Third Party & Independents Archives

LP Platform: Freedom of Religion

In part four of the LP Platform series I examine what the freedom of religion really means in the United States, both legally and politically. At a time when most countries required citizens to honor a specific religion, the US decided the freedom was more important than forcing others to believe a certain way. How has this experiment been working out in the years since the Constitution was ratified? And how does my visit to hear the Dali Lama speak have anything to do with it?

First, the text of the platform in full:

I.3 Freedom of Religion

Issue: Government routinely invades personal privacy rights based solely on individuals’ religious beliefs. Arbitrary tax structures are designed to give aid to certain religions, and deny it to others.

Principle: We defend the rights of individuals to engage in (or abstain from) any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others.

Solution: In order to defend freedom, we advocate a strict separation of church and State. We oppose government actions that either aid or attack any religion. We oppose taxation of church property for the same reason that we oppose all taxation. We condemn the attempts by parents or any others -- via kidnappings or conservatorships -- to force children to conform to any religious views. Government harassment or obstruction of religious groups for their beliefs or non-violent activities must end.

Transitional Action: We call for an end to the harassment of churches by the Internal Revenue Service through threats to deny tax-exempt status to churches that refuse to disclose massive amounts of information about themselves.

It’s a pretty small section but very important in my opinion. “We defend the rights of individuals to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others.” A very common sense way to look at the issue and fits with the Libertarian Principles that I’ve discussed before. Yet, for some reason, people all over the US seem to think that they have the right to enforce their religious views on other people or prevent people from freely exercising their own religious views, and both sides seem to want to politicize religion in a way that will deny individual Americans of a basic human right that was established with the founding of our country.

Remember, when our founding fathers and ancestors came to this country they were leaving their home countries to do so. And many of them took this move on because they did not want to live where religion was being forced upon them by a monarch or dictator who insisted that everyone believe like they did. They wanted to be free to practice their religion as they saw fit without having to hide or pretend to believe any differently just to remain out of prison, or worse, alive.

I’ve written on the subject before and so you can easily check on my views of religion in politics. But to put it simply, the government is the only entity that has the power to force an individual to do something they don’t want to do or may not agree with. No church, no business, no local chapter of the Masons can force someone to do anything, they can only attempt to convince them to do something of their own accord.

However, in order for government to do what it needs to do, protect the rights of its citizens, we give it the power to use force on us. That is why any introduction of religion into the political spectrum is seen by many to be entirely beyond discussion and the government attempting to force churches to submit to encroaches upon their privacy and self-determination was equally abhorrent.

Well, at least it used to be.

Unfortunately we have an ever increasing group of people in this country that see no issue at all in introducing their own religious ethics into the government. They believe that this would be a better country if everyone believed the way that they do and followed the same religious dictates that they follow. And to be fair, it might be! But it wouldn’t be a very free country. And it wouldn’t be a very fair one either. Instead, it would be what we call in the vernacular: Fascist.

However, we see it more and more every day. From attempting to legislate what sex someone has to be in order to convey legal rights to a loved one, to determine what people can do with their own bodies, to teach children in public schools that creationism is a legitimate science , to the myriad of blue laws that are still on the books in many states in the country, the religious fascists will stop at little to ensure that we all have to live by their rules.

The argument that I hear, though, is that in order to be moral you have to have religion or believe in god. That if the country isn’t founded on religious values there is nothing keeping us from tearing each other apart for purely selfish gains. Well, while that may seem silly to some it is a persistent argument that those wishing to force their views onto others just can’t let go. Which is why I was refreshed when I heard the Dali Lama speak recently.

First, the Dali Lama is a great man I think we can all agree. I am not a Buddhist by any means but that doesn’t prevent someone from acknowledging that a man who has dedicated his live to the single idea, the simple notion, that we can all live in peace, is someone that deserve respect. But he is just a man, as he will freely admit.

During his talk he moved onto the subject of morality without religion or god. He pointed out that when he was three years old he had no interest in god or religion. He was not the Dali Lama then, he had not been chosen yet. So he says he was not religious at all. But he knew that killing another person was wrong, that stealing from another person was wrong, that harming another person was wrong. But how? Why, he learned these concepts from his mother. Not in a religious context, but in a simple, factual, this is how civilized people act way.

He went on to explain that there is a wrong connotation with the word ‘secular’. It does NOT mean ‘anti-god’, just an absence of god. In other words, there is nothing wrong with admitting a secular morality exists and we all accept and live by it while still believing in god and accepting a religious morality as well. And that is what we need to be making sure exists, a secular ethics.

We don’t need to interject a religious morality into our government to ensure that people don’t break down and kill each other, devolving society in to a hedonistic free-for-all. All we need is to ensure that individual rights are protected and let each individual make up their own mind as to how they choose to believe in an after-life, a supreme being and an additional set of ethos that they choose to live by.

After all, once you politicize religion, how can you be sure that YOUR religion is going to be the one allowed to exist? How long before you have to hide what you believe and pretend to live a different way? We should all work hard to ensure that not only OUR right to live free continues to exist but that our NEIGHBORS’ same right to live free, as they determine is best for them, also continues to exist as well, and that our churches remain a place where we can freely assemble, unafraid of government intrusion.

-----

Previous parts of the series
Part One - LP Platform: Statement of Principles
Part Two - LP Platform: Freedom and Responsibility
Part Three - LP Platform: Freedom of Communication

Posted by Rhinehold at November 27, 2007 2:34 AM
Comments
Comment #239357

Excellent article, especially the part about HHDL and the fact that morality is not dependent upon religion. Unfortunately, those among us who disagree can easily argue that the reason this framework of morality exists is either because 1) religions have done such a good job ingraining their moral code into the human subconscious that it is a worldwide phenomenon, or 2) that a universal underlying ethical code is proof of God. Their God, of course.

I do have one issue, though.

Transitional Action: We call for an end to the harassment of churches by the Internal Revenue Service through threats to deny tax-exempt status to churches that refuse to disclose massive amounts of information about themselves.
Usually, the whole reason that churches are investigated is because they are violating certain rules applied to tax-exempt organizations, namely those covering seperation of church and state. If a religious organization starts behaving like a political organization (thus violating church/state separation) should they still recieve the benefits of being a religion, from the state’s point of view?

L

Posted by: leatherankh at November 27, 2007 10:00 AM
Comment #239359

Rhinehold-

I can appreciate the LP position but IMO it seems you are pushing this a bit by trying to remove all religion from politics. Are you saying that you can’t take a political position based upon a religious belief but you can have one based upon a political ideology?

How could a Congressman represent the views of his constituents if his district happens to be 70% Southern Baptist (we have those around here)? Tell them they are out of luck then take a check from, and make a vote for, the local drug company because their cause is secular? You’re not going to get re-elected that way, and reelection is always the primary goal of a politician.

A representative government will always have religion mixed in as long as “The People” are primary religious. That’s the design flaw in Jefferson’s wall architecture. It’s also the reason I still have to buy my beer on Saturday….

Posted by: George in SC at November 27, 2007 10:41 AM
Comment #239363
If a religious organization starts behaving like a political organization (thus violating church/state separation) should they still recieve the benefits of being a religion, from the state’s point of view?
No. If you want to see the end of “freedom of religion”, give churches the freedom to control the political process while immune to all laws and rules that all other political organizations and politicians are subject to.
  • Posted by: d.a.n at November 27, 2007 11:31 AM
    Comment #239370

    George… good points you bring up… especially the beer part! (now I’m thirsty…)

    There was a good piece about this very subject on NPR recently. In this interview Mr. Turley argues that religion is fair game in politics and should be so. I’m inclined to agree…

    Voters are faced with many choices and issues when deciding upon for whom to vote. It makes perfect sense that one of the reasons they would vote for a given candidate would be shared values, whether those values be religious or not. It is my personal opinion (and I fully understand that I am in the minority) that values have nothing to do with religion and that they come from within each individual regardless of religious belief… If I were to become devoutly religious tomorrow, it would not change my core being… my actions, maybe, but not my being.

    Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 27, 2007 12:43 PM
    Comment #239373

    Rhinehold, excellent work. One question the LP platform says “Government harassment or obstruction of religious groups for their beliefs or non-violent activities must end.” What exactly are they referring to? Those Mormon sects that have the elders taking the 13 year olds as wife #3 and such, or the Quakers in the antiwar movement? Or…
    Also without the fear of taxation what would prevent the religious groups from abusing the electoral process more than they do?

    Posted by: j2t2 at November 27, 2007 1:11 PM
    Comment #239376

    j2t2…

    13 year olds as wife #3 is, in my humble opinion, not a question of religious freedom but is rather a question of child abuse. There are laws on the books dealing with the rightful age of marriage that have nothing to do with the “wife #3” portion of your question.

    The fear of taxation question is already answered in Rhinehold’s original article…

    “We oppose taxation of church property for the same reason that we oppose all taxation.”

    It’s not so much a position advocating leaving religious groups exempt from taxation as much as it is leaving everyone exempt… in fact, IMHO, that right there is the whole point. Once we start picking and choosing which groups we tax and which we do not we start favoring one over the other for whatever (irrelevent) reason.

    Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 27, 2007 1:32 PM
    Comment #239381

    Doug, I would agree that there are criminal laws covering marriage to underaged girls, however if my religious beliefs were violated due to this criminal law…and..the LP platform states “Government harassment or obstruction of religious groups for their beliefs or non-violent activities must end” could I look to the Libertarians for support? Or using another example.. If my religious beliefs included the ingesting of cetain psychotropic substances that would fall victim to the current criminal laws could I look to the Libertarians for a stop to the harassement of my non violent activities. Perhaps, as another example, my religious beliefs include the mutilation of genitalia (my wives of course not mine), would the Libertarians stand tall in my defense against government harassment?
    Doug if you would not use taxation as a hammer against those religious groups that would abuse the electoral process and cross the seperation of church and state how would the Libertarian party defend against these actions and protect our democracy?

    Posted by: j2t2 at November 27, 2007 2:04 PM
    Comment #239387

    j2t2… good questions.

    Your first paragraph of questions has one very simple answer already built into the platform…

    “We defend the rights of individuals to engage in (or abstain from) any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others.”

    The last past of that sentence is very important and one that libertarian-bashers often, conveniently, overlook. So, to answer every question you posed in order:

    Doug, I would agree that there are criminal laws covering marriage to underaged girls, however if my religious beliefs were violated due to this criminal law…and..the LP platform states “Government harassment or obstruction of religious groups for their beliefs or non-violent activities must end” could I look to the Libertarians for support?

    Nope… this violates the ‘rights of others’ clause as the rights of the underage girls to not be abused is not recognized.

    If my religious beliefs included the ingesting of cetain psychotropic substances that would fall victim to the current criminal laws could I look to the Libertarians for a stop to the harassement of my non violent activities.

    Yep… Libertarian philosophy is very clear that our ‘War on Drugs’ is a sham. Religion has nothing to do with it.

    Perhaps, as another example, my religious beliefs include the mutilation of genitalia (my wives of course not mine), would the Libertarians stand tall in my defense against government harassment?

    Nope… again, assuming you are talking about involuntary genetalia mutilation, this would violate the ‘rights of others’ clause. Now, if you are speaking of an adult woman making a choice to do this… well, sure… but I assumed you were not.

    Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 27, 2007 2:36 PM
    Comment #239388

    j2t2… to answer the second part of your post…

    Doug if you would not use taxation as a hammer against those religious groups that would abuse the electoral process and cross the seperation of church and state how would the Libertarian party defend against these actions and protect our democracy?

    In my humble opnion, we should not be using taxation as a ‘hammer’ against any group. We should be treating religious groups with the same policies as we would any group… why are they different?

    Religious groups lobby the government for many reasons… not just to get God on the agenda or taught in school. Many good laws (and just as many bad ones) have been lobbied upon by religious groups… so what? Many good and bad laws have also been lobbied upon by non-religious groups… What’s the big stink?

    Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 27, 2007 2:42 PM
    Comment #239389

    Terrible Article. !!!

    Just kidding! Everyone is all in a dither over championing freedom of and from religion. This is like, so very basic to our Constituition, that not even Libertarians could mess this one up.

    But, wait, this Libertarian, Rhinehold, did mess it up. Rhinehold said:

    “We oppose taxation of church property for the same reason that we oppose all taxation.”

    A major screw up. First, the Constitution permits the levying of taxes, hence, this Libertarian and many others oppose the Constitution on taxation grounds.

    Then, to compound the error, This Libertarian implies that in the real world of today, Libertarians would fight to preserve tax exemption of churches even though other taxes are levied on atheists who derive no such benefit for places of Atheist gatherings. Granted, Rhinehold opposes all taxation, so, he tries to be fair. But, in this real world, taxation is a necessity for the majority, and therefore is not going away. Yet, Libertarians elected to office would fight to retain the Religious exemption.

    Hence, in the real world, elected Libertarians would achieve preservation of religious exemption while losing the battle on all taxation, thus creating the real world situation of PROMOTING religions through government policy which the Constitution opposes.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 27, 2007 2:43 PM
    Comment #239391

    Also note, the anarchist nature of the Libertarian Party through the back door. At the front door they support limited government. But, at the back door they would defund it. Clever, but, not clever enough, which is why the Libertarian Party remains such a very small and inconsequential third party in federal government.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 27, 2007 2:47 PM
    Comment #239395

    Thanks for the link Doug; I enjoyed listening to the feed for lunch….

    Once we start picking and choosing which groups we tax and which we do not we start favoring one over the other for whatever (irrelevent) reason.

    Put in the terms of the gay marriage debate, is it that the government discriminates against gays or is it that the government favors marriage? By favoring one particular group you are discriminating against all others (in this case not just same sex couples).

    Reminds me of a scene in the movie PCU where they are fighting about who should be in the front of the line.


    Posted by: George in SC at November 27, 2007 3:13 PM
    Comment #239397

    “Put in the terms of the gay marriage debate, is it that the government discriminates against gays or is it that the government favors marriage?”

    NOT a good example George.
    Govt does not favor marriage or it would allow those who wish to be married to do so.
    Govt, right now, favors a man/woman marriage.
    Govt discriminates against gays.

    Posted by: kctim at November 27, 2007 3:27 PM
    Comment #239398

    kctim, government also favors marriage with lower tax rates over singles, unless changes occurred of which I am not aware.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 27, 2007 3:32 PM
    Comment #239400

    You’re right Tim, I should have said it favors same sex marriage. The point still stands though that there are many groups, including same sex partners, that are discriminated against (singles as David points out).

    Posted by: George in SC at November 27, 2007 3:49 PM
    Comment #239402

    That is what happens when the people give their govt the power to favor groups over individuals, George.

    Posted by: kctim at November 27, 2007 4:00 PM
    Comment #239403

    Huh? What about the marriage penalty tax?

