Saturday, September 21, 2019

Who is "pro-Second Amendment"?



I find it odd that so many people who are anti-gun like to call themselves "pro-Second Amendment". It's obviously not true. Of course, they usually have a big "but".

How can you be for something you willfully misunderstand?

They may believe the Second Amendment "gives people the right" to have guns while misunderstanding that it doesn't. And the Second Amendment doesn't have a "but". Plus, the right exists regardless.

What the Second Amendment does is place guns off-limits to government. "Gun control" [sic] is a serious crime. The Second Amendment doesn't leave room for licenses, permits, limits, registration, "red flag laws", background checks, waiting periods, "taxes" on guns/gun accessories or ammo, or any gun "laws" of any sort. If you don't understand this, to say you are "pro-Second Amendment" is to lie.

And yes, charging a "tax" on anything associated with guns (or the exercise of any natural human right) is an unacceptable violation of that right. This point is important. You can't have a right to "tax"/steal, and doing so to make a right more expensive to exercise-- do discourage the exercise thereof-- is doubly evil.

I am pro-gun rights; pro-human rights. I don't really care if the generally ignored Second Amendment exists or not. And I'm opposed to government employees (and other archators) owning or carrying guns, even though I wouldn't prohibit them from doing so. I'm opposed to them breathing, too, but preventing that isn't my responsibility in most cases, either.

I would be generally "pro-Second Amendment" if it actually did what it was supposed to do. But it doesn't. And it is used by anti-gun bigots as a way to justify their rights violations. They choose to misdefine "militia" (all the people capable of bearing arms in defense of the society) and "well-regulated" (practiced to the point of effectiveness) to suit their purposes. And they love to ignore "shall not be infringed".

The meaning of "pro-gun" is even less clear.

Cops can be "pro-gun"... as long as you obey the unconstitutional and unethical "laws" controlling gun owners. They probably like having their guns, but are often skeptical of you having any gun you want, on you everywhere you go, without getting government permission first. Many "elite" gun owners and fudds are the same way.

Just because someone is "pro-gun" doesn't mean they support your right to own and to carry them. And this is how they justify their sneak attacks on your natural human rights that they really don't like much, while semi-honestly calling themselves "pro-gun".

A "pro-gun" individual could still be against you having a gun on you because they might not be pro-gun-owner; a real "pro-Second Amendment"/gun-owner rights supporter can't be. Not if they are honest. And someone who really respects the natural human right to own and to carry weapons doesn't rely on the existence of the Second Amendment to support the right and doesn't look for ways to violate or limit your rights.

Now, is that person who claims to be "pro-Second Amendment" telling the truth or are they not?
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Friday, September 20, 2019

I can be a thoroughly modern Neanderthal



Well, not an actual Neanderthal, just a primitive sort of person.

I used to cause amusement because I'd be wearing my buckskin clothes with a cordless phone (back in those pre-cellphone days) on my belt. What people failed to understand was that I wasn't playing dress-up. That was me. I wasn't dressing to impress or amuse. Those were my clothes, and sometimes I needed to have the phone handy. The phone was a necessary accessory, appropriate to the era in which I live. Just like the Bowie knife beside it.

There are things I like about the present and there are things I like about the past. I mix them together when it's useful.

That's why I carry a couple of lighters, but I also carry stuff (and the knowledge) to make a bow/drill fire easier. I'll use medicinal plants, and I'll take modern medicines. I like LED flashlights and I like candles and kerosene lanterns. I think it's sad to ignore all the glorious inventions and discoveries of the past just because they are from the past when (and if) they are still useful today. I also don't reject modern stuff just because it's modern. If I find something useful from any time period, I'll use it and I may even like it.

That also means that if some horrible, evil statist said something that's true, it's still true and I'll still respect the words, regardless of who said them.

Be adaptable. Use what's available and useful, without abandoning what's right.
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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Anti-gun bits and pieces



(I don't intend to turn this blog into Kent's "Hooligan Gun-Rights" Blog. Even if it seems like it at the moment. I tend to focus on what I see as the biggest dangers to liberty right now... the winds will probably change soon. But until then...)

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If you don't assume something is bad, you don't look for ways to reduce it.
To seek ways to reduce the number of guns is to assume they are bad.
If you are discussing ways guns might be restricted or "controlled" you are advocating reducing the number of guns.

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Chicago has strict anti-gun "laws", and they've been getting more strict for a century or so. Some claim this is a reaction to crime, not a cause. So I guess that must mean crime has gone down in Chicago in step with the stricter "laws" being imposed. How much more "gun control" will it take to make Chicago a peaceful paradise? Or, are the "laws" having no effect or making it worse?

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Yes, you can change the Constitution if you don't like what's in it. However, if you meddle with the Bill of Rights the whole deal is off. Without the completely intact Bill of Rights, no Constitution (it was a package deal, without which the Constitution wouldn't have been ratified). No Constitution, no U.S. feral government. That's fine by me! How do you feel about that?

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Gun rights don't violate human rights. Gun rights are human rights. My right to own and carry a gun has nothing to do with your right to not be shot. I have no right to shoot you if you aren't violating anyone, but I have no obligation to not shoot you if you are. You can't have the right to archate, so neither can you have the right to archate in safety.

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If you are advocating (or proposing) a gun "buyback" you are lying. Gun manufacturers can buy back the guns they produced and sold. Gun stores can buy back the guns they sold. Your neighbor could buy back the gun he sold you. However, unless you bought your gun from the federal government, that government can't "buy it back". It can offer a bounty for the gun-- financed by stolen or counterfeited money. But your gun never belonged to the government and it can't go "back" to some mental construct which never owned it.

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Anti-gun positions are always based on lies or ignorance. Always.
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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Bullying's cure is fighting back

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for September 18, 2019)




It's as predictable as the equinox: school starts in the fall and bullying catches society's attention anew. It's not as though bullying stops over the summer break, but then it is usually left-over momentum from the previous school year. "Back to school" recharges it.

Schools decry bullying, often getting the community involved. It's a halfhearted effort at best. Schools can't eliminate bullying without undermining their own system since it's based on authoritarianism-- socially accepted bullying...read the rest...

