9.28.2016 We Are Libertarians Daily News

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Lenz: The Dilemma with Chelsea and Charlotte

How does one define freedom? Or liberty? Or security even?

To all but the least of America’s politically attuned citizens, last Saturday’s Chelsea bombing kicked off a national debate on the role “order” plays in allowing those within a society to go about their daily lives in a “free” manner.

Chelsea seems to have set off a rather calamitous sequence of events for those arguing in favor of liberty during times which appear all the more favorable to security. Whether it be the manhunt in Chelsea, or CNN’s coverage of the riots in Charlotte following Keith Scott’s shooting by an officer of the law, the questions of utmost importance before Americans in an election year are:

“In a civil society, what bare minimum conditions of safety and security have to be met before a free individual can exercise his or her liberties within it? Are there any such conditions?”

“Is safety a prerequisite of liberty?”

The vast majority of middle age, middle income Americans undoubtedly watched the aftermath of Chelsea and the rioters in Charlotte and came away with the question: Is this the country I grew up in?

Upon considering said question, the dutiful urge for government to “do something” was undoubtedly sparked, and therein lies the dilemma for libertarians, upholders of the U.S. Constitution, and any and all who worry about the passions of the masses overwhelming the rule of law and right to due process.

In the face of chaos, how does one offer a solution based on individual liberty?

It was not so long ago that fearful Americans clamored for safety in the face of danger. The lasting imprint of September 11th on the American psyche cannot be underestimated. On September 12 the calls of safety and security culminated in a set of laws (Patriot Act, NDAA, etc..) whose intentions became an unjustifiable attack on individual liberties and privacy. Did those concessions to liberty enhance the safety, and therefore the quality of life for the Americans it effected? That answer is a resounding no.

Republican Presidential nominee, Donald Trump, touts himself as the “Law and Order” candidate. His Democratic counterpart has performed an admirable tightrope act in order to carefully navigate the fine line of not being seen as blaming minorities, while being equally careful to avoid the label of unpatriotic. Perhaps unsurprisingly, neither addressed the issues at hand or dared raise the level of civil discourse. Had they, they would have raised questions like:

Are Americans right to expect a level of order and safety as a constitutionally bound citizen? Yes.

Is such an expectation a prerequisite of individual liberty in a civil society? Right or not, it is the political reality.

How do overcome the draconian calls for action by our leaders? How do we overcome solutions resembling snake oil and offering little in the form of greater “order” and safety”? Luckily, all one must do is point to the endless failures of the surveillance apparatus and militarization of our police force championed by the leadership class.

Domestic terrorism has not, and will not, be defeated with the surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden.

Race relations in urban areas will not be solved through the militarization of the police force via the 1033 program allowing the transfer of military weapons and supplies to police forces throughout the United States. Especially when one considers that as a condition for accepting said weapons and supplies, they must be deployed on an annual basis in order to retain them.

Americans must be continually reminded that sacrificing individual liberties to the government, even in the most scary and chaotic of times, will yield neither the order nor the security they seek. History tells them so. It was the French political philosopher Jean-Jacque Roussea who wrote,

Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. One man thinks himself the master of others, but remains more of a slave than they are.”

Jean-Jacque Rousseau

Jean-Jacque Rousseau

The dilemma of Chelsea and Charlotte for American voters is that fury and the inclination to act will only perpetuate the chaos they seek to extinguish. In falling for “Law and Order” by those who evangelize its merits, Americans fit themselves with chains in pursuit of freedom…

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Lenz: Libertarians Crossing The Chasm

41czNgTCIQLCrossing the Chasm, is a marketing book by Geoffrey A. Moore which focuses on the best way for a technology start up to enter a market and scale the growth curve in order to gain user adoption. In many ways, Moore’s blueprint for start up companies mirrors the path ahead for the growth of libertarianism, as well as the Libertarian Party.

Libertarianism, as a philosophy, is a relatively new entrant into the market of political philosophy. In comparison to the existing dominant players: conservatism, liberalism, and socialism/communism, libertarianism is the young start up looking to take away market share, much like an early 2000s Google versus Yahoo and the other major search engines of the time.

