Monthly Archives: May 2017

An Open Resolution

Whereas The U.S. spends more on military than the next 8 nations combined
Whereas, involvement in NATO has caused the U.S. to build a military much larger than what is needed for defense
Whereas, current military policy has destabilized regions and lead to blowback and contributed to terrorist recruitment
Whereas, trade has been able to stop problematic ideologies when violence could not, as has happened in Vietnam
Whereas current military policy has misused many well meaning individuals for purposes other than defense against aggression often as parts of attempts to act as the world’s policeman
Resolved, The Libertarian National Committee rejects and repudiates the current U.S. military policy of overreach, world policing, and nation building; demands that the U.S. military immediately shut down all foreign military bases, cease involvement in foreign conflicts, end all current foreign military operations, and bring the troops home; demands that military spending and employment, if any, be reduced to the level necessary only for defense; demands immediate U.S. withdrawal from NATO; and demands an end to all trade sanctions.
In Liberty,
Arvin Vohra

Vice Chair

Libertarian Party

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Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Uncategorized


A Mind Wasted. 

Reposted without permission from Facebook:

In the 16 years I have run an elite educational business, I have never gone to any student’s college graduation. Students have asked, or begged, often offering to pay for travel and hotels. Parents have asked. But I haven’t gone. Not to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, or any of the Ivy League colleges, or non-Ivy league colleges my students have attended. Not event to local colleges, whose graduations are walking distance from my house.
My reason: I consider college an inferior and destructive form of education. I consider it a toxic enemy to higher education. I think that by attending college, students are wasting time in a toxic and counterproductive environment, while losing the opportunity to do something better. That’s one reason I support the Thiel Scholarships, which give students $50k a year for 2 years to not go to college, and see how much more they can achieve without college.
For many of my students, college is essentially a legal requirement. If you want to go to medical school, in most cases you must first go to a four year college. My students who want to be doctors have no choice. 
But even for them, college is a necessary evil, not something to be treasured. 
I do often, however, go to graduation parties, and let people know that I am glad that they are finally free of that prison of pretend education. I attend those parties for the same reason I would attend a party for someone who had gotten out of prison after being immorally imprisoned. 
It’s not because I dislike my students. The bond between a teacher and student is very strong. Between a tutor and a student, it’s even stronger. I know how hard many of my students worked to transform themselves academically. I know that they feel pride at having defied the educations of, at times, their entire family who scoffed at the idea that they could attend an Ivy League college, or often any college at all. I was there for struggles of students who went from academic failures to members of the academic elite. I know that college means something very important to them. 
But that doesn’t make college good. It doesn’t change what college is doing to education and culture.
On the flip side, when a former student does something through initiative, I always support that. If they start a business selling something that I can afford, I buy whatever it is. If they write a nonfiction book or novel, I read drafts (for free). If they have art work in gallery, or just on the side of the road, I come to show my support. If they choose to study a topic independently, I give any advice I can, and share any resources that I have. My particular brand of tough love also has a supportive side.
During the last days, many of you felt that I hated you as people. My students have, at times, felt the same way when I refer to their Ivy League degrees as “not even useful as toilet paper” or other colorful descriptors. I don’t hate my students; for some, I disagree with their actions. I consider them destructive and weak. For others, like the ones who go to college since that is the only way to medical school, I actually agree with their actions. It’s the least bad choice. It’s the only choice. But even a necessary evil is evil. It’s not something to be glorified.
A popular bumper sticker says, “Support our troops. Bring them home. Help them heal.” I agree with that sentiment. But I also believe in supporting our kids. To me, that means encouraging them to not go into that environment in the first place. 
Many who have been part of the military know about the psychological damage that combat causes, especially when soldiers later realize that they were misused for immoral or counterproductive purposes. Dave Grossman discussed some of these issues in On Killing. Often the depression, anxiety, PTSD and other psychological illnesses that veterans face often come from what they were manipulated into doing, not by what was done to them. It goes both ways, of course. Often the psychological illnesses are associated with physical injuries. But they are often experienced by people who are entirely uninjured. 
The psychological toll can be unimaginable. In my travels around the country, from convention to convention, I have spoken privately on this issue to many veterans. In the last few days, I have spoken with many of you one on one, and I expect to do the same over the next several days or months. Most of those conversations have come to the same place: to prevent people from undergoing the psychological trauma that requires needing healing in the future, we must do two things. At the policy level, we need to stop military overreach and participation in non-defensive, immoral wars. At the personal level, we need to stop the worship and glorification of the military. And in that process, we cannot bring knives to gun fights. The deglorification of military combat must be done with the same intensity as glorification is done today, through the massive advertising budgets of the military.
If we continue glorifying the military out of politeness, or out of a sense of “Haven’t they already been through enough hell?”, the very predictable result will be more young men and women joining the combat duty that then later requires healing.
In many circles today, the hashtag #AllCopsAreBastards has become popular. I haven’t used it for one simple reason. I don’t think it’s true. All drug cops are kidnappers. All traffic cops are thieves. But I don’t think that they are bad people. They are doing bad things. They may be acting out of a manipulated sense of honor, financial pressure, or social pressure, but they aren’t bad people. I think when you know a person’s story, even their immoral actions make sense. Before you ask – yes, even Hitler and ISIS. They did the wrong things, but they thought they were doing the right things. That makes them tragic. Their actions are evil; but their personal story is tragic.
Many of you, understandably, believed that when I use words like “murderer”, it is an expression of hatred of you as a person. It is not. I strongly disagree with many of the actions you have done. I strongly and fiercely want to end the enlistment cycle in America. I want troops to not need healing in the first place. I want those who seek honor to know that it’s not going to be found in the kind of combat the military does now, and it should be sought elsewhere. 
Words like that are a wakeup. They are a way to let the world know that I do not, and will not, passively go along with a culture of military worship that predictably leads to needless killing, dangerous foreign policy, and massive psychological and physical damage to those who want to do the right thing. They are my way of letting you know that this culture and set of policies, that has continued to have predictable and damaging consequences, has at least one dissenter. If I am the only dissenter, so be it. That culture of military worship that has destroyed so many lives is no longer unanimous.
Some of my students, by the way, have dropped out of top tier colleges to start businesses. When I told them in 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, they weren’t ready to hear the message. But when all of their experiences in college lined up with what I had told them, the message made sense. I do not expect that all of the young men and women that either I alone or with your help speak to will all refuse to enlist. But I do believe that a single dissenting voice can make a difference. It may make a person use their ELS option to leave once they start realizing truths that their recruiters left out. It may give someone the courage to speak out about the negative parts of military service, without being afraid of being called a traitor or a weakling (which several vets have expressed.) 
During the next days I will be discussing the dangers of military worship, as well as putting forward a larger, overall vision for the Liberty movement. Thank you for being part of this discussion.
In Liberty,
Arvin Vohra

