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.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Unions: The Real Issue

There is a lot of hatred toward unions.  Libertarians have a difficult time dealing with the issue and are easily lured into conservative thinking here.  Is the issue wages?  Budget constraints?  Working conditions?

There is one single function that unions serve to their members:  protection from wrongful termination.  An employer can fire, at-will, any person they hire unless they have a union contract.  The right of collective bargaining is the only protection these workers have.

I am not in a union.  Most people aren't.  Most people don't have this protection.  The ability of business owners and government managers to use termination as a means of intimidation cannot be understated.  The freedom of speech ends when your boss tells you to shut up, stop your political activities, or to support a particular agenda.

All of which has happened to me in my lifetime.

This threat is not possible in a union shop.  It is the primary reason that the civil service unions are under attack today.  The ability of a governor to terminate, without cause, civil service employees for their private or political activites is by-definition "tyranny".

The argument that union employees cannot be fired is simply not true.  Any reasonable cause can lead to the termination or suspension of any employee.  An unreasonable cause, however, is not so much a threat to a union employee as it is to the rest of us who are not unionized.

I have always found this condition of our society something that should be changed.  I cannot help but wonder if there is any true freedom when our livlihoods can so easily be threatened.

Honestly, I don't care so much about unions as I do about what they represent to their employees:  protection from unjust termination.  I would hope that in a better world, such protections would extend to each person, high and low.  It is something to consider.

In the military, soldiers are subjected to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).  In that code rests the ability of the command chain to discipline individual troops.  Also in that code are some protections to limit the abuse of this judicial process for corrupt purposes.

A typical worker in our society has no such protections.  The only consolation prize they get is 6 months of unemployment benefits in exchange for the possibility of being secretly blacklisted.

"In the space below, please list your previous employers..."

The bottom line:  I stand with unions, including civil service unions, in their right to collectively bargain.  Yes, I recognize that government unions bargain, not against the profitability of a company, but against the taxing power of government.  But this is another issue entirely. 

I would never support a political party that sought to strip away protections against wrongful termination.  I would hope to support a party that would extend this protection to everybody.

Intimidation is not liberty.  Fear is not freedom.  A good businessman would recognize this.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Five Essential Reasons I Oppose Ron Paul

There are many good arguments for ignoring or even opposing Ron Paul on grounds that he is a Republican, and that supporting Paul is to support, indirectly, the modern Republican gang.

But this isn't my reason for opposing Ron Paul. I oppose him on policy. Not tiny little issues like DOMA or Abortion or this-and-that. These are core policy issues that drive me to oppose him openly, verbally, and with every fiber of my being.

And I'm a Libertarian.

1. Civil Liberty.

Ron Paul says he is for civil liberty. This is not true. He believes in privatization of everything, and that private businesses have a right to discriminate for any reason whatsoever. If roads were privatized, the "road company" could deny access to travel for any reason. This is not civil liberty.

I am all for a reasonable discussion about private employment rights.  They certainly don't exist today.  And it's the lack of such protections that made ideas like Unions and Affirmative Action important parts of our history.  It would be nice not to need unions or affirmative action.  Paul would like to simply get rid of any protections whatsoever.  This is not civil liberty.

It is good that he argues against prohibition. It is good that he argues against arrest for non-violent actions. This doesn't means he stands for civil liberty.

2. Monetary Reform.

Ron Paul says he wants to "End the Fed". He says nothing about ending fractional reserve lending (banking privilege, aka "fraud"), or ending the privatization of currency that exists NOW under the central banking system. He just wants to end the federal bank and let state banks do what they want.

He also claims that a gold standard is prescribed in the US Constitution. It is not. In fact, a gold standard is arguably NOT constitutional. William Jennings Bryan tried to oppose the central banks prior to 1913. Ron Paul is certainly no Bryan.

Real monetary reform is an important issue for me, rooted to American history and our national struggle, our world struggle, against enslavement to central banks.  I will not allow him and the Austrian School to crucify mankind on a cross of gold.

(Edit, 2013:  This was posted before I had heard of MMT, which I'm following now)

3. Social Welfare.

Ron Paul says he wants to end Medicare and Social Security, all activities that aren't authorized by the constitution (in his mind). This is crap, and his followers mimick this drivel on every facebook and youtube post in America.

The only argument against social welfare is taxation.  Resolve the tax issue and there's no reason not to include social welfare (i.e. safety net or whatever) into public policy.

