Saturday, June 30, 2007

An Email Exchange

The other day, I had the following email exchange with a friend. To preserve their anonymity, I will call this person, "Jennifer". Jennifer is a self-described Christian Conservative, presumably Republican, and apparently, pro-war. The exchange began with a chain email forwarded to me about "supporting the troops". The chain email, and the ensuing exchange is below.

Jennifer: Regardless of whether you agree in principle if our men and women in the Service should be stationed in the Middle East, they are. They are stationed there as they believe their personal sacrifice ensures the freedoms that we as a society have become accustomed. Several of my brother's friends and acquaintences are stationed in the Middle East and later this year, he will find himself there as well.

So I am forwarding this email from a solider...

i know this doesn't apply to all but if u feel guilty when reading this, don't be. just think before u start complaining about how hot it is in the states or how bad your job sucks or whatever to any soldier fighting for your freedom. no matter how bad u think u have it, though some may have it bad, i guarantee those of us are sucking pretty bad here and we can't just quit... not til the missions over. like i said, this is not to gain sympathy, only to make some think.

You stay up for 16 hours
He stays up for days on end. ____________________________________________________
You take a warm shower to help you wake up.
He goes days or weeks without running water. ____________________________________________________
You complain of a "headache", and call in sick.
He gets shot at as others are hit, and keeps moving forward. ____________________________________________________
You put on your anti war/don't support the troops shirt, and go meet up with your friends.
He still fights for your right to wear that shirt. ____________________________________________________
You make sure you're cell phone is in your pocket.
He clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags. ____________________________________________________
You talk trash about your "buddies" that aren't with you.
He knows he may not see some of his buddies again. ____________________________________________________
You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls.
He patrols the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists. ____________________________________________________
You complain about how hot it is.
He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow. ____________________________________________________
You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong.
He doesn't get to eat today. ____________________________________________________
Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes.
He wears the same things for weeks, but makes sure his weapons are clean. ____________________________________________________
You go to the mall and get your hair redone.
He doesn't have time to brush his teeth today. ____________________________________________________
You're angry because your class ran 5 minutes over.
He's told he will be held over an extra 2 months. ___________________________________________________
You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight.
He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home. ____________________________________________________
You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday.
He holds his letter close and smells his love's perfume. ____________________________________________________
You roll your eyes as a baby cries.
He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet. ____________________________________________________
You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything.
He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting. ____________________________________________________
You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of men like him.
He hears the gunfire, bombs and screams of the wounded. ____________________________________________________
You see only what the media wants you to see.
He sees the broken bodies lying around him. ____________________________________________________
You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don't.
He does exactly what he is told even if it puts his life in danger. ____________________________________________________
You stay at home and watch TV.
He takes whatever time he is given to call, write home, sleep, and eat. ____________________________________________________
You crawl into your soft bed, with down pillows, and get comfortable.
He tries to sleep but gets woken by mortars and helicopters all night long.

Libertarian Jason: The funny thing.. objective reality and truth exists, whether we recognize it for what it is or not. Just because they _think_ they are fighting for my freedoms, doesn't actually mean they are. I'd prefer to honor people who actually - in reality - are fighting to protect my liberty. Bottom line: George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton are bigger threats to my liberty than Osama bin Laden is. Oh well.. agree to disagree.

Jennifer: Although making the statement that "objective reality and truth exists" implies that only your view of "objective reality and truth" would be the correct vein of thought with regard to what truth is. Which would seem a rather dogmatic way to view "truth".

Seems the adage of there are multiple viewpoints to all situations and somewhere in the midst of the viewpoints truth exists...not wholly in one line of thinking might be correct.

I doubt that those who perished in 9-11 would agree that George W. Bush or Hilary Clinton are bigger threats to their liberty than Bin Laden.

Again, whether one agrees with where those in the military are stationed (and they did not have a role in choosing their assignments), many (not all or even most) of them have chosen this route in life for the altriustic reason of serving their country and protecting its "liberties". That being said, they are certainly not the only individuals fighting for "liberties". There are many in society that each and every day choose to take an unpopular stance to ensure that many of the rights we should each be entitled to as "humans" are upheld...better working conditions, health care for all, the right to a decent education.

LJ: I may have implied that "only" my view is correct, but what I _actually_ said was that the view that soldiers are fighting to protect our freedoms is completely false. It is not supported by any evidence - empirical, logical, historical, or otherwise.

