To protect the people and secure their rights

Liberty and Democracy are not opposing ideas. The political center is where all change is made. Let's embrace reason and civility.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Peter & Paul

If there's one thing that binds both anarchists and conservatives alike, it is the phrase, "taxation is theft".

This is a moral argument based on the idea that "no person should be forced to live for another". Ayn Rand used the phrase, "you can't rob Peter to pay Paul". This idea is currently at the center of modern libertarian rhetoric.

Of course, the real moral argument isn't about robbing Peter to pay Paul, it's just about robbing Peter. If a moral system of public finance can't be found, then it would be true that taxation is theft. But this has nothing to do with Paul.

There certainly IS a moral system of public finance. Even anarchists agree that, as impractical as it may be, a system of voluntary contribution would be "moral". There are other, better "moral" sources of public finance that can be argued.

I believe that the role of government should be to protect us without violating our rights. To protect us, we require a recognition of civil rights to land and natural resources, to an infrastructure that binds our economy, and for free access to a free market.

More than just a recognition of civil rights, a government should protect our individual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This means providing for the common defense and the general welfare. but our rights should not be violated in the process.

Anti-welfare rhetoric begins with the argument that taxation is theft, so all good things the government should be doing become implicitly immoral. This is absurd. To say that Paul is immoral because of the injustices to Peter is simply not true.

So let's talk about Peter. What right does Peter have to a vein of coal, or to an oil deposit, or to the air, water and skyways? What right does Peter have to threaten Force against anyone who would trespass his territorial claims?

Some say "finders keepers" or "dibbs" is sufficient to grant allodial title over God's earth. I'm sorry, but pointing a gun at a trespasser is an offensive act toward human society.

The role of government is to protect us, requiring that offensive force be aggressively confronted. Exclusive access to land and natural resources is a privilege of society, and so should provide the source of all public finance.

If Peter wants to extract oil from the earth, he can pay us for it. If Peter wants to claim 100 square miles of land, he can pay us for it. A shift in taxation from income and sales taxes to severance, land and pollution taxes would be moral as well as practical.

Let conservatives hide their anti-welfare rhetoric behind claims of Injustice. Soon they'll realize that it is a fabricated justification in support of aristocracy.

Paul is you, me, each of us who has a stake in promoting a better government. Peter too is each of us, and we should consider how we are to relate to the rest of society in a civil manner.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Freedom is Slavery: The Old Paradigm

I'm 100% for Free Markets.  I'd like to ask some opinions though on the issue of International Trade.

Prior to the American Civil War, the economy of the South was driven by slavery.  There were people then, as there are today, who believe this should have been resolved with respect to the 10th Amendment (let the States decide).  Some apologists believe that slavery would eventually have ended in due course.  A million deaths later and we had the 13th and 14th Amendments.

Today we are confronted with an entire world driven into poverty and virtual slavery.  Corporations, backed by the CIA and US Military, have corrupted governments to allow easy access to raw materials, oil and cheap labor.  This undermines our own manufacturing base in the US leading to pressure for lower wages here.  The facts are there to see.

We have pesky "minimum wage" laws here in the US without which our wages would normalize with foreign labor.  Protectionist tariffs are intended to force higher prices on imports as a price support for domestic labor costs.  These are both subjects of incessant attack by those arguing for "Free Trade", and has been a strong part of LP economic policy since the beginning.

The relationship between Pennsylvania and South Carolina was much the same.  There were no tariffs between the States.  Manufacturers in PA enjoyed cheap cotton etc..  It was a free market, and it worked great for everyone.. except the slaves of course.

Today we import from Indonesia, China, South America, Mexico and Africa under a similar arrangement.  We recognize an international version of the 10th Amendment with these countries, to allow them to violate the rights and liberties of their populations, as long as our loans are recognized and our contracts enforced.

Personally, I believe that accepting stolen property makes one culpable.  Accepting contracts with dictators is to sign on with those dictators.  Trade isn't "free" when one of the parties are coerced.  And allowing corporations to act as free agents of US foreign policy, to corrupt governments as in Ecuador, Panama, Indonesia, Liberia, Iraq, you name it, all backed by threats of assassination, coup and invasion, isn't a policy of "free trade", but one of colonialism.

I am not a supporter of NAFTA, the North American "Free Trade" Agreement, but I was never sure just why.  It seemed to me like the Fugitive Slave Act.  Neither am I a supporter of reducing the federal minimum wage.  We are culpable for the injustices of our government, and we should be considering ways to rectify the situation.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Good Fight

You hear numbers these days, about a Trillion dollars-this and Millions of People-that.  What the hell?  Who actually thinks their opinion on "politics" has any impact that can't be handled by a Customer Service desk?

When you hear of millions losing their unemployment benefits, or millions without health care, or millions living in poverty, do you really care?  Of course you do!  When you hear of trillions in federal debt, of trillions in wealth going overseas, of trillions in resources being owned by a handful of people, what can you do about it?  What, vote Republican or something?

 All these intellectual arguments I get into with friends-- anarchism, objectivism, socialism, ISM-ism-- these are arguments that poor people have.  People in power don't bother with ideals, with "right and wrong".  Power is its own reward.

Gee, I wish I was a US Congressman.  Awesome pay, full benefits, retirement, free offices fully staffed, free transportation, and all the money I can weasel for my friends.  All I'd have to do is to eliminate any sense of right and wrong from my thinking.  Sell my Soul so to speak.  Hey, if not me then someone else, right?

Honestly, if I was elected and serving on the House floor, what could I really accomplish?  Is there truly any debate or discussion that can carry the day?  Do ideas trump cold cash?  Every bill today requires a 2/3 majority in the US Senate, and that demands compromise (i.e. cold cash).

