force of government) to halt activities they personally disagree with and force others to conform. There is a difference between a person who is personally against an activity, ideology or lifestyle, choosing not to subscribe to or engage in them, and a person who is trying to stop someone from engaging in that activity, ideology or lifestyle. Here is where Johnson's view comes in line with libertarian thought: Johnson says he takes the attitude of "I don't care what you do with your life as long as it doesn't adversely affect mine." Of course, this is exactly what libertarians believe and this is exactly the position that Ron Paul (and many other libertarians) take regarding marriage! Paul specifically says gay people "can do whatever they want and call it whatever they want. .... The government should just be out of [marriage] .... I have my standards, but I shouldn't have to impose my standards on others; others have standards but have no right to impose their standards on me." This position is pretty cut-and-dry - and far more libertarian than arguing that the Federal Government has regulatory control over marriage.

Luckily, the interview with Colmes was not a complete loss since Johnson had good things to say regarding drones, the surveillance state, the PATRIOT Act, the Federal Reserve, the income tax and competition. But that does not make up for the way that Johnson misrepresented the libertarian position on abortion and marriage. Johnson also continued to flimsily defend the martial law in Boston and promotes the fair tax. You might be wondering what Ron Paul's position on those two things would be.... Well, amazingly, the man whom Colmes feels is not as libertarian as Johnson spoke out against the martial law and has his own, superior, idea of an acceptable flat tax.

Some may think that my entire article is pointless: Why compare Johnson to Paul or any other libertarian? Some may think that such a discussion is distracting from promoting the message of liberty. But I argue that defining the libertarian positions on issues is important. Not every libertarian agrees on every single issue and there are points that can be argued in libertarian circles. However, Gary Johnson is not helping promote the message of liberty when he misleads others so far away from positions that are far more libertarian. Johnson's voice is welcomed in the libertarian debate. However, libertarians need to speak up when his positions do not match up with the libertarian position; especially if Johnson is to be considered a leading libertarian figure.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Case of Mistaken Identity

One must approach an article published by the New York Times boasting a libertarian position with extreme skepticism. A recent piece by Robert A. Levy of the Cato Institute proves this rule. Levy claims to have a "Libertarian case for expanding gun background checks," specifically supporting the defeated Manchin-Toomey proposal. Well now....

Gun-rights advocates should use this interval to refine their priorities and support this measure, with a few modest changes. If they don’t, they will be opening themselves to accusations from President Obama and others that they are merely obstructionists, zealots who will not agree to common-sense gun legislation.
The focus on background checks should not distract gun owners from the positive provisions in the Manchin-Toomey proposal.

It would allow Americans to buy handguns from out-of-state sellers, which is not allowed currently.

It would explicitly prohibit the creation of a national gun registry, and make it a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, to misuse records from the national database used for background checks.

It would affirm that unloaded guns with a lock mechanism in place can be transported across state lines.

It would immunize private gun sellers from lawsuits if a gun they have sold is used unlawfully, unless the seller knows or should have known that the buyer provided false information or was otherwise ineligible to buy a gun. Extending background checks to unlicensed sellers shouldn’t be cause for alarm. Background checks are already required for purchases from federally licensed dealers, whether at stores or gun shows, over the Internet or by mail. Moreover, gun buyers would be exempt from background checks if they had a carry permit issued within the last five years.

To my mind, the Manchin-Toomey proposal needs additional improvements to satisfy the demands of certain gun rights advocates. These changes might have helped save the proposal, which was supported by 54 senators — six votes short of the supermajority needed to overcome a filibuster.

The proposal prohibits the attorney general (as head of the Justice Department) from creating a firearms registry, but this prohibition should be broadened to cover all government agencies.

The proposal should also exempt certain rural residents who live too far from a licensed gun dealer for a background check to be practicable.

What we have here is a case of mistaken identity since Levy's position on the Manchin-Toomey proposal is clearly not a libertarian one. Levy is basically arguing for the passage of a terrible bill because of its silver lining and because Obama will smear libertarians otherwise. This is not even a logical argument, let alone a libertarian one.

