WAL’s 20 Hottest Libertarian Men Alive…Kind Of…

20. Drew Carey: This isn’t your mom’s Drew Carey. This new and improved 90’s sitcom alum, former host of Whose Line is it Anyway and current host of The Price is Right will have you estimating the actual price of a night out on the town with him (without going over). You might even get to spin the big wheel.

carey


 

19. Tom Selleck: We could easily run down this star’s IMDB profile; listing his many accomplishments in film and television (he was on Friends people). However, with respect to your time and our effort, it’s enough to just say what we’re all thinking: “Mustache.”

selleck


18. Ayn Rand: What do you mean why Ayn Rand? Why is the sky blue? Who is John Gault?

Rand


17. Glenn Beck: This prominent radio host and cable television entrepreneur is outspoken, courageous, and all about traditional values. Though his cultural preferences are often scoffed and opinions aren’t perfect, Glenn Beck knows when to admit that he’s wrong. He’s sensitive, and he increasingly seems more open minded to libertarian ideas. Yes, while Glenn may sometimes seem to be a work in progress, aren’t we all? The charm is in the fact that he admits it, and for all you ladies with daddy issues, this mature grandfather and family man is sure to fill the void.

Beck


 

16. Kane / Glenn Jacobs: The ladies find this guy so hot that he has to wear flames on his clothing.

Kane


15. Ron Paul: The allure of this former congressman and presidential hopeful is all about security. He’ll protect you like you were wrapped in the U.S. Constitution.

Ron Paul


 

14. Rupert Boneham: Rupert will probably have to endure this comparison his entire life, but he’ll survive. He’s a Survivor. Women like him because they can trust that when the world falls apart and society is once again operated according to the law of the jungle, they’ll have a man who can start a fire, build a shelter, and put dinner on the table even in the most extreme of circumstances. And, if you look at his organization Rupert’s Kids, you get the impression that he’s all about kids…and second chances.

Rupert


13. Jeffrey Tucker: Life gets stressful and sometimes you just want to feel better about your circumstances. That’s why the ladies love Jeffrey Tucker. He’s an optimist. This big picture thinker likes to have a good time. He’s a modern day George Bailey, but instead of throwing a lasso around the moon to woo you, this Liberty.me founder will build you a city in the cloud; and probably all the while drinking a martini.

Jeff


 

12. Nick Gillespie: The James Dean of the liberty movement; this witty political commentator can certainly turn a phrase…and usually does so in a leather jacket.

Gillespie


11. Captain America: Bro, Have you even seen The Winter Soldier?

Caps


10. Judge Jim Gray: For those women who like a man who can make decisions. Judge.

Gray


9. John Stossel: Think Tom Selleck…but with an even better mustache.

*Dec 04 - 00:10*


 

8. Creighton Harrington: Like the Sirens with their enchanting song, or Ron Burgundy with his jazz flute, Creighton Harrington is the kind of guy who can make Walt Whitman look like Dr. Seuss; or Sinatra like Sanjaya…simply by wooing you with a strategically placed recitation of Bill Pullman’s classic speech from Independence Day.

Harrington


7. Dan Peffers: This bearded wonder boy and ex UPS employee has delivered time and time again. Ask any young ingénue.But even though he’s no longer dawning the brown and yellow, the ladies still say he still knows how handle a package.

Peffers


 

6. Joe Ruiz: Joe is here strictly for affirmative action purposes as a means to fill a quota. He’s Puerto Rican though for those who like that kind of thing.

joe ruiz wrecking ball


 

5. Greg Lenz: If scientists were to take DNA from each member of The Rat Pack and turn it all into a single clone, and then by chance discover that he’s actually a genius on top of that, you’d have Greg Lenz. Don’t let his former Republican status fool you. This one’s a keeper.

Greg


 

4. Tommy Chong: For those who prefer a strong sense of humor; he’s a joker. He’s a smoker. He’s a midnight toker.

Chong


3. Mark Cuban: Kanye West called you a gold digger and you know he was right. Mark Cuban is Rich. Enough said.

Cuban


 

2. Shirtless Gary Johnson: Remember the old Motown classic Ain’t No Mountain High Enough? With Shirtless Gary Johnson that’s actually true. This guy is well on his way to scaling the tallest peaks on every continent. He’s also been a state governor and a successful entrepreneur. And just look at this picture of him next to our current president. Shirtless Gary Johnson is the man.

Johnson

Obama


 

1. The President of ALL Libertarians; Chris Spangle: A picture is worth a thousand words.

Chris Spangle


Last Year’s Number One: Miah Akston – has been removed from this list for extemporaneous circumstances and castration.

Miah


Yesterday the website Liberty Viral published an article titled 20 of the Hottest Libertarian Women AliveThough We Are Libertarians offers kudos to the hard work of those very bright, very focused women who are working to advance the cause of liberty, does an article like that really have merit where our movement is concerned? Having interviewed Julie Borowski and followed Libertarian Girl, we know that their personal priorities are less about gaining recognition for physical appearances, and more about creating engaging conversations that will hopefully lead to a freer society.

And because we’re all for that kind of girl power, the extremely man-tastic panel at We Are Libertarians has decided to offer this guy-centric list of the 20 Hottest Libertarian Men Alive in response.

As this article was being written, Liberty Viral published a similar piece…If you compare the lists…you’ll know which one is legit.


 

Guest Post: Bundy and His Comments

Recently Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers (Indiana) allowed We Are Libertarians to post a Guest Submission to our website titled ‘Sheriff Brad Rogers at Cliven Bundy Ranch.’ Read it here: https://wearelibertarians.com/guest-post-sheriff-brad-rogers-at-the-cliven-bundy-ranch/
Since his trip to Nevada the media has (based on some of Cliven Bundy’s own comments) begun to speculate that Cliven Bundy is a racist. Because Sheriff Rogers had gone out to the ranch, some critics have made attempts to couple him along with Cliven Bundy; as though his visit was an endorsement of all of Bundy’s views and opinions. As such Sheriff Rogers is allowing us to post the following, which provides insight into his trip to Nevada and also his response to any critics who may have made unfair (and unreasonable) accusations.
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From Sheriff Brad Rogers:

I spoke with Mr. Bundy only briefly while in Nevada last weekend. Bundy and I did speak during the press conference on Saturday, but about the need for the local sheriff to get involved. I arrived late at the press conference where Bundy was already speaking and, after my part, left while he continued to speak to reporters.

I never heard him say, nor was I aware that Bundy spoke on the topic that the media is now covering until yesterday.

Here is the video:

The New York Times took his comments out of context. He was certainly trying to emphasize the ramifications of government assistance. But, to broad brush all people in these circumstances is naive at best. Nevertheless, his comments are considered racist to some, or at the very least, highly insensitive and inappropriate. I do not know if he is racist; I really doubt that he is. I observed black men as his paid bodyguards. However, I consider his comments unacceptable and horrendous that he would suggest that people would be better in slavery. That conclusion flies in the face of the history and documented experiences about slavery.

I really don’t know him; nor have I ever claimed to be unified with him on all ethics, standards and beliefs. My primary goal in being in Nevada was to seek out facts and to encourage a peaceful solution by getting the county Sheriff involved when the Feds overreached by impounding cattle at the point of a gun, including the shooting of cattle, provoking a protest by Americans. Even if it turns out that Bundy is a racist or a weirdo, why would I not want to support a peaceful resolution to the Bundy Ranch situation, to keep federal officers and the public from getting killed? We are supposedly a community of peace-loving people in Elkhart County, Indiana.

About 20 years ago I stood guard with other officers to provide protection for citizens protesting the presence of the KKK, and the members themselves, at a KKK initiated event at the Elkhart Courts Building. In fact, I was the officer, donned in riot gear and shotgun, assigned by the Sheriff to ride in the KKK van from the staging area to the event. I was selected as an officer that would not stir them up and would keep the peace. On occasions throughout the event, I needed to speak to the KKK Grand Dragon and his members about their conduct. That does not make any officer a racist for associating with racists. I abhorred the KKK’s conduct and the filth they spewed forth. The officers and I were there to keep the peace.

There is an email circulating at the local seminary denouncing me, assuming details before they even know the facts. Where are my beloved Mennonite friends and lovers of peace now? Seems everyone would be happy to have Federal agents and their protesters, including Bundy, killed in a battle over cattle. Really? Where are the peacemakers?

Guest Post: Sheriff Brad Rogers at the Cliven Bundy Ranch

My Nevada Trip to the Cliven Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada.

I arrived at the Cliven Bundy Ranch on Friday, April 18, 2014, and stayed through Sunday, April 20, 2014, taking a personal vacation (NOT on the taxpayer dime). I was invited by Oathkeepers and the Bundy family to come out and visit. I wanted to see what was really going on in their neck of the woods. There are plenty of opinions all around. I saw first hand many of the dynamics and actually spoke with Mr. Bundy, a 58 year old rancher, on the situation. The Bundy’s have a modest, almost rustic residence and buildings, nothing like the Ewing Ranch of TV famed “Dallas.”

