Author: 71 Republic

Scarcity: A Natural Imperative to Human Reality

TJ Roberts | United States

My good friend Kevin Shaw released the article “Post-Scarcity and Freedom” to this website just yesterday. Mr. Shaw is a brilliant individual with a deep dedication of liberty for all human beings. His recent article brings up the progress humanity has made in spite of government regulations, almost reaching an apparent lack of scarcity in several industries.

The problem, however, is that scarcity will always exist so long as nature exists. Even if humanity achieves a superabundance of resources, which is hypothetically possible, it will still be impossible to shake off human nature.

Scarcity in the Garden of Eden

Suppose humanity managed to return to the Garden of Eden. Work is meaningless, for all that one desires is provided by nature. There is a superabundance of every resource. Even then, there is a form of scarcity, which demands the establishment of natural private property norms.

Even when all resources are readily available to the inhabitants of this hypothetical Eden, our bodies are still scarce. There is only one me. There is only one you. Our bodies, no matter what, are scarce resources. It is with this in mind that it is natural that I am the owner of my body in the same way that you are the owner of your body. Truly, we are the original appropriator of our own physical beings. To argue against this is to prove it, whereas to make the claim “I do not own myself” is to employ self-ownership.

Scarcity and Action

Whereas a human being owns themselves, it is axiomatically true that human beings act, i.e. they deliberately attempt to modify their condition to a condition that is more satisfactory based on their subjective valuation. Since human beings act, they choose. They must prioritize what they will do now and what they will do later. Even in a post-scarce world, time is scarce. Eventually, we will all die. With this in mind, there are things we will not be able to do or have.

But even if humans were immortal, time is still scarce. You cannot do several things at the same time. I must choose if I will eat an apple now, or if I will drink water now. I must choose if I will read or if I will watch a movie. The list goes on. As actors prioritize, certain goals are set aside for more pressing needs. By having a choice, you are incurring a cost upon yourself every time you act. This is the basic principle of opportunity cost. If my first choice in action is to drink water and my second choice in action is to eat an apple, the cost of me drinking water is the satisfaction abandoned in not eating an apple at that moment.

Scarcity and Reality

Throughout human society, technological advancement has made life easier. Whether it be the creation of agriculture in the Neolithic Revolution or the Industrial Revolution, entrepreneurship has allowed for a more efficient use of resources. This can make prices drop significantly, allowing for a cheaper and more comfortable life.

I agree with Mr. Shaw that the best way to increase abundance is to allow for the free market to flourish and to get the government out of people’s lives. What is problematic, however, is the belief that scarcity can be eliminated. No matter how efficient production becomes, scarcity will always be a natural part of life because we are all inherently scarce.

This post was originally published in LIFE.

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9/11: What the United States Failed to Learn

By TJ Roberts | United States

Seventeen years ago, Osama bin Laden recruited the entirety of the US military to fight for the agenda of al Qaeda: to destabilize the Middle East, to radicalize the inhabitants, and to revolutionize the region toward a totalitarian Islamic state. Seventeen years after 9/11, the U.S. is still too arrogant to see that its imperialist efforts not only created the fire of the bin Ladenites but also that its continued intervention in the Middle East only helps them.

Since 9/11, more than 5,000 Americans have died in combat in the Middle East, as far as we know. In Afghanistan, at least 30,000 civilians have died at the hands of the U.S. Military since 9/11. In Iraq, that number is at least 150,000. Entire civilizations have succumbed to the brute force of the American Empire. And worst of all, the people of America and the Middle East are neither freer nor safer due to these wars.

9/11 Was Not an Attack on Freedom

“They hate us for our freedoms!” That is what the warmongers say about the people of the Middle East. What they fail to mention, however, is that the United States sponsored al Qaeda in the Cold War in order to drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden worked in close proximity to the Reagan Administration to fight the communists, and the Americans overstayed their welcome.

Very few people seem to remember Desert Storm and American intervention in the Middle East before September 11th, but the U.S. has been meddling with the Middle East since the early 1950s, during which they overthrew Iran’s regime and replaced it with the Shah. It is an undeniable reality that the U.S. is the aggressor in this conflict.

So no, they don’t hate us for our freedom (or what remains of it). What is an attack on freedom, however, is the treasonous PATRIOT Act that made a mockery of the sacred right to privacy and being left alone. What is an attack on freedom is the increased debt and taxation to pay for legalized mass murder around the world.

The War Drums Keep Beating

Despite the mistakes that America has made in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, and so on, the neoconservatives are still trying to spread regime change as gospel. The atrocities in the Middle East are not because of Islam. They are not because of Russia. They are not because of Assad. Iran is not to blame. The American Empire is to blame.

Imagine if it happened here. Imagine if China invaded the U.S. What if they starved your community with sanctions? Imagine if a Chinese soldier slaughtered your family right in front of you. What if they overthrew your nation? Imagine if they forcefully repressed your culture. Would you think China has the right to do this to you? Would you retaliate and hit them where it hurts so that they can understand your pain?

