If we could solve our problems with the click of a button, our internet-crazed world would have done so years ago. Clearly, it’s a lot more complicated than that, but it hasn’t stopped everyone from trying. From sending thoughts to shooting victims to sharing a picture in order to plant a tree, the world has consistently tried to improve itself via social media campaigns. The problem is, a retweet or like requires no work. Unfortunately, global change does.
Americans generally like to think that they select their leaders with fairly clear minds. Yet, convincing evidence suggests that the opposite is true. In fact, a recent study suggests that voters punish and reward politicians for things as trivial as sports games.
Sanders Jett-Folk | United States
72-year-old cybersecurity legend John McAfee started off his new year with a barrage of posts on Twitter, covering topics such as the Bitcoin bear market, Pacific Islanders’ having intercourse with whales, and, yes, a 2020 Presidential campaign. However, this time around, McAfee’s campaign, in which he is running for the Libertarian nomination, comes with one odd circumstance; he does not want anyone to vote for him.
So, Why Is John McAfee Running?
McAfee’s Presidential campaign platform, according to his campaign website, is based on one sole idea: “…How do we free ourselves from a government that no longer serves us, but instead has become our master – controlling our every action, down to the detail of what we may or may not put into our bodies and minds.” His platform consists only of four brief paragraphs. They state that we cannot solve issues like immigration, education and foreign affairs until the people are free. He infers that because our government hides information from us, we do not know the true state of national issues. On the contrary, we only will be able to know when the size and scope of government are much smaller.
Despite this plea for freedom, his campaign slogan is simply “Don’t Vote McAfee”. In another tweet, McAfee stated that he plans to use his platform to promote personal freedom and cryptocurrency. However, he does “not want the job.”
Helping the Campaign
His campaign website also gives examples of how supporters can help his campaign. For example, interested people can volunteer, contact media outlets, form a Political Action Committee (PAC) and donate money. He moreover encourages supporters to spread the word via social media, calling it the “single most consulted data source for determining audience size and engagement in our modern world”. To show the power of social media, he started a meme contest. he personally pledged to give the creator of the best McAfee 2020 meme one Bitcoin.
McAfee’s campaign has already hit a roadblock in its first few weeks. He, along with his wife Janice and four campaign staffers, has been charged with an “unspecified” felony regarding his use of cryptocurrencies. In a video he posted Tuesday on Twitter, he stated that he is running his campaign “in exile” from a boat.
Not His First Rodeo
John McAfee previously ran a powerhouse campaign for the Libertarian nomination in the 2016 election. Initially, he had announced his candidacy under the banner of his own Cyber Party.
McAfee gained notoriety among Libertarians, not only for his strict philosophies of personal freedom and limited-as-possible government but also his bold speaking. For example, in a Google Hangouts debate, fellow candidate Austin Petersen attacked McAfee for being a “former drug dealer”. McAfee doubled down, encouraging Petersen to take a hit of acid, telling him it would “change your life.”
McAfee also made waves in the Libertarian Party by refusing to endorse the party’s nominee, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. He expressed his disdain with Johnson’s supposed willingness to compromise on issues such as gun control. Overall, McAfee labeled Johnson as “Libertarian in name only.”
In the end, John McAfee received the second-highest percentage of the vote in the party’s six primary elections. At the Libertarian National Convention, he placed third with 14.1% of the delegates.
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By Ryan Lau | @agorisms
Since the founding of America, countless individuals have used the doctrine of classical liberalism to define the American way. More often than not, this leans towards ideas such as limited government and a protection of natural rights. After all, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is one of the most well-known phrases in the Declaration of Independence.
Since 1776, politicians have uttered the words as a call to action for the people. After all, the protection of these three critical rights is what sets the United States apart from the rest of the world, right? In the modern day, the usage has shifted slightly: more advocates of limited government use the phrase as a rallying cry, hoping to return to an age of freer markets and freer people. However, everything about the expression is simply a lie. The very idea of a government that naturally limits itself to these basic functions is simply impossible.