You may think, “This is a Nevada issue. Why should I concern myself with a rancher in Nevada who is butting heads with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)?” Or, “This does not impact Elkhart County, so why go to Nevada and get involved?”

But you and I should be concerned about what is occurring in Nevada, Oregon, California, and New Mexico, as well as other states where Sheriffs and County Commissioners have interposed themselves between Federal agencies such as BLM and the Forest Service, and the people of their counties. As the highest elected law enforcement officer in the nation, the Sheriff has great authority (and obligation) to protect the people from criminals, and sometimes even an overreaching government. Even though this is currently occurring in Nevada, something similar will be coming to a location near you. You can bet on it. It may not be the BLM in Indiana, but it will be another alphabet soup Federal agency trying to flex their muscle.

I am very sensitive to Federal government overreach since my confrontation with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) over numerous and unreasonable inspections of an Amish milk farmer in Elkhart County back in 2011. The Feds had subpoenaed the farmer to appear before a grand jury in Michigan about a week later, likely to make an example out of him and put him out of business. The Amish farmer was committing the “horrible crime” of distributing raw milk to members of food co-ops in a private contract. No one was getting sick or harmed by the raw milk. The co-op members knew exactly what they were getting in raw milk. The farmer was not breaking any state law.

I told the DOJ attorney that if any more Federal agents were to show up to inspect the farmer’s property (as the farmer had withdrawn his consent), without a warrant based on probable cause and signed by a judge, that I would have them arrested for trespassing or otherwise removed from the premises. I have to abide by the 4th Amendment; the Federal government needs to also. That action by your elected Sheriff (sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution) unleashed a dissertation and threat of arrest by the DOJ trial attorney, stating that the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution has always been known that Federal law (or vexations known at administrative rules promulgated often by unelected bureaucrats) overrules anything that state or local government could possibly have laws for or against. I reminded the attorney that the Supremacy Clause (which part he conveniently ignored) “shall be the supreme Law of the Land” only when” …the Laws of the United States shall be made in Pursuance thereof,” meaning the Constitution (Article 6, Sec 2).

Why did I get involved on my vacation, even though this situation has no immediate impact on Elkhart County? Because I love people. I love my country. I love the Republic for which our flag stands. I left my family over Easter weekend, missed a niece’s birthday party, and missed a church service celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, my Lord, because I love my family and do not want to see them live in a country where our freedom and liberties are eroded. Because I love people, I don’t want to see Federal agents or those opposing those agents come to any harm. I’m seeing violence ready to break out. I was observing this in the media from Indiana and stated on Facebook, “My prediction: This is not going to end well. Another Waco? Another Ruby Ridge? I’m still hoping for a peaceful resolution.” Yet, I observed people saying, “Bundy should be damned; he’s trespassing… Whatever it takes to get him off the property…Kill the protesters and the family.” Some people seem to be really violent and merciless, even without all the facts. Pride, at least on the law enforcement side, is stubborn and unyielding in this case. How can we maintain peace and avoid bloodshed? In any law enforcement action, I always strive to avoid bloodshed in my county. My family said I must go. So, I did.

Events leading up to my arrival: On April 9, BLM, encompassing an estimated 200 heavily armed agents, helicopters, and SUVs, swarmed the area of the disputed land and, according to the court order, were to impound the trespassing cattle and sell them at auction, purportedly to offset the unpaid grazing fees. Facing a situation they most certainly did not plan on; that of the family and others who supported the family (and who were also heavily armed, pursuant to their Second Amendment rights and legal under the state of Nevada), and protesting the action taken by the BLM, including the tasering of a Bundy son and Bundy’s niece knocked to the ground, the BLM wisely blinked and stood down, leaving behind a mess, of which I will describe later.

The BLM claims that Bundy’s cattle are on public land (Federal or State land, depending on your perspective, and literally out in the middle of nowhere.) I believe the cattle are on public land. There does not seem to be any dispute about this. Bundy had previously, until the 1990’s, paid BLM to manage the land. However, BLM did not use the money to improve the land; Bundy improved the land. Ten years ago, the BLM offered to buy out Bundy’s contract. Bundy refused. This would certainly seem that Bundy had more of an interest in the land then BLM claims now. Nevertheless, Bundy has lost a couple of recent Federal court battles and was told to get off the land. And, then there is the grazing fee, required by the BLM, to allow continuance of Bundy’s cattle to be on the land. In 1993, Bundy quit paying the fee and offered the fee instead to Clark County officials, who refused to accept payment. Bundy is one of two last remaining ranchers in Clark County. I find it interesting that the BLM allowed Bundy to continue using the land until Senator Reid’s buddy was appointed to the BLM a couple of weeks ago. Suspicious at best.

Nevada is different than Indiana, as most of the land (83%) in Nevada is considered Public Land and controlled by the Federal government in some form or fashion. According to Article I, Section 8.17, The Federal government is not to own land (outside of Washington DC) unless the state’s legislature approves it. The land belongs to Nevada, a sovereign state in its own right. The problem is Nevada’s state constitution actually acquiesces their land, purportedly as a requirement for statehood, regardless of the concept of the “Equal Footing Principle” of statehood for states beyond the original states formed. This concept, juxtaposed with the Bundy conflict, is at the heart of the issue. A growing number of western legislators are meeting, partially as a result of this conflict, to see what can be done about states reclaiming their land from the Feds, who neither paid nor asked the states, as required by the Constitution.

I really don’t know if Bundy is correct in his stand; whether he truly owes money or not. Some people think he’s a freeloader, using public land for his cattle. Yet, he is a hard worker, unlike others on welfare sponging off the taxpayer for no work. The tradition of ranchers using public land is centuries old. Bundy supporters agree that the issue is complex. However, what all people, including myself, would agree on, and likely sparked the patriot response to this event, is that we will not tolerate being governed by a Federal government at the point of a gun.

When BLM left the land last week, the discovery of what they left behind was unconscionable. The Bundy family found a mass grave (dug by BLM backhoes and dump trucks seen leaving the area on their exodus) containing numerous cattle that were killed by a bullet. Wait a minute. I thought the BLM was to impound and auction the cattle? Where are the environmentalists, PETA, or the Sheriff, at the uncalled slaughter of another man’s cattle by government agents? The BLM further destroyed watering holes and fencing that was constructed by Bundy. And, incidentally, it was reported that part of the reason BLM were rounding up cattle is to protect the so-called endangered Desert Tortoise; laughable at best, when you consider the BLM just euthanized hundreds of turtles in the compound where they were caring for them, instead of releasing them to the wild, after BLM ran out of money. Again, where’s the PETA outrage?

Incidentally, Saturday, April 21 was the anniversary of the Waco disaster where David Koresh and followers (including women and children) were killed by gun fire and a building fire that was started by the Feds. Then what happened? They buried the evidence quickly to keep people from nosing around. Seems as though BLM did not learn a lesson from Waco, and again attempted to cover their misconduct.

Then, what about those honorable Oathkeepers, patriots, 3 Percenters, and others who believe this event is a watershed moment for our nation? I met and visited with these men and women, coming from all walks of life, all races, and different religions. Some of these patriots quit their job and came to Nevada to keep their oath; to defend their nation against tyranny. Some are expecting to die here. Nevada U.S. Senator Harry Reid called them “domestic terrorists”. Reid’s comments were inflammatory and irresponsible, and did nothing to quell the potential for violence. The patriots are men and women who have come to the Bundy ranch to protect the Bundy’s from a Federal government that has no logical reason to use force. These patriots are not domestic terrorists. I would not stand with terrorists. I’m convinced that the patriots will not fire the first shot. But, if and when the BLM agents return and start firing, the bloodshed will begin. It will be the battle of Bunkerville.

As for the report of women and children being placed out in front as shields during the initial confrontation, that action never occurred. It was wrongly strategized and verbalized by one person that was not even on the scene yet. It was never the intent of Oathkeepers and patriots to put harmless women and children in harms way. There were some women in front, but they were the spunky cowgirls that voluntarily rode with men to retrieve the Bundy cattle.

I’m trying to imagine…In Elkhart County if I received a court order to remove cattle from a public land, I would go speak to the owner of the cattle, and seek how to peacefully resolve this situation. I might even empathize with the owner of the cattle, and suggest further legal action on his part. But never would I bring my SWAT teams and patrol officers carrying rifles to a trespass call involving unarmed cattle! Ultimately, the Sheriff, the official with a name and recognizable face, with a phone number to contact him, would resolve the conflict, likely without any serious incident.

That, my friends, is the crux of this issue. The Federal government has no face, no name (except alphabets), no number to call, and no one to hold accountable if something goes wrong. The Sheriff can intervene, not because of ego or who’s gun is bigger, but rather to be the public servant, whom the people elected, and whom can listen, talk, and negotiate a peaceful resolution. The Sheriff has to continue to live in the community he serves. The Feds return to places unknown, never having to live the consequences or see the fears and hear the citizen’s life stories.

