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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

At Some Point You've Taken Enough

By Tom Rhodes, 7/28/2011

President Obama famously said “At some point you’ve made enough money.” The American taxpayer clearly told the government in 2010 when it elected a whole new batch of people to the house and senate, “At some point you’ve taken enough money.”

The deficit argument and debt ceiling fight are just statist distractions to try and fool the people. The government has already approved huge increases in spending every year for ever by adopting so called “baseline budgeting” which automatically increase every federal department and programs budget every year. All the cuts they talk about are cuts to how much they plan on increasing their spending not actual cuts. Enough already, we should be talking about stopping the automatic growth of government. The people elected representatives who promised not to put us any further into debt. They know that compromising on raising the debt will cost them their jobs. The shell game of automatic increases has to stop. Nobody else outside of government can or does budget that way. This was put into place around 40 years ago around the time of Watergate and Jimmy Carter. The people are tired of it, we look at actual spending and try to figure out why they expect us to believe that they are going to cut a Trillion dollars of spending over 10 years when their own numbers show the national debt doubling under that same plan.

The budget the house passed, the Ryan Budget, was not passed by the Senate, and Obama said he would veto it. This so-called draconian budget still increased government spending every year, yet both major parties said it was a “cut.” In no way can a budget that increases actual spending every year be called a cut. The statists in Washington are lying to us. They continue to lie to us, and tell us we’re too stupid to understand when we actually expect them to cut some spending. Not one of the statists, Republican or Democrat, is willing to tell the truth. Constant automatic growth of government spending (hence growth of government) is not sustainable. The government should take its own advice and think about sustainability, uncontrolled unchecked growth is not sustainable even for government. Do like you want the people of this country and the world to do, learn to live with less, learn to live simply, learn to be satisfied with less, . . . .

Obama wants the people to accept that there is a limit to how much they should be allowed to earn, but no limit to what government should be allowed to spend. A great many people through their vote and polls have said to Obama and Washington, at some point you’ve taken enough money. But part of the American way is you can just keep on taking it if you’re providing a good product or you’re providing a good service. We the people don't want government to stop fulfilling the core responsibilities. But Washington you are not providing good service, a good product, and are overstepping the core responsibilities we’ve empowered you to fulfill.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Café Reality

By Tom Rhodes, 7/25/2011

President Obama is calling for Café standards to be 56mpg by 2025. News articles and editorials lament that in Europe people can buy 60+mpg cars but the car companies “wont” sell them in the USA. The blame the car companies and ignores the reality of mobility in the USA.

The first thing is that people in the USA purchase a car for the weekends, and suffer with it for commuting. The choice of a vehicle to pull a boat, a camper, or take a long road trip has a lot of different criteria; fuel efficiency is important but not as important as a vehicle that will do the job. Although a tiny euro-econobox get’s great millage, squeezing 2 kids, spot the wonder dog, luggage, gifts, and all the necessary stuff to take the two day 1200 mile trip to visit grandma is not something many people wouldn’t do twice. Once it’s all loaded down, the euro-econobox won’t comfortably climb over the mountains. So although for everyday driving, to work, to the mall, to school, etc. the euro-econobox is a viable solution, the savings in fuel economy, are lost if you have to rent a big vehicle a couple times every year for family excursions, and it won’t tow the boat.

Then there are the details that most editorials don’t tell us when they talk about how wonderful the 60mpg euro-econobox car is, other than the evil car companies won’t sell them in the USA. They are light weight, and usually have a diesel engine. This is a big problem in the USA, the greater cost of diesel means that there is no savings in owning one, but you do have the smell, and smog…. those engines don’t meet us pollution control standards so can’t be sold in the US. Thus our government has declared that to decrease some exhaust gases, like particulate carbon and NOx, we are willing to create more of other gasses like CO2.

Now don’t forget the weight, our pollution and safety regulations have added significant mass to every vehicle on the road today. Compare the 1970 VW Beetle to the 2010 VW Beatle. In 1970 The VW Beatle had acceptable but not great performance, got a real 25MPG, with a very inefficient, air cooled, 57hp, 1600cc engine (using zero ethanol gas, with today’s fuel it only has around 45HP). It weighed less than 1600 pounds. Today’s Beetle gets the same 25MPG. Why after 40 years does the same model car get the same mileage it did in 1970?

Weight, today’s Beetle is about half a ton heavier, it weighs over 2600 pounds, has an engine that is 67% more mass, puts out about 3 times the horse power, carries 67% more fuel, has pounds and pounds of insulation and other materials to make the ride and noise levels acceptable, and significant increases in suspension to carry the extra weight. It has about the same MPG rating as the 1970 Beetle because the USA’s regulations have force it to carry massive amounts safety and pollution control equipment. Although in production until 2004, the old original Beetle design was eliminated from the US market 25 years before that because it could not meet the continuously more restrictive US regulations. In 1987 you had your choice of several 50+ MPG cars in the US. The Suzuki Swift, Geo Metro, Honda CRX, and similar models come to mind. Those cars continue to be sold in other parts of the world but not the US.

One of the big reasons we don’t have high MPG cars in the USA is that unlike other countries, the nanny state of the USA is not willing to let the people choose a car with the level of safety and pollution that accompany a tiny 1400 pound diesel car. The euro-econobox Fiat 500 being brought to the USA, is only going to get about 33MPG, and have less room and comfort than other cars with similar mileage ratings, etc. The Fiat 500 being sold in the US is not actually the same Fiat 500 sold in Europe. It is a different design that is built in Mexico. There are at least 45 major changes; The headlamps were raised 4 inches to meet US lighting laws; The wiper blades are longer to comply with the US law that stipulates how much of the windshield must be kept clear; The doors and lower pillars have steel reinforced braces to meet side impact regulations; The side airbag in the U.S. car extends to the back seat, it doesn’t in Europe (even if you never have a passenger in the micro back seat, you are having to pay for extended airbags); The spare tire was moved under the car to improve floor strength. The requirements to have the care sold in the US are so great, it virtually had to be redesigned.