Levy's argument, specifically concerning the merits of the Manchin-Toomey proposal, is fundamentally flawed. First of all, Levy seems ignorant of A) the fact that the 2nd Amendment protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms without giving the government any authority over the matter and B) how requiring background checks for gun purchases will create a de facto registry (and the government always gets caught or punished when disobeying the law, right?). The fact is that the very existence of a background check requirement when attempting to purchase a firearm breaks the inflexible 2nd Amendment which gives government no say on how the people keep and bear arms.

The Manchin-Toomey proposal would not even achieve its goal to prevent future gun violence. It is clear that the Manchin-Toomey proposal is an attempt by the political establishment to appear to be doing something proactive in response to the number of deadly shootings that have occurred in the United States. President Obama surrounding himself with former House Rep. Gabby Giffords and families of victims from the Newtown, CT shooting as he lamented the proposal's defeat two weeks ago is evidence of this. However, background checks will do nothing to stop future gun-related violence. A required background check would have done nothing to stop the Tsarnaev brothers from getting their illegally-owned guns and would have done nothing to stop Adam Lanza from taking his mother's legally-owned guns. The proposal would simply not accomplish anything it set out to achieve.

But watch out! This so-called "libertarian" position warns of "accusations from President Obama and others" in response to resisting this establishment gun control proposal. Are we supposed to be concerned about this? What exactly has stopped Obama or his leftist legions from smearing those who refuse to comply with the regime in the past and since when have those smears stopped libertarians from advocating the message of freedom? Leftists either accept the submission of their political enemies with contempt or they engage in outright smear attacks with no regard for the truth when faced with resistance. So what if leftists call libertarians who believe that human beings have a natural, inalienable right to self-defense names? We are right! Running away from our position out of fear of unpleasant and untrue monikers will not advance the issue and, in fact, does the cause a great disservice. 

With all of this in mind, Levy's greater logic in supporting the Manchin-Toomey proposal makes absolutely no sense. Certainly some of what Levy lists as "the positive provisions" of the Manchin-Toomey proposal would be positive and should be pursued outside of the context of the proposal (UPDATE: Brian Wilson shows that some of what Levy says here is not accurate). They make for a shiny silver lining but are hardly sufficient in the end when weighed up against the final outcome of the proposal which is more Federal control over the rights of the American people to keep and bear arms. Who argues in support of something because of the few positives that come along with a monstrous negative? Levy even goes as far as saying "the taxpayers — and not just law-abiding gun owners — should foot some of the bill" for the background checks and "more F.B.I. staff members to manage the database would also help expedite the process." That's right: Levy's "libertarian position" includes an expansion of the police state and more taxes! What will he think of next?

So in summing up this supposed "libertarian position": The Manchin-Toomey proposal is completely unconstitutional, will not solve any problems regarding violent crime and will act as an unofficial gun registry but Levy supports it because of its silver lining, because taxpayers supposedly do not already pay their fair share, because the FBI is not already big enough and because he wishes to avoid liberal criticisms. Sound libertarian?

The Cato Institute is often a source for excellent information but its significant level of inconsistency and shaky ideological foundations separate it from other reliable libertarian outlets. There is no questioning why Judge Andrew Napolitano resigned his board position over there not long ago.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Erroneous Rationale for an Internet Sales Tax

Remember when buying things from internet businesses did not include a sales tax? It comes as no surprise that politicians would soon try and put an end to such a great thing. After all, they could not sit idly by and watch money that would otherwise line their pockets be tragically saved or spent on other things in the economy by the consumer.

White House talking piece Jay Carney said Monday that the wrongly-named "Marketplace Fairness Act," currently working its way through the bowels of the House and Senate before eventually plopping in a steaming pile onto the President's desk for signature, "will level the playing field for local small business retailers who are undercut every day by out-of state online companies."

We have recently seen this argument for a sales tax on internet businesses like play out in a number of states.  California recently added a state internet sales tax for the same reason that the current Federal political class now advocates: the issue is that local brick-and-mortar shops, which are forced to pay sales taxes by their respective states, are losing customers to internet businesses like because the sales tax has not been immediately applicable to websites. Naturally, the fact that a business does not even exist in a physical state has not prevented governments from trying to tax it. Give the government time and they will try to legally plunder anything. The basic argument perpetuated by greedy government officials and competing businesses is that Amazon's ability to charge less for an item because of the lack of a sales tax is unfair to Walmart which is required by law to charge the tax and an online sales tax needs to be put in place to make things even.

