Sunday, July 31, 2011

Trolleys, switches, and choices

I'm sure you have all heard of the "trolley scenarios", where you choose whether to do nothing and watch a runaway trolley kill five innocent people, or throw a switch to divert the trolley onto some tracks where it will kill "only" one innocent person, or alternatively, you could toss a sufficiently massive innocent bystander onto the tracks to stop the trolley, thus killing him to save the five.

Now, the versions I had previously been exposed to supposed that all the people were standing where they stood of their own free will. The link above suggests they have all been tied to the tracks by another person.

I'll look at those circumstances separately.

In the case of no one being tied to the tracks, the 5 people made the choice to stand where they stand, as did the one on the other tracks. Perhaps the one was smarter in his choice. It would be wrong, in my opinion, to sacrifice him because others made a bad choice and he did not. Not that standing on any tracks at any time seems particularly wise to me.

I do believe you have a responsibility to be aware of your surroundings. Failure to do so, staying in "condition white", as they say, has consequences.

I would do my best to alert everyone, and send the trolley down the tracks least likely to have anyone standing on them by the time the trolley got there.

I do not believe it would be right to toss an innocent bystander onto the tracks to save "the five", because, once again he was not among those unwisely standing on tracks. Let natural selection weed out people who stand around on trolley tracks in "condition white". OK, maybe that's a little harsh, but if you weren't present to intervene, nature would take its course anyway.

Since I don't believe rights are additive, I don't think 5 people have more rights than one. Pick any individual among the 5 and he is equal to the one. It's like saying it is "more wrong" to kill one individual five times than to kill him once. Each person only dies once and that applies to each of the six individuals in this scenario. I also don't believe in the notions of "greatest good", "general welfare", or "common good"- especially as applied to scenarios like this.

What if all the innocent people are tied to the tracks? I wouldn't waste time flipping switches or pushing people onto the tracks, I would be working to defeat the Kobayashi Maru scenario without violating the ZAP. If nothing else, self sacrifice by jumping on the tracks would be right, while pushing someone else onto the tracks would not. If the victims are tied to the tracks, is there anyone who can cut the ropes? Who are they nearer; the 5 or the one? If halfway between they could probably free one person faster than 5 so sending the trolley toward the one has a higher chance of saving everyone.

In reality there are always 3rd options. And often 4th and 5th. Why not send the trolley toward the one or ones who are most likely to be able to jump clear or be rescued by a bystander? Why not shout a warning? It is an artificial constraint to claim you can only do A or B. I think that pretty much invalidates any "answers" arrived at.

These sorts of philosophical questions are contrived to make you feel bad.
Just follow the ZAP and you'll do OK.


Friday, July 29, 2011

My mom on the news...

My mom on the news about a local problem: Link


Who's cramming their lifestyle on "society"?

I really have to wonder about some people.

Like the writer of this first letter to the editor. She says, regarding homosexuals,
"Every time the rest of society turns around, this lifestyle is crammed down our throats." Really? Let's look at that contention a bit more. In fact, let's compare the homosexuals with- oh, let's say, the Christians.

Which group has dozens of buildings in this particular town, and at least one or two buildings in every town in the country, dedicated to exposing (and converting) everyone else to their lifestyle?

Which group has articles (usually, several) extolling the virtues of its lifestyle in every edition of the very paper this letter to the editor appears in?

Which group has billboards and signs all over this area which cram their lifestyle down the throats of every traveler on the highway? Some warning of eternal damnation if you reject becoming a member of this group!

Which group has so much influence over the political system that it has gotten laws made that don't simply protect its members from discrimination (counterfeit "laws", by the way) but that actually force, by "law", everyone to follow the beliefs of that group as if the beliefs were their own?

Which group sends out recruiters that go door to door to try to convince you to become one of them or face dire consequences?

Which group targets young children with fun activities and social opportunities (often in those buildings they put all over town) in order to train the children to become one of them from such an early age that they won't think about it?

Think about it. Which group is really the one which more accurately fits the complaint that "Every time the rest of society turns around, this lifestyle is crammed down our throats"?

I don't suggest that either group be silenced, but I do think the letter writer needs to remove the mote from her eye before she starts poking at the eyes of others. And everybody ought to just get over the fact that someone, somewhere is going to offend you, just as YOU offend someone.

(I realize that both "demographics" contain various factions, and neither homosexuals or Christians are monolithic "groups", but are made of individuals who each behave very differently from one another.)


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Don't let politicians be responsible

Don't let politicians be responsible

(My CNJ column for June 24, 2011. I admit the headline they wrote for me bewilders me completely and totally. As written, not as published.)

Believe it or not, I don't care about politics. I would like a world where it is safe to ignore politics completely if you have better things to do, or more concrete concerns. That isn't the world we live in, much to our detriment.

Many people still think it is OK to join together to make up rules for other people to obey, or to impose "taxes" for them to pay. This, unfortunately, makes it necessary for the rest of us, if we care about paying and obeying, to sometimes band together to try to stop the rules from changing so that we don't become criminals or to prevent having more of our life, liberty, and property stolen from us in the name of "The Common Good". It is "politics in self defense" and it is a tragic waste.

