Believe it or not there are many people who did learn about Libertarian ideas through Gary Johnson. To more die hard libertarians like myself Johnson in 2016 May have seemed a far cry from the kind of bold messaging that motivates myself but I was never the audience.
To people who barely follow politics or thought only the 2 party box existed, Gary was a nice guy making sensible common sense propositions calling himself this word they never heard before, “libertarian”. Many of those people went to look up what libertarianism is and found themselves learning about people like Hazlitt, Nozick, Mises, Friedman, etc. and have become more holistically libertarian since. We do have to remember how far we’ve personally traveled to believe what we believe and not assume we can always shortcut that process of discovery for others by spoiling the ending.
Now, I was brought in by Ron Paul in 2008 which was a more direct path as he often suggested to his supporters to learn about Austrian economics and Mises. So while Gary wasn’t often listing suggested reading his personality and overall super nice guy persona did stoke curiosity in many about this word “libertarian”.
Entries to being a deeper libertarian come in many forms and Gary Johnson was one for many in 2012 and 2016 and whoever is chosen in 2020 regardless who it is will be too. There will always be people who are looking for the tiniest sliver of common sense every few years and they’ll always find the LP candidate and find themselves saying… “that makes a lot of sense, why hasn’t anyone said that before?”
When I choose to put forth a statement in attempt to articulate libertarian ideas, I ask myself a few things.
1. Does what I’m saying illustrate the core point I’m trying to communicate. (Any analogies or metaphors I use should illustrate what I’m saying and not be a distraction in themselves. If I can use an analogy that illustrates the same idea but is less polarizing, that’s what I go with)
2. Does it give enough tools for people to put together the conclusion without outright giving it to them. (People don’t like being told what to think but you can frame things in a way to guide them to the desired conclusion)
3. Does it preclude or include other libertarian ideas. (Libertarian principles can be wrapped around any normative worldview, I’m not in this to tell people what’s a perfect world because it’s different to everyone. I want to communicate libertarian principles in a way that lets anyone see how it allows them to pursue their ideals. Also those who do have strong normative preferences, I don’t want to alienate them because they are quality advocates to people with the same preferences)
That’s what I’m hoping to accomplish in any communication I put out, if I want to say something that doesn’t fit that I either don’t say it or do it through a medium where a relevant audience will hear it.
I try to stay away from the favorite/least favorite President game cause to me they all represent the same flaws:
– The mistake that people make in placing their hopes for transformative change in the hands of others instead of their own.
– The reality that all these men either came from great privilege or great compromise.
– The power they exercised was often pure illiusion as the riptide of public opinion, outrage and preference truly dictates the behavior of any democratic leader. Outside their abuses of power very little else could be truly called theirs.
– Outside of their personal charms, their governance was more byproduct of the times than any historian cares to admit as they fight to paint them as Titans while diminishing the millions of individuals involved in transforming the world at any moment.
Presidents have become a figurehead to rally around when the country is hurt by others and to rally against when the country hurts itself. There is value and tragedy in this reality.
(NAP = Non-Aggression Principle)
The NAP is violated when you initiate or credibly threaten the initiation of force on the life, body, or property of another.
Initiating force and causing harm are not the same thing.
If you go up to somebody and punch them you initiated force and it resulted in causing harm. This violates the NAP. Retaliatory force is appropriate (does it mean you have to hit back? Nope, just that you can justify it).
You defend your self from someone punching you by punching them you did not initiate force but if you landed the punch you caused harm and it’s totally justifiable.
You don’t mow your lawn and your neighbors property value drops you did not intiate any force upon their property but you did cause harm. Since you did not initiate force the NAP would say it’s inappropriate to initiate force to resolve this problem.
Saying that force should not be used to resolve a problem does not mean there is no problem and that there can’t be mechanisms to resolve them, just that it should not involve initiating force.
The point of the NAP isn’t to say what’s good and bad just when is force appropriate and inappropriate beyond that it’s up to you to figure stuff out.
It’s not so simple as open vs closed Borders here are your different immigration archetypes, my descriptions can be satirical and tongue in cheek at times but you get the idea.
Idealist Open Borders – Everyone should be able to go anywhere anytime
Radical Libertarian Open Borders – Governments should not say who goes on my property, if I don’t want you on my property I’ll make you clearly aware myself.
Pragmatic Libertarian Open Borders – People outside of a health and criminal checks should be able to travel between nations, cultural and economic concerns should never be a reason to trap people. I understand safety concerns but this is the ideal we should working towards gradually.
Welfare Open Borders – The welfare state needs more taxpayers so let people in and tax them till they can’t take it so we can pretend the system isn’t collapsing.
Economic Open Borders – More people mean more entrepreneurs and innovators, cheap unskilled labor makes some businesses more globally competitive and access to skilled labor makes the US an easier place to park your business since you have access to the global labor market.
