By Mike Tront

Beltway libertarianism, or plain vanilla libertarianism (as Tom Woods puts it) often gets a bad rap among many in the libertarian community.  Organizations like the Cato Institute, Reason Magazine, and even the Libertarian Party itself get accused of not being libertarian enough.  Being too centrist.  Pandering to people in power.  Or just flat out not hating government enough.

Recently this disdain for beltway libertarian organizations is illustrated in Episode 870 of the Tom Woods Show.  Tom and his guest Lew Rockwell, of lewrockwell.com, wondered why “plain vanilla” libertarian websites are not considered fake news while Tom’s and Lew’s websites are.  They are referencing a list of websites compiled by a professor and her class from Merrimack College.  This list displays a number of news sites and labels these sites based on their level of bias and fakeness.  This list has been out for months, but it is back in the news now that the Harvard Library put out a guide on how to identify fake news, and linked to this list as a handy reference.

On this list, tomwoods.com and lewrockwell.com aren’t actually labeled “fake news”, they are labeled “unreliable”.  “Unreliable” meaning:

“Sources that may be reliable but whose contents require further verification or to be read in conjunction with other sources.”

Not as bad of a distinction as the “fake news” sites, but still ridiculous that they’re even on this list to begin with.  Tom and Lew don’t claim to be news organizations and they simply offer quality, consistent, truthful libertarian content.

Also on the list is The Cato Institute.  Cato is a mainstream, Washington D.C. based think tank that offers libertarian leaning solutions in government.  They generally strive for limited government policies, but fall far short of the “tear it all down” type of solutions that many of us desire to see.  Think of them as the Gary Johnson of the think tank world.  Not surprisingly, Cato is labeled “Credible” on this fake news list.  “Credible”, according to this list, means:

“Sources that circulate news and information in a manner consistent with traditional and ethical practices in journalism”.

This leads to a discussion between Woods and Rockwell, in the above mentioned Podcast, about why “plain vanilla” libertarian organizations aren’t feared by the mainstream like Woods and Rockwell are.  Rockwell states:

“These people are not exactly a threat to the regime.  In fact, they’re a part of the regime.  They play their role, just as [George] Soros plays his role with another hat on, but that’s what’s wrong with plain vanilla libertarianism”

Before I go on, I’d like to say that I have nothing but love and respect for Tom Woods and Lew Rockwell.  These guys do more for the advancement of libertarianism on a slow Tuesday than most of us will do our entire lives!  Hell, I wouldn’t have even known about this conversation if I wasn’t a Tom Woods listener!  However, no two libertarians agree with each other 100%.  When Lew and Tom downplay the importance that beltway libertarians have in the movement, I’ll wholeheartedly disagree.

My Path

Most of us aren’t born libertarians.  From the time that we’re conscience of the outside world we’re taught from schools, parents, religion, and media that government is a positive force in our life.  Everything we know and love is either given to us by government, or protected by government from the scary bad guys.  At some point, however, we libertarians start to doubt this narrative.

Once we begin to question this narrative, especially after decades of conditioning, it’s important to have many different resources we can use to move us along the path to libertarianism.  Not all of us are able or willing to jump in head first.

I don’t exactly remember what lead me to discover libertarianism.  My earliest memories were in High School. For some reason I stumbled upon Harry Browne’s campaign website for President in 2000.  I also remember being in a debate class in High School, and for some reason only one resource seemed to line up with my personal opinion on the subject I was debating.  It was the Cato Institute.  In that class, they would give you a resolution and lists of resources to use for your arguments.  You could only use arguments and stats that were acquired from any number of credible resources that were provided.  Cato was one of them.

I don’t remember if Harry Browne and the Libertarian Party came first, or discovering The Cato Institute came first, but once I started down this rabbit hole it was a done deal.  I was a living example of the old libertarian joke:  “What’s the difference between a libertarian and an anarchist?  About 6 months!”

Beltway Libertarianism IS a Threat

Lew Rockwell says these groups aren’t a threat to the regime.  In and of themselves, he is right.  They aren’t trying to tear it all down.  For the most part, they provide seemingly practical solutions to make government run more efficient and at a much lower cost to the taxpayers.  However, they also cast doubt on the necessity of government involvement in many aspects of our lives, both economically and socially.

