Announcing the Dispatch, Our Email Newsletter

An email newsletter has long been something I’ve wanted to add to We Are Libertarians. Time has prevented us from starting one, and it will be our foe in the future. We will email one a day as time allows, but there may be some days where we just don’t have the chance to put it together. Sign up here.

Our goal is to arm you with information. Greg Lenz, our contributors and I spend hours a week reading and studying for each episode. The Dispatch is the byproduct of that work. If you see articles, videos or podcasts, please send by email to editor@wearelibertarians.com.

My Top 10 Libertarian Podcasts

I am often asked what are my favorite libertarian podcasts. Everyone has different tastes, so here are the ones I personally enjoy the most. We have a full list of libertarian websites and political sites here. Maybe I missed some on the list? Let me know. Spangle@wearelibertarians.com

  1. We Are Libertarians  – We Are Libertarians brings all of the irreverence modern politics deserves. Chris Spangle and other co-hosts blend humor and intelligence to explain to you what the hell is happening in our world today and how we can fix it by thinking differently by blending comedy and the libertarian philosophy to explain current events.
  2. Lions of Liberty – These guys have a similar feel to WAL. Enjoy a beer and catch up with friends. They have a ton of great interviews as well.
  3. Johnny Rocket Launch Pad – This is so well produced and entertaining. You are going to LOVE this podcast the first time you hear it.
  4. LAVA Flow with Rodger Paxton. Probably the only “radical” podcast on my list, I appreciate Rodger’s point of view. I always learn something new, and the show is well researched.
  5. The Joe Rogan Experience – Not always libertarian, but most of his interviews are mind expanding.
  6. The Fifth Column – Matt Welch of Reason, Kmele Foster and Michael Moynihan shared a fact-based and reasoned view of the week’s news. You will learn something every week.
  7. The Tom Woods Show – This has to be in any libertarian’s top 5, right? One of my favorite libertarians present wide range of interviews on history, economics, and society.
  8. Leading Liberty with Jenn Gray – A practical approach to communicating liberty.
  9. Cato Daily Podcast – Issues of the day from the top thinkers at the Cato Institute. They also have an audio feed of their events.
  10. Dan Carlin’s Common Sense – Carlin’s Common Sense and Hardcore History podcasts are works of art. There is always a point of view proposed that won’t be heard anywhere else. It is not dogmatic libertarianism, but it is thought provoking.

Honorable mention:

Libertarian Podcast Networks:

Libertarian Podcasts

Other Political Podcasts to Check out:

  • The Axe Files with David Axelrod
  • Candidate Confessional
  • CNN Debates
  • Democracy Now!
  • The Dick Morris Podcast
  • The Ezra Klein Show
  • Face the Nation Radio
  • Fareed Zakaria GPS
  • FiveThirtyEight Elections
  • Fox News Sunday
  • Freakonomics Radio
  • Fresh Air
  • Frontline Audiocast
  • Fw:Thinking
  • It’s All Journalism
  • List of top Conservative Podcasts
  • Longform
  • Louder with Crowder
  • Masters in Politics
  • Matt Lewis and the News
  • Off Message
  • Political Wire Conversations
  • Politico’s Nerdcast
  • The Pollsters
  • Presidential
  • The RSA
  • State of the Union with Jake Tapper
  • TED Radio Hour
  • The Tim Ferris Show
  • This Week in Tech

Should You Vote Today (Primary Day)?

And now for the post no one asked for: how Primary Day election law works. Primary Day is a selection and not an election. So should one vote tomorrow?

When a voter walks into the polls on Primary Day they are asked to to select a Republican, Democrat, or nonpartisan ballot. A nonpartisan ballot lets a person vote on referendum, school board, or other measures. A party ballot contains those PLUS inter-party races for public office.

Indiana has a closed primary. Republicans and Democrats are private organizations like all political entities. These private organizations select their candidates and not the public. Essentially, Primary Day is a selection and not an election. These private organizations ask taxpayers to fund their closed party business. The option of a primary is achieved by reaching 10% in the Secretary of State race. Automatic ballot access for all of the party’s candidates can be achieved with 2% in that same race.

In 2014, Libertarian Karl Tatgenhorst received 3.4% of the vote. This entitles the Libertarian Party of Indiana to four years of automatic ballot access, but not primary elections. Their candidates are selected at a closed convention for their membership. It is funded by convention attendees. A Hoosier voter will not find a Libertarian option on Primary Day. No other political party in Indiana has achieved ballot access or primary access.

