Tag: the individual

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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Who Would Sign the Social Contract?

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

The libertarian argues that the state is based completely on violence. From its starting point, it is a violent institution and has violated the rights of individuals in a coercive manner. When the state taxes, it is stealing, and there are no exceptions to this.

Continue reading “Who Would Sign the Social Contract?”

Joe Hannoush – Libertarian for Florida House District Twenty-Five

By John Keller | Florida

Joe Hannoush is the Libertarian candidate for District Twenty-Five of the Florida House of Representatives. He has been involved with libertarian politics since 2011 and seeks to bring that change to the state of Florida.

Keller: With a plethora of career options, what inspired you to seek a career in politics?

Hannoush: I am not pursuing a career in politics per se. I want to do what I can to inform others of a better solution to issues we face today. Running as a candidate for elected office is a great way to spread that message. I want to be the change I want to see. I am tired of complaining without offering a solution. I didn’t like the choices I had on my ballot, so I gave myself another option to vote for!

Keller: Many people when they think of government they think of Congress or the presidency. Why is politics at the state level, and in the state House of Representatives, so important and motivated you to get involved?

Hannoush: There is a saying “all politics is local”. To a certain degree, I agree. When it comes to the everyday things, it is usually the local government decisions that have the largest impact on an individuals life.

Keller: For over 150 years the United States has been locked in the two-party duopoly. What turned you on to the Libertarian Party?

Hannoush: In 2011, I took an online political quiz www.isidewith.com. The results told me my views most closely agreed with was the Libertarian Party. So I did more research on their platform and looked into the presidential candidate on the Libertarian Party ticket, Gary Johnson. I liked him a lot and found I agree on almost everything. So I voted for Gary in 2012 and the rest is history!

Keller: Being a swing state, Florida has both strong Democratic and Republican support, as well as significant moderate support. Why is a new voice, such as a libertarian, necessary in the two-party system in Florida?

Hannoush: The two-party system is not a good one even if the two parties are Libertarian and Anarchist. I believe in more choices and I know others do as well. I don’t care if I agree with other political parties or not, they deserve to get the same media exposure and debate and ballot access as the Republicans and Democrats currently do.

Keller: Florida is often brought to the political forefront, and were put into the national spotlight during the sanctuary city debate, a debate that still exists today. Where do you stand on your critical issue?

Hannoush: I believe an individual, whether they are a citizen of the United States or not, deserve the same freedoms I have. My parents left an oppressive government and came to the United States shortly before I was born. Because of that freedom to act for the betterment of life, liberty, and happiness, I have a freer life. I want that opportunity to exist for others as well.

Keller: Our Founding Fathers even disagreed on how to interpret the Constitution, shown in the Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist debates. What is your interpretation of the Constitution, and how does that influence your view on government?

Hannoush: My view of the Constitution is what I believe the Founding Fathers generally intended. That is that individuals have inherent rights and the Constitution instructs the Government on how to preserve those rights for the individual. 

Keller: Libertarians tend to believe less government is better government. What is one area of government, however, you would like to see operating?

Hannoush: I do believe that national defense is the responsibility of the government.

Keller: Branching off of the last question, what is one area you think there should be cutbacks or even elimination in the state of Florida?

Hannoush: Florida, being a “swing” or “purple” state has led to the two major political parties here to be very divisive. There is too much power in the “leadership” of the political parties. No one is defending the rights of the people. The letter next to a person’s name holds more power than what that individual believes. I want to end partisan politics in Florida. A candidate that is giving the libertarian message will win every time.

Keller: What can the people of District 25 expect should you be elected?

Hannoush: That I will be a voice for the individual. I won’t vote based on what party leadership or lobbyist agenda is being pushed.

Keller: If someone was interested in getting involved or donating, how can they reach out to your campaign?

Hannoush: paypal.me/joehannoush

Keller: Do you have any final remarks for the readers?

