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  • How We Got Here

    Posted by · March 06, 2022 2:43 PM

    Note: A version of this article was originally written for the LNC meeting scheduled Feb. 6, 2022 inquiring about the status of LAMA (the Libertarian Association of Massachusetts). Portions of it were also read at the LAMA meeting on Feb. 7, 2022. It has now been edited to remove details specific to that meeting and to add developments since then.

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  • Libertarian Response to the State of the Union

    Posted by · March 03, 2022 6:17 PM

    After the conclusion of President Biden's State of the Union Address and the subsequent GOP response, LNC Chair Whitney Bilyeu extended an official response from the Libertarian Party. She focused in on our position regarding the current conflict in Ukraine.

    Whitney went on to address inflation, COVID policy, and the Federal Reserve. She also highlighted the party's recent increase in elected Libertarians and directly called for President Biden to pardon Edward Snowden. You can watch the response in full or read the full transcript.

     

     

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  • 2022 Convention Update: Additional Speakers

    Posted by · March 01, 2022 8:47 PM

    We have some great news about the LAMA 2022 State Convention on April 23rd at the Framingham Sheraton:

    We've added two more outstanding speakers to our convention! One of our main themes this year is Getting Elected, and both Dan Fishman and Holly Ward will contribute their extensive experience and insight to this important discussion. Sign up for the convention today!

    Holly Ward

    Holly F. Ward is the new chair of the Libertarian Party of Virginia, and the Director of Operations at People for Liberty. She has spent the last 15 years dedicating her life to clear and transparent government practice. After serving on Active Duty in the Air Force for 12 years, to include 3 deployments to the Middle East, she honorably separated to pursue advancing the principles of clear and civil politics. Although she has the heart of a public servant, Holly believes she can best serve the public by working outside of the government. She has continued to author policy, lead communication for large-scale programs, and advocate for individual liberty on a local and national level. She focuses on putting people first and getting to work by taking action. Holly has organized hundreds of events aimed at improving the lives of the public.

    When she’s not at work with People for Liberty, Holly shares her passion for baseball with her family and is working on her PhD in Public Administration and Public Affairs at Virginia Tech.

    Dan Fishman is a genuine Massachusetts celebrity. His run for State Auditor in 2018 gained official recognition for the Massachusetts Libertarian Party. Subsequently, he served as the Executive Director of the National Libertarian Party, and now serves as the Executive Director of People for Liberty. He has run for numerous other offices including U.S. Congress and the Massachusetts State House.

    Additionally, we have a great lineup of other speakers including keynote speaker Jo Jorgensen, our 2020 Presidential candidate, and Jeffrey Miron of the Cato Institute as the banquet speaker. This is an event that you must attend if you want to find out how you can help the Libertarian Party continue to gain influence in state politics.

    Find out more...

  • On Vaccine Passports

    Posted by · December 02, 2021 9:57 PM

    This week, NBC reported that “Gov. Charlie Baker said Massachusetts may "soon" deploy a digital COVID-19 vaccine passport similar to those in use in other states, he stressed that he remains opposed to requiring that businesses screen customers for proof of vaccination.

     

     

    "I've never supported or agreed to any sort of statewide vaccine mandate program," Baker said Tuesday. "We just want to make sure that people have the ability, if they've been vaccinated and want to have proof that they've been vaccinated, that they can easily download it onto their phone and use it whenever they need to."


    Vaccination has proven to be extremely effective at preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19. The data show that the mRNA vaccines in particular are among the safest and most effective vaccines in history, but that protection is limited. New variants like Delta and Omicron are able to cause illness in vaccinated people, especially those who have not received vaccines in the last 6-9 months. COVID-19 can also be transmitted through vaccinated people, though not as virulently as through the unvaccinated.

    The data also show that prior infection and recovery from COVID-19 is at least as effective as vaccination, although far more risky.

     

    Businesses, especially health-related ones, like hospitals, physical and massage therapists, etc., or schools, and performance or conference venues that bring large numbers of people together in a central indoor location, have a right to protect themselves and their customers with measures like a requirement of vaccination. States overstep their bounds and hurt us when they substitute their judgement for the decision making of countless people making their own individualized risk/benefit assessments, whether it be through a vaccine mandate, or through a mandate not to allow vaccine requirements.

     

    It is up to each individual and business owner to decide if vaccination and vaccination requirements are right for their goals and values.

     

    A vaccine passport system that allows people to certify their vaccination status to those who choose to require it, so long as it is voluntary, should not be considered a violation of anyone’s rights. But, that does not mean it is a good idea.

     

    The most obvious problem is that people who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection are at least as “vaccinated” as those who have had two mRNA vaccinations. A widespread vaccine passport system that makes second-class citizens of people recovered from infections is irrational and socially corrosive.

     

    The second most obvious problem is that both vaccination and prior infection have a “shelf-life” that decays over time. This is both because the immunity itself wanes, and because new variants have emerged that break through the partial immunity conferred by both vaccination and prior infection.

     

    A ham-fisted vaccine passport system that depends only on vaccine status, and doesn't fully account for both the immunity conferred by prior infection, and for waning immunity over time in the face of new variants, is likely to do more harm than good. It will both provide a false sense of security that lets new variants run rampant through waning immunity, and unfairly exclude people with recovered infections from full social participation.

     

    The lesson of masks should have taught us something. Masks work very well at preventing the spread of COVID-19 (and other respiratory viruses), but mask mandates do not. The reason for this is that mask mandates create an incentive to comply in the least effective way possible, with flimsy pieces of cloth improperly worn, rather than a properly worn surgical mask. We can expect a vaccine passport to suffer the same problem. If someone with a single J&J vaccine in February is cleared by the passport system, and an unvaccinated person who recovered from a Delta infection in October is not, then it is worthless.

     

    Originally posted at unfrozencavemanmd.blogspot.com

     

     

    Blog posts represent the author's opinion.

     

  • Australia and the Danger of Elective Totalitarianism

    Posted by · September 09, 2021 10:58 AM

    "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

    Posted by · September 03, 2021 1:04 PM

    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.

  • Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness

    Posted by · April 27, 2021 11:30 AM

    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

    Posted by · April 26, 2021 5:56 PM

    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.

     

  • Say No to Vaccine Passports

    Posted by · April 04, 2021 10:07 PM

    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.

     

  • Vacate Drug Convictions

    Posted by · April 01, 2021 5:43 AM

    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.