Social media’s constrained, and often designed to gather enough info on something to get advertisers, but not enough to actually talk about something. I used to make long threads on places like Twitter, in an effort to convey my points outside a given limit, and I realized one day that I could just start a site, and respond there. That way, I’d get the monetization, and Twitter wouldn’t, and I wouldn’t just be their unpaid worker. So now that I have my own site, I get to say and do whatever the fuck I want without concern of censure, and I plan to. So this is a reply post to Todd Hagopian, to whom I never get to fully respond, given Twitter’s character limit, in his post about where the American Libertarian Party’s focus should be. So let’s get into that.
I’m gonna try to do daily content on here, and where I can’t, I’m still gonna try to treat this place like a 9-5. I still haven’t made profit on this site, so if you want to support it, many ways will be scattered through this post. In that spirit, I was scrolling through Twitter today to see if there was something I could respond to which would be quick and easy, and also not covered this way by someone else. So this is that – I’ll probably be doing this in a similar way every day at least once.
What should 2020 Libertarian Senate candidates focus on the most?
Vote, RT, & Comment!
— Libertarian-In-Chief (@ToddHagopian) February 11, 2019
Obviously, I picked “other”. I’ll be letting him know about this article in the replies.
So why would I not think any of those should be the focus? Well, put simply, it hasn’t goddamned worked to focus on those subjects for the DECADES the LP has been active, and now that people are starting to admit voting is just choosing between criminals, there’s no time like the present for a new LP. Now, make no mistake, you won’t win on an LP ticket. People are stuck in the duopoly, propagandized so much so that when Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz put out feelers on a bid for Independent, citing frustrations with both Trumppublicanism and the manifest extremism of the political left, people immediately started a ruckus and demanded he not run, granting him almost no support.
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So if you start from that premise, you’re already miles ahead of the competition. This isn’t a bid for political power, and really, as a libertarian, you shouldn’t want it to be. If you can’t get in on principle, what fucking good is a third party? Or the two parties? Or the political system! BURN THE FUCKING SYSTEM TO TH-… ehem… writing for politicians here – have to temper what I really want to say here (isn’t that right, Peterson). With that in mind and the 500 word limit coming up, these are your focus points. Better than Twitter, eh?
The “Ethical State” Is Not A “For Profit” Organization
So part of the problem I had with his list is that the points could all be addressed at once if certain core attributes of each were exposed and linked with one another. I think certainly, one which could be addressed, which would not only address two of these stunningly well, and one adequately, but would also boost the party’s appeal to Green, Democrat, and Berniecrat voters would be the fact that much of the US government’s decision making is primarily concerned with making profit, not serving the interests of the common person.
Few examples of this are clearer than the war on drugs. If you want to sway Dems, not paying attention to this is a critical mistake. The John Podesta and Neera Tanden (of Clinton and Obama resume, among other things) joint, Center For American Progress knows this, emphasizing in a piece they wrote last year on the war on drugs how heavy remains its economic cost.
Since 1971, the war on drugs has cost the United States an estimated $1 trillion. In 2015, the federal government spent an estimated $9.2 million every day to incarcerate people charged with drug-related offenses—that’s more than $3.3 billion annually.19
State governments spent another $7 billion in 2015 to incarcerate individuals for drug-related charges.20 North Carolina, for example, spent more than $70 million incarcerating people for drug possession.21 And Georgia spent $78.6 million just to lock up people of color for drug offenses—1.6 times more than the state’s budget current for substance use treatment services.22
In contrast, marijuana legalization would save roughly $7.7 billion per year in averted enforcement costs and would yield an additional $6 billion in tax revenue. The net total—$13.7 billion—could send more than 650,000 students to public universities every year. 23
Now, say what you want about CAP, and its shady donations, but to be clear, they’re not wrong. This remains the focus of much of Dem activism as well, giving them hooks to discuss minority oppression, civil rights infractions, prison for profit, and more. So if you want to reach out to them, starting there is a great place, but that’s not at the root of it. Just ask the Koch- I mean, Cato Institute about taxes, and you’ll be bombarded with enough facts to fill a small dictionary.
And that’s what the root of the war on drugs is – tax. You can get a lot of jobs, and attempt to justify Orwellian police statism, using the war on drugs, but it can’t be paid for without taxes. There are some who would look at this item as a misnomer – government can’t turn a profit on anything in the long run! That’s true, but the short term profits are enough to get next year’s budget higher, and much like Dr Seuss’s Thneeds, it doesn’t matter to the profiteer what can be gained in the long term, or what is unseen, but what now looks like to buyers, who will only buy now if now looks good enough. With so many crashes on the horizon, we live in bearish times, and jobs are being lost faster than they’re being gained. Costly government programs, however? Those don’t get cut.