Hannoush: I am currently pricing campaign materials and need as much funding as possible to help spread the message. Please donate to my campaign at paypal.me/joehannoush and follow my campaign at facebook.com/joehannoush and email [email protected] Thank you!

I would like to thank Joe Hannoush for his time. Be sure to visit his website and get involved!

Nobody Truly Understands Natural Human Rights

By Andrew Lepore | United States

The idea of natural human rights, inherent to the lives of every individual, is not a new one. The various forms of human rights have evolved and been expanded upon throughout the thousands of years of human existence. From the Cyrus Cylinder to the Magna Carta, to the Bill of Rights, the debate over what is a human right has taken many forms. Today the debate still rages on, and with the UN declaration of human rights, has taken on new aspects.

The Libertarian idea of human rights is derived from two foundational principles, self-ownership, and individual responsibility. Every individual enjoys complete self-ownership, and every individual is directly responsible for the consequences of his actions. Those principles create the foundation for the libertarian values of voluntarism and the non-aggression principle.

In libertarian philosophy, human rights can be boiled down to the protections of the Non-Aggression Principle, or NAP. The NAP Means all individuals have the right not to be coerced into involuntary relationships, or have force initiated against them. Conversely, all individuals have the legal and moral obligation to not initiate force, or coerce other individuals.

Before I continue, I must make the distinction between the initiation of force, and the use or response of force. The initiation of force simply is the initial violation of life, liberty, or property of another (For example, murder, assault, theft, fraud, or trespassing). In other words the initial use of force on another peaceable individual.  But the coercive threat of violence is also a violation of the NAP. For example, somebody is walking down the street and another person runs up with a firearm brandished and says “give me your wallet or I’m going to shoot”. Now the mugger hasn’t actually initiated physical force, but threatening the individual to comply with the threat of physical violence is coercion (Which is why taxation is theft).

The NAP applies to everybody without exception, if one individual is coercing another, it doesn’t matter if the aggressor has a badge on his chest or a gang tattoo. The traditional state, being a single group with a territorial monopoly on the initiation of force, is in direct violation of the NAP. For a state to be able to fall in line with the NAP, they must abolish all “victimless crimes”, and its only legitimate role would be enforcing the NAP itself (catching thieves, murderers, rapists and other real criminals). Also, coercive taxation would be required to be made voluntary, which would either result in market forces replacing many state functions or collective funding of formerly involuntary government programs.

Generally, there are two classifications of human rights, positive and negative. Positive rights require others to provide you with something at their own expense (the “right” to healthcare, food, housing, any involuntarily funded government program etc). A negative right, on the other hand, only requires others to abstain from interfering with your actions (The right to keep and bear arms is The right not to have the state interfere with your ability to get a firearm, and the right to free speech which is the right not to have the state interfere with your ability to speak freely).

For example, most people would agree you have the right to life. Somebody viewing that right through a negative rights paradigm would say that you simply have the right not to be killed by another individual. Somebody viewing that right through a positive rights paradigm would say since you have the right to live, it’s incumbent on the government to force individuals to contribute their own capital to pay for those who were unable to obtain their own. Each individual has their own opinion on what rights should be. Some believe you should simply have the right to be left to your liberties, others believe you have a right to a part of what others own.

Under the universal application of the NAP in libertarian philosophy, positive rights cannot be enforced by law  It would be impossible to grant every person everything that they supposedly have a right to due to the scarcity of resources and the need for somebody’s capital to be used to produce anything, but it would also be immoral. Nobody has a legitimate claim to anything they didn’t purchase, produce, or inherent, Forcing people to provide for others is coercion.  

The same goes for all involuntarily funded government programs, It is a blatant violation of the Non-aggression principle to say, “give me a certain percentage of your income so I can redistribute it to others, or we will send armed men to your house to kidnap you at gunpoint, and kill you if you resist”.

