Tag: Civil Liberties

Wait, Who is Bill Weld?

John Keller | United States

William Floyd Weld was born July 31st, 1945 in Smithtown, New York. Growing up, he pursued education fiercely and graduated with a degree in classics from Harvard and a degree in economics from Oxford. Following a full time “career” in education, he turned his attention to the law. His first experience in law was as a consul to the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate. After the committee was dissolved following the impeachment and resignation of Richard Nixon, Bill Weld ran to be the Massachusetts Attorney General in 1978. Although losing, Ronald Reagan saw his talent and made him the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

A Man of Law

During his five years as a federal attorney, he launched an ongoing investigation into public corruption, most notably in the administration of Boston Mayor Kevin White. His investigation lead to the arrest of over 20 public officials, all of which plead guilty or were proven guilty in a court of law. The Boston Globe wrote, “[Weld] has been by far the most visible figure in the prosecution of financial institutions.” In his 111 cases as a federal attorney, he won 109 of them.

Due to the surprising success of Bill Weld, Ronald Reagan saw to it that he was promoted within the Justice Department. Weld became responsible for overseeing all federal prosecutions, including the cases handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). He served until 1988 when he, as well as Deputy Attorney General Arnold Burns and four aides, resigned in protest of the misconduct of Attorney General Edwin Meese. Following his resignation, he testified to Congress. Shortly following his testimony on the corruption of the Attorney General, Edwin Meese resigned.

A Republican Governor in a Liberal State

After a short hiatus from politics, Bill Weld announced his bid for the governorship of Massachusetts. Massachusetts was an overwhelmingly liberal state, as highlighted in the 1986 gubernatorial election when the Republican candidate received less than 30% of the vote. Bill Weld, however, was not the typical conservative and ran on a platform of social tolerance and fiscal responsibility – winning both the Republican vote and most moderate Democrats. He was able to win the election by a close margin of 3.25% of the vote.

In his first term, Bill Weld went to work trying to lowering taxes and unemployment. He cut taxes 21 times and brought unemployment in Massachusetts from the highest in the 11 most industrial states to the lowest; even balancing the budget. He began battling corruption in the welfare system by a work-for-welfare system – slashing welfare spending.  His reforms and administration was overwhelmingly popular and when re-election time came in 1994, Bill Weld won re-election with 70.85% of the vote; in a state where only 14% of the electorate was part of the Republican Party. Bill Weld kept his reforms going, and seeing that he had served Massachusetts so well he hoped to bring his reforms to the nation and ran for senate in 1996 against incumbent John Kerry (D).

A Libertarian Leader

Bill Weld went on a hiatus from public life and politics following the turn of the century. As the Republican Party began losing its small-government conservative values of the 20th Century, Bill Weld began losing confidence in the Republican Party. After working on the Romney for President campaign in 2012, he left the Grand Old Party (GOP) and became a Libertarian, aligning with his views of small government in the economy, the lives of the people, and in peace, whether domestic or foreign.

In 2016 he sought the Libertarian nomination for Vice President. At the convention, following Gary Johnson’s renomination for president, having formerly run in 2012, Bill Weld was elected to be the Vice Presidential Nominee; receiving the support of 441 of the 872 delegates. He entered the campaign trail alongside Gary Johnson, the former republican governor of New Mexico, who served while Bill Weld was governor of Massachusetts.

“The dragon that I’m jousting against this year is this frozen monopoly of the two parties that have frozen a lot of people’s thinking in place and they think, ‘I have to be a right-winger,’ or, ‘I have to be a left-winger.’ They’re not thinking, ‘What do I think?’” – Bill Weld, on ReasonTV (2016)

It was largely the campaigning of Bill Weld, with his clarity on issues and clean presentation in interviews, in the divisive election of 2016 that led the Libertarian ticket to poll at 12% – almost getting the ticket into the presidential and vice presidential debates. Bill Weld proved to be a warrior of freedom wielding the Javelin of Justice and Shield of Sacrifice, bringing the Libertarian Party to its greatest year ever. The future for Bill Weld is unknown, but it is known that it is bright, for so few gave so much to such a noble cause.

For his dedication to prosperity while governor, his devotion to justice as a U.S. Attorney General, and his dedication to civil liberties while the libertarian vice-presidential nominee, it is clear that Bill Weld defines what a modern day renaissance man is, and is worthy of tribute for his many accomplishments.


