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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Rededication

As I mentioned in my last post, despite the great recession, in the late Oughts libertarianism seemed to be on the rise.

Obama was going hard left, especially in the first two years with a Democratic Congress, and paired with the blow-back from the excesses of the post-9/11 security state and Edward Snowden's revelations, I'd argue some healthy skepticism of government began to take root.

End the Fed activists got at least as much attention as OWS and the Tea "Party" folks, acknowledging all their other flaws, at least opened dialogue about better tax policy. Weed got more legal. Civil rights were getting tragic but necessary airtime. In some way things little "l" libertarian seemed to be looking up.

But I fear at some point, between 2012 and 2016, some elements of that libertarian movement, and the generally-smaller-government-GOP lip service people, began to be interpreted by some more extreme fringes as being an anti-government movement.

And that has been noticed by the Trump organization.

A guy like Trump, who needs cover to do Russian things like hollow out the State Department (our spies), found value in the anti-government masses.


I'm only now beginning to fulfill my promise back in 2010 when I founded this site to post more often. For various reasons I was never able to start.

Or maybe you can say I only appear on the internet when there's real drama, kinda like how Roger Rabbit can slip out of handcuffs only when it's funny.

I'm not some libtard with Trump Derangement Syndrome or whatever weaponized nonsense is floating around Twitter today.

I believe in the 2nd Amendment (and the safe, responsible gun ownership that this right requires).

I believe in less government, not zero, mind you, but reduction the minimal amount necessary to enforce our rights and freedoms that our outlined in the Constitution and the principles that founded this country and run through the threads of case law that built our once great and free society.

I support sensible deregulation and lower taxes and debt reduction and many of the things Republicans used to stand for economically.

And I'm here to tell you that Donald Trump does not support these things.

Oh, sure, he talked a big game to tax cuts, but in the end Trump lost interest and settled for some direct handouts to close associates rather than the widespread restructuring that GOP Classic had been pining for.

The NRA is nothing to Trump but a vehicle for Russian spies to infiltrate the GOP. I mean, have you ever seen Trump hold a gun? Even Obama knew how to hold a rifle.

Trump has personally and in policy been running up the debt as only a failed real estate mogul could. His tariffs are the archaic relics of the time when patriots were throwing legit tea parties, and they're impacting our economy negatively through inflation this very minute (an inflation Trump seems oddly okay with, given his criticism of the Fed's moves to contain it).

Oh, and he basically sold out the entire fucking country to our decades-old rival Russia led by the perfect embodiment of everything a freedom-loving American should be against.


Look, I get it.

You signed on early at some point because you hated Hillary (like I did, so much so that I threatened to leave the country if she won back in 2008. The Clintons and their imprudently-outdated seizure of the DNC bear some responsibility for this mess, let's be real).

Or maybe you bought in on any number of stops, when he talked about bringing back your job or talked about loosening the reigns on the internet or talked in a way that pissed off liberals so thoroughly (which, I'll gladly admit, the night of the 2016 election I felt a little pang of joy that Hillary lost. I voted Gary Johnson. I regret now both that feeling and that vote).

But what you must realize is that Trump only took advantage of these sentiments. He doesn't believe in these only-vaguely Republican things he says. It's largely little more than talk. He speaks more clearly by his actions, and his actions only align with his GOP promises when they serve one of two things: his own enrichment and/or the benefit of Putin.

So, with this in mind, I hereby rededicate this site to outreach.

Between now and Tuesday November 6th, 2018, I intend to lay out all the reasons why Donald Trump is no Republican, no libertarian, no small government advocate, and no American.

I intend to offer a refuge from past mistakes, a candle signal in a window, a car waiting outside the cult compound with the engine running ready to spirit you away to freedom.

I have a great many conservative family members and friend and colleagues and former colleagues and, unfortunately, former friends. I've observed several otherwise-reasonable libertarians follow down this dark path, often with good intentions. Guys, if you're out there, you must... MUST take a moment to look around and see what's going on.

Trump is no Republican, no conservative, and certainly no patriot. He's not someone who you'd trust to run your business or recommend to you an accountant or to marry your daughter. No mea culpa necessary, just honestly ask yourself if it's true.

