Saturday, January 19, 2019

Prisons are a growing threat



I've mentioned before how much I hate prisons.

Prison is a racket, and it's not better to do something "privately" when it's wrong to do it at all.

Even when something isn't necessarily wrong, if I don't want it, I don't want to pay for it. That's the same reason I would never voluntarily fund a private police force. You want it, YOU pay for it and leave me out of it.

Besides, how "private" is something when it can't exist without government creating a niche for it and being its only "customer"? I don't think that's "private" at all. Just fascism, cronyism, or some other form of corruption.

Anyway, Ammo.com has a very informative and infuriating look at the prison industry. It looks at even more of the incriminating factors that make prison a net negative.

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Friday, January 18, 2019

Consent or coercion?



Looking in from the outside it can be hard to tell a non-consensual relationship from a voluntary one. Or at least it seems many people can't tell the difference.

They see people choosing to work for an employer and to them, it looks the same as a person living under a slave-master.

They see a person going to the grocery store and it looks the same to them as a person standing in line at the DMV.

They see an organized social club and to them, it looks the same as a government.

Yet, in each pair, one is voluntary and one is not. Learn to see the difference.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

By excluding the good guys...



One of the justifications most commonly used by borderists for property rights-violating, violent government "border security", including theft-funded walls and such, is that it will make it harder for people to cross, and any "friction" applied to the process will reduce the total numbers of people crossing. As a result, they claim to believe this will reduce the total number of bad guys getting into America.

Theirs is a faulty argument.

As can be plainly demonstrated with drug prohibition.

Prohibition makes it harder and more dangerous to make and sell politically incorrect drugs. A clear result is that it severely restricts the number of honest "mom and pop" stores entering the drug market. This leaves the market (and yes, there is a market) open for the worst of the bad guys to be the main sellers and producers.

This is NOT an unforeseeable surprise. It is an inevitable result of adding "friction" to the drug market: more aggression and theft, more fraud and quality problems, and higher prices.

If border security makes it harder, in a similar way, for everyone who wants to get to America, won't it ensure that mainly bad guys, who are desperate enough to take the risks, will cross into America?

I think it does.

Who's going to have the stamina to try harder? The beaten down dad who just wants to get his kids to a safer, more prosperous place? Or the life-long archator who doesn't care who he stomps to get where he wants to go?

You can't reasonably justify more statism by pointing to the results of current statism.

Let people exercise their right of association, and protect their property rights (and band together to voluntarily, in unanimous consent, protect the property rights of others, including the property stolen by "taxation") and the "problem" will shrivel away.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

It's dark, but does it matter?



Here's a little sidetrack, unrelated to much of anything else I write.

I don't know why I think about these things; no doubt something I read stuck in my head and got wheels turning.

It's about "Dark Matter". You, know, the "stuff" that the evidence points to as making up most of the Universe, but which can't be detected in normal ways (other than observing its apparent gravitational effects on a galactic scale and above).

What is the evidence for dark matter?

Could all those pieces of evidence be explained by a force divorced from matter? Maybe a result of the natural topography (on a large scale) of spacetime itself, rather than a sign of something else sitting in it?

Maybe it's a force which mimics gravity, but isn't a spacetime curvature caused by matter. In other words, it acts very much like gravity, but isn't gravity.

Maybe it's a type of "orphan gravity".

No, I don't know. I'm not smart enough to know, haven't had the training to know, and probably don't have time (or the ability/equipment) to figure it out.

It probably doesn't matter, anyway. It's just one of those things I think about.


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Time to break government addiction

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 16, 2019)




When an addict's supply is cut off, it's usually an agonizing journey through withdrawal to the other side of the addiction; where the poison finally loosens its grip on the person, giving him a new chance at life. I'm not talking about a chemical dependency this time, but a far more deadly condition: government addiction.

If you are feeling effects from this imaginary government "shutdown", even as simple as having noticed it, you are most likely somewhat addicted to government...read the rest...

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Define "interesting"



The past few days have been... interesting. And expensive.

Had a colonoscopy yesterday, which if you've been through that you know how unpleasant the day before the colonoscopy is. That was 90 miles from home.

Then I spent last night in the emergency room in a hospital in a closer town-- only 30 miles away-- because I apparently suffered "post-polypectomy syndrome". Fever, dehydration, tachycardia, very high blood pressure. All sorts of fun stuff. I don't recommend it.

I haven't slept in days (thank goodness for post scheduling), so I'm going to take a very long nap now.


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This skeptic is skeptical



I am skeptical of everything. In fact, I'm skeptical of my own claim that I'm skeptical of everything. I'm probably wrong; there's most likely something I'm not skeptical of... but I need to be.

You've probably seen my skepticism come out on topics of statism and the "necessity" of political government, AGCC (politicized "climate change"), government "borders", and politicized "gender" issues, but I'm also still skeptical of other stuff. Even libertarianism.

