Archive for the ‘Important Voices’ Category

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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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Important Voices: JohnsonForAmerica.com interviews Jesus Huerta de Soto, author of “Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles”

In Economy,Federal Reserve,Important Voices,Inflation,Interviews on March 22, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

This is interview #21 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 Jesus Huerta de Soto.  Prof. de Soto is an Austrian School economist and Professor of Political Economy at Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid, Spain. In 2005 Huerta de Soto received the CNE’s Adam Smith Award for lifetime achievement, and in 2009 he was awarded a honorary degree from Universidad Francisco Marroquin.

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

Jesus Huerta de Soto: By mere coincidence I found, bought and read Ludwig von Mises’s treatise Human Action when I was 16 years old. Since then I have been a libertarian.

Josiah Schmidt: In short, how did the US Federal Reserve cause the current economic crisis?

Jesus Huerta de Soto: It orchestrated a huge artificial credit expansion at very low interest rates causing entrepreneurs to systematically malinvest a large amount of scarce resources in nonviable lines of production (mainly related with real-estate business).

Josiah Schmidt: Does the Federal Reserve deserve thanks for anything it has done over the past few years?

Jesus Huerta de Soto: No. Central banks are the only institutions responsible for the financial crisis and the economic recession.

Josiah Schmidt: What would have happened if the Fed had let all the bankrupt financial institutions fail?

Jesus Huerta de Soto: A sound monetary system is essential for a market economy. Unfortunately, letting all financial institutions fail would provoke a void in the monetary system that would destroy our current economic system.

Josiah Schmidt: What should the Fed do, at this point, to help bring this recession to an end?

Jesus Huerta de Soto: Central banks should mimic as close as possible the working of a purely private monetary system based on a 100 per cent reserve pure gold standard: A stable monetary supply (growing no more than 2 per cent per year); non-involvement with interest rates and strong separation of short term commercial banking from investment banking (i.e. reintroduction of a kind of Glass-Steagall act).

Josiah Schmidt: Is abolishing the central bank a politically feasible option in this day and age?

Jesus Huerta de Soto: The only way to avoid any future financial crisis and economic recession is through a redesign of the current financial system following these three lines:

1st. Abolition of fractional reserve banking, i.e., the reintroduction of 100 per cent reserve banking for demand deposits and equivalents.

2nd. The abolition of the central bank (that would not be needed any more as lender of last resort if the 1st reform is enacted).

3rd. The privatization of the current pure fiduciary state monetary system and its substitution by a pure gold standard.

Josiah Schmidt: What would, realistically, happen if we woke up tomorrow morning and the Federal Reserve’s charter had been revoked and the doors of the central bank were closed up?

Jesus Huerta de Soto: The transition to a sound monetary system is explained in detail in Chapter 9 of my book on Money, Bank Credit and Economic Cycles.

Josiah Schmidt: If you had to recommend one beginner’s-level book to understand monetary policy and central banking, what would it be?

Jesus Huerta de Soto: My book “Money, Bank Credit and Economic Cycles” explains everything the readers need to know.

Josiah Schmidt: Great.  Thank you, Prof. de Soto.

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Important Voices: JohnsonForAmerica.com interviews Sheldon Richman, editor of The Freeman

In Education,Important Voices,Interviews on March 18, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

This is interview #20 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 Sheldon Richman.  Sheldon is an American political writer and academic, best known for his advocacy of libertarianism.  He is the editor of The Freeman, a magazine published by The Foundation for Economic Education, and is a Senior Fellow at the Future of Freedom Foundation, and a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute.  A graduate of Temple University, Sheldon was formerly a journalist, and a senior editor at the Cato Institute and the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University.  His articles have appeared in, among others, the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, American Scholar, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Washington Times, Christian Science Monitor, Independent Review, Insight, Cato Policy Report, Journal of Economic Development, The World & I, Reason, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Middle East Policy, and Liberty. He is also a contributor to the Fortune Encyclopedia of Economics.

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

Sheldon Richman: As a child I was interested in stories about the the American Revolution and the struggle for individual liberty. They had a strong intuitive appeal to me. In 1964 I began to hear about Barry Goldwater and his references about freedom and small government that left people alone. This set me to reading. Friends in high school told me I should read Henry Hazlitt and Ayn Rand. From there I went on to Murray Rothbard, Ludwig von Mises, and F. A. Hayek. Then Frank Chodorov, Albert Jay Nock, Herbert Spencer, and the rest.

Josiah Schmidt: Could you give us a little history of FEE’s well-known publication, The Freeman?

Sheldon Richman: Leonard Read, who founded FEE in 1946, bought The Freeman around 1955 and published it separately from FEE for a year, with Frank Chodorov as editor. It was a standard-size magazine that discussed current events from a libertarian perspective, though it also featured debates with conservatives about foreign policy. In 1956 Read made The Freeman an official FEE publication and changed the focus toward an introduction to the freedom philosophy. He also reduced the dimensions of the magazine. Only in recent years did it go back to standard size.

Josiah Schmidt:  Explain to our readers who Henry Hazlitt was, and why he is so important.