As for Mr. Bundy, he told me he was honored that I would come from Indiana to show support. I asked him how this situation could end peacefully. He told me that he does not recognize the Federal government, but that he would submit to his local Sheriff. The patriot groups also said that if the Sheriff got involved, they would stand down. Wow! Really! The local Sheriff of Clark County refuses to get involved, but could peacefully resolve this issue. Mr. Bundy, whether you think he’s off his rocker or not, has said how this could be resolved. I entreat to the unapproachable Sheriff Gillespie of Clark County (who incidentally was given the spurious award of “2013 Sheriff of the Year” by the National Sheriff’s Association-an organization of which I refuse to be a part of) would honor his oath, honor his citizens, and honor his public service, by getting involved in this situation to prevent the bloodshed that will occur between the Federal government and citizens.

I guarantee you, I would intervene if this was occurring in Elkhart County!

For the Republic,

Sheriff Brad Rogers, Elkhart County, Indiana

Contact me at brogers@elkhartcountysheriff.com

The People Are Running Red Lights!

On Tuesday Talk Radio Personality Casey Hendrickson discussed Run A Red Light, my most recent article at We Are Libertarians. While Casey’s commentary was highly entertaining (as always), I was most encouraged by his callers. It seems as though there are a lot of people out there already living out the spirit of my piece; breaking petty laws and taking freedom for themselves in their day-to-day lives, and disregarding government threats to slap us on the wrist if we disobey.

Listen to these amazing callers during Casey’s Segment Here:

For More Information on Casey Hendrickson, or to download full episodes of his program anywhere, visit TheBurningTruth.Us.

If you haven’t already, read the full article – Run A Red Light, here: https://wearelibertarians.com/run-a-red-light/

Walter Block’s Reading List

Walter Block sent this book list to us in case any would be interested. And you should be!

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21. DiLorenzo, Thomas and Walter E. Block. Forthcoming. An Austro-Libertarian Critique of Public Choice; Addleton Academic Publishers;www.addletonacademicpublishers.com; 30-18 50th Street, Woodside, New York, 11377; editors@addletonacademicpublishers.com

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20. Block, Walter. 2013. Legalize Blackmail. ISBN 978-0-9910433-0-9 (hardcover), 978-0-9910433-1-6 (e-book). Straylight Publishing, LLC; http://www.straylightpublishing.com; My publisher is willing to sell you this new book of mine for whatever price YOU decide upon at Amazon.com. If this isn’t weird, I don’t know what is. Of course, legalizing blackmail, rescinding all laws outlawing blackmail, it cannot be denied, is also a bit weird. Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Legalize-Blackmail-Walter-Block/dp/0991043308. Barnes and Noble:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/legalize-blackmail-walter-block/1117524839. Direct from the publisher:https://gumroad.com/l/SzSdLegalize Blackmail is now available in all eBook formats for $9.99 across the board. The book may be obtained digitally in these formats: DRM-Free PDF, ePub, and MOBI — https://gumroad.com/l/SzSd; Kindle — http://amzn.to/1jkO5bE; Nook — http://bit.ly/1bDSNMJ

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19. Block, Walter E. 2013. Defending the Undefendable II: Freedom in all realms; Terra Libertas Publishing House; http://www.amazon.com/Defending-Undefendable-II-Freedom-Realms/dp/1908089377/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379098357&sr=8-1&keywords=freedom+in+all+realms; http://www.amazon.com/Defending-Undefendable-II-Freedom-Realms/dp/1908089377/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380679730&sr=1-2; isbn: 9781908089373; http://terralibertas.com/products/defending-the-undefendable-ii-freedom-in-all-realms-hardcover; http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/12/robert-wenzel/top-book-picks-of-2013/; http://www.amazon.co.uk/Defending-Undefendable-II-Freedom-Realms/dp/1908089377/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1387741833&sr=1-1&keywords=Defending+the+Undefendable+II%3A+Freedom+in+All+Realms; http://www.librarialibertas.com/economie/defending-the-undefendable-ii-freedom-in-all-realms-hardcover.html; http://mises.org/daily/6624/Walter-Block-Is-Still-Defending-the-Undefendable; http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/01/mark-thornton/still-defending-the-undefendable/

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18. Block, Walter E. 2013. Religion, Economics and Politics. Columbus, OH: Biblio Publishing; The Educational Publisher, Inc.; http://edupublisher.com/BiblioPublishing/thankyou.html

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17. Block, Walter E. 2012. Yes to Ron Paul and Liberty. New York: Ishi Press; http://www.amazon.com/dp/4871873234; http://libertycrier.com/education/walter-blocks-new-book-on-ron-paul/http://libertyunbound.com/node/862

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16. Barnett, William II and Walter E. Block. 2012. Essays in Austrian Economics. New York: Ishi Press; http://www.amazon.com/Essays-Austrian-Economics-William-Barnett/dp/4871873242/ref=sr_1_1s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348528287&sr=1-1&keywords=essays+in+Austrian+economics

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15. Block, Walter E. 2010. The Case for Discrimination. Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute; http://www.amazon.com/The-Case-Discrimination-Walter-Block/dp/1933550813/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336605494&sr=1-1;

http://mises.org/store/Case-for-Discrimination-P10442.aspx; available for free here: http://mises.org/daily/4957

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14. Four Arrows and Walter E. Block. 2010. Differing WorldviewsTwo Scholars Argue Cooperatively about Justice Education; Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers;

http://www.amazon.ca/Differing-Worldviews-Higher-Education-Arrows/dp/9460913504/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336603241&sr=1-6

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13. Block, Walter E. 2010. Building Blocks for Liberty, Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute;

http://www.amazon.ca/Building-Blocks-Liberty-Block-Walter/dp/1279743247/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336604213&sr=1-1;

http://mises.org/resources/5862/Building-Blocks-for-Libertyhttp://mises.org/daily/4849; available for free here:http://mises.org/books/building_blocks_for_liberty_block.pdf; Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/Building-Blocks-Liberty-Critical-ebook/dp/B004NSV8WO

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12. Block, Walter E., ed. 2010. I Chose Liberty: Autobiographies of Contemporary Libertarians; Auburn, AL: Mises Institute; available for free here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/block/autos.html

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11. Block, Walter E. 2009. The Privatization of Roads and Highways: Human and Economic Factors; Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute;http://www.amazon.com/Privatization-Roads-And-Highways-Factors/dp/1279887303/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336605800&sr=1-1; available for free here: http://mises.org/books/roads_web.pdf; http://mises.org/daily/3416

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10. Block, Walter E. 2008. Labor Economics from a Free Market Perspective: Employing the Unemployable.  London, UK: World Scientific Publishing; http://www.amazon.ca/Labor-Economics-Free-Market Perspective/dp/9812705686/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336603241&sr=1-7;

Available for free here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B00FX9dsY4zJNXU5SmVKYVBQOWs/edit?usp=sharing

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9. Block, Walter E. 2008. Reconstructia Libertatii. Bucharest, Romania: Libertas Publishing;

http://www.sfin.ro/articol_12377/o_cura_de_libertate.html; isbn: 978-973-87847-2-7

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8. Block, Walter E. 2006. The Privatization of Roads and Highways: Human and Economic Factors. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press,http://www.mises.org/Blockhttp://www.mises.org/Block/Block-roads.zip;

http://www.mises.org/books/Block/index.html

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7. Gwartney, James, Robert W. Lawson and Walter E. Block. 1996. Economic Freedom of the World, 1975-1995; Vancouver, B.C. Canada: the Fraser Institute (308 pages);  http://www.amazon.ca/Economic-freedom-world-1975-1995-Gwartney/dp/0889751579/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336605884&sr=1-1http://www.fraserinstitute.ca/pdf/catalogue.pdf;isbn: 0-88975-157-9;

http://www.fraserinstitute.org/researchandpublications/publications/7094.aspx

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6. Block, Walter and Michael A. Walker. 1988. Lexicon of Economic Thought, Vancouver: The Fraser Institute. (390 pages) isbn: 0-88975-081-5; 0-88975-077-7; http://www.fraserinstitute.org/researchandpublications/publications/7065.aspx

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5. Block, Walter E. 1986. The U.S. Bishops and Their Critics: An Economic and Ethical Perspective, Vancouver: The Fraser Institute. (127 pages) isbn: 0-88975-085-8; http://www.fraserinstitute.org/researchandpublications/publications/7221.aspx;http://www.amazon.com/U-S-Bishops-Their-Critics-ebook/dp/B00BGJDHDG/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1

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4. Block, Walter and Michael A. Walker. 1985. Focus on Employment Equity: A Critique of the Abella Royal Commission on Equality in Employment, Vancouver:  The Fraser Institute. (111 pages) isbn: 0-88975-088-2; issn: 0715-5417; no. 17

3. Block, Walter E. 1983. Focus on Economics and the Canadian Bishops, Vancouver: The Fraser Institute. (76 pages) isbn: 0-88975-057-2; http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/1349328

http://www.amazon.com/Focus-Economics-Canadian-Bishops-ebook/dp/B00BH3T20S/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1

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2. Block, Walter E. 1982. A Response to the Framework Document for Amending the Combines Investigation Act, Vancouver: The Fraser Institute. (60 pages) isbn: 0-88975-051-3

http://www.mediafire.com/?u2f6s0vv6z71xni

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1. Block, Walter E. 2008 [1976]. Defending the Undefendable. Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute; available for free here:http://mises.org/books/defending.pdf

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Some of these links may not work when directly clicked. But they all work if you copy and paste the URL into a new tab.

