A Mostly Libertarian View – Part II

DontTreadThumbby Steve Lancaster   12/26/13
Politics and Government:

• Speech:
The free market of speech and thought is beneficial and indispensable to an enlightened laissez-faire society; to limit speech because it is or might be offensive is to limit freedom. There is no such thing as “hate speech”. No one has a right to be listened to, only to speak his or her opinions. People must exercise their right to disregard speech that they find personally offensive; stop asking the government to do it, as this only makes the government more despotic and domineering. Silence and isolation quiets bad speech faster than dispute.

• Media and Communication:
The founders of our country knew that a free press was a bulwark against tyranny. It is fitting and proper that news organizations be able to investigate and expose criminal activity conducted by individuals or government. An important sidebar is the ability of individuals to communicate with each other without fear of government intrusion into their affairs. This is a part of individual privacy that a free society cannot be without. The ability to censor communication in any form will result in a lessening of liberty.

• Citizenship/Immigration:
Immigrants must pass a difficult test to become citizens and must speak English well enough to conduct basic business. Citizenship can be lost by criminal activity, treason, and by renouncing citizenship. Citizenship can be granted without other qualifications for military service in a combat role. Illegal Immigrants by definition are illegal and lawbreakers and must be deported to their country of origin or entry point at their expense. Legal immigration is the only method of entry. There are no quotas for entry, as many from any country willing to become citizens are welcome. There are no hyphenated Americans, once you are a citizen you are an American. You are no longer African-American, Hindu-American, Chinese-American or any other construct.

New immigrants will only be offered the opportunity to achieve success with no support from government in any form, thus reducing or ending the heartbreaking existence of the bulk of the welfare system; unproductive immigrants will go hungry, return to their home country or be taken care of by their more successful relatives. The only action of the government is to ensure equal opportunity, not equal outcome.

• Taxes:
Taxes will be set as an unchanging percentage of income not amendable by law, other than to reduce the percentage; at which time the tax percentage is locked and can never be increased to the old level. It is government’s responsibility to live within its means. The purpose of the free market works best when citizens prosper without confiscatory taxes. Governments often institute usage fees when they are aware that the prevailing tax rates are excessive. Usage fees are a tax by another name and will be eliminated.

Additionally, taxes on property are tyrannical to the concept of liberty and must be eliminated. The largest percentage of property tax dollars are spent to support government schools, privatizing the schools will eliminate the need for these taxes and keep the money with the taxpayers to make their choices, good and bad, on schools for their children.

As a consequence the amount of money available to government is in direct proportion to the prosperity of the people. In times of emergency, the government can ask for additional monies from the citizens, in the form of interest paying bonds, but has no authority to coerce compliance. The people will vote on the issue with their dollars. Foolish adventures in socialism and wasteful wars can be avoided in this manner.

State and local taxes will be set in the same manner once and for perpetuity.

• Crime
Most crime is the dismal result of a lack of respect for others and the opportunity, perceived by criminals, to commit a crime. The first and most essential layer of law enforcement is the armed citizen. The second is sure and certain punishment for the crime. Killing a armed robber should not be a felony, perhaps a misdemeanor; like disturbing the peace or dumping trash in a public park.

• Charity:
Charity is not a function of government, nor is it a function of government to encourage private individuals to provide charity to their community. Thus, the tax credits to charities and churches must be eliminated. Religious establishments and charity must compete in the free open market, their success or failure will depend on the quality of the business model. The idea that the taxpayers should support religion or charity with their taxes is contrary to liberty, just because a majority of people view religious and charitable institutions as a social good does not mean they should be in any way be government supported. Charitable tax credits and exemption to churches and charities open the door for other “social good” tax exemptions and even more heinous Progressive ideas.

The Old Republic:
The republic the founders created died on the fields of the War Between the States. We now live in the progressive states of America where the central government is predominate.