But it's not too late. You're not all in yet. If you want deregulation, or tax cuts, or jobs, we can work it out, but only if we reject this dire attack that is currently, actively underway. Winter is coming. This is bigger that R vs. D, it's bigger than your next real estate deal or lobbying victory or your plans to retire next year.

It's a battle for the very existence of this wonderful, beautiful, flawed like any other but fucking free country. Make no mistake, this is a fight for the continued existence of the United States of America.

We need you.

America needs you.

Afterward, we Americans can agree (or agree to disagree) on the issues that face us, and still have a country in which to conduct this business and argue these issues and peaceably, freely, and proudly thrive like we have for 240 years before Donald Trump was (maybe) elected to the most powerful office in the free world.

Those of you who still support this fraudulent little "p" president, I implore you, I entreat you, please, take one minute, just 60 seconds, to look deep in your heart and ask yourself: are these tax cuts, these walls, these momentary gains, these comforting but somehow wrong feelings really worth it?

Is it worth it to allow ripping children from their mothers' arms? Those same mothers that worked as your nannies and your day laborers and your cooks for so many prosperous decades?

To violently separate your country from all the great nations of the world, where many of you still have dear friends and family?

To rub salt into the racial wounds that had
close to healing?

To cede dominance on the world stage as a guardian of liberty and a refuge for all persecuted people, regardless of national origin?

Are these things that Trump will inevitably fail to deliver (because, above all, he is a proven serial failure) really worth becoming the last generation to know a free, sovereign, happy United States of America?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Battle for the Soul of Libertarianism is the Battle for the Soul of America

America is unwittingly engaged in a Second Civil War.

It doesn't have borders or battle lines or jumpy ol' minstrel tunes but this evening, as papers are shuffled and keyboards are clicked in the dimly-lit corridors of the Federal Government, the country that you and I and nearly everyone you know grew up in is no less at risk of being eliminated than it was the day that South Carolina voted to secede.

The government is being changed, not just in policy but in its very structure, in culture, in personnel and in purpose, in such a significant way that, unless some base of opposition coalesces via the 2018 midterm elections, be it from the left or the right (I'm looking at you, John Kasich), the United States of America will make a significantly dark shift toward a radically different, fundamentally totalitarian government structure, form, and existence.

Wait, I Thought Libertarians Were On The Trump Mega Cruise Travelling At Unsafe Speeds Through Icy Waters Of The North Atlantic!?!

Reason Magazine declared 2008 was the libertarian moment. Right-leaning libertarians more similar to the Tea Partiers really entered the public view around that time, at the tail end of the Bush Administration. Rand Paul and Jeff Flake and a few other vaguely libertarianish mainstream candidates were rising and it looked like a more radical, un-Bush, young, conservative-but-cool movement was rising to prominence.

But the free movement of people across borders and free trade and free association and free expression are libertarian foundations as well. They're also American values. The America that both welcomed and compelled countless immigrants and slaves to its shores. The America that offered refuge from, say, the pogroms of Imperial Russia that still exist in living memory. 

I began calling myself a libertarian when I learned the term because, by its simple definition, libertarian seems to be the spirit and inspiration behind the founding principles that guided our Constitution.* The term itself is only a few decades old, and has been completely bent out of shape since Reason's announcement of mainstream acceptance, yet I don't feel its meaning has been lost.

Libertarianism, simply stated, is a surprisingly uneasy marriage of conservative economic beliefs and liberal social or civil rights positions. Libertarians generally believe the government has a specifically limited, not anarchic, but limited and vital role to play in our society; such as enforcement of contracts, maintaining a military loyal to the state rather than any particular elected official, upholding the rule of law (including the prosecution of fraud, which at times can appear to be at odds with some looser definitions of Laissez-faire capitalism, like rent-seeking and corporatism and emolument clause violations endemic of the Trump Administration).

But why? What is the point of all that? Why is a government of the people not above the people so vital? Why do we require the rule of law to apply equally, to hold no person, no prince, no separate class higher than any other? What is the ultimate point of libertarians' belief in self government and self reliance and self responsibility?

