Sunday, December 15, 2019

Principled better than wishy-washy

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for November 13, 2019)

A common criticism of libertarians is that we are wrapped up in principles; in absolutes. We are called "purists" as if this is a bad thing, yet the opposite of "pure" is "contaminated".

Ethical principles function like a conscience. You won't always do what your conscience tells you, but without it, you can't know you've done wrong.

Another word for "principled" is "consistent". People balk at principles and consistency when they want to do something they know isn't right. Consistency doesn't mean you're automatically right-- it's entirely possible to be consistently wrong-- but inconsistency is a sure sign a person is off-course.

This may explain why most people seem to prefer utilitarianism-- using whatever approach seems useful and effective in the situation. They believe they can't be principled because the real world isn't perfect. Reality may not be perfect, but it is absolute.

By contrast, politics avoids principles like the plague. It's said to be "nuanced" as if right and wrong don't apply. Politics is utilitarian.

Politics can't be absolute because it needs useful and effective flexibility so as to provide excuses to do wrong without being seen by the majority of its victims as the bad guys. Reality is what it is; politics is whatever you can get away with.

In the real world, you don't have the option to use magic when you don't like the way things are. In politics, you can say some special words and permit yourself to violate life, liberty, and property-- usually without consequence.

If you want a car but can't afford one, the political utilitarian might encourage you to steal one or steal the money with which to buy one-- through taxation, perhaps. Theft can be both useful and effective. It can get you what you believe you can't get otherwise. However, if you insist it's wrong for someone to steal from you, how can you pretend the rules don't apply when you're the thief?

If you want to find a way to do wrong you can use the excuse that it's a nuanced "gray area"; it's useful and effective to violate others who stand in your way. Politics "works".

Since principles and politics-- opposite approaches-- can each have utility, utilitarianism is meaningless.

Is being principled better than being conveniently wishy-washy? I believe it is, as long as your principles are worthwhile, but it all depends on how you define "better" and what you want to get away with.

Thank you for helping support

"Where were the 'brave', 'heroic' gun owners?"

Not around here... or anywhere else I've ever lived.

Anti-gun bigots frequently ask why gun owners don't intervene and stop attackers more often-- which gun owners claim as one of the main reasons they own and carry guns.

Maybe my situation will illustrate a possible reason.

Say I have a gun or two and am willing to carry to protect myself and others.
However, because of rampant anti-gun bigotry and statist support for it, the reality is I have 4 options:

  • I can stay home.
  • I can go out of the house but leave my guns at home because there are no essential businesses* in this region that lack a "We don't care if you die!" sign at the door. Thus, bolstering the anti-gun bigots' point that guns are useless for defense of society and might as well be banned.
  • I can go out, but leave my guns in the car, rendering them useless for defense and more vulnerable to theft. Thus, again proving more of the anti-gun bigots' points.
  • I can go out, armed, in violation of the signage.

That's it. Those are my options.

And this is in Texas and New Mexico-- supposedly fairly "pro-gun" places.

A right you are unable to exercise is worthless and might as well not even be a right. Just a wish.

That's why evil losers are able to commit mass murder, time after time, with little effective opposition. I find this situation unacceptable.

I know other gun owners who carry and say they've never seen these anti-gun signs around here. Am I hallucinating all the signs? or are the other people selectively blind to these nasty insults to human dignity?

What solution do you see? "Too bad"? "Move"?


*Ignoring for a moment whether there is any such thing as a right-of-way since there is some contention on that point, I see a big difference between property that is accessed "by invitation only" and property which is "open to the public" for business or such.

Writing to promote liberty is my job.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support. If so...
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Property rights: essential but not sufficient

In spite of what some readers may think, I am a radical supporter of property rights. I am inflexible in my support of the principle. I have been told I'm an extremist on the topic.

This means I have thought hard, for a long time, about the foundation and consequences of property rights-- where they come from and where they lead. If they have limits and if so, where those limits might lie.

