Category: Opinion

Opinion

The Fallacy of Limited Government and Classical Liberalism

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

Since the founding of America, countless individuals have used the doctrine of classical liberalism to define the American way. More often than not, this leans towards ideas such as limited government and a protection of natural rights. After all, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is one of the most well-known phrases in the Declaration of Independence.

Since 1776, politicians have uttered the words as a call to action for the people. After all, the protection of these three critical rights is what sets the United States apart from the rest of the world, right? In the modern day, the usage has shifted slightly: more advocates of limited government use the phrase as a rallying cry, hoping to return to an age of freer markets and freer people. However, everything about the expression is simply a lie. The very idea of a government that naturally limits itself to these basic functions is simply impossible.

Negative Rights vs Positive Rights

First and foremost, what sets limited government and classical liberalism apart from other modes of government is a belief in negative rights. Basically, this means that the people only have protection against other people harming them. The right to life does not mean that a sick person can demand free medicine. Instead, it merely means that someone else cannot kill him against his will.

The same idea follows for liberty and property. An individual may act freely, as long as his actions do not prevent another person from also acting freely. Driving over the speed limit, for example, is an act of liberty. But, as soon as that driver hits another car, he has damaged the other person’s property. If he inflicts injury or death, he also has, of course, taken away that person’s negative right to life and liberty. To summarize, the idea of negative rights suggests that individuals have rights to their lives, liberties, and property, but only insofar as that right does not prevent another from also owning their own lives, liberties, and property. To each his own.

Positive rights, on the other hand, require the use of force against another person to bring about. So, a positive right to life would create an obligation for others to defend the life of an individual. If someone was sick, for example, he would, under a positive protection of life, be entitled to any medicine that may aid or cure him. In terms of property, a person may be entitled to a house, even if it means someone else must buy and build it.

The Classical Liberal Viewpoint

Of course, the classical liberal viewpoint is one that rejects positive rights. A number of practical reasons exist for such a dismissal. In the event of life, for example, let us imagine that same sick patient. A doctor may be able to find a cure if he labors for a thousand hours and abandons all other work. However, this doctor is also a mother. By fulfilling the positive right to her patient’s life, she may not be able to fulfill her duties as a mother. Moreover, she may have multiple patients with different needs, each requiring full attention. She cannot feasibly fulfill her obligation to every person involved, but cannot realistically be at fault. So, the classical liberal argues, there is an obligation to protect rights negatively, but not positively, as such creates unjust duress on the individuals doing the protecting.

The Fallacy of Negative Rights

Clearly, a government cannot adequately or justifiably protect positive rights. In reality, though, the same is true about negative rights, too, especially in a democracy. What breaks the soundness of the argument? Two things: taxation and voting.

On a surface level, a government can claim to only protect negative rights. Specifically, what comes to mind is the minimalist state. As many limited government advocates have outlined, such a government would only control the police, military, and courts. Yet, it appears that this notion cannot come true without taking from others. All of these organizations require the tax dollar, and this, of course, comes from the people, who may or may not have consented to give up a portion of their income. Regardless, the second that the government forces the money from the people, it becomes a positive right. Thus, a limited government cannot truly protect only negative rights: taxation turns this on its head.

A Vote for Change?

In a functioning democracy or republic, many citizens vote, either for laws or representatives. Yet, it is clear that the vote itself is also an example of a positive right. When a citizen votes in an election, he or she is exercising power, albeit small, over the electorate in order to influence political affairs. In other words, they are telling the government to use its force over other people.

Negative rights do not change. They always include, exclusively, the right to life, liberty, and property. So, if a society was to truly protect only these rights, there would be no need for a figurehead. After all, if nothing is to change, why should someone have the power to make changes? If a society ever was to only guard negative rights, any change in policy or executive order must necessarily be a violation of these rights. The only things a government could justifiably do is determine the salaries of its troops and judges, and carry out other business matters.

Theoretically, we could vote on these matters. But, as long as taxation was the end result to obtain them, the majority is still inflicting its will on the minority. If one person does not consent to the collection, then it becomes unjust. Alternatively, the collection of funds could be entirely voluntary, through donations. But, at this point, it is no longer a state, as it is neither coercive nor compulsory.

A Logical Impossibility

Thus, the notions of classical liberalism and limited government appear to be at odds with the principles they claim to safeguard. The logic works in a bit of a circle. In order to protect these rights, the limited government must become no government at all. But, by becoming no government at all, it no longer has the power to safeguard these negative rights.

