Tag: Featured

Drug Prohibition is Not the Government’s Responsibility

By Andrew Lepore | United States

Drug prohibition is the attempt to do the impossible through the mechanism of violence. Drug prohibition is The attempt to quell the vices passions of man do the iron fist of the state. The Tyranny of the drug war has Ruined millions of lives, torn apart families, destroyed communities, built the largest prison population in human history, and in the process, cost taxpayers billions.

Despite its inefficiencies and impossibilities, those factors are not the underlying problem of drug prohibition. As it’s supporters will say “Are just going to legalize violent crime because it’s impossible to fully stop?”

No, the main problem with the drug war is the total immorality of it. A great hypocrisy of the state is that what would be done by individuals or by the private sector that would be seen as immoral when done by the government or the public sector is seen as not only justified but fully moral. Drug prohibition is a prime example of this phenomenon. Given some critical thought, anybody can see that the war on drugs is unapologetically immoral.

The entire war on drugs is based on the assumption that we do not own our bodies, and we are not directly responsible for the consequences of our actions. The very nature of the drug war assumes that we need some politician or bureaucrat to write a law telling us what we can and can’t put in our bodies.

If you ask any person on the street if they own themselves, and the consequences of their actions, 99% will say yes. So why is it that most people support drug prohibition? Why is it that people will like acknowledge self ownership and direct responsibility for self action, yet believe that there should be a strong centralized government around to throw people in a cage that make risky decisions?

Another pure moral hypocrisy of drug prohibition is the underlying mechanism of enforcement. If you ask any individual on the street if initiating violence is a moral means to achieve in end, most people will say of course not. Yet again most people support drug prohibition which uses this underlying mechanism, the initiation of violence.

A sovereign individual using the substance of his or her choice, regardless of its Unfavorability, is not hurting anybody else. Now of course if that person goes out and Hurts another individual or steals another individual’s property, that person has now initiated force and has become a different story. But the action of simply using a substance is a peaceable action, and attempting to forcefully stop that by enforcement of the law is an initiation of violence and morally unacceptable.

Imagine if such action was engaged upon in the private sector. Imagine if some individual or company went around and started arresting people and throwing them in cages for eating at McDonald’s. Better yet, these people were saying it is for the benefit of the people they are arresting because McDonald’s is extremely unhealthy.

What if they started arresting McDonald’s employees for distributing unhealthy food and locking them in human cages for decades on end and claiming it was for the betterment of society. Would this be morally acceptable? Only if carried out by the state Because it’s okay for only it’s employees to use violence I guess.

People must stop believing that use of force when carried out by the state is absolutely any different than when carried out by private individuals or groups. The drug war is just one area, be it a large one, that this problem plagues the opinions of the population.

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The National Debt Mess: How did we Get There?

Indri Schaelicke | United States

At the time of writing this, the US debt sits at $21.15 Trillion, and recent trends would suggest that our elected representatives do not care to step back, consider the potential disastrous effects, and reverse our course. How does such a large debt even come about? Let’s examine a few fundamental reasons.

Politicians give people what they want in order to win votes, but have no regard for what the budget can handle.

Over the course of the past year, many people have realized that nearly every facet of our lives is becoming increasingly politicized. The same is true of our budget creating process. Both parties make a show of what they wish to focus their spending on. Since the beginnings of the earliest political systems, the savviest politicians recognized that while campaigning for office one will be most successful if they tell their constituents what they want to hear. They can then promise a whole host of “free” programs, portraying government as the superhero that will save you from whatever affliction you face. Once in office, the politician will move to fulfill these promises, thereby expanding the scope of government and widening their base of supporters.

The public would be in uproar if the government taxed at the rate required to cover all spending.

In order to cover the cost of the programs that they wish to create, politicians would need to charge taxes at an incredibly high rate. There’s just one problem- no one wants to pay high taxes in order to get some “free” hand out from the government. They simply want their free healthcare. People want to have the cake, and eat it too. Politicians cater to this desire in order to secure votes, and the debt continues to grow.

As a libertarian, I support a dramatic reduction in government spending and seek to end our federal government debt. There are a few reasons I support this:

The more the state spends, the more control over our lives they have.

Government spending increases the size of the bureaucracy, creating more and more agencies that have a say in the way I live my life. Don’t you think I can manage my life better than an unelected official sitting at a desk in Washington DC, who knows nothing about me?

I don’t believe in coercion and wealth redistribution policies.

No one should have to pay for someone else’s birth control, for example. I say we lower tax rates for everyone, and minimize government influence in our daily life (cut spending),  allowing people to make decisions for themselves. No one knows how you should live your life better than you, so why pretend a government agent does?

However, knowing the tendency of both parties to oppose any spending cuts, a solution will have to be much more pragmatic. Fiscal conservatives must push for cuts to spending whenever they present themselves, such as when a bill comes up in committee, is being debated on the floor of their chamber or discussed in the public eye.

Ideally, fiscal conservatives who seek to end several agencies will be elected, as well as leaders in both houses of Congress who are committed to entitlement spending reform. Doing these two things will help us eliminate our debt.

