John McAfee and Steve Kerbel respond to Libertarian Skeptics Network questionnaire

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On January 28, 2016, a questionnaire from the Libertarian Skeptics Network (LSN) was posted on IPR.  From IPR:

The Libertarian Skeptics Network Presidential Candidate Questionnaire is presented to all candidates seeking the Libertarian nomination for President of the United States in 2016, to assess their opinions and positions on questions of importance to Libertarian Skeptics. The questions have been compiled from suggestions from LSN members. 

The questionnaire itself:

1. Would your administration respect and duly consider scientific evidence, expert consensus, cost-benefit analysis, and practice evidence-based decision-making?

2. The Libertarian platform supports the prohibition of fraud, as being no different than theft. In your view does this include the selling of fake, mislabeled, or scam medications under deliberately false claims of therapeutic effect?

3. Do you support the development of private industry and a free market in the field of aerospace, including commercial launch services based in the United States, commercial manned spaceflight, and competitive bidding in NASA procurement?

4. Do you support a free market in pharmaceuticals, and oppose laws and regulations that hinder the advancement of modern medical science, such as the length and corruption of the FDA approval process?

5. Do you oppose regulations mandating an arbitrary definition and punitive label for genetically engineered crops, and the associated implication that this life-saving technology is harmful and should be banned?

6. Do you plan to campaign on advocating the belief that the September 11th attacks, or any other recent mass shooting or terrorist attack, was a hoax staged by the United States government?

7. Do you agree that Libertarian defenses of medical freedom and personal autonomy, should not be based on false or disproven claims about the safety and efficacy of vaccination?

8. Do you agree that taxpayer money should not be wasted by the government on investigating “paranormal” phenomenon, such as alien abductions, ghosts, psychic abilities, and the like?

9. Do you oppose laws restricting or banning research in the field of genetics, including regulations that would ban consumer products derived from such research?

10. Do you agree that it is important for the Libertarian message to be presented by our candidates in a manner that is credible, honest, and demonstrating seriousness of purpose?

So far as of January 28th, 2016, Libertarian Party presidential contenders John McAfee, a former computer anti-virus software tycoon, and Colorado businessman Steve Kerbel have  responded to questionnaire (a third candidate, anarchist writer and radio host Darryl W. Perry, has said he will respond to the questionnaire tomorrow). 

John McAfee

John McAfee’s  reponses:

The following responses were received from John McAfee:

>1. Would your administration respect and duly consider scientific evidence, expert consensus, cost-benefit analysis, and practice evidence-based decision-making?

I founded an ran a multi-billion dollar business, (McAfee Inc.) and founded many other businesses which earned, or are worth tens of millions (Tribal Voice, Voice Command, Future Tense Central.). I invested in and was on the board of directors of Zone Labs, which we sold to Check Point Inc. For $400 million after just one year of operation. Scientific evidence, expert consensus, cost-benefit analysis, and practical, evidence based decision making are paramount in the success of each of these projects in my life. I am fully aware of their importance.
However, life is never as simple as these few issues. Scientific evidence is worth only as much as the scientist providing the evidence. The scientific texts are full of contradictions and in every field of science, there are competing theories and even competing empirical evidences.

Expert consensus is likewise plagued with competing “experts”, each with their own personal biases.
Cost-benefit analyses run the gamut and are and are fully dependent on the assumption set that each analyst subscribes to. They are, again, fully dependent on the analyst, rather than the reality if the thing being analyzed.
As to evidence based decision making, it can only be made based upon the evidence that is presented. Who is presenting it? What motes might the presenter have to omit facts, or to color the facts that are presented?
I wish life were simple enough that there was such a thing as pure truth – a complete set of facts that we could objectively peruse – a book that gave us the unadulterated truth, as viewed from every possible perspective. However, I have not found such a book. In my experience, the truth that we receive is filtered, colored, changed, omitted or even reversed, by the minds through which truth travels. And these minds belong to humans – a remarkable species plagued with greed, jealousy, fear, anger, judgment and a whole host of other afflictions. Our saving grace is that we also are possessed with live and grace.

It is not just using facts and truth as a basis for making decisions. It is using people with an overwhelming portion of love and grace as advisers and informers. Someone possessing these qualities will tell you the most important piece of information – “I don’t know” – when you most need it.

> 2. The Libertarian platform supports the prohibition of fraud, as being no different than theft. In your view does this include the selling of fake, mislabeled, or scam medications under deliberately false claims of therapeutic effect?

The question has an obvious answer – YES. But is this helpful?

Deception is a quality that is universal throughout all living species. Orchids in the Jungles of the Amazon grow stamens that look identical to certain species of wasps in order to lure male wasps to help pollination. Non-poisonous snakes mimic poisonous snake markings to convince predators to avoid them. Predatory fish grow protuberances that look like worms in order to lure their food. Birds Kay eggs in the nests of other species of birds so that they can avoid the energy expense feeding their offspring. Deception is a tool of evolution.
Of course it is fraudulent to mislabeled medications or to suggest cures for which the medication has no effect. But the solution to this problem has led to the FDA. The Food and Drug Administration tells us what we can or cannot do with our bodies. It tells us we cannot take certain substances and it demands that companies go through unbelievable testing to prove that heir drugs are “safe”.