Paying attention to the political debates surrounding an election is almost painful. Listen to politicians debating among themselves as they propose to violate the liberty of some segment of the population that they hope a majority of voters dislikes. This sleight-of-hand is calculated to focus your attention on "the others" while your liberty is dismantled. You are always someone else's "other". Disagreeing on details of how to violate you, as candidates invariably do, is not a disagreement of substance, but of method.

Respecting liberty to any degree is never seriously suggested, except minimally by the one GOP candidate who has little chance of being elected, and who wouldn't be able to make a real change if he were elected, due to the constraints of the system. Everyone knows who this candidate is- he consistently wins polls, but the polls are regularly misreported in order to marginalize his candidacy and promote the status quo. CNN and Time Magazine (online) were both caught red-handed doing this very thing in the past week.

Politicians get votes by playing on people's prejudices and fears, not by telling them that they are responsible for their own lives. They can also get votes by promising to take something from someone who is unpopular and give it to someone whose vote they are courting. That "something" may be liberty or it may be money. Without those two tactics, a candidate will get too few votes to win.

There is no one alive who has the authority or right to represent another person without an explicit agreement being reached between the two individuals involved. A Constitution that neither party physically signed doesn't count as an explicit agreement, regardless of what you've been told. Moreover, those who vote for the losing candidate are not bound by the results no matter what, since they then have no representation at all, legitimate or not. So take responsibility for yourself and get on with the things that matter in your life. Withdraw consent.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Turnabout is fair play

A friend of mine is having problems with a scammer.

They have gotten hold of her number and other information somehow (yes, probably through carelessness on her part, but that's not the point) and they are calling her many times every day trying to scare her into sending them money.

They claim to be with some company (or government office) - "National Bureau of Crime Investigation" blah-blah Criminal something-or-other" ... I have listened to the messages and can't make out much of what they are saying because of their very heavy accents- that she owes $695 to, or they are collecting on behalf of the creditor. Once again, I can't understand what they are saying. They won't give her any paperwork or documentation until after she pays- by credit card or Western Union, of course. They are claiming that they have issued a warrant for her arrest and keep saying she had better pay to prevent more bad consequences.

Obviously, this is not a legitimate collection action.

I have done a tiny bit of research and it seems the phone number is a landline out of Alameda California... but... it is routed through a "Magic Jack" so who knows where they are really calling from.

Here's the fun part: If you want to call and harass some scammers, their number is 510-473-4959. Turnabout IS fair play. Right? Obviously BLOCK your number before calling!

UPDATE: They just called twice more. I spoke to him myself and he is one nasty character. He claims his name is Robert (or Richard) Morgan, by the way.

More info: Here is what other people are saying about these clowns: LINK


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"The Debt Ceiling! Raise it or DIE!!!!!" Updated.

And, in the meantime, here is the comment I just posted there:

Dale- You say a lot without understanding what you are saying.

The US is a republic, not a democracy. But both are "tyranny of the majority". I do not consent to the violation of my worst enemy's rights. I do not consent to "governing" him. This doesn't make me "helpless". Withdraw consent and stop being a part of the problem.

I just want to have the cake I baked, so that I can eat and share it, voluntarily, as I see fit. Statists are the ones who want everyone else's cake, to eat without baking their own. If I didn't bake a cake I have no problem buying one from someone else. Pay for what I use, and use only what I pay for. Once again, completely unlike collectivists of whatever stripe.

I can't make civilization by myself, as you say I think I could, but I also know it takes individuals to make civilization, not institutions that feed on theft.

And yes, I am sorry but when you take something through force of threat of force ("arrest", "fines", garnishment, etc.) that belongs to an individual, when that individual would rather not give it up, it is theft. Even if you have a piece of paper saying you have the authority to do it. You can pretend otherwise all day long but it doesn't change the foundational act one iota.

One old furniture-abusing criminal in a black dress was once quoted as saying "taxes are the price we pay for civilization". He had it backwards. Civilization is what humans manage to create in spite of the parasites that feed off the productive people.

Nice job with the personal insults based upon your perception of my appearance. I'm sure it takes a "higher education" to be that childish.

If you knew anything about Somalia (beyond what you are told by other government-extremists), you would see that the Somalis are pretty good people (other than the remnants of the former government- the "Warlords"- who are still around the population centers doing their best to continue to act like a functioning State- murder, kidnapping, theft, and all).

Added Update:

Want more? He replied, so I added this comment (I put it here just in case he stops approving my comments):

"...You just fling out the same slogans over and over again without engaging with anything I ever say..."

Exactly the same could be said about you. I do address your points, you simply won't face reality. You deny that an act is the same no matter who is doing it, or what costume they wear.

"...the tea-tard GOP is the closest you ever get to your libertopian dream..."

Hardly. They are not pro-liberty any more than you are. They want a theocracy where homosexuals, drug users, Muslims, "illegal immigrants" (sic), and anyone else who doesn't do what they want is punished. They support unending Empire and "bringing democracy" to people across the globe, even if they have to kill people to save them.

