Support for the Common Good

On  8/6/2018 Stephanie Slade as Reason Magazine editor published in a Jesuit magazine

“A Libertarian Case for the Common Good”


One of the widespread misconceptions about libertarianism is that it denies the importance of community—assuming, in the words of the Notre Dame political scientist Patrick Deneen, that “the individual lives, or could live, in splendid isolation” from others. Another is that it preaches a selfish unconcern for the plight of one’s fellow humans, especially the least among us. If these portrayals were correct, the libertarian philosophy would indisputably not be compatible with the Catholic Church’s social doctrine—in particular with its teaching on the common good. But sneaking a peek into that Students for Liberty conference (or, for that matter, reading Reason, the magazine of “free minds and free markets” that I help edit) should make clear that, in fact, neither of those positions is integral to the libertarian worldview.

Click here for full article

Who will build it

Why not build a pipeline from Lake O to 10 miles out in the ocean?
The Los Angeles aqueduct is 137 miles and designed to flow 290 cu ft/s. The Corp of Engineers is authorized to discharge up to 5,000 cu ft/s. It would take about 17 pipelines the size of the Los Angeles project. The pipelines could be about 60 miles long if going east, or about 110 miles long if going west. With equal length pipes, it could be done with 12 pipelines to the east and 7 to the west.
The LA project cost about $24 million in 1907, but it had to go over mountains. Accounting for inflation, today the LA project would be about $620 million. That would give an estimate for the FL project of about $10 billion. That is less than 1/2 the government paid for the Big Dig in Boston, and less than the Trump wall.
Who wants to start a GoFundMe to pay for it? I will donate $500 if 20 million other people will donate the rest of the $9.99 billion for the project.

Lets show respect for our neighbors decisions.

As reported in “The Banner” (July 7, 2017: page 10A – “Estero considers tree protection ordinance”), most members of the Estero Village Council continue to show a lack of understanding of property rights, and a disdain for their neighbor’s decisions. This time, by preliminary approval of a more restrictive and costly tree ordinance.

Village Councilmember Howard Levitan raised the concern because in one day in April, eight trees were cut down in his neighborhood.  He fails to mention how many trees were cut down in the last 10 years in his neighborhood (very few). In my neighborhood, hurricane Irma took down more trees in one day, than all my neighbors have removed in 5 years.

The neighbors who had to make the difficult decision to remove the trees may have consulted arborists and others. They had to pay the cost of tree removal, and the new landscaping. They should not need to pay the village and convince third party busy bodies before doing what they believe is best for their environment on their own land. Especially in a gated community that already has significant restrictions.

Rights homeowners had before Estero became a village should not be nullified by an over-reaching village council.

LP Candidate Advice

Libertarians should stop considering anyone for the LP Presidential Nomination who thinks she/he has a chance to win in 2020.

The Presidential Candidate is a marketing tool to promote the Party, and help down ballot candidates.

The amount of money put into the Presidential Campaign should be considered spending advertising dollars, not as necessary spending to win the Presidential election.

Those that think winning the next election is the goal should run as a D or R or in a non-partisan race.

If the goal is just to get elected being the Libertarian Party candidate is a handicap.

Middlemen – A Solution to Trade Imbalance

President Trump is concerned with trade imbalance. While many seem to praise the Buy Local idea.

Trump’s solution is to negotiate trade quotas or impose tariffs.

The President’s plan makes the government a middleman, separating willing buyers from willing sellers, and perhaps with tariffs getting a piece of the action.

Sometimes middlemen perform important services, but at other times middlemen just raise costs.  How often do we hear about companies trying to cut-out the middlemen.

We don’t need to have the government be the middleman, raising costs without providing any tangible benefits to consumers. We can have thousands of middlemen doing the job.

There is no reason to have the government involved in commercial transactions and negotiating deals for favored companies with foreign governments. Instead, the government should more rigidly take our natural right to buy from anyone, and force everyone to buy locally.

First, we have to define local. I’ll leave that to the politicians – they are good at making arbitrary rules. For now, lets define local as the distance people can drive and return in the same day. So a 500 mile radius around each person’s home would define local for each person.  Don’t worry, the politicians will also define local for homeless people.

My proposal would do away with mail order, phone purchases or internet sales, and require that all purchases be done face to face. The plan would both help the trade imbalance, and make everyone buy local.

