October 20, 2016

What Trump and His Accusers Didn’t Say

trump_in_2013Forget foreign policy, economic policy, civil liberties or “muh roads.” With three weeks to go before Election Day, discussion of the so-called “issues” is over. From here on in, the candidates seem determined to do nothing but fire volleys of character assassination at the two easiest targets who ever ran for office.

Thank goodness for that, too, for as libertarian icon Lew Rockwell, wrote, “In contrast to campaign “substance” which is mostly always wrong, or skewed, the invective is mostly entirely true.” Never has this been truer, as both candidates have made compelling cases the other is unfit to serve as a garbage collector, much less president.

But while the candidates’ accusations have been mostly true, a goodly portion of the media reporting is demonstrably false. The most egregious example is the ubiquitous assertion that Trump admitted to “grabbing women by the …” on a recording made by Billy Bush. Trump never admitted to such on the video and, if you think you heard him do so, then you should watch the video again.

Read the rest at LewRockwell.com…


Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Did the media really “cover” the Trump sexual assault allegations?

trump_in_2013The cast of MSNBC’s Morning Joe conducted a self-examination of sorts on Tuesday on whether media coverage of the election has been biased against Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. The segment was refreshingly sincere and former advisor to Sen. Rand Paul Elise Jordan made a point that’s been lost throughout much of the coverage thus far: the so-called “little people” are as angry at the national media as they are at the government.

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post admitted with a smile that he is, indeed, a “coastal elite,” having attended a prep school prior to Georgetown and now residing “inside the beltway.” But he disagreed the coverage has been biased against Trump, saying, “How do we not cover when nine women come forward against one of the two people who’s the nominee?”

Joe Scarborough gave the obvious, answer: the media should cover that story. But did they? Let’s look at just one of the allegations and try to determine that.

The New York Times broke Jessica Leeds’ story on October 12, providing an edited video interview of Leeds accompanying their print story. Leeds gave the by now well-known account of Trump raising the arm rest between their first class seats and proceeding to kiss and grope her on a flight to New York. Having watched the video and read the accompanying print story, it doesn’t require extraordinary curiosity to wonder:

She says she had been traveling in the “middle West” and was now on a flight to New York. From what city/airport?

What airline was she traveling on?

In what year did this happen? Does the airline have any record of the crews working flights from City X to New York that year? Can they be reached for comment? Do any of them remember Trump on their flights?

Is it possible to obtain a passenger list and can any of the passengers be contacted (privacy concerns makes this one unlikely)?

Leeds says that if Trump had confined his contact to the upper body, she “may not have gotten that upset.” Why did she make that startling statement? Was the contact consensual up to that point? Isn’t that an unusual statement for an alleged victim of sexual assault to make?

Let’s be clear. None of the answers to the questions above may have helped Donald Trump. The problem is there is no evidence from the reporting the questions were even asked. Had the report contained statements like, “Leeds was unable to tell this reporter what airline she was flying or what city the flight originated from,” at least readers would know Leeds was asked and couldn’t remember. And they’d likely consider that information, for whatever its worth, in deciding whether to believe Leeds or Trump.

So, did the New York Times really “cover” that story or did they simply take Leeds’ account at face value, with no attempt to verify its facts? They did perform the bare minimum due diligence in obtaining a response from Trump, who denies the incident ever happened. Besides that, they seem to have just taken Leeds completely at her word and published her account without a hint of skepticism.

Hey, it’s not like vivid accounts of sexual assault ever turn out to be false, right?

One might argue it is unreasonable to try to track down flight crews or other details about a flight from three decades ago. But isn’t it incumbent upon a news organization publishing such serious charges to make every effort to do so and report those efforts along with the information they do have?

And where in any of the reporting is the acknowledgment that Leeds’ and most of the other allegations are based upon their completely unverifiable accounts? Why is it immediately assumed Trump is lying, in the absence of any corroborating evidence? Granted, the media is not a courtroom, but is the presumption of innocence completely foreign to it?

When the New York Post reported an equally unverifiable claim by Anthony Gilberthorpe saying he was on the flight in question and the allegations aren’t true, there was an immediate investigation into his past. A search on his name returns pages of stories attacking his credibility, many published the same day as the New York Post story. Apparently, Gilberthorpe has a history of making extraordinary claims to the press and there is at least some reason to question his credibility.

But what about Jessica Leeds’ credibility? Did the Times reporters investigate it? Does she have any political connections, especially to the Clinton campaign or the Democratic Party? Has she ever had any disputes with Trump or any of his businesses? With the Republican Party?