If you think this even remotely resembles a free society, then I don't know what to say to you.

As for the rest- the more you write the more you expose your utter lack of understanding what you write about. As one example: "...The self-nominated 'producers' appropriate the historical archive, the commons, their indebtedness to their fellows (usually derided as 'parasites,' as gentle Kent would have it) and then pretend they create these goods as rugged individuals..."

Those who produce are not parasites. Those who feed off of the production of others, through "taxation" or appropriation of other property, ARE parasites. People who do this are not my "fellows". I do not pretend I have created this civilization (I already told you this). It takes a great many people, each accomplishing something, to make a civilization. It does not take people confiscating the things the productive people are producing. What is your definition of theft, if it varies so much from mine that "taxation" doesn't qualify?

" "We are all caught in an escapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny."

Absolutely! But mutuality does not require coercion or theft. It does not EVER require a State.

"... there is no perfect "planned" allocation of a more just distribution..." Right, because you can't "plan" an economy; it just happens through the individual decisions made by each individual person who decides if they want item A more than they want item B. This is perfectly just, and any interference with their individual decisions is completely unjust.

"...the sensible (sic) progressive taxation of those who benefit most from society..." Those you claim "benefit most from society" are those who benefit society the most. By your "progressive taxation" you remove incentives for them to create jobs and innovations.

"...should fund those general welfare programs which function to ensure that the scene of consent to enterprise be as genuinely informed and nonduressed as may be..."

And exactly how do these "general welfare" (no such thing) programs ensure that? No one has the necessary information to make that decision on the behalf of everyone else. You are being Utopian. It is a statist trait.

And More!!

" and a few of your superior white skinned superhuman friends..."

What does skin color have to do with anything? Are you racist?

"...the rest of us billions of subhuman parasites to serve you..."

Parasites do not serve, they take. And, fortunately, the productive humans outnumber, vastly, the parasites. Even some people, acting as minor parasites, are still producing more than they are taking. Probably very few people are "all parasite" or "all producer" anymore. That's a shame. When that changes and more are taking than producing, your Utopian People's Democratic Kleptocracy will collapse.

"...I think you are far too dangerously stupid to waste time talking to, and apparently you think the same, which is pretty much how I think it should be given how very low an opinion I have come to form of you by now..."

I don't think that of you at all or I would have stopped talking. I don't have a low opinion of you; I have a low opinion of the ideas you have bought in to.

"...and you can build your internment camp for me (did I say death camp? I meant happy camp)..."

That would violate my principles. I have no problem allowing people to choose to live in any sort of voluntary society they choose. Even outright communist, if that makes them happy. As long as they allow those around them to opt out without forcing those people to leave their homes, families, and friends. The difficulty I keep observing is that statists rarely reciprocate, but insist it is their way or the highway. To me that is not civilized behavior.

" can wave your your big gun around..."

That would be irresponsible and I don't do that. There are rules to the safe handling of firearms, and that violates them all.

"...Kent is far too deep down the Randroidal rabbit hole..."

While I enjoyed reading Atlas Shrugged, I am most definitely NOT an Objectivist or a "Randroid".

"...the GOP spouts many of your anti-government anti-tax anti-civilization slogans..."

The GOP is not any of those things. They LOVE "taxes" as long as they get to use them to pay for "border patrol" or the military or their farm subsidies, or whatever other big government program they like. And they like a lot of them. Now, I just think the GOP has a different idea of civilization than I do, as do you, but I don't see them (or you) as anti-civilization. You just advocate some things that make civilization a lot harder to maintain, and more fragile.

" close as you will ever get to seeing any materialization of any of your world view..."

Really? I am seeing it now. In my own life. Just because my neighbor might not respect my liberty doesn't mean I seek to violate his.

There will always be bad guys trying to harm their fellow man. Right now the majority work for The State, but if you can't be free under a State, you couldn't be free in a free society either. Someone will always provide you an excuse to act like a slave.

"...these are lives being smashed..."

This is why it is important for people to understand that government gives power and false legitimacy to the worst of those who seek to do the smashing, without the risk of being a freelance thug. Yes, it is real; it is happening now. And it is completely unnecessary.

But you are right, this is not a high school debate. Keyenesian "economics", just for one example, is destroying lives even now. And because statists are caught in the trap of thinking this way, the disaster is being "solved" by doing even more of the same that caused it in the first place. People are dying due to this sort of delusion.

"...they are pampered and insulated from the consequences of their maurading and mistakes and waste..."

Those who do the "maurading" are among the parasites and will get no sympathy or assistance from libertarians. Those who make mistakes can be helped by charity (a libertarian concept) better than by welfare. And those who waste might be helped once or twice, but if they don't learn, then life will be very rough. I believe you are projecting again.

"...defining as "coercion" and "threat" plenty that does not deserve the designation in my view..."

Coercion is making someone do something they don't want to by using physical force, or the threat thereof, or by using deceit to get them to do what you want.

A threat is making known your intention to use coercion. A legitimate threat is when that intention has been made and the one making the threat has the ability to carry it out.

