A good reason not to be Libertarian – Classical music

As a lover of classical music for decades, I have been dismayed by its gradual decline in our society. In most record stores today (at least in north Texas), it is increasingly difficult to find a section of the store dedicated to classical music, or even new age music for that matter. Instead, I find our culture swamped constantly by rock, country, and even rap music. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with those genres, since I listen to plenty of rock and even some country myself  (indeed, I grew up only with country since that was all my parents would listen to). OK, I don’t like most rap. Want to call me elitist for that? Be my pest!

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Obama bashing, Libertarian style

Take a look at this op-ed piece by Wayne Allyn Root, who ran for Vice-President in 2008 under the Libertarian ticket. It might explain the Tea Party and its anti-Obama madness that has possessed so much of the American population. I will post parts of it and respond directly to it here (the numbers refer to my answers).

http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/obama-s-agenda–overwhelm-the-system-95716764.html

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Responding to The Future of Freedom Foundation

Freedom is a precious thing, but the best way to promote it is to take all facts into account, not merely the ones that make your cause or extreme positions look good. That’s cherry picking, a classic tactic of denialism and thus dishonesty.

Check out this statement on the The Future of Freedom Foundation website. It will be in red and my responses will be in blue.

http://www.fff.org/aboutUs/index.asp

The United States was founded on the principles of individual freedom, free markets, private property, and limited government. As the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution reflect, individuals have the natural and God-given right to live their lives any way they choose, so long as their conduct is peaceful. It is the duty of government to protect, not destroy, these inherent and inalienable rights.

Note that the Articles of Confederation are not mentioned. This was the first actual Constitution of the United States and was based on pure “libertarian” ideals (then known as “classical liberalism”).  But reality eventually proved the Articles unable to maintain order in the USA. Government that is too limited leads to anarchy, which benefits only would-be tyrants that flourish in a society where they can engage in abuse of others and not fear punishment. Eventually, a tyrant may become popular enough to impose his own law on the society, resulting in despotism. But despotism and anarchy have no provisions for human rights. Only a government can protect them. And if rights are given by God (who is by nature an absolute monarch), they can also be taken away, making the concept meaningless. And rights cannot be natural because animals do not have any, as their behavior shows. Only humans have rights among themselves and those rights only exist when they are recognized by both governments and the people.

Thus, for well over a century, the American people said “No” to such anti-free-market government policies as income taxation, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, immigration controls, economic regulations, drug laws, gun control, public schooling, and foreign wars. Despite the tragic exception of slavery, the result was the most prosperous, healthy, literate, and compassionate society in history. Unfortunately, in the 20th century, our country has moved in an opposite direction. Operating through the IRS, DEA, ATF, INS, FDA, FTC , and a multitude of other bureaucracies, our government has waged immoral and destructive wars on our freedom, our property, and our well-being.

Wrong! The people did not say no to income taxation, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, immigration controls, economic regulations, drug laws, gun control, public schooling, and foreign wars! The first nine were simply not political issues at all until the 20th Century, the tenth was done as early as the mid-19th Century, and the last was done as early as the Mexican War of 1846-1848. Slavery was not merely a “tragic exception”; it was a basic part of American society and thus proving that America was not at all the libertarian paradise being implied here. Slavery was ended by federal government force as a result of the Civil War (a denial of property rights of the slaves’ owners) , and more federal government force was eventually required to end the institutional racism that remained in the Southern states. The proliferation of bureaucracies resulted from the people demanding more and more services from their government, which must be paid for.

It has seduced us into believing that we cannot live without this political paternalism. It has weakened our moral fiber and our sense of self-reliance, self-esteem, voluntary charity, and community. It has damaged our families. It has hurt the poorest people in society. It has turned foreigners into enemies. It has trampled on our Constitution. It has undermined our commitment to the moral foundations of freedom and to the benefits of free markets.

Again, only because the people have demanded certain things to improve their lives and then we become dependent on them. An example would be the interstate highway system. Without that, trade, tourism, and other matters relating to commerce would be far more difficult and would thus limit our economic growth. And the very reason government welfare programs were established was because with welfare being only voluntary, people still starved. People simply are not generous enough to provide for the needs of all without government intervention and force. If they were, we would not have so many billionaires in America, along with so many that are impoverished, even with government helping the poor.

The time has come for us to reevaluate our relationship to our government — to repeal, not reform, these immoral and destructive government programs — to recapture our commitment to the principles of free markets, private property, voluntary charity, and limited government that made our nation great — and to believe in ourselves again. It is time for us once again to lead the world to the highest reaches of freedom in history. It is to this end that The Future of Freedom Foundation is dedicated.

We never had the kind of freedom they are calling for, and we likely never will. What they may really be saying is that we need to use force to overthrow the government and have libertarian extremists take over and run it their way – which would negate their entire premise of promoting freedom. If the people WANT an authoritarian government and elect one, via a free and fair democratic process, it is the height of arrogance for anyone in the name of “liberty” to say that is unacceptable.

