Tag: military

The Tyranny and Failure of Coercive Paternalism

By John Keller | United States

Coercive Paternalism can be defined as intervention in cases where people’s choices of the means to achieving their ultimate ends are confused. An argument of this nature, notably by Sarah Conly, rests on four main points: (1) Such a view promotes individuals actual goals. (2) Coercive Paternalism is effective. (3) The benefits are worth the cost. (4) Coercive Paternalism is efficient. Coercive Paternalism offers an ambiguous and unclear argument that ignores many of the complexities of the issues.

The Argument For Paternalism

A Coercive Paternalist would make an argument such as this: (1) People want to live long and healthy lives. (2) Eating processed foods and consuming drugs hinders people from living long and healthy lives. (3) Thus, the government must ban certain foods and drugs to promote the goal of the individual. Assuming the premise to be true, a rather noncontroversial claim, logically the next step is to examine the second step of the argument. Does consuming drugs hinder people from wanting to live long and healthy lives?

Examine, for instance, veteran suicide and veterans who deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Marijuana has been instrumental, if not vital, to veterans dealing with the mental complications involved with going into combat. By denying veterans drugs to promote the ‘individuals’ goals, they are actually exacerbating the mental complications of veterans and creating an environment in which veterans are forced to live shorter, mentally unhealthy lives as they tragically fall victim to the grip of suicide. Is this outcome the promotion of ‘long and healthy lives’? No, and thus Coercive Paternalism is unable to provide the needs of individual citizens.

The Failure of Coercive Paternalism

As it is unable to provide the needs of the individual citizens, it can not be effective. Paternalism itself is the idea in which the government must assume a role similar to that of your parent because the individual is inadequate to take of themselves and make good choices. Are any two individuals the same? Are any two children raised the same? Even siblings are often raised differently as a parent learns more, realizes mistakes, and adjust in real time to the needs of their children. The government, however, can not operate in this way on an individual level. Instead, they institute a policy under the basis of ‘one shoe fits all’. A clear example of this is common core education. With more money in the education system, improvement has been rare to come by. RealClear Education reports, “Between 2013 and 2017, only five jurisdictions logged improvements in 4th-grade math and just three in 8th-grade math.” As no two individuals develop the same, no government program can claim to be for the benefit of every citizen.

The theorized benefits of paternalism, that cannot apply to every citizen due to the nature of individuality, are not worth the cost. From 2013-2017, a total of $375,577,635,000 was spent federally, with an additional $840,757,185,970 spent in the same time frame by the states. In 2013, roughly 62,146,000 children went to school. That means that between 2013-2017, a total of $1,216,334,820,000 was spent on 62,146,000 school age children, or roughly $19,572.21 per student. As a result of paternalism, $1.2 trillion was spent to see only eight jurisdictions see an increase in math skills of America’s youth.

With the cost not being worth the near invisible benefits, Coercive Paternalism fails to also be effective. While it is not effective, it also fails to be efficient. Prohibition has historically failed to be efficient. The Eighth Amendment, passed in 1917 and ratified in 1919, was passed to prohibit the sales, transportation, importation, and exportation of “intoxicating liquors”, also known, more commonly, as alcohol. During the Prohibition Era, drinking remained constant. It is very likely that it not only stayed at the pre-prohibition levels but that drinking increased following the prohibition. When the government stopped sanctioning the legality of the alcohol industry and its services, it was forced to go into an underground state, run by speakeasies throughout the nation. The people reverted to the black market to get the products they desired, proving government regulation of the market to be inefficient. Furthermore, the government prohibition on the use of marijuana proved again to be a failure for the U.S government. Historically speaking, prohibition has always been ineffective.

Coercive Paternalism fails to promote the individual’s actual goals, is not effective, and is not worth the cost. The theory of Coercive Paternalism offers a simple answer to the complexities of society that fails to respect an individuals rights, needs, and the pursuit of happiness.


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The Second Amendment is Still Working

Jack Shields | United States

A few weeks ago, NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch tweeted an NBC article discussing the desire of Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) to take Americans’ semi-automatic rifles from them and criminally prosecute those who refuse to turn in their guns. Swalwell proudly admitted on Twitter that Loesch wasn’t wrong about his intentions. This caused him to get into arguments with people on Twitter where he casually mentioned that if we defied the government and refused to turn in our guns, they could just nuke us into submission. He was, of course, being sarcastic, but it brings light to the fact that many on the Left consider the idea of the people using their guns to rise up and fight a tyrannical government as simply laughable. The government and more specifically the military it commands are just too powerful in their opinion for us to stand a chance. However, this is simply not true. The facts show that the second amendment remains just as adequate a tool for fighting tyranny today as it did when it was ratified in 1791.

