Tag: personal relationships

Grading President Trump’s Libertarianism: Personal Liberty

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address marks the midway point of his first term. This is the first of four articles to analyze his policies and how well they relate to the Libertarian Party’s platform and libertarianism in general.

The four points to be analyzed are:

  • Personal Liberty
  • Economic Liberty
  • Securing Liberty
  • Overall Liberty

The Presidents policies will be analyzed with regards to how well I believe they correlate with the LP’s platform.

Self-Ownership, Expression and Communication, Privacy

President Trump’s appointment of two anti-marijuana legalizations Attorney Generals (Jeff Sessions, William Barr) and his expansion of the Drug War, most especially concerning opioids and the wall, are attacks on self-ownership. When it comes to substance use, he favors an authoritarian approach to substance use.

Self-Ownership Grade: D

His attacks on NFL players for kneeling to highlight the need for criminal justice reform, as well as to support immigrants from Muslim-dominant countries, are violations of freedom of self-expression. At the same time, he created a special class of citizens for law enforcement officers and public employees in which crimes against them would be legally treated as hate crime. However, he has not taken much legal action to stifle expression which means the government is not growing in this area.

Expression and Communication Grade: C

President Trump hasn’t ended the NSA/DHS spying on American citizens, despite complaining about being bugged by President Obama. Our President has demonized Edward Snowden but praised Wikileaks. Basically, he only supports whistleblowers when it helps him. Justice Brett Kavanaugh was appointed to the Supreme Court despite his anti-Fourth Amendment writings. Many credit Kavanaugh’s legal writings for building justification for the surveillance state.

Privacy Grade: D

Personal Relationships, Abortion, and Parental Rights

President Trump has not made an issue out of defining marriage. If he continues the hands-off approach on government involvement in marriage, that would aid his score. Removing government from personal relationships is the preference. However, he has been antagonistic toward transgender persons regarding bathroom usage and has banned them from military service. I see this as the all too familiar republican story of only being for small government when personal beliefs coincide.

Personal Relationships: C

Early in his administration, President Trump reinstated the Mexico City policy, which keeps Federal funding from being used to pay for international abortions. Later, he authorized State governments to stop funding Planned Parenthood. Both moves reduced the amount of State involvement in the abortion issue. However, he does advocate for legislation to ban various forms of abortion, which re-engages the State on the issue. Many are concerned that he has stacked the Supreme Court with Justices who will overturn legal precedent on the issue.

Abortion Grade: C

President Trump appointed Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary, signaling a commitment to end Federal involvement in our education. In this capacity, DeVos has worked to eliminate Federal involvement while promoting private and home-schooling options. Additionally, our President signed an Executive Order aimed at curtailing the amount of Federal involvement allowed in education.

Education Grade: A

Crime and Justice, Death Penalty, Self-Defense

The First Step Act is a great opening salvo at a larger and more comprehensive criminal justice reform. Trump has talked about going further on this issue. Yet, his expansion of the Drug War that criminalizes victim-less crimes and his State-centered approach on sex-trafficking contradicts a libertarian stance on crime and justice.

Crime and Justice Grade: B

President Trump is in favor of the administration of the death penalty by the State.

Death Penalty Grade: F

Our President portrays himself a champion of gun ownership rights. He has opposed various attempts at gun control on the Federal level. However, he banned bump stocks and advocates for enhanced background checks.  He also supports red flag laws. He has also expressed support for Senator Feinstein to pass Assault Weapon Bans. In terms of immigration, private property owners deserve the right to enforce their property boundaries, even on our international border with Mexico, however they see fit. Immigration reform should address that reality.

Self-Defense Grade: B

Rating Trump on personal liberty, I give him a C (2.0). He could really harm his score if he continues promoting State-centered solutions at the expense of individual rights. I am truly rooting for him to improve that score.

Stay tuned for the next article in which I will grade Trump’s policies on Economic Liberty.

