Steve G.

Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Boycott the Census

In First Amendment, Humor, Protest, US Government on March 18, 2010 at 8:04 pm

When the founders drafted the U.S. Constitution, they included the sentence, “The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.” Nevertheless, the actual census mailed out by the federal state (at the tax-payer expense) often includes more questions than simply, “How many people live in your household?”

I first began thinking about the census a few years ago while talking to the perennial Libertarian candidate Lorenzo Gaztañaga. I was helping the Libertarian Party of Maryland at a fair, and a man (whose name I do not recall) had been asking me about the Green candidate for U.S. Senate, Kevin Zeese. This man told me that he didn’t want to vote for the Republican candidate Michael Steel because Steele might then go on to become President. I looked at him with obvious confusion on my face, to which the man responded, “We must keep the White House white.” I turned away from the man with disgust and walked back under the tent we had set up. When Gaztañaga got back, I told him about the incident, and Mr. Gaztañaga said to me, “Good for you. Good for you.” Presently, he told me that when he and his wife (who is currently running for Governor here in Maryland) filled out their 2000 census, they refused to give a racial identity. Instead, they wrote in “HUMAN,” since they recognised themselves simply as members of the human race. I loved this idea, and vowed that I would do the same from there on out.

Well, the 2010 census has arrived! And, boy, am I excited! Why? Because this is the first of many census questionnaire that I shall be boycotting.

Interestingly, I have heard many people tell that they will not include any information about race, since it’s “none of the government’s damn business.” Naturally, I agree. But, honestly, I don’t see what business it is of the government as to how old I am, either, or with how many people I live.

So I would simply recommend, boycott the census. This is a very simple form of civil disobedience, since all it requires you to do is to go about your day normally. There’s no reason you should have to waste even a second on the census if you don’t actually want to. Despite government propaganda, the world will not come to a screeching hault if they don’t have your name, age, date of birth, gender, and place of residence. Remember, you are not their slave; the courts have repeatedly said that the government doesn’t owe you anything, so it stands to reason that you cannot possibly owe it anything, either.

Of course, the government threatens to steal $100 from you should you fail to fill out the census (and $500 should you present false information), however I have been informed that punishment for failure to respond is not usually enforced. Naturally, one must access the risks for herself.

And, naturally, since I believe one should live by what she or he preaches, I’m following my own advice. I actually did fill out the census, but only to inform the central state that I do not consider many statistical data to be any of its business. You can see my census answers here.

Finally, even though the return envelope had one of those pre-paid labels on it, I have opted to place a stamp on the envelope. It’s my general understanding that those who do not include their own stamps will have their mail paid for by the Census Bureau, which of course gets “its” money in turn from innocent tax-payers. Since I did not want to see tax-payers have to shell out forty-four cents on my behalf, I opted to spend my own forty-four cents in this act of civil disobedience.

—Alexander S. Peak

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Confused Man Crashes Plane

In Communism, Corruption, Crazy Claims, Media, People in the news, Protest, Taxation, US Government on February 18, 2010 at 8:56 pm

A Confused Man

This morning, a confused man named Joseph Andrew Stack, crashed a plane into a building in Austin, Texas that housed IRS offices.

The man, before crashing his privately-owned plane, wrote a message on his website, which is now being called the Stack Manifesto.  In reading this manifesto, one can see just how absolutely confused this man was.

It seems that most blogs and message boards have been focusing on this man’s ideology, which is quite hard to pin-point.  He appears to oppose heavy taxation while also supporting government involvement in healthcare.  He displays a clear hatred for big government, big business, and big unions alike.  And the last two lines of his manifesto seem to imply that he considered communism a lesser evil than capitalism.

His mixture of libertarian, communist, populist, and socialist sympathies, thus, make it impossible to pinpoint the man.

With that said, he does nevertheless present some reasonable comments about problems faced in our society.  The problem, again, is that the man is clearly confused; thus, he conflates things that oughtn’t be conflated, and he often errs in the direction of his rhetorical attacks.

The man’s confusion was manifested this morning in his suicide-as-protest, when he crashed into a building with IRS offices.

People Matter

Unfortunately, the online news media fail to focus on the most important issue: was anyone killed?

I’ve searched through a variety of articles, and yet few present any information regarding whether anybody (other than Stack himself) died in the crash.  I finally found what I was looking for from Channel 8 News in Austin.

It appears that one person (other than Stack himself, presumably) died in the crash, and thirteen others were injured.  It also appears that Stack lit his house on fire this morning with his family still inside; luckily, they escaped.

Illiberalism

In my opinion, this is more than enough information to completely condemn Stack for his deed, just as the The Humble Libertarian blog does:

As the Editor-in-Chief of The Humble Libertarian, I unequivocally and without qualification, condemn this brutal, senseless, and stupid act of violence.  As a libertarian, I am incensed that Joe Stack took it upon himself to take innocent lives in the name of less government spending and lower taxes.

The writer makes it clear that Stack is not a libertarian, writing, “Libertarianism emphasizes non-coercion, non-aggression, and peaceful coexistence among people.”

Actions speak louder than words, and even if Stack’s rhetoric had been 100% in line with plumb-line libertarianism (which, obviously, it was not), his actions would necessarily belie his words.

This is not to say that we cannot or should not have sympathy for what Stack went through.  We most definitely should.  But his experiences do not justify the actions he took.

Had it been the case that Stack had crashed his privately-owned plane into an unoccupied government building, I would be whistling a very different tune right now.  I would actually be praising Stack for his brave act of defiance.  But, sadly, Stack cannot be cheered, for he is a murderer, and thus unworthy of praise.

A Libertarian Critique

A proper libertarian understanding of justice can illuminate just how problematic Stack’s actions ultimately were.  In order to evaluate Stack’s actions, let us consider the views promoted by the libertarian anarchist Murray N. Rothbard in his 1982 book, The Ethics of Liberty.

Although Rothbard defends the concept of using force defensively, i.e., using force to repel aggression (where aggression is defined as the initiation of force or fraud), he is very clear that responsive force is only ethical if it is in proportion to the force to which it is responding.  On page 85, Rothbard provides a very clear description of the limits of responsive force:

[U]nder libertarian law, capital punishment would have to be confined strictly to the crime of murder.  For a criminal would only lose his right to life if he had first deprived some victim of that same right.  It would not be permissible, then, for a merchant whose bubble gum had been stolen, to execute the convicted bubble gum thief.  If he did so, then he, the merchant, would be an unjustifiable murderer, who could be brought to the bar of justice by the heirs or assigns of the bubble gum thief.

The news report does not make it clear whether the persons who were killed or injured were all IRS agents or not, nor even whether they were all government employees.  Thus, while taxation is certainly and undeniably a form of theft, it would be impermissible to kill the IRS agents as retribution for their crime.  For, in so doing, Stack became an aggressor.

Perhaps we need not even go this deeply into analysis, however, for remember, Stack lit his house on fire with his family inside.  Unless it turns out that every member of his family that was inside of the house happened to be a murderer, Stack had clearly engaged in attempted murder of innocent people even before setting foot on his plane.  He was, thus, a criminal by libertarian standards, and one even more dastardly than those criminals we call IRS agents, who, by and large, at least aren’t murderers.

It is quite clear, therefore, that Stack did not care who he killed in his strive to retaliate, and even if people who have never worked a day in their lives for the state apparatus happened to be in the building at the time of the crash, Stack’s attitude was apparently, “So what?”

This brings us back to Rothbard, who wrote on pages 189 through 190,

[I]f Jones finds that his property is being stolen by Smith, Jones has the right to repel him and try to catch him, but Jones has no right to repel him by bombing a building and murdering innocent people or to catch him by spraying machine gun fire into an innocent crowd.  If he does this, he is as much (or more) a criminal aggressor as Smith is.

