You Own You
I Own Me
Respect That and We’ll Live Peacefully
July 27, 2010
I admire and whole-heartedly endorse the scientific method. It’s a systematic approach to exploration and fact-finding that can help us frail humans steer away from the False and toward the Truth. One of those mistakes is allowing opinion or sources of funding to color one's findings. Another is to wander into public policy advocacy.
Science Turns Authoritarian is a short and worthwhile article about exactly that.
My take? Just your findings, please. We don't need your stinking rules!
July 24, 2010
“We don't want to fight,
Yet by jingo, if we do,
We've got the ships, we've got the men,
And got the money, too!”
— popular 19th century song critical of the British government.
“We secretly fight the right,
And by journo, when we do,
We slant the news, mold the country's views,
And sway it's future, too!”
— 21st century song mocking those who aren’t on or don’t know about the “JournoList”(1).
May 17, 2010
They say you can learn a lot about someone simply by observing how they treat the wait staff at a restaurant.
I say you can learn just about all you need to know about someone by understanding their political views.
The first tells you how they'll treat others when somebody’s watching.
The second tells you how they'll treat others when nobody’s watching.
April 12, 2010
From recent US Census ads:
“The Census. It’s how we get our fair share of funding for the things we need.”
“It’s how we might get something tangible in return for what the Feds took from us.”
Bribed with our own money, and most insidiously, that of others.
March 25, 2010
“We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money.”
—Colonel David "Davy" Crockett, from The Life of Colonel David Crockett.
“…when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people.”
—Horatio Bunce schooling Congressman Crockett, from The Life of Colonel David Crockett.
Enjoy the satire Barack Obama Meets Horatio Bunce.
March 11, 2010
Some folks on the Left have either deluded themselves or are playing a very high-stakes word game trying to delude us, so we must all be on full alert. Compelling words strung together into a grammatically proper sentence aren't necessarily coherent or correct. And siren songs such as this one which we might wish were correct can be downright corrosive to public discourse and confidence in government. In our time there are wolves wearing human clothing and holding high office. We must examine their words very very carefully, lest those animals eventually own us.
February 20, 2010
A friend recently told me she isn’t going to the Tax Day Tea Party protest on April 15 in Washington since she’ll be going to the protest near where we live in Richmond, just 100 miles from Washington, DC. Of course that is fine, but it has inspired this response to her:
It is interesting to reflect on the fact that April 15 is the Federal tax day. That is to say that it is The Feds with whom we have our biggest beef in the rally on that day. So my thinking is that it is to The Feds that we must take our case. Hence, I go to Washington. Many living farther from Washington cannot easily make the journey that we can. Will you reconsider?
However, I do believe it an egregious violation of federalism (“layered” federal / state / locality / people government) that the Federal government levies direct taxes on The People in the first place. By rights, this should be something we could settle locally with action or protest. It seems to me that federalism implies that most (all?) taxes would be levied on The People, by The Locality and/or State in which they live.(1) The Feds would then be funded by The States as our state representatives see fit as part of our delegation to the federal assembly. Under those conditions the states really would be the jealous and vigilant guardians of their own (and our) power that the founders seem to have envisioned. That the federal government bypasses the states/localities in this way is but one of the ways that we have almost completely lost control of the federal government. This leaves individuals bare and naked and nearly powerless against the great and powerful fed. The Localities and States would be powerful allies and our true representatives in this fight were it not for the direct federal tax on the people. Please convince me that the problem we’re dealing with is not really this serious!
The direct, popular election of federal senators(2) has a similar effect of mitigating state and local power, as does the fact that senators and representatives are federal employees.(3) It scares me as I tell you this and remember that many folks out there think that all we need to do to set things right is to “go back” to the Constitution. Federal senators and representatives ought to be employees of the state or locality that they represent should they not??? The Constitution seems to say otherwise, and I’m prepared to vehemently argue the contrary. It also says that each person gets one vote in federal elections, despite the enormous disparity in what we each pay to support the federal government. This calculus guarantees eventual collapse.(4) Again, convince me it ain’t so!
February 2, 2010
Hillsdale College(1) held a live US Constitution Town Hall meeting live on the web last Saturday called “Reviving the Constitution”.
Some folks think we don’t need a constitution. Let them read about kings, dictators, socialism, and pure democracy and the misery they cause, and they will learn why we must never ever try any of those at home.
Some folks think the constitution is out of date. That’s why the constitution describes precise procedures for it’s own amendment in Article V.
Some folks don’t know what the constitution is. I like to think of it as the federal government’s job description. By design it assigns certain specific powers and duties to the federal government and explicity leaves all the rest up to us(2).
Some folks talk about a “social contract”. The US Constitution is the only thing that could possibly be the social contract of which they speak. But I get the impression that those folks have something a bit more flexible in mind than that. That is why we have a constitution, and precisely why it is a written document.
Some folks think the federal government decades ago jumped it’s constitutional fence, and now wanders at large about the countryside attempting to solve everybody’s problems, without authority and regardless of cost or whether individual people like it or not. Yeah, that’s me. I don’t want a Nanny State and sure as hell don’t take kindly to being forced to fund or cooperate with yours! Hire Your Own Nanny! Crown You Own King! We Got Rid Of Ours In 1776!
January 13, 2010
Several years ago Google gained access to the internet search market in China by agreeing with China’s rulers to censor search results.(1) It was disappointing that a large American company would make such a compromise, but I defend their right to do so. Many companies must have wrestled with similar dilemmas and probably concluded as Google did that their job #1 is to deliver value to their customers.
Companies are not governments. They provide their customers with what they want and will pay for. The only power and respect they have is that which their customers grant by trading with them. Each of us may revoke whatever respect or power we’ve granted them simply by suspending that trade. Companies know that, they want to trade with us, and so they tend to behave! (2) No nebulous “Social Contract” or hard-to-enforce Constitution is needed to regulate this behavior. They make their offerings and we each make our own choices. How wonderful it would be if politicians and governments were so easily regulated!
But Google is changing it’s mind about China. It announced today that the company will take A new approach to China.(3) In a nutshell: Google will stop censoring, and if that’s not legal in China, Google will leave. This is a difficult move which deserves encouragement. Consider sending a quick note of support to Press@Google.com as I did. Here’s what I wrote:
“ Way To Go Google! You're doing the right thing by stopping your cooperation with censorship in China! Wish you hadn't given in to it in the first place! Do your best to STAY in China without censorship. Perhaps an offshore pirate operation is possible. ”
January 13, 2010 — I wrote this article in April. I don’t recall why I didn’t publish it then.
What follows is my April 13, 2009 comment about Rob Enderle’s article, Could Google Be the Most Dangerous Company in the World?, which raises the issue of yet another large company accumulating great power and influence. What if it abuses that power? What if it makes mistakes? Should the government “step in”, or would doing that become yet another stumble?
Google’s power comes from those who choose to use it’s services. Being a product of the new wired world makes Google exquisitely vulnerable to the whims, opinions, and actions of it’s guests and customers.
