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Michael on the Issues

What is a Libertarian?

Libertarianism is often misunderstood, in fact, far too often, but I don’t hold that against you – we have had some poor messengers.

At the core of Libertarian thought is a universal truth – self-ownership. You see, I believe that you and only you own your mind and body and life. I hope you agree because should you not, you would be asserting that someone else has a greater claim to your life than you do.

Your “self” is essentially expressed in three elements:

Your life. This is easy. Literally the right to exist, breathe, and sustain yourself.

Your property. Because you have the right to sustain yourself, you have the right to use your abilities (your labor) to justly acquire sustenance, shelter, tools, and comfort. Property is thus the physical expression of your “life” over time.

Your liberty. Because you have a right to your life and property, you then must have the right to direct both.

You see if I own me, and you own you, then instantly a few ground rules are established. Namely, I don’t have a right to take from you by force, any expression of your “self”, whether it be your life, property, or liberty, and neither you I. I do, however, have a right to defend myself and my “self” and its expressions from aggression. As do you. Thus the only moral use of force and aggression is “self” defense.

We also, because of liberty, can assign our rights (life, liberty, property) to others, assuming they voluntarily accept. For instance, maybe your grandmother cannot defend her life, but she has every right to ask you to move in with her to keep her safe. We can assign any right we have.

We cannot, however, assign a right we don’t have! Because I have no right to take from you, I thus cannot assign it to anyone, regardless of their fancy title or uniform.

From this, we essentially arrive at a form of the golden rule and instant limits – That people are free to live their lives as they see fit, so long as they are not infringing on anyone else’s ability to do so. (The latter being the definition of harm).

What does this mean in practice? Does this mean no roads? No social safety nets? No fire prevention? No libraries? No of course not! We all want the good things in society!

It just means those things ought to be funded voluntarily, as you, nor I ,have the right to take from others – even if we think what we spend it on is “good” for them.

What does voluntary funding mean? Well, lotteries are a form of voluntary funding, so are raffles, and good old-fashioned fundraising… and some Libertarians (myself included) argue that sales taxes and excise taxes can also be viewed as voluntary, so long as they are only on goods produced with others’ labor and only once – i.e., new items only.

While there are various views on THAT, the core belief is the same.

We have to remember that self-ownership as a concept, while an absolute truth, is actually very new to be expressed in the world. For most of human history, some form of authoritarianism has stood over all of us. It wasn’t until just a couple of hundred years or so, that the idea became a core tenet of an organized society… i.e., government. And even then, not a perfect expression of the idea.

I understand compassion, that we see poverty, or disease, or famine, and we wish to help. But any idea loses its compassionate nature when to enact it requires men with guns, who will take your property, throw you in a cage, or both should you not fund it. It certainly loses its compassionate nature when if you, resisted with equal force, those men with guns would be allowed to murder you, and suffer no consequences.

I know that concept can be hard to initially wrestle with, as it causes a great amount of cognitive dissonance for those new to wake to it. Worry not, the dissonance fades if you simply are willing to have open honest conversation with yourself and others.

Now, you might be wondering, ‘Does electing a libertarian politician mean that everything will suddenly change, potentially ruining what we’ve built?’ Absolutely not. Let’s be realistic; no single legislator can bring about such drastic changes. Our legislative process relies on a collective exchange of ideas and voices. However, currently, that collective voice lacks a strong advocate for you as an individual.

Libertarianism, in my view, isn’t about tearing down institutions or causing societal upheaval overnight. It’s about adhering to a guiding principle that places individual freedoms at the forefront, while restraining excessive government intervention.

What this means is that you’ll have someone in your corner, advocating for you as a unique individual-not just another statistic or political pawn. Every person deserves to be represented in the halls of power, and with me, you’ll have exactly that.