Libertarians define their candidate selectors through convention delegates. Republicans and Democrats do it through election code. So when selecting a ballot tomorrow, a voter should pull a party ballot if:

A voter may vote at a primary election:
(1) if the voter, at the last general election, voted for a majority of the regular nominees of the political party holding the primary election; or
(2) if the voter did not vote at the last general election, but intends to vote at the next general election for a majority of the regular nominees of the political party holding the primary election;
as long as the voter was registered as a voter at the last general election or has registered since then.
http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/incode/3/10/1/3-10-1-6#sthash.WirvBzvl.dpuf

One could make the argument that knowingly pulling another party’s ballot falsely, as in Operation Chaos, could be considered a criminal act. Can it be a crime if no one is ever arrested or prosecuted for it?

There can be ramifications. Many “Operation Chaos” voters tried to run for leadership or precinct committeeman spots in 2012 and were ineligible because the law and parties considered them Democrats besides having a long record of voting as a Republican. Why?

Hoosiers don’t have party registration in Indiana. They register to vote, but not for a party. In the eyes of a political party and their candidates, one is a registered Republican or Democrat if they pull their ballot. Who they vote for is private, but what ballot is pulled on Primary Day is not. If a person votes in a party primary they should expect to receive party mailers! This information can be used against a candidate for inter-party or public office as a sign of lackluster party loyalty.

The Republicans and Democrats have crafted a huge data advantage using taxpayer funds to help keep their control of the political process. Combined with gerrymandering and straight-ticket voting, Indiana remains a two-party state with this ability to identify supporters.

Political data companies and campaigns take this data and resell it. Campaigns, special interest groups, and parties look at hard, soft, or independent voters when canvassing. If a person pulls a Republican ballot in every primary faithfully, they are considered a “hard R.” If a person pulls an R ballot occasionally, then they are a soft R. A person can switch parties.

As a former Libertarian Party of Indiana official, I haven’t selected a party ballot since 2008. I pulled an R ballot that year to vote for Ron Paul. I had voted in all three primaries and was considered a “hard R.” Since then, I’ve skipped Primary Day. I went once in the last 8 years to vote against a ballot measure and pulled a nonpartisan ballot.

 

Should a person vote in their primary? It depends on their principles, partisan beliefs, and  passion for or against a candidate. Or don’t vote. There is nothing wrong with skipping a primary.

A Different Libertarian Experience at A Trump Rally

(Be sure to check out Greg Lenz’s impressions here.)

As anyone listening to the podcast knows, I’ve been very critical of Donald J. Trump. I find him boisterous to the point of banality. He’s a master marketer with no real product to sell.

But I’m a fair-minded person. In 2007 and 2008, I saw many of the POTUS candidates when Indiana mattered as it does once again. My impressions about candidates, their supporters, and the state of the race were often shaped or changed by seeing their rallies. When you visit a rally as a member of the media, you see a different side of the campaigns.

First and foremost, you’re in direct contact with staffers of the campaign. I was once told that if you walk into a restaurant and see a disorganized or dirty server, then there is a problem. It is the same with a media staff. Trump’s team was moderately organized. Assigning passes seemed liberal if we got a set. It was an easy process, as was check in. There were staffers around, I think. Normally they are a little more visible in case of questions, especially when it is a campaign’s first stop in a place.

The Crowd

A Trump fan waves off the media in disgust.

A Trump fan waves off the media in disgust.

The demographics of the room surprised me. My previous notion of a Trump supporter was a low-education, poor, Baby Boomer with dirty clothes and a southern accent. While a few folks fit that description, it was mostly Generation X and Millennial, 60% white-collar, 70% male to 30% female, and 98% white.

They were far less nazilike and blood-thirsty than advertised. The crowd was a very happy, gentle, and calm crowd. They had the demeanor of a comedy club crowd than a Nazi rally. But this is Indiana. None of this should surprise a native Hoosier. For what it is worth, the reporters in the pit said this crowd was far more docile than other locations. While kicking a protester out, Trump remarked that it was a very polite crowd. “You say get out, and they get out.”

The crowd did have it out for the media. It wasn’t hostile. It was more humorous jabbing from the crowd and candidate.

