Self-evident Economy

Posts tagged Libertarianism

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Dear Ryan,

Here is part of an email I sent to my brother. He was concerned about Eric Holder’s speech the other day where he justifies killing U.S. citizens, differentiating for the first time, due process and judicial process. He’s not a libertarian, but has libertarian instincts I think. I’m trying to get through to him. :)

Ryan,

This country, as exemplified by Eric Holder’s speech, is going in the completely wrong direction. No candidate except Ron Paul, truly cares about the Constitution, nor has any serious plans about cutting the national deficit and reducing our debt. In fact, the others plans - while reducing taxes perhaps - actually increase our debt and the size of government.

A comment on the Eric Holder speech. I just finally saw a little bit of it in this Steven Colbert report. Sad this is where I have to go to get news like this. His justification is absolutely stunning. The Constitution specifies “due” process, which is different than “judicial” process? Wow.

If you were wondering what the other candidates think about killing American citizens without due process (or with due process, but no judicial process which is now ok apparently), here are their thoughts. Of course Ron Paul is the only candidate that questions the President’s actions, and Rick Santorum actually criticizes him for it.

Mitt Romney
“The killing of Anwar al-Awlaki is a major victory in our fight against Islamist terrorism and proper justice for the numerous attacks and plots he inspired or planned against America. I commend the President, the members of the intelligence community, our service members, and our allies for their continued efforts to keep Americans safe. Nevertheless, we must remain vigilant and continue the fight against those who seek to destroy us and our freedoms.”

Newt Gingrich
"Any American, who actively advocates killing Americans, places themselves in our Constitution as a traitor," Gingrich added. "The American who the president authorized killing in Yemen was an enemy combatant. Enemy combatants don’t get Miranda rights. I think it’s very important that this is a war…the president, in this one area, is right."

Oh Newt… if the U.S. suspects you of being a traitor, our Constitution actually DOES protect them. One would think, as such a well paid “historian”, you would realize this.

Article III, Section 3
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Ron Paul
“I don’t think that’s a good way to deal with our problems,” Paul told reporters. “Al-Awlaki was born here; he is an American citizen. He was never tried or charged for any crimes. No one knows if he killed anybody. We know he might have been associated with the underwear bomber. But if the American people accept this blindly and casually that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys, I think it’s sad.

"I think what would people have said about Timothy McVeigh? We didn’t assassinate him, who we were pretty certain that he had done it. Went and put through the courts then executed him. To start assassinating American citizens without charges, we should think very seriously about this."

Rick Santorum"Is anyone really surprised at this point? Ron Paul put up a commentary claiming the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were our own fault – and now, he’s condemning America for helping rid the world of a murderer," he said. "Awlaki’s actions against the US effectively renounced his citizenship, and he could and should be treated like any other terrorist. 

"This is the time to call on Congress and the President to amend the Immigration and Naturalization Act to provide for a renunciation of citizenship by action," he said. "I believe our country and the world are better off with the likes of Awlaki dead and I for one, congratulate the men and women in uniform who helped make this world safer."

Craig

I went on to explain how Ron Paul has actually doing pretty well in the primaries. On Super Tuesday, he actually got second place in three states, and virtually tied for second in a forth. I also shared Ron Paul’s delegate strategy with him.

If anyone is truly concerned about the direction of this country, there is only one voice for change and that is Ron Paul. Voting for any other candidate (with the exception of Gary Johnson perhaps), is a vote for more of the same.

Filed under libertarianism al-awlaki Eric Holder Judicial process vs. Due Process Constitution

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So Many Rules!

This week, a Massachusetts fisherman caught 881-pound tuna which the federal authorities promptly took away. The reason? He accidentally caught it with a net instead of using a fishing poll.

Cost to the fisherman, approximately $400,000. “A 754-pound tuna recently sold for nearly $396,000,” according to the article.

The thing that is so frustrating is that this fisherman has done everything he can to make sure he is in compliance with all the federal regulations, purchasing 15 tuna permits over the past 4 years for his boats.

