Australia and the Danger of Elective Totalitarianism

"A picture gradually emerged of a young child who pretty much was isolated and had no friends, and a man who increasingly became concerned about his own health," Raymond D. Fowler, PhD, a former American Psychological Association CEO, concluded in a forensic psychological autopsy on Howard Hughes's mental and emotional condition two years after his death. The diagnosis had been requested by Hughes' estate in order to determine why the billionaire entrepreneur had become increasingly germophobic and reclusive in his later years, largely cheating him out of enjoying the last two decades of his life.

Obsessed with cleanliness and terrified of getting sick, Hughes gradually became a shut-in and – interestingly – stopped bathing and didn't even trim his fingernails as his illness progressed. So in his obsession with cleanliness and fear of (what was a very real and measurable risk of) disease, he actually got dirtier; and his obsession for health actually further endangered his health.

Today, the Howard Hughes lifestyle is the Australian “new normal” under its strict lockdown over the COVID pandemic. Australians need an officially approved “excuse” even to leave their homes in much of the country and are socially tracked by their government when they leave their homes. What Hughes did in his mental illness is now backed up by the guns of local police departments across the country as a web of national regional and local policy. The risk factors for death from COVID are well known, and two key ones are obesity and vitamin D deficiency. By keeping its residents indoors and away from producing natural vitamin D from the sun, as well as making it extremely difficult to exercise outdoors and easier to sit and overeat in front of the television, the Australian government may actually be increasing the dangers to COVID (and other diseases) for its citizens.

Part of the problem is the enormous media-generated pressure on political authorities to “do something,” even if it's only the appearance of doing something. But it's also the lack of ability of citizens to rationally assess risk and demand autonomy for their own risk comfort levels. There's a pathosis in a mother who says: “Tens of thousands of people die in car accidents every year. No six-month dentist check-up is worth my son's life.” The risk of driving a child to a dentist appointment is real, but it needs to be weighed against the benefits of a dental check-up, which are also real. It also needs to be weighed against the individual freedom to make choices of rational risk preference.

The general lockdowns that took place in March and April of 2020 were generally found not to have been effective in controlling the virus. The lockdowns of 2020 were a trial without data, but the Australian lockdowns of 2021 are lockdowns imposed while knowing they won't change the infection R0. Australian officials haven't touted any mathematical claims of benefits from the shutdowns, in part because they have no data upon which to make the claim, but also because the rate of risk is not relevant to the population trained by the mass media to be vaguely fearful.

In America, the issue of mask mandates are similar. The claimed social benefits of mask mandates haven't been borne out by any sort of demographic data (even few scientists could pass the mask test), but even if we accept the vague claims that masks help to some degree there was really never a case to be made for a government mask mandate. Society has always allowed people take much higher risks than going to a store without a mask: Society tolerates tobacco smoking, which kills a much higher percentage of habitual users than COVID ever will. Society permits obesity, which kills even a higher percentage of people than smoking.

Now, the argument can be (and already has been) made by proponents of the nanny state that the person who smokes or becomes morbidly obese endangers only himself, though some social scientists would take issue with the claim that the harm is only individual because these habits tend to be passed on to family members and close associates. Moreover, the argument can also be made in the previously mentioned argument about driving to a dentist appointment that a mother on the road is a risk to other motorists and pedestrians. There has always been a risk of disease transmission when people congregate in public together, but government officials and their mainstream media henchmen globally have largely been silent on these pre-COVID social risks while banging the gong in a loop about the vague “risk” of transmitting COVID. The person afraid of contracting COVID-19 hasn't been given the data by public officials on what the added risk is of going on a visit to the zoo, or the reduced risk of going on an afternoon jog. Nor have they been given the data on the risks (which are non-zero) of the vaccine versus the risks of getting seriously ill COVID at a particular age, BMI, blood type, vitamin D levels and vaccination status. And with alarmist fear-porn being blasted in a loop, the cadence to “trust the experts” or “trust science” is dangerously misplaced.