In July 1863, the old republic devised by the founders died on the battlefields of Vicksburg and Gettysburg. After these defeats the Confederacy would never be able to marshal the resources necessary to fight the North to a draw. It was the death of states’ rights, the end of the 9th and 10th amendments and a loss of liberty for all Americans North and South. The expanded Federal government would continue after the war to become the leviathan it is today intruding into every aspect of individual life and freedom.

Importance of America:
The importance of America is that we assume that any man or woman has the capability to fill the highest of office and do an acceptable job. The job has 10 pretty good suggestions as a moral code, and 10 specifics written as black letter law, but in fact purely natural law. The further we stray from these 20 concepts of liberty the further we are from freedom.

• State Sovereignty:
The powers delegated to the federal government are limited and defined by the Constitution. The federal government is a creation by the states. The sovereignty granted by the constitution to the federal government from the states is limited and can be revoked or changed by the states. This follows with individual sovereignty. Sovereignty can never be completely lost, as long a free people are willing to say no.

• Federal Government:
The only functions accorded to a federal government that make sense are national defense/foreign policy, and law enforcement. Within law enforcement are implied fair courts, and fraud laws that allow for the settlement of torts efficiently; a justice system that is capable of admitting mistakes and rectifying those mistakes. All other functions of Federal government contradict a free society and must be eliminated, privatized or returned to the states. The money saved will fund the federal government for years.

• National Defense:
We must stress that there are groups and nations in the world that are enemies of liberty, however we must also recognize that it is not the function of the American people to engage in international policing. In the event of an attack on American people or property we must guarantee the world that our response will be overwhelming and that we will hold no people or nation harmless if they encourage or support our enemies. No option is ever, “off the table”. Perhaps, we should pick some enemy every five years or so and kick the shit out of them, just to demonstrate that we will.

• Withdrawal from the union:
The individual states have the right to withdraw from the national government for any reason. States may vote to leave the union by a majority plebiscite vote of all adults. States that withdraw from the union will be re-admitted by majority vote of the registered voters. In the unlikely event of a sovereign nation wishing to become part of the United States the same rules apply, no questions asked. • (1218 views)

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12 Responses to A Mostly Libertarian View – Part II

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Speech: I agree with you regarding the whole “hate speech” thing being overblown. But I admit that there is such a thing as hate speech. “I hate Nazis.” As Mark Levin would say, “That’s right, I said it.” The issue isn’t “hate speech,” per se. It’s the Left using that as a dodge to try to criminalize political disagreements…a very Stalinesque tactic. And, culturally, we’ve all become a bunch of pansies regarding free speech.

    Media and Communications: I agree. In fact, on this point I’m in stark disagreement with one of my conservative heroes, Andy McCarthy. I’m against the NSA’s now institutionalized ability to repeal the 4th amendment whenever it feels like it. That is how it works in practical effect.

    Citizenship/Immigration: Let me state it succinctly: Living south of the border entitles no one to live in this country. And if you are here illegally, it is the duty of law enforcement to send you back. I can see why you say that yours is a “mostly liberation view,” Steve, for my experience with libertarians is that they are usually for illegal immigration, justifying it with their usual nonsense.

    Taxes: Ditto. Property taxes, in particularly, are indeed an egregious form of taxation. It defies the entire idea of having private property. I don’t expect to keep paying, year after year, for something I have purchased. How to reduce taxes, the legions of over-paid and over-stuffed public employees, and the size and scope of government at all levels is an enormous task, one that can probably only be addressed after a rather severe collapse of our system, although such a collapse (one that Marxists such as Obama are aiming for) will more likely result in even more statism.

    Crime: With all due respect, yours is the typical naive libertarian view of crime. Crime is not caused by “a lack of respect for others.” It’s caused by people trying to get something for nothing. Libertarians don’t tend to have an eyes-wide-open view to the realities of human nature. That’s why libertarian ideas of an society that will neatly, cleanly, and justly self-organize if only we let the market free and get government out of the way are not realistic. It takes more to fashion a society than either no (or little) government and free markets.