This has led me to see property rights (with regard to real estate) as absolutely essential, but not sufficient. These property rights are a slice of the pizza, maybe all but one thin slice, not the whole thing.

If you don't have absolute rights to, and ownership of, your body, no matter where it is, you have no property rights whatsoever. Nor any other kind of rights for that matter if people are right when they say all rights are property rights in one way or another.

All property rights grow out of your right to your body. And, like it or not, that includes the immediate contact surface of your body; your "personal space". I have described this in the past as the bubble surrounding you, from your clothing inward. Without this zone, you have a right to your naked body and nothing else.

To insist that real estate rights trump these self-ownership rights is to put the cart before the horse. It is to focus on the leaves while saying the trunk and branches don't matter.

Nothing I'm saying implies you can damage (or credibly threaten to damage) any private property around you, it doesn't mean you own any private property outside your sphere of "personal space"-- *any private property where your body may be that isn't property you own (As in, if you are standing in your neighbor's house or in Walmart, you have no claim to those properties. You only own yourself and your "personal space" immediately adjacent to your body. You can't reach out and stuff something that belongs to someone else into your pocket and then claim it is yours now-- your action violated their property. Your ACTION)* [between the *s edited for clarity], and it doesn't mean you can become a squatter on that property. If you have right-of-way, you still have right-of-way even if you are asked to leave-- but why hang around longer than you have to? Get out without hesitation.

I have said a lot on this topic over the years; there's no way for me to say it all again, or to even find everything that needs to be part of this post. If you are interested in digging deeper, try the "Property Rights" tag and sift through those posts.

You may not agree with me, and that's OK, but if I were to characterize my view in any other way, I would be lying to you. And I don't do that-- I won't do that on any topic. It's not me. For good or bad.

Relevant recent links:
Right-of-way and (sometimes) guns

Writing to promote liberty is my job.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support. If so...
YOU get to decide if I get paid.


One of my earliest independent libertarian realizations, around the time I was a pre-teen or young teen, was that simple possession-- of anything, anywhere-- could never be a real crime; a wrong. That for something to be wrong, it had to be used in a way which harmed someone. There had to be possession plus harmful action. Possession was passive; there was no harm. Unless the thing you possess is radioactive or emitting toxic fumes ("active" being the key), obviously.

It was the action alone, never the possession.

And being "offended" by the presence of something isn't the same as being harmed by it. If you are offended, you are violating yourself and no one else is responsible for that.

My parents always watched "the news" and every evening I was hearing reports that someone had been arrested for "possession"-- usually of drugs, but sometimes of other objects.

At that time, I was still a supporter of prohibition. I had never heard anyone question it in the slightest way and it wasn't an important issue to me.

Even so, the realization dawned on me that this wasn't a real crime. It couldn't be. They possessed something but hadn't hurt anyone with it, or even threatened to do so. I hadn't thought of the concept of counterfeit "laws" at that time, but I instinctively knew that any rules against possessing anything-- and not against actually doing something harmful with it-- were wrong.

Later I stopped making imaginary distinctions between what people did in the name of government and what they did as individuals. If it's wrong for government to do it, it doesn't become OK just because you're not a government employee acting on behalf of government.

This, along with my independent recognition around the same time that "property taxes" were unethical, formed the foundation of my later libertarian thinking.

Writing to promote liberty is my job.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support. If so...
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Turn signals

Here's another opinion of mine you'll probably dislike:
I don't like turn signals, and I'm not at all a fan of other drivers using them.

I certainly don't get it when people go off about people who don't use turn signals-- at least these drivers who don't signal aren't lying to me.

If I knew where the other person intended to turn, it might not be as bad. But turn signals leave a lot to guess-work. I don't trust them when I'm wanting to pull onto a road and an approaching car is signaling. Do they want to turn onto the road I'm on? Do they want to turn into the parking lot just past me? Is it safe to pull out or not? What good does the turn signal do? None. I end up waiting until the other car actually does something that shows their clear intent, regardless of the signaling. I could (and would) do that without the signal.

