I snapped the above picture in downtown DC over the weekend. To me, what got me was the phrase “Stop Disrespecting My President!” To that, I wonder, “What is disrespect for a political leader?”
We’ve previously noted that conservatives have spent a great deal of time this election cycle focusing on memes that don’t really matter, but does any of that equate to “disrespect?”
Is it disrespect to point out that the man’s policies are just not working? To mock him for forgetting about our national debt? To point out that his campaign is freaky as all get-out? To call him out for trampling on free speech? To worry about the damage that he’s doing to our country?
To be fair, there are people out there who could be construed as disrespecting our president, by claiming he’s not really American and instead a “Kenyan Neo-Anti-Colonialist Marxist Muslim,” but they’re Birthers and just crazy. Yes, that stuff is pretty batty, but outside of the conspiracy theory crap, what is there that’s disrespectful? The worst I can think of are Republicans who say their goal is to defeat him in November and ensure that he fails, but let’s be realistic: this is a democracy. Of course you want to beat the other guy, because you want to win the election and push your own agenda. That’s how it works. That’s not disrespectful, that’s politics.
I’m going to have to disagree with my colleague Kevin on the Brandon Raub case. Sure, I get that he is no martyr. (First of all, he isn’t dead. Yet.) But neither is there any cause for the man to picked up by the FBI and involuntarily put in custody for “psychiatric evaluation.”
We all know the comments on his Facebook wall. Kevin listed some of them. Yes, they looked like Mr. Raub was deeply frustrated with this country, and they were, I admit, a bit threatening. (“I’m coming for some heads,” “There will be justice,” etc.). But is that grounds for arresting him? I find that very doubtful.
If my mother had posted what she had said to me on a daily basis as a kid to a Facebook wall, she would no doubt be arrested. That’s because, half the time I did something very stupid and aggravating, she would shout “I’m going to kill you!” Now that’s a statement many would take as one of intent to kill. But did my mother ever intend to murder me? Of course not. (She might say otherwise, but really, she never wanted to hurt me.) Yet some overzealous law enforcement officer or child protective services agent might have seen that and had my mother locked up, for really no good reason.
Editor’s note: This is one of two takes on the Brandon Raub story that will posted today.
Early Monday morning while making my news rounds, a very interesting item from caught my attention. Brandon Raub, a former Marine, was arrested by local police and the FBI in Virginia and was sent for a mental evaluation for posting anti-government comments. At least, according to that first article I read.
I sure as hell wasn’t going to share or comment on the story until I had more info, but I had to get to work. So, as the day progressed, I read more and more about this story. There was talk about green warrants and possible mental health issues. Then someone posted a link to this guy’s Facebook page. Some of the stuff on there was just downright crazy. But! Was it a threat or a call for violence? No. Not in my opinion.
Still…I didn’t have the necessary information to make an informed decision. Did this guy’s family have him committed? At this point, it’s looking like no. And the strangest thing to me was, as I mentioned, that the FBI was involved with his detainment.
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.
A Pennsylvania judge ruled Wednesday that a new Republican-supported state voter ID law could be implemented for Election Day, despite objections that it was a partisan attempt to hurt President Obama and could cost thousands of voters the right to cast ballots.
Commonwealth Judge Robert Simpson said the individuals and civil rights groups challenging the law had not met the heavy burden of proving that it so clearly violated the state constitution that it should not be implemented. He said there was still time for those without proper ID to acquire it.
“Petitioners did not establish . . . that disenfranchisement was immediate or inevitable,” Simpson wrote, adding, “I was convinced that Act 18 will be implemented by Commonwealth agencies in a nonpartisan, evenhanded manner.”
The detailed, 70-page opinion by Simpson, a veteran of the bench who is a Republican, makes it much more likely that Pennsylvania voters will now be required to show specific forms of photo ID. It is one of many new restrictive voting laws across the country — in almost all cases, sponsored by Republicans and opposed by Democrats.
Almost every time I make a pro-Gary Johnson comment on Facebook, I get something from conservatives to the effect that a vote for Gary would be a wasted vote (Or that it would be a vote for Obama.) This strikes me as utterly nonsensical. How could a vote that is quite clearly marked as for “Gary Johnson” somehow be construed as being for “Barack Obama”? And how, in a political system supposedly based on people choosing to elect those officials that best match their views, can a vote be wasted?
