In Upset Evil Empire Defeats JEDI

JEDI

What is JEDI

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, was a contract between the Department of Defense and Microsoft to modernize Information Technology. Ten billion dollars in taxpayer funds were to pay for this update which the DoD considers an absolute necessity.

It came into effect back in 2019 when Microsoft won the contract over rival Amazon. The contract is now null and void as the DoD initiated contract termination procedures and Microsoft supports the decision.

Why was JEDI Cancelled

Back when the contract was awarded, the President of the United States publicly stated his preference that it be awarded to Microsoft instead of Amazon because the executive considered the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, a political enemy.

An investigation by the Pentagon’s inspector general provided no clarity. A number of high-ranking White House officials refused to cooperate. Now, twenty months later, the contract is dead and the process must begin again.

Twenty Months Lost

There are a number of factors to consider in this entire mess. Libertarian ideology underlies almost every one of them.

Business must not be tied up in politics. I admit that bridge is so far behind us we’d need the Hubble Space Telescope to find a time when politicians weren’t meddling. This fact doesn’t stop me from tilting against that particular windmill. Why on earth is the President of the United States, a United States Senator, a United States Congressman, or any of their political appointees making any statements or decision in regards to a project like JEDI?

I understand the Department of Defense comes under the purview of said politicians but business done by that entity does not, at least in my opinion. Because President Trump made clear conflict of interest statements in regard to the contract, it doesn’t even really matter if his staff interfered or not. Amazon has a case.

Imagine you are running a business with a large bid at stake with a government agency. Your local politician states she or he wants your competitor to get the contract. It’s clear you’d kick up a fuss and plunk down more money for the next election cycle. Yet another product of the folly that is the current course of the United States.

The fingerprint of politicians litters every decision made these days and our military is suffering because of it. We’ve got a trio of Zumwalt Class destroyers that cost over $22 billion and doesn’t have a main gun. The United Army told Congress they didn’t need any more Abrams tanks but got them anyway. I won’t even talk about the F35.

Meanwhile, soldiers can’t get clean water through their home plumbing right here in the United States. Veterans wait in line at the Veterans Administration to get medical care.

Many, if not all, of these problems come back to politicians with no expertise or even basic knowledge interfering in decisions.

Conclusion

I don’t care if you’re a Trump fan or you hate him. Your security is at risk because Trump couldn’t keep his big mouth shut. We should be twenty months into the upgrade by now, whether by Amazon or Microsoft. That’s the problem with politicians interfering in business decisions.

There was a time when Republicans and Libertarians aligned on this issue, no more. We few stand alone against a juggernaut of politicians and their supporters who seem to be rushing, arms wide open, with smiles on their faces, toward despotism.

The people of the United States, much as it pains me to say, seem to want one person, with no understanding of the issue at hand, to make all the decisions regarding said issue.

Cancel Culture Collides with Gina Carano

Cancel Culture

Oh what a tangled Cancel Culture we weave when we try to cancel a person on the opposite side of the debate. The Cancel Culture insanity is in full view in the Gina Carano situation which I will avoid detailing because in the immortal words of Tripper; It just doesn’t matter.

Carano was fired from her show because the producers didn’t like something she said. Those who like what she said now want to cancel Disney+.

But, but, but they started it! Remember Dixie Chicks? No, no, it didn’t really start until Confederate Statues! You’re the one trying to cancel me! No, I’m not! You’re trying to cancel me!

Let me be clear. I hate each and every one of you in my own, special, Libertarian way. You’re all part of the Cancel Culture and the more rage you toss at the other side, the more you reveal your own fervor in that regard. You love the Cancel Culture. You adore it. You worship it. You eagerly embrace it when the person being canceled is on the other side of the political spectrum. Oh, how you wail and weep against it when someone with your point of view is being canceled.

First off, you miserable cretins, no one is being canceled. No one! Decisions in regards to a statue or an actor are being made. The free market is determining what networks survive.

Everyone is perfectly capable of deciding if they want to watch the Mandalorian for themselves. It becomes Cancel Culture when you try to orchestrate a movement against an actor on the show or the network that produces the show. You are the Cancel Culture, if you weren’t, you’d stop watching the Mandalorian or cancel your Disney+ without mouthing off about it all over Social Media in a desperate attempt to get more views and destroy those with whom you disagree.

Did I mention I hate you all? Because if I haven’t, I’d like to reiterate it here. I’m quite clear about my feelings on this subject. However, please continue to go about your business canceling everyone. That’s your own prerogative. I’ll choose if I want to continue to follow your social media or relegate you to the ignore bin, most of you are there already, because, I hate you. In case there is some confusion in that regard.

Now, I’m going to watch some chess.

Tom Liberman

What does Freedom Feel Like?

Freedom Feel Like

While watching the aftermath of the events in Washington D.C. I was struck by one of the protestors who said this is what freedom feels like. It struck me because it is a question worth exploring. What does freedom feel like?

The person who said these words certainly believed them, as they were spoken with passion and almost ecstatic enthusiasm. I think there is a common confusion that doing what you want to do is the answer to the question. What does freedom feel like to the protestor? Me doing exactly what I want, to whomever I want, and forcing them to do the same.