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

"Gun crime"

(free photo from Pexels/Kat Wilcox)

I've lost count of the times people have insisted my feelings about guns would change if someone I knew was a victim of a "gun crime". This shows their ignorance. And even if my "feelings" did change, the truth doesn't.

I've had three close friends shot by bad guys. Two of them died as a result. Do I blame the guns? That would be as pointless and stupid as blaming cars for my daughter Cheyenne's death.

In one case, my friend was shot in the head by an angry ex who had been in and out of mental institutions. While she sat at a red light. I don't think she ever knew he was in a car next to her. She probably wouldn't have been saved if she'd had a gun-- which she was in the process of trying to get government permission to carry. But it wouldn't have made things worse. Making it harder for her to "legally" carry a gun didn't help her.

In another case, a friend was shot in a mugging. He didn't hand over enough money (he handed over all he had, the mugger just didn't think it was enough) and then tried to elbow the excited mugger. He survived. Since he was not situationally aware, was in a dangerous place at a bad time of night, having a gun might not have done him any good. But if he'd had a gun it wouldn't have made things worse for him. And, just maybe things would have gone worse for the mugger-- who was never identified or caught.

In the final example, a friend of mine, my closest teenage friend, was shot in the gut "accidentally" and left to bleed out for an hour or more until a witness finally decided to call an ambulance. It was too late. According to the shooter, it was accidental. But I don't believe my friend would have held a gun by the barrel while handing it to someone-- he was more careful than that. Although I also think drugs, possibly a drug deal gone bad, were involved. If it was really an accident, then his having a gun wouldn't have helped. If, however, it was a murder, then perhaps he could have defended himself had he been armed. Either way, having a gun wouldn't have made it worse for him.

It's so dumb to separate "gun crime" (or worse, "gun violence") from other archation. I'm opposed to the innocent being harmed or killed regardless of the tool used by the bad guy. I wouldn't feel better had my friends been violated with fists, bricks, knives, boots, or "laws".

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Monday, September 16, 2019

Science + politics = crap



I like to listen to scientific lectures. Unfortunately, it's becoming rare to be able to listen to an entire lecture without hearing an awkward jab at the anti-science mindset of the Republican Party. I don't disagree, but it's still the pot calling the kettle "black".

The Democratic Party is just as anti-science; they just differ in the parts of science they don't like.

Years ago, the Republican anti-science condemned by the science lecturers was usually centered on biology/evolution. Now the irony is that it's much more likely to be about "climate change"-- a topic the Democrats are decidedly anti-science about. Occasionally it is anti-gun bigotry or genderism that inspires the complaint against Republicans, but those are a lot rarer in science lectures than the "climate change" stuff. And sometimes the reason isn't even specified, it's just stated as axiomatic that "GOP = anti-science". I've even heard libertarians included with Republicans a time or two.

Basically, what they are implying is that if you aren't a Left-Statist you are backwards and ignorant. Everyone but their team needs to be scolded and corrected like a naughty, stupid child.

When you try to mix a little politics in with your science, you have abandoned science for religion-- the religion of Statism. It doesn't matter what variety of politics you mix in, either. Politics has no place in science. None.

Really, politics has no place in society... or in life.
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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Anti-gun laws always wrong path

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for August 14, 2019)




In the wake of the recent mass shootings and the hype surrounding them, people are asking "why?" Simpletons parrot the popular answer: "guns". Sensible people know there's no single reason.

Thankfully, mass shootings are rare. The way they are publicized makes them seem common, and copycat crimes often follow on the heels of well-publicized shootings. If it were up to me, the shooter's face would never be shown and his name would be replaced by the words "some loser".

Mass shootings-- almost without exception-- happen in places where guns are prohibited. This makes sense. People who plan to shoot random people don't want their intended victims to shoot back. A "gun-free zone"-- be it a mall or other business, a school or other government facility, or an outdoor event-- gives them exactly what they want.

Some people blame poor "mental health care", suggesting it's government's responsibility to run a giant socialist program for identifying mentally unstable people and rounding them up or forcibly medicating them.

I don't trust people who believe governing others is OK to make reasonable assessments of other people's mental health.

The "worthlessness" these shooters express in the months and years leading up to their evil deeds must play a part. If you don't have any meaning in your life it is easier to decide nothing has meaning so you might as well act on your hopelessness, nihilism, and anger.
These guys need meaningful relationships. They need meaningful work. Both are getting harder to find for the average person. This isn't something government can fix, but perhaps society will find solutions.

I suspect the lack of an attainable frontier may contribute to the problem, and believe if one doesn't open up soon, things will get worse.

I would be tempted to blame violent video games, except the evidence seems clear that this isn't the case. If you desensitize people to committing violent acts it seems they'd be more accepting of aggression in real life. Yet the data points to the opposite effect. The violent games apparently serve as a sort of pressure release.

The same goes for violent movies. 

I didn't want to believe it, but I must accept the evidence unless more evidence comes to light. I can't help but wonder why accepting evidence is such a difficult thing for humans to do.

The evidence is clear: there are many causes, but making things worse-- with additional anti-gun laws-- is always the wrong path.

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Good guys with guns



Several times I've seen people ask why-- in the cases of successful mass shootings-- the loser wasn't stopped by good guys with guns.

That's simple to answer.

The good guys with guns are prohibited from having guns in the places where mass shootings happen... that's why the mass shootings happen where they do.

Plus, even if I'm carrying where it is prohibited, my first responsibility is to protect myself and my family. If I have the opportunity I might also try to protect those around me who shirked their responsibility and aren't prepared to protect themselves, but that's not my obligation. Why should I risk my life and liberty for people who don't value their own life enough to carry the proper tools with which to defend it?

If I am forced to pull my gun I open myself up to "legal" consequences. Are those irresponsible people worth that trouble?

America doesn't have too many guns. Americans are carrying too few guns.
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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Don't be fooled by a "Deepfake" me



I'm not going to pretend I'm important enough to ever be targeted for a "Deepfake" character assassination.

But, by now you ought to know who I am, and if you ever saw me saying something that was in opposition to everything I've said before, don't believe it.