Run A Red Light

Have you ever been stopped at a red light for an excessive period of time? You look around at the various points of the intersection and nobody else is present. In fact, no one is even driving in the direction of the intersection. And yet you’re stuck; just you and your car, alone at the most stubborn red light ever.

I recently posted the following to Facebook: “Rebellion and liberty can occasionally be the same thing; seriously. Do yourself a favor and break a law some time, just be smart about it. Take risks within reason. I’m not talking about stealing or harming any person or their property. I’m totally against that. But drive a little over the speed limit, refuse to shovel your personal sidewalk (if you have one) right away when it snows, or watch a movie on bootleg. A little goes a long way. Most of all (and this is the most important part), do it because you’re a free person with too many petty rules. Make decisions for yourself. It’s worth it. Freedom is like a breath of fresh air. #justtakeit #stickittotheman

The response I got from this posting was surprising. I wouldn’t have thought it to be too controversial, and yet there were a number of people who stood to debate. Some agreed with me. Others felt I should be more apt to respect any law that was on the books, and another even quoted versus from the Holy Bible which seemed to state that I should obey the law 100% of the time.

Now, the Bible is filled with great advice on how to be a moral, upstanding guy. I’m sure there’s someone out there who would argue with that, but I’m not that someone. However, the authors of the Bible didn’t know what a red light was, and certainly wouldn’t have needed to predict that there would someday be the most stubborn red light, which refused to change and jeopardized the otherwise clear path from that intersection to my home and family.

So I ran it. Nobody saw me. There wasn’t anyone around to see me. Nobody was hurt. I was safe. My car was safe. But how silly would it have been if I had just sat there? Did I really need the government’s permission to drive when the safe path forward was so completely visible? I thought I would look into this a bit deeper.

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Today I called Legislative Information. The conversation went like this:

Me: “Hi, if I’m stuck at a red light for ten minutes and nobody else is around; I’ve rolled over the sensors to try and make the light work correctly again and again, and it still seems to be frozen, at what point can I…”

The man then cut me off as though he knew where the question was going.

Legislative Information Guy: “There is no law that says you can run it no matter how long you’ve been sitting there.”

Me: “Is there a law that says I can’t?”

Legislative Information Guy: “Well,” he chuckled, “There’s a law that says you can’t run a red light.”

Me: “Well sure, but could you advise me to the specific code that states that? I would just like to read the exact wording.”

Legislative Information Guy: “Sure, let me put you on hold so I can find that for you.”

I then remained on hold for about 20 minutes. When he returned the man stated, “I’m sorry about that. You know, I just can’t seem to find it. I don’t know why we would not have an Indiana statute that says you can’t run a red light. Maybe it’s a regulation that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles has rather than a statute.”

He then paused for a moment and said, “Well, let me look one more time.”

I then stayed on hold for 5 more minutes. When he returned the man stated, “The closest thing I could find for you was Indiana Code 9-21-3, so you might read that, but I would also call the BMV to see if they have any regulations on the books about it.” I thanked him for his time and ended the call.

Curious as to what the Bureau of Motor Vehicles might say I gave them a call. I explained to them that I had been speaking with Legislative Information and that they had said there was no specific statute from the state regarding my situation. After looking into it she told me what I had probably suspected. “There’s no regulation on our end. We just follow the laws that they set.”

So does that mean there’s not actually a law telling me that I can’t run a red light?

Kind of… Sort of… Not really. I then looked up Indiana Code 9-21-3, and while it does not specifically call out the situation which I inquired about, a little common sense could have been used to apply it.

Indiana Code 9-21-3-10 actually says, “The motorman of a street car shall obey traffic control signals that are applicable to vehicles.” I remember the basics from my driving exam at age 16, so I know running a red light is a no-no. As a regular driver I also know that running a red light when other drivers are present could result in an accident, and I want no part of that if I can avoid it.

9-21-3-11 then goes on to specify that “A person who violates section 7, 8, 9, or 10 of this chapter commits a Class C Infraction.” Of course my next question was, “How does Indiana define a Class C Infraction?”

A simple Google search produced a WikiAnswers page that stated, “A class C infraction in Indiana is one of the lowest levels of crime that carries a penalty, upon conviction, of a fine going up to £313 ($500). It is a violation of a statue or an ordinance that does not subject the convicted person to jail time or a criminal conviction.”

That was a good answer, but I wanted the State’s exact wording so that I had the best understanding possible of their rules. I called back to Legislative Information Guy and ended up on hold again for several minutes. During that time I took a Zimbio quiz on Facebook to find out which Michael Jackson song best represents me (it was Black and White in case you were interested).

When he returned he said, “I’m sorry. I can’t find it. They used to be really easy to find. We had a cheat sheet, but then they repealed it and put the infraction information somewhere else. I haven’t been able to find it since.”

Repealed the cheat sheet? Who did? How am I supposed to understand the law as the government intended it if the people who are assigned to explain these things to me don’t even have an answer?

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And therein lays the problem. Governments everywhere put so many laws, rules, and regulations on the books that half of the time the government itself doesn’t know what rules we’re supposed to abide by.

They then leave it to the idea that “well, people should (hopefully) have at least a general understanding of things, so since the laws are there, they’ll probably just obey them.” As a libertarian trying to decipher such a notion, my guess is that what they’re really saying is people will ultimately do the right thing for their own reasons.

If it would put anyone including myself in danger I wouldn’t run a red light; not because the law is in place, but because I don’t want to be responsible for the loss of life or damage of property.

But what is leftover when no person or property is at risk? I’d say just a meaningless and somewhat silly gathering of words on a piece of paper that no one can find. So, if you must, run a red light. Take what little moments you can to disobey the unnecessary.

Freedom is rarely legislated to us, but it is frequently legislated away from us – and that is true on all levels of government. However, we can take it, so do yourself a favor and take it! Find those little red light moments in life and choose not to ask permission. Instead, live free.

If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.” – Thomas Jefferson

Interpret that how you will and enjoy!

Todd Starnes is an Idiot

During tonight’s laughably one-sided Superbowl Coca-Cola aired a commercial in which English (and non-English) speaking Americans sang America the Beautiful. Shortly after social media outlets lit up with enraged individuals scoffing at the notion that it could be sung in any language other than that in which it was penned.

The mission of this commercial was, in fact, to show the very thing that the Superbowl exemplifies; togetherness. Regardless of whether or not football is your thing (it’s not mine), there’s no arguing that Americans of every distinction – be they cultural, moral, racial, or political, were huddled in front of their television sets tonight.

Some sat with friends. Some watched with family. Some were isolated – too invested in the game for company. Either way, sports are supposed to extend the spirit of unity and teamwork, shepherding people away from the legitimately divisive, and replacing it with a less harmful sense of division; that of competition, where logos, mascots, gamesmanship, and bragging rights are the only terms at stake.

And then there’s Todd Starnes – who heard the commercial and took to Twitter with the following:

Starnes

 

He continued afterwards, complaining about Americans who don’t know English, and accused Coke of celebrating that, to which I say, Todd Starnes is an idiot.

While these views are absolutely my own and not at all reflective of We Are Libertarians as an organization (Though I’d like to think they would support me on this), I just don’t understand Todd’s beef here. His focus (oddly) fixed itself on immigration issues. He built a soapbox in a place where nobody was discussing politics, and sounded off – offended at the idea that not all Americans speak English. He then lunged at the opportunity to unsheathe his political sword in the form of socially conservative Tweets that made him sound like little more than a candidate for Rick Santorum’s fantasy presidential cabinet.

But I would remind Mr. Starnes that every one of the singers in the Coca-Cola spot had an ice cold beverage in their hand, and what’s more American than capitalism; a language that we can (hopefully) all understand? That’s good enough for me.

For those who haven’t seen it, here is the Coca-Cola advertisement:

 

State of the Union Rumors Update

Applause

Earlier today We Are Libertarians posted the following via Facebook and Twitter: “As an exercise in executive superiority President Obama is expected to hold a ‘Pre-State of the Union’ Address where he will brag about his own punctuality. ‘Yeah, I saw Congress on my way in, but they were moving too slow, so I just passed them. And that’s a metaphor.’ *Cue Obligatory STOU Applause.”

UPDATE: The White House is now saying that there will NOT be a “Pre-State of the Union Address.” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has stated that it was President Obama himself who dismissed the idea.

“He didn’t like the wording.” Carney insisted. “When he heard the words ‘Pre-State’ the President thought it best that we not lead the people on; causing them to think that there is anything Before the State, or After for that matter.”

So there you have it folks. The State has declared itself the Alpha and the Omega; beginning and the end. On the other hand, the Administration has declared that this year’s State of the Union will be the first to have an official event theme song which captures the true essence of all State of the Union speeches. You can hear it here:

 

Note: This post is meant only in humor. Quotes have been created for the purpose of exaggerating a point and were not actually spoken by any elected official. Still, sounds about right!

