By Christopher bunch
Co-lead editor at FMM, adoptee
700,000 and 135,000 remember those numbers as we go along.
For a moment I want you to picture your daily life, the routine you carry, the passions you have, the interactions you have, the love you share with family and friends. Now I want you to imagine that all of those great things were gone, that the simple ability to live, breathe, experience life and make something for yourself were taken away. Not only were these things taken away but they were taken before you even had a chance to experience them. Sounds awful right? 700,000 people a year will never get to experience the joy, pain, love, passion and self actuality that we strive for. What monstrous being would strip the humanity from 700,000 individuals? Abortion. Each year (according to Stats Canada and the CDC) 700,000 people are killed, legally, each year due to abortion. Now as you read that I can expect that the common reaction is to get out all of the talking points about how abortion falls under women's rights and how dare I suggest that the unborn fetus is being murdered. That's okay to think that, you are entitled to your opinion. As you so fiercely proclaim that abortion is a right that all women should have please remember that 700,000 people never got to tell you their side of the story, that their complexity as humans, their desires and who they were fundamentally never was able to show itself to a world of prosperity and opportunity. Let me ask as well, if abortion was a woman's right but the baby in question was a female, are the right of some women worth more than others? 700,000 voices (many future strong independent women as well) are silenced each year, so for those that can't speak, there are 135,000 of us that can.
Each year in North America around 135,000 children are adopted each year. 135,000 people WILL get to experience the joy, pain, love, passion and self actuality that we strive for. Remember all those things I asked you to think about in your own life? These kids get to experience just that, share the same opportunity you do to be free thinking, passionate, driven and strong individuals. Many of them strong women, fighting for the rights of all women not just women in America who claim murder as a right but instead women all over the world like the one's in the middle east who are stoned to death over a religion. Back to the point, I am one of those people fortunate enough to not be among the 700,000. My mother and father could not afford to take care of me and were not at the right age to do so. Many outside voices pressured her to abortion, that it was the easy way out. They were attempting accessory to murder. Now my talk of murder may come off as dramatic but if someone attempted to end YOUR life through injections, chemicals, tools and surgical methods as well you'd be crying out for a murder charge in no time. The simple truth is that from the moment of conception there is life (https://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/life-issues/when-human-life-begins) and that it is nobody's right after conception to end it. By all means use contraception it is your right to do that, but once conception has occurred you do not have domain over the rights of an individual that is not yourself. I will save the arguments against Planned Parenthood and the militant tactics of pro-abortion individuals. I'm here to speak to you personally, as an adoptee, to prove that there's another way.
My life is great, I'm close to my family, my friends, I have a girlfriend of 3 years who I am enjoying life with, I'm entering my third year of university and I have a steady job. All of these things do not exist with abortion. With abortion I am disposed of in hazmat bins and shipped off to who knows where, never to live my life. My adoptive parents, who were unable to conceive, would not experienced the joys and struggles of raising a child. So for the young mother out there deciding if abortion or adoption is right for you, just know that for every child just like the one you are carrying, there is someone out there who would love to take care of your child if you absolutely cannot (Last year 5 million people in the USA alone said they've considered adoption.) There is somebody who wants to take that child to the park, the movies, to sporting events and someone who wants to raise them to be the best they can be. So when deciding between a life with the chances of prosperity, joy, happiness, independence and dreams or between ending up in a blue bin before they can even see the outside world. Please choose life.
To abort is to take away freedom, choices, love, joy and happiness of an individual who doesn't know any better or why they are being slated for death before they've even opened their eyes.
To adopt is to give a new life a better chance at prosperity, of hope and of the pursuit of happiness.
I'm aware that not every pregnancy happens for the same reasons, that each situation is complex and nobody can apply a general catch all to each individual case. I do know that even in the darkest of situations, that light is at the end. Like the person I once met on the bus who told me their mother was raped yet chose adoption and he was born, he's now a school teacher. Like my co-worker whose mom was a drug addict yet chose adoption and he's now in law school. Like me whose parents were poor, scared and young yet chose adoption because those 9 months my Mom endured and didn't cave to the "quick" solution allowed me to have an incredible life.
