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Tag Archives: Property Rights

A Critique of “The Grapes of Wrath:” Causes of Poverty Then and Now


The “Grapes of Wrath” is a fictional account inspired by terrible plight of Oklahoma Sharecroppers during the “dust bowl” period that also coincided with America’s “Great Depression.” The actual causes of the circumstances, outside of the natural (drought, wind, crop failure), are barely hinted at in the film which instead presents the bewildered outlook of the tenant farmers who have no idea why the events of the movie are occurring, while implying the culprits are the rich and “well to do”, and also simultaneously presenting government as both co-conspirator and savior. The one-sided nature of the film and its contradictions regarding government are merely symptoms of it being fiction and presenting the image its author, or director, desired and while it is excellent in helping us understand the personal trials of the sharecroppers and highlighted an obvious failure in the system it did not provide clear understanding of what the failure was or why it happened. The best way to understand the hardships of the “Okies” and apply those lessons today, then, is to look at the actual history of that time period. After a brief study of the history it becomes apparent that the events depicted in “The Grapes of Wrath” are the result of ill-conceived government enforced property rights, government distortion of the markets, and corporatism, which can all be applied to current poverty issues. In addition to the causes of poverty that effected the “Okies” today we also have inflationary monetary policy, heavy regulatory burdens for entrepreneurship, and the drastic expansion of the size of the federal government that has led to its ever growing consumption of otherwise productive resources.

Terry Anderson and Peter Hill in “The Not So Wild, Wild West: Property Rights on the Frontier” describe how in the late 1800s, the federal government pursued an aggressive homesteading policy in the west. Advertising “free land” was politically popular and it was a way to quickly secure the nations expanding territory. However, in doing this the federal government ignored privately established property rights negotiated between Indians and ranchers or amongst early settlers of the lands and redistributed arbitrary plot sizes with residency and improvement requirements that were not market based. The result of this was a “race for property rights” that led to both land owners with insufficient capital to successfully use the land, they could only afford the “free land” and not the equipment, seed, etc. to profit from it, and to the landowner-tenant farmer system. Landowners from other regions and around the state of Oklahoma claimed stakes during homesteading land races and then rented the land to tenant farmers. Since the land was “free” and did not constitute the landowner’s primary residence or income he had less incentive in the maintenance or improvement of the land and the tenants often could not afford to make improvements or did not think of the land as their own and thus could not justify extra expenses to improve the landowner’s property.

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Filed under Economics, Politics
Oct 16, 2011

Self Survey Fall 2011 Part 1


Click on a topic to expand a summary of my stance on it.

  • When approaching philosophical problems I prefer the method employed by the Austrian School of Economics, which is to start with “simple and evident axioms” and “deduce step by step” the various logical implications of those axioms. (Murray Rothbard, Man, Economy, and State) This approach is in opposition to empiricism, or applying the methodology of the natural sciences to the understanding of human action. This is primarily due to the fact that the factors determining human action are too complex or are simply not able to be isolated and true control/variable groups can not be created as they are in laboratories. (For further information check out the Introduction to the 5th edition of “Americas’ Great Depression by Murray Rothbard.) I will attempt to clarify what I believe to be axioms, or self-evident truths, throughout this survey.

    The second part of my philosophical approach is the recognition of the limits of human reason. The limited nature of man’s ability to reason, the fallibility of man’s senses and his inability to fully observe and experience the world around him, or his obvious shortcomings in processing and retaining an infinite volume of information that is available should be acknowledged and humble our observations on the nature of man, in general, or even ourselves. By acknowledging this limitation I accept that it is possible, even probable, that I will fall prey to logical fallacies, make theoretical leaps without due justification, give in to bias or prejudice, improperly categorize experiences or phenomenon within my logical framework, or to put it simply….make mistakes. However, this also further justifies beginning philosophical inquiry with “simple and evident” truths to best avoid mistakes in the infancy of our thoughts. Also, it gives weight to “common sense,” traditions, and culture even when they are not fully understood by individual actors. I will explain this more in a later section.

  • The foundation of my philosophy is the belief that all things must be considered at an individual level. This contradicts theorists who rely on “general will” or the idea that amorphous entities such as “society” and “the state” can be analyzed separate from the individuals that compose them. Also, individualism is built on the axioms of free will, the inseparability of the will from the individual, and self-ownership and all of the logical implications that follow.

    • The level of debate over the concept of free will baffles me. The alternative to humans having free will is that we are equal to robots, programmed to perform certain actions based on the inputs provided to us. Every choice we make every day confirms that we have free will unless we make a deliberate effort to deny it. I am constantly aware of my consciousness, and thus my free will and being, so long as I am awake. Denying this seems like an exercise of philosophical futility and is pursued primarily by those who were able to see the “Emperor’s new clothes” or in more malicious cases by those peddling sheer intellectual dishonesty in order to advance their cause (the scoundrels who sold the Emperor the new clothes.)

    • This is concept is the key to libertarian ethics and natural law theory and simply states that each individual has 100 percent self-ownership over his own person, to include body, mind, and spirit. This may seem less than self-evident since there is a history of slavery, indentured service, and many examples of people acting “against their will.” However, if we stick to the simple and evident truths of self-ownership then these can be explained as submitting to the will of another due to coercion, but the individual’s person never leaves their ownership unless they are dead as body, mind, and spirit are inalienable from each other otherwise. Murray Rothbard demonstrates the fallacies of the alternatives to 100 percent self-ownership in “Ethics of Liberty,” as either “the ‘communist’ one of Universal and Equal Other-ownership, or Partial Ownership of One Group by Another—a system of rule by one class over another.” (Ethics of Liberty, Interpersonal Relations: Ownership and Aggression.)

    • (Just trying to impress myself with big words) The opposite of an individualistic approach to philosophical or sociological problems is to attribute human characteristics to entities that are composed of groups of individuals abstractly. For example, attributing goals, actions, and beliefs to society, the state, or the general will as opposed to the individuals who actually took the actions or hold those beliefs. I refer to these entities as amorphous, a term used mostly in science to mean: “having no definite form;” “shapeless;” “being without definite character or nature,” because everyone discussing any of these entities will define them their own way to match their ideas or philosophy and this is possible because they have no definitive nature of their own. This makes them dangerous in philosophical reasoning because they can be “formed,” as a potters clay, to justify or match almost any conclusion or agenda. Ludwig von Mises said the following: “All rational action is in the first place individual action. Only the individual thinks. Only the individual reasons. Only the individual acts.”