I test all these things constantly-- in my mind, in my experience, and in the "thought experiments" and experiences of others-- looking for ways they might fail. One failure tells more than a thousand successes.

Sometimes people present what they believe is a good example of a failure of some idea, but when I dig into it, their example fails instead of what it was supposed to topple. And that's OK. I still want to see the attempts.

If something I trust is going to fail, I want to know it before I am in a situation where failure would hurt me or someone else.

Generally, I only write about the failures I find, which makes it appear that I am skeptical of some issues but not others. But that's just because I haven't found failures in some issues yet. Maybe they are there. If they are, I want to find them. It's just how I am.

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Private to the person who made a donation yesterday: I have tried to thank you by email to your family email address, but the email never goes through. But I do thank you!

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Monday, January 14, 2019

With Wilson in the wilderness



I've mentioned the business "Wilson" had which was shut down by government meddling. Well, due to our similar interests in that area he and I used to hike in the wilderness area outside of town. He wore a camo army jacket with cargo pants and army boots and I wore my buckskin clothes and mocassins-- in other words, I didn't dress any differently than normal for the hike, although I did carry extra gear.

Most people find me a frustrating person to hike with-- one former wife said I don't hike, I wander aimlessly from spot to spot. But Wilson seemed OK with it.

Those hikes gave us chances to hone some of our less-critical survival skills. We had to cross racing, ice-cold rivers on foot going in and coming out-- during the spring melt that was pretty exciting. We sometimes encountered serious mud traps. We nibbled on various plants, tracked animals, watched game, and met whatever other necessity cropped up for us to tackle.

Until we'd get a long ways down the trail, when we used the trails, we would also encounter the occasional hiker or two. When I'm out wandering like that, I tend to go a bit psychologically feral. When that happens I usually don't like encountering other people, so when we'd hear someone crashing noisily down the trail-- and that's what they all did-- we would step off the trail, sit and wait for them to pass.

When we did this we were never noticed. Not once. We especially enjoyed seeing the female hikers pass, but we never spoke to them. We didn't want to get pepper sprayed as a result of trying to be polite.

We were never more than a few feet off the path. Not hidden. Just sitting still and silent. I suspect people don't like to suddenly notice you under those circumstances.

Once, however, I was in the open, sitting on a boulder in an open area in plain sight, and still just about scared a hiker's dog to death when I said "Hi" as he came to sniff the rock. That time I was seen, but I wasn't trying to not be.

Needless to say, Wilson and I were not very impressed with people's observational skills. Of course, who's to say we didn't miss people doing the same as we hiked past. We were a lot quieter than others, though; while most of them never stopped talking, we rarely spoke. And we saw a lot of deer quietly watching us pass. But who knows.

Of all the Wilson stories, these were the times I enjoyed hanging out with him the most. It was always hard for me to turn around and come back to "civilization". But that's always been the hardest part for me.


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Sunday, January 13, 2019

Politics doesn't improve your life

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for December 12, 2018)




Occasionally I'm asked what I write about. It's a hard question to answer. Some would say I write about politics, but this isn't quite right. I don't care about politics. I want to encourage people to grow beyond politics; to find better ways.

Politics seems to be the art of making mountains out of molehills. By "art" I mean in the sense you might call pickpocketing an art; not like the Mona Lisa.

Politics is "do unto others before they do unto you".

Life is needlessly complicated when you believe you need to control other people, since they'll believe they should control you, too. You'll probably both take the short-cut of electing someone to do the controlling for you, but the results are the same, if not worse.

Your right to control someone else ends where their actions no longer harm you. If you try to control them beyond this point, you're the one causing harm.

Politics is the only reason immigration is seen as a problem. Someone set up a coercive tax-funded welfare system, criminalized defense of person and property except in very limited circumstances, and crippled the economy with taxes and bureaucracy. A molehill was made into an ever-growing mountain.

Politics is why crime is a more serious problem than it would be. If people were truly free to defend their life, liberty, and property from bad guys there would be less crime for government to pretend to protect us from.

Why tax people for things which aren't popular enough for people to fund them voluntarily? Allow people to use their money as they see fit. If something is important, people will pay for it. Just because you feel something is important doesn't mean it is. Its true importance will be shown by how many volunteer to fund it. Politics interferes with choice.

I would voluntarily fund a fire department or library, but not a police department. If I needed an investigator for a specific situation I would hire one for as long as the service is needed, and no longer. For me to force you to pay for a service I want would be antisocial, but I wouldn't stop you from funding whatever you value.

I can't think of a single way in which politics improves life. Quite the opposite. It's middle school drama writ large. If that's what you enjoy, have at it. Just leave the rest of us out of your magnified molehill mountain range.


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Good intentions, or not



I have no doubt that many "citizen" statists have good intentions. They are misguided by their ignorance but their intentions are mainly admirable. They may even align with mine.

