Archive for February 2009
This week, our new president, Barack Obama, publicly addressed a joint session of Congress.
He made sure to remind us all that we are facing hard times. Probably the most interesting statement of his entire speech can be found right towards the beginning. “It is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we’ll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament.”
The million dollar question is, “how is Barack Obama’s plan any different than conditions that have landed us in a crisis?” The “day of reckoning” has arrived, but what does that mean? The United States of America has a long rich history of governmental intervention. Our new president is quick to remind us of the collapse of the Real-estate market, and of the short-comings of the banking industry. He mentioned the gutting of regulations, even though regulations on the banking and lending industries are strict and numerous. Rest assured, President Obama’s economic agenda is designed to promote economic growth while bringing the deficit down, starting with a stimulus package with a modest price tag of $789 Billion Dollars.
Perhaps the most thoroughly American word is “liberty.” Since the revolution, Americans from all points on the political spectrum have claimed that their particular agenda would lead to greater liberty. Regardless of the particular issue, virtually all interest groups use the language of freedom to justify their pet projects.
So what about the UM Constitutionalists? We call for radical tax cuts, an end to the American empire, phasing out the welfare state, immediately abolishing all forms of Big Government-Big Business-Big Bank incest, and restoring our civil liberties lost in the name of fighting terrorism. We claim, and of course we believe we’re right, that only our libertarian agenda truly protects the liberty of the American people.
But what exactly is liberty? We realize, of course, that one short blog entry cannot provide a complete discussion of liberty. We hope that this will simply be the beginning of an important dialogue.
Essentially, two understandings of liberty have been voiced. Negative liberty holds that a negative relationship exists between government and liberty, so an increase in government power by definition results in a decrease in liberty. Every time the government expands its power, that much of the people’s freedom disappears; it is a zero sum game. Liberty, therefore, connotes freedom from government. Government may still be necessary, of course, but because it endangers the rights of the people, its powers should be as limited as possible. George Washington once said that government is like fire, a useful tool if controlled, but a fearsome danger if not. The negative liberty view is quite simple: More government, less liberty.
While the ideals of the revolution and constitution rested on a healthy distrust of strong government, negative liberty today commands few adherents. Since 1900, increasing numbers of Americans have turned to the opposite view, positive liberty. According to this perspective, government does not necessarily threaten liberty. Rather, government action can actually maximize liberty by protecting the individual from himself. Those who accept this view reject the knee-jerk fear of government because, in their view, government action could lead to positive outcomes.
Take the example of seatbelt laws. The state of Mississippi has decreed that all passengers in cars will wear a seatbelt. The issue is not whether doing so promotes safety, but whether the state of Mississippi can force its will on the people. The negative liberty view is simple: No. Free individuals are masters over themselves and by right are free to make choices for their own lives, even if those choices are foolish. So long as the individual poses no threat to others, he can pose a threat to himself. Since he owns himself, the choices and repercussions of unwise decisions belong to him, not the government.
In contrast, the positive liberty view impatiently ignores the individual’s freedom from government coercion. Seatbelt laws can save the life of the individual, so government force has generated positive results. Positive liberty emphasizes the safe outcome, not the individual’s choice. Note that seatbelt laws are designed to protect the individual driver, not innocent bystanders that the driver may threaten. Positive liberty assumes that government action plays a legitimate and necessary role in forcing us to make wise decisions. Government laws that coerce us to do what the government thinks is appropriate can lead to safer, happier lives. Strong government, then, is not by itself a threat, but rather a necessary companion to liberty.
The UM Constitutionalists fully embrace negative liberty. Only this view of liberty champions self-ownership and calls for the liberation of individuals from all undue coercion. Positive liberty is truly frightening because it has no logical endpoint. If the government presumes to know how to live our lives better than we know how to live them ourselves, where will government expansion stop? Though unintentional, positive liberty carries totalitarian implications.
As stated above, this one entry cannot provide an exhaustive explanation of liberty. It is time, though, for Americans to seriously ponder the nature of freedom, for much is at stake. We urge everyone to understand, as previous generations once did, that an expansion of government threatens individual liberty. We demand the emancipation of all citizens from government slavery because they have the right and capacity to enjoy their lives without a Big Mama government to monitor them. Let the ruling classes tremble at a libertarian revolution. We slaves have nothing to lose but our chains. We have our liberty to win. Citizens of America, unite!
