Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Now is best time to do right

Now is best time to do right

(My Clovis News Journal / Portales News-Tribune column for December 30, 2011)

The end of the old year and the beginning of the new gives some people the feeling of a rite of passage. For them it represents a chance to clean the slate; they get to start fresh and try to do better next year than they did last year. Birthdays can provide the same opportunity, but almost everyone shares the same new year, while you share a birthday with fewer than three-tenths of a percent of humanity- if my math and assumptions are correct. That's not enough to get much momentum going.

Whatever excuse you use, the best time to start doing the right thing is always now.

In the coming year will you be responsible for your own actions, for your own safety, and for your own property? Or, will you attempt to delegate that responsibility to someone else? Notice I say "attempt" since you can never truly get away from the responsibility being yours.

In the coming year will you oppose all theft and coercion, unless it is done by people you believe are exempt from Natural Law, particularly if their theft and coercion brings you something you really, really want? Can't you think of a better way to get what you want and need- a way that doesn't violate anyone?

Next year will you be the kind of person who acts as a good neighbor regardless of who's watching, or will you be the kind of person whom others will point to as a reason they believe government is necessary? Someone is always watching, and your actions, even when "legal", speak volumes about your character. You never really "get away with" anything.

Will you be the kind of person in 2012 who sees a need and thinks of voluntary ways that need can be met, or will you instead believe that if something is important it justifies putting government in charge of it? No matter whether government does it well or bungles it beyond hope.

Will you make this the year you help build new tracks, for America and for the world, that actually change course, or will you let society keep being driven over the edge of the cliff by government, while you join in the rather pointless debate over who gets to control the throttle?

You may believe you have a choice, but that's a trap. If you believe you have that choice, and leave the options open depending on how you feel or believe, you have already lost. We are in this together and we can't afford to lose.


Why "Why Libertarianism is Wrong" is wrong

How's that for a confusing title?

I was watching the video "Why Libertarianism is Wrong" and since the video's maker has disabled comments and ratings, I thought I would give a little commentary and rating here.

First, the rating. Thumbs down.

We go through the same ridiculous things every time some anti-libertarian decides he just has to find a way to justify theft and attacking the innocent (or the other authoritarian "oomox-inducing" activities). But it's worth it to address this nonsense again.

So here goes:

First off Video Guy says that "what's right and what's wrong" are value judgments and that if people have different values they will never agree. That might be true for minor things like smoking pot, but not for big things like theft and murder. That is a strength of libertarianism. It leaves you alone on the minor points to debate endlessly. Now, you might disagree about what constitutes theft or murder, but not about whether or not they are wrong. Libertarianism takes away your "authority" to use force against people who are doing those minor things, things that you consider to be "wrong", that they do not.

Then, Video Guy claims that libertarians would force him to "submit to the free market for everything". No, we wouldn't. We simply refuse to allow him and those like him to impose his socialism on us without our consent. There is a difference. If he wishes to live in a communist enclave, completely free of market "pressures", we would support his right to do so, but we would not help him force others to be a part of his Socialist Utopia against their will.

Next he goes off about "democratically-elected representatives" spending "public money" on "public projects". There is no such thing as "public money" unless it comes from those "public officials'" pockets (and then it is still tainted by theft since that is how the money ended up in their pockets) and from the pockets of people who donated it voluntarily. Otherwise you are talking about spending stolen money, not "public" money. Which gets right back to those "always wrong" things, that even he would agree were wrong if he didn't try to hide behind the word "taxes".

As a part of this rant he talks about how private enterprise is claimed to be the "most efficient" way to allocate funds, but that asks "what if you don't value efficiency?" Well, then libertarians would once again allow you to go set up your own communist society as long as you leave the rest of us out of it. You don't even have to move to your own island to do it. Baptists and atheists can live side by side in the same neighborhood without forcing each other to participate in each others' group or non-group. Libertarians and communists could do the same- at least from the libertarians more ethical perspective.

Still riffing on the free market, he says libertarians claim the free market automatically justifies its outcome. "If a product or service can not be sustained through market forces, then it doesn't deserve to exist". Wrong, again. You are completely free to fund anything you want, no matter how unwanted it is by the market- all your friends and neighbors- as long as you don't steal from those who don't want it in order to finance it. Ask for donations; have a bake sale; start a religion and funnel all the "profits" to your cause. Just. Don't. Steal. Why is that so hard for him to grasp?

He makes a big deal about "intrinsic value" versus "market value". He says libertarians don't believe in intrinsic value. He is, once again, wrong. (How can so much wrongness fit in a 9.5 minute video?) Liberty- the freedom to act within your human rights- has intrinsic value. Without it you can't even choose to be a socialistic slave, as, apparently, he would. The individual's life has intrinsic value. Paving a particular road, on stolen land, with labor and materials paid for through theft from people who will never benefit from that road enough to make it worth their money to voluntarily pay for the road, is NOT of "intrinsic value". Yet this is the kind of things these thieves would "selflessly" support killing you over. How "nice" of them.

Next he makes a big deal over how logical libertarians are, and how others may prefer faith over logic. How cute. He then harps on how libertarians like to bash on anyone who believes in religion. So, are we now getting to the heart of his objections? Maybe not, since he says he is an atheist (he isn't since he fawns over the 21st Century's most popular god).

I know lots and lots of very religious libertarians. I disagree with their claims for the veracity of their beliefs, completely, but I support their right to believe anything they want. Faith and religion have nothing to do with libertarianism. It's like preferring blue over red. It might affect how you explain why you are libertarian, but you can be just as libertarian with or without it.

Logic will show you how the world really is. Faith may give you a mechanism for dealing with that reality. I don't care if you value faith over logic, but what I do object to is if you try to make up rules, based upon your faith, that you will impose on the rest of us who may not share your particular faith. Religion is the same. You can impose Sharia Law on all those who share your faith, but the moment you try to extend your "authority" beyond those who have the same faith, you are being evil. You can prefer faith over logic, or even insanity over sanity, as long as you keep it in your pants. Your personal views are your own, and not my concern until you use them to attack me or steal from me. Or from anyone else. Got it?

I'm so embarrassed for Video Guy. Had to put that in there because he just keeps going off on this tangent about faith, which he is completely wrong about, but doesn't recognize it. I had to look away from his shame.

