We Agree: The Origins of a Viable Alternative Political Party

As we watch our two dominant political parties spin their wheels trying to pass or defeat outrageously inadequate legislation, it’s easy (and frightening) to imagine this deadlock continuing indefinitely.  It won’t.  I know our democracy looks feeble right now but it’s always darkest before dawn.

During the 2008 presidential election, something very significant happened.  The major third party candidates (oxymoron?) including Ron Paul and Ralph Nader signed a statement called ‘We Agree.”  This statement, I believe, presents a new alternative to mainstream politics.  This document could be the foundation of a viable third party that unites libertarians and liberals against the corporate parties that dominate our political system.  Below is a copy of “We Agree.”

We Agree

Foreign Policy: The Iraq War must end as quickly as possible with removal of all our soldiers from the region. We must initiate the return of our soldiers from around the world, including Korea, Japan, Europe and the entire Middle East. We must cease the war propaganda, threats of a blockade and plans for attacks on Iran, nor should we re-ignite the cold war with Russia over Georgia. We must be willing to talk to all countries and offer friendship and trade and travel to all who are willing. We must take off the table the threat of a nuclear first strike against all nations.

Privacy: We must protect the privacy and civil liberties of all persons under US jurisdiction. We must repeal or radically change the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the FISA legislation. We must reject the notion and practice of torture, eliminations of habeas corpus, secret tribunals, and secret prisons. We must deny immunity for corporations that spy willingly on the people for the benefit of the government. We must reject the unitary presidency, the illegal use of signing statements and excessive use of executive orders.

The National Debt: We believe that there should be no increase in the national debt. The burden of debt placed on the next generation is unjust and already threatening our economy and the value of our dollar. We must pay our bills as we go along and not unfairly place this burden on a future generation.

The Federal Reserve: We seek a thorough investigation, evaluation and audit of the Federal Reserve System and its cozy relationships with the banking, corporate, and other financial institutions. The arbitrary power to create money and credit out of thin air behind closed doors for the benefit of commercial interests must be ended. There should be no taxpayer bailouts of corporations and no corporate subsidies. Corporations should be aggressively prosecuted for their crimes and frauds.

We support opening up the debates beyond the two parties and the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a private corporation co-chaired by former chairmen of the Republican and Democratic Party. It is time for our Presidential Debates to once again be hosted by a truly non-partisan civic-minded association.

-Statement of Agreement between Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin and Cynthia McKinney.


The Health Care Solution

It’s called the Freelancer’s Union and they can provide you with quality health care for $180-$380/month depending on the size of the deductible.  That means you could have health care coverage for $2,000-$4,000 a year.

If the government enabled the spread of organizations like the Freelancer’s Union, and gave every American a $2,000 voucher, we could ensure that every American has basic health coverage for about $700 billion a year.  That’s a shit load of money, but it’s THREE TIMES LESS than the $2,2600 billion (aka $2.26 trillion) we currently spend per year  and every indication suggests that private health care via organizations like the Freelancer’s Union is superior to the current system or any government run one.

The most important reason a private system is better than a public one is that private health care incentivizes healthy living by encouraging people to INVEST in their own health.  The logic is simple.  Would you maintain your car if the government paid for all your repairs?  No, you’d probably drive more haphazardly, skip routine maintenance and purchase lower grade gasoline.  You’d save money in the short term by accumulating damage until a serious malfunction occurred.  Then you’d go to the government repair shop and get a major overhaul.  If you had to pay for all your repairs yourself, you’d more likely treat your vehicle with respect, driving more conservatively, perform routine maintenance and invest in high quality fuel.  You’d think about saving money in the long term by taking care of problems early so they don’t ultimately devolve into seriously expensive malfunction.  Your body is a vehicle and, while most people treat their bodies worse than they treat their cars, the economics of auto-repair and health care are not so different.