    Charity: I smell more Ayn Randian anti-religious stuff. No, government welfare is certainly not charity. One day even the Catholics might figure this out. But that day is not today. The pope could be talking about the ills of crony capitalism (fascism). He could be talking about the ills of a political class (under the guise of “compassion”) manufacturing a feeble and subservient dependent class via government largesse (using our money, printing money, and borrowing from future generations) — a situation not much different from prostitution. This arrangement between the politicians and the public ultimately degenerates to “cash for votes.” Instead of these legitimate concerns, we get more of this Marxist-derived nonsense about “unfettered capitalism” which is not the problem and doesn’t exist anywhere.

    But, good god, man, to eliminate the tax deduction for charitable contributions puts you right in line with Obama who wants this so that there will NOT be any kind of free market of charity to oppose the state. Libertarians need to step out form under their blinkered ideology once in a while and take a look at the real world. And in regards to the proper role of government, the government used to print Bibles and hand them out. This “separation of church and state” thing is misunderstood by libertarians as well.

    What libertarians are so poor in acknowledging is that for a free society to function in a good way, we must in some way be religious. All of the Founders understood this. That doesn’t mean the state should be the religion (which is where “Progressives” are taking us). But there is absolutely nothing wrong with the state facilitating religion as long as it does not establish one denomination over another, which is the real meaning of the non-establishment of religion (along with requiring no test for holding public office).

    The Old Republic: This is more junk about how it was Lincoln — not Wilson, Dewey, FDR, LBJ and now Obama — created the “Progressive” welfare state. These are the poisonous crackpot fumes of Paulbotism and should be noted as such.

    Importance of America: I generally agree. It’s about freedom, about men and women fulfilling their god-given talents by making something of themselves, no matter how grand or humble.

    Federal Government: There are more powers enumerated to the Federal government than just the military. That the Federal government has illegally gone far beyond those powers is another story.

    National Defense: I’ll grant that it’s a fine and fuzzy line between national defense and “international policing.” But the dogma of “non-intervention,” as is typical of libertarians, doesn’t even pass the smell test. There are times when we have to get involved oversees to fight enemies (such as Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan). That’s just a fact of life. That being the case, I in no way support the naive and destructive “nation building” that we are trying to do in Islamic states. My foreign policy, in this regard, would sound more like a standing threat of, “If Islamists hit us, we will give the citizens of Mecca 48 hours to vacate the city before we turn it into a pile of rubble.”

    Withdrawal from the Union: No, individual states do not have the right to withdraw from the Union for any reason. It clearly wouldn’t be a legal and functional Union if this was the case. And there are legitimate Federal assets tied up in all the states. The state doesn’t have the right to steal property from others.

    But I’ll grant that we can devise a legal process if a state or states wanted to secede. I’m not against that. And I’ll grant that the Federal government is fast reaching the point where many, if not most, of its orders to the states are unconstitutional and thus illegal. At some point it will be legitimate for a state to acknowledge that because the Federal government does not honor the Constitution, it is operationally null and void. Even short of this, it is legitimate for states to assert their 10th Amendment rights. They should be doing so now, but most of these dreadful politicians (of both parties) are sleazy whores when it comes to taking Federal dollars. They fritter away that 10th Amendment bit by bit and have helped to make it a habit that the Constitution can be ignored.

    • steve lancaster says:

      Brad,
      How do you feel about the 16th and 17th amendments?
      Private charity, without tax incentives until the progressive era functioned very well. The truly needy were assisted and the scammers and frauds were left to fend on their own. Jane Addams Hull House is an excellent example of a private charity pre-empted by government and destroyed.

      I have no objection to either religion or charity. I do object to the illegal taking by government for supposed social good. If you like your church or charity then fund it with your own money, don’t say that stealing it from me to make you feel good is either moral or ethical. The same applies to almost all other social services.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Very interesting, though of course it has no chance of passing (unfortunately, and much like most of the ideas people on sites like this come up with). I will agree that the War of the Rebellion ended the original federal republic; it’s an irony that the South’s effort to protect states’ rights inevitably destroyed them instead.

