Editor’s Note: This very long post, perhaps the longest single piece we have ever published, was written by an LCI supporter who will remain anonymous in response to one of his dear friends. If you have had difficulties having discussions with friends or family who don’t share your views, perhaps this will be helpful to you. Keep in mind, libertarians are committed to only peaceful means of achieving political goals, so know from the outset that neither the author nor LCI have ever supported rioting in any way. Also, this is not an “official view” of LCI and should not be treated as such. We’re all here to learn together and honor God through all of our actions, including how we handle our disputes with our friends and family. We post this with minimal editing for the benefit of all who read it.
The Beginning: An Email That Sparked It All.
Robert (Jan 10, 2021, 9:39 AM):
BCC’d because I’m not looking to start an email chain.
Before reading this, I want you all to know that you have been my friends for the majority of my life — you mean a lot to me — and what you are about to read is something that I could not sit on any longer. We are close enough that I felt like I had to share this with you, and if you felt this strongly about something I hope you would share it with me.
In light of recent events I am considering leaving our group. We are all individuals entitled to our own opinions. Our opinions differ in many cases. Some minor differences, some monumental differences. Up until now these disagreements haven’t breached our abilities to respect and tolerate each other’s opinions. There comes a point where something crosses a line.
The barbaric attack on the capitol this past week is the straw that broke the camel’s back. This sort of attack strikes to the core of democracy and free life as we know it. This goes beyond the small political spectrum and into pure evil. It is a strike against the feeling of safety and security of our families. And the leader of our country incited such an attack. (If you need examples of this, I will happily share copious amounts of videos that were taken just hours before this happened. For context: the videos were taken from a rally that was planned at this exact location on this exact day for this exact reason.) I don’t merely disagree with the actions taken by Trump supporters this week, I can not respect anyone who agrees with what happened, or even attempts to justify them.
In addition to inciting violence on our nation’s capitol yesterday, this leader is also:
- A person who disrespects women.
- “Grab them by the pussy”
- A person who is a textbook racist.
- “$&!#hole countries in Africa” vs from Norway (83% white)
- A person who is xenophobic.
- Executive order for a Muslim ban
- A person who uses an official position for personal gain.
- Charging American taxpayers for secret service to stay at his properties in Florida, New Jersey, and the UK. Failing to divest from personal investments for which success is influenced by his position
- A person who lies at every opportunity.
- No cite needed. This is well beyond the scope of “Every politician lies” and you know it.
Some of y’all have mentioned before that our group sessions are an outlet, let’s leave this political BS at the door. That’s fair. This goes beyond politics into the realm of morality. I will have to explain this man’s behavior to my daughter and I can not turn off the part of my brain that knows at best you are silent about his behavior and at worst you condone his behavior.
I’m not certain you share his racist and misogynistic views, but if not, how could you support and defend him?
No one has formally come out and stated “I agree with the riot that took place on our nation’s capitol,” but silence is complicity.
If you stand for this, I will always care for you, but I can no longer stand with you.
I hope to hear from you. Thanks for reading.
Me (Jan 12, 2021, 10:19 AM)
I have been thinking this over for a few days because I want to have a thoughtful and meaningful conversation but most of all I want to satisfy your needs and one thing that’s not clear to me is what is the ask? what do you want in a reply?
Robert (Jan 12, 2021, 12:03 PM)
Thanks for reaching out. I had a long discussion with Marty yesterday and we talked it through. The things I needed to hear were a few things:
I need to know that everyone disagrees with the attack on the capitol. The statement made earlier about “if you see the election as fraudulent it’s an aggressive effort to save the government” had a role in me writing that statement. Yes, while true in it’s meaning around what could be going on in their minds to justify it, the statement also seemed to someone defend the actions. As a society, I feel strongly that we are beyond raising up in arms to overthrow the government. I’d love to discuss this further, verbally because just now I caught myself writing more and more about my beliefs and I know each statement has opportunities to be questioned further.
Not only do I believe the actions at the capitol were pure evil but I think that Trump is culpable. Regardless of what good Trump may have done for the country, this act in my opinion should erase any following of him.
So there are two asks then, disagree with the events on Jan 6, and Trump = evil.
Me (Jan 12, 2021, 1:39 PM)
No problem agreeing there. It’s the why that I’d like to discuss.
Robert (Jan 12, 2021, 3:09 PM)
Absolutely, and it goes back to my comment in the original email that stated “Up until now these disagreements haven’t breached our abilities to respect and tolerate each other’s opinions. There comes a point where something crosses a line.”
The why for me is that the actions on Jan 6 crossed a line and I no longer want to associate with people who agree with this. I find it extremely unreasonable to still follow or defend the Jan 6 actions, or Trump.
Me (Jan 15, 2021, 3:38 PM)
I changed my mind. I don’t even want to talk about it. 1. capital riot was evil 2. Trump is evil. We good?
Robert (Jan 15, 2021, 5:04 PM)
Sorry, I think I need more, and I realize that after reading my response above and after a long text exchange with David, it is more.
Not only was the capitol riot evil, and Trump Evil — Trump is culpable (stirred the pot), and Trump supporters were those involved in the riots and inflicted harm. After speaking with David he feels strongly that Trump did not incite the riot, and it was not the Trump supporters who committed the violence. These allegations (Matt Gaetz’s false claim that facial recognition proved they were members of Antifa) have already been disproven by XRVision’s attorney, but I am awaiting his video proof to review. More lies to cover up lies.
A lot of things came up in the discussions with both David and Marty that made me want to clarify my position even further. Not only is Trump evil but he is in a different ballpark than the rest of the presidents. Many former presidents screwed up, no doubt, but this is beyond the range of measurement in comparison. This riot is also unlike any other US riot. This was an attack on our democracy. An attempt to change the course of an already certified election. Certified by both Republicans and Democrats. Counted and Recounted. Watching the riot unfold gave me the same feeling I got when I watched Braveheart for the first time. The scene where king sent in his melee wave, and shortly thereafter called for Archers. The captain then stated ” I beg your pardon sire, won’t we hit our own troops?” to which the king stated “Yes, but we will hit theirs as well, we have reserves”. That sickening feeling I got after watching this is exactly the feeling I got after seeing what Trump did. Republican members were in the same building, the rioters would not have been able to tell the difference, and this riot was only one hallway turn away from being a massacre. And what then? Did more blood need to be spilled to change people’s minds?
