Jackson, Hamilton, Wilson, or Jefferson?

Just read a dated but amazing article by Daniel McCarthy on the philosophical undercurrents of the Bush era (and American history). Helps explain the population segment that supported Bush and is now the Tea Party / “True Conservative” movement. They’re Jacksonians, according to the schema laid out in Walter Russell Mead’s book “Special Providence”.

Hamiltonian Empire Halfway to Outlawing Voluntary Healthcare

It’s a little hard to describe how I’m feeling as the Hamiltonian Empire moves toward prohibiting outright the free exercise of medicine across the 50 states. What I want to know is: in a world of such willing slaves, where is a freeman safe? To which land am I expected to retire in lieu of this — the original land of liberty?

If my simian contemporaries cannot perceive their own chains, how can I begin to teach them to pick the lock? The voter seems satisfied with the notion that there is a healthcare “crisis” and without an Imperial intervention, there would be people dying in the streets. Will anyone ask why the governments of our sovereign states cannot handle the matter? Surely because they would not come to such a coercive conclusion! The states are in a market, competing amongst themselves. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has preempted this drive to ‘universal healthcare’ and is suffering the consequences. Costs are rising, care is suffering, and desirable residents are leaving for other states. Coercionists always seek the highest plane of power to project their edicts because they know that individuals have a natural drive to be free. The other advantage is that the citizens are more easily duped by matters ‘elevated’ to ‘national’ level. They can be convinced that the sound rules of interpersonal respect — do not hit, steal, or murder — no longer apply. They can be convinced that there are complexities to the issue that can only be understood by the likes of Nancy Pelosi.

Until you morons of the left and right figure out that “federal law” is just another way to say “no escape,” you will continue to sink into poverty and despair. And worse, you’ll drag the innocent and enlightened down with you.

I often wonder, at moments such as these, whether the classical liberal tradition was too hasty in embracing another universal — suffrage.

Attention, Libertarian!

The sage Lew Rockwell wrote this piece in 1996, during another one of those tribal conflicts we call federal presidential elections.

It is important reading for those of us who quickly call ourselves ‘libertarians’, accepting the pessimism and hopelessness that hangs on that label. It reminds us that we are part of a proud tradition that has proven its success and popularity worldwide since the Age of Enlightenment, and even back to antiquity: liberalism. Continue reading

Great idea!

I’ve always looked to religion for strategies to spread ideas. I abhor religion, but churches are master vectors of memes. You can look up those words later. My great idea is to settle on one book that so thoroughly explains right from wrong, violence from nonviolence, liberty from slavery, that it could be considered the Torah of the classical liberal world.

Now, there are too many contenders to count, too many august tomes which deserve this honor. But the key to the Ambrahamic religions is that they have one, simple book which explains everything. Of course, there can be many volumes of Talmud to provide deeper insight and to address extant debates within the philosophy, but to the average Joe who has more pressing concerns than politics just needs a Torah, a Bible, to give him a basic understanding of why he must, say, pay for housing instead of voting for housing.

Any readers out there, floating through the blogosphere, please leave suggestions on what you think should be THE book on libertarianism. Not just a great book, but THE book. Then, I’ll make it a poll. We can all pick and choose. And then, who knows? Maybe it will turn into something.

Or maybe it hasn’t yet been written…

Forward: Break the Matrix

Okay, so I was just thinking how surprising it is that American libertarians, a very techy folk, haven’t founded a successful web 2.0 site. So, I googled, and sure enough, one seems to be snowballing:

It’s a great mix: independent (not too dogmatic), supportive of several new and creative initiatives, well put together. So, join up!

Oh, Dr. Paul, you seem to have really laid the foundation of a lasting r3VOLution. Perhaps we are a ‘great’ generation after all.

Herding Cats: The Libertarian Movement

Don’t accuse me of idol worship, though I’ve been caught wearing a Ron Paul t-shirt from time to time. With the passing of Kent Snyder, the many people who recognize his tremendous contribution to freedom and justice have been filling blogosphere comment boxes with emphatic statements of adoration. This is good. I find the figures in history that have chosen to practice ethics and respect for their fellow man are often the least celebrated, while figures like FDR, Napoleon, and Che Guevara are obsessed over.

Still, one comment gave me pause. This commentator remarked that the best way to honor Kent is to do what he did: work tirelessly for legal respect of individual rights. As a movement, worldwide, the classical liberals have always been vulnerable to weakness of good rhetoric and bad performance. The Girondins lost to the Jacobins because they debated well and organized poorly. The same holds for the UK Liberals losing to Labour. When I attend libertarian functions, I’m often at the receiving end of a long rant about ideas with which I’m quite familiar – but many people are not. You’re preaching to the choir, buddy! How many libertarians wait until their meetup group to let loose the fire burning within? How many have been turned against themselves by the ridicule of statists? Worst, when we are consistently ineffective against the public-school-brainwashed masses, some start to doubt their own beliefs. I think that’s where all the chatter comes from. We are forced to de-program years of slave morality, questioning each and every assumption to see if it stands to reason.

