Tag: state

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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Man and the Right to Govern Himself

By Benjamin Olsen | United States

Can individuals govern themselves? In a recent conversation I had, the claim was made that without laws, people simply could not govern themselves. This was during a conversation where the example was brought forward that if we ceased to have laws preventing murder, then everyone would take to the streets and murder each other in a matter very similar to the Purge series of movies.

When John Locke argues for a liberal democracy, he argues against Thomas Hobbes’ theory of an absolutist government designed to keep people from the state of nature. Locke, however, argues for that state of nature and it being necessary as a transitionary period between government types. As libertarians, we are not arguing for the absence of government, but rather the reform of government. This is not to say that all libertarians agree on the form that government should take, but rather that some government is established that protects our natural rights. The governments that are in place today do not think about our natural rights. They have gone beyond their duties and now seek to curb our liberties in the name of security. Human beings inherently value security, but we have given up all our liberties for just a little bit more. Human beings fear violent death, so doesn’t it stand to reason that humans, without laws, would restrain themselves to avoid a violent death?

We must establish a government that gets back to the roots of its mission. In order to establish this government, or even have a discussion about what this government should look like, we must do what Locke directs, we must rebel. When discussing the French revolution, we focus on the reign of terror and lawlessness. But we fail to mention that even while the reign of terror was going on, people were living out their daily lives. There was not mass murder committed by the average citizen in the rural areas of France. The reign of terror only applies to a few select cities, if not just Paris. If a country has only one city in a state of revolt, but the rest are living peacefully on their own, doesn’t this suggest that we are indeed capable of self-government?

The interim period is the scariest, it means that men will be in charge of their own destinies for years. It will, in essence, be lawless, but man is able to govern himself. Locke argues that even when we live in a lawless society, we will still be civil to one another due to man’s fear of violent death. We have a conscience. we have morals. We are not the beasts of the earth. We are humans with rational thoughts. Will there be those who abuse freedom? Yes, there will. However, when the smoke settles and liberal democracy rises from the dust, we must not let the monsters influence the proper way to govern. We have a right to govern ourselves. We have a right to revolt if our rights are not protected by the current form of government. We have the right to exercise our rights. It is time to stop watching from the sidelines and to take action. I am not calling for armed rebellion but we must not shy away from protests. If we want change we must protest. We must revolt. We must govern ourselves.


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Democracy Is a Threat to Individual Liberty

By Teagan Fair | United States

When most people hear the term ‘democracy’, they think about a fair system where the citizens might collectively vote upon what is best for the nation. Morally, this sounds good on paper, as it seems like it is trying to advocate for a system where the people have more power over the government. However, similar cases can be made for other harmful ideologies.

For example, a number of people would argue that communism sounds good on paper, advocating for equality and fairness – however, in reality, communism is based on coercion and force, extorting its citizens and getting rid of economic opportunity – not to mention having a consistent result of failure. Communism is one of many ideas that are better on paper than in reality. Although democracy is much less frowned upon in our society, I still believe it to be oppression.

How Does It Threaten Liberty?

Democracy is no more than oppression by the masses and by your fellow citizens. It is your neighbor hiring the government to force his values upon you with violence. If you were to ask most people, they would agree with you that the use of force is frowned upon in a civilized society. They would also agree with you that hiring a gang to use force against your neighbors is unethical, however, do they truly care if this happens? Because we see this happen in our everyday lives. The biggest gang in our community is the United States government, and this glorified idea called democracy says that they can be hired to use force or violence against certain groups if enough people ask them to.

If you truly care about the rights and liberties of minorities, then don’t consider democracy a ‘fair system.’ Democracy and minority rights contradict each other. As Ayn Rand once said, “The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.” This statement is spot on. Every single person reading this is a minority in the eyes of the rest of their nation and therefore can be oppressed by the mob rule that we call democracy. As another quote of Ayn Rand’s says, “Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities.” She describes this perfectly. The individual liberties of the 49%, no matter what they may be, are not to be taken away simply because 51% of citizens decided that their set of values was more important than that of the 49%, which cannot possibly be ethical, for no set of values can possibly be more important than another, no matter how extreme. The same rule goes if it is a two-thirds majority or an 80% majority, or if it all comes down to the opposition of one last person. It is unethical to strip the individual liberties of one person, simply because millions of other people made a decision that they were superior to this one person.