What is the “chasm” Mr. Moore writes about and how does he recommend one cross it? 

Moore argues there is a chasm between the early adopters of a product (the technology enthusiasts and visionaries) and the early majority (the pragmatists).

Moore believes visionaries and pragmatists have very different expectations, and he attempts to explore those differences and suggest techniques to successfully cross the “chasm,” including choosing a target market, positioning the product, building a marketing strategy, choosing the most appropriate distribution channel.

Crossing the Chasm lays out the adoption lifecycle where five main segments are recognized: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards.

According to Moore, the marketer (for our purposes libertarian candidates, public intellectuals, and each of us) should focus on one group of customers at a time, using each group as a base for marketing to the next group.

The most difficult step is making the transition between visionaries (early adopters) and pragmatists (early majority). This is the chasm that he refers to. If a successful firm can create a bandwagon effect in which enough momentum builds, then the product becomes a de facto standard, in our case: libertarianism as the dominant philosophical choice of American voters.

Below is a visual representation of libertarianism’s chasm and the road ahead for those that market it:

screenshot-pixlr.com 2016-08-17 12-28-05

As things stand as of right now, it certainly appears libertarianism is looking directly into the chasm. 2016 has presented the Libertarian Party and its Presidential nominee, Governor Gary Johnson, with an unparalleled growth opportunity. In assessing the political landscape it is readily apparent that the majority of voters are less than excited about casting a vote for the nominees of the two dominant political marketplace shareholders: the Republican and Democratic parties.

In applying Geoffrey Moore’s framework to libertarianism and the Libertarian Party, we need to clearly define the landscape:

  • Understand the marketplace: the political marketplace is well defined and enormous, yet stagnant and complacent due to a lack of new entrants and ideas from competing ideologies and candidate’s with crossover appeal.
  • Target the attack: Which individuals are most susceptible to supporting our candidate? Individuals who, for the most part, adopt a live a let live personal belief system, but are unaware such a personal life philosophy is most compatible with libertarianism and its principles. These individuals are unenthusiastic about voting for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump and are perhaps even apathetic towards voting in this election at all. While they are probably aware of Gary Johnson and vaguely familiar with the tenets of libertarianism, they have, for whatever reason, not yet seriously considered voting Libertarian.

-Our target market is comprised of individuals disillusioned by the major party nominees and single or few issue voters who feel dismissed and unrepresented by a lack of attention to the issue or issues most important to them by the major parties. These individuals represent our “Early Majority” and our effectiveness in marketing to them will determine our success in crossing the chasm.

  • Assemble an invasion force: The Libertarian invasion force is comprised of three parts:

Brand Ambassadors (candidates, media personalities, and party representatives): Gary Johnson, Bill Weld, Nick Gillespie, John Stossel, Andrew Napolitano, and Nicholas Sarwark represent our cause and its message each and every time they appear in the mass media. Their job is to represent the libertarian message in a way best suited for widespread appeal and mass consumption. Brand Ambassadors represent the first step in the conversion funnel. Their job is to attract and audience and spark a curiosity for more information.

-Thought Leaders (individuals who produce content with the intent to spread the message of libertarianism and bolster its credibility to those within the political mainstream): Dr. Tom Woods, Radley Balko, Walter Block, Dr. Mark Thornton, and anyone else with a platform designed to educate and inform those investigating what libertarians believe and what sort of policies a Libertarian official would seek to implement in office. Thought leaders represent the informational wing of the invasion force.

-Early Adopters/Brand Enthusiasts (individuals whose platform is limited to social and personal networks, yet are viewed by such as an informed authority with opinions to be taken seriously): All self-identified libertarians and Libertarian Party members. These individuals are tasked with creating the enthusiastic momentum creating contagion necessary for widespread adoption. Whether it be posting on social media or dinner party conversations, the key asset these individuals possess is influence over those immediately around them. This group is responsible for conversion because conversion requires social approval. Whether of not libertarianism and the Libertarian Party continues to grow after the 2016 election, entirely hinges upon this group’s success in presenting the party and philosophy in a manner that makes the “Early Majority” comfortable in making their decision to join our team.