Why Libertarians are wrong about economics

One of the founders of the Libertarian Party, David F. Nolan, is credited with creating the Nolan Chart, which has been used ever since as a guide to understanding various political positions. Here are two different versions of it:

The higher you are on the chart, the more freedom you beleive in. If you beleive in more economic freedom and less personal freedom, you will be on the right (Conservative) side of the chart. If you beleive in less economic freedom and more personal freedom, you will be on the left (Liberal) side of the chart. Libertarians beleive in more freedom for both and Statists beleive in less freedom for both, while centrists have a mix of all positions.

The real problem with the chart is that it is misleading. I beleive in maximum freedom for individuals, both in their personal dealings and as small business owners. Sole proprietorships and partnerships should be as free from government interference as possible, the only exception being that anyone wanting to start a small business should be able to apply for a loan from the government, which they can pay back five or ten years later with interest (thus enabling the government to make a profit from helping establish the businesses).

So I beleive that governments should be severely restricted in how they can treat individuals. But for some reason, Libertarians insist on corporations having the same rights of free speech and property rights as individuals. This is unacceptable to me, since I see corporations as being more like governments than individuals. Corporations can have an infinite lifespan and can acquire an infinite amount of property and money. In a “free market”, small businesses with individual owners cannot withstand competition with giant corporations;  it’s like a mouse trying to compete with an elephant. And when corporations become powerful enough, they are able to bribe or threaten the officials in the government to do their bidding by bailing them out when they face bankruptcy.

Bailouts and corporate mergers should be forbidden. Corporations, I beleive, should be treated the OPPOSITE of small business owners. They should be regulated and taxed heavily and never bailed out, but BOUGHT OUT by the government, which then may break up the corporation’s properties and sell to individuals who want to establish their own small businesses. Indeed, I would make it so that new corporations couldn’t even be established at all!

An industry with thousands of small business and no corporations would result in a far healthier economy than one dominated by a half dozen giant corporations, due to their being far more competition and less risk of massive economic damage from businesses failing. The thousands of small business owners would value their freedom and would translate that value into a classically liberal democratic government. But an economy dominated by giant corporations would consist mostly of people used to taking orders from a few powerful executives, the very essence of an authoritarian society.

And that is why Libertarianism is doomed to fail. It is absurd to put giant corporations and small businesses on the same playing field, for the corporations will inevitably crush them, just as giant empires tend to crush smaller nations. Quite simply, there is really no such things as a “free market”, nor will there ever be. The only true path to freedom and social justice is a Liberal or Centrist path. Not Libertarian. The very existence of giant corporations and their corrupting power makes Libertarianism a dream that will never become reality.

Can libertarians overthrow the Neo-Conservatives?

I first became interested in the Libertarian Party because of its strong anti-war stance. In my opinion, it’s the one thing that definitely makes libertarians better than the Republicans or even many Democrats:

http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/time-to-cut-off-iraq

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Time to Cut Off Iraq

Iraq should be footing their own bill 

“It is time for Iraq to take responsibility for the costs and burdens of rebuilding their country,” says Libertarian Party National Chairman William Redpath, following a new report from the Government Accountability Office stating that Iraq may have a budget surplus of up to $79 billion dollars. 

“Using US taxpayer money to pay for the rebuilding of the infrastructure of another nation is bad enough,” says Redpath, “but it is reprehensible and unforgivable when that nation is running a budget surplus while we have a substantial and growing federal budget deficit and a crumbling infrastructure.”

The Libertarian Party has been opposed to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq from the beginning.  The Party, which stands adamantly opposed to the use of taxpayer money to support functions of the government not defined in the Constitution, has taken special exception to the use of tax revenues to pay for rebuilding foreign nations.

The Party calls for an end to the Iraq war and a withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq without undue delay. 

“It’s a case of tragic irony,” says Libertarian Party spokesperson Andrew Davis. “The American public was told reconstruction efforts in Iraq would be paid for by oil revenues from that country.  Now, more than five years later, Americans are shouldering the responsibility of rebuilding Iraq while facing decaying bridges and skyrocketing gas prices.”

“Something is very, very wrong with this picture,” says Davis. 

The Libertarian Party is America’s third largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties.  You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting www.LP.org. The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.
 
For more information on this issue, or to arrange a media interview, please call Andrew Davis at (202) 731-0002.

But most of their positions against governmental intervention seem too extreme and unrealistic. If they would moderate their platform to support smaller government in general instead of taking any absolute positions, then they could gain a larger and more diverse membership and start winning elections at the federal level, which they never have before. Their reluctance to be more moderate is their first mistake. As the Nolan Chart shows, the Libertarian Party needs to be open to all those that would score as “Libertarians”, not just those purists who would be at the uppermost tip of the chart, and perhaps even Liberals, Centrists, and Conservatives well away from the lower (Statist) part of the chart.

nolan_chart

Their second mistake is to ally themselves with the Republicans against the Democrats. If the Republicans ever regain power, what’s to stop them from throwing the Libertarians under the bus later to persue power for themselves once more?