Naturally, it becomes quite clear when we examine the entirety of the answer as I’ve restated above, it is fundamentally wrong and almost the exact opposite of the correct reply. It seems paradoxical and it’s easy to understand the confusion. Freedom does mean, to a certain degree, being able to do what you want without interference from, particularly, the state. So, when someone is beating a police officer to force their view of the world onto those who disagree, it understandably feels like freedom. I’m doing what I want and getting my way.

This, happily, is only half the answer to the question as to what does freedom feel like. The other half of the answer is allowing other people to do as they desire. That’s the full answer to the question. Yes, I’m free to do as I want but to experience true freedom, I must allow others to do as they want, I must not use personal, or government, force to coerce others into doing something they do not want to do.

This is the conundrum of government as a whole and one of the driving forces of the Libertarian ideology. If we understand some people do bad things, anything from traffic violations to murder, then we must have rules and ways to enforce them. Government and law enforcement largely being the solution.

It is the implementation of those rules and enforcements that are of concern when we try to answer the question of what does freedom feel like. How much should we force people to do as I want. Where does your freedom to drive 100 mph down a neighborhood street infringe on my right to walk to the grocery store?

These are not easy questions to answer but I can state, with unequivocal certainty, that beating police officers, coercing politicians, violently telling half the population that you will bend them to your will is not the feeling of freedom, it is the glorious and disgusting feeling of unchecked, violent power, enforced with fists and guns.

We have elections, we have courts, we have law enforcement officers. Because they, through normal processes, decided that your candidate lost an election is not taking away your freedom. It is you who is taking, it is you who is stealing, it is you who is crushing freedom; despite your feelings to the contrary.

Tom Liberman

Aerosmith was Better on Drugs but for Whom?

Aerosmith was Better on Drugs

A social media friend of mine posited with unequivocal certainty that Aerosmith was better on drugs. By this he means their music was more enjoyable to him. The main point being, when taking mind-altering drugs, the band created better music. He might well be right but I think the important factor in that statement is my friend is viewing what is better through the lens of his betterment, not the members of the band.

I think this willingness to view the state of another person’s life and decision by how you are affected is a common human condition. I don’t blame my friend for saying what he said, and there are probably some reasonably objective standards we could apply to the question but that is not my point today.

Yes, it’s entirely possible Aerosmith was better on drugs then when they gave the lifestyle up. Perhaps their music was stronger, edgier, and better by all objective standards but that doesn’t change the underlying selfishness of the statement. I enjoyed the music more when the members of Aerosmith were blitzed out of their mind on mind-altering drugs. That they might have been shortening their lives, creating significant medical issues, courting death by overdose, hurting those around them with their behavior, is unimportant. Or at least less important than my enjoyment of their music.

Artists, by and large, suggests my friend, are better when they are whacked out of their gourd. Again, I’m not trying to insult my friend with this observation. I think we all look at life through our own eyes and what is good for us. I see nothing wrong with this philosophy, to at least some degree, but I think it’s important to recognize it.

Was Aerosmith better on drugs? For me, yes. For them, arguable. This is one of the fundamental ideas of objectivism and libertarianism, both philosophies my friend ridicules and perhaps why I’m writing this blog. It turns out my friend is an objectivist Libertarian of the first order when it comes to bands producing the kind of music he likes.

Take that, Harris.

Tom Liberman

Conservatorship of Britney Spears

Conservatorship of Britney Spears

The Conservatorship of Britney Spears is in the news these days because the entertainer was suing to regain control of her finances which her father has controlled for the last twelve years. The issue in regards to whether or not to revoke the conservatorship of Britney Spears is an interesting question from a Libertarian perspective.

First a little background, twelve years ago Spears went through a difficult period in her life that led to losing custody of her two children, serious financial setbacks, and out-of-control behavior fueled by various intoxicants. In order to prevent further damage, Jamie Spears, her father, petitioned the state of California for Conservatorship and was awarded such. It is now 2020 and, according to Britney Spears, times have changed. She thinks she is now capable of handling her own finances and is concerned her father is not managing the money appropriately.

The question about the conservatorship of Britney Spears is a difficult one because it seems quite clear that she was, twelve years ago, incapable of properly managing her life. The state allowed her father to step in and manage her money and life and, judging by events over those twelve years, he has done at least an adequate, if not exceptional, job.

That being said, who is Jamie Spears or the court system to say that Britney Spears is still incapable of managing her life and finances after twelve years of personal growth? The general Libertarian mantra suggests if a person wants to ruin their own life, it is their right to do so. However, if the person is not mentally or physically capable of doing so, the question is much more nuanced.

I have a mentally disabled family member and there is no question she should never be in charge of her own finances. The money would be stolen by dishonest entities and she would almost certainly be left destitute and in horrific conditions without protection.

Britney Spears is not so impaired, physically or mentally. She might well have a substance abuse predilection but we just don’t know one way or the other if she is capable of handling her own finances. It’s possible some con-artist is pulling the strings in an attempt to end the conservatorship of Britney Spears. I strongly suspect Jamie Spears is better capable of handling the finances than his daughter. That suspicion is not enough, in my opinion at least, to keep the conservatorship of Britney Spears fully in place.

In this particular case it is a father attempting to look out for the welfare of his daughter but there are parallels to government trying to look out for me and you. In some cases, the father does know best and, in some cases, so does the government. That does not mean we should allow them to take control of our lives without strong reasons.

