Suppose someone offers to pay you 20 dollars. You have the choice to receive the money today or tomorrow. In choosing the former, you are like everyone else. You would prefer wealth sooner rather than later. This economic concept is Time Preference. Time Preference affirms that current satisfaction is preferred over future satisfaction. People would prefer not to wait for wealth when it is easily achievable now. Wealth could be monetary, assets, experience, etc.
“Satisfaction of a want in the nearer future is, other things being equal, preferred to that in the farther distant future. Present goods are more valuable than future goods” – Ludwig Von Mises
However, the choice is not always equal and simple. Suppose someone offers you 20 dollars today, or 30 dollars tomorrow. The choice becomes a bit more complicated. We see a divide in people with high time preference and those with low time preference. Someone with high time preference puts their focus on their present well being. They would take the 20 dollars today. On the other hand, A person with low time preference puts emphasis on future satisfaction. This person would take 30 dollars tomorrow. A good example would be comparing savers and spenders. Those with low time preference tend to save their money and make wiser investments. Those with high time preference are more likely to blow through cash.
Real World Examples
Criminals tend to have extremely high time preferences. They are not willing to work to obtain wealth as that involves waiting for future wealth (paychecks). They would rather steal to achieve wealth in the present.
Another example of high vs. low time preference is in the context of college students. One who chooses to stay in and study over going out and partying has a lower time preference. The reasoning being, there will be a future benefit; a better chance at a higher grade, meaning better opportunities down the road. On the other hand, one who chooses to go out has a higher time preference; they prefer the instant short term gratification of partying.
Furthermore, different goods could be preferable in the future than in the present. During winter, ice has a low demand and is preferable in future (summer). However, it still is a general rule people value current wealth to future wealth.
Different groups of people tend to have different levels on time preference. Age is one of the biggest factors in determining one’s time preference. Young children tend to have high time preferences as they are not concerned with the future. A child would likely spend all of his money on ice cream. Adults tend to have lower time preference as they need to save for the future. However, The elderly tend to have higher time preference as they have less time for future consumption. Moreover, someone who has (or is planning to have) kids tends to have lower time preference as they need to save for the future.
Relation to Interest
In “Man, Economy, and State”, Murray Rothbard writes
“The time-market schedules of all individuals are aggregated on the market to form market-supply and market-demand schedules for present goods in terms of future goods. The supply schedule will increase with an increase in the rate of interest, and the demand schedule will fall with the higher rates of interest. A typical aggregate market diagram may be seen in Figure 44. Aggregating the supply and demand schedules on the time market for all individuals in the market, we obtain curves such as SS and DD. DD is the demand curve for present goods in terms of the supply of future goods; it slopes rightward as the rate of interest falls. SS is the supply curve of present goods in terms of the demand for future goods; it slopes rightward as the rate of interest increases. The intersection of the two curves determines the equilibrium rate of interest—the rate of interest as it would tend to be in the evenly rotating economy. This pure rate of interest, then, is determined solely by the time preferences of the individuals in the society, and by no other factor”.
In “Democracy the God That Failed”, Hans Hermann Hoppe notions that concern for future wealth is a key to the prosperity of civilization. If the majority holds a low enough time preference for the process of production, civilization would then be able to thrive. When one allows someone to use capital and resources, an economy forms with Division of Labor and private property. As previously mentioned, criminals have high time preference and will steal resources, slowing down production.
Hoppe describes that the state also has a high time preference. The state violates property rights and steals resources to give to others. The recipients in turn usually also have a high time preference. Hoppe describes this as “decivilizing”.
Time preference is arguably one of the most important parts of economic thought. It is the foundation of saving and interest. Furthermore, it distinguishes spending and saving.
71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon.
When people think of libertarians, they often tend to think “fiscally conservative and socially liberal” or “a Republican who likes weed”. However, neither of these statements are fully true. The libertarian philosophy actually goes very deep; in fact, there are several factions of different libertarian schools of thought. The libertarian ideology is far more intellectually diverse than American conservatives and liberals. Below are some of the different major schools of libertarian thought. Though many more exist, these seven best capture the wide array of beliefs.
Classical liberalism is one of the earliest schools of libertarian thought. Originating in the philosophy of John Locke, classical liberalism holds that all men are born with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property and that the sole purpose of government is to protect those rights. The Declaration of Independence is an echo of classical liberal thought, as many of America’s Founding Father’s were classical liberals. Generally, they place emphasis on natural law, republicanism, and skepticism; many classical liberals are firm believers in the U.S. Constitution.
