2.28.2013

Government Benevolence is a Lie

There is a common myth that government is generally run by people who are concerned for the public interest over their own.  And there are some examples where this is true.  I work for a salary significantly below the market rate (and that has been frozen since 2009) because I care about defending people from the government's efforts to convict and imprison them.  But on the whole, it's a giant lie.



The fight over the sequester is revealing the lie.  As soon as budgets are threatened, the government threatens to furlough air traffic controllers, causing huge travel delays, furlough food inspectors, threatening that the food we eat will no longer be safe, and various other plans to cut most needed services first.  In other words, give us more money or we'll make sure to hurt you in the application of the budget cuts.

That's not public service, that's extortion.  It's a clear willingness to hurt the American people if that's what it takes to get more money for their agency.  A benevolent public servant would work to make the budget cuts impact the citizenry as little as possible.  Our government prefers to threaten to make the cuts hurt the citizenry as much as possible.

Public choice theory says it will always be this way.  We can't change the nature of people, but we can acknowledge it and stop buying the big lie.

2.06.2013

Not being drone murdered is an individual right

We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.
 - Statement of Principles, Libertarian Party

That line, especially the bit about the "cult of the omnipotent state," has been the subject of many internal battles within the party at conventions.  There is a group within the party and the broader libertarian movement that believe that language prevents us from growing as a party.  After all, the two legacy parties don't have that kind of language and they win elections.

I come from the libertarian wing of the Libertarian Party.  I've been a Libertarian since I was 10 or 11 years old and my father would take me to meetings of the Maricopa County Libertarian Party.  I vote for Ernie Hancock when he runs for Chair because I've known him longer than anyone else in the party.  I've never been anything other than a big-L Libertarian.

You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended.You can ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked.
- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Lee Wrights once said, "We can make a difference by being different."  I believe that.  The Libertarian Party is still much smaller than the two legacy parties.  We cannot beat them by playing the game on their terms and by their rules. 

This is not to say that our candidates should not be professional in appearance, nor that we can ignore the mechanics of running political campaigns.  But it is to say that we can't just be "Republicans who mean it," or "Democrats who really believe in civil liberties."  If all we offer is a slightly better version of a legacy party, most voters won't risk their vote for something slightly better when the legacy party candidate could, you know, win.

We can win by being the only party that supports actual freedom.  Social freedom.  Economic freedom. All of your freedoms. All of the time.  Without exception.

These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise.
- White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney

According to a memo obtained by NBC, the Obama Administration has decided that they can kill anyone overseas with a drone strike, including American citizens, with no trial, charge, or any due process protections at all.  The Democrats don't have a problem with this, since it's a Democrat making this unilateral decision to kill people. Oddly, the Republicans don't have a problem with it either, possibly because they want to have that power in 2016.
 
Libertarians are the only ones who have a problem with it.  The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution clearly states, "nor shall any person be...deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." There is no more stark and frightening example of "the cult of the omnipotent state," than the idea that it's okay to murder people drone missiles as long as it's the President doing it and he's pretty sure you're a bad guy.

I'm a Libertarian and I challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual, and that most certainly includes the right to not be murdered by the government with no due process at all.