As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
William O. Douglas
As we mourn the attacks of 9/11, we should also not forget the resulting reactions to it as well. Ignoring our freedoms seems to be a bi-partisan policy in which our ancestors and forefathers fought against.
There is a persistent myth that Libertarians do not care about the poor. This comes from many economic interventions that Libertarians oppose. Libertarians get a bad rep because they oppose things such as minimum wage, unions, and child labor laws . Then of course the quoting of Ayn Rand do not help Libertarians case. It also does not help that many Libertarians dismiss what we can currently do now with “well capitalism has been the leading way out of poverty”. That is indeed true but that does not help the now. It’s an unfair and unfortunate topic that Libertarians even have to defend themselves from these accusations (that they do not care about the poor). Libertarians are painted to desire a dystopian future where the help poor die off. I personally do not know if these people legitimately believe what they are saying but nonetheless somethings should be cleared up about Libertarian policies (free markets) and the poor. First, by demonstrating that it is true that capitalism alleviates poverty long term. Then secondly, by showing what we can do right now to help the poor while still having a Libertarian government.
THE LONG TERM
Milton Friedman was right when he said, “there has never in history been more of an effective machine for eliminating poverty than the free enterprise system.” The best and most recent example of this is India. The immediate effect of India after British Rule was to lay an emphasis on central planning (such as going through 80 bureaucracies to obtain licenses to produce with the government telling you what you could do and what resources you could use). As the BBC link notes, “planning and the state, rather than markets, would determine how much investment was needed in which sectors.” What came of these policies was disastrous, in which a time they call (controversially), Hindu Rate of Growth (NOTE: I do not agree that Hindu’s had anything to do with the following growth rate but the socialist and interventionist policies did). From about 1950-1980 the growth rate of India stayed around 3.5% while per capita income growth stayed around 1.3% (which follows why there was so much poverty). In the 80’s a small reform took place under Rajiv Gandhi. Unfortunately, he was assassinated in 1991 not able to see his country grow. Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao took over with his Finance Minister Manmohan Singh (the current Prime Minister) and furthered the “neo-liberal” (India still has tight regulations) approach. The question is has this worked compared to prior policies? As Ludwig Von Mises said, “the matter at issue is not whether the policies advocated by the self-styled progressives are to be recommended or condemned from any arbitrary or preconceived point of view. The essential problem is whether such policies can really attend the ends aimed at.” According to Shikha Dalmia, a senior analyst of Reason Foundation & Forbes contributor, as of 2009, about 300 million people have escaped poverty. That’s almost the entire population of the United States. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development released a report in 2007 with some interesting observations; It notes that the liberal economic policies have shown tremendous growth unlike the states that have restrictive policies of which says that the increase in per capita GDP can double the average income in 10 years (2017). This strengthens the argument Mises put forth that “a permanent rise in wage rates for all people eager to earn wages is only possible as far as te per-head quota of capital invested and concomitantly the productivity of labor increases.” While the recent recession hit hard, India has continued to post a 7% increase in growth rate reducing poverty by 10 percentage points since 1997. Unemployment has dropped since 1990 by 11%. As time has progressed, and as the country is prospering, there has been a large reduction of child labour. The data on the graph shows significant decreases in child labour from 1993 as compared to 1999. The data, as well as the authors, agree that the reduction in poverty equals a reduction in child labor, which is a Libertarian belief. It is also important to note that free markets and Libertarians defend child labor because more money is needed to help a family raise against poverty and the alternatives have been worse. One alternative is child prostitution. If children have to work, Libertarians defend child labor, if not for moral reasons, but the alternatives are much worse. There is also a correlation between lower unemployment for the “educated” as compared to the “uneducated.” And while many are screaming about the corruption of India’s public schools, many are praising the cheap private schools in which literacy rates are higher. As India continues to progress because of dismembering its socialist economy to now of a mixed economy, it still needs to further its liberal policies. As an example, it’s hard for many educated Indians to get recognized as educated since they are going to an unlicensed private school. As mentioned before, these schools have been shown to be more efficient, as well as workers getting higher wages, but because of how many regulations they have to go through in order to get recognized, they are unable to obtain a license. Another example is the amount of regulations in the agriculture areas of India, which is a major economic contributor. Although many critics of the neo-liberal policies blame it on capitalism, they fail to realize, as noted in the link, India puts many restraints of farmers causing higher prices and making it more difficult to sell. As well as government intervention in factor markets. Many regulations are also put in place such as minimum wage laws (which discourage employment), restrictions on women working at night, firing anyone without government permission (which is rarely granted) if you have 100 or more employees (which, again, discourages employment), and many others. To say India has complete free market, non-interventionist economic policies is a bit far fetch’d. Even with all the growth, India should not settle for less than what they can get. Libertarians support these policies (liberalizing) not because they hate poor people or support exploitation. To quote the grand master of free-market economics;