  • Define the battle: Our battle is in the marketplace for minds. Between now and November a large majority of the voting population are fretting over a decision requiring them to stomach a vote for a candidate they do not truly support, sitting this election out and hoping for the best, or finding and supporting a candidate whose beliefs and policies most closely resemble their own, while being willing to disregard the wasted vote syndrome.
  • Launch the invasion: Our invasion is underway and if Governor Johnson’s polling numbers, the growth of new Libertarian Party members, and the skyrocketing number of searches for: libertarian, Gary Johnson, and what is a libertarian, as well as the number of times those words have appeared within the written and visual press are any indication, our invasion is well underway. Our Brand Ambassadors have certainly held up their end of the bargain.

However, what remains to be seen, is whether or not our Thought Leaders and Brand Enthusiasts will successfully perform their function in ushering the “Early Majority” across the chasm leading to widespread adoption over time. Libertarians have less than one hundred days remaining to seize this once in a lifetime opportunity. An opportunity, which may once and for all, send libertarianism and the Libertarian party across the chasm.

How will we know he have made the leap successfully?

The media will no longer view us as an interesting novelty worthy of townhalls on CNN with the hopes of portraying Libertarian candidates and their party as a reasonable, yet non-threatening alternative on election day.

No, libertarianism, the Libertarian Party, and its candidates will be held over the coals by a Democrat sympathetic mainstream media hell bent on thwarting the rise of a hot new start up with a sexy product: a new solution to a problem currently being poorly solved by the existing dominant players. As the Libertarian movement gains traction and crosses the chasm, our Brand Ambassadors will face hostility rather than curious inquiry. The press, as they always do, will seek to protect the status quo from competition.

In the early 2000s it was Google’s PageRank algorithm and dead simple search engine user interface which provided search results closer to the expectations of users. In the mid 2000s it was a rather plain, but never offline and quickly loading social network where users could easily find their college classmates on TheFacebook.com.

In 2016, it is a political philosophy and party where the voter is not required to accept the treatment of homosexuals as second class citizens in exchange for lower taxes, or accept harmful economic regulations and lower job growth in exchange for upholding a woman’s right to choose. Libertarianism and the Libertarian Party are the voter friendly alternative, whose arrival before the American voter is much anticipated.

Will we “Cross The Chasm”?

Only time will tell. But should we, it will be because each individual within the “Early Adopter” category has accepted their role and carried out the duties necessary for an successful invasion within American political marketplace.

Can libertarians leave behind the skeptical and pessimistic mindset from years of shouting from the bleachers? Are we ready to become the enthusiastic torchbearers with a contagious optimism and sense of inevitability necessary to leap across this chasm and into the political mainstream? I believe so and I cannot wait to see you all on the other side…

 

8.12.2016 We Are Libertarians Daily News

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Lenz: Interesting Times Indeed

The time was 1936 and Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen had just been named the British Ambassador to China. As his memoirs have it, just prior to his departure from England to China to fulfill his role as the majesty’s representative, a friend told him of a Chinese curse,

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One can only imagine that had the framers of the United States Constitution lived to see the day when the vast majority of Americans were considering entrusting their government to either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, they would have drafted more strict eligibility requirements in order to avoid such interesting times…

Undoubtedly, they would be even more stunned to learn the only option with executive experience in running a government bureaucracy is currently trailing Trump and Clinton in the polls: Libertarian candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. James Madison nor Thomas Jefferson would ever have anticipated a political environment such as ours. One entirely devoid of principle, reason, or pragmatism.

Make no mistake, our next President, simply put, faces a gargantuan task. As if overseeing the world’s largest economy, military, and bureaucracy were not daunting enough for even the most qualified of candidates, the “lucky” winner of November’s contest faces a political media environment dominated by partisan news outlets with twenty-four hour coverage and fueled by profits via sensationalism.

All things considered, it is rather amazing we had as many candidates seeking the office of the Presidency as we did. Especially when one stops to consider the job is comprised of making decisions based on incomplete information, where errors in judgement have the most grave of consequences, and such errors will be subject to endless criticism by “analysts” looking to score cheap political points.