  • My journey into politics and philosophy actually began with economics. I came across an article on school vouchers that made an interesting argument that I had never considered (I had not considered much of anything at this point) and it cited Milton Friedman as on of the pioneers in the voucher movement. I was intrigued by the idea and decided to study it further so I picked up both “Capitalism and Freedom” and “Free to Choose” by Milton Friedman, both had sections on education to include advocacy of vouchers. However, I was introduced to a whole plethora of new ideas in those books, most questioning the efficiency of government and making convincing “empirical” arguments as to why those inefficiencies exist and sometime offering convincing solutions to those problems. Most importantly it put capitalism and free markets in a positive light and I wanted to know more. Next I discovered a documentary called Commanding Heights that also seemed to put a positive spin on capitalism, mostly from Milton Friedman, but it introduced a school of thought that claimed even Milton Friedman and the Chicago School were not free market enough…the Austrian School headed by Ludwig von Mises and claimed by F.A. Hayek. Hayek’s name came up again as a source of counsel to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher who both recognized the flaws of Keynesian economics and wanted to take their respective countries on new paths. This led me to Hayek’s “Constitution of Liberty” which acted as a nice bridge between the Chicago School and the Austrian School due to the fact that it was more friendly towards the idea of the need for a state, which I was not ready to let go of yet. “Constitution of Liberty” opened new doors in mind and allowed me a whole new world view and made me a real pupil of the Austrian School. As a pupil of this lesser known school of economics I felt compelled to study Ludwig von Mise’s “Human Action” which demonstrated a very logical method of approaching philosophical and economic problems and introduced me to “praxeology,” the study of human action, of which he deemed economics part of. After “Human Action” I began reading material provided by the Ludwig von Mises Institute on their website ( and came to learn that Murray Rothbard wrote a book meant to be used as a college text book to teach the ideas of Mises in a more accessible way so I began to study “Man, Economy, and State,” which ended up being an economic treatise in and of itself. I found Rothbard much easier to follow and tended to agree with his analysis in the few areas where he differed from his mentor, von Mises. I have continued to study the Austrian School and the writings of the many scholars linked to it. Following are some of the key ideas that I have taken away but I encourage anyone who is interested to check out “Man, Economy, and State” for the fullest understanding.

    • “Human action is defined simply as purposeful behavior…The purpose of a man’s act is his end; the desire to achieve this end is the man’s motive for instituting the action…All human beings act by virtue of their existence and their nature as human beings. We could not conceive of human beings who do not act purposefully, who have no ends in view that they desire and attempt to attain.” (Man, Economy, and State, The Concept of Action) “The first truth to be discovered about human action is that it can be undertaken only by individual ‘actors.’” (Man, Economy, and State, First Implications of the Concept)

    • “With reference to any given act, the environment external to the individual may be divided into two parts: those elements which he believes he cannot control and must leave unchanged, and those which he can alter (or rather, thinks he can alter) to arrive at his ends. The former may be termed the general conditions of action; the latter, the means used…[A]ll means are scarce, i.e., limited with respect to the ends that they could possibly serve,” so “the necessity for a choice among ends arises” and “action takes place by choosing which ends shall be satisfied by the employment of means.” (Man, Economy, and State, First implications of the Concept) Further as it applies to time: “All human life must take place in time” and “a man’s time is always scarce.” (Man, Economy, and State, First implications of the Concept) In other words, you can only achieve so many ends in a certain amount of time and time always marches forwards so that every second that passes is irretrievable making them scarce.

    • “A fundamental and constant truth about human action is that man prefers his end to be achieved in the shortest possible time…This is the universal fact of time preference…Time enters into human action not only in relation to the waiting time in production, but also in the length of time in which the consumer’s good will satisfy the wants of the consumer,” this is known as the “duration of serviceableness.” (Man, Economy, and State, Further Implications: Time) In short, man wants his in the shortest time and wants them to last the longest time.

    • Often in economics or in common usage value is used almost interchangeably with price or refers specifically to monetary value. However, value in its most basic form refers simply to the perceived gain (psychic gain) that an individual expects. “In order for any measurement to be possible, there must be an eternally fixed and objectively given unit with which other units may be compared. There is no such objective unit in the field of human valuation. The individual must determine subjectively for himself whether he is better or worse off as a result of any change.” (Man, Economy, and State, Further Implications: Ends and Values) Price on the other hand is a market mechanism that helps match the psychic value of the consumer to the [monetary] value of the producer or laborer.

      • “All action is an attempt to exchange a less satisfactory state of affairs for a more satisfactory one…The psychic gain (or profit) and loss cannot be measured in terms of units, but the actor always knows whether he has experienced psychic profit or psychic loss as a result of an action-exchange.” Of important note, “leisure is a consumer’s good,” or an end that is valued in and of itself. (Man, Economy, and State, Factors of Production: Labor versus Leisure) Consequently, “people work only when they value the return of labor higher than the decrease in satisfaction brought about by the curtailment of leisure.” (Ludwig von Mises, Human Action)

      • “Human actors value means strictly in accordance with their valuation of the ends they believe the means can serve.” (Man, Economy, and State, Further Implications: Ends and Values) “Each physical unit of a means (direct or indirect) that enters into human action is valued separately. Thus, the actor is interested in evaluating only those units of means that enter, or that he considers will enter, into his concrete action. Actors choose between, and evaluate, not ‘coal’ or ‘butter’ in general, but specific units of coal or butter. For example, “if one pound of butter was considered by the actor as of better quality than another pound of butter” then, “in that case, the two “butters” are really different goods from the point of view of the actor and will be evaluated differently.” (Man, Economy, and State, The Law of Marginal Utility)

      • The “process of valuation according to the specific units involved provides the solution for the famous ‘value paradox’ which puzzled writers for centuries. The question was: How can men value bread less than platinum, when ‘bread’ is obviously more useful than ‘platinum?’ The answer is that acting man does not evaluate the goods open to him by abstract classes, but in terms of the specific units available. He does not wonder whether ‘bread-in-general’ is more or less valuable to him than ‘platinum-in-general,’ but whether, given the present available stock of bread and platinum, a ‘loaf [unit] of bread’ is more or less valuable to him than ‘an ounce [unit] of platinum.’ That, in most cases, men prefer the latter is no longer surprising…Thus, for all human actions, as the quantity of the supply (stock) of a good increases, the utility (value) of each additional unit decreases…[This] is the law of marginal utility, sometimes known as the law of diminishing marginal utility.” (Man, Economy, and State, The Law of Marginal Utility)

