Good job by Starchild, our Outreach Director, explaining the basic principles of libertarianism on Brian Donovan’s “Post News Hour” (KPR1.com). Thank you to Brian for his interest!
Starchild’s crucial message: The current political system is rigged in favor of insiders, leaving the majority of us victims of that system. It does not have to be this way.
He touched upon the main challenges of our current system, and how libertarianism could remedy them. The challenges affect our personal lives and our economic lives. Therefore, solutions need to address both, which libertarianism does.
On the personal side, we live under policies that undermine individual liberties. Challenges include invasive searches and seizures, detention policies skewed against minorities, rules on how people choose to live their lives, prohibition on what people choose to consume, application of resources on pursuing victimless crimes.
On the economic side, we deal with policies that prevent us from easily starting a business without jumping through interminable hoops, establishing private transportation systems that help people get to where they are going, have control of our monetary system via elected representatives not unelected Federal Reserve bureaucrats.
Libertarianism pushes the balance of power towards the people and away from the insiders. There are many groups, local and national, that promote power to the people, including the Libertarian Party. However, we can exercise libertarianism every day on our own by insisting on making personal and economic informed choices without government coercion, and by believing in our hearts that we have unalienable rights that are ours to exercise while making sure nothing we do harms others.
One of the topics to be discussed at our business meeting of March 14th relates to the complex issue of surviving as the small local chapter of a “third” political party, while being forced by government regulations to abide by hundreds of rules, filing requirements, and obscure mandates that would better apply to organizations awash in resources.
More distressing than requirements that force our unpaid volunteers to spend much time learning rules and filling out forms, are requirements that force donors to reveal their names, addresses, and employers. And we are not even remotely talking about donors like the Koch Brothers or George Soros. We are talking about $100 bucks!
“Campaign finance” regulations keep changing to become more complex and encompassing. For the LPSF to remain a visible and proud local chapter of the Libertarian Party, it must stomach the rules and the paperwork. We don’t like it but we are doing it. If the LPSF closes shop, if it tries to operate underground, if it runs away, then it will cease to provide a loud constant opposing voice to San Francisco’s Nanny politics and tax & spend attitudes. No other political party or any faction of any other political party calls for reducing government to its very basic Constitutional functions to the extent that we Libertarians (BIG “L”) do. No other political party or any faction of any other political party believes in personal liberty and personal responsibility to the extent that we Libertarians (BIG “L”) do.
We ask that our members and donors continue to help us in our efforts. May we count on you, as always?
THE YAL DEBATE TEAM AND THEIR GUEST DEBATERS
Heaps of praise to the great debates Young Americans for Liberty presented on March 10th at the Cesar Chavez Student Center of San Francisco State University. Three sets of student members of YAL and their guest debaters ably sparred on three subjects: The U.S. National Debt – Stimulus or Austerity? What Constitutes Free Speech? Income Inequality – Causes and Remedies. It must not go unnoticed that YAL is braving the super progressive environment of SFSU to reframe challenges and offer solutions that work.
Libertarians are forever sounding alarms about the consequences of legislative decisions. Besides challenges to individual self determination, property rights, and voters’ ability to hold accountable via the ballot box individuals who make decisions on our behalf, Plan Bay Area is predictably contributing to the housing crunch.
As we noted in our article Priority Development Areas and Your Neighborhood, Plan Bay Area was designed to confine population, housing, and commercial growth to transit corridors, ostensibly in order to reduce travel distances to and from work and shopping (not much mention of schools, places of worship, or getting together with friends living outside of PDA’s). Therefore, San Francisco is doing a lot of construction in the eastern corridors. The Plan Bay Area map seen here shows the principal transit corridors highlighted in red, pink, and purple.
Apparently, the fallout has already begun. As Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez says in his article Why Not Look to Westside to Build Homes?, the adage “Go West!” does not apply past the Panhandle; past the Panhandle it is more like, “Fat Chance!"
And the eastside residents are crying “Not Fair!” So, our legislators are retooling. Supervisor Eric Mar says that growth can’t just be on the east side. Supervisor David Campos may propose a moratorium on market rate housing development in parts of the Mission; which means no development at all unless taxpayers come up with boatloads of money to build even more subsidized housing than is already planned.
We Libertarians would like to remind our readers that Supervisors Mar and Campos were enthusiastic supporters of Plan Bay Area – and therefore its Priority Development Areas. Perhaps look under the cushions for more taxpayer money to develop transit corridors in the western parts of The City ASAP?
We recommend Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez’ article in the San Francisco Examiner of February 17, 2014: On Guard: Why Not Look To Westside to Build Homes?
The forthcoming closure of Borderlands Books on San Francisco’s Valencia Street has been front page news in several publications. When any small business cannot make ends meet, we Libertarians lament, since we see the success of independent small businesses as a prerequisite to a free and open market. When a small business receives its final blow from government, we view that as doubly sad. Please read the heartfelt comment on the closure on the Borderlands website. The comment presents a picture that no book-learned economist or opinion-issuing political party can match. Here is an excerpt:
"In November, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that will increase the minimum wage within the city to $15 per hour by 2018. Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in principle and we believe that it's possible that the new law will be good for San Francisco -- Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage. Consequently we will be closing our doors no later than March 31st.
Many businesses can make adjustments to allow for increased wages. The cafe side of Borderlands, for example, should have no difficulty at all. Viability is simply a matter of increasing prices. And, since all the other cafes in the city will be under the same pressure, all the prices will float upwards. But books are a special case because the price is set by the publisher and printed on the book."
Indeed, perhaps minimum wage increases can benefit certain segments of the workforce. For example, workers of large corporations might benefit, since those corporations, especially those that are diversified and/or enjoy monopolies, can raise prices to cover increased wage costs without affecting their sales. The workers might benefit, that is, if they do not need to purchase the higher-priced products of their employer.
So, the San Francisco leadership talks the talk about supporting diverse neighborhood small businesses in preference to big box stores. But does the leadership walk the walk? Apparently not, in our view.
Please visit the Borderlands Books website. Or better still, visit the store and buy some books.
Update Note: An interesting development has occurred at Borderlands Books. Owner Alan Beatts and his staff have come up with a novel idea that might keep the bookstore open: Sponsorships of $100 annually. A preliminary list of benefits sponsors would enjoy includes reserved seating at author events, rental of the café and/or the bookstore for after-hours events, access to preview sales of rare books, and sponsor-only gatherings. The San Francisco Examiner reported on February 22 that 150 sponsors emerged by the end of the day after the sponsorship program announcement. This is a good example of the entrepreneurial spirit at work!
More Update Notes: One of our readers pointed out that San Francisco’s minimum wage was not “government’s fault” but the result of the passage of Proposition J by voters in November 2014. It is true that voters approved Proposition J. To us, however, it is important to note that Proposition J was placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors and will be enforced by government bureaucracies. This kind of minimum wage is not the result of the free market, where the output of an inexperienced fast food worker who burns the burgers and breaks a lot of dishes might be worth no more than $5 an hour, and whose output might be worth $1,000 an hour when the same individual graduates from medical school and becomes an experienced brain surgeon.
Thank you to the reader for his observation. We love to receive your thoughtful comments. Our contact information is on "Contact Us." We have a Facebook page and a Discussion List.