By Liberty Report Staff
We're totally surrounded by authoritarians, whether they be Left or Right (or Alt-Left and Alt-Right).
The battle between them is always about which flavor of authoritarianism will prevail.
"We need to use violent force for X,Y,Z." cries one group.
"No, we need to use violent force for A,B,C," says the other.
That aggressive force should not be tolerated, and that force is only justified for defense to repel an aggressor, never seems to enter the equation.
Such an idea is never permitted to be a part of the political discourse.
Authoritarianism can feed off the wealth created by liberty in the short-run.
But in the long-run, we must move in the direction, not of aggressive force, but voluntary interactions between individuals.
Ron Paul discusses below:
Kurds in Iraq have overwhelmingly voted for independence, defying nearly every other country in the region and beyond. Is It a good sign that the maps drawn after WWI may be re-drawn to reflect new realities, or is danger and war on the horizon?
By Ron Paul
Over the weekend, I was very pleased to give a speech in Aspen, Colorado at the Nexus Conference.
I hope you enjoy the talk below:
Press Play to hear Ron Paul deliver his Weekly Update:
By Ron Paul
The descent of US/North Korea “crisis” to the level of schoolyard taunts should be remembered as one of the most bizarre, dangerous, and disgraceful chapters in US foreign policy history.
President Trump, who holds the lives of millions of Koreans and Americans in his hands, has taken to calling the North Korean dictator “rocket man on a suicide mission.” Why? To goad him into launching some sort of action to provoke an American response? Maybe the US president is not even going to wait for that. We remember from the Tonkin Gulf false flag that the provocation doesn’t even need to be real. We are in extremely dangerous territory and Congress for the most part either remains asleep or is cheering on the sabre-rattling.
Now we have North Korean threats to detonate hydrogen bombs over the Pacific Ocean and US threats to “totally destroy” the country.
We are told that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is a “madman.” That’s just what they said about Saddam, Gaddafi, Assad, and everyone else the neocons target for US military action. We don’t need to be fans of North Korea to be skeptical of the war propaganda delivered by the mainstream media to the benefit of the neocons and the military industrial complex.
Where are the cooler heads in Washington to tone down this war footing?
Making matters worse, there is very little understanding of the history of the conflict. The US spends more on its military than the next ten or so countries combined, with thousands of nuclear weapons that can destroy the world many times over. Nearly 70 years ago a US-led attack on Korea led to mass destruction and the death of nearly 30 percent of the North Korean population. That war has not yet ended.
Why hasn’t a peace treaty been signed? Newly-elected South Korean president Moon Jae-in has proposed direct negotiations with North Korea leading to a peace treaty. The US does not favor such a bilateral process. In fact, the US laughed off a perfectly sensible offer made by the Russians and Chinese, with the agreement of the North Koreans, for a “double freeze” – the North Koreans would suspend missile launches if the US and South Korea suspend military exercises aimed at the overthrow of the North Korean government.
So where are there cooler heads? Encouragingly, they are to be found in South Korea, which would surely suffer massively should a war break out. While US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, was bragging that the new UN sanctions against North Korea would result in a near-complete blockade of the country (an act of war), the South Korean government did something last week that shocked the world: it announced an eight million dollar humanitarian aid package for pregnant mothers and infant children in North Korea. The US and its allies are furious over the move, but how could anyone claim the mantle of “humanitarianism” while imposing sanctions that aim at starving civilians until they attempt an overthrow of their government?
Here’s how to solve the seven-decade old crisis: pull all US troops out of North Korea; end all military exercises on the North Korean border; encourage direct talks between the North and South and offer to host or observe them with an international delegation including the Russians and Chinese, which are after all Korea’s neighbors.
The schoolyard insults back and forth between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un are not funny. They are in fact an insult to all of the rest of us!
President Trump has waded into the NFL controversy by suggesting that the football players who do not stand for the US national anthem should be fired. Is this an issue of First Amendment versus patriotism? Or there is something else...?
By Liberty Report Staff
Government is very slick with its marketing:
- United "We" Stand
- "It's Not Who We Are" As A Country
- "We The People"
- Russia Wants "To Divide Us"
... and on and on.
Government likes to portray the country as a unified entity.
It's pure fantasy and false advertising at its finest.
Let's say you're person who believes in "live and let live." You'd never use force against your neighbor, and you'd never send government to use force against your neighbor for your benefit.
You want to be left alone, and you show the same courtesy to others.
That doesn't mean you don't need others.
You'll gladly trade and exchange with other individuals. You'll trade your labor for pay. You'll trade your pay for goods and services produced by others.
But such interactions are all voluntary and peaceful. Everyone wins, and everyone is free to say 'no' to each individual exchange.
