Archive for the ‘Civil liberties’ Category

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Gary Johnson voices strong concern over Arizona immigration law

In Civil liberties,Drug reform,Gary Johnson,Government spending,Immigration,Press Release,Taxes on April 29, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

Press release from Gary Johnson’s Our America Initiative today:

April 29, 2010, New York, NY — Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico and Honorary Chairman of the OUR America Initiative, stated today that immigration reform needs to focus on making work visas more accessible and ending crime along our borders.  “I understand the frustration in Arizona. I experienced the same type of concerns in New Mexico when I was Governor, but racial profiling is not the answer,” Governor Johnson stated, in reference to the recently passed Arizona law that authorizes law enforcement to stop suspected illegal immigrants and demand proof of legal status. “I vetoed over 750 bills as Governor of New Mexico, and I would absolutely have vetoed this bill if it came across my desk.”

Governor Johnson believes that the increase in crime along the borders is not due to illegal immigration, but to strict drug prohibition laws that provide increased leverage and power to Mexican drug cartels. “The problem is that the federal government is not able to do its job, because the current laws are just not enforceable. I respect Arizona taking action, and I believe strongly in States’ rights. But this law is just not well grounded. We need to implement an immigration policy that allows for better documentation and more easily obtainable permits for temporary guest workers to fill jobs that are available.” Johnson said. “In addition to citizens being stripped of their rights and subjected to unfair searches, this law is ultimately unfair to law enforcement, who will be left to implement a law that although well intended, is misguided in its attempt to reduce border crime, and is bound to have undesirable consequences.”

Governor Johnson has previously called for an end to marijuana prohibition, pointing out that we are not winning the war on drugs, and that billions of dollars are being wasted in fighting the Mexican drug carters along America’s borders. Studies show that prohibition of marijuana costs American taxpayers approximately $42 billion per year in law enforcement costs, as well as lost tax revenues.  In addition, Mexican drug cartels continue to reap huge profits from the prohibition of marijuana – with up to 70% of their total profits based on marijuana sales in the United States.

Governor Johnson is available for interviews, or to contribute content as a subject matter expert on legalization and immigration policy. Please contact Sue Winchester at 801.303.7924 or media@ouramericainitiative.com for further information.

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Gary Johnson on The Fairness Doctrine Radio Show, WDIS AM 1170

In Abortion,Civil liberties,Deficit,Drug reform,Economy,Entitlements,Federal Reserve,Foreign policy,Gary Johnson,Gary Johnson 2012,GOP,Government spending,Immigration,Inflation,Interviews,Judiciary,Our America,Ron Paul,Taxes on April 27, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

Gary Johnson joins The Fairness Doctrine, WDIS AM 1170 to speak about such issues as the economy, government spending, entitlements, the deficit, inflation, the Federal Reserve, taxes, drug law reform, civil liberties, abortion, judicial nominations, foriegn policy, immigration, Ron Paul, his Our America Initiative, and the 2012 presidential election.  (Warning: The audio quality on this radio recording is not terrific.)

http://www.archive.org/download/TheFairnessDoctrine-April2010_297/F.d.April27Hour1.mp3

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Important Voices: JohnsonForAmerica.com interviews David Nolan, inventor of the Nolan Chart

In Civil liberties,Economy,Federal Reserve,Foreign policy,GOP,Important Voices,Interviews,Tea Party on March 25, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

This is interview #22 in JohnsonForAmerica.com’s “Important Voices” series, where we talk with key figures, such as elected officials, candidates, authors, commentators, and policy experts, about the issues of the day.  A new interview is released every Monday and every Thursday, so check back often!

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Our guest for today’s Important Voices interview is David Nolan.  David was one of the people who played an integral role in founding the United States Libertarian Party.  He subsequently served the party in a number of roles including National Chair, editor of the party newsletter, chairman of the By-laws Committee, chairman of the Judicial Committee, and Chairman of the Platform Committee.  David originated the famous “Nolan chart,” which attempts to improve on the simple left versus right political taxonomy by separating the issues of economic freedom and social freedom and presenting them in the format of a plane.

