Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why I’m a Libertarian

I frequent a conservative Christian website called “What’s Wrong With The World” (WWWTW) where my Libertarianism is often challenged on the basis of Natural Law theory, the “common good”, or on some other philosophical footing.  Now I have to admit that their views of Libertarianism are so worked out that most of them describe it in terms completely foreign to me.  I’m often confronted with “doomsday scenarios” where, in some theoretical Libertarian society, all societal structures break down (even the family) and all that is left is individuals battling other individuals in a barren wasteland.  (The only thing missing is the zombies!)  Now, I’m only a recent convert to Libertarian thinking and as such am not well versed in its history or philosophical underpinnings.  I will say this though: the Libertarianism I have learned about from Libertarians themselves differs dramatically from that described by the WWWTW sages – so I’m not sure what exactly they’re against, but I’m fairly certain what I am for  For simple-minded me, Libertarianism is all about the nature and proper role of government. 
First, the nature of government:  Government is the only entity in society (other than parents) that can legitimately exercise coercive control over individuals.  The government can come to your house, break down your door, confiscate your property, drag you and your family into the street and beat you to a pulp if you resist – all with relative impunity (even if it turns out later that it was the wrong address).  Individuals (even parents) cannot legally do that.  We, as a society, have collectively agreed to submit to an authority with the power of life and death over us.  We do this because we believe in the necessity of government for order and peace.   Everything the government does (and this is important), ultimately resolves in the threat of lawful force if resisted.  Even the most innocent of crimes---say parking tickets---if ignored long enough will result in the government forcing its will upon you.  The nature of government then, is ‘legitimized tyranny’.  Or, in the words of Thomas Paine, “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one."
So, given the tyrannical nature of government, the question then becomes “over what areas of society should we grant such tyrannical authority?”  In other words: “what is the proper role of government?”   The pure Libertarian answer is that the role of government is solely to protect the innocent from force and fraud.   Coercive force, in a Libertarian society, is legitimate only for keeping the peace and protecting the innocent.  A Libertarian State then, would have departments of Defense, Corrections, Law Enforcement, and not much else.  Other shades of Libertarianism will add other areas into the mix such as Immigration, Environmental Protection, or whatever.  But each area added moves the State one step further from pure Libertarianism.  (Of course you'd still have an independant Judiciary and a Legislative branch - though the legislators would have much less to do in a Libertarian society!)  For me then, the answer to the question of 'areas to grant tyrannical authority over' is: “as few as possible”.  I’m not a pure Libertarian.  I think that a nation should have borders and an immigration policy.  I also think there needs to be environmental protections of some sort.  And, I know that many Libertarians are pro-abortion – I’m not.  I think that the primary function of government is to protect innocent life.  For me, that means life at conception (see: Science, more specifically: Biology, even more specifically: Genetics, for further information).
So where are we at in this country?  Well, currently in this country, we have allowed the government tyrannical access to so many areas the list is dizzying!  (For a list of just the federal departments of government see here.)   We have collectively agreed that we are willing to submit ourselves to coercive force in the areas of health care, transportation, agriculture, retirement, education, commerce, the environment, housing, wages, labor relations… the list goes on and on and on!  And, if you doubt that these departments would ever use force against us, think again.  Many of these departments have “enforcement divisions” consisting of armed officers.  The Department of Education, for instance, has its own law enforcement arm (the “U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General” or “OIG”) that, on June 7, 2011 broke down a door to a Stockton, CA residence, dragged a man and his three children out of their home, handcuffed the man and detained all of them for several hours in squad cars for the “crime” of living in the previous residence of the man’s ex-wife (who was wanted on some warrant having to do with student loan fraud).
Such is the nature of government.  Something as seemingly innocuous as the Department of Education can, when provoked, turn quite ugly!
Interestingly, the one area from which the government has voluntarily withdrawn its tyranny is in the area of the US currency.   This, in spite of the constitutional mandate stating that “only Congress” can coin money and set its value!  So who does the government trust to create currency and set its value?  Believe it or not it has given that power over to the banking industry!  Yes, the Federal Reserve Bank (a private bank over which the government appoints officers – but oddly refuses to audit) is in charge of the money supply in this country!  It’s a little like letting the fox guard the hen house.  (Of course that's another issue worthy of its own thread!)
So - build a house without a permit: the government steps in, condemns your house and kicks you out on the street; forget to pay your parking tickets long enough: they haul you off to jail; arbitrarily devalue the US dollar so your buddies in the banking industry can profit: government winks, extends their open hand and looks the other way! 
This then, is the nature and role of government in this country.  It’s time people, to think Libertarian thoughts and get ourselves free!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Racism 101