Obama’s health plan is fundamentally wrong. It taxes businesses that don’t purchase their employees health care which results in an indirect tax on anyone who purchase their own health care from organizations like the Freelancer’s Union. The ultimate result is that if you, a sovereign human being, wanted to purchase your own health care on a free market you would be taxed.  This is a horrible idea that would stunt the growth of private health care solutions and erode our personal freedoms.

There is absolutely no reason for the Federal Government to be involved in the application of health care services to the people just as the military should not be involved in community watch programs.  Individuals must be free to make their own decisions about how they treat their own bodies.  Freedom encourages responsible long term thinking that can not be successfully replicated by an authoritative system, no matter how honest the intention or complete the application.  Freedom can not be imitated.  It’s our nation’s most valuable resource and we squander it at almost every opportunity.  That is no longer acceptable.

There is also a Constitutional argument that could be made about the invalidity of any public health care scheme.  The 4th amendment, as interpreted under Roe v. Wade, clearly gives individuals the right to make their own health care decisions.  Any government action that deliberately changes the most important decision I can make about my body, how health care is delivered, is obviously unconstitutional.  My right to my body is the most fundamental right possible because if I do not have that right then, quite simply, I could be imprisoned or killed at any time by the people who do have the right to my body.

Let’s go deeper.

Big Insurance: impossible without Big Government.
Big Insurance: impossible without Big Government.

But, one might say, if health care was really about freedom and we’ve been living with deep government interference with health care for over 30 years, then we are not, nor have we been, free individuals. This is true: we’ve been enslaved. Liberated people do not hate their jobs.  Liberated people do what they enjoy all the time because there is no one forcing them to do otherwise.

Imagine how little money you’d need to be truly happy.  What if health care, food and shelter weren’t a factor because society provided you with access to each for no cost.  How much money would you need?  Aside from attracting a mate and recreation,  you wouldn’t need much else.  You’d be liberated because you’d need to earn less so you could spend more time doing what you enjoy.  The magic of the world is that you are best at doing what you truly enjoy and, in a more liberated economy free from government meddling and the monopolies that emerge from it, it’d be much easier for you to monetize your passion.  Indeed: you’d be in the sweet spot of what economists call comparative advantage.

The beauty of of the free market is that capacity doesn’t increase when people do more valuable tasks, but when people actually producing more value.  The difference is subtle but significant: economic output increases when people expand their own capacity to do work, not when they do higher priced jobs.  The more self-actualization in an economy, the more it can produce.  The goal of the free market is transforming our labor force from farm labor into self-actualized labor.  This is the trajectory of humanity’s economic development.  It is the accumulated efficiencies of thousands of years of incremental progress.

But what does this have to do with health care?

The free market is the active force enabling comparative advantage.  Government does the opposite.  It restricts freedom by enabling someone else to make decisions for you and for others.  No one knows what you love better than you do so no one but you can efficiently allocate your labor.  Only you and the creative force of freedom.

The fact that our politicians do not look at every policy and first ask whether or not it restricts people’s freedom is a great treason and violation of the spirit of the Enlightenment philosophers who founded this country.  America’s founding was rooted in a deep faith in the goodness of free human nature and a deep suspicion of institutions that prevented people from being free.  It was an outgrowth of a freedom movement.  If you’re not into freedom (many people aren’t) and think government should baby sit you and your friends – then you should either amend the Constitution or move elsewhere.  There are many countries with lower costs of living, better weather and a government that will be happy to take care of you.

Let’s not be hasty and rush a ‘reform’ plan through Congress before looking at all the options, especially an easy to implement voucher system.

Two News Films about the Food Revolution

Two new films have come out about how our food system is making us sick, destroying our environment and producing food that tastes like shit.  Both films herald the coming food revolution: a movement that encourages people to grow some their own food, buy local food, seasonal food and to take more of an interest in what they put into their bodies.

Fresh the Movie

Food Inc

Introduction to the QS Platform

The QuestionableSource platform articulates our vision of an ideal government consistent with the QS Principles.

