A History Of “You have to do this to protect someone else”: Part 2

A reader wrote this in response to last month’s Opinion Piece:

Mr. Lundstrom makes a few good points in his essay, but I wonder how many of us may never have been here if mandatory polio and tuberculosis vaccines had not been received by our parents.  I would bet that, if choice were left to individuals, those diseases would still be a worldwide scourge.  We still cannot get rid of polio and TB entirely, only because some pockets of the world population are not vaccinated.It’s long been a Libertarian principle that one’s freedom extends only to the point that it endangers others.  Sure, I object to the government being involved in personal health matters, but too many people are allowing their stubbornness to make them idiots.
In lieu of a regular Opinion Piece I am printing Mr Lundstrom’s response:
 I share your positive feelings about the Polio and Tuberculosis vaccine.  I have been a member of Rotary for a couple of years now, and volunteered with them as a student even longer, and am proud of the thousands of dollars that I have raised and donated to making the Polio vaccine more available in the few remaining countries.  Though, unfortunately, it is politics, governments, and wars preventing the last few regions from getting vaccinated. With that said, the polio and tuberculosis vaccines were never mandatory.  It is also not the case that the tuberculosis vaccine prevents spread.  Even if everyone had the vaccine for it, it would not stop the disease: https://www.who.int/teams/health-product-policy-and-standards/standards-and-specifications/vaccines-quality/bcg With regard to our liberties stopping when it endangers others, that is true.  However, the burden of proof is on the side who is trying to limit freedoms, and they have not met that burden.  The current Covid 19 vaccines appear to have mixed effects on the spread of the disease, especially after a few months pass and as new strains appear among countries like India that are not scheduled to be fully vaccinated before 2024.  On top of that, countries that have been heavily vaccinated (such as Israel or Switzerland) how now seen large spikes in the disease.  That is not to say that the vaccine is not effective at protecting individuals from harm, but if the claim is that getting vaccinated protects others, there is much less evidence to support that, and you need to meet a high standard of proof to violate someone’s bodily autonomy. Beyond that, if the goal was to increase vaccination rates, I think that the answer would be pretty clear, and would be the same pathway walked by the polio vaccine before: tell the truth, address arguments openly, and actually follow the science.  This whole pandemic has been a case study in officials lying to the public, and many of those lies have latter been admitted.  On top of that, experts with legitimate questions and arguments have been suppressed by the media and social media.  It is reasonable for people to doubt what the government is saying when they refuse to answer experts in vaccinology asking why people who have already been infected with Covid have to get vaccinated anyways (especially since many countries with a vaccine mandate actually do have that exception) https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21ADfHk3IuaBrEH34&cid=914431B73799994E&id=914431B73799994E%2176735&parId=914431B73799994E%2173522&o=OneUp Finally, I don’t think that our philosophy is perfect or will bring about a utopia.  We can only act within our limited knowledge of the world.  But what I can say with high confidence at this point is that the lock downs have brought about more avoidable deaths from poverty (starvation, cholera, indoor air pollution, etc.) than Covid would kill even if it infected the whole world.  Yet, when that was going on, discussion was repressed and a policy was mandated.  I don’t know for sure what the best thing for us to do going forward is, but given the track record, I am very heavily leaning towards informing people and helping them rather than mandating and forcing them. My original piece was about the track record of mandated government interventions, and given that the polio and BCG vaccines were not mandated, I still do not know of an example in the last 100 or so years of US history where people were mandated to do something and there was a positive result.  

Drake LundstromFCLPO Vice-Chair

A History Of “You have to do this to protect someone else”:

The national government is mandating vaccination with the justification, paraphrased: “you have to take this to protect someone else”. This is an argument that governments have used time and time again, and it’s worth seeing how it has been abused in the past. Just the US over the last century or so has had many instances of this abuse of power. 

Eugenics: The same Supreme Court case that allowed for mandated vaccinations also allowed for forcibly sterilizing people who were criminals or simply not smart enough. The famous quote from it is “three generations of idiots is enough”, and the justification was that stupid or criminal people would have children that damaged others or cost them money to take care of. I don’t think that I need to explain just how morally horrific this is, especially since this was still happening recently (for example: 148 female inmates were sterilized in California between 2006 and 2010). 