    Posted by: d.a.n at November 27, 2007 4:13 PM
    Comment #239406

    Doug, you state “Religious groups lobby the government for many reasons… not just to get God on the agenda or taught in school. Many good laws (and just as many bad ones) have been lobbied upon by religious groups… so what? Many good and bad laws have also been lobbied upon by non-religious groups… What’s the big stink?”
    I guess the big stink is while reading Rhineholds article I got the impression the Libertarians are for the seperation of church and state but after reading your comments I got the impression that the Libertarians were for keeping the state away from the church and not so much the church away from the state.
    I do agree that in past times the religious folk were responsible for the lobbying of many good laws, a lot of them very progressive. Recently however its been downhill with the Falwells and Robertsons et al leading the way.
    Myself I want to keep the church away from the state as well as the state away from the church. By claiming the tax exempt status the churches have agreed to stay out of the election process. When they default on this agreement they need to be taxed just as any other group, IMHO, and I think this is a fair way to use the hammer of taxes. Its much better than putting the offending preacher in jail. After all as individual members of the church they have the same rights as all other individuals, its when they group together to influence elections they are no longer individuals that have natural rights, right? Or do you as a Libertarian favor group rights over individual rights?

    Posted by: j2t2 at November 27, 2007 4:33 PM
    Comment #239407

    What about it D.a.n?
    Govt has determined married couples deserve a tax break and that singles do not. Govt forces a single individual to pay more so that another group may benefit. Govt has picked which group should benefit and discriminates against the other.
    I’m not saying its right, I’m saying we have allowed it to happen.

    Taxing religion is ridiculous. If you are going to tax religous people for being political as a group, then you have to cut tax money for groups such as the naacp for being political.

    Posted by: kctim at November 27, 2007 4:48 PM
    Comment #239410

    kctim Religious groups are exempt from taxes because they are religious groups. Should they decide to become a political group why should they not have to pay taxes as any other group would do? When I contribute to common cause it is not a tax deduction and they are a political group. When I contribute at church it is for religious reasons not so the preacher can determine who I should vote for on election day.

    Posted by: j2t2 at November 27, 2007 5:07 PM
    Comment #239414

    J2
    What would constitute them as becoming a political group?

    Why can’t religious groups have a political leaning?

    Only you can determine who you should vote for on election day.
    If you don’t like the way your church handles its contributions, find another church or quit contributing.

    Posted by: kctim at November 27, 2007 5:20 PM
    Comment #239418

    j2t2, this is a complicated issue as our tax system is complicated. Education organizations, as in the Voter Educational wing of Common Cause is tax exempt as an incorporated non-profit. The Political Action wing of Common Cause, is taxed by the state for sales, and their employees are taxed, though their revenues spent DIRECTLY on political action ativities is not taxed, other taxes may be incurred for revenues spent outside this direct activity.

    I do not know if Common Cause’s buildings and assets are taxed. But, religious organizations capital assets are tax free. It’s complicated, but, the gist of your comment is correct, that political organizations are subject to some taxation which religious organizations are not. At least that was my understanding in reviewing the laws while setting up VOID.

    Also, the FEC and Courts distinguish between religious activity as tax free activity and without regulation, whereas political activities are subject to some taxation and a the huge costs of regulation compliance.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 27, 2007 5:25 PM
    Comment #239419

    j2t2… my whole point is this… religious groups are no different than any other group of willing individuals that bands together to make their collective views represented. There is, in my opnion, no difference between the Christian Coalition, the NAACP, the AARP, or the Mimes of America getting together in an organized manner to have their voices heard… we shouldn’t discriminate against mimes…

    One thing that did catch my eye about your last post that I am asking clarification on…

    I do agree that in past times the religious folk were responsible for the lobbying of many good laws, a lot of them very progressive. Recently however its been downhill with the Falwells and Robertsons et al leading the way.

    Are you saying that back when the lobbying from church groups was progressive it was acceptable for them to do so, but now that you disagree with what these groups lobby for it is not?

    I’m probably reading that wrong…

    Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 27, 2007 5:29 PM
    Comment #239423

    j2t2

    i think the main reason religious organizations are not taxed is that they are not for profit. while they have the right to try to influence legislators to see things thier way, by encouraging thier followers to vote a certain way. what they can’t do, unlike lobbyist is use thier money to influence the votes of the legislators, or they will lose thier tax exempt status. that is unless of course your jesse jackson, then you can get away with anything you want.

    Posted by: dbs at November 27, 2007 5:52 PM
    Comment #239443

    Doug, I am not disagreeing with you about the church lobbying our elected representatives. I am against the church involvement in the election process. Using the pulpit to encourage the flock to vote for a particulafr candidate is what violates the tax free status and I agree that it should violate the tax free status of the offending church. So in summary Im not against Pat Robertson lobbying on a certain issue I am against Pat Robertson using his not for profit status and unregulated pulpit to elect a representative. Let his church pay taxes if he wants to influence through his church the election process.

    dbs,While I would agree that the churches may be considered non profit and therefore not taxed, I dont believe under current law that the church is allowed to be political “by encouraging their followers to vote a certain way.” and keep their non profit status. If the purpose of a religious group is spirtual in nature and they decide then to get into the political areana by influencing their followers to vote for specific candidates then they have altered their business and are no longer a non profit from my point of view. I like things just as they are. BTW, I dont have a Jesse Jackson and dont know what you are referring to.

    kctim, Religious groups do have a specific political leaning for the most part. Some are very active in politics. I dont have a problem with that as long as they are subject to the same taxes as everyone else and other political entities. I think the question should be why should the church have preferential treatment.
    While its true only you can decide which way to vote the leaders of the church are held in high esteem by their followers generally speaking. The church leaders can unduly influence their followers when at the pulpit. If you dont think thats true remember where the phrase “drinking the kool aid” came from. Why should I have to leave and search for another church just because the preacher decides to become a political figure instead of a spirtual figure? Which is why I am in agreement with the current laws and the IRS requiring compliance from those religious leaders that try to avoid paying taxes and yet want to use the pulpit as a political tool for a specific candidate or party. I beleive seperation of church and state works both ways.

    David, thanks for the clarification on common cause.

    Posted by: j2t2 at November 27, 2007 8:16 PM
    Comment #239448
    “We oppose taxation of church property for the same reason that we oppose all taxation.”

    A major screw up. First, the Constitution permits the levying of taxes, hence, this Libertarian and many others oppose the Constitution on taxation grounds.

    Erm, how is it opposing the constitution to not want to tax anyone? No where am I saying that taxation is unconstitutional… Just because I don’t want to do something that is permitted by the constitution doesn’t mean I am opposing it.

    Also note, the anarchist nature of the Libertarian Party through the back door. At the front door they support limited government. But, at the back door they would defund it. Clever, but, not clever enough, which is why the Libertarian Party remains such a very small and inconsequential third party in federal government.

    First, the use of the word anarchist is wrong. No where am I suggesting an absence of laws. In fact, there have to be strong laws in place to defend rights, so you’re off of the field to being with.

    But further, no one is saying that the government should be run without any funding. We only object to direct taxation. Service fees, duties, sales taxes, etc are valid forms of paying for services, not only because they are directly attributable to a specific function of government but in that aspect they are harder to divert to other areas without the consent of the people. ‘pork barrel’ projects and general funds would be nearly impossible to sneak through anymore.

    Posted by: Rhinehold at November 27, 2007 8:41 PM
    Comment #239452

    A well-written article, but it doesn’t leave me very impressed with the LP platform, which seems to consist mostly of platitudes and advocating ideas that are not really in question.

    “In order to defend freedom, we advocate a strict separation of church and State.”

    Unlike whom, I wonder?

    Yes, there are some who feel that being against abortion, for example, is tantamount to bringing religion into government, but that’s a gross oversimplification. There are religious beliefs about everything from helping the poor to not committing murder, and the fact that they are religious beliefs does not mean that they can’t also be political beliefs. The only problem would be if in addition to these beliefs, you were asked (no, told) to convert to a religion. Nobody is demanding that.

    “We call for an end to the harassment of churches by the Internal Revenue Service through threats to deny tax-exempt status to churches that refuse to disclose massive amounts of information about themselves.”

