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http://www.appliedphilosophyonline.com/articulating_freedom.htm

Articulating Freedom

by Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

10/06/2012

Since we are near a major election cycle and since statism – the idea that the State ought to control everything – is being taken up by the Marxist / Nihilist Left and has all but destroyed freedom in the United States, more and more rational people seem to be turning towards the Libertarian candidate (Ron Paul or Gary Johnson). Their argument against the Conservative / Religious Right is that this, too, has been given a chance and we have not secured more freedom and the Right does not speak in terms of freedoms for the most part, so we need an alternative. The problem with this line of reasoning is that the term “freedom” is not a magical incantation that will bring it about just because it has been spoken by this, that, or the other candidate. In order to secure freedom in the United States it is necessary to clearly articulate what freedom means and why a proper government is necessary – and the Libertarians, throughout their history, have failed to do this in terms of principles and broad guidelines that will set the proper course for government. It is not enough to be anti-government, one must be pro-freedom. Cutting a few government programs is quite insufficient.

Fundamentally, freedom means the freedom to live one’s own life without the interference of force against oneself integrated with the idea that man can only live by reason (an understanding of existence). It is only reason that is a proper guide because it is only by the use of reason that one can grasp the necessities of having proper values in order to sustain one’s life. If one understands the terms correctly, this means the morality of pursuing one’s rational happiness and the freedom to do so. The means of being free to pursue one’s rational happiness in a social context is the idea of individual rights, best articulated by Ayn Rand in her essay “Man’s Rights.” But this is not the same thing as doing whatever one pleases so long as one does not initiate force, which is the mainline argument of Libertarians. Whim-worshipping – doing whatever one feels like doing – has no grounding in reason since emotions are not tools of cognition and just because one feels like doing it does not mean that doing it is in fact good for oneself. The proper role of government is to make it possible for one to live one’s life by banning the initiation of force in a social context as a hard-line principle backed by reason and a rational understanding of man based upon man’s factual nature. And, by and large, Libertarians drop this entire context and simply appeal to the anti-government sentiment that is out there after many failed policies of the past hundred years. One does not hear an argument for freedom by the Libertarians. They typically speak against this, that, or the other government program and state that it is not the role of government to be involved in these areas of life, but they give no reasoned argument in favor of their position.

Ron Paul and Gary Johnson are no exception to this identification of the Libertarian mind-set. It is claimed that these two actually do understand the issue of individual rights, they just don’t articulate it because it is too long and involved an argument, and we live in a world of sound bites and the American people are just not ready to hear it (as presented in their speeches and on their websites intended for a large audience). But this means that they have explicitly given up reason in favor of appealing to the emotions of the American public, leaving the argument from reason on someone else’s side and not on the side of freedom. I see this as the primary reason Libertarians only get a small percentage of the vote when they run for major political offices, like the President of the United States. I have made an appeal to the Gary Johnson candidacy to become more articulate regarding the rational foundations of freedom several months ago, and have heard no reply and have not seen any articulation of freedom on his official website. This most definitely comes across to me as a man who has given up on reason and makes only appeals to emotions, something one of his long-term supporters actually came out and told me on FaceBook. So, I’m sorry, but this is not the way to bring back freedom in the United States, and I will not vote for a candidate who is not for freedom in terms of principles that are based upon reason.

This particular election is a referendum on Marxist Nihilism, best expressed by President Obama’s, “You didn’t build that!” statement against individual initiatives and the pursuit of rational values. What we need is someone to beat him – get him out of office – so this country can recover from his nihilistic and destructive policies. I would love to have an actual pro-freedom and pro-individual rights candidate to vote for, but as I have explained above, this is not to be found in candidates who give up reason in the name of whim-worshipping and anti-government appeal. A vote for the Libertarian candidate – either Ron Paul or Gary Johnson – is not a vote for freedom properly understood. At a minimum, the Conservatives at least understand sound economic principles and argue in favor of economic freedom or the free markets. Hence, I think the only viable candidate to vote for who can actually win and states some explicit pro-freedom principles (even if only limited to economic activity) is the Romney / Ryan ticket.

