The three things I’m about to say will probably make a few people unhappy, but I ask all to listen.
Black Lives Matter is in essence a libertarian group. They have the majority of their focus on reforming the criminal justice system in order to give less powers to the government, while stopping visible corruption.
Black Lives Matter is probably the most successful semi-libertarian movement in modern history. They’ve raised far more money than any libertarian cause, had far more press and clear evidence exists they’ve had far more reforms in their favor over any libertarian movement in the last four decades.
Black Lives Matter is more or less right. A visible bias exists where the poor in all communities are being treated worse than wealthier people. The War on Drugs is destroying the black community and currently creating a system where a big percentage of black people are either in prison or marked as former prisoners. The justice system is catered to wealthier people on a legal front in which wealthy kids who get a good lawyer can get community service for heroin possession, but poorer people are getting years in prison. Also, some visible violence from the police exists where they aren’t up to a high enough standard to meet the needs of Americans.
These are three points which I believe are 100% true. While I think Black Lives Matter has potential, they suffer the issue that they aren’t libertarians. Instead of going to a political ideology which has been against the War on Drugs for generations, against the police state and for visible reforms in the justice system, they are crawling to people and getting fake sympathy from figures such as Hillary Clinton and others whose history in politics have created the system they are fighting against. They also suffer the issue of not being a clear movement on the front of having ideas, but having problems. Libertarianism is a movement always about ideas and can give Black Lives Matter what they lack. A wide set of ideas which can be packaged and set for economic and criminal policy reforms to help the black community. This is the marriage made in heaven.
People in the BLM movement would probably read this wanting to vomit, but some libertarians would as well.
Enter Rand Paul. Paul above any politician in elected office today, has made the most positive efforts to help the African American community and also America in general with changes to the criminal justice system. He was the only senator to go out to Ferguson during the riots. He’s met with Al Sharpton and other BLM leaders, he’s gone to Harlem, Detroit and Chicago and he’s been the leader of proposing reforms which can help Black Lives Matter. He has had a lot of success in the Senate trying to pass efforts which would eliminate federal minimum sentencing. He started as the lone man in that effort and eventually had Barack Obama endorse his bill on that effort. He became the driving force to legalize marijuana on the federal level which could massively speed up the process of national legalization. He was a leading force in pushing for police officers to wear body cameras. He’s proposed economic growth zones where poor areas would lose harmful regulations and have taxes go down. He fought to end solitary confinement and ban it nationally. He was the man in the Republican debates saying he thinks it’s true that blacks are targeted and arrested at levels unfair to them over other groups. Rand Paul is America’s first, and I’d argue only, Black Lives Matter senator.
It’s clear the marriage on criminal justice issues with libertarians and BLM is good, but I’d say the marriage that could happen between these two groups on economics is made in heaven. And that holds true for the following reasons:
Basic Income To Replace Welfare
There’s just a fact in America, that welfare is a trap and the absolute worst way to combat poverty in its current form.
Want a savings account? Can’t have it!
Want to move from the poorest part of the Bronx to move to a state or city with more economic growth? Can’t have it!
Want to get a part time job? Can’t have it!
Want to really do anything besides sit home, vote Democrat and collect welfare? Ha!
Milton Friedman, who is an icon to libertarians and one of the most influential economists in American history proposed a better option over the welfare state. A basic income for everyone to compensate for welfare and a flat tax model which makes it so they’ll be a middle ground point on income in which they can benefit. Hypothetically, it could be the government giving everyone $10,000 and there’s a 20% tax on the first $50,000 of income. This means someone gets the $10,000 from the basic income and afterwards has a part time job where they can make, let’s say, $15,000 that year. This puts them at $25,000 a year in income and they’d pay $5,000 in taxes, now being put at $20,000 in income yearly. With that, once they make $50,000, they no longer have benefits from basic income due to the 20% tax compensating for the $10,000 given, but they have a clear income of $40,000. This model is simple, has none of the paperwork and strings attached with the current system, and many economists believe it could actually save more money over the current model with welfare if structured properly. It’d allow for the poor to be mobile, get financial services setup and not have the welfare office on their backs for every little thing they do.
At the end of the day it’s a libertarian idea. It was proposed by the most influential libertarian in history who helped model American and global economic reform for five decades while winning a Nobel prize for his work studying inflation.
The Minimum Wage
Here’s just a fact: The libertarians are calling to eliminate the minimum wage in order to help the black community. Before the minimum wage was installed federally, unemployment for African Americans was lower over white Americans. People in that community who had less education and skill were getting skilled by undercutting and becoming a valued part of the American economy. The minimum wage gets introduced and in five years, black unemployment is 50% higher over white unemployment.
