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Hello Liberty Lovers of Riverside County!
If you would like an essay featured in the Liberty Letter, or if you read or watched something awesome that you think should be in the Suggested Reading of one of these newsletters, reach out to us at email@example.com and let’s chat!
In the News: Gaza
It is effectively impossible to NOT talk about the situation in Gaza (and broader Israel) right now. Unfortunately, that situation is currently buried under a blizzard of deliberately extreme takes about who did what when and why, and who deserves to have what done to them in return. From many quarters come deliberately extreme demands to take one of several sides. The rhetorical brawl being waged over here makes it easy to lose track of important details coming in from over there. We’re going to talk about it here, but maybe not in the way you expect.
First, it is imperative that we reiterate here THE baseline tenet of the Libertarian Party: the non-aggression pledge. Every member of the LP affirms this–it’s one of the few things we all agree on.
I certify that I oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.
As libertarians, we condemn aggression. There are plenty of arguments to be made regarding the source(s) of aggression in the Levant and who is “responsible” for what. At the bottom line, though, we libertarians condemn the initiation of force against others.
The smallest minority in the world is the individual. Libertarians stand with the individuals, the normal people being victimized. It is the individual people over there who are suffering, not a collection of group labels. The most heinous acts are excused against individuals based on dehumanizing group labels, and that’s shameful. We call (in our meager little way from over here in Riverside County) on all sides to knock it off, and wish only that the individual people being harmed can find the comfort and safety they need. We call on our elected leaders over here to work for peace over there, and not make everything worse by funneling MORE war material into the region (to say nothing of actual troops).
But let’s be honest. Nothing anyone says in Riverside County is going to affect the situation in Gaza one iota (remember that when your City Council passes a Gaza resolution or something similarly stupid). It is easy to get distracted by horrors on the other side of the planet and lose sight of real problems right here at home.
We hope that both the Jewish and Muslim individuals of Riverside County can speak rationally with one another here and find common ground here that will allow them to live together in peace here. This is where we all live, after all. The only thing any of us can control is ourselves. Nobody can control “them.” Trying is a big part of the reason why Gaza is such a mess. Regardless of what is happening over there, each of us must figure out how to get along over here. Here is all we have any control over.
You may read that and are now “shaking with rage” as you prepare to unleash a shrieking demand that some side must be openly and vocally taken here; someone must be named as the culprit for the current violence in Gaza and beyond, and anything less is “surrender” or “cowardice.” If you absolutely must hear libertarians blame someone specific for this violence, we blame government.
Those in power “over there” aren’t the ones doing the fighting and the dying. They may talk a big game about the blood of martyrs, but they’re not the ones bleeding, are they? Of course they’re not. Martyrdom is for the little people.
In the Gaza crisis, we see once more the sad pattern: authoritarians in government declare war on other authoritarians in other governments, and then convince masses of their people to stuff themselves into a sausage grinder to see who can be first to smother the other in carnage. If there aren’t enough volunteers, they conscript. It’s disgusting. It’s happening all over. Government war propaganda screams 24/7 to keep people whipped into a hateful frenzy about “them,” and the result is horror. Generation after generation, young people get turned into paste that is used by desiccated tyrants to stick lies together.
At this point here in the 21st century, there is a good chance that you personally know someone who has died (or been maimed) in service to war propaganda. If you want somebody to blame for that, and want somebody to blame for the wider crisis du jour, blame government. Government might not be the direct cause of a crisis, but pick any problem and start drilling into it. You’ll find government in there someplace, making everything worse, hurting innocent people, and pretending it’s what’s best for everyone.
They’ll never save you. They can’t save you. Stop letting them lie you into thinking otherwise.
And if you think that’s just a problem over there, you haven’t been paying attention. The last few years right here in southern California saw the ugliest eruption of blind obedience to authoritarianism since Japanese internment. COVID lockdown hysteria saw whole populations of people openly and energetically demonized, based on group labels. Authoritarians whipped people into a frenzy, aided by gleefully ghoulish propagandists trying to curry favor with the ruling class. People who had been friends for decades stopped seeing each other as human. People genuinely pushed to deny “them” access to employment, schooling, groceries, and even medical care. People celebrated the deaths of their group-label foes. Those wounds are still open in our society. No one has apologized. No peace has been sought. Instead, there is an uneasy ceasefire, with both sides watching “them” closely for any sign of aggression, which will be repaid in kind. Sound familiar?
You have no control over what happens over there. But you can have an impact on what happens over here. If you let yourself focus on faraway things, you give local tyrants space to declare you non-human. And as the events unfolding over there demonstrate, once a population has been declared non-human, what comes next is abominable.
Don’t let it happen over here. Don’t let yourself be used against your neighbors.