Well, guess what? If you’re still reading this, you’re probably a good enough person. You’re probably more considerate, more righteous, and more intelligent than 9 out of 10 of your peers. So, drop the negative attitude (possibly inherited from the stalled Libertarian Party in the States, which does often lose, but is fighting an uphill battle against a rigged electoral system). Freedom is right. When I read about sociopathy, the disorder characterized by an inability to empathize with others causing sufferers to commit anti-social acts, the characteristics sound eerily similar to those demonstrated by statist politicians. Libertarians are the exact opposite. Our disorder is being too civil, too concerned with the plight of our fellow man. But, you see, that isn’t a disorder at all; it’s a blessing.

Kent Snyder was a great man. Ron Paul is a great man. Mary Ruwart is a great woman. The Koch family are great people. But, as the commentator pointed out, we cannot get caught up in hero-worship. Wear a Ron Paul shirt, donate to worthwhile campaigns, but also, get active: organize a regular get-together among your local compatriots, run for office, write to your newspaper, write a book, learn to use and then carry a gun, organize a march on your state capitol or Washington, apply pressure to everyone and everything that stands in the way of our freedom, and never compromise your ideals. After all, isn’t that what we adore about the aforementioned – they took action, they were relentless, and they succeeded.

Soylent Greens

We are now starving ourselves to feed our cars.

The United States Federal Government’s new policy of subsidizing domestically-grown, corn-based ethanol fuels is now beginning to seriously impact world food supplies, and has consequently lead to the first sustained rise in food prices since the 1960s. The Economist says to expect your food budget to jump from one-seventh of your income to one-quarter for the foreseeable future!

What other options are there? Well, I agree with the environmental movement that pollution is an evil, and that fossil fuels are not a sustainable bedrock of our global economy. Plug-in electric cars, higher-density living, nuclear energy, all of these are grand ideas. They represent a clear-minded movement to end chemical aggression. However, too many ‘green’ politicians in the Western World are taken hostage by farmer’s interests – because they vote, they fund, and they’re stubborn. The problem with so many special interests is that the party gaining advantage is concentrated while the disadvantaged are widespread. But this issue will hit you, yes you, right where it hurts: your ability to put bread on the table.

The solution is clear, but it will require some adjustment. Farmers in the Western World have to start playing fair. No more subsidies! If you can’t cut it without help, then maybe your energies are better directed in another sector of the economy. America is a fertile country; farming will not cease altogether, so rest assured you proponents of agricultural self-sufficiency. What will happen is that farming will continue to centralize, mostly because having a family farm sounds about as fun to most 21st century denizens as having a family mine or factory. What will happen is that resources, human and otherwise, will be freed to grow the world economy in myriad, unpredictable ways. What will happen is that we will be healthier and more fruitful: no more corn subsidies means the end of high-fructose corn syrup (instead of cheaper and healthier cane sugar), ethanol (except maybe the cheaper Brazilian variety), and those taxes used to pay farmers to not grow food.

When milk crosses $5/gallon, remember who your friends are. Your friends want you to eat well, sleep in peace, and live happily. Your friends are probably libertarians, so make an effort to meet them. And your enemies? They are the corrupt officeholders, and their supporters, who would fill up their SUV with enough grain to feed a human being for a year – all the while using that human’s tax dollars to distort the market mechanisms that would normally protect him from this madness.

The Vocabulary of Post-Modern Freedom

Libertarians often feel that they are fighting a reactive war on enemy turf. This is often true, but to what extent is it our fault. In other words, what can we control to make the political environment more suitable for liberty. Vocabulary, the language of political discourse, should be our main target.

Libertarians hardly realize that they are often using the language of authoritarians. Partly, this is due to our movement lacking a comprehensive political theory. We certainly surpass the Greens and others in having an original policy proposal for every political issue, but we noticeably overlook questions of the form of government and answers phrased in words illustrative of libertarian thought.

Liberatic, or Free State, Theory seeks to address this. It seeks to formulate a political theory, vocabulary, and worldview for libertarians in the postmodern age.

For example, libertarians should start by taking back the word ‘liberal.’ It described us from its coinage to its cooptation by socialists in liberal clothing. When we speak of liberals, we will mean the ‘big tent’ of people in the libertarian quadrant of the Nolan Chart. Correspondingly, libertarians might forego recent tradition and work within ‘liberal’ parties rather than ‘conservative’ parties.