On the other hand, protection of negative rights is necessary for a truly free society. There are endless amounts of negative rights in a society governed by the NAP.  You have the negative right to do anything you wish without another individual forcefully preventing you from doing so, up until you infringe on the liberties or property rights of another. Just as positive rights cannot morally exist in a free society, negative rights must exist in a free society. Liberty itself is a negative right, as it is your rights to live freely without coercive interference from others.

The protection of negative rights and the lack of legally enforced positive rights are the factors that are required in a truly free society. In libertarian philosophy, human rights can be boiled down to the protections awarded in the non-aggression principle. The only legally enforceable right you have is the right not be aggressed upon nor defrauded.

Gradualism: The Best Friend of a Libertarian in a Statist World

By James Sweet III | USA

Imagine standing in a pool, the water only half way up to your knees. You’re told that a big monster, unknown in name and nature, is heading towards you. You can either leave the pool, stay where you are or go deeper. Everyone else is going deeper into the pool, so you decide to go too. Now you’re knee deep, but you’re told that you’re not deep enough and that you must continue to go into the deep end. You haven’t seen this monster, nor have you heard of it before, but everyone else seems terrified, and you follow them, deeper and deeper into the pool until you’re as deep as you can go. Now you’re drowning, and you realize that the person who told you about the monster is standing on the surface, dry as can be. The pool is the government, and the person responsible for your predicament is a corrupt politician. The monster? Never there. The politician, by putting fear into the hearts of you and everyone else, put you further into the government’s hands by providing a faulty solution to a problem that never existed. Unless you’re saved, you’ll continue to drown. However, there is only one way to be saved: you must slowly swim out. What do you do? Do you stay there, drowning until someone saves you, or do you begin to slowly swim out? In other words, do you try to remove the government’s intervention in your life immediately, or do you work in small, gradual steps towards getting your life back? If you want a chance at being saved, you need to embrace gradualism.

If you want the government totally out of your life, it needs to be abolished. When the government’s power is immense, it is hard to get rid of. Going back to the pool metaphor for the last time: it is easier to get out of a shallow pool than a deep pool. It is honorable for one to stand for his principles. However, you’re not doing your principles justice when you demand change without halting the growth of the demon that is the government. The ever-growing United States government needs to be combated, and that cannot happen when you’re arguing over your ideas. The power of the government can be combated, as well as your ideas becoming closer to a reality, through action. Whether it is voting or running for office, you have a greater chance of being saved when you can stop the fear-mongering.

Adam Kokesh, a man running to earn the Libertarian Party nomination for President of the United States, is great. He stands for his principles in an enthusiastic and proud manner. His plan, if elected, is to sign an executive order that would start to cut down, and abolish, the government. I attended a tour stop of his, and he seemed to understand that the Supreme Court and Congress would not be okay with it. So why do many think this will work without many bumps in the road? While he deserves credit for his dedication, that doesn’t change reality.  Many Americans had problems with President Obama’s executive orders, and through President Trump, began to unravel these orders. It’s illogical to think that Congress and the Supreme Court will just ignore this executive order. I would love for the government to head down the path of non-existence by the signing of an executive order, but it’s not realistic. As previously stated, gradual steps are needed.

Some argue for the radical shift of affairs as it doesn’t compromise their principles. Gradualism isn’t compromising. If you continually push for your ideas, how are you compromising? It’s idealistic and unrealistic to expect your ideas to happen as soon as you would like them to be enacted. Many Americans may agree with me when I say authoritarian governments that oppress the people are bad. Some argue for radical authoritarian ideas, and they don’t get far. If no one in power is outright arguing for the end result of collectivist principles, how are we still heading down the path of a statist government? It’s because gradual steps are being taken towards this end result. If libertarians want to achieve their goals, they need to look at the playbook of politics and realize that gradual steps have always made it more realistic for radical ideas, whether authoritarian or not. Exceptions are rare for libertarians in American politics, and there is not any here. Stop acting like your ideas are special, and instead, follow the process.