The New World was a void into which the most ambitious ideas of the Western Enlightenment could be applied without the baggage of European institutions.  It was on American soil that immigrants came together and asked the simple question: how can we build the world’s greatest government?  Despite their diverse philosophies, divergent economic interests and disparate geographic locations, the founding fathers came together around one issue: limiting government.  America’s founders knew that government, like all institutions, loses focus on its founding mission and becomes increasingly concerned with it’s own survival and growth.

Over the course of the last two centuries, the Federal Government has traveled the well worn path towards empire, growing steadily as it pressured Americans to exchange individual liberty for centralized power.  This power has been used to make the Federal Government an integral part of everyday life: from business operation to education, health care to recreational choices, our government’s growth would surely frighten the authors of our Constitution.

The intention of our founding fathers was to make sure the American people remained free.  The greatest threat to freedom does not come from the threat of violence; it comes from the promise of plenty.  When government promises to provide for people, it diminishes the value of the concept of freedom.  Why would an individual struggle to find their own path and improve themselves if they could live the life of a fat slave?

The Federal Government isn’t interested in instilling in the American people a love of authentic freedom.  Indeed, after two centuries of expansion, it’s clear that the Federal Government wants us all to believe that the concept of liberty is as antiquated as the paper upon which our Constitution was written.

Government: People with Guns
Government is an organization of people who have a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. This means that the Government has the right to coerce you with the threat of imprisonment or death.  Such an organization is perfectly structured to perform the essential task of keeping the peace internally (by administering a system of justice) and externally (by defending the integrity of our national borders) but just as a hammer is too clumsy an instrument to mend people, government is too clumsy an instrument to mend society.  The fact of the matter is that we don’t want the people with the guns running our education systems, providing us with health care, certifying our plumbers or performing any task that we could do ourselves.

Community: People with Words
Communities don’t have the right to coerce people with the threat of physical harm, but they do have the right to use the tools of social coercion.  Indeed, it was the forces of compassion and social coercion that compelled individuals to self-organize and finance the many thousands of diverse philanthropic institutions (nonprofit, for-profit, religious) that provided countless Americans with health and education services before the income tax was established during The First World War.

The forces of compassion and social coercion have the strength to finance philanthropic health and education services superior to those run by the government, but the government, like any competitive organization, works to prevent competition from entering the market by levying high taxes on the people and creating complex regulations with high compliance costs.  These tactics, and others, have successfully prevented private philanthropic services from competing with the government and allowed the government to continue to grow in size and scope.  While advancements in technology, especially the internet, have made the dream of privately run universal health care and education attainable, Federal programs continue to expand into the space, preventing that dream from becoming a reality.

QS Platform
The QS Platform presents a set of policy proposals that will allow people to organize themselves so they can provide their own communities with the social services necessary for the existence of a compassionate society.  We believe that the internet enables people to organize so effectively that, when properly used, it will eliminate the need for government intervention in our everyday lives.  In other words, the internet will allow us to construct the classically liberal society of all our dreams.

We believe that all humans are compelled by nature to self-actualize.  We also believe that a perfectly free market operates under the same rules that govern natural evolution.  Like blowing wind or surging water, man-made structures can channel the natural, evolutionary force of the free market into unnatural arraignments that transform the  liberation of voluntary exchange into a coercive relationship of dependency and oppression.  This ‘channeled’ free market is the one critics of capitalism complain about, but these critics don’t realize that only government -only the people with guns- are capable of building structures that channel the forces of the market into inequitable arrangements.  Our mission is to liberate the free market from these unnatural structures so that individuals and communities can participant in a perfect marketplace that compels each of us to achieve our full potential.

First Steps
1. Replace the Income Tax with The Fair Tax (consumption tax)
2. Place the Federal Reserve under the authority of the Legislative Branch
3. Provide health care and education vouchers to every American.
4. Enact a Carbon Tax that finances a Green Energy Subsidy
Coming Soon: Positions on the Economy and Taxes, Health Care, Education, Foreign Policy and States Rights.