Theft is taking property, through coercion, threat, or deceit, that belongs to another, because he traded his time or other property in order to obtain it, when that person would rather not give it to you.

"People who share the world are actually different from one another, they have different capacities and different aspirations."

Exactly! That is why "one size fits all" statism is doomed to failure every single time it is imposed!

"Violence and the threat of violence pre-exist states, state-like institutionalizations of order are responses to the permanent possibility of violence inhering in human plurality itself."

Yes, again! So why set up an institution that attracts those who seek to employ that violence without consequences?

"Violence is not created by the state and would obviously persist in a world in which everything "statelike" were smashed."

I never claimed differently. I am simply saying it is foolish to give that violence a veil of ligitimacy. Let people defend themselves (and their neighbors) from those thugs without facing legal barriers that punish the good guys.

"You can declare by fiat that there are no rational conflicts among people, you can declare their are no problems of harm arising from complex modalities of association...

Why do that? Of course there are rational conflicts among people. There doesn't need to be a monopolistic institution to settle those conflicts. And if that institution is one of those concerned with the conflict it is a conflict of interest to allow that institution to adjudicate the dispute.

" can declare violence unnecessary by fiat..."

Never said that. Self-defensive violence is often the correct response to being attacked. Violence is neither good nor bad- it depends on whether the violence is initiated or as a response to initiated violence.

"And this is because the world is not like your favorite Ayn Rand novel, and the problems and promises of human plurality and social struggle and stakeholder politics and public goods (sic) are all real whether you understand them or not, whether you ignore them or not, whether you lie about them or not."

Yep. And many of those problems are completely manufactured by the existence of The State, and the best way to deal with this reality is NOT to violate the life, liberty, and property of those around you.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Everybody has one

A couple of days ago I was told something to the effect that "Everybody has an opinion- but you don't hafta express it!"

Well, you are right. However, I rarely express my opinions unless I am exposed to other, offensive, opinions first. If I have to listen to everyone around me expressing pro-State/anti-liberty opinions all the time why should I be the one expected to remain silent?

In other words, if you don't want to hear my libertarian opinion, stop being a statist dickweed. That goes for things you take for granted, like "public" schools, "laws", cops, politicians... whatever statist subject you choose to talk about in a less-than honest fashion. If you are going to speak positively about theft, coercion, and violation of rights you should expect me to point out that your opinion is awful when you support (or ignore) evil and give you the ethical alternative.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Uniform programming

If there were a computer programming "authority" to make sure your computer was programmed exactly the same as every other computer, but there was a limit to the total amount of programming that could be done, how would that work for you?

What if something unexpected cropped up that the central planners hadn't anticipated? How would new things be developed? Does one size really fit all?

And why do people think standardized "education", mandated by government for its schools, is any better?


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Magical thinking

"Magical thinking" disgusts me.

From religion to statism to those silly products that use magnetism or holograms to "react positively with your body's natural frequencies and energy" for some supposed miraculous benefit.

Its all a scam that feeds on the desire of people to have a genie grant their wishes. It's all a rejection of reality. And some magical thinking isn't just a waste of time and money that harms no one but the foolish devotee: some of it kills others.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Judge Kent's municipal court is now in session

Just kidding. But.... I was just fantasizing about how much fun it would be to be a judge here in this town.

Zombie judge is bound to die of advanced old age soon and will need a replacement. Considering the glowing report about him in the local paper, talking about, among other things, how he was there when John F. Kennedy became a "good politician", I doubt anyone would be successful in voting his decrepit rear out of office.

In these modern times a judge is supposed to know "the law", but that's ridiculous. No one can know all the "laws". A real judge should be able to look at a situation and determine who was harmed, and how much restitution is owed. Sometimes with the help of a jury.

I could do that. The city government wouldn't like me though.

First of all, I wouldn't accept a paycheck from the city since it would be stolen money. The other government parasites might not like me making them look bad by comparison. I don't anticipate the job taking up much of my time, anyway, so I could do that for free.

Second of all, no "fines" would be placed against anyone in my courtroom. Only the injured party- an individual who was harmed- would get any restitution. Running a stop sign or "speeding" that harms no one has no victim to recompense. I might scold a person brought before me for such things, depending on the circumstances, but his actions didn't hurt the town so the town is due no money. And, as should be obvious, accidents are NOT "crimes". I would arbitrate in case of an accident as a part of my job, but wouldn't demand a monopoly.

I would also scold any law enforcement officer who brought such trivial victimless "crimes" before me and warn him to not do so again. Right in front of his victim. Just before I ordered him to pay restitution, for wasted time and wages, to the person he brought before me. He should also probably pay me restitution as well, but it wouldn't be right for me to impose it to my personal benefit. Oh well.

So, no, I don't see myself becoming a judge anytime soon. I'd be a good one, though. I'm sure there will be a popular write-in campaign to make me the Farwell, Texas municipal judge as soon as the zombie is gone. Right?


Guest commentary: Angela Kissell

Note: I am doing this as a favor to a friend; the opinions expressed therein are hers. This was to be a Letter to the Editor of the Clovis News Journal, but was rejected because she had previously written a very different LTE on the same subject. I don't do this often (in fact, I don't think I have ever done this), but this needs to get some local exposure and I am glad to give her a forum for that. KM

I have had my eyes opened.

