So anyway, until Joe from Canada gets back in touch I have to admit I'm a little short on ideas. This week's been a little slow at work so I've had more time for blogging and all I can seem to come up with is this ongoing convo with north of the border Joe. Oh well, not like I'm friggin Dan Rather, if I was I could just make stuff up and post it and I'd have a zillion readers and Bill Gates would be showing up at my door with a truckload of cash and begging to advertise on my blog. Since I think I'm up to 2 readers now, (I'm gainin' on ya Tony) I don't want to disappoint them so I figure I better come up with something original. Since politics seems to be the inevitable magnet for discussion on blogs, good blogs anyway, I guess I'll lay out a few more of my political opinions for all to ponder.
I don't like political parties, plain and simple. I claim to be a Libertarian, but I carry no cards. The minute a Libertarian candidate starts talking about mandating religion, (i.e. - putting god back into schools), I tune out. As a general rule I agree with Libertarian ideals, however. This is a piece that I stole from the libertarian website. It lays out the basic principles that the party supports and opposes, and I think it's a good summary of my personal political leanings.
The Essence of Liberty
by David F. Nolan
As a founder of the Libertarian Party and editor-in-chief of California Liberty, I am often asked how to tell if someone is "really" a libertarian. There are probably as many different definitions of the word "libertarian" as there are people who claim the label. These range from overly broad ("anyone who calls himself a libertarian is one") to impossibly doctrinaire ("only those who agree with every word in the party platform are truly anointed").
My own definition is that in order to be considered a libertarian, at least in the political context, an individual must adhere without compromise to five key points. Ideally, of course, we'd all be in agreement on everything. But we're not, and probably never will be. Debate is likely to continue indefinitely on such matters as abortion, foreign policy, and whether, when, and how various government programs can be discontinued or privatized. But as far as I'm concerned, if someone is sound on these five points, he/she is de facto a libertarian; if he fails on even one of the five, he isn't.
What then, are the "indispensable five" -- the points of no compromise?
YOU OWN YOURSELF
First and foremost, libertarians believe in the principle of self-ownership. You own your own body and mind; no external power has the right to force you into the service of "society" or "mankind" or any other individual or group for any purpose, however noble. Slavery is wrong, period.
Because you own yourself, you are responsible for your own well-being. Others are not obligated to feed you, clothe you, or provide you with health care. Most of us choose to help one another voluntarily, for a variety of reasons -- and that's as it should be -- but "forced compassion" is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.
THE RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE
Self-ownership implies the right to self-defense. Libertarians yield to no one in their support for our right as individuals to keep and bear arms. We only wish that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution said "The right to self-defense being inalienable..." instead of that stuff about a "well-regulated militia". Anyone who thinks that government -- any government -- has the right to disarm its citizens is NOT a libertarian!
NO "CRIMINAL POSSESSION" LAWS
In fact, libertarians believe that individuals have the right to own and use anything- gold, guns, marijuana, sexually explicit material- so long as they do not harm others through force or the threat of force. Laws criminalizing the simple possession of anything are tailor-made for police states; it is all too easy to plant a forbidden substance in someone's home, car or pocket. Libertarians are as tough on crime- real crime- as anyone. But criminal possession laws are an affront to liberty, whatever the rhetoric used to defend them.
NO TAXES ON PRODUCTIVITY
In an ideal world, there would be no taxation. All services would be paid for on an as-used basis. But in a less-than-ideal world, some services will be force-financed for the foreseeable future. However, not all taxes are equally deleterious, and the worst form of taxation is a tax on productivity -- i.e., an income tax -- and no libertarian supports this type of taxation.
What kind of taxation is least harmful? This is a topic still open for debate. My own preference is for a single tax on land. Is this "the" libertarian position on taxes? No. But all libertarians oppose any form of income tax.
A SOUND MONEY SYSTEM
The fifth and final key test of anyone's claim to being a libertarian is their support for an honest money system; i.e. one where the currency is backed by something of true value (usually gold or silver). Flat money -- money with no backing, whose acceptance is mandated by the State -- is simply legalized counterfeiting and is one of the keys to expanding government power.
The five points enumerated here are not a complete, comprehensive prescription for freedom... but they would take us most of the way. A government which cannot conscript, confiscate, or counterfeit, and which imposes no criminal penalties for the mere possession and peaceful use of anything, is one that almost all libertarians would be comfortable with.
This being the platform for the national Libertarian Party, I have only one issue with it, that being the part about taxation. I see property taxes as more egregious than income taxes, I would favor a national sales tax myself. Pay taxes on something once, in other words. No annual bill to penalize you for being successful, no way the government can seize anything for nonpayment. As long as property taxes exist, no one in this country owns land. Don't believe me? Just stop paying your property taxes and see what happens. You do not own "your" property, as long as the government can levy taxes against it, and seize it for nonpayment, you merely rent said property from the government.
This brings me to what, in my opinion, is wrong with political parties, while I agree with almost all of the major points of the Libertarian party, there is still one point that I strongly disagree with. Seems today that in the name of partisan victories many would have us believe that we need to vote strictly along party lines in order to promote one party over the other but I simply cannot agree with any party enough to vote for all of their candidates, all of the time.