Guest Post – Private Police: A Note

Private Police

Editor’s Note: We were recently asked (on Facebook), “How does one go about privatizing the police?” This question was asked by Devendra Singh, on January 20th. To guarantee a great response I turned to our friend Walter Block; whose very email signature reads, “If it moves, privatize it!”

Professor Block was kind enough to send me a link to the following article, written by one of his former students. He stated that this was a great primer into the idea of privatizing police and should answer the question. All references have been included in an effort to maintain the article’s academic integrity. Thank you to Walter Block for the quick response! – Joe Ruiz, WAL Managing Editor

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By: Patrick Tinsley

A state which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile in its hands even for beneficial purposes– will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished; and that the perfection of the machinery to which it has sacrificed everything will in the end avail it nothing, for want of the vital power which, in order that the machine might work more smoothly, it has preferred to banish. – John Stuart Mill

There are those to whom the question of whether to privatize the nation’s police forces is mere academic whimsy—a question of consequence only to the eggheads and cranks of the Academy, not to those who so solidly inhabit the “real world.” Most of these believe the enforcement of law to be the exclusive province of the state. Such a belief is rooted in an obvious falsehood: the notion that there is a unique and singular commodity called “enforcement of law.” There is, in fact, no such singular commodity. 1

Enforcement of law is a phenomenon that admits of infinite degrees and permutations. Take the case of a jewelry store. The theft of its wares is a crime under the law. But the jewelry store does not rely exclusively—or even primarily—on the majesty of the state’s enforcement of that law for its own security. The jewelry store engages the services of manifold private protection outfits: it takes out an insurance policy on its gems, which are kept under a locked glass display case, which can only be opened by an employee, who is under the ever-vigilant eye of video monitoring equipment, and who watches the customers with the aid of convex mirrors, and keeps the store’s cash in a locked vault, which is in a back room, which is in turn locked at closing time, and the store’s alarm activated as the employees leave and the armed night watchmen arrive. All of these are provided by private companies in the business of providing “security,” and all of which should give pause to those who consider the enforcement of law uniquely the franchise of the government.

None of this is to deny that the enterprise of law enforcement in America is largely the self-incurred responsibility of the state. But with responsibility comes reckoning. The government maintains police forces which collectively discharge a duty to serve and protect the law-abiding citizenry. Have the government’s police forces fulfilled this duty?

The evidence suggests unambiguously that they have not. Crime rates per 100,000 people—whether measured by total crime or violent crime or property crime—increased by not less than 100% in the decade of the 1960s. 2 Such evidence does little to commend the service and protection afforded us by our public police. That there has issued forth, against such unfriendly evidence, an argument that calls upon us to blame for the surge not the police, but rather the increasing tendency on the part of the public to report crime, is testimony to the inexhaustible malleability of the arguments of the American left.

Factual agreement, it seems, attaches to only the most incontrovertible of data: the murder rates. It is generally conceded that swollen murder rates reflect something other than a growing tendency to report the deed—what with corpses presenting a rather conspicuous presence and murdered persons a conspicuous absence.3 And the murder rates in large American cities between the years of 1963 and 1971—a period of less than a decade—escalated at a show-stopping 100%. This leads an urbanite to the clear conclusion that he is more likely to be murdered than was an American soldier likely to be killed in World War II combat— a datum in which the safety afforded to American citizens by the public police fails to compare favorably with that afforded
American soldiers by the Nazis. 4

Such a dismal failure on the part of the public police lends a terrible immediacy to the call for privatization. The following will attempt to sketch out the workings of private protection agencies while meeting the most significant objections. 5

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Tinsley – Private Police 97
PRIVATIZATION AND THE POOR

It will be roundly objected that private policing is undesirable insofar as only the wealthy could afford to implement it, leaving the poor without mechanism of legal protection. There are several solutions to this contingency consistent with the operation of a free market in law enforcement. First, however, it must be made clear that a perfect system of law enforcement is not, this side of paradise, an option. Therefore, in order to overcome the argument for privatization, it does not suffice merely to expose therein a flaw or potential flaw, e.g. that the poor could not (sufficiently) afford police protection. It must be concurrently demonstrated that the public enforcement of law is more effective in these regards vis-à-vis the private. Given that America’s poorest areas are among its most crime-ridden—so much that ad hoc citizen-volunteer patrols are currently mobilized to augment the disintegrating capacities of public police—one should expect no such demonstration to materialize.

Now, onward to the issue of how the poor shall obtain protection via the free market. The poor tend not to own their own homes—the poor, it is safe to generalize, are a tenant lot. They inhabit temporarily and voluntarily the property of a landlord and they do so because he has offered housing and related amenities that justify incurring the cost at which they are offered. In order to attract tenants, then, a landlord will need to provide police protection for his property and its inhabitants, or else he will be quickly out of his property and even quicker out of his tenants. The Bates Motel was never much of a hot spot.

And when the poor are not on their (rented) property, they are, as a matter of definition, on someone else’s. There, as participants in the so-called free rider problem, the poor shall be the beneficiaries of “free” police protection. 6 Toward clarification, here is an analogy. There are products for which the bother of charging money outweighs the prospects for profit; these products are thus offered free of charge to the individual user, more or less in affiliation with the sale of coadunate goods. Examples of this phenomenon abound: book matches are given away with and without the sale of tobacco products; bathrooms, whether in restaurants or department stores or gas stations, are often open to customers and the general public alike. 7 Police protection could operate likewise.

Private property owners using their property for commercial purposes would employ a protection agency to ensure that it is commercial, and not criminal, activity that reigns.8 Those of the poor—and the not-poor—would thereby enjoy police protection while on private, commercial property. This arrangement is, to a large extent, operative at present. One fears not that one’s purchases will be swiped in a shopping mall—there are mall security guards to prevent that; and one frets not at all, in a bank, that one’s cash will be lifted—there are armed security guards to discourage such things. It is when one is on public property, such as Central Park, protected by a public police that halts the criminal elements much as a sieve halts water, that one counts one’s self lucky to escape with life, limb, and maidenhead preserved. To illuminate the difference between the public and the private enforcement of law, simply imagine the rate of criminal activity at Central Park as prevailing at, say, Macy’s.

There is yet another manner in which the free market could confer security services upon the poor. Victims of a crime—poor or otherwise—could be awarded by the (private) courts a claim for damages in an amount which corresponds to the gravity of the crime. Such a claim would be transferable property. 9 Victims, then, would have the option of selling a claim for damages to a collection agency, which would proceed to apprehend the responsible party and exact the fee. (Just as many poor plaintiffs command the services of a lawyer by agreeing to split any damages forthcoming.) This action may be combined with a contractual agreement between the victim and the agency to again collaborate should a further crime be perpetrated against the former party. Such a pact would cement the initial relationship between the victim and the collection agency, with the agency’s commitment to exact future incurred damages engendering the protection of the victim via the power of deterrence. That is to say, the collection agency that contracted to so serve a given individual would not provide that individual with active law enforcement, e.g., cops on foot, or bicycle, or steed, or in cruisers; rather, the contract itself would provide the individual with passive law enforcement, would ward off the bad guys. This deterrence effect could be amplified by arranging for the contract to be public knowledge, much as the owner of a car places prominently notice of an effective car alarm.

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PRIVATIZATION AND CORRUPTION

It is widely held that private firms, organized for the enforcement of law within the parameters implied by profit-making, would be susceptible to bribery and corruption. The argument is roughly as follows: private protection agencies are motivated by the lure of profits; it would pay them, therefore, to engage in thuggery, or to protect others who do so.

There is manifest in this argument a fundamental failure to comprehend the workings of a free market. For one thing, private protection agencies, as compared to the state, would be unable to exercise coercion in the pursuit of clientele. A private protection agency must convince potential clients that it is possessed of both the wherewithal and the resolve to provide effective enforcement of the law. Providing a guarantee to the customer is one manner of doing so. Therefore, it is likely, or in any case possible, that the protection agencies would woo clients by offering to insure their lives and property. Manifestly, the protection agency that underwrites its clients has a strong incentive to protect them vigorously—and a strong disincentive to countenance bribery and corruption. Crimes perpetrated against its clients then become crimes paid for by the agency, and only an agency bent on masochism would allow for its officers to indulge criminal conduct.

In fact, it is the public police force that stands to profit from look-the-other-way law enforcement. After all, arriving at its funding, as it does, from (coerced) tax revenues, the public police will not endure economic hardship if and when it fails to arrest the onslaught of crime. Therefore, it pays for its officers to accept bribes from the perpetrators of crime, offering in exchange clemency. This fact was given neon prominence in the Knapp Commission Report on Police Corruption, published in 1972, which found virtually every office in the entire NYPD to be corrupt. 10 Moreover, if indeed criminal activity grows while the public is being “protected” by an unconcerned public police, it is very likely that the police budget will increase as well. Crime, after all, can pay. Which is not so much why the government runs the police as because the government runs the police.

