Thursday, February 20, 2020

Embracing the utility of evil is pragmatic



Last week I listened to an interview. The author being interviewed was a raging pragmatist. Very utilitarian.

I found the interview disgusting for all the same reasons I always find pragmatism and utilitarianism without a foundation in ethical behavior disgusting. And it is rare to find a utilitarian pragmatist who thinks ethics are pragmatic or utilitarian... unless they happen to agree with what he wants to do to you this time.

There's literally nothing that can't be excused or justified that way. It was hard to listen to and made me feel physically sick at several points.

I understand why people preach pragmatism. There's no point in living in a fantasy world of things and ideas that can't work.

I understand utilitarianism, too. You might as well use methods that are useful.

But just because something can work or is useful doesn't mean it's right.

Genocide obviously works in the real world, and it can be perfectly useful, depending on what you want to accomplish-- as long as you don't worry yourself over whether it is wrong.

Legislation can also work in the real world and it can be useful. Never mind that using it is almost always going to be unethical. As long as your goals are more important that who you violate while getting there, you can be very pragmatic and utilitarian.

I don't really hate pragmatism or utility, although it might seem so from what I've been saying. What I hate is the way those are used to advocate and justify committing evil against others.

You don't have to be pragmatic or utilitarian to be an advocate of evil. Bernie Sanders is certainly not pragmatic or utilitarian-- although it could be argued that his theft advocacy could be utilitarian, even though it wouldn't be utilitarian enough to reach his stated goals. However, I have not yet run across a vocal advocate of pragmatism or utilitarianism who isn't also trying to excuse some sort of great evil. It must be a difficult line to walk; too difficult to navigate in the real world.

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Writing to promote liberty is my job.
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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Gun rights decent political X-ray

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for February 19, 2020)




Whether or not you vote or otherwise pay attention to politicians, do you wish you had a way to see inside their minds to know what they think of you?

Libertarian science fiction and nonfiction author L. Neil Smith has pointed out that you can know what a politician thinks of you and your rights by examining his or her opinions on gun rights. Smith says it's as good as an X-ray into politicians' minds...read the rest...

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Don't "tax the rich"



There's an important fact that is missed by the "tax the rich" folk-- besides the fact that "taxation" is theft whether they like to admit it or not. (And they don't; they HATE it. It makes them crazy.)

If you "tax" wealthy people you are stealing from me.
Even if you don't "tax" me, directly.
Even if you give me some "benefits" from it. I don't want a cut of the loot.

You are stealing money he might use to start a business that would benefit me. Or money she might use to buy something from me. Or money he might donate to me because he has so much excess and can't figure out how to use it.
But even if none of that happens, you are funding antisocial political government to my detriment.

It's just as bad as calling for Big Business to "pay more taxes". It's a lie. I can't afford for you to "tax" anyone.

"Taxation" steals from me even if it never touches me otherwise. It steals money, opportunities, and liberty.

I will never support a plan to "tax" anyone, for any reason, ever.

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Writing to promote liberty is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support.
♡CopyHeart 2010 by Author/Artist. Copying is an act of love. Please copy.

Monday, February 17, 2020

"Is X a human right?"



Let’s say X is a human right. What would this mean?

It means no one has the right to prevent you from creating, buying, being given, having, selling, gifting, or using X, as long as you do so without violating the life, liberty, or property of another.

It doesn’t mean you have a right to steal the X someone else creates or owns. It doesn't mean you are allowed to enslave someone so you can have X at their expense.

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Writing to promote liberty is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.
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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Don't scare kids with political fears

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 15, 2020)




I remember the panic I felt about tornado warnings as a child. It didn't matter whether my family was in danger; I wasn't informed enough to know whether we were. I didn't understand that worry isn't helpful, and I wasn't able to change things. There was nothing meaningful I could do.

In the past couple of weeks, I've heard of local children scared that World War Three had begun. They've overheard adults talking about it and were worried. I did my best to explain things and calm the fears of one kid; hopeful that she'd calm her friends.

It would be great if adults would stop acting like scared children; overreacting about politics, science, and other things they don't understand as well as they imagine they do.

This pattern repeats both locally and on a global scale.

In recent months an angry Swedish teen gained attention because she believes the planet is being destroyed by carbon dioxide. She's scared... and she blames you.

All because she has been shown one side of a debate by people who don't want dissent. Their political agenda--  their power and position-- depends on the narrative going a particular way. She is being used as their political pawn.

I'm not even claiming she's necessarily wrong. Regardless of what you've been told, no one knows. Climate predictions about the long-term are not much better than a guess. But the way she has been frightened and used is wrong without question. Do you really want to ruin a young person's life based on speculation?