"They said it had to be caught with rod and reel," a frustrated Rafael said. "We didn’t try to hide anything. We did everything by the book. Nobody ever told me we couldn’t catch it with a net."

We are a nation of rules and regulations, rules which most people have no idea they are breaking. It is costly, both to our economy and our freedom. Something needs to change.

Filed under libertarianism politics Regulations

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Libertarianism.org

Libertarianism.org was launched today. A lot of good information in there, I can’t wait to dig in.

Liberty. It’s a simple idea, but it’s also the linchpin of a complex system of values and practices: justice, prosperity, responsibility, toleration, cooperation, and peace. Many people believe that liberty is the core political value of modern civilization itself, the one that gives substance and form to all the other values of social life. They’re called libertarians.

Filed under Libertarianism

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All Libertarians are racist

I just sent a letter to Gary Anderson in response to the article referenced in the link above.

Dear Mr. Anderson,

I saw your article on Peter Schiff and Libertarians where you call him and all Libertarians racist because of their view of what freedom means. I have a question for you. I recently read about a bill before the NY State senate that would restrict free speech in order to protect children from online bullying. Proponents of the bill feel that free speech is more of a privilege then a right, and that it should be revoked if abused. Do you share this view?

If you do not (I assume since you are a journalist, you would reject this position), does this mean you are fostering bullying and therefore are a bully yourself? Are all people who want to protect free speech bullies?

This is the logic you used in your article. It makes no sense.

Sincerely,

Craig Kohtz

(Source: moralanarchism)

Filed under racism libertarianism

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More skepticism on Iranian plot…

The following article contains a few different stories of news organizations questioning the administration’s story. The basic gist, Iran has too much to lose to attempt such a sloppy assassination attempt on U.S. soil, especially when their target could have been much more easily dealt with while in the Middle East.

- New York Times Leads the Swell of Skepticism at the Iran Plot

It’s sad to think that a standing President would ever make something like this up for the sole purpose of trying to get reelected, but given the fact that his position holds so much power, is it so unreasonable to question? Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Another reason for smaller government.

Filed under libertarianism politics Iran

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Unite or Die: Ron Paul & The Occupy Wall Street Protests

uniteordie:

Now what are all of those people doing camped out on Wall Street? Are they socialists? Commies? Anarchists? Left, right? For some reason the television news people don’t like them, which makes me sympathize. What’s going on?

I’ll explain.

Let’s say you are a young couple, newly married,…

My step-son’s science teacher was telling his class about how licensing was used to reduce competition, specifically for barbers and hair stylists. This fits perfectly, I’ll be sure to send it his way.

(Source: dougwead.wordpress.com, via uniteordie-deactivated20120818)

Filed under Ron Paul 2012 occupywallst occupywallstreet occupy wall street libertarian libertarianism

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My Response to Sally Kohn’s Complete Misunderstanding of Libertarianism

I posted the following comment to the article, “Do libertarians like Peter Thiel really want to live in America?”.

For a quick idea of the tone of the article…

And if the self-appointed creators wish it, there would be no restrictions on guns or automatic weapons.  Or, for that matter, no prohibition against murder.  Pesky “moral suasion”!

My response:

I was under the impression that reporters did research before they wrote pieces like this. Libertarians support murder? Where did an idea like this come from other than a deep misunderstanding of Libertarianism. Get rid of government? Who will enforce contracts? Maintain order? Protect our civil rights? These are such foolish assumptions it makes me cringe. I’m embarrassed for you.

Limited government is different than no government. We’ve been at war for 10 years. Unemployment is through the roof. A good education, medical care, the ability to save for retirement… all are out of reach for so many. The more money and power we give to the government, the bigger these problems become. Too much power in too few hands.

Libertarians want peace, not war. Under Obama, we simply get more war in more places. Libertarians want freedom, not oppression. Gay marriage? Get rid of marriage licenses all together, then nobody need worry about who marries who. Libertarians want free markets. Hate oil subsidies? Hate corporate welfare? Where does this originate from? The government!