While every other think tank and political organization is promising to use the enormous power of government to keep you safe and give you things, “plain vanilla” libertarians are the only people in Washington actually using the existing framework of government to get the message of smaller government out to the masses.

You and I both know that they have no shot at limiting government.  We also know that their message is often watered down and within the boundaries of political correctness.  However, it’s exactly because of this politically correct and watered down message that they’re considered “credible” and not scary by the establishment.  This gives them one important advantage and one important role in our movement.

Lao Tzu said “A Journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”  The “plain vanilla” libertarians are the first step.  If this politically correct and credible first step weren’t available, many of us would never have gone down the libertarian path at all.  In this respect, “plain vanilla” libertarian organizations could be one of the most important prongs in the fight for a libertarian world.  Without these mainstream organizations, I imagine many current listeners and readers would have never even discovered Tom Woods or Lew Rockwell.

Just like how some people consider marijuana a “gateway” drug, one where if someone consumes it they become more likely to consume more dangerous drugs, mainstream libertarian organizations are the gateway to the Tom Woods’, Lew Rockwell’s, and every other truly anti-state organization and person in the movement.  With that in mind, “plain vanilla libertarianism” is definitely a threat to the establishment.

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By Mike Tront

Last year, President Obama’s administration issued guidance to public schools that said they must allow students to use the bathroom with the gender they identify with, regardless of their actual sex.

This year, the Trump administration reversed that order.  Now states and localities will be deciding what their transgender bathroom policies will be.

For libertarians, this is a complicated issue.  One the one hand, if there is to be a government, we’d like it to be as decentralized as possible.  So there’s definitely an argument in favor of state’s rights.  However, this particular issue deals with public property.  Since it’s public property, partially funded with federal dollars and overseen by a federal department, there’s an argument that the federal government has a duty to accommodate the needs of transgender students.

What should be the libertarian solution?  To paraphrase an old saying, “If you ask two libertarians their opinion on something, you’ll get three answers!” That quote couldn’t be more appropriate here.  Libertarians may argue over what the public school transgender bathroom policy should be, but we ultimately agree that the real solution is to privatize all schools and let the owners and customers decide.

Instead of each state or district or the entire country having a one-size-fits all policy, any school could have their own policy since they’d be privately owned.  That way no matter where you live, you’ll have options to choose from.  Just like we have many choices in grocery stores, we should have just as many options in education.

Why We’re Losing

In the sales world there’s an effective selling technique known as the Alternative Choice Close.  The idea is that you present your prospect with two choices, both of which end in them buying your product.  If you’ve ever bought a car at a dealership you’ve seen this technique in action.  When the salesperson is giving you an offer on a car, they’ll give you several different payment options and ask “Which option would you prefer?”  This technique increases the chances of a sale compared to asking the prospect a “Yes/No” question.  One where “No” is an easy option.  I.e. “Would you like to buy it at these terms?”

Or to relate it to the dating world, if you want to ask a girl out on a date it’s much more effective to say “Where would you like me to take you: Applebee’s or Chili’s?” Instead of “Do you want to go on date with me?”

On the public school bathroom issue, and many other issues, libertarians are being had by slick salesmanship from those in charge of the government.  Government presents us with a conservative and liberal choice on an issue, and we feel the need to pick the least bad side.  No matter what choice we get sold on, we’re buying a government solution.  The people in power don’t care what side ultimately wins out.  So long as they keep their control over the topic in question.  Same with the car salespeople.  They don’t care which payment you choose, just so long as you pick a payment and they get the sale!

On this issue in particular, too many libertarians are choosing to side with either the right or the left.  Perhaps some libertarians have bought into the fear-mongering involving transgender people.  Perhaps some libertarians are trying to curry favor with one side of the isle in the hopes of being seen as tolerant.  Perhaps some libertarians are just tired of being left out of the debate and want to feel like they’re being heard, even at the cost of choosing a lesser evil.  Whatever the excuse, by siding with the left or right, we’re dooming our ideology to a life of existing just outside of the Overton Window.

Unapologetic, Consistent Freedom

The two greatest salespeople for libertarianism in the last 100 years were Ron Paul and Ayn Rand.  No two people were responsible for more converts to our ideology in that span.  In spite of their extreme differences in how they lived their lives, they had one important thing in common.  They were unapologetic and consistent in their defense of human freedom.  Even when it took them to unpopular places.  Or in the case of Dr. Paul, even when it caused him to wallow in obscurity for decades before people started taking him seriously.  Ron Paul is a perfect example of the concept that it usually takes years of hard work to become an overnight success!