This means a lot. And I think more conversation, not less, is what is needed. I think we have created an environment with the Google Hangouts that has been a kettle pot waiting to blow. Banning political discussion means we are retreating into our own echo chambers. And when a big enough event happens, like the one that happened on Jan 6th, some of us (Me in this case) feel like they need to speak up. That is what I did. A line was crossed that compelled me to speak up. Do I foresee further political discussions after these events blow over? No, but that’s because the evil is gone. Trump is gone. Maybe after all it wasn’t about politics, it was just about Trump.
The Big Response
I wrote the following over many days and scheduled time to for a phone call with Robert. I shared my computer screen and we read this together:
What is the request and what is at stake? Email as of 1/10/21 the ask denounce Capitol Riot was evil. Trump is evil. As of your email on 1/15/21 the ask to agree that “Trump is culpable” for the riots.
What is at stake is Robert’s membership in the group. (But more… your respect for me as a person. If I support Trump I’m racist and misogynistic.)
My initial response: I was pissed off. I was yelling at Scott on the phone “What is this email? If I have a different opinion than CNN, oops! Well, there goes a decades-old friendship from middle school Language Arts. I was like. What? Don’t you know me? I have to pass some kind of Orange Man and His Pack of Goons moral purity test? Does he really think I’m a racist misogynist? I mean I’m married to a Chinese woman in a loving marriage built on trust and respect. Really? He thinks I’m that guy? I thought he knew me? I don’t think I’m a bad guy. Am I a bad guy?
But then I calmed down and I was like. OK. I know him. There’s something here worth thinking long and hard about. And I know you didn’t mean to type out the capitol riot comments in our No Politics Gchat, you meant to do it in your side chat with Scott. And I shouldn’t have said anything except “hey please remember Rule 1” but instead made the hard to discern comment I made about “unless you think you’re saving the government”. I saw how my comment could be interpreted as support and it didn’t add any real value. I think I was frustrated that we had just got done with David breaking the “no politics” rule on voice chat and it looked like you were breaking it too so I felt compelled to say something. I said the wrong thing and I see why it confused you. I think I meant to “poke the bear” and well Scott said you agonized and were deeply reluctant to the point of tears to write the email you did. So I was like. Yeah, this is Robert. You know him. And if this is what he needs, if you love him and value him as a friend, you better think long and hard about this and bring the goods. I just fear the risk of loss. It would be devastating to me to lose you as a friend and have our group, which seems to have really stood the test of many changes in life (from single bachelors to married dudes with kids and demanding jobs). For it to fall to disagreement about the actions of others outside of our close-knit group that would be a very hard loss to take. A real avoidable tragedy in my opinion.
For a while, and you rightfully, graciously called me on this, I was trying to just make it go away and satisfy your requirements. Your last email said that I needed to put in the work and so that’s what I’ve been doing. I took a few days, I started forming my thoughts in my head and prayed. A lot. Because this is a very big deal to me. I’ve been spending a lot of time on this thinking and forming my thoughts in a way that I hope will patch things up, not only this time, but hopefully put to bed any future concerns as well. By the end of this conversation I hope you have a clearer picture of the principled thought-framework I use to judge every moral and political issue.
My response now:
I build my response now on the bedrock of the volumes of fond memories we have. We’ve shared so much. [Removed 31 examples of sharing great memories, side-splitting hilarious memories, significant life moments such as weddings, births, and funerals spanning over 25 years…]
In light of the decades we’ve been friends and good times we’ve shared, even something seemingly as momentous as JAN 6th, to me, pales in significance. It kind of melts away into the background. You weren’t at the riots. I didn’t storm the castle. Even if we have different opinions on the Orange Clown that was in office or the hooligans who went LARPing an insurrection that day I just can’t see how that affects you and me.
For that reason… I choose you, Robert. I’m trying to think what would make me change that. Maybe if you condone violent acts or participate in them? And I think that’s what you’re sorta trying to test with me. But I think you know me and I think I know you and I don’t think you would ever do that and I would never do that. I mean you would have to be basically Jeffery Dahmer or Jeffery Epstein before I would give up on you. There’s nothing you can ever say, do, or think that will make me walk away from you. I have always and continue to love and respect you deeply as one of my longest, most meaningful friends, as a loving father, as a faithful husband. You are one of the most honorable men I know. I want to be more like you. Kind. Patient. Positive and upbeat.
Let me zoom way out and try to outline the principles and moral underpinnings of how I will respond to the requests to
- Denounce Trump as Evil
- Denounce the capitol riots as evil
- Name Trump as culpable for the riots
Let’s start with the utter basics. And I mean utter basics that compose my worldview.
- What is the natural state of man?
- Scarcity, Unmet Needs, and Violence. “Nature is red in tooth and claw.” “Might makes right”
- When you’re just trying to survive, no one has the luxury of morals and ethics. It’s kill or be killed.
- The concept “Treat others like you want to be treated” (something often referred to as the Golden Rule) was an innovation that came about by significant actions and teachings of significant individuals in civilizations that have stood the test of time. States and rulers rarely abide by this rule. But we like to associate with other humans that do and disassociate with other humans that don’t.
- What is civilization?
- A group of people that share (of the following) a common culture, language, belief system, and ideas→ expressed visually or written and in their method of organizing society (sometimes a government, almost always governance).
- People’s desire for argumentation and discussion is proof that as we evolved we preferred persuasion over violence. The fact that we’re talking right now is evidence that we’d rather discuss our opinions than shed blood to get our way or prove a point. That’s progress! –a major earmark of man as man, and not beast or savage.
- Do people have intrinsic value?
- I say yes. This gets harder the more a society moves away from ideas about the divine. I believe the most important impact Judeo-Christian values had on Western Civilization was the idea that, because man is created in God’s image, all people have transcendent, divine, innate, intrinsic value. That man is by nature sinful and yet, through God’s grace, is still redeemable. This is a fount of hope and transcendent value. Again, another giant step away from man as animal, as savage.
- Moral failings of people from history is not evidence that those ideas were bad ideas and those ideas should be thrown out altogether. Rather, from our modern perspective, the inconsistencies and injustices of the past become clearer and we should continue to espouse and live these good ideas while being more consistent, loving, and just.
