Tag: corruption

An Ultra-Conservative Libertarian is No Libertarian at All

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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Post Malone- Unlikely Libertarian Figure?​

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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Does Political Integrity Exist in American Politics?

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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Petition to Free Ross Ulbricht Reaches 43,000 Signatures

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?

Ross Ulbricht is a 34 year old Austin, Texas native. Also known as Dread Pirate Roberts, he is currently serving a double life sentence for non-violent crimes relating to his owning and operating of a dark web marketplace known as the Silk Road. The website offered users anonymity by using the software Tor and making transactions in Bitcoin. Many used it for drug purchases and other illicit activities. Its anonymous nature allowed users to evade law enforcement.

The Case

Ross Ulbricht was apprehended at San Francisco Public Library on October 1st, 2013 in San Francisco. He was tried by a grand jury and found guilty on May 29th, 2015.

Ulbricht was charged with money laundering, computer hacking, conspiracy to traffic narcotics, and procuring murder. The charge of procuring murder was removed from the indictment, but the evidence was considered in Ulbricht’s sentencing. The judge presiding over the case, Judge Katherine Forrest, said she would give Ross “the severest sentence possible.” She did just that, sentencing him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Subsequent Outrage

Much of the outrage over the sentencing of Ross Ulbricht comes from the perceived corruption and prosecutorial misconduct in the case. The official website of Ross Ulbricht’s family claims several abuses and violations occurred during the investigation and trial, including:

If true, these allegations would raise serious questions about how fair the trial was.

Further outrage comes at the fact that the FBI has not revealed how they were able to penetrate the Tor software that Ulbricht used. This has led to suspicion and many conspiracy theories. While the FBI has made several claims about how they were able to break through the Tor barrier, several experts have debunked their explanations.

The sentencing of Ross Ulbricht sets a great precedent in that government may find the desire for privacy akin with an intent to commit crimes. During the trial, the prosecutors argued exactly that point. If courts rely upon this precedent, it could lead to the swift and large-scale erosion of liberty.

Libertarian’s biggest beef with this ruling is that Ross Ulbricht was punished for illegal activities perpetrated by others. They believe that he was simply hosting an internet website and a platform for anonymous transactions. Ulbricht’s supporters maintain that he should not be held accountable for the illicit transactions done by others.

Support for Ross Ulbricht

Ulbricht’s case has received large scale support from the National Lawyers Guild, American Black Cross, Reason Foundation, Drug Policy Alliance, and Downsize DC Foundation.  All filed amicus curiae briefs in support of Ross’s case before people petitioned the Supreme Court to hear it.

The Libertarian Party, which has expressed support for Ross Ulbricht, is also giving the case attention. Following calls to “Free Ross Ulbricht” at their national convention, the LP urged members to sign the petition on Change.org.

Moreover, John McAfee come out in support of Ulbricht, penning a blog article in which he discusses at length the need for privacy.

Libertarian groups Young Americans for Liberty and the Cato Institute have also come out in support of Ulbricht.

Recent Developments

On 20 July 2018, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, Robert K. Hur, dismissed the murder-for-hire charges, seeing as Ulbricht’s petition to have his case heard by the Supreme Court of the United States was denied.

Ulbricht also recently became active on Twitter on July 19, 2018. With the help of his mom and friends, he is able to connect with his supporters from inside his prison cell.

Most recently, however, a petition on Change.org started by Ross Ulbricht’s mother, which seeks a presidential pardon for her son, has reached over 43,000 signatures. If it continues to have such widespread support, the Trump administration will be likely to look more closely. If you would like to help Ross in this fight, please sign the petition, which can be found here.


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GlobaLeaks: The Software Enabling Secure and Anonymous Whistleblowing Initiatives

By Owen Heimsoth | USA

A whistleblower is defined as “a person who exposes any kind of information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within an organization that is either private or public.”

Whistleblowing is pretty much illegal in the USA, but GlobaLeaks want to protect those who would like to leak the information they have.

The purpose is to bring together thousands of home computers together into one leaking network, allowing for anyone to come to the table and share any information they may have quickly and anonymously. They use Tor Hidden Sources to ensure the user is anonymous and Tor2Web to reach the public internet.

Once somebody submits information, it is encrypted using PGP and it is sent out to those meant to receive it. The information is immediately deleted from the GlobaLeaks platform after this takes place.

GlobaLeaks was developed by Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights and released in September 2011. They call themselves “a worldwide distributed leak amplification network.” There are six creators behind the software, all of them are based in Italy and the Netherlands.

Fabio Pietrosanti, a GlobaLeaks spokesperson, said in a Forbes interview that “GlobaLeaks doesn’t have any central point of failure so it may be less vulnerable to cyber and legal attacks that WikiLeaks has faced.”

The Hermes Center website says, “Our mission is to promote and develop in the society the awareness of and the attention to transparency and accountability, be they related to the society-at-large or not. Our goal is to increase the citizens’ involvement in the management of matters of public interest and to boost the active participation of workers and employees to the correct management of corporations and companies they work for.”


Image from Globaleaks.