I was born in the heart of New York City, Manhattan. I was lovingly given up by my birth parents who couldn't raise me and luckily adopted when I was only a few weeks old. My adopted mother (my mom) was a German immigrant who worked as a clerk and waitress. My adopted father (my pop) was a serviceman, a cop and then a corrections officer, who died of cancer when I was a pre-teen. I joined the Marines at 17 as an escape and as a way to find positive male role-models. That is where I truly I learned to understand the value of voluntary service and the traits of honor and courage.
After my mom lost my pop to cancer and me to the Marines, she collapsed into self-medication; first with legal substances, and then illegal. She eventually lost everything and became a convicted felon. I helped her rebuild her life and I saw first-hand how hard life can be for someone convicted of a non-violent, victimless crime. She paid for her "crime" until the day she died. I saw how cruel the system can be.
I wanted much more for myself and my family. I knew the only way was for me to take responsibility for my future. I started my first business, but sold it after a mediocre start. I bounced back with another business that took off, but was devastated during the 2008 crash. Again, I picked myself back up and began once more. Today, I have built a successful organization and helped many other organizations to be better, more effective and more efficient. I have fallen many times, but I know the value of persistance, so I always get back up.
I believe strongly in the power of individuals. It is the power of one that moves the crowd and creates a movement. Spiritually, I'm an atheist. I identify as a Humanist, because I know that if humans do better, then the world will be better. I trust in us. However, I recognize that my beliefs are good for me and me only. I have never, and will never push my beliefs on others, not even my own family. My family is a member of the Greek Orthodox church and my children go to a Greek Orthodox school. I believe that whatever makes you a better person is what is right for you.
These are some of the aspects of my life that have made me a Libertarian and affect my views on the issues.
LIST OF ISSUES
The Future Role of Government
Government has moved away from "protect and serve" and toward "comply or be beaten". Our population has moved away from "let's fix this together" and towards "there should be a law" for every problem or concern. We have forgotten that every great progression in America was started by a movement of individuals, that was initially stifled by the government and then finally, validated by government after severe and often violent battles. Now, somehow, we have rewritten this history and made government the pro-active star of the story. For too many, government is now the white knight that will save and protect us. So, we have allowed government to become sacred. This needs to change. The future of government must be a shift from righteous enforcer to proactive facilitator of individual choice and opportunity. This means using the carrot more than the stick with simple and fair rules that encourage and assist in creating equal opportunity for all Americans; Instead of the current way of using the stick to try to force equal outcomes for everyone while actually empowering the elite among us.
Foreign Policy and National Defense
We have been in perpetual war since 1941. There is no such thing as the Department of Defense. It's the Department of War and that needs to change. For the past 75 years the Democrats and Republicans have owned the Congress, the Presidency and at times both, but neither has done anything to shrink the Military Industrial Complex. Nor have they taken care of the 10s of thousands of my brothers and sister veterans that have come home broken. This is shameful and a priority needs to be reintergration of vets into civilian life. We need their dedication and leadership.
"They hate us cuz we're free!" is a silly lie. They hate us cuz we are in their countries. We need to disband the empire and bring our troops home. This idea of military empire has failed. Every country we've invaded since 1950 ended up worse off than before we invaded. Cut the budget, close the bases, let countries solve their own problems and guard their own borders, while we take care of our troops and our own borders.
The best "weapon" that we have ever had is our culture of freedom and opportunity. Around the world, people may say that the hate the US Government, but they love the people. They protest, but they are the first in line to get a VISA to the US. We need to openly and aggressively trade with ALL nations. This will turn them into trading partners and friends. This will encourage democracy and capitalism at THEIR pace, not ours. This will make us safer than we are now, improve our economy and give us better political leverage throughout the world.
Jobs and the Economy
The current wealth gap is a real probem in America. Many Americans are under-employed and most Americans are unhappy at their current job. Democrats want to punish business and Republicans want to punish foreigners. Both are worng. The economy for most Americans is not stagnant because of either. It's stagnant because of technology. In prior downturns, recovery meant jobs. Now, with the new technology, companies retool or use technology to outsource, so recovery means streamlining and very few new jobs. These other jobs aren't coming back. The answer is the same as it was when the industrial revolution hit us. We must expand the economy, grow the pie. That comes from freer trade, simpler rules, a very pro-small buisness environment, as well as, a full acceptance of new technology and full assimilation of "sin" industries into the economy and out of the black market. This will allow Americans to create more new businesses and therefore the new jobs to support the new technology and put us back to work in good jobs.
I'm a child of an immigrant and my wife is an immigrant. Immigrants are a critical part of American growth and strength and this must NEVER be stifled. Immigrants help build and grow the nation, create jobs, do jobs that native born Americans don't want to do and bring new ideas and cultures to us. The brian drain that we have enjoyed from the world has helped to make us great in science and business specifically.
Work Visas should be made as simple as possible for any illegal immigrant that currently works in the US and has not been convicted of a violent crime. Then a pathway to citizenship should also be made available for those who want it, as long as this does not negatively impact those who came here legally. Entry into the country to work should be simplified with the required background checks and/or sponsored companies, and a new "Ellis Island" should be set up so we can go back to what the Statue of Liberty would want.
Criminal Justice and Prohibition
The Prison Industrial Complex is a huge stain on US culture. Our worshiping of the law has made us feel like breaking the law is a "sin" worthy of eternal damnation and punishment. Illegal does NOT mean wrong. It currently means that a lobbyist thinks it's a bad idea and probably hurts his/her government protected advantage. Have we forgotten that Martin Luther King Jr,. Gandhi, our Founding Fathers and Harriet Tubman were all outlaws?
We should look at law in two ways:
1. Laws change. Principles don't. In fact strong principles are what often change the law. So, does the law fit with our principles? If not, it's probably a bad law. The vast majority of prohibition laws (substance, sexual and contractual) are bad laws becuase they stop consenting adults from doing something that makes them happy but does not affect others.
2. Laws mean violence. If you don't comply, at one point people with guns will come for you and take away your freedom and property. Is the "infraction" worthy of violence? Is there a victim where life, liberty or property was damaged or stolen? Then aboslutley, yes. If not, we need to rethink it.
Government can use benefits and choice architecture to encourage positive behavior WITHOUT violence or law. Prizes, tempory breaks and extenstions, tempory advantages in the market are just a few tools available to consider.
The War on Drugs has to end now. It encorages bad cops to become monsters and good cops to become apathetic. It does FAR more harm than good and the damage is so deep that it has scared our nation for decades. It has caused a militarization our police force to a point where many of our cities look like war zones we are being occupied by a foreign power. When you add that many forces are funded by seizing property, the populace is now a hunting ground for the police! It needs to end now.
Term Limits and Sunsets
Everything the government does should be limited, whether in time or money. While we can't stop selfish or misguided legislators from making bad laws, we can sunset them all so that, if not voted on again, they go away in six years. They will have gotten their press and/or re-election, so they won't care anymore. Along with this, has to be single issue voting rules. In addition, legislators should be limited to 12 years in Congress.