The Patriarchy Did Not Pull the Trigger

A lot has been said about last week’s tragedy in Santa Barbara. Particularly, speculation about the shooter– and what drove him to act in such a horrific manner as to claim the lives of six other people, injuring over a dozen others.

If you pay too much attention to the media, you’ll learn that: Guns are to blame. The gun lobby is to blame. Parents are to blame. Politicians are to blame. And my favorite, I keep hearing feminists claim that a so-called ‘men’s right movement’ is also to blame. atie Mcdonough over at Salon (yeah, ew) says about as much, going after both guns and misogyny but waving away the factor of mental illness as a “blanket term.”

It’s hard to say what any of this actually tells us. Maybe nothing. I won’t pretend to know. What role did Rodger’s misogyny play in this tragedy? And what about his apparent struggle with mental illness — that big, blanket term we never talk about except to throw it around as if it explains why someone would murder six people? And what about guns? 

When social justice ‘warriors’ and other various leftists project their personal agenda onto the situation in Santa Barbara, they’re pushing just as much misinformation as run-of-the-mill gun grabbers. Everyone is in a hurry to project their political or personal agenda onto tragedy. The shooter used a gun to kill people; true. The shooter was a misogynist; true. He was driven to misogyny, malevolence, and murder by mental illness– not institutional ‘patriarchy’. Yes, it is a broad term, because mental illness is a broad spectrum of disorders. Some mental disabilities cause more harm than others. Unsuccessful treatment of mental illness brought about tragedy. It’s 2014, folks should act like it– a good first step would be to stop emotionally collectivizing people based on their race and their sexual biology. 

‘The Patriarchy’ didn’t pull the Trigger. The trigger didn’t pull the trigger. Elliot Rodgers killed those human beings, no one else.

Obamacare Is Not Christian Welfare

A pastor at the very liberal Baptist church that I was raised in just tried to equate Obamacare with Christian welfare with the proclamation that ‘Jesus was all about free healthcare’. This kind of politicizing of doctrine is one of many reasons that I do not regret my decision to leave protestantism, as I continue my conversion to Greek Orthodoxy. I’m so sick and tired of people trying to subvert Christian doctrine to advance and advocate their political agenda.

Christian welfare

Insisting that I give my wealth or labor to the federal government is not helping the needy. It’s giving money to a corrupt global-scale corporation that’s manipulated by lobbyists. A lot of that money is siphoned toward bombs and drones that spread more death and suffering among the poor of the world– and yet the hubris of left wing Christians continues.

Here’s what I do when I want to help the needy: I give them a portion of my own income, I ask my friends to do the same; I donate to shelters, or work in soup kitchens. I build them houses. I offer material items or necessities that I can live without. That’s what Jesus wants us to do when he asks us to take care of each other.

A More Personal Post… My Own ‘Millennial Crisis’

My thoughts on experiencing the ‘Millennial Crisis’:

It’s not a secret that a large portion of Millennials are dealing with turbulence. The world economy, the state of the culture, the burdens set upon our shoulders by the generations before us. And through all of that– we constantly see garbage ‘Blame the spoiled Millennial’ sentiments being published across the media spectrum. Usually written by Generation X and Baby Boomers who were able to buy houses and start families in their 20s.

Given that– how many of you are feeling disheartened? Defeated? Still clueless about what you want to do next? Wondering how you’re going to get by?

I wanted to share a story that I’ve never fully disclosed publicly, at least not in detail:

Two years ago I was concluding an intimidating job interview in an executive room of a NYC high rise, being promised a Fox Business television production job by Judge Andrew Napolitano. He hugged me and congratulated me. My career in journalism and political commentary seemed to have just hit light speed. A producer at Fox by 25? Not going to deny that I was feeling pretty proud of myself.