Political events may even be worse. To pretend you know for certain that one politician having another politician killed is going to cause a world war-- and scaring children with this kind of talk-- is irresponsible. Or worse.

If you want to worry, go ahead. But to scare kids with this kind of thing isn't right.

I'm not saying to keep them ignorant. You can discuss the facts without sharing scary doomsday conclusions.

It's different to educate a kid on the dangers of getting into a stranger's car. They have control over this. None of us can save or destroy the planet, and politicians are going to do what politicians do. In fact, you can't be certain which path results in destruction and which one comes out better in the long run. You can guess. You can apply your beliefs. But you can't know.

To scare children over things no one can know for certain is child abuse.


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Humbling (funny) quotation

I just ran across this quote. It's a lesson in humility for me, personally. But it's funny, too.

No one asked you to write. And no one will care if you stop. If you succeed, no one will notice. It’s a rough, heartless business.” ~ George Higgins


I don't know who George Higgins is/was. I guess I'll look him up... I assume this is him.

The quote's not exactly true on the first point, since I was asked to start writing a blog-- in fact, someone else signed me up and gave me the log-in information so I would. This was to give people the opportunity to pick my mind and ask me probing questions.

No one really asked me to continue to write after the original purpose had passed, though.

So it's still close enough to accurate.

And I'm not sure what success would look like in this context, anyway. Not fame, riches, or groupies, for sure.

I've always said I do this more to help myself think and organize those thoughts than for any other reason. I'm glad there are a few of you out there who follow along. That feels like success to me.

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

Evil's supporters



Helping someone commit evil acts, or supporting them while they commit them, is just as bad as committing the evil acts yourself.

If you "Support the troops" in any way beyond supporting getting them back home where they won't be maimed and killed by those trying to defend their homes from the invaders makes you complicit in their evil acts.

If you "Back the Blue" you're worse than if you "Support the troops", although it's close. There's no way to back the Blue Line Gang without being tainted by what they do, and there is no such critter as a "good cop".

You might as well be out there committing evil in person.

I see a lot of people making excuses for the harm committed by both those who are out there doing evil and those sitting around supporting or fawning over the evildoers. As if circumstances or feelings change reality.

But the news isn't all bad.

I have the greatest respect for those who were in the military and are still able to stand firmly against it, and for those who were once legislation enforcers and now stand against that "profession" without reservation. People can change for the better. They give me hope.

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

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Stats and updates



This is my 5501st blog post. Most of which aren't as pointless as this one.

My first blog post was on September 3, 2006.

I'm in my 14th year of blogging and in my 10th year writing the newspaper column (495 columns so far, as far as I can tell).

My slowest (full) blogging year was 2010 when I only posted 377 times. My bloggiest year was 2014 with 449 posts.

Last year saw 386 posts. I'm up to 51 posts for 2020 so far.

I really hate when I miss a day, or a few, even though it can't be avoided sometimes.

I currently post these blogs on Blogger, WordPress, Patreon, and Steemit, and share them as links on Twitter and Quora.

This blog usually averages around 300 or so views per day according to Blogger, but that's probably not even close to accurate. I don't pay much attention to the numbers anymore, anyway. The numbers go way up when (I suspect) I'm getting fake views from spammers looking for sites to post on. And I've come to accept that I'm just a baby minnow in some tiny backwater of the internet.

My KentForLiberty.com site gets around 350 visitors per week.

I've been posting "outrageous" answers to Quora a lot recently, more for sport than anything. It helps me blow off steam and entertain myself, I've started sharing those answers on Twitter just to see if I can cause a reaction. Mostly, no, I can't.

Who knows if I've made a positive impact on the world. I'll probably never know. But I'll pretend I have. It makes me happy to imagine I have in some way.

Tomorrow I plan to have some actual content.

UPDATE: I just ran across this rather fitting quote--
No one asked you to write. And no one will care if you stop. If you succeed, no one will notice. It’s a rough, heartless business.” ~ George Higgins

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

Friday, February 14, 2020

Statism's Reality Rejection immune response



Statism insulates itself (or pretends to) from reality by automatically disqualifying all opposing views. It's like an immune response.

To say "taxation is theft" means you aren't a "serious part" of "the conversation"; you are automatically ignored because to fund Big Political Government, theft... I mean "taxation"... is necessary. Anyone who doesn't like taxation is automatically disqualified from being taken seriously. According to the view of government supremacists, anyway.

Yet I don't entirely disagree with their entire argument. "Taxation" is necessary to fund political government. No question. That's part of the reason "taxation" is unethical. There's also the whole "theft is unethical" thing, too.