Now he's blathering that "equality is not high on the list for libertarians...". Depends on your particular type of "equality", doesn't it? All people have exactly the same rights. Exactly. You can't get more equal than that. But socialists like Video Guy don't mean real equality when they use the word. He means that "it isn't fair" that some people get rich while most people stay poor. Boo hoo. Guess what. I am on the poor end of the scale, compared to most Americans, at least. Government meddling and welfare (not for me, personally) has made that more difficult to escape, but the market gives me the opportunity to change that. I don't want government to steal from Bill Gates to "give" me anything. Video Guy's opinion on "what's right", according to his own implicit admission, is to steal from people he deems to have "too much" to give to those he thinks have "too little". Isn't that special.

He says libertarians want to convince you of their rightness and that even their logic depends on having a common starting point. OK. So, he didn't make this video in order to try to convince people that his view was right? Why did he make it then? And there is a common starting point. Wouldn't he probably agree that theft is wrong? It's just that he equivocates when the thieves wear the silly hat of government and claim to be doing "good" with the loot.

He also whines that libertarians make a big deal out of being consistent. So? Consistency doesn't necessarily mean you are right, but inconsistency does mean you are wrong somewhere. It is a big deal- if the truth matters to you. If it doesn't- if you'd rather operate on faith- then why worry that someone points out that you are being inconsistent? Just smile and go on. Unless you know it shows the holes in your thinking and that bothers you...

Then he gets down to business and issues the first of his "challenges" to libertarianism, with the assertion that "coercion is not wrong". He claims it is not wrong to ensure justice through coercion or to enforce contracts through coercion. Well, now, many libertarians would agree with him. If someone has gone into debt, by initiating force/theft, or by breaking a contract, there are plenty of ways to deal with that, and some could be considered "coercion". However, what he fails to address is that the coercion is only excused by a prior violation of "libertarian principles"- and that's not even the only way to deal with it, or the best way. Just a possible tool. And, of course he whips out the socialist's favorite myth: "The Social Contract". I could at this point say "automatic loss by default", but that might hurt his feelings. I'll address this silliness a little later.

Next he tries to quibble over "initiation of force". It is very simple, really, and has nothing to do with "semantics". If you were the first to threaten, delegate, or use physical force- a very simply demonstrated thing- you initiated the force. You started it. You can weasel-word around the truth all you want, and claim "it depends", but you are only lying to yourself. It really has nothing to do with retaliatory force, either. If you are retaliating, you are probably initiating force. If you are using force to protect yourself or your property right now from an imminent threat, you are not initiating force. If you are retaliating, you are on shaky ground and may be seeking revenge. Understandable, but still probably not right.

He also is confused over what constitutes "force". Trespassing and theft aren't necessarily force. He uses the example, loved by statists, of "race" when he says a libertarian would claim that a black man drinking from a privately-owned "whites only" water fountain would be initiating force. No, he wouldn't be. He would be trespassing and stealing. I see no sign of force anywhere in his scenario. The Zero Aggression Principle is essential, but not sufficient. There are wrongs which involve no initiated force. Would I believe a "whites only" water fountain is wrong? Yes. Would I support the owner's right to make that rule? Yes, but I would shun him. Would I rule in arbitration against a "black man" who drank from that fountain? Sure- I'd impose a penalty of one zinc penny (or the market value of the water he drank, whichever was higher), then offer to pay it on his behalf. And I'd do the same if the "race" roles were reversed. And, if the owner of the fountain used force to stop the guy from getting the drink, then I would say the water and trespassing debts were cancelled by the used force- unless the force used happened to be excessive in my view- then the debt would rest on the fountain's owner.

He goes off on the fact that libertarians will use coercion (I thought he just claimed we thought it was always wrong- there's some of that inconsistency in his claims that he wants to make off-limits for us to point out) to uphold our ideas of property, but think it is wrong when others uphold their ideas of "rights and laws [we] don't believe in". So where is the difference this guy claims makes a big deal? If, as he claims, I will use force to protect X (which he doesn't believe in), and he will use force to protect Y (which I don't believe in), why not just leave one another alone? Libertarians are willing. Is he?

Now he gives the "Social Contract" its own special attention. Goody. So he uses a Stefan Molyneux video as an illustration. OK. In it, Stefan gives the example of buying a car on someone's behalf, and forcing them to pay for it, if they live in a place you own. Then Video Guy talks about how libertarians will say if Stefan owns the apartment complex he is free to do whatever he wants (I don't buy into that, since murder and slavery aren't right even if "you only do it on your own property", but we'll pretend for a moment) and people can accept the deal or leave. Sure. In a free world where leaving is a realistic choice, that would work. In the real world, however, the agreement gets altered without your consent on a daily basis (so that you can never know all the rules, and neither can those who will enforce them), and you can only leave if you obtain the apartment owner's permission, and only if you leave a big chunk of your property behind to enrich him. And you are still expected to report all your property to him after you leave so that he can continue to bill you for "services" you no longer can even possibly "benefit" from in any way. His claim is that The State can prove ownership of the land we live on through means any libertarian would accept. No. Sorry. A thief doesn't own what he possesses. And no documentation from the government's own records changes that fact. (Would I be allowed to write up, archive, and interpret all my own documentation for extraordinary claims of this sort that benefited me? If not, why not?) All government "property" was stolen from someone in the past, or was "purchased" with stolen money, and is only maintained by continued theft. That isn't "ownership" and any claim based on that smoke and mirrors is a lie. He "insists there is no difference" between that and private ownership. Fine. Then why "buy" any property if the government can "prove" its ownership of it, and why pay property "taxes" if you don't own it? Let the real owner pay property "taxes" to himself. I agree that no one really owns any real estate as long as The State can steal it back and murder you for not paying your land ransom, but that isn't proof of anything but that the government is numerous and belligerent and has more guns.

Then he explains that "redistribution of wealth is not wrong" in his eyes. He says it is not wrong to take property from the rich and give it to the poor. If that were true, then it would also not be wrong to take the property of the poor and give it to the rich. You can't have it one way without having it the other as well. No one has any rights that others don't also have- identically. Why would "rich" or "poor" have any bearing on this at all? It would have to be OK to take the property of any random person and give it to any other random person without regard for what each of them had before you "redistributed" their property. Sorry, dude. That's theft and theft is wrong. Now, if someone obtained that property by theft or fraud (no difference really), then giving it back to the rightful owner is wonderful (that's is what Robin Hood really did, not the modern "rob from the rich to give to the poor" nonsense), but it is NOT "redistribution of wealth" in that case. And, once again, the relative wealth of the concerned parties has nothing to do with the situation. Except to people like Video Guy, there.

