Borders, Property Rights and Normative Values

Too many people get wrapped in the wrong question when it comes to the discussion of borders. That question is “does the Nation State have the right or duty to enforce and protect its borders”. While it’s fun to discuss whether Nation States have legitimate claims to government land, it really comes down to a difference of whether you believe the autonomy and property of future generations can be bound by agreements and pacts over the autonomy and property of prior generations. Most people aren’t going to be on the absolute end of either side resulting in such a diverse discussion that it serves no purpose in resolving the policy question that is on the table.

“To the extent that Nation States exist whether you like them or not, what should border policy be?”

So my personal sentiment is that a more permissive policy with minimal barriers is better economically and in the long run creates a grander peace as cultures learn to coexist over generations (it’s not quick and it’s not pretty but does happen). Although this is the result of my more classically liberal and pluralistic values. It is totally rational and reasonable for someone to value the short run certainty cultural uniformity and limited labor competition can provide them at the expense of the grander but more distributed benefits of liberalism. (Basically some may prefer more for them at the expense of more for everyone).

So to the extent whether I or someone else believes a Nation State should exist, they do. They will employ some sort of border policy but should it be generous and welcoming or punishing, strict and limited. Depends on your values, but let’s have an actual conversation instead of shutting down conversation with words like Fascist, Communist, Racist, etc.

I will try to convince you to think my way and you are free to do you best to get me to think your way.


Cultural Appropriation Alarmism

Cultural appropriation alarmism is based on the idea we can’t fully appreciate the experience of another so we shouldn’t perform, celebrate or consume it. Problem is, the only experience we can truly appreciate is our own individual experience, why should that preclude me from taking/giving what I can from/to everyone else?

At the end of the day the heart of this is truly economic protectionism, limiting the competition to satisfy consumers. This time instead of consumers of goods or services, consumers of culture. Like when guilds/unions would decry non guild members performing the service they perform. Like all protectionism it is sold as everything but.

Be courteous, respectful and decent. Also, feel free to celebrate and embrace each other’s differences and mix and match them into something new, unique and beautiful.

Populism, Personal Responsibilty and Politics

Populist is a word people use to describe many of the candidates running for office in recent times. While it’s clear the message of a Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders can be quite different, they are both clearly populist messengers.

A populist message is signaled by two characteristics:

⁃ A scapegoat for all the problems people feel.

⁃ The answer being politically punishing the scapegoat as a magical bullet solution.

Here is the prototype of different populist messages…

Right-wing populism: The reason your life is so hard is that poor minorities and immigrants are taking advantage of your tax dollars while trade deals with other nations result in jobs leaving. The answer is to keep the immigrants out, end welfare and strong arm trade with other nations in our favor. Vote for me, you don’t need to do anything.

Left-wing populism: The reason your life is hard is that rich white corporate executives have lobbied for trade deals that let them exploit cheap labor overseas taking your jobs cutting your welfare to cut taxes for those corporations, fund wars for those corporations and deport immigrants back to lower wage countries for further exploitation by those corporations. We need to tax these corporations to restore your welfare and regulate them so they have to give you a high paying job. Vote for me, you don’t need to do anything.

Libertarian Populism: The Government is inherently corrupted by all sorts of special interests has been interests to serve those interests resulting in taxes, regulations and other policies that make it too expensive to start businesses, employ labor, and pursue all levels of opportunity. We need to reduce the size and scope of government so those opportunities can be available again. Vote for me, you don’t need to do anything.

The problem with a purely populist message, even a libertarian one is that it puts all the necessary change solely on government policy. This takes away any sense of personal responsibility for one’s life outcomes leaving them to believe there is nothing they should be doing to improve their lives beyond voting for their favorite populist.

This is why populism sells, because it’s appealing to believe that the only thing you need to do to change your life is Vote. While voting can have a very real impact on the world around us, at the end of the day our own lives are still very much within our own control despite very real challenges created by policy. Also any change in any direction cannot sustainably work without each of us taking responsibility over what is within our control.

Populism sells, but populism sucks.

Be Libertarian

Be Libertarian:

Set an example of peace with Non-Intervention

End prohibition of goods and services and the violence it brings

Reduce barriers to individuals cooperating in enterprise, charity and community

Reduce barriers and costs to opportunities for empowerment

Allow people to enter the contracts they wish with consenting adults

Reduce the cost of living by reducing the costs of intervention

Encourage voluntary aid through charity, insurance and family/community

Decentralize governance to allow all people to have a voice

Reflecting on the 2018 Elections as a Libertarian Party Member

Do we need to build the party identity/brand? Yes

Do we need to be bolder? Yes

Do we need more chapters and candidates to build out ground game? Yes

To be fair we have grown in many of these areas, but we need to keep doing so.

What I take away from this elections and the three runs I’ve made personally is the following.

– People vote out of loyalty, fear and hope and rarely out of ideology. I absolutely detest fear but I think we can do better on the other 2.

– You do need to be different, we do need to make the Libertarian brand distinct and disruptive, although this can be done without negativity and disruption doesn’t have to mean offensive. (This is a line I’m still trying figure out). People do need to feel that there is a tangibly different path that other parties don’t offer.

– The brand needs to be visible, we can’t control our media coverage but we can be out there in the community holding events that are FUN to build positive associations with the party and it’s boldest ideas regarding the things most people care about (education, healthcare, economy, sense of security)

– We need to take our ideas seriously but not take ourselves too seriously, I see many times people get turned off not by the candidate but by the supporters. This is minor as the greater issue is people even knowing that the candidate or party exists.

– Many people even at top of the ballot didn’t vote for the candidate but for the party, this is why community and membership building is key. We need to grow the base of people who believe in the party and what it represents and this can take a long time but like anything there are compound returns and as we grow we’ll grow faster. We ARE growing.