This argument makes little sense for a number of reasons but the most fundamental problem with it is that the brick-and-mortar businesses are aiming their frustrations at an incorrectly identified source. It seems as if the problem for brick-and-mortar stores is not their internet competitors but the sales tax itself. The brick-and-mortar businesses should not be advocating for a new tax to be forced upon their online competitors when the problem is the very existence of the burdensome sales tax. Would it not benefit all businesses, online or not, if the costly and problematic sales taxes were simply lifted?

Jay Carney attempts to smear online companies from behind his domineering White House pulpit, claiming that they "undercut" local small businesses by not having to pay a sales tax. However, the fact is that governments are what is undercutting local small businesses by forcing them to collect the sales tax in the first place. Interestingly enough, the benefits from ending the sales tax is the exact same as Carney's rationale for the passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act: Ending sales taxes "will level the playing field for local small business retailers."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Marriage Equality

With two gay marriage cases recently arriving at the Supreme Court, there is a lot of talk about "marriage equality" throughout the United States (and especially in my home state of Minnesota where the state government is also arguing the issue).
The term "marriage equality" is constantly thrown about within the national discussion over gay marriage. Unfortunately "marriage equality" tends to mean equal government supervision over the love of two human beings. 
On the one hand, "marriage" tends to mean nothing more in legal terms than a tax status these days. Tax reform would go a long way towards taking marriage out of the legal equation in the first place (though other problems might arise with so-called "tax reform" - but that's a different story altogether). Since the income tax is immoral, allowing gay people to take advantage of the same tax loopholes that straight married couples have is definitely preferred. On the other hand, watching people demand a government rubber stamp for their marriage is, well.... kind of sad.

The term "marriage equality" sums up exactly what I believe in; however, it is a different meaning than what is usually defined in the media. I want the government out of marriage altogether.
Marriage would be equal for everyone in every sense by solely being about the promise between individuals and not including the government at all. Does this mean that two people of the same sex would be able to move in together and pledge their love and lives to one another without the threat of government sanctions? Yes. It also means that the government would stay out of the marriages between straight couples as well; no government approval necessary and no licensing fees. That makes for extra time and extra funds to be spent on the honeymoon, I would think.
Whose idea was it to fork over personal sovereignty and property for a government-issued license allowing you to marry the person you love anyway? Gay marriage may one day be legal in the eyes of the law but, with the government in charge of marriage, a lifetime of love will never be free.

Monday, March 25, 2013

And You Thought She Was "Progressive"....

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren became an overnight darling of the progressive Left for her statement insinuating that "there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody."

She explained:
"You built a factory out there? Good for you," she says. "But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did."

She continues: "Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."
Never mind that the money used to build and fund roads, schools, police, etc. was taken from the productive, wealthy part of society in the first place - or that the public has no choice in the matter at all - Warren became a major voice for the Democratic Party and American progressive movement (even President Obama jumped on her bandwagon).

But oh, how things can change! Now Warren is in the news again for some seemingly very non-progressive positions.

First, Warren attacked her Republican Senate rival Dan Winslow last week for being soft on pot, saying "he's for the legalization of marijuana." Oh no! He supports not throwing people in jail for getting high? How dangerous!

This week Warren startled many Lefties with a hawkish view on Iran:
"Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons" and "Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is unacceptable because a nuclear Iran would be a threat to the United States, our allies, the region, and the world."
The statement continues, "The United States must take the necessary steps to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. I support strong sanctions against Iran and believe that the United States must also continue to take a leadership role in pushing other countries to implement strong sanctions as well. Iran must not have an escape hatch."

But wait! Defense Secretary Leon Panetta already let it slip that "The intelligence does not show that [Iran officials] have made the decision to proceed with developing a nuclear weapon." The United States and its allies do not even know if Tehran is pursuing a weapon at all these days.

I am sure there are a lot of confused people out there: the socialists and progressives do not regulate personal habits or advocate international conflict; they are supposed to be the pro-choice, peace-loving, flower-waving hippies, right? Think again. Interventions in a socialist society are limitless. No rock is left unturned: your business, your food, your currency, your education and, yes, even your personal habits are all regulated by the government with an ever-disappearing list of exceptions (unless you work for the State of course). Socialism destroys indirectly but also directly: history's most famous progressive socialists - from Stalin to Mao to Che Guevara - were mass murderers.

