The Practice of Defensive Voting


As an Anarcho-Capitalist, I’m frequently informed by my social peers that voting is wrong, as it is just the majority imposing their will on the minority, and therefore just civilized violence.

One of the cornerstones of the Libertarian Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) is the right of self-defense. That is, if someone is trying to steal from you, or make you to comply with their will using force, you have the right to defend yourself and your property.

If that’s true in the individual sense, is it any different in the collective sense?

If a plurality of voters is seeking to either pick my pocket or restrict my liberty via the ballot box, isn’t that just not another form of violence? And do I not have the right (even obligation) to defend myself?

I may-or-may-not derive some supposed benefit from the legislation, but it’s always asserted that “society” will certainly prosper! But this pre-supposes an outcome that is rarely measured, and the long-term effects which are never considered.

Let me give you an example from our most recent ballot, City of Tacoma Proposition 1.

The proposition would raise sales taxes a mere .1%, raising $5 million over a period of 7 years that would be devoted to spreading benefits focused on arts, culture, science and heritage programs. These would be primarily targeted towards creating public school programs, and weighted in proportion to students receiving free and reduced lunch (58% as of 2017). Sounds good, right?

Keep in mind that all these areas of instruction were commonly available in schools prior to No Child Left Behind. Another federal program with good intentions (and funding) that forced conformity across the nation and was eventually replaced with one slightly less restrictive, but the damage was done. Now class time is predominately devoted to increasing scores in reading, math, and science, to comply with state and federal guidelines to the neglect of all the soft-skills which they are only now acknowledging as truly important to childhood development.

So, now the City is trying to rectify a problem that they themselves created due to being incentivized by the all-mighty state and federal dollar, and doing so at additional cost to the taxpayers. Now multiply this type of problem across thousands of cities, each voting on dozens of initiatives every year, and you begin to see that it’s become nothing more than institutionalized theft. But it’s for the children!

1% tax hike here, another 2% there. The cost of a cup of coffee here, the price of a movie there. Surely it’s not too much of a sacrifice if it’s “justified” for safety, security, children, culture, and health. When does the forced fleecing end? When you are naked and freezing on the side of the road? (But you’ll get “free healthcare” so it’s good for you!)

In the past, I did end up voting for the legalization of marijuana and the removal of the monopoly on alcohol distribution by the State of Washington, but both those came with onerous taxes that serve to strengthen the state bureaucracy by feeding it tons of cash. I figured restoration of liberty even with a level of servitude is better than nothing. There are a lot of businesses prospering and people staying out of jail because of it.

Your best bet, and the only one that is fair and consistent with the NAP, is to vote against any incursion by legislators or bureaucrats that takes your money by force or fraud, and curbs your natural rights.

Here’s what you should be voting against in the Washington State and Pierce County November, 2018 General Election:

Washington State:

  • Initiative Measure 1631 (Carbon Tax) – a horrible piece of regressive taxation that will have no measurable improvement on emissions, but will create a huge cash cow ($2,305,470,073) for bureaucrats to buy influence and votes.
  • Initiative Measure No 1639 – another horrible piece of legislation that will make the majority of gun owners into felons if they don’t comply. Redefines a standard semi-automatic rifle as an “assault rifle”, and requires gun registration with local law enforcement.

Pierce County:

  • City of Tacoma: Proposition 1 – Tacoma Creates
  • Pierce County Rural Library District: Special Election Proposition 1: Levy Lid Lift
  • Town of Eatonville: Advisory Vote No. 1 – Recreational Marijuana Businesses
  • Gig Harbor: Special Election – Proposition 1 – Sales and Use Tax for Transportation Improvements
  • Bethel School District No. 403 – Special Election Proposition No. 1 – General Obligation Bonds $443,000,000
  • East Pierce Fire & Rescue – Special Election – Proposition No. 1 – General Obligation Bonds $80,000,000
  • Fire Protection District No. 6 – Proposition No. 1 – Six-Year Levy Lid Lift
  • Fire Protection District No. 17 – Proposition No. 1 & No. 2 – Six-Year Levy Lid Lift
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Low-Skilled Workers Flee the Minimum Wage


What happens when, in a country where workers are free to move, a region raises its minimum wage? Do those with the fewest skills seek out the regions with the highest wage floors?

New minimum wage research by economist Joan Monras of the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) attempts to answer that question. Monras theoretically shows that there should be a close relationship between the employment effects of raising the minimum wage and the migration of low-skilled workers.

