Ian Yamamoto I know exactly what you mean and agree completely. I'm usually one of the loudest dissenters in the comment sections of their more extreme articles. I spend more time trying illuminate this distinction then describing what I believe are the true principles of libertarianism. They're the crazies in my personal OWS/Tea Party movement.
Ian Yamamoto This depends on which libertarian you talk to. There are many Anarcho-capitalists who label themselves as libertarians (we have a few writers on PM who fall into this category). Ancaps are completely OK with mercenaries, even to the point of privatized armies. Personally, I do not consider Ancaps true libertarians. Libertarians believe that there are legitimate, but strictly limited, roles of government, including security and defense. I believe that hiring people to protect myself (security guards) is fine, but hiring people to enforce my will upon others (mercenaries) is wrong. In short: No, this libertarian is not OK with mercenaries.
Ian Yamamoto Not really. Libertarians are fine with security guards provided by the private sector, but not renting policeman because they have the power of the state behind them. Unless the policeman cannot arrest people while hired out and only act a private security guard does, this would be a libertarian nightmare. Imagine, people could pay to have others arrested! If this were to happen, this libertarian would flee the country.
Ian Yamamoto Natalie, Unfortunately, I still disagree. I think it is just as wrong to say to the boy from the Upper East Side, "We're going to disregard your hard work and accomplishment of achieving a 2300 on your SAT because someone from Harlem didn't have as much money as you." Adhering to this policy is discrimination. The boy from the UES never had the opportunity to have parents with less money. Contrastingly, the boy from Harlem did have the opportunity to score better on the SAT. Understandably it was a smaller opportunity, but that's why I suggested improving schools in poor neighborhoods, to increase his opportunity. There is never a just reasoning for discrimination.
Ian Yamamoto Natalie, I have many problems with affirmative action, but I will limit myself to the one proponents of it tell me is the most understandable. The problem of trying to be solved with AA is one of inequality. AA tries to remedy the inequality by declining people who deserve entrance, but were better off, and accepting people who may not have deserved it as much, but were worse off. (see your personal example) My problem with this approach is that it doesn't actually address the underlying inequality: that minorities tend to have less fiscal backing, which translates into fewer opportunities. I prefer solutions that address the actual problem, such as improving public schools in poor neighborhoods.
Ian Yamamoto I understand what you are saying, but I still disagree. If white man hits a black man with a baseball bat, he should be given the same punishment that he would receive if the person he hit was also white. No additional crime was committed that requires additional punishment. Why? Because race shouldn't matter. He hit another man with a baseball bat and is being punished. If you punish people differently based on race, you legitimize the idea that people should be treated differently because of race.
Ian Yamamoto "A hate crime perpetrator should be subject to an automatic 10% to 20% increase in the jail time to be served or the fine to be paid." I disagree completely. If an idiot hurts someone, he/she should receive the adequate punishment regardless of the race of the person that got hurt. Hate crime laws are perverse.
Ian Yamamoto Lawrence, Your partisan blindness never ceases to amaze me. "Never before has a sitting president endured so much lack of respect over so short a time period." Please, Bush had it worse. That shouldn't even be up for debate. He had a shoe thrown at his face! In your mind, that probably wasn't racist, but if someone threw a shoe at Obama, it would be. There are many people who are intensely critical of Obama who on this very site, yet I have never come across any who seemed racists. Part of racism is labeling groups of people with stereotypes. Your articles and comments in general do this to Republicans all the time. I'm not even a Republican, but your systematic hate and ignorance of of them is disgusting.
Ian Yamamoto Understood. It seems this is the point where we each do our own cost-benefit analyses and determine which approach we like better. I assume that for you it is the status quo. For me however, the benefits of moving Congressmen to their home states greatly out weigh the costs. Agree to disagree!
Ian Yamamoto Jed, Thanks for your comment. I think a system where Congress still met all together every once and awhile will allow for personal relationships to form and face-to-face interaction to occur. For example, meet together in Washington when Congress opens and then once a month thereafter. (there is some discussion of this below) As for lobbyists, I disagree. Lobbyists are rent seekers. Nothing more. They do not represent our right to petition government, but rather the idea that companies have the right to petition government, which is not a right at all. There is a reason for this. Rights are to be applied to individuals, never groups of individuals. This is how you get black/white rights, men/women rights, ect.
