War On Drugs Or Execution Of Law

With Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ move this week to enforce federal marijuana laws, reactions among both the Left and Libertarian camps have devolved into hysterics. This is not only overblown, but it may be the push that is needed to end the prohibition of marijuana.

Where I Stand

I want to put out my opinion on this so that people can understand my position on this policy. I believe that people have the right to take whatever drugs they want. People own their body, and therefore should not be prohibited from choosing what to do with it. I stand in favor of decriminalization because I believe that it pushes the government out of this issue more than legalization which comes with burdensome regulation and taxation.

I do believe that under the American system, it is up to states to regulate drugs- not the federal government. Murder is a crime handled by the states, so why can’t the states decide what to do with weed? Therefore, states should choose what is and is not a crime if it occurs in their borders between two of their citizens. The federal government should not be telling states how to govern the morality of its citizens (and the states shouldn’t either) since it does not have the power or authority to do so.

What Sessions Did

While people’s reactions would lead most to believe that Sessions changed the penalty of marijuana possession to the death penalty, the reality of this policy is fairly tame. Simply put, Sessions said that as the man in charge of executing federal law and prosecuting it, that he would prosecute this part of federal law like all others. His policy is that marijuana cases should be prosecuted with the same standards of discretion as any other crime.

This is what is to be expected of Sessions as he has repeatedly said that he is against marijuana legalization and that he enforces the law to the letter. If Congress made marijuana legal, he would immediately stop arresting people for weed because his principle and his duty as Attorney General is to enforce the law as it is written.

The Importance

Whether or not you agree with the law is not really the issue here. The issue is whether or not the Attorney General should enforce the law and prosecute criminals who violate the law. What would you advocate for if the question were to prosecute bankers who defraud people across the country or people dumping toxic chemicals into the Mississippi River?

The answer for any sane person is that you would want those people to pay damages and have justice served. Obviously weed is a victimless crime, and therefore a different scenario (and in my opinion not an action worthy of being a crime). However, if there is a law in place that carries penalties for certain behaviors, preserving the law as a whole requires enforcing bad laws.

This swing is the exact evidence necessary to prove this. Instead of legalizing weed, Obama simply said he wouldn’t prosecute violators of the law. When the political pendulum swung the other way, it was easy for a bureaucrat to choose to enforce the law. It is Congress’ job to pass laws and the Executive’s job to enforce them. When the Executive decides to not enforce a law, they basically nullify it. No one would be happy if Jeff Sessions said he’s going to stop enforcing laws that prohibit banking fraud, because it is a just law that was enacted Constitutionally.

The Solutions

The way to fix this is to change minds, which marijuana activists have. By making the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana a priority of many Americans and palatable to the rest American people, it would be politically expedient for them to pass a law giving back the liberty to do with one’s own body as they please.

Another solution would be that one of these states that has legal marijuana writes their law in a way that challenges the federal law in order to take them to court and allow the Supreme Court to decide which one has the authority to regulate this. Right now it would favor the side of letting people have weed or leaving it up to the states based on who is on the Supreme Court now. An individual or business in a state where it is legal could also sue the federal government saying that they were following state law and take it to the Supreme Court.

The issue is that the Supreme Court can’t just strike down laws until a case comes before them. They do not have the power or authority to simply nullify laws passed by Congress and signed by the president. What they can do is apply laws as they are written, and the Constitution favors the states’ right to govern their citizens on this, which would likely overturn the federal law.

Last Words

There are two routes to the decriminalization of marijuana: Congress or the Supreme Court. The Executive branch picking and choosing laws will not suffice because there is a system that America follows to create and execute laws, and undermining that system could undermine the entire institution of justice.

What the goal should be is to fight for the rights of states to choose how to govern. This would allow states to create laws that allow for as much or little marijuana use and distribution in their state as the people want. It would be the same as guns: if you don’t like your state’s laws, vote to change them or move. Each state would be an experiment in liberty, as they were designed to be.

Finally, the point must be made that in order to preserve a just law, it must be enacted Constitutionally so that it cannot be lawfully subverted or ignored by the Executive Branch. This would enshrine it into law and preserve it through the ebbs and flows of government and public opinion.

