Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Wes Benedict Responds Concerning Racism in the Libertarian Party

I was pleased to receive an email from Wes Benedict, executive director of the Libertarian Party, indicating that the LP has become concerned about infiltration by racists and has issued a formal statement.  I have copied his email, which includes a link to the statement, and part of the statement:

From: Wes Benedict
Sent: Monday, August 21, 2017 7:08 PM
To: Mitchell Langbert
Subject: Re: Anti-Semitism, Racism, and the LP

Hi Mr. Langbert,
Did you see the piece I put out last week?
I think that makes it clear we're aware of some racists and anti-Semitism in and close to the Libertarian Party and we are driving them out.
Thanks for your support.
Wes Benedict, Executive Director

The statement starts as follows:

The Libertarian Party condemns bigotry as irrational and repugnant, and offers its condolences to the family of the woman killed in Charlottesville, Va.
There is no room for racists and bigots in the Libertarian Party. If there are white nationalists who — inappropriately — are members of the Libertarian Party, I ask them to submit their resignations today. We don’t want them to associate with the Libertarian Party, and we don’t want their money. I’m not expecting many resignations, because our membership already knows this well.
The Libertarian Party Platform states, “We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should neither deny nor abridge any individual’s human right based upon sex, wealth, ethnicity, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference, or sexual orientation.”

The Libertarian Party is tolerant and accepting, supporting civil liberties, gay marriage, and freedom of religion for all, including Jews, Muslims, Christians, and atheists. The Libertarian Party supports open borders, civil liberties, racial diversity, and free trade — things that white nationalists abhor.
I think many people in America are worried about jobs and security, and feel compelled to do something about it. Years of inflammatory messaging from Republican and Democratic leadership have poisoned the well of civil discourse, and unfortunately, much of what the extremists on both the left and right are asking for will make matters worse.

Republican leaders have demonized immigrants and free trade, and have scared people into thinking that free trade and immigration will cost current citizens their jobs and their standard of living. Yet countries with free trade and immigration have the highest standards of living in the world, and those without freedom of movement and exchange have the lowest. If politicians are truly interested in improving American prosperity, they need to brush up on their understanding of “gains from trade” and “comparative advantage,” then stop goading their supporters into supporting counterproductive policies. Protectionist policies are irrational and cowardly, and will make America weaker.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The LP Must Come Clean

 PO Box 130
West Shokan, NY 12494
August 19, 2017

Wes Benedict
Executive Director
Libertarian Party
1444 Duke Street
Alexandria Virginia 22314-3403

Sent via US Mail and Email

Dear Mr. Benedict:

I joined the Libertarian Party in 1977, and I was active in the New York chapter, at that time called the Free Libertarian Party, for several years.  I stopped being active, but I have contributed to the LP and the campaigns of Gary Johnson.  Part of the reason I stopped being active in the 1980s was an apparent anti-Israel tendency in the LP.  As well, I have repeatedly detected anti-Semitism not only in association with the LP but also, and more emphatically, with the Ron Paul movement.  Because of recent events in Charlottesville, this issue has come to a head.  

If I am to be supportive of the LP in the future, I need to have a clear accounting of the degree to which racists and anti-Semites have infiltrated  it.  I also need to have a clear picture of what you and the LP are doing to rid it of the infiltration.  If you wish to reply that it doesn’t exist or that you will do nothing, my support for the LP will end, and I hereby request that you remove me from your mailing list. What I need to know for my support to continue is what the LP is doing to establish a litmus test that excludes anti-Semites and racists.  If the answer is nothing, then please remove me from your mailing list.

Sincerely,


Mitchell Langbert

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What the Democrats Have Become

The Democratic Party reduces human nature to demographic categories: race, gender, creed, and class. To the Democratic Party, these categories define and delimit human experience. The Democrats eliminate ambition, persistence, achievement, genius, moral choice, hard work, and vision. In so doing, they attack human essence.  The Democrats are redefining totalitarian ideology into one of dehumanization through categorization.   