I guess if I were always in a rush and willing to burn rubber to dart across traffic, I might feel a bit differently. But probably not. I've always hated turn signals for their lying deceptiveness.

Yes, I use them anyway, but when I think about it, I hate using them and I hate seeing them used by other drivers. Guessing, based on other hints and mind-reading, would be just as effective as turn signals in most cases.

Writing to promote liberty is my job.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support. If so...
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Right-of-way and (sometimes) guns

I just can't stop kicking this hornet's nest, even though I find the experience intensely unpleasant, because I think it's important.

Of the libertarians I know and respect with whom I have discussed this, half say it's obvious I'm right while the other half are adamant that it's obvious I'm wrong. Both "sides" have explained their positions to me, either in private or in the comments on my blog, explaining why it's so plain that the other "side" is wrong on this matter. It's clear this isn't as obvious or cut-and-dried as either side seems to be positive it is.

Obviously, there is a blind spot, and I fully admit it may be mine. However, I'll try to explain why I don't believe it is. A primary part of that is because, regardless of how those who disagree frame my position, it's not about guns. It never was, nor have I ever claimed it was-- unless it was in the heat of the moment and I misspoke. It's just that guns are where the subject comes to a head.

If right-of-way is a legitimate concept, and I see no good arguments against it (and I have looked), there can't be anything you are arbitrarily forbidden to have on your person as you pass-- as long as it stays on your person and causes no harm nor any credible threat of harm. To forbid any specific object (including a gun) under these conditions is completely arbitrary and, I believe, wrong.

Supposing you have to cross someone's property, and-- due to right-of-way-- they grudgingly allow you to do so, are you then obligated to cross naked if they post a "no clothing" or a "no personal property allowed" sign? What if the weather would kill you if you were naked but it was essential for you to cross now instead of waiting until the weather is perfect?

If you are only allowed to take your bare body and nothing else-- no suitcase with clothes to put on once you get someplace where your humanity isn't violated, and not even anything stashed in either of "nature's pockets" (because that would be concealed carry)-- you'll never be able to take anything to or from your house. No food, no raw materials, nothing. You can't engage in trade. You are a prisoner and a slave to the other property owner.

Probably too hypothetical, but hypotheticals can still expose flaws in reasoning even if you say the situation is highly improbable.

So, my position is not just about guns-- even though that's where some people seem to believe the exceptions lie so that's where they focus their criticisms.

Why would clothes be different than anything else you need to carry? A gun is only "different" than clothes because of superstition. It is personal property which is necessary for survival in specific circumstances-- just like clothing. "But a gun can be used as a weapon!" So? I could strangle a person with a sock if I were a thug with that sort of training or experience.

You might say "You don't need a gun the same way you need clothing".
Well, you don't need clothing if the temperature and humidity are perfect, there's no chance of sunburn (since even wearing sunblock could be forbidden by the property owner you're dependent upon if he specifies "nothing but YOU") and if the weather were incapable of changing. But even in this case of absolutely perfect weather with zero chance of it changing, would such a requirement be reasonable or legitimate? Remember, you are surrounded by this other person's real estate-- "his property, his rules". His rules could (and probably would) kill you.

Clothes wouldn't be necessary in a climate-controlled world.
A gun wouldn't be necessary in a world without aggression.

We don't live in either of those imaginary worlds.

I understand trying to respect property rights, but there are some instances where it is anti-liberty and unworkable in the real world to do so in this way, to the exclusion of everything else.

Property rights are essential... but not sufficient. There's more to rights than property rights. If you can be held captive on your property by someone else's property rights, then there is no liberty.

It seems that right-of-way solves that. If you let it.

And, I really do believe it comes down to a superstitious belief-- a superstition created by decades of statist brainwashing-- that a gun is somehow fundamentally different from any other piece of property. It's plainly not.

Or, is a gun somehow the only legitimate (and/or acceptable) exception to right-of-way? If so, why, and how does that work?