    • If self-ownership is the foundation of libertarian ethics and natural law then property rights are the corner stone. They are the most direct logical step from self-ownership. Again, I turn to Murray Rothbard in “Man, Economy, and State” to offer the best explanation of property rights, which has a firm basis in Lockean principles:

      On the free, unhampered market, a man can acquire property in scarce goods as follows: (1) In the first place, each man has ownership over his own self, over his will and actions, and the manner in which he will exert his own labor. (2) He acquires scarce nature-given factors either by appropriating hitherto un­used factors for his own use or by receiving them as a gift from someone else, who in the last analysis must have appropriated them as hitherto unused factors. (3) He acquires capital goods or consumers’ goods either by mixing his own labor with nature­-given factors to produce them or by receiving them as a gift from someone else. As in the previous case, gifts must eventually re­solve themselves into some actor’s production of the goods by the use of his own labor. Clearly, it will be nature-given factors, cap­ital goods, and durable consumers’ goods that are likely to be handed down through gifts, since nondurable consumers’ goods will probably be quickly consumed. (4) He may exchange any type of factor (labor service, nature-given factor, capital good, consumers’ good) for any type of factor. It is clear that gifts and exchanges as a source of property must eventually be resolved into: self-ownership, appropriation of unused nature-given fac­tors, and production of capital and consumers’ goods, as the ulti­mate sources of acquiring property in a free economic system. In order for the giving or exchanging of goods to take place, they must first be obtained by individual actors in one of these ways. The logical sequence of events is therefore: A man owns himself; he appropriates unused nature-given factors for his own­ership; he uses these factors to produce capital goods and con­sumers’ goods which become his own; he uses up the consumers’ goods and/or gives them and the capital goods away to others; he exchanges some of these goods for other goods that had come to be owned in the same way by others. These are the meth­ods of acquiring goods that obtain on the free market, and they include all but the method of violent or other invasive expropri­ation of the property of others. (Man, Economy, and State, Types of Interpersonal Action: Voluntary Exchange and the Contractual Society)

Filed under Self Survey
Sep 6, 2011

Immigration Policy and Private Property


In an article titled, “The Politics of Immigration and National Integration,” Thomas Janoski and Fengjuan Wang declare that due to recent trends, such as the exit of the baby boomers from the work force, economic hardships, and globalization, the politics of immigration is moving from being a background issue for most people to an “explosive issue” that “will be a cauldron of emotion and wills for the next half century.” (630) They also set out to “provide a complex explanation of immigration and naturalization laws” that explains the both the points of view of sender and receiver nations, as well as the support and opposition towards immigration that has almost always crossed party lines. (653) However, it is more likely that universal principles that apply to all human action, immigration / emigration are not exceptions, will be able to bring further clarity to these theories and will also lead to an ethical understanding of how best to address the issue of immigration. The foundation of true liberty is private property, that stems from the right of self-ownership, and it is also the ethical response to immigration and even though this theory will be shown to not be complex in nature, the required paradigm shift from government’s desire to control and people’s dependence on government control will be quite difficult to accomplish.

Janoski and Wang describe how both support and opposition to immigration, in the receiving country, is bi-partisan and bridges interest groups that are normally at odds. Supporters of expanded immigration policy has usually been made up of “largely Democratic ‘cosmopolitans’ who wanted an expansion of citizenship,” that would likely lead to an expanded voter base; and also, “’free market expansionists’ who were more interested in easing labor shortages.” (631) The opposition has been traditionally made up of labor and welfare state advocates, both groups tend to be largely Democratic, who seek to restrict immigration in order to protect the jobs and benefits of existing citizens against competition from immigrants who are usually eligible and possess the appropriate skills to compete with those most dependent on these policies. The other traditional opposition group has been cultural conservatives who wish to preserve the existing culture and limit the influence of “outsiders” on policy or society as a whole. Janoski and Wang then describe four types of politics that decide immigration policy in a receiving country based on how diffuse the costs and/or benefits are: interest group politics, clientelist politics, entrepreneurial politics, and majoritarian politics. However, the overarching theory of cost-benefit analysis is sufficient to provide the causal factors for both support and opposition to immigration. Those who support immigration seek to expand immigration in order to expand their political or member base; lower labor costs; or perceive it is as a means to some other subjective goal. Opposition wishes to protect the status quo or existing citizens, or they also see further expansion of immigration as a threat to their subjective goals. Immigrants themselves perceive that exchanging their current situation for a situation in which they are pressured to assimilate and forced to interact with foreign cultures and people will beneficial in achieving their individual goals. Sending nations support emigration so long as the perceive potential gain from remittances or the return of a more experienced work force; and they oppose emigration when it erodes their revenue base or is subversive in nature.

Since all sides are seeking their own economic benefit, according to what they value most, they are all justified in either their support or opposition. The problem then becomes how can there be an overarching policy that addresses all of their just concerns? The answer is you can’t and if you try you will be arbitrarily choosing winners and losers in the debate and coercing one side to “accept” the views of another group. The most ethical response then is to not have a centralized or overarching policy but many policies based on the preferences of individuals or ideologically homogenous communities and private property as explained by Hans-Hermann Hoppe in, “Democracy—The God that Failed:”

“All land is privately owned, including streets, rivers, airports, harbors, and so on. With respect to some pieces of land, the property title may be unrestricted; that is, the owner is permitted to do with his property whatever he pleases as long as he does not physically damage the property owned by others. With respect to to other territories, the property title may be more or less severely restricted. As is currently the case in some housing developments, the owner may be bound by contractual limitations on what he can do with his property (voluntary zoning), which might include residential versus commercial use, no buildings more than four stories high, [or even as far as] no sale to Jews, Germans, Catholics, homosexuals, Haitians, families with or without children, or smokers for example.

Clearly, under this scenario no such thing as freedom of immigration exists. Rather, many independent private property owners have the freedom to admit or exclude others from their own property in accordance with their own unrestricted or restricted property titles.” (2007, 139)

The end result would be that all groups could pursue their economic interests and values simultaneously and while some communities may have restrictive limitations that are repulsive to the mainstream, the result will be self-segregation of people who hold those repulsive views into their own communities. Also, those communities that have the most successful immigration policies will be imitated by other communities seeking prosperity until the majority of communities strike the most optimal balance in immigration policy.

