Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Break

The Friendly Libertarian is on hiatus for right now.  Sorry if you've been wanting more of my witty political stylings, but I've not been able to give it my full attention.  The posting will return early in 2012.  Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Got Better...

Only his brother calls him Rebecca.
Newt Gingrich is now the favorite in the Republican primary. Desperation, thy name is Newt. I'm just not sure that anyone in the Republican Party (including its constituents) is really thinking straight. They actually want to put a guy with both adultery and questionable ties to major organizations (including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) against one of the most charismatic Presidents in recent memory.  Jeez...I even think Mitt Romney is a better idea.

Look...there's no denying that Newt is probably the sharpest tool in the Republican shed. He always has been. But he's got some crawling skeletons in his closet, and the Republicans are nuts if they think that President Obama's team won't open those doors during the general election.  

Of course, for that matter, Mitt has his own skeletons, though they mostly surround his predisposition for trying to always choose the winning side of the issue.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

No Debate Recap This Time

I'm done with the debate recaps.

Seriously, what more is there to be said?  I understand that Rick Perry threw up on himself again.  Whatever.  I don't care.  Enough is enough.

Look...after, what, ten debates or something (and we're not even to election year yet), what more do we need to know?  I mean...yes, I'd like an informed opinion about who I'm not voting for this year, but I don't have to have a deep personal relationship with any candidate.  I know some of these guys better than I know some of my own friends.

Anyway...I've had it.  No more debate recaps.  To do so would be enabling to them.  Maybe if nobody pays attention, they'll call off the rest.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Remember, Remember

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot.
I know of no Reason the Gunpowder Treason
Should Ever Be Forgot.
 - traditional English poem

Roundup of Occupy Protests

The last week has seen the Occupy protests becoming less and less civilized.  Arrests in several places, blockades of shipping ports and other disruptive activities have generated much media attention, if not actual change. The protesters continue, as did the Tea Party, to lack a fully-coherent belief set, but are more than compensating with sheer tenacity.  But...given the general unrest and the fact that today is Guy Fawkes Day, commemorating the man who tried to blow up Parliament and has been immortalized in the masks worn by many protesters (yes, I know about V for Vendetta), it is important to realize what is and is not effective for change in this country.

I am a libertarian, and many believe that as such, I am an anarchist.  Not remotely.  I absolutely believe in government.  I even support government oversight.  I simply don't believe that the humans in government will behave more nobly than others, and that yielding to them unrestrained power will necessarily lead to corruption, waste and misery.  Despite maintaining solid purity of principle, I cannot say with 100% truthfulness that I would do any better.

I believe similar situations exist on Wall Street. I don't believe that the "1%" is evil in the slightest...just human. Humans are selfish and self-interested, and generally speaking, do not act altruistically.  Given this assertion, is it so surprising that presented with gobs of largely other peoples' money, the bankers acted irresponsibly?

The solution is not to blow up Parliament, nor is it to link arms, get arrested and swallow tear gas.  We must simply realize that people, absent of supervision, are going to act like people...no matter what their title is.  Many say that libertarianism requires undue trust in others.  Well, I say that libertarians want a system that expects people to act like people.  Does massive government intervention aid people in their quest to be themselves, or hinder them?  I leave it to you to decide.  But leave the mask at home...because pushing the reset button ends the conversation.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Stand Up and Be Counted

I do this blog for my own edification.  It allows me to express my opinions on things as freely as I want.  However, one of the most gratifying things for me is to see that people are stopping by on a regular basis.  I'd like to recognize those of you who find my work intriguing.  So...if you find yourself checking this little corner of the internet pretty regularly, leave me a comment so I can extend my gratitude.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Where the Occupy Protests and the Tea Party Meet

With the Occupy Protests perhaps reaching their tipping point in Oakland last week, it seems as though two disparate groups are active in American politics and discourse today.  The Occupiers blame Wall Street and the so-called "1%," the uppermost group of wealthy people, for the ills of our economy.  The Tea Party, though growing more mainstream and accepted by the minute, blames the government for the same.  Though both groups want very different things, they are very similar to each other, and in my opinion, simply form the complete picture of the true problem with the economy.

Capitalism's PR image has taken a beating in the last few years because of the declining economy.  Most people argue that the problems of our economy are due to a market failure or an intrinsic problem in capitalism.  Here the thing, though: we do not live in a capitalist system right now.

What both the Occupiers and Tea Party have danced around is the notion that we actually live in a corporatist society, where business and government have elected to become bedfellows.  The so-called "crony capitalism" is exactly this.  The 1% thrives upon its ability to wield influence in Congress and with the White House.  The government has extrapolated the Commerce clause to obscene lengths.  Both are guilty of establishing a definite system of winners and losers.  The only problem is that, at last, the losers figured out the game.

All of this is to say that the Occupiers and the Tea Party, along with any other Americans tired of the 1% and of the notion of companies being "too big to fail," can come together pretty easily.  Supporting one and bashing the other is likely evidence of someone not seeing the big picture.  Whether this nearsightedness is deliberate or accidental is a far more telling question to answer.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Would You Be a Republican or Democrat if You Didn't Have to?

One of the criticisms I bear most often as a libertarian is the notion that I'm throwing away my vote, because my party (if I choose to vote with the Libertarian Party) or my candidates will rarely get elected.  My response is often shrill, because voting based on chances of winning does not, in my estimation, indicate one being guided by their own inner principles.  Rather, it seems like people are more interested in simply being on a winning team...for reasons that make little sense other than it gives one a social group or bragging rights.

However, between Tea Party and Occupy protests and a recent New York Times/CBS News poll that suggests a 9% approval rating for Congress, it appears that the majority of Americans do not favor their elected officials.  The problem is that many people likely don't think they have much in the way of choice.  The US system is a de facto two-party system, as much as it pains me to say so, and people fall into three camps as a result: people who agree with one party for the most part, people who choose the party they disagree with less, and people who refuse to vote because neither works.

So...why don't we try a multi-party system based on proportional representation instead?  People simply vote their consciences, and based upon the self-identification, seats are allocated to each party.  Overly-fractured government can be avoided using minimum quotas to qualify (no more than 3 or 4%, ideally more like 1%), and the only way that legislation proceeds is through coalitions between parties.  Many of our closest allies, such as Canada, Germany and France have used systems like these effectively.

