Chris Frashure

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Democrat Congressmen want to buy your guns

 

Democratic Representatives Gerry Connolly (VA-11) and Ted Deutch (FL-19) are campaigning to have a gun buyback program added to the fiscal cliff deal:

“Gun buybacks have proven successful in communities across the nation,” Connolly and Deutch said in a “Dear Colleague” to House members.  “Adding $200 million to the final compromise on the fiscal cliff could remove as many as 1 million guns from our streets.”  Noting that such programs are supported by law enforcement agencies as a valuable resource for reducing gun violence, the two congressmen said including the gun buyback program in any year-end deal “is a simple, immediate step we can take to assure the public we are committed to taking meaningful action.”

Such a program operates under the assumption that the mere presence of guns is the primary cause of fatal gun related incidents. It does nothing to address the actual issue relating to mental instability that leads to such tragedies as Sandy Hook. Blinded by a purely political desire to see the entire citizenry disarmed, the left is incapable of an honest discourse that may lead to proper and effective preventative measures (the right is similarly guilty of this breed of stubbornness).

In addition to a being a workaround of the Second Amendment, Connolly and Deutch view the buyback program as a potential government economic stimulus, stating that “[d]istributing funding to the States to run buyback programs using pre-paid debit cards with a three-month expiration date could provide a jolt to local economies that have stagnated in the wake of the recession and concerns over the fiscal cliff.”

Libertarianism after 2012

Libertarianism as a philosophy may perhaps be witnessing its modern heyday. Its influence in shaping policy positions of new candidates has grown and the pressure on incumbent Republicans to oppose new forms of government intrusion into the economic and personal affairs of individuals is stronger now than it has been in the past. Social conservatism has been relegated to its deathbed by a youthful tolerance. Polls find a growing trend among self-identified libertarians. The Libertarian Candidate, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, is enjoying a huge surge in polling relative to his third-party predecessors, indicating a dissatisfaction with the status quo of mainstream politics.

But is it genuine, and will it last?

Why Paul Ryan is bad for libertarianism

Paul Ryan

By now most have given their opinion of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate. In all of the commentary I have noticed a disturbing trend: grassroots conservatives and some libertarians think there is an upside to the pick.

Most notably for me is Corie Whalen’s praise of Romney’s pick as “victory…on an intellectual level.” Corie’s view is that the Paul Ryan post-VP pick contrasts that of the other Paul Ryan, with the former being more libertarian-ish than the latter. Her theory - and it sounds nice - is that Congressman Ryan will sow the seeds of a more libertarian populace by introducing and articulating certain ideas more favorable to free markets and sensible fiscal policy. She goes on to admit that Ryan’s voting record during his tenure in congress has been anything but libertarian.

I’m used to people falling for a candidate’s rhetoric without actually analyzing their record, but to have someone admit that a candidate’s record is abhorrent yet praise them for their rhetoric is…strange. But does Corie have a point? His record aside, is Paul Ryan’s rhetoric good for libertarianism?

No even close, because libertarianism at its heart is anti-rhetoric. Libertarianism concerns itself with actions not words. Libertarianism rejects politics as usual in favor of principled representatives who will walk the walk. Paul Ryan can talk a pretty talk, but he does not have the record to match his rhetoric.

When people become enamored purely with rhetoric they place inadequate stock into actions. Until this trend is reversed, politicians will continue to contort themselves to fit the need and say whatever it takes to get elected; until this behavior is rejected by the populace, libertarianism will not flourish.

Allen West is “fine” with keeping key ObamaCare provisions

In an interview with ThinkProgress, Congressman Allen West indicated that he was “fine” with keeping some key provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

…West pointed to three popular provisions of the health care law that he would like to see preserved: allowing parents to keep children on their health insurance plans until 26, ensuring that people with pre-existing conditions aren’t denied insurance, and closing Medicare’s prescription drug donut hole…

West is just another Republican walking in line after Majority Leader Eric Cantor expressed his desire to retain some of the same aspects of President Obama’s landmark legislation.

Ostensibly, Republicans have no plan of their own for health insurance reform nor are they serious about freeing up the market. Instead, they are campaigning against the individual mandate in PPACA while piggybacking on some of the less unpopular provisions of the Act. This serves as a great reminder that Republicans do not have any inherent opposition to government intervention, only government intervention with a Democratic authorship. Despite campaigning for the repeal of ObamaCare since its passage two years ago, Republicans are promising to implement a meekly watered down version of the same thing.

Bob McDonnell: Drones over Virginia would be “great”

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has endorsed the use of unmanned drones over the skies of the Commonwealth:

Police drones flying over Virginia would be “great” and “the right thing to do” for the same reasons they are so effective in a battlefield environment, the state’s chief executive said Tuesday.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, says he is open to any technology that makes law enforcement more productive. The use of drones, which was recently endorsed by the police chiefs of Fairfax County and D.C., would make better use of valuable police resources.

“It’s great,” he said while speaking on WTOP’s “Ask the Governor” program. “If you’re keeping police officers safe, making it more productive and saving money…it’s absolutely the right thing to do.”

If that isn’t mind-blowing enough, the governor believes that unmanned agents of  Big Brother surveying the skies, perhaps armed, is good for civil liberties:

McDonnell added Tuesday it will prove important to ensure the state maintains Americans’ civil liberties, such as privacy, if it adds drones to its law enforcement arsenal.

