It’s time for Libertarians to be serious. While libertarian philosophy has had some success, such as more realistic and rational drug laws and enforcement, there are three macro trends converging in 2021 that can take us far in the wrong direction. It may take decades, or even lifetimes, to fix the damage.
On the surface, personal liberty in the United States seems reasonably healthy, but there are termites in the foundation. 2021 is the year that foundation could crumble. The problems have been going on for 20 years. Most older libertarians are very aware of the damage to liberty that occurred after September 11th, 2001. We remember the Patriot Act, thousands of pages appearing before Congress within days of the attacks, which had already been written and sitting in a vault before being brought to Congress for a vote. It was passed overwhelmingly on short notice with no time available for it to even be read, let alone discussed, by members of Congress. The citizens ability to travel was severely curtailed. Vestiges of the policies implemented remain to this day, and none of the policy infrastructure has been reversed. There are financial controls associated with the Patriot Act that are available to severely restrict the ability of the American citizen to transfer wealth outside the country. Medical tyranny has replaced common sense health care and threatens to restrict our freedom to a much greater extent. Vaccinations are not being forced on grown adults at the moment, but it is easy to envision a turn of events to that result. Few people are asking hard questions about vaccines that were developed in less than a year for a virus that has never been isolated. We have never created vaccines for Ebola, SARS or HIV, viruses that have also never been isolated (and in the case of HIV, there is serious controversy over where such a virus even exists). The push toward vaccination can also severely curtail our freedom of movement. The recently amended quarantine act of Canada states that anyone coming into Canada will have to be examined/tested by quarantine officers and also must accept any proposed treatment from them. If anyone refuses to be screened they can be arrested and detained without warrant. The rise of socialist sentiment in this country has been attacking another foundation of personal liberty, private property. A recent article in the socialist magazine, The Jacobin, called for an end to all inherited wealth. Articles such as these are wildly popular. Subscriptions to The Jacobin have been one of the fastest growing of any publication. Small business has been severely damaged by Covid lockdown policies. Small business is another foundation of personal freedom being destroyed, yet barely a tear is being shed for the destruction of life savings for these small business owners. It is not just the liberty of the business owners at stake. The jobs they provide are also the foundation of financial freedom for the individuals that work for them.
There are many more attacks on personal liberty any one of us could list. Each of these attacks could be the subject of an article all by itself. But, let me move on to the next trend coming to a head in 2021, the death of money.
The national debt is around $80 Trillion Dollars, with other worldwide sovereign debt approaching $300 Trillion. None of the figures for the debt mentioned above include promises not on the books, such as social security and other government financed retirement programs. These figures do not include personal debt or corporate debt. The reason the U.S. government and other sovereign nations have a debt is because they spend more every year than they receive in tax revenue. So, when the Trump administration signs off on a corona virus relief bill, it is not sending the taxpayer’s money back to them. That money has already been committed. Some people like to say that it is money borrowed from China. That’s not exactly true either. The Chinese government stopped investing in U.S. treasuries over the last couple of years. So, where does the money come from? Well, some of it is debt owed to real people who have loaned their savings to governments in order to protect their retirement and inheritance for their children in what they thought was a safe place. The Chinese government still owns bonds that it purchased years ago. It is still hoping its investment is safe and will be returned. It is still receiving interest on this debt. However, most experts realize all this debt can never be repaid. There will have to be a default or a restructuring. It is difficult for the U.S. Government to find people to borrow from these days. So where does the new money for things such as Corona Virus relief come from? We all know. It is simply created by entries in a computer. So, what is the real value of this money that has nothing behind it and doesn’t represent the accumulated savings from the real labor of real people? That’s a good question.
This is one of the reasons so many millennials and the generations after them have turned so to socialism, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. They have been told social security will not be there for them. They are vaguely aware that hyper-inflation is a distinct possibility. The only option to pay back this debt is by devaluing the dollar by creating more of them out of “thin air”. If money is that easy to create, why not just create enough to give everyone a universal basic income and a living wage? That’s another good question.
The problem with this line of thinking, as I see it, is that money is a measure of value. Up to now, we have had 7.5 billion people determining every day the value of goods and services. This is the fundamental basis of a free market economy: price discovery. If the government gives you money, it will determine what is the value of your labor and the goods and services you produce. It will be a tyranny of a few elites, not the independent and free choice of the masses. The death of money is the death of freedom.
The final macro trend, the death of democracy, is being played out as we speak. If the recent Presidential election does not make you doubt whether elections are free and honest, you haven’t been paying attention. You haven’t been doing your homework. This is something maybe I will be allowed to write about next month, but just understand this. If the will of the few can manipulate the vote to over ride the will of the majority, there is no democracy. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is just about Trump. It isn’t. There is more at stake in the events unfolding this month than you can possibly imagine.
John Stewart, Member At-Large, FCLP