Key classical liberal figures include:
Many of America’s Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington
Anarcho-capitalists base their philosophy on the moral principle called the “Non-aggression Principle” (NAP). The basis of the NAP is that people do not have the right to initiate force against others. On the contrary, the only acceptable use of force is in self-defense. They also believe that the mere existence of the state violates the NAP, as it acquires all its income through coercive means (taxation). Thus, they believe that no government should exist. Instead, they believe that voluntary communities and private entities should fill the government’s role.
Key anarcho-capitalist figures include:
Hans Hermann Hoppe
Minarchism basically falls in between anarcho-capitalism and classical liberalism. It holds many similar beliefs to anarcho-capitalism but criticizes the idea of a lack of government. Minarchists believe that the free market can cover almost all government programs. However, they maintain that a minimalist government is necessary for the protection of rights. Minarchists typically believe, with some variation, that government should be limited to a “Night-watchman State” consisting of police, military, and courts. Robert Nozick, author of “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” argued that out of anarcho-capitalism, minarchism would naturally arise, as monopolized private police and courts would form a “state” of sorts.
Key minarchists include:
Ludvig Von Mises
Objectivism is a philosophy that author Ayn Rand outlines in her books “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead”. To begin with, objectivism is an extreme Laissez-faire capitalist belief with huge emphasis on individualism. Rand believed that man was best off serving his own self interest and should not need to help out the needy. In addition, it describes the pursuit of one’s own happiness as life’s most important goal. Accordingly, she, like many objectivists, rejected selflessness and altruism as an inefficient direction of resources.
Key figures in the Objectivist movement include:
Bleeding Heart Libertarianism
Bleeding Heart Libertarians can be considered more “moderate” libertarians. In some cases, they are associated with the libertarian left. The official site for bleeding heart libertarians says they believe in “free markets and social justice“. Bleeding Heart Libertarians tend to believe in social equality and egalitarianism. They often still believe in social safety nets and a welfare state, and fall on the progressive side on social issues.
Arguably, the most famous bleeding heart libertarian is Gary Johnson. Much of the moderate side of the Libertarian Party also falls under this category.
Libertarian socialism is a form of left libertarianism. Typically, it is a form of Marxist theory that believes in social liberties and limited to no government. However, they also support a voluntary sharing of resources in a communal way. They also tend to oppose the power of strong corporations and hierarchies. Libertarian socialists often believe capitalism to be a tyrannical force and compare the “economic” elite to the state. As a result, they believe in ending authoritarianism and bringing in systems of direct democracy (sometimes unanimous) that distribute wealth more evenly.
This mode of thought draws much criticism from most other branches of libertarianism. Conversely, many libertarian socialists firmly believe themselves to be the only true libertarians. This partly dates back to the origin of anarchism and libertarianism in 19th-century Europe as a term to describe the left.
The paleolibertarian movement began in the 1990’s as a coalition of paleolibertarians and paleoconservatives that Rothbard (above) and paleoconservative presidential candidate Pat Buchanan formed. Basically, the goal was to stop interventionism, globalism, and social democracy.
Paleolibertarians usually oppose mass immigration and foreign wars. Many more radical paleolibertarians may consider themselves “Hoppeans”, following the anarcho-capitalist philosophy of Hans Hermann Hoppe.
Key paleolibertarians include:
Hans Hermann Hoppe
The movement, of course, is even more diverse than this. Countless versions of libertarian thought exist within it, and it would take ages to explain them all. Without a doubt, the area of thought is rich with diversity and variation. No two libertarians are alike, but all have one thing in common: a desire to live free.
71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!
On Friday, Teen Vogue author Kim Kelly ran a piece that she titled “Anarchy: What It Is and Why Pop Culture Loves It”. In it, she attempts to answer both of those questions. However, her perspective is nowhere near accurate. Frankly, it makes her look like she does not understand a thing about the general principles of anarchism. Here, unlike Kelly, from an actual teen, is a real representation of anarchy’s ideology of peace.
The Ideology Without an Ideology
Initially, Kelly correctly states that the media often believes that anarchy is a no-rules, middle-fingers-up attitude. But the second she begins explaining what is really is, the logic falls off of the block.