Josiah Schmidt: How did you come to hold such a liberty-oriented philosophy?
 
David Nolan: Originally, from reading the works of liberty-oriented writers like Robert Heinlein, H.L. Mencken, and Ayn Rand. Then, by observing that the amount of freedom in a society correlates closely with its level of prosperity and happiness. See http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking.aspx 

Josiah Schmidt: Could you tell us the story of how you helped start the US Libertarian Party?
 
David Nolan: I first became politically active in Barry Goldwater’s Presidential campaign (1963-64). After that, I stayed active in the Young Republicans until 1971, when Richard Nixon made it abundantly clear that the GOP was not the party of liberty. When Nixon went on TV in August, 1971 to announce wage and price controls, and to completely sever all connection between the dollar and a gold standard, a group of libertarian-minded people decided it was time to form a new party. 
 
Josiah Schmidt: Explain to our readers what the Nolan Chart is, and how you came up with the idea.
 
David Nolan: The Nolan Chart is a two-dimensional “map”  that shows the positions of various political/economic systems in terms of two variables: personal freedom and economic freedom. I came up with the idea in 1970 after realizing that a one-dimensional political spectrum (e.g. left vs. right) is woefully inadequate in its ability to show how different systems and ideologies compare to one another.  The “World’s Smallest Political Quiz” is based on the Nolan Chart, and has been taken by about 15 million people to date. See http://www.theadvocates.org/quizp/index.html
 
Josiah Schmidt: Who do you think is the most underrated and underappreciated libertarian writer?
 
David Nolan: Interesting question. Probably someone we’ve never heard of, but among those we have heard of, I’d say Karl Hess, who wrote Barry Goldwater’s “extremism in the defense of liberty” speech and a ton of insightful essays on a multitude of topics.  I knew Karl slightly, and he was a wonderful human being as well as a great writer. Since his death in 1994, his writings have faded from view to a large extent and that’s a shame.
 
Josiah Schmidt: What are your top three favorite books?
 
David Nolan: Tough question for a bibliophile like me! If we are talking about personal favorites, as opposed to “books everyone should read to better understand how the world works, or ought to” my top three would be:  Alice in Wonderland / Through The Looking Glass (which I’ll count as one book), A Confederacy of Dunces, and Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend.  “Alice” is not only very witty, it has layer upon layer of meaning; it’s truly a literary masterpiece . “Confederacy” is one of the funniest books ever written; truly hilarious. And “I Am Legend” is a haunting, almost poetic evocation of alienation, of being “the last man on Earth.” It has been adapted into a movie three times, and none of the three movies is nearly as good as the book.

Josiah Schmidt: What is the significance of the burgeoning “Tea Party” movement, in your view?
 
David Nolan: It started out as a genuine, non-partisan grassroots movement of Americans fed up with overbearing, intrusive government. Now, however, it has been largely co-opted by Republican party hacks. Sarah Palin’s speech to the recent gathering in Nashville was stomach-turning.

Josiah Schmidt: What do you see as the future of libertarianism in America?
 
David Nolan: That’s very hard to prognosticate. Clearly, this country is in big trouble and “our” government is doing exactly the wrong things to create an economic recovery. And we are losing our civil liberties as fast, or faster, than we’re losing our economic freedoms. I’m afraid that pro-liberty ideas will be in a minority for a long time to come. Right now, I’d say the chances of the U.S. breaking up, with at least some areas becoming more libertarian (and some less so) is greater than the likelihood of the whole country “going libertarian.”

Josiah Schmidt: What countries do you think show the most promise for the liberty movement in the world today?
 
David Nolan: I’d say that the countries that are currently the most-free are the most likely to stay that way, or become even more free.  Generally, the English-speaking countries (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland) have the strongest tradition of personal liberty and economic freedom. Switzerland has long been a bastion of freedom. Countries like Denmark and The Netherlands have some promise also.

Josiah Schmidt: What advice would you give to libertarians reading this interview?
 
David Nolan: Think for yourself. Don’t accept any pronouncement from any political leader or authority figure without thoroughly investigating their claims.  Do they have the facts straight? Do their claims make sense? Whose interests are they serving? 