Government never has impressed me. If anybody has read more than one of my articles, that fact is pretty clear. I feel as if most government action is based on special interest and ultimately does no good for society as a whole. Obviously government intervention has gotten us into the mess we are in today. If you feel it is a free market problem, I would suggest doing some research. Since the government has gotten more involved in trying to fix our economy, our national debt has ballooned from about $5 billion to $10 trillion. Also, as author G. Edward Griffin of The Creature from Jekyll Island explains, net worth of two-income families is lower than one-income families used to claim, the percentage of Americans who own their homes is dropping, the age at which a family acquires their first home is rising, mortgage foreclosures are increasing, the number of families in the middle-class is falling, family debt is greater, savings are smaller, the number of people below the poverty level is rising, the percentage of people working beyond age 65 is rising, and the rate of personal bankruptcy is quadruple what is was in 1960. This is all with government run programs trying to help the poor, regulate the banks, and save the economy. Is it any wonder I don’t buy into government help?
One of my friends on myspace is a very serious Liberty supporter. He recently forwarded me an email that he sent to Congressman Childers (who voted for the recent stimulus). I thought I would share what he wrote.
Congressman Childers, I have read your statements on why you voted on the stimulus package. I’d like to point out that you and many of your colleagues are ignoring the fact that using inflation as a means to prop up government spending is not only irresponsible, it’s also highly unethical. You are forcing people to accept the burden of your actions by further deliberate devaluation of their money. If you are concerned with the well-being of our state, why saddle us with the detrimental effects of inflationary monetary policy? The new administration is repeating the mistakes of Hoover and Roosevelt, and seeking government intervention as a means to alleviate our economic woes. Keep in mind that the crash of 1919 was handled much differently (no government intervention) and the economy was back on track in no time. It was this sort of intervention that prolonged the Great Depression. We are being led into the fire by Keynesian economists, who are just as wrong today, as they were in that time. The economists who truly understand this crisis come from the Austrian school of economic thought (Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, F.A. Hayek). President Obama is not an economist. He gets bad advice from Keynesians and he is repeating the mistakes of the Great Depression. If you care about the well being of Mississippians, please take a few moments to look into the Austrian theory of the business cycle and the wisdom of these economists, before it’s too late. If you discover truth in those writings, you can contact one of your colleagues in the House if you want to learn more– Dr. Ron Paul of Texas.
These are troubling times for our country. This recession, touted as the biggest since the great depression, has everybody running scared. Obama loves ratcheting up fear about it when he addresses our nation. Of course, he is just following the Big Brother game plan. In order to subdue the masses into accepting your seemingly tyrannical proposals, you must frighten them into submission. And even though the republican president who just left office also passed a huge TARP bill costing our nation over $1 trillion and was a huge predictable failure, republicans are now acting as if they care about too much spending.
Our government added around $1.5 trillion dollars to its total debt in 2008, bringing the new total to right at $10.7 trillion. That number, of course, does not take into effect future obligations. All in all, our government owes $65.5 trillion now and in the future. Do you think the current politicians are going to be blamed for bankrupting our country when the full debt starts coming due? Obama will be a distant memory in 2030 or 2050, which are estimated to be the times when we finally wreak the fruits of our massive government spending. But how can our government currently owe $10.7 trillion when based on the M1, only around $1.4 to $1.5 trillion in actual cash and coin exists? The main reason is our money is created out of nothing.
In a recent speech, defending his Stimulus package; Barack Obama made a few disparaging remarks, directed at his Republican opposition. In typical fashion, President Obama did not let the facts interfere with his rhetoric. He informed his audience that “they should be familiar with the concerns brought about about his package, for they had been hearing them for the past ten years, or longer.” I have provided a video clip of this speech, and below it a link to a great article that sheds a more accurate light on non-interventionist economic policy, something this nation [Republicans and Democrats alike] is far from familiar with. The average voting American might believe our new President’s lies, but the facts, certainly in this case completely discredit Barack Obama’s empty rationale.
President Obama would have you believe that the current crisis is the result of under-regulation. Of course, that is impossible because our economy is already heavily regulated. Extending his fallacy, President Obama would have you believe that the Republicans can take the blame for the “damage done,” supposedly by the free-market. As much as the Republican party might like to make this claim of itself, this is not so either. President Bush did not inheret a free-market economy, nor did he contribute to one:
Of course, by now the Stimulus is for all intents and purposes a done deal, or a mistake made, rather. That does not mean that we cannot learn from it. The damage is well on its way to being done, but Americans do not have to sit by and watch their condition be worsened by irresponsible legislation. We are being fed empty arguments for legislation that does not benefit our country; in fact one might make the argument that our condition will worsen because of this foolishness.
As Americans we have to remember that we are not powerless. This is still technically our country. If you know controversial legislation is in consideration by the government, contact your representatives. Inform your friends and neighbors and encourage them to do the same. The liberty loving members of our nation suffered a significant loss with the passing of the stimulus, for the size of our government grows more and more as their hands reach deeper into our financial and economic affairs. Now is certainly not the time for complacency. Now is the time to build an informed voter base that is willing to fight for a truly prosperous country, not a country whose prosperity is a product of a deferral of disaster, if the Stimulus can even achieve that. Perhaps, President Obama should take a lesson from the pages of Russian history and not exercise “excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence” (Vladmir Putin).
