Author: Kaycee Ikeonu

Kaycee Ikeonu is an undergraduate student at the University of Victoria, Canada. He is interested in Political philosophy and economic policy. He cites Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell as his main intellectual influencers. To contact Kaycee, email him at [email protected]; and follow him on Twitter @kayceelibertas.

All You Need to Know About The American Capitalist Party

Kaycee Ikeonu | Canada

Libertarians and Objectivists are often lumped into the same general category in political discourse as “libertarians”, despite the fact that Objectivists often try to distinguish themselves from the broader libertarian label. The founder of Objectivism, for example, Ayn Rand, famously described libertarians as “hippies of the right” and completely rejected comparisons between the two ideologies. However, with the formation of a new pro-liberty party, the American Capitalist Party, comparisons to the Libertarian Party are to be expected.

The American Capitalist Party was founded on the principles of reason, individual rights, limited government, and laissez-faire capitalism. It’s co-founders are Mark Pellegrino and Joe Sanders, and it’s philosophy is heavily influenced by the works of Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism.

So what makes the American Capitalist Party different from the Libertarian Party?

Superficially, it is obvious that both parties are advocates of individual rights and limited government. According to Mark Pellegrino however, it is the philosophical base of both parties that makes them significantly different. In an interview with the Objective Standard, Pellegrino argued that the ACP views man as a rational animal influenced by reason and reason only. He says:

“The defining difference between the ACP and the Libertarian Party is our respective orientations toward liberty and government, which, in turn, are based on our respective views of human nature and morality. In short, the ACP views men as rational animals—beings who live and prosper by using their minds to understand the world, to produce values, and to trade by mutual consent to mutual advantage. We regard such activities as moral because they advance human life. And we see liberty as a necessary condition for exercising the faculty of reason because, in order to act on your rational judgment, you must be free to do so.”

Pellegrino contrasts this philosophy from that of the Libertarian Party, claiming that the LP has no strong, common philosophical grounding. He says:

“Libertarians don’t see rational thinking, rational action, and moral rights as absolute requirements of human life. Rather, they regard freedom from force—or the “non-aggression principle”—merely as a requirement of economic action and thus as politically good.”

It is evident that the philosophy of the American Capitalist Party is based on a specific moral framework. But this view of politics could be a bit too extreme for mainstream Americans to handle. For example, consistent with the views of Ayn Rand, the ACP advocates the complete separation of the state from the economy. This includes the abolition of many government-run programs, including schools, hospitals, social programs, and regulations. Perhaps the most extreme form of this is the abolition of government regulation in the economy. The ACP website states:

“We support an immediate abolition of all environmentalist legislation that restricts the right of U.S. companies to produce energy, and the establishment of a free market in energy…We confidently maintain that a free market in energy, similar to a free market in computer technology, will attract brilliant minds dedicated to meeting mankind’s energy needs across all technologies—and that to do so effectively, government must be legally restricted from any and all forms of interference.”

Mark Pellegrino acknowledged that these policies wouldn’t be implemented overnight, but would be phased out over time. Insofar as campaigning is concerned, Pellegrino says Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Arizona, and Texas could be the first “battleground states” for the ACP.

The ACP is indeed a unique party quite distinct from the Republican, Democratic and even Libertarian Parties. But one could ask if it’s niche and concentrated philosophy would be attractive to most Americans today.

To learn more about the American Capitalist Party, click here.


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Larry Sharpe Is Wrong-There Should Be No Compromise Between Baker and Gay Couple

Kaycee Ikeonu | United States

In an interview on the Rubin Report, talk-show host Dave Rubin, and Libertarian candidate for New York Governor Larry Sharpe discussed whether a baker should be compelled by law to bake a cake for a customer. The conversation sprung up due to the fact that Gary Johnson, a libertarian and good friend of Larry Sharpe, stated in his presidential candidacy that the baker should be forced to bake the cake.

Such a position, as one would assume, would be quite unpopular among libertarians and lovers of liberty. Larry Sharpe, however, insisted that Gary Johnson was misunderstood and went forth to give his case for why he thinks the baker should bake the cake. His argument is as follows:

“What he was trying to get at (addressing Gary Johnson), which is my policy, is to find a good, solid middle-ground. I do not want a baker to make a cake for someone who he doesn’t want to make a cake for. That’s his labor…that’s wrong, should never happen. Here is the good compromise: if a baker, or anyone creates a product and put it in to the retail market, whether that be online or a shelf on a store, if a person creates a product and puts it there, he must allow anyone who has the currency that he wants to purchase that product”.

In response to the arguments put forth by libertarians who believe that a business owner has the right to discriminate, Sharpe responded by saying:

“They are theoretically correct but realistically wrong. And if they don’t accept the compromise, they’re going to get worse… If you don’t take that first step you would get nothing—and just not nothing—those people who keep voting are going to keep voting our rights away.”

Prior to this statement, Mr. Sharpe alluded to past injustices faced by marginalized groups, thus, why he thought there ought to be a “compromise.” Moreover, Sharpe concluded that such clauses should only apply in retail, therefore, a customer cannot force a baker to bake a cake in a particular way outside the products that are on the shelves.