Changing the Legislative Conversation:

Arkansas lawmaking has reached a critical juncture, marred by hyper-partisanship and incessant contention. As a part-time legislature, the halls of Little Rock should resonate with the diligent pursuit of the people’s work, not constant infighting. How many times must new legislation find itself embroiled in federal court battles before we realize that this is no way to govern a state? It’s a disservice to every Arkansan, regardless of party affiliation. This is a monumental issue that demands our attention.

District 75 stands at the precipice of a transformative moment in Arkansas politics. Here, we have a real chance to shift the paradigm by introducing a third voice, one unencumbered by the shackles of party bias. As a Libertarian, I offer a unique perspective, one that prioritizes individual freedoms, fiscal responsibility, and pragmatic problem-solving over ideological battles.

In a system where “1 rules. 2 divides. 3 brings balance,” introducing a third voice is not just a novel idea; it’s a necessity. It’s about breaking the deadlock, transcending the tired dichotomy of left versus right, and charting a new course forward. It’s about bringing balance to a legislature that desperately needs it.

As your representative, I pledge to operate independently, free from the influence of party politics. My commitment is to the people of District 75, not to any political party or special interest group. I will work tirelessly to bridge the divide, find common ground, and enact policies that benefit all Arkansans.

It’s time for a new era of governance in Arkansas. Let’s move beyond partisan bickering and gridlock. Let’s embrace a politics of collaboration, consensus-building, and progress. Together, we can usher in a brighter future for our state—one where the voices of all Arkansans are heard and respected.

Taxation Policy: A Path to Economic Freedom

I believe that individuals should own their labor, and the fruits of it. If one does not own their labor, they are a slave. If one does not own their property, they are merely a renter.

Thus each Arkansan should be able to enjoy their justly acquired property, earned by their toils (not the government’s), without undue interference!

This does not mean we cannot fund the good things that we want – roads, bridges, libraries, fire prevention, social safety nets, etc. – it merely means I am committed to finding ways to fund those for Arkansans that don’t involve the forced taxation of labor or property!

How do we do that?

  1. Phasing Out State Income Tax: I discern the weighty burden that state income taxes impose on both individuals and businesses alike. I pledge to collaborate with the governor and state legislature to gradually phase out the state income tax, taking inspiration from the success stories of other states that have thrived without this levy.
  2. Ending “In Perpetuity” Property Taxes: I am deeply concerned about the impact of property taxes on homeowners, particularly on personal automobiles and residences. I believe that property taxes undermine ownership rights and perpetuate a system of government control over individuals’ property. Furthermore we must acknowledge the moral hazards and financial burdens associated with property taxes in Arkansas, particularly concerning vehicle tags and assessments. The direct tie between vehicle tags and property tax assessments creates a significant financial strain for individuals, especially those facing financial hardship. This inability to afford annual property tax assessments leads to the inability to renew vehicle tags, resulting in traffic stops and citations from law enforcement officers. These law enforcement encounters not only cause additional stress and financial strain for individuals but also divert valuable resources away from public safety priorities. Furthermore, the strain on the justice system intensifies as individuals facing financial difficulties struggle to pay property tax assessments and subsequent traffic citations, leading to overcrowded courts and increased administrative burdens for local authorities.
  3. Revenue Neutral Solutions: I recognize the intricacies of this matter, particularly the diverse landscape of county taxation and state funding mechanisms across Arkansas. Nevertheless, I am dedicated to initiating discussions with financial and economic experts within the state. Through collaboration with stakeholders, my aim is to craft revenue-neutral solutions that sustain vital government services while easing the burden of property taxes on individuals and families.

At the end of the day, it’s about fairness and freedom. I’m committed to fighting for a tax system that gives folks a fair shake and allows Arkansans to truly own their labor and their property. It won’t be easy, but with a little teamwork and a lot of determination, I believe we can make it happen for the good people of Arkansas.

Education – How Do We Grow An Independent Generation?