Her claim that “anarchism is a radical, revolutionary leftist political ideology…” is partly true. Yes, it is both radical and revolutionary, of course. Like any great threat to the state, it is a fringe group that proposes radical ideas for change. However, anarchism has absolutely no inherent association with the left or the right.
Ultimately, anarchism deals with the abolition of the state. Before it is left, right, or anything else, it is anti-state. Anarchists believe that the state inherently restricts the abilities of people to freely associate with each other. However, they are very much divided on whether they believe in a free market or voluntarily controlled economy.
Kelly points this out, later going through a list of various anarchist views of thought. Despite this, she only paints half of the picture, basically stating that anarcho-capitalism is a fringe ideology that most other anarchists do not recognize. While this is true, she forgets that all forms of anarchism are pretty fringe. Note that not a single major politician today identifies with any of the varying forms.
Moreover, she fails to state that anarcho-capitalists often do not consider anarcho-communists to be legitimate, due to their belief that communism, and the associated collectivism, are inherently at odds with the idea of freedom.
In the end, though, anarchism is not a political ideology. Without a state, politics does not exist. Individuals would merely associate freely with each other in the communities that they desired to live in.
What Anarchism Really Is
In her entire piece, Kelly does not once mention the most critical point of anarchism: it is a rejection of the initiation of violence. Whether that violence comes in the form of capitalism, regulations, war, taxation, or the police, (or all of the above) anarchists agree that the state is an aggressive institution that should not exist in a free society. All of them desire a society where they can live in peaceful freedom, and all recognize that the state is the biggest threat to that freedom.
The differences only come from the fact that each views the state slightly differently. Some anarchists believe it to be a form of capitalist greed, or elitist power, or military might. Others may find it to be an organization that steals inherently from the people to fund things like social safety nets.
Anarchists also inherently oppose war, believing that they are antithetical to freedom. Though opposing war has been a very key part of anarchism, dating back to the more radical members of Vietnam War protests, Kelly fails to point this out in any capacity. She instead focuses on an interesting term that has absolutely nothing to do with anarchy.
Anarchy is NOT Democracy
One of Kelly’s most prominent assertions is the idea that anarchy is a radical democracy. This simply could not be farther from the truth, and democracy is, in fact, impossible in an anarchist society.
When it comes down to it, the two terms are entirely incompatible. Democracy, of course, is a system where the people vote directly on laws and events. Notable examples include the ancient Greek state of Athens, famous for putting Socrates to death over his differing beliefs. Anarchism, on the other hand, removes all forms of coercive power. In such a system, no majority of people can simply decide to kill a man for being different, or corrupting the youth. But in a democracy, this is entirely possible, and, clearly, happened on a number of occasions. When it comes down to it, democracy is nothing more than the state’s tyranny of the majority. Anarchy, though, opposes coercive tyrannies of all forms, including democracy.
In short: democracy is a form of government. Anarchy is a lack of government. A government cannot exist in a society without government.
Antifascism and Anarchism
Following the flawed point on democracy, Kelly then claims that all anarchists are anti-fascist. Technically, this is not untrue but is essentially just a monotonous and repetitive talking point to garner more support. Fascism, again, like democracy, is a form of government. Kelly does not seem to realize that anarchism opposes all forms of governments, for if she did, she would not need to spend any additional time addressing particular forms. More strikingly, she would certainly not, as an opponent of the state, support a form of government.
It is also worth noting that antifascism does not necessarily imply support for Antifa groups. Though Kelly voices her support for them, she again only shows one side of things. Many anarchists, in fact, oppose Antifa just as much as they oppose fascism. As Antifa often supports violence, especially against those they claim to be fascist, peaceful anarchists tend to oppose them, as they do all forms of violence.
A Weak Definition From a Fake Anarchist
To summarize, it is not enough to be an enemy of the current state to be an anarchist. To fall under the definition, you need to oppose all forms of government and believe that governments are an inherently immoral institution.
Kelly does point this out in her piece, but at the same time, does not support her own ideas, and voices clear support for democracy, a coercive form of government. She also endorses Antifa, an organization that has behaved violently in the past, even though she claims to oppose the violence of the state. A clear supporter of both state and anti-state violence, her actions are in no way consistent with her words.
Kelly’s ideology proves to be very dangerous, and if the anarchist community ever wants to see ideologically sound success, they should steer very clear of it. Democracy is not anarchy, and violence is not anarchy. The very suggestion of such makes it quite obvious that Kelly either does not understand what anarchism is, or does, but is not an anarchist herself. In either situation, take her words with warning, as they are nothing more than violence and government action under the guise of radicalism.