Though such a system would temporarily cause governmental gridlock, eventually, parties would figure out that legislation would do well to appeal to as many people as possible, and would account for many minority interests.  Installing a slowdown on legislation is, in my opinion, a good thing because it would force legislation to be well-considered and fair in order to pass.  Gone would be the days of statements like "we have to pass this bill to see what's in it."  Besides, can we really say that a different system would produce more gridlock than the current one, particularly with two sides hellbent on zapping each other?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Withdrawal from Iraq Indicates Obama Is a Broken Clock

President Obama Announces All Troops to Leave Iraq by End of 2011

On Friday, President Obama announced that all U.S. troops would evacuate Iraq by the end of 2011.  Citing the end of an eight-year war that has cost 4,400 American lives, the president stated, "our troops will definitely be home for the holidays."

As a libertarian, I support a well-maintained defense.  One of the few governmental expenditures I think correct is the protection of our national sovereignty.  However, I draw the line between what constitutes defense and what becomes interventionism.

When we thought that 9/11 originated in Afghanistan, I supported reacting.  When it became clear that the Taliban had given safe harbor to Osama Bin Laden in the years prior to the attack, I was in favor of their overthrow.  However, the nation-building that has since occurred there and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, though both noble in intention and action, have never been anything but an overstepping of our responsibility to the world.

We absolutely have the right to defend ourselves...I'm not arguing that.  But the Roosevelt Corollary, which initiated the notion of the United States as the policeman to the world, is simply not our job.  I propose my own corollary, which is to say that much like my rights end at my property line, so should a country's rights end at its borders.

Now...to be clear...I mean ALL countries...so that doesn't mean I support Iran being able to launch a nuclear missile at us.  But...part of being a libertarian is that you have to grant people the ability to behave in ways of which you don't approve.  If Iran (or North Korea or Pakistan or the Mexican drug cartels) did launch an attack on us, then I would say we pull no punches.

This notion that we have to rebuild what we destroy, however, is both paternalistic and nonsensical.  From my point of view, if we're attacked, and we fight back, and we leave destruction in our wake, then that serves as an example of the price you pay for attacking us.  If you break someone's nose in a fight, you don't immediately set it and splint it, usually...so why must we do so on a macro-level, spending trillions of dollars that we clearly do not have?

Lastly, do not construe this argument as a way of me saying I don't support our troops or military.  Choosing to serve one's country at the risk of life is one of the grandest acts a person can do.  The fact that we have a completely volunteer army heightens the nobility of this act.  All I'm saying is that the people in charge need to stop using them like pawns on the international stage, and more like the nation's shield.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Republican Debate Breakdown - Why So Serious?

Tuesday night saw the last of the first round of Republican primary debates.  CNN mentioned that this was, in fact, the eighth debate and the last one for a month.  I have made my feelings about the structure and format of these things pretty clear, so I won't beat a dead horse about it.  There was some pretty excellent human theater up there, though.

Everyone was so ANGRY!  My goodness, for a minute it looked like Rick Perry was going to slug Mitt Romney.  Rick Santorum was especially Santorumesque (more on this in a minute).  Even Herman Cain was angry at times, evoking a pulpit-pounding evangelist.  Why was everyone so feisty?  Did the whole group lose a bunch of money on the tables prior to the debate?  Well...the whole group except for Romney...maybe that's why everyone started piling onto him.  At least we didn't have Jon Huntsman there auditioning for a show at the Venetian with his humorous stylings.

At this point, almost every candidate has become their own archetype.  Romney's going to never answer a question simply, but do so in a polished way.  Perry's going to get rattled and miss obvious retorts that would help his cause.  Cain's gonna 9-9-9.  Gingrich is going to act like he's already been President.  Paul's going to act like he played the lead in V for Vendetta.  Bachmann's going to blame Obama for literally everything and insinuate that her motherhood is a qualification for the presidency.  And then we have Santorum.

Believe it or not, I think Santorum scored the most points (I've foregone declaring a winner for this one...believe me, there were no winners tonight).  Though Ron Paul continued to make lots of sense, I have to say that I liked the way Santorum kept interrupting everyone and pulling off the most contemptuous onstage performance I've seen in a while.  Between the headshakes, the butting-in and some wonderful sarcastic smiles, Santorum put on a rare display of televised scorn.

Don't get me wrong: Rick Santorum isn't winning anything.  In a just world, Ron Paul would walk away with the nomination, Rick Perry would get a late-night talk show, and Mitt Romney would start trying to convince everyone he was a libertarian all along.  But...the Republicans are probably going to give Romney the nod, and we'll have the general election of the dueling negligibly-different candidates.  Joy.

That said, I would totally buy a Herman Cain T-shirt if he started using branding referring to The Mark of Cain and substituting 9-9-9 for 666.

New Post Coming Tonight

For the four of you who care...

New post coming tonight to recap the Republican debate.  Hilarity is guaranteed to ensue.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Faulty Healthcare Law Highlights Fundamental Problem

Obama Discontinues Long Term Care Insurance Program

I am certainly no fan of the Obama healthcare law.  The idea that government can provide healthcare better than the private sector is lunacy.  Being forced to purchase health insurance is an affront to liberty, rule of law and common sense.  Unsurprisingly, the law has been under legal challenge since its passage, and its opponents have found some degree of success.  However, the recent removal of a long-term care insurance plan emphasizes a more fundamental issue with government, regardless of which party is in control.

The issue is the passage of legislation due to its own nobility.  There is no denying that the idea of providing healthcare for every person in this country is both lofty and admirable.  The problem is that politicians on both sides of the aisle have limited ability to anticipate side effects and unintended consequences of their actions.  Prohibition ushered in the Mafia.  The Smoot-Hawley Tariff deepened the Great Depression.  And now, the healthcare law is part of the reason that companies continue to sit on trillions of dollars of cash.

So...the law continues to be a millstone around the President's neck.  Right or wrong, his name is forever linked to the bill.  No matter which candidate emerges from the Republican primary, he will have to dodge slams about it.  In each Republican debate, the opposition of the law has been universal, even from flip-flopping Mitt Romney, who will know to come down on the right side of the debate this time (which, of course, is the point of flip-flopping).

The biggest problem is the fact that, as the article mentions, the administration knew that this section of the law was unsustainable, yet they disregarded the warnings.  George W. Bush did the same thing once it became clear that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.  Both notions were very noble in concept...stopping terrorism...taking care of the elderly.  Both failed because the President only heard what he wanted to hear.

