What is “free trade” and what does it do?

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Free trade is an economic concept involving a lack of government regulation over business imports and exports in to a particular country or countries.  This lack of regulation is exemplified in the European Union/European Economic Area and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Free trade policies are often championed by individuals and groups who are more sympathetic towards business interests, portraying free trade as the pinnacle of what a free nation should stand for and promote internationally.  This is true to some extent, but only in terms of short-term growth for a limited number of organizations.

The notion of free trade is a part of a libertarian ideology that depicts all forms of government as tyrannical and unethical without acknowledging the positive aspects of a democratic-republican government with functional policies for certain business practices.  A business has one bottom line: to make money, which is fine but should not be allowed at the expense of the well-being of the general population.  A business should not be able to poison the land that people live on or the people that support that land.  A government should also make sure that there is a healthy diversity in the marketplace so new businesses have a chance to compete against more established businesses.  The purpose of a government is to create a better life for a particular society, an improvement from the chaotic state of nature (Thomas Hobbes).  A democratic-republican government is designed for transparency, accountability, and liberty by granting a set of inalienable rights to its populace and creating a social contract from which each individual benefits (John Locke).  However; recent trade deals like NAFTA have undermined the ability of the United States government to fulfill that basic goal.  The current Trans-Pacific Partnership in the works is another trade deal that would undermine the US government by giving the corporations involved in the TPP the ability to sue the US government via private tribunals.  If you thought “corporate personhood” was bad, the TPP would implement “corporate nationhood.”

 http://www.tradetreachery.com

Trade deals that triumph the libertarian concept of free trade represent a corporate take-over of governments.  The TPP would make the US government subservient to its corporate sector and transform America into even more of an oligarchy.  Americans all over their country need to communicate to their elected officials and demand that President Barack Obama not sign the fast track legislation for the TPP.  President Obama needs to know that the TPP is not in the best interests of the American people and should at least release it to the public so a proper analysis and debate of the document can be had (if President Obama can even release it himself).

A business is not a person, a labor union is not a person, a non-profit organization is not a person; a human being is a person.  A business is run my people, but the collective entity of the business is not a person and should not have the same rights of the individuals that run it.

 

Support a repeal of “Citizens United v. FEC (2010)” and a ban on corporate donations to political campaigns.  Support Wolf-PAC.

The US government’s “War on Drugs” makes no sense.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

If you care about liberty, personal autonomy of the body, and individualism, than you should not be in support of the drug war because drug use affects one person only: the person using the drugs.  If you are concerned about public safety, you should not be in support of the drug war because prohibition of drugs creates a black market of drugs which is more dangerous to a society than the drugs themselves.  If you care about public health, you should not be in support of the drug war because any substance can have a benefit in the medical community through careful research, especially cannabis.  The only thing that the drug war proves is that a rich person can get away with certain non-violent behavior that would get a poor person arrested for breaking the law.  Any kind of non-violent behavior (behavior that does not physically affect anyone but the person performing such behavior) should not be a crime.

Cannabis may be the most beneficial and least dangerous substance a person can use, and yet the United States government currently classifies it as a “Category 1” substance, on the same level of caution as highly processed drugs such as cocaine and heroin. – Thanks to @JaclynGlenn for the video.

America’s #WarOnDrugs is an illogical abuse of government power and it needs to end.

Harassment, violence, and due process on college campuses

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

There is currently a national discourse in America regarding violence on college campuses, particularly violence of a sexual nature against female individuals.  In recent years, various college/university administrations have enacted stricter policies on how violent and sexual crimes are investigated, thanks largely to wide-scale activists movement that have formed in defense of victims of sexual harassment.