Britney Spears has spent twelve years without control of her own money and I think that’s long enough, barring any evidence to the contrary. She should be allowed to manage her own finances. When it comes to controlling another person’s finances or life, we must err on the side of freedom or we risk tyranny.

Tom Liberman

No One Elected Jack Dorsey and that is the Point

No One Elected Jack Dorsey

No one elected Jack Dorsey who is the co-founder of twitter and, Senator Ted Cruz, that’s the entire point why he’s free to allow whatever sort of speech he wants on his platform. The very fact Senator Cruz is completely wrong about the meaning of Freedom of Speech as defined in the First Amendment to the Constitution is disheartening although expected.

The point of the First Amendment is that an elected official, you Senator Cruz, cannot so infringe upon our freedom of speech. The fact no one elected Jack Dorsey is absolute proof that he can do so however he sees fit.

If the publishers of Jewish website refuse to post inflammatory neo-Nazi and Ku-Klux-Klan messages that is their right to do so. If Breitbart News or some other conservative outlet doesn’t want to let Nancy Pelosi speak on their platform, that is absolutely their right. Why? Because no one elected Jack Dorsey and no one elected the owners of those organization.

It is you, Senator Cruz, you who are restricted by the Constitution of the United States from arresting me for printing this blog. That’s what Freedom of Speech means. It applies to you and your political colleagues in Washington D.C., in the governor’s mansions around this nation, in the municipal courthouses. You cannot infringe what I say or, more importantly, choose not to say. That’s the entire point!

By telling Twitter, or any other media outlet, what they must print under threat of punishment, you are violating the First Amendment. This is the arrogance of government today. Politicians like Cruz tell us; not only can we tell you what to say under threats but we’re happy to do so and cite the very document that explicitly prevents us from doing it as justification.

Madness! Insanity!

The answer to your question, Senator Cruz, is no one elected Jack Dorsey. Now, get about trying to do something to help this country rather than turn it into everything the Constitution is designed to prevent.

Tom Liberman

Jared Kushner and Black People wanting Success

Jared Kushner

Jared Kushner recently implied one of the reasons black people have struggled in the United States is they don’t want to be successful. His exact words were … but he (Trump) can’t want them to be successful more than they want to be successful. The question this Libertarian asks is: how do we define success?

I’m sure Jared Kushner and others will be spinning his comments one way or the other and that’s fine. However, there is no doubt in my mind Jared Kushner was simply repeating a line I’ve oft heard before. Black people have only themselves to blame for their lack of success in the United States. It’s a refrain that ignores a great deal of reality and, conveniently, absolves white people from any blame in the matter.

Now, I’m a white guy. Let’s get that out of the way. I don’t know what it’s like to be a black person nor can I speak for them on this subject. I’m merely giving my thoughts on it and I have at least the background of a racially mixed primary and secondary education to support me.

When Jared Kushner talks about black people having to want to succeed, he’s talking about himself, not black people. How he defines success, how his wealthy New Jersey father defines success, how his culturally Jewish heritage defines success. This is not the same as many other people and cultures.

The inherent problem with this attitude is it makes huge assumptions about the personal desires of other people and the cultural mores they value.

I think it’s safe to say black people have compelling reasons for not wanting to seek success the way a largely white America and Jared Kushner define such. We don’t even need to bring up the subject of slavery. Black people today are oppressed by white people overtly and covertly. One of the hidden oppressions is on full demonstration when Jared Kushner speaks on the subject. You must succeed the way I define it, otherwise it isn’t success. That’s his inference and black people have been hearing that for a long, long time. Many of them aren’t buying it and who can blame them?

Recently a person whose own background and culture strongly resemble that of Jared Kushner, Ben Shapiro, wrote that rap isn’t music. Presumably people who make great rap songs that others enjoy are not successful in his imagination. That’s the problem with trying to define how other people should view success.

For some people having a country house with a big yard to mow and some chickens is success. For others going billions of dollars into debt to purchase real-estate holdings and not paying any taxes is their version of success. For me success is defined by writing books that few people purchase. There is no one path to success and when we try to force our version of it on others, we are being presumptuous.

The fact Jared Kushner thinks he knows how black people should view success is part and parcel of the entire problem. People resent such a patronizing attitude.

It is impossible for irony to be more on display when Kushner goes on to blame black people for protesting the murder of George Floyd by crying on Instagram but not offering solutions. Kushner says you solve problems with solutions. Jared Kushner, instead of telling black people they just need to want to have success, maybe you should offer a practical and pragmatic solution, instead of crying to Fox News.

Tom Liberman

Debates about Government Oil Policy

Government Oil Policy

What should be done about government oil policy? That’s the question President Trump and former Vice-President Biden spoke about at the Presidential Debate on October 22 but it’s not really the question at all. We don’t have a Libertarian Candidate in the debates and therefore we only get to hear answers that amount to the same thing. Both Democrats and Republicans are making the same argument.

The problem is Trump and Biden want the same thing; they want a government oil policy that interferes in the natural capitalistic processes. I know, I know, you think your side is completely opposite of the other side but you’re badly mistaken.