His "reason" for this is that The State has an obligation to make sure no one is starving, homeless, or naked, and that stealing from some to give to others is how to solve this problem. How about removing the "laws" that create the situation in the first place? Let people make money without burdening them with licenses, permits, regulations, "taxes", zoning, "laws", and every other "Act of State" that makes it harder for people to earn money. And, then get out of the way of private charity to take care of those who still can't make it. Deflate the excuse of "I don't have to help; that's the government's job". Once again he appeals to "fairness". (I love the quote by Scott Adams: ‎"[F]airness... is a concept invented so dumb people could participate in arguments.")

Next he asserts: "You cannot keep everything you earn". Well, duh. You must spend money in order to earn it, in most cases. And you will be spending it to buy things you need to stay alive, and for things to make you more comfortable and happy. Keeping your money would be pointless, but if you want to keep it all and starve to death, that is no one else's business but your own. Why does Video Guy have such a problem with this? Because it isn't "fair". LOL.

"If you own a company, you have benefited from the education of your workforce". Yeah, and your workforce has benefited from you paying them for their work. Why is this such a difficult concept for socialists to see? No one is claiming that one gets rich in isolation. It is a web- all parts benefit all other parts, until you allow a State into the mix.

He says he thinks it is reasonable to be made to pay for things the government "provides"- things like firefighters, reavers, courts, roads, etc. Yes, that is reasonable. What is not reasonable is maintaining a monopoly where I am forced to pay for things I don't want, from people I don't want to do business with. Let me hire who I want to provide the services I want. That, my dear Video Guy, is reasonable.

Then he ends by pointing out the obvious: The State is not perfect. He makes the bizarre statement that if he "chooses" to live in a State-run society... wait... you had a choice? Where was I when that choice was offered? Oh well, back to reality. If he "chooses" to live in a State-run society it doesn't mean he believes everything the State does to be right or justified. No one ever said he did. After all, he is apparently intelligent enough to put food and water into himself, and to believe The State is perfect would indicate a fatal disconnect from reality. And, libertarians also never claim that everything The State does is completely evil or unjustified. We just claim there is a better way. One that scares the panties off socialists.

He says his personal preference is still for such a system, and that there is no debate on this; that it is his personal choice. He's right. But his choice ends where someone else's choice begins. He admits that if one of us wants a stateless society and the other wants a state-run society, one of us is going to be disappointed. But that's only true on his side of the equation. I would let him form a State and live next door to me, as long as he kept his little club exclusive and didn't make non-members contribute or support it. I wouldn't prevent him from doing his own thing. But, he gloats at the end that the disappointed one isn't going to be him. Nice. I guess in his eyes, might makes right.

What it comes down to is that libertarians would allow this guy to live however he saw fit, only drawing the line at his ability to use coercion and deceit to make others go along, while he would not extend to others the same courtesy.

Watching videos like this is difficult. Painful, even. It's embarrassing to watch someone saying the things that Video Guy was saying. I want to protect him from himself. But that would require coercion since he obviously has been corrected so many times that he turned off the comments so he could ignore the truth. He is satisfied in his ignorance. And, as a libertarian I respect his choice while insisting that he not force his brand of ignorance on others.

Because it is painful to expose myself to crap such as this, why not just let examples like this video go unanswered? Because I care too much about people, and the truth, to just ignore things of this sort. Truth matters. Why does it matter? Because, if someone believes the right way to clean a gun is to look down the barrel while pulling the trigger, I'm going to try to correct him before he hurts himself or anyone else. He can believe it with all his heart. He might have been told this from the day he was born. He may think anyone who tells him otherwise isn't being "fair" to his beliefs, values, and feelings. He would still be dead wrong. And, if I see him telling others that his way is the right way to clean a gun, I am going to speak out, even at the risk of hurting his feelings, to try to limit the damage he does. The truth matters- reality matters.

Added- A day has passed since I wrote all of the above. And I now have a slightly different perspective. The agony of wading through that sludge has worn off and has been replaced with elation. I would sincerely like to thank Video Guy for posting that video. It reminds me how weak the arguments of the anti-liberty people really are. And that makes me really happy. Like Malcolm Reynolds, I'd rather be right than on the side that appears, at the moment, to be winning.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Reavers everywhere!

Reavers = cops.

Recently I've taken to calling all "law enforcement" goons reavers. That keeps me from calling them things I'd rather my daughter not repeat. And the term is completely appropriate.

"Reave" is from Old/Middle English and means to forcibly rob, which is what "law enforcement" spends most of its time and energy doing. So, by definition, they are reavers.

That brings up a bit of historicity. The word "sheriff" comes from the Old/Middle English for "shire reeve" or "reeve of the shire". The dictionary claims that "reeve" and "reave" are not related words, but I have my suspicions that they are wrong.

I can just imagine some townsfolk, many years ago, saying "Great, here comes the Shire Reave of Nottingham!" He overhears this and gets pissed at them. So they wink at one another and say "Oh, no! We would never call you a reaver; we were calling you the 'reeve', which is totally different! Trust us."


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Libertarian TV?

Recently I've been watching a few old "black and white" television shows, mostly westerns, on Netflix before I go to bed at night.

One thing that has struck me about them is how libertarian a lot of them are. People doing the right thing- not initiating force or stealing- sometimes at a high personal cost. I never really thought about the fact that our "recent" history was so different from what we see today. I knew that the early history of America was (imperfectly) libertarian, but somehow assumed things had changed before the memory of anyone alive today.

I was wrong. It makes me sad that people who grew up watching the shows like that could have forgotten these latter day campfire stories. I guess The State was more attractive to them.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Throwing stones in glass houses

People who work for The State shouldn't throw stones at anyone else's choice of a career. A pole dancer is more ethical, by far, than a school teacher who prostitutes herself/himself for The State and receives a salary financed by theft.

My daughter was playing on the pole which is attached to our porch. My dad, a school teacher for The State (in more ways than one), asked if she was going to be a firefighter. I said "...or a pole dancer". He said "I hope not!" I hesitated a moment before I said "She'd probably earn more money pole dancing."

Considering that I have never heard anything from my parents other than the suggestion that a career's worth is to be judged by the paycheck, it seemed reasonable to me to point this out. But then I got to thinking a little deeper and thought of the above observation.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Respect, or fear?

The State believes it has respect. Maybe in some ignorant corners that might be true. It is more likely that what it really has- where it thinks it sees respect- is fear.