Sexual crimes are among the worst type of crime one can commit because it deprives one of their birth right to bodily autonomy in a way that will likely haunt the victim for much of their life afterward.  Any report of a sexual crime must be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly (as with any crime).  However; institutions must not forget to not deprive any individual of their right to due process during a fair investigation.  Even while facing a heinous crime, perhaps especially while we face heinous crimes.  The moment institutions begin to presume guilt before sufficient evidence from an investigation is collected is the moment we cross the line between a search for justice and a quest for revenge.  Investigators need to remember to be impartial while looking to verify and corroborate stories of violence, and victims need to remember to refrain from jumping to conclusions out of raw emotion.  An investigation without a semblance of objectivity is not an investigation at all, but a witch hunt; and decisions based on emotions are not decisions at all, but spontaneous/instinctive reactions.  Logic and reason must dominate investigations and there is responsibility on all parties (the accused, the victim, institution officials, law enforcement, law practitioners, and the public).  Innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law with fair representation of both parties (the accused and the victim).

We must also remember that these crimes do not exist in a vacuum, they are the product of development.  A child whom is neglected either accidently or purposely growing up with a deficit of empathy for their fellow human beings; a child whom only knows negativity, hate, and violence growing up with a lack of understanding for others, choosing to express themselves through violence; these are the unfortunate households that breed selfish and hateful individuals that only know pain.  So, we must not be so quick to punish criminals, but rather seek to teach them how to treat others with respect and dignity.  We must not be so quick to deal out justice, but rather seek to understand violent actions.  We must hate the sin, while loving the sinner.

A more peaceful world of love and understanding is possible, but it will require a collective effort to achieve – a global, human effort.

“Darkness cannot shine out darkness, only light can.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Edward Murrow (1908-1965) broadcast a speech in March of 1954 during which he spoke out against Senator Joseph McCarthy and his incessant witch hunts against perceived Communist infiltration of the United States government.

“It is necessary to investigate before legislating.  But, the line between investigating and legislating is a very fine one, and the junior senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly.” – Edward Murrow.

Ed Murrow represents the pinnacle of a watchdog news media and should be the standard for journalists today.  America needs journalists who aren’t afraid to speak up against party lines to call out the government when it is wrong.  Mr. Murrow recognized that Senator McCarthy’s congressional hearing were nothing more than witch hunts by the Right-wing against the Left-wing; witch hunts based, not in facts, but in fear.

Under a democratic-republican government that triumphs individual freedom, Americans cannot sit idle and watch our government grow stronger with more and more war powers and less accountability measures with each passing decade.  Rather than surrender liberty for security in the name of fear, Americans must face overseas threats and proclaim our freedom as a badge of honor against those who wish to seize freedom and establish authoritative/totalitarian governments over people.  For, if people succumb to fear, fascism prevails.

Mr. Murrow opposed Senator McCarthy and his witch hunts in the name of our nation’s constitution and the values of freedom for which that constitution stands.  The Cold War tested us, not with external threats of violence, but with internal threats of bigotry.  Americans won the Cold War, not with brute force abroad, but with our continued commitment to our values of individual liberty and due process.  The United Sovereign Soviet Republic (USSR) lost the Cold War, not because of its inferior military force, but because of its disrespect of freedoms that the West holds dear.

The proclaimed War on Terror is yet another test for Americans; not a test of strength, but resilience – resilience through love.  Terrorist organizations around the world cannot be defeated through violent tactics because violence only breeds more violence.  The War on Terror is, by definition, never-ending.  Terrorists organizations must be defeated through starvation by education.

“Darkness cannot shine out darkness, only light can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The supposed American Empire cannot bring about world peace through war and occupation.  The democratic-republican government of the United States can only advocate for world peace through education, diplomacy, and humanitarianism.  People all over the world need to show the down-trodden and the desperate that a better life is possible, not through violent extremism, but through cooperation and virtue.

The United States of America was once the example for peace and liberty on the world.  I believe we can be that again, as long as we encourage love over hate.