No matter if you are the pregnant mother, an activist, a celebrity pouring millions into planned parenthood or someone who has never thought of what abortion or adoption truly are. Please consider the implications of not only ending someones life, but also ending the opportunities, the emotions and the experiences that make us human and think...would I take this from anyone else?
The two letter difference from abortion to adoption can change the outcome of 700,000 people each year who never see the light of day.
Lets do our best to make 700,000 abortions into 0 and make 135,000 adoptions into 835,000.
-Christopher Bunch, adoptee, co-lead editor at FMM.
*If you would like to do more to help end the high number of abortions in the US and Canada each year. Call your elected representative and tell them that 700,000 each year deserve life.
By Chris bunch
Editor at FMM, YAF leader and Social media contributor to the Libertarian Party
I open my laptop mid-class to find that a comment I placed on a Buzzfeed Facebook post has now hit 600 likes and several, might I add, nasty comments. It's a late October day in 2016, Every single day the media is hurling all they possibly can at Donald Trump and it seems the political tide is turning and Hillary Clinton is bound to be our next President. Myself, being a Gary Johnson supporter felt fairly neutral about all of these things mostly because whoever won it would be a win for big government and I quite honestly was daydreaming of who us liberty lovers could put out to slaughter in 2020, all courtesy of the two-party "duopoly." This day was different, The post was calling Donald Trump dangerous, incapable and downright evil without directly using those words. Obviously this sort of political mudslinging was easy to engage in
on the Clintons many nefarious actions. The comments I received after I hit send shocked me beyond any belief and beyond anything this election had thrown at me. I received death threats, was told to kill myself, told that if I didn't believe that Clinton was the closest thing to the second coming that it would be absolute curtains for me and that I was nothing but a racist, bigoted,hateful,destructive, threatening and all encompassing embodiment of all things evil. No joke. What was the worst was a message I received demanding I delete my comments or they would share my Facebook on the deep web with a claim that I was a racist who deserved a form of "justice" If you're unfamiliar with the deep web just know that after a few clicks and a (rightfully) untraceable bitcoin later I could be dead. It hit me like a bus, someone who barely knew me wanted me Dead. Someone who glanced at my Facebook comment was willing to hire a deep web hit man to silence me or at least was willing to boldly float such a drastic measure for at that point thousands of people to immediately see.
This is the political climate we live in. Opinions mean more than facts, crazily supporting Donald and crazily supporting the left without much inbetween. Individuals who don’t conform to those two massive movements are thrown under the bus. This discourse may be funny but the dark truth is that ultimately it leads to “fire and fury” in the war of words.
By Josh Colver
It is no secret that Senator Jeff Flake and President Trump don’t see eye to eye on very much. Flake has, over the last few months, been very critical of President Trump. Flake authored an op-ed at the end of July calling out Republicans that made excuses and are in denial about President Trump. President Trump has fired back at Flake on twitter calling him “weak on crime & border.” Today Flake announced on the floor of the Senate that he would not be seeking reelection in 2018 for his seat in the Senate. Significant surprise has met this from everyone, and great pleasure has come from Trump supporters.
The Republicans hate and dislike for Jeff Flake underlines a significant problem I see with many Republicans today. Many people have been fooled into the idea that you are for someone 100% or you are entirely against them. If you say Trump did something wrong then you are in league with Hillary Clinton and the entire left and your only goal is to destroy him personally. In politics today personal loyalty is superior to allegiance to policy or principle. This is why Jeff Flake is in an awkward place with Trump. Flake refused to go along with bad policy, or dumb strategy it didn’t matter that Trump was the one was in favor of it. This needs to be a roadmap and an example for everyone in politics. We have to call balls and strikes on President Trump. Everything he does is not great, and everything he does is not wrong. The truth is President Trump has spoken in favor of lots of ideas on the left and the right. What I urge everyone to do is this: establish and find out what you believe and then look at what Trump does and according to what you believe, look at it through those lenses. If you like what Trump is doing say so, it doesn’t matter if you’re on the right or the left. If he does something that you don’t like call him out on it regardless of partisan politics. Trump as a man has nothing to do with the policy he pursues.
This same principle also should be applied to character as well. If someone does something awful and deplorable, it shouldn’t be less evil depending on what political party they belong too. If Bill Clinton sexually assaulting someone is terrible then Donald Trump saying that “you grab them by the p****” is also wrong too. Excusing someone's actions because it’s politically profitable is how our republic will crumble. I urge everyone regardless of political affiliation to think about this as we discuss Senator Flake.
