Jacob Hornberger: Justin Amash, LP Interloper, Parts 1 & 2

2020 Libertarian presidential candidate Jacob Hornberger, whom the readers of IPR previously interviewed, has started a series on his campaign blog about Independent Congressman Justin Amash.  Amash is reportedly considering a bid for the Libertarian presidential nomination.  Parts 1 and 2 of Hornberger’s series, published yesterday and today, are posted below: 

Part 1 – The CIA

After almost two years of trying to decide whether to run for reelection to Congress or to seek the 2020 Libertarian Party presidential nomination, this week Congressman Justin Amash finally announced that he suspended his congressional campaign in February and signaled his intent to formally seek the LP presidential nomination within a few days.

Amash served as a Republican congressman for eight years — from 2011 until July 2019, when he resigned from the Republican Party and declared that he was now an Independent. At the time he left the GOP, he said that the reason he was leaving was because he had grown weary of America’s “two-party system.”

Amash is the arch-typical example of what the mainstream media calls a “libertarian-leaning conservative” or “libertarian-leaning Republican” and what I call a “Republican-lite.” Republican-lites are hybrids. Their political DNA consists of both conservatism, which is usually dominant, and libertarianism, which is usually inferior.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Republicans, libertarian-leaning conservatives, and Republican-lites is their use of freedom mantras. Their most popular one is “free enterprise, private property, and limited government.” You will find it in their speeches, articles, websites, and stationery. Mark my words: When Amash finally enters the LP presidential race, you will hear that mantra from him, along with “liberty” and “free-markets.” As with Republicans and other Republican-lites, you will also hear Amash decry “big government” and “socialism,” just as President Trump does.

But where the rubber meets the road is with respect to the federal programs, laws, departments, agencies, and actions that Republican-lites support that violate not only their freedom mantras but also the principles of libertarianism.

Case in point: the CIA, which is without any doubt the most evil federal agency in U.S. history. 

Brought into existence in 1947, the CIA wields the omnipotent power to assassinate people, including Americans, and has exercised that power practically since its inception. It continues to exercise this evil power on a regular basis today.

It also wields the omnipotent power to incarcerate people indefinitely without due process of law and trial by jury. 

It wields the omnipotent power to kidnap and brutally torture people and then destroy the evidence of its evil actions.

The CIA wields the power to go into foreign countries and effect regime-change operations through coups, assassination, bribery, and kidnapping.

One of the CIA’s most notorious acts in the history of our country was to engage in drug experiments on unsuspecting Americans. The program was called MKULTRA. Americans have never learned the full extent of this evil program because the CIA intentionally destroyed all of its MKULTRA files before Congress and the American people could lay their hands on them.

After World War II, the CIA knowingly and secretly brought former officials of Nazi Germany into the ranks of the CIA, using U.S. taxpayer money to fund their salaries.

There is no way to reconcile the CIA with the genuine concepts of liberty and limited government. A free society and a limited-government republic necessarily depend on the eradication of this evil agency from American society.

But that’s not the way Republicans and Republican-lites, including Amash, see it. They glorify the CIA, claiming that it’s a great defender of their concepts of “liberty” and “limited government.” 

Take a look at this page of Amash’s congressional website. Scroll down to the following two entries: “CIA Kids Page (Kindergarten-5th Grade)” and “CIA Kids Page (6th Grade-12th Grade).

Yes, that’s right: despite all is mantras extolling “liberty” and “limited government,” Congressman Justin Amash is sending kids — kids! — to the website of the CIA, the most evil agency in U.S. history. 

And what do those kids see when they arrive at the CIA’s website. They see classic propaganda issued by this evil agency: “The people of the CIA do very important work. They help keep our country safe…. If you read carefully, you can become a CIA expert. We also have some fun stories and games for you.”

Amash’s sending of kids to the website of this evil organization is both pathetic and shameful. But it is entirely consistent with conservatism, Republicans, and libertarian-leaning Republicans.

If LP members want their presidential candidate extolling the virtues of the CIA and sending kids to the CIA’s website, then I’m not your guy. 

But if you want an LP candidate who is going to tell the truth to the American people about the CIA and explain why this evil agency is incompatible with the genuine principles of freedom and limited government and why it needs to be abolished, not reformed, then I qualify to be your presidential candidate in the general election. 

See: Abolish the CIA: An Interview with Jacob Hornberger on the Tom Woods Show.

See: “Why Not Simply Abolish the CIA?” by Jacob G. Hornberger, published by The Future of Freedom Foundation (which does not endorse my candidacy)

See: “Don’t Reform the CIA. Abolish It” by Jacob G. Hornberger, posted on the website of Counterpunch.org.

Part 2 – The Stimulus

As I pointed out in Part 1 of this series, both conservatives and libertarian-leaning conservatives are known for their pro-freedom mantras, the most popular of which is “free enterprise, private property, and limited government.” 

Another favorite mantra is: “The national debt constitutes a grave threat to our national security.”

Sure enough, on Congressman Amash’s congressional website, he states, “Justin believes government overspending is one of the biggest threats to our economic health and national security.”

Yes, the mantras are great. The problem, however, is that neither Republicans nor Republican-lites can ever be counted on to adhere to them. Inevitably, they end up caving. No one would ever think of calling the Republican Party “the party of principle.”

Donald Trump campaigned for president declaiming against the skyrocketing federal spending and debt brought about by President Obama and those big-spending Democrats. 

Yet, even before the coronavirus crisis, big spender President Trump was adding $1 trillion of new federal debt each year of his term in office. Would big spender Democrat Hillary Clinton have done worse than that?

Then the coronavirus crisis hit and, not surprisingly, both Republicans and libertarian-leaning Republicans, working with their Democrat big-spending counterparts, have caved in masse. Working together in bipartisanship, they are now jointly the biggest spenders in U.S. history. 

$2 trillion in bailout and welfare money! Where did they get all that money? Were they hiding under their bed? And that’s not all! The federal spending during this crisis is expected to reach $6 trillion before it is all over!

Libertarian-leaning conservative Justin Amash was right there with them. Rather than take a firm stand against the entirely stimulus package, Congressman Amash decided to settle for voting “Present” when the stimulus bill came up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.

It turns out that while Congressman Amash was against the corporate bailout portions of the stimulus bill, he was all in favor of sending $1,200 federal checks to American adults and $500 to American children — and not just on a one-time basis but instead for three months and, no doubt, possibly even longer if circumstances required it. 

Amash’s big spending plan wasn’t as good as what big spending Democrats Andrew Yang and Alejandra Ocasio Cortez would have favored, but it was certainly on the same track.

Where did Amash think that the federal government was getting all that free money? He hasn’t said. But given his libertarian leanings, he has a sound understanding of Austrian economics. As such, he knows exactly how the federal government is pulling off this financial magic act. 

In a Reason interview several years ago, Amash expressed familiarity with the works of Frederic Bastiat, the 19th-century free-market legislator who is famous among libertarians. In The Law, Bastiat pointed out that the state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.

Amash knows full well that the federal government is either borrowing the money to fund those “free” checks to the American people, thereby adding more trillions of dollars to the federal government’s debt load, or the Federal Reserve is simply printing the money, which means massive inflationary debasement of the currency that will end up wiping out the income and savings of millions of Americans.

This is the time for libertarian leadership, not for standard Republican and Republican-lite caving. This is the time for libertarians to be standing up and pointing out what these big-spending Republicans and Democrats are doing to the American people. They are plundering and looting Americans with their massive crooked and corrupt “stimulus” package.

This is the time for libertarians to be pointing out the role of the Federal Reserve in all this — to serve as the loyal crooked and corrupt agent of the big spenders in Washington, both Republican and Democrat, by enabling the biggest inflationary spending spree in U.S. history, one that will inevitably destroy the money, income, and savings of millions of Americans, just as the Fed has done for decades.

Now is the time for libertarians to be leading the nation out of this economic and financial morass by standing four-square against all this destructive big-spending nonsense. Now is the time for libertarians to be explaining why we have been saying for years, “End the Fed!”

Alas, not for Congressman Amash. After almost two years of struggling to decide whether he should come into our party and seek our party’s presidential nomination, he has finally signaled his intent to do so. He wants to be our presidential nominee so that he can get our vote totals up by telling people that he, like President Trump, along with his big spending Republican and Democrat cohorts, favored sending them free federal money during the coronavirus crisis.

Meanwhile, the libertarian-leaning conservative Amash has returned to his mantras. Two days ago, he tweeted, “Our national debt is skyrocketing.”

10 thoughts on “Jacob Hornberger: Justin Amash, LP Interloper, Parts 1 & 2

  1. SocraticGadfly

    He’s right on Part 2.

    Instead of a bailout, we should have been nationalizing some shit.

  2. Kevin

    A long article, whose tediousness is punctuated by hyperbole e.g. “the CIA wields the omnipotent power to assassinate people” Notice it’s phrased “the omnipotent power” instead of “an omnipotent power”, indicating a cult-like view of politics, as if the CIA were the serpent who brings evil into the world.

    Hornberger is one of the few so foolish as to make Amash look good by comparison.

  3. dL

    In The Law, Bastiat pointed out that the state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.

    You know, if you are going to pen a diatribe blasting, among other things, one’s commitment to Bastiat, you might want source that quote correctly. It didn’t comes from “The Law.” It is from another essay, “The State.” And my reading of The Law equates that 1200.00 check component of the stimulus package to Mr. Mimerel’s 600,000 francs, i.e, the plunderers(industrialists) bargaining the right to relief for the poor man. Hell, even Bastiat told Auguste Mimerel to stick that weak sauce shit up his ass.

  4. dL

    Notice it’s phrased “the omnipotent power” instead of “an omnipotent power”, indicating a cult-like view of politics, as if the CIA were the serpent who brings evil into the world.

    The grammar is correct. “The” is a definite article that typically relates to specificity, not uniqueness. “Pick up the cup” means pick a specific cup, not any ole cup(the indefinite article, a cup). “The cup”, unless duly emphasized, does not mean the cup. The adjective, however, is not correct. The CIA wields the power to assassinate, but it is clearly not an omnipotent power, as Fidel Castro demonstrated. It is an unaccountable power, an anti-democratic power, and an anti-libertarian power. But not omnipotent one. However, Horneberger is right that a libertarian candidate should never be pimping the CIA.

  5. paulie

    Instead of a bailout, we should have been nationalizing some shit.

    Somehow I don’t think either Hornberger or Amash is for nationalizing as a better alternative to bailouts.

  6. paulie

    “Congressman Justin Amash finally announced that he suspended his congressional campaign in February and signaled his intent to formally seek the LP presidential nomination within a few days.”

    Only the first part is true. Amash hasn’t said anything whatsoever about the LP as far as I have seen. He has said he is considering running for president, not that he has decided, nor that it would be in the LP if he does.

  7. Kevin

    “The omnipotent power” refers to a singular power, not a power among many. Similarly, if I were to say “pick up the cup” that refers to one cup, not many. If referring to many, that should be “the cups”. Going over basic language works like holy water when dealing with non-interventionists (as distinguished from libertarians or librarians), their invented private language evaporates upon scrutiny.

    Even dl admits, Hornberger’s language is hyperbole. The CIA does not have omnipotent power. And it is not the only such agency–I find the obsessive cult-like references to the CIA to be discrediting. Hornberger seems incapable of being a serious political candidate or even theoretition.

    When I asked Hornberger how he derives the non-intervention principle from the non-initiation of force principle, he simply repeats stock phrases from his mental tapes. Without considering the actual question. When asked to explain, he simply ignores, like a deer caught in headlights.

  8. dL

    if I were to say “pick up the cup” that refers to one cup, not many. If referring to many, that should be “the cups”. Going over basic language works like holy water

    Priests usually have a middle school competency with English grammar. You need to review the difference between “specific” and “singular.” For example , the phrase “congress has the power of the purse” is grammatically correct. The power of the purse is a specific power, not a singular power. “Congress has a power of the purse” is awkward. “The powers of the purse” even more so. No one writes or talks like that, unless, of course, one has not yet mastered English as a second language.

  9. paulie

    New rumor as yet unconfirmed that Amash has now become a life member of the LP. If true, it’s a likely sign he will run, but that is not public information so can’t be verified.

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