It might be evidence of a brain tumor or a stroke, or (less likely) a "Deepfake". But it wouldn't be me; not the real me. You know where I stand, and I stand for liberty.

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Scott Adams' gun owner insurance "thought" experiment

Screenshot from Periscope


Scott Adams almost had a F-bomb meltdown over guns this time. It's funny how his notion "bad arguments" always seem to be those which point out holes in his arguments.

Sometimes those other people don't make a good case for their objections and sometimes they don't have a good foundation on which to build, but his dismissive attitude shows he isn't as confident of his position as he makes out. He has no real argument in his favor, so he dismisses the objections out of hand, using magic.

He has admitted he lacks an understanding of the issue (and believes guns are an issue) and has said doesn't believe in rights. He seems to not believe in ethics, but only in "what works" as a system. You can't expect someone to make sense with those handicaps.

He says the reason he proposed gun owner insurance was to "shake the box" and make us think about the problem differently because he wants to break the deadlock and get some movement on "the gun issue".

No.

I don't want any more anti-gun movement; the pendulum is already much too far in that direction. I feel no obligation to compromise with slavers. And that's always the direction this "pro-Second Amendment, pro-gun" speaker is pushing.

I'm willing to move away from a stalemate on the "gun issue" by repealing (or ignoring) all the illegal and unconstitutional "laws". But you know that's not what he means because he only proposes (while denying he's proposing) more restrictions; never fewer. Sometimes he does balance proposed restrictions in some areas with slightly fewer restrictions in a different small area; still a net loss of gun liberty.

Here are some of the problems (not all of them, by any means) with his gun owner insurance idea.

Background: He proposed mandatory insurance on gun owners to "pay for the societal costs of gun misuse". Nice assumption, Scott.

OK... so do I get a discount on the price of a new gun-- a monetary reward-- for the societal benefits of defensive gun use and the benefits inherent in a society with more guns in good people's hands? If not, why not. I'm not likely to shoot innocent people. With my gun I'm not a cost, I'm a benefit. Everyone should be paying me.

Again he only considers half of the issue-- the downside-- while pretending the benefits don't exist. If one is a reasonable justification for a financial penalty, the other should justify a financial reward. Unless you assume "guns... bad".

Some commenters complained that this wasn't fair to some people or segments of the population. He agreed and said it's OK in this case because "we" already penalize some groups, like young male drivers. Suddenly he thinks "fairness" is a legitimate concept? He has a history of saying "fairness is a concept invented so that dumb people could feel like they are participating in a conversation". Has he changed his mind? Or was he playing his listeners?

He never likes Constitutional arguments any more than he likes natural human rights. He says the Constitution is not clear and the "founders" knew this so they created the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution to clear things up. That's historical ignorance. The "founders" never intended for the Supreme Court to be the final say of what the Constitution means. The Supreme Courtjesters stole that power for themselves with Marbury v. Madison in 1803.

He really doesn't like the "shall not be infringed" part of the Second Amendment and pretends only the Supreme Court, being lawyers, are qualified to decide what that means. Anyone familiar with history knows that's not true. The Constitution was written for the common person to understand, because, again, the Supreme Court was never supposed to be interpreting it for the people. Scott hungers for more infringements. He wants to infringe you. He says that since gun rights are already infringed by "laws" it's OK to infringe them more. The Supreme Court has thus decided! He's wrong yet again.

He also ignores the fact that with or without the Second Amendment, the natural human right to own and to carry weapons would still exist unchanged. The Second Amendment just makes "gun control" a serious crime.

And then comes the part where he had the meltdown:

"Why do I have to subsidize the (F-redacted-ing) guns of other people?"

You don't. Again, he's pretending the benefits don't exist. It's only the downsides he considers. Yes, people are responsible for their actions. They owe for any harm they cause-- no one else does. He pretends the rest of us who have guns should be responsible for the acts of the bad guys so that he isn't forced to bear any financial burden. It's a particularly pathetic argument-- worse than most. Who is sending him this imaginary bill? It's like he's seriously losing it since he can't seem to persuade the pro-gun listeners to his way of thinking through pacing and leading-- he's getting desperate.

Then he changed gears to claim he doesn't really want to force gun owners to be insured-- he just wanted to make people think differently to get away from "bumper sticker thinking" about guns with the thought experiment.

But what is the main reason he says he's not in favor of gun owner insurance? He says this gives too much power to insurance companies. He doesn't want insurance companies making policies on guns-- he wants to leave that to Congress, which is even worse.

Restrictions on using guns (or anything else) to harm the innocent are legitimate. Restrictions on mere objects, divorced from actions, are not. Not even if you ignorantly assume guns are a problem.

-- Check out the "Scott Adams on guns" tag for more.
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Friday, September 13, 2019

Dueling mental constructs



Rights, as I have pointed out, are a (human) mental construct. As are ethics, liberty, freedom, and so many other ideas.

However, those who use this fact as an excuse to violate people forget that they are usually relying on another mental construct: the State (what most people mean when they use the word "government"). You can't justify allowing your mental construct to crush and enslave people by saying their rights are nothing but a mental construct.

Rights (and ethics and liberty) are positive mental constructs. Acting as though these things have physical reality, even though they don't, is good for individuals and thus good for society. In fact, civilization isn't really possible without at least most people respecting each other's rights most of the time. A functioning society would be otherwise impossible.

Government/the State is a negative mental construct. Acting as though it has physical reality is generally used as justification for harming people through the political means. It's not good. Even when it is claimed to be used for good, there is someone who has to lose for others to win. And to claim this negative mental construct trumps the positive mental construct of rights is to encourage evil.

All mental constructs are not created equal.

Instead of saying that rights are a mental construct, some people just say there's no such thing as a right. That they are imaginary. When someone makes the claim that rights are imaginary, I'm OK with that, too. If there's no such thing as a right, then no one can have the right to govern-- to rule-- other people in any way. They would be nothing more than a bully, relying on the most dangerous superstition for their power.

There's also no reasonable way to pretend that the mental construct of rights is created or granted by another mental construct. This is the claim being made when saying that rights come from government. That's magical thinking.

