mind your business

Friday, October 3, 2008

Issues Page

The Role of Government - Any political movement is doomed to failure so long as it is merely fighting for a particular, isolated policy preference or even a set of such preferences, absent of any context and underived from or related to a unified framework for viewing reality, humankind's role in reality, and government's role in human society.

Remember that the proper role of a government is to maintain a civil society, meaning a society free from aggression, a society in which no human being can threaten any other by aggressing against them to destroy, diminish, or expropriate their lives, or their liberty or property- which are necessary preconditions of and corollaries to a human being's right to his or her own life.

When government forcibly takes from some to give to others, it does the very thing it exists to safeguard against happening. When it takes such an action, it becomes an aggressor. It ceases to be an impartial arbiter between free and equal citizens to ensure their liberty, and it becomes a biased, partisan advocate for some people, using the legal power and force of its laws to favor them at the expense of the lives, liberty, and property of others without their consent and voluntary cooperation, which is morally outrageous.

If we as champions of liberty can fully comprehend, logically extrapolate from, and effectively articulate this one principle, and if we carry this message to the people of the world in a spirit of humility, love, and benevolence, we will move in leaps and bounds towards creating a truly civil and free society.

Bailouts - We should call bailouts exactly what they are- corporate welfare. While conservatives and welfare statists may disagree over the legitimacy of welfare programs to help the poor, there should be no disagreement that taking from hardworking people to give to corporations is wrong. It rewards lobbying and encourages corruption, rather than rewarding hard work and innovation.

Entitlements - Entitlement programs inevitably bankrupt their nation's treasury, corrupt its political process, and destroy capital that could otherwise be at work to create productive jobs and value. "Welfare" programs do not and cannot create wealth, but they do destroy it, along with potentially higher standards of living and greater productive capacity. There is nothing compassionate or humanitarian about them.

National Defense - Defending its borders and citizens from foreign aggression is the most important thing a government does. Sadly, present US defense policies make its citizens less- not more- safe! To correct this, the US should streamline and focus its defenses and intelligence networks on counter-terrorism and counter-piracy, rather than continue the outdated, pre-9-11 strategy of maintaining a large, standing army designed to wage conventional warfare against nation states.

Monetary Policy - Private central banks that control the money supply (like the US Federal Reserve) are the cause of the boom-and-bust cycles that people falsely consider characteristic of a free-market, capitalist economy. By artificially inflating money reserves and holding down interest rates, they fuel overspending and overconsumption, while disincentivizing saving and investment. The US Fed should be audited and abolished!

Taxes and Spending - The US government spent more in 2008 alone than it did during the entire 19th century! Even worse, if the US Federal government cut its 2009 budget by the amount of spending it did during the entire 19th century- it would barely even make a dent (source). Surely no can disagree that current spending levels are simply outrageous. There can be no wonder that the US economy has struggled under the weight of so much debt and withered from the starvation of so much confiscated capital. Congress needs to cut taxes, but in order to do so, it must drastically reduce spending!

Civil Liberties - The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights have been trampled and ignored to the peril of the American people. If you are an American, your freedom of thought, speech, religion, press, armament, and due process are being ignored. Such measures are not necessary to keep you safe from terrorists- especially not when the government considers you a possible terrorist for supporting the Constitution too loudly or even being a Veteran!

National Sovereignty - The American government and political mindset are entirely unique among all the nations of the world. Our government is constituted to maintain a civil society by protecting your life and liberty. As noted above this is rapidly changing, and one of the major elements of erosion is the surrender of more and more sovereign U.S. power to international organizations like NATO, NAFTA, and the UN. If Americans are interested in preserving their liberties, they must support American disentanglement from these international organizations.

Education - The Constitution does not provide for or allow the the U.S. Federal government to meddle in education. It is a private and state issue, and should remain so. The U.S. Dept of Education should be abolished along with all Federal expenditures for education- the money should be returned to taxpayers where it belongs. States should adopt innovative and market-based solutions to the problems facing education- like the voucher system which produced better results at a fraction of the cost when it was tried in Washington D.C. (before being quietly abolished for political reasons).

Immigration - the sincerest form of flattery. Millions of people have chosen to leave their homes and come to the United States because of its freedoms and opportunities. America should absolutely secure and monitor its borders for national defense, and it should end all entitlement programs for non-U.S. citizens, but it should also repeal restrictive immigration quotas and allow in as many immigrants as are willing to legally emigrate here. This would allow the free market interaction of supply and demand to determine the number of immigrants America admits, not a bureaucrat in Washington who has no means of determining the "right amount" of immigration.

Gun Rights - Government exists to create a civil society- a society free of aggression because it is accountable to and safeguarded by a higher civil authority. But at the moment a man is attacked in his home or in an alley, away from the immediate help of law enforcement, he is not in a state of civil society because he has no higher authority to appeal to for his defense at the moment of his need. He is in a state of nature with his attacker and has the right to respond to his aggressor in kind for his self defense. This is the philosophical basis and foundation for the right to bear arms. For an empirical validation- note the fact that states with less restrictive gun laws have lower incidences of violent crime. Period.

