Forward: Why I Prefer Two-Dollar Bills

The $2 Bill

The $2 Bill

Briggs Armstrong, a student at Auburn University, came up with a great way to raise awareness about the harm done by the Federal Reserve: pay only in $2 bills.

Here’s why I prefer $2 bills:
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Religion: Friend or Foe?

Is religion a friend or a foe?

Watching the movie Traitor this afternoon, I gained new insight into the value of religion, in this case Islam. While in a Yemeni prison, the protagonist gives a fellow inmate his rations after a bully had thrown the other man’s rations onto the ground. The bully then confronts the protagonist, telling him “I decide who eats and who starves.” The protagonist fights the bully and his gang alone and, though adept at combat, is overwhelmed. However, other inmates notice his good deed and his daily prayers. The next time the gang confronts the protagonist, the other Muslim inmates come to his aid, and he is left alone.
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Just A Bunch of Sign-Waving Blimp Renters…

The Campaign for Liberty’s Shadow Republican Convention is moving on up – to the Target Center! I’m so excited for all of us, and if I wasn’t moving so close to the date, you bet I’d be there. I expect our revolution to light up Minnesota (to be clear, that’s a metaphor).

My favorite part of the article linked above was where Paulites were described as “loud and sometimes rowdy, usually young, sign-waving blimp renters.” They might as well have called us ‘wacky, waving, inflatable, arm-flailing tube men.’ I guess there are worse insults…

Whatever his strategy, Dr. Paul moved liberty from an ignored concept to a ridiculed concept. So, according to Schopenhauer, we’re on the map! Now, we must face violent opposition, and finally acceptance. I sure hope I live to see that last one.

P.S. Did you hear Dr. Paul just received a huge advance for his memoirs? Congratulations, Doc; you deserve it.

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.

The Seige

The Canadian confederal government and the American federal government have agreed to use each other’s armed forces in the case of civil emergencies. What we are talking about here is domestic deployment of heavily-armed, militarized units in response to the thinnest of emergencies: flooding in Toronto, a tornado in Kansas, a bombing of oil pipeline in Saskatchewan. These are crises, no doubt, but do they warrant military intervention? No, do they warrant military intervention from a foreign force not under the command of your civilian political apparatus?

People of North America, there are big changes being made to the foundation of your civil governance. The books and movies are true; totalitarianism can happen on our shores, and the building blocks are in place. The American federal government is increasingly detached from the control of the states, and the citizenry. When over 70% of the American electorate opposes a war, votes the opposition party into power to end the war, and the opposition party won’t even defund the war, it merely illustrates the utter lack of oversight you – joe citizen – will have over the supra-sovereign military planned under this agreement.

Get upset. This is the time to get upset and revolt. Your governments have gotten away from you. Hamilton is winning. For those not versed in American political history, Alexander Hamilton endeavored to create of our newly freed confederation a unified military-industrial empire. He conspired to replace our Articles of Confederation with the burdensome Constitution that has permitted, or even encouraged, the growth of today’s leviathan. The Canadian provinces have no rich tradition of independence, nor of principled liberty, but they have the inheritance of British culture: the Magna Carta, the English Civil Wars, the Second Treatise on Government, etc. All of this tradition is very tenuous. It requires the study and defense of individual rights in each generation. As we walk further from the American Revolution, the states forget their sovereignty, and the people no longer value the blood shed for their freedom.

As many libertarian writers have said, you do not need to feel debt or guilt; you do not need to put your life on the line (yet); you still have that inheritance, you free men of New Hampshire, California, Wyoming, Ontario, Florida, the Carolinas, Alberta, et al. Stand up in your state. Take back your militia (now nationalized as the National Guard), provide a check on the excesses of your so-called ‘leaders’ because they’re walking all over you with agreements like this.

Peers & Heirs

There is no doubt now that Ron Paul has sparked a Second American Revolution. Through the man and the message, his campaign has awakened a whole new generation, as Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, Calvin Coolidge, Lysander Spooner, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine had before him.

While most libertarians are rightfully fixated on the drama of the primaries as they unfold (and, underreported, Dr. Paul takes his place among the top contenders), another critical question after, “will Paul win?” is “who will carry the torch forward?” Dr. Paul is in a class by himself, distinguished by his ability to unravel years of deceit and public education through oratory, and all in a way that is not threatening or even angry. He is a guru, a saint, a Ghandi, a Jesus, a humble steward of honest ideals in a cynical and waning empire. He is not perfect nor superhuman, but neither were Ghandi nor Jesus. He, like them, is good and effective – and that is worthy of high praise. But he has no heirs, and no peers that have breached the wall of mainstream recognition. And that is a problem.

There are potential peers. John Stossel is a great communicator and seems more committed to the cause with each passing day. Michael Badnarik may be nerdy, but having met him I can attest to his interpersonal charisma and intellect. The former Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson, just endorsed Dr. Paul, but he is himself a successful libertarian politician.

These examples do not change the fact that other political movements have tons of brand-name politicians pressing their causes, and that those innately attracted to freedom philosophies tend to also be socially-awkward young caucasian males. I can’t explain it, and I’m not going to try. I don’t think it’s a rule, as history’s greatest liberators are a demographically diverse group (Frederick Douglass, Mohandas Ghandi, Margaret Thatcher, et al). Until recently, libertarians had eggs but no basket. Ron Paul is our first basket. But, as the saying goes, you shouldn’t keep all your eggs in one basket. A variety of freedom-oriented candidates, such as those that Dr. Paul tried to nurture through the Republican Liberty Caucus, would give this new revolution staying power.

Heirs are a different issue. Is Dr. Paul training some young minds to carry his life’s work forward? If you chance to read this, Doc, I hope you will consider the notion. I would jump at the chance to learn how to run a professional, principled campaign and win. If this campaign meets its end without a nomination, many young and free souls would want Dr. Paul to start a school to pass on a career worth of knowledge – and up the number of congressional libertarians from one to a majority. If the man himself is not making such preparations, is anyone else taking notes?

This campaign proves something to generations of self-doubting libertarians: it can be done. We are often our own worst enemy, whether it’s because we don’t have the courage of our convictions (Jason Sorens, the genius behind the Free State Project, is now teaching at a public university) or we have succumbed to a culture of victimhood (“the slow growth of the federal state is inevitable”) or we expend our energies vigorously debating minor philosophical discrepancies rather than promoting our shared visions to others (this is the story behind most libertarian functions I have attended). Every movement takes generations to gain recognition, and most aren’t even worth recognizing. Ron Paul reminds us that we are not lunatics on the fringe. Our message is pure and true; the evidence is there to see every day. Our message is the same as it was in 1776; Jefferson told us that it would require periodic revolution to maintain liberty in the face of the more destructive impulses of human nature. Our message is relatable, communicatable, and as the Paulites love to say: Freedom is popular. It’s important that we never forget, and that the irrepressible Dr. No has plenty of peers and heirs to remind us.