In hindsight, perhaps it is not altogether surprising the two major parties could only field The Donald and Hillary…

Yet in spite of the clear deterrents awaiting our next President, the American voter has an option with a well documented eight year track record of success leading a state where the opposition party held a two to one voter identification advantage: Libertarian nominee and former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson. While the average voter may not be as familiar with Governor Johnson as those who call themselves politicos, oddly it is the high information voter or “politico”, who has the easiest decision to make. How so?

A high information voter is someone well versed in public policy, well aware of the demands of the office of the Presidency, and well-attuned to both the U.S. and foreign political environment which awaits the next inhabitant of the office. These voters are well aware that the three major challenges awaiting the next president are:

1) Economy: Revitalizing a stagnant economy which is far too reliant on finance.

2) Foreign Policy: Carefully navigating a chaotic global environment where entire regions appear ripe for revolution and false promises of law and order in exchange for giving up human rights.

3) Institutional Trust: Restoring the broken promise of American blind justice by the legal system and repairing the broken bonds of trust between community members and their enforcement officers.

Economy

The American economy is stagnant. Traditional measures such as monetary expansion by the Federal Reserve and budget deficit fueled fiscal stimulus via government spending has proven to be ineffective in promoting the kind of economic and job growth Americans have come to expect from their formerly dynamic economy. The harsh economic reality awaiting our next commander in chief is one where the number of new businesses being formed and U.S. entrepreneurship rate has reached an all time low. Why is that important?

All U.S. job creation comes from businesses under the age of five. The next President faces an economic situation where young “would be” entrepreneurs are stuck, or barely climbing, the bottom of the corporate ladder in order to pay back their student loans. Rather than inventing new technologies like the Apple computer or Windows operating system in their parent’s garage.

Technological experimentation and breakthrough create the cutting edge industries our economy is dependent upon for new employment opportunities. When one considers the sclerotic entrepreneurship situation in the U.S. and the exhaustion of monetary and fiscal options, how can one vote in support of Hillary Clinton when her economic policies are a continuation of our existing situation? How can someone believe in Donald Trump’s freshly unveiled economic plan built on the failed Keynesian Gods of infrastructure spending and vanity tweaks to the U.S. tax code?

Does that sound like the hope and change voters can believe in?

No, however Governor Johnson’s plan of steady budget deficit reduction, radical tax code overhaul, and sound monetary policies that encourage saving and investment, rather than consumption, offer the type of rejuvenation the U.S. economy so desperately needs.

Foreign Policy

The current geopolitical landscape is an utter mess and entirely the result of intervention prescribed by the failed philosophy of Neo-conservatism. Within the academic sphere of foreign policy and international relations, Neo-conservatism operated as an unchecked monopoly. Starting with the creation of Nelson Rockefeller’s democracy exportation experiment in South America to prevent the rise of Fidel, Che, and other “Marxist” revolutionaries sympathetic to anti-imperialism and the common worker, the United States has doggedly pursued an agenda of intervention into the political affairs of our global neighbors.

The two questions which are rarely applied to Neo-conservatism are: To what end? And at what cost?

The United States did not invent the idea of foreign aid as a means of manipulation, but by God, did we ever bring it to the market on a mass scale. It is virtually impossible to find a nook or cranny of the globe where the U.S. has not offered dollars in exchange for unfulfilled promises by tyrannical dictators with innocent blood on their hands. The U.S. has propped up murderous dictators with promises of democratic reform, attempted to export freedom into the Middle East despite a single instance of success and in the face of pleas from an Arab world in opposition, and watched “strategic regional allies” like Saddam Hussein morph into uncontrollable despots Hell bent on world-ending nuclear war…

Rather than continue to intervene in parts of the world where foreign policy advisers claim the United States has a “strategic interest”, perhaps we should remove ourselves from the affairs of others? The hostile geopolitical environment is entirely of our own doing. If the United States wants to create a safer world for both its military and citizens, all that is necessary is minding our own business. In knowing that, which candidate is best suited to keep American citizens safe?