Once you admit you want Trump to use the government to support the oil industry or you want Biden to give government aid to renewable energy; you’ve tacitly admitted the government gets a say in the matter at all. If Libertarian Jo Jorgensen had been included in the debate she would, I feel confident, say the only good government oil policy is to stay out of it.

The government; state, federal, and local, should not be giving subsidies to oil or renewables. Imagine if, back in the day, government officials felt the need to protect horses and the industries that support them by suppressing motor vehicles. What if the government poured millions of dollars into candle productions and put up road blocks to electric lights? Where would the United States be as a world power if it had acted in the interests of either?

I wrote a blog about why renewable energy is quickly overtaking coal and oil as the main source of power in the United States but that’s not what I’m writing about today. The message I’d like to convey is when you agree the government has the power to support a particular industry for the good of the nation, you are agreeing with both Trump and Biden. You are, for all practical purposes, making the same argument.

Once you say there can be a government oil policy to influence one of the base structures of modern society, energy, you give it the right to control everything. If you don’t like Trump then you must tell Biden to stop promoting renewable energy. If you fear Biden then you must tell Trump to stop supporting big oil and coal. If you support one, you support both, though you almost certainly imagine you do not.

The more power government has in our lives the more control someone you don’t like will have when they ascend to the highest offices. Do you fear Biden? Vote Libertarian. Do you fear Trump? Vote Libertarian. It’s the only way to be sure.

Tom Liberman

The Problem is there was no Crime in the Breonna Taylor Case

Breonna Taylor

The Breonna Taylor case is making a lot of headlines and people are upset only one criminal charge, reckless endangerment, was filed against the officers. The problem isn’t that a single charge was filed, the problem is that everything the officers did, except shooting blindly into a room, was perfectly legal. The problem is that none of them can be charged with a crime.

The problem is that police can, and all to frequently do, murder people legally. It’s vitally important to understand this is a problem for the people and for the police, both are the victims here.

This is the state of our legal system as a result of the failed War on Drugs that allows police to kill with legal impunity, to steal your money with legal impunity, to throw flashbang grenades into baby cribs with impunity, to intimidate, harass, abuse, imprison, torture, absolutely legally. That’s the problem and if you don’t see it, you’ll be a victim soon enough under the unlikely circumstances that you have not been already.

The problem isn’t the police, the problem is our society, our laws, our willingness to give up freedom and reduce safety at the same time.

Many right-wing Trump supporters out there are angry about what is going on to poor people in this nation. What’s happening to poor black people is exactly why you voted for Trump, except it was being done to you. You in West Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, and lots of other places were left out when the rich got richer, laws designed to protect wealthy people left you out in the cold in a crap job without enough money to feed your kids and no hope for advancement.

Farmers see their land taken by corporate bankers. Energy workers see their livelihood being taken from them. President Trump promised you he’d stop it all but instead he’s redirected your anger to poor, largely minority people, who are being trampled upon in exactly the same way. These people are your allies in this fight. Antifa, Alt-Right, Libertarian, BLM, the police themselves; the Trumps and Pelosis of the world want you to fight each other so you don’t line them up against a wall and put a clip into their center mass.

Breonna Taylor is dead because you gave away your freedom. You stood by and watched as politicians passed laws for the War on Drug, the War Powers Act, The National Emergency Act. You stood by while local officials made it impossible for you to drive to work without violating the law and if you get on the wrong side of the police department, they will figure out a way to fine you to within an inch of your life to finance their bloated government.

Breonna Taylor was absolutely murdered by police who got a stupid no-knock warrant to kick in her door with guns drawn because she was dating a guy who sold drugs. She was murdered and it’s not against the law. That’s the problem. Police officers, everyone wants to kill you because politicians have set you up to take the fall, no matter how much they pretend to be on your side, they are murdering you. They are sending you out to take bullets for them.

You all need to figure this out. All those organizations fighting each other in the streets of Louisville need to get together, then we will actually see change.

Tom Liberman

Does Ammon Bundy Supporting Black Lives Matter Surprise You?

Ammon Bundy

There’s a little story in the news not getting much play concerning Ammon Bundy who led the Occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The reason it isn’t getting much play is because Ammon Bundy is a bit of hero to the Republicans and a villain to the Democrats. His support of Black Lives Matter and the Defund the Police Movement doesn’t play well with either of those organizations. It doesn’t surprise this Libertarian in the slightest.

His protest back in 2016 was instigated by government’s treatment of ranchers along with a particular case involving Steve Hammond. As for supporting Black Lives Matter, Ammon Bundy had a few quotes that touch the heart of this Libertarian.

You must have a problem in your mind if you think that somehow the Black Lives Matter is more dangerous than the police. You must have a problem in your mind if you think that Antifa is the one going to take your freedom.

I’m not fully in agreement with Ammon Bundy on all issues and I talk about that in my original post on his occupation efforts. That’s not too surprising, it’s not easy to get three Libertarians to decide on a place to eat lunch. We’re an ornery and independent group by nature and we don’t like toeing the line. That’s probably why we have such a difficult time winning an election, but I’ll leave that alone to focus on my topic.

The question that I hope you’ll ask yourself is if you’re surprised by his stance on issues like Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police. We live in what is almost a Cult of Partyality. If you decide you are a Republican or a Democrat it seems actual issues, ideology, philosophy, and policy make little difference to you anymore. What is important is who is saying or doing something. Thus, it does not compute to the vast majority of people that Ammon Bundy might take a stance that appears to be diametrically opposite of what you’d think.

