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2017 was a rocky one for world governments, particularly western democracies. Jerrod Laber studies these trends and writes about them in outlets such as the Washington Examiner, The American Conservative and The Federalist. He joins the podcast today to talk with Stephen about what we should expect in terms of political unrest and volatility in the new year.

Follow Jerrod on Twitter @JerrodALaber Young Voices @yvadv and Stephen Kent @stephen_kent89

Leave us a review on iTunes, Stitcher or GooglePlay where this podcast can be found and email [email protected] with your thoughts on the show

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discussions

  • What role (if any) should the gov’t play in the continued funding of cutting-edge scientific research? According to the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and  Development), approximately 10% of all R&D conducted globally is directly funded by governments, with approximately 60% done by private industry and 20% by educational institutions. Granted, this number probably doesn’t take into account indirect gov’t funding through tax subsidies and incentives. That 10% goes towards projects on the cutting edge of science, such as NASAs various space ventures and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (funded through the governments of the member states). Proponents of big gov’t science, such as Neil Degrasse Tyson, have stated in the past that projects like these are unlikely to be privately funded due to their high risk, high cost, and lack of return on investment. Gov’t, claims Tyson, is required to make the initial step and take all the risk so that private firms can follow in its wake with a clear picture of the requirements of such endeavours. TAM 2011: Our Future in Space Would such high risk, high cost projects be possible without gov’t backing?

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  • I recently read Hoppe’s Democracy: The God That Failed and it brings up a number of questions. I sent him an email with these questions and am still waiting for a reply. But I thought I’d put them out there in this group as well. There are five series of questions and this is the first batch. Is a covenant community binding for all time? Or can a member of a covenant society secede from it just as he ought to be able to secede from the state? Can the terms of the covenant be changed in the future and if so how? Can the covenant specify that all rules and restrictions covered in the covenant can be changed through democratic means – in other words through voting? And if so, can they do specify that this be done by simple majority rule or other ways as specified in the covenant? Further to this – am I correct in assuming that the terms of the covenant inhere to the property and not the person?  For example, I own property in a strata development which is covered by such a covenant. It binds me to the bylaws of the Strata Corporation and these rules can be changed by the members democratically at a meeting. The strata council enforces the rules, manages the budget, etc. I also pay strata fees which are analagous to taxes if this were a municipality. (The strata fees are actually more than the municipal taxes I pay, though the city provides a lot more services.)  And these rules inhere in the property, so if I sell it, the buyer is bound by the covenant. But I cannot secede from the covenant. In effect, a covenant community is really a mini-government, but organized as a contract rather than as a political entity. But in practice, is there really any difference? I have written on my blog about this a few times. Most notably here: http://jollylibertarian.blogspot.ca/2015/10/private-government.html and here: http://jollylibertarian.blogspot.ca/2015/10/consent-of-governed.html and here: https://jollylibertarian.liberty.me/is-consent-a-sufficient-condition-for-a-society-to-be-considered-libertarian/  The latter contradicts the first two as I have had some change in thought on this. Feedback appreciated.

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  • It can be a challenge to keep up with all the taxes one needs to pay throughout the year, and than to deal with all the paperwork that needs to be filed can be frustrating. What would be a good way to simplify the Tax Code? Below is a list of some of the taxes that we the people need to pay, or at least we experience their effects at one time or another. -Medicare, Medicare, Social Security, Federal Inocme Tax, State tax, Local Tax, Corporate tax, Sales Tax, Property Tax, estate tax, alcohol tax, tobacco tax, gift tax, tariffs on imports and exports, etc. Would a simple flat or consumption tax do the trick?

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  • Venezuela has the highest violent crime rate in the world. Though it is not moral or justified, people choose violence over starvation when there are no alternatives. Of course, “we” libertarians all know that this situation was created by government/s coercion’s consequences, but so few among the greater population seem to recognize that. It seems like a similar fate faces the whole world.

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  • Does voting and participating in the mass ritual of electing officials violate the NAP? Are plebiscites or referendums in violation of the NAP ?   Does popular will of a collective trump the individual rights and wishes of a minority?   And for those Liberty minded people that vote for a lesser of two or three evils, how does voting for any evil eradicate evil?   I am certain that these are age old questions and if they are over asked then please forgive me and ignore this thread.   I have heard Walter Blocks and others analogy of voting for a slave that beats you fewer times, etc but for me this does not satisfy my wishes and desires to end slavery.  The assumption and illusion that slavery was kind, pleasant and even benevolent has and did perpetuate the very institution that many sought to end.   All human coercive ownership should be the ultimate goal and not fifty shades of it. All the best Kym

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