Tag: libertarian

On the Spirit of Free Speech

Ellie McFarland | United States

In the wake of what has been dubbed “The Smirk Seen Round the World” questions about the morality of doxxing are arising. In the case of this most recent incident, a video surfaced of a group of private Catholic high school students (attending the March for Life), “Black Hebrew Israelites”, and a Native American veteran ensconced in a what amounted to a commotion of dull screaming and a drum beat. But what caught the internet’s attention was the now infamous smirk of Nick Sandmann– the student pictured most prominently in the video. Soon after the video was released, the internet at large erupted into a tsunami of hit pieces and Twitter hate mobs. Eventually, full-grown adults found the addresses and other personal information of several Covington high school students. This is doxxing.

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The Only “National Emergency” We Face is a Potentially Unchecked Executive

Shiam Kannan | United States

President Donald Trump has never been a steadfast proponent of Constitutional conservatism, but on Friday, February 15th, 2019, he issued a full-fledged assault on American constitutional principles, declaring a National Emergency at the southern border in order to gain access to billions of dollars for the construction of a border barrier. While a strong case can be made on the merits of a border wall, the issue at hand goes further: our nation is at a Constitutional crossroads, and at this moment, we must decide whether the President has the power to spend money without Congressional consent.

The Constitution clearly addresses this issue, and the answer, according to the document, is a firm “no.” Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution states that “[n]o Money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” In other words, if there is no appropriations bill passed by Congress delegating money for a specific purpose, then money cannot be spent on that purpose. This means that Trump does not have any authority under the Constitution to unilaterally fund his border wall, or anything else, for that matter, using taxpayer dollars, unless Congress passes a funding bill which explicitly authorizes it.

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Iowa Considering Magic Mushrooms & MDMA for Medical Use

Spencer Kellogg | @Spencer_Kellogg

Magic Mushrooms are having their legislative moment. Last month in Denver, a proposal to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms was given the green light for a vote in May. Today, citizens caught in possession of psilocybin are likely to receive lengthy jail sentences and permanent criminal records. The “Mile High City” would become the first in the nation to decriminalize what is now a Schedule 1 drug. Moreover, in Oregon, advocacy groups are organizing to put psilocybin legalization on the ballot in 2020.

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Is Bill Weld the Best Thing Libertarians Can Get?

Jack Parkos | United States

The mainstream libertarian movement is dying. It could be speculated that libertarianism will never come to significance under today’s system. Mainstream libertarians have abandoned private property rights and decentralization for a so-called “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” platform focused on “tolerance” and weed.

Bill Weld puts the final nail in the coffin. Bill Weld was the vice presidential candidate under Gary Johnson in the 2016 Presidential Election and has joined the Republican Party in a possible attempt to primary Trump in 2020.

As a libertarian, I can only stand back and laugh at what’s happening. If Bill Weld is the best we can do, then is libertarianism dead? While he is running in the Republican Party, he no doubt has the views of the Libertarian Party. Many of his views are an insult to libertarianism.

Admittedly, Bill Weld does hold some good views, such as decentralizing education and being more dovish on foreign policy. However, he does have some views that many libertarians cannot get behind.

Weld’s Blatant Anti-Libertarian Agenda

Bill Weld has been quoted as comparing AR-15’s to “weapons of mass destruction,” and is indeed pro-gun control. Even many mainstream Republicans are fine with the AR-15. In an interview, he was quoted as saying,

“The five-shot rifle, that’s a standard military rifle. The problem is if you attach a clip to it so it can fire more shells and if you remove the pin so that it becomes an automatic weapon. And those are independent criminal offenses. That’s when they become essentially a weapon of mass destruction. The problem of handguns is probably even worse than the AR-15.”

That statement sounds more like something one would hear from the Democratic Party, but this is coming from a so-called “libertarian” running in the Republican party. It’s an embarrassment to all libertarian whether they support the party or not.