Republics and democracies are designed for the people to be informed of the risks and costs, and then for the masses to make the decisions. The managerial state, like that imposed upon Australians, are by definition totalitarian. It gives zero priority to a person's individual agency and freedom. That Australia hasn't yet gone to running train cars to gulags and shooting dissidents in the streets is a measure of tactical forbearance on the part of officials; it's not a matter of difference in principles or a practical limit to claimed powers. Fear has always been the basis for all infringements upon liberty. It's what gave America the Patriot Act and universal surveillance.. It brought the Caesars to Rome. It's the tried and true path for turning any republic into a tyranny.

Australia – like most island nations – has been blessed by being geographically isolated from the rest of the world in terms of the COVID pandemic; like most island nations the infection rate thus far has been lower than countries on larger continents such as Europe, Asia and the Americas. But it's now an example of how not to construct a society. The same Creator that gave all people life and enabled our prosperity also gave us our freedom. Freedom and security are not trade-offs, they are essential companions.



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Sign the Petition: Already Against The Next Mandate

We’ve seen the effects of lockdowns and government mandates: lost lives and livelihoods.  For too long, unchecked government power has made this pandemic worse on Americans, not better. 

While many organizations have continued to track the effects of COVID-19, it is harder to track the effects of lockdowns for Americans. Recent studies have shown at least a 30% increase in depression and anxiety in adults, and more than 1 of 2 young adults now show symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder. Children who were under the strictest quarantines have been found to be four times more likely to experience PTSD.  

Further, many Americans lost their jobs and continue to struggle to find work. On top of that, countless businesses had to shutter their doors permanently, leaving communities struggling to get what they need. 

Enough is enough.  

It’s time to stand up against these government mandates and make our voices heard.

Sign the petition.
https://alreadyagainstthenextmandate.com/

An initiative by the Libertarian Party at the National Level of which LP Massachusetts is the local state affiliate.

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Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness

The United States of America was founded on a notion that Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are essential to all people. These famous words graced the Declaration of Independence when America declared itself free from the tyranny of Great Britain. These words today are fundamental to the ideas of the Libertarian Party. We believe that all people should be able to live their lives however they choose so long as they are not hurting others. However, in the year 2021, many Americans are currently under attack by our government, and are being directly restricted by the government in their liberty to live their lives how they choose in their own pursuit of happiness, even when they are causing no harm to others.

In more than 33 states across the country, legislation is being introduced and enacted to directly subjugate and oppress the rights of a specific group of people from their pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As Libertarians, we believe in fighting for the rights of all people, for if one of us is not free, none of us can be free. That means standing up against the tyranny of discriminatory legislation aimed currently at transgender people.

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Decriminalize Full Service Sex Work

The Libertarian Party of Massachusetts supports the full decriminalization of full service sex work, also known as prostitution, and endorses Massachusetts Bill HD.2200 - “An Act to promote the health and safety of people in the sex trade” - as a first good step in that direction. A resolution to this effect was adopted by the LP Mass State Convention on March 20, 2021.

Libertarians defend individual freedom for everyone with no exceptions. The platform of the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts has two pillars: Self Ownership and Non-Aggression

Non Aggression means that the use of force against another person in an aggressive manner is always wrong and that force is only justified in self-defense.

Self Ownership means that you own yourself, that you should have final say as to what happens to your body.

This concept of Self Ownership includes sexual activity between consenting adults and consequently also sex work by consenting adults, which the Libertarian Party wants to see fully decriminalized. The platform of the Libertarian Party at the national level explicitly states: "The Libertarian Party supports the decriminalization of prostitution. We assert the right of consenting adults to provide sexual services to clients for compensation, and the right of clients to purchase sexual services from consenting sex workers."