You can't have it both ways. Since both concepts exist as mental constructs, I'll choose to favor the positive one and reject the negative one. You may choose differently, but that would be your choice. I would appreciate you explaining your reasons in that case.
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Thursday, September 12, 2019

A simple question for "climate activists"



I remain unconvinced of the crisis of Anthropogenic Global Climate Change. And even more skeptical that government is the solution.

If I could ask one question of all "climate activists", this would be the question I'd ask:

"If you could get everything you wanted-- if you had the political power to impose your every wish on the whole world-- what would you do to fix it?"

I really want to know. Wouldn't you like to get them to answer that?

Then please ask them, wherever you encounter them. Let's get their agenda out in the open.

I already asked one such activist, in the comments to that TED talk linked above, and someone else (who I suppose considers herself a "climate activist", too) answered.

Here's what she said:

"I would teach the physicists what they are misunderstanding. Then together we would re-educate the world. All current methods of heating and powering transport would then be replaced. The earth could thereafter be rehabilitated."
Hmmm. Seems a little fuzzy to me, heavily reliant on "and then a miracle occurs". And a bit arrogant. So I asked for some clarification:

"What are physicists misunderstanding? How do you know the misunderstanding is theirs? Do you have an adequate replacement energy source available and ready today? Have you considered possible unintended consequences?"

Her response:

"Are you a physicist?
There is no unified theory as yet. I am not an engineer, my expertise is in theoretical physics - universal law, natural science and philosophy. The world will not solve its climate issues - and all other issues, medical etc, - until we are all working from a unified theory of fundamental physics. Once science based on one unified theory is being taught in all schools, it will not take everyone long to develop new technology based upon it.
However, as I do not know what the possible unintended consequences are, - and I think that is a very good question, I would like to talk to a few physicists first. However, we really don’t have a choice."

So I replied:

"I am not a physicist.So, are you referring to a Grand Unified Theory ("GUT") as a way to know how to solve the problem of an adequate replacement power source? If a GUT is discovered it would significantly improve scientific understanding and open all sorts of new possibilities. I'd love to see that happen.But what do you propose in the meantime?"
Here was her response:

"Yes, I am referring to a Grand Unified Theory. It has already been 'discovered' - (it actually had to be learnt). Knowledge of it by someone, however, doesn’t mean that suddenly everyone will understand everything. It is a vastly more complex situation than this. If it was as simple as just a couple of small things that everyone was missing, it wouldn’t be so great a problem.
There is no 'meantime.'"

Wait. I thought she said "There is no unified theory as yet", but now she says there is? So, I replied:

"I wasn't aware anyone had discovered/learned a Grand Unified Theory. (Could you direct me to somewhere I can learn about it? I keep coming up empty. Everything I find refers to it as a theory without experimental confirmation.) Why hasn't this knowledge been implemented in new technologies to generate power?
What I mean by 'meantime' is what to do until everyone learns of the GUT and incorporates that knowledge into the technology they develop and use. How do you get the word out in a useable way? Will the GUT be enough, or will a Unified Field Theory/"Theory of Everything" be necessary to really make the difference?"

She replied:

"I’m sorry, but explaining the theory to just one person at a time is inefficient. We do not have time to do it this way. (if you wish to contact me, however, that is fine)
It is especially inefficient to waste my time by calling a “unified theory of everything” different names.
I described exactly how I would get the word out in a usable way. First, I would teach the physicists what they are misunderstanding. Then together we would re-educate the world. All current methods of heating and powering transport would then be replaced. The earth could thereafter be rehabilitated.
I then explained that there was no unified theory being taught mainstream as yet. I then said that the world will not solve its climate issues - and all other issues, medical etc, - until we are all working from a unified theory of fundamental physics. And then I said “Once science based on one unified theory is being taught in all schools, it will not take everyone long to develop new technology based upon it.”
So, no, there isn’t anywhere yet that you can learn from me, because I cannot find anyone yet in the field of physics to discuss this with me, one-on-one and in detail, and learn from me.
I am barely able to keep up with incorrect theory because different fields of science have their own jargon that changes by the minute. We can solve this together. We must have a common language for describing how the world works, otherwise we will always argue and not solve anything.
I will keep working, however, on my own, and if I can, I will teach on my own, regardless. That is what I am doing “meantime.” I am really frustrated with this situation because, given help, I could turn this climate change problem around tomorrow."

It's interesting to me that someone who wants to teach physicists what they are misunderstanding doesn't realize that "Grand Unified Theory" and "Unified Field Theory" are different things. And I had such hopes for a solution.

Anyway, I closed with:

"It sounds like you should start a website where you explain it all in detail, then spread it around and let it be shared among the population and physicists. Much more efficient than explaining it one person at a time."

If nothing else, it would be good for a laugh. But, no. She can't do that:

"No, it is far too complex to do it this way; many have tried.
I would effectively have to rewrite the dictionary. There are too many concepts about such basic fundamentals starting with electricity, magnetism and polarization, for example, that need to be taught properly. And that is just the start. I don’t have time for that. It would be better if someone in the field of physics would listen to me. I think a 'top-down' approach would be better."
Too complex, she doesn't have time, and if only physicists would listen to her explain her perpetual motion generator or whatnot she could change the world. Or maybe she is delusional and that's why no physicist will listen to her. Which explanation seems more likely?

It was probably unkind of me to play her for so long. But if this is representative of those who believe in AGCC (which I doubt it is) then their only hope is to have their woo-woo imposed by the State.

If you can't get the change you want voluntarily, by making a good argument and convincing people, you go for the "top-down approach" like any other bully would.

I think this shows she has no clue what to do, beyond imagining she has special information.

But, really, ask other "climate activists" the question and see where it leads.

(My other "climate change" skepticism posts can be found here.)
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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Don't need law to dislike something

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for September 11, 2019)




We all have our own likes and dislikes. This means everyone likes some things other people dislike; sometimes the likes and dislikes are passionate and the disagreements get rather heated.

There's a secret trick I discovered which seems to be unseen by most people; one which seems nearly impossible for them to even consider. Here it is, presented for (maybe) the first time you've ever heard it: It's OK to dislike something without wanting a law to ban or control it. Seriously. It really is OK...read the rest...

