By Ron Paul
We really don't have much of a democracy in this country. Republicans and Democrats dominate, so you have to be an interventionist in order to keep the welfare & warfare state going. And despite the usual excitement that accompanies every election, we're looking at more of the same yet again. More calls for war. More calls for welfare. More central planning. I discuss this further with Stuart Varney on Fox Business below:
By Ron Paul
Rand did so well during his campaign on defending civil liberties and on not going to war so carelessly. No one else came close! Libertarians should, however, beware the pretenders who remain in the race that are trying to get your vote. What should libertarians do now? I give my opinion to Kennedy on Fox Business, and you can watch it below:
Governments are constantly trying to outfox economic laws. Whether it's printing money, creating minimum wages, or even "regulating" companies to gain votes, the government continues to fight battles that it cannot win. The market is forever undefeated and always trumps the state. Ron Paul is back with another edition of Myth-Busters! Enjoy!
By Chris Rossini
We all know how Hollywood and the crony media likes to portray the U.S. military. It's almost always presented as this well-oiled machine, good looking people, white teeth, well-spoken, the whole nine yards.
Hardly will you see how trillions of taxpayers dollars go up in smoke and how the Pentagon mysteriously "loses" track of where the money goes. No, the actual truth about how government bureaucracy works is not what you'll see in the latest blockbuster film.
Perceptions are critically important when running an operation that forcefully takes money from American citizens. Perception is worth big bucks! As a matter of fact, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter had his hands out this week seeking yet another $600 billion.
"Even as we fight today’s fights, we must also be prepared for the fights that might come 10, 20 or 30 years down the road."
This is where perception comes in. The belief that the U.S. military (a) should be fighting for decades to come, and (b) that it's able to sit down and plan 10, 20 and 30 years down the road.
If this were even remotely true, was it in the U.S. plans for ISIS to exist right now? How about the fact that the Taliban controls more of Afghanistan than at any time since 2001? Was that in the plans?
Obama's "plan" for Iraq was "an Iraq that is sovereign, stable, and self-reliant." Yet, Iraq today doesn't resemble that at all. Obama was supposed to end the Iraq war, yet mission creep has the U.S. with well above 4,000 troops in that country, and the numbers keep climbing. Was all of this in the plans as well?
The "plan" for Libya was to conduct a "humanitarian intervention," yet anyone who looks at Libya now and sees humanitarianism needs to get their eyes checked. Was turning Libya into a cauldron of misery, and yet another magnet for ISIS, in the "plans"?
What if there's a financial crisis in the next 10, 20, or 30 years? Is that factored into the plans? And are we to assume that the American public will still be OK with military interventionism that far into the future? What if non-interventionist ideas reach a critical mass?
The truth is this: our world is incredibly complex. It's so complex that it's beyond the human mind to "run it" with a military empire. If that were possible, the dustbin of history wouldn't be overflowing with failed military empires.
Who knows what the world will look like 10, 20, or 30 years from now? That's an eternity when you're dealing with human beings that have the ability to choose and contemplate their actions.
One thing is certain though. What happens 30 years from now is insignificant to the military-industrial-complex. They want as much of our money as possible RIGHT NOW.
The departure of Rand from the presidential race has left the hawks gloating. Non-interventionism is dead, the Ron Paul Movement is over, we're all neocons now, they crow. Let's just see about that!
By Dominick Armentano
With his recent strong showing in the Iowa caucus, Senator Bernie Sanders now deserves to have his policy ideas examined seriously by admirers and critics alike.
Sanders has policy positions on dozens of important issues but two stand out: One, Sanders is a self-described “democratic socialist” and two, he has argued repeatedly that the rich don’t pay their fair share of taxes. Presumably, in a Sanders Administration, there would be more “socialism” and higher taxes on the “rich”.
What is democratic socialism? From my training in economics, socialists believe that free-market capitalism is a failed system and that it should be replaced by government ownership of the means of production. This means that all important decisions concerning the production of output and the direction of investment should be made by the State. The “democracy” part of the definition implies that democratic institutions such as a constitution and elections would be preserved.
Does Bernie Sanders really believe that democratic socialism makes sense? Probably not, for a number of reasons. First, many economists accept that socialism fails in both theory and practice; it is not a coherent economic system. It fails in theory because if all of the “means of production” are nationalized, there would be no intelligent way for government planners to decide which factor combinations are the cheapest or which outputs and investments would tend to maximize consumer welfare. The economy would literally be at sea without a rudder.
To see why this is so, we must understand that under free-market capitalism, prices and profit incentives guide resources into uses that consumers prefer relative to alternatives. But in socialism, where the crucial factors of production (such as capital and land) are owned by the State, there are no meaningful price signals or profit and loss incentives to ensure that scarce resources are used efficiently and not wasted. And this so-called economic calculation problem is not made any easier by arguing that the government would be “democratic” or that it’s intentions are to help the poor.