Again, the answers to the questions above may not be helpful to Trump. But there is no evidence in the New York Times story they were even asked of Leeds or investigated secondarily before the story was published.

It’s not unreasonable to say the other accusers have similarly been taken completely at their words. There is a well-intentioned tendency to believe women who allege sexual assault because many in the past have been reluctant to seek justice because they feared the consequences of making their accusations. But we should recognize the danger in that tendency for completely annihilating the rights of the accused. Our legal traditions compel us to not believe the accuser until the defendant has been proven guilty.

At the very least, professional reporters who were aware the Leeds story would have a monumental impact on a presidential election should have taken more pains to verify their facts and presented their story in a way that made their due diligence apparent to the reader. Since they did not, it’s hard to blame Trump supporters for believing the media is biased against their candidate.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Isn’t Hillary Clinton’s Syria no-fly zone worse than Donald Trump’s lewdness?

ap_16284103255269Unsurprisingly, Sunday’s presidential debate opened with a question on Trump’s “locker room talk” scandal. Neither Trump nor his supporters raised any serious objection. It had to be asked and Trump handled it about as well as anyone could expect to handle his indefensible comments. There is even an argument for it being charitable to Trump to open the debate with it, allowing him to address it and get it out of the way, instead of it hanging over the debate like a Sword of Damocles, waiting to torpedo any momentum Trump might have built later in the evening. John King made exactly that argument for why he opened a presidential debate with a Newt Gingrich scandal back in 2012.

And while the “debate” never got far out of the gutter for long, the two candidates did manage to move on and discuss other issues, one of which is getting surprisingly little emphasis from the media or the public at large: the candidates’ positions on Syria and Russia. Here, we have one of the few genuine issues of substance upon which the candidates fundamentally disagree, one far more important than any idiotic statements either of them may have made when they thought no one was listening.

Clinton has stuck by her position that deposing the Bashar Al-Assad regime in Syria is a foreign policy priority for the U.S. She has not backed away from her support for a no fly zone over Syria, despite Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford’s unqualified statement that it would “require us to go to war” with Russia.

Read the rest at Rare…

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Earth to Bill Weld: Trump’s foreign policy is more libertarian than Clinton’s

william_weld_by_gage_skidmoreLibertarian Vice-Presidential Nominee Bill Weld has a legitimate beef with the media. On Tuesday, the Boston Globe reported Weld “plans to focus exclusively on blasting Donald Trump over the next five weeks.” Weld denied that claim in an interview with Reason, adding, “No, somebody’s making that up,” in reference to a further claim by the Globe that Weld would henceforth be focusing exclusively on red states.

But libertarian talk show host Kennedy wasn’t entirely satisfied with Weld’s explanations, and with good reason. For while the Boston Globe and other media may have exaggerated or even distorted Weld’s statements, they didn’t just make all of this up out of thin air. Weld himself admits he has been less antagonistic towards the campaign of Hillary Clinton, a personal friend, since accepting the nomination.

Weld says he does not want to see Trump gain the White House because his “proposals in the foreign policy area are so wrongheaded that they’re in a class by themselves.” Bill Kristol and other neoconservatives may agree with him, but virtually no libertarians would. On the contrary, many libertarians ignore Trump’s many odious positions and support him precisely because his foreign policy is so much less hawkish than Clinton’s.

Even Weld’s running mate recognizes this. He’s said on numerous occasions, including during an interview with this writer, that he considers Clinton “a major architect of the conflict going on around the world.” He also said during that interview he agrees with Trump that the next U.S. president should sit down and negotiate with Russia, and went as far as to say he is willing to go “all the way down that road” regarding withdrawing troops from Europe, Japan, and Korea.

Weld has on occasion muddied the water on what “foreign policy proposals” consist of, lumping trade policy in with military intervention, possibly to justify his preference for Clinton. But that dog won’t hunt, either, as Clinton is as protectionist as Trump at the end of the day, with only superficial differences in emphasis and rhetoric. The real difference in foreign policy between Clinton and Trump is on military intervention and Trump’s stance most closely aligns with Johnson/Weld’s. If foreign policy is the chief measuring stick, Clinton is the worse of two bad choices for libertarians, not Trump.

