Tag: libertarian responsibility

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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Libertarianism is not Self-Destructive or Unsustainable

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

A recent article by an unknown guest contributor on the Bilan Report suggested that a libertarian society is unsustainable for various reasons. Among these are the ideas that all personal freedom leads to libertinism, individualism is incompatible with the NAP (non-aggression principle), and the supposed libertarian assumption that all governance is bad. The author makes many misconceptions about libertarianism in their article. In response, this piece attempts to set the record straight on libertarian philosophy.

Christianity

The author of this piece starts off the article with an explanation that “there is some level of inherent worth within the individual” from a Biblical perspective. The author then attempts to immediately downplay this importance. They say that a philosophy based entirely on individualism would not work very well.

There is no exact definition of individualism made. From later parts of the article, we can assume the author means that individualism is independence from any organization. The Biblical definition of individualism clearly does not coincide with the latter definition, though. This is because the Bible clearly outlines the importance of being a member of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27) and part of the Church community.

Because the Bible also emphasizes the importance of community along with individualism, Biblically deduced individualism as a core of a philosophy would not lead to the disastrous consequences that the author suggests.

Individualism is not the full extent of the Biblical relationship to libertarianism either. In the first part of Bastiat’s The Law, natural rights stemming from life as a gift from God are clearly deduced. I have written on this subject before:

These gifts from God preclude any human legislation and any political leader that has ever existed. This is the core of what exists. These are human rights. Legislation does not define these – nature and nature’s God has. In the garden in Genesis, there was no government. It was anarchy in the truest sense there has ever been, no coercive governing entity. There was only a loving and gift giving God. Clearly there was no legislator dictating how Adam and Eve live their lives through the coercive stroke of a pen. Human legislation cannot ever get underneath this core, but it can restrict it. Restricting it has no benefit though, for any restriction of freedom will stifle economic growth. God set it up this way, to make it the most beneficial for everyone to be free to use their faculties as they wish.

It is foolish to downplay the relationship between the Bible and libertarianism as a few verses alluding to individualism. It goes much deeper and is much stronger. Regardless the author dismisses all discussion on Christian libertarianism by says that “it remains somewhat outside the scope of this discussion of libertarianism as a whole.” This is untrue. Ron Paul is probably the second most convert-gaining libertarian in human history (directly behind Ayn Rand). Bastiat, John Locke, and many of the founding fathers had a faith-based perspective on liberty. But such a statement by the author allows them to get rid of an opposition to their argument. They construct a libertarian strawman that is much easier to attack.

Human Action

The author of this piece also seems to get praxeological insight confused with a moral code as to how man ought to or should act. They mention the action based framework for economics loosely twice in the article:

Taken to its logical conclusion, libertarianism holds that there are no wrong choices, but simply the right to make that choice.

Drawing on heavy Kantian influences they view human action as fundamentally rational, or purposeful.

In Human Action Ludwig von Mises describes that man acts. From this action axiom, along with other synthetic apriori truths (irrefutable statements we learn and know simply from being human), we can deduce the entire science of economics as a subset of praxeology. These other apriori ideas are things such as the law of returns, the law of diminishing marginal utility, time preference, the existence of opportunity costs, etc. These come from the epistemology put forth by Kant which the author alludes to.

The culmination of all of this truth gives us a value-free economics that allows us to understand how the world is and how it works. Praxeological reasoning does not tell us how the world ought to be. It is value-free. It does not aim to. Because of this, the propositions that man faces various choices does not mean that any choice a human chooses is good or moral. The author clearly does not understand that praxeological value free truths do not intersect with libertarian ethical standards from a Misesian perspective.

From a Rothbardian/Hoppean perspective, they eventually do, especially when it comes to the Hoppean argumentation ethics. The author does not address these at all, though, and simply takes the proposition that “man makes choices” to mean that “all choices a man makes are good.” Once again, this is a strawman of libertarian philosophy brought about most likely by lack of understanding of the philosophy.

The NAP

The author then attempts to argue that the non-aggression principle, or NAP, is incompatible with libertarianism:

The principle of limiting coercion is a fundamental aspect of libertarianism but taken in context with the other principles of maximal autonomy and the ability for the individual to reason towards moral and ethical principles, it becomes contradictory. If moral principles are something that can be determined through an individual’s own use of reason how can there be an objective universal principle against coercion?

This reasoning is once again based on a false conception of what libertarianism is. Not a single serious libertarian theorist has ever argued that “an individual’s own use of reason” allows them to come up with their own moral principles. I have no idea where the author got this idea. Libertarianism does not make the slightest attempt to justify any moral standard any individual just dreams up.