The Candidate

Honestly, I was bored. I was expecting a far more exciting experience from the political P.T. Barnum. The speech was long, stream of consciousness, lacking in anything I’ve not heard before. Michael Savage once described his own style of radio as the quirky Uncle.  You are very excited to see him, but after ten minutes, you’re ready for him to go. Trump was that way. He basically said a lot of things, and I don’t remember them.

IMG_4455

Black Lives Matter protesters speak to the media.

The Protesters

A small contingent of “Black Lives Matter” protestors were here. A few were removed. The reason I don’t remember what Trump said is because the crowd and the media were paying attention to those distractions. Trump talks over a small hum of distracting activity as his security and local police remove protesters.

This is the warning played before every speech:

The security is trigger happy. I watched the two polite girls the entire rally to see how the crowd interacted with them. They were well received. Until Trump security noticed their shirt. Their crime was wearing a T-Shirt. The group around them stood up to Trump security and said they weren’t doing anything. The protesters and their defenders were all removed for not obeying. The guy with the Tom Brady sign was far more disruptive.

To sum it up, I am glad I went. It wasn’t serious. It was not a Klan rally or Nuremberg 1934. It was pageantry. While I may have the same view of the candidate as before, I was glad to have my view changed of the average Trump supporter.

It still will not stop me from pretending to be Larry:

Arthur Brooks – A conservative’s plea: Let’s work together

Description of this TedTalk: “As president of the American Enterprise Institute, Arthur Brooks is changing the way conservatives think about poverty and opportunity. Conservatives and liberals both believe that they alone are motivated by love while their opponents are motivated by hate. How can we solve problems with so much polarization? In this talk, social scientist Arthur Brooks shares ideas for what we can each do as individuals to break the gridlock. “We might just be able to take the ghastly holy war of ideology that we’re suffering under and turn it into a competition of ideas,” he says.”

Mitt Romney’s Speech on Donald Trump

Mitt Romney has become the most vocal critic of Donald Trump. The 2012 Republican Presidential candidate spoke about Trump’s record. And then was challenged on Meet the Press. Watch both:

The Speech

Meet the Press

Must Watch: John Oliver on Donald Trump

A very boring and low rated show takes on the back mole of America. “We cannot keep getting blinded by the magic of his name. We need to see him through fresh eyes. Don’t vote for him because “he tells it like it is.” He is a bullshit artist. Don’t vote for him because he is tough. He is a baby with even smaller fingers. Don’t vote for him because he is a builder. He is more of a shitty lifestyle brand.”

I work around standup comedians and I have never seen anyone more insecure than Donald Trump. He nails the hollowness of Trump’s company and vocalizes what I haven’t been able to effectively say. The guy sounds tough, but he is OBSESSED with people that hurt his ego. He is an emotional midget with zero self-awareness. He was obsessed with his loss in Iowa. He just could not handle it. It is 20 years later, and he is writing some journalist that said he had stubby fingers. He is literally a phony, mentally ill man.

Ron Paul’s Reading List from The Revolution: A Manifesto

ron-pauls-reading-listIn the back of Dr. Ron Paul’s book The Revolution: A Manifesto, there is a Ron Paul’s reading list. Dr. Paul originally posted this at LewRockwell.com.

In The Revolution: A Manifesto, Dr. Paul recommends this freedom reading list.

Dr. Ron Paul is a former Republican member of Congress from Texas and Presidential candidate.

Copyright © 2008 Ron Paul

How Do We End These Tragedies?

In this age of oversaturated words, they lose their meaning. Days like this make us FEEL “disturbing” and “outrage.” We spend way too much time on fake bulls*** that we call offensive. Violence is offensive, and seeing these videos of the WDBJ shooting shake my soul. This happens everyday, but now I see it first hand.

Societal change begins with personal change. If we want less violence in our world, we have to change the only person we can control: us. We have to approach others with less violence and less anger. It can’t be our first impulse (despite what our culture teaches us). It would be easiest to pass a law and hope that it changes the hearts of all, but that has clearly failed us.

I can only be a good example for those around me by treating others with respect, forgiveness, and love (actively seeking the welfare of another). Maybe if we all do this as often as possible, we will have less instances of trying to understand why a 24 and 27-year-old are dead. Or why a loved one is abused. Or why a relationship has fallen apart.

We are not guaranteed more time than this present moment, so there is no time to wait. The first step is to start with a phone call, visit, or text to the ones we love. Maybe even the ones we hate. 

