Category Archives: The Contributors

Quote of the Day: Jason Pye on the Smarter Sentencing Act

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Jason Pye, former contributor to The Liberty Papers and current Director of Justice Reform at FreedomWorks posted an article yesterday for Rare Liberty about some promising political developments in the area of criminal justice reform. Perhaps one of the most promising of these developments at the federal level is a bill being considered is S.502 – The Smarter Sentencing Act.

Jason explains why he believes this reform is a step in the right direction:

With federal prison spending booming, an unlikely bipartisan alliance has emerged to bring many of these successful state-level reforms to the federal justice system. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have joined with Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) to reform federal mandatory minimums – a one-size-fits-all, congressionally mandated approach to sentencing.

[…]

The Smarter Sentencing Act would expand the federal “safety valve” – an exception to federal mandatory minimum sentences for low-level nonviolent offenders with little or no criminal history – and cuts in half mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders. This more rational approach to sentencing will reduce costs on already overburdened taxpayers. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated a net $3 billion cost-savings over a decade. The Justice Department believes the bill will save an eye-popping $24 billion over 20 years.

The benefits of the Smarter Sentencing Act may not end with the fiscal savings. It could also reverse the damage done by federal mandatory minimum sentences in certain communities, which, as Lee recently explained, “have paid a high cost for the stiff sentences that mandatory minimums require.”

Alan Dobson- first time caller, long time listener

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I have spent a very long time looking for the perfect website to contribute to, and after an exhausting and intense vetting process I decided to go with none other than TLP.

I am 23 years old and currently live in Oklahoma City. I haven’t always lived in the best state in the Union. I am the youngest of three in a military family. I grew up all over the United States. However, I call Southern Maryland my home. Even though I have moved on from Maryland, my pride will never fade (excluding anything involving their politics).

I currently work as the Oklahoma City district recruiter for a national insurance agency, and as a United States Army Reservist. I am no stranger to politics, having spent the last five years working or volunteering in many different capacities on campaigns and in Washington. I am definitely looking forward to the day I return politics. It was sometime in middle school I got my first taste of politics, and since then there has been no going back.

My political views are honestly one of a kind. I can be found on the corner of conservative, libertarian, and liberal. It can certainly get confusing when you get down to it. My beliefs can’t be divided into fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Even if I am fiscally conservative and have a few socially liberal beliefs. Why draw a line, life is too short to be boring. My life motto is, “Courage invites critics. Endure.” No matter how well you are doing something someone will have a problem with it.

In my free time I enjoy reading, fishing, and just hanging out with friends. If we ever meet you can buy me an old fashion. I am a big fan of the Washington Nationals and Oklahoma Sooners. You can reach me on Twitter, @_AlanDobson, or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/alan.dobson.18.

Hi. I’m Elle Woods and this is Bruiser Woods. And we’re both Gemini vegetarians!

Just. Kidding.

I am a 2014 graduate of Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in Government. Although I’m sure it all began when I read “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut in sixth grade, I started to develop my political ideas in earnest during my senior year of high school. They were forged in the crucible of liberal sentiment that was my college. My thinking was forcibly clarified, as I was in an environment where my ideas were opposed by a hostile majority. Classical liberals and those thereabout are in this position in American culture. However, I also learned a lot from the people I went to school with, and my mode of engagement shifted from debate to conversation. The Three Languages of Politics by Arnold Kling presents an excellent overview of the way I came to understand the ways my peers think.

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As an undergraduate I was not involved in campus social events or programs. I spent between 20-30 hours a week working for Harvard Recreation, and much more during breaks and exam weeks (no class = more work time). There are great people there, and I wouldn’t trade those hours for anything.

I identify as an Objectivist, and believe that good government is necessary for human flourishing. I think that the proper role of government is the proper role of force, because that’s what government is. So: I think a proper government should provide internal and external defense and a court system to help individuals peacefully settle disputes. When I discuss political philosophy, and philosophy widely, I don’t usually use explicitly Objectivist language (at least not immediately). I’ve found that it’s easier to speak in the language of a mutual respect for the facts of reality.

I grew up on a farm in Indiana, one of a set of triplets. I’m currently living in Boston and trying to make my way in the world. Right now I’m in the “big dreams small checking account” stage. I’ve wanted to be a writer for a long time, and this August I self-published my first novel, Climbing Olympus. It’s science fiction, which is my favorite genre. I learned a lot by writing it, and now that it’s done I’m working on several other short stories that I will develop into novels as well. I look to Gone with the Wind and Atlas Shrugged for inspiration.

In my spare time I read, write, and conversate. I enjoy history, economics, philosophy of all kinds, and vast swaths of fiction. I run, and I work on foreign languages I’ve studied over the years (Spanish, German, and Portuguese). I look forward to writing for The Liberty Papers. I think I have valuable things to contribute, and I know I’ll learn an immense amount.

Here’s my Facebook and here’s my website!

 

What the Heck is a Muscular Minarchist?

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I am a Muscular Minarchist.

What does that mean?

Well, the way I’ve introduced the concept for the past 20 or so years is”

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist. 

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

That’s a bit of “ha ha only serious” there… and really does fairly encapsulate my personal moral and ethical position… it’s the “elevator pitch” version as it were.

The next sentence of the elevator pitch is:

I believe in an absolutely minimalist government that provides a strong defense. I want a government that stays out of my wallet, out of my bedroom, and out of my business.

I realize that’s a lot to ask, but I don’t believe it should be.