Fear is not respect. Fear, if controlled, leads a person to watch for the enemy to lose focus for a split second, which provides an opportunity to blow him away. Fear often looks like respect to the bad guy. He would be wrong but he won't realize it until it's too late.

And once the fearful begin to strike back, those who have no fear, but have been waiting for the time to be right, will join.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Anti-drunk driving" hypocrites

I consider most of those who claim to hate "drunk driving" to be hypocrites. And I'll tell you why (as if you had any doubt).

If "drunk driving" is so horrible to your mind, and you claim you'd do anything humanly possible to prevent it from happening, then you must support ending the risk of any legal and civil penalties for driving "drunk" right up until actual harm to another occurs. Otherwise you are a hypocrite.

A person must be able to be driving and realize "Hey, I shouldn't be doing this" and stop and ask for help without the risk of punishment. Otherwise they realize they're (legally) better off to make the attempt to get where they are going without getting stopped by a reaver. It's a matter of weighing the risks.

There's a 100% risk of being molested by "the law" if you admit you need help after starting to drive (or probably even entering your car), even though you haven't hurt anyone yet, and a much smaller risk of being hurt, molested, and/or hurting someone else by driving "drunk". Which risk seems riskier to someone who might be judgement-impaired? Or, even to those who are not?

Get rid of the one needless risk, if you are serious about saving lives, or admit you just "don't like it" and don't care about the consequences of your advocacy.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"I don't like it!"

Going back to my previous post about the pleasure haters; I see them as suffering from the same mental lapse that many other people suffer from when they want to ban something, or claim "There oughta be a law..."

You can show them fact after fact that destroys their position, and they will keep coming up with justification after flimsy justification. But the truth of the matter is that whatever it is they want to punish or prohibit is just something they personally don't like.

And any justification beyond "I don't like it" is a lie.

It reminds me of the debates I have had with Creationists. Science and facts don't matter to them. In fact, usually they eventually wind up saying "I don't care what the facts are; I'm going to believe what I want to believe". That's fine as long as you don't impose your beliefs on anyone else, through "law" or through any other form of coercion.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Keep government out of holidays

Keep government out of holidays

(My Clovis News Journal column for December 23, 2011. I notice the paper bizarrely hyphenated Christmas as "Christ-mas" once in the article. Not my doing- and I double-checked to make sure.)

Merry Christmas! I hope you can take some time to appreciate all you have, and that you can spend the holiday however it brings you the most joy. I also hope you'll allow others the same liberty.

The winter solstice probably gave our prehistoric ancestors hope because the days which had been growing shorter finally stabilized. They knew from past observations that soon the days would begin to grow longer once again. It gave them reason to celebrate that spring would eventually arrive. The winter solstice was their light at the end of the tunnel. Throughout history different cultures stitched
their own celebrations, especially their own versions of "the light at the end of the tunnel" celebration, on this time of the year. The earliest recorded version of this holiday, from around 4- or 5000 years ago, was called "Zagmuk".

At this time in history "Christmas" is the name most commonly given to the holiday celebrated near the winter solstice. That's why most people use the word no matter what their personal beliefs may happen to be. Unless they have a specific reason to prefer a different celebration, or just want to be contentious.

Personally, I love Christmas. I don't care what words people use when they express good wishes for the holiday. Just as long as they are happy and friendly when they say it. I enjoy the interpersonal warmth around the holidays. I love the songs, the stories, and the decorations. I love the feeling of specialness. I love the light at the end of the tunnel, and I think celebrations are important, especially in the face of the encroaching winter.

That doesn't mean I think governments should sponsor Christmas displays, nor displays of any kind- religious or secular, since any money governments spend was taken by force from people who were given no choice, and it shouldn't be frittered away on things that some people don't consent to. Let the people celebrate unhindered; keep government dark and silent on the subject- neither endorsing nor obstructing any religion.

You have to make a real effort to be disagreeable at this time of year. Don't be twitchy if people say "Merry Christmas", or if they fail to do so and wish you "Happy Holidays" (or "Happy Zagmuk") instead. Just take it in the spirit in which it's offered and smile while you offer the greeting of your choice in return.


Pleasure haters

I saw a quote in an issue of Reason Magazine that just kept coming back to my mind. It was in reference to Prohibition (both the old one and the current one):

"The eternal temptation to ban things that give people pleasure"

I think it could also be expressed as "The eternal temptation to get pleasure from preventing the pleasure of others".

Either way, there are an awful lot of awful people who seem determined to try to make sure no one is having any fun. That's fine if they stick to being annoying pains in the rear. Unfortunately, the illegitimate institution of The State gives these perverts a way to exert power over others. What a messed up shame.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Respect for the law

Is "respect for the law" important for civilization? If so, then civilization is doomed. And it isn't our fault.

You can't have respect for something which is absurd. For me to have respect for the law, the law has to follow Natural Law. It can't be arbitrary and bizarre. It can't be counterfeit. But that is just about all it is anymore. The "law" is fake. No one with a lick of sense or any ethics at all could have any respect for it anymore.

So, if "respect for the law" is necessary in order for civilization to survive, 99.9999% or so of the "laws" on the books (the statutory "laws") must- absolutely MUST- be tossed into the garbage heap. Before it is too late. Otherwise no reasonable person can possibly have any respect for the "law". None.


Sunday, January 22, 2012


Feel free to follow me on Pinterest, if you have any desire to wade into another "social site". I'm "pinning" a larger variety of things there than I blog about.


"Window shopping" at Baron Hats

Yeah, I know this has nothing to do with anything, but a lot of times when I would otherwise be bored I go to the Baron Hats website and daydream. It's my version of window-shopping I guess.

I see so many hats I'd buy if I had the money.

But I guess what I'd probably really do if I had the money to afford one hat from them is have my favorite hat reproduced by Baron's in quality materials and workmanship.



Old postcard to Mrs. J. Proctor Moore

My mom has an old postcard that she found in- I believe- her piano many years ago. I'm just posting this so that any relatives of the people mentioned, if they happen to do a Google search on the names, might be able to get the information.

The postcard was mailed from Lamar, Missouri to Mrs. J. Proctor (Maria?) Moore, Liberal, Missouri and postmarked on January 15, 1946. Unfortunately, I am not certain of some of the names that are written. Particularly the recipient. Marie? Maria? Mavis? Marin?

