Author: Benjamin Olsen

FDA Approves Ketamine-Derived Antidepressant

Benjamin Olsen | @benpleasestop

The FDA just approved a new antidepressant, the first of its kind. Unlike other antidepressants, this one is a nasal spray. Esketamine, under the brand name Spravato, is developed by Johnson & Johnson and has been in testing for the past 2 years. The drug has seen remarkable success. This success is interesting because the drug is closely tied to the club drug “Special K.” Related to MDMA, Special K is known as Ecstasy. This marks the first major breakthrough in the treatment of depression since the 1980s.

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Las Vegas Shooting: Unexplained Motive

Benjamin Olsen | United States

Yesterday the FBI closed its investigation on the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas. The FBI stated that no motive could be found. The shooter (who I refuse to name) kept his life private. The FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit could not come up with any particular motive. His gunning down of 58 people appears to have no religious motivations nor political motivations. No manifesto or note was left behind either. Therefore, it seems that the deadliest mass shooting in US history, that inspired a federal ban on bump stocks, was a senseless act of violence with no apparent motive.

Making Sense of the Las Vegas Shooting

The potential for conspiracy theories to spring up is now at its highest. Human beings strive to rationalize and the lack of rationale for such a horrific event leads us to fill in the blanks with answers of our own making. The most common ones that will spring out is that the US government ordered the Las Vegas shooting in order to further its own agenda; pushing for gun control. This is especially appealing due to the recent legislation banning bump-stocks which the shooter did apply to his semi-automatic rifles

However, I beseech each and every one of you to not give in to the wild theories. Sometimes in our society, the things that scare us the most are the things we cannot explain. Therefore, we fill in the gaps ourselves. The lack of a motive is the very thing that we fear the most. And fear leads to irrational decisions. This man had no motive. This man also had no previous mental issues that would prohibit his purchase of the firearms that he used.

The Political Implications

This very shooting, if exploited to be political fodder, leads directly to the pro-gun argument. No law would have stopped the Las Vegas shooting. No ban on bump stocks, no prohibition on those with mental disorders, nothing of the sort. This act whether legislated against or not would still have happened. Humankind is capable of disgusting acts. Moreover, we simply cannot legislate against those that seek to take human life. Take away guns, and they will use knives, take away knives and they will use cars, take away cars and they will use fertilizer. If one is determined to take their fellow humans’ lives, they will do so by whatever means they can. 

This episode in American history is tragic. We have no explanation for why a man would take 58 lives so heinously. Alas, we also have no recourse to prevent someone from doing this again.

Hold Steady

Do not give into the agenda of the fear-mongering politicians. Do not give into the outlandish theories surrounding the shooting in Las Vegas either. Keep your wits about you and focus on the goal. The goal is leading lives of peace, prosperity, as well as liberty. So, follow the advice of my previous article and hold on to your bump stocks. Hold on to your guns. We are witnessing a dangerous time in human history and our natural rights provide us with a means to protect against the dangers of the world.

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Will We Stand Up to the Ban on Bump Stocks?

By Benjamin Olsen | United States

2018 is gone, and yet the New Jersey ban on High Capacity magazines is still yet to gain any ground. The ban was implemented during the 218th commencement of the New Jersey legislature and limits the capacity of magazines to 10 rounds. The previous law on the books already limited the capacity of magazines to 15 rounds. This came on the heels of new of the Trump administrations ban on Bump Stocks. Trump’s ban will take effect in March 2019.

We might consider New Jersey a liberal state, and the passage of the law would support that, but the lack of compliance from all residents of the state is a beacon of hope for opponents to gun control. So far no citizen from New Jersey has turned in a magazine. This proves promising for the Bump Stock ban to take place in 2019, hopefully, we will see the same example of civil disobedience take place on a nationwide scale.

You will hear from the left and from mainstream Republicans, that the government will not take your guns and that these measures are simple and common sense. Where is the sense in banning magazines? Where is the sense in a ban on a mechanism that can be made at home with a belt or rope? These bans and limitations are an infringement on our rights. We may not be able to turn to the Constitution in all things but the wording of the 2nd amendment is clear. “Shall not be infringed” The relentless parade of laws from the Federal Government are nothing more than infringements. Starting with the National Firearms Act in the 1930s, Washington has slowly chipped away at our right to bear arms.

The ban on Bump Stocks is simple posturing by Trump for his bid for reelection. He is trying to gain favor on the left without much outrage from his base on the right. The argument has been made by many in the NRA and Mainstream Republicans that bump stocks are “stupid anyway.” They have lost the point if their argument is just that they don’t like them. They have gone away from “shall not be infringed” and are ready for their guns to be taken away, as long as a Republican does it. Trump supporters must realize that their “drain the swamp” candidate has now been enveloped in the blood sport of politics. They may not be coming for our guns in the normal fashion but the threats we have heard from Washington such as door to door confiscations of bump stocks or even the threat that any armed resistance could be met with nuclear retaliation. Where is the line that we will draw with our government? New Jersey has answered that we will draw the line at magazines. Will the nation answer will a line drawn at bump stocks?  