Listen to this radio ad put out by (a public awareness campaign developed by the National Fair Housing Alliance) and see if you can spot the racism.  (I'll wait)

Did you hear it?  If not, then I'll spell it out for you.  Here's the dialog: 
First guy: "I grew up in an all white neighborhood."
Second guy: "I grew up in a diverse neighborhood."
First guy: "Everyone I knew was just like me."
Second guy: "Everyone I knew brought something different to the party."
First guy: "They looked like me, thought like me, acted like me - so my neighborhood always stayed the same."
Second guy: "They introduced me to different tastse, different ideas, different ways of doing things - so my neighborhood always got more interesting."
Together: "They definitely helped shape the way I look at things"
Second guy: "and they prepared me for the future."
First guy: "They did?"
Second guy "They did."

The announcer then goes on to tell us how great diversity is.

So, if you still don't get it, here's the racism: the implication that all white people look, think and act alike simply because of their skin color.  That, my friends, is textbook racism.

Think about this for a minute...  Do all white people really act and think alike?  Think about all the white people you know.  There are white people who are liberals, and white people who are conservatives - white Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independants, Greens...  There are white Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, atheists, agnostics... and even within the white Christians there are Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Pentecostals, Seventh-Day Adventists... There are white Packer fans, Bronco fans, Laker fans, Celtic fans...  white soccer fans, baseball fans... white scientists, white vegetarians, meat lovers, broccoli haters...  well you get the picture.

If all white people thought and acted alike, they'd all be Libertarian Ron Paul supporters and Black Sabbath fans whose favorite football team was the Denver Broncos.  (I'm pretty sure that's not true.)  And that's because diversity is not due to the color of one's skin - diversity comes from our uniqueness as human individuals.  So not all white people think and act alike, and not all black people think and act alike (and I'll save you the suspense; neither do all brown, red, yellow or any color in between).  There is no race that thinks and acts alike simply because their skin is the same color. 

To think otherwise is to be a racist.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I'm Out!

No, not in that way.  I am officially out of the Republican party.  So what did it?  Well, the straw that broke the camel's back for me was the GOP's shameful treatment of Ron Paul, and by extension all of his followers (which includes me!)  Why should I be part of a political party that actively campaigns against the things I hold dear?  That's just stupid - right

So I am now a registered Libertarian.  It was only a matter of time anyway.  I've been attracted to the Libertarian party ever since I read the voter's pamphlet entry by the Libertarian candidate for President back in 2000 (who I voted for by the way).  He said (paraphrasing) "we have a Department of Transportation that doesn't transport anything, a Department of Energy that produces no energy, a Department of Agriculture that produces no crops..." well, you get the idea.  All of these government agencies tend to get in the way of the producers who want to transport things, and give us energy and food.

Now, I don't agree with everything the Libertarians believe (I am decidedly pro-life) but I agree with way more Libertarian ideals than Republican ideals (do they have any?)

So that's it.  34 years (plus or minus) as a Republican.  Seems weird.  I think I'll get used to it though.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Stripes on a Zebra

Obama and Romney are like stripes on a zebra: different color - same animal.

Both support undeclared, unauthorized, illegal wars.
Both support massive increases in government size (and power).
Both support corporate welfare to the tune of $trillions.
Both support fractional reserve banking, the Fed and the inevitable monetary collapse they will cause.
Both support government intervention to permanently enslave the poor, destroy the middle class, and reward the financial industry.
Both are beholden to the military industrial complex.
Both support extreme interventionist foreign policy.
Both support sending billions in US dollars abroad.
Both support spending billions on the racist "war on drugs".
Both will do nothing to curb illegal immigration.
I could go on, and on, and...