If libertarianism did justify such a proposition, it would be extremely flawed. A psychopath could reason their way to a moral standard of murder being ok because it makes them feel good. The reason this is not ok is that the non-aggression principle supersedes individual standards of morality. Libertarian theorist Robert Nozick described the non-aggression principle as a “side constraint” on action. This means that we cannot do things that violate this side constraint.

Think of the rules of soccer: there is the side constraint that you cannot pick up the ball. If you could pick up the ball, it would be helpful for you, because you could through the ball into the goal. This is not allowed in soccer though because it breaks the game. The side constraint of the non-aggression principle breaks the game of reality.

Governance

The author of this piece eventually gets to the point of arguing that libertarian individualism means a complete lack of any sort of social structure. They seem to think that lack of government (a territorial monopoly based on the threat of force) means a lack of governance (an authority based on societal norms or culture). They say the following:

Libertarianism taken to its logical conclusions promotes complete autonomy. This moves beyond simply being unconstrained by positive law and a strict use of only negative law, but liberation from associations and relationships. This includes fundamental institutions such as, “the family, church, and schools to the village and neighborhood and the community broadly defined—that exert strong control over behavior largely through informal and habituated expectations and norms.”14  Ironically, the rejection of institutions and concepts that have traditionally reigned in human behavior creates a further need and additional calls for the state to intervene to regulate bad behavior. This contradiction can play out as legislation mandating acceptance of, or at least association with, behaviors that would be rejected by natural law.

While the radical individualism of Objectivists does reject the idea of any sort of cultural governance, most libertarians (often right-libertarians) see it as an important staple as a free society. Families, churches, and cultural communities are important modes of organization that can exist outside of the state. Jeff Deist expertly explains the importance of such social institutions in this video:

A libertarian society does not reject these complex social institutions. Rather, it upholds these institutions, while a society with a growing state tears these down in favor of itself. The author seems to think that liberty leads to lack of organization, causing a need for the state. The situation is constructed in an entirely backward manner, though. The state seeks to grow in power. It would rather the people become reliant on it rather than their families or churches.

The wearing away of a traditional reliance on such institutions and customs, Deneen argues, will lead to a breakdown of functioning society. Instead of creating a society based on non-aggression and free transaction, best fulfilling the desires of its people, libertarianism tends to isolate the individual and break down the institutions that maintain a proper society.

The author of this piece does not understand what being a freely acting individual means. They seem to think it means being a freely acting individual outside of the influence of anyone else. But society does exist. And it is made up of individual people. The only alternative to this radical independent individualism in the eyes of the author is the state. But as we have explained the state is the true cause of the denigration of these important social institutions.

Liberty and Responsibility

Now we will move onto the final question of libertarian libertinism. The author makes the proposition that the non-Christian libertarianism spirals into responsibility free left-libertarian hedonism. Yet at the same time, the author quotes Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard as major representatives of the libertarian philosophy. Neither of these individuals was for hedonism. Both of them were against libertinism.

Ayn Rand’s philosophy is based completely around being responsible for yourself. Murray Rothbard and libertarians in the Rothbardian tradition recognize the importance of responsibility on a society. I have written recently on this matter of responsibility and how it is very important to combat libertine libertarianism.

Freedom means we do not have the right to encroach on the actions of someone else. But freedom also means you need to be responsible for your own actions. It means you need to better yourself without the force of the government. Christian libertarianism is not the only political framework that promotes responsibility. And the answer to libertinism sure as hell is not more state power. It is the promotion of a culture of responsibility.

Libertarian theory is not self-destructive. A libertarian social order is not as unsustainable as this author believes. They think that their strawman version of libertarianism would be horrendous. But it is a strawman and not an accurate representation of libertarian belief.

Weld Didn’t Endorse Hillary, Did He?

By John Keller | United States

Since the presidential election of 2016, many have speculated that the Libertarian vice presidential candidate Bill Weld endorsed Hillary Clinton before the election. Is this true?

In an interview with MSNBC on 30 September 2016, Bill Weld is credited with endorsing Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. He made the following statement:

“I’m not sure anybody is more qualified than Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States.” – Bill Weld

The question must be raised: Was Bill Weld wrong? Let’s take a look at the numbers. Seventeen presidents were former governors, what Gary Johnson’s job was. On the other hand, thirty-four presidents were former lawyers or secretaries, what Hillary Clinton’s career was. Even looking at the vice presidential picks, the Clinton Campaign was more “qualified”, whereas twenty-four vice presidents had been senators, as Tim Kaine was, and only sixteen vice presidents were governors, like Bill Weld.

