Category Archives: Founding Fathers

Even libertarians wrong on Monsanto Protection Act

TAMPA, April 3, 2013 ― While the high priests in black robes were hearing arguments on gay marriage, President Obama quietly signed the continuing resolutions act that keeps the federal government operating in the absence of a budget. Buried inside the bill was language that has become notoriously known as “the Monsanto Protection Act.” The blogosphere exploded with cries of conspiracy, crony capitalism and corruption.

Liberals oppose the provision for the usual reasons: It lets a big corporation “run wild” without appropriate government oversight, free to (gasp!) make bigger profits on food. More thoughtful liberal arguments have suggested it may threaten the separation of powers by allowing the executive branch to override a decision by the judicial.

The lunatic fringe believes that Monsanto will control the world’s food supply through intellectual property laws and enslave us all, like the evil corporation did with oxygen in Total Recall. Of course, let’s not forget that old saying. “Just because I’m paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me.”

The liberal reaction to this bill and Monsanto’s activities in general is not surprising. It’s the libertarian reaction that’s surprising and disappointing. Even the Ron Paul crowd sounds like New Deal Democrats when it comes to this corporate farming giant.

They say that regardless of how much he supports the free market, everyone has that one issue that he is hopelessly socialist on. For some, it’s roads and so-called “infrastructure.” For others, it’s intellectual property. For Thomas Jefferson, it was education. Apparently, for libertarians it’s farming.

Now, if libertarians want to argue that corporations shouldn’t exist at all, that the privilege of limited liability violates individual rights and leads to market distortions, that regulating the markets only insulates large corporations from competition, that’s one thing. I’ve been there, written that.

But that’s not what libertarians are suggesting. Believe it or not, even supporters of Ron Paul are suggesting that new government regulations be passed requiring Monsanto to label its packaging to indicate whether there are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) among the contents. This is as unlibertarian as it gets.

There are legitimate concerns about whether GMOs represent a danger to the public. Certainly, each person has a right to refuse to consume them, but they don’t have a right to force Monsanto’s shareholders to label their own property. Neither do they have a right to interfere with consumers who voluntarily purchase that property from Monsanto without a label on it.

The libertarian answer is for those concerned about GMOs to refuse to purchase food that is not labeled to their satisfaction. The market already provides those alternatives. There is no substantive difference between the possible safety risks in Monsanto’s GMO food and those inherent in any other technology that legitimizes government regulation of voluntary activity. Either libertarians believe in the market or they don’t.

We’ve been told that the “Monsanto Protection Act” allows the executive branch to set aside court rulings, with the implication that the president or his Secretary of Agriculture can allow growers like Monsanto to keep growing and selling a particular product even after a judge orders them to stop. We’re led to believe that this would apply in a scenario where GMOs have been ruled to have caused death or illness and a court has ordered the grower to cease and desist to protect the public. But that’s not what the language says.

“SEC. 735. In the event that a determination of non-regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated, the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon request by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with section 411(a) or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which interim conditions shall authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, commercialization and other specifically enumerated activities and requirements …”

Section 411 of the Plant Protection Act deals with the regulation of “plant pests,” which are widely defined in the bill to include protozoans, bacteria, fungi, animals, and generic categories like “infectious agent or other pathogen.”

So, what are we really talking about here? A court case to determine if a regulation that shouldn’t even exist can be used to disrupt the otherwise legal operations of a company whose product has been identified by someone as a “plant pest.” Who would bring such a charge? Most likely a competitor or a left wing group that opposes and seeks to disrupt all for-profit activity. It’s Standard Oil and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act all over again.

Libertarians are usually good at separating their opposition to crony capitalism from their support of the free market. That’s why you’ll find them attacking large corporations one day and defending them the next.

That means that when corporations use the government for illegitimate advantages, as Monsanto has in seeking intellectual property rights in its GMOs, the libertarian response is to oppose intellectual property rights. It is not to empower the government to further regulate the market and violate property rights. If it is, then why was FDR and the New Deal wrong?

 
Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

 

Anti-libertarian nonsense: Those government roads

TAMPA, March 22, 2013 — Libertarians have to deal with a lot of nonsense when making their case. Invariably, if a libertarian suggests any reduction in the power of the state, he is regaled with this supposedly devastating rejoinder:

“So, I suppose I won’t see you driving on any of those government roads.”

