Feb 172014
 


The WikiLeaks revelations have shined a light on the dark nature of U.S. foreign policy, including, as Eric Margolis recently described it: “Washington’s heavy-handed treatment of friends and foes alike, its bullying, use of diplomats as junior-grade spies, narrow-minded views, and snide remarks about world leaders.”

As much as I, an American, hate to say it, U.S. foreign policy is actually much worse. It is aggressive, reckless, belligerent, and meddling. It sanctions the destabilization and overthrow of governments, the assassination of leaders, the destruction of industry and infrastructure, the backing of military coups, death squads, and drug traffickers, and imperialism under the guise of humanitarianism. It supports corrupt and tyrannical governments and brutal sanctions and embargoes. It results in discord, strife, hatred, and terrorism toward the United States.

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Nov 132012
 

Yesterday, I saw a political yard sign that said “Keep Us Free. Elect Romney.” It exemplifies perfectly one of the major problems we face in this country: the fact that so many Americans honestly believe they live in a free society.

During our recent College Civil Liberties Tour, the issue of public schooling came up during the question and answer session. I said that libertarians favor abolishing public schooling in part because of the indoctrination that takes place there in the quest to mold the “good little citizen.” A student came up to me after one of our programs and said to me, “I can’t believe that you really want to abolish public schooling. How would people be educated? Are you saying that I’ve been indoctrinated?”

I hated to hurt her feelings but I responded truthfully, “Yes. And there is no doubt that people would be much better educated in an entirely free market in education.”

Public schooling, or more accurately, government schooling, is where Americans are indoctrinated as children into believing that the welfare-warfare state way of life constitutes freedom. From the first grade on up, the notion is drilled into their heads that they live in a free country and should be grateful for that. By the time that a person graduates high school, the indoctrination is almost always complete: Most high-school graduates have no doubts that Americans are free. And they carry that mindset all the way into adulthood and possibly even to the day they die.

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Jun 182012
 

you can find this in “Pages” to the right.

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May 242012
 

The concept of “drinking the Kool-Aid” came from an event in 1978 where over 900 people died in a place called Jonestown in Guyana. Most of them supposedly died from drinking cyanide laced Kool-Aid. While questions have been raised as to the voracity of these reports, the term drinking the Kool-Aid has become synonymous with people who trust the sources of their information without question. I will stretch this out a bit and make the claim that Kool-Aid drinkers are those who trust anyone or any institution without question and do as they are told because of that trust.

Drinking the Kool-Aid kills. It zombifies the human being and removes its ability to blossom into an independent, thoughtful, free living organism able to determine its own fate. It removes free will. It turns a person into a robotic entity that will follow the will of its master right up to the point where its master causes its self destruction. So, who are the Kool-Aid drinkers today? Who are the next in line to have their strings pulled right up to the point where they self destruct?

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May 042012
 

Conservatives are having a heyday calling President Obama a socialist. What they block out of their minds is that by their own measure, they are socialists too.

In its purest sense, socialism refers to a situation in which the state owns all the means of production. Obviously, Obama doesn’t favor doing that. Thus, when conservatives call him a socialist, they are referring to the fact that Obama wants to equalize wealth by taxing the rich and giving the money to the poor. This wealth-redistribution process might well be described as a variation on the socialist theme.

But while conservatives want to protect the assets of the rich from IRS confiscation and welfare-state redistribution, conservatives cannot deny that they themselves also favor the welfare-state concept of taxing people so that the state can redistribute the money to others.

The only thing different between conservatives and liberals is the identity of the people they wish to tax and the identity of people they wish to receive the loot. Liberals love taxing the rich and giving the money to the poor. Conservatives love taxing the middle class and the poor and giving the money to the rich.

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Jan 272012
 

Last November the voters in Washington state wisely decided to abandon state liquor stores and allow the private sale of alcohol. Support for the measure was highest in those areas that routinely vote Democrat and lower in areas that are traditional Republican. Yet, the measure itself was to abandon state run agencies in favor private enterprise.