Therefore, a government cannot both exist and solely protect negative rights. Every action is ultimately some form of force, whether it comes from voting or taxation. Even in the early days of the United States, citizens voted on which figures could use power over others. Eventually, these figures levied higher and higher taxes, increasing the coercion. The world’s great thought experiment has failed, and it is clear that a government cannot exist to guard negative rights. Only through the absence of government can a society exist without widespread force.


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Wealth Creates More Privilege than Race

Nate Galt | United States

Much of the current political discussion surrounds the controversial topic of privilege – many believe that the white race has more privileges than people of color do, and others believe that straight people are better off in society than homosexuals. While those categories may make one privileged at a certain place and time, there is no bigger privilege than wealth. Wealth, universally, gives someone opportunities and offers them more possibilities. If they happen to be a billionaire who is a transgender, lesbian, African-American woman, they are infinitely more privileged than a heterosexual white homeless man. The privilege of wealth trumps any other supposed notion of privilege. 

“White privilege” is a term used by those who label themselves “progressive” or as a crusader for “social justice”, to say that white people have many privileges that non-whites do not have. This phrase can also be combined with “male privilege,” “straight privilege,” or “cisgender privilege.” A popular talking point in their circles is that statistically, being white reduces your risk of being shot by a police officer and being male reduces your chances of being raped. While these statistics are certainly true, minimizing those chances does not indicate privilege. Special programs that encourage gender and racial diversity in the classroom and in the workplace have been created. One such program, Affirmative Action, decreases the chances of a white man getting accepted into college. Men are approximately three times more likely to be homeless than women are, and are at a higher risk of committing suicide. One group is not more privileged than another; each group has its own hardships.

A notable “progressive” description of white privilege appeared as a musical skit on the A.B.C. channel on Australian television. The segment depicts two people trying to cross a stream. One person, who is said to be a straight white man who speaks English and was born in a peaceful nation, waits with a woman who the writers say cannot speak English, has dark skin, and is a refugee. The segment shows the methods that each person uses to cross the rapid. The writers say that since the white man is inherently privileged because of the color of his skin, he uses teleportation to get across. The skit then shows the woman swimming across the stream and then getting sick. The lyrics of the segment say that because she is female, cannot speak English in an English-speaking country, and has brown skin, she has to swim across the stream. As a result, she catches a cold. This description of privilege could be no further from the truth. The justification for the man using teleportation is that he has certain privilege that the woman does not. Not all heterosexual white men have privileges that darker-skinned refugee women do not. The deciding factor of who has or does not have privilege is wealth and/or material possessions. LeBron James, a multimillionaire African-American legendary basketball player, has many more doors open for him than an impoverished white man. Even if James were to become transgender and subsequently come out as a homosexual, he would still have privilege that the aforementioned poor white man would not. 

Phrases such as “white privilege” are extremely divisive rhetoric.  Implying that someone is privileged because of their sex, sexual orientation, or the color of their skin will divide people into several distinct groups at odds with each other. Instead of uniting one another and saying that no matter who we are, we are fellow Americans, some keep pushing identity politics. Our country is already divided into two distinct camps as a result of the congressional duopoly of Democrats and Republicans. Dividing the United States of America any further could cause an inseparable rift. 

Political discourse must move away from “white privilege” or any other category which is not based on wealth. The wealthy, no matter their skin color or their gender, are incredibly more privileged than a poor person of any race. Every group has their hardships that society should work to fix. We, as a community, should combat these struggles together. Preaching identity politics in the name of fighting nonexistent “white privilege” will only drive us farther apart. 


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Are More People Advocating “Socialist Societies?”

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Perhaps more loud people are advocating socialist societies and making it seem like more people actually desire it.

The closer society gets to true capitalism, the better off the vast majority of people are. The closer we get to total socialism, the worse off the vast majority of people are. This is an empirical statement that defines “better” and “worse” as indicators of commonly accepted quality of life statistics, such as GDP, life expectancy, and freedom.

Too many people believe that a government just hands out free money and that it means little to nothing. As inflation and basic economics indicate, this is not the case. Moreover, with every law comes government coercion and the use of violence. Socialism and communism, alike, require the initiation of violence and death in order to forcefully remove property, maintain that property, and prevent anyone from doing better than anyone else.