Archive: Pence Bio

This full bio was deleted for some reason:

Congressman Mike Pence

Mike Pence was born in Columbus, Indiana, graduated from Hanover College in 1981 and earned his J.D. from Indiana University School of Law in 1986.

Following graduation from law school, Pence ran for Congress in 1988 and 1990. In 1991, he was named president of a conservative state think tank based in Fort Wayne, Indiana known as the Indiana Policy Review Foundation.

Pence began his career in radio broadcasting in 1992 and two years later, Network Indiana syndicated his show throughout the state of Indiana. “The Mike Pence Show” aired Monday through Friday on 18 stations. He also hosted a Sunday morning political television show in Indianapolis from 1995-1999.
Pence was first elected to Congress in 2000 and was most recently elected to a fifth term in November of 2008. He also was elected unanimously by House Republicans to serve as House Republican Conference Chairman in November 2008. In his role as Conference Chairman, he helps to develop and disseminate the message of the Republican Conference and to promote its Members.

Congressman Pence describes himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.”
Congressman Pence and his wife Karen have three children and reside in Columbus, Indiana. The Pence family lives in Arlington, Virginia, while Congress is in session.

Committees
As part of his duties in Congress, Congressman Pence has served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee since 2003. He has previously served on the Judiciary, Agriculture and Small Business committees, and as Ranking Member on the Select Committee to Investigate the Voting Irregularities of August 2, 2007.

Congressman Pence continues to seek to uphold the interests of Indiana and all Americans in his service on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He has traveled to visit troops serving in Iraq every year we’ve been at war, from 2003 – 2008. He has also led official government delegations to Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey, and Pakistan, and has visited with government leaders and military personnel in over a dozen countries. Congressman Pence is a voice for American security and sovereignty on the Foreign Affairs Committee, advocating for strong alliances with our allies, and firm resolve against our adversaries. He has condemned the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea, the human rights abuses of Venezuela and China, and unwarranted aggression against our ally Israel. A strong supporter of Israel, Congressman Pence has visited Israel in 2004 and 2008, and has authored amendments to protect Israel’s right to build a security fence in disputed territories as well as to cut off American funding of organizations supporting Palestinian terrorist organizations.

As Co-Chair of the Congressional Task Force Against Anti-Semitism, he works to condemn all forms of anti-Semitism around the world. He served as Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia during the 110th Congress.

Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congressman Pence was appointed to the Judiciary Committee. In his time on the Judiciary Committee, Pence participated in drafting the Patriot Act and legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security. During the 109th Congress, Pence developed a comprehensive immigration solution involving a no-amnesty guest worker proposal.

As a member of the Agriculture Committee, Congressman Pence participated in drafting the 2002 Farm Bill. He worked closely with Senator Richard Lugar to advance the vision of Freedom to Farm.

Legislation
During the 108th Congress (2003-2004), Congressman Pence authored the Farming Flexibility Act (or “Farm Flex”), which would give American farmers freedom to diversify their crops without fear of excessive penalties. He also authored the Truth in Domain Names Act, which President Bush signed into law as part of historic child protection legislation. The law punishes those who use misleading domain names to attract children to sexually explicit Internet sites and it has already been employed by federal prosecutors to make the Internet a safer place for children.

In the 109th Congress (2005-2006), Congressman Pence led efforts to pass additional child protection legislation, as well as two bipartisan measures to advance the principles of freedom of the press and American politics. He authored the Child Pornography Prevention Act, which was incorporated into the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act and signed into law by President Bush in 2006. This legislation strengthened current law to further protect our children from exploitation and predation. Congressman Pence also authored federal media shield legislation called the Free Flow of Information Act, which would establish statutory protections for reporters under federal law. In addition, Pence authored the 527 Fairness Act to strengthen political parties and free speech rights by bringing changes to campaign finance law.

During the 110th Congress (2007-2008), Congressman Pence introduced the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act. This bill would prohibit any federal funds from being awarded to family planning organizations that provide abortions. He also authored the Broadcaster Freedom Act, which would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from reinstating the so-called Fairness Doctrine. The Fairness Doctrine infringed on broadcasters’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and religious expression, but some in Congress have proposed bringing it back. The Broadcaster Freedom Act will prevent this archaic regulation from threatening true freedom and fairness on our broadcast airwaves. In addition, Pence praised the Agriculture Committee for including a pilot program of his Farming Flexibility Act (Farm Flex) in the 2008 Farm Bill. Farm Flex allows fruit and vegetable production for processing on unsubsidized program acres without jeopardizing the farm’s base acreage (acres eligible for enrollment in future government farm programs).

