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Chris answers the Liberty Candidate questions below:
I) Re. the U.S. Financial System:
Q. What is your view of the monetary system in the U.S. today?
Fiat currency has been the downfall of every nation that has tried it, throughout all of human history. The temptation to print money is too great for human beings to resist. For this reason, fiat currency must be abandoned.
Q. What corrective actions could we take right now to improve the economy?
First we must stop spending beyond our means. The only acceptable budget is a balanced budget that does not raise taxes. Secondly, we must empanel a new “Gold Commission” to study the possibility of transitioning to a commodity-backed currency. This does not have to be gold. Since the dollar is already the trading currency for petroleum, that would be a logical commodity to use. Or perhaps some combination of commodities would be best. We need to begin the process of transitioning away from fiat currency as soon as possible.
Q. Do you agree with the actions the Federal Reserve has taken to solve the financial crisis? If not, what could the Fed have done differently?
We are only now beginning to see the results of “quantitative easing” in rising prices for basic goods and services. The Federal Reserve has done us no service by printing money so that people can remain on unemployment insurance indefinitely. The result is that labor has sat idle, lowering our national economic productivity. In addition, by removing the consequences of failure, the Federal Reserve has undermined the free market system. No system which rewards failure can succeed in the long term.
Q. Should the Federal Reserve be audited fully, no secrets, or does it need to keep some information under wraps?
Absolutely. The only reason for secrecy is to hide from the American people actions which they would find repugnant.
II) Re. Foreign Policy:
Q. What is your opinion on current US foreign policy?
Our interventionist foreign policy has been a failure from its inception. We supported a monarch in Iran who overthrew the democratically elected government. Since we discredited our own system, when the brutal monarch was overthrown, the people of Iran turned to Islamic fundamentalists. Then we turned to another brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein, to limit the power of Iran. As we all know, he betrayed us and we fought two costly wars to depose him.
We supported Osama bin Laden against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. He also turned against us, using the training we gave him to attack us and kill thousands of American citizens.
We supported Noriega in Panama, to fight the criminal gangs we ourselves created with the “War on Drugs”. Of course he also betrayed us. This is not a good track record. We need to return to a non-interventionist foreign policy, using free trade to make other nations more like us. Economics has always been our most powerful weapon. With trade, no one has to die half the world away from their loving family.
Q. How should we fight a “war on terror”?
We should first of all stop arming and training the very people who later attack us. That would help a lot. If we stop turning malcontents into armed paramilitaries through our own actions, I am sure the criminal justice system will be able to cope with them, as it does with any other kind of criminal.
Q. Should the U.S. occupy other countries? If not, would you push to close all bases? Are there any you would keep open?
We have no business nation building, or occupying foreign lands. All it does is put our brave men and women in harm’s way. Furthermore, foreign military bases transfer wealth away from our country. Also, if Iran was not surrounded by our military bases, they might be less hostile to us. I would close almost all of our foreign military bases, leaving only those which protect our allies from the threat posed by China. These would be bases in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. China is an authoritarian country which has no respect for human rights or dignity. China has historically been expansionist, and only internal problems hold it back from renewed imperialism.
Q. Should the U.S. maintain its standing army?
Warfare happens too quickly today for us to lack a standing army. I favor an army which is smaller and lighter, a rapid response force which can buy time to mobilize. I believe our army should be primarily defensive in disposition, and it should be backed by a voluntary civilian armed militia comprising every American citizen of military age.
Q. Is the Patriot Act necessary to protect America? If not, would you vote to repeal it?
The Patriot Act is anything but patriotic. It undermines our civil liberties and imposes burdens on economic activity. The Patriot Act represents, in the final analysis, a victory for terrorists because it undermines our greatest strength, which is the implacable determination of a free people to remain free.
III) Re. Personal Liberty:
Q. What information may the U.S. government legally gather about its citizens? When would it be necessary to overstep those boundaries?
We cannot delegate to government powers we do not ourselves possess. Therefore, the government should be legally allowed to gather public information which you or I can gather on our own, and only such information. This is not to say undercover police work is impossible, as you or I can also acquire information under false pretenses, within limts.
Q. What limits, if any, should be placed on the U.S. government’s ability to search its citizens without a warrant?
I support the traditional reasons for warrantless searches: to preserve evidence that is likely to be destroyed, when there is reason to believe it is relevant to the commission of a crime, and to protect someone from immediate harm. These reasons only apply in situations where something is happening immediately. Under no circumstances is it justified to plan ahead for a warrantless search later.
Q. Ought the U.S. government be allowed to protect its citizens’ health by outlawing foods it considers unsafe, or to force medicate (i.e., fluoridation) or force vaccinate citizens?
No. If vaccines work, then vaccinated people will be protected. Only those who choose to abstain would be at risk. Fluoridation is a similar concern, in that we are placing chemicals into people’s bodies without their consent. This is something more suited to a dystopian science fiction novel, than to a free country. As for food, as long as we are informed about what we are eating, the choice to eat something or not should be left up to the consumer.
Q. What controls, if any, should be placed on the right to own a gun? Is there an effective way to keep guns out of the hands of madmen and criminals without encroaching on the rights of free, law-abiding citizens?
Persons who have been convicted of violent crimes should be denied the right to own a gun. This should be enforced by arresting them if they are found with a gun, rather than with a permit or license system. Criminals are not going to obey the law anyway, so passing gun control laws only limits the ability of law abiding citizens to defend themselves.
IV) Re. U.S. Sovereignty:
Q. Is our involvement in and subjugation to global organizations, such as WHO (World Health Organization), NATO, the UN, etc., a benefit to U.S. citizens?
