The timing was hardly "coincidental." Not long after a trip by Vice President Pence to "convince" Ecuador to hand over Julian Assange, a $4.2 billion IMF loan appears on the scene. Then Ecuador follows through and delivers the Wikileaks publisher to face the wrath of the US political establishment. Do what Washington says, get a bribe. Don't do what Washington says, get a bomb.
Capitalism created the greatest prosperity that the world had ever seen in early-America. But by the late 1800's, a litany of American presidents declared that the age of "laissez-faire" was over. Government would intervene into every corner of life. And..ever since...it has! The horrendous consequences of this are apparent to everyone. But there are now some people who are trying to shift the blame. They're trying to blame "Capitalism" for the consequences of an over-bearing government.
UK Metropolitan Police were allowed into the Ecuadorian Embassy today to violently arrest Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, after the Ecuadorian government cancelled his asylum. He's already been convicted in the UK court this morning, but the real show trial awaits him after extradition to the US.
If hemp's now legal, why are people still getting arrested? Reason Magazine Senior Editor and civil liberties champion Jacob Sullum joins today's Liberty Report to look at some of the darker corners of the drug war...and to give us a preview of next month's Ron Paul Institute conference, Winning the War on the War on Drugs. More information: RonPaulInstitute.org/conference
By Chris Rossini
Two types of erroneous thinking (acted out) have caused tremendous pain for humanity.
The first is the man who believes it is his task to organize all life under his command. The list of excuses to justify his delusions are numerous. Maybe he thinks he's genetically superior, or intellectually superior, or racially superior, or that God gave him this special task. Whatever the justification he comes up with, he has decided to believe that all humans are clay, and he is the sculptor.
If this man's ideas remain with him, the possibility exists that he may come to see the error in his thinking, but even if he doesn't, there's very little damage that he could do to humanity as a whole. He may sit in a coffee shop and stew, but he can't act out his delusions on any type of scale.
But there's another type of erroneous thinking that enters the mix. The second man, who who believes that he is perpetually inferior. He yearns for someone else to come and save him, make him feel secure and safe. He wants to be taken care of from cradle to grave. He wants something for nothing.
Once again, if this man's ideas remain with him, the possibility exists that he sees the error in his thinking, but even if he doesn't, there's very little damage that he could do to humanity as a whole. He may sit in a coffee shop and whine about how he's entitled to everything, but unless he wants to be arrested for theft, he can't act out his something for nothing desires on any type of scale.
However, A GREAT BIG PROBLEM arises when the errors in thinking of these two men coincide.
You see, the first man needs believers in his imaginary superiority and ability to organize life under his command. Meanwhile, the second man, who believes in his imaginary inferiority is immediately attracted to the first man like a moth to a flame. Their interests coincide.
Now the damage that can be done by these two forms of erroneous thinking escalates. It comes out of the coffee shop and into the rest of the world ... a "movement" begins.
The quest is to accumulate more believers in the first man and more victims that can join the second.
In a free society, where individuals value Liberty, everyone can believe whatever they want. As long as no one is permitted to use aggressive violence, civilization can continue to flourish.
Well ... that setup doesn't work for the two erroneous thinkers. The man who sees all humans as clay for him to mold, needs aggressive violence to force everyone to obey him.
The second man clearly understands where his entitlements come from, so he's all for the first man using violence if that's what needs to be done.
And so the #1 Goal if these two men are to make aggressive violence acceptable.
The foundation of a free society has to be turned upside down.
The first man must be exempt. He must have the power to use aggressive violence.
Once this 'new deal' is accepted....once a person (or group of people) are permitted to use aggressive force, civilization begins its decline.
Unexpectedly, the first man immediately notices that he has some competition. Others come out of the woodwork who believe that they are the superior ones. They know the blueprint on how to organize humanity. They are the sculptors.
The second man also finds some unexpected competitors. Others come out of the woodwork who believe that they are more entitled than him! They should get the stolen loot. Their cause is the righteous cause.
Politics .... lobbyists ... wars ... welfare ... All battles to take control of the violent force. The blind lead the blind and they all fall into the ditch.
The foundation of civilization is very easy to understand. Liberty is rooted in the non-aggression principle. Live and let live. You keep your hands off me and my stuff, and I keep my hands off you and your stuff.