WW1: The phrase “shouting fire in a crowded theater” originated from a different terrifying Supreme Court case against anti-war protestors. The idea was if you spoke out against the war, you were putting others “in danger”, and the government would arrest you. You have to shut up to protect someone else. 

Prohibition: Alcohol was banned in large part because people drinking put others in danger. The result of this was the creation of organized crime in the US, the highest murder rate in US history, and a large number of overdose deaths from black market, unsafe alcohol. 

War on drugs: The main argument that created the war on drugs was using marijuana or other drugs made someone a danger to others. The movie Reefer Madness is a good time capsule of the arguments made at the time, but overall the war on drugs was not started to protect people from drugs. It was to stop you from taking drugs to protect everyone else. This has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions being locked up, the overdose epidemic, and an ever-growing international system of dangerous cartels. 

9/11: The Patriot Act was pre-written before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon.  The Act was voted on and signed into law before the end of the following month.  It authorized indefinite detention of immigrants without trial.  It permitted law enforcement to search property and records without a warrant, consent, or knowledge.  It contained numerous provisions that cancelled previously respected freedom and privacy of financial transactions.  It opened the door for mass surveillance of U.S. Citizens. The travel restrictions imposed and enforced by the TSA were forerunners to the government travel restrictions we’re facing today.  We even saw the phenomenon culturally. The US considered kidnapping and assassinating Julian Assange.  Both Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for Edward Snowden’s return and trial, with execution for treason on the table.  “If you are not with us, you are with the terrorists!” If you argued against the deadly regime change wars the US has been in for the last 20 years, you are putting everyone else in danger. 

Gay marriage: One of the big arguments against gay marriage was that it would hurt “society” or “the children”. People were not allowed to marry who they liked because even just viewing it or knowing about it would “harm” others. Similar arguments are still being made about other groups in the LGBTQ+ community. 

2020 lockdowns: We now know, based on many studies on the subject (that we would be happy to send to you if asked), that the lockdowns did little to nothing to prevent the spread and

danger of Covid. Countries like Sweden, with no lockdown, did about the same as the rest. Even worse, lockdowns caused tens or hundreds of thousands of children starving to death in the third world, over 100,000,000 people forced into absolute poverty, not even to mention the mental harm, restriction of freedom, and delay of medical procedures in richer countries. 

But this time, in 2021, we should trust them unconditionally? That is not to say that vaccines in general, or the Covid vaccines are not safe and effective. What I’m saying is we should be allowed to have the discussion, learn, and decide for ourselves. Everyone is in a different situation medically and you own your own body. No one should be able to force you to put something in your body that you don’t want to put in it. Make no mistake: if the government takes someone poor and makes it illegal for them to buy food anywhere within an hour of their house, they are forcing them. 

This argument has had a pretty terrible track record and that is worth knowing.

Drake Lundstrrom, Vice-Chair, FCLPO

What Was It All For?

Some years ago there was a science fiction series called Babylon 5. As one of the many running storylines, one of the alien races called the Centauri invaded and occupied the homeworld of another alien race called the Narn.  In exchange for help from the former Narn ambassador in eliminating the insane Centauri Emperor, the Centauri ambassador promised to end the occupation of the Narn homeworld.

As the Centauri were withdrawing, the Centauri ambassador’s aide, one of the more sympathetic characters in the series, looked out a window to watch the Narn celebrations and said, “What was it all for?”

On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, watching our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban, the group we invaded to overthrow, retake control of the country, I have to ask myself the exact same question.

What was it all for?

The government and military we put it placed couldn’t surrender fast enough to the Taliban. Every gain women made in the last 20 years evaporated seemingly overnight as the pre-invasion status quo reasserted itself.

What was it all for?

Trillions of dollars spent, thousands of lives lost or maimed just for everything to go back to the way it was.

What was it all for?

Or better yet, what can we learn from it?