Arkansas has a problem: federal dependence. Our state receives more in federal aid than it pays in federal taxes, perpetuating a cycle of reliance. But it’s not just about finances; it’s about the entrapment within social welfare programs. Lawmakers seem content with their constituents stuck in this cycle, without offering a clear path to independence for generations. This is simply unacceptable. It’s time for a fundamental shift. We must empower today’s youth with real job skills, breaking the chains of dependency. To be clear, I have no interest in removing people from social welfare programs today; rather, I’m focused on creating a tomorrow where no Arkansan needs them!

Addressing Federal Dependency:

We must acknowledge Arkansas’s reliance on federal aid and recognize the need for generational changes to transition away from this dependency. We also need to understand the urgency of this issue given the growing national debt and the risk of fiscal insolvency. It’s imperative that Arkansas take proactive steps now to break free from federal dependence and secure our state’s fiscal future.

School Choice Is NOTHING without Curriculum Choice:

We must emphasize the importance of addressing funding concerns with LEARNS and ensuring that this program truly offers meaningful options for ALL Arkansans – rather than merely subsidizing tuition for wealthy private school families. After all, that’s how the program was sold to Arkansans.

I believe that true school choice must include options for ALL students, regardless of socioeconomic status, but that CURRICULUM CHOICE is essential for tailoring education to individual needs and aspirations!

Promoting Career and Technical Education (CTE):

Integrating career and technical education (CTE) programs into high school curricula is vital but ideally, for some students, it should be a viable high school replacement option assuming their parents choose for their child to pursue it. You see, providing students with practical job skills and opportunities for high-paying careers is how we create generational reduction on the reliance of federal aid and thus fosters economic self-sufficiency.

Exploring innovative funding mechanisms for CTE programs, such as commercial leases to trade schools for high school equivalency (who are then compensated via commissions for technical job placements), can increase educational funding for the entire state without burdening taxpayers, while also providing students with valuable career opportunities upon graduation. Also, should Arkansas become this nursery for skilled labor, industry and enterprise will be naturally attracted here, increasing job and economic opportunities for all Arkansans… further empowering Arkansas independence.

Reducing Government Intervention in Education:

As a Libertarian, I ideally prefer minimal government intervention in education. However, transitioning towards independence requires a shift in mindset over time. We must cultivate an independent and self-reliant generation of Arkansans who understand the value of education and are prepared to pursue their goals without undue reliance on government assistance.

It’s Not So Simple

Let’s be honest, by focusing on curriculum flexibility, and career-focused education, we’re essentially diving into a tangled web of education policies, federal regulations, funding mechanisms, and a whole host of legal intricacies. It’s a bit like untangling a knot of wires behind your TV – messy, but with patience and the right tools, it can be sorted out.

I understand that this is a complex puzzle, but I’m optimistic. I know we’ve got some sharp minds in Arkansas, folks who thrive on challenges like this. Just like tackling taxation issues, where creative solutions can emerge, I believe that by tapping into the collective brainpower of our state, we can untangle this mess and set a course for a brighter, more independent future for every Arkansan.

Healthcare Policy: A Call for Innovation and Affordability

Healthcare is one of the most pressing issues facing Arkansans today. It impacts every aspect of our lives, from our physical well-being to our financial stability. As a Libertarian candidate, I believe it’s time for a fresh approach to healthcare policy – one that prioritizes innovation and affordability while ensuring access to quality care for all.

First and foremost, we must address the role of federal involvement in healthcare. Over the past several decades, federal intervention has led to skyrocketing costs, with healthcare expenses outpacing inflation by nearly six to one since the 1960s. This trend is unsustainable and demands urgent action from the state level. Arkansas must take control of its healthcare destiny and explore innovative solutions to reduce costs and improve access to care.

Consider this pizza analogy: Imagine a group of individuals coming together to buy a pizza. In one scenario, they collectively pool their money to purchase the pizza, and each person gets a slice. In another scenario, each person buys their slice separately. Now, regardless of whether they pooled their money or bought individually, if the cost of a slice decreases from $2 to $1, everyone benefits. The collective cost of the pizza decreases, making it more affordable for everyone, regardless of their preferred funding mechanism.

