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Why not to vote Libertarian

HBL
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A vote for the Libertarian Party candidate is a vote against liberty

Evaluating a candidate of the Libertarian Party (LP) is very different from evaluating a candidate of the Republican or Democratic Party. The major parties stand for no ideology. Each is an amalgamation of pragmatic, concrete-bound positions, driven by no discernible theme.

By contrast, the LP—like, say, the Communist Party or the Green Party—does represent an ideology. It is regarded as an advocate of an unorthodox set of ideas. It declares in its platform that it seeks to “challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual,” and all its positions are supposed to follow from that premise. A vote for the LP is a vote for its ideology.

So the crucial question becomes: what in fact is that ideology?

Harry Binswanger, in his post, has already indicated the devious ways in which the LP’s platform has been crafted to accommodate the views of anarchists. But the LP does not explicitly endorse those views. It is nominally non-anarchist. What it does endorse, however, is not only a tacit form of anarchism, but worse: the equating of anarchism with capitalism.

  • When its platform declares: “We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering or monitoring the ownership, manufacture or transfer of firearms or ammunition”—it is rejecting the means by which government protects the individual’s rights. In a free society, one is legally prohibited from engaging in any activity that poses an objective threat to others. While there is a right to use guns in self-defense, as defined by law, there is no right to the unrestricted possession of deadly weapons. Allowing anyone to have any firearms he wishes—allowing someone, for example, to walk the streets with a machine gun—clearly places everyone else’s rights in jeopardy.
  • When its platform declares: “We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law”—it is rejecting the means by which government protects the individual’s rights. The purpose of law in a free society is to make objective the prohibitions against the private initiation of force and the authorizations of government’s retaliatory use of force. By giving a group of citizens the power to nullify any law they happen not to like, including perfectly rational laws, the LP is negating the entire function of laws. (I agree with HB’s suggestions about recusing yourself if you are a juror on a case involving a patently unjust law.)
  • When its platform declares, in the very first sentence under “International Affairs”: “American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world”—it is rejecting the means by which government protects the individual’s rights. Peace is a byproduct of a policy of laissez-faire—and so, sometimes, is war. The fundamental value of any proper foreign policy is not peace, but freedom. A government committed to its citizens’ freedom will abide by two equally important imperatives: it will refrain from initiating force anywhere and it will resolutely take military action if and when that freedom is threatened.

A mentality that regards the existence of government per se as odious will not distinguish between initiated and retaliatory force on the part of a government. It will simply mandate, as stated in the LP’s platform, that we “avoid entangling alliances” and “end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid.” Can there be alliances that enhance our defense against aggression? Can there be military efforts that protect our freedom? It’s all part of one big hash called “intervention,” according to the LP, and should be condemned. (Yes, the platform states that we should maintain “a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression,” but that’s just window dressing. Whenever there is occasion for the proper use of military force—against ISIS, for instance—the libertarian directive invariably is: “non-intervention.”)

The LP is thus guilty of more than making wrong applications of the principle of laissez-faire. It is conveying to the public the noxious message that laissez-faire means “non-interventionism.” The message of this anti-concept is that “liberty” requires the elimination of even legitimate functions of government. In the LP’s view, for the same reason that the state should not forcibly intervene in an employer’s decision on what to pay his own workers, it should also not forcibly “intervene” in Iran’s decision on whether to acquire its own nuclear weapons.

Is this how the cause of liberty is supposed to be advanced?

Given the major-party candidates in this election, I’m sympathetic to the desire to cast some sort of protest vote. But you wouldn’t cast a “protest” vote for the Socialist Workers Party, just because it opposes government bailouts of Big Business. Or for the Christian Liberty Party, just because it wants to end all government welfare programs. Why then vote for the Libertarian Party just because it wants to cut the size of government? The right conclusion for the wrong reason is the wrong conclusion.
Are there any circumstances under which I would consider voting for a Libertarian candidate? Sure. All that is needed is for the LP to issue a statement along the following lines:

“We disavow our past ties to, and tolerance of, anarchism. We hereby proclaim our repudiation of anarchism because it contradicts the principle of individual rights. We now regard government not as a necessary evil, but as a necessary good, so long as it restricts itself to its proper function of defending its citizens against all threats of force, domestic or foreign.”

Until and unless that happens, my vote will go elsewhere.

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gangsterofboats
4 hours ago
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Nobody Came.

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gangsterofboats
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If FIFA kicks Israeli teams out of soccer, it has to also kick out a Korea

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a women’s soccer match between the national team and the Wolmido team at the remodelled May Day Stadium in Pyongyang on Oct. 28, 2014. (Reuters/KCNA)

On Monday, Yesterday, I wrote about the morally and legally misguided effort by the Palestinian Authority and supportive nongovernmental organizations  NGOs to expel or otherwise punish Israel from FIFA, the governing body of world football (to Americans, soccer). world football’s (American soccer) governing body. If FIFA goes for this gambit, it will get more than it bargained for: a Korean soccer war.

The argument for Israel’s expulsion is based on a new FIFA rule against members federations playing on the territory of other members. As I explained earlier:

Nothing [N]othing in the FIFA statutes that equates “territory” with sovereign territory. . . . Instead, territory, as is often the case in international texts, means jurisdiction.

This is because the FIFA is not a border demarcation body. That is why FIFA clearly separates any question of sovereign statehood and territory from FIFA membership by not requiring that member federations be recognized states . . . The claim that the acceptance of the Palestinian soccer federation into FIFA constituted a recognition of Palestine as a state and a recognition of its maximal border claims is unsupportable.

The absurdity of the Palestinian reading of FIFA rules is powerfully illustrated by the soccer status of the two Koreas.

