Libertarian Ramblings

Archive for November, 2008

Consistent ideology

Posted by gravisman on November 27, 2008

One of my greatest complaints against contemporary American politicians is that they lack consistent and coherent ideology. Political campaigns, to me, are largely irrelevant because they focus on people and issues – they never focus on ideology.

Observers frequently complain about rampant mudslinging and cry out that campaigns should focus on “the issues.” A point that is never heard, and that I would like point to make, is that “the issues” are hardly the issue at all. US senators are elected to six year terms, and presidents to four years. Despite this, their campaigns typically focus on issues that will only affect their first year in office. The reason we’re stuck in this situation is because many of our politicians and most of our political campaigns fail to even speak of ideology.

Ideology is about abstract ideas. Ideology is about ways of thinking. Sure, it’s much easier for voters to grab onto concrete issues and form opinions about them, but in doing so, they sell themselves short. I, as a voter, don’t care just about whether I agree with my representatives on issues that are in the lime light today. I care also about whether we agree on unforeseen issues that have yet to even arise.

I believe that force should only be used in self-defense and that force in any form is not an acceptable means to political ends. This very simple belief affects my opinion on a myriad of issues from foreign policy to domestic health care. It is many times more useful to me to know whether a representative shares this belief than to know how they feel about the Iraq war. I don’t want to only know that my leaders are opposed to the misguided war we fight today; I want to know that they will stand against the stirrings of another superfluous fight that may come two or three years from now.

I was inspired to write this post to commend Congressman Ron Paul for his legendary ideological consistency. What refreshes me the most is that even though I agree with Dr. Paul on nearly every issue, on the one major issue where we disagree, he remains stunningly true to his philosophies and resists the temptation to be politically over-aggressive.

The issue to which I refer is abortion. When I first learned of Ron Paul’s staunch Pro-Life beliefs about a year and a half ago, I was crushed because I thought it was a deal-breaker since I may be the most hard-core Pro-Choice supporter in the country.

I was reminded of what makes Dr. Paul great recently as I read his book, The Revolution: A Manifesto and he expresses that despite his deep opposition to abortions, he believes the government in Washington should have nothing to do with the issue, because he is a Constitutionalist. That’s amazing. The ability to stick strongly to an ideological belief, such as the Constitution, even in the face of an issue that holds strong emotional significance is exactly what we need from our leaders. What makes this great is that we know exactly what to expect from Ron Paul. We know that no matter what happens, he will stand on the side of the Constitution, and so all we need to do is read it to predict how he will vote.

With so many of our other so-called leaders, guessing how they will react to an issue that hasn’t yet reached public consciousness is a crap shoot. Those things are generally determined by combinations of political expediency, party politics, and the winds of public opinion at the time. Look at G. W. Bush, if you need an example, a man who campaigned on humble foreign policy and has lead huge military efforts into the Middle East. Long story short – we have no idea what most of the people in power will do until they actually do it. That’s a very dangerous way to live.

Posted in philosophy, Politics | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Taxes aren’t the issue

Posted by gravisman on November 24, 2008

NBC on Obama-nomics

In the above link, NBC talks about Obama’s plans to revive the economy, and most of the article focuses on taxes. What taxes may or may not be increased or decreased and when. The reality that the American people need to realize is that traditional taxes are essentially a red herring when it comes to government economic management.

So, here’s the big secret, if you haven’t heard it yet: the government doesn’t need to collect taxes to finance its expenses! The reality is that the government can fund every expense it wants through inflation. That is, it prints money via the Fed. If the government needs money to pay for something, it has the power to create that money. This is already widely practiced today.

The problem is that every time the government creates new money, it makes every other dollar in existence worth a little less. It’s exactly as though someone started printing Mickey Mantle rookie cards. There worth a lot now, but as soon as everyone has them, they’re not worth much. 

Because of this we can essentially classify inflation as a tax. What makes it really bad is that inflation affects every single person without mercy, because it devalues all our money, rich and poor alike. Even Fed Chairman Bernanke agrees that inflation is a tax.

So, the bottom line is that traditional taxes are really not the issue, and they distract people from what is the real issue: spending. No matter what the government does with taxes, they will find a way to finance their expenses. Lowering taxes just makes people feel better. We keep them at a high enough rate that people believe the distraction that they really are what’s important. Unless the government wishes to sink further into debt and inflate the dollar even more, there’s only one response: cut spending.

UPDATE: So, I just came across page 142 of Ron Paul’s book, The Revolution, where he explains inflation by comparing it to Mickey Mantle baseball cards. I can assure you that I wrote this post before reading Ron Paul’s words, so hopefully nobody accuses me of plagiarism. In any case, all respect for Dr. Paul.