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THE HUBRIS OF CENTRAL CONTROL

The officials of the state, possessed of but fragmented knowledge, nevertheless presume to determine by fiat the necessary degree of police protection for the entire citizenry. It is axiomatic that such charlatanry will lead to the inefficient use of scarce resources. The state cannot succeed because it squelches that vital power—human freedom—but for want of which the machinery of society might work more justly.

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References

Journal of Libertarian Studies 14:1 (Winter 1998–99): 95–100
©1999 Center for Libertarian Studies

*Patrick Tinsley is a recent college graduate.

1 See Murray N. Rothbard, For A New Liberty (New York: Macmillan, 1973), pp. 219–20.

2 U.S. Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1974), p. 413.

3 See Thomas Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions (New York: Basic Books, 1980), p. 274.

4 James Q. Wilson, Thinking About Crime (New York: Basic Books, 1975), p. 17. See also Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions, p. 274.

5 A common objections is that while the government may be too large, libertarians who agitate to privatize the public police would throw out the baby with the bathwater. The classic rejoinder to this claim was made in a speech by Harry Browne at the 1996 Libertarian Party National Convention: “We libertarians are throwing out the baby with the bathwater—Rosemary’s baby!”

6 See Walter Block, “Public Goods and Externalities: The Case of Roads,” Journal of Libertarian Studies 7, no. 1 (Spring 1983): 1–34.

7 See David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom (New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House, 1973), pp. 137–38.

8 It is good to bear in mind that this author advocates the privatization of the nation’s streets. Streets and sidewalks would be, under privatization, commercial property. For more on how roads could be paved, preserved, and protected on the free market, see Murray N. Rothbard, For A New Liberty (New York: Macmillan, 1973), pp. 202–18. Particularly noteworthy is the anecdote Rothbard therein relates, to the effect that the level of crime in New York’s Times Square, during a public police strike, was not a whit higher than the level of crime that prevailed when they were supposedly on the job.

9 See Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom.

10 See The Knapp Commission Report on Police Corruption (New York: George Braziller, 1972), p. 3: Of course, not all policemen are corrupt. If we are to exclude such petty infractions as free meals, an appreciable number do not engage in any corrupt activities. Yet, with extremely rare exceptions, even those who themselves engage in no corrupt activities are involved in corruption in the sense that they take no steps to prevent what they know or suspect to be going on around them.

Be Safe! Happy New Year!

drive-sober

We’ve all see the anti-drinking and driving campaign that says, “They’ll see you before you see them.” Personally, I prefer the anti-drinking and driving ads that focus on the way drunk drivers can hurt people; the consequences of their actions.

Recently the media has done a much better job of reporting specific abuses in law enforcement. People have begun to question whether the friendly neighborhood police officer we’re taught about in grade school is really there to serve and protect. That’s not to say that they’re all bad, but image is important.

When you use the police as an instrument of intimidation and fear, they will be received with fear and distrust. Don’t they have enough negative PR?

Tonight, while they’re out “busting bad guys” We Are Libertarians would simply like to say, “Be Safe.” Be safe for yourself as well as the people around you, but with that in mind, have whatever kind of fun you’re planning on having.

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!

Megyn Kelly & Santa Claus

Santa Sal 660

There are a lot of people mocking Fox News Anchor Megyn Kelly today due to comments that she made regarding Santa Claus and Jesus. See the following video:

Megyn’s rebuttal came from an article written in Slate by Aisha Harris – a culture blogger for Brow Beat. Kudos to Ms. Harris for writing a piece that has generated so much conversation. After all, isn’t that every writer’s goal; to be thought-provoking?

Regardless, I have to disagree with her premise, as well as her proposal to turn Santa Claus into a lovable cartoon penguin – but I understand her point. It’s cute… but I don’t want a penguin Santa (or any other animal for that matter).

I even enjoyed her father’s anecdote; the chameleon Santa Claus who morphs from ethnicity to ethnicity depending on the household. Still, as  a Puerto Rican / American, I know I’d tire just as easily of giving my kids some doctored story – different from the Santa Claus I’ve always known. How would it even sound? “Now kids, you’d better be nice! When our Ricky Martin Santa Claus jumps down the chimney; presumably because he likes to live la vida loca and base jumping just isn’t enough of a challenge, you’re going to be sad if he brings you a lump of coal!” And I’m not saying this just to defend Megyn Kelly. She’s a big girl and she can hold her own.

I am doing these two things:

1. I am commenting on the media as a whole (which Megyn Kelly is a part of). The media are like seagulls sometimes. They circle and circle until the slightest breadcrumb (or soundbite) falls within their reach. Suddenly they dive; hoping to be the first to get it. They then peck at it until it ceases to exist and return to their pursuit. Maybe we (We Are Libertarians) are guilty of this sometimes too (I don’t know), but the attack on Megyn Kelly today has been less about a reasonable conversation regarding St. Nick, and more about trying to embarrass and discredit her, period. Consumers of the media deserve better.

2. I am also posing a question. Aisha Harris approached the issue from a place of reconciliation, progress, and equality – but it failed. In 2013 (almost 2014), what sends more of a message of peace and acceptance; segregating Santa Claus so that he only caters to children of the same color, or accepting that Santa Clause (as he has always been marketed) is a guy who loves people, regardless of their complexion, enough to brave the cold (and probably some overbearing FAA regulations) on his sleigh, one night a year so that we can experience a day of joy on December 25th?

I don’t need (or even want) Santa Claus to be a Puerto Rican / American on my account, and I certainly don’t want a penguin in my home unsupervised. Besides, taking a penguin out of their natural habitat and forcing them to work (even if only in the land of fiction) might upset some animal rights activists somewhere, and they deserve a good Christmas too I would think.

Forgive my tone if it seems belittling. All I really want (as a parent and as a person) is to make sure that the message is always moving in the direction of love; never divisiveness or displeasure. And, while I can’t back Megyn Kelly for introducing Jesus as if he were an equal component in this argument, I can say that our traditional Santa Claus does just that.

Like Megyn Kelly, I’ll take him as is.

You can read Aisha Harris’ article here: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/holidays/2013/12/santa_claus_an_old_white_man_not_anymore_meet_santa_the_penguin_a_new_christmas.html

Pope Francis and Slate

Earlier today, Slate’s Matthew Yglesias wrote an article titled Pope Francis Strafes Libertarian Economics. This was not necessarily surprising since left leaning media outlets such as Slate, Salon, and Demos have recently discovered a truth which has long been understood by those of us at We Are Libertarians. That truth is, “Trolling Libertarians = Site Traffic.”

The article was humorous in its voice. While reading it I imagined a child who had just been handed a stellar report card. Anxious to receive praise for his efforts he excitedly runs home to show his mother. Likewise, I could see Mr. Yglesias reading Pope Francis’ words and racing to his computer to write; eager to ruffle libertarian feathers and brag to his friends about how Jesus endorsed socialism.

Read Matthew Yglesias’ article here: http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/11/26/evangelii_gauddium_pope_francis_vs_libertarian_economics.html

But reading Pope Francis’ words did warrant pause rather than an instant reaction. Upon reading them I took a moment to gather my thoughts. Now, after hours of reflection I have decided (for those curious) how libertarians should best approach this.

In order to best respond to Yglesias and others like him, libertarians need to approach Pope Francis, and the herds of happy liberals, tightly clasping their divine authoritarian report cards, as separate objectors. Pope Francis comes from a place of humble yet misguided, good intentions. Excited liberals; fully prepared to ambush Reddit and other social media sites are seeking to say “I told you so.” If only it were that easy.

Let’s examine some of Pope Francis’ words; some of the same words used in Matthew Yglesias’ Slate piece.

“How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.”

The first sentence is more of a cultural matter than a political matter. An elderly person dying is absolutely more devastating than a tick in the stock market. However, stocks imply investments, investments imply personal wealth, and personal wealth implies an individual’s means of supporting his or her lifestyle. Lifestyle refers to how a person eats, lives, enjoys, consumes, and prospers. And yet the media chooses to report market news presumably because they believe that is where their readers, listeners, and viewers are the most fully invested. To that Pope Francis would probably find the real problem. People need to be more invested in people. Legislation can’t change that, but Pope Francis can. He can be an example above most others in terms of what it means to care about his fellow man. His stage is large and people are obviously watching.

Further, Pope Francis goes on to say, “Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality.” Perhaps, but who creates inequality?

I spent seven years working with the at-risk youth in my community in a residential facility. Every day large quantities of food were thrown away; so much, in fact, that on more than one occasion employees inquired about the food, offering to transport it to local homeless shelters rather than having it thrown away. This would have meant three things. 1. The food would have served a better purpose. 2. The youth in our facility would have known the consequences of doing good for those in need. 3. The homeless in our community would have had access to a large amount of food that they would not have otherwise had.

Unfortunately employees were told that, due to government regulations the food had to be thrown away. Transporting it from Point A to Point B might cause a reduction in temperature which could breed bacteria, making it unsafe for consumption. That was laughable. Our facility was no more than 5 minutes from the homeless shelter. Could a five minute car ride really be that much of a health risk that the risk of hunger was more worthwhile to those that needed to eat? And so government allowed for more hunger by not allowing a private solution.

