Archive | September 2015

Do personal liberties matter more than Society’s Perceived needs?

Do personal liberties matter more than Society’s Perceived needs?

by Shane Goodrich

I was thinking of just writing no and calling it a day but that would make a boring article and likely get me an F on this assignment. So let me expand upon my views regarding personal liberties in regards to societies perceived needs.

First off how do we define a society? At its most basic a society is a group of people. More generally a society is a group of people that inhabit some geographical region, a community of people that in some sense however slight have a common bound of some kind. For example in the United States our common bond in living in the geographical area designated The United States. We are a very large group of people that don’t often share much in common with each other. Societies though can scale, for example Sweden with a much lower population than the United States is  a society and a much more homogenous one, most citizens of Sweden share similar cultural values.

One thing all society’s have in common is what they are made of, they are all made of people, individuals that think, feel, and have needs and desires. These question are framed well in my opinion because it states “societies perceived needs”. Perceived is well used here, as society in fact does not have any needs, any want, any motivations. It is not some monolithic entity. Sometimes in cases such as Sweden a large majority of those comprising the society share similar needs and values but still those are just an aggregate, it’s the actual people, the individual members that think and feel, they just happen to think and feel similarly to others in the shared group.

So what am I trying to get out here? I am trying to disabuse the notion of society’s needs. For if society does not have needs, what is left? The individual needs of the people. People’s personal liberties of course matter more than something that in reality does not exist. If people’s personal liberties are protected, each persons. Then as a whole societies “needs” are by default taken care of.

-Shane Goodrich, co-host and video editor of Local Liberty

Check out our video on this topic here:

This entry was posted on September 24, 2015. 2 Comments

How much control should the Federal Government have over the states?

by Shane Goodrich

Distant bureaucrat or less distant bureaucrat that is the question. Or to bring it to Connecticut, Washington or Hartford? How much say should the federal government have over us? I personally am not thrilled with the idea of the people in Hartford making decisions regarding the lives of those of us in my hometown of Willimantic yet I will almost always choose the less distant bureaucrat in cases such as these. Let me explain my reasons for this preference.

I think local rule (or as local as possible) is best at addressing the needs of the people simply by virtue of its leaders generally having a better understanding of the problems of a community when they are closer to or ideally live in that community. I think the founding fathers understood this which is why they created the system of Federalism in the first place, a system that has (some would say had) some inherent respect for local rule. Of course there where limits placed on that local rule, the major example that comes to mind being the Bill of Rights.

To protect the fundamental rights of an individual against the whims and caprices of the masses is one legitimate role I think our federal government can play, something that the federal government had little control over under the Article of Confederation. But this oversight role should be as small as possible. Almost like a veto when a state tries to pass a law infringing on individual rights. We are sorry sir that man does have a right to listen to Justin Bieber, no law no matter how well intentioned can stop the Bieber (well at least in the U.S… Canada on the other hand…).

Before ending this short essay let me reiterate two points. Local rule is better than distant rule but less distant rule is better than more distant rule. So do I want someone in Hartford to have a lot of say in what happens in Willimantic? No not really but I sure as hell don’t want people in Washington having a major say in the affairs of Willimantic or in the affairs of Connecticut. Right now we are seeing a kind of revival of the concept of states rights, this time centered on individual liberty (unlike some less freedom friendly concepts in the past that states have fought for) regarding such issues as the drug war and until recently marriage equality. I personally favor this trend. Let’s let local people decide issues for themselves.

-Shane Goodrich, co-host & video editor of Local Liberty

Sum Of Us vs Monsanto

Sum Of Us vs Monsanto

by Ken Mosher

I was recently the lucky recipient of an email from, one of the many Progressive organizations that tries to collect signatures on petitions and collect donations so they can try to acquire more signatures on those petitions. Like the others, they occasionally stumble upon a cause that those with a libertarian bent would also support. That’s surely how I got on their email list. I have a high tolerance for this kind of junk in my inbox because I can delete it very easily and it’s good to keep an eye on what the other side is up to.

Here is what I received (click to see clearer picture):


As is often the case, I felt compelled to reply, so I did, with a very short note:

There’s absolutely no reason that the “coalition of Mexican farmers and citizens [that] has fought Monsanto to defend their use of native seeds and 8,000-year-old farming tradition” can’t keep growing whatever corn they want using whatever method they want.  Why don’t you go after the terrorist group PETA and leave Monsanto and Bayer alone?

I was quite surprised to receive a reply the next day (click to see clearer picture):


Since this had now become a dialogue and I also believed strongly that her “opinion” was based on ignorance and incorrect philosophy, I decided to answer her more fully.


I object strongly to this: hyperbole/bad science and the implication that by selling modern corn seed it will somehow ruin 8000 years of corn-growing tradition in Mexico.

You referred to Monsanto’s “pesticide soaked, genetically engineered brand of corn farming,” but there was no evidence at all that Monsanto’s seed contains any pesticide at all (it does not) nor any information about why modern corn is bad to grow. A lot of (either ignorant or evil) people spread the lie that Monsanto’s corn contains Roundup; it does not. It has been modified to be resistant to Roundup so that if a farmer chooses to spray for weeds he doesn’t kill his corn at the same time. It has also been bred for vigor, drought resistance, pest and disease resistance and yield, all of which are good things.

Have you noticed how corn that you buy at the supermarket keeps so well in the refrigerator? 30 years ago that wasn’t true, to experience great corn on the cob it needed to be cooked within hours of being picked. Breeding has produced sugar-enhanced varieties whose sugars convert to starch much slower than older corn varieties. They’ve also been bred for longer ears with more rows of kernels and more ears per stalk. As a farmer which would you prefer, corn stalks that grow one, or maybe two short ears with 10 or 15 rows of kernels or a variety with triple the sugar content and 3 or 4 8″ ears with 25+ rows?