Despite my best efforts, and a great interview– that job didn’t materialize, for reasons beyond my control. Then I got hit with a litany of misfortunes, in both matters of the heart and matters of my health. I felt heart broken, hopeless, and permanently defeated. I felt completely destroyed.

I ended up hitting a brick wall and having to move back to Charlotte.

So, a year and a half ago I was stacking wine boxes for $10 an hour and living back on my parents couch. 26 years old, with a proven record as a writer, and a college degree; that’s what I was doing.

I clawed my way back by 27– in every respect. The main thing I did– was to just get up every day and keep going. I’d wake up, fix breakfast, and get dressed in a shirt and tie like I was going to work– even if I wasn’t going anywhere that day. I kept writing, I kept honing my passions, and I stayed on the radar. I volunteered at a local Television station and spent my free time writing freelance for local magazines. I even got involved with a pet sitting business on the side, just to make extra pocket money. I didn’t let myself retreat into quietism, even when I wanted to just curl up in a ball and sob.

I refused to lower my sights, compromise on the life I wanted, or accept that my fate was sealed.

So a year after my temporary downfall, I managed to sign a new lease on my old rental house in DC and secure a full time job with an organization that allows me to hone my pursuits in both media and in politics. I get to work with friends, instead of just ‘colleagues’ — and I love what I do.

I’ve spent the past year rebuilding my life: My network, my credit, my reputation; I’m getting financial footing, and poising to return to writing and commentary in the process. My career is still in embryonic stages, but day-by-day, I’ve pressed forward. I only get busier, and the busier I get, the more I pursue my passions. The more I pursue my passions, the happier I become.

The important part of this story, the most important thing that I did during this journey from the apex of a New York City high rise  to the rock bottom of a retail sales floor– was that I got back up and threw some massive retaliatory punches at misfortune. It knocked me down, but I didn’t let it knock me out.

So, if you’re having a ‘Millennial Crisis’ — I’m going to keep my advice simple: don’t give up.  Focus your passions into tangible work… and then do work.

Why stop at banning guns? Let’s ban plastic shapes.


Perhaps it was naive of us, as citizens of a supposedly-free country, to presume that we could so openly flaunt our ability to produce something (save for a filled-out tax form) without Uncle Sam’s permission. While Obama’s faithful prophets at Organizing for America (#OFA) run wild with tweets about #NotBackingDown (from gun control), the State Department is setting its crosshairs on 3D-printing. You silly plebeians should know that all activity (and information) must be taxed, licensed, or banned.

25-year-old Cody Wilson, the man who invented the world’s first 3D-Printed gun, the brain behind Defense Distributed, is learning that the hard way.

The U.S. State Department has taken files for the plastic shapes (used to construct the gun) offline– citing intentional arms control law.

Courtesy: Forbes

Courtesy: Forbes
These are illegal plastic shapes. They’re bad, so don’t print them. Okay?

Defense Distributed’s stated mission is to be the harbinger of a world in which all citizens could have easy access to printable firearms. Wilson envisions a world in which citizens have the right to easily arm themselves, if they so wish:

This project might change the way we think about gun control and consumption. How do governments behave if they must one day operate on the assumption that any and every citizen has near instant access to a firearm through the Internet? Let’s find out.

The Federal Leviathan didn’t like that. So, according to Betabeat, some microtyrants sent Cody this letter (click to enlarge):

The government, lol

Courtesy: Betabeat
LOL, no. Here’s a bunch of acronyms and jargon as to why.

Just look at all those delightful acronyms! My reaction to this was basically ‘TLDR,” we all know the gist of it anyway.

“NO.JPEG, only tax-subsidized employees should have easy access to firearms.” – John Kerry, Secretary of State (no citation needed)

Hey! Don’t forget Mexican Drug Cartels“- Eric Holder, Attorney General (no citation needed)

SOPA, PIPA, CISPA– why does the government need to pass these bills to tighten the leash on we the subjects? As is evident, they can simply use their numerous fiat agencies to shut down portions of the internet that distribute information that they do not favor.