With technological advances comes the need for greater civil liberties protections to prevent the government from using said technologies against its citizens. Clearly Governor McDonnell sees nothing wrong in arming the state with weaponry that could be used to spy on innocent civilians, or worse, without warrant.

Price controls and value

Carl Menger described value as “a judgment economizing men make about the importance of the goods at their disposal for the maintenance of their lives and well-being.” He went on to say that “[i]t is, therefore, also quite erroneous to call a good that has value to economizing individuals a “value,” or for economists to speak of “values” as of independent real things, and to objectify value in this way.

For the entities that exist objectively are al­ways only particular things or quantities of things, and their value is something fundamentally different from the things themselves; it is a judgment made by economizing individuals about the importance their command of the things has for the maintenance of their lives and well-being. Objectification of the value of goods, which is entirely subjective in nature, has nevertheless contributed very greatly to confusion about the basic principles of our science.

Yet talk of objective,”reasonable,” and “fair” prices abound:

The Arkansas Supreme Court has issued a legal kick to the gut of the fee-happy folks at Ticketmaster and Live Nation, confirming that the ticket seller is bound by the same state laws that prevent scalpers from piling on fees and charging exorbitant prices.

Ticketmaster is the subject of a lawsuit brought by an Arkansas man who says the $49 in fees — on top of the $42.75/ticket — he paid for four tickets to a concert by country singer Jason Aldean violated the provision of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act that forbids the sale of tickets above their face value plus reasonable credit card or handling fees.

Republicans to preserve government involvement in health care

Reiterating their support for full repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act, key Republicans are now campaigning on promises that their version of health care reform will implement some of the same provisions as the one they have spent years campaigning against:

Speaking to more than 100 students at American University, Cantor said, “What you will see us do is to push for repeal of the healthcare bill, and at the same time, contemporaneously, submit our replacement bill, that has in it the provisions [barring discrimination due to pre-existing conditions and offering young people affordable care options].”

Cantor stressed that while he supports full repeal of the current law, Republicans share some of the same goals as Democrats, although they propose different ways of achieving them.

“We too don’t want to accept any insurance company’s denial of someone and coverage for that person because he or she may have pre-existing condition,” Cantor said, addressing a young woman in the audience who noted that she had a pre-existing health condition.

“And likewise we want to make sure that someone of your age has the ability to access affordable care, whether it’s under your parents plan or elsewhere,” Cantor added.

How the United States recruits terrorists

From the New York Times:

KABUL, Afghanistan – The American military claimed responsibility and expressed regret for an airstrike that mistakenly killed six members of a family in southwestern Afghanistan, Afghan and American military officials confirmed Monday.

The attack, which took place Friday night, was first revealed by the governor of Helmand Province, Muhammad Gulab Mangal, on Monday. His spokesman, Dawoud Ahmadi, said that after an investigation they had determined that a family home in Sangin district had been attacked by mistake in the American airstrike, which was called in to respond to a Taliban attack.

Whatever you think about the war in Afghanistan, there is no disputing that this is recruitment fodder for terrorist organizations. In a region where objective information is scarce, the narrative that America is an evil empire is easily spread unchallenged, and when your family is killed by Americans, you seek vengeance. Events like this only serve to aid those we are truly at war with.

Gary Johnson must refute birtherism

Responding to charges that Gary Johnson is not a libertarian, Jeremy Kolassa notes that libertarianism isn’t as rigid as some think, particularly on foreign policy. It is this sort of philosophical polytomy that has given us the choice of two libertarians in the 2012 election, both from different factions of the liberty movement.

For many libertarians like myself, Gary Johnson offers a breath of fresh air from several themes popular with the Ron Paul movement, which is fraught with conspiracy theorists, anarcho-capitalists, and armchair economists who believe themselves to be experts on monetary policy after reading End the Fed. Views of this nature are detrimental to the growth of libertarianism and have tainted Ron Paul’s campaign, rendering it unacceptable to many mainstream voters. Thus far, Governor Johnson has done well to avoid these poisons.

Unfortunately, not everyone within the Johnson campaign agrees with this strategy. While it is certainly not a requirement that campaign staffers agree entirely with their boss, there are some views that must be repudiated for the good of the campaign. Birtherism – a conspiracy theory believing that President Barack Obama was not born within the United States – is one of those views. For this reason, Gary Johnson must immediately remove his Virginia campaign Co-Director, Juanita Billings, as she has revealed that she subscribes to this theory.

Reagan biographer suggests conservatives consider Gary Johnson

Ronald Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, author of Rendezvous With Destiny and Reagan’s Revolution, is not very fond of the Republican establishment. Nor is he particularly pleased with Mitt Romney’s treatment of The Gipper:

Romneyism—like Bushism and McCainism—is about wiping Reaganism away from the Republican Party.

Romney has made it clear in the past his abhorrence of Ronald Reagan. Romney is about personal power, plain and simple.

Shirley thinks Republicans may have hit a new all-time low, stating that Romney “could be the most despised choice since Richard Nixon.” He does have an alternative though, suggesting that “conservatives will seriously consider walking away and looking at the candidacy of Gary Johnson.”

With the Republican primary effectively over and Mitt Romney the presumptive nominee, it will be interesting to see if any prominent conservatives buck the GOP and endorse the Libertarian candidate, or if they all collectively hold their nose and support Mitt Romney. There is another option, of course, and that is to refrain from endorsing anyone. This was the option taken by Gary Johnson himself when he became the only sitting Republican governor not to endorse George Bush in 2000.

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