It says (original spelling and all):

Tues 1000 A.M. Dear Maria (?). Sure enough colder this A.M I want to tell you I feel real proud of my work I did yester-d. I used the Maytag & it works fine. So- I washed evrything on the place that was dirty & all dried nice but two chroched rugs. I washed 4 woven and they were aft dry. So brot evrything in. have my ironing all done. I wrote to Norma (?) last night. got a letter from N.A. & Mable yester A.M. were all well. I havent been off of place. didn't go to ch Sun night too cold. Ora came in yester P.M.brot me some M (?) Im so thankful Im able to work. And may God bless you & yours.
love --- Mother
Elbert got home this am


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Harm and hurt

I don't think "hurting someone" and "harming someone" are necessarily the exact same thing. To me it seems like it is possible to "hurt" someone without harming them. And to harm someone without hurting them.

Let me explain. I have been hurt many times. I have cut myself more times than I can count. I have had scrapes and bruises. Most of these left no lasting effects. Any "harm" was temporary. I got over it (even if it wasn't a happy thing at the moment it happened). I don't think those things really harmed me in any way.

On the other hand I have been harmed by things that left no physical damage, but that I will never really heal from. For example, I was abandoned by The Love of My Life a little over 8 years ago. That harmed me, in many ways more than any physical damage I have ever suffered- including a bike wreck that did cause lasting damage.

So, although I realize that to be hurt in any way causes at least temporary harm, I guess when I think of "harm" I am thinking of something a little more permanent.

Sometimes you might even need to hurt someone in order to protect them from harm. It's not a good position to find yourself in.

Now, that doesn't mean that hurting someone or harming them is not a violation of the ZAP; in this case harm and hurt could both be wrong. It depends if they started it. And, sometimes, someone who is innocent may be hurt or harmed by something you did, and you may still have not done anything actually wrong. Accidents happen. You might have a debt to pay in that case, and by shirking your responsibility you would then be doing something wrong.

Just something to consider.


Friday, January 20, 2012

More Dangerous thoughts

Why is it OK to self-medicate with ibuprofen when you have a headache, or with an antihistamine when you have allergies, or with an over-the-counter sleep aid when insomnia strikes, but not OK to self-medicate with marijuana if you are suffering from boredom?

Boredom is probably more likely to be fatal than a minor headache, nasal allergies, or temporary insomnia would be, yet it is seen as somehow "wrong" to self-medicate- using a very safe medicine, by the way- to alleviate boredom's symptoms. That doesn't make sense.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dangerous thoughts

I just had a random thought. One that might be seen as dangerous by some people.

If an individual owns their own body (a foundational concept of liberty) and can therefore put anything they wish into that body, wouldn't the corollary be that they can also take anything out of their own body if they don't want it there? Even if they chose to put it there in the first place?


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

History didn't begin with "9-11"

Thinking back on the posts of the past couple of days made me realize something. For all their blathering about "history", most statists seem to act as though history began on September 11, 2001.

Nothing that happened before that counts. All the decades (or centuries) of meddling in the Middle East never happened. The world was just spinning along, like it had every day since it was created in 4004 BCE, when out of the blue, terrorists attacked and suddenly the slate of history was wiped clean and revenge was justified. Hmmm.

Interesting (lack of) perspective, I think.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Not every problem needs a solution

Not every problem needs a solution

(My Clovis News Journal column for December 16, 2011)

Everyone knows there are problems in the world. There is theft. There is child abuse. There is poverty. And many more. The question becomes "How do you fix it?"

While it seems most people think a new law or tougher enforcement is the answer, libertarians see those "solutions" as only exacerbating the problems. We also see the current infatuation with statutory law as a reason that so many of the problems surrounding us now seem to have no effective solution.

Not every problem can be fixed, or even should be fixed. The biggest flaw in the "Serenity Prayer" is the line "...Courage to change the things I can..." because not everything that can be changed should be changed. Real wisdom accepts that.

Another fact of reality is that any solved problem creates new problems. The trick is to make sure the problems created by your solution are more minor- easier to solve or live with- than the problem you started with. If a solution seems likely to have consequences worse than the problem, it is best to do nothing until a better solution presents itself. Always be prepared to quickly reject your solution if its unintended consequences are worse than the original problem. Laws never fair well when judged against this benchmark.

A common statutory solution for crime is to ban self defense, or at least regulate it to the point that victims of an attack who fight back will then be at risk of being attacked by the legal system. This emboldens those who care nothing about right and wrong, much less laws, which creates unnecessary hardship and fear for the people who were not doing anything wrong to begin with.

The libertarian solution for crime is, first of all, to recognize that without a specific individual who was attacked or robbed there was no crime, and then remove the barriers to effective self defense, which includes defense of property. The benefit of a doubt must be given to the person who was just going about his business; not to the one who was looking for trouble.

The same goes for other problems. Most of them can be solved, but solutions that harm the innocent are not worth pursuing. You can't be generous and caring by giving away other people's money. You can't protect the innocent by legalizing the violation of eternal human rights.



Yes, I admit it. I enjoy coming up with hare-brained schemes. Most, maybe all, go nowhere. but they do bring me joy. And that is what life should have more of. And, someday, who knows. Maybe one of my ideas will bear fruit. In the meantime I'll keep thinking up more.


Paul or Obama petition

Here's the petition "Dedicated Dad" made for you to sign (and spread) to tell the Repubs what you're thinking: Ron Paul or Obama: Your Choice

Have fun with it.


Nominate Ron Paul- or else! (a bad idea?)

I don't believe in voting. Neither do I believe politics is an ethical way to get anything done. But, I wonder if or how a political threat might work. Yeah it probably violates the ZAP in that if voting is an initiation of force (which it seems it might be), then threatening to vote is advocating or delegating an initiation of force.

However, ignoring all that for a moment...

I wonder what would happen if liberty lovers, en masse, told Republicans in no uncertain terms that if they nominate anyone other than Ron Paul, we will all vote for Obama. Even if we have to register to vote to do it. Even if we otherwise would never even consider voting, period.

Think of it as putting a mortally injured, dying America out of its misery, if the offer of medicine* is refused.

Just a thought.

I may try this out on my "conservative" relatives. Or, I may post the "threat", without all this post's contemplation, and minus all the uncertainties, somewhere in this form:

Notice is hereby given to the Republican party and all Republican voters: You have a chance to do the right thing. You can nominate Ron Paul. If you nominate anyone other than Ron Paul, I will register to vote, and I will vote for Obama. I will encourage all of my liberty-loving friends, contacts, and acquaintances to do the same- even if they have not voted before or in many years. You will be throwing away your nomination by nominating anyone other than Ron Paul. Is that what you really want to do? It's your call.