To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.
“If people don’t have something to vote for, we have to give them something to vote for.” –Matt Kuehnel
Matt Kuehnel is one of the founding members of the Libertarian Socialist Caucus. He is running as a libertarian for the 22nd District seat of the Michigan State House and this week, the Socialist Party of Michigan voted him their candidate for the 22nd district marking the first time that any libertarian has represented as a dual socialist candidate in United States history. The LibSoc Caucus that he helped found and represents is a small but growing group of self-proclaimed libertarian socialists that have been the source of much consternation and confusion within the Libertarian Party over the past year.
I met Mr. Kuehnel at the 2018 Libertarian National Convention and in him, I saw someone who was an honest, direct, charismatic, unafraid intellectual making headway in a political party that, for all of its alleged openness to free thought, can oftentimes feel rather one note. His penchant for attacking landlords was met with a chorus of boos and many simply refused to hear anything the slim Michigan man with a denim jacket had to say. But I kept listening. He was saying a lot. He was speaking for and as a group of people that rarely gets mentioned in the Libertarian Party: the poor. Kuehnel’s distaste for the police state and his outsider messaging on social media shows a different side of libertarianism that routinely goes underrepresented.
The Libertarian Socialist Caucus sits on the deeper ranges of modern libertarianism but their roots lie at the very beginning of the movement itself in the catacombs of Paris where the first anarchist and influential mutualist philosopher Proudhon lived and wrote. “Proudhon believed that a libertarian order would accomplish the goals of socialists, that in fact, only such an order could accomplish socialists’ goals. Within this framework, Proudhon sets out to scrutinize political economy and its institutions, to break them down and lay bare the truths within them.”
The caucuses call for the abolishment of private property sit in stark contrast with much of the modern Libertarian movement. However, on police abuse, non-violent crimes, non-aggression and decentralized power, much of the Libertarian Socialist platform falls neatly into the echo chamber of modern libertarianism. Their ideas, branding, and members all strike an unequivocally and excitingly diverse chord in the Libertarian Party. Their members have campaigned for a bottom unity platform that seeks to bridge the seemingly unbridgeable gaps between anarcho-capitalists, pragmatists, anarcho-communists (and yes, even socialists) into a singular group that stands against the various illegitimate powers of the state.
To some, the Libertarian Socialist Caucus is quite suddenly, the greatest ideological threat to the party as it moves forward. So much so that the LibSoc caucus was addressed during a hearing at this months Libertarian National Committee meeting that ended in renewed animosity on all sides. Steven Nekhaila, region two representative, penned a resolution to clarify the party’s position on private property and in a video on “Disenthrall,” LNC at large member Joshua Smith pointed to Kuehnel’s recent exposure on Russia Today as representative of a misrepresentation of the Libertarian Party. The measure did not pass.
I reached out to Mr. Kuehnel recently to discuss his ideas for the Libertarian Socialist Caucus, his run for 22nd district of Michigan and some of the goals he has for the future.
71 Republic: “Rent is theft” has been the rallying cry for the Libertarian Socialist Caucus. It has disturbed many throughout the party. What does the slogan mean to you?
Kuehnel: In my experience, especially in the community around here, one of the biggest issues is rent. It’s such a high price to put on the people who have the lowest income. It’s unequal. It’s made worse because the city is now charging three times the amount of property tax for a rental. It’s generating money for the city so they’re promoting it. The city then helps by having the enforcement zone come and bully people out of their homes.
I see that as an issue. I liked the “taxation is theft,” logo, it was part of what got me into the anarcho-capitalist side of it at the beginning so I just transferred it. I thought, “taxation is theft” and “rent is theft.” There are a lot of things you can point to that make rent theft in the current times. Just having a base in fiat currency is theft. It’s not based on a real supply and demand.
71 Republic: Should rent be abolished?
Kuehnel: Yeah, idealistically. To me, they say it’s voluntary but it’s not voluntary. I never wanted to rent and I didn’t even know how to buy a house. When you don’t have people walking you through it, you don’t know how to build your credit. You’re just stuck there, especially if you’re low income. You’re not going to get out of renting.
Landlords are authoritarian roles. Nobody should want to do that if they’re anti-authoritarian. Nobody should want to say what kind of things you can have in your house and what kind of things you can do in your house. If you believe in property rights, then you should believe that everybody should be able to have property so we can exercise those rights. Otherwise, it’s just centered into the hands of the few and who does it help? I try not to focus on the ‘mom and pops’ that have an investment property, it’s the banks that have 13 million vacant homes that they keep off the market to inflate values.
