It is foolish to believe that we can achieve personal freedom as long as we have political systems in place that effectively now only represent the interests of the wealthy and big business. Neither of our two major political parties or minor third parties like the Greens actually favor personal freedom to any degree. Only the Libertarian Party can lay claim here to being for personal freedom. Unfortunately libertarians have never addressed the issue of “how” we can achieve a truly representative political system. Nor has the party considered the practically of its ideas so far as actually being able to solve our problems… Selfishness is not a virtue, and allowing large numbers to remain in “poverty” generation after generation only makes for future trouble. For this reason, support of the concept of the “Basic Income” is necessary along with replacement of our present tax systems by a financial transaction tax makes a great deal of sense. Certainly as a complete replacement for all of our present day “entitlements” such as Social Security, Disability, Social Security Supplementary Income, Unemployment compensation, Workman’s compensation, the Earned Income Tax Credit, Food stamps, and so forth. The issue of low income housing is best solved by altering our zoning and building codes to allow actually affordable homes. This will require political changes on the state and local government levels. Libertarians need to start looking at these levels of government just as much as with the federal level.
There is only one form of truly representative government. The Greeks of Classical Athens discovered it 2600 years ago. They had discovered as we have that when you have elections, that the people most likely to get elected are those who have the backing of the rich and powerful. Because only the rich and powerful have the economic means to finance expensive campaigns for political office. Without that sort of money, no candidate stands a chance of being elected. And thanks to the Supreme Court and its decisions, there are now no longer any limits to the amount of money that can be poured into a political campaign. This of course invites a great deal of political corruption in that our representatives are in truth “owned” by those who donated the money for their political campaigns. The Roman Republic had the same problem, and unfortunately we’re heading in the same direction.
Why did our “Founding Fathers” pick the Roman Republic as an example to emulate? One reason appears to be that they favored a political system that “protected” wealth and private property from the “people”. Self interest appears to have been deciding factor. This is also “why” the right to vote was now restricted to those of “means”. The ordinary working man didn’t have a right to vote. Women didn’t have a right to vote. Slaves were counted as 3/5’s of a person for the census that determined the number of representatives in the House of Representatives. Senators were selected by state governments, instead of by popular election. The electoral college could override the popular vote. These are all the earmarks of an oligarchy, not a society that believes every citizen should be represented! This serious flaw in our political system is now one of the major reasons that we have the problems that we do today, as it is to the interest of the rich and powerful to seize control of government so that the government acts in their own interests, not that of the people!
However, there is a solution: Demarchy. Representation by lottery instead of elections. Effectively a cross section of the American citizens is picked by random selection to be representatives, much as we select jurors. Presently we have a Congress whose members have an average net worth of one million dollars. You can guess “who” they really do now actually represent… It certainly isn’t the American people any more. More likely the rich and powerful, big corporations, the “special interests” whose lobbyists now number in the tens of thousands. It no longer is “our government”, but rule by those who control vast sums of money. This is likely the reason we are effectively now living in the Second Great Depression. Our labor has now become so “cheap” that work that used to be sent to China is now kept here. It is now cheaper for Apple to have its computers assembled here. The Germans are assembling cars here because our workers are less expensive than Germans workers back in Germany! The American auto worker in non-union assembly plants is now economically “competitive” with auto workers in the rest of the developed world.
The question does arise as to how well representatives in a Demarchy would accept libertarian ideas? Going by public opinion polls, the American people favor an end to the War on Drugs. They favor “single payer” health care over the private health insurance system we now have. The problems with this system in other countries are due mainly to a shortage of specialists created here by limiting the number of specialists relative to the number of primary care doctors. Whereas in the US we now have a surplus of specialists and a shortage of primary care doctors. So we have longer waiting times to see a primary care doctor than we do a specialist. Since primary care doctors are adequate for dealing with most medical problems, it would make more sense to have more of them even if we had fewer specialists, which is likely now the reason that other countries have done as they have. However, elimination of prescription laws and moving to a patient controlled health care system (the opposite of what we have now) would solve the shortage of primary care physicians in any case. The high cost of American health care is driven to a great degree by the private health insurance system, which profits from denying claims, thus creating a problem for doctors in getting paid in a reasonable time. I might note however that in France, the patient pays the doctor’s fee, and then collects from the non-profit regulated insurers that forms the backbone of France’s so called “socialized medicine”. Because of this the physician’s fee is considerably less because the doctor is paid at the time of service and doesn’t have to sit and wait for an insurance company for payment. It would be simple enough to do the same thing here in the US, although our insurance system is “for profit” while that of France is not. Naturally without prescription laws patients are in charge of their own health care to a far greater degree than what exists anywhere in the developed world. The concept of having the patient in control of his or her health care makes a lot of sense, even if it horrifies the medical profession because it changes the relationship between the doctor and patient to one of contractor to client. Contractors compete for clients, whereas doctors do not today compete for patients. A truly “competitive” health care system would be far less expensive than the professional monopoly we now have!
Of course we can expect that those who profit off the existing system will fight to preserve their advantages over the rest of us. Certainly both the Democrats and the Republicans would be opposed to a political system where political parties no longer existed. One where the amount of money you had didn’t permit you to “bend” the government to your wishes. Then there are the “special interests” who while a minority of the population, seek to force the rest of us to follow their wishes. In effect they violate the basic libertarian principle of rejecting the use of force to make people do what we might want. The American religious fundamentalists are in their thinking little different from their counterparts in the Middle East. The only difference is that as yet they don’t have the means as yet to carry out their wishes. Then there are the Greens, who are in some cases seem as fanatical as anyone. Is
“global warming” as serious a problem as the Greens seem to think? I’m doubtful of that! In any case there does seem to now be technological solutions for these problems. Power supplied by thorium reactors, far safer than the uranium reactors now in use as a way to generate electricity. There is also geothermic, which draws upon the Earth’s own heat. So the use of fossil fuels can be considerably reduced from today’s level. Diesel serial hybrid cars that achieve a level of fuel efficiency even beyond that of gasoline powered hybrids. Even better is the Stirling engine powered serial hybrid capable of using almost any sort of “fuel”. Exhaust emissions of a Stirling engine are lower than any other type of engine…