When the demand for local low-skilled labor is relatively unresponsive (or inelastic) to wage changes, raising the minimum wage should lead to an influx of low-skilled workers from other states in search of better-paying jobs. On the other hand, if the demand for low-skilled labor is relatively responsive (or elastic), raising the minimum wage will lead low-skilled workers to flee to states where they will more easily find employment.

To test the model empirically, Monras examined data from all the changes in effective state minimum wages over the period 1985 to 2012. Looking at time frames of three years before and after each minimum wage increase, Monras found that

  1. As depicted in the graph below on the left, those who kept their jobs earned more under the minimum wage. No surprise there.
  2. As depicted in the graph below on the right, workers with the fewest skills were having an easier time finding full-time employment prior to the minimum wage increase. But this trend completely reversed as soon as the minimum wage was increased.
  3. A control group of high-skilled workers didn’t experience either of these effects. Those affected by the changing laws were the least skilled and the most vulnerable.

These results show that the timing of minimum wage increases is not random.

Instead, policy makers tend to raise minimum wages when low-skilled workers’ real wages are declining and employment is rising. Many studies, misled by the assumption that the timing of minimum wage increases is not influenced by local labor demand, have interpreted the lack of falling low-skilled employment following a minimum wage increase as evidence that minimum wage increases have no effect on employment.

When Monras applied this same false assumption to his model, he got the same result. However, to observe the true effect of minimum wage increases on employment, he assumed a counterfactual scenario where, had the minimum wages not been raised, the trend in low-skilled employment growth would have continued as it was.

By making this comparison, Monras was able to estimate that wages increased considerably following a minimum wage hike, but employment also fell considerably. In fact, employment fell more than wages rose. For every 1 percent increase in wages, the share of a state’s population of low-skilled workers in full-time employment fell by 1.2 percent. (The same empirical approach showed that minimum wage increases had no effect on the wages or employment of a control group of high-skilled workers.)

Monras’s model predicts that if labor demand is sensitive to wage changes, low-skilled workers should leave states that increase their minimum wages — and that’s exactly what his empirical evidence shows.

According to Monras,

A 1 percent reduction in the share of employed low-skilled workers [following a minimum wage increase] reduces the share of low-skilled population by between .5 and .8 percent. It is worth emphasizing that this is a surprising and remarkable result: workers for whom the [minimum wage] policy was designed leave the states where the policy is implemented.

These new and important findings reinforce the view that minimum wage increases come at a cost to the employment rates of low-skilled workers.

They also pose a difficult question for minimum wage proponents: If minimum wage increases benefit low-skilled workers, why do these workers leave the states that raise their minimum wage?


Corey Iacono

Corey Iacono is a student at the University of Rhode Island majoring in pharmaceutical science and minoring in economics. He is a FEE 2016 Thorpe Fellow.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Ayn Rand Predicted an American Slide toward Fascism


In a letter written on March 19, 1944, Ayn Rand remarked: “Fascism, Nazism, Communism and Socialism are only superficial variations of the same monstrous theme—collectivism.” Rand would later expand on this insight in various articles, most notably in two of her lectures at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston: “The Fascist New Frontier” (Dec. 16, 1962, published as a booklet by the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1963); and “The New Fascism: Rule by Consensus” (April 18, 1965, published as Chapter 20 in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal [CUI] by New American Library in 1967).

The world conflict of today is the conflict of the individual against the state.

Rand knew better than to accept the traditional left-right dichotomy between socialism (or communism) and fascism, according to which socialism is the extreme version of left-ideology and fascism is the extreme version of right-ideology (i.e., capitalism). Indeed, in The Ayn Rand Letter (Nov. 8, 1971) she characterized fascism as “socialism for big business.” Both are variants of statism, in contrast to a free country based on individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism. As Rand put it in “Conservativism: An Obituary” (CUI, Chapter 19):

The world conflict of today is the conflict of the individual against the state, the same conflict that has been fought throughout mankind’s history. The names change, but the essence—and the results—remain the same, whether it is the individual against feudalism, or against absolute monarchy, or against communism or fascism or Nazism or socialism or the welfare state.

The placement of socialism and fascism at opposite ends of a political spectrum serves a nefarious purpose, according to Rand. It serves to buttress the case that we must avoid “extremism” and choose the sensible middle course of a “mixed economy.” Quoting from “‘Extremism,’ Or The Art of Smearing” (CUI, Chapter 17):

If it were true that dictatorship is inevitable and that fascism and communism are the two “extremes” at the opposite ends of our course, then what is the safest place to choose? Why, the middle of the road. The safely undefined, indeterminate, mixed-economy, “moderate” middle—with a “moderate” amount of government favors and special privileges to the rich and a “moderate” amount of government handouts to the poor—with a “moderate” respect for rights and a “moderate” degree of brute force—with a “moderate” amount of freedom and a “moderate” amount of slavery—with a “moderate” degree of justice and a “moderate” degree of injustice—with a “moderate” amount of security and a “moderate” amount of terror—and with a moderate degree of tolerance for all, except those “extremists” who uphold principles, consistency, objectivity, morality and who refuse to compromise.