Josiah Schmidt: Anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

David Nolan: As I said earlier, I think the United States is in for a long stretch of fairly bad times. The consequences of bad policies (Federal Reserve funny-money, global interventionism, creeping police-state surveillance at home) are coming back to haunt us. Things are ugly, and likely to get uglier. So it’s important to develop an understanding of WHY we are in trouble, and how freedom is the solution to these problems. Stay principled, be outspoken, and support the people and organizations that are standing up for our liberties.

Josiah Schmidt: Thanks, David.

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Gary Johnson interviewed on drug law reform

In Civil liberties,Drug reform,Gary Johnson,Gary Johnson 2012,Government spending,Interviews on March 23, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is interviewed by Cannabis Planet regarding drug law reform, government spending, and civil liberties.

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Rightosphere interview with Gary Johnson

In Civil liberties,Cultural issues,Drug reform,Economy,Federal Reserve,Foreign policy,Gary Johnson,Gary Johnson 2012,GOP,Government spending,Health care,Inflation,Interviews,Our America,Taxes on March 2, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

I had the privilege of conducting an interview with Gary Johnson on behalf of the new conservative news/blog site, Rightosphere.com:

Josiah Schmidt: Thanks for talking with us, Governor. What are your plans for the next year?

Gov. Gary Johnson: I will be getting out on the road, and seeing what interest there is for the OUR America Initiative. I believe citizens are ready to play a part in common-sense approaches to our nation’s challenges.

JS: Your two kids are helping you out with your new political advocacy committee at OurAmericaInitiative.com. Tell us a little about your children and your home life.

GJ: My daughter Seah is 30 years old, and she is constantly on the phone giving me helpful suggestions. My son Erik actually quit his job and is working for OUR America out of Denver. I am also engaged to be married to Kate Prusack. We’re extremely happy, and we’ve been together long enough to know that it’s right.

JS: Well, congratulations! That’s great news. Tell us about the company you built. What kind of tough administrative decisions have you had to make as an entrepreneur?

GJ: I’ve had to make so many tough administrative decisions that I couldn’t even begin to tell you where that starts and ends. Basically, I started my company in 1974 with one employee. By 1994, we had over 1000 people. I have always considered myself an entrepreneur and continue to do so.

JS: When you ran for Governor, you reportedly ran 100% positive campaigns, never mentioning your opponents in print or ads. How did that work?

GJ: That’s what did happen. No money was spent in talking about my opponent in print, radio or TV. I would talk about opponents in speeches, etc., in order to compare the two of us and to compare our positions, but good politics is talking about what it is you plan to do, not running on the basis of how terrible your opponent is. That is just good politics. I don’t know any other example in the country other than mine that …

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Important Voices: JohnsonForAmerica.com interviews Linda Goldthorpe, candidate for US Congress, Michigan-1

In 2010 elections,Civil liberties,Economy,Environment,Foreign policy,GOP,Government spending,Health care,Important Voices,Interviews on March 1, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

This is interview #15 in JohnsonForAmerica.com’s “Important Voices” series, where we talk with key figures, such as elected officials, candidates, authors, commentators, and policy experts, about the issues of the day.  A new interview is released every Monday and every Thursday, so check back often!

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Our guest for today’s Important Voices interview is Linda Goldthorpe.   Linda is a graduate of Northern Michigan University and Thomas Cooley Law School.  She is a pro bono attorney, who says she quit practicing law for money because she couldn’t offer people any assurance they’d obtain justice.  Watching Congress brought her to the same conclusion, so she is now running as a Republican for a seat in the US Congress from Michigan’s first district.  Linda lives with her husband and two sons on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Josiah Schmidt: What compelled you to enter elective politics?

Linda Goldthorpe: As a politically motivated attorney, I saw little result for my efforts.  Government was destroying lives and I couldn’t stop it.

Josiah Schmidt: What issues are most important to residents of Michigan?

Linda Goldthorpe: Economy.  Michigan is devastated.  In the far north, where I live, we’ve always seen our brightest and best leave after every graduation, for jobs far away.  Now the whole state is affected the same way.

Josiah Schmidt: What do you offer that your opponents do not?

