Each year I try to live up to a list created back in 1998 by Harry Browne (RIP). Personally I feel I have done better following these resolutions. Going into 2014 I hope to do an even better job. Parts of this list are good for anyone to use regardless of their political leanings.
A Libertarian’s New Year’s Resolutions
by Harry Browne
- I resolve to sell liberty by appealing to the self-interest of each prospect, rather than preaching to people and expecting them to suddenly adopt my ideas of right and wrong.
- I resolve to keep from being drawn into arguments or debates. My purpose is to inspire people to want liberty — not to prove that they’re wrong.
- I resolve to listen when people tell me of their wants and needs, so I can help them see how a free society will satisfy those needs.
- I resolve to identify myself, when appropriate, with the social goals someone may seek — a cleaner environment, more help for the poor, a less divisive society — and try to show him that those goals can never be achieved by government, but will be well served in a free society.
- I resolve to be compassionate and respectful of the beliefs and needs that lead people to seek government help. I don’t have to approve of their subsidies or policies — but if I don’t acknowledge their needs, I have no hope of helping them find a better way to solve their problems.
- No matter what the issue, I resolve to keep returning to the central point: how much better off the individual will be in a free society.
- I resolve to acknowledge my good fortune in having been born an American. Any plan for improvement must begin with a recognition of the good things we have. To speak only of America’s defects will make me a tiresome crank.
- I resolve to focus on the ways America could be so much better with a very small government — not to dwell on all the wrongs that exist today.
- I resolve to cleanse myself of hate, resentment, and bitterness. Such things steal time and attention from the work that must be done.
- I resolve to speak, dress, and act in a respectable manner. I may be the first Libertarian someone has encountered, and it’s important that he get a good first impression. No one will hear the message if the messenger is unattractive.
- I resolve to remind myself that someone’s “stupid” opinion may be an opinion I once held. If I can grow, why can’t I help him grow?
- I resolve not to raise my voice in any discussion. In a shouting match, no one wins, no one changes his mind, and no one will be inspired to join our quest for a free society.
- I resolve not to adopt the tactics of Republicans and Democrats. They use character assassination, evasions, and intimidation because they have no real benefits to offer Americans. We, on the other hand, are offering to set people free — and so we can win simply by focusing on the better life our proposals will bring.
- I resolve to be civil to my opponents, and treat them with respect. However anyone chooses to treat me, it’s important that I be a better person than my enemies.
A few days ago Kal Lis over at Displaced Plainsman listed 10 issues he feels are more important than Obamacare. Before listing 10 issues he had this to say:
This morning, I found this post and Larry Rhoden’s claim: “The battle against Obamacare is the most pressing issue our nation is facing.” Repealing a law passed by Congress, signed by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court is “the most pressing issue” in the country. Seriously?
His whole list is worth reading. I actually agree with most of his 10 items. But even if I didn’t agree with his list it would be worth seeing what he or anybody finds important.
Along the same lines libertarian TV host John Stossel has come under heat recently for not getting too worked up over the NSA spying. He has created a list of 100 things he thinks are just as bad or worse than the NSA spying. I’ve actually seen Stossel called a LINO (libertarian in name only) for his stance on this.
I think both of the above people are basically making the same point: there is no single ‘biggest issues’ facing the United States. Going back to Obamacare; I believe Obamacare is a work of pure crony capitalism with the insurance and portions of the medical industries being the recipients. To that end I do speak against Obamacare a lot. However, I do not feel it is the most important issue in the United States. Additionally I think the Republicans will shoot themselves in the foot in 2014 if they cause a government shutdown over funding of Obamacare (personally I would love a government shutdown, but I’m not the voting public that Republicans have to worry about).
The same is true of the NSA spying. Back in the Bush years I protested alongside many people (mostly liberals) that believed the Patriot Act and other DC moves would decrease the civil liberties of all Americans. Fast forward to the NSA revelations over this last summer. Am I upset about what the NSA is doing? Yes. Is it the biggest issue in the US? No. For many of us it has been hard to resist having “I told you so” moments. However instead of having those moments I’ve been trying to bring more awareness to these issues and hopefully public support will force DC to change the laws.
I guess the real point of this post is that there is no ‘biggest issue facing the US’. Individuals and society are much more complex than any single issue. I thought of making my own list of big issues. But then I realized that is what this blog is about. Almost every issues I’ve posted on I feel is just as important, if not more important, than Obamacare and the NSA. Now if we could just get such variety of opinions and issues from political candidates…
I think the perfect way to end this post is a song from Ten Years After:
Today (August 20, 2013) is Ron Paul’s 78th Birthday. Ron Paul has been one of the few consistent beacons of liberty in DC. Even after retiring from Congress he has continued to be a leader in the liberty movement. Earlier this year Dr. Paul launched the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Just last week Dr Paul launched the Ron Paul Channel, an interactive media experience for those of us that no longer trust the mainstream media.
As part of the birthday celebrations Policymic has listed 78 Reasons Every American Should Wish Ron Paul a Happy Birthday. It is a great pictorial tribute to the impact Ron Paul has had upon the liberty movement.