We need a president who deals with what works, not what could be.  Quite frankly, we're all living on a budget, and cannot afford to do otherwise.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Republican Economic Debate Recap - Hey, Who Ordered This Pizza?

Was po' before he was poor.

Herman Cain won the debate tonight.

Wow.  Never thought I'd write that.

He was on fire.  He was like a different candidate.  No one is more surprised to me how well he handled the onslaught from almost every other candidate.  He came off strong, presidential, optimistic and revolutionary.  As hokey as 9-9-9 sounds, it's hard to argue with both the simplicity and transparency of the plan.  As byzantine as the tax code is, something like this plan might be a winner with the American people.  Watch out, America...this guy might actually get the nomination, and then we'll have the most interesting general election ever.

The silver medalist was Newt Gingrich, I thought.  He came off focused and sharp, at least when they were still asking him questions.  He can't win, of course, with his personal problems (adultery just doesn't work).  But...whoever gets the nod should make sure he's on the ticket somewhere, because he's very smart and seems like he sees every angle on all the issues.

Mitt Romney was probably the third on the podium, but really, he's on cruise control at this point.  It almost seems like he's slightly miffed that he has to keep showing up to these things, even though he's probably the most poised debater.  All his answers used ten words to say three, and he seems incredibly adept at never simply answering a question using "yes" or "no."

The rest, including Rick Perry and, sadly, Ron Paul, are fading into the background, and there doesn't seem to be any way to stop the fade.  Even the Anger of Rick Santorum bounces off the wall...but really, there needs to be a fade at this point.  Nine Eight candidates (hey, thanks for showing up, Gary Johnson) are too many to keep straight, and the Republican Party needs to winnow things down as quickly as possible.

At this point, I'm pretty tired of these things.  I love politics...I really do.  I feel like a citizen when I have spirited debates about how best to steward this country.  These debates are theater, not statesmanship.  Let's see two or three guys (or girls, I guess) argue for about an hour, then vote.  America needs a rest.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Occupy the Fed in Houston Report

The storm was the least of the Fed's worries Saturday.
A group of protesters from the Occupy movement took to the streets outside the Houston branch of the Dallas Federal Reserve Saturday.  Around 250 Occupiers (Occupists?) showed up with posters, signs, megaphones and V for Vendetta masks.  They stood along Allen Parkway and exhorted passing cars to honk their support.

I attended the event with the same mindset as one does attending a carnival.  I simply had never been to a political protest before, and figured that I should add one to my list of experiences.  Martin Luther King in front of the Lincoln Memorial it was not, but it was nice to see people freely exercising their First Amendment rights.

Alex Jones yells something and people cheer
The focal point of the protest was the arrival of radio host Alex Jones, who self-identifies as a libertarian but also espouses many conspiracy theories regarding government involvement in certain events.  Jones drew much of the crowd around him in front of the Fed building and began screaming through a megaphone, which came across about as clearly as a distorted guitar.  Still, the feeling and the occasional recognizable syllable drew cheers from much of the crowd.

I'm not sure what I think about this protest.  Protests don't tend to work if they draw less than 1000 people.  I don't know that a bunch of folks screaming at cars causes social change.  I'm certainly no fan of the Fed, but I find it hard to believe that people like this guy:

...are going to cause the Fed to end.  I was thankful that I didn't see any Ben Bernanke effigies being burned (although I only stayed for about half an hour).  I guess we'll see...but it was a great day for the First Amendment.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Anchors away!

There has been quite a bit of rhetoric in this country regarding what to do about so-called "anchor babies."  Anchor babies, for those who don't know, are children born American citizens to illegal immigrant parents.  Due to the care these children require, the government tacitly allows the illegal parents to stay in the country and enjoy the fruits of the United States.

I have already written about what I think is the solution for the illegal immigrant problem, but this twist presents its own set of challenges.  In a cruel, harsh world, the most logical solution would be to simply deport the parents and either leave the kid to fend for itself (barbaric) or force the kid to become a ward of the state and grow up in foster situations (only slightly less barbaric).  I have also heard some indicate that these children should be deported or denied citizenship themselves, which seems antithetical to a country comprised of immigrants.

My solution lies somewhere in the middle.  I think that we should require one parent to be a legal immigrant or  citizen themselves in order for citizenship to attach.  As long as one of the child's parents is on the road to citizenship, I see no problem with allowing a child born here to enjoy the rights of his or her countrymen.  This sort of system would not only incentivize legal immigration, but also would fall in line with the similar precedent established for foreigners who marry citizens.

As with many libertarian solutions, I feel comfortable with such a system because it places the burden back on the parents, rather than the children.  Though the crueler solutions are simpler, sometimes nuance must rule the day.

Friday, September 30, 2011

They Say the Smog Is the Reason for the Beautiful Sunsets

I really don't care about the environment.  The zeal with which some people argue about it astounds me.  Though I've recycled my cans and stopped drinking bottled water for the most part, I can't report that I've been overcome with an incredible amount of urgency about the condition of the planet and the most notable conceit that we must somehow "save" the planet.

The planet's fine.  Earth will keep right on ticking no matter what we do to it.  We're the ones in trouble.

There are several pieces of information that inform my opinion on the matter.  The first one is that many reports, like this one, that indicates the process is already irreversible, no matter what we do.  My thinking is similar to the time my mother told me about a mystery disease that was killing people and had an indeterminate manner of spread...why bother worrying about it if nothing I do changes anything?

I remain slightly skeptical about the whole thing, because it's not like we haven't been wrong before.  I have heard global warming cited as the cause for the record summer in the American South this year, but I can also remember the exceptionally cold winter we just had either being dismissed as evidence of global warming or cited as also evidence of global warming.

I also am unconvinced about its validity due to the constant shifting of terminology.  Global warming is now usually called "climate change," a neutral term that allows for cold snaps to also be thus attributed.  Rhetorically, it's brilliant, but it's intellectually dishonest.

Here's the great thing about libertarianism: it doesn't matter what I think.  The correct thing to do is simply to require that pollution either be avoided or remuneration be given to those affected.  I am not for EPA emissions standards (or the EPA, for that matter), but I'm also not for companies having carte blanche to pollute their corporate little heads off.  I understand that companies will complain about the prohibitive cost of figuring and compensating people for total environmental effect, but them's the breaks if you want to play with fire.  Simply put, pollute all you want, but you better not share.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Morality Clash

I am a Christian.  I was baptized in the Baptist faith when I was seven, and though I am denominationally-promiscuous, I have remained a fairly devout follower of the Bible throughout my adult life.  I believe that the Bible represents the word of God, and is a guidebook for navigating through this broken world.

