Recently president Obama “authorized” a “limited military action” in Libya. He did this without approval from Congress, with no debate by Congress – In fact, we are not even sure he bothered to inform Congress. He announced that he was sending American fighting men and women into harm’s way via an audio recording released on Saturday from Brazil, where he is vacationing.
Even George Bush, who infamously involved the U.S. in two Middle Eastern wars (which Obama promised to end, but has instead escalated), did not send our brave men and women to face death without the approval of Congress. Obama has obviously claimed this power to be his and his alone. Perhaps we started down this slippery slope of unconstitutional, undeclared wars long ago under Truman, but Obama has done nothing to reverse this – In point of fact, he has worsened it.
Many will say that Libya’s dictator was slaughtering his people and that if we did not intervene, a catastrophe would have ensued. Perhaps so, but why then did we not intervene in Rwanda, where a genocide recently took place? Why are we not intervening in the Congo, where another African dictator is at this very moment slaughtering his people in a civil war?
Sadly, the answer again comes down to our foreign policy. The United States has tacit agreements to buy the oil from oppressive regimes across the Middle East, and those regimes then return those dollars to the U.S. by buying weapons, and by buying U.S. Treasuries. Thus Kissinger’s “petrodollar recycling” continues, and the U.S. Government and Military Industrial Complex can continue to expand the welfare-warfare state. But that has almost reached its limit.
Unfortunately for Obama, the crony capitalist system that brought both him and Bush to power has also sown the seeds of its own demise. The system is rotten to the core, over-burdened with special-interest regulations granting favored status to large corporate campaign donors and lobbyists. The sand clogging the job growth engine of small and medium-sized businesses shows no sign of being cleansed, instead more abrasive is ground into the gears.
Congress jawbones out both sides of its mouth, telling the enraged Tea Party what it wants to hear, while doing nothing. POTUS plays in the surf while the republic smolders. Exported inflation in the form of devalued dollars sends fractious nations into food riots, forcing us to deploy troops yet again to secure America’s energy resources.
That same inflation is gaining momentum on our shores. Very soon, we will enter the “crack up boom” promised us by Austrian economists, and assured to us by Keynesian money-printing fools. Unless massive change is enacted at all levels, this is a mathematical certainty.
The change that president Obama (and the Tea Party candidates) campaigned on is becoming more and more to be the exact opposite change that the American people were sold. If we continue down the path we are on, there is no doubt that the change promised us will become reality – not by his intent, but by the realities of economics, the outrage of Americans, and of the world.
It’s our goal to post as much original content as possible. However, it would also be unfair to our readers not to pass along some of the more striking writing that we come across.
This Editorial by Dr. Tibor Machan was originally published in The Daily Bell, Wednesday, February 09, 2011.
Now that libertarianism has gotten some publicity in mainstream forums, those who are convinced of its merit have much work to do. This is because of the well publicized distortions of the position in prominent forums, especially by well credentialed academics in law, political economy, ethics, philosophy, and other disciplines bearing a public policy. You see, the idea that no one ought to coerce another even for noble purposes is pretty much common sense in America. Sure, some folks disagree, among them many highfalutin academics with great skills at sophistry. But the bulk of those who vote pretty much agree that when you want something from your fellows, you need to ask them instead of robbing them. So when this is being denied, lots of fancy footwork needs to be deployed, which is just what’s being done by numerous pundits at The New York Times and other outfits that champion all kinds of coerced wealth redistribution. (Of course, wealth redistribution goes on peacefully all the time, but that’s not under these statists’ control, so they don’t like it!)
What you can expect from these people is fancy discussions about how, in fact, the American system gives the legal authority to Congress and others in government to take, take, and take anything they want from you and me, as well as to force you to do what they want you to, “for the public interest.” And to make their case more palatable, they need to make it appear that the libertarian reading of the US political tradition – that reading that made it exceptional instead of just a watered down version of feudalism – is callous, heartless, and bent on undermining the public good at every turn. By besmirching the position this way, the unsophisticated citizenry, whose members are libertarian at the gut or second nature level, might then get turned around and give the statists the power they clamor for.