- Are rights important? Yes. Without rights, human flourishing will be greatly curtailed and it’s hard to honor someone’s intrinsic value without honoring their rights as well. A society without a commonly held belief in the importance and universality of the existence of rights and their defense can hardly be called a society. It’s more jungle law.
- Where do rights come from?
- All people have natural rights, rights exist before the foundation of a state or government
- Rights are not given by government
- In order for all people to flourish it is everyone’s responsibility to defend their rights and the rights of others
- It’s important to make a distinction between positive and negative rights.
What are man’s natural rights?
- Life – a right to not be killed
- Liberty – freedom of movement, freedom of choice, freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom of the press
- Property – you own yourself. As such you can decide what to do with yourself as long as you do not infringe on others’ rights. As an extension of your personal ownership you are able to mix your labor and create value as to own property. You have a right to defend this property from aggression
What is the purpose of government? Answer: To protect rights
What is a state? Answer: A geographical area where a group of people claim a monopoly on the initiation of violence.
I believe all human interaction should be voluntary. Anything else involves the initiation of violence.
I don’t have all the answers for how a voluntary society would work and it wouldn’t be perfect but I think it would be the most moral and just society our human race has known.
I believe in the continual progress of mankind, just not through violence or the threat of violence. Ends do not justify means.
Me: I am defined by what I Love and what I Hate
First and foremost, as much as I fail to live up to His example, I am a Christ-follower. I love God and I want others to know and experience his love in right relationship with him through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. Is this Backwards? Outdated? So be it. Sign me up. That’s me. And Lord give me strength, I will not deny him when real persecution comes. (Because it is coming.)
Secondly, I am a libertarian. I hate violence. A libertarian is one who believes in and lives by the Non-Aggression Principle (or the NAP) which states that “It is immoral to initiate violence against peaceful people.” Aggression is any unprovoked physical act that harms another’s person or property. The State, in its being, is in a perpetual state of violence initiation. Because I think all human interaction should be voluntary and I hate the initiation of violence, I hate the state. Hate for the initiation of violence is good.
Morality is not separate from politics
Because politics involves deciding the proper use of the state. And because the State is a monopoly on violence. And because the use of violence always involves morality. Politics is morality in action. I make no distinction.
With this moral framework and worldview in place I’m ready to engage the requested declarations:
- Denounce Trump as Evil
- Denounce the capitol riots as evil
- Name Trump as culpable for the riots
I condemn Donald Trump as evil.
Donald Trump is a liar, a fraud, a huckster, a philanderer, and a war criminal. Not only do I shame and denounce Donald Trump in no uncertain terms, I would see justice if he were impeached, tried for war crimes, and hung on the capitol steps for his ongoing support of illegal wars and bombing poor, innocent black and brown people in pursuit of political expediency and global empire dominance. And yet, I’m called to love my enemies and pray for them. This Christ-follower thing is hard.
I condemn the capitol riots.
Aggressive acts against an aggressive state may be justifiable as one is acting in self-defense and trying to gain independence from the aggressor. (See 1776) The men who founded this country hoped that it would not grow into a tyrannical state and built-in provisions to leave the union or dissolve or replace or overthrow it if it did devolve into the tyranny they revolted against.
This desire for independence was not the verve that animated the motivation of the rioters on JAN 6th. I can’t know for sure because I’m not a mind reader and surely when it comes to hundreds or thousands of people, motivations will vary from person to person. But my analysis of their motivation was:
- They had concerns and questions about the irregularities they had seen election night, with mail-in ballots, sworn affidavits, and various videos that emerged. This was met with immediate and categorical “debunking” by the corporate press and all 80-some lawsuits were dismissed, in some cases due to “standing” and were never heard. This left the aggrieved with a feeling of anger and helplessness that they had tried to “work within the system” for relief and had been brushed aside. Was the free press helping them out? The right had just endured 4 years of Russia Gate where they were told that Russia handed Donald Trump the election, that it was hacked, that Hillary was robbed (and I would say with less compelling evidence) and the corporate press repeated and amplified this narrative for 4 years. And when the investigation was concluded there was never an apology for wasting everyone’s time, there was never reflection as to what they got wrong or how they saw devils when there were no devils, actually just doubling down and saying “no, we know we were right.” How is that less egregious than what the right is pushing for with their election narrative this time around? And if Russia handed the election to Trump in 2016, why didn’t he hand it to Trump in 2020? Are all the reports and examples of voting machine vulnerability really without merit? They seemed to have merit when the shoe was on the other foot.
- Just how idiotic these people are is shown by their actions on JAN 6. They were upset they never “got their day in court.” Well, right before these Trumptards selfie-stormed the capitol, the congress was literally about to hear evidence on the floor. Their disruption ruined any last chance of airing dirty laundry and the republicans rightfully felt compelled to just snap-certify the election. The rioters picked the absolute worst time to disrupt the democratic process. Just like their leader, they’re idiots. There was no strategy, there was no plan.
- Honestly, if this whole thing was done and dusted after the electoral college voted for Biden, the literal last step. If those on the right were convinced that the system is so corrupt, that there were literally thousands of actors involved in this steal (from the board of elections in all the states that went to Biden, to the poll operators, to the governors, to the supreme court including Trump-appointed judges, to all the court of appeals, to the electors themselves), if that’s how greatly the fix is in, well then you have in fact lost your precious democracy and the appropriate response, is not to roll up in there and put your feet up on Nancy Pelosi’s desk, but you should come strapped in full body armor and semi-automatic weaponry and be ready to go down guns blazing in an honorable defense as a last-ditch effort to save the republic. Maybe they’ll make a statue out of you one day. But that’s not who these people were. They were weak-minded, easily deceived, cowardly imbeciles compelled by the never-ending gushing-sewer-mouth of lies from the Coward in Chief. When as soon as his supporters, some of who were willing to die for their sacred clown, started taking violent action against the sacred halls of empire, distanced himself and, does what he does best– worry about #1. Donald Trump has always been about himself. He merely seized on a movement by saying what people wanted to hear. I don’t think Donald Trump believes anything. I don’t think he has any real convictions or principles. I think his instincts are second to none, his ability to read a crowd is masterful, he never delivers a prepared speech, he’s always vamping. He knows how to get people down in the mud with him where he thrives. He removes the veneer of respectability from everything and everyone he touches. He’s crafted a way of speaking that allows him to take no positions but speak strongly about things that he knows matters to people but he doesn’t care. He never has cared about anyone other than himself. And as soon as it was obvious JAN 6th got out of control and some of it could come back and bite him in the butt, he sold his people out so quickly it was almost entertaining to watch. I have no doubt in my mind that given the choice, he would make a deal where he gets immunity and every person who entered the capitol that day got life in prison. He would take that deal in a second.