By now, most people have heard about the Open Carry March that radio host Adam Kokesh is leading on July 4th. The event proposes that 1,000+ strangers walk into the capitol of the Federal Leviathan bearing loaded weapons. It is a foolish idea; too many incalculable variables. The event’s proposed actions carry too much potential to go sideways– ending in mass arrests, or even violence.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has already vowed to block the marchers from entering the district with loaded weapons.

If proponents of free commerce, production, and yes, gun rights really wanted to send an impactful message? They should be marching in to give out flash drives with “Liberator” 3D-print files and various 3D-printed plastic shapes. An armed police barricade blocking a contingent of flash-drive-carrying activists would look far more ridiculous for the police. As it stands, Kokesh is giving the lefties in the corporate media the exact kind of stories and imagery they crave to paint gun owners as crazy, hostile, and threatening.

Of course, despite the draconian approach of the State Department, the files are still out there– if you want them. Seek the wisdom of Google, or other torrent sites; I don’t want John Kerry replacing my blog content with a big picture of a State Department Eagle  — but I wish you happy hunting.


Presidents, Supreme Cowards of the Free World?

Over at VICE, Harry Cheadle tackles a subject that deserves far more attention than it is yet getting. ‘We’ need to stop arresting so many children.

Our legal system is (on so many levels) a failure to be certain– but now with so many tales of minors being slapped with threats of imprisonment, it’s time to put harsher light on it. Young people threatened with spending decades and decades of their finite lives in metal cages– is a problem absolutely worth confronting. These aren’t kids accused of setting pressure cooker bombs out on public streets that I’m talking about. These are just your average dumb kids, doing stupid (sometimes very stupid) things. Why aren’t more leaders speaking about the absurd punishments they’re being dealt?

Journalists are, as Cheadle elabroates:

On Thursday, Cameron D’Ambrosio, an 18-year-old from Methuen, Massachusetts, was arrested for making felony bomb threats thanks to a lame video he posted to Facebook of himself rapping about having a bunch of money and killing people. “Cammy Dee” could get up to 20 years for his shitty, shitty rapping and posturing, and his bail has been set at $1 million.

He details a second case of outrageous legal over-punishment below:

Then there’s the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old from Florida who was amusing herself before school on April 22 in the manner of nerdy kids everywhere, by fooling around with science. She mixed toilet-bowl cleaner and aluminum foil in a water bottle, which resulted in a chemical reaction that produced “a firecracker-like ‘pop’ and some smoke… , Kiera is, absurdly, getting charged with “possession and discharge of a weapon on school ground and with discharging a destructive device” and being tried as an adult.

kids are dumb
Horsing around? Go to jail. Go directly to jail. And pay us $200. Then pay us some more.

Journalists and social media activists are exposing these ridiculous stories, but our so-called leaders are too busy letting Americans hear about their picks for NCAA tournaments. What is this garbage?

I have been thinking about the office of the Presidency today.

The office of the President is quite muted today, at least when I consider what it could be. People rally behind presidential rhetoric, entire brands are built around their words and acts. In the Western world, I’d posit that Obama’s logo is as recognizable as Apple’s.


And yet, when it comes to the presidency, we always have some partisan agent with an agenda far beyond ‘standing up for the people’. Do you truly think Romney or McCain would have shaken loose from this trend? I don’t. Bush was most certainly not an avatar of transparency or justice. The President is supposed to be our ultimate representative in government, the so-called ‘leader of the free world’ and yet we have opaque administrations– term after term. It’s an incredibly insulated position, the public is occluded from seeing much of what these men have done in our names on a day-to-day basis; it should be just the opposite. Where is the public interaction?