The big 2? Forget it. I have never seen such a bunch of dilusional people as those who believe that Republicans are better for this country than Democrats or vice versa. Both parties are engaged in the same dangerous (for us anyway) game of cat and mouse. Whenever one party gains control, they seize more power from the people, and for the government. Oh sure they have different fundamental platforms but that's just how they lure us into their trap, in the end, no matter which party is in power, they gain, we lose, that simple.
Don't believe me? I'll attempt to explain.
DemocRATS: They preach personal freedom yet seldom do anything to preserve it. If you do drugs, or make pornography, you're safe, but if you want to own a gun, or drive something besides a Prius, kiss your ass goodbye.
Their greatest legacies are huge, expensive government programs that take from people who make good choices and give to those who make bad ones.
They glom onto any and every cause that they can in an effort to woo voters from specialized segments of society, gay/lesbian groups, environmental groups, labor unions, anti-gun groups, anti-war groups, rock groups, groupers, groupies, criminals, communists, the list goes on and on and on.
They work towards a lot of actual good, which wins them votes from stupid people. They help promote the rights of working people, that's good. They help protect minority groups from discrimination, that's good. They work to stop the huge corporations that don't donate to the national Democratic party from getting too powerful, that's probably, in and of itself, good. They try to protect the environment, that's mostly good, too bad they go to such extremes most of the time as to violate all aspects of common sense and therefore alienate large numbers of potential supporters.
Sounds good on the surface but the problem is that they give a disproportionate amount of control to the wrong people. If you're an environmentalist, you're in, if you're a logger, get lost. Well treehuggers sorry to break the news to you but houses are built out of wood, wood comes from trees, if ya wanna live in a house, a few trees are going to have to die, sorry. Deal with it.
Now the big one, gun control. Many people that don't vote Democrat, don't vote Democrat because of gun control. If the Democratic party would kiss and make up with the NRA and completely drop gun control from their agenda they would dominate every election in the foreseeable future. Not only that but I believe that they would've dominated the last two as well. But they won't drop gun control, just like they won't drop radical environmentalism, another great disenfranchiser, and why won't they, because that would upset the, I believe anyway, pre-agreed upon balance of power between the two parties.
See, if one party stays in power too long then they take all of the rights from the people that they can and are therefore no longer useful to the powermongers that are actually pulling the strings. That's why both parties have a number of platforms that sound good to almost anybody, but just a few key issues that will totally alienate a segment of society. Be it abortion, or guns, or taxes, or separation of church and state, or the Patriot Act, or you name it, the major parties use these little distractions to get us all fired up and distract us from the fact that they're really just out to seize what's left of our rights and become the ultimate power in the universe, help us Obi Wan Kinobi, you're our only hope. Speaking of ultimate power, that brings us to Wal-Mart. . . . um I mean:
RePUDlicans: These porkbellied jolly ole elves would like us to believe that they as well stand for personal freedom. Too bad that they stand for Jerry Fallwell's definition of personal freedom.
Religion is the Repo's gun control, take it away, and all of it's influences on issues like abortion, and the Repos would be well on their way to total domination. But they can't, because religion is what the Republicans use to spread hate and fear and to convince gullible people that the Democrats and their free love hippie supporters are the devil and that given the chance they would recruit all of their children and turn them into pot smoking homosexuals. I believe in God, I read the bible, it doesn't say we're supposed to judge people, as a matter of fact it says we are not supposed to judge people, that's God's job, not Jerry Fallwell's.
Republicans say that they are for a free market, pro business they say, only trouble is the only businesses they support seem to be the ones that have the most money to donate to their campaigns because they've been turning enormous profits for years and all along have been paying their employees exactly dick squat. Don't believe me? Try to start a business in our "free market" economy. If you don't give up when you see the mound of paperwork and licenses and insurance and regulations and guidelines and taxes and all the other stuff that goes with it you'll surely give up when you're arrested for violating several of those rules because you didn't know about them. If the indictments don't get you, the Wal-Mart that they build next door will.
The Republicans say that they support our constitutional rights, but then they come up with something as outlandish as the patriot act. Freedom of speech, just watch what you say, cuz they're listening. I hope they're reading this, that's right assholes, this little redneck from Montana is out to get ya, bet yer sceered ain't ya? Yeah, right. If I disappear tomorrow under mysterious circumstances you'll know why.
Neither of these parties address all, or even a majority of the problems of our society. Both of these parties make blatant attempts to whittle away little by little at our personal freedoms. As I've said before, the Democrats will take this country to hell in a handbasket, the Republicans will take it there in a shopping cart. Different means, same end.
I'm sure that given enough time I could think of several more examples to illustrate my points on both parties, but why bother, I think you get the point, and besides, I may want to post something else about it someday, gotta save some for later you know. ;)
Oh, I almost forgot, I found a product on the web a while back that just might solve this entire free roaming cat "problem" that the Billings city council would like us to believe is so important. Isn't it great that someone who is so fed up with the government in this country still has such a wonderful sense of humor, and such a hilarious love hate relationship with cats?