Is this entire discussion about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

And, again, if I invite you to my property, I will NEVER ask you to leave your rights at my property line. Never. I can't even imagine being so twisted. If I don't trust you with all your rights intact, I don't trust you and have no business inviting you onto my property at all. It's all about actions. As long as you don't steal, damage, attack, or threaten to do any of those things, you're welcome here.

Writing to promote liberty is my job.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support. If so...
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Offering you the gift of liberty

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

There's one Christmas gift I'd love to give you: the gift of liberty. The freedom to do everything you have a right to do. It's a gift bigger than you can imagine.

Alas, it's not possible to give anyone liberty. In order for you to have liberty, you've got to make it for yourself, with your own hands, and put it to daily the rest...

Thank you for helping support

Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Once upon a time, I believed that if your property ended up being surrounded by the property of others and they refused to let you cross their property to get to and from your property, it was "just too bad". You might starve but you had no right to complain if they wouldn't allow you to cross-- it was their property, after all. Your death was just the price of protecting their property rights.

Then someone reminded me of the concept of right-of-way.

It was something I hadn't considered before.

Now, obviously, I don't believe rights are (or can be) granted by courts or government. Either they exist, or they don't. I don't believe rights obligate anyone to do anything beyond not violating the life, liberty, or property of others.

Does right-of-way violate the property rights of some to prevent them from violating the life and liberty and property rights of another? Maybe.

Right-of-way has been recognized as a human right for centuries. That doesn't necessarily mean it really is a natural human right, though.

The purpose behind right-of-way seems to be to prevent someone from claiming property rights as justification to cause harm to the life, liberty, and property of someone else. To keep "property rights" from being used as a weapon to violate the property rights-- and more-- of others.

Perhaps the property rights of one can't outweigh the life, liberty, AND property rights (combined) of another.

Having right-of-way doesn't include the right to steal, vandalize, litter, homestead, or otherwise damage the property while you are passing through. "Leave nothing but footprints; take nothing but pictures" doesn't begin to go far enough when talking about exercising right-of-way. Keep your hands in your pockets and move along. Leave no footprints if it can be avoided, and take no pictures.

Those who believe property rights give a person the right to do anything they want to other people on their own property, claiming property rights as the justification, would probably disagree and discount the idea of right-of-way, or maybe place some arbitrary conditions beyond those rational ones I've pointed out.

Right-of-way makes ethical sense to me, but I'm open to arguments for and against.

Writing to promote liberty is my job.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support. If so...
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Responsibility-- anti-gun bigot edition

If one of my family members ever gets seriously injured by an attacker-- or murdered-- in a place that bans guns, you can bet I'll sue the owners and management of the place. There's a minimum you can do for safety, and banning guns is a dereliction of duty in that regard.

I'm not "sue-happy" (I've never been involved in a lawsuit) but when someone negligently or intentionally helps the bad guys, they need to be sued. Hard.

I spent yesterday in Amarillo, and I don't think I saw a single business that didn't have a "We don't care if you die" sign on the door. Yet, I hear people from other parts of Texas who say this isn't their experience. Lucky them-- or maybe they just don't notice the posted insults to human dignity like I do. Each one of those signs is a slap in the face.

If cops made you remove your seat belts from the car before driving on "their" roads, and you were killed in an accident when a seat belt might have saved you, they would be at fault just as much as whatever caused the accident.

If firefighters made you remove the fire extinguishers and smoke alarms from your house, and you died in a fire that you might otherwise have survived or put out, they would be responsible for the tragedy no matter how the fire started.

And if a business bans guns-- safety equipment-- and someone is harmed by an attacker, then that business might as well have given the bad guy the gun and ammunition, and helped him pull the trigger. The owners and management are responsible, whether they like it or not.

Writing to promote liberty is my job.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support. If so...
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Take the time to pick up trash

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for November 6, 2019)

I'm always in favor of cleaning up litter, so Clovis' semi-annual Trek for Trash last weekend seems like a good idea. A useful task made into a party. An even better idea is to not wait until someone organizes a special event, but to pick up any trash you run across as you go about your daily travels. You can make the world a little cleaner every day.