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CFPB And Other Bureaucracies Threaten American Liberty

Americans have become accustomed to the alphabet soup of government agencies interfering in their lives and chiseling away at their freedom bit by bit. Instead of following the guidelines of the Constitution and allowing checks and balances to restrain governmental power, Congress has passed the buck to the executive branch to create laws. This degradation of the American Constitution and the latest example of its absurdity will be discussed in depth.

The Purpose of Executive Agencies

Because this is not the focal point of this essay, it will be brief; however, it is important to understand the purpose of the executive agencies in order to comprehend the magnitude of the CFPB’s transgressions.

Executive agencies have been established to help the president in fulfilling his obligation of executing the law. The way the Constitution is framed is that the legislature writes laws, the president executes the laws, and the judicial applies the laws in courts. As the country has grown, some have found it necessary to allow the president to create agencies, or government bureaucracies that act on his behalf, in order to execute the law.

The easiest way to imagine it is that it is the legislature’s job to declare war, and the president’s job to manage the military and fight the war. If Congress says there should be a postal service provided by government, it is the president’s job to ensure post offices are built and postmen are delivering mail. In short, the executive branch is the part of government that manifests laws into reality.

Executive Overreach

Where this has gone awry over time is in the expansion of executive power as Congress concedes their power to it in order to shed the blame. This has allowed the executive branch to usurp powers of the legislature via regulation. Congress is able to claim innocence and an inability to stop the president’s actions, and since they have no term limits, doing “good enough” and having name recognition guarantees them a job for life.

The executive overreaches began with what seem to be benign and sensible. It is things like the EPA stopping pollution, the FDA preventing bad drugs or the CDC controlling disease. While these are important things to manage, and arguably fall in the powers of the government via Constitutional authority, it is not the executive’s job to dictate the laws and regulations that make this happen.

Congress should be passing laws that prevent these things by debating each other and pleading on behalf of their constituents instead of ceding this authority to the executive branch. The reason this is dangerous is that it puts power into the hands of many unelected officials, who therefore are unaccountable for their actions. No one would consider putting mid-level managers for large corporations in charge of writing laws for the whole country, but when they’re called bureaucrats, the sentiment changes.

The Crimes of the CFPB

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) sounds like an organization created to help the Average Joe. It should be there to defend against big, evil corporations taking advantage of ordinary people by defrauding them or monopolizing markets. In reality, it is a bureaucracy that is not subject to Congressional funding mechanisms, operating outside of the bounds of normal Executive Agencies.

The CFPB was created in 2010 by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Supposedly, it was meant to stop a repeat of the 2008 collapse and protect people from predatory business practices by corporations. All that sounds good, right?

Well, it ended up not fixing the real problems with Wall Street investors or educating consumers. Think about it, do you actually understand what happened in the 2008 crash? Do you think Wall Street wasn’t financing Obama, Clinton or other democrat campaigns to protect their interests and stay out of jail? No.

What has actually happened with the creation of the CFPB is it has been a slush fund for Democrat campaign financing. It creates absurd, onerous regulations for businesses to follow, which are basically traps, then charges penalties for violating these regulations. This money is then used to finance campaigns for Democrats who then protect the CFPB from the checks and balances government should have.

Because funding for the CFPB comes from the Federal Reserve, and not Congress, it is barely answerable to any part of government, especially the parts that are democratically elected. In essence, it operates on its own terms. It has even claimed recently that the president cannot appoint the head of this agency (which is basically his job) and has not recognized Trump’s appointment.

The point of an agent is to act on another’s behalf. Therefore, an agency is an organization that acts on behalf of another organization or person. The fact that the CFPB is not answerable to the president shows that they are not agents of the government, but of the Democrat Party. To be clear, this would not be acceptable if it were funneling billions of dollars into the Republican Party either, but it is essential for preserving liberty and the Constitution that this issue be brought to light.

Last Words

The expanse of the Federal Government now is beyond the wildest nightmares of the framers of the Constitution. They intended to create a system of checks and balances that would slow the movement of laws and government because it would require careful politicking as well as overwhelming support to manifest their ideas into law. This vision slowly degraded throughout the 20th century as Congress allowed for the growth of the Executive Branch.