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Science Is Settled: Socialism Has Failed

What seemed to have been the death of socialism when the Berlin Wall fell nearly 30 years ago has not been so.  Like Lucky Luciano socialism was taken for dead but has managed to survive and flourish.  According to a Gallup poll, about 35% of Americans now have a positive view of socialism. Bernie Sanders's showing in the last Democratic primary, in which he received 13.2 million votes to Clinton's 16.8 million, suggests that a large section of the Democratic Party now favors socialism. That may be even greater support than, or at least comparable support to, the 1940s, when a Fortune poll (see note on p. 341 here) found that 25% of the public favored socialism and another 35% was open minded about it.

The evidence has been in for decades: Socialism is a failure.  It has been tried, and it has failed. The chief response, the claim that"there's never been a real socialism," is vacuous. That is, it can be made with respect to any ism, social arrangement or institution. There's never been a real capitalism; there's never been a real Nazism; there's never been a real anarchism. 

The "there's never been real socialism" argument is antithetical to empirical science, which aims to falsify, prove false, hypotheses through systematic testing.  The best scientific evidence with respect to social arrangements is their real-life outcomes. There have been a number of liberal (I use the word "liberal" to mean "capitalist") societies, and there have been a number of socialist ones. The liberal societies have outperformed the socialist ones on all measures save equality when measured with broad statistical measures like the Gini coefficient. 

With respect to how well off the worst-off individual is, liberalism performs better than socialism. With respect to how well off the average person is, liberalism also performs better than socialism. When compared as to how much innovation or progress occurs, liberalism also performs better than socialism. When one compares the pattern of state violence, mass murder, and freedom of expression, socialist societies have performed worse. 

While socialism seemed like a good idea until, say, 1970, it has proven not to work. Why, then, are so many Americans committed to a superstitious belief in it? The superstition permeates our universities, the Democratic media, and even mainstream religious institutions.  The primitive belief that violence and redistribution are more efficient than voluntarism can explain it. Socialism is a persistent superstition because human beings are genetically tribal, and the impulse toward tribalism is thwarted in the modern world.  However, tribal arrangements impede prograss.  Socialism is the ultimate reactionary form of government.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Republican Congress Is Allowing the Democratic Media to Set Its Agenda

The Republican Congress is allowing the Democratic media to set its agenda.The investigations and accusations are ongoing but going nowhere. They need to stop.  In 2014 Andrew Cuomo dissolved a Moreland Act commission that was investigating his administration.  In New York the Moreland Act establishes a procedure for the governor to appoint investigative commissions. None of the media that is now so agitated about Trump's interference in the Russian investigation called for Cuomo's impeachment.

The 20th century media, the Democratic TV and radio stations, have proven themselves incapable of reporting news coherently, so it is time for the Congress to assert its legitimate authority and to tell the media that they cannot assert an agenda for the nation.   The media was not elected to do this, yet the Republicans seem confused about that.

Congress can use bloggers and social media to communicate with the public. Television, radio, and the Democratic newspapers have increasingly become irrelevant.  The Republicans made fools of themselves in the late 1990s when they impeached Clinton, and now they are making even bigger fools of themselves.  They control both houses and the presidency, but they are allowing media Democrats to dictate their agenda and focus on investigation of a Republican president. It is time that this circus ended.

Monday, June 12, 2017

CNS News Covers My Blog

Stan Greer posted a piece in CNS News that quotes my recent blog about the positive effect of right-to-work laws on disposable income.  Greer shows that the seven states with the highest growth in demand for college-educated workers are all right-to-work states: North Dakota, Wyoming, Texas, Utah, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Moreover, all of the five-poorest-performing states and 11 of the 12-poorest-performing states are forced unionism states. These include  New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. 