I won’t dispute what you say, Rob, but the internet provides the most direct and effective means to take action on whatever one thinks or feels about Google. The web is an interactive medium. If one doesn’t like what Google does, one can take immediate action by avoiding dealings with it and it’s advertisers, publicizing its mis-deeds, and other means. Politics and government, to the contrary, have proven time and again to be a decidedly NON-interactive and sluggish medium for action.
Put simply, I believe it self-evident that we as individuals have far more power over companies in the marketplace than we have over our own government. (1) I think folks will find their own measured individual actions against Google or any other company’s missteps to be not only more satisfying, but far superior to Acts of Congress or other political action. (2)
This applies not only to Google but to all companies, no matter how much market power and influence they accumulate. Likewise, this applies not only to the federal government but to all governments, no matter now much political power and influence they accumulate. Why? Market power is profoundly easier and more satisfactorily controlled than political power. Instead of loaning it every few years to some politician in a far-off city to make hundreds of choices for us, we wield it ourselves each and every day in the profusion of individual choices and purchases we make for ourselves. This is one of the fundamental reasons why political power absolutely must be limited.
December 16, 2009
Most of you know I strive to ensure that my views concerning public affairs are as head-tested as they are heart-felt. Many of you also know that I’m single and maintain a profile on Match.com. On Match I’ve been running into too many women who feel that taking from some persons to give to other persons for a “good cause” is a “good thing”. True to emotional form, they insist that this unjust, inhumane, and war-like view is instead a just, humane, peaceful, and above-all, progressive one!
Now this is decidedly FreeDumb, so to politely repel these women and to attract studiously FreeSmart-minded women, I recently added a little “preamble” at the beginning of my profile. I include it here because it is so fundamental to my thinking and to that of every Libertarian:
Until now I’ve avoided politics in my Match profile, but I have come to think that fundamental relationship values rest on the same bedrock in public affairs, friendship, love, and the rest of life, so I think it necessary to outline my most basic moral concerns up front. I’m anxious to meet you if your values rest upon fundamentals similar to these:
1) Every person owns their body, their life, and their creations.(1)
2) Initiating or threatening physical force or fraud against a person’s body, life, or creations is wrong.(2)
3) This value is The fundamental precondition to living a just, humane, and peaceful life with others. It is rooted in observation, not belief, and leaves every person entirely free to hold themselves to additional, higher standards based upon observations or beliefs of their own choosing.
4) Violation of this value is called crime, and persons who violate it, criminals.
5) Governments which violate this value are criminal, which unfortunately is the primary public affairs challenge of our time.(3)
6) Voluntarily giving of or sharing one’s body, life, and creations with others can be richly rewarding. Being forced to give or share cannot.
Prospective friends holding this view are rare. If you share this or a similar view I’m very anxious to meet you!
December 16, 2009
This is an improved version of the message I emailed to Virginia Senator Mark Warner today.
Subject: Healthcare Cost
Your Chief of Staff Luke Albee told many dozens of citizens in Washington on December 15 that you would vote against "National Healthcare" if you thought it would not decrease healthcare costs. Three questions:
1) Is this true? If it is:
2) What is the cost of the freedom of choice that every US citizen will lose if this bill passes, and how do you intend to balance that considerable loss against promised healthcare savings when calculating your vote?
3) I assert to you that it is an impossible balance for any persons to properly and justly make for others. Yet, finding yourself considering this impossible task, you do not seem to notice the futility of this and point it out publicly. Why?
December 14, 2009
Subject: Your felon caller response provides ammunition to the left.
Glenn, your response to that felon caller in the final half-hour of your Monday December 14 radio show unfortunately provided ammunition to superficial critics on the left.
Why? You didn't refute the argument of the felon on Obama's staff! In fact, you didn't even DESCRIBE his argument for those like me who've yet to hear it! Clearly you disagree with his “blueprint for our future” yet you spent all of our time with that caller discussing it's author's felon status!
I get it that a felon on The Whitehouse staff is a red flag. You get it that addressing arguments is the point of debate. Your critics get it that in that few minutes today you chose to address labels instead of arguments.
Superficiality won the moment, making their job easier and our job harder.
Congress will read every bill. Each bill shall be read aloud in it’s entirety in each house of congress at least two separate times. Each reading shall be performed by a professional reader at a normal rate for a normal listener. Each reading shall be an original reading and not a recording. Each reading shall be both broadcast live and recorded for later listening on the web.
The Executive will read every bill. A public ceremony shall be held and presided over by the President and Vice President to receive each bill sent to the Executive by the Congress. Each bill shall be read aloud in it’s entirety as part of this ceremony, and in a manner similar to that required of the Congress. Before either signing or rejecting each bill, the Executive must explain why.
Limits for every elected government official and everything that they do:
Federal legislators will not be federal employees. The present arrangement has just proven too cozy and convenient.
Military Power. This one’s gonna be a doozy.
No quorum games. All majorities should be based on the size of the body, never simply the number present.
No voting games. Since Congressmen are elected to make decisions, all legislators shall vote on all issues put before the body, whether present or not. The only valid votes shall be “yes” or “no”. For example there shall be no voting “present”, “absent”, “abstain”, or the like. All votes and who cast them will be immediately issued in a national press release, then published on the legislative website where it shall remain in perpetuity.
No Legislative Committees. The Congress will conduct all of it’s business in full session.
Committees have helped make it possible for a seniority/power-based pecking-order to be constructed within the Congress. This can make my Congressman more powerful than your Congressman. All Congressmen shall be equal before The People, The Law, and within The Congress.
Neither the time nor manpower available to do the job without committees? Tough. Do Less.
Legislation affecting all Americans should not be decided by simple majorities. Legislation passing by narrow 51% majorities clearly doesn’t affect all Americans in any clearly agreed-upon manner. Such concerns should be reserved to the States respectively, or to the people, as stated in Amendment 10. Legislation affecting all Americans should only be passed by substantial majorities, ie Super-Majorities.
How large should a super-majority be? The number is certainly debatable. My feeling is that an absolute minimum of 75% is necessary to minimize the tyranny of the majority over the minority. When the federal government chooses, everyone pays, so we must consider substantial numbers.
A system of super-majority requirements at the federal, state, and local levels might help us easily decide what level of government, if any, should address a given issue at a particular time. If a super-majority consensus cannot be achieved at one level of government, then perhaps it can be achieved at a lower level. If consensus cannot be achieved at the lowest level, then government shall take no action at all on the matter. Our federal system implies that there should be a mechanism for determining the proper level of address, but provides none. This is one possibility.
Amendments 9 and 10 seek to underscore the “enumerated powers” nature of the Constitution. Amend the Constitution to make these amendments even more completely plain to those who’ve routinely ignored their meaning and increased federal power. Put plainly, the powers/duties listed in the Constitution are the only powers/duties assigned to the federal government. It shall have no powers/duties beyond that whatsoever.
Amendment 16 created the federal income tax. Income taxation without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration. This amendment has caused rampant vote-buying. We should consider the possibilities of perhaps restricting the federal government to taxing only states and not individuals.
Amendment 17 introduced the popular election of Senators. Senators elected by the people of a state rather than by the legislature of a state. This amendment has increased federal power by decreasing state power—exactly the opposite of what’s needed. This is, after all, The United States of America.