When will Americans wake up?
When will we vote for someone that corporate-owned media has NOT picked for us?

Write in Ron Paul.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Myth of the Two Party System

A certain Soviet leader once reportedly commented, "We have a hard time convincing people in the USSR that our elections aren't rigged because we have only one party on the ballot, you Americans have figured it out though... you have two parties on your ballots!"

We do.  We have two political parties on our ballots.  But are our elections still rigged?  What good does it do to have two political parties if the people chosen to run against each other are hand picked for us by big money?

What good does it do to have two political parties if there's not an ounce of difference between them?

Case in point: Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney. 

Both support the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which gives the US government the power to indefinitely detain US citizens on US soil without a trial (a clear violation of the fourth amendment.)

Both support the right of a US president to assassinate US citizens if they are deemed a "terrorist" or a "terrorist sympathiser" by top administration officials (remember that this administration was calling the Tea Party "terrorists" not too long ago!)

Both support bailouts of big financial institutions that have made incredibly bad business decisions (rather than letting the bad ones fail so the good ones can rise to the top.)

Both support Corporate Welfare - the idea that the government needs to intervene on behalf of the corporations it wants to succeed--with bailouts, and tax incentives--and against those it wishes to fail--with excessive regulations and environmental restrictions (refusing again, to let the free market sort out winners and losers on a level playing field.)

Both support the idea that the president can take us to war without a congressional declaration of war (in other words, without the approval of the people.)

Both support Keynesian economics - the idea that government spending will improve a bad economy (in spite of the fact that we are so deep in debt right now that there is not enough physical money in the world to pay what we owe!)

Both support the Federal Reserve system and the idea that financial crises are "eased" (and Wall Street is buoyed) by printing more money (despite the fact that every time money is printed - without being tied to anything with concrete physical value: ie gold or silver - it is worth less in real spending power.)

Both support an interventionist foreign policy and the idea that it is up to America to right the wrongs in the world (despite the fact that the blowback from all of our international interventions has been catastrophic in every region we're in and the fact that we're broke and can't afford to police the world any longer.)

Both support continued foreign aid (again, even though we're broke and even though most of our foreign aid actually goes to interests counter to our own.)

The list is even longer but those are the points I can think of just off the top of my head. 

This Republican primary season has been a real eye opener for me.  I watched in amazement as all the big money interests, and their propaganda machines, got behind Mitt Romney from the very beginning.  I watched them weed out his challengers one by one.  And I watched them completely ignore the one candidate who doesn't share the common views listed above.

So what now that big money has chosen its contenders?  Who do they want to win?  That's the genius of it - it doesn't matter!!!  Either way Wall Street, the Military Industrial Complex, and the corporations chosen by the government will win.  And everyone else loses.

It's time to wake up America.  It's time to stop letting the media--and the big money interests behind it--pick our candidates for us.  We need to take our country back!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

13 Investigates: IRS tax loophole

13 Investigates: IRS tax loophole: Eyewitness News shows a massive tax loophole that provides billions of dollars in tax credits to undocumented workers and, in many cases, people who have never set foot in the United States.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Media Blackout Continues...

OK now... Ron Paul is either winning, or has won, the most delegates in Iowa, Minnesota, Washington, Louisiana, Alaska, Maine, Nevada and even Massachusetts (Mitt Romney's home state) yet there is not a peep of this on Drudge, Fox News, or any other "conservative" (re: neocon) media outlet.  The media, both mainstream and neocon---believing the AP's "delegate count" (a made up prediction based on straw polls)---has declared those races "over" and has already placed most of those delegates in the Romney column.

This is a disgrace!!

But while the media sleeps, the rest of the country is waking up to find that there IS an alternative to "Obamney" and it is Ron Paul.

While every mainstream or neocon media outlet speaks of Dr. Paul as "having no chance", his supporters are silently taking the country back - wresting it from the greedy, soiled hands of the corporate interests and power brokers who have been destroying it for profit for the last 50-100 years.

Dr. Paul's message of freedom, liberty, sound money, foreign restraint and constitutionaly limited government cuts across party lines and has become the new rallying cry of the youth in America.  This also goes under-reported.  Perhaps what the youth realize (and what some of us old-timers are slowly realizing) is that big government is not the answer.