A Right to Abortion

There is plenty more he can be criticized for. Bill Weld has little respect for property rights or the Constitution. On the issue of abortion, he stated that the federal government must ensure everyone has access to abortion.

“I think it’s OK for the government to be involved in ensuring clinic access because that’s guarding a fundamental constitutional right of the individual. So that’s not the nanny state; that’s good government, not bad government.” However, Weld is wrong, this is a nanny state. Furthermore, nowhere in the Constitution does it state abortion as a right. Weld is buying into the leftist lie that abortion is somehow a “right”.

Endorsing a Violation of Property Rights

Weld and Johnson ran a campaign in 2016 that seemed to be simply social liberalism and not libertarianism. Weld’s running mate Gary Johnson supported forcing a baker to bake a cake for a gay wedding, furthermore, explaining that he would force a Jewish baker to bake a cake for a Nazi. This is a complete violation of property rights, a key tenet of libertarianism. Much speculation points to Bill Weld holding similar views to Johnson based on his past rhetoric, one, in particular, being his support for affirmative action.

Furthermore, Weld supports an open borders policy. Right now, under a massive welfare state and the current state of politics, immigration restrictions are needed. This isn’t an anti-libertarian stance but rather an overall net gain for liberty. Moreover, he compared Trump’s immigration plans to Nazi Germany, making holocaust references and comparing Trump’s wall to the Berlin wall. This is all from the leftist playbook.

An Endorsement of the Opposing Side

Perhaps worst of all was when Bill Weld practically endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016.

“Having said that, I’m not taking back anything I said about the massive difference between the two establishment party candidates. One would be chaos for the country, I think. And the other would be a very business-like and capable and competent approach to our affairs.”

In this interview, Bill Weld explains how Trump would be chaos for the country and that Hillary would run it better. Furthermore, he endorsed Obama for president as well. No libertarian in their right mind would endorse Hillary or Obama, so why did Weld support them? It could be said that Trump was maybe the better option for libertarians as many thought that way. However, he did not have to support either of the candidates in any elections. After all, Ron Paul didn’t.

Ron Paul is retired from politics, and right now there does not appear to be another charismatic libertarian to lead the movement. Rand Paul will likely not run for president either.  However, libertarians should not look to Bill Weld to be a leader of the movement.


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The Libertarian Case for a Border Wall

Andrew Lepore | United States

Libertarian philosophy centers itself around protecting property rights. It also recognizes the immorality of coercive action against any individual or group. So on its face, the construction of a southern border wall seems contradictory to libertarian values; in fact, I at one time opposed it. But since diving deeper into the issue, I have concluded that the wall will provide a net benefit to individual liberty. 

Misinforation about the Border Wall

First of all, it seems that many people have misinformation on the issue of illegal immigration. Among this is the incorrect statement that the majority of illegals come from overstayed visas. This is false: only 42% of illegal immigrants are here for that reason. Though this is a plurality, calling it a majority is deceiving. 

Another common false point is that illegal immigrants do not have access to welfare. But an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies of the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) shows that 62% of illegal-immigrant-headed households use some form of welfare, excluding social security (compare this to 30% of native citizens). Illegal immigrants do in fact benefit from welfare that their children legally obtain via birthright citizenship.

Moreover, opponents perpetuate the falsehood that, historically, walls have proven ineffective in preventing undocumented migration. They say it would be inefficient and is just not worth the cost on taxpayers. Common responses include the notion that immigrants could go over, under, or around it. However, the facts show that these assumptions are ignoring the history of border walls across the globe.

Walls Work

For example, the construction of Israel’s border wall decreased illegal migration by 99% while Hungary’s did the same by 98%. In Soviet East Germany, before the wall existed, illegal emigration was a serious problem. Between 1945 and 1961, over 3.5 million East Germans walked across the unguarded border. But as the statistics below demonstrate, the wall reduced defection numbers by over 90%.

