November 30, 2015

Libertarians are not corporate apologists

TAMPA, October 22, 2012 – In the wake of Ron Paul’s campaign and with Gary Johnson rising in the polls, libertarianism may just get a hearing for the first time in decades.

Already, the usual fallacies have resurfaced. If you don’t want the government to run education, you must be against education. If you don’t want the government to run healthcare, you must not want people to get healthcare.

This misunderstanding is often summed up with comments like, “I’m not sure I’m comfortable with an ‘every man for himself’ society.” This springs from the absurd assumption that human beings never confer benefits upon one another except when forced to do so at gunpoint.

One corollary of the “every man for himself” theory is that a libertarian society would “let corporations run wild,” resulting in a small, wealthy elite controlling all of the resources and exercising oligarchical rule over the rest of society. (So do we live in a libertarian society now?)

Most people would probably be surprised at the libertarian stand on corporations. In a libertarian society, they wouldn’t exist. Corporations are creatures of the state. They are created by the government and endowed with privileges that individuals do not have. This contradicts a fundamental premise of libertarianism, that all people are created equal and have equal rights.

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A skeptic’s case for Gary Johnson

TAMPA, September 26, 2012 – You may be an independent that finds the major party candidates for president particularly weak this year. You may be an “Old Right” conservative that can’t bring yourself to vote for Mitt Romney. You may be a died-in-the-wool liberal who thinks Barack Obama’s presidency has been just a little too similar to Dubya’s.

Or, you may be a libertarian.

If you belong to any of those groups, you might be considering voting for Gary Johnson. Ironically, if you are a libertarian, you may need the most convincing.

Gary Johnson isn’t well-grounded in libertarian theory and it results in him taking some positions that libertarians don’t like. I made the argument myself that Johnson is not really a libertarian at all. In two subsequent interviews (here and here), Johnson didn’t allay those concerns.

Regardless, Gary Johnson is the best choice for president this year for voters from all over the political spectrum.

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What Ron Paul didn’t say

TAMPA, September 6, 2012 — There was no big announcement during Ron Paul’s appearance on Jay Leno Tuesday night. On the contrary, Paul’s appearance was somewhat anticlimactic given Mitt Romney’s nomination at the Republican National Convention last week. Of course, he still said what he has been saying for over thirty years in public life: America must stop spending money it doesn’t have, must liquidate its debts and rethink the role of government as cradle-to-grave caregiver and policeman of the world.

Ron Paul has said many memorable things during his two most recent campaigns for president. A debate moderator tried to put him on the spot regarding his position on leaving Iraq, asking contemptuously, “What is your plan to get U.S. troops out of Iraq?” Paul replied without hesitation, “We marched right in there without a plan, we can march right out.”

When asked about Newt Gingrich’s suggestion that the U.S. government explore colonizing the moon, Paul replied, “No, I don’t want to go to the moon, although I’d like to send some politicians up there.”

A few days ago, I posed a question at the end of my story on the Maine delegation fiasco. What were they really so afraid of?

It wasn’t what Ron Paul said that had them so scared. It was what he didn’t say.

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Ron Paul’s “We are the Future Rally” unlike any other political event

TAMPA, August 27, 2012 ― Everyone knows what to expect from a political rally. Speakers recite the party line on various subjects. The audience already agrees with them and knows what they are going to say. The crowd cheers. The opposition is trashed. The crowd cheers again. The keynote speaker is introduced. Standing ovation. More talking points.

Ron Paul’s “We Are the Future Rally” couldn’t have resembled that model less. Rather than politics, the entire program focused on ideas.

His first three speakers were libertarian philosophers Lew Rockwell, Walter Block and Butler Shaffer. There were no talking points. Instead, attendees were treated to intellectual arguments for individual liberty from three of the most powerful libertarian thinkers alive.

Not everyone agreed, either. Block’s controversial argument for a new libertarian stance on abortion actually drew boos. Block argued that a woman has a property right in her body and thus can evict a “trespassing” fetus from her womb, but does not have a right to take the fetus’ life. Block claimed that this was possible now during the third trimester of pregnancy and that as the science advanced, it would be possible earlier and earlier.

Some of the more conservative among Paul’s following weren’t ready to hear it.

There were speeches by politicians Barry Goldwater, Jr. and South Carolina State Senator Tom Davis, but even these were atypical. Goldwater read from and commented on passages from his father’s Conscience of a Conservative, while Davis focused exclusively on attacking the Federal Reserve System.