I don’t trust the system and I believe that if it’s possible that they stole the election from Bernie Sanders in the primary I wouldn’t put it past them to steal the general from the Evil Incarnate Satan that is Donald Trump. The “By Any Means Necessary” movement on the left is alive and well and I can’t rule that out. I’ve not been convinced that’s what happened and I haven’t followed it or care to follow it closely enough to have a strong opinion one way or the other. I believe the system is corrupt to the core and voting is merely a sacrament that the ruling elite like us plebs to go through so as to manufacture consent to what they then “do in our name” as to make us feel like “we have a voice”, and because we choose our rulers, anything they choose to do is actually, by extension, ‘cause voting, something we individuals chose to do. When really it’s just we’re being ruled by a managerial state. The vast majority of the state never goes through an election cycle.
So was there fraud in this election? Assuredly. There’s fraud in every election. It’s more a matter of scale. Was it enough to overturn the results? That’s very difficult to know. But I think what the right is angry about is that they don’t feel their concerns were really taken seriously. The willingness of the Cathedral to run with the election stealing narrative in 2016 and 4 years later call 2020 the most secure election of our lifetime and unwilling to engage the concerns of half the country, especially during a pandemic where we voted differently than we have ever voted before, it’s just a hard pill for the right to swallow. I mean when you have a member for the central intelligence committee on tape getting jiggy with a Chinese spy and the media virtually ignores that as news, as a story, the right has a very easy time seeing how this game is played. I’m sorry, but in any honest journalistic organization… That’s news. But it doesn’t fit the narrative, so it’s deprioritized or ignored.
Were there agent provocateurs or nefarious agitators at the capital? I’d be surprised if there weren’t. It wouldn’t be the first time. The left and the right both do it. Apparently, there were some opposition folks who got arrested and some videos of this. The right sees this and they don’t see it reported on in the mainstream press because it ruins the narrative.
Why did this disruptive and destructive capitol event not get the “mostly peaceful protest” label? People died in BLM riots, people died at the capitol. For months, beamed to their screens, all summer, the right saw cities burn, businesses looted, people beaten. And these were described as mostly peaceful protests, not violent riots. After all, riots are the voice of the unheard, right? Only for some. Only for issues which fall on the 3×5 card of allowable opinion. The right sees how this game is played. Some on the left use the agent provocateurs to excuse BLM-protest-adjacent arson, looting, and violence. When the right uses this excuse, it’s dismissed immediately. The right sees how this game is played. And I share the concerns of police brutality and over-policing that many of the protesters this summer have. I’m positive the majority of the protesters were peaceful. It’s likely true that the smaller group of bad actors that committed violence against people and property don’t represent the movement as a whole. But the Cathedral’s unwillingness to call a spade a spade when it’s their side and then with absolute glee pounce upon the right and accuse them of the gravest riot-based depravity is plain to see. The double standard is glaringly obvious. Even to someone like me who doesn’t identify with team red or team blue.
These capital riots were so dumb. When I watch the videos I think they were honestly surprised they got inside so easily. What did they think was going to happen? They were going to get into the halls of power, and what? Get congress to install Donald Trump for another term? And then peacefully exit the building unaccosted and just go grab a Whopper at Wendy’s? Like that would be that? They won? Even if they intended to do harm to politicians they weren’t ready. Zip ties ain’t going to usher in the political change you want. Aren’t these guys supposed to be gun nuts? Where were the weapons? Where were the AR-15s? If this was a real coup wouldn’t they have needed the prearranged backing of the military to install a dictator with tanks in the streets? You know, like every other coup attempt ever on planet earth. Like the 90% of them coordinated by the CIA?
Did some nefarious forces allow the rioters to enter the capitol? The left loves to take advantage of a crisis and whether they allowed it to happen or not is irrelevant. The long-term detriments to our freedom will be felt for decades to come. If the rioters weren’t just acting with a mob mentality and decided to just do it in the moment, if this was premeditated, then whatever these jokers had in the pro column for their actions could never outweigh the cons column. You think the Patriot Act was an infringement on our constitutional rights? Buckle up, you ain’t seen nothing yet. And these Qtards are to blame. Trump is to blame. When Alex Freaking Jones is the voice of reason in the room, you know you’ve gone way off the reservation. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole Q thing is controlled opposition or a CIA program to create the pretext needed to finally do away with what remains of our freedoms.
Even if armed revolution (which the capital riots were not) is justified I cannot personally condone or participate in one. I can’t see how killing for political purposes is something that Jesus Christ would do. The Kingdom of God is the paramount concern of a Christian and the State is not the Kingdom of God. Christians should seek to bring change through peaceful means. Even if the state is acting violently we should be peacemakers. It is however morally justifiable to use force when defending oneself, family, and property whether from individual actors or the state. And again, the state is in a perpetual state of initiating aggression.
Trump is culpable for the riots.
Is Donald Trump accountable for the riots? He sure is accountable for raising the temperature, lying about what was always just going to happen tomorrow, just you wait, and leading useful idiots into believing the idea that there was always a plan, just keep waiting. Wait until you see what’s coming.
As soon as all 80-some court challenges were thrown out, as soon as the electoral college votes were counted this thing was done and dusted.
Perspective is important here though. As I’m sure many would say about the BLM riots– there were millions of protesters but only a few hundred arsonists, murders, and looters. It’s a mistake to lump everyone together and judge them all equally. Justice should be meted out individually not collectively.
Not me, but for those that still believe in Democracy, this is actually a good news story. In the end, despite the attack on the capitol. Democracy did prevail. The system did work. Legal cases were presented, the electoral college voted, and even the misguided insurgency of some Qtards failed to prevent the peaceful transition of power. They were back to work that night certifying the election.
However, Donald Trump had every 1st amendment and natural right to say what he said. And it’s just as true for him as it is for the left, and me, and you, and everyone else. However, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.
What Donald Trump represents
Part of being consistent in your principles is defending even those you despise and who think are evil.
I am not a fan or supporter of Donald Trump. Never have been.
There are, however, a few things I love about Trump.
