The Libertarian State of the Union

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In case you didn’t notice how wonderful the last seven years have been, President Obama pointed it out in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night. Of course things aren’t nearly as fabulous as they could be, we’re going to need more big government to achieve the progressive state of bliss.

The stupid party then trotted out South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to paint a grim picture of the President’s tenure and convince us to dump his party next November. In truth what she did was give us the yin to Obama’s yang. They’re two sides of the same authoritarian coin and continuing down the path they’ve blazed will ultimately result in less freedom for all of us.

So just how bad have things gotten? Here’s a libertarian view of the State of the Union.

Ever since 9/11 the Bush and Obama administrations have seamlessly continued to erode our liberties while killing thousands of innocent people in the name of fighting terror. Bush 43 sent American forces to Afghanistan to root out al-Qaeda, and to Iraq to take out a third of the “Axis of Evil”. Obama continued his work and caught a lucky break, allowing US soldiers kill Osama bin Laden in 2011. After billions of dollars spent and thousands of American, Iraqi, and Afghan deaths, Obama declared victory in 2014. Yea! The war is over … except it isn’t. There are still 15,000 US troops in these hellholes, stuck in the middle of civil wars that not only allow al-Qeada to flourish but also spawned a new terrorist group – ISIS (ISIL?, IS?, Daesh?, Derka Derka?).

Two heinous terrorist groups out for American blood … what could be better? From the police state point of view, nothing is better than this. The government can justify anything by simply raising the specter of terror! NSA spying, invasive TSA searches, the un-Constitutional no-fly list, national IDs, Border Patrol checkpoints a hundred miles from the nearest border, murder-by-drone, militarization of the police, and now increased efforts to take your guns. We have to restrict your freedom because dudes in black pajamas are chopping off heads in Syria!

As bad as the War on Terror is at infringing your rights, it isn’t the only war. There’s also the War on Drugs. The last three Presidents all smoked marijuana in their youth. In fact, by some accounts, Obama was pretty much a stoner in high school. But that hasn’t stopped these hypocrites from giving the drug war a full court press. The President could issue an executive order tomorrow removing marijuana from the prohibited drug schedule rendering it a legal substance, but if he did it would remove his strongest excuse for scaring people and increasing federal police power. Without the drug war how will the government justify tracking your finances, seizing your assets, fining you, or throwing you in prison when you haven’t harmed anyone? Illegal drugs = government power … they won’t give this up without a fight.

Restricting your liberties into enough for Big Brother, he also insists on controlling your economic life. Obama’s signature program, the Affordable Care Act, forces you to engage in economic activity simply because you’re not yet dead. You MUST have “minimum essential” health insurance coverage or you will be fined. The Supreme Court gave its OK for this blatantly un-Constitutional power grab by calling the fine a “tax” but everyone, with the exception of special needs Chief Justice John Roberts, knows what it really is. Millions have found that the affordable coverage is anything but, and have either scraped together the extra money needed to follow the law, been forced onto Medicaid, or lost their insurance altogether. Not only is this disastrous for many it also set a precedent that is a statist wet dream. As long as the government calls the fine a “tax”, it can force you to buy anything it wants. You didn’t buy solar panels for your house? You’ll have to pay an alternative energy tax. You didn’t buy an electric car? You’ll have to pay a carbon tax. You didn’t buy any US Savings Bonds? You’ll have to pay a debt reduction tax. You didn’t get the cable package that includes MSNBC? You’ll have to pay a propaganda tax. There’s no conceivable end to this.

These developments are gloomy indeed, but there have been a few bright spots lately. The voters in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and D.C. told the feds to take their marijuana laws and shove them so far up Obama’s ass that even Chris Mathews won’t be able to find them. Another eleven states may do the same this November. Weed is still illegal under federal law but even Big Brother doesn’t have the manpower to enforce it everywhere. No longer will citizens of these states be kidnapped and imprisoned by the local and state police for the crime of minding their own business.

Despite all the BS coming from the Democrats about supporting gay rights, Obama and his cronies did nothing to legalize gay marriage. This summer the Supreme Court put an end to this hypocrisy when they struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and all state laws stopping gays from legally hooking up. You’re still not completely free to marry who you want because polygamy is illegal, but at least this is a step in the right direction. However, the LGBT crowd (aren’t the L & B redundant to the G?) is now pressing for “rights” that infringe on the rights of others. Already, courts have ruled that gays can compel you to do business with them thus restricting your right of free association.

The video camera has become ubiquitous, much to the chagrin of thug cops everywhere. No longer can the Blue Gang torment people in anonymity for when they do they often become YouTube stars. Indictments of crooked cops are up and the public is becoming more aware that police brutality is real. It’s not the state protecting you from police corruption, it’s Joe the Plumber with a cell phone.

Partisan squabbling has caused the liberal media to lament that we have a do-nothing Congress. In 2015 Congress only enacted 115 laws, the lowest number since the early 70s. Statists are upset because we need more laws to control you more completely. Let’s hope the squabbling continues because a do-nothing Congress is liberty’s best friend.

But don’t let these pinpricks of freedom fool you, the future for liberty is grim. The top Presidential candidates comprise a gallery of scoundrels. The Republican front-runner would have been right at home in Nazi Germany (Trump) while the leading Democrat would turn the US government into a third-world kleptocracy (Clinton). The top Democratic challenger (Sanders) lives in an economic fantasy world where money grows on the top 1% of trees, while the Republican many think will upset Trump (Rubio) will continue the Bush/Obama agenda of slowly chipping away your rights. Only Cruz gives any lip service to following the Constitution but his pro-war and religious “freedom” stances on many issues are some of the most oppressive presented. From the beginning Rand Paul was liberty’s only hope of getting through the duopoly obstacle course, but his candidacy has become a zombie that doesn’t yet realize it is dead.

From the libertarian perspective, the state of the union is dire and is unlikely to substantially improve in the near future. But like a gigantic supertanker it can be slowly turned about. All of us who cherish liberty need to continue promoting pro-freedom ideas to anyone who will listen. Plaster your car with libertarian stickers. Wear your Gary Johnson 2016 t-shirt. Volunteer to help out your local libertarian groups. Whenever your friends bring up politics, ask them subtle questions that force them to examine their controlling motives. Do what you can to make people aware that the Republicrats aren’t the only option.

There may only be about 1 million big “L” libertarians in this country but there are 10s of millions of little “l” libertarians, most of whom don’t even realize it. Figure out who these people are and work on them. The Libertarian party can’t fix things by itself. It’s going to take every one of us to eventually get the ship of state back on the correct course.


As the year progresses I plan to keep a running tally of the number of unarmed citizens and dogs killed by police. I will also keep tabs on the number of cops killed in the line of duty.

Here’s the count for the first 2 weeks of the year:

Unarmed Americans killed by police: 1

Girl, 12, killed in eviction confrontation between father, constable

Dogs killed by police: 0

Police killed in the line of duty: 0

Wayne Middlesteadt is the author of Five Ways to Beat the Market and The Golden Age of Distance Running.

About Author

Wayne Middlesteadt is a 1986 graduate of Georgia Tech and has an MBA from Georgia State University. Currently working as a financial writer and track and field historian, his latest book is Five Ways To Beat The Market.