The Media's Trump/Cuomo Double Standard



In 2014 Andrew Cuomo dissolved a Moreland Act commission that was investigating corruption in Cuomo's administration. Neither the New York Times nor MSNBC called for Cuomo's impeachment. In 2017 Donald Trump made a comment to an FBI director investigating his presidency. The reverse was true--the media called for Trump's impeachment. Can we at least agree that there is a double standard here?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Adam Kissel's Appointment Reflects Brilliantly on the Trump Administration

A friend just forwarded an article in Reason.com about  Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's appointment of Adam Kissel to deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs.  I worked with Adam on a grant several years ago when he was with the Charles G. Koch Foundation, and he was professional, knowledgeable, and effective. He had previously worked for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, where he also had done important work.  Adam combines a restrained brilliance with integrity and a commitment to civil liberties. President Trump's appointments of Deputy Assistant Secretary Kissel, Secretary DeVos, and regulatory czar Neomi Rao augur well for the course the Trump administration will take.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The National Right to Work Committee Covers My Blog

The National Right to Work Committee blogged a piece on its website concerning my blog about the effect of right-to-work laws on disposable income.  The original blog post is at http://mitchell-langbert.blogspot.com/2017/05/right-to-work-laws-increase-wages.html

If Not Now, When? Repeal Agenda 21



PO Box 130
West Shokan, NY 12494
June 6, 2017

President Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Via First Class Mail and Email

Dear President Trump

I support your decision about the Paris Agreement.  In addition, I urge your administration to consider rescinding US support for the Rio Declaration of 1992, which is associated with UN Agenda 21 and the Statement of Principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests.  As well, I urge the United States to withhold funding for all government and UN programs aimed to implement these documents.

The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and Agenda 21 are couched in economically illiterate claims about how economic development occurs and how economic inequality ought to be addressed.   For instance, they commit the United States to reducing consumption and to “promoting appropriate demographic policies.”  They do not recognize that freedom and free markets are the sine qua non for meaningful economic development.
       
The Rio Declaration is anti-scientific.  Principle 15 advocates a precautionary principle whereby if “threats,” as defined by environmental extremists, exist, “lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures.” Such vague, anti-scientific language gives a carte blanche to scientism.   It is opposed to real science, and its anti-science bias was reflected in Al Gore’s ignorant claim that science can be “settled.”

Your administration can rescind American support for the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21, and the statement on sustainable forests. It can rescind all budgetary items that support implementation of these totalitarian commitments.

                   

Sincerely,



Mitchell Langbert,Ph.D.

Monday, June 5, 2017

David J. Garrow's Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama

I haven't read David J. Garrow's Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, but a friend forwarded Paul Street's review in Counter Punch.  Street's review is from a left perspective--one which would have been called New Left a few decades ago.  Thus, while Street's (and presumably Garrow's) analysis is accurate, we part ways with respect to Street's criticisms of Garrow as well as Street's conclusions and recommendations.

Street's rendition of Garrow makes some similar points to those I made in this blog in 2008 and 2009. Street puts more weight than I did--how could I have known?--on Obama's lack of substance and his pragmatism.  It was evident from the contribution numbers readily available in 2008 that Obama would be deferential to Wall Street, which he was, according to the review.  

The left has never understood that socialism begets elitism, so a more socialistic economy would beget a slightly different but essentially similar set of figures to Robert Rubin and Lloyd Blankfein.  The elites in communist and softer socialist states don't differ much from the current American elite. Cliches like "neoliberalism," "progressive" and "democratic"  confuse leftists like Street, who remain wedded to the false premise that Hoover's Progressivism was laissez faire.

While it is true that Hoover was more laissez faire than Franklin Roosevelt, the basic statist infrastructure--the Fed, the permanent war machine, the draft,  the income tax,  the process for providing regulatory subsidization to special interests--was already in place under Hoover, and he supported it.  The Republicans elected during the 1920s--Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover--had no interest in repealing the big-government institutions that Theodore Roosevelt (R), Taft (R) and  Wilson (D) had put into place.   While Taft was conservative compared to Roosevelt, he was in the Progressive tradition, favoring use of litigation over regulation of trusts to enforce federal regulation. Roosevelt had favored a more regulated approach, so he ran against Taft in 1912, enabling election of Wilson, who signed both the income tax and the Federal Reserve Act into law.

