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:
- 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.
- 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
Basic economics dictates how the market can be controlled by politicians and big business to benefit the few at the expense of the many, and that’s exactly what’s happening as New York begins the process of legalizing medical marijuana. Who are the few that will reap the biggest rewards?
In order to implement market controls (note: this is NOT free market capitalism), you must restrict access. From the New York Times story (emphasis mine):
The State Health Department, she said (State Senator Diane J. Savino who was a sponsor of the bill passed last summer), had not yet written guidelines for the medical marijuana program, and the licenses available for companies keen to participate would be few and costly.
That way, only the most well-connected and wealthy can participate.
You tax it heavily:
“We can probably take in a couple hundred million dollars a year, minimally,” she said, referring to potential tax revenue.
Um… who do you think is paying those taxes? Consumers who have medical needs. How considerate!
You restrict supply to artificially inflate prices:
When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act in July, it gave the Health Department 18 months to come up with regulations and choose up to five companies to grow and dispense medical marijuana.
Application costs alone could run to several hundred thousand dollars; start-up costs could top $20 million.
Oh, and did I mention price fixing?:
New York’s health commissioner will set the price of the drug, probably based on the street value.
Which of course means that the street value will adjust dynamically to keep as many black-market customers as possible, and the centrally planned and controlled pricing will never catch up due to bureaucratic lag. This means the black-market will continue to thrive whilst the “legal” market will be strangled and uncompetitive. Capitalism is responsive to market drivers, such as demand vs. price. Socialism (central control by so-called authorities) abstracts the supply from the consumption, which means critical market indicators are disconnected.
And the cronies are all lined up:
Now, for the state’s would-be growers, private equity investors, labor unions, lawyers, lobbyists, consultants, branding firms, suits, stoners and hucksters, the rush is on.
This is the moment when old-guard legalizers meet a new breed of capitalist.
Yep! That new breed? Crony-capitalists!
- Patrick McCarthy, a lobbyist & once an aide to Gov. George E. Pataki and executive director of the New York Republican State Committee
- Dean Petkanas, was chief financial officer at Stratton Oakmont
- Derek Peterson, a former senior vice president at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (who hired Senator Harry Reid’s son Rory as a lobbyist)
- The Governor of NY
Richard N. Gottfried, a Democratic state assemblyman cited an unwritten formula of government regulation:
“When you make a statute very restrictive — and the governor did that in the last hours — you raise the stakes and create a need for more lawyers and consultants”
- Cannabis industry cash has begun to flow into New York. Ms. Savino said her campaign donations from out-of-state growers were “around $10,000 or $15,000 — not much.” (But it’s the thought that counts, right?)
- Unions have also claimed a share. In New York, all licensees will be union shops, a result of two years of lobbying by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union
And one last big crony-capitalist play – use government regulations to control unwanted competition:
…at the Cannabis and Hemp Association meeting, the aspiring moguls had a regulatory request for Ms. Savino. They wanted more regulation, not less (talking about over-the-counter remedies being sold as non-psychoactive hemp oil or CBD oil) … Such products are largely unregulated and sell for as much as hundreds of dollars for a small amount. Could the state crack down on them?
Most telling quote in the whole article:
Ms. Savino pulled a bottle of something called Green Cures CBD Oil from her purse, eying it skeptically. “People believe what they want to believe,” she said. “It’s hard to protect people from what they think will help.”
And people thinking that this crony-capitalist “legalization” will help anyone in New York will find that in the long-run it helps no one except those who exploit the voters, tax payers, and consumers, such as politicians, lobbyists, bankers, and union bosses.
Being libertarian, and also a staunch supporter of private property rights, I’m totally against the whole Net Neutrality movement. Unfortunately i’ll have to revert to some simple analogies to make my points relatable to people that believe they have a right to others property (and vicariously their prosperity).
“The Government invented the Internet, therefore, access needs to remain neutral”, is one frequent argument. NASA engineers invented the microwave oven. Does that mean the public should be able to dictate how Amana or GE manufacture microwave ovens, and what is approved for cooking in those ovens? Of course not. Comparing the early “Internet” used by the state to today’s internet is like comparing a tricycle to a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Yes they both have wheels, but, well, you get the idea.
“Those big, evil corporations will control, restrict, charge for, and otherwise dictate what and how content is streamed to you.” Yes, they built the pipes, manage the pipes, and provide those pipes all the way to your router. Dictating that they must grant blanket access to those pipes to all content providers is nothing less than taking their property. Stealing. Socialism.
“But what if they somehow compromise my access to my preferred content (Netflix, Pandora, LastFM, WordPress, etc.)?” Of course content providers want to have a free ride on highways someone else built. They can optimize their revenue stream and shareholder value and push the cost of doing business to someone else. How can that be a bad thing as long as you (the consumer) get your episode of Real Housewives at no extra charge?
And that my friends is the bottom line. It’s not really about restricted access, it’s about free riders. The content providers and the consumers don’t want to have to pay to play. All the “what if” scenarios fall by the wayside, because they are just fear-mongering used by master manipulators to push an agenda. You don’t like how Comcast is treating you and your preferred content? Then move to AT&T. And that’s the solution the the problem.
An internet that is responsive to the will of the consumer is one where the free market is allowed to operate, and competition between content providers, internet providers, and those in dual roles (like Google) are vying for advertisers and consumers. It will ultimately drive down costs, up quality, and increase access. To get there will require government to quit interfering, and people to stop using the power of the state to impose their will on others. Just because it’s popular (democracy) does not mean it’s right.
“Net Neutrality” is the simple but powerful principle that cable and broadband providers must treat all internet traffic equally. Whether you’re loading a blog post on WordPress.com, streaming House of Cards on Netflix, or browsing handcrafted tea cozies on Etsy, your internet provider can’t degrade your connection speed, block sites, or charge a toll based on the content that you’re viewing.
Net neutrality has defined the internet since its inception, and it’s hard to argue with the results: the internet is the most powerful engine of economic growth and free expression in history. Most importantly, the open internet is characterized by companies, products, and ideas that survive or fail depending on their own merit — not on whether they have preferred deals in place with a broadband service provider. Unfortunately, the principle of net neutrality, and the open internet that we know and love, is under attack.
Net Neutrality under…
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Hang out in leftist internet environments, and you will discover a toxic bath of irrational hatred for the Judeo-Christian tradition. You will discover an alternate vocabulary in which Jesus is a “dead Jew on a stick” or a “zombie” and any belief is an arbitrary sham, the equivalent of a recently invented “flying spaghetti monster.” You will discover historical revisionism that posits Nazism as a Christian denomination. You will discover a rejection of the Judeo-Christian foundation of Western Civilization and American concepts of individual rights and law.
The prevailing illusion of our age is that it is possible to enrich all classes at the expense of one another—to make plunder universal under the pretext of organizing it. Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways; hence, there are an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, bonuses, subsidies, incentives, the progressive income tax, free education, the right to employment, the right to profit, the right to wages, the right to relief, the right to the tools of production, interest-free credit, etc., etc. And it is the aggregate of all these plans, in respect to what they have in common, legal plunder, that goes under the name of socialism.
Frédéric Bastiat – Selected Essays on Political Economy – The Law (1848)
“Imagine education wholly managed by the market economy. The variety! The choice! The innovation! All the features we’ve come to expect in so many areas of life — groceries, software, clothing, music — would also pertain to education. But as it is, the market for education is hobbled, truncated, frozen and regimented, and tragically, we’ve all gotten used to it.”