Both North and South Korea’s Korea’s soccer federation’s are FIFA members. Yet the governments of both Koreas claim the entire territory of the other as their own. Indeed, the constitution of the ROK (South Korea) asserts its ROC assert their sole sovereignty over the peninsula.

So FIFA has two member federations whose countries have 100 percent  100% incompatible and overlapping territorial claims. Under the interpretation of FIFA rules being used against Israel, that means it is certain that one of the Koreas is playing on the other’s territory, which in this case can be remedied only only be remedied by expulsion.

There is a loophole in the FIFA “territorial” statute for matches played with the consent of the other member federation’s consent but there does not seem to be an evidence of express consent by either Korea. Indeed, if FIFA acts to push out Israel, it is likely that at least Pyongyang will jump on the bandwagon to cause trouble for Seoul, opening a new theater in the “soccer wars.”

Oddly, a global human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, has taken the lead in the effort to kick Israel out of world soccer, citing supposed Israeli human rights violations. HRW doesn’t seem to have ever It has never apparently suggested the expulsion of the North Korean soccer federation, despite that fact that DPRC (North Korean) football is apparently one big human rights violation. (Underperforming players are sent violation. (Underperforming players to coal mines —  if they’re lucky.) Odder still, HRW has actually reported on North Korean soccer crimes, without suggesting any action be taken against the hermit kingdom’s federation. Hermit Kingdom’s federation.

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gangsterofboats
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The Biggest Loser: Lester Holt

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Although Donald Trump is a very close second.

And, I agree with Paul Krugman but he left something out.

I tried to watch last night's "debate" between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I really did. Unfortunately, I lasted only about 50 minutes. I thought they were both horrible but I thought that in the time I watched, the Hill dominated the Don.

But let's go beyond that to the issues. I want to highlight two.

First, with his first question, Lester Holt led the two contestants on a tangent. Here's what he asked:

So, let's begin. We're calling this opening segment achieving prosperity and central to that is jobs. There are two economic realities in America today. There's been a record six straight years of job growth and new census numbers show incomes have increased at a record rate after years of stagnation. However, income inequality remains significant. And nearly half of Americans living paycheck to paycheck. Beginning with you, Secretary Clinton - why are you a better choice than your opponent to create the kinds of jobs that will put more money into the pockets of American workers?

No. Central to achieving prosperity [I take as given that we have prosperity and that he, and everyone else, understood that he meant increased prosperity] is not jobs. Central to that is economic growth. How do we achieve more than 2 percent growth in real GDP? So he gets them off-track from the get-go, talking about jobs instead of growth.

Granted that neither candidate seems to understand basic economics, and so they would both would have probably gone to jobs instead of growth anyway. But Holt shouldn't have been an enabler.

Second, free trade took a horrible beating last night. Here's how Paul Krugman put it:

More broadly, Trump's whole view on trade is that other people are taking advantage of us -- that it's all about dominance, and that we're weak. And even if you think we've pushed globalization too far, even if you are worried about the effects of trade on income distribution, that's just a foolish way to think about the problem.

So don't score Trump as somehow winning on trade. Yes, he blustered more confidently on that subject than on anything else. But he was talking absolute garbage even there.


But you know who else talked mainly, though not absolutely, garbage? Hillary Clinton. She started off well, saying:
Well, I think that trade is an important issue, of course. We are five percent of the world's population - we have to trade with the other ninety five percent.

I could nitpick and say that it's not literally true that we "have to." But we certainly should be allowed to.

Then the Hill went downhill. She didn't defend free trade and, like virtually all mercantilists, judged trade deals by whether they increase exports without taking account of the other half of benefits: lower prices and higher quality on imports.

*By the way, if you want to see an unintentionally hilarious piece on the debate, check out NPR's transcript with fact checks at various points. When they fact check the Don, they do it generally accurately and sometimes with a lot of attitude. E.g.,

There is no truth to the charge that the Clinton campaign or Hillary Clinton started the birther movement, as we've written. Donald Trump, however, for several years was the chief spokesman for it and the principal person pushing the falsehood. And Trump still has not apologized to the president of the United States for an effort that many African-Americans saw as an effort to delegitimize the first black president. Undoubtedly, Clinton and Obama fought a bitter 2008 primary campaign. Fringe supporters and advisers did go after Obama's "otherness." One of Clinton's informal advisers, Sidney Blumenthal, told a McClatchy bureau chief based in Africa to look into Obama's birthplace, according to that McClatchy bureau chief. But Clinton certainly did not take the show on the road. The false equivalence Trump is trying to draw isn't even remotely close to the same thing as what Trump did. For the record, once again, Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, something proved over and over again. Here's his birth certificate, the legitimacy of which Trump called into question explicitly as late as 2014.

Notice the schoolmarmy "And Trump still has not apologized to the president of the United States for an effort that many African-Americans saw as an effort to delegitimize the first black president." As if that is relevant to a fact check.

When they fact check the Hill, they do it well also. But what's interesting is how often they fact check him and how little they fact check her. E.g., the Hill's statement:

Trickle down it did not work. It got us into the mess we were in 2008-2009.

In context, she seems to mean by "trickle down" tax cuts for high-income people. But it got us into the mess we were in in 2008-2009? I hadn't heard that one. That was crying out for a fact check. NPR's answer: blank out.

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gangsterofboats
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Five Takeaways on Foreign Policy from the Presidential Debates

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What did we learn in yesterday’s debate about the candidates’ foreign policies? Earlier today, Elan Journo shared his reactions to the candidates’ views on the Iran nuclear deal, the Iraq war, ISIS and more.
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gangsterofboats
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The System 787: No Clue

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I'll keep looking for better answers.

Seemed fitting after last night’s presidential debate.

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gangsterofboats
11 hours ago
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