Ian Yamamoto I understand the argument, but have my concerns with it. The inefficiency was put in place to hinder government from quickly removing our liberties. That was fine back when we had so many liberties. Now that they have slowly been eroded away, the inefficiency prevents us from getting them back any time soon. It's a double edged sword my friend.
Ian Yamamoto It will definitely be an uphill battle and a slow process. First, we need a vast majority of voters upset with Congress and the way it works, and according to the approval rating I linked, we have it. Next, the idea needs to become known. That's much harder to accomplish, but I'm doing my part by writing about it on PM. Once constituents are behind the idea, which should be easy enough with the theme of taking influence away from lobbyists and giving it to constituents, only the Congressmen themselves are left to be convinced. I think it could be popular with Congressmen for personal reasons such as spending more time at home. It sounds simple on paper, or computer screen, but unfortunately, I doubt it could come to fruition any time soon.
Ian Yamamoto James, Thanks for the comment. I agree that the problem you pose exists, but I would solve it a different way. Instead of saying the government is broken so lets make it too inefficient to do anything, I would try to fix the government. As a libertarian, I understand that there are few legitimate roles for government, and it needs to fulfill those roles efficiently. Instead of sabotaging government, I try to convince people of libertarian ideas and help the ideas grow so that eventually they can move through the constitutional political system and fix the government we have. That's why I write for PolicyMic. That's why I work at Cato. You have to work for what you believe in, not sabotage those that work differently.
Ian Yamamoto George, I'm glad you were intrigued! I definitely needed to spend more time addressing in-person communication in my article. I think it would be smart if Congress did still meet together for short periods of time. For example, when congress opens and once a month there after. This would ensure that Congressmen had reoccurring in-person access to each other, but also keeps them with their constituents and harder for lobbyists to reach.
Ian Yamamoto O.C., Thanks for the comment. Lobbyists are not nearly as effective over the internet. They rely on personal meetings to work their ways. I do not think they will be as prevalent or effective if Congressmen worked form home, however, I do agree that they won't be gone completely.
Ian Yamamoto Bryan, Thanks for the comment. I do not have as much experience here in Washington and respect your opinion. What would you think about some sort of middle ground? Congress meets in Washington once a month for example. They still have reoccurring access to each other, but are not around long enough for lobbyists to bait their hooks and they still spend the majority of the time with their constituents.
Ian Yamamoto Douglas, Thanks for the comment. I definitely agree that this proposal faces an uphill battle. It's the comfort of the status quo. I especially like your point on how much money is saved which I failed to state in my article. This is a very important aspect of the argument. Although the idea faces the challenge of being unprecedented, it does have one advantage. Congressmen would love it. I can see this bill being very popular with Congressmen on a personal level. Finally, the most important points for me are 1 and 2. Lobbyists have easy access with our federal government all in one place and constituents need to have better access to their representatives.
Ian Yamamoto Susan, Thanks for the comment. I like your suggestions. Its good to look at my proposal as a series of parts, some to be endorsed and some not to be endorsed, instead of a pure up or down proposal. There are definitely improvements that can be made thanks to advancements in technology.
Ian Yamamoto Jeanne, The reason the give themselves so much recess time is to go home. If they are already there, the incentive is removed. If you want Congress to be in session more, let the Congressman work from home.
Ian Yamamoto Andrew, Thanks for the comment but I must disagree. Look at the two meetings: 1. Congressman and Congressman 2. Congressman and lobbyist. 1. Bipartisan correspondence does not occur face to face as often as partisan correspondence. Moving away from the capital won't change this. 2. More importantly is the 2nd meeting. Lobbyist rely on the face to face to get what they want. They aren't nearly as convincing via e-mail. As stated in the article, my proposal wouldn't be the end of lobbying, but it would definitely make it harder and less effective.
Ian Yamamoto Andrew, I agree that Congress needs to spend more time in session. That being said, I think that if Congressmen worked from home, there would be fewer excuses to go out of session. The reason Congress is out of session so often is because they need to go home and see their families. This would not be the case however if they worked from home. Working from home would make it much easier to convince Congressmen to be in session longer.