However, that doesn't apply to politicians.

Especially those who have been around a few years. I no longer give them the benefit of a doubt.

They know what's up. Through experience, they know better.

Yet they keep doing the same old thing anyway. That they keep using politics instead of the economic means shows me they have no good intentions left. Even if they did, once upon a time.


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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Partial "knowledge" and flawed motives



On many topics, the reason people want to "know more" is so they'll have an "informed opinion" they can try to get government to follow.

People want to know if AGCC is "real" so they can know in which direction to ask government to act.

People want to be "informed" about the issue of a "border" wall so they can know which way to push government to act.

People want to know how much "gun crime" [sic] would be prevented with anti-gun "laws" so they can advocate accordingly.

I don't have that problem, because I know theft and aggression are wrong, and that no matter how I feel about something it is wrong of me to ask government to do anything about it. Additional "knowledge", contaminated by a political agenda, can't change that.


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Friday, January 11, 2019

Liberty isn't Utopia



Statists. You can't even get them to ask (or acknowledge) the right questions.

Whether the topic is "borders", drugs, guns, rights, or socialism, they address all kinds of peripheral questions which seem to legitimize more statism when answered, but they avoid the real questions which would completely invalidate statism.

Is it intentional or are they really that ignorant? I honestly don't know, and suspect it is some of both.

For example, I recently heard one arguing against ending prohibition because when the "laws" against Cannabis are loosened and the cartels' profits go down, the cartels turn to smuggling opioids. What? How does that justify propping up the failure which is prohibition? All you've managed to point out is that if you relax prohibition in a piecemeal way, the cartels will focus on those areas where the profit motive is still high due to continued prohibition.

When you sink that deep into statism, you can't seem to see beyond statism.

So, look at my crude graph above. Sorry, it's not to scale or painted (a lame Back to the Future joke).

See how I readily admit there are still problems with a condition of zero statism (total liberty)?

So?

Utopia isn't an option.

But statists don't like that admission and it's a deal-breaker for them. Liberty would have to be Utopia with no problems at all for them to accept it in place of their favored statist Dystopia-- no matter the specific issue.

Obviously, death-- with no more problems for the dead-- will result from increased statism long before total statism (whatever that may be) is achieved, but the exact place where that happens will vary from individual to individual and is hard to pin down. Use your imagination to adjust the exact scale of the graph.

We live somewhere along the line between zero statism (liberty) and total statism. The exact spot is debatable, but it's irrelevant for my point. Wherever we are, there are problems-- more problems than there would be under liberty. But statists don't like liberty so that option is unthinkable and invisible to them. They advocate more statism to solve the problems which exist; most of which are worsened due to statism. They will claim that with added statism, the total problems will decrease. That's not reality. More statism equals more problems.

But, because there are problems, and they can see ways to justify more statism because of those problems, they are blind to solutions which don't mean more statism. They won't even ask questions which might risk opening their eyes to the reality.

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Immoral walls and dishonest manipulation



Sarcasm only works for me when you don't demonstrate dishonesty while attempting it.

I listen to Scott Adams' "periscopes" to keep an eye on what some of those on the pro-government side are thinking. He's right about half the time-- when he isn't in his pro-government box, unable to see beyond its horizon. But sometimes it amazes me how dishonestly he frames an issue. I wonder if others notice.

Of course, since he is a trained hypnotist, it may be intentional on his part; an attempt to manipulate the opinions of his listeners. I don't criticize him for that-- it's what I hope to do with my blog. But I hope to do it honestly, without deception. I am not trying to be sneaky about it.

A day or so ago he was mocking Nancy Pelosi's absurd contention that "walls are immoral".

I agree conditionally; walls are not, in and of themselves, immoral. Unless your particular morality is somehow anti-wall, which I seriously doubt. Morals being what they are ("situational ethics") I can see how someone might have a set of morals which doesn't allow for walls, but it's not likely. It's more likely to be political posturing.

The real question is whether or not walls are ethical. For simply being walls. The answer is: walls are ethically neutral.

You can almost always use your own money/resources to wall off your own property from adjacent property without any ethical problem.

Or you can help wall off "collective property" in the very rare cases where you have part-ownership in some actual collective property and there is unanimous consent to build and fund the wall.

There is an ethical problem if you wall off property which doesn't belong to you, or if you force others to pay for a wall they don't want to pay for.

If you wall off a neighbor's property a few doors down, you have unethically built a wall.

If you force someone to help pay for a wall around your own property, you have unethically built a wall.

You could say those particular walls, under those circumstances, are unethical walls. Probably even immoral walls.

"Government land"-- dishonestly referred to as "public land" in the same way kinderprisons are called "public schools"-- is not yours to wall off. It isn't true "collective property", and there is not unanimous consent. Nor does it really belong to the government. Everything government claims it either stole from the rightful owner or bought (and maintains) with stolen or counterfeited money. A thief does not own the stolen goods he possesses, so government can not rightfully own anything. Any wall financed with stolen money is not an ethical wall.