All these changes to meet regulations cause increased weight, which means it needs more power, which means we cannot use the efficient little 57HP diesel the 60mpg euro version uses. This engine won’t meet the emission standards, and the added weight required for the US model means that the Fiat 500 won’t perform at acceptable levels with any of the smaller engine options available. Thus in the USA we only get the largest high performance 1.4L engine option. At around $16,000 other than for its retro-Italian styling it’s hard to fathom why people in the US would choose the Mexican built Fiat 500, over the roomier, equally fuel efficient, better guaranteed, choices available. (On another note, the tax dollars used to help out Chrysler, built a Fiat plant in Mexico not the USA.)

The government killed the big American Sedan, It used to be that the family bought a big sedan or station wagon that could pull a boat, was safe and was good for the great American road trip. The Ford LTD, Chrysler Newport, Chevy Impala, Buick Roadmaster and similar models were the family car. The government added café standards, and other regulations and those 12 mpg cars had to be eliminated, some of America bought the smaller cars the ruling elite in Washington wanted them to buy. Overall America’s needs and wants didn’t change, but the government rules did, so we continued to buy vehicles that did what we needed and wanted, trucks, 4 door pickups, SUV’s, conversion vans, etc.; a vehicle big enough to haul the camper, protect the family, with room enough to spread out on a long road trip. Truck and SUV sales didn’t sky rocket because America’s tastes changed, the government interfered with the free market and tried to force people into what the ruling elite in Washington wanted people to drive, not what met their needs and desires.

This is what it looked like at the end of the 70’s, a family sedan, today that picture would have a big SUV. I just can’t see a Fiat 500 towing an Airstream across America. Americans didn’t quit wanting to travel in comfort, on their own time schedule going where they wanted, but the government sure is trying to make it harder. The USA is not Europe, we drive thousands of miles more than they do on the other side of the pond. We are not all bunched up in old cities. This country grew up around the automobile, our suburbs, malls, drive-in’s, all were designed around cars and mobility. We have demanded safety standards the rest of the world doesn’t think are necessary. We won’t tolerate the same kind of pollution Europe does.

Only pinhead pseudo-intellectuals would think that American car companies don’t want to sell high MPG cars. American car companies sell what Americans want to buy. We do want fuel efficiency, just not at the expense of safety. We do want fuel efficiency, just not at the expense of ability to tow a trailer. We do want fuel efficiency, just not at the expense a comfortable ride on long trips. Like most Americans I don’t need my SUV for my everyday use, I purchased an SUV because a couple times a year, I need to pull a trailer with my motorcycles and camping gear for a week in the mountains. The alternative say pinhead pseudo-intellectuals, is to own and use a small car and rent a truck or SUV for the few times you actually need it. The problem is that the cost of driving a small car everyday and renting a bigger vehicle for the few times I actually need it, is greater than driving the SUV every day.

I live in a rural part of the country and drive 20000 miles per year, of that about 3600 miles is for vacations. My SUV gets an honest 20mpg. Do the math and for the 20000 miles per year I drive every year, I use about 1000 gallons of fuel. If I followed pinhead pseudo-intellectuals suggestion and I’d drive my 33mpg car 16400 miles I’d use about 500 gallons of fuel, and I’d rent an SUV as needed for my 36oo miles of vacation driving. If you do the math assuming $3.50 per gallon of gas, if I had a small car for everyday that got 33MPG and rented an SUV when I needed it, I’d save about $1120 in fuel costs, Add to that about $1200 in renting an SUV for my two week-long vacations to the mountains. It’s actually cheaper to drive my SUV everyday than it is to own a small car and rent an SUV for the few times I need it and I get the added benefit of a more versatile, more comfortable, and safer vehicle everyday not just on vacations.

The needs and desires of the American people drive the choices we make in vehicles. The government getting in the way doesn’t change the needs and desires of the people. CAFE standards killed the large American sedan. They did not change why the large American sedan was so popular. What the CAFE Standard did was move the people to mini-vans, pickups, and SUVs. This is typical of the unintended consequences that come with government regulations. I predict an unintended consequence of Obama’s increase in the CAFE standard will be a huge increase in the purchase of commercial vehicles by the people which in reality will be used for non-commercial purposes, like towing the boat, camper, and taking long trips. The market will provide the people with what they want in spite of how the government tries to control what people spend their money on.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Liberty vs. Security Just a Matter of Standards

By Tom Rhodes, 7/20/2011The difference between statists (that’s both Democrats and Republicans) and libertarians is that libertarians respect liberty for themselves and others while statists have little or no respect for the liberty of others. Now if you believe that federal government’s primary roles is to take care of people, regulate their economic activities, and maintain an overseas military empire that intervenes in the affairs of other countries, then you are clearly a statist. This description clearly defines Obama as a well as Bush as statists.

Libertarians in the USA are different from statists, although they have been born and raised within the statist environment; they have broken free of it, in both an intellectual and moral sense. Unlike statists, we recognize that statism isn’t freedom at all. Libertarians want to be free, with all that freedom entails.

Of necessity people who want and accept freedom tend to be to be people of high standards. If a free person takes actions that are not in his best interest, he must be prepared to take the consequences for those actions. A free person doesn't have government agencies bailing him out of every difficulty or excusing his behavior because life isn’t “fair.”

The truth is that unfree people usually succumb to having or acquiring low standards. Under the ruse of being "fair," the government removes the consequences of behavior. This results in the removal of feedback for our actions. With no negative feedback to unproductive or immoral actions, standards sink like a rock. When our motivation to provide for ourselves, and treat others as we would be treated, is removed; when there are no negative consequences to our behavior; when we accept that others have the right to tell us what to do, and tell our neighbors what they must do; when we accept that we are entitled to the labor and property of others; we have lost our the ability to self-govern. Dependency becomes a way of life. Not only do unfree people not respect their own liberty, they demonize those who would claim freedom for themselves.