So comes now the issue of gay marriage.  Leviticus 18:22 states "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."  I don't think there is too much wiggle room on this one...homosexuality is considered sinful in the Bible, and I have no reason to deny such a claim.  However, I find myself in a bit of a quandary as a libertarian, because the ability to be free to choose is the central pillar of the system.  Would it be right for me to declare something fit for ordinance simply because it offends my personal belief system?

In a word, no.  I believe that gay people should have the right to be legally joined.  There is no legal foundation to deny them such an ability, and any argument to the contrary will always invoke the notion of a shared societal belief system. I don't know if I agree that we do have such a thing, but I think that it's irrelevant regardless because people remain free to shun or verbally disagree with homosexual unions.  Furthermore, I am completely against churches or clergy being compelled to marry gay people if such a union violates the tenets of their faith (as it does mine).  

I have heard many people declare the United States to be a Christian country.  Whether or not I agree, it is certain that the United States is decidedly not a theocracy.  Secular rights should extend to all people, and laws that preclude people from behaving in a compassionate manner (say, a gay person is dying in a hospital, but their partner is forbidden to see them) simply don't make any sense.  I don't agree with homosexuality or gay marriage, but I support the rights of adults to choose.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Eight Is NOT Enough

Ye Gods.  After suffering through the debate two weeks ago that included a whopping eight candidates, the Republican Party shrewdly elected to allow NINE on the stage tonight.  Nine.  A baseball team.  The Fellowship of the Ring.  The Nazgul.

The newcomer to the ring is former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, who appears to be a younger, less-articulate Ron Paul who definitely is not overspending on his haircuts.  And so we progressed through this social media boondoggle that featured questions from Youtube, questions from texts, and questions from an oddly-raccoonish Megyn Kelly.  Since I streamed directly from the Fox News website, I was also treated to the in-place-of-commercials analysis from some young moderator and two goons with suits and laptops.  The whole thing reminded me of Jerry Lewis telethons.

Anyway...this debate is likely the first sign of Rick Perry's demise.  Before tonight, it seemed like he would play the same minimalist politics that got George W. Bush to the White House, but Mitt Romney destroyed him tonight.  It was brutal, and, with all due respect to Bill Simmons, featured the debut of a new face for the Pantheon of Faces: the Rick Perry face.  The Rick Perry face is the "Oh-God-I'm-getting-killed-here-and-I-can't-stop-it-but-there's-still-an-hour-to-go" look, which he wore for much of the evening.  He was so rattled that, by the end of the evening, his answers were incoherent to the point that it seemed as though he had a bottle of tequila under his podium.

Mitt Romney was clearly the winner tonight.  He looked sharp, polished, and unfazed by Perry's and others' attempts to slam him, including those from the moderators.  Mitt Romney, barring a catastrophic meltdown, looks good for the Republican nomination.

Here's the problem, though: the big winner tonight was the Obama/Biden 2012 team.  I don't believe Mitt can beat the president...he just doesn't have a clear enough plan or message to galvanize the independent voting block.  Ron Paul clearly got the biggest cheers, but his opinions (though close to mine) are just not where the money is in the Republican party.  The Republican establishment would rather forget to nominate someone than to nominate the 77-year-old maverick libertarian, unfortunately.

The biggest challenge to the president may come earlier than expected, though.  I would not rule out a primary challenge, particularly from the Clintons.  After four years of Barack Obama, the country may just be ready for Hillary after all.

Membership Has Its Privileges

Believe it or not, I actually don't have much of a problem with illegal immigration itself.  In a way, it's flattering that so many millions of people are desperate enough to enter our country that they are willing to put themselves in great harm's way in order to do so.  Some of the anecdotal stories involving the horrific arrangements people make with "coyotes," guides who bring them across in exchange for promises of future earnings, leave no doubt as to the degree of motivation illegal immigrants have to enter the United States.

Similarly, I can agree that once here, most of them seek only to make money and create a better life for themselves.  They do so often through manual-labor jobs that tend not to appeal to American citizens.  Although their presence creates a bit of an underclass in society, they do mitigate some of the strain that minimum wage places on the labor supply.  So...that's good, because the minimum wage is a destructive policy that only hurts the workforce.  In a way, illegal immigrants fill a vital need within our economy.

However, the problem arises when these people have entered this country illegally, yet avail themselves of services paid for by taxes and reserved for US citizens.  Hospitals, schools and the like are forced to accept people with no legal right in the country, and expend resources that are reserved for people who bothered to go through the process in the first place.  Quite simply, those are ours.  As compassionate as it is to be welcoming to all people, we have a spending problem in this country, and you don't lend your hose to your neighbor when your own house is on fire.

I'm not indifferent to the fact that illegal immigrants are people, though, and as such, they will get injured or sick in this country, and they will have children who need education.  That said, I see no reason not to require upfront cash payment for services from people who cannot produce proof of citizenship, either.  I don't have a problem with them using the hospitals and schools...but they don't get the benefits that citizens do.  Make our services available for a fee, demand payment in cash upfront, or a guarantee from their country's embassy or consulate, and we have no problems.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Danger of Democracy

I've often heard people say that we in the United States live in a democracy.  While untrue, it seems that due to this misconception, many operate with a democracy mindset as to how society should function and government should work.  Everyone gets a vote.  Everyone is counted equally.  No one is left behind.

The danger of this mindset is that it guarantees that the United States will become an average culture at best.  The statistical clustering of people at the top of the bell curve in all things suggests that American exceptionalism, our belief in our own superiority, will no longer withstand the smell test.  The days of America the superpower will come to an end, and we will be left with a legacy of obsolete dreams.

We can see this danger in evidence in two major areas in our culture: public schools and taxes.  I have already written about the problems in our schools, but one area I left out is the deleterious effect that the shift from the perception that teachers and administrators maintained a level of expertise over students AND parents to the current mindset that all opinions are valid and accommodation for all must be observed has, in part, led to our declining educational system.  The lowering of expectations (most notably under the Republican-introduced No Child Left Behind) has precipitated a student populace largely incapable of excellence.