A "border" wall fails on both accounts. No matter how "necessary" you believe it to be. It can not be done ethically under government.

You can sarcastically mock the truth, but the truth doesn't change to suit your wishes. Not even if you are a president or Scott Adams.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Let others make their mistakes

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 9, 2019)




One of the hardest things you'll ever have to do is let people make their own mistakes. Whether you're seeing your child about to make a mistake, or seeing other people making pointless and unnecessary mistakes, it's hard to watch without stepping in.

It's even harder when you know those mistakes will hurt you or other innocent people who had no part in making the mistake. In such cases, warning people they are making a mistake is self-defense...read the rest...

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Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Tampering with the data



The town I used to live near was famous for its coldness. The locals were proud of this.

Then, someone (government?) decided that the "official temperature" should be recorded at the airport instead of at the radio station just outside of town (about halfway between town and my house). So, instead of being in a pasture, the "official" thermometer was now located around buildings and a large expanse of concrete.

Guess what result that had-- it made the "official temperature" for town several degrees higher. We stopped regularly being the coldest spot in the lower 48-- at least, "officially". People complained but it wasn't switched back.

I'm not saying that one reading was more accurate than the other, just that they were different and that there are good reasons for the difference which have nothing to do with "global warming".

Yet Anthropogenic Global Climate Change (AGCC) believers would take this data and use it as indisputable evidence for global warming. It is real, scientific, and believable-- the temperatures officially recorded for that town now really are warmer than the temperatures officially recorded there in the past-- and it is misleading.

How often has this happened in other places? Has it happened this way more often than the "official thermometers" either staying in the same place or moving to a spot where the temperature would generally be lower?

It's a good reason to remain skeptical.

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Monday, January 07, 2019

Feeling good and dangerous



I don't know why, but I've been feeling uncharacteristically optimistic the past few days. Maybe I'm getting sick or I'm delusional or something.

My financial situation is not looking any brighter. I have a dreaded medical procedure coming up too soon. Nothing has changed, personally. As far as society, the same old gang of bullies is still throwing their political weight around.

And yet...

"What's this weird feeling I don't want to drink away?" ~ Princess Bean
"That's hope...THAT'S HOPE!" ~ Elfo

Here's to hope. I could get used to this.


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Sunday, January 06, 2019

Some still awaiting return of liberty

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for December 5, 2018)




For decades I've had my doubts about whether America is still the land of the free. With rules and enforcers everywhere you look, it doesn't seem so.

I've been wrong. Most Americans are free-- as free as they want to be.

I prefer liberty to freedom. Liberty means having the freedom to do everything you have a right to do; freedom is simply doing whatever you want, without regard for others.

This is why, for most Americans, America is the "Land of the Free". They are doing what they want.

They tolerate checkpoints because they make them feel safe. They comply with the airport "security theater" gauntlet, pretending it's fighting terrorism. They are content to beg for licenses as long as they can usually buy the license they want. They are fine with economically crippling taxation as long as they can imagine the money is spent on necessities. They are happy to see the "borders" locked down, not realizing this traps them more than it protects them.

They are free as long as they have smartphones and video games; free to eat, vote, and watch sports. Free to control the lives of others. Free, because this is what they want.

You'll never reach people who are content in their chains while their chains have enough slack to let them do what they want.

So they are free. Free to be cattle. Free to comply; free of unwanted responsibility. Free of fear. They want more of this kind of "freedom". They want to be free of consequences, free of hard decisions, free of everything which makes them human.

They are also free (and encouraged) to look down upon those dangerous lunatics who don't value this "freedom" as much.

They don't want to do the things they can no longer legally do, which previous generations could. Those who complain or fight the limits on liberty are to be feared, laughed at, or even hated. They should be happy with their chains like everyone else.

Few care about their lost liberty. But the Remnant does.

Somewhere out there, mostly silent and unnoticed, the Remnant listens, learns, watches, and waits. These individuals know what has been lost and will never be satisfied until they get it back.

The Remnant has been patient, but the patience will run out one day. If something can't continue forever, it won't. That will be an interesting day for the political class and their oppressive bureaucratic puppets whenever it finally arrives.

May liberty then be restored.

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Wilson's Dan Wesson revolver



Justice is something you won't find associated with government.

"Wilson" was accused by a guy he knew of being involved with the guy's wife. The guy came to Wilson's house carrying a shotgun and yelling threats. Wilson met him at the door with his revolver held down at his side. A nice Dan Wesson revolver that he really liked. Seeing Wilson's gun, the other guy decided to just yell at him for a bit, then walked back to his vehicle. But as he left he fired a shot from his shotgun into the air.

Someone, either the shooter himself or a "concerned neighbor", soon called the cops about the "shot fired".

