Lenz: A Night At The Middlebury, When The Snowflakes Become A Blizzard

There is an old story told about Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, that could not be more relevant than at this moment in American society. When unveiling the Model T for the first time to the public, a reporter covering the unveiling is said to have asked, “Will it be available in different colors?”

To which Ford offered a tongue-in-cheek reply, “Of course. You can have any color you want…as long as it is black.”

One cannot help but think that if Mr. Ford were a millennial college student today, tasked with leading a social justice or liberal organization at a prominent liberal arts college, he would echo a similar response when asked, “Does your organization tolerate diversity opinion?”

“Of course. You can have any opinion you want…as long as it is ours.”

Such is the sad state of allowable opinion within the American Left. A truth which was more than evident after observing the act of hostility conducted by protesters at Middlebury College in response to Dr. Charles Murray’s invitation to speak by a campus student organization.

The protester’s totalitarian response to his invitation to deliver a lecture on his 2014 book “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.” and participate in a post lecture question and answer discussion was a perfect illustration of the Left’s complete disregard for diversity of thought, its exchange, or any sense of self-awareness about their hypocritical abandonment of “beloved principles”.

Not to victim blame, but assuming these militant Soviet-style social justice warriors who are currently carrying out their own version of a cultural Red Dawn on American college campuses, would ever support a forum for the free exchange of ideas is so patently absurd, the burden of blame clearly lies on those who extended Mr. Murray’s invitation.

After all snowflakes, when exposed to anything other than the perfect weather conditions their existence depends upon, melt into a flood of tears most closely resembling those of the “literally shaking” protesters at Middlebury College.

Literally shaking

Now, to the average American citizen, the type of outrage Dr. Murray’s invitation incited would seem more fitting for that of the Grand Dragon of the Klu Klux Klan, rather than an individual with the impeccable credentials he holds. For reference, please see the brief biography and summary of “controversial positions” below:

Charles Murray: an American libertarian conservative political scientist, sociologist, author, and columnist. Currently a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, DC.

  • He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. in history from Harvard.
  • Murray’s articles have appeared in Commentary magazine, The New Criterion, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.
  • He is best known for his controversial book The Bell Curve (1994), written with Richard Herrnstein, in which he argues that intelligence is a better predictor than parental socio-economic status or education level of many individual outcomes such as: income, job performance, pregnancy out of wedlock, and crime.
  • Much of the controversy stemmed from Chapters 13 and 14, where the authors write about the enduring differences in race and intelligence and discuss implications of that difference.
  • While the authors were reported throughout the popular press as arguing that these IQ differences are genetic, they write “The debate about whether and how much genes and environment have to do with ethnic differences remains unresolved,” and “It seems highly likely to us that both genes and the environment have something to do with racial differences.”
  • The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies Murray as a white nationalist who peddles “racist pseudoscience.”

How is that for a resume enhancer? Good luck explaining to an employer your inclusion on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of racists…

Now classifications aside, when was the last time David Duke (former imperial wizard of the Klu Klux Klan) called for a radical new approach to social policy eliminating all welfare transfer programs at the federal, state, and local levels and substituting an annual $10,000 cash grant to everyone age twenty-one or older, such as the one Murray suggested in his book “In Our Hands: A Plan To Replace the Welfare State”?

In Our Hands describes the financial feasibility of the Plan and its effects on retirement, health care, poverty, marriage and family, work, neighborhoods and civil society. Indiscriminately giving income assistance to the poor regardless of ethnicity? Sounds pretty racist…

In many ways, it is perhaps a good thing that the left-wing protesters did everything possible to prevent an open an honest dialogue from occurring. The American Left has always hypocritically proclaimed their love for freedom of speech, as well as their condemnation of the use of physical violence.

Yet when presented with the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to those principles, they employed every possibly tactic to prevent Dr. Murray from exercising his constitutionally granted right to freedom of speech. Luckily, the administration of Middlebury College took every precaution necessary to counteract the will of the snowflakes, and after roughly thirty minutes of audience disruption by the protesters, Dr. Murray was taken to a private room to deliver his lecture and participate in a discussion over a closed circuit feed.

Dr. Allison Stanger

The post lecture question and answer session was led by Middlebury faculty member, and vocal critic of Dr. Murray, Dr. Allison Stanger. Prior to she and Dr. Murray’s necessary relocation to a private room, she tried to address the angry mob of intellectually stunted liberals, but even after voicing her support of their criticisms, the sobbing snowflakes refused to budge.

As if silencing opposition opinion were not vindication enough for those of us that have maintained the left are totalitarians in victims clothes, their decision to resort to physical violence once the event ended, serves as a delicious icing on the cake of leftist exposure.

While exiting the venue Dr. Murray, Dr. Stanger, and another Middlebury College official were mobbed as they tried to escape to a vehicle designated to take them to a private dinner on campus, unsurprisingly, that dinner had to be relocated to an off campus venue several miles away. In the midst of the storm, the protesters tried to grab Dr. Murray but missed an inadvertently grabbed Dr. Stanger by the head from outside the car twisting her neck and causing her to need a neck brace the following day.

Middlebury College’s President condemned the despicable acts of the protesters and publicly shamed them for their hypocrisy in a statement the following day. Dr. Charles Murray, instead of demanding an apology, requiring Middlebury offer a set of reforms to prevent future attacks on guest speakers, and threatening a lawsuit, acted in a fashion exemplifying the type of classy individual he is.

His blog post on the American Enterprise Institute’s website, summarizing the night’s events and adding some thoughts about its sociological and cultural implications on college campuses going forward, is indicative of the toleration which no longer exists on the American Left. Alas, it appears toleration will continue to make its home, as always, on the American Right.

While physical harm and the suppression of speech is never something to be celebrated, there are few things more sweet than the vindication which accompanied America’s introduction to campus snowflake culture and the revelation of the totalitarian face which has always been hiding underneath the Left’s mask of toleration. The events at Middlebury College were America’s first taste of the violent blizzards in its future, at the hands of Stalinist snowflakes who become violently outraged at the existence of diversity of thought.

Lucky for us, the awaiting blizzard of snowflakes will pass just like any other storm…

 

Dustin Reed: Presenting Libertarianism at Ball State University

Last year while I was working for the Rich Turvey for Congress campaign, we had the opportunity to participate in a candidate forum at a local university. During the forum, we met the director of the Political Science department, and I took the opportunity to ask if I can present to one of his classes sometime. This past week I was given that opportunity and spoke to a sophomore level Political Science Class.

Dustin Reed;
County Chairman of the Delaware County Libertarian Party of Indiana

Admittedly I was somewhat skeptical of how I would be received, especially after seeing the intolerance of leftist students on campuses around the country recently. To my surprise and delight the students were engaged, thoughtful, and respectful. For the presentation, I decided to keep things at a high-level and give them the foundation of what libertarianism and the Libertarian Party are.

Starting with libertarian philosophy I used David Boaz’s “Libertarianism: A Primer” as a resource (which is a great read and I encourage you to check it out). One of the earliest examples of libertarian thought we can find is in Lao Tzu’s “Tao Te Ching” which is more of a moral bible than a political manifesto. In Tao Te Ching Lao Tzu said:

“Without law or compulsion, men would dwell in harmony.”

After touching on Sophocles, Pluralism, and Thomas Paine I ended with Robert Nozick author of “Anarchy, State, and Utopia”. Nozick succinctly said

“…a minimal state, limited to the narrow functions of protection against force, theft, [and] fraud, enforcement of contracts, and so on, is justified; that any more extensive state will violate persons’ rights not to be forced to do certain things, and is unjustified; and that the minimal state is inspiring as well as right.”

These quotes, though great, prompted me to explain that libertarianism is not necessarily the complete absence of government. I also explained to the students the difference between libertarianism and anarchy and wanted to reinforce the idea that anarchy itself is not chaos.

Party history and structure was discussed from the national to local level. I did feel it was important to include the party’s statement of principles:

(1) the right to life—accordingly we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others;

(2) the right to liberty of speech and action—accordingly we oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press, as well as government censorship in any form; and

(3) the right to property—accordingly we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain, and support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.

While discussing principle two, a student asked about child pornography and if libertarianism would allow its sale and distribution. After explaining that this principle opposes governmental abridging and censorship of speech, and that child pornography would most certainly be considered criminal and immoral, this was the perfect opportunity to explain the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP). It seems that as libertarians we are expected to have a working knowledge, if not be proficient in, several areas of politics and economics. However, I believe if you stick to the principles of liberty and the NAP, you can explain almost anything.

During the question and answer session (which I considered the best part of our time) I received questions ranging from immigration, Gary Johnson, the future of the party, to libertarian economics. A common theme began to develop from the student’s questions about libertarianism and the Libertarian Party:

  • Are third parties taken seriously and what can they do to improve their image?
  • What are the Libertarian Parties plans on building on the momentum of 2016?
  • Why do you only hear about the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President? Wouldn’t it be better to run local candidates first?

These are excellent questions all of which I hope the National Party has already addressed or is in the process of addressing. Since becoming a Libertarian in 2008, it has always baffled me why we always put everything into the presidency when we haven’t even proved we can govern effectively. Though we got over 3% of the popular vote only less than 20 Libertarians were elected nation-wide and to my knowledge not to any office higher than mayor.

We have an eager audience and are at a critical time for the party. As one of the students said to me afterwards “I always thought of the libertarians as the rational ones”. Hopefully we don’t let this opportunity pass.

 

Libertarians Are Losing The Transgender School Bathroom Debate

Last year, President Obama’s administration issued guidance to public schools that said they must allow students to use the bathroom with the gender they identify with, regardless of their actual sex.

This year, the Trump administration reversed that order.  Now states and localities will be deciding what their transgender bathroom policies will be.

For libertarians, this is a complicated issue.  One the one hand, if there is to be a government, we’d like it to be as decentralized as possible.  So there’s definitely an argument in favor of state’s rights.  However, this particular issue deals with public property.  Since it’s public property, partially funded with federal dollars and overseen by a federal department, there’s an argument that the federal government has a duty to accommodate the needs of transgender students.

What should be the libertarian solution?  To paraphrase an old saying, “If you ask two libertarians their opinion on something, you’ll get three answers!” That quote couldn’t be more appropriate here.  Libertarians may argue over what the public school transgender bathroom policy should be, but we ultimately agree that the real solution is to privatize all schools and let the owners and customers decide.

Instead of each state or district or the entire country having a one-size-fits all policy, any school could have their own policy since they’d be privately owned.  That way no matter where you live, you’ll have options to choose from.  Just like we have many choices in grocery stores, we should have just as many options in education.

Why We’re Losing

In the sales world there’s an effective selling technique known as the Alternative Choice Close.  The idea is that you present your prospect with two choices, both of which end in them buying your product.  If you’ve ever bought a car at a dealership you’ve seen this technique in action.  When the salesperson is giving you an offer on a car, they’ll give you several different payment options and ask “Which option would you prefer?”  This technique increases the chances of a sale compared to asking the prospect a “Yes/No” question.  One where “No” is an easy option.  I.e. “Would you like to buy it at these terms?”

Or to relate it to the dating world, if you want to ask a girl out on a date it’s much more effective to say “Where would you like me to take you: Applebee’s or Chili’s?” Instead of “Do you want to go on date with me?”

On the public school bathroom issue, and many other issues, libertarians are being had by slick salesmanship from those in charge of the government.  Government presents us with a conservative and liberal choice on an issue, and we feel the need to pick the least bad side.  No matter what choice we get sold on, we’re buying a government solution.  The people in power don’t care what side ultimately wins out.  So long as they keep their control over the topic in question.  Same with the car salespeople.  They don’t care which payment you choose, just so long as you pick a payment and they get the sale!

On this issue in particular, too many libertarians are choosing to side with either the right or the left.  Perhaps some libertarians have bought into the fear-mongering involving transgender people.  Perhaps some libertarians are trying to curry favor with one side of the isle in the hopes of being seen as tolerant.  Perhaps some libertarians are just tired of being left out of the debate and want to feel like they’re being heard, even at the cost of choosing a lesser evil.  Whatever the excuse, by siding with the left or right, we’re dooming our ideology to a life of existing just outside of the Overton Window.

Unapologetic, Consistent Freedom

The two greatest salespeople for libertarianism in the last 100 years were Ron Paul and Ayn Rand.  No two people were responsible for more converts to our ideology in that span.  In spite of their extreme differences in how they lived their lives, they had one important thing in common.  They were unapologetic and consistent in their defense of human freedom.  Even when it took them to unpopular places.  Or in the case of Dr. Paul, even when it caused him to wallow in obscurity for decades before people started taking him seriously.  Ron Paul is a perfect example of the concept that it usually takes years of hard work to become an overnight success!

When it comes to the ongoing battle over transgender bathrooms and public schools, we can’t fall victim to the false narrative that it has to be one or the other.  Yes, I realize that eliminating public schools isn’t an option any time soon.  It may not be an option ever, at least politically.  Technology will most likely make public schools obsolete way before government gives up their control of education.