The tax system's elements of democracy has also created a horrific effect on our culture in that the half of the country that pays no taxes retains its ability to vote.  This power is what allows President Obama to suggest ridiculous notions such as his most recent pledge to tax the wealthiest members of our country further.  Spurred on by the self-appointed spokesman for the super-rich, Warren Buffett, the president has declared that the most "fortunate" (a word used in place of more accurate ones like "successful" or "innovative") should pay more simply because they can pay more.  Such lunacy is only possible because of the majority of voters who pay no taxes and have no qualms about someone else's going up.

Now...the obvious conclusion from the above is that I am advocating one must pay taxes in order to vote.  I'm not. As much as such a system would resemble the situation for stockholders in a company, the reality is that requiring a tax to vote is not only horrific in terms of the abuses possible in the system, but also was declared unconstitutional by the 24th Amendment.  Besides, advocating the revocation of a freedom is something no true libertarian would ever do.  However, democracy or democratically-appointed measures and situations should only exist within the narrowest of parameters due to the potential for abuses against the minority opinion. I, for one, as a holder of minority opinions, see no other fair alternatives.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The X Factor of the Economy

Recent Scene at Tallahassee Unemployment Office
I'm "between jobs" right now.  That's code for unemployed.  I'm part of the very unhappiest 9.1% of the US labor force, which is defined as working-age people either actively employed or actively seeking unemployment.  Of course, the use of a broad term like "unemployment" is deceptive, because there are two subsets (the underemployed and the discouraged workers) who are completely ignored by this 9.1% figure (a recent Gallup poll suggests that adding underemployed people alone could double the percentage of the labor force in less-than-optimal employment situations).  

This post is not a means for me to blame my plight on others.  Quite frankly, almost all of my difficulty is self-inflicted.  However, it disturbs me that so many other Americans are struggling to find employment right now, because the political answers coming from both sides of the aisle almost uniformly display an ignorance of the psychology of business.  The real problem is that the uncertainty in Washington translates into uncertainty in business, and uncertainty is the true X factor of the economy.

A January 2011 report in the Wall Street Journal revealed that 50 of the largest companies in the world are currently sitting on $1.08 TRILLION in cash.  This fact is an indication of two things: 1) spending, the Holy Grail of Keynesian economics policies, is alive and well, yet the economy continues to suffer, and 2) businesses are hoarding cash due to uncertainty about the regulatory and economic future.  The more polarizing the debate in Washington and the less decisive our politicians become, the more risk-averse businesses become about future expansion.

What does this have to do with unemployment?  Companies are usually not hiring due to turnover within the company; rather, they hire because they are in periods of expansion.  Business expansion is a good but risky proposition, and without proper care, can lead to the downfall of the entire organization.  Hence, business owners seek to minimize the amount of variability in the potential outcomes of their expansions, because the expected value of such a venture suffers in a volatile climate.

Uncertainty about taxes, uncertainty about regulation, and uncertainty about anticipated demand (note: not demand...it's not the present that bothers owners, but the future) lead to businesses not expanding, and hence, not hiring.  It's true that America is suffering from a skills deficit right now, but in practice, it simply means that businesses are much more interested in finding cookie-cutter workers for specific roles, rather than hiring a person who might not fit into one particular box.  Such is my plight, but I had the opportunity to avoid this situation, so don't cry for me.  Cry for the laid-off car worker in Detroit who started working at age eighteen. Cry for the steelworker who quit college because he had to support his family.

Then, once you've stopped crying, write your congressman, senator and President and tell them to make a damn decision one way or the other.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tea Party Republican Snarkfest Recap

Romney! Perry! Bachmann! Paul! ... (breath) ... Cain! Santorum! Gingrich! Huntsman!

Eight people. One stage.  Pity that no one gets eliminated tonight. 

Mitt Romney seemed very polished, slightly annoyed and wishing that he could throw an elbow into Rick Perry's face.  Rick Perry spent the first half of the debate looking like the clear winner and then the second half getting attacked by everyone else (it works in Survivor).  Michele Bachmann showed up wearing a cardigan, apparently flaunting the fact that she doesn't have to wear a suit, and said "Obamacare" roughly 500 times.  Ron Paul made reasoned arguments and got booed off the stage. 

The other four didn't really make much of a mark, except for Huntsman's tortured attempts at humor.  If I'd written this post at 8:00 CST, I would've been saying that Rick Perry is your Republican nominee.  I didn't know they were going to hit him with mandatory HPV vaccination and illegal immigration

The truth is that no one wins these things until they get whittled down.  Very few issues have eight different viable solutions, let alone eight different sides to argue.  So...the candidates either end up agreeing with their opponents or nit-picking for things to rant about.  It's all theater.  None of it helps, except to plant some needed seeds of doubt in the minds of some of these guys.

I don't know what to make of the revelation that Huntsman rides a Harley, though.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The American Jobs Bill and Pink Cotton Candy: A Comparative Study

"There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation," the president said. "Everything in here is the kind of proposal that's been supported by both Democrats and Republicans -- including many who sit here tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything."
So set the tone for tonight's speech to a joint session of Congress.  President Obama spoke for the better part of an hour through various measures he wants enacted in order to spur job growth.  He frequently implored Congress to pass the bill by repeatedly saying the phrase, "pass the bill." 
Truth be told, I'm not sure what to glean from tonight's events between the Jedi mind trick and John Boehner looking like he was receiving radio signals about whether to react.  I mean...I can't really argue with payroll taxes or measures designed to encourage businesses to begin hiring, I suppose. (I say the latter with an asterisk until I actually see how much these measures will cost).  I'm not for dumping more money into schools or infrastructure projects, but I'm not really surprised that the president hit those particular buttons.

The speech reminded me of pink cotton candy...fluffy and sweet, but unfilling.  After so much ballyhoo about the gravity of this moment, I just expected a bit more.  The bill really doesn't seem to do much of anything, which is a frightening statement considering that it's projected to cost 447 billion dollars.  I'm glad that he is now expanding the mandatory cut amount from the debt ceiling agreement to include this new expenditure, but like many proposed (and sadly, actual) pieces of legislation, there was no projection of its true effect on the economy or the recovery.  I understand that projecting numbers and failing to deliver is problematic, but it would be nice to know what we're buying before we do.
My other problem is the timing.  The urgency is compelling, and I'm sure that it played well as far as a rhetorical device, but if passage of the bill is so urgent, why does it come on the heels of a month-long vacation that the President just took?  What took so long?  Why the delay?  When the President mentioned that an election was coming in fourteen months, but that Americans couldn't wait fourteen months, I got confused, because apparently, a month is okay.
I guess we'll see.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Liberty Sucks

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall

I've been a libertarian since 2004.  I have argued passionately about its various causes with people on both sides (and sometimes completely off) the political spectrum.  The truth about liberty, though, is that it completely sucks.