In the 111th Congress (2009-2010), Congressman Pence continues to drive a number of legislative initiatives including the Broadcaster Freedom Act, Free Flow of Information Act, Farming Flexibility Act and Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act. He has also introduced the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, legislation that seeks to highlight and promote freedom of the press worldwide.

Conservative Leader
During the 109th Congress, Congressman Pence served as Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee. The Republican Study Committee is the largest caucus in the House of Representatives; membership grew to 110 House Republicans under his leadership, and has been the leading voice for advancing conservative social and economic issues in Congress since the mid-1980s.

Congressman Pence has emerged as a national spokesman for conservative principles. In March of 2005, The Washington Post described Pence as “A New Face on Conservatism” observing, “he delivered conservative opinions with the even tones and polite demeanor of his Midwest upbringing.” In November 2005, Business Week described Pence as a “new power broker” and syndicated columnist George Will singled out Pence and Governor Mitch Daniels’ brand of conservatism as the “wave of the future.” Peggy Noonan has complimented Pence on his ability to maintain an upbeat attitude even in a partisan environment, quoting him as saying “I’m a conservative, but I’m not in a bad mood about it.” An April 2006 profile in U.S. News and World Report said Pence “has emerged as a powerful force, moving Congress further to the right.”

Pence’s role as a conservative leader has been profiled in The Chicago Tribune, Business Week, the Weekly Standard, U.S. News and World Report and The New York Times. He appears regularly on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. Pence also appears weekly on Indiana’s most prominent talk radio stations.

Awards
Congressman Pence has received many national and local awards during his time in Congress.
In November of 2007, Congressman Pence was named one of the top 20 most influential conservatives in America, coming in at nineteen according to the London Daily Telegraph.
On Martin Luther King Day in January 2007, he was honored with the Duerson Award during a ceremony in Muncie. The award is named for former Chicago Bear and Muncie native Dave Duerson’s parents and is given for extraordinary commitment to the community.

The ACU honored Congressman Pence in 2006 with the Courage Under Fire Award, which recognizes those who have stood for principle when doing so puts them at risk physically, politically or economically. Past recipients include Charlton Heston, Wayne LaPierre, and Ambassador John Bolton.
In 2005, Congressman Pence was named “Man of the Year” by the leading conservative publication Human Events for his leadership on behalf of fiscal discipline. Previous honorees include President Ronald Reagan and the late Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia.

He was also awarded the Friend of the Family Award by the Indiana Family Institute, and the Distinguished Christian Statesmanship Award by the Center for Christian Statesmanship. In addition, he was recognized by the Inland Press Association for his work in advocating for the Freedom of Information Act, or federal media shield law.

Congressman Pence has repeatedly received the “True Blue Award” from the Family Research Council for his commitment to the family and sanctity of human life and the “Tax Payers’ Friend” award from the National Taxpayers’ Union for his commitment to advocating for responsible tax and spending policies.

All Politics is Local, but It Doesn’t Need to be Personal

(Originally Published by Howey Politics Indiana)

As a young Executive Director for the Libertarian Party of Indiana, I didn’t have an overwhelming amount of experience in grassroots politics. I had left a job as the producer of the Abdul in the Morning show on WXNT in 2008. My communication skills were the basis of my hiring at the LPIN, and knew that I had a deficit in the organizing aspect of politics. I visited every single bookstore in the Central Indiana area looking for books on grassroots politics.

The most impactful book was Tip O’Neil’s All Politics is Local, and Other Rules of the Game. The book is a collection of memories, advice, and illustrations from one of the 20th Century’s most skilled politicians.

The young Bostonian was in the last day of his first campaign for Congress when his former teacher, Elizabeth O’Brien, walked up and said, “Tom, I’m going to vote for you tomorrow even though you didn’t ask me.”

He was astonished. She was his neighbor, former teacher, and he spent years doing chores for her! He replied that he didn’t think he needed to. She countered with, “Tom, let me tell you something: People like to be asked.”

With one simple story, my view of politics changed from a series of news stories, polling data, impersonal formulaic strategies for victory, and issue-oriented politics in to a personal exercise. Politics is the people business. All of our strategies at the LPIN moving forward had to begin with the individual voter in mind, and we had to leave a good impression. In the absence of the money that enabled us to buy votes, our personal connections became paramount.