An hour or so later, the cops showed up at Wilson's door, arrested him and stole his revolver. They didn't care about the fact that Wilson wasn't the one who fired the shot-- they didn't want to hear it. They never checked up on the other guy. They had "the perp".

Fortunately for Wilson, the jury didn't buy it. They found him not guilty.

So Wilson asked for the return of his revolver. He was told he would have to file paperwork to get it back. He jumped through all their flaming hoops, and waited. And waited. And kept asking. And waiting.

A year or more later he was finally told his gun had "disappeared", so "too bad". He was told there was nothing he could do. The state wasn't responsible for replacing (or paying for) the revolver.

Wilson was pretty sure who had taken his firearm. The prosecuting attorney had made comments which suggested he liked the gun and wanted one like it. Sure, this is circumstantial, but obviously the guy was crooked or he wouldn't have been a prosecuting attorney in the first place. Later he became the district attorney (or something like that over that whole quarter of the state). I still remember the guy's name because of the hatred Wilson felt-- and expressed-- for him. I shared his opinion.

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Saturday, January 05, 2019

Theatrics on display



I was sitting in the waiting area of the local tire shop yesterday, and they had a TV going. For entertainment, I guess. Usually, it is tuned to a "news" network where you can watch people angrily disagreeing over politics.

This time it was tuned to some sports network and there on the screen were people angrily disagreeing over sports. Or, is it all an act? I can't tell.

My first thought was that people surely couldn't care that much about sportsballing. They had to be putting on an act in order to excite and divide their large studio audience (unless the audience was CGI). Are they trying hard to create drama where none would otherwise exist?

Then I realized I usually feel the same when I see two extreme statists angrily disagreeing over how you and I should "best" and "properly" be violated by government. They are on the same side; taking the side of government against liberty. Are they really so blind they can't see that? Or are they putting on an act in order to excite and divide their audience? To create drama where none would otherwise exist?


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Friday, January 04, 2019

AnComs, climate activists, and me



Excitement! Followed by disappointment and disillusionment.

That's what I experience when I hear someone claim to be an anarchist, but then they start advocating communism.

Or when someone expresses an interest in science but then begins talking "flat Earth" or demanding I devote my life to "Climate change".

There's the promise that a person is sensible and someone I can relate to... and then they expose their "but".

How often does that happen to you?
And what issues do you experience this with?

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Thursday, January 03, 2019

No, that's NOT what Louis CK was doing



People are having a fit about Louis CK making fun of "Parkland survivors". Is that what he really did? No. He was doing what I have done; he was making fun of the handful of nasty little anti-liberty bigots who used their attendance at Parkland as a springboard to promote their mental illness and demand we all adopt the same. The rest of the survivors-- those who didn't become social parasites-- were spared his ridicule; he didn't even mention them.

I'll ridicule David Hogg, his barefoot sidekick girl-- I forget her name, and the other "survivors". They are absurd and deserve all the ridicule they get. They are promoting slavery. They picked the fight and then whined when people struck back. Like the entitled children they are.

And wasn't the vile little Hogg actually at home when the shooting occurred, rushing to the school so he could claim "victim" status and become a Big Deal? Whether that rumor is true or not doesn't really make a difference. He wants government to molest me, so he's fair game for any and all ridicule.

So, whatever else Louis CK said may have been rude, but while making fun of those particular "Parkland survivors", I support him.

I listened to the routine. Some of it was hilarious. He seems to have a good sense of humor about his own foibles and the resulting trouble. Some of the routine wasn't funny to me personally. But I couldn't really get offended by it. He was making jokes. I'm not a delicate little old church lady who gets bent out of shape about jokes.

A lot of other people are. They should rent a sense of humor if they don't have one of their own.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Social events no place for politics

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 2, 2019)




In spite of how libertarianism is often portrayed, it's not a middle ground between conservatism and progressivism. It's not even on the scale with those positions. But during social gatherings libertarians can be a neutral zone between conservative and liberal disagreement.

The silliness of the political right and left is clear to libertarians, yet we have common ground with each, on those few issues where they still support individual liberty. Progressives and conservatives are more similar to each other than they'll admit. Why should they fight over the minor details on which they disagree?..read the rest...

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Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Happy New Year!



Now go out and do something you want to do, something you have a right to do, whether it's "legal" or not! Live your liberty.


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Monday, December 31, 2018

Popular doesn't mean right



I'm sure this will come as no surprise, but I was never one of the popular kids. Popularity wasn't ever something I wanted. I was too different to care what others thought (and I thought most of the "popular kids" were kind of dumb and dull. Still do).

In elementary school, at recess, when we were supposed to be playing some form of sportsball, I would be sitting on the ground looking under rocks to see what interesting lifeforms I could find. Hoping the ball wouldn't come toward me.

My family moved around too much for me to make any friends who would have the time to "get" me.