What Is The Solution?

Obviously, I would not advocate for simply totalitarianism, for the very existence of the state is immoral in the first place and is based on coercion and the use of unethical force, and the absence of every liberty taken away worsens the situation. Rather than democracy, which is still oppression by government, hired by your fellow citizens, there is the option of a truly free and pro-choice, individualistic society. By this, I mean that, in order to secure the blessings of liberty, in the future, if any state is to exist, then its lone duty is to protect the rights of the individual, rather than interfere and restrict the actions of that individual.

In a true pro-choice society, everything is permitted, until the action defies the rights of a fellow individual, or directly interferes with their life. You don’t like it when people smoke weed? Then don’t smoke weed, and demote the idea of it, but to hire a higher power to strip people of that idiotic, but important right is excruciatingly immoral. You don’t like the idea of other sides of the political spectrum assembling? Then don’t assemble with them. But as I have stated, it is morally incorrect to physically enforce your values upon anyone in any way. Hence why democracy is an unethical, but fancy way for the government to seize power.

This way, the government can put it in a gift bag and call it freedom because a certain group of people was convinced that they had more value than that of others, rather than directly stripping the people of their rights. It is a win for both the government and for the statists that wish their ideologies forced upon the individual minority using mob rule and force.

This aspect of our society, what we call freedom, is the exact opposite, and treads on the rights of the individual, and therefore is a threat to liberty.


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Christie Could Be Worse on Marijuana Than Jeff Sessions

By Max Bibeau | United States

On November 7, in the aftermath of an intense midterm election season, Americans could finally breathe a sigh of relief. And, as if this relief wasn’t enough, Trump decided to give America a little gift: Jeff Sessions’ resignation.

While many have been celebrating this news, it may still be a bit too soon. Trump is reportedly considering his longtime friend and fellow 2016 Presidential Candidate to replace Sessions – Governor Chris Christie.

Christie, who ran for the Republican nomination in 2016, did not have much success during the primaries and ended up endorsing President Trump after dropping out of the election in February. Christie has been repeatedly criticized for his long absences from his home state and for his “Bridgegate” scandal, which began as long ago as 2013.

Sessions is well known for his anti-drug stances, advocating for a resurgence in drug education such as in the 80s and 90s, stating that marijuana is “slightly less awful” than heroin, and that “using drugs will destroy your life.” Needless to say, Sessions adamantly opposes the legalization or even decriminalization of any currently illegal drug. He even reversed an Obama era policy in order to encourage federal law enforcement agents to crack down on marijuana use, even in legal states.

Christie, while almost 20 years younger than Sessions, seems to share his hyper-traditionalist mindset. Christie has repeatedly stated that marijuana should never be legalized for medicinal or recreational purposes, and has deemed any profits made from the legal marijuana industry “blood money.” He made it clear back in 2015 that he would never put the “lives of children and citizens at risk to put a little more money into the state coffers,” which might be a noble sentiment if marijuana had caused even a single overdose death in the last year. 

Sessions and Christie both share a similar anti-drug sentiment. But given a few past statements, it’s very possible that Christie may take a more direct approach to opposing marijuana legalization, even in states that have already legalized the drug for medicinal or recreational purposes.

In 2015, Christie was asked whether or not he would enforce federal drug laws. His response was “absolutely. I will crack down and not permit it.” He went on immediately to say that “marijuana is a gateway drug. We have an enormous addiction problem in this country. And we need to send very clear leadership from the White House on down through the federal law enforcement. Marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law. And the states should not be permitted to sell it and profit from it.”

While Sessions was more bark than bite, only implementing one or two federal changes to marijuana policy, Christie seems like he will plan to take a much more aggressive route, actively stopping businesses and farms from supplying their product. If Christie follows through on his word, direct conflict between federal law enforcement and marijuana institutions could be likely in the future.

So, while many considered Sessions the worst possible Attorney General for drug legalization, none should celebrate his resignation yet – his replacement could be far worse.


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Is Maduro The Venezuelan Allende?

By Rufus Coombe | Venezuela

The tragedy of the Venezuelan economy is as infamous as it is indisputable. However, this is where the agreement on the issue ends. By attempting to explain the economic problems the nation is facing, we can analyze the solutions and compare the current situation to an important historical example, from which we can gain great insight. 