I was driven to become a libertarian by being made aware of the government’s waste. I’m sure that a coherent message preaching the inefficiencies of the state would attract many more to the liberty movement.

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BREAKING: Yeti Releases Statement on NRA “Break-up”

By Clint Sharp | United States

The popular outdoor brand YETI Coolers has made headlines over the past few days over allegations regarding their relationship with the National Firearms Association. The notorious right-wing interest group posted a letter to one of their many NRA sites Saturday morning, stating:

“Suddenly, without prior notice, YETI has declined to do business with the NRA Foundation, saying they no longer wish to be an NRA vendor and refused to say why,”

(Read the full statement here)

Impacts of the Statement

This statement has caused great uproar amongst YETI consumers as many of them are sympathizers, if not full-fledged members, of the NRA, resulting in calls to boycott the brand entirely for their alleged actions. This is not the first call to boycott as other companies such as Delta Airlines and Enterprise Rent-A-Car have confirmed that they will cut their ties with the NRA. This sudden abandonment of the association is due to the association’s recent stance regarding guns following the shooting at  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida two months ago.

YETI had yet to release a comment on the NRA accusations until Monday afternoon when it posted this statement on the company’s Twitter page:

The aftermath of YETI’s statements have yet to be seen, however, it is uncertain if the proposed boycotts will continue to follow through, or if YETI will retain its position as a sporting goods giant. Until then, the National Rifle Association has a bit of explaining to do regarding their vicious and unchecked libel, bringing to question their motives and goals as an interest group.

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North Korea: Dead in the Water

By Joe Brown | United States

Imagine living in a world where every day is your last. Waking up each morning knowing you have numberless hordes of rockets pointed at you. Imagine living under the smoking barrel of a gun, or sleeping on a bomb, knowing that at any moment your entire existence could be reduced to a smoldering pile of nothing.

Imagine looking into the eyes of death…and yawning.

As unbelievable as this sounds, that is exactly what life is like when living in the Korean Peninsula. Welcome to the world where war is as trite as your morning cup of coffee, and the threat of nuclear annihilation is as natural as the rising of the sun.

Due to recent developments in the realm of diplomacy, many now consider with hope the possibility of a unified and peaceful Korea. But with a less than favorable track record and warhawks running foreign affairs, many question the United State’s role in garnering peace in the region, and still the greater question remains:

Can peace ever be achieved in Korea?

Despite what you may have heard in middle school, Korea was divided before the Korean War. Years of Japanese rule came to an end with the Second World War, with treaties delegating the North to Soviet forces, while the South remained under Western control before the invasion that triggered the conflict in 1950. Unlike its German counterpart who eventually united under a single democratic government, the Korean War is still technically at war to this day, leaving the people of Korea with more of a question mark than a happy ending.

After nearly 70 years of perpetual tension and complete separation between the two countries, diplomatic strides are causing some to regain hope for peace in the region. The Chinese government confirmed that earlier this week a meeting was held between Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in which, the latter promised to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

The pledge comes after months of heightened tensions regarding North Korea’s escalating nuclear program, which included the testing of multiple warheads with nuclear capabilities. Although the announcement was welcomed by most, many wonder how China was able to reach such a solution with a country the rest of the world generally considered uncompromising.

The thought that such an agreement can be made without threatening military action, applying economic sanctions, or paying off government officials may come as a shock to an American, but victims of American “negotiating” would testify otherwise.

The failure of American diplomacy isn’t anything new, and it certainly didn’t start with Korea. If anything, the modern United States was built upon broken promises, dishonest pacts, and shredded treaties. Whether it’s the hundreds of formal agreements made with Native Americans, the recent rejection of American efforts to preside over peace talks between Israel and Palestine, or Roosevelt’s infamous “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick” policy, peaceful and effective negotiations have never been America’s strong suit.

What’s the point in talking if you have the bigger gun, right?

The world needs leaders who are willing to compromise, rather than leaders who can’t take their fingers off the trigger.

Besides. No one can hear you if you speak softly, and you don’t need a big stick if your ideology is worth anything.

Michael Flynn, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General and former National Security Advisor, famously commented on American affairs abroad, saying:

“We’ve invested in conflict, not solutions….”

Even a man who many would consider hawkish recognizes that if peace is what the U.S. is really looking for, its actions aren’t backing up its claim. In fact, if you took a closer look at the American track record concerning nuclear weapons, you would see that tensions such as those in North Korea exist because of so called “peace efforts” rather than despite them.

We don’t have to go any farther than this past year to find evidence of American efforts to undermine diplomacy. John Bolton, the newly appointed National Security Advisor with a knack for warmongering, has long opposed peaceful resolution in Iran, repeatedly stressing that regime change is the only real option in the country, (nevermind the fact that American supported regime change is what got Iran where it is now in the first place).

