Last year’s election was rife was polarization. With bitter fights in states such as Texas, where incumbent Ted Cruz narrowly defeated challenger Beto O’Rourke, the country’s politicians seemed more divided than ever. Many Democrats ran on an anti-Trump line, whereas many Republicans did the opposite. But one thing about the election season was eerily unified: most of the Senate took money from Lockheed Martin and other military industrial complex companies. Continue reading “Have Your Senators Taken Money from Lockheed Martin?”
Ryan Lau | @agorisms
Already, the 2020 election cycle is beginning to heat up. After a 2016 rift in the Democratic Party, the political party is seeking to reunite against President Trump. Yet, eight candidates have already declared their own shots at the presidency. One of these candidates is Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard.
A veteran of the Iraq War, she claims to be of the non-interventionist wing of the party. In many ways, she hopes to cater to those who voted for Bernie Sanders in 2016. Gabbard does happen to be like Sanders in many ways, but this only reflects her deceit and double-sidedness.
Is Tulsi Gabbard Really Antiwar?
One of Tulsi Gabbard’s biggest talking points so far is that she opposes wars. In particular, she has criticized continual actions on the part of the United States in Syria and Afghanistan. However, it would be foolish to equate these limited responses with truly opposing the practice on its face. There is a clear difference between opposing a particular war and opposing the very concept of war.
An excellent place to begin searching for Gabbard’s true position is her voting record. But rather than portraying the 37-year-old congresswoman as a dove, it suggests that she is more mixed on the matter. Admittedly, she did oppose two key defense funding bills in 2018. Yet, the same is not true for the bill that would appropriate this funding.
On September 26, 2018, Tulsi Gabbard voted in favor of a key defense appropriations bill that, quite frankly, had some absurd elements. First of all, it appropriated a grand total of $670 billion for the military in 2019. Though she seemed to oppose gargantuan spending levels previously, it appears Gabbard had no problem voting for it the next time it came through.
Moreover, the bill prohibits any funding to be used for the release or transfer of individuals at Guantanamo Bay. Amnesty International has long since called the detention camp “The Gulag of our time“, and the inhumane modes of torture that the base forces on its prisoners are no surprise. Even the United Nations, an organization in no way fervently dedicated to peace, has tried to get the United States to close Guantanamo Bay. Tulsi Gabbard, though, voted for an appropriation bill that would make it much more difficult to remove those detained from the subhuman conditions that the camp does little to hide. Such a move shows blatant disregard for human life, a value generally necessary to truly be antiwar.
A Hawk on Terrorism
In addition, it is worth noting that Gabbard has even admitted to not unilaterally opposing war. Particularly, she proudly supports wars against terrorism. In 2016, she told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that “When it comes to the war against terrorists, I’m a hawk”.
The interesting thing about this statement is that it undermines her very opposition to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria. Without a doubt, there are active terrorist groups in both of those areas. By her own definition, therefore, she logically favors wars in the Middle East that fight terrorism. Yet, these have had disastrous effects. In particular, our actions in Afghanistan led to a surge in Al Qaeda membership. At the time of 9/11, the group only had about 400 members, but at the height of the war, they boasted tens of thousands.
Wars against terrorists, and specifically, the War on Terror, usually lead to the terrorists winning. And considering that the definition of terrorism is violence for political gain, it is unclear just at what point Gabbard’s own military interventions would qualify as acts of terrorism. Being a hawk against terrorists is not an admirable trait.
In Favor of Drone Strikes
Furthermore, Tulsi Gabbard has very clearly stated that she favors the use of drone strikes against military opponents. Admittedly, this is preferable to supporting an all-out ground war, but it is also a far cry from being anti-war. It appears that her concerns more closely are for the lives of exclusively Americans. This position blatantly disregards the lives of the many foreign civilians that American drones kill every year.
In this way, Gabbard appears to more closely mirror the tactics of Presidents Trump and Obama. After all, Obama’s drone strikes have killed many civilians in eight countries. There is absolutely nothing that indicates that Gabbard’s use of drones against “terrorists” (I use the term in quotations because they are the ones defending their homeland, while the American military ravages their cities) would produce a noticeably different result.
All in all, it appears that Tulsi Gabbard is not truly opposed to war. Though she may be slightly less hawkish than some other candidates, this is an easy task; it does not, in any meaningful way, show a real dedication to peace. Do not let her words fool you, and do not expect a sudden policy of peace if she wins the presidency in 2020. Tulsi Gabbard, through her support of wars and drone strikes, is little more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
TJ Roberts | United States
If I broke into your house, I would not be justified. I would be a violent criminal with no respect for private property and personal sovereignty.