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Posted by on May 13, 2017 in Uncategorized


Squandered Heroism pt3 

RePosted from Facebook without permission:

We’ve all done good things and bad things in life. I’ve done some stupid things. I wasted 4 years at a college, when I could have been doing independent education. I voted for Obama, because I got tricked by his rhetoric. I’ve driven recklessly, given in to anger. In the past, I supported vouchers (a.k.a. crony capitalism), rather than supporting getting government out of education entirely. I’ve even spoken in favor of the Fair Tax, rather than ending the income tax. I’ve made unstrategic business decisions.
I admit that these were bad decisions. I don’t think bad decisions make me a bad person. But they aren’t what I’m proudest of. I’m glad I learned from those bad decisions, so I can encourage others not to make them.
Today’s military policy is bad. The military things it is doing are bad. Sure, peppered in there are unrelated behaviors like handing out food, but the actual military part of the military is doing primarily bad things. It’s creating enemies, making us less safe. It’s engaging in violence and killing that are entirely counterproductive. 
And yet, even inside the Liberty movement which is working hard to stop that, we still follow the social propaganda custom in which “veteran” or “servicemember” is seen as a compliment. It’s treated as a positive part of a person’s present or past, not a compromise they made, or a trick they fell for. Even those who know that their missions had been corrupted, that they were risking their lives on counterproductive missions, treat it as a positive, rather than as a silly mistake that they learned from. 
People join the military for all kinds of reasons. For some, it’s a way out of poverty, or to get respect, or to feel like a badass. But people also join street gangs for the same reason. People commit violent felonies for that reason. That doesn’t mean joining the street gang is what they would be proud of. It doesn’t mean that we would use “former gang member” as a compliment.
I have heard so many inspiring speakers who were reformed gang members, who help other young people avoid getting involved in gangs. I have also hear many inspiring speakers who were former military members, who now work to keep people out of the military. 
Those aren’t bad people. Many are great people. Many of the veterans in the LP are great people. But their being in the military is not what’s great about them. I consider them great despite being part of the military, not because of it. 
I’m proud to work with many of these people – despite their involvement in the military, not because of it. As I’ve often said, I’ll work with anyone who wants to downsize any part of the government – NSA, TSA, FDA, government schools, the military. 
Incidentally, the same principle applies to all branches of government. There are many people who have worked int he government whom I respect. All, or nearly all, I respect despite their work in the government, not because of it. 
I don’t expect those working to cut government to be perfect. I will continue to respect those working to cut government despite their shortcomings, not because of them.
We’ve grown out of the phase in which “federal employee” or “police officer” were considered positives. We now respect people despite those things, not because of them. I believe in respecting anyone who is working to cut government, but despite, not because of, their involvement with the state.
Arvin Vohra

