Author: Josh Hughes

Make Individualism Great Again

Josh Hughes | United States

Individuality is one of the greatest gifts a person can possess. The ability to be yourself and become whomever and whatever you want to be is a privilege so great, yet so often wasted and taken for granted. The time that we live in now undoubtedly favors collectivism over individualism. In fact, many will persecute you for trying to be yourself and “march to the beat of your own drum” rather than follow a crowd. The loss of individuality from society will stand to gain nothing but negative effects.

Mainstream Collectivism

Collectivism is being heavily pushed in many facets, most notably in schools, corporations, and the media. In places of learning all over the country, individuality is becoming frowned upon and slowly moved away from. In a theme which is common to every area listed, collectivism is being rebranded with nicer sounding synonyms such as “collaboration.” This is not to say that somethings cannot be done better in a group setting, but when it reaches the point that schoolchildren are conditioned to always work in a team rather than reach a solution on their own, there is an issue. As a current student, I can personally attest to the fact that “group work” has become more and more prevalent. Again, working as a team is not inherently the problem; rather, it’s the idea that solutions are always reached better or more efficiently in a group setting rather than individually.

Another area that collectivism is commonly seen is in the workforce. This idea is often seen in many major corporations, specifically. Think of the last Google or Apple ad that you saw. There’s a good chance the ad was, in some form or another, stressing the idea of “teamwork” or “collaboration.” Much of the new technology being developed now is made with a focus for collaboration and working together with other users. Regardless of their intentions, advertisements that consistently promote collectivism and intentionally ignore individualism give the millions of viewers a very clear idea of what’s accepted.

In a way that coincides with the point about advertising, the media almost always tends to shun individualism. Rather, they resort to grouping and profiling individuals into specific groups. Instead of focusing on a person’s events, they will focus on their sex, race, religion, or other affiliations. It does not matter if someone is a straight white male or a gay black woman or anything in between, it cannot be denied that the smallest minority is the individual. Every person is totally unique from everyone else and should be viewed as such.

What Have These Actions Led To?

With every major influencer in America focusing on these ideas, identities for the common man have been stripped. Rather than being an individual, every person is a part of some group and is esteemed based off of the group’s actions. This has led to people becoming shadows and parrots of their idols and influencers. We live in an age of NPC’s, where no one really exists.

Think of the possibilities of a society full of people that thought and acted for themselves rather than following a mainstream. The creative and innovative explosion would be something to marvel at. Not to mention, a society that thinks is a society that is free. A nation full of independent thinkers would surely lead to increased liberty.

The age of listening to and following celebrities and those that are in charge should be behind us. Rather, we should heed the words of philosophers such as Ayn Rand, who promoted total individuality in an era of Communism where collectivity reigned supreme. The current era is moving closer and closer towards this, with collectivism having a direct correlation to socialism. The scarce free minds that are left need to resist this trend and continue to think for themselves. However, if you’re one of that group, you don’t need me to tell you that.


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Recapping President Trump’s Address to the Nation

Josh Hughes | United States

Tuesday night, President Trump gave his first national address to the nation from the oval office. The speech, which lasted just over 11 minutes, did not solve the stalemate between the House and Trump. Rather, it repeated the same rhetoric that Trump has used throughout the government shutdown.

Citing a “humanitarian and security crisis” as a reason for the address, President Trump outlined many reasons he believes Congress should accept his budget proposal. The beginning of the speech gave an overview of the opioid and drug crisis in America. Specifically, the president declared, “This year, more Americans will die of drug overdoses than in the entirety of the Vietnam War,”. Statistics from national archives confirm this, with over 72,000 and 58,000 deaths, respectively.

Stopping Drugs and Human Trafficking

Trump claimed that a wall along the border would stop the flow of drugs into America. He also focused on other things it would stop, such as human trafficking. An interesting talking point he did not touch on is the claim that terrorists were getting into the country via the southern border. This assertion has received considerable backlash in recent weeks.

Another large part of the speech hit on violence in America due to illegal immigration. The president mentioned the killing of Ronil Singh, the California police officer that an illegal immigrant killed. He also mentioned the recent “beheading” of a Georgia man by an illegal immigrant. This section of the speech was heavy with emotion.