Added: I just thought of a shorter way to phrase this threat: "Republicans- I will vote this time, for the first time in years. But, I will either vote for Ron Paul or I will vote for Obama. Your choice." And, no, I don't really intend to vote.

(*Yeah, it could be debated whether this is medicine or a placebo. Or even a poison. I'd still enjoy seeing what Repubs would say or do if this idea went viral. I'm not perfect.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Is minding your own business "dangerous"?

Once again, I'm not endorsing Ron Paul since voting lends an illusion of legitimacy to a completely illegitimate system. And because you can't vote yourself free.

However, I was talking to a "conservative" statist (a redundancy, I know) who said he thought Ron Paul was the best candidate, except that the mainstream will never accept him enough to elect him because of his foreign policy. He says, in less honest words, that it is just too dangerous to not meddle. If I used such language I would have responded "WTF?"

How has the meddling in other countries' business worked out so far? Has it kept radical individuals from killing innocent Americans? Has it spread liberty around the globe?

No to both.

Intervention is more honestly called trespassing. Intervention led to the act of aggression known as "9-11". Intervention led to all the deaths, American and otherwise, in all the unconstitutional wars (which are actually terrorism) since then. Intervention led to the death of liberty in America. Intervention grows new generations of individuals, in America and around the world, who hate the US government and who are willing to kill and die to try to hurt it. Intervention (among other Crimes of State) led to the growing worthlessness of the money in your bank account and in your wallet.

Intervention leads to more intervention in a feedback loop. It's like beating your dog because he is whining and limping. The more you beat him, the more he will whine and limp. Until he either dies or rips your throat out for being such a cruel jerk. If he dies, an interventionist will get a new dog to kick around since he needs that feeling of being a big, tough guy.

And, intervention abroad leads to the justification for intervention in your private life.

The State has no business intervening anywhere for any reason. It has no justification to exist. I got over it; I wish everyone would.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

"Please repost this..."

Facebook. Repost this or that. Statuses expressing concern or support for cancer patients, deceased babies, victims of abuse, etc. Repost instead of actually doing anything to help.

I think facebook statuses have replaced, or at least joined, prayer as the silly "pretend to do something helpful while not really" activity.

One person doing is more helpful than a million people praying- or reposting.


Childish "Paternalism" and fear of Ron Paul

Most of the people I interact with in real life call themselves "conservatives". You and I both see the falsehood there. However, recently in The Libertarian Enterprise, L. Neil Smith spelled it out a little more clearly than I had ever seen done.

It inspired me to make the diagram which accompanies this post. (You can click on it to make it easier to read.)

The description of "Paternalism" fits the "conservatives" in my life to a "T".

And, it shows why they are scared of Ron Paul. He doesn't allow them to be bullies by proxy- using the military force of the US government to impose their own version of the "Paternalism" corner of the triangle on those who already have their own version of that same corner imposed on their own society. A Ron Paul presidency would get in the way of the chest thumping and swaggering.

I don't need a president or a government. I have no use for discredited myths and delusions such as The State. I don't need Ron Paul to be president over a government I have long since withdrawn consent from. But I do wonder if these "conservatives" would actually prefer to have 4 more years of Obama over Ron Paul. They will never admit it, but I think- judging by their actions and reactions- they would. They are hypocrites and crybabies. I wish I would live to see them all grow up and get over it.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Modernity hatred- New Luddites?

"Modernity hatred". I'm not sure what else to call what I see so much of.

You'll never find a person who likes the "old ways" more than I do. Yet, the constant hand-wringing over "new stuff" bewilders me. Cell phones, computers, the internet, fast food, birth control, some social changes, etc. If it was invented after about 1950 many people seem to recoil in horror or rail against it.

And, that would be fine if they didn't meddle with the choices and preferences of others, especially through the application of "laws".

Things change. Get used to it.

Hold onto the old things that you like, but don't insist that everyone must follow your lead (or refuse to go anywhere, depending on how you look at it). I enjoy some of the "new" stuff, too, but not all of it. The way I look at it, we can pick and choose from the knowledge of many thousands of years of humans who have come before us. From our early stone age ancestors to Steve Jobs. Why limit yourself, and why try to remove the freedom of choice from others?

I can keep starting fires with a bow/drill, keep washing with lye soap, keep using kerosene lanterns, keep eating weeds and jerky, and wear brain-tanned buckskin, but there is nothing "better" about those choices- they are just things I like. I can also use a high-tech firesteel or eat a Big Mac, when the mood strikes me without being "guilty" of anything. I would never demand you live the way I do, and I especially would never consider forcing you to live according to my wishes through "laws".


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Buy stuff?

I'm not going to beg for donations... however, I find myself needing money. Worse than usual. Again.

So, please consider buying some stuff from me. Either here or on eBay (both links are always under my picture over there on the left).

Thank you.



As I mentioned before, I am using this year to work on my "preps". Nothing too big, so far, but something, no matter how minor, every day. I've even allowed "thinking about a certain idea" to count. I'm not going to quibble over what counts. And, that "mere" thinking has paid off as I have already gone ahead and implemented some of the ideas I came up with while apparently doing nothing.

No matter how prepared you are, you could do more.

And, no matter how little you think you can do, you CAN do something. If nothing else, inventory and organize what you already have and come up with a strategy.

I, perhaps like you, have no money to spare on preparations. Yet, many things won't take money. You're on the internet; use it to learn and get ideas. And skills.

You won't regret getting ready or gaining skills unless you count on some particular disaster coming on schedule. Untie your mind from that silliness and just know that whatever happens, your life - and the lives that depend on you - will be better when you prepare for the unexpected. Really. It will increase your liberty no matter what else happens around you. I promise.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Advice for government employees

If a politician or bureaucrat wanted to stay legal and adhere to the Constitution, it would be better to not do something that the Constitution authorizes than to do something it does not. I wonder why that option never occurs to them?


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I will stand up for your liberties

I will stand up for your liberties

(My Clovis News Journal column for December 9, 2011. Yes, it begins with the same H. L. Mencken quote that begins my current Liberty Lines column, but the columns are completely different, even if inspired by the same incident.)

"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all." – H.L. Mencken

Rarely have I read a quote that contained more truth. It is the story of my life. In so many cases my energy is spent defending the rights of people I probably wouldn't like, who are doing things I don't necessarily approve of, simply because I am able to see how their rights are mine. And yours.