There are many reasons to stomp on the stupid button. Here are just a few.

First, there is the implication that the libertarian is disingenuous or even ungrateful. He seeks to reduce the power and influence of the state, perhaps even (gasp!) lower taxes, yet still has the audacity to drive on the roads that the government provides.

This argument holds no water. After being forced to purchase a road whether he wishes to or not and being virtually prohibited from building his own, exactly why should the libertarian not use the road he has paid for? Where is the contradiction in pointing out that the government road he was forced to buy would have been cheaper and of higher quality if it were produced by the market? Exactly why is he disingenuous or ungrateful by suggesting that the next road be financed the same way as houses and factories?

Of course, if the government didn’t build the roads, they wouldn’t exist, right? The proponents of this farcical idea should read some American history. For much our first century, the chief domestic policy debate was over whether the government should be allowed to subsidize roads, and the government side lost. As Tom Dilorenzo writes in How Capitalism Saved America,

“But the fact is, most roads and canals were privately financed in the nineteenth century. Moreover, in virtually every instance in which state, local or federal government got involved in building roads and canals, the result was a financial debacle in which little or nothing was actually built and huge sums of taxpayer dollars were squandered or simply stolen.”

All of the heroes of that century were on the private road side. Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Jackson argued against government-subsidized roads. Alexander Hamilton, Henry Clay and finally Abraham Lincoln – the proponents of state capitalism and privileges for the wealthy – argued for them.

Read the rest of the article at Communities@ Washington Times…

Rand Paul filibuster: The libertarians are coming!

TAMPA, March 8, 2013 – If there was any question whether Senator Rand Paul could move beyond the “gadfly” role his father had played for over thirty years in the U.S. Congress, there is no more.

Rand Paul has arrived as a political force to be reckoned with.His filibuster of President Obama’s nomination of John Brennan as CIA Director had establishment leaders from both sides of the aisle scrambling to jump on the bandwagon before it left wheel marks on their chests. Marco Rubio showed up to support him.

Rush Limbaugh called him a hero. So did Van Jones, albeit reluctantly.

Attorney General Eric Holder said “uncle.”

Paul’s filibuster was a complete success from every perspective. He achieved his goal of shifting the focus away from Brennan personally and onto the larger question of executive power, specifically the power to kill an American citizen without due process. He timed his gesture and articulated his argument in such a way that no one dared oppose it.

Paul’s argument against the use of drones against Americans is a purely libertarian one, because the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments are rooted in the libertarian principle of non-aggression. Those Amendments are there to see that the government does not initiate force against the innocent.

All of which is ironic because Paul does not even self-identify as a libertarian.

When asked directly about it, he said that he considers himself a “constitutional conservative.” He has raised the ire of his father’s libertarian followers on more than one occasion, particularly his endorsement of Mitt Romney and his votes for sanctions on Iran.

Read the rest of the article at Communities@ Washington Times…

Republicans as wrong as Democrats on Sandy Relief

TAMPA, January 5, 2013 – There is yet another faux debate raging in Congress. According to Fox News, the House and Senate have passed a $9.7 billion aid package for Sandy victims. Most Democrats and Republicans are calling for an additional $51 billion.

Some Republicans are dragging their feet.

It would be encouraging if even a single Republican articulated the principle at issue here, but none have. Republicans in Congress couldn’t find a principle if it were slid under their doors with envelopes full of lobbyist cash.

For the record, the principle is this: Citizens in Wyoming shouldn’t be taxed to rebuild the houses of other people in Wyoming, much less New York or New Jersey. This is another bedrock American principle that has completely vanished from the minds of most Americans.

Instead, Republicans object on the grounds that not all of the proposed funding is necessary for immediate relief. In fact, there is some considerable pork built into both the House and Senate versions of the bill, including “$150 million for fishery disasters in a range of states — including Alaska and Mississippi” and “nearly $45 million was included for work on NOAA’s hurricane reconnaissance aircraft.”

Rep. Tim Huelskamp voted against it, saying, “We have to talk seriously about offsets,” he said. “We can’t take $60 billion off budget, that’s my problem with it.”

The common sense and acknowledgement of reality are refreshing, but Huelskamp still avoids the main issue.