Never mind endless arguments over USC Article 1 Section 8.  Never mind trying arguing that, by definition, Medicare isn't "socialism".  They will not budge, and raise their bible in hand as if they are the only ones privy to the Holy Word. Idiots.

4. Foreign Policy.

Ron Paul says we should never involve ourselve in foreign affairs. He's the conservative who wants to adopt an isolationist foreign policy. While I agree to a large extent, it is a very naive view to think that the US has spread the plague of world poverty and oppression.

There are sound reasons to intervene in the "affairs" of other nations.  This should not be done by volunteers as it has with the IRA or in the Spanish Civil War.  It should not be done by corporations hiring death squads in El Salvador or Columbia.  We should not be a nation of mercenaries.

And I will not trade "End the Wars" for "End Welfare". They are two completely different issues. If people can't see that, they are probably Ron Paul supporters.

5. States Rights and the Constitution.

This "Revolution", the R-Love-ution, that Paul is building is not the 1776 version; it's the 1861 version. The oppression of a State is no different than the oppression of a Federal government. And in cases where States are in the wrong, it is the responsibility for the other states, through the Nation, to resolve the problem.

Rights are universal, to all human beings. Sovereignty is of the Nation, not the individual States. The South may be rising again, but I will be on the side of Union.


These are not simple policy differences that I should simply ignore in exchange for some higher "message" or "movement". These are core issues that affect the millions of people being oppressed by bad government.

Government is not evil; corruption is. When government is controlled by plutocrats, by a covert aristocracy, by corporations or banking interests, then it is corrupted.

I am convinced that the whole of Ron Paul's C4L movement exists to pull young and poor people into the Republican fold, to offer pie in the sky (like ending military intervention and legalizing pot) in exchange for moral, grassroots support of deregulating and removing taxes from the richest 1% of Americans (i.e. Republican policies).

Libertarians need to get their heads out of their asses and understand truly who they're supporting and what they're doing. In my opinion, these Ron Paul supporters are fighting for the wrong people. They're certainly not fighting for me.

Friday, June 3, 2011

“Eternal Vigilance: How to Coup a National Libertarian Party”

This idea came to mind back in 1985 when I tried to stress, at the time, the fragility of the national LP organization design. The whole party was based on a charter, and in that charter laid the key to its own undoing.

If you control the delegate count at the national convention, you control the LP. Some issues take 2/3 vote. The national “Statement of Principles” requires a 7/8 vote. It all depends on what you want to do, how far you want to go.

Controlling the delegate count means controlling state parties. The delegate count is huge… way more than actually attend, so control of a minority of state parties is all that’s necessary to control the LNC and its affairs.

In 1985, I put a price tag of $100,000 to take over the national Libertarian party. Today, an easy million would do the trick. “Small pataytas” in the world of politics.

The key flaw is in the definition of “membership”. The LP isn’t set up like a normal political party. It’s set up like a local Lions Club. Membership dues doesn’t carry with it any other loyalty whatsoever. There are plenty of Republicans in the national LP, even in high level positions.

Take the Pennsylvania LP for example: “Membership” is still based on dues, and has nothing to do with actually registering to vote as a Libertarian. While 39,000 people are listed as registered libertarians in PA, only a few hundred are dues-paying members, many not registered or even residents of the state!

Let’s say I’m some rich guy wanting the national LP nomination, and let’s assume for a moment that I’m a dishonest man. (“Assume away”, as Zero Mostel said in The Producers). I would have to control the delegate count to accommodate a majority on the floor of the national Convention, and get people to fill those seats there and voting.

I think buses would be a good feature. Something like what Dick Armey or Sarah Palin has. You know…

The national LP today survives on its own insignificance. If the national LP were to have any real significance whatsoever in national policy making (other than being a lackey for the Republican party), it would quickly be purchased on Wall Street from a company like Montana Management.

This is not a prospectus! It is a warning to my fellow Libertarian activists that we are vulnerable. When we cast off sound policies of democracy over public policy, when we allow plutocracy to rule our political affairs, we are servants to the lenders.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty? I’m down with that. Let’s take a good look at the true, real-life, actual “alternative” we are presenting to the People, and take some ideas from our founders on the merits of a democratic republic over central authority.

I hope fellow members of my Pennsylvania LP (and across the US) take note of this issue and consider more closely the issue of "membership" and the broader issue of "democracy".