Sheldon Richman: Henry Hazlitt was a prominent economics writer for many years, having been a reporter, editorial writer, and columnist at different times for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek (for which he wrote a regular column from 1946-1966). His most famous book is “Economics in One Lesson,” which (though the examples are dated) is still the best introduction to how to think like an economist. Hazlitt wrote many other important books, including his demolition of Keynes’s General Theory: “The Failure of the ‘New Economics.'”

Josiah Schmidt: What are your top three favorite books?

Sheldon Richman: Tough to say. Nock’s “Our Enemy, the State” ranks very high, along with Rothbard’s “For a New Liberty” and Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom”. I must also mention Lysander Spooner’s “No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority”.

Josiah Schmidt: Who is the most underrated and underappreciated libertarian writer, in your opinion?

Sheldon Richman: Thomas Szasz, who has shown that the mental-health establishment is a massive violation of individual rights.

Josiah Schmidt: If you had to recommend one short essay that explains and argues for liberty in a nutshell, what would it be?

Sheldon Richman: Murray Rothbard’s “The Anatomy of the State”.

Josiah Schmidt: As a leading American scholar and intellectual, how would you assess the American public education system?

Sheldon Richman: It’s doing exactly what it was designed to do: raise up generations of “good citizens” who won’t watch too closely what the government is up to.

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

Sheldon Richman: Keep learning, reading. Know your opponent’s case better than he does. Be calm, benevolent, and patient in presenting your views. Don’t underestimate people’s intelligence.

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

Sheldon Richman: Remain optimistic despite the odds.

Josiah Schmidt: Thanks so much, Mr. Richman.

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Important Voices: JohnsonForAmerica.com interviews Anthony de Jasay, author of The State

In Economy,Gary Johnson,Gary Johnson 2012,GOP,Government spending,Important Voices,Interviews on March 15, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

This is interview #19 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 Anthony de Jasay.  Mr. de Jasay is a Hungarian-born libertarian philosopher and economist known for his anti-statist writings. He was born at Aba, Hungary in 1925 and educated at Szekesfehervar and Budapest, taking a degree in Agriculture. In 1947-48 he worked as a free-lance journalist, his anti-communist activity forcing him to flee from the country in 1948. After two years in Austria, he emigrated to Australia in 1950 and took a part-time course in Economics at the University of Western Australia. Winning a Hackett Studentship, he went to Oxford in 1955 and was elected a research fellow of Nuffield College where he stayed till 1962, publishing papers in the Economic Journal, the Journal of Political Economy and other learned journals.  In 1962 he moved to Paris and worked there as a banker, first in an executive capacity and then on his own account, till 1979, doing investment business in several European countries and the United States. In 1979, he retired to the Normandy coast where he still lives. He has published five books, several of which have been translated into a total of six languages, as well as numerous articles, mainly in English but also in French and German.  He has a wife and three children.

Mr. de Jasay has, as a matter of common courtesy, agreed to answer our questions to the best of his ability. He wishes to state, though, that he has no views on the candidacy of  Governor Gary Johnson for the Republican nomination.

Josiah Schmidt: It’s a privilege to speak with you, Mr. de Jasay.  Could you please tell us about how you came to hold such a liberty-oriented philosophy?

Anthony de Jasay: From the war’s end to 1948 when I escaped to Austria, I lived under Soviet Russian occupation in my native Hungary. I witnessed the gradual installation of a “real-existing” socialist system (note well: “real-existing” is the term they use to express that their actual system is not yet the ideal one), the flooding of higher education and the media with Marxist gobbledygook, general moral degradation and the material misery caused in large part by the inherent stupidity of socialism. This experience must have added an emotional charge to my disposition to regard matters of justice, freedom, property and responsibility in a fairly disciplined logical manner. I may add that my father was a truly liberal, tolerant person and my mother a great teacher of logical thinking. Having lived in five different countries may have strengthened my liberal disposition, though I am not really sure of the effect. Let me add that I persist to use the word “liberal” in the European and not the American sense.

Josiah Schmidt: What is the fundamental reason why a system of private property is essential for any economy to function above subsistence levels?

Anthony de Jasay: One possible answer is that the alternative to private property, namely common or public property, is crippled by what economists call the principal-agent problem. The principal or owner is a hypothetical entity, the public, the state, or in the best of cases some smaller community that has diffuse ends which it cannot even unambiguously express and transmit to its agent(s) except maybe via politics (and the latter probably makes the principal-agent problem even worse). The agent, e.g. a government, is on a loose rein and pursues its own ends.

Unless property is private, it seems difficult to give the profit motive the role it must have to make the allocation of capital efficient. “Market socialism” is full of the most egregious absurdities in theory, and is a disaster in practice (e.g. the 1948-1989 Yugoslav worker ownership experiment).

Josiah Schmidt: Are high prices a form of exploitation?