So why not pick a side if our solution isn’t even an option, you ask?  I see two big reason why we should stick to our seemingly hopeless guns.

First, this is how we win converts.  If we’re seen as nothing more than a centrist movement, where we take a little bit from the left and a little bit from the right, we’re not going to inspire anyone.  If we have no clear ideology on issues, or if we’re seen as being easy to throw away our ideology in order to settle for the lesser evil, we’ll always be thought of as the nerdy kid trying desperately to get into the cool kid party.

Second, we’re not going to sway the people in charge anyway!  Seriously, could you imagine a scenario where the government is deadlocked on an issue, so they come to the libertarians to make the call?  The idea is laughable!

This tyranny train is roaring full steam ahead with or without us.  Since we seem to be the only group of people on this train that can see we’re heading off a cliff, it’s our duty to ourselves and our fellow humans to do our best to point out the truth and offer the only moral solution.  Instead of advocating the conservative or liberal “solution”, we need to present the libertarian solution.  The fact that the libertarian solution isn’t even on the table for discussion isn’t an excuse to settle for the lesser evil.  In fact, that’s all the more reason to be presenting our solution far and wide, if only to move the Overton Window toward libertarian ideas.  In this case, unapologetic privatization of everything to do with education.

Originally published on Mike’s website here.  Check out his blog levelheadedlibertarian.com for more!

You may also like Government is Turning College into High School by Mike Tront

Pro-gun Rights and Fear

My passion has always been how the law looks at inalienable rights and I have directed my efforts primarily toward reviewing proposed bills and laws. For years Indiana has had in various forms proposals for what is now commonly referred to as Constitutional Carry. Most recently HB 1159 “Regulation of firearms” was proposed. While one side supported this bill the other side strongly lobbied by Law Enforcement Agencies was almost unanimous in opposition.

What is the seen by the ordinary person when information is provided?

Law Enforcement holds to their position that everyone having guns without a license is a danger to them and everybody else. Individuals who believe law enforcement is their protection against crime tend to support the law enforcement position. Individuals who desire being able to carry a handgun are often called “gun nuts”.

Taking sides

Many are no doubt aware there has been a major dust up over Constitutional Carry HB 1159, and being drawn into the battle HB 1071 which was proposed as means to help victims who received a restraining order obtain handgun carry protection under certain conditions. (HB 1071) Now as fate would have it insults are flying. Elected members are criticized for doing their job, not doing their job and lying to the end that the public is seeing polarization doing its malicious work.

Enter Gun Groups supporting pro-gun rights.

A notice I received today in favor of pro-gun legislation from a pro-gun group can help explain why people who desire gun control removed are seen by so many as gun nuts. The communication requested I contact the named legislators and complain about the lack of passage of gun legislation because of specified legislators betraying, deceiving, lying and being “hostile to any pro-gun reforms”. It is not a pro-gun right it is a right to Life.

What did the average person just read?

What did someone who saw this pro-gun group notice in Facebook news feed or perhaps in an e-mail update read? Based upon the number of negative remarks about these two bills people see nothing except pro-gun rights. If you read any of my reviews of legislation you will never find any mention of anything other than individual rights. The vast majority of people fear guns because they perceive those who want guns are pro-gun nuts. Such a fear would logically be justified after all we are talking about a lethal weapon and people being unable to behave in a civilized manner. This would mean everybody would have guns criminals would be fortified.

Have you read the Indiana law on gun control? Does the public understand that only a “proper person” can carry without facing charges? Do you really think a criminal is going to ask for a piece of paper giving permission to own and carry? Do you understand that a criminal cannot be authorized to purchase or carry? Does a criminal care? Yet law enforcement tells you that without this license they cannot do their job as well.

Why do you think of this issue as a pro-gun right?

Black’s Law Dictionary 6 th ed defines a constitutional right as

“A right guaranteed to the citizens by the United States Constitution and state constitutions and so guaranteed as to prevent legislative interference therewith.”

What does the Bill of Rights in the Indiana Constitution dictate? “ The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State.” How could anyone believe the meaning of having the right to bear arms for the defense of themselves is a pro-gun right? The right is not pro-gun it is the right to defend one’s self.

Life is an absolute individual right to self- defense nothing less.

Indiana is prohibited from passing any law which depends upon any authority except as specifically provided in the Indiana Constitution. Life a Right defined and protected by the Indiana Constitution cannot be subject to legislation in order to be exercised. When people discuss the right to possess and carry a gun it must be acknowledged that that purpose is not the possession of a deadly weapon the purpose which is guaranteed is to have the ability to defend life.

Requiring permission from the government or other individuals makes protecting Life a privilege controlled by the government and others rather than an Individual Right of our existence. Do you believe another individual has the authority to determine your ability to defend your life or that of a loved one?

We are all created equal as individuals how can we debate the ability to protect the minority of one to be able to provide for self-protection? Without each Life being equal and each right to defense being equal we are responsible for who has the right to Live and who can die because they were not allowed to fight.

“WE DECLARE, That all people are created equal; that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that all power is inherent in the people; and that all free governments are, and of right ought to be, founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and well-being.”

https://nagr.org/2017/bloomberg_puppetshow_p.aspx?pid=fb1a

http://www.law.indiana.edu/uslawdocs/inconst.html

https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1071

https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1159

7 Signs You are being Emotionally Manipulated for Political and Financial Gain

You are a puppet being used by the 1% for power and fortune.

Before I prove it — no matter which side of the political aisle you’re on — I want to share where I’m coming from so you know I mean no malice.

You see, my profession is copywriting. A copywriter — particularly a direct response copywriter- has one job: To make the client money (sales) via written messaging.

To do that, a copywriter must:

  1. Research the market to find the persona who needs to be targeted.
  2. Get in the head of that persona — what is his or her experience? What does he think? What are his political beliefs? What are his presuppositions? How much money will he spend on this? Which emotional triggers will make him buy?
  3. Write words which pull at those strings as lightly as if that spider strand were in his or her own head. (And to do that, we must understand persuasion, manipulation, and emotional triggers well enough that we can use them so smoothly in our copy that no one notices.)

For a copywriter to do any of this well, he or she has to frequently climb outside the box of his or her own beliefs. For example, I regularly write for clients who views do not necessarily align with my own. But my job isn’t to agree with them. My job is to write in their voice to their audience and make them money. Period. The best copywriters write in voices and perspectives completely dissonant from their own. And we learn to enjoy seeing all sides of an issue.

Of course, this constant examination of the what-where-when-why-how of people’s brains, means copywriters tend to be a very unique bunch of people. Generally, they were already on the fringes anyway. The best ones in the field of direct response copywriting are otherwise completely unemployable. They loathe being cogs in a machine and would rather starve than pursue a 9–5.

Find one who’s been in the trenches, and you’ll hear a spew of ideas on politics, diet, mindset, and money which don’t quite align with anyone you’ll have ever heard before. (Think someone like Scott Adams, for example.)

And this outside-the-box thinking, combined with our deep dive into manipulation, lets us see what you cannot.

And what I’m seeing, as someone who doesn’t identify with any of the political parties, is that you are being manipulated like a puppet.

To prove it, I’ll give you 7 signs that you’re being manipulated. Remember folks, politics is marketing. The sooner you figure this out, the better equipped you’ll be to disengage from this process and resist those who want to do our country harm. (Whatever that actually means…)

Sign №1: Your opinions align with others of your ideological alignment more often than not.

The first sign that your political ideologies come from targeted political indoctrination rather than your own critical thinking is that your opinions perfectly align with everyone else in your party.

I remember back in 2008 when Barack Obama was first elected. At the time I was a college student and watched the election fervor sweep the campus. I was truly terrified, but not for reasons you’d think. You see, he didn’t seem unreasonable to me. What seemed unreasonable was the mass obsession with Obama and the hypnotic trance of every pro-Obama supporter. They’d parrot the same messages, have the same arguments, believe the same things, have the same enemy. They responded en masse as if they were indoctrinated.

And if it clucks like a chicken, maybe it’s a chicken.

We see this same thing now. If I were to go up to a liberal friend of mine, I’d hear one thing. If I were to go up to progressives, another. My conservative friends would hold another view and my Libertarian friends yet another. And they’d all be chirping the same message shared by the rest of their “group”… almost verbatim.

How does this happen?

Factor 1: Humans are lazy thinkers.

Think about the human brain as a machine which quickly sorts information into buckets: pleasure, pain, friend, foe, sexual conquest, etc. Sure, at the top layers of our brain we add “reasoning” to our gut decisions: “Too expensive” or “salesy” or “not my type” or “this makes sense”. But deep down, we’re making lizard-brain level decisions very, very rapidly. Human brains do not want to spend more time dissecting a piece of data than necessary. So the seeking of “new” information to invalidate an opinion just doesn’t happen. So people seek out information which reinforces their opinion because, frankly, it’s easier. Remember, this is a lizard-brain level decision, not conscious. I’m sure you’re a rational, open-minded individual. Your lizard brain is not.

Factor 2: Human brains don’t want to be wrong.

It helps to think of your brain as a piece of software with very set programming. If your brain believes something to be “true” — that you’re unlucky, for example- you will see reinforcement of that belief everywhere. It’s as if your brain applies a filter to your experiences and spits out conclusions which result from that filter.

Factor 3: Copious Consumption of Supporting Materials

Especially in cases of threats to survival, humans want to be sure that they’re right. It makes you feel safer to know that you’re on the “right” side. So what do you do? You look for information to “prove” it. Which ends up reinforcing your current belief anyway (see factor #2). The consumption of materials aligned with your ideology acts as a sort of indoctrination. Every headline says the same thing — “Bannon wants fascism” or “Clinton is incompetent!” — and repeats the wording and arguments over, and over, and over again. This is a form of manipulation which works well. So by the time you’ve ended your day, you’re indoctrinated into a very specific belief system. And you defend it fiercely because you believe you’ve come to it naturally. “It’s so obvious,” you’ll say, “I just don’t understand why the other side can’t see it.” Well, because they’re being indoctrinated in another view.

Think 1984, people. There’s financial gain to having fiercely opposing sides.

Sign №2: You react to headlines predictably.

Let’s suppose that the indoctrination (being “pre-sold” or hypnotized) is true.

If it’s true, then you now have emotional hot buttons which can be triggered by someone mentioning a specific name (e.g., Trump, Clinton, Obama), a specific situation code word (e.g., Benghazi), or another code word (alt-right, liberal, nazi). The test of your indoctrination is in how you respond. If you respond predictably and consistently to this anchor, and your response matches those in your group, then congratulations!

This is proof that you have puppet strings.

Here’s the truth about marketing in a nutshell. There are three stages:

  1. Attract an ideal “buyer”.

This ideal buyer is a segment of a population who has the “problem” you’re trying to solve. For example, let’s say that you want more voters

This is done by using emotionally charged headlines.

Here’s one, from TeaParty.org: “ Judge Appointed by GEORGE BUSH Halts Trump Immigration Ban; HE’S A BLACK LIVES MATTER SUPPORTER!”

Do you notice the emotionally-charged verbs (halts)? Do you see an anchor or two which would trigger response (black lives matter)?

Here’s another one, this time from HRC: “Virginia House of Delegates Passes Dangerous Anti-LGBTQ ‘License to Discriminate’ Legislation”

Do you see the emotionally-charged words here (dangerous)? And the anchors which would trigger response (anti-LGBT, discriminate)?

Now, these headlines work best on those already indoctrinated. But they’ll work on someone who has emotional hot buttons already… think fear, loss aversion, etc.

Note too that the right side tends to use more emotionally-charged wording than the left. Not always, but more often than not. And that’s because the right side is a hell of a lot better at marketing than the left (barring Obama, of course).

2. Indoctrinate the ideal “buyer” so that they’re pre-sold on your message.

Again, the goal is to take that slice of your population and install anchors which can be pressed at a later time when it comes to selling. So, you want to “pour salt in the wound” as copywriter Ben Settle calls it. You want them to start feeling and visualizing about their problem… and about your solution. You don’t want to give it to them yet.. you just want to warm them up so that when you’re ready to sell, you can get maximum, predictable response.

3. Sell to the pre-sold.

When you sell to the pre-sold, no message can be too hyped up. They’ll drool and beg to let them buy. They will buy gladly and pay whatever price.

In politics, you’ll begin to see indoctrinated individuals asking for the same thing — “Oh, I wish they’d do this!” and “Oh man, I just said that the other day too…” Yeah, it’s not a coincidence.

And when you respond predictably to headlines, you prove that you’ve been indoctrinated (er, “pre-sold”) on an ideology which gets the sale (votes, protests, etc). And you guys wonder why all the media says the same thing… there’s a reason for it and it goes beyond liberal and conservative.

Sign №3: You have the same “enemies” as your group.

