Tag: liberty

Walter Jones: A Hero to the Anti-War Movement

Kenneth Casey | United States

On Sunday, America lost one of their most principled and honorable members of Congress with the passing of Walter Jones, the U.S. Representative of North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District. According to Fox News, Jones had suffered a broken hip at his home on January 14th and underwent surgery at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville the following day, which was just one of a series of ailments that Jones had faced.

The North Carolina politician first entered the cutthroat world of politics in 1983 after being elected as a representative of North Carolina at the state level, serving as a Democrat for the entirety of his tenure. After his father vacated his U.S. Congressional seat as a member of North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District in 1992, Jones decided to run for his father’s seat and did so successfully. While being a Democrat and serving his first term as so, he decided to switch his party affiliation to the Republican Party in 1994 and has remained a member of the party since.

For around a decade, Jones worked like most people in Washington. He flew under the radar, for the most part, not garnering much national attention. He often served as the standard Republican member of Congress by commonly voting in line with his party as most members of Congress do. The practice of rarely breaking party line and staying away from even the slightest hints of contrarianism is popular in Congress as it increases your chances of being re-elected. That’s why, just about every year, 90% or more of Congress gets re-elected. As long as you do your part and vote in line with your party on the most important issues, the party leadership will support your re-election bid and make the threat of a primary challenge extremely unlikely.

It wasn’t until 2003 that Jones did something that garnered widespread mainstream media attention. Unless you know Walter’s path of getting where he is today, what he did may just surprise you.

A Figure Emerges

Walter was one of the biggest supporters of the Invasion of Iraq back in 2003. His passion for the war was so strong that when France announced their opposition to the United States’ involvement in Iraq, Walter, along with fellow House Republican Bob Ney of Ohio, led the charge to alter a couple names of food choices on the House Cafeteria menu. “French Fries” were to be changed to “Freedom Fries”; “French Toast” was changed to “Freedom Toast”. Yes, Jones’ first real moment of prominence after 10 years a Congress was when he became known as one of the Republicans who bootlicked for the Invasion of Iraq so much that he made his disapproval of France’s stance on the issue known by removing the word “French” from the House Cafeteria Menu.

By the end of 2005, the number of American casualties had reached 2,181. It was around this time that Walter Jones drastically changed his views on Foreign Policy. He called on President Bush to withdraw from Iraq, stating he had “come to believe that there had been little reason to go to war, despite his earlier support, which had been based upon selective intelligence supplied to Congress.” Walter did something that we hardly ever see in politicians, and that is admitting that they are wrong. After coming to the realization of his past faults, he became one of the biggest non-interventionists in Congress, supporting peace every single chance he got and opposing war at all costs.

Because of his heroism among anti-war activists, he earned the label “Champion of Peace” by fellow non-interventionist Congressman Ron Paul. In the years following his change of heart towards the Iraq War, Jones has signed over 12,000 letters to families and extended families who have lost loved ones in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and has hung posters displaying the faces of the dead along the hallway leading to his congressional office in Washington D.C. “That was for me asking God to forgive me for my mistake,” Jones told the NPR in 2017.

An Enemy of War Hawks

Of course, whenever Jones defied the Republican and neoconservative establishment by advocating for non-interventionism and going against their mainstream ideology, they did not take kindly to that. In both 2014 and 2016, Jones a faced primary opponent who benefited from having received millions from neoconservatives, most notably Bill Kristol, who despised Walter for his foreign policy and didn’t think that he belonged in the modern day Republican Party. Even though his views didn’t exactly coincide with the majority of the Republican Party’s, he still managed to easily brush off his primary challengers both times from the hawkish right, with his constituents proving they wanted to keep their principled politician. This led to him being awarded another nickname from Ron Paul: The Neocon Slayer.

Later on in his congressional career, following the changes in his foreign policy beliefs, he lived by a mindset that he felt his father had failed to follow. That mindset was doing what he believed was right even if it resulted in his career ending abruptly ending. He noted in a 2005 interview that he remembered the worst day of his father’s career was when he had to vote for a financial bailout of New York City in 1970, something his father personally opposed but had to vote for because of “political reasons”.