I can only hope that DC is able to find suitable long-term replacements for Dr Paul and his unrelenting advocacy of liberty. In his farewell speech to Congress, Dr Paul left the key for the liberty movement to focus upon:
To achieve liberty and peace, two powerful human emotions have to be overcome. Number one is “envy” which leads to hate and class warfare. Number two is “intolerance” which leads to bigoted and judgmental policies. These emotions must be replaced with a much better understanding of love, compassion, tolerance and free market economics. Freedom, when understood, brings people together. When tried, freedom is popular.
The problem we have faced over the years has been that economic interventionists are swayed by envy, whereas social interventionists are swayed by intolerance of habits and lifestyles. The misunderstanding that tolerance is an endorsement of certain activities, motivates many to legislate moral standards which should only be set by individuals making their own choices. Both sides use force to deal with these misplaced emotions. Both are authoritarians. Neither endorses voluntarism. Both views ought to be rejected.
It is fighting envy and intolerance that the liberty movement should be focused upon. This is the greatest lesson Dr Paul has been teaching millions of people across the country. I hope his message continues to spread. I also wish Dr Paul a Happy Birthday!
Here is the transcript from his farewell speech to Congress and below is the video of this historic speech.
This week is an important week for liberty and alternative media. It is the week the Ron Paul Channel will officially launch. For those unfamiliar with the Ron Paul Channel project here is a snippet from their August 7 news release:
Since announcing the Ron Paul Channel’s creation solely on Facebook and Twitter, more than 200,000 people have gone to www.RonPaulChannel.com to express interest in learning more about the channel and Dr. Paul’s programming.
The Ron Paul Channel will begin by providing fresh, engaging original programming each week, available to subscribers live or on-demand. Subscriptions will cost $9.95 per month and provide subscribers with direct access to Dr. Paul and a diverse array of guests.
“Americans are tired of the games and the lies of today’s media. They want the truth. I have been astonished by the flood of interest in the channel from tens of thousands of people in just a matter of hours,” said Paul. “Imagine this: no censors, no barricades, no statists. We will be able to engage viewers directly on subjects that matter most to them; from finances to civil liberties to foreign policy.”
I for one look forward to another source of news that hasn’t been processed by mainstream media. Anyone interested in the project should head over to www.RonPaulChannel.com and check it out.
On July 4, 1776 the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. This document penned by Thomas Jefferson allowed the 13 colonies to declare freedom from the King in front of the whole world. I find Independence Day a fitting time to actually read this landmark document. Below is the full text transcript of the Declaration of Independence as posted on the Government Archives page.
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Robert Treat Paine
Remy has brought his libertarian-leaning YouTube videos to a whole new level by taking on the NSA. I mean how can ya go wrong with a slow HipHop song that not only takes on the NSA but has Anthony Weiner and ObamaPhone references. And of course his acting as congressmen is as spot on as always. Here is GoRemy’s latest video:
Sometimes one video is just not enough! Here are four more of my favorite Remy videos to be enjoyed.
This video puts current government actions in true proportions regarding “why they fought”.
It seems too often the First Amendment is under attack. Here is Remy’s take on free speech.
You can’t cover politics without mentioning mandates; especially for cough drops!
I know its not Christmas, but I feel like a good holiday tune:
For all of Remy’s great videos (not all political) go to GoRemy.com.
I have tried almost a dozen times in the last two days to write a post about PRISM and its ramifications. Each time I had to delete my draft post. It was hard to write a post that didn’t come off as saying the following: “You should have listened to us about FISA, dumbasses!” That is not what I want to say, but I couldn’t find a way to write about the subject without it sounding similar.
So instead of writing that, I will direct readers to this post from The Displaced Plainsman. His post sums up the situation very well.
Going forward I must reconnect with my New Years resolutions. I posted these resolutions this last New Years Eve. They were actually written by Harry Browne in 1998. In particular I must work on the following 3 resolutions:
I resolve to cleanse myself of hate, resentment, and bitterness. Such things steal time and attention from the work that must be done.
Being mad at those that allowed FISA to get to this state helps nothing. Instead of attacking people it is time to move forward and find a way beyond PRISM. I do think there are many paths going forward that lead to improved liberty. These positive paths must be the focus.
I resolve to remind myself that someone’s “stupid” opinion may be an opinion I once held. If I can grow, why can’t I help him grow?
FISA has been around since the 70’s. I did not become aware of FISA myself until the early 2000’s. How can I expect everyone to understand the downsides of FISA when I myself spent most of my life unaware of it. Not everyone understands the ramifications of the expansion of FISA in the last decade. So instead of attacking people for ‘not knowing’ it is time to get back to informing!
I resolve to be civil to my opponents, and treat them with respect. However anyone chooses to treat me, it’s important that I be a better person than my enemies.
This is one I always try to abide by. It is the way I was raised. However I am also a naturally sarcastic person. I must find a way to balance this. Also, stooping to “I told you so” tactics is a sign of disrespect. If I disrespect anyone taking the time to listen to (or read) my words I will likely break any chance of real communication.
I have a FISA related post planned for this Monday. I have tasked myself with trying to find a way to write about the subject in a positive and respectful manner.