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Archive for August, 2010

It seems to me that there are two vehicles driving toward the goal of limited government.

One is the Libertarian movement, and the other is the Tea Party movement.

The Libertarians advocate true liberty in the most consistent sense: maximized civil and economic liberty.  They advocate laissez faire economics and Classical Liberalism.  They have fewer ties to the political Left and Right, but rather they are their own entity.

The Tea Party Movement also advocates liberty.  However, it is often difficult to see which kinds they advocate.  They undoubtedly advocate the fiscal conservatism that the Libertarians advocate.  However, to me it seems that their stance on civil liberties is murky.  Unlike the Libertarian movement, the Tea Party appears to be a wing of the political Right, rather than being its own entity.  Therefore, the Tea Party might be a movement within the Right Wing to economically liberalize.  I am undoubtedly for that economic liberalization, though I may not agree with their stance on civil liberties.

I think it would help the Tea Party to become more organized rather than being a political guerrilla group.  Though the Tea Party seems to prefer the disorganization, I think it makes them look less than legitimate.  Like the Libertarians, they should advocate various ideologies that suit them rather than dressing as Founding Fathers.  Also, I think they should attempt to distance themselves from the far political Right and more toward the more moderate Libertarians, or else they will probably never be elected to political office.

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Most often, I don’t know what to think of the Tea Party Movement.

I do believe in small, limited Federal government.

However, I reject Nativism in that I am generally pro-immigration.  I think that people that pledge allegiance to the United States of America and work a job to that end should be given citizenship.  I think that the Tea Party Movement rejects immigrants for the basic fact that they are immigrants.  I reject such hypocrisy because I am the great-grandson and the great-great-great grandson of immigrants from Slovakia (Austria-Hungary) and Ireland (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland) respectively.  I believe that if a person seeks to work and pay his way in America, then he should be allowed to work in America.

I do agree with many of the tenets and symbols that the Tea Party Movement embraces, such as the Gadsden Flag.  However, I do believe that the Tea Party Movement still advocates big governmental action in many personal issues areas with which I would not agree.

For instance, mainstream Libertarians would advocate gay marriage on grounds that is not the government’s role to regulate marriage.  Tea Partier’s might say that gay marriage is not ideal, and that is an aspect of live that the government should regulate.

Also, as people either fail or refuse to recognize, the Grand Ol Party professes to advocate small government but, in fact, does the opposite.  Republicans support the Bush White House’s actions, which increased the national debt by approximately $4 trillion.  This $4 trillion was used to strengthen strong central government.  For this reason, I believe the Tea Party should advocate a 3rd Party.  However, I don’t think it has been trying to advocate a 3rd party.

We have a two party system in America, and I think the Tea Party would naturally advocate the Republican party because of its ideological alignment.  However, I think they should not ally with the Republicans because of this $4 trillion hike in government debt.  I thought Conservatives were supposed to “conserve” and not spend on nation-building and programs that strengthen the Federal government and weaken state and local governments.

For these reasons, I think that the Tea Party movement is a misguided political force that needs to find direction.  I also think that the Tea Party should find an ideology and stick to it.  Saying that one is for Constitutional liberty, and then pushing to deny Muslims to build a community center is just hypocritical.  One is either an advocate of the Constitution, or not.

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I am currently reading The Age of Abundance by Brink Lindsey, a fellow of the Cato Institute.  The book is about how capitalism has made Americans more libertarian.

Reading the book made me think differently about the beginning of the civil rights movement as he describes in chapter 3.  It made me think of the movement in a more economic way.  Dr. King and the other leaders of the Montgomery bus boycott used the powers of the Invisible Hand to achieve social change.  If a person is displeased with a service, that person has the right not consume it and look elsewhere for a substitute.

African-Americans in Montgomery did just that.  They simply stopped riding the bus; they walked, organized carpools, founded underground cab companies, among other things.

And it was the White Segregationists that opposed free markets.  They wanted to deny the African Americans the right to choose what service to use.  According to Lindsey’s book, law enforcement would abuse their power to try to hinder people advocating the boycott by imposing bogus fines and making wrongful arrests.

In the end, Dr. King, the boycotters, and the free market won.

