Tag Archives: Ron Paul

Virginia Libertarian vs. libertarian

Update: See end of post for update.

An odd-year election in Virginia wouldn’t normally hold my interest, but this year there’s an interesting subplot for the rest of us. Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe battles Republican Ken Cuccinelli and they’re neck and neck.  In third place is Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis, amazingly polling around 10%. Is this a glimmer of third-party glory cutting through the dust of the two-party sand storm? A good showing would help remind American voters that a third way exists.

As a resident of Oregon (not voting), I don’t know much about these three candidates in Virginia, but I had hoped Libertarian Sarvis would do well and finish with double digits on election night to bring attention to Libertarian Party. But then Ron Paul threw his support behind Republican Cuccinelli! Why would Ron Paul snub an exciting Libertarian challenge to the two-party statists? There must be less to Robert Sarvis than meets the eye, since Ron Paul doesn’t always feel like endorsing someone and could have easily continued his home schooling interview schedule. Then again, Ron Paul is a Republican and didn’t endorse 2012 Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, so they’re not exactly blood brothers.

It turns out Libertarian Sarvis may not be so libertarian after all if you start comparing him to other folks who call themselves incidental libertarians. And Cuccinelli isn’t really all that Republican if you start comparing him to the business as usual over at the Grand Old Party where he’s seen as a libertarian. The quest for the Holy Grail of Virginia has become a race run by Big-L Libertarian vs. small-l libertarian vs. not libertarian.

Terry McAuliffe is the “not libertarian,” so I don’t have much to say about him. But Robert Sarvis now finds his ideological and party credentials called into question. Is he a Big-L or a small-l? Charles C.W. Cooke makes a good point that, “a politician (who) is not a Democrat but is nonetheless critical of the social policies of a Republican hardly makes him Murray Rothbard.” Read his well-reasoned problems with Libertarian Sarvis at the National Review Online.

Meanwhile amid the confusion, the entrenched powers of the two-party statists typically complain about the Libertarians taking votes from the Republicans. It should be noted, however, that Sarvis is a much more progressive libertarian than some, and is pulling a fair share of attention away from McAuliffe. He seems at odds with libertarian values in both social and economic issues, though he has landed the endorsement of Gary Johnson.

In conclusion, the Republican looks like a libertarian and the Libertarian looks like a progressive and the Democrat is the only one who isn’t confusing me. He’s buddies with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Ken Cuccinelli, while perhaps more libertarian in some ways than Robert Sarvis, isn’t really all that libertarian, identifying most clearly as a conservative. What is the libertarian voter to do? I expect in-fighting and intrigue on minor points, but this is most likely to occur within a single party.

Despite nay-saying by some, Robert Sarvis certainly is a Libertarian. Ken Cuccinelli is too socially conservative to be confused as a Libertarian. It’s all very exciting and we’re paying attention to this election – so there’s that. Don’t  judge a book by its cover – it may have been misshelved.

November 5th Update: The results are in. A majority of Virginians (52%) did NOT vote for winner Terry McAuliffe, and third place Robert Sarvis failed to break the 10% threshold which would have put the Libertarian party on the ballot.  Ken Cuccinelli didn’t win either. Libertarian FAIL.

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The American War Policy

“Wars not make one great.” – Yoda

The greatest indiscretion of the American Federal Government may be our War Policy. To varying degrees, most Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly support a foreign policy of interventionism and perpetual war. Our government is entrenched in the practice of using force. Ever since President Woodrow Wilson announced his intention to, “make the world safe for democracy,” and launched us into the first World War, our nation has sustained a continuous military presence over the planet, facing but a breeze of opposition from a libertarian leaning minority. We have bases and troops in at least 150 countries and are constantly engaged in voluntary combat. Additional forms of War, though more abstract, are fought domestically as the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, and the War on Christmas. In all cases, the War is simply the use of legalized force against the object selected for destruction by the majority.