The lack of respect for liberty, leads directly to lack of respect for life and property. The natural course of events is for authoritarians to reward themselves with special dispensations, to participate in gross immorality and to use imprisonment, torture and murder as tools of control. Nobody could have thought that those terms could be used to describe the US government. Now it is plain that the statists whether Democrat or Republican, that are currently in Washington share significant qualities that were once only considered qualities of unaccountable dictators.

Because too many have become effeminate and will sacrifice their liberty, freedom, and self-respect to provide security for themselves and/or their children, individual freedom, liberty and rights are no longer respected. No matter how much effort is put forth in ensuring "security" no one is ever truly secure. In order to guarantee complete security, you would have to accept restraints on your liberty to the point that you are no longer free. Worse yet to secure this “security” you must restrain your fellow man and take his property as well.

One of the biggest projections that fearful statists have is that those who value freedom and liberty would be the first to call on the government for help, if they were in need. This is merely the projection of their fear onto others. They cannot fathom that a person would rather suffer the consequences of life and their own actions than give up their freedom. They have been so wussified by the belief that there should be no suffering for making bad decisions, nor suffering if nature doesn’t treat you fairly, that they cannot even comprehend the idea that there are those who have such high standards and belief in themselves that they prefer freedom to security.

The total lack of respect for liberty is evident, they create regulations as to what food you can buy, what chemicals you can put in your body, and new even want to regulate the level of success an individual is allowed to obtain. Statists demonize anybody who wants liberty. They demand that everybody accept their low standards and reject the high standards and accountability that free men expect of themselves and others. They are more worried about how students feel about themselves than how they perform. They fear risk, so attempt to regulate it out of existence. They hate the fact that it is free people willing to take risk, invest, work, who don’t accept that their success/failure is based on the actions of others, who created a government that had severely limited powers, whose sole purpose was to protect the natural rights of the people from all enemies foreign and domestic, and allow the people them self-rule, not rule by some elite. No place else in the world embraced the scary idea that to ensure freedom, the people should allowed to govern themselves, that the consequences of self-governing are preferable to the security of statism.

Obama has repeatedly said that he believes he is a ruling elite who should have the authority to do what he thinks is best for everybody, and that the labor, property, and capital of all individuals should be his and the other ruling elites to use and (re)distribute as they see fit. He’s called the constitution “inconvenient” and routinely ignored it. The rule of law is bothersome, and he changes it to reward those he favors and punish those he doesn’t, of course, all for the good and security of the nation. The has told us we are too stupid to understand the debt, promised us transparency while doing more in secret than even Bush. He is a statist of the worst kind and has no respect for the liberty of the citizens of the country he was elected to lead not rule.

Libertarians believe that people should be free to engage in any occupation or profession without any government-issued license, permit, or other form of official permission. Let consumers, not the government, decide who engages in different lines of work. I trust the ASE to certify my mechanic not the government, and would trust the American Board of Thoracic Surgeons to certify my doctor far more than the government. Let free men decide not the government. Libertarians believe that people should be free to enter into mutually beneficial transactions with anyone else without interference by the government.

Libertarians believe that people should be free to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth and, equally important, to decide for themselves what to do with it — spend, save, invest, or donate it. Thus, we hold that people should be free to plan for their own retirement (or not), to donate to their church or other causes (or not), and to help out their elderly or ailing parents and grandparents (or not). Compare the human right standards of countries who are dependent upon foreign aid to those that are not.

Statists have low standards, don’t respect or trust the people to be free, they don’t respect the property of others, and don’t feel as though anybody should ever suffer as a result of bad decisions. So the Statists want to make all the decisions for everybody. This is hardly freedom, and the security they offer is just a lie to concentrate power among the ruling class. If you value security over freedom continue to vote for Democrats and Republicans, they will gladly promise you security in exchange for your freedom, property, and standard of living, you will get neither, nor if you would sacrifice you essential liberty for security do you deserve either. As Libertarians we want and will fight for, freedom.

Statists, mostly liberals, try to claim some sort of moral superiority to their policies. The problem is that the reality of implementing “progressive” policies is that they actually make things worse, usually through predictable but unintended consequences.

US Citizens are some of the most productive in the world, last year we increased our productivity, not with more jobs, but by working harder. Contrast that with the citizens of liberal welfare states, who are increasingly narcissistic. A huge part of the citizenry of England, France, Germany, and other Western Europeans focus on how much vacation time they will have and how early they can retire and be supported by the state. The fact is most Americans work Harder than Europeans. The acceptable standard, work ethic, for people who would be free is superior to those who would depend on others to provide for them.

All the history and evidence of welfare in our country points to the simple fact that nothing more guarantees the erosion of character than getting something for nothing. The welfare state leads to the entitlement mentality – another expression of narcissism. Liberals then take what people need, use twisted and tortured logic and label it a right; this just reinforces this sense of entitlement. Leading large numbers of people to the idea that they have a right to the property or labor of others without having to pay for it.

The great society program of LBJ, institutionalized the welfare state. This corrupts family life. Even significant numbers of Democrats recognize the destructive consequences of the welfare state on the underclass. This makes fathers (males in general) unnecessary to women, who now have the state to support them and their children instead of husbands. The welfare state has become the husband to large numbers of women. It even rewards them more children outside of the traditional family structure.

Children raised in the welfare state tend not to mature into responsible adults. This specifically is an attack against men, who no longer aspire to hard work, and creation of their own family, and the accusation of wealth to pass down to their progeny. I believe my generation was the last of American men raised to believe that they had a bigger purpose in life than just their own happiness. This is why so many women lament the plethora of boy-men who haven’t grown up, and complain that they can’t find a man worth marrying. The liberal state has told men that they don’t have to support anybody, and that they can remain boys as long as they want.