In both of her major articles on fascism (cited above) Rand distinguished between fascism and socialism by noting a rather technical (and ultimately inconsequential) difference in their approaches to private property. Here is the relevant passage from “The New Fascism: Rule by Consensus”:

Observe that both “socialism” and “fascism” involve the issue of property rights. The right to property is the right of use and disposal. Observe the difference in those two theories: socialism negates private property rights altogether, and advocates “the vesting of ownership and control” in the community as a whole, i.e., in the state; fascism leaves ownership in the hands of private individuals, but transfers control of the property to the government.

Ownership without control is a contradiction in terms: it means “property,” without the right to use it or to dispose of it. It means that the citizens retain the responsibility of holding property, without any of its advantages, while the government acquires all the advantages without any of the responsibility.

In this respect, socialism is the more honest of the two theories. I say “more honest,” not “better”—because, in practice, there is no difference between them: both come from the same collectivist-statist principle, both negate individual rights and subordinate the individual to the collective, both deliver the livelihood and the lives of the citizens into the power of an omnipotent government —and the differences between them are only a matter of time, degree, and superficial detail, such as the choice of slogans by which the rulers delude their enslaved subjects.

Contrary to many conservative commentators during the 1960s, Rand maintained that America was drifting toward fascism, not socialism, and that this descent was virtually inevitable in a mixed economy. “A mixed economy is an explosive, untenable mixture of two opposite elements,” freedom and statism, “which cannot remain stable, but must ultimately go one way or the other” (“‘Extremism,’ or The Art of Smearing”). Economic controls generate their own problems, and with these problems come demands for additional controls—so either those controls must be abolished or a mixed economy will eventually degenerate into a form of economic dictatorship. Rand conceded that most American advocates of the welfare state “are not socialists, that they never advocated or intended the socialization of private property.” These welfare-statists “want to ‘preserve’ private property” while calling for greater government control over such property. “But that is the fundamental characteristic of fascism.”

A mixed economy is ruled by pressure groups. It is an amoral, institutionalized civil war of special interests and lobbies.

Rand gave us some of the finest analyses of a mixed economy—its premises, implications, and long-range consequences—ever penned by a free-market advocate. In “The New Fascism,” for example, she compared a mixed economy to a system that operates by the law of the jungle, a system in which “no one’s interests are safe, everyone’s interests are on a public auction block, and anything goes for anyone who can get away with it.” A mixed economy divides a country “into an ever-growing number of enemy camps, into economic groups fighting one another for self preservation in an indeterminate mixture of defense and offense.” Although Rand did not invoke Thomas Hobbes in this context, it is safe to say that the economic “chaos” of a mixed economy resembles the Hobbesian war of all against all in a state of nature, a system in which interest groups feel the need to screw others before they get screwed themselves.

A mixed economy is ruled by pressure groups. It is an amoral, institutionalized civil war of special interests and lobbies, all fighting to seize a momentary control of the legislative machinery, to extort some special privilege at one another’s expense by an act of government—i.e., by force.

Of course, Rand never claimed that America had degenerated into full-blown fascism (she held that freedom of speech was a bright line in this respect), but she did believe that the fundamental premise of the “altruist-collectivist” morality—the foundation of all collectivist regimes, including fascism—was accepted and preached by modern liberals and conservatives alike. (Those who mistakenly dub Rand a “conservative” should read “Conservatism: An Obituary” [CUI, Chapter 19], a scathing critique in which she accused conservative leaders of “moral treason.” In some respects Rand detested modern conservatives more than she did modern liberals. She was especially contemptuous of those conservatives who attempted to justify capitalism by appealing to religion or to tradition.) Rand illustrated her point in “The Fascist New Frontier,” a polemical tour de force aimed at President Kennedy and his administration.

There is no such thing as ‘the public interest’ except as the sum of the interests of individual men.

Rand began this 1962 lecture by quoting passages from the 1920 political platform of the German Nazi Party, including demands for “an end to the power of the financial interests,” “profit sharing in big business,” “a broad extension of care for the aged,” the “improvement of public health” by government, “an all-around enlargement of our entire system of public education,” and so forth. All such welfare-state measures, this platform concluded, “can only proceed from within on the foundation of “The Common Good Before the Individual Good.”