Of course, you would. If not you, then someone else would. The Federal Government is using 9/11 to stir your emotions so that you allow them to hurl this nation into endless war. This is all for the goal of establishing an American Empire around the world. War will not reverse what happened 17 years ago today. If anything, it will provoke something even worse. It has already eliminated many of the freedoms Americans used to enjoy. Continued intervention can only get worse.

9/11: The Lesson

9/11 is now old enough to enlist in the military, and yet the U.S. refuses to learn what it actually taught. If anyone should have learned anything from 9/11, it is that the United States should never fund another revolutionary group, ever. It is that regime change always has failed and always carries catastrophic consequences. The United States is currently supporting al Qaeda in Syria right now. The U.S. is committing genocide in Yemen. The foreign policy that birthed ISIS must die. The people need to put foreign policy first and accept nothing short of non-interventionism, especially in the post-9/11 era.

This post was originally published in LIFE.

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Americans Have Forgotten How to Boycott

TJ Roberts | United States

Since Nike released their new ad in support of Colin Kaepernick, the mainstream American Right has been losing their minds, showing images of them burning their Nike shoes or cutting the logos off of their gym clothes. The same can be said about the American Left’s revulsion towards In-N-Out and Chic-fil-A after they announced their support for conservative causes. The calls for boycotts, however, fall on deaf ears. This is simply because Americans have forgotten how to boycott, whereas they have come to rely on State intervention to achieve their social goals.

The Failure of the Boycott

When Chic-fil-A came out in support of traditional marriage, the American Left slammed them in the public sphere, but they never truly boycotted the franchise. Rather, they gave them free advertisement. They are now doing the same thing for In-N-Out due to their donation to the California GOP. American culture has become so materialist that people can’t even fathom doing without a product in order to enact the change that they desire.

This is largely due to the rise of the modern State. Whereas economic interventionism has become the immediate means by which society changes, the public does not realize their power in the market. This comes from two primary reasons. First, if a well-connected business goes under, the US federal government is likely to bail it out of its economic struggle. Second and most importantly, it is far easier for the government to change something than the private sector.

Government is a monopoly on violence. All state action is backed by either the barrel of a gun or the edge of a blade. Why would the people boycott if they could simply use government force to enact their social preferences? In the private sector, one must compete with the status quo in order to bring about change. With government, all it takes is for a bureaucrat to enact a new arbitrary legislation or law forcing businesses to stop whatever they are doing that is hurting the sensitivities of the thoughtless masses.

Refusing to Buy Goods is Not Enough

Conservatives tend to be able to actually refuse to buy/use products that they find despicable. Their belief in a relatively free market lets them at least realize that they have some power over corporations. But businesses don’t go under simply because they lose a small chunk of their consumer base (they will also gain customers due to controversial moves). While they may lose growth due to traditional boycotts, a boycott can only be effective if consumers are actively competing with businesses.

Instead of throwing an online fit and burning Nike products, it would behoove conservatives to sell their lightly used Nike products at unreasonably low prices in the secondary market as Dr. Robert Murphy, author of Contra Krugman, so brilliantly pointed out. Doing this would not only rid you of the products of a company that would dare to refuse to worship a cloth, but it would also push the price of their products down. This would hurt future sales.

While the Left and the Right are dramatizing minor issues, there is an economics lesson we can all learn from this. A boycott can and will work, but only if the public not only refuses to purchase a business’s goods/services but also compete with the business in order to hurt future sales. If the Left wants to push progressive “values” and the Right wants to push idol worship upon the people, then they may want to learn how an actual boycott works. Or they could focus on real issues such as the fact that the US is committing genocide in Yemen as you read this.

This post was originally published in LIFE.

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The President’s Preposterous Caravan Claims

By Art Pratt | United States

There is a caravan of about 7,000 people marching up from Guatemala and Honduras, through Mexico to the United States border. President Trump, in his campaign speeches, has said who these people are and what they are up to.

Trump says they are criminals, bad people, gang members of MS13, Middle Easterners (can you say Muslims?). He says George Soros and other rich Democrats are paying them to march up to the border. Trump is also saying that we should be very afraid of these bad people. He says that Democrats are shepherding them because the Democrats love criminals and gang members and murderers and bad people.

In Trump’s world, if the Democrats win the midterm elections, they will order all the border guards to welcome all of these dangerous immigrants into our country. Many of them will immediately head for “sanctuary cities” to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting populations. Others will unite with their fellow MS13 brotherhood to destroy law and order wherever they can. The Middle Easterners will do Muslim things and bring an end to Christianity in the United States.

The barbaric Democrats will be overjoyed. They will have won.

Trump wants this caravan to come to the border to strike fear into the hearts of Americans so they will vote for Republicans on November 6th.

No! Wait a minute! That’s not right. It’s insane! It’s ridiculous, ludicrous.

Why not say these would-be immigrants are not being paid by George Soros and other rich Democrats, but by filthy rich Republican businessmen and political donors?

Since you don’t see any pictures of them at night, why not say they are staying in Trump hotels,  absolutely free? And while you’re at it, why not say they can get a free dinner, too? And also, how about that the hotels will make them lunches to eat as they walk north toward the United States border? How about Trump providing buses for those immigrants who get tired of walking?

