With the 2020 election approaching fast, many Americans are thinking about how they will vote at the polls. This election cycle consists of intense interest, most of which is well deserved. The election will be a hotly contested one. Many dislike the Trump administration but can’t seem to find a replacement for him outside of the Democratic Party. However, the Presidential election should not block out another important issue: the reallocating of the 435 Congressional seats in the House of Representatives between the fifty states and the subsequent redistricting of said seats.
By James Sweet III | United States
The libertarian movement is one that encompasses a wide variety of ideologies. Whether you believe in communal ownership of property or the virtue of selfishness, you can still advocate for the center of governance to be more local than it currently is. Yet, a select group of libertarians refuses to believe this, seeing libertarianism as an “inherently” right-wing ideology. This group often holds traditionalist values and sees any left-leaning libertarian as a walking contradiction. They may also see these “hypocrites” as degenerate due to not emphasizing morals and values over the will of humans. How can one claim to be a libertarian when their primary goal is not to free the people, but to encase them in a narrow mindset with no respect for opposing cultures and views?
What’s an Ultra-Conservative Libertarian?
An ultra-conservative “libertarian” differs from a libertarian with a conservative lifestyle in the aspect that an ultra-conservative “libertarian” sees their morals and policies as one and the same. A libertarian with a conservative lifestyle believes their lifestyle is preferable to others but does not allow it to get in the way of furthering the movement of letting an individual decide their own life. For example, an ultra-conservative “libertarian” sees drugs and pornography as degenerative and that a libertarian society could not exist without these things being discouraged. A libertarian with a conservative lifestyle would refrain from engaging in this degenerative society but sees a libertarian society possible if some of their fellow individuals still decide to engage in this behavior. This distinction is essential, as I see myself as a libertarian with a traditionalist-leaning lifestyle. In no way do I see morality as a negative thing to hold close. Rather, having a strong set of morals is a good way to define one’s self.
Does Left-Wing Libertarianism Exist?
A prominent criticism of organizations like the Libertarian Party is that they allow libertarian socialists to be a part of the party. Ultra-conservative “libertarians” criticize the existence of this group, seeing them as detrimental to the existence of both the party and the liberty movement as a whole. They criticize the “degenerative” aspects of libertarian socialism, despite these “degenerative” tendencies actually being rooted in immature behavior or the lack of formality. This can exist in any person and is not reserved for libertarian socialists. The stripping of James Weeks on the stage of the Libertarian Party National Convention is often cited as an example of this “degenerative libertarian socialist behavior.”
One can be a libertarian socialist, but to understand how, one must look beyond the ideological label. If one believes in the use of government force as a way to achieve libertarian socialism, then the likelihood of them truly being a libertarian has hit the floor. If one is a disciple of Noam Chomsky or other like-minded individuals and sees the tyranny of both the state and corporations as something that should be thrown away, then it is likely that you are a libertarian socialist. Noam Chomsky sees the views of Adam Smith as more egalitarian than what the typical American libertarian would believe. According to his interpretation of Adam Smith’s works (like The Wealth of Nations), a man should not subjugate himself to unjust authority in the form of the government and the corporations that exploit the value of a human. He argues that equality could exist under completely free markets and absolute liberty, but yet he differs from the typical laissez-faire capitalist. Chomsky argues that modern-day corporations go against libertarian values, as those in charge will hold on to their wealth and power similar to the way corrupt politicians do.
There is much more to libertarian socialism than what I just described, and I will admit that I have not read libertarian socialist literature. Yet, from what Noam Chomsky has said, it is rational to infer that the difference between a libertarian socialist and a right-wing libertarian is the enemy they see in society. A right-wing libertarian sees the state as the most corrupt institution that exists and should be restrained as much as possible in an attempt to minimize its influence in the lives of the individual. A libertarian socialist might agree with this but believes the state is not alone in its faults. A libertarian socialist, for the reason stated previously, believes that the 21st-century corporation is at fault for many problems as well and that they should not be spared from criticism. Yet, both libertarian socialists and right-wing libertarians want to reduce the power of the state, and they split when it comes to what they do once the state is reduced or abolished. Do they rely on corporations, or do they rely on voluntary, communal sharing of goods under a free and equal market that is unobstructed by the corruption of suits and ties?
Libertarian socialists, like Noam Chomsky himself, can still oppose engaging in unnecessary foreign conflicts, as well as call for the end of the Federal Reserve, War on Drugs, and market regulations. They can even call themselves conservative, as Chomsky himself did. So why do ultra-conservative “libertarians” deny the legitimacy of this group despite not having an ideological split with them until far down the road, when the government is heavily reduced or flat out abolished?