Monday night at the affordable housing town hall meeting, Ms. Brumfield proudly declared that "for every one dollar sent to Washington DC, New Mexico receives TWO back." As if taking money from other states, shifting money from the pockets of hard working individuals in one area to another area is a great thing. The term for that is "wealth redistribution."

Back to affordable housing. I would like to point out that the affordable housing idea grew in places like California and in the East Coast states (think Maryland). If this ordinance passes, we will match up with those states, not to mention places within the state like Santa Fe, NM. In my opinion, those states and town are NOT known for fiscal or moral conservative values. I used to believe Clovis was a fairly conservative town. I believe that no longer.

An interesting fact: the name of the group that supports the affordable housing ordinance is "Clovis People for Progress." Progress is the root word of progressive. Progressivism is a political attitude favoring or advocating changes or reform through governmental action. This is the aim of the AH plan and ordinance, to use government (local, state and federal) to "fix" a housing "problem" in this city.

After last night's meeting, after hearing the city council members, mayor, MFA representative, some city staffers and a few Main Street business owners state their support for this AH ordinance, and pairing that with some other things that have happened in the town, such as the sudden purchase of the golf course, I had an epiphany. In Clovis politics, there are 3 groups: the apathetic, the progressives, and those fighting the progressives and their progressive agenda to spend us into oblivion.

Fight on, Clovisites!!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The internet- polarizing or not?

Is the internet a polarizing force?

I have seen where a lot of people claim that the internet has caused people to seek out- "self select"- only those voices who they agree with and exclude opposing views. This, supposedly, causes "us" to be less likely to experience differing points of view and makes confirmation bias almost unnecessary because we hear nothing but what we want to hear. I seriously doubt this.

I don't know about you, but for me the internet has exposed me to points of view radically opposed to my own (both past and present) that I would have never heard had I never gotten online.

I have also noticed that people who I have known for years who are online a fair amount have had a greater change in their overall attitudes on different issues than those who hate the internet (or avoid it for whatever reason). I don't think this is a coincidence.

Every controversial idea I espouse meets with opposition at some point, and I am constantly disagreeing with someone on some site. In "real life" I never debated politics or religion even when I was thinking the other person was completely off their rocker- preferring just to stay silent for the sake of peace. How many times did others do the same for me? On the internet, for good or bad, this doesn't happen. If you claim "liberty is better than slavery" someone is bound to vigorously type "BS!".

I'm not sure where all these people are who have managed to find corners of the internet that only feed their already dearly-held convictions, to the exclusion of everything else, but that isn't my experience. Not by a long shot.

It makes me suspect the agenda of those who make the claim that "the internet is polarizing society".


Visit Scenic (and free) Libertopia

Don't forget to visit Libertopia from time to time. And don't worry- nothing actually happened to me.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Kids and Cops

I spend a lot of time just sitting and observing while my daughter plays with other kids. These are never kids we know, but just kids who happen to be wherever we happen to be.

I have noticed something interesting, and even hopeful. The majority of the kids view cops as the bad guys. I have never seen any kids playing "cops and robbers"; rather they just play until the bully of the group says "I'm a cop!" and starts attacking the other kids. I have told my daughter she doesn't have to accept this kind of behavior.

I have also heard what the kids say if a cop car drives past, and none of it is positive. Lest you think I contribute to this in any way, I assure you I don't say a word.

There is a change in perception occurring in this country and LEOs have no one to blame but themselves and their own out-of-control abusive (and frequently murderous) behavior. Even kids are catching on to the reality.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Can an anarchist obey counterfeit "laws"?

Is an anarchist not an anarchist if he obeys a counterfeit "law" because there's a gun at his head? Yes he is still an anarchist because he lacks a particular belief, the belief in The State as a legitimate thing, in his mind.


Saturday, July 16, 2011


I think a lot of parents would be better parents if they would realize one simple fact: Most things kids get in trouble for isn't really wrong, it just pisses off the parent.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Kiddie Porn: crime scene photos?

This is just a question that popped into my mind today. It bothers me and will continue to do so until I write it out, so here you go:

Since looking at child pornography is a crime, shouldn't looking at other crime photos also be a crime? I mean, both are photographic records of a crime. Right? I also know of people who get excited by looking at other crime photos, just as a pedophile gets excited by looking at the photos of his particular type of crime scene. Personally, I think both are very sick.

Obviously I don't think looking at any photograph can be a real wrong act, although producing them could very well be.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cleaning up after themselves- Statists "can't"

How many times have you heard a kid say something like "I can't, daddy. It's too heavy" when it is time to pick up the toys? Probably pretty often. The amusing thing is that it is only "too heavy" when it is time to put it back; not when it was being dragged out.

Reminds me of statists with libertarian ideas. It wasn't "too hard" to make the mess by applying statist methods, but the thought of cleaning it up by doing the unpleasant things (such as respecting liberty) that are required is just "too hard" now. Or "too scary". Statists seem to be looking for any excuse to avoid liberty. So be it. I will leave them to their disaster.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Easier to change self than state

Easier to change self than state (My CNJ column from June 9, 2011. As written, not as published.)