As I’ve said, it doesn’t shock me at all that Ammon Bundy feels the way he does. I’d urge you to read the article I linked for he doesn’t save his criticism or mince his words and that’s something that, you’ll not be surprised, resonates with me.

I’ve said it before, and I flatter myself to think Ammon Bundy would agree, I fear state sponsored violence by the police far more than mob violence by an angry population. We must allow people to protest what they consider unjust government, even if those protests are not completely peaceful. The solution is far worse than the problem.

Tom Liberman

We are a Nation of Bullies

Nation of Bullies

The United States has officially transitioned from a scrappy group of underdog colonists fighting for freedom to a nation of bullies, intent upon forcing their vision of the country and the world onto anyone who disagrees, preferably with violence and some sort of almost sexual pleasure in causing suffering onto others. It is, perhaps, time to try again.

When the Founding Fathers gathered for the Constitutional Convention and planned to enumerate the laws of their new country, they faced Great Britain. A nation of bullies whose government agent thought they knew better what was best for the people of the colonies and were happy to enforce it through violence. How times have changed.

We now see law enforcement agents assaulting citizens not even with the excuse of a duly authorized law, passed by a morally bankrupt Congress, but simply upon an Executive Order from the President of the United States. When another chief executive passed orders regarding immigrants one half of the nation was duly outraged and feared exactly the sort of behavior they now endorse. We are, as a whole, a nation of bullies.

It is not that Republicans want to enforce their will upon Democrats alone. When the shoe was on the other foot it was actually the same. The powers that be would have you believe they are on opposite sides of this issue when they are behaving in exactly the same totalitarian way. Democrats happily enforce their version of the nation upon unwilling citizens and Republicans, with glee and hate that crosses the line into evil, do the same to citizens opposed to their vision.

It is my opinion, sad as I am to conclude such, that we have crossed Rubicon. Too high a percentage of the people of our nation have forgotten human decency. The majority of our people do not care about freedom, about liberty, about individual choice. They relish imposing their will upon those they deem wrong. We are now a nation of bullies.

It is when government agents take to the streets to violently enforce the dictates of an executive that has been given far too much power by a complacent people and a weak Congress that We the People are forced to rectify matters.

Perhaps I am wrong, maybe we have not yet reached a point where too high a percentage of people care more about forcing others into compliance than they do about freedom and liberty, regardless of the political party. Hopefully, I am wrong. What I see is a nation of bullies. A nation of people gloating and preening in revolting pleasure as their political foes are assaulted and have their freedom stripped from them.

The gloaters, on all sides, are apparently not empathetic enough to see how a nation of bullies is also a nation of victims and, eventually, not a nation at all.

Tom Liberman

Why is Justin Amash not Running for Reelection?

Justin Amash

I posted a comment when Ben Shapiro noted on his Facebook page that Justin Amash would not run for reelection in Michigan’s 3rd District where he has served for ten years. As the only Libertarian in Congress, Amash has views that tend to align with my own and I expressed support for Amash and the decision he made but also sorrow that he would no longer represent my interests in Congress.

A number of replies to my comment suggested the reason for Amash not running was his political ideology no longer represented that of his district. I agree with this sentiment and that’s the entire purpose of elections. However, I disagree with the generally expressed hypothesis for the reason the two no longer aligned. This was Amash changed his political ideology starting in 2016 and fully in 2019 when he changed his party affiliation first to Independent and then a Libertarian.

While Amash listed himself as a Republican he has always been a Libertarian in sentiment at least. His voting record dating back to when he first entered Congress shows a great willingness to vote against the Republican party when his views did not align with it and along with the party when their views aligned.

For example, back in 2012, despite being a pro-life advocate, he voted against the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act which would have outlawed abortions because the parent did not like the gender of their fetus. He did so for the simple reason that it was ineffective, impossible to enforce, and that thought should not be illegal. At the time he stated, and I think still believes, all abortions should be illegal. It is clear he was always an independent thinker and believed the Constitution superseded any so-called moral authority. He was elected by his district multiple times after this vote.

You can examine his record thoroughly on his Wikipedia entry but even a cursory examination reveals a Libertarian who believes the Constitution is the law the land, not a political party or a person. He has exactly the same political ideology today as he had when first elected to Congress.

The hypothesis is that Amash suddenly changed in 2016 and that is why the voters of his district no longer want him. I reject this line of thought based on the evidence of his consistent voting record since arriving in Congress.

The political ideology that you held dear when you elected Amash, you now reject because those breaking the laws of our land now identify as Republicans instead of Democrats. Limited government, reduction of deficits, separation of powers, freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

My hypothesis is that Amash did not change at all. You did.

Tom Liberman

Freedom with Rainbow and Confederate Flags

Rainbow and Confederate Flags

In this country there is a fairly hearty debate about the power of flags. The debate strikes this Libertarian close to home when we compare the Rainbow and Confederate flags. There is a general attitude in the population that flying one is freedom of speech but banning the other is acceptable.

