Serve and Protect or Harass and Collect?

serve and protect, harass and collect, cartoon, political cartoon, police, illustration, government

helpus2Whatever happened to the police motto of “Serve and Protect”?  With all the problems and negativity surrounding the police, is it really true what some are saying in regards to officers simply out to harass and collect? If you have any thoughts on police in the news, police misbehavior, misuse of authority, government agents or any other issue related to this cartoon, let us know in the comments section!

Meanwhile, if you’d like to get in the fun, then be sure to check out our libertarian artists page for our artist interviews and artwork from a variety of different artists in our community! You can also check out Libertopia’s own artwork page here (which has a ton of political cartoons, illustrations, memes, infographics and more), or download our 60 page art ebook at Libertopia: Collection One!


Source: Libertopia Cartoon

The Rise of Trump–Good for Libertarianism?

This morning I was watching Reason Magazine’s recent interview with Las Vegas magician–and outspoken libertarian–Penn Jillette. The interview covered lots of topics including the current electoral climate, weight loss, and Gary Johnson.

The topic that most piqued my interest was Jillette’s assertion that the rise of Trump–and the subsequent fracturing of the Republican Party–is the best thing that ever happened for the Libertarian movement. This sentiment has been echoed across the broader, more mainstream libertarian movement since Bernie Sanders sold out and Gary Johnson began to  garner significant media attention.

Although I have tremendous respect for Penn Jillette (I am a big fan of his show Bullshit!) I have to disagree here.

Recently, the Libertarian Party (LP) has experienced an explosion of growth, with the growth, it has also experienced significant dilution for mass-appeal.

It is a GREAT thing that the message of liberty is getting so much attention at this time–but we must keep in mind that the LP is supposed to be the party of principle. We have our own unique message that is NOT “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.” We should not apologize for that.

Personally, I do not even believe that LP’s main main focus should be winning elections. Dr. Mary Ruart (candidate for the LP nomination) makes a great case for this point in episode 530 at [24:35] of the Tom Wood’s Show. Although it is great to get party votes from outside the LP, our main focus should be issue-based activism.

Since most of us are libertarians, I won’t explain the process of how politicians and government are easily corrupted. With this in mind, why do libertarians think that once we get “Our Guy” into office, our problems will be solved? The reality is, even if we get “Our Guy” into office, he will turn into “That Guy.”

Remember, the problems with government are inherent to government. They cannot be fixed unless, to loosely quote Penn Jillette: “Politicians [The President] should have so little power that it doesn’t matter who they are instead of having so much power that it doesn’t matter who they are.”

Before becoming drunk with power over all this new media attention (don’t worry, it is unique to this election cycle), don’t be a Bernie Sanders and sell us all out to the biggest voting demographic.

Thanks for reading, and if you think I’m wrong, let’s talk about it! I had this conversation a few times at Freedom Fest.

Have a great weekend.

 

 

Source: Liberty Weekly

Pure Economic Damages, Pollution, and Tort Law

The late days of summer have arrived and now that my wedding and the honeymoon are over, I have spent the last week preparing for my second year of law school. I have to make some apologies for not keeping some twitter promises that I made in terms of dropping articles about Pokemon Go and Star Trek, but things kind of crept up on me, and school prep became a little more important.

Ultimately, I have decided to turn this website into a bit of a legal blog, where I will talk about issues of liberty and libertarianism that I come across in my studies. That way, I will be able to re-hash my classes, practice some light legal writing, and be an advocate for liberty all at the same time. I would just like to stress however, that nothing that I write here should remotely be taken as legal advice.

Today in my advanced torts class we started the semester by talking about pure economic damages in tort actions. In more basic terms, this refers to plaintiffs who seek profits that were lost as a result of tortuous actions taken by the defendant.

As a general rule (with some exceptions), courts do not allow recovery of pure economic damages, because they are speculative in nature and open the floodgates to frivolous claims (which I will elaborate on later).

A classic example of this type of case is Rardin v. T & D Machine Handling, Inc., 890 F.2d 24 (1989).

In this case, the plaintiff, a printing business, bought a new press from Whitacre-Sunbelt, Inc, who contracted with T & D to ship the new press to Rardin. During the shipping process, T & D acted negligently and damaged the press and as a result, Rardin lost business. Because T & D acted negligently, Rardin sued for lost profits and lost.

The court stated that there was no way for T & D to know what scope of losses that Rardin would face if they were to damage the printing press, and therefore T & D did not owe a duty to Rardin (even though they may have owed a contractual duty to Whitacre).