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

People-control "laws"



Anti-gun "laws" are not aimed at guns. Not even once. They are aimed at people. At gun owners and people who would like to be gun owners.

This is why the term "gun control" is a misnomer. Or a lie. They are people-control "laws".

They aren't even aimed at behavior, just at people. Making up a counterfeit "law" against people owning or possessing weapons is not the same as making up a "law" forbidding murder.

This is why anti-gun "laws" are bigotry and why those who advocate them are bigots; anti-gun bigots-- although anti-gun owner bigots might be more accurate (and terribly unwieldy).
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Monday, September 09, 2019

Fake experts



It really bothers me when someone speaks as though they are an expert-- "authoritatively"-- about something it's obvious they don't understand.

It's one thing to have a different opinion, but when someone misrepresents what they are arguing against it gets under my skin in a way few other things do.

This happens a lot in science topics, with gun rights, and with libertarianism in general. I expect it happens even more with things I don't know enough about to be annoyed by people getting the facts wrong.

And I'm certain I'm guilty of doing the same; I've been called out for it a few times. But I still bothers me.
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Sunday, September 08, 2019

Education needs separation from state

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for August 7, 2019)




Once again we approach that saddest time of the year: when the majority of parents send their kids back to school; back into the local government concentration day-camps.

If you're someone who mistakes schooling for education you probably believe this is good.

School is a socialist babysitting system funded by your neighbors. If you're OK with forcing others to fund things you want then go ahead and support the government schools. I can't support socialism.

Schooling is also a system where organized bullying is cheered while the freelance competition, provided by the victims' peers, is officially frowned upon. I oppose all bullying.

I'm not saying education doesn't happen in schools, but when it does it's in spite of the schooling, not because of it. Kids are automatic learning machines and it's almost impossible to short-circuit their hunger to learn. They'll usually manage to learn everything they need to know, and more, even under the worst conditions. The fact that many people still believe schools educate-- because kids come out knowing more than they knew when they went in-- is evidence of this.

The real goal of schooling is to train kids to be useful, and not too dangerous, to politicians. Don't question too much, and only within approved boundaries. Sit down, be quiet, obey the bells, and be force-fed authoritarian propaganda.

This style of training-- called the Prussian Model, after the country America copied-- creates adults who are unlikely to break free from this early indoctrination and will largely comply with arbitrary orders from politicians and their attack dogs. This is very useful to governments and is why governments everywhere want to control schooling. They use the unsupportable claim "it's for the children"; if they can also fool the adult population into believing it's about education it works even better.

This isn't to say the teachers are bad. Most have good intentions, they are just saddled with a toxic system. A system which shouldn't exist. The teachers are victims almost as much as the under-aged inmates, but at least they get paid.

There are good teachers, but there are no good schools. If this claim angers you, congratulations-- you are showing symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome, where captives (and former captives) begin to relate to their captors, even taking their side, defending them from criticism. Stockholm Syndrome makes people loyal to "their" school.

My appreciation for education explains my opposition to schooling. It is essential to separate education from the state before the damage is irreversible.


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"If only they'd pass some gun laws!"



Scott Adams is mistaken about anti-gun "laws".

One tactic he uses when discussing (and pretending he isn't advocating for) more anti-gun "laws" is to say it's reasonable to enforce anti-gun "laws" by pointing out that we already have "laws" concerning other dangerous things. He says, for example, that cars are regulated, and that seat belt use is mandatory, and he's OK with that. He doesn't feel oppressed at all by losing that bit of freedom when he puts on a seat belt.

But by making this argument he's implying that guns remain unregulated, and they aren't. Not even close!

If there were zero anti-gun "laws" being enforced he might have a point in comparing them to cars-- he would be wrong for a lot of reasons, but you could admit that some other dangerous things besides guns are subjected to "laws", so why not guns, too?

But there are anti-gun "laws". Thousands of them.  It is dishonest to pretend there are no anti-gun "laws" so this is an idea that needs to be "tried". It's been tried. These "laws" keep failing and making things worse everywhere they are tried. It's time to stop doing what doesn't work and to try something different.

It is dishonest to pretend that there need to be "laws" regulating guns "for safety" when those kind of "laws" are already suffocating us.

Check out all his other superstitious beliefs about guns at the tag Scott Adams on guns.
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Saturday, September 07, 2019

Glorious perfection... or not



Trump Derangement Syndrome is a real thing. Anyone who dislikes Trump more than I do is suffering from it, just as anyone who likes Trump more than I do is afflicted with Trump Approval Delusion. How did I get so smart and lucky as to be the only person finding the perfect balance?

I'm joking, of course, but doesn't it usually feel that way when comparing yourself to others?

That's why every driver who is driving faster than you is a "maniac" and every driver going slower is just in your way.

We all seem to believe we are at the perfect position and everyone in front or behind, left or right, or above or below us, is the problem. They are "extreme" in some way.

Well, maybe they are and maybe they aren't. But I know I'm not perfect and can only guess about you.
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Friday, September 06, 2019

Why do good people do evil things?



I understand why some people habitually do evil things. They are self-centered and entitled and don't care who they hurt while getting what they want. It's not hard to see.

The same sort of thing goes for good people doing good things. They want to be a positive part of society; want to help people.

I can also understand why people who easily choose to do evil things sometimes do good things-- it's to their benefit. No one could survive long only doing evil things all the time.

But why do otherwise good people commit evil? How can they rationalize what they are doing?

"For good people to do evil things it takes religion." ~ Physicist Steven Weinberg.

No religion is more convenient for this purpose, or illustrates this fact better, than Statism.

It's what causes good people to become cops and then start to commit evil acts as part of the "job". It's what causes good people to get a "job" with the IRS and start stealing property and ruining lives. It takes a belief that committing evil acts is OK under the circumstances, and is approved by the "higher power" flowing from the courthouse, city hall, the capital, or the bureaucracy. Or that this approval makes the act which would be evil otherwise not evil.

Statism is the most popular religion in the world. It usually comes before any other religion the believer may have. When combined with other religions it can become even worse-- just look at the Muslim world, the old "Moral Majority", or "Focus on the Family" if you have any doubt about this danger.