Linda Goldthorpe: Fire.

Josiah Schmidt: How did you come to hold such a liberty-oriented philosophy?

Linda Goldthorpe: I fell in love with the Constitution in law school, where they taught us it really didn’t matter.  Rutherford Institute.  Civil rights. Freedom.

Josiah Schmidt: What is the first thing you will do as a US Congresswoman?

Linda Goldthorpe: I heard an incumbent answer this question once:  “I will make relationships with other like-minded…blah…”   I’m tired of the “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” politics.  I’m not sure what I’ll do first, but I won’t be making friends.

Josiah Schmidt: Which area of government spending would you most like to cut?

Linda Goldthorpe: 700 military bases in countries that don’t want us is a start.  Agencies are ridiculous.  Now we have one to control the climate?

Josiah Schmidt: How should health care be reformed?

Linda Goldthorpe: I believe in the free market.  Government intervention is always a bad thing.  I would say (cautiously) that regulation, even in the area of health care, minimizes our choices obviously, but also quality and availability.

Josiah Schmidt: What changes would you like to see in our government’s foreign policy?

Linda Goldthorpe: To say that we’re more safe by bombing other countries, while ignoring our own border, is disingenuous and dangerous.  I believe, as our founding fathers did, in a non-interventionist foreign policy.  It’s arrogant to try to force our values on anybody else.

Josiah Schmidt: Where can people go to find out more about you and contribute to your campaign?

Linda Goldthorpe: lindaforcongress.com 

Josiah Schmidt: Thanks.  We wish you all the best, Linda.

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Important Voices: JohnsonForAmerica.com interviews Isaac Morehouse, economist

In Civil liberties,Economy,Important Voices,Interviews on February 25, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

This is interview #14 in JohnsonForAmerica.com’s “Important Voices” series, where we talk with key figures, such as elected officials, candidates, authors, commentators, and policy experts, about the issues of the day.  A new interview is released every Monday and every Thursday, so check back often!

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Our guest for today’s Important Voices interview is Isaac Morehouse.  Isaac is policy programs director at the Institute for Humane Studies, a Fairfax, Va.-based organization that facilitates the academic development of college students with an interest in liberty. Isaac was the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s first director of campus leadership, working for the Center from January 2007 through May 2009. During that time, he developed and coordinated on-campus free-market educational programs for Michigan college students.  Previously, Isaac served as a Michigan House legislative aide for three years, finishing his time at the House as chief of staff for a state representative. Isaac has also helped run a small business involving telecommunications hardware and cable installation.  He holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Detroit Mercy, and he received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Western Michigan University.  Morehouse lives in Falls Church, Va., with his wife and son. 

Josiah Schmidt: Thank you for agreeing to talk with us, Dr. Morehouse!  Tell us how you came to hold such a liberty-oriented philosophy.

Isaac Morehouse: I grew up in a typical Midwestern conservative home and I was taught responsibility, hard work and initiative.  In high-school, my brother told me about this book he was reading called “Capitalism and Freedom” by Milton Friedman.  I liked the ideas in the book, since I was sort of predisposed towards free-markets.  As I began to read more I eventually (after a long road and lots of rabbit trails) realized that, at bottom, government is force, and everything it does is backed by force.  It made me realize that so many things I wanted done in the world–good things–should not be done by force, but peacefully and voluntarily.  Not only did it sit right with me from a moral standpoint, but I learned through studying economics that voluntary actions have better results than centrally planned attempts by government to make the world a better place.

Josiah Schmidt: How would you define capitalism, in short?

Isaac Morehouse: Technically, capitalism is simply an economic system where individuals own the “means of production”, rather than government.  In popular usage however, capitalism has come to mean a lot of different things, some of which I support (property rights, free-markets, etc.), some of with I do not (bailouts, subsidies, regulations against competition, etc.).  I’m careful how I use that word, since people give it different meanings.  To me, it means simply free-markets.

Josiah Schmidt: Why, fundamentally, does capitalism work?