Rand had no problem quoting similar proposals and sentiments from President Kennedy and members of his administration, such as Kennedy’s celebrated remark, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what America will do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” The particulars of Rand’s speech will come as no surprise to those familiar with her ideas, but I wish to call attention to her final remarks about the meaning of “the public interest.” As used by Kennedy and other politicians, both Democratic and Republican, this fuzzy phrase has little if any meaning, except to indicate that individuals have a duty to sacrifice their interests for the sake of a greater, undefined good, as determined by those who wield the brute force of political power. Rand then stated what she regarded as the only coherent meaning of “the public interest.”

[T]here is no such thing as ‘the public interest’ except as the sum of the interests of individual men. And the basic, common interest of all men—all rational men—is freedom. Freedom is the first requirement of “the public interest”—not what men do when they are free, but that they are free. All their achievements rest on that foundation—and cannot exist without them.

The principles of a free, non-coercive social system are the only form of “the public interest.”

I shall conclude this essay on a personal note. Before I began preparing for this essay, I had not read some of the articles quoted above for many, many years. In fact, I had not read some of the material since my college days 45 years ago. I therefore approached my new readings with a certain amount of trepidation. I liked the articles when I first read them, but would they stand the test of time? Would Rand’s insights and arguments appear commonplace, even hackneyed, with the passage of so much time? Well, I was pleasantly surprised. Rand was exactly on point on many issues. Indeed, if we substitute “President Obama,” for “President Kennedy” or “President Johnson” many of her points would be even more pertinent today than they were during the 1960s. Unfortunately, the ideological sewer of American politics has become even more foul today than it was in Rand’s day, but Rand did what she could to reverse the trend, and one person can only do so much. And no one can say that she didn’t warn us.

Republished from Libertarianism.org.


George Smith

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Gun Shop Owner Stands to Challenge Obama on Second Amendment


Homeland Insecurity Status AlertsCreating conflict. It’s what politicians do. Pointing the finger at the supposed boogeyman and saying “HERE! THIS IS THE CAUSE OF ALL YOUR WOES!”, and crying out for more power under the rubric of “safety”.

“I just came from a meeting today in the situation room in which I’ve got people who we know have been on ISIL websites living here in the United States…and we’re allowed to put them on the no-fly list when it comes to airlines, but because of the National Rifle Association, I cannot prohibit those people from buying a gun,” Obama said.

Do you see the problems with the above quotation? Let me spell it out for you:

1) They can add you to a no-fly list simply for visiting a website. This means that without being accused and convicted of a crime, you can lose your right to travel unmolested by government. That is exactly the opposite of rights expressly spelled out in the Constitution.

2) The NRA is painted as the bad guy simply for insisting (in a court of law) that the Federal Government be subject to the limitations placed upon it by the Constitution and specifically the 2nd Amendment. Somehow “they” are the evil ones.

Where does it end? Where does it ever end? 100 new laws? 1000? 10,000? When will the slew of laws, regulations, licenses, mandates, executive orders, fines, penalties, restrictions, public humiliations, etc., etc. ad nauseam, bring about the perfect society?

And when will the American People grow tired of electing demagogues who promise everything and deliver nothing of value?

Source: Gun Shop Owner Stands to Challenge Obama on Second Amendment — Listen Closely to the President’s Response | Video | TheBlaze.com

Don’t Be Fooled by the Political Game: The Illusion of Freedom in America


The shaping of the will of Congress and the choosing of the American president has become a privilege reserved to the country’s equestrian classes, a.k.a. the 20% of the population that holds 93% of the wealth, the happy few who run the corporations and the banks, own and operate the news and entertainment media, compose the laws and govern…

Continue Reading:

Source: Don’t Be Fooled by the Political Game: The Illusion of Freedom in America – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Want to Sabotage Bad Laws? Healthy Contempt is More Important Than Legal Strategy. – Hit & Run : Reason.com


Want to maintain your rights as expressed in the U.S. Constitution? You need to get active opposing bad laws NOW. That oppression you are promised will come? It will come under the guise of and color of LAW. It will be enforced by a thousand layers of bureaucracy. It will ultimately take your lifestyle, if not your life.

Want to Sabotage Bad Laws? Healthy Contempt is More Important Than Legal Strategy. – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

But the key to rendering stupid laws irrelevant isn’t a clever strategy, it’s an overall attitude of defiance that comes up with new creative strategies after the first ones have been countered and flows around enforcement efforts like an ocean of fuck-you.