Economic Closed Borders – More unskilled and skilled workers reduce MY… I mean our wages, I can’t really stop people here from having kids but I can keep people from outside coming in and taking my… I mean our jobs.
Cultural Closed Borders – People from other places have different cultures and having them come here challenges the dominance of my culture which to me is the right culture.
Pragmatic Closed Borders – I’d like to let more people in but I’m pretty scared of terrorism and crime.
Trump Closed Borders – Trump said it so build a wall, but if he changes his mind I’m sure there is good reason so I’ll go with it.
Libertarian Closed Borders (Libertarian Nationalism) – A nations land is the private property of its citizens so they should be able to dictate who comes and goes. I believe the current culture is more liberty friendly than outsiders so I want to keep them out because… liberty.
Political Closed Borders – I just really hate Democrats so I don’t care how nice these immigrants may be I will not take the overstated risk that they may vote Democrat.
Moderate Closed Borders – I don’t want there to be less immigration but I don’t want more and I want current law to be Enthusiastically enforced.
Radical Closed Borders… (Super Nationalism) – No more immigration, let’s send some of the people here back. We can also just dump them all
In California and New York and kick them out of the Union.
Bottom line outside of our physical self (our ability to speak to think), our ability to define what is mine and yours and when one has caused damages to another requires legal, moral and cultural frame works with broad tacit consent to exist and be upheld. Government like in anything makes things constant and stagnant when it assumes universal and involuntary provision of a good or service and in property rights and legal frameworks even many libertarians feel this is a proper place for the government to impose its static and stagnating barriers.
*Not an unreasonable view, if you believe property rights have one perfect immutable definition why would you want to let people challenge it, though as we can see in the issues that plague our criminal justice system the devil is in the details and angels always come in the form of alternatives and competition.
My view is nothing is ever perfect but can always get better when you leave room to develop and try alternatives in small voluntary experiments. (Nothing voluntary will ever be on a universal scale and that’s a feature not a bug). I apply this same thinking to legal, moral and cultural frameworks… allow innovation to occur.
*On that I generally see legal, moral and cultural conflicts as the mechanism from which innovation occurs because conflicts like prices are signals of a need for innovation.
Technology opens all sorts of the doors. Smart Contract technology opens door to all sorts of new possibilities.
Instead of having the government in the marriage licensing business, an entrepreneurial person can design a dApp (decentralized application) on a Blockchain that allows people to create a marriage contract on the Blockchain that will self execute and terminate based on the terms of all parties involved creating a more robust, flexible and evolving method to create the legal arrangements for individuals to form a household.
Let’s explore solutions that empower people and possibilities and stay away from government solutions.
Libertarians are not against parks, schools, libraries, defense, quality control, etc.
Libertarians to different degrees are against the state providing them through tax funding.
Libertarians are also skeptical that the state can run any of these things effectively which can be illustrated by endless examples of the state providing something versus non-state actors. (Google when government provided cellphones)
You can have schools, parks and libraries that are open to the public without them having them to be run by the state or funded by taxation. We can find creative ways to provide these services (user fees with sliding scales, subscriptions, bundling, sponsorships, donations of land/resources/Money, tokenization) for everyone’s use that are lower cost and better run, it just requires experimentation and imagination.
That’s what libertarians want, not to eliminate the ability for services and goods people want to be provided but to take it out of the realm of the state so individuals and communities can discover better ways to fund and run them that involve their buy-in, their consent.
Libertarians want the accountability, the efficiency and value that consent brings to all aspect of our lives where we let it.
A lot of people like to make jokes about crypto kitties but when you look at what they did, it’s quite genius.
Essentially what they did is create a standard for non-fungible token issuances. (The Kitties)
So many of these kitties where issued in the ICO and the only way to make more is to breed male and female tokens. (Different cats look different so you have to find out who owns the male and female versions of your favorite kittens and pay them to breed their kittens)
Essentially you have people breeding digital cats for a handsome profit. This totally nailed people’s desire to collect things. I hope Nintendo does something similar with Pokémon where you can actually transfer them into the game.
Can you imagine kids breeding their own cryptomon and doing battles. (It works this way now but if your game gets erased you lose your Pokémon now they’d exist forever on the Blockchain)
Not every new technology brings has to make our lives productive sometimes it just enhances or creates new methods of leisure.
Buying crypto should be done not only for investment purposes but as a libertarian in principle.
Why? When you buy and hold crypto and its price rises it creates an incentives for developers to develop and discover new applications of the technology. This decentralized tech will prove to be a godsend when the burden of government taxation and regulation makes it impossible to make living or run traditional centralized enterprises.
Supporting crypto matters because the hope that people can freely exchange and do commerce with each other Matters.