Isaac Morehouse: Capitalism works because without private property and the right to reap the gains and losses of our own efforts there is little incentive to produce or to innovate.  Property and free-trade also allow prices to form, which provide some of the most valuable information on the planet such as where demand and scarcity are and where surpluses are.  Prices, which form spontaneously as a result of free-exchange, allow for the most impressive coordination in the history of man; billions of people and resources constantly adjust their individual behavior in a way that benefits society, not because they are trying to or would even know how if they were, but because they are responding to signals sent through the price system.  No “rational” system of central planning can even come close to replicating that.

Josiah Schmidt: Is it meaningful to advocate a “mixed economy” of capitalism and socialism?

Isaac Morehouse: No.  Any coercion in the peaceful, voluntary and spontaneously coordinating market reduces it’s efficiency, not to mention it’s a violation of individual rights.  An only partly “planned” economy may be degrees better than a fully socialist one, but a free economy is magnitudes better than both.

Josiah Schmidt: How does capitalism, as opposed to socialism, accept human nature as it is, accounting for the flaws and fallibility of man?

Isaac Morehouse: It avoids what F.A. Hayek called the “Fatal Conceit” by recognizing that no one has enough knowledge to know where to put all the resources in the world all the time.  It recognizes the dignity of each individual by allowing anyone to justly obtain and use property, but it recognizes the limits of each individual by not allowing any one person to control all others by force.  If people are corrupt, the last thing we want to do is give a small number of them monopoly control over the rest, which is what government is.

Josiah Schmidt: Do government “consumer protection” measures actually protect consumers?

Isaac Morehouse: What is called “consumer protection” is almost always a special privilege or protection for some politically favored business or industry over their competitors.  Since government hands out favors and makes regulations, instead of competing in the marketing place by trying to better serve customers, many businesses go to government and lobby for regulations that they can afford, but that will cripple their smaller competitors.  The result is higher priced products, fewer choices, less competition, corruption in government agencies, and often times less attention to safety by consumers and producers who believe the government will do the work for them.

Josiah Schmidt: What is one of the most egregious examples of “consumer protection” measures that actually harmed consumers, in your view?

Isaac Morehouse: Oh boy, there are so many.  It’s hard to say which is the most egregious, but certainly some very silly examples that really bug me are things like requiring decorators, hair stylists, yoga instructors or lemonade stand selling kids to get state licenses and pay fees just to offer their goods and services.  These examples all exists in at least some states, and in every instance the laws were passed at the behest of some industry lobby that didn’t like lower priced competition.  It’s very sad for the people who just want a chance making a living by offering their skills to consumers.  They aren’t forcing anyone to buy, yet government is forcing them not to sell.

Josiah Schmidt: What advice would you give to libertarians reading this interview?

Isaac Morehouse: Take heart.  It’s too easy to see all the violations of liberty around us and feel things are always getting worse.  If you keep the big picture in mind and study some world history you will see that, in so many ways, freedom has advanced tremendously and there is no reason it cannot continue to do so.  Don’t follow the news too closely or you’ll be angry all the time, and angry people are rarely good advocates of the ideas they believe in.  Be optimistic and never stop learning about and fighting for freedom.  It’s worth it.

Josiah Schmidt: Anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

Isaac Morehouse: Sometimes it helps to remember that really, liberty is all around us.  We often feel that it would require such a radical change in our everyday existence if government were not so invasive.  While I do not want to downplay the destructive effects of government meddling, it is instructive to stop and think about what really makes the world tick.  Why don’t people run through the shopping mall naked?  I’ll give you a hint: it is not because they are afraid of indecent exposure laws.  That may play some very small part, but it is primarily because they would be embarrassed.  They are afraid of the social consequences.  This is just one example of how society remains orderly without the use of force; without government mandates and rules and regulations.  In fact, nearly all of the order, cooperation and coordination we see around us is not the result of government edicts, but of the forces of spontaneous order that emerge in a voluntary society.  In many ways, government is less important than even libertarians think.  The message we need to send to our big-government friends is not that government is so bad (even though it often is), but that society voluntarily produces so much good that we don’t need to use the blunt instrument of government.

Josiah Schmidt: Very insightful thoughts.  Thanks again for taking the time out of your schedule to answer some of our questions.

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