There are a lot of people like this in America, and you happen to be one of them. Pat yourself on the back.
But America consists of over 300 million people, and there are many others who do not share your sense of humanity.
They are not interested in leaving you alone to live freely. They will not extend the same courtesy that you extend to them. They have a big problem with "live and let live."
They want to somehow force you to do what they want you to do. They especially want any money of yours that they can get.
Only a very small percentage, however, will personally come and use violence against you. They want your money, but not that bad.
The vast majority will instead use government to do their dirty work.
The government doesn't mind because whenever they steal, they take a huge cut for themselves. In fact, they end up being the big winners who live more luxurious lives than everyone else.
How can such a situation produce "Unity"?
How can people be "Undivided" under this kind of setup?
Instead, this "system" produces tremendous division. No one likes to be the dupe. No one likes to be the one that is robbed. So everyone then fights to be in the position of the robber!
It becomes a society of rob or be robbed.
And everyone has their pet excuse as to why they should be the robber, and everyone else should be the robbed.
There is no unity.
Government marketing is all fluff.
They like to give the appearance that everyone is cool with this debauchery.
There can be unity someday. It is possible.
But it would be a different type of "unity." It wouldn't be a one-size-fits-all impossibility that everyone images today.
It would be a unity in accepting that using force against your neighbor is wrong, no matter what pet excuse is offered up.
Such a society requires a big change in beliefs.
If it's wrong to use aggressive force as an individual, it's also wrong to use the government as your agent. Government is not a loophole to commit immoral acts.
By Chris Rossini
Ok, so President Trump thinks that NFL owners should fire players for taking a knee during the national anthem.
In his usual shock jock method of communicating, the President said:
"Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he's fired. He's fired!"
That's colorful for sure, but the president has a right to his own opinion, like everyone else. They're just words, that no one has to take seriously.
Unfortunately, many in America view politicians as having divine status. Politicians are considered the Church Elders in the government religion.
From the perspective of Liberty and Freedom, what if Trump's words are taken seriously? What if someday the rest of the government's Church Elders decide to take out the guns to enforce this edict?
Well, first, it would violate the core belief of libertarians --- no person or group can use aggressive force against any individual. Force is only justified in self-defense to repel an aggressor.
Someone that kneels at home, on a field, in the ocean, or anywhere else is not using aggressive force against anyone.
As long as you're not trespassing on someone's property, and the property owner has no problem with you kneeling, go ahead and kneel until your knees bleed.
Which leads to the next point. If the NFL were forced by law to fire a player that kneels, the government would be abolishing the property rights of the NFL.
It is the property owner who has the right to decide if someone can give a speech, kneel, smoke, or anything else that's peaceful on his property.
Kneeling during the national anthem is an issue between NFL players and NFL teams only. They should make their own voluntary contracts, which stipulate what behavior is and is not acceptable on NFL property.
Should we worry about government using force against the NFL?
Of course....This isn't 1776 America.
You have to remember, starting around the 1900's, the government religion has been getting the kids when they're young. Most people are forced into government buildings to be "schooled" for about 18 years.
Government is always scheming to get the kids younger and younger too. Universal Pre-K is the new thing.
Perhaps someday a government agent will be in every hospital delivery room. Who knows?
But for 18 years, in those government "schools," every single day starts with rising at your desk, and saying your morning prayer to the state --- known as the pledge of allegiance.
Do morning prayers happen once a year? Once a month? Once a week?
Every single day.
By the time you're an adult, your ability to contemplate freedom, private property and voluntary contracts has been considerably diminished.
"Of course everyone must stand for the National Anthem --- And of course the President should force them."
We naturally would never come to such a conclusion. We'd have to be "schooled" first.
So while the president's words might just be words (for now) we should always be vigilant against taking them any further.
Private Property ... Freedom to think and make your own choices ... Voluntary Contracts ... Anything that's peaceful ... Live and Let Live.
Those are the ideas that are far more attractive than "Get that son of a bitch off the field..."
There are a lot of financial time bombs that the U.S. government, and state governments, have created. The $20 trillion national debt gets plenty of press. The insolvency of Social Security and Medicare don't get nearly enough. But there's also another financial time bomb lurking to the tune of trillions. Unfunded public pensions. Ron Paul talks about it today on the Liberty Report!
By Liberty Report Staff
We were assured that Trump was better than Hillary.
John Pilger writes:
When Donald Trump addressed the United Nations on 19 September – a body established to spare humanity the “scourge of war” – he declared he was “ready, willing and able” to “totally destroy” North Korea and its 25 million people. His audience gasped, but Trump’s language was not unusual.
The fact that Hillary threatened 80 million people versus Trump's 25 million?