71 Republic: Do you support punching Nazis?
Kuehnel: I don’t practice it but I support it. I’ve never had an occasion where I felt it necessary to do that. We are much closer to fascism than a republic or democracy. People are literally being killed by the state every day. They are being targeted for their identities because they are immigrants or black. They are being deported, detained and killed. There is a lot of aggression going on in the world. Fascism is built on getting a public platform, using your advantage to spread hate, playing on people’s fear and the police just protect them. I think a lot of people who think like this seek positions of power. I think a lot of police are white supremacists. When you’ve got an opportunity and you’ve got someone like Richard Spencer, that’s a Nazi and I don’t see anything wrong with punching them. I don’t think that person is innocent.
71 Republic: You are running to represent District 22 of the Michigan State House. How is the race going?
Kuehnel: Politics are an elitist club. I could never even dream to compete in that kind of club. I take a lot of pride in the fact that during this state rep election I spent 100 dollars on registering for the ballot and 15 bucks a month for a domain. That’s all I’ve spent and I just got on RT [Russia Today]. I think that’s something that me, Brian Ellison and James Weeks II are all trying to do. If you make a message interesting enough that you can draw the attention, then that’s a way to compete without the money.
I didn’t plan on running. My plan was to hold off initially because my wife is still going to school. I got talked into it because we needed representation on the ballot. It’s good to have someone on the ballot, to give a person the choice to vote for a libertarian. I’ve picked five planks. I want to disarm the police. People are talking about gun control and I think we should have gun control on those who are the most violent amongst us which are the cops. I want to take their weapons and give them to marginalized people.
I want to deport ICE. I want to make Michigan a sanctuary state. I believe in Medicare for all and that’s my pragmatic stance. People are suffering, we all have bills. The current system is not a private system and it’s nothing like a free market system either. Libertarian solutions happen outside the state and I believe that we need to build up mutual aid communities. In the meantime, people are suffering and they need help. I see Medicare for all is as an improvement. And finally, we are anti-fascist. That came about after what happened in Charlottesville.
71 Republic: Who are you and where do you live?
Kuehnel: I live in Warren Michigan, just north of Detroit. I’m 34, I come from a middle class, average family. I ended up getting into drugs real early, around 14. I graduated two years late and started working on houses soon after. That’s the main thing I’ve been doing for about a decade. I got my life straight about 7 years ago and got married. I’ve got my associates in heating and cooling and now I’m doing buildings and commercial rooftops.
71 Republic: What brings someone like yourself into the Libertarian movement?
Kuehnel: Around 2007 Youtube started blowing up and I found Alex Jones and Ron Paul. I showed up to one of the first Tea Party’s here in Michigan. It was on our state capitol and around 5,000 people showed. I came in camo and I was wearing a big green mohawk and my sign said “The Federal Reserve is a private bank that owns America” on one side and on the other it said, “Eat the rich, burn the banks.” I wasn’t prepared for what I was going to encounter there at the Tea Party. It was a family orientated event with Joe The Plumber speaking. They did a moment of silence before a prayer and I screamed at the top of my lungs during the moment of silence “separate the church and state.” 5,000 heads just stared cold at me… It was a lot like the debate the convention.
71 Republic: You don’t sound like a Tea Party type. Where were you coming from politically at that time?
Kuehnel: I was still young and pretty open. My first vote, when I was 18, was for Bush’s second term. My parents are Reagan Democrats and they voted for him and I was thinking “oh, we can’t change our President during the war!” I totally fell for that. Then I found Ron Paul, and even though he lost I voted for Obama because I thought “I’m not voting for another dirty white guy.” Then he signed the NSA bill and that’s when I decided I was done with old parties. That’s when I found the Libertarian Party. I didn’t get involved but I was going to vote for Gary Johnson in 2012 but he wasn’t on the ballot so I voted Jill Stein. No matter where I would’ve gone, I would be out of place in some way or another.
71 Republic: Then you joined The Libertarian Party?
Kuehnel: Ya, in 2016 I was following the Presidential campaign leading up to the campaign. I knew I didn’t like Austin Petersen. He was such a conservative. That’s when I really started to see how the liberty movement was so much about appealing to conservatives and I grew a disdain for these people. Then with the freedom ninja stuff online, I was just completely turned off. I was already a Gary fan so I definitely had some bias. I’m not sure if I would’ve joined if Austin Petersen had won. Johnson won and the next day I joined the party.