To close out the address to the nation, he made a call for action. Trump implored Democrats to accept the bill that he and other top officials have proposed. He also asked the people to call their local representatives and demand they accept the deal, calling it an issue of national security.

Action from Trump’s Address to the Nation

It is unclear what will happen next. The president has said that he has invited Democratic leaders to speak with him on Wednesday. Yet, this is no guarantee that they will come to an agreement.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated that the president is fearmongering to get a deal rather than stating facts. Thus, so one can assume that House Democrats will continue to resist the president’s proposals.

The main takeaways from the night’s address to the nation are that the president did not declare a state of emergency, as he had previously suggested. Also, there was little progress between Trump and the Democrats as both sides refuse to budge. Many are claiming the speech was just an attempt to incite fear for political gain, and that it was a misuse of a national Oval Office address. Others, though, consider it necessary to ensure national security.


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Congressional Term Limits Are a Necessity

Josh Hughes | United States

Of the incumbents that ran for the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms, 91% won. To put that into perspective, that number is actually lower than in recent elections. While not every representative that ran was a lifetime politician, too many are. The Senate is not much better, with 84% of running incumbents winning another term. This number is more representative of recent trends. Clearly, the 2018 midterm elections proved that Congressional term limits are essential in America.

Why Are Term Limits an Issue?

There are dozens of senators and representatives who have served at least 20 years in Congress. The longest-serving member of the Senate is currently Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont who has been in office since 1975. Don Young from Alaska assumed office in 1973 and is the most tenured member of the House.

Plenty of fine congressmen have served these long terms. However, there are still issues with the idea of lifetime politicians. In a democratic republic like the U.S., the only way for the government to be for the people is for it to be of the people. This does not mean bureaucrats and Washington cronies, but rather sensible, everyday Americans. Someone who has been in office nearly a half-century is unlikely to still know the rapidly-changing interests of the country.

An incumbent is far more likely to be elected than a challenger. This prevents new members and ideas from entering the political realm at the federal level. It only serves to disadvantage the country. A fresh group every few years with new takes and policies would be more beneficial; the same ideas do not work in vastly different cultures and climates.

How to Create Term Limits

What Congress would willingly limit its own power? The reality is, this one probably will not. However, under Article V of the Constitution, the states can add an amendment to the document. A 2/3 vote from the states is needed to propose the amendment and hold a convention, and a 3/4 vote is needed from state legislatures to ratify the amendment.

Grassroots campaigns such as the “U.S. Term Limits” movement are operating to raise support for this issue. This campaign has garnered millions of signatures via its petition and even has support from members of Congress.

A Fair Amendment

A proper term limits amendment should limit congressmen to 12 years in office. This could occur entirely as a senator or representative, or as some combination of the two. Those already over 12 years would be ineligible to run again, once their term is over. Twelve years gives each congressman enough time to be influential without falling out of touch from American interests. This ensures that nearly every decade will have a new set of congressmen, ensuring fresh faces and ideas.

Many people already back the idea of congressional term limits. In fact, 15 states already have laws in place that limit the terms for state legislatures. It is not an impossible task to apply the same thinking to the federal level. While this may not seem like something that will happen soon, the movement is constantly gaining support and momentum, and it would not be surprising to see important changes in the near future.


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The Trump Administration Is Making the Right Moves

By Josh Hughes | United States

It is not uncommon to see many headlines that currently highlight President Trump’s shortcomings. Many of these accusations are warranted, and he has done some things that have been questionable. However, it’s time to give credit where credit is due. The President has made many decisions recently that are being praised by conservatives, liberals, and libertarians all over the country. In a time where the media is quick to point out the negative aspects of the Trump administration, let us take a look at the successes.

Foreign Policy

Over the past few weeks, big changes have come involving the United States’ involvement in the Middle East. Last week, the US announced it would be pulling its 2,000 troops out of Syria over the next 100 days. This came as a surprise to many and angered certain Republican leaders in Congress.

An even bigger surprise, however, came soon after when the President announced a reduction of US forces in Afghanistan, cutting the number of troops in half from nearly 14,000 to just 7,000. This shocked everyone, including Afghani leaders, and signaled a sudden change in Trump’s policy. During the campaign in 2016, the President promised to bring the troops home but reluctantly added 4,000 more overseas earlier this year.