But it is the second statement that Bill Weld makes that is forgotten by the media. He continued:

“I mean that’s not the end of the inquiry though. I mean, we were two-time governors and I think Gary is very, very solid. You know, at this point, we overlapped as governors and I thought highly of him back when we served together, but having spent the last several months with the guy, I mean I don’t even just like the guy I love the guy, I think he is very solid and deep. I think his insight that it pays to have some restraint about military incursions for the purpose of regime change before we still American blood on foreign soil and put boots in the ground in countries where we just don’t like what the government in that country is doing. I think that’s a valuable insight. I’m not sure it’s characterized the foreign policy of either Bush, the most recent Bush, or the Obama Administration and I think that might be a refreshing change. I think he and I could bring a much more tranquil approach to Government in Washington because we wouldn’t be screaming at one of the two parties about how stupid they are. We would work with them both.” – Bill Weld

Furthermore, the rest of the interview seems to be his expression in favor of Gary Johnson and himself for the national ticket. The next question that must be raised: was it wrong of Weld to speak in favor of Mrs. Clinton over Mr. Trump? He spoke plainly on MSNBC on the 30th of September of 2016:

“I do not view those two candidates the same way. I think very highly of Mrs. Clinton, I think she is very well qualified, I think she did a great job in the debate the other night. She kept her game face on… I thought Mr. Trump by the end of the debate was out of control…” – Bill Weld

Bill Weld was looking at it from a realist perspective in an unreal election cycle. Businessman against a career policy maker in the debates when unspoken traditions of policy discussion were broke. Mr. Trump threatening to jail his opponent was, to the common politician, very unprofessional. Threatening to lock up opponents in an election is commonplace in shame democracies that are in essence dictatorships, and it is not commonplace in a constitutional republic.

The total length of the interview with MSNBC on September 30, 2016, was seven minutes and forty seconds (7:40). Throughout the interview he made a few statements in favor of Mrs. Clinton, totaling thirty-four seconds (0:34). Thirty of those seconds was made responding to a question about the debates in which he was expressing that he thought Hillary Clinton performed better than Trump. No harm in expressing who you think won a debate the libertarians were even in, right? But the four seconds that killed him was the statement mentioned formerly in this article in which Bill Weld said, “I’m not sure anybody is more qualified than Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States.” However, the statement he followed that up his remark about Hillary Clinton was a one minute and four second (1:04) praise of Gary Johnson on how experience was the end of the inquiring and that Gary Johnson would be a better president than Hillary Clinton, although he may not necessarily be more “qualified”. Throughout the whole interview, thirty four seconds (0:34), or 7%, of the interview was expressing approval of Mrs. Clinton over Mr. Trump, and seven minutes and six seconds (7:06), or 93%, of the interview expressing that Gary Johnson and himself were the right choices for America.

The other moment in which many thought Bill Weld endorsed Hillary Clinton was on 1 November 2016 in an interview with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. Many think that Bill Weld gave up on the campaign, but after failing to get into the debates it was clear the campaign strategy had to be re-examined. That is why Bill Weld made the realistic statement:

“I think in the real world that’s [aiming for 5% of the vote] probably correct… we thought for the longest time we might have a chance to run the table because we’re such nice guys and centrist party and etc etc, but not getting into the debates really sort of foreclosed that option. So now it is the 5%, your right.” – Bill Weld

Bill Weld was looking realistically at the coming election. The Republicans and Democrats had just spent millions of dollars to keep Gary Johnson out of the presidential debates and himself out of the vice presidential debate, keeping them at 12% national and then pushing them back down towards 2%. In order to have a successful ticket in the future, the Libertarian ticket knew they had to reach 5% to get matched federal funds, guaranteed ballot access, and more of being recognized as a major party. Although the goal changed, the message did not. In the same interview he gave the following statement:

“Well, we are making our case that we are fiscally responsible and socially inclusive and welcoming and we think we got, on the merits, the best ticket of the three parties if you will and so we would like to get there. Having said that, as I think you’re aware, I see a big difference in the R candidate and the D candidate, and I’ve can in some pains to say that I fear for the country should Mr. Trump be elected. I think it’s a candidacy without any parallel that I can recall. It’s content-free and very much given up to stirring up envy and resentment and even hatred and I think it would be a threat to the conduct of our foreign policy and our position in the world at large.”