Paul’s official campaign blogger and rising conservative star Jack Hunter continued with a talk on conservative philosophy, citing Ronald Reagan, Russell Kirk and other noteworthy conservatives. Hunter reminded supporters of Reagan’s “three-legged stool” theory of conservatism: equal parts national security conservatives, religious conservatives and economic/libertarian conservatives. Hunter argued that it was the absence of the libertarian leg that led to the profligacy of the Bush years. He quoted Reagan saying, “libertarianism is the very heart and soul of conservatism.”

None of this is to suggest that the affair was a quiet seminar with attendees nodding their heads and taking notes. Right from senior campaign advisor Doug Wead’s opening remarks, the atmosphere was electric and the applause thunderous. As usual, remarks on the Federal Reserve System and Paul’s non-interventionist foreign policy got the most enthusiastic response.

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Can a libertarian be pro life?

TAMPA, May 20, 2012 – Thanks to Ron Paul’s extraordinary presidential campaign, libertarianism is arguably getting its best hearing in decades. It’s catching on, especially with young people. While baby boomers prepare to retire and devour Social Security and Medicare to the bone, the generations succeeding them realize that they will be stuck with the bill for these financially insolvent social programs, along with an unsustainable foreign policy.

Proceeding from its central tenet of non-aggression, libertarianism sees government the way Thomas Paine did. “Even in its best state, [it] is but a necessary evil.” Some libertarians think Paine was only half right. Either way, a libertarian government would do far less and cost far less than the one we have now.

Ron Paul has presented one of the purest libertarian platforms of any presidential candidate in U.S. history. Paul absolutely refuses to consider preemptive war and wants to “march right out” of the Middle East, Germany, Japan and Korea. He doesn’t just want to reform Social Security and Medicare; he wants to let younger workers opt completely out.

He wants to end the drug war and pardon all non-violent drug offenders. He wants to repeal the Patriot Act and subsequent “war on terror” legislation.

Paul doesn’t pitch a watered down version of libertarianism to avoid ruffling feathers within his party. When asked about a federal prohibition on gay marriage, Paul responds that the government should get out of the marriage business altogether, even at the state level, except for enforcing marriage agreements like any other contract.

However, there are a few issues where Paul’s libertarianism has been questioned. The most consequential in terms of political impact is his stance on abortion. Paul is staunchly pro-life.

Some have said this violates the basic tenets of libertarianism. The government cannot be allowed to dictate what an individual does regarding her own body. All libertarian theory is rooted in property rights and the most basic, fundamental property right is self-ownership. This precedes modern libertarianism. John Locke, the philosopher that inspired Thomas Jefferson, established this principle before the right to any other kind of property.

“Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his.”

The progressive pro-choice argument rests firmly upon this foundation. A woman owns her body and has sole dominion over what occurs within it. While progressives generally go on to violate this principle with their support for government regulation of virtually every other decision one makes with one’s body, they are very libertarian on this issue.

Or are they?

While libertarian theory is built upon property rights, it also recognizes a natural limit to the exercise thereof. That limit is what Locke called, “the law of nature,” which is that “no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”

Based upon this limit, the woman’s rights would seem to end before she can bring harm to the fetus. Yet, libertarians recognize that everyone has a right to forcibly remove an unwanted person from his or her property. What is the libertarian answer?

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Charles Goyette reviews A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America

The Common Sense of Tom Mullen

by Charles Goyette | May 15th 2012

Like other readers of American Breaking Point, The Washington Times, and, I look forward to Tom Mullen’s posts and columns.

His observations about the media and its prejudicial treatment of the Ron Paul campaign have been deadly accurate. Here’s a recent example from his column in The Washington Times:

Early in this election cycle, the media repeated ad nauseum that Ron Paul could not win the nomination. That affected his performance in popular votes. They never suggested this about any of the other nine candidates, eight of which are now out. Then, they repeated ad nauseum that Ron Paul had not won any states, even though he had. Now, they attempt to cast aspersions on those wins with spurious arguments about their legitimacy.

…What about Ron Paul are they so afraid of?