You can see anything more clearly after taking a step back from it than you can while you are in the middle of it.

If you want the truth about a cult, you ask someone who was once a part of it, but who got out. You can't get a very accurate version of the truth from someone who still is involved. They are too close to, and too invested in, the issue. I think the same goes for the political process. I was once involved and active, but then I took a breath and stepped back and I saw the futility of everything I had worked for. I had been acting on a string of false premises that were actually adding to the problem.

If I really believed a rain dance could make it rain here, I'd gladly do one and ignore the sideways glances of my more normal neighbors. In the same way, if I still believed taking political action could bring liberty back to America, I'd be the most politically active man on Earth. However both beliefs are just that: beliefs. Neither has any basis in objective reality.

When considering politics, too many people ask the wrong questions and make the wrong assumptions. They ask what government can do about an issue instead of asking if government should do anything, and instead of questioning whether previous government actions created the problem in the first place.

The State has a lot of practice at creating a problem, then pretending to be the only possible solution. The economy and crime are two salient examples of this destructive tactic.

If political action is inherently unlikely to produce liberty, what other course of action is available to you? If you value liberty you must start with yourself. Make yourself free, and respect the liberty of all those around you, even those you don't like. This is much more powerful than electing representatives and expecting them to protect your liberty. You must take responsibility for yourself and for those whom you are consensually bound to be responsible for.

So, step back, re-examine your assumptions, and consider if your time and energy could be better spent changing the one person you truly have the power to change rather than begging someone else to make the changes you want.

Taxpayers shouldn't foot hotel bill

Taxpayers shouldn't foot hotel bill (My CNJ column from June 2, 2011. As written, not as published.)

I think it is a noble thing to want to save the Hotel Clovis building from decay or destruction. Personally, I love to see historic buildings preserved and put back to use.

I'm somewhat less enthusiastic over the plan to use it for subsidized housing. If you own the building I think it is yours to use as you see fit as long as you harm no other person, however I believe subsidized housing is harmful to everyone.

Where some people go astray is when they demand that others pay, through taxation, "public funds", or other government coercion, for their own pet projects. Other people do not value the same things you do and it is not very nice to force them to pay for that which you think is important. If I believed in doing that I might demand a huge tax-funded "living history" site, complete with tipis, bison, and gunfights, somewhere around town. It might become a tourist attraction and I'd probably want to live there. But I know it is wrong to get what I want that way, even if 51% of the voters agreed with me.

A majority of 100%, minus one individual, has no real right to force the lone holdout to finance or participate in their project if he'd rather not. As long as he is allowed to opt out, losing neither his time nor his money in the process, he has no authority to stand in the way of the voluntarily organized and financed project he opposes, either.

If something really should be done, there will be volunteers to do it, or a market for it to be done "for profit". A fund drive for the Hotel Clovis building might be the proper way to put your money where your mouth is. I'll even pledge the first dollar. The campaign to "Keep Cannon" got the community organized and energized; why not devote the same energy to the campaign to "Save the Hotel"? If it doesn't gain momentum, perhaps the desire is not really there. If that is the case, a private group could still be organized to purchase the hotel with their own money and save it in their own way. Once again, I'm willing to help.

To those who want to save the hotel, I ask: What is stopping you? My follow-up question is: Why do you let that stop you?


Missing person! (Found safe)

William R. Stone, possibly between KC area Missouri and Redfield/Des Moines area, Iowa.

And get the latest HERE

Update: He is safe. Good to know!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

"Would you like brains with that?"

Yes, Unfortunate Truth #1 is "People are idiots". But it's still amusing (sometimes) to see it in action.

I was at the mall and saw, at the generic food vendor, their nacho setup. The chips were in a "warming bin". The light bulb responsible for keeping the chips warm had been replaced with a compact fluorescent bulb! Ha ha!


Saturday, July 09, 2011

Poking gods makes one unpopular

I have to admit, I am tired of being unpopular. But I'm going to tread into that territory once again. Just because it is important to get some things out there even when it will make people angry. And this will.

To be popular I would have to either shut up or lie. Or I can continue to speak out and be unpopular (or as my cousin recently said, be "a dickhead".)

From my interactions with Christians I know that people don't like it when you expose their god as imaginary or as a fraud. (And, as far as the "God of the Bible" goes, he has been completely disproved*. Maybe, just maybe, there might be something out in the Universe that, because of technology or evolution, the word "god" might seem to be the only description available, but it won't be the "God of the Bible", and that is absolutely certain. Sorry.)

Which brings me to today's main point: The State is today's most popular god. I will repeat that: Statism, the belief in the legitimacy of The State, what most people mean when they say "government", is nothing but a religion where The State is the god. A person can believe in the god of The State alone, or in conjunction with supernatural god(s), or neither.

