Author: Eric Villarreal

A Christmas Carol: A Demonstration of Libertarian Values

Eric Villarreal | United States

Every year around this time I re-watch the 1984 film A Christmas Carol to remind myself of the importance of treating others with kindness and generosity. While watching this year, though, I realized that the film demonstrates an ideal common in libertarian philosophy. The film shows a man becoming more compassionate and charitable voluntarily. This Reddit post inspired to write this short piece.

A Christmas Carol

The story begins on Christmas Eve in 1840’s London. It shows Ebenezer Scrooge as a cold-hearted and miserly banker. Scrooge has a great love of money at the expense of all other pursuits, including his fiancé. But on Christmas Eve, he is visited by manifestations of his subconscious represented by the spirits of Christmas Past and Present. They show him his errors and who he could have been as a better man.

Next, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come leads Scrooge through scenes showing an unnamed man’s recent death. Scrooge sees his colleagues discussing the dead man, a fence trading his property for money, and others expressing relief at his passing. Scrooge then finds himself in a cemetery with the spirit pointing at a headstone with his own name.

Following this, Scrooge implores the spirit to alter his fate and swears to change his ways and always honor Christmas. The following morning, Christmas morning, Scrooge donates generously to all he can. For the rest of his days, he comes to embody the Christmas Spirit.

Libertarian Values and Private Charity

Now, we can’t all have a supernatural epiphany on the virtue of generosity, of course. Nonetheless, the film serves to demonstrate an important point. People can and do become more generous voluntarily, without the action of the state. Charity exists and does not require the State to do great things for others.

With that in mind, I encourage all my fellow lovers of liberty to live by their principles and give generously this holiday season. Volunteer your time at a soup kitchen or food bank, or give money to the charity of your choice. Above all else, be generous. From mine to you and yours, I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

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US Senators: ‘No Doubt’ Crown Prince Involved in Khashoggi Killing

Eric Villarreal | United States

On Tuesday, in a closed-door meeting between the Central Intelligence Agency and top United States Senators, CIA Director Gina Haspel revealed new information that confirms the view of many US politicians who have long held that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been a close ally of President Trump, stated: “I went into the briefing believing it was virtually impossible for an operation like this to be carried out without the crown prince’s knowledge, I left the briefing with high confidence that my initial assessment of the situation was correct.” Graham further went on to say “Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally and the relationship is worth saving, but not at all costs”.

Graham then went on to say that the US would do more damage to its standing in the world and national security by ignoring the crown prince than by dealing with him. Graham added that he believes that the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia is at risk if Mohammed bin Salman remains as the heir apparent, implying that if there is not a shake-up in the Saudi government the alliance between the House of Saud and the United States could be coming to an end. Graham would not specify what evidence was presented but he did state that  “You can be assured it was thorough and the evidence is overwhelming.”

Senator Bob Corker who has been an outspoken Republican critic of the President echoed the statements from Graham stating there is no doubt that the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered, monitored, and planned the killing later adding “If he was in front of a jury he would be convicted in 30 minutes. “

All of these statements stand in stark contrast to the briefing last week from Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which they stated that none of the intelligence suggested a direct connection between the Saudi Crown Prince and the order to kill Jamal Khashoggi. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have long criticized President Trump for his ambivalence towards information from the CIA. Trump has stated that he believes the strategic relationship and weapons sales between the two countries are too valuable to put into jeopardy.

Senators Lindsey Graham(R-SC) and Bob Menendez(D-NJ) are the co-authors of a bill which would halt all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia as well as impose economic sanctions. It remains a possibility that this bill could be attached to the so-called the Yemen Resolution put forward by Bernie Sanders(I-VT) and Mike Lee(R-UT) which would end US support for the Saudi led fight against Houthi Rebels in Yemen. Members of Congress seem to have high hopes but with such a short time left in this session, it’s uncertain if they will be able to gain the support necessary to pass the resolution.

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