Criminalization of full service sex work is not only inherently unjust, it causes severe harm as an open letter by over 250 researchers and scientists to the Biden administration recently layed out. It gives rise to a system of abuse, is arbitrarily enforced, directly victimizes full service sex workers, and puts them in harms way while denying access to the most basic rights. Criminalization prevents full service sex workers from negotiating safer sex, screening clients, seeking help, or even being seen as a person worthy of dignity and respect. It increases the leverage that coercive people have over full service sex workers in all parts of their lives, makes full service sex workers homeless and pushes them out of public spaces, it takes their children from them and it raises yet another barrier to entering conventional employment. 

The crimnalization of full service sex work is often justified under the guise of combatting human trafficking. But this is conflating two separate topics: Self-determined sex work is not human trafficking, and human trafficking is not limited to forced sex work. The criminalization of full service sex work can in fact play into the hands of human traffickers and often leads to re-victimization. Human trafficking is modern slavery, plain and simple, and it should be combated with determination regardless of for what purpose humans are subjected to it without conflating other issues.

Criminalization of full service sex work has utterly failed at its goal of protecting people from sex trafficking. In fact, it has made it worse, just as clearly as the War on Drugs has failed to eliminate addiction and has made addiction worse by making people afraid to receive treatment and creating irrational stigma. It is overdue for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to lead the way, abolish the oppressive and unjust laws crimnalizing sexual activity between consenting adults and treat sex work as work and sex workers as human beings.

Massachusetts Bill HD2200 introduced by Lindsay N. Sabadosa and co-sponsored by Sal N. DiDomenico, Erika Uyterhoeven, Nika C. Elugardo, Christine P. Barber, Patricia A. Duffy, Kate Lipper-Garabedian, Jack Patrick Lewis, Mike Connolly, and Ruth B. Balser would repeal laws against full service sex-work by consenting adults in the Commonwealth and overturn convictions as well as expunge records.

The Libertarian Party of Massachusetts urges the legislature of the Commonwealth to pass this bill as a step toward greater bodily autonomy and personal freedom.

HD2200 has been referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. Please take action and contact your State Representative or Senator and ask them to support Bill HD2200, especially if your Rep or Senator is among the members of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.

Find your state rep’s contact information here.

Call: You will probably not get the legislator directly but speak with an aide – that’s fine, they’ll get the message. 

Hello, my name is _____. 

I am a registered voter in Rep _____’s district. I am calling to ask her/him to support Bill # HD2200. 

It is overdue for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to lead the way, abolish the oppressive and unjust laws criminalizing sexual activity between consenting adults. Sex work needs to be treated as work and sex workers must be treated as human beings.

Is the Sen/Rep supporting this bill? 

I hope she/he will help champion this bill and work to move it to the floor* for a vote.

Thank you so much.

Email: 

Dear Sen/Rep _____.

I am a registered voter in your district. I am writing to ask you to support Bill # HD2200. I hope you will help advance this bill and work to move it to the floor for a vote. 

Criminalization of full service sex work is not only inherently unjust, it causes severe harm as an open letter by over 250 researchers and scientists to the Biden administration recently layed out. It gives rise to a system of abuse, is arbitrarily enforced, directly victimizes full service sex workers, and puts them in harms way while denying access to the most basic rights. 

Criminalization prevents full service sex workers from negotiating safer sex, screening clients, seeking help, or even being seen as a person worthy of dignity and respect. It increases the leverage that coercive people have over full service sex workers in all parts of their lives, makes full service sex workers homeless and pushes them out of public spaces, it takes their children from them and it raises yet another barrier to entering conventional employment. 

The crimnalization of full service sex work is often justified under the guise of combatting human trafficking. But this is conflating two separate topics: Self-determined sex work is not human trafficking, and human trafficking is not limited to forced sex work. The criminalization of full service sex work can in fact play into the hands of human traffickers and often leads to re-victimization. Human trafficking is modern slavery, plain and simple, and it should be combated with determination regardless of for what purpose humans are subjected to it without conflating other issues.