Also, data time and time again has shown a clear impact of black unemployment going up with minimum wage hikes. Even this new and unneeded fight for $15 has shown countless statistics presenting a case if enacted nationally, black unemployment could go to the highest point in modern history while only a few percent of African Americans would actually benefit.
Figures such as Milton Friedman, Antony Davies, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell and other members of the liberty movement have spent years showing clear data on why the minimum wage is an economic poison to the African American community. Even if the BLM movement disagrees at first, I hope they can see six decades of history with libertarian leaders citing harms in black communities from minimum wages as a method to at least say our economic plans are well-intentioned.
Just a hypothetical pitch for a moment.
If a Republican senator or governor said that people on food stamps no longer have the power to pick out what food they want, but will instead just be given food in a box, what would the reaction be?
If a Republican senator or governor said welfare is going away and instead of giving people money, we are going to choose for them the goods they need in send them, what is the reaction?
If a Republican senator or governor took away financial aid and instead forced people to a certain college based on address, what’s the reaction?
Probably to all three, there’d be riots.
Yet the Black Lives Matter movement and the black community has not realized that teachers’ unions buying the Democrats have ruined their children’s futures.
Read these two pitches and think what sounds more beneficial to the BLM movement.
- One is a model where we give every family $7,500 per child so they can pick out their education, send them to the school of their choice and 50% of any money they save will go towards a college savings account for the kid in k-12. As long as the public school is proven to actually teach a list of courses and not teach religion, the child can go where they’d like with the family choosing with them.
- The next model is one where, based on the area a person grows up in, they are confined to that school even if a better school is in an area nearby which a parent is willing to transport their child to on their own time.
Which one sounds like it was made for poor people and which one sounds more in the form of segregation?
The current public school system is segregation of the poor. It makes it so education has no competition in it and confines people in poorer areas to be stuck in bad schools the government sets up which fail on them. It’s a nightmare.
I’m just going to recommend those reading to do their homework. See how governments all over make it hard to have economic growth and how many of these rules in place are hurting the poor and minorities the most. Blue collar professions such as owning a restaurant, cutting hair, plumbing, driving a cab or more, get taken over with hard hitting and heavy regulations designed to block people out. Having a restaurant that sells mixed drinks is a regulatory and financial hell despite alcohol making up a quarter of restaurants’ actual revenue on average. Having professions such as hair braiding attacked by regulators demanding unneeded and expensive permits for it. KKK founded laws such as Davis Bacon still hold strong on the books.
Look at the regulatory policy of America and see the need for capitalism.
Closing up on BLM and libertarians with economics, grounds can still be disagreed on. Libertarians want very little government spending and a lot of departments abolished. Adopting this doesn’t have to be something BLM focuses on. That debate can still exist. Yet school choice, blue collar deregulation and clear cut mobilized welfare reform are things the BLM movement need to begin chanting for in order to survive and grow as the hashtag does lose meaning over time. It’s a real agenda being proposed and something I’d beg any Black Lives Matter fan or member to at least consider.
Diving into my closing thoughts, this really begs the question of how libertarians and BLM begin to work together.
I’ll try and just start the relationship by saying this.
I’m Charles Peralo. I’m a white libertarian and I support the Black Lives Matter movement. I do not believe the justice system is fair to black or poor people in the same way it’s been to middle class or wealthy people. I also do not believe the government in the economy is good for black people. Welfare has kept them in a state where they are confined to poor areas and it has made the idea of going out and getting a job a red tape obstacle. Public schools have quite frankly left the poor and minorities jipped due to lack of options and choice. Regulations such as the minimum wage, occupational licensing and Davis Bacon are poison to poor and minorities and have some KKK influence in history. Yet with that, people such as Rand Paul, Gary Johnson, Tim Scott and others in the liberty movement exist and have set up alliances with those such as Al Sharpton, Cory Booker and more being made. I welcome the BLM group as a well intended organization and welcome peaceful protest as a method to grow support. I support Black Lives Matter and believe partnering with libertarians can make it better.
Making statements such as that is the first step. Trying to force in new hashtags such as #alllivesmatter or whatever to pollute the message or try and make it something else isn’t. Black Lives Matter and libertarians need to have this partnership happen. Black Lives Matter needs solid economic policy reforms which are better thought out to cross demographics. Libertarians need to get out of these white heavy dinner parties in DC and recognize the demographics which government has hurt the most.
For that… Black Lives Matter and the only lives that ever matter are free lives.
This article was edited for grammar, style, and spelling, but not for content. The views expressed are that of the author, Charles Peralo, exclusively, and do not reflect that of BeingLibertarian.com or Being Libertarian LLC
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