To say Libertarians were skeptical of Weld at the party’s convention in May would be an understatement. Presidential runner-up Austin Petersen endorsed Gary Johnson during his concession speech, but refused to endorse Weld, who failed to gain the nomination on the first ballot. Kennedy’s openly hostile interview of Weld crystalized the accumulated frustration with Weld’s many disappointing statements (from a libertarian perspective) since then. Her charge that Weld was merely using the Libertarian Party for personal advancement may have been unfair. To his credit, Weld handled it well.

What is more concerning for libertarians is that Weld may truly believe his positions are libertarian, rather than merely “centrist” or “moderate Republican.” Contrary to Johnson/Weld rhetoric, libertarianism is not merely “fiscally conservative and socially accepting.” It certainly is not a combination of the “best from both sides” of the Democrat/Republican divide. It is a self-contained political philosophy with its own first principles, most of which depart completely from conservatism and progressive liberalism.

Neither Johnson nor Weld have demonstrated a firm grasp of those principles during the course of their campaign, leading them to positions most libertarians outright oppose. And while there is still a strong case for libertarians to support the ticket, Weld needs to come up with a more believable argument on why he’s #NeverTrump, rather than #NeverHillary. His foreign policy argument for Clinton makes no sense at all.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Buffalo Billion Indictees: Scapegoats of the Empire State?

cnse-solarcity-grnd-level-render-08sep14-copyToday’s Buffalo News print edition devotes its entire front page to the indictment of prominent Buffalo businessman Louis Ciminelli and eight others on federal charges of bribery and fraud in relation to their participation in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” program. The news story is accompanied by the usual “perp walk” photograph, showing Ciminelli following his attorney past the metal detector and conveniently under the “Probation and Pretrial Services” sign at the federal building downtown.

It all seems just a little too convenient for those of us who have long predicted a disastrous end for the governor’s billion-dollar boondoggle. Since the plan was first rolled out in February 2013, Solar City’s stock has skyrocketed from around $15 per share to a peak of $84 a year later (just as Cuomo’s subsidies kicked in) and then plummeted to back to Earth after several quarters of dismal earnings reports.

Solar City is the recipient of 75% of the Buffalo Billion’s largesse and its failure to produce products people buy voluntarily, without government incentives, has it looking like another Solyndra before its state-subsidized Buffalo factory is even built. Should it blow up soon after the governor handed it $750 million in taxpayer funds, the peasants just might get out their pitch forks. At that point, heads will have to roll and nothing satisfies a mob like the fall of a successful businessman.

But let’s not forget the real cause of this disaster, whenever it finally occurs: central economic planning by the government (whether federal, state or local). That’s what killed Buffalo during the post-WWII era and that’s what could kill it again, despite the organic revival happening outside Cuomo’s crony capitalist debacle.

When the government directs capital, whether towards “green energy,” manufacturing or “infrastructure,” it is overriding the choices of millions of people who have already decided not to spend their dollars on those projects. It should come as no surprise, then, that when the government finally stops intervening and allows people to spend money as they wish, the government’s “investment” turns sour.

Not only has society lost the money wasted on the government’s unsustainable project, but it has lost the viable projects consumers would otherwise have funded had their money not been taxed and spent by the government. That’s called “opportunity cost,” something college freshman learn on about their third day in Economics 101.

Lest anyone remember those lessons when the Buffalo Billion goes up in flames, we now have an alternate narrative the perpetrators can promote to avert attention from themselves. “It was all those greedy businessmen and a few bad apples in the government who ruined everything,” they’ll say. “Otherwise, it would have worked.”

Sure. For the first time ever.

This writer is reminded of Martin Sheen’s immortal quip from the classic Apocalypse Now, “charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out speeding tickets in the Indy 500.” So, too, is charging businessmen with bribery when the government starts handing out hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds.

Businessmen, like everyone else, respond to incentives. In a free market, they innovate and improve because pleasing customers is the only way for them to make profits. But in a government-directed economy, it’s not customers they have to please, but politicians. And politicians don’t need innovation or improvement. They need campaign contributions, kickbacks and other kinds of political support.

An even closer Hollywood analogy might be A Few Good Men, where a high-ranking colonel orders two enlisted men to carry out unofficial discipline on a fellow marine and then cuts them loose to face charges alone when the marine is unintentionally killed.

That movie loosely follows the story of the real-life British soldiers charged with murder in an earlier film, Breaker Morant. There, it is a high-ranking British commander, Lord Kitchener, who orders his troops to take no prisoners and then turns his back on them for political reasons when they are brought up on charges.

The latter film was based on a book written by Edward Witton, one of the defendants, called Scapegoats of the Empire.