This has become an issue for people across the country, often those who are working hard to build businesses and raise a family, who are too small to fight against the cumbersome regulations.

What needs to happen is for Congress to stand up against the executive growth and reclaim its power. It is essential for liberty to thrive that government remains in gridlock, allowing opposing interests to battle for the approval of the public. When Executive Agencies take this power into their own hands with authority granted through the cowardice of Congress rather than the consent of the people, they undermine the Constitution and betray the ideals of America.

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Net Neutrality Is Anti-Liberty, And Here’s Why

The debate about Net Neutrality has been revitalized as the new FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, has released a plan to eliminate the Net Neutrality regulations. Surrounding this decision are hysteric cries of unfair practices by the cable companies and the need to “protect the little guys.”

But, what does this mean for everyone involved? Is it really an attack on the internet? Is the Trump administration signing over control of the internet to Time Warner?

In short, no. The truth is Net Neutrality is far from simple. To understand why Net Neutrality was an affront to liberty, it is important to know what it is.

Net Neutrality: The Basics

Net Neutrality arose when Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) decided to charge large content providers more to create an express lane for them. This is due to the fact that ISP’s can only provide so much bandwidth at a given time. As more people began accessing the internet more often and utilizing streaming services, ISP’s had trouble keeping up with the demand for internet.

To solve this, ISP’s approached the large internet companies and offered them their own lane. What they would do is have a certain amount of bandwidth reserved for these giants, which would speed up the internet for both the behemoths and the little guys.

Picture It Like This

Picture the internet like a road. There are cars, trucks, vans and semis. The semis begin clogging up the road because there are so many and they are clunky and slow. Everyone experiences slower commutes, traffic jams and an overall worse experience as semis take over the road.

To fix this issue, the owner of the road creates a new two lane road exclusively for semis that runs parallel to the other road. To do this, he would charge the semis more to use the road, but it would make everyone’s commutes faster. By opening this lane, cars can move freely on the normal road without worrying about being held up by semis, and semis have their own lane.

That is what Net Neutrality was trying to stop. It made it illegal to charge internet content producers and distributors more based on how much internet they used. In other words, Comcast couldn’t ask Netflix to pay more, even though the streaming of Netflix was making loading all the other small websites people wanted to access harder.

How This Affects Liberty

Liberty and free markets require businesses to be able to charge their customers as they please. If it is not worth the price to the customer, no one will buy it, and businesses will be forced to lower prices. The market will decide the price based on competing interests.

If paying more for the express lane doesn’t make sense for a company, they won’t do it, but for large companies like Netflix and Google, it would most likely be necessary. The reason they fought this was to maintain their current profits by lobbying the government to put a price ceiling in place.

By not allowing companies to charge the price they see fit, the government prevented thedeadweight loss industry from reaching equilibrium which takes away benefits from businesses and consumers. Price ceilings create what is called in economics deadweight loss.

The picture to the left shows how this works. Normally the purple box and yellow triangle would be evenly split between consumers and producers. Instead, the yellow triangle is lost, and fewer people are able to access the good or service being traded.

When markets have artificial restrictions placed on them, they become inefficient. This either makes goods too expensive for most people or limits quantity, depending on where economic pressures lie. To restrict the free transactions between ISPs and content distributors does what the graph above shows, create loss and either limit supply or lower demand.

Either way, it creates losers and limits the freedom of people to make their own economic decisions.

Last Words

Net Neutrality would not give content distributors of any size an advantage over the other, nor would it give ISP’s an upper hand. It would just make end user experience better. Without getting too far back into the economics, freeing up markets allows for more gains for consumers and producers, which is how economies grow.

People are afraid of the internet not being “free” without Net Neutrality, but what they fail to see is that this restricts the liberty in this space and makes it more expensive in the long run. The only entity that can control or limit freedom online is the government, and inviting the government to regulate this space is a foolish idea. The FCC is right to pull away from Net Neutrality, and this is a good thing.

Join The Conversation of Our Generation!!

Subscribe to our email list for our Recommended Reading, reviews on books and other content that can grow your store of knowledge. New products will be coming soon, exclusively for subscribers.

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