Don't trust any belief which causes you to rationalize violating others "for their own good" or for society or for "the common good". Do the right thing, even if you feel you could win approval and rewards by doing the wrong thing.
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Thursday, September 05, 2019

Added "friction" does greater harm to good people



In my continuing "Scott Adams (is wrong) on guns" series (that's a new tag), I have looked at many of his "halfpinions" (his word) concerning guns.

Here's the next installment. Yes, this is something I've brought up before, but it bears repeating since he's still misrepresenting the issue.

When people object to his anti-gun ideas by reasonably pointing out that bad people will still get guns and suicidal people will still kill themselves he likes to say that of course they will, but any new "law" will add "friction" to the process, and "add friction; get less of that behavior (crime/suicide)".

Again he's acting on the faulty premise-- the assumption-- that guns are bad; that they are the problem; that cutting back on their availability even a little is generally a good thing. They aren't, and it isn't. Starting from a flawed premise, he arrives at a dumb "halfpinion" of his own.

Yes, you might "add friction" to a bad guy getting a gun with which to violate innocent people but those aren't the only people to whom you are adding friction. You also add friction to the good, innocent people looking to get a gun for defense at the same time you add friction to the bad guys looking to violate the innocent. You are adding friction to the girl whose crazy ex is promising to kill her. I lost a friend to this added friction about 26 years ago as she waited for governmental permission to buy and carry a gun for self-defense. Guess who didn't bother following the friction-causing "laws".

Who is more accustomed to dealing with added friction on a daily basis?
Who has the connections to do an end-run around your added friction? It's not usually the good people.

It's always going to affect those who want a gun for self-defense more than it will affect the bad guys who want a gun for offense. Add friction, you get less self-defense.

You might "add friction" to a suicidal person's attempt to get a gun with which to end his own life. This might save a few lives-- the lives of those who don't have some other method immediately available and who will soon change their mind about committing suicide-- but how many innocent lives are you sacrificing in the process? Do you really believe it's worth the cost to trade one person who wants to die for one person who wants to live-- even if those wants are temporary whims?

He pretends he's already considering net "gun deaths", but he can't be. There is no way to record how many lives are saved with guns, so how can you credibly consider them? Very few of those cases ever get reported-- to government or the media. Most cases of self-defense don't result in the gun being fired. And even in the small number which do, unless a shot is fired and you're in a town where the gunshot will attract unwanted attention, who's dumb enough to call the cops on themselves? Even if you are in town, I'd bet in most cases the sound of a gunshot isn't currently pinpointed if no one reports being shot. No one can know even a reasonable estimate of how many lives are saved with a gun, so there is no possible way to calculate the net "gun deaths".

He's only looking at half of the picture and ignoring the inconvenient part-- just as he does in all his "gun control" [sic] ideas. This is his definition of a "halfpinion" which he claims everyone else is exhibiting while he's the only one who isn't...while he does it right in front of the world. And it's because he starts with the predetermined assumption that guns must be bad, that guns are a problem, even as he paces gun owners by claiming to be "pro-gun; pro-Second Amendment".

If you start with a faulty premise you'll come to dumb conclusions because you're thinking of the topic incorrectly.

I've tried to get his attention, but he ignored my attempts. He probably blocked me if he saw my tweets since I wasn't kind or gentle with my criticism, and yes, I did make it personal because he's personally advocating this toxic mindset. I didn't expect to change his mind, anyway, but I want to give you the mental tools to refute the claims of anti-gun bigots whenever they crop up. They are wrong, even if they are popular and believe they are smarter than you and me.
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Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Glad to see space escape government

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for September 4, 2019)




I admit it: I've always been a bit of a space geek. Or, would that be "space nerd"? Whatever the term, I love space flight, and am especially excited to see it beginning to escape the stagnant, innovation-crushing monopoly of government.

I've enjoyed watching the recent rocket launches and the tests of the experimental vehicles. I am pulling for humans to walk on Mars in my lifetime; thinking it's looking more likely all the time...read the rest...

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Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Announcing a new tag on the topic of guns



Since Dilbert's Scott Adams keeps talking about guns and advocating for more anti-gun "laws" (while pretending that's not what he's doing) I've added a new tag: Scott Adams on guns.

Each time I respond to one of his anti-gun claims or one of his anti-gun ideas, I'll tag that post with this new tag. I've gone back and added the tag to the previous posts, including a few where I didn't mention him by name even though he was the person I was talking about. Feel free to browse through them.

Let me explain something here-- the only reason I'm harping on this topic is because he's harping on it. If he'd stop preaching on this subject, where he has zero credibility or understanding, I would drop it immediately. But because he keeps talking about it as though he's an expert, spreading this toxic disinformation far and wide, it is vitally important for me to show why (and how) he's wrong on guns.

I don't know how much of an audience he actually has or how influential his ideas are, but he dwarfs me on both metrics, so I don't expect to have much of an impact, but I've got to try.

If he's had an idea or believes something which isn't true I'm going to assume other anti-gun people have had the same idea or believe the same falsehood. So I'm speaking to them, too. I hope you'll steal my arguments and use them wherever you think they'll help.

Stay tuned. There's more to come.
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The morality of "taxation"



If someone considers "taxation" moral, their morality is worthless
Or worse.

I've actually seen people make this vacuous claim-- that theft is moral if you call it "taxation"-- and it's shocking to consider the amount of ignorance required to say it with sincerity.

And if you manage to contort your mind enough to believe "taxation" isn't really theft, then you'll fall for anything.
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Monday, September 02, 2019

The downside of guns



I am a fervent supporter of gun rights-- of all human rights. This doesn't mean I don't know there's a downside to guns. It's just that I know the drawbacks are vastly outweighed by the benefits.

Recently Scott Adams was caught pretending he is the only person with an actual opinion about guns because he pretended no one else ever considers both the benefits and the downsides, and because no one else will say how many "gun deaths" they are willing to accept in order to preserve the right to have guns.

He's wrong about guns... again.

He stated a willingness to accept 20,000 "gun deaths" per year to "keep" the right to own guns. He says this means he's the only person with a real opinion because unless you're willing to put a number on it you're only experiencing half of an opinion. He's being misleading. Intentionally?

Putting a number on it as he did pretends that guns only kill innocent people, and ignores all the innocent people saved by guns-- most of whom never make the news. Many innocent lives are saved, and many more gross violations which wouldn't necessarily result in death are also prevented. His is a sneaky, dishonest tactic that I've seen used many times in the past; he's not the first. Unless you can say with certainty how many lives (and bodies) are saved by guns, saying how many deaths you'll accept is lying, because your numbers are meaningless. It's less than half of the picture.

But back to the bigger topic. There have been many times I have talked about the costs and benefits of guns, and other people have been doing so since before I was born and it continues to this day. That someone like Scott has managed to avoid this information for 60+ years doesn't mean it's not out there. I can't relate to the arrogance required to imagine no one else has thought of this before.

Everything has costs and benefits. Nothing is immune to this natural law.

But, for the record, here's another list (and analysis) of the downsides to guns.
  • Bad guys use guns to intimidate and murder. Bad guys include muggers, cops, rapists, IRS agents, inner-city gangs, the military, bank robbers, kidnappers, evil loser mass-shooters, and other archators.
This drawback is negated by the fact that good guys can use (and often require) guns for a real chance at stopping the bad guys without being hurt in the process. To save lives. Wouldn't you rather have even the hope of a chance to fight back and win than no option better than cowering and waiting to die?
  • Suicidal people use guns to kill themselves.
This is negated by the fact that suicidal people can-- and do-- use other methods to kill themselves. Look at Japan if you doubt this. If someone wants to kill themselves there's probably nothing you can really do to stop them. Yes, they might be slowed down if there's not a gun available-- and some of those might then change their minds about killing themselves. But how many? And will that number exceed the number of lives saved with a gun?
Plus, suicide is a human right, even if you don't like it being exercised.
  • Guns scare people.
This is negated by the fact that someone, somewhere is scared of any object you can think of. I knew a kid who screamed in terror every time she saw a balloon, and working in pet stores I was astounded at how many people are deathly afraid of birds.

Plus, the fact that guns scare people is part of their utility. That way you don't usually have to shoot the bad guys; just let them be scared by the sight of a gun so they'll run away or surrender.

  • People have accidents with guns-- which results in tragic injury and death.

People have accidents. No further words are necessary. Education and familiarity are the best way to reduce the rate of accidents with guns and other tools-- as has been happening for decades now, even as the number of guns goes up. Education and familiarity are even more important where kids are concerned. It's a bad idea to regulate or ban something just because a certain number of people will always manage to have accidents. Everything would be banned if that were a legitimate criterion.

There may be others I'm not thinking of right now, but if so I'd be willing to bet I've considered them in the past, and probably even discussed them. Maybe even on this blog.

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Sunday, September 01, 2019

I try to err on the side of liberty

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for July 31, 2019)




There are many things I don't know. There are things I think I know but I get wrong. There are also things people may believe I'm wrong about, but I'm not-- a topic for another day.

When I'm wrong, I want to be wrong in the least harmful way possible.

I'd rather make the mistake of allowing you the liberty to live your life within your rights than to make the mistake of violating you for your own good. Or for the good of society. Since I'm going to make mistakes either way, I'd rather make the mistakes which won't make me into the unethical twin of those I dislike.

I don't know the best way for you to live, the best way for you to make or spend money, or the best way for you to pursue your own version of happiness. It would be a mistake for me to try to rule over you.

It might be a mistake to let you carry a gun. It's definitely a mistake to allow government to make and enforce rules which make it harder for anyone to carry one.

It might be a mistake to respect your decision of what to ingest-- food or drugs. It's definitely a mistake to allow anyone the power to cage or kill you in the name of a War on (some) Drugs.

It might be a mistake for you to not wear a seat belt. It's definitely a mistake to allow armed officers of the government to infringe your right to travel and to extract money from you for failing to do so.

Honestly, it's not my place to "allow" or forbid anything you choose to do until it violates someone else's rights. Since it isn't within my rights to do so I have no right to send hired guns to do this on my behalf. And neither does anyone else. No one can delegate a right he doesn't have.

As much as I don't know, there are some things I know for certain. I know you have the right to make your own mistakes and the obligation to pay restitution when your mistakes harm others. I know that all humans everywhere have equal and identical rights and deserve the liberty to exercise them to their fullest, regardless of the opinions of the political class.

To err is human. To err on the side of liberty and human rights is to make the ethical choice. It may not even be a mistake at all.

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Weapons!



Everything is a weapon.

Only cowards and other idiots are bothered by that fact.
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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Are people just trying on principles?



Principles, for most people, seem to be something you try on and wear for a while, then toss aside and try on something else. Like trying on a hat.

I guess there's some point to that. If you try on some principles that are uncomfortable and don't fit-- or are dangerous-- then, by all means, discard them and look for something better.

For most people, principles seem like an annoyance. They just get in the way of doing what they want to do. Those principles then get swapped out for some other, less consistent "principles" that leave room for those things they want to feel OK about doing.

That's how people can pretend to be principled while archating. It's how you end up with cops and politicians lecturing better people about principles.
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Friday, August 30, 2019

Triggered into archation



People get triggered easily when an issue affects a loved one. Drugs, health, sex, crime, etc., etc.
Principles get tossed.
Reason goes out the window.

That's when, suddenly, "there oughta be a law" sneaks out of the closet where it had been buried years ago and gets treated as a reasonable response to the situation. As if archation is ever OK.

I've tried to avoid that trap in my own thinking, but I know it's not easy, and I understand why some people can't avoid it.

When I see it happening to someone else in a conversation I try my best to just walk away without a final shot. It would be pointless. No argument will cut through. Once triggered, most people are unreachable.
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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Rights as a human construct



Are rights a human construct? Yes, obviously. As are ethics and empathy and many other things humans value to some degree. You might see those constructs expressed in similar ways in some other animals, especially among the Great Apes, but they only truly reach their human form in humans.

Rights are a human construct in that they only matter between humans, or between humans and something humans want to treat in a human-like way.

Rights don't exist apart from sentient beings. They only exist within the brain, while still having consequences, with regard to interactions between those bearing the brains, in the physical world. The Universe doesn't have rights or respect rights otherwise.