Progressives’ entire world view is twisted. They don’t see that there is a battle in the world between good and evil, what they see is a battle as between rich and poor. They actually believe that equality is more important than morality. This is how they can cheer Cuban tyranny and curse American liberty. They really believe that the egalitarian redistribution of Cuba is superior has lead to a better life for all Cubans than the freedom and liberty and inequality of outcome that exists in America has lead to the quality of life for all Americans.

The most telling fact is that the bigger the government, the less the citizens do for each other. If the state will provide for me, and provide for my neighbors, they why should I. This is best shown in the fact that people who live in the welfare states of Western Europeans give less to charity and volunteer less time to others than do Americans of the same socioeconomic status. Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville recognized this almost 200 years ago, noting one of the most distinguishing characteristics of Americans from Europeans was how much Americans, through myriad private associations, care of one another. Churches, Rotary Clubs, free-loan societies and other voluntary associations were ubiquitous, until our path to the welfare state was stared under FDR and expanded by other liberal presidents. As the state has grown, our charities have declined. In Western Europe, they are virtually non-existant.

With a bigger state comes a vastly greater amount of corruption. "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely," is an overused but none the less true statement. When a big business is caught in corruption, it goes out of business, people quit buying it’s products and services. Look at how fast News of the World disappeared. A government cannot be run out of business, but worse yet a corrupt business can’t just print money from thin air, nor can a business arrest you.

Of course statists will ignore all the caustic consequences of the policies of the liberal welfare state. They will call their policies “compassionate conservatism”, or “social justice” and label those who don’t believe in the welfare state as selfish or worse. The truth is the welfare state leads to moral decay and narcissism. The standards of those who love liberty and those who want a welfare stare are clearly defined, but taboo to talk about.

LPF Success Story.

Although not mentioned in the main stream press, the hard fought campaign by the LPF, generally headed up by Radio Talk Show Host. Alex Snitker, has borne fruit. The City of Clearwater has decided NOT to install Red Light Cameras.

Clearwater is where the LPF had its first anti-red light camera demonstration. Yesterday’s news, and today’s St. Petersburg Times editorial document a small victory for the LPF.  The city of Clearwater is not, and probably won't be installing RLC's.

Thanks to all the Libertarians who protested, and fought against RLC’s.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

They Think You are Incompitient

By Tom Rhodes

The ruling class, statists by nature, includes both Democrats and Republicans. The conventional thought is that back in 2010 the Democrats took a beating and the GOP made significant gains in both the House and Senate, in fact the Republicans took over the House. What the mainstream press tried to ignore the huge turnover in the GOP itself. There are about 100 so called “TEA Party Republicans” now in the House. The fact is the 2010 election scared the pants of both the Democrats and Republican’s. It was a loss not for one or the other political party, but a loss for statists, the ruling elite, and a win for small "L" libertarians.

Yesterday I told you about a Light Bulb Moment and described how the ruling elite in Washington treat the common man concerning something as simple as a light bulb clearly demonstrates the contempt the they have for you.

Let’s review; a statist is a person who believes in the principle or policy of concentrating extensive economic, political, and related controls in the state at the cost of individual liberty. Obama said this very clearly at his last press conference where he told you that you, the American People, that you’re too stupid to understand the national debt and deficit. This was a call to try and pressure the newly elected so called “TEA Party” representatives, to get in line and do as the ruling elite want.

Try as they might, the reality is you don’t have to have a PhD. in economics to understand that you cannot continue to increase your spending when you are buried in debt. When you have a debt problem, the solution is not more debt. Look at how fast both GM and Chrysler are trying to get from under the mountain of debt from their respective bailouts. Although they have had some modest plant expansions (mostly outside the US), they cut back severely on many areas, just look at the number of dealerships Chrysler eliminated. Look at what the EU is forcing on Greece to get its debt problem in order; massive cuts to government spending. We cannot just tax the rich to increase our revenue and keep on increasing our spending. Some very simple math will show you that even if you tax the rich at 100% it would not produce enough revenue to offset the massive spending increases.

A vast supermajority of Americans recognizes that big-government elites are driving us straight over the fiscal cliff. The tea party and its representatives in Congress realize this, and are willing to take a stand on expanding the debt. It doesn't take an advanced degree in economics to realize that as more and more money is borrowed and printed by the government, inflation and interest rates will increase. For every extra point in interest, we pay an additional $145 billion annually on our $14.5 trillion debt. You don’t have to be economist to realize that it’s a lie that without an increase in the debt ceiling the US will default on it’s debt. The current revenue is greater than total expenditures in 2005. The only reason the US government would default on its loans if the debt ceiling is not raised, is if it refused to cut other spending.

Statists just don’t have the courage to act in the nation's best interest. Both parties are beholden to interests that benefit from an increasingly powerful central government and its accompanying largess. The Democrats are indebted to the unions and special interests who receive government charity, the Republicans are indebted to big business who receives massive tax breaks. Both are indebted to Wall Street. To put it bluntly parties are bought and paid for. They are desperate to preserve this power. There's no real leadership in the structure of either party.

Just look at Obama’s stance on taxes. In 2009 he said that raising taxes in the time of a recession would hurt the economy. Because of his economic policies in the two years since then the economy has stagnated. Now he is saying that we must raise taxes. If he believed in 2009 that raising taxes would hurt the economy, and obviously the economy is not significantly improved now, they why is raising taxes now a good idea? Obama will say and do anything to further concentrate power in Washington, and specifically in the presidency. The Statists are upset, that the people got rid of both old Republicans and Democrats and elected some people who are not part of the ruling elite. The people have been Taxed Enough Already, thus formed the TEA Party.

