Wikinews interviews U.S. Libertarian presidential candidate James Burns
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Burns, the former chairman of the Nevada Libertarian Party, was asked if he thinks he has a good shot at winning the Libertarian nomination and ultimately the presidency. He replied, "My chances of winning are not all in my hands. I shall do my best, but it comes down to what others will do. What will you do?"
When asked about America's shrinking middle class he said, "The economic policies of the US government are the cause our troubles. When I am President, the only economic policy I shall pursue is to be frugal with the funds of the United States."
Burns believes that the President "is not 'the leader of the free world,' rather....a person who attempts to protect our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
WN: Why do you want to run for president?
- Mr. Burns: I am running for President because I am not uniquely qualified to be President nor is anyone else. We elect neither a dictator, a king, nor a god. The President is the chief administrator of the government of the United States (Article 2, Section 1), an important job for now, but still just a person who has taken an oath to uphold the constitution, an employee of the United States Government.
- The President is not “the leader of the free world,” rather the President should be a person who attempts to protect our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. One reason you should vote for me and the reason I am running for President is because I know the above and most others do not.
- Another thing I believe is: "Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win." --Robert A. Heinlein
- I hope for your consideration, and please take the time to look me up at: jimburnsforpresident.com
WN: If elected, how would you handle the illegal immigration crisis?
- Mr. Burns: I believe the problems we are experiencing with immigration are assimilation and the inconsistency of government law and enforcement.
- The United States immigration policy should eliminate quotas, require inspections for contagious disease, and the immigrant should be required to understand and agree that he or she must obey United States law, that he or she does not qualify for voting rights, and that immigrants do not qualify to receive United States welfare.
- Green card identification costs money to produce: The immigrant should pay a fee that covers the cost of their green card that gives them the privilege to live and work within the United States and he or she must deposit a bond to cover the cost of their possible deportation.
- Failure to comply with United States law should, upon conviction, result in deportation at the immigrant's expense. Conviction and deportation will disqualify a person for immigration (green card) for a reasonable period of time (which should be defined).
- Then if the immigrant wishes, after a reasonable residency (which should be defined), and good behavior he or she may become a citizen of the United States provided they have the ability to speak English, have an understanding of the operations of the United States Government and the state government of their residency, and they renounce their citizenship and allegiance to any other nation.
- "Never in the history of the world has there been a situation so bad that the government can't make it worse." –Unknown
WN: How would you help the shrinking middle class?
- Mr. Burns: The economic policies of the US government are the cause our troubles. When I am President, the only economic policy I shall pursue is to be frugal with the funds of the United States. The United States government should not have an economic policy and should not impose any economic policy on the people of the United States. We are faced with a choice. We may have a rich government and a poor people or a rich people and a poor government. I choose a rich people.
- “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” - P.J. O'Rourke
- "In proportion as you give the state power to do things for you, you give it power to do things to you." --Albert Jay Nock
WN: Do you think you have a good shot at winning the Libertarian nomination? If so, do you think you could be in the White House this time next year?
- Mr. Burns: My chances of winning are not all in my hands. I shall do my best, but it comes down to what others will do. What will you do?
- "It is not the challenge that we face that determine who we are and what we are becoming but the way we meet the challenge." --Richard Bach
WN: There are thousands reading this right now. What could you say to convince them to give you their vote?
- Mr. Burns: We humans have always found ourselves on what appears to be the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, the vast majority of us cannot live without others. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, and our very lives depend on the division of labor, that is to say, the actions of others. The world would be a bleak place, indeed, if there were not other people in it. On the other hand, our largest danger does not come from wild beasts or even natural disasters; rather, it comes from other human beings. Humans rob, rape, and kill each other, and these activities are often organized by the greatest threat to human beings: tyrannical governments.
- It appears that we cannot live without each other and at the same time we cannot live with each other. The answer to this dilemma is simple -- but not so easy: We must stop the robbing, raping, and killing and at the same time allow the peace, prosperity, and progress that the division of labor brings.
- The answer to the dilemma is an elementary rule that may sound familiar. The rule is the fountainhead of civilization. It is the first step in being a good neighbor. The rule has a sister rule -- the golden rule -- "do unto others as you would have others do unto you." The rule is that "no one should initiate force, threaten to initiate force, or engage in fraud against others." Another way to say the same thing is that "people should be allowed to live as they choose so long as they allow others to do the same." In other words, "live and let live."
- The rule has a name: Libertarianism. Libertarianism is neither a panacea nor a religion -- though some might be tempted to call it a philosophy. Libertarianism is just a simple rule that makes it possible for us to live with each other. When you think about it, you know that almost everyone follows the libertarian rule almost all of the time. When people do not follow the libertarian rule, we have a name for such behavior: We call it "criminal."
- What libertarians want people of good will to know is that, except for scale, there is no moral difference between a local thug and a Washington bureaucrat: No matter who does it, to initiate force, threaten to initiate force, or engage in fraud, is a crime.
- Libertarianism is the foundation of civilization. To the extent that the libertarian rule is abandoned, the very core of civilization -- co-operation and trade -- is threatened. And, if civilization breaks down, the results are famine, pestilence, and war -- each of which brings death to large numbers of people. Thus, to all people of good will, "live and let live" -- the libertarian ideal -- should be of paramount concern. To the degree the rule is not followed, civilization breaks down. What better vehicle than the Libertarian Party, then, for the protection of your rights and our civilization?
- With libertarianism, we shall take the next step on the road to peace, prosperity, and progress for ourselves and the people of the planet. Peace is a byproduct of free trade. Prosperity is the consequence of liberty. Progress becomes more possible with prosperity and the free exchange of ideas. The first step and maintenance of these benefits is Libertarianism. That is to say, that if people are allowed to live as they choose so long as they do not violate the equal rights of others, the results are free trade which brings peace, free markets which brings prosperity, and freedom of thought and action which brings progress.