Is this considered progress?
Hillary would have kept Obamacare, like Trump.
Hillary would have stayed in NATO and kept NAFTA, like Trump.
Hillary would have increased the debt, like Trump.
Hillary would (obviously) have been as militant as Trump.
Hillary would have favored The Fed manipulating interest rates lower than the market rate, like Trump.
Hillary would have toasted the "great, great potential" of the UN like Trump.
You know what real progress would look like?
Implementing the ideas of John Quincy Adams, who said that America "goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all."
Or how about George Washington, who said: "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world."
Thomas Jefferson called for "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none."
Are these just names that go on monuments now?
Just tourist attractions?
Threatening the existence of 25 million people is not progress.
By Tho Bishop
Almost two weeks have passed since Hurricane Irma made landfall in South Florida, yet tens of thousands remain without power. With temperatures regularly eclipsing over 90 degrees, these outages are not only a grave inconvenience for Floridians cleaning up after the storm, but have proved to be deadly. Given the power of Irma, it is not surprising that it has left behind incredible devastation. Unfortunately it is also not surprising that it is a government-protected utility that has done the most to impede recovery. The pain and suffering currently being felt is the direct result of government policy and the perverse incentives of crony capitalism.
One of the talked about examples of how bad policy is making things worse for Florida families are a variety of government policies that discourages the use of solar power in the Sunshine State. Government policy dictates that Floridians are required to be connected to the central power grid, even if they have enough solar panels installed to power their entire house. Because of this requirement, a family stuck in areas without power with solar panels installed cannot use them now because doing so could endanger workers trying to restore power for their neighbors. Once again government’s desire for centralized control has unintended consequences.
Of course, even without such rules, it’s unlikely that all of Florida would decide to go off the grid. Given that, it’s important to understand how the legal monopoly granted to electric companies not only traps customers into being entirely reliant upon a single company, but actively incentivizes those companies to be reactive – rather than proactive – when it comes to natural disasters and other events that threaten service.
After all, companies like Florida Power & Light will respond to Irma as they have done to hurricanes past, by increasing prices on their customers.
Unfortunately, the revenue reaped seems to have made little impact in FPL’s preparedness for future storms. While the company has reported that its recovery efforts have moved faster this year than when Hurricane Wilma hit South Florida in 2005, more residents suffered outrages due to Irma – in spite of the fact that Wilma actually had higher sustained winds when it made landfall.
Along with the temporary wage hikes following storms, the company also charges annual “storm fees” meant to pay for tree maintenance around power lines. FPL is now facing a class-action lawsuit in the aftermath of Irma over their apparent failure to do so. Legal cases are certainly nothing new to FPL, as they have often legally fought measures requiring more of their powerlines to be buried underground, rather than be subjected to tropical storm winds above.
While FPL may be skimping on storm preparedness, they do make significant investments in the one resource that is truly vital to their business model: government.
FPL and other power companies are regularly among the largest political contributors in the state of Florida. In return, their lobbyists have been able to earn significant influence in writing energy legislation in the state of Florida. Of course this is the inevitable result of government granting monopolies to private companies. Isolated from the competition of the market, a business has no need to satisfy the needs of the customer, they only need to protect the relationship they have with government. Mises summed it up well in Human Action when he wrote, “Corruption is a regular effect of interventionism.”
Now given the amount of heat companies like FPL are facing following Irma, it’s possible the companies may finally have the political incentive to make some changes in the way they conduct business. Legislators may even be shamed into removing some of the restrictions on solar panels.
What Florida really needs, however, is to do away with the entire concept of natural monopolies for public utilities. There should be no legislation arbitrarily awarding either private or public companies a commercial fiefdom by legally protecting them from competition. Doing so ensures that desires of customers will always take a back seat to the good will of politicians, and will stifle the ability of the market to innovate superior methods of delivering such important services.
As Murray Rothbard wrote in Man, Economy, and State:
Regulation of public utilities or of any other industry discourages investment in these industries, thereby depriving consumers of the best satisfaction of their wants. For it distorts the resource allocations of the free market. Prices set below the free market create an artificial shortage of the utility service; prices set above those determined by the free market impose restrictions and a monopoly price on the consumers. Guaranteed rates of return exempt the utility from the free play of market forces and impose burdens on the consumers by distorting market allocations.
Hurricanes in Florida are as inevitable as Florida Man headlines. It is not a matter of if Florida will be hit with another powerful storm, but when will it happen next. If its state government wants to truly do everything it can to protect its citizens from the damage Mother Nature can wrought, it should free them from the devastation they face at the hands of government monopolies and crony capitalism.
This article was originally published at The Mises Institute.