In junior high I missed the entire first semester after a nasty bike wreck, and was never able to socially recover. Although the chance that made much of a difference is slim.

In high school, I was known as a nerd. Even worse, I was the nerd who would eat acorns and weeds, wore a survival kit on my belt, and drove the weird electric car. I had one main friend and he was known as the genius who was also a "pothead", and it was suspected I was probably also smoking the wacky tobacky with him. I can neither confirm nor deny those rumors.

I never did fit in. And it's been the same for me as an adult.

The only taste of popularity I ever got was during my 3 or so years in Pennsylvania-- during karaoke nights. Then I knew what popularity felt like. I admit, in that context I enjoyed it.

Now I'm back to my normal.

But, the point of this is, I understand liberty is not popular. Why would it be? I value it.

I have a small audience for this blog, but I value you all. I may not be popular, but I'm on the right side. And that means you are, too. We are awesome... Liberty is awesome... whether anyone else appreciates it (us) or not. The rest of them can join us or they can continue to be wrong. It's their choice. Their problem. They are the "interesting lifeforms" I find under rocks. I still observe them; try to understand them. But I am not inside their heads. And truthfully, I don't want to be. The sacrifice would be too great.

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Reminder: I could really use some help.
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This blog is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Free market means individual choice

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for November 28, 2018)




I love the free market. The market, liberated from government rules, subject only to the choices of individuals.

One of my choices is to not shop on major holidays. If I knew for certain the store let employees volunteer to work on the holiday it would be different. As it stands, no sales or discounts can entice me to shop on Thanksgiving or Christmas when I know the employees were probably coerced into working instead of spending the holiday with their families.

I'm also not willing to fight crazed crowds for "deals". It's not an experience I enjoy.

That's my choice; yours might be different.

I would oppose laws making it illegal for stores to open on major holidays, just as I oppose laws which make Sunday alcohol sales illegal. Those laws are arbitrary and silly. I am responsible enough to make my own choices of what to buy and when to shop. I don't need a babysitter holding a gun on shop owners to make certain they do what the babysitter believes is right.

I'm not boycotting anyone. It's not a crusade. I'll go to those stores on other days. I won't ask anyone to join me. It's just me, as an individual, making a personal choice. My meager spending won't be missed, but I feel better not encouraging businesses to use their employees in ways I don't like.

I care about people; that's why I'm libertarian. I believe all human interactions should be voluntary. If a business (or any other institution) can't survive through voluntary association, I believe it should die. Customers and employees are equally important.

There would be employees who would choose to go to work rather than spend the day alone, or with family they want an excuse to avoid. It might not result in a full staff, but if you put off the sales for one day it would be fine.

When I owned a business I chose to open one Christmas day. I wasn't able to be with family, so I was completely alone. I had nothing else to do, so instead of sitting and watching television or something equally pointless, I decided to work at the store and flip the sign to "open". I got some things done, even while feeling sorry for myself. I had one customer all day; I still remember what he bought. He didn't comment about my store being open on Christmas. At least I was busy and productive, and it was my choice.


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Wilson, the stingy



"Wilson" was the stingiest person I ever knew... with his ammunition.

In his mostly unfurnished house, he had built a "wall of ammunition". He had stacked the little boxes of 7.62x39 and the bigger boxes of .40 S+W so as to build a "wall" against the back wall of his living room. It didn't actually cover the whole wall, but it was about 3 or 4 feet high and about 6 feet long. It continually grew. I don't know why he didn't find a better way to store it.

But when we would go out shooting, he would only shoot one firearm that day. He would either shoot his carry pistol or he would bring along his SKS to shoot. He would never shoot both on the same outing. And he would only bring 3 to 5 cartridges to shoot. That was it.

The first time we went out to shoot his SKS I offered to buy a box of ammo from him for us to shoot. (He always bought every round the local shops would get as soon as they came in.) But, no, he wouldn't do that. He was convinced he might need it later.

When I ran into him years later and miles away he told me he had gotten married, but it went bad and his angry wife reported him to the cops for abuse. They came to his house, cuffed him on the floor at gunpoint, and stole his guns and all his ammo. He said he never got it back. I have no clue if he really abused her or not. It's possible-- he could be a bit excitable. Doesn't sound like she was without issues, though.

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If you enjoy personal stories like my "Wilson" series, you might also like Grant McGee's blog. He used to write in the paper here and has pretty interesting tales to tell.

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Reminder: I could really use some help.
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This blog is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

People who need to get out more



I've not been online much this past week, and I apologize for the sporadic posting. Lots of family holiday stuff, plus I got a special gift this year because my son and his girlfriend surprised me by moving within visiting distance just a few days before Christmas. Which is awesome!

But, what I have seen online makes me unsure whether to laugh or shake my head in disbelief. Maybe I shouldn't have turned on the computer after all.