This sign follows no 1 and no 2. Your indoctrinators will have installed scapegoats. Oh man, humans love scapegoats. Humans crave scapegoats. It’s in our wiring. So your indoctrinators will conveniently give you a scapegoat to blame. And you will all blame the same scapegoat.

The fact that you hate who everyone else in your group hates, no more and no less, is a sign that your puppet strings are fully intact.

Sign №4: In arguments, you resort to ad hominem attacks more frequently than you notice.

This one is a very, very good sign that you’ve been indoctrinated. This means that the installed ideas have transformed into beliefs. And beliefs are powerful. The human brain doesn’t want to go against its own beliefs. It’s a painful, grating experience.

So when someone attacks your “political opinions” (really, deep-seated installed beliefs and triggers), you attack with ad-hominem arguments. “You’re just a stupid liberal” or “You’re a homophobe” or whatever.

Why? Well, your beliefs aren’t based on logical fact, but on an emotional trigger. As such, you really don’t know how you came to your opinions. But they came and they’re installed nice and deep. So at some point, you do what any emotionally-driven human (like a five year-old) would do: you name call. Perhaps you only do it behind their back, in private messages. But you do it nonetheless.

If an idea cannot be defended by uninhibited, facts-based discussion, then something is wrong.

Sign №5: You feel personally wounded when a member of your group deviates in thought and respect the individual less as a result

You know the joke about the goths/punks/emos/etc who want to be so “different” that they all look the same? That’s exactly what I’m talking about.

Again, humans want to be a part of a group. It’s in our wiring to fit in.

So combine that with a scape goat tendency and you get what happens when a friend expresses a dissenting opinion.

When was the last time you responded with “shock” that someone you thought was a [fill-in-the-blank] expressed views which didn’t align with the party? The shocked response is so predictable to be laughable. And then, people might even express disrespect. As if having critical thinking skills were something to be shamed.

If you’ve ever criticized someone for not following the party line, then it’s a sure sign that you are being pulled by the puppet strings of indoctrination.

Sign №6: You seek to silence dissenting speech and openly advocate for action (anywhere from shaming and assaults on Twitter to physical violence).

Remember how I mentioned earlier that humans don’t want to go against their own software programming (e.g., their beliefs/ideas/filters)? For some, the need to only hear opinions which match causes them to advocate violence of some sort (name calling, shaming, violent attacks, etc).

And those pulling your puppet strings love it. They’ll even tell you how to “fight back”, too… so en masse you respond in the same way. (Protests? Boycotts? Trolling? Yep.)

Sign №7: You share this post with friends of similar political ideology, perfectly sure that none of these apply to “your side”.

Bonus points if you didn’t read it all the way through before sharing.

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This article was originally published on Medium.

Executive Power – What’s Next?

We recently celebrated President’s Day. As we continue to watch the development of the Trump presidency, this seems like an opportune time to review a brief history of the office, the growth of executive power, and what might be in store for us in the decades to come.

During the hot summer of 1787, the Constitutional Convention was held over a period of months in Philadelphia. Interestingly, this convention and the result of it have disputed legitimacy due to the structure of the Articles of Confederation, but that is a topic for a different discussion. The United States Constitution installed a single executive, the president of the United States, after a heated debate on the appropriate structure for the newly formed Executive Branch.

In a unanimous decision by the Electoral College, George Washington was elected to be our first president in 1789. Since his election, we have seen periods of both stability and explosive growth in the powers assumed and exercised by the president. There is a pattern to this. About every 35-40 years, we see a shifting expansion of this power. Let’s review these turning points and ask what this might mean for a Trump presidency.

1789: Election & Inauguration George Washington – 1st President of the United States

I recently listened to a wonderful audiobook called Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow.  This Pulitzer Prize winning book gave me a fresh and detailed look at our nation’s first president. His incredible leadership permeates his life story and provides interesting insight into the early days of our government. As libertarians, many of us praise our Founding Fathers for creating a system of government that is designed for limited power. The desire for a stronger central government than provided for by the Articles of Confederation made many lovers of liberty extra cautious of the potential for monarchical or tyrannical power to emerge from the Executive Branch. Washington both held these views and limited his actions when other men would have seized power.

Washington was not hands-off. He took decisive action via executive power to thwart the Whiskey Rebellion and vested power in the Executive Branch in places, such as the formation of the Cabinet, where the Constitution was ambiguous. Despite his own strong ambitions, his leadership and devotion to the republic arguably allowed this new government to get off to a start setting the tone for a strong legislative branch balanced by the office of the president in the spirit of republicanism and limited government. However, make no mistake, those who were wary of a strong executive did worry about the scope of power created by Washington (and notably his right-hand-man Alexander Hamilton) despite the often self-imposed limits of the office at that time. Still, this was a gigantic shift in executive power versus the previous federal government.

1828 (39 years later): Election of Andrew Jackson – 7th President of the United States

Andrew Jackson marked a new era of the president on many levels. After securing the plurality of electoral votes the crazy election of 1824 but losing the presidency to John Quincy Adams in the House of Representatives, Jackson returned in 1828 to exact his revenge in win the nation’s highest office. Jackson is sometimes seen as a political outsider, but he was hardly a newcomer to politics. He was Tennessee’s first representative to the House in 1797, selected U.S. senator twice, appointed to be military governor of Florida, led the Tennessee militia, and served in the Tennessee Supreme Court.

As a famous war hero due to his efforts in the Battle of New Orleans at the end of the War of 1812, Jackson catapulted his popularity and made his way to the White House. Jackson was an authoritarian and built a new type of presidency. He was still an outsider of sorts:  he was the first president who was not from Virginia or named Adams; he played no role in the American revolution or Washington administration, and he was not born into a family of wealth or distinction. Prior to his presidency, Jeffersonian-era Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin described Jackson as “altogether unfit for the office” of the president due to his “habitual disregard of laws and constitutional provisions.”

Jackson went on to drive a policy of Indian removal including the famous Trail of Tears, undermine state power in the Nullification Crisis, make significant use of the veto power, and establish a system of political patronage with his political architect and presidential successor Martin Van Buren which set the table for graft and abuse for generations. While playing the card of a true republican-style man-of-the-people, Jackson capitalized on his power and changed the presidency and American politics forever.

1864 (36 years later): Re-Election of Abraham Lincoln – 16th President of the United States

Abraham Lincoln is lauded by historians as one of, if not the best, presidents in our nation’s history. Among libertarian circles, you will often find those who like to paint Lincoln as one of the worst presidents in our history due to the expansive powers he assumed during the Civil War. My intention in placing Lincoln in this list is not to debate whether he was a good or bad president, but that the nature of his actions certainly laid the table for future executive power.

His re-election in 1864 is chosen for this list as it solidified the electorate’s choice to continue the consolidation of power to the sitting wartime president under the notion that the preservation of the Union is both paramount to the federal government and can be ensured by the strength of one individual. Many northern leaders opposed Lincoln in the run-up to his re-election, but ultimately the power of incumbency in a time of crisis overshadowed concerns. Lincoln was a political animal, a pragmatist above principle, and cemented the view of the presidency as one of individual leadership.

1902 (38 years later): Assumption of Office by Theodore Roosevelt – 26th President of the United States

William McKinley was assassinated early in his second term as president, and his new vice president (Garret Hobart, McKinley’s first VP, had died in late 1899) assumed the office. Teddy Roosevelt brought new ideas of the power of the President to his tenure. He was re-elected in 1904, declined to run in 1908, and then came back to run again in 1912 fracturing the Republican Party by challenging the incumbent William Howard Taft. Roosevelt was perhaps our first truly “imperial” President greatly expanding our navy, intervening in several foreign disputes, and even explicitly calling for America to exercise “international police power” in his address to Congress in 1904.

Roosevelt firmly believed in a strong executive which is described as the “stewardship theory” of the presidential power. This philosophy holds that, in his own words, “the executive power was limited only by specific restrictions appearing in the Constitution or imposed by Congress under its constitutional powers.” He stated that he “used every ounce of power there was in the office” and “acted for the common well-being of all people, whenever and in whatever manner was necessary.” His view of the presidency and brand of populism laid the groundwork for the progressive political movement in the United States removing many features of small government republicanism so favored by Washington, Jefferson, and Madison.

1940 (38 years later): 2nd Re-Election of Franklin Roosevelt – 32nd President of the United States

Franklin Roosevelt was not the first two-term president to seek a third term, but he was the first, and only, one to win. Most readers will know about the expansive growth of government under Roosevelt’s first term when his New Deal policies were implemented giving the federal government unprecedented authority in private sector affairs. While this alone would warrant consideration for inclusion in this list, it is Roosevelt’s legacy as a four-term president and the advancement of power exhibited in World War II that truly changed the presidency.

Woodrow Wilson’s administration rests in the middle of the Roosevelts’ and deserves note for many aspects of government expansion. But, Wilson, in may ways simply took Teddy’s powers to the next step. Franklin Roosevelt fused the primacy of the president that was trumpeted by his cousin with the expanding powers of the federal government implemented during the Wilson era to form a new office of the presidency. FDR’s critics were fearful of dictatorship as he entered a third term; the American people re-elected him with ease. But most notably, FDR cemented America’s role on the international stage, ushered in nuclear power, and provided the framework for a new America that has been followed for decades.

1980 (40 years later): Election of Ronald Reagan – 40th President of the United States

It was a little more challenging to make this pick. The post-FDR era has been full of presidents exercising vast amounts of executive authority. However, Ronald Reagan changed the presidency in ways similar to the presidents listed above like no one else since FDR. Reagan used his ability as a communicator along with the expanding popularity of television to create a new cult of personality around the office of president. This sowed the seeds for the 24-hour news cycle, increased partisanship, and the new flavor of American exceptionalism that has taken over politics in the last few decades.

Reagan often talked a good game on small government. But, deficits and debt soared during his tenure, the War on Drugs was put in to high gear, executive orders were bountiful, and he certainly did not shy way from military intervention on the international stage. He has become the icon of the Republican Party idolized by commentators and presidential hopefuls who aim to follow his brand of leadership to achieve the nation’s highest office.

So, what might this mean for Donald Trump?

If we follow the pattern, then the 2016 or 2020 election will bear the next president to be studied in this line of executive power. Donald Trump exhibits similar traits to many of the presidents in our list and uses rhetoric to suggest that he views the presidency as a vehicle to wield immense power. We have already gone far astray of the visions of a limited executive in a constitutional republic. George Washington took deliberate action to strike a balance between what was, in his eyes, too much and too little power. Several presidents since him have had far less regard for this balance. I do not have high hopes that Trump seeks to find this balance either. The question that many libertarians have is: will he use this power to root out corruption in the federal government or will he use it a destructive force against our liberties?

 

Libertarian Gun Control: Could It Happen?

As a libertarian, there’s few things I hate more than the government trying to limit our access to guns.  The Second Amendment is perhaps the most important, and effective, check on government power written into the Constitution.  Every government that has orchestrated a mass genocide against its own people banned those people from owning guns first.  I firmly believe that without the huge number of guns in private hands in America, the military would have been turned against us at some point.  With that being said, I’d like to explore the possibility of various forms of gun control that could happen in a libertarian society.

Before I get a bunch of knee-jerk hate mail, let me be clear about something.  I don’t support ANY form of government gun control.  No government has a right to pick and choose who can and can’t own guns.  What I’m interested in exploring is if we were living in a society with little or no government at all, would the free market make it harder for some people to own guns or carry guns in public?

I say yes.  In a free market, there will still be forms of gun control.

Private Property Gun Control

The easiest type of gun control to imagine is the type that you personally institute on your own property.  If you invite people on your property, you have every right to say that they aren’t allowed to carry guns.  If they don’t like it, they don’t have to associate with you.  This goes for businesses as well.  If a business doesn’t want armed customers, they can take measures to refuse entrance to anyone who is armed.  Just because we have a right to own guns, doesn’t mean we have a right to carry them onto someone else’s property without their permission.

We can argue all day long about whether a business or person is making their property less safe with this policy, but the fact remains that they have every right to do it and some people will exercise this right.

Neighborhood Association Gun Control

Some people really don’t like guns.  They truly believe that the less guns they’re around, the safer they’ll be.  With that in mind, I don’t see why they couldn’t live in their own little gun-free communities.  This goes back to private property rights.  If someone builds an apartment building, they get to choose the rules and regulations of the property.  They can make it pet-free if they like.  They can make it a retirement community so only senior citizens can move in.  And if they choose, they can make it a gun-free community.  People who rent or buy their units would have to agree to the rules and regulations of the community.  If they don’t like the rules, they don’t have to live there.

Since we know there are millions of people in America today that are vehemently anti-gun, we can imagine that at least some of them will establish and live in gun-free communities.

I would argue that having a gun-free community would be about as “safe” as government mandated gun-free zones are today, but I have no right to make them change the rules of their property.

