Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving, turkey, cartoon, leftist, leftism, parody, satire, funny, awesome artwork, libertarian

Happy Thanksgiving from the team (Julie and Lewis) here at Libertopia! While the past year has definitely had some challenges, there’s a lot to be thankful for too. And in the case of the left, they’ve given us a lot to laugh about as well – just like this leftist turkey and his campaign against “fascism”. Anyway, we hope you have a great day with friends and family celebrating the blessings of life and liberty. Until next time!

Want to get in on the fun? Thoughts on leftism, leftist lunacy, statism, socialism or any other topic on your mind? Leave us a comment! Also, be sure to let us know if you’re an artist or creative who would like to be featured in an interview, or have your artwork displayed on our site! Be sure to check out our libertarian artists page for our artist interviews and artwork from a variety of different artists in our community! You can also check out Libertopia’s own artwork page here, download our 60 page art ebook at Libertopia: Collection One (which is on sale for 99 cents, and features a lot of our cartoons, infographics, essays and awesome artwork) or check out our unique t-shirts, coffee cups and so much more over at the libertopia store!

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The One Simple Answer to Division and Strife in America?

think locally, act locally, brion mcclanahan, libertarian, community, localismFor years we’ve been indoctrinated into thinking that BIG is beautiful. You know, BIG houses, BIG schools, BIG spending and BIG government. But can small be beautiful too? For instance, I recently was talking to several Millennial-aged guys about the intense division and violence between diverse communities in the not-so-United States. As we talked, the thought was mentioned that it really didn’t make sense for millions of people to expect adequate representation based on the way things are currently being done. Case in point: There’s a lot of people out there who seem to hunger for a little taste of the power represented by crony capitalists, special interest groups and political bureaucrats in Washington D.C. And unfortunately for the rest of us, these various people groups are trying to secure that power for themselves – regardless of whether their neighbors in another community don’t really want to live that way. Which leads to…yeah, you guessed it: a big stinking mess.

But you know, there’s a surprisingly easy solution to all this. It’s just that for whatever reason, we’ve been trained to think that the very American ideal of liberty and self determination is somehow associated with death, destruction and the end of all civilization as we know it – which is really pretty silly when you think about. For example, in the November 9, 2017 edition of the Brion McClanahan Show (Episode 126: Human Scale), Dr. McClanahan talks about Kirkpatrick Sale, a leading authority on the discussion and study of size and scale in government. His 1980 book “Human Scale” is, in many respects, the basis of the “Think locally, act locally” message.

“One of the first podcasts I did was an episode entitled Small is Beautiful,” McClanahan notes. “So I’ve done several of these types of episodes. And in that particular podcast, I focused on the idea of the size of a state in terms of representative government. I got into this representative ratio situation we have in America that’s way out of whack, where we have in the Constitution where George Washington and the Founding Generation thought that 30,000 to 1 was a good representative ratio for Republican Government. And now we’re sitting at 750,000 (or close to that) to 1. And so we really don’t have Representative Government, but we do have that at the State and Local level.”

Dr. McClanahan continues, “For example, African Americans are much better represented at the state level than they are at the general government. So there are several reasons why when we start talking about these particular issues where it seems that real federalism, decentralization, is a preferable path for American citizens. But people just don’t seem to get it, because they think the only government we have is in Washington D.C., the only elections we should vote in are in Washington D.C., and that somehow we really have a republican form of government.”

“If you think about the United States, it’s a huge territory. From the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, it has 320 million people. The state of Alabama has as many people in it now as the entire United States had in 1790…So we’ve got a situation where the United States has gotten so much larger than the Founding generation ever conceptualized. Even at the height of the Roman Empire there were only a 100 million people in it. And that was considered to be a mega empire…so it’s amazing how our conceptualization of size and scale has changed. And we seem to think only these mega-States can provide any security, any economic well-being.”

Kirkpatrick Sale, Human ScaleDr. McClanahan then discussed how Kirkpatrick Sale does a nice job pointing out how maybe mega-States aren’t necessarily needed. Of all the world’s political entities, there are around 223 of them. Counting the smallest independent islands, 45 or so are below 250,000 people. Around 67 have below 1 million people, and roughly half have below 5 million…so think about that. The majority of the States in the world are small states: the size of the state of Alabama. Half of the countries in the world are that size, yet they’re economically viable…the example of Iceland, with the world’s oldest Parliament, in an unquestioned beacon of democracy, suggests that 319,000 people is all you would need. Going up a bit in size, there are another six models of good governance below 5 million: Singapore, Norway, Costa Rica, Ireland, New Zealand and Estonia. So here you have prosperous States, states with very good government, States with very vibrant economies. And they aren’t being invaded on a daily basis. And yet they’re small.

Furthermore, just because a community of people like Texas or California may seek to determine their own destinies, doesn’t mean they can’t still be Americans, be proud of who they are, or have great relationships with their neighboring communities. I mean honestly. Why wouldn’t they?

Dr. Brion McClanahan is the author or co-author of six books, including his latest, How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America (Regnery History, 2017). He has written for TheDailyCaller.com, LewRockwell.com, TheTenthAmendmentCenter.com, Townhall.com, HumanEvents.com, Chronicles Magazine, Townhall Magazine, and Fusion Magazine. McClanahan is also a faculty member at Tom Woods Liberty Classroom, has appeared on dozens of radio talk shows, and has spoken across the Southeast on the Founding Fathers and the founding principles of the United States.

Twice a week on his highly recommended podcast, Brion McClanhan discusses history, politics and culture – but not in the conventional way. He’s covered the constitution, presidents, elections, foreign policy, education, war, pop culture, world history, western civilization, American history, all with the motto of ‘think locally, act locally’. “This is not something you will hear on your mainstream media outlets. This is an empowering message of how you can change your life. We often feel powerless to stop out-of-control government and the monumental changes taking place in American society. But what most people don’t realize is that the local is where all the action takes place. This is how the Founding Generation viewed the world, and why words like federalism and decentralization are the keys to unlocking political peace in the 21st century. Listen to the Brion McClanahan show, and make ‘think locally, act locally’ part of your life.”

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Peaceful Secession: The Sensible Alternative?

secession, secede, peace, peaceful, graphic, meme, love, peaceful secession, hopeful future, graphic designWith a rise in violence and the chasm-like divide between the left and the right in the United States, is peaceful secession the most sensible alternative for diverse groups of Americans?

In Episode 116 of the Brion McClanahan ShowThe Winds of Change, Brion discussed the positive movement towards decentralization, and how many different people (including millennials) were supportive of secession – especially in light of the hateful rhetoric and extreme divisiveness not seen in the United States since the 1850’s. And in the popular Tom Woods Show from December 4, 2013, Tom discussed the complex subject of secession by addressing some of the common prejudices and misconceptions regarding decentralization in the United States. Woods agreed that when engaging people on this particular subject, it’s important to note that secession may indeed be unconventional, and contrary to what many may have learned in public school. “But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.”

Secession – Loved by Americans Since 1776? Despite the United States claiming to uphold such ideals as liberty, freedom and independence, it’s ironic that when it comes to the confines of American political discourse, there’s a small range of things people are not allowed to talk about – or even support. Like the recent subject of Catalonian independence, in which many Americans have surprisingly sided against the efforts of the Catalonian people to seek independence and freedom. Woods notes that, “just because this view is held by neither Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, does not in itself invalidate it…when we think about things like farm subsidies or even foreign policy, we can have civil disagreements about them…but yet for some reason, when you talk about secession, the assumption is you must be crazy, there’s something wrong with you. And yet there’s no reason, right off the bat, that you would think people ought to draw that conclusion. Wouldn’t this just seem to be a practical question?”

“Why would it be forbidden to question where the boundary lines are drawn…Why can’t you just say maybe this unit should be two units, or maybe it should be three units, or maybe it should be ten units?” Tom noted, expressing that when the discussion is framed this way, even a person with a modicum of intellectual curiosity would have to consider what’s so special about the particular shape – or boundary – of a country. For example, is the shape of the United States somehow sacred? So much so, that you can’t even talk about it or debate it?

secession day, july 4th, secession, secede, gadsden flag, declaration of independence, independence day, patriotism

A Sacred Shape…“I think part of the reason that we resist this topic of secession is that in the United States in particular, there has been what we might call sacralizing the secular. You take a secular thing – that is, a thing that doesn’t have a religious meaning or dimension to it, namely ‘The Union’ or ‘The Union of States established by the Constitution’ – and this Union is routinely spoken of as if it’s a sacred thing. We see this throughout U.S. history. This religious language that is used to describe the United States…This no doubt derives from the ‘City on a Hill’ rhetoric that goes back to the Puritans appropriating it from the Bible. And then John F. Kennedy yes, but mostly Ronald Reagan appropriated it in turn from the Puritans, and took this Biblical image of the Church and adapted it so that words that were supposed to describe the Christian Church now describe the United States. You might think Christians would find this blasphemous, but they’re the ones that most cheer it on, oddly enough.”

Mr. Woods then discussed how the work of two 17th century intellectuals, Johannes Althusius, a theorist of the Dutch Federation, and Thomas Hobbes, encapsulates much of the history of the West in terms of political organization. And over the years, we’ve moved from Althusius to Hobbes. For example, in Politica, Althusius writes how society is made up of different groups with specific rights and liberties that couldn’t be modified or intruded upon by any of the others. Even Kings, whose power were often hemmed in by other institutions, couldn’t just bark out irresistible commands to the others. “That’s how society was arranged. Not just a bunch of isolated individuals, atomized individuals, but a balancing act of all different power centers whose symbiotic relation constituted society.”

Rose Wilder Lane, libertarian, ancap, voluntaryism, meme, statism, statist, quoteThe Hobbesian Leviathan: On the other hand, there’s the system Hobbes discusses in Leviathan (1651). “Hobbes describes a society not as a system of levels, but precisely as a single, flat plane consisting of isolated, atomized, undifferentiated individuals. At the center of this society is a single, infallible power center, with any subsidiary bodies having whatever liberties the center deigns to acknowledge. And those liberties and rights may be cancelled at any time…Under this system, where you have a single, irresistible, infallible, indestructible, power center at the center, if one of these subsidiary groups resist, it’s not a virtue. It’s not a virtue to be cheered. It’s treason.”

Secession Superstitions: “So when you  hear people talking about Nullification as treason, and secession as treason, it’s this Hobbesian superstition that they have haplessly absorbed…especially in the wake of the French Revolution. We have now all around the world for the  most part, the type of state Hobbes described…and how has that experiment gone? Well, we’ve had totalitarian regimes that scarcely could have been dreamed of in the past, we’ve had total war on a scale that was not seen…on a smaller scale we have impossible levels of debt and bureaucracy. These governments have established a set of self-perpetuating fiefdoms that rule over us and seem impossible to dismantle. And yet despite this horrifying record of the Hobbes model, the question of the proper size of the political unit and whether secession or decentralization are desirable is not even raised.”

History Supports Secession: While the Tenth Amendment in the Constitution, and Virginia, New York and Rhode Island’s rescission clauses (which detailed these states could withdraw from the federal union) point to the sovereignty of the states in America, there’s plenty of other sources to look. For example, “The Declaration of Independence does not speak of a single blob, it speaks of free and independent states,” Mr. Wood notes. “And by states, they mean places like Spain and France. They have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. The British in the Treaty of Paris acknowledged the independence not of a single blob, but of a group of states. Again, the Compact Theory. The States created the Union. The States came first and the people of the states are the sovereigns…In the Law of Nations (1758), Emerich de Vattel noted how Sovereign states can enter into federations without compromising or impairing their sovereignty. They’re exercising their sovereignty when they enter a Union like the United States – therefore they could obviously continue to be as sovereign as before. Which means if they have the sovereign power to join such a union, they have the sovereign power to withdraw.”

P.S. If you like the above designs, check out some of the other cool artwork available at my store! Imagine how awesome you’ll look by making a great and unique statement for liberty and freedom in your community!

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The Best Libertarian Fiction for 2017

J.L. Pattison, Saving Kennedy, writing contest, winner, 1st placeLibertopia announces the best libertarian fiction for 2017: As part of our mission to help encourage liberty in the arts, the team here at libertopia is extremely proud to announce the winner for the Adult Category of our 2017 Art and Creative Writing Contest (Find the details of the 2017 Contest right here)! After J.L Pattison sent us a copy of Saving Kennedy, we read it and found it to be the absolute best fiction with a liberty message that we’ve read this year!

This well-written and exciting book, which incorporates two fictional stories revolving around the events of the Kennedy Assassination, is a thought-provoking look into this fascinating period of 1960’s history. Having recently watched the Twilight Zone series, the comparisons some have drawn between it and the stories contained within this book is pretty spot on. I could almost imagine Rod Serling introducing each story with, “You are about to enter another dimension….” Perfect for teens and adults (and possibly even younger kids), Saving Kennedy does an excellent job at entertaining, while weaving in some great liberty themes and life wisdom without becoming heavy-handed. And it’s “easy to digest” size makes it a great gift for a family member, co-worker or friend.

Saving Kennedy contains two suspenseful tales of time travel gone wrong, both intersecting with attempts to stop the assassination of JFK.

The Visitor

In an effort to bring an urgent message to the past, a time traveler ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time and must rely on a humble corn farmer to deliver his letter to the world. But will anyone believe the farmer’s wild story about the time traveler and his warnings in time to stop JFK’s assassination?

Alibi Interrupted

The mission was simple: save JFK’s life by stopping the alleged assassin. But when the time traveler unwittingly becomes Lee Harvey Oswald’s alibi, his mission changes from saving the president to saving Oswald. And the situation only gets worse when the time traveler discovers he’s trapped in 1963. Decades later, when the wife of his future grandson attempts to ensure the mission’s success by confronting the time traveler before his trip, she quickly learns that meddling in the affairs of the past always has its consequences.

To order your very own copy of these highly recommended stories (Alibi Interrupted and The Visitor), please click on Saving Kennedy. And if you’d like to read more from J.L. Pattison, be sure to check out his blog here. Meanwhile, J.L. wins a congratulatory certificate featuring his book (which we will mail to him), an icon to use on his blog site and a prize from the libertopia store!

star wars, fan art, libertarian, ancap, voluntaryist, artwork, youth, art contestIf you missed out on this year’s libertarian / voluntaryist / ancap art and writing contest, don’t worry – we’re planning another great one for next year! Also, a big “THANK YOU” goes out to J117 for his entry Submit or Be Destroyed (winner of the 2017 Youth Category). Check out more about this amazing piece of artwork here!

Curious to learn more? Want to get in on the fun? Let us know if you’re an artist or creative who would like to be featured in an interview, or have your artwork displayed on our site! Also, be sure to check out our libertarian artists page for our artist interviews and artwork from a variety of different artists in our community! You can also check out Libertopia’s own artwork page here, download our 60 page art ebook at Libertopia: Collection One (which is on sale for 99 cents) or check out our unique t-shirts, coffee cups and so much more over at the libertopia store!

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I Won’t Back Down: Farewell, Tom Petty

Tom Petty, Tribute, music, musician, I won't back down

From a libertarian standpoint, there’s been a LOT to talk about in the news as of late…but what else is new. However, as an artist running one of the largest libertarian creative blogs out there, I really didn’t think I could miss the chance to honor Tom Petty, who passed away from this Earth on October 2, 2017. He was 66 years old. I’m not sure really what his personal beliefs were (apart from what may come through in some of his music), but he talked a lot about life. And hey, that can be some pretty important stuff. It’s also said that he was a staunch guardian of his artistic control and artistic freedom.

As for Tom Petty, the man? Well, apparently he was an early fan of Elvis and The Rolling Stones. One of his guitar teachers was Don Felder, who would later join the Eagles. Before becoming a music superstar, he supposedly worked as a groundskeeper for the University of Florida, as well as briefly working as a gravedigger. Later, he would work to overcome a difficult relationship with his father. He appeared in the 1997 film The Postman (starring Kevin Costner), and had a role on the animated comedy, King of the Hill. He was married, and has two daughters and a stepson.

Some personal favorites from Tom Petty’s journey as a musician:

Gen X’ers won’t soon forget Free Fallin, the title track from Tom Petty’s 1989 solo album Full Moon Fever. Ranked amongst Rolling Stone’s 500 great songs of all time, the song is fondly remembered as a tune often played at high school dances, or on the radio in the early to mid 90’s. Whenever I give it a listen, I find myself thinking of the music video, which features 90s kids hanging out and having fun together at places like the Westside Pavilion Mall (surprisingly still in existence). Ahh, for those days when the malls were awesome, kids were cool, and things didn’t seem quite so complicated. Did such a time ever really exist?

With defiant lyrics that speak about standing ground against oppressive forces, or not letting the world drag you down, I Won’t Back Down, also from Full Moon Fever, is what the libertarian Republic calls “the musical version of Patrick Henry’s quote ‘ Give me liberty or give me death!’” Libertarian Republic also notes in their article of top 10 hardcore libertarian songs that, “As libertarians, we often receive resistance to our ideals, both from other citizens, and particularly from the government. However, we must always remain true to our principles and not ‘back down.’”

1991 saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers release Into the Great Wide Open, with Learning to Fly as the band’s longest-running number one hit single. The music video stars a young Johnny Depp. With a thoughtful message that grows even sweeter with each hardship that life can throw at you, this song talks about the loss of dreams and a fondness for those past days that may never return – but the drive to keep on.

Another recommendation is Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 1985 Southern Accents album, which features Don’t Come Around Here No More and Rebels. Southern Accents (the song) would later be covered by Johnny Cash for his Unchained album. Most of us probably remember the music video for Don’t Come Around Here No More, in which Alice from Alice in Wonderland is turned into a cake and eaten by Petty, who plays the Mad Hatter. In Rebels, Petty discusses being born a rebel “down in Dixie” on a Sunday morning, and talks about how his great grandfathers were also called rebels, and that those “blue bellied devils” (referring to the soldiers of the federal government) burned their cornfields and leveled their cities.

Naturally I couldn’t get by without mentioning Don’t Do Me Like That from the 1979 album, Damn the Torpedoes. As I drove around town and the surrounding countryside listening to classic rock (back in my college days), this was another one of those songs that I always enjoyed hearing come across the airwaves.

So farewell Tom Petty. Thanks for being such a talented person that left us with some great music and my own memories of being a kid “running down a dream”. Here’s to you as you head into the “Great Wide Open”. Godspeed.

Questions? Comments? Memories of growing up in the 90s? Want to talk about how awesome Generation X is? Let us know! Also, be sure to check out our libertarian artists page for our artist interviews and artwork from a variety of different artists in our community! You can also check out Libertopia’s own artwork page here, download our 60 page art ebook at Libertopia: Collection One (which is on sale for 99 cents) or check out our unique t-shirts, coffee cups and so much more over at the libertopia store!

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2017 Art Contest Winner – Youth Category!

The team here at libertopia (which consists of Lewis and Julie) are proud to announce the Youth Category winner of our 2017 libertarian Art Contest (the Adult Winner will be announced soon)! Find the details of the 2017 Art Contest right here.

star wars, fan art, libertarian, ancap, voluntaryist, artwork, youth, art contest

J117 says about his art, “I made it to symbolize how the Empire from Star Wars has Stormtroopers, which are kind of like a police force that claims to keep order in that galaxy. Except they are murdering and killing people they don’t like. And then the police (in real life) are also saying they’re about keeping order, but are sometimes murdering and killing people who haven’t done anything wrong too. Plus they are like a military, wearing masks and having powerful weapons against normal people.”

J117 wins a congratulatory certificate featuring his art (which we will mail to him), an icon to use on his portfolio site, and a $5 gift certificate!

If you missed out this year, don’t worry – we’re planning on hosting another libertarian / voluntaryist / ancap art contest next year! Also, a big “THANK YOU” goes out to those individuals who contributed their unique libertarian art and writing for this contest!

Curious to learn more? Want to get in on the fun? Let us know if you’re an artist or creative who would like to be featured in an interview, or have your artwork displayed on our site! Also, be sure to check out our libertarian artists page for our artist interviews and artwork from a variety of different artists in our community! You can also check out Libertopia’s own artwork page here, download our 60 page art ebook at Libertopia: Collection One (which is on sale for 99 cents) or check out our unique t-shirts, coffee cups and so much more over at the libertopia store!

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Abrams and Star Wars Ep. 9? Sigh. I miss George Lucas.

JJ Abrams, Star Wars Episode 9, lulz, meme, obi-wan, George Lucas

Disclaimer: The following post doesn’t have much to do with libertarianism, voluntaryism or anarcho-capitalism, but it has a lot to do with creativity, artistry and just having fun. Which is what this site is also all about. Plus, it’s Star Wars. 

It was a long shot, but after Disney dumped Colin Trevorrow, I honestly hoped the notorious G.L. (George Lucas) would make a grand return to direct Star Wars Episode 9. It would have been such a poetic way to tie up the whole saga, but with Disney running the show – who knows if it will actually end at 9. Maybe more like 29. But now we’ve got JJ Abrams in the director’s seat again. Sigh. Yes, I miss George Lucas.

Star Wars 9: J.J. Abrams will Direct (from The Independent: Sept 12, 2017)

It’s no secret, but I wasn’t much of a fan of Episode 7. I don’t know if that makes me a grumpy old Gen Xer at this point, but in a lot of ways I think I enjoyed the Prequels even better than the New Hope retread that was The Force Awakens. I mean, at least the Prequels were George’s story, and they added a lot to the universe – even if I didn’t love all the acting within them. But it was a lot more than that. Episode 7 under JJ Abrams felt off to me. The story pacing, the missing Han, Luke and Leia reunion, the death of Han, the lack of visual depth (in architecture, art and technology), a lack of diverse alien creatures, the lack of interesting planetary environments, a poorly told political story, laughable villains and a derpy Starkiller Base that I STILL don’t get how it works. I wasn’t a fan of Mary Sue Rey, and I wasn’t especially thrilled with temper tantrum hair-boy Kylo Ren either. However, in all fairness, Poe and Finn were cool, and Han was pretty great until he died (grumble). And the starship graveyard on Jakku was perhaps the most visually interesting portion of the movie, with Maz Kanata ’s castle a feeble second.

Rogue One on the other hand I absolutely LOVED, and it restored quite a lot of faith in Disney captaining this ship. The entire cast of Rogue One was amazing, and Jyn Erso is a favorite. There was TONS of visual depth, interesting planetary locations, lots of neat aliens, cool tech and a great story that clicked perfectly with Episode 4. Plus, it added a whole new layer of awesome-sauce to Darth Vader, the greatest movie villain of my child-hood, as well as some amazing scenes with Grand Moff Tarkin and the Death Star.

I’ve been optimistic about Episode 8, hoping that perhaps it will bring some level of depth to the weak-sauce story dribbled out to us in Episode 7. There does appear to be more visual dimension and scale in 8, so who knows. Maybe Disney is starting to figure this whole Star Wars thing out, and Abrams will actually be able to tell a story that doesn’t end up like Episode 7, Star Trek or Lost. At this point, we’re kind of like the Rebellion in the Empire Strikes Back. It may look awfully dark when faced with the might of the Empire, but we still have hope. So hope my friends. Hope.

Thoughts about Star Wars, EA’s Star Wars Battlefront 2 (which was disappointing in lacking proper couch co-op), or the upcoming release of Battlefront 3? Let us know! Also, be sure to check out the rest of what we’ve got right here in Libertopia! There’s a great illustrated book for 99 cents, an awesome store full of unique shirts and other cool stuff you won’t find ANYWHERE else, and great libertarian artist interviews, cartoons and so much more!

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