The Money Behind an Attack Ad
I recently had the chance to sit down and talk to Washington State Senate candidate Jinyoung Englund, and found her to be dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Washingtonians, invested in preserving our liberty, and committed to working out solutions for local issues like transportation and education while staying within the state budget. Honestly, I think she could have run as a liberal Republican or a conservative Democrat. However, she c...
I had a chance earlier this week to meet with Jinyoung Englund, and we had a conversation that went from policy wonk to political philosophy to practical local ...solutions; a discussion I thoroughly enjoyed. Just tonight, I saw an ad sponsored by the Eastside Leadership Council in opposition to Jinyoung. I think that the Eastside Leadership Council couldn't be more wrong in their characterization of her. I suspect they have never met, not to mention never had a substantive conversation with Jinyoung. Her commitment to liberty, public education, and the civil rights of all citizens is clear.
It's borderline irresponsible to characterize a candidate for office as just about the opposite of what she actually supports. I am dissapointed that the group behind cookiecutterrepublican would so characterize someone they've obviously never had a policy conversation with. Please don't take the Eastside Leadership Council seriously, and do your own homework on the candidates for state senate.
Respecting the liberty of others is not a paradox.
Yes, it may be difficult at times, particularly when that liberty is the freedom of speech, and those others are saying things that turn your stomach. But isn’t that when respect for liberty is most important?
This is where some very good meaning people have got it very wrong.
I recently read an article about the Paradox of Tolerance, which contends that in order to create a tolerant society, we must be intolerant of intolerant people (hence the paradox of tolerance). For context, this piece was written in response to the deplorable events surrounding the skinhead nazi rallies in Virginia. In Germany, nazi’s don’t have free speech or the right to assemble. So why, the article contends, should we tolerate such hate-speech in the USA? If the hate mongers win, we all lose. So why not prevent this travesty and ban their freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in defense of a tolerant society? Must we really be tolerant of the intolerant? The article argues that we ought not to respect their rights; we must be intolerant of intolerants.
Okay! I personally would not miss a bunch of neo-nazi’s goose-stepping around my city. But there is a lot more I’d not miss as well. Perhaps we should also be intolerant of those who wish to ban gay marriage. Or how about banning the speech of those intolerant of firearms? Or banning the speech of those who are intolerant of political speech, thus banning any dissent of the Citizens United ruling? This all seems to fit in the context of banning speech by intolerant people.
Except I rather think that being intolerant of intolerance is only okay when you get to define what is and isn’t tolerant behavior. Would you want me to be the sole judge of what is and isn’t tolerant? The founding fathers of our country certainly didn’t want me (or you) to be the judge of what speech should and should not be protected. They decided that every citizen has equal rights under the law, not just those that agree with us.
So now is not the time to give up on tolerance. Now is not the time to surrender the liberty so precious to our unique brand of governance. Now is not the time to be like Europe. Now is the time to redouble our commitment to tolerance, liberty and the rights of all, even if they are reprehensible nut-jobs. God help us if one of those reprehensible nut-jobs becomes President. Do you really want there to be a precedent for restriction of our civil rights when it’s one of the nut-jobs that gets to decide?
I have acquaintances that decry Libertarians because of a belief that Libertarians exalt individualism over community values. The presumption itself is flawed. There is no mutually-exclusive arrangement between individualism and community values.
In our experience, Libertarians actually promote the healthiest communal relationships; voluntary relationships, not coerced ones.
Sick and tired of the Clinton/Trump train-wreck? But you don't think a 3rd party candidate is viable?
Read this: http://thefederalist.com/…/these-numbers-say-a-third-party…/
Reforming the Higher Education Business Model Without Compromising Scholastic Integrity
One problem with having the government provide sole funding for universities is that education becomes a slave to the whims of government policy. But certainly the current model can’t survive. Students are graduating with crippling debt and getting no more earning advantage than they did when education was half the price. So what’s a nation to do?
First, let’s look at what broke. For deca...
Should Education be Free (gratis) or Free (libertas)?
A friend of mine recently got into a debate about the government providing free higher education. While many of the expected points were bandied about, one point that wasn’t discussed is the impact of free education on the intellectual freedom of higher education.
Certainly the business model of higher education is broken. Higher education costs are increasing more quickly than inflation, and even faster than healthcare ...
Post Recession Thoughts On Banking and Regulations
I’ve heard many folks claim that greed and deregulation of the financial industry caused the recent Great Recession. While I don’t think greed is anything new to our financial systems, banking regulations do change frequently, and may have played a part in the crisis.
The few articles I’ve read that get specific when blaming de-regulation point to the repeal of sections 20 and 32 of the Glass-Stegall act. These provisions of ...the Glass-Stegall act (passed in 1932-1933) prevented banks from engaging in both Commercial and Investment banking. The belief was that commercial banks would take too many risks with depositor funds if they were allowed to participate in investment banking functions. The 1999 repeal of these sections allowed bank holding companies to own both commercial banks and investment banks.