The same criteria hold if Smith and Jones each have men on his side, i.e. if “war” breaks out between Smith and his henchmen and Jones and his bodyguards.  If Smith and a group of henchmen aggress against Jones, and Jones and his bodyguards pursue the Smith gang to their lair, we may cheer Jones on in his endeavor; and we, and others in society interested in repelling aggression, may contribute financially or personally to Jones’s cause.  But Jones and his men have no right, any more than does Smith, to aggress against anyone else in the course of their “just war”: to steal others’ property in order to finance their pursuit, to conscript others into their posse by use of violence, or to kill others in the course of their struggle to capture the Smith forces.  If Jones and his men should do any of these things, they become criminals as fully as Smith, and they too become subject to whatever sanctions are meted out against criminality.  In fact if Smith’s crime was theft, and Jones should use conscription to catch him, or should kill innocent people in the pursuit, then Jones becomes more of a criminal than Smith, for such crimes against another person as enslavement and murder are surely far worse than theft.

Conclusion

Joseph Stack acted unethically.  While we can sympathise with his struggles, we cannot, if we are libertarians, condone his aggressive, anti-social acts.

Although I would like to see revolution, it cannot be achieved with the methods employed by the confused Stack.  If we want to see positive change, nonviolent civil disobedience is a far better method, both tactically and ethically.  If there is one thing I sincerely believe, it is that there is something in the nature of the universe that prevents aggression (i.e., the initiation of physical force or fraud) from ever yielding the desired results.  If we fight the state using aggression, the unintended consequence will not only be that we will become the very thing we hate, it will also be that we will drive away public support for our noble cause.  But in using nonviolent civil disobedience, we force the state to show the guns it is holding, we force it to stop hiding that the entire state apparatus is built on violence.

Murdering an IRS agent will never solve the problems we face.  It won’t bring an end to taxation, and it certainly won’t help to convince other IRS agents that their occupation is unethical.  But if we use nonviolent civil disobedience, we thereby force the IRS agents (and other government employees of the world) to recognise that they themselves are actually threatening innocent people with violence, and this realisation will go a long way to promote the expansion of liberty.

—Alexander S. Peak

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How War Does Speed

In Activism, Corruption, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Drug War, Humor, Iraq War, Libertarian, Military, War on October 26, 2009 at 1:47 pm

War is not the health of the state. At least not in the long run. I respect Randolph Bourne and his cogent observation that  “War is the health of the state”. But he is far too lenient in diagnosing war and that psychopathic institution of monopolistic coercion, which is the state. Rather war is the amphetamine of the state and speeds it along to its destruction along with the attending population.

War is a collective addiction of those who are vetted for violence and recklessness. They charge into areas laden with known lethal dangers. Amphetamine (or Amvet-a-mine?) is a capsule description of this addictive drug. It comes in many forms, as does war. It has been described to me by an addict as giving initially a rush of power, a feeling of purpose that drives eventually to conflict. One goes into the most difficult of projects with gusto only to be distracted later into another one. As its use continues headlong into constant use it brings on paranoia, exhaustion, anger and lack of judgment. One forgets simply how to take care of oneself and family as nourishment, health and hygiene fall by the wayside. Initial goals are forgotten for while the drive becomes for more and more of the experience itself. It ends up in despair, delusions, discord, disease and death.

It has been prescribed and proscribed by people who are doctors. It is designed in laboratories and manufactured in factories. This was seen as a way to get more work out of a nation. They have also said it was a way to get out of a depression. It was also seen as a way to stop other drug use or just to generally wake people up.

These authorities also saw it as a way for people to become more aggressive and talkative. Every thought became concentration and power. It was hailed as a way to increase initiative, confidence and alertness. Some also used it to get in trim and decrease consumption. While it was given to adults to stimulate them it was also administered to children to keep them quiet. Many use it to keep an edge on themselves. They also want others under them to use it to validate their use.

The drug operates the same way as war. It is uniform in effects, which may be why so many of its users wear uniforms or think uniformly. So they are in an outfit, which is also a gang. The drug was widely used by many of those involved in fighting in World War II, whether they were up in the air while acting as pilots or in the tank shooting off. They became crack troops. Even those who were behind the lines with their nose close to their desk and just working the lines given them in factories were inhaling this rush to destruction. It seemed that you could get a lot more done while doing it. So nations became addicted and could not see imagine existence without it. Hitler was known to get a lot of shooting done and stealing to feed his all-consuming frenzy. It was injected through his works and became his daily life. So it became part of others as well. So there was a method of amphetamine in his madness.

Even now that methamphetamine is banned, there is a band of brothers involved in it. Motorcycle gangs, which are uniformly military in organization, appearance and predereliction for violence are the primary purveyors of speed. Some speed around the country in formations and formulate speed as well. The origin of the Hell’s Angels name comes from names of military units. These bikers wore black leather Air Force bomber jackets adorned with unit patches as well as old German military helmets when riding . . .

One of the ingredients of meth is ammonia. Ammonia is a fertilizer as well as a poison. It is released as a dead body decays and has an evil smell. It is available everywhere for everyone to use. It is also a harsh cleanser of the fabric of society.

A saying during war is “Keep your powder dry”. This is so as that this substance will not lose its explosiveness. This also applies to speed, which is powder as well as a shot. It can come in any color or packaging. It is often used as a source of amusement or display of patriotism and visual effects. However fireworks are just an amusing aspect of explosive powder. The explosive powder of power must be kept pure and packed into a tight shell and then is placed in the head that is prepared for launching. It is dangerous in its denseness and kept dry so it will ignite. It could be shot up or hurled into an opening.  There it breaks up into the energy of destruction, which ends in nothingness. The process usually repeats endlessly. It is an expensive habit to maintain. Keep alert, more than alert and the over-stimulation becomes a danger to the user. For this dry powder can kill friend and foe alike.

It is dangerous to make as well. One becomes connected to one’s product even without use. Stories abound of how manufacturers of this poison hurt and poison themselves or lose their lives and fortunes in explosions and fires. It’s been called by the godly an involvement in a satanic process. This dangerous edge may be a perverse incentive to some, like a shot of adrenalin.

It is said of dealers and manufacturers on the highest levels of this trade that they never get involved in this for personal use. It distorts good judgment and interferes with making a profit. And they do accumulate a lot of wealth and toys, more than they can ever use, in this trade of theirs.  This may be the mainline reason that they got involved in all of this dealing with death.

It is also used to obtain sex and other favors. There are issues of identity, status as well as social climbing. There is also the feeling of control as addicts put more money into your pockets. There is adventure, and the joy of conspiracy with other like-minded wealthy, people. Dealing meth, like diplomacy, which is dealing with politics, can be war with another name.

It is used by the actors who play our lives on stage and in film as well as the suites of power. It also runs as a suite of those who give a music to our souls. For the music of this experience reaches to all whether you are of the country or the urban or urbane cultures or styles. Some who use it use this to rise to the top and maintain their positions there. This helps them attract huge audiences. For all this drive does is make the heart beat faster but then irregular. This raises the blood pressure as well. So they speed the march to the attack!

But it does create culture even with its destruction.  As theater needs conflict war is a theater and conflict as well. While those in this field need initiative as well as discipline and power, inevitably through use there will arise unprovoked acts of violence. These are the first signs of misuse causing canceling of performances, productions as well as the conflict of the actor with civilized society.

Conflict is sometimes the result of irritability, which is also common with users. The tremors may arise from not being on firm ground. The effects might at first seem to give   a unity of purpose but later it gives schizophrenia as an end result of its paranoia. This is a result of over-indulgence and leads to even larger doses with even greater symptoms resulting. A constant state of tenseness leads to brittleness. It also leads to a dramatic increase in spousal and child abuse. Alcoholism and other addictions can create some of the same effects.

War is the cancer of the state and it affects those who live within its power even if they are not users. Overgrowth of the defensive cells of any organism is cancer. The body goes haywire in determining what is hostile and what is essential to it. Cancer leads to the takeover and the death of its host. So war can bring about good things as well like ending a state. But will it bring the end of the addiction in others it has infected? A different way to alter consciousness is needed.

Because after long use depression will return worse than ever. The body politic will wonder what is wrong. So paranoia and fear will ensue and then it closes up. The shit that inevitably accumulates within it will not be let out. It is more than a constipation that the body suffers, for the toxins will leach into the blood. And with that comes pain, lack of appetite and blurred vision. Communications that are very demanding will also become increasingly unclear and rambling at the same time. The old remedy for this was blood letting. This is what is happening now as the head in its fever turns to the solutions of what is considered general use of Mc CHRYSTAL METHods. We Af Ghan too far into the glass pipe-line of war.

