google-site-verification: google2cfa6877cbf464e2.html The Grand Theory of Libertarianism: 2015

Monday, 23 November 2015

Isolationistism? Recognising War-Monger Speak ...

Brave is the politician who calls for an end to involvement in foreign wars and thereby risks being branded and isolationist!  Who will keep Russian from taking over the Ukraine?  Who will bring democracy and peace to Islamic dictatorships? Of course it will be from Canada, the USA and their Nato allies with properly executed military strategies.This will bring the same freedom and democracy that we enjoy to these politically immature countries who are presently stuck with dictators and oligarchs.

The counter to this line of thinking for a Libertarian is that we do not promote isolation but non-intervention.  What in fact isolates us is our political involvement and interference with countries who do not want our armies in the region.  We are isolating these countries by our misconceived wars.  It is not simplistic to ask, "how would we feel if another power was imposing their influence in our region"?
What we should be pushing for is less intervention (sticking our nose in the affairs of  other countries with out military) and less isolation  But less isolation actually means more.  More trade!

I am not talking about government initiated trade, because politicians don't seem to be able to understand the power of laissez-faire.  When governments try to promote their brand of free-trade, which many give lip-service to, you get Frankenstein-like deals such as NAFTA and the TPP.   Government free-trade is a misnomer in that businesses are bogged down with a dizzying amount of regulations and paper-work.
No, the kind of free-trade we need is the kind that would develop naturally between individuals and businesses with out third party involvement. What right does anyone have to interfere with what I am buying and selling or where my trade partners come from?

Focusing once again on the conflict zones where we are involved, I am not saying that non-interventionism and trade would solve all the problems in these conflict zones.  Far from it.  But it is hard to imagine how things could have been worse if we had not been there militarily.  I would point to an article from showing how US policy helped create Isis.  Repeatedly the unintended consequences of our war-efforts in the Middle East seems to be fuel on the terrorist fires.

So maybe I am an isolationist after all. I would like to isolate our armies from countries who are not attacking our borders.  After that if they want to cozy up to us in unrestricted free-trade, then so be it.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

A Response To Rona Ambrose: Who are we in and age of terror? Canada's Air Strikes Should Continue

Before making the case for more airstrikes Rona Ambrose paints a picture of compassionate Canadians who help others in need in times of "conflict and peace".  Conservatives feel the need to present themselves this way because in contrast to the Liberals who like to give away through government programs, they often seem harsh when they want to cut spending.  But the way to be compassionate in the Middle East right now she offers, is by helping the refugees.

This may be, but how many of these people would have been refugees if Canada, the U.S. and their allies had not been dropping bombs and destabilizing the the region since before the first Gulf War? Whereas in the past I was swayed by the rationale for war in the Middle East, all that is left now is a thin veil of lies which when pulled away reveals a band of war profiteers who love the War on Terror because it never ends.

I have thrown a lot of votes to the Conservatives because I wanted smaller government.  Never have I voted Liberal or NDP.  But I did have hope that Justin Trudeau would get us out of the whole mess.  But the political parties who are supposed to be less war-like still to get entangled in foreign theatres often due to pressure from our "allies".

  When one considers that Christians for example were relatively safe and free under Sadam Hussein and Assad but now have been murdered and displaced by ISIS, it leads to the conclusion that we have no clue where our war actions will lead, except that they always seem to make things worse.  We have learned nothing it appears, from Vietnam or any conflict since.

Christians have a saying that "the blood of the Martyrs are the seeds of the Church".  This means that the Church has often grown stronger and in numbers in times of persecution.  I would suggest that a similar principle works for Islamic Terrorists.  The blood of their martyrs and our bombs are the seed of more Terrorists.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Can There Be Anything Positive From A Liberal Majority?

It has been a few weeks since the Liberals won a majority government under the leadership of Justin Trudeau.  I felt confident based on the polling numbers that we would have a minority government but margins of error being what they are, we wound up with a majority.

What now?  I could be expected as one who has never voted Liberal in my life to be entirely negative and say the sky is falling but I can point to some positives and points of hope.

Less War

When I shifted from self-identifying as a conservative to a libertarian I moved from being unsure to okay with war to feeling that there are very few cases where it is justified at all.  So here is my first positive with Justin Trudeau.  Bringing back some of our jets from bombing in Syria.  This will keep us out of a messy war in the Middle East which has been going on for decades (I am lumping together everything from the first Gulf War up to and including the present conflicts), hopefully prevent some blow back, save the lives of innocent civilians and save us money from operating in that theatre.

Marijuana Legalization

On this issue the Conservatives have been quite behind on the direction the public is moving.  I do not by any means think that the public is alway right, in fact they are often very wrong.  But it is hard not to see the parallels between the war and drugs and prohibition in the 1920's.  Prohibition turned many people into criminals who were doing no harm to anyone else and created a class of violent criminals as well.  One of the unintended consequences of drug laws is to make drug more potent and deadly.  When you think about it this makes a lot of sense when you think of it in terms of economics.  Mark Thornton of the Mises Institute points out that by raising the stakes, criminals will make drugs more potent and concentrated in order to make it more worth the risk they are taking.  It seems that if you calculate the cost of the war on drugs and drug prohibition is much more costly than allowing people to bear the responsibility of their bad decisions themselves.  I think private charities, individuals and families can do a much better job of helping people with addictions than police, jails and courts.