Anthony de Jasay: “Exploitation” is emotionally charged and it is very difficult to give it an objective meaning. I may say that a price represents exploitation, you may say that it does not, and nobody is entitled to judge that my say-so is more valid than yours. The question is a little less elusive if we talk of “monopoly prices” instead of just high ones. A monopoly charges profit-maximising monopoly prices at its peril, because doing so invites entry by potential competitors as well as development of substitutes for its product. Monopolies nonetheless manage to survive and to the extent that they do, income distribution tilts against the consumer and in favour of the monopolists. As a consequence, resource allocation also tilts against consumption and in favour of capital accumulation. (Note that little of the monopolist’s astronomical income, or of any other very high income, is spent on Ferrari cars, trophy women and champagne. Most of it ends up as investment in real capital with its ownership vested in charitable endowments). The grudge against “high prices” may really be against “high profits”. One should always remember that “high profits” in turn mean faster capital accumulation, which ultimately leads to a faster increase in real wages than would be the case if prices and profits had been low to begin with.

Josiah Schmidt: Is there anything inherently wrong with income inequality?

Anthony de Jasay: Neither income nor any other inequality is inherently wrong. The notion that equality is intrinsically better than inequality is a subconsciously perpetrated bluff, dating from the second half of the 19th century–a bluff that nobody has had the courage to call since. The two statements “A distribution is to be equal unless there is a sufficient reason for it to be unequal” and “a distribution is to be unequal unless there is a sufficient reason for it to be equal” are ethically fully equivalent. Accepting one and discarding the other is a matter of the force of reasons speaking for each. Inequality is spoken for by talent, effort, past abstinence from consumption (hence inequalities in saving to accumulate capital) and others too numerous to list here.  Equality is usually argued for by the affirmation that “all men are born equal,” but this is manifestly untrue as an empirical finding.

Josiah Schmidt: What is the number one reason why truly limited government is so difficult to achieve?

Anthony de Jasay: The main reason is not easy to sum up in one sentence, but let me try: in any government by the people for the people, there is majority rule that permits one part of the people to impose a “collective will” on the other part for various purposes involving the extraction of the resources required for it, but in order for a winning majority to be formed, resources have to be offered for key groups to persuade them to help form the majority rather than join a rival one that is making rival offers; there is a perpetual auction process by which an increasing share of GDP or other resources are extracted by the government and redistributed in the form of services, subventions, public works, etc. Democracy is biased to produce big government, and a truly minimal government must in some sense be non-democratic, secure in its tenure.

Josiah Schmidt: Are there any parting words of wisdom you’d like to leave our readers with?

Anthony de Jasay: In electing your representatives, pay more attention to their guts than to their brains, trust the ones who have more conviction than ambition, and promise less than their rival.

Josiah Schmidt: Thank you very much for taking the time out of your schedule to speak with us, Mr. de Jasay.  It’s been an honor.

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Important Voices: JohnsonForAmerica.com interviews Karen Kwiatkowski, ret. USAF Lt. Col.

In Economy,Foreign policy,GOP,Important Voices,Interviews,Ron Paul on March 11, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

This is interview #18 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 Karen Kwiatkowski.  Karen is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel whose assignments included duties as a Pentagon desk officer and a variety of roles for the National Security Agency. Since retiring, she has become a noted critic of the U.S. government’s involvement in Iraq. Kwiatkowski is primarily known for her insider essays which denounce a corrupting political influence on the course of military intelligence leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  Lt. Col. Kwiatkowski has an MA in Government from Harvard University and an MS in Science Management from the University of Alaska. She has a PhD in World Politics from The Catholic University of America.  She has also published two books about U.S. policy towards Africa: African Crisis Response Initiative: Past Present and Future and Expeditionary Air Operations in Africa: Challenges and Solutions.

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

Karen Kwiatkowski: I was raised in a home that valued Goldwater conservatism.  We all thought Reagan was the promised Goldwater presidency, but I gradually came to see the state itself as the enemy of freedom. I read Ayn Rand’s novels in 1990, a few years later joined the Libertarian Party and shortly thereafter discovered LewRockwell.com.  I adhere to a Rothbardian view, and hold to a anti-state, pro-market, and anti-war perspective–something that puts me at odds with the present-day Libertarian Party to some extent.  But what I discovered is what many people and philosophers have discovered over many centuries–liberty is the natural productive and peaceful state of man, and the enemy of that liberty is the state, in all of its various political forms.  

Josiah Schmidt: As a retired USAF Lt. Col. with experience in the Pentagon and the NSA, how much do you think the government is overreacting to the “threat” from Iran?

Karen Kwiatkowski: Washington, and the Pentagon to a lesser extent, wants to maintain and extend U.S. military/economic influence throughout the Middle East.  Overstating and creatively defining a “threat” to the United States by Iran is part of a political agenda, pushed by neoconservatives as well as conservatives and liberals who care or depend upon the petrodollar-based financial sector.  There is also a military/Pentagon planning agenda, one based on justifying and strengthening the rationale for our overextended military, already ensconced in several locations around Iran.  Throughout the Middle East (Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar, Afghanistan, Diego Garcia,  Yemen, Oman, Turkey, Bosnia, Kosovo, etc) the U.S. has created a post Cold War system of US basing and deployment that is similar in relative cost to what we maintained in Germany, Italy, and Japan after World War II.  Yet, there is no substantial public justification for this present-day security apparatus, as there was in the years after WWII, with the apparent rise of nuclear-capable communism in China and the USSR.  Instead of anti-communism, our global military posture is explained to Americans as being about the Carter Doctrine, free flow of oil, and defense of nuclear-armed Israel. None of these reasons are compelling to the average American–hence threats of Islamic terror and WMD must be heavily cultivated and promulgated.  Iran as a “threat” is part of this political and military-justification agenda, and nothing more.  Using the same arguments as being put forth for Iran as a WMD and Islamic “threat,” we should be far more frightened of our ostensible ally Pakistan, or even Israel’s warlike Likud Party–but these are usually not mentioned as threats to the United States or her interests.   