Second, socialism (or near socialism) in practice has been an economic disaster wherever it’s been seriously tried. Most of the socialist experiments (Cuba, 1960-2016) have ended up confiscating wealth, wasting capital, destroying incentives, and impoverishing the great bulk of the population. And don’t believe for a minute that it’s a lack of democracy that has doomed socialism or the so-called Cuban experiment. No way. It’s the rejection of private property, of the free market price system, and of open competition between business organizations that have made socialism unworkable.
Sanders is NOT a democratic socialist (although why he insists on that label is troubling) but is, instead, a “social democrat.” Social democrats or progressives accept (grudgingly) the basic institutions of capitalism (the price system, stock markets, etc.) but want numerous social programs for the unemployed and poor and want increased regulation of large corporations and banks. Fine, but notice that there is nothing terribly radical about any of those ideas; they have been around for decades. Hillary and Bernie may quibble loudly about health care reform but it’s a debate well within the progressive mainstream of the Democratic party.
The Sanders view that the rich should pay their “fair share” of taxes might inspire a more radical agenda if we just could determine what Bernie means by “fair share.” (I suspect it simply means more taxes.) According to 2013 IRS data, individuals with adjusted gross income (AGI) of $250,000 or more filled just 2.4% of all tax returns yet they paid 48.9 % of all taxes; their average tax rate was 25.6%. By contrast, people with incomes of $50,000 or less paid just 6.2% of all taxes and their average tax rate was just 4.2%. Since the average federal tax rate on the “rich” is already 6 times the average tax rate on the (relatively) poor, one wonders what theory of fairness Bernie Sanders has in mind.
The Democratic Party’s leading candidates for president both have embraced progressivism with a bear hug. Should we be shocked? Probably not. After all, is this any more shocking than the substantial support that likely Republican voters show for the bombastic Donald Trump? The fact remains that we may need intelligent debates and a general election in November, 2016, to sort some of this nonsense out.
Reprinted with author's permission - Copyright © 2016 Dom Armentano
By Jacob Hornberger
Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says that everyone has a right to health care. Unfortunately, none of his presidential opponents, Democrat or Republican, is going to challenge him on the point. They’re too scared that they’d lose votes by challenging a standard socialist shibboleth in America.
Sanders’ assertion only goes to show how American socialists (i.e., progressives) have warped and perverted the concept of rights within the minds of the American people. The fact is that no one has a right to health care any more than he has a right to a home, a car, food, spouse, or anything else.
The correct concept of rights was enunciated by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, the document that Americans ironically celebrate every Fourth of July. Jefferson observed that people have been endowed with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The right to life simply means that you have the right to seek to sustain your life, especially by engaging in work or other economic enterprise. It does not mean that you can force others to sustain your life for you. It also means that no one has the right to wrongfully take your life from you. That’s why we have laws against murder.
Liberty means the right to live your life any way you want, so long as your conduct is peaceful.
The right to pursue happiness isn’t the same as a right to be happy. The right
entails seeking happiness, each in his own way, even if the peaceful choices one makes along the way meet with the disapproval of others. Drug usage comes to mind.
Thus, with respect to healthcare, people have a right to seek healthcare but they don’t have a right to healthcare.
What’s the difference?
Let’s assume I walk into a doctor’s office feeling ill. The doctor tells me that the visit is going to cost me $100. I refuse to pay and tell him that I have a right to healthcare. If I truly have such a right, then he is precluded from saying no when I demand free healthcare.
Yet, under the principles of liberty, self-ownership, and the pursuit of happiness, the doctor has the right to charge whatever he wants. In fact, he has the right to decide for himself who he is going to treat and not treat. It’s his body. It’s his skills. It’s his medical practice. No one has the right to force him to live for them, which is what a right to healthcare necessarily entails.
For example, lots of doctors today are refusing to treat Medicare patients because they don’t like the federal bureaucracy, rules and regulations, excessive paperwork, governmental abuse, and risk of criminal prosecution that come with this socialist program. That’s their right. Medicare patients have no right to healthcare. They cannot legally force the doctor to treat them.
So, people have the right to seek healthcare, just as they have the right to seek food, shelter, transportation, and other things. But they don’t have the right to healthcare.
The situation is the same with respect to a spouse. No one has the right to be married. If people actually had such a right, they could force another person to marry them. If such a right existed, one can imagine someone approaching another person and saying, “I have a right to a spouse and I have decided to marry you. You cannot say no because I have the right to be married.”
Thus, people have the right to seek a spouse, just as they have the right to pursue happiness. But they don’t have the right to a spouse any more than they have a right to happiness.
