Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Being prepared is common sense

Being prepared is common sense

(My Clovis News Journal column for March 20, 2015)

The water shut off in Portales last week should have awakened a few people. From previous experience, I doubt it did.

For years I have advocated preparing for possible problems. No, I'm not a "doomsday prepper" waiting for a magnetic pole shift, the collapse of civilization, or a solar flare burning out the power grid. And I don't believe in zombies. I simply believe in staying ready for anything which could disrupt normal 21st Century life- things like having the water shut off.

No one should have been scrambling to find water; everyone should have already stocked at least a few days' supply of water around the house or business. This is a dry region, after all. Yet, how many have done so? How many realized their mistake and moved to correct it after this water crisis?

Having the water shut off city-wide for a day or so is nothing compared to many things which could happen.

Being prepared isn't paranoia- it's common sense. Our grandparents knew it. Any preparation is better than none.

Yet suggestions to be prepared are usually countered with excuses and denial.

"I don't need to stock up on anything- I can just walk to the store."
"I live in a good neighborhood."
"I can't afford to buy anything extra to put aside."
"That will never happen here- not to me."

Even after unexpected problems crop up, the response is "I survived okay."

Yes, this time. What if it had been worse, had lasted longer, or had been more widespread? What about next time?

Survival isn't the only consideration. Comfort is another.

It doesn't take "the end of the world as we know it" to make "preps" handy. Many times I have drawn upon my preparations to make minor inconveniences less difficult. In fact, I've had fun during minor emergencies while other people ran around in a confused panic. I am usually the person my friends come to when they find themselves caught unprepared for any small difficulty- and I normally have something which can help. But I can't help everyone other than by telling them they need to take responsibility for their own lives.

You can't count on others- those who saw the wisdom in making preparations- coming to your aid. They have to look out for themselves and their family first. It's not selfishness; it is responsibility. You and your family are your responsibility. Don't shirk. Look at the problems most likely to happen where you live, and find out what you would need most if they do occur. Think of simple, general things you might do. Stop looking for excuses and just start small today.


"Compromising Good with Evil"- and failing, utterly

(Previously posted to Patreon)

I would still rather be right- be accepting of reality- than be comfortable. I'd rather be right than be libertarian.

If reality doesn't support liberty, then I want to be aware of it and accept it and figure out what the reality is.

I don't want cognitive dissonance or compartmentalization to get in the way. Fantasies about how things are might be comforting to some people, but I don't want to coddle those fantasies.

But, the deeper I dig, the less sense statism makes to me. The more "arguments" I hear in support of "governments", "laws", "States", and initiating force and theft, the more insane they sound. The inconsistencies are simply too glaring to ignore.

But, trying to explore the possibilities to discover reality is why I read things like this: Compromising Good with Evil

Right off the bat he gets something completely wrong, which throws off the entire rest of his screed- he says libertarians think that "There simply can be no middle ground between the two fundamental philosophical opposites of freedom and slavery. Either we are a free society or a slave society, but we can't be both."

While that is a true statement, he goes on to say "This all libertarians agree upon, or they're not libertarians." So, this is the defining principle of libertarianism?

Ummm... wrong. Libertarians know that initiating force and violating private property are wrong. That's what makes them libertarians. The other things logically stem from that, but are not the foundation.

And, he goes downhill from there, just like every single criticism of Abolitionism/voluntaryism/anarchism/libertarianism I have ever encountered does- simply because they utterly fail to understand what they are trying to debunk. They argue from ignorance.

His entire article is based upon an appeal to authority- in this case, Aristotle and his "Golden Mean". The "Golden Mean" works for some things, like Goldilocks' "Not too cold or too hot- but just right". It doesn't work at all where Liberty is concerned. That's because Liberty is self-limiting. Your Liberty can't violate anyone else, or it ceases to be Liberty. And "government" always violates Liberty.

He claims, using the idea of the "Golden Mean", that good and evil are not opposites along a single axis, but good is in the middle, with evil at either extreme. With regards to Liberty, "too much" is anarchy, and too little is tyranny. As if anarchy is a bad thing. His superstitious belief in "limited government" is, of course, his "Golden Mean" of juicy goodness. He is wrong. Probably because he doesn't understand what evil is.

Evil is doing intentional harm to those who don't deserve to be harmed right now. Harm isn't on either side of good- it is the opposite of good no matter what justification you use. And, if it doesn't harm people, it isn't evil even if you think it wouldn't be the best path. Statism- the belief that governing people is a legitimate human endeavor- is evil because of the harm it inevitably causes to individual life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and property. You can't violate people "for their own good" no matter how passionately you make that silly claim.

Originally I intended to show how and why the author was wrong, bit by bit. Piece by piece. Paragraph by paragraph. Because he is wrong. In fact, either he is intentionally lying, or he's an idiot.

But the article is so incredibly long and full of fail that I realized quickly that to dissect it would require one of those multi-part blogs addressing slavery-apologists (statists) I have done in the past. I just don't feel like it. Besides, cutting through the BS of his "Golden Mean" idea of good and evil is probably all that is necessary to bring down his whole house of marked cards.

Feel free to read that article for yourself, and notice all the mistakes he makes- even if you don't get far into it, I'm confident you'll see more wrongness than you can keep up with. His flawed assumptions; his mischaracterizations; his non-sequiturs. The list is almost endless. Statism is a fail. From beginning to end. It is based on a superstition.