If I broke into your house, you would be justified in using force to remove me from your house. You would even be able to use lethal force.
If I broke into your house, I would not be justified in using violence against you when you attempt to remove me. You have the right to do what it takes.
If I broke into your house, everything I do in your house is a breach of your rights, no matter how kind I am about it.
If I broke into your house and you pulled a gun on me, I do not have the right to kill you. I do not have the right to kill your family either.
If my friend told me to break into your house, I still would not be justified. My friend would be inciting violence.
If I broke into your house and took everything you had, you’d want your stuff back. You’d want your family back. You’d want revenge.
If I Broke Into Your House and Called it War, Does That Change Your Mind?
Why is it that these principles are so universally accepted when it applies to you, but not for others? Americans as a whole condemn any person or group who would violently invade the property of another. This attitude, however, immediately changes when we transition to war. America is an empire; there is no existential threat to the U.S. Ultimately, every war the U.S. is engaged in is nothing more than an act of aggression against another sovereign nation.
War is the foundation of the modern state. So far, the U.S. has killed more than 20 million people since the end of World War II in pursuit of empire. In fact, America’s attempt at destabilizing and radicalizing the Middle East has killed at least 4 million people. If other any nation was responsible for so many deaths, the world would rally against it and burn its leaders like the witches in Salem.
Now that the U.S. is withdrawing from Syria, it is time to withdraw the military from the rest of the world and truly pursue non-interventionism. The Military Industrial Complex has not made us free or safe. Rather, U.S. intervention has led to massive debt, breaches of privacy, and a complete disregard for civil liberties on the domestic front. It is even worse for the inhabitants of foreign nations. If the Chinese government murdered your family, you would want revenge. If the Chinese government slaughtered your friends, it would radicalize you. American intervention has killed millions, destroyed the infrastructure, and radicalized the survivors.
This, of course, leads to blowback in the US. If you want to know why 9/11 happened, ask yourself what you would do if the United Nations invaded your nation, flipped its regime, killed your family, destroyed your home, crippled your infrastructure, and oppressed your culture. Would you want revenge?
This is exactly what happened on September 11th. While war hawks (who would never enlist to fight the wars they are calling for) will say that ending the wars will pave a way to the next 9/11, the fact is that U.S. occupation of the Middle East in the 90s is what caused 9/11. It wasn’t a random attack. It was unjustified, but the U.S. nonetheless created the climate for such an attack.
A Foreign Policy of Freedom
Perhaps our foreign policy should resemble the golden rule. If you were invaded, you would use violence to repel the invader whether the invader is a military or a home intruder. Why do you expect something different from sovereign nations that the U.S. government sees as its colonies? If you don’t want to be invaded, don’t invade other nations. To avoid falling victim to economic warfare, don’t engage in economic warfare. If you don’t want nations to bomb you, don’t bomb other nations.
It is time that we reject war as the racket that it is. Too many people have suffered as a result of the American Empire’s attempt to destroy the sovereignty of any nation that did not bend its knee to the will of the U.S. War is nothing more than legalized mass murder. It is breaking into someone else’s house. Don’t be surprised when they respond with violence.
This article was originally published in LIFE.
At 71 Republic, 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!
Manuel Martin | United States
If you think Libertarianism is about politics, you’re wrong. However, I do nonetheless want to address the Gary Johnson version of libertarianism; libertarianism is not fiscally conservative and socially liberal. That would imply we want liberals to change their values and be 50% conservative and vice versa. Libertarians, though, don’t want to change the values of Democrats or Republicans. Instead, we want them to extend their daily values of persuasion and voluntary trade into their political decisions. In short, we want them to be consistent in the application of their daily values.
Secondly, I’d like to point out that libertarianism is not a political philosophy: it’s a social philosophy that has political ramifications. As a social philosophy, libertarianism seeks to identify consistent human relational social principles that individuals should use to maximize peace and prosperity for themselves and everyone else.
Libertarianism: 2 Social Principles
Some examples of principles are fire always needing oxygen and water boiling at 212 degrees. These are nature’s principles, which nobody can break or change. Libertarianism examines human interactions to identify social principles that consistently drive peace and prosperity and have destabilizing consequences if broken. Libertarianism identifies two social principles that are consistent and apply to everyone.
- Most people, most of the time, strive to be happy.
- Anytime someone uses coercion (violence and force) to hurt another person or steal their property, happiness decreases.
These principles are universal and consistent to everyone. Individuals strive to be happy, and when someone physically or coercively harms another, human happiness and prosperity diminish. Libertarian principles teach that in order to maximize peace, prosperity, and harmony for all, individuals should avoid using all forms of coercion. If a person or group does so, they destabilize the foundation for peace and prosperity and social acrimony ensues.
