Monday, October 3, 2016

Speech to the Chicago Libertarian Party on October 4th, 2016

Written on October 3rd, 2016

Edited on October 4th, 5th, and 27th, 2016

Some content originally appeared in
“Address to the Illinois Center-Right Coalition (I.C.R.C.) on June 25th, 2016” and
"Speech to the Illinois Center Right Coalition (I.C.R.C.) on August 20th, 2016",

that content written between June 24th and August 23rd, 2016

      Good evening and thank you for having me. My name is Joe Kopsick, and I’m running for the U.S. House of Representatives’ seat from Illinois’s 10th District. I live in Lake Bluff, and attended public schools in Lake Bluff and Lake Forest, including Lake Forest High School, which next Sunday afternoon will host a debate between my opponents, sponsored by the Lake County League of Women Voters. I was not invited to that debate, but I will be there to submit questions.
In 2009, I graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, majoring in Political Science. The following year, I started the Aquarian Agrarian blog, where I have published more than 300 essays on various topics; including political philosophy and radical political theory, labor law, health policy, civil liberties and civil rights, Middle East foreign policy, and election statistics. I hope to publish about a dozen books of collected essays within the coming several years.
I have entered the race for the 10th District U.S. House seat because I feel that neither of my opponents - Republican Bob Dold and Democrat Brad Schneider - is ideologically consistent, and I also believe that two candidates cannot adequately represent the range of political views held by the voting public. Both candidates want to grow the budget and scope of the federal government; supporting increased domestic surveillance, gun control, foreign aid, sanctions, keeping Obamacare in place, and continued federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
      My candidacy has been endorsed by the Illinois Center-Right Coalition - as well as two prominent members; Phil Collins and Bill Leubscher - and I have been vetted by the Illinois LiberTEA organization. I have also been endorsed by seven other figures in local and state politics: former state treasurer Dan Rutherford; current candidates Chad Koppie and David Earl Williams; former candidates Timothy Goodcase, Mike Psak, and Charles Allen January; and Lake County Republican Jack Koenig.
I have not received the nomination of the Illinois Libertarian Party because I have not yet joined it, although I have joined the national party, I attend Lake County L.P. meetings, and I am about to vote for Gary Johnson for the second time. I have identified with the Libertarian Party at least 90% of the time – and strongly agreed with most of what Ron Paul has said - since I discovered them in 2007.
The 10th district is made up of parts of Lake and Cook County; and both county clerk's offices have confirmed that I am the only officially registered write-in candidate in the race against Dold and Schneider.

