The Philosophical Origin of Liberty

The principle of human equality, the idea that all humans are equal in their individual rights to exert their will, provides the foundation for property rights. The concept of equal human rights came about during the Enlightenment Era when people realized that kings were not inherently superior to their peasants. Before that, kings decided all the rules of ownership and conduct. But when you accept the principle of human equality, then anyone may exert their will, so long as they do not infringe on another’s right to do the same.

This is the principle that we call “Liberty.”

Ownership comes from the idea that your will has physical manifestations in the world. Your own body is one of those physical manifestations, so you own yourself. Furthermore, you own any other physical manifestation of your will, so long as your are not infringing on the same right of anyone else.

Hence, “Private Property Rights” are the practical manifestation of the principle of Liberty.

But ultimately, in order to secure that principle of human equality, which necessarily implies Liberty, those principles must be encoded in law. That law must be superior to the will of any human. Otherwise, any human can overturn that principle.

This concept has historically been called the “Rule of Law.”

The Rule of Law is necessary to secure Liberty, and implies a specific body of law with jurisdictional enforcement powers. Hence, a system of Liberty necessarily requires a government. Anarchy precludes the Rule of Law, because in anarchy, there are no rulers, not even by those who seek to enforce the Rule of Law.

The Rule of Law alone is not sufficient to guarantee Liberty. The content of that body of laws matters, and must absolutely reflect the principles of human equal rights and Liberty, or tyranny will result.

So, beware of those who seek Anarchy, beware of those who pursue the Rule of Law without those laws being guided by the principles of Liberty, and beware of those who invoke equality while rejecting property rights. Each of these groups would destroy the protections that we seek from tyrannical leaders.

A New Concept: Philosophical Entropy

“Philosophical entropy” is the idea that the more ways there are for a person to be wrong, the more people will be wrong. When a multiple-choice question gets fewer right answers as more options are added, that’s one of the simplest forms of philosophical entropy. The existence of multiple differing political ideologies within a population is a more complicated example of philosophical entropy.

I call this concept “philosophical entropy” in quite the literal sense. Entropy is defined as the tendency for a system to occupy all accessible microstates, weighted by the difficulty of accessing each particular microstate. Physically, this means that any system comprised of particles that can each be in two possible microstates of equal energy will have half of its particles in one microstate and half in the other microstate.

If we borrow this concept from physics and apply it to philosophical epistemology, we can think of each belief system as a macroscopic statistical system. Each logical step or choice a person must make in order to construct that belief system is a microstate. Each logical step can either be right or wrong. Once a single incorrect logical step is made, the person’s entire belief system is built on faulty logic, and will be wrong unless they somehow correct that error through another counteracting error later. The more logical steps there are, the more chances a person has to end up wrong. In other words, while travelling down a pathway from axioms to ideological conclusions, the more different branches there are at which a person must choose a direction to travel, the more likely they will eventually choose a wrong path, and end up at the wrong ideological conclusions.

Thus, philosophical entropy suggests that if we assume that there is one right ideology, then the more wrong ideologies there are, the fewer people will be right. Ideological diversity is thus harmful to the ultimate goal of getting more people to be right, unless NOBODY has yet found the right answer.

The Effects of Increasing the Minimum Wage

Seattle increases its minimum wage to $15 in April, 2015.

Unemployment data for Portland and Los Angeles, for comparison.

Here’s How Liberty Wins

Understandably, we liberty-minded folks are depressed about Rand Paul having to suspend his campaign in the Republican primary. He represented our best shot at reshaping the Republican Party in our image and having a liberty-minded president by 2017.

However, it’s important not to lose perspective. We may have lost this battle, but we’re still winning the war. We can still win this. Time is on our side.

The Trends

The United States is still trending libertarian. Not in policy, but in the opinions held by the majority of people. Trust in government has reached historic lows. New technologies and cultural phenomena, ranging from social media, to 3D printing, to Kickstarter, to Uber are continually decentralizing our society and empowering individuals to create and be heard. People have more powerful ways than ever before of becoming politically informed.

The evidence of the effect this decentralization has upon our society is evident in the difference between Rand Paul’s supporters and everyone else. Rand Paul’s supporters are some of the most vocal political advocates on social media. Paul has more Facebook likes than Cruz or Rubio, and he was a consistent winner in online polls not yet “adjusted” for demographics. In Iowa, Paul won 13% of the under-age-40 vote, but only 2% of everyone else. The divide here is clearly between the young and those too old to adjust to new technologies.