71 Republic: What were your first experiences with the party?
Kuehnel: My first ever interaction with libertarians here in the state [Michigan] was when they suspended James Weeks’ II membership and right away I got a bad taste in my mouth. They suspended his membership for two years. Even I thought, “you mother fucker, that totally delegitimizes us!” I didn’t think highly of it but watching that whole thing go down was weird. Jeff Wood was there and he’s one of the best we’ve got. He was the one who was saying there were no bylaws or precedence for this. He fought it and they won anyway. They ignored the rules just to take out a personal vendetta against James.
71 Republic: You are a founder of the Libertarian Socialist Caucus and yet socialism is a word that frightens libertarians. Why would you form this group?
Kuehnel: I helped found it. It was a journey through libertarian philosophy. I was an anarcho-capitalist for a little bit. It was the first anarchist philosophy I’d ever read. I always identified as an anarchist, it made sense to me and also something that I could promote to my friends who are also anarchists. But it wasn’t working on my friends. When I tried to reach out to left anarchists, my idea was that we should all be working together, but when I tried to appeal to them and spread my views of anarcho-capitalism, I ended up being persuaded by their philosophy. It felt like it completed the circle. Where anarcho-capitalism was very vague, this actually laid out that we are done with all authority and all hierarchy. We oppose it not just from the state but in all interactions. We should all be helping each other through mutual aid and defending each other. It gives a blueprint for a society like that where you have different theories of syndicalism and municipalism that we approach as equals.
71 Republic: What were the early days of the Caucus like?
Kuehnel: When we first formed we called ourselves the Black Flag Caucus. That’s what I preferred but we wanted to make sure we lived out our ideas so we took a vote and Libertarian Socialist Caucus won. The interesting thing is that there was already a Socialist Libertarian Caucus that existed so that was ringing in our ears. The Democratic Socialists of America have a Libertarian Socialist Caucus that is very radical. It’s purely direct action for them. I’m fully prepared to say right now that they’re more anarchist than us because it’s hard to even get them to participate in electoral politics. They want to feed their neighbors, take care of the homeless and things like that. I think there are a lot of things we could do that would achieve the same goals. They do this thing called a ‘brake light clinic’. They will set up in a parking lot in a poorer neighborhood and they’ll do a free clinic where they’ll check all your headlights and educate you about democratic socialism and also why they’re doing it. Why they’re doing it is because they want to avoid police interaction, so they are helping people by making sure they don’t get pulled over by the cops.
71 Republic: Brian Ellison is a member of the Michigan Libertarian Party and he is running one of the most progressive candidacies in the country. He has advocated for arming the homeless and has been arrested for first amendment activism during his campaign. I’d be interested to know your opinion on Mr. Ellison?
Kuehnel: Brian and I are really close. I love that guy. He showed up to our meeting one night when James Weeks was running for Senator. James hadn’t told me he was talking about dropping out and Brian shows up and says “I’m running for US Senate.” He was in a suit and I was thinking “fuck this pragmatic ancap!” But James ended up becoming his campaign manager and he totally broke out with the “arm the homeless” thing. He’s absolutely fearless. He’s got balls and he’s got integrity. I worry about him because he has no problem being a martyr and it’s both brave and awe-inspiring.
71 Republic: What is your relationship with the Socialist Party?
Kuehnel: They voted unanimously in Michigan to approve me and most likely I’ll be the first libertarian to ever get this nomination. They called me up during the convention and put me on speaker phone so I could talk to them all. They said “the way we see it, the Socialist Party has always aimed at these lower class income, working class, and marginalized communities whereas the Libertarian Party is a more middle class, business-owners membership but we have a lot of the same struggles and sadly we’re pitted against each other.” I want to cement these two as being in the same struggle. Especially when it comes to war, police violence, and the big things. I think there’s a lot of crossover in the platforms.
71 Republic: What do you think of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?
Kuehnel: I like her for the most part. There are parts where I disagree. I’d vote for her in a second on my ballot if she was up against a Republican and no Libertarian that I preferred. That’s kind of the demographic I’m going for. When I started on the Gary Johnson campaign, I was also helping a progressive candidate with her primary challenge in the Democrat party. I know they’re against corruption and that’s the big things that plague local communities here, the corruption.