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Posted by on May 12, 2017 in Uncategorized


Squandered heroism part two. 

Reprinted without permission from Facebook
It seems that many members of the military have taken offense to the phrase “accessory to murder” used to describe non-combat support staff of combat soldiers, and the phrase “murder” to describe military combat used in completely counterproductive wars that create enemies. If the issue here is word choice, then I’m sure we can find a replacement. Replace murder with “tricked into killing” or “counterproductive killing” or “violence in the service of counterproductive military policy.” Replace accessory with “support staff to violence that makes America less safe by creating predictable blowback.” Replace enlist with “agree to follow orders from people who have been giving immoral orders for the last 40 years.” Replace service with “squandering the desire for honor on the military industrial complex.” If the issue is word choice, then there are plenty of other phrases. I’d be happy to immediately apologize for the word choice – if those who claim to care only about the word choice will join on the new word choice.
That leaves this question: do those of you who take issue with the word choice believe military policy is good or bad? Do you think that the core combat missions have been corrupted, by politicians and the military industrial compex? Or do you believe that the current actions in the Middle East, the hundreds of overseas bases, the word policing are good?
If you believe that those military actions are good, then I simply disagree. Ending military overreach, shutting down foreign military bases, and using the military for defense only will make us safer, save us blood and treasure, and stop psychologically damaging people by forcing them to take part in counterproductive violence and killing. 
If you believe that those military actions are bad, that the mission has been corrupted, then will you say so to the young men and women considering enlisting? Will you remind people who got tricked by the manipulation of military recruiters that they have the Entry Level Separation option, and can still leave within the first few months of joining? When you see Hollywood movies jammed with military propaganda, will you say something to those who look up to you and trust you? 
If you believe that current military actions are wrong, that the military industrial complex and politicians have corrupted the mission, then will you help starve the beast? Will you help encourage people not to enlist?
If some of the last day’s responses were just about word choice, let me know and I’ll change it. If it’s just that you support military overreach, then I hope you will reconsider your position.
Arvin Vohra

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Posted by on May 12, 2017 in Uncategorized


Honorably Dishonorable. 