Journalism and journaling.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

“Journalism” and “journaling” are technically the same word, but they are used in vastly different contexts.  Wikipedia explains the word “journalism” as “a person who collects, writes or distributes news or other current information;” and “journaling” as “filing information or writing therapy.”  Both words infer the practice of writing but one is reserved for writing with the intent to publish for a wide audience and the other is reserved for writing for a limited audience, if not for one’s self only.  In short; if you write for yourself in your bedroom every night, then you journal; if you write for a company to publish your writings for an entire region or country, then your a journalist.

I think this is a false dichotomy because the reasons behind why someone may journal and the reasons why someone would want to be a journalist may be similar.  Being a journalist involves writing for a wide audience in order to give said audience more knowledge of the society in which they live, while one person journaling involves writing to discover more about yourself in order to improve yourself (and, in turn, improve your overall society).  Writing is central to the way humans perceive the universe because it allows individuals to keep records of what we see, which allows for reiteration and analyzation of our environment.  Record-keeping is also the key to preserving knowledge for prosperity, which is why historians place so much emphasis on written records.  However; the most basic use of keeping a record of something we observe, is not our need to pass on knowledge to the next generation, but our need to ask questions for ourselves; to observe something in front of us and commit our higher brain functions to analyzing how that thing is the way it is.

How did that storm form?

How do waves move?

How do volcanoes shoot fire into the sky?

What color is the sky?

How do we breath?

All of these questions were asked by early human societies and the knowledge that they gained through intellect was preserved through writing.  Today, humans are asking questions like:

How can we live in space?

What would it be like to live on another planet?

How can we plant more gardens in an area with less open space?

I think that the one thing that makes human beings unique on this planet is our drive for inquiry; our passion for curiosity; our capacity for greatness.  Humans have risen above life through instinct and have developed ways for manipulating our environments (largely against our best, long-term interests) and shaping the world as we see fit.  As arrogant as that sounds, it is our strongest quality as a species.  We may not be the strongest or fastest creature on Earth in terms of physical attributes, (we may not even be the most intelligent species) but we’re definitely the most innovative.

I don’t believe in the supernatural, I believe that the universe is a random phenomenon of creation.  Humans have the capacity to learn about the inner workings of the universe and I believe it is our duty as a species to attain that knowledge and pass it on, through whichever medium that you hold the most passion.

Writing is my passion, so it is how I will improve my surroundings.  I hope that, by the end of my life, I inspire at least one other person to seek a higher purpose.

Think, create, and inspire.

Writing is my writ.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

I love to write stories, fictional and non-fictional, two main reasons: one; to record human events for educational posterity – two; to provide a perspective of human history to my peers.  Every society ever formed has added their own perspective to humanity’s collective consciousness and every person to be born will have a unique perspective to add at a later date, which is why the humanities is such an in-depth field.  Social scientists study people and how our civilizations have expanded and evolved from small, family-oriented, hunter-gathering tribal groups to the dominant species on Earth, capable of installing instantaneous communication channels across continents.  Writing skills are the backbone of knowledge acquisition because everyone who wishes to learn more about their world must first devise a method recording information.  Writing as a discipline allows for written history and written history allows the smartest among us to keep records of the successes and failures of our civilizations.  This has been true since Herodotus of Halicarnassus wrote his analysis of the Greco-Persian War.

I write, not just for personal gratification, but to help advance my species to a more peaceful civilization.  I don’t deny that my writing as a particular point-of-view because everyone has a point-of-view – to strive for objectivity is to strive for perfection, which is impossible.  Humans are flawed like every other living creature, so our institutions are inevitably going to be flawed by extension.  However; humans have the capacity to learn from our flaws.  I make choices in my writing and making a choice based on something other instinct is the only thing that separates me from every other animal on Earth.  Everything humans do will be subjective and that doesn’t make what certain people say any less valid.

I believe that every individual has a responsibility to education by any means, so they can do their part among the human collective to advance our morals farther toward a cause of universal peace and tolerance.  And, it all starts, with the ability to write.