Think about this: there are currently 90,741 governments in this country, but one---the federal government---completely drowns out the other 90,470.  Is that really the answer?  The 90,470 state and local governments do a better job, and are more accountable to the people, than the monstrous federal behemoth does for 90% of what governments do (national defense, immigration and regulation of interstate commerce being the exceptions).  Why then all the hand-wringing about cutting the federal budget?

I think the country is starting to realize that.  Let's face it, there's a whole lot of government we could do without.  I also believe the country's starting to understand that there's only one candidate who would actually do something about that.

So keep an eye out because the fat lady hasn't even started warming up yet!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ron Paul Or No One At All!!!

I've been a Republican for over 30 years.  I've never voted for a Democrat in my life.  But I've become so disillusioned with the Republican party lately---because of their hostility toward Ron Paul and his supporters (like myself)---that I've decided that I will not vote for anyone else.  I don't care who the nominee is, if it isn't Ron Paul, I'll write his name in (or I'll stay home).  I'm so sick of this "electability" crap!  Ron Paul is the only candidate who represents me, and, in a representative form of government, that's all that matters!

If that helps Obama get re-elected, so be it.  I honestly don't care anymore.  If the Republican party cared about that - they wouldn't treat their own members with such disdain!  Screw them.  4 more years of Obama is what they deserve!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Chris Berman Foreign Policy

Ever notice how schizophrenic our US foreign policy is?  Like a bad politician, we were always "for that dictator before we were against him"!  It's not like our foreign policy is "evil" or the product of bad intent though - the United States has always been well-intentioned enough when it comes to our dealings with other nations.  It's just that we really don't know enough about what we're doing.  There always seem to be a slew of unintended consequences to our foreign entanglements (of course the same can be said for all manner of central planning!)

Take Iraq for instance...  We went there to eradicate Saddam's "weapons of mass destruction" and to stop him from "handing them over to Al Qaeda".  Then, when it turned out that neither of those reasons were valid, we changed it to a Wilsonian "spreading of democracy".  All of those things are well intentioned and noble on their face, but unfortunately, like every big government intervention into volatile areas, reaped all manner of unplanned consequences (more oil contracts for China and more dead Iraqi Christians to name just two.)

And, have you ever noticed how every time we slap sanctions on a country, Russia and China step in and start trading with that country?  Is it because Russia and China are our sworn enemies?  Or is because they are smart enough to recognize large untapped markets when they see them?  I have to think it's the latter.  Of course this leaves all the "experts" scatching their heads and wondering "why do Russia and China always oppose us?"  Well DUH!! 

In truth, our foreign policy can only be described as---to paraphrase ESPN's Chris Berman---"bumblin', stumblin', foreign policy!"

Monday, February 13, 2012

Why Are Conservatives Such Pussies?

I was listening to Mark Levin on my way home from work and he made a statement to the effect that "when conservatives get into office they try to shrink government but when liberals get in they try to grow it".  All I could think was "why are conservatives such failures?"  Nobody's shrunk government in decades!  In fact, government grew exponentially with Republicans in charge of everything!!  It immediately hit me that the reason conservatives are such dismal failures is because they fail to embrace any sort of radicalism for their cause.

Take the debt ceiling debate last year: conservatives had the chance to make a radical change in the way government works... all they had to do was vote against raising the debt ceiling and immediately the federal government would have been forced to live within its means.  But did they do it?  Hell no!  That would be "too radical!"  And the debt spirals out of control.

Now look at the Republican presidential candidates: only one of them is proposing anything close to "radical" spending cuts and the entire Republican establishment can't do enough to distance themselves from him.  All I can say is WTF?  Ron Paul proposes a trillion dollars in real spending cuts and the "conservatives" run and hide!  "It's too radical!"  "We need someone electable!"  And the debt spirals out of control.

What are Romney's proposed spending cuts?  How about Gingrich's?  Santorum's?  Nobody knows because every conservative journalist, every conservative talk-show host, every conservative debate moderator will not ask the question!!  "We can't talk about spending cuts - that's too radical and it might scare people!"  And the debt spirals out of control.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Does God Have Any Potential?