There are scores of similar symptoms shared by both amphetamines and war in this article. In fact, every symptom of speed has a war analogy. When the similarities become so often between two different fields and so obvious that puns and wordplay abound between them then there is more than a smile of a simile at work. This phenomena I call meta-forensics.

So let us proceed in this what I describe as a meta-forensics to understand how to deal with these problems. Yes, war and amphetamines are addictive and dangerous in many ways. While I would not recommend or use either one neither would I want either one banned, as the consequence of banning would only increase the problem. We have all seen how the War on Poverty increased the poverty problem. A War on War would be just as insane like the War on Drugs.

A misunderstanding of terms, or the inability of the terms to describe, terminates understanding. A psychosis that cannot be understood in its terms becomes a metaphorosis, which is another term I have invented.  When much more of that happens it can cause such a dissonance that a metamorphosis can happen. .

We must acknowledge that the widespread use of amphetamines, especially meth, has been disastrous for poorer, rural America, like war always is.  In prison I met many of these people who used or sold “meth” (speed), which is so similar to crack or cocaine it is sometimes called “country crack”. And like crack it is defining the culture of the country people as well in music and story as well as those who write and perform it.

It also addicts the brilliant, creative and disciplined.  I’ve met in prison stockbrokers and fashion designers from New York City who used “meth” as well. I’ve never done it, sold it and always warned people against it and still do. Yet how can I completely condemn a drug that helped the great novelist and paragon of rationality, Ayn Rand, finish “The Fountainhead”? Or how can I condemn something used by Jack Kerouac, the novelist of the Beat generation, in writing On the Road”? Or how about all those college students who have used it for decades for the same reasons as Ayn or Jack, to cram knowledge and finish writings on a deadline?

The same goes for a fight. Fighting is natural for every tribe, even among boys. There is such a thing as just war. However if it becomes a continual policy among large amounts of combatants as it so often does it becomes just a war. This is one reason why we focus on individual stories in war fiction rather than the tramping of armies. Those involved in war or speed must be small in number and very aware of the dangers of what they do.  If the state gets involved in pushing it or even if it becomes a mindless fad (something that often comes together) there is incredible danger. For something banned that thing becomes an allure and quest all of its own (The Fight Club). So war in its righteous wrath must be separate from the state as the church is separate from the state.

I preach and practice non-violence. When I have a violent fantasy (which is fairly often) I try to imagine and think through what are the goal and the aftermath and then try to imagine other strategies. I also ask the same in what I am going to get out of any drug experience, in imagining creative alternatives. Only psychedelics allow those types of questions and quests. There is so much shortsightedness in this world. Especially with those who act either inside or outside the box, whether the box contains cartridges or capsules. Still there are so few who will go out of the box that I encourage people to do so.  But at the same time have an understanding or vision of what can come next.

War can have a horrible beauty and quest that has inspired much art at terrible cost. We can no longer afford it except as metaphor or as a final option. If we end up hurting others and ourselves, rather than helping then we must stop. When the process fails to work for someone the drug and war experience must end and not returned to.  It seems so true and obvious in a normal state to do so but in the intoxicated state that these bring it seems unreal and even frightening. Those involved in war and speed tend to associate and trust only those who have close ties to it. So it is imperative that those involved maintain a connection with those who are judiciously honest and understanding of the problems involved and who are outside of that experience.

I suppose that some will also make the analogy of some ideas such as religion and politics are also addictions. For the purposes of this discussion a practice that becomes such an obsession in that it becomes uniformly dangerous to practitioners that they become violent to others qualifies that as an addiction. One of the reasons that a person wants to spread a practice so that they become an intense advocate is to validate the experience for themselves and to learn more about it. It is possible that among the advocates of an idea you will have addicts and non-addicts in this definition.

There is also the possibility of a genetic predisposition and that we orient ourselves to those drives such as has been theorized as for religion. Or we may have receptor sites for speed (or is it adrenaline) or war because it increases adrenalin. These may be related to our need for war. If this is how we are wired then we should allow expression of these instincts in as safe a way as possible and even give them a sense of meaning. And when it gets out of hand and causes the user to be damaging then the fullest moral authority with the least use of violence must be used.

So let’s continue with the addiction analogy. Those involved in wars of aggression and hurting those who are not involved should be treated as an addict who commits violence and theft. Let us leave aside criminal penalties that are levied on these acts. How can you motivate the addict to stop the anti-social behavior and instill an awareness or guilt of what they are doing so that they will decide to stop?

The best accepted treatment of those in addictive behavior is a staged confrontation. Those who are friends, family and others who have been hurt and know the actor have a planned surprise meeting with the accused. They all give their individual testimony of the terrible things that the person has done. Afterward they give their verdict to the miscreant.  The sentence is: “Deal with their problem!” This is usually done through a program. The program is designed to understand their behavior and build support means so that they never indulge in the drug or behavior again. The twelve-step success begins with an admission of guilt and that they are addicts. It is as an act of recovery, which may result in a real change. The addict will use any rationale as an excuse to use the drug again. Yet long experience has concluded that a drug once abused can never be used again or the same destructive pattern re-emerges. So if they do go back to old habits they should suffer an exile, a shunning or boycott. This cycle can continue endlessly until the addict dies. Most never recover. The ones that do keep clean see themselves in a constant state of recovery, not as cured people.

The behavior of the state and its military is to ensnarl itself in everything that could be in opposition to it so as to engender self-censorship of possible critics. It also co-opts, censors, minimalizes, avoids, arrests or chases away any opposition to its self-perception as heroes. Still wars, attempts at empires and other horrid behavior have on occasion been shamed out of existence. This is how colonialism, Communism and the Vietnam War ended.

Police state functions can be dealt with the same way. In spite of propaganda from the official culture, high pay and other inducements police are often socially isolated. Who wants to party with someone who is obligated to bust you for breaking a stupid law? Partly because of this disconnect and the official requirements of violence, police and military people have high alcoholism and other drug problems, suicide rates and other abuse issues. Police and the military are war drug cultures.

Peace people are a small group of disguised therapists in a huge asylum that is run by the inmates. Some of us are in recovery ourselves. Even among the therapists we are in the minority. It is commonly accepted among the violent addicts that if something goes wrong it is OK and even a duty to relapse into the drug called war. This imprint has gone on for ages. So we must build through culture, tradition and moral code and imprint a loathing of war. The extreme efforts and accomplishments that made possible the imprint through this drug of war must be made through other means. This could be done through other drugs such as psychedelics, which help in reprinting. Other quests such as spiritual and cultural imprints help as well.

So we define the mass use of violence and amphetamines as the sign of massive evil and psychosis. We see this as the state or state of mind that accepts horror as normal or even ideal. We create communities of peace amid this structured chaos of war. We persevere and create this peace even if just to maintain our own sanity.

It is through our analysis, ideals and vision that we have a way of treatment. We must prove to our patients that they have a problem and that there are other more peaceful ways of dealing with their problems than what they are doing now. Whether they are consciously pursuing terror as a way of life or thinking that this is the only or best way out we must provide better options without the drug-like frenzy of violence. It has been described as one of the most difficult and rewarding of accomplishments for genius and commoner alike to give up an addictive drug. Giving up war will be a similar struggle. So let’s start looking at the problem this way.

The Problem With The Economist

In Crazy Claims, Economics, Libertarian, literature, Media, Politics on June 12, 2009 at 5:43 pm

On page thirteen of the May 30th–June 5th edition of The Economist, an editorial aimed at describing the threat posed to our economy through excesses of central planning, the author writes the following paragraph:

Moreover, even the most stalwart defenders of the free market, including this newspaper, admit it has shortcomings that only the government can address.  The financial system requires close oversight, or crises will destabilise it (see page 75).  In recent years, such oversight has often been absent or fragmented.  Only government can enforce competition rules, insist that business and consumers limit carbon-dioxide emissions, or intervene to make health care available to those too sick or poor to afford it.  And the current crisis calls for aggressive and temporary fiscal and monetary intervention that is not justified in ordinary times.

