Tag: non interventionism

5 Political Priorities America Should Have in 2019

Kevin D’Amato | United States

Going into 2019, the political scene has undergone massive change. Following the 2018 midterms, in which the Democrat Party regained a majority in the House of Representatives, tensions have been rising. The president allowed the government to shut down over the lack of funding for his border wall. He also is already threatening to potentially do it again on February 15th. Needless to say, relations in the government are poor. This leads me to ask: What are some policy goals that the country can still pass in this political environment?

1. Criminal Justice Reform

Of course, the First Step Act did just pass. However, this is just the beginning; to assume that one bill can fix a system as bloated and broken as ours is absurd. The First Step Act, as the name implies, is a “first step” to solve our problems.

We still need to take dramatic moves in the prison system. Some things to keep in mind should be:

  • Abolishing mandatory minimums
  • Focusing less on punishments such as solitary and more on rehabilitation programs
  • Cracking down on officer malfeasance towards prisoners

2. Pull Troops Out of Military Conflict

The President stunned many, including me, when he abruptly announced he was pulling troops out of Afghanistan and Syria. The non-hawkish American population was ecstatic. Now, the only thing we need to do is hold him to it.

Mixed statements from several other Trump Administration officials have openly contradicted the President’s own words. It is Congress’s and our duty to hold the President to his words and bring our troops home.

3. End Government Spying

It often seems like the United States government outright ignores the 4th Amendment. Agencies like the NSA and FBI have made the illegal spying of American citizens commonplace. All accountability is lost when you are not aware of your own government’s actions.

The Patriot Act and FISA courts require, at the least, massive reforms. Ideally, we should move to abolish them, but this is not necessarily likely. Regardless, you have an inherent right to reasonable amounts of privacy.

As a bonus, a pardon for Edward Snowden would be nice, too!

4. Term Limits

Term limits are the most reasonable policy to enact in the United States right now. Virtually everyone that you talk to, regardless of political persuasions, believe that some sort of limitation is necessary.

Besides just getting old, crazy politicians out of office, term limits get new ideas in Washington, stop the constant fight for reelection, and partially get money-tied politicians out of the spotlight.

The Supreme Court’s 1995 decision essentially deeming term limits unconstitutional does make things complicated, but not impossible. The way forward for this plan is a rare but necessary constitutional amendment.

5. Federal Legalization of Marijuana

Let’s be honest, it’s bound to happen sometime soon.

I don’t need to go on a diatribe to inform you of the benefits of marijuana legalization. The economic, social, and political changes that would form are life-changing.

It’s about time that we let adults make their own decisions; whether it be to drink, gamble or smoke weed. As long as you’re not hurting your neighbor, freedom is absolute.


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Non-Intervention is the Only Foreign Policy That Puts America First

By Jack Parkos | United States

When a man says “family first” he will reschedule meetings to make time for his family. When a Christian says “God First” they make room for church on Sunday. What does a politician do when he or she says “America First”? Well not exactly that. Whether enacted by a Democrat or Republican, whether through foreign aid, warfare or global institutions, our foreign policy hasn’t been putting America first. Yet the people in charge claim it does.

Our policy has favored global institutions controlling power, decades of constant warfare, and maintaining an empire overseas. This approach costs countless lives and millions of dollars in resources. This is all based on the rhetoric that America has some sort of responsibility  to “Spread democracy” around the world (which is ironic considering we aren’t even a democracy). Partner this with the military industrial complex and some elitism and you have a policy that has put other nations ahead of America.

Ironically it seems the people who scream the loudest about putting America first do so the least. Both parties are guilty. The rise of Neo-Conservatism has plagued both parties. Even President Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, dropped over 26,000 bombs a year in the Middle East. They always spread the lie that intervention is for security reasons and puts America first and keeps us safe. I don’t understand how rigging elections and installing puppet regimes keeps me safe. It only creates enemies.

Russia has been accused of hacking our elections and although we don’t even know if it changed the outcome or really even what happened, people are furious. So imagine how mad people get when the CIA does this to their elections. We have made a new enemy. And this enemy is now against America. Making enemies doesn’t put America first. Our government making enemies for us is cruel. If we minded our own business, we’d be a lot better off. Does this mean all nations will love America? No, but we would have less groups that hate us.

Civil Wars happen, America even had one. This doesn’t mean we need to intervene. In the American Civil War, the CSA hoped the British and French would send troops to help it defeat the Union. They did not. Why? Because they knew it may start a war between the US and Britain. Britain put their country and there people first. This seems very reasonable. Why does America not apply this policy? If we see a Civil War erupt many miles away across the ocean, we don’t have to intervene. This doesn’t help us.