A Fight Against Tyranny

The first way the second amendment functions as a tool to prevent tyranny isn’t even that we can use the guns to fight the government. It’s the fact that us having the guns will deter the government from doing anything that would warrant us having to rebel in the first place.  Recognizing that guns are an effective deterrent is just understanding human nature. If for some odd reason you were required to rob one of two houses that were identical in every aspect and each had a guy with almost identical characteristics in them, with the only difference being you knew the guy in House A was armed while the guy in House B was unarmed; then it’s an easy choice. You’re going to rob House B. The stats show that at an individual level this is true.

The book, Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms by James D. Wright and Peter D. Rossi, discusses a 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons which found that 34% were “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim.” 40% decided against committing a crime because they “knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun.” And lastly, 69% had personally known other criminals who were “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim.”  This reality was understood by both the men in government who have wanted to preserve the rights of the people and those who have wanted to impose tyranny on them.

James Madison, when talking about the threat of a federal government which wished to usurp state powers and encroach on individual liberties in The Federalist, No. 46, noted the unique “advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.” Madison knew that Americans would rise to defeat any federal government which wished to impose tyranny, and because of this, the federal government would be unlikely to attempt such things. It was a deterrent that the subjects of Europe did not have, and it showed as their kings trampled on their rights with little doubt that they could get away with it. Not only did Madison, the Father of the Constitution and one of the biggest leaders for freedom and liberty in the history of the world, understand this, but one of the most tyrannical, evil people in the world, Mao Zedong, understood this fact as well.

Mao once said, “Every communist must grasp the truth: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Mao knew that in order to take away his subjects ability to resist as he trampled over their liberties; he needed to be the one in control of the guns. And the results of the two nations Mao and Madison built could not be more different. Madison’s country is the freest, most powerful nation in the history of humanity. Mao murdered 45 million of his own people as he built a nightmare today where the people have little to no rights and China is one of the most evil and dangerous countries in the world. It’s not just the Chinese that were oppressed. The Jews in Nazi Germany, the women in Iran, and even the black people in the United States for most of its history were helpless as their rights were stripped from them because they did not have access to the deterrent we as Americans take for granted or mock today.

While it’s clear having guns is a successful deterrent against government tyranny if, God forbid, we ever had to rebel against our own government, would we be able to put up a fight? Are the liberals right when they say the government would slaughter us? Wars both now and throughout history show us that Rep. Swalwell and his fellow progressives are just wrong and that we could actually put up a fight.

Conservatives often remark when debating the issue of guns that George Washington did not talk with the British. He shot them. And at the time the British had by far the most powerful military in the world. The colonies had farmers and boys in disorganized militias and the ill-equipped Continental Army. Yet the United States won using the ordinary firearms they had at home against the greatest military force of the time.  The Civil War also disproves several points made by the Progressives.

The History of Resistance

The first is that Progressives seem to believe that a war now would be the full might of the military striking down a bunch of rebellious civilians, but that’s just not true. In the event of a civil war, it’s reasonable to believe a sizable portion of the military will fight for the rebellion, bringing weapons, tech, and military knowledge and strategy to the rebels. This is seen best by General Robert E. Lee, who was offered the command of the United States Army but chose instead to align himself with the Confederacy. And while the Confederacy lost, it was in no way an easy victory for the Union, as it looked like for a long time the Confederacy may win and, in order to turn the tide of the war, President Lincoln had to play politics at a level no President has yet to equal; General Grant had to use all the resources and men at his disposal, and General Sherman had to light the South on fire with his total war strategy to get them to finally surrender, and it barely worked. But that was before nukes, drones, helicopters, MOABs, chemical weapons, and all the other tools of destruction the government now has at its disposal. But when looking at wars in the modern era, you get the same results.

Since the United States dropped the atomic bomb in 1945, ushering in a new era of warfare in which it reigns supreme, it has been involved in three major wars. The Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the War on Terror. The Korean War was essentially a tie, with the United States-backed South Korea and Soviet-backed North Korea dividing their respective nations at the 39th parallel. But it’s important to understand just why it was a tie rather than a victory for the United States. President Truman fired General MacArthur and did not allow him to pursue more aggressive means of winning the war which included bombing the Chinese. The same President Truman that ordered the atomic bombings of Japan.

The United States held back its power, and it did the same in Vietnam. This was done for a plethora of reasons, mainly to keep up our image at home and abroad. And if nuking communist trying to kill your troops isn’t something most leaders would do, it’s unlikely they’d nuke us. Nukes, if used at all, would be the last result. And the results of such an action would be truly detrimental to the government.

The dictator of Syria, Bashar al Assad, used chemical weapons on his own people and was condemned internationally and now has the most powerful country in the world firing missiles and putting troops into his country. If the United States were to nuke us as Rep. Swalwell said, they would immediately lose international support, and the rebels would pick up lots of support from other countries. Not only that, those on the fence in America about siding with the rebels would be more inclined to join them after watching the government commit such a horrific act. And realistically, even if we did end up getting a Mad King type President in charge who wanted to nuke some rebels, there would likely be more than a few Jaime Lannisters willing to strike him down.

The fighting would likely be contained to traditional warfare, and that’s where we look at the results of the War on Terror. The Middle East had already repelled the Soviet Union, the second most powerful country of the 20th century, and is now taking on the United States. And unfortunately, they have done quite well. It’s been 17 years since 9/11, and al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS still exist, and while perhaps it could be argued we’ve limited their power and made progress, no one thought it would take this long or go this poorly. They are attempting to outlast us until we give up, and although not certain it seems like they have a chance to win with their inferior weapons and resources.

Looking at history or just the world today we can clearly see the marked effect civilians having or using guns has on governments wishing to impose their power on them, and it is clear Rep. Swalwell and his fellow progressives’ philosophy and agenda on this issue should be rejected, and the second amendment should be preserved.


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Americans Have Forgotten How to Boycott

TJ Roberts | United States

Since Nike released their new ad in support of Colin Kaepernick, the mainstream American Right has been losing their minds, showing images of them burning their Nike shoes or cutting the logos off of their gym clothes. The same can be said about the American Left’s revulsion towards In-N-Out and Chic-fil-A after they announced their support for conservative causes. The calls for boycotts, however, fall on deaf ears. This is simply because Americans have forgotten how to boycott, whereas they have come to rely on State intervention to achieve their social goals.

The Failure of the Boycott

When Chic-fil-A came out in support of traditional marriage, the American Left slammed them in the public sphere, but they never truly boycotted the franchise. Rather, they gave them free advertisement. They are now doing the same thing for In-N-Out due to their donation to the California GOP. American culture has become so materialist that people can’t even fathom doing without a product in order to enact the change that they desire.

This is largely due to the rise of the modern State. Whereas economic interventionism has become the immediate means by which society changes, the public does not realize their power in the market. This comes from two primary reasons. First, if a well-connected business goes under, the US federal government is likely to bail it out of its economic struggle. Second and most importantly, it is far easier for the government to change something than the private sector.

Government is a monopoly on violence. All state action is backed by either the barrel of a gun or the edge of a blade. Why would the people boycott if they could simply use government force to enact their social preferences? In the private sector, one must compete with the status quo in order to bring about change. With government, all it takes is for a bureaucrat to enact a new arbitrary legislation or law forcing businesses to stop whatever they are doing that is hurting the sensitivities of the thoughtless masses.

Refusing to Buy Goods is Not Enough

Conservatives tend to be able to actually refuse to buy/use products that they find despicable. Their belief in a relatively free market lets them at least realize that they have some power over corporations. But businesses don’t go under simply because they lose a small chunk of their consumer base (they will also gain customers due to controversial moves). While they may lose growth due to traditional boycotts, a boycott can only be effective if consumers are actively competing with businesses.

Instead of throwing an online fit and burning Nike products, it would behoove conservatives to sell their lightly used Nike products at unreasonably low prices in the secondary market as Dr. Robert Murphy, author of Contra Krugman, so brilliantly pointed out. Doing this would not only rid you of the products of a company that would dare to refuse to worship a cloth, but it would also push the price of their products down. This would hurt future sales.

While the Left and the Right are dramatizing minor issues, there is an economics lesson we can all learn from this. A boycott can and will work, but only if the public not only refuses to purchase a business’s goods/services but also compete with the business in order to hurt future sales. If the Left wants to push progressive “values” and the Right wants to push idol worship upon the people, then they may want to learn how an actual boycott works. Or they could focus on real issues such as the fact that the US is committing genocide in Yemen as you read this.


This post was originally published in LIFE.