Another example is a church in our community that offers financial assistance to people who can show that they are doing everything in their power to get by. Even though their assistance is private, they too are bound by certain government regulations. For instance, a single mother walked in one day requesting help with her electric bill. After examining her income versus the bills that she needed to pay it was discovered that she would still have $25 dollars leftover with which to pay her electric. While this would not have paid the entire bill the church declined her application stating that she would still have $25. Upset, the woman made the case that with that money she would also have to pay book rental for her child. She also stated that he needed a new pair of shoes because his were worn. The church employee apologized stating that due to government regulations they were not allowed to help her since she had leftover funds. What did they do instead? They gave her an application for more government assistance.

The government breeds a culture of hungry people, and also breeds a culture of dependence. They do this by preventing private institutions from taking care of the people in their communities when they are able.

Pope Francis continued, “While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.”

Occupy Wall Street participants referred to that as “The 1%.” Political talking heads have referred to that as the deterioration of the middle class. Either way you word it that minority deserves to be examined. If you look closely you would probably find public employees, like our congressional representatives, who are paid significantly and given lifelong pensions on the public dime for their “service.” They are also exempt from controversial laws like Obamacare.

You would also find the owners of large corporations who give generously to political campaigns, whose favors are returned by legislators once in office. And yet, is that capitalism? Hardly. To pass corporatism off as “unfettered capitalism” would be a sham designed only to turn the lesser informed against the ideas of free markets.

And so I return to Pope Francis’ earlier words. “Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless.” I would argue that the powerful are the lawmakers. The powerless are the poor, and in some cases as demonstrated above, those seeking to help the poor.

Despite Pope Francis’ intentions we should be hesitant to ask for more political help to solve these very real problems. In addition, we should be downright opposed to further redistribution of the wealth.

Some of the greatest crimes against man have been allowed by government. In Nazi Germany their government was the purveyor of great evil. In the United States slavery was once legal. There was a time in America when a white business owner attempting to give service to a black customer could have been prosecuted. And, in the examples above, private institutions refused to help people in need with the resources they had because they were afraid of disobeying regulations put in place by the government; essentially making it illegal to help.

If I were Pope Francis I would maintain that there is indeed a problem, but the problem cannot be solved by asking politicians to fix cultural ills. Rather, I would say that government is the cultural ill. Reducing the size, scope, and power of governments everywhere is the only chance we have at realistically getting to a place where neighbors can be neighbors again. Though his overall message of “Money must serve, not rule” is a fantastic and beautiful sentiment (one that I happen to agree with), I believe that Pope Francis’ prayers would better be answered in a time and place where an angel next door has a blessing that can be legally accepted.

Gary Johnson on Rand Paul and the “libertarian” GOP

Johnson

 

During an interview with We Are Libertarians this morning, former New Mexico Governor, and 2012 presidential candidate to the Libertarian Party, Gary Johnson, called out Libertarian Republicans, specifically Rand Paul, as not being libertarian enough for the libertarian vote.

“I think Republicans are sideways on five specific issues. Those issues are drug reform, marriage equality, immigration reform, military spending, and women’s rights.” Governor Johnson continued. “What’s maddening to me is that every person out there right now that describes themselves as a Republican / libertarian are actually social conservatives.“

Governor Johnson then made specific reference of Republican Senator Rand Paul (KY), who many have speculated will run for President of the United States in 2016. “Currently everyone is focusing on Rand Paul and what he has to say because he’s a libertarian; but not really because he’s sideways on those five things.”

Included in the We Are Libertarians interview Gary Johnson also discussed the NSA and whether or not he would run for President in 2016. For the full interview with We Are Libertarians, click here: https://wearelibertarians.com/interview-gary-johnson/

HealthCare.Gov: First Impressions

I recently met with a client who is in the process of developing a new store. Originally the store was expected to open during the first week of November. Though plugging away at construction the business owner is focused on quality and as such he has decided to postpone the date of the grand opening. During our conversation he told me, “We have to push it back. I mean, could we open it next week? Sure. But I understand that first impressions are everything and I want everything to be held at a really high standard so that when people first visit, they know they’ll never go anywhere else.” This is what I love about small business owners. They’re so invested in what they do and they take so much pride in their product. Their livelihood depends on them being the best.

Now, compare that to the public sector. The controversial healthcare overhaul has gone from Nancy Pelosi’s infamous “We have to pass it to know what’s in it,” all the way to the launch of HealthCare.Gov and the glitches which have been (more than not) minimized by the Obama administration.

But strip away all of the politics. For just a moment try to forget about what the widely debated “Obamacare” will or will not do. Forget about how we’re going to pay for it, whether or not it will be sustainable, and whether or not it will actually be effective. For just one moment, try to filter this system of healthcare through the perspective of the small business owner as I have illustrated above.

The small business owner understands the power of first impressions.

HealthCare.Gov opened (seemingly) putting the cart before the horse. Criticisms of site performance (from both sides) have dominated the week’s news cycle. The line given by the administration is that HealthCare.Gov, like Apple’s newest operating system, simply has some bugs that need to be worked out.

It’s an easy line to sell, but I hardly think it genuine. The truth is that Apple is an established company known for making quality products. When a glitch occurs Apple’s response is timely and diligent. As a result consumers continue to buy Apple products – extending grace when complications arise and seeing enough value in the product that those instances haven’t outweighed the good.

But if you’re honest with yourself, when in recent memory (if ever) have you used the words “quality” or even “efficient” when it comes to the federal government? It doesn’t exactly have the same track record or history of success as say, Apple, does it?

And it certainly doesn’t share the same concerns as my client who knows that a negative first impression could mean the eventual decline of his business, leaving him without the financial stability to pay the bills, and the ability to live his best scenario life. In fact, we’ve put up with negative impressions of government for as long as I can remember, and even though it sometimes leaves a bad taste in our mouths, opting out of it is nearly impossible.

For the business owner every important decision is treated with a “life or death” mentality. Yet, our government, who has literally gone into the business of life and death, have already shown that their concern for first impressions do not run quite as deep.

Perhaps this insurance thing should have been left to the business owners all along.

How Will You Dress for Halloween?

Halloween

One Halloween I considered dressing up as Democrat. The directions on the costume advised: “Directions: For full effect, wear this costume while taking a portion of candy out of every bag in the neighborhood. Then pass the candy out to whomever you feel needs it the most. Whether or not they have gone door-to-door for themselves is irrelevant.”

The more I thought about those directions the more guilty I began to feel. Eventually I decided that going as a Democrat was a bad idea.

And so I thought, “Why not go as a Republican?” Yes. That would be perfect! There were two styles of costumes that I was able to choose from while going as a Republican, and I love having options. Of course before I committed to either one I had to try them on.

After putting on the first Republican outfit I exited the dressing room excited and looked at myself in the mirror. But something wasn’t right. Had I taken the wrong costume off of the rack? I hadn’t, but while the tag did say “Republican,” my reflection looked just like the Democratic costume which I had looked at just moments before. Confused, I sought guidance from the directions.

Directions: While wearing this costume it is still entirely acceptable to take candy from the other children in the neighborhood. However, take less (even if it’s not much less). Also, rather than turning that candy over to some other group of kids who look like they need candy, seek out a group of children who are teepeeing one of your neighbors’ houses. Teepeeing can be tiring and they’ll likely need the energy. Be a good neighbor. Even if it makes your other neighbor upset. You can’t please everyone. P.S. Your house may get teepeed in return, but it’s not your fault. Your neighbors likely hate you because you have candy.”

I had to chuckle. Disillusioned, I decided to take off the first Republican outfit and try on the second one. This one had to be better. As a libertarian every other day of the year it was more appealing to the eye. When I tried it on it felt better. It fit better. There were no snarky directions on the label. I thought I had found a winner! There was a Warning label however. “WARNING: This Costume intends to portray a Tea Party Conservative. Wear at your own risk.” That seemed odd and maybe even a little silly.

Confidently I stepped out from behind the curtain and again turned to look at myself in the mirror, but before I could even focus on the reflection in front of me I began to notice people shouting.

“What’s wrong with you?” I turned to see a mother holding her young son by the wrist and walking away with a look of disgust on her face.

“Are you stupid?” An old man yelled at me from across the room.

Partly offended I turned to the costume shop employee and asked him, “What did I do wrong?” Seemingly amused, the boy responded. “Don’t worry Mister. It happens to everyone who tries on that costume.”

“Why?” I asked.

“All the candy stores have been threatening to shut down just days before Halloween. When you wear that costume they think you look like the guys who shut it down. It’s not you. It’s who you’re wearing.” I turned to my left just in time to see a piece of candy flying towards my face. Quickly I ducked and ran back to the dressing room to remove the Tea Party suit.

When I was back in my regular clothes I returned to the counter and asked the boy how people seemed to respond to the Libertarian Party costumes. “It’s a toss-up.” He said. “Some people won’t even notice you. Others will compliment you and give you a high five. Sadly, at the end of the day you probably won’t have enough candy to fill your basket.”

“Well, that seems unfair,” I thought.