A rock will never respect anything's "rights", nor will a mosquito. The rock has no consciousness or will (free or otherwise) and a mosquito just does what it must to survive long enough to reproduce-- it doesn't concern itself with anyone else.

Being a construct doesn't mean rights are imaginary. They are real-- at least when you are speaking of human interactions. Life doesn't turn out well if you don't respect the rights of others at least a little bit. If you didn't, you'd be worse than the worst psychopath, and you wouldn't survive long. You'd be everyone's enemy and everyone would be doing all they could to end you.

So, rights are a useful construct. And as long as I'm dealing with other humans (or creatures I want to treat humanely) I will respect rights and will expect mine to be respected by other humans as well.
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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Learn about subject before you talk

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for August 28, 2019)




The better you understand something, the easier it is to notice when you're being lied to. Plus, the less likely it is you'll be fooled by the lies.

When I'm watching a movie and I see someone on screen starting a fire by randomly hitting rocks together and suddenly their campfire logs burst into flame I always think "that's not how it works!" Anyone who tries to light a fire this way isn't going to end up with a fire unless someone else builds one for them.

The same thing happens when I hear a non-libertarian person or idea called "libertarian"...read the rest...

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Could I have been wrong all along?

Photo by Jason D on Unsplash


Here's a rare kind of post. I'm looking at what might be a crack in the "standard" libertarian/abolitionist/Voluntaryist/anarchist view.

First, the argument:
If no individual has a particular right to do a thing, that right can't be created out of thin air by any number of people joining together or by calling yourselves "government". If theft is wrong, you can't make it right through a majority opinion to call it "taxation" and decide it's OK in this instance.

And I agree.

If you have no right to do a thing to another person, how can you believe that by joining with another person who also has no right to do it, the two of you now magically have the right. Or, perhaps this previously nonexistent right only pops into existence when a dozen people who have no existing right to do it come together. Or a thousand or a million of them.

How can a right which doesn't exist individually suddenly exist just because people joined together?

I've always said it can't.

There's one problem with this reasonable view: Sometimes the whole is more than the sum of the parts. Spontaneous order-- also known as self-organization-- can arise spontaneously after a certain point of more and more of something being added, and create a completely new quality or property no part had before the parts were combined and reached a certain quantity. Yes, that's usually the result of combining somewhat differing parts, rather than more of the same-- but not always. Are rights a property of individual humans? Can new rights which didn't exist before emerge from spontaneous order?

Maybe there is some way you can take a number of people who have no right to commit ritual human sacrifice ("capital punishment") but when they join forces in sufficient numbers this right springs into existence. It sure seems the majority of people believe this is the case.

I don't think so, but I do wonder. And, even if you have the right to steal in the name of "taxation" because spontaneous order created a previously non-existent right from a mob opinion, I can't support it. I won't support it.

So what do you think?

This may just be yet another case of my thinking getting me in trouble with those on my own side, and why I'll never be palatable to the majority-- even the minor majority of liberty lovers.

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Monday, August 26, 2019

Voluntary-- even when it's frustrating



It's frustrating to know how to help someone, but not be allowed to help.

Saturday I went to a relative's house to see what was wrong with her dishwasher. I'm pretty sure I found the problem and I offered to order the part and install it. I'm not a great handyman, but it wouldn't have been stretching me beyond my competence level to replace that part. The problem is, I don't have a good way to be certain the part is defective-- although through a process of elimination I'm about as sure as I can be.

The replacement part was under $30, so to me it seemed like a good gamble. But she decided against it.

Then I went to check out her toilet that she said had broken. A very simple fix. But she didn't want me to, saying her improvised "fix" was good enough for now. Even though she admitted it would quickly rust and fail.

If she hadn't been hovering I would have just quietly fixed it anyway.

She gave me a little money for my time-- an hour or so-- and that was that.

In the long run, she'll probably hire someone to fix her dishwasher for many times what it would have cost to have me do it.
And, I'll probably end up going back to fix her toilet later-- when I could have just done it while I was looking at the problem.

But I won't impose. All human interactions should be voluntary, even if I believe I know better.
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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Politicians shouldn't be so important

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for July 24, 2019)




President Trump makes people crazy. Or maybe he magnifies the crazy already present in people. It's like a superpower.

His supporters seem desperate to defend and support just about anything he does; even things they would have opposed had any other president done them---- his anti-gun edicts, for example.

At the same time, his detractors foam at the mouth over every little thing he does; always interpreting them in the most negative way possible. It's obvious he knows this and pokes them just to get an overreaction.

His critics see racism in everything he does. Yet, even one of the congressional economic illiterates he recently targeted admitted it had nothing to do with race, She said “If I was [sic] wearing a MAGA hat, if there was [sic] a Somali person wearing a MAGA hat, they would not be deported. But because I criticized the president, I should be deported." You can't be more clear about the real issue than this.

People on both sides-- if you consider them different sides-- are angry. They see the crazy on the other side and overlook their own.

Meanwhile, I watch, bewildered by the craziness I see all around me.

How can people let politicians become this important to their lives? Whether it's a provocative president or a squad of trendy socialists, these people shouldn't have any hold over you. It's embarrassing to see people defending politicians from other politicians. It's as though they take politicians seriously.

The insult game is part of what they signed up for when they decided to abandon the productive sector to become politicians. They knew what they were getting in to. Let them pull on their politician pants and get over it. Don't let them drag you into it and get you upset over a game you aren't playing. There are important things for you to focus on. Political drama isn't one of them.

Politicians can't hurt you with their inconsiderate words about other politicians, but they can and will hurt you with laws. If you get upset over things they say about each other but want them to focus on making up new laws, you're encouraging them to make life worse. They distract you with their infighting while they attack your remaining liberty. This is how they win.

It is said of politics, "it's a big club, and you aren't in it". This isn't a bad thing. You don't need their club, nor to lower yourself to their level. You're better than that.

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Be libertarian



Be libertarian. Even if you don't change the world, you'll change. You'll be a better person. You won't be part of the problem anymore. So do it for your own sake. 

And who knows... maybe you'll change the world after all.
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