The Statists in the GOP, are trying to lay claim to what is essentially a leaderless grass roots movement. Creating self proclaimed leaders of the TEA Party, while not actually having the support of the many local grass roots TEA Parties throughout the nation. The Democrats are demonizing the TEA Party in any whey they can. Both parties need to have the TEA Party movement neutralized because it is a threat to their power. The main stream press which has a vested interest in maintaining statists, is also helping to demonize and minimize the TEA Party. Since the rise of the TEA party there we see significant increases to attacking the Libertarian Party and libertarians in general. The reason is that the vision of the TEA Party, is essentially the same vision that our founding fathers had, and is in essence libertarian.

The ruling elite, statists both Democrat and Republican, don’t believe in the basic tenants of the American idea; liberty. Their actions and deeds show that they don not believe in the Rule of Law. They do not believe in equal treatment under the law. They do not believe in private property rights. They believe that you are just part of the masses and are to be controlled, socially engineered, and milked of your assets.

Statists want to change the very nature of this country. This country unlike any other in history, put real power in the hands of the people. Today depending on the poll you look at between 60% and 70% of the people do not want the debt limit of the USA to be raised. We know that spending is out of control, that taxes are too high, and that the so called stimulus by the government has failed, that we are in wars that are not in our best interest, and that the government now treats the people as an enemy. 235 years ago, the people of this country slapped the face of statists the world over. We declared that the people, not some ruling elite, are in charge and created a government structure designed to treat everybody equally and severely restrict statism. That first shot of the Revolutionary wars was heard around the world, because it declared that no elite had the right to tell any others how to live.

It’s taken a couple centuries, but once again we are divided into the nobles and serfs. The nobles believe that you a mere serf cannot take care of yourself, and if you can then you’ve must have cheated the nobles from their just due. What you earn is theirs first, and they allow you to keep that portion they think you deserve. They grant favors and privileges to those whom they favor and take from those they don’t. They not you know how best to use the fruits of your labor. Since they know what’s best for everybody, and that you are too stupid, inept, or lazy to take care of yourself, they have for your own good taken control. They see themselves as separate and above the people and treat “we the people” as serfs or enemies. As proof of this, we see the militarization of our police and the blatant attacks by the government on the Bill of Rights and Constitution. Think about it, the ruling elite and their lackeys in the main stream press, try to make anybody who would try and hold the government to the limits of the constitution as radicals to be feared.

The very idea that the people would not choose representatives who the statists have decided should win but instead chose representatives who now elected refuse to allow the ruling class to spend all that they want, borrow as much as they want, representatives who pledged not to raise taxes but to curtail Washington’s spending and are keep those pledges. This galls statists. How dare these “freshman” who don’t know how things work, obstruct the ruling elite. The elected representatives who are actually doing what a supermajority of the people want are not the problem. It’s the ruling class who doesn’t want to be held accountable, and wants to dictate to the people instead of work for the people, and who will protect their power over the will and good of the people that are the problem.

The people have spoken and continue to speak. The majority clearly want smaller government, big cuts in government spending. Not to say that the people want no government, but we do want the government downsized. Statists know that decreasing government spending decreases their power. The Republicans have proven that they will expand government as fast as the Democrats, the difference only between the two is who they want to buy off with government largess not whether they seek expansion in government. Think about who you vote for, does that person trust you or is that person a statist who believes that the power of the state is more important than your liberty. If a politician or candidate thinks that your too stupid to know and act in your own best interests, they are a statist, and considers themselves to be a noble entitled to rule over you a mere serf. Statists do not care about your liberty or well being, they care about their power.

You can always think of it another way. In government there have always been two camps, not left-right nor Republican-Democrat, but one that thinks government power should be used to further the ideals of those in government, and the other that thinks government should have as little power as possible, allowing the people to further their own ideals. The fight is not between Democrats and Republicans, it’s between statists wanting more and more power for government and the people who want freedom and liberty. What camp are you in?

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Light Bulb Moment

By Tom Rhodes, July 11, 2011

The difference between statists and libertarians, statists being the bulk of both Democrats and Republicans, is that the statists believe they know what’s best for you, and don’t think you should have the liberty to choose what you think is in your own best interest. This is called the Nanny State, or paternalism. The government wants to take away your choice. It doesn’t trust you to make your own choices. Do you get that? The government doesn’t trust you.

The best description between libertarians and statists can be represented by the lowly light bulb. Statists have decided that you are too stupid to pick the right light bulb; therefore they are taking away your freedom to choose how you want to light up your private living space. Libertarians on the other hand, don’t think that the choice of how to illuminate your private living space is any business of the government.

The reasoning for using one type of light bulb over another goes far beyond just energy usage, other factors include; quality of the light provided, the initial cost, the total cost of ownership, and even heat. Yes HEAT, the energy used by an incandescent light bulb that does not go to making light is heat, some say wasted heat. The fact is in a small well insulated house the heat produced from lighting is not wasted, and may provide enough warmth to negate the need for additional heating, and certainly supplements heating during the colder months. This heat when chilly, if it doesn’t come from a light bulb will have to come from some other source. Your thermostat doesn’t know where the heat it is measuring came from, furnace, space heater, or light bulb, it makes no difference.

Some of you don’t like the way the new bulbs come on slowly. Some of you don’t like the curlicue shape. Some of you don’t like not being able to attach your lamp shade to the bulb. Some of you just don’t like cold flickery fluorescent light. Some of you have noticed that CFL’s don’t in fact last longer than incandescent bulbs, and cost a lot more. Some of you are skeptical about promises of long-term savings. Some of you don’t want to spend more for a CFL now. Yet others of you hate having to shut down your furnace, air conditioner, and/or fans, evacuate all children and pets, and treat your home like a hazardous waste site if you happen to break a carcinogenic mercury filled CFL type light bulb.