Decent, responsible people don't litter, and they make sure their trash can't accidentally escape into the wild to violate other people's property rights. I realize the wind around here does a good share of the littering, scattering anything which isn't tied down, but knowing this, responsible people won't leave anything loose for the wind to take.

Despite your best efforts and intentions, though, litter happens.

How you respond to this shows a lot about your character.

My personal goal is to always leave every place cleaner than when I arrived, even if this means I simply pick up a piece of paper as I walk through a parking lot. It takes no time and almost no effort. Other times it means I'll take my trash grabber tool and head to a park to clean up after those who are less responsible.

A couple of times people have asked me why I was picking up trash in public. One kid even asked if I was working off a community service sentence. I tell them I do it because I don't like litter and it's my responsibility to change things I think need to be changed. I don't believe in political government; if I want something done, the buck stops here. I can't ask others to do or pay for what I want.

Although I hate litter, I'm not in favor of legislation against it. You can pollute the world with "laws" just as you can with plastic bottles and paper bags.

By all means, join the Trek for Trash event next time it rolls around. Enjoy the social event and party atmosphere while doing something helpful. But don't wait for someone to turn litter patrol into a party by organizing a special event; make picking up trash in your surroundings a daily habit.

Pick up that trash you were about to step over. When you see a problem, take it upon yourself to fix it or make it better however you can. It is your responsibility, after all. It can't be anyone else's.

Thank you for helping support

The worst thing to import to Mars

As I mentioned in the last post, statists are debating how to govern Martian colonists. They ask what kind of government these people will "need".

It makes me a little sick inside anytime I hear someone talking about this scheme. It's as though the colonists' lives won't be difficult enough without forcing more problems on them. Do they want to import litter and rabies, too? Maybe plague. And let's shoot everyone in the knees while we are at it.

Let's find ways to make it harder-- establish a parasite class they'll have to support. Free riders in the most toxic sense.

Personally, I don't think they'll be able to tolerate political government until life gets a lot easier for them. Maybe by then, the addiction will be broken.

When you'll be dependent on other people for air and water and food, you don't want politics in the mix. You need competition. You need the market. Let people compete to sell you air, water, and food for profit. The more competition in that market, the better off everyone will be-- better quality, lower prices, no chance for a monopoly. Monopolies require political government-- would you really want to take that risk? The risk of being shut off by the only supplier because your opinion wasn't correct?

Not me.

When moving to an entirely new place, the most stupidly self-destructive thing you could do is bring politics along for the ride and let it take root. That's like building a crack into your skyscraper's foundation and putting it on top of quicksand... on purpose.

Writing to promote liberty is my job.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support. If so...
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Imagine someone dreaming this up today

If political government had never been invented, how insane would the idea sound if someone came up with it out of the blue?

If you hadn't grown up surrounded by people who buy into the bizarre notion of governing others, how willing would you be to live your life that way? Would you tolerate it?

Well, that's how crazy it sounds to me, and explains how willing I am to live surrounded by it. But there's nowhere left to flee to. And now the government-supremacists are seriously discussing how to govern Martian settlers in the near future. Won't they already have enough troubles?

Writing to promote liberty is my job.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support. If so...
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Income inequality

It's trendy to preach about the "evils" of income inequality, but I won't be joining the chorus. That someone else makes more money than me-- even a lot more-- doesn't harm me.

Income comes in because someone is providing something lots of people want. This want gives it value. There's no downside to me from that.

It doesn't directly matter to my finances how much money you have. In fact, I want you to be as rich as you possibly can, regardless of how much I have.

Now, if someone got their money through "the political means" then it's not "income" anyway (thieves don't own the stolen property they possess), so it can't really be part of this discussion. Using "the political means" in any manner to gain money is archation. As is the attempt to "solve" income inequality through "taxation" or any other political policy or legislation.

