Voting. Do You Feel Empowered? I Feel More Hopeless than Usual.

Ah the ceremonial handing off of the whip. Every two years all us slaves get to choose a new master, or decide to keep the old one. And we all talk about how much change is needed on the plantation, and how my preferred slave master will change it for the better.

Two years and 540 posts, and I only feel I have accelerated the inevitable exasperated disenfranchisement I feel with our political system. And all the “freedom loving” Americans are thrilled the GOP might retake the Senate. And then… repeal Obamacare? Reduce the debt? Give power back to the states? Lower taxes? Reign in the corrupt police state? Get us out of world police duty? Look into the Federal Reserve? Get rid of the IRS? Repeal the NDAA? Cut the DHS?

Yeah, maybe! LOL. I know, Obama can still veto. But the last time we had a Republican House, Republican Senate, and Republican President, we got the Patriot Act, the TSA, the Department of Homeland Security, increased spending and debt, and bought enough military equipment for the US Military, ISIS, Al-qaeda, Syria, Egypt, Libya, and local police departments to all share.

To Vote or Not to Vote, That is the Question

So I am torn. Do I vote for the slave master who promises to shorten the fence, and make it easier to escape? Or do I refrain from voting, to show the slave masters that I do not sanction their force? The former may not even happen if I do vote: “Oh sorry, I tried to get the fence shortened, but half you slaves voted for that higher fence master, oh well, maybe next time if you vote for my friends”. But the latter could land me with an even higher fence, longer work hours, more lashings etcetera etcetera.

This is a debate anarcho-leaners have amongst themselves. Is it better to vote and hopefully change things for the better, or is it better to show you don’t approve of the system by not voting? It is indeed unlikely that anything will change for the better, and even if it does change, it may only prolong our slavery. Part of me thinks I should vote for my least favorite candidates just to hasten the process!

I’ve already decided, I will be voting this year. I don’t have enough time to fully debate this in my head in order to arrive at the best answer. Bill Buppert would say I am sanctioning my masters, and George Carlin would agree:

I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. Now, some people like to twist that around. They say, ‘If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain,’ but where’s the logic in that? If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote — who did not even leave the house on Election Day — am in no way responsible for what these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that you created.

And honestly, it’s hard to argue with that. If you don’t vote, everything that happens is simply being done to you. It is the ultimate injustice. You have sanctioned no masters, you have agreed to no contract, yet people will bust down your door and take your money, maybe kill you, perhaps block you from pursuing happiness, but will certainly tell you what you can and cannot do, regardless of if you have wronged anyone. And by extension, you have done that to people if the politician you voted for puts that into action.

Of course this would all be solved if there was a “none of the above” option, or “middle finger” option on the ballot as I so eloquently worded it on Facebook. Then I would be happy to go down to the polls and tell them all, “I choose no master”. That is what I pathetically attempt to do with my vote. Vote for the guys who will reduce government. But that also begs the question, is there anyone who will really reduce government in my life?

I have this fantasy that someday anarchists will be running for office, and they will repeal, repeal, repeal until there is nothing left of our government, then sell the government property off, and rebate the money to the people from whom it was stolen.

Part of me wants to run for some office as an anarchist. In addition to being quite the laugh, I might get the message out to some people. And imagine the hilarity that would ensue if I actually got elected!

Sorry for the conversational tone and lack of continuity in this post, but this is what election day does to my head. It is like trying to trick me into thinking I could possible do something to attain more freedom today. And it is indeed possible. It is also possible that I win big next time I go to Foxwoods… but we all know the odds are stacked in favor of the house.

In closing, I’m going to borrow from the Facebook group Nobody For President.

Vote Nobody for President, 2016!

Nobody will keep their campaign promises!

Nobody will reduce the debt, stop the wars, and lower taxes!

Nobody puts the voter first!

Nobody really cares about you!

So vote for Nobody this election cycle, because with Nobody in office, we may finally get the change we need!

Oh, You Think You Have a Choice Now?

ice cream

I don’t think people realize how awesome the market is. And it is not some scary force you have no control over, we are the market! If you participate in the economy, you participate in the market, you have a voice, a say, and the only thing that can take away your voice is force… force which cannot be used by businesses without consequences, and must be bought from the government.

Because as much as they like to pretend, you are not a part of the government. Even if you work for the government, you have less control over its policies and directions than a consumer spending their money has over the market. Oh voting makes you a part of the government? You get to decide if everyone eats chocolate, or everyone eats vanilla. But being a part of the market means someone will make just the right kind of ice cream that YOU want, with the right toppings, and in the right kind of cone or cup.

Government takes away choice. The market supplies a demand. I have more faith in the one we can control, and its the same one that can’t control us.