The Goal

The way in which Rand Paul was sidelined in the GOP primary makes it very clear that the Republican Party cannot be a vessel for anything radically new. This party is overwhelmingly dominated by the elderly, the hateful, and the out-of-touch. Indeed, Ted Cruz’s message appeals to their base more than Rand Paul’s because of how similar it is to Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric. The reason these two win in the Republican Party is the same reason they cannot win the general public. Remember, the goal is not to keep the Republicans in power, regardless of how badly they mistreat us! If the Republicans want our votes, they have to earn it by nominating a real libertarian, like Rand Paul. If Cruz becomes president, a real libertarian has no shot in that party until 2024 at the earliest!

For Liberty to truly succeed, we need to build a new coalition, not burdened by Republican baggage. Any attempt to compromise our values in order to gain more supporters will only be seen as “selling out.” The Democratic Party works because it is united around a single principle: Government should have an active role in improving our lives. We need to build a party round the principle that we’re better off when the government leaves us alone. There is an existing party that is united around this principle:

The Libertarian Party.

The Strategy

If the trends are ever in our favor, then why hasn’t the Libertarian Party even come close to winning a major election yet? Well, it’s because of the “lesser of two evils” hypothesis. This hypothesis suggests that even if we agree with a 3rd party more, we always have to vote for one of the two major parties, because they’re the only ones who have a chance of winning, and it’s better to vote for the lesser evil than “throw away your vote” on a 3rd party. However, your odds of swinging an election between the two giants are astronomically small. For your vote for the Democrats or the Republicans to truly matter in a presidential election, you would have to live in a purple state, that purple state would have to swing on a single vote, and the electoral college would have to swing on that one state. Your vote truly doesn’t matter.

That is, unless you vote 3rd party. You see, 3rd parties desperately need each and every vote they can get. For the Libertarian Party, every vote has a significant chance of pushing them above the symbolic 1% threshold. Every vote pushes them ever closer to the 5% they would need to be included in the national debates. Every vote gives them a higher chance of being declared a “spoiler” for one of the two major parties.

But if we “spoil” the election, isn’t that a bad thing? Well that depends…is media attention a bad thing for a young, unknown political party trying to break out?

We can learn something from Donald Trump’s unexpected success. He broke out in the Republican primary by harnessing the “outrage factories” inherent in some of our new forms of media. By saying obviously outrageous things, he ensured that people rushing to express their hatred for him would dominate every single second of airtime in the political coverage around the country (and indeed, even around the world to some extent). When you’re trying to make a name in politics, as in show business, no publicity is bad publicity.

So here’s how we win:

  1. Support the Libertarian Party.
  2. The Libertarian Party starts looking like a spoiler in the polls.
  3. The Republicans, outraged at their potential loss, complain about the Libertarian Party.
  4. Stand strong! Give no ground! Let everyone know that the Liberty Coalition resides within the Libertarian Party. They can join it, but we’re not leaving it.
  5. Impressed by the unshakable principles of the Libertarian Party, more than 5% of voters begin supporting them.
  6. Mostly so the other parties can try to knock us down and steal our voters, the Libertarian Party is allowed in the national debates for the first time.
  7. The major parties’ scheme backfires.
  8. The Libertarian Party surpasses the Republicans in support.
  9. A national political realignment occurs, in which voters are divided by whether they are libertarian or authoritarian, rather than “liberal” or “conservative.”
  10. The Libertarian Party wins.

There’s no telling how much of this can be accomplished within the time frame of a single election campaign. But no matter how long it takes, remember that our movement is a growing flame, and we can no longer be ignored. As said by Mahatma Gandhi:

First they ignore you.
Then they laugh at you.
Then they fight you.
Then you win.

After Rand Paul’s Exit, Who Should Win the Republican Primary?

I’m starting to think I might want Rubio to win the primary for several reasons:

1. It will convince some of the Cruzers to follow me to the Libertarian Party.

2. It will put to rest, once and for all, this mindless “anti-establishment,” populist demagoguery.

3. If by some chance he wins the general election, Rubio won’t start mass-deporting people.

Rubio is really the safest choice left in the Republican Primary. Sorry Cruzers, if you wanted Constitutional, limited government, you should have stood with Rand.

The conservative case for deregulating immigration:

If I want to host an immigrant on my own private property, why should the government get to decide whether I’m allowed to do that? Do I not own my own property, and have the right to decide who to have as a guest?