The major themes of my campaign are limited government; personal freedom; caution about military, monetary, and regulatory interventions; concern for moral hazard effects from insurance and regulation; restoring due process, and the idea that security comes through privacy and private property; and balancing the budget, achieving fiscal solvency, paying down our debt, and boosting the credit rating of our bonds and the purchasing power of the dollar. On trade and immigration, I want to help establish free movement of labor and capital; and I'd like to help pass tax reform that helps the poor and the environment, without disincentivizing the productive behaviors that are being taxed.
If elected, I will vote to eliminate and / or restructure between four and seven unconstitutional executive departments, reducing the size of the federal workforce, and the cost of the federal government, in the process. I would vote to abolish the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Education, Interior, and Housing and Urban Development. I will vote against unwarranted domestic surveillance by the N.S.A.; and I would like to see the agencies that compose the Department of Homeland Security, be run by the Department of Defense, and / or the Department of Justice.
I hope to help decrease federal spending by between $1.25 and $1.75 trillion. I would also support a Cut, Cap, and Balance plan - providing that it goes far enough - as well as a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. In the short term, I would also consider Negative Income Tax proposals, proposals to extend the Earned Income Tax Credit, and efforts to decrease property and income taxes through flat sales tax plans.
In the long term, however, I hope to help abolish taxes on income and sales altogether. I take an integrated approach to taxation and the environment, favoring the replacement of most current revenue sources with fines on pollution and disuse of land, and fees for the privilege to extract natural resources, in addition to user fees and voluntary contributions.
Regarding immigration: although taxpaying citizens do shoulder the burden of taking care of illegal immigrants, in my opinion this is primarily the fault of an expansive and unfunded federal welfare state, not the fault of people who simply crossed a border without committing any real crimes that harmed persons or damaged their property. I believe that welfare for immigrants should be dealt with on a state and local basis, and I would vote to support legislative (rather than executive) deferred action for childhood arrivals and their parents.
I would vote to decrease and eliminate tariffs, because I believe they diminish imports, increase consumer prices, and cause foreign producers to increase their exploitation of workers. Due to their effects on unemployment and price inflation, I oppose minimum wage laws; especially for private-sector jobs, and at the federal level. Instead of raising the minimum wage, I favor providing direct price relief for consumers, by decreasing sales taxes and tariffs, and getting the budget under control in order to improve the purchasing power of the dollar.
I have identified at least ten forms of corporate privilege; without abolishing these forms of privilege - and the government agencies that give them - it is impossible to organize an effective boycott (whether of a good, or service, or of an employer). This is because such businesses still receive various types of funds, supports, and favors from taxpayers. In my opinion, the biggest obstacle in achieving a real free market with consumer information and organization (besides big government) is the notion that state and local departments of commerce and chambers of commerce are anything other than lobbying organizations. I would vote to abolish the Department of Commerce, and I would urge small businesses to divest from their local commerce chambers, and form their own independent, cooperative, and consumer-oriented business alliances.
On unions, I would like to amend or repeal the Wagner Act and the Taft-Hartley Act; in order to legalize wildcat strikes and sympathy strikes, and to cease requiring a union to represent all the workers in a workplace, in order to eliminate the free-rider problem in union representation. These measures will help make multiple unions in a workplace - and members-only collective bargaining agreements - more common. They would also help protect concerted activity between workers, and make it easier to form a union.
      On jobs, I would like to see school boards implement waiver programs, so that auto and wood shop classes can return to high schools; this will help young people acquire important marketable skills in the skilled trades, while avoiding lawsuits against high schools. Also, I will urge states to lower or remove occupational licensing standards, especially in lower-skilled professions and emerging industries. Permits, and licenses, and fees therefor, being required - in order to marry, drive, travel, work, vote, consume alcohol or tobacco, and defend oneself - are all examples of government turning our natural liberties into purchased privileges, from which the government has the exclusive power to derive monetary benefit.
      On health, I would vote to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and oppose taxing hospital workers' income and medical device sales. I think it is impossible to defend the constitutionality of federal involvement in abortion, health, education, retirement, some aspects of the social safety net, and many other issues; without excusing the same type of inappropriate delegation of congressional power - to the executive branch and independent agencies - which brought us the Federal Reserve, the Iraq War, expansion of presidential War Powers, and so many other problems.
I will vote to keep the federal government out of abortion for most reasons; I oppose federal funding for agencies that provide abortions, and I find it hypocritical to want to extend 14th Amendment legal personhood to fetuses while opposing much of the rest of the 14th Amendment. I will urge states to regard partial birth (so-called) "abortion" as infanticide, while keeping legal all abortions that do not follow live birth. The only role I feel that the federal government ought to play in reproductive health - aside from providing insurance for it for its own workers - is to prevent states from prohibiting, and from aggressively taxing, the sale and purchase of contraceptive goods, so that interstate commerce in those goods can remain uninhibited. 
I would vote to support allowing young workers to opt-out of Social Security. I support the personalization - rather than privatization - of retirement accounts. I would vote to support devolving this issue to the states, and I would consider block grants. Unless and until that can be accomplished, I would exhaust all other possible measures before considering either raising the retirement age or means-testing recipients.
On Middle East foreign policy, I will vote to withdraw bases and troops from Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Guantánamo Bay, and other places. With over 800 overseas military bases and troops in about 150 countries, our military budget is too high, and our military is overextended. The only solution is to stop empire building and regime change; and eliminate the need for continued spending on advanced weapons research and development, by ceasing to arm our enemies and their proxies, and by ceasing to get involved in foreign elections and military conflicts, which too often involve taxpayers footing the bill to arm both sides.
We should steer clear of maintaining formal alliances, and Congress should refrain from passing military appropriations bills that pertain to periods of time longer than two years. I do not know how to square this idea with $3.8 billion going to the State of Israel annually for at least the next ten years, much of it military aid. I would vote to exit N.A.T.O.; and eliminate all foreign aid, most of which goes to Israel and / or its neighbors and sometimes enemies.
I would author legislation urging the State of Israel to publicly admit to its possession of nuclear weapons, sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and cease occupying territories annexed after being captured during wartime (in defiance of international law). I am concerned that too many politicians are suggesting that we take a cue from Israel on issues tangential to the military and security, such as reinstating some form of a draft, practicing profiling at the airport, and some policing tactics.
Drafts, and compulsory emergency civil preparedness service, are characteristic of authoritarian regimes. I will oppose efforts to require women to register for the draft; and I will author an amendment to the Second Amendment, to protect the right to use arms in order to defend the natural right of the people - including the unorganized militia - to defend themselves while resisting conscription, as well as the right to claim a conscientious philosophical, moral, and / or religious objection to rendering military service in person.
I want to help restore due process: in part by urging states to pass constitutional amendments requiring judges to fully inform juries and defendants of their rights, including jury nullification; the right to represent oneself in court; and the right to be free from situations where the judge, prosecutor, public defender, and police witness all represent the state, and it is impossible for the defendant to confront his accuser in court, and demand to know what real personal harm or property damage resulted from the supposed illegal action.
Concerning the recent call for “No Fly, No Buy”, I would vote to support transparency into No-Fly lists. My record would reflect a cautious concern regarding due process for suspected terrorists and the mentally ill; ensuring that any takings of gun rights have been adjudicated, not legislated. People are innocent until proven guilty, regardless of how heinous the act of which they've been accused; and all persons – not just U.S. citizens – have rights and deserve fair trials. I believe that the Eighth Amendment prohibits the torturous practice termed "enhanced interrogation", which puts suspects under duress, and can yield unreliable information and confessions.
      My campaign committee is the Committee to Elect Joe Kopsick; the campaign is active on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Please contact me - or my campaign manager, Phil Collins - with any questions. I appreciate very much the opportunity to speak to the Chicago Libertarian Party tonight. I hope you will encourage party members - and other voters in the North Suburbs - to consider writing me in on the ballot for U.S. House from Illinois's 10th District, and to attend my opponents' debate at Lake Forest High School on October 16th. Thank you.

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