Criminalization of full service sex work has utterly failed at its goal of protecting people from sex trafficking. In fact, it has made it worse, just as clearly as the War on Drugs has failed to eliminate addiction and has made addiction worse by making people afraid to receive treatment and creating irrational stigma. It is overdue for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to lead the way, abolish the oppressive and unjust laws crimnalizing sexual activity between consenting adults and treat sex work as work and sex workers as human beings.

Massachusetts Bill HD2200 introduced by Lindsay N. Sabadosa and co-sponsored by Sal N. DiDomenico, Erika Uyterhoeven, Nika C. Elugardo, Christine P. Barber, Patricia A. Duffy, and Kate Lipper-Garabedian would repeal laws against full service sex-work by consenting adults in the Commonwealth and overturn convictions as well as expunge records.

Thank you so much, (sign your name and address)

 

Letter: Basically the same as email.

 

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Say No to Vaccine Passports

The Libertarian Party opposes 'vaccine passports' and any government mandated documentation, surveillance, restrictions, mandates, or laws which tread on the rights of the people.

With vaccination progressing across the US and internationally, there is a growing danger that 'vaccine passports' of some type will become reality. As the Washington Post reported last week, "the Biden administration and private companies are working to develop a standard way of handling credentials — often referred to as 'vaccine passports' — that would allow Americans to prove they have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus as businesses try to reopen" and Reason.com had a long list of efforts to establish some form of 'vaccine passport'.

After a year of ever expanding government overreach justified by the Covid Pandemic, and which the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts opposes, 'vaccine passports' are among the most dystopian measures to be added. They represent egregious violations of privacy and are nothing less than an attempt to establish mandatory vaccination by restricting the lives of non-vaccinated persons, regardless of any actual infection and risk of spread. This is a power the government should not have.

The Libertarian Party at the National level, of which the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts is the local state affiliate, has adopted a resolution, rejecting vaccine passports. It states that the Libertarian National Committee stands in stark defiance of all attempts by government to interfere with the private sector response to COVID19 as well as the degradation of civil liberties and livelihood at the hands of legislators. We oppose vaccine passports and any government mandated documentation, surveillance, restrictions, mandates, or laws which tread on the rights of the people. We stand in service of those seeking freedom in the United States as the centrifugal force of liberty.

 

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Vacate Drug Convictions

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins recently announced the plan to vacate potentially tens of thousands of drug convictions in response to the Hinton State Laboratory scandal. Libertarians  should applaud that move and push for other District Attorneys and the state to follow suite.

The Scandal, which started with an employee of the Massachusetts State's drug lab being caught falsifying evidence and that later expanded to another Massachusetts drug lab, has exposed systematic mismanagement and criminal negligence in the State's drug labs. In the views of many this can only be summarized as corruption - including the handling of the investigation itself. It has cast serious doubt on the trustworthiness of a drug-law enforcement system that affects tens of thousands of people in the Massachusetts.

Vacating drug convictions that involve evidence from a corrupt state lab however can only be a first step to address these issues. The lab scandal is just one example of many to show that the war on drugs is fraught with abuse and has lead to unjust incarceration, violence, and suffering. It has been used as a pretext for the militarization of police, including sometimes criminally irresponsible police tactics. It has pitted police against citizens in a way that is unfair to both. The War against Drugs has also been used to progressively undermine our basic freedoms including freedom of enterprise. It has also been utterly ineffective at achieving its supposed goal of combating drug use and has instead empowered dangerous criminal gangs.

It is time for Massachusetts to end its war on drugs and vacate all convictions for drug-related offenses that don't involve other, real crimes with actual victims. Further, Massachusetts should repeal all laws creating 'crimes' without victims, especially the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes. We need to end the government's attempts to control what people put in their bodies and fully decriminalize drug use (without prohibitive taxation). Instead of persecuting people for what they do with their own bodies, police should focus on protecting the American public from violent offenders and fraud.

To learn more about a pro-liberty approach to drug policy, see the position of the Libertarian Party at the national level.

