Open Letter to Libertarians of all stripes everywhere

There has been much discussion regarding what Gary Johnson and Bill Weld have been saying in public, as the Libertarian Party Nominees for President and Vice President of the United States.  This election cycle has seen more interest in the Libertarian Party than any other election cycle in the history of our party’s existence! 

Is this Gary Johnson or Bill Weld making this happen?  Well, the answer to this is somewhat complicated.  The two Governors are walking a tightrope.  They are saying things in such a way so as to keep the national spotlight on their campaign, and it cannot be easy for them.  However, it is also extremely helpful to their campaign that they are running against two of the most polarizing figures in the history of US electoral Politics, and that is saying something!

The problem, as many Libertarians have been noting, is that Gary Johnson and William Weld have been saying things, publicly, that are not congruent with Libertarian Principles.  There are those within many of the various Caucuses who would like to see a motion to distance the party from the campaign.  I believe this would be a huge mistake for several reasons, but to start with, the Johnson Campaign has been listening, and has walked back those egregious statements shortly after the blow back had been called to the campaign’s attention.  One of the other reasons is what happens to the campaign AND the Libertarian Party should we apply the “nuclear option?” 

Many of us have agreed that the people, after November, will remember two things about the Libertarian Candidate:  “Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal.”   There may be something in some people’s minds about smoking pot, but if they remember anything at all, that is all that will be remembered, and while I get that this sentiment is bothersome to all of us, it is the reality.  If we apply the nuclear option, people will remember Libertarians as those people who shot down their own candidate after they nominated him at their convention!  How do we trust anything they stand for if they are so wishy washy that they cannot even be loyal to their own candidate?  The campaign will be destroyed, which some Libertarians may not be unhappy to see, but so would the chances of the Libertarian Party doing anything meaningful in the future, at least for another 6-8 years.   We have been working on a very long game Ladies and Gentlemen, we work to win hearts and free minds; minds which have been conditioned, in some cases, for decades!  Minds which have been conditioned by fear tactics put forth by political opportunists, and the ONLY way we can continue to do what we need to do is to take our message to the people!  Let me say this again, WE need to take our message to the people, WE DO NOT need to let Gary Johnson do the heavy lifting, and then criticize him when the message is not what we want it to be. 

Here is the call to action:   If there is a problem with the Johnson Campaign’s message, don’t tell Facebook, tell the Johnson Campaign!  They have demonstrated that they will listen if problems are presented to them.  The second part?  Libertarianism is about individual empowerment; it is about the grass roots.  Demonstrate this to the world by taking the Libertarian message EVERYWHERE!  Come to the convention in 2018 and help make the Party what we want it to be!  Finally, WE work to end Ignorance, and Fear; let’s make the world a better place for us having been here!     

 

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Brexit's Impact on Health Globalization

As the election campaign trundles on, it becomes even clearer that Hillary Clinton, assisted by her enabler Barack Obama, is the anti-liberty candidate, supported by Planetary-Poisoner Monsanto, and for coercive, mandatory vaccines. Only Trump is clearly opposed to mandatory vaccines. Johnson opposes Federal mandatory vaccines but waffles on State and local vaccine mandates. This is troubling. Fortunately, both of the latter oppose the CDC's newly announced stance on detentions for mandatory vaccines at the CDC's discretion, an act that is clearly criminal.

Global harmonization is finally meeting stiff opposition on a political level with BREXIT and people awakening to the dangers of TPP and other managed-trade agreements masquerading as "free-trade" agreements. We are at the tipping point and only time will tell which will prevail.

Scott Tipps

President of National Health Federation

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Freedom and Toleration: You Can't Have One Without the Other

So, why did the German people acquiesce to Nazism? Why did so many of the population willingly turn in Jews or dissidents to the Gestapo or the police?

Everyone assumes that it was terror, that Nazis intimidated people. Hitler himself, after 10 years in power, said "One can not rule by force alone."

