Our rights do not originate with government, but they are to be "secured" by government.
Formerly: Libertarian Party of Citrus county

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Time Magazine Promotes Tyranny

by Tom Rhodes, 6/28/2011

This Year’s cover for Time Magazine has a picture of the constitution not a famous American as is traditional for the July 4th Issue. In its editorial, Time Magazine’s managing editor Richard Stengel, Asks a question about our Constitution: "Does it still matter?" He concludes that the constitution is irrelevant saying, "If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it certainly doesn't say so."

Either purposefully or of ignorance, Stengel completely misrepresents the plain language of the Constitution. "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Those words make it quite clear that the federal government is limited to only the powers specifically granted to it by the people as clearly stated in the Constitution.

Stengel’s editorial makes the same tired claims that have been used to try and justify taking power from the people and giving it back to the elite for well over a century: “When the Constitution was framed there were no Railroads….” or “When the Constitution was framed there were no Telegraphs….” or “When the Constitution was framed there were no Radios….” “When the Constitution was framed there was no Internet….” The constitution was a framework designed to restrain government, and unlike any other government before it, and very few since, gave most of the power to the people not the ruling elite. No technological advances justify taking self-rule away from the people.

It doesn’t take very much reading on Facebook Groups, chat-rooms, or other internet forums, before you will hear some statist claiming the American people are idiots. When somebody loving freedom uses a poll or other data which clearly shows that a vast majority of Americans are in agreement on a topic but that agreement doesn’t meet with statists ideas or desires, then the people aren’t smart enough to know what’s good for them, or have been mis-lead.

Take Obamacare for instance, most Americans do want some kind of health care reform, but the reality of Obamacare and what it will do, is not what a super majority of Americans want. The statists in our country seem to believe that they know what’s best, and the people should accept what they have determined is best.

This Time Magizine editorial demonstrates clearly that we are not divided by left-right views but by the idea that there are elite who should rule and dole out the countries resources, and plebs who accept it. The statists appear to want to have enough people dependent upon the government that they can once again put the genie back into the bottle and determine who is a success and who isn’t. The constitution and insistence by the people that our government uphold the rule of law stands in the way of statists. Statists hate the idea, and that the people expect and consider it necessary that no person, company, and especially politician, is above the same laws the people must follow. Obama during his campaign lamented that constitution made it hard to “get things done.” Even the liberal St. Petersburg Times, notes that just like Bush, “Obama's refusal to follow the strictures of the War Powers Act says that he, too, is willing to manipulate language to ignore inconvenient limits on his power.”

The destruction of what was an experiment in the people taking for themselves the right to self-rule is over. One by one our natural rights are being stripped from us and we are again regressing to rule by the elite. The government now says no warrant is needed to search a person’s home, that you can be forced to purchase services whether you want them or not, that the government can determine what you are allowed to eat, that employment and work laws that apply to people and businesses don’t apply to the government, that accounting and bookkeeping laws that apply to the people and their businesses don’t apply to the government, the list continues to grow daily.

Setup by Bush and completed by Obama, was the destruction of the rule of law. The primary example being when the government was able to force without legislation, judiciary rulings contrary to existing bankruptcy law to reward political favors to unions over secured creditors and take over both GM and Chrysler as a result of their bankruptcies. The breakup of these companies like AMC, Hudson, Studebaker, Stutz, and others before, would not have seen the demise or end of the US auto industry. Consider Jeep, near bankruptcy it was taken over by AMC, it made and still does make a product people want. AMC made bad business decisions and it too folded, but the Jeep name and assets were purchased by Chrysler, and it remained. If Chrysler folded, another company or new investors would have purchased the Jeep brand physical assets and it would have continued. Jeeps are the best selling products Chrysler has.

Statists claim that you can’t run a post modern country the same way and with the same rules as we did when we were an agriculture based country of the early 1800’s. This is only true if you throw out the reasoning for the institution of the USA and accept the premise that the government has a duty and is responsible for the needs of all its citizens. Only if you throw away the idea of self-rule and limited government, can you justify granting the government the unlimited authority to do whatever the elite feel is necessary for the greater good. It is not based on liberal or conservative ideology but on the idea of statism.

Statism is the concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government often but not necessarily extending to government ownership of industry. The concept of statism, which is seen as synonymous with the concept of nation, and corporatism repudiates individualism and exalts the nation as an organic body headed by the elites and nurtured by unity and force. The militarization of our police forces is prima facie evidence that statists are willing to and will use force to gain compliance by the people; even the Dept. of Education has its own SWAT team(s).