Josiah Schmidt: Do you think that pro-war neoconservatives really believe their own rhetoric? 

Karen Kwiatkowski: I certainly do not know.  Some neoconservatives are devoted Zionists (Jewish as well as Christian), desiring a permanent religious state in the land of Israel, as geographically large and militarily powerful as it can possibly be.  These neoconservatives believe deeply in the righteousness of the general cause of an expanded and supreme Israel in the Middle East – and support US policies that may assist in that direction. This belief, like most cherished beliefs, is emotional and hence not subject to logic or susceptible to being altered by actual facts.  However, many leading neoconservatives are not devoted Christians or Jews, but rather just politicians and political beneficiaries.  They advocate what most Americans see as an expensive, unwise, and ultimately doomed US military and political presence in the Middle East for reasons other than the advertised “fear of terror” or forced changes to the American way of life that might come from the Middle East.  For this group, I think it is about maintaining political relevance at home, making money through investments benefitted by US policy, and to some extent, seeking to change the nature of domestic American politics to ensure that the United States continues to spend lots of money overseas and on security establishments–again, pocketbook issues for so many neoconservatives and others.  For this latter group, the rhetoric is just a means to an end.

Josiah Schmidt: What kind of corruption and misinformation did you witness in the run-up to the Iraq War?

Karen Kwiatkowski: I’ve written on that in detail at The American Conservative back in Dec 2003 and elsewhere. Basically, actual intelligence as well as false intelligence gained from friends who had not been correctly vetted by the CIA (Chalabi, Curve Ball et. al.) was used by non-intelligence policy apparatchiks in OSD (Feith et. al.) in conjunction with the staffs of certain members of Congress and the Vice President’s office to justify what we know today to be an illegal war of aggression on Iraq.  The intelligence system and the system of public information was perverted, successfully perverted, to produce popular opinion and political will in the Congress to go along with the toppling of our former man in Baghdad, Saddam Hussein.  Lies were told, and repeated, and the source of those lies was not measured intelligence, but factoids taken out of context, as well as actual fabrications.  This information was poured out to the public in presidential speeches, mainstream media articles and exposes, and DoD policy documents.  I worked for one of the main offices in the Pentagon that was pushing out the politicized factoids, and witnessed what the Office of Special Plans was doing within and outside of the Pentagon.   Basically I saw up close what government does best–lying boldly, broadly and with confidence. 

Josiah Schmidt: Do you think this kind of dishonesty in government was a Bush administration problem, or is it part of a broader problem with the way government is structured?

Karen Kwiatkowski: This dishonesty is part and parcel of the state–a parasitic yet powerfully institutionalized minority existing off the acquiesence and ignorance of those who actually live productive and peaceful lives.  I think every government lies, creatively, actively and often aggressively.  Think of FDR or LBJ.  The image put forth of the Kennedy administration–all love and light,  a stark contrast to the reality.  It is interesting that in the age of the Internet and recording technology in everyone’s hands that modern American governments, as seen in the Bush and and Obama administrations, are as successful in lying about domestic and foreign policy as they are.  It is not a part of the way government is structured, nor was it native or unique to the Bush administration.  But it is related to the way states attempt to survive, and do survive.  Interestingly, the internet is causing average people to realize that it is correct to doubt what our government and its mainstream media says, and to grant the state with the basest and most self-serviong of motives, be it in war, taxation, jobs programs and bailouts.  Americans in general have become reluctantly aware that the state is the enemy of progress, and it is the center of dangerous kinds of financial and moral corruption.   But you really could not design a government form that would be immune–our own Constitution, if followed to the letter, is extremely good.  But of course, it is not followed in the least bit.  If it were adhered to as the top level law of the nation, Washington, DC would still be a poorly funded ceremonial capital and real power in this country would be found in widely distributed and variable form.  We would all be wealthier and freer, our politicians and their hangers-on poorer and more constrained, under a Constitutional system.

Josiah Schmidt: What is the future of the American government’s involvement in the Middle East, in your opinion?

