answers to frequently asked questions


Got a policy or philosophical question for Edward TJ Brown?  Want to engage in some friendly debate?  Feel free to send him an email or find him on social media.  I'll post questions/answers here.    I touch upon various political-philosophical issues and I do not shy away from expressing an opinion or viewpoint on hot button issues.  If you want to try and change my mind, please feel free to contact me.

 

Q) Have you ever run for elected office before?

 

A) Yes, in 2001 I was a candidate for Moorhead City mayor.   It was a nonpartisan election, but I identified as an Independent with some libertarian leanings (I discovered Ayn Rand/libertarianism in high school and by 2001 I had came to find the ideology to be deeply flawed).  The focus of my campaign was on the following key points;

  1. Get local students involved in the political process;
  2. Give the local human rights commission more authority;
  3. Support more affordable housing and last, but not least;
  4. Defend civil liberties.

 Q) Do you consider yourself to be pro-life or pro-choice?

 

I do not really fit into the pro-life or pro-choice camp.  I wrote a letter to the editor about my problems with both groups. I do not believe in "abortion on demand", but I also do not support all the of restrictions sought by pro-life groups.

  1. I generally oppose criminal penalties for abortion (pre-viability), and feel that in certain circumstances  (rape or incest) indigent women should be receive public assistance in procuring an abortion;
  2. I generally oppose demographic abortions (i.e. a woman seeking an abortion because of the race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation or disability of the child) and late term abortions.   Individual States, not the Federal government, should be free to regulate/ban these types of abortion;
  3. I generally support parental notification laws (with reasonable exemptions);
  4. I generally oppose laws that require an abortion doctor to be licensed at the local hospital.
  5. I generally believe that pro-life Crisis Pregnancy groups are protected by the First Amendment.
  6. I generally support expanded access to comprehensive sex education and family planning (including birth control) services to prevent the spread of disease and unplanned pregnancies.
  7. I generally support making adoption/foster care easier, and fully support interracial families as well as same-sex couples adopting/having custody of children.
  8. At the State level, I would generally prefer it if the State courts and state legislature avoided the abortion issue all together.  Let it be decided by the people directly through an Initiative and Referendum process.  I drafted such a proposed amendment here.

Q) Do you support the re-legalization of marijuana?  What about other drugs?

 

I do not believe that the War on Drugs has been successful at keeping communities safe, preventing and treating drug addictions or teaching our children to, "just say no."    I do not believe that legalization of all drugs is the solution either.

  1. Individual States should be free to re-legalize (marijuana was originally legal) and regulate marijuana use when it involves adults (21+).   Pot is hardly harmless, but it is about as dangerous as alcohol and should be regulated in a similar manner;
  2. Tough penalties should be imposed on drug dealers -- especially if they are dealing to persons under the age of 21 --, drug kingpins and criminal gangs.  However, nonviolent drug addicts should be referred to special 'drug courts' that emphasize treatment and rehabilitation.;
  3. anti-drug Educational programming for kids and young adults needs to be effective; and
  4. I do not support a ban on tobacco, and I am skeptical about raising the tax on tobacco.  I do support effective public education programming and raising the minimum wage to 21.

Q) What about prostitution (aka trafficking of human beings)

 

I do not believe that prostitution is a 'victimless crime'.   All too often it involves persons under the age of 21 and outright slavery.  Very, very few adults -- female or male -- genuinely want to become a prostitute and would very much prefer a different career.

  1. Tough penalties should be imposed on human traffickers, especially when children are involved, and victims should be treated as victims and not criminals;
  2. Beyond the issue of border security and interstate commerce, the legal status of prostitution is something that should be determined at the State, not Federal level.  I would prefer seeing more emphasis placed on rehabilitation and harm reduction.  I do not see the wisdom in criminalizing the prostitutes, but can see some value in having criminal penalties for pimps and the clients.

Q) Which lives matter? Black or Blue?

 

I truly believe that all lives matter, with the understanding that we need to address the concerns (i.e. criminal justice reform and voting rights) of both people of color and members of law enforcement.    Depicting all police officers or all Black Lives Matters proponents as evil, does not really help facilities the type of conversations that need to occur in order to protect justice and public safety.

  1. The War on Drugs is a failure and we need to develop new strategies to combat drug addiction.
  2. Citizens of color have a right (as do all citizens) to peacefully assembly, to vote, to run for elected office and to support a political cause.
  3. Members of law enforcement are (generally) underpaid and have legit concerns about personal safety as well as public safety.
  4. I do not support the abolishment of the police.  I reject anarchy as much as I reject fascism.

Q) What are your opinions about Minnesota Line 3?

  1. I generally support the oil industry as a source of jobs and reliable energy;
  2. I generally support the development of alternative fuel resources to compete with oil;
  3. I generally support native American treaty rights and self-determination.  The Oil industry needs to work with the democratically elected Tribal governments.  If you see my thoughts on election law reform, you will note that I support giving native Americans more direct control over their lives.

Q) What are your opinions on the Second Amendment?

  1. I believe that the 2nd Amendment protects a fundamental liberty interest of adult citizens to keep and bear arms as well as the right of States to have militias.   I reject the intolerance of gun owners by some people on the political left, just as I reject the intolerance of the LGBTQ community by some people on the political right.  I wrote a letter to the editor about this intolerance;
  2. No right -- not the First or Second Amendment -- is absolute.  Gun control must reward responsible gun ownership and establish reasonable penalties for irresponsible gun ownership. 

Q) What are your opinions on LGBTQ rights?