- Before Donald Trump we weren’t really talking about the foolishness of endless wars. It’s such a tragedy that the anti-war left all but disappeared under the Obama administration. Look at this charismatic black guy, I mean, he can’t be a warmonger, right? And war is the most important thing because war deals in death. I care less about a potty-mouth if you are interested in ending the bombing and starvation of innocent women and children.
- I love that Trump didn’t start a new war, I hate how he didn’t end any. He was all talk on this one. Troop drawdowns. Anything he did was just symbolic. You can say he was resisted and folks didn’t follow his orders, but come on man, you’re the commander in chief. You say “I want a plan on my desk tomorrow at 8 AM how we’re out of Iraq in 30 days.” If that plan isn’t delivered or doesn’t get you out of Iraq in 30 days, you do what you were famous for as a reality TV star. You say “you’re fired” and you make the same request of the next guy. You do this until you’re talking to the cook in Camp Fallujah if you have to. He could have done this on day 1.
- People want to praise his peace deals with middle eastern countries and Israel but there was nothing of real substance there. And he didn’t do any favors for Palestine in moving the embassy to Jerusalem. That is probably the death knell of a two-state solution and we frankly have no business getting involved in enhancing Israel’s de facto apartheid state.
- I hate how he got us out of the Iran nuke deal. Obama really had a good one there and he canceled it purely out of spite and the Iranians would be fools to ever deal with us again.
- I hate how he’s raised tension with China and made trade between willing individuals more difficult and expensive.
- I hate how he promised to enter reproachment with Russia and then never did. Russia Gate is partly responsible for this. He was painted into a corner where any friendly overtures to Russia would have been viewed as “See! He’s Putin’s puppet! Putin’s puppet!” That’s very irresponsible political maneuvering for a country that has the ability to destroy the human race from the face of the planet with its bombs.
- I love how he makes the establishment types on both the left and right hysterical. He represents everything they hate, a rich, white, businessman who is unabashedly macho, braggadocious, unapologetic, and critical of the whole woke program. A hypocrite who calls out other hypocrites. A fake news machine that calls out fake news. He knows how to get people down in the muck with him. He got boy scout Marco Rubio making hand-size-to-phallus ratio implications on the debate stage! Because he knows how to ruthlessly own people and he doesn’t back down or apologize ever. People hate him so much they are often willing to sacrifice reason and consistency and in the process they just expose themselves as the hypocritical tyrants they are too. He whisked away Jeb Bush and Rand Paul with off-the-cuff one-liners. The right was tired of losing and the one thing they knew Donald Trump stood for was winning. And that’s all they cared about. Someone who didn’t look like or talk like a politician, one that said “Vote for me and you’re going to win.” They bought it. He sold them on his snake oil. And they got nothing. And all the left wants right now is to put the last 4 years down the memory hole.
- I love his criminal justice reform. I don’t care how he was getting it done. I don’t care if celebrities were wooing him to release from cages, nonviolent criminals who wanted to put certain plants and substances in their bodies. Too bad he didn’t have the principles to compel these decisions without being fawned upon but I like the result. The Fresh Start reform was a great piece of work for defanging the Drug War and ending the assault on the number one issue that has torn black families apart.
- I hate how he didn’t pardon Snowden, Assange, or Ross Ulbricht. Those could have been a huge blow to the establishment but he didn’t have the stones or the underlying convictions to compel such action.
- I thought Trump was supposed to be some great deal maker. I never saw any evidence in action for this. He’s a sham.
I blame Trump for his election defeat. Trump rarely has a plan. He basically called mail-in ballots icky and many of his supporters listened to him and didn’t use them. Probably many elderly people who didn’t feel safe going to the polls. That right there probably cost him the election. I would venture more so than any alleged fraud.
He had the opportunity of being the anti-lockdown president and he eventually tried to be that but it was too late. By declaring the state of emergency and asking for 15 days to slow the spread he gave every governor the cover they needed to lock down as hard or harder than communist China. I think if he had taken a principled stand on lockdowns from the beginning he’d be president right now. Instead, he has the inauspicious title of being a republican president who presided over and signed bills that make him the biggest spending president in the largest most tyrannical government in human history. So much for small government. Not a great look for the GOP.
As a Christian, it’s easy to condemn treatment of or speech about women that is unloving and disrespectful. It’s definitely not how Jesus would talk about women. But it doesn’t surprise me and I don’t think it’s some uniquely evil thing that’s never happened before in the history of presidents and it’s not uncommon talk among men trying to flex their machismo and sexual escapade credentials. The fact that such foul talk was captured on tape doesn’t impress me. This kind of behavior is the norm among immoral, power-hungry people who like to dominate and de-person others at the elevation of their own ego. By my estimate, this represents about 95% of all politicians. It doesn’t excuse it or make it right and OK, it just doesn’t add to the narrative that Trump is this uniquely evil devil-man compared to other politicians past and present. You know what’s more evil than bragging about grabbing pussies? Starving children to death in Yemen with your naval blockade just to placate the Saudis.
I have a similar feeling about all the claims that he is a racist and with stuff like the so-called “Muslim ban” and calling some other countries $%!&-hole countries. These just strike me as the typical corporate press talking points that they love to harp on to make sure it’s ingrained in our minds that this man is evil, evil to the core. And yes, he is, but not primarily for saying mean things. I’m not a mind reader so I don’t know if he truly considers other races inferior to his but the Muslim ban was more about restricting entrance to the United States from countries that are either not doing enough to control the spread of terrorism or are actively funding and supporting it. Now a better approach to fighting terrorism other than border control would be to stop playing god in the middle east fighting both sides of each war and creating the blowback and terrorists with our “insurgent math” actions. That’s better than just banning travel. Again, I am against the restriction of people’s movement. Freedom of movement and association are fundamental human rights.
Only states create these imaginary things called borders and then initiate violence against people who attempt to peacefully move about. Property can only be justifiably owned by individuals. The state cannot morally own property because it only does so through extortion and the threat of violence. I am anti-state, and so I’m anti-state-border. However, I think you can either have a welfare state or open borders, but not both. Combining the two creates the worst of both possible worlds. I am pro-private property which is the only just way to mediate the movement of people.