And to make it to the US House, I'd have to represent the interests that were able to put me there.  It would take at least a million dollars to make an effective campaign and upset an incumbant, perhaps twice that.  In a district with 1/2 million people, with 1000 financial supporters--- you do the math.  There is absolutely no way to finance an election without catering to a handful of rich and powerful contacts.

Again, who thinks their opinions on "politics" has any impact?

Well, I do.  Screw these nabobs.  I'm going to continue to fight the good fight.  If I want to work out a deal, it's not going to be with these marionettes.  I'll make my deal with real people, the "least of us", We the People.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The New Enlightenment

Relax, I'm not trying to "enlighten" you.  People get enough of that with wild-eyed doomsayers and digital talking heads all day long.

No, it's just a topic that I've been reflecting upon for  some time.  We walk this planet together for maybe a hundred years if we're really lucky, most of us for half that time.  Consider your facebook account.. and your tweets and forums and even your email.  Never in human history have so many had so much potential to connect with other humans as they have today.

The Age of Enlightenment began, in my opinion, with the first printing press in Europe, the Gutenberg press, in the early 15th century.  Never before in European history had so many souls had access to communications.  It was the revolution that changed human interaction.

400 years later, the first industrial printing presses were created, leading to mass-communication never before imagined.  For 200 years, society has had this technology which has brought people together like never before-- newspapers, magazines, you name it.

And now, 600 years after the movable type press was invented, we can click "invite" on facebook and communicate to innumerable  friends around the world.  I have to admit, I felt like a proto-human facing a monolith when I first clicked on that button.

You-- we-- stand here alive and breathing the air at the beginning of something wonderful.  It's not a brave new world, but it is a brand new one.  Human interaction is accelerating.  That's a good thing.

But just as the Enlightenment brought about severe challenges to ancient systems of political and religious control, so the internet brings a challenge to our present institutions.  Whenever someone tries to rationalize controlling the internet, or locking it down, or otherwise denying us free access, stand strong for ideas like "Internet Neutrality".

And try to keep the LOL's and OMG's to a minimum (smiley emoticon here).

Boring Punditry

For those interested in my dealings within the LP, here is a facebook group I've been using to free-flow ideas.  Rather than copy/paste here (where some might not have interest), you can click on this link to view them if you wish:!/home.php?sk=group_154814051222279&ap=1

The FB group is titled "Progressive Libertarian" and you are welcome to join for discussion.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Voter Apathy-- My Ass

We've heard that the root problem with our Democracy is "voter apathy".

I have yet to find anyone who doesn't care about what's happening in the world, who doesn't care what might be happening to our economy, to our Social Security, to our environment, or to the troops abroad.  People DO care.  They're just wise enough to know they're being played.

The argument of Left vs. Right, of Washington vs. Wall Street, of Conservatism vs. Socialism, is simply an argument over power.  Politics is the art of cattle herding, and most people don't volunteer so easily for their little studio audiences.

Half of the people in America eligible to vote are not registered to vote.  And half of those who are registered don't bother to vote.  13% of the adult population is all that's needed to retain control by one gang or another.  Voter apathy is an ally to this process.

Sure, it's voting that makes democracy work.  But what point is there to a Pepsi Challenge?  When the choice is made for us, to choose between two representatives of special interest selected and controlled by a handful of financial backers, this is not democracy.  It's an illusion.  Most people aren't that stupid.

Each year, the Republicans and Democrats lose a small percentage of registered voters, and the Independents and third parties gain in registrations.  This rising percentage--- millions of people-- isn't represented by the two-party system, and they aren't controlled by the money that represents that system.

Don't confuse voter apathy with a strong sense of caveat emptor.  When media outlets refuse to accept political money, when campaign finances are restricted to donations from residents of the district, when political action groups and national corporations are banned from influencing the public discourse, maybe more people will regain trust in the democratic process and participate.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ron Paul 2012-- Let's Get This Over With

As a Libertarian, I am not a Ron Paul supporter.  While I support many of his policies, including foreign policy, I cannot and will not support this national R-love-ution bullshit for 3 reasons:

1)  his conservative, non-libertarian views on social welfare,
2)  his conservative, non-libertarian views on civil rights, and
3)  his conservative "anarcho-capitalist" view of property rights.

I wish to speak to the 2nd issue:  The apparent "right" to refuse service.  The Pauloids believe that true "freedom" is expressed in our acceptance of Lester Maddox's "right" to chase a black guy out of his diner, of the "right" for businesses to refuse service to anybody they wish on grounds of race, gender, or whatever bug is up their asses.

This is ideologically grounded to the view that property rights are "inherent" and not simply "privileges" of law.  No serious discussion can be had with these pyschoids, no argument can be put to justify their claims to Title outside of "finders-keepers" or the "call shotgun" rule.  This claim of allodial title, for no other reason than their CLAIM at gun-point, is not "libertarian" in any sense of the word.

One argument for the "right to discriminate" is based on this plantation mentality.  The other argument attempts to argue that a "free" market should include the "freedom to discriminate" or "to exclude".

Liberty, on the other hand, is the freedom to access markets, to access rights of way, to live and trade without artificial barriers or threat of force.  A person who offers goods or services to the public is bound to respect the rights of others.  This is obviously not the case with those who discriminate or exclude.

A libertarian government should protect the rights of all persons equally.  Limiting market access on the basis of race etc. is a violation of our responsibility to recognize the equal rights of others.  It's pretty simple folks.  Maybe Ron Paul can run for King of Idaho, but he'll never be my choice for POTUS.

Test Blog

If this thing actually works, it's gonna be a great tool to link with other communications options like FB and my website.

Testing, testing, crossing my fingers...