The reason all of those freedoms are important, why these things matter in our everyday lives, is that they are required to safeguard liberty against the ever-present and malicious threat of outright tyranny.

And I'm here to tell you, my fellow libertarians and conservatives and liberals and friends and countrymen: those safeguards, those rights, those freedoms that every American patriot that picked up a gun and fought for American causes and for the Constitution and for every fucking beautiful red white and blue thing that countless millions sacrificed their lives and their limbs and their blood for, every single one of them is under attack, right now, at this late, late hour.

It's not fake news. Everything going on is very easy to verify and publicly available.

It's not just some partisan attempt to undercut the President. Prominent members of all political persuasions have had the courage to speak up and speak against, especially in the recent weeks following Trump's cowtow in Helinski.

It's no shadowy conspiracy. They are acting completely out in the open, which is why so many continue to be caught off guard.

Make no mistake, our Republic is under serious and grievous attack in the most unconventional way this Republic has ever seen.  It's a war for minds and emotions and our very contact with reality. It's the way wars are now fought in the 21st Century. Why kill millions when you can enslave hundreds of millions? Weaponized nonsense is the new normal.

It is the prevention of this mental mass-incarceration that libertarianism was made for: as a defense for a free people from slipping back under the yoke of slavery and despotism and thuggery that they had only just escaped from a few short centuries ago. All the tax cuts in the world don't mean anything if you no longer live in a free country in which to enjoy the bittersweet fruits of those modern breads and circuses.

Will this be our generation's enduring legacy? That we were the ones who let tyranny take hold of mankind once again; after a brief, imperfect, yet real and living and wonderful experiment in liberty that was able to sustain and constantly improve for 226 years; only to be snuffed out by a puffed-up salesman in an oversized suit?

This website will not go so gently into being voted off of the proverbial island. Since the site's founding in 2010, and since the moment I understood what it means to be an American, growing up in this great nation, the United States of America, the son of a United States Marine, Metafederalism has and always will stand by the United States of America, and look to defend it from all foes, both foreign and domestic.

And to that end, to ensure the survival of a free country in which I hope to exercise my libertarian principles, this site unequivocally stands in opposition to the continuing deconstruction and decimation of the United States of America being perpetrated at the behest of a hostile foreign power by Donald J. Trump.

I beg everyone that reads this, please, sacrifice just a little time to your country before November, put away Facebook and Twitter for just an afternoon, and ignore the reality television circus, shut off Fox News, and please, tune in to whatever the opposing side is and just listen for a little while with open minds.

Because I swear to you, with every ounce of honesty and hope and love in my heart, that if you don't wise up to the fact that Vladimir Putin, and the Russian state he dictatorially controls, poses a very dangerous and immediate threat to the very existence of our country, to the very existence of free people around the world, and that November 6th, 2018 may very well be the free world's last practical chance to halt the looming march of despotism, well, as Albert Finney put it in his 2002 portrayal of Winston Churchill:

"History may well cast its verdict with those terrible, chilling words:"


*(The same principles that cruelly averted their eyes from slavery for far too long. It was too interwoven into American history not to merit being addressed here, but I intend to argue in future posts that slavery had always been at odds with what are considered libertarian principles, and had only been allowed to exist for foul political reasons, tragic institutional inertia, and because of the relative and dire ignorance of the time.)

Friday, June 9, 2017

GOP: Dump Trump or Face Decades of Irrelevance

The well-worn analogy of the pendulum swing in politics earned its ubiquity for a reason: in a rigid two-party system like ours, anything beyond a slight, incremental change provokes a backlash from the opposition that often translates into a reversal when said opposition ultimately returns to power.

Everything from taxes, regulation, criminal justice reform, social spending... everything waxes and wanes roughly in correlation with the whims of the current clique in power.

So make no mistake, my conservative friends, when in November you affixed a sledgehammer to the pendulum bob of the grandfather clock called America and set it to swing: it won't be long until it comes crashing back into your precious agenda.