When it comes to the ongoing battle over transgender bathrooms and public schools, we can’t fall victim to the false narrative that it has to be one or the other.  Yes, I realize that eliminating public schools isn’t an option any time soon.  It may not be an option ever, at least politically.  Technology will most likely make public schools obsolete way before government gives up their control of education.

So why not pick a side if our solution isn’t even an option, you ask?  I see two big reason why we should stick to our seemingly hopeless guns.

First, this is how we win converts.  If we’re seen as nothing more than a centrist movement, where we take a little bit from the left and a little bit from the right, we’re not going to inspire anyone.  If we have no clear ideology on issues, or if we’re seen as being easy to throw away our ideology in order to settle for the lesser evil, we’ll always be thought of as the nerdy kid trying desperately to get into the cool kid party.

Second, we’re not going to sway the people in charge anyway!  Seriously, could you imagine a scenario where the government is deadlocked on an issue, so they come to the libertarians to make the call?  The idea is laughable!

This tyranny train is roaring full steam ahead with or without us.  Since we seem to be the only group of people on this train that can see we’re heading off a cliff, it’s our duty to ourselves and our fellow humans to do our best to point out the truth and offer the only moral solution.  Instead of advocating the conservative or liberal “solution”, we need to present the libertarian solution.  The fact that the libertarian solution isn’t even on the table for discussion isn’t an excuse to settle for the lesser evil.  In fact, that’s all the more reason to be presenting our solution far and wide, if only to move the Overton Window toward libertarian ideas.  In this case, unapologetic privatization of everything to do with education.

 

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4/6/16 – Government is Turning College into High School

By Mike Tront

Physical removal, so to speak, is an idea popular in a particular segment of the libertarian population.  Specifically, libertarians who consider themselves right libertarians.  Those who may sympathize with the altright and those that may be motivated by their hatred of anyone who considers themselves politically left wing.  If you’re motivated by your hatred of leftists more than you’re motivated by your love of individual human liberty, you’re probably sympathetic to the idea of physical removal.

The general idea is that if there is ever to be a libertarian world, one where personal liberties and property rights are protected, it is morally justifiable to use force, up to and including deadly force, against “people” who are deemed unfit to live in a free society.  “People” who call themselves communists seem to be the number one target.

The word “people” is in quotation marks because according to the physical removal advocates, the people who they are using force against aren’t actually people.  That means they’re not violating anyone’s rights.  How convenient!

From the Father of Physical Removal, Hans Herman Hoppe, in his book Democracy: The God That Failed, page 173

A member of the human race who is completely incapable of understanding the higher productivity of labor performed under a division of labor based on private property is not properly speaking a person (a persona), but falls instead into the same moral category as an animal – of either the harmless sort (to be domesticated and employed as a producer or consumer good, or to be enjoyed as a “free good”) or the wild and dangerous one (to be fought as a pest).

According to Hoppe, if you come across a “harmless” person who doesn’t understand economics, you have a right to domesticate them.  They may also be “enjoyed” as a “free good”.  Basically, you may treat them as a farm animal (slave).  Or, if you deem them to be “wild and dangerous” (presumably without due process), you may justifiably use violence against them.

I have no objection to fighting off someone who is actively harming you or your property, but Hoppe’s proposed treatment of non-violent people is impossible to reconcile with libertarianism.  To be fair, in any conversions I’ve had with the pro-physical removal crowd, I’ve never heard them bring up their perceived right to enslave a “harmless” person whose only crime is not understanding economics.  However, I’ve heard them say over and over again that communists aren’t people.  I’ve always took this as a joke.  How wrong I was.  I really shouldn’t even be surprised by this.  After all, if they claim to have a right to remove someone from their own legitimate property and/or murder someone who they deem to be unfit to live near them, why wouldn’t they also have the right to enslave them?

So as far as Hoppe is concerned, enslaving these unfit, yet “harmless”, people would be just as justifiable as violently removing them.

In this particular case, I’m having a hard time believing any libertarian could possibly go along with Hoppe on this.  Imagine if you will, a 30-something year old man living in his Mom’s basement.  He likes to go online and post pro-communist stuff on Twitter, so now a gang of people have a right to burst into his house and drag him off?  Or to enslave him, just because he’s guilty of the “crime” of not understanding economics?