Karen Kwiatkowski: Ultimately, it will disappear, much as the British and the Ottoman Empire’s influence disappeared.  In the near term, I think US involvement will continue, remain complex, complicated, and largely unquestioned by the political mainstream.  At some point, we will be unable to fund our adventures in the Middle East, and a domestic political and economic collapse at home will make whatever we are doing in the name of the US in the Middle East irrelevant.  Those making money over there in security and diplomatic ventures may change hats, and employers, much as Blackwater and the Houston based defense constructors and contractors have shifted to focus on more domestic US security and prison work as they see the unsustainability of profits in the Middle East.   In fact, Halliburton moved their headquarters to Dubai a  few years ago, and Blackwater changed its name to Xe and has shifted focus to include more clients and wider definitions of security services.  As the petro-dollar morphs  into a petro-basket that emphasizes non-dollar currencies, the benefit and consequences of US manipulation of the Middle East become increasingly counterproductive and less interesting to those who shape American foreign policy.  Angry populist domesticism will reign, defunding the empire even as it brings our door-kicking and urban warfare skilled military home.

Josiah Schmidt: Ron Paul gained attention in 2008 for attracting more support from men and women in uniform than any other presidential candidate.  Why did you support Ron Paul that year?

Karen Kwiatkowski: He was the only honest politician in the field, and his brand of peaceful libertarianism and old style conservatism (the Old Right), I believe is the only answer if this country is to long survive.  We the people will survive no matter what — but under the philosophy and political leadership of a Ron Paul, we might transition back to Constitutionalism in a more ordered, safe and productive way.

Josiah Schmidt: What can we, as private citizens, do to help end the wars?

Karen Kwiatkowski: Stop paying for them, stop sending our children to fight them, stop glorifying the militaristic state, stop supporting the troops, and try to learn a little history so we won’t be so susceptible to state fear-mongering.  These wars are a waste and counterproductive, and they eventually will end, whereupon we will regret, like we always do, that they didn’t end sooner.   The most important thing is to clearly oppose them in our own minds, and the rest will follow in our lives and politics.

Josiah Schmidt: What advice would you give to libertarians who are in or are about to join the US armed services?

Karen Kwiatkowski: My first reaction is to say “Don’t do it.”  However, the military does in fact create libertarians where they didn’t exist before, as average good Americans in the military witness lies, waste, and corruption of the Constitution in the name of national defense.  Learning how to use weapons is an exceptional skill that Americans should have, and some enlistees will be able to learn this in the military.  Traveling around the world is often thought-provoking for young people, and they learn for the first time to question the way they thought things had to be.   Exposure to other Americans who may think differently from you, and networking widely is another aspect of the military that could be beneficial for our country’s future survival.  As gangs go, the military is not the worst gang available.  But overall, I discourage people from joining any gang at all–instead I’d advise learning skills and creating habits that are independent of the state, and truly productive.  Certainly, no young person should be told that they are defending freedom by joining the military–that is the last thing they will be doing in the current era.

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

Karen Kwiatkowski: It may sound as if I am negative on the future of our country and on politics–but in fact I am only negative on the future of the state.  For mainly financial reasons, the American state is in its death throes–but like any creature, this is when the state is at its most desperate and most dangerous.    Politics to me is nothing more than human community, on a larger scale.  If our politicians are wise, humble, and peace loving, if they are willing to be bound by law (the Constitution), then to that extent, we should support them in and out of office.  To the extent that our politicians are unwise, arrogant, war-loving and unwilling to be bound by law, we should get rid of them, and certainly we should actively oppose and disobey them until we can vote them out.  If they cannot be voted out (and so many cannot) they should be publicly condemned, disregarded and their power minimized–our consent must be actively withheld.  Americans are not well-trained in how to actively withhold our consent, how to nullify bad government–but this is something we need to learn, and practice daily. 

Josiah Schmidt: Agreed.  Thank you very much for answering our questions, Karen.

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Important Voices: JohnsonForAmerica.com interviews Collins Bailey, candidate for US Congress, Maryland-5

In 2010 elections,Deficit,Economy,Foreign policy,GOP,Government spending,Health care,Important Voices,Interviews,Taxes on March 8, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

This is interview #17 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 Collins Bailey.  Collins is a self-employed lumber broker, a  member of the Charles County Christian Businessmen’s Association, and has sat on the Charles County Board of Education since 1994.  He graduated from La Plata Highschool, and currently lives in Waldorf.  In 2008, Collins won his three-way Republican primary with 44% of the vote, and faced longtime Democratic incumbent Steny Hoyer.  Collins is running for the same seat again this year.

Josiah Schmidt: What compelled you to enter elective politics?

Collins Bailey: Spending is out of control in Congress.  Our elected representatives have proven that they are unable or unwilling to cut spending and obey the Constitution.

Josiah Schmidt: What issues are most important to Marylanders?

Collins Bailey: Obeying our Constitution, cutting spending, limiting the federal government.  My AOL and website give responses to questions and issues that I have been asked about: http://baileyforuscongress.com/issues/

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

Collins Bailey: Congressman Hoyer first entered politics when I was 7 years old.  I support individual responsibility, sound money, economic and personal liberty.  I will obey our Constitution, cut spending, and restore our Constitutional heritage.

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

Collins Bailey: The study of our Founding Fathers, our founding documents, their Christian faith, and a commitment to Jesus Christ in my life at age 27, all have had an impact on my love for my fellow man and have given me a commitment to promoting respect for each individual.