That's not the only subject where they play this trick. It happens all the time. And it's a lie every time they do it.

I understand, when you have no real argument you do every sneaky thing you can to "win". You'll shut out any other voices however you can. You'll reject ethics because it gets in the way of what you want to get away with doing. But that doesn't make it right. It just compounds the wrong you're committing.

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

Thursday, February 13, 2020

To "serve"



The words people use and how those words are used says a lot about how someone thinks. In many cases, it's almost as good as an X-ray into their mind.

Take, for example, the word "serve" and its past tense, "served".

If someone says "I served" where does your mind go? You probably assume they mean they were in the US military, and at this point in history on this spot on this planet your assumption is probably correct.

But why? Common usage.

To "serve" means you have provided a service of some sort to someone.

Everyone serves someone just about all the time.

The corner drug dealer serves. The cashier serves. The prostitute and the waiter and the car wash attendant serve. The writer serves, the scientist serves, and the medical provider serves. They serve by mutual consent and voluntary choice.

There are also those who provide unethical service. The mafia hitman and the legislation enforcement scum, for example. Unethical service means that someone is forced to either tolerate an unwanted "service" or to pay for it whether they want it or not. Unethical service is based in some way on archation.

To basically reserve the word "serve" for those who foolishly joined forces with the military of any government is to perpetuate a lie. Yes, they serve, but they serve anti-society and the anti-individual forces of the State. They serve liberty's enemy. That's not a good thing to do.

How can I pretend they are serving me in any way when I don't want them to do what they are doing and I don't want to pay them to do it? They aren't even on my side.

The same goes for other government employees, who also sometimes try to use the word "service" to refer to their own parasitism.

It's a lie to pretend that being a legislator, or government president, or government judge is a beneficial service. Those are parasitic positions, serving the political government at the expense of society. To be proud of such service, or to call it out for special honor, is to show just how deep the statism virus has infected the mind.

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

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

No one policy good for everyone

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for February 12, 2020)




Did you enjoy our recent winter storm? I did, but I know a lot of people didn't. Most people are not fans of cold and snow. I don't like temperatures over 85 degrees Fahrenheit, especially if there's any trace of humidity, while other people love hot weather.

Variety is the spice of life and I'm willing to deal with things I don't like, without much complaint, so others can enjoy the things they like...read the rest...

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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Does it "work"?



Does government "work"? Does this or that policy or legislation "work"?

Yeah, they "work" just like a bomb works to remodel a hospital. They apply physical force-- they "do work".

Do they work as advertised? Almost never. There are always unintended (or at least, unacknowledged) consequences. They make things worse. Under the very best of outcomes, they shift the problem from one place to another.

You can feed this person by making other people hungry.
You can make one person feel safer by making everyone less safe.
You can pay for someone's healthcare by making healthcare harder for everyone else to afford.

That's not the kind of "success" I'm willing to tolerate. How about you?

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Writing to promote liberty is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.
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Monday, February 10, 2020

Scaled-up anarchy



"Anarchy doesn't scale"

Whenever I hear that assertion, I notice that they aren't ever discussing anarchy, but something else entirely. Something which doesn't scale. Something like chaos (in the negative sense of the word), where more isn't necessarily better.

Obviously, anarchy scales just fine. It's anarchy's opposite-- the State-- which falls apart as you try to scale it up. The entire known Universe-- except for certain minor "systems" existing in a thin, patchy layer on one planet-- is an illustration of just how well anarchy scales.

Remember that anarchy doesn't mean there are no rules, it's just a recognition that there are no legitimate Rulers.

Anarchy is the perfect balance between the Yin of chaos and the Yang of order-- and too much of either chaos or order can be deadly.

I suspect that what they mean when saying "anarchy doesn't scale" is that scaled-up anarchy doesn't allow them to do the state-like things they want to do. It gets in the way of artificially legitimized archation. That's a feature, not a bug.

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

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Not a fan of artificial divisions

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 8, 2020)




I'm not a fan of the trend on social media to create artificial divisions to pit people against each other. A recent example is the condescending remark "OK, Boomer".

This phrase is commonly used against anyone assumed to be a "baby boomer", or who simply isn't as "progressive" and "enlightened" as those weaned on "social justice" might prefer.

If someone points out problems with socialism, with basing legislation on sexual identity issues, with climate change prescriptions to be imposed on society through the "New Green Deal", or with other topics which have been politicized, they are likely to be dismissed with this comment.

As if they are cute for being too old and backward to be taken seriously.