The very basis of libertarinism is that no one has a right to initiate aggression against a non-aggressor.  Simply believing in an idiotic philosophy doesn’t make one an aggressor.  Only if that 30-something year old basement dweller actually takes up arms to violate someone’s person or property, or poses an immediate and credible threat to do so, can he be legitimately met with force.

If we turn back the clock on the definition of a person, one can justify all forms of aggression and still claim to be advocates for liberty and justice.  After all, there was a time in America where one could enslave someone, viciously beat his children, rape a woman (as long as she wasn’t someone else’s wife, i.e. property), and kill an Indian and still not be thought of as a criminal in any way.  The reason for this is that the people he committed these horrendous crimes against weren’t considered people.

We don’t get to be liberty loving, non-aggression advocating libertarians simply by magically changing the definition of who counts as a person.

Physical Removal in a Private Community

Hoppe is way off base in his assessment of who he chooses to consider a person.  However, he later articulates a vision of a completely private community, governed by an owner who leases all land to everyone in the community.  Instead of you buying and owning your land, you’d join a community and pay a monthly fee to use a parcel of land and enjoy any and all benefits of living in said community.

In this specific example, physical removal is simply a matter of contract.  Just like today, if you sign a lease with an apartment complex, but you break the lease by violating any of its terms (not paying rent, being too noisy, threatening neighbors, subletting, etc), the apartment complex has every right to kick you out of the community.

In this example, physical removal is well within the bounds of libertarian ideals.  If you voluntarily join a community that has rules against certain types of political speech, even if you are doing no harm to anyone or their property, the owner can kick you out if you violate said rules.

How does Hoppe imagine this happening?  Here’s another passage from Democracy: The God That Failed page 218:

As soon as mature members of society habitually express acceptance or even advocate egalitarian sentiments, whether in the form of democracy (majority rule) or of communism, it becomes essential that other members, and in particular the natural social elites, be prepared to act decisively and, in the case of continued nonconformity, exclude and ultimately expel these members from society. In a covenant concluded among proprietor and community tenants for the purpose of protecting their private property, no such thing as a right to free (unlimited) speech exists, not even to unlimited speech on one’s own tenant-property. One may say innumerable things and promote almost any idea under the sun, but naturally no one is permitted to advocate ideas contrary to the very purpose of the covenant of preserving and protecting private property, such as democracy and communism. There can be no tolerance toward democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society.

In his example here, there’s one huge detail missing.  Due process.  From what Hoppe seems to be envisioning here, your right to stay on your land is completely at the whim of the “natural social elites” of the community.

Traditionally, before the owner of the apartment complex can kick you out, they must take you to court and prove their allegations.  If it turns out that they can’t prove that you’ve violated the terms of the lease, they have no right to kick you out.  If they kick you out anyway, they will be liable for damages from breaking their end of the contract.

Now there could be a voluntary community that has a stipulation that the owner, or the “natural social elites”, can remove anyone at anytime without due process, but I’m having a hard time imagining anyone, let alone a libertarian, agreeing to such an arrangement.

Oppressive Liberty

Finishing up the above quote from Hoppe’s Democracy: The God That Failed page 218:

Likewise, in a covenant founded for the purpose of protecting family and kin, there can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal. They-the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism-will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order.

Hoppe’s vision of a libertarian future is a bleak one.  It appears no less totalitarian than the world we live in today.  We’re simply trading one set of rulers for another.  Instead of a government telling us what to do with our property and how to act in our personal lives, we’ll have the covenant owner dictating this with little or no recourse.

I have no problem with someone voluntarily wanting to live in such a community.  Amish communities today are very similar.  There’s very little room for individual expression or alternative lifestyles, and if one does not conform they are shunned and kicked out of their private, Amish communities.  However, if the only way to achieve a libertarian society is to violently remove single parents, homosexuals, nature lovers, and pretty much anyone who Hoppe deems is living an “alternative, non-family and kin-centered lifestyle” from their legitimately owned property, then we’ve accomplished nothing.

The essence of libertarianism is individual rights, not collective rights.  The individual is to be judged solely on their own actions.  If that individual does not initiate force against anyone’s person or property, then it is never right to use force against them, even if you think their lifestyle choices or personal views are bad for your “social order”.  “The ends justify the means” is the mantra of collectivists and should never be uttered by anyone who considers themselves libertarian.