Gun Sales and Liability

So far, nothing I’ve talked about is really controversial or groundbreaking.  I’m sure even the most ardent 2nd Amendment lover can concede that other people have private property rights.  But this section of the piece will ruffle some feathers.

Absent of government gun control laws, I think people could potentially have some liability if they give or sell guns to someone who uses them to harm innocent people.  This potential liability would lead to gun dealers denying service to many potential gun buyers, unless they can show that they are responsible individuals.  Thus reducing or eliminating the dealer’s potential liability.

The first scenario in which someone could get denied service by a seller is an easy one.  If someone comes to a gun shop to purchase a gun, and he talks about his desire to use it to shoot innocent people, and he is sold a gun, the seller could easily have some liability.  By supplying someone with a deadly weapon, while having the knowledge that he will use it to commit harm to innocent people, the seller is now an accomplice.

If someone verbally states his intent to cause harm to innocent people, I can’t imagine too many sellers today or in a libertarian future that would sell him a weapon.  But what if someone shows non-verbal signals that they may be dangerous to innocent people?  Could the seller have liability if this clearly unstable person is sold a gun and commits a crime against innocent people with it?

Take this as an example.  Imagine someone comes into a gun shop and buys a gun.  But something just doesn’t seem right about him.  He’s muttering to himself.  He seems nervous and agitated.  He doesn’t seem to possess much knowledge about guns.  He’s asking strange questions about the neighborhood clearly signifying he has little or no knowledge of the area.  This person clearly seems like someone that any reasonable person would hesitate giving a gun to.  But he never verbally states his intent to do harm to innocent people.

If that man then goes out and does something horrible with his newly purchased gun, would the seller have any liability?  Hell yeah they could.  If there were witnesses to this gun sale that can testify that the buyer was clearly deranged, and potentially dangerous, and that any reasonable person should have been able to recognize it, then the seller could easily be sued by the victims for negligence.  This fear of liability could limit the people that gun dealers decide to do business with.

It may even get to a point where after every innocent person gets shot with a newly purchased firearm, a law suit could be coming just to investigate any possibility of negligence on the part of the seller.  Most of these will probably be thrown out, and the seller would probably have insurance to defend him, but the nuisance alone will give sellers pause to do business with everyone that walks in the door.

Insurance And Background Checks

After a few successful negligence law suits, insurance companies are going to have to change how they insure gun dealers.  My guess is that insurance companies will refuse to insure any gun dealer unless the dealer agrees to only sell guns to buyers who have passed some sort of independent background check and training course.  This way if a gun buyer does harm to an innocent person, any lawsuit against the gun dealer would be stopped in its tracks once the seller shows that they did their due diligence before selling him a deadly weapon.

So will the gun shop have their own training course and background check?  Probably not.  In fact, there’d be so many independent, competing companies certifying gun owners that the shop wouldn’t have to.  What I can see happening is everyone that wants to own guns and especially anyone that desires to carry guns at their workplace, or at the mall, or at entertainment venues, or anywhere in public, would get themselves certified.

They’d go to a trusted, widely accepted certification company and request their Seal of Approval.  The company would probably have some basic test to see if the applicant understands when it’s acceptable to brandish or use a fire arm.  They’d do some sort of background check to make sure the applicant isn’t a dangerous fugitive or has a history of violence.  They might do a basic psychological exam.  They’d test their proficiency with their weapon to make sure they can effectively and accurately use it.  And after the applicant shows that they would most likely be a responsible gun owner, the certification company would give them their Seal of Approval.

This Seal of Approval could be used to satisfy the companies that insure gun dealers.  This puts the gun dealer and their insurance company at ease since any potential burden of liability would shift to the certification company if this buyer should harm an innocent person with the newly purchased gun.

Carrying Guns in the Workplace and Around Town

Another huge reason to get yourself certified by one of these companies is so businesses and workplaces will feel comfortable letting you carry a gun on their property.  Think about schools.  I definitely wouldn’t want my children attending a gun-free school.  It’d make me feel at ease if I knew teachers and security guards had the ability to defend my children against a possible violent threat.  However, it’d make me feel even more at ease if I knew that the school made sure anyone who carried guns on their campus was certified not just in gun safety, but in proficiency by a reputable company.  Not only would I know that these gun holders would be safe with their weapons, but they would be able to quickly and accurately neutralize any threat.

This could be a great selling point.  Schools could advertise that they have high standards for their security guards and teachers in order to carry guns, and thus parents could feel better about their child’s safety.

Same goes for sporting venues.  Or retail businesses.  Or workplaces.  I’m sure some of these places would be hesitant to let just anyone carry a gun on their premises, so they’d only allow people to carry who’ve been certified by a reputable certification company.  But forget about the business owner, more than likely it would be their insurance company that would be more hesitant.  After all, if a business lets just anyone carry a weapon on their premises, and a crazy person comes in and shoots up the place, the business owner could be sued by the victim’s for having a negligent weapons policy.  Therefore, insurance companies may not insure businesses that don’t have a “Certified Gun Owners Only” policy for guns.

Libertarians love to imagine their ideal world with little or no government, and they usually imagine themselves being able to carry their weapons anywhere, anytime.  However, we also have to acknowledge that in this free society other people have property rights too.  This means they can restrict what you can do on their property.

Libertarians also tend to underestimate the effect insurance companies will have on a society with little or no government.  Most of us will be relying on insurance companies to protect our valuable property as well as protect us against lawsuits.  In order for us to get the most possible insurance for the lowest possible price, these companies would give business owners incentives to have policies that would reduce potential lawsuits.  Just like drunk drivers are uninsurable, or at least have to pay enormous premiums, businesses and workplaces that don’t require certification to carry guns would increasingly become uninsurable as well.

This vision of society, where there are places you can’t carry your gun unless you’ve been vetted by some third party, doesn’t seem much different than today!  However, there is one enormous difference.  With no government one-size-fits-all gun control legislation, no one will have the right to tell you that you can’t carry a gun, so long as you have the permission of the property owner.  And no one will have the right to tell you if you can or can’t own guns, so long as you’re able to convince someone to voluntarily sell or give them to you.

Originally published on Mike’s website here.  Check out his blog levelheadedlibertarian.com for more!

You may also like A War On Guns Is Another War On Minorities by Mike Tront

Can Libertarians Justify Physical Removal?

Physical removal, so to speak, is an idea popular in a particular segment of the libertarian population.  Specifically, libertarians who consider themselves right libertarians.  Those who may sympathize with the altright and those that may be motivated by their hatred of anyone who considers themselves politically left wing.  If you’re motivated by your hatred of leftists more than you’re motivated by your love of individual human liberty, you’re probably sympathetic to the idea of physical removal.

The general idea is that if there is ever to be a libertarian world, one where personal liberties and property rights are protected, it is morally justifiable to use force, up to and including deadly force, against “people” who are deemed unfit to live in a free society.  “People” who call themselves communists seem to be the number one target.

The word “people” is in quotation marks because according to the physical removal advocates, the people who they are using force against aren’t actually people.  That means they’re not violating anyone’s rights.  How convenient!

From the Father of Physical Removal, Hans Herman Hoppe, in his book Democracy: The God That Failed, page 173

A member of the human race who is completely incapable of understanding the higher productivity of labor performed under a division of labor based on private property is not properly speaking a person (a persona), but falls instead into the same moral category as an animal – of either the harmless sort (to be domesticated and employed as a producer or consumer good, or to be enjoyed as a “free good”) or the wild and dangerous one (to be fought as a pest).

According to Hoppe, if you come across a “harmless” person who doesn’t understand economics, you have a right to domesticate them.  They may also be “enjoyed” as a “free good”.  Basically, you may treat them as a farm animal (slave).  Or, if you deem them to be “wild and dangerous” (presumably without due process), you may justifiably use violence against them.

I have no objection to fighting off someone who is actively harming you or your property, but Hoppe’s proposed treatment of non-violent people is impossible to reconcile with libertarianism.  To be fair, in any conversions I’ve had with the pro-physical removal crowd, I’ve never heard them bring up their perceived right to enslave a “harmless” person whose only crime is not understanding economics.  However, I’ve heard them say over and over again that communists aren’t people.  I’ve always took this as a joke.  How wrong I was.  I really shouldn’t even be surprised by this.  After all, if they claim to have a right to remove someone from their own legitimate property and/or murder someone who they deem to be unfit to live near them, why wouldn’t they also have the right to enslave them?

So as far as Hoppe is concerned, enslaving these unfit, yet “harmless”, people would be just as justifiable as violently removing them.

In this particular case, I’m having a hard time believing any libertarian could possibly go along with Hoppe on this.  Imagine if you will, a 30-something year old man living in his Mom’s basement.  He likes to go online and post pro-communist stuff on Twitter, so now a gang of people have a right to burst into his house and drag him off?  Or to enslave him, just because he’s guilty of the “crime” of not understanding economics?

The very basis of libertarinism is that no one has a right to initiate aggression against a non-aggressor.  Simply believing in an idiotic philosophy doesn’t make one an aggressor.  Only if that 30-something year old basement dweller actually takes up arms to violate someone’s person or property, or poses an immediate and credible threat to do so, can he be legitimately met with force.

If we turn back the clock on the definition of a person, one can justify all forms of aggression and still claim to be advocates for liberty and justice.  After all, there was a time in America where one could enslave someone, viciously beat his children, rape a woman (as long as she wasn’t someone else’s wife, i.e. property), and kill an Indian and still not be thought of as a criminal in any way.  The reason for this is that the people he committed these horrendous crimes against weren’t considered people.

We don’t get to be liberty loving, non-aggression advocating libertarians simply by magically changing the definition of who counts as a person.

Physical Removal in a Private Community

Hoppe is way off base in his assessment of who he chooses to consider a person.  However, he later articulates a vision of a completely private community, governed by an owner who leases all land to everyone in the community.  Instead of you buying and owning your land, you’d join a community and pay a monthly fee to use a parcel of land and enjoy any and all benefits of living in said community.

In this specific example, physical removal is simply a matter of contract.  Just like today, if you sign a lease with an apartment complex, but you break the lease by violating any of its terms (not paying rent, being too noisy, threatening neighbors, subletting, etc), the apartment complex has every right to kick you out of the community.

In this example, physical removal is well within the bounds of libertarian ideals.  If you voluntarily join a community that has rules against certain types of political speech, even if you are doing no harm to anyone or their property, the owner can kick you out if you violate said rules.

How does Hoppe imagine this happening?  Here’s another passage from Democracy: The God That Failed page 218:

As soon as mature members of society habitually express acceptance or even advocate egalitarian sentiments, whether in the form of democracy (majority rule) or of communism, it becomes essential that other members, and in particular the natural social elites, be prepared to act decisively and, in the case of continued nonconformity, exclude and ultimately expel these members from society. In a covenant concluded among proprietor and community tenants for the purpose of protecting their private property, no such thing as a right to free (unlimited) speech exists, not even to unlimited speech on one’s own tenant-property. One may say innumerable things and promote almost any idea under the sun, but naturally no one is permitted to advocate ideas contrary to the very purpose of the covenant of preserving and protecting private property, such as democracy and communism. There can be no tolerance toward democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society.

In his example here, there’s one huge detail missing.  Due process.  From what Hoppe seems to be envisioning here, your right to stay on your land is completely at the whim of the “natural social elites” of the community.

Traditionally, before the owner of the apartment complex can kick you out, they must take you to court and prove their allegations.  If it turns out that they can’t prove that you’ve violated the terms of the lease, they have no right to kick you out.  If they kick you out anyway, they will be liable for damages from breaking their end of the contract.

Now there could be a voluntary community that has a stipulation that the owner, or the “natural social elites”, can remove anyone at anytime without due process, but I’m having a hard time imagining anyone, let alone a libertarian, agreeing to such an arrangement.

Oppressive Liberty

Finishing up the above quote from Hoppe’s Democracy: The God That Failed page 218:

Likewise, in a covenant founded for the purpose of protecting family and kin, there can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal. They-the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism-will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order.

Hoppe’s vision of a libertarian future is a bleak one.  It appears no less totalitarian than the world we live in today.  We’re simply trading one set of rulers for another.  Instead of a government telling us what to do with our property and how to act in our personal lives, we’ll have the covenant owner dictating this with little or no recourse.

I have no problem with someone voluntarily wanting to live in such a community.  Amish communities today are very similar.  There’s very little room for individual expression or alternative lifestyles, and if one does not conform they are shunned and kicked out of their private, Amish communities.  However, if the only way to achieve a libertarian society is to violently remove single parents, homosexuals, nature lovers, and pretty much anyone who Hoppe deems is living an “alternative, non-family and kin-centered lifestyle” from their legitimately owned property, then we’ve accomplished nothing.

The essence of libertarianism is individual rights, not collective rights.  The individual is to be judged solely on their own actions.  If that individual does not initiate force against anyone’s person or property, then it is never right to use force against them, even if you think their lifestyle choices or personal views are bad for your “social order”.  “The ends justify the means” is the mantra of collectivists and should never be uttered by anyone who considers themselves libertarian.