Ciminelli and his fellow defendants just might be Scapegoats of the Empire State, fall guys for yet another in a long line of politicians who visited economic destruction on Western New York.

We don’t know if the defendants are guilty or not. They’re indicted, not convicted. But whatever the facts of the case turn out to be, one thing is certain. We’ll never see a picture of the architect of this disaster walking under a “Probation and Pre-trial Services” sign.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

It’s time to end the failed War on Terrorism

war_on_terror_montage1_800x581Another September 11 is upon us and the usual calls for “vigilance,” “resolve” and “remembrance” have begun. For Americans, this has become a quasi-religious event, with the kinds of rituals and communal utterances once reserved for holy days like Christmas and Easter. Except, in this case, it is not a call to love thy neighbor or one’s enemies, but to continue what can only be described objectively as another failed government “war.”

The War on Terrorism is as complete a failure as the War on Drugs. Both share the hallmark symptoms of all such government endeavors: continually increasing budgets, exploding proliferation of what is made war upon, increasingly harsh measures following each successive failure and enormous collateral damage.

At the center of both debacles is the same fundamental issue: the failure to recognize government intervention as the root cause of the problem itself.

The attack fifteen years ago was not the first terrorist attack perpetrated by foreigners on American soil, but it was by far the worst. And just as it does for so many other government-caused catastrophes, the public demanded the government “do something” about it, rather than stop doing the things that motivated the killers.

Or, maybe the public simply went along with the government-media complex’s unison exhortation for a “war on terror,” along with its promotion of the ludicrous ‘hate us for our freedom” explanation of the motivation behind the attacks. Never mind that every single terrorist ever captured and questioned by U.S. authorities – including those prosecuted for the 9/11 attack itself – have cited U.S. military intervention in the Middle East as their motivation.

The unwillingness to accept the perpetrators’ own words for the motivation behind their attacks is unprecedented in American jurisprudence. For any other crime, correctly identifying the motive is a key element of the prosecution’s case. Failure to prove a compelling motive can mean acquittal, even for a guilty defendant. Yet Americans show no interest in the motive for this crime, defaming anyone who talks about it for “blaming America.”

If a wife catches her husband with another woman and shoots him, nobody claims she hated him for his freedom. Acknowledging her true motivation is an integral part of proving her guilty. But for the War on Terror, like most government programs, common sense and logic doesn’t apply.

Regardless of whether one faces reality concerning the motive for 9/11, one thing is certain: terrorism has proliferated enormously since the government declared war upon it, just like drug use. It’s time to ask ourselves exactly what we hope to accomplish with another fifteen years of bombing, invading or sanctioning destitute countries full of people with nothing left to lose.

There are two possible reasons for continuing the “war:” deterrence and revenge. The former is the politically correct reason. The latter is not, but, let’s be honest with ourselves, just as real. When Americans post “never forget,” they are expressing a range of emotions, but among them is the same understandable anger that motivated Sam Houston’s soldiers who exclaimed “Remember the Alamo!” while visiting a merciless slaughter upon Mexican soldiers, even after the Mexicans began trying to surrender.

If revenge is the motivation, it has been accomplished. The 9/11 attackers killed approximately 3,000 Americans. The War on Terror has since killed millions of inhabitants of the Middle East, most of them as innocent as the Americans killed on 9/11. It has ransacked two entire nations, indirectly led to chaos in several others controlled by ISIS and other jihadist groups, and created the refugee crisis we now find ourselves dealing with. For fifteen years, every day has been 9/11 for populations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and several other Middle Eastern countries.

At some point, even Sam Houston’s soldiers stopped the slaughter.

As for deterrence, it should be obvious by now that those of us who always maintained that fighting a conventional war with bombers and ground troops does nothing to deter individual terrorist acts were right. This should be intuitive. How could a conventional army fighting a war thousands of miles away possibly do anything to deter terrorists like the Tsarnaev brothers, who cited those very wars as the motivation for their attacks?

An entire generation of Middle Easterners who weren’t even born on September 11, 2001 will turn fifteen years old tomorrow. They are approaching adulthood having lived their entire lives under the constant threat of death from above, with foreign troops of an alien culture patrolling their streets by day and kicking in their doors at night. Only a fool could expect anything but hatred, rational or not, from people in this situation.