Which brings us to another point. Libertarians are not conservatives, right-wingers, or nationalists. Though they seem to find us more comfortable bedfellows recently than socialists do, we are not them and have traditionally opposed them. Conservatism is a chronological ideology: it seeks to preserve the recent past, regardless of what that was. That’s why it is so hard to define across states and time periods. It’s opposite is not liberalism, which is a philosophical ideology, but progressivism – which seeks to move politics toward the next fashion. Libertarians will be conservatives in places like the States, where libertarianism is losing ground to authoritarianism, but they will be progressives in places like Italy, which have no recent period of widespread libertarianism. Does this make sense? Right-winger has the same problem. As you can see on the Nolan Chart above, the right-to-left political spectrum is designed to exclude libertarianism. It allocates half of the libertarian program to the right and half to the left. This has caused great damage to public understanding of what liberty is, as it isn’t taught in government schools. If we are anything, we are ‘up-wing,’ and totalitarians are ‘down.’ That sounds about right, doesn’t it? We are the ‘light-side,’ and they are the ‘dark.’ Traditional politics is endless shades of grey. Finally on this point, we arrive at the term ‘nationalist.’

This hits at the heart of the lesson. With reference made to The Ethics of Secession, which informed the liberatic position, let us all understand that fighting for a ‘nation,’ promoting ‘nation-states,’ supporting the ‘United Nations,’ or even using the word ‘international,’ are all very un-libertarian things to do. A nation-state is a particular political order, dominant in the modern world, that identifies the principle right of self-determination not by the voluntary cooperation of sovereign individuals but rather by the correspondence between a state/political class and a particular socio-ethno-linguistic group. Democrats do the same, but their group is called the ‘demos’ instead of the ‘nation,’ and its only requirement is that is be identifiable and constant. Both ideologies have an utter duopoly on political theory, and we are almost forced to use their language. That is why liberals are often called ‘liberal democrats,’ and why centrist Americans support ‘freedom and democracy’ – as if they were inextricably linked.

So, we don’t want to promote concepts like: democracy, nationalism, internationalism, the nation-state, federalism, social liberalism, conservatism, socialism, etc. Then we must have our own vocabulary. What does the postmodern liberal, the liberatic libertarian, want to see in the world?

He wants to see unitary ‘free states,’ or ‘liberacies,’ based on individual sovereignty, existing not to serve a nation or demos but to protect the liberty of all human beings within a territory. These liberacies will permit secession, incorporate sortition and other power-mediating strategies, follow an agreed system of law with no legislative capacity for the government, subordinate and divide the executive, focus only on night-watchman functions, but will remain as strong as possible in counteracting aggression. They will evolve by four methods: confederation, union, accession, and secession. Confederation is a league of two or more states, with each sending a delegation to a Congress, to provide for mutual defense. Union is the creation of one new liberacy from two, both of which are subsumed into a new government for the whole territory. Accession is the joining of one liberacy into another, where the former is subsumed into the latter. Secession is the withdrawal of a territory from a liberacy, the exercise of which is a right of all free people.

Liberacy itself is a latin construction from the root ‘liber,’ meaning freedom, and the suffix ‘-acy,’ to indicate being in the state of. Therefore, to live within a Liberacy is ‘to be in a state of freedom.’ This is similar in meaning to ‘being in a state of happiness:’ a matter-of-fact statement on the way things are. This is differentiated from other forms of government, which have terms ending in -archy or -ocracy. These latter forms indicate the rule of a state by a particular group. For example, democracy means ‘rule of the people’ or ‘rule of the majority.’ The term ‘free state’ is something of an English translation, already in use by The Free State Project. The adjectival form of liberacy is ‘liberatic,’ while the noun is liberal or libertarian. So now, I expect to see libertarian parties support liberacy (the libertarian state) over democracy (the majoritarian state) or nationalism (the nation-state). I expect talk in libertarian clubs to discuss globalization, a libertarian phenomenon, over internationalism, a statist phenomenon. In parallel, terms like ‘interstate,’ ‘intercontinental,’ or ‘global’ should entirely replace ‘international’ as a term of art.

We should be talking up concepts like sortition, like private mass transit, like private urban design, like anti-federalism or confederalism. Here in the Canadian Confederation (notice my use of liberatic terminology to describe Canada), we should be pushing for the elimination of the Canadian House of Commons, the expansion of the Senate with a delegation from each province (selected by whatever method that province chooses), the reduction of the role of the Confederal (currently Federal) government to defense, the end of the monarchy, the changing of the term ‘province’ to ‘free state,’ the welcoming of all immigrants and even new members to the confederation, the use of sortition for free state offices, the end of the RCMP, the end of the Social Insurance Number, the institution of free banking (or rather, the de-institution of central banking), and more.

But it all starts with how we speak. We have to affect the worldview of our local cultures. Most people can’t imagine a world without nations, without fiat currency, without zoning. First, libertarians must examine their own vocabulary and worldview, then spread the words. So spread the words!

Brief

I have an interest in advancing an anti-federalist, libertarian model of statehood, in reforming association football in New York and the rest of North America, and in providing a unique view of a million other topics that are widely under-thought. The contributions will be varied, but they will have in common a vision that cuts through mediocrity. For too often my fellow man fails to think grandly because he is convinced that he is small. In any pursuit, I can guarantee that you are not small, but in fact the biggest creative force the universe has ever known.

A ‘blog’ is a podium for excluded voices. Allow me to join the conversation.