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

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

CIA Spies on Senators Investigating CIA

The_CIA_Is_Sorry_for-spyingSome months ago Senator Dianne Feinstein of California accused the CIA of spying on committee members conducting the investigation into CIA torture tactics against prisoners. The Director of the CIA denied the spying. It now turns out she was right and I’m disgusted although completely unsurprised.

The White House is finally set to release the information from that report although it is likely much will be redacted. We know, from pictures, that agents of our country, be they soldiers or intelligence operatives brutally tortured people who were at their mercy. The spin on this issue was so disgusting that a number of my friends argued that torture was a good thing. They thought we should be torturing people. My friends argued that torturing was a good and useful thing. That it was right to take someone who was completely at your mercy and physically and mentally torture them to get information they may or may not have.

Now we find out that the CIA spied on and impeded the investigation into the Senate’s investigation of this torture. That the director of the CIA lied in interview after interview about what they did and did not do.

What happened to honor? What happened to decency?

When you have a pet you don’t beat it because you can. When you have a child you don’t spy on them because you can. When you have a prisoner you don’t torture them because to do so reflects on who you are as a person and what you stand for as a nation.

During my debates on torture with friends I had a very intelligence and capable friend ask me if I would torture a prisoner if he knew where a nuclear bomb was placed that was set to go off in one hour. I told him no. He was astonished. Would you? What would be the outcome? Think about it for a second because a five year old knows the answer.

But I’m digressing into a lecture on why torture is bad and I refuse to be drawn more deeply into that debate. To torture someone over whom you hold absolute power is evil and wrong. That’s it.

We’re all aware that government agencies are spying on our phone conversations and email activity. People like to credit Edward Snowden with passing along that information but it’s been readily known since our Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Branches passed and allowed to stand various parts of the so-called Patriot Act. How I despise that name. How about the Pretend Feel-Good Name to justify the Taking Away of Our Constitutional Rights Act?

What did Senator Feinstein think was going to happen when she and her colleagues broadened the spying powers of the FBI and the CIA? That it would only go so far? That giving these agencies more power to spy on citizens without recourse would stop where she wanted it to stop? That the Director of the CIA would show good sense with barely a morsel of oversight?

This is why we have the Constitution. Power is dangerous. Accumulation of power is dangerous. This is why Congress is the only body that is supposedly allowed to declare war. This is why we have the Fourth Amendment which is under assault from all sides. This action by the CIA is not funny. It’s a serious crime.

The United States is no longer a nation that stands for freedom. We are a nation that hides in fear and is willing to sacrifice anyone and everyone for the illusion of greater safety. That is why people argue torture is acceptable. That is why people argue that our government needs more power to spy on us. That is why people argue our police force needs ever more power to stop us from doing things they deem illegal and the power to seize our property under the flimsiest of excuses.

Freedom isn’t free? I disagree. Freedom is completely free. Without government, without law enforcement, without restraint I am completely free.

Freedom isn’t safe. We give up Freedom for security. I give up the right to drive how I want and ignore traffic signs because that modicum of freedom isn’t worth the danger it entails. We’ve gotten to the point where we’d rather kill, torture, spy, and repress not just our enemies but even our own citizens for ever decreasing slivers of safety.

Yay ‘Merica.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery Fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
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Your Freedom is my Freedom – Child Forced to Participate in Pledge of Allegiance

Your Freedom is My FreedomThere’s a great story in the news today. A teacher from the Sunshine state of Florida forced her Jehovah’s Witness fourth grade student to place his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. When the student resisted the teacher told him “You are an American, and you are supposed to salute the flag.

Why is it a great story? Because the teacher was suspended for five days without pay and the comment section is filled with people who absolutely agree that the teacher was in the wrong.

It’s not about patriotism, it’s not about loving your country, it’s not about being a free-thinker; it’s about your constitutional rights, it’s about my constitutional rights. I’ve got a buddy who doesn’t stand during the national anthem and we get looks, angry looks. The constitution isn’t about uniformity. The constitution isn’t about conformity. The constitution doesn’t make for a pretty country. The constitution doesn’t make for a nation in lockstep formation.

The constitution guarantees me rights. It guarantees you rights. It guarantees members of the Ku Klux Klan the right to assemble and say vile things. The constitution guarantees the right of members of the Westboro Baptist Church to protest the funerals of service members.

The constitution guarantees you the right to say nasty things about President Obama. To make fun of his name. It guarantees you the right to say vile things about members of the Tea Party. It guarantees all these things but most importantly it guarantees me the right to say and do as I please with some limits.

Don’t like it? Tough.

If someone wants to look at my buddy with hate because he doesn’t stand for the anthem that’s their absolute right. If someone wants to tell him they don’t like it, well, I’ll tell them right back to mind their own damn business. This is the United States of America, bub.

His Freedom is my Freedom. Your Freedom is my Freedom.

Those who spew hate? Their Freedom is my Freedom.

A Flag Burner’s Freedom is my Freedom.

You want to take my freedom? Here I am.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne