FPA initiates Defend The Guard bill, SB 370, and appears with other proponents at public hearing before the Senate Federal & State Affairs committee, January 31, 2022.
No opponents to the bill testified at hearing, but reactionary “neutral” testimony was delivered by the office of the Kansas Adjutant General, inciting fear that passage could lead to cuts in federal funding for the Kansas Guard forces. The committee has taken no action on the bill yet, but an identical proposal, HB 2501, has also been introduced via the House Fed & State committee.
School-Choice Progress with Rep. Kristey Williams (R-Augusta), Chair of the Kansas House Committee on K-12 Education Budget.
Committee approval of HB 2068 (tax credit scholarships), HB 2119 (state-funded education savings accounts) and the related arguments surrounding these issues in Kansas.
The Need for and Justice of School Choice
A Liberty Warrior Who Fights Bare-Knuckled
Being Pragmatic, Spiritual and Orderly with Libertarianism
Christmas Musings about Hope and Peace
State lawmakers, FPA members, and others with effective writing skills are periodically invited by FPA to share their thoughts here on topics supporting our liberty mission. Civility and a strict word limit always apply.
Piracy of New Player Brings Hope
By Bob L. Corkins, Esq., Frontier Peace Advisors
Partisan gridlock has a new opponent at the Kansas statehouse. The stubborn progress this year of issues like school choice and medical cannabis, as historically controversial as they both have been, share the common denominator of libertarianism. Frontier Peace Advisors has jumped into the lobbying void — that ground left fallow between the two dominant camps of elected officials — by sharing the peace-loving principle of non-coercion. Who would have guessed that peace and tolerance would sell so well?
Maybe it’s true that libertarianism was never destined to be a major political party. After all, would its battle cry be “Individualists of the world, unite!”? More surely, it’s a well developed philosophy that needs persistent application in the daily sausage grinder of formal public policymaking. That’s awfully hard to do when you don’t have committed elected officials to carry your water.
It’s also hard to accomplish without the messy art of compromise. Libertarians tend to be purists trying to upstage one another about how minimalist of a government they can imagine. The two big parties have successfully been broadening their tents for generations. There are signs that the “LP” is learning from those examples, but because there are still no officeholders in Topeka wearing an LP badge, it’s easy for the two “bigs” to occasionally co-opt some libertarian themes as they see fit.
And that piracy is a good thing…especially for breaking some logjams. Welcome to the libertarian lobbying challenge accepted by Frontier Peace.
For example, see the mega-K12 proposal in HB 2119 that was passed by the House this week. The libertarian icon, also posthumously a Nobel laureate, Milton Friedman would have smiled to see such education freedom promised with this Kansas bill. It would expand to statewide application the Tax Credit Program for low-income student scholarships for private schools, something the Senate passed earlier this year. It would also create the Student Empowerment Act to begin allowing low-income students to use part of their public school state aid to pay for their own private school expenses, a reform that would – in addition to advancing liberty – save many millions of dollars in the state budget while answering the demands of our Kansas Supreme Court. These bold plans did not appear during the eight years of the Brownback administration, but here they are today on the cusp of success.
On the libertine issue of medical cannabis in SB 158, never before has so viable a bill on the topic emerged from weeks of committee hearing and debate. If the bill remains unscathed in the form approved by committee, it will provide a truly competitive new market that meets patient needs, creates thousands of direct (multiplied by indirect) new jobs, and bolsters government tax and fee revenue to the tune of nearly $100 million.
School choice remains a highly partisan issue, which raises the very real specter of achieving legislative success only to be vetoed by Governor Kelly. On the other hand, medical cannabis has been an extremely bi-partisan movement this year with solid Democrat support and many Republican adherents, including some of the staunchly conservative GOP wing. In fact, the fate of the bill will likely depend on whether fear mongering and “culture concerns” of a minority of Republican lawmakers will intimidate the bi-partisan majority. This is no longer the 30-year old Kansas contest featuring Democrats and GOP “mods” together battling with “true conservative” Republicans for dominance.
You’re seeing the difference that a wildcard new fourth player brings to the table – an actor that is equally as likely to irritate either major party as it is to ally with either of them, depending upon how well their particular causes mesh with libertarian philosophy.
If you really want to change politics as usual in this state, learn more about libertarianism. Frontier Peace can recommend lots of great resources for doing that.
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COERCION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CHRISTMAS PEACE
by Bob L. Corkins
The spirit of Christmas is being thwarted this year, just like every day of every year. Yet, this season still brings more hope and peace than we otherwise feel. Right? Let’s think about why that’s so.
Despite a global pandemic, anger at governments’ reactions to it, high unemployment, business closures, racism protests, ongoing US military actions, a caustic political campaign period, etc., most folks still begin feeling more hopeful as Christmas draws near. Even for those holding non-Christian or no spiritual faith, the predominant social traditions worldwide at this time of year are heavily influenced by Jesus Christ.
His birth, and the hope it represents, was the millennial-spanning origin of this celebration. Whether our basis of this is via fact, belief or reputation, we know Jesus as the Prince of Peace. He stood for love, forgiveness, tolerance, redemption, mercy, and so much more in addition to hope and peace. Certainly, at the very least, that’s ample cause for us to have an annual celebration.
Are we celebrating the imposition of a dictatorial moral code? No. Jesus never coerced anybody.
Are we expressing joy for religious institutions, multiplying in his name, that foster in people their impulses to judge, condemn and punish? No. At least I’m not and I hope that you’re not.
Are we feeling a surge of hope that the laws of this land, crafted by people, may someday achieve a divine ideal? I won’t answer that because I have to honestly admit that my notion of the “divine ideal” of human law is no better than yours. And forgive my candor, but whatever yours may be, I don’t think your idea of god-pleasing human law is any better than mine.
My default political belief, consequently, is that human law shouldn’t strive to mirror the “law” of a supreme being – given how differently each of us might interpret that inspiration – and that humans should confine their laws to the very minimum necessary to keep the peace. The best definition of that maximum threshold I’ve ever heard is for human law to do no more than respond to the aggression – the initiation of force or coercion – by any person against the person or property of another.
For human laws that go beyond that threshold, and the vast majority do, I think people are innocently trying to usurp the role of God. Or, they lack spiritual faith in God and feel that humans need to create the best moral code for themselves as possible.
But there’s no such thing as politics by consensus. Whether rules are derived by monarch or majority vote, they require coercion for enactment and enforcement. An old libertarian sage once told me, “Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for lunch.”
So, is coercion justified if the rule is “for my own good” or “for the greater good”? Unfortunately, at this time in history I suspect most people would say yes.
I don’t think that’s the kind of love and tolerance Jesus Christ wanted people to exercise. He never advised anybody to pressure or persuade Caesar (i.e., Government) to do more for widows, orphans, or any social good. Government cannot give anyone anything that it does not first take from someone else. Jesus wanted each man and woman to make their own choices for their own actions, deciding as his Spirit moves them to personally do as much for those in need as possible. That is not coercion.
And coercion does not lead to peace. Those for whom human law confiscates, oppresses, restricts, or prohibits something important to them will never feel peace. It’s not a peaceful place where coercion is so common. And when we employ democracy to exert coercion far beyond what’s needed to keep the peace, we hold an exceedingly high and illusory faith in democracy.
During this holiday when more people think about Jesus Christ than at any other time of the year, I suggest a good soul-searching political question for everyone to ponder for themselves. How much of your faith is invested with government, as compared to your faith in God?
Faith is hope and is peace. Always be prepared, if anyone asks, to give the reason for the hope that you have.
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Frontier peace advisors