I don't judge my income by what anyone else makes, but by whether it is enough to meet my expenses this month.

Yes, I wish my income was a lot higher than it is. But someone else's higher income doesn't harm me in the slightest-- not even if their income is thousands of times what mine is. It might even help me if they choose to use some of that income in ways that make my life better. Rich people start businesses that improve my life; they fund good things, and they buy things. Sometimes, even from me.

I can disagree with how they use their money-- especially if they fund political violations of my life, liberty, and property, but that's not a problem with income inequality, it's a problem of ethics.

The sad reality is that my contribution to society isn't very income-generating. Nothing I've ever done has been. But that's not the fault of some random rich person out there. It's my fault. For me to whine about the income inequality between me and someone else would be a dumb waste of time and energy. It's childish. The other person is probably just contributing more than I am. Such is life. They may be smarter and better looking, too. Should I whine about that and demand the government gang step in and fix that inequality as well?

Writing to promote liberty is my job.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support. If so...
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Government is violence without respite

I've heard people say that without government, society is doomed to be violent. Disputes have to be settled in the middle of the night by armed gangs.
That government, on the other hand, brings its courts and such, which means it isn't as violent.


I think they've gotten the levels of violence backward, and even worse, they are mistaking violence for aggression. And archation.

Anarchy isn't more violent than government. With government, Statists simply refuse to see the violence that is all around them, like the water surrounding a fish.

Whereas in a free society any violence is generally going to be occasional, for a specific purpose to a particular end, with government the violence is continual-- it never stops. People are robbed ("taxed") without relief. They are ruled by legislation which violates their life, liberty, and property in hundreds (or thousands) of ways, day and night. They live under the constant threat of being attacked by armed agents of the state-- more and more frequently, by armed gangs of state employees in the middle of the night. Anyone who believes this is better (as opposed to just being their preference) is delusional.

Writing to promote liberty is my job.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support. If so...
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Still a sentimental fan of holidays

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

It's the holiday season! This is the time of year when people can celebrate-- or not-- however they like. It's also when those who feel they are better than you and assume the moral authority to dictate how you should be allowed to live decry what they see as the rampant the rest...

Thank you for helping support

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Do you need evil? Time will tell

A gun is usually the most effective protection from (a person with) a gun. A gun isn't evil in and of itself. Your gun can be used for good to thwart a gun being used for evil.

That's because evil is an action-- a behavior-- not a thing or a person. Actions such as governing others and other forms of archation.

So, while a gun is often needed to protect you from a gun and from evil actions, that observation doesn't translate to actions. You don't need to commit evil to protect yourself from evil. Nor do you need to have others commit evil on your behalf to protect you from evil.

Do you need government to protect you from government?
Do you need a cartel to protect you from a cartel?
Do you need a mugger to protect you from muggers, or a rapist to protect you from rapists?
For that matter, do you need a mugger to protect you from a cartel?

I don't-- I just wonder if you do. Or if you imagine you do.

I guess if it turns out I'm delusional and I really do need those evil actions to protect me from evil actions, I won't survive to spread my flawed ideas into the future. My demise would be the sign I was wrong about not needing evil to protect me from evil and you should dismiss my opinions on the matter.

Writing to promote liberty is my job.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support. If so...
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Fear of the Unknown

Is cowardice a virtue? Were the Luddites right? Should we hunker under our beds, afraid of what might happen if we take a risk?

"I really think the mainstream idea that we can always make a mad dash for the black emptiness in the sky if things go to s**t here keeps us from truly confronting our urgent need to preserve the ecosystemic context in which we evolved, and which there’s no evidence that we can live without.
I mean, we don’t even know that space colonization is possible. As of yet we have no evidence at all that humans are sufficiently separate and separable from Earth’s biosphere for survival apart from our ecosystem to be a real thing. Humans aren’t really separate 'things'; they’re a symbiotic collaboration of organisms with ecosystems of their own, all of which as far as we know are entirely dependent on the greater ecosystem from which we blossomed. So far all our attempts at creating independent biospheres have failed miserably, and the closest we’ve come to living in space has consisted of nothing but glorified scuba excursions: visits to space stations fully dependent on a lifeline of terrestrial supplies. That’s the difference between flying and jumping. It might be as delusional as our brains thinking they can hop out of our skulls and live independently of our bodies, or some river eddies saying they’re moving to dry land." ~ Caitlin Johnstone*

And, she might even be right. The best way to find out is to try it. Not everyone, but some. Voluntarily. But she shouldn't be robbed ("taxed") to finance it. No one should.