Did I seriously see that people still admire Obama more than any other man in the world and that Michelle Obama is supposedly the "most admired woman in America"? What kind of nonsense is that? If that's true, people are dumber than I suspected.

I'm against presidents, ex-presidents, and other such ectoparasites as a matter of principle. To admire politicians is terribly misguided... or worse. People who admire these professional molesters need to get out and meet more people. They really need some sort of hobby.

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Reminder: I could still really, really use some help.
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This blog is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

No government employee is "essential"



With regards to the fake news about a "government shutdown", where they give the "non-essential government employees" an unscheduled paid vacation (because it will be paid sooner or later)...

All government employees are non-essential. Every single last one of them, from the president on up to the contract janitor who scrubs Ruth Bader Ginsburg's office toilet.

If they were essential the market would be doing their job and the government "job" would have never existed in the first place.

Or, the market would be doing the job if the government didn't artificially step in with "laws" or other ways to prevent the market from filling the need. Which it often does.

Government is a net negative in everything.

Send them all home forever. No back pay. No retirement. No paid medical care. Nothing. Burn all the records-- I'll do it if they just get out of the way. Just go away forever and ever.

That would be a real government shutdown. One I support without the slightest reservation.

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Reminder: I could really use some help.
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This blog is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Looking back, hoping for liberty

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for December 26, 2018)




Here we go, wrapping up another year. While there's still the possibility of something significant happening in the final days of December, there's an even better chance nothing significant will happen, but something trivial will be overblown to seem important.

Until that happens, how do things look?..read the rest...

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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Happy Winter Solstice Holidays!



Merry Christmas!
Happy Festivus, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Newtonmas, Yule, Government "Shutdown", etc.!

I sincerely hope your Winter Solstice was a good one, and that all the remaining Winter Solstice holidays-- whichever of them, if any, you celebrate-- are great for you and yours!

I love you guys!

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Sunday, December 23, 2018

I'll keep my loopholes, thank you

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for November 21, 2018)




In those moments when my skepticism falters, the recent midterm elections threaten to give me a little hope. It doesn't last long. A Congress divided between Republicans and Democrats brings the promise of sweet gridlock, but they always seem to find a way to work together more than is healthy.

I am naturally skeptical of those using theft and aggression against the individuals who comprise society-- even when they call the theft and aggression "government" or "the law".

As bad as partisanship's reputation may be, bipartisanship is far worse. When working together, the old, fossilized political parties make it clear it isn't "The Right" vs. "The Left"; it's government colluding against the rest of us.

Back in 1866 Judge Gideon J. Tucker observed: “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” It has only gotten worse since then.

The best hope for the survival of your liberty is eternal gridlock preventing Congress from doing anything. While they are fighting each other they may not be paying as much attention to you.

Those who want government to "do something" are calling for your liberty to be crushed bit by bit until none is left. They consider any remaining islands of liberty in a rising ocean of government to be "loopholes" which they want closed. In spite of everything they might claim, this is never for your benefit.

I don't want Congress, or any branch of government, to get things done. There is nothing legitimate for Congress to do.

Laws were discovered; legislation is invented. All real laws were discovered centuries ago; no new laws are needed or even possible. All the real crimes have always been crimes in any civilized society. All attacks on life, liberty, or property are wrong, whether laws criminalize them or not. They are still wrong when laws say they are OK if done by government employees "just doing their jobs".

Anything Congress imposes on the population will be legislation; fake "law". These counterfeit "laws" look like laws to most people. They use legal language and are treated as though they are laws, but they lack the ethical foundation which distinguishes real law. In fact, they violate real law by endangering your life, liberty, or property.

The last thing I want or need is for the houses of Congress to work together, with the president, to impose more legislation. I'll keep my loopholes-- my liberty-- thank you very much.

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Prohibition-- not just wrong, but evil



I hate the current anti-opioid campaign.

Not for myself, fortunately, but on behalf of those it is harming.

Yeah, I understand that people can harm themselves by abusing opioids, and I also understand that innocent people can be harmed by those who abuse opioids. That doesn't justify this insane push to make society opioid-free. Nothing can.

I realize that some time in the future I could be in the position to need the pain relief of opioids, and the government might just prefer I suffer and die rather than "run the risk" of addiction. I hope not, but if it happens it's MY choice, not some idiot bureaucrat's.

A few years ago when I was hospitalized with a kidney stone I was given morphine a few times. The experience was bad enough and would have been so much worse without effective pain relief. At least it was temporary. Just imagine those whose pain isn't temporary.

It's things like this that make me see the evil that is government even more than the rest of the archation that is committed in its name. There's no excuse good enough to do this to people. The War on Politically Incorrect Drugs must end. Prohibition is always wrong; it is always evil.


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Reminder: I could really use some help.
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This blog is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Wilson and the accused informant



"Wilson" was a little paranoid. We spent a fair amount of time together, frequently wandering trails (and off-trail) on foot in the nearby wilderness area. I knew he didn't trust easily. I was to discover that what trust he did have was shakey and easily upset.