Liberty sucks because it requires us to defend those with whom we disagree most passionately.  Though I disagree with drug users, drunk drivers, the Nation of Islam and the KKK, I am compelled by my belief in liberty to support their right to practice their beliefs, so long as those beliefs don't intrude upon the rights of others.  My doctrine of faith dictates that homosexuality is a sin, yet I find myself agreeing that gays should have the right to marry (legally, anyway...not the right to compel a church to perform a gay wedding). 

It just doesn't seem worth it unless I keep the big picture in mind.  The big picture is that others find what I do offensive, too.  I want protection for my right to behave as I best see fit.  In that desire, I have to surrender to being offended myself.  I have to accept that this world is filled with what I disagree.  It sucks.  But it's the only way we can all share the space. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

If I Were President Obama's Campaign Manager...

The latest Gallup poll indicates that President Obama's overall approval rating stands at 41%, and his handling of the economy receives kudos from only 26% of respondents.  Ouch.  Clearly something is very, very wrong in the minds of a majority of Americans with this presidency.

I'm sure that I'd probably be the last person suspected of wanting to help this president recover.  It would seem absurd that such a dyed-in-the-wool libertarian would come to the aid of a president who, quite frankly, shares few common beliefs with me.  However, the truth of the matter is that the 2012 election, in my opinion, remains Barack Obama's to lose, rather than the Republicans' to win.  No candidate on the red side of the ticket has enough legs either in the primary or the general election to unseat a sitting President.  Believe me...it pains me to say this about someone like Ron Paul...but it's the truth.  Though the "top tier" of Republican candidates (Romney, Perry and Bachmann) are excelling amongst the Republican base, there is no way that the entire country will vote for the possibility of a George W. Bush redux.

Hence, it seems likely that we will have four more years of Barack Obama.  So...rather than giving in to bitterness, I want to help this president because the country simply cannot afford (literally and figuratively) to repeat the morass of the last four years.  If I was the president's campaign manager, here would be my suggestions to him:

1) Do something. Anything. Seriously.  Even though I enjoy Warren Harding's presidency for its inaction, it simply does not do for a president to appear this indecisive.  If you're going to do nothing, at least look like you're doing it on purpose.  When asked about a jobs plan, you do not say "ask me in a month" right before you go on an expensive, exclusive and, presumably, taxpayer-funded vacation to Martha's Vineyard.  Even if your suggestions and actions are going to be wrong, and lampooned by people like me, it's better than this Hamlet act you have going.

2) Stop talking.  This suggestion partners with #1.  You are a gifted public speaker, Mr. President.  There is no doubt that you have the power to galvanize entire rooms of people with your rhetorical skills (and indeed, the entire country three years ago).  However, lately you've started to remind me of Leslie Nielsen in the Naked Gun.  Please stop giving speeches reassuring people. 

3) If you must talk, be brutally honest.  I understand that you are a politician.  Part of your job is spin.  I get that.  You have to usually frame and phrase events in the best possible light.  However, people are hurting.  People are suffering.  People know that things are not going well right now.  You need to stop with the sweeping statements of grandeur.  You need to stop calling upon Congress and the American people to do things.  Just talk to us like we're adults.  We can handle it.

4) Finally, STOP WORRYING ABOUT GETTING RE-ELECTED!  This last suggestion wraps around the other three.  In normal times, you would need to get out there and start stumping about the issues.  However, you've reached a point in American history where there's only one issue: jobs.  It's not a secret.  You are the sitting President, but have the good fortune of an opposition party who cannot find a firebrand like Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan to threaten the incumbent (yet).  The irony is that the less you campaign and the more that you become an action President, the better you will do against your inevitable challenger, even if they do find someone who isn't a stuffed shirt.  In the meantime, you will have improved the country...which is something I agree with, no matter what your party is.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Short Post About Legalization

Drug legalization is gaining ground in American discourse.  What was once a rock-solid political issue, worthy of a so-called war, has now begun to tremble against the backdrop of an increasingly-incarcerated population and a border neighbor descending frighteningly toward civil war.  Just today, the Houston Chronicle reported that the Mexican drug cartels are now successfully corrupting officers on this side of the border to do their bidding.

I abhor drugs.  I have never used narcotics and would not do so, regardless of the law.  Most people to whom I've ever spoken about the issue have affirmed in a similar fashion.  However, both my libertarian and practical point-of-view is that we must legalize all narcotics. 

For one thing, the war on drugs puts people in jail who've done nothing but hurt themselves.  While I agree that families and friends bear a psychological toll from these addictions, there does not seem to be any mitigation of those effects by the incarceration of their loved ones.  Worse, drug addicts often resort to desperate, lifechanging measures in order to perpetuate their addictions while in prison.

The drug laws also create criminals due to the artificial inflation of drug prices.  Because demand is inelastic (meaning that it does not vary according to price changes), addicts are still going to need their fixes no matter how tight the supply of drugs into the country is squeezed.  The problem is that addicts are willing to steal and commit other crimes in order to earn enough money to feed their habits.

Legalizing drugs would cause more drugs to enter the country, but in a controlled environment.  Drugs would be cleaner, higher-quality and cheaper because they would be distributed by reputable companies (as reputable as beer and alcohol producers, anyway).  The policy emphasis could shift toward treatment of addicts, rather than punishment, and would likely cause overall usage and death rates to drop.  Moreover, the drug war in Mexico would lessen or even cease outright because of the massively lower barrier to entry and new sources of competition.

The decriminalization of drugs in Portugal suggests that my assumptions would likely bear fruit.  This report documents both a decrease in drug overdoses and a decrease in usage.  In fact, predictions that Portugal would become a new haven for drug use have not come to pass.  While many fear legalization would create a society awash in drugs, common sense tells us that, if I may paraphrase Newton's law of motion, people who are not using drugs would tend to continue not using drugs.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Sad Ballad of the Tea Party

Tea Party Is Less Popular than Atheists and Muslims

The New York Times op-ed piece cited above delivers the results of several polls which suggest that the Tea Party is less popular in American public opinion than both atheists and Muslims...two groups which inspire less-than-cozy feelings in the average resident of the fifty states.  How could a grassroots movement of people who were largely credited for the 2010 sweepout of the Democratic majority in Congress become so reviled?  And in such little time?