Former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton? She is the embodiment of neoconservatism, so much so, Republican neoconservative patron saint, Bill Kristol, has publicly stated he would rather see her win over Trump. If there were any question as to whether intervening in the affairs of others makes Americans safer, perhaps one should ask the late U.S. Ambassador to Libya: Christopher Stevens….Stevens lost his life after it was discovered the U.S. was supplying arms to anti-Qaddafi and anti-Assad rebels in Libya and Syria out of the U.S. Libyan embassy.

To his credit Donald Trump has been refreshingly anti-interventionist during his pursuit of the Presidency. While he has advocated for “Bombing the Hell out of Isis and taking their oil”, he has also repeatedly advocated for scaling back troop commitments, even outright calling for the removal of all U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the primary issues with a President Trump in regard to foreign policy are not with his positions, but rather his temperament and ability to resist the calls for intervention by the neoconservatives within the Republican party. Credit must be give where credit is due, but the odds of less U.S. military intervention during a Trump presidency are quite low.

Governor Johnson, unlike Clinton or Trump, is the only candidate in the race with a long standing belief in non-intervention and in a party where he will not be beholden to the failed philosophy of neoconservatism. Whether it be an increasingly aggressive Vladimir Putin, China asserting its dominance in the South China Sea over Japan, or protecting Americans against Islamic State jihadists, Governor Johnson is the candidate best situated to navigate the choppy waters of the current geopolitical situation, as well as the most likely to keep Americans safe.

Institutional Trust

From the Ferguson riots to the inhumane suffocation of Chris Garner, it is clear police brutality and its militarization, as well as the ever apparent two class legal system belonging to those in the political class and those not, have captured the gnat-like attention span of America. Americans of all ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses simply cannot make sense of the rioting and burning communities brought into their homes via nightly cable news. Nor can they make sense of press conferences where the Director of the FBI puts on a fence-sitting performance worthy of Barnum and Bailey, in order to absolve the Democrat Presidential nominee of any wrong doing during her time as Secretary of State.

Truth be told, the only reason a candidate like Donald Trump is possible, is due to a collapse of institutional trust in receiving justice, remediation, and protection via the agencies and systems tasked with their blind enforcement. Trump promises law and order, but not through a commitment to blind justice, but by doubling down on a commitment to a misguided and error-prone system. America, it has been said, is

“A dream of justice that people have had for a thousand years.”

Yet even the most passionate adherent to our founding document’s idealistic beliefs, would be hard pressed to maintain that such is the case today. Our law enforcement agencies no longer seem capable of adequately fulfilling their obligation to protect and serve, and the cruel irony within the corruption of our judicial system, is that its biggest beneficiary is now the front-runner to lead it: Hillary Clinton. 

It is clear, Clinton is a product of the system and Trump wants to double down on such a system. How’s that for bipartisanship?

The mountainous task confronting the next President of the United States, on the matters of justice reform, protecting Constitutional rights and prioritizing access to those rights to all people without regard to race, color, gender, income bracket, or access to influence via political connection, is staggering. However, if there were ever a candidate for such a mountainous task, it would be Governor Gary Johnson, a man who has successfully climbed Mount Everest, as well as the rest of the world’s highest peaks.

As if that were not enough, Governor Johnson was also endorsed by the ACLU. An organization whose sole purpose is to uphold and protect the rights granted by the Constitution.

Governor Johnson at the summit of Mount Everest

These times are certainly interesting, but they need not be cursed. Curses have no place in a free and fair election, they exist only in the minds of the ignorant and ill-informed. The skeptical mind may be damning his or her existence during these interesting times, perhaps believing “How unlucky to be alive under a President Trump or Clinton?”. Yet it is the interesting nature of these times which has created a void in the mind of high and low information voters alike. These interesting times are libertarian times, these times created this moment, our moment, and our opportunity to present our party, philosophy, and candidate before the high society of the American electorate.

Does that mean Governor Gary Johnson will win? Maybe, maybe not, but in the most interesting of times, we have the most interesting of candidates.

The 2016 Presidential election is an interesting time, and for the two major parties the times appear to be a curse, but for Libertarians, it is QUITE the blessing. Enjoy it. Take the time to breathe in this moment. Tell your friends about Gary, make his case and make it well, and if we are lucky, we may continue to live during these interesting times.