A Legacy to Remember

If you asked Jones, prior to his death, how he feels looking back at the time in which he was known as the guy who was the reason for the Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast denominations on the House Cafeteria Menu, he most likely would have reacted by laying his cheek in his left hand. This was a habit he said he would “repeat dozens of times a day when lost in thought or sadness”. He would uncharacteristically say nothing, wishing to erase that point in his political career from his and everybody else’s memory. Sixteen years after his vote to send American troops into Iraq, Jones would still have been furious with himself and shaken that he reacted with the dramatic response to a problem much bigger than that, ashamed and regretful of his past votes and rhetoric. In a 2015 interview, he stated he would “go to his grave regretting that he had helped kill 4,000 American soldiers.”

In his later days, Walter ended up becoming so much more than what I previously described in this article: an unprincipled politician who really doesn’t have a person in Congress other than to be there as a yes-man. Walter ended up becoming something that is such a rare species. Some wonder if principled, honorable politicians are already extinct. The type of morality that Walter Jones displayed earns the amount of respect none of us are capable of giving. For that, he deserves to be recognized, honored, and never forgotten in our memories.

May he rest in peace.


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Wait, Who is Bill Weld?

John Keller | United States

William Floyd Weld was born July 31st, 1945 in Smithtown, New York. Growing up, he pursued education fiercely and graduated with a degree in classics from Harvard and a degree in economics from Oxford. Following a full time “career” in education, he turned his attention to the law. His first experience in law was as a consul to the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate. After the committee was dissolved following the impeachment and resignation of Richard Nixon, Bill Weld ran to be the Massachusetts Attorney General in 1978. Although losing, Ronald Reagan saw his talent and made him the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

A Man of Law

During his five years as a federal attorney, he launched an ongoing investigation into public corruption, most notably in the administration of Boston Mayor Kevin White. His investigation lead to the arrest of over 20 public officials, all of which plead guilty or were proven guilty in a court of law. The Boston Globe wrote, “[Weld] has been by far the most visible figure in the prosecution of financial institutions.” In his 111 cases as a federal attorney, he won 109 of them.

Due to the surprising success of Bill Weld, Ronald Reagan saw to it that he was promoted within the Justice Department. Weld became responsible for overseeing all federal prosecutions, including the cases handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). He served until 1988 when he, as well as Deputy Attorney General Arnold Burns and four aides, resigned in protest of the misconduct of Attorney General Edwin Meese. Following his resignation, he testified to Congress. Shortly following his testimony on the corruption of the Attorney General, Edwin Meese resigned.

A Republican Governor in a Liberal State

After a short hiatus from politics, Bill Weld announced his bid for the governorship of Massachusetts. Massachusetts was an overwhelmingly liberal state, as highlighted in the 1986 gubernatorial election when the Republican candidate received less than 30% of the vote. Bill Weld, however, was not the typical conservative and ran on a platform of social tolerance and fiscal responsibility – winning both the Republican vote and most moderate Democrats. He was able to win the election by a close margin of 3.25% of the vote.

In his first term, Bill Weld went to work trying to lowering taxes and unemployment. He cut taxes 21 times and brought unemployment in Massachusetts from the highest in the 11 most industrial states to the lowest; even balancing the budget. He began battling corruption in the welfare system by a work-for-welfare system – slashing welfare spending.  His reforms and administration was overwhelmingly popular and when re-election time came in 1994, Bill Weld won re-election with 70.85% of the vote; in a state where only 14% of the electorate was part of the Republican Party. Bill Weld kept his reforms going, and seeing that he had served Massachusetts so well he hoped to bring his reforms to the nation and ran for senate in 1996 against incumbent John Kerry (D).

A Libertarian Leader

Bill Weld went on a hiatus from public life and politics following the turn of the century. As the Republican Party began losing its small-government conservative values of the 20th Century, Bill Weld began losing confidence in the Republican Party. After working on the Romney for President campaign in 2012, he left the Grand Old Party (GOP) and became a Libertarian, aligning with his views of small government in the economy, the lives of the people, and in peace, whether domestic or foreign.

In 2016 he sought the Libertarian nomination for Vice President. At the convention, following Gary Johnson’s renomination for president, having formerly run in 2012, Bill Weld was elected to be the Vice Presidential Nominee; receiving the support of 441 of the 872 delegates. He entered the campaign trail alongside Gary Johnson, the former republican governor of New Mexico, who served while Bill Weld was governor of Massachusetts.