Debts and Deficits

While it is not likely we do have examples in recent history of Liberals being pretty good with the purse strings.  The question for Justin Trudeau is will he follow in the steps of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, or his father?  This could go wildly in either direction.

The Big Negative

The problem with the Liberals that differentiates them from the Conservatives is the degree to which they think they know better than I do what is good for me.  They feel they know how to engineer society and the economy better than anyone else.  But from a Libertarian perspective, this is the great delusion of politics, the assumption that any one person or group of individuals is either smart enough or more importantly has the right to run our lives and tell us what to do.

It is the lack of government meddling that is characteristic of the most prosperous countries in the world.  So when Justin Trudeau comes to realize that the government not only has no business in the bedrooms of Canadians but neither do they in our boardrooms, bank accounts or pay-stubs!  But this is a fantasy for it would make them Libertarians and not Liberals!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Federal Election Day In Canada

What will happen?

Tomorrow is election day in Canada.  It seems likely based on the polls that we will end up with a Liberal minority government.  The only other possibility would be a Conservative minority if enough people have a change of heart.

Does it make any difference?

Yes.  It does.  Assuming that most readers have read the finer points of the various party positions, it comes down to Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair promising balanced budgets and Justin Trudeau wanting to stimulate the economy with infrastructure spending.  Balanced budgets or deficits?  Which do you want?

As a Libertarian I want less government interference in my life which almost by definition means less spending.  This would actually make me favour Harper and Mulcair over Trudeau.  If I actually trusted the NDP balance a budget I might vote for them because they also want to get out of the wars in the middle east which to me a are a waste of life and money.  The only thing we have done in the middle East since the first Gulf War is to help destabilize the region.  This seems especially clear after we supported democracy movements during the Arab Spring which has given us some very clear examples of the "tyranny of the majority".  But getting back to the Canadian election, if I am choosing between the "big three", I still choose Harper because philosophically he wants to leave more money in my pocket.  Where I fear the Conservatives almost as much as the others is in the case of an economic melt down (which I feel is inevitable) where I would expect them to behave just as they did in 2008.  Major bail outs of banks and car companies where I feel that the best thing now would be to say "No!".  Never again.  Then the banks and car companies would be forced to act responsibly and prepare for a worst case scenario.

The Libertarian Perspective.

From my perspective there will be very little difference in terms of tax levels and personal freedom no matter what happens tomorrow.  To me the problem remains in Canada and all Western democracies for that matter, one of  coercion.  I am forced, by the majority, to pay for all kinds of things, by the majority.   A minor technicality is that there is almost never a true majority with our "first-past-the-post" electoral system in Canada (a majority of seats in the house of commons can be obtained with as little as 37 - 40% of the popular vote).  All the services that I now receive from the Federal Government would be better provided privately with lower costs and more innovation, not to mention that if I didn't want a service myself I wouldn't have to pay for someone else to have it.

To Vote or Not to Vote.

Tomorrow I will vote Libertarian even though some might say it is a wasted vote.  But for me it is a relatively new experience to not vote Conservative.  It makes me feel a little giddy because it feels so radical and anti-establishment!

Another alternative for me is to not vote at all.  This may in fact be the more philosophically and ethically consistent position.  Is it not implying a certain amount of consent to participate in a system that I feel is fundamentally immoral?  But I do not consent!  Democratic forms of government force people to do all kinds of things they would never do otherwise.  In a libertarian system, contracts and daily business would be entered by on a voluntary bases the way they mostly are now, but without the phantom menace lurking in the background.  The government nose in almost every business transaction through some form of taxation or regulation.

To vote or not to vote?  For the fist time I feel like not voting is a respectable option but old habits die hard!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

The Grand Theory

 Physicists are looking for a “Grand Unified Theory”.  It has something do with gravity, electromagnetic forces and the early universe.  Perhaps it has not been clearly stated but I think there is a similar quest in politics, the search for a “Grand Theory” that solves the problem of ethics.  You might ask “what problem of ethics”?  It has to do with the fact that inherent in all democratic systems is the issue of force and coercion.

This may not bother most people most of the time.  In Canada we are glad to have universal health care, free education up to grade twelve and many other benefits.  It is when the government does something that we don’t agree with that it becomes a problem.  Then it bothers us that our “majority government” who won with less than fifty percent of the popular vote is ramming through legislation we don’t like.  But what if the government wins with ninety percent of the popular vote and ten percent didn’t like the legislation?

Libertarians will argue that it doesn’t matter if ten percent of people object or if it is ninety.  It is wrong either way to make people do something by force.  In any other context things that we would call immoral, do they now become moral if the government is the one making you do it?  The obvious answer is, “No” but we have become accustomed to thinking of the government in a special class and that democracy makes it different.  Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP, are all the same in this respect, they accept the notion that if they are in power it is acceptable  to make people do and pay for things they would not agree to under any other circumstances.

We have grown to like the idea of getting things from other people by using government.  That way we don’t have to walk up to our neighbors who have more money than us and ask them, or force them ourselves.

Libertarianism as a political philosophy does not carry this internal contradiction because it remains consistent in saying that it is never right to make people do something against their will.

So there you have it, an approach to politics where you don’t have to think that different rules apply to the government.  Ethics and political theory can live together in Libertarianism, a “Grand Unified Theory”!