Divide and Conquer: Don’t Play into the War on the Electorate

Divide and conquer. That is the strategy of our political leaders, and it is the reason why our elections never seem to change much in Washington. Nobody likes corruption, most of us are still bitter about the bailouts for crony-capitalists while individuals face foreclosure, we all want to be safe, and most of us don’t want to be spied on. So you might think that we would regularly clean out the House, which the electorate has the power to do every 2 years. We could also be firing 1/3 of the Senate every 2 years. We don’t do this because we are conquered by these political elite who have effectively divided us. Even though “both sides” agree that our government is just terrible, proven by congressional approval ratings in the single digits for the Republican House and Democratic Senate, people still generally think all the problems stem from the other side of the aisle.

This does not mean there are not general things we can gather about each major party, and therefore agree with or disagree with on the whole. But what we should really be doing is filtering our “own party” in order to be sure that when the general election comes around, it is about the person and not the caricature that the party has created. My sympathies may have in the past fallen more in line with Republicans, but barely, and only because of the issues that are important to me. Even so, there are probably fewer than 10 politicians in Congress who I actually think are good politicians. Scratch that, good politician is an oxymoron.

I get more angry when I see McCain or McConnell vote for government corruption and crony capitalism because they supposedly represent me. And it is people like them and George Bush who made me realize that simply voting Republican will not solve these issues, because there is little difference between the majority of politicians in both major parties. Many egregious violations of Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights can be traced back to the Bush administration, the Patriot Act, and the fear mongering stirred up just after 9/11 which effectively stole our rights. The reason this was able to happen was because we had been divided by our politicians who exploited the 9/11 terrorist attacks in order to hide their true agendas to seek power and control.

And when Obama came into office, the same sort of division took place. One of the major things Obama ran on was reigning in Wall Street corruption. Yet while we were debating about whether or not Obama was born in America, he was busy appointing a Department of Justice entirely comprised of lawyers from firms that defended big Wall Street clients mired in corruption.

Republicans play on some of their base’s prejudices by stirring the pot with questionable remarks about homosexuals and minorities, which just alienates anyone who might otherwise agree with important stances like fiscal responsibility, and upholding the Bill of Rights. Likewise Democrats will exploit racial tensions and gender issues to gain an upper hand in elections, alienating those who might agree with stances such as curbing defense spending and decreasing foreign intervention. The point here is that we should not be blinded by the divisive rhetoric. Politicians hide behind their parties, while we should be voting for the person—or if you’re brave, opting out of the system. Republican voters for too long took the bait and blamed all the budget issues, destruction of the Bill of Rights, and crony capitalism on Democrats, while their party had an equal hand in spending too much, and empowering federal agencies to violate our rights.

According to a Gallup poll 72% of Americans now say that big government is the biggest threat to America in the future, while 21% point to big business. Even the majorities in each party agree that big government is our biggest threat, 92% of Republicans, 71% of independents, and 56% of Democrats. 20% more people now feel the government is the biggest threat than in 2009. But if they use that as “our chance to take power” from a Republican standpoint, then they sacrifice any real gains that could be made in decreasing the scope of government, and maintaining our Constitutional rights.

Why not put party aside and maybe some less polarizing figures would run for office. Not less polarizing as in “middle of the road” crony capitalist status quo. Less polarizing as in, maybe we should address this whole immigration thing without talking about deporting teenagers who don’t know the language in their “home country”. Maybe we can talk about passing a balanced budget without pretending this will mean the death of single mothers and gas chambers for the elderly. Maybe we can all agree that the government has grown too large, and have a mature conversation about ending subsidies and reforming welfare. Maybe we can discuss the possibility that state governments should have rights without accusations of racism being fired off like artillery.

There are some encouraging signs, like the left and the right coming together on certain privacy issues involving illegal spying on citizens by our government. The libertarian movement among the Republican party is also helping to oppose interventionist foreign policy as many Democrats demanded during the Bush administration; and Obama’s continuation of ultra-interventionist foreign policy proves that this is not simply a party issue.

Let’s steal the power elite’s tactics of war, and divide and conquer our own politicians. Not between left and right, but on the same side of the aisle. Divide the true Republicans from the power seekers. Divide the true Democrats from the control freaks. Conquer the undesirable elements in each party, and deliver better candidates to general elections. This does not have to be a mushy “all move towards the center” movement, it can be a movement where each side actually decides what they stand for, and are not given the reality TV version of politics. Then when it comes to the general election we can discuss the actual consequences of legislation instead of hurling insults across the aisle.