Posted in Links, Politics, Rants, Videos | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Why Obama doesn’t get it

Posted by gravisman on November 6, 2008

Change.gov – Civil Rights

The above page details the Obama administration’s attitudes toward, and plans for, dealing with civil rights. There are two fundamental problems in thinking that pop out at me when I read it. First, when talking about “the problem” they don’t really address civil rights. Second, when talking about “the plan” they quickly show that they think civil rights can be achieved by force, which is exactly the opposite of the right idea.

The page points out four current problems relating to civil rights.

1. Average pay inequity relating white men to women and racial minorities.

2. Hate crimes

3. Vote suppression against minorities

4. Criminal justice inequities

The first three are simply not civil rights. You don’t have the right to get paid any certain amount, and you certainly don’t have the right to get paid an amount simply because someone else does. Every person’s pay is determined on the employment market by factors of supply and demand as well as their personal ability to market themselves and negotiate. Anyone who accepts a job for a given wage has done so under his or her own free will. If he or she believes his or her self to be undervalued, the option is always there to seek alternate employment, or stake out an independent means of survival.

As for hate crimes, this is a fine line. Crime is a problem. From the perspective of pure civil rights, the motive of crime is irrelevant. To single out hate crimes as a civil rights issue is to miss the point of non-aggression. 

Vote suppression is sad and unfortunate, but it’s also a part of the political game. Yes, physical threats of intimidation are bad, but efforts to mislead or discourage voting (as long as they come from non-government entities) are not a violation of civil liberties. Just as much as you have the right to vote, I have the right to try to convince you not to vote. This is almost exactly the same scenario as is played out between a criminal suspect and police. Just as much as the suspect has the right to remain silent, the police have every right to attempt to convince him or her to talk. Giving up his or her rights is the responsibility of the individual.

The final problem noted is the only one that counts as a real civil rights issue, and the reason is because it deals with a direct relation between citizens and the government. What Obama seems to fail to realize is that the entire premise of civil rights is to protect people from government. Civil rights are not about protecting people from people. Yes, the government exists to protect people from being violent toward each other and stealing each other’s property, but it’s not meant to be an arbiter of every human transaction. Since judicial inequities and racial profiling is about government treating different people differently, this is something that must be stopped and people’s civil rights are on the line. The right in question is equal protection under the law, which every citizen should expect.

One out of four is not impressive. I call that luck.

Perhaps even more alarming than Obama’s obvious failure to recognize the very nature of civil rights is his completely wrong attitude toward protecting them. If we read down the page to see the plan for improving things, the theme quickly becomes clear: let’s pass more laws. Laws do not expand rights. Laws contract rights. That is their nature (there are, of course exceptions, but this is a fairly reliable generalization). The way to expand civil liberties to repeal laws and policies that restrict them. It is insanity to go around setting more rules and expect that people will be more free with all the rules you’ve placed on them.

Some people just don’t get it….

Let us not forget what real change is.

UPDATE: The link supplied above is now broken, and the page that has replaced it has been largely overhauled. You can read the new page here.

Posted in Links, philosophy, Politics, Rants | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Revolt avoided this time around

Posted by gravisman on November 5, 2008

A time for revolt

That is an article I wrote over a year outlining the need for a revolt against our government in the unlikely event elections were not held on this day. I’m glad to see that things never got that bad and some degree of order and sanity is still intact. Obviously, that’s not enough in and of itself. From here we must continue the pursuit of liberty.

Campaign for Liberty

Posted in Campaign for Liberty, Elections, libertarian, Politics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Let’s keep marriage the way it’s supposed to be

Posted by gravisman on November 5, 2008

Marriage, in it’s most classical sense, is the joining together of a well-to-do man and a lovely young woman. Man has money, girl has beauty, and a transaction is made. The man gets exclusive rights to a fertile vagina, and the woman is taken care of and financially secured.

What’s blasphemous today is all these beautiful young women marrying men with no money. This has got to be stopped. The ideal couple is, and always will be, a 20 year old full chested young girl to a 60 year old white man. We don’t want our nation’s children being raised by poor people, do we?

We, the people of the State of California, have spoken by passing Proposition 8 and defining marriage to be between a man and a woman. This is a great step toward maintaining its sanctity and denying rights to those who have no business claiming them. Now it’s time to take the next logical step and allow marriages of only 18-25 year old girls to white men 60 and older with 6 figure net worths. Only by denying rights to all the “new age” hippies can we achieve a truly moral society.

Posted in Elections, libertarian, Politics, Rants | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »