issue 09 | MaY 12
Don’t Invade Iran
John Glaser page 36
Summer Reading Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
The Unambiguously Libertarian Duo:
An Interview with Reason’s Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie
Don’t Detain Me, Bro! 1 Young American Revolution The
Struggle Between Government and Individual Liberty by Senator Mike Lee
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Contents May 2012 / Issue 09
Better Free than Safe By Jacob G. Hornberger The Critical Importance of Civil Liberties to a Free Society
A Defense of Individual Rights By Senator Mike Lee
The Struggle Between Government and Individual Liberty
Prelude to a War By John Glaser
What to Expect By Jeff Frazee
What YAL Chapters have been up to
22 Occupy vs. The Poor By Joe Miller
How the Protesters’ Policies Would Actually Hurt the 99%
Additional Sanctions Against Iran are Likely to Start a War
Getting a Grip on the Price of Government By Scott Drenkard 30 Steven’s Squares
Tax Freedom Day and the Fiscal Illusion of Taxes
Unambiguously Libertarian Duo
By Bonnie Kristian A Conversation with Reason’s Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie
What to Read This Summer
Your Beach List for 2012
By Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
By Ricardo Perez & Wes Messamore Ron Paul’s Revolution by Brian Doherty How Do You Kill 11 Million People? by Andy Andrews
A Look into the Crystal Ball By Dylan Brewer 2012 Predictions from UVA’s Award Winning Election Analysts
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By Steven Sutton
The Campaign Strategy System You Must Know to Win
32 Bad at Videos? Me Too! Let’s Discuss By Remy Munasifi
“Raise the Debt Ceiling!”—and Your Youtube Views
34 Profiles in Liberty: P.J. O’Rourke By Trent Hill
“Left-Leaning Hippie to Libertarian Luminary
What to Expect
Managing Editor Bonnie Kristian
Deputy Editor Edward King
Matthew Holdridge Krystee Miller
Mark Thoburn Shane Helm
Justin Page Wood Contributing Editors
Jack Hunter, W. James Antle III, Trent Hill, George Hawley, Wes Messamore, Joseph Brown Young American Revolution is the official publication of Young Americans for Liberty (www.YALiberty.org). Subscriptions are $50 for one year (4 issues). Checks may be made out to Young Americans for Liberty and sent to PO Box 2751, Arlington, VA 22202. Young American Revolution accepts letters to the editor and freelance submissions. Letters should be between 50 and 300 words. Submissions should be between 700 and 2400 words. Letters and submissions may be edited for length and content. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 2751, Arlington, VA 22202. Young Americans for Liberty grew out of the 2008 presidential campaign’s Students for Ron Paul. Since then, our network has grown to more then 300 chapters, 3,800 dues-paying members, and 26,000 activists nationwide. The mission of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is to identify, educate, train, and mobilize youth activists committed to “winning on principle.” Our goal is to cast the leaders of tomorrow and reclaim the policies, candidates, and direction of our government. We welcome limited government conservatives, classical liberals, and libertarians who trust in the creed we set forth. Opinions expressed in Young American Revolution are not necessarily the views of Young Americans for Liberty. Copyright 2012 Young Americans for Liberty
Photo by M. Holdridge
the most principled, o say it’s been pro-liberty members a busy couple of the Senate, Mike months for Young Lee of Utah, headAmericans for Liberty lines this issue with an would most definitely article on the destrucbe an understatement. tion of our civil liberWith our current ties as a result of the growth and expanTSA and the NDAA’s sion, each semester is indefinite detention more active than the provision. last! And this Spring Looking at the certainly follows that economic side of trend. things, Joe HenchWe kicked off the YAL Executive Director Jeff Frazee men of the Tax Founsecond half of the school year in January with our Spring Re- dation writes about, well, taxes; and stucruitment Drive, as YAL chapters all across dent writer Joe Miller’s first contribution the country braved the wintery weather to YAR examines some of the goals of the to introduce their classmates—especially Occupy Movement—and whether these January freshmen, transfer students, and expansions of the welfare state are actually the New Year’s resolution crowd looking beneficial to those in need. John Glaser of Antiwar.com leads the to get more involved on foreign policy discuscampus—to the ideas of sion with a look at poliberty for the first time. tential war with Iran— Just as the Recruitand why it shouldn’t ment Drive was wraphappen. ping up, YAL members Two of my favorite converged on Washingarticles in this issue are ton, DC, for the 2012 an interview with ReaStudents for Liberty The Recruitment Drive by YAL at son’s Matt Welch and International ConferTexas State was a huge success. Nick Gillespie about ence, of which YAL was their new book, Deca Partnering Sponsor. Next up, our March activism event pro- laration of Independents, and a summer tested the unconstitutional TSA, titled reading list from Dr. Tom Woods that all “Government Gone Wild: Spring Break students of liberty should take a look at. Of course, topping your summer readwith the TSA.” And now, as this ninth issue of Young ing list should be Young American RevoAmerican Revolution goes to print, more lution #9 itself, so keep reading what we than 300 YAL chapters are joining in think is our best issue yet! “April All-Out Activism,” picking their For liberty, favorite activism idea to inform their classmates about the national debt, Constitution, economic fallacies surrounding the Occupy movement, and much more. YAR 9 is here to provide the intellecJeff Frazee tual background for all this activism and Executive Director, YAL to explain in detail the principles behind our actions. Thus it’s fitting that one of
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5 Young American Revolution
Campus Countdown W
ondering what YAL chapters all around the country have been up to this year? Here’s your answer! Keep reading to learn about 20 of the best activism projects we’ve seen from YAL chapters in the past few months.
Government Intervention vs. The Free Market
YAL at Slippery Rock played host to professors from nearby Grove City College when they organized a debate between Grove City’s free marketers and their own school’s economics professors, who favored government intervention in the economy. The debate was packed with more than 300 attendees, many of whom resorted to simply sitting in the aisles of the auditorium when no other seats were available. The debate ended with a spirited Q&A session, with the evening’s topics ranging from tuition and healthcare costs to inflation, bailouts, and the Federal Reserve.
Warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention, internet censorship—our civil liberties are disappearing fast. You might even say they’re dying. That’s why YAL at Northeastern University held a “Graveyard of Civil Liberties” event on campus. This visually striking project requires YAL chapters to build mock tombstones on which they memorialize lost rights like free speech or habeas corpus. At Northeastern, this event proved to be great for starting conversations and attracting new members.
Visualize $15 Trillion
In Spring 2011, more than 75 YAL chapters participated in “Visualize the Debt,” a nationwide effort to inform college students about the dangers of our national debt, recruit new members to our network, and earn media attention to raise awareness about the issue. As a result of the hard work and activism, chapters in 32 states took action, building 40-foot National Debt Clocks which their classmates couldn’t ignore! Unfortunately, the national debt has only risen since that event, which is why YAL at the Diablo Valley College constructed a debt clock of their own almost a year later to spread the news about the national debt in Northern California.
A Graveyard of Civil Liberties
Mississippi College YAL’s Presidential Straw Poll
Who do college students support for president—or at least, for the GOP nomination? YAL at Mississippi College decided to find out by holding a straw poll on their campus. The results showed Rep. Ron Paul of Texas as the runaway winner, with then-candidates Rick Perry and Herman Cain taking second and third, respectively. The straw poll offered YAL members a chance to meet new students, as well as to promote the debate-watching party the chapter was hosting that week. The straw poll generated a lot of interest on campus and built a new bridge to the MC College Republicans, who also sponsored the poll.
Free Market Debate Slippery Rock #20
MTSU YAL Promotes iFeminism
Middle Tennessee State University YAL members found a new opportunity for outreach in the local feminist community, promoting the concept of “iFeminism,” or feminism based in the rights and liberty of the individual. MTSU YAL member and Southeast Regional Director Eric Sharp noted that activism like this is important to “reach out to a left-leaning crowd and show that libertarians are not the bad guys, and bring the message of liberty and individual rights to people who may have never heard it before. Some of us may not have become libertarians had someone else not done the same.”
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‘Alcohol, Parties, and the Law’
YAL at Northeastern University found that their school would be willing to sponsor an event on “Alcohol, Parties, and the Law” once administrators learned out that, in addition to presenting the liberty perspective on knowing your rights, the speaker would focus on personal responsibility! More than 150 enthusiastic students packed the room to hear C.L. Lindsay, an attorney who founded the Coalition for Student & Academic Rights, discuss students’ rights and current laws about the drinking age, keg use, noise, and much more. The presentation also proved to be a great opportunity for Northeastern YAL to build a coalition on campus, as it was cosponsored by five other student organizations.
Obama = Bush at St. Cloud State
Minnesota’s Saint Cloud State University may not have known just how similar President Obama and his predecessor are before this semester, but they know now. That’s thanks to YAL @ SCSU’s Recruitment Drive tactic of highlighting the ways in which Presidents Bush and Obama supported basically identical policies, like bailouts for their crony capitalist friends, keeping Guantanamo Bay open for business, invading Middle Eastern countries, and trampling all over our civil liberties by signing the PATRIOT Act. With big signs spelling out this dangerous lack of difference between the two Presidents, SCSU YAL attracted several new members to their chapter!
Lights, Camera, Liberty!
Estonians peacefully gaining their independence, a dystopian future where everyone is equal, a philosophy realized through a man that stopped the engine of the world, a warning of the next financial crisis, parents struggling to get their kids out of failing schools, a brutal alliance between Nazis and Soviets, and an Australian family struggling to save their home from an expanding airport…all in one weekend. These diverse topics were the subjects of the films shown at the “Free Minds Film Festival” organized by the YAL chapter at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. The festival featured notable speakers connected with the production of many of the films shown, and was attended by about 100 people! This unique project spread the message of liberty in a whole new way.
“I’m already against the next war,” declared a poster at the YAL table at the Midwest Peace Summit, sponsored by the University of Kansas YAL chapter on their campus. This was the chapter’s largest event to date, and it gave YAL members the opportunity to build an anti-war coalition with other student groups, like Iraq Veterans Against the War, Occupy KU, and the Libertarian Party of Kansas.
Vanderbilt University, #10
KU YAL Joins the Midwest Peace Summit
Free Economics Tutoring…for Liberty!
YAL at Diablo Valley College saw a need for economics tutoring on campus—and in that need, an opportunity to advance the cause of liberty. Securing the support of several professors as well as the student government, DVC YAL is now providing tutoring services seven days a week. “What better way could we make an impact on our campus than by providing an essential service to our peers, all while developing relations with the staff and administration?” asked the chapter’s blog post announcing their new program.
Everything You Wanted to Know About the NDAA
The extremely active YAL chapter at Vanderbilt University kept their campus informed this spring with a teach-in on the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, a law containing a clause which allows the American government to indefinitely detain its own citizens without formal charge or trial. This unconstitutional law is so vaguely phrased that it would even allow a charity worker to be arrested as a terrorist for unknowingly providing food aid to a terror suspect! Vandy YAL’s teach-in on the NDAA ensured that this new encroachment on our liberties would not go unnoticed on the Vandy campus. The chapter followed the event with a lecture from libertarian Radley Balko on “The Militarization of Main Street.”
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University of Florida YAL: 0 to 52 in One Month
The YAL chapter at the University of Florida got off to a strong start this semester. Beginning the year with multiple days of tabling and outreach on campus, they soon selected officers to keep the chapter organized and active. Better yet, the brand new chapter is already up to 52 members, and expects to soon overtake the UF College Democrats and Republicans in activity on campus. Chapter President Jessie Markell reported on the YAL national blog that the chapter had even convinced his German Language TA, a self-declared socialist, to read Hayek’s classic The Road to Serfdom.
Croney = Phony Capitalism University of Virginia, #9
Crony Capitalism is Phony Capitalism
On Valentine’s Day, lovers of liberty all across the country participated in a national day of activism called “Crony Capitalism is Phony Capitalism”! A number of YAL chapters participated, including the extremely active chapters at Vanderbilt University, Slippery Rock University, and the University of Virginia. Crony Capitalism is Phony Capitalism is an ongoing project to educate young people about the differences between the free market and the corporatist economic system we have today.
The Case against the Drug War at KSU
Kennesaw State YAL carefully planned an oncampus event with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) speaker Jay Fisher presenting the constitutional case against the drug war. Their hard work paid off! More than 50 people showed up to the event, and KSU YAL’s Hans Schulzke reported that by “the end of the night, there were people standing in the back, sitting in the front, and all engaged in a great Q&A session.” Better yet, Hans added, “We had a large number of people sign up for email and call-sheets, we launched a new SSDP (Students for Sensible Drug Policy) chapter on campus, and we had high-quality conversation exposing people to libertarianism, the ideas of liberty, and YAL.”
Indiana YAL Holds a State Convention
At Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, YAL members from all over Indiana converged to network, strategize, and learn from speakers such as 2012 Indiana Senate Candidate Andrew Horning, former Ohio State Senator Derrick Seaver, and former Survivor contender and 2012 Indiana gubernatorial candidate Rupert Boneham. Representatives from YAL chapters all across Indiana shared the tips and techniques they’d learned from past activism and collaborated to develop ideas for upcoming events.
UCSD YAL Number 5
UCSD YAL Is Here for Your Safety
Students leaving the University of California-San Diego for a long weekend were given the opportunity to learn about how the TSA violates our rights by their school’s YAL chapter, which set up mock a TSA checkpoint to offer “freedom pats” to passersby. “Not only did UCSD YAL educate a lot of people on the state of civil liberties today, multiple local media organizations responded to their media advisories and came to campus to interview the group. One local NBC report even found its way onto the national MSNBC site,” wrote Southwest Regional Director Adam Weingberg of the event.
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YAL @ USU Fights Mandatory Student Fee Hikes
At Utah State University, the student body voted to increase mandatory annual fees for each student to $150 per year. These fees, which are levied on top of tuition, room, and board, will be used “to pay down the bond needed to build the $30 million Aggie Recreation Center and Legacy Fields,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported. The nearly 50% of USU students who opposed the fee increase found an advocate in David Nilson, president of the school’s YAL chapter, who the Tribune reported as arguing for a demand-based payment which would only be charged to students who used the athletic facilities: “The whole fee program should be revamped. All fees should be voluntary. That would grow a lot more respect for the university and help students save money and be more entrepreneurial. Most universities take the easy way out and impose these socialist fees.”
800 New Sign-Ups in Just 7 Days
YAL’s Pennsylvania State Chair Brandon Cestrone described the Slippery Rock chapter’s Spring 2012 Recruitment Drive as “the biggest, most successful recruitment drive ever.” Here’s his (numerical) account of this impressive activism event: 7 days of tabling (2 hours each day = 14 hours total!) OVER 800 NEW SIGN-UPS!!! 10 professional yard signs 500 professional, custom YAL pens 50 professional flyers 4 professional posters 1 team, 1 dream! With a list like that, it may not be surprising that SRU YAL won first place in YAL’s Spring Recruitment Drive activism contest!
Cal State-Fullerton Chooses Charity Reports YAL @ CSUF’s Derek Leigninger:
YAL members from California State University, Fullerton took some time to give back to our communities. Waking up early in the morning is not always easy for college students, especially on a Saturday, but it is definitely worth it and we made it happen. Coordinating with the Volunteer and Service Center on our campus, we volunteered at the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen at St. Joseph’s School in Santa Ana. What we participated in was an inspiring display of charity and voluntarism. The chapter ended up spending time making crafts and playing games with the children of needy families at the soup kitchen so their parents could have a few minutes’ break while receiving assistance from the charity. Derek concluded, “I think volunteering is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to our communities and our experience at the soup kitchen solidified our beliefs in a system of people helping others in a non-coercive fashion. Not only were we able to help others in various ways, but it also left us with a good feeling in our hearts.”
California State University, #2
1 800 New Sign-Ups
Spring 2012 Recreational Drive #3
Cincinnati YAL Fights for Free Speech on Campus
The administration at the University of Cincinnati evidently has some odd ideas on free speech: The college’s rules permitted administrators to limit student demonstrations to the school’s “Free Speech Area,” a small space comprising just 0.1% of the campus as a whole—and all demonstrations must be registered a full 10 business days in advance. If this doesn’t seem to comply very well with the First Amendment, that’s because it doesn’t. So when YAL @ UC asked to be able to collect petition signatures all over campus in favor of a right to work bill, their request was denied and the students were told they would have to deal with campus security if they were caught petitioning. Cincinnati YAL members contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and a lawsuit is now underway to reverse UC’s unconstitutional free speech policies.
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Better Free than Safe The Critical Importance of Civil Liberties to a Free Society Jacob G. Hornberger
Photo by Gage Skidmore
After all, it wasn’t a foregone e now live in a country conclusion that Americans were in which the government going to approve the Constitution. wields the authority to sneak into Their biggest concern was that the people’s homes, secretly and surrepfederal government would end up titiously, to peek into their private exercising dictatorial powers over affairs, and to monitor their emails, them. telephone calls, and financial matThe proponents of the Constiters. Even in those cases where a tution emphasized that that was a search warrant is required, everyone very unlikely possibility, given that knows that nothing is going to hapthe Constitution expressly limited pen to federal officials who do such the powers of the federal governthings without a warrant, especially ment to those enumerated within if they say they did it in the name of the document. If the power wasn’t protecting “national security.” enumerated, they said, the governWe now live in a country in ment would be precluded from which the president—together wielding or exercising it. with the military, the CIA, the FBI, Based on that assurance, Ameriand the rest of the national-security cans decided to go along with the establishment—wields the authordeal, but only on the condition that ity to round up Americans, cart the Constitution would be amendthem away to concentration camps ed immediately after enactment, in or military dungeons, incarcerate order to also provide express restricthem for life without a trial, torture tions on the powers of the federal them, and even execute them. Jacob Hornberger in February 2011 government. We now live in a country in Recognizing that the new fedwhich the president wields the aueral government would be the biggest threat to their natural and thority to send the entire nation into war on his own initiative, God-given rights, Americans secured the enactment of the first without the congressional declaration of war that the Constitution two amendments, which expressly protect such fundamental requires. rights as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of reliIndeed, we now live in a country in which the president wields gion, and the right to keep and bear arms. the omnipotent, non-reviewable authority to assassinate AmeriNotice, however, that the rights and guarantees protected by cans—and, for that matter, anyone else—anywhere in the world, four other amendments—the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth including right here in the United States. Amendments—are not in the same category as those in the First Original Non-Intent and Second Amendments. The rights and guarantees in those four Could this really be the type of government the Framers beamendments arise in the context of government’s seizure and punlieved they were bringing into existence? Not on your life! If the ishment of people. Constitution was calling into existence a government with those If the government wished to punish people, it would be retypes of powers, there is no possibility that the American people quired to comply with certain well-defined procedures as a prewould ever have accepted it. requisite to doing so. Such procedures included such things as
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protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, judicially issued arrest warrants and search warrants, the right to be formally notified of criminal charges, the right to remain silent, the right to counsel, the right to confront witnesses, the right to a speedy trial, the right of trial by jury, the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishments, and the right to due process of law.
A History of Violence How did these rights and guarantees arise? They stretch back centuries into British history, and they arose specifically in the resistance by the British people against the tyranny of their own government. Consider, for example, the concept of due process of law. It stretches all the way back to the year 1215. Prior to that time, the king wielded the power to arbitrarily arrest British citizens and cart them away to the Tower of London to be tortured or executed. No formal charges. No trial. Just sheer omnipotent, dictatorial power. Then came Magna Carta in 1215. The English people had had enough of that brute, capricious power, especially given that it would inevitably be exercised against citizens who criticized the king or his policies. At Runnymede, the English barons extracted one of the most critical concessions from government in history. The king acknowledged that his powers were, in fact, limited. He stated that never again would an English king deprive people of their lives or property in violation of “the law of the land,” a principle that would become known as “due process of law.” That’s the way it was for all the other rights and guarantees provided in those four critically important amendments in the Bill of Rights. They were all born in the resistance by the English people against the tyranny of their own government. The same holds true, by the way, with respect to habeas corpus, which has been called the linchpin of a free society, and which was expressly protected in the original Constitution. Habeas corpus is a judicial procedure that was designed to secure freedom for people who were being unlawfully detained by the king or his personnel. While there were certainly abuses during the first 200 years of American history—such as the shameful incarceration of Americans of Japanese descent during World War II—by and large Americans lived under a government that lacked the power to deprive people, both foreigners and Americans, of life, liberty, or property in violation of due process of law. And then came 9/11. That event brought about the most revolutionary legal transformation in American history, one via which the government now wielded the same authority wielded by totalitarian dictators throughout history—the power to round up people, incarcerate them for life without a trial, torture them, or even execute them. In other words, the same types of powers that King John wielded and exercised before Magna Carta. The same types of powers that English citizens had resisted through centuries of British resistance to British tyranny. U.S. officials pulled off this revolutionary change without even the semblance of a constitutional amendment. How did they do that? By employing one of the cleverest devices imaginable, one that
could have only been successfully pulled off in the fear-laden environment after 9/11, when most Americans were willing to accept anything the government did to keep them safe from the terrorists.
Tyrannical Sleight of Hand
Soon after 9/11, President Bush decreed that U.S. officials would now have the power to treat terrorism as either a criminal offense or an act of war. Prior to that time, terrorism had always been a criminal offense and only a criminal offense. In fact, it still is a federal criminal offense; terrorism is listed in the U.S. Code as a federal crime. Federal grand juries return criminal indictments for terrorism. Federal judges preside over terrorism prosecutions. Federal juries determine the guilt or innocence of people accused of terrorism. One of the people charged in the 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, Ramzi Yousef, is today serving time in a federal penitentiary after being convicted of terrorism in a federal district court. The same holds true for Zacharias Moussaoui, who was accused of participating in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. What Bush did was provide an extremely clever way by which U.S. officials could ignore, if they chose, the protections in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments, at least when it came to terrorism cases. The military and the CIA now had the option of treating a person accused of terrorism as an “illegal enemy combatant” in the “war on terrorism.” In such cases, the Bill of Rights was no longer applicable, and the government now wielded omnipotent power over its subjects—the power to incarcerate them for life without trial, the power to torture them, and the power to execute or assassinate them. In the beginning, U.S. officials implied that such extraordinary powers would be exercised against foreigners only, but the logic of the government’s position belied that implication. Since terrorists could be homegrown American citizens, the government’s power to wage its “war on terrorism” obviously extended to them as well. Moreover, U.S. officials repeatedly emphasized that the entire world was the battlefield in the war on terrorism. That obviously included the United States. Thus it is that we now live under a government whose powers closely resemble those exercised by the greatest totalitarian dictatorships in history—a government that the Framers assured Americans could never come into existence under a Constitution that limited the government’s powers to those enumerated in the document itself. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, the Constitution’s enumerated powers do not include the omnipotent powers now being wielded and exercised by the military and the CIA. The government tells us that these extraordinary powers are necessary to keep us safe. But who keeps us safe from the government that is now wielding omnipotent, dictatorial powers over the citizenry? As our American ancestors understood, the greatest threat to people’s freedom and well-being comes not from foreign threats but from their very own government. As for me, I would rather be free than be safe. If I have to surrender even one iota of freedom to be kept safe, then I’m not interested. I’m willing to take my chances at the hands of the terrorists. At least I’ll die a free man rather than a cowering serf who was willing to trade his liberty for the pretense of security.
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A Dangerous Cycle
But there is another factor to consider here. It’s the federal government itself that has engendered the terrorist threat it uses as the excuse for wielding and exercising these dictatorial powers. I’m referring, of course, to the horrific things that the U.S. government has done to people in the Middle East, especially after the fall of the Soviet Union, when the U.S. national-security establishment lost the official enemy—communism—that had sustained its everincreasing budgets during the Cold War. There was the U.S. government’s support of Saddam Hussein, especially during his war against Iran, a country that had committed the cardinal sin of ousting its U.S.-installed dictator, the Shah. There was the Persian Gulf intervention, where the U.S. turned on its own partner Saddam and killed tens of thousands of Iraqi people. There was the Pentagon’s intentional destruction of Iraq’s water and sewage facilities, knowing that this would bring about the spread of deadly illnesses and disease. There were the brutal sanctions against Iraq, which killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. There was U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright’s infamous declaration that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children were “worth it.” There was the stationing of U.S. troops near Islamic holy lands, knowing the adverse effect this would have on people of Muslim faith. There were the illegal no-fly zones and related air strikes on Iraq, which killed even more Iraqis, including children. As each year went by, the anti-American anger and rage were simmering and then boiling, erupting in retaliatory terrorist attacks on the USS Cole, on the U.S. embassies in East Africa, on the World Trade Center in 1993, and ultimately in the 9/11 at-
tacks. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were simply more of the same—killing, maiming, incarcerating, and torturing countless people. Their surviving friends and relatives then join the forces of retaliation, which then motivates U.S. officials to adopt measures that infringe on our freedom here at home—to keep us safe from the people who are retaliating for what the U.S. government is doing to them over there. To restore a free society to our land, it’s not enough to simply restore civil liberties. As long as the U.S. government is permitted to maintain its vast empire of overseas bases and its power to sanction, invade, and occupy foreign countries, it will be able to induce many Americans to surrender our freedom—to ostensibly be kept safe from those who are retaliating for the bad things the U.S. government is doing to them. We must pull the weed out by its root, and the root is the U.S. government’s imperialist, interventionist foreign policy. For more than 200 years, Americans succeeded in preserving the rights and guarantees provided in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments. The generations living today must bear the shame of having permitted the government to circumvent those long-established, cherished rights and guarantees. We need to reverse this situation if we are to live in a free society. That’s the greatest gift we could give to succeeding generations. It’s the greatest gift we could give to ourselves. Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. Learn more at www.fff.org.
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A Defense of Individual Rights The Struggle Between Government and Individual Liberty Senator Mike Lee
Photo by M. Holdridge
he debate over the proper significant, is no more signifibalance between governcant than any of the other nament-guaranteed safety and tional security threats that this individual liberty has waged country has faced or will confor centuries. Benjamin Franktinue to face. We simply canlin’s famous quote, “They who not give up on the Constitution can give up essential liberty to every time we feel threatened. obtain a little temporary safety, The Constitution does not lose deserve neither liberty nor safemeaning when the country ty,” was written the year before faces such threats; rather, that is Thomas Jefferson penned the when the Constitution’s meanDeclaration of Independence. ing is most profound and most Two hundred and thirtyneeded. seven years later, the question Our Founding Fathers recis still not settled and was, in ognized that the federal governfact, contemplated as recently ment’s first priority was to proas last November during detect its citizens. They knew that bate over the reauthorization America would have enemies, Senator Mike Lee calling to party leaders to make voting on of our national defense apand that perhaps some of her earmark bans public. propriations bill. Known as enemies would be Americans the NDAA in congressional themselves. For that reason, parlance, this gigantic bill authorized the government’s defense Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution authorizes Congress to spending. It also included provisions concerning the government’s punish treason, and Congress has in fact passed important laws authority to detain suspected terrorists. punishing treasonous acts. But the Founding Fathers also knew A controversy arose over a portion of the bill that sought to the grave threat to this country posed by tyranny. If the Constitucodify an existing executive branch policy that allows American tion is not upheld and Americans inalienable rights are not procitizens suspected of aiding terrorism and deemed “enemy comtected, there would be little need for foreign enemies to attack; batants” to be detained indefinitely by the federal government. America would crumble on her own. Proponents of this provision have made two primary arguments: The Bill of Rights, the greatest protection of individual rights first, that the policy is necessary to protect American citizens from ever promulgated by government, specifically sets forth the rights terrorist attacks; and second, that the Supreme Court has already of the accused. Such rights are intended, among other things, to spoken on this issue and found it to be constitutional. protect against indefinite detention without charge—a tool many I find these arguments misleading and unfortunate. This countyrants and oppressive governments have used to violate individual try has fought numerous wars in which many have died in the rights. Yet, the language of the NDAA authorizes detention in a name of protecting our individual liberties, natural rights, and bamanner that could potentially lead to exactly this kind of violation sic human freedoms. I am stunned that there are those who would to our rights. so easily give them up based on a threat of terrorism that, although Furthermore, although some have argued that the Supreme
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Court has addressed and upheld the issue of indefinite detention of U.S. citizens, this argument is misleading. The provision I am most concerned about would authorize the government to indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen apprehended on U.S. soil, and the U.S. Supreme Court has never addressed this issue. Moreover, it is not for the Supreme Court to decide for Congress what is and what is not constitutional. As James Madison and Thomas Jefferson explained, each branch of government must carefully and conscientiously interpret the Constitution for itself. Accordingly, as a U. S. Senator, I have an independent obligation, consistent with and required by my oath to our founding document, to uphold the Constitution of the United States. And that means having more restraint than simply doing everything the courts will tolerate. During the debate over the NDAA, I was an original cosponsor of a bipartisan amendment to ensure that the full constitutional rights of American citizens would be protected. Our amendment would have ensured the proper balance between individual liberty and national security; however, it failed in a vote and was not added to the bill.
Several weeks later I helped introduce the Due Process Guarantee Act (S.2003), which clarifies that a declaration of war or authorization for the use of military force by Congress does not authorize the indefinite detention of American citizens or legal residents who are apprehended in the United States. Americans who commit treason, or plot treasonous acts, should and will be punished for their crimes. But granting the United States government the power to deprive its own citizens of life, liberty, or property without full due process of law goes against the very nature of our nationâ€™s constitutional values. Preventing tyranny is, at the same time, empowering liberty. And where there is more freedom, there is greater prosperity. Our constitutional guarantees have made this the most prosperous nation on earth, and thereby one of the safest. We should not be tampering with the wisdom that produced these results.
We simply cannot give up on the Constitution every time we feel threatened. The Constitution does not lose meaning when the country faces such threats; rather, that is when the Constitutionâ€™s meaning is most profound and most needed.
Mike Lee is a U.S. Senator from the state of Utah and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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Prelude to a War Additional sanctions against Iran are more likely to cause war than to stop it John Glaser
Photo by Daniella Zalcman
said they believed Iran already had nuclear resident Obama’s speech to the Ameriweapons. Other polls conducted in the last can Israeli Public Affairs Committee few months show that over 80% of Amerion March 4 was framed by the media as a cans think Iran is on the verge of having nurepudiation of an attack on Iran. He did clear weapons, and many consider military warn against “bluster” and “loose talk” of action a viable option to reverse this course. military action, but his favored approach A review of the basic facts contradicts these overlaps that of his predecessor, George W. widespread misconceptions. Bush. In 2007, the highly classified National The well-known historian and Kennedy Intelligence Estimate (NIE) concluded that administration adviser Arthur Schlesinger Iran had halted efforts to develop nuclear called it “a policy of ‘anticipatory self-deweapons in 2003. The NIE is produced by fense’ that is alarmingly similar to the policy 16 different intelligence agencies, and it is that imperial Japan employed at Pearl Harthe most authoritative judgment on nationbor.” In this view of “defense,” the United al security issues. A review of that report was States has the inherent right to wage prevenpublished in 2011 and reaffirmed the same tive—not preemptive—war at will. That is, conclusion: Iran has no nuclear weapons to attack a country on the basis of some poMahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian president, program. tential future capacity to threaten the U.S., at Columbia University In November, the International Atomic which they may or may not attain. This Energy Agency (IAEA) reported concerns about possible military amounts to a right to commit international aggression, even if a aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, but the watchdog group cited threat is largely manufactured, as it was with Iraq in 2003. no firm evidence. And despite media hyperbole, the report said The Obama administration has sanctioned Iran, isolated it that “the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of [Iran’s] diplomatically, encircled it militarily, subjected it to cyber-warfare declared nuclear material,” meaning that all of the enriched uraand commercial sabotage, and repeatedly threatened it with prenium is accounted for by inspectors and is not being weaponized. emptive strikes. Officials call such pressure an alternative to war, Iranian policy for some time now has been to abstain from debut it might instead serve as a prelude. veloping nuclear weapons but to gather the know-how needed to Yet this hysterical theater of peril on the Iranian nuclear issue build them. The Iranians are essentially hoping to deter adversaries is not based on any credible threat. Contrary to the propaganda, without actually having a deterrent, by signaling that a nuclear there is a consensus in the U.S. military and intelligence comweapon could be built quickly in response to an attack. munity that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and has not Adm. Dennis Blair, Obama’s former director of national intelshown any intention to do so. Worse still, the policies now being ligence, told Congress in March 2009, “We judge in fall 2003 applied are likely to bring about exactly the result the hawks say Tehran halted its nuclear weapons design and weaponization acthey’re trying to prevent: an emboldened, nuclear-armed Iran. tivities” but “is keeping open the option to develop them.” Correcting the Record Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the IAEA, said the same Unfortunately, the American people are badly misinformed year that he did not “believe the Iranians have made a decision about Iran’s nuclear program. In a 2010 poll, 7 in 10 Americans to go for a nuclear weapon, but they are absolutely determined
16 May 2012
WHY WE SHOULDNâ€™T
ATTACK IRAN 7 OUT OF 10
Americans said they thought Iran already had nuclear weapons in 2010
8 OUT OF 10
Americans who think Iran is on the verge of having nuclear weapons in 2012
Number of different intelligence agencies which produce the National Intelligence Estimate
Number of nukes that the NIE reported Iran has, as of Janaury 2012
Number of UN Security Council resolutions sanctioning Iran in the last decade
Percentage of Iranians want a nuclear weapon-free Middle East. www.usip.org/files/MWI/iran_presentation.pdf
Percentage of Iranians that said theyâ€™d like to see the elimination of all nukes. www.usip.org/files/MWI/iran_presentation.pdf
Doing Busines with Iran
Iranian Financial Institutions
Iranian Aviation Companies
United States Economic Embargos on Iran A license from the Treasury Department is required to do business with Iran
SUCCESS RATE OF U.S. SANCTIONS ON OTHER COUNTRIES Political scientist Robert Pape examined 115 cases of economic sanctions over almost 80 years and found only five that could be considered successful (that is, the sanctioned nation changed policy in the direction desired by the sanctioners). Obviously, a horrible track record.
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to have the technology because they believe it brings you power, prestige, and an insurance policy.” This conforms to statements by others in the know. While Iran is aiming to be “nuclear capable,” Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said in February, “the intelligence does not show that they’ve made the decision to proceed with developing a nuclear weapon.” James Clapper, director of national intelligence, has reiterated this conclusion. Most estimates place Iran several years away from having the technical capability to actually launch a nuclear weapon. That’s several years after the date they hypothetically decide to build such weapons, which U.S. intelligence says is not likely to happen anytime soon.
The Dangers of Military Action
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in February that war with Iran would be “destabilizing” and “not prudent.” That’s an understatement. Many war advocates argue for a “surgical strike” on Iran’s nuclear facilities to set back the program and buy more time. But they have far too much confidence that the consequences could be contained. In December, Panetta warned that Iranian retaliation against U.S. military bases in the region could “consume the Middle East in a confrontation and a conflict that we would regret.” An aerial assault would embolden, not subdue, Iran. As former CIA analyst Paul Pillar writes in the March issue of Washington Monthly, overly optimistic war proponents think “the same regime that cannot be trusted with a nuclear weapon because it is recklessly aggressive and prone to cause regional havoc would suddenly become, once attacked, a model of calm and caution, easily deterred by the threat of further attacks.” While the Iranian leadership has not yet decided to develop nuclear weapons, a preemptive strike would almost certainly push them toward that outcome. Currently, the IAEA has full access and 24-hour video surveillance at all of Iran’s declared enrichment sites, but analysts predict that following an attack, Iran would expel the inspectors and embark on a nuclear weapons program in earnest. Since limited airstrikes would simply escalate the conflict, the pro-war crowd’s only remaining option is a full-scale ground invasion, regime change, and extended occupation. In addition to being a war crime under international law, this would stoke antiAmerican terrorism and cause incalculable suffering and loss of life. Those who deny these predictable costs have an inordinate faith in government, and they must have slept through the entirety of the Iraq war.
What Will Sanctions Accomplish?
So direct military action won’t prevent an uncontrollable regional conflict and a nuclear-armed Iran. But current U.S. policy is also patently counterproductive and will lead to similarly unwelcome results. A bipartisan consensus has formed in favor of sanctions, which have crippled Iran’s economy with high unemployment and rampant inflation. But this cruel form of collective punishment, as Columbia University Professor Gary Sick has said, is
“the equivalent of a blockade. It’s an act of war.” Both Democrats and Republicans consider economic warfare the best way to do one of two things: either pressure the regime into acquiescing to Washington’s demands or create enough unhappiness among Iranians that they overthrow their government and establish one more to Washington’s liking. Political scientist Robert Pape examined 115 cases of economic sanctions over almost 80 years and found only five that could be considered successful (that is, the sanctioned nation changed policy in the direction desired by the sanctioners). That is a horrible track record. And forget about fomenting revolution: Iran’s parliamentary elections in early March showed a resurgence of support for the clerical hardliners, even though worsening economic conditions were of paramount concern to voters. The most egregious example of a failed sanctions regime is, of course, the case of Iraq in the decade after the first Gulf War. After U.S. warplanes destroyed much of Iraq’s military and civilian infrastructure, harsh sanctions were imposed. Air travel to and from Iraq was banned, various exports were prohibited, and per-capita income sank. The whole country suffered. Hundreds of thousands of tons of raw sewage spilled into the Tigris, and only a minority of Iraqis had access to clean water. Iraqis developed typhoid, cholera, and protein deficiencies at levels usually seen only in famines. Professor Joy Gordon of the Global Justice Program at Yale University concluded that the best estimate of excess child mortality — the number of children younger than 5 who died during the sanctions who would not have perished had pre-war and pre-sanctions conditions continued — is between 670,000 and 880,000. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright famously told an interviewer that this direct contribution to the deaths of “half a million children” was “worth it.” It may have been worth it, but apparently it wasn’t enough. The Bush administration used the fear caused by 9/11 to nurture feverish delusions that Saddam Hussein had ties to al-Qaeda and possessed weapons of mass destruction. The invasion and protracted occupation of Iraq resulted in the deaths of several hundred thousand Iraqis, with revelations of various war crimes emerging along the way. The immense costs of the war have yet to be duly appreciated by Americans. Instead of the democracy that war advocates heralded, Iraq today endures a brutal dictatorship and savage violence. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been accused of arresting and torturing his political opponents, clamping down on press freedoms, and driving a sectarian quest for power in Baghdad. Rosy predictions of what will follow a U.S. war in Iran should be compared to those made in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. The consequences of an unprovoked attack on Iran for a nuclear weapons program it doesn’t have would be an order of magnitude worse. To repeat the mistakes of the last decade again in Iran would be, as MIT Professor John Tirman puts it, “pathologically destructive.” John Glaser is the Assistant Editor of Antiwar.com. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst wtih a degree in Political Science. He lives in Washington, DC.
18 May 2012
Getting a Grip on the Price of Government Tax Freedom Day and the Fiscal Illusion of Taxes Scott Drenkard
n a free market, consumers When Do You Start choose between a wide variety Working For Yourself? of products and voluntarily seOne of the best ways to conlect the goods and services within ceptualize the price of governtheir budget constraint that they ment is the Tax Foundation’s find most valuable. Guided by annual calculation of Tax Freeprices, Americans make personal dom Day, which shows how long decisions each day about which Americans will work into the year food they will put on the table, before they have earned enough which clothes they think look money to pay the year’s tax oblibest, and which TV to put in gations to federal, state and local their family room. governments. The price of government, of This year, Americans will work course, is not stamped on the well over three months into the bridges and roads we drive on or year to pay for government serLarge group of people filling out tax forms in an the schools we attend. Especially vices until Tax Freedom Day arInternal Revenue Office in 1920 since the advent of income tax rives on April 17, when Ameriwithholding in 1943, many Americans are unaware of exactly how cans can start to work for themselves and their families. To put much is taken from their paycheck each year, and what they actuthis burden in perspective, Americans will actually spend more in ally get for each of those hard-earned dollars. This misperception taxes in 2012 than they spend on groceries, clothing, and shelter has been made greater by the wide swath of federal, state and local combined. taxes on corporate income and miscellaneous products which are The Growing Tax Burden not levied directly on individuals, but are still borne by consumers One of the more enlightening things that Tax Freedom Day in the form of higher prices. can teach us his how the price of government has fluctuated over Nobel laureate economist James Buchanan notably argued that time. In 1900, Americans paid just 5.9% of their income in taxes, this lack of understanding of public finance is a “fiscal illusion.” meaning Tax Freedom Day fell on January 22. World War I more When the price of government is unclear, it is difficult for voters than doubled the nation’s tax burden, and Tax Freedom Day leapt to make rational decisions about the proper size of government, to February 22 by 1921; Americans paid 14.5% of their income and even harder for them to conceive of the opportunity cost of to the government that year. The federal income tax, which had their tax dollars. With a fuller understanding of the true cost of been created 8 years earlier, proved to be an efficient collector of government, perhaps Americans could make better informed deadditional revenues used for war funding. cisions about how much government they need and whether the In the years that followed between the Great Wars, taxes were government services they are getting are worth the price.
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cut to some degree, but never returned to pre-war levels. In 1933, as the country struggled with the Great Depression and President Roosevelt embarked on ambitious spending programs, Tax Freedom Day crept into March for the first time; the price of government went up to 17.4% of taxpayer income. World War II pushed tax Freedom Day into April for the first time, the month where it has resided since. In 1943, Americans worked until April 4th (25.6% of their income) to pay for the cost of government. The latest Tax Freedom Day ever was on May 1, 2000, when the government took 32.9% of American incomes. This peak was a result of income increases during the tech bubble, which pushed many Americans into the higher tax brackets that had been created seven years prior during the Clinton administration. Recent years have trended slightly down from these high burdens, largely due to the Bush tax cuts and reduced revenue garnishment from falling income levels thanks to economic woes.
Accounting for Deficits While tax burdens have come down in recent years, deficits have expanded at an alarming rate. To conceptualize this phenomenon, the Tax Foundation also calculates a Federal Budget Deficit
Day, which is the day that Americans would work until if they were to balance the budget without cutting spending. In 2012, this day is May 12th, almost a full month after Tax Freedom Day. Because these costs must be paid for with taxes at some point, this is the true price tag of government in 2012.
Changing the Debate
Tax Freedom Day has become a powerful rhetorical tool since its inception in 1948 by Florida businessman Dallas Hostetler. As a result, the concept has become a part of the conscience of many American taxpayers, and has attracted similar calculations in 25 other countries over the years. While taxpayers may not have the stomach to calculate their taxes by hand, we certainly have an emotional connection to the amount of hours we have worked by the time April rolls around, and Tax Freedom Day is an effective tool to get us thinking about how we might have employed that money if it were not being put toward government services. This year on April 17th, we will join millions of Americans in asking: â€œAre we getting what we pay for?â€? Scott Drenkard is an economist at the Tax Foundation. You can find a full report on Tax Freedom Day at www.taxfoundation.org/ taxfreedomday.
20 May 2012
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Occupy vs. The Poor How the Protesters’ Policies Would Actually Hurt the 99%
and historical perspective. Proponents of big government argue that without massive assistance from the state, the most vulnerable members of our society would be left destitute and helpless. This is a rather unflattering view of the American people, as it completely discounts not only our capacity to help one another but our very human desire to do so. Private charity is not only more personally rewardWhat does Occupy stand ing than government welfare, it is also more efficient—and we should for? not take for granted that programs Like the Tea Party, Occupy purportedly meant to help the poor is a largely decentralized moveactually do so. The National Center ment, making it hard to define for Neighborhood Enterprises estia universal list of objectives. But Occupy protesters flood the streets across the country. mated that only 30% of the federal many of the localized protests welfare budget was actually making share similar goals: a higher tax it to the impoverished people it was supposed to be assisting—the rate for corporations and the wealthy, tighter regulation of the firest went to cover bureaucratic costs. nancial industry, and a more equal distribution of income. Most Simply pouring more money into these programs will not imOccupy groups feature a strong anti-Wall Street sentiment; some prove their efficiency or help the poor. And it is no coincidence that have expanded their focus into areas like student loan forgiveness. charitable giving during the “greedy” 1980s—a period when the top Whatever their differences, virtually all the Occupy participants marginal tax rate was cut from 70 to 28 percent—suddenly began share one unifying belief, and it is ultimately the fatal flaw in the to increase at a much greater rate (55 percent faster annually than movement’s reasoning: that our societal and economic ills were in the previous 25 years). When productivity is punished by high caused by the free market, and that giving the government more taxes, people conceal their income, resign themselves to earning less, power is the only way to cure them. and even relocate. When people have money, however, many will What does Occupy get wrong? use it to assist those in need, and there is more money available For a movement frequently described as a response to the free when it is not being taxed to feed a voracious bureaucracy and promarket’s failures, the Occupy protesters seem to have little undervide favors to special interests. standing of what such a market looks like. It’s hard to blame them, Overreliance on government aid also stifles the innovative spirit since we have never really seen one in the United States. While proof the people and discourages private methods of assistance from gressives like to portray the American economy as the laissez-faire evolving (note how fraternal and trade organizations used to fill this vision of Ayn Rand made manifest, this premise crumbles under kind of community role). How can anyone claim that we cannot even the slightest scrutiny. A system in which a private board of take care of our needy when we are constantly admonished not to bankers sets interest rates and manipulates the value of the currency, try? We cannot reverse decades of dependence on government overtaxpayers are forced to bail out the poor decisions of reckless firms, night, but we can do everything possible to make sure it does not and competition is stifled through ever-expanding regulation cango any further. not be described as free in any sense. Indeed, many of the legitimate One of the most serious concerns that Occupy has addressed is problems that Occupy attributes to the invisible hand of capitalism the gradual transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the were actually caused by the overreaching hand of the government. wealthy. This is indeed one of the most insidious threats that the The Occupy movement believes that giving the government American people face, but the answer is not “consumer protection” more authority to intervene in these areas is the most effective way in the form of more government regulation—especially when the to help the poor. But this argument fails from both a philosophical Federal Reserve is involved. Giving more power to an organization
he Occupy movement took the country by storm last fall, denouncing the excesses of the top 1% of earners and claiming to represent the remaining 99%. But how much of Occupy’s platform would really help the poor and middle class? A closer look reveals that many of their policy suggestions would only make a serious problem worse.
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that has plainly failed at both of its primary responsibilities (price stability and maximum employment) is not the kind of protection vulnerable Americans need, yet this is exactly what Occupy has called for by supporting measures such as the Dodd-Frank Act. Income inequality in itself is not a problem—in a healthy economy, some will naturally outperform their peers by virtue of luck, talent, and entrepreneurial skill. The trouble arises when government artificially makes that disparity worse, which it does frequently by inflating the currency. When new money is created out of thin air and pumped into the economy, it first reaches the bankers and special interests who were designated as recipients. They get to spend it essentially at a discount, before the market adjusts to the influx of new cash and prices subsequently go up. By the time the money trickles down to the everyday consumers, however, prices have risen and the purchasing power of their dollars has declined. Some Occupy groups seemed to recognize the destructive influence of the Fed and have called for substantial reforms, including a full audit. But the massive government spending that the movement so desires cannot occur without a central bank to print up all that money, so it is hard to see Occupy really taking a hard line on this issue. By supporting the Fed’s loose monetary policy and control over the economy, if not the idea of the Fed itself, Occupy is encouraging a transfer of wealth from the lower classes of Americans to the upper classes. Occupy has also been vocal about the need to “take the money out of politics,” citing the pervasive and embarrassingly visible influence of lobbyists in Washington. This is something that few Americans would dispute. But the reason there is so much room for special interests is that the government is simply involved in so many areas. A government that restricted itself to performing its constitutional duties would be quite boring to those seeking special benefits. Adding more regulation and increasing the government’s presence further would only create new opportunities for those lobbyists to move in and exert their influence, and you don’t see anyone arguing that more lobbying would be a helpful thing for the poor. Despite the best efforts of government officials, wealth cannot simply be willed into existence through redistribution or the touch of a button. This is a fundamental economic reality that Occupy overlooks. No one wants to see a large segment of the population left behind. It’s good for the economy and good for morale when as many people as possible are working productively and being compensated for their efforts—which is exactly why we should oppose government policies that prevent people from doing so. Investing in capital and increasing productivity are the best ways to benefit everyone in the economy. Impeding this process—whether through taxation, excessive regulation, or distortion of the market—only hurts us all.
phenomenon known as moral hazard), and Occupy is correct to oppose them. Although Occupy has focused primarily on economic concerns, a substantial anti-war strain also exists within the movement. Given that most of the United States’ recent military exploits were undertaken with no compelling rationale and no congressional declaration, Occupy’s stance is justified. A clear relationship exists between war, the health of the economy, and the health of the nation as a whole. A country that spends beyond its means searching for monsters to slay abroad will inevitably meet with serious economic woes, as we are starting to discover. Many members of Occupy argue that these resources should be directed instead toward pursuits like universal health care and public education. While conservatives and libertarians would likely disagree with this focus, both sides can agree that the current policy is clearly not sustainable. Less tangible but no less important to the movement’s success, Occupy has captured a feeling that something just isn’t right in America. There is simply no reason to believe, however, that giving the government still more power to intervene in the market and in the lives of the American people will do anything to solve these problems, especially since there is substantial evidence that government interference is responsible for many of them in the first place. The popularity of the Occupy movement has revealed that progressives, conservatives, and libertarians may share some common ground on identifying what’s wrong with American society—but they’re still some distance apart on how to fix it.
Joe Miller is a graduate of Providence College and a student at the University of Connecticut School of Law.
What does Occupy get right?
Despite the many flaws in their message, there are certain areas where the Occupy protesters are right on target—and very much aligned with the liberty movement. Perhaps most significant is their resistance to the extensive system of corporate welfare that exists today: The public should never be made to pay for the mistakes of private actors in the marketplace. This pattern of privatizing profits and socializing losses should be unacceptable to every American, regardless of ideology, as the only ones who benefit from such policies are those with the connections to gain access to the funds. Bailouts reward careless behavior and encourage more of it in the future (a
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24 May 2012
The Unambiguously Libertarian Duo A Conversation with Reason’s Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie Bonnie Kristian
att Welch, editor in zens, just because they keep chief of Reason Magratcheting up the criminal azine and Nick Gillespie, code. So, how can those two editor in chief of Reason. paradoxes be true? How can tv and Reason.com, teamed we be by all measures more up in 2011 to publish The free and at the same time less Declaration of Independents: free in terms of where we are How Libertarian Politics on paper with the governCan Fix What’s Wrong with ment? And this led us down America. On a sunny day some interesting rabbit holes this spring, I headed to the of research. We concluded Reason offices to speak with that the way to look at it is the authors of this equally that this sort of radical new sunny manifesto on exactly individualism in the culture, Matt Welch, editor in chief of Reason Magazine, and Nick Gillespie, editor why they are so optimistic in commerce, and in our in chief of Reason.tv and Reason.com about the future of liberty. private lives is changing everyYAR: So let’s start with the thing and eliminating all mebasics: Why did you write this book? diators and middlemen—evolving the power of the consumer. It WELCH: Nick and I, who had been working together for years is a tidal wave that’s affecting everything but for structural reasons, off and on, frequently grappled with this paradox of on the one it will effect government last, because unlike Kodak or Fujifilm hand if you look at everything that has happened even in the last (which was one of our operating metaphors), they have—“they” ten years—which has totally sucked as a decade since 9/11—if you being big, bad government—guaranteed revenue stream. They look at what has happened to all of our lives in the private sphere, write the rules of their own competition. So it’s going to happen to if you look at the ability of people to transcend what they’re born politics last, but there’s no way that it can’t happen to politics and into, we’re just getting more free by the nanosecond. Things are to governance. […] I think a lot of this stuff is inevitable. It doesn’t getting better in so many different ways. You’re not sentenced to mean that somebody with a big L on their forehead is going to the conditions that you were born in. And this is more profound ever be the President. I think that’s the wrong way of looking at than most people realize, I think, and we have argued that it afthings. We have a sort of cultural libertarianism that is eventually fects us on the level of behavior in the way that we can organize going to form the way that politics is done. our own culture instead of just receiving everything as a sermon YAR: A lot of the subjects that you mentioned in the book and from on high telling us what to do, we can control our universe even that you’re mentioning now are domestic issues and social and manipulate it. This is happening at the same time that on issues, which of course are things that we’re interacting with on a paper and in other degrees the government has more control than daily basis. Do you see this change happening as much for foreign it has had in a long time. It’s certainly spending more as a percentpolicy, which is so much more removed and more difficult for us age of our money than they have in a long time and as Harvey to influence? Silverglate has pointed out in his book of the same title, we comWELCH: For the purposes of the book we wanted to use exmit on average three felonies a day, even if we’re law-abiding citiamples of how things that you don’t think of in political terms
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have changed in our lives. So things like beer—we now can drink good beer. When I was your age, this was not a possibility. We had to go to Europe to drink good beer. So we wanted to walk back the processes that allowed for this revolution to happen; and it turns out to be from removing a lot of restrictions and engaging in libertarian or liberatory practices. So most of the examples tended to be domestically-oriented. That said, we’ve always drawn a parallel between the Howard Dean antiwar movement of 2003 and 2004 and the Tea Party movement, which had at least one election where they affected things much more than the antiwar movement did. But what the Howard Dean movement showed was that in times of super stress, both parties will eventually be in favor of war—always. They have different flavors of it: Basically, the Republicans go to war with a “F-ck France” t-shirt on, and the Democrats go to war with a “We prefer the UN most of the time” t-shirt on. But it’s really a matter of gradation. But suddenly Howard Dean, who was not particularly a pacifist—he was in favor of several American interventions before Iraq—he shows up at a time when major politicians were not saying “This is wrong,” he stood up and said “This is wrong.” Suddenly there was a “WHAAH”—I mean, there was this huge untapped feeling out there. YAR: And from Dean, literally, there was a “WHAAH.” WELCH: Yeah, exactly. [Laughs.] That sort of scream. And it actually changed him, that whole process. And in 2008, some of that energy went to Barack Obama—falsely, in many respects. Partly that’s because the antiwar movement, the Dean movement, was completely domesticated. It became an organ of the Democratic Party. […] So there’s this great untapped antiwar sentiment in this country. It’s very difficult to enact because war is about the easiest thing for a President to do, and it’s really difficult to roll that back. However, we face right now something that you might describe as imperial decline or a make-or-break moment. When you really, absolutely, positively have to spend a hell of a lot less money tomorrow because there are external factors hunting you down, that ultimately will become the easiest thing to cut. Defense hawks are aware of this and they’re freaking out about it. So there is the possibility to change the politics there. Thankfully Ron Paul [has] changed the debate about it a little bit. It’s going to take a while, but I think too that that can burst forth suddenly. Unfortunately, I think most flavors of antiwar protest or movement in the last ten, twenty, or twenty-five years have been partisan. They’ve been Republicans hating Clinton so they were anti-interventionist in the 1990s and it just flipped with George W. Bush. YAR: Kind of related to what you’re talking about now, you talk about duopolies a lot and how they can change. But the way our electoral system is set up—just the way the Constitution is,
and then ever since the League of Women voters gave up control of the presidential debates, it’s geared to only have two parties. That’s a restriction that we don’t have in the marketplace examples that you gave. So do you see a third party rising or independents staying influential in, but separate from, the major parties? WELCH: Because of those restrictions, unless someone legitimately popular is able to change the discussion around those restrictions and hammer away at them, that’s going to be tough to unravel. Even then it might be temporary. Ross Perot probably changed or softened some of the rules governing third parties, but the parties eventually retrench. I think that the action will come from blocks of independents—people just dropping out and swarming to single issues rather than political parties one way or another. I think that’s more effective, ultimately. Usually a political tribalhood?—I always stumble on this word—tribal membership? There should be one word. The Germans would have one word for this: treidmenshaft. Political treidmenshaft is an obstacle. Nick and I went to Hempfest this year in Seattle. It’s a beautiful park in Puget Sound with 100,000 people stone cold smoking pot for three days. They have a bunch of stages, usually with reggae bands and punk bands and discussions of marijuana legalization. We gave a couple of quick talks, and it was amazing to hear people talk about politics there because the drug war is the definition of an issue where both parties suck all the time. You can name one politician here or one politician there who aren’t completely horrible, and that’s about it—and they’re not going to do anything probably. And yet from the stage we would hear like, “If you thought George W. Bush was bad, just wait until Rick Perry comes!” And it’s like, “Dude, someone else has been President in between! I believe his name starts with Barack and ends with Obama.” If people in drug legalization movements who tend to be overwhelmingly left-leaning or Democratic, if they let go and said we’re going to elevate our issue above our natural affiliation, I think that would change the legalization movement overnight to a huge extent. If they make people pay for being sh-tty drug warriors, even if they’re Democrats, they’d change their behavior. […] All of that said, we don’t know what’s going to happen right now, this year. One of the points of our book is that change happens more suddenly and crazily than almost anyone at any given time predicts because our brains don’t want to deal with it. Politics has been so fluid—I mean, every week there’s some new “This is a historical shift in the polls in the last five days,” constantly right now. I think the disaffiliation and independence has created its own instability, which for me is exciting because I don’t like the stable things. That says to me that things could happen that we don’t currently and can’t currently think about. What happens,
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for example, if Santorum and Gingrich drop out? Or we get into a situation where— GILLESPIE: Hi, sorry. WELCH: You’re interrupting my flow, man. GILLESPIE: You and your flow. Did we say 3:00 or 3:30? WELCH: 3:00. She wanted the good stuff first. GILLESPIE: Yeah, I understand. You’re bringing in the B Team now. WELCH: […] The point is things are so unstable right now that it could quickly get us to places that change the basic architecture of how politics is functioning. But surely you have a question for Nick. YAR: I do—well, for either of you. You talked about existence bias, and this relates a bit to what you were just saying about how quickly things could change. But barring everyone reading your book—which would be awesome, and you would be wealthy— GILLESPIE: Oh, I meant to tell you: I was accosted on the Metro coming in. A guy said like, “Hey, are you Nick Gillespie?” And I said, “Yeah.” And he said, “You wrote the Declaration of Independents,” and I told him “just the good parts.” But yeah, he works on the Hill, so I think everybody is reading the book. YAR: Well, that’s great. It kind of ruins my question, but assuming for the sake of argument that they didn’t do that, how would we overcome such a pervasive bias? It’s a pretty basic assumption to challenge for a lot of people, I think: the idea that if something exists, it’s going to be like that forever. GILLESPIE: Matt can probably speak to this better than me, but the existence bias isn’t going away any time soon, but the things that it effects change. This is something that came to me more when we were hawking the book last summer: People have not internalized the level of debt and deficit and the fact that we’re broke whether at a federal level or at the state level or at the local level. When they do, things will change whether you want to or not. If you’re broke, you can’t keep doing the same thing whether you’re a family or a government or a country, and that is what’s going to change things dramatically. In terms of a two-party system or a two-party duopoly, I don’t think either of us thinks that that basic structure is going away, but what the parties stand for can be radically different. […] That [change] is coming because we’re broke. It’s coming because of people like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson and Rand Paul and the whole generation of people who are going to be moving into power. WELCH: I think also that people understand that stuff is changing quicker now. They see it in their personal lives and their consumption habits. I remember ten or twelve years ago when the
Department of Justice was prosecuting Microsoft. You could say to someone, “X technology company has 90% of X market—my god, what can we do?” And that doesn’t excite people now. You’ll still get hearings like giving Google a hard time, but people have a built-in understanding that today’s darling is tomorrow’s face plant and MySpace. It’s happening in politics too. […] GILLESPIE: These things happen very quickly, and then you forget about it very, very quickly. And I think we’re seeing that in the political arena. […] Ron Paul is a fascinating character in this because he’s super pro-life, and yet he’s being attacked by guys who are saying he’s not conservative enough. But what he’s saying is that [abortion] is something which shouldn’t be discussed in this forum of the federal government. That is the future of politics, because in the end, Democrats, Republicans, liberals, libertarians, conservatives—we all know that we don’t need the government to tell us what color to paint our house or what to smoke or not to smoke or how to raise our kids or how to spank them properly or make sure they’re never injured psychically. What we need the government to do is to make a stable money supply and predictable rules that allow us to flourish, and the government has totally failed at doing that, which is one of the reasons why Ron Paul’s message and the libertarian message and the message in Declaration of Independents is gaining some momentum. YAR: One of the things you all mentioned was that the generation that has been raised on the internet was basically raised libertarian, even if they don’t know it. Not to put it crudely, but eventually the old people will die and the young people will be in charge— GILLESPIE: Sadly not as fast as they would have 30 years ago, but that’s a sign of progress. YAR: This is true. So basically, as young people take over, this rate of change you’re talking about will increase and that will be a major catalyst—just the change of mindset? GILLESPIE: I’ll let Matt answer that probably better than I would, but in certain senses, the reason why younger people are raised libertarian is because they’re faced with more choices from the banal—there are so many more channels on TV that you have to pick. You have to become what Ludwig von Mises would call praxeological; it’s all about choice now in a way that when you only had three channels or one newspaper to look at, you didn’t engage that much. Now you have to engage just to manage the information flow. […] WELCH: I think that creates a culture of expectation that you can control and manage the services that you consume, and that’s got to put pressure on government just because you only go to the DMV so long before you start wanting to rip sh-t up. It’s so bad
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and nonresponsive. GILLESPIE: And it’s better than it was. WELCH: And it’s better than it was. GILLSEPIE: Because it has to be. Because people are angry. WELCH: So it’s going to create that pressure that will manifest in ways that we can’t quite pin our finger on. But there’s a huge structural problem—I mean, one reason why things don’t change in a direction that, say, Nick and I might want at any given time is the same reason why we’re not energy independent or we haven’t figured out how to go beyond carbonates. It’s kind of hard. […] Ultimately, it’s going to take some kind of radical solution. One would hope that you would take the lessons that you learn out there in the world of choice and plenitude and individual responsibility for your own actions and pools of money to make those policy recommendations. The last section of our book talks specifically about that kind of stuff. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. It’s as big of a challenge as a slow moving train wreck: You can see it coming, but no one has come up with a way to practically deal with it. GILLESPIE: Well, I think people have come up with ways to deal with it, but politicians have not. WELCH: Yes, that’s true. GILLESPIE: […]We keep talking about class warfare. It’s not about the 1% vs. the 99%; it’s about young people vs. old people. It’s about young, poor people, who are paying for the retirement of old, wealthy people. That is not even morally obtuse; it’s just morally disgusting, and it’s going to have to end. When that system was put into place, the dynamic of the demographics was very different. YAR: It’s interesting to hear you all speak so much about structural issues, because with many libertarians with whom I’ve interacted, there’s such a focus on individualism—and this is with conservatives too, on economic issues—that there’s a failure to see that there these bigger structural problems that we have to deal with.
And so a lot of times it’s this mindset of, “If we just share enough books, if we just tell enough people to go to Mises.org, everyone will understand the truth about liberty and on this individual level we’ll change everything.” GILLESPIE: Ideas matter, and individuals matter, but it’s also true that systems matter. That’s actually part of what is driven home by the internet more than anything else: That the system doesn’t determine outcomes, but it’s the system that facilitates significant social change. It’s rarely one person standing up. Martin Luther taking his stand and nailing theses to the door changed a lot, but it wasn’t like he was working alone. WELCH: It’s interesting to see the reaction we’ve gotten to this thing around. Mostly positive, I would say, the feedback has been. By far the most negative feedback has been from libertarians, those who have a more philosophical bent. They were upset—and they would dispute my characterization that I’m about to say— but they were upset basically because we’re talking about interfacing with the world as it exists right now as opposed to making the argument , which actually Nick believes, I think, that government really has no role in education. We chose to argue with it, “How can we apply these lessons that we’ve seen from the private sector’s choice and competition to make the money that we’re spending on education work much better— GILLESPIE: And do that overnight. Because this is part of the thing about saying let’s wait until we can have really revolutionary or discontinuous change. That’s all well and good unless you have a kid who’s 10 years old and stuck in a crappy school where tomorrow we could effect a major, significant change in education simply by saying instead of giving ten thousand dollars to the school that that kid attends, give it to the kid and his parents or his guardians and let them decide what to do with it. Overnight that kid is saved even if it doesn’t do the full work of dismantling a state monopoly on education. YAR: Yeah, that was something that I really appreciated looking into your book—this mindset that we don’t need to fix everything at once. We don’t need to make everyone as hardcore libertarian as we are overnight; but that we can engage in politics, and we can make good changes in the short term that will eventually show the larger audience of voters and people who are not already libertarian that you can have more choices and it can be better. GILLESPIE: We have our fevered dreams of the perfect world we would like, but we’re not utopians in the typical sense of the word. […] You can change history, but not under circumstances of your own choosing. We’re living in this moment, and how do we make the next moment better? And then maybe down the road we can make things totally different and better, but you’ve got to be in the here and now, and we have to recognize that progress doesn’t happen always on every front at the same time—and that’s not a bad thing; that’s just the way things are.
Read the full interview online at www.YALiberty.org/YAR/Reason.
Bonnie Kristian is the Director of Communications at Young Americans for Liberty. Her personal writings may be found at bonniekristian.com.
28 May 2012
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Bad at Videos? Me Too! Let’s Discuss. “Raise the Debt Celing!”—and Your YouTube Views Remy Munasifi
uring my first year of law school, I’d with the way we did the video, but it was often eat lunch at my apartment beonly after I trashed my initial concept that tween classes. I remember sitting at the I was able to move forward with what was dinner table, throwing open my laptop, surely the better idea. and watching videos on this “YouTube” Stay Focused site. A lot of the videos on there weren’t I’ve never gotten the hang of this one. very good and I vividly recall the moment Is that a bike??? it dawned on me—“wait—I’m not good too!” Keep it Short; Get to the Point That summer, after my internship at the This title is a little misleading. “So edit local courthouse was complete, I ordered it,” you say. Touché, my friend. a computer, a camera, and a tripod. When There’s no ideal length for a video. A Remy in his YouTube video, they arrived, I was ready to chase a dream. documentary on an African warlord may “Do the TSA Pokey Pokey” I then remembered I had no idea how to take 30 minutes, while a dramatic chipfilm, edit, or produce videos. munk may take all of five seconds. The My first year of law school became my one thing I try to do is get to the point. last, and I’m still not that great with a camera, but I have learned The video shouldn’t be any longer than it has to be. a few things along the way that I wish someone told me. Here are Wouldn’t it be funny if this section was way too long? I digress. some tips on how to make better videos!
Ask a Friend
I like to stay positive. One of the best things about defending liberty is that it’s a great idea. So it’s simple—why not just present a great idea? Too often, political videos go something like this: Did you see what [politician I don’t agree with] said??? He said [partial quote taken out of context]!!! WHAT AN IDIOT LOL!!!” Suspiciously absent from these types of videos are any actual arguments or ideas. If the best defense of your idea is a personal attack on someone who disagrees with your idea, just how good is your idea? One YouTube channel that does a great job at this is Lee Doren’s channel “HowTheWorldWorks.” Lee offers arguments, supports them with facts, and presents his case to viewers.
Start with an Idea
This might sound obvious, but sometimes you want to make a video because you have a free hour. While an hour is great, an idea is better. Shortly after I started on YouTube, I made a parody of NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” called “Pie Pie Pie.” Surely it would be hilarious! It wasn’t. But I wanted to make a video that night, so I made that one. In hindsight, I should have identified that I really didn’t have a good idea and either worked to make it better or moved on to something else. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen anymore. Recently I made a video with Reason.tv in which I “testify” before Congress alongside Sandra Fluke, demanding coverage for cough drops. I am happy
When I first released the masterpiece “Pie Pie Pie,” the first call I got was from my close friend Ajay. He told me it was awful, and I should take it down. I watched it again and realized he was right. Having a friend whose opinion you respect, and who is comfortable being brutally honest, is a great thing. However, don’t send your video to a committee. You won’t like what comes back. And, most likely, neither will anyone else.
Be You; Have Fun
Most important of all—have fun. There are a lot of styles out there, but I’m a big proponent of being yourself. It sounds cheesy, but I think your viewers will notice and appreciate the authenticity. There are great examples of embracing this concept across the political spectrum. Liberal blogger James Kotecki and conservative Steven Crowder’s videos are great. And if you ever meet them, you’ll confirm just how authentic they are.
I hope these tips were helpful. Now buy me some cough drops already. Remy Munasifi is a writer and comedian from Arlington, Virginia. He has collaborated with Reason.tv on a number of recent videos including “Raise the Debt Ceiling,” and “Cough Drops: The Mandate.” His videos on YouTube have been viewed over 70 million times.
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YAL CHAPTER BUILDING GUIDE www.YALiberty.org/resources/guide 33 Young American Revolution
Profiles in Liberty
Left-Leaning Hippie to Libertarian-Luminary P.J. O’Rourke Trent Hill
Photo courtesy of the Cato Institute
.J. O’Rourke is a satirist, comedic typewriter instead of a computer to comwriter, and author of ill-repute—he pose each and every article or book. He’s would grin at that last part. He delights not a Luddite, he swears; he claims that in the turn of phrase that turns simple working on a computer would simply be writing into caustic wit. It seems comtoo distracting for him to write on. mon for comedians or comedic writers Although O’Rourke in 1996 wrote to have libertarian leanings (something a book entitled Why I Am A Conservative, about the government just makes people there is really no doubting that he is, in laugh), but P.J. O’Rourke could probably fact, a libertarian. On two of the most be called the most obviously libertarian sacrosanct issues that separate conservaof them all. Perhaps it is the comedy of tives from libertarians, P.J. O’Rourke errors that government at all levels is strikes a decidedly libertarian tune. On constantly committing, perhaps it’s the the issue of foreign policy, O’Rourke anti-authoritarian strain that is so comdoes not mince words, “Wherever there’s mon to the Irish, but whatever it is—P.J. injustice, oppression, and suffering, O’Rourke’s writing is imbued with a libAmerica will show up six months late and ertarian strain of thought that is so antibomb the country next to where it’s hapauthoritarian that it makes one chuckle pening.” Without quite as much quipat the hilarious supposition that governping involved, he states it much more ment could possibly take care of us all. plainly when he said, “War is a great O’Rourke was, like many other libasshole magnet.” In one of his bestselling ertarian luminaries and writers, a leftbooks, Parliament of Whores, he claimed, leaning hippie during his student years. “Whatever it is that the government does, However, he soon found himself viewing sensible Americans would prefer that the life through a more libertarian lens in the government do it to somebody else. This P.J. O’Rourke was born in Toledo, Ohio. O’Rourke did his grand tradition of H.L. Mencken. In fact, is the idea behind foreign policy.” It’s funundergraduate work at Miami University, in Ohio, and he is (appropriately) the H.L. Mencken ny, but the old saying is that many a truth earned an M.A. in English at Johns Hopkins University while a Brother of the Alpha Delta Phi Literary Society. Research Fellow at the Cato Institute in was said in jest and in this case—that’s Washington D.C. His accomplishments spot on. O’Rourke criticizes America’s speak for themselves, his writings have been featured in American foreign policy in a way that is humorous, but also gives us some Spectator, Esquire, Vanity Fair, The New Republic, The New York unique insight into the ridiculousness of it. He strips it of the trapTimes Book Review, Parade, Harper’s, Rolling Stone, and the Atlanpings of democracy and liberty and shows it for what it really is. tic. He has brought a libertarian perspective, free from the preachy On the issue of the drug war, Mr. O’Rourke is similarly distone that so many libertarians are guilty of, to literally millions missive of government oversight. He points out how much more of previously unfamiliar readers just by being published in these dangerous government is than smoking marijuana: various publications. O’Rourke was also the managing editor of Marijuana never kicks down your door in the middle National Lampoon and received a writing credit for National Lamof the night. Marijuana never locks up sick and dying poon’s Lemmings, the stage show that helped to launch the profespeople, does not suppress medical research, does not sional careers of John Belushi and Chevy Chase, amongst others. peek in bedroom windows. Even if one takes every reefer Indeed, O’Rourke is probably one of the most widely madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, read humorists working today. He has written sixteen books, with marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far three of those becoming New York Times bestsellers. This incredmore people than marijuana ever could. ible production rate is due to, rather than in spite of, his using a O’Rourke cuts right to the meat of the matter when he says,
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“Every generation finds the drug it needs.” By this he means that they’ll find the drug they crave, or need, regardless of government authority or oversight. Mr. O’Rourke often calls himself a “conservative” and claims to be a member of the “right,” but the truth is that he is a libertarian through and through, though humor is really what is at the center of his writing. In fact, O’Rourke even makes the sensational claim that he is “to the right of Rush Limbaugh”, and uses as an example his advocacy of gay rights, I am a little to the right of Rush Limbaugh. I’m so conservative that I approve of San Francisco City Hall marriages, adoption by same-sex couples, and New Hampshire’s recently ordained Episcopal bishop. Gays want to get married, have children, and go to church. Next they’ll be advocating school vouchers, boycotting HBO, and voting Republican. Alright, so he might be confusing the right-to-left paradigm, perhaps on purpose for comedic effect and perhaps because the dichotomy is so nonsensical to begin with that it’s become incomprehensible in today’s political environment. Regardless of the reason why he’s confusing it, it is obvious that P.J. O’Rourke believes in the principles of low taxes, a peaceful foreign policy when possible, and as little intrusion by government into our private lives as possible. Most of all, P.J. O’Rourke believes in personal responsibility.
He encourages people to be risky, yes, and to have fun instead of wearing a helmet and knee pads everywhere they venture, but he also urges them to accept responsibility for their actions too. O’Rourke believes in one fundamental right: “the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.” If that isn’t the shortest explication of libertarianism that has ever been written, I don’t know what is. No, you probably won’t find P.J. O’Rourke splashing any cash around to your favorite libertarian politician or think tank anytime soon; he’s much too irreverent for all that, but his voicing of sarcasm and distrust towards the American government is incalculably valuable to the cause of libertarianism. It takes all types to push a political viewpoint as sensible as libertarianism through the needle’s eye that is the collective American mind, so it is refreshing to see someone doing it with a smile on his face. It serves as a reminder to all libertarians—sometimes you need to step off the soapbox, put your copy of The Use of Knowledge in Society down, and just crack a joke, people will take you more seriously. Trent Hill is a freelance writer and blogger working in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He recently graduated from Louisiana State University.
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What to Read This Summer Your Beach List for 2012 Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
he summer’s just about here, and that means it’s time for pro-liberty students to decide what to read during these precious three months. If you’re like me, you don’t like books that teach you five new things, with the rest filler. I want to make the most of my time. I want to learn a ton of new things. I’ve tried to do this in my own books—Meltdown, Nullification, and The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, for example. Short books, but no filler. Just lots of information that I think will help you understand things better, and be able to represent our position effectively in debate. I’ve put together this reading list to help you maximize your return on the investment of time you’ll make reading over the summer. Read some or all of these books, and you will be a force to be reckoned with. And you’ll enjoy yourself in the process.
Frederic Bastiat, The Law. A classic case for liberty. If you’re morally forbidden to do a certain thing, why are a bunch of people with guns and badges allowed to do it?
Ron Paul, The Revolution: A Manifesto. If you want a refresher, or if you’re trying to bring someone over to our side, this manageable little book can do the trick. It’s converted lots of neocons to our side, including on foreign policy.
Donald Livingston, ed. Rethinking the American Union for the 21st Century. Don Livingston, professor emeritus of philosophy at Emory University, joins the other contributors to this volume in making the moral and historical case for radical decentralization as the answer to the world’s megastates, the U.S. included.
Murray N. Rothbard, America’s Great Depression. Rothbard exonerates the free market of blame for the Depression, and places it where it belongs: on the previous credit expansion of the Federal Reserve, and Hoover’s postcrash interventions into the economy.
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Jeffrey Tucker, It’s a Jetson’s World: Private Miracles and Public Crimes. This is the book on this list that comes the closest to genuine beach reading. Not that it isn’t important, but it’s written in such a lively and engaging style that you’ll hardly realize the insights—about the miracles that occur every day through voluntary cooperation—you’re absorbing.
Robert Nisbet, The Quest for Community. The most boring book title in the history of man, but a book that will make you twice as smart as you are now. A veritable graduate course in political philosophy, by a conservative sociologist (a rarity, that).
Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson. Everyone’s first text in economics. Lew Rockwell, The Left, the Right, and the State. I am convinced that Lew is one of the most original and important thinkers of our day. After reading this book you’ll have even more trouble not bursting out in laughter at the idea that the struggle we face is between Democrats and Republicans, or “liberals” and “conservatives.”
Bill Kauffman, Ain’t My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle American Anti-Imperialism. You don’t have to be on the Left to be antiwar.
Garet Garrett, Ex America: The 50th Anniversary of the People’s Pottage. Garrett chronicled the New Deal as it was happening. His writing style is devastating, and his version of the story is not what you learned in school. This book ends with his essay “Rise of Empire,” on the foreign policy of Harry Truman.
Kevin R.C. Gutzman, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution. There is no other book quite like this one: a relentlessly Jeffersonian overview of the Constitution and how it’s subsequently been interpreted. All the bad arguments made by politicians and Supreme Court justices are smashed. Hans-Hermann Hoppe, The Economics and Ethics of Private Property. One of the most important books I’ve ever read in terms of influencing the way I think. Boring title, exciting and liberating book.
Ralph Raico, Great Wars and Great Leaders: A Libertarian Rebuttal. Raico is one of the great libertarian historians, and he tears to shreds some of the stultifying myths of American and European history.
Thomas E. Woods, Jr., Rollback. I point out this title of mine in particular because I am confident it will help you win debates. It has all the replies you need to the typical arguments you’ll encounter—e.g., we need the Fed for the sake of macroeconomic stability, stimulus spending is a good idea, only government regulations can keep us safe, science funding wouldn’t exist without government, the drug war is a net plus for society, the military-industrial complex isn’t anything to worry about, etc. Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is the New York Times bestselling author of 11 books and founder of LibertyClassroom.com.
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Ron Paul’s Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired Brian Doherty, Broadside Books, 304 pages Ricardo Perez
f it wasn’t enough that the entire back window of my car is covered by a huge Ron Paul sticker, I’m now well-versed in all things Ron Paul after having read Brian Doherty’s new book Ron Paul’s rEVOLution: the Man and the Movement He Inspired— much to the chagrin of my friends and family who more than likely have hidden me from their Facebook news feeds for my incessant libertarian soapboxing. Luckily, Doherty comes to the defense of people like me—“Paultards,” as we’re known—who from an outsider’s perspective seem to have a weird, cultish obsession with the highly unorthodox 76-year-old Congressman from Texas with a penchant for wearing ill-fitted suits with orthopedic sneakers. It’s not that we’ve built a cult around Ron Paul, but rather that the things he says resonate so deeply with us at a time when everything in the mainstream political discourse is antithetical to every one of our core beliefs that we just can’t help but support him with the same amount of fervor with which we advocate our libertarian principles. And that’s the story behind the Ron Paul rEVOLution: a story of a truly grassroots movement comprised of a diverse group of people united by their passion for individual liberty and peace, inspired by a politician with a strange habit of saying what he believes is right rather than what is popular. When I say I’m now well-versed in all things Ron Paul, I mean that this book is a detailed account of the life of Ron Paul, beginning with the influence his upbringing had on his philosophical development and ending with his most recent (and final) bid for public office. Doherty addresses everything from Paul’s conscription into the Air Force to his Reagan apostasy, from conspiracy theories to racially insensitive newsletters, his professed minarchism to his suspected secret anarchism, and from his “goldbuggery” to his staunch non-interventionist foreign policy. The book explains Paul’s appeal and identifies the activists who are part of his revolution, from disaffected small-government Republicans to genuinely anti-war Democrats, from Tea Partiers to Occupiers, from 9/11 Truthers to Birchers, and from voting libertarians of all stripes to non-voting Agorists with “residual affection for the man and the movement.” Libertarians (and Ron Paul in particular) are often treated with seemingly undue scorn and derision in the media and popular discourse, and Doherty
provides an insight into some of the reasons for that, while also leaving the reader with the impression that, if only our critics read this book, they’d understand what we’re all about and that we’re not really that crazy! “Dr. No,” as he’s known, earned a reputation early in his political career for voting on principle rather than with the party. Doherty writes of Paul’s very first Congressional vote, where he was pressured to vote for an educational program that he opposed. Being a new member of Congress, Paul capitulated and voted as he was instructed. But he quickly went to the floor and announced that he was changing his vote, and decided from that moment on that he would never compromise. Since then, Paul has cast many a lone vote in opposition to various unconstitutional and immoral piece of legislation, expressing his ideas about the legitimate functions of government in special order speeches for the sole purpose of entering them into the public record for history’s sake. As a result of his dedication to principle, he has earned the respect of his colleagues, who know he’s the real deal and not someone who can be messed with, and influential entertainers like Jon Stewart, who has aired many segments expressing outrage over the media blackout of anything Paul-related. I can personally attest to the effectiveness of Paul’s reputation as a consistent, principled politician in eliciting support from the most unlikely of places. As someone who regularly gets on my social networking soapbox, I’ve witnessed countless numbers convert to libertarianism after watching Ron Paul’s debate performances and reading his books and articles. Friends who used to comment on my posts with contempt for my crazy ideas now flood my news feed with Ron Paul propaganda. People who never cared about politics now donate to his campaign and spend their spare time learning about libertarian philosophy. So strong is Ron Paul’s dedication to principle that he consistently breaks the only rule in electoral politics: Don’t do anything to anger your own constituents. Yet Doherty explains that, despite voting against making flag burning a federal offense, voting against free handouts to local corporations, attacking thenSpeaker Gingrich’s foreign policy, and speaking out against the drug war, Paul has been able to continue being reelected in smalltown rural Texas because of his regular town hall meetings where
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Photo by Gage Skidmore
he explains his positions and Despite these criticisms, answers questions. however, the Ron Paul Paul arrived at this rEVOLution has grown at a unusual combination of views staggering rate and his ability through extensive studying to raise money without the of economics and political help of the oligopolists is philosophy in the works of unmatched. Residents of Los Ludwig von Mises, Murray Angeles, Doherty and his wife, Rothbard, Friedrich Hayek, Angela Keaton of Antiwar. Frederic Bastiat, and Lysander com, are familiar faces within Spooner—and the prospect libertarian circles in southern of losing an election will not California, where there are a dissuade him from adhering surprising amount of liberty to those principles of liberty meetup groups that regularly that had inspired him to seek organize Ron Paul events. political office in the first place. Doherty writes in detail Cynics, usually in response about many of the dedicated Ron Paul book signing copies of Liberty Defined at MSU to my criticism of the supporters he has met over the discrepancy between current years and explains their stories and past presidents’ campaign platforms and their actual policies, of how they were turned on to the movement after being inspired often ask me, “What if Ron Paul is elected and he fails to deliver by Paul’s speeches and debates. on all his lofty promises about ending wars and restoring civil Known colloquially as the “Hollywood anarchists,” many of liberties? What then?” While I don’t think Paul is perfect by any these local activists dedicate their spare time to the seemingly means, neither has he given us any reason to doubt that he would contradictory goals of both spreading the message of true liberty deliver on his promises. Even granting that politicians lie and sans aggression of the state and the message of liberty’s most rarely (if ever) live up to expectations, Doherty makes the point ardent defender in the form of a presidential candidate. While that Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate for whom it would philosophically opposed to the existence of a coercive, nonbe nearly impossible to dig up any evidence of him having made voluntary government, these supporters realize that the state two contradictory statements. won’t be dismantled overnight and that Ron Paul is one of the Of particular interest to me were the four pages Doherty few people with such a large platform to spread the ideas of selfdedicates to explaining the “Ron Paul newsletters” made famous ownership and non-aggression. by James Kirchirk’s New Republic hit piece. For several years Libertarianism is a “big tent,” and Ron Paul finds supporters there has been speculation and unfounded accusations within in all factions of libertarian, from the Beltway to Alabama, from libertarian circles as to the identity of the writer(s) responsible for notoriously blue states like California to Ron Paul meetup groups these newsletters, and Doherty doesn’t get his hands dirty delving in foreign countries (yes, they exist). into such petty nonsense. As someone more apt to read Walter Block’s Defending the He does, however, allude to the alleged secret political strategy Undefendable than a quasi-biographical book about a politician of certain unnamed people who attempted to elicit favor with and the political movement he inspired, I have to say that this a “small subset of the American political scene by speaking the language of their resentments.” Whether this strategy was a real book is absolutely worth reading. As an editor at Reason Magazine, thing and whether Ron Paul was aware of its existence are questions Doherty has a refreshing ability to make brief mention of a much that will likely remain unanswered, but what we do know is that less tumultuous period in the history of the libertarian movement, the newsletters have had a significant impact on his ability to draw when Ron Paul, Murray Rothbard, the Cato Institute, and the in support from important constituencies. Koch Brothers were allies against the state, and remain objective in It doesn’t help that the people most likely to harp endlessly detailing their respective contributions to modern libertarianism. about the newsletters are people within the movement, most of Though infighting seems to be a favorite pastime of libertarians, whom never liked Ron Paul to begin with due to what Justin that’s probably not the best strategy for winning over new converts. Raimondo calls his “Christian, country-doctor-bourgeois Ron Paul’s rEVOLution gives the story of Ron Paul and our persona” and cultural conservatism. Doherty addresses their selfmovement, and perhaps unwittingly, gives us reasons to put aside image issues, though much more diplomatically than perhaps I our differences and unite in our fight for peace and individual would have. It’s truly a shame that these letters have tarred Paul’s liberty—and we can squabble about the small stuff later. reputation, particularly within progressive circles that would otherwise be attracted to his foreign policy prescriptions, his anticorporatist rhetoric, and his fight to restore civil liberties. I suspect that Paul’s “libertarian” critics will not be happy with Doherty’s laissez-faire attitude about these newsletters, seeing as they seem to think a witch hunt is in order.
Ricardo Perez is a student at Chapman University School of Law. He writes in his spare time on libertarian philosophy and market anarchism, and he dabbles in Christian apologetics.
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How Do You Wake up 311 Million People? How Do You Kill 11 Million People?
Andy Andrews, Thomas Nelson, 96 pages Wes Messamore
. S. Lewis once compared two of George Orwell’s works—the short allegorical classic, Animal Farm, and the dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four—and concluded that “the shorter book does all that the longer does. But it also does more.” Indeed, shorter books often do all that longer books do and more. This is true in part because, as another great figure in English literature once wrote, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Andy Andrews’ New York Times bestseller, How Do You Kill 11 Million People?, is an even shorter book than Animal Farm, but like Animal Farm it packs a lot of punch in an economy of pages. I sat down and read it in fifteen minutes, making it the perfect political book for a society full of people who are always “too busy.” Whether you’re a career-focused workaholic spinning a dozen plates at your job or a busy college student juggling classes, clubs, activities, internships, and political activism, you’re not too busy to read How Do You Kill 11 Million People?. Also like Animal Farm, How Do You Kill 11 Million People? tells the story of a society that unwittingly trusted its fate to leaders of poor character and suffered the consequences. Drawing startling comparisons to the era and society we live in now, Andrews takes a closer look at the events leading up to the Nazi holocaust that killed 11 million human beings—men, women, and children. To be clear, his book doesn’t concern itself with the logistics and mechanics of how the Nazis physically carried out their genocide. Neither does it examine the motives and psychology of maniacs like Adolph Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, and Adolph Eichmann. Instead, the far more revealing question for Andrews is how eleven million people allow themselves to be killed. And what a mystery it is! As Andrews illustrates, if a gunman were to open fire on a theater full of hundreds of people, it would not be possible for the gunman to kill all of them. Some would flee, others would duck and cover, maybe a few would try to overtake their attacker. They would fight and resist. They would try to save themselves. Yet over and over again throughout the last hundred years of human history, in multiple countries, and across vastly different cultures, literally millions of people at a time have let themselves be slowly and systematically swallowed up in the designs of genocidal murderers who the victims themselves outnumber. How can
this be? Andrews writes, “Only a clear understanding of the answer to this question and the awareness of an involved populace can prevent history from continuing to repeat itself as it already has, time and again.” Does the following description from Andrews’ book sound like the country you live in today? The National Socialist German Workers’ Party, led by Adolf Hitler, rose to power during a time of economic uncertainty in a nation of people longing for better times. Germany was a modern, industrialized nation whose well-informed citizens enjoyed ready access to information by way of print and radio broadcast media. It was in this set of circumstances that history would take a sudden and unexpected turn for the German people. Hitler energized his supporters with his vision, with his promises, with his powers of speech, and took control of an entire nation. It is noteworthy, though, that hardly a majority of Germany’s people made this possible—except by their inaction. As Andrews notes: “It is a fact that fewer than 10 percent of Germany’s population of 79.7 million people actively worked or campaigned to bring about Hitler’s change. Even at the height of its power in 1945, the Nazi political party boasted only 8.5 million members.” That fact in itself should be eye-opening in a nation like the United States, where voter turnouts are abysmally low, especially among younger voters. Involvement in the political process by honest, vigilant, and moral citizens is of paramount importance to those of them who are not interested in being governed by the dishonest, power-hungry, and unscrupulous. After assuming power, the Nazis went about their work to implement Hitler’s “Final Solution” and murder 11 million of their country’s own people in death camps. Andrews relates the story of one eyewitness from a German town with a church next to the railroad. The eyewitness would recount that as trains passed by the church carrying thousands of Jewish victims in cattle cars each Sunday morning, the church’s parishioners could hear their screams. So when they heard the whistle in the distance and the train’s wheels coming over the tracks, the parishioners would begin to sing hymns to drown out the terrible sound of human screams: “By the time the train came past our church, we were singing at the top of our voices. If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly.”
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This happened. This was reality for Germany’s millions of modern, civilized, and well-informed people. Their government perpetrated a horrific genocide right under their noses. The government’s victims actually allowed it to happen to them. Again, if a theater full of three hundred people would flee in the face of an attacking gunman, what was different about the Nazis’ massive and sustained attack on millions of their own people? As Andrews puts it, “why, for month after month and year after year, did millions of intelligent human beings—guarded by a relatively few Nazi soldiers—willingly load their families into tens of thousands of cattle cars to be transported by rail to one of the many death camps scattered across Europe? How can a condemned group of people headed for a gas chamber be compelled to act in a docile manner?” Andrews answers: “The answer is breathtakingly simple. And it is a method still being used by some elected leaders to achieve various goals today. How do you kill eleven million people? Lie to them.” You’ll have to read Andrews’ book for the details, but he explains exactly how the Nazis elaborately lied to their victims and convinced them that they were actually being taken to a better place where they would have jobs and plenty to eat, and where they would be kept safely out of the way of the advancing war front between the Germans and the Soviets in the East. “The most dangerous thing any nation faces is a citizenry capable of trusting a liar to lead them,” Andrews opines. Notice the danger isn’t in deceptive leaders; it’s in a citizenry that’s willing to be deceived, an electorate that votes for politicians it knows are lying to us, a society of people that can’t manage to see the warning signs that resound throughout the great horrors of human history in their own time and circumstances. As Andrews says, “Any country can survive having chosen a fool as their leader. But history has shown time and again that a nation of fools is surely doomed.” In America today, just 545 people hold the ultimate power over the decisions that affect the rest of us: one President, nine Supreme Court Justices, one hundred Senators, and 435 Representatives. Yet the other 311 million of us there are in the United States today outnumber them and are responsible for placing them in the positions of power they hold. So why do we as a nation continue to allow them to get away with lying to us? Andrews points out that you’ve never heard of a politician in your life who wasn’t “for” a balanced budget, yet America doesn’t have a balanced budget. Neither have you ever heard of a politician who supported a complicated tax code that ordinary citizens find difficult to understand and dread filing to comply with every April, yet that’s the kind of tax system that we have. We have become a nation that is comfortable voting for politicians who we know are lying to us, and we know it because they never keep their promises. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. In fact, it’s easier than ever before to tell if a politician is a liar. And as a nation, regardless of our policy disagreements, we must resolve together not to reward liars with our votes. Near the end of How Do You Kill 11 Million People?, Andrews offers us this hope: “My point is that each of us must stop blindly believing everything someone with an agenda says. Today, with
the advent of the Internet’s search engines and sites like YouTube, it is fairly simple to verify a politician’s promises, voting record, personal life, and so on.” So what kind of leader is Andrews searching for? He says: I am searching for that one special leader who can look us in the eye while telling us the painful truth in such a way that still manages to resonate with voters. That’s a tough order, but I know it can be done. Especially if smart people will get involved in the election process and vote. We’ll leave it to Young Americans to decide for themselves who that one special leader might be for them. Wes Messamore, a former YAL intern, is a full time writer and political activist with a twice-weekly column at The Independent Voter Network, a daily blog at The Silver Underground, and his own independent news and commentary website, The Humble Libertarian. His dream is to take over the entire world... and leave everybody alone.
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A Look into the Crystal Ball 2012 Predictions from UVA’s Award-Winning Election Analysts Dylan Brewer
mack in the middle of the GOP primary process, I spoke with Geoff Skelley, a political analyst with Prof. Larry Sabato for The Crystal Ball, the University of Virginia Center for Politics’ weekly newsletter. The Crystal Ball is noted for its on-target election analysis, such as correctly predicting 100% of Senate races in 2008 and predicting Barack Obama’s Electoral College total within one point. Here are his thoughts on the 2012 elections. YAR: Do you see the GOP retaking the Senate? SKELLEY: It’s possible that the GOP will take back the Senate. However, Olympia Snowe’s retirement in Democratic-leaning Maine has made the task much harder for Republicans. There’s actually a pretty decent chance that the Senate could end up in a 50-50 deadlock with Vice President Joe Biden breaking ties. The result of the presidential race will greatly impact this battle because voters are less likely than ever to split tickets. Should President Obama win reelection by a few points, Democrats will be able to hold onto Virginia, New Mexico, and Ohio while having a much greater chance of also grabbing seats in Nevada and Massachusetts. If the eventual GOP nominee wins the presidential race, I think the Republicans would likely grab an edge in the Senate because, again, Democrats are having to defend nearly twice as many seats as Republicans this cycle. YAR: Conversely, do you see Democrats retaking the House? SKELLEY: It will take a significant victory by President Obama for the Democrats to win back the House. Right now, many prognosticators think the Democrats are in a position to gain about ten seats; they need to gain 26 (25 if you give Gabrielle Giffords’ Arizona seat to the Dems in the pending special election) in order to retake power in the lower chamber. That’s going to be an extremely difficult task to accomplish. And if the Republican nominee wins the presidential election, Dems might gain only five seats or even lose seats. YAR: Would you say a Romney nomination is inevitable? SKELLEY: Nothing is certain in politics but we at the Center for Politics have been saying Romney has about an 80% chance of winning the nomination for a couple of months now. Therefore, is it inevitable? No. Probable? Very. YAR: What do you see happening at a brokered RNC convention? SKELLEY: I think the chances of a contested or brokered convention occurring have fallen in the last couple of weeks following Romney’s close wins in Michigan and Ohio. As for what could happen at a brokered GOP convention? Who knows. I will say that it’s highly unlikely that all four of the Republican candidates would simply step aside for some “party savior,” having faced the months-long (a year even, counting the early straw polls and debates) gauntlet of the primary process. So if anything, concluding
a hypothetical contested convention might necessitate the formation of a combination ticket such as Romney-Santorum. Still, as I said, the odds of a brokered convention were slim to begin with, and are now even lower. YAR: What are your top five races to watch in 2012 at any level of government? SKELLEY: 1. Presidential race (that was obvious). As the House is likely going to remain Republican, the Senate becomes the real battle so three of those battles for 2-4: 2. Massachusetts: Sen. Scott Brown (R) vs. Elizabeth Warren (D). Brown is a fundraising machine who is facing a tough battle to keep his seat given Massachusetts’ Democratic lean while Warren is a progressive favorite. 3. Virginia: Tim Kaine (D) vs. George Allen (R). The two strongest candidates each party could field are facing off in the Old Dominion. Kaine wants to see this seat stay blue (replacing retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D)) while Allen hopes to reclaim the seat he shockingly lost to Webb in 2006. 4. Missouri: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) vs. whoever the GOP nominee will be. McCaskill barely won in 2006 and will have a tough road to hoe no matter who ends up being the GOP nominee. Missouri is likely to be won by the Republican presidential candidate again, which may make it even more difficult for McCaskill to hold this swing seat. 5. Washington Gov. race: Washington Atty. Gen. Rob McKenna (R) faces off against Rep. Jay Inslee in what is a relatively blue state. McKenna is looking to overcome the Democrats’ natural edge with Obama at the top of the ticket to become the first GOP gubernatorial winner in the Evergreen State since 1980—and he may just pull it off. YAR: What’s your riskiest—or perhaps most surprising—prediction for the 2012 election results? SKELLEY: This isn’t particularly surprising or risky but it’s interesting: should Romney (assuming he is the Republican nominee) win the election, he will be only the third presidential winner to win the election while losing his home state. Only James K. Polk (Tennessee) in 1844 and Woodrow Wilson (New Jersey) in 1916 lost their home states on the way to victory (people can argue about Wilson’s home state but he was Gov. of NJ before becoming president). I think we can safely say that Romney will not win Massachusetts as President Obama won the state by about 26% in 2008. Dylan Brewer is a second year student at UVA. He is pursuing a major in economics and is the president of UVA’s YAL chapter.
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