Works Cited:

Janoski, Thomas A. & Wang, Fengjuan. (2005). Regimes and Contention. In T.A. Janoski, A.M. Hicks, & M.A. Schwartz (Eds.), Handbook of Political Sociology: States, Civil Societies, and Globalization (630-654). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. (2007). Democracy—The God that Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.

Filed under Immigration, Politics
Apr 29, 2011

Flaws of Equal Employment Opportunity


The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the many following bills that modified and added to it has been a great affront to property rights and by extension individual sovereignty. Whether we examine the impacts of “equality of outcome” the Civil Rights Act strives to implement or we examine how the act contradicts core principles, such as an individual’s right to their own person and the fruits of their labor, we will find that the government intervention required by the Civil Rights Act faces serious challenges on both sides of the equation, principles and practical effects.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically Title VII, prohibited discrimination by employers, with over 15 employees, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or by association with an individual of those factors. In 1967, persons over the age became a protected group; in 1990, persons with disabilities gained protected status; the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 prohibited discrimination based on genetic information; and all of these bills protect individuals from retaliatory discrimination. (1)

If one accepts that an individual has the right to his own person and the fruits of his labor then one can not be in agreement with this legislation and remain consistent in their principles. The concept of this right is a “negative” one or a right to be free from coercion in regards to your person and the fruits of your labor which creates a situation where no one has the “right” to “compel someone to do a positive act, for in that case the compulsion violates the right of person or property of the individual being coerced.” (2) Many recognize the impracticality of violating this principle when it is not applied to employers. For example, while many find racism to be abhorrent they would not necessarily advocate that individuals be forced to patronize minority owned businesses equally and an ardent feminist would find it difficult that men looking for jobs should be forced by threat of law to submit their resumes to equally qualified female employers. In the first case, many recognize that the consumer has the right to spend his money where he pleases regardless of motivations or character flaws and in the second instance most would see the flaw in coercing a person to apply or accept a job against their will. However, segments of our population choose to ignore these principles when it comes to employers. Is an employer’s person any less their own or is their money, representative of their property and the fruits of their labor, different than the property of the individuals seeking employment. I do not see how one can claim one and not the other without being disingenuous.

Milton Friedman argues that anti-discrimination laws are not necessary to achieve the goal. He states that, “a businessman or an entrepreneur who expresses preferences in his business activities that are not related to productive efficiency is at a disadvantage compared to other individuals who do not. Such an individual is an effect imposing higher costs on himself than are other individuals who do not have such preferences. Hence, in a free market they will tend to drive him out.”(3) Another practical issue with this legislation is that it uses often arbitrary standards in order to designate certain groups “oppressed” or of “minority” status. Our text points out that numbers are of little significance when designating a group a minority but instead their level of “access to positions of power, prestige, and status in society” should be the deciding factor. (4) What this will lead to is endless lobbying from all groups in an attempt to shred the label of “oppressor” in exchange for the benefits of being labeled “oppressed.” Rothbard points out that the different ways to categorize or class people is infinite and research can be done to demonstrate how they all face various barriers to the “access” mentioned above. He also note the impossible task of parodying this movement as a friend of his tried to do by arguing that short people, suffering from “heightism”, should be designated a minority or “oppressed class.” Unfortunately, he was beat by a serious undertaking to do just that by “a sociologist at Case-Western Reserve,” Professor Saul D. Feldman, who provided plenty of convincing research and evidence to back up his case. (5)

The principles of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act are perfectly acceptable from a moral standpoint. Employers are unwise to discriminate based on race, color, sex, religion, or national origin, but that does not give anyone the right to coerce them to act against their will or to release their property to individual’s not of their choosing. Consumers, employees, peers, etc. are free to boycott, ostracize, or shame employers who act reprehensibly but not coerce with threat of law/violence to act morally.

  1. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,”Equal Employment Opportunity is The Law”; available from; Internet; accessed 23 March 2010.
  2. Murray Rothbard, The Ethics of Liberty (New Jersey: New York University Press, 1998), 100.
  3. Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 109-110.
  4. Jacqueline M. Brux, Economic Issues & Policy (Ohio: Thomson Higher Education, 2008), 114
  5. Murray Rothbard, “Freedom, Inequality, primitivism and the Division of Labor”, available from; Internet; accessed 23 March 2010.
Mar 24, 2010

Political Survey November 27, 2009

1 Comment

The Most up to date Political Survey can always be found at <>

In order for this site to be an accurate metric of how my views may change over time as I continue researching and studying ideas, I have created a political survey on myself. I have tried to include most major issues and provided my views in short answer form. I intend to provide full essay attention to each of these topics over time, but readers should be able to see where I am coming from. Requests for issues to be added to the survey can be sent to me using the Contact button on the menu bar, as well as requests for which issues to focus on first when I am writing essays for the blog. Whenever I change, nuance, or feel the need to add clarification to the short answers in the survey I will post the updates to the blog as well as to this page which will also contain past answers to compare with.

  • (November 27, 2009) My stance hasn’t really changed on this issue. I still find the idea of single payer or government run health care to be a nightmare of an idea because it will lead to overspending, inefficiencies, rationing, and a growing dependence on the government. However, I would like to point out quickly some of the problems government is already causing in health care. I will not explore them much here just give them notice.Licensing- The practice of licensing, when it is required by law and enforced through government coercion, limits the supply of services in all fields, to include medicine, and therefore causes shortages. Many of the more basic medical needs do not require a PHD but the over qualification and shortage of practitioners inflate the cost of health care.FDA- Research has been done (I hope to more fully share and explore this later) that indicates that many of the FDA’s decisions and regulations are political. The FDA also adds on additional costs to the researching and marketing of medicine. Many economists, including Nobel Laureate for Economics Milton Friedman, believe that innovation in medicine, especially for rare diseases, has dramatically decreased since the creation and expansion of the FDA.

    Employer Insurance and HMOs- While my knowledge is still quite limited the research I have done points that government intervention is what has led to our current insurance situation. Wage restrictions and taxes on employment influenced employers to find ways to compensate their employees without being punished by creating employee health plans. The government further pushed this effort by creating tax penalties for individuals purchasing health care thus making them more likely to look for employer provided options. This of course removed internalization of the costs from the actual consumer and with more centrally controlled plans led to less competition.