Republican friends and family, if not for the sake of your country and your dependents who will have to live there, if not for your fellow citizens who are experiencing real, unwarranted harm starting right now, I implore you to seize this moment and at least consider your Republican goals, and the peril that this pee-stained used car salesman has put those goals in.

If you want to exist as a political force beyond 2020 (or more likely, 2018), it's time to disembark from the Trump Train.

I mean, sure, the GOP hasn't been able to get much of its agenda through Congress under former President Obama. And I get it: now that Trump has seized power, it seems like you're getting everything you've dreaming about for the last eight or more years.

Sorry to break it to you, folks, but you bought a lemon.

Trump's amateurism, lack of self-control and general incompetence will undermine everything you are hastily trying to push through. His policies and dictates are built upon rotten legal, ethical and organizational foundations, and will collapse once Trump's no longer there to shield them with his Twitter-based dog and pony show.

When Trump is forcibly removed from office, every order, memo, directive and signature he ever made will be called into question. His taint will be so widespread that everything you've held your nose and done with him will be wiped away and replaced with the diametric opposite of every one of your stated goals.

The net result will be your conservative policy in effect only for the ever-shortening duration of the Trump administration, then reversed in quick and spectacular fashion. The pendulum always swings back until the clock is broken.

Look, we don't blame you for wanting to get what you can out of this misogynist circus clown while you still can. No one saw 2016 coming, but America isn't fooled twice so easily, and I doubt even the Russians will be able to prop him up now that everyone sees how widespread their electioneering shenanigans have grown.

Trust me when I say this, but whether it's next week or next year, the American people will rise up and rip this monster from office. Do you really want to be standing with him when this happens?

For years, libertarians and independents (and certainly quite a few registered Republicans and Democrats) have grown accustomed to an uncomfortable but tolerable level of horrible occupying the seasoned seats of power in Washington, D.C. After what we've seen over the last few months, nearly all of us will gladly go back to that pre-2016 level of awful. You can too.

Join us. This time it's gone beyond political party. It's now a question of national sovereignty and what being "an American" really means. It's absolutely a Republican ideal to stand up for one's country in the face of a hostile foreign power. I know, as this is coming from someone who has voted Republican in the past and has never once voted for a Democrat (though that may change come 2018).

If not for you children, or your country, or even that old saw about doing the right thing, Republicans, you must dump Trump, if only for the sake of the one thing you still hold sacred: you party. Because the GOP will be left in complete ruin if you let (or worse, help) Trump "serve" his full term.

Don't believe me? Just take a look at the string of failed organizations Donald J. Trump has left in his wake. Seize this opportunity now, lest the GOP becomes just another abandoned lot, adorned with nothing but a "Future Site for Trump Tower" sign, that no developer would ever touch.

*please note that the omission of the title "President" before DJT was intentional. It's not that he's not my president, but that he's not anyone's president, except maybe Vladimir Putin's...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

2016: The Year of the Great Republican Troll

Donald Trump is on track to become the 45th President, and you and I and every person that so vehemently opposes him are tragically the ones making it happen.
Image courtesy of

Tonight he formally accepts the GOP nomination and continues to shock the world by remaining within a margin of error's distance behind Hillary Clinton in the polls.

Given the sheer torrent of insanity coming out of the GOP convention in Cleveland, a lot of people are starting to wonder why his poll numbers have remained relatively steady.

Now granted, there will always be a certain percentage of the citizenry who would vote for a bag of dog shit, as long there's an "R" written on the bag. But surprisingly, as this post goes live, RealClearPolitics has Trump in a statistical dead heat with Clinton (and in one poll, actually leading!). Despite an unprecedented disunity in the GOP and almost-daily scandals that would derail any lesser candidates (Biden's 88' run was ended in part due to a plagiarism scandal, for instance), Trump continues to show solid if not winning numbers.

What gives?

The fact that all the crazy has yet to put a dent in The Donald's momentum should scare anyone who follows politics. Instead, the commentary is consistently dismissive and jovial, that it's a foregone conclusion that Trump will implode, given sufficient time and/or rope. I disagree. I believe (and fear) that we're all in for a very unpleasant surprise.

