Brad Miller

Archive for December, 2018|Monthly archive page

Lessons for Libertarians learned from the fight to keep Kratom legal

In Advocates of Liberty, Civilization, Liberty, Medicinal Freedom, natural rights on December 26, 2018 at 11:15 pm

It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.” John Philpot Curran 1790img_3376

Millions of Kratom users, scientists, voluntary associations, and small business owners who sell Kratom, have banded together and have successfully forced the Federal Government to keep this beneficial plant legal. I believe that the battle plan used to keep Kratom legal can be applied to any issue in which the government has violated the Natural Rights of the individual.

Kratom is a plant from Southeast Asia. It’s been used safely for thousands of years for anxiety, fatigue and pain relief. Another use for the plant is for the alleviation of withdrawal symptoms associated with abrupt stoppage of opioid use. Ive used it myself and have found it great for providing relief from opioid withdrawal symptoms as well as for pain relief. I’ve been ill for over 30 years and have been treated increasingly like criminal for seeking to have my pain relieved within the medical system, if the FDA is successful in banning Kratom, they’ll make me an actual criminal for simply drinking a tea made from a plant, that makes my life livable.

In 2016 the DEA did use its emergency powers, to place Kratom in the category of Schedule I, at the behest of the FDA. The DEA reversed this decision after they heard from thousands of people who safely use Kratom everyday and about the lies the FDA had been telling them from organizations like the American Kratom Association. The FDA has been waging a battle to ban Kratom since 2009, but they’ve failed. The reason why they’ve failed is because those who support the continued legalization of Kratom have enacted a successful political battle plan which if followed, could be used in other political battles as well.

I believe that it is our natural God-given right to ingest what substances we choose. This is based upon the idea that individuals own themselves. We are not owned by the state. We have dominion over our minds and bodies. This is something the alphabet soup of Federal and State agencies seem to forget and we must remind them. The regulatory bureaucracies have exploded in power over the last 50 years but their power can be curtailed. The successful political battle plan for keeping Kratom Legal can serve as a template of action to help anyone who is passionate about freedom to win more political battles in the future.

 

The Kratom Battle Plan:

  1. Have a single issue – everyone from the many scientists studying the plant to people who use it, to the small business owners importing it, to the documentary filmmakers exploring the many aspects about the plant, they all can rally behind the single idea of: Keeping Kratom Legal. 
  2. Form Issue Specific Associations – One thing libertarians hate more than government intrusion into their lives, is joining groups. This has to be done if we want to decrease the power of government to control our lives. Forming issue specific associations provides an aggregator of relative scientific information, a source for updates about legislation and other governmental actions concerning the issue and also a way to organize the community so they can coordinate and concentrate political action. I’m extremely thankful that The American Kratom Association exists. It’s one of the largest, if not the largest association, fighting to keep Kratom legal. Their staff and leadership are extremely smart accomplished men and women, who have government, non-profit and business experience. This group of highly competent, knowledgable, intelligent and passionate folks are a huge reason the DEA backed down in 2016 and have forced the FDA to go to plan B and to deal with each state individually.
  3. Know the Facts inside and out – The FDA lied about the deaths associated with Kratom. They also lied about their “proof” derived from a computer model that showed Kratom was a danger to the American Public.   The American Kratom Association has done an amazing job funding and disseminating the true scientific facts about Kratom. They along with others have proven that the FDA are lying about the facts about Kratom and profited specific point by point refutation of every lie the FDA is peddling.
  4. Mobilize personal stories – One of the tricks used by the FDA is to say that a substance doesn’t have any agreed upon medical benefits – this is their way of saying that personal experience of millions can be totally dismissed, when they deem a substance dangerous. Each individual’s experience with Kratom is an experiment of one and sharing the story of only a small fraction of the millions of these successful individual experiments have provided powerful evidence for lawmakers that Kratom should stay legal.  The DEA and FDA have been inundated by personal stories of those who use Kratom safety and effectively everyday. In 2016 this was a key reason, along with the shoddy work of the FDA, that the DEA reversed their decision to place Kratom in Schedule I. Also thousands and probably now tens of thousands of people have created powerful Youtube videos about their personal experiences with Kratom. These personal stories are emotionally powerful and highlight to lawmakers the fact that when they make a law it affects real people. Many of these videos contain heart wrenching stories of people who have used Kratom to help them stop taking black market drugs and turn their lives around.
  5. Get involved in Politics: This is something that libertarians hate even more than joining groups. Most of us just want to be left alone. The problem with this attitude is that there are powerful interests in this country – Big government and Big Business – who want to control every aspect of our lives. Getting involved in specific issues is a great way for Libertarians to use the political system to increase the freedom we all enjoy. If Ron Paul and Thomas Jefferson never got involved with the political system where would we be today? This single issue approach is about using the power of the individual in voluntary association with others to engage the political system to stop the government from violating their Natural Rights and that of others. This is a noble pursuit. Call your local Representatives. Call the representatives that are heading up the committees which deal with the issue you care about. They will listen. They will all you back. I did this myself and was shocked to hear from a state rep that he say the Kratom issue as a personal freedom issue and that the state of Georgia had no plans on banning it any time soon. He was fully aware of the lies the FDA has been telling, thanks largely to the work of the American Kratom Association and he also mentioned that they’ve heard from many people who gain significant benefit form Kratom. The American Kratom Association also hires lobbyists to educate politicians and staffers. They also have experts at Committee meetings or anywhere else the Kratom issue is being discussed to make sure lawmakers are hearing the facts about the plant and not just being force-fed the lies from the FDA.
  6. Produce Documentaries about the single issue: The Document “A Leaf Of Faith” was produced by one of the largest Kratom vendors. Its extremely well done and clearly shows that the scientific as well as anecdotal evidence shows that Kratom is legal. The film helps to reach a mass audience which helps to make those who haven’t heard of Kratom aware of it and how the government is trying to ban it. The  mainstream media is controlled by huge corporations who have a vested interests in keeping the status quo going and expanding government power from which they benefit from. Creating our own quality content is a way to help to expose the lies the government is spreading and to tell the truth about the issue you care deeply about.