The first sentence of this paragraph alone contains three grave problems.  Firstly, since when has the government been able to fix things?  Even liberals and conservatives readily admit that the government is at best inefficient and at worse downright detrimental.  Ask the average person if government is good at solving problems.  The person doesn’t have to be a libertarian to laugh at such a question.

Secondly, the most “stalwart defenders of the free market” do not make the sort of concessions that this magazine wishes to make.  I should know, being a stalwart defender of the free market myself.

Finally, The Economist calls itself a “stalwart defenders of the free market.”  But how can it be one, when it itself believes that government can “intervene to make health care available to those too sick or poor to afford it.”  The government does not possess some magic button that can make healthcare cheaper, and in fact every intervention the government makes into the healthcare field ultimately raises the costs (or decreases the quality) of healthcare.  And this hurts the poor more than anyone else!  No, The Economist is not a “stalwart defenders of the free market.”  If you want an example of a magazine that stalwartly defends the free market, I would recommend The Freeman.

I estimate that a point of confusion for some people arise when they hear a libertarian say, “The free market is not perfect.”  Even “stalwart defenders of the free market” admit that the free market is not perfect.  But what precisely does that mean?  Does it mean that the government is better, more effective, or more efficient than the market in some area(s)?  To jump to that conclusion is to misunderstand the libertarian who correctly says that the free market is imperfect.

When I say the free market is not perfect, what I mean by this is that the free market will not solve all of the world’s problems.  The free market does have an anti-discriminatory effect on businesses (i.e. businesses operating on a totally free market tend to ignore race, finding it more profitable to hire whatever employee is best for the job), but it will not likely have much of an impact on men’s hearts, for example.  This does not, however, mean that we should initiate some litany of statutory laws aimed at eliminating prejudice within men’s hearts, nor that the government would be more effective at eliminating prejudices than the market.

The market will also not fully eliminate addiction to alcohol, the making of bad investments, the promulgation of “improper” religious beliefs, et cætera.  Thus, the free market is not “perfect.”  But it’s still better than the government—at everything!  (Even archists like John Stossel have admitted to this last point.)  And this is because the state is a political institution, and thus lacks the same incentives that one would find in an economic institution.  (I am indebted to Franz Oppenheimer for the distinction between the political means and the economic means.)  Political institutions always inevitably allow politics to affect decision-making.  Whenever a politician grants something to, say, a corporation, you can be sure that the decision was affected by, if not based on, politics.  Beyond this, politicians lack any meaningful mechanism for evaluating the utility of their actions.  The market, on the contrary, has a pricing system that reflects consumer demand relative to supply, and it is this pricing system that allows market actors to make rational choices.

The market is not perfect because it is not, in short, a god.  Thus, there is no need to worship it, or to pretend it is anything other than it is.  But the fact that the market is not a god does not therefore imply that the state is a god, or that the state can even make up for the market’s imperfections.  The market, at least the truly free market, has no “market failures,” it just has natural limitations based on its nature.  It is, after all, merely a mechanism for most efficiently allocating resources in a world of scarcity; it is not a magic cure-all that can save humanity from, say, bad thoughts or addiction.  But then, neither is the state.  The same natural limitations we find in the market are found in politics, except that in politics they are ultimately far more detrimental to social harmony and human rights.  The market may not be a god, but that doesn’t mean the government is better than it—at anything.

—Alexander S. Peak

John Hospers and the Libertarian Temperament

In Crazy Claims, Libertarian, literature, Personal Responsibility on May 26, 2009 at 9:17 pm

I recently came across an article by former Libertarian Party candidate for president Mr. John Hospers in which he discusses the interaction of both anarchists and minarchists within the libertarian movement.  There are, as one might expect, some good things and some bad things to say of Mr. Hospers’s analysis.  I will first discuss and provide insights on what I like about the article—specifically his call for alliance between the two aforementioned libertarian factions.  I shall then explain what I see to be the failings of Mr. Hospers’s analysis.

Let me begin by saying I agree with Mr. Hospers when he says,

Anarchism, as I see it, is an issue for the far future as far as practical application is concerned.  If we get to the point where 9/10 of the present government functions are government functions no longer, then we can consider the question whether what remains is best performed by government or by private individuals and organizations.  But it is virtually certain that we shall never reach that point if we do not present a united front to the world.

This is a point Mr. Harry Browne made often, and it is a point with which I agree.

As an anarchist, and one who is optimistic for the long-run but pessimistic in the short-run, I do not believe we will achieve even minarchy (i.e. limited, constitutional government) within my lifetime, let alone anarchy (i.e. the replacement of the entire state with private, voluntary institutions).  Therefore, my own anarchism is explored for predominately philosophic reasons.

That’s not to say that I do not also embrace it for practical reasons.  As far as I’m concerned, I’m not only an anarchist in theory but also an anarchist in practice.  That is to say, I “live anarchy” every day.  In my every interaction with people, I always eschew aggression.  I do not steal, I do not rape, I do not accept welfare, and, if I were to get elected to some legislative body tomorrow, I would refuse to accept even a cent of tax-payer money for the job.  I engage in voluntary action at all times.1

But I recognise that America is not going to accept anarchism yet.  The people are, unfortunately, not yet independently-minded enough to come to a total and complete rejection of all aggression entirely, nor even is a 50% majority yet going to make such a commitment.  Far too many people believe in continuing the war on drugs (as just one of many examples) to as of yet come to a total rejection of aggression.

But this is no reason for me to turn my back on anarchism.  Ultimately, reason compels me to embrace anarchy as the only ethical and practical system of government.  And I see no harm in promoting this view, in explaining politely and hopefully-convincingly to people how the alternative institutions we radical libertarians advocate would function in the real world.

I believe there is no inconsistency in being an anarchist—in promoting anarchism—and in allying myself with minarchists.  As Mr. Hospers implies, should we ever get to the point where the vast majority of the government has been eliminated, at that point we’ll have to get down to the nitty-gritty of what divides anarchist libertarians from minarchist libertarians.  At that point, we’ll have to end our alliance.  In the meantime, Mr. Hospers is right: we should work together toward our common goals.

At the same time, I also hold that there is nothing wrong in trying to convince minarchist libertarians that libertarian anarchism is superior to libertarian minarchism.  And I will attempt to do so because to achieves my own aims.  Thus far, I’m proud to say, I have helped to turn no less than four limited-state libertarians into no-state libertarians.

It should become immediately clear that I therefore have two goals when it comes to the promotion of my political views: (1) to convert non-libertarians into libertarians and (2) to convert minarchists into anarchists.  Since I’ve had far more success with my second objective than my first, I can only conclude that the second objective is easier to accomplish than the former.  But the former is just as important, and if I were somehow able to convert the statists of the world into minarchists en mass, I would consider this a triumphant victory for Liberty.

Because I recognise that both of these tasks are difficult, I try to be respectful when engaging someone in political discourse.  I want to win people over, and I realise that name-calling and temper-tantrums is not the way to achieve this.  So you can imagine just how embarrassed I was by many of my fellow Ron Paul Revolutionaries when I was reading blogs and whatnot two years ago!  I wanted Ron Paul to win, and unfortunately many of his followers were acting like fourth-graders in their discourse with random Internet-users.

Political discourse has been a prime concern of mine for quite some time now.  It’s been such a concern because I truly want us to achieve Liberty, and I know that this will not happen as long as we push people away through rudeness.

This brings me to the unfortunate flaw in Mr. Hospers’s analysis. He readily recognises a problem exists involving discourse. However, he seems to assume that the problem is entirely on the anarchists’ end.  Although he does not say so, he implies that minarchists are always respectful and rational in their outlook while anarchists are chaotic, rude, childish, and emotionally-driven.  I do not believe this stereotype holds.

The reality is much more nuanced.  There are some anarchists, naturally, who are quite rude with people—even with fellow libertarians, much to my chagrin.  There are also plenty of anarchists who are extremely respectful individuals.  Could you imagine the mild-mannered Jeffrey Tucker throwing profanities at a political opponent, or stamping his foot?  I certainly cannot.