Lenz: Understanding Trump and His Lessons

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In observing the course of human events, one must acknowledge the role emotion plays in shaping mankind’s endless flirtation with freedom.

There is perhaps nothing more irritating to the libertarian observer, than our world’s continual objection of logic in response to crisis. In times of duress, we repeatedly prove willing to accept solutions fueled by the most primal of emotions. 

What does it say about our species that in these times, the masses will gladly cede privacy, liberty, and control, over to the first messenger offering promises of protection and a false reprieve from the chaos?

The cynics among us may believe mankind’s flirtation with freedom is just that, an endless game of carrot and stick.

To these folks, libertarianism is more of an intellectual exercise than worldly destination. Truth be told, one can hardly be blame them for reaching such a conclusion after living in a post-September 11th world.

However, history was not written by cynical bystanders offering condemnations outside the arena, and neither shall our future be.

Donald Trump’s rise to the pinnacle of American politics, just like all unexpected political tidal shifts, is the result of two elements:

  • A long brewing sentiment of animosity stemming from fear and loss
  • A vacuum of leadership created by the negligence of those tasked with maintaining the status quo

Personally, I remain perplexed by the libertarian disgust at Trump’s rise.

Admittedly, his reliance on nationalistic platitudes and appeals to the most animalistic of voter instincts, is antithetical to our libertarian minds and beliefs. However, his rapid ascent offers many lessons and much hope. His nomination alone serves as validation that status quos change.

One of the harsh realities Senator Rand Paul’s Presidential campaign faced in building a voting block, was discovering the overwhelming majority of his father’s Republican 2012 supporters, decifed to support Trump in the Iowa Caucus. Libertarians surely found such a shift by Ron’s supporters to be both hypocritical and confusing.

The confusion stems from incorrectly identifying the basis of their support. It was mistaken for a logical adoption of liberty-minded principles, rather than a shared and brewing anger. These folks were incensed and clamoring for a political outsider with promises of upsetting the status quo.

Is Trump’s success a good sign for libertarianism? Maybe, maybe not. That remains to be seen.

However, failing to learn from him, out of a personal distaste for his style or logically inconsistent policies, is a true loss for libertarianism. 

Make no mistake, the adoption of libertarianism as a political philosophy is rising, as are the number of individuals discovering they hold libertarian beliefs for the first time.

However, our future will not be written as a result of the logical and collective adoption of libertarianism. We are not on the precipice of some libertarian version of a Marxist class consciousness resulting in a proletariat revolution. Utopia is not of this world. History tells us so, and it reminds us that logic, in a battle with emotion, offers little hope.

Ask yourself, how logical is it for the major parties to nominate two of the most unpopular individuals in America while trying to win a popularity contest?

Sure, votes can and will be won mocking Trump and Hillary, while presenting Gary Johnson as the adult in the room, but it won’t win us this election. However, we can win a Presidential election in our lifetime.

Our future electoral successes will not come as a result of mocking Trump-like figures and their angry mobs.

It will be done by successfully making the case that Libertarians are the true outsiders ready to upset the status quo. We must learn to harness the emotions of angry mobs.

How can Libertarians become emotional leaders capable of connecting with fervent pockets of discontent voters? How do we capture their support and turn it into electoral success while maintaining our adherence to libertarianism?

Libertarians have to quit condemning nationalist themes and political rhetoric theyy find to be lacking in substance. Libertarians need to realize that these things are tools, not evils.

How can we use them while still championing libertarianism?

Below is my semi-satirical attempt at Libertarian candidate messaging (Trump style). It is intended to entertain, while also serving as a framework for Libertarians to use in breaking outside our tired and restrictive messaging toolbox.

If we are going to win, we need to win the voters hearts. Lucky for us, Trump has proven attention is easily garnered with laughter. So in that spirit, I encourage all of you to try your hand at this.

In time, we too will have the attention of the masses. When we do, we will turn their ears with laughter, but unlike Trump, we will win their hearts with principle…

“Whose excited to build the wall?! It is going to be a great wall, that I can tell you. But rather than build one between the US and Mexico, how about we build a wall around Washington D.C. and the slimey politicians?!

How’s that’s sound?