(Global GDP Per Capita since the initiation of capitalism and its variants)

Here are some simple facts (citations as hyperlinks):

  1. With greater economic freedom comes greater gender equality. The countries with more, overall, economic freedom tend to have more gender equality.
  2. Everyone- the poor, the middle class, and the rich- has benefited more with an increase in free trade capitalism. There is not a significant growing difference between the socioeconomic classes. (I highly recommend the book Anti-Piketty)
  3. Abject poverty is dwindling to near zero due to countries moving towards more capitalism.
  4. Indeed, all socialist programs are destined to fail due to their premise of forcing others to pay for the needs and desires of a few. For example, U.S. social security is already failing. In the fist place, the government promised it on lies, according to its own website. As the number of people increases, their desires also increase, and with the steady shift left in the Democratic Party, so too do their votes to determine how to fill the desires. However, resources do not always meet the needs of demand. Socialism is, in fact, a form of slavery.
  5. Socialism and communism are negate of “civil society,” as it pertains to the definitions of, both, ‘civil’ and ‘society.

Socialism requires falsely making those that are not great to appear equal to others in a “society,” and requires making those that are greater (because of their work, capabilities, and natural differences) bland and simple like everyone else.

Under socialism and communism, your identity is your prisoner ID. Moreover, someone else gives it to you, robbing you of your own meritocratic potential. Socialism advocates the scramble for intersectionality. In this case, social value increases for victims and decreases for others. Socialism is the embodiment of the free-trophy-for-everyone doctrine. It requires stealing from one to give to another, and this is the very opposite of Justice.

If people are increasingly desiring Socialism, they are only fooling themselves into destruction. Quite possibly, they may be destroying other lives along the way.

The best solution, currently, may be to create varying states for the varying ideologies. One may adopt capitalist economics, and another socialist. This way, individuals may go towards the one that best fits their individual desires. However, it is quite clear that the capitalist society will see much more success. In fact, this has happened before, and the differences are quite clear


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Improve Your Life and Conquer Your Monday

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Many people fear their Mondays. They suffer the week just to live it up on the weekend, and then dread the return of the workweek once it arrives. Of course, not everyone has the same “Monday,” as it pertains to being the beginning of their working days. In either case, many people still fear the start of the week as reality and duties hit each of us, seemingly all at once, like a slap in the face.

It is time for you to help change that mentality and conquer your Mondays!

 

 

I, too, used to live the life of the humdrum, mundane, workweek with the fears that come with the return of Monday and all the responsibilities it accompanied. Instead of getting through Monday with gloom and depression, by just pounding cups of coffee and surfing the web when I got home, I decided to make some changes to reward myself for successfully making it through the day.

This began a shift in my understanding of Monday, as before I had always complained, both sincerely and half-jokingly, about it being the beginning of the workweek. Once I began rewarding myself on this day, I quickly saw the day as being different, unique, and now special.

By rewarding myself on this day, I don’t mean splurging, or doing anything that would completely harm my Tuesday morning. Rather, I sought enjoyable personal hobbies to partake in on Monday, which is something I thoroughly enjoy doing.

(NERD ALERT!) I first started going to a weekly chess club, playing in official tournaments. I was making friends, winning some tournaments, and improving my chess-playing abilities. After a few months, some friends told me about some free dance lessons that took place every Monday. So, I began oscillating between chess and dance for a few months, and eventually just attended dance so that I could start my own chess club on Thursdays instead. At dance, I made more friends, learned so much about the art and my own body movement, and the amazing people there helped me advance in my skill while we each honed our craft.

Unfortunately, I had to move in pursuit of higher education and accomplishing my other goals in life. Amazingly, once I moved, I found out there was a free comedy show near my new place that happened every Monday and without a drink minimum. I really enjoy watching stand-up comedy and people progress over time. I made several friends at the comedy show, just from attending, and I believe comedy is also great for the brain. Who knows, I may find other great activities on Mondays besides just comedy shows eating pizza and drinking beer, but I can honestly say that I now love Mondays and I look forward to every Monday.

This shift in thinking has led me to now be grateful for every day of the week, even the days that I do nothing but work, study, read, write, etc. It has helped me to realize that if I am willing to put in 8 hours for someone else, I should also put some time in for myself, and helping me to grow and expand my network. As cliché as it is, we do only live once; so, why should I let a day of the week and my responsibilities get in the way of my happiness and growth?!

Take control of your “Monday.” Find things to do in your area that are both fun and helpful in your growth as a person. Don’t let your life pass you by. Don’t let the arbitrary days of the week be the stresses that hurt you and stunt your development.

Some ideas:

  • Search meetup.com for groups to join in dance, chess, comedy, improv, public speaking, martial arts, book clubs, learning a language, cooking classes, etc.
  • Search your social media for events such as SoFar Music, or ask your friends and family if they also feel the same about their Mondays and see if you can do something together.
  • Check to see if ToastMasters is in your area to better public speaking.
  • Have a family day every Monday, playing board games and eating fun foods, or watching movies, etc.
  • Search if there are music or comedy shows every Monday in your area.
  • Try a new restaurant every Monday.
  • Try learning to cook a new dish every Monday.
  • Go on a date on Mondays.
  • Attend your religious institution every Monday.
  • Start your own club or meeting every Monday if you see there is a desire and a need.