Now, I am aware the “Confederate Flag” is really just the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia so it doesn’t have much heritage unless your ancestor fought for Northern Virginia during the four years of the Civil War but let’s dispense with pretext and accept the fact that all flags are merely symbolic of ideology. The Rainbow and Confederate Flags have meaning to those who choose to fly them from their homes, cars, or places of business.

Here is where my feelings are extremely ambivalent. On one hand I see a group of people who believes they have the right to display the flags as they see fit and that no one has the right to take that away from them, that’s a good thing. On the other hand; I see people perfectly willing to argue against the idea that others can choose not to fly such flags. If the owner of a business doesn’t want you to fly that particular flag at their location, that is their right, just as much as it is your right to fly the flag at your business or home.

This is where I see a breakdown in ideological thinking along the lines of freedom and autocracy. It is not surprising that people will fight desperately for their freedom while, in the same breath, argue against my freedom. Most of us are Libertarians when it comes to flying our flag on our property. Most of us are totalitarians when it comes to others telling me not to fly my flag on their property.

I’m always a Libertarian. The Rainbow and Confederate Flag are symbols, they are things, they are representations of ideology. If you choose to fly one or the other on your property then I fully support your right to do so even if I disagree with the ideology you espouse. However, I also fully support your neighbor’s right to tell you not to fly either on their property or at their place of business.

It is only when government becomes involved that it becomes a Freedom of Speech issue. If the government attempts to arrest you for flying either flag on your property then I will be there, using all the rights granted to me by the Constitution of the United States, to protect your rights, regardless of your ideology.

If the owner of a business or a property chooses to tell you not to fly either flag, that it’s against their private rules, then I support them as well.

When we believe in the freedom of those we oppose, we are truly free of dictatorial tendencies. It’s a shame most people seem to believe in their freedom but not those they dislike. The Rainbow and Confederate Flags illustrate both our Libertarian and Totalitarian nature.

Tom Liberman

Reopening Schools and why Federal Money does not Mean Federal Control

Reopening Schools

The issue of reopening schools is making a lot of headlines and parents all over the United States are hopefully learning a Libertarian lesson. Just because the Federal Government gives money to a particular organization does not mean they should write the rules governing it. Schools in this case. I’ve written on this topic before but from a State rather than Federal level. The lesson still applies.

Increasingly both Democrats and Republicans have used federal purse strings to influence how both state and local governments go about their business. Both Republicans and Democrats are not shy about using the money they provide to local government to rationalize said organizations must follow the directives of the federal government. Reopening schools is just the latest salvo in the battle.

Way back when I was a youngster of 19 at the University of Idaho, the drinking age was 19 and the federal government didn’t like that. The National Minimum Age Drinking Act basically withheld highway funds provided by the federal government for those states not instituting a higher age. Before that the government successfully coerced states into lowering their speed limits.

Today the federal government has a financial interest in almost every aspect of our country and federal politicians use this fact to coerce the states and local governments into doing the bidding of whatever party happens to be in power in Washington D.C.

Now President Trump with the full support of the Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, is attempting to coerce the various local municipalities by insisting students and teachers begin reopening schools. It goes without saying the various school districts across our nation are in vastly different circumstances. Some are in the midst of a Covid-19 crisis with cases rising and available respirators and emergency care beds available in hospitals dwindling or gone. Other districts have no cases whatsoever. If this situation does not illuminate to you the inherent problem with federal control, federal mandates, federal oversight, and federal oversteps then I suspect nothing will do so.

President Trump is threatening to cut of funding. Vice President Pence says explicitly: We’re going to be looking for ways to give states a strong incentive and encouragement to get kids back to school. This is coercion. This is the federal government telling all local communities they must handle the crisis in the exactly same way despite the obvious different circumstances. If you don’t find this insane, I suggest you might be a totalitarian fascist.

In our current situation the local community should decide if, when, and under what circumstances they will begin reopening schools. Anything else borders on tyranny.

Tom Liberman

The Taliban from Freedom Fighters to Bounty Hunters

Taliban

The Taliban of Afghanistan are in the news once again it gives me the opportunity to, once again, beg my fellow citizens to adopt a Libertarian stance toward involving ourselves in foreign conflicts. You see, my devoted readers, the Taliban was founded by Freedom Fighting Mujahedeen warriors largely assembled, funded, and trained by your tax dollars. A sordid tale that is, sadly, nothing more than a repeated refrain throughout the modern history of our nation.

The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan way back in 1978 and we’ve been heavily involved in the situation ever since. President Carter boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics, President Reagan funded and trained the Freedom Fighting Mujahedeen who coalesced into the Taliban after the Soviet Union was evicted. That’s the picture you’re looking at above.

President George W. Bush and United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 in the oxymoronically named Operation Enduring Freedom. If by Enduring Freedom you mean creating an endless conflict that costs countless lives and brings limitless suffering to all parties involved then I suppose it’s not an oxymoron. Otherwise ….

Now the Russians are using the Freedom Fighting Taliban to hasten the eviction the United States after our failed occupation. We’re already in full retreat, make no mistake about that, as I wrote about another time. I’ve written about other failures of U.S. policy in this regard. Our abandonment of the Kurds, the creation of the Mexican Narcotic cartels, the overthrow of the legitimately elected Iranian government.