Indeed, there is a way in which a vote can be wasted, but not for the reasons that these folks are thinking of.
In every election, there are a number of “strategic voters”. These are folks who aren’t voting for the candidate that is most like them, but the one who they think will win. They’re gamblers who don’t want to lose, “losing” being defined as “that other guy winning.”
But, because they aren’t voting for who really represents them, the candidate who is the closest to who they are, they are truly throwing away their vote. A vote for any candidate who is not the most ideal in an election is a wasted vote, because you’re wasting the chance to stand up for your principles and what you really want.
Recently, I’ve been having a running discussion on this blog about the US Constitution, the concept of “states’ rights,” and individual rights. It’s been very illuminating, as I’ve discovered that many so-called “libertarians” are in fact quite confused about what the US Constitution means, and have gotten mixed up in other ideas
Users such as “Jim” and “The Torch” (real name Johnny Storm, I’m assuming) have made the claim that the federal government should not, and is prohibited by the Constitution, from protecting people’s rights when they are being violated and trampled on by the state governments. Their reasoning is that the Tenth Amendment prohibits this, because the Founding Fathers were setting up a federalist system. This argument would actually hold water…if it was being presented on July 8th, 1868.
That’s because the next day, the nation formally adopted the 14th Amendment, which gives the federal government the power to enforce the Bill of Rights against the states, which now how to abide by it as well. (Little known fact: prior to the 14th Amendment, the Bill of Rights were not binding on the state governments; they only applied to Washington.)
These folks are both fans of Ron Paul, and have cited this column he wrote on Lew Rockwell’s site about state vs. federal:
You’ve heard about counties shutting down children’s lemonade stands for no other reason than county officials are, well, I can’t print what they are. But in Fauquier County, Virginia, officials have decided to top that…by punishing a woman who hosted a ten year old’s birthday party:
This is the idiocy that we have to deal with. This is the kind of heartbreak and torture created by government regulation. I bet you dollars to donuts that what happened here is a combination of misguided do-gooders who want to keep people from accidentally ingesting food that may not be edible, combined with larger farms and agricultural businesses who cackled evilly at the chance to create yet another piece of red tape to shut down competitors.
Great going, Fauquier. Ruining children’s birthday parties. You deserve some sort of award. Considering the subject matter, I think it should come in the form of a giant bucket of cow crud.
Video from my friend Sean Malone, aka The Logicologist, who works on the Economic Freedom Project.
I think we need to have a big sit-down as libertarians and go back to one of the great libertarian texts, the big one that is cited by many fans of liberty today. Yes, I’m talking about the United States Constitution, and I think this is important because there seems to be a great number of libertarians who don’t understand it, and they have no idea what they’re talking about.
Earlier this week, I wrote about a ThinkProgress piece that was incredibly idiotic and misleading about a Rand Paul quote they just could not comprehend. Amazingly, a user by the username of “Jim” commented that I was a “leftist” for somehow wanting the federal government to mandate a right to birth control pills, i.e., have them paid for by the taxpayers and given to people.
I actually wrote something similar to what I will write here last year, where I identified my own personal split with Ron Paul. I think that same problem, though, has cropped up not only with “Jim” but with a great many libertarians. Strangely (or not so strangely), a lot of them are the Ron Paul type of libertarians, which disturbs me.
Every day there is another diatribe on gay marriage from opponents of the idea. They think they can unravel it, show how it is just simply wrong and should not even be considered. Most of these pieces are just conservative writers flailing around, weeping and gnashing their teeth as the country more and more grows to understand gays and lesbians and give them the same rights heterosexuals have.
If you’re actually reading this article, I’ll be surprised. Because it’s about homosexuality, and when it comes to arguing about homosexuality, the ground rules are different for conservatives and liberals. Strangely enough, we’ve gotten to a point where liberals are allowed to use reason, and conservatives are not — even in conservative publications.
Okay, so you’re going to use reason. I dig it—though I’m skeptical of how reason will lead anyone to conclude that same-sex marriage should be banned. But let’s take this one step at a time:
Here’s how it works. When gay activists go after Christians and a place like Chick-fil-A, which supports traditional marriage, they make an argument that strikes right at the heart of the Bible. They argue, as Noah Michelson recently did in The Huffington Post, that,