    Medicare/Medicaid- The government negotiates or forces lower costs on medical providers and they in turn pass these costs on to the rest of their patients.

    This is an issue that I am currently researching. The topic is very complex as there are many player and interconnected parts. I am definitely against a single payer (taxpayer/government) system due to it being a direct threat to freedom and a guarantee of inefficiency. How will people stand up to a government that they depend on for life saving treatments and vaccinations for their children and what government record are people looking to make themselves believe that something as complex as healthcare for a country can be centrally controlled and run by the government.
  • (November 27, 2009)No longer do I believe that Social Security was meant to be a temporary fix. New research has led me to believe that it was unconstitutionally created and deceitfully packaged and sold to create a strong and lasting dependence on the government as well as to swell the governments pockets with new revenue.
    Currently I have to take a pretty unpopular stance on Social Security. I believe that it was intended (right or wrong) as a temporary fix to help the elderly during the great depression. However, that time has come and gone and Social Security has become the greatest example how something sold as a temporary fix to a crisis becomes a permanent entitlement with far reaching consequences and infinite potential for expansion. We can see this in the fact that Social Security not only is used as a retirement supplement for the elderly but is the sole income for some and has been expanded to cover the disabled and children of deceased citizens until they turn 18 (sometimes 21 if the continue going to school.) The government can never be trusted to limit itself and social security displays all that is wrong with entitlements.
  • (November 27, 2009) Previously, I said I was an avid supporter of the Fair Tax. I no longer see the Fair Tax as my goal but as a possible objective towards my goal of “No Coercive Taxes.” Many libertarians, especially on, state that replacing the current coercive tax system with a new means of coercive collecting of taxes does not solve the problem. Coercive because people do not willing pay them, but pay them at the point of a gun. (If you don’t pay your taxes you will be fined or jailed–>you only allow your self to be imprisoned or fined because if you resist you will be shot…so in the end you pay at the point of a gun.)I agree that it is not a solution. However, under the current system the government is able to divide and conquer. They can raise taxes on some and not others in order to gain their support, give subsidies or tax breaks to special interest groups and engage in class welfare so that the people fight each other instead of the source of divisiveness and coercion, the State. The Fair Tax, on the other hand, if implemented as its creators intend, will reduce and/or eliminate many of these opportunities for the government to turn the people against each other and hide the true cost of government. Another idea I came up with recently would be to limit the federal government to taxing the states. This would allow the states to collect taxes in a variety of ways and to the degree that they see fit, it would also make it easier for people to vote with their feet since their tax burden would be wholly dependent on their state of residence, and it would give states an incentive to fight the growing behemoth of federal government since they would be the ones turning over its revenues.
    I have been avid supporter of the Fair Tax (all federal taxes, except excise taxes, replaced by a national sales tax) since I first learned about it. Many issues could be helped with this system of taxation and it would bring much needed transparency to the cost of government. It would be good for American business and the American financial system. While I can see the arguments of libertarians about eliminating all taxes (except possible “voluntary taxes”) I don’t believe America is prepared for that bold a step and I would be very pleased with this large step in the right direction.
  • (November 27, 2009) The State can only have the powers delegated to it by the people it serves and the people can not delegate powers they themselves don’t have. With that being said, since aggressive coercion or violence is wrong for individuals it must also be wrong for government. A war may still be justified, but only if it is in response to aggression or the direct threat of aggression and then only in proportionate response or until the aggressor ends their campaign or the direct threat no longer exists. Also, by direct threat I do not mean the potential to conduct aggressive acts or inflict harm but the stated intent or preparations with intent to do harm. However, there are other issues that have direct implications on this issue. So long as people who do not support the wars are the ones fighting and paying for them the wars, even with all other criteria being met, will not truly be just.
    I don’t think anyone would consider themselves pro-war, I am not in favor of war for the sake of war or for the confiscation of resources (land, treasure, people or power). However, I am currently in favor of military action up to and including war for the sake of protecting our National Security, which includes protecting our way of life. I believe that we are still at a point in civilization where military force has to be used to stop tyranny and other forces acting against the interests of the people of the United States. However, I am currently looking into the idea that more is lost than gained by the exercise of military force or projection. If I discover that the Cons outweigh the Pros when it comes to the interests of the people of this country I would whole heartedly change my position of support for military force.
  • (November 27, 2009) Previously this topic was Electoral College and Federalism but those topics were too narrow and has thus been expanded to the more general, “Structure of Government.” This topic also focuses on how I view the current government structure and the changes I propose, while they may seem radical, still maintain the integrity of the current state. The true goal, however, is a sort of libertarian anarchy but these steps should help to move in that direction.There are many inherent problems that arise from our structure of government. One major issue that a majority, or at least plurality, of Americans seem to have a problem with is the two party system More Americans identify themselves as Independent, or some other “third-party” such as Libertarian, than ever before. However, few have thought of why we are still stuck in a two party system in spite of mass discontent with either of the major parties. The most likely place for smaller parties and independents to gain ground is in the House of Representatives. However, the fixed number of seats, 435, since 1929 has created very large districts that give the major parties an advantage since more funds and organization are required to mobilize the vote in that large of a constituency. That is why the House should be reapportioned and greatly expanded. Another barrier is the single-party districts. When a majority of voters leads to a winner takes all contest it promotes support for major candidates who are seen as more likely to win while third parties are viewed as spoilers. This can be partially fixed just by creating smaller districts that smaller parties can compete in but another possible solution would be to assign seats in the House based on percentage of votes gained for each party. This is done in several other countries and allows for many smaller parties and usually prevents a straight majority party from being formed.One of the greatest political tragedies of American history has been the overwhelming centralization of power in the federal government. From the very beginning this was the debate that caused the founders to fracture into parties and it is only natural that the central governing body will always try to grab more and more power but the check against it was supposed to be the states acting in their self interests to protect and cling to that power for themselves. This trend, of centralization, was primarily started when States were no longer allowed to secede after the civil war. Up until the time states were voluntarily a part of the union and their ability to secede kept the federal government in check. However, since the “consent of the governed” is no longer needed the federal government expands more and more all the time, trampling state and individual rights. The idea of “consent of the governed” should be resurrected and states or even individuals should be allowed to secede in order to create a truly free society or societies.