Is that any crazier of a thought than what Trump is saying about the caravan? It makes about as much sense and has about as much evidence.

Who are these would-be immigrants in the caravan, really? Basically, they are ordinary people whose countries are persecuting them. They are afraid that gangs and the government will kill their children and rape their women. Without moving, all of their lives are in danger.

Why are they actually coming to the United States? To find freedom. To find jobs so they can support their families. Most importantly, to keep their family members safe and alive and not subject to persecution. They are coming to the United States like thousands, millions of immigrants have come, in the past: to find a better life, and also to help build a safe and strong nation.

What will happen to them when they get to the United States border? Previously, when a group of immigrants seeking asylum arrived at the border, government officials brought them across the bridge, a couple of hundred of them at a time. As soon as they got into the United States, if they had children with them, the state took them away and put them into concentration camps.

How long will they be in these prisons? I don’t know. But at some point, they will be taken out
and kicked across the border back into Mexico.

It is possible to prevent these atrocities from happening. Members of all political parties must develop fair and just immigration procedures to allow good and honest people to enter this country to live and work.

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71R Exclusive: Interview with Virginia Libertarian Senate Candidate Matt Waters

By Michael Sutherland | United States

Matt Waters is running for Senator of Virginia as a Libertarian. His opponents are Democrat incumbent Tim Kaine and Republican Corey Stewart. Waters comes from a long line of Virginians and is dedicated to defending civil liberties and being fiscally responsible. He recently talked with 71 Republic’s Michael Sutherland about his campaign and beliefs.

Sutherland: If you become Senator, what will be your first priorities?

Waters: We have to reduce the debt. That is priority number one. Our debt is the greatest existential threat to the future of our republic.  To get there, I will introduce multiple bills to eliminate, privatize, freeze, and reduce government spending–based on the Constitution.  So, for example, nowhere in the Constitution does the US gov’t have a role in education.  Further, we need to end foreign aid, freeze defense spending, bring troops home from overseas (we’re not supposed to have a standing army, much less one standing in over 150 countries).  So, ending forward facing bases and moving to a defense powered by Naval power. The second part is moving “entitlements” (that no one is entitled to) to the public sector. This will take 10-15 years, but will ultimately get the government out of the retirement business and the healthcare business. Ending the Dept of Education gets the govt out of the education business. Ending Student Loan programs (that are driving up the cost of a college education) gets the government out of the banking business. Bottom line: we’re broke. We cannot afford to police the world or operate a 1933 retirement program in 2018. Time to move up and move on.

Sutherland: Briefly describe your positions.

Waters: Money = Freedom.  Average taxpayer works from Jan 1 thru April 18 to pay federal, state and local taxes. That is more than the average taxpayer pays in groceries, clothing, and housing combined.  By “giving taxpayers” “free” college, “free” healthcare, and mandatory federal jobs–Democrats and Republicans must take more of our money. The more money they take–and they take it–the less you have and the less freedom you have to do things. If we “get” “free” education, all of our income through May/June will go to the government. Is that really what we want?

Sutherland: What made you become a libertarian?

Waters: The idea of liberty. Our forefathers came to Jamestown in 1607 to set up an independent colony. That blossomed into an independent republic with the surrender of British troops just down the road at Yorktown.  America’s greatest export is liberty–an idea. Not music (British), not food (French?), not fast cars (Italy?).  People know us for liberty–freedom of individuals to do as they please without interference from the government. Today, however, all that has changed, and we are worse off. America policy over the last 70 years has been a catastrophe. Since WW2, we have lost 50,000 troops in Vietnam, and 50,000+ troops in Korea — not “wars” declared by Congress — but unconstitutional “conflicts” declared by two failed Presidents. Today we’re still playing war games in Korea. We’re still at war with Korea. End the 68-year Korean conflict now. But while the Congress failed to declare war in Vietnam and Korea, they did boldly declare a war on poverty.  Results? Billions of dollars later: Fail. They did declare a war on drugs. The result? Billions of dollars later: Fail.  They did declare a war on terror. The result, $5.7 trillion later? Fail. Next, we will declare war on plastic drinking straws…oh wait..there are some who are declaring war on those!  But you get my drift.

Sutherland: What areas of Virginia do you think you’ll be the most successful in?

Waters: Hopefully tax reform, smart military spending and budgets aimed at warfare, not politics, protecting other countries, and staying out of everyone else’s business. And “entitlement” reforms–ending social security as we know it, making it a real retirement system to today’s workers.

Sutherland: What are the best ways to expand/popularize the Libertarian Party?

Waters: Be reasonable. To lead with legalizing pot, prostitution and porn are just not where most Americans are. In the margins of a free society, a lot of crap like that will go down. But it does not mean we get out there and lead with that nonsense. No parent wants their child in any one of those industries. We need to get back to basics and do limited government, free markets, capitalism, and individual liberty. Reagan said that behind every “good” conservative stood a libertarian. Reagan was right.

Sutherland: Any final thoughts for the readers?

Waters: Check out my website, and make a decision in November to do something different: refuse to do the same-old-same-old.  Change won’t happen that way. Vote Libertarian.

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