Only a government could suggest this epic failure simply requires more funds spent on the same strategy to turn decades-long failure into success. It’s the same fairy tale taxpayers are told about education, poverty, or drugs. The dynamics don’t miraculously change nor the government become suddenly competent when it is fighting terrorism. But it does create even more lethal problems for those it purports to help.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Dallas Police Chief, Diamond Reynolds and Yale Go Libertarian After Shootings

Black_Lives_Matter_protestAfter the spate of shootings involving police (as both alleged perpetrators and victims) last summer, I suggested limiting the role of the police to responding to emergency calls and serving warrants. A year later, the article is being widely circulated again following a tragically similar series of events.

If the comments or e-mail responses are any indication, this seems to horrify most conservatives in the so-called “land of the free,” even though limiting the government to reactive (rather than proactive) power is the whole idea behind the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments.

But while the White House regurgitates its gun control talking points and conservatives predictably line up with the police, hardcore libertarian ideas are coming from some unlikely sources.

Diamond Reynolds, the grieving partner of Philando Castile, who died after being shot during a routine traffic stop, didn’t demand a government solution for blacks being disproportionately stopped and/or shot by police. She said “the powers of those whose job it is to protect the people need to be curtailed.”

At least one prominent member of the police forces agrees. In the aftermath of the Dallas tragedy, in which five cops and two civilians were killed, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said cops are trying to do too much.

“We’re asking cops to do too much in this country,” Brown said at a briefing Monday. “We are. Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding, let the cops handle it. Here in Dallas we got a loose dog problem; let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail, let’s give it to the cops. That’s too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems.”

Just a few weeks back, The Atlantic ran a story in which Yale Law professor Stephen L. Carter acknowledged a reality libertarians are often ridiculed for pointing out:

“Every law is violent. We try not to think about this, but we should. On the first day of law school, I tell my Contracts students never to argue for invoking the power of law except in a cause for which they are willing to kill. They are suitably astonished, and often annoyed. But I point out that even a breach of contract requires a judicial remedy; and if the breacher will not pay damages, the sheriff will sequester his house and goods; and if he resists the forced sale of his property, the sheriff might have to shoot him.”

But the most strikingly libertarian view came from none other than Black Lives Matter activist Jessica Drisu:

“Here are the solutions. We need to abolish the police, period. Demilitarize the police, disarm the police, and we need to come up with community solutions for transformative justice,” said Jessica Disu, drawing some shocked reactions.”

Murray Rothbard smiled in his grave.

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly displayed typical establishment tone deafness in response, asking, “How do we protect the community if we abolish the police?”

Disu had just told her how she proposed to protect the community. But Kelly, though highly intelligent and trained in the law, just couldn’t muster enough imagination to even consider that perhaps securing life and property could be handled privately.

For all of the twentieth century, Americans led by establishment media turned to the government during times of crisis. But after several generations of government failure in the wars on drugs, poverty and terrorism, better informed Americans seem to be thinking out of the box. And libertarian ideas are beginning to blossom in the most unlikely places.

It’s no accident that a libertarian presidential candidate is polling in double digits for the first time in the party’s 40-year history. Imagine what would happen if he were allowed into the presidential debates.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Tom Mullen on WBFO 88.7 FM Buffalo, NY – Libertarian Party, Johnson/Weld

libertarian_conventionI sat down with Jay Moran of WBFO 88.7 FM here in Buffalo, NY to discuss the Libertarian Party and the Johnson/Weld ticket. The short version that aired is at the top of the page; the full conversation can be found at the bottom. Listen here.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Brexit Leave voters: Don’t give in to Establishment pressure

brexit flagsU.S. markets continued to sell off Monday, with the Dow falling over 300 points and the S&P down over 2%. Global elites are blaming Brexit, the referendum last week in which United Kingdom citizens voted to leave the European Union. Opponents of the “Leave” movement predicted a market crash and are now wagging their fingers, saying “I told you so.”

They’re also accusing the Leave campaign of going back on its pre-referendum promises, reporting that over one million Leave voters now want to change their vote to remain, and continuing the narrative that Brexit was nothing more than a racist, xenophobic reaction against immigration.

Leave voters should expect their convictions to be tested nonstop until the break with the EU is official.

As I wrote just after the vote, some of the same scare tactics were used against the American people in the wake of the infamous TARP bill failing to pass on its first vote. American voters had deluged their representatives with angry phone calls, emails and letters warning against a vote in favor of the $700 billion bank bailout. On September 24, 2008, George W. Bush made an impassioned plea to the American public to support it.

