Delivered by Libertarian National Committee Chair, Whitney Bilyeu

For just over 230 years, the President of the United States has addressed Congress and the nation to deliver an annual message. This message has been delivered during good times and bad, times of prosperity and times of need, and throughout most of my life — during times of war.

Tonight for over an hour, the 46th President of the United States bloviated and pandered his way through the same old tired partisan proposals for tax increases, spending increases, price controls, escalating the failed war on drugs, and a laundry list of things he has not been able to accomplish. Is it any wonder that only 37% of Americans approve of the job this President is doing?

As expected, the opposition Party’s response, though shorter, was no better — both sides Propagandizing where it suits them — and perpetuating fear, uncertainty, and doubt in an attempt to endear the People to the heavy hand of government. The only way the two establishment parties seem to improve their support is by making each other look worse and worse in an unending race to the bottom.

From the vantage point of Libertarians, the State of the Union is… wrong.

President Biden spent a significant amount of time speaking about Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine and what the US response has been thus far. He reiterated that the US will not send troops to fight a war with Russia in Ukraine, but is pulling American men and women away from their homes for deployment to NATO countries in Europe. While the Libertarian Party, too, opposes involving American troops in the war in Ukraine, we recognize that a long history of rushing into conflicts around the globe leaves both old parties with damaged track records as peacemakers. So, the Libertarian Party will be plain and clear. Under no circumstances should we enter into another war that would cost thousands of American lives and significantly increase the already $30 trillion national debt.  We call on Americans from across the political spectrum to join us in holding this administration accountable for demonstrating a commitment to peace.

Furthermore, the Libertarian Party stands in solidarity with the Russian people who widely reject the actions of their tyrannical president, and who do not want war with their Ukrainian neighbors. In a statement released last week, the Libertarian Party of Russia urged foreign decision makers against “a collectivist approach to sanctions.” They went on to say “Russian people as a whole are not responsible for this atrocity and do not condone it. This is being perpetrated by individuals. And we ask that blame and punishment be meted out individually as well.” We stand with the Libertarian Party of Russia, and with the many others condemning the actions of their government. We stand with them in entreating policy makers and everyday Americans alike to ensure that as we sever ties with the Russian autocrats aggressing against the people of Ukraine, we do not abandon those amongst the Russian people risking their lives and livelihoods to overcome the tyranny of the regime.

While sanctions against bloodthirsty megalomaniacs are understandably a reasonable response, we must not allow our actions to bring more harm to innocent people in Russia or Ukraine. The United States should immediately take steps to welcome all refugees fleeing the region. This immoral war, as with continuing conflicts in the Middle East, and China perpetually threatening the sovereignty of the people of Hong Kong and Taiwan, ought to stir in our nation a spirit of love and compassion for the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. 

And while we are on the point of people in Russia who should not be treated as villains and who deserve safe passage to the United States:

Mr. President, the Libertarian Party again beseeches you to immediately pardon Edward Snowden — let him come home to the country for which he did a great service. 

If there has been an inspirational lesson from the past several days, it is that when the ruling class fails to do what is right, there are leaders among the people who will see us through the darkest days. The heroes among us will be remembered. Right now, the Ukrainian people are exhibiting a courage most of us will never be asked to find within ourselves. A former boxing champion, a 24-year-old waiter, and a musician who has traded his guitar for a rifle are among the tens of thousands of civilians who have registered with militias and taken action to protect their homes — their liberty.  As many of us have seen their stories and so many others, it is only human nature to imagine ourselves in their shoes and ask how we would rise to such a challenge. Comedian turned Ukrainian President, Volodimir Zelensky is only 44 years old, and left his career as an entertainer only 3 years ago. He likely never imagined being in this situation — yet he has not abandoned his post, nor sent his people to do a job he wasn’t willing to do himself. In the Ukrainian people we see those willing to sacrifice everything for sovereignty, for independence — for liberty. To call this inspiring is an understatement. What we have seen tonight from the ruling elites in our own country is an annual display of political theater. But while our leaders posture, individual people in America and around the world have not been idle. 

Very soon after Putin’s invasion began, internet capabilities were destroyed for large parts of Ukraine. It was not a world leader or another government, but billionaire Elon Musk who received a cry for help in the form of a Tweet from the Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister. Less than 12-hours later, that plea was answered when Elon activated his satellite-based internet service Starlink in Ukraine and sent them a shipment of additional receivers. This is the same man who paid more than $11 billion in taxes in 2020. There is no reason to believe that our government will spend Elon’s money better than he would.  