The Tyranny of the Mind
The mind of a human is one’s greatest ally but can also serve as the silent, unknown enemy. We think with our mind, and our decisions arise from there. Ultra-conservative “libertarians”, whether knowingly or not, want to control the minds of others. This form of tyranny is worse than both the state and the corporations combined, as they wish to change the course of an individual’s life that was already chosen by themselves. The higher authority, the Big Brother, is not a man or woman, but rather the ideas that the ultra-conservative relies upon. By influencing the morality and attempting to control the actions of a conscious, is one not engaging in tyranny? Can one truly consent to have their beliefs and opinions changed by another man’s personal principles? Listening and deciding to change your ways through civil discussion is not what I am describing here. The constant ridicule and discrediting of opposing ideas by ultra-conservative “libertarians” is what I am arguing against, as breaking down another man’s brain and building it up with your own beliefs is not freedom. It is the most dangerous form of tyranny that has existed on this planet. A libertarian does not enforce their ideas on another person, whether through the state, corporations, or the breakdown of the mind.
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By Ian Brzeski | United States
Post Malone is a rapper, singer, and songwriter who recently blew up in the past few years. His song “Rockstar,” released in 2017, marked his first number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 as a solo artist. The song is considered his most successful song, but he also has numerous other songs that have been just as successful, such as “Congratulations” or “Psycho.” The album which “Rockstar” featured in, “Beerbongs & Bentleys,” broke several records on its way to the Billboard 200 and went platinum in just four days after the album’s release which is a massive achievement in the world of music.
Despite Post Malone being on record that he supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election, the gun-loving government skeptic makes it reasonably safe to say that he is a libertarian. During his time in Canada, he sat down for an interview. The interview was light-hearted in the sense that the questions were about his favorite video games or his plans for the future. However, when asked about what the biggest lie in the world was he said, “The biggest lie in the world the U.S. government.” He does not believe that the government is the same as it used to be in the sense that it is not about freedom anymore and that it has become some massive reality show. The questioning of the government in the way portrayed by Post Malone here really encapsulates the libertarian view on the role of government.
He also believes that the United States government killed president John F. Kennedy for telling the truth. He reasons that just days before Kennedy died, Kennedy had a grand speech explaining how our government focuses solely on being corrupt instead of going around trying to find the truth in all things. Post, who has a JFK tattoo on his arm, is a big fan of his and states that he was “the only President to speak out against the crazy corruption stuff that’s going on in our government nowadays.”
Although he says how the United States government is practically a giant screw-up, he has not once said where he exactly falls on the political spectrum. He did go on to say that he did support Bernie Sanders for president as he was “the realest one.” It is interesting that a man with such a distrust of the United States government would be an advocate for Bernie, as his policies suggest a stronger and more powerful government. One could infer that the reason as to why he would support Bernie is not because of his policies but because he believed that he cared about the country and wanted the best for the people of the United States, unlike Trump and Clinton.
In another interview after the election, he stated that he would not mind performing at Donald Trump’s inauguration for a fixed amount of money despite not supporting Trump and not voting in the election at all. Because he said this, he got much hate from the fans and later said that he was kidding. However, he still didn’t understand why he got so much stick for saying that. He feels that at the end of the day he would just be doing the same job he has always been doing regardless of he was to perform at Trump’s inauguration or any other venue or concert.
“If I do his show, does that mean I’m a supporter of him?” -Post Malone
To answer the question as to why he did not vote in the presidential election is that he feels our votes do not count and are just suggestions to the electoral college. According to Malone, the Electoral College could practically vote for whomever they want, and there is nothing that we [the people] can do about it. It is unclear to say if Post would have voted for Bernie if Bernie did win the primary, but it is safe to say that he would have supported and backed him throughout the entirety of the election process.
On the issue of guns, Post Malone is entirely pro 2nd amendment. He believes that it is an American’s right to own a gun and he is indeed taking advantage of that right. He owns:
- an M14 – used by the Navy SEALs
- “James Bond’s gun.”
- a .44 Desert Eagle hand cannon
- an M1911 pistol
- two gold-plated Glocks -used for decoration, not for shooting
- a Cobalt AR-15 -modified to pass California regulations, his most prized possession
- a pump-action Mossberg shotgun -“great for home defense.”
- an FN Five-Seven pistol with a laser sight -to disorient home invaders
- a Glock 19
He has these because “They’re fun, they’re practical, and bad sh*t happens. If you hurt me, I’m gonna hurt you back.” He has a lot of valuable items, and he wants to protect those along with his friends and family. He acknowledges that it is dreadful that people have to be fearful of going to a concert, but he maintains that there will always be sick people, and if they want to go shoot-up a concert, then they will get the weapons necessary to shoot-up that concert no matter what. He also admits that he does not have all the solutions went it comes to these horrible mass shootings, but that he just believes in what he thinks is right.
