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.