Individual Americans are some of the most charitable people in the world. When we find a problem, we want to fix it.  When we see a need, we want to fill it.  When we are confronted by a challenge, we want to rise to it. The President has committed nearly a billion dollars in assistance to Ukraine. We propose that tax relief to the American people will allow all individuals to spend, to give, and to offer assistance to those in need – whether in a warzone abroad or in crisis here at home – in accordance with our own values and judgements.

We Libertarians set ourselves apart from the establishment parties in many ways. We do not pretend to have the solution for every problem — or an answer for everything. That is precisely why we trust you – the American people – more than the government.  Without the assistance of committees, studies, reports, or bureaucracy, you intimately understand the challenges you face in your daily life, and how best to address them without being tainted by the pursuit of personal power or feeling beholden to special interests. The foolishness and lust for power of those who think they can better plan our lives has led to countless conflicts and crises that have deeply divided our nation. Perhaps nowhere has this been more strongly felt over the past year than in the government response to the ongoing pandemic.

President Biden alluded to pandemic fatigue — to Americans growing weary of government imposed restrictions in the name of public health. In reality, Americans have expressed not just fatigue, but anger and outrage against the heavy hand of government that promotes and perpetuates mandates, division, and isolation instead of choice,  liberty and cooperation. From the earliest days of the pandemic under the previous administration, any attempts at peaceful dialogue and sensible advice was drowned out by political vilification, and this administration has done nothing but amplify that. 

At what seemed like providential timing for a failing administration, the CDC all but lifted its masking requirements this week. This move comes long after the effectiveness of these policies have been called into question, and after politicians on the left and right have reduced masking to a wedge issue, rather than a serious and meaningful attempt at mitigation. Earlier this year the Supreme Court partially ruled against Biden’s vaccine mandates. Libertarians, of course, celebrate the easing of government infringement on bodily autonomy, though the mandates should never have been deemed acceptable in the first place. 

As these federal mandates and restrictions are starting to fade, we must continue to push for the end of any such policies from any level of government, and acknowledgement from this administration of the social and economic distress and devastation they have caused our families, children, and small businesses. 

COVID is not the last crisis and perhaps not even the last pandemic we will face. We likely have not seen the last case or last variant yet. But we must learn from the failures of the government’s overreaching approach these last two years.

Libertarianism at its core is about human cooperation — about how freedom and choice are the pathways to peace and prosperity. It is force and aggression that lead to anger, discord, uncooperativeness, and violence.

President Biden asked Congress to confirm his list of nominees for the Federal Reserve. We call on this administration to end the era of unstable, unreliable, and irresponsible fiat currency.  It is time to end the federal reserve. If you won’t end it, at the very least audit it. Or, stand aside and make way for someone else who is willing to finally place our economic stability ahead of political and special interests. 

Americans are certainly feeling the effects of out of control inflation. The annual US inflation rate hit 7% last December and there is no indication that it will soon reverse course. When we go to the grocery store today we are paying approximately 6% more than this time last year. Gas prices are 58% higher than just one year ago.

The current economic hardship is not a simple problem caused by one wrong step — it is the result of months, years, and sometimes decades of poor economic decisions and policy. The current supply chain crisis and the labor shortage we are experiencing in the United States are clear symptoms of an economy that has been and continues to be deeply and disastrously mismanaged. An important contributor no doubt is our government’s obscene spending habits. So what does President Biden propose? More spending, price controls, tax increases.  

Free people and free markets, consumer choice, and free trade are the paths to economic strength – not more government intervention, meddling by central planners, and an ever-growing burden on American companies and consumers.  And I cannot believe this has to be said, but inflation cannot be combatted by printing more and more money.

We cannot continue the failed fiscal and monetary policies of every recent administration and expect to end up in a more stable place. 

As a People, all Americans are threatened by our government — the officials we elect use force, coercion, and theft to control and manipulate us, turning us against one another — distracting us from what they are doing behind the curtains, all while insisting that they are more capable than we are of making the important decisions that shape and guide our own lives.

While the duopoly pushes us closer and closer to the intersection of socialism and fascism, the Libertarian Party, alongside our candidates and elected officials….resists. That resistance is growing and is evidenced by the surge of Libertarian Party members, supporters, and voters around the country. 

The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States.  Across the country there is a call for a new voice in the same stale political conversation that propagates the status quo at the expense of the American people. A yearning for a reasonable, thoughtful, responsible voice – for someone to be the adults in the room. Join us in providing that voice.

We are choosing to unite against oppression and overreach. Across the country, we have over 350 elected Libertarians — taking action everyday to minimize the impact of government in our lives, actively seeking justice, and promoting individual solutions to the universal problems we face.

Perhaps, American Anthropologist Margaret Mead expressed it best when she reminded us to “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

Join us in thoughtfully changing the world.  Thank you, and good night.

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