"It is beside the mark to confuse the debate by referring to accidental and irrelevant matters. It is useless to divert attention from the main problem by vilifying capitalists and entrepreneurs and by glorifying the virtues of the common man. Precisely because the common man is worthy of all consideration, it is necessary to avoid policies detrimental to his welfare." - Ludwig Von Mises
The Short Term
If a Libertarian took the office, there would be a major transitional period between our interventionist policy we have now and the free market economy. During this time, growth would happen, and I would expect it to be relatively quick but there will still be people who would need assistance. So, what can Libertarians do to help the poor? The first mistake to make about Libertarians is to presume they are all Objectivists who follow Rand’s philosophy. Libertarianism is a political ideology, not an overall philosophy. In the short run, what solution does Libertarianism have in order to help in the short term? No longer are there welfare programs that supposedly help the poor. There are two things that help; government deregulation, tax reductions/deductions, and charity. With the reduction of government programs the reduction of taxes can take place. It is always helpful to reduce as many taxes as possible on the poor. This includes tariffs which penalize the poor by causing higher prices or allowing companies to have very low prices that their competitors don’t like. These are the things that the government can repeal. Many departments (this is not at all limited to the federal government) can go or at least be reduced. Once they are gone, taxes can be eased. Something else that would help is ending the war on drugs. The war on drugs really effects the poor in a negative way. It also would help keeping non-violent offenders from being hired by an employer. Getting rid of minimum wage laws would also increase employment. Does this automatically mean that there will be a deflation in wages? There may be some parts that are lowered but the majority of jobs, like they are now, are above the minimum wage. If it were true that companies simply just want to exploit people for their labor, then every company would be paying minimum wage. Another benefit of this is that more people are able to gain job experience quicker. Not only does this allow for more jobs in one market, it also allows for more job markets to open. The more you job experience you have, the more likely you will receive a higher wage. As I noted before, the only way to raise wages, organically, not artificially, is to increase the output or work done. One more would be getting rid of many licenses or zoning restrictions which may make it harder for someone poor to create a business. Secondly, government incentives will help as well. The Libertarian Party website advocates a dollar-for-dollar tax credits for anyone who donates to a private charity. This would obviously create a high incentive to give, if not for altruistic reasons, for selfish ones as well. Government does not need to be proactive with its resources to help alleviate the poor, rather, it can through incentives (not subsidies which makes for disproportionate markets that can hurt the poor as well). Lastly, private organizations will more than likely step up. Although a anarcho-communist,Peter Kropotkin noted the importance of mutual aid. Even before the early 1900’s, there were mutual aid organizations. As it is implied, these groups would help each other out mutually. As Milton Friedman noted, government has no responsibility to help people, only people have a responsibility to help people. This does not mean it should be done at the cost of others coercively but charitably.
The short term is just as important to the non-Libertarian as the long term. It’s important to note that, as a Libertarian, we should be prepared to know what can help in the short term as well as the long term. With all of years it would take for changing the economy to capitalism, we must remember that there should be short term solutions as well. However, the long term can happen relatively fast and within one generation as seen with the explosion in India. Overall, Libertarians do care about the poor, whether intentionally or inadvertently, it is the precise reason why Libertarians support free markets rather than socialism, which has oppressed many economically and socially.
Before the Constitution was adopted in 1787, there was a war of idea’s going around. This war was raged by a group of men identified as Sam Adams, Robert Yates, George Clinton, George Mason, many others, and spearheaded by Patrick Henry. Their opposition to the Constitution ended up forcing the Federalist to speak in favor of the Constitution. These men were James Madison, George Washington, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and others. The war is documented now into two sections; The Federalist Papers & The Anti-Federalist Papers. In my experience it has been the Federalist view that has won the hearts of Libertarians. But should it? Are Libertarians views more aligned with Federalists or Anti-Federalists?
Many people are aware of the Massachusetts Compromise. The only reason that there was a compromise was because of the Anti-Federalists. What was the deal with the Anti-Federalists? They opposed the Constitution as it was written. The Federalists just wanted a document just explaining what exactly the role of government was. The Anti-Federalists argued that their federal government was too strong. They felt that the federal government could become tyrannical and turn into a monarchy (if they could only see it now). When the typical Libertarian denounces Ron Paul for opposition of the Fourteenth Amendment, citing his support for the Anti-Federalists and states rights, remind him that it was those Anti-Federalists who were the reason the Constitution now contains a Bill of Rights.