There is no safety in life. None of us get out if it alive. This is the only certainty in this world.
If you want the government to protect us from fraud, then I cannot help you, nor do I have the desire to do so.

We must take responsibility for ourselves. We must do our own research, and make decisions based on our own experiences and our best judgments.

> 3. Do you support the development of private industry and a free market in the field of aerospace, including commercial launch services based in the United States, commercial manned spaceflight, and competitive bidding in NASA procurement?

I support the development of private industry and a free market in all areas, all technologies, and all industries.

> 4. Do you support a free market in pharmaceuticals, and oppose laws and regulations that hinder the advancement of modern medical science, such as the length and corruption of the FDA approval process?

Yes. I answered this fully in your “fraudulent labeling” question above.

> 5. Do you oppose regulations mandating an arbitrary definition and punitive label for genetically engineered crops, and the associated implication that this life-saving technology is harmful and should be banned?

I oppose call regulation. Period.

> 6. Do you plan to campaign on advocating the belief that the September 11th attacks, or any other recent mass shooting or terrorist attack, was a hoax staged by the United States government?

If there was a hoax, neither you, nor I, would ever know about it. The US government is in full control of what information is released. The government exists behind an impenetrable curtain. This curtain must he torn down. My campaign will not include any suspected hoax or deception by the US government.

> 7. Do you agree that Libertarian defenses of medical freedom and personal autonomy, should not be based on false or disproven claims about the safety and efficacy of vaccination?

Our bodies belong to ourselves. What we choose to do with our bodies cannot be interfered with by any person or agency. If you want to be vaccinated, the do so. If you don’t want to, then don’t. This is how it should be.

> 8. Do you agree that taxpayer money should not be wasted by the government on investing “paranormal” phenomenon, such as alien abductions, ghosts, psychic abilities, and the like?

Taxpayer money should be spent on national defense. All the rest is suspect.

> 9. Do you oppose laws restricting or banning research in the field of genetics, including regulations that would ban consumer products derived from such research?

I opposed all laws that do not directly relate to interference of one person or agency in the affairs of another person

> 10. Do you agree that it is important for the Libertarian message to be presented by our candidates in a manner that is credible, honest, and demonstrating seriousness of purpose?

Obviously. Otherwise, what are doing? (If anyone answered no to this question I will eat one of my shoes)

That being said. People who cannot laugh at themselves overpopulate our current government, and the governments of most nations. Humor is the defining difference between beasts and mankind and we, as a culture, are slowly eroding that difference. Determination, without humor, becomes oppression; Confidence becomes arrogance; influence becomes dictatorship; intelligence turns to judgement, and the heart disappears.

I have made an art out of laughing at me. Otherwise I could not tolerate myself. If you doubt this, please watch this:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bKgf5PaBzyg

{edit- final paragraph and video was accidentally cut off]

Steve Kerbel

Steve Kerbel’s responses:

The following responses were received from Steve Kerbel:

1) They key to this question is “respect and duly consider”. Of course my administration would do this. One important part of the due consideration is the consideration of the motive of those providing evidence and consensus, so the result of our consideration might end up to be adverse to those providing the evidence, should the evidence be suspect.

2) Fraud is fraud. Any intent to receive financial gain based upon purposeful misrepresentations is wrong.

3) yes, I support a free market and the ability of private industry to compete in these fields. Regarding NASA, I would prefer that these endeavors be funded on a more voluntary basis rather than taxation.

4) I believe that the FDA provides no protection for the people, and actually is detrimental to the terminally ill in their lengthy and inefficient approval process. As judged by the number of class action lawsuits agai! nst most medicines, the FDA is clearly no protection at all, so the free market should rule.

5) I oppose most regulations. In reality, the free market will take care of this. Those manufacturers which do not use GMO products will clearly label these products as GMO free. Consumers that see products without this labeling can make the safe assumption that there are likely to include GMOs, and have the choice not to buy.

6) My belief regarding 9/11 is simply that we were not told the truth by our government about this event. Not having enough evidence to pinpoint the reality of the situation, I would not campaign on this statement. We need to establish credibility with the entire voter base, and to spread unsubstantiated information would not only make us just as bad as our government, it would cost us votes.

7) As previously stated, we are the fastest growing party in the USA, and we must grow credibility with the! voter base for us to win elections. While there is conflicting data regarding vaccinations and both sides can argue with data, I find this unnecessary to include as a basis for medical freedom and personal autonomy. Self ownership is enough to say regarding this issue. we own our bodies… period.

8) There is no reason that private enterprise cannot investigate unexplained phenomena. I see no reason to steal from the people for this.

9) I oppose all laws restricting a free activity, paid for voluntarily in a process that harms no one.

10) Absolutely. As I stated previously, without a clear and credible delivery, the voters will not consider us to be a realistic alternative.

 

One response to “John McAfee and Steve Kerbel respond to Libertarian Skeptics Network questionnaire

  1. So there are Libertarian Truthers? Nuttery squared. Wait. I’ve got it. The 19 alleged attackers couldn’t have boarded planes because as True Libertarians, they had been driving without driver’s licenses.

    Like

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