By Josh Colver
Free Trade is good economic policy to follow, but it’s almost just as important to foreign policy. According to Webster the definition of free trade is “international trade left to its natural course without tariffs, quotas, or other restrictions.”
Free trade is a good thing. It’s beneficial to the United States, and it’s beneficial to the rest of the world. When American products are allowed to compete with the rest of the world, it lowers the prices and increases the quality of the goods. Trade is also a crucial tool in foreign policy. When we trade with other countries, it builds a foundation for friendship and good relations. I think Thomas Jefferson has the best advice for us: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations...entangling alliances with none.” We need to start trading with countries that are not typically our friends; we need to start trading with Cuba, Iran, and North Korea. If we can start trading with these nations, we can ease the tensions that we have faced in the past. Take for example Vietnam. 40 years ago we invaded and fought against Vietnam when they were our enemy. Now we trade with Vietnam and have diplomatic relations with them. When countries trade with each other, this allows them to build trust between each other.
It also creates a disincentive to go to war, because if Iran or North Korea is getting an essential good or service from us, they are less likely to wage war. They wouldn’t want to risk losing an important part of their economy from us and many other countries around the world who are allied with us. So, if we wish to relieve tensions between our enemies and help foster goodwill towards each other, we need free trade.
By Josh Colver
If you have spent any time among libertarians than you have heard the slogan “taxation is theft” before. This slogan, although catchy, is unimportant if there is not a basic understanding of the argument behind it. Which is why I am going to explain it.
As an individual, I am outlawed by the government from taking items and money that is not mine. This is also known as theft or stealing. It doesn’t matter if what I am doing is virtuous. It doesn’t matter if I am going to use the money I stole from my neighbor to give to charity and feed the homeless. The ends do not justify the means. Theft is illegal, theft is immoral, and it is destructive to society. But if we turn the tables on this analogy government is allowed to do all these things. The government can steal from individuals, up to any amount that it so desires. Any resistance will result in the imprisonment of the citizen who refuses to pay his money over to the state.
This also has a lot to do with the monopoly of force that the state holds. The state can use force to coerce its citizens to do whatever it likes, the extremes of this can be seen in numerous examples throughout history. But when an individual tries to use force to coerce another individual into doing something he is imprisoned. In the words of former presidential candidate Austin Petersen, “You are not charitable because you put a gun to someone else’s head and force them to be charitable.” At the end of the day that's exactly what it is, every government measure and law has to be enforced through the barrel of a gun or else there would not be compliance. Does this mean I want to completely abolish the federal government? No, I’m not an anarchist. It means that I want the lowest possible rate of tax that is necessary for our government to function. But it is important to remember that true charity comes from private donations to people and organizations. That’s where true love comes from, voluntarily giving to those in need, not coercion from the state. The government doesn’t love us, but we can show our love to others and reflect our principles and beliefs through charity. When people have more money left over from cutting taxes, they will give more. Religious nonprofits do so much good work in our community, but often government gets in the way of helping by demanding that they comply with all these rules and regulations. The government gets in the way of charity helping people. Even doctors perform medical service for charity. Around the holiday season Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who is a registered eye ophthalmologist, performs eye surgery for no charge and has helped countless people regain sight. His father Ron, who’s also a doctor, used to tell people to put away their Medicare and Medicaid cards if they couldn’t afford to pay for it, and he’d do it for free. People are inherently good, and they care for each other. We often forget that we are the most generous nation in the world and that’s not from government that's from a great country full of great Americans.
By Josh Colver
The issue of welfare is also a moral issue that needs to be discussed. I’m all for a safety net to help people out when they fall on hard times, but I have a big problem when it becomes a hammock and not a safety net. Of course, we all want to help the poor. Democrats want to help the poor, Republicans want to help the poor, and Libertarians want to help the poor. So it’s not an issue of caring, we all care. What we need to do is look at the facts and historical data to best figure out how to fight poverty.
