Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Easier to change self than state

Easier to change self than state (My CNJ column from June 9, 2011. As written, not as published.)

You can see anything more clearly after taking a step back from it than you can while you are in the middle of it.

If you want the truth about a cult, you ask someone who was once a part of it, but who got out. You can't get a very accurate version of the truth from someone who still is involved. They are too close to, and too invested in, the issue. I think the same goes for the political process. I was once involved and active, but then I took a breath and stepped back and I saw the futility of everything I had worked for. I had been acting on a string of false premises that were actually adding to the problem.

If I really believed a rain dance could make it rain here, I'd gladly do one and ignore the sideways glances of my more normal neighbors. In the same way, if I still believed taking political action could bring liberty back to America, I'd be the most politically active man on Earth. However both beliefs are just that: beliefs. Neither has any basis in objective reality.

When considering politics, too many people ask the wrong questions and make the wrong assumptions. They ask what government can do about an issue instead of asking if government should do anything, and instead of questioning whether previous government actions created the problem in the first place.

The State has a lot of practice at creating a problem, then pretending to be the only possible solution. The economy and crime are two salient examples of this destructive tactic.

If political action is inherently unlikely to produce liberty, what other course of action is available to you? If you value liberty you must start with yourself. Make yourself free, and respect the liberty of all those around you, even those you don't like. This is much more powerful than electing representatives and expecting them to protect your liberty. You must take responsibility for yourself and for those whom you are consensually bound to be responsible for.

So, step back, re-examine your assumptions, and consider if your time and energy could be better spent changing the one person you truly have the power to change rather than begging someone else to make the changes you want.

Taxpayers shouldn't foot hotel bill

Taxpayers shouldn't foot hotel bill (My CNJ column from June 2, 2011. As written, not as published.)

I think it is a noble thing to want to save the Hotel Clovis building from decay or destruction. Personally, I love to see historic buildings preserved and put back to use.

I'm somewhat less enthusiastic over the plan to use it for subsidized housing. If you own the building I think it is yours to use as you see fit as long as you harm no other person, however I believe subsidized housing is harmful to everyone.

Where some people go astray is when they demand that others pay, through taxation, "public funds", or other government coercion, for their own pet projects. Other people do not value the same things you do and it is not very nice to force them to pay for that which you think is important. If I believed in doing that I might demand a huge tax-funded "living history" site, complete with tipis, bison, and gunfights, somewhere around town. It might become a tourist attraction and I'd probably want to live there. But I know it is wrong to get what I want that way, even if 51% of the voters agreed with me.

A majority of 100%, minus one individual, has no real right to force the lone holdout to finance or participate in their project if he'd rather not. As long as he is allowed to opt out, losing neither his time nor his money in the process, he has no authority to stand in the way of the voluntarily organized and financed project he opposes, either.

If something really should be done, there will be volunteers to do it, or a market for it to be done "for profit". A fund drive for the Hotel Clovis building might be the proper way to put your money where your mouth is. I'll even pledge the first dollar. The campaign to "Keep Cannon" got the community organized and energized; why not devote the same energy to the campaign to "Save the Hotel"? If it doesn't gain momentum, perhaps the desire is not really there. If that is the case, a private group could still be organized to purchase the hotel with their own money and save it in their own way. Once again, I'm willing to help.

To those who want to save the hotel, I ask: What is stopping you? My follow-up question is: Why do you let that stop you?


Missing person! (Found safe)

William R. Stone, possibly between KC area Missouri and Redfield/Des Moines area, Iowa.

And get the latest HERE

Update: He is safe. Good to know!