One thing I know for sure is that the Earth has a hidden expiration date-- probably a very long time in the future, but we can't know that for sure. Most dangerous asteroids are discovered about the time they go whizzing past the planet-- far too late to do anything about them. And if you learn anything about cosmology you'll see that asteroids aren't the only planet killers lurking out there waiting to sterilize the surface of this planet.

Maybe I'm silly, but I want the human species to survive as long as possible. That can be longer if our species spreads beyond this one planet. Yes, Earth is wonderful and should be preserved. The Black is scary and dangerous and will try to kill you. But all discovery worth anything has risks. Would you be better off if you'd never left your crib?

"We don't even know... we have no evidence... as far as we know... might be..." So get out there and find out one way or the other for sure! Refusing to move because you don't know (yet) is not praiseworthy. You don't know until you try, and using fear as an excuse to not try is just sad.

*I find some of the best, and some of the most pathetic, quotes on The Enlightened Rogue's blog. They are always interesting in one way or another.


Writing to promote liberty is my job.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support. If so...
YOU get to decide if I get paid.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Can you afford the water ransom?

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for October 30, 2019)

A tax increase for the near-mythical water project has been recommended. This illustrates one danger of allowing government to control access to water.

To propose a tax is to admit failure. They couldn't find a voluntary way to do what they want so they'll send the guns of government to loot the society-- in this case through an annual ransom on property; a "property tax".

A reliable supply of drinkable water is critical. The responsible, difficult, and adult way to handle the situation is to find a consensual way to provide water. Let the market handle it, without interference from government.

A proposal which involves holding a gun to your neighbors' heads and demanding their money is no solution. All who choose this path need to be tarred, feathered, run out of town, and their job should be abolished.

To pretend this isn't what you're doing when you propose a tax or a tax increase is to lie to yourself.

Sometimes taxes are excused as the sensible way to collect the money to pay for something which must be funded. It doesn't matter how necessary you believe it is, theft is never necessary, ethical, or reasonable. Rather, it is childish, irresponsible, and antisocial. There is nothing I want bad enough to send government collectors to your door to force you to pay for it. If something can't be funded voluntarily, without threats, it means no one wants it bad enough yet. No job, service, or product is worth taxation.

Yes, the price for something might go up for participants if everyone else isn't forced to "pay up" against their will. The product or service might even become unavailable. To pretend you're saving money through a tax, while not counting the tax in calculating the price of the product, is dishonest.

Let people pay the market rate for what they want, do without if they don't want to pay, and let charity help those who can't pay. That's the civilized way to do things.

People dismiss libertarians for insisting "Taxation is theft", but what else is it when someone's rightful property is taken against their will by force or threat of force? It's no better than a common mugging. In fact, it's less honest. Even if you believe it's necessary because "that's how it has always been done".

Some say "Taxation is the price we pay for a civilized society". Not true. Civilized society is something humans occasionally achieve in spite of uncivilized acts like taxation.

Thank you for helping support


Happy belated birthday to Oliver Winchester. I got this from, with permission to post it all on my site. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a way to include the links which were in the original-- and I tried several times.


Oliver Winchester was born in Boston, on November 30, 1810. He started his career with a clothing company based out of New York City and New Haven, Connecticut. After successfully running this aspect of his business, Winchester began to look for new opportunities. Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson (yes, that “Smith & Wesson” who later formed the Smith & Wesson Revolver Company) acquired and improved a rifle design with the help of shop foreman, Benjamin Tyler Henry. Talk about a genius cluster! In 1855, they began to manufacture what would be known as the “Volcanic” lever-action rifle. The company would become incorporated as the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company; its largest stockholder was Oliver Winchester.