It doesn’t matter what you need or what you prefer or what you think is in your own best interests. The government has decided that the only concern is watts per lumen, and you are too stupid to realize that. Your other wants and needs are not as relevant. Because the government thinks you’re too stupid to realize that your needs are subservient to the government desires, it doesn’t trust you to make the decision they want you to make, so has taken away your freedom to make that choice.

It doesn’t matter whether a statist calls themselves a Democrat or Republican, they believe in statism. Statism is the principle or policy of concentrating extensive economic, political, and related controls in the state at the cost of individual liberty. When the government decries what light bulb you must use, or what food you can eat, or how much you should save, they are saying to you that you are too ignorant, too weak-willed, and computationally too incompetent to satisfy your real or underlying preferences. You save too little for your retirement because you are overly impatient and cannot postpone spending. You eat too many calories because you ignore the costs of future illness due to obesity.

This is the difference between statists and libertarians in a nutshell. Statists don’t trust you and believe that they are better able to decide what’s best for your life than you can; so they take away your freedom (choice) for your own good. Libertarians believe that the state can’t possibly know what’s best for every individual so you and every individual should have the freedom to choose what you feel is in your own best interest. Statists simply put hate freedom.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What do Libertarians Believe

By Tom Rhodes,  7/10/2011

About a week ago on the Liberty Underground radio show, the Florida Chair of the Libertarian Party called out anarchists to defend their position.  He wisely noted that the acceptance of anarchist positions was hurting the acceptance of libertarian ideas.  The Libertarian Party must shed its acceptance of anarchy as a legitimate form of government and distance itself from anarchists if it is ever to gain acceptance in the eyes of the American People.

This is going to be very difficult.  Prominent “libertarians” with no association with the Libertarian Party are consistently putting out libertine and anarchist positions as libertarian. Here it is important to note that libertarianism is not synonymous with libertinism. While some libertines (and some libertarians) find nothing at all morally wrong with prostitution, most libertarians believe that while it is morally wrong they understand that because it is a victimless crime the state has no legitimate role in enforcing it. Prostitution, like drug use and abuse, directly harms only the voluntary participant.

As Libertarians we often reference organizations such as The Ludwig von Mises Institute It is an online journal for libertarian scholarship.  It has been and is a great source of scholarly work concerning libertarian philosophy.  It is not associated with the Libertarian Party.  The problem is that accepting and promoting articles from the Mises Institute we are left having to defend ideas that are clearly libertine not libertarian or acceptable to the general public.  The vast majority of the work at the Mises Institute is great, but some articles, like Stateless in Somalia, and Loving It, hurt us.

The idea that the anarchy of Somalia is acceptable is absurd.  With good reason Somalia is noted for its piracy, chaos, poverty and oppression not for its liberty. Clearly it is easy to see that in Somalia the reality is that the only rights individuals have are those that they can protect themselves. The kidnapping, murder, and lack of any protection for the rights of those not favored by the local war lord are clearly not the type of government the people of the USA want to even consider.  The Utopian ideas of anarchists when actually implemented resulted in dystopic Somalia.Just as the utopian ideas of communism where implemented result in poverty and oppression and the murder of millions of citizens by their communist governments.
The idea that anarchy will ever function is a utopic ideology based on the same idea liberals use to promote socialism; the idea that people are basically good.  It is contrary to the foundations of the USA, which was based on the idea that people are not basically good, and that even the people in government cannot be trusted, so power is limited, distributed, and dispersed.  This country was founded on the idea that “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 reality is that in an anarchy only those with the wealth, strength, or power to secure their own rights have any rights.  In an anarchy the guy who is the strongest, or has the fastest gun, or most ruthless, has power over those who are not as strong, as fast, or ruthless.  Freedom is not free, the cost is measured in many things not just money but also blood and acceptance of a certain amount of uncertainty.  Our society which used to believe in liberty for all, was built with the understanding that the people instituted a government for the purpose of protecting the natural rights of everybody equally.  As Libertarians we cannot accept or promote anarchist ideology. This ideology is contrary to the foundations of the USA, and contrary to the entire history of mankind.  Like other utopian philosophies the reality of its implementation is not acceptable.

Libertarian Philosophy is being attacked right now from both the Left and the Right.  We no longer have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  The statists both left and right who want power and control are again in charge. It took time, a short time in the history of man, but once again the majority of people have property and wealth at the benevolence of the ruling elite.  Self-rule and freedom is fleeting. Freedom is not the natural condition for man. History has shown that freedom has occasionally existed for short periods of time but has never lasted long. The natural condition is for a few powerful elite to live in relative ease with armies to back them up through force or threat of force to control the resources and people with the vast majority living in poverty.  Today the government determines what portion of your labor (as measured by income) you are allowed to keep, they do allow the people to keep most of their wages, but there is nothing stopping them from taking it all.  They carefully weight and measure what will maximize the peoples output, they know if they take too much the people will quit working, but the goal is never to see how little they can take but always how to maximize the power and wealth of government.  This is a far cry from the form and type of government envisioned at our founding.

Our condition is rapidly deteriorating back to some form of feudalistic oligarchy.  Libertarians recognize this but the Libertarian Party has historically presented not only the recognition that we no longer live in a free society, but we stupidly have allowed anarchist ideas into our midst.  These ideas hurt not help the cause of liberty; they make libertarians look like either kooks, or cruel heartless robber barons. Check out this site Make Or Break Views Of Libertarianism. This site clearly states the image problem of the Libertarian Party. “Many libertarian statements take consistancy (sic)to such extreme positions, that it can make or break the acceptance of the ideas.”  The site starts with an attack on the LP Platform, saying;
National Platform of the Libertarian Party
The 2004 platform is still as ridiculously extreme as its predecessors. It calls for legalization of baby selling, polygamy, secession, child prostitution, all drugs, insider trading, etc. It calls for abolition of public schools, medicaid, and Social Security, patents, and copyrights. And even privatization of air. All that and lots more, cloaked in vague statements of "liberty", and now carefully sanitized so that non-libertarians won't realize how truly extreme it is.