If you want goods or services produced more than 500 miles from home, you would buy from a middleman who lives not more than 1,000 miles from your home. You would meet near your 500 mile border, and exchange your dollars for the goods. But since, the middleman is local, there is no trade imbalance.

This plan would make items produced a long distance from home more expensive. To buy a car produced 3,000 miles from home would take 3 or more middlemen. Each middleman would add a markup. It might workout that someone will build a plant closer to your home, to cut-out some of the middlemen. Of course, the new producers would have to live within 500 miles of their plants, and all the raw materials used by the plants would have to be bought from someone who lived within their 500 mile boundary or bought from a middleman on their border.

But at least the costs imposed by the middlemen would not be arbitrarily set. Middlemen would compete for business, with rates set by the market. If the middlemen make their markup too high, that will give local businesses an advantage. Just like tariffs.

Such a plan would also eliminate a lot of long distance business travel. You could only do business with someone less than 500 miles from home. There would be no reason to travel to distant parts of the world for business. All you have to do is deal with your middleman.

People living in places like Hawaii that are more than 500 miles from the mainland will especially like this plan since it will probably discourage people from moving there. If they need things not locally available, they would have to find middlemen willing to live on ships. Those ships would have to stay within a 500 mile radius of their base.

Shipping oil would be discouraged, since the oil would have to be off loaded at sea onto another tanker. Although middlemen could arrange to buy the ship with oil, and then sell it back on the return trip.

Want to take a vacation in a far off location. You would take a plane that goes, no more than 1,000 miles, and then land and change planes owned by another airline.  Entrepreneurs may build airports in locations not currently served by airports, but if you live more than 500 miles from an airport, you will just drive to your boundary, and then take a bus, or taxi from your border to a site closer to an airport. Eventually you will get there.

This plan would be cumbersome, and it would make things more expensive than how we live today. But expense is not the issue. It is about having more local jobs, and not having a trade imbalance.

Banks, phone companies, stock markets etc would all have to be local. Just think of all the jobs that would be created.

You want to talk to aunt Sarah 1,500 miles from home. Your phone company would have to connect to a phone company whose base was less than 500 miles from your border, who would then connect to another phone company, and eventually connecting to aunt Sarah’s local phone company.

Maybe doing business this way would cost more, but everyone would feel good knowing that whether they like it or not, everyone will be buying locally.

Author’s comment: Please do not suggest this plan to anyone in Washington, DC. They might think it is a good idea.




Kanye West prompts question

Kanye West is getting grief for saying “When you hear about slavery for 400 years … For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.”

Is it wrong to say that when people find themselves in a bad situation, and do not die trying to get out it – “it is a choice”?

Should I be criticized for making a bad choice if I assess my situation and decide I would be worse off fighting, then submitting to the slaver?

If I am in slavery, and believe it is wrong, should I be criticized for having children that will be enslaved?

Response to New-Press Article

Brian Page wrote

My comment:

As Margret Thatcher said “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Government run schools in the United States are such an old institution, that most people do not even consider it a socialist program. But it is a government welfare program that competes with other bureaucracies for taxpayer money. With the advent and growth of other programs clamoring for money, politicians are not willing to set priorities, but rather calling on the taxpayers to pony up more money. It is not just the new increment for schools that concerns some of us, it is the whole idea that we need government schools to encourage growth in Lee County, and that growth is good. If it takes taxing Lee County residents and visitors more, to accommodate the growth, then lets cutback and maybe the growth will go away. People should be encouraged to create and use non-government schools, and let government schools just be a safety net for the those irresponsible people who cannot afford to pay for their own children’s education.

Say it is not so.

Trump no longer wants us to be the world’s policeman, just the world’s parents. When someone does something wrong (we are also the world’s judge and jury) then it is up to us to punish them. Not to accomplish anything just to let them know we did not like the behavior, and to let them know there is more of that where that came from. Trump et al think of the bombing as a “time-out”. When a parent gives a child a time-out, there are no repercussions for the parent, so why would anyone expect bombing Syria would have repercussions for the United States.

Open Borders

Those who think private property rights explain why the government can keep honest and peaceful people out of the country are confusing laws with morality.

Moral governments don’t give and take rights, they help people protect their natural rights. Your private property rights don’t extend beyond your private property.

People use politics to obtain advantages over others without paying for the rights they take from them.