    If you have a principled opposition to the very idea of any taxation, then just come out and say that. But as long as there is taxation, simply saying that you are a “religion” isn’t enough to exempt you. Otherwise, why shouldn’t Microsoft or just call themselves a religion with Bill Gates as their high priest?

    It’s already well-established in legal precedents that churches get all kinds of exemptions. But they still have to supply a lot of paperwork to the IRS, even to get their exemptions.

    This is not even an issue of serious debate or concern among actual churches or the IRS. As long as everybody minds their p’s and q’s, the law works pretty well (although, of course, as with any legal question, there will be occasional disagreements). That’s no reason to just chuck the idea of there being any laws that govern these issues at all.

    “We defend the rights of individuals to engage in (or abstain from) any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others.”

    Again, so what? Join the club. Everybody feels that way. We don’t need the LP to defend the rights that are already very well enshrined and defended in the law.

    Posted by: Liam at November 27, 2007 9:01 PM
    Comment #239461

    Sadly there is also the right to die from starvation or lack of medical care under the Libertarian plan.

    But at least you’ll be free when you die ………….. except from those other taxes that pay for the national defense, highways, maintaining our water ways and national lands, and all those pesky state, county and local taxes ………… but at least we won’t be paying a dime towards helping lazy people.

    And religion will be put back in it’s place. How many “non-Christians” are running for POTUS this time around?

    Ron Paul is the most Libertarian candidate running and he chose to run as a Republican. ‘Nuff said!

    Posted by: KansasDem at November 27, 2007 10:57 PM
    Comment #239464

    KansasDem… Nuff said? About what? You didn’t actually say anything… so Paul decided to run as a Republican… what, exactly, does that prove? Ron Paul is his own person who can choose to do what he wants…

    Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 27, 2007 11:04 PM
    Comment #239466
    Ron Paul is the most Libertarian candidate running and he chose to run as a Republican.

    Erm, I don’t think so… The libertarian party hasn’t nominated their candidate yet. I’m pretty sure that THAT person will be the most libertarian candidate running.

    And yeah, you’re right, if it weren’t for government, why, people would be starving and dying from lack of medical care all over the place! I’m sure glad they don’t do that now, I mean heaven knows I thank every day that we won that War on Poverty and that World Hunger Year was able to close their doors so many years ago.

    And yes, it does matter to me if I choose to die free or live as a slave. I know that ever increasingly more people don’t care about that though…

    Posted by: Rhinehold at November 27, 2007 11:14 PM
    Comment #239470

    Rhinehold… I think KansasDem was about to say the old, tired line about how since Ron Paul is a Republican all Libertarians are nothing more than closet Republicans… blah blah blah… Maybe that was his ‘Nuff said!’?

    Is there a way to show an emotican of some sort in this format on this site that shows the little guy rolling his eyes that we can use when people say dumb things? Just curious…

    Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 27, 2007 11:51 PM
    Comment #239481

    Rhinehold asked: “Erm, how is it opposing the constitution to not want to tax anyone?”

    The Constitution calls for the levying of taxes to operate the government. No taxes, no government, which is the closet anarchist peeking out of every Libertarian argument.

    Rhinehold said: “No where am I suggesting an absence of laws.”

    Ahh, so you are for laws, just no government to enforce them. Sounds like anarchy to me.

    Rhinehold said: “But further, no one is saying that the government should be run without any funding. We only object to direct taxation.”

    Ahh… so, Libertarians believe in hidden indirect taxation. Sneaky little devils, aren’t they. Many hidden indirect taxes don’t tend to get voted on, they tend to be administrated. And there you have the Libertarian view of democracy. They don’t believe in it.

    Why should the public be directly taxed with their representatives on record for yea or ney votes, when the Executive Branch can simply administer indirect taxes through user fees of government services? We could fund government by a border crossing fee for illegal immigrants. :-)

    Libertarian policies would result in aristocracies, the accumulation of generational wealth amongst the top 5 or less percent of the people, seeking to hold 95% or more of the nation’s wealth. (Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations has several comments on this, none positive.)

    In the old days in the South, they called this form of wealth accumulation and control over lesser persons slavery. And before that in Europe, it was called Feudalism, another form of enslaving the masses to the lords of the manors and wealth.

    Problem is, the American economy depends upon consumerism by the masses, and with all that money accumulating in so few families, the economy would utterly and completely fail before the aristocracy approached the generational wealth they seek through Libertarians. You can’t deprive this economy of recirculated wealth through mass consumers and hope for economic survival. Revolutions are caused by such circumstances.

    The story of King Louis Auguste and Marie Antoinette should be invoked here for a bit of heady humor. :-0
    By all means, elect the Libertarians and import French Guillotines (I hear they are cheap these days), sharpen and oil them for use once again by the slave working class on the Libertarian Aristocrats when the Libertarians have achieved their Aristocracy of wealth and power and dominion over the working peasants.

    Libertarians never cease to be a source of amusement. Like Ron Paul and his wish that the U.S. return to a commodity standard of valuation of the dollar while the rest of the world passes us by in economic growth through trade and relative currency valuation to each other. SNL should do a skit on that one, Americans using magnifying glasses to count their ever shrinking dollar bills.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 28, 2007 2:25 AM
    Comment #239483

    Rhinehold said: “And yes, it does matter to me if I choose to die free or live as a slave.:

    The fallacy of course is that any of us is truly free. We aren’t. We are as dependent upon each other for survival in this world as a colony of ants are upon each other for survival from the elements of flood, drought, and war. A single ant cannot maintain the mound. Even the wealthiest, especially the wealthiest, are dependent upon consumers and workers for their wealth. Libertarians would allow wealth to accumulate through competition into fewer and fewer hands, threatening the consumers upon which that wealth depends.

    King Louis Auguste and Marie Antoinette are testament to how dependent wealth is, and therefore, not free of the decisions, needs, and passions of the others they share society with.

    Noblesse Oblige. Libertarians should never forget the underpinnings of this concept. Freedom, in the political sense, is the knowledge and education required to choose cooperation and mutually assured assistance and success. All other definitions of political freedom lead to revolution or unsustainable overextension.

    I still contend that I would like to see the Libertarians represented in our halls of Congress to constrain the excesses of the other two parties. But, all would be lost if Libertarians ever acquired majority control. And I may just have to vote for Ron Paul as a check and balance upon the Democrats and Republicans. But, one must keep Libertarians on a very short leash and not allow their numbers to grow too large in the halls of government.

    Libertarians are like penicillin mold. A little can save your life from infection. A lot will destroy your food supply and threaten life itself.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 28, 2007 2:54 AM
    Comment #239491
    The Constitution calls for the levying of taxes to operate the government. No taxes, no government, which is the closet anarchist peeking out of every Libertarian argument.

    What an idiotic statement, David. You *do* understand the difference between taxes and duties and fees, right? We didn’t ‘tax’ until about 100 years ago, are you suggesting we didn’t had anarchy before then?

    Ahh, so you are for laws, just no government to enforce them. Sounds like anarchy to me.

    No, we need government, so your juvinile attempt to to use straw man fallacies against the principles of libertarianism (liberalism) is getting tiring.

    In fact, it’s clear that you simply do not understand what libertarians believe, which is why I started this series. It was my hope that you would read with an open mind and attempt to actually understand, but as usual you have no desire or wish to do so.

    We need government to have a free society. The services that government must provide for this need to be paid for by taxing the use of the services, not the individual.

    Posted by: Rhinehold at November 28, 2007 7:55 AM
    Comment #239492
    The fallacy of course is that any of us is truly free. We aren’t.

    And there you have David’s view of our society in a nutshell. Liberty is not something that is important to the planned economist, in fact they cannot exist at the same time.