 

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LAMA State Convention 2021

On Saturday, March 20, 2021 the Libertarian Association of Massachusetts (also known as the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts) held its annual convention for 2021. The convention was held as a virtual event due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Dan Fishman graced us with his hosting and moderating skills.We had nearly 40  members attend the virtual convention. The 2020 Vice Presidential Candidate, Spike Cohen, was guest speaker and we also heard from National Libertarian Party Chair, Joseph Bishop-Henchman. 

 

This year we heard from newly formed/ newly forming County Affiliates. Current affiliates in operation are: 

 

The Greater Boston Libertarian Party 

Libertarian Party of Worcester County

Libertarian Party of Berkshire County

 

Current affiliates which are still in the process forming are:

 

Libertarian Party of Cape Cod

Libertarian Party of Middlesex County

 

Election

 

A new state committee was elected as follows:

 

Ashley Shade- Chairwoman

Cris Crawford- Treasurer

Derek Newhall- Recording Secretary

Michael Burns- Political Director

Andrew Moore- Membership Director

Janel Holmes- Communications Director

Jeremy Thompson- Operations Director

Daniel Riek- Technology Director

Charlie Larkin- Archivist

 

Resolutions

 

The members voted to pass 2 resolutions, Decriminalize Sex Work and End Government Mandated Covid Restrictions. The members also voted to table 1 resolution which will be voted on by the new State Committee at their next meeting. You can find the passed resolutions here: https://www.lpmass.org/resolutions



The minutes of the convention will be posted in the Members Only section of the LAMA website.

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End Drug Raids

The Libertarian Party is always and forever against the many forms of oppression and disenfranchisement used against groups and individuals. As a result, one of our core positions is opposition to the War on Drugs and the ever expanding government overreach justified by it. The Libertarian Party of Massachusetts acknowledges that the repeated cycle of violence and oppression experienced by people of color in America is an especially prevalent example of government abuse. The protests of 2020 have shone a spot light onto some of the most egregious abuses of government power - related to the war on drugs and otherwise. This has led to a broader demand for police reform and law-enforcement accountability such as the push to end qualified immunity in its current form shielding police officers from personal responsibility for sometimes atrocious rights-violations.

Massachusetts has even passed a broad police reform bill. The Massachusetts bill includes some laudable measures such as for example de-escalation training and professional standards with independent oversight, limits to use of force and no-knock warrants, and minor limits on qualified immunity. Responsible police departments across the Commonwealth, however, have long been applying similar measures and the vast majority of police officers in Massachusetts already exceed the standards set by this bill. The new regulation also appears to increase the level of centralized control, which bears its own risk of overreach and the kind of bureaucratic unaccountability that is plaguing our government at every level. What we need is local decisions and local civilian oversight. The bill fails to address some of the key issues:  it limits no-knock raids but does not abandon them, nor does it in any meaningful way address the war on drugs, and on the central question of qualified immunity it does not go beyond jet another 'commission' to kick the issue down the road. It simply does not go far enough.

Maybe the most important problem with the bill though is the refusal of the legislature to acknowledge that the issues are not with individual 'bad apples' among the police officers that need to be reigned in. It is the structure of our criminal justice system itself and the laws created by the legislatures - at both the state and federal level - as well as the seemingly endless list of regulations delegated to the executive, that are the problem. Abuse does not start with a police officer using excessive force, it starts with a militarized law-enforcement machine sent to persecute citizens for non-violent, victimless crimes, such as drug offenses.

It is time to stop scapegoating the police and realize that it is the laws they are tasked to enforce and the methods they are told to use that are the problem. We need to end the government's attempts to control what people put in their bodies, decriminalize or legalize drugs (without prohibitive taxation), and end the War on Drugs that has lead to mass incarceration and violence, but has utterly failed to address the problem it is supposed to correct.

It is refreshing to see John Oliver make many of these Libertarian points when he demands to stop doing drug raids. That would be a good next step for Massachusetts.

 

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A Good First Step But Not Enough: The Massachusetts Senate’s Police Reform Bill

Massachusetts Libertarians welcome the police reform bill, but it’s just the first step. Government overreach is the underlying cause and needs to be addressed.