Whoever is in charge of some country in the Middle East doesn’t harm your average American. But intervening will. War has great costs. Since 2001 America has spent 5.6 trillion dollars on wars in the Middle East. And you know who gets sent the bill? American citizens. Even worse than the great financial loss is the loss of life. America first means putting American citizens first. This should include our military. Sadly, our government hasn’t felt that way.

Imagine a mother getting the call her son was killed halfway across the world, she even was forced to pay for this war. Once the war is done, nothing changes. We are no safer. We were likely never in danger. It is simply immoral and wrong to ask people to send their sons to a place they don’t know, to fight for old men in suits, and then demand the bill be paid. Our military should be a defensive one used to protect the people and put the country first, not for intervention. This will put the American people first and truly keep us safer.

You may think we have a moral responsibility to intervene, because perhaps the regime is a tyrannical one. There are several issues with this idea. The first is that the people calling to intervene are calling for others to do it. Politicians in D.C. won’t be doing any of the fighting themselves. Further, when we elect representatives there job is to represent the American people. They don’t represent Israel, Palestine, Syria, or any other country. It simply isn’t their job to represent the rest of the world. Intervention is also bound to put us in a bind when it comes to our relationship with allies. When our allies commit an atrocity do we need to intervene?

The war hawk will say our allies would never, and that even if they did we would help. This is not true. We all remember Trump launching missiles into Syria after news of a gas attack. Meanwhile in the Israel-Palestine conflict, where both sides have committed war crimes, we side with Israel and ignore there harm perpetrated by Israel. This is simply outrageous and proves that Neo-conservatives have no principles. They will gladly intervene off of claims in Syria, but turn the other cheek when Israel commits atrocities. Do they really want to bring world peace or do they just want to benefit certain groups? It appears to be the latter, and the American people is not one of the groups benefited by this.

So what foreign policy will truly put America first? A policy that protects Americans and doesn’t harm the economy. Non-intervention is the only policy that does this. This would include restricting our military to a defensive role, allowing for free trade, and not meddling in the affairs of other countries. This would reduce both spending and casualties. We also should set the example to the world of what a free and prosperous country is like.  But to do so, we first must become a free and prosperous country again. A major way we can do this is adopt the non-intervention foreign policy. If we want to put America ahead of everything else, perhaps we should put peaceful talks ahead of bombs. Intervention has not worked. It is time to try non intervention-the policy that promotes peace and prosperity.


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True Libertarian Presidents I: Ulysses S. Grant

By Dane Larsen | @therealdanelars

When brought up in debate of the best Presidents we’ve ever had here in the United States, my picks usually get shot down as not significant enough to be in contention. I am here to debate that some of the lesser known presidents are some of the ones that made due with their time in office and advanced the movement of liberty in our nation. Considering there have been no Presidents who identify as pure libertarians (yet…), most have been Republicans sometimes even before the LP was founded, so they all have their flaws. I will try to give an unbiased review of Presidents who have proven to hold up three core libertarian beliefs: economic freedom, non-interventionism, and individual autonomy.

Our first President subject to the libertarian analysis is Ulysses Simpson Grant. He is a man who, when mentioned, is usually confined to his career as General of the Union Army during the American Civil War. Before this appointment, Grant rose through the ranks at the USMA at West Point, NY, to show his potential turned to skill in the Mexican-American War. Throughout the Civil War, he proved his worth to the nation, as he pummeled the South in the battle of Shiloh, Chattanooga, and the Appomattox campaigns. This led to the surrender of the Confederacy, and a great big win on Mr. Grant’s resume.

Once a war hero, always a war hero, and in 1868, the voters showed this when they voted Grant over his Liberal Democrat opponent, Horatio Seymour, with a difference of 300,000 in the popular vote, and 214-80 in the Electoral College. Right off the bat, Ulysses S. Grant oversaw tremendous achievement: finishing the Transcontinental Railroad, and the beginning of the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Economic Freedom

Five months after inauguration, the US experienced a financial panic known as “Black Friday”, after a shaky post-war economy. From then on, it was smooth sailing for President Grant. He proved his clear advocacy for laissez-faire economics when he vetoed many attempts by Congress to intervene with the market to get it trending back up. Again, in 1874, he demonstrated transparency on the policies he ran on when he vetoed the Inflation Bill of 1874, which would have increased the nation’s spending by $100,000,000. This would amount to $2.12 billion in 2018 when adjusted for inflation, which was intended to accommodate for the economic crisis in 1873. It made people have hope for the sitting POTUS, because this proves that even in the worst of times, he never went back on his morals. He had too much respect for the people who put him in office, to go back on what he promised.