We’ll build it so high, you’ll never have to worry about the crooked politicians taking a bigger bite out of your paycheck!

No more worrying about an invasion by some creepo Congressmen late at night, stumbling into your bedroom and telling you homosexuality is an abomination! Isn’t that great? 

Instead of immigrants, if we’re going to send somebody back, let’s send our troops back home! Let’s stop spending tax dollars on endless war!

Anyone else thinks it’s dumb to send our soldiers into the Middle East so that ISIS has something to shoot at?

What a terrible and insanely stupid idea, right folks? 

I mean really…how stupid do you have to be, to not realize you are paying for the privilege of fighting ISIS, meanwhile providing the targets to shoot at? Who would do that to our soldiers? Love our soldiers. It’s a raw deal.

Not on my watch. That I can tell you. Based on my opponent’s repeated votes for such a raw deal, clearly they aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed...

My opponent wants to send them back to Iraq…I want to send them back to their families! Haven’t they been screwed over enough folks? I’m gonna bring ’em back. Ok folks? It’s time. 

Let’s face it, Iraq was a failure. Washington D.C. with their laws and wars, which they keep sending the bill for back to our states and communities…It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize these laws were not passed by the best and brightest…am I right? 

Listen, I’m going to build the wall. Libertarians build the best walls. Private walls built by the private sector. This wall will built by everyday Americans!

 Not some corporate crony who made a campaign donation to get the contract. Who thinks he will go over budget? Buncha lyin thieves I tell you..and with our hard earned tax dollars no less. Am I right?!

Listen, when I’m President, we will build the wall. Why? So you and I can keep the real criminals out: CAREER DC POLITICIANS!

God. it is going to be so great…Just think, safe from the intrusion of dumb laws and taxes created by the same Washington politicians invading our states and homes!

I will keep them from taking a bite out of your paycheck! We will send THEM back! If we need them, we’ll know where they are…but I doubt we will.

Let’s get them out of our health care system! We don’t need them to offer accessible and affordable care! They can’t even build a website! 

How many of you can’t even pick your own doctor because of Obamacare? It’s a rigged system folks, and the politicians are doing the RIGGING!

So that’s why I’m telling you this, on election day I promise, if you vote Libertarian, it will be great, so so great. I promise. Fewer taxes, fewer laws, no more war. Ok?

If you vote Libertarian, and help us win, I promise America will win again.

Our communities will win again.

Our families will win again.

You will win again. That I can promise you! How? I know Americans are winners, but Our leaders in Washington are losers.

You aren’t. I’m not. We’re winners. Hell, it wasn’t until we put them in office that we started losing! Why?

Because they are CORRUPT DC INSIDERS! They don’t care about you, they just want to be re-elected! That’s why!

Listen folks, we all know that America won the most, when it was fighting a tyrannical government in 1776!

NOT voting to support ONE! 

Vote for me. Vote Libertarian.

Together we will start winning again. 

We will build the wall, and when it is built, the days of corrupt career politicians taking your money, telling you how to live your life, and sending our family and friends to die without a reason in foreign wars, will finally be over.

After all, isn’t that what we all want? Peace and prosperity? YOU AND I BOTH KNOW, they are the ones preventing us from Making America Great Again! 

THANK YOU ALL AND I LOVE YOU!”

Lenz: Aristotle’s Wager

In the annals of human history there are few figures whose contributions were so profound, the remnants of their work continue to shape our lives after millennia. Whether it be the creation of the scientific method, shaping man’s perpetual search for meaning and what is a good life?, or even the proper structure and role of government, Aristotle and the lasting influence of his work cemented his place in history as such a figure.

Aristotle was perhaps best known for being Plato’s greatest student at The Academy. For those unfamiliar with the philosophers and institutions of classical Greece, Plato’s Academy was the Vatican of Education and its founder revered in a correspondingly papal manner.

Which is why the intellectual courage Aristotle showed in challenging his deified teacher, only further enhanced the drama surrounding the split. He single-handedly shifted the paradigm of the human experience and how we interpret it.

While the split between Plato and Aristotle may not seem relevant upon first glance, the importance of it lives on in this very election cycle.

How so?