Furthermore, to insist that the existence of truth is somehow affected by the number of viewpoints attempting to unravel it, is flawed reasoning. While multiple viewpoints about what is proposed to be true may exist, the value of each viewpoint can only be measured by its approximation to what is indeed true. For example, I could say the sky is blue, and you could say its green. The fact that we have differing opinions on the sky's color is completely and totally irrelevant to the truth of the matter...which is that the sky is blue. The opinion that the sky is green is false, no matter how desperately we want to cling to the comforts that idea may bring us. But, if you assert that truth lies somewhere in between "the sky is blue", and "the sky is green"...then what you are saying is that the sky is not blue, but rather a blue-green color, and, taken to its logical end... the truth of the sky's color is dependent upon, and can be changed by, what particular idea we happen to hold on any given day. At its core.. this is a denial that objective reality and truth exist at all, and is merely a subjective and relative concept.

Also.. I think you are confusing "liberty" with "security" (or "safety") regarding those who perished in 9-11. But even here, you are completey off the mark on a number of fronts. For example, those who died on 9-11 did not have their natural rights to self-defense taken away from them by Osama bin Laden. No.. the passengers on those planes were barred - by laws passed by Bush, Clinton, and co (lets refer to them as B-C Corp) - from being allowed to carry whatever sort of weapons they felt necessary to secure their own safety. Further more, the FedGov and the FAA even prohibits the airlines - the very companies who have the greatest stake in airline safety - from setting their own rules and requirements for security. So... B-C Corp strips Americans of their liberties, jeopardizing their security...and yet, we say that B-C Corp, by ordering our troops into battle, is doing so to protect our liberty? Isn't that a contradiction?

I'm not making an issue out of the actual location of where our military is stationed...(although, to be sure, anywhere not on actual U.S soil, is completely and totally illegitimate, unconstitutional, and frankly, immoral, IMHO)... I am taking issue with the propaganda that says that our military is "fighting to protect our liberties", when its not even remotely everyday, our liberty - AND our security - is being stripped from us by politicians who no longer feel constrained by the limits of the constitution. Those people who joined the military with the naive assumption that they were "serving our country" are sadly, sadly mistaken.

Are you sure this topic wouldn't be much more lively over a cup of coffee? :)


At that point, the conversation veered off course to more mundane matters. Apparently, my State-Worshipping friend could not - or would not - rebutt the arguments being made, and opted to deflect the conversation. It is ironic to note that this Conservative embraces the concept of positive righgts.. that people have a right to certain things, and its the government's job to point a gun at other people and force them to give up their property in order to provide others with these so-called "rights".

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Libertarians Fighting Taxes (again!)

Another from the inbox! - LJ

To Recipient of this Very Important Email:

The trusted leaders of Cuyahoga County are attempting to levy a 1/4% increase on our sales tax to fund their wasteful spy cameras, bloated salaries and other beaurocracy that enslaves us all. We can prevent this.

We have a limited amount of time to act on this to make it a ballot issue, rather than a filthy executive order. It seems as though Bush's executive power grabbing is becoming contagious.

We are now recruiting liberty-loving petitioners to get this measure on the ballot, which then will, as historically it has, be voted down. More of our own money in our pockets to feed our families, less big government waste.

If you want to take a stand against government tyranny and support individual liberty, contact myself (sic) at 216-688-0994 and leave a message containing name and phone, or simply reply to this message. An alternate contact would be David Macko at I recommend both email addresses.

Thank you for your assistance in this ongoing fight against government waste and tyranny.

Todd E. Maher
Chair, Lake County Libertarian Party

P.S. Feel free to send this message to as many of your friends as possible so that we may deflate this injustice in its footsteps.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

LP Grows, Republicrats Shrink

From the inbox.... - LJ


For Immediate Distribution
News Release
June 15, 2007
Contact: Robert Butler
o:(740) 204-3036
c:(614) 805-8292

Democrat and Republican Affiliation Drops While Libertarian Party Numbers Surge

Libertarians See Increase in Active Duty Military Numbers and Improved Election Results, Fundraising

(Washington, DC) - At a time when Libertarian Party membership continues to rise, a recent Rasmussen Report survey indicates that Republican Party affiliation continues to decline while Democratic Party affiliation is decreasing, as well.

Republican numbers have been dropping since the November 2004 elections and they continue to decrease with no bottom in sight. For the last four consecutive months, the amount of self-identified Republicans continued their decline - from 31.1 percent to 30.8 percent in a telephone survey of 15,000 adults.

The number of self-identified Democrats fell to 36.3 percent, its lowest number in seventeen months. Democrats have suffered losses in the last three consecutive months, resulting in a six month decrease of 4.5 percent.