But here is an important piece of information that one can use to rebut this underhanded effort to discredit human liberty and to empower the statists: the American political system has a very clear doctrine of the public good (or interest). It is stated in the Declaration of Independence and it consists of a system of laws that secure the natural rights of the citizenry. That’s the American version of the public interest, namely, protecting everyone’s liberty to live his or her life by his or her own judgment. That is why a legal system is instituted, not to serve other ends, the bulk of which are, of course, on the agendas of the statists. What the Founders did so brilliantly is discern the public good or interest correctly, based on what in fact all members of the public will benefit from. And this is their being free from aggression by other people even when such aggression would be deployed for high sounding objectives.
Now it is very tempting to designate everything someone badly desires as being in the public interest. Just listen to all those lobbyists who march to centers of power [to] peddle their special interests as in need of being pursued for the public good. But this is a ruse and it is precisely in the proper public interest to unmask and resist it, which is everyone’s basic right to life, liberty and property. That is what everyone benefits from without any cost to anyone else. That is a bona fide public good, not some trumped up version which always amounts to ripping some people off so that the goals of some others get served.
All this is vital to remember as one witnesses the desperate efforts of sophisticated statists to discredit human liberty, to label it “fundamentalism” and other ad hominems. Sadly the prominent, prestigious forums are mostly in the hands of statists so there will not be much of a chance to do intellectual battle with these sophists on the turfs the[y] dominate. Have you ever read anyone in The New York Review of Books who had a nice thing to say about individual liberty or free markets? Just like Karl Marx did with the right to property – which he dubbed a right of selfishness that makes all sorts of mischief possible (omitting all the wonderful things this right serves as well and depending on the nasty version of “selfishness” so popular since Hobbes rendered the self something nasty and brutish) – these statists only stress the relatively rare misconduct that men and women engage in when they are free. So they will not permit anyone to say otherwise in those forums they dominate (which, by the ways, they could not do without the right to private property being well protected).
Libertarianism is a sound political idea but it faces an uphill fight given how its embrace means the demotion of all sorts of tyrants, Draconian or petty, who are very reluctant to give up their well entrenched power.
You may also want to read a related (and original) post on the SILP entitled, Identity Crisis: So who exactly are the Libertarians?
In the ongoing effort to define our party (and dispel the myths), we offer for your consideration our mission statement, which is intended to complement our detailed Party Platform (see navigation bar at top). So here it is, as short and sweet and to the point as possible:
The Mission of the Staten Island Libertarian Party is to faithfully serve as your constitutional voice in government, and throughout the community.
We firmly believe in the American heritage of individual liberty, free enterprise, and personal responsibility. We also recognize the civic duty that we all share to preserve this precious heritage for our children and grandchildren.
Founded on the moral principle of self-ownership, we are the only party whose platform, positions, and policies respect you as a unique, competent individual.
We hold that every person has the right to free speech, and to control his or her own body, action, and property. We are committed to fostering a system that encourages each of us to pursue happiness in our own exceptional way.
Therefore we make this solemn pledge to our fellow residents to inform and educate all of our neighbors with respect to our natural rights and constitutional protections;
To reintroduce the founding tenets of our Constitutional Republic, and teach the importance of participation in government;
To ensure that all powers not granted to the federal government are reserved to New York State and its Sovereign People. The federal government’s only role is to help individuals defend themselves from force and fraud;
To work vigorously in bringing responsible governance to the City of New York, and accountability to our elective offices in Staten Island and South Brooklyn;
To reduce the size and spending of government at all levels, and restore sound money practices to safeguard against fiscal insolvency;
To advocate for regulatory conditions favorable to local economic recovery and expansion, so that free markets remain free to flourish, and enrich the People.
My sincere thanks to you all for digging deep and helping to get the Liberty Kitchen & Food Drive off to such an inspiring start. We now have a car full of canned goods ready to be delivered.
Dave Narby, the SILP Secretary, has been in contact with Project Hospitality. We’ll be working with them and other neighborhood organizations to get these gifts to where they’re needed most.