It is clear the message had not changed, but the goal of the campaign had. He wanted to see a Libertarian presidency but the current, realistic climate made it impossible, and so he expressed when asked about referring to Trump as “unstable” during the interview:

“Oh yeah, yeah I mean that psychologically.” – Bill Weld

In the research done in this article, I am of the opinion that Bill Weld did not endorse Hillary Clinton and that a study of what was actually said proves he supported the Libertarian message to the end of the campaign. Although the goal of the campaign may have changed in the end weeks, and he may have preferred one candidate over the other in terms of the duopoly, he stood by the libertarian message through the end of the campaign and even continues to fight for libertarian principles today.


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Michigan at a Crossroads – John Tatar for Governor

By John Keller | United States
John Tatar is a libertarian campaigning to be the next governor of Michigan.
Keller: Running for governor is no easy task. What inspired you to run for office and pursue a political career?

Tatar: I am tired of the Democrats and Republicans promising everything and delivering NOTHING!  Each “public functionary” has no clue about our Republic and has no clue about the US Constitution and the MI Constitution.  These “public functionaries” have no idea that their power to govern comes from the people who delegate power to them to rule.  If we don’t delegate it,  they do not that the authority to do it.  Yet their responsibilities to take care of the infrastructure has been seriously neglected,  They claim they have no money so they must raise taxes,  yet they have enough money to purchase a 17 million dollar building for 48 Million, and they get away with it.  The “public functionaries”  are over paid and under worked while the people they represent are over worked and under paid,  This REPUBLIC is upside down.  The Candidates that are presently running are ALL part of the SAME ilk.  I could go on and on about what is wrong, but complaining will not fix the problem RUNNING for governor will..

I have always been involved with politics, I have tried to correct some of the problems as a citizen but educating the masses is very difficult.

Keller: When entering politics, what drew you to the Libertarian Party over the Republican Party or the Democratic Party?
Tatar: The Libertarian party has not been compromised at this time.  If you haven”t been a delegate to either of the other two parties that is a true eye opener,  They are corrupt and compromised as the candidates who are running.  I was a delegate at one time to the Republican party, during the Ron Paul run for president.  When Ron Paul met the criteria for speaking at the convention, that is getting 3 states that supported him, then he would get a chance to speak at the Republican Convention.  Well, at the Republican Convention, in front of everyone that was watching on TV saw the chairman of the republicans change the rules to 10 states.  What a criminal behavior! 
Keller: In Michigan’s history, since 1842, there has been 17 democratic and 28 republican governors – no third party governors. Why is the time for a libertarian governor now
Tatar: I believe that many of the Citizens who are involved with the electoral process is fed up with the present political graft and corruption system.  Many have given up, and so when I was out personally gathering the 18,800 signatures, many people who signed for me signed for me because I am running on the libertarian ticket.  I think it is time for a change,  The candidates presently running are running for an office they have no idea what that office is about.  They trample on the Constitution and the peoples rights without any consequences.  Lansing has become totally cloaked in darkness.  We need to change this.
Keller: Libertarians commonly follow the motto, “Less government is better government.” What is one area in which you think more government would actually be better?

Tatar: Less government more liberty.  This government is much too large and too many rules, ordinances, and enforcement officers,  Consequently too many fines, and too many people incarcerated for non violent crime.  Much to much government. Have you been to Lansing lately?  This is a mega city.

Keller: In continuation of the last question, what is one area of government you want to see cut or even erased?

Tatar: Dept of education, Dept of transportation cut, Dept of State cut, Eliminate the Senate, part time legislature on and on.

Keller: What would a libertarian governorship look like in Michigan? In other words, what policies would you want to see enacted?

Tatar: Follow the US Constitution, Follow the Michigan Constitution, re write the oath of office to include if anyone in the legislature, executive or judicial takes a bribe or promises anything that is a felony.

Seriously cut back the size and scope of government. More liberty to the people.  Also eliminate the state income tax and cut back on many other taxes if not eliminate them.  Concentrate on fixing the MI infrastructure.  See my website: johnjtatar.com

Keller: The “Flint, Michigan” story was national news for sometime. How do you view the handling of this issue, and what would you change, if anything?

Tatar: Flint is in the national news because the government was caught “usurping” authority.  All of Michigan water is polluted. That is a sin.  The infrastructure in MI has not been kept up.  All citizens must do house keeping from time to time and so the government needs to do house keeping also.  Instead, the “public functionaries” line their pockets and walk away laughing at the people in MI.