The fact that parties can sabotage each other’s candidates by members voting in another’s primary should be cause for alarm! Each party should plan, fund, and operate its own primary. Each party may validate voters in it’s primary in any way it chooses. No public funding will be provided.
“Multiple-choice” candidate ballots will no longer be used in federal elections. Candidate ballots, not issue ballots are the subject here. Candidate ballots will simply list the office to be filled, while listing no candidates whatsoever. Voters will scan their candidate’s bar-code in response. Pre-printed bar-codes will be widely available in candidate literature and on the web. Candidate name will appear on a display to confirm that the intended bar-code was scanned. A “prospective ballot” will be printed recording each vote to be cast and showing only naked bar-codes without bar-code number translation and without candidate names for privacy. The prospective ballot will then be used as the final voting instrument, read by a scanning device. Candidate names will appear once again for confirmation. After voting, the ballot will be automatically marked as “CAST” and should be kept by the voter as a record of their actual vote.
A system like this allows anyone to easily become a candidate for any office simply by meeting constitutional requirements and registering to be assigned their own unique bar-code. This will be doable at any local registrar’s office in just a few minutes perhaps as late a just a few hours before an election. Every single vote will be easily counted using this system since the number of times each unique bar-code is scanned is all that must be recorded. Having a ballot without pre-printed names will preclude partisan jockeying for favorable ballot position. Ballots without pre-printed names may be printed far in advance of the election, obviating any argument that candidates must earn a place on the ballot.
November 16, 2009
The other day a friend forwarded me a message alerting folks to a Democratic Party web page whose purpose is to amplify support for “National Healthcare” to local and national media. The message suggests that folks use it to undercut rather than amplify support. While I’m intrigued by the possibility of “subversive” use of that page, I must tell you about a much better way to contact the media, one that is beholden to no political group or cause: Congress.org
Here’s how Congress.org can help you contact public media quickly and easily:
Update: This Congress.org functionality can now be accessed via the Contact Congress box on this page.
Here’s the letter I sent to Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch from Congress.org:
Subject: The “National Healthcare” bill - HR 3962
Saturday afternoon, November 7 2009, I sat in the Visitor’s Gallery overlooking the US House of Representatives in utter revulsion as I watched a gang of well-dressed thieves trot up to the podium one at a time and recite their reasons for supporting HR 3962, which will force you and me to provide goods and services to their constituents. After each thief and before the next, I watched well-dressed thieves from a different gang trot up to a different podium and recite their reasons for forsaking the proposal at hand in favor of a somewhat different proposal to force you and me to provide somewhat fewer goods and services to their constituents.
My fellow citizens, this is a free-for-all. We are witnessing a political and economic free-for-all in the USA.
American public affairs is descending into a bitter struggle over who will receive loot at others’ expense. No longer about Limited Government, Freedom, Justice, and the Opportunity they can provide, public affairs in America has devolved into a political game wherein players seek to grab whatever loot they can for themselves and their gang before all the loot is gone. And don’t think for a minute that playing is optional. Compulsory taxation has dealt you and all the rest of us into this insidious game and to sit out the struggle risks losing everything.
Unfortunately this isn’t new but inevitible when government is so arranged that some can vote themselves benefits that others must pay for. Frankly, we should have seen it coming. What we witness now is this potentially terminal flaw slowly building itself toward a colossal crisis. This is where we are, this is unsustainable, and this must be stopped!
Voluntary private charity can be admirable, but forced public charity can never be! I am against government giveaways to any person and in any place and at any time and with no reservations. This "National Healthcare" giveaway deserves to die an emphatic death!
KILL THE BILL!
KILL THE BILL!
KILL THE BILL!
November 12, 2009
Today, with radical marxists in The Whitehouse and in The Congress seemingly hell-bent on “change”, is a good time for a thoughtful look at the pros and cons of different forms of government. This timely ten-minute video, The American Form of Government, does it beautifully. One could even argue that it’s misnamed because America is almost incidental to the presentation. I know of no better, more accessible explanation.
November 11, 2009
Today a good friend asked me if I have Virginia Senator Mark Warner’s email address. My answer: No, I don’t. Very few do, I'm sure. The rest of us must make do with web forms to contact elected officials. Web forms protect them somewhat from spam, automated email “flooding”, and other threats. It is for similar reasons that FreeSmart.us will never publish email addresses and will soon sport an email form.
Anyway, here's how Congress.org can help you contact your public servants quickly and easily:
Update: This Congress.org functionality can now be accessed via the Contact Congress box on this page.
I originally sent this message to my FreeSmart.us email list.
November 8, 2009
Saturday afternoon I sat in the Visitor’s Gallery overlooking The US House of Representatives in utter revulsion as I watched a gang of well-dressed thieves trot up to the podium and recite their reasons for supporting a proposal to force you and me to provide goods and services to their constituents. After each thief, and before the next, I watched well-dressed thieves from a different gang trot up to a different podium and recite their reasons for forsaking the proposal at hand in favor of a somewhat different proposal to force you and me to provide somewhat fewer goods and services to their constituents.
Saturday evening that proposal, HR 3962, the “Affordable Health Care for America Act”, aka “Pelosi-Care”, aka “National Health Care” was passed by the US House of Representatives by a vote of 220 to 215. The Senate must still vote in the affirmative and the President must still sign it for this bill to become law. This is extremely likely.
Some Questions For You:
What are your answers?
- Does a vote of 220 to 215 sound like consensus or agreement to you?
- Does a vote of 50.57% to 49.43% sound like a mandate for action to you?
- Must issues so closely divided nationally be decided nationally?
- Is a vote by Congress to grant itself duties not assigned to it by The Constitution legitimate or legal?
I emailed this message to the Investor’s Investor Warren Buffett on October 1, 2009. This is my followup message to him, dated October 25:
Mr. Buffett, I wrote you a few weeks ago asking that you consider taking one simple step to help our country. That step would be to repudiate your support for President Obama and the anti-freedom, pro-plunder ruination policies he represents and so vigorously pursues. Your support of all of that genuinely befuddles me. My original message appears again below. The USA would profoundly benefit from such a simple action as I ask of you, and the news would positively ring around the globe. I urge you to consider it again.
PS: It may be helpful for you to reflect upon the fact that there is only one color which at all concerns the overwhelming majority of Mr. Obama's opponents, and that is the decidedly red hue of his agenda. Red and the pain it causes are easily available elsewhere in the world, but the proud Red, White, and Blue are the colors of the USA. - RWD
I originally sent this message to my FreeSmart.us email list via the Congress.org email system.
October 22, 2009
I just ran across (and used with ease) a new website, Congress.org, which can provide you with this:
I emailed this to the Investor’s Investor Warren Buffett on October 1, 2009:
Dear Mr. Buffett:
Millions in the investment community respect your phenomenal long-term success at identifying and encouraging real value in the marketplace.
Millions undoubtedly respected your judgment that Mr. Obama represented real value for our country and followed your lead in supporting his 2008 campaign.
Now, after nine months with the most insular, unshakably anti-market, “managed” economy, big-government, borrow-and-spend, ram-it-down-our-throats nanny-statist to occupy the Oval Office in many decades, millions who value freedom must seriously question that judgment.