This is tyranny, the goals may be noble, but the implementation of the nanny state is tyrannical. Only with tortured logic can one justify the constitutionality of the federal government having the enumerated power to require people to purchase insurance. That and most other powers are restricted to the States or the People. Statists are doing everything they can to get rid of the pesky notion that the Constitution limits the federal government. Even the editor of Time Magazine, a statist, is willing to lie in order to try and convince the people that that the Constitution wasn’t intended to limit the federal government.

Contrary to what Mr. Stengel says, our founding fathers were quite clear, saying “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The notion that our forefathers didn’t believe in or want or attempt to limit the government is a lie. Our founding fathers created a framework that granted the government enough power to govern, but severely restricted it powers, knowing that men are not inherently good, that power corrupts, and that a limited government with enumerated powers, would protect future generations from the tyranny of an all powerful government.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Thursday, June 23, 2011

University of Indoctrination

By Tom Rhodes, 6/23/2011

I spent a lovely Sunday riding my motorcycle, and ended up having a late lunch at a chain casual eatery noted for somewhat skimpy costumed waitresses, and good food. It was a slow summer afternoon, hot outside, cool inside, the beer, food and view were excellent. Chatting with the waitress I learned that she was a recent University of Florida graduate, with a degree in economics.

In her early 20’s, and having the attributes for this particular establishment, she chose to continue her college job after graduation because it paid significantly more than the jobs available with her degree. If the few other tables tipped the way my table did she was probably making $25 or more per hour during a slow day.

Finding out she was an economics major, and liking to stir the pot, I just had to ask her which major theories of economics were taught at UF and which one did she believe.

I was dumbfounded at her response, she said “What?” to which I replied, “You know, what was the predominant economic theory taught, Chicago School, Keynesian, Austrian, or what?

She didn’t have any idea what I was talking about, I asked if they discussed the various theories on economics, and how they differ in describing how the government actions influence the economy. She then said "Oh, We're not allowed to discuss any politics in class.”

“No debate on any difference economic theories at all?”

“No that would lead to politics which wasn’t allowed, we just learned what the book, and took the tests." They didn’t allow any theoretical discussion in the classes and they didn’t want the classes to have any conflict.

I was floored, not only did an economics major graduate from a major university with no political discussion of various economic theories, but she didn’t even have knowledge that there were multiple theories associated with economics. It sounded more like indoctrination than education.

Maybe I’ve just been out of college for too long, but I find it hard to believe that nowhere in the following required UF Economics Major Courses: ECO 2013 Principles of Macroeconomics; ECO 2023 Principles of Microeconomics; ECO 3101 Intermediate Microeconomics; ECO 3203 Intermediate Macroeconomics, that there are no competing ideas on economic theory addressed.

Sadly looking at the syllabi of those courses on-line, it is evident that an economic theory is taught, but not identified. From even a short chat with a graduate of the UF Economics program, it is evident that the economic theory taught is treated as if there were no other or competing economic theories. The young lady in question was definitely smart, but was totally ignorant not only of competing ideas but even that competing ideas existed.

It is no wonder a significant part of our population cannot logically debate ideas. While in college they aren’t allowed to debate ideas, and conflict is not allowed. Our young people are being taught that competitive ideas are not good, and that ideas other than those of their professors, are just political and not to be considered. I confirmed that within four years of courses at UF, the young lady in question never witnessed a debate on anything she was taught. This is a far cry from the way Dr. Michael Sandel teaches his course on Justice at Harvard. You can watch it at HERE, where debate and both sides of controversy are discussed, obviously without any fear that disagreeing with the professor will get you in trouble.

Any university program that discourages debate of competing ideas because of “politics” should be rethought. The idea that avoiding conflict in ideas at the college level is preferable to vibrant debate seems to me to be absurd. Yes students must be expected to provide the answers to exams that their professor want, whether they agree with those answers or not, but not even allowing the discussion of alternative ideas is not education but indoctrination.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Trouble with Libertarians

By Tom Rhodes
Vice-Chair Libertarian Party of Citrus County
Chairman LPF Platform Committee

Today’s editorial by WND editor has the same title as my blog entry, The Trouble with Libertarians. Economically, philosophically, and morally, libertarian ideas have been proven to be what is best for the vast majority of people, but the implementation of libertarian ideas by Libertarians have made the Libertarian Party unpalatable for the majority of Americans.