Trump has been in the public eye for decades now, and usually not for positive reasons. He thrives in this environment, and he knows how to make it work in his favor.

Since we're about to elect the first reality show president if we're not careful, let's take a look that lowest common denominator of entertainment. For every uplifting-themed reality show like, say, Extreme Makeover - Home Edition, there are a hundred others garnering real ratings that are the television equivalent of rubbernecking fatal car crashes.

The Donald knows this. He knows that human spectacle attracts and holds viewers -- that people feel better about themselves by watching everyday train wrecks slobber on about their lives. He knows we can't turn away.

And now he's taken these lessons and is applying them to a presidential campaign. We may mock the dumpster fire that is the GOP convention, but ask yourself, when was the last time so many non-political junkies cared about a party convention?

It's all on purpose.

It's modern corporate marketing: bad publicity is still publicity. He can lie all he wants because someone has to say his name to call him out on his falsehoods. He doesn't need campaign money for ads because we're giving him free airspace by railing against his monumental idiocy. And he's already set the bar so low for himself that all the negative aspects of this strategy, things that would torpedo a normal candidate, simply don't phase him.

No one expects him to be honest or tactful or to argue in good faith, so that frees him to be the attention-starved troll that he is.

No really: he's trolling America, everyone. By derailing legitimate debates about issues with demagoguery, using incendiary name-calling in lieu of logic, rapidly changing stances without reason or warning or consistency, he can frustrate his opponents into yielding ground and initiative. By the time one is able to parse through his frustratingly-senseless bullshit, he has already gotten his point out and rerouted the conversation in a direction he'd prefer.

It's classic internet-style trolling at its worst.

So what is the answer? This being a libertarian site, we recommend voting for Gary Johnson, though we are not so blind as to believe that's the only option.

Instead, the next time you reach for the "Share" button on something coming from the Republican nominee, some gaff or blunder that seems so crazy that it can't possibly be genuine, take a second to think to yourself: "who am I really helping here?"

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Q & A: Tanks But No Tanks

A reader writes (in regard to the above picture):

Technically that's an armored personal carrier not a tank. I see nothing wrong with SWAT using APCs since they are trained for things like terrorist attacks, foreign invasions, mass hostage situations and sieges. Shouldn't be used to break in people's walls for selling $100 bucks worth of crack though. The thing to remember when it comes to "militarized" police, is that in the event of a devastating crisis, the only military that can be deployed on US soil is the national guard. So if shit hits the fan, you can really only rely on the police and armed patriots to defend us.

While the vehicle depicted is obviously not a tread-driven assault tank, it is an armored vehicle designed to be deployed to fight foreign enemies. It is, however, equipped with mounted guns and, when bearing troops as it is designed to, can be utilized in aggressive military-style assaults not unlike a standard tank.

For the purposes of the point being made (and being made within the bounds of hyperbole allowed in the meme medium), we felt the distinction was not necessary. That being said, you are absolutely wrong about SWAT's proper role as a policing body.

The military will always be the military. The National Guard might be the first to respond in such an event, but the whole of the military would most definitely be the ones to respond to foreign invasion. SWAT may claim this as a means to justify their existence, but they are absolutely wrong, and it's a shield they use against criticism.

We posted this meme at Metafederalism in order to highlight this fact. Police are supposed to be a non-military force that protects it's citizens, not a military unit, and their blurring of these lines over the last few decades has been the root of most of the problems were facing with police today, whether it's overly aggressive policing as in the case of the War on Drugs, poor accountability for misconduct (remember, the military has its own entire justice system, civilian police are subject top the same laws as you and I, or at least they're supposed to be), or even smaller things like the police attitude that they are a class of their own and "civilians" (a.k.a. the people they're supposed to be serving and protecting) ought to be beholden to them.

The folly of military-style troops guarding the peace among the citizenry is exactly the scenario that the 3rd Amendment was made law to prevent. For further reading, I recommend Radley Balko's Rise of the Warrior Cop.