This Monday, the Massachusetts State Senate published a police reform and racial equity omnibus bill (Bill S.2800 / 191st General Court). Based on an initial review, the proposed bill includes legislative measures supported by the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts: Changes that would reasonably limit qualified immunity, certify police officers and improve their training, create a duty to intervene when witnessing other officers use of excessive force, prevent problem-officers from being promoted, offer more clarity for limits on use of force, improve handling of mental-health related situations, and at least suspend the government use of remote biometric surveillance technology such as facial recognition software. This is a positive development for the citizens of the Commonwealth.

However, this bill also has some important short-comings: While increasing the control on the acquisition of military grade equipment by the police, the bill appears to fall short of any significant roll back of the existing militarization of the law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts. Also it does not seem to include any measure to curtail the use of asset forfeiture or other ‘policing for profit’ practices that haunt the state. Another major gap is the apparent failure to address prosecutorial misconduct along with the policing issues - the two of them usually go hand-in-hand. 

The vast majority of police officers already fulfill their duties beyond the standards established in this bill. And while it is important and long overdue to create a set of rules that incentivises these good officers instead of allowing the bad ones to thrive. And while this bill is generally an important step in the right direction, improving law enforcement accountability and training, it is only scratching the surface of the underlying problem of a broken criminal ‘justice’ system that has become much too intrusive into our lives, criminalizing everyday behavior.

Libertarians in Massachusetts think that we need to take this one step further and change not only how we are being policed, but also what is being policed: the best trained and most honorable police officers will fail to sustain justice, if we require them to enforce unjust laws. Calling the violence against citizens that we have witnessed over and over again just ‘police violence’ misses the underlying problem: it is ‘government violence’ created by laws we allow to be made and rooted in government overreach. The long-term solution to this problem is to remove the constant government intervention from people's everyday lives - as long as they are not  violating the rights of others. This means first of all, abolishing laws that fabricate ‘victimless crimes’ - illegal acts that directly involve only the perpetrator or occur between consenting adults and ending the racist war on drugs.

To fix the system of governance in Massachusetts, we need local action and visibility for principles of Liberty in Massachusetts. Change will start locally. Join the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts. Volunteer in a campaign. Create a local group in your town. Reach out to the LAMA State Committee.
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Sign the Petition for Walter Ziobro for Congress 2020

If you are in the 5th district, please sign here to get Walter Ziobro on the ballot.

Walter Ziobro is running for Congress in Massachusetts' 5th district and needs your help with signatures to get him on the ballot. The Libertarian Party of Massachusetts has decided to put our support behind his campaign. 

Walter lives in Watertown with his wife and children, and works in Boston as an accountant for a small company. Walter is running as an unenrolled candidate under the generic "Liberty" label because that is the only way that he can get on the ballot now, as the current Covad-19 crisis has made petitioning very difficult. Walter needs you to sign his e-petiton. He needs at least 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot.

Walter is a long-time libertarian activist. He agrees with the positions of the Libertarian Party. He describes himself as a Millian liberal, and a Madisonian conservative. By that he means, he favors as much freedom for the individual as possible, and a constitutionally restrained minimal government. A few issues that he would like to advocate in his campaign are:

1. Adopt the Wyoming Rule to increase the size of the House of Representatives. The completion of the 2020 census makes this the best time to do this.
2. Encourage the development of Covid-19 tests and vaccines to speed the day that we can target carriers, and minimize the restrictions on our personal freedom.
3. Make police more accountable by abolishing qualified immunity, asset forfeiture, and no-knock warrants.
4. Encourage freer trade to improve the economies of all countries, keep people employed in their own countries, and minimize their need to emigrate.
5. Abolishing the personal income tax, as its filing requirments are a massive invasion of personal privacy.


You can find your congressional district here.
 
If you are in the 5th district, please sign his petition here.

You can follow Walter's campaign on Facebook. Please share his page.

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