Also see:

Governments and Individual Rights

On Civil Society

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And before someone jumps all over me Re Libertarianism, I have read their most recent political platform, and it isn't all that bad.

The Libertarian Party Platform isn't all that bad, and makes a lot of great points regarding individual rights and freedom. Unfortunately, it makes no references to essays on the foundations of individual rights and just gives a short list of what they consider such rights to be. But my contention is that the actual politicians -- Ron Paul or Gary Johnson -- do not seem to stand by some of these great proclamations, they speak more in terms of individual liberties as opposed to individual rights and do not articulate what they are referring to.

As far as voting or not voting. I do think this election is crucial in that Obama is a strict Marxist nihilist out to destroy freedom in this country and he must be booted out. If the Libertarians were more consistent and more articulate about freedom and why it is necessary and what the proper role of government is, then I would vote for them if I thought they could win. But if Obama gets a second term, there will be no stopping of his nihilist agenda and freedom of speech in favor of government restrictions may well come to pass, giving us no time to make the cultural changes we seek to make.

http://www.lp.org/platform

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Ron Paul thinks that fractional reserve banking is a government plot to destroy the world. It's no different than Michele Bachmann's fear of vaccinations, and they are both batshit insane. Ron and his ilk will set the cause of freedom back decades by associating freedom--and Ayn Rand for that matter--with their loony nonsense.

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Ron Paul thinks that fractional reserve banking is a government plot to destroy the world. It's no different than Michele Bachmann's fear of vaccinations, and they are both batshit insane. Ron and his ilk will set the cause of freedom back decades by associating freedom--and Ayn Rand for that matter--with their loony nonsense.

Why is it that people suddenly become hate-filled and can resort to nothing but argument from intimidation when it comes to Ron Paul, who by the way, is always a gentleman?

Ron Paul thinks fractional reserve banking is an unsound business practice and would be kept to a minimum on the free market. In this, he agrees with Mises. In what way is this "no different" from Bachmann's view on vaccines? Really, literally "no different"? This strikes me as rather a stretch. "Batshit insane" is ad hominem.

Fortunately not only has Ron Paul not set the cause of freedom back, but he has heroically done as much as anyone, perhaps second only to Ayn Rand, to convert people, especially the young, to the cause of freedom.

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Why is it that people suddenly become hate-filled and can resort to nothing but argument from intimidation when it comes to Ron Paul...

For the same reason they don't throw the same words around when discussing the Marxist Nihilist that already is President.

Seriously. People talk all day why they don't like Obama in civil intellectual discourse but mention a Libertarian like Ron Paul and the smears start. Don't get me wrong, I understand where Ron Paul is wrong but I can also appreciate where he is right. I can say that a lot less about the current goof playing leader.

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Why is it that people suddenly become hate-filled and can resort to nothing but argument from intimidation when it comes to Ron Paul, who by the way, is always a gentleman?

Ron Paul thinks fractional reserve banking is an unsound business practice and would be kept to a minimum on the free market. In this, he agrees with Mises. In what way is this "no different" from Bachmann's view on vaccines? Really, literally "no different"? This strikes me as rather a stretch. "Batshit insane" is ad hominem.

Fortunately not only has Ron Paul not set the cause of freedom back, but he has heroically done as much as anyone, perhaps second only to Ayn Rand, to convert people, especially the young, to the cause of freedom.

Okay, let's try this. We're going to search for "ron paul fractional reserve banking" on Google. Here's one of the first ones:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntamny/2012/07/29/ron-paul-fractional-reserve-banking-and-the-money-multiplier-myth/

Here he's quoted as saying it's "fraudulent". I'm sure he agrees that fraud should be outlawed, and I'm sure he agrees then that FRB should be outlawed. That's insane.