Originally published on Mike’s website here.  Check out his blog levelheadedlibertarian.com for more!

You may also like A Private Criminal Justice System by Mike Tront

Black Market Milk

By Clyde Myers – Clyde Myers is a natural foods enthusiast, Columnist, and Blogger. He has contributed essays on foraging for wild foods in GRIT magazine and has led guided wild food foraging walks for multiple SEED projects. He lives in Columbus Indiana with his wife and two daughters where he is active in the local Libertarian Party.

How regulations and government interventions stifle the local food producers and make their products less safe.

“How much you want?” The shady character asks.

“How much can I get for twenty bucks?” Came my reply, though it didn’t matter. I needed my fix.

I needed the hit, the elixir that keeps me going. I’d pay nearly any price for it and it’s being illegal made me want it all the more. What contraband was I seeking? What had brought me down to the level of a common criminal? Heroin? Cocaine? Even just weed? Nah, Kid’s stuff. Those don’t get me what I’m after. What I am referring to, of course, is the vilest of all contraband…

Milk. Raw Milk. Pure, virgin moo juice.

The shady character? Just a local farmer. She is a good and decent person, performing an essential service that should be hailed as the noblest and righteous of professions. But here in Indiana and several other states, she is a criminal. I too am a criminal. I am a criminal because I want to drink milk that hasn’t been pasteurized. I am a criminal because I value the balance of my gut bacteria. I am a criminal because I want a strong immune system, and I am a criminal because I supported a local farmer. I am a criminal because, as a grown adult, I understand the risks of raw milk and am willing to take that risk.

If you hadn’t already guessed, I’m sort of hippy-dippy natural foods enthusiast. I forage for wild food plants and write about that topic for obscure natural living and farm magazines, my own blog, and I teach foraging classes and workshops several times a year. I grow an extensive organic garden, save and trade seeds, collect rainwater, barter for local organic eggs, etc. In the warmer months, I rarely wear shoes and hardly eat any meal that doesn’t contain some form of kale. Because of this, I am often assumed to be a leftist or at the very least, a Democrat. I am not, but it’s fair to say that most of the people that I interact with self-identify as left of center if not as total socialists.

These are well-intentioned folks with Bernie 2016 and CoExist stickers on their Subarus. We’re talkin’ organic vegetable munching, patchouli wearing, pot smoking, Anti-GMO, granola folks. Many of them struggling small-scale organic farmers or producers themselves. They are sweet folks and some of my favorite people on earth, misguided though they may be. It always strikes me as funny that these folks are so staunchly anti-libertarian, yet local, sustainable food production, which is so close to their hearts and livelihoods, is so incredibly hindered by government intervention that it should make anyone sign up for the LP newsletter and build a shrine to Ayn Rand after about 5 minutes of dealing with the red tape.

Regulations can seem like a good thing on the surface. Humans have been collectively putting their trust in the state to regulate businesses, especially those that can have a direct impact on a person’s health and well-being, for quite a long time. Certainly, no one wants to buy meat tainted by botulism or listeria-ridden spinach, and since businesses seem to survive despite being regulated and so does the food consuming population, we get used to calling regulation a success because we see these businesses working.

What we don’t see are the ones that closed or never got started. We don’t see the growth of current companies that was never able to happen due to the increased burdens from regulation. It is easy to call something a success when there is no metric by which to measure it. There is no unregulated space where all other factors are equal against which we could compare data. So food industry regulations always win the election because they’re always running unopposed. All the while meat still seems to become tainted and listeria still finds its way onto the spinach.

There’s apparently something strange that happens to the space-time continuum when money is transacted for a product. Granny Bess can bake you one of her blue ribbon pies in her uninspected kitchen from rhubarb she grew in her garden, fertilized with manure from her own chickens, and you’re allowed to assume the risk that her processes are clean enough to produce food and that she knows what she’s doing. This is a perfectly legal transaction.

However, if you buy the pie from the same Granny Bess, a pie made in the same kitchen, with the same ingredients, under the same conditions, that transaction is illegal. Even if you pay the many taxes on it, this practice is punishable by law. Why? Because according to the state of Indiana, when money changes hands, Granny Bess needs to not only be inspected but also must buy specific types of equipment, must have hand washing sinks placed at specific locations, and in most cases, must operate out of some space other than her home, as well as a myriad of other regulations. All of these things cost money.

Large scale businesses that are already well established can afford those types of entry barriers to the marketplace or the increased cost of continuing business but Granny Bess probably can’t. She’ll never get her business off the ground if she needs to invest in industrial equipment, pay for her food safety certification classes, then pay whatever the license fee is in addition to finding a suitable space from which to operate. Maybe she didn’t even want to go into business long term. Maybe she just wanted to operate long enough pay off the last of her home before retirement or get her bathroom remodeled. Should it cost her life savings to make a few extra dimes to rub together?

It’s easy to look at this and think that, despite the collateral damage of Granny Bess’s situation, there is a necessary public good that came out of the regulations and that was ensuring the health and safety of consumers. But is that really the outcome? Why can Granny Bess give you one of her pies if it’s so risky? Why can she donate a dozen of them to the school bake sale or the fire station fish fry fundraiser? The pies are still available for public consumption and are still being exchanged for money. The only difference is that Granny Bess isn’t the one benefiting.

How has the risk of consuming it been reduced? It hasn’t.

In his book “Folks, This Ain’t Normal,” organic farmer Joel Salatin, owner/operator of Polyface Farms in Virginia, who has written several books and given multiple TED talks on sustainable agriculture extensively covers the way in which government regulations often keep him from using practices that would make his products have a beneficial impact on the environment and produce products that would be healthier for his customers to consume.

His argument is that it’s not necessarily a bad thing that there are regulations or standards, just that the people making and enforcing these don’t know much, if anything, about the industry they’re regulating at all. These are government bureaucrats for whom the sole purpose of their jobs is supposed to be to keep the public safe from foodborne pathogens and contaminants, but they seldom know the nature of particular pathogens and their interaction with livestock in a holistic, science-based manner.

Salatin points out that they don’t know that pasture raised, grass fed cows are much healthier than cattle from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and don’t require the same antibiotic dosages that cows raised in CAFOs do. They don’t know that the chickens and cattle benefit from being pastured together as it more closely mimics the way ruminants and birds interact in nature. They just see chickens and cows together and say “No, you can’t do that!” Salatin exposes the glaring example that they also didn’t know that their recommendation to feed the remains of slaughtered cows to the next generation of feedlot cows would result in Mad Cow Disease.

Even after supposedly learning from that mistake they still advocate for the practice of feeding dead chickens to cows. They hold these family farms and their healthy animals to the same regulatory standards of the giant CAFOs where the cows stand knee deep in manure that flows to giant manure lagoons and where the fecal particulate in the air is so dense that the animals have to be pumped full of antibiotics just to survive long enough to be slaughtered. The CAFOs can afford to accommodate the regulations. Small time pasture farms have no need for the measures because of their superior practices but still have to bear the cost to accommodate them and often simply cannot.

My self-defeating, Bernie loving friends and colleagues would, unfortunately, argue that the government isn’t regulating enough and that businesses left unchecked would run amok and poison everyone with unsanitary practices. But it’s not that businesses left alone and unregulated would always result in safe, healthy, and ideal products, just that government intervention doesn’t either.

No matter how well intentioned, the net result is that the government ends up enforcing bad practices that contribute to there being more disease, more pollution and more risk to the public health and safety. It stifles local economies, restricts public access to healthy products, discourages ecologically sound land stewardship, and ultimately results in a less healthy and less safe population.

Sources:

Salatin, Joel. Folks, This Ain’t Normal. 1st ed. New York: Center Street, 2012. Print.
http://www.in.gov/boah/2489.htm
http://milk.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=005192

Image Credit.

Indiana SB 15: Government registration required for quality of Life

WE DECLARE, That all people are created equal; that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  How often we have heard these words yet few of us comprehend to what extent they fundamentally impact our very existence.  To an individual besieged by a disease the inalienable right to a life is a fight for survival on a daily basis.  Self-determination and the method each chooses to maintain their ultimate property right of health cannot be confiscated by government.

Who has the right to claim superiority over the individual in determining health care?         

Why can government determine it has the authority to control an inalienable right?  There is a Constitution guaranteeing the inalienable right to life against legislative interference through laws.  Since each individual is the sole possessor of their life why would one need to acquire government permission to access health care medication?

The Hierarchy of Law controlling Indiana government is the Constitution of the United States and of this state and all statutes of the general assembly of the state in force, and not inconsistent with such constitutions.  The Oath of office as prescribed in Article 15 Section 4 states “Every person elected or appointed to any office under this Constitution, shall, before entering on the duties thereof, take an oath or affirmation, to support the Constitution of this State, and of the United States, and also an oath of office”.  The language is ordinary and plain laws cannot be inconsistent with the constitutions.  The solemn Oath elected officials are required to take binds them as our representatives to abide by the same rule of law governing all.  

What is the conflict over authority? 

For years there has been conflict over marijuana a substance which government has classified illegal.  For years there have been questions by the people.  Why is it illegal?  Where is the authority for government to decide it is harmful?  Why does government believe it is in the best interest of the individual to punish them for using a substance when use causes harm to no one else?   Why when the Indiana Constitution states in “ Section 25. No law shall be passed, the taking effect of which shall be made to depend upon any authority, except as provided in this Constitution.” does government refuse to retreat from the position that government is in charge of determining the possession and use of marijuana?

How is government responding to the demand to legalize use of marijuana? 

The response from Indiana has been a series of bills over years claiming to address the issues of marijuana use, possession, growth and anything else to do with what is essentially vegetation.   This year one bill finally made it out of committee on a 5yea 3 nay vote.  SB 15 mirrors the previously reviewed bill SB 255 Medical marijuana.  SB 15 Hemp extract is Indiana once again defining who and for what purpose this time Hemp extract a derivative substance can be legally qualified for medical use.  State Senators passing a law legalizing a substance government has no authority to regulate is an interesting concept of compliance with the constitutional oath each swore to uphold.

Who decides what substance, access, disease, possession, administration and regulation?

SB 15 Defines hemp extract: “As used in this chapter, “hemp extract” means a substance containing:  three-tenths percent (0.3%) or less tetrahydrocannabinol  (THC) by weight; at least ten percent (10%) cannabidiol by weight; and no other controlled substances.”

Indiana via SB 15 establishes a hemp extract registry through the state department of health for certain physicians, nurses, individuals, and caregivers determining their suitability for involvement in the state program and registering them as approved for the program.

Indiana lawmakers determine that the only allowable disease considered for treatment is  “intractable epilepsy”  a seizure disorder that has been diagnosed by a physician in a patient who has not responded to at least three (3) other seizure disorder treatment options.

Indiana lawmakers decide that the approved definition of a patient is a “patient” refers to an individual who is: less than eighteen (18) years of age; or at least eighteen (18) years of age but started treatment with hemp extract described under this chapter when the individual was less than eighteen (18) years of age; and who has been diagnosed with intractable epilepsy by a physician.” with the requirement that the physician be Indiana licensed and board certified in neurology. The bill continues with the definitions for caregiver and nurse.

Indiana state department of health shall register a physician or nurse who meets the government requirements, completes a registration form and pays a registration fee.  A patient or caregiver shall be issued a registration card if specified requirements are met including age, being a patient, being an Indiana resident, providing a certified statement by a registered physician confirming program requirements and paying the registration fee.  The caregiver application for registration also requires meeting specified conditions for approval.  Registration is valid for one year or as requested by physician and renewals charge a fee.

Following patient or caregiver registration the state department shall contact and provide the local health department the name, address and any other identifying information the state determines necessary to provide.

Provisions are also included for a pilot study registry for monitoring research performed by a state educational institution.  There are requirements for submitting an application to be included in the pilot study program and standards for conducting research.  There are also requirements for dispensing hemp extract for the pharmacist.

Indiana provides a defense to a prosecution under this chapter for individuals who are properly registered when certain requirements are met.

What do we conclude from the actions of Indiana?  

The constitutions are the law of the land for Indiana and since our elected legislators are bound by solemn oath to uphold the terms of those documents perhaps we should begin to ask serious questions.  No constitutional provision mandates that government has been granted the authority to control the quality of life of the individual through approval and licensing of health care decisions.

This bill would help some individuals with only one specified malady, however to accomplish this goal Indiana is violating “Section 23. The General Assembly shall not grant to any

citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.” Legislators are granting to a select group of individuals the special privilege of relief from a specific disease, such relief equally belongs to all citizens.

The bill fails to cite the constitutional authority to regulate marijuana substances but criminalizing was also done without specified authority.  A republic limits the authority government has over conduct of an individual it does not limit or license inalienable rights which belong to each individual through our very existence.  Life is a Right and the quality of that life is an individual possession which does not require government registration, permission or approval.  Life and health issues belong to the individual.