When these Presidents see cases of injustice, they should speak on it. Candidly.  If they can find time to golf, go to basketball games, and make sports predictions– they can find time to speak on true injustice. They volunteered to lead the country, not play 18 holes. And they should do so more than once in a blue moon, when it is politically convenient to have a fluff piece in the grocery store checkout line. They should do so frequently. Governors, mayors, congressmen– they should all be speaking out more. Drop the broad strokes and open up about specific cases. You’re in positions of power. Shame those enforcing bad laws. Stop being afraid of your poll numbers for fear of backlash. Be real leaders.

We put kids in jail for plants. Plants. Well what if they don’t want to go to jail?

What’s that bag of illegal nature you have there? Oh you don’t want to go to jail? You better become an informant and endanger yourself, sorry if you get killed– not our problem.

A president that had a pair would openly mock and criticize this entire inane practice of punishing and endangering kids over marijuana. We put them in jail for saying or doing stupid things– well, what does one expect them to do? They’re children! Does anyone expect them to be fully rational, capable beings in a cradle-to-grave system of taxation and ‘education’?

While we are on the topic of ridiculous drug policies– we penalize people dying from cancer by letting Eric Holder raid medicinal marijuana dispensaries,


Presidents are not meant to be supreme rulers, but they certainly have louder voices than 99% of the world. No sane person should think these legal practices are acceptable. A government should not be run as a corporation, with an executive whose primary function is to run ‘Cover Your Ass’ protocol for every agent in our tax-funded leviathan. But that’s exactly what our current Commander-in-Chief just did, when invited to speak in a graduation ceremony at Ohio State University.

Instead of being a vocal critic of bad policy, a warrior for justice, President Obama has become an apologist for the federal leviathan — encouraging the younglings to ‘reject those voices who warn of tyranny’. It is supreme cowardice that so little of substance is said about the failures of our government. Instead of confronting these failures, we have a president pretending to be didactic; spewing long, deceptively-glossed over, foolishly-optimistic  verbal head pats about the beauty of being a citizen.

I’ll have to steal Cheadle’s last line to close my own thoughts, because it is just too good:

So until the adults can figure out a way to get the prison-industrial complex in check, try not to do anything whatsoever, OK? And never film yourself rapping.

Now let me add:

Grow a pair Mr. President.


I took an extended hiatus (understatement?) while I performed a litany of re-calibrations in my personal affairs.

One year, a relocation to DC, and a job change later– a website rebuild and regular updates are finally happening. Make no mistake, Machine Smash is coming back. New content begins rolling out now. Look for the full website relaunch in early Fall.


Weaponized Libertarianism: Pragmatists and Dogmatists

Weaponized Libertarianism: Pragmatists, Dogmatists and the Inevitable Fracture within the Ron Paul Movement

The American libertarian movement, “the liberty movement,” has fractured. After Sen. Rand Paul’s endorsement of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, a new fault line was drawn.

What was once considered one movement has, in a sense, become two. One movement is pragmatic, seeking political effectiveness. The other is dogmatic, seeking ideological purity. The pragmatic part sees no point in having an ideology if you can’t advance it in real world terms. For the pragmatists, success is defined by how much American politics becomes more libertarian. For dogmatists, success is defined by how pure one’s libertarianism is.

The pragmatists have embraced, some immediately, some more uncomfortably, the political tactics of Ron Paul’s son, maybe even taking a few notes from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals: They will operate in the world as it is, not the world as they wish it was.

Pragmatists aren’t the type to parade through the front door of a GOP meeting wearing top hats, fishnet clothing or “9/11 Was An Inside Job” tee shirts (most of them aren’t conspiracy theorists anyway). They aren’t going to scream at little old ladies who voted for John McCain in 2008. They realize that condemning other Republicans wholesale as ‘neocons!’ and ‘statists!’ won’t do any good. They realize that yelling won’t win them any new supporters.

The pragmatists are mostly young, energetic, and dedicated. They are willing to work within the GOP and hold open discourse with inner-party opposition. During the Republican Primaries, they would spend their days and nights making voter ID phone calls, conducting research, and canvassing door-to-door.