From a libertarian point of view, this makes sense. It is not the role of the courts to protect businesses from the inherent risks they take in conducting commerce with other businesses. If Whitacre were to ship their own printing presses and failed in that respect, it would be a different story, because the court would simply be enforcing the voluntary contract they made with Rardin. Additionally, Rardin could have mitigated the risk to their business by having a spare printer around or created a contractual provision with Whitacre to account for third party negligence.

This kind of reasoning was drawn over to another case: State of Louisiana, Ex Rel. Guste v. M/V Testbank, 752 F.2d 1019 (1985). In this case, two barges on the Mississippi River collided while transporting hazardous materials. As a result, twelve tons of pentachlorophenol (PCP) were spilled into the river. The collision resulted in the filing of 41 lawsuits, of which the immediate case was only one.

In this case, the fishermen who operated within the affected area brought suit against the barge company, seeking profits they lost on account of the wildlife population being destroyed.

In reading this case, my knee-jerk reaction was to impose unlimited liability upon the defendants for their negligent action in allowing the barges to collide. This reasoning came about from my general libertarian knowledge that the government allows corporations to pollute, specifically by passing legislation that leads to increasingly risky business operation and shielding private actors from liability. Also that government itself is, in fact, the largest polluter out there. These opinions are discussed in this transcript of Ron Paul’s Liberty Report.

However, after having class, I agree that unlimited liability is completely unrealistic in terms of pure economic damages. From a legal point of view, the specific consequences to the fishermen of the chemical spill were not foreseeable to the defendant at the time of the spill. Additionally, if we allowed the fishermen recovery of lost profits for the spill, where would the liability end? Would we allow restaurants in Saint Paul, MN to recover because their shipment of shrimp was late?

In reality, the only prudent solution to fighting pollution of this nature is to–surprise, surprise–allow private ownership of waterways and to remove the government’s 134 million dollar cap on liability for environmental disasters. That way, any kind of liability can be justified through good old-fashioned private nuisance and breach of contract claims (to name a few). These ideas are elaborated a bit in this excerpt from Rothbard’s For a New Liberty. Go check it out.

All in all, it is good to be back in the swing of things and to return to normal life. I hope that I haven’t completely lost my readership in the past month that I’ve been out!

As always, thanks for reading. I hope to be posting at least once a week, but seeing as law school is a constant assault of statist propaganda, I will have a lot of things to write about.

Once again, do not somehow take any of this as legal advice. It’s not.

 

Source: Liberty Weekly

Cartoon: A Foul Source!

foulWith this cartoon, I really wanted to visually communicate the idea that even though some people might be really good at selling you on whatever it is they want from you (like a politician, a salesperson or even someone you might be in a relationship with), sometimes they themselves aren’t so great. butthead, cartoon, libertarian, poisonous relationship, Narcissistic, political, windbag, presidential election, editorial cartoon, illustration, gif, animatedMaybe even a foul source! So that’s why this individual has a harp (which represents pretty sounds) sticking out of their…uh…”face”. Hmm…maybe that’s what they mean by butthead? Note: Animated version at left! Do you have any thoughts regarding poisonous relationships, corrupt politicians (regardless of party affiliation), political windbags, the presidential election, nonpartisan establishment media or even narcissistic movie stars? Let us know!

Want to get in on the fun? Be sure to check out our libertarian artists page for our artist interviews and artwork from a variety of different artists in our community! You can also check out Libertopia’s own artwork page here, or download our 60 page art ebook at Libertopia: Collection One!


Source: Libertopia Cartoon

Critiquing Black Lives Matter’s policy proposals…

Give us free!
Give us free!

 

After years of protests, vigils, riots, meetings, seminars, many people would ask the Black Lives Matter group “What do you want?! What are your demands?”

I often found myself asking this also. I sympathized with Black Lives Matter in its initial stages. They were calling attention to something I felt strongly about, which is the abuse of power by law enforcement, particularly in minority communities. Growing up in an urban city I’ve seen all too often how police conduct themselves. Violence is a go-to tool, and they are viewed by the citizens more as an occupying force, rather than a public service. Police are most people’s first and most frequent interaction with the State, and for most, especially minorities, it’s mostly a negative one as noted in a recent study:

“They (African-Americans)  are more likely to be touched, handcuffed, pushed to the ground or pepper-sprayed by a police officer, even after accounting for how, where and when they encounter the police.”

Yet, that same study also comes to the conclusion that blacks are NOT more likely to be shot by police than whites, even adjusting for population. While this dilutes BLM’s narrative a bit, there is still an issue of law enforcement and how they interact with communities, particularly ones consisting of minorities and the poor.

Tired of hearing “What are your demands?”, over 100 Black Live Matter chapters and activist groups from around the country came together to submit their proposal. This week they’ve released a comprehensive policy proposal called “A Vision for Black Lives,” described as “an articulation of our collective aspirations” (that word collective should give you a hint about the proposal writers’ leanings).

