Make America Free Again

Picture The Statue of Liberty holding the Torch of Liberty high in the air for all to see. Imagine seeing that image as an immigrant escaping oppression from a totalitarian State after a long journey across the ocean. To finally arrive in the land of freedom and opportunity and see that image must produce a powerful experience of love and admiration for this country. America, the home of the brave, who valiantly fought and defeated tyrants, shrugged off the oppression of authoritarianism, and carved out a piece of earth where governance serves the people rather than coerces the people, where the government is so small you barely notice it, and individuals are free to act and interact as they please without fear of an oppressive State intervening in their affairs.

So many have died trying to reach this land, many more have succeeded and been greeted by Lady Liberty as they have arrived. What they seek, and many have sought and found in America, is a place where freedom reigns supreme. What distinguished and continues to distinguish America from the rest of the world is the absence of State Intervention, coercion, and compulsion. America was founded on the Principles of Freedom, the idea that all men are created equal, and that the rights to Life, Liberty, and Property shall be protected universally. Within that framework, Americans are free to act and interact as they choose. Liberty is so new an idea and so rare that people all over the world come here still to this day seeking it out.

This freedom and liberty, and minimalist form of government, allowed the United States to become the wealthiest and most powerful nation the world has ever known within 100 years. We literally transformed the world. The innovation, creativity, abundance, and wealth demonstrated by America is the direct result of trusting individuals with the freedom to make their own decisions, to care for each other, and to accept the responsibility that comes with such freedom.

But recently there has been a drastic shift. In 1913, after the civil war and a series of bank runs, we acquired the Federal Reserve, a State sanctioned monopoly on the issuance of a national currency, and also the IRS and the income tax in the same year. With this, American’s property began to be confiscated by the government, competition between private currencies was outlawed in America, and a central planning authority now gained control of the Interest Rates and Currency Supply of the entire nation’s economy.

Interest Rates being a vital market signal which is essential for rational resource allocation, suddenly we found ourselves subject to the will and whim of those in control of our money supply. In the 1920’s, the Federal Reserve fired up the printing presses and artificially dropped interest rates to extreme lows resulting in the “boom” known as the “roaring twenties.” Low interest rates send the signal that huge amounts of capital are available because the economy is doing extremely well, and it is a good time to borrow and invest. But what goes up, especially when it goes up artificially, must come down.

The (presumably) unintended consequence of the Fed induced bubble in the twenties was the inevitable “bust” in the 30s known as the “Great Depression,” during which the Fed subsequently did the opposite of what created the bubble: they contracted the currency supply and kept interest rates artificially high. The high interest rates send the signal to the market that there is little capital available because the economy is doing poorly, the result was the unnecessary prolonging of the Depression for longer than should have been the case.

The Great Depression was used as an excuse to officially abandon Free Market Capitalism, even after over 100 years of unprecedented successes, in favor of Interventionism. FDR was elected, and the people begged and pleaded for him to do something to fix the economy. His solutions included the first ever minimum wage, the creation of the Social Security Program, outlawing Gold and Silver outright, and various other socialist programs. These on top of the Centrally Planned monetary system and monopoly on the issuance of currency marked the end of Free Market Capitalism in America, and the beginning of Interventionism.

Since then we have had nothing but ever increasing levels of Interventionism. Government guaranteed bank deposits, government guaranteed student loans, government guaranteed healthcare, and more. And as a result, after over 100 years of prosperity, suddenly we Americans today look around and find a country in which we are taxed at every turn, we need a license for everything from fishing to braiding hair, it has become impossible to support a family on just one person’s income, our money is becoming less and less valuable every day, college tuition prices have gone insane, healthcare prices have gone insane, banks gamble away our bank deposits knowing that the State will bail them out with taxpayer money, the Federal Reserve is printing trillions of dollars out of thin air sneakily siphoning value right out of our pockets, and our national debt is increasing by over a million dollars a minute. Life is hard now! Things are getting worse and worse! What happened?

