The Presidential Campaign 2016
I had hoped that 2016 would be the year when the voting public would be so tired of Washington DC shenanigans that something big might happen. I thought that maybe Liberty would come to the forefront and the country might be guided by Libertarian principles. Nay, it is pretty much business as usual with Donald Trump thrown into the mix.
Part II: Back to Basics
I (and others) have defined liberty as the freedom to do what you want provided that doesn’t conflict with the liberty of others. That is the foundation of most religions and morals. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We talk a lot about liberty but to what extent do we practice it? One might say that liberty is fundamental to our Constitution. That is correct but our government has evolved away from liberty and in fact violates our liberty at every turn. A great number of our laws do NOT resolve conflicts of liberty but instead create conflicts. How you might ask?
Anytime a law gives special privileges to one body of the citizenry at the expense of another portion, that is a violation of liberty of some of the people. Crony capitalism is a well-known tactic for a company or group of companies to receive special benefits from the government. These happen with regulations and with taxes. But each one of these is a violation of the liberty of those not benefitting. A tax break for one group simply means everyone else owes more taxes. That is a violation of their liberty. It isn’t just corporations that benefit; individuals also benefit with laws that emanate from a political campaign. Promises are made to help the poor, but the evidence is that we still have as many poor after such legislation as before. Meanwhile, hardworking taxpayers have to pay taxes for the dreamy programs of politicians who really only care about getting reelected. A huge number of laws in recent times actually violate the liberty of citizens, by our own government.
The first step to reforming our government back to its original intent would be to prohibit the government from violating anyone’s liberty except as a result of their violating another’s liberty first. We have those laws which are entirely appropriate that prohibit theft and murder along with many other events that are the violation of liberty by one person against another. We can either keep those laws or we can combine them into a single law that says “Thou shalt not violate the liberty of another citizen”.
But we must prohibit government from violating the liberty of its citizens except where that citizen has already violated the liberty of another. That will be a very hard pill to swallow for the many citizens who live off the taxes of others. Welfare is a definite violation of the liberty of taxpayers. Charity is not a violation of liberty, by the way, as it is voluntary. We’ve gotten used to the principles of democracy where the majority wins and becomes a tyrant to the minority. But that is a slippery slope which only leads to more welfare. Think what has happened over the last 100 years. We must go back to the time when people voluntarily helped each other, not forced to by big ugly government.
First of all, we must not legislate more liberty violations. Perhaps we can get government out of the liberty-violating business by making charity so attractive that people will voluntarily donate rather than be forced to pay taxes on things they don’t agree with. For example, if people were given a 100% tax deduction for giving to a charity whose purposes are the same that government already funds through welfare, then government could cut its welfare budget by an equivalent amount. I’m certain that the charities would do a better and cheaper job than government.
Besides welfare, there are many things that government does to violate people’s liberty, much legislation that benefits one part of society at the expense of others. We must stop further legislation that violates anyone’s liberty.
We live in a complex world so there are conflicts of liberty that happen all the time, some intentional by evil people and some just accidental in the course of going about daily activities. How are these conflicts resolved? How do we stop government for participating in these conflicts? What kind of organization is required to resolve these conflicts?
A Sophisticated Jury System
Since government is a big part of the problem, we must find another way of resolving conflicts of liberty. Legislation is the not answer and legislators are not the answer. We need to get politics out of the system. We need to get the decision process back in the hands of ordinary people. With modern technology, we don’t need representatives so that the people can pass along their ideas of how to run a government as we did two hundred years ago. At the time, government was remote from the people except at the local level (which has always worked better than larger scale government). A system of Congress, legislatures and legislators seemed like a solution at the time but democracy with the idea of voting out bad guys has evolved into a tyranny of the majority and to hell with the rest. America has become so large along with its government that the common person has no influence.
We use juries to resolve many issues today and I’ll be the first to admit that juries have a lot of faults. I wouldn’t be the first to volunteer to have my dispute resolved by a few dunderheads who weren’t smart enough to get out of serving on the jury. But there are examples where conflict resolution has become very efficient and fair. Many corporations use arbitration clauses to resolve conflicts between their trading partners. Arbitrators are professional people who understand the issues and whose reputation depends on fairness. Professional juries may well be an answer where people are paid handsomely to perform their job of fairness. We see all kinds of citizen based evaluations of companies and their services, such as Uber. In that instance, we’ve found that customer evaluation is better than a volume of laws about how taxis should operate. Technology is moving us away from the need for laws.
Who Keeps The Peace?
We are still left with the question of what organization stops violations of liberty, either intentional or accidental. Where are the police when we need them? What happens when N. Korea lobs a bomb on us? Obviously, we need an organization that handles these situations. It probably would be pretty similar to our current law enforcement elements along with the Department of Defense. That might well have been the idea of our founders. They surely understood the need to keep the peace and to protect against outside invaders. Did they really think that welfare was a necessary part of government?
So something like government is still needed but its responsibilities would be a fraction of what exists today. Its budget could be a fourth of today’s budget, even with a very well-funded DOD. The $19 trillion federal debt would be manageable. And problems would be solved by the people, not by hucksters who spend their time in Washington DC.
PART III: The Race will appear tomorrow and we’ll try to make some sense of the current election and its relation to liberty.