After limited success with this new rifle, Winchester seized the opportunity to take control over the failing company and renamed it the New Haven Arms Company. Although initial returns were slow, Benjamin Henry, the company’s leading engineer, improved the Volcanic repeating rifle’s design by enlarging the frame and magazine to accommodate the all-new brass cased .44 caliber cartridge. This ingenuity put the company on the map, and in 1860, the patent for the infamous Henry rifle was issued. The next six years of production produced over 12,000 Henry, many of which were used in the Civil War. In the following months, Benjamin Henry, angered over what he believed was inadequate compensation, filed a lawsuit for ownership of the company. Oliver Winchester hastenly reorganized the company as the Winchester Repeating Arms Company to circumvent this issue.

The Model 1866 soon rolled out as the first Winchester rifle. Based on the Henry rifle, it came with an improved magazine and a wooden forend. In the following years, larger caliber rifles such as the infamous Model 1873, “The Gun That Won The West”, brought more notoriety and foundation to the company. Although Mr. Winchester would miss the opportunity to see his company’s greatest achievements; he passed away in December of 1880.

Winchester Repeating Arms Company’s collaboration with John Browning brought about much success with a host of shotguns, including the still produced Model 1885. The turn of the 20th century hosted a series of new arms developments, many from the top engineer at the time, T.C. Johnson. But it was the start of the First World War that set development and production requirements into full force. The company became a major producer of the .30-06 M1917 Enfield rifle for the United States military, and worked once more with Browning to develop the .50 caliber BMG.

During the war, the company borrowed heavily to finance the expansion. In an attempt to pay down its debt following the war’s end, they used their surplus production capacity to manufacture consumer goods such as kitchen knives, roller skates, and refrigerators. The strategy was a failure, and the Great Depression sent the company into bankruptcy. John M. Olin’s Western Cartridge Company purchased the Winchester Repeating Arms Company at auction in 1931, with plans to restore the brand to its former glory. The Second World War helped this cause tremendously as Winchester produced the U.S. M1 Carbine and the M1 Garand rifle during this time period.

Over the following decades, the Olin Winchester-Western division struggled with rising labor costs and other companies’ cast-and-stamped production methods. By 1980, Olin decided to sell the company back to its employees, which re-incorporated as the U.S. Repeating Arms Company. Olin retained the Winchester ammunition business. U.S. Repeating Arms went bankrupt in 1989, and after a number of sellouts to forgien holdings companies, the New Haven plant closed its doors on January 16, 2006, after 140 years of producing rifles and shotguns.

In August of 2006, Olin Corporation, owner of Winchester trademarks, entered a new license deal with Browning to make Winchester brand rifles and shotguns once again. The Model 1885, Model 1892, and Model 1886 are all produced by Miroku Corporation of Japan, then imported to the U.S. by Browning. Currently, Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal (FN) makes the remainder of Winchester’s rifle and shotgun lineup in various locations around Europe.

Winchester-branded ammunition continues to be produced by the Olin Corporation. Some of the most successful cartridges ever invented have been under the Winchester name: the .44-40 WCF, the .30-30 WCF, the .32 Winchester Special, the .50 BMG, the .270 Winchester, the .308 Winchester (the commercial version of the 7.62x51mm NATO), the .243 Winchester, the .22 WMR (aka the .22 Magnum), and the .300 Winchester Magnum. In North America, the .30-30 and .308 Winchester are some of the best selling cartridges in firearm history.

Through its history, the Winchester name has experienced great successes and significant failures; but it’s truly an important story to know in the realm of firearms. Here’s to the man that started it all, happy birthday to Mr. Oliver Winchester.


Writing to promote liberty is my job.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support. If so...
YOU get to decide if I get paid.