This often puts me in the position of defending scoundrels who are having their liberty violated by people with "good intentions", which puts me at odds with those who only see the good intentions and the scoundrels, but not the unintended consequences, or how those consequences could eventually harm us all.

Freedom means doing what you want to do, regardless of whether it is within your rights or not. Liberty is the freedom to do what you have a right to do. While it is sometimes proper to constrain freedom, it is never right to limit anyone's liberty.

As long as those scoundrels are within their rights- they are not attacking, stealing, or trespassing- it doesn't matter if I like them or approve of what they are doing. They still have a right to be doing it and no one has a right, or the authority, to interfere. No matter how noble the interference might seem or how much I might agree with the general objection to what is being done.

If you are willing to violate the scoundrel's rights then you shouldn't be surprised when you discover that you are someone else's scoundrel, facing the torch-bearing villagers who are anxious to storm your castle for the "common good". And, as long as you are not violating anyone else's rights, I'll be right there beside you, whether I like you or approve of your actions or not.

You only have the liberty you respect in others. I am willing to fight against the violation of the liberties of others because it is the right thing to do, and my expectation is that no one will call for my liberty to be violated in any way. I'll hold up my end even if others don't reciprocate.


Libertarian buts

I see a lot of people who claim to be a "libertarian, but". And some who claim to just be "libertarian" while they ignore their big "but" and pretend it is a feature of all "real libertarians".

The biggest "but" is support for the military. Militia, yes. State-controlled military, no. Tax-financed, government military is not "libertarian", no matter how you try to spin it. It doesn't matter if the Constitution says it is OK, or if your family has always been a "military family" and you want to honor their lives.

The second biggest "but", which is related to the first, is belief in national borders. Usually they pretend this "but" is about property rights. If you think national borders are about property rights, just see how much the State that enforces the borders respects your property rights. Nope. It's about violating your property rights. It doesn't matter if the trespasser is an independent migrant from Mexico or an employee of some government agency. Trespassing is trespassing and the backstory doesn't matter. And, if you choose to allow a person on your property, that is your right as a property owner and no one has any say in the matter.

A third "but" is pretending that the US Constitution is a libertarian document. It has some good things in it and it has some horrible things in it. But none of that matters since the US government ignores it all anyway, unless they find a particular part useful to the agenda at the moment. Go ahead and use the Constitution to show that the government is not legitimate since it has unilaterally violated the agreement that bound it, but don't get hung up on this too much. There are better ways to organize a "society" voluntarily.

The last "but" I notice the most is ignoring coercion unless it is committed by The State. Coercion is wrong. The State is wrong because it relies on coercion. Coercion isn't wrong just because it is used by The State.

I'm sure there are lots more "buts" out there. All those who claim to be "libertarian, but without the crazy stuff" have at least one.

As for myself, I try to make sure I have no "but". If my first inclination, when presented with an idea that pushes the envelope of individual liberty, is to pull a "but" out of my... well, you know... then I try to look very hard at why I felt the need to have a "but". What aspect of legitimized (or justified) coercion am I trying to hold on to? And why?


Monday, January 09, 2012

Dumb is as dumb believes

How can smart people be so dumb?

I was watching a TED talk and it struck me once again that "smart people" can be the dumbest of all.

Now, I'll admit I lost interest and stopped watching before the end of the video. I have a rule about exposing myself to stupidity: I only do it if I don't have better uses for my time. So, maybe he ended the talk by saying something surprising and truly smart or wise. But I'm not counting on it.

I gather, from the part I did watch, that this guy, Paddy Ashdown, is a raving statist who doesn't understand economics or government. At all. Yet, there is an apparent consensus that he is "smart". Perhaps he is even considered an "expert" in those areas. He isn't.

He believes that "global" markets are unregulated unless there is a State involved in regulating them. He believes that statutory "law" trumps Natural Law. That is sufficient evidence that he is dumb.


Sunday, January 08, 2012

Arrogance of The State

I have been called "arrogant" a time or two. Or ten. Usually because I wouldn't buy into someone else's (obviously flawed) argument. Or, because someone tried to hurt me and I, instead of reacting as they had expected, was amused. Above it. That sometimes led to a "smirk" as well.

But that's amateurish arrogance compared to governments.

Governments all seem to think they can get away with anything. Forever. Sure, they all do for a time, but none ever have forever, and none ever will.

Governments ignore their own "permission to exist documents"- their "hall pass"- and will kidnap or even kill those who point out the violations.

Governments decide they own you and can tell you what to ingest, whether you can travel (and how, how fast, and what you are "consenting to" in order to travel at all), they rape you, they demand a ransom to "allow" you to keep some of your own property. They forbid self defense and the tools to carry it out effectively. They declare that unless they "educate" the desire to learn out of your children, you are abusing them. They punish you if you know a "law" is wrong and refuse to convict a person for violating it. They decide if you can leave the territory they have fenced off, and steal most of your property if you get permission to go for good. They tell you (and your government-licensed doctor) how your ailments will be allowed to be "treated". They turn local police into militarized occupation forces instead of "peace officers"- who in the best of circumstances were still a useless drain on humanity before they became an open threat to it. They prohibit and punish basic human activities like growing food, trading, sex, hunting, being left alone... and demand you get permission from them for the things you are allowed to do anyway. And, they demand to know every detail of your life so they will know when you aren't doing as you are told. The list of real, current offenses could go on endlessly.

They act as though there will never be any consequences that will result from all this arrogance. Certainly none from the "Mundanes".

Yet, there is a limit. Not to what governments will try to get away with, but how much their targets will accept before they strike back.

There will always come a time when more threats bring less compliance rather than more. When harsher penalties bring more hatred and less obedience. When more surveillance results in too much meaningless data and smarter acts of defiance. When puppeticians and bureaucrats cease to be able to protect their worthless hides through "laws" and certain punishment. When enough people finally see The State, and its supporters, for the parasites they have always truly been, and say "Time's Up!"

I would hate to be on the side of the tyrants when that day dawns.


Saturday, January 07, 2012

Self improvement

I want to be better than "just me"... But I don't know in what way.

How's that for a confusing situation?


Thursday, January 05, 2012

Michael Bloomberg needs to face the music

The recent kidnapping of a Tennessee woman by Mikey Bloomberg's own New York gangsters, when she rather foolishly tried to obey New York City's idiotic anti-gun "laws", makes me think turnabout is fair play.