There is a paradigm shift in this country happening, it’s not Republican/Democrat or Left/Right, or Conservative/Liberal. The people are realizing that there is now a war between those who love liberty and all it entails and statists who want to control everything. The Libertarian Party should take advantage of this paradigm shift, but as our 40 year history has shown, we once again we shoot ourselves in the foot. We have again furthered our image of Amoral Atheistic Anarchists. This unfortunately accurate combination of descriptors will insure that the American people will only rarely elect Libertarian candidates. Ron Paul, arguably the most successful candidate wearing the libertarian moniker, is not a member of the Libertarian Party. Because he has realized that to win elections and have a positive affect for liberty for all Americans, he had to abandon the LP. Americans will not elect Amoral Atheistic Anarchists.

Last week’s press release by LP Chairman, Mark Hinkle, unnecessarily alienated over half the US population and hypocritically compromised libertarian principles. By saying that, "Permitting couples to marry when they are of the same gender is a step in the direction of equality before the law” he said the LP is willing to compromise its principles, and willing to alienate the majority of the population which hold the more than 5000 year old belief that marriage is between a man and a woman; thus supporting the idea that a small minority can use the force of government to change the very definition accepted for thousands of years, and force not only tolerance but acceptance of their beliefs and silence the majority. This at its core is contrary the Principles of Liberty.

Hinkle was quite right when he said that "the idea that someone's legal rights should depend on whether they've entered a government-approved relationship ought to be repugnant to all of us." The Christian principle of Equality under the Law, properly adopted by both our founding fathers and the Libertarian Party, should make the idea of providing any special privileges or punishments to anybody repugnant. Saying that expanding the special privileges of some to include a few more only strengthens the idea that unequal treatment under the law is acceptable, and undermines Libertarians calling themselves “The Party of Principle.”

Most Americans firmly believe that all people should be free to do as they wish so long as they don’t infringe upon the rights of others. That means that most Americans tolerate but do not condone, approve, or even accept the amoral behavior of others, only that they accept that with liberty and freedom one must tolerate socially abhorrent behavior if it doesn’t infringe upon the rights of another. Thus to protect the free speech of everybody, we tolerate the racist bigoted hateful speech of both the KKK and Black Panthers. Toleration of such speech does not mean Americans condone it.

The LP could have taken a far more principled stand, and opened the LP up to both the LBGT community, and the majority of Americans who tolerate but don’t condone homosexuality. People are free to voluntarily enter into binding contracts, and the government’s duty is to justly honor and protect those contracts through the judicial system, but in no way should any person be given any special privileges or punishments based upon the voluntary private contracts that they enter. The LP’s sole position on marriage should be that it is not the job of the government to sanction marriage, the government’s purpose is to protect the rights of all people equally. To further that end our judicial system was created to justly administer criminal law and civil contracts.

From a moral or philosophical perspective how can justifying or supporting unequal treatment of singles or couples who choose not to enter legal contracts, over those who choose to be in contractual partnerships, be construed as a libertarian principle? The very idea, that expanding unequal treatment to include another sub-group is acceptable, is hypocritical pandering that makes the LP look no better or different than the Democrats or Republicans, and further hurts the reputation and image of the LP in the eyes of Americans. What Libertarian Principle justifies laws that treat some people different than others?

Today’s WND editorial, will reach more people than all the Libertarian press releases, blogs, and other stories combined. WND has more libertarian commentators than almost any other source, and regularly supports libertarian principles. At WND you can regularly find the writings of Wayne Allen Root, Walter E. Williams, John Stossel, Thomas Sowell, VoxDay, Lew Rockwell, and virtually every other credible libertarian of note. WND reflects the position of most Americans, who support libertarian ideology but reject the Libertarian Party.

Other libertarian organizations quite purposefully do not associate themselves with the LP. The reason they don’t is because they realize that their credibility with the American public is suspect if they do. The biggest ground swell in American politics in the last have century is the TEA Party movement. It’s a true grass roots movement made of many small organizations with no central control or authority. Any attempt by some to claim leadership is quite obviously a lie, as the many grass root TEA Parties throughout the country get very upset at some distant person they didn’t choose and not affiliated to their group claiming to be their leader. The TEA Party clearly embraces the Philosophy of Liberty and more than half the country associated itself with the TEA Party movement. The reason the American people have gravitated to it and not the LP, which should be their natural home, is because of the LP image.

