legalizing marijuana cheered at…a conservative conference?

I bet the mainstream media won’t pick up on this one!

During Gary Johnson’s speech at CPAC, he said he was keen on legalizing marijuana, and the statement was met with serious applause.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Having just experienced CPAC first-hand, I can say with confidence that the conservative movement has shifted dramatically over the past couple of years. Bringing the troops home, legalizing drugs, opposing the PATRIOT act and the war on terror; these ideas are not only mentionable now amongst conservatives, they’re increasingly popular!

it’s not the person, it’s the ideas

In a recent forum, Ron Paul was asked how he manages to seem “the perfect gentleman” amidst heated political debates where personal attacks are the norm. After stammering a bit about how he often does get caught up in the personal stuff, he said that he works hard to separate the issue from the person, and criticize the issue instead of the person. Because the real problem is not necessarily who is making policy; at the end of the day it’s the policies themselves.

This all sounds reasonable. Separate the issue from the person when on the offense. However, it goes both ways. In the hypothetical world where the Ron Pauls of the world are in power and start goofing up, we will have to separate our adoration for the person from our agreement with them on positions, and point out boldly their mistakes.

I wonder if the liberty movement has what it takes to stand up to such a challenge when it comes.

vaguely related: Donald Trump says Ron Paul can’t get elected and the RP crowd at CPAC goes nuts (and Ron Paul did not retaliate).

CPAC 2011 – taxation forum

I’m about to head into a forum at CPAC 2011 that is advertised as follows:

Flat, Fair, VAT or Gone? What Should be Done with the Federal Income Tax?

This is probably my most central political issue. Heading into the meeting, my thinking is that it has to be “gone”, and here’s why.

I want peace on earth for all; a critical requisite for this is that my own impact on the world be to move it towards peace, or at least neutral. In the current income-tax system, by working and earning income to support myself and my family, I am also indirectly supporting the military-industrial complex and foreign wars. In other words, in order to provide life and sustenance to those closest to me, I must contribute to death and destruction to those far from me. This points to an inherent contradiction in the system, that one cannot choose to live a life of peace.

Under a flat tax, this problem is exactly the same.

Under a fair tax (national retail sales tax), this problem is almost the same, but a little better because I can avoid buying new goods when possible and by making certain types of sacrifices, I can survive without paying very much in taxes. Nevertheless, in principal the same problem is there for anyone who truly wants to live a life of peace.

I don’t fully understand VAT, but I think it’s basically another kind of sales tax.

Gone works!

Let’s see if this forum changes anything for me..

UPDATE: It didn’t change anything. The speakers at the forum were all talking about how in principle, all income and sales taxes are wrong; but in practice, we have to sacrifice our principles temporarily on the way to not-sacrificing them, or something similar that didn’t really make much sense to me.

what I learned in school

school taught me to be very careful
not to make mistakes;

school taught me that there’s a right answer
and many wrong answers;

school taught me that there are smart people
and less smart people;

school taught me that my desires are wrong
and the world is a place of denial.

it has taken me years of work to unlearn
these silly lessons, and replace them:

making mistakes is the best way to learn!
“right answer” and “wrong answer” are undefined without goal, or direction, to guide them!
everyone contains genius, it’s a simple matter of focus to bring it out!
the world is here to fulfill my dreams!