Democrats, Republicans, progressives, and conservatives all share a desire to move society toward an imagined and superior destination. Democrats speak of a future destination they will use the government to progress society toward. Republicans speak of the past and going back to a destination that never existed. The only difference between the two major parties lies in the design of their intended destination.

What does this election have to do with Plato and a Aristotle?

First, we must understand the basis for their philosophical rift. On the matter of how best to structure a government in order to benefit all and protect against corruption, Plato advocated for an elite ruling class of philosopher kings who, hypothetically, would have discovered a higher level of knowledge. This knowledge would allow them to properly lead and organize society in a way best suited for man to pursue a virtuous life. These philosopher kings would not run for election, but rather be forced to lead as Plato believed the pursuit of power was a sign of one’s ill-fittedness to hold it.

The appeal of Plato’s system is evident to even the most democratic among us. It is idealistic, orderly, and safe guarded against the emotional tendencies and tyranny of mob rule. Despite being in opposition to the tenets of libertarianism, in a world where the majority of voters adore Kardashian-style reality television yet cannot name the Vice President. The allure of a society overseen and administered by well-informed elites or a philosopher king, with little appetite for power, is self-evident.

However, if history has taught us anything, it is that the pursuit of such a grandiose system like Plato’s, is best suited to the theoretical realm. In practice, such systems of government inevitably descend into tyranny.

Aristotle’s rejection of Plato, and his insistence on the necessity of beginning the search for knowledge and reason within our physical world, served as the foundation for his beliefs, including the ideal structure of government.

Whereas Plato started with a blank slate and pursued perfection in designing his ideal system, Aristotle began by examining human nature and various types of government systems and along with their histories. In doing so, he not only categorized the different types, he laid out the the best and worst case scenarios for each.

Aristotle, by beginning with the world as it exists and researching the past, learned to be far more cautious about the concentration of power.

He was well aware of the benefits each system offered, but remained cognizant of the potential downsides. While researching, he discovered a pattern: the historical trend of government toward corruption and tyranny.

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While not blind to the appeal of his teacher’s philosopher king society, his learned cautiousness, when combined with the future being bound to chance, he settled on a polity or ademocratic republic with highly informed citizens. 

Aristotle wagered that centralizing power in the hands of one or a few, rather than the many, was the safest bet.

He understood that the freedom of individuals, while still susceptible to the tyranny of the majority in a democracy, remained far safer in many hands, rather than a select few theoretical individuals possessing special knowledge.

Aristotle’s aversion to centralized power and insistence on using the physical world to discover knowledge are two principles desperately missing from our current political climate.

Our political discourse revolves around solving societal problems with government. Unfortunately for Libertarians, Americans are conditioned to viewing the government as a vehicle for driving us toward a better destination that remains perpetually beyond reach. “Good” government remains that seductive mirage in the distance.

The acceptance of reality, societal problems and all, is where Libertarians split from Republicans and Democrats. While we too dream about a future where individuals have greater freedom and equality, we reject the idea that a government system is the vehicle best suited for taking society towards such a destination. We accept the realities of drug use, mounting debt, and hostile enemies. Why?

We have witnessed where the pursuit of perfection leads:

  • The War on Drugs
  • Praying for a Keynesian economic miracle allowing us to pay off our debt
  • World peace through intervention and in the name of liberation

If history has taught us anything, it is the fact that concentrated power leads to futile, while perhaps well intended, attempts at perfecting the human condition. Which is why Libertarians, rather than grasping at the mirage of a perfect world, accept the existence of flaws.

We, like Aristotle, have studied the history of government, and are well aware of its tendency to descend into tyranny. Our reality confirms that tendency and we know Aristotle’s wager was right, look at our government.

It is Plato’s.

We failed to remember the lessons of Aristotle’s wager, and while many may not immediately recognize that as a bad thing, come this election day, I pray the reality of electing Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to lead a government befit for one of Plato’s Philosopher-Kings finally sets in…

One can only imagine that were Aristotle alive today and eligible to vote, he would have a new wager:

Clinton and Trump may be the safest bet to win, but the safest bet to slow the United States government’s descent into tyranny is to vote Libertarian.