There is plenty of room for debate and differences of opinion, but it should be on substantive issues instead of the pathetic squabbles initiated by corrupt politicians and their media lap dogs. Is Santa white? Why was this ever debated on a “serious” cable news station? What good could possibly come from taking a position on this? The only possible outcome of debating about if Santa is white is to divide people further in the race category where tensions are already reeling because of the political exploitation that is entrenched in American racial issues. Next let’s debate if only racists dream of a white Christmas.

Can we just have a serious talk about the intrusiveness of a plethora of government agencies into our everyday lives that never used to be areas touched by government? Can we talk about if our rights should still exist when our information is stored on a hard drive instead of on paper? Let’s talk about our foreign policy to see if intervening overseas really keeps us safer, or just enriches the military-industrial-complex? Can you consider the possibility that an open border puts America at risk, until markets are free enough to respond to that risk? Can you consider the possibility that the government should not be defining religious terms, and legislating morality?

So here’s my plan. The left and the right come together on one issue this next election: term limits. We all agree that anyone who opposes term limits will not survive the primary, and we don’t stop paying attention right after the election. Can we just remain vigilant for 2 years? 2 years, that’s all it would take to make sure that all those congressman who promised they would pass term limits actually do it, and if they don’t, we impose our own term limit as voters on them particularly, and elect someone who will vote for term limits.

And if that is too much to ask, why not pass a Constitutional Amendment limiting all congressmen to 6 years in office (and say abolishing Congressional pensions), that’s one term for Senators and 3 for Representatives. With the increased turnover in Congress, the incumbent’s advantage would be reduced, and incumbents are the worst perpetrators of party politics, while also being able to use name recognition to avoid answering tough questions, and being accessible to voters. There is hope for us all, we just need to realize that it is our oppressors in DC that are the enemy, not necessarily the people that vote for them. Refuse to be divided, talk to those across the aisle, discuss real issues, and you might just realize that the evil caricature is a divide and conquer construction by the political elite who care about nothing more than maintaining their own power.

A Libertarian “No” on Question 2

By Jen Lade

On Tuesday, Massachusetts voters will face a ballot question that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in the Commonwealth. Question 2 would enact the proposed “Death With Dignity” act, which would allow terminally ill people given less than six months to live the option to get a prescription for a lethal dose of a drug.

Proponents of the bill are giving all manner of emotional arguments for how lovely and dignified it would be if Grandma could off herself at her leisure. Many opponents have an equally emotional response: suicide is disturbing, and its legalization points to a pretty messed up society.

But beyond the emotions of the issue, there are some truths that make the so-called Death With Dignity act a horrible idea.

First, there are the flaws with the law’s safeguards. An heir or caregiver can serve as a witness when the patient makes a written request for the medication. Furthermore, no physician needs to be present when the lethal dose is taken. A patient could easily be pressured into requesting and then ingesting the drugs, or worse, the drugs could be administered against the patient’s will by someone else, since no doctor needs to be present.

Patients do not even need to see a psychiatrist before getting the drug. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that many people who have been given six months to live (and such a prognosis is guesswork, by the way) are going to be depressed. Why not treat the depression first and see if that makes them rethink killing themselves? Why not require a consultation for palliative care, which can eliminate pain at the end of life?

And of course, there are the slippery slope arguments: assisted suicide simply opens the door for euthanasia; for insurance companies denying claims for treatment but being more than happy to pay for a lethal dose of a drug; for a decline in the quality of palliative care; and for state-sanctioned suicide to lead to a higher suicide rate overall, as it has in Oregon, where assisted suicide is already legal.

As someone who identifies strongly with libertarian ideals, I at first struggled with how I could justify opposition to this act on a purely political level. After all, shouldn’t adults be able to decide for themselves how to live their lives (or in this case, end their lives), as long as it does not infringe on someone else’s rights? But the fact of the matter is, this is a poorly-written law that leaves the elderly and the infirm vulnerable to abuse. What is being cast by supporters as the epitome of freedom and choice could in fact become a way for the terminally ill to be killed outright, or at least coerced into killing themselves. Just the fact that assisted suicide is an option could guilt a terminally ill person to conclude that the decent thing to do would be to take the drugs and stop burdening their loved ones.

And, on a very morbid level, committing suicide is already possible, even easy, without this act. Leave it to the government to stick its nose into the business of killing yourself. A hose in the tailpipe isn’t enough for the bureaucrats; it’s not dignified until it’s government-sanctioned.

This Web site has additional information and editorials that add to the body of evidence that this act cannot be allowed to pass.

Massachusetts voters, vote No on Question 2. As for the rest of the country, stay vigilant. You never know when assisted suicide could be coming to a state near you.

[Click here to read about the Congressional race for MA-4: Bielat vs. Kennedy]