So I ask you, the Guru of Value, to take a new measure of President Obama’s value to our country. I ask you to consider publicly repudiating your support for President Obama and the anti-freedom, pro-plunder policies he represents.
A very public regrets and repudiation of your support could substantially diminish the credibility of the been-there-done-that plunder-socialism agenda, while it would improve your own. It has the potential to inspire a national moment wherein millions might contemplate the real difference between value creation in a free market and value plunder, waste, and destruction in the controlled one inherent in the socialist policies President Obama promotes.
Read my followup message to Mr. Buffett dated October 25.
I originally sent this message to President Obama, Vice President Biden, Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor and Senators Warner and Webb via the FreedomWorks.org email system.
September 4, 2009
Congressman, Senators, Vice President, President:
The only thing the federal government should do about healthcare is get out of the way! Here are two ways it can begin to do that:
- The Congress should equalize the tax treatment of employer-funded health insurance and employEE-funded health insurance. The fact that tax law favors the present pathological association of health insurance with employment is an absolute abomination! Equalizing tax treatment is such an obvious and crying need that I feel embarassed pointing it out to you. While it will certainly be difficult convincing health insurers that they must compete in the marketplace for each and every individual and family policy like all other insurers do, it is just and equal application of the law, and you absolutely must do it! When you do, we will begin to see what thousands of health insurers competing for tens of millions of consumer health insurance policies can do to cut the cost of healthcare. I have infintely more confidence in that process than I do in Washington politics.
- With the solvency of federal healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid threatened by ever-rising costs, Washington must resist the temptation to try to “fix” those programs by taking control of or regulating even more of the healthcare industry. If you believe those programs cannot be fixed without nationalizing or further regulating healthcare, please think and think and think again about what that really means:It means that federal leaders like you would choose to unlawfully expand federal power in an attempt to cover up the failure of previous unlawful expansions of federal power!That is sick and it must stop! It would be madness, inevitably leading to more dire solvency crises in the future, but it’s not too late to stop it! It is vitally important that Washington recognize and acknowledge it’s own failures and do what is prudent to limit their damage. You should not authorize Washington to take over more of the economy, but you should work to lighten it’s already crushing footprint.
At root, the healthcare debate is not about healthcare at all, but about the age-old struggle between expanding individual freedom and expanding government power. I've no doubt where I stand. I will always choose freedom, and as my representatives in Washington, each one of you sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, I expect you to choose freedom as well.
I originally sent this message to President Obama, Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor and Senators Warner and Webb via the FreedomWorks.org email system.
September 4, 2009
Congressman, Senators, Mr. President:
I almost wish my own children were still in public school so I could keep them home whenever any political leader addresses them as Mr. Obama plans to on September 8.
The suggestion that primary school children K-6 need to be encouraged to “stay in school” is an absurdly weak explanation of Mr. Obama’s purpose. And the idea that a pledge to serve Mr. Obama might be appropriate for school children deserves to be laughed off the public stage. That is an outrage!
Separation of church and state is healthy for our country and public schools. Separation of politics and state would be healthy for our country and public schools as well.
I will never pledge to serve ANY political leader. In the United States of America, political leaders pledge to serve The People and to protect and defend The Constitution, not the other way around!
Virginia Senator Mark Warner's E-Newsletter on June 29, 2009 invited constituents to read and comment on his op-ed piece which appeared in the Washington Post on June 28. What follows is a copy of my personal comment to Senator Warner.
Thanks for sending me your op-ed piece ‘A Risky Choice For A Risk Czar’.
Respectfully, I disagree with you just as I disagree with President Obama. In my opinion, the Federal Government is itself the single greatest source of systemic risk in our country and in the world today. It is way too large, spends way too much money, and is involved in way too much of our public and private lives. The institution appears in our time to have arrived at that point where there are more voters receiving benefits from it than there are paying for those benefits. This unfortunate conjunction has been uneasily anticipated by many since the founding, and especially in the decades since the ratification of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments to the Constitution.
The consuming majority simply wants what it wants, and is largely immune to arguments of reason or of economy, and not only does not appreciate but actively and callously disregards the ruinous and immoral burden that political pursuit of their desires places upon the financing minority. For your part, you folks in the political class clearly find the votes of this consuming majority a great deal more compelling than constitutional or financial limits and certainly more than either reason or protest from the financing minority.
This, sir, is systemic risk writ large. I admire your willingness to oppose President Obama’s choice for ‘risk czar’. For me it would be much more admirable for you to oppose the unambiguous collectivist agenda of the president and the congress. Won't you please do that?
I originally sent this message to Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor in response to a FreedomWorks action alert via the FreedomWorks.org email system.
June 19, 2009
The House Ways and Means Committee is proposing a 10 cent tax on each can of soda to fund government-run health care.
I'm writing to tell you that I oppose this soda tax and any other new taxes for government-run health care OR FOR ANYTHING ELSE.
Please, read the Constitution, read the Federalist Papers, then read the Constitution again—especially the ninth and tenth amendments. The Constitution is the Federal Government’s JOB DESCRIPTION. How much of what you do is really your duty as described in the Constitution?
I originally sent this message to Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor in response to a FreedomWorks action alert via the FreedomWorks.org email system.
May 12, 2009
The Soda Tax deserves to be laughed off the public stage!
National Health “Care” deserves to be laughed off the public stage!
Feeling like you can do anything you set your minds to up there in Washington?? Think again. There is a limit to what folks will tolerate in the way of busybody government, and you may have already passed it.
Please know that whenever you guys take, change, or tax property which doesn't belong to you, folks good and deeply resent it. One of the few legimitate functions of the federal government is to help people avoid and settle conflicts, yet Washington now CREATES conflict where none existed before. This is an outrage!
Caution, work in progress! This is a version two of my article Passions, which follows this article.
I have passionate views on both Religion and Politics. They are controversial, and profoundly related.
I am an Agnostic. If there is a God, none of us has any way of knowing.
If there is a God, then surely that God would wish that we freely explore Creation, and attempt to understand to the very limit of our abilities what it really and truly is.
If there is a God, then surely that God would favor no person over another, and wish that each person would do the same. That God would recognize that conflict would be a consequence of many living among many. That God would perhaps even have arranged it so, that we might learn that the terror of conflict can become the joy of peace if we respect one another, none over another.
If there is a God, then surely that God would expect no more of us, no worship greater than this.
I am a Libertarian. If there must be a government, this is how it should behave.
If there must be a government, then surely that government would be arranged so that each person would be as free as possible to pursue their own dreams, to achieve to the fullest extend of their abilities. It would govern as if all people matter.
If there must be a government, then surely that government would favor no person over another, respecting that all persons stand equally before the law. That government would recognize that conflict would be a consequence of many living among many, and understand that its duty is not to prevent conflict, but at most to provide mechanisms for it to be resolved as simply and peacefully as possible. That government would recognize that in the process of performing its duty it must not create additional conflict, that every person may trust it to seek only peaceful and impartial resolution. It would not govern as if only SOME people matter.
If there must be a government, then surely that government would expect no more of us, and seek no power greater than this.
To come later. I repeat: Caution, work in progress!
I have passionate views on both Religion and Politics. They are controversial, and profoundly related.
I am Agnostic. If there is a God, none of us has any way of knowing.