Part of the problem is what I mentioned in my Ron Paul article, which is that sound bites elude most of what the Tea Party proposes.  Compounding their troubles are the complete lack of professionalism and control the movement exercises over who is allowed to speak on its behalf.  I realize that part of the movement's initial appeal was how unformed and amoebic it seemed.  Protests developed organically.  There was excitement in the streets and revolution in the air.  YEAH!

Then the worst thing possible happened: success.  The new majority, led by Weeping John Boehner, empowered by their bases, promptly started behaving "responsibly," which is code for doing exactly what had always been done before.  Previously unthinkable compromises now became the only rational choice.

Meanwhile, the Tea Party continued to decidedly not pick its spots, and a few of its worst apples spoiled the lot by first allowing the specter of racism pollute its messaging (a deathblow in American politics).  Then, somehow social conservatives like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry were allowed to tout their Tea Party pedigrees. 

The truth of the matter is that ideological purity is difficult to maintain in the face of success, because people such as the typical Tea Party member (and indeed, myself as a libertarian) thrives on the struggle against the current situation to the point that success befuddles him a bit.  Like a lottery winner, many times, the worst thing that could've happened was for him to get what he wants.

I say all of this to make one thing clear about libertarians: though you may find us in selected Tea Party sects, you will never find us agreeing with the social conservatism of Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or George W. Bush.  No clearer indicator of a non-libertarian is any discussion about a need to return to moral values, or any such statement of nostalgia for a mythological condition this country once enjoyed.  Consider it the litmus test, and proceed accordingly.

Abortion and the Importance of Consent

Abortion is one of the most contentious issues that exists in the political sphere.  Very few other topics invite the sort of emotion that this one does.  So vital is the issue that former Texas governor Ann Richards famously opened her speech at the 1988 Democratic National Convention by saying, "I'm Ann Richards, and I'm pro-choice." Though the economy dominates the discussion at this point, it is unlikely that we have heard the last great debates from pro-life and pro-choice camps.

The arguments that always surface in this debate are a neverending back-and-forth about the contrast of the woman's right to choose versus the taking of a life.  The Libertarian Party, and indeed, many other groups focused on civil liberties, see the issue as simply the choice for every woman regarding her body.  In this, I actually disagree with the largest and most mainstream body in American libertarianism.  The problem, as I can see it, is that we have not reached a point of scientific advancement that tells us definitively where life begins.

At some point in every pregnancy, the life of the fetus begins.  No side of the debate will argue otherwise.  However, the inconsistency about when that point is leaves a quandary regarding when the body in question is, in fact, not that of the woman herself, but of her unborn child.  My point-of-view is that rights and the need for consent attach at the moment life begins, whenever that is.

I err on the side of caution.  To me, it is far more egregious to run the risk of violating the fetus's rights (since he or she cannot consent at that point) than to simply grant that a woman may do as she pleases.  While parents are afforded the ability to consent for their children (quite rightly), I know no jurisdiction that would allow a claim that a child consents to its own destruction.  Therefore,  until the matter of when life begins is settled, I think that we should not allow abortions except in cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother.

Those three exceptions do present a bit of a problem, though, because the same need for consent and the rights of the child attach here, too.  However, since the child was not a product of a consensual act, then the rights of the mother are, indeed, violated by the baby's existence.  I applaud any woman in this position who chooses to carry to term, but I think that she should be able to decide, since she couldn't decide about getting pregnant in the first place.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bernanke and the Rosenbergs

Rick Perry Compares Quantitative Easing to Treason

“If this guy (Ben Bernanke) prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treasonous in my opinion.” - Rick Perry

Such a strange comment, really.  It's not like Perry led a lynch mob to burn down the Mint in Dallas during QE1 or QE2.  I'm also not sure how an appointed official of an independent agency plays politics, either. 

Look...I applaud Rick Perry's newfound repulsion to government spending.  God knows that if any private citizen so grossly exceeded their means, they would not retain any semblance of a decent credit rating.  But...he needs to tone it down with that treason stuff.  It's not like Ben Bernanke, though wrongheaded and hapless, is knowingly plotting to undermine the country.

The Libertarian Problem and Why Ron Paul Will Never Win

Ron Paul is probably the best representation of what a libertarian candidate looks like.  He's passionate, well-spoken, and extremely consistent in his message.  It is true that he does take advantage of earmarks, under the notion that the money's going to get spent, anyway.  I suppose that this practice, while not completely ideologically rigid, is understandable in the context of Washington politics.

In the recent Iowa straw poll, Dr. Paul placed second behind Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann.  For a seemingly unclear reason, media on both sides of the aisle has chosen to ignore this outcome and has designated Bachmann, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney as the "tier 1" Republican candidates.  Perhaps they do so because Ron Paul has run for President unsuccessfully twice before.  Perhaps they believe that Ron Paul ultimately has limited appeal to their base constituencies.  However, the true reason for the passing-over of Ron Paul, and why he will never win, is because of an inherent fault of libertarianism: our positions do not make good sound bites.

The truth of the matter is that many libertarian positions, including the ones I've already written about and ones that are forthcoming, sound absolutely insane to the average person when broken down into five second clips.  There is no way to hear that we want to get rid of schools or that we have a problem with drunk driving laws without having an immediate (and often visceral) reaction.  The explanations, though lucid, take too long in our culture of instant-gratification and even more instant decision-making.

I started this blog in an attempt to educate and to show that we are not crazy, that we truly want the best for all people, and that our policy suggestions would not create a lawless free-for-all of constant danger.  To us, our positions, though sometimes personally uncomfortable, are the only way of ensuring the most freedom for the most people.  I imagine Dr. Paul feels the same way.  Unfortunately, none of us can say it in ten words or less.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Get Hammered and Find a Car...Just Don't Hit Anything

Libertarians do not believe that drunk driving should be illegal.

Read that one again.

I hate this one because there's no possible way to hear it for the first time and think the speaker has all his marbles.  I suspect that some will retain that thought regardless of my explanation to follow.  However, more than any other issue that libertarians espouse, I believe this one causes most people anguish, and deserves explanation.