Columnist Dick Morris, wrote in the National Review about libertarianism and the TEA party, "The libertarian strain in the American electorate has long been neglected by the mainstream media. But, through the tea party, it has gained ascendancy on the right. Those who want the government to stay out of both boardrooms and bedrooms have come to dominate the [Republican] party and its nominating process." He totally ignored the LP, because he believes it is irrelevant.

The Libertarian Party (LP) has remained virtually the same small portion of the electorate for decades. We can open ourselves up to a far larger segment of the population not only small special interest groups like the LBGT community, but also the far larger majority of the US population which still holds to Christian principles. Libertarian ideology is rooted in the same principles that were used to form our constitution. Whether we want to admit it or not those are Judeo-Christian principles. Christ’s example was to tolerate, help, and pray for sinners, he never condoned sinful behavior, but did recognize the free will God gave all men, and never advocated force to gain acceptance. If we continue to alienate over half the population by compromising our principles in order to trash Judeo-Christian beliefs, we will continue to have the same results, and remain a very small group, and virtually powerless except as a foil or joke for political pundits. Libertarian principles and values are main stream but Libertarians aren’t.

To be successful the LP must quit shooting ourselves in the foot. LP Chairman, Mark Hinkle’s last press release did nothing to help the LP, and only confirmed the image most Americans have of the LP, an image the people have consistently said with their vote is not compatible who they want to lead our country. Our party is insane to think that we can continue to embrace our Amoral Atheistic Anarchist image, and have any different acceptance by the American people. The LP is almost powerless because not only do we have to deal with all the inherent inequalities that being a third party entails, we have embraced an image the American people have rejected. The LP must stand by its principles; but to be effective in American politics we must also shed our Amoral Atheistic Anarchist image. I believe we can do both, but our leadership must recognize that we have an image problem and address it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Economic History

by Tom Rhodes, 6/12/11

Arguably the greatest government stimulus package we ever saw was World War II. What followed was the post WWII recovery, arguably the greatest economic boom we have ever seen. What did the government do to create such a boom?

Quite simply it rolled back to a small portion of what it was in WWII: Within one year government spending went from $84B to $30B; 10 million soldiers were released from service; economic controls and rationing were lifted; in short it was a shock-and-awe type of de-stimulus.

Keynesian economists of the day predicted that the abrupt withdrawal of government spending would plunge the economy into another depression. They predicted 14% unemployment.

The reality was that unemployment rates remained under 4.5%; employment grew, household consumption grew, business investment grew, and exports boomed, as government spending decreased.

Our postwar experience shows that growth is not generated by massive government action, but by the exact opposite. We do far better when the government will get out of our way and not to choke us with trillions of dollars in new debt.

A recent Harvard study showed that when a region has their congressman head a important committee, rather than do better they usually do worse economically.

Why are we unwilling to learn from our past. It is painfully obvious that massive government spending has not done as predicted; history has shown repeatedly that more government will not lead to more growth. Why don't we look at history, and repeat our post WWII success, with a massive de-stimulus and contraction of the government?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Government Red Tape Can and Does KILL.

By Tom Rhodes 6/6/11

Here is the Fact - while trained personnel watched, a 53 year old man stood neck deep in the northern California surf until he got hypothermia and drowned. The government fire and police had training in the past, knew what to do, but because of their department policies, stood on shore and watched the man die rather than rescue him.

If you wondering what prevented the government fire and police personnel from rescuing Raymond Zack last week, the answer is easy. Since the government is worried about being open to liability if the attempt failed, the police is to do nothing. It turns out police and firefighters in Alameda, an island city, are no longer certified to government requirements in land-based water rescues. It seems budget constraints prevented recertification. Official policy is that without that paperwork government police and fire are not allowed to help.

The good people of Alameda, who assume that the tax dollars they spend on police, fire fighters and other emergency workers would mean that they are trained to handle this type of situation (they were but certification were allowed to expire) are now left knowing that the government is not there to serve and protect. This is a prime example of more government, more regulation, more bureaucracy, and less self-reliance spelling disaster for society. This is not what ruling elite promise us when they tell us that they must take away our liberties in exchange for being more secure.

Here is what Alameda fire chief Ricci Zombeck said about the situation, "Well, if I was off duty I would know what to do, but I think you're asking me my on-duty response, and I would have to stay within our policies and procedures because that's what's required by our department to do."