This strategy was fully realized by Rupert Boneham, the most personable candidate, and person, I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. After his campaign for Governor of Indiana began, he made made hundreds of campaign stops and met thousands of Hoosiers. Most had never heard of the Libertarian Party, but every single person that stood in line to meet him left with the basics of our principles and our party. Yes, I said lines. The average wait was 20 minutes to meet our candidate at a campaign stop. Few grassroots politicians ever see a line that long, and fewer leave the positive impression that Rupert left.

Rupert left that impression on his opponents as well. Every encounter with Mike Pence or John Gregg was warm and positive. It became clear to Pence and Gregg camps at the debates that Rupert was a sincere person with a genuine message. A true rapport developed between our team and each individual camp.

Our opponents respected us. And we respected them. And the friendly nature of our camp towards the sitting Governor would probably mean that Pence would answer Rupert’s call should he have an idea on policy. Rupert’s best work, Rupert’s Kids, is providing vocational education to an underserved population of our society: youth exiting the criminal justice system. Encouraging a return to vocational education was Rupert’s first platform plank. Several months later, it was adopted by the Pence campaign. True to his promise, the Governor has made it a priority in his administration.

Had we treated our political opponents with hostility, I believe our message would have had less influence on policy outcomes. Libertarians run to win, AND to have our ideas stolen.

I am sure that somewhere a Libertarian partisan is cursing me for exposing the horrifying fact that Rupert liked his opponents. Or that Andy Horning had the same relationship with Mourdock or Donnelly. And I say to my fellow party member: get over it.

Rupert, Gregg, and Pence had different ideas about how the state ought to function. Those ideas have serious consequences for our state. We lose the ability to discuss those ideas when we choose to treat politics as if it is another category on TMZ. It leads to bad government.

Politics is exciting when one has a hot piece of gossip to share. Somedays, the, “Where can this information be shared to effectively help my team” game was the bulk of my day. Gossip is natural. It is the people business after all.

This gossip game is the root cause of our broken political discourse. The gossip game breaks down civility. Fear of misrepresentation stops honest people from openly discussing their true opinions.

So I am going to try and do less of it. I am going to make the personal choice to only discuss the names of other politicos when I hear an idea that I can affirm or debate. If I disagree with it, I will make it about the idea and not the messenger.

If enough of those in the political industry choose to do the same, the political class can regain the trust and respect of their fellow citizens. Personally, I am going to do my best to emulate Rupert’s style, and to make the people business less personal.

A Million Little Pieces… Of Government

(Originally Published by Howey Politics Indiana)

Over the last week, terrible and awesome events have grabbed our headlines.

The first was a horrifying accident by Indycar Champ Dario Franchitti. In a hasty, split-second decision, Franchitti made a pass in the Houston Grand Prix, and the move launched his car in to the catch fence, and sprayed the crowd with debris. Fortunately, the spectators and the three-time Indy 500 champ will miraculously survive the crash. Dario’s crash looked brutal because of the thousands of pieces flying away from the driver; carrying with them the force meant for his body.

Franchitti’s accident led me to wondering if our government isn’t headed for a serious crash itself. Our hulking leviathan has continuously grown centralized, and decision-making has become as flexible as Ray Harroun’s Marmon Wasp. The government is still shut down, and we are hurdling towards default with dysfunction at the top. Physics certainly is not the cause, but we have violated the principles as sound as gravity itself.

The larger man-made institutions grow, the less functional they become. The less functional a government becomes, the more harmful it is to those inside. It is my fear that our government has grown so large that it is no longer able to function.

One of the paver stones in our long road to national dysfunction is our collective shift from a nation that sees itself as a collection of states versus a nationalist perspective. It is hard to pinpoint when we stopped seeing our nation as a compact of 50 labs of democracy, and began seeing ourselves as a single nation. When did the United States just become America?

A strong central power was not something designed by our Founders. The states created the federal government, and limited it with a constitution. In it, they outlined 17 specific functions the federal government may exercise. These powers include regulating commerce with foreign nations, coining money, and running a post office. And then in the 9th and 10th amendment, they declared that anything not enumerated in that document is left to each state to decide.

Over time, the nationalist perspective rose, and achieved dominance with Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln is often put at the top of the Presidential rankings. He is regarded as a hero, emancipator, a man of wisdom, and the man who kept the Union together.