No aggressive force is permitted.
Force is for self-defense purposes only.
No one is exempt.
When such principles are generally accepted, the mass delusions will certainly subside. The erroneous thinkers will no longer have a tool to live out their superiority and inferiority fantasies. Their ideas will be sequestered to the coffee shops.
Civilization will resume its upward climb.
By Liberty Report Staff
For the first time ever, the United States has declared a foreign country's military force a "terrorist organization." Iran's Revolutionary Guard has most recently been fighting al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria, but Trump has accused Iran of harboring al-Qaeda. Iran has returned the "favor," designating the US Central Command (CENTCOM) a "terrorist organization." Is this the set-up for war with Iran?
By Ron Paul
Last month marked nine years since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (popularly known as Obamacare) became law. Obamacare’s proponents promised that the law would reduce costs, expand access, and allow us to keep our doctors if we liked our doctors. The reality has been quite different.
Since Obamacare was enacted, individual health insurance premiums have more than doubled while small businesses have been discouraged from providing health insurance benefits. The increased costs of, and decreased access to, health care are a direct result of Obamacare’s mandates — particularly the guaranteed issue and pre-existing condition mandates. Another costly mandate forces most plans to cover “essential health benefits.” This mandate is why postmenopausal women must pay for contraceptive coverage.
The increase in health insurance premiums has not helped those who like their doctors keep their doctors. Instead, patients’ choices of providers are restricted to ever-narrower networks. As leading health care scholar John C. Goodman observed, the result is that a cancer patient from my hometown of Lake Jackson, Texas who obtains insurance through Obamacare’s exchanges cannot get treatment at nearby MD Anderson, one of the country’s top cancer treatment centers. If health care were a true free market, insurance companies would compete for the business of cancer patients and others with chronic conditions by developing innovative ways to give them the best care at an affordable price.
Sadly, few in Congress support free-market health care. The Democrats are divided between progressives who want to repeal and replace Obamacare with “Medicare for all,” the latest euphemism for single-payer healthcare, and establishment Democrats who want to save Obamacare by spending more money on subsidies for individuals and insurance companies.
President Trump has made some regulatory changes that make it easier for individuals to find affordable insurance. He has also recently called on Republicans to renew efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Most Republicans reacted to the president’s call the way Dracula reacts to a crucifix. These Republicans are terrified of the issue because they believe their half-hearted attempts to enact phony repeal bills cost them control of the House of Representatives in 2018.
President Trump himself does not actually want to repeal all of Obamacare. He just wants to repeal the “unpopular” parts. However, because the popular parts include many of Obamacare’s most destructive mandates, even if President Trump gets his way, Americans will continue to suffer with low-qualify, high-cost health care.
Any system combing subsidies that artificially increase demand with regulations and mandates that, by raising costs, artificially limit supply inevitably results in shortages, rationing, and lower quality. Therefore, no matter how much Democrats spend or how many “reforms” Republicans enact, Obamacare and other types of government-controlled health care will never “work.”
Instead of ignoring the issue, trying to prop up Obamacare, or implementing a single-payer plan, Congress should restore individuals’ control over health care dollars by expanding health care tax deductions and credits, as well as Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Expanded charitable deductions could help ensure those who need assistance can obtain privately-funded charitable care instead of relying on inefficient government programs. Before Medicaid and Medicare, doctors routinely provided charitable care, while churches and private charities ran hospitals that served the poor. Individuals are more than capable of meeting their health care needs, and providing for the needs of the less fortunate, if the government gets out of the way.
By Jacob G. Hornberger
As the debate over socialism between President Trump and his Democratic presidential opponents heats up, we shouldn’t forget a socialist program that Trump and other conservatives have come to love — the school-voucher program.
Like other welfare-state programs, vouchers are based on the socialist concept of using the force of government to take money from one group of people and using it to pay for the education another group of people. The irony is that conservatives justify their socialist program by saying that it is being used to save children from the disastrous consequences of another socialist program, public schooling.