Property is a right, just like free speech. It was recognition of the right of each individual to keep the fruits of his own labor and dispose of them as he saw fit that made the United States the richest nation in the world, relatively overnight.

While the immediate cause for the outbreak of hostilities during the American Revolution was the British attempt to disarm the colonists, the long term cause was the British threat against property rights.

American schoolchildren are taught that the colonists’ only grievance was “taxation without representation.” That’s convenient for big government progressives on both sides of the aisle, because they can then say, “You are represented, so we can tax you however we please.”

Those schoolchildren are not taught that the colonists also did not want representation in the British Parliament. Jefferson said so in his Summary View of the Rights of British America. Benjamin Franklin was strictly instructed not to accept any deal with the British that involved colonial representation in Parliament.

The colonists wanted no part of any political system whereby they could be taxed and the money spent for the benefit of other parts of the empire. Representation in a Parliament where they were hopelessly outnumbered would only add the veneer of legitimacy to this armed theft.

Read the rest of the article…

Every law is a threat of violence

TAMPA, December 29, 2012 – The new U.S. Congress will convene on January 3rd with two high profile issues to consider. There is zero chance that they will get either one of them right. The debates on both are already framed into a lose-lose proposition for the American people, as are virtually all “debates” on Capitol Hill.

One issue is “How should the right to keep and bear arms be further infringed?” The other is “How much less of their own money should Americans be allowed to keep?”

With a more enlightened populace, there is always some chance that pressure on the legislators could produce a more positive result. However, the gullible American public has already taken the bait that “something must be done” on both issues. “Something” means Congress passing a law, which means the perceived problem will be solved with violence.

Every law is a threat of violence. Americans used to understand that. In their present condition, they are aware of little beyond football on Sunday and Dancing with the Stars during the week. Fat, progressive and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

Government itself is an institution of violence. That’s not an opinion. That’s what it is. That’s all it is. Governments are constituted for the express purpose of pooling the capacity for violence of every member of the community.

Every law promulgates human behavior that is mandated under the threat of violence. It either prohibits certain activity or requires certain activity. Failure to behave as the law proscribes results in violence against the transgressor. He is kidnapped at best, killed resisting at worst.

Putting aside the question of whether this power should ever be invested in a regional monopoly, every society must first answer the question of whether this power should be exercised by anyone at all. Is violence ever justified?

In a free society, there is only one circumstance under which it is. Violence is only justified as a reaction to aggression committed in the past. Murder, assault, and theft are all examples. These justify the use of force against the perpetrator. Consider this statement.

“You are prohibited from committing murder against your fellow citizen. If you do, we will kidnap you at best, kill you while resisting at worst.”

Sounds perfectly reasonable, doesn’t it? Substitute “theft” for “murder” and that doesn’t change. The use of force is morally justifiable as a reaction to aggression. This proceeds logically from each individual’s right to defend himself. Self-preservation is the first law of nature.

Now, consider this statement.

“If you do not pay the medical bills of perfect strangers whom you have never met and never contracted any financial liability to, we will kidnap you at best, kill you while resisting at worst.”

That doesn’t quite work, does it? In fact, once the veneer of legitimacy is removed, it is apparent to any lucid person that the lawmaker in this case is committing one of the chief crimes he was given his power to prohibit. It is no less armed robbery if you substitute the words “education,” “housing,” or “food” for “medical.”

Since it is an absurdity that inaction can amount to aggression, no just law can mandate human behavior. Only laws prohibiting certain behavior are justifiable, that behavior being limited to aggression against others.

That’s why Thomas Jefferson said, “No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the law ought to restrain him.”

That even this minimal government activity requires finances is the reason that Thomas Paine called government “a necessary evil.” Many libertarians believe he was only half right.

The Bill of Rights was an attempt to limit, interfere with and retard the government’s ability to do the only thing it is capable of doing: commit violence. Those amendments do not grant any rights. They prohibit government violence, regardless of the wishes of the majority. “Congress shall make no law…”

That’s also the purpose of all of the supposed “checks and balances” in the Constitution itself. The framers attempted to construct a government that was incapable of doing anything unless violence was truly justified.

The Constitution and Bill of Rights were written to protect us from democracy.