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

Collins Bailey: Cut spending, restore the 10th amendment, balance the budget, fix Social Security, start paying off the national debt.

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

Collins Bailey: All spending that violates the 10th amendment.  Corporate welfare, foreign aid, interest on the national debt.

Josiah Schmidt: How should health care be reformed?

Collins Bailey: Meddling by the federal government causes health care cost to rise, reduces access and reduces quality.  I would promote individual choice.  To start with I will vote to give all Americans a full tax deduction for any healthcare related insurance and a full tax credit for any cash payments for healthcare.

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

Collins Bailey: In 2000 the American people voted for a president that promised a “more humble foreign policy, judicious use of troops and avoid nation building.”  We need to make ourselves a smaller target by:

1.)  Letting corporations and foreign interests hire their own troops rather than having the American taxpayer subsidize them with our military.

2.)  Stop giving foreign aid to both sides of a conflict.

3.)  Avoid meddling with the internal affairs of other nations.

4.)  Stop giving aid to our future enemies.

5.)  We have a total of over 700 bases.  We have bases in over 130 nations.  Our military budget is more than all the other nations in the world combined.  Being more judicious with the use of our military and making a smaller footprint will also help to make us a smaller target.

6.)  Walk softly and carry a big stick.

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

Collins Bailey: Please visit my website:  www.BaileyforUSCongress.com.  Find a candidate you can support and tell others.  If you can’t find one, run for office yourself.  Restoring our Constitutional heritage is worth it.

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Important Voices: JohnsonForAmerica.com interviews Kavon Nikrad, creator of Rightosphere

In Barack Obama,Deficit,Economy,Foreign policy,Gary Johnson,Gary Johnson 2012,GOP,Government spending,Important Voices,Interviews,Tea Party on March 4, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

This is interview #16 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 Kavon Nikrad.  Kavon is a prominent Republican blogger, and was the founder of the popular conservative websites, Race42008.com and Race42012.com.  He now runs Rightosphere.com.  Kavon and his wife hail from Minnesota.

Josiah Schmidt: How did Race42008.com come about, and how did it evolve into Rightosphere?

Kavon Nikrad: It’s slightly embarrassing story actually…

Since early childhood, I have always been fanatical about politics, and the actions/policy that our government is debating/undertaking have always mattered a great deal to me on a personal level. Perhaps that is a personality flaw? I am not really sure…

So when it became apparent in the spring of 2004 that John Kerry had an excellent chance of being elected President of the United States, the horror of that realization started to really negatively affect my health.  I began developing stomach aches and headaches every time I watched or listened to the news. So for the sake of my health, I placed myself in to a total media blackout from mid-April to 8pm on election night.

It sounds rather childish now, looking back. I probably could have handled it if it were anyone besides the total zero of a human being that I consider John Kerry to be.

So after the election was over and I knew that the country I love spared itself from a John Kerry presidency, I began consuming all of the media that I had denied myself and realized that I missed one of the most exciting political races in the history of American Politics. I became really deeply regretful that I missed it. So I made the commitment that I wouldn’t miss anything the next time around. The best way to do that seemed to be to start a blog about it. Race42008 began in June of 2006 and we have been going strong ever since.

What made R4’08 & R4’12 so special was the vibrant conservative community it evolved into; and that is really what I am the most proud of. I believe that it evolved in this way because I made it a policy to allow almost total freedom when it came to the ideas that could be expressed by our community. Really, the only limits I have ever placed on what people could say were in regards to profanity, graphic descriptions of sexual acts, and obvious trolling.

This is a radically different policy than the big name conservative sites that, for the most part, will ban anyone who even hints at disagreement with their editorial board. The results speak for themselves. On days were there were major events such as a primary or a debate, our open threads would generate a thousand comments or more compared to the 50-100 on the “big name” sites.

Rightosphere.com is a re-launch of Race42012 that Kristofer Lorelli and I have been working on for over a year now. Basically, we wanted to give our community tools that will enable unlimited participation and opportunity for involvement and expression. So the new site is the opposite of “top down” model that most sites use. Rightosphere exists for and will be driven by our community.

As far as describing the tools and infrastructure that Rightosphere provides to its community, I would encourage folks to head on over and check it out for themselves. There is no site on the Left or Right that has the features/tools we do. The possibilities for our users are endless.

Josiah Schmidt: What is the best part about running Rightosphere?

Kavon Nikrad: Without a doubt, it is the interaction that I have with grassroots conservatives that I would never have met had I not founded the site. Every day, I am in awe of the talent and intelligence that is rampant among the Rightroots. If the Republican Party was able to fully engage the conservative grassroots, we would take this country over in a heartbeat. Maybe that’s what’s going on right now in spite of the Republican Party?

Josiah Schmidt: How did you become a conservative, and what does conservatism mean to you?

Kavon Nikrad: I came to conservatism from libertarianism actually. My first ever vote in a U.S. Presidential election was for Harry Browne in 1996.

To me, conservatism is about creating the smallest possible government, whose sole purpose is to foster an environment in which people can provide for their own needs. It is about equality of opportunity, not equality of outcomes.