When politicians are allowed to intervene in one place, they intervene everywhere. Democrat voters: Politicians are not your friends. Some Democrats will talk about legalizing pot but, as Elizabeth Warren proves, others demand continued control over your personal lives. Some Democrats likewise will also speak to the idea of engaging in friendly discourse with other nations but, as Elizabeth Warren proves, others think the rest of the world is under the jurisdiction of the United States and must be policed. Do not think you can trust politicians either, Republicans: remember that six year period where Republicans had control of the Senate, House and Presidency in which government grew by leaps and bounds?

The Left is more often associated with what people think of "progressive" policies. However, perhaps this old way of thinking that people's personal habits need to be regulated and nations need to be on the brink of war with each other for world-wide political posturing is not so "progressive" after all. Perhaps nowadays "progressive" should be associated with getting government out of people's lives, allowing individuals to make decisions for themselves and taking responsibility for their own actions, and with making peace with other nations.

Naturally, Warren showed her true socialist colors when she gave credit to the thieving State for allowing people to become successful - she continued by attempting to strip away dissent in the Senate chamber. Now Warren continues to show her great disregard for liberty and the individual by slamming those who advocate the legalization of some people's victimless recreational drug and by banging the war drum against a nation that has not threatened the United States.

A Property Rights Victory

Six months ago, I voiced concern and lamented the very existence of a Supreme Court case that threatened the most basic idea of property rights. Due to business people who shiver at the thought of even limited competition, the outcome of Kirtsaeng v. Wiley could have prohibited the public from reselling their own things that happened to be assembled outside the country without the copyright holder's permission. How many books, cars, CDs and other products are made outside of the US? If you guessed anything less than "a lot" - you would be wrong.

Luckily, the Supreme Court decided last week that if you buy something, you own it - end of story. The fact that the Supreme Court even entertained the case is frustrating enough but the fact that we are all forced to put our faith in nine individuals to uphold the most basic rights is flat-out terrifying. At least the Court upheld the rights of the consumer to do what they want with their own property.... this time.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Are "Anti-Federalists" the New Bogeymen?

Watch out for "anti-federalists" says those at the Washington "think" tank the West Point center.

These "anti-federalists" apparently "espouse strong convictions regarding the federal government, believing it to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights. Finally, they support civil activism, individual freedoms, and self government."

Hear that? Be on the lookout for the dangerous Thomas Jefferson!


.... From "A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge" (1779).

Of course, those who really believe in civil and constitutional rights, self government and the like are always nonviolent. Governments are the violent ones: killing, stealing and dictating from on high against those they find inferior or simply in the way; failure to comply with the government agenda always ends in coercion. Those who desire liberty want to end the violence of government.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Political Spectrum

Some talk of "Left vs. Right" and while that divide exists physically in Washington, political philosophy is far more nuanced. Here is the best picture description of the realities of the political spectrum that I have ever come across....

.... I will say that I think the "Jeffersonian" and the "Jacksonian" labels might be on the wrong side of things; other than that, this diagram is great.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Gun Control = State Monopoly

Talk of gun control in the United States is stronger than ever in this brand new year of 2013. Gun Control is nothing but another more dangerous form of prohibition but it is also, on top of just being a historically bad idea, something that simply creates a dangerous monopoly against the public.

Instead of a responsible public owning guns for hunting, self-defense, etc.; only the government and the criminals will own them. That's a very dangerous monopoly; of course, it is something that some explicitly desire. Criminals certainly want a reduction in public ownership of guns (no one to shoot back) and the government wants it to better control the lives of the public. Isn't it interesting when the motives of both criminals and politicians overlap?

The line from the anti-gun group sounds inconsistent but it really is not inconsistent at all; it fits perfectly into their desired outcome. While powerful people want everyone else to be disarmed, they wouldn't dare give up their guns or gun-toting body guards. Why? NY Representative Jerrold Nadler says that the “state ought to have a monopoly on legitimate violence."

Ah yes, the government, already unfortunately deciding what kind of violence against the public is "legitimate" in the first place, should have all of the guns! What could go wrong?

If guns are to be outlawed or limited in any way, the army, police, secret service, etc. have to give up their guns too. Monopolies are bad, after all - and who honestly believes that they are safer because the army or police own guns?