These ideas have completely vanished from the modern American ethos. Instead of viewing government as a last resort, to be utilized only against an aggressor who refuses to interact peacefully with his neighbors, it is viewed as the first solution to every societal problem, most of which were caused by government in the first place.

That most insipid of all clichés, “There oughta be a law” is properly translated as “We ought to solve this problem with violence.”

That is American society today. A century of “progressivism” has reduced the average American to an unthinking, violent brute. He is both tyrant and slave at the same time. He can conceive of no other happiness than the satisfaction of his appetites and infantile amusement from base entertainment. He reacts to any interruption of this passive existence by calling on the government to commit violence on his behalf.

In the name of freedom, he not only acquiesces to but demands his chains.

 

Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

 

Feinstein’s assault weapons ban would abolish the 2nd Amendment

TAMPA, December 18, 2012 –U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein has vowed to introduce a bill to ban assault weapons nationwide, similar to existing legislation in California. In doing so, she will effectively abolish yet another of the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

To many, Feinstein’s argument might sound very reasonable. She isn’t looking to ban all guns. “The purpose of this bill is to get just what Mayor Bloomberg said, weapons of war off the streets of our cities,” the senator told Meet the Press.

Having weapons of war on the streets is the whole point of the 2nd Amendment. The amendment wasn’t drafted to ensure that Americans could hunt. It wasn’t drafted so that Americans could protect themselves, although the natural right to defend one’s life was never as compromised as it is in the modern gun control era.

Like most of the amendments in the Bill of Rights, the 2nd Amendment was drafted to prevent an abuse of power that American colonists had suffered under the British. The 4th Amendment was passed with Writs of Assistance in mind. Lexington and Concord inspired the 2nd.

The left loves to reduce the American Revolution to one issue: taxation without representation. That works for well for their agenda, because they can then say, “Well, you’re represented, so now we can tax the living daylights out of you.”

It wasn’t that simple, of course. There were many long term and short term causes for the American secession from Great Britain. But the straw that broke the camel’s back, the most immediate cause for armed resistance, was the British attempt to disarm the colonists.

That’s why the British marched to Concord. That’s the only reason the colonists cared where they were marching.

Read the rest of the article…

The rights to life and to keep and bear arms are inseparable

TAMPA, December 16, 2012 ― The right to keep and bear arms is not granted to Americans in the U.S. Constitution, nor in the “Bill of Rights.” The right to keep and bear arms is a natural right, inextricably linked to the right to life.

The 2nd Amendment recognizes this. It does not say the right “shall be granted.” It assumes the right already exists and says it “shall not be infringed.”

All rights are negative. We do not have a positive right to anything. Rights merely prohibit other people from aggressing against us. If someone is struck by lightning and killed, we feel bad about it, but we do not say his right to life was violated. Neither do we say so if he is eaten by a lion.

The right to life is very narrowly defined as the right not to be killed by another human being, other than in self-defense. The only way to exercise this right is to defend oneself if attacked. There is no other circumstance in which the “right to life” has any meaning.

Given that an aggressor may have weapons or may be a more capable fighter, individuals must be able to arm themselves sufficiently to overcome these disadvantages in order to exercise their right to life.

Natural rights preexist government. They exist in what Enlightenment philosophers called “the state of nature,” which is the state without government. These thinkers had different ideas about nature and society, but all agreed on one thing. Self-preservation is the first law of nature.

John Locke’s “Essay Concerning the true origin, extent and end of Civil Government (1690)” inspired the entire American philosophy, according to Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson thought it so important that posterity understand this that he had a resolution passed to proclaim it.

This was due to the important differences between Locke’s philosophy and others. Unlike Rousseau, who claimed that when joining society man had to agree to “the total alienation of all of his natural rights,” Locke said that man entered society to preserve those rights. That’s why the Declaration of Independence says that certain rights are inalienable.

The only rights that man gives up upon entering society is the right to judge his own case in a dispute and to enforce that judgment. These he gives up to the government in return for the superior protection of his life, liberty and property the government supposedly provides.

However, these powers only pertain to crimes that occurred in the past. The government has no power over the future or the present. It cannot prosecute someone for a crime that he will commit tomorrow and it cannot protect the individual from a crime occurring right now.