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The President of Brazil Proposes Arming the Population

By Thomas DiGennaro | Brazil

Brazil, since 2003, has been subject to some of the strictest gun regulations in the world, along with one of the highest murder rate in the world. To put that in a comparative perspective, the murder rate is 30.8 per 100,000 persons. Tremendously higher than the United States murder rates (less than 6 per 100,000 persons since the 1990s), despite the fact that in Brazil, owning a firearm without a license is a jail-able offense up to four years; issuing of license are limited to police, security officials, and hunters/sportsmen; and proof of residence, employment, technical and psychological capacity are all license requirements. These requirements are a part of the Disarmament Statute which took effect in 2003. There was a slight decline in Brazil’s murder rate after the passage of said legislation, but that rate continued to rise again shortly after and is still on the rise today.

Newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro ran on the platform of being tough on crime, hoping to combat the murder rates as countless politicians from every country on the face of the Earth have. However, his plan to combat crime is a tad different; make firearms more accessible to the general public. A former army paratrooper, President Bolsonaro stated in a post-election interview that being “politically correct” and disarming everyone isn’t the solution, supporting that claim with the fact that the regulations from the Disarmament Statue have not made progress towards disarming criminals. His campaign offices displayed across the front door, “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns”, the all too familiar argument American gun owners try to make their leftist counterparts privy to.

Bolsonaro’s promises have inspired hope in many, as supporters have flocked to shooting clubs to register for firearm safety and training. “I’m not going to run around the streets with a gun in my hand, but a criminal might think twice if normal citizens could be armed,” one Brazilian citizen and supporter of Bolsonaro’s proposals says. Brazilian gunmaker Taurus Armas SA stock rose almost 90% in anticipation of sales to be made during Bolsonaro’s term.

“Every honest citizen, man or woman, if they want to have a weapon in their homes should be able to have one,” says Bolsonaro, and it will certainly be interesting to see what kind of legislation is passed to relax gun laws and what effect this will have on Brazil’s murder rates.

Whatever may happen in Brazil, or anywhere else around the globe, one thing is certain: The fight for gun rights is alive and well in the United States and if we, the law-abiding, armed American citizens, properly educate our children on safety and handling, continue to keep discussion open, and do not compromise away our rights, the next generations may be armed to the teeth as well. This is all the more reason why Americans need to apply Bolsonaro’s mentality to combatting crime and gun violence.


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The Difference Between Implied and Explicit Consent

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Conflicts between ‘implied’ and ‘explicit’ consent are numerous and ongoing in the legal world, ordinary life scenarios, and the academic world. At times, the two ideas are seemingly conjoined in the contracts, words, and philosophy of various people, we even sometimes find both ideas residing within our own thoughts and speech as it pertains the very same subject or topic. It is first important to discern the differences between ‘implied’ and ‘explicit,’ and to find out where we stand on certain issues as explicitly as possible. Some of the reasons for finding our explicit thoughts is so that we can better understand our own views, possibly have our views changed for the better, or to have a firm understanding when discussing the particular topic with others so they do not get confused with our own stance.

What does ‘implied’ mean?

For something to be implied is to be implicit; that is to say, the topic, subject, or circumstance is capable of being understood from something else though unexpressed. It can also be a form of potential, where the ‘implied’ standing is involved in the nature or essence of something though not specifically revealed, expressed, or developed. This suggests that not every specification is listed, but there are some cues to indicate the establishment of the consent between two parties.

Some people will naturally confuse the subtle differences between ‘implied’ and ‘tacit.’ The difference is that to be ‘tacit’ it is expressed or carried on without words or speech, or implied or indicated as by an act or by silence but not actually expressed. A ‘tacit’ contract, for example, would be a contract established from non-verbal cues and exchanges, where ‘implied’ could have had some words of exchange.

What are some examples of ‘implied’ consent?

Examples of ‘implied’ in the legal world run amok, but a specific example is found within the US Constitution, (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18), where there are not enough examples to provide for unknown situations where Congress, according to the Constitution, may require extra powers beyond that which are specifically, i.e. explicitly, spelled out within the legal document. These are known as the “implied powers,” found under the “necessary and proper” clause of the US Constitution. This, by no means, of course, indicates that I support such a clause, rather I am merely pointing out its place within current legal context; and, of course, there are difficulties in comparing this “contract” with private contracts between two tangible, voluntary, free, parties, as opposed to a “contract” set long before our birth without our ability to explicitly consent or negotiate, etc. By merely being a citizen of the US, or arguably even within the US, people are said to be implicitly empowering Congress to act accordingly to fulfill both their explicitly stated powers and their implied, “necessary and proper,” powers.