In reality the Nazis were often terrified of public opinion. When people expressed outrage at the involuntary euthanasia of the retard or mentally ill the National Socialist regime backed down. When the White Rose students were caught the Nazis rushed them to judgment and executed them before the public could even find out. The parents didn't even know they were on trial until the day of the trial—four days after their arrest. (See Noble Treason, by Richard Hanser) The regime was frantic that resistance could be indicative of a wider anti-Nazi movement. In Denmark (see Countrymen by Bo Lindegaard) resistance by the Danish government and population got the Nazis to pull back. One reason the Jews of Denmark escaped was that the Nazis regime was worried that any real effort to round them up would destroy their most important illusion—that National Socialism was popular and widely accepted. When the Nazis tried to round up the Jews of Berlin with "Aryan" wives (most of the spouses were German women married to Jewish men) the wives gathered outside the center where the men were being held and protested. The Nazis tried to hide the protests by shutting down public transit in the area, but after seven days they gave in and released the men—even to the point of returning several who had already been sent to Auschwitz. Most of these men, and a few women and children, survived the war.

Nazis used intimidation on open dissidents and troublemakers only, not the general public. The public, however, were heavily paid off by the government. (See Hitler's Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War and the Nazi Welfare State by Gotz Aly) First, Jewish owned businesses and wealth was plundered and redistributed to the German public. Then the Nazis plundered the nations they occupied, using the proceeds to win the favor of the German public.

Some want to pretend it was a "Keynesian" solution that caused German "prosperity" after Hitler took over. Not so. It was stealing massive amounts of wealth and redistributing it within Germany itself. Of course, you can rely on stolen bounty for only so long before it too runs out. A lot of Hitler's popularity was purchased by a welfare state.

But, another important tool of control was to change cultural values in Germany. Reinhard Heydrich, who was a key figure in the "Final Solution" said "The control of the Jews through the watchful eye of the whole population is better than having him by the thousands in a district where I cannot properly establish a control over his daily life through uniformed agents."

The Nazis used various cultural values held by the population to stay in power. Consider the anti-Semitism of Germany. First, the Catholic Church had pushed anti-Semitic images for centuries. Martin Luther's reformationists were even worse with Luther himself penning a virulent anti-Jewish tract for the public. The far Right in Germany hated the Jews but so did the Marxists. Marx claimed capitalism was Jewish in nature and the Jewish exploiter and the capitalist exploiter were one and the same. (See Capitalism and the Jews by Jerry Muller) Hitler didn't create hatred for the Jews, he used a pre-existing hatred but exaggerated it.

The Nazis used fear of exploitation of young girls by evil, perverted Jews using the foundation laid by Catholicism, Luther and Marx. As Nathan Stoltzfus points out in Resistance of the Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany, these beliefs meant that people started reporting Jews for dating gentiles long before the Nazi state tried to end intermarriage. The Nazis set up a complex system of rewards and punishments to make it unacceptable to intermarry and the general public became willing accomplices because they believed the values the Nazis held.

Cultural values are critical in a free society. The paleo-conservatives dismiss liberal values in our society, arguing against a libertarianism which emphasizes culture and liberal moral values. They want us to believe that intolerance is conducive to a free society "just as long as they don't initiate force." Of course, they are deluded to think hateful values won't lead to the initiation of force. It will be justified as a form of self defense. They are protecting the children, or putting an end to shameful exploitation, or preventing the defilement of the race, but they will get there eventually.

Cultural values ultimately determine the direction of the society. Ayn Rand argued that such values determine the politics of a nation. It isn't that politics determine values, but values determine politics. She had confidence in the American public at large because she felt they ultimately clung to values of tolerance and liberty. (Intellectuals she wasn't so sure about, but the "masses" in America she held in very high regard—contrary to the image portrayed by people who don't understand her, or hate her.)

A couple of years ago in a lecture, I said:

"Individuals live in a cultural bubble that surrounds them. Like it or not, it inhibits how people behave. Remove the cultural inhibitions and people act on their prejudices. When certain levels of intolerance are achieved within a culture restraints disappear and people begin acting on their hatreds. Values matter. A culture that believes that women are inferior will deny women equality of rights. A society that believes that homosexuals are a threat will persecute homosexuals. A culture that fears foreigners will impose barriers to immigrants. Actions follow values.” That’s really it—actions follow values. They always have and they always will.

 

James Peron is the President of the Moorfield Storey Institute. 

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Health Care, Fairness, and Regaining Our Freedom

The growing evidence-based consensus on Obamacare is that it is unworkable.  It has failed in its primary objective of making insurance affordable and used by all, while at the same time it worsens or destroys the healthcare and insurance of those it should have left alone.  Total enrollment is only half the 22 million that the Congressional Budget Office promised three years ago for 2016; all five of the largest insurance companies say they are losing money on their Obamacare policies;1  three of these have announced they are reducing participation in the Obamacare exchanges; other insurance companies have left the insurance pools, and premiums nationwide are up more than they would have been in the absence of Obamacare.  Going forward, 2017 premium increases are scheduled to be 58 percent in some places and are expected to average 23 percent!2  Worst of all is that Americans, who love freedom, are being subjected to some of the most oppressive interferences into their private lives ever. 