These volunteers provided organizational muscle that the Paul campaign lacked in 2008. They learned each state’s confusing and varied delegate procedures, and with varying degrees of success, took over a dozen or so Republican state conventions this year. While they won’t have enough delegates to catalyze an upset in Tampa, they’ll still be there, working to reshape the party platform, engaging party members, networking, educating— presenting the case for libertarian ideals.

When it comes to the GOP, the ‘Ron Paul people’ will be there for a long time to come.

While few pragmatists jumped with glee when Rand Paul endorsed Mitt Romney on ‘Hannity,’ some understood it immediately. Others did not, but would later come to understand it.

Rand is working within the GOP, rather than to the side of it, as his father has sometimes done. This makes Rand harder to snipe at, and surely Rick Santorum and company would love the opportunity. Santorum and the Republicans he represents are threatened by the momentum of the Pauls’ libertarian ideas in the party, juxtaposed against the current standard of foreign intervention and theocratic jargon.

Rand will operate on a default basis that is closer to the party line on most issues, except where the party line contradicts his beliefs, as it does on many issues. Sen. Paul’s method is a change in tact for the liberty movement, but it is not a change in how he votes.

Rand’s method will certainly gain more mainstream GOP support for those unconventionally Republican votes (good examples are Sen. Mike Lee joining Rand on trying to bring the troops home from Afghanistan, or Sen. DeMint voting with Rand to defund the Iraq War). Rand explained his methods on ‘The Peter Schiff Show’ earlier this month:

“If we take our cookies and go home, we lose all the hard fought influence that we have within the party. The Romney campaign and everyone else realizes we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

Rand’s endorsement predictably and understandably caused controversy within the liberty movement. It also gave the movement better footing and far more advantages heading to Tampa than we would have had otherwise.

But many made the mistake, again, not unreasonably, that Rand’s endorsement meant he was also endorsing Romney’s policies. Far from it. As Sen. Paul wrote a week after the endorsement at National Review Online:

“I do not yet know if I will find a Romney presidency more acceptable [than Obama] on foreign policy. But I do know that I must oppose the most recent statements made by Mitt Romney in which he says he, as president, could take us to war unilaterally with Iran, without any approval from Congress.”


Regardless of this clear bold stance against Romney’s comments, this will never be good enough for the dogmatists. Blanket condemnations and vitriol flooded Sen. Paul’s Facebook page: “Traitor!” “Judas!” “You are not your father!” For many in the movement—no matter the advantages, results, or potential successes for libertarianism that might come with the endorsement—Rand was no longer pure.

In the two weeks since the endorsement alone, Sen. Paul introduced or supported legislation legalizing hemp, eliminating farm subsidies, getting rid of foreign aid, and protecting citizens from TSA abuse. These examples are but the latest in two-year long voting record that many have rightly said is the most libertarian scorecard in the history of the U.S. Senate.

But for the dogmatists, this doesn’t matter. Rand Paul could become president, abolish the Federal Reserve, eliminate the PATRIOT Act, and bring every last troop home—but it wouldn’t matter: Rand Paul endorsed Mitt Romney.

For dogmatists, making libertarian ideas practical policy does not matter. Being 100% pure in one’s philosophy is what matters.

The dogmatists are a varied bunch. Some are self-professed anarchists. Some dedicate themselves to the kind of ‘let’s get arrested’ activism that always ends up the same way—arrest. Hopefully they aren’t wearing Ron Paul shirts when the cuffs come out. Unfortunately, they often are.

Some are Alex Jones acolytes, conspiracy theorists who think ‘Rand has gone to the darkside’. Whenever someone says ‘Ron Paul Supporters are crazy,’ it’s likely they had a run in with one of these more vocal dogmatists.