Why encourage this type of division? There are endless ways to categorize and divide people: generations, races, sexes, Democrat and Republican. Those who crave more control will back whichever side begs for more legislation. They will encourage them to fight and ridicule anyone who opposes handing government more control.

It's why government loved "Baby Boomers" as long as they were useful-- begging for more government programs and spending-- but was happy to throw them under the bus when a new generation began to beg for "social justice" legislation the older generation saw as going too far. "Social justice" was too good an excuse for more government control; it couldn't be ignored.

Climate change seems to be an equally popular excuse.

Government supremacists seek to divide and conquer with whatever divisions can be imagined, created, magnified, or exaggerated.

The truth is, it's not "Republican versus Democrat", Baby Boomer against Generation Z, "Black" against "White", male versus female versus whatever else you imagine exists. It has always come down to those who want people to be herded, numbered, controlled, governed, and enslaved against those who recognize the equal and identical rights of all humanity and the liberty which comes from this truth.

It has always been the rulers against the people.

Increased government power depends on hiding truth from you. It depends on giving you imaginary enemies to keep you too flustered to realize who your real enemy is.

Instead of dividing, I try to support anyone I think is right, even if I am hard on them when they are wrong. I don't fault people for who they are; only for what they do when what they do violates the liberty of others. I'd much rather explain my reasons in either case than to dismiss people with an intentionally condescending catchphrase.

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Free to pick and choose



There are good things about the present.
There are some good things about the past.
You can have some of both. You can mix them together in whatever way makes you happy.
I don't understand those who believe it has to be either/or.
That seems so limiting and small.

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

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Give 'em enough rope...



Let statists set their own standards, then use those standards to refute their position. This can work with anyone who's inconsistent, but it works especially well with statists.

It doesn't mean you have to openly refute them to their face. Cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, or something else would kick in anyway to keep them from seeing that they've been refuted. Just use their inconsistency to show yourself that their position can be discounted without much effort or concern.
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Writing to promote liberty is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support.

Friday, February 07, 2020

Your next excuse for government has already failed



The only excuse for government is either to keep us from killing each other (Hobbes) or to protect our natural rights (Locke).

So what's the next excuse when it becomes obvious government isn't up to either task-- and in fact, is the primary threat and instigator?

When cops are allowed to kill us, government fails on the first point. Ruby Ridge, Waco, wars, 9/11, school shootings, and just regular everyday murders all prove government not only fails to prevent people from killing each other, but is also one of the biggest offenders.

When government allows those killer cops to kill unarmed (and armed) people and violate our rights in various ways with no real consequences-- when government controls our movements, demands we get licenses for exercising all manner of our natural rights, and taxes, fines, zones, and "eminent domains" our property, it utterly fails the second.

The excuses for government don't stand up to the reality of government. The next excuse statists dream up has already failed before it has even been imagined.

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

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Gangs fighting over your turf



I get disgusted any time two gangs fight over someone's real estate. It doesn't matter which gangs they are.

Gang Green and Gang Grape arguing over which of them gets to control someone's personal property? Illegitimate!

It's no better when the gangs are called Israel and Palestine, or Texas and the united States, or the county and some other political gang-- when they are arguing (or even negotiating and agreeing) over who gets to rule other people's real estate it's just a turf war. Political gangs are no better than any other gangs which use the political means.

Yes, I understand that some of those people whose property rights are being violated want to throw in with one political gang or another. Let them. But don't let them enslave you or your neighbors to their preferences.

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Writing to promote liberty is my job.
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Wednesday, February 05, 2020

'Red flag' laws violate human rights

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for February 5, 2020)




New Mexico politicians are hopping on the "red flag law" bandwagon; scheming to commit wrong in the name of imagined "safety".

Red flag legislation is all the rage, politically. I don't call them laws because they aren't laws. Laws can't violate natural human rights; this legislation does. Imposing or enforcing legislation which violates life, liberty, or property in any way makes you the wrongdoer. It doesn't change matters to write words giving yourself permission to violate people. Legislation can't make wrongs right, and it is wrong to punish someone for something you imagine they might do...read the rest...

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Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Is it my business?



"That's not my business."

It's strange how rarely I hear that admission from people. People will go on and on about someone else's business or drama and demand to know what I think about it. But all I'm doing is thinking that it's not my business.

If it directly affects me, or if someone asks my opinion on their business, I will accept that it might be my business. So often the topic of discussion doesn't rise to that level. It's just gossip or someone looking for reasons to be offended.

If they want reasons to be offended, give them one. The fastest way to offend someone who is trying to get you involved in other people's business is to say "It's not my business".