Of course, voucher proponents are right about public schooling. With its army-lite system of regimentation, deference to authority, memorization and regurgitation, and obedience to orders, the public school system is the very model of a socialist system. The government, either at a local, state, or federal level, owns and operates the system. Everyone, including the teachers and administrators, works for the state. The state sets the curriculum and provides the textbooks. Attendance is mandated by law. Funding is through the coercive apparatus of taxation.
Thus, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that public schooling is in crisis or chaos. That’s what socialism does. It also shouldn’t surprise anyone that public schooling severely damages people’s passion and love for learning. Socialism has long been known to destroy the inner spirit of people. Just ask people living in Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea, all of which, needless to say, have public-schooling systems too. They’ll confirm what socialism does to a society.
There is but one solution to socialism: End it. Dismantle it. Repeal it. That necessarily entails separating school and state, the way our ancestors separated church and state. End all governmental involvement in education. No more compulsory-attendance laws. No more school taxes. No more public (i.e., government) schools. A total free market in education, one in which families are deciding the best educational vehicle for each of their children and one in which entrepreneurs are competing against each other in the provision of educational services.
Thirty years ago, when Milton Friedman, who ironically was a libertarian, was proposing school vouchers, he argued that vouchers constituted a way to transition to a system of educational liberty — that is, one in which the state would no longer play any role in education.
Friedman was wrong, as I pointed out in an article entitled “Letting Go of Socialism, which FFF published in September 1990, the very first year of FFF’s existence. Friedman responded to my article in a speech he delivered shortly after the publication of my article. First complimenting FFF on the work we were doing, he emphasized that we share the same goal — the separation of school and state. He steadfastly maintained, however, that vouchers were the way to transition to that goal. Read a transcript of Friedman’s talk here.
Today, 30 years later, it is easy to see how wrong Friedman was. In Milwaukee, for example, they have had a voucher system for more than 25 years. There is no evidence that vouchers have gotten Milwaukee closer to ending the state’s involvement in education. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Vouchers have more deeply embedded the state in education. The socialism of school vouchers has combined with the socialism of public schooling to make things even worse than they were before.
Friedman’s position was never logical. School vouchers are state monies that are given to private schools. Once a private school goes on the voucher dole, that means it is going to have an influx of students that it didn’t have before. That means more buildings and classrooms, which means a large capital expenditure. It also means hiring more teachers and administrators.
After doing all that, what are the chances that a private school on the voucher dole is suddenly going to say, “Time to end the public schooling system and the voucher system that has been attached to it”? No chance at all, especially since that could possibly mean a reduction in students, a layoff of teachers and administrators, and default in loan payments to the bank. Once a school goes on the dole and stays on the dole for years, one can reasonably expect that it will fight to continue its dole and come up with any rationalization and justification for it.
In fact, the voucher system has also corrupted the thinking of voucher proponents. Today, hardly any voucher proponents take the position that Friedman openly and erroneously took — that vouchers are a transition to ending all state involvement in education. Even if they believe that, they keep it secret because they know that it will cause some people to oppose vouchers. Thus, today virtually every voucher proponent couches his argument for vouchers with the argument that a voucher system helps to improve the public-school system through competition and “choice.”
Thus, unlike Friedman, voucher proponents today have made peace with public schooling. They make no no efforts to end this socialist monstrosity. Their only interest is in advocating another a socialist system — school vouchers — that is designed to take children out of public schooling and put them into private schools — schools that are also controlled by the state by virtue of their receipt of state voucher monies.
There is one and only one way to end all government involvement in education: repeal compulsory attendance laws and school taxes and close down all the public schools. Separate school and state, in the same way our ancestors separated church and state. A total free market in education.
Obviously, making the case for educational liberty is much more difficult and challenging than making the case for vouchers. The voucher proponent can assure people that their basic socialist educational system will remain intact and possibly even improved, which they can feel good about. The advocate of liberty, on the other hand, must convince people of the merits of an entirely different paradigm — one in which the state plays no role in education whatsoever.
Let us libertarians leave socialism to conservatives and liberals. Let them continue defending public (i.e., government) schooling, vouchers, and other socialist schemes and reforms. Let us libertarians continue raising a higher standard, one that is based on liberty and the free market.
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.
The sudden resignation of often-scapegoated Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has reignited the fierce debate over border control and immigration. Will Trump find someone who will "get tough" enough on the border? Will pursuing the same policies produce different results?