Libertarians want what everyone else wants. Happiness and freedom. We just have a slightly different idea how to get there. It’s a simple concept… let people live their lives peaceably.

Stop your fear mongering and do the slightest bit of research on the subject. You may come away with a much better understanding of what Libertarianism is all about.

(If I had to do it over, I’d remove “civil rights”. In a perfect (Libertarian? ;) world the government would protect our rights, but in the real world they are usually responsible for taking them away.)

Filed under Libertarianism politics Ron Paul

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Inflation Seems Higher Because It Is

Today I saw the following headline, “Are Pessimistic Consumers’ Fears of High Inflation Exaggerated?" The crux of the story is that for some reason, consumers think inflation is going to be much worse than it actually is.

Government Numbers
My initial thought when I started to read this was that the disconnect is because consumers feel the real cost increases of prices, while the government does everything it can to keep the numbers lower. He actually addresses this in the story, although he is very flippant about it.

It could be that the nation’s primary measure of inflation, the consumer price index, systematically undercounts inflation and has been doing so for decades. There could be an immense conspiracy carried out under the last several presidential administrations aimed at making Americans believe prices aren’t really rising much.

He’s obviously trying to discredit this possibility by labeling it a conspiracy. Nobody wants to be a conspiracy theorist! But the fact is, the government has changed how they measure inflation over time and they do distort the numbers. This is how:

  1. Substitution - If steak becomes more expensive, and you buy hamburger instead, then the Bureau of Labor Statistics reasons your cost of beef has stayed the same – no inflation!
  2. Hedonics - If the 2011 model of a car costs more than the 2010 model, but it also comes with more standard equipment, the BLS reasons you’re still getting the same value for your money – no inflation!
  3. Geometric weighting - Nothing fancy here: If the price of something goes up, the BLS simply makes it count for less in the CPI relative to everything else. If the price comes down, it counts for more. Voila!

For an excellent article on this, see the Forbes article, “Government Inflation Numbers Are Bogus”.

Likewise, see this article from Reason.com, “Good ol’ Fashioned Inflation Like in the Late 1970s”. It points out that our inflation rate would be at around 10% if we measured inflation like we did in the 1970s.

Personally, I think my initial thought was right. The reason we think inflation is higher than it is, is BECAUSE IT IS!

Consumer Disconnect
Right after this, he gives another reason why we might think inflation is higher than government numbers say, and that is…

Or it could be that there is a disconnect between what people think, feel, and fear about inflation, and the reality of rising prices. It’s easy to notice the price of things that are going up — especially gasoline, which people purchase frequently and whose price is loudly and publicly advertised. When prices of goods and services stay the same, or fall a bit, or deliver a higher value for the same price — think of toys, or cars, or computers, or internet access — it frequently doesn’t register.

I have a major issue with this. He’s essentially talking about deflation. Deflation is a good thing. In the real world, we find more efficient ways to create the things we use. As we become more efficient, prices go down. What he is suggesting is that lower prices don’t register and we only feel the higher prices. Inflation is low, but we think it is high because of a few unstable goods.

This doesn’t make sense. If in the course of time we had even zero percent inflation as measured currently by the government, we would still have inflation. If we are constantly improving the ways we make things, thus making them cheaper, a zero percent inflation rate would simply mean that the overall rate of inflation is keeping up with the overall rate of deflation. Sigh.

Inflation is Good?
In the end, he takes a typical Keynesian view about inflation, which explains his apparent lack of understanding (at least in my mind).

Here’s the irony. Many experts believe that a higher level of inflation would be helpful given the macroeconomic circumstances — low interest rates, slow growth, high levels of debt. […] Given that people seem to be incorporating higher inflation into their mindsets, perhaps policymakers should consider indulging them.

Brilliant idea. Instead of the actual 10% inflation we’re experiencing now, let’s up it to 50 or 60% (as measured in 1970’s terms). I mean hyperinflation is a good thing, right?

Filed under Austrian Economics CPI geometric weighting hedonics inflation substitution libertarianism