 

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By Mike Tront

As a libertarian, there’s few things I hate more than the government trying to limit our access to guns.  The Second Amendment is perhaps the most important, and effective, check on government power written into the Constitution.  Every government that has orchestrated a mass genocide against its own people banned those people from owning guns first.  I firmly believe that without the huge number of guns in private hands in America, the military would have been turned against us at some point.  With that being said, I’d like to explore the possibility of various forms of gun control that could happen in a libertarian society.

Before I get a bunch of knee-jerk hate mail, let me be clear about something.  I don’t support ANY form of government gun control.  No government has a right to pick and choose who can and can’t own guns.  What I’m interested in exploring is if we were living in a society with little or no government at all, would the free market make it harder for some people to own guns or carry guns in public?

I say yes.  In a free market, there will still be forms of gun control.

Private Property Gun Control

The easiest type of gun control to imagine is the type that you personally institute on your own property.  If you invite people on your property, you have every right to say that they aren’t allowed to carry guns.  If they don’t like it, they don’t have to associate with you.  This goes for businesses as well.  If a business doesn’t want armed customers, they can take measures to refuse entrance to anyone who is armed.  Just because we have a right to own guns, doesn’t mean we have a right to carry them onto someone else’s property without their permission.

We can argue all day long about whether a business or person is making their property less safe with this policy, but the fact remains that they have every right to do it and some people will exercise this right.

Neighborhood Association Gun Control

Some people really don’t like guns.  They truly believe that the less guns they’re around, the safer they’ll be.  With that in mind, I don’t see why they couldn’t live in their own little gun-free communities.  This goes back to private property rights.  If someone builds an apartment building, they get to choose the rules and regulations of the property.  They can make it pet-free if they like.  They can make it a retirement community so only senior citizens can move in.  And if they choose, they can make it a gun-free community.  People who rent or buy their units would have to agree to the rules and regulations of the community.  If they don’t like the rules, they don’t have to live there.

Since we know there are millions of people in America today that are vehemently anti-gun, we can imagine that at least some of them will establish and live in gun-free communities.

I would argue that having a gun-free community would be about as “safe” as government mandated gun-free zones are today, but I have no right to make them change the rules of their property.

Gun Sales and Liability

So far, nothing I’ve talked about is really controversial or groundbreaking.  I’m sure even the most ardent 2nd Amendment lover can concede that other people have private property rights.  But this section of the piece will ruffle some feathers.

Absent of government gun control laws, I think people could potentially have some liability if they give or sell guns to someone who uses them to harm innocent people.  This potential liability would lead to gun dealers denying service to many potential gun buyers, unless they can show that they are responsible individuals.  Thus reducing or eliminating the dealer’s potential liability.

The first scenario in which someone could get denied service by a seller is an easy one.  If someone comes to a gun shop to purchase a gun, and he talks about his desire to use it to shoot innocent people, and he is sold a gun, the seller could easily have some liability.  By supplying someone with a deadly weapon, while having the knowledge that he will use it to commit harm to innocent people, the seller is now an accomplice.

If someone verbally states his intent to cause harm to innocent people, I can’t imagine too many sellers today or in a libertarian future that would sell him a weapon.  But what if someone shows non-verbal signals that they may be dangerous to innocent people?  Could the seller have liability if this clearly unstable person is sold a gun and commits a crime against innocent people with it?

Take this as an example.  Imagine someone comes into a gun shop and buys a gun.  But something just doesn’t seem right about him.  He’s muttering to himself.  He seems nervous and agitated.  He doesn’t seem to possess much knowledge about guns.  He’s asking strange questions about the neighborhood clearly signifying he has little or no knowledge of the area.  This person clearly seems like someone that any reasonable person would hesitate giving a gun to.  But he never verbally states his intent to do harm to innocent people.

If that man then goes out and does something horrible with his newly purchased gun, would the seller have any liability?  Hell yeah they could.  If there were witnesses to this gun sale that can testify that the buyer was clearly deranged, and potentially dangerous, and that any reasonable person should have been able to recognize it, then the seller could easily be sued by the victims for negligence.  This fear of liability could limit the people that gun dealers decide to do business with.