I humbly beseech you; friends, Romans, countrymen. Avoid foreign entanglements. The evidence is overwhelming. It leads to death. It leads to misery. It leads to pain. Stop bombing people with remote control toys. Stop trying to convince me to give up other people’s lives to ensure my own freedom when all you do is endanger me more. Stop! Just stop, please.

Every time a politician tries to scare you with threats about how dangerous is this group or that group, domestic or foreign, just give them a swift kick in the hind quarters, and by that, I mean don’t vote for that person. You control this country with your vote.

When you read about Russia and the Taliban just remember who created the Taliban and why.

Just give the Libertarians a chance. This is your chance, this is our chance, take it.

Tom Liberman

Why Racists Often think they are not

Racists

I just read what many people will find to be a horrific article about a group of racists who happen to be police officers. What struck me about it was that after being caught making virulently racist comments, the three racists claimed they were not racists. It’s a refrain I’ve heard many times from racists over the years.

I wrote about my experience sitting at the table with people who made racist comments right in front of me but I’d like to spend some time today discussing why these clearly racist people think they are not racists. It’s fairly simple, in their minds if they don’t hate every single person of a particular group; black, Muslim, Evangelical Christian, Jewish, Atheist, whatever, they are not racists or bigots.

This is what leads many racists to mention how they are friends with a black person. Being a racist is quite simple. Do you hate someone because of the color of their skin, the religion they practice or don’t practice, the circumstances of their birth? If you do, you’re a racist. If you believe every person is an individual and you cannot hate or have any feelings at all about a person before you know them, then it’s likely you have Libertarian leanings.

Racism is an interesting topic for Libertarians. It is an absolute foreign concept to the ideals of the philosophy. Each person is an individual and must be judged by their words and deeds. You can never make assumptions about a person based on meaningless external factors. However, racists are entitled to their stupid opinions and, if they want to express their idiocy for all to see, that’s their business.

What’s important to understand is the world is filled with people who pat themselves on the back thinking they are not racists, like the three officers in question, when they are quite clearly racist scum who have no business in any position of authority, let alone law enforcement. I’ve known any number of people exactly like this. I had a police chief say to my face that he had never met a racist police officer. Perhaps I should have asked him how he defined racism and pointed out how he was living in a world of self-delusion. I did not, blame me for that.

You might think you aren’t a racist. You might think you’re a good person. Your friends might like you. You might behave in largely kind and decent ways to your friends and family. That doesn’t mean you’re not a racist.

If you choose to acknowledge it or not is your business. I’m not going to tell you to wake up. If you want to face the reality of your beliefs and actions, that’s up to you. However, I do think you’re a piece of garbage and if you die tomorrow, the world will be a better place.

Tom Liberman

Small Turnout at the Trump Rally Shows Enlightened Self-Interest

Small Turnout at the Trump Rally

I wrote an article yesterday about Enlightened Self-Interest in regards to the Aston Villa futbol team and today I’m taking on the same topic in regards to the small turnout at the Trump Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

President Trump flaunted Covid-19 restrictions by holding a large, indoor, rally and it was poorly attended. This is going to be a major news story today in various outlets for all sorts of reasons but the underlying, and most vital, is the display of Enlightened Self-Interest by those who chose not to attend.

The small turnout at the Trump Rally is going to be cheered on by the left because they imagine it shows an erosion in his support. The small turnout at the Trump Rally is going to engender a million explanations from the right and particularly the president who will undoubtedly blame his perceived enemies as an excuse.

The libertarian community should be cheering on the small turnout at the Trump Rally as a triumph of enlightened self-interest. Trump still has many supporters, more than enough to fill BOK Center to capacity many times over. They didn’t show up and that is important but perhaps for reasons both of the mainstream political parties don’t understand.

President Trump in particular, certainly because he’s an absolute moron and viciously sadistic, doesn’t care about Covid-19. He doesn’t care about his supporter’s health and certainly enjoys the image of his many perceived enemies suffering. However, intelligent people are also against draconian restrictions in relation to Covid-19, not because they relish the suffering of enemies, as does Trump. Not because they don’t understand the nature of a highly infectious disease, but simply because they believe people have the ability to show their own Enlightened Self-Interest and should be trusted to do so because they are adults in charge of their own lives. Count me among such.

The small turnout at the Trump Rally displays our point. People care about their health and the safety of their loved ones more than any political figure. Trump supporters they certainly are; but they are people who are worried about their own safety and that is a wonderful thing. I applaud them for not showing up, not because they have abandoned Trump, but because they are acting like Libertarians. Good for you!

My hope, my dream, is that those who didn’t show up might consider the fact their chosen candidate doesn’t much care about their health, frankly, he doesn’t care much about anything other than himself and everyone is well-aware of it. You don’t have to vote for a Democrat, who have plenty of their own problems, there is another choice. Her name is Jo Jorgensen.

Tom Liberman

Freedom is for Everyone

Freedom is for everyone

When you march for Freedom you are not marching just for your own freedom, freedom is for everyone. If you believe the government has no right to prevent you from getting your hair cut, if you believe the government has no right to kneel on your neck, if you believe the government has no right to send heavily-armed law enforcement officers to disperse you from assembling; well, you’re a Libertarian even if you don’t know it. Freedom is for everyone.