Keller: As Governor, what would be more important to you: following federal mandates from Washington D.C. or serving the state of Michigan?

Tatar: All federal mandates if unconstitutional are “null and void”!!!  Michigan is its own country, we are not a colony of Washington.

Keller: If someone was interested in your campaign, how could they get involved?

Tatar: Go to my website johnjtatar.com and there are ways of contacting me.

Keller: Do you have any final remarks for the audience?

Tatar: We are on the very edge of losing our Republic and sliding back to a Democracy where the Oligarchs will become kings and we will become slaves to those in charge.  What way do you want to go?
I would like to thank John Tatar for his time. Be sure to visit his website to learn more.


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Joe Hannoush – Libertarian for Florida House District Twenty-Five

By John Keller | Florida

Joe Hannoush is the Libertarian candidate for District Twenty-Five of the Florida House of Representatives. He has been involved with libertarian politics since 2011 and seeks to bring that change to the state of Florida.

Keller: With a plethora of career options, what inspired you to seek a career in politics?

Hannoush: I am not pursuing a career in politics per se. I want to do what I can to inform others of a better solution to issues we face today. Running as a candidate for elected office is a great way to spread that message. I want to be the change I want to see. I am tired of complaining without offering a solution. I didn’t like the choices I had on my ballot, so I gave myself another option to vote for!

Keller: Many people when they think of government they think of Congress or the presidency. Why is politics at the state level, and in the state House of Representatives, so important and motivated you to get involved?

Hannoush: There is a saying “all politics is local”. To a certain degree, I agree. When it comes to the everyday things, it is usually the local government decisions that have the largest impact on an individuals life.

Keller: For over 150 years the United States has been locked in the two-party duopoly. What turned you on to the Libertarian Party?

Hannoush: In 2011, I took an online political quiz www.isidewith.com. The results told me my views most closely agreed with was the Libertarian Party. So I did more research on their platform and looked into the presidential candidate on the Libertarian Party ticket, Gary Johnson. I liked him a lot and found I agree on almost everything. So I voted for Gary in 2012 and the rest is history!

Keller: Being a swing state, Florida has both strong Democratic and Republican support, as well as significant moderate support. Why is a new voice, such as a libertarian, necessary in the two-party system in Florida?

Hannoush: The two-party system is not a good one even if the two parties are Libertarian and Anarchist. I believe in more choices and I know others do as well. I don’t care if I agree with other political parties or not, they deserve to get the same media exposure and debate and ballot access as the Republicans and Democrats currently do.

Keller: Florida is often brought to the political forefront, and were put into the national spotlight during the sanctuary city debate, a debate that still exists today. Where do you stand on your critical issue?

Hannoush: I believe an individual, whether they are a citizen of the United States or not, deserve the same freedoms I have. My parents left an oppressive government and came to the United States shortly before I was born. Because of that freedom to act for the betterment of life, liberty, and happiness, I have a freer life. I want that opportunity to exist for others as well.

Keller: Our Founding Fathers even disagreed on how to interpret the Constitution, shown in the Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist debates. What is your interpretation of the Constitution, and how does that influence your view on government?

Hannoush: My view of the Constitution is what I believe the Founding Fathers generally intended. That is that individuals have inherent rights and the Constitution instructs the Government on how to preserve those rights for the individual. 

Keller: Libertarians tend to believe less government is better government. What is one area of government, however, you would like to see operating?

Hannoush: I do believe that national defense is the responsibility of the government.

Keller: Branching off of the last question, what is one area you think there should be cutbacks or even elimination in the state of Florida?

Hannoush: Florida, being a “swing” or “purple” state has led to the two major political parties here to be very divisive. There is too much power in the “leadership” of the political parties. No one is defending the rights of the people. The letter next to a person’s name holds more power than what that individual believes. I want to end partisan politics in Florida. A candidate that is giving the libertarian message will win every time.

Keller: What can the people of District 25 expect should you be elected?

Hannoush: That I will be a voice for the individual. I won’t vote based on what party leadership or lobbyist agenda is being pushed.

Keller: If someone was interested in getting involved or donating, how can they reach out to your campaign?

Hannoush: paypal.me/joehannoush

Keller: Do you have any final remarks for the readers?

Hannoush: I am currently pricing campaign materials and need as much funding as possible to help spread the message. Please donate to my campaign at paypal.me/joehannoush and follow my campaign at facebook.com/joehannoush and email [email protected] Thank you!

I would like to thank Joe Hannoush for his time. Be sure to visit his website and get involved!