Documenting the failures and inconsistencies of Obamacare would take many pages.  In contradiction of the Pollyannaish pronouncements claiming victory by its supporters, the facts are that 70 significant defects in the legislation have already had to be legally changed, altered by the Supreme Court, or even illegally ignored by the President.3  This includes, for example, annulling the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program for government-subsidized insurance, which Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) dubbed a “Ponzi scheme of the first order.”  However, if Hillary Clinton is not elected president in November, if Democrats control neither the House nor the Senate, and if the 60-vote supermajority cloture rule is wisely jettisoned by the Senate, the US will have its best possibility to fix the problems of health care going forward.  What should we do?

In what follows I provide a rationale, a fairness principle that everyone should be able to support, and an application of it to a glaring health care problem. 

The rationale:  Start from the obvious truth that any policy which for its success requires people to do what is against their own interest is not as good as policy that benefits everyone.  Good policy is analogous to setting fair rules of the game.  Fair rules prevent cheating and incentivize all contestants to play the game to the fullest on their own behalf.  Bad policy advantages some by stripping advantages from others. 

The principle:  The fairness principle that follows is that a public program should be designed so that every citizen receives fully what they pay for, and pays fully for what they receive unless what is under consideration is charity, and charity is reserved to voluntary private organizations and individuals in the private sector.  Government, of course, can assist the function of voluntary private organizations and individuals in various ways that are consistent with the principle.  Notice that a marketplace satisfies the fairness principle automatically.  If you pay for three eggs, you get three eggs, and if you want two eggs you pay for two eggs.  In insurance contexts, the principle would imply that actuarial fairness needs to apply to all age groups and both sexes. 

The healthcare application:  Obamacare provisions should be replaced with ones that align with the fairness principle.  A number of changes follow, the first of which is described below because it speaks directly to the most prominent objective stated for Obamacare, which was incentivizing everyone to hold health insurance.  As it now stands, that incentive is absent.

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) should be rewritten so that emergency care for the episode in question must be administered regardless of ability to pay at the time as is the case now, but

  • provision be made for tracking non-paying recipients into the future so those who can pay back in the future are required to do so, and
  • prices charged for EMTALA-based care may not exceed the best prices charged by the supplier to the most favored of its customers.  I.e. the prices non-paying recipients are required to pay out of their future resources must match the lowest offered by the supplier to anyone else.

There are various ways that government can be helpful to the tracking process.

These small changes satisfy the principle, but do what Obamacare does not do.  They create the right intertemporal motivation so that everyone will have the incentive to be insured, but without the freedom-destroying mandates of Obamacare.  It is a short step to extend the principle to deal with the temporary need for help with insurance that will be paid back by those who may need to be tracked to make future payment.  Those who do not need subsidies or credits are left entirely alone to pursue health care and health care insurance (both are private goods which are the proper sphere for us to provide for ourselves) in competitive actuarially fair private markets that are personally responsive to us, satisfy the fairness principle, keep costs low, and restore freedom to we the people.

Earl L. Grinols

Distinguished Professor of Economics

Hankamer School of Business, Foster  320.13
Baylor University

Footnotes:

1. Greg Ip, The Unstable Economics in Obama’s Health Law, The Wall Street Journal, 17August 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-unstable-economics-in-obamas-health-law-1471452938.

2. ACASignups.net, “The 2017 Requested Rate Hike Challenge!! (currently: 23.3% across all 50 states + DC)” http://acasignups.net/16/05/24/presenting-aca-signups-2017-requested-rate-hike-challenge, 13 May 2016.

3. Grace-Marie Turner, 70 Changes That Make Obamacare a Very Different Law than Congress Passed, Forbes, 26 January 2016, http://galen.org/topics/70-changes-that-make-obamacare-a-very-different-law-than-congress-passed/.

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Impact of the Election on Liberty

Perhaps no election in modern history is more important than this year's. Public confidence in institutions is at an all time low. Congress, the media, large business, regulators and even the election process itself are all suspect. The integrity of the  political primary processes of both major political parties have been called into question therefore bringing the legitimacy of their nominees into question. Economic uncertainty, illegal immigration and fear of terrorism have made people more vulnerable to authoritarian leadership and perhaps more accepting of centralize control.