When it comes to actual fighting wars, the Constitution requires that Congress declare war, but this power has passed more tightly into the grasp of each successive President. The last Constitutional war was declared in 1942. Since then, American presidents have ordered seemingly endless “conflicts” and “operations” which send troops to distant nations which pose varying degrees of debatable threat. You know them as Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and more.

Former Congressman Ron Paul has called these illegal wars “unwinnable” because, when there is no legitimate cause for involvement, there can be no path to victory. This is not just an American problem, it is an essential element of non-defensive wars that lack clear reason.

The disorganized nature of war in the crumbling post-Soviet fighting between Georgia and Abkhazia is described in Eight Pieces of Empire by Lawrence Scott Sheets; “We (the fighters) didn’t even have a specific goal, and we started looting villages along the way… As a result, in the span of a month, we manged to make enemies of out of the entire population… With such sage military planning (more driven by testosterone than strategy), the end result of the War That Nobody Started would be predictable.”

The most recent maturation of the American War Policy is Barack Obama’s use of predator drones to carry out offensive strikes in the Middle East. Though in use prior to his administration, the drones have been more frequently used by the CIA for covert operations, and though targeting “threats,” have been blamed for civilian deaths and stirring up hostility against the United States. Obama is comfortable enough with this policy to joke about it, but generating blowback is no laughing matter. Retired General Stanley McChrystal said drones exacerbate a “perception of American arrogance that says, ‘Well we can fly where we want, we can shoot where we want, because we can.’”

Even if legitimate threats are targeted, we have gone way beyond anything approximating acceptable behavior. This week, a drone attack killed eight militants in Pakistan. There is no reason for American drones to be present in that country except as the part it plays in the War on Terror, a never ending story which doesn’t have an achievable goal and only amounts to an excuse to kill a handful of suspected terrorists today so that two handfuls can spring up tomorrow. Without precise goals, the success of a vague war which basically relies on the principle of “button mashing” is subjective, politically motivated, and can’t easily be stopped. When the White House announced that they are considering withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan by 2014, they might as well have said 2015, 2016 or 2095, since they don’t even know what they are trying to achieve between now and then. Just waiting for the next war.

I doubt we will remove “all troops” from that country, as we still have about 50,000 troops stationed in Japan, a country that surrendered almost 70 years ago, and whom the United States considers to be one of its closest allies.

Happy New Year From the Fiscal Cliff

Our government has done it again. They’ve made themselves necessary and showed that we need them to save us from themselves. If the war of the week isn’t big enough or the weather isn’t quite bad enough, a fiscal cliff ought to get our attention. I would like nothing better than for Congress to have nothing to do over the holidays.

But the bipartisan beast has reared its head again, as the House followed after the Senate to sidestep the disaster they created. The Democrats naturally want to increase funding to feed their bloated bureaucracy, but the Republicans showed up to unite the team after stalling just long enough to point out a few differences of  opinion… and… things… and stuff… and ok we’ll go along with that. Eventually, most Republicans succumbed to media spin and avoided being cast as the ones who might have saved us from the bill to save us from ourselves. Libertarians would have loved the chance.

Clearly the Congress has its priorities somewhere else, evidenced by their being in session on a holiday and involved in this silly exercise to fund the government. Not only should they have figured out how to fund their budgets and agendas a long time ago, there shouldn’t be so much to figure out. This is like getting excited about making the minimum payment on a credit card just to keep it a few dollars under the maximum credit limit. Woo.

They didn’t even pass this bill on time (a day late). President Obama basically said thanks for, “paying the bills guys,” and then headed back to vacation with his family where he should have been all week anyway. I enjoyed his request to Congress for, “a little less drama, a little less brinkmanship and (to) scare folks a little less in future fiscal dealings,” but he is just passing blame that rests equally with his administration as it does with Congress.

Senator Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican said, “”I reluctantly supported (the bill) because it sets in stone lower tax rates for roughly 99 percent of American taxpayers. With millions of Americans watching Washington with anger, frustration and anxiety that their taxes will skyrocket, this is the best course of action we can take to protect as many people as possible from massive tax hikes.”