    The country was founded on the idea of liberty, which means living without the intrusions of government into our lives. We lost the notion of liberty decades ago…

    Posted by: Rhinehold at November 28, 2007 7:58 AM
    Comment #239495
    The country was founded on the idea of liberty, which means living without the intrusions of government into our lives. We lost the notion of liberty decades ago…
    Hmmmmm … and very shortly after the American Revolution, the government implemented a number of taxes that have grown in number and percentage ever since. Now look at what we have.

    However, voters are the root of the problem because:

    • Too many voters believe in the myth that we can all live at the expense of everyone else.

    • Politicians fuel that myth to raise taxes and invent new taxes for everything imaginable.

    • Voters complain about taxes and give Congress and politicians dismal approval ratings, make jokes about politicians, and then reward those same politicians with 95% to 99% re-election rates (i.e. the voter paradox).

    • Government can not become more responsible and accountable until the voters become more responsible and accountable. But what do we have? We currently have almost total fiscal and moral bankruptcy, government is FOR-SALE, and voters reward politicians with perpetual re-election, and Congress rewards itself for all of it with 9 raises between 1997 and 2007 and other cu$hy perks, graft, and a myriad of opportunities for self-gain.
    Now we are in a pickle because:
    • We can’t easily and painlessly abandon Social Security.

    • We can’t easily and painlessly abandon Medicare.

    • We can’t easily and painlessly abandon welfare.

    • We can’t even stop giving welfare and Medicaid to 32% of all illegal aliens that receive Medicaid and welfare (because our politicians want votes and profits from a steady inflow of cheaper labor).

    • We can’t easily and painlessly abandon the taxation to pay for all of it.
    It’s a problem that will solve itself eventually, but no one will like the painful solution. There are common-sense, responsible solutions, but we don’t have the will or foresight to act on them. So, we all wait and watch as the system gradually deteriorates, and it is not by mere coincidence that all of these unfair and sinister systems came about. These things all have something in common. They are all rooted in greed, selfishness, and laziness. Until humans understand that and design systems to account for it, and then enforce those laws, they will always be doomed to eventual demise. Our Constitution has some safe guards, but many things in the Constitution are now being violated (e.g. Article V), yet there is not a peep from a single candidate for president or Congress about these major Constitutional violations.

    Posted by: d.a.n at November 28, 2007 10:54 AM
    Comment #239510

    Rhinehold:

    When you speak of the separation of church and state I agree with every thing you say. This separation is the essence of our democracy and should be part of every party’s platform.

    When you talk about taxes I disagree. We need taxes to run our government. Non-profits, be they religious or not, deserve not being taxed, if they perform something worthy. Non-profits that are masks for collecting money for politicians, should be taxed.

    I’m wondering how on earth libertarians combined with theocrats in the Republican Party?

    Posted by: Paul Siegel at November 28, 2007 2:39 PM
    Comment #239511
    We need taxes to run our government.

    We need duties and fees for services, not income taxation for the purpose of wealth redistribution. The notion that if we don’t have half of our income being collected by the government we can’t have a government is the argument many want to make, and in doing so they attempt to suggest anyone who disagrees with that view are anarchists…

    I’m wondering how on earth libertarians combined with theocrats in the Republican Party?

    They didn’t, which is why the suggestion that libertarians are just republicans who are anti-war shows a lack of understanding about the ideals of libertarianism, Ron Paul notwithstanding. In fact, some who work as libertarians now are just atheistic republicans IMO, and Ron Paul talks a good game in some areas but bases them on the wrong principles, which makes me leery of him in the long run.

    The idea that we should deny individuals the right to marry, make it illegal to burn the flag, make it illegal to have an abortion, make it illegal to assist others who choose to end their own life, think that spying on people just to see what they are up to is ok, base laws upon religious doctrine, etc make it impossible for me to support republicans. Except that the progressives who have taken over the democratic party who want to control business decisions (planned economy) and make rights exist that require violate others make it impossible for me to support them even more…

    Posted by: Rhinehold at November 28, 2007 2:49 PM
    Comment #239513

    Rhinehold said: “The country was founded on the idea of liberty, which means living without the intrusions of government into our lives.”

    What absolute nonsense. The very creation of government was an act of intrusion upon the lives of the people by government, and with the consent of the people. The very act of creating a legislative body to create enforceable laws which the people must live by to avoid the consequences of not doing so, was an act of intrusion upon the people’s lives.

    The logic of your statement is completely absent, Rhinehold. Government with enforcement power is by definition an intrusion into personal freedom to choose to act contrary to the will of government. True Freedom is anarchy, or as Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”, if one wants to be really cynical.

    To have possessions of any kind of value makes one dependent upon behaviors, sources, techniques and costs to protect those possessions from others who would covet them. One of the central functions of government, which requires taxes be paid by all seeking such protection from that government.

    The political freedom Americans enjoy is the freedom to vote out office politicians who abuse their power in government against the people’s interests. A freedom which has become seriously compromised as well. I believe on this latter point we may find ground for agreement.

    The Mountain Men of the last 18th century enjoyed the kind of freedom you discuss, Rhinehold, out of the reach and contact with the rest of society, and thus the government. Isolated and alone, they were free in your sense of the word. But, the minute they stepped into a town or into a group of other citizens, they lost that freedom and be subject to the government and laws and enforcement of those laws instituted by the people signing the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

    Your comment Rhinehold, is incredibly naive.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 28, 2007 2:51 PM
    Comment #239516

    Rhinehold said: “In fact, it’s clear that you simply do not understand what libertarians believe, which is why I started this series.”

    I know all too well what Libertarians believe. I have worked with them, talked with them, debated with them, and visited their official website more times than most Libertarians. Hence, I know, that what they believe if inplaced as policy for government, would have some terrible and ruinous unintended consequences.

    Libertarians reject the the blatantly obvious interconnected and interdependent nature of modern societies, and seek principles that would allow them to act independent of the needs and welfare of the society. This is why Libertarians and Republicans are often confused as being the same or very similar.

    You said it all with extreme clarity when you said:
    “The country was founded on the idea of liberty, which means living without the intrusions of government into our lives.”

    That is the Libertarian core principle and it is an anti-government principle exactly as you stated it. Your view on taxes combined with your quote above says: Libertarians want government when it profits or serves them, but, don’t want to pay for it or be obligated to it. You really do make the Libertarian case quite eloquently. Such honesty and eloquence is commendable but will never permit rule in America by Libertarians.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 28, 2007 3:03 PM
    Comment #239518
    Rhinehold said: “The country was founded on the idea of liberty, which means living without the intrusions of government into our lives.”

    What absolute nonsense.

    Which is why we will never agree the purpose of government. You don’t see a need for liberty and therefore refuse to admit that the government should not have any say into how we choose to live our lives if we are not intereferring with how another lives theirs.

    The very creation of government was an act of intrusion upon the lives of the people by government, and with the consent of the people.

    A necessary entity whos purpose was to protect our individual rights from each other and from foreign control. Not to tell what to do with their own lives. That was the LIBERTY part of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’.

    Liberty:

    1. freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.
    2. freedom from external or foreign rule; independence.
    3. freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.

    The Mountain Men of the last 18th century enjoyed the kind of freedom you discuss, Rhinehold, out of the reach and contact with the rest of society, and thus the government.

    Again with the straw man fallacies, David. I suggest nothing of the kind of ‘Mountain Men of the 18th century’ view that you continue to attribute to me, and refuse to accept when I correct you. Instead, you ignore and then keep arguing the same tired crap.

    There is something else BESIDES progressive intrusions into our lives and complete anarchy. It’s a simple concept that you refuse as viable even though it is the very nature of not just the founding of the government but the ideals that most people agree with but are told they can’t have.

    Simply put, I should have the right to do what I choose to do with my life as long as I do not violate another’s right to the same.