Since 1964, when Lyndon B. Johnson declared the War on Poverty we have spent 22 trillion dollars on the fight, adjusted for inflation. The Census Bureau reports that the amount of Americans in poverty is 14.5%. Amazingly that is almost the same rate that it was in 1967. Many people would be shocked to hear this, and may even struggle to understand how this is possible. But the reason for this massive failure is the government. Government is extremely inefficient in what they do. They tend to believe that if we throw a certain amount of money at the problem and look the other way, then our work is done. But we have to be result oriented. All these social programs have good intentions, but good intentions don’t mean good results. A big reason why these programs have failed is that our welfare system is designed to discourage work, penalize marriage, and ultimately trapping them in poverty.
The main reason our welfare system isn’t working is because of benefit cliffs. Under our current system many people who are poor or are on welfare reach a point when they are offered a raise or want to take a second job, they choose not to because by accepting that job or taking that raise they lose money because they no longer qualify for benefits. This cliff that exists between dependency and independence is nearly impossible to scale. This cliff results in limited upward mobility. People cannot climb out of poverty if benefits are not tailored to needs and if the welfare system punishes work. The current welfare system also penalizes marriage. A specific example of this is demonstrated by the Heritage Foundation, “For example, a single mother with two children who earns $15,000 per year would generally receive around $5,200 per year of food stamp benefits. However, if she marries a father with the same earnings level, her food stamps would be cut to zero. A single mother receiving benefits from Section 8 or public housing would receive a subsidy worth on average around $11,000 per year if she were not employed, but if she marries a man earning $20,000 per year, these benefits would be cut nearly in half. Both food stamps and housing programs provide attractive financial incentives for couples to remain separate and unmarried.” But this issue doesn’t just affect economics, this also affects kids and their chances at success and getting ahead. According to the Heritage Foundation, kids that are in single parent households are twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime, twice as likely to be treated for emotional and behavioral problems, roughly twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school, and a third more likely to drop out before completing high school.
These policies again come back to central planning and how it fails dramatically. When government inserts itself into issues like this and attempts to socially engineer a society through the welfare system, it has disastrous consequences. The way to fix this is to first eliminate the penalties for marriage in our welfare system, and secondly eliminate the benefit cliff. Instead of having a dramatic drop off in which nobody can escape from, let’s create a stairway to success. As you earn money and your income increases, your benefits will decrease proportionally with it. Instead of if you earn money and take a job, then you are punished and set back by it. This way we will create a ladder to climb out of poverty instead of a cliff that cannot be scaled. I think Ronald Reagan said it best, “ We should measure welfare's success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.”
By Josh Colver
A very big and essential part of free market economics is monetary policy which is handled by the Federal Reserve. The central bank of the United States, or other wise known as the Federal Reserve or the Fed, has been very destructive to the economy. The two primary roles of the Federal Reserve are first to control the money supply and, second, to adjust the interest rates. There are a few problems with this. The first is that no person, no matter how educated, could ever know how much money ought to be in the market. It’s the same line of thinking with the interest rates; they could never be set at the right rate because they would always be either too high or too low. When they are too low, it causes malinvestment and creates a false bubble of prosperity. When they are too high, no one invests in the economy, and it slows the economy. The only solution is to have the market determine it. Instead of having a central bank decide what the interest rate should be for everyone, individual banks would adjust it accordingly, and they wouldn’t have the political pressure to keep the rates artificially low. Another problem is the total lack of transparency in the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve has the power to increase the money supply as much as they want whenever they want. This is a huge problem. This money is usually used to bail out big banks and big businesses, or it goes to foreign banks. But the true evil lies underneath. Every time we increase the money supply the value of the dollar decreases and prices of goods and services increase consequently. This hurts poor people and seniors the most. A rich man won’t notice the slight uptick in prices for food and clothing, but poor people will and senior citizens who are living on a fixed income are hurt as well. When the currency is inflated, the cost of living goes up, and consequently, the fixed income that the seniors had will no longer serve them. This is a transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to Wall Street. The Federal Reserve bailed out the banks on Wall Street by printing money or otherwise known as increasing the money supply. The result is higher prices and dollar bills that are practically worthless. The solution to these massive problems is to end the Federal Reserve. Obviously, this can’t be done overnight, but to transition to it, we would allow for an adjustment period.