It’s well known that BLM, from an organizational mission standpoint, is a left wing activist group at its core, as has been many black activist groups over the last 75 years. I wanted to take the time to view their proposals and apply my libertarian principles to point out the problems with these proposals.

While they have broken their proposals down in segments of “Demands”, such as “End the War of Black People” or “Reparations”, I will take a look at their demand for “Economic Justice” and the specific proposals within.

Economic Justice?

BLM’s Proposal:

“A progressive restructuring of tax codes at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure a radical and sustainable redistribution of wealth.”

Looking through this proposal, it’s your typical “Tax the greedy rich more and redistribute it to the poor”, but this begs the question, what makes them think this will help blacks? The wealthy (people earning over $250,000) already pay 55% of income taxes in the U.S. , how has that improved blacks lives?

“Increase taxes on capital to the point where they are higher than taxes on labor, as wealth inequality is greater than income inequality.”

How does taxing capital help black lives? Urban areas are already suffering from economic despair, black unemployment is already over double the national average, yet BLM believes raising taxes on gains from investment would somehow make blacks better off?  Those gains are the reward for taking the risk of investing in something that very well might not pay off. Investment eventually leads to growth of business capital, allowing research and development, production, growth of employment opportunities, higher wages and a prospering economy. Raising taxes discourage that or forces money to flee to safer assets. As far as wealth inequality, typically those in the top 10%  gain their wealth through decades of savings and attaining assets. Your typical retiree who has saved or maintained a IRA and owns their home will be in the top 10%. Tax them too? What BLM should want is to attract investment into minority communities, and take part in investment themselves, not punish it.

“Increase taxes on private wealth and corporate income and wealth.”

See above response.

“Tax policy is so regressive that these solutions will particularly benefit the lowest income families, which are disproportionately single Black women with children. “

Well, what also doesn’t help is that 71% of black children are being born to single parents. Yet, maybe BLM doesn’t care about that since, according to one of their “guiding principles” on their official website “We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure…”

“The right for workers to organize in public and private sectors especially in “On Demand Economy” jobs.”

“On Demand Economy” jobs also refers to “Access economy” or “Peer to Peer economy” services such as Uber, Lyft, AirBnB, etc. These companies are at the forefront of the free market adapting to an ever changing market place, using digital tools, the world-wide network, and mobile connectivity to connect consumers with providers.  I guess BLM would want employees to unionize and squeeze these young, growing companies. While organizing is a right of every worker, forcing those who do not want to join a union via coercion and violence should not be allowed. What would unionizing do to the blacks already working for these companies when they go out of business, or their growth in inevitably stunted due to outrageous worker demands or work stoppages? Unions were once used to prevent blacks from under bidding white workers in the early 20th century. Later, unions were dominant in majority black Detroit, where has that gotten them?

Yep, that's just what Detroit needs....more unions.
Yep, that’s just what Detroit needs….more unions.

 

“The U.S. should initiate executive action and congressional legislation to financially support the development of cooperatives, land trusts and other alternative institutions by expanding access to private financing, individual donations, and technical assistance.”

Basically, BLM wants wealthy private individuals, businesses, and non-profits to support development of co-ops, land purchase, and “alternative institutions.” Yet, they just said they want to raise taxes on the rich, capital gains income, and wealthy corporations. How does that help? Their solution to this is a “tax measure that gives individuals a deduction of 125 percent on federal income tax for investment in cooperatives.” So, they want to raise taxes on the rich, then create a loop hole that could possibly funnel money to    cooperatives and alternative institutions (whatever that is).”  Their theory is “Worker cooperatives and community land trusts would provide people with a range of job and housing opportunities while also ensuring their involvement in decision making.”

OK. All of this sounds fine, but why tinkier with the tax code to add more loop holes? It’s funny that another one of their proposals is to “Eliminate all corporate loopholes.”  How about we lower or abolish as many taxes and regulations as possible?

“Federal and state job programs that specifically target the most economically marginalized Black people, and compensation for those involved in the care economy. Job programs must provide a living wage and encourage support for local workers centers, unions, and Black-owned businesses which are accountable to the community.”