A right to healthcare actually destroys the right to liberty. That’s because such a right would enable people to force others to work for them, which is what slavery is all about. Let’s say, for example, that I have the right to food. I could force a farmer to work all year long to provide me with my food, for free of course. Why would I have to pay for something to which I have a right? The same with housing. If I have a right to a house, I could force a home builder to build a house for me for free.
Now, here’s the really quirky thing about a right to healthcare, food, housing, and other things. If everyone has such rights, then they can demand that everyone else provide them with such things. But if everyone is demanding that everyone else provide him with free things, it’s not difficult to see that such a society would quickly devolve into conflict, crisis, and chaos.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention that no one has the right to another person’s money either. If I were to approach you, pull out a gun, and say, “Give me your money because I have a right to it and because I intend to be good with it by giving it to the poor,” you would call me a thief. That’s because I don’t have a right to your money, even if I’m putting it to good use, any more than I have the right to force you to provide me or anyone else with healthcare, food, housing, or transportation. I can ask you to donate your money to me or to someone in need, but I have no right to forcibly take it from you, either for myself or to help someone else.
But of course, as Bernie Sanders and his fellow presidential candidates will tell you, that is one of the reasons they love socialism so much. It enables them to use government to do the forcing, the stealing, and the distributing while creating the perception in people’s minds how good, caring, and compassionate public officials are.
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.
The Free State Project announced today that it has achieved the threshold of 20,000 pledges to move to New Hampshire in hopes of creating a more libertarian society. What's the project all about and does it have a chance of succeeding?
Obviously, this is not a good thing.
But instead of government looking at itself as a major cause to drug problems in America, it very predictably looks to "do more" to "help". Of course, government can truly help by completely ending the Drug War, but where's the fun in that? Cronies won't get their contracts and politicians won't get their power rushes.
No, better from government's perspective is to instead shovel money down the drain and pat themselves on their backs for "helping" with such a serious issue.
Vox gives us the bad news:
...the Obama administration on Tuesday proposed a $1.1 billion plan to boost the fight.
Now, you might think to yourself: "Come on...$1.1 billion is chickenfeed...the U.S. military empire blows through $1.1 billion before breakfast! Why worry about this issue at all."
This is very true. Other areas of government waste our hard-earned money at a much more rapid pace. But this author wants to focus on the philosophy that's involved here, even if it's over a measly $1.1 billion.
Misplaced faith in government has metastasized to a critical level. Liberty cannot and will not thrive when individuals believe that government is there to protect them from themselves.
If someone has a drug addiction, it is not the place of government to get involved. Once that door is opened, government can then grab even more power by claiming to help any addiction. Why stop at drugs? A whole new frontier opens up for bureaucracy, waste and cronyism.
Instead, entrepreneurs should be completely unfettered and allowed to deal with all rising problems as they occur. Entrepreneurs already solve our most pressing problems as it is. And they do so with the limited resources that are left after government wastes what it has stolen from us.
It's miraculous what free individuals are able to do. Entrepreneurs spot where demand is high and jump in headfirst to satisfy it. If there's a rising drug "epidemic," it presents a huge opportunity! But once government grabs power, it likes to fence off anyone else that can do the job much better...and you know, actually do the job.
Finally, and this may be hard for the government faithful to come to grips with: Asking government for help with a personal problem, or to perform some good deed, is like asking a mugger for directions to the safe part of town. Government is not a good institution. It steals (taxation), lies (elections), kidnaps (conscription) and commits mass murders (wars).
Why would any rational person ever seek "help" from such a barbaric institution?
By Adam Dick
After months of preparation, national, state, and local police have rolled out a comprehensive mass surveillance effort in the San Francisco Bay Area as the Super Bowl approaches. If you happen to be in the area over the next few days, you can expect much high-tech gadgetry and police time will be used to watch, catalogue, and analyze your activities.
April Glaser provides the details in her new Wired article “If You Go Near the Super Bowl, You Will Be Surveilled Hard.” The Super Bowl stadium and the nearby cities, she explains, have been converted into a hyped-up mass surveillance zone in which surveillance technology — cell phone tracking devices; video cameras; facial recognition and other biometrics technology; automated license plate readers; and phone call, text and social media monitoring software — will be used with abandon on individuals who happen to be in the area. Glaser explains that the scooped up information will flow to, and be processed in, fusion centers where national, state, and local police work in coordination.
Say you just want the government not to invade your privacy, Glaser says the only option is to stay out of the Bay Area over the next few days:
If all this surveillance in the name of security makes you uncomfortable and you’d rather not have your face, car, and cell phone activity tracked across the Bay Area, you have only one option: Don’t go anywhere near the big game.
Exercising this option, however, will keep you free from only some of the surveillance, and only in the short term. Mass surveillance by all levels of government is expanding. What is happening in the San Francisco Bay Area is a practice run for what many people in government would like to see rolled out soon nationwide.
This article was originally published at The Ron Paul Institute.