One thing is for sure, all of this is not a result of too much freedom and liberty. We are no longer free to choose which currency to use out of an array of competing currencies. We are no longer able to make rational entrepreneurial decisions because the Federal Reserve manipulates the interest rate signals at will. We are no longer able to save our money and build up capital because inflation initiated by the Fed devalues our savings the longer we don’t spend it. We are no longer free to keep our entire paycheck and spend it how we choose, because it is taxed at over 30% and spent how the State chooses instead. We are no longer able to choose whether or not we want Health Insurance even. We can’t do anything without a license. We are no longer allowed to trade and interact without the State getting in the middle and intervening in someway or another. Only the little bit of a Free Market that remains is all that is keeping us barely above water.

Our freedom is being eroded more and more over time, and now we have Bernie Sanders threatening to accelerate this process. Everything that made America great, is being blamed for our recent predicament, and what is being offered as a solution is the creation of an omnipotent totalitarian State. We are being asked to give up our property, give up our liberty, and give up our freedom, in exchange for an all powerful State that can solve all of our problems. It is no less than a deal with the devil. Give everything to the State, and let it sort everything out for us. Soon Americans will be looking to escape the oppression of the American Government in favor some other place on earth where Freedom and Liberty reign.

As a Libertarian, I don’t trust the State, I trust the people. I think all of our problems started with the Federal Reserve gaining control of our money supply, and are compounded with every government intervention we allow on top of that fatal conceit. I don’t agree that any more government control and intervention will solve any of the problems we have. If drinking alcohol is destroying your liver and is the cause of your alcohol addiction, I don’t think more alcohol is going to be able to solve those problems, no matter how it is packaged.

I think the cause of all of our problems is the State and it’s interventions, and I think the solution to all of our problems is Liberty. I think Americans can quickly recover from this mess and recreate the most creative, innovative, and prosperous country on earth if only the State would get out of the way and allow us to do so as free individuals. This is the message of Liberty.

In 2012 I was an avid Ron Paul supporter until he dropped out of the race, and my backup was the Libertarian Party Candidate Gary Johnson. I voted for Johnson in 2012, but was honestly disappointed in his results. It really felt like the Liberty Movement was extinguished with Ron Paul dropping out, I felt like I was the only one voting Libertarian, but I voted my conscience, I voted my principles, and I felt good about it at the end of the day.

When the current race started, the only candidate that seemed to represent my principles as a Libertarian was Rand Paul, but I disagree with him on several social issues, so it wasn’t a perfect match. When Rand dropped out, I quickly went looking for Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party. When I found Gary Johnson, he was giving an interview indicating he was running as a Libertarian Candidate again in 2016, and in the interview he was suggesting to all of us viewers to go to isidewith.com to take the quiz and see who we side with, so I did just that.

When I took the quiz, I tried to answer every question as accurately and honestly as possible. Every answer I gave was the one that got government out of the way, and allowed for the maximum personal freedom and liberty. When I was done, I expected to see Gary Johnson as my best match, but was instead surprised to see the face of the young Austin Petersen as my top match. I sided with Petersen 92% and Johnson was next in line at 89%. It was the first time I had ever heard the name, and honestly I was very skeptical at first, but also open minded because I knew if we really aligned so well on all of the issues in the quiz, then this Petersen fellow must be my candidate.

At that point I started watching the Libertarian debates. This was before the big one on Fox Business’ Stossel Show, and well before the one hosted by Penn Jillette which aired on The Blaze. These early Libertarian debates were held in tiny conference rooms all over the country at Libertarian conventions, with less than one hundred people in attendance, poor audio and video, audience members talking directly to the debaters, and sometimes some pretty unPresidential questions and answers.