A little explanation is in order. People who worship, or at least believe in, a supernatural god have their own concept of that god in their mind that really doesn't mesh very well with anyone else's concept of god. The only reason they don't notice this fact is that they haven't examined it too closely (or in the right way) and they only see the god they personally imagine (or interpret through writings they read) and they assume that's the god everyone they worship with sees as well. If they could actually get inside the head of the person sitting in the pew next to them they'd be shocked at the god that person is worshiping- and vice versa. The reason I know this is that I asked a lot of people over a long period of time to describe "God" in detail to me. And I kept digging deeper into their concept. Beyond the most superficial description there was no similarity from one person to the next, even when they believed they worshiped the same god in the same church. Even the descriptions, personality traits, and characteristics of the "Biblical God" are completely different in the New Testament than in the Old Testament. But people try not to notice. It is as if many different objects- rocks, turtles, watermelons, books, ice cubes, televisions, and pillows- are painted the same color and given the same surface texture and said to be the same thing.

The statist's god is the opposite. The god of The State comes in many forms that are all much more similar than they are different, except on the surface. Unlike supernatural gods, with the god of The State only the minor details differ. Like how the people who control the State are selected or take power. The deeper you dig, the more identical the States are. They all share the characteristics of supporting themselves through theft, a monopoly of "legalized" force, and very few people questioning the legitimacy of this god, even when they oppose the particular form they happen to dislike. In this case it is like taking a bunch of watermelons and painting them differently, or gluing a bunch of different things to the surface and claiming that they are all completely different from one another. More than believe in any particular version of a supernatural god. Tragically, most people still believe some form of State is inevitable and necessary.

Even worse than opposing the god of State, in the eyes of the Believers, is exposing it as a fraud. And it IS a fraud. It is imaginary insofar as it doesn't exist as a monolithic real thing; it is made up of individual people who have the same flaws as those the State Worshipers pretend The State will protect us from. It is a fraud because it doesn't protect any innocent person from anything, it simply takes the place of the freelance thief and aggressor and claims its actions are good, where the same actions would be bad if you or I committed them without working for The State. So we must be protected from those bad guys by others doing the same thing? Ridiculous!

What got me thinking on this was a comment I made on an "atheist's" video, which caused her to comment back to me "you're an idiot". Among other things. It comes down to the fact that I simply got her to expose the fact that she still believes in a god, but her god is The State. I pity her for that.

* Before someone starts harping on the common belief that "you can't prove a negative"- yes you can. I can prove that my hip pocket does not contain a 25-ton, fluorescent orange, living, breathing, flying Tyrannosaurus rex. But suppose I made the claim that such a creature was in my hip pocket. You could prove that my hip pocket doesn't contain that creature in spite of my claims, probably without even coming to me and examining the inside of my pocket. You can use logic, and the laws of the Universe, to disprove my preposterous claim. You can prove a negative.

Added: I have modified somewhat my contention that The State is analogous to god. Read my newer thoughts here.


Friday, July 08, 2011

Driver's Licenses for "Illegal" Humans

Driver's licenses for "illegal [sic] immigrants" is a non-issue that won't go away because inconsistent (and unethical) people keep focusing on the wrong question.

Recently I commented on a letter to the editor about that very issue. Nothing I haven't said before, and still true.

Here is my comment:

There is no one, no not even YOU, who can get through a day without violating several "laws". It is estimated that we each commit an average of 3 federal felonies every day. Usually without even knowing it. With the millions of laws on the books, federal, state, and local- as well as all the ordinances that are not actual laws but are imposed upon us as though they were, there is no telling just how "illegal" you and I truly are. We are all "illegal" in some (and probably many) ways. To single out people who migrate from land illegitimately claimed by one government to land illegitimately claimed by another, without getting permission from those governments, as "worse illegals" than other people is hypocritical.

Don't steal from anyone; don't attack anyone; don't damage private property- and I don't care where you were born. You are less a danger to me than people born next door who send The State after others and who live off of government (stolen) money.

Then to clarify, I added:

And, just in case anyone gets the idea I think independent migrants should be forced to have drivers licenses, think again: http://blog.kentforliberty​.com/2011/06/no-more-drive​rs-licenses-for-illegals.h​tml Driving is a basic human right, not a government-granted privilege.

And then replied to another comment equating not getting a "driver's license" with stealing and lying:

If there is stealing and lying going on it is not being committed by the people who don't have "driver's licenses", but by those who claim to have the authority to demand such. No one has an obligation to obey an unethical or immoral order.

It really does matter. When anyone's rights are violated for the pretense of "law" it harms me, too. Why can't the statists get that inside their miniscule skulls?


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Nancy Grace and a verdict she hates

I am a deeply flawed human being. I am thrilled that Nancy Grace is infuriated.

In Libertopia, there is the Case of the dead little girl.


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The State: A "Lose/Lose Propostion"

The State is a lose/lose proposition. Plus, the more powerful the government, the worse the situation for all.

The regular people lose immediately by being stolen from to pay for the government and its projects. They lose when their liberties are violated along with their "inalienable" rights. They lose when they are killed for breaking some counterfeit "law".