Similarly, in healthcare, whether one supports a socialized approach or a free-market approach, the fundamental goal should be to lower costs for all individuals. By focusing on strategies to reduce the overall cost of healthcare services, such as increasing competition, streamlining administrative processes, and incentivizing innovation, we can create a system that benefits all Arkansans. Lower costs mean more accessible and affordable care for everyone, regardless of their stance on healthcare financing. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that individuals have access to high-quality healthcare services without facing financial hardship, regardless of the funding mechanism in place.

To achieve these goals, I propose a multi-faceted approach to healthcare policy:

Encourage Innovation: Foster an environment that encourages innovation in healthcare delivery and technology. By supporting initiatives that streamline processes and reduce administrative burdens, we can drive down costs and improve efficiency in the healthcare system.

Promote Competition: Promote competition among healthcare providers to lower costs and improve quality. Empower consumers with choice and transparency, allowing them to make informed decisions about their healthcare options.

Address Maternal Mortality: Implement targeted interventions to address maternal mortality rates, particularly among minority and low-income populations. Invest in prenatal care, maternal health education, and community-based support programs to improve outcomes for mothers and infants.

Support Healthcare Entrepreneurs: Provide support and resources for healthcare entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions to healthcare challenges. Encourage the growth of healthcare startups and small businesses that can fill service gaps and improve access to care. Remove any and all State imposed obstacles to delivery of service. Get out of the way and let healthcare professionals be healthcare professionals!

By focusing on reducing costs, expanding access to care, and supporting entrepreneurship in the healthcare sector, we can create a healthcare system that works for all Arkansans. I’m committed to advocating for policies that prioritize individual freedom, innovation, and affordability in healthcare. Together, we can build a healthier and more prosperous future for our state.

Public Safety: Protecting Liberty, Preventing Tragedy

In the ongoing discourse surrounding firearm policy, it’s crucial to bridge the gap between those advocating for stricter gun control measures and proponents of Second Amendment rights. As a Libertarian, I believe in safeguarding individual liberties while also addressing concerns about public safety and preventing firearm-related tragedies. Here, I present an approach to firearms policy that appeals to both sides of the debate, emphasizing the importance of historical context, personal empowerment, and proactive measures to prevent violence.

Learning from History:

History offers valuable lessons on the consequences of unchecked government power and the importance of individual rights, including the right to bear arms. Throughout the 20th century, oppressive regimes around the world disarmed their citizens as a precursor to tyranny and genocide. From Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union, gun control laws were used to disarm populations and suppress dissent, leading to unspeakable atrocities. By acknowledging these historical truths, we can appreciate the vital role of the Second Amendment in safeguarding liberty and preventing tyranny.

Empowering Citizens, Preventing Tragedies:

Contrary to popular belief, advocating for Second Amendment rights does not equate to promoting gun violence or chaos. Rather, it’s about empowering law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and their communities against threats to life and liberty. I’m not pro-gun; I’m pro-citizen. I believe in equipping responsible individuals with the means to protect themselves and others from harm. Firearms in the hands of responsible citizens serve as a deterrent to crime and tyranny, ensuring that the power remains with the people, not the government.

Addressing Root Causes of Violence:

Violent crime is an economic problem masquerading as a criminal justice problem. While preventing all violent tragedies, not just firearm related tragedies, is a shared goal, we must address the root causes of violence rather than resorting to knee-jerk reactions and ineffective gun control measures. Mental health issues, socioeconomic disparities, and cultural factors all contribute to violence in our communities.  By addressing root causes, we can create safer communities without infringing on individual rights.