One of the first things I noticed was that Austin Petersen was usually the only one recording the debate. He was the one live streaming them and posting them on his Facebook page. It was good to see an internet and Social Media savvy candidate. The second thing I noticed was his style of communication. It reminded me of how the founding fathers themselves must have spoke in tiny cramped rooms in Boston when the country was founded. He came across very well spoken, intelligent, he had excellent posture, very Presidential, confident, friendly, and a bit colonial, like he should be wearing a chalky white wig and standing on a soap box.

More than anything else, however, it was his intelligent Libertarian solutions to difficult problems that solidified my support for Austin Petersen. I consider myself a pretty seasoned and knowledgable Libertarian. I read Bastiat, Mises, Hazlitt, Hayek, and Rothbard. I know the logic, I know the arguments, and I am aware of the underlying principles and philosophy behind Libertarianism. I can hold my own in a debate with any Statist you put in front of me, but when I heard Petersen speak, I found myself taking notes.

For example, probably the most common critique of Libertarians is to ask how we are supposed to pay for roads if we don’t allow the State to take taxes to pay for them. Austin Petersen points out that George Washington managed to pay for roads without taxing Americans, and he did it by sponsoring a Lottery. Very quickly, he proves that there are non-coercive means for funding public works, and in todays world that probably looks like crowdfunding campaigns.

While Libertarians want to ultimately abolish the income tax, the corporate tax, and the IRS altogether, Petersen recognizes those things cannot come immediately. Small steps in that direction must be taken first, so his initial tax plan is to replace the current complicated tax system with a simple flat tax at the lowest possible rate to sustain the government at it’s current size, and then to work hard to reduce the size of our government.

He wants to urge Congress to adopt the “Penny Plan” in which every single government program would be forced to cut spending by just 1%. It is a modest and practical start to the process of beginning to shrink the size of government and reduce barriers to entry in the marketplace. When you reduce the size of government, you can reduce taxes, reduce licensing and licensing fees, and start to fund public services in voluntary ways rather than through taxation. I think it’s a move in the right direction.

When asked about ending the drug war and legalizing marijuana, he has given the most straight forward and logical response I have ever heard from a Presidential Candidate. When Obama was elected, he indicated he was soft on marijuana and possibly in support of legalization. Today, Bernie Sanders indicates the same. But it’s a vague approval only. These two seem merely to be expressing their personal opinion, but give no real road map as to how they will actually go about implementing these changes. It does not seem to be a priority, but merely an afterthought for Sanders and Obama. They both harp on the fact that we incarcerate more people in this country than in any other country on earth, but they seem to fail to make the connection between our incarceration rate and the unnecessary war on drugs. For Petersen that’s different.

Petersen explains that there is actually a way for the President of the United States to legalize marijuana and end the war on drugs immediately, and he will do it on his first day in office: He says, “I will unilaterally end the war on drugs by instructing the DEA to set all drug schedules to 0.” No fighting and bargaining with congress, no long drawn out debates, day one of a Petersen Presidency and the War on Drugs is over. Impressive.

But perhaps his most impressive answer is in response to the question of how he would deal with ISIS and global terrorism. It seems clear to me that our current strategy is doing more harm than good. The rest of the world doesn’t believe that we are fighting for freedom anymore. While spending billions and billions of dollars in our military efforts, we are bombing hospitals and homes of innocents, and creating more terrorists and more enemies all over the world every day we continue to do so.

North Korea has promised our destruction. Russia is warning us to back down our aggressions or they will be forced to engage us in war. China is starting to wonder if we are planning to turn our backs on them and default on our debt. Iran and the rest of the middle East lusts after the thought of our destruction. Soon we will have more enemies than we can manage, and we’ll be too broke to fight multiple wars. We need a different strategy, and Petersen offers an intelligent one.

Today, we are fighting a decentralized enemy with centralized tactics, and it doesn’t work. We must fight decentralization with decentralization. An empire uses it’s large national military to fight it’s battles, but a free country full of free men and women fight a war in a much different way: they utilize the free market.