Not for a moment is Mullen distracted by the daily posturing of the governing classes and its candidates, trained to speak in focus group generalities, tested to make the American boobouisie’s palms sweat and pupils dilate.  When Romney touts national investment in basic research and advanced technology,” Mullen immediately detects the odor of crony capitalism. A Solyndra by any other name…

Mullen even provokes a laugh along the way:

I don’t read minds, so I can’t speculate as to what President Obama thinks…. He may be wearing Karl Marx Underoos when he reads from his teleprompter. I don’t know (and don’t want to know). We can only judge him on what he’s done.

The crisp analysis that Mullen brings to his commentary springs from the rich individualist tradition of John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine.  This philosophy of natural rights has also found modern champions from Murray Rothbard to Judge Andrew Napolitano. Those seeking to take a stand for liberty now, when they are especially needed, will find that Mullen has written a book that will ground them in this philosophy of natural rights, a philosophy indispensable to the American revolution and its successes.

Continue at Charles Goyette’s American Breaking Point…

Can Ron Paul supporters accept Gary Johnson?

TAMPA, May 15, 2012 — Ron Paul’s announcement today that he will “no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted” may finally have some of his supporters considering the possibility that he will not be the Republican Party’s nominee. That may be overly pessimistic considering that Paul also stated that he will continue to pursue his delegate strategy, which has been far more successful than his quest for a primary win.

However, even the most ardent supporter may find it prudent to have a “Plan B,” especially in states where the rules on write-in candidates are onerous. There is one man who believes he’s wide open in the Plan B end zone. He’s former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson.

Johnson secured the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president at its national convention last Saturday in Las Vegas, winning over 70% of the delegate votes.

Johnson supports Ron Paul, but doesn’t think Paul will win the Republican nomination. He wants Ron Paul supporters to know that he represents an opportunity to vote for a lot of the things they believe in.

“Ron Paul has always been about a message and so have I and it’s the same message. It’s about liberty and it’s about freedom, first and foremost, and when Dr. Paul’s candidacy comes to an end, there’s a viable alternative and I don’t think it’s a handicapped choice. I think it’s reloading. There’s no concession.”

So, do Paul supporters have to compromise to vote for Johnson?

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For Gary Johnson it’s all about the “Libertarian” message

TAMPA, April 22, 2012 – Self-made millionaire and former two-term governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson initially sought the Republican Party’s nomination for president.

After being largely excluded from the early debates, Johnson left the Republican Party and now seeks the Libertarian Party’s nomination.

“It’s always been about the message,” Mr. Johnson says. “I’m a messenger. I think for the most part I’m delivering the same message as Ron Paul. I think that the message is identifying the solutions to the problems that this country faces and genuinely recognizing the solutions. Having been excluded from the Republican debates, that really was a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

So what are the solutions that Johnson proposes?

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Charles Goyette’s Red and Blue and Broke All Over: A refreshingly different argument for freedom

TAMPA, April 20, 2012 — Best-selling author and former talk radio host Charles Goyette follows up on his New York Times bestseller, The Dollar Meltdown, with a more comprehensive look at all that ails America. In Red and Blue and Broke All Over: Restoring America’s Free Economy, Goyette makes a compelling case that America’s many problems are not due to a dizzying array of complex moral and socio-political dilemmas. Instead, they are all the result of one simple problem: diminishing freedom.

This book is not a partisan attack on the Obama administration by a conservative talk radio host. Goyette is more accurately described as libertarian and he has plenty of criticism for both political parties. However, what makes this book so valuable is Goyette’s ability to express timeless philosophical ideas in simple, everyday terms and then demonstrate how those ideas apply to today’s problems here in the real world.

The book is divided into three sections: “Liberty,” “The State” and “Dead Ahead,” respectively. Goyette lays the philosophical foundation by explaining the inextricable link between liberty and non-aggression, recognized by modern libertarians and the founding fathers. He quotes Murray Rothbard, who said that liberty is “the absence of molestation by other people,” and Friedrich Hayek, who maintained that it is “the condition in which man is not subject to coercion by another or others.”

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Gary Johnson is not a libertarian

TAMPA, April 12, 2012 — While the media continue to ignore compelling evidence that the Republican primary race is much closer than they are reporting, some Ron Paul supporters are nevertheless thinking about what they might do if Paul does not get the Republican nomination.

Throughout this election cycle, Gary Johnson’s name has been omnipresent as a libertarian alternative. There’s only one problem. Gary Johnson is not a libertarian.

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