Throughout the rest of his tenure as President of the United States, Grant promoted with no question, a stable economy, with a finite resource behind its success. Multiple times in his two terms, he signed bills into law that campaigned for silver, gold, and other precious metals, rather than a standard US note. In 1875, the Specie Payment Resumption Act, Grant sanctified those values, when he restored the nation to the gold standard, to separate the USA from their normal inflammatory policies in the economy. Earlier, in 1872, the President signed the General Mining Act, where he authorized prospecting and mining of precious metals on all public properties in the US.

Furthermore, Ulysses cut taxes and chipped away at the seemingly insurmountable national debt in the post-war situation he was dropped into. He made do with what he was given and ended up being one of the most economically-sound Presidents.

Non-Interventionism

In the context of 1868, when he was elected for his first term, Mr. Grant didn’t experience a lot of the problems that would go along with the globalization that has come with uniting the world through the Internet. Every President has their downfalls, and foreign policy is where Grant slips up with his resume in office. Not to say he didn’t do any good in this role of President of the USA. His narrow encounters with Spain and Cuba in the Winter of 1873 could’ve ended disastrously, but he avoided it with his calm demeanor and his compensation to the families who were affected by the dangerous sea warfare. Even to follow up with this, and to fortify the Pacific Ocean bases from other powers of the world, Grant made efforts to strengthen relations with Hawaii, by implementing a free trade agreement with the King.

Prior to that, Grant also signed off on the Treaty of Washington, which enshrined peaceful relations between the US and the United Kingdom, under the rule of William Gladstone. Between British-built battleships causing damage to American cruisers, innocent UK civilians being lost in the Civil War, and illegal fishing in Canadian territories, the UK and America wanted to start over with a peaceful alliance. Ulysses S. Grant oversaw this, and the relationship between the two superpowers of the world.

Other than that, there was a particular part of Grant’s presidential terms that modern-day Libertarians would find repulsive. With the embarkment of the USS Alaska set out to fight with the Grebo Confederacy against the Liberian imperialists, trying to take their native land. This was one of the first steps the US took to becoming the policemen of the globe, getting involved in an affair that didn’t concern them whatsoever. President Grant even ran on a platform of annexing the Dominican Republic, which would be getting back to exactly what the US fought against the British for, a central government that is close to their regions. Serving the D.R. from D.C. is inherently against the ideals of the non-interventionism that libertarianism is built on.

Individual Autonomy

Lastly, Grant is up for ridicule on some of his social policies. In light of the Civil War, rather than some politicians like Lincoln who weren’t intrinsically against slavery, Grant didn’t just talk the talk, but he also walked the walk on his stance with civil liberties to Native Americans and African Americans, especially ex-slaves. These deep down bearings sprung him to have one of his most notorious decisions in his tenure: the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment. Denying the right to vote is an ideology that only empowers the few, and that is not what Libertarians are about, and that’s why Grant ensured this right for every citizen of the US.

Again, however, Grant wasn’t perfect in this regard either, passing some questionable legislation, the first of which being the Comstock Laws. These laws criminalized any employees of the US Postal Service who sent anything from contraceptives to pornographic material, and any other thing that Congress deemed immoral. This was a big step for the government starting to save their citizens from themselves. Again in 1875, Grant signed the Civil Rights Act, where he loosely defined “discrimination” when he prohibited it pertaining to race in public places. This was later deemed unconstitutional eight years later, but overturned in the Civil Rights Movement, but changed to not affect private businesses.

A Good Reputation, Gone Down the Drain

Towards the end, the Grant administration was cursed by countless scandals by people in his Cabinet. Although he wasn’t involved in actuality with any of these acts of misconduct, the man didn’t have very good evaluations of the men he hired. Between the Whiskey Ring and Benjamin Bristow, many distilleries evaded taxes with their connections with the Treasury Secretary. George M. Robeson was the Secretary of the Navy and stole $15 million of the $55 million in his special construction budget allotted by Grant in 1876. Furthermore, this President’s War Secretary took extortion money to head a trading post at the expense of Native Americans. This lucrative act was also immoral and cost the Presidency a bit of trust.

What we can take away from Ulysses S. Grant’s time in office, is that he was a good man, a drunkard, yes, but a good man who stuck with his principles throughout his incumbency. He was plagued by dishonor by his colleagues that he couldn’t exactly control. But in the end, he was economically sound, and an individualist at heart, even if he did overstep his boundaries.

“My failures have been errors in judgement, not of intent.”Ulysses Simpson Grant


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