    It has nothing to do with being free from all government, only that government that attempts to tell people what to do when they are not directly affecting someone else. That is where the majority of our taxation goes, if the government weren’t in the business of dictating action to the citizenry, except in the case of protecting other’s rights, it wouldn’t need nearly the amount of money to run it as it does.

    Unfortunately, you can’t accept that view because you are hellbent on wealth redistribution scams and a planned economy. You wrote recently that we are not taxed ENOUGH, even though today federal, state, and local taxes consume 47% of the national income. You see income tax as the only means of funding the areas of the government that it should be involved in because it fits into your view of wealth redistribution.

    And yet, when it comes to things that affect you personally, you balk on these views and revert back to the true american views of keeping the government out of your life.

    And you call ME naive…

    Posted by: Rhinehold at November 28, 2007 3:12 PM
    Comment #239519
    Libertarians want government when it profits or serves them, but, don’t want to pay for it or be obligated to it.

    Wrong again, you ignore what I say and institute your own words that suit your own purpose.

    I’ll try to be simple. We need roads to get around. We pay for those roads how? Through a fee on gasoline, which directly relates to the use of the road. The more I use the roads, the more gasoline I need, the more gasoline I need, the more fees I pay. There is no need to tax my income, because my use of the service is not dependant upon how much I make.

    Libertarians are not against that type of duty or fee places upon services. We are, however, against taxation, especially upon income which is nefarious in that there is nothing you can do to avoid the tax if you don’t use the same amount of services as another, that does not tie directly to what the money is being collected for.

    You end up with ‘general funds’ and ‘pork-barrel projects’ that get paid out of that fund to increase political power centralized in Washington that serves only itself.

    Posted by: Rhinehold at November 28, 2007 3:21 PM
    Comment #239529

    Rhinehold said: “Simply put, I should have the right to do what I choose to do with my life as long as I do not violate another’s right to the same.”

    The majority of American people decided they have a right to Soc. Sec., to education, to affordable health care, among other things, and that taxes are way they will secure those rights. Or are only Libertarians to be allowed to define what others should do with their lives? Your perceived “right” to not pay taxes, which are legally constituted by the parameters of the U.S. Constitution, stands in opposition to the majority of other people’s perceived “rights”.

    IF you don’t like it find a mountain or island out of reach of society. I don’t like paying taxes, but, I acknowledge the right of the people and their representatives to levy them, and I appreciate the nearly infinite number of benefits I derive from paying them. That, Rhinehold, is one of the central differences between your and my views. Between the Libertarian view and that of the majority of Americans.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 28, 2007 5:27 PM
    Comment #239531

    Rhinehold, you like use taxes. What use tax should be applied to the military, Emergency Room expenses on those without funds, on Education where some get far more out of it than others, on NASA space exploration, on National Parks and Wildlife Refuges, on American monuments? Should soldiers pay for the VA system out of their wages? They are the users of it.

    Your comment’s Libertarian stance leads to unintended consequences of cataclysmic proportion and enormous suffering and impedance of innovation and progress. The Libertarians are a minority Party and shall always remain so with views like these.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 28, 2007 5:35 PM
    Comment #239551
    The majority of American people decided they have a right to Soc. Sec., to education, to affordable health care, among other things, and that taxes are way they will secure those rights. Or are only Libertarians to be allowed to define what others should do with their lives? Your perceived “right” to not pay taxes, which are legally constituted by the parameters of the U.S. Constitution, stands in opposition to the majority of other people’s perceived “rights”.

    It’s like talking to a wall…

    I never said that I had a ‘right’ not to pay taxes. I never said they weren’t constitutionally authorized. I stated this quite clearly in comment #239488. So again, you choose to ignore what I say and argue the exact opposite, then claim it to prove your point…

    And, you step into the area of positive rights, rights that people seek to claim yet by their very nature demand that other’s rights that are natural rights be violated for them to be defended.

    While it is clear that you don’t see a problem with that, there are those of us who do, who actually have principles that we believe we should hold ourselves to and not just be a free for all greedy society that we are now.

    We vote for what gets us the most money from other people. What a noble principle to live by, I guess…

    IF you don’t like it find a mountain or island out of reach of society. I don’t like paying taxes, but, I acknowledge the right of the people and their representatives to levy them, and I appreciate the nearly infinite number of benefits I derive from paying them. That, Rhinehold, is one of the central differences between your and my views. Between the Libertarian view and that of the majority of Americans.

    Well, now who sounds like a Republican, eh? You don’t like it, then leave! It never ceases to amaze me how people can just talk a good game but without a guiding political philosphy to stick to they end up just sounding exactly like the very people they abhor.

    I’ll mention again that I have never not acknowledged the constitution’s authority, after amended, to lay income taxes. I disagree with it and would not let that power be used if I had my choice, but it is there and as long as it is I pay my taxes. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to state my opinion here or anywhere else where I can reach other people, no matter how many people like yourself go out of their way to use straw man fallacies to try to shout me down…

    Well, I mention it, but I know it won’t do much good…

    What use tax should be applied to the military, Emergency Room expenses on those without funds, on Education where some get far more out of it than others, on NASA space exploration, on National Parks and Wildlife Refuges, on American monuments? Should soldiers pay for the VA system out of their wages? They are the users of it.

    Military - You’re assuming I think there should be a federal standing army… If we weren’t going around the world trying to convert people forcibly to democracy, how much would we be paying for a military? And then how much could we take from import/export duties and fees to pay for the military we would need at that point? In fact, we wouldn’t be in Iraq if we had cut back on our defense strategy to be defense of the US, not protection of abuses in the world, that should be taken on by the UN, a group who has no need to do that because we already are…

    Cut back the federal standing army, put the national guard training as the focus of our defense, use the DoD to coordinate those efforts and pay for it all with import/export duties…

    Emergency Room Expenses for those without funds - should be paid for by those with funds. An extra fee on the hospital bill will ensure that at the end of the day the hospital comes out ok. Again, charities like Doctors without Borders, etc, could help here as well.

    Education - Should be paid for by community fees (property taxes or an educational fee that gets paid by those who actually use the system, depending upon how the local community wants to go). Again, those without means would be helped out through charity and additional fees on the price of it by those who can afford it.

    NASA and space exploration - open it up to private enterprise and get things like the old X-Prize and newer prizes that are being offered now out there. Universities, grants, private businesses could take this from where we are and move forward. We are not doing much now, through NASA that can’t be passed off to private enterprises if we chose too.

    National Parks and Wildlife Refuges - the topic of the next part of the series, I don’t think the government should own land. Simple solution would be to sell our parks and refuges to organizations like the Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy. That is what the Nature Conservancy does now, purchases land for protection from development. There is no reason why the government has to be involved in those areas now that we have groups that can do it much more effectively and be led by people who are best at making those types of decisions instead of leaving it up to politicians who will do whatever is best to gain or maintain power. Put in special zoning that those areas can never be developed and let the people who know what they are doing manage the lands…

    American Monuments - See above. Since the ‘majority’ of people want this to occur, simply let them provide the funds and organization to do so and get their management out of the hands of the government. Then if someone wants to put a cross on a tombstone, there are no sticky ‘freedom of religion’ issues to deal with since these are private monuments now.

    Soldiers paying for the VA - should be paid for out of the military fund that gets funded by duties and fees. It can also be helped out by charitable contributions. What, are you afraid that the service the VA hospitals provice might get WORSE? I’ve only gone to my VA hospital a couple of times, because of requirements because of my knees, and it’s never been very good, IMO. Typical bureacratic nightmare that most governmental agencies are because they allow themselves to be run by politicians and not those who know what they are doing, knowing that they don’t have to be concerned about costs and ensuring that their budgets keep going up exponentially through outright fraud…

    Your comment’s Libertarian stance leads to unintended consequences of cataclysmic proportion and enormous suffering and impedance of innovation and progress.