Imagine this scenario: A man is in a bar, and has had a few too many.  Maybe just one too many, but still, it's too much.  He stumbles out to his car, miraculously finds the right key, argues with the door handle for a few seconds, then flops into the driver's position.  After seven or eight attempts and a couple of hiccuping giggles, he manages to get the car started, puts it into drive via muscle memory, and drives home.  During the trip, he violates no traffic laws, and arrives home safely without incident.  He staggers inside his house, and falls asleep.

In this scenario, a crime has been committed.  Depending on how many times the man has engaged in this behavior, it is possible he just committed a felony.  In most jurisdictions, regardless of his history, he would be guaranteed of jail time, community service, a fine, and a host of other legal troubles.

The libertarian problem with this punishment is that no person was actually injured in any way.  Much like Pre-Crime in the movie Minority Report, punishments for this crime are derived from the notion of what might have happened, rather than what did.  The fact that he was impaired had no effect on the outside world, and yet, a curious or bored police officer stop would've guaranteed the man go to jail, leads many libertarians, including myself, to call drunk driving laws unjust.

Now...the question in your mind is what I want to do with drunks who crash into people.  Three words: HANG. THEM. HIGH.  I have no problem with drunkenness being a mitigating factor in these sorts of incidents, and in fact, would argue that a crash incurred due to drunkenness indicates a wanton disregard for human life.  Throw the book at them.  Lock them up forever.  I would even be inclined to call a vehicular homicide where alcohol played a factor murder. 

So...from the Friendly Libertarian...I say drink up, but know your limits.  This is one dice game in which you don't want to crap out.

School Ain't So Cool

Education is a right!  Seems obvious, doesn't it?  Very little in our experience is more basic than schooling.  Naturally, libertarians completely oppose compulsory education.

Wait, what?!  That sounds like madness!  Truth be told, when I first heard about this particular tenet of libertarianism, I thought the same.  However, our students lagging behind those of other countries regardless of the amount of money thrown at the problem convinced me otherwise.  It simply does not work.

I used to be a public high school teacher.  I saw many kids that had neither the time nor the inclination to learn the subject matter I was teaching.  No amount of creativity on my part could change that.  Our childrens' test scores suggest that I'm not alone in that regard, either.  The truth of the matter is that these kids were behind before they set foot in the classroom, either due to their own aptitudes, disabilities or cultural pressures.

The hard truth about education is that not every kid either can succeed or wants to succeed in school.  The harder truth is that not every parent or culture demands children excel in school.  Quite simply, there is simply more to life for these sorts of individuals.  As a result, their presence in traditional schools is neutral at best, and is often destructive.

The other major problem in the schools of today is the incessant drive to be inclusive.  Schools must make every effort to allow the most children to pass through its doors unabated.  Schools cannot expel students except in extreme cases, and even then, the punishment is often temporary.  The importance of the threat of force is hard to overstate...in almost any situation, performance improves where there is, at least, the chance of ruin.  Teachers and administrators are detoothed and cut off at the knees due to the excessive regulation and bureaucracy surrounding their position.  I remember that my statements to students were often a dance of carefully-chosen and approved verbiage, rather than the honesty that situations often need.

From a purist libertarian point-of-view, the ideal would be completely private education.  However, I think that we're way too far from that reality as a society to consider it.  Therefore, I do have some suggestions that would improve our school system dramatically:

1) Create alternative educational venues.  Trade schools and other similar institutions would serve as an intermediary between a kid going to traditional school and a kid having to be out on the streets.  Several of my former students had interests in different trades, like mechanic or construction.  Establish a credible method for these individuals to learn a craft that would provide them a legitimate lifestyle.  (Needless to say, the accreditation required for these crafts would need to be inclusive).

2) Begin the process of converting all education to optional.  Raise entrance requirements and lower expulsion requirements.  I can tell you that, as a teacher, one of the things that irritated me the most was when the non-learning kids dragged down the ones who wanted to be there.  I'm not suggesting that the principal should be booting kids out at all times (a la Joe Clark in Lean on Me), but he or she should be able to press the red button on any kid...similar to at-will employment.

3) Accept the fact that some kids are going to fall through the cracks.  There was never a more noble program than No Child Left Behind (a Republican creation, by the way).  Ask any teacher how they feel about it, though...it is universally despised by a group that is, on the whole, left-leaning.  However, as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  The truth of the matter is that no matter how much we try, some kids will always get left behind.  We can only open doors for them...they have to walk through on their own. 

4) Establish second chances, but be sparing with them.  Kids do dumb things all the time.  They can make tremendous mistakes and not realize until too late.  For some, it may take an expulsion to wake them up to reality.  However, I am cautiously for a system that would allow one re-entrance to expelled kids.  One.  No more.  Figure out a way for the kid to make up for time missed.  Set a sunset date that ends the re-entrance period.  Be strict in the fairness of the system.  When in doubt, see suggestion 3.

These four suggestions would create the kind of school system Americans demand.  I'm just not sure that most people have the stomach for it.

We're Not All Crazy

Good morning!

Welcome to The Friendly Libertarian!  I, your intrepid host, will guide you to a better understanding of the libertarian point-of-view.  Over the years, many people have levied numerous critiques of libertarianism at me.  Some of them were untrue.  Some of them were the product of others masquerading as libertarians.  This blog is intended to address some of those misconceptions and generate a stronger understanding about the whys behind our beliefs.

Part of the problem is simple ignorance of what libertarianism is.  Rather than a cold definition, I will provide a list of things that libertarians are not:

1) Communists
2) Socialists
3) Fascists
4) Racists
5) Republicans
6) Democrats
7) The Green Party
8) Anarchists
9) Irresponsible
10) Unreasonable

I have been a libertarian for seven years, and have heard all of these personally.  None of them are true.  The truth is that a libertarian simply believes that laws should allow people to act as they wish so long as they do not harm others.  That's it.  That's all we want.  Our entire platform flows from that belief.

The content of this blog is intended to be both a critique and commentary on the decidedly-unlibertarian leanings of most United States politics.  However, too often my libertarian brethren come off like we need medication and years of cognitive therapy.  So, I am going to make an honest effort to color between the lines and stay on the reservation, if I may horrifically combine two metaphors.  Feel free to keep me honest in the comments section.