Anti-Federalist were believers in states rights. That the states had a right to deal with their own issues at a state level rather than a giant federal government. What Libertarians typically have a problem with is the abuse of state governments. Many will note that states were typically racist. Touché to them, though, states also fought FORfreedoms.
State governments should have the authority over things that are not mentioned in the Constitution. Many Libertarians criticize Ron Paul for his opposition to the Fourteenth Amendment which was supposed to extend the Bill of Rights to the States. However, the clause of the amendment that does that has been used for social issues concerning sexual acts and boy scouts. Perhaps this is abuse of what the amendment was for but doesn’t the federal government always do that?
Does this mean that states should abuse peoples rights or deny freedoms to individuals? Absolutely not. No Libertarian would say that. What it does do, though, is give more power to the person living in that state or district (if it’s a local government issue). The point is that the Libertarian philosophy deals with freedom, not technicalities like these. This means Libertarians should look at the cost-benefit analysis that Gary Johnson puts forth. This case the federal government that has “given” you those rights, can’t infringe on them as well.
States have shown us that they will stand up to tyrannical government. Libertarians will get mad at states for discrimination yet never say a word about their rejection of the healthcare bill. What Libertarians should do is argue for MORE states rights then try to have their state hand down those issues to local issues. The more local the issue, the closer they are to the individual. It’s easy to fall into the trap of Federalism because it has protected rights of individuals but it has also taken them away. Me, personally, looking at the record of the Anti-Federalist who fought for a Bill of Rights, who advocated a small federal government, I think that the typical Libertarians should re-evaluate their thinking. Libertarians support freedom so do not succumb to an overpowering national government that can take away those freedoms at any time without a state to preserve your freedom as well.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday this morning, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) defended his longstanding view that Medicare, Social Security (and pretty much everything else) violate the Constitution. At one point, Paul even claimed that letting Social Security and similar programs to…
So, as I was going through Facebook, I came across an article that my friend posted on Tumblr. The article talked about how Ron Paul was wrong about many social programs that were unconstitutional. I clicked on his page and viewed it on his page. I noticed that under the tags he put “pwned”. I decided to make an open rebuttal for him to read and see if Ron Paul truly did get pwned (NOTE: I love this kid no matter what his beliefs and if you’re reading this “<3”).
A little brief background on the article. If you have ever followed Ron Paul, you’re certainly aware of the arguments brought forth against him for this. The article says that Paul is wrong because the Constitution says
“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States”
Democrats typically use that as an excuse for anything. And who wouldn’t? If you wanted to push through your agenda (agenda usually has a bad feeling to it so I don’t want anyone to be offended when I say agenda, there are good and bad agendas), why wouldn’t you take a shot at that vague language? “General welfare” just sounds bad. Before I get into the arguments against government general welfare (i.e. is it even wanted or desirable?), let’s first talk about the Constitution since it is the Supreme Law of the Land. To even be able to debate this, we first must have to know whether or not the supporters of healthcare, medicare, and medicaid are able to conceit the importance of the Founding Fathers opinions rather than just the text of the Constitution. If they do not accept this, there is no use in debating the Constitutionality of it. If anyone who is reading this opposes the importance of the Founding Fathers opinions, skip to the next part.
If you’re still reading this, you realize (correctly so) that the Founding Fathers opinions are of importance when speaking of the Constitution. Let’s hear what they had to say in their own words about it:
The Anti-Federalists (Patrick Henry, Sam Adams, George Mason, etc.):
"I would ask those, who reason thus, to define what ideas are included under the terms, to provide for the common defence and general welfare? Are these terms definite, and will they be understood in the same manner, and to apply to the same cases by every one? No one will pretend they will. It will then be matter of opinion, what tends to the general welfare; and the Congress will be the only judges in the matter." - Robert Yates
"Our tenet ever was that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated, and that, as it was never meant that they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money." - Thomas Jefferson
Even the Federalist, a supporter of the strong centralized FEDERAL government, James Madison wrote:
"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions."
So, who was the one who single handedly destroyed the meaning of this clause? Well, it’s not one person. It’s a mixture of two harmful substances and blended together. Alexander Hamilton and judicial activism. Yuck! Even though Alexander Hamilton was a Federalist along with James Madison, he opposed what James Madison said (of course this was after he argued exactly what Madison said. Oh, and also, this was after the Constitution was ratified, then he changed his tone about the general welfare clause). He said the following;
“It is therefore of necessity left to the discretion of the National Legislature, to pronounce, upon the objects, which concern the general Welfare, and for which under that description, an appropriation of money is requisite and proper.”