    I disagree completely (obviously) and KNOW that if we get the government out of people’s lives and business, focusing on protecting against monopolies and enforcing a true free market by using heavy anti-trust regulations, innovation and production would increase by leaps and bounds. It is the lessons of the New Deal that progressives try to ignore, the reality that the programs started to retard our growth until they were relaxed in 1939 and into the war when it was discovered that businesses actually had to be productive for our society to flourish.

    the New Deal had been very hostile to business expansion in 1935-37, had encouraged massive strikes which had a negative impact on major industries such as automobiles, and had threatened massive anti-trust legal attacks on big corporations. All those threats diminished sharply after 1938. For example, the antitrust efforts fizzled out without major cases. The CIO and AFL unions started battling each other more than corporations, and tax policy became more favorable to long-term growth.

    Lawrence Reed notes that “when a nationally representative poll by the American Institute of Public Opinion in the spring of 1939 asked, “Do you think the attitude of the Roosevelt administration toward business is delaying business recovery?” the American people responded “yes” by a margin of more than two-to-one. The business community felt even more strongly so” Roosevelt’s Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, said in May 1939: “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and now if I am wrong somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosper. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this administration, we have just as much unemployment as when we started. And enormous debt to boot.”

    The reality is, David, that we can do things other than have massive taxation or complete anarchy. There are other ways to view problems than ignore it or get the government involved. We need to find new ways, because the old ones are working, they never did. All they did was either provide a stopgap (in which case a TEMPORARY implementation would have been best) or delay advances even more than they could have been.

    You think that we have tried it all (we haven’t) and this is the best solution (it isn’t). We still have unemployement, hunger, poverty, etc. In fact, these things are increasing, not because we are doing too little as a government, but too MUCH. We are getting in our own way, trying to use a large bureacracy that is slow and run by political motivations to solve individual issues that require attention to be focused and then backed off.

    For example, today in Indianapolis there was a little girl who was beaten to death by her parents (they will be going to jail for murder, I hope). She had been in and out of foster care because of the problems with her parents. In fact, she was scheduled to be taken out of the home in the next few days, once the paperwork had cleared…

    Now, I don’t blame society for her death, I blame her parents for beating her to death with a strap because she, at three years old, pee’d her pants. BUT, the governmental agency that we are paying to have in place to protect her DID NOT WORK because it is a bureacracy. It gets in its own way.

    There has to be better ways than we are doing things now. It has to come from people voluntarily. Forcing people to ‘do the right thing’ will only bring resentment and class hatred. The very things that are tearing this country apart now and have been increasingly dividing this country since their implementation in the 1930s are what we MUST rethink and resolve. Get the government out of the business of being a provider, make it a defender, a good defender. A defender of our righs to exist as free thinking and free acting individuals who can, when necessary, band together on their own and help people who need it and then let them be when they need that too. The government CAN’T do that because it is politically motivated NOT to truly help anyone. If it did it would no longer be needed, a voting block that is counted upon would be gone.

    I know you would never agree to this because you are motivated, as you have admitted to before, of making sure we use the government as a means of moving money from the rich to the poor. Simply because they have it, it should go to those who don’t. And that’s ok, for you to think that way, to be a facist like that. But the CONSEQUENCES of those beliefs is that you keep people in slavery, dependant upon the government for their very existence.

    If you would take a good look around at the people who need help, as I do in my work to REALLY help people in my neighborhood, you will see that they do NOT want to become dependant upon the government but are told by their politicians that they have to be, that there is no way out, that they need those programs that are in place and could not function, could not EXIST without them. What complete TOSH. It’s the same fear tactics that the republicans use to keep us docile as we give up our freedoms to them, convincing people through fear, guilt and hatred that they have to enact programs that forcibly take from people against their will to give to another. When it’s money, you’re ok with it but don’t let it be your house, right? We continue to give up our rights because people actually believe people like you, that there is no other way, no different way to look at a society, other than having all of this planned out and done for them…

    Continue keeping them stupid and uneducated (as we can since the government controls the minds of our children, what a great idea…). Keep telling them that your way is the only way. You’ll win, I admit. The Libertarians will probably never win national election because of this (nevermind we have thousands of elected officials all over the country) and because the two major parties will never give up that control (do you see any other parties with a chance besides the Libertarians, 3rd largest party in the US?)

    And will we be better off because of it? No, you can go rent ‘Idiocracy’ and see the perfect example why…

    And that’s the future we have to look forward to. Well, not us, but our grandchildren… What do we care, right? It won’t affect us like the decisions of the 30s that are killing this country now didn’t affect them at the time.

    So yeah, I know I’m fighting a losing battle. Call me Don Quixote. But I won’t stop. Maybe in 80 years someone will look back as they live whatever country this one turns into (either a mindless corpglomerate fascist regime or a revolution that fractures the country into smaller autonomous theocracies or perhaps something even worse) and say ‘hey, maybe those guys were right…’ and they might actually do something about it then.

    If anyone knows how to read then…

    Posted by: Rhinehold at November 28, 2007 9:13 PM
    Comment #239559
    National Parks and Wildlife Refuges - the topic of the next part of the series, I don’t think the government should own land. Simple solution would be to sell our parks and refuges to organizations like the Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy.

    We, the citizens of the United States, own all the public land, including the National Parks…we should not let these lands be owned by private membership clubs, ecologically savvy or not…The land belongs to US and OUR CHILDREN IN PERPETUITY….and that’s the way it must be.

    Posted by: Rachel at November 28, 2007 10:15 PM
    Comment #239560
    I am against the church involvement in the election process. Using the pulpit to encourage the flock to vote for a particulafr candidate is what violates the tax free status and I agree that it should violate the tax free status of the offending church.

    So all the churches that participated in Justice Sunday should no longer be tax-exempt…

    Posted by: Rachel at November 28, 2007 10:17 PM
    Comment #239562
    kctim wrote: What about it D.a.n? Govt has determined married couples deserve a tax break and that singles do not. Govt forces a single individual to pay more so that another group may benefit. Govt has picked which group should benefit and discriminates against the other. I’m not saying its right, I’m saying we have allowed it to happen.
    Married persons are penalized by the marriage penalty tax. The tax system is not fair. Our screwed up tax system is REGRESSIVE (among these other REGRESSIVE systems).
    kctim wrote: Taxing religion is ridiculous.
    Sure it is. But if a church engages in political activities, it is now a political entity and should not be immune to the same laws and rules that rest of the campaign organizations and candidates are.
    kctim wrote: If you are going to tax religous people for being political as a group, then you have to cut tax money for groups such as the naacp for being political.
    Churches engaging in political campaigns are no longer only a religious group.

    Non profit organizations are not taxed unless they also behave as political entities to support a party and/or candidate.

    As for the FEC, the rules are severely screwed up already, because government is severely FOR-SALE. As a result, only a tiny 0.15% of 200 million eligible voters make 83% of all federal campaign donations (of $200 or more). As a result, our FOR-SALE government is an oligarchy.

    The 1st Amendment makes it quite clear:

    Amendment I
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    However, if a church engages in political activity, its now not merely a church and should be subject to the same FEC laws that that other political entities and candidates should follow.

    If we are going to start letting the churches run things, engage in the political process while being immune to the laws the rest must follow, then which religion should it be? Christian? Jewish? Islamic? Buddhist? Atheist? Shinto? Hindu? Unitarianism ? Mormon? Paganist? Zoroastrianist? Baha’i? Jainism ? Taoist?

    The government is required by the Constitution to allow the free exercise of religion. NOT political activity. Especially NOT with immunity to the laws that all others must follow. There is a difference between a religious organization and a political organization. Besides, why should or would any religious organization feel like it must be political too? It can if it wants to, but it will then not be immune to the laws that everyone else should go by too.