At the same time, Libertarian Party membership numbers have been on an upswing. For the last five months, people willing to pay at least $25 per year for Libertarian Party affiliation have increased at a rate of approximately 2.7 percent per month, which is a 14 percent increase from December's figure.

Additionally, Libertarian Party fundraising is increasing at the same time the GOP dismissed their entire telephone solicitation staff. According to the Washington Times, "declining contributions and a donor backlash" against Republican policy was the cause for their dismissal.

"These are certainly encouraging data, but not at all surprising," said Libertarian National Committee Chairman William Redpath. "Despite the electoral barriers thrown our way by the Democrats and Republicans, their numbers are decreasing while ours are simultaneously increasing. Americans desire fiscal responsibility, social tolerance and oppose the continued deaths of our soldiers in Iraq. Unfortunately, neither major party is willing to effectively address these important issues."

Current U.S. foreign policy, as well as proposals from the new Democrat-controlled Congress, are significant reasons for the increase in Libertarian Party membership. So far this year, the LP has attracted fourteen times the expected national average of active duty service members. The LP's soldiers, sailors and airmen range in rank from junior enlisted personnel to Vice Admiral (Ret.) Michael Colley, who now serves on the Libertarian National Committee.

Based on required Federal Elections Commission reporting data, seven percent of new LP members have reported their employer as a branch of the Armed Forces.

"It is heartening for me to see that the men and women who serve our nation are finding a principled alternative to the Republicans and Democrats," said Libertarian Party Executive Director Shane Cory, who first noticed this trend. While noting that Libertarian members of our military have the discipline necessary to accomplish the mission they are handed, Cory noted "the men and women of our fighting forces are intelligent, informed, and, yes, opinionated."

Increased support for the Libertarian Party is beginning to translate into election results, too. While significant national media attention highlighted Republican losses in 2006, over 13,400,000 votes were cast for Libertarians in the same elections.

"Since the Democrats have taken control of Congress, our numbers continue to improve," said Libertarian Party Political Director Stephen Gordon. "In 2007, we've already won over a quarter of the races where we've fielded candidates. In April's Midwestern contests, we won seven out of eleven of the campaigns we ran. When third party candidates start showing these sorts of returns, it's obvious that the mood of the electorate is changing."

"Democrats didn't win the elections in 2006; Republicans lost them," said Chairman Redpath. "Since then, Democratic leaders have failed to show leadership on the Iraq War, are talking about tax increases and beginning to have ethical problems of their own. Americans continue to look for a viable alternative to the two-party system - one which better represents the values most Americans find important. To those who are becoming involved with the Libertarian Party, we'd like to say 'Welcome home.'"


My take? Certainly, its encouraging to see that more people are beginning to see through the hoax that is the Democrat-Rpublican duopoly, and that neither party is fulfilling the expectations of its supporters. However, much remains to be done...the party is still microscopically smaller than the big two, has trouble winning elections, and is dangerously close to losing all connection to its founding principles. But if your goal is to find the lesser of all evils, the LP remains the best political choice in the ballot box, hands down. Let's see if the party can capitalize on this opportunity.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ron Paul Speaking The Truth

(By the way... If anyone knows how to post these videos in a way that they don't automatically start playing, please leave me a comment telling me how to do it... I'm not yet that savvy! -LJ)

Bumper Sticker "Wisdom"

Driving home from work the other day, I got behind a minivan that had a bumpersticker which read, "Appease Terrorists. Give them our liberties." At first I thought, "now there was an interesting saying!" Certainly, with the explosion in legislation in the past few years that has curtailed many of our freedoms in the name of "fighting terrorism" (because they hate us for our freedoms, you know?), that bumpersticker provided a nice cynical bit of humor.

Then, I noticed the "Support our troops" magnet, and a "I vote pro-life" sticker, and I realized exactly who was driving the vehicle (your run-of-the-mill, Centerville Republican Neocon), and what the first sticker was trying to express. The sticker, instead of being a satirical statement about the stupidity of our "war on terrorism", was actually a glaring display of propaganda-soaked ignorance. Apparently, irony is something that most war supporters cannot grasp.

The irony here, my friends, is that we have been surrendering our freedoms to politicians who claim that if we don't surrender our freedoms, the terrorists will "win" their "war" on us, and take them. If we take the passive route to "fighting them over there, so we don't have to fight them here" - if we appease them and not unleash the dogs of war - we are setting the stage for them to steal our liberties.

So...the answer is to surrender our freedoms to our politicians, with their PATRIOT Acts, and their REAL ID, their Guantanamo Bays, their airport security, their warrantless wiretaps, their taxes, their spending, and so on.