If there is a God, then surely that God would wish that we freely explore Creation, and attempt to understand to the very limit of our abilities what it really and truly is.
If there is a God, then surely that God would favor none of us over others, and wish that each of us would do the same. That God would recognize that conflict would be a consequence of many living among many. That God would perhaps even have arranged it so, that we might learn that the terror of conflict can become the joy of peace if we respect one another, none over another.
If there is a God, then surely that God would expect no more of us, no worship greater than this.
I’m quite passionate about public affairs(1).
My view of public affairs is government whose primary duty is to help all individual human beings defend their natural-born self-ownership. Governing as if all people matter.
I am NOT passionate about politics(1).
My view of politics is government whose primary inclination is to help some individual human beings plunder the earnings and creations of others, with little regard for the natural-born self-ownership they each possess equally. Governing as if SOME people matter.
These two views make some people angry, and that strikes me as so very very peculiar. The fact that unequal humans rights are implicitly favored by so many deeply saddens me.
“Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Tuesday flatly rejected…a call earlier in the day from a senior Chinese official to drop the dollar as the world’s key reserve currency.”
The U.S. Government has been an incorrigible spendthrift in declining economic health for many decades. Lately, it’s exhibiting all the responsibility of little children dominating their parents’ household, with extreme borrowing and dollar creation likely leading to very serious pain for many millions of us. (1)
Since WWII(2), the world has held the US dollar in high esteem, trusting us to manage our currency responsibly. Instead, we’ve managed it politically. (3, 1) Thus, the dollar’s inevitible loss of world "reserve currency" status really should come as no surprise.
The kind of freedom that many in the USA know today is what I call FreeDumb. We believe we have “it” and we’re proud of “it”, but we don’t really know what “it” is, where “it” comes from, how easily “it” is lost, who might threaten “it”, or how to defend “it”.
The US Constitution, with its separation of powers, and its checks and balances, is clearly designed to be an adversarial system. Those calling for bi-partisanship and cooperation on controversial issues are ignoring this, and thus are bound for disappointment. People have the right to be skeptical of anything they choose, especially(1) government. Further, members of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches not only have that right, but each also has the duty to be skeptical of the others’ actions and motives. Good government depends on it.
“There is actually a limit to what governments can do.”
—John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, in The Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2009.
“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action. ”
“How soon we forget history... Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force. And, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
—George Washington, First president of the United States (1732 - 1799).
“Occupants of public offices love power and are prone to abuse it.”
—George Washington, First president of the United States (1732 - 1799).
The Constitution is the federal government’s job description.
Government has no rights. Government has duties, which are delegated to it by the states, and ultimately, the people.
It appears that "liberals" find it so easy to forcibly sacrifice the creations of some to the needs of others. Is that really the intent? If so, do you see how that inspires many to become enemies(1) of your approach and, by association, your cause? That seems a troublesome approach to problem-solving. Is there really no better way? Why not ask for what you want, and be grateful for what you receive?(2)
March 5, 2009
Today there was an item in the news about President Obama not paying much attention to the Dow sinking recently. Quoting the transcript of Rush Limbaugh’s radio show today, Mr. Obama is paraphrased as having said:
“he didn’t put a lot of thought into the stock market, that it was more like a tracking poll, that it ebbs and flows, ups and downs, and if you pay attention to tracking polls, you’ll lose sight of the long term and your objectives.” (9)I don’t disagree with that position, but I do disagree with Rush’s response to it:
“Well, it’s not a tracking poll, in the political sense. It’s a real-life tracking poll, and there are no ebbs in it, and there are no flows in it. It is plunging. It is down 212 points today. It is a tracking poll that indicates that people who are willing to invest, which is what results in growth, are unwilling to do so. There is no confidence in the American market right now.” (9)This was a real opportunity for Rush to explain what he believes and exactly why he believes it. We’re the poorer that he didn’t, so I’ve put together the kind of response Rush is so capable of, but didn’t deliver today: Here is what Rush should have said:
“Mr. President, I won’t debate your position on day-to-day fluctuations of markets and polls. I will, however, describe for you the profound difference between a market and a poll, and that is this:”
“In a poll, anyone can say anything they want. There is absolutely no accountability. Each participant has an approximately zero stake in the cost and consequences of their positions. Put another way, they have no ‘skin in the game’(1). There is no link whatsoever between cost and consequence. Now, every responsible parent knows what happens when their young find themselves in such a position. Irresponsible behavior is not just likely, but inevitable! Adults, too, simply are not motivated to act responsibly under these conditions. Indeed, since cost and consequence necessarily involve other people’s positions, by ignoring cost and consequence, they acquire very little of the information actually required to choose and act responsibly.”
“In a market, anyone can say anything they want, and with very little consequence until they put their money where their mouth is by taking action. There is considerable(3) accountability. Each participant must accept both the cost and consequences of their positions. They must have ‘skin in the game’. There is a direct and, importantly, a proportional link between cost and consequence. Every responsible parent knows that this is what their offspring need in order to behave responsibly. Adults, too, are better motivated to act responsibly under these conditions. Indeed, since cost and consequence necessarily involve other people’s positions, i.e. prices go up and down(4), and with ignoring consequences an unappealing option(8), in order to participate effectively they necessarily must acquire more of the information required to choose and act responsibly.”
“Markets, sir, are actions(5), and of necessity, often quite informed actions.”
“To summarize, actions speaks louder than words, Mr. President. Words paper over consequences which actions cannot afford to ignore. This is perhaps the most fundamental reason government is often judged inept, ineffective, and irresponsible. All of its leadership is chosen by polls for crying out loud! But voting is different than a poll, you say? Nice try. The difference between a telephone opinion poll and voting at the polls in November is fundamentally one of mere format, sir. Questions are asked and the answers of a number of anonymous people are tallied. In terms of balancing cost with consequence, they are precisely and tragically the same. This, sir, is why people believe in markets, and this, sir, is why those who believe in markets are so deeply distrustful of government. This, sir, is why government, with this fundamental motivational and informational flaw, often behaves as if a bull in a china shop, carelessly breaking and taking things created and owned by others, and as if a mob of inmates overrunning a prison, and as if the patients running an asylum, and as if little children dominating their parents’ household. Government is not trusted, sir, because government has proven itself time and time again to be untrustworthy. And this is one of the fundamental reasons for it. So crystal clear and so shockingly simple.”
“That, Mr. President, is the difference between a market and a poll. I believe I’ve also demonstrated, sir, that our beloved country(7) has an extremely serious flaw, and that this is it. And because of this, our country is on the road to ruin.”
That’s what I wish Rush had said, and he didn’t, so I have.(10)
It is my sincere hope that Our People, Our Congress, and Our President will use both heart and head to reconsider(1) the “new course”(2) our country has set upon. Here is hard-won advice to do just that from what seems an unlikely source: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, former President and now Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, and former officer in the Soviet KGB.
“[During this financial crisis], all national governments and business leaders must take resolute actions. Nevertheless, it is important to avoid making decisions, even in such force majeure circumstances, that we will regret in the future.
“We must not revert to isolationism and unrestrained economic egotism.
“Excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence is another possible mistake.