And eventually those in government, and those Useful Idiots who have supported and advocated a powerful government, lose when the "chickens", which they have so carefully bred and raised, come home to roost. It may even be a law of the Universe.


Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Secession Day 2011

Happy "Tell The State to Go ____ Itself" Day!

Isn't it pathetic that governments pretend to have authority to forbid the use of explosives in celebrating a day which enshrines the right of the people to ignore tyrannical governments and to kill government employees who won't back off?

I suppose the real pathetic thing is that governments do this without consequence.

So, since it has all been said so many times already, how about some links to my comments from years past:

Enjoy the day and exercise any freedoms you still can.


Sunday, July 03, 2011

A very different "Libertopia"

I was doing a web search on my other blog, Dispatches From Libertopia, and came across a very different blog entry by that same name. Once again I am stunned and saddened by a person's ignorance.

Wait, not "ignorance"; by that person's stupidity. Sorry, but "ignorance" isn't intentional, and to say things like "Wherever government is meant to be of by and for the people, to be anti-government always means to be against the people.", and to believe it, is willfully stupid, not ignorant. I found 4 major problems with that sentence, not including punctuation. And that was just the first stink-nugget. It goes even further off-course from there. I didn't waste my time reading all of them.

It would be simple, though time-consuming, to answer each of the 46 (Roman-numbered) points and utterly destroy them. But they aren't even worth the effort.

The blogger clearly confuses (or conflates) "libertarian" with "conservative" (and that isn't the only error in facts, logic, and thinking the author makes) and builds a glorious strawman upon that mistake, reveling in his "progressive" political hatefest as he pathetically attempts to tear down his own failed creation. In some cases even his strawman kicks his butt even as he pretends not to notice. It's sad, really.

If you wish to be stunned, click on the link, but you have been warned. Your mind will reel as you see and mentally refute each point error by error- on several levels if it is more than a couple of words long. Just- WOW!


Saturday, July 02, 2011

National debt

The US government is bankrupt (financially as well as ethically and morally). Everyone knows this and has known it for a very long time. There is an obvious solution.

Close the government; let the employees go find honest jobs, turn off the lights, take down the signs, lock the doors, and divide the assets among the creditors.

Since governments, anywhere of any sort, are not legitimate, no assets go to them (sorry, Chinese government) but only to individuals.

The US government has been stealing from you your entire life- promising "services" today and a future payoff in exchange for your cooperation. You are being lied to.

It's your money and you need it NOW (stealing a line from the TV commercial). The only reasonable solution is to stop the irresponsible governing and take away the option to re-offend. And to make the government make good on its debts. Does the government owe you a few machine guns and HumVees? Yes, it does.


Friday, July 01, 2011

Patriots not deserving of criticism

Patriots not deserving of criticism (My Clovis News Journal from 5-29-2011, about a local group, the High Plains Patriots. As written, not as [briefly] published)

I'm sure the High Plains Patriots would consider themselves "conservative", rather than libertarian, but I'll bet I'd agree with them on about half of their opinions; those that promote and respect liberty for ALL.

I think about this because I have to admit that, although I am not a fan of using the political method for getting things done, greatly preferring the economic method instead, I admire the spunk of the High Plains Patriots and the way they frustrate the plans of local politicians by forcing their tax and spend schemes to a vote. Anything that irritates those who would rule by fiat amuses me.

I certainly don't agree with the criticisms that the High Plains Patriots are wasting tax money by insisting that the plans of those in government not be imposed unilaterally upon those who will be forced to pay for them. If you are that worried about saving tax money, then stop proposing ways to spend it that the High Plains Patriots and others will insist be voted on. Not that a vote to take and spend your neighbor's money has any validity anyway. Donate your own money, but keep your hand out of the other guy's pocket.

If you have a system in place you use against people to get your own way, you can't be surprised when people use that same system against you, or at least use it in ways you don't like. That includes playing by the rules when those rules are inconvenient, expensive, or when you are scared of the possible outcome. No one is forced to enter politics and risk having their schemes thwarted. Politicians could simply enter the market and gamble with their own money.

It is part of the price of entering politics that the system politicians decided to become a part of is set up with certain rules- rules that really only apply to those who voluntarily join the game- and those rules are not supposed to make life easier for politicians, but to bind them so that it isn't too easy for them to violate the liberty of those they claim to represent (and those they don't).

For those who believe in politics to say that once a politician has been elected, whatever he does is "the voters' will", is dangerous. There must be a "safety switch". One of the least offensive, to most, has been the "safety switch" of putting things to a vote when the politicians would rather you simply go along with their grand designs. Demonize this rather innocuous safety switch too much and more people may decide the whole thing is a scam and join those like me in working toward real liberty.

PS note: I feel I sometimes send the paper a peacock, and they publish a turkey. Yeah, a newspaper probably isn't the place to get too hung up on the nuances of language, but I take a lot of care in choosing the words I use. I am very unhappy about the way this one was edited, and I mentioned one particular change to the copy editor (not THE editor), but he wouldn't change it back. Oh well, in a month I will post the undamaged original version.

UPDATE: It seems the article has disappeared from the paper's website. I'm not sure if this is a glitch or something more.