Again, Congress is pointing out that they are necessary to save the day. Republicans are reluctant, while Democrats are happy to be of service. Same end result.

Republicans talk about cutting spending, but most will continue their part in feeding the bipartisan beast. Even if not spoken of today, Neocons have their own high spending schemes to fund, such as unconstitutional wars and foreign aid.  A compromise now, “…would avert most of the immediate pain and postpone Congress’ fiscal feud for two months…” Then they’ll do this again and there will be new villans.

Congressman Ron Paul commented that, “They’re arguing over power and… who looks good… but they’re all trying to preserve this system. Whatever they do will just be fluff and will not solve our problems… They’re like a bunch of drug addicts that just want another fix.”

So, if the Fed can just print more money (like it freely does), why do they even bother with raising taxes through an elaborate and drama induced fiscal cliff extravaganza?

Evil Man Killing Man

This has been a sad week of highly publicized murder. A man killed two people at a shopping mall near Portland, not many miles from where I live. Another man killed 26 teachers and children at an elementary school in Connecticut. Later that same day a man killed a woman at a casino on the Las Vegas strip. All three men then turned their weapons on themselves. Evil man killing man.

Though these criminals cannot be punished any further (they’re dead), they have reignited the debate over guns and who should have them. It’s a difficult debate because there is no common ground. Any attempt to blanket all of society under a single mandate cannot be accomplished without severe loss of individual liberty, but there is clearly too much violence. As we discuss our options as a collective nation, we should cautiously consider what Ben Franklin once said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Some yearn for a society where only the government and the criminals have guns, thereby relying on the government for protection from the criminals. Others demand that individuals have the right to protect themselves, both from the criminals and the government, and believe it is the individual’s responsibility to do so. An interesting analysis of shooting rampages shows that we’re safer with armed good guys nearby. But both sides claim various statistics support their position.

What we all really want is for people to stop killing each other. Even deeper than that, we want man to stop being so evil. But we tend to confront whatever is loudly making the most noise and ignore the silent roots of evil that lie beneath us. Maybe we’re basically good and the killers are made of something different, but I don’t think you and I are so far removed from some form of atrocity, and this is certainly not new.

According to the Bible we are all sinners, eternally separated from God; saved only by faith in the grace of Jesus Christ. That’s the Gospel. The first recorded human being to be born on earth was named Cain, the son of Adam and Eve. Unfortunately, Cain’s legacy is that he killed his brother Abel during a rage of jealousy. Murder was not a good start for humanity. Evil man killing man.

Man continued his evil ways and finally God had enough. “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5 (ESV). What followed was the great flood – God wiped man from the face of the earth. A lot has happened since then, but even though we were given a second chance, Man has continued to walk away from God, away from what is good.

It is not just individuals who continue to kill. The United States government is both indirectly and actively killing people around the world every year, in places they shouldn’t be. Most of the victims are in foreign lands, but even now American citizens themselves are targeted. We go to other countries all the time and bomb their people because their government doesn’t see things our way. This has been going on before and after 9/11. It’s no wonder individuals in our country have a tendency to be violent – our leaders have us continuously at war! Evil man killing man.

Congressman Ron Paul had repeatedly warned Congress that something like 9/11 would happen. A few days after the World Trade Center attacks, he reminded his colleagues that while we certainly need to punish those responsible for that horrific event, we should use caution not to bring war down on an entire group of people for the atrocity committed by certain individuals. They did not listen, and we found ourselves entangled in prolonged wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and other military actions since. One highly publicized day of murder (the attack on the towers) led to the deaths of many people who had nothing to do with it. The loss of both life and liberty was globally amplified.

Though evil is constantly engaged, often just below the surface, we are faced again with a highly publicized incident. Whenever there is a domestic shooting, we will be reminded by the media that something needs to be done to stop the killing, and the focus is more on the weapons rather than the evil man. All this should be studied, but with caution. We’d do well to show more interest in what our government is doing as the policeman of the world before we put our lives solely in their hands here at home.

Our hypocritical government must stop taking our lives in one hand and our liberties in the other.