Yet this is precisely how Mr. Hospers paints all of us anarchists.  Writes Hospers,

There is either an unwillingness [no the part of anarchists] to enter into calm sustained argument about it [the virtues of statism], or a childish frenzy in which they conduct argument, which makes it difficult for anyone to enter into it with them without being at the receiving end of name-calling and numerous personal slurs.  I have seen this tendency reach the point of petulant screaming and stamping of feet.

Hospers does not say that this is simply a problem with specific anarchists he’s encountered, but rather that this is a “psychological aspect[] of anarchism.”  The implication is clear: if you are an anarchist, you are likely immature.  Even if you’re not immature, it’s not because anarchism does not entail this personality defect, but because you’ve somehow suppressed your natural anarchist tendency to embrace immaturity.

But this is simply not so.  For one thing, I would estimate that most libertarian anarchists are those who were at one time libertarian minarchists.  I know that I was a minarchist up until July of 2007, and that I only came to embrace anarchy after years of reflection.  Slowly but surely I came around to conclusion after conclusion that this or that aspect of the state was not necessary, that this or that regulation actually caused more harm than good.  For me, straw that broke the camel’s back was the environment.  I had held that free-market environmentalism was a good and necessary thing, but kept telling myself that we needed the state so that we could have appropriate regulations where needed.  The only problem was, I couldn’t think of a single regulation that only the state and nothing else could provide.  At that point, I had no alternative but to consider the matter of anarchism once more, to consider it objectively and intelligently.  I did not embrace anarchism whimsically, but only after a great deal of reflection and thought.  Even after embracing it, I still gave the matter a great deal of thought and reflection, as I believe was appropriate.  I still question it every once in a while to this day, but every time I do, I come back to the same conclusion: it is the only system that conforms to the way humans really work, the only system that conforms to human nature rather than trying to mould humans in some other image.  It is, in short, the only system that can work.  (After all, as we all know, government doesn’t work.)

Thus, since most libertarian anarchists were at one time libertarian minarchists, either Mr. Hospers would have to hold that their personalities changed upon converting to anarchism or that they were just as immature when they were minarchists as they are now. I do not believe Mr. Hospers wishes to concede either of these points.

For another thing, it is simply incorrect to say that all communication breakdowns between minarchists and anarchists are on the anarchists’ end. Just as there are some anarchists who are clearly immature, there is a great deal of minarchists who are just as immature. Believe me, I have engaged in my fair share of discussions with immature minarchists, people who embarrass me as a libertarian just as much as the immature anarchists do. I do not pretend, however, that there is any uniform minarchist psychological mindset, or that all minarchists are appropriately represented by the immature ones I’ve encountered. In short, some anarchists and minarchists alike engage in unproductive discourse, while plenty in both camps understand that mindless name-calling gets us nowhere.

Mr. Hospers writes, “I have certainly noticed, as doubtless many of you have, a recurring personality pattern among those who label themselves anarchists.” But, alas, if I were to paint minarchists under the same broad brush that Mr. Hospers uses to paint anarchists, would this be anything other than stereotyping?

Where, pray tell, is the respectable discourse in that?

_______

1Among other things, Mr. Hospers claims in his article that anarchists engage in “a strong, usually…neurotic, rebellion against all forms of discipline, especially self-discipline.”  If this point about “living anarchy” proves anything, it is that this Hosperian statement is (in addition to being extremely insulting) fundamentally wrong.

Call to Arms: Resolution of Discipline against Angela Keaton

In Activism, Boston Tea Party, Crazy Claims, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics 2008, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Politics, Protest on December 1, 2008 at 10:15 pm

The charges against Angela Keaton have finally been disclosed (well, leaked, LOL) and Stewart Flood is behind them.  He wrote it, and he plans to present it on Saturday.

Grab your popcorn, folks, because this one is a doozy.  Strangely, it reflects far more upon Stewart than it does on Angela.  After reading it over, it’s my opinion that Stewie needs both a humor implant, and a life.  It must have taken him forever to dig up all this crap on Ms. Keaton, and most of it obviously was just a joke on her part, an exaggeration on his part, and/or taken completely out of context.  The rest I’ll have to check into, but as far as I’m concerned, just glancing over it based upon what I have seen, the charges are a joke.

Of particular interest is the allegation that Ms. Keaton provided material support to another political party (assumably the BTP).  What exactly was Bob Barr doing, both when he sat on the LNC and was the LP’s presidential candidate, while his PAC contributed thousands to Republican candidates, if not providing material support to another party?  Why wasn’t he brought up on disciplinary charges? 

The resolution is to suspend her, but the suspension will be rescinded if she submits a written apology to millions of people within seven days, on about 20 differerent alleged “offenses”, to be published in LP News.  This is clearly in my opinion nothing but an attempt to humiliate her, given the very weird nature of the charges, and force her to bend to the demands of the reformers.  

So, here’s your assignment, LFV contributors and readers.  Dig up all the dirt you can on every single person she has allegedly harmed, according to the resolution.  I know there’s a lot out there, because I have received a lot of it over time.  I’m talking everything, from Stewart allegedly claiming to have been a Unabomber suspect, to men on the LNC calling Angela a “fucking bitch”.  Post it in comments.  

Here’s the “Resolution of Discipline”:  resolution-of-discipline-for-angela-keaton

Sarah Palin: competent? libertarian?

In Humor, Iraq War, John McCain, Media, Republican, Sarah Palin, Second Amendment, Terrorism, War on September 29, 2008 at 7:49 pm

Let’s get the libertarian thing out of the way.

The answer is no

.

Lisa Nova presents a couple of humorous portrayals, giving different views of Palin’s competence level.

In Clip #1, Palin is portrayed as very competent (and ruthless).

In this one…not so much

Palin’s minister drives out witchcraft, makes Obama’s minister look completely sane in comparison

In Crazy Claims, Fraud, People in the news, Politics, Republican, Sarah Palin on September 25, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Thomas Muthee is a minister from Kenya who has repeatedly preached at Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin’s church (Wasilla Assembly of God).  This is not some long-past connection, nor is it a situation where the church one time invited a visiting minister who they didn’t know was a wackjob.  Muthee has been a visiting minister there since 2005, and most recently preached at Palin’s church this past weekend.

From Wikipedia:

Muthee and his wife returned home to Kenya from Scotland, where he had finished his graduate studies, in 1988.[3][4] They soon felt that they were “called by God to Kiambu” and after six months of prayer, research, and “spiritual mapping,” they came to believe that a witch known as “Mama Jane” was the cause of crime and spiritual oppression in the area.[1][3][4][5][6] Muthee alleged that “top government and business leaders [were] afraid to do anything without her approval,” that at least one person per month would die in a car accident in front of her “divination house” (otherwise known as Emmanuel Clinic), and that she harassed his congregation.[3][4][7] According to Muthee, soon after his followers began to pray that God would either save or oust Mama Jane,[3][4][7][8] three young people died in another apparent accident in front of Mama Jane’s clinic.[3][4][7] The angry townsfolk wanted to stone her in retaliation, and when the police entered Mama Jane’s home to intervene, they were apparently startled by what they believed to be a demon and shot her pet python to death.[3][4][6][7][8] Mama Jane was then questioned by police, after which she left town.[3][4][8] Since then, Muthee has frequently referred to his witch-hunt as an example of successful spiritual warfare.[6]

The event was depicted in two videos by George Otis, Jr.,[9][10] in which Muthee claimed that the crime rate in Kiambu dropped drastically after Mama Jane left.[1][3][5][7][11][12] However, Workgroup “Back to the Bible,” headed by Pastor Rien van de Kraats of Kamperland, Netherlands, found no police reports or any other sources that backed up this claim.[12]

In the video below, after enumerating how religious people should take over the entire country, he drives witchcraft away from Sarah Palin.

Whoo-boy.

Most urgent private message

In Children, Corruption, Crazy Claims, Economics, Fraud, Human Rights Abuses, Humor, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Taxation, Terrorism, US Government on September 25, 2008 at 1:00 am

H/T Delaware Libertarian

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had a crisis that has caused the need for a large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Franklin Raines, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. You may know him as the Chief Economic Advisor for Senator Obama’s presidential campaign, and the former head of Fannie Mae from 1999 to 2006.