Are there $%!&-hole countries? Assuredly. Do they lack the rule of law? Are they governed by a dictator? Do they lack property rights and access to fair courts? Do they live in fear of violence at all times? Are they starving? If yes, that is a $%!&-hole country. I wouldn’t want to live there, you wouldn’t want to live there. It’s not nice or helpful to say so, it just isn’t the end-all-be-all definition of something that makes someone pure evil. Evil in politics is all around us and Donald Trump is just a major example of it.
Speech and its consequences
Where I think this conversation inevitably goes is discussions over free speech. And please God, please don’t insult my intelligence or yours with the statement that “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theatre.” Actually, you can yell fire in a crowded theatre. As matter of fact you should if the theatre is on fire, by God, you might be morally wrong if you didn’t yell fire in said crowded theatre. And if you did yell fire in a crowded theatre and there was in fact no fire, the theatre owner would be well within his private property rights to ban you from ever coming there again and the customers would thank you. If the theatre owner let people yell fire in a crowded theatre without consequence when there was no fire the market will happily take care of that for him and he would assuredly go out of business. Customers will choose to go to other theaters toot sweet.
The left’s narrative is now fixated on the control of misinformation and speech that supposedly incites violence. False speech is what caused this whole mess and we’ve got to prevent something like this from ever happening again, right? Well, what’s the solution? Some kind of truth panel run by the state? I’ve read too much history to hope this won’t devolve into tyrannical suppression of speech. 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 were supposed to be fictional warnings, not DIY dystopian instruction manuals.
What is hate speech? What is incitement to violence? Who decides? The answer for hate speech is more speech. To combat it and deconstruct it. Wage war not with fists and the power of the state but with persuasive arguments and reason. People have and always will call for violence, the worst perpetrator of this is usually the state and its war propaganda. But people have agency and free will. We substitute unelected bureaucracies with free will at our own peril. I see no example in the present day and throughout history of this working out well.
Is hateful speech wrong? Yes. As a Christian, it is super-easy to make this claim based on the example of Christ. We are not to say anything that tears others down or belittles the divine value in anyone. Christ died for all! Our goal for godly speech should be filled with love and encouragement, full of grace and forgiveness, making peace, and seeking reconciliation. Sadly, the left’s (and some on the right’s) goals for controlling speech are firmly rooted in a desire to rule and control others.
Calling someone a racist basically became the de facto label to dismiss people’s opinions and arguments until the term lost its original impact due to overuse and misapplication. It was also an imperfect term for the de-personing program in that it allowed people of color to be labeled racist. We can’t have that! People of color can’t be racist, they said. So they had to bake the evil color “white” directly into the bad person term itself. The language moved on to the term “white supremacy” to be the label of choice when one disagrees with another’s views or arguments and conveniently exempts non-whites from bad speech. The right sees how this game is played.
Are there Richard Spender, ethno-state, white-supremacist, violence-inciting, KKK-loving bigots out there. Sure! There always will be. Sin is in our nature. Those people should be shunned from polite society. But believe it or not, they have rights too.
The following podcast (and article) does more than I ever could defending free speech for bad, misled people and why that’s important. It references John Stuart Mill and David Hume’s extremely relevant teaching on the matter.
The reasons contained therein are why the narrative that has formed after the riots should concern us all deeply. The corporate press is trying to equate someone who voted for Trump in 2016 with one of the idiotic insurgents who stormed the capitol building with intent to harm as the exact same person. They are one in the same. There is no distinction. And this thinking, this speech, this “misinformation” (as the Cathedral decides), must be eradicated from our society. If the left thinks it can just call 74 million people domestic terrorists, thought criminals, and receive no negative blowback, it is deeply mistaken. It will not create the society both sides think they want.
Lying is wrong, but it is not aggression. Fraud is wrong, but it is not aggression. Unloving speech is wrong, but it is not aggression. Speech is not violence. Violence is violence. People have free moral agency and must be accountable for how they act, no matter what others say. People who constantly lie should be shunned and shamed. That’s why freedom of association is so important.
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.
I was raised to believe that even if I disagree with what you say I will defend to the death your right to say it and I expect you to do the same for me. And as a Christian, I support the right of a pornographer to publish voluntarily created explicit adult magazines because I expect the pornographer to protect my rights to print a Bible.
When Nietzsche remarked “God is Dead” it was less a declaration than an observation. And he accurately predicted that what would fill the void would give moral impetus to the blood-soaked totalitarian regimes of Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, Polpot’s Cambodia, and Maoist China. Over a hundred million people were sacrificed at the altar of building a better world through violence so that we could run these grand social experiments to test the virtue of authoritarian collectivism. And yet we have seemed to have learned nothing.
I believe people are hardwired to worship. Something. Anything. If it’s not God it will be a god. There is a void. It will be filled. Today that god is democracy. And the Cathedral is their priest class.
The Cathedral is a loose affiliation of the Pharisees, the arbiters of righteousness, virtue, and atonement in our postmodern, post-God society. They are the priest class of the Academy, The State, The Corporate Press, Big Tech, Big Pharma, The Military-Industrial Complex, The Twitterati Blue Check Marks, CEOs, and leadership of large corporations who use the power of the state to increase market share and profit. They let us know what to think, what to say, what to hashtag, what to change our profile pictures to, how to color our corporate logos, everything we must do to not run afoul of the social media and doxing lynch mob that will come after you if you stray outside of the orthodoxy. They put crosshairs on heretics who must be un-personed, relieved of their livelihood, and excised from polite society through cancel culture. They give us the rituals and Maoist struggle session opportunities we need to be right in this new religion. All must be sacrificed for democracy. They will tell you what must be sacrificed, by whom, how much, and when. If you follow their decrees you will be holy, pure, and spared. They will lead us to the better tomorrow, that is always just one more law away from perfection. Just one more tweak to your speech. They are the new religious class. The state is a cult to the false god democracy. There’s too much money and power involved for this class NOT to exist.
But democracy is the god that failed (read: Hans Herman Hoppe’s book by the same name). Just because two people vote to beat up the Third guy doesn’t make it right.
The term conspiracy theory was created by the CIA to discredit those who had started to expose their conniving. A conspiracy is simply a plan by a group of people to affect an outcome. Jimmy Carter’s campaign for president was a conspiracy, Primerica is a conspiracy to sell insurance, the founding of the United States was a conspiracy to found a new nation, my plan to get lucky with my wife this weekend is a conspiracy.