 

The Kratom victories are incredible and give me hope for the future. I used to think that getting involved in politics was a waste of time. I’ve experienced first hand that it’s not. The bigger structural issues will take time – the Federal Reserve system, the Military Industrial Complex, The War on Drugs, the Endless Spying – all won’t disappear over night. But what we can do now is to choose single issues we are passionate about and follow the KRATOM  battle plan to start winning more political battles in the fight for more personal freedom in our lifetime.

 

Brad Miller

Advocate of Liberty

 

 

Santa Lives

In Advocates of Liberty, Civilization, Conspiracy Theory, Free Market Miracles, Liberty, natural rights on December 14, 2018 at 12:26 pm

MerryOldSanta

The stories we believe inform how we think, speak and act. They shape who we are and who we will become. The Santa Claus story is one of the three main stories of Western Philosophy, along with the story of Christ and Capitalism.

Many people want to ban Santa. The atheists do, the anti-capitalists do, and the fundamental religious want to as well. All of these groups see the story of Santa as competition for the story they are selling. But Santa endures. The story of the fat jolly man in the red suit endures in the face of continued ridicule and claims its sinful, because it teaches virtues, values and wisdom that children and adults can use to make their individual lives better, and by doing so, protect, maintain and advance the best aspects of Western Civilization.

Why do we pass on the story of Santa to the next generation?  I used to believe it was a concerted collective conspiracy to inculcate kids for the purpose of keeping them in line and grooming them for their future of blind obedience to authority figures. I saw it as the first great lie children are told by their parents and society (the first of many) as a means to contain their near limitless energy and potential. After researching more about the archetypal meanings of ancient stories, I now see the story of St. Nick in a whole new light. If you’re interested in learning more about the archetypal patterns of story, (I highly recommend Jordan Peterson’s book  “Maps of Meaning”. )

Audio Edition “Maps of Meaning”

Children can become anything according to the stories they are told. They can become high-powered lawyers, hippies or headhunters depending on what values they assimilate or reject from the stories they hear. Children are wired to respond to and to think in stories.  Instinctively, all children desire to know how to survive and thrive in the adult world, and they devour stories from their parents and the wider culture in which they live, to do accomplish this. The story of Santa Claus and the accompanying rituals can help children learn the lessons which can help them become well adjusted, compassionate, responsible, successful adults.

The Santa Story is well known throughout the entire world. The basic components of the myth are that children must “believe in Santa”, they must “be good all year”, they must “write him or speak to him to tell him what they want”, and they must “offer a sacrifice of cookies and milk” before he gives them their gifts. The entire narrative is structured in a way to teach the absolute best values which underpin the Western Philosophy of thought.