With the drawback of troops, it is refreshing to see a promise kept by President Trump. Not everyone is supportive, however. Senator Lindsey Graham and other Congressional Republicans have publically expressed their disapproval of the decision. Secretary of Defense General James Mattis also suddenly announced his resignation from the spot after two years citing “disagreements” with the President’s foreign policy.

Hemp Legalization

For those who are unaware, the Farm Bill recently passed both the House and the Senate and made it to the President’s desk where he signed it into law. The bill contains many controversial elements, but one aspect is the federal legalization of hemp. Hemp, which is not to be confused with cannabis, contains little to no THC, rendering it non-psychoactive. However, it has many agricultural and industrial purposes including plastics, paper, oil, construction, and food. While it has yet to clear the FDA, there is a good chance the hemp industry will soon explode thanks to the passage of this bill.

Criminal Justice Reform

The First Step Act was signed into law by President Trump on December 21. The bill is designed to help those already in federal prison as well as those that commit crimes in the future. It eases minimum sentences for drug offenses, allows for more opportunity for getting out on good behavior, allows for more vocational training, and provides better feminine hygiene. The bipartisan support Trump mustered with this bill came as a surprise, but he proceeded in spite of opposition from leaders like Mitch McConnel and Lindsey Graham.

The President is far from perfect. He has done his share of terrible, hypocritical things that have outraged people from all sides in the country. However, during this holiday season it is a time for optimism, and as we approach the new year, everyone in the country is undoubtedly hoping President Trump will continue with this streak of common sense legislation and good policy.


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Trump’s Border Wall is Another of his Broken Promises

By Josh Hughes | United States

On Tuesday, President Trump and Democratic leaders met in the White House to discuss funding for the border wall. However, the conversation did not go well for either side. Rather than coming to a compromise, both sides kept at a standstill. The president, meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and soon-to-be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, reiterated how adamant he is about funding for the wall. In fact, he stated that if he did not get $5 billion in funding by the December 21 deadline, the government would shut down.

Despite this threat, the details of the shutdown are not the most important issue here. The part that sticks out the most is that President Trump failed on yet another promise. He has been doing this from the start of his political career. Unlike most politicians, he ran on an often “non-political” ticket. That’s not to say he didn’t run on important issues, but the way he went about addressing them was something many people were unaccustomed to. He was proudly “politically incorrect,” and portrayed himself as a candidate who wouldn’t be like other politicians. Now, nearly two years into his term, he has failed in coming through on many of his campaign promises, despite having a Republican majority in both houses of Congress until the midterms.

Broken Promises

During the president’s campaign, he repeatedly said the United States was going to build a wall across its southern border. He also emphasized a desire to make Mexico pay for it. Two years in, there is no wall, and now he is asking taxpayers to fund his wall. Whether or not the wall is a good idea is up to the reader to decide, but the fact that he has not kept a promise is alarming, but not surprising.

During the campaign, Trump also said that he would balance the budget, and “do it fairly quickly.” On the contrary, the federal deficit is increasing and has neared one trillion dollars. It is unlikely this trend will change in the future, either. The national debt is also continuing to grow.

During the campaign, Trump heralded himself as a champion of gun rights. Many conservatives were relieved that the war on the Second Amendment would be over after the Obama administration. Trump and the NRA struck a friendship that, to many, seemed to usher in an age of complete gun freedom. Yet, he has only stripped gun rights away, recently announcing a ban on bump stocks. Minor restrictions are slippery slopes that lead to the further erosion of rights.  

The List Continues

Other examples of promises broken by President Trump include not taking vacations, pushing for Congressional term limits, pursuing charges against Hillary Clinton, cutting Common Core standards, and defunding Planned Parenthood.

President Trump promised many things that sounded good to conservatives and libertarians. Despite this, he has failed to come through on most of them. With Democrats taking control of Congress in 2019, it will be tough for his promises to pass, even if he wants them to. They simply will face heavy compromises. It will be interesting to see what plan he chooses to finish the last two years of his term, but hope for actions favoring liberty is quite low.


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