If you were to ask a thousand people for their definition of happiness, you would get a thousand different answers. So the idea that the government could be capable of satisfying everyone’s “wish list” of what it would take to provide them with a “happy life” is ludicrous beyond belief and runs counter to everything I have observed in my three decades of life on Planet Earth.  

Government’s proper role is to establish an environment where every person is free to pursue the heights to which their talents can take them.

In the contemporary Republican Party, this places me squarely in the “Reagan Conservative” camp.

Josiah Schmidt: Do you think there is a place in the GOP for small-l libertarians?

Kavon Nikrad: Absolutely. In fact, I would go so far to say that it is essential that conservatives and libertarians reach some sort of covenant if we are going to save this country. Focusing on what divides us, rather than the many things in which we agree, is exactly what liberals/progressives want as they know that the more we argue, the more they will be able to permanently expand government.

The divide between conservatives and libertarians is not even close to the divide which separates progressives and moderates in the Democratic Party. Not by a long shot.  

Ronald Reagan himself described libertarianism as the “very heart and soul” of conservatism.

Josiah Schmidt:  What is the significance of the burgeoning Tea Party movement, in your view?

Kavon Nikrad: I think it is one of the most important political movements of the past fifty-years.

One of the most important aspects of the Tea Party Movement is that fact that one of its major facets is economic conservatives standing up and saying that “they are not going to take it anymore” with the same vigor as social conservatives have had for years; and it is Obama’s presidency which is responsible for awakening this “sleeping giant.”

If Barack Obama is sent back to Illinois in January of 2013, it will be because of the Tea Party Movement. Of that, you can be certain. It is in this way that Barack Obama has sown the seeds of his own political demise. It is pretty amazing to be stating that with all conviction, considering where this country was at in November of 2008 isn’t it?

Josiah Schmidt: What is the most important lesson conservatives ought to take away from George W. Bush’s presidency?

Kavon Nikrad: That a Republican president is going to lose his or her base if he or she ignores one of the “three legs of the stool” which make up modern day conservatism.  Conservatives are simply not going to accept liberal fiscal policy any longer.

Josiah Schmidt: What do you think will be the biggest issue in the 2012 presidential election?

Kavon Nikrad: It’s hard to say. I would have never imagined that the Iraq War would have played such a relatively small role on the 2008 presidential election in 2006. It is hard to image that government spending, the national debt, or the budget deficit will not be an enormous factor with the looming fiscal Armageddon that Obamanomics is creating now.

Josiah Schmidt: Assuming Governor Gary Johnson is running for President in 2012, what advice would you give him if you could?

Kavon Nikrad: To make it clear from the outset that he is a Republican and that he is looking to effect change within the Republican Party. If he is coy about leaving the party to pursue a third-party run, most Republicans will view him with suspicion and close their hearts and minds to him from the outset.

This is why I think that many Republicans, despite their vehement disagreement with him on foreign policy, view Ron Paul and the Campaign for Liberty as positive and constructive voices within the party.

If Gov. Johnson does not make the commitment to stay in the GOP from the very beginning, he throws that all away.

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

Kavon Nikrad: I would like to thank them for their time for reading this interview and to extend my hand in friendship. I am really excited to meet and interaction with as many of them as possible on this site and at Rightosphere.com.

Josiah Schmidt: Thanks for answering our questions, Kavon.  And another reminder to our readers to visit Rightosphere.com for news and opinion from a conservative perspective.

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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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Important Voices: JohnsonForAmerica.com interviews Robert Broadus, candidate for US Congress, Maryland-4

In 2010 elections,Civil liberties,Cultural issues,Deficit,Economy,Education,Energy,Entitlements,Foreign policy,GOP,Government spending,Gun rights,Health care,Immigration,Important Voices,Interviews,LGBT rights,Ron Paul,Taxes on February 22, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

This is interview #13 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 Robert Broadus.  Robert graduated from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD in 1994, and served in the US Navy until 1999.  Since then, he has worked in real estate and software development, and has traveled to over 14 countries around the world.  Robert lives in Mt. Rainier, MD, and is a Republican candidate for US Congress in Maryland’s fourth district.

Josiah Schmidt: What compelled you to enter elective politics?

Robert Broadus: In 2007, I was greatly disappointed with the state of our government.  Both Democrats and Republicans were supporting unconstitutional wars and irresponsible spending, while also enacting policies that violated our civil liberties under the Bill of Rights.  I became interested in running for Congress because it is Congress that has the Constitutional role of declaring war, which sets tax policy, and which appropriates funds from the treasury. 

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

Robert Broadus: Since I was in the military, I swore an oath to “uphold and defend the Constitution…”  I always assumed that our politicians did just that.  When I realized this was not the case, and that many in our government are spending their time and resources trying to figure out how to defeat the Constitution, I became more interested in fighting for Liberty.  It was Ron Paul’s presidential campaign that taught me there are a handful of politicians who truly believe in upholding the Constitution, so I decided to support him, and then Chuck Baldwin for the presidency.  It was also Henry David Thoreau’s work, “On Resistance to Civil Government” (Civil Disobedience) that woke me up to the fact that we as Americans have forgotten what matters most.  As a black person who was taught the history of my people who suffered through slavery, I also hold close to my heart the consequences of what can happen when people do not guard their liberties and cherish them even more than life.  I am resolved to fight against slavery in all its forms, and I believe that it is the sovereignty of the individual that matters most.  Only when the government protects individual rights does it protect everyone’s rights.