“The dragon that I’m jousting against this year is this frozen monopoly of the two parties that have frozen a lot of people’s thinking in place and they think, ‘I have to be a right-winger,’ or, ‘I have to be a left-winger.’ They’re not thinking, ‘What do I think?’” – Bill Weld, on ReasonTV (2016)

It was largely the campaigning of Bill Weld, with his clarity on issues and clean presentation in interviews, in the divisive election of 2016 that led the Libertarian ticket to poll at 12% – almost getting the ticket into the presidential and vice presidential debates. Bill Weld proved to be a warrior of freedom wielding the Javelin of Justice and Shield of Sacrifice, bringing the Libertarian Party to its greatest year ever. The future for Bill Weld is unknown, but it is known that it is bright, for so few gave so much to such a noble cause.

For his dedication to prosperity while governor, his devotion to justice as a U.S. Attorney General, and his dedication to civil liberties while the libertarian vice-presidential nominee, it is clear that Bill Weld defines what a modern day renaissance man is, and is worthy of tribute for his many accomplishments.


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Make Individualism Great Again

Josh Hughes | United States

Individuality is one of the greatest gifts a person can possess. The ability to be yourself and become whomever and whatever you want to be is a privilege so great, yet so often wasted and taken for granted. The time that we live in now undoubtedly favors collectivism over individualism. In fact, many will persecute you for trying to be yourself and “march to the beat of your own drum” rather than follow a crowd. The loss of individuality from society will stand to gain nothing but negative effects.

Mainstream Collectivism

Collectivism is being heavily pushed in many facets, most notably in schools, corporations, and the media. In places of learning all over the country, individuality is becoming frowned upon and slowly moved away from. In a theme which is common to every area listed, collectivism is being rebranded with nicer sounding synonyms such as “collaboration.” This is not to say that somethings cannot be done better in a group setting, but when it reaches the point that schoolchildren are conditioned to always work in a team rather than reach a solution on their own, there is an issue. As a current student, I can personally attest to the fact that “group work” has become more and more prevalent. Again, working as a team is not inherently the problem; rather, it’s the idea that solutions are always reached better or more efficiently in a group setting rather than individually.

Another area that collectivism is commonly seen is in the workforce. This idea is often seen in many major corporations, specifically. Think of the last Google or Apple ad that you saw. There’s a good chance the ad was, in some form or another, stressing the idea of “teamwork” or “collaboration.” Much of the new technology being developed now is made with a focus for collaboration and working together with other users. Regardless of their intentions, advertisements that consistently promote collectivism and intentionally ignore individualism give the millions of viewers a very clear idea of what’s accepted.

In a way that coincides with the point about advertising, the media almost always tends to shun individualism. Rather, they resort to grouping and profiling individuals into specific groups. Instead of focusing on a person’s events, they will focus on their sex, race, religion, or other affiliations. It does not matter if someone is a straight white male or a gay black woman or anything in between, it cannot be denied that the smallest minority is the individual. Every person is totally unique from everyone else and should be viewed as such.

What Have These Actions Led To?

With every major influencer in America focusing on these ideas, identities for the common man have been stripped. Rather than being an individual, every person is a part of some group and is esteemed based off of the group’s actions. This has led to people becoming shadows and parrots of their idols and influencers. We live in an age of NPC’s, where no one really exists.

Think of the possibilities of a society full of people that thought and acted for themselves rather than following a mainstream. The creative and innovative explosion would be something to marvel at. Not to mention, a society that thinks is a society that is free. A nation full of independent thinkers would surely lead to increased liberty.

The age of listening to and following celebrities and those that are in charge should be behind us. Rather, we should heed the words of philosophers such as Ayn Rand, who promoted total individuality in an era of Communism where collectivity reigned supreme. The current era is moving closer and closer towards this, with collectivism having a direct correlation to socialism. The scarce free minds that are left need to resist this trend and continue to think for themselves. However, if you’re one of that group, you don’t need me to tell you that.


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The Case Against Democracy in a Free Society

Jack Parkos | United States

“We must do (X)!” says the politician. “We must do it to save democracy!” To the democratic politician, democracy is like its child; they ignore or rebuke all who critique it. But in reality, democracy deserves much criticism for its failures.

Indeed, many people grow up thinking democracy is the last step in political theory. Democratic republicanism is the only way and it must spread throughout the world, say the many. It may seem we live under a great system where everyone has a say in the government. However, all that this means is that everyone else has a say over your life.