Let me assure you that this transaction is 100% safe. Mr. Raines is completely trustworthy with your money. His record speaks for itself.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of friend so the funds can be transferred. Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully

Henry “Hank” Paulson

Minister of Treasury

“Manning’s Fierce Prayer for Bristol Palin”

In Barack Obama, Crazy Claims, Democrats, Entertainment, Humor, John McCain, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, Shine on you crazy diamond on September 19, 2008 at 11:08 am

This is one of the most unintentionally funny political rants I have ever seen.

Not at all surprisingly, disgruntled PA Republican loses lawsuit to remove Barr from ballot

In Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crazy Claims, Fraud, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Local Politics, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, Wayne Allen Root on September 16, 2008 at 11:46 am

Victor Stabile, Chair of the Cumberland County (PA) Republican Committee, filed suit to remove Bob Barr from the Pennsylvania ballot.  Stabile’s argument was that the LP engaged in fraud, by substituting Bob Barr for the stand-in candidate, and by collecting petition signatures under the name of the stand-in even after Barr was nominated.

Predictably, the judge didn’t buy that argument:  pennsylvania-court-opinion

Here’s your chance to SHOW the Barr campaign what you really think

In Humor, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Media, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Wayne Allen Root on September 12, 2008 at 1:28 pm

From Bob Barr’s Deputy Campaign Manager Shane Cory:

Don’t be a Party Puppet

Dear Friend,

Maybe it’s the kid in me, but a great Libertarian in Washington State, Bruce Guthrie, ran my all-time favorite political ads during his 2006 senate run.

The production of his commercials was simple enough: Lunch bags, glue, yarn and construction paper put together with very entertaining voiceover.

Bruce’s theme was brilliant: “Don’t be a party puppet!”

If you have a minute to enjoy, here are two spots that aired: the Party Puppet Girls and Party Puppet Rick.

Now that only 53 days remain before the election, I think it’s about time we kicked off our advertising campaign!

While we sill have ongoing ballot access battles going in many states and funds are still very tight, only three weeks remain before early voting begins in some states! Despite our challenges, I don’t want to delay our media campaign any longer.

We need your creative help to get the ball rolling.

Rather than produce stuffy, standard political ads, we want to get your concepts or even full commercials.

If you’re the creative type or want to spend some quality time with a few friends and a video camera over the weekend, we sure could use the help. Please keep them to 30 seconds, leaving about 3 seconds at the end for the government mandated, “I’m Bob Barr and I approve this message.”

Once you have a concept or finished product, just send us your videos! Here’s a drop box where you can upload your videos and concepts.

Not very creative like me? No worries, you can help just as much by making a donation today. I’ll throw in the first $100 and if you can match or contribute $25, $50 or more, we would greatly appreciate the help. Click here to donate.

Thanks for everything that you do!

In Liberty,

Shane Cory
Deputy Campaign Manager
Bob Barr for President

If anyone reading LFV decides to make a video, be sure to post it on YouTube and leave a link here.

Russ Verney says Bush showed “incredible leadership”, makes excuses for Barr’s no-show at Ron Paul event

In Crazy Claims, George Bush, Iraq War, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Ron Paul, Terrorism, War, Wayne Allen Root on September 11, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Yet Verney still fails and refuses to recognize that Barr has absolutely no authority to replace Root with Ron Paul, or anyone else.  By the way, where’s Osama bin Laden?  We can see a quarter on the sidewalk from space, but we can’t find a strange-looking human giant?

Dear Friend,

Before I move forward with an important report for today, I would like to recognize and remember the 2,819 men and women who lost their lives seven years ago. As a result of the attacks of September 11th, Americans came together, setting aside differences in order mourn our shared losses and assist our neighbors in need.

May we never forget . . .

In times of crisis, strength in leadership requires boldness of character, clear direction and firm resolve. As we witnessed after the attacks of September 11th, President George W. Bush showed incredible leadership as he stood atop a fire truck amidst the rubble of the twin towers to rally America.

While the quality of leadership is rare enough, principled leaders are few and far between. Those who do appear to posses the traits necessary to lead, for reasons only known to themselves, frequently choose not to stand on principle.

Yesterday, our vice presidential candidate, Wayne Allyn Root, offered to step aside to allow Congressman Ron Paul an opportunity to serve on the presidential ticket of the Libertarian Party and move the agenda of Liberty forward.

On the surface, a simple offer was extended. In fact it was principled leadership at its finest.

Wayne Allyn Root showed his deep commitment to the principles of our cause. Without hesitation or regard to the effort, time and personal funds he has committed to the issues of freedom, smaller government, less taxes and the Libertarian ticket, Wayne offered to step aside to allow another leader to step up.

I could not be more proud of his actions and selflessness.

As America is hurling towards crisis on many fronts, we need principled leaders like Bob Barr and Wayne Allyn Root. We have no time to waste on anything other than spreading the message of smaller government, less taxes, and more personal freedom issues across this nation.

That brings me to my next point.

Today our campaign is being criticized by a few people for my decision to not attend a press conference sponsored by Ron Paul’s political action committee. I thought I would take a minute to explain to you why I made that decision.

It became evident to me after meeting with Ron Paul’s staff that this media event was not about promoting the liberty agenda; it was about promoting a man. That’s not what we’re in this for.

After rumors were spread in advance of the news conference that Bob Barr was dropping from the race – just to hype the event – I became even more hesitant to attend. Those tactics were unacceptable and when asked about it, Ron Paul’s staff simply smiled and said it would attract the press.

When I was provided a copy of Ron Paul’s prepared remarks just hours before the start of the planned news conference it became clear to me that the message Ron Paul intended to deliver was essentially to scatter the votes for the liberty agenda to the four winds.

His remarks not only encouraged anyone listening to support any one of four candidates, he also applauded ‘non-voters’. To me encouraging people not to vote is not principled leadership for the Liberty agenda.

I made the decision that attending that news conference was not consistent with Bob Barr’s principled leadership for the Liberty agenda.

Once I informed Ron Paul’s staff of my decision I was rudely informed that my decision would have permanent ramifications, I was personally threatened and Bob Barr was politically threatened. That’s a far cry from principled leadership.

One thing that did occur as a result of yesterday’s events is a clear separation of certain factions. Up until now, we have been dealing with two groups, those who want to advance the issues of liberty and those who have been drawn into a cult of personality.

There are those who support a specific politician and then there are those who support the liberty agenda regardless of standard-bearer.

Bob Barr, Wayne Allyn Root and the Libertarian Party stand for the issues of personal freedom and responsible government. As they have proven, both Bob and Wayne are willing to lead or follow for the advancement of our issues.

Now is their time to lead.

As we move into the final 50 days of the campaign we are in place to make a strong impact on the future of our country.

At the end of the day, the number of votes cast in support of the Liberty agenda in the General Election will influence the national political agenda of the next four years.

If we do our jobs, work hard and give us much as possible until Election Day, our voices will be heard and our agenda of smaller government, lower taxes, more personal freedom and government accountability will be on the table for years to come.

I appreciate your commitment and dedication.

Sincerely,

Russ signature

Russell Verney
Campaign Manager

Barr’s website says he invited Ron Paul to be his VP

In Crazy Claims, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Media, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, Ron Paul on September 10, 2008 at 2:28 pm

The following was posted today on the Bob Barr website by Shane Cory. It is of particular interest given that Barr did not show up today at the Ron Paul third party press conference, thus causing a major rift with the Ron Paul camp.

It is unclear why Barr thinks Ron Paul should be his VP candidate, and not the other way around when Ron Paul has far more support both in and out of the LP, and far more experience in Congress. Furthermore, Barr’s current VP Wayne Allyn Root was nominated by the delegates at the Libertarian Convention, so Barr doesn’t have the power or authority to replace him.  Root seems to think it’s a fine idea, but he doesn’t have the power or authority to overrule the delegates either.

Many thanks to LFV reader Bubbu Blanco for bringing this link to LFV’s attention!