Therefore, the individual retains the right to defend himself against aggression occurring in the present, even after giving up other powers to the government. Locke is very clear about this:

“Thus a thief, whom I cannot harm, but by appeal to the law, for having stolen all that I am worth, I may kill, when he sets on me to rob me but of my horse or coat; because the law, which was made for my preservation, where it cannot interpose to secure my life from present force, which, if lost, is capable of no reparation, permits me my own defence, and the right of war, a liberty to kill the aggressor, because the aggressor allows not time to appeal to our common judge…” [emphasis added]

Reason inevitably leads to this conclusion. The right to keep and bear arms exists in nature and is never given up in any social contract, because no government is able to defend its citizen in the present.

This also clears up a common misconception. Since the government is unable to defend you in the present, it is not true that by surrendering the right to bear arms you place care of your life in the hands of the government. You must be placing it elsewhere.

Since it no longer resides in you either, the care of your life must now reside in your attacker.

This is not some theoretical exercise only true in a classroom or lecture hall. This was the very real situation that defenseless teachers and children found themselves in on Friday. The school was a “gun-free zone,” meaning all who entered it agreed to surrender their right to keep and bear arms.

The government didn’t defend them because it couldn’t. The government was only able to respond after the attack commenced. The only one able to make a decision whether they lived or died was Adam Lanza.

One would think tragedies like this and in other gun-free zones like the City of Aurora, Colorado, Ft. Hood or Columbine High School would have taught Americans a very clear lesson. Do not put the lives of our children and their teachers into the hands of homicidal maniacs.

Instead, the hue and cry is for precisely the opposite. Not only should schoolchildren be deprived of their right to life, but all of society.

Locke called any social contract where the individual accepts even worse protection of his life and property than he had in the state of nature “too gross an absurdity for any man to own.” He would call most reactions to this latest school shooting downright insane.

*This article originally appeared in Washington Times Communities

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.

U.S. Foreign Policy: 100 Years of Failure

TAMPA, November 19, 2012 — An Iraqi diplomat has called upon other Arab oil producers to “use oil as a weapon” against the United States. Fox News reports this as if it should come as a surprise.

“The shocking statement from a democratic government in power only after the U.S. and allies ousted murderous dictator Saddam Hussein in a costly and bloody war laid bare the Middle Eastern nation’s true allegiance,” reports Fox.

The detachment from reality exhibited by news organizations like Fox and Americans in general is stunning. Americans actually believe that Iraqis should be grateful that the United States invaded their country, destroyed their infrastructure, killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and made homeless refugees of millions more.

They also believe that after deposing a relatively westernized dictator and putting the Shia majority in power, the resulting government would not seek to retaliate against U.S. support for Israel.

This is by no means an isolated incident. It is a recurring theme. Contrary to official myth, U.S. foreign policy has been a failure for the past 100 years, virtually without exception.

We’re constantly told that the United States has a “special role” in the world, due to its status as sole superpower and the role it has played over the past century “defending freedom.” This is pure delusion.

A small percentage of Americans are vaguely aware that Osama bin Laden did not create Al Qaeda (Arabic for “the base”). It was started in Pakistan by Sheik Abdullah Azzam with CIA support. According to veteran reporter Eric Margolis,

“I know this because I interviewed Azzam numerous times at al-Qaida HQ in Peshawar while covering the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan. Azzam set up al-Qaida, which means “the base” in Arabic, to help CIA and Saudi-financed Arab volunteers going to fight in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. In those days, the west hailed them as “freedom fighters,” writes Margolis.

Continue at Communities@ Washington Times…

2nd Third Party Debate: Will Americans Remember the 5th of November?

TAMPA, October 31, 2012 – “We’ll have to agree to disagree.” When uttered in a political context, there is no passive-aggressive cliché that I detest more than this one,

Invariably, this is the rejoinder offered by the statist who has painted himself into a corner while trying to justify his invasion of the life and property of others. Unable to honestly answer the question, “Aren’t you advocating the initiation of force against your fellow man?” the statist will end the conversation with this insipid bit of anti-reason, usually with condescending sanctimoniousness.

The problem is that one side of the argument is agreeing to refrain from invading the property of anyone else, while the other side claims doing so is his right. There is nothing either fair or civilized by “agreeing to disagree” under these circumstances.

Of course, the problem isn’t that the statist holds this opinion.