But is there any reason we should accept his bait-and-switch? Hamilton tricks the states into ratifying something that might have easily been defeated by the Anti-Federalists had he been honest from the beginning. Also, Hamilton was out of step with even his Federalist friends, John Jay & James Madison. Why should we trust him? In fact, Hamilton did not have much to do with the Constitutional Convention during that time the general welfare clause was being written. Our precious big government website even admits this:
“In 1787 Hamilton served in the legislature, which appointed him as a delegate to the convention. He played a surprisingly small part in the debates, apparently because he was frequently absent on legal business, his extreme nationalism put him at odds with most of the delegates, and he was frustrated by the conservative views of his two fellow delegates from New York.”
Many people might mention “well, historians and legal scholars say that his view was the appropriate one.” If that is true, if there is a large amount of them, there is also an opposing view as well. I think just by reviewing the Founding Fathers statements above from George Mason (one of the founders of the Bill of Rights, which oddly, Alexander Hamilton was opposed to) and James Madison, we see that the Hamiltonian view, the one that Ron Paul is against, is the wrong one. It doesn’t follow the meaning of the Constitution at all, which is meant to limit government.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has backed his (Hamilton) view. An unfortunate, unconstitutional interpretation. Before, I get into the next section, somebody might cite Paul O’Rourke, who recently wrote an article bashing Ron Paul, by mentioning the Act For The Relief Of Sick & Disabled Seamen. They’ll conjure up the argument that, “well, John Adams passed it so it MUST correct to say that it was Hamilton’s view” but that’s not true. First, it assumes that everyone will act according to their own restraints. We all know that’s not true. How many times have we said we weren’t going to do something and then ended up doing it? Later we go back and say, “shouldn’t have done that!” And secondly, John Adams also passed the Alien & Sedition Acts, something that modern day Democrats would have a cow over. One that obviously violated the First Amendment. Are we to say that we no longer have the First Amendment because he passed a law that contradicted what he had said earlier? Why should we trust John Adams acts rather than his pre-commitment (the Constitution) thoughts?
Anyway, I am not here to argue the other opinions as to what the other opinions are, I wrote this as a defense of, not Ron Paul, but the truth. Anyone who espouses the truthful viewpoint, I will defend if what is being debated is the truth. I am not being bias. For instance, if the Hamiltonian view of the general welfare clause was the majority viewpoint, I’d defend it saying that it was true. Now, if the Hamiltonian view of the general welfare clause was being debated on the terms of how things OUGHT to be, I’d debate it.
The second part of this is, even assuming that the Hamiltonian view is correct, are these things such as government run insurance (life or health) desirable? I’d say no, they aren’t. They are not maintainable at the current tax rate. And I do not want to be taxed even more than I already am. Most people don’t. Take a look at what is happening to Social Security as we speak:
There are so many other arguments against it that I can’t even think right now. Anyway, hopefully somebody learned something from this (perhaps my friend!).
“Deregulation” was the mantra of President George W. Bush and his Republican predecessors, and many of the problems we are now facing are the predictable result of this failed political philosophy. Importantly, these conservatives not only undermined federal oversight of the energy industry, the food system, and the financial sector, they also worked to reduce broad protections for consumers, workers, and the environment.
The CIA has finally got bin Laden. Many people are celebrating, as they should be, however, we must first realize that bin Laden was a monster that was created by the CIA. The CIA groomed him to go after the Soviets, and when abandoned, he came after the United States. The CIA should never have taken the position that they did. So, what are we really celebrating? We’re celebrating a corrected mistake of the CIA that has spent billions, if not trillions, of dollars (the CIA is exempt from publishing their funds and budgets), and thousands, possibly ten thousand (if including non-domestic terrorist attacks) of lives. This by no means excuses bin Laden’s acts. Nor does it mean we should not be celebrating the justice given, however, what it does show is that perhaps the United States should re-look at how at its foreign policy rather than tooting its own horn. Do we want another mistake to attack us and cost many lives? Anyone reading this is answering the same way I am; hell no.
Unfortunately, this is the future we have to look forward to with my generation. I can’t blame him, though, it is the result of a unsound moral foundation mixed with faulty miseducation. Should this man be the president of the United States in the future?
Although this may be slightly outdated, there is still information that can be useful. Such as narrowing down exactly what the founding fathers meant when in the Constitution they wrote “to declare war,” which has been quite a spark of controversy.
In closing, we see, not only that there are reasons not to go, but that the reasons that were given, we’re not given much thought. Contrary to what the president says, the core argument of liberating Libya fails, since most studies show that interventions rarely helped. Perhaps next time he will let the country fight their own battle and have a much better government and much more prosperity like the United States in 1776.