Local food banks are reporting 30-40 additional families seeking assistance each week. We’re talking hard-working, self-reliant families who have simply found themselves overwhelmed by these tough economic times. And sadly, it might just get worse.
So please, keep it coming:
- Jars of baby food always needed
- Non-perishable foodstuffs and canned goods
- New or like-new pots, pans, microwaveable cookware, and cooking utensils
- Extra or unneeded cookbooks also welcome
- No donation is too small.
- Feel free to bring your gift to our next Town Hall meeting
To arrange for pickup or find the nearest drop-off location:
Call our Liberty Line at 646-543-7457
Or contact [email protected]
The goal of the Liberty Kitchen & Food Drive is simple: Help families to help themselves by maintaining a sense of independence, dignity, and self-worth. We’ll faithfully assist in providing food to those in need, plus the knowledge and tools to prepare it.
Again, thank you on behalf of your neighbors for your generosity and compassion.
Edward Stehlin, Chairman
WASHINGTON – While Republicans and Democrats battle in Wisconsin over a bill to reduce the collective bargaining power of state employee unions as a means of balancing their budget, Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle points out that the problem lies with government control of activities it has no business running.
Hinkle comments, “Libertarians are neither pro-union nor anti-union. We believe that the right of association and freedom of contract allows any group of people to choose to bargain collectively rather than individually. Naturally, we oppose violence and threats of such, but unions per se can play a major role in a free society. The problem is that the battle between the Wisconsin state government and state employees isn’t even remotely a free market.
“Government monopolizes many services that could and should be provided in the voluntary sector by profit-making and/or non-profit organizations. This also gives them a ‘monopsony’ as virtually the only potential employer for workers in these fields. Once someone has trained to be a teacher or prison guard, they are essentially at the mercy of government for their employment in that field. Blaming them for wanting collective bargaining representation would be comparable to siding with the Polish government against the union Solidarity headed by Lech Walesa that freed Poland in 1989 from Soviet rule. The problem is with the employer: the government.”
Hinkle considers the education budget to be the best example of a solution only Libertarians have offered:
“Far and away the largest part of the budget of the State of Wisconsin, once aid to local governments is allocated to underlying expenditures, is in the category of education. This is true of virtually all state and local governments, so it is the best example of how freedom can provide a solution. Unfortunately, government expenditures for education are driven by political considerations rather than the needs of the students. The result is outrageous costs that are not primarily for the most important ingredient in education: the teacher.
“The U.S. Department of Education calculates that the per pupil cost of K-12 education is nearly $11,000 in the 2010-2011 fiscal year. The Cato Institute, however, in a paper entitled, ‘They Spend WHAT? The Real Cost of Public Schools,’ discovered that actual spending in the districts they examined was 44 percent higher than official reports due to the failure to include various categories (such as spending financed by bond issuances). We can reasonably estimate that true spending is more than $15,000 per pupil. With class sizes, on average, exceeding 20, the total spending per classroom is probably well in excess of $300,000. Obviously, most of that money isn’t going to the teacher in the classroom. In private schools that don’t depend on taxpayers, it does: teacher pay and benefits averages nearly 80% of the total budget of the average private school. Not surprisingly, while private schools are often described as havens for the rich, public school spending per pupil is nearly DOUBLE the average private school tuition, mainly because it is a haven for administrators and other recipients of `education’ money who never step foot into a classroom.
“The answer to Wisconsin’s budget crisis, and that of governments throughout the country, is to return education to the voluntary sector. Compulsory education dominated by tax-supported schools was not established until the mid-1850s, yet literacy rates prior to that time were higher than they are today. Parents have ALWAYS valued the education of their children, and the religious and secular private schools of that time knew they’d only be paid by parents if they taught their children. Free or reduced costs for poor parents was always part of the tradition, and would be again in a country freed of massive taxation and spending.