In the ordinary world of daily life, implied consent can be seen in our ordinary interactions with our friends and loved ones. Such an example may be our exclusivity to joke about certain things, kiss or touch, or being a friend that is able to talk about anything under the sun with, depending on your various relationships with these people. Of course, it would also depend on whether explicit statements have been made to determine certain circumstances or behaviors. Nevertheless, our ordinary and ongoing interactions continue to perpetuate the implied understanding of that relationship between you and the other person.

In the academic world, such as that of political science or philosophy, there are certain implied thoughts and viewpoints that every author and speaker will provide throughout their particular or general work. An example of implied “consent” may be more difficult to find as a general statement, but ‘implied’ thoughts are normal. Some writers in politics or philosophy will align their views with other well-known figures, and the author will continuously hone in on the particular characteristics of that other writer or philosopher and their respective ideas.

 

What does ‘explicit’ mean?

To be ‘explicit’ means to be fully revealed or expressed without vagueness, implication, or ambiguity, leaving no question as to meaning or intent. ‘Explicit’ is to also be fully developed or formulated, which is why we should continuously push our ideas in order to have them fully developed while ridding ourselves of contradictions, doubts, or inconsistencies.

What are some examples of ‘explicit’ consent?

It is much easier to find examples of ‘explicit’ consent in the world, as they are clearly stated and specified. For example, when people get married, they specify their conditions and with whom. In law, ‘explicit’ consent is found in contract law (K) when terms are specified in the mutual agreement. In politics, much like that of contract law, there are specified conditions. Although, the political world can also be much murkier and fogged by other circumstances making it easier to change later for the good, but mostly for the worse, as history has shown over and over.

How can there be conflicts between ‘implied’ and ‘explicit’ consent, or other variants of the two terms?

One of the most common ways that ‘implied’ and ‘explicit’ get convoluted is when they are in direct conflict with one another. For example, a philosopher may explicitly state that they do not believe in one thing, but their entire work reflects that they, indeed, do ‘implicitly’ support what they are explicitly saying they are against. For example, a philosopher, such as Kant, has stated that his ideas are not subjective, and yet much of what he stated throughout his work was, in fact, subjective to the person living their life (Metaphysics of Morals). Another example is that of French Socialist economist, Thomas Piketty, who specified that he was not a Marxist and in no way supporting Communist rhetoric, yet throughout his work, even in his title, he is espousing Marxist ideology and economic philosophy (Capital in the Twenty-First Century).

Throughout history, this has also occurred, especially under the guise of government. For example, when a politician will ‘explicitly’ say they are not attempting to remove Civil Liberties, but every policy they sign ‘implicitly’ removes Civil Liberties. This has been an ongoing issue throughout politics and history around the world, and specifically throughout US history from its very inception.

What can we do?

The best solution is to first start with our own core beliefs while assessing what is valuable to our standing in the world. If you are truly against theft, murder, rape, molestation, coercion, etc. as I am, analyze all aspects of your beliefs and understanding of the world to purge any contradictory beliefs to those core values. This is all subjective to the person, yes. However, I solemnly believe most people believe these things to be wrong and the antithesis to Liberty and to a purely prosperous life filled with genuine love for fellow humans. Perhaps I am still putting more faith in humanity than I should, but I am confident that putting total control into the hands of a few so-called “elite” is much more dangerous.

Do more to read and think critically about the world around you, the philosophy you read, the statistics presented to you, and be critical of the continued destructive path of more laws. Find ways to solve social and political issues through free and voluntary means, as opposed to force and coercion. Once we have sought our own non-contradictory understanding of how the world is and how it ought to be, we can move forward in our own lives and hope to provide a positive influence on those around us as we continue to help one another.


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The Case for Liberty – Phil Anderson for WI

By John Keller | United States

Dodge County, a rural bastion in Wisconsin, is in a desperate position following increasing control from Madison. Whereas the inner cities have been struggling under the Walker Administration, rural Wisconsin has begun to suffer in ways they haven’t since the market crash of 2008.