It may even get to a point where after every innocent person gets shot with a newly purchased firearm, a law suit could be coming just to investigate any possibility of negligence on the part of the seller.  Most of these will probably be thrown out, and the seller would probably have insurance to defend him, but the nuisance alone will give sellers pause to do business with everyone that walks in the door.

Insurance And Background Checks

After a few successful negligence law suits, insurance companies are going to have to change how they insure gun dealers.  My guess is that insurance companies will refuse to insure any gun dealer unless the dealer agrees to only sell guns to buyers who have passed some sort of independent background check and training course.  This way if a gun buyer does harm to an innocent person, any lawsuit against the gun dealer would be stopped in its tracks once the seller shows that they did their due diligence before selling him a deadly weapon.

So will the gun shop have their own training course and background check?  Probably not.  In fact, there’d be so many independent, competing companies certifying gun owners that the shop wouldn’t have to.  What I can see happening is everyone that wants to own guns and especially anyone that desires to carry guns at their workplace, or at the mall, or at entertainment venues, or anywhere in public, would get themselves certified.

They’d go to a trusted, widely accepted certification company and request their Seal of Approval.  The company would probably have some basic test to see if the applicant understands when it’s acceptable to brandish or use a fire arm.  They’d do some sort of background check to make sure the applicant isn’t a dangerous fugitive or has a history of violence.  They might do a basic psychological exam.  They’d test their proficiency with their weapon to make sure they can effectively and accurately use it.  And after the applicant shows that they would most likely be a responsible gun owner, the certification company would give them their Seal of Approval.

This Seal of Approval could be used to satisfy the companies that insure gun dealers.  This puts the gun dealer and their insurance company at ease since any potential burden of liability would shift to the certification company if this buyer should harm an innocent person with the newly purchased gun.

Carrying Guns in the Workplace and Around Town

Another huge reason to get yourself certified by one of these companies is so businesses and workplaces will feel comfortable letting you carry a gun on their property.  Think about schools.  I definitely wouldn’t want my children attending a gun-free school.  It’d make me feel at ease if I knew teachers and security guards had the ability to defend my children against a possible violent threat.  However, it’d make me feel even more at ease if I knew that the school made sure anyone who carried guns on their campus was certified not just in gun safety, but in proficiency by a reputable company.  Not only would I know that these gun holders would be safe with their weapons, but they would be able to quickly and accurately neutralize any threat.

This could be a great selling point.  Schools could advertise that they have high standards for their security guards and teachers in order to carry guns, and thus parents could feel better about their child’s safety.

Same goes for sporting venues.  Or retail businesses.  Or workplaces.  I’m sure some of these places would be hesitant to let just anyone carry a gun on their premises, so they’d only allow people to carry who’ve been certified by a reputable certification company.  But forget about the business owner, more than likely it would be their insurance company that would be more hesitant.  After all, if a business lets just anyone carry a weapon on their premises, and a crazy person comes in and shoots up the place, the business owner could be sued by the victim’s for having a negligent weapons policy.  Therefore, insurance companies may not insure businesses that don’t have a “Certified Gun Owners Only” policy for guns.

Libertarians love to imagine their ideal world with little or no government, and they usually imagine themselves being able to carry their weapons anywhere, anytime.  However, we also have to acknowledge that in this free society other people have property rights too.  This means they can restrict what you can do on their property.

Libertarians also tend to underestimate the effect insurance companies will have on a society with little or no government.  Most of us will be relying on insurance companies to protect our valuable property as well as protect us against lawsuits.  In order for us to get the most possible insurance for the lowest possible price, these companies would give business owners incentives to have policies that would reduce potential lawsuits.  Just like drunk drivers are uninsurable, or at least have to pay enormous premiums, businesses and workplaces that don’t require certification to carry guns would increasingly become uninsurable as well.

This vision of society, where there are places you can’t carry your gun unless you’ve been vetted by some third party, doesn’t seem much different than today!  However, there is one enormous difference.  With no government one-size-fits-all gun control legislation, no one will have the right to tell you that you can’t carry a gun, so long as you have the permission of the property owner.  And no one will have the right to tell you if you can or can’t own guns, so long as you’re able to convince someone to voluntarily sell or give them to you.