The Environment - Global warming is a racket and a front for the agenda of social democrats, Marxists, and eugenicists. There is neither a scientific consensus, nor a compelling empirical argument for the claims of the global warming racketeers. Surely no one would disagree that there is no sense in fouling up the air we breathe and the water we drink, or frivolously driving species to extinction, but the best way to avoid these indiscretions is to protect human liberty and private property rights. The worst violators and polluters are and have always been governments. Giving them more power will not "save" the environment, but worsen it.

Energy Policy - The most efficient allocation of any kind of resource occurs in the context and framework of a truly free market of uncoerced, mutually voluntary, mutually beneficial exchanges between consenting human beings. It is no different for energy. Special energy taxes, heavy restrictions, over-regulation, and legally-created monopolies all have a share in pushing up the price of energy and discouraging the invention and use of cleaner and more renewable sources.

Health Care - There can be no doubt that America's health care system needs serious reform, but there can be no argument that its present defects are the result of the operation of a free market. The market for health care is anything but free. It is a tangled mess of confusing policies, restrictions, regulations, and cartels- an exemplar of the waste and absurdity that occur at the intersection of big government, big business, and big labor. Again, the free market will create the most efficient allocation of health care- the best quality, at the best prices, for the most people.

Sex and Marriage - Sex and marriage are both profoundly important and deeply sacred aspects of the human experience- it is because this is true that they should remain private institutions without any kind of government sanction or restriction. There should be a "separation of marriage and state" in the same way and for the same reason that there is a separation of church and state. Rather than legalize "gay marriage" our respective state governments should de-legalize straight marriage. Why should any couple, straight or gay, have to seek the state's permission and license to marry?

Abortion - The crux of the abortion debate is the ontological status of the unborn. If a fetus is in fact, a living human being, then like all human beings, it is entitled to legal rights and protections. If it is simply tissue belonging to the mother's body, then the state should have no qualms with what she does to it, as it has no qualms with what she does to her tonsils or appendix. It is the opinion of the editor and contributors at The Humble Libertarian, that scientifically and philosophically speaking- the act of conception creates a unique human being entitled to legal protection. All arguments to the contrary usually evade this issue altogether or when confronting it, invoke categorical errors in their defense.

Drug Policy - Government exists to create a civil society- a society free from aggression. It does not exist to define or create a virtuous society. Any individual's action that does not threaten the life, liberty, or property of another human being should remain outside the purview of government interference. In this regard, cannibis should be legal to produce and use for the same reason and in the same way (minus much of the regulation, that is) that alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine are legal to produce and use.

Religion - When those who hold political power (i.e. have all the biggest and best guns) are also vested with the aura of intrinsic moral righteousness, history has shown us that bad things inevitably happen. That said- it should also be noted that the world's great religions have had an overwhelmingly positive and civilizing impact on their true adherents, and that at the heart of most of the great religions, is the injunction to humility, meekness, benevolence, and love, and that when they are taken seriously as such, their faithful adherents would not want or try to forcibly rule or control the lives of other human beings. Yes I am saying it- the world's classical religions, when practiced faithfully, necessarily recommend themselves to a libertarian civil order.

The Economy - It is essential that we understand this axiom: a thing cannot be consumed before it is produced. Its corollary is that production- not consumption- drives and undergirds humanity's material prosperity. It should be clear why the global economy struggles when the very opposite of this principle is nearly taken as axiomatic today- that consumerism drives an economy and that spending makes one prosper. To be succinct let me add only one more thing: Capitalism is not only the most moral and enlightened way for human beings to deal with each other, it is not only unmatched in its ability to raise standards of living and material prosperity for everyone... it is just really, really cool!

Barack Obama - President Obama ran a campaign on the theme of hope, using the slogan "Yes we can!" At a time when Americans desperately needed words of hope and optimism, Obama convinced America that he was the candidate of hope. We were duped. Listen again to the words of his campaign and administration- it was a cynical campaign, utterly bankrupt of genuine hope. Obama's message to America is "No you can't! No you can't provide for yourselves. No you can't create new jobs and wealth on your own. No you can't thrive and prosper without handouts from the government. You are helpless and inept. You need a powerful, charismatic leader who is smarter than you are and knows what's good for you and how to spend your money better than you do."

Electoral Politics - America is worse than a two-party system. It shares a common characteristic with many communist countries- that it is in fact a one-party nation. Confused? That's the point. America's one party system stays in control by masquerading as a two-party system and convincing Americans that their choice is between the guys with the elephants pinned on their lapels or the guys with the donkeys pinned on their lapels- but history has shown us that both kinds of politicians will inevitably expand government's power, spending, and control over your life, liberty, and property. That said, there is a real movement afoot to reform the Republican party and bring its policy in line with its rhetoric. That movement's success and the Republican party's integrity may be the best chance the U.S. presently has of returning to the ideals that made it great.

Tea Parties - It remains to be seen whether the Tea Party movement will be remembered as a success. In order to be so remembered, it must roll its activity and momentum forward into electoral victories for candidates that are unambiguously committed to restrain government, diminish its inflated powers, and return America to the steady, guiding light of its Constitution.