“[The state’s] increased role in times of crisis is a natural reaction to market setbacks. Instead of streamlining market mechanisms, some are tempted to expand state economic intervention to the greatest possible extent.
“The concentration of surplus assets in the hands of the state is a negative aspect of anti-crisis measures in virtually every nation. In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute. In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated.
“Nor should we turn a blind eye to the fact that the spirit of free enterprise, including the principle of personal responsibility of businesspeople, investors and shareholders for their decisions, is being eroded in the last few months. There is no reason to believe that we can achieve better results by shifting responsibility onto the state.
“And one more point: anti-crisis measures should not escalate into financial populism and a refusal to implement responsible macroeconomic policies. The unjustified swelling of the budgetary deficit and the accumulation of public debts are just as destructive as adventurous stock-jobbing.”
How does it feel?
Ever wonder why government is so unresponsive?
Could this be a reason? When it comes right down to it, since government already has your money, it hardly needs your vote.
Please provide examples. Note how few results are found in these internet searches(2):
A related question is: Does government ever give up control of anything? Note how few results are found in these internet searches(2):
There’s a saying going around:
“He who tells the best story wins.”—AnonymousTo which I respond:
“Maybe, but does it taste great?…and is it less filling?”
So, what does this have to do with the federal government? So much of what government does is political. Politicians do tell some great stories, but we need more than stories. We need responsible and informed action. Real, concrete things, not stories. So I’m no longer impressed by this saying, but instead am profoundly saddened by it.
American public affairs is descending into a struggle over who will receive the most loot at others’ expense. It isn’t be about Freedom, Justice, and the Opportunity they allow anymore. It’s about getting what loot you can while there’s still some left.
This will inevitibly happen when government is so arranged that a majority can vote themselves benefits that a minority are compelled to pay for. That cannot long sustain itself.
For you who believe the free market has failed and for you who have declared Laissez Faire to be “Laissez Dead”, I highly recommend you read this:
“To understand today’s financial crisis, you must understand the long history of government interference and subsidies for housing and housing debt.
“Since the New Deal, the federal government has passed law after law attempting to shape U.S. housing markets. The U.S. today compels banks to lend to risky borrowers, skews the cost of housing debt and benefit of housing-related capital gains through the tax code, and operates several enormous government lending programs and taxpayer-backed corporations.
“The net result is a wild, multi-trillion dollar overinvestment in America’s housing stock, the encouragement of dangerously overleveraged consumers and banks, and a massive new tab for taxpayers. The market is currently trying desperately to correct a government-created housing bubble, but the federal government’s response is to actually expand the government intervention that created the problem.
“Here is the timeline of the actions that led to the current crisis.”
“‘In the long run, we are all dead,’ John Maynard Keynes once quipped. An influential British economist, Keynes used the line to dodge the problematic long-term implications of his policy proposals. His analysis of the Great Depression redefined economics in the 1930s and asserted that increased government spending during a downturn could revive the economy.
“President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats (very few of whom likely have read Keynes’s 1936 book "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money") have dug up the dead economist’s convenient justification for deficit spending in defense of their bloated stimulus legislation. But none ask the most important question: Was Keynes right?”
—Unfortunately, professional politicians know they only need the mantle of legitimacy to wield the power they desire. Why should they bother with the truth? They are people of action, and everyone knows that it’s oh so vitally important that something be done now!
“Some people have suggested that the current crisis suggests that ‘free’ markets are dead. Given the high degree of regulatory scrutiny in the financial sector that is not a point of view I hold. However, the neo-classical case for the market economy has certainly become strained, though the Austrian or Hayekian case has been strengthened.”
“Markets, in fact, are a discovery process. It cannot be assumed that market prices are a perfect reflection of economic value at any particular time.
“Market participants continually discover new information, make errors and respond to errors. It is important that financial institutions are allowed to do things differently so that some (who use better and more efficient methods) succeed and others fail (indeed, it is important that institutions are allowed to fail).”
“The crash gives many more indications that Freidrich Hayek was right. Hayek argues that unregulated markets develop institutions that ensure that trust and reputation become valuable commodities. But who cares about trust and reputation when we believe that everything will be looked after by the regulators or by deposit insurance?
“As far as a company is concerned, compliance with regulation has become more important than trust. The market has been allowed to generate crude economic efficiency, but trust has been crowded out by regulation.”
—Introduction from Financial crisis shows why we should admire Freidrich Hayek at The Telegraph. My emphasis.
—Risk-free is Risk-y. People placed their trust in government regulation and got hurt. Yet folks overlook the source of the pain because risk-free is so tempt-ing, and something-for-nothing political pitches are so compell-ing. People want to believe that life can be made simple. We may take many trips through this cycle of pain before the real lesson sinks in. Real investing is hard work. While shortcuts may be available, careful thought is indispensible.
Programming a computer is difficult. Programming an economy is impossible, yet government still tries. When will we recognize not only the futility but the immorality of that?
Balanced best by those doing the Paying/Receiving. Pay for what you get and get what you pay for. A worthy ideal. What could be simpler? Why should anyone settle for less…or expect more?
Group Psychology may be the cause of recessions. Group Psychology may be the cause of "The Business Cycle". Government policy and action may have little to do with it. Much more later.
In this case, the law is an ass.
If your only tool is a hammer…
“It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”—Abraham MaslowThis is profoundly true for one well-known societal institution: Government. Yes, government has only one tool, and that tool is force.
Question: What tool is government likely to apply to:
Question: Why are Americans constantly at odds over how much compassion to pay for?
Answer: Because we’ve allowed, even demanded, government to do so much of it for us.
There is near-universal agreement, in principle, that compassion for others is a good thing. Of course, good people often disagree over the details, but peaceful people still manage to find peaceful ways to do good. For what purpose, then, do we invite government into this matter? Regardless of the merits of a particular case, in 21st century America, government involvement creates conflict where there was none before.
We in America have confused government with compassion. They are incompatible, and are actively corrupting each other. Seemingly unending need, plus the federal government’s apparently unending resources, coupled with the egos of the political class, are creating a colossal financial and ethical crisis.
Who benefits from using the government hammer? The politically powerful, and those well-connected to them. Follow the money.
Each Libertarian has their own way of describing Libertarian principles. This is mine. I’ll borrow an introduction from the Libertarian Party Platform, then elaborate a bit in my own words.
“As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.”
“We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.”
Libertarians seek peaceful relations among people. This will require rules to deal with conflict. What should the rule(s) be and how should they operate?
Libertarians begin at the beginning.
There is only one, fundamental, original human right. That is that each of us, simply because we are alive, naturally owns our own life, which we can spend as we choose(1). Many other “rights” are actually derived rights, that is, rights that logically and naturally follow from the original right. Some examples of derived rights are the right to self-defense and the right to own property. One could group the entire bundle of rights under the heading ownership rights, because they spring from the ownership of our life and what we have created with it.
Most other “rights” are not really rights at all, but are privileges granted by some person(s) to other person(s). Privileges are both negotiable and revocable, and quite interestingly, typically endure only as long as the parties to it are alive.Acknowledge contractual details. Furthermore, privileges cannot be granted on our behalf by other person(s),Delegation. Power of attorney. but must be granted by ourselves, by our own choosing.Clarify.