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Although Beneficial, Vaccination Should Be Entirely Voluntary

indri Schaelicke | United States

Undoubtedly one of the greatest medical innovations in human history is the invention of the vaccine. The science of vaccination was first seriously pioneered by Edward Jenner in 1796, when he noticed that milkmaids who had caught cowpox before became immune to smallpox later. To test his theory that humans could develop immunity, Jenner took pus from a milkmaid with cowpox and put it into a cut in the arm of an 8-year-old boy. Six weeks later, he inoculated the same boy with smallpox, observing that he did not catch smallpox. Based on his findings, he was able to develop the first vaccines.

Are vaccines actually safe?

Two centuries later, and vaccine technology has advanced incredibly. Vaccines are much safer than during Edward Jenner’s time when patients were deliberately cut and treated with the disease using potentially unclean equipment. There are many standards doctors are held to when administering a vaccine that did not exist 200 years ago. Immediate allergic reactions that can be treated with common medications occur in fewer than one in a million cases. So just why do people believe that vaccines are dangerous and may even cause Autism?

Misinformation makes it very difficult for parents to separate fact from fiction. Sites such as vaclib.orgageofautism.com, sanevax.org, among others, peddle their anti-vaccine propaganda, often riddled with scientifically inaccuracies and falsities to uninformed parents in an effort to push their agenda. These organizations take advantage of parents’ innate desire to do what is best for their children.

A common fear among parents is that vaccination increases the risk of autism. The idea became popular after a 1997 study by British Surgeon Andrew Wakefield was published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. The study suggested that the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine was at fault for the increasing rates of autism in British children. After careful examination by peers and experts, the study has been discredited for the multitude of serious procedural errors, undisclosed financial conflicts of interest, and ethical violations. Wakefield lost his medical license and the study was retracted from the publication.

Despite the glaring issues with the study, the hypothesis was taken seriously. Several other major studies were conducted, seeking to verify the conclusion he had drawn. None of these follow up studies found a correlation between any vaccine and the increased likelihood of developing autism. While the true cause of autism remains unknown, recent research provides evidence that autism develops before a baby is even born and can receive vaccinations. Several studies have observed symptoms of autism in children before they have even received the MMR vaccine. The conclusions drawn by these studies overwhelmingly indicates that vaccination and autism disorders have little to no causation relationship.

Based on the reasoning that vaccination carries a very low risk of seriously harmful side effects, many pro-vaccine advocates argue that vaccination should not be mandatory. However, there is no greater threat to personal liberty than a government mandate that certain substances be consumed.

Freedom means choice

It is crucial to realize that every law is enforced at the threat of violence. The branches of government work together to create and enforce the law- the legislative branch, with the consultation of the massive government bureaucracy, crafts the laws that govern the nation. However, laws are no more than words on a piece of paper until they are backed by force. The executive branch of any government is tasked with executing the law, meaning that when it is broken, the police will initiate force and arrest the person.

If refusing to receive a vaccination is a criminal offense, it authorizes the use of violence against those who are simply choosing to preserve their own bodily autonomy. Can freedom really exist if choosing not to ingest a substance is met with aggression by government?

While vaccination should not be made a legal obligation, businesses and school districts should be able to require being vaccinated of their students and employees. In this way, a sort of contract is created between the two parties. In the business example, the company is allowing the employee to work for compensation, so long as they are vaccinated. If the employee does not agree to these terms, they are voluntarily forgoing the opportunity to earn income. In a world where government mandates did not dictate how we are allowed to use our bodies, voluntary interactions would ensure that the natural rights possessed by every individual, including the right to bodily autonomy and individual sovereignty would be respected.


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The Beast: An Anti-War Poem

Indri Schaelicke | United States

An original free-verse poem reflecting on the inhumanity of war, which the State often creates, inadvertently or otherwise.


The Beast

While politicians play in their palace of politics,

Young men are shipped across the seas

Like great wooden crates full of peas.

Each one treated as though they have no value,

A skirmish no more significant than a Tuesday dinner.

Peas roll off the plate without protest

The family’s beast gobbles them up in one swift CHOMP

Soon it is all over for that poor green pebble,

His loss has no effect on the quality of the meal

Except for the filling of the beast’s stomach,

His loss will not be noticed.

Overhead on the dining room table the battle rages on,

The clattering of fork and knife crashing loud as ever

Mashed potatoes plowed here and there

Steak torn apart and shoved into mouth.

The peas dive willingly into the heart of danger,

Believing in their illusively noble cause.

The peas are consumed while the farmer profits.

The laborer works to convince the masses

Of their need to consume peas,

Valuing the crop as no more than a minor expense.

One day the “land of the free” will awake

And stop condemning its boys to die

For self-interested men’s hawkish desires. 


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