A group that is ideologically pure can never take power in a pluralistic democracy. It can only do so by force, which libertarianism does not allow. Therefore, the Libertarians may never take power, though they should. Fortunately, there are some who see this and are working to make the Libertarian Party a more diverse one:

http://www.reformthelp.org/

Assuming that they ultimately fail, however, there is another possibility. It would involve libertarians taking over the Republican Party and getting rid of the most hard-core Conservative elements in it. The best example of a libertarian who is also a Republican is Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who ran for President last year.

http://www.rlc.org/

Either possibility will be fine with me. The status quo of a weak Libertarian Party, a stronger Republican Party still dominated by neo-Conservatism, and a Democratic Party with total power and no accountablity is not!

The Great Depression debate

This is my third blog entry in a row about economics.

If you have never lived through the Great Depression, it’s possible that you either don’t know what you are talking about, or are lying outright to promote some form of ideological extremism.

First look at this:

This is a video by Shane Killian, a Libertarian activist. While I admire the man for his work on defending evolution and attacking pseudoscience, he seems to be out of his league when it comes to economics, as the next video clearly shows:

Killian then proceeds to rewrite history regarding the Great Depression:

What bull$#it! Quite simply, if the New Deal was such a failure, then why did FDR not become a one term President?. Why, indeed, was he elected no less than FOUR TIMES!?

Because the Great Depression was the worst economic crisis ever in American history, it may be considered uncharted territory. Our government had to experiment to find a solution. Some things attempted during the Great Depression worked better than others, but it was hardly true that the New Deal was a total failure and that World War II finally got us out of the Depression! Indeed, if our economy had not recovered to a reasonable degree by 1941, we would never have been able to wage World War II so well! The right-wing extremists got the issue EXACTLY backwards! War is more likely to destroy a struggling economy than to strengthen it!

So why did Killain make the claims he did? Two reasons.

  1. He is a Libertarian. While the ideals of free market economics promoted by that party are indeed admirable, they are also purely a theroetical concept. In the real world, a completely free market CANNOT EXIST FOREVER! If you allow a capitalist economy to run on its own without any government intervention, we will only fall into a depression eventually and stay there PERMENANTLY! Killian’s faith in the “free market” is no better than religious fanaticism.
  2. He is brilliant on some subjects, therefore he assumes that he must be right on ALL subjects. But that is simply not true of anyone. No one knows or understands everything equally well. Myself included.

Vote for Jake Towne for Congress!

If you live in Pennsylvania, please consider supporting Jake Towne, a libertarian, in his quest to get elected to Congress and defeat Republican Congressman Charlie Dent!

http://towneforcongress.com/

I want to see the libertarians become more influential, to the point that they completely overthrow the Republican Party, thus becoming the Democratic Party’s main opposition. Even if Jake does not win, Dent is likely to be defeated by a Democrat. Either way, I am determined to keep the Republicans from ever regaining the power they had under Bush Jr!

I want MORE economic freedom, not less!

One of the most laughable misconceptions people have about economics is that laissez-faire capitalism is somehow an example of economic freedom, while socialism is a form of economic tyranny. Certainly the type of socialism that Communism was came across as tyrannical and deserved to be abolished. But not socialism itself. Socialism coupled with a democratic government that has a written constitution that guarantees civil rights for all citizens actually promotes the most economic freedom, while laissez-faire capitalism is economic ANARCHY that eventually results in both chaos and tyranny, like political anarchy does. With no restraints by government, corporations will only get larger and more powerful by merging with smaller and weaker corporations and will so dominate the market that small businesses started by individual owners seldom have a chance to even get off the ground. That is NOT a free market! Such a concept doesn’t really exist, except in the deluded minds of many Conservatives and Libertarians. You either have a market in which government occationally intervenes to break up giant corporations (trust-busting)  to allow small businesses to thrive and maintain their independence, or you have a market in which individual efforts at owning one’s own means of production and income are destroyed by the giant corporations themselves. The Founding Fathers of the United States understood that unrestrained government destroys individual liberty, so they made a system of checks and balances in the Constitution to restrain government. They should have done the same with the American economic system. If a democratic government can have its own method of checks and balances against corporations, and thus prevent corporations from ever merging and even buy out and sell off the properties of failing corporations to individuals who wish to start their own small businesses, then we will have more economic freedom. Corporations themselves are more like governments in their makeup and operations than like individuals. They should never be “free” to exploit resources and people as they please. Only INDIVIDUALS should be free for freedom to have any real meaning! We see imperialism, which was the norm 150 years ago, as evil today, because it involved governments conquering and ruling other peoples for the gain of the conquerers. Why should laissez-faire captalism be seen any differently? Can we not abolish that as well and promote real economic freedom instead?