    Regarding taxes, here’s a better way. It’s not the final best solution, but it is a path to a better system.

    Posted by: d.a.n at November 28, 2007 10:36 PM
    Comment #239567

    Rhinehold, my words regarding wealth recycling through the economy, leave the wealthy, wealthy, just a little less so as with a flat tax and estate taxes. Necessary in support of the consumerism that created and maintains the wealthy in the first place. You know damn well I never called for making the wealthy unwealthy to give their wealth to the poor. That is a mischaracterization.

    Our economy is healthy when the majority of Americans are both producing and consuming, and recycling dollars through the economy. Too many dollars in too few hands, constricts that flow of dollars and undermines the economy that sustains wealth.

    Many Libertarians and Libertarian Republicans like Ron Paul have this enormous blind spot in their understanding of American economics. The 1930’s depression could not be minimized to a recession precisely because there wasn’t a sufficiently broad middle class consumer reserve with disposable income to sustain the economy and producers in the face of enormous speculative market losses.

    The 2000-2001 recession was mitigated by the broad middle class continuing to spend supporting the companies and producers who otherwise would have seen their business contract even more laying off many, many more workers. Wealth is measured by dollars, and those dollars must circulate throughout the economy and consumer class.

    Especially in an economic environment like today, when so many dollars of the wealthy are being invested in economies and companies overseas and not circulating here in the U.S. as investments, savings, and entrepreneurial productivity.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 28, 2007 11:50 PM
    Comment #239569

    Rhinehold, political views aside, I appreciate and praise your diligent defense and effort to fight for a minority position you ardently believe in. I truly wish a great many more voting Americans had such heart and commitment. America’s future would brighten for the discourse, and exchange of ideas and the learning that takes place as a result.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 29, 2007 12:11 AM
    Comment #239588

    Rachael
    “So all the churches that participated in Justice Sunday should no longer be tax-exempt…”

    If those involved with Justice Sunday overstepped their bounds as a tax exempt church then Yes they should receive the wrath of the IRS for doing so.

    Posted by: j2t2 at November 29, 2007 6:37 AM
    Comment #239599

    D.a.n
    “Churches engaging in political campaigns are no longer only a religious group.”

    What should be considered “political activities?”
    Churches don’t give candidates money do they? Stating facts of where candidates stand on issues and who best supports the concerns of the church is only representing their views.

    “Non profit organizations are not taxed unless they also behave as political entities to support a party and/or candidate.”

    They may not be taxed until then, but some do receive federal money. Whats the difference between telling a congregation which candidate supports their views and telling your non-profit workers they should vote for a candidate so they can keep their funding? There is no difference.

    The 1st Amendment makes it quite clear:

    Quite clear indeed. It was designed to keep govt out of religion all together.

    “If we are going to start letting the churches run things, engage in the political process while being immune to the laws the rest must follow, then which religion should it be? Christian? Jewish? Islamic? Buddhist? Atheist? Shinto? Hindu? Unitarianism ? Mormon? Paganist? Zoroastrianist? Baha’i? Jainism ? Taoist?”

    BIG difference between letting a church “run things” and them recommending a candidate d.a.n.

    “The government is required by the Constitution to allow the free exercise of religion. NOT political activity.”

    You failed to mention freedom of speech d.a.n.
    I agree that giving money is probably “political activity,” but it is possible to support a candidate without doing so.

    “Besides, why should or would any religious organization feel like it must be political too?”

    Why should “gender” groups feel like they must be political and get voters to vote for a woman simply because she is a woman?
    Why should “racial” groups feel like they must be political and get voters to vote for somebody only because of that persons race?

    Because they have beliefs and would rather someone who respects those beliefs leading them?

    All of this is nothing more than dividing into groups and trying to help or stop them based on who they support politically.

    “Regarding taxes, here’s a better way. It’s not the final best solution, but it is a path to a better system”

    I would be for ANYTHING that gets govt out of running personal lives, like it does now, and back to running govt, like it was meant to be.

    We are grossly overtaxed and over controlled.

    Posted by: kctim at November 29, 2007 11:26 AM
    Comment #239633

    Rachel,

    Many Native Americans argue that the lands belong to them……

    Rhinehold,

    Great piece, I enjoy greatly your posts on the Libertarian Party.

    I am a supporter of Ron Paul in the current political climate, because he brings us back to a centered policy. I too have many disagreements with his and the Libertarian Party.

    I think a lot of Americans are finding a reason to support him, as well, though I still don’t give him great odds in the Republican primary or the general election.

    I think that you misrepresent David’s position, however.

    The problem with your positions on reducing and paying for things either privately or use taxes, isn’t necessarily bad, except for where history shows us it doesn’t work.

    Military— Sure we can and should work toward a more defensive military, but military power is a crude but necessary evil. The bully still rules the block. It IS naive to believe that our economic rise since WWII in only coincidental with our military power.

    Emergency rooms… been tried and is a failure.


    Education—- ummm it is paid for by local fees. Let’s extend it to college for the 21st century. What’s your issue with this?

    NASA— There are private groups doing it…but minimally, and based on work done by NASA. Why do you oppose basic scientific research? The cost is minimal for economic gains down the road. It’s been hugely successful.

    Parks—- Why did TR have to start the National Park System? I forget…and apparently so do you.

    As to Henry Morganthau, didn’t he support the Wagner Act, create Social Security and participate in Breton Woods, which you have railed against in other posts?

    Opinion polls in 1939 also were often pro Nazi. Does that mean that Nazism was sound government?

    You said,

    “You think that we have tried it all (we haven’t) and this is the best solution (it isn’t). We still have unemployement, hunger, poverty, etc. In fact, these things are increasing, not because we are doing too little as a government, but too MUCH. We are getting in our own way, trying to use a large bureacracy that is slow and run by political motivations to solve individual issues that require attention to be focused and then backed off.”

    I don’t think we have tried it all, but that doesn’t imply that everything done in the past was wrong. Often those old-timers got it right. FDR did. The opinion poll that elected him four times and likely would have a fifth time had he not died, states that resoundingly.

    Hunger unemployment and poverty have increased since 1930? Are you sure? I think perhaps you might want to check that. There will always be those things in a relative sense. It’s called a bell curve and applies to all populations. That doesn’t mean ignoring them will improve them.

    To imply that abolition of CPS would have saved the child you referred to is absurd. It wasn’t bureaucracy that killed her it was human failure. Even libertarianism won’t eliminate that.

    Posted by: alien from the planet zorg at November 29, 2007 5:30 PM
    Comment #239649

    “I think KansasDem was about to say the old, tired line about how since Ron Paul is a Republican all Libertarians are nothing more than closet Republicans… blah blah blah… Maybe that was his ‘Nuff said!’?”

    Wow, Doug nailed that one! The more time goes by and the more I see and hear I do believe that todays Libertarian Party is a far right extension of the Republican Party.

    Of course that promise of freedom for all appeals to everyone, just like the belief in Santa Claus.

    Posted by: KansasDem at November 29, 2007 9:54 PM
    Comment #239652

    Rhinehold said: “We vote for what gets us the most money from other people. What a noble principle to live by, I guess…”

    To you perhaps. I see it as: We vote for what gets us the best government service and quality of life achievable in America. Stepping over dead bodies in the street, or through a morass of beggars with hands out to feed their children as in India, are services which our government prevents our having to experience. Investors vote for government oversight of those handling their investments. Worthwhile! Commuters vote for safe and reliable avenues to and from wherever they are going. Parents vote for safe quality education for their children. Etc.

    If you want to see this as people voting to get the most money from other people, so be it. Its certainly an alternative perspective, but, not what most voters would ascribe as their motive for voting. Which is why most people are not Libertarians sharing your perspective on what motivates voters.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 29, 2007 10:58 PM
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