Among the multiple flaws in this argument, there are two specifically I would like to address: first, the fact that Mr. Sharpe uses past injustices as a levy for his argument in favor of government involvement in private businesses; second, how government involvement in private business, no matter how minute, would inevitably lead to the destruction of freedom in private enterprise.

In regards to the past injustices– and perhaps current injustices faced by some groups today– most reasonable people would acknowledge that such injustices are immoral, unfortunate and ought to be stopped as soon as possible. However, the problem arises when a duty is imposed on a third party who had nothing to do with the case, in an effort to correct for the past. Such line of reasoning has been used to justify affirmative action and quotas, all which seek to correct for past injustice by facilitating new injustices in our own times. Two wrongs don’t make a right. As Thomas Sowell put it:

“The past is a great unchangeable fact. Nothing is going to undo its sufferings and injustices, whatever their magnitude . . . . Neither the sins nor the sufferings of those now dead are within our power to change”.

Aside from Larry Sharpe’s references to past injustices, he specifies that compulsion to provide a service would only apply to retail, and only retail. A question that could be asked is what guarantees such confidence that bureaucrats would strictly adhere to those conditions? After all, it is very much in their interest to expand such laws. As James Buchanan said in his writings in Public Choice: Politicians, just like businessmen and independent individuals, have every incentive to pursue their own self-interest– which in this case would be to gain more power for themselves, create new legislation and expand current ones. Moreover, such a decision, to use the words of Scot Bixler, is just an “arbitrary decision”. Why interfere in retail and not customer service? Why a cake shop and not a hospital? If Larry Sharpe justifies the government making a minute compromise on this issue, then it follows that the government can interfere in every industry for the same reasons.

The role of government should be restricted to the protection of individual rights, and that only. If room is left for compromise, it would only lead to a slippery slope, one that we have today, of the government legislating every single aspects of our lives.


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Santa Monica Could Soon Ban Bird and Lime E-Scooters

By Kaycee Ikeonu | United States

Bird and Lime, two popular e-scooter ride-sharing companies in Santa Monica, could be banned in the city, depending on the outcome of a meeting that will occur this Tuesday at 5:00 PM, local time. The decision arose after a small committee decided to give the e-scooter market share to two car-based corporations, Uber and Lyft.

The Bird team compared the decision to “giving Exxon and BP Oil a monopoly on Solar power”. Basically, this means that these two car-based corporations are simply not as efficient, sustainable or popular as Bird. Moreover, neither Uber nor Lyft have any experience in the e-scooter business, which is another reason both e-scooter companies find the possible decision appalling.   

The proposed decision has not been popular amongst Bird and Lime users. There have been various protests all over west L.A. against the decision. Lime, for example, emailed its customers, asking them to go outside City Hall right before the meeting to protest the possible ban. Bird, as well, has started various petitions, which could potentially influence the decision.

This isn’t the first time that the companies have faced threats. Bird and Lime have both been bombarded with safety concerns. Critics say that most riders ride recklessly: that most of them don’t wear helmets, they ride on the sidewalks and ride double, even though the e-scooters are meant for one. There have also been various reports of near-accidents or legitimate accidents like the one described here.

Bird and Lime e-scooters as of today, August 14th, have been disabled. They might never be turned on again, depending on the outcome of the meeting.

So who do you support, the vote of the consumers, or the bureaucracy of this small committee?

To let the city of Santa Monica know what you think, please click here.


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Do Trump’s Tariffs Really Protect Anybody At All?

By Kaycee Ikeonu | Canada

In a 1978 talk, the great economist, Milton Friedman, famously stated that tariffs protect consumers from one thing: “it protects the consumer against low prices!” Friedman, of course, could not have been more right, but his words are ignored with today’s trade wars and tariffs.

Such words of wisdom are essential today amid harsh criticism of free trade from the Trump administration. Some of these critiques include that the United States is losing jobs overseas to countries like Mexico, that the United States has large deficits compared to her trade partners, and most significantly, the need to protect steel and aluminium industries in the United States from going out of business.

An in-depth economic rebuttal of all of these proposals exists. Yet, it is not fully necessary, as the basic rules of economics outline the clear benefits of free trade. Adam Smith, in his famous book, The Wealth of Nations, declares it perfectly. It is in people of any nation’s interest to buy whatever they want from whomever sells it the cheapest.

This is a concept that could not be easier to grasp. When people buy products at lower prices, they then have more money to spend on other goods in the economy.

Now, let’s take a case that is about to happen: The U.S. imposes a tariff on Chinese imports, and now China threatens to put a tariff of $60B on U.S. goods. So, who benefits? The American economy? The American and Chinese consumers now pay a tax on goods. Without the taxes and subsidies on both sides, both countries would strengthen their economies. But instead, they are resorting to subsidizing the hurt regions after hurting them in the first place.

Thus, very few people benefit from this policy. Perhaps, exceptions exist in a few big manufacturers and the ego of the President of the United States.


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