    The importance of knowing the language was demonstrated by a sad incident I read about many years ago, in which an immigrant woman in a trailer park died in a fire because she didn’t understand what the people around her were calling out (not being Spanish-speaking, it was “Fire!” instead of “Fuego!”).

    The tax proposal would have some problems. For one thing, if you lower rates but apply taxes more broadly or at least eliminate some deductions (aka “loopholes” to those who don’t like them or “tax expenditures” to socialists) will raise taxes on some people even if they lower them overall. In addition, there can be occasions (such as defensive wars) in which more money is needed. A constitutional limit on how high tax rates can grow is reasonable, but as long as the new rates are lower, an increase should be possible (though requiring a congressional super-majority to pass it is reasonable).

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I will agree that the War of the Rebellion ended the original federal republic; it’s an irony that the South’s effort to protect states’ rights inevitably destroyed them instead.

      The story of the Civil War is that the South brought this upon themselves. Lincoln was more than willing to accommodate the slave states. But his policy was “It shall not spread.”

      Well, for the South, this wasn’t good enough. They wanted slavery to be spread as far and wide as possible. The South, not the North, took a hard-line position. They illegally tried to secede from the Union, and based upon the flimsiest of reasons: the continuance of slavery. But no one was trying to deny them this right.

      That Federal powers were exerted is not in doubt (and they were legal ones in response to a rebellion). Nor is the reality that the habit of exerting those power has helped the Federal government to incrementally grow. But this was a process that started from day one in our republic and is in no way unique to Lincoln.

      A war was inevitable as long as the South held onto the idea of expanding slavery. Lincoln was absolutely correct when he said that either this continent would be all-free or all-slave. We chose the right leader and he had (ultimately, when it was forced upon him by others) the right cause.

      What libertarians, or anyone, need to understand is that this was an event that was unique unto itself and was precipitated by the South. To say that the rights of states were forever dismissed is to forget what this conflict was about in the first place.

      The rights (we should say “powers” — people have rights) of states have indeed been chipped away at. But to rest on the Civil War as the point where this all supposedly happened is to miss what the Civil War was about, to miss the real “Progressive” institutors of statism, and to miss the gradualism that has been happening since the time of George Washington.

      But to the extent that the Civil War ended the original republic, Lincoln might agree, for he said in the Gettysburg address, “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.” Ending slavery was by no means a bad thing. It was an expansion of our freedoms.

      That Andrew Johnson was a rat-bastard, that the South threw away the opportunity to reform itself, that the Democrats and statists in the Republican Party have been growing the Federal government for decades now (absolutely dwarfing any real or perceived power grabs by Lincoln), is a sad fact of our history, and the true one that needs to be faced and mended. But I’ll stand by Lincoln and against the Paulbot slanders that are typically thrown in his direction.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        My comments weren’t intended as an attack on Lincoln (or, as I often call him, Cousin Abe — 1st cousin 5 times removed, to be precise), but simply an ironic observation. As Carl Sandburg observed, the War of the Rebellion was fought over a verb: before it they said “the United States are” and after it they said “the United States is”. The gradual evolution from collection of states (note that a state at the time was a sovereign entity, and a congress was a meeting of representatives of sovereign entities) to a unitary state was speeded up rapidly.

        An interesting light on the cause of the war came after the Third Battle of Winchester. As the Confederates were retreating, the sardonic Jubal Early turned to John C. Breckinridge and asked, “What do you think of ‘our rights in the territories’ now?” The irony here is that Early opposed secession in Virginia even on the final vote (though, like fellow unionist John S. Mosby, he then became a militant supporter of the Confederate cause), and for that matter Breckinridge (the Southern rights 1860 Southern right presidential candidate) really wasn’t much of a slavery supporter.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          It should be noted that after the Civil War, there was no fear of entering the Union. Territories were doing all they could to qualify for statehood.