There was this guy he sometimes spoke to in town. I had seen the guy around, wearing old camo clothing and a backpack-- I suspect he may have been homeless-- but I never met him. Which is odd because he claimed to know me and he caused Wilson to lose his trust in me. Which could have ended badly.

I stopped by Wilson's house one afternoon and he approached my car with an odd demeanor. I noticed his hand was on his pistol. I didn't get out of my car, but asked what was up. He told me this guy, who I didn't know and had never spoken to, had warned him I was a police informant. Supposedly I was spying on Wilson's activities and reporting to the cops. He was telling me all this using colorful language.

I got very uncomfortable very quickly. I honestly expected to be shot at any moment-- and my young daughter was in the car with me.

(A few years later I got the same sort of feeling when a different friend told me he "knew" I was a Martian who was controlling his mind, but that's another story. I'd rather be a Martian than work with the cops.)

Wilson loved to buy ammo but hated using it. I've never seen anyone so stingy with ammunition. Maybe that worked in my favor that day.

I told him I wasn't a police informant, and would never do that. Not to anyone. I told him emphatically that I had never worked with, or helped, the police in any way. Never had and never would. He knew how I felt about cops, or at least I thought he did. He questioned me for a few minutes, and I guess he was satisfied enough with my answers. I left on somewhat calmer terms. But it was a few weeks before we were back to normal.

For a long time I wondered what the guy had actually said to Wilson about me. What he had against me, and how he was even aware of me. Had Wilson mentioned me and the guy just decided to accuse me? Did he have me confused with someone else? That seems unlikely because I was sort of "unique" in town, but it was a town of misfits and maybe he mixed me up with someone else. Or, was that guy an informant who didn't like me speaking to Wilson and keeping him less volatile? At this point, I'll never know.

Eventually the incident passed and was never mentioned again. Once I regained his trust I never seemed to lose it again.

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Reminder: I could really use some help.
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This blog is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Voluntaryists are good folk



I just got the chance to meet another of my readers (along with his lovely partner). I'm always impressed with the quality of people I meet through this blog when we meet in person.

Impressed, but not surprised.

I know that those who live Voluntaryism are likely to be people who are just good folk. How could it be otherwise? And this has always been my experience so far.

By my count, this is only the fourth time I've had this opportunity. Quality over quantity, I suppose. I am somewhat out-of-the-way; far from the interstates. Not exactly in the bustling center of ... anything. Crops, dairies, and feedlots aren't that thrilling and don't draw crowds. That can be good and bad.

I'm glad I got to meet another couple of good people.

I look forward to the next time I get this chance.

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Reminder: I could really use some help.
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This blog is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Common ground with Putin?



Something interesting happened the other day. I discovered I may agree with Vladimir Putin. At least at a personal opinion level on one topic; not on what (if anything) should be done about it.

Does this make me a Russian collaborator?

Putin wants to "control" rap in Russia. This seems to indicate he doesn't like rap and believes it has a negative effect on young people. I agree with him on both, even as I disagree that government should get involved (in anything).

I can separate my personal opinions from what I believe should be done. And I understand what someone has a right to do and what they don't. No one has a right to ban a type of self-expression just because they don't like it.

I hate rap. It's just my opinion based on my personal tastes. I don't like pit bulls, either. I don't want government banning or "controlling" either one. Not on my behalf or for any other reason. That's just my feelings on those things. Every pit bull I've met has been gentle, but I still don't like the breed, and I understand that rap expresses some useful "anti-establishment" themes, but I still don't like it.

I have noticed a negative effect on my daughter's psyche since she was first exposed to rap. Yes, it may be correlation rather than causation; she's reaching that hormone-saturated age, after all. I know banning it from the house would be authoritarian. And pointless. All her friends and frienemies listen to (and live) rap almost exclusively, and she's much more peer-oriented than I ever was. Still, I would have to be blind to not see the effect it seems to be having on her (and the other kids). For that reason, I have asked her to avoid it (and anything else dark and negative) until she seems better able to handle the exposure without evident harm.

This could get "interesting".

The topic will probably keep coming up in the house for the foreseeable future. No, I don't have the parenting thing all figured out.

But as much as I hate rap, I wouldn't support any "law" aimed at suppressing it.


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Reminder: I could really use some help.
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This blog is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Solar shouldn't be forced on city

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for December 19, 2018)




I'm in favor of solar energy. I'm not in favor of city commissions spending money on it, or on anything else.

The news that the Clovis City commissioners want to spend your money for land on which solar energy could be "developed" sounds like more government-as-usual to me. Once the money is spent, who is to guarantee the land would be used as promised, or that there would ever be a payoff? Spend other people's money now, benefit later... maybe, if everything works out exactly as we imagine, which it never does...read the rest...

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