Building Bridges, Finding Common Ground:

In the polarized landscape of firearm policy, it’s essential to build bridges and find common ground between opposing viewpoints. Rather than demonizing gun owners or dismissing concerns about public safety, we should engage in constructive dialogue and seek evidence-based solutions that respect individual liberties while promoting public safety. By fostering understanding and empathy, we can bridge the divide and work together to prevent firearm-related tragedies while upholding the principles of liberty and self-determination.

Rejecting Disarmament, Upholding Liberty:

The Second Amendment doesn’t grant the right to bear arms; it restricts the government from infringing upon that right. I will vigorously defend this fundamental principle against any attempts at erosion or infringement. Disarming citizens undermines their ability to protect themselves and their communities, perpetuating a cycle of vulnerability and dependence.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, my approach to firearm policy is rooted in a deep commitment to protecting individual liberties, preventing tragedy, and learning from history. By empowering responsible citizens, addressing root causes of violence, and fostering dialogue and understanding, we can create a safer, more resilient society that upholds the values of liberty, justice, and equality for all. As we navigate the complex issues surrounding firearm policy, let us remember the importance of preserving individual rights and preventing the mistakes of the past from repeating themselves.

Criminal Justice Reform For A Safer Arkansas

Our criminal justice system in Arkansas faces significant challenges that hinder its ability to effectively serve the public. These challenges include:

1)Many actions categorized as crimes do not involve harm, force, violence, or fraud/theft against others. By decriminalizing “victimless crimes” like simple possession, we can redirect limited law enforcement and court resources toward preventing and addressing violent and property crimes.

2)Our penal system currently sets up former inmates for failure. When someone is released from prison, the goal is for them to find a steady job, stable living situation, and avoid criminal activity. A penal system that exists to simply incarcerate and punish and does not actually attempt to be, or actually be, answerable to recidivism rates is doomed to failure.

3)Our county jails are disproportionately filled with poor people, many of whom are being held for non violent offenses. This results in overcrowded jails and unjust outcomes, as wealthier individuals can secure their release while others remain incarcerated. Our local jails should be utilized for holding the most violent and dangerous criminals while awaiting prosecution.

Strong Words on Bail Reform Misconceptions

Let’s be unequivocal: bail reform is not about releasing all inmates indiscriminately. It’s about ensuring that our jails prioritize holding violent offenders while finding appropriate solutions for non-violent offenders. This reform is as much about preventing rogue judges from releasing dangerous individuals as it is about addressing the needs of those charged with non-violent crimes. By leveraging technologies like GPS tracking for non violent offenders, we can create a more efficient and equitable system that prioritizes public safety while promoting fairness and accountability in our criminal justice system. Before we argue over more or less prison beds, why don’t we make sure the ones we have are being put toward the best use possible?

“My record is keeping me from getting a good job.”

Non-violent offenses should not hinder individuals’ ability to secure employment and contribute positively to society. When individuals with non-violent offenses on their records struggle to find employment, they often become reliant on social welfare programs, increasing the burden on taxpayers. Moreover, the lack of employment opportunities can lead to cycles of poverty and recidivism, perpetuating the cycle of incarceration and further straining resources within the criminal justice system. All of this just becomes MORE cost to Arkansans, not less. Therefore, supporting efforts to expunge or seal the criminal records of individuals convicted of nonviolent offenses is not only morally just but also economically prudent, as it promotes their successful reintegration into society, reduces reliance on social welfare programs, and ultimately lowers the overall cost to taxpayers.

Civil Liberties and Civil Rights: Upholding Individual Freedom

I firmly believe that every Arkansan, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity, deserves equal treatment under the law and government. Furthermore, I reject the notion of group identities or collective rights, instead I  advocate only for the protection of individual rights as enshrined in the Constitution.

True freedom means the absence of coercion or constraint, allowing individuals to live their lives according to their own values, beliefs, and aspirations. This means that there are no special rights for specific groups – whether it’s women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, or minority rights. Instead, there are only individual rights that apply universally to all.