Maybe countries don’t like being occupied, even if it’s “for their good.”  The Soviet Union invaded in 1979 and eventually declared it unwinnable and withdrew with their tail between their legs. We just did the same after 20 years.  Even the great and glorious British Empire tried their hand at it a few times in the 1800s and eventually decided to finally withdraw after the third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919. 

(It’s telling that Dr Watson from the original Sherlock Holmes stories was wounded during Britain’s war in Afghanistan, and the Dr Watson from the recent modern-day Sherlock was also wounded in the modern-day war in Afghanistan.)

I joked recently that Afghanistan must be a pretty impressive country having fought three global super powers to a standstill. 

I also found it interesting when President Biden recently remarked that citizens with guns wouldn’t stand a chance against a government with F-15s.

Apparently, they can.

“But what of the Afghan citizens?” You may ask, “What about all the women who had a taste of freedom and, overnight, are back to the world of The Handmaid’s Tale?”

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s sad and tragic, but what is the alternative?  The speed with which the country fell and the speed with which the Afghan army rushed to surrender tells me that whatever “gains” Afghan society made under our occupation would not have survived our eventual withdrawal whenever that may have been.  I really don’t want to say this, but, from firsthand reports from the ground, it almost seemed like all the men couldn’t wait to be back under Taliban rule.  That doesn’t say a whole lot for a country we “liberated”.

There is a line from another television show that seems germane to the situation, “Sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones, but you still have to choose.”

Ken HolppCommunications Director, FCLPO

How You Can Change The Law

 It seems like everything and everyone has gotten more political over the past year.  Families and friends engaging in regular screaming matches about Washington.  But the funny thing about that?  You, me, and anyone you know personally (with rare exceptions) have almost no influence in what happens in Washington, and we are mostly ignoring the area where we do have lots of influence: our local governments. 

The vast majority of people can’t name their mayor, much less their town council members.  Even less than that have ever been inside city hall, or their equivalent, and even less have been there for an actual session.  What does that mean?  That since under 5 people show up to a regular city council meeting (and I am talking about cities smaller than 100,000 people, not Columbus), you can have a big influence if you do show up.

Most city council members just run on a few big issues and aren’t super partisan on the rest, and are open to good ideas, and as libertarians, we have lots of those.  If you want to get a law changed, all you need to do is show up to a few meetings, find an area where you and the city council largely agree, and propose some sample legislation.  We even have it already written for you, whatever you want to do:
 

Decriminalize marijuana. 

End no knock raids.

Reduce restrictions on gun rights.

And much more .

So yes, I am saying that if you want to change laws, become a lobbyist.  But don’t do it for a corporation, do it for freedom and the rights of everyone.  This is far easier than getting elected, and unlike arguing around the thanksgiving table, this will let you change and contribute to your home.
Drake Lundstrom, FCLP Vice-Chair

Opposition to State Power Evaporates Whenever There Is a “Crisis”

Robert Higgs identified the Leviathan as an opportunistic beast, using crises—real or manufactured—to expand its realm, to slither its tentacles into the remaining halls where large amounts of liberty are found. Any national or international event can be spun into the need for more government, more interventions, and more intrusions of its slimy appendages.

We have seen this time and time again, as the Leviathan strikes while the masses tremble. Somehow we are calmed by the sight of this powerful yet ugly serpentlike creature, believing that it is only grasping what it needs in order to protect us, and praying that it will release its grasp once the crisis passes.
However, government never willingly releases its hold of liberty. No, and in fact, any taste of the liberty that remains in possession of the masses simply whets government’s appetite for more. That which we give up in a momentary shudder of fear is gone forever.

Nevertheless, crises never seem to arise often enough for those wanting more power. Therefore, government will manufacture events, or spin the innocuous or unrelated incident into a crisis, whenever it desires more of the people’s liberty. While Higgs’s scholarship shows how this occurs at the national level, it also occurs at the local level as the sons of the Leviathan seek their own bits of power, the tidbits dropped from the mouth of the great beast.

Not four miles from my home is an old bridge that captivates many. Folks like the bridge’s style, simple beauty, and setting. The bridge, a registered national historic place, spans a section of the Olentangy River that still holds its natural qualities—a stretch of the water designated as a state scenic river.

Local and state officials—led by the county engineer, an elected official—wanted to tear down this bridge years ago. They regularly cited its age, restricted traffic flow, and possible structural deficiencies as reason to replace it with a modern—though institutional-looking—cement span. In opposition, local residents and other nature lovers have fought government all along. They have used every possible means to stop the destruction of their favored bridge. In fact, they even appealed to laws that protect areas designated as state scenic rivers and bridges deemed historic—anything to stop the state (you just have to love it when laws impede the state and its local minions).

The two groups—bridge lovers and government officials—locked horns, with neither side gaining ground. But, that all ended with one tragic event: the collapse of a bridge in Minneapolis. Finally, a crisis.

Within days, the county had reevaluated the structure of the bridge and determined that it was indeed deficient. Well, the bridge wasn’t actually deficient, but there was some slight evidence that overweight vehicles may have continued to cross it. So, they closed it down.

After years of battles, it only took one national event to change the balance of power at the local level: government had won. No voices arose from bridge lovers in defense of their span. No, they simply rolled over in the face of the fear; they blinked. And with that, years of battle ended, and their bridge is gone.
It certainly appears that local governments used the timing of a national tragedy to pursue their goals. The closing of the bridge was now an issue of safety, and government always claims a monopoly on the ability to provide safety. And, more important, the majority of local citizens have come to agree with government on this.

OK, so this incident is not really a matter of negative rights, but it does show how even local governments take advantage of any situation, large or small. And how local residents willingly concede that government is security.
More to the point: in June of 2001, a local resident was arrested for possession of pipe bombs, assault rifles, etc. This individual and his fellow conspirators were bombing and shooting in the state park not seven miles from my home, in an outlying suburban area. The man had strong ties to national groups that advocate violence as a means to achieve political ends.

Even though there was strong evidence to believe that harm would result from the groups’ activities, and given that this all occurred after Oklahoma City, it is hard to imagine today that the arrest was only considered minor local news. The Leviathan could not advance, not yet anyway.

A few years later, another local resident blustered about bombing a local mall. There was never any evidence that he possessed the wherewithal to execute his plans. Yet, post-9/11, this arrest achieved much greater attention. The Leviathan was allowed to advance because a majority of local residents have accepted—no, embraced—the belief that only government can provide safety in a crisis, and that safety is more valuable than liberty.

Finally, there are the debates over how much money is required by the various local governments to protect us in the event of a major natural disaster. Katrina has become the cry for more funding, because many believe that there can never be too much money spent on safety.

Given this, the city administrator rolls out the most fantastic scenario of catastrophe and emphatically states “We have to be ready for this.” Not to be outdone, the police and fire chiefs one-up the administrator and each other with scenarios bordering on the bizarre, claiming that “the city must be ready for these also.” Then, in unison, council members and local media race to bring attention to the need for more government, and the local Leviathans smile.

Of course, money is the solution, and more is always needed. However, dare question them and they will scream “Katrina, Katrina, Katrina!” The crisis drives it all.

So, we have a closed bridge, reduced liberty, and additional taxes. Yet many claim that we are safer for all of this. But are we safer, or is government safer? I venture to say that the local Leviathans are smug and more comfortable in our need for them. We, on the other hand, are in more danger than ever of losing the remnants of liberty that we still hold in our possession.

We must be vigilant with regard to the great Leviathan, as well as its local sons. They all exist solely to rob the liberty we hold dear.

Author:
Jim Fedako

Jim Fedako, a business analyst and homeschooling father of seven, lives in the wilds of suburban Columbus.

[Originally published as “Sons of Leviathan” in October 2007.]
Republished with permission https://mises.org/library/opposition-state-power-evaporates-whenever-there-crisis

First, Do No Harm

59 years ago a wonder drug swept Europe and the UK promising a restful sleep to anxious expectant mothers. 

FTA-By 1960, Thalidomide was marketed in 46 countries, with sales nearly matching those of aspirin.

Around this time, Australian obstetrician Dr. William McBride discovered that the drug also alleviated morning sickness. He started recommending this off-label use of the drug to his pregnant patients, setting a worldwide trend. Prescribing drugs for off-label purposes, or purposes other than those for which the drug was approved, is still a common practice in many countries today, including the U.S. In many cases, these off-label prescriptions are very effective, such as prescribing depression medication to treat chronic pain.

However, this practice can also lead to a more prevalent occurrence of unanticipated, and often serious, adverse drug reactions. In 1961, McBride began to associate this so-called harmless compound with severe birth defects in the babies he delivered. The drug interfered with the babies’ normal development, causing many of them to be born with phocomelia, resulting in shortened, absent, or flipper-like limbs. A German newspaper soon reported 161 babies were adversely affected by Thalidomide, leading the makers of the drug—who had ignored reports of the birth defects associated with the it—to finally stop distribution within Germany. Other countries followed suit and, by March of 1962, the drug was banned in most countries where it was previously sold.”

While the FDA at the time declined to approve the drug Thalidomide state-side, it came very close, and was hardly the bastion of objective science. This close call led to an overhaul that tightened restrictions surrounding the surveillance and approval process for drugs sold in the US.

Over the past 20 years those processes have been slowly undermined and increasingly the FDA authorizes thread-bare clinical studies conducted by pharma with obvious conflicts of interest. Drugs rubber stamped by the FDA one day are pulled from the market the next. Late night TV is full of law firm ads asking if the audience has been harmed by a growing list of drugs that were once touted as “safe and effective”.

Libertarians call for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration, not to eliminate food and safety processes already in place nationwide and directly managed by food processors and reputable drug companies, but to end the false sense of security the agency provides Americans, corrupt revolving door of agency staff into captured industries and the consistent failure it presents to the market.

We demand an open market that allows multiple competing voluntary private inspectors, much like Consumer Reports and other watchdog groups, who alert the public to dangers long before the FDA or its corrupt bureaucracy. 

Allowing any government or corporation to have a monopoly on the definition of human health is dangerous and unwise.

We are living through a moment in history that may change the American experience forever, and the FDA has been at the heart of each misstep and tragedy, without correction, without accountability and without direction.

#AbolishTheFDA

Citation: https://helix.northwestern.edu/article/thalidomide-tragedy-lessons-drug-safety-and-regulation

An addendum on abolishing the FDA

This agency is directly responsible for the disastrous handling of Covid response, allowing home testing early in 2020 when it could have made all the difference, then pulling authorization and demanding all testing go through the CDC and HHS. With a testing bottle neck at the federal level state health departments were unable to ramp up testing to assure panicked state Governors that a health crisis in March 2020 was non-existent in most states. While New York, New Jersey and to a much lesser extent Washington State saw alarming numbers of positive tests and a handful of over run hospitals, Ohio in particular saw hospitals statewide at 96% empty and massively under used, waiting for a surge that never came.
The absurd delay in testing led to an over reliance on long discredited apocalyptic projections that led governors to over-react with lock downs and restrictions through the summer, forcing hospitals to stay empty much longer than was obviously needed. This has led to an increased fragility in our health care networks, as doctors and nurses were let go and hospitals closed.
Bizarre contradictory advice has been issued from the FDA ,and its sibling agency the CDC, over the course of the year, ranging from scientifically dubious “social distancing”, flip-flopping mask guidance, excessive quarantine and avoiding the much needed discussion on informed consent.

No government or corporation should have this much influence over public health. We demand good outcomes, not just good intentions. 

#AbolishTheFDA

Citation: https://www.mobihealthnews.com/news/home-covid-19-testing-services-pump-brakes-after-fda-warns-fraudulent-kits

Citation: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/23/mit-researchers-say-youre-no-safer-from-covid-indoors-at-6-feet-or-60-feet-in-new-study.html

Michael Sweeney, At-Large member, FCLP

Papers Please?

The Vaccine passports are an Orwellian nightmare descending on America with the support of the same politicians and spokespeople who have lied to us hundreds of times before.  And the worst part?  Unlike the 2 weeks to flatten the curve that is still ongoing, or the corporate bailouts with under 10% of the money spent on relief checks, this policy would stay forever.