Based on the bank failures that actually occurred during the crisis, I suspect that this deregulation did not play any part in the collapse. In fact, I suspect that the collapse would have been worse had this deregulation not occurred.
The financial institutions that made headlines were not engaging in both commercial and investment banking. Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, Washington Mutual, Countrywide, and AIG were not operating under the new flexibility of the Glass-Stegall repeal. In fact, firms that do operate as both investment and commercial banks rescued many of the failing institutions. It looks like the ability of those bank holding companies to manage risk through diversification helped them soften the blows to their own companies as well as mitigate the crisis by permitting them to acquire struggling firms.
I believe that current proposals to reenact sections 20 and 32 of Glass-Stegall are misguided, and will not prevent another banking crisis. Rather, I believe that additional regulations will remove diversity from our banking system, which will put the system at increasing systemic risk for a future collapse.
Risks to homogeneous systems can be severe. For example, think of the single bug that could wipe out an entire harvest of genetically identical crops. If regulations force all financial intuitions to operate identically, an otherwise manageable event could decimate our banking system.
Just as diversity is critical to a healthy bio-ecosystem, so is diversity critical to our banking ecosystem; and regulations are the natural enemy of diversity. If, in the wake of this crisis, we are to enact additional federal banking regulations instead of removing them, we must be certain that they are worth the significant risk that simply having them will entail.
The Origin of Liberty - Natural Rights Evolved
We talk a lot about liberty, but what does it mean? Where did the concept come from? The first people to contemplate rights were the Greek philosophers. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle examined virtue and justice, and developed an idea of liberty that gave individuals some rights separate from the state, but still considered the state crucial in establishing appropriate liberties. It was the evolution of these ideas with Marcus Tu...
This is a good blog post about not losing the right to complain about government even if you don't vote. Basically, she quotes Georgetown professor Jason Brennan's argument that since your vote doesn't matter, why bother.
But the author (or Brennan) misses one very important point: That a right not used is does not result in any rights lost!
Take for example our 2nd amendment right to own a gun. Just because you have the right to own a gun does not obligate you to go out and buy one. Nor does it abridge your right to complain about crime should you choose not to own a gun.
Voting should be no different.
Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse - IRS Style
I just wanted to write about something from the Internal Revenue Code. It is the last sentence of section 509A of the tax code and it reads:
“For purposes of paragraph 3, an organization described in paragraph 2 shall be deemed to include an organization described in section 501C-4, 5, or 6, which would be described in paragraph 2 if it were an organization described in section 501C-3.”...
Seriously! And that’s just one sentence out of IRS regulation books that stack up fifty-seven feet tall! It is not reasonable (or perhaps even possible) for one person be learned in all these regulations. The government might as well tell me that my inability to flap my arms and fly is no excuse.
At this point, I believe the government has lost the moral authority to levy income taxes, and I’m signing up to support just about any candidate that can offer me a flat tax I can complete on one page.
Currently thinking about Christ and Liberty.
Christ says Give to Caesar what is Caesars, give to God what is God's. In saying this, Christ is clearly saying that there are things that the state doesn't have a right to (or the government doesn't have a property in absolutely everything).
This then, is clearly a declarative limit on government. This opens the door for the principal of more formally limited government.
And in Samuel 1:8, God says that a king will make you miserable by taking your sons and daughters and 10% of everything you own and produce, suggesting that having a ruler over you is not necessarily a good thing, and they should consider not having a king at all. Talk about limited government!
It seems that Jesus certainly promotes the value and spiritual accountability of the individual. Throughout the Bible, God talks about having given each person a soul, for which they are accountable to no one but God. Certainly not to a government. Again, the theme of limiting the scope of government’s responsibility.
The Ancient Greeks in their plays often talk of choosing to obey kings or gods, suggesting that people have an accountability to more than the state.
Even Sun Tsu (I think) mentioned that the wisest ruler increases the wealth of his people most when he does the least, suggesting their own ‘lightest touch’ form of limited government.
What these people have in common is a recognition that government must be limited. Certainly, our founding fathers believed that if men were angels, we'd need no government. If angels governed men, we'd need no controls on government. But men govern men, and thus we must design controls to limit government as we might limit the worst of mankind.
So, where do we end up if we follow this line of thinking about some things being individual or for God alone?
Let’s start from what we have been given by divine providence; a soul and a life and work from there. Even from a secular standpoint is the recognition that as we are born unto ourselves, we have a part of ourselves that is indivisible from our persons. Our conscious thought and our bodies as principal examples. Thus, we can discern a set of properties of our existence that are accountable only to the individual. Either through secular reasoning and observation, or through spiritual belief in a soul given by God.
In further discussions, these properties are called Natural Rights. All civil rights and the basis for any moral authority for government ultimately derive from the properties of our Natural Rights, making these rights a core tenet; a crucible upon which every public policy must be tested before it is granted legitimacy.