From Republic to Democracy

In the United States, we are a republic. However, it has become more democratic throughout the years. For example, one no longer must own property to vote. As a result, those without property may vote to implement or increase property taxes, involving themselves in a matter that does not affect them. Furthermore, criminals and the uneducated have as much power as you. They can vote your rights away with ease. The democratic politician relies on the lower class to gain power.

Without a doubt, democracy can economically incentivize unsuccessful behavior. Under our democracy, antidiscrimination laws often protect those who do not succeed by virtue of alleged equality. For example, schools may no longer choose how they fund their athletics because of gender “equality”.

A Restriction of Rights

Democracy is simply a violation of private property. It is a way for some to receive free stuff at the expense of others. Universal suffrage allows for the uninformed groups to decide what the informed must do.

If the right to vote were expanded to seven year olds … its policies would most definitely reflect the ‘legitimate concerns’ of children to have ‘adequate’ and ‘equal’ access to ‘free’ french fries, lemonade and videos. – Hans-Hermann Hoppe 

Moreover, after democracy came to be, communism and Nazism were able to rise through a democratic process. Democracy can just as easily lead to tyranny as any other form of government.

Tyranny naturally arises out of democracy. – Plato

In a democracy, a tyrant needs only 51% of the people to support him and his tyrannical actions are legitimate. 51% can never truly constitute the will of the people, and neither can any other figure less than 100%. Majority support does not make an action morally right. A popular vote does not decide ethics.

Poor Democratic Leaders

Under a free society, the best leaders would naturally rise and be chosen voluntarily. Under democratic rule, the worst leaders are generally going to be in charge. Deceptive people have an edge over honest people due to the fact that they don’t have to play by the rules; not doing so makes it a lot easier to garner votes.

Democracy is not based on the common good of the community but rather on irrational voter decisions. Plato uses an example of the doctor and a candyman. The doctor offers you the painful truth that ultimately will benefit you. He may do unpleasant procedures on you, but ultimately, you will see the gains. Meanwhile, the candyman offers you a lollipop. This, of course, is a lot more attractive.

Voters are historically unable to look at longterm consequences of actions, and as a result, many may pick the candyman. This is an excellent analogy. In truth, many democratic voters are like children wanting free goodies. “Free” healthcare and welfare are a lot more attractive to some than long-term and sustainable success that doesn’t come from someone else’s paycheck.

Better Alternatives

In a libertarian society, leaders would rise by protecting their people without stealing from others. It would all be voluntary, unlike democracy. A majority of others agreeing on something does not mean that everyone consents. For example, we can take Ben Franklin’s classical analogy of democracy:

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!”

According to the democratic politician’s logic, the lamb consented to be eaten because the majority of the wolves decided it was okay. Does this sound absurd? My neighbor deciding to steal my income is not freedom in any meaningful way.

Short-term Solutions

Unfortunately, a pure libertarian society is not around the corner. In spite of this, what is a good way to better safeguard rights? The best, most pragmatic short term solution is to “undemocratize” our country. The Founders required that one own land to vote, as they feared that those without land would attempt to steal the land of property owners (they were right; this has happened). It is fair that one should own property to vote, at least on issues regarding private property.

It is also worth debating whether prisoners and the uneducated should vote. Perhaps these are good ideas, perhaps not. But like all ideas, they should see a full and proper debate before reaching a verdict. Many may claim that such a notion is entirely unfair, from the start. How else, though, is it feasible to reduce the size and scope of government?

What Can We Do?

It is unlikely these exact policies will exist. However, those who seek to shrink the state should support any policy that makes us less democratic and prevents a tyranny of the majority. There should be requirements to vote that are worth discussing. These policies will make our country less democratic and more republican (in political theory terms, not the parties).

Naturally, nobody has the right to vote about what someone else does with their private property. But the less property the government steals, the better. Democracy is not liberty; it is an illusion of freedom that politicians can use to gain power.

The Founding Fathers warned us many times of what would happen. The pure libertarian society will not come anytime soon, but any action that supports liberty must be pursued. Naturally, less democracy is more freedom: true freedom.