America has a long history of this.  The TSA was supposed to only exist for a few years, the federal income tax was sold as only a 3% tax on the richest of Americans.  The NSA would only be used to spy on foreign terrorists.  Every government program grows in scope to keep itself alive and this will be no different.  The early vaccine passport demos are not just a verification that you got the shots, but track and store data on you.  Your health, where you go, who you interact with.  If this gets passed, why not add more vaccines?  If we already have the data, shouldn’t the police be able to access it to see who was near a crime?  This will only get worse.

These Fascistic controls should be opposed by everyone: Libertarian, Democrat, Republican, or whatever else.  Beyond this being a cheap rip off of the Chinese social credit system, you should not be punished for being healthy.  You would be detained everywhere you go, guilty until proven innocent, unless you have your smartphone on you (because the only thing Americans need right now is more screen time).  

The left should oppose this because minorities and the disenfranchised will be the most targeted by these policies.  Beyond the cops having a new reason to pull anyone over, the poor would be less likely to have a smartphone.  Survey data also shows us that African Americans are some of the least likely to take the vaccine, just Google the Tuskegee Experiment, and will be the ones segregated by this (again).  And whatever happened to my body, my choice?

In spite of DeWine probably pushing for more horrific government tracking, any right winger with principles should oppose this.  Where in the Constitution does it grant the government the power to partner with unaccountable corporations to monitor and control everything that you do?  I thought that big government was the enemy?  How will you feel when cops are stopping you from walking into your church because you didn’t bring your smartphone with you?

This must be opposed by a broad coalition, but the good news is that it is a largely unpopular policy outside of the ruling elite.  This is one of the battles we can actually win.

Talk to your friends and family.  Call Congresspeople.  Don’t shut up and just let this happen, do what you can to oppose it. The Libertarian party will have your back, and we will be doing everything we can to stop this new tyranny.


Drake Lundstrom, Vice-Chair, FCLP

Back On The Treadmill

We’ve got good news and we’ve got bad news.

The bad news is the Libertarian Party of Ohio has lost ballot access… again. The November Presidential election did not provide the votes needed for Libertarians to retain our status as a minor party. The Ohio Secretary of State released guidance regarding our ballot access in response to a Libertarian Candidate in Hamilton County that does not favor us.

What does this mean? Well, we’re back on the treadmill. We will need to collect ballot access petition signatures again to seek recognition for Minor Party Status. Based on the math we will need to collect 59,742 valid signatures from valid Ohio voters, at minimum, and with past experience on the matter, the more realistic number is over 100,000 signatures.

The good news is our Libertarian Party of Ohio Executive Committee has risen to the challenge and already formed a new Ballot Access Committee and produced a valid “Petition to Form a Minor Political Party”. This is the critical first step in our next adventure.

The better news is your Franklin County Libertarians have a plan. Over the past 4 years we have looked at how the petition process works in Ohio, how it works digitally in other states, and how we can take advantage of social media, outreach platforms and our amazing volunteers to  facilitate and accelerate the laborious process of collecting and validating so many petitions. 

Hint, we won’t be standing in front of BMV’s and libraries.

We can’t share our entire plan with you just yet, the FCLP Executive Committee has approved a framework to move forward and we will have more to share soon.

We are very excited about the opportunities this challenge provides, not just for Libertarians, but all issues and candidates that have burdensome petitioning requirements.

We’ll be in touch when we’re ready to share and appreciate all the hard work and dedication from our incredible volunteers. We are working to live up to your expectations and provide the best tools to get this important work done.

May Fortune Favor the Bold

Michael Sweeney

At Large, Executive Committee

Franklin County Libertarians 

DEATH OF DEMOCRACY, A HISTORY AND PERSONAL JOURNEY

For last month’s newsletter, I submitted the first of a two part series.  The first part featured two trending concerns: the death of personal liberty and the death of money.  This second part of the series focuses on the third trending concern, the death of democracy.   To be blunt, the topic could just be called election fraud, because that’s what this article is about.  Without honest and reliable voting, democracy does not exist. 
 