The natural consequence of there being more than one of us exercising the right to our own life is that there will be conflict.Examples. So, Libertarians ask the question “How can this conflict be resolved while leaving as much as possible of every person’s original and derived rights intact”? Libertarians answer with an idealized rule: “No persons should initiate the use or threat of physical force against other persons”. Many would proscribe fraud as well.
This is where Libertarians begin defining what a well-formed government might do. Note that government, not being a human, has no rights at all, but only duties.More on this later.
I’m a Libertarian. I find it sad that people in both major parties seem way more interested in dissing than in understanding one another. In my view, each side is perhaps only half right, and most certainly is in no position to gloat about it.
Republicans generally want less government involvement in economic affairs, yet demand more government involvement in political affairs such as abortion, “ten commandments in the courthouse”, gay rights, drug use, etc.
Democrats generally want less government involvement in political affairs, yet demand more government involvement in economic affairs such as economic justice, national health insurance, minimum wage, soak the rich, etc.
Republican: Less political freedom. More economic freedom.
Decomocrat: More political freedom. Less economic freedom.
Why these split brains? Why the “half-tolerance” on each side? Instead of gleefully lamenting intolerance in the other, both should humbly examine the intolerance within.
We Libertarians are Pro-Choice on everything. More economic freedom. More political freedom. After all, in the USA, freedom was the original idea.
I originally sent this message to President Obama in response to a FreedomWorks action alert via the FreedomWorks.org email system. Partly in my words, partly in FreedomWorks’ words.
January 28, 2009
Dear President Obama:
The CBS news show 60 minutes recently did an interesting report on internet gaming, and an incident where online poker players were cheated out of a lot of money. The scandal at the AbsolutePoker and UltimateBet websites has many calling for even more restrictions or an outright ban on online gaming. But for those of us who view the issue through a different lens, it is a good example of the unintended consequences of government interference.
Burdensome laws and regulations have driven the online gaming industry offshore, which exposes consumers to greater risks than they would face in a more open environment.
There is no reason online gaming should be inherently more dangerous than purchasing a flat screen TV online. The incident demonstrates the dangers of government policies that drive peaceful activities offshore or underground, beyond the rule of law.
Markets are built on a trust between buyers and sellers, and the rule of law offers a greater degree of confidence between them by providing a way to enforce contracts and settle disputes.
Instead of trying to ban what is a peaceful and popular billion dollar market with millions of fans, consumers should have every protection that they enjoy when they make any other transaction—online or in a local store.
I believe that the best way to avoid future cheating scandals is to allow markets to work while ensuring consumers access to the full force of the law in the case of irregularities or illegal activities.
The solution is not to drive the industry underground and offshore. The solution is to ensure that online gamers have access to the rule of law and that providers of online gaming face market discipline, where trust can be rewarded and a breach of trust means that a business is not viable and that business is lost to more honest actors.
A new friend brought an interesting article to my attention today. I very briefly comment here because I believe it exemplary of a commonplace arrogance of our time. An unfortunate example of FreeDumb in action.
We can have a thoughtful and polite debate about ideas, or we can engage in an orgy of name-calling and ridicule. Which is more likely to improve human affairs? There is a deep idealogical divide between us. Each side behaves as if the other were a bunch of dolts, having nothing useful to contribute.
That is simply impossible!
It is high time that all sides explore the likelyhood that others have discovered pieces that fit into the puzzle of peaceful coexistence. Let us then set aside the hurtful words of conflict, and begin to ask one another serious questions.
Conflict will inevitably arise when some force solutions upon others. Isn’t that evidence enough that force is not a satisfactory solution?
Nope. People with the power to create money out of thin air will, eventually, abuse it. Witness the USA since Bretton Woods. Inflating our currency has cheated the world and our own citizens. It will not go on forever. Folks abhor cheaters.
While this isn’t a federal issue, it demonstrates the “one size fits all” approach that is quite common at the federal level as well as local.
A growing local county will be opening several new schools next year, so it is re-drawing school district boundaries to accomodate them. It’s inevitable that the new lines will disappoint or inconvenience those denied the opportunity to attend the school of their choice. It’s interesting to imagine government’s “districting” solution in other contexts. For instance, new grocery stores.
I’ve very little time for or patience with politics, but am intensely interested in public affairs. In our age, “politics” has practically become a synonym for “government”, and that is very tragic.
We in the US are very confused about this. We talk about a right to healthcare. Taxpayer’s “Bill of Rights”. Air travelers’ “Bill of Rights”. A right to a free education. A right to a living wage. And on and on.
Most of these are more correctly referred to as privileges, that is, they depend upon the good will and compensation of the folks who provide them. So, there are rights and then there are privileges, and they are different. How shall we tell them apart? Here’s a useful way(1):
That which comes from you and your life is a right.
That which comes from another and their life is a privilege.
So, is there a right to Education? Healthcare? Retirement? A Living Wage? No, sorry. Merely wishful thinking run wild, I’m afraid. Well then, do you have the right to defend yourself? Keep what you earn? Control what you put into your own body? Of course you do.
So, I hope you see how very confused we’ve become. Government, and the Bill of Rights have absolutely nothing to do with it. The Constitution is merely government’s job description. It neither confers nor denies human rights. Disagree? Well, unfortunately you’re in the “good company” of the courts. I hope you’ll read the very short 9th and 10th amendments to see how poorly government interprets its own job description.
If the federal government had a tag line, as many businesses do, what might it be? While certainly not flattering, I think this would be apropos for the way government actually behaves:
Government: People minding other people’s business.(1)
The federal government has truly earned this tag-line.
A suggestion: MYOB, and make sure your government does the same.
Guess Who? Hint: see “An unfinished letter to Rose”.
To help individuals defend their rights against aggression/threats, foreign and domestic. Government exists to help individual’s defend their rights(2). Government does not exist to confer privileges(3).
Within its own borders. And its laws should rightfully apply to everyone inside those borders, making no distinctions among classes of people. Note that this has profound implications for the concepts of “citizen” and “alien”. More later
Likewise, its laws should not apply to anyone or any act outside of those borders, making no distinctions among classes of people. This means, for example, that neither an American travelling abroad nor a business trading abroad should expect the US government to rescue them from misfortunes occuring beyond the border. Nor should government plunder the fruits of their possible good fortune.
Citizenship as we’ve known it may be outmoded. "Alienship" as well.
No, it does not. “Aristotle and Aquinas would concur in the basic principle that certain permanent moral and political truths are accessible to human reason.”(1)
I believe this is where conservatives go terribly wrong. They seem to believe it self-evident that human reason requires augmentation by the carrot of Heaven or the stick of Hell. Secularists do not easily overlook such enthusiastic excursion into the depths of theology for what can be straightforwardly ascertained by human reason.Re-word this People are becoming less and less convinced that universal belief in a deity is required for mankind to live in harmony.
The Federalist Papers and “certain permanent moral and political truths”. What I plan to address here are assertions that our constitution, created in a simpler age, simply cannot be expected to operate in such a sophisticated and advanced time as ours. In its mechanics, I may agree. But in its allowance for human nature as it truly is, the constitution is as relevant now as it was when written.