During a conference call with AIPAC, the most influential Israeli lobby in the U.S., Bolton revealed the true darkness of his strategy when he expressed frustration with Iranian compliance with international law. Iran has been a member of the non-proliferation treaty since its conception in 1968, and as such, its inventory, facilities, and nuclear infrastructure are subject to regular inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency. Bolton, knowing that Iran had agreed to the rules set by international entities, vehemently advocated for crippling sanctions against Iran in order to trigger the country into withdrawing from the treaty. Bolton planned on using this reaction as justification to invade Iran, to overthrow the government. As Bolton said himself during the call:

“They have not…withdrawn from the non proliferation treaty or thrown out IAEA inspectors which I actually hoped they would do, as that reaction would produce a counter-reaction.”

Bolton is essentially saying: “How am I supposed to justify an invasion if I can’t credibly accuse them of harboring weapons of mass destruction?”

Sound familiar?

America followed an almost identical formula to justify regime change in Iraq, even after Saddam Hussein invited chemical weapons inspectors from the U.N. to prove his country had no plans to use WMD’s. In order to preserve the false narrative that justified the invasion, John Bolton illegally exercised his influence to get the Chairman of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons fired in 2002, in what the United Nations’ highest administrative tribunal later condemned as an “unacceptable violation” of principles protecting international civil servants. His actions sent a clear message to the global community: The United States doesn’t accept dissident opinions.

This has grim consequences in the realm of negotiation.

Even as significant steps in diplomacy bring us closer to peace than we’ve ever been before, similar strategies have been used against North Korea in attempts to sabotage peace efforts. To the career politicians and lobbyists on capitol hill, an end to the conflict means losing the Korean War.

The recent strikes in Syria pose an additional threat to global security, as they jeopardize America’s fragile position as peacemakers in North Korea. With the groundbreaking talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un scheduled to happen within a month, many speculate that attacking one of the closest allies of Kim Jong-Un’s regime cripples America’s ability to negotiate. Simon Jenkins, one of Britain’s most acclaimed authors, notes that western patterns of opposition such as air strikes and economics sanctions act as an “elixir” that empowers dictatorships, spoils public image, and that promotes independence from domestic markets. All of which actually do more to support authoritarian regimes and contribute to a robust political and economic environment in which the U.S. has no power or influence.

Kim Jong Un is motivated by a desire to maintain power. He recognizes that the possession of nuclear weapons may be one of the only ways under the sun to prevent American aggression, and his administration has repeatedly stated that their nuclear weapons program would be suspended if they felt safe to do so.

As unpopular as the rocket man may be, Kim Jong Un paid attention in history class.

He knows what happened to Ukraine after the breakup of the Soviet Union, when regional leaders surrendered over 2,000 nuclear weapons in exchange for territorial autonomy. Following the deal, Ukraine would be invaded by Russian forces, and Crimea would be annexed.

He knows the only thing that preserved peace during the Cold War was the grim concept of mutually assured destruction

He knows that the complete lack of WMD’s still wasn’t enough to prevent an invasion in Iraq, and that the U.S. wouldn’t be bombing Syria if Assad possessed nuclear weapons.

Love him or hate him, the Supreme Leader has some legitimate concerns.

The problem isn’t that we’re dealing with a bully with a bad haircut who threatens other countries with nuclear weapons. The problem is that you didn’t know if I was talking about the Korean dictator, or the U.S. President.

By all means, hope for peace. But don’t be surprised by empty promises, broken treaties, and failed agreements. Whether by diplomatic incompetence or dark design, national interests have always been more important than peace.

Rather than asking: “Is peace attainable?” we should be asking: “Was peace ever even a priority?”

Of course peace is attainable. The real question isn’t whether or not peace is possible. The question is whether or not the current administration, or any administration for that matter, is willing or capable of garnering that peace.

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Sign This Petition to Get Larry Sharpe on Colbert

By Owen Heimsoth | United States

As of right now, there is no Republican gubernatorial candidate in New York.

There used to be, until Libertarian candidate Larry Sharpe outraised New York State Assemblyman Brian Kolb three times over. Now, because of this, Kolb withdrew from the race.

Larry Sharpe is a rising star in the LP, he used to serve on the national board before resigning and he also came close to securing the party nomination for Vice President of the United States. As of January 28th, he had already raised over $100,000 for his campaign. More recent numbers are currently unavailable.

Just hours ago, he officially won the party nomination for his race to the Governor’s Mansion. He is a former Democrat and Republican but quickly joined the LP after attending a party meeting in his hometown. He is an exceptional leader and fundraiser in the liberty movement.

Recently, the hashtag #SharpenColbert has made some waves on Twitter after a petition.org petition gained traction with over 500 signatures to bring the Libertarian candidate on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. 

Sharpe hopes that an appearance on Colbert’s show would help garner him more attention. Though he has fundraised well, many do not know of the Libertarian Party, or of Sharpe, at all.

As of now, Governors Gary Johnson and William Weld have already endorsed Sharpe’s campaign. Other endorsements include several former Libertarian candidates including Dale Kerns and Nikolas Wildstar.

The petition is available to sign here.

Also, a more in-depth article on who Larry Sharpe is and what he stands for is available here.

At the initial time of writing, the petition has reached 906 signatures.

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