“Something has to be done. Everybody’s fed up. The people are fed up, the pilots are fed up and I’m fed up. What we are accepting at the airport is symbolic of us not standing up and saying enough is enough!” – Ron Paul
In the months that followed 9/11, the American people were scared, confused and angry. The ruling class was not. They had been waiting for that very moment when the people would be dependent and weak. For the anti-imperialist majority, it was hard enough to wrap their heads around why people from thousands of miles of way held such a crowning vendetta against The United States. Who the hell was so mad at us and what had we done to make it so? After all, it wasn’t the mechanic or farmer or dentist or professor who had instructed the century-long conquest of democratic interventionism behind the towering force of a nuclear arsenal. With the people’s psyche at their most fragile, The United States government took control of the narrative and labeled what would be the new enemy of the 21st century: anti-western terrorists who were willing to do anything to watch America burn into smoldering ash.
Nevermind the century of global policing carried out by the American Empire that saw us play another man’s terrorist in stolen lands and throughout sovereign nations. Nevermind the belligerent, hawkish interventionism that had sewn seeds of hatred and rebellion in peoples far and wide and of no relation to the engineer or arborist that both call Pennsylvania home. Nevermind the pervasive wars in the countries of Kuwait and Iraq and Iran and Syria and Libya and Afghanistan. Nevermind any of it. Americans let themselves be hypnotized into believing that brown Muslims wanted to kill us because of our freedoms and George Bush was the bald eagle messiah to lead the whole, spiteful, deviled world into a bright new dawn of democracy and peace.
To save us from these threats of a World War, the Bush administration pushed aside the fundamental tenets of our constitution as The Patriot Act, the NSA, and the TSA were all hastily rushed through Congress in what is now clearly the single greatest seizure of federal power since the end of WWII. In one broad swoop, the branches that had anchored our patently slow-moving enterprise were unceremoniously cut and the new drivers of the military war machine set ablaze. Under the guise of warding off some great, undefinable terror that suddenly existed today where it had not the week before, the American empire began its swift attack on the natural and unalienable rights of Americans. Over 60,000 federal TSA jobs were created, the largest federal mobilization since 1946, and a whole new opportunity for invasive, authoritarian access to the lives of peaceful American citizens was afoot. In the years since 9/11, we have come to accept this government’s preening with an eye roll and a shrug. What power does any of us have in the fight against it? And don’t we all have somewhere to be anyways? Better to let the agent get on with their prodding and questioning so we can make the puddle jumper to Cheyenne to see the parents over the weekend.
Which brings us to the big news that has been kept relatively quiet in mainstream media. Earlier this week, The Boston Globe blew the top off “Quiet Skies,” a secretive TSA program that has tracked over 5,000 US citizens on domestic flights throughout the past year. “Dozens of air marshals,” told The Globe that they were instructed to report in minute detail on the behaviors of passengers exhibiting peculiar patterns. These patterns included routine sleep, bathroom, and eating habits that would make potentially any passenger in The United States a target of surveillance. Many of the marshals have suggested that “Quiet Skies” netted zero serious targets and was a complete waste of time and resources.
The late Gore Vidal was one of the sharpest critics of the Bush-era policies that gave expansive power to the surveillance systems of centralized intelligence. His reign was only the beginning of a vast reduction of Americans civil liberties and constitutional rights that have been sustained through Obama and now Trump’s presidencies.. Railing against what he saw as an opportunistic and parasitic state, Vidal often cried afoul of a national security apparatus that ran wild on the psycho fanatical nightmares of a ginned up public. When Congress passed the meticulously crafted 350+ page Patriot Act in the early months after 9/11, Vidal was one of the loudest voices to suggest that this new, abrasive surveillance state had been waiting in the wings for an event of this scale.
We were entering a bit of a depression around 9/11, so if it was Osama’s timing, it was very clever. They hit us when we were really quite off balance. These Presidents, as they get worse and worse – proving that Darwin was wrong – the wars get more surreal. We blow up Afghanistan when all of our enemies who struck at us in the airplanes that day were Saudi Arabians. They weren’t Afghans. And the Afghans were rather hurt that we were blowing up all their cities when we should’ve been taking out the Saudi Royal Family. We hit the wrong people.