The importance of adherence to principles of liberty, a constitutional government and protection of individual rights has never been greater. There is a desire among people for someone to "do something". Indeed, we are entering dangerous times. The failures of big, centralized government have become quite obvious to the electorate. We need to support principled leaders who understand the constitution and will govern by it.

Ed Rankin
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Whither DHS?

It’s been 15 years since that fateful September day in 2001 when the world changed for America when 19 terrorists crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon (one plane did not make it to its intended target – thought to be the White House or Capitol Building – and was crashed in Shanksville, PA), killing nearly 3,000 people . In a rush of adrenaline beginning on September 12, 2001, there was a crash effort to confront the threat of terrorism and make America more secure. A spigot of government spending was turned on and $1 trillion has been spent since 9/11 to defend against the likes of al Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist threats. Part of that $1 trillion includes the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003. With more than 240,000 employees and a budget of over $60 billion, has DHS made us more secure?

That we have, fortunately, not suffered a second large-scale terrorist attack is often cited as evidence that the efforts of homeland security have worked and that the spending has been worthwhile. But it could also be the case that – whether it’s al Qaeda or ISIS – terrorists have chosen not to attack us. Reality is probably somewhere in-between. Conversely, the fact that there have been – thankfully, relatively few – smaller acts of terrorism (mostly lone wolf and homegrown, such as Orlando nightclub shooter, Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people and wounded another 53) doesn’t mean that homeland security has utterly failed. Perfect security is a Quixotic quest and it would be unfair to expect such from DHS.

DHS’s proposed fiscal year 2017 budget is $66.8 billion – more than double the department’s first budget of $31.1 billion in 2003. DHSs’ main operating components – Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) – command the lion’s share of the DHS budget. But while homeland security spending has increased nearly two-fold in 13 years, the way the money is spent has remained more or less the same based on how the budget is allocated (the only real changes being an increase for FEMA and a decrease for TSA in terms of their share of the budget).

DHS Component 2003 2016
CIS 5% 4%
FEMA 17% 21%
CBP 19% 21%
ICE 10% 9%
Secret Service 4% 3%
TSA 15% 11%
Coast Guard 20% 15%

Of course, one could argue that the relatively constant budget allocations means that DHS has the formula for homeland security spending correct. However, given that the department was created hastily by cobbling together 22 federal agencies, it seems unlikely that 13 years of “more of the same” is the right formula. More likely, it reflects bureaucratic infighting, with each component trying to keep its respective budget share – much the same as the military services do with the Defense Department budget.

Also, the fact that CIS, CBP and ICE have the terms customs and immigration in common begs the question of whether three separate agencies, which together account for over a third of DHS’s budget, are necessary to accomplish what seem to be overlapping missions – especially when one of the arguments made for creating DHS was that it would eliminate bureaucratic redundancies.

The DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) reviews the department’s programs and operations and recommends needed improvements to ensure that money is spent effectively and efficiently, but this is not the same thing as determining whether money is being spent rationally. Homeland security programs and program budgets should be fulfilling requirements linked to capabilities to conduct missions that enable the department to achieve its strategic goals and objectives. That is the essence of performance management that is outcome based. Moreover, program choices and budget decisions need to be made with cost-effectiveness, risk and other tradeoffs in mind.

So 13 years after the creation of DHS we have more security at our airports and borders, but we don’t really know if we’re truly more safe and secure. And we don’t know whether the money being on homeland security (putting aside whether $60 billion is too much or too little for DHS) is being spent in the best way to enhance security or whether what amounts to “more of the same” is just bureaucratic inertia.

# # #

Charles V. Peña is a senior fellow with the Defense Priorities. He has more than 25 years of experience as a policy and program analyst and senior manager, supporting both the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. Peña is the former Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute and author of Winning the Un-War: A New Strategy for the War on Terrorism.

 

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Saudis Must Face Consequences for Promoting Extremism

Last December, Farah Pandith of the Council on Foreign Relations, who was the first State Department special representative to Muslim communities, called for Saudi Arabia to face consequences if it did not stop promoting extremism.