Once the transition period is done, we should enact the Gold Standard, which requires that our dollars bills will have to be backed up in gold and that we are free to use whatever we like for currency. The reason our money needs to be backed up in gold is because that is what ensures that our money is good for anything. Without it being backed up, it is worthless pieces of paper. Back in the beginning days of banks and credit, people used gold and silver as currency to trade for goods and services. Eventually, people got sick of lugging around big bags of gold, so they left the gold with merchants who started banks. The merchants gave the people receipts for their gold; eventually, people began trading receipts as currency since they knew that the receipt was worth that amount in gold. Today in our country we have a Fiat Currency, which means that our paper money is backed up by nothing. This is a road to disaster that many great nations have embarked. Unless we are looking to crash our economy, we have to change policy and soon.
By chris Bunch
Editor at FMM, YAF campus leader at TWU and former King County libertarian party social media administrator.
We need to regulate weapons. There I admitted it. Yes me, A libertarian who stands by the principle of deregulation so much so that I would die defending it. However you cannot buy these weapons at a gun store or on the street. These weapons are locked and loaded within the confines of Washington D.C. and they want your blood.
The U.S. government has a long history of creating unnecessary programs or spending recklessly. Such as the $25 billion spent annually on maintaining vacant federal properties or the $84,000 spent on popcorn machines and Televisions to furnish the offices of congressmen. Although sounding trivial and wasteful the greatest waste comes in the $30 billion the government spends annually on three dangerous unregulated weapons. The ATF, IRS and NSA. You've heard of these three agencies before and dealt with at least one (or if you're John McAfee all three) in your lifetime. Each of these agencies have been used as a weapon at some point in their existence for purposes that not only are unconstitutional but also nefariously have attacked the very moral fiber that the U.S.A is founded upon. Here's what they are and how we can regulate them.
The IRS was founded in 1862 and ever since then has served as a beacon of hope for authoritarians everywhere. Although supposedly only existing to ensure fair collection of taxes it has been proven time and time again to be used as a weapon for evil;
- FDR used the IRS to harass newspapers who spoke out against the new deal. He also used the IRS against his political adversaries. Harassment included audits, unrelenting tax evasion warnings and threats of legal action all for political gain.
-Richard Nixon used the IRS to audit political opponents and obtain tax returns illegally.
-The FBI released private tax returns of the "United Klans of America" in an attempt to silence free speech (FMM condemns white supremacy or nazism but believes in the right to free speech)
On top of these blatant abuses of power the IRS has also brought armed agents to attain 25 cents from a gas station owner as well as many other similar incidents regarding small businesses who owed anywhere from $100 to 10 cents. The harassment also was directed by people like Lois Lerner (former IRS employee) who targeted conservatives in audits. As you can see the IRS is a weapon waiting to have it's unregulated power wielded by the next authoritarian pushing their personal agenda.
I really shouldn't be talking so negatively about the government considering our next weapon might be listening. The NSA is listed as a "data collection" agency which supposedly is meant to protect the United States from cyber attacks , terrorist attacks and other threats to national security. Like our last weapon this one is also subject to the abusive and powerful hand of the government. Clocking in at $10 billion dollars a year the NSA has been in the news quite a bit the past few years. From patriot leaker Edward Snowden showing abuses in power to rising debate of constitutional limitations here are some facts to set the record straight.
-3 billion phone calls are made in the U.S. every day, the NSA collects metadata from ALL of them. Call patterns, Phone numbers and certain conversations are all part of that collection.
-Former employee Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA could tap into online conversations, phone conversations, internet activity, transactions and more all without a warrant and were doing so daily.
-The NSA at one point were in possession of 40 million individuals photos and personal information without even being on a "watch-list."
Enabled by the patriot act the NSA violated the 4th amendment for millions of Americans and despite many promises by Obama to overhaul the system there is no significant evidence that anything has changed. This weapon unregulated can violate each and every American at a click. Nobody is safe from it.
That last paragraph might make you want to start drinking, thankfully our next weapon is here to help. The ATF stands for Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and primarily is supposed to help protect communities from violent drug trafficking and illegal weapons distribution. Instead the ATF has been proven to manufacture crime instead of prevent it.