No. While NATO is something of an exception, other organizations such as the U.N. are dominated by countries which do not respect the democratic process, or their leadership is elected in non-democratic ways. There is no good reason to subordinate our democratically elected government to organizations which are not “of, by and for the people”. As for NATO, I believe it is a force for stability. The problem with NATO-backed aggression derives from our own nation’s aggression against sovereign states. If we cleaned up our act, NATO would not pose a problem.
Q. Would you work to repeal international agreements that purport to hold U.S. citizens and/or property under its jurisdiction, or do you think there might be times when benefits outweigh concessions?
Our citizens and property are properly our own jurisdiction, not that of any other nation or international organization.
Q. Are trade agreements with other nations, i.e., NAFTA, CAFTA, good for U.S. citizens?
Free trade is a good thing, but these purported free trade agreements are not actually free trade. Otherwise, they would just say “we aren’t going to limit trade” rather than having detailed rules and regulations. You don’t need a treaty to establish free trade. You just need government to get out of the way.
Q. Should the U.S. give foreign aid to other countries? If yes, for what purposes would it be justified? If not all countries, which would you continue to support?
No. If individual citizens want to support another country, that the United States is not at war with, they are free to contribute from their own pockets. Otherwise, foreign aid represents theft from American citizens. Often, it winds up in the pockets of dictators and warlords who commit atrocities in our name. This is unacceptable.
V) Re. State Sovereignty:
Q. When does state law take precedence over federal law?
The supremacy clause of the Constitution says that federal laws trump state laws. Just because the actions of federal legislators can override those of state legislators, does not mean that the decisions of unelected bureaucrats in the executive branch, can override the actions of state legislators.
Congress passes a lot of laws which delegate their powers to the Executive Branch, allowing it to set rules. Even delegating powers to the President — for instance, those of initiating military action — is iffy in my opinion. Yet often rule making authority is delegated to mid-level bureaucrats, who can’t be removed from their jobs easily, and never come up for election. I don’t see why their decisions should override those of an elected state legislature, regarding matters internal to the state.
For this reason, only that which is explicitly set out in federal legislation should be allowed to override state laws. Even then, we must consider the effect of new information. Federal laws regulating marijuana predate the discovery that marijuana has medicinal benefits. There hasn’t been any federal legislative action taken with regard to medical marijuana dispensaries. Executive branch employees are just improvising in the absence of legislative guidance. That is why I do not believe the supremacy clause gives the DEA the ability to override protections in state law for medical marijuana dispensaries.
Q. Would you stand up to the federal government and demand that it stay within the bounds of its enumerated powers and out of state business?
Absolutely. BATFE is another agency which routinely oversteps the bounds of its authority. Strong state governments serve to balance the power of the federal government. Our founders never intended the States to be subordinated to federal power. Meddling in the internal affairs of States and their citizens is not the proper role of the federal government.
Q. Do federal officers have the right to arrest non-military citizens within the individual states for any crimes?
Federal officers should have the right to arrest people for federal crimes. However, the scope of what is considered a federal crime should be drastically reduced.
VI) Illegal Immigration:
Q. What do you see as the #1 problem with illegal immigration?
We have a system of incentives which does not work. We make it too difficult for immigrants with useful skills to come into this country, while we create amnesty zones that make it easy to immigrate illegally. Furthermore, we prosecute individual immigrants, which while sometimes necessary, is a very inefficient strategy. Instead we must penalize employers who provide a financial incentive for illegal immigration. Likewise, we need to end the practice of allowing illegal immigrants to take advantage of social services.
Many libertarians believe in a stateless society, and so they believe it shouldn’t matter what country you are a citizen of, and that everyone should be allowed to travel freely. That would be great if we actually lived in a stateless society, but we don’t. The reality is that Mexico’s government, like that of any other country, is different than our own, and creates social and economic conditions we have little control over. If we do not want to be controlled by the actions of Mexico, we need to enforce boundaries. Regulating immigration is one way of doing so.
Q. What actions could we take to stop illegal immigrants from taking advantage of social services?
We need to require applicants for social services to possess valid identification which indicates they are legally entitled to live in this country. I am sympathetic to the argument that we shouldn’t need “papers” in this country, but when you are asking for free money, you are abdicating personal responsibility, and freedom and responsibility go together. If we reduced the tax and regulatory burden in this country, people would have more freedom to find their own economic solutions, and more take home pay, making social services less of a necessity.
VII) Misc. Questions:
Q. If you could make one amendment to the U.S. Constitution, what would it be?
I would require that all federal legislation be justified by explictly stating from which part of the Constitution Congress derives its power to pass that legislation.
Q. Would you vote to end government subsidies to private industry?
Yes. Corporate welfare is antithetical to the free market, and is the single biggest destructive influence in America today.
Q. What should our government’s action be against Julian Assange, if any?
Nothing. He committed no crimes, he just posted information on a website. Free speech should not be a crime.
Q. Do you know what Agenda 21/Sustainable Development and the Communitarian agenda is? Do you support it? Why or why not?
I am familiar with Agenda 21 and do not support it. Sustainability is a code word for the use of force. In all innocence, as far as I can tell, people who support sustainability say we need to drastically reduce the human population. Yet none of them can provide a means of doing so that does not entail committing hideous atrocities.
The solar system has many resources and lots of land area. We have the technology to colonize the solar system, and economic pressures will ensure it becomes profitable to do so, if government gets out of the way. Rather than restrain our growth, we should acquire more raw materials and real estate. This is entirely feasible if we set our minds to it.
Your Name: Chris Edes
Office you seek: United States Senate
State: New York
PRIMARY DATE: Nomination by Convention on April 21
Phone Number: (five eight five) 202-seventy-seven forty-one