Ah, jobs programs. Surely this hasn’t been tried before (is there a sarcasm font?). Lets look at Job Corps, a program created under the Great Society legislation back in the 60’s and still heavily funded to this day. This was a jobs program meant to help disadvantaged youth and the poor. How has it done? According to the Heritage Foundation:

For a federal taxpayer investment of $25,000 per Job Corps participant,[4] the 2008 outcome study found:

  • Compared to non-participants, Job Corp participants were less likely to earn a high school diploma (7.5 percent versus 5.3 percent);[5]

  • Compared to non-participants, Job Corp participants were no more likely to attend or complete college;[6]

  • Four years after participating in the evaluation, the average weekly earnings of Job Corps participants was $22 more than the average weekly earnings of the control group;[7]

  • Employed Job Corps participants earned $0.22 more in hourly wages compared to employed control group members.[8]

22 Cents more than a non-member?! And this is costing U.S. Tax payers 1.5 Billion dollars a year. I guess BLM’s response would be we aren’t spending enough. Maybe, just maybe, government jobs programs don’t work. Sure, there might be a few people who benefit, but at what cost? Every year, every mayor, councilmen, congressmen, senator, or presidential candidate tells poor blacks “I will bring more jobs programs to the community!”

NO MORE JOBS PROGRAMS!

In today’s age, you can literally learn almost anything for barely nothing. An unimaginable amount of information is at your fingertips. All it takes is self motivation and drive. You can have the most well-funded jobs program in history, but if the participants don’t have the drive to succeed, they will not. What we need to look at is what is causing that despair? BLM is trying to address the symptoms of the problems (and not doing a good job of it judging from these proposals), but not attack the root of the problem. What is the root of the problem? Don’t tell me slavery, systemic racism, or anything like that. At the end of the day, the 44 million blacks in this country are all individuals, capable of making decisions.

BLM should be working on restoring the black family unit (something that once existed despite the ravages of slavery). They should be addressing why so many blacks aren’t seeking higher education even though it is more accessible than anytime time in history. Or how about bring peace to our communities that are torn apart by violence? How about setting goals for excellence instead of mediocrity? How about promoting entrepreneurship, free market economics, innovation in delivering goods and services to and for our communities?

“What are your demands?”

I liked Black Lives Matter more before they answered that question.

 

Ryan

 

 

 

 

Source: The Afro Libertarian

Expressions of Liberty: Street Artist BINES

libertopia, lewis liberman, bines49, sticker, street art, liberty, peace

Note: The above is my attempt – from one artist to another – to pay a little respect to the work of BINES (a liberty-minded Philadelphia Street Artist). In this piece, I drew the iconic Bines character and Lewis Liberman giving each other a thumbs up, along with the message “Peace and Liberty!”. The text of “Libertopia and Bines” is also on the sticker.

Bines, street art, libertyI recently contacted the street artist known as BINES in regards to the extremely timely “Commentary on Political Atmosphere” (at left – click to enlarge), which they shared on Instagram recently. After receiving permission from this talented artist to post about their work, I found it pretty tough to pick just a handful of examples – as there’s a vast array of Bines art pieces that can be seen throughout Philadelphia. Some of them utilize a strong message of liberty and incorporate such personalities as Adam Kokesh, Rand Paul, Vermin Supreme or Bob Ross, while others are simply designed to add a little bit of individual artistry to a blank wall or abandoned space. Either way, as a fellow artist, I couldn’t help but be encouraged by someone using their talent to not only share something positive with their community – but also sometimes speak a very thoughtful message about some of the crucial issues facing people today.

Bines49, liberty IndependenceAnother piece of art that I thought really stood out is the commissioned work, “Independence Vs. Present” (at left – click to enlarge). I think it really leaves the viewer with a lot of important things to consider. In regards to this work, Bines  writes that, “It is really important to appreciate the founding fathers who had such revolutionary visions and bold action in the creation of our area! However we must remember the true roots of American history…those of civil disobedience against unjust regimes. And even though the current republic of this land might think otherwise…it still remains the duty of Americans to follow Moral Law even if it conflicts with arbitrary things ‘politicians’ write down on paper.”

bines3Lastly, I thought this was another great piece of Bines street art that communicates a relevant taxation is theft message that a lot of people are sure to appreciate (at left – click to enlarge). Employing the eye-catching character designs that Bines is known for, the piece states that, “Well, what happens when you don’t pay taxes? You get a fine? Okay, and if you don’t pay the fine? Men with guns come and take you away, even though you are acting peacefully and not hurting anyone. Basically using force against people who are acting peacefully does not seem just does it? Wouldn’t it be better to only pay your community voluntary without threat of force for services?”

To see more of Bines and their impressive array of amazing work, check out the Instagram page @bines49. Also don’t miss this great interview, Philly Street Art Interview: Bines.

Curious to learn more? Want to get in on the fun? Let us know if you’re an artist or creative who would like to be featured in an interview, or have your artwork displayed on our site! Also, be sure to check out our libertarian artists page for our artist interviews and artwork from a variety of different artists in our diverse community! You can also check out Libertopia’s own artwork page here, or download our 60 page art ebook at Libertopia: Collection One!


Source: Libertopia Cartoon