Bob Barr Shows Leadership to Unify Liberty Movement

September 10th, 2008 by Shane Cory

Asks Paul to Run as his Vice President

Atlanta, GA – Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party nominee for president, has invited GOP Congressman Ron Paul to be his running mate in the upcoming election. In a letter sent to Paul, Barr called Paul one of the “few American patriots” who exist in today’s society, and asked him to “seriously consider this final offer as an opportunity to show true, lasting leadership beyond party politics.”

Barr cited Paul’s 1987 letter to then-GOP Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf, in which Paul stated that, “after years of trying to work through the Republican Party both in and out of government…[Paul] concluded that [his] efforts must be carried on outside the Republican Party.”

Though recognizing Paul’s personal investment in the Republican Party and his recent attempts to reform the party from inside, Barr said he disagreed with Paul’s strategy. “Better options remain that will carry a message of liberty onto the ballot in November and beyond,” Barr stated, adding at a news conference called today at the National Press Club, that “change in politics and public policy in America cannot and will not be done from within the current, two-party system.”

Barr continued, “‘The status quo will not change the status quo’ and impact comes entirely from gaining votes in the General Election.” That is why Barr said he would remain focused on the Libertarian Party’s electoral effort and clear message, and why he invited Paul to join him.

“While you declined my offer to seek the Libertarian presidential nomination many months ago, I ask that you seriously consider this final offer as an opportunity to show true, lasting leadership beyond party politics,” Barr stated in his letter to Paul.

Barr’s running mate, Wayne Allyn Root, expressed support: “As the Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee, I believe in one thing above all else—principle. There can be no compromise on the ideals of limited government, lower taxes, lower spending, and more freedom for the American people. Those are the principles to which I’ve dedicated my life. The GOP and Democratic candidates only give lip service—at best—to these ideals and principles. It is only an act at election time every four years.”

“I want to end the charade once and for all,” Root continued. “I am willing to sacrifice anything to advance the cause of liberty, freedom, smaller government and to enable the American taxpayer to keep more of their own money and property. Understanding Dr. Ron Paul’s reputation and name recognition in the freedom movement, I am willing to step aside as Libertarian vice presidential candidate if he would be willing to take my place. I will pledge to work day and night, just as I have as the vice presidential nominee, to support Dr. Paul. I believe this is a wonderful opportunity for the Libertarian and freedom movements. I encourage Dr. Paul to accept Congressman Barr’s offer. The campaign is making this offer because we believe there is no sacrifice too large when it comes to improving the lives of the American people and American taxpayers.”

Barr’s letter to Paul can be found here.

Paul’s letter to the GOP can be found here.

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003.

Drawing for an afternoon with Bob Barr

In Humor, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Politics, Presidential Candidates on September 6, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Dear Friend,

My last message to you included an impassioned plea for help for the Bob Barr campaign. It may have been a little long, and I shared with you some fairly personal information regarding my decision to support Bob and work for him full time.

Well, one response to my appeal was that it was “annoying.”

If you were annoyed, I apologize. Believe me, the last thing I want to do is annoy you or any other Bob Barr supporter.

In my enthusiasm for this campaign and the history-making work we are doing, I may have gone “over the top.” Let me warn you, if you think my last message was extreme, you may not want to read on.

As I write this, it is well past midnight. On TV I have seen talking heads smiling and spewing out so much pro-McCain rhetoric it makes me ill. They seem to think that they can sucker in a lot of votes by convincing voters that McCain’s greatest attribute is that he isn’t Barack Obama. Little is said convincing us to be for McCain. Much is said slamming Obama. Nothing is said about the real issues of concern to you and me.

The Bob Barr campaign, however, has been busy pointing this out and calling attention to Bob’s position on virtually every issue. The result is that as people get to know Bob and where he stands on issues, they realize that he really does stand for meaningful change in our government.

They recognize Bob Barr as a man of integrity, courage and commitment. Bob Barr will never compromise on principle. And, his campaign will never resort to vicious personal attacks on his opponents.

I hope that as you have gotten to know Bob, you appreciate him more and more.

I further hope that you now know enough to consider investing in this historic campaign. (Maybe my appeal for financial support is what someone found annoying!)

Bob’s opponents are being funded by a combination of our tax dollars and gifts from special interests. You are all we have to get Bob’s message out. And your gift will help Bob get radio and TV ads out in the next few weeks.

You may recall that a few weeks ago I offered you a free bumper sticker in exchange for your gift of $5 or more. So many people responded that we have had to re-order more. Now I figure that pretty much everyone who wants a sticker has one.

That left me at a loss for how to motivate you to give – beyond your altruistic patriotism and love for the liberty we enjoy in this great nation. So, my boss, Campaign Manager Russ Verney suggested that we have a drawing among all new contacts in the month of September for a free “afternoon with Bob.” We figured some might enjoy lunch with Bob, others a day of quail hunting or a day at the shooting range, some might like to go to the movies, while others might want to take in a baseball or football game. Whatever YOU want to do (let’s keep it legal-and within reason) with our great candidate, Bob Barr, you are free to select. Of course this will be after the election and every effort will be made to accommodate the winner’s choice, but there are obviously some restrictions. (We can’t, for example, afford to pay travel expenses.)

So send us a few bucks, send us $50 or whatever you can, and your name will be entered into a special drawing to win this exciting prize.

Thanks so much for your loyalty and support.

Sincerely,

Robert Stuber
Finance Director

$46 Underwear Fighting $65 Million Domain Mall Subsidies

In Humor, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics on August 29, 2008 at 8:13 pm

Fighting to prevent $65 million in subsidies (corporate welfare) to a luxury mall:

Covered in the Austin Chronicle.

The Travis County Libertarian Party opposed the corporate welfare.

Stop Domain Subsidies is a grassroots effort attracting people from all political persuasions, and lots of small business owners.

The Austin Ron Paul Campaign for Liberty Meetup group is supporting this effort and is expected to provide lots of the labor.

I’m predicting a huge fight, but victory for Proposition 2, which will help prevent millions in corporate welfare to retail developments.

An aside: this is the first time I’ve posted a video to YouTube.  I can foresee getting myself into all kinds of trouble with this new skill.

Bob Barr’s second appearance on Stephen Colbert show

In Celebrities, Entertainment, Environment, Global Warming, Humor, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Media, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Science, Shine on you crazy diamond on August 28, 2008 at 9:33 am

My personal favorite line (by Stephen Colbert)

Libertarians believe it is my right to varnish in an unventilated room.

LNC Smackdown!

In Crazy Claims, Entertainment, George Phillies, Humor, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Shine on you crazy diamond on August 23, 2008 at 2:03 am

Sorry, couldn’t resist that headline after LNC Treasurer Aaron Starr (in LFV comments) made a reference to libertarian “bloodsports”. 😉

The following are comments left on the latest LFV exclusive regarding George Phillies having been contacted by an outside attorney, about a potential lawsuit brewing for New Hampshire.

Aaron Starr, LNC Treasurer:

This might be interesting if it were accurate.

However, the LNC has been informed on more than one occasion concerning the potential opportunity for a lawsuit in New Hampshire to establish for our party the permanent right for candidate substitution, so that we will not have this problem again in the future.

No lawsuit has been filed yet.

On May 22nd, during the LNC pre-convention meeting in Denver, staff presented in its report the possibility of our needing to sue in New Hampshire.

The report is included in the minutes. Members of the LNC board members who are purported to not know anything about this received copies of these minutes and voted for their approval.

In addition, in a cursory search of e-mails to the entire LNC, I was able to find a ballot access update dated June 29th that further discussed the legal situation in New Hampshire. There are probably other updates, should I care to look for them.

In the case of Bill Hall, our legal counsel, the LNC has been updated by him as recently as today as to the status of this potential litigation. Of course, attorney-client privilege issues prevent me from sharing the contents of this communique with anyone else.

Aaron Starr
Treasurer
Libertarian National Committee

Professor George Phillies, qualified NH LP presidential candidate and probable defendant in said not-yet-filed lawsuit:

Starr’s claims about the suit are disingenuous. There are indeed representations in the LNC Minutes and other places about discussing litigation as a possible alternative path in New Hampshire. There is no indication that an attorney had been retained or was going to be retained.