But a grand conspiracy theory is not required to explain what is happening right before our eyes. They’re not even hiding it anymore. Look at the Great Reset. This is not Bohemian Grove. This is not an Illuminati demonic child sacrifice, pedophile ring run in the back of a pizza shop. This is an out-in-the-open plan by our ruling betters who know what the program is and how to get there. The program is to do whatever it takes to replace individualistic liberty with collective authoritarianism. To make us sheep compliant, submissive, and easy to rule. For our own good. They’re doing mankind a favor here. Show a little gratitude.
When China joined the WTO they claimed to be practicing “Communism with Chinese Characteristics.” It now seems that America is on a path to model China and try to practice “Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics.” We don’t have a social credit score (yet), but if we did, how different would it look different from what we have now? Say the wrong thing, lose your social media profile, lose your business, lose your hosting, get banned, lose your job. How soon until it’s lose your property? Lose your ability to use the SWIFT network? Lose your right to a trial by a jury of your peers? Lose your ability to buy *insert basic human need here? This is a slow but accelerating totalitarianism deadset on the eradication of wrong think and dissent from the globalist agenda.
We don’t have state-controlled media today, but if we did would it look any different than what we have now? China has CCTV 1, CCTV 2, CCTV 3 and so forth. When I lived there I watched CCTV 9 because it was the all-English channel. All hailing the infallibility and virtue of the state, the ruling class, the common Chinese person’s betters, for the betterment of their lives. The internet is controlled through the Great Firewall. There is no YouTube, no Google. In 2015 there were 75,000 internet police scrubbing comments and handing out social credit score demerits to dissidents. Unallowable comments on social media can result in plainclothes police abducting you in a white van, never to be seen or heard from again. Off to the labor camp, dissident! Is this the society we want? We sure are acting like it. It’s already happening. They said build your own social media. They did. Then they banned it. Now dissidents must build their own app store, their own hosting. What’s next? Build your own internet? Build your own banking system? Build your own currency? There are laws on the books preventing most of that. But I actually have great hope here. My confidence is in entrepreneurs to create the decentralized communication platforms, networks, and means of exchange that the ruling elite will always be chasing to ban but never fully catching up. The desire for freedom is just too strong. And human ingenuity too great. The anti-globalist movement is global. Donald Trump was just a flash in the pan compared to the underlying movement. It’s not going away.
When I look back on the Occupy Wall Street movement I can only imagine how happy the big bankers are in how this has played out for them. You had a real movement that was saying “hey, this is a raw deal. Maybe there shouldn’t be these huge banks with so much wealth and influence who get bailed out whenever they screw up while we get hung out to dry. Privatizing the profits and socializing the losses.” And now they’re just being asked to hashtag, color a logo, and send some executives to diversity training. I think they’re thrilled. They really dodged a bullet there. They’re happy to throw whatever bones are demanded as long as it’s all just symbolic virtue signaling and no fundamental change to the game they have rigged in their very lucrative favor. No structural changes, no problem. Still allowed to be in an unholy alliance with the state to keep everyone’s pockets full? Good deal!
Maybe it never was, I don’t know I’ve only been alive since 1982, but the corporate press today is no longer engaged in journalism. It is no longer engaged in truth-seeking. It is 100% dedicated to narrative fabrication and spin. 2016 was a major shock to the ruling elite. How could this happen? This was not supposed to happen. They were the arbiters of influence and truth. They told the people who to vote for and they didn’t. It was Hillary’s turn!
Truth is an intangible good. There is a demand for it. Most people can smell BS. People want truth and they will look for it anywhere that seems to be communicating in good faith. The alternative media is here to stay and it continues to erode at the previously unassailable position the corporate press had. My dad always says when he was growing up there were only 3 channels. Walter Cronkite used to deliver the news every night and say “And that’s the way it is.” Now the amount of information available to people is staggering. This was brought about by disruptors such as YouTube, and Twitter, and Facebook. But now these young companies are actually part of the old guard, the establishment. The pace of innovation, technology, and change continues to accelerate exponentially and I think these big disruptor companies forgot how quickly they disrupted things and thus how quickly they can be disrupted. I think they’re asleep at the wheel thinking they can create a monopoly by getting regulation passed that bars smaller companies from entry and hegemonic challenge. Already innovations such as IPFS are under development to create a decentralized web and prevent gatekeepers from being the de facto arbiters of truth. Cryptocurrency directly threatens sovereign currencies and old traditional fiat banks. I’m not blackpilled on the current state of things. I’m more encouraged than ever. It’s a great time to be alive.
I see a fracturing of the 2 big parties into at least 4 parties: libertarian, conservative, democrat, and socialist. Giving people more clarity and choice of who they are voting for in their supposedly representative government.
The idea that Silence is complicity
I have to take on this dangerous and unhelpful idea. Silence is not complicity. You know what is complicity? Complicity. And if I am not complicit in something then I am not complicit in it.
When was the last time you spoke out about human trafficking? Child abuse? Terrorism? The drug war? Insert evil here.
How did you speak out about it? What channels did you use? Which audiences did you reach? To what extent did you voice your distaste? Was your rage adequate enough? Was your method effective? What came of it? What penance have you done for failing to speak out about the latest evil? You’re a father now and your daughter will ask you someday: Daddy, what did you say or do about female genital mutilation?
I think this is a phrase that is invoked by “the Cathedral” as a tactic used to work up the mob into a tizzy about the outrage of the week. If they can keep 2 teams of citizens frothing at the mouth and ready to fight each other, nothing serves their interests more in going unnoticed and unchallenged.
If you want to prevent the next Hitler you have to understand how Hitler came about.
Writ large what we are seeing play out is a struggle between authoritarian collectivism and individual liberty.
Germany — a failed state that committed suicide through ambitions of empire, disproportionally punished through the Treaty of Versaille and a charismatic leader who was pushing collectivism while scapegoating an entire race of people. Hellbent on creating a better tomorrow through the un-personing, imprisonment, eradication, and theft of their property.
It didn’t happen overnight and it was ushered in by normal, everyday people. People like you and me.
Beware: Authoritarian Totalitarianism can come from the Left and the Right
Here I will say I think it’s a tragedy that people are so fearful of what it will mean to their daily lives based on who wins power every 2 and 4 years. It really wasn’t supposed to be this way. Millions of Americans used to live in peace and prosperity without even knowing who the president was. Like the currently elected president. No idea. Doesn’t matter. I’ve got my life. I’ve got my family. I trade. I thrive. That’s it. The government’s reach doesn’t impact me or my daily life.