I compare this to Michelle Bachmann's fear of vaccines because they are both examples of politicians playing on people's fear of things they do not understand, but sound "bad" when you don't think about it too much. Vaccines give you the disease they supposedly cure, they say. How can that possibly help you, they say.

So too FRB creates "money out of thin air" bla bla bla. Sounds bad. Must be bad. Whatever you do, don't rely on science to figure this out.

Ron Paul is for legalizing drugs and he's a nice, gentle man. I've been to his rallies. He says other things, unfortunately, which completely undermine himself and the actually good ideas he espouses. I'm for freedom but I don't smoke pot. Many of Ron Paul's supporters are, as near as I can tell, the inverse.

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Okay, let's try this. We're going to search for "ron paul fractional reserve banking" on Google. Here's one of the first ones:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntamny/2012/07/29/ron-paul-fractional-reserve-banking-and-the-money-multiplier-myth/

Here he's quoted as saying it's "fraudulent". I'm sure he agrees that fraud should be outlawed, and I'm sure he agrees then that FRB should be outlawed. That's insane.

As far as I can tell, that is either a bald faced lie or an inexcusable oversight. There is nowhere on that link that he is quoted as saying any such thing.

His actual position, which you can find on his congressional web site, in his books, and expressed in the congressional hearing he just held (in which he invited Prof White, advocate of free banking, to testify) is that governmental creation of fiduciary media creates moral hazard due to the implementation of legal tender laws and federal deposit insurance. Hence why he supports free market money, in which banks are not subsidised if they go under. In this, his position is identical to Mises,' and different from Rothbard, who took the view that all fractional reserve lending is fraudulent and would be prohibited even on the free market. Even if he did hold the latter (incorrect, I believe) view, it's not really indicative of mental illness, nor is it becoming to hurl insults instead classy disagreement.

Who is using hyperbole and fear mongering (decades I tell you!!!) over something they haven't even made an attempt to understand? I don't think it is Ron Paul.

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So too FRB creates "money out of thin air" bla bla bla. Sounds bad. Must be bad. Whatever you do, don't rely on science to figure this out.

Yeah cause that's Ron Paul's actual argument against central banking... kudos for such a charitable and even-handed analysis.

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For the same reason they don't throw the same words around when discussing the Marxist Nihilist that already is President.

Seriously. People talk all day why they don't like Obama in civil intellectual discourse but mention a Libertarian like Ron Paul and the smears start. Don't get me wrong, I understand where Ron Paul is wrong but I can also appreciate where he is right. I can say that a lot less about the current goof playing leader.

Interesting to note that whether RP/Mises is right or wrong about the viability of FRBanks on the market (without governmental deposit insurance), it is a position that doesn't have any effect whatsoever on you in terms of policy. Think it might be viable? Well then let's free the markets and find out.

But no! I disagree with him on some abstruse economic issue, even though it doesn't even affect me... clearly RP (who is one of the most liberal, sane, and scholarly men of our time) is mentally ill and will destroy the freedom movement with this crucial deviation ! After all, Yaron Brook and Harry Binswanger say so... Purge him!

It's as if they save their worst venom for people whom they otherwise agree with 98% of the time.

Edited by 2046

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As far as I can tell, that is either a bald faced lie or an inexcusable oversight. There is nowhere on that link that he is quoted as saying any such thing.

His actual position, which you can find on his congressional web site, in his books, and expressed in the congressional hearing he just held (in which he invited Prof White, advocate of free banking, to testify) is that governmental creation of fiduciary media creates moral hazard due to the implementation of legal tender laws and federal deposit insurance. Hence why he supports free market money, in which banks are not subsidised if they go under. In this, his position is identical to Mises,' and different from Rothbard, who took the view that all fractional reserve lending is fraudulent and would be prohibited even on the free market. Even if he did hold the latter (incorrect, I believe) view, it's not really indicative of mental illness, nor is it becoming to hurl insults instead classy disagreement.