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Marco Rubio Proves Politicians Will Do Anything for Votes

Indri Schaelicke | United States

In January of 2016, speaking at a New Hampshire campaign event, Republican Presidential hopeful Senator Marco Rubio reaffirmed his pro-gun right stance. “I believe that every single American has a Constitution—and therefore God-given right—to defend themselves and their families,” Rubio said. The statements he made at this rally were clearly politically motivated- he was attempting to build a base of voters in a state with a strong commitment to gun rights, especially among Republicans. And it sort of worked- he received 10% of the vote in the New Hampshire Republican primary and came away with 2 delegate votes.

Yet just a few years later, it seems like Rubio has forgotten those closely held principles. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Marco Rubio is planning to introduce a red flag gun bill. This law, if passed, would encourage states to pass and implement laws that allow law enforcement to confiscate guns from their owners if they show any signs of aggression. The process begins when law enforcement, concerned family and friends, or mental health professionals petition a court for a court-ordered confiscation of guns from the person in question’s home. A troubling problem with red flag gun confiscation laws, however, is that the citizen whose right to defend themselves by owning firearms is being stripped away is not given an opportunity to represent themselves in court and prevent the confiscation.

How could a politician go from believing every person has the right to protect themselves and the people they love, to leaving this right up to the whims of a judicial system that can be easily biased into stripping this right from a person? Let’s examine what has caused Rubio to shed his principles with such ease.

The Parkland School Shooting

On February 14, 2018, gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and killed seventeen students and staff members and injured a further seventeen others. This school shooting sparked a national debate on America’s gun laws and the constitutionally protected right of the people to keep and bear arms. The survivors of the shooting were understandably severely anti-gun after the events they had witnessed, and many of them started a movement known as the March for Our Lives. This movement organized marches and rallies across the US, and demanded tougher restrictions on the ownership of guns, with some even calling for the complete banning of assault rifles.

Being one of two senators from the state of Florida, Marco Rubio was forced to make a statement about the shooting and demonstrate to his constituents that he would do what he could to prevent another tragedy like this from happening. At a widely seen CNN Town Hall event, Rubio spoke with survivors of the shooting and came under fire from outraged parents of fallen students and shooting survivors. Question after question about what he would do to prevent similar shootings from happening came at Rubio, who did his best to stay true to his principles in the face of a hostile crowd. However, he soon cracked, and after the event announced that he would be introducing a Gun Violence Restraining Order Bill, also known as a Red Flag bill, in the US Senate. During the town hall, Rubio also stated support for four different proposals that would aim to limit the risk that a deranged individual could harm so many defenseless children.

These proposals include strengthening background checks, banning bump stocks, increasing the age limit to buy rifles from 18, and potentially limiting magazine sizes. On the issue of the legal age to purchase rifles, Rubio said: “I absolutely believe that in this country if you are 18 years of age, you should not be able to buy a rifle, and I will support a law that takes that right away”. In just two short years, Marco Rubio has gone from believing that everyone has the right to protect themselves to supporting “a law that will take that right away”. He also indicated that he is reconsidering his stance on limiting magazine sizes. “I traditionally have not supported looking at magazine clip size, and after this and some of the details I learned about it, I’m reconsidering that position,” Rubio said.

Political Posturing

This strategic positioning on the issues suggests that Senator Rubio is attempting to put himself in good standing with his constituents to ensure his reelection bid is successful. Rubio’s next run will come in 2022, just three years away. The survivors of the Stoneman Douglas shooting, as well as thousands of other teens concerned with the safety of their schools and communities, will range from 18 to 22. With almost 70% of teens surveyed in a SurveyMonkey poll saying that a federal ban on assault weapons would make the US a safer place, it is clear that the newest members of Rubio’s electorate are in favor of gun control. The Senator is ensuring that he can count on GenZ votes in his 2022 election run. If he does not secure this demographic’s support he will find it incredibly difficult to win reelection.

Rubio is walking an incredibly thin line. He must maintain his base of Republican support by not compromising his beliefs on gun rights, while also attracting more moderate voters who are more likely to support some sort of gun control measure. Florida is infamous for being a swing state in Presidential elections, as 27% of their electorate is not party affiliated. This massive demographic has the potential to decide close races, and Rubio must win their support by becoming more moderate. His red flag bill will allow him to achieve both of these goals, as both groups are likely to agree with the necessity of this law. It looks like yet another politician has decided it is worth shedding their principles to ensure reelection.


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