(Disclaimer: These are the ramblings of an amateur philosopher and thus these thoughts -- while new and exciting to me -- have probably been answered thousands of times already by real philosophers throughout the ages.  That said, I’m just going to say them anyway!  So here goes…)

Question:  Would something that is pure actuality necessarily have all active potentiality?

Aristotle defined two types of potencies: active and passive.  Active potency is that which is intrinsic to the thing because of its nature – it requires no external source of activation (an acorn has the active potential to be a full grown tree.)  Passive potency requires an external source of activation in that it is not in the nature of the thing to actualize (a tree has the passive potential to be a chair.)

My thoughts on that are these:  When an acorn becomes a tree -- although it exhibits many physical changes -- its nature does not change.  Thus active potency entails no change of nature.  In fact active potency is derived entirely from the nature.  The two are inseparable.  A thing’s nature entails all that it is and all that is in its nature to do or be.  In fact, it can be argued that the nature is the 'being' and the changes are not 'new beings' or 'changes of being' but rather actions stemming from the 'actual being'.  Thus, when an acorn ‘changes’ into a tree, it is not a change of being at all but rather the acorn acting according to the active potency of its nature.  The development into a tree is the nature of the acorn in action.

Now God is shown, through the five ways, to be a necessary, purely actual being whose essence just is to exist.  God is said to have no potential – active or passive.  This doesn’t make sense to me.  While it is certainly true that God can have no passive potential, I think the case can be made that -- because of his purely actual nature -- God necessarily has all active potential.  If active potency encompasses all that a being can do, then God -- who can do anything that is possible -- has the active potency to do all things.  In other words God has pure active potency.  The acorn can only do the things necessary to grow into a tree, it cannot do things to cause itself to play golf, nor can it read a book.  God, on the other hand could conceivably do all these things.  What’s more, if God has no active potency, then his ability to do anything is incoherent unless he is actually doing all possible things at all possible times – which is itself incoherent.  If God is not actually doing all possible things, all the time, his ability to do so when he chooses must be described as “pure unlimited active potential”. 

Thus, I’d argue, the nature of God -- which is purely actual -- necessarily possesses all active potential. 

[Postscript:  I brought this up in a post over at Edward Feser's blog and he confirmed that, not only has this issue been hashed out a long time ago, but none other than Thomas Aquinas himself said the same thing I'm saying!!!  (See Summa Theologiae I.25.1:)  Thank you Dr. Feser!]

Monday, January 9, 2012

US Foreign Policy: More Big Government

Why is the US taxpayer paying for the "defense" of Germany, Japan, and South Korea?  Aren't these all prosperous countries capable of paying for their own militaries?  Why then is the US taxpayer saddled with the bill? 

Well, it turns out the answer is pretty simple: Like every other government program, our military bases overseas (there are around 900 of them!) are just a symptom of a bloated federal government's constant overreach.  Installing military bases all over the globe is nothing more than big government trying to solve the world's problems.  That's right, not content with solving all domestic problems, our wonderful government has decided that it, (and only it), can solve all of the world's problems as well!  If you're for small government, you should be against the ever expanding role of the federal government - including its expansion into the affairs of sovereign nations around the world that are, truth be told, none of its business!  (Just like most of the domestic problems it is "solving".)

Here's the truth about our military bases overseas: The countries who want us there, don't need us there - they can afford to pay for their own defense; and the countries who don't want us are not worth defending anyway!  In fact there's ample evidence that a lot of our terrorism problems around the globe are generated from blowback due to our heavy handed interventionism.  We would actually be safer if we closed all our foreign bases.  If you doubt this, think of Canada: They are not being attacked by terrorist organizations like we are.  And why is this?  They have the same freedoms and lifestyle the world supposedly hates us for - so it can't be that.  The difference is that they have no foreign bases (that I know of anyway) and a non-interventionist foreign policy so they are not constantly inserting themselves into other nation's affairs.  (Even Canadian big government does not stretch to foreign lands!)

If any of the candidates for President are serious about ending BIG government (and only one of them is), they will pull the theiving hand of government out of our pockets, stop the spread of government into foreign lands, and keep OUR money here at home!