RePosted without permission 

Last night, my car broke down and I had to call a tow truck. During our conversation, the driver mentioned that he used to work for a car repair shop. I asked him why he switched to driving the tow truck.
He told me that at the repair shop, the management had been pressuring the mechanics to sell expensive, unneeded parts to people who didn’t seem to know much about cars. They particularly targeted women.
He didn’t think that policy was right. So he left. He refused to follow that command. That is the honor and integrity that this particular tow truck driver had.
That driver hadn’t been flooded by a culture that prides itself on honor. The repair shop he left wasn’t fixated on being honorable. As an individual, he recognized what honor was, and what it was not.
Many veterans have argued that the mission of the military has been corrupted by the civilian bosses of the military. I absolutely, 100% agree. We need to stop those mission corrupters by voting them out. I have made it quite clear that I will only vote for candidates who will pledge to shut down foreign military bases, bring the troops home to rejoin their families, and in that process make us safer by no longer creating enemies abroad. I have personally pledged to do that in my own campaigns.
But in recognizing that the mission has been corrupted, many of us will be faced with choices. Those in active duty will have to make the decision to follow their own honor, or to let their commanders tell them what honorable and dishonorable are. I have met many veterans who chose to be “dishonorably” discharged, because that was the only honorable course of action.
The fact is, the government can print more money. But it cannot print more soldiers. True men and women of honor and strength are not that numerous. Those who pride themselves on honor and strength deserve something important from us.
They deserve the truth. If the mission has been corrupted, then they must know that. It is our responsibility to spread that word as far as we can. Military recruiters and advertisers will deny that the mission has been corrupted. Or they will argue that it doesn’t matter, that an honorable soldier doesn’t worry about the honorableness of his actions, that a soldier’s only job is obedience. 
Our immediate duty as leaders, both veteran and non-veteran, is to spread this truth: the mission has been corrupted. The mission is no longer an honorable one. What the U.S. military is doing is wrong. 
All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. All that is necessary for military recruiters and defense contractors to triumph is for us to say nothing. If we fear that saying that the mission has been corrupted breaks some sacred rule that the military must be worshiped no matter what it does, and we let that fear make us silent, then the mission will continue to be corrupted.
There are those that argue that the military is not just like working at a repair shop (even if you work in vehicle repair in the military). They will argue that it is a calling that comes from a desire for honor and respect. 
From young men and women I see going into the military, I see that desire for honor. Is it right for us to say nothing, as they search for honor in a corrupted mission? Is it right to say nothing, or encourage them to seek honor in missions ordered for dishonorable purposes?
If you have seen that the mission has been corrupted, if you believe that what the U.S. military is doing right now is both morally wrong and is making us less safe, then say something to those who respect you. It doesn’t have to be public, or on social media, or on TV – sometimes what you say to your kids, or students, or siblings matters even more. 
But don’t wait. Every day, we are bombarded by advertising that encourages people to enlist – through direct advertising, Hollywood brainwashing, and a culture that insists on public and exaggerated worship of those in the military. Don’t wait until they are speaking to a recruiter. Say something today.
-Arvin Vohra

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Posted by on May 12, 2017 in Uncategorized


Squandered Heroism 

RePosted without permission from Facebook 

During the last hours, I’ve seen many justifications for joining the military. To avoid confusion, I’ll address them in a single post.
1. I thought I would be fighting for freedom, or to defend the constitution.
If you were a soldier in recent history, you probably weren’t. Instead, you were a person who got tricked by propaganda. That doesn’t make you a hero; it makes you someone who got tricked.
That’s happened to many people. I personally have been tricked by government propaganda. I voted for Obama in 2008. When I learned that I had been tricked, and had encouraged others to do the same foolish action, I decided to work to make amends. I spent thousands of hours helping people see the lie of the duopoly. 
If you were tricked by military recruiters, help prevent the same thing from happening to others. Share your experiences, and speak out boldly.
2. Many people don’t care about all that, they just want money for college.
That’s a morally unacceptable position. That’s saying, “I signed up for a job where I might have to kill innocents because I wanted the money.” It’s not new to say, “I idd violence because I wanted money.” It’s not moral either. 
3. A soldier is like a gun. You don’t blame guns when someone uses a gun for mass shootings; blame only the president, not the soldiers who follow his orders.
A soldier is not a gun. A soldier has thoughts, morals, and judgment. If a gun had human level intelligence and then chose to be part of a school shooting, I would blame the gun along with the wielder. When a soldier chooses to follow an order to bomb a school or hospital, I similarly blame the solider along with the politician ordering him.
I know the military makes a big propaganda show of calling soldiers military property, but the fact is slavery was outlawed by the 13th amendment. You are not an object. You are not a thing. You are a human being, with human abilities, and human responsibilities.
4. I still think what the military is doing is right. I’m proud of the work I did/am doing/will do.
In that case, I disagree. I don’t think you are an immoral person, but I do think you have been mislead. Sure, the American army in 1776 did great things. But today’s military is not fighting for our freedom. It’s getting involved in civil wars, and creating blowback. 
There are certain parts of the military that are purely defensive, at least in theory. But that theory rarely pans out. My only moral opposition to those is the tax funding, which applies to every government worker and contractor, not just to military.
5. Come to my base and say it to me and my platoon, so I can kick your [butt]
Fighting ideas you dislike with violence is exactly why the military is failing at its current attempt to beat radical Islam with bombs. Ideas are defeated with better ideas. Women’s rights happened through ideas and debates, not bombs. The same hold true of minority rights and even democracy. Beating up individuals doesn’t change minds any more than bombing does.
In the next few days, I will be putting together a working group for Counter Recruiting. The goal is to undue the lies and bluster military recruiters use to dupe young men and women into misusing themselves in the pursuit of immoral wars. All are welcome to join this group.