In a free country, you don’t have to ask the government’s permission to host a guest on your own private property.

Edit: Or maybe I should just vote for Rand Paul anyways, so I can be one of the few who didn’t let the end of a campaign stop him from voting for what’s right.

A Complete Explanation of the 2008 Financial Collapse

To the Sanders-supporting socialists among us:

Well-meaning socialist politicians caused the economic downturn. This is absolutely certain. Every other explanation is entirely incorrect. You need to understand this, so I will explain it from the start.

In 1977, Jimmy Carter signed into law the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requiring banks to hand out housing loans on the basis of affirmative action. However, no enforcement mechanism was put in place, and the Act was mostly ignored. So in 1995, Bill Clinton pushed for and signed into law reforms to this Act, making it enforceable by the Federal Reserve, who can deny banks licenses to operate if they do not engage in sufficient affirmative action. Because the proposed customers of these loans did not qualify for ordinary housing loans, this forced banks and other finance firms to create an excessive number of subprime loans to service this market.

In 1998, Congress passed a bill to audit the Community Reinvestment Act and put together a report studying its effects. The report, released in 2000, showed that the results were atrocious. The individuals receiving these subprime loans were going bankrupt at an astronomical rate, and banks were beginning to collapse under the weight of all these junk loan contracts that would never be paid off. Clinton’s response to this was to issue an executive order demanding that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy up subprime loans, increasing their balance sheets to 50% subprime, in order to try to save the collapsing banking industry without stopping the CRA.

For several years, this quick fix seemed to be working. However, this created a new problem. Now that Fannie and Freddie were a guaranteed buyer for subprime loans, these loans were no longer valued as junk, even though they were realistically nothing more than junk. So the number of subprime loans on the market exponentially multiplied, as a means of creating money from nothing. The Democrats (especially Sanders) were pretty happy about this, because these loans were being used to purchase homes for poor and minority individuals. But the lack of real value there means this was nothing more than a bubble.

In 2007, the housing bubble burst, and subprime loan customers started going bankrupt. Suddenly, the perceived value of those subprime loans dropped back to $0, where they belong. Minorities lost their homes and savings at an unprecedented scale. This wiped out half the assets held by Fannie and Freddie, sending them into bankruptcy. Other banks that had gotten heavily into the subprime lending business (e.g. Lehman Brothers) were the first private sector businesses to collapse. By 2008 the global economy was collapsing, as a broader asset bubble popped. The rest is history.

This is a clear example of socialist politicians meddling in the economy for their idea of the “greater good” and screwing it up for everyone. When you try to use government to regulate markets for some supposed social goal, you destabilize the capitalist pricing system, creating bubble/burst cycles. There is an entire field of economics devoted to studying this phenomenon (see: Austrian Economics). It is completely foolish to think that you or anyone you might vote for can out-think the capitalist free markets and create a “greater good” without inadvertently blowing up the whole thing. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Bernie Sanders are all guilty of this same type of foolishness, and that is one of the many reasons why they are dangerous.

If you still insist on refusing to believe me, then just keep an eye on the stock market. We have reached the peak of another bubble, inflated by Barack Obama’s stimulus and Quantitative Easing schemes. Before Obama leaves office, the markets will have begun an unprecedented crash that will cut all the major indices by >50%. The global economy will once again be in turmoil. If you haven’t learned from the 2008 financial collapse, hopefully you will learn from the 2016 one.

Summary of the Arguments Against Libertarianism, and Responses

After seeing the same misconceptions produce the same arguments against liberty over and over again, I’ve decided it is time to organize the responses to those arguments into a single, highly-accessible list. I will continue updating this list over time, using this as the central hub linking to all of the responses to all of the arguments against individual liberty. If an argument is not yet listed with a link, it doesn’t mean I don’t have an argument. It just means I want the argument here so I will remember to answer it, but I haven’t yet taken the time to compile that argument into a complete post. If you want the answer to any of the un-linked arguments, just ask me.

Last Updated: 7/1/2015

The common arguments against liberty and libertarianism [click the argument to be taken to the response]:

  1. Libertarians should just move to Somalia.
  2. Libertarians should not use X, because X is a public service.
  3. Roads are a natural monopoly and cannot be provided by the free market.
  4. The free market does not account for positive and negative externalities.
  5. Democracy is freedom, or is the best system of government.
  6. By living in our society, you consent to its rules.
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