-During the Obama administration, ATF agents went undercover to sell weapons to Mexican cartel members and then track where they went in an attempt to find criminals , however, the guns were lost and the infamous operation "Fast and Furious" ended up being responsible for the death of an American border agent. All of this was accomplished on the taxpayer dime and without proper approval and review from the Justice Department.
-The ATF repeatedly has staged situations in poverty stricken neighborhoods entrapping or placing false evidence to acquire a warrant for search and seizure regardless if there is contraband present or not.
-In one situation the ATF used a mentally disabled individual to pose as a firearms and drug dealer to lure in potential criminals only to arrest them on suspicion with no crime committed.
Yet another agency determined to manipulate the American people. The ATF is an order away from planting evidence on people like you and me to obtain their false goal of protecting the people. In actuality the ATF is another unregulated government weapon used to police for profit.
So you've seen these nasty weapons, unregulated and abused. So you must be asking? Why would a libertarian want to regulate more and deregulate less, the answer is the opposite. True regulation of these government weapons comes from deregulating the object policed by these agencies. Ending the war on drugs and deregulating the Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms industries leaves the ATF powerless. Reminding the government the purpose of the 4th amendment leaves the NSA no option but to leave your personal information alone. Last but not least, standing up to unnecessary taxation and declaring "taxation is theft" is a fireproof way to make the IRS work for you again. The government is our employee, not the other way around. Never allow these weapons to run out of control "unregulated" before it's too late.
By: Josh Colver
As I am writing this, our national debt is just under 20 trillion dollars. To give you a visual, 1 trillion dollars is a stack of one thousand dollar bills 67 miles high. If you multiply that number by 20, you get 1340 miles high! That's the height of some of our satellites. In the most recent fiscal year, we took in 3 trillion in tax revenue, and we spent 4 trillion in our budget. Simple arithmetic tells you this does not add up. Why does this matter you ask? The government takes in money in two ways. The first, yearly taxes. The second is by increasing the money supply to pay off interest on the debt or to finance what we couldn’t afford in our budget. Both of these have adverse effects on the economy. Every penny government taxes from the citizens is money that they were going to spend or save in the market. That money would have created a profit for the business, and in turn, create a job. But when the government takes your money and spends it on something else, that wealth is destroyed and harms the economy. The government can’t create productivity; the only way government creates jobs is if it takes a job that would be created in the private sector. The jobs that the government creates are artificial because the jobs that they are doing are not productive. In a free market, the only work that occurs is work that is done for someone else and where they both agreed on compensation. But in the case of government jobs, there is no one who is paying them to do this job, except for the taxpayer who is robbed to accomplish this. I think journalist Stephen Moore said it best when recalling a dinner he had with economist Milton Friedman: “At one of our dinners, Milton recalled traveling to an Asian country in the 1960s and visiting a worksite where a new canal was being built. He was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, the workers had shovels. He asked why there were so few machines. The government bureaucrat explained: “You don’t understand. This is a jobs program.” To which Milton replied: “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.”
There are only two ways that the budget can be balanced. The first way is by raising taxes. When you raise taxes on corporations they no longer want to or can afford to, do business in the United States. So this tax increase incentivizes people to move jobs overseas and leave America. The second way is by cutting spending. Our politicians today have a tough time cutting spending because it's easier to run and get elected as Santa Claus. If a politician runs for office, it's simpler to promise people free stuff or benefits. Democrats run on the platform of increasing funding for failed social programs, and some even call for free healthcare which is estimated by the New York Times to cost 14 trillion dollars! Republicans aren’t any better. They run on the platform of “rebuilding the military” and “securing the borders” which cost us billions of dollars that we can’t afford. This is how things get done in Washington D.C. The two parties come together to spend the money, the Democrats come to the Republicans and say “hey if you give us the welfare spending we’ll give you the military spending.” This usually is how it goes, and that’s why we have the 20 trillion-dollar debt. If we want to balance the budget, we need to come together to do the opposite. We need to cut money from overseas that we spend on these wars, and we need to reform our entitlement programs to get rid of waste, fraud, and abuse. If we work together to cut spending and balance the budget our country will be a lot more prosperous.