Negative Rights vs Positive Rights
First and foremost, what sets limited government and classical liberalism apart from other modes of government is a belief in negative rights. Basically, this means that the people only have protection against other people harming them. The right to life does not mean that a sick person can demand free medicine. Instead, it merely means that someone else cannot kill him against his will.
The same idea follows for liberty and property. An individual may act freely, as long as his actions do not prevent another person from also acting freely. Driving over the speed limit, for example, is an act of liberty. But, as soon as that driver hits another car, he has damaged the other person’s property. If he inflicts injury or death, he also has, of course, taken away that person’s negative right to life and liberty. To summarize, the idea of negative rights suggests that individuals have rights to their lives, liberties, and property, but only insofar as that right does not prevent another from also owning their own lives, liberties, and property. To each his own.
Positive rights, on the other hand, require the use of force against another person to bring about. So, a positive right to life would create an obligation for others to defend the life of an individual. If someone was sick, for example, he would, under a positive protection of life, be entitled to any medicine that may aid or cure him. In terms of property, a person may be entitled to a house, even if it means someone else must buy and build it.
The Classical Liberal Viewpoint
Of course, the classical liberal viewpoint is one that rejects positive rights. A number of practical reasons exist for such a dismissal. In the event of life, for example, let us imagine that same sick patient. A doctor may be able to find a cure if he labors for a thousand hours and abandons all other work. However, this doctor is also a mother. By fulfilling the positive right to her patient’s life, she may not be able to fulfill her duties as a mother. Moreover, she may have multiple patients with different needs, each requiring full attention. She cannot feasibly fulfill her obligation to every person involved, but cannot realistically be at fault. So, the classical liberal argues, there is an obligation to protect rights negatively, but not positively, as such creates unjust duress on the individuals doing the protecting.
The Fallacy of Negative Rights
Clearly, a government cannot adequately or justifiably protect positive rights. In reality, though, the same is true about negative rights, too, especially in a democracy. What breaks the soundness of the argument? Two things: taxation and voting.
On a surface level, a government can claim to only protect negative rights. Specifically, what comes to mind is the minimalist state. As many limited government advocates have outlined, such a government would only control the police, military, and courts. Yet, it appears that this notion cannot come true without taking from others. All of these organizations require the tax dollar, and this, of course, comes from the people, who may or may not have consented to give up a portion of their income. Regardless, the second that the government forces the money from the people, it becomes a positive right. Thus, a limited government cannot truly protect only negative rights: taxation turns this on its head.
A Vote for Change?
In a functioning democracy or republic, many citizens vote, either for laws or representatives. Yet, it is clear that the vote itself is also an example of a positive right. When a citizen votes in an election, he or she is exercising power, albeit small, over the electorate in order to influence political affairs. In other words, they are telling the government to use its force over other people.
Negative rights do not change. They always include, exclusively, the right to life, liberty, and property. So, if a society was to truly protect only these rights, there would be no need for a figurehead. After all, if nothing is to change, why should someone have the power to make changes? If a society ever was to only guard negative rights, any change in policy or executive order must necessarily be a violation of these rights. The only things a government could justifiably do is determine the salaries of its troops and judges, and carry out other business matters.
Theoretically, we could vote on these matters. But, as long as taxation was the end result to obtain them, the majority is still inflicting its will on the minority. If one person does not consent to the collection, then it becomes unjust. Alternatively, the collection of funds could be entirely voluntary, through donations. But, at this point, it is no longer a state, as it is neither coercive nor compulsory.
A Logical Impossibility
Thus, the notions of classical liberalism and limited government appear to be at odds with the principles they claim to safeguard. The logic works in a bit of a circle. In order to protect these rights, the limited government must become no government at all. But, by becoming no government at all, it no longer has the power to safeguard these negative rights.