In the last fiscal year, Dodge County had a proposed budget of $111,693,552, an 11.39% increase from 2013. A property tax rate of 5.6% is the average in Dodge County. But the main source of income for the Dodge County government, the property tax, brings in only $33,281,315. So, other taxes and revenue sources had to cover $78,412,237 of appropriations in the county. The reason for such an imbalance is unfunded mandates.

As of mid-July, there are 99 unfunded mandates and restrictions on how local counties can govern from the Walker Administration. Essentially, this means there are 99 instances in which Scott Walker is telling the county how to run itself and how to spend your money, without paying for it with the state’s taxpayer funds. This leads to budget imbalance and growing debt at the local level.

Phil Anderson: A Solution

Phil Anderson offers a different option. Running for governor in 2018, he is campaigning to increase local control. He stated in his platform, “Local municipalities, counties, and school boards ought to be as free as possible to pursue the priorities of their communities without interference from the State. State regulation ought to be limited to those things that only the State should do. All unfunded mandates should be eliminated.”

There is only one candidate that wants change the way Wisconsin runs so that local governments can run their own affairs. He is running to find local, common sense solutions for local problems, not statewide, bureaucratic decisions. In order to keep your money in your pocket and allow Dodge County, and all of Wisconsin. to spend less, vote Phil Anderson for Governor.


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Libertarians and Neo-Progressives Aren’t That Different (Part 2)

By Francis Folz | United States

Last week, I examined how libertarians and neo-progressives share common roots that run as deep as the anti-war movement in the 1960’s. Considering how libertarians and progressives have found common ground in the past, is it any wonder that libertarians and progressives find themselves together on so many present issues? After all, former Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson once stated he found common ground with unabashed social democrat Bernie Sanders close to 70% of the time.

I believe one reason why it is quite prevalent to find common ground between libertarians and “democratic socialists” is because both sides share similar sentiments. At their cores, there is a sincere passion to uplift as many fellow citizens as possible and to achieve peace. It is often the means by which both sides believe it is best to achieve their underlying, intended goals that diverges the ideologies.

Although progressives advocate for a single-payer, authoritarian health care system, libertarians and progressives tend to agree that health care is too expensive and there are some common sense, capitalist ways to make health care more affordable. Both sides tend to agree on removing some of our costly, crony regulations, like the prohibition on purchasing drugs from other countries or the inability to buy insurance plans across state lines.

Progressives and libertarians also find themselves sharing opposition to America’s neocon foreign policy. Both sides acknowledge America’s foreign policy is often made up of expensive mistakes that only benefit the military industrial complex. Although progressives favor participation in multi-national organizations like NATO and the U.N. to achieve peace, both groups prefer a more humble approach to American interventions. 

Both groups also champion civil liberties and civil rights, although how they are addressed sometimes differs. In regards to civil rights, neo-progressives tend to have collectivist mindsets and indulge in identity politics. This contrasts tremendously with libertarians who believe in liberalism and in empowering everyone via individualism. Bernie’s supporters, however, join forces with libertarians in defense of civil liberties. This includes our universal right to privacy and the defense of human rights activists like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.

The size and scope of government is often where libertarians and Sanders-democrats digress from each other the most. Although both groups promote personal freedom and responsibility, especially in regards to reproductive care and drug usage, neo-progressives contradict those sentiments by bolstering gun control. In some cases, they even limit free speech. Whereas libertarians view government as a necessary evil that must be limited and restrained, neo-progressives believe the government’s role must be very robust in order to accomplish all desired outcomes.

I genuinely believe the hearts of today’s “democratic socialists” are in the right place. However, the majority of their “solutions” require a large, controlling state which makes countless decisions for the citizenry via regulations. I don’t question the intentions of those who fight for $15 an hour. After all, with the high costs of living, in part the fault of poor monetary policy, who can live off of $7.25 (less after taxes) an hour? However, neo-progressives fail to see how large corporations laud the prospects of running locally owned companies out of business through the consequential high prices and labor costs. 

Socialism means well. After all, the intended goal of democratic socialists is to elevate the poor and the middle class. However, in practice, socialism never succeeds because humans are inherently greedy, especially when entrusted with resources, influence, and power. Our founding fathers recognized that corrupt attribute of humanity. Therefore, they constituted a liberal government, limited by the citizenry, the states, and the judicial system. It is time we find common ground with one another and work together towards restoring liberty and prosperity.


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