Sunday, April 30, 2017

All 'shoulds' flow from short list

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for March 29, 2017)

Almost everyone seems to have opinions about what you and I should or should not do. Most are willing to impose their opinions through laws, which they are willing to have enforced with violence.

Their opinions run the gamut: You should be patriotic. You should be compassionate to the underprivileged. You should be responsible. You should leave risky jobs to the professionals. You should pay any tax a government claims you owe. You shouldn't own dangerous things. You should obey every law automatically and without question, no matter how harmful or absurd-- and you should support, respect, and instantly obey law enforcement officers no matter what they demand.

The list is infinite!

I can simplify things. You should respect everyone's life, liberty, and property. That's your obligation to your fellow humans, and it's enough. How you choose to follow through is up to you.

How is this any different from the other "shoulds"? Look at the alternative.

If you don't believe you should respect the life of other people, wouldn't it mean you believe it's OK to kill them for no reason? Self defense? If someone is in your way, kill them. What kind of world would result?

If you don't believe you should respect the liberty of others, why not enslave them? Force them to work for you without getting the full benefit of their labor. Keep them in a cage when they aren't working, so they don't wander off without your permission. Pretend you have a magical quality called "authority" which empowers you to control what they do with their own body.

If you don't believe you should respect the property of other people, what's stopping you from taking what you want when you want it? Convince yourself you own a percentage of the money they earn from their labors-- a behavior which mirrors slavery; you are forcing them to spend part of their life supporting you. Don't allow them to use their property as they see fit. Impose restrictions which have no bearing on protecting the property of their neighbors.

Where would you be when your victims realize anything you permit yourself do to them could be turned around and done to you? Anything permissible for you is also permissible for your worst enemy. It's that simple.

All legitimate "shoulds" flow naturally from this short list, while false "shoulds" are exposed in short order. The sooner you learn it and take it to heart, the better things will be.

This blog, like all of, is reader supported. 
Any donations or subscriptions are GREATLY appreciated! Thank you.

The gift (?) of Oddness

Looking back on my life I find that the times that hold the most value are the times when I did things that were strange, unexpected, unconventional, risky, or just weird. Those are the things I remember and smile about the most.

That doesn't mean I usually intentionally do "odd" things- they just come naturally for me. Although, I admit I once wore a black velvet sombrero with silver sequins to work just to see the reaction. (Note: it is hard to drive while wearing a sombrero.) It was fun. And it probably did nothing to change my cow-orkers' minds about my oddness. Generally, though, my natural reactions to the world lead me down the path to "strange".

But often, things that seem odd really aren't. They just seem strange by comparison to the status quo.

Apparently, valuing liberty is a very odd thing in the world today. It's much more conventional to be "patriotic" or to oppose the "other side" just because they aren't your side. You won't win many friends for politely declining their invitation to join their mob. "You're NOT of the body!!"

Libertarianism and anarchy, "odd" as they are, are a good fit for me, besides being the only rational and ethical way to live among others.

I guess it's also strange to not abandon principles when they become inconvenient, or when others think you should. Yes, my daughter was killed by a drugged driver. Yes, I still oppose prohibition and those who support and enforce it. Personal tragedy doesn't change the truth. And, the truth is and will remain that although drug abuse is dumb and dangerous, prohibition has even more innocent victims.

There were a few times in my life when I wanted to be "normal". I would try to blend in. Something always jinxed the attempt. Someone would ask something, and my honest answer would cause them to stare at me as if I had eyes on stalks coming out the top of my head. I guess "normal" doesn't work for me.

Truthfully, looking at what is considered "normal" these days, I see very little worth emulating.


This blog, like all of, is reader supported. 
Any donations or subscriptions are GREATLY appreciated! Thank you.