It’s important to realize this point because so many people out there marching for freedom see others marching for the same thing not as allies but as enemies. I wrote not long ago how Our Freedom is at stake, not your freedom and not my freedom. Freedom is for everyone.

When you stand up for freedom you are standing up for the people with whom you disagree. When you use your constitutionally guaranteed rights to refuse to be searched without a warrant, to practice your religion without restriction, to bear arms, to speak your mind in a blog; you are standing up for all the people who do the same thing even if not for the same cause.

I’m certain many people disagree with my Libertarian inspired, broad interpretation of freedom that includes open borders and the cessation of all economic sanctions but I hope to convince you when I stand up for my freedom, I do it with the full realization that I’m standing up for yours as well. When I write about issues important to me and demand freedom for them; I fully understand that I’m demanding freedom for the issues important to you. Freedom is for everyone.

You have the right to assemble. You have the right to speak your mind. You have the right to resist jackbooted thugs sent by officials in power to take away your freedom and you have the right to do it violently if threatened with violence. I condemn violence of all kinds but the most dangerous is that sponsored by the state and carried out by law-enforcement and military personnel. Many of whom, by the way, are strong proponents of freedom. They should be on the side of freedom and I encourage you who are so inclined to disobey unlawful orders, peacefully hopefully, but violently if necessary.

Freedom, my friends of all colors, all political ideologies, all religions, all genders, all sexual orientations, all ages, all ethnicities. Freedom is for all of us together, citizens, soldiers, law-enforcement officers, and all the rest. Together.

Brave citizens taught the world what freedom meant back in 1776. Let us teach the world what it means today.

Tom Liberman

My Freedom or Our Freedom?

Our Freedom

The recent Covid-19 pandemic has brought out a lot of calls for freedom but, as usual, it’s all my freedom and not our freedom. By my freedom, I don’t mean me personally, I mean the person who is calling for it and those who think as she or he does. Everyone is all about my freedom but doesn’t seem to give much thought to ours. By our, I mean everyone who doesn’t fit into the first category.

I have the right to work in a hobby store but we can be denied the same. My medical condition should be covered by company insurance but ours should not be. I can serve in the military but we cannot. I can tell a police officer no, you can’t search my car, but we cannot. I can protest government overreach, social injustice, but we cannot.

I can tell you what to smoke, I can tell you who to marry, I can tell you what firearm to carry, I can tell you how to raise your children, what they can learn in schools, I can tell you if you can carry on your pregnancy. My freedom is of vital importance but yours is mine to control. I can dictate your ability to go into a restaurant during a pandemic. My freedom gives me the right to take away yours.

I accept this is the way the majority of people in the United States think. I accept someone will object to almost every one of the freedoms I listed above. You will come up with arguments to tell me why it’s so important one particular freedom is not really freedom at all and why you can have law enforcement assault me, imprison me, and take it away, ostensibly for the greater good.

That’s why Libertarians got a meager five percent of the vote in an election featuring an incompetent moron, incapable of stringing together a coherent sentence, and an out of touch elitist motivated largely by a sense of self-superiority.

You just don’t care about our freedom, and I despair you ever will.

Tom Liberman

You have been Buying Wine Properly All this Time

Buying Wine

Have you been buying wine properly? That’s the premise of a clickbait Facebook post from Naked Wines that’s circulating through my friends’ timeline. Lots of people are buying wine and there is certainly an interest in doing it properly. It’s not so much the article but the comments that interest me.

The premise of the article is that more expensive wines are largely the same as less expensive wine but you are paying for marketing, brand recognition, and overhead rather than the simply the wine in the bottle. The comment section was predictably filled with people who laughed at those fools who purchased expensive wine opposed to those who ridiculed bumpkins for their unsophisticated palate in cheap, sweet wines. What a surprise.

The reality of the situation is pretty clear. When buying wine, you should purchase what you want. While I might wax poetic that such is the mantra of the Libertarian, the reality is we all feel this way. We all, largely, buy the things we want to buy for a variety of different reason. Perhaps you like inexpensive wines, perhaps you don’t particularly like cheap wine but you lack the funds to purchase the wine you enjoy more, maybe you don’t have the money but want to treat yourself, maybe you find the taste of cheap wine vile and only purchase expensive bottles. In the immortal words of Tripper Harrison, it just doesn’t matter.

We can argue subjective versus objective but I’ve done that before. If you like the cheap wine then drink it. If you prefer buying wine of an expensive nature, for whatever reason, then do so. Most importantly, the kind of wines someone else purchases are their business and the only reason you are annoyed by that is feelings of inadequacy in yourself. Your underlying lack of self-worth is what drives you to criticize others in this regard, doing so makes you feel better. That’s the crime in all of this.

If you find yourself criticizing the choices of others; the wine they purchase, the sport they enjoy, their hobby, who they choose to ignore on Facebook, or any other choice, then you are the problem, not them. Look in the mirror.

If you find yourself constantly ridiculing those with different tastes than your own then you have a significant problem, not them. If you get enjoyment by putting others down, demeaning them, calling them names, it is you who is failing life.

If you want lead your life in this fashion, whatever. I’m happy with the way I am and I don’t really care all that much. Be a shit if you want but don’t expect me to care about your opinion.

As for buying wine and drinking it? My advice, enjoy.

Tom Liberman