“The world is going to shit. They’re taking away a lot of our rights.” -Post Malone
This quote suggests that Post believes we are continuously falling deeper into a tyrannical state, which is another reason as to why he maintains the right to bear arms is just as a necessity now as it ever was. He does not believe that Trump is solely the reason as to why we are going deeper into a tyrannical state, but that there is a much bigger problem going on behind the scenes of our government. Post thinks that the worst of the United States government is yet to come and that it is going to arise after Trump.
From his extensive gun collection to his complete and intrinsic distrust of the government, Post Malone could be a man easily converted to the libertarian movement.
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By Joshua D. Glawson | United States
Throughout the political world, a lack of integrity is often fostered for particular party agendas and cronyism more than for the actual, or even perceived, betterment of their respective constituents. These ethical inconsistencies tend to serve companies via cronyism and coercive monopolies, fill the pockets of politicians, get politicians reelected, and help to raise more funding for the political parties-but they can also harm other people. Rather than staying true to a principled ideology such as a Non-Aggression Principle, many politicians do what is seen as best for themselves and those they work closely with rather than the people the politician is meant to be “working for.”
Just What Is Political Integrity?
‘Integrity’ is touted as a value everyone should have, especially a good politician, if they even exist. For some reason, the word ‘integrity’ has shifted in meaning to something more of a strong moral uprightness that never sways from its subjective stance. We typically say that someone has integrity when they tell the truth about something even when it could hurt them, or when someone treats everyone with respect and dignity. Is this correct?
The word ‘integrity’ originates from the Latin word ‘integritatem’ meaning “soundness, wholeness, completeness,” and figuratively it means “purity, correctness, and/or blamelessness.” However, there is more to the word than simply being whole, or pure, in only a circumstance or two, it suggests that the person is consistently integral. In this sense, when someone is consistent, they are said to be standing firm after taking a position, while not ceasing or bending. The word ‘integrity’ has the same core meaning as ‘integer,’ meaning “intact, whole, and/or complete,” while figuratively it means “untainted, and/or upright.”
A Need for Consistency
Therefore, in order to have integrity, one must be consistent in their actions, not compartmentalized or fractioned, while appealing to a higher, nobler, moral standard or ethic. A person with integrity acts in respect to these principles equally throughout their personal life with everyone. So, can a politician have integrity?
In short, yes, a politician can have integrity, but it is much more difficult than what the mass public would like to impart. For a politician to be integral, they must be consistent in their higher moral or ethical stance and not differentiate or sway on that standing depending on the situation. Unfortunately, many people who claim the title of being politically-minded, whether layman or politician, will vary on their so-called principled stance depending on the situation they find themselves in.
Uncommon in American Politics
For example, an American politician will go to great lengths when speaking out against innocent lives being lost within the US, but when it comes to other deaths in other countries they remain silent. Better yet, many help to pass bills that just further the military complex. The same figurative politician may even explicitly state that they do not believe in war or the military industrial complex, while simultaneously implicitly helping to pass bills that provide more benefits for soldiers and military personnel, which in turn incentivizes perpetual growth of the military and the supposedly disdained war hawk behavior.
Even more commonly, the same politician will speak against theft between citizens, yet also advocate for government laws that coerce businesses and individuals, in general, to give to others as a form of “redistribution,” making it plunder of the highest degree. In each of these, the politician is not being consistent in their self-professed ideology, thusly contradicting and fractioned, making the politician lack integrity.
A Universal Ideal
Of course, the concept of ‘integrity’ applies to all people within each of our lives, not just in politics. The best way to self-assess whether you are being integral is to not only consider the consequences of your actions, but also the process by which you came to the consequence. It is also beneficial to discuss your ideologies and philosophy with others that can challenge or help to strengthen your understanding. Consider these ideas and ask yourself the following:
- Am I harming or threatening to harm myself or others with my actions?
- Do I appeal to a moral or ethical standard that does not infringe on the negative rights of others?
- Am I consistent in how I treat people in a moral or ethical manner?
- Do I act completely different around various people in order for them to like me, approve of me, or to not witness my alternate characteristics?
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By Indri Schaelicke | United States
A petition to grant clemency to Ross Ulbricht has reached over 43,000 Signatures on Change.org. Reaching the petition’s goal of 50,000 signatures could be a key step towards a pardon from Trump himself. But just who is Ross Ulbricht, and what is his story?