I write, because from time to time I must express my anger, frustration, ire, pique, and general cussedness in a format that is unlikely to result in my imprisonment.

I can just see it now “Radical right wing gun nut takes out entire joint session of congress”

Hey a guy can dream can’t he?

Of course I’m not a radical right wing anything; I’m a radical about liberty. I make careful note that I am a philosophical libertarian (note the small “L”) and I take those principles seriously. It’s not just a question of politics, it’s a matter of morals and ethics. Since I hold all involuntary collectivism as an inherent evil; that, by the very definition used by modern media, is radical right wing.

The thing is, my opposition to involuntary collectivism is from all sides. I reject collectivist government, as much as I reject collectivist social policy, as much as I reject collectivist moral policy, or religion (not all religion, just the promulgation of involuntary collectivism through religion) , or any other concentration of the power to coercively limit liberty.

I believe in Liberty, Responsibility, Service, and Honor… I guess I’m just funny that way.

Okay so who am I?

Personally, I’m a husband, a father of three, a son, and a friend. I am a sincere and faithful, but dissenting and schismatic, Catholic. I am a cancer warrior, because I didn’t just survive cancer, I kicked its ass.

Professionally, I’m a veteran of the United States Air Force, an Aerospace Engineer and Computer Scientist by education; and an enterprise, infrastructure, systems, and security, architect and educator; by way of employment.

Passionately, I am a shooter, a singer, a guitar and bass player, a driver, a rider, a sailor, a pilot, a builder, a craftsman, a hunter, an outdoorsman, a reader, a writer, a poet, a cook and brewer, and a lover of fine food, and spirituous beverages.

Finally, by fundamental nature, I’m a hard core geek, about all of those things above, and more. I am by my nature compelled to learn, and love, and know, and understand, everything I care about, as fully and deeply as I possibly can.

I revel in my geekitude.

I work, play, game, read, speak, think, drink, and live, geek.

I am one of the original co-founders, contributors, and editors of  The Liberty Papers. I’ve been here from the beginning, and plan to be here until they pull the plug and turn out the lights.

And now, I’m getting tired of talking about me, so if you want more, look at my personal blog… or my post archive here on The Liberty Papers, and let the ranting begin again.

NOTE: This profile was originally published November 22nd 2005, for the launch of The Liberty Papers. The author was lazy and didn’t get around to updating it until October 16th 2014… when it was pointed out that in the intervening almost decade, he had somehow managed to acquire a wife and children (he met his wife shortly after the founding of the site), which he had neglected to mention. 

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Christopher Bowen, TLP’s Token Liberal Libertarian

Taken in an independent coffee shop in Fairfield, Connecticut. I can hea "hipster!" from all across the nation.Hello to everyone. My name is Christopher Bowen, and though I’ve been writing professionally for about eight years now, this is my political debut. I also come at this from a challenging perspective: in a field where the term is often openly dismissed, I am what is called a “liberaltarian”: a libertarian who came from the liberal side of the divide.

… Are they all gone? How many are left? Wow, that’s not a lot. Well, at least we can stretch our legs…

In actuality, I don’t believe there’s much of a difference between myself and others like me – the bleeding heart libertarians, if you will – and those who come from a more conservative base. It sums up simply, in my mind: the only tangible difference between a conservative libertarian and a liberal libertarian is the hill they’re willing to die on. A conservative libertarian will not back down on issues relating to commerce; keep the markets free at all cost, Adam Smith style. Conservatives tend to come over from the Republican party out of disgust at the large spending sprees of the Reagan and Bush era. Liberal libertarians like me, on the other hand, consider social issues and civil liberties to be sacrosanct. I’m more flexible on economic policy, but when it comes to our ability to live free lives – everything from LGBT issues to gun ownership – I am a fierce advocate for freedom, and unlike many “liberals”, I understand that is a two way street; I don’t believe the government should disallow a loving couple from marrying, but I also believe the person too bigoted to make their wedding cake has the right to act on that. I left the Democratic Party when I learned that they were just fine with wars, the surveillance state and other issues when one of their guys was in charge.

My political evolution has been like many at this site, if only from the other direction. Living in Connecticut most of my life, I grew up a standard, blue state, Clinton-era Democrat, though I’ve always had a mistrust of authority and government. That has reflected in my recent voting patterns, culminating in my support for Gary Johnson’s 2012 Presidential bid. I started to stretch my “damn the man” legs a bit when I started writing about the video games industry professionally in 2006, with part of my work being a series of articles investigating a myriad of issues from a pro-consumer viewpoint. I wrote professionally for six years, though my games writing has become sporadic of late, as I look to broaden my horizons and make my political writing debut.

Personally, I’m 34, still live in Connecticut, and currently work in IT. I also work ice hockey from the semi-professional level and down, primarily as a linesman. I’m a four year veteran of the United States Navy, where I served on the USS George Washington during the Afghanistan and second Iraq wars.

My Twitter is @superbus, and my brand spanking new Facebook “fan” page for all of my writing is here. I also have a Google Plus account that I really should start using more. I look forward to this new challenge in my career, and hopefully can turn some opinions on what a “liberaltarian” is.

Christopher Bowen covered the video games industry for eight years before moving onto politics and general interest. He is the Editor in Chief of Gaming Bus, and has worked for Diehard GameFan, Daily Games News, TalkingAboutGames.com and has freelanced elsewhere. He is a “liberaltarian” – a liberal libertarian. A network engineer by trade, he lives in Derby CT.
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