Josiah Schmidt:  What issues are most important to Marylanders?

Robert Broadus: Maryland is facing the problem of being almost completely dominated by Progressive Democrats.  Although the people of Maryland are largely a mix of conservatives and libertarians, the people elected to high office tend to come from Progressive areas, and have led us away from our personal values.  Maryland is facing an insurmountable debt, having to lay off school employees and furlough government workers.  Maryland is also suffering economically from a recent tax increase which targeted millionaires, causing those who could afford it to leave the state, resulting in a 10% drop in revenue.  Maryland is facing increasing crime from gang activity, as a “sanctuary-state” policy toward illegal immigration has made the state attractive for some of the most violent international gangs, including the Latin Kings and MS-13.   These are all issues which Maryland can turn around by electing politicians to office who will be responsible to the people for results, not just their good intentions. 

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

Robert Broadus: I offer an across-the-board set of values that are conservative and in-line with the the values of the people in Maryland’s 4th Congressional District.  Being born and raised in the area, and even having attended college in Maryland (unlike my opponent), I can say that we are a church-going people who believe in God and the Bible.  I value religious freedom, not government imposing a secular or irreligious state upon us and requiring us to check our values at the door when we enter the workplace.  I am Pro-Life, and I am for parental notification for minors to receive medical treatment.  I support traditional marriage and the right for people to express their religious views without being accused of “hate speech.”  I support the right to home-school, and for parents to control what their children are taught.  I support the right to keep and bear arms, in order to protect ourselves from violence.  We seek job opportunities for the legal residents of our State, and I seek to have new residents admitted to the nation by getting in line and going through the proper legal process.  I am against amnesty for illegal immigrants.  Most importantly, I support the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  The Constitution protects our liberties and limits the Federal Government to those powers enumerated in Article 1, Section 8.  Although certain of my opponents uphold one or two of these values, I am the only candidate who upholds all of them.

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

Robert Broadus: As soon as I am able, I will introduce a bill to repeal the 16th Amendment.  It is through this that the Federal Government can levy a tax on incomes, which act as collateral for the credit which is used to engage in deficit-spending, finance socialist entitlement programs, and spend future generations into perpetual debt.  I will also take the first opportunity to cut off funding for any undeclared wars and any other policies which violate the Constitution.

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

Robert Broadus: Socialist entitlement programs need to be cut first.  These include Social Security and Medicare.  However, there will need to be a period of transition to wean off those who have become dependent on the programs.  After that, it will be important to remove funding for programs that are not within the authority of the Federal Government, such as the Department of Education and the Department of Energy.  Cutting money for unconstitutional wars will also be important for the purpose of reasserting the warmaking powers of the Congress.

Josiah Schmidt:  How should health care be reformed?

Robert Broadus: Healthcare should NOT be reformed by the Federal Government.  If State or Local governments wish to reform their existing healthcare systems, they should be allowed to do so.  At the Federal level, all restrictions on healthcare (such as the restriction against buying insurance across state lines) should be listed.  Tax credits could also be given for anyone who is willing to invest in medical savings programs.

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

Robert Broadus: The Federal Government should bring its troops home from around the world.  We should continue working to ensure our national security, but not through policing the world.  We should immediately cease all nation-building operations, and we should encourage free-market capitalism as a solution for resolving the economic woes of other nations.  We should strengthen our border security and our defensive posture at home, lending military support to our allies only when requested.  We should re-consider our foreign aid to the rest of the world, again returning the taxes taken back to the People of the United States. 

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

Robert Broadus: Our nation is at a turning point, where we must decide if we will continue to be a Federal Republic, or if we will become a Social Democracy.  The current administration and those who support its agenda are poised to “fundamentally change the United States of America.”  We can uphold the values laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, or we can abandon them to those who think this nation’s founding was unjust, and that we should somehow give it back through redistribution of wealth, land reform, and other forms of socialism.  Comprehensive Healthcare reform is one of the main instruments being used to engineer this transformation, but this issue was not the concern 3 years ago that it has become since Barack Obama became President.  We have been hurried to a point where our most cherished values and even the fabric of our Constitution are thrown into doubt over a policy where most Americans will not see any difference even if we change the system now.  The uproar that has been generated over what was previously a background issue is evidence that we have been manipulated into a discussion that should not even be happening.  Healthcare Reform is outright unconstitutional, as it violates the 10th Amendment.  Everyone should know this, yet this fact has not deterred the Progressives who seek to impose it on us against our will.  We must fight if we are to remain “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”  Please help me by offering your prayers, your time, and your financial support to my campaign.  Together, we can save the Republic.  Together, we can win!   

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

Robert Broadus: At my website: www.justiceandliberty.us

Josiah Schmidt: Thanks, Robert, and the best of luck to you and your campaign!

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