  1. I do not believe in assigning rights to citizens based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  Instead I believe in universal human rights, in this case the right of an individual to decide for him or herself the sex that they prefer to date, marry and live as;
  2. I believe in religious freedom and the freedom to associate.  Both rights -- protected by our First Amendment -- do require providing certain exemptions to LGBTQ civil rights legislation.  However, LGBTQ civil rights legislation should exist;
  3. Whether or not transsexual athletes should play on the boys or girls team is something that the government should not get involved with.   It should be left up to the respective private, athletic association or club.   Much like whether or not a church should recognize transsexuals or (for that matter) recognize same-sex marriage is something best left up to each church.

Q) What are your views on Affirmative Action?

  1. Affirmative Action is still necessary (for women and minorities), but its use should be narrowed and more focus spent on being underprivileged on the account of economic class. 
  2. I oppose quotas and support the existence of bona fide job qualifications.

Q) What are your views on teaching civics/patriotism in public schools?

  1. I support teaching NONPARTISAN civic education (including patriotism) in public schools and public colleges and universities;
  2. I support letting students recite the Pledge of Allegiance and the American's Creed in public institutions;

Q)  What are your views on capital punishment?

  1.  Individual States have the right to abolish or maintain capital punishment; personally I am worry about an imperfect system sentencing people to die and wonder if capital punishment makes us safer or gives us the illusion of making us safer;
  2. Capital punishment should only be on the table for particularly vicious or violent crimes;
  3. Defendants in capital trials need proper legal representation.

Q) What are your views on protecting the American flag?

  1.  I favor teaching flag etiquette (respect for the American and Minnesota flag) as part of a NONPARTISAN civics class.
  2. If we really want to stop the burning of American or Minnesota flags, we should simply make flags out of asbestos.

Q) What are your views on agriculture policy?

  1. Farmers should be able to sell their crops anywhere in the world;
  2. Farmers should be able to grow and sell hemp;
  3. Former Congressman Collin Petersen had the right view on agriculture policy; and
  4. We need a balanced policy that supports our farmers, while also promoting conservation.

Q) What are your views on election law reform?

  1. I support the political liberty of all Americans and the right of citizens to participate in free, fair and competitive elections.  Election law should respect the free, fair and competitive nature of American representative government.
  2. I favor Statehood for Puerto Rico, if its people support such a move;
  3. I favor lowering the voting age for school board elections, in order to prepare high school students for civic participation;
  4. I support granting Statehood to Washington DC or having Washington DC become part of a neighboring State;
  5. I support making the head of the Federal Indian Affairs Bureau an elected position.  The members of each recognized tribe would vote -- say every four years -- on the position;
  6. I believe that we can take measures to protect against voter fraud without disenfranchising voters due to their race, color, age, disability or income;
  7. I support letting cities and (in time) States to adopt ranked choice voting;
  8. I support letting States with multiple Congressional seats adopt a legit form of proportional representation;
  9. I object to public debate rules that exclude serious candidates;
  10. Ballot access regulations for an otherwise qualified candidate or political party should not exist to insulate any incumbent candidate or party from electoral competition. 

 Q)  What are your views on Israel?

  1. I support the right of Israel to exist and defend itself;
  2. I oppose the boycotts of Israel;
  3. I support the two-state solution to the peace process;
  4. I oppose discrimination in Israel against its Arab citizens;
  5. I generally support the work of Partners For Progressive Israel;
  6. I oppose sectarian violence and human rights abuses no matter if they are committed by Palestinians or Israelis.

 Q) What are your views on free trade polices?

  1. I support free trade policies with free nations, which (in particular) means the right of workers to unionize and bargain collectively;
  2. International organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and, yes, the United Nations should open themselves up to more democratic checks and balances.

Q) What are your views on the Afghanistan and Iraqi Wars?

  1. I fully support the U.S. invasion/regime change of Afghanistan.  I am worried that as U.S. troops pull out, the Taliban will regain territory. 
  2. I objected to the Iraqi War (the second one) mainly because it seemed less about keep America safe and more about the Bush family getting revenge against Saddam.  I lose no sleep over the regime change, but it was been poorly handled and what exists in a post-Saddam Iraqi is not really democracy.
  3. I also believe that not enough has been done to help the U.S. Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraqi war.
  4. Gulf War syndrome is real and needs to be talked about more.

Q) What are your views on U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders? U.S. Senator Rand Paul?

  1.  Senator Sanders and Senator Paul are both charismatic men, and they sometimes have a few good ideas.  Their idealogical-based politics should be part of free market democracy, but I am skeptical about their entire respective platforms.  

Q) What are your views on former President Ronald Reagan?

  1. I generally agree with the Reagan administration's hard line against Communism.  Beyond that, and maybe one or two other things, I cannot think of much that I particularly like about his policies.

Q) What are your views on Former President Donald Trump?

  1. The entire Trump campaign/presidency reminds me of the presidential election of 1840.  To quote from a very good book, this election was "the first -- but certainly not the last -- national presidential campaign characterized by dirty tricks, race bating and the promotion of form over substance."  (Manhood In America: A Cultural History, pg 37.  1996).

Q) What are your views on the Affordable Care Act?

  1. I support the Affordable Care Act, but feel it needs to be mended, as opposed to ended.

Q) What are your views on the border wall? Immigration?

  1.  I believe that America has a proud tradition of being a nation of immigrants.  President Reagan gave a very good speech on the subject.  Americans of every nationality, race, color, and religion are entitled to equal civil rights under the law. Having said that, no nation can have a totally "open" immigration policy and no party in America -- except maybe the libertarians -- have suggested otherwise.
  2. If you want to build the border wall, go right ahead and build it.  Just do not expect a foreign government to pay for it and don't expect it do much in terms of keeping Americans safe.