Who is using hyperbole and fear mongering (decades I tell you!!!) over something they haven't even made an attempt to understand? I don't think it is Ron Paul.

Yeah, I got my links mixed up. Here you go: http://www.dailypaul.com/119914/fractional-reserve-banking-is-fraudulent-ron-paul-on-cnbc

And to your point about the "worst venom", well, yeah... I'll take a clear Marxist (one for instance preaching actual dialectical materialism, not higher marginal income taxes for wealthy people) over somebody who is a wolf in Rand's clothing... That latter is far more dangerous...

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Yeah, I got my links mixed up. Here you go: http://www.dailypaul.com/119914/fractional-reserve-banking-is-fraudulent-ron-paul-on-cnbc

And to your point about the "worst venom", well, yeah... I'll take a clear Marxist (one for instance preaching actual dialectical materialism, not higher marginal income taxes for wealthy people) over somebody who is a wolf in Rand's clothing... That latter is far more dangerous...

You'd take a Marxist over Ron Paul? I don't think it's fair to characterize him as a "wolf in Rand's clothing" - he isn't attempting to be Rand. He admits he has a different philosophy. But I still would say he is better than a Marxist.

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Yeah, I got my links mixed up. Here you go: http://www.dailypaul.com/119914/fractional-reserve-banking-is-fraudulent-ron-paul-on-cnbc

And to your point about the "worst venom", well, yeah... I'll take a clear Marxist (one for instance preaching actual dialectical materialism, not higher marginal income taxes for wealthy people) over somebody who is a wolf in Rand's clothing... That latter is far more dangerous...

Yeah still not seeing this quote you speak of. Surely you realize Ron Paul is not the author of that post or its title?

Secondly, let us consider this statement of yours. What do you mean by "I'll take" someone? Clearly you can't mean that you'd take someone just standing there unrelated to anything because that would have no effect on the conversation. So we can assume you to mean that you'd take the person in consideration as holding a position if power, perhaps as president. Now you can't mean that you'd consider just the person holding office in itself, but as actually having his agenda put through as policy, as again, otherwise that would have little bearing on our conversation. So I interpret you as saying you'd rather live under a regime of an explicit Marxist putting through a policy based on dialectical materialism (viz, communism) than a regime of a constitutionally limited state that respected individual rights with the exception of treating fractional reserve banking as fraud. You would rather live under communism than accept a constitutional republic that outlawed this one practice? Really?

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I think some of you are missing my point, which is that one cannot derive the idea of freedom in any other way than to base it on man's factual nature and that he has a mind that is his means of survival and he has a right to use it and to act on it. It's not about this or that government program that needs to be cut or whether someone is for or against fractional reserve banking, it's a broader principle that can only be argued for based upon reason and the facts. I haven't seen Ron Paul or Gary Johnson do this, so I don't think they are rational supporters of individual rights. They do speak of freedom and cutting out some government programs and regulations, but they have no solid grounding for these proposals.

And for the longest time, I, too, was against fractional reserve banking. I thought it was fraud to loan out money at the same time it was backing deposits. But, thanks to Yaron, I now understand it better and am no longer against it. Effectively, not everyone signs check for the entirety of their deposits. So the question is what to do with that money still in the bank? The bank can either keep it safe for future withdraw, or loan it out to others. Now, this means that the depositor will not have full access to his deposited funds at any given moment, but so long as the bank has a contract stating this up front, then no fraud is involved. For example, it used to be that when one closed a checking account (due to moving, let's say), there was a waiting time of up to a week or so before the bank would turn over your money. For one, they had to make sure you would not write any more checks against it; and for two, they had to make sure their books would balance and maybe had to wait until money was available before giving you your money in its entirety. As long as all of this is clear to the bank depositor, no fraud is involved. But, it took me a long time to see this. And since no rights are violated, it's buyer beware. If you don't want that type of set-up, choose a different bank.

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