 

http://www.diffen.com/difference/Democracy_vs_Republic

http://www.law.indiana.edu/uslawdocs/inconst.html

http://codes.findlaw.com/in/title-1-general-provisions/in-code-sect-1-1-2-1.html

http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/senate/15

 

The Right to Life as defined by The Department of Marijuana Enforcement

“Section 1. WE DECLARE, That all people are created equal; that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that all power is inherent in the people; and that all free governments are, and of right ought to be, founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and well-being. For the advancement of these ends, the people have, at all times, an indefeasible right to alter and reform their government.”

The individual inalienable right to life must be one of self-determination.  The means by which each determines to maintain their life is fundamentally one of property rights.  As sole owners of our own being the right to exercise dominion over our own life includes determining health care needs.  A republic has a written constitution protecting inalienable rights from the government even if that government acts upon the will of the masses.  Black’s Law Dictionary 6th ed defines a constitutional right as “A right guaranteed to the citizens by the United States Constitution and state constitutions and so guaranteed as to prevent legislative interference therewith.”    Is it not the right of the individual to determine their quality of life and how to maintain it without permission from the government?

As each individual is born with the survival instinct what would the ordinary individual believe is the meaning of the inalienable right to life?   Does it mean an individual has the right to life determinations only if they obtain a license from Indiana?    Do you see any such condition on your right to life?  That right to determine medical care for your quality of life has been held hostage through legislative interference known as laws.

The Rule of Law for Indiana is contained in the hierarchy of Law beginning “The law governing this state is declared to be: First. The Constitution of the United States and of this state. Second. All statutes of the general assembly of the state in force, and not inconsistent with such constitutions.”    This defines the oath of elected officials plainly stating laws cannot be inconsistent with the constitutions.

SB 255 is government defining who and for what purpose an illegal substance known as marijuana can be used for medical use.   But, this bill is nothing new this legislation has been attempted in the past.  And it still is confronted by the fact that Indiana has determined the illegality of a substance without any authority granted in the Indiana Constitution in violation of “Section 25. No law shall be passed, the taking effect of which shall be made to depend upon any authority, except as provided in this Constitution.”   State Senators and Representatives take a Constitutional Oath which states:  “ Every person elected or appointed to any office under this Constitution, shall, before entering on the duties thereof, take an oath or affirmation, to support the Constitution of this State, and of the United States, and also an oath of office.: (Indiana Constitution Article 15 Section 4).”

Since the Indiana Constitution delineates exactly the duties and limits of elected officials why are laws passed by these elected persons which violate their Oath, the Constitution and the Law of Indiana?

SB 255 “Establishes a medical marijuana program (program), and permits caregivers and patients who have received a physician recommendation to possess a certain quantity of marijuana for treatment of certain medical conditions”.  Your physician determines marijuana will give you relief to live your life while controlling your pain, simple, right?  Wrong!

First Indiana “Establishes the department of marijuana enforcement (DOME) as a state agency to oversee the program, and creates the DOME advisory committee to review the effectiveness of the program and to consider recommendations from DOME.”

A DOME Advisory Committee is established.   This newly created committee has 4 voting members and 5 non-voting members.  These members are appointed by speaker and minority leaders of the House, president pro tem and minority leader of the Senate, the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue, the Director of the Department of Agriculture, and the State Health Commissioner.  Each member of the advisory committee is entitled to receive specified compensation.

Sec.7. Provides authority to the advisory committee which “shall do the following: Review rules adopted by DOME.  Review legislative proposals suggested by DOME.  Evaluate the medical marijuana research and development program under IC 7.1-9-5. Evaluate the operation of the medical marijuana program.  Consider any other matter that has bearing on the operation of the medical marijuana program.”

A New Article 8 MEDICAL MARIJUANA defines all the components of this privilege to be granted to only a few individuals.  Statutory definitions would include: adequate supply for treatment, Medical marijuana card, Qualified patient, and Treatable medical condition all mandated by the government.

SB 255 places DOME in charge of the determination for medical treatment use of marijuana not the individual and not the physician.  Under this bill a person Dome determines to be a “Qualified patient” under the defined covered treatable medical conditions which includes specified conditions and “Any other illness or condition determined by DOME to be a treatable medical condition.” must apply to DOME to receive a medical marijuana card.  That application must include a physician recommendation, verification that the physician is licensed, and compliance with any other rule adopted by DOME.  In addition the bill “Authorizes DOME to grant research licenses to research facilities with a physical presence in Indiana.”

The application will be denied if among other things the applicant does not meet the criteria required by DOME.  The card can be good for up to two years or shorter if the physician expressly recommends a shorter period.  DOME may charge a reasonable fee up to $100 to apply for a card.  There is a section specifying the quantity of marijuana allowed to be possessed and a penalty for fraud.

The DEPARTMENT OF MARIJUANA ENFORCEMENT is in charge of administering the medical marijuana program.   DOME will be:” the DOME committee consisting of four (4) commissioners who shall direct and oversee the operation of DOME who are appointed by the governor; the executive director; and other employees necessary to carry out the duties of DOME.  Each commissioner will be compensated with a minimum salary per diem and reimbursement for traveling and other expenses actually incurred in connection with duties.  In order to be appointed a commissioner must meet certain qualifications defined in SB 255.    DOME shall have the power to employ all necessary employees, determine their duties, and, subject to the approval of the DOME committee and the budget agency, fix their salaries.  In addition, DOME is given all the authority of an administrative agency including establishing the program, and adoption of all necessary rules to implement the program.

Sections of IC 35-48-4 are amended to provide defense to an action or prosecution for qualified individuals for possession of an instrument in violation of the code and possession of specified substances in violation of code.

The Constitutions have not mandated that government has authority to determine the quality of life that an individual has the right to maintain unless government provides approval following a qualification and licensing process.   This bill would help some individuals who are willing to become compliant with government in order to receive relief from unbearable medical conditions.   However because of the limits of qualified conditions it fails to comply with the Indiana Constitution “Section 23.  The General Assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.”

And this bill does nothing to defend the Qualified individual in yet another Right guaranteed protection by the Constitutions.  The Right to self-protection through the ownership and carrying of a firearm is automatically denied.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a lower court decision that just by having a medical marijuana card precludes an individual from keeping and bearing arms.  Findings were based not only on the federal laws that still make marijuana users criminals even if the individual resides in a state where medical marijuana is legal but also on an “open letter” from ATF stating the federal prohibition from allowing the firearm sale to be completed.

So you could receive relief from a debilitating medical condition but because the federal government considers marijuana an illegal substance you are not allowed to provide yourself with protection.   In a Republic limits have been placed upon government such as those found in the Indiana Constitution.  Those limits of government authority protect inalienable rights of the individual which cannot be taken away by government action.  The right to Life and the quality of that life is not the possession of any entity except the individual.  Life is a right not a government qualified for compliance privilege.  The minority of one is not required to rely upon government permission to sustain or protect one’s self.

http://www.diffen.com/difference/Democracy_vs_Republic

http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/senate/255#document-a3e68bdb

http://www.law.indiana.edu/uslawdocs/inconst.html

http://codes.findlaw.com/in/title-1-general-provisions/in-code-sect-1-1-2-1.html

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/23993-ninth-circuit-rules-marijuana-card-holders-may-not-own-firearms

 

 

You Thought HB 1066 Bias Crimes was Unique?

You are not less valuable than any other individual Unless Indiana passes a law which states you are.  Laws continue to be discussed and implemented which determine some individuals are entitled to have enhanced punishment executed on those who do them harm.  HB 1066 which I reviewed shortly after it was posted received only a few comments so I am surprised at the reaction to the passage out of committee of a bill SB 439 referred to by some as a “hate crime” bill.   There are more than two “Bias Crime” bills making the rounds in the Indiana General Assembly.  These types of bills are nothing new past sessions have seen similar.

What is a Bias Motivated Crime?

HB 1066 reviewed prior amends IC 10-13-3-1 to define a “bias motivated crime” as a crime in which “the person who commits the crime knowingly or intentionally selects:  the individual against whom the crime was committed; or any property damaged or otherwise affected by the crime; in whole or in part because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender,  gender identity or expression, or disability of the individual or a group of individuals, whether or not the person’s belief or perception was correct.”   IC 10-13-3-38 would be amended to require Each law enforcement agency to collect and submit information concerning bias motivated crimes to the Indiana central repository for criminal history information in the manner and form prescribed using the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) format as required by the department.  Further a new condition is that each law enforcement agency shall submit data regarding the commission of bias motivated crimes to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.   HB 1066 amended IC 35-38-1-7.1 adding to the already listed “special individuals” to be given special consideration when determining punishment of the person committing the crime “the individual against whom the crime was committed; or any property damaged or otherwise affected by the crime;  in whole or in part because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation,  gender, gender identity or expression, or disability of the  individual or a group of individuals, whether or not the  person’s belief or perception was correct.”  The court power when determining additional punishment would extend not only to persons identified but also property.  The result is that some individuals are more worthy of consideration when deciding punishment for a crime committed against them.   These special circumstances are to be based specifically upon government selected identified characteristics

Who determines Aggravating Circumstances?

SB 439 which passed out of committee amends IC 35-31.5-2-260.2, to include what a “Relative” of a public safety official means.  Then IC 35-38-1-7.1 is amended to provide the court consideration of aggravating circumstances “In determining what sentence to impose for a crime”.  In determining the sentence based upon preferential aggravating circumstances the court may consider: “The person committed the offense with the intent to harm or intimidate an individual because of the individual’s perceived or actual: race; religion; color; sex; gender identity; disability; national origin; ancestry; sexual orientation; or status as a public safety official or a relative of a public safety official.”

Who identifies what a Bias Motivated Crime is? 

SB 336 has three distinct proposals.  First the bill amends IC 5-2-1-9 adding that the board shall adopt all necessary rules to carry out the provisions of this chapter and that  “ the standards adopted by the board for each program described in this subsection must include requirements for mandatory training in identifying, responding to, and reporting bias motivated crimes.”   The programs include the minimum basic training program required for a law enforcement officer; the mandatory inservice training program required for police officers and police reserve officers; the town marshal basic training program; and the police chief executive training program.  Second, SB 336 now mirrors the language in HB 1066 defining the meaning of a “bias motivated crime” and exactly matches the specified individuals and the court power when determining additional punishment which would extend to not only persons identified but also property.  Third SB 336 follows the same reporting except the NIBRS format is not listed, however the requirement of reporting the data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation is included.

What is enhanced punishment?

SB 270 would provide:” Battery on a sports official. Increases the penalty for battery if it is committed against an individual certified as a referee, an umpire, or an athletic official.”  The bill adds yet another special consideration person defining that a “Certified athletic official“, means an individual serving as: a referee; an umpire; or an official; at an athletic event, if the individual has been certified as a referee, an umpire, or an official by a national certification program”  is included in those covered under offenses committed against those listed as a public safety official which includes a law enforcement officer, employee of a penal facility, employee of the department of corrections, probation and parole officer, community corrections worker, home detention officer, department of child services employee, firefighter, emergency medical provider, a judicial officer and an individual related to those specified by blood, half-blood, adoption, marriage, or remarriage, is entitled to having imposed the specified penalties related to each listed offense.        

Battery against utility workers requires Felony punishment?  

HB 1388 would add Utility worker to the already extensive list of covered individuals and their relatives entitled to be vindicated through enhanced punishment.   “Utility worker” means an individual employed by: a public utility; a municipally owned utility; a cable or satellite television company; a telecommunications carrier; an electric cooperative; a telephone cooperative; or nonprofit utility.”  Punishment could increase to “a Level 6 felony from a Class B misdemeanor” and raises the offense to a Level 5 felony if the offender used bodily fluid or waste and knew or recklessly failed to know the substance was infected with hepatitis, tuberculosis, or human immunodeficiency virus.”

Another try to give preferential protection to utility workers.

HB 1480 just like HB 1388 defines and adds Utility worker to the already extensive list of covered individuals and their relatives entitled to be vindicated through enhanced punishment which could increase to“a Level 6 felony from a Class B misdemeanor.   HB 1480 does not include the bodily substance clause instead this bill would make the offense a level 5 felony if it resulted in bodily injury.

Increased penalty for battery against public safety official or relative.   

HB1297 “Increases the penalty for battery if it is committed against a public safety official or a relative of a public safety official because of the official’s status or perceived status as a public safety official, and increases the penalty for criminal recklessness if it is committed against: a public safety official while the official is engaged in the official’s official duties; or a public

safety official or a relative of a public safety official if the offense is committed because of the official’s status or perceived status as a public safety official.”  “Relative” means an individual related by blood, half-blood, adoption, marriage, or remarriage, including: spouse;  parent or stepparent; child or stepchild;  grandchild or stepgrandchild;  grandparent or stepgrandparent;  brother, sister, stepbrother, or stepsister;  niece or nephew; aunt or uncle; a daughter-in-law or son-in-law; mother-in-law or father-in-law; or a first cousin.”