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I can never understand the feelings of loss of those affected by the attacks of September 11, 2001.  I, however, can understand their feelings toward a Mosque being built on or near Ground Zero.  Of course, they would be hostile to a religion whose adherents carried out the horrible act that changed their lives forever.

However, I believe that it was only adherents of a religion, not a religion itself.  I would also believe that many Muslims were directly or indirectly affected by the attacks of September 11; not to mention the public scrutiny of being a Muslim.

To deny non-extremist Muslims the right take the right legal measures to build a house of worship would be to deny that they are even Americans at all.  I do not know for sure what the motivation of those seeking to build the Mosque, but I think the move could be out of solidarity with the more native majority of Americans who were directly attacked.  Maybe the Mosque is a sign that they are allying with America rather than with Al Qaeda.  Remember, Osama bin Laden and other such fundamentalist extremists hate American Muslims as much as they hate other non-Muslim Americans.

What bothers me is that history is repeating itself.  My paternal grandmother’s family was in America since colonial times.  However, the rest of my family had immigrated from Ireland (paternal grandfather’s family) and Slovakia (all maternal great-grandparents).  Irishmen were looked on by Nativists as lesser men, and those from Eastern Europe were treated the same way.  Now that these groups have made their mark in our country, I feel like the same thing is happening.  I think the children of immigrants should welcome other immigrants if they want to pledge their allegiance to America.

With all that being said, I want to firmly state that I am a firm believer in our Constitution, and for that reason I am a staunch civil libertarian.  To deny these people freedom of worship would be blatantly un-Constitutional because they are seeking this right through proper channels of the law.  However angry it makes native New Yorkers, the Constitution must not broken.

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From some of my previous posts, you can probably tell that I think that the two party system divides our nation.  I think that people that identify themselves as either a “typical Republican” or a “typical Democrat” have no real idea of what that means.

What does that even mean?  What does it mean to be a to be either a “typical Republican” or a “typical Democrat?”  There certainly are stigmas associated with both parties.  When someone thinks of Republicans, one probably thinks anti-immigration, anti-gun control, pro-war, pro-deregulation, etc.  People also sometimes associate Republicans with the South, with Rednecks, with being resistant to change and holding provincial viewpoints.  And when thinking of Democrats, one likely thinks pro-gun control, anti-war, pro-regulation, etc.  Similarly, people often associate Democrats with Hippies, with academia, and with the entertainment industries.

How can this typecasting be positive?  People often apply these stereotypes to anyone that identify with either party without even hearing anything about what they actually believe.  The mainstream Republican party is wrongly identified as advocating small government.  The Bush White House vastly expanded the Federal Government with No Child Left Behind, and the economic stimulus package of our current recession.  In the same way, the Democratic party is wrongly identified as “liberal” when they discourage freer markets and advocate laws intended to curb people’s behavior.

In my opinion, our country should allow the entry of more political factions.  People may think that this would further divide our country, but I do not think it would.  What it would do is stop people from pegging people with a rigid package of ideologies when they identify with a certain party.  That is what I think would help stop the polarization of our society.  Many more that two political ideologies and philosophies exist; I think we owe it to ourselves to establish more than two parties with which to identify.

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While watching the show Weeds, I had a thought about the effects that prohibition have on the nature of the substances that are prohibited.

During Prohibition in the 1920s, the quality of alcohol was often very low because production was forced underground.  Moonshine was distilled in rural locales and was often very dangerous to consume.  Now, people can buy liquors in stores without worrying about going blind.  Microbreweries across our country brew very unique, complex beers.  Society benefits from all the choices.  During Prohibition, beer production was probably non existent because of the facilities required for brewing beer.

In the same way, before abortions were made legal, they were very dangerous because they could be performed in sterile facilities by qualified professionals (b.n. Whether or not abortion is ethical is an entirely different issue).

What if marijuana were legalized, and marijuana began to have their own versions of microbreweries?  Like with microbreweries, users could have greater access to much more diverse products.  They would benefit because of higher quality goods, as well as knowing that their marijuana is safe (like drinkers know their liquor does not contain poison because they bought it from a liquor store).  Furthermore, as alcohol is regulated, marijuana would be regulated, and therefore would be safer.

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