The sinister side is the speed with which Clinton, after Oklahoma City, was ready with an anti-terrorist act. The speed of light and it had the most venemous dialogue. They decided, immediately, that many of our freedoms would be diminished starting with the 4th amendment. Now we have the Patriot Act, which was passed after the infamous September 11th. Congress passed it and as is their wont, didn’t read it. That was a terrific piece of legislation remeniscent of one of my favorite emperors: Tiberius.
Tiberius, when he became emperor, the Senate sent him some legislation saying that they would accept, in advance, sight unseen, any legislation that he wanted to send up to the Senate. He sent back a message and said “you’ve lost your senses. Suppose the Emperor has gone mad. Suppose the Emperor is a raging enemy of Rome and you didn’t know it. You can’t do that in advance.”
And they sent it back to him again “anything Glorius Ceaser, that you send us, we will endorse.” And he said, and I feel myself wanting to repeat Tiberius’ words: “how eager they are to be slaves.”
In the era of aviation before the towers fell, never would Americans have suspected that armed, plain-clothed officers were following them or fellow passengers onto flights because a person was deemed to have “taken a long nap” while awaiting their departure. Now, American citizens are forced to bitterly swallow intrusive searches of their person and property for the right to board a routine flight from St. Louis to Trenton. What’s worse, they are being systematically reduced to a state of intellectual paralysis where they can no longer remember a time where they were without the prying eyes of big government nosing through their suitcases and listening in on their bedrooms. “What can you do?” we think.
The very name ‘Transportation Security Administration’ strikes an anxious chord with most Americans. If there is an institution that expressly ‘secures’ transport, then there must be also an inherent suggestion that there is some great unknowable risk to our personal security at any given airport in any given city from Rochester to Sacramento. Is this true? Is flying that dangerous of an affair? Over two million passengers fly across the United States on any given day. Are the TSA really protecting us or are humans naturally peaceful and without an intent to harm? Is there a proven need for government agents to follow thousands of unsuspecting passengers as they travel freely around the country? Do we now hold such little trust in the decency of each other that we are happy to let federal officials encroach on our civil liberties for the perseverance of such an undefinable ‘security’? We can see clearly from research and media coverage that the TSA’s success rate in the past decade is a hotly contested issue with many suggesting overreaches without due cause or process.
In 2015 alone the TSA “missed 95 percent of weapons and explosives in security tests.” Even more ironic is a report after 9/11 that suggested 500 more people were killed a year as a result of automobile accidents after plane passengers opted to drive instead of the long waits and intrusive searches at the gates. This all signals what we already know to be true – the TSA does little in terms of protecting passengers from a terrorist attack. In fact, the more prodding you do of the TSA the more it appears that it’s nothing more than a carte blanch, federal cattle call that acts as an eye in the sky operation to survey and collect data on American citizens who have done nothing to warrant suspicion or investigation.
In our hearts and minds, we know as American citizens that these warrantless actions by the TSA are completely unjustifiable. We can still remember a time before the ever-present threat of a lurking, unspeakable terror threat. Programs like the TSA are simply another notch on the belt of the all-powerful state authority apparatus that cannot and will not be challenged. In the houses of Congress, where days should be filled with the thundering voices of vexed patriots, instead, career politicians smile and nod in happy cooperation. When it comes to the big stuff, they’re all on the same team, each being bought long before the first day they arrived. Their vote merely another casino chip.
As with many federal programs, before long the whole charade just becomes so mundanely every day that an entire generation of younger Americans grow up in the malaise and accept it as normal. The whole lot are indoctrinated through sheer, dramatic, routine, coaxing habit. Today, it’s commonplace to accept the ridiculous assertion that a bottle of shampoo could be a credible national security threat. It’s considered normal to allow another human the right to touch your body and investigate your property in the name of some worthwhile freedom on the other side. To live in America, the great land of liberty and happiness. No one dares step out of line. There’s family to be seen in Dallas.
Institutions should be judged on a basis of their merits. Does the TSA keep us safer? Is the TSA necessary? Or does it cut at the heart of our fundamental rights of travel and speech as Americans? Nobody trusts the TSA. And why should they? Every time you go through their surveillance systems you are made a target within your own homeland and that’s just the way it is.
Or is it? At what point does the American public justifiably ask for clarity on the subject at hand. How long will we remain criminals in our own country for crimes we have not committed? How long will we accept culpability for the violence of a rogue group of militant terrorists 17 years ago? How many of our civil rights must be trashed so that the state can keep us secure? How long before we send a clear and cutting message to Congress that they do not own the identity and soul of the American populace?
To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.