I Was Wrong

Those of you that have followed this website for a while will know that I have been off the radar for quite some time. So before going into what I was wrong about, an explanation seems to be in place.

A lot has happened over the past two years or so: I moved from Europe to South America (where I ended up both penniless and jobless before climbing my way out of that rut), I developed an intimate, personal relationship with my Savior Jesus Christ, I met the love of my life and married her 11 months later, and we ended up moving back to the place I thought I had left for good. In the midst of all this writing articles has, shall we say, not been my priority.

In my first article since a long time, however, I want to do something unusual and rebuke my own article. Specifically this relates to a position I took publicly on this very site about four years ago, and it was something I firmly believed in. But hey, sometimes one comes to new insights and, as they say, if you never changed your mind, you never learned a thing! So here we go.

stockvault-white-house139532In this article in the run-up to the U.S. presidential elections of 2012, I made the emphatic case (or so I thought) that Gary Johnson should be the next president of the United States. I was wrong.

The reason I now feel slightly embarrassed for having written that piece, is not because of Johnson’s infamous “Aleppo moment”, or the other gaffe about which foreign leader he looks up to. Far be it from me to let those incidents, or even his running mate Bill Weld sticking up for Hillary Clinton, surprise or disappoint me anymore! (Although admittedly that last one was particularly appalling). The problem with not just this libertarian ticket but the general idea of “voting yourself free” goes much deeper than that.

As unimaginative as I find my viewpoint looking back on it four years later, the subject of my writing was and is even more unimaginative – and indeed utterly uninspiring and downright boring. Now I realize the odds of my ranting ever reaching his desk or that of anyone close to him are infinitesimal, but I feel compelled to take this stance nonetheless. Not only because my argumentation had as many holes as Swiss cheese, but also because I am frankly disgusted with the “libertarian” standpoints the Libertarian Party takes and the terrible job it does of representing the best ideas mankind has ever known. While I am not personally involved with the U.S. Libertarian Party in any way, shape, or form, as a freedom advocate I am disgusted with the way the principles and values I hold near and dear to my heart with are being bent and twisted everywhere Gary Johnson shows his face.

For starters, what kind of a signal does the slogan “fiscally conservative and socially liberal”, send? That is like saying, “Well, you know, both the Republicans and the Democrats have some really great ideas, and if you don’t know which to choose, you can always vote Libertarian!”. People like Johnson can certainly debate how and to what extent the government should rob people of the fruits of their labor through taxation, but let’s not get extreme and entertain the thought that stealing people’s belongings is the definition of theft and therefore immoral in the first place!

In my 2012 article I also write that the Libertarian candidate “wants to audit and reform the Federal Reserve”. Yawn. Why not take (economic) freedom right to its logical and rightful conclusion and take a stance against legal tender laws and central banks’ monopoly on the issuance of money? Why can’t the two parties in a transaction decide for themselves what monetary instrument they want to use to compensate one another?

I then state that Johnson “wants to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana” before claiming that he “believes in civil liberties”. Yet one who truly believes in civil liberties would not dare argue in favor of the government’s authority to tell us when, how, and where to consume a plant – let alone try to make a buck off of our voluntary choices while at the same time attempting to manipulate those choices by way of taxation.

In response to the above, some will tell me I am just a hopeless ideologue and that my utopian vision of a libertarian paradise is just as unlikely to come about by not voting than by voting. However my advocacy is only partially concerned with voting, whereas sticking to the libertarian principles of non-aggression and self-ownership is absolutely non-negotiable, period. By now it has become more than obvious that Gary Johnson is not a good example of a principled libertarian, and as such I take offense at his claiming to be so. In that respect the above only scratches the surface, but then again he is just another politician that we should not waste much time or effort thinking or talking about.


The Farce Called “National Security”

For NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden the summer did not get off to a good start, as the United States government announced it is charging him with espionage for exposing the NSA’s secret spying on American citizens’ phone and email communications. Another revelation that came to light concerned the United States and British governments’ sharing of intelligence on each other’s populace for at least the last three years.

NationalsecurityA little further research shows that it is not just those two governments spying on their (or each other’s) citizens either. In Russia, president Putin and his helpers like to keep a close watch on the internet; the French anti-espionage government agency DCRI ensures online surveillance there; German intelligence is doing its fair share of spying; Israeli authorities have implemented laws permitting even more surveillance than the PRISM program; the Dutch equivalent of the NSA (AIVD) has been storing people’s phone records and keeping tabs on the internet for over a decade while internet freedom in China is, of course, notoriously limited.

The list of surveillance monstrosities is endless and begs the question: are we in a police state yet? And more importantly, how can an institution that consistently violates individual security be expected to protect “national security”? Does it even have an incentive to do so?

At the core, this idea of something called “national security” is rooted in a collectivist mindset that has absolutely no regard for individual liberties or security but is beat into our brains from a very young age through the education system. We are reminded of this subconscious programming whenever we hear such rhetoric as “we’re all in this together”, playing on the belief that there is a “greater good”, the altar upon which your individual rights must be sacrificed. And most importantly it is how government, through its litany of agencies, justifies stripping away your freedoms to “keep you safe”.

It should be reminded that governments around the world are spending taxpayer money on programs to spy on those same taxpayers, in the name of protecting them. This realization – the absurdity of paying to be spied on – does not seem to have fully sunk in. Instead, much of the debate has centered around “having something to hide”.

Rather than dwell on that debate, though, let’s take the issue apart. The people that get to call themselves “the government” not only tell us that they need our money to protect us from those that supposedly pose a threat to our freedoms, they also deem it a necessity to invade our privacy (i.e. take away our freedoms) for that purpose. Plain and simply put, the public has been convinced that civil liberties need to be taken away in order to preserve civil liberties. Remember the Bush-era axiom of “abandoning free market principles to save the free market”? This kind of (il)logic could only be the work of government.

Finally, as if all of the aforementioned is not bad enough, there is zero transparency concerning what really goes on behind the closed doors of congresses and parliaments. You see, you are just not supposed to know. You wouldn’t understand. Or if you did, you might make a big fuss about it.

Applying this concept to our daily lives might help clarify. Imagine telling your employer the following: “I had a great idea and am working on something that will really help this business but I cannot tell you about it. In fact I will do my utmost to try to keep you from ever finding out what it is I am talking about. I do expect you to pay me, of course, but what I’m doing must remain a secret”. Or imagine if you hired a plumber who, upon arrival at your house, asked you to leave and refused to tell you how he intended to fix the problem. Would you agree? My guess is you would probably hire another plumber.

Yet despite the glaring contradictions and betrayal of the people on the part of this institution called government, very few people are asking themselves and others these tough questions. Perhaps we have been conditioned not to do so, perhaps reality is too ugly to face. Whatever the case, the propaganda machine seems to have mesmerized most. “Nobody is listening to your phone calls!”

Orwell would have been proud.
N.B. If you liked this article, you might also like Larken Rose’s material.