What do all of the above bills have in common?  

Simple,  they all divide us into groups creating selected individuals because of their actual or perceived status who are provided greater protections because the penalties for harming these special people is determined to be greater than penalties for harm caused to all the others not included in the government preference list.

How do the people resolve the matter of government selecting special individuals?

The Oath taken by Indiana lawmakers binds them to the manner in which they conduct the business of the people.  That solemn promise is to preserve the terms of the U.S. Constitution and the Indiana Constitution and all statutes of the general assembly of the state in force and not inconsistent with such constitutions.  Why can there be any question as to the absolute responsibility of the members of the General Assembly?  What will it take for individuals to stand up for their inalienable right to equality?

The absolute limit to the authority granted to Indiana government is established in Section 25 of our Indiana Constitution, “No law shall be passed, the taking effect of which shall be made to depend upon any authority, except as provided in this Constitution.”   Can the language be any plainer?  How can a law that is not authorized be passed?

WE DECLARE, That all people are created equal.  Does there appear to be any qualification of equality based upon any individual characteristic?

How should enhanced penalty be justified?

Indiana has a constitutional protection which mandates “The penal code shall be founded on the

principles of reformation, and not of vindictive justice.”  How can enhanced punishment be considered anything other than revenge for harming a selected individual?

” Cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted. All penalties shall be proportioned to the nature of the offense.”  Shall and shall not are considered absolute in law so how can there be any qualification to punishment other than proportioned to the nature of the offense?  Does there appear to be any exception to imposing punishment in excess of the compensation due to every victim executed in punishment of the offender because of the status of the victim?

We must demand adherence to the documents established to limit government and protect individual rights.  Individuals are all equal in value by the very nature of our humanity.  Why would elected officials under solemn Oath take the position that they have the right to determine selected individuals are of more value because of their differences?   As individuals we are never the same as anyone else for government to assume the unauthorized authority to discriminate and determine harm caused to one is greater than the same harm caused to another is not conscionable.

Unequal circumstances of existence are what make us individuals.  Individual rights are for all equally regardless of any differences associated with our existence.   How can government place a higher value on the life or property of one and not discriminate against all others?

http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1066

http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/senate/336

http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1297

http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/senate/439

http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1388

http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/senate/270

http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1480

http://www.law.indiana.edu/uslawdocs/inconst/art-1.html#sec-25

http://codes.findlaw.com/in/title-1-general-provisions/in-code-sect-1-1-2-1.html

Bill of Rights Privacy vs. legislated DNA collection

For several sessions the Indiana General Assembly Members have introduced bills requiring DNA collection upon arrest.

SB 565 and HB 1015 in 2015 required every person arrested for a felony or as in the Senate bill  “ for burglary, residential entry, a crime of violence, or a sex offense; and (2) a child found to be a delinquent child for the commission of an act that, if committed by an adult, would be burglary, residential entry, a crime of violence, or a sex offense; to provide a DNA sample.”   Both bills provided for the expungement of a DNA sample if the person is acquitted of all felony charges, all felony charges are dismissed, or no charges have been filed after 30 days.   There was also a provision which required the person taking the DNA sample to inform the arrestee of the right to DNA expungement and to provide a form to be used.   In 2016 SB 191 and HB 1015 were introduced with identical language containing the expungement provision.

Indiana lawmakers have indicated the 2017 session will once again see a bill for the mandatory collection of DNA upon arrest for specified charges.  The DNA is then placed in a national database.  A major change this session makes it difficult to expunge DNA from the database.   Under the new proposed bill an individual would be allowed to remove their DNA from the national database only if they are acquitted of all charges.  Gone are the privileges of being allowed to have your DNA removed if all felony charges are dismissed or no charges have been filed after 30 days.

Black’s Law Dictionary 6th ed defines a constitutional right as “A right guaranteed to the citizens by the United States Constitution and state constitutions and so guaranteed as to prevent legislative interference therewith.”

Indiana lawmakers are required before entering into office to take a Constitutional Oath which is compulsory under Indiana Constitution Article 15 Section 4. “ Every person elected or appointed to any office under this Constitution, shall, before entering on the duties thereof, take an oath or affirmation, to support the Constitution of this State, and of the United States, and also an oath of office.”

Indiana Constitution Section 25:” No law shall be passed the taking effect of which shall be made to depend upon any authority, except as provided in this Constitution”.

Does an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of this State include adherence to
Section 25?  Where does the provision exist for a law demanding DNA upon arrest absent warrant based upon probable cause?   Where does the provision exist which states you will only have your seized property returned if you are found not guilty?  Where is the provision which states government can determine you do not have the right to have your property returned if charges are dismissed or never filed?

Do the Constitutions of this State and the United States not provide for the protection of the individual right to be secure in our persons?  Do Section 11 and Amendment IV not mandate the government must search and seize only upon warrant issued through due process?  Is being arrested enough according to required standards for the government to demand DNA and provide it to a national database?  Does being given the privilege to have your DNA removed only upon acquittal meet the standards?      

Indiana Constitution “Section 11. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable search or seizure, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized.”

U.S. Constitution “Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The hierarchy of law governing Indiana is declared to be:  “ First. The Constitution of the United States and of this state.  Second. All statutes of the general assembly of the state in force and not inconsistent with such constitutions.  .  .”

Where does the law governing this state include the exception for a law which is inconsistent with the constitutions?   Where do the constitutions provide government the authority to justify the end by violating the means?  Does the sworn oath of our representatives allow them to justify violations of inalienable rights when those rights are explained in plain, ordinary language and declared protected by the constitutions against government legislation?

If we desire to retain our individual inalienable rights all rights must be protected against unauthorized government acts even those acts which may seem to have an acceptable goal. Individuals have a right to justice under the rule of law but that rule of law foundation is the constitutions.

 

 

Indiana Constitution

U.S. Constitution

http://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2016/12/06/dna-bill-would-keep-sample-system-even-if-charges-dismissed/95041516/

State Cooperation in Federal Gun Control determines Right to Bear Arms

What defines the individual right to self-protection? That would depend upon what an individual believes.  Some believe a constitutional right to be absolute with no government ability to legislate terms.  Others believe the government has the authority to determine the extent to which any individual right may be executed because of compelling government interest.

Today the meanings of rights have been so convoluted by unauthorized legislation and the interposition of judicial determination which seemingly legislate from the bench it is understandable why individuals would be confused.

The Oath of office for Indiana government agents is one which demands compliance with the law governing this state.  Indiana declares that Law to include: “The Constitution of the United States and of this state” as well as “All statutes of the United States in force, and relating to subjects over which congress has power to legislate for the states, and not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States.

This Law of Indiana unambiguously recognizes that the federal government is only provided authority which is clearly stated in the U.S. Constitution and that such authority does not extend any further.   When the federal government passes anything which applies to the states it must depend upon the states to comply.  Usually compliance has been controlled through the “free money” given by the feds to implement such programs.  Federal gun laws have been no exception.  The government using funding to coerce compliance is the usual tactic.

Should individual rights or an Oath to uphold the Constitutions be invalid because the state is forced to cooperate with the federal government in gun law enforcement?   HB 1051 states that there is an individual right to bear arms which shall not be infringed thus emphasizing the Law of Indiana hierarchy.

The legislation claims “it is the intent of the general assembly in enacting this article to protect Indiana employees”.  . . .” from being directed, through federal executive orders, agency orders, statutes, laws, rules, or regulations enacted or promulgated after January 1, 2017, to  violate their oath of office and individual rights affirmed under the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the  United States and Article 1, Section 32 of the Constitution of Indiana”.   However there is no language in this bill providing Indiana employees with protection against the federal government defining what that protection will be and how such protection would be implemented by Indiana.

HB 1051 further explains in Chapter 1 “Legislative Statements”  “anticommandeering principles” and cites the United States Supreme Court in Printz v. United States, 11 521 U.S. 898 (1997) which held:  “The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program”. 

Chapter 2 simply defines “political subdivision” as having the meaning in current code IC 36-1-2-13.

Chapter 3 “Prohibitions” prohibits:  “Knowingly or intentionally participate in any way in the enforcement of a federal act, law, order, rule, or regulation issued, enacted, or promulgated after January 1, 2017, regarding a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition”.   State agents are further prohibited from the use of any assets or funds allocated by the state to engage in any prohibited gun related activity that aids the federal government in enforcement or investigation in connection with enforcement.

Chapter 4. “Penalties” a state or political subdivision employee or agent who violates this new law would “commit a Class B infraction”.    Any of the specified individuals who knowingly or intentionally violates and has a prior conviction or adjudication for violation “commits a Class A misdemeanor”.

Next HB 1051 applies penalties to the subdivision for adopting a rule, order, ordinance, or policy requiring violation of this code.  Violating subdivisions “ may not receive state grant funds” with the state grant funds denied for the fiscal year following the year final judicial determination is made.

While the bill professes the intent is to protect Indiana employees it punishes the individual actor under specified Code for non-compliance.    The political entity will be controlled by withholding funds but the bill fails to elaborate what actions Indiana will take to protect either the individual or the political subdivision from federal retaliation.  Federal retaliation would likely take the form of lost funding from the federal government which has always been an argument against any nullification by some who believe we should always get our share of the “free” federal money.

While HB 1051 would set a standard and serve notice to the federal government to keep their hands off our Right to bear arms Indiana must be prepared for the reaction of both lost funding to subdivisions and the public who may not understand this bill is to protect the individual from the unauthorized acts of the federal government.

http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1051#document-9a13f2b8

http://codes.findlaw.com/in/title-1-general-provisions/in-code-sect-1-1-2-1.html

http://iga.in.gov/legislative/laws/const/

Hope springs eternal…

I don’t know when Grandpa Bowman’s hair fell out. He was bald as long as I could remember, and even in his wedding picture. When I became old enough to think about such things, and when somebody told me that baldness is inherited from your Mother’s side of the family, I realized that someday I might be follicly challenged myself. Grandpa had spent almost his entire life not knowing where to stop washing his face. I hoped the same fate wouldn’t befall me. And even though I hoped that it wouldn’t, I always expected that it would, and it did.

I buy a couple of lottery tickets almost every week, hoping they will draw my numbers on Saturday night, and I will wake up a millionaire on Sunday morning. Truth be known, even though I hope I will win, I don’t really expect it, and so I always keep my alternative plan, which involves getting up and going to work in order to keep us fed, clothed, and housed.

I imagine we all hope for some things with a reasonable expectation that they will come true. If you have children, you hope they will be successful and happy. We hope it doesn’t rain everyday of our vacation, and we hope our plane lands safely. We hope we have enough money to get through our retirement. With a little forethought and planning, none of these hopes seem to be out of reach. Except for the plane. Most of us don’t have any control over that. And the rain.

And we probably all hope for some things we don’t really expect to happen, much like I hoped my hair wouldn’t fall out, or like my hopes of winning the lottery.

The other day, I was chastised when I admitted that I didn’t have much hope of anything good coming out of the new administration in Washington. The only semi-reasonable expectation I have is that perhaps the anti-war left will awaken from its 8 year slumber. I had a brief but fleeting thought the left might come to a better and fonder understanding of the Tenth Amendment in light of some of the new president’s executive orders, but it passed quickly when I realized they probably realized they would be back in power in a few years, and they wouldn’t want that hanging over their heads when they were.

I know I could be an optimist and hope our current administration would reduce the federal debt, champion individual rights, bring our troops home, and reduce the role the federal government has in our lives, but I don’t really have any expectation any of that will happen. I’m convinced my hopes would be better spent on lottery tickets and hair restorers.

Just like when we buy lottery tickets, and hope doesn’t seem to be enough, we need an alternate plan when Washington gets out of control, which over last few years, seems to be all of the time.

In his book, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein wrote “I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

We have reached the point where can’t expect much out of Washington, and we need to stop pinning our hopes on the federal government fixing anything. We need to take control of our lives, our hopes, and our expectations.

I hope people understand that.

Happy New Year, I hope…

My wife’s uncle Fred owned a bar in Hagerstown years ago, and up against the front wall sat a juke box. I don’t know if anyone has a juke box anymore, since you can listen to about anything you want to hear on your cell phone, but back then you could put a quarter in the slot and listen to three songs. I think towards the end of the juke box era, (and probably one of the things that contributed to people listening to music on their cell phones,) they raised the price to a quarter for one song. I also think when you had to pay a quarter for one people paid a little more attention to their selections.

A man came in about once a week and took out the quarters and split them with Fred, and sometimes he would put a new record or two in the line-up. The juke box had a mixture of some old and new country, and some old and new rock and roll. I thought it needed more rock and roll, but a lot of the more mature patrons thought it needed more country. Fred didn’t really care, as long as somebody kept putting quarters in the machine. He used to say “Different strokes for different folks,” which helped explain why he kept different brands of beer in the cooler and different brands of cigarettes in the cigarette machine.