The policy is Alameda is to let people die. This is the caring we can expect from government bureaucracy. Police and firefighters risk their lives daily, but when they are told that if they help beyond their “certifications” they will be fired and are forced to allow people whom they may have been able to save die, we have a serious societal problem. There is some twisted notion that the government is there to solve and take care of every problem, and that only the government can be trusted to protect us and safeguard our welfare. Why didn’t any of the 75 civilian onlookers attempt to do something? Worse yet this is a case where individuals knew what to do to save a dying man, but official procedures prohibited them from acting.

Imagine your local firefighter, EMT, or sheriff deputy, who has the training and will, but must choose between keeping their job, or saving your loved one, because some bureaucrat has determined that heroic effort is against policy.

After Raymond Zack died, the government didn’t even retrieve the body, a 20 year old civilian girl did.

Explain to me again how much better off we are when the government takes care of us? This is a clear sign of a sick society.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Failed Hypothesis

by Tom Rhodes, 6/1/2011
The hypothesis in question is that of the Federal Department of Education (DoED). Based on its mission statement that hypothesis is that “Centralized federal education programs will promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”

Virtually every high school science book has a section, sometimes a whole chapter on problem solving and the scientific method. For a short time (3 years) I was a high school chemistry teacher. Having come from the industrial world, not the teaching world, and realizing that very little of the chemistry I thought would be remembered past graduation, I stressed one thing over and over, problem solving and critical thinking. I believe that these skills would be far more valuable and germane for my students than remembering the atomic number and mass of Germanium. If you google “4 steps to problem solving,” you will find a veritable tsunami of information. The basic 4 steps are Analyze, Plan, Execute, and Evaluate. These four steps may have different terms to describe them but in essence they are the basis of logical rational problem solving. Kids ask a lot of hard questions, often not about the subject you are teaching. As a teacher I often responded with “You are smart enough to figure that one out. Use your problem solving skills and think for yourself, what was tried before, what worked, what didn’t.”

The first step to solving any is always analyzing the problem. This involves correctly defining the problem. This should include what you know in as much detail as possible, historical information of similar or identical problems, previous solutions that worked and those that didn’t work, and what the expected or desired results to any actions you will plan for solving the problem. Most problems that keep getting worse not better are caused by three things; 1) incorrectly identifying the problem, and 2) failure to correctly evaluate the results of the plan executed to solve the problem, 3) failure to analyze the hypothesis and conclude that is is wrong because the results are not as desired.

Consider the Department of Education, it’s mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.

The Department carries out its mission in two major ways. First, the Secretary and the Department play a leadership role in the ongoing national dialogue over how to improve the results of our education system for all students. This involves such activities as raising national and community awareness of the education challenges confronting the Nation, disseminating the latest discoveries on what works in teaching and learning, and helping communities work out solutions to difficult educational issues.

Second, the Department pursues its twin goals of access and excellence through the administration of programs that cover every area of education and range from preschool education through postdoctoral research.

The DoED has been in existence for over 30 years, any critical analysis of its mission and measureable results of implementing the plans created by the DoED conclusively indicate that both the DoED mission and execution of its plans have failed. Nobody can rationally argue that plans to improve US education by the US Government have, on the whole, been of much measurable success. Although a few of the DoED programs have had limited success, it can be reasonably concluded that as education as a whole, with an increase in centralized government influence, has cost more money and has produced no better, and usually worse outcomes.

We have a problem in our education system. Congress created a plan and the DoED to implement that plan to effect change. The DoED programs (plans) and have revised over and over again for the past 30 years, thus an attempt to follow basic scientific methods. The outcomes were not as desired, very expensive, and not successful. Rationally we should abandon the entire notion that with a country as large and varied as the USA founded on a system of strong States rights, that the federal government can centrally plan an education system that will meet the stated mission. Arguably the education of our students was as good or better before it was directed from Washington, and vast sums of wealth were not confiscated and redistributed in the name of education.

We have failed to correctly evaluate the results of the plans executed to solve the problem and failed to analyze the hypothesis created to fix the problem and consider that it may be in error. Rather than use emotion to attempt to keep promoting a failed hypothesis because we desperately want education to get better, we should use basic scientific thinking, and actually analyze the effects of centralized education programs.

The hypothesis, “Centralized federal education programs will promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access” through years of planning, execution and revision, has been completely disproven. Based on rational scientific evaluation of the results of 30 years of DoED programs, we should end the Department of Education. Diversity brings about innovation and change, not central control, we should let the 50 states all develop their own methods of education, the competition between different practices and ideas will provide a much better variety of education programs that will better serve our diverse nation.