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7/7/16 – A War On Guns Is Another War On Minorities

By Mike Tront

To oppose the appointment of Betsy DeVos to Secretary of Education, opponents have brought out the old race card.  DeVos is seen as being open-minded to the idea of private schools.  She desires that more parents should have the option of choosing private schools for their children.  With that in mind, we get this opinion piece published by CNN, authored by Felicia Wong: A Vote For DeVos Is a Vote For Resegregation:

School choice is not really about freedom. Freedom, of course, is a bedrock American value. But the kind of “freedom” associated with the flight away from integration and toward racial isolation will never lead to a more truly free United States.

In her condemnation of private schools, Ms. Wong only makes one argument.  She claims that private schools cause greater racial segregation.

She goes over the history of private schools in America, pointing out that after public schools were segregated in the 50’s and 60’s there was a boom in private schools.  She also points out that even today, private schools tend to be more segregated than public schools.

Ms. Wong does have a very good point here.  Private schools show a disturbing lack of minority student enrollment.  It is a travesty that minority students don’t have the same access to quality, safe private schools that their white and Asian peers have access to.  But what’s the reason for this?  Is it because private schools are inherently racist and do their best to discourage non-Asian minority enrollment?

Minorities and Private Education

To find out why there is a lack of minorities in today’s private schools, I went right to the source linked in Ms. Wong’s above CNN article.  From the source she linked to:

White and Asian students enroll in private schools at two times the rate of black and Latino students. Private school enrollment rates are much higher among middle- and high-income families than low-income families. Differences in white and minority private school enrollment rates contribute substantially to overall patterns of segregation in many local school markets.

Amazing that someone could read this and NOT realize what the problem is.  In clear English it says that private schools are largely attended by middle and high-income families, not low-income families.  Unfortunately, black and Latino families in America today have a much lower income than white and Asian families.  It’s not racism that’s keeping minorities out of private schools, it’s lack of money.

Minorities and Public Education

Thankfully, Ms. Wong does point out that public schools are no bastion of opportunity for non-Asian minorities.  From her article:

Now, American public schools are falling back into a kind of racial segregation that is reminiscent of our country before Brown. In the last 25 years, the number of severely racially isolated schools, defined as those with 0-10% white students, has tripled. In 2010 in New York City, 92% of black students and 88% of Latino students attended schools that were majority-minority, some of which see such severely racialized and concentrated poverty that they are dubbed “apartheid schools.”

Clearly, Ms. Wong can see that the current system is terribly flawed and often our most downtrodden suffer the most under it.  This lower quality public education makes it harder for someone who happens to grow up in the wrong zip code to move up to a better zip code.  The cycles continues.  So what’s her solution? This is all she gives us:

So as senators consider DeVos’ nomination to oversee public education for every American child, they would do well to remember the deepest values of public schooling, as well as the deeper meaning of appointing a Secretary of Education associated with a more exclusive and racially exclusionary vision.

She doesn’t tell us how the Department of Education can foster a better, or more inclusive, public education system for minorities.  She only alludes to the fact that DeVos is in favor of private solutions, and the current private solutions are out of reach of many non-Asian minorities, so they therefore must be racist.

Is Betsy DeVos The Solution For Minorities?

She is a step in the right direction, but she’s probably not the solution.  As long as we have a massive, one-size-fits-all federal bureaucracy in charge of our children’s education, costs will continue to rise and quality will continue to fall.  Especially in our poorest communities.  There’s just too many special interests who stand to loose too much money if the system is significantly changed in any way.  So relax DeVos opponents, even if she tries her best to allow children to escape their zip codes for a better education, bureaucratic stagnation and special interest lobbyists will likely halt any progress.

However, if the Department of Education does miraculously allow public school students and their parents to escape the system with some kind of Voucher Program or Education Savings Account Program, it will result in more integration.  Not less.  Not to mention more choices and competition in the education field.  Like any field that allows choice and competition to flourish, i.e. electronics and cell phones, prices go down and quality goes up.

But how will this help non-Asian minorities specifically, Ms. Wong may ask?  Since zip codes and pay checks will no longer determine where their children are forced to go to school, any parent could choose to enroll in any school.  Sure, there will still be elite secondary schools that only the very wealthy will be able to attend, and they will probably be largely white and Asian like they are today, but if this generation of black and Latino children could just get a chance at escaping their “apartheid schools,” the next generation will be able to afford to send their kids anywhere they choose, even the most elite and expensive private schools.

 

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