Libertarian social principles not only teach that we should refrain from using coercion in our daily life, but that we should actively try to eliminate coercive structures in our culture, as they are inherent threats to peace and prosperity.
A Culture of Violence
A culture that has abandoned libertarian principles and established organizations of systematic coercion will have low trust, division, revenge, and ultimately, mass war. In short, this describes a culture where the few benefit from the systematized plunder of the many.
I make these claims with certainty because we live in that very culture. As it stands, the battle to control the government’s coercive abilities divides people. Politicians use coercion to exact revenge on political enemies, plunder resources from peaceful individuals, and use them to fund mass wars. Ironically, the coercive social principles that state agents use to plunder directly contradict the voluntary social principles that create resources for government agents to plunder in the first place.
What if you decided you were going to adopt the coercive principles of government functionaries? The individual and universal application of coercion would destroy your life. If widely adopted, it would end modern civilization.
Coercion in Private Life
If you or I used coercion to moderate our social interactions, we would quickly find ourselves without a job, friends, or family. Simply put, almost nobody wants to associate with a person that resorts to violence. Free markets and free people govern themselves in voluntary manners. Of course, they must, if they are to trade and be successful.
If coercion became the common social principle regulating private interaction, our economy would halt and quickly regress. Without a doubt, our modern economy requires voluntary interactions.
Free people engaged in commerce are united by the individual and common benefits that stem from adhering to principles of voluntary social interactions. The government, however, cannot say the same. It must instead maintain the façade that free and prosperous people require plunder for protection. Commerce can live without the government, but the government cannot live without commerce. Free people engaging in commerce creates progress (otherwise, why would they trade?), while agents with guns interrupting free people engaged in commerce are regressive.
The Path to Freedom: Persuasion
We need to move past the idea that we need self-serving politicians and their gun violence to organize and regulate our human interactions. Most individuals and cultures have evolved past kings and queens, feudalism, colonialism, mercantilism, communism, fascism, and more authoritarian governments. However, there is one human trait which all cultures have yet to overcome. We still obey men and women in artificially manufactured authoritative positions. This simple fact is holding us back greatly.
Political elections and representative governments are outdated 18th-century technologies. In the age of airplanes and self-driving cars, men and women holding coercion (and guns) to our heads enforce 300-year-old ideas.
Obedience to politicians and their frequent sick desire for war has resulted in tragedy. In fact, since 1900, governments have killed 200 million of their own citizens. Isn’t that proof enough that coercive principles are ruining our ability to live in peace? Is theft (yes, taxation is theft) funding war a form of progress? How many wars and corresponding deaths have the cultures and voluntary values of Target, WalMart, Amazon, Ford, or Apple started in the last 100 years? The answer, of course, is zero.
Our culture is ready to evolve past regressive politicians and their archaic way of organizing human interaction, into a culture that voluntarism organizes. In this culture, free choice guides all social and economic interactions. Freedom will not only lead to more peace and prosperity, but a culture that evolves past politicians and embraces libertarian values will also be safer.
For the most part, what prevents another person from being violent stems from the values he or she holds. The best defense you have against another violent human being is his or her ethics. If that person rejects violence wholly, then they are guaranteed not to aggress against you.
The Myth of Rights
The hard truth that many don’t want to accept is that you don’t have rights. All the “rights” in the world won’t stop a random person from punching you in the face. Your “rights”, thus, are subject to the values of others around you.
Rights are a political construct, an idea created by politicians to make you think you need their coercive institutions to maintain your life, liberty, and property. In reality, the values of the people around you maintain cultural civility. Police, for the most part, do not prevent the actions of violent individuals. This is simply because the police are reactionary: they come after the crimes occur. It is up to culture to raise young adults who realize their family, friends, associates, and selves will all be better off when they resolve disputes with persuasion instead of coercion. Culture, not a group of bureaucrats with guns, maintains peace.
Libertarianism in the Modern Era
Libertarianism strives to embed in all people a social values system centered on respecting the humanity of others and resolving to never use coercion against others. It’s time we end our obedience to politicians and continue our cultural evolution. The best, long-term, sustainable way to maximize human happiness, peace, and prosperity is to raise the cultural ethics of society until everyone recognizes the individual and common benefits of using persuasion instead of coercion and trade instead of theft.
Understanding that people seek to be happy and that coercion decreases happiness, we all would be better off moving towards eliminating government and embracing libertarian cultural values.
So…What is Libertarianism?
Libertarianism as a social philosophy seeks to promote a culture where individuals reject all forms of coercion and hold voluntary interactions as the primary ethic which guides their relations with others. And libertarians, as people, want to progress our culture to that ethical standard.
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.