Your drama isn't my business. Your sex life or relationships aren't my business. What you wear, what you ingest, what you worship-- none of those things are my business. Unless you impose them on me or others.

Several years ago, someone angry over one of my newspaper columns asked how I could think it's my business to write about liberty-- to get in other people business in that way. At least they had the decency to back off when I said: "Because it is literally my business-- it's what I am paid to do".

Yes, liberty is my business. Whether you accept or respect it is yours... as long as you don't try to violate someone in my presence.
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Writing to promote liberty is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support.

Monday, February 03, 2020

"Our government" is a lie



There's "my government" and there's "your government", there is no "our government".

My government is me. It is not political. It is not a State. I don't share it with anyone else, I don't impose it on anyone else, nor do I accept anyone else's government as my own.

Your government is you-- even if you don't recognize yourself as such. Even if you imagine you have a spare government lying around somewhere. A political government. Your government has no hold on me or anyone else.

Every time someone says "our government" it is a lie. The lie may be calculated to manipulate-- to hypnotize you. Don't fall for it.

Now, maybe you believe you share a government with someone else. I hope not, but people believe weird things. In that case, you'd need to have a conversation with the other person before you started flinging around the words "our government" to see if you truly do share a government of some sort with them. But don't assume. It's rude at best, and a dangerous lie at worst.
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Writing to promote liberty is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Going to work on doing what I should

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 1, 2020)




Happy New Year and Happy New Decade! I know it doesn't really mean anything to say it's a "new year" or a "new decade" since it's arbitrary, but it feels significant-- partly because it's treated as though it is. I like excuses to celebrate so I'm fine with it.

The Winter Solstice is a natural time for a year to begin, as would be the other solar divisions of the year: the Summer Solstice or one of the equinoxes.

The Winter Solstice was originally celebrated as the new year's dawn because this is when the sun stops moving farther south and the daylight hours stop getting shorter. This makes it the time of renewal and hope-- as it was to our ancestors who recognized their dependence on the natural world more than we modern humans seem to. This is why there is a cluster of happy holidays around this time of year. The Winter Solstice is the logical choice for a new beginning, even if we celebrate a little late. Better late than never.

The new year is simply the Winter Solstice wrap-up party.

Regardless of why, when, or how we celebrate a new year, this event gives just about everyone an excuse to reflect on the year past and plan for a better year to come.

This year I'm thinking about one important point I learned since the last new year: that it's better to listen than to speak.

Over the past year, I came to realize how hungry people are to tell their stories. All you have to do is be willing to listen to them. With the rush of modern life, and with everyone's nose seemingly stuck to their phone screen, listening to someone is one of the simplest acts of compassion you can perform.

The flip side of this observation is that it's pointless to speak if someone doesn't really want to listen. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. I can explain what I mean, as completely and thoroughly as humanly possible, but I can't make others understand if they don't really want to, nor can I make them accept what I'm saying,--even if they understand-- if it's not what they want to hear.

I don't always do what I know I should, but I'll keep working on it. Next year at this time I'll look back and see how I'm doing and see what new things I've learned. Onward into 2020!

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Twisting and weaving through pragmatism and ethics



A lot of people don't seem to believe in right and wrong unless it affects another issue which is important to them, personally.

If you come at them from an ethical foundation which falsifies their statist position, they'll preach pragmatism. They'll maintain it's a losing position to worry about the ethics of a situation when it's not pragmatic to do so.

"You can't be bothered to respect rights when it might be dangerous to do so. Anyway, government has the power to do whatever it wants, so you don't have any rights."

But when it's something they feel is important and they think they can make an ethical claim for it, suddenly they'll find ethics more important than pragmatism (even though they usually get it wrong and use morality instead of ethics).

I watch this happen all the time with certain people, both famous and not. It's almost funny and definitely pathetic.
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Writing to promote liberty is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Collision course with government supremacy



If astronomers discovered an asteroid on a collision course with Earth, and it was known it would hit Earth with a 100% probability, would that necessitate "martial law"; government "suspending" (violating) your rights?

No, of course not. They would use it as an excuse, as "justification", but it would be a lie to do so. Government supremacy is always a lie.

Climate change (AGCC) is the same sort of situation.

Even if it is real, even if it is primarily caused by human activity, even if it is a net negative, and even if it is preventable, that's not a real reason to permit government supremacy.

In fact, this kind of oppression limits the options people could try in order to survive or to avert disaster. Limiting choices and experimentation is never a good survival strategy. In this, as in all of life, government needs to stay out of the way.

People thrash at the branches and leaves while ignoring the root issue, but the root is all that really matters.
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Writing to promote liberty is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support.