Since we all, even Mikey Poopie Bloomers and his associates, commit an average of 3 federal felonies a day, I think next time Poopie Bloomers or any member of his family or any NYC employee sets foot in a less-tyrannical jurisdiction they should also be kidnapped by the local LEOs.

After all, they do something that is clearly illegal- they ban guns and harm gun owners. That's enough justification to tell them to either stay home and stop violating us, or face the consequences.

I'm sick of these ethics-free diseased vermin. We are expected to worship their made up "laws" while they thumb their noses at universally-binding Natural Law as if it doesn't matter. Well, Time's Up!

Now, do any sheriffs or cops out there have the gonads to do the right thing? Or will the anti-liberty thugs get off easy due to their power and influence? I think we all know the answer to that one.


Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Michael Shermer's latest column


A very good article. And, yes, it concerns John Lott's famous studies, as well as the assertions of a religious guy.

I can't bring myself to wade through all the comments, because I don't feel like reading the goofy opinions of the anti-gun extremists. If you can stomach it, I'm sure there are some good comments mixed in there, too. (I saw that Mr. Lott himself had posted a comment just above mine.)


Ron Paul and other "not quite Libertopias"

There are a lot of things that don't exactly pass muster with me, as far as true liberty goes, but which I still provisionally support anyway. For one reason or another.

The main reason is usually that I think they'd be "interesting" and upset a lot of statists. I think they'd each qualify as "monkeywrenching". I think there would even be fun involved.

1) In this list I would include a Ron Paul presidency. And, as a part of that, auditing and abolishing the Fed.

2) A rigidly enforced Constitution, where (back to the reality of the document) anything that is not specifically authorized by name or minute description for the government to do, is prohibited- and I'd whimsically add "under penalty of death", to be carried out immediately upon any government employee who advocates or endorses- or somehow attempts to enforce- the most measly unconstitutional idea. Including, particularly, Supreme Courtjesters who quibble over things that no sensible person has any doubt over the clear Constitutional meaning of. ("...shall not be infringed" being among them.) Remember that the Supreme Courtjesters are not the Constitutional "last word" on the Constitution; they usurped that power illegally.

2a) Full re-legalization of all "drugs". "Where, Mr. or Ms. Drug Warrior, does the Constitution spell out- exactly and specifically in clear unambiguous wording- that the government can prohibit people from harming themselves with self-administered chemical compounds? You can't find it? Up against the wall!" (OK, I admit, I am even against a death penalty in these cases, except as carried out by the intended victim at the time and place of the attack. But it's fun to imagine- especially after reading about so many horrible crimes against the innocent carried out by these psychotic prohibitionists!)

3) Secession of any of the formerly united States. Especially, by reason of residency, Texas. Yeah, there are a lot of things in this movement I dislike; things that are decidedly anti-liberty in nature. But I'd still prefer an end to the rapidly-growing cancer that the US government has become- we can deal with mopping up the smaller infections later.

No, none of these things is the Holy Grail. That remains Libertopia, in one form or another. But each of these things would be fun to watch in its own way.


Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Seeking local discussion on liberty

Seeking local discussion on liberty

(My Clovis News Journal Column for December 2, 2011)

While liberty is a full-time passion of mine, writing about it is merely a part-time urge. A pretty strong urge that will not be ignored, but one which can be delayed when necessary. Life is usually pretty full of other things which tend to get in the way of things I plan to write about; especially those topics which require more time than simply sorting through the files in my head.

For one thing, I keep intending to talk to some of the other local libertarians I know of, just to see if their experiences "living liberty" relate in any way to mine, but it seems that busy-ness keeps getting in the way. I'm planning to remedy that soon.

And, in pursuit of that goal I would like a chance to get to know more local libertarians, and libertarian-inclined people. Or the "liberty curious", as an imaginary libertarian personal ad might say.

I know more are out there than I have noticed, since as I have mentioned before, libertarians don't usually attract much attention because we are so unremarkable. Maybe you are one.

Perhaps this column has piqued your interest in the past year and you'd like to discuss liberty with other interested people in an informal setting. Maybe you are even suspicious of liberty, but won't be offended if your best arguments don't change my mind. In that case I'd be glad to let you take your best shot. I have been told I am contagious in my libertarianism, however, so you might be taking a risk.

I'm not interested in getting together to fight or argue, but friendly debate is always welcome. One thing I'm probably not very interested in discussing is politics. Well, make that two things, because I'm not interested in talking about sports either. Besides, there are plenty of places to talk about those more mundane topics. Just about anything else, taboo, deep, or just plain odd, is on the table.

So, as long as you are willing, I'd be glad to get together somewhere to get to know you and hear your thoughts on freedom and liberty, and what they mean in your own day-to-day life.

If enough people are interested we could even schedule regular chats at some local venue after the holidays are over.

Don't be shy. I am not scary... to most people. And neither is liberty. My contact information is below.


Monday, January 02, 2012

Run for the hills! It's 2012!

Yeah, I know... Nothing extraordinary will happen. Not the Mayan "End of the Calendar/World". Not the Zombie Apocalypse. Not anything else (in spite of the best efforts of puppeticians and bureaucrats). Chances are exactly the same for civilization-ending disaster in the coming 12 months as any other random 12 months. Some bad things will happen, but none will be "It".

Still, I plan to use this time to work on my preparations. Just like I did in 1999. Every dozen years or so it's probably good to pretend that TEOTWAWKI is here, just to keep your prep muscles in shape. And, it's fun.

Do you have adequate weaponry and "food" for that weaponry? Is your training with your weaponry "good enough"? Do you have a good knife? Or two?

Do you have alternate forms of money? FRNs are going to eventually stabilize at their intrinsic worthlessness. Are you ready?

Do you have food, medicines, and other "necessary" supplies stored up? Or are you actively building your supplies right now?

Do you have the skills you need in case Murphy's Law makes all your "hoard" useless? Can you build a fire? Can you locate or collect water and make it safe to drink? Can you find or make shelter? Can you do those things if you have nothing but the clothes on your back- or less? Do you have the attitude that will make such a scenario into an adventure instead of a disaster?

Do you have a network of people you can count on? Do you know where the probable "good guys" are, and where the potential zombies live? Are you remembering to keep your yap-hole shut about your preps?

I don't believe for one instant that anything unusually disastrous will occur this year. But I'm going to have fun preparing for it anyway. And my "preps" have, over and over again, made slight, very localized "situations" much more bearable for me and my family in the past. You never know what may happen tomorrow. Be ready for it. Think of it as the ultimate role playing game.