The 8000 year old Mexican tradition is to grow inferior corn at a significantly reduced yield – and that’s without regard to being Roundup resistant. (I’m using “inferior” to mean ears that are short, few rows of kernels, low sugar content which means most people don’t like it as much, and if you don’t eat it within 24 hours of harvest it’s already starchy. It doesn’t mean there aren’t heirloom (open-pollinated) varieties that don’t have excellent or unique flavor.)

Nevertheless, I understand that many people prefer heirloom vegetables for many, many reasons. The availability of seeds and produce of these varieties has exploded in the USA in the last dozen or so years. Every seed catalog has a huge selection of heirloom seeds. There are even entire companies dedicated solely to heirloom vegetables. Every Mexican farmer is free to choose whatever kind of corn he wants to grow. If his customers want heirloom varieties he can grow them and if they want improved corn he can grow that. There’s no reason he can’t grow both, although he’ll have to separate the two because corn is wind pollinated and he wouldn’t want the heirloom varieties being fertilized by GMO varieties. That’s not hard to do because corn pollen is heavy and doesn’t travel very far.

That leads me to some *very* bad behavior by Monsanto that I wholeheartedly condemn. They have previously sued farmers who had corn fields next to Monsanto fields because the farmers’ corn was acquiring Monsanto’s genetic material through natural pollination. That’s ridiculous, and in fact I’d support a suit by the other farmer against Monsanto contaminating their crop. It’s even more egregious because the other farmer had been growing his corn there prior to Monsanto growing their GMO corn next door. That behavior is wrong, unacceptable, immoral, unethical and should not be tolerated. I don’t recall the outcome of the lawsuit(s) but if Monsanto won it was a miscarriage of justice.

I also disagree with Monsanto’s policy of not allowing you to keep some of your harvest to plant next year. Since I’m not familiar with Monsanto’s genetics I don’t know if their corn seed comes true in subsequent generations, but it’s possible that it doesn’t. However, the farmers do sign a contract with Monsanto stating that they will not grow any of the resulting crop and they should abide by the contract if they sign it. I recently read a story of Indian farmers going broke because they couldn’t afford to keep buying Monsanto’s seeds. It’s a ridiculous situation to get yourself into, though, because you know in advance what the requirements are. So according to “the old ways” a farmer might sell 80% of his production and keep 20% to plant the next year. In the “new way” he will sell more produce (healthier, drought resistant, higher yield) and he will sell his entire crop, but he will retain X% of his income as “seed” because he knows he has to buy seed the next year. Either way you need to retain seed in some form; in fact saving seed for the next planting takes higher priority than selling crop for profit.

I recognize that Monsanto and Bayer are both bad citizens sometimes and I believe they should be held accountable for it, held accountable with harsh penalties when warranted. But also realize that both of them (and other breeders and chemical companies) have contributed to a boom in agricultural productivity that has allowed us to feed many more people per acre than was previously achievable. Trying to deprive the inhabitants of 2nd and 3rd world countries of the benefits and advantages that we have developed is cruel; it’s inhumane and only serves to promote hunger and poverty. Is it your belief that those born in less advanced countries should suffer for it? Is it preferable to give them food as alms and keep them reliant upon our generosity for their existence, always with their hand out for their next meal or should we allow them to use modern seed, modern fertilizer and modern weed, pest and disease control methods to grow 10 or 20 times more per acre and therefore thrive by their own effort? I know my answer to that question and it isn’t to keep them dependent upon us.


Ken Mosher

(About The writer: Ken is a former board of education member in Andover, CT and former candidate for first selectmen for the Libertarian Party in Windham, CT he currently resides in Andover.)

How Democratic is the U.S Constitution?

How Democratic is the U. S Constitution?

by Shane Goodrich


The U.S Constitution is often regarding as a milestone in human history in regards to fair and just treatment of a group of people, a great success of the enlightenment period, an example of democracy in action to the rest of the world, but how democratic is the U.S Constitution? For the purposes of this short paper I will use democratic in the more general sense of people having some control and legitimate ability to participate in the affairs of government.

Today I think it could be argue that the Constitution is not particularly democratic simply by virtue of it being written over 200 years ago, no one currently alive had any say in this form of government. But let us put that aside for the moment. What I want to focus on is the birth of the document. Remember this was shortly after the American Revolution. This was a time of kings & nobility, of classes enshrined in law. For much of the western world at this time, the idea of participation in government was accorded to only those of a very small elite minority. Some places such Great Britain did have a slightly larger group that could participate (via the House of Commons) but even this was very restricted.

The colonist, having lived under the rule of a king, under a system they largely had no say in wanted to create a more open system. The founder fathers tried to set up a system that would allow for both more participation in government for a wider group (though still quite restricted as we will soon see) but also a system to prevent the accumulation of power in a small minority’s or even individual’s hand.

I think in this they did succeed in creating at the time a more democratic document, one that enfranchised more people. But certainly they did not create a true democratic system. Women could not vote and slavery was in half the nation. Those were harsh realities of the times the U.S Constitution was written, women simply were 2nd class citizens, and slaves were just property all around the world.

When we think about the era the Constitution was created in I think it’s important to try to place ourselves in lives of the people who lived during those times. So I do think The U.S Constitution was a step toward a freer and more democratic society but do I think it really was democratic? No, still compared to the rest of the world in 1787 it really was a step in the right direction, away from the power of a small elite ruling classes.

-Shane Goodrich, co-host & video editor of Local Liberty

This entry was posted on September 11, 2015. 2 Comments