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Two Practical Tips For Every Libertarian

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Read, Read, Read

One of the first things I learned along the way of political science and philosophy has been to read as much as possible. I began with many of the classics such as Bastiat’s The Law and Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson. I also read works by Plato, Aristotle, John Locke, Thomas Sowell, Mises, Hayek, both Milton and David Friedman, Tocqueville, C.S. Lewis, Adam Smith, Ayn Rand, Bertrand Russell, George H. Smith, Ron Paul, Lawrence Reed, Anscombe, David Boaz, Kant, Grotius, Pufendorf, Francis Hutcheson, Hume, Robert Nozick, Jefferson, Douglass, John Searle, and more. Not only did I find it necessary to read people that would help to shape my ideas and point me in various directions to where I would end up today, but I have also read and continue to read people that I disagree with, for the most part, such as Marx, Engels, Hobbes, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Piketty, Rawls, Baldwin, Keynes, Machiavelli, Hegel, Heidegger, Peter Singer, Putnam, Quine, etc. I am sure I will think of other authors on both sides that I wish I put, but to save space I shall leave it at that.

Interestingly, even with those that I adore and those that I dislike, I still find things I agree and disagree with each of them. The only way to fairly judge their ideas is by reading them and finding what best works for you and reality. It strengthens your ideas and mind to think critically about everything you read, and to know the opposing views. The best way to understand your own views is to question them and to hear out those of opposing views.

Another reason to read is to lessen your frustration when in discussions or debates with people. I found that if I was getting heated in the discussion over the topic, I should instead of arguing go and read more on the topic. The more we know of a subject, the less frustrated we should be when discussing that particular subject. In the end, however, some people will still disagree with you even if you show all the evidence and carry out a sophisticated discussion. That is okay. Learn to be okay with that. Continue to read current ideas and philosophical ideas for future experiences and thoughts in order to see if your ideas will change any further. Be sure to annotate and keep a journal of what you learn along with other ideas. Don’t stop learning. Be open to discussion and exchanging ideas, have an active ideologue, and take nothing for granted.

  • Read to learn from those similar.
  • Read to learn from those opposing.
  • Read in order to be a more critical thinker.
  • Read in order to help maintain your calm and your relationships.
  • Keep copious notes.

Maintain Relationships

When we are politically and philosophically minded, we can tend to become argumentative at times and then sever relationships with people, whether acquaintances, friends, potential friends, lovers, family, etc. The first step in this article was to continue reading and learning more about your subjects of interest. I also recommend reading Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People because it gives an introductory approach to dealing with people, lessening conflict, and handling difficult situations of communication. It is not the only book out there for this, but it is one of the best.

Learn to adjust your anger and calm your tongue. I have struggled with this at various times of my life, I have destroyed friendships and argued with strangers, I have had social media debates, I have gone through it all. The best thing I have learned in the end is that people can and will disagree, they may carry themselves rather poorly even if you are being extremely diplomatic. Realize that they have their own weaknesses just like we do, and they are just as human as we. The more often we respond in anger, we are creating a neurological habit for ourselves that is difficult to overcome. This causes us to learn to be justified in our anger and make every excuse as to why it is okay, even when it is not.

Instead, we should do everything we can to be both realistic and understanding. We do not need to give excuses for others’ poor behavior, but we surely can control our own. We will win by having more friends than enemies, not by bending on our position, but by learning to agree to disagree. If we make enemies with people based on our ideas, philosophy, economics, history, or whatever, those that become our foes will also resent our messages even more sternly.

Lastly, just as important as it is to not have heated arguments with those outside of our beliefs, it is also most beneficial not to have internal quarrels with others that do share our beliefs in front of those that do not. The outsider will not feel welcome to be involved if they, for instance, see Minarchists and AnCaps fighting. Not everything needs to be argued, a point to be made, thoughts resisted, or a system being bucked at every given point. Like neurosurgeons, it may take time, patience, and skill to be able to change the minds of those around us. Your first test subjects should be those closest to you. If you are unable to change any of the minds around you, it may be something you can work on. This is not to say that all minds need to be changed, rather it is most practical to be able to change the minds of those that already know you and like you.

  • Personal responsibility and self-control are both essential and primary.
  • Pursue ways to establish and maintain healthy relationships.
  • Learn to agree to disagree and to be fine with that.
  • You will not win every mental battle, but with more people on your side, it is easier to win the war of minds.
  • You cannot change everyone’s mind, and that is okay.
  • Heated arguments tend to hurt more than help, and those that are watching can be put off by it.
  • Learn to realize when it is an appropriate time to debate, challenge, or question. Not every moment is appropriate.
  • Practice with friends and family.

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