“Returning education to the voluntary sector and eliminating compulsory funding and attendance laws, not to mention centralized bureaucratic nightmares such as the bi-partisan No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 championed by Republican President George W. Bush and the late Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy, will free teachers to be responsive to the needs of their students instead of the desires of politicians. As for how to do it quickly, a case can be made for selling all the local schools and putting the proceeds into the underfunded pension and benefits funds, then leaving the reorganization of education in the hands of the buyers. But, the workers at these schools are the ones with the strongest interest in ownership. We could just give each school to its local employees and let them decide whether to run it or sell it. Either way, the teachers, the students, the parents, and the taxpayers are all big winners.
“Education is the largest item in the Wisconsin budget, but the same principle applies to other expenditures. The legitimate debate in Wisconsin and elsewhere is not about whether the politicians or the government employee unions should win. It is why we should be stuck with only one employer sucking the money from taxpayers and then complaining when their power to decide how it is spent is not unlimited.”
The Libertarian Party platform includes the following:
2.7 Labor Markets
We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment. We oppose government-fostered forced retirement. We support the right of free persons to associate or not associate in labor unions, and an employer should have the right to recognize or refuse to recognize a union. We oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.
Education, like any other service, is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Schools should be managed locally to achieve greater accountability and parental involvement. Recognizing that the education of children is inextricably linked to moral values, we would return authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. In particular, parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.
For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LP Executive Director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.
The LP is America’s third-largest political party, founded in 1971. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party at our website.
On Wednesday evening, the Staten Island Libertarian Party will present its monthly Liberty Tree Town Hall, in the dining room at Karl’s Klipper, 40 Bay Street, in historic St. George across from the post office.
We will soon be visiting other parts of the island. So if you can’t make this one, stay tuned for news regarding other locations.
(And if you know of an appropriate venue in your neighborhood, please let us know!)
2011 Civic Initiatives Update
Sit in on our review of first quarter project planning. If you’re looking to make a difference in our community, this is the place to be. There is much to be done. No contribution of time or effort too small. All are welcome.
2012 Candidate Discussion
The first in a series of conversations about the next general election cycle. Ever think about running for office? Know somebody that should run for office? Stop by, patriots wanted.
The People Speak
We yield the floor to any and all neighbors and residents, regardless of topic, position, or party affiliation. Come speak your mind, observe your First Amendment rights. Give us your views of our government. Share your vision for the future of our community. Visitors and Members of the Free Press always welcome.
Free Pocketsize Constitution
Speaking of rights… The Staten Island Libertarian Party will be offering to all in attendance free pocket copies of the Constitution of the United States and Declaration of Independence. Did I say they were free?
Liberty Kitchen & Food Drive
We ask anyone planning to attend to please bring a gift or donation to the Town Hall. Area food pantries are running short. We’re hearing that there are 30-40 new families seeking assistance each week.
- Baby food and formula
- Nonperishable foodstuffs and canned goods
- New or like-new pots, pans, microwaveable cookware, cooking utensils
- We’ll even find a good home for any of your extra or unneeded cookbooks
Thanks, and see you on Wednesday.
With all the hubbub over state budget cuts, unions, and collective bargaining agreements, I thought I’d do some fact checking. That eventually led me to a Wiki entry on right-to-work. Below is an excerpt from that piece on the Libertarian perspective.
I was wondering what is the perspective of this group.
“Libertarian Capitalist View”
From a libertarian capitalist perspective, right-to-work laws may be argued either for or against, depending on whether the focus is on the freedom of the employee or the freedom of the employer. A right-to-work law can be seen as either freeing individual employees from being coerced into joining a union, or as restricting the right of an employer to enter into a voluntary contract with its labor union. For example, the Libertarian Party’s affiliate in the state of Georgia includes an endorsement of right-to-work laws in its party platform. The national Libertarian Party has included talking points in its platform which have explicitly called for the repeal of private sector right-to-work laws. That platform plank was pulled in 2006, but after substantial internal debate, the platform again is squarely in favor of ending restrictive measures: “We support the right of free persons to associate or not associate in labor unions, and an employer should have the right to recognize or refuse to recognize a union.”
(The full Wiki entry can be found here.)