  1. Belief in a better world – One must believe in Santa Claus, who represents the  “GOOD FATEHR”, who in archetypal terms represents Culture, Tradition and Reason. Belief is an individual choice. Western thought is based upon the idea that the individual is sacred and is responsible for the choices he makes. As kids age they  find out from their peer group that Santa doesn’t exist as the story states. This is one of the few coming of age traditions in the West and helps the child to leave the childish thoughts behind and explore explicitly the formerly implicit lessons, values and wisdom that the story of Santa teaches. The belief that if you believe in a better future, work hard, set goals and sacrifice to make them happen is the archetypal residue left imprinted on the child’s subconscious, whether they realize it or not. I’d urge parents to consider teaching children the true meaning of the Santa myth and its significance when the revelation of Santa not being real is found out. Like James wrote in the Bible “Faith without works is dead.”
  2. You better be good for goodness sake – The 24/7 surveillance Santa and his Naughty and Nice List, at first glance seem like the prototype for the NSA but in reality they are metaphoric devices that teach children  lessons about the power of the choices they make. The constant surveillance and yearly judgment by Santa teaches kids that they have the free will to choose to be “bad or good”. They also learn that if they are “good” (defined by their parents teachings and culturally appropriate behavior) they’ll be rewarded in the form of presents at Christmas. This helps children practice deferring gratification. This skill to sacrifice immediate gratification for long term gain is one of the main predictors of a child’s chance at success later in life. Being judged as good or bad also helps children to regulate their emotions. This goes along with the deferring of gratification. In the moment it feels good to do bad but the long term consequences of such rash behavior motivated by anger, envy, jealousy or fear are negative. Kids at this age need boundaries as well. I used to think this was a part of the story that was added to create easily controlled conformist non-thinkers who wouldn’t question authority later in life. In reality, the lessons kids learn about being good at this age are for the most part extremely valuable. What are kids taught when they are young? Pick up your toys (learn organization), learn to share and not steal (learn to trade), be respectful to their parents (respect the traditions of the past), and follow the rules of the tribe. These are what children need to learn at an early age. In a broader context as well it teaches that you must produce in order to consume. It’s only after a year of good behavior will the child be rewarded.
  3. Asking for what you want – On the surface it seems ridiculous to teach kids to write letters to a god who lives in the North Pole or to speak in person to him. But these are skills which are actually beneficial. Having children “ask” with words what they want helps them to begin the life long process of goal setting. It’s a well established fact that people who write down their goals are more successful then people who don’t. This proto-goal-setting exercise helps them to clarify their thinking, begin to learn about opportunity costs, and about speaking into existence an imagined better future. And what do kids mostly ask for? They ask for toys and games. Children learn the rules of life by playing games and playing with toys. Remember, Santa represents the Good Father which represents Culture, Tradition and Reason, he is brining them toys to help them learn how to behave and thrive within the society they live in.
  4. Leaving Milk and Cookies – The tradition of leaving out the Milk and Cookies for Santa is akin to a pagan sacrifice of the old days. Sacrificing the best of what you have or your favorite thing to a deity in the past was a symbol of your ability to negotiate with the future, through work and sacrifice, to create a better life for yourself and those you love. This helps kids further experience through ritual action the values that will serve them well in life: that you have to produce before you consume, that humans respond to the law of reciprocity, and that sacrificing a tasty treat which could be enjoyed in the present for something better in the future, will lead to a better future down the road.
  5. Presents Under the Tree – There isn’t much more magical then running down the stairs to open presents on Christmas as a child. What appears to be simple consumerism driven act by the “evil capitalists” is actual a critical part of a child’s maturation process. Many unseen lessons lurk behind the bows and wrapping paper. Toys and games are the way that a child learns about his or her internal and external environment. Also, the surprise aspect of opening wrapped Christmas presents helps to link a positive aspect in the child’s mind to the unknown future. Even though most kids get a lot from Santa they don’t get everything from their list. This teaches them that even if they are “good all year” they won’t always get everything they want in life.  And a final lesson of opening presents is the need to express gratitude, for the gifts of the present as well as to be grateful for the best aspects of our traditions and culture.
  6. Turning the House into a Temple: decorating for Christmas is one of the greatest spiritual acts most people do without even being aware of it. The Christmas decorations are a mixture of Christian and Ancient symbols. When you decorate with garland, holly, mistletoe and the Christmas tree along with the lights that accompany them, you are turning you home into a temple to receive the blessings of the Good Mother and the Good Father. This is an ancient idea that is worth preserving. The natural part of these decorations – the evergreen plants represent the GOOD MOTHER – who is dormant outside but the blessings of Life which comes from her, are alive and well inside the home, expressed through the greenery, the warmth of the hearth and through the abundance of food. The Good Father is represented as well in the form of the lights inside and outside the home as well as all of the rituals which have been passed down through the millennia which help people prepare for and survive through the winter. This doesn’t take anything away from the story of Jesus. In fact, the Santa Claus story is complimentary to the story of Jesus, who in archetypal terms is the Redemptive Hero, whose path we should all seek to follow in our own lives.

Children learn through stories. Those who are taught the story of Santa learn some of the most powerful virtues and values the Western System of Thought has to offer. Along with the stories of Christ and Capitalism, the enduring story of Santa Claus helps to create a better now, during the Christmas Holiday Season and also helps to ensure the continued flourishing of the best aspects of Western Culture.

[T]he Christian religion when divested of the rags in which they [the clergy] have inveloped it, and brought to the original purity & simplicity of its benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, & the freest expression of the human mind,” Thomas Jefferson

I think that the Santa Claus story should be embraced by all, including Christians. The myth of Santa was  inspired by the real life of Saint Nicholas, a Christian, who lived in the 4th century AD. He was famous for giving gifts to those less fortunate. If you believe as James wrote in the Bible “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” : then the Story of Santa is a gift from God and we should all be grateful for that.

Forbes Article: Neuroscience and the importance of writing down goals

Psychology Today: Benefit of Delaying Gratification

Merry Christmas,

Brad Miller