Now the critic does use huge laps in logic and equates wanting to end government welfare to baby selling, but the essence of what the critique says is that Libertarians are anarchist libertine kooks who want to allow big business to pollute your air, and take away your rights.  Of course the 2010 party platform doesn’t advocate baby selling and is significantly different than the 2004 platform.  Making this critique almost libelous.

The changes to our national platform over the years, removing the extremist anarchist positions are helping and a good thing.  Compare the LP Florida platform to the national LP platform, and you will see differences which reflect libertarian vs libertine ideology.  Libertarian philosophy, is understood and accepted by most Americans.  The massive rise of the TEA Party is proof, the fact that the people are rising under the auspices of libertarian philosophy but not joining the Libertarian Party should cause the LP to reflect upon itself.

The LP needs to embrace completely the ideas which were the foundation of this country.  Take to heart that we the people instituted a government to secure the natural rights of the people.  We as a party need to denounce and distance ourselves from anarchist ideology. Adrian Wyllie, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida made a good start on Liberty Underground.

As Libertarians, we need to counter wherever we find it, and call out those who would lie about our objectives and ideas.  Allowing anarchist ideology, or statist twisting of our objectives to put fear and doubt into the American people about what Libertarians are, is only hurting the LP.  We in the LPF must work at getting the LP to recognize that it’s acceptance of anarchism as a legitimate libertarian viewpoint is hurting the party, and is not acceptable by the American people for good reason. Don’t let others tell you what Libertarians are, ask Libertarians.  These are the Objectives of the Libertarian Party,  You can see them for yourselves at www.lpf.org. The Objectives of the LPF are to:

  • Recognizing absolute freedom of speech, religion, and association

  • Demanding Constitutionally-limited government

  • Ensuring minimal taxation and balanced budgets

  • Defending property rights

  • Asserting sovereignty of the State from unconstitutional federal interference

  • Asserting sovereignty of the Republic from unconstitutional international interference

  • Upholding the Second Amendment and the absolute right to self defense

  • Promoting a true free market economy

  • Defending personal privacy and the Fourth Amendment

  • Promoting strong national defense through a Constitutional foreign policy

  • Ending government corruption

  • Ensuring no individual, corporation or government is above the rule of law

  • Ending prohibitions on all personal activities that do not infringe upon the rights of others

  • Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Are We Free Men or Serfs?

    by Tom Rhodes, 7/7/2011

    Capitalism is nothing more than a subcategory of freedom – the freedom to trade one's goods and services with others without interference from government. When somebody talks about the "evils of capitalism" they are saying that freedom is evil. The idea that people should not be allowed to trade their property (goods) and labor (services) to others without the government interfering is not freedom.

    The government’s sole responsibility concerning commerce in a free society should be to protect individual’s rights. This has traditionally been done by the government providing impartial judges and courts that allow individuals to sue other individuals when they believe that individual has not honored the contracted terms of their free exchange of property and/or labor.

    Self-rule and freedom is fleeting. Freedom is not the natural condition for man. History has shown that freedom has occasionally existed for short periods of time but has never lasted long. The natural condition is for a few powerful elite to live in relative ease with armies to back them up through force or threat of force to control the resources and people with the vast majority living in poverty. The conditions today of the people living in Zimbabwe, Somalia or Afghanistan are more in line with historic norms for all of mankind than the conditions seen by the average man in the USA over the past two hundred years. The Idea of freedom and liberty for all is not easy to keep, or implement. Even the first 87 years of US history with legal slavery, is proof enough of that. As the saying goes “Freedom is not Free.” It has many costs.

    One of the costs of freedom is uncertainty, as people are free to trade or not trade, hire or not hire, purchase or not purchase, work or not work. When people are free, they can compete, when there is competition then some people win and some lose. That means your business and hard work may or may not succeed, and if it fails you may lose your livelihood and cost those who work for you their livelihoods. This cost of freedom, uncertainty, is a high cost that some are not willing to pay. Many people will trade their freedom for certainty. They may not be as well off as they could be free, but the certainty of food, shelter, etc. is worth more to them than their freedom.

    Some people with "vision" use this as a means to undermine freedom and make themselves the ruling elite. They promise that if you give me control, I will take away the uncertainty and you will be taken care of no matter what happens in life. These same people when in power, actively work to limit competition. Granting favors to companies and individual that help them keep their power, and making it harder for new people to enter into competing business.

    Our country was made great by having a government that protected the natural rights, including property rights of all individuals equally. This did not result in equal outcomes as some through timing, hard work, competition, and natural ability do better than others. Overall by protecting freedom we did produce the most prosperous and generous society the world has ever seen. The very nature of our country was a slap in the face to the ruling elite across the world. Over the past century, those who would rule and control who is wealthy and who isn’t have slowly corrupted our country and the freedom we had is ebbing away. For our first 140 or so years, as a free country, although some people gained great wealth the difference between the top and bottom in the USA was not so great. As we gave away our freedom and embraced socialist ideas such as “from each according to his ability, to each according to their need” we have seen a greater disparity between rich and poor. By using the idea of certainty in our needs instead of freedom to pursue our needs and desires, we have allowed once again a few to concentrate power and wealth amongst themselves.