    This is an issue I have not been able to come to a firm conclusion on. Currently I am leaning towards the category of opposing the Electoral College. Most of the original arguments for the Electoral College seem to be outdated and I have found several arguments against. I am actually in favor of fairly radical (in today’s status quo political environment) change in much of the structure of government.

    One of the greatest political tragedies of American history has been the overwhelming centralization of power in the federal government. From the very beginning this was the debate that caused the founders to fracture into parties and it is only natural that the central governing body will always try to grab more and more power but the check against it was supposed to be the states acting in their self interests to protect and cling to that power for themselves. Somewhere along the line the states rolled over or sold out and that is a trend that needs to be reversed. Diversity between the states is what allows people and business to vote with their feet moving where the laws are most friendly to them. When all blurs together and all laws are basically handed down from the federal government there can be no competition between the states or experimentation to find the best new ideas. Each voice of the people also becomes less and less heard as they are drowned out by the larger and larger masses ruled by an ever more centralized government.
  • (November 27, 2009) My previous position as a strict constructionist when it comes to judicial interpretation of the Constitution still holds. However, I also wanted to point out that while I believe the Constitution to have been an ingeniously written political document; I do not find it to be the last word, free from error, divinely inspired, or any more binding on government than being a symbol that acts as a rallying call for the people, who are the actual restrains binding state power. The constitution has been amended several times, not all that I agree with. Law, in the legislative sense, does not make write and just because it is written does not make it so. With that being said, I still stick to a strict constructionist, or literal, interpretation because to do otherwise would be to allow government unbound power.
    I am a strict constructionist when it comes to the Constitution. It should be interpreted as its writers intended to include each amendment. The Constitution can be a living document without judicial activism in its interpretation. The founders included a way for the Constitution to adapt to modern times throughout the amendment process. The difficulty of this process was intentional in order to limit the power of government, since it makes that laws that governs itself a fairly rigid document that needs the concurrence of competing powers is required to provide that limitation and shouldn’t be circumvented by a handful of judges.
  • (March 21, 2009) I support a policy that makes it much easier to come to this country to work, go to school or even live. At the same time I advocate much stricter standards for citizenship. I have not been able to do enough research to see exactly what standards I would ask be required but I am sure that in order to protect the integrity of our political system, to maintain an American culture and promote integration into society stricter standards are absolutely necessary. As to how much easier I believe it should be to enter this country, the only standard I would apply is a direct threat to the security of the country or the residents of the country. I do not mean a perceived threat to jobs or things of that nature but a national security threat or a criminal record. This freer flow of immigration would be much easier for people to support, however, if they did not fear that the influx of immigrants would be added burden due to the ever growing welfare state. Also, my way of dealing with illegal immigrant already in this country would be to grant them permanent status, we would then be aware of who is in our country and the would be recognized and not forced to live in the shadows. However, I would put limits on their status so that they could not become citizens unless they returned to their homecountry, without penalty, and re-entered the US legally behind everyone else who is waiting. They also would not ever be allowed to sponsor family members or other immigrants unless they returned to their home country first and entered legally. This would basically continue the status quo as far as their established lives, they currently can not sponsor relatives or become citizens, with the benefit of giving them basic rights and registering them in our systems so that they are accounted for; and it would alleviate fears of exponential growth in immigrants due to chain immigration after they are legalized and the culture shock of an addition of that number of immigrant citizens.
  • (November 27, 2009) The only thing I would add to my previous statements is that the goal is to remove government from education altogether. However, I still find school vouchers to be a huge step in the right direction and fully support it.(March 21, 2009) I am a strong advocate of school vouchers. I have found that an educated society has many spillover benefits and thus is one of the few items that I believe the government justifiably can fund. However, I do not trust the government to run our education. There is a conflict of iterest there in that young minds being shaped by those in power is a very dangerous thing. Also, the “common experience” “one size fits all” philosophy behind the public school system is a fails to achieve the goals that most citizens and parents see for schools: to instill children with knowledge and skills that will benefit them. Also, when choice is stifled and parents are compelled to send their kids to public school, usually not even able to choose which public school, it creates an environment where parents are either forced to accept someone else’s views, ideas and educating methodology, or to force their views on someone else’s kid. This has led to the great controversies in education that could have been largely avoided if parents had more choice and were able to more freely send their kids to schools they didn’t object to.
  • (March 21, 2009) While I may disagree with Thomas Friedman on many issues, I did find his books “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” and “The World is Flat” pretty useful. The conclusion he came to was that it doesn’t matter if we agree with globalization or because it’s happening. To ask if you agree with globalization would be like asking if you agree with the sun coming up in the morning…it’s going to happen regardless. The question is how do we live and adjust our views to fit that of a globalized world economy. We should recognize the new interconnectedness of not only countries but of issues. The economy is now directly connected to national security and our domestic politics are watched by countries around the world. Individuals can now do what only countries could do decades ago, moving large amounts of goods around the globe, conducting foreign policy, conducting business in several countries from their home or office.
  • (November 27, 2009) The topic of the Death Penalty was too narrow and thus expanded. The best place to find my views on Crime and Punishment more fully explored is in “The Ethics of Liberty” by Murray Rothbard. I will summarize them here. Crimes are committed against individuals by individuals and punishment is a way to seek justice, not to protect society or rehabilitate the criminal. The punishment should be guided by the “proportionality principle,” which will set the maximum for the punishment. The proportionality argument states that the criminal will be deprived of his rights up to the degree that he deprived the victim of their rights, plus restitution. However, instead of an “impartial” judge, who has no stake in the matter, the punishment, up to the maximum dictated by the proportionality principle, will be decided by the victim. The victim may decide to forgive part or all of the punishment for any reason to include personal beliefs, sympathy for the criminal’s situation or understanding of the events that led to the crime, to boost their personal image, or in a settlement with the criminal for money. The victim, or their heirs, was the one deprived of their rights so it should be up to them to decide the fate of the criminal up to the maximum.
    While reserved for heinous crimes like murder I agree with the Death Penalty. Even if I found some philosophical objection to it, it still wouldn’t bother me that a murderer or serial killer gets executed. It weighs zero on my conscience.