If TARP didn’t pass, warned Bush, the markets would crash and Americans would lose a large portion of their retirement savings.

Pressure from voters relented and TARP passed on the second vote. But equities markets continued to crash, losing an additional 20% of their value after the bill passed. A prolonged recession followed, from which we arguably have never recovered.

That’s what comes of believing politicians when they claim that only giving them your money can save you. Let it be a lesson those under pressure to change their minds on Leave.

There isn’t much doubt a referendum of this magnitude would cause some uncertainty in financial markets. Uncertainty usually results in selling. But any attempt to blame a prolonged crash or recession on Brexit should be seen for the scapegoating it is. If this a major correction, it’s the result of a bubble that’s been looking for a pin for years, blown up by unprecedented inflationary policies by central banks all over the world.

On this side of the pond, the federal funds rate target for the Federal Reserve remains at .038%, following seven years targeting zero percent interest rates. This is the stuff the 2007 bubble was made of. Brexit now provides an excuse for the Fed to continue to inflate, something it was going to do regardless.

240 years ago, Thomas Paine wrote the following to Americans wavering in their support of our own secession from Great Britain:

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

Americans maintained their resolve in the face of a mighty empire waging war against them on their own soil. In 2008, faced only with the scare tactics of an unpopular president spouting economic gibberish, we folded our tents and gave in to the crony capitalist establishment. We’re still paying for it.

Stand firm in your resolve, Leave voters. What you’ve done is hated by all the right people, who don’t have your best interests at heart. Proponents of freedom the world over are looking to you for inspiration. Don’t let them down as we did.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Brexit: Hated by All the Right People

1200px-Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svgAs global equities markets tumble and gold soars, the world outside the United Kingdom tries to make sense of just what our British cousins did last night. There are many narratives. UKIP Leader Nigel Farage is calling it “our independence day.” U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump says it’s a precursor to his own election in November. Many opponents are dismissing it as a racist backlash against immigrants and refugees.

Maybe it is a little bit of all those things. Maybe it is something else completely. Whatever else it may represent, one thing is undeniable for opponents of central economic planning, giant international bureaucracies and global crony capitalism: Brexit is hated by all the right people.

One doesn’t have to be an expert on European politics to instinctively understand that if the governments, the central banks and all their connected crony capitalists are howling there will be Armageddon if you do X, it is virtually always in your best interest to do X.

And howl is just what they have been doing, with a nonstop campaign to scare the daylights out of British voters should they consider withdrawing their consent to Brussels. As MEP Daniel Hannan pointed out, they haven’t been unwilling to just make things up in their desperation to intimidate the people into a Remain vote.

As an American, I can’t help thinking about George W. Bush’s scare-tactic speech to convince Americans to support TARP back in 2008. Public outrage had sufficiently worried Congress to vote against the bill the first time around. Bush’s speech, littered with many of the same pseudo-economic canards thrown at British voters today, convinced enough Americans to relent that Congress eventually felt safe ramming it through.

This time, it didn’t work.

For those dismissing the vote as the kind of “nativist” bigotry they say inspires the Trump movement in America, there is that inconvenient other little fact that the UK is the second largest net payer in the EU, next to Germany. Critics of the EU predicted, long before the rise of Nigel Farage, Donald Trump or Marine Le Pen, that the EU would fail when the net payers grew tired of subsidizing the net payees. British citizens just confirmed their prescience.

Ironically, the “nationalist” movements sweeping across the West are the precise opposite of nationalist movements in the 20th century. Then, nationalism was a centralizing force, antagonistic towards local government. Now, it’s a decentralizing force, taking economic and political power away from larger political units and returning it to relatively more local ones.

What it is not is necessarily a conservative, liberal or libertarian movement. Individual nations and even the local cultures within them have myriad visions for what they believe society should look like. The Trump movement longs for traditional conservatism, with its protectionist tariffs, government-funded infrastructure and restrictive borders. The secessionists movements in Vermont and Quebec, Canada sought to create socialist societies. And the “Texit” movement, well, they just want to be Texans.

Neither will Brexit be a panacea for all British ills. It is likely they will make mistakes in the short term, like most secessionist movements have in the past, including the Americans in 1783. But it will be Britons making their own mistakes and living with the consequences, something they have now demanded their right to do.

Whatever Brexit ends up looking like in the short and long terms, one can’t help remembering a night 27 years ago, when the people in a city in Germany decided they’d obey their masters no longer and knocked over a wall. Oh brave new world, that has such people in’t!

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.