    Once the idea that people have a right to the goods and services of another that they need, not just the right to trade for those goods and services freely, and that some ruling elite has the right to use force to make it so, we accepted the end of freedom and are once again on the path to subjugation. The idea that charity is not charity but a right is perverted. Nobody has the right to the labor or justly acquired property of another. Ideas such as the ruling elite have the authority to “spread the wealth” are anti-freedom. Once we accept the fact that a few elites have the right to the product of all risk and labor of the people (as measured by income) and use it as they see fit (providing for themselves and others in society) we are once again serfs, not free men. Although they allow people to keep a portion of their labor, the idea is that the government owns all your labor and determines what portion you may keep for yourself. This is no different than feudal serfdom or slavery.

    This is not to say that free men don’t have a duty to pay taxes. For most if its life our Government survived on tariffs, user fees, postage, and other taxes. Direct taxation of labor was unconstitutional. There are problems collecting these kinds of taxes. One is the people see the tax directly so are conscious of what the government is taking. Another is that if the people feel a tax is unjust or usurious, not only do they change their vote, but find a means to avoid the tax, again adding a layer of uncertainty to government revenue. Another is that that if people choose to live frugally then the government revenue is decreased, and so revenue was uncertain. Demonstrating again a cost of freedom is uncertainty. By taxing labor (income), regardless of how a person chooses to live, or what government services he chooses to use, the government not the people is in charge and has control. The aristocracy finds this much easier to manage than being at the will and whim of the people.

    Freedom in the USA is fleeting; the police no longer serve and protect the people, but are enforcers of arbitrary wishes of the ruling elite who pay them; no longer do judges serve as impartial arbiters of justice, both Actus Reus Versus Mens Rea are legal concepts our ruling elite no longer consider; Our government lays claim ownership of our real property and labor, you only rent your property and do not own it, and the government only allows you to keep that portion of your earnings they grant you. You are no longer free to trade your property and labor to others without government interference.

    How are we now any different than feudal serfs, other than we vote for our aristocracy? A person no longer owns property, they rent it from the elected aristocracy, if the aristocracy thinks it can get more rent from somebody else, they will kick you out and give it to another. The aristocracy is your overseer and claims first right to your labor, they get your income first, and we serfs are allowed to keep that portion of our labor they allow. If they were truly taxing our income then you’d get a tax bill on a regular basis and pay your taxes. That doesn’t happen because the aristocracy doesn’t trust the people, as the people would revolt in mass if they had to actually pay taxes, so the aristocracy take our income before we ever see it and only allow us to keep a portion of it.

    If the poor schlep making $24K working two jobs was forced to write a $1000 check every three months then file in April to get some of it back, we’d see a lot smaller government in a short time. If taxes weren’t reasonable the average citizen would non-violently revolt by simply not sending in his taxes. If a mere 5% of the people simply refused to pay taxes (that’s over 15 Million People) what could the government do? They couldn’t bring that many people up on charges, have a jury trial, and put them in jail. It would so overwhelm the government as to cripple it with both a loss of revenue and an overloaded court system. Knowing this the ruling elite slowly changed the system so that the average Joe only get’s what the government determines he should, and is none the wiser.

    The aristocracy has declared that they have first right to all labor and by not taxing the least productive serfs they have purchased votes to maintain their aristocratic positions. They use the tried and true method of “Bread and Circuses” to keep a large part of the masses in compliance. Of course they keep rules in place that don’t allow for people without power to compete with those the aristocracy favors, and generously reward those whom support their power.

    The normal condition for man is for a few ruling elite to wield power and force over the vast majority of people who live in poverty. The USA with its notions of freedom and self-rule will not last, freedom never has. The aristocracy will drive the country into financial ruin to gain power. Their goals are not prosperity, freedom, and independence for all, but the re-concentration of power into the hands of a few. We are seeing huge crushing attacks on freedom, like the patriot act and its renewal. I hope I’m wrong but if I’m right we will soon see more limits on free speech and assembly, watch for stricter controls of the internet, specifically YouTube, blogs, and who can report news. If I’m right we will see attacks on independent media, and attempts to control all news, and the exposure to the infringement of our freedoms. If I’m right we will see appeals to the UN or other International bodies to have greater authority than our Constitution. If I’m right we will see the aristocracy try to disarm the people as they have in Europe and other far less free societies. Project “Gunrunner” is just the tip if the iceberg for the aristocracy to try and find justification to disarm the serfs. Once disarmed the march back towards serfdom is inevitable. Already they have demonized weapons, and are trying to change the rationale behind the Second Amendment to exclude the idea that it was included not for hunting or self protection from criminals, but as a means for the people to be armed enough to stop a tyrannical government.

    They have already convinced a significant portion of the population that they have a right to the goods and services of others without having to pay for them. In fact the aristocracy has convinced a significant portion of the population that their mere existence “entitles” them to the goods and services of others. Once the idea that individuals do not have rights to personal property and labor, and the idea that the aristocracy can take away the uncertainty that accompanies freedom and make everybody’s life secure by controlling the distributing all property and labor as they see fit, freedom is no longer valued. In fact freedom is considered selfish and evil, because if people are free and have individual rights, then the masses don’t have the right to property and services they haven’t earned.

    Our founding fathers started with a Declaration of Independence, not the declaration to “spread the wealth.” They used words like Freedom, Independence and Liberty. Each of which refers to a dearth of undue restrictions and an opportunity to implement one's rights and powers. Freedom emphasizes the opportunity given for the implementation of one's rights, powers, desires, or the like: freedom of speech or conscience; freedom of movement. Independence implies not only lack of restrictions but also the ability to stand alone, unsustained by anything else: Independence of thought promotes invention and discovery. This of course carries the implication that others cannot be forced to sustain you should you fail. Capitalism is nothing more than a subcategory of freedom - the freedom to produce, trade, and consume any goods and services acquired without the use of force, fraud or theft. Freedom, Independence and Liberty are embodied in the rule of law, property rights and freedom of contract, and characterized by external and internal openness of the markets, the protection of property rights and freedom of economic initiative. The ruling elite in Washington are now compromising all that has embodied Freedom in the USA.