  • (March 21, 2009) In my personal life and personal advice I am against abortion. I think the debate is skewed and that I do not think there is a pro-life and a pro-death side of the issue or a pro-choice and anti-choice side of the issue but that there are those who believe that at some point during the pregnancy, some as early as conception, that a person exists. There are others who believe that it is only a clump of cells or some sort of animal or non-person fetus (I admit I am not sure what they classify it as, but I am giving them the benefit of doubt in my mind that they do not believe it is a person they are killing.) If there is a person in the womb then that person has rights including the right to life. If it is not a person then its rights are far less defined but I do not think that anyone can claim that it is not a living organism that is being killed in the abortion process. That is where I think the debate lies, in the personhood of the baby or fetus and when it becomes a person. Not about women’s rights. If it is not a person, I think few would object to a woman’s choice, but if you believe it is a person it can not be expected that you would sacrifice that person’s life for the convenience, career, plans, or even psychological trauma of the mother. Unless the life of the mother is in danger, I do not currently believe abortion is right.
  • (March 21, 2009) Anthropological global warming is a religion loosely veiled in science. The motivation for this fraud is great due to the huge sums of government money pouring in to finance it and the agenda of those pushing the theory is clearly anti-business and anti-capitalist. The deceit and misinformation that I have found prevalent in the science and theories in global warming has led me to believe that this is not just an incorrect theory but intentional misleading of people to make them act against their true self-interests and probably the greatest fraud in my lifetime. This politicized science, when finally exposed, will hurt the credibility of the scientific community for years to come and that is unfortunate.
  • (March 21, 2009) Frankly, if government got out of the marriage business: did not make tax laws, entitlements, legal recognition; then this would be a non-issue. However, gay marriage advocates are naive if they believe they can force acceptance on society or individuals. The government definitely should not prevent gay couples from living together, leaving eachother in their wills, granting eachother medical power of attorney, visiting as family in hosipitals; those should all be individual choices beyond the scope of government control regardless of who is chosen. At the same time, churches who do not recognize gay marriage should not have to perform the ceremony or allow one to take place in their building, employers who do not recognize gay marriage should not have to include the spouse on insurance plans or other benefits and employers who do recognize gay marriage shouldn’t have wait for the government to provide those benefits. If the government is not involved in the issue it will not give everyone what they want but it will provide everyone the choice of acting according to their own conscience.
  • (March 21, 2009) I believe the second ammendment is clear in the right to bear arms as individual citizens. There is little more I can say about the issue because I can not see where the debate is. As to regulations on selling and buying weapons, it does not bother me that there is a holding period, ID verification, and check in a federal registry to prevent the sell of weapons to felons or people with certain mental conditions.
  • (November 27, 2009) It is not the place of government to redistribute wealth within or outside of its borders. Private organizations and charities can help and hold to account, by the withdrawal of funds, foreign persons more efficiently and effectively than government. Especially if they have more of their own money not coercively taken (stolen) from them.
    The idea of the “Millenium Fund” of President Bush and of certain policies in regard to Foreign Aid under Reagan would be acceptable if pursued more strictly and across the board. A country should not just give away money to failing nations. They should tie that aid to reforms or to actions that are in the giving country’s interests. Otherwise nothing changes and the root problems that caused a country to need the aid remain. This does not necessarily apply to emergency aid due to natural disasters like the Tsunami in Indonesia and South Asia or even aid to the victims of genocide or oppression by their governments, but to the “lending” or providing of treasure and aid directly to governments.
  • (November 27, 2009) Adding more bureaucracy and centralizing power at a higher level will not lead to more cooperation or peace. More freedom is gained by empowering the lowest level, the individual, and allowing for free competition of ideas. I would also drop the last sentence of my previous stance because it seems to imply that States have some sort of inherent right to a monopoly of power over a geographic area.(March 21, 2009) The League of Nations and the UN are both failures in much of their goals. This is because most of the participating recognize and act in their own self interests and try to use the body to advance their own agendas. I do not blame them for this because it is the natural and right thing to do. However, we should not kid ourselves that the UN is some higher body trying to do the greater good. The UN is also very ineffectual due to the VERY different and often opposing agendas of the permanent council. It was George Washington who warned against permanent alliances. The US should make foreign policy based on what is in its interests and let those join who agree and consider the consequences of going against those who disagree and then take action with the US government being the one who decides not an international body unelected by the American people. The UN can be a place where ideas are discussed among countries but should have no binding power over sovereign nations.
  • (March 21, 2009) I am too young to have lived through the Civil Rights Era so I will not speak as to whether Affirmative Action was a justified policy at one time or not. However, I do believe that it has outlived any usefulness or justification it might have had. People should be given jobs based on merit, experience, and need not the color of their skin. Not hiring someone because they are white is just as racist as not hiring them because they are a minority. Issues like this do not cause greater acceptance between races but cause greater division and resentment.
  • (November 27, 2009) I have come down more confidently on the side that patents are not necessary and that copyrights should have a very short life if they are necessary at all. I have conducted research and become convinced of this, but I am not knowledgeable enough to really explain the position, yet.
    Recently I have began to look into the idea of IP. Where only a few months ago I would have defended IP as being nearly as sacred as property rights themselves. However, with recent research it would appear that copyright and patents have done considerably more harm than good. This may be simply due to the fact that they are abused and last for much too long a time. Further research is necessary but it would appear that history supports the argument that innovation still thrives with out IP and that in fact copyrights and patents, through the monopolies they create, are what stifle innovation.
  • (November 27, 2009) Eminent Domain for any purpose negates the concept of private property and begins the unravel of fundamental rights and the liberty of individuals. I am now taking a stronger position against any type of eminent domain land seizures.(March 21, 2009) Property rights are one of the foundational cornerstones of a free society. The taking of land from one private citizen and giving it to another private citizen is fundamentally wrong and should never be allowed. Actions of that nature should be met with great outrage from citizens because they could be next. I am not sure if I would make exception for eminent domain for the purpose of building roads and other government infrastructure but that would definitely be more tolerable than current uses of eminent domain laws.
  • (March 21, 2009) Like most issues that involve “personal choice” I do not care if someone uses drugs as long as I am not expected to pay, through taxes, their medical bills from either long term damage or emergency room visits, their food, their rent or their unemployment. It is only when people’s poor choices become a burden on that I find it acceptable to regulate such behavior. However, employers, to include the government, should be allowed to maintain their own standards on drug use and hire and fire based off those standards. The Drug war is a huge waste of money and time from what I can tell.