That brings me to “ending the wars”. US domestic policy is a microcosm for how the US government treats the world – a massive globalist, hegemonic police state where the US maintains the head seat at the table. While the police state allows for massive revenue generation, and huge gains from prison labor, and asset forfeiture, the global police gets to maintain a presence in all major countries and many minor ones. With the Five Eyes of global intelligence, a technocratic surveillance grid borne of cell phones, laptops, and security cameras, and a UAV and satellite system to fill in the gaps, the US government and its allies can watch the globe from the comfort of their homes, or the 800 unclassified bases they have, and the likely hundreds more of those which are classified. This is jobs, and no politician will shut it down, no matter how many millions have to die, and how much liberty must be sacrificed in the name of this “security”.
The Libertarian Party makes some pretty bold claims in their platform. A few points from it include:
We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.
We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose….
[W]here governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual: namely, (1) the right to life — accordingly we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others; (2) the right to liberty of speech and action — accordingly we oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press, as well as government censorship in any form; and (3) the right to property — accordingly we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain, and support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.
Since governments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights, we oppose all interference by government in the areas of voluntary and contractual relations among individuals. People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others. They should be left free by government to deal with one another as free traders; and the resultant economic system, the only one compatible with the protection of individual rights, is the free market.
Lofty. Yet the LP’s nominations have been midroaders for years, people unwilling to uphold those principles. A libertarian willing to run on a platform that the US government must be stopped in its profit-seeking habits it’s become addicted to would see widespread appeal. They’d also be able to address every single thing in that excerpt from the platform. \Wherever the state has trodden on people’s liberty, it has done so because there was something to be gained from it… some expansion of the state they can pin their name to. A libertarian candidate must strive to reduce the state in dramatic and drastic ways, racing toward a stateless society, or at least as close as we can get. If they don’t, they betray every one of the principles listed above. What better way than to cut it off at the source?
Take the funding, for example – taxation is theft, as any libertarian worth a pinch o salt would admit, and the primary reason it’s so high and unmanageable is that the state can’t stop being goddamned everywhere, seeping into all aspects of the world and our lives. This mentality is what allows the war on drugs, and what enables the global war on terror. Add to that a Federal Reserve system attached to a criminal global banking system, profiting off debt, and the fact that the banksters don’t need to give a shit about the common person as long as they get their interest paid provides a lesser-known bottomless sinkhole of tax dollars. A libertarian stopping government for profit would end the Fed and severely curtail the power and authority of the IRS.
Without this funding, many government programs would shut down. A libertarian stopping government for profit would prioritize the ending of the wars on drugs, poverty, and terror for this shutdown, which would curtail the prison, military, and intelligence industrial complexes. It would make Trump and Obama’s fake shutdowns look like a coffee break. This solves literally all of Todd’s boxes, and addresses bipartisan concerns in a way which appeals to any of the masses who’d even consider the LP, while allowing Americans a semblance of the freedoms they never had. It also allows for the market to thrive, and for the common person to be more upwardly mobile, as well.
So why hasn’t this been done yet?
I’m gonna try not to speculate, but it should be obvious at this point that there are a lot of “fingers in the pie” who do not want to be removed. The Libertarian Party has a lot of problems exclusively appealing to the right, and getting large amounts of funding from big-business-adjacent people, and that money can absolutely not do good things for impartiality. The LP had an opportunity to frontrun someone radical, for years, but consistently chose milquetoast people who justly gave the LP the image of “Republicans on pot”. Republican politicians like profit from government, with few exceptions, so it’s no wonder that an LP more concerned with pandering to the right, that’s also where they get most of their funds. So if that’s where the money’s at, why change? Principles? What are those?
Jokes aside, this framework works. The LP has also never taken this approach before. It’s radical, interesting, and almost universally applicable. If the “Party of Principle” ever decides to get any of those, these are there for them to lose to Republicans and Democrats with again. Make no mistake, that will happen. We have a (s)election process in the US, not an election. And most common people feel just as attached to the profit-run state as the politicians that keep the wheels spinning. But at least if they run on this, they’ll have something they can get new people onboard with. Because their current tactics? Failures on all counts. The wheels keep spinning, and most people are just along for the ride.
Time to pump the brakes.
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