Since I worked as a bartender, and spent some leisure time on the other side of the bar, I learned to enjoy some of the old country music, but I’m not sure some of the patrons ever came to appreciate the new rock and roll.

I’m sure different people still enjoy different things. Take 2016, for instance. I imagine Donald Trump will have fonder memories of it than will Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. The people that hit the $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot probably thought it turned out okay, as did Bill Gates, who was the year’s and the world’s richest man with $75 billion.

It turned out to be a pretty good year for Cubs fans, but not so good for Harambe, who discovered that just sitting in a pen minding your own business can be fatal under some circumstances. I’ve heard people say the election in 2016 was the best we’ve ever had, and I’ve also heard people who are convinced it was the worst we’ve ever had. Whether it was the best or the worst, or somewhere in between remains to be seen. I prefer to think that while our choices were the worst ever, I’m more afraid they may only turn out to be the worst so far.

From a personal standpoint, I’ve had better years. I met my wife and started my business in 1974. That was a pretty good year. There have been years along the way when I got married, had children, had grandchildren, bought a home, made a profit, and wrote a book.

But in 2016, we lost a sister and a sister-in-law to cancer. Our brother’s cancer reoccurred, and my wife lost 3 months to an illness the doctors couldn’t diagnose. I had a stroke, and Roy Johnson’s service station on Main Street in Hagerstown closed.

Trying to look on the brighter side, I googled “good things that happened in 2016.” My best advice to everyone would be “don’t do it.” Sure, the wild tiger population increased, and the Juno spacecraft made it to Jupiter, but other than that, it’s pretty slim pickings.

I don’t doubt that some people will look back on 2016 with great fondness, and on a personal level, some people may have had a good year, but overall, I’m ready to say goodbye to 2016, and good riddance.

Happy New Year 2017, and welcome.

The Wish Book…

Back in my Millville Grade School days, before there was an internet or cyber Monday, we had something called the Sears Roebuck catalog. Every December, my old buddy Stinky Wilmont and I, along with my brothers and sisters, spent hours going through that catalog circling what we wanted for Christmas. Since there were 8 of us kids, we also wrote our names by the items so there wouldn’t be any confusion about who wanted what. The really popular items usually ended up with several names beside them.

Since we only had one catalog, we all had to take turns looking at it, and we couldn’t look at it while we were eating, since it also served as a booster seat for one of my little brothers or sisters then, or while we were getting a haircut. Still, by the time Christmas rolled around, there were names on something on about every page. I don’t know if they still make those giant catalogs. I haven’t seen one for a while. I think nowadays instead of writing your name by something you go on line and click “Add to wish list” or “Add to cart”. I don’t know what you sit on if you can’t reach the table.

I know at the Bell household, and I’m pretty sure at the Wilmont household, nobody ever got everything they marked in the catalog. I don’t think any of us thought we would. But, there was a period of time, from Thanksgiving dinner until Christmas morning, when, much like Schrödinger’s cat, anything was possible. I never received a Mister Machine, although I wrote my name in great big letters by it every year. But one year I got a gas powered BB gun with a wooden stock. I had written my name by it, and even drawn a circle around it just to make sure Mom saw it, but I never really thought I’d get it. One of my little brothers wrote his name by it to, but I always figured he did it just to aggravate me, because I’m pretty sure he didn’t have any more idea he’d get it than I did. It remains to this day the best Christmas gift I ever got.

There were 8 of us kids, and it seems like we always received at least one thing we had marked in the book, along with a couple things we hadn’t. And then there were always those socks, but what are you going to do?

We just went through a contentious election, where it seemed few people were overly happy with the choices we had for president. I think a lot of people voted against a candidate instead of for a candidate, and we’ve seen some evidence that some voters chose a candidate just to aggravate the people who chose the other candidate.

We’ve all heard predictions about how bad it’s going to be or how great it’s going to be when the new president takes office. I don’t believe it’s going to be all that bad or all that great. I think that like after every election before, everybody’s going to get something they want and something they don’t want, except for us Libertarians, who always get a whole lot more government than we want.

So between now and inauguration day, just like at Christmas, we don’t know for sure what we’re going to get, but we can wish for anything, and it might come true.

No matter what happens, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, even if all your wishes didn’t, or don’t, come true.

I left my modesty in Richmond Indiana…

November got off to a bad start at our house. I was on my way to Richmond when I got a funny feeling in the left side of my face. I found out later it was what they call a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. It’s a type of mini-stroke, I’m told. I’d heard of them before, but I’m pretty sure I’d never had one before.

At any rate, I wound up feeling better in a short while, and continued on to my scheduled interview with a local reporter. In the course of our meeting, I had a couple more TIA’s, at least that’s what the doctor said, culminating with a full blown stroke as the grand finale.

I kind of lost track of things after that. I regained consciousness long enough to realize that a bunch of guys had removed my pants and boots, and were in the process of cutting my shirt off. I also noticed Rachel the reporter had turned her back on the proceedings. I’m not sure if she did it for my benefit or her own, but I remember thinking I sure was proud that I had taken Mom’s long standing advice and taken the time to put on clean underwear before I left home.

I came to again with somebody yelling “Stay with me buddy” in my face. I couldn’t really answer him, but I do remember thinking “Hey, you took my pants and my wallet, you cut off my shirt, and I’m strapped to a gurney in the back of an ambulance in my underwear somewhere in Richmond. Just where would I be going?”

When I arrived at Reid Hospital, they ran some tests, and called a helicopter to take me to another hospital in Indianapolis. When the pilot asked me if I had ever ridden in a helicopter before, I told him 50 years ago I rode in one at Canal Days in Cambridge City for 10 bucks. He said this ride would probably cost a little more than that. I hoped the reason it was going to be more expensive would be because this helicopter was a little bigger and had a heater, because it was becoming apparent to me that I was going to fly from Richmond to Indianapolis on November 3rd in my underwear.

The hospital I landed in was IU Methodist close to downtown Indy. When we arrived there they put me in the intensive care unit, and cut off the rest of my underwear. I tried to tell them it was probably my best pair, and that I had put on special for today, but I had lost my voice by that time, and besides, everybody seemed to busy sticking stickers on me and hooking wires to them to be concerned about my underwear. I was later able to get a note from one of the nurses verifying the condition of my late briefs, so at least I have that for Mom, even if I am short a pair of shorts.

They had a lot of doctors in that hospital. They came into my room a lot. There were brain doctors and brain surgeons, heart doctors and heart surgeons. They all seemed to know what they were doing, but I was awfully disappointed that none of them knew where they were, or even what day it was. They asked me every time they came in. I didn’t really mind telling them every day (some of them I had to tell twice a day), but I thought surely somebody would remember at least once in a while, them being doctors and all. I think they appreciated my help, because they asked me when my birthday was. I told them it was March 12th, and figured they would probably get me something nice, but then I realized they probably wouldn’t remember when my birthday was either.

I guess a hospital is a good place to be if you need to be there, but I wasn’t overly happy about all the tubes and hoses sticking out of places that weren’t really meant to have tubes and hoses sticking out of them. It was flattering, though, to have so many people suddenly interested in my bodily functions. Even passing gas brought reactions of encouragement and approval, although now that I am home, my wife Susan’s enthusiasm for it seems to have waned a bit.

Still, I think there were some good things that have come out of this experience so far. I was lucky or blessed to be where I was when it happened. If I had been at home alone I probably would just have laid down to let it pass. I rediscovered how wonderful our community, my friends and family are when you need them. My sister-in-law reflected on my incident, and went out and bought my brother-in-law all new underwear, just in case. So we have that.

I think I’m getting along pretty well now, doing therapy at home and at the therapy place. I still don’t have very good balance, and I can’t swallow or talk very well, and I missed out on two Thanksgiving dinners, but other than that, I think it’s going to work out.

So thanks for all the thoughts and prayers, and to all of you who manage to keep society rolling along when some of us take a break. Hopefully in a couple of weeks I can come back and tell you that everything worked out fine.

Running on Empty…

A couple of weeks ago I was running a business, running for governor, and running over to Richmond for an interview with Rachel at one of our local newspapers, the Palladium-Item. In the midst of all of that, I could swear that I was also run over by a large truck. As it turns out, what actually ran over me was a stroke.

Thanks to some quick action by Rachel, the Richmond Fire Department, Reid Health and countless others, I am well on my way to running as well as I ever did, which may or may not have been as well as I hoped, or even as well as I remember.

The business I run is a contracting company, and we were just finishing up one job and getting ready to start on another. Thanks to my brother Ross, who has been with me for 42 years, and some understanding customers who are also our friends, it looks like continuing to run the business may come off without a hitch.

I spent election day and week flat on my back in a hospital bed in Indianapolis. It’s the first time in nine elections that I wasn’t standing at the polls asking for votes all day. And while I would have preferred to spend the day at the polls, it turns out the results were about the same wherever I spent the day. Much as I suspected, I didn’t win the election, just as most Libertarian candidates on the ballot didn’t win the election.

Libertarians are running on a platform that most people don’t want to deal with. We advocate for a constitutionally limited government. I attended a lot of forums and meetings in my campaign for governor, and I found most people who want limited government only want to limit it in ways that benefit them. The general consensus seems to be “it’s only pork if someone else is getting it.” Believe me, I understand how seductive that line of reasoning can be when it goes up against the personal responsibility that is necessary for a limited government to succeed.

Libertarians run for office because every election, more and more people understand why we run. More than 86,000 voters cast their ballot for me this year, and more than 4 million voters gave Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson the nod. Some because they value personal freedom and responsibility over the stifling nanny state, and some because they recognize the unsustainability of a system where more people want to ride the wagon than want to pull it, and the fallacy of a government that rewards sloth and punishes initiative.

At one of the forums I attended, a sitting member of the U.S. House of Representatives expressed his concern that people were being released from prison, and were then being forced to wait up to four weeks before they started receiving their government checks again. He promised to do something about it.

I hope one of these elections you will promise to do something about it also. I know I have.

Thank you all for your prayers and support.

I’ll see you when I’m up and running again.

Discrediting Fake News: Russian DNC Hack Edition

If you are someone that believes the Russians hacked the Democrat National Committee and the email account of Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Manager, John Podesta, allow me to Redpill you:

 

Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray

Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray

1) Ambassador Craig Murray, Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan:

“I know who leaked them, I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.

The source of these emails and leaks has nothing to do with Russia at all. I discovered what the source was when I attended the Sam Adam’s whistleblower award in Washington.

The source of these emails comes from within official circles in Washington DC. You should look to Washington not to Moscow.

WikiLeaks has never published any material received from the Russian government or from any proxy of the Russian government. It’s simply a completely untrue claim designed to divert attention from the content of the material.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/10/cia-concludes-russia-interfered-to-help-trump-win-election-report?CMP=share_btn_tw

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-11/former-uk-ambassador-blasts-cias-blatant-lies-shows-little-simple-logic-destroys-the

2) James Clapper, Director of the National Security Agency testifying before Congress:

“As far as the WikiLeaks connection, the evidence there is not as strong and we don’t have gopod insight into the sequencing of the releases or when the data may have been provided. We don’t have as good insight into that.”

3) William Binney, Former NSA Technical Director of World Geopolitical & Military Analysis:

“The email disclosures in question are the result of a leak, not a hack. Here’s the difference between leaking and hacking:

Leak: When someone physically takes data out of an organization and gives it to some other person or organization, as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning did.

Hack: When someone in a remote location electronically penetrates operating systems, firewalls or any other cyber-protection system and then extracts data.

All signs point to leaking, not hacking. If hacking were involved, the National Security Agency would know it – and know both sender and recipient.

In short, since leaking requires physically removing data – on a thumb drive, for example – the only way such data can be copied and removed, with no electronic trace of what has left the server, is via a physical storage device.”

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-16/nsa-whistleblower-destroys-obamas-russia-narrative-hard-evidence-points-inside-leak-

4) Julian Assange, Wikileaks Founder and political refugee:

“Our source is not the Russian Government.”

“I would’ve had no problem releasing similar information on President-elect Donald Trump as Wikileaks did to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.”

Julian Assange Speaks to Hannity, Says That Russian Gov’t Was Not His Source

5) “Why The Evidence Russia Hacked the DNC is NOT ENOUGH” by The Intercept, the news organization started by Glenn Greenwald who broke Edward’s Snowden NSA story:

“One can’t be reminded enough that all of this evidence comes from private companies with a direct financial interest in making the internet seem as scary as possible, just as Lysol depends on making you believe your kitchen is crawling with E. Coli.”

https://theintercept.com/2016/12/14/heres-the-public-evidence-russia-hacked-the-dnc-its-not-enough/

 

Do your part in combatting “Fake News” by sharing this with your friends…