  • (March 21, 2009) The theoretical union that is usually presented in arguments, that protects workers from unsafe and inhumane working conditions and helps the every day Joe stand up to an abusive employer does not bother me. In fact, if unions were simply the voluntary organizing of workers to negotiate with an employer, based on what they both offer each other, and nothing else I probably would not have a problem with them. However, unions do not focus on negotiating with employers but instead lobby congress and the government to force employers to meet their demands. This is wrong. An employer should be able to hire or fire anyone he wants for any reason…its his money and his business. If an employer is acting unfairly or oppressively it is up to the employees to take a stand on behalf of their coworkers or their own rights and if they offer value to the employer then the employer will have to negotiate or suffer the consequences, or they can be held to account by the consumers of their product or services who do not want to support such practices, which can be used by competitors to draw the market away from bad actors due to a poor public image. The government’s role should be limited to enforcing legal contracts and that is it. If unions would stick to this more fundamental role they actually have a positive effect. Also, there does not need to be an ever present union collecting dues from employees whose survival depends on constantly convincing their members they should not be satisfied with their current status. Unions live in a paradox that if they are successful in implementing good work conditions they are no longer needed and must therefore act against their self interest to fulfill their promises and only a naive person could believe they act against their self interest.
  • (November 27, 2009) I have not put much more thought into this topic; however, the crime and punishment “proportionality principle” could probably apply here as well. So long as the techniques do not exceed the maximum limit set by the principle and the victims accept that punishment then it is not much different than capital punishment in that regard. However, the debate here is using to gain information, as opposed to punishment. In that regard my position is unchanged due to the fact that I have not further considered it.(March 21, 2009) I do not believe we should torture people. However, in the recent debates on torture that term has been applied very loosely. The literature put out by human rights groups claiming that the US is using torture, for example, classify the following into that category: standing for long periods of time; playing loud music; having dogs present at interrogations; females shaving the beards of muslim men; and water-boarding. If these things are going to be classified as torture then I have to rethink my position. I do not find discomfort or cultural insensitivity to be torture. As for water-boarding, if out interrogators can go through it for their training then a few, three reported instances of its use, terrorists with vital information that can save American lives can be exposed to it as well. There has been no reported permanent physical damage from the practice and like the Death Penalty, even if I could find philosophical objections to the rare use of water-boarding it would not bother my conscience that it happened to men like Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
  • (March 21, 2009) I have not firmly decided where I think life begins and could not say for sure if I find the use of embryonic stem cells morally wrong. I do think it is wrong to use stem cells from aborted fetuses or any embryos that were not specifically created in a lab for this purpose. It would also be better to use alternatives such as umbilical stem cells and adult stem cells if possible to avoid the possible ethical challenges. As far as government funding goes, the amount is most likely small compared to the overall budget of the research and if people truly believe in the potential of stemcells there should be plenty of people willing to support its research so that federal funding is not necessary.
  • (March 21, 2009) I support a 100% banking system as opposed to a fractional reserve banking system. There are also great arguments to return to a commodity money as opposed to fiat money. I agree with these arguments in principle but have not yet become convinced of a method of this return that would not have grave short term consequences. Theoretically, the benefits of commodity money could be mostly realized with fiat money if the government was prohibited from artificially growing money by use of the printing press and were only allowed to print money to replace DESTROYED old currency. Another benefit of commodity money is that it was an international standard and so minimized the effects of currency trading and sabotage on nations’ currencies. If an international fiat money was adopted that could not be printed for any reason other than replacing retired currency then I think many of the benefits of commodity money would be realized. At the same time, I do not expect that government, especially international institutions, can live up to the standards or be trusted not to manipulate currency that is under their control.
  • (March 21, 2009) After a long journey looking for what I truly believe, I have found the ideas of Deism. I would consider myself a positive deist and have no reason to disparage the faiths of others if it is providing them happiness, strength and a solid moral ground that does not lead to them harming those around them. I hope to write more in the future on my personal understanding of Deism and the path that led me to it.
  • (March 21, 2009) There is no argument that living things adapt to their environments and that mathematically speaking those that adapt the best are most likely to survive and pass those traits along. However, from the research I’ve done, which admittedly is not extensive but probably more than average, I have not been convinced of Darwinism or Macro-evolution. There appears to be some flawed logic and ample opportunity for logical fallacies and philosophical agendas to drive the conclusions of Darwinism. Currently, I do not believe that life was created by chance in the form of RNA, protein, single celled organism or some even simpler variant of life yet to be discovered that evolved into all the life that exists today. The more we study the more we see that even the most simple organisms are more complex then we could have imagined which makes macro-evolution even more unlikely. I do not have a religious agenda against evolution, if it were proved it would have no effect on beliefs. I just do not find the arguments for it compelling.
  • (March 21, 2009) Individualism, free-will and human reason are probably the cornerstones of my entire philosophy. Free-will is a topic that I waste little time debating, the arguments are usually circular, but accept as inherently true. I am very aware of the limitations of human reason but do not accept the skeptic’s view that we should accept nothing as true because of these limitations. The limitations should be recognized but we should act on what our reason tells us. Individualism and social evolution are what provide the safeguard and advance human reason as poor or incorrect reasoning will be weeded out as more successful reasoning becomes more prevalent. The idea is similar to that of biological evolution that as people adapt the ones who are most successful are most likely to be the ones whose ideas are accepted or spread. The probability of discovering the best ideas is exponentially greater when individuals are free to pursue their own reasoning as opposed to a collective society where new ideas stifled because by their very nature they are not accepted by the majority or only the ideas of one person or organization are tried and so the likelihood of finding the best idea is greatly reduced as only one idea out of infinite ideas are being tried.
  • Nov 27, 2009

    Political Survey March-21-2009


    The Most up to date Political Survey can always be found at <>

    In order for this site to be an accurate metric of how my views may change over time as I continue researching and studying ideas, I have created a political survey on myself. I have tried to include most major issues and provided my views in short answer form. I intend to provide full essay attention to each of these topics over time, but readers should be able to see where I am coming from. Requests for issues to be added to the survey can be sent to me using the Contact button on the menu bar, as well as requests for which issues to focus on first when I am writing essays for the blog. Whenever I change, nuance, or feel the need to add clarification to the short answers in the survey I will post the updates to the blog as well as link back to the original. After the break is the survey I completed on March 21, 2009.  I recently migrated my blog to wordpress and that is why there is a date discrepancy.

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    Nov 26, 2009