Now don't get me wrong, police and "armed patriots" have perfectly legitimate roles and we fully support the 2nd Amendment, but if some foreign power were to invade the U.S., I want the finest military in the world defending me, not some bullies who receive less than 60 hours of firearms training and can't tell the difference between a gun an a taser on their hip.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Q & A: Driver's Licenses, the Environment, and the LP

A reader asked:
Q: I watched footage of the libertarian convention. It reinforced that libertarianism is the ideology of adolescents. It was astounding to see "adults" earnestly argue that drivers' licenses are government overreach. It is hopelessly naïve to believe that government plays no role in regulating commerce and activities that take place in the public arena. Very few people have life experience that does not include people behaving badly who would have taken their bad behavior further without having constraints imposed on them. Furthermore, I give you the Cuyahoga River as an example of the need and societal benefit of government regulation - especially in terms of the environment…

A: Let me just start by saying that yes, I agree with you that professionalism is sorely lacking in the Libertarian Party. I have been calling myself a libertarian for 20 years, and during that time the LP has been an absolute joke.

But I would imagine that you could find crazy-looking extremes at any party convention (even the Democratic one, if the superdelegates ever let the people have a voice!), it's just that the LP's room is a little smaller. And it was in Florida this year.

Drivers Licenses are definitively not government overreach. Even from the most strict libertarian perspective, the government owns the roads, they get to set the rules. But given the very un-American government surveillance that Ed Snowden brought to the public, I don't think it's too unusual to have privacy concerns about National ID's and databasing U.S. citizens -- a process that began with drivers licenses after 9/11.

And no one, not Gary Johnson and not any remotely serious libertarian, suggests a wholly unregulated marketplace. Libertarians are not anarchists - fraud is fraud and protecting its citizens property is absolutely a legitimate function of government. It's the onerous, burdensome regulations that do nothing but create unfair advantages for large companies (it's called corporatism, they write themselves favors into the regulations) that need to be abolished. It's not the regulations or the government itself, but how the government it used by bad people.

As for the environment, Gary Johnson is very much to the left on this issue. Here's his words, directly from his website (Johnson/Weld Issues page):

"The environment is a precious gift and needs to be protected. Gov. Johnson believes strongly that the first responsibility of government is to protect citizens from those who would do them harm, whether it be a foreign aggressor, a criminal — or a bad actor who harms the environment upon which we all depend.

Consistent with that responsibility, Gary Johnson believes it is the proper role of government to enforce reasonable environmental protections. He did so as Governor, and would do so as President."

Friday, July 8, 2016

An Open Letter to America Following the Sniper Attack in Dallas

As you may have noticed, #Metafederalism casts a very critical eye upon law enforcement, in part due to necessity created by the police-citizen power dynamic, and in part because so few really understand the full reality of the policing problems in America.

Last night, that reality came home for a lot of people. The murders in Dallas were inexcusable, barbaric, and have the potential to ramp up the unending cycle of violence that exists and has existed on the streets of our country for a long time.

But it doesn't have to.

We can ignore this moment of public awareness and continue killing each other, or we can look with fresh eyes at what is really just the progression of a malady that has long been plaguing our great yet flawed nation.

The tensions between authorities and minority communities have persisted for far too long in a country that calls itself free. As technology has allowed more people a window into that world, awareness has grown for good or ill. But it's what we do with that awareness that matters.

Metafederalism, and anyone who claims to respect individual rights as part of a libertarian philosophy, must adhere to the principle that one has no right or moral justification to initiate violence against another, and violence may only be justified in one's defense. This Non-Aggression Principle is a core tenet of libertarianism.

But I'll go one step further: Violence is obsolete. Violence is nothing but a means of conflict resolution held over from the days when we humans though magic men in funny beards caused earthquakes. Violence has only one purpose in 2016, and that's to counteract other equally-useless violence. It's the buggy whip, the iPod, the leaded gasoline. It's an ancient and barbaric practice that has no place in a modern society.

To that end, I hope that we all look at last night's tragic events with cooler heads, that we seek to discover how we can fix whatever underlying causes led to this horrific symptom, and that we STOP this societal suicide now before it's too late.