It is his right to hold any opinion he wishes and to express that opinion freely. The problem is what happens next. Informed by his opinion, the statist then goes into the voting booth and votes himself the life and property of other people.

Worse yet, according to the bizarre principles presently governing American society, he is then provided with the ill-gotten gains by the politician.

Continue at Communities@ Washington Times…

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Do Americans still believe that government is evil?

TAMPA, October 28, 2012 – Nine days before Election Day, Americans are hunkering down into their traditional Republican/Democratic camps. Supposedly, the future of American society rests upon which corporate-backed candidate wins the presidency. Americans of the past would have regarded this as complete nonsense.

In late 1775, the shot heard ‘round the world had been fired and the American colonists had Boston under siege. Still, most Americans either favored reconciliation with Great Britain or were undecided.

Then, in January 1776, Thomas Paine released his instant bestseller, Common Sense. It is this pamphlet that is credited with persuading a critical mass of American colonists to support American independence from Great Britain. In it, Paine laid out his arguments about the role of government and why the British constitution failed in fulfilling this role for American colonists.

The very first plank he laid down in his argument was that government was evil.

“Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil;”

Paine, Jefferson and other founding fathers recognized government for what it is: the pooled and organized capacity for violence of the whole society. This idea comes straight out of John Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Government. There is no law, no matter how minor, that is not ultimately backed up by the threat of violence.

This is no less true today than it was in 1776. Despite “social contract” theories and other linguistic gymnastics that attempt to euphemize the nature of government, it remains merely organized violence. This is apparent to most people when the government wages war, but somehow it escapes them otherwise.

Yet, even when the government runs a healthcare program, you pay for it or they will come to physically force you to pay. If you resist, you will be killed. It is no different for education, housing, or the ultimate canard, “job creation.” Even a parking ticket is backed by the threat of violence. Yes, you will get many “reminders” if don’t pay before any real action is taken, but eventually the government will come and physically force you to obey.

That is the inescapable nature of government. That’s why Paine and the founding fathers believed it was evil.

Then why constitute a government at all? The founders believed that although government was evil, it was also necessary. Although society, meaning people voluntarily associating and trading their various products with one another, is always a blessing; some of the people will commit violence against the life or property of others, at least some of the time.

So, as Paine wrote, man “finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest.” The government’s job is to defend peaceful citizens against violence committed by others. It is society’s bouncer.

While the term hadn’t been coined yet, the founding fathers were libertarians.

The bouncers aren’t the source of fun in a nightclub any more than government is the source of general happiness in a society. Neither do the bouncer’s run the nightclub. They are employed by the owners, and not for their creativity, ingenuity or compassion. They are employed for their ability to use brute force and are told to stay out of the way unless they are needed. Bouncers are a necessary evil in a nightclub for the same reason that government is a necessary evil in society, if necessary at all.

Yet, judging from the rhetoric of both parties’ politicians and the poll results, social media posts and other expressions of opinion by most of their supporters, most Americans don’t seem to see government this way anymore. One can only conclude that most Americans believe that government is good in and of itself, and that it just happens to be populated with corrupt or incompetent people at the moment.

Not only do most Americans seem to view government as a good, but they seem to want government to solve just about every societal problem, all of which were caused by government in the first place. The bouncers have been running the nightclub for a long time and Americans don’t seem to be able to figure out why it isn’t any fun anymore.

The most disturbing aspect of this belief in the goodness of government is the conversation surrounding the presidential election. Most Americans not only believe that the government can solve problems, rather than just employ force, but that the election ofone man can actually save or destroy the republic. If that’s true, then any difference between America and the most barbarous empires in history is gone.

It is generally believed that the United States transformed itself from a relatively poor, agrarian society to the wealthiest nation in history because of the individual freedom available to its citizens. That freedom resulted from Americans recognizing that government is evil. It resulted from a libertarian theory of government.

America is at a crossroads, but Mitt Romney and Barack Obama don’t represent the fork in the road. They are both the same road. Whether you are looking for “Hope and Change” or “Smaller, Simpler and Smarter Government,” neither Romney nor Obama will provide it.

The first step in changing course is to rediscover America’s founding, libertarian idea that government is evil. If you think the presidential election can make a difference, why not take Gary Johnson up on his proposition? Be libertarian with him for one election. What do you have to lose?

Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.