Election fraud has been a concern of all political parties for quite some time.  Democrats complained bitterly about the results of the 2000 election.  Legislation called the Help America Vote Act, or HAVA, was passed in 2002 in response to their complaints, most of which fell under the rubric of voter suppression.  This legislation offered Federal aid and guidelines to states to encourage them to upgrade to electronic voting systems.  A key provision was that a permanent paper record of all elections would be produced by the machines to ensure the votes could be audited. 
 
Democrats were back complaining after the 2004 elections.  In the 2005 joint session of Congress to certify the electors, Senator Barbara Boxer and Representative Stephanie Tubbs, D-Ohio, objected to Bush’s Ohio votes.  That caused the chambers to leave their joint session and debate separately for two hours. Neither chamber voted against certification [1], but House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) praised Boxer and Tubbs for bringing up the objection.  She said, “Today we are witnessing Democracy at work.”  John Conyers, the Democrat Congressman from Detroit, was one of 31 members of the House who voted not to count the 20 Electoral College votes from Ohio. Conyers wrote a book citing his Party’s claims of election fraud called ”What Went Wrong in Ohio: The Conyers Report on the 2004 Presidential Election.”  I read the book in 2005.  I believe a copy is still somewhere in my house. 
 
The conversion of America’s voting system from paper to electronic did not go well, like most federal programs.  Critics complained that the funds were misappropriated, giving contractors too much money for building handicap accessibility and leaving too little for upgrades to electronic systems.  The electronic systems purchased were foreign produced or cobbled together from off the shelf software.  Many counties did not meet the deadlines for conversion specified in HAVA.  As states scrambled to comply, security was not the highest priority.
 
During the Obama years, Democrats were sufficiently satisfied with election results.  The Federal government did not make voting systems a priority as states quietly went about changing over their systems and refining their procedures to comply with HAVA mandates and guidelines.  The U.S. Constitution, after all, gave state legislators the right to determine the time, manner and place for federal elections.  Republicans seemed to be satisfied working at the state level.  However, after Trump was elected in 2016, the Democrat criticisms began again.  The Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, asked for recounts in several states.  Republicans complained that Stein was secretly acting on behalf of the Democrat candidate, Hillary Clinton.  In early 2017, at least six House Democrats objected to the Electoral College: McGovern, Raskin, Jayapal, Barbara Lee, Jackson Lee and Maxine Waters.[2] 
 
During the Trump administration, enough time had passed since HAVA for the technology of some of the voting systems to become outdated, and for enough data to be collected to take a serious look at the systems on a national basis. There was growing concern.  It became apparent to many observers that machines had been purchased by various county boards of election whose officials for the most part lacked the expertise needed for the analysis and selection of modern data collection systems.  Numerous articles and studies were published indicating that the machines were insecure and could be hacked physically or remotely. 
 
In 2020, both Democrats and Republicans were concerned about the integrity of the upcoming election. It is well known that Donald Trump sounded the alarm on numerous occasions, primarily about the ad hoc procedures being developed for mail in ballots due to the coronavirus “crisis”.  In August of 2020, Hillary Clinton stated, “it is imperative that Biden does not concede the election no matter what the vote tallies are” [3].   The election did not go well. This was not a surprise.
 
The Republican objections to the 2020 election encompass six issues:

  1. insecure voting machines
  2. restrictions on the ability of poll watchers to do their job.
  3. alleged illegal acts by election officials and poll workers who closed the polls in the early morning hours of November 4th around 3:00am on false pretexts, sending the poll observers home.  When official counting resumed during normal business hours on November 4th, large leads for Trump had become leads had suddenly become leads for Biden.  
  4. Data analysis showing statistical impossibility for the vote tallies to occur as they did when they did.
  5. Error and fraud inherent in the new procedures for mail in ballots that were created because of the Coronavirus epidemic.
  6. Violations of law in creating these new procedures, specifically Article II of the U.S. Constitution.

 
On November 4th, I was called by a friend of mine, a graduate from the University of Chicago with a degree in economics and a successful hedge fund manager.  Highly agitated, he gave me a convincing case for the 4th objection listed above.  Sophisticated statistical analysis convinced him that the vote count in Philadelphia was fraudulent.  I had already been reading about other mathematicians who were making the same case, so it didn’t take much for me to believe him.  Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito had already issued Philadelphia an order to segregate ballots which had been handled in violation of the law.  This order was ignored. 
 