And so I left without a single costume purchase. But what about Halloween?

Well, I eventually decided that the best thing to do for Halloween was to go as a small “l” libertarian. In all honesty it was the cheapest costume of all. Rather than dressing up in something elaborate with strict instructions on how to treat the people around me, I simply purchased a bag of my favorite candy, went home, and spent the rest of the night minding my own business.

Halloween has never been so relaxing. What will you be this year?

End of the Shutdown? Who Won?

Drowning

 

My short and simple illustration on how the government shutdown played out: A Republican and a Democrat went underwater to see who could hold their breath the longest. At the end, one of them drowned and the other panicked and gave up. The sad thing is, I can’t tell which did which.

The Government Shutdown According to Katy Perry

katy_perry_roar

In January 2013 I wrote a piece titled The Government According to Taylor Swift which referenced various Taylor Swift songs in order to point out certain idiocies within the Federal Government. At the time I joked that while the public speculated her songs as being inspired by past relationships, Swift was actually a political prophet.

Sound silly? You’re probably right. To think that a pop singer like Taylor Swift cares at all about government overreach is probably just naïve on my part. But Katy Perry on the other hand; she rages against the machine. As she began to write her new album (due October 22nd) some might say that she was only interested in maintaining her pop celebrity status; writing dance hits for 15-year-old girls and creating eye candy for the rest of us. But I tend to disagree.

Yes beneath the layers of eyeliner, synthesizers, heavy bass and brassieres lies a political mind which saw the partial shutdown of government on the horizon long before the political factions on Capitol Hill came to a head.

As with the Taylor Swift piece, please accept this article with the humor in which it is intended. Let’s start with her album title.

Prism

That’s right. I said Prism. Were she just some quirky brunette who gallivants the globe in lingerie comparing young girls to fireworks would she have named her album after one of the most important stories to break in 2013? I think not. Rather she chose to name her upcoming album after the mass electronic data collection program that the NSA didn’t want us to know about. And, had it not been for the now famed whistle blower Edward Snowden, they would have had their way. Snowden’s revelation by way of The Guardian and subsequent leaks by Glenn Greenwald and other journalists have since caused the following chain of events to divide the United States Congress. To prove that Katy Perry had correctly deciphered the tea leaves, take a look at some of her album’s upcoming tracks.

Roar

This was Perry’s first single off of Prism. It likely refers to the reaction of the American public in the wake of Edward Snowden’s lesson in transparency. On both sides of the aisle a panicked electorate scoffed and riled at the thought of their privacy being shriveled to fiction within a matter a moments. It was weeks before the roar of the people (as well as the media) began to silence, and even then it only silenced to prepare for action.

Legendary Lovers

As recent as 2012 libertarians have been written off as fringe or extreme within the political conversation. The American people seemed to have a love affair with their government, or at least what they thought their government was.

Former Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul has often been treated as a sort of Moses to the libertarian movement; creating room in the national conversation for libertarian principles and fighting against the establishment with hopes of freeing hearts and minds. In 2008 Ron Paul was supported by John Mayer. John Mayer is currently Katy Perry’s boyfriend. In the following clip you can see Mayer arguing with actor Justin Long in defense of Ron Paul and the U.S. Constitution: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vssZ1gkhKTE

Though he was obviously drunk in the clip, if Mayer has continued to carry political beliefs such as he did in 2008, he has probably spoken with Perry at length about those beliefs during the course of their relationship. As her political knowledge has grown it is likely that she has seen the fate of these Legendary Lovers, the United States government and the people of the United States of America, growing further apart.

Birthday

On October 13th (with about one week left until the release of Perry’s album Prism) the White House will celebrate its 221st birthday. When the first cornerstone was laid in 1792 our forefathers were grateful for the battles which had been won, and weary of how well the ideas that they had sacrificed everything for would be preserved. This was just four years after the ratification of the U.S. Constitution; a document that is still at the heart of the American political conversation (for better or worse).

Walking On Air

Perry often writes about sleeping, dreaming, and waking up (as well as the dreams that accompany this process). On her first record One of the Boys she made noise by Waking Up in Vegas and daydreamed about another man in her song Thinking of You. Her second album Teenage Dream and the accompanying single of the same name catapulted her to the top of the charts and showed the world of pop music that she was going to be a permanent fixture. But beyond that Perry’s new album introduces the song Walking on Air.

Though not at all an exact science, dream interpreters will tell you that dreaming about walking on air could be an indication that you are upbeat and carefree, with a feeling of invincibility. In regards to the government the words “Too Big to Fail” immediately come to mind.

Until recently the United States government has carried itself with an aura of invincibility, but only in recent years have the American people become increasingly vocal about their disenchantment. In recent months as stories regarding Benghazi, the NSA surveillance programs, and the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups applying for non-profit status have broken, the people have become louder; angered and putting the government on notice that they will not be walking on air for much longer.

Dark Horse: This song title could refer to any number of the Tea Party / libertarian members in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. When the House and the Senate refused to agree on budgeting terms including the President’s controversial health care law, a government shutdown was implemented (of course I use that term loosely). Prior to the shutdown some of the most prominent defenders of the pro-liberty / limited government coalition, were also some of the loudest voices in congress.

Those voices have included Justin Amash, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Thomas Massie, and even Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz himself could even be the dark horse that Katy Perry refers to as just days before the much hyped government shutdown Cruz spoke up against Obamacare for 21 hours straight on the Senate floor; a stunt which took him from a still relatively unknown politician (nationally), to somewhat of a hero in Tea Party and libertarian circles.

Choose Your Battles

The GOP seems to have done just that. During the 2012 Presidential campaign, and even during the Tea Party explosion in 2010 Barack Obama’s healthcare law has been a serious point of contention for the GOP. Different members of the party have taken different issues with the law, but if choosing your battles wisely is conventional wisdom, Perry may have been foreshadowing that healthcare is the Republicans’ chosen battle; or warning them that it will be their hill to die on.

International Smile

The Telegraph recently posted the following article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/10368979/China-warns-US-to-stop-manufacturing-crises-and-raise-debt-ceiling.html

In the article China warns the U.S. to cease political charades and public infighting for the sake of the world economy. Clearly the fight to preserve Constitutional government versus those who support larger government initiatives is bothering the international community; causing them panic and risking the loss of the international smile toward the U.S. that Katy Perry may be referring to here.

It Takes Two

And at the end of the day it does take two. For years Republicans and Democrats have compromised on a number of things in order to push other initiatives forward. These initiatives have been plagued by special interests rather than restrained by constitutional limitations, and the conversation has now escalated at a time when the U.S. could be reaching a breaking point.

Ghost

In conclusion, Perry, wise in her political predictions, could be lamenting the thought of what could happen if the government cannot respect the Constitution and the voices calling out for a more accountable and accessible representative government. For if they refuse to listen, the U.S. could eventually be nothing more than a ghost of the republic that it once was.

Ron Paul Visits The Tonight Show

Editor’s Note: Last night former Texas Representative Ron Paul and friend to We Are Libertarians Dr. Ron Paul was interviewed on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

On a personal note, my favorite part of the interview involved his son’s (Rand Paul’s) run for the Senate. During that topic he talked about how the Republican turn out during that campaign was much smaller than non affiliated groups (Tea Party Groups, etc.). According to Dr. Paul, “Parties aren’t that popular anymore.”

One can only hope that there is some merit to that sentiment. A lack of party loyalty would be great in terms of electing more libertarian minded individuals, and continuing to change the national conversation. For more encouragement click the video above.

UPDATE: How YOU Can Defund Obamacare

Defund It

Update: At the conclusion of Senator Ted Cruz’s 21 hour “filibuster” on the Senate floor a vote was taken (cloture) which opens the floor to further debate.

It is now expected that a final vote will take place on either Friday or Saturday depending on the length of the debate. Though the continuing resolution – which would maintain the funding for all government programs except for the health care law (Obamacare), has passed in the House, most speculate that it will not pass in the Senate.

On a radio interview with Rush Limbaugh between 1:30pm and 2pm on Wednesday Ted Cruz said that he was encouraged by the noise that the American people have been making.

“When enough people stand up the politicians will take notice.” He referenced immigration reform in 2007 as well as the drone debate and debate over Syrian intervention (from this year) as instances where the people were loud and had a positive impact on the course of events.

Senator Cruz asked everyone to visit dontfundit.com to sign the petition to defund the controversial health care law. He also asks that each person actively find three other people to sign the petition as well. He also asks that people call their Senators and let them know that they stand firmly against the health care bill.

When asked whether or not he would prefer a Friday or Saturday vote Senator Cruz replied that he would ultimately prefer Friday, “Because on Saturdays people want to relax and watch football. There are plenty of distractions so Friday afternoon would be a prime time for the people to focus in on the vote.”

Obviously that depends on the length of the debate. Here is what we can do to help it along: Be active over the next few days. Sign the petition as Senator Cruz has requested. Ask others to do the same. Call your Senators and make your voices heard. According to Senator Cruz, “At this point, the fight is really in the hands of the people.”

Here is the link to Senator Cruz’s petition: http://www.dontfundobamacare.com/