By Josh Colver
“What if we finally decide that torture, even if called “enhanced interrogation technique,” is self-destructive and produces no useful information and that contracting it out to a third world nation is just as evil?” - Ron Paul. Congressman Ron Paul of Texas asked this question on the floor of the House of Representatives in 2009. The speech that he gave later became known as the “What If” speech, which critiqued American foreign policy and the disregard for civil liberties. The question of whether the United States should use torture comes down to 3 issues: Is it constitutional? Is it moral? And what does it seek to accomplish? If we judge the issue by these three questions, it can be seen that the abolishment of torture is the only logical path going forward.
The first argument for ending torture is the constitutional one. Torture is strictly prohibited in the constitution by the 8th Amendment which reads, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” The practice of torture in and of itself is precisely a “cruel and unusual punishment.” Especially the practice of waterboarding, which consists of tying a person down on a board and placing a rag over their eyes and in their mouth. Doing this gives people the perception and feeling that they are drowning and suffocating, as water is poured on their face. According to Sullivan in his essay, the average time it takes for a government agent to break is 12 seconds under these circumstances. If waterboarding is not “Cruel and unusual punishment” I don’t know what is.
The second argument is the moral one. One of the reasons America is so exceptional as a nation is that until recently, we didn’t lower ourselves to the level of the terrorists and evil people throughout the world. The rest of the world respected us, and even the people we fought against respected us because we had some sense of moral decency in war. To suggest that we should abandon the moral high ground, and throw away the only thing differentiating us from our enemies is a terrible idea. We also need to understand that two wrongs don’t make a right. Yes, they did attack us or perpetrate an act of terror but does us torturing them bring back the lives we lost, or somehow even out the moral scales? No, it does not. We also need to realize and be wary of government deciding who is a terrorist and who is not. It’s a crazy notion to suggest that a government bureaucracy compiling a list of terror suspects on a secret list, can be used to deny constitutional rights and due process. Examples of this inefficiency and failure can be seen at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison. At this prison, suspects were denied due process and taken to the compound where they are tortured. The real crime, however, is that 90% of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib were later found to be innocent. It just goes to show that when one government branch is judge and jury, liberty and common decency are sacrificed.
The third argument has to do with the goal of torture. Advocates for torture claim that it is necessary to stop terrorism, and without it, the terrorism would increase. I argue that the opposite is true when the United States is open and vocal about our use of torture this insights terrorism instead of stopping it. Terrorists around the world hear that the United States is using torture and this angers them. It makes them commit even more acts of terror. So torture in and of itself creates terrorism instead of stopping it. Another area in which the United States can start to change policy to decrease terrorism is on foreign policy. Ever since World War 2, the United States has been on the quest for empire. Invading and occupying everywhere from Vietnam to Iraq, and all without a declaration of war mandated by the Constitution. Our military actions in the Middle East have created what the CIA calls Blowback. The concept of Blowback is that when the United States intervenes in the middle east, whether it be bombs or nation building, which there is an unintended consequence that occurs. A prominent example of this is our nation building in Iran for the latter part of the 20th century. In 1953 the United States installed the Shah in Iran; the Shah, which is the name of the ruler, was very unpopular among the Iranian people. So in response to that, the people of Iran invaded our embassy in 1979 and took hostages. This infamous event became known as the Iranian Hostage Crisis, which is directly related to our nation building. Another example of Blowback is the 9-11 attacks on the United States. If you ever read the writings of Bin Laden and the reasons they attacked us, it was abundantly clear it was because we were over there. We built a military base in Saudi Arabia, which that particular faction of Islam believed to be the holy land. In retaliation for our military base and constant bombing of the middle east, they hijacked two planes and flew them into the Twin Towers. I would make the case that if we are serious about fighting terrorism, we have to look at our foreign policy.
In conclusion, I believe that we need to end torture immediately. Not only is torture unconstitutional, but it's also immoral and leads to increased terrorism against our country. We need to remember and never forget that for today, we might not object to the way the government is using its power. We might believe that government may be using it for good since it doesn’t affect us, but don’t be surprised if tomorrow it’s you whose rights are taken away on the basis of so called terrorism. If we are going to be moral leaders and lead by example, torture must be put to a stop. To conclude, I’d like to quote Congressman Paul once more, “Remember: liberty only has meaning if we still believe in it when terrible things happen, and more government security is demanded. Government cannot make us safe by mandating security any more than it can make us prosperous by decreeing an end to poverty.”