There is no unequivocal answer to the question of why Nicolás Maduro’s economy is in such a calamitous state. Some conservatives point to the nationalization of oil and Venezuela’s notoriously restrictive and pernicious effects of leftist economic policy, with Venezuela being rated 179th in economic freedom by the Heritage Foundation. Socialists, on the other hand, are keen to emphasize the large amounts of private activity in the economy the effects of the 2015 collapse in oil prices.

Despite the inconclusiveness of the attempted diagnosis of the problems, the ailing South American nation has become a flagship example for many right-wing speakers, who use it as a paradigm of the failures of socialism. However, we are not here to delve into the rights and wrongs of Maduro’s government, but to espouse a right-wing solution to the crisis and to utilize the lessons of history to help fix a broken country.

The crux of the problem is the issue of inflation; since the oil crisis of 2015, the value of the Bolivar plummeted, with the inflation rate in 2018 reaching 25,000%. In August, the government scrapped the inflation-riddled Bolivar and replaced it with the Sovereign Bolivar, cutting 5 digits off of the note. The inflation crisis, however, does not seem to have abated, with the value of the currency still falling, albeit at a slower rate. Hyperinflation coupled with falling real wages has taken its toll on the population and in 2016, 75% of Venezuelans lost weight; there is a famine ravaging the country and the elected government seems completely overwhelmed by its task of leadership- still running a deficit of 31%.

It is pointless to delve into the often navigated and regularly investigated failures of the planned economy. Instead, we shall draw a comparison between today’s Venezuela and an astonishingly similar set of events in the history of another South American nation: Chile.

Salvador Allende and Socialist Chile

On the third of September 1973, Salvador Allende, a socialist, was elected president of Chile. Just like Maduro, he was a populist inspired by Fidel Castro and Karl Marx. Allende came to power democratically and promised sweeping economic reforms aimed to aid the proletariat. Both Maduro and Allende were democratic socialists, both strove to reform their nations economies and, as we will see, both failed.

The economic impracticalities of socialism became immediately apparent in Chile unlike in Venezuela where they were masked by large oil wealth. Economies do not react instantaneously and there is often a lag time between policy implementation and their effects. However, the effects of a regulated economy and a large welfare state caught up with Venezuela in 2016 when the economy contracted 16.5%.

Crucially, Allende pursued the same economic policies as Maduro. He began the nationalization and collectivization of Chilean industry and of course, inflation was, once again, the bane of his newly reformed economy, with the inflation rate peaking above 300%.

As you can see, the resemblance is uncanny. Maduro and his predecessor, Chavez, managed to do to Venezuela what Allende did to Chile. The “Venezuelan way to socialism” has proved as disastrous as “The Chilean way to socialism”. In both cases wages went through the floor, inflation rates were in the hundreds, unemployment rates were well above average, large deficits were created, and GDP stagnated, despite both nations being endowed with large quantities of valuable natural resources (oil for Venezuela and copper for Chile).

So what happened? Chile now has the highest GDP per capita in South America. How did its crippled economy go from a stagnating, dire and decrepit mess to the envy of its neighbors? The answer comes in the form of a man named General Augusto Pinochet.

Pinochet’s Coup

Late in 1973 General Pinochet launched a military coup against Allende’s government. The country had enough. He overthrew the democratic government established a military junta. Pinochet was a barbaric man and he is notorious for his human rights abuses. Despite this, he implemented sweeping free-market reforms, which resulted in Chile becoming the economic powerhouse it is today.

During his 17 years in power, wages grew, exports boomed, GDP grew, and Chile got back on its feet. When there was eventually a plebiscite to decide whether he would remain in power, he won 44% of the vote (more than Allende had in 1970). Nevertheless, he stood aside and surrendered power, leaving his beloved Chile one of the most prosperous nations in South America. Due to its economic success, Chile kept the Pinochet economic reforms largely intact. Today Chile is still the 7th freest economy in the world and wage growth has not fallen below inflation since 1990.

Is there a lesson that Venezuela could learn here? One has to hope so. Fresh leadership is needed to take Venezuela out of these dark times. If Maduro is the new Allende, will we see their version of Pinochet rise?


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