She wrote: "I traveled to 80 countries between 2009 and 2014 as the first ever U.S. special representative to Muslim communities. In each place I visited, the Wahhabi influence was an insidious presence, changing the local sense of identity; displacing historic, culturally vibrant forms of Islamic practice; and pulling along individuals who were either paid to follow their rules or who became on their own custodians of the Wahhabi world view. Funding all this was Saudi money, which paid for things like the textbooks, mosques, TV stations and the training of Imams…We should expose the Saudi financing of extremist groups masquerading as cultural exchanges and 'charity' organizations and prevent the Saudis from demolishing local Muslim religious and cultural sites that are evidence of the diversity of Islam. If the Saudis do not cease what they are doing, there must be diplomatic, cultural and economic consequences." [1]

Eight months later, the New York Times reported: "Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump don’t agree on much, but Saudi Arabia may be an exception. She has deplored Saudi Arabia’s support for 'radical schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path towards extremism.' He has called the Saudis 'the world’s biggest funders of terrorism.'" [2]

But neither Clinton nor Trump has addressed the conclusion of what Farah Pandith wrote eight months ago: there must be consequences for the Saudis if they do not cease what they are doing.

Instead of sanctioning the Saudis, the Obama Administration is rewarding them. On August 8, the administration notified Congress of intent to sell $1.15 billion of weapons to Saudi Arabia. Senator Paul and Senator Murphy are expected to introduce a bipartisan resolution to disapprove the administration's Saudi arms deal. [3]
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DEAR WILLIAM (Letters to Bill O'Reilly)

Dear William,
Two-term Gov. Gary Johnson has a brain freeze when asked what he will "do about Aleppo", and you decide he's not ready to be President. Yet you give non-stop coverage to Donald Trump, who didn't know what the "nuclear triad" is, thinks the Constitution has twelve articles (it has seven), and just the other night told Matt Lauer it might be a good idea for the military to establish a system of justice and courts! Talk about being unready to assume the role of leader of the free world. That's hypocrisy. Admit it. You're just a shill for Trump. 

--Jeffrey Singer, MD
Phoenix, Arizona

 

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Paul Gessing's Reasons for Supporting Gary Johnson

1) Foreign Policy: In today's America, Congress has utterly abandoned its role in foreign policy and declaring war. We know Hillary Clinton will be awful on foreign policy. She is far more hawkish than Obama and was in charge of Benghazi, the worst foreign policy moment of his presidency. Trump is a wildcard. He blusters and changes his positions almost daily. It is hard to trust someone like that with nuclear weapons. Only Gary Johnson has advocated for a responsible, non-interventionist, but far from isolationist foreign policy.
2) Economists from across the political spectrum support free trade. American consumers and workers benefit from access to different and better products than they'd otherwise have access to. Tariffs and trade restrictions are nothing but new taxes and regulations on American consumers. Only Gary Johnson appreciates the benefits of free trade. 

3) America must address its massive debt problem by reforming entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Only Gary Johnson approaches these issues with the seriousness necessary to solve the problems. Trump and Hillary either want to expand them or refuse to discuss them even though they are the most serious budgetary issues facing our nation.  

-- 
Paul J. Gessing
President
Rio Grande Foundation
 
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Basic Income Guarantee

It is unfortunate that so many libertarians are supporting, or entertaining support for, a Basic Income Guarantee  Pushing this idea in any shape or form would be especially regrettable for the Gary Johnson campaign.  It represents a "something for nothing" approach and serves to undermine goals that libertarians have long championed including self-help, mutual aid, and entrepreneurship

A Basic Income Guarantee also runs counter to Gary's repeated opposition to the use of government to give away "free stuff."   It is not something "better" than the status quo, or a "transition" to a libertarian alternative but rather a giant step backward.

A far better anti-poverty alternative to the status quo, which plays to our strengths as libertarians, is to push for an end to regulations which interfere with self-help and mutual aid such as zoning, building code regulations which hamper construction of modular and other forms of affordable housing, the war on drugs, licensing laws which protect the prosperous from competition, and eminent domain which has destroyed countless poor neighborhoods.

There are many distinguished scholars, such as Phil Magness and David Henderson, who can provide the campaign with additional powerful reasons for why a Basic Income Guarantee is a terrible idea. 

Of course, there are also compelling political reasons to oppose this idea.  Embracing a Basic Income Guarantee will alienate libertarians, conservatives, and others who fear, rightly, that it will strengthen big government and undermine liberty.

David T. Beito

Professor

Department of History

University of Alabama 
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