That’s entirely different from having an attorney, not Bill Hall, telephone interested parties to make statements rather more positive than discussing alternatives.

As an analogy, as late as 1936 the War Department updated its plans for war with Canada, a fact that Congress could have determined. South Park notwithstanding, telling Congress this minor fact did not constitute asking Congress to approve war with Canada.

There is no representation in those statements to the LNC about actually spending money to pay the attorney in question, seeking the LNC’s approval to spend money or discuss litigation with interested parties, or having the attorney discuss with affected parties while representing himself as the LNC’s attorney, which he assuredly would not have done if he had not been retained, whether for pay or pro bono.

I should point out that the sort of phone call that I heard might or might not already have led other interested parties to retain their own counsel.

As to whether the LNC is paying him for something, well, the most recent LNC FEC filing shows a large sum of money going in his direction, so there is no question that the LNC has already actually spent money, without notifying the LNC itself that that money is actually being spent.

Angela Keaton, LNC At-Large Representative:

A.) What is the proper LNC procedure in the initiation of a lawsuit? Does a mention of the possibility of such in a staff report released between LNC meetings constitute proper notice to the board? Do Haugh and Kraus have the authority to initiate a law suit without putting it to a vote of the entire LNC? If Redpath has the sole authority, what is the fiduciary duty with regard to financial priorities during severe shortfalls?

B.) Is the suit a political payback stemming from a confrontation between Carling/Karlan/Sundwall and Macia and Phillies/McMahon at the LPNY ‘07 convention? Did that confrontation result as of Carling overstepping what was agreed upon by members of the LNC? Is it a relevant fact that M Carling proposed to strip George Phillies of his life membership at the July ‘07 LNC meeting? Is it a relevant fact that Aaron Starr proposed an affiliate agreement which singled out LPNH for a daunting level of control by the LNC? (Starr lated withdrew after I made the case that it would lead to infighting and bitterness. Who knew?) What does the ExCom of LPNH want?

C.) What is the responsibility of the Barr/Root campaign for handling ballot access? Is it a mis characterization to state that LPNH has no ballot access when the drop dead date was August 6th and the signature validity is known? A mis characterization that there is no LP ballot access if Phillies/Bennett ticket has made the ballot? Does it matter if both are on the ballot? Does it make any difference who is on the ballot as long as the libertarian label is on it?

Get back to me via email (angela at angelakeaton com) if any of you have serious answers so I don’t have to wade through this most worthless thread.

Angela Keaton
At Large Rep
Libertarian National Committee

I have to respectfully disagree with Ms. Keaton. The thread covered everything any redblooded libertarian could ever want to discuss …. from whether state parties overrule the national party on ballot access issues, to whether a qualified candidate must bow out for the nominee in a state which does not allow substitution, to necrophiliac fellatio, and everything in between. We even had self-described “Libertarian Republican” Eric Dondero calling out to his preferred diety, during a profanity-filled rant in which he threatened to come through the computer and rip LFV Contributor GE Smith’s head off. Now, ripping off heads is what I call a “bloodsport”, though of course making threats on LFV is never, ever acceptable, nor is it ever tolerated.

What do you think, folks? Anyone want to have a little weekend fun, and lay some bets on any of the players? Starr vs Phillies? Keaton vs Starr? Hogarth vs Phillies? Dondero vs GE? ElfNinosMom vs Dondero? Place your bets here!

Guest Contributor George Phillies: Bob Barr Advocates for Discrimination Against Women

In Crazy Claims, Law, Libertarian Politics on August 18, 2008 at 7:26 pm

The following was authored by Dr. George Phillies, and is published on LFV with his permission.

As you can tell from this, or any other representation of sports, men are hardly getting discriminatd against in college athletics

Bob Barr is worried about all the men being discriminated against in college athletics .... wait, what?

At some point, you have to draw a line

Bob Barr Advocates for Discrimination Against Women

Of course, Bob Barr calls it “Title IX Reform”. And he doesn’t say the rest out loud. You have to read between the lines.

Three decades ago, Congress imposed a requirement on educational programs and activities that received Federal Financial assistance. If a school accepted both men and women, it could not have programs that discriminated against men or against women. In 1972, this was a very radical idea. College athletics meant ‘college *men’s* athletics, and at many universities programs for women were very much second rate in their support, even when women outnumbered men on campus.

Now there comes to us Libertarian Presidential candidate Bob Barr who in a August 11, 2008 press release calls for “an end to Title IX’s gender quota system that has devastated so many of our collegiate sports programs” and his claim “…In turn, this has forced colleges and universities to either cut men’s teams or shrink their roster size in order to comply…” He then signed an online petition found at http://www.petitiononline.com/csc2008/petition.html and quoted below.

Barr quotes College Sports Council President Leo Kocher as claiming “…If the state’s schools were simply allowed to use online surveys to measure actual interest, they would be able to add wrestling programs without fear of running afoul of the law…”

Of course, a real libertarian might have advocated for ending those Federal programs, because if there were no Federal program, Title IX would have no effect. Many of the more purist readers on this list can even enumerate the Federal programs in question. But that’s not what Barr did.

A few will note that some of those programs are Veteran’s benefits, that the Veteran’s friends have already paid for, paid for by dying for their country*.

A Federal candidate who was actually interested in the health of future Americans might have advocated for intramural athletic participation, by voluntary choice, as opposed to varsity athletic programs. My alma mater did this, and in one year my dormitory fielded volleyball teams Burton House A, Burton House B,… on through Burton House VV. Barr didn’t advocate a policy that would substantively benefit America, either.

Instead, Barr inveighed against Federal antidiscrimination rules, using Republican reactionary dogwhistle language about ‘quota systems’. Dogwhistle? A reasonable libertarian reads ‘quota’ and hears ‘a Federal program. Where is the call to repeal it?’. A sexist Republican reads ‘quota’, starts foaming at the mouth, notes the references to ‘wrestling’, and hears ‘discrimination for good old boys! Yes!’.**

And that ‘a simple survey’? Does anyone know how to lean a survey?

In fact, what Title IX requires is that male and female students — most of whom are taxpayers who paid in part for the Federal programs in question — not have their tax dollars be used to subsidize discrimination against them.

The actual outcome of Title IX has been an enormous burgeoning of athletic teams for women in colleges across America. There has been an end to second-class treatment of women. I can see the result at my own university, where the fraction of women who choose to participate in varsity athletics now matches the fraction of men participating. Also, it has been extremely visible that team athletics are much more positive in their benefits for women than for men, which is not to say that many men have not benefited form intramural or varsity athletics.

Having said that, a school that wants to discriminate against its coeds without crossing Title IX has but to decline the Federal money paid by female taxpayers.

The Barr Press release “Barr signs petition for academic sports freedom” should be seen for what it is. It’s not a call for liberty. It’s a dog-whistle appeal to southern white male chauvinists.

Finally, as a college professor, I assure readers that wrestling programs are perfectly legal. I should know. My university, WPI, has one, not to mention one and a half dozen other varsity teams, and around 20 — depending on interest — club sports, many coed.

Oh, yes, the petition:

To: U.S. Congress

WHEREAS … Today, June 23, 2008 marks the 36th anniversary of the passage of Title IX …

WHEREAS … Men’s collegiate athletic teams are being eliminated and rosters are being capped at an alarming rate in order to comply with the “proportionality” enforcement prong …

WHEREAS … Women collegiate athletes are being robbed of their training partners, teammates and biggest supporters when men’s teams are eliminated …

WHEREAS … Straightforward and common-sense fixes to the enforcement mechanism are already available – such as a simple survey that would allow any student, male or female, to express interest and be given opportunity …

WHEREAS … The law’s current method of enforcement is discriminating against male athletes and artificially limiting opportunities to participate …

WHEREAS … The current tenor of the debate over the future of Title IX sets up a zero sum contest pitting men against women that hurts the collective cause of all college athletes …

BE IT RESOLVED … That men and women across the country come together to discuss and implement a set of common sense reforms to Title IX enforcement that maximizes the opportunities of all college athletes regardless of gender.

*One of my drill sergeants in basic showed me how to use this line, for which I am most grateful.

**Mind you, some football and wrestling teams have simply allowed coeds to join.