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Man and the Right to Govern Himself

By Benjamin Olsen | United States

Can individuals govern themselves? In a recent conversation I had, the claim was made that without laws, people simply could not govern themselves. This was during a conversation where the example was brought forward that if we ceased to have laws preventing murder, then everyone would take to the streets and murder each other in a matter very similar to the Purge series of movies.

When John Locke argues for a liberal democracy, he argues against Thomas Hobbes’ theory of an absolutist government designed to keep people from the state of nature. Locke, however, argues for that state of nature and it being necessary as a transitionary period between government types. As libertarians, we are not arguing for the absence of government, but rather the reform of government. This is not to say that all libertarians agree on the form that government should take, but rather that some government is established that protects our natural rights. The governments that are in place today do not think about our natural rights. They have gone beyond their duties and now seek to curb our liberties in the name of security. Human beings inherently value security, but we have given up all our liberties for just a little bit more. Human beings fear violent death, so doesn’t it stand to reason that humans, without laws, would restrain themselves to avoid a violent death?

We must establish a government that gets back to the roots of its mission. In order to establish this government, or even have a discussion about what this government should look like, we must do what Locke directs, we must rebel. When discussing the French revolution, we focus on the reign of terror and lawlessness. But we fail to mention that even while the reign of terror was going on, people were living out their daily lives. There was not mass murder committed by the average citizen in the rural areas of France. The reign of terror only applies to a few select cities, if not just Paris. If a country has only one city in a state of revolt, but the rest are living peacefully on their own, doesn’t this suggest that we are indeed capable of self-government?

The interim period is the scariest, it means that men will be in charge of their own destinies for years. It will, in essence, be lawless, but man is able to govern himself. Locke argues that even when we live in a lawless society, we will still be civil to one another due to man’s fear of violent death. We have a conscience. we have morals. We are not the beasts of the earth. We are humans with rational thoughts. Will there be those who abuse freedom? Yes, there will. However, when the smoke settles and liberal democracy rises from the dust, we must not let the monsters influence the proper way to govern. We have a right to govern ourselves. We have a right to revolt if our rights are not protected by the current form of government. We have the right to exercise our rights. It is time to stop watching from the sidelines and to take action. I am not calling for armed rebellion but we must not shy away from protests. If we want change we must protest. We must revolt. We must govern ourselves.

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The Libertarian Party will Rise from Ashes of Intolerance

Within the last week, I have started college at a small liberal arts school located deep in the Virginia countryside. The demographics of this school worried me as they are overwhelmingly white and political stance is almost completely Republican. However, throughout my week and a half here, I have noticed that the freshman class that I belong to is part of the overall trend of a libertarian wave.

Intolerance Across the Spectrum

Through talking with my peers I have tried to gauge where they stand politically. In my dorm several classmates I have talked to have held firm mainstream Republican beliefs. However, after a discussion on Trump’s trade war, several of them wanted to know what my ideology was. After a brief discussion on what makes a libertarian, it is safe to say that they were somewhat hooked.

Another growing trend among young adults is an increasing embracement of the radical ends of the spectrum. For example, my roommate for this year identifies himself as a white nationalist. He believes in getting back to what he views as the roots of America. One might also call him a traditionalist, as he believes firmly in traditional gender roles. He also holds the segregationist belief in keeping people of different races apart. Of course, I personally don’t endorse his ideas, but I present them as an example of the growing trend of extremism in America.

The same thing exists on the left end of the spectrum, with the Black Power movement calling for just as bad of a power imbalance with black supremacy. This growing trend of extremism is dangerous. It often leaves those entering the political arena without a just banner to rally around. As the parties continue to drift off, compromise on key issues will keep waning. As a result, the hostility, intolerance, and vitriol that fills modern day politics will only worsen. After this toxic system sets in, there is no recourse, as America will have set its own lines of battle.

A Libertarian Future Awaits

This is why the third party vote matters. After partisanship slogs down the major parties, the third party vote will restore reason in America.

That being said, the Libertarian Party is unique, as it takes multiple forms. When America needs the third party vote desperately, the Libertarian Party will rise to the occasion. The party is very accepting of all types of people, ranging from strict believers in the Constitution to anarchists.

Ironically, what ties us together as a party is a belief in personal sovereignty. With these level-headed goals in mind, it is unthinkable that those rational people left in the middle of no man’s land will neglect a party that promotes freedom and equality. The party is the antidote of intolerance. The Libertarian Party has a bright future as more people flock to the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

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