Last Monday, members of the Ole Miss chapter of CAN (Campus Antiwar Network), UM Constitutionalists, and Young Americans for Liberty were the few to speak out against the war criminal Colin Powell during his well paid visit to the campus.
The protest was a great success. With only a few dissenting voices, CAN was able to make the front page of the campus newspaper. They not only were able to make the paper, they actually were part of the story describing Colin Powell’s speech. Thanks to student activists, members of the community for once were allowed to witness dissent to the corruption that is so shamelessly ignored by the media in our country. I want to congratulate everybody who took part in the protest. This was a great step in waking up the campus.
The world is too astonishing for me sometimes. I usually end up with my hands being thrown in the air screaming, “They did WHAT!!” The most recent news with the ability to elicit such a response from me is that Colin Powell was picked to speak on our campus about, “A World of Opportunity and Challenge” as part of Black History Month. He has also been touted as being, “an extraordinary human being who has reached the top ranks of military, diplomatic and political circles,” by the Honors College dean. It’s a nice attempt to characterize the extremely expensive guest speaker as better than he actually is, but don’t be fooled.
In order to grasp the horrid picture I have of Colin Powell, I must first describe the events in which he played a major role. According to Richard Cummings and his article Lockheed Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, a meeting occurred in November of 2002 between Stephen J. Hadley, then deputy national security advisor, and Bruce Jackson where they discussed how to get American citizens complacent with a needless war that they were about to start. Hadley reportedly told Jackson, “they are going to war and are struggling with a rationale,” to justify it. So Jackson’s job was to do just that, create a reason to have innocent American soldiers and Iraqis murdered.
“‘War on Terror’ Counterproductive, Wasteful” —Former CIA Officer, British Parliament, Pentagon Research Institute
In “How Terrorist Groups End,” a new study by the RAND Corporation (the research branch of the Pentagon), researchers expose groundbreaking discoveries regarding counter-terrorism. More than 600 terrorist movements of the past four decades are investigated, correlated, and extrapolated across every variable dreamable to reveal every dreamable statistic in the dreamscape of expert statisticians. The topic: “…the most frequently occurring causes for terrorist group dissolution.” Conclusion: by gaining “acceptance within the domestic political process.”
Contrary to what the White House, Department of Defense, and Congress had all led us to believe, terrorism cannot be conglomerated and fought as if it were a united force, defeatable only by massive military operations. “Exogenous force” is historically much less effective than other solutions, the report finds. In fact, military force had only been successful in dissolving seven percent of the terrorist groups studied! The scholars spell it out clearly: ”There is no battlefield solution to terrorism“!
“Am I missing something here?” I thought, when I first read the report. “This is coming from the Pentagon? This is HUGE news! Did I really beat Drudge to the scene?” Six days later and he still hasn’t heard the news…
Although most of the “mainstream” media’s audience probably cares little about the endless journals of the “ivory tower” press, America ought to hear about this one. Its implications should renovate our foreign policy in the Middle East immediately. The Pentagon’s research institute is telling us that major military cutbacks would actually increase our effectiveness in the region! Where is the media?
Where are the ships of our beloved countrymen sailing? Returning home, at last?
Unfortunately, it seems they’ll be anchored at bay for several more years. Our brothers sail in Humvees, across the desert and into the poppy fields.
The report advises a totally different approach to “fight” terrorism, broadly described in the introduction:
“The evidence since 1968 indicates that terrorist groups rarely cease to exist as a result of winning or losing a military campaign. Rather, most groups end because of operations carried out by local police or intelligence agencies or because they join the political process. This suggests that the United States should pursue a counterterrorism strategy against al Qa’ida that emphasizes policing and intelligence gathering rather than a “war on terrorism” approach that relies heavily on military force.”
Additionally, the authors declare that “[t]errorists should be perceived and described as criminals, not holy warriors,” and points to allies such as the UK, France, and Australia—all of which have shunned the phrase “war on terror.”
The International Development Secretary of Great Britain, Hilary Benn, has long urged a change of emphasis in the campaign against terrorism. In 2007, Benn argued that counterterrorism efforts essentially consisted of “the vast majority of the people in the world” against “a small number of loose, shifting and disparate groups who have relatively little in common.”
“What these groups want is to force their individual and narrow values on others, without dialogue, without debate, through violence. And by letting them feel part of something bigger, we give them strength… The fight for the kind of world that most people want can, in the end, only be won in a different battle – a battle of values and ideas.” Read the rest of this entry »