In 2001, following the attacks on 9/11, Congressman Ron Paul promoted to Congress the solution of retaliating against Al Qaeda using Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution which grants the power to Congress to grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal. These letters are basically bounties placed on the heads of enemies of the nation. They authorize privateers to seize and destroy targets or personnel of targets.

To me, this is the best solution I have ever heard proposed for stopping global terrorism in a non-interventionist, non-imperialist way, that produces the minimum blowback and minimum unnecessary casualties, and is also less expensive than our current methods by many multitudes. We have veterans I know personally who would absolutely love to hunt and bring down terrorists for a bounty to help protect the world against terrorism. It’s superior in every way compared to our current strategy, and it’s constitutional.

When The United States of America declared Independence from Britain and the American Revolutionary War began, the States were in no position to oppose the world’s greatest naval force that was Britain’s Navy. The solution our founders used was Letters of Marque and Reprisal. During the Revolutionary war, an estimated 800 vessels were commissioned as privateers and are credited with capturing or destroying over 600 British ships. And Letters of Marque and Reprisal were issued even in peace time to fight against pirates, the terrorists of that time period. These letters are deeply imbedded in our history and are part of the reason we were able to win our independence, whereas nation building and acting as the World Police is very new, it seems only right we actualize this strategy once again.

I have found no other Presidential Candidate that has been able to produce such clear, concise, and logical solutions to such difficult problems as these. And every solution Petersen offers is both constitutional and voluntary. Not to mention his pick for Secretary of Defense is General Mattis! I would honestly feel safer, and more confident in our National Security and Foreign Policy under a Petersen Presidency.

But of all of the creative solutions Austin Petersen has introduced me to, the moment I was sold was the moment I saw the following tweet from his Twitter account: “As President I will ask Congress to send me bills abolishing laws of legal tender, and allowing gold, silver, and digital currencies to compete.” On his website under Monetary Policy he says, “Audit the Federal Reserve first. End it through competition last. Institute a Monetary Commission devoted to studying the implications of replacing central banking with “Free Banking”, and abolishing laws of legal tender. Allow gold and silver to circulate as a currency, removing them from the commodity list, and make precious metal coins free of taxation. Let digital currencies compete against Federal Reserve Notes.”

This particular issue is close to my heart because I recognize the central planning of our economy by the Federal Reserve, the manipulation of market signals, the hidden tax on all of us that is inflation, the boom/bust cycle, the welfare/warfare State, all of this is only possible because of, and can be traced back to, the monopoly on the issuance of currency that is the Federal Reserve, as well as the legal tender laws that outlaw currency competition in the free market. I think this is the most important issue we have in this country today. A free country must have a free market, and unless our money is free and there is open competition between currencies, we cannot and do not have a free market economy.

I love this country because it was founded on the principles of Liberty. We have gotten far away from those principles, but only recently. It is not too late to turn away from Statism and start heading back to our roots, back to freedom and liberty and personal responsibility. I truly believe it is the only way to save this country from meeting the same fate as virtually every other Empire or Totalitarian State in the past. I hope and pray we can learn from the mistakes of history and recognize what path we are on quickly enough to avoid disaster.

The moment we gave up freedom in our money, we conceded our economy over to central planning, Interventionism, the boom/bust cycle, and the inflation supported welfare/warfare State we have today. Interventionism leads to Democratic Socialism which leads to full blown Socialism which leads to Communism. Every step of the way we abandon freedom and liberty more and more, we hand over the power of the individual and give more power to the State. We are throwing away everything our ancestors fought and died for the more we trust the State over ourselves.

The only way to make America great again, is to Make America Free Again, and Austin Petersen is the one Candidate that can really make that happen. I believe he can re-spark that fire of freedom that Ron Paul started, and the Freedom Movement can continue on in full stride all the way into the White House. I urge you to watch the debates, read the articles, make an informed decision, and support Mr. Petersen like the future of our nation and even the world depends on it. Because it very well might.

“When I win the Nomination of my party, I will grab the torch of liberty and lift it so high that the entire world will see.” — Austin Petersen