Dogmatists are not only impeding the progress of the pragmatists, but even their own progress. Their actions hardly ever inspire, but almost always alienate. The neoconservatives believe if we would only fight one more war, we could install democracy abroad. The dogmatists within the liberty movement believe if we just have one more parking lot protest, a libertarian society will become a reality.

There has always been a cognitive dissonance amongst some ‘liberty activists’— many dogmatists want to embrace Ron Paul, and yet cringe at the slightest mention of politics. The more anarchistic of them won’t vote at all, even for Paul, because “voting is aggression.” And yet frequently, many still seek to associate their brand of activism with the Paul name; not conducive to political victory, and not conducive to whatever kind of gains they are seeking. These dogmatists seem to miss the fact that, the elder Paul, while appearing to be the Sir Galahad of politics, is still himself a politician.

And Ron Paul—principled to the core—has always done the political things necessary to remain a member in good standing of the Republican Party, with only one exception.

After massively failing to secure the Presidency in 1988 as a Libertarian Party candidate, Ron returned to the two-party system. He’s been a Republican congressman since 1997. When it is all said and done he will have been a congressman for over 20 years. In the past, he’s endorsed Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, who many would crown as ‘enemy of the internet’ for his introduction of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). The elder Paul has done plenty of politicking and maneuvering himself, without compromising his voting record.

This is where both father and son have remained solid, and for those seeking effective, measurable change in the real world—their political example is what matters most. While Rand markets himself as the more conservative of the duo, he continues to take the same stands as his father:

As Sen. Paul explained in his NRO piece:

“I have always done what I believe and I have never been blinded by party. In my time in the United States Senate, I have opposed the USA Patriot Act, voted against the NDAA over indefinite detention, fought to end mandatory minimum drug sentences, and voted against my party’s official budget because it didn’t cut enough spending.”

But this isn’t enough for the dogmatists. For many of them, it will never be enough. The loudest dogmatists continue to broadcast that message.

Adam Kokesh might be one of the most prominent voices in the libertarian dogmatist movement— increasingly, he clashes with the pragmatists. His behavior is a case study in where the dogmatists go wrong. I have some authority to speak on Adam Kokesh; I worked for him as a television writer during his stint at Russia Today in 2011. While that experience warrants another piece entirely (I certainly did not know what I was getting into at the time), what I can say from my experience is simple: Adam Kokesh is an anarchist at heart. He is not a political libertarian, nor is he a conservative of any stripe.  He isn’t interested in working within the system anymore, as evidenced by his continual attacks on Paul campaign operatives.

Like other dogmatists, he’s quick to dole out the “statist!” venom, alienating those who could advance political libertarianism. Kokesh has more recently declared that ‘The liberty movement can’t be co-opted!’ as if to insinuate political operatives who hold libertarian ideals have suddenly ceased holding those ideals.  Most recently, he took a shot at Ron Paul 2012 campaign blogger, Jack Hunter, declaring that he was officially ‘kicking [Jack] out of my movement’. Sorry Adam, it’s not your movement.

The Kokesh of 2012 is not the Kokesh of 2010 though. In 2010, Kokesh put on a suit, worked to attract Tea Party Support,  and tried to garner conservative Republican support for a congressional bid—in other words, Kokesh tried to be pragmatic. He even got the blessing of Paul’s campaign manager Jesse Benton, who he now attacks frequently. Kokesh has pulled a complete 180, throwing condemnations at political operatives for the same kind of pragmatism. At base, it’s the same kind of pragmatism Ron has used throughout his political career.

It wasn’t Benton, or Ron or Rand who’ve given up on pragmatism or “working within the Republican Party” as Dr. Paul puts it.  It was Kokesh.

If Kokesh had won his congressional district, does anyone think he wouldn’t be joining Justin Amash on key votes, campaigning for Thomas Massie and trying to garner as much Republican support for libertarian ideas as possible? Or do you think, as a U.S. Congresman, he would be trying to attack Amash, Rand and any other liberty figure for not seeing things his way 100%?