By championing individual rights, Arkansas can seek to dismantle the barriers of discrimination and oppression that have historically plagued our society. Furthermore, we must reject the idea of treating individuals as mere members of a collective, instead affirming their inherent dignity and worth as unique human beings. Every Arkansan deserves the freedom to pursue happiness, fulfill their potential, and live their lives free from undue interference or discrimination.

In advocating for civil liberties and civil rights, we must also confront the role of government in safeguarding – or infringing upon – individual freedom. While government has a vital role in protecting individual rights and ensuring equal treatment under the law, it must also refrain from overreach and intrusion into the private lives of citizens. Excessive government intervention can undermine the very freedoms it seeks to protect, stifling innovation, creativity, and individual initiative.

As Ayn Rand famously said, “The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.” This profound insight reminds us that true progress and justice can only be achieved when we prioritize the rights and freedoms of each individual. By upholding the principles of individual liberty, equality before the law, and limited government, we can create a society where every Arkansan can thrive and flourish, regardless of their background or identity.

Government Transparency: Strengthening FOIA Laws

As a proponent of government transparency, I am committed to strengthening the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and embracing any method that increases transparency in government operations. FOIA laws play a crucial role in ensuring accountability and openness by granting citizens access to government records and information. By strengthening FOIA laws, we can enhance transparency, foster public trust, and hold government officials accountable for their actions. I am dedicated to advocating for reforms that make government more transparent and responsive to the needs of the people.

Veterans Policy: Arkansas Leading the Way in Veteran Support

Supporting Veterans is not just a duty; it’s a mandate for government. Here’s how we will take action to fulfill this crucial role:

Comprehensive Mental Healthcare: Arkansas will establish accessible mental healthcare services for Veterans and their families across the state, leveraging telehealth solutions and partnerships with private providers to ensure timely and effective care.

Job Skills Retraining: We will invest in robust job skills retraining programs specifically tailored to Veterans, providing them with the tools and resources necessary to excel in Arkansas’s diverse economy.

Accountability in Healthcare: We will hold the VA system accountable for delivering top-tier healthcare services to Veterans, eliminating bureaucratic hurdles and ensuring timely access to care.

Addressing Societal Challenges: Arkansas will tackle broader societal challenges facing Veterans, including homelessness and substance abuse, through collaborative efforts with community organizations and innovative solutions.

Veteran Support Networks: We will establish strong support networks for Veterans, connecting them with resources and assistance to navigate challenges and access the benefits they deserve.

Benefits and Privileges: Veterans should never face financial barriers to participating in activities such as hunting, fishing, obtaining a driver’s license, or renewing vehicle registrations. Arkansas will waive fees for hunting licenses, fishing licenses, driver’s licenses, registration renewals and others for ALL Veterans, honoring their service to our country.

Arkansas will be the beacon of hope for Veterans nationwide, setting the gold standard for Veteran support and empowerment. As your representative, I will fight tirelessly to make this vision a reality, ensuring that our Veterans receive the honor, respect, and care they have earned through their service to our country.

A Two-Way Race – No “Throwing Your Vote Away”

In this critical election cycle, District 75 faces a clear choice: stick with the same old political establishment or embrace a new path forward.

Let’s be crystal clear: this is a two-way race. It’s just me versus one Democrat. You have nothing to lose by voting for me. Gone are the days of you feeling compelled to choose between two parties that often prioritize their own agendas over the needs of you.

By voting for me, you’re sending a powerful message that you demand change, accountability, and representation that truly reflects the will of the people. I am not beholden to special interests or party politics – I am here to serve you, the citizens of Arkansas.

Together, we can break free from the stranglehold of the two-party system and usher in a new era of governance that prioritizes individual liberty, fiscal responsibility, and common-sense solutions. So don’t let fear or uncertainty dictate your vote. Take a stand for what you believe in and vote for real change. Vote Bold. Vote Gold. Vote Libertarian. Elect Michael White!

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