          The bug-a-boo of “state’s rights” being forever clobbered in regards to the Civil War is over-blown. Whatever statist ills came out of the Civil War (and I would agree there were some), they are dwarfed by the passage of the 16h Amendment (the income tax), 17th Amendment (direct selection of Senators), and the 19th (suffrage) which many argue (and I argue) forever tipped the balance from a freedom-oriented electorate to a security-oriented one. And that’s not to mention all the departments, agencies, extra-constitutional laws, and alphabet-soup bureaucracies instituted since Wilson. Teddy Roosevelt (Republican) was a particularly egregious “Progressive” nitwit as well.

          What libertarians and Paulbots seem to conveniently forget about the Civil War is that the South started it. Lincoln stated again and again that he saw no Federal powers in the Constitution that allowed him or anyone else to end slavery. But the South had become thoroughly unhinged, no doubt egged on in reaction to abolitionists in the North. A guilty conscience tends to react in such a sway.

          So the South went on the offensive and demanded that old agreements be torn up and that all the territories be allowed to vote for slavery if they so wish. From a libertarian standpoint, what could be more fair? But as Lincoln noted, and I roughly paraphrase, it is a strange thing if self-government and freedom are the ability of some men to take those rights away from others.

          Libertarians forget these niceties in their obsession with the Civil War as the supposed point when the Federal government became a monster. But it was the South that became a monster.

    • steve lancaster says:

      Tim,
      If you once allow tax rates to be increased then you give the kleptos in
      DC the opportunity to change the rules. Its like being a little bit pregnant.

  3. NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

    Steve – with some variations, this is pretty much the standard Libertarian program. As you present it, it’s a series of unrelated policy positions lacking any wider moral justification or indeed any serious reference to morality at all – the conduct of “politics in a vacuum” as I referred to it in Libertarianism Minus Conservatism = Zero (available here in the ST Archives for those interested). As I pointed out (at great length) there, such a program will never inspire a mass movement, and it is largely for this reason Libertarianism has been an utter failure in the realm of practical politics. Nor is anything you have presented here going to change that failure into a sudden success – Libertarianism will remain a fringe movement, unable to have any political impact other than to elect more Left-wing Democrats.

    One issue you got into which I haven’t observed before in Libertarian writings I have read is State secession. This is a subject of great interest to me and I hope to address it in a future article. You state “The individual states have the right to withdraw from the national government for any reason.” Here again you make the Libertarian error of disregarding morality, for if this statement is true, it means the Southern Confederacy was right in seceding to perpetuate slavery and indeed expand it throughout the western territories. It can be demonstrated that the States do have the right to secede – but only when freedom is being encroached upon by the Federal Government, and only to establish a free government, not merely another form of tyranny. But this requires an understanding of the basic social compact, an idea that is preliminary to the Libertarian no-initiation-of-force axiom (stolen from Ayn Rand), which is why no Libertarian can justify secession – but a Conservative can.
    Libertarianism’s disdain for culture and values has been its undoing. Those who value liberty have only one practical path to see it preserved – unite with Conservatives in defeating first the Establishment GOP and then the Democratic Left.

    • steve lancaster says:

      NAHALKIDES,
      The last thing a libertarian would do is attempt to compel by force anyone who disagrees, and yes the ranks of libertarians are filled with many diverse views and it is not likely that the rest of the political spectrum will ever agree in total. Libertarians are the cats of politics. Have you ever tried to herd cats? Most libertarians are rational and accept that their ideas and philosophy are at odds with liberals, conservatives, progressives and social democrats.

      As long as the marketplace of ideas is open than libertarians will present their views and most of the time we will compromise with conservatives so do not fear losing and election because of a libertarian in the race.

      Secession; it was states that created the union as sovereign states. They surrendered a part of that sovereign power with the implied understanding that they could take it back at any time, thus, the 9th and 10th amendments. The premise of the war was the issue of slavery, however, the unspoken principle was, would the republic continue or be replaced with a federal system? By summer of 1863 it was oblivious that the South could not bring the North to a stalemate and the last vestiges of the old republic died on the fields of Gettysburg and the fortifications of Vicksburg. By that time even if the South had fought the North to stalemate the nation created by secession would have been just as odious as the nation created after the war. The republic of the founders was dead.

      • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

        Elections already have been lost because of a Libertarian in the race (see Libertarianism Minus Conservatism = Zero and the comments upon it), although so far not at the Presidential level and although as someone pointed out, Gorton’s loss to Cantwell in Washington State was hardly an earth-shattering blow to the Conservative cause. The fact remains that Libertarianism is a net drain on the forces of liberty in this country – too many refuse to ally with Conservatives because of social issues (i.e. the larger cultural war) and insist on voting Libertarian or staying home.

        Ironically, the apparent determination of statist Republicans to wage a war against the base of their own party may force Conservatives to stay home in 2016 as well, but that does not excuse Libertarians (the weaker group by far) for their failure to unite with Conservatives.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        The Civil War was a complex playing out of many factors. To turn it into the cause célèbre of “states rights” is to miss 99% of what happened and why.

        Secession; it was states that created the union as sovereign states. They surrendered a part of that sovereign power with the implied understanding that they could take it back at any time, thus, the 9th and 10th amendments.

        You entirely miss the point of the United States of America. It was a Union, not a union of sovereign states. It was about creating one nation with powers divided between the Federal government and the various states. But as an entity, it was one, even if it did have (as any lasting and just republic should) different areas and levels of legal responsibility. The states signed on. The South rebelled illegally.

        The 9th and 10th amendments were about reinforcing and formally encoding the idea that the Federal government had specific enumerated powers and that the absence of a delineation of what powers it didn’t have in no way suggested that it had them. Those unnamed powers were explicitly said to belong to either the states or the people. That these amendments have been all but crumpled up and tossed in the trashcan is a vital concern. And it is because of this that states, to my mind, have – right now – a moral right to ignore a vast number of Federal laws and/or to leave the Union.

        But the South back then lacked this moral right. Why libertarians twist actual history to defend the South is perplexing but consistent with its ill-informed grab-bag approach to various subjects.

        And the premise of the war, from the North’s point of view, was not slavery. It was, at first, quelling a rebellion. But as for the South, the issue was first and foremost, coming and going, beginning and end, all about slavery. That they had a lot of disingenuous spokesmen trying to couch the issue in “state’s rights’ is neither her nor there. The modern Left by no means invented the intentional misuse of language to hide another agenda.

        The issue for the North eventually became one of freeing the slaves. This was an outgrowth of the horrendous battles that were fought. The North had, prior to the war, consented to returning runaway slaves to the South, such was the North’s efforts to try to keep the peace and to compromise with the unhinged South whose appetite for spreading slavery (not just preserving it within the South) knew no bounds – sort of like today’s GLAAD for whom anything less than the glorification and celebration of homosexuality and various forms of sexual perversion will not be enough. A little-known fact is that, prior to the war, the South changed from just wanting to preserve its “peculiar institution” to trying (often violently) to spread it to the entire Union.

        The war itself, of course, changed things for the North. As the body count added up – and as more Northerners had direct contact with “that peculiar institution” – it became unthinkable to decent Americans to just call a truce and let things go back to the way they were. For all to have died in vain was an atrocious thought and considered a grand injustice. Complicating matters further was what to do with the slaves from Southern regions occupied by the Northern armies. Keep them as slaves? Free them? Just the exigencies of the war eventually made freeing them the only thing to do, if only to deny your enemy his resources.

        Complicating things even further was when Southern blacks (and free Northern blacks) were allowed to fight for the North. At some point – and this was not the mindset of Lincoln or the North at the outset – slavery became an institution that morally had to be defeated. There was no going back to a Mason-Dixon demarcation of free and slave.

  4. Steve Lancaster says:

    NAHALKIDES,
    So having a different point of view is anathema to conservatives?
    Who is being a tyrannical statist now?
    If the conservative cause can not withstand pressure from people who in substance generally agree then there is nothing for a free thinking person to do but distance themselves and conservatives.

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