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Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Uncategorized


Nibbling at the edges.  

An Open Letter to Justin Amash:
Thank you for taking the time to explain your reasons for your vote on Trumpcare, and for being one of the few congressmen who communicates directly with his constituents. Although we are from different parties, I have often presented you as an example of a member of GOP that could be trusted to fight for Liberty.
But over the last months, I have started to doubt that. Not because of this one vote, but because of your insistence on clinging to a broken, government run model of healthcare, and your odd refusal to promote the true, free market solutions that could make healthcare actually universal by lowering costs. 
You and I know that even repealing Obamacare entirely was just nibbling at the edges, an action that in no way threatened the status quo, in no way actually lowered healthcare costs, in no way diminished the expensive and unjustifiable protections for big pharma. But Republicans could not even commit to that, and chose to barely nibble at the edges of Obamacare.
We don’t need minor reforms on government insurance. We need a free market in healthcare, the kind we had in America when medicine was affordable, service was better, and personal interaction was present. Today’s advanced technology would have actually lowered the price even more without government interference, as technology has in every other industry. 
We need to move past the government insurance model, which has only driven up the price of healthcare, to a free market model, which has consistently lowered price and improved quality.
In the last decades, the government-regulated insurance model, led by Medicare, has caused the EpiPen to increase in price from $100 to $600. Note that EpiPen is adrenaline inside of a simple delivery system, as simple as medical technology gets.
Laser eye surgery, on the other hand, is advanced, impressive, futuristic technology. In the last decades, price competition in the non-insurance market has lowered the price of laser eye surgery from several thousand dollars per eye to a few hundred dollars per eye. 
The best thing about the free market is that kind of price competition. Combined with constant pressure to improve, that price competition gives us lower prices and higher quality in most industries. But not in healthcare.
But imagine if it could. Imagine if the drugs that today cost $80,000 cost $80. Here is how to make that happen:
1. Eliminate border protections for big pharma, and allow people to buy drugs from any country they want. Often, drug companies sell identical drugs for lower prices in foreign nations. Current rules prevent Americans from buying them. In other words, our tax dollars go to expensive customs enforcement that make our medicines more expensive. Eliminate that, and watch how quickly drug companies lower costs in America.
2. Eliminate the FDA efficacy requirement. It’s largely ignored by doctors anyway, who routinely prescribe drugs for off label uses. This will lower production and research costs dramatically, lowering prices. It will also finally make it economical for companies to produce drugs for rare diseases. Currently, high regulatory costs make it unaffordable to recoup losses on drugs for rare diseases, so cures are left unused on lab benches.
3. Eliminate the FDA entirely. Remember, in America, we buy medicines after consulting experts (doctors). They rely on journals, peer experience, and many other forms of review. No doctor just randomly prescribes from the list of drugs approved by the FDA for a given condition. The lower cost will encourage drug companies to not only produce cures for rare diseases, but also to produce new antibiotics as old ones phase out. 
4. Eliminate the bizarre laws that prevent foreign doctors from practicing in America. Today, the best doctors in Switzerland, Britain, Germany, Japan, and Korea cannot legally practice medicine in America. That kind of policy serves AMA special interests at the expense of the American people. End it, and see how affordable medicine becomes.
5. Remove all restrictions on catastrophic insurance. Let people insure themselves against major issues, but buy regular healthcare out of pocket. As people suddenly become price sensitive, the price of medicine will plummet.
6. End Medicare, Obamacare, and Medicaid, and then remove restrictions on medical charities. Let those who can afford medicine become price sensitive, and see prices drop. Then, let charity help those who need it. If doctors without borders can do so much good elsewhere, let’s see how much good medical charity can do in America.
I ask you do do this: sponsor legislation for any or all of these, and fight in favor of it. Even if you are the only sponsor, show us that you truly care about liberty, that “Freedom” and “Liberty” aren’t just advertising buzzwords to you. 
Let’s make medicine so cheap that anyone can afford it. Let’s replace the government-regulated insurance model with a free market in healthcare and charity. Let’s make healthcare truly universal through lower cost.
Arvin Vohra

Vice Chair

Libertarian Party

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Posted by on May 7, 2017 in Uncategorized

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