The general perception is that Democrats tend to like government running businesses and Republicans tend to support private enterprise. Yet, in this case the opposite was true.

Conservatives, in general, and Republicans in particular, claim they support deregulation and small government, with local control. Yet they are working to strip the states of the right to set their own marriage laws, oppose deregulation of marriage to allow same-sex couples to enter marriage contracts, and generally support government control of the love life of grown adults. The current debate in the Republican Party seems to be about which candidate supports the most state control of people’s private affairs.

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Sep 222011
 

During the climactic scene in the movie My Cousin Vinney, Mona Lisa Vito explains positraction, as she testifies as to why Bill and Stan’s car couldn’t have been the murders’ getaway car.

“It’s a limited slip differential which distributes power equally to both the right and left tires. The ’64 Skylark had a regular differential, which, anyone who’s been stuck in the mud in Alabama knows, you step on the gas, one tire spins, the other tire does nothing.”

I think Miss Vito’s description of a car stuck in Alabama mud paints the prefect picture of the political process in America. We’re mired in two ruts, one tire spinning, the other doing nothing.

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Aug 222011
 

For most of the 20th century, American libertarians were mostly seen as — and mostly saw themselves as — defenders of capitalism. Was that an accurate view of 20th century libertarians were about? If accurate, is that a good thing about libertarianism, or a defect that should be amended and avoided?

Well, it depends. Specifically, it depends on what you mean by “capitalism.” Now, I’ve had something to say about this before, and my friend Gary Chartier has broached the subject here at Bleeding Heart Libertarians, but I think the ground might be worth covering again in some more detail. (Partly because it may help as an introduction to where I come from on questions of freed markets, economic privilege, social justice, et cetera; and partly because some of the comments on Gary’s earlier post lead me to believe that a closer approach to the definitional question might help clear up communication.) First, though, let’s take a bit of a detour — to New York City.

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Jun 102011
 

I was a rather conservative libertarian, not a libertarian in the classical sense but in the sense of the current popular definition of libertarian in the United States. I always toyed with the idea of anarchism but failed to see how it could work. It was the ‘anarcho-capitalist’ philosophies I discovered that helped me to reject a state, but I still clung to ‘Capitalism’ as an answer. I would reach anarchism from the perspective of an ‘anarcho-capitalism’. Rothbard still influences me to this day.

There is still some value in what he said and value in much of this right libertarianism, it just fails to take their conclusions all the way. They often stop at just accepting wage labor as an accepted norm because it is the accepted norm of the current system. They do not take ownership of the product of their labor all the way.

I was always told that capitalism was liberty and freedom. I bought into the lies of the purity of the market. It seemed that every problem was instantly solved on the market, and if it was not solved then it was justified. The problem I continued to have was that I found that too often hierarchy was defended with the market. I saw that I was giving up one state for another. It did not have the name ‘state’ but it was essentially functioning as the state. Capitol was the new gun and rulers would continue to dictate our lives. I began to see that I would still have the product of my labor stolen by my rulers. This time instead of a President or a Governor it would be a CEO, instead of a congress or a parliament it would be a board of directors and instead of handing over ones wealth as a tax, It would never even be given to the worker.

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May 092011
 

Sometimes it’s constructive to just sit back and reflect upon some of the major differences between libertarians and statists.

With respect to foreign policy, both conservatives and liberals are devoted to the continuation of America as a military empire. Sure, there are the standard debates over whether the empire should invade or bomb this country or that country but most statists agree on the fundamentals: The U.S. government should retain its status as a military empire with the capability of invading, bombing, and occupying any country it wants.

As part of the empire, both liberals and conservatives also favor the continuation of the 700-1,000 U.S. military bases in more than 125 different countries, claiming that such an extensive array of bases is necessary to maintain “peace and stability” around the world through the projection of military force. No matter which party controls the presidency or the Congress, neither of them wants to dismantle the Empire’s string of overseas military bases.

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