If you think he would be behaving like he is today, he wouldn’t be a congressman for very long, and thus, once again, proving the dogmatists’ futility in accomplishing anything substantive in American politics. A blunt-force approach won’t bring much change when it’s finesse that’s needed.

Activists of all stripes are entitled to do or say whatever they like. But when actions and rhetoric become counterproductive, it’s a problem. Many in the liberty movement see this clearly. Many, unfortunately, do not, and are completely content with doing more harm than good. Still, they’re “pure.”

Where is that supposed purity advancing libertarianism?

Rand Paul’s endorsement of Mitt Romney isn’t going to inspire many to do back flips of joy. But it has helped his standing with the party. The aging evangelical arm of the GOP, with Rick Santorum carrying their banner, would surely love to vilify Rand Paul as a party divider—as they have tried to do with dad. Rand is making it more difficult for neoconservative or establishment opponents to marginalize the liberty movement. Dogmatists only the see the battle happening in their own minds. Rand is taking the battle to his enemies, on their own turf.

The machinations of Capitol Hill are a chess game. Left unchecked, Mitt Romney or Barack Obama clones will occupy every seat. Advocates of small government and libertarianism will need solid men who know how to play chess well. The legislative chess game is not Star Wars and Rand Paul is not at risk of ‘Falling to the Darkside’ for being an effective Republican.

Instead, Rand Paul appears to be doing what this movement needs most: Weaponizing Libertarianism. Libertarian ideas have been around for a long time. Thanks to Ron Paul, they have more support amongst the public than ever before. But who is going to lead? Who is going to take these ideas into the mainstream?

Theory alone cannot do this. A weaponized libertarianism can do this. It is doing this.

Dogmatists who would throw practical strategy under the bus are shortsighted, politically inept, and demonstrate their poor grasp of the battlefield before them. They are doomed to repeat the same mistakes as they have in decades before due to their inability to cope with real world political realities. Having some of them—with their abrasive and counterproductive behavior—gone from the liberty equation will only lend to a more politically viable movement moving forward.

Advocates of effective libertarianism already understand that other than Ron Paul, Rand Paul is the important voice in the liberty movement’s arsenal. Those who don’t understand, or can’t understand, probably never will. And as the Chinese proverb goes, “Those that say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those doing it.”

Liberty’s Future: Pragmatism Vs. Dogma

Amendment One: A Battle for Conservatism’s Soul

In November 2010 the North Carolina Republican party conducted an electoral revolution, ousting the Democrats from power in the state house for the first time since the Reconstruction era. However, if they want to retain their majority, their priorities need serious re-calibration.

The Republican Party plays to the rhetoric of its various factions; military hawks, social conservatives, and fiscal conservatives — but often the party falls dreadfully short of executing the intentions of its fiscal voting base. Unfortunately for the GOP, it is that voting bloc that the Republican Party needs in order to survive in the 21st Century.

North Carolina’s Amendment One battle is symptomatic of a Republican party rife with inner-conflict. In terms of the unemployment rate, North Carolina is ranked above only three other states: California, Rhode Island, and Nevada — sitting at 9.7 percent. Instead of working on policies that would cultivate economic growth and attract business, we’re voting on gay marriage tomorrow.

The referendum proposes an amendment to North Carolina’s constitution, allowing the state to ultimately define marriage, not the church.
The text of Amendment One:

Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.

Now, being the defiant libertarian-oriented Republican that I am (like most Millennials), I’d love for the state to get its nose out of marriage entirely. That’s not the world we live in though, and until we see a radical shift in the structure of our federal tax system (or custody laws for that matter), such things are a pipe dream.

What we don’t need, is to let the state further interfere in marriage. This amendment essentially does that, and goes a step further: it denies equal application of law to a segment of citizens. It makes them second class citizens.

This won’t sit well in the stomachs of young people, or the business community, where the bottom line is everything.

Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers recently compared Amendment One to the disgraceful Jim Crow laws of the 19th and 20th centuries, “if this amendment passes, we’re going to look back 20 years from now, or 10 years from now, and we’re going to think about that amendment the same way we think about the Jim Crow laws that were passed in this state many, many years ago… this is the 21st century, and we’re competing with people around the world… we’ve got to be inclusive and open.”

Charlotte Business Journal reported that WRAL-TV in Raleigh was unable to find even one CEO willing to speak in favor of Amendment One.

With international media descending upon Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention, the state will have a chance to showcase the best it has to offer; the opportunity is nearly invaluable to the business community. It would be a less-than-ideal time for news stories about writing discrimination into our state’s highest legal document.
Young people will be equally repelled from Republican politics by this move.

A quarter of young people, ages 25 to 34, are living with their parents. I’m 26 and I just moved back in with mine. Only 55 percent of Millennials from age 16 to 29 are working at all. The oversaturation of college degrees has lowered the quality of jobs available, and saddled students with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. This doesn’t even begin to delve into the underemployment problem either.

We have bigger problems than whether or not two gay people want to be married. We can’t even afford to get married ourselves. The last thing we want to hear is a politician preaching piety from a state office while we’re busy trying to figure out how to put gas in our cars.

The Republican Party has failed to address our problems, in any notable manner.

Ron Paul is an exception, and he frequently speaks to the woes of the young – he’s seen growing support for it too. He’s willing to talk about the debt, about inflation, about the insolvency of Social Security; he’ll speak out against the wars that Washington interest groups and contractors would eagerly send us off to. In fact, the possibility of a brokered GOP convention looms overhead, as Paul’s delegate strategy is beginning to retroactively award him state victories. Young people are at the vanguard of Paul’s organized efforts.

If a tireless group of politically-adept Millennials can stir up this much trouble in a Presidential nomination race? Imagine what else they can do with a little more time and practice. The GOP should want these activists on their side, which means toning down theocratic ambitions of social conservatives and tackling the real issues.

Social conservatism as a movement seems unable to separate the importance of personal virtue, over government mandate. But what is a social conservative? Does one have to coerce others to qualify as one? Must they inject their religious convictions into legislation to win the merit badge?

I’m old school. I’m devout Christian who believes in getting married and having lots of children. When I’m a little older, I’d like to be able to afford to do that. I think children do best in a loving, supportive home that has both a married mother and father. I advocate going to church on Sunday, and eating at the dinner table as a family. I also realize that plenty of straight families do not have these blessings. Alcoholism, cheating spouses, abuse, child neglect – these are all rampant problems. Should we also pass constitutional amendments against infidelity? It’s destroying marriages. Should we pass one against divorce? These are undeniable problems, but they are not best handled by the state—remember, this is the same organization that runs the DMV.

Tami Fitzgerald of the N.C. Values Coalition, a pro-Amendment entity, says “the people of North Carolina want to determine for themselves how they want to define marriage. They don’t want activist judges doing it for them.” But if activist judges are bad enough, how is letting the state’s most supreme legal document supersede the authority of church and family any better?

Passing Amendment One tomorrow will bring no benefit to anyone. Passing this will not advance the banner of liberty, conservatism, or the Republican Party. The issue of government coercion should give followers of Christ pause – marriage should be something we want done under the eyes of God, not under the eyes of the state. It will be seen as a law of exclusion in the eyes of the business community. It will be seen as an anachronistic, discriminatory blunder in the eyes of young voters. And it will be, not just in perception, but in reality, a law that denies equal legal protection to a group of people. Business and Millennials are the GOP’s future, if it intends to have one—not aging theocrats.

The GOP’s Millennial Crisis

The Millennial Generation is decidedly more libertarian than those that came before them; they are far more tech savvy. What does this mean for the future of elections? what does it mean for the future of the GOP?

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