Therefore, a government cannot both exist and solely protect negative rights. Every action is ultimately some form of force, whether it comes from voting or taxation. Even in the early days of the United States, citizens voted on which figures could use power over others. Eventually, these figures levied higher and higher taxes, increasing the coercion. The world’s great thought experiment has failed, and it is clear that a government cannot exist to guard negative rights. Only through the absence of government can a society exist without widespread force.
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About a month ago, the United States government, under President Donald J. Trump, sent in drone strikes to Yemen. Rather than hitting the alleged terrorists, the Lockheed-Martin bomb came in contact with a school bus, taking young children to summer camp. The Yemeni youth did not make it to summer camp, and will not make it anywhere else again. This has occurred time and time again, under Presidents Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, and many more.
In our alleged post-racial society, 3 of 5 African American men who drop out of high school will end up in a prison. As redlining cripples American neighbors of abject poverty, the United States government, under Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, mandates that these children go to the poorest schools, ensuring they remain on these streets and see no social mobility. This has occurred time and time again. under the regimes of Presidents Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, and many more.
Across the country, innocent figures like Ross Ulbricht spend their lives in prison, not for harming anyone, but for refusing to abide by the government’s coercive rules. With the highest incarceration rates in the world, hundreds of thousands sit in prison for peaceful consumption of a plant. Many others sit indefinitely for infinitely more nonviolent crimes. Some even have no crime except resisting arrest. This is unacceptable action at the hands of the United States government.
As citizens of the United States government, we reserve the right not to accept these acts of brutality. We oppose them in thought, but our votes go unheard. Such is the nature of a democracy. Those who can deceive and appeal rise to the top, while those with honesty and respect for our fellow Americans fall to the bottom. Fortunately, though, there is another way.
In order to function in a way that allows it to bring violence upon us all, the United States government needs three things: money, bodies, and minds. It collects the first via taxation, which currently, is too difficult for most people to evade. It gathers the second through the draft, which many may courageously avoid, but this is not as frequent an issue. What does this leave? The minds.
Politicians get stronger with your votes. By choosing a candidate, you agree, by law, to support the winner of the election. Voting for high morals, then, is not useful, when you are forced to accept immorality upon its favorable outcome. So take a stand. Without politicians, there is no violence. The state cannot act without figureheads. By not running for office, and not supporting anyone running for office, you are the change you may hope to see in the world.
This is no simple task and requires a lot of diligent work. But begin with yourself, and expand outward. Convince your family against pursuing a political career. Then move on to your street and neighborhood and town. If one thousand of you can convince three people per year, and each of those three people can do the same, we will have a crowd of 59,000,000 proud citizens, all refusing to stand for violence, in just one decade.
Perhaps, then, we may see a number of towns with nobody desiring to run for the board of education, or planning and zoning, or even mayor. Thus, the decentralization process begins. From the small town, we expand to the city, and with success, we wonder why the process does not occur with the state. With success at the state level, we may, once and for all, bring an end to the destructive actions of the United States government. Without popular support, it is nothing.
The action begins with you. Become an origin point for and a beacon of peace. Spread the message of free will and autonomy. Be the change you want to see in the world. Help end the destructive actions of the state and usher in a new paradigm of love, trust, respect, and unity. Your task is simple: do not run for office, and do not vote. Pledge yourself to the highest possible moral standards. Do not enable those whose every action is to bring harm, in some way, whether through seizure of earned money, seizure of person from property, or even lawful but very much immoral killings.
With just one signatory, the process begins. With 1,000 signatories, it will move as many times as quickly. Without your action, the United States government may act violently across the globe for another day. With it, you sow the seeds of peace. Set yourself in order, and then your family. We as American citizens have a duty to make the world a better place. We have a duty to usher in a wave of change, one beautiful individual at a time. The peace and love of the world are in your hands. Embrace it, and let it grow.
The petition to starve the state of minds by not running for office or voting is available here.
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