The American imperial state has been evolving since Lincoln and before, and socialism is not the solution. It is the problem. Obama was in the imperial tradition of Leviathan, and Street's review is worth reading.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

America's Living Constitution

America has a living Constitution.  The Constitution is living because it reflects the ability of the American people to amend it.  When Americans’ values change or when scientific advance changes politics, the American people can change the Constitution in two ways. 

First, the Constitution says that two-thirds of the House and Senate and three-fourths of the states can vote to amend the Constitution.  Second, two-thirds of the state legislatures can call a Constitutional Convention that can amend the Constitution.  These democratic processes provide for shifts in public opinion. 

The Constitution does not delegate the authority to decide Constitutionality to the federal courts, nor does it give the Supreme Court the authority to legislate, nor does it give the Supreme Court the authority to amend the Constitution.  The Supreme Court claimed that it has the power to amend the Constitution in the case of Griswold v. Connecticut, in which it claimed that it and only it  could identify new  penumbras of the Constitution.  This arrogation of power has given it the authority to invent law, an authority that Hitler claimed for himself through his doctrine of Fuehrerprinzip. 

In contrast, George Washington believed that the president determined Constitutionality, and Andrew Jackson felt no qualms about ignoring the Supreme Court’s claims about Constitutionality.


The Constitution does not delegate authority to amend it to the Supreme Court.  There is no provision for the Supreme Court to update, revise, or change the Constitution based on their claims of penumbras or social evolution, which Supreme Court justices, who are just legal experts, have no authority, knowledge, or competence to determine.  



The claim that the Supreme Court has such authority and that the Constitution is living in the sense that its meaning can be adjusted to reflect the caprices of the Supreme Court justices is another way to express Hitler's principle of Fuehrerprinzip—the theory that his personal whim was law. The phrase living Constitution  means the nine-fuehrer principle: Neunfuehrerprinzip.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Trump Score Card

Four-and-a-half months into his presidency, Donald Trump has been better than I thought he would be. He  has appointed Betsy De Vos to head the education department, and I believe that Gail Heriot still has a crack at the Office of Civil Rights post.  He has repudiated a climate change treaty that deserves rethinking on Constitutional grounds, as Seth Lipsky points out in his blog in yesterday’s New York Sun.  Moreover, the president still seems serious about regulatory reform.    However, as I point out on Mr. Lipsky’s blog, he has made his best contribution in the way he has rankled the press, baiting them into one absurd impeachment cry after another. 

I rarely watch TV news, but I work out in the Route 28 Gym in Woodstock, NY, and the local lefties inevitably have the TV tuned to MSNBC and Chris Matthews’s mug.  The stridency of his and the other announcers’ carping, caviling, and cussing about President Trump has turned what once could have been fairly called a biased press into one that is shrill and hyperbolic.  The silly Russian story is less serious than the racketeering in which Hillary Clinton engaged, but the MSNBC announcers harp on it and assume that their calls for impeachment will make a difference.   They are discrediting themselves and eliminating any hope for resuscitation of their profession.

Perhaps Trump has encouraged this by design—as someone on Facebook put it, he may have succeeded in goading the media to confusedly charge, much like a bullfighter waving the muleta or red flag at the bull.  If that's not so, the end result will still turn out well.

The press now behaves much like the parties to any social dementia, such as the Salem witch trials, the Negro Plot of 1741, the Red Scare during World War I, or the public reaction to Orson Welles's War of The Worlds.


MSNBC’s Matthews is like the farmer who waved his pitchfork at Welles’s flying saucer.  What we may be seeing is the discrediting of television news and the end of the mid-to-late 20th century's centralized, broadcast news system. If so, Mr. Trump will have done more than a little good on that score alone.