An Oxymoron? Doublespeak? Scale matters. When I expand this subject, I hope to convince that, at large scales, competition is in some sense perhaps the only way it is possible to cooperate.
What’s the difference? I hope to convince that a price is oh so much better for everyone than a tax. Primarily because a price targets only the consumers of a good, when they purchase or consume it, not the entire citizenry. Which do you believe more just? Choose whether to consume and how much. Pay for what you get and get what you pay for. No subsidizing! Competition.
Many argue that burning fuel exacts "hidden" costs to the environment, which are not paid for at the pump. Granted, but I won’t argue that issue here. Here I intend to make the economic argument that you’re not paying even the full known cost at the pump. Hint: Why is the enormous cost of the constant US military presence in the Persian Gulf region buried in the Defense budget, and paid for by income taxes, not higher fuel prices??? Where is the Accounting industry’s voice while this massive fraud is taking place? This is a case where I argue for what many would call a gas tax to pay that Persian Gulf bill. I would point out that, if honestly levied, we would be paying a more realistic share of the real cost of fuel. That would be a good and healthy thing.
Are semi-annual federal elections enough for you and your fellows to adequately control your government? Having many bosses is approximately equalivent to having NO boss at all. This applies to government officials in spades. And since government already has your money, should you really believe it cares about your vote?
Are you comfortable with legislation addressing issues that “affect all Americans” being decided by simple, 51%/49% majorities? 66%/33% majorities? What seems proper for issues which “affect all Americans”, and which all Americans are forced to pay for?
Can others be trusted to wisely spend the fruits of your labors? How much? Should all who pay taxes be entitled to vote? What about businesses? --- BIG subject. Currently leads to lobbying, yet lobbying widely viewed as illegitimate. But taxation without representation is the alternative. Will Congress offer reform? This is a constitution-level issue that Congress has been regulating with internal rules. Invites abuse. Why doesn’t Congress offer constitutional reform? The job attracts people who like things just the way they are, which gives them more power/prestige than most logical reform would. Not a peep from our public “servants”. Should all who vote be required to pay taxes? Might make voter identification easier.
Despise Big Business? Why are you still drinking that poison Kool-Aid? You have profoundly more power over Big Business than you do over Big Government. You have more power over Big Oil than you do over Big Government. And big Wal-Mart. And big ATM fees. And just about every other enterprise you love to hate. There is absolutely no contest. And your control is exquisitely granular. The more you spend the more you control, and the less you spend the less you control. What could be fairer? And with absolutely nobody telling other folks what to do. Government offers only the crudest of controls, like semi-annual elections, campaign contributions, bribery—and tells everyone what to do. In actuality, government is the least responsive institution of all. “The Customer is always right.” VS “We’re the post office, so we don’t HAVE to care.” Still think your vote matters? Your dollar votes do. Every single time.
Government strives for effectiveness as do all human enterprises. The profound interconnectedness of our existence means that increased effectiveness can be realized in some areas by expanding control into neighboring areas. Control of more variables often leads to better effectiveness. Over time, runaway, out-of-control expansion and oppressive government control will be the result. That naturally self-corrects in private systems, but not in public ones. Why is government different? A classic boundary issue. Explains why controlling how much fat you eat may soon become a governmental concern.
Lawyers, Politicians, Journalists, and busybodies of all stripes highly value words.
The marketplace highly values deeds.
Which works better? Which actually get’s things done?
The Seductive Power of Words.
”With words they try to jail you.”—Spirits In The Material World, The Police.
Compare and Contrast: Creative destruction. Profound motivation. More with less. Productivity explosion. Urgent innovation.
What if there are no volunteers? Is a coerced volunteer still a volunteer? See Government’s Hammer.
In this topic I hope to convince that those attracted to the job are uniquely unqualified to formulate meaningful reform. They’re attracted to the job because they like it. That is, they like it just the way it is, not because they wish to improve it, and not because they’re particularly thoughtful, helpful, or “selfless” people. Fundamental reform cannot be expected to originate in Congress. Citizens Must Act.
I’ve given a great deal of thought to public affairs for most of my life. Knowing also a little something of psychotherapy, and having realized great benefit from the experience, it’s interesting to reflect on the similarities between private affairs and public affairs. The most obvious to me is in the concept of boundaries. Many have great difficulty maintaining proper and healthy boundaries in their private relationships. It comes as no surprise, then, that this affects public life as well.
We live in a time when so many expect so much from their relationship with government. It’s well known to be unhealthy for individuals and their relationships if they depend so much upon a single party to meet too many of their needs. Such relationships eventually become dependent, dysfunctional, unsatisfying, and often destructive to both parties. I believe that this is where Americans have arrived in their relationship with government, most particularly at the federal level.
As a result of our incessant emotional appeals to government to “do something”, it has dutifuly attempted to respond effectively. It’s difficult to present a balanced picture of such a broad relationship here, but I will venture that the results have been decidedly “mixed”. I will focus here on an extremely small number of the many features which I believe need to be fixed.
I believe it impossible to find an institution in modern American society more at cross-purposes with itself and the interests of the nation as a whole than the federal government. Having too many bosses is a well-known problem in business, yet the feds have over 300 million of ’em and counting, many of whom are cock-sure that they know exactly what is best for each and every citizen in the USA.
Nor is it possible to find an institution with such a poor record of achieving goals with which most of its customers agree, such as securing its own external boundaries or balancing its own budget. And none has so much trouble staying WITHIN its own boundaries with its foreign policy, economic policy, military might, and numerous other tentacles. Further, it is also a free-wheeling enabler as well, as no institution enables more busybody citizens to mind their fellow citizens’ private affairs.
No other institution is so completely dependent upon free media to communicate with its own customers. All others pay cash, but the feds get a free ride! its goings-on are so complicated, with implications so vital that TV and Radio news are almost completely dominated by what this dysfunctional institution is doing now, considering doing next, and how much more it will cost us customers. Every day of every year it publishes 200 to 600 pages of NEW federal regulations and legal notices. It currently is over nine trillion dollars in debt, but has committed to pay over fifty trillion dollars in future entitlements (unfunded liabilities) that it has not yet begun to save for. This institution will rightly prosecute others who perpetrate such fraud, but conveniently exempts itself and its own employees from such action. And what they’re doing to devalue our dollars, well don’t even get me started! But what I will say about that is that it promises to be a nearly perfect way, coincidently I’m sure, to cheaply retire the mountain of debt looming over the entire enterprise. So few seem to understand the fraud of currency devaluation. Too bad for US.
In summary, these are reasons why I cannot understand how those who believe in fiscal responsibility imagine that this singularly irresponsible and ill-managed institution will successfully manage universal healthcare or can even be trusted to mandate that others do it. Can you explain this to me? I cannot understand those who believe that an institution which long ago jumped its constitutional fence to wander about the countryside trying to solve each and every citizens’ problems will ever hope to understand its own just, and rightful place in the wider world. Can you explain this to me? This is why I believe the problem runs ever so much deeper than dissing the current president or exhuberantly choosing new leaders can ever hope to solve. We make a mistake believing that this institution is fundamentally sound, and that if only we can install the “right” people that everything will be better. It will not.
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