It is that last reason that I find him a complicated hero. In an effort to keep the Union together, he greatly grew the power of the Federal government. He suspended Habues Corpus, he issued executive orders that imprisoned journalists and newspaper editors, closed over 300 newspapers, and allocated military spending without the consent of the Congress. These are serious breaches of civil liberties and human rights.

I consistently struggle with the historical question: Every nation ended slavery in that century peacefully. Why were we the ones that fought a civil war where 850,000 Americans died? The idea of succession was meant to give civilized people a peaceful exit from a political institution that no longer represented them.

Jefferson’s idea of the founding was that our Constitution were merely a temporary convenience, and should it no longer be necessary, those binds could be dissolved for something more advantageous. Why not several confederations inhabiting America? That is a far cry from Lincoln’s view that the Union should be preserved by even the worst means necessary.

So why does any of this matter today? Those currently arguing for a stronger central government need Lincoln as a pretext for their own plans. If we need to read emails in a time of war, it is to protect our nation. Even Lincoln did it. We need to detain prisoners of war indefinitely, and it is ok, because even our hero Lincoln did it. The idea is even reinforced each day across the nation as the pledge is said: “one Nation under God, indivisible.”

I am not arguing for succession. In this day and age, no serious political thinker should. I am arguing that State and City governments ought to start thinking independently. Protect us from our dysfunctional federal government.

What can they do to survive without federal grants? What can local politicians do to empower their communities? And voters ought to choose politicians that put their local interests first.

Government power should rest as close to the individual voter as possible. Apathy sets in as individuals have lost their ability to directly influence those making decisions for them.

The modern political class needs to find ways to return power to the local level. If we apply the principles of IndyCar racing to our political history and present, we are all a little safer if things break into thousands of pieces as opposed to one hulking mass.

5 Reasons why the Ted Cruz Filibuster Actually has a Point

Most commentators today are missing the point of the Cruz “filibuster.” Many are acting horrified that a politician would be doing something political. He knows, and has admitted, that Obamacare will not be defunded. He knows he has to stop by the procedural vote. But this is a smart move for Cruz’s supposed political aspirations, and here is why:

  1. The small government base is tired of being told one thing in election season, and the opposite happens when that politician in DC. He is signaling to the base that he is willing to take the ridicule for their ideas. The conversation is as about Ted Cruz today. Sure, the mainstream media has a negative view of this action, but when did many on the right start caring what beltway pundits think?
  2. The conversation today is about Obamacare, and it is negative. The best way to defund Obamacare is to keep people from enrolling in the exchanges. So he is creating a narrative of negative vibes days before enrollment begins. For every news story of exchange hiccups, there will be a “Ted Cruz told you so…” Bill Clinton and Obama had a long discussion on the Obamacare yesterday. Surely this would have been in the news cycle had it not been for Cruz.
  3. It could work. As we saw with Rand Paul’s drone filibuster, more politicians and pundits moved to his point of view after the initial-knee-jerk “this is stupid” reaction. Most politicians are spinless weasels (a technical term in political science). If momentum is shifting to a point of view, politicians start lining up to support it. We live in an age where the unexpected is common, so why not?
  4. The defunding movement was Mike Lee’s baby, but along the way, he let Ted Cruz steal the leadership spotlight on the issue. This gives him the leg up on Lee and Paul as the “backbone” of the Conservative movement serving within government.
  5. Last week, many House Republicans felt that Cruz had left them out to dry by signaling that Senate Republicans were pulling away from the defunding movement. This is a make-good with dozens of House Republicans that may be needed in a future Presidential run.

So it is a mix of political maneuvering and honest intentions… Just like everything else in government and politics.

The Evidence is In…

The American family makes less than it did in 1989. (http://wapo.st/1bBiYoe) Over the last 4 years, American families have seen a drop of $3,040 per household. (http://bit.ly/16thrsy) Today we learn that Obamacare will increase health spending by $7,450 for a typical family of four (http://onforb.es/18lbu3z).

At one point in history, the most learned experts on the planet thought the Earth was flat. We laugh at those people now because empirical evidence shows the foolishness of their beliefs. The empirical data is trickling in: The impulse to create wealth through the government does not work.

Well, maybe that isn’t true. A LOT of wealth has been created for those well-connected to our government. Crony capitalists love big government.