What happened to live and let live?
There’s this hubris among Americans that when we look at a Nazi Germany, a Maoist China, a Stalinist Russia we think “that could never happen here.” Why? Why not? Those were just people like you and me. They allowed themselves to be deceived and failed to resist the gradual frog-boiling of their society into authoritarian, collective totalitarian regimes. I am not convinced that can’t happen here and we fail to practice vigilance at our own peril.
It is possible for authoritarian, totalitarian, collectivist regimes to rise from both the left and right. I would caution you, as you see devils everywhere among your enemies, be cautious of all the angels you see on your side as well.
Decentralization and secession are the answer. If the states felt there was never a way to leave the union they would have never ratified the constitution. This was a key feature/requirement for the signatories. They just never would have joined if they knew there was no way out. Before you call me a Neoconfederate, of course, as a libertarian who believes “you own yourself” is a fundamental axiom, then slavery, the idea that you can own other people is abhorrent and wrong. The civil war was fought to resolve the problem of slavery. A problem that the founders could not solve and simultaneously form the original Union. Had they outlawed slavery they never would have formed the original union, the slave-owning states would have never joined. (probably a good thing). The world, first with William Wilberforce in England, had already begun the process of dismantling and outlawing the barbaric practice. It was only a matter of time before emancipation swept the hearts and minds of a largely God-fearing people. Christians were the fuel in the abolitionist tank. Instead, hundreds of thousands of Americans killed each other in brutal warfare for the Founder’s impatience, unwillingness, and laziness to form a union with slavery intact and Lincoln’s unwillingness to let wrongheaded people leave in peace. The union should have never been formed without resolving this key issue. Slavery was never right but secession was the right answer to prevent large-scale bloodshed. The north wouldn’t let the south out of the deal. So they used violence to impose their will on them. They would not let them leave. It’s time to stop imposing our will on others. No matter how righteous we may be or think we are or how evil we may think the other side is or actually is.
There are multiple countries in this country. There are multiple parties in our 2 old parties. It’s time for a divorce. What rule is there that says we all have to live like one another, have the same values and think the same way? This country is in a dysfunctional and abusive relationship. The only way this ends peacefully is if we agree to disagree and part in peace. It’s time for a divorce. Before there’s more violence.
Like all divorces, it will be messy, both sides will lose, we should have never gotten married, but it’s better than liberation via homicide.
I hope I’ve been able to paint a clearer picture of the principled thought-framework I use to judge every moral and political issue. With this in mind, I hope you can take any current event now and in the future and be able to discern my position on it. I hope, armed with this understanding, we don’t have to repeat this exercise where I need to clarify and justify my moral or political thinking in a way as to sustain our long-lasting and meaningful friendship. I do however always welcome friendly debate to help refine my thinking on these things. I’ve been wrong in positions I’ve held, before and during my progression in libertarian thought. I’m open to being wrong about this stuff if you want to try and help correct my thinking. Below is a list of links that helped me form my thinking and I’d love to review any of your sources that help inform your worldview. A belief unchallenged is not really a belief worth holding.
However, I am perfectly happy not convincing you of my points and you not convincing me of yours. There are millions of other people that I am engaged in trying to convince and I’m perfectly happy agreeing to disagree and remain the closest of friends.
I have the deepest love and respect for you Robert and I want nothing more than to continue to be the best of friends at all times.
What are my primary learning sources that have formed my world view (AKA how I unplugged from the matrix):
Zero Aggression Project — Bite-sized twitter-length, step-by-step, progressive, logical explanation of libertarian thinking
Mises.org – all the source texts of “the greats” of our movement, Mises, Rothbard, Hayek, Bastiat, Hoppe; tons of free resources, podcasts and countless articles of various topics with a focus on Austrian economics
Tom Woods – libertarian, his Liberty Classroom and podcast pulled me out of conservative hell, less focus on day to day issues, more on macro issues / principles
Dave Smith – libertarian, primarily his podcast called “Part of the Problem”, focuses more on the day to day news cycle
Libertarian Christian Institute – I believe libertarianism is the political philosophy most compatible for Christ followers. I finally found a home here and helped create the latest book Faith Seeking Freedom.
Scott Horton / Antiwar.com – all his podcast appearances, how I’ve formed my thinking about the use of state violence. His most recent “Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism” is a must watch
Jimmy Dore – to understand what a left winger is thinking, obviously I don’t agree with everything
Tim Pool – to understand what a centrist is thinking, obviously I don’t agree with everything
Ben Shapiro – to understand what a right winger is thinking, obviously I don’t agree with everything
Joe Rogan – to hear engaging long form conversations from a spectrum of beliefs, no specific political bent, real people having very interesting, long conversations that allow ideas to really breathe (contrasted with the 5-minute 5-head talking head shouting and interrupting matches that seems to pass for discussion today on the major news networks). Civil, curious, and fun.
Paul Joseph Watson – a non-American’s view of what’s happening in America and globally with a greater focus on wokeism and culture
CNN / BBC – to understand what the mainstream media / corporate press is thinking
Freedom Toons – a libertarian-leaning, tongue in cheek look at politics through short cartoons
Backwordz – Eric July puts libertarian thought to some pretty heavy music. Start with their album “Veracity”
Libertarian Mises Caucus – How I am being politically active to make the libertarian party actually a good standard bearer of the libertarian movement
Thank goodness this approach worked. Robert took copious notes as I read and he countered and pushed back on some points but overall not only was he satisfied and agreed to return to our group but also felt challenged to expand his thinking. He said that he doesn’t have his worldview so well thought out that he could write something like this piece. I was encouraged when he said I know what I believe and can articulate it so well that I could have my own podcast. I had never written anything like this before I found it cathartic and validating that I was able to form my thoughts in a way that was compelling to a good friend who I believe has been brutally indoctrinated into the sad, empty, thinking of the age. Ultimately what motivated this piece was love.
We all have a small circle of friends with whom we have “earned the right” to be honest. Please take heart and speak the truth in love to your sphere of influence. These people need to be set free from the bondage and lies they are inundated with daily. Do not shirk from the challenge. Be the one improved unit and seek to replicate yourself. Not through meaningless, faceless, social media one-liners but through compelling, logical, principled, loving reason and speech. After all, we are called to freedom and should call others out of darkness – both spiritual and mental.