What are some ideas you have for conquering your Mondays and looking forward to them every week? Leave your comments in the comment section below.


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The Democrats Have Embarrassed Themselves

By Nick Hamilton | United States

Ever since Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court on Saturday, the Democrats in America have lost their cool. AntiFa, or the basement dwellers of America, has staged numerous violent protests over this past week around the nation. On Saturday, a mob of Democrats stormed the Supreme Court and tried to literally pry open the Supreme Court doors. We’ve never seen anything like it. The Democrats have become nothing short of an utter embarrassment.

In an interview on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic Presidential Nominee, urged the most un-American notion I’ve ever seen. She stressed that the Democrats cannot maintain civility with Republicans because they don’t represent their values. Not only that, but a former Attorney General under the Obama Administration, Eric Holder, said, “When they go low, we kick em.” This is frightening. Are we just going to meet everything we disagree with in this country with violence? Just imagine for a second that Donald Trump suggested that Republicans can’t remain civil with Democrats anymore because we disagree with them. The media would be all over the place on it. Now, if Trump said that, obviously I’d call him out on it, as would many other people, because it doesn’t truly represent American values. Why won’t the liberal media do the same when one of their members does it? That’s what we call hypocrisy at it’s finest.

However, the fun has just begun. On Wednesday night, the night before a key meeting between Kanye West and President Donald Trump, CNN’s Don Lemon (who was included in the Columbia Journalism Review’s list of “Worst Journalism” in 2014, you can view that entire list here) had a panel of guests on his show. They were discussing this meeting, and what came out of one of the anchor’s mouths what quite disturbing.

“He’s an attention whore, like the president. He’s all of a sudden now the model spokesperson. He’s the token negro of the Trump administration,” -CNN Contributor Tara Setmeyer

“Kanye West is what happens when negroes don’t read” -Former Congressman Bakari Sellers

This is where we’re at folks. The left, the party that claims to take a stand against racism and bigotry, the party that claims to be so “tolerant” decides to simultaneously throw out racial slurs to people who disagree with them. Sellers later put the clip on his Instagram and stated that he stood completely behind what he said on CNN. So the question has to be asked: Have the Democrats really changed that much since the 1960’s? Are the Democrats really this great party of acceptance and tolerance that they say they are? Does CNN have the moral right to really be calling anything racist from here on out? Keep in mind, their anchors pretended to have outrage when Trump made his Pocahontas joke at a ceremony, yet TWO of their contributors just decided to throw out a racial slur on live television.

While we’re on the subject of Don Lemon, how about those comments he made about Kanye’s mom Thursday night? He asserted in his show that Kanye’s mother was “rolling in her grave” concerning Kanye West’s meeting with the President. Seriously? We’re bringing people’s parents into this now? Why? Seriously, Don, only third graders make insensitive comments about people’s parents like that. However, it seems as if that may be an upgrade for CNN’s reporters.

To sum it all up, the left has had an embarrassing week. Actually, an embarrassing few weeks. All we’ve seen from them is their platform dying, which shouldn’t serve them well going into midterms in less than a month. I’ve stated before in an article how I feel about the Democrat running for Senate where I live, Beto O’Rourke, and quite frankly, he’s made even more of a fool out of himself since I wrote that article, saying that police officers are “the new Jim Crow” and that he would not have voted to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.

Nevertheless, I firmly believe that Republicans will have a fantastic midterm season, and my prediction for midterms is that Republicans will maintain control of Congress, and, if anything, gain seats in the Senate. In North Dakota, you’ll definitely see the incumbent Senator Heidi Heitkamp get unseated. According to a poll conducted by Fox News, challenger Kevin Cramer was up 12 points, in a state where 62% of people approve of the job President Trump is doing. In Montana, we may see Jon Tester get unseated by challenger Matt Rosendale. Tester is holding slight leads in polls as of right now, with an average of 3 points. Perhaps the most important race in this midterm election season is the Missouri Senate election. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, and Josh Hawley, a Republican, are battling out one of the closest races this midterm season, with Hawley having an average lead in the polls of just .4 points. Many news organizations who have conducted polls on this race have found ties within this race, while some have found each candidate to be up by around three points. This race is an important one for the Republicans, and if the Republicans can win in Missouri, as well as in North Dakota and Montana, the Trump agenda and the Republican agenda will be looking very prominent for at least the next two years.


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