Once again, there are obvious contradictions to libertarian philosophy in the construction of a border wall. Most importantly, it requires the government to use coercion against those trying to cross it. Moreover, the government will be using our tax dollars to construct it. They also will use eminent domain to obtain the land they need.

Granted, those are immoralities, but so is welfare (a redistribution of stolen tax dollars). Large, government-funded public programs are as well. And so is allowing political parties to take advantage of democracy by permitting massive migration of a demographic that vastly supports larger government programs.

Risks of Illegal Immigration

Government spending has exploded since the 1960s and is continuing to climb at an unsustainable rate (see graph below). As you may know, the United States is nearly $22 trillion in debt. But what you may not know is that the United States is also in an over $210 trillion hole in the unfunded liabilities column for welfare benefits, social security, and pensions that we owe in the future.

Government spending over time
Government spending over time

To reiterate, a majority of illegal-headed households use welfare. Moreover, 6 out of 10 who cross the border illegally will go on to start a family that will consume tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars every year. Every dollar of this is taken involuntarily from citizens.

Even worse, illegals are taking up benefits owed to Americans who actually pay into the overcrowded system. $210 trillion is an enormous number which we will be hard-pressed to pay off; some even say that we never will. Our system already has far too many burdens and rising debt. It would be financially irresponsible to hand out taxpayer-funded welfare benefits to anybody who shows up.

Welfare use

Welfare use, excluding social security

Some dispute the validity of the current statistics, as the analysis does not account for household income or size. This analysis does not compare the welfare rate of illegal immigrants and natives in the same income bracket or with the same size households. It is showing that due to many factors, illegal immigrant households have higher welfare use rates.

Use of Public Services

Welfare is not the only program which allows illegals to benefit from American taxpayers. Due to a vast array of public services, illegals provide an additional impact on the American taxpayer. Wear and tear on roads, cost of emergency services, congestion, public utilities and more all contribute.

These may seem less impactful, but the numbers add up significantly over the years. The taxpayer cost of illegal immigration over the years will make the initial construction cost look like a drop in the bucket. The cost of the wall is one-time, while the benefits are continuous.

Support for Big Government

Another way the wall may preserve liberty in the future is with the preservation of a demographic with limited-government political leanings. Statistically, Hispanics are most likely to illegally cross the border due to geographic proximity. The Hispanic population also happens to be the demographic with the highest welfare use among illegals. Moreover, they are far more likely to support leftist government policy than natives.

Hispanic party affiliation, from Pew Research Center

The wall will help preserve a population that prefers smaller government by reducing the demographic impact of any future amnesty deals. In the case of such deals, massive demographic changes would take place. Most likely, it would not reflect the aspirations of native-born citizens. A large-scale amnesty deal like Reagan’s in California may not happen, but it is very possible. Such would have massive effects on the political demographics of the United States.

Even if an amnesty deal never takes place, illegal immigration has a significant effect on the electoral college and the distribution of seats in the House. Seats are apportioned based on state populations, which includes non-citizens and undocumented immigrants. So, increased illegal immigration without amnesty gives citizens in border states an unfairly large voice in Congress.

The Wall: A Net Benefit to Liberty

Every year, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants come across the border to work. But while they do this, many take advantage of the benefits the government hangs in front of them. Illegal immigration is not stopping any time soon, and neither is the welfare state. Every single dollar they hand to illegals, they stole from a working American taxpayer.

Granted, funding and constructing a wall will require some force and an act of government. That pinch of statism, however, is necessary to stop a tsunami of future leftist coercion. Construction of the wall can almost fully prevent this future pillaging of the American taxpayer. The protection of liberty we can achieve through its construction vastly outweighs the little liberty we must surrender for it.

In conclusion, if I could abolish welfare instead of building a wall, I would. In today’s political theater, though, the abolition of welfare is not feasible while the construction of the wall is. Due to the boatloads of money Americans lose every year due to illegal Immigration, the wall’s construction will provide a net benefit to liberty.


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