Suggested Reading/Viewing/Listening This Month
N.S. Lyons on the failure of Israel’s high-tech border fence. If you read no other commentary on the Gaza attack, read this one:
Speaking of ridiculously overcomplicated systems ruining everyone’s lives, here’s the California Policy Center on the homeowners insurance crisis in California: https://californiapolicycenter.org/the-disastrous-insurance-landscape-in-california/
Painful as it may seem to find a Fox News link here, they’re the fairest in their treatment of Javier Milei’s libertarian run for the presidency of Argentina, which will go to a runoff this month. Check out details here: https://www.foxnews.com/world/argentina-election-milei-underperforms-still-reaches-second-round-runoff-against-establishment-massa
For fun, here’s FEE’s Jon Miltimore on the libertarian themes of (believe it or not) the Paw Patrol movie:
As always, bookmark and regularly check our website for up-to-date event details:
5 November: Guy Fawkes Day. This is not a county party event. It’s a historical moment worth reflecting on. We’ll just leave that there. Remember, remember.
13 January 2024: LPRC annual convention. We will elect new officers for 2024 and chart a course for liberty in the coming big election year. If you have ever wanted to get involved, being an officer is a great place to start!
23-25 February 2024: The Libertarian Party of California annual convention. Since 2024 is a presidential election year, this convention will include the election of state delegates to the national convention in May (in Washington D.C.). For us here in the southern parts of the state it’s conveniently located in Orange County this year! Find details (schedule, procedures, hotel reservation, etc.) here: https://ca.lp.org/2024-convention/
5 March 2024: The California Primary election. It never hurts to plan ahead for these, especially since ballots will be coming in the mail starting in early February. Find details here: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/upcoming-elections/pres-prim-march-2024
23-26 May 2024: The Libertarian Party National convention. Under this year’s theme, “Become Ungovernable,” libertarians from all over the country will discuss and debate the issues of our time. LPN will also conduct its regular election of officers. As this is a big election year, this will also be the event where the LP nominates its presidential ticket for the general election. Find details here: https://lnc2024.com
Voter Registration and Party Membership
If you vote, be sure your registration is Libertarian (don’t let either the Rs or the Ds think they’ve got you in the bag). Whether you vote or not, stay abreast of your registration details on the California Secretary of State page at this link: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/cavoter
Being a registered Libertarian voter certainly allows you to call yourself a real libertarian. However, there is more you can do. You can join the national Libertarian Party as a “sustaining member" by signing the membership application statement and paying dues (currently a minimum of $25 per year) to the national organization. Note that while paying dues at the state level (California) makes you a "central committee member" locally, national membership is separate.
If you aren't a dues-paying member at all, you can join as a national member AND as a state/county member using a single online form:
Join us in taking a stand for a world set free!
Closing Thoughts from the Chair
A strange letter arrived for my wife and me about a month ago. Sent by our mortgage company, it was to alert us that since we did not have homeowners insurance they were buying some to cover their risk on our loan, and would add the premium to our house payment. This seemed strange to us, since we have homeowners insurance. So we dug up our details and logged into the insurance company site to see what was going on.
It turns out our insurance company stopped renewing policies in California and didn’t ever really tell anyone. Lots of people’s insurance simply expired as the company reduced its exposure in California. That’s annoying, but as the free-market types we are, we proceeded to go to another company to get a new policy. That company “is not writing policies for your area at this time.” Nor was the next we checked. Or the next. These are big companies that advertise on TV. Why in the world weren’t insurance companies actually, y’know, selling insurance?
In a stroke of odd luck, I then got an email article from the California Policy Center describing why insurance companies are pulling out of California. That article is linked in the Suggested Reading above. It is worth your time.
Both the CPC article and the N.S. Lyons article linked in this month’s newsletter highlight one of the great weaknesses of government: overcomplication. Too many factors and too many features and too many policy decisions get layered onto a “problem,” or cross over onto each other from different problems, and the solution ends up being a ticking bomb that will eventually explode and hurt a bunch of otherwise innocent people.
Government technocrats love nothing more than adding complexity to society. Here in California, that now means it’s very hard (and very expensive) to buy even the most basic homeowners insurance. Nobody intended that, but it’s what happened and it’s reality, so the intention doesn’t matter.
The state of the California insurance market is the fault of government. The people who compose government are at fault. Tweak after tweak, adjustment after adjustment, initiative after initiative, petty bureaucrats have made everyone’s life more difficult. It doesn’t matter why they did it. What matters is that it’s happening, and each of us needs to stand against it.
You have a pack of petty bureaucrats on your City Council or School Board (and Water Board, and County Supervisors) who are actively making life in your community more complicated than it needs to be. Somebody’s going to get hurt by that. It may be you. It doesn’t matter what your City Councilcreature says the intention is. You must stand against stupid government “policy adjustments” in your community. You. Nobody else.
There’s no foreign aid coming for you. There’s no carrier group that will intimidate your local government into quieting down. There’s no coalition of other governments that will advocate on your behalf. If you want something to happen in your community, you must face the petty bureaucrats in your community. Stand up and tell them to get out of the way so people can live their lives.
You can do it!
Find us on the web at https://rclp.us
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LNC Discord server: https://discord.gg/fxdH2bre
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