Eager for answers, I started looking for any information available.  I knew there was a group in Ohio whose members were strong supporters of Trump, so I went to their website, and I’ve been following it since early November.  I am not going to attempt to explain the six issues of doubt I listed above, but I am going to provide the two sources where you can read the explanations for yourself.  The Trump supporter’s website is www.wethepeopleconvention.org.  Day after day, week after week, they have been laying out a case that the election had been stolen.  There is a massive archive of videos and articles archives on this website just about the 2020 election.  The evolution of thought from late fall to now of these people is also interesting. 
 
The best summary of the events before, during and after the election from someone who was on the inside of Trump’s team is at www.deepcapture.com. This blog, written by self styled libertarian Patrick Byrne, lists the posts necessary to read on the opening page.  It is important you read all of them, and soon, because it may be soon taken down.   One of the posts incorporates a New York Times video and editorial which illustrates the non-partisan concern over voting machines just after 2017.  Patrick Byrne makes it a point to tell his readers to watch the video in its entirety. 
 
I know it is hard to swallow the idea that some massive conspiracy could pull something like this off.  Articles have been written about how ridiculously hard this would be.  These articles are false.  In one of his blogs, Patrick Byrne says something like, “go to any college and ask a political science professor how you can steal an election and he will tell you, ‘all you have to do is capture the votes of six metropolitan counties in six key swing states’”.  According to the Trump team narrative, this is in fact what happened. 
 
One of the strongest influences towards me believing that this fraud occurred is the massive gaslighting by the conventional media outlets and the Democrat Party.  Many times they mention “false claims”, “without evidence”, etc.  This can’t be true by any stretch of the English language.  In the first place, there are dozens of affidavits sworn by people under penalty of perjury who allege to have seen election fraud.  There are computer experts who have offered to show how to unequivocally prove or disprove whether ballots were fraudulent.  There are many data experts and mathematics PHDs who can show certain patterns of vote totals in this election which are impossible.  The media could use terms like “alleged fraud” or “without credible evidence”, which would be somewhat more truthful, but they don’t.  They just claim the evidence was never provided, which is on its face a lie.  They could say it is bad evidence, but not that there is no evidence.  They simply don’t want the people to hear the case for a fraudulent election.  The Democrats call the Republicans traitors and insurrectionists for using the same Constitutional procedures to certify the electors in a joint session of Congress that they themselves utilized many times before.  As usual, the hypocrisy of both political parties is appalling and almost laughable.
 
Let me repeat what I said in my article last month.  This is not about Trump.  Trump did one thing right in his last year in office.  He let the laboratory of states devise their own plans to combat the Coronavirus pandemic instead of trying to impose a federal dictatorship as Biden is prepared to do.  Other than that, many of Trump’s decisions in 2020 were abysmal.  He was disorganized and unprepared for another term.  I believe he would been a lesser evil than Biden, but there is no way to know for sure. 
 
This is about the one essential thing needed to preserving self-government, which is arguably the finest achievement of humans, and that is the right to vote in a representative form of government.  We need to learn everything we can about the current process and make our voices heard.  Right now, the Democrats are ready to push another bill through Congress that will fundamentally change the character of our Republic.  It is a disastrous bill, but it is so important to Joe Biden it is House Bill 1.  It is not an easy thing to do, but Libertarians have got to be serious and active in preserving the integrity of the vote.    We know that Republicans and Democrats can’t be entrusted with any thing of value.   
   
[1] http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2005/roll007.xml.
[2] https://www.cnn.com/2017/01/06/politics/electoral-college-vote-count-objections/index.html
[3] https